Blogs, Fat man needs to go

Week two of fat man needs to go – Operation time to get healthy!

January 23, 2017
Operation to get healthy

So one week into my operation ‘Time to get healthy’ and I’m delighted to say that things have started very well with me dropping 5.2kg.

Now, it hasn’t been easy! I have avoided any alcohol and coffee as well as managing to avoid having any takeaways.

Last night I was tempted to go to the local chip shop for a chicken fillet burger and a bag of chips but I stayed strong and said NO!

My only negative was that I got a ‘breakfast roll’ yesterday but only one bad thing all week isn’t too bad!

The battle to get healthy continues!


The ‘Three-day diet’ worked well – I lost 3kg but then it was crucial that over the following few days I didn’t put it back on.

Since finishing the diet I have been eating fruit, miso soup, low fat yoghurts with vegetables and tuna in the evening.

I have been amazed to see the difference already – the immediate effects are that I’m able to move better and it’s a lot less uncomfortable when walking.

There is nothing more humiliating than struggling to work when you’re not even 40! It’s a feeling that I never want to have again.

I’ve been using the ‘health’ app on my iPhone to monitor the number of steps that I walk each day.

The week ahead

Now is the time to build on this initial success. It has been a good start but I have a long way to go!

The plan is to eat granola and yoghurt for breakfast, soup and fruit for lunch with fish and vegetables in the evening for dinner.

Once again I won’t be eating out! And I certainly won’t have any beers!

I am keen to step up plan to get healthy by introducing more exercise. Over the last seven days I’ve been walking the dogs twice a day and I had one token swimming session.

That is all about to change! I’m going to introduce gym sessions and going to the pool regularly.

One other thing I ‘m keen to do this week is to increase the number of steps I do each day to over 10,000.

I am pleased with how things have gone but the next seven days are very important as I look to get healthy!

Blogs, Cool Spas

Man who spas – how times have changed!

January 18, 2017
Scott in robe

Normally my Saturday afternoons are spent watching football or at least following the results but a few years ago I swapped the football stadium and pints of beer for a spa and herbal tea in Le Touquet converting myself into a man who spas. 

An interesting invitation labelled ‘girlie weekend’  dropped into my inbox but I didn’t let that put me off! Continue Reading…


Time to get healthy – Fat man needs to go!

January 16, 2017
Time to get healthy

After years of abuse to my body I have decided that things have got to change and it is going to start with my own 40 day challenge as it’s time to get healthy!

It’s strategic that this all begins today, it was going to be on Friday 13th, but as I’m quite superstitious it’s best to avoid that day to start something so important. At 38 years old I have got to turn things around and make drastic changes.

Since the start of 2017, and it’s time to get healthy has already started! I have already made a few changes which includes cutting out alcohol, coffee and takeaways – that said I have had one Japanese takeaway but no more!

When it comes to losing right correctly there is no quick fix! When you are big, which unfortunately I am, the first change has to be to eat correctly and then to exercise.

I know that ‘fad’ diets don’t work in the long term but I do feel they can give you a physiological boost, or at least they do for me, so I am starting my new healthy lifestyle with the 3-day heart foundation diet!

Whilst you might be shouting “NO” at your screens, but 13 years ago in 2004 when I was 25 and again overweight, it was how I started dieting and it worked – this was when I was probably the healthiest I have ever been since turning 18! I’m finally facing the truth and it’s time to get healthy.

What went wrong?

From 2002 until 2005 I worked in Italy as an English language teacher, which was fantastic, and by the start of 2004 I realised that I was overweight and it had been getting worse for a few years.

Every so often I tried some new diet, these have included the very rotten cabbage soup diet, Aitkin, the pain of replacing food with disgusting tasting shakes and good old Weightwatchers, but none of them worked for me.

I feel that you have to find the right thing for you – for example my sister loves ‘Slimming World’, she thinks it’s incredible and it works for her.

In 2004, I started off with a three-day diet with lots of walking and then tried to eat a balanced diet and most importantly I cut alcohol out of my life and it worked!

It‘s strange looking back now, that I was in the country with the world’s best wine and I didn’t drink but at the time it was no problem. I would still go to bars but I drank sparkling water – it also helped with my finances as it used to cost me a euro for a drink rather than five for a pint! I managed to get myself into decent shape – there was still work to be done but I was happy!

Sadly my downfall started towards the end of 2005 about three months after moving to Ireland – I had stopped teaching and moved into recruitment. The high pressured sales environment was one that I enjoyed at times but found myself wanting to join my colleagues for a pint on a Friday night. It was also really frustrating that a bottle of water in Dublin cost between €2 .40-€2.70 in a pub compared to €1 in Italy!

I tried to continue my healthy Mediterranean diet after moving but I found myself eating more and more takeaways and doing much less walking and the kilos piled on!

Initially it was quite slow and I hadn’t noticed it but in 2006, it got a lot worse, I fell in love with Guinness – a drink that you should really limit or make sure you spend a lot of time in the gym to counter balance the whopping 210 calories in each pint!

