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Day 52 of 100 Days Challenge

Some of you have been following my quest to lose weight on my Instagram page, link attached..

I’m sorry I haven’t posted here in such a long time…

Life has been busy.

Lots going on…

Lots to think of…

Lots to do…

My head is all over the place…

But here I am, so hello.

 I’ve continued on my 100 Days challenge and it’s been the longest in a very long time that I’ve stayed 100% on my diet.

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Today is Day 52  and I’m mega proud of all the ladies that have survived so far on my Challenge. 29 ladies and one man, started the Challenge, 16 ladies remain…

Of the 14 of us, that have submitted Day 50 weights, we lost a whooping 199.5 pounds! That is, 90.7kg!14 stone, 3 lb and 15.3483 oz!

I am also very happy to report that in the last 51 days, I have lost 9.4kg, 20.7lbs, 1 stone, 6 lb and 11.5752 oz. 

Days 1 to 25 were fab on the weight loss front and I lost 6.8kg, 15lbs, 1 stone 1 lb in the first 25 Days, although the majority of my losses naturally happened in the first 10 days.

Days 25 to 50 were mega challenging. Lots of stalling and weight gain for no identifiable reason and in that quarter, I only lost a pathetic 4 pounds.

I am really hoping for better news on Days 50 to 75.

Following a frustrating 2/3 weeks, on Saturday, (Day 48), I decided to suspend the Cambridge diet and place myself on my own low carb diet, starting with a few days to a week of just protein, psyllium husk and milk, to get things moving again.

I am glad this appears to have stopped the frustrating weight gain and since Saturday, in just the last 3 days, I have lost 1.6kg; 3.5lbs.

The quest continues!

Please follow me on Instagram where I try to post every day.

 

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Day 759 – 100 Days Weight Loss WhatsApp Challenge

Sorry but no more new Challengers after Thursday night (16/3). We now need to concentrate on preparing the 28 who have signed up.

Anyone who has been following my blog knows that as my marriage unexpectedly exploded in 2015, and I saw myself facing the divorce from hell throughout 2015 and most of 2016, I continued to try to lose weight, albeit taking a very long scenic route and being on the diet on and off and off and off and off and on and off and on and off!

I’m sick of suspending life to climb on and off the diet wagon.

I’m good with weight maintaining because I actually enjoy low carbing and exercising, but I need to get to a comfortable weight first and I’m far from where I need to be.

Sadly, all the on and off and on and off and back again and off again mean that I have made little progress in the last six  months.

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And so, I’ve decided to do something different…

Something I have never ever done before…

I’m going to go on a 100 Days Challenge of staying on my diet 100% with total accountability and total commitment.

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This time though, I will be doing it with a bunch of other people.

And so, two days ago, I posted on Facebook and Instagram inviting friends, family and complete strangers, to join me in this challenge.

As of right now, 26 awesome people have taken up the challenge to change our lives together in 100 days.

If you would like to join us, send me your contact details on my Facebook or Instagram or email me.

Start Date: Monday 20th March, 2017

End Date: Tuesday 27th June, 2017

100 days

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Day 743: Meals for One – Instagram it.

Last night, one of my closest friends who lives in the States asked who eats all the meals I post on Instagram as she was curious whether I do that much entertaining.

I replied that I post low carb, low calorie (200 to 300 calories), healthy dinners I cook for…myself. I said that I still wanted to have lovely dinners, the sort you would cook for/with a partner, even though I am single and live on my own.

Being single and living on my own does not mean that I should resort to TV dinners or sad looking supermarket meals for one.

Following our discussions, I had time to think about this and as minor as it might sound, I am proud that I have not given up on life or gone for easy options when it comes to eating for one.

I love food…therein lies my problem with weight. And I love experimenting with food. I am proud that I have continued to do so.

But why one earth should lovely dinners be confined to only those who are coupled up? What’s next? Transform myself into the stereotypical spinster (what an ugly word) surrounded by countless cats?

No way.

Self love is about being kind to myself and doing those things that give me joy, which include cooking, and having delicious, sometimes elaborate and interesting home cooked meals…for one.

In other news, following my latest restart on my diet, as of this morning’s weigh-in, I have lost just over a stone in 8 days; 6.6 kg. Now, if I can lose 3 more stones, I will probably be done with this diet quest…

Please follow me on Instagram, belleslowcarbworld  where I post photos and recipes of of my low carb, low calories and healthy dinners.

