The Six Pound Emergency – Getting Your Weight Back On Track

Della Says…

The hardest thing about losing weight is keeping it off. I learned this in between trips to Slimming World, which I have been to three times.  That says it all really. I loved Slimming World – they helped me to lose a lot of weight – but as soon as I stopped going to weekly meetings I put it back on.

I have put on weight again lately. About six pounds. Not a lot, I know, but enough to make all my jeans and trousers (that did fit comfortably) too tight. I hate that feeling. Fortunately I know what to do about it.  I co wrote a book called How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim, didn’t I!  And part of staying slim is to get rid of the odd half stone when it becomes necessary.  I wish I was saintly enough to keep it off in the first place – but I’m not. Hey ho.

So let’s get positive.  The first thing is to stock up the fridge with things I can eat and still lose weight. Things that are satisfying. I am NOT going to starve myself – I know that doesn’t work.

Here’s a couple of them. I’m not vegetarian but where else can you get a scotch egg that’s only 53 calories or a cocktail sausage for 33 calories. If you haven’t tried them, I highly recommend them. They are great snacks. I like snacking – it stops me getting hungry enough to eat everything in sight. One of the ways I stay slim is to make sure I have low calorie snacks on hand in the fridge. Ones you don’t need to cook. If I’m hungry I want them NOW!

I’m also eating fresh fruit for breakfast. Fresh pineapples are awesome at the moment. They make great desserts too – especially if they are dipped in chocolate yogurt or chocolate mousse, fat free of course. The two in the picture are 99 calories per pot. The one at the bottom of the picture is also made by Muller.

Here’s another picture of the Muller chocolate dessert I just found and it really is this yummy and thick!

I hope to be back to my usual size in about three weeks. Then I’ll relax a bit. It’s what we do most of the time that’s what counts. I will eat cake and chocolate and pizza again – I’ll eat some over the next three weeks – but not too much. And I’ll up my dog walking forays to compensate – so the dogs will be pleased.  Feel free to remind me of my mission on Facebook or Twitter, tee hee. There’s nothing like a bit of motivational nagging.

Oh and before I forget, How to Eat Loads and Stay Slim– is only 99p for the next 24 hours. It has quite a few more eating loads and staying slim tips in. And do you like the flash new cover?

Finding love on Twitter

I talk quite a bit about using facebook to find romance (in How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting) but does the same apply to that other social media giant? Is it possible to find love… on twitter? Writer Helen Hunt thinks so. It snuck up on her when she wasn’t even looking.

“I should probably start by saying that I wasn’t actually looking for love on Twitter. I’d been divorced for nearly ten years, I had my own house and four cats. Yes, four. Yes, I know … And I genuinely thought that was it; that was all that life had to offer.

As a writer, I mainly saw Twitter as a place to talk to other writers and gossip with my friends. I had no idea that it would spark a train of events that would lead to me swapping my single lifestyle for the life I have now, living with my partner and his three sons. (And still four cats.)

Back in November of 2011 I started chatting on Twitter to crime novelist Mike Walters. As with so many connections I’ve made on Twitter, I can’t exactly remember how it started. I suspect we were both chatting to other people in the writing world, and somehow our Twitter social circles and our conversations overlapped.

We started out by talking about writing. He was intrigued by my short story writing because it’s a form he’s never tried, and I was interested in his crime writing as that’s the genre I like to read. Then, as time went on, we started talking about more personal things and we realised we had a lot in common. We have similar political views and outlooks on life, and we realised that at various points in our lives we’d lived in the same places as each other.

I found out he was a widower and single parent to three kids. He found out I was single with four cats, but, amazingly, this didn’t put him off. Slowly the public timeline chatting drifted into private DM chatting and that’s when we decided to meet up.

When I mentioned that I had never been to Manchester, which is where one of Mike’s books is set, he offered to give me the official ‘Trust No One’ guided tour. I have to say, I’m still waiting for my guided tour, but we did meet up and we’ve never looked back since.

