we have a small problem

The problem is easy to solve, though. Admit it, you’ve been holding back the tears, thinking we’d disappeared into fat air. Perhaps Mags herself had finally had enough of all the slurs and cheek about Slimming World and, after a calming bath with Radox salts and a pint glass of Aldi gin, had sent a shitstorm of lawyers to close us down and burn our computer. Maybe we had given up the ghost and decided not to bother with the site anymore, driven mad by people requesting our RESSAPEAS PLZ HUN and subjecting us to their awful profile photos washing up on our iPad?

Well, the truth is far less interesting – we were actually on holiday. You may recollect us mentioning we were going on holiday at some point but we didn’t want to put it onto the internet that our house would be empty for a week, in case someone broke in and went through our ‘naughty’ drawer. I’d be devastated if I had to tell a policeman that our problem was that our iMac was missing, along with an assemblage of ‘loft insulation grade’ johnnies and a douching bulb. Oh the shame. We spent a week in sunny Corsica (don’t worry, I wasn’t sure either – it’s an island off the southern coast of France), tanning ourselves and basking in the sun like two especially hairy warthogs.

Naturally, the next couple of entries will detail all the bits and bobs to do with Corsica, and yes, I have some stories, and yes again, there’s accidental nudity and us causing embarrassment wherever we go. Shame follows us like the scent of a hurried poo at work. 

problem

But for tonight, just a few things. 

First, a moment of reflection. We’ve both fallen off the wagon lately and I’m not going to lie, we’re struggling to find our focus. Our problem is not the evening meal (which you see on here) but the hours in between, full as they are with cheesecake and sweets and pies and trips to Tesco for nonsense and calories. Our weight has been stable for a few weeks but I’m tired of being fat still. We’ve stopped taking the diet seriously, and that’s a shame, because we always do so well. 

How to fix it, short of giving up the delicious cooking and existing purely on Scan fucking Bran and those shitty ready meals from Iceland? How to solve that problem? We’re going to make our weight accountable again, and post our progress on here every Thursday so you can see that our diet works and that we are sticking to it. Hopefully the worry of hearing 20,000 chunkies sucking air over their teeth will be enough to keep us on track. We’re off to Iceland (the country, not the supermarket where an awful lot of people have that sour milk and fags scent) in December and it is imperative we lose weight before then. I don’t want to fall in the snow and be unable to get up, instead frozen in time like a memorial to Doritos and dilatory dieting. From Thursday, we will be back at class and ready to really try. We do have a fantastic class and it’s been a shame to miss so much of it.

To help you with the recipes, we’re going to be posting a competition tomorrow to win a box full of meat, and it’ll be nice and easy – so keep an eye on that. Don’t forget our Musclefood offer – click here for that!

Second, a promise. We’re going to give you a new recipe every single night until Christmas Eve, starting tomorrow. That’s 85 new recipes – the usual mix of syn-free and low-syn meals, all served up with the usual piss-taking sassiness you’ve come to know and demand from us. We can’t commit to reams of text to accompany each recipe so sometimes it will literally be only a picture and guidance, but when I can write more, you know that I will! 

To that end, please share the recipes and the group as far and as wide as you can – it helps us, obviously, but I like to think people are out there trying our stuff!

I certainly know people are reading it, because not only do we get all sorts of lovely comments and feedback, but we’ve finally had someone recognise us ‘in real life’ – hello to the lovely Elizabeth who nearly took my ear off with her enthusiastic recognition! I was out buying candles at a garden centre and it has to be said, had a face like thunder because I’d been stuck behind some dithering fart in a 206 all the way to the garden centre. Even a spot of singing along didn’t help because Radiohead came on and I couldn’t reach my phone to turn it off. By the time I had parked up I’d already fitted a hose-pipe to the exhaust. Anyway, naturally, she was lovely and it put me a much better mood – so thank you Elizabeth! You put a smile on this whiskery face. Excellent customer service too, although really you should have knocked at least 25% off. I mean come on.

