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Posted on February 9, 2008 in Hounds by JayComments Off

This dog is a floozy, no two ways about it. I think she needs her own Playdog of the Month calendar

Miss February

I don’t normally dress my dogs, but greyhounds have very thin skin, fine hair and not very much subcutaneous fat. And it was a cold day, OK? Anyway The Princess doesn’t seem to object, does she?

Posted on February 8, 2008 in Food and Drink by Jay4 Comments »

Starbucks TapeI’ve been meaning to start writing a weblog – or ‘blog’ as I suppose I must call it – for some time now, but being a fundamentally lazy person, it’s been one of those things which have been pushed onto the back burner. There has always been something more important to do. But I wanted to improve my writing skills and a blog can be pretty good for instant feedback (if you can get anyone to read it) so I thought I’d try it … and time went on, and no blogging was done. None. Zip, zilch, nada.

So what has moved me to begin writing?

Starbucks.

Yep, that ubiquitous and bland taker-over of local banks – Starbucks. Now, I actually rather like Starbucks’ coffee, possibly because I am really not a coffee drinker. I like my coffee warm, milky and weak, therefore Starbucks’ latte or cappuccino suits me just fine. So, while out shopping in Cambridge recently with my Other Half, we popped into one for a little R & R and a mug of warm liquid.

While waiting to be served, I was subjected to the sight of a glass cabinet full of various edibles. Cakes, pastries, salads, wraps and cookies to name but a few… and there, nestling among them was a tray of chocolate chip scones, and lo! I coveted one of those huge, triangular confections. Oh, I knew they were hard on the outside and chewy on the inside, just as a scone ought not to be, but they looked so damned NICE! And I’ve had one before, so I knew they WERE damned nice. They go so well with a latte – even a skinny latte – and we were an hour’s drive from home … and I knew dinner would be late AND that I’d have to cook it if I wanted any. And so I informed my Other Half of my desire. And he said ‘Do you want one?’

I said ‘No.’

Why, you ask, did I say no? Well, I’ll tell you.

For the last three or four years, I have been keeping an eye on my weight. Let’s face it, nearly fifteen stone was a little too much for a woman who has to stretch somewhat to make five foot four and a half, and a recent photo of me with my elderly mother had shaken me to the core. Suffice it to say that I’ve succeeded in shedding about three and a half stone but I am stuck a long way from my goal and parts of me Still Wobble.

I knew that scone would make me feel slightly unwell, because I’m no longer used to eating quantities of sugar and carbs, with or without a dollop of pure fat, aka butter. But neither that nor the calories alone was enough to give me the strength to refuse. Not even the almost entire lack of worthwhile nutritional content would have swayed me. I could have split it with Other Half, no? They are, after all, far too big for one person, even a big person. And their hard-shelled, chewy centred goodness is never *quite* as nice as I remember it … but that’s not the reason either.

So .. what WAS the real resaon? Was it willpower? Sadly no. One Starbucks’ scone here or there probably isn’t going to make a huge difference (yes, yes, I can see you all shaking your heads, sit down at the back there) but the thing is, I knew that if I ate that thing I’d have to report it to SparkPeople.

For those who haven’t come across Spark People, this is a weight loss/nutrition/exercise website which aims to encourage you to stick to your goals by various means, one of which is the Daily Nutritional Report. Fact is, I simply couldn’t face entering ’1 large Starbucks’ chocolate chip scone’ into the ‘Add a food’ box. Or even ‘Half of one large Starbucks’ chocolate chip scone’.

Actually, SparkPeople don’t list a chocolate chip scone under the Starbucks comestibles, but they do have a Starbucks’ Cranberry and Orange Scone, and I’ve had one of those, too. I don’t think the calorie count would be too dissimilar and at 510 calories each, plus a hefty 480mg of sodium, it would take a brave woman to admit to eating one and still go nose to nose with the figures on the bottom line.

So there you are. I have been cowed by an internet weight loss and fitness site, but on the other hand, I’ve been kick-started into writing a blog.

And pounding a keyboard surely must use up *some* calories, don’t you think?