We first met ‘in real life’ in February of 2012. We took things fairly slowly at first, because of the children, but we moved in together in September 2013 and are now planning to get married.

It seems odd to talk about being attracted to someone on Twitter when you only have their words to go on, but for me I think it was the perfect way to start a relationship. After all, the way someone thinks about life and the words they use to communicate are so much more important than anything else about them.

I realised there was something special about Mike really early on in our Twitter communication, and everything else since then has just been a journey to prove that I was right.”

The moral of this story? Keep your eyes open because you never know where Mr or Ms Right might be lurking.

SDSW drop shadow colour smallHelen writes short stories and features for the likes of Woman’s Weekly, My Weekly, The Weekly News, Best, Yours, The People’s Friend, Prima,  This England… to name but a few. She tweets under the handle @hmhunt, and you can find out more about Helen on her website

How To Start Dating And Stop Waiting is available from amazon or order it via your favourite bookstore.


The Wisdom Of Marty McCormick

MartyI think I’ve probably said this before, but the very best part of being an author – more so than even putting the words down – is interacting with readers and hearing how so many of you have taken some of the simple ideas I write about, and used them to make huge changes for the better.

With that in mind let me introduce you to my new best pal; Marty. He’s currently in India somewhere, ticking things off his Now List long before those ideas even make it out of his head and onto a piece of paper – and I can’t claim any credit!

Hi Peter. My name is Martin McCormick, and two and a half years ago I started a journey that I thought you’d find interesting.

I was a normal teenager, but in my case things didn’t always work for me. Apprenticeships came and went, jobs didn’t work out. Also I didn’t have a girlfriend and never had. So similar to your book, I woke up one Monday morning wanting to get away from this pointless life off mine, and the never ending disappointment of dead ends and missed opportunities. I packed up my bags, said my goodbyes, and tried to start a fresh.

I moved to the middle of England with no plan, no job prospect – just me and my suitcase. But ever since that day my life went from nothing to everything. Just by taking that leap into the unknown and by using techniques similar to your book. I too met the perfect blonde, and found a job which made me feel good about getting up in the morning. My life changed dramatically!

I used England as a stepping stone and now me and my girlfriend are currently in India exploring the world. I really couldnt be happier. Just by using simple things that you suggest for people in your book made the world of a difference. And believe it or not, your book – which I found for sale in South India (Bangalore) – will be the first I have ever read. A new goal achieved! (I was never the best at school, lol). It’s probably a bit strange for a man to read his first book at 23 – and this kind of book too – but I just wanted to say, on behalf of all the people in a dark place right now, thank you for writing it.

Marty2P.S. here’s a pic of me and your book in a small cafe in India. And my first ever bookmark made for me by my girlfriend.

All the best

If you have an inspiring tale to tell, drop me a line – if you have a photo to go with it, even better!

And if you’re sitting there wishing you had an inspiring story of how your life changed for the better after making a few crucial changes – well, what’s stopping you? Why not make 2014 the year that everything changes?

Pop back this time next week for the first in a series of weekly NEW YEAR NEW YOU blog posts. Next week; Goals and Goal Setting!

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‘Go With The Flow’ Day

pocketful of smiles_smlOne of the things I love about ‘Boxing Day’ is how people have taken the idea, and made it their own. This week, to mark the launch of her latest book – ‘A Pocketful of Smiles’ – author Wendy Steele tells us about ‘Go With The Flow’ Day.

With the evenings drawing in and less sunshine to brighten our days, I can feel lethargic and unmotivated. For me that suggests I need to book a ‘Go With The Flow’ day.

Do you sometimes get tired of the same routine? Do you find that your weekends feel just like working days? Do you sometimes wish you could do just what you feel like doing right now? You need a Go With The Flow Day.

This day is easy to achieve for some, requires forward planning by most but is impossible for very few of us. In order to make this time, you need to book a day in your diary to do it. For those with small children, this may need to be when grandparents are available to babysit, or with partners, decide if you’re going to ‘go with the flow’ together or separately.

