Step 1. It only takes five minutes girls……

And I’m not exaggerating. It literally only takes five minutes to throw together a cocktail of goodness with the added benefit of hardly any peeling and no cleaning apart from a quick rinse under the tap. Such is my love for my Magic Bullet, and no it wasn’t purchased from Anne Summers, that I seriously miss it if I have to go away. For so far over the past year, it has kept the bugs from my door, improved my skin and hair and most importantly helped to keep the dreaded hot flushes at bay. It’s not the only factor, that’s in the next post, but by adding the right ingredients, it has certainly helped.

I am aware that it’s an investment, the cheapest I can find at the moment is £79.99 from John Lewis  but I can honestly say that my purchase of the Nutri Bullet, that was wisely recommended by personal trainer Jim Russell,  goes down as my best buy of 2015 along with my tickets to Cafe Mambo s opening party. It has now become part of my life and trust me, I have the patience of a rabid wasp, so if I can find five minutes a day to throw this goodness together, anyone can. We all know we should be eating our five a day, green leafy veg and all that, but quite honestly it can be a bit dull munching through it all when our lives are busy and we’re struggling with our culinary creativity. Well the joy of the Bullet is that you could get twenty a day if you wanted to and still make it taste like a pina colada.

The trick is to keep it simple and don’t go marching in all Lara Croft and hard core at the beginning. One third veg and two thirds fruit is the best option, as if you wade in, all kale, broccoli  and cabbage for your first smoothie, you may never touch it again. You can keep it simple by buying frozen berries and veg. Not only is it cheaper, it’s easier. You won’t get much waste, you will always have ingredients to hand and they contain just as many nutrients and arguably slightly more than the fresh variety. The other joy of the Bullet is that unlike other juicers and blenders, you don’t have to do much peeling or chopping, obviously use a bit of common sense, no one likes avocado peel, and you can throw in seeds and nuts and frozen stuff and it just blends it to a lovely, yummy, healthy pulp.

image
Just throw it all in and fill to the max line with water or pressed apple juice.

So my suggestion for starters is:

2 balls of frozen spinach

2 large florets of frozen broccoli

handful of frozen or fresh berries of your choice

1 small banana

A dollop of natural, full fat yoghurt (it’s not fat that’s the issue it’s sugar and it’s great for your digestion)

a handfull of mixed seeds, especially linseed as it’s great for menopausal symptoms.

water or pressed apple juice

add mint as it will make it taste like a mojito!

If you buy the bullet you get a recipe book and there are loads of ideas on line.

image

Now, if you put in a lot of fruit, your smoothie will contain a few calories so I would suggest that you have it in the morning as a breakfast substitute or take it to work. It is perfect if you have it half an hour before exercise. You don’t want to be drinking it in the evening after a meal while watching the Telly. I usually make it up the night before so it’s ready and waiting for me in the fridge and if you are using frozen ingredients it won’t be too baltic to drink.

It’s not a miracle cure all, it won’t stop you going grey or turn your husband into Brad Pitt but it will help to keep your immune system healthy and balance your hormones. As I said, it’s part of a jigsaw and getting exercise is equally important as well as cutting down on a few bad boys with a record of triggering hot flushes such as caffeine, spicy foods and alcohol. Sorry but you can’t have it all ways, there has to be a bit of give and take.

But that’s for another blog……one step at a time girls, one step at a time.

 

 

STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

 

As part of our therapy into adjusting to being fifty something, Mr D and I have recently made a pact to use our remaining time on this increasingly chaotic planet constructively. I realise that we may actually have another fifty years to party but as some of our dear friends have already departed to another world, hopefully one more peaceful than this one, it’s better, I think, to hedge your bets. And it’s not been easy recently, my Scotrail Thrifty Club 50 card arrived and I became a Great Aunt. Now don’t get me wrong, I am delighted at the arrival of the gorgeous wee Gracie but the ‘Great’ bit, they can just forget. I am not yet ready to morph into Maggie Smith.  The same way I am not yet prepared to ask for a free cup of coffee with my Club 50 card. Discount on my ticket? Yes. Asking for a sympathy coffee because I’m the wrong side of fifty? No.

But I digress. As we are now down to only one fledgling in the nest and the washing basket no longer resembles The Magic Porridge Pot, (wash little mummy, wash, confused? Look it up) so it was that Mr D and I, amazingly found ourselves with a free Sunday and as the weather has been so uncharacteristically  beautiful,  we took off for a walk to a place I hadn’t been since the children were small, The Dunearn Burn walk in the Darnaway Forest, off the awful A96 between Nairn and Forres. A truly magical walk that takes you through beautiful deciduous woodland and if you are up for it, down the west side of the gorge  to the mysterious River Findhorn.

