Friday, April 24, 2015

Androi apps for healthier living

I'm a slouch and a sceptic. I don't have motivation to exercise consistently all year, I stop and start and don't stick to a plan. I've thought about buying a fitness tracker, a Garmin Vivofit because the price has come down a little since they launched. However, I didn't find one in stock and didn't bother to order one on the web so have instead decided to try tracking on a device I know I have with me all the time: my smartphone. I don't have a fancy phone, however I'm extremely happy with my phone. It only costs me £7.50 a month and is a Motorola Moto E. About 3 years now I tried out an IOS app called MyFitnessPal on the iPhone 4 I had back then  and it was quite good, the food database was huge. I downloaded the Android version this week and have been using it to log my calories and water consumption. The other apps I'm trying are:
  • MyFitnessPal - calory intake and water consumption logging
  • Sleep as Android - logging quality of sleep (for free there is a 14 day trial)
  • Moves - advanced pedometer

Weekend in Belfast

It feels like I haven't been writing very much in my blog this month, inspiration hasn't been as heavy as it usually it. One of my favourite YouTube channels, Tonyotimes, may be about to end and that is a great shame. The channel owner has taken a bit of a break this month. I usually find some inspiration from his videos.
Back to my everyday life, this weekend I'm flying over to Belfast with my daughter and her judo coach for a competition, the Northern Ireland Open. There won't be much time to do very much while we're there but if we did have time I'd like to go for a walk up the Belfast Hills, they seem very nice from the website. I'm sure there is plenty to do in Belfast but we'll probably be focused on other things than siteseeing.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Crabbies Grand National 2015

I am not normally interested in horse racing. I can't remember the last time I've ever thought about it to be honest. Today though, for some reason I am interested enough to go into a betting shop and place a bet. The horse I chose was called Oscar Time, I have a family member who has a baby by the name of Oscar, so I didn't choose it based on any study of form. I just chose it based on the name.

I went into William Hill rather than the Coral, all betting shops are a bit grubby but they used to have to block out their windows. They don't seem to have to do that now. I didn't really know what I was doing. My son stood outside, which reminded me a little bit of part of my childhood when my dad would go into the betting shop and I'd wait outside with my mom and brother for what seemed like an age. The jockey riding the horse I backed is wearing these colours:

Don't be complacent

Something quite shocking has happened over the last 3 weeks to a good friend of ours.It has made me reflect on what I take for granted, even what I abuse. I realise now I think of it that I do take a lot for granted. Our friend caught a bad infection that is life threatening, we hope but can't assume that he will pull through. He was a very fit man in his sixties, fitter than me by a long way. I guess fitness doesn't help you when an infection decides to get you but it probably helps with stamina in fighting the infection. Being independent and able to go outside without anyone helping me is a pleasure that I shouldn't take for granted. Something as simple as going outside for a run or a cycle ride. Or even just going outside into the garden. Its so sad for our friend, I hope he pulls through out of this.

The garden photo below isn't my garden but in my imagination it does represent what my garden means to me, a quiet and pleasant outdoor space to sit and enjoy the outdoors and fresh air.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Back to Work Tomorrow

A depressing situation arises at the end of every holiday. The return to work looms ever closer and then its back on the treadmill as if the holiday never happened. At least it can be thought of as a way to earn money to go on holiday. I suppose if I didn't have a job and had no restriction on holiday time, then it wouldn't feel so good to take a break from work. The trouble is, I don't feel refreshed and I don't feel revitalised. The truth is, I'm not excited about returning to work. I don't itch to get back to my work.
One week of holiday is not enough to really settle into a state where work isn't on my mind. If I had another week off I reckon it would just be at the end of that week that I'd be getting used to not have to work and would be finding other things to interest me. I've enjoyed this week but I don't feel I got a lot out of it. That's a shame. I love spending time with my family but I've probably had more time on my own this holiday than I remember having before.
The good thing is that being back at work will lessen the feeling of guilt of not being at work! That's probably the saddest part of this post.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Rapport by Dana aftershave

Years ago I wore an aftershave called Rapport. I liked the smell and found it unlike the other aftershave I had tried because it had a nice freshness to it. Other brands of aftershave seemed too strong to me. I also really liked Boss and Hugo. Now, my main smell is Allure by Chanel. However, I was in a B&M Homeware store in Bletchley on Thursday and discovered that they sold Rapport. When I looked at the label and it read £3.99 I thought my eyes were deceiving me, or they had printed the wrong price. But it was indeed only £3.99 a bottle. Perhaps my tastes are different now but at £3.99 a bottle I thought it was worth trying again. Now I have worn it for a couple of days I am aware that the smell is a simpler one than Allure but it is ridiculously cheap by comparison. I think wearing the cheaper brand will help to stretch out the more expensive fragrance. So I'm fine with that. My wife thought it smelled like Aramis, which isn't inexpensive either. If you are looking for a bargain fragrance, I don't think you could do badly by giving this one a try.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Edge of Tomorrow (Live Die Repeat)