Below are photos of some of the meals from the last week. Click on the photos for recipes.

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Day 737 – Men Who Kill Their Wives

I haven’t written in a while.

I’m not entirely sure why.

Perhaps because I haven’t felt the need to lay bare all my innermost thoughts.

Perhaps because life has just been ticking on.

I don’t know why.

Today however, I feel compelled to write by the news that the partner of the writer Helen Bailey has been found guilty of her murder. This news has shocked me to the core and it is so very sad that this lady, who thought she had found her happy ending, after the 2011 death of her husband while they were on holiday in Barbados, will be so tragically killed by the widower she had met through her grief, for what seems to be for financial gain.

I read Helen’s story thinking, there but for the grace of God go I…

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Last week, I finally watched a TV drama I had recorded last year, called the Secret.

This is based on the true story of the deeply religious Irish dentist, Colin Howell, who in 1991, together with the married woman he was having an affair with, Hazel Stewart, another church member, conspired to kill both of their spouses, his wife Lesley, and mother of his four children, including a nine month old baby, and Trevor, the father of his lover’s two children, a boy and a girl.

They believed killing their spouses would allow them to live happily ever after.

They were wrong.

Colin and Hazel literally got away with murder as the police and coroners bought into their faked joint suicides for their spouses. Their sordid affair lasted a couple more years, before being ended by his lover. Such was her guilt after the deaths, that they would even have consensual sex with her gassed on his dentist’s chair, so that he could have his way with her, without her being consumed with guilt.

10 years after the murders, this dentist, confessed to his second wife, a mother of two, with whom he went on to have five more children, about the murders. She chose to keep quiet and went on to have four more children with this murderer, to add to the one child they had together at the time.

Nearly 20 years after the murders, Colin voluntarily confessed to the police after believing that God was punishing him following the death of his first son Matt, and being swindled out of around £350,000. He had previously had “signs” that had convinced him that God had forgiven him for the murders.

He had admitted being haunted by his wife calling the name of 5 year old Matt as he strangled her.

He also voluntarily confessed to sexually assaulting several patients while they were under anaesthetics.

He was sentenced to 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to the murders.

But for his confessions, these murders would never have been discovered.

His lover Hazel who pleaded not guilty, was later found guilty of both murders and sentenced to 18 years.

His second wife who had chosen to keep quiet about her murderous husband, escaped prosecution. She moved back to the US, where she was originally from.

Some men kill.

Some men kill their wives. 

Women kill too.

And while I admit that this post might seem like possibly the biggest admission that I have made in this blog, I firmly believe that I could easily have joined the statistics of the many women (and men) who have been killed by their supposedly loving spouses or partners, who found the idea of murder, more palatable than divorce or merely ending a relationship.

As my marriage disintegrated in 2015, my ex husband would make countless comments about killing me.

I was distressed by these comments and he would say he was merely “joking”.

He said on three occasions that it was a shame I was on a diet as he was no longer cooking for me and therefore, could not poison me.

At the last minute, he changed travel plans on our last holiday over Easter 2015 to Milan, supposedly to work on our marriage when unbeknown to me, he was sending his lover £70 flowers and expensive chocolates. He chose to drive to the airport, instead of taking a taxi, and when I queried why, given as we would always take taxis to airports, he referred to a story about a man who had killed his wife by carefully crashing their car, having removed her seatbelt, just beforehand. He insisted he was joking.

His several “jokes” about killing me and how my death would be easier than divorce, were such that before travelling to Milan, I had written a long email to my sister referencing all his comments and the dates they were made, and giving her our travel details, something I had never done before. I wrote that if anything happened to me in Milan, she should hand my email over to the police.

I had felt very unsafe with this man and I was resolved, like I said in that email, that after Milan, I would have to decide whether my marriage was worth saving given all the “jokes” about my death.

The seriousness of my email to my sister was such that she expected me to be checking in with my family frequently, during that trip. On one occasion when she hadn’t heard from me for a few hours, because I was out and about and didn’t have internet or whatsapp access, she had been worried enough to have rung my hotel several times, leaving messages for me to make urgent contact, as well as shared her concerns with another sister.

In Milan, my ex husband would “joke” about pushing me from the top of the Duomo Cathedral. He refused to climb to the top on his own, when I was unable to explore with him which was unusual as he wouldn’t normally object to exploring on his own.