A possible Go With The Flow Day for me would be when my children have plans where they are staying over, I’ve seen my mum the previous weekend, there is tasty home made food in the freezer and I’ve worked hard to get washing, shopping, chores etc relatively up to date. Upon waking, I might decide to have my first cup of Rooibos in the garden or the summer house. A leisurely bath with essential oils gives me time to think; a walk in the woods feels like a good idea. Wrapped up warm while walking, I remember the book I bought about spirals on ancient monuments and I indulge that feeling on my return home and curl up in front of the fire with my book. A cat or two comes to join me and I relish their warmth and their company. Before the light fades, I retrieve dahl and rice from the freezer and as I decant it into oven proof dishes, I remember the cooking apples in the cupboard, wash them, de-core them, fill them with brown sugar and sultanas and pop them in the oven with the curry. I return to my book but my mind recalls that I haven’t read one of my favourite books, ‘Moon Magic’ by Dion Fortune for a while and I abandon one book for another.

Everyone’s Go With The Flow Day will be different but try not to get distracted and fall into everyday mode. If you want to work, then please do so. Sometimes I write on these days but don’t feel you have to or you should. If you want to paint the spare room, go ahead, but only if you want to. Treat yourself to a day of doing what you feel.

Book a Go With The Flow Day in your diary now. After one of these days, I return to my routine refreshed. Even the chores seem less tiresome and I feel more in tune with my surroundings.

You can find 100 more ideas to bring happiness to your days in my new book ‘Wendy Woo’s Year – A Pocketful of Smiles – 101 ideas for a happy year and a happy you.’ Just visit amazon all the books

What the **** have I been doing?

Last week I received an email from my brother. Here’s an excerpt:

Will and I were talking about your book and we both agree that while the book is good, the blog is rather boring!

I don’t mean that to be cruel, but I would expect a guru like yourself to be posting some ‘bonus’ material or better yet a continuation of YOUR story! If you’re truly a guru then don’t you want your followers to be lead by your shining example?

A monthly feature I would like to see is ‘what the **** have I been doing?’. A more subtle title might work – but seriously, the only thing I remember seeing is the zoo keeper thing. I think that’s great, but if I don’t see some sunset in Skiathos picture, or a picture of you swimming with jellyfish sometime on the blog soon I’m going to start losing my faith in my guru.

Come on Peter Jones, author extraordinaire, and happiness guru, inspire me!!

It’s a funny thing. I’ve noticed that people tend to gravitate to different elements of the book. You can see this as you flick through the reviews on amazon. Lots of people like Boxing Day – that’s why it’s at the start of the book – whereas some think I’ve re-invented Saturday. Occasionally someone will comment on how they like my approach to Wishes, and Goal Setting – where others think they’ve ‘heard it all before’. And some folks, like my brother Simon, get all excited about Now Lists.

Indeed, Simon was the original inspiration for the Now List. It was Simon who told me to rent the movie the Bucket List. And it was Simon who – a year later – asked me if I ever got around to creating a Bucket List of my own. All this whilst he travelled around the world, adding items to his list, and ticking others off, on a daily basis. Simon doesn’t just tick items off either, he takes photographic evidence – and uploads that evidence to his website

In Simon’s mind this blog should be something similar – entry after entry of me time ticking another item off my Now List. And maybe he has a point.

So, as requested, this time next week sees the start of a feature cheerfully entitled ‘What the **** have I been doing?’ or WTFHIBD for short. You’ll be able to see all the WTFHIBD posts by clicking the WTFHIBD category over on the right, or typing into a browser. But I’m afraid my brother – and all you Now List fans – might be in for a disappointment, because I can tell you right now that’s not what I’ve been concentrating on these past six months. But to find out more you’ll have to come back next week.

If you’d like this blog delivered free to your email inbox, simply put your email address in the subscribe box in the top right hand corner and press the button. Easy peasy.


Rhymes with bucket

Keris Stainton – author, journalist, Mum, and all round fab-person – tells us about her ’40’ list, and why she plans to skip a few items.