Oh! A PLEA. If you’re sharing our recipes, that’s absolutely fine. We have no problem with that! But please give a link back to our pages if you do, just so we get new readers. We’ve spotted a couple of people recently taking our recipes – including our photos – taking off our watermarks and then passing it off as their work. Meh, a recipe can’t be copywritten, but show a little class. Give us the credit for the photos – we cook the food, we type it up. We pointed out this rudeness to one of the cockwombles who we had noticed was nicking our work only to end up in an argument with her, who stated that ‘we can’t claim our recipes as our own’. I’ve added in the vowels as she didn’t deem them necessary. Here’s a rule – if you ever spot something and think it looks like one of our recipes but with added Comic Sans, spelling like an upended Scrabble board and some shit rainbow effect added, let us know, because it’ll have been stolen from us.

We’ve just got a bit more class.

So, with that, we’re back, welcome to us, and it all starts…tomorrow!

J

PS: if anyone recognises where the title of this post comes from, you’re amazing. I could not be more excited about The X-Files returning. Oh hell yes.

just to be the man who walked a thousand miles

Paul’s back tomorrow. It’s been odd without him in the house – the air smells fresher, certainly, and the toilet is remarkably un-pebbledashed, but it’s been quiet and my feet have been getting cold during the night. We very rarely spend the night apart – I can genuinely only think of 6 nights, in over eight years, where we haven’t been burbling sleepy nonsense in each other’s ears and dutch-ovening our way through the night. I’ll be glad to have him back, I’m about three days away from dressing in rags and wailing around the street in the rain like Eponine from Les Mis. In the meantime, a little bit about walking – I’ve walked for years.

I don’t know how well any of you know Newcastle, but there’s a town moor just outside the main city – a lovely, open field with a well-lit path cutting right across it. Well, to help improve my fitness, I’ve taken to walking across there into work and back in the evenings a couple of times a week – four miles in total. I’m not doing this to boost my weight-loss but rather to get back to a decent level of fitness. You don’t need to exercise for SW to work, but well, it can’t do any harm.

Of course, the town moor, by the very nature of its name, is also used by lots of other people, and has four unique problems – cyclists, walkers, dog-walkers and cows. Let’s take cyclists first.

A few years ago, you’d be lucky if a cyclist had anything more than two wheels and a handlebar as they went past you. Times have changed, not least because you can now sense their self-satisfied attitudes before you see them, drifting ahead of their bike like a breath on your neck. I’m not a fervent anti-cyclist – admittedly, I don’t see the point, but the ‘Professional’ cyclist does wind me up.

Now its not the helmet-cam that gets me cross, although it’s just so needlessly passive-aggressive – the Halfords equivalent of wearing a sign saying Telltale Tit on it. It’s not even the lycra, which clings to every wrinkle and takes away the mystery of whether a man has a matt or gloss finish. No…it’s the lights that wind me up – I used to cycle merrily in the dark along country roads with only the little reflector that came free with my box of Frosties lighting the way, with my long black coat and my shit goth black hair billowing behind me like the gayest Scottish Widow you’ve ever seen. Now you see cyclists coming towards you looking like a tiny mobile oil-rig, all shiny helmets (admittedly not the first time I’ve had one of them come at me of a morning) and blinking lights morse-coding ‘YES, I AM A TWAT’ on the front. It’s lucky I’m not epileptic, I’d be twitching halfway to Sunderland by the time I finished my walk.

Then see there’s other walkers – I’m an incredibly competitive person but also someone who is fundamentally lazy, a dangerous combination. I don’t like to be ‘outwalked’ by anyone, but I’m too fat and slovenly to move beyond a speed that could be best described as ‘god bless him, he’s trying’. If I see someone coming up behind me (admittedly not the first time I’ve had that happen of a morning, either) I’ll immediately try and quicken my pace, but I’ll sharp need to slow down as my trousers start smoking and the smell of bacon wafts around me.  I’ll lump joggers and runners in with this lot – fair play to anyone who wants to improve their fitness, it’s all good fun, but why do so many need to run towards you with that weird cum-face thing going on?