Perhaps more telling was the one night in Milan, when I was violently sick all night, throwing up and with serious diarrhoea, while my ex husband slept very peacefully beside me. This happened the only time I had eaten or drunk anything bought solely by my ex in my absence. That night, he had brought some latte back to the hotel for both of us and yet, I was the only one who had been so violently ill.

I have no doubt whatsoever that my ex had tried to poison me on that day.

As our marriage crumbled during that holiday, my ex insisted on taking me out shopping, going from street to street, all very carefully mapped out by him.

It was a most bizarre day when he insisted on buying anything I as much as looked at. Several handbags including an expensive Prada bag, several sandals and shoes including Jimmy Choo shoes, expensive Jo Malone perfumes, expensive Acqua di Parma toiletries and all sorts of unneeded vulgar spending.

I have no doubt whatsoever as I took photos of the ridiculous shopping bags through my tears, that these were my ex’s defence of how could I have killed my wife? I love my wife. Can’t you see all the things that I bought her?

Four days after our return from Milan, on a Sunday, my ex insisted that Sunday morning on visiting the seaside, instead of a hike he had planned. He “joked” several times about pushing me from the pier into the sea to drown given that I can’t really swim.

After he left our former home, I would find a knife inside my ex husband’s drawer on his side of the beside table, of the bed we slept together.

When I asked him what a knife was doing inside his bedside table, and sent him a picture of the knife, he lied and insisted that he had never had a knife in the drawer that he used exclusively at the time.

This is a long post with all sorts of serious comments but my aim isn’t to depress myself and all my readers.

I describe my ex husband as “evil”. That ugly word is not a word I use lightly.

I do not believe that this man has always been “evil”.

I still believe that he went through and might still be going through, some sort of mental breakdown.

But the person who I strongly believed wanted to kill me and who did all the heartbreaking things during our divorce is an “evil” man capable of anything, including cold blooded murder.

I am not without blame as I should have gotten him out of my life the very first time he “joked” about killing me, let alone the countless references and the seemingly well thought out scenariors he painted, as to how he might have killed me.

I should have reported his comments immediately to the police.

I should have immediately gone to the police and been tested on return to the UK or even in Milan, on the night I firmly believe he tried to poison me.

But to be fair to myself, at the time, I was not aware of the lengths this man could go through, or just how evil, he truly is/was.

When I read these stories of men and women, who haven’t survived being murdered by their nearest, closest and most trusted spouses, I thank God that I came out of my marriage with my life.

I thank God that my mum and siblings do not have to spend their lives mourning me and wondering whether my death was really an accident, as described, or murder.

I thank God for the gift of life.

May Helen and all the men and women like her, murdered by their spouses and partners, rest in perfect peace.

This is still a diet blog, and as such, I should really write about my diet.

This year has been full of ups and downs on the diet front but right now, I am on it. I’m not stressing about the fact that I wasn’t on it last week.

I fail, I restart and I keep going.

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

It’s been a very long time since my last post.

I have been extremely busy in the last couple of months and perhaps I will write more about all that sometime in the New Year. All I can say for now, is that I am so very proud of myself, and the success of a brainwave, which has not only given me immense satisfaction but also some much needed income.

As I take stock of the year that I have had, forgive me if I abandon all modesty, and say that I am so incredibly proud of myself and all that I have achieved this year.

Time means that this is only a short post to say thank you for all the love and support I’ve had from all of you this year, on this blog, the countless private emails I have received, and in all the ways some of you have engaged with me.

thank you

I also want to wish you all a wonderful Christmas and all the very best in the New Year.

For my Jewish readers, happy Hanukkah!

I will write more in the New Year but for now, I will bask in love, family, friendship and having a magical and happy Christmas.

Have a great time, whatever you’re doing and wherever you are.

Lots of love,

Belle xxx

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Day 633: Brexit Part 2 – An American Tragedy.

America? Seriously? President Trump? WTF.

The leader of the free world is a racist, sexist, bigot who makes fun of the disabled, people of colour, Muslims, a xenophobe, a scallywag, a cheat, a liar, an adulterer, a man who believes sexual assault and degradation of women is acceptable locker room talk, a self obsessed, selfish, self serving, despicable billionaire who has tapped into hate  and division to win the biggest office in the world.

What a sad day for humanity.

I want to order a big pizza and eat cake but what is the point of that? So, I shall stick to my diet.