And magical it was that day. The sun was low in the sky which only served to intensify the rich  metallic glow of the leaves and the absence of wind allowed the ancient song of the Findhorn river to reach our ears. A word of caution, however, it is not a walk for the feint hearted or those uneasy on their pins, as the path is at times steep and slippery, with unnerving drops down to the Findhorn below. What actually amazed me on revisiting, was how I never managed to lose any of my children as I regularly dragged three small Power Rangers along those paths for a bracing, healthy walk, as they maniacally tried to kill each other, me or themselves with stick swords and pine cone hand grenades.  If I murmured to myself, “what was I thinking?” once as I looked over another vertical precipice, I murmured it several times over as we got closer to the river. For as you finally descend to the river itself, an enticing network of steep steps and ropes, guide you down to the pebbly beach below. How I ever got three small, excitable ninjas and a badly behaved Cairn Terrier down there on my own, I’ll never know but the madness of a tired mother, desperate to get out of the house and  de-energise her children before bedtime, knows no bounds.image

But once again it was worth it, especially as waiting at the bottom of the steps this time, was a battered wicker chair, obviously used for fishing but which soothingly whispered, come, sit, rest a while and take in the view. And so we did. Mr D being the perfect gentleman and to be honest wanting to keep the peace, let his darling wife have the chair and served me a nice cup of tea. The fact that we had brought a flask with us unnerved me slightly, thankfully we hadn’t brought a tartan rug,  but it was very welcome nevertheless and as we sat and took in a beauty which I cannot possibly  describe, Mr D was inspired into poetic creativity, enthusiastically describing the River Findhorn as resembling Prince of DarkNess, a new smooth, deep black imperial stout, brewed by the Loch Ness Brewery  in Drumnadrochit. The power of nature to inspire hey? Robert Burns would have been proud.

image

Back at home I asked the fledgling whether he remembered the walks and how much fun it used to be? “Nope” was the usual teenage monosyballic, I can’t be bothered to think about your question, reply . I didn’t bother arguing. He’s too young to start reminiscing but hopefully when he’s older and finding himself far from home, he’ll remember our crazy walks down to the Findhorn and thank the universe that he actually managed to survive.

Whose Crisis Is it Anyway?

It will probably come as no surprise that my recent spate of gallivanting has  raised a few eyebrows and there are, of course, mutterings that I am obviously going through some sort of mid-life crisis. I had, in fact, thought this myself but as the pitying looks and concerned advice seemed to indicate that this was something to be worried about and dealt with sensibly, I began to ponder more deeply on the whole issue.

According to Wikipedia, mid life crisis occurs between forty and sixty as the realisation starts to dawn that you are in fact going to drop dead one day and that the number of years left for enjoying yourself has suddenly dwindled quite significantly. So some awakened individuals start to say, hang on a minute, I have dedicated the last twenty years to bringing up my lovely kids and husband, I may not have another twenty years, I’m still fit and able so lets party! Lets write a list of all those things I’ve wanted to do but never had the time, lets stay up all night in Ibiza, lets play music loud and sing in the car even though its just sooo embarrassing, lets have a few drinks on a school night and stop picking boxer shorts up off the bathroom floor. Lets not care if I forget to put the bin out because I was too tired from watching the sun rise and lets start saying yes again to new adventures rather than no because its too much effort.

And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?

The definitions of the word Crisis are as follows: A time of intense difficulty or danger, a time when a difficult or important decision has to be made or the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place indicating either recovery or death. I particularly like this last definition, for my current  conclusion is that the term should actually be applied to those NOT going through a mid life crisis, as the person supposedly going through the crisis, is actually having a whale of a time and enjoying a complete and full recovery from the relentless uphill battle of child rearing, running down the other side towards freedom with complete and utter abandon.

The real crisis, in my opinion, lies in the fact that those who are the  most critical are usually the ones who are the most afraid, shuffling slowly but surely into their twilight years opting to go out with a whimper rather than a whoop.

So please don’t worry about me darlin’ I’ll take the crisis any day

Honey, We Need to Talk About Dylan….

In my last post from Ibiza I forget to mention that we did not, in fact, travel back alone for in our custody was a little friend who has now come to represent something significant. Let me introduce Dylan.

Dylan, (not quite sure how he got his name), in his physical state is nothing more than a piece of dried lime peel but he has eyes and a mouth and of course a name and because he has a name he has a personality and to be honest,  we have all become a little bit attached and because we are a little bit attached, we are all becoming increasingly concerned for his well being. You see Dylan is homesick, pining for the sun, his maker and the place of his birth and basically he needs to be taken home and as Amelia was very cleverly given custody of poor little Dylan, some difficult decisions now have to be made.

