Mum’s Rice Cooker Jambalaya

Serves 4 – 6 people

4 tablespoons plain oil

225g smoked sausage, sliced

750g chicken pieces

1 cup finely chopped onion

3 sticks finely chopped celery

1 chopped red pepper

1 chopped green pepper

3 cloves finely chopped garlic

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tin chopped tomatoes

250g raw prawns

480ml chicken stock

360g basmati rice

5 spring onions


Risking The Morning Commute

So, for the first time (this year), this morning I actually needed to make use of the headlight on my motorbike coming to work.  ‘Big deal’ you might think.  ‘Whoop-de-do’.  I would agree with you, but for a couple of minor points:

  • I started “early” this morning, had to be at work for 0700.  I won’t normally ride the bike on an “early” shift.  This may be a habit formed from the extremely loud pipes when I had my Harley.  Starting the bike at 0630 is quite loud and I worry that the neighbours are going to complain.  The Teapot (above) isn’t as loud as the Harley but it isn’t quiet either!
  • I wasn’t really awake and it was still dark.

Thankfully the commute is about 8 minutes on a bad day.  No incidents to report on the whole three mile journey.

The sun came out this morning and I decided that I could take the “long” (about 20 minutes) ride home and enjoy the bike.

Now it’s raining.  F***!

I might just go for the longer ride anyway, I can always get changed at home.  I hate arriving at work wet as I don’t tend to bring spare clothes to work and I would then have to work (hahahahaha….) in wet clothes for the day – or at least until they dried.

Still better than bringing the car in though!

The Diet

I want to say right here, right now that I am not on a diet. I have never been on a diet and never will be on a diet.

Say a word too many times and it loses all meaning. Tartlet anyone?

So, how am I losing the weight that I gained to get me to 28 stone? I had a complete change of diet. A diet is what you eat, not what you don’t.

Breakfast is usually a porridge pot or Muesli, somewhere around 200 calories. Lunch will be salad or if I am at work a mugshot with a couple of ryvita, combined with a couple of Belvita breakfast biscuits. Around 300 calories for that lot.

Dinner is then a normal evening meal, but, instead of a jar of curry mix poured over chicken it will be something made from scratch. Depending on mood his will be anywhere from 185 to 600 calories.

It is well documented that an adult male intake should be no more than 2,500 calories. Some days I am struggling to make 1200, the absolute minimum required to survive.

If you a trying to lose weight do NOT “go on a diet”. Change the diet you already have.

One of the biggest motivators for me has been to log everything I eat on MyFitnessPal. It will total my calories, take account of excercise I do (via my iPhone of Apple Watch) and will tell me when I am approaching limits for sodium, carbs, fat etc.

If you choose to use the app, go for it, but bear this in mind: for the first week make no changes to your diet, just get used to logging. Then look at where you can save a few calories. Instant Coffee with one sugar is 97 calories. Three coffees and a belvita biscuit is not a good breakfast! Perhaps if you need the coffee you can drop the mid afternoon choccy bar and substitute it with a piece of fruit or a measured quantity of nuts…

Oh, and eat breakfast. Every single day.

Is This The World’s Most Famous Ferris Wheel?

I am sat at the computer editing the last ever edition of the UK Geocaching Podcast and I was reminded of a live show that we recorded on Google Hangouts in February of 2015.  In the show I chatted with Lucie about a Trip she had taken.  Whenever I think about it, the first thing I think of is always this:

A view of the abandoned city of Prypiat, near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant

This is the ferris wheel in Pripyat, Ukraine, possibly the most famous ferris wheel in the world.  I have no doubt that I don’t need to explain the significance of the place further than to say “Chernobyl”.

This place scares the bejeezus out of me but I really really want to go see it.  Why?  Because at the same time as scaring me, it absolutely fascinates me and I have no idea why.

Also, there’s an Earthcache called Bennies Blowout Battle that I really really want to complete.  It’s not cheap top get there.  Assuming that it’s safe enough to fly into Kiev, the tour to Chernobyl is around US$100 per person for a day trip.

One day…

What The Hell Happened to August?

It seemed to go so fast!  I had three weeks away from work on vacation, a bank holiday and boom, it was done!

I found a total of 164 Geocaches (120 in North Wales), bought a boat – a Piranha Inazone 230, had a birthday – happens the same time every bloody year, and loads of other stuff not worth mentioning.