I recently turned 40. Realising the big birthday was approaching, I decided to list 40 things that I wanted to achieve in my 40th year (or 41st or 39th or whatever it is, you know what I mean).

When I was a teenager I was obsessed with the ’20 Things to do Before You’re 20′ type lists you used to get in magazines and I’d have half-hearted stabs at them, but they’d invariably include something like ‘bungee jump’ that I haKeris-Staintonven’t the slightest interest in. I decided a bespoke list was the way to go.

I came up with probably ten items with no problem at all. Things like ‘Go back to New York’, ‘Make a family tree’, ‘Find a “signature” perfume’, ‘Milk a cow.’ Another ten were probably nostalgia-based: Visiting Jodrell Bank, Parkgate, Hilbre Island, all places I haven’t been since I was a child. A few more were food-focused: try bacon or cheese chocolate and oysters, make a really good cheesecake. And then I started to flounder. I put in a few admin items: read all the books on my TBR pile, catch up with online items, organise all my photos.

The final group could probably be called ‘things I’ve been thinking about for years’ – have a go on a Potter’s Wheel, get a Brazilian wax, learn to crochet, have a singing lesson.

At the end of the year, I’d achieved less than half the items on the list. But I was actually okay with that. I do plan to cross of plenty more as time and funds allows, but then there are a few others that I’m just going to skip. And that’s okay too.

A while ago I listened to a recording of Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington in conversation with one of my heroes Nora Ephron. Someone asked them if there was anything good about getting old and Arianna said that it frees you up to let things go. She said she’s always wanted to learn French, but now she’s in her sixties she knows it’s probably never going to happen… and that’s okay.

I’ve found that with quite a few of the things on my list. Do I really want to learn to crochet? Or is it just that I feel like I should have learned it? If I really wanted to learn wouldn’t I have done it by now?

Does the thought of learning to sing fill me with excitement in the same way that, say, going to New York does? No, it doesn’t. So why do it? Yes, twenty years ago I thought a singing lesson would be cool, but does that mean I still have to do it now I’m 40? Nope.

I’m with Arianna: realising you don’t need to do the things you always thought you needed – or even wanted – to do is freeing. So for me a ‘To Do’ list or a ‘Dream’ list or a ‘Bucket’ list, whatever you want to call it, has been a brilliant experience. It’s helped me focus on the things I really want to do and it’s also allowed me to strike off the things I probably won’t bother with.

I’m going to do one every year now. It’s the first thing on my list.

Keris is author of the books “Jessie ♥ NYC”, “Emma LA”  and “Della says: OMG!” – find out more at

WaHay Day

welshfieldgaylor-189x300This week Gaynor Johnson, avid reader, photographer, mother of two and all round lovely person, shares her first ‘Boxing Day’ with us and explains why she’s renamed it.

Before my very first ‘Boxing Day’ I spent almost the entire week madly trying to ‘NOT plan – AT ALL!’ what was going to happen on my ‘day off’!

I’m a pretty disorganised individual at heart, but a DAY OFF?!!! CRIKEY! UNHEARD of!… My brain flew into ‘let’s fill it up’ overdrive as soon as I wrote it in my diary (yes, I now have a diary – filled to the brim with absolutely everything and yes, bizarrely enough this is already making me MUCH happier – and my friends too as I’ve already remembered 3 birthdays I would ordinarily have forgotten!).

So there I am, in the lead up to my first Boxing Day (reading ‘How to do everything and be happy’ from cover to cover for the 3rd time – thanks Peter – I’m feeling empowered and pretty much ready to take on the world – in a good way of course!) and I suddenly realise I need to take yet another piece of Peter’s advice because ‘Boxing Day’ wasn’t filling me with joy… I’ll rename it – to something that fills me with excitement, or makes me jump about a bit… I know – HSJ Day… (well, it rhymes which has always pleased me in a twee kind of way…) and it stands for ‘Hop, Skip, Jump Day’ which I think fits quite well with the general idea – after all that’s what I’m aiming for! Now – try my hardest to not even think of what MAY happen on Saturday (my booked HSJ Day)…

Saturday – no alarm clock but I woke up earlier than I had in a long time. I went to have my usual breakfast and decided I wanted something different, so I cooked a beautiful breakfast – eggs, bacon…yum, just for me and ate it while I figured out what I WANTED to do.

