Category Archives: Health

The joys (or otherwise) of exercise

As I may have mentioned, I am not committed to the body beautiful, in fact I HATE gyms with a passion (the sweaty people, the stinky trainer smell and the rather over-enthusiastic sales people). However, having some spare time on my hands (someone please give me a job soon) and given that the last time I was out of work I put on about a stone and a half which I then couldn’t shift, I thought I really ought to do something. So I started with some Wii which is absolutely brilliant as you don’t have to get dressed (not that I do it naked, but often don’t get more elaborate than my PJs), in fact it’s just putting a couple of batteries in and off you go. And I have been doing it …every day…and nothing’s happened. Admittedly nothing happening does encompass not putting any weight on which is something of a result but it’s a bit dispiriting when you’ve been sweating away for at least half an hour a day and not lost a milligram.

So I admit it, I made a mistake. I moaned about this situation to the Beloved who is a committed gym bunny (five days a week plus swimming) who, of course, offered practical (ie irritating) advice. So today I found myself at.a.gym. I know you could have knocked me down with a feather as well. Now I have to say, so far so good. It was fairly quiet so no one sweated over me, it didn’t smell at all bad and the ladies’ changing room has a steam room and a sauna so that’s a bit of a perk. And no one has tried a hard sell yet. In fact they have given me a free pass for a month instead of the five days I originally signed up for (I suspect gym bunny boy slipped them a fiver to keep me off the streets!). I’m even thinking about going to some classes. Goodness gracious what has come over me?!




Filed under Health, Life


I know…I have neglected featherduster…I also have neglected my need for introspection and general self-indulgence.

I have been busy but honestly not too busy to blog. I’ve just lost the connection with being able to express myself which is sad because I’ve had so much interesting stuff going on.

I’ve been on holiday:

– Hong Kong/Vietnam – wow! Amazing holiday discovering amazing things and having a completely wonderful time.

– Marrakech – dry long weekend, beer at the airport as our flight home was delayed almost wiped me out (worrying effect of four days without booze, am I really such a lush?). Good fun exploring.

– Portugal – first trip back to hubby’s motherland since we were in the middle of marriage meltdown. Parts of it felt odd. But much sun and seafood saw off most problems!

I’ve seen films – loads of films. Mostly all good.

Read tons of books – I love my e-reader. Really enjoyed the Stieg Larsson trilogy. Much more than I thought I would. Tried to read something Twilight-ish. I just don’t get it which left me feeling rather old.

Watched Lost including getting up at 4.30 to catch the last episode. I was – on the whole – satisfied.

Had a dismal World Cup – England’s performance rather mirrored the success of my supporting record. However lots of Spanish people are happy and they’re generally a nation given to over-exuberance which is joyful when you come across them as I did last night. Waiting outside Tate Modern for my date and a group of Spanish students just sang for about half an hour. It really was fun (luckily they left before date turned up as he of the other Iberian persuasion and no love is lost).

Was mugged. At gun point. About 50 feet from my house. Not entirely pleasant. However, the police have been fantastic and I’ve met a whole new lot of neighbours which has been brilliant.

I have been tweeting and Facebooking but this is the thing: Twitter is for work, Facebook is for friends, Featherduster is for…well me largely, and – generally – I don’t like to mix my online presences.

Every single paragraph has started with “I” or a verb where I’ve just decided to omit the “I” because if I was proofreading this copy, I’d be attacking it with a red pen for starting all the paragraphs in the same way. Hmmm…am I just on the biggest ego trip known to the blogosphere? My busy-ness has been partly borne out of the usual problem of not being able to say “no” and partly self-induced. Friday nights are usually my home alone time (I am obviously officially old) but have veered towards an Ocado order and cooking enough for a small village (or enough food for a fortnight and then some in my case) whilst polishing off rather too much wine (see Marrakech…Houston we may have a problem). Why have I been avoiding myself or my blog? In blog terms, probably because I thought I ought to come back with something really interesting or important but didn’t feel I could muster anything sufficiently worthy. In terms of myself – just neglect.