Since then there were a few different diets that had worked for short periods but nothing that lasted!

What’s next?

It’s the time to get healthy and I have a plan – as I mentioned earlier I am going to start off with the ‘three-day’ diet and then go to a healthy and balanced diet where I want to keep my carbs to a minimum!

Exercise will be important for me to reach my goals – I aim to walk my dogs twice-a-day, go swimming four times-a-week and I am going back to play table tennis, after a six year break, twice-a-week.

In 2017, I have an important wedding to go and I want to be able to fit into my lovely Ted Baker suit that I have only ever worn once!

I am setting myself different targets; the first is to lose 10kg! Generally the first ten should be okay but then it’s key to keep them off!

After that it’s 12kg then 15kg and 20kg and hopefully building up to lose my overall goal of a whopping 52kg!

So with two months before I turn 39 I want to make the right changes and I am determined to do it!

Tops 10s

Top ten cocktails that you must try!

January 11, 2017

There is nothing better than a cheeky cocktail on a Friday night after a hard week at work but which one our top ten cocktails should you go for?

Ironically lots of the today’s most popular cocktails were once used as remedies for people not feeling well and in need of a pick me-up whereas now they are there to kick-start the weekend!

Like ordering a fine wine there are many factors to take into consideration when you choose your cocktail. Taste is always key but as well as that how it looks, what ‘extras’ are in it and even what type of glass it is served in!

There are a host of cocktails which have always been popular such as the Martini, Screwdriver and Bloody Mary but in recent years we have seen various new options created!

The following ten cocktails are a little bit special, they can be classed trendy and popular but also they are drinks that you must try!

10: Mojito

Fresh mint and good quality white rum are key ingredients to making the perfect Mojito! I have tried a raspberry one and fell in love with a strawberry one during a night out in Angers but the original has to be the best!

Summertime is the best time to enjoy an ice cold Mojito – The recipe for this special cocktail is white rum, sugar, lime, mint and soda. To get the best result use brown sugar, crush the lime but not the mint so that you avoid releasing the mint’s oils. Also, opt for highly carbonated soda and there is no need to crush the ice. Remember this is a drink which is not shaken but stirred!

As one of our personal favourites it had to be added to the top ten cocktails list!

9: Cuba Libre

This an interesting one – you take a simple but tasty rum and coke and add lime juice and you have the magical Cuba Libre.

There are political connotations, which some might not realise, for those who opt for this drink – by adding the zest of the lime it becomes a drink for people fighting for the cause, supporting the revolution.

People started drinking Cuba Libre back in the early 20th century and since that time it has spread around the world and by ordering this drink it is said you are showing solidarity with the islanders’ striving for freedom.

A special day to enjoy this lovely summer drink is the 14th June on the anniversary of Che Guevara’s birthday!

8: Margarita

A true classic! It consists of tequila, triple sec and lime or lemon juice and finished off with salt or sometimes sugar on the rim of the glass.

This drink comes three ways – firstly, it is ‘on the rocks’ where it is shaken with ice, secondly, it is the ‘frozen’ option which is blended with ice, or the good old fashioned ‘straight up’ which is without ice.

These days a Margarita can be served in a variety of glass types, including cocktail and wine glasses and even pint glasses but for traditionalists it should be served in a traditional margarita glass, which is a stepped-diameter variant of a cocktail glass.

Jimmy Buffett enjoyed the drink so much he wrote a song about it in 1977- “Margaritaville” and it was inducted into the 2016 Grammy Hall of Fame for its cultural and historic significance.

7: Bloody Mary

This famous cocktail is perfect it you are struggling with a hangover or feel the need to have an energy booster. The key ingredients are vodka, Worcestershire sauce, lemon and tomato juice.

Over the years people have put their own spin on it with some of the additions being beef stock, horseradish, celery, cayenne pepper and even prawns!

The cool London bar called ‘The Talented Mr Fox’ even serves their version with fresh pig’s blood!

An interesting fact is that if you swap vodka for sake then you have a Bloody Geisha.

A special cocktail that deserves its place in the top ten cocktails as it’s a great drink to having if you are  starting to flake and need a boost!

6: Screwdriver

Another popular choice is a ‘Screwdriver’ which is very simple to make – with just orange juice and vodka as the two main ingredients.

While it is a basic drink, there are many variations especially considering it has been enjoyed since the 1940s and was mentioned in the press in 1949.

Back in the day it was the drink of choice for aviators and engineers and used to only cost a dollar which included a tip – this certainly helped make it an attractive option!

You might surprised to hear that the 14th December is National Screwdriver Day!

5: Mai Tai

The fantastic Mai Tai is traditionally made with rum, Curaçao liqueur, orgeat syrup and lime juice and connected to Polynesian-style settings.

The Tahitian word “Maita’i” means “good”; but as we know the drink is spelt with two words, and can sometimes be hyphenated or have a capital letter.