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This article from the New Yorker says it all. Some extracts below. Click below to read more.

An American Tragedy

“The election of Donald Trump to the Presidency is nothing less than a tragedy for the American republic, a tragedy for the Constitution, and a triumph for the forces, at home and abroad, of nativism, authoritarianism, misogyny, and racism. Trump’s shocking victory, his ascension to the Presidency, is a sickening event in the history of the United States and liberal democracy. On January 20, 2017, we will bid farewell to the first African-American President—a man of integrity, dignity, and generous spirit—and witness the inauguration of a con who did little to spurn endorsement by forces of xenophobia and white supremacy. It is impossible to react to this moment with anything less than revulsion and profound anxiety.”

“There are, inevitably, miseries to come: an increasingly reactionary Supreme Court; an emboldened right-wing Congress; a President whose disdain for women and minorities, civil liberties and scientific fact, to say nothing of simple decency, has been repeatedly demonstrated. Trump is vulgarity unbounded, a knowledge-free national leader who will not only set markets tumbling but will strike fear into the hearts of the vulnerable, the weak, and, above all, the many varieties of Other whom he has so deeply insulted. The African-American Other. The Hispanic Other. The female Other. The Jewish and Muslim Other. The most hopeful way to look at this grievous event—and it’s a stretch—is that this election and the years to follow will be a test of the strength, or the fragility, of American institutions. It will be a test of our seriousness and resolve.”

 

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Day 626: The Engagement Ring – All That Glitters Is not Gold

In my pre-divorce life, I was the most romantic person I knew.

Nothing gave me more pleasure than surprising my ex partner with romantic gestures, big, small and sometimes, outlandishly extravagant.

And as such, Valentine’s Day as stupidly commercialised as it is, was my thing.

Not necessarily going out to dinner with all the other doe-eyed lovers but making it a day to remember, cooking romantic meals at home, complete with typed menus and all sorts and of course, the gifts.

Like the picture below in 2014, when my ex came home to a three course meal, roses from the garden and champagne. For dessert, I had baked heart shaped chocolate cakes and heart shaped shortbread biscuits. I had also made strawberries dipped in melted chocolates and served with fresh mint.

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Now of course when I think of Valentine’s Day, I remember 2015.

My ex husband had come home from work around 3.30 am on Valentine’s day morning. I had cooed and sympathised with “my poor love” working all night. In the morning, we had exchanged gifts, his, as extravagant as always, including a Louboutin, which I had gushed was so totally me. I declared that it was one of the most thoughtful presents he had ever given me. He had worked that Saturday, and that evening, we had gone out to dinner at Hakkasan Mayfair, which used to be our favourite restaurant – so sacred, he took his mistress there.

I would later find taxi receipts that showed that he had not worked until the early morning that day, but had made the long taxi ride from his mistress’s marital home in Weybridge.

I would also later find receipts that showed that he had bought two of the much complimented Louboutin – one for me, and one for his mistress.

I digress.

And so, given Ms Romantic here, my ex husband knew that I would love the idea of being proposed to on Valentine’s Day. But he also found the whole day understandably, somewhat tacky.

That year, 2003, I had been expectant. We had been dating for two years. We were loved up and very happy. We had discussed marriage. I thought if he was going to propose, he would do it on that day. I even secretly bought two Valentine’s Day card. One addressed to my boyfriend and the other, to my fiance.

That Valentine’s day passed without a whisper of a proposal and I had lost hope but it had been a wonderful day nevertheless.

At one minute to midnight on Valentine’s day, after a wonderful, romantic evening where we had stuffed our faces with a 4 course meal, my ex wanted me to open a heart shaped Godiva chocolate. I was stuffed. I said no. He insisted. I finally opened this box of chocolate and inside was the most exquisite, beautiful ring.

It was one of the few occasions I was truly speechless.

Over the years, the engagement story regaled the tale of my ex husband proposing just before midnight, to give me the romantic Valentine’s Day proposal he knew I wanted but still far removed from the tackiness and cliche of a Valentine’s Day proposal, to satisfy him.

I wore and loved that sparkly ring with so much pleasure for 12 years, until last year happened when I cast it away, together with my wedding ring, into a box with all sorts of cheap jewellery.

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So…what does one do with an engagement ring that represented all that love, romance, hope and optimism for the future, when things go so terribly wrong?