Dog-walkers are even worse, though. I don’t mind dogs, but only if they’re decent, dog-sized dogs – not cats that bark. As a rule, if you can lift up a dog with one hand, it’s too small for me. I like walking a dog to be a battle of wills, see. But by the by, it’s those people who let the dog run up to you and jump up on my work trousers – I don’t particularly like dogs I don’t know at the best of times, but I could really do without a muddy pawprint over my crotch. Oh how the owners laugh gaily as I shoo their little shitmachine away from me, all ‘OH HE’S REALLY NO BOTHER’ and ‘OH HOW HE LIKES YOU’. I’d love to reply ‘DO YOU THINK I COULD DROP-KICK HIM OVER ST JAMES PARK FROM HERE?’ but of course I’m too British so I just laugh nervously and call them rude words as soon as they turn their back. Keep your dog on a leash if you’re incapable of calling them back, it’s really that simple.

The final problem is cows. For eight months of the year, there are about two hundred cows milling around on the moor. No-one else seems fazed by them but they make incredibly nervous. I grew up in the country and was never fazed, but one day I was walking across the town moor with my headphones on, in a world of my own, when a cow ‘crept’ (I say crept, a cow weighs around 100 stone or so, so she did well) up behind me and nudged my side with her nose. I got such a fright that I actually screamed out loud like a jessie and well, now I’m terrified of them! There’s only one place in Newcastle for 100-stone beasts with insanely long eyelashes and pendulous titties and that’s the Bigg Market. I console myself by eating their brethren with a smug smile.

So yes, walking. Perilous. Recipes tomorrow when t’other half returns! I PROMISE.

J

quickpost: I’ve finally did it myself!

Using my quickpost for this week to make sure there’s a post every day! VERY quick post tonight because I fell asleep in front of the TV and it’s nearly midnight. Why am I so tired? Simple. I spent all day DOING DIY! Honest to God. I’ve never felt manlier – I almost went out and bought a cigar and a six pack of beer. Did I? No. I did some DIY though. Admittedly all my drilling and measuring and sawing (I shit you not, I used a saw) were done to the best hits of Juice Newton, but still? The shelves will probably end up on the floor with a cat pinned underneath and it’ll cost me ridiculous amounts in vet fees, but for a moment, I FELT LIKE A KING. I once put a bed together from IKEA and realising that I hadn’t quite done it correctly, I just used a pile of magazines to prop up one corner. That bed lasted me three years of hard ‘single living’, if you know what I mean. God bless you Nintendo Magazine, you have no idea how many intimate moments were stacked upon your pages.

Anyway – bed for me, recipes tomorrow – this is like a mini break for Paul and I see.

Here’s what I did!

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Ladies, if such a display of manliness has left your lettuce wet, I apologise, but I’m married! Tsk.

J

saving money on slimming world

Bobby Beale, you little tinker. Cost me £10 at the bookies, that did, plus my dignity for sitting and watching it (and enjoying it!). I’m alone in the house tonight as Paul’s down South. I’m not too good at being in the house by myself, and it doesn’t help that I’ve got the score from Scream 2 playing as I type. If my ex and Paul’s mother burst through the door waving a knife at me then at least I can say I died doing what I love, typing with one hand and scratching my balls with the other. Though I do hate the thought of being discovered in my ‘lay around the house’ boxer shorts with the hole burnt in the behind – from an errant cigarette back when I used to smoke, not from any particularly violent flatus.

No recipe tonight, but instead, a response to the many posts I’ve seen dotted around saying how expensive SW is, especially for new joiners. So, I thought I’d rattle off a few ways around saving money on slimming world – our shopping bill normally comes in at around £50 a week, and we generally shop at a combination of Waitrose, Tesco and Morrisons. I’m just going to scattershot type the article mind, so don’t expect structure and hilarity – I’m sitting here freezing my bollocks off but if I don’t type it before my bath I’ll never bother! I also plan to turn this into a pinned page at the top and keep adding to it. Oooh I’m the gift that keeps on giving!

Bulk buy the staples

Long time readers may remember The Cat Hotel – we cleared out our shed, fitted shelving and use it to store bulk purchases of anything that is either on a considerable discount or cheaper to buy in bulk. So to this end we always have masses and masses of Slimming World staples – chopped tomatoes, beans, pasta, spaghetti, chickpeas, tinned veg, stock cubes, salt, vinegar, sauces, rice. We generally buy these in bulk from Costco – to give you an example of savings here, you can pick up 24 tins of excellent quality chopped tomatoes for around £7, or 28p a tin. Yes, you can buy them cheaper in Tesco if you go down to the ‘Aren’t I a cheapskate’ range, but you’re getting red piss in a tin with a tomato crust. There would be more tomato flavour if you sucked the tomato on the tin wrapper. Bulk buying nearly always pays for itself in the end plus you’ve always got something in – many a time Paul and I will just have a tin of beans for dinner because we’re too busy illegally downloading TV shows and living the life of Riley. By the way, our cats don’t bother with it, and why would they? Yes it’s warm, safe and dry, but they’d much rather crap in my flowerbeds and track their muddy paws across our white tiles.