Part of the reason I’ve been feeling proper feelings and stuck with my own thoughts recently is that I’ve had laryngitis for nearly six weeks. 40 days of virtually no voice. No speaking on the phone, ridiculous amounts of time off work, no meetings, no presentations, attempted conversations only to have to give up after a couple of minutes in pain and exasperation. Increasing frustration of everyone around me (but, I’m fairly convinced, nothing compared to my own frustration). Hospital next week – who knows?

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Filed under Africa, Books, Films, Football fever, Getting away from it all, Health, TV World

Porcine problems

In a professional capacity I have had it up to here (somewhere about 6 feet over my head) with swine flu. I am quite convinced that people are being unnecessarily panicky bonkers about it all (obviously this does not apply to people who are properly sick – a very tiny percentage, rather the vast majority who look accusingly if you happen to sneeze on the bus and believe the newspaper scare-mongering). Anyway, due to clients, I seem to spend almost all of my days at the moment thinking about it, talking about it and writing about it.

In an attempt to provide some lightness and diversion, I have been trying to get out and about more so on Saturday I saw my lovely friends who moved to Hong Kong in January and are back for a quick visit. Rather excitingly, I’m planning to go and see them in oriental climes in the New Year.

On Sunday I went to see Chun Yi at The Coliseum. I’d read some pretty dreadful reviews and it was all a bit ‘light as a feather’ but do you know sometimes, you need some light as a feather and small Chinese boys bouncing off their foreheads to make you smile.

And last night I tried my very first margarita ever. This was actually a bit of a shock to me too but I seem to remember deciding quite a long time ago that I didn’t like tequila so I’ve never had one. Turns out I was missing something quite tasty and delightful although I expect the rarified atmosphere of the Artesian bar helped (complete with lovely nibbly bits and a conversation with one of the most passionate cocktail makers in London). Obviously I may have to do some more market research before committing to margaritas properly in the future…

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Filed under Health, London, Out and about


Not much typing action going on as I’ve hurt my back and can’t feel my fingers. I do sometimes wonder why my body thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to act as if it’s 20 years older than me…

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The drugs don’t work

Or actually the drugs do work but it’s not exactly the best way to live. I am not feeling at all inspired, creative or capable at the moment. I am taking sleeping tablets to get me to sleep and energy pills to get me through the day. This is not good.

I am fully aware that I should be taking sensible steps to live a far more healthy and balanced life (not least because I am still nowhere near achieving my self-imposed jeans challenge*) but every time I give myself a stern talking to I get all hopeless and emotional followed by anger and despondency. Hmmm…

Part of the problem seems to be that my life’s destiny is not in my hands. Well obviously it is really, but I foolishly seem to have handed over my future to someone else and that someone is hardly capable of thinking half an hour in advance.

Sorry to be such a grumpy old baggage.

* The self-imposed jeans challenge is to get back into this pair of jeans before my next birthday. Progress is somewhat slow to say the least

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ABC meme

I am aware that I have been stupidly silent which is even more daft because I’ve actually been up to a lot of STUFF (I suspect STUFF may have been taking up most of my time too). So thought I’d do a meme which I have pinched from musingsfromthesofa to get me back in the swing of this blogging malarkey.

A – An advantage you have – living in the best city in the world and being in a fortunate enough position to enjoy it.

B – Blue or brown eyes –  Green which I particularly like (although attendant freckles and paler than a pint of milk skin is not quite so much fun).

C – Chore you hate – ironing. The problem is I am obsessed with non-creased clothes, sheets, table linen (yes even tea towels – I am tragic) so I have to do it but I hate virtually everything about it.

D – Dad’s name – depends which one (not Dad, name because he has an ‘official’ name and a ‘real’ name, he keeps saying he’s going to change it by deed poll but I’m fairly convinced he’ll never get round to it). David, by the way.