By the 1950s and 60s the Mai Tai was extremely popular in many restaurants, especially the tiki-themed ones. This popularity was helped by the very fashionable superstar Elvis Presley prominently featuring them in the film Blue Hawaii.

The Mai Tai is now synonymous with Tiki culture of both the past and the present – It is heavily linked with Māori mythology.

So back to the drink – It is best served after being shaken with ice, strained and then poured into a glass to be enjoyed!

4: Long Island Iced Tea

This one of for those of you looking for something extremely potent! This drink has a much more alcohol than most cocktails due to the small amount of mixers in it and if you ask for it to be “extra long”, it will increases the alcohol to mixer ratio making it even stronger!

The reason it is so strong is due to the combination of tequila, vodka, light rum, triple sec and gin with a ‘splash’ of cola as the mixer!

You will find a few variations on how people serve it with diet coke or actual iced tea but most don’t actually use tea.

Due to the strength of this gem it could easily have been higher in our top ten cocktails list!

3: Sex On The Beach

A drink that immediately grabs your attention when you are perusing the cocktail menu – the mix of vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry and orange juice is perfect for any beach holiday (and not just because of the name).

It shot to fame in the late 1980s in Florida and by the late 1990s was being consumed by British and Irish holiday goers especially in Spanish and Greek bars.

Other popular drinks found in resorts since the 90s with a similar theme are The Screaming Orgasm, Suck, Bang & Blow and Sex but the most popular has to be Sex On The Beach.

2: Cosmopolitan

A cosmopolitan, which is sometimes shortened to ‘Cosmo’, is a cocktail made with vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and finally some freshly squeezed or sweetened lime juice.

Whilst it gained popularity in the 1970s and 80s in the likes of New York and San Francisco the 1990s were when it became the drink for have for groups of women on a night out after Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw, used to drink it when out with her friends on the television program Sex and the City.

The best way to make this drink is to serve it in a large cocktail glass, sometimes known as a martini glass – but remember it not a martini!

The combination of Vodka Citron, Cointreau, Fresh lime juice, Cranberry juice and ice mixed in a shaker and strained into a glass and garnished with a lime wheel is the way to make a perfect Cosmo.

You will know if it’s a success if the drink is a frothy bright pink colour!

1: Pina Colada 

In Spanish ‘Pina Colada’ mean ‘strained pineapple’ and whilst there were some recipes from the 1950s this drink only got its’ name almost ten years later.

In 1978, it was announced that the ‘Pina Colada’  was the official symbol of Puerto Rica which was at the same time at the Hilton Hotel Bar they sold their three-millionth one!

Since then every year on the 10th July the Caribbean islands celebrate the official Pina Colada Day.

This drink is preferred by those with a sweet tooth as the combination of white rum, coconut milk and pineapple juice is very sweet but extremely refreshing on the hottest of days.

This cocktail is seen as a drink for the ladies and as it isn’t the most ‘masculine’ drink on the market!

Of course there in nothing stopping you working your way through out list of top ten cocktails!


Beginner’s guide to spa treatments

January 9, 2017
Mizpe Hayamim Spa Hotel

Are you looking to visit a spa for the first time? Not really sure what to do? Feeling a little nervous?

Well, our ‘Beginner’s guide to spa treatments’ is here to help you make the right decisions and to enjoy your experience. Continue Reading…

Cool Bars, England, Tops 10s

Top ten bars in Sheffield

June 6, 2016

Sheffield’s growing reputation for being one of the most influential cities in the North is not without warrant. Playing host and home to some of the biggest musical talent of the UK such as Pulp and The Arctic Monkeys, it is also a centre for some of the most renowned street artists of the genre,  home to the World Snooker Championships, and, of course, the birthplace of the beloved personification of Yorkshire, Sean Bean so what better than me creating a list of the top ten bars in Sheffield.

Silver ball by Monica

Monika – Round Sheffield

Built on a backbone of steel and resurrecting itself out of the ashes of the brutal dissolution of industry in the 80s, Sheffield’s civic pride and down-to-earth ‘no nonsense’ warmth is what keeps the punters returning to its welcoming embrace. As the infamous Park Hill flats still stand testament to Sheffield’s staunch pride and continuing regeneration, generations of locals, students and graduates still maintain and relive the city’s resolutely active atmosphere within its bustling centre.

Being Sheffield alumni myself I have frequented many of the best social spots in the area. Here are my top 10 bars to visit in Sheffield. And most within stumbling distance of each other! Continue Reading…

Cool Bars, Destinations, Ireland, Tops 10s

Top Ten Bars in Dublin

June 3, 2016

Ireland goes with beer (especially Guinness) like fish goes with chips and salt goes with pepper, so to be able to enjoy any trip to Dublin you need to find the right place to enjoy a few pints!

Any bar you walk into in Ireland will have a continuous flow of Guinness and after spending over five years living near Dublin I am still amazed at the speed of getting served in a packed bar in Ireland.

When it comes to choosing where to drink it’s important to find the right place – there are many bars to choose from but you want to choose one of the best bars in Dublin!

Continue Reading…