Cook twice, freeze once!

Most of our recipes can easily be doubled or halved – but if I say it serves four, then cook for four and freeze two portions – or serve three portions and take one for lunch the next day as we normally do. You’re cooking the meal anyway so it’s no hardship at all to freeze a bit up.

ALDI/LIDL

You can save money in these shops, but I don’t like them. I have tried, I swear I have. We went to an Aldi once and it was just too stressful – I don’t like a shop that puts garden shears next to petit pois tins and tumble drier balls next to the Daily Malk chocolate. I find it too confusing, with all the off-brand rip-offs and impossible layout – it’s like an Escher puzzle of abject poverty. Plus when you go to pay for your items the cashier throws them through the checkout like she’s going for gold for Great Britain’s curling team. I like small talk and chit-chat, not fucking carpet burns from a pack of floor wipes swishing past my hand at the speed of light. If you can deal with the above, all the very best to you, you’ll definitely save – but if not…

Don’t be afraid to scrabble in the bargain bin

Listen, I used to avoid the bargain bin like the best of them, but since I discovered that my local Tesco actually do decent meat reductions, I’ll happily get in there and elbow an old biddy in the face for £2 off a pork shoulder. You’ve got to be savvy though – get what you need, rather than what you think is a decent deal. If you weren’t going to buy that six pack of yoghurt reduced to 8p because the fork-lift ran over it and a fox shagged the strawberry crunch, it’s not a bargain. But the flipside of this is – don’t be one of those fucking awful people who grab items as soon as the poor supermarket worker has stuck the reduced sticker on it. Have a touch of class. Yes, you might have a trolley so full of reduced bread that you could use it to stop a raging river, but what price dignity? I’ve mentioned before that I’ve seen people actually fighting and nothing is worth that.

Get yourself a countdown

Clearly not a countdown as in the game-show for the piss-flow challenged, but rather where you bulk buy Slimming World entry costs and get 12 weeks for the cost of ten, plus if you time it right you’ll normally get given a free book that you can immediately sell on ebay for further profit read and enjoy. Mind, this is good for two reasons – yes, you’ll save money, but if you’re as tight as a tick’s bumhole like I am, the idea of wasting already spent money will make you go to class! WIN WIN.

Right – bath now, more tomorrow!

my old job as a call-centre worker

As jobs go, my current one suits me fine – it’s busy, demanding at times and very occasionally, whisper it, fun. I know right? But how’s this for temptation – I’m going to be sitting amongst £165 worth of pick and mix next week. I mean haway. I’ve also spent thirty minutes finding pictures of sprinkles, lambs and cold beer this evening, all for work, so not so bad. I’ve been thinking about my previous jobs recently, so with that in mind, let me take you back to the early 00’s. Warning: this post contains the C-word, and it isn’t chocolate.

My first job was working for a well-known british telecoms provider in the complaints department, which, as a fresh-faced young eighteen year old, was quite the eye-opener. I went in full of cheeriness and enthusiasm and left seven months later a broken husk of a man. There’s only so many times you can be called a thieving cunt for charging 35p for Caller Display and still feel peppy about slipping on your work slacks of a morning. Actually, we did have a man who called up who was called Mr Kunt – and that’s not me being crass, that was his 100% genuine surname, which we knew because we checked his record. Brilliant. Try fault-finding on someone’s line when you’re trying to squeeze his surname in at every opportunity. ‘IS IT CRACKLING, MR KUNT?’. Haha.