I am back to a normal routine now, weight is still shedding (due to weigh in tomorrow), exercise plans (but not actual exercise) are coming along and work drags as much as usual.

Here’s the exercise plan and goals:

  1. Weight loss will continue.
  2. Join the gym at work.
  3. Do the Couch to 5k challenge.  Over 9 weeks follow a set plan to run five kilometres.  I starts with interval training – run 90 seconds, walk 90 seconds – and ends with running 5k without walking.
  4. On the “rest day” for C25K head into the gym and do weight/rowing/cardio.
  5. Once I can run 5k, take part in a number of parkrun events.
  6. Work to bring the 5k time down under 30 minutes.
  7. Complete the bridge to 10k.
  8. Train for a half marathon.
  9. Run a half marathon.
  10. Run a marathon.
  11. Die happy.

I have no set timeline to complete this, it’s ongoing.  I first (I think) need to go back to the doctor about a persistent cough.  8 weeks in, I am now concerned it’s not a viral chest infection, but is asthma.  If it is, I will work round it.

I will write part 4 of the Writing Prompt, I started (Part 1 is here), I know where I want the story to go and am desperate to get it finished.  Any constructive criticism is gratefully received.

MyFitnessPal – A demanding Taskmaster!

I love My Fitness Pal, it’s a great way to track my calories for each day along with tracking sodium, carbs, fat, sugar etc. I only have the free version but it is doing what I want it to.

This makes me giggle though:

Well, I have a bit of a problem with logging my snacks. It’s an obvious problem. I haven’t had any snacks! Nothing, nada, zip.

I am not doing very well today actually, I have eaten very little, porridge for breakfast and a cuppa soup and three Riveta for lunch.  Calorie count is low:

MFP is very good at warning me (when I complete the day’s diary I should be consuming at least 1200, preferably 1400 calories per day. Unless I have Chinese food for dinner then I am gonna be very short for the day (and rather hungry).

Now, how far is it to the Chinese Takeaway and will it count as excercise if I “power” walk instead of drive…

A Strange 7 Days

A few things have happened in the last week that, while not “knocking me for six”, have certainly made for a different week.

Scotland Beckoned

Tuesday 12 July 2016 I woke at 4am worried that I was going to miss my 0845 flight to Edinburgh.  Unsurprisingly I didn’t miss it.  In Perth for work I was able to spend the evenings doing as I wanted.  I thought I would go find some Geocaches.  In two evenings I DNFd five caches, found one traditional cache and one Earthcache.  That’s not a good ratio is it?!

fisherman2  I did, however get to walk along the bank of the Tay and spend a little time watching a fisherman battle with the piscine residents.

I don’t know if he was able to catch anything or not, he was a little far away for me to speak without shouting.  I suspect he was in some zen zone and wouldn’t appreciate me interrupting him!

I was also able to go to Kinnoull Hill Woodland Park for a walk.  I was originally aiming for a virtual Geocache called The Kinnoull Tower but the walk made me realise a couple of things (as I commented in my Found It log for “The Acorn Factory“:

  1. How tired I would be having risen at 4am, flown to Scotland from Southampton, worked the afternoon.
  2. My fitness level.
  3. The midges!

It rained too, so I turned round and headed back to the hotel.

Anyone For Duck?

On Wednesday night I had what I genuinely think is the best meal I have ever eaten.  On my own with nobody to share my experience.  I went to The Postbox in Perth.  It is number two in the TripAdvisor top 10 restaurants in Perth and the rating is very very well deserved!

People will attest that I am a simple bloke with simple tastes. When I was handed an a la carte menu I was befuddled.  What do all these big words mean???  Then I saw one I recognised.  Duck.  Sweet!  Let’s take a risk on that then.  This is what arrived:


I repeat, this is genuinely one of the best meals I have ever eaten.

Crappy Coughs

I got home from Scotland on Thursday afternoon and the rest of the week wasn’t much to speak of,  routine stuff – work, home etc.  Lottie came to visit on Sunday though:


Monday I was at work at 0700 and home again by 0800.  Doctor at 1020 and 30 minutes later I had an inhaler in my hand.  I don’t have asthma but I do have a viral chest infection.  Unfortunately antibiotics won’t do anything so it’s going to have to clear up on its own.  The inhaler will relieve the symptoms and open the airway which will help stop the wheezing and mean I can breathe.  The doctor reckons it will be three to four weeks before I am in good health again.