I felt that I had four options:

  1. Wear the ring in a different hand;
  2. Pay a jeweller to convert it to a necklace;
  3. Keep it and gift it to one of my nieces; or
  4. Sell it.

I chose Option 4.

My ex had paid £3,250 in 2003 for this ring from Ernest Jones, plus another £100 for insurance, and I therefore expected that the diamond would have appreciated in 13 years. I had high hopes of getting some pennies for this much loved, beautiful, sparkly ring.

I couldn’t find the certificate but I was certain given the price paid and the beauty of the ring, that it was good quality, after all the ring was from Ernest Jones.

I fantasied that it was colour IF and clarity D, after all my ex liked good quality things and would have done his research about the 4Cs of diamond buying. Google gave me fantastic values for a 1.02 carat, round brilliant cut diamond with colour IF and clarity D.

My bubble that selling this ring might pay my mortgage for a few months was well and truly bursted when I finally found the certificate at the weekend.

I was stunned.

It was a poor quality diamond. 1.02 carat diamond set on yellow and white 18 carat gold. Colour J, Clarity P1. Several online websites gave me the abysmal amount to expect for the diamond.

Surely everyone knows about the 4Cs of diamonds? How did my ex pay such a ridiculous price for such poor diamond?

Shame on you Ernst Jones.

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On Monday, I continued my research by calling several diamond buyers in Hatton Gardens – the diamond capital of the UK. One told me that the most I would expect to sell, would be £800. Others told me that they would not buy because no one wants such poor quality diamond.

Another charming man, spent a long time on the phone advising me and suggested that I should not bring along the certificate if I came to see him or anyone else because with the card, no one would want to buy the diamond and if they did, the most I would get would be £650 to £800.

And so, yesterday, following my first mammogram near Harley Street, I set off to Hatton Gardens to try and sell my diamond engagement ring and wedding ring.

I also had a potential reputable buyer who after seeing photographs had declared she was “highly interested.”

The so called buyer offered me £200 for the engagement ring my ex paid £3,250 in 2003. 

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After the offer of £200, I went to several other shops in Hatton Gardens trying to flog the engagement and wedding rings. Quite a few buyers refused to buy because of the poor diamond quality.

One buyer finally offered me £625 for both rings. I decided to keep trying other shops.

One Asian man saw me, started asking me personal questions, including why I was selling. I told him that I was newly divorced. He said he respected me and the fact that I was a determined lady making the best of difficult circumstances. He was philosophical about life, saying that we die with nothing and have to help each other whenever we can.

He said that he felt drawn to me when he saw me and that something in him told him to help me out because everything in life isn’t about money.

He stated that he would offer me the price he would sell my diamond for and not the buying price.

I confess that I was cynical. I thought he might have perfected the gift of sweet talk. I knew the full potential price of the diamond ring. The only offers I had received were for £200 and £625. What could this man offer?

For whatever reason best known to this wonderfully kind man, he offered to buy my engagement and wedding ring for £1,400; more than double the best price that I had received on the day.

Me of little faith.

I am grateful to this stranger and I pray that he is rewarded a millionfold for his kindness and generosity especially as he had admitted that business had been slow in the last few months post Brexit.

“Diamond is not food. People don’t need diamond to eat. The economy is bad. No one is buying diamond.”

Yesterday, I also sold some scrap gold to the same man for £500. Once again, he had given me a much better price than what I was offered by every single other shop I had visited, including my so called buyer who had offered £235.

The scrap gold consisted of a broken gold necklace, 2 broken gold bracelets, one single gold earring (I couldn’t find its pair) and 1 pair of gold earrings I hadn’t worn in years which my ex’s mum had given me just before our wedding in 2004. I didn’t like the earrings and had only worn them once or twice. When I found them at the weekend, one was broken. 

I also had other glittering, sparkly “gold” jewellery that were revealed by the jeweller’s tests not to be real gold.

All that glitters is not gold.

Coming back home with £1,900 consisting of £1,300 cash and £600 cheque, I was very tired, cold, (I had been going up and down Hatton Garden in the cold and light rain), very emotional and wondering who this person was, who had gathered and sold unwanted broken gold jewellery, having researched the price of scrap gold, and who had researched the price of diamond, and had bettered her realistic estimates for both diamond and gold.

I am so proud of my little self.

And so today, I went to the bank to deposit £1,900 from jewellery that had been languishing in various boxes.

I am grateful to this divorce for opening my eyes to so many new things.