The upside, if there is one, to getting older is wisdom, the type of wisdom that comes from experience and if used sensibly, can help us to point ourselves and sometimes others in the right direction. It’s not easy to quantify, often it’s just a gut feeling, a feeling that something just is  the right thing to do.. At the beginning of this blog, I said that life is short and sometimes when we are suddenly  given choices to make that we weren’t expecting, it’s easy to take the safe option even when you have youth well and truly on your side. What we have to remember, however, is if the safe option doesn’t actually make your soul happy, then it really isn’t the safe option at all.

BOOM BANG A BANG BABY…….

And so, after much begging and pleading, it’s the big reveal. A pair of trousers (or slacks) as my granny used to call them, which I couldnt even get away with in Ibiza let alone a wee Highland Toon.

I have no idea what possessed me, other than the after effects of the Jacaranda Bar’s Crazy Mandy’s Cocktails combined with too much Ibiza sun but if I look back I seem to have previous for buying dodgy trousers while on a trip,.and by trip I mean a girls trip, not a psychadelic trip. My last dodgy pair, and I have to admit to it being a rather long time ago when my kids were young and I had been let off the leash for the first time in ages, was purchased in Ayr as my lovely friend Mo and I wandered aimlessly around the town having missed our flight to Dublin. The rest of the girls had made it of course, but Ryan Air soon had us booked on the next flight. If I remember rightly, Alex Salmond was wandering the streets too that day but he has nothing to do with the trouser purchase. The trousers in question this time were, wait for it, black pvc but at £8 they were a bargain compared to the 30 euros I forked out for these ones.  I’m sure we both bought a pair and actually I still have mine but they have never seen the light of day since the Dublin trip.  Yes I did wear them out because the other girls made me and yes, it was a very sweaty relationship but I feel a sort of affection to them probably because it was my first break out from the constraints of early motherhood and probably I just needed to do something radicle.

And thats the thing with clothes, they label us and categorise us into stereotypes.  By dressing a certain way we send out a message to the world that this is who we are or who we would like to be and where we want to fit in and too often we let ourselves be drawn into conforming to a type that just doesnt really represent who we really are. Why we do it, I have no idea, its a little bit sad really and I know when Ive done it, because I ending up spending the whole day or night feeling uncomfortable and not quite myself. And so maybe, just maybe I thought that the multi coloured snake skin flares ( cant belive I just wrote that), represented something, (God knows what) that I just needed to express all these years down the line now the chicks are flying the nest and  freedom is once again on the horizon

Or of course, they could  just as easily  represent the fact that at the time of purchase, I was actually still pissed.

Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now…..

And so here it is, my final blog from Ibiza, or it would be if I was still there. I am, however, back home, ankle bracelet back in the cupboard and my tan encased in jeans, jumper and winter boots, absolutely bloody freezing. Ibiza, like my brain, seems so very far away. I couldn’t have written this while I was there though, as quite frankly there was so much emotion going on after the Cafe Mambo Sunset experience I doubt I would have made any sense.  It’s been good to have time to reflect.

Sunset at Cafe Mambo is on many a bucket list and if you have ever thought about going, I urge you to make the trip We were fortunate that we were there for the 2015 opening party and the atmosphere was, quite honestly electric as from our beach side table we watched as  disciples of Temple Mambo, silhouetted against the setting sun, descended from all directions. And as the sun set into the sea to the sound of Nessun Dorma ( translation: None shall Sleep, very appropriate in our case)  I  can quite honestly say that it was the closest thing to some sort of spiritual experience I have ever had. I can’t describe it, you just had to be there. Mr Derbyshire kindly suggested that it was probably because I was pissed but the fact that the video I took has bought many close to tears, says it all. It was intensely moving. Some of you reading this probably won’t get it and agree with Mr D but for those who do make the journey, the experience will I am sure stay with you forever.

I have also had time to reflect on the enigma that is Charlie’s Bar, a bar in Es Cana with great staff,  which caters for anyone that enters it’s doors and makes everyone welcome. If you had told me before I left that I would spend a great deal of my holiday in a bar that offered everything from lovingly made cocktails to bingo,  tribute bands, karaoke, freefall vodkas, raspberry sambucas as well as a dance floor, I  would probably have ripped up my ticket, laughed in your face and hung myself. But, you know what, Charlie’s Bar was special. So special that every night we quite literally lost complete track of time. We laughed like we hadn’t laughed in ages, we certainly danced like we hadn’t done in ages and we shared it with new friends who may never have crossed our paths back in the real world.  I will miss our  pizza and chips at 3am and the slightly ( I use that term loosely)  drunken philosophising on the meaning of life before moving on to Granny’s Bar ( no idea why it’s called that, I should have asked) for a wee night cap. Needless to say The Panorama Hotel did very well out of us as we only made breakfast twice but strangely we never seemed to get a hangover. In the real world I would probably have died.