Dug out my new/old OS map (which I’ve been meaning to get dirty since I bought it a few years back) and found places I wanted to go, for no reason at all except utter nosiness so I decided to use one of these as the starting point for a lovely walk to somewhere I’d never been before. As I walked the footpath through the field by the side of the road (you know the one you always look at as you drive past in a rush and think – I’ll go there one day when I’ve got more time… the one I wrote on my ‘now’ list all those weeks ago…) I thought about why I was here, in a field, on my own, with my camera and a map (I AM a photographer – please refer to ‘GOALS’) and probably looking a bit silly… but I don’t think the sheep were bothered – I realised that this, for me, was absolute heaven… and if I could leap into the air (I can’t – I’m a bit too heavy these days, with dodgy ankles!) I probably would… but there was nothing stopping me doing my HSJ – after all I’d booked a day just to do it… so, walking boots and backpack included (and please excuse me for the picture I’m about to conjure up…) there’s me – hopping, skipping and jumping through a fairly muddy field, watched by sheep, as the sun came out and the buzzards flew overhead…bliss! Think ‘Dorothy’ in the Wizard of Oz (‘We’re off to see…!) yep, now you’ve pictured it – except I’m a fair bit heavier and so are my boots…! And did I mention my dodgy ankles? Yup – I think, after that little display it’s time for another name change… so my ‘Boxing Day’ which became HSJ Day, changed to WaHAY Day!!! and it still is… very much a WaHAY Day, and after getting lost a few fields later on (no road signs here!), eating my beautiful sticky toffee cream bun (did I mention I like cake – that’s probably why I’m a bit heavy with dodgy ankles!), and walking till my legs ached, I went home feeling as if I’d sat on a beach for a week (even though I never have, but that’s on my ‘now list’ too!).

I can’t wait until my next WaHAY Day (it’s already in my diary but I’m trying not to plan that far ahead as it’s so much fun when you don’t) and I now know a man who knows a thing or two about How to do everything – and be happy. Peter Jones – you’ve made me realise what a wonderful place to be my life is… thank you


List Freak

Guest blogger Zoe Homes explains why she’s a ‘list freak’, and why that’s ok.

Before I read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I was already a list freak.  I simply cannot cope without lists.  I have lists for work, lists for home, lists for my blog, lists for things I want to buy, and of course I have my ultimate “things to do” list – my bucket list.  Lists are important to me because I think in colours and music and pictures – I don’t think in words – if I don’t write it down, I don’t remember it.  But not just for memory’s sake.  I also need lists because I feel the need to know what is happening, for things to be predictable, organised and planned, and most importantly to be able to look back and remember what I have done – knowing what is about to happen and what has happened makes me feel in control, and ultimately, happy.

Before I read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I knew I was not alone in my freakish list making.  My mum has lists.  Budget lists, shopping lists, meal lists, to do lists (probably where it started).  A ex-colleague and good friend of mine also has lists for everything, and panics if there is no list to work from.  That’s just two people, I know there are many more.  Lists are integral to us functioning normally.  Without them life melts into uncontrollable chaos – or that is the fear.

Now I have read How To Do Everything And Be Happy I know I am, in fact, onto something here.  Peter Jones confirmed to me in this chatty and incredibly helpful book, that being a “list freak” is actually ok.  It’s ok to feel the need for a series of lists – using paper and online services.  It’s ok to have a colour coded diary showing everything that’s going on.  It’s ok to want to do that in order to feel in control of my day to day being.  And it’s ok to use lists to feel like I’ve achieved something at the end of each day, week, month, challenge.  In fact, I am getting it right!

Ok so I know I am not normal, but at least I know that happiness can actually be borne out of writing down my plans and sticking to them.  Go on… make your list now (start with your “now list”).  Oh and get a diary!

