Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Worry-bucket Wednesday


Today was "Worry-Bucket Wednesday" in my class of 9 year olds. It means that if they have any worries, no matter how big or how small, they write them down and put them in the bucket. Then if I can , I'll sort it out or at least reassure them.

Today's bucket produced a worry that I unfortunately can't do much about.

Dear Teacher,
I am worried about Brexit because I don't really understand it and I worry what's going to happen.

What could I say to that? You, me and a couple of million others.
To misquote Roy Scheider in Jaws

I think I'm going to need a bigger bucket!



Monday, February 25, 2019

Portrait of the artist as a young man


This is a self-portrait painted by my wonderfully talented nephew , Niall Lynam. Proud auntie moment.
See how good it is compared to the real thing.




Saturday, February 23, 2019

Key to my heart

Up and out of bed at stupid o'clock this morning to go to the Phoenix Park for this year's Operation Transformation 2019. It's hard to believe that it has been three years since I completed my first 5k run.
When I parked up my car, I could feel the knots and butterflies in my stomach. Why, I don't know, as there was no pressure or camera on me this time. I checked that I had my race number and phone and headed off for the starting line.
There was a festival atmosphere about the place and I was thrilled to meet up with lots of the crew that had worked on our series.
I completed the 5k.......in what time, I am not saying!
So after I had spoken to loads of people, I headed off on the 1k walk through the park back to where my car was parked.
I was lost in my thoughts and memories as I approached my car. I put my hand in my pockets to get out my car key, rummaged around and found.....NOTHING! I searched again but to no avail. My heart sank to my boots, I mean runners. The enormity of my situation hit me. My key must have fallen out as I was running. And here I was, stuck in Dublin with no way of getting home. I contemplated retracing my steps, but I knew that it was futile. I had covered kilometers of the largest city park in Europe, so it was definitely like looking for a needle in a proverbial haystack.
I don't know why, but I continued to the car. As I did so, I prayed to God, St Anthony, Dad and any other saint I could think of, asking that I'd find my key.
I looked in through my car window and saw this....


My car key was still in the ignition!!! I had been so preoccupied with the run, I had just left the car and walked away. But not only that, I had left my purse, money, credit cards and house keys in it too, for safe keeping! I stood looking at it in disbelief for a few moments before I even opened the door.
I can't believe that a car with the key on the ignition was still there after three hours. Dublin hasn't gone to the dogs completely after all.
Or maybe the would-be thief took one look at the key and thought that the car must be  a crock of sh1t and the owner wanted it stolen, so they didn't touch it!
Whatever the reason, thank you God, St Anthony and Dad for getting me home today.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Oaty Banana Bread buns

I have baked the Oaty Banana Bread buns from this years Operation transformation plan. They are absolutely gorgeous......unfortunately!!!  This means I am having a very difficult time not sitting down with a mug of steaming tea and scoffing the plate of them in one go. I think that would be defeating the purpose.

A few people have asked me for the recipe, so I am posting it here.

The Ingredients
110g butter (at room temperature)
80g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2.5g)
240g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder (10g)
4 ripe bananas (over-ripe is also fine to use)
90g porridge oats
The Method
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4. Line bun tins with 16 paper cases.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well. The easiest way to do this is with a hand-held electric beater but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease also works. The mixture should become a little lighter in colour.

Add two of the eggs along with the vanilla extract and half of the flour and beat well to combine. Add the remaining egg and the rest of the flour with the baking powder. Mix until everything is just combined – overbeating will make the buns less light, so easy does it.

Peel the bananas and mash the flesh in a bowl, then carefully fold into the bun mixture with the oats. Using two large spoons, divide among the paper cases. Place in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes until cooked through. To test, insert a skewer or toothpick into the centre of a bun and it should come out clean. The buns will also smell cooked and be springy to the touch.

Remove the buns from the oven and after 5 minutes transfer them to a wire or grill rack and leave to cool completely before serving.

Prepare Ahead

These buns will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or can be frozen in freezer bags for up to 1 month and defrosted as needed.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Leaders Summit

It's that time of the year again, Operation transformation. I can't believe that's its been three years since I was a leader. I lost 1st 2 lbs while on the show and went on to lose a further 9 lbs in the following months to finally reach a healthy BMI. More importantly, I managed to keep it off for two and a half years by keeping up my healthy eating and exercise.
 However (there's always an "however"), in the past six months the pounds have begun to slowly creep back up.Why now? Very simple answer. I've slackened off on my exercising and while I continued to prepare the OT meals (there the only ones I can cook!), it was what I was stuffing into my mouth in between meals that was doing the harm. As a result I've put back on just under a stone.
I have a family wedding coming up in March. Before this, I would have resigned myself to the fact that the weight had come back and sure that was to be expected. But not now. I know the Operation Transformation Plan works. So I was so looking forward to the new series starting this week.

Saturday was the day of the Nationwide walks. As I have done for the past two years I went to Moores Movers walk in Roscommon, which is organised by my friend Laura Higgins-Tully. I was delighted to meet up with one of last year's leaders, David Cryan, who lost an incredible 3 1/2 stone during the show and has kept it all off.

 I came back home re-energised and ready to give it my all.
Roll on that March wedding!!!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Dancing on thin ice

"Would you like to come ice-skating?"
"Sure".
Some day this habit of mine of agreeing to random suggestions is going to get me into serious trouble!
And so it was that myself and Jeanette found ourselves at the pop up ice-rink in Mullingar.
The first thing I noticed was that we were the only adults who were without children.
And no, we weren't being childish, we were being child-like, there is a big difference.


The first problem I encountered was putting on my skates. One of the crew had to go on bended knee to do them up!
Are they my feet? They look tiny!

I have done ice skating (badly) a couple of times in Abu Dhabi, but I wasn't prepared for how slippy it was! The minute I put my feet on the ice, my legs began to go all over the place like a drunk newborn giraffe! I grabbed the rail and held on for dear life. I kinda got the hang of it after a few minutes and started to do circles of the rink....without ever letting go of the railing!



That would have been me if I'd let go!

But I'm still very proud of myself. The one thing that struck me as I was going around in circles was the number of mothers , who were WAY younger than me, who just stood at the edge of the rink watching their children while they skated. That can't have been much fun.
Why didn't they join them? You can't live your life through your children, but you can live it with them.
Rant over!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Out with the Old, in with the New!

I think this photo sums up the state of affairs in our nation on January 1st.


On the left is the evidence of my last meal of 2018 - vodka, wine and the remnants of a Chinese take away. On the right is my first breakfast of 2019 - organic porridge oats, honey and fruit.
Ah yes, you've got to love the enthusiasm and blind hopes of the New Year !
To really get in the spirit of things we went for a gentle (!) 2 and a half hour hike up Maulin Moutain.


While my head thanked me for it, my thighs certainly didn't!
Happy New Year everyone.