So for anyone of a certain age, or in fact any age, who just needs to reconnect with who they really are, who wants to go out when they are normally coming in, who wants to stay out longer than their kids, sing and dance to  dodgy eighties anthems,  eat chips, pretend to be a DJ, watch sunsets, play darts, drink cocktails, lie on tranquil beaches or lounge in cool beach side bars and generally just learn to be themselves again, then Es Cana, Ibiza could work for you too. For some it may be life changing. As I said at the beginning of my blog, life is short and for me, choosing to go to Ibiza in the first place was a step in the right direction.. Watching my sister and niece blossom in both the Ibiza sun and friendship of strangers was an added bonus. No, I don’t intend to take my fifties lying down. Ibiza was a blast!!

PS  A word of caution. Never buy a pair of trousers the morning after consuming Crazy Mandy Cocktails!

Relight my fire!

The Hotel Panorama is once again calm this morning as the hormonal frenzy which descended upon Charlie’s Bar last night slowly dissipates and wafts gently out over the clear Mediterranean water. Wives have reluctantly returned to the reliable comfort of their husbands and in return husbands have quietly accepted that there is no way that they can compete. Life can be cruel sometimes. As I lay here on my sunbed trying to write, having rejected the call to join in the Daily Puzzle or a game of Boules, conversations are awash with tales and glorious memories….”this is a good photo of you Trace, he looks bloody gorgeous and you can’t see your big belly….”

The exodus from The Panorama last night was something to behold as wave after wave of excitable, perfumed females giggled and wiggled their way to the doors of Charlie’s Bar and as I watched from the comfort of the cocktail bar, the atmosphere began to sparkle with womanly anticipation.There must be a collective noun for it but as I write this nothing springs to mind, probably because I’m exhausted.

I must admit this wasn’t what I had in mind when I headed to Ibiza, being more of a fan of Rudimental than Take That but as far as tribute acts go this has to be one of the best. Dan Hadfield – The Number one Gary Barlow Tribute Act, was indeed every inch Gary Barlow and as the love descended over Charlie’s I found myself caught up in the unified Gazzer glorification. His execution of Pray was sublime, despite the absence of waterfalls and Rule the World brought out a collective passion so intense that I seriously thought one poor woman was going to have a heart attack. It was brilliant. To top off the night we found some old school friends Jean and Jan and made some new ones, the mysterious and very delightful Mr Q (Q because apparently no one apart from his girlfriend can pronounce his name) and Nicky, who regularly travels to Ibiza by herself because, quite honestly, you can. It’s that sort of place.

And so it came to pass that another night flashed before our eyes here in Ibiza. Photos were taken, arms were waved and new friends made and as romance blossomed within our camp, no not me or my sister, and the dance floor emptied, at 3.00 am Mr Q made the very difficult choice between the eighties mega mix and pizza and chips and we all toddled off for some light refreshment. We have promised ourselves a quiet one and an early night tonight because understandably, we are all exhausted but I won’t make any promises. For in this dual reality that is Ibiza, quite frankly, anything can happen.

I don’t care…..I love it!

Sitting on the balcony of our hotel room I am trying to remember what day it is and for once it’s not an age thing but the fact that in two days we have had approximately eight hours sleep. Amazingly I feel remarkably perky for an old bird.

I have to admit that as we got on our Thomson flight I had my reservations as we seem to have somehow stumbled on to a saga trip. A Ryan Air flight to the party island it definitely was not and as the queue for those requiring special assistance shuffled forward I began to wonder if I had read my brochure properly. Disturbingly we were all on the same transfer bus. Maybe my choice of a child free hotel had been a horrible mistake.

However, despite the fact that the patrons of The Hotel Panorama in Es Cana appear to have an average age of seventy and as a result Amelia has raised concerns about possible contamination of the swimming pool, the hotel has suited us perfectly. The food is a bit ropy, more coach trip than Jamie Oliver but as we keep arriving late or miss the food slots entirely it is difficult to pass judgement. The rooms are clean and functional, the pool is large, relaxing and importantly child free and the staff are friendly and courteous, (even when Ali managed to blow a fuse with her ironing) and quite honestly it must be difficult to remain polite when faced with a relentless onslaught of elderly Brits. And there is an upside.The cocktails are surprisingly potent on the all inclusive and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re keeping up with our five a day intake. We also look like supermodels around the swimming pool.