Now Boxing Days are another story.  An unplanned day a month?  In my review I said I thought it was a really great idea, and I still think it is.  But I’ve not been brave enough to try one yet!

Zoe Homes, author of Splodz Blogz, is a lover of music, gadgets, fashion, food, mad challenges, and all things happy. She’s all about the journey and trying to get the most out of life. 

Find Zoe’s blog at
Read Zoe’s review of How To Do Everything and Be Happy here.

Change is good

KirstyFollowing her recent review of How To Do Everything And be Happy (you can find that here), I asked Freelance Journalist, Mum and Avid Reader, Kirsty Higginson, if she’d like to do a guest blog post for us – and here she is, sharing what happiness means to her, why change is good, and why she’s no longer a day dreamer.

Let me introduce myself – I’m Kirsty, a freelance journalist, blogger, wannabe author, mother to one husband, two children, an English Springer Spaniel and an all round day dreamer. Okay, that last bit is a bit of a porkie pie.

I was a dreamer.

I’m no longer a day dreamer.

These days, I’m an all round, all day DO-ER.

But let’s get to how I became a DO-ER later, first of all I want to ask you what the hell is happiness anyway?

The Oxford dictionary defines ‘happy’ as:

  1. Feeling or showing pleasure or contentment
  2. Fortunate and convenient

To me, the definition of being happy can come in many formats & ideologies. What makes you happy, isn’t necessarily going to get the world raving & rejoicing – I know my Dad is petrified of heights & so flying a plane, which is one of the many items on my NOW LIST, wouldn’t really be his cup of tea. And, in all honesty, he’d probably end up being carted off to a mental institution if he tried it (seeing as my teenage years drove him exceedingly close to this, I know it wouldn’t be a pretty sight). So, take a look, deep inside yourself to find what a personal definition of happiness.

Hard isn’t it?

To be very brief and sum it up quickly, (because I’ve been known to go on) for me, happiness is a sense of calm inside, you know the type – when you’ve just reached the top of a mountain – or in my case probably a small to medium sized hill, which has breathtaking views. It doesn’t mean that I can’t be anywhere where music is blaring or  where there’ll be hundreds of people. It’s about feeling complete.

And since reading How to Do Everything and be Happy, I seem to have glimpsed into a happier side of myself that is beginning to fill fulfilled and calm much more. I’m not saying that the book solves the meaning of life and in the words of Monty Python, Peter is “not the Messiah”, but his points on happiness are valid and, as he has seen the dark side, you know he’s actually experienced a depressive state similar to your own.

Following the book, I found loopholes the size of, well, one of Saturn’s rings, in my life and what I define happiness to be. I can easily lay blame on external forces (if so and so had done this I could have actually finished a project, completed x,y and z much easier or better) but isn’t that just wimping out on what good fortunes lay ahead?

If you miss a bus to work or school do you throw your hands up in the air, go home and crawl under the quilt everyday? No, you bloody well walk/get a taxi/ring boyfriend/girlfriend etc.

Your happiness HAS to be perceived in exactly the same way and this is how I now look at life. We need to carry on with our dreams, albeit positively. Is there a rule that says because we’re (urgh – I hate this term!) ‘grown ups’ we HAVE to live by a strict set of rules, whereby we leave our beautiful and colourful childlike dreams behind? No, there isn’t. And yet most of us live and work within a cycle or rat run, and want some give or take every now and again. My childlike dream has  ALWAYS been to write a novel. Published would be preferable but a first draft of around eighty to a hundred thousand words will suit me just fine. Even if it’s a bit pants, I will have written those words. Even if it isn’t your cup of tea, they are my written words and I will be rejoicing once written.

I think the key point to remember is that most of the time we just get taken on a different route to the one we thought we’d be taking. I don’t know why but I had never looked at it  like that before, which is quite ridiculous when you think that I was leaving happiness to chance.

 You can follow Kirsty on Twitter @KirstyHigginson.