E – Essential start of your day – tea. Cannot function without it.

F – Favourite colour – purple, although I have now realised that wearing it is usually a mistake.

G – Greatest thing you’ve ever done that made you feel really good – going to Tanzania to volunteer and jumping out of a plane whilst I was there.

H – Habit you have – sighing. Apparently it is a natural response for relieving tension but I understand from those around me that it is highly annoying!

I – Issue you hate that the world tries to make you pursue – I’m with Becky on this one. Celebrity. Can’t bloody stand it and so not interested in people who have not done anything to achieve their fame and so not understanding young people who just want to be famous when they grow up…what do you want to be famous for? Blank stare.

J – Job title – Head of Healthcare which makes me sound far more important than I actually am.

K – Kohls or Target – This is where this being a US meme leaves me flummoxed. I understand they are stores…? Possibly? In which case, John Lewis.

L – Living arrangements – little house in south west London. About to undergo some renovation – wish me luck with builders and other tradesfolk who frankly terrify me.

M – Music you like – from Jolene by Dolly to Jolene by the Sisters of Mercy and most genres in between. Current faves are Snow Patrol and Lily Allen. Although a couple of weeks ago I saw an awesome Moby gig. And a show tune will always get me going.

N – Nicknames – Bog – ask Lizzie, she invented it.

O – Overnight hospital stay – a few, all shorties thank goodness.

P – Pet Peeve – where do I start (I think I may just be an angry person?). Peeve indicates a little irritant though so probably crap spelling and grammar.

Q – Quote that you like most – “life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” – John Lennon. I am completely aware that a ton of other people say this too. Hey ho, I’m a conformist.

R – Right or left handed – so right handed that my left hand often wonders on its purpose.

S – Siblings – one lovely little sister.

T – Time you wake up – unnecessarily early. I am a bad sleeper (yes, I know we all know that). I get up at 6.30 – usually about 10 minutes after I’ve just gone back to snooze.

U – Underwear – BIG pants, I go for smooth lines and I know they are probably horrible to look at (but there’s noone around to look at them), but they look good under things (or rather don’t look at all which is the whole point).

V – Vegetable you dislike – sprouts, doesn’t everyone?

W – What makes you run late – double, triple checking where the bobbins my keys are.

X – X-rays you’ve had – neck, back, ribs, fingers, wrist, ankles, feet, toes, lungs, bowels…plus ultrasounds on various parts…and cameras on the inside…I’m fairly well checked out in the internal pictures department.

Y – Yummy food you make – unfortunately I seem to find my of the food I make yummy (hence the current waistline issues). My roast chicken is pretty bloody good though.

Z – Zoo animal – since the whole Africa thing, I cannot even imagine an animal in a zoo. A real proper lion in a real proper landscape…I know not everyone can see it but it would be so wonderful if everyone could.

She's so beautiful

She's so beautiful

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Filed under Africa, Blogtastic, Health, Life, London

Hot Bikram Yoga – yes I am quite mad

Well I didn’t have swine flu but had a rather unpleasant dose of gastric flu which seems to be doing the rounds at work – yuk!

So I have started doing Hot Bikram Yoga which has to be one of my daftest moves to date but I am strangely really enjoying being in a really hot room with other very sweaty people. My flexibility  is shocking and I suspect my current inability to stand on one leg for more than a nanosecond is somewhat hampering my form. However, I am quite determined that I will progress with this and get a bit more bendy. In my 20s I was super-bendy (legs behind ears and all sorts) but it’s true: if you don’t use it, you lose it.

I need to do something because my fitness levels are akin to those of a slightly decrepit 90 year old, and don’t seem to be able to get a pair of jeans I was happily wearing 18 months ago over my knees. Yes I have rather gone to seed in the past year which is rubbish. Why is it so easy to let it all go a bit flabby and so bloody difficult to get it back where it should be?


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