Hotel Panorama is also conveniently located opposite Charlie’s Bar which with its fabulous cocktails, tribute bands and a late late dj is already offering up a smorgasbord of characters, gossip and harmless goings on worthy of an episode of Towie. Hotel Panorama was a-twitching this morning amongst those in the know and I have no doubt that somebody’s husband, now affectionately known as Mr Sin Bin, was well and truly in the shit. I could, if I wanted to, have a field day but that wouldn’t be fair. Ibiza is obviously a place for letting your hair down and escaping the humdrum of the daily grind, letting those of us who are banned from dancing in public at home giving it large on the dance floor. There must be honour amongst thieves and hopefully my performance to the title song will never appear on You Tube!

DOES MY BUM LOOK APPROPRIATE IN THESE?

imageI may be having a midlife crisis but I know where to draw the line when it comes to buying a pair of shorts. Short shorts, for those not in the know, are those skimpy little numbers offering a tantalising glimpse of a well toned bum cheek and quite honestly, unless you are an ex supermodel, they are just not appropriate for a woman of my age. The problem is, the shops where I live  are full of them and there doesnt appear to be much else on offer other than a bit of sensible, middle aged, knee length tailoring.

Apparently, one of the first signs that you’re approaching a midlife crisis, is the hiring of a personal trainer and I am not afraid to admit that Jim my personal trainer has made a huge difference to my life. I’m now fitter and stronger than I was ten years ago and I’m hopeful that I have managed to stall the ravages of time for just  a little longer and not go shuffling sadly into my twilight years. If I drop dead tomorrow, however,  I will be well pissed off but as Jim so nicely put it, at least I’ll look good in the coffin and I won’t need to supersize!

Anyway, back to the shorts. As a consequence of being abused (sorry, encouraged) by Jim and his circuit training, I think my legs are in quite good shape. I have dieted, exfoliated and anti cellulited, (Temple Spa do a mean anti lumpy bumpy cellulite lotion) and body brushed, massaged and lathered myself with aromatic oils. But  as I stand next to a nubile, taught skinned teen something in Top Shop who probably thinks I’m shopping for my daughter, I know I’m kidding myself. .Mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind along with visions of Madonna depressingly clad in black leather and if Mr Derbyshire saw them he might actually ban me from going. I might be heading to Ibiza with a sister who has just accidentally dyed her hair orange but I know my limits. Smiling  maternally at the nubile, I  place the offending items back on the rail. I think I’ll leave the short shorts to the gorgeous leggy Amelia and on this occasion act my age.

One more sleep!

 

Two More Sleeps…..

2 more sleeps that is, until I throw off my self-imposed, domestic shackles and head to Ibiza.

Have I hit menopause? Yes
Is this a mid life crisis? Probably
Am I an embarrassment to my children? Probably
Do I care? Well yes, a little bit but they’ll survive.
Do I feel guilty? No

Why Ibiza? Because I love to dance. Dance music makes me happy and from all accounts I could dance all night with a chicken on my head in Ibiza and no one would bat an eyelid. I don’t particularly want to get drunk as I don’t like feeling ill, although I am sure I will partake of the occasional cocktail. And I do not, despite what others may think, have any interest in chatting up nubile young boys the same age as my kids, Christ I’ve been living with four blokes for the past 21 years, I have no interest in spending precious time with any more of them. I just want to dance and have a bloody good laugh. I’m not going alone, I am going with my beautiful , bonkers and funny little Sister Ali and my tall, blond gorgeous, funny and very talented singer song writer niece, Amelia-Jane. It’s going to be a giggle and I really can’t wait.
Because, really, menopause is a bit of a shit, something that creeps up on you quietly and unannounced and brings you face to face with your mortality as it sarcastically whispers, hey, you, yes you! You might be fit and healthy, you might feel 25 and even look younger than your age but look here my lady, you are now the wrong side of fifty and what’s on offer is an exciting future of hot flushes, grey hair, wrinkles, incontinence pants, cruises and learning to play bridge. The free bus pass may, however, come in useful, apparently on some trips they give you afternoon tea!
But I’m not having it. I have no intention of submitting without a bit of a fight. Close friends have started to fall from this mortal coil and life is short and if and when my time comes, I would like to drop dead doing something I shouldn’t really have been doing at my age.
So dear diary or blog or whatever you call it these days, here’s to the rest of my life. Bring on Ibiza!