Another film of the sci-fi genre with Tom Cruise starring. He plays this one well, in my opinion, there seems more dialogue and less of him trying to act naturally as a character but instead just being Tom Cruise. The story is of an alien invasion. The twist with this one is that there is a way for humans to defeat the aliens but they need someone who can predict what the aliens are going to do. The only way this happens is by killing a certain type of alien and having its blood spill on you. This happens to the soldier Cage, played by Cruise, as it happened to the hero of the humans, played by Emily Blunt. I haven't thought too hard about the plot, it turns out that Cage can be killed but just starts the same day again. Don't ask. It is an enjoyable ride if you suspend disbelief. The effects are pretty good and the soldiers weapon suits are cool. I like the way the character of Cage starts out as a deserter, or at least someone who doesn't want to be anywhere near the front and ends up being a real hero. The ending is pretty naff and predictable. I am glad I didn't purchase this one, it is not a great film, I think I'd watch it again but not all that often - it reminds me a lot of Independence Day.

Another Coffee Post

I thought I'd write another post about coffee. I'm coming to the end of a bag of coffee I bought from Ikea and like, it's a variety called Bryggkaffee Mellenrost and apparently is a medium strength coffee of the Arabica varieties. I find it a little bit milder than the Italian coffees I've bought before from the Lavazza brand. I keep my coffee double wrapped in clingfilm and I store it in the fridge.
I put three teaspoons of the coffee into my one cup coffee maker from Bodum, a really good coffee maker that came with a glass mug and I have to say drinking coffee from a glass cup is really the best way to go.
Maybe Swedes drink a lot of coffee? I read the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo that the film was made of and the protagonist certainly seemed to drink a hell of a lot of coffee. I know a lot of people prefer their coffee black and while I can drink black coffee (and tea) I do prefer some milk in my coffee, doesn't have to be much milk. Here is my coffee straining through the filter:

Breakfast Bagel

I've been making these bagels since February and they are going down well in my family. I decided to change it a little bit since my last posting. Now because I have to cook several at once, I am using the grill instead of the toaster, I am only cooking the inside of the bagel, not the outer side. This feels nice when holding the bagel, I think its the softness of the warm bread. I have also added German smoked ham to my recipe, this gives it a nice smoky bacon flavour. I also cook an omelette and cut it into 4 quarters so that I can put a quarter of omelette on the bagel. The photos below are of my bagels. Sorry for the slight blurriness. These go great with a mug of hot tea!

Friday, April 03, 2015

16th Anniversary

Today marks the 16th anniversary of my wedding. After waking up with my wife, I got up and made us both a hot drink. We slept in for a while and then began our preparations for spending the weekend apart! I know it sounds odd but this year we are apart this weekend, while my wife flies with my daughter up to Edinburgh. I shall miss them both hugely but I hope it is successful for my daughter, she has a judo competition tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Flight 4U 9525

A tragedy happened on the 24th March 2015. A passenger airplane owned by Germanwings left Barcelona on its usual destination to Dusseldorf in Germany shortly after 9am. At about 9:30am the pilot leaves his seat to visit the toilet, leaving his co-pilot in control. The cockpit door auto-locks as the pilot exits and while he is off the flight deck the co-pilot inexplicably and apparently deliberately hits a control that puts the plane into descent for landing. In just over 10 minutes the plane crashes into the French alps. During those frantic minutes the pilot attempts to get into the cockpit but is unable.
There is a lot of media speculation that the co-pilot deliberately crashed the plane over a break-up with his girlfriend. The media reports of depressive episodes in the 28 year olds life. The truth is that nobody knows what happened. There was no response from the cockpit. The descent for landing was however it seems a controlled act. I feel a deep sense of shock and disbelief for the families of the 150 innocent people on board the aircraft. Who knows what state the co-pilot was in mentally. From the flight deck recorder there was nothing to suggest anything untoward was about to happen. Was it a cold, planned act? There was again some speculation about him saying something about him being remembered infamously.
Airplane disasters are thankfully not very common but we do hear about them a lot it seems. My wife and daughter are flying this Easter weekend. I will be relieved to hear from them after their flights.