I left on a hungover whim after a mutual agreement with a friend that we’d see where we got to in the day after spending all night out and about – we got to 9.30am, and it was me who cracked first. I had some old spinster ring up, giving it the whole ‘I’VE BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR FORTY YEARS’ nonsense (she actually sounded old enough to sit on the party line with Alexander Graham Bell, but that’s by the by). She was ringing up to complain because we’d changed the colour of the phone book spines from a mild purple to a deep purple, and that upset her because her phone book didn’t match all the others. I shit you not, she not only collected phone books, she displayed them in her living room. There’s no happy ending there – she’ll be found face-down on a stack of newspapers with cats eating her feet. Anyway, she was so intently obnoxious and rude (as if I’d personally standing at the printer and changing the inks over myself, instead of sitting there looking up Mr Kunt and burping out little boozy burps) that I ended up telling her I’d immediately remedy the situation, then promptly ordered her a pallet of Aberdeen phonebooks, which I was sure she’d find incredibly useful in her hovel in Sussex. I bet her face was red. And fucking hell wouldn’t THAT clash with her shelves of broken dreams.

There were also the usual games of trying to get Abba lyrics into customer phonecalls – surprisingly easy when they were complaining about the cost of phone-calls (‘I can save you Money Money Money Sir…pardon?’ or ‘Saving YOU money is the name of the game, Madam…eh?’) but more challenging when they’re ringing about interference on their microsockets (‘So your broadband drops out when you’re viewing German animal porn….er…Does Your Mother Know?’) etc. Finally, good old squidfucker – how many times can you get the word squidfucker into a hastily read out script about direct debits? YOU-CAN-CANCEL-SQUIDFUCKER-THE-INSTRUCTION-AT-ANY-SQUIDFUCKER-TIME…

Ah, great times. I’d work for a call-centre again – I did like the camaraderie and sense of working as a team, but I don’t miss having a set amount of time to go to the toilet and buy a Kitkat. Plus, the pay was shocking – was it any wonder that we used to put the phones on mute whenever Doctor Who was showing on a Saturday evening on the giant screen they used for showing stats? Top tip – when you’re being transferred, don’t mouth off about the adviser, they can still hear you and chances are you’ll be rerouted to some automated menu somewhere. Oops. And if you mouth off about not wanting to speak to ‘THOSE INDIANS’, fully expect to be put through to the adviser best at doing Welsh accents…

Unusually, no recipe tonight – because I’m home so late, it’s just chips, beans and sausages for tea! Something new tomorrow.

J

weigh in – week three – the results are in!

three weeks into our diet and we have our Monday results! Yet another weigh in:

james: 2.5lb off
paul: 2.5lb off
total: 25.5lb off

25lb is the average weight of a two year old boy, so we’re actually shedding years as well as weight! Very happy with this loss – we’ve eaten a few more ‘high-syn’ meals this week – still within the syns limit but a bit more here and there, and very nice it has been too. By the point in the diet I’m normally found jonesing in the toilet at work, heating up a spoonful of rolos with a belt wrapped round my arm, but this time I’m really quite enjoying it – as is Paul! Plus, our target has always been 2lb a week, slow and steady, to lose 104lb in a year – well, fact fans, that’s one eighth of the way there! Going to be a tough week ahead though – I’m out on Wednesday (cinema), Thursday (family) and Friday (work) so god knows what’ll happen. Aiming to maintain!

I know I wax lyrical about this every week but I think this blog shows that with Slimming World, you can eat proper, interesting meals – not just the same boring old spag bol every week or quorn mixed with sweetener and done in a cup, or whatever it was I read yesterday. Good, wholesome food keeps things interesting and we have had a new recipe almost every single night. Our food shopping bill remains around £50 a week – but the meat we buy is all good quality, so that bumps the price up. We plan to do an article some time down the line with our weekly shop and also a full list of ingredients for the week ahead, but I need some time to plan that out.

As there is no recipe to enjoy tonight (remember, Monday is our night off from typing and all that excitement), here’s a picture of my colourful stickers. I know the stickers are a bit of a gimmick, but I’d punch someone right on the tit just to get a six stone sticker at the end of all of this.

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And yes, the fact my half stone sticker overlaps my stone sticker upsets me too – but my class was out of half stone stickers a couple of weeks ago so I only got that tonight! Still great though.

Dinner is ready now – peanut chicken and vegetable noodles. Recipe tomorrow, if you behave yourself.

J