Photo of Sacha

This is me. That photo in the side column is about 10 years out of date now.

Hi all,

I’m feeling inspired to blog.  I am doing a Clean 9, starting today, and I would like to think it would be useful for others to see what I make of the whole process from start to finish.  Of course, I’m actually blogging about it because I think it’ll be a good way to keep me on track!  Mutual benefit, or something like that, eh?  I’m going to track day 1 fully, and post that, and days 2-9 will be a little more concisely posted at the end of the programme.

Day 1

6.30 am

Get up. Feel good, even though it’s horribly early.  Run a bath, then remember I need to step on the scale for the first time in 6 months this morning! Find that the hub has replaced the manky old scales with pristine new ones. Very snazzy, once I get my head round how to switch it on.


The verdict? 11 st 12 lb.  That’s 166 lb to anyone from the US and 75.4 kg to anyone else.  A lot more than I’d like to be.  I’ve been eating like a starved person in the run-up to running my one and only marathon, and one of the reasons I’m doing this is to re-educate my attitude to food.

Bath, dress, and measure! I forgot to measure before getting dressed, so now I will need to wear the same clothes each time I do measure.  Tape_Measure

So on Days 1, 3, 6 and 9 we measure various body parts. My measurements are: arm 26cm, waist 97cm, hip 111cm, thigh 63.5cm, and chest (measured after exhaling!) 99cm. I make a note of all this in my booklet.

7.30 am

Go downstairs, determinedly avoid thoughts of coffee and toast.  Take Forever Garcinia Plus tablets and set timer for 20 minutes. Conveniently distracted by children demanding attention .

Garcinia Plus is designed to reduce the rate of conversion of carbohydrate calories into fat, lower the production of cholesterol and fatty acids, and aid natural metabolism.  It contains HCA, chromium, MCT and safflower oil.

Garcinia Plus is designed to reduce the rate of conversion of carbohydrate calories into fat, lower the production of cholesterol and fatty acids, and aid natural metabolism. It contains HCA, chromium, MCT and safflower oil.

Eventually the timer beeps – hooray! I can take my aloe vera gel.  I take 120 ml (4oz).  It’s not the best taste in the world. but I’m pretty used to it these days as I’ve been taking it for several months now.  It’s amazing stuff, especially when taken on an ongoing basis.  If there was just one thing I would do daily for my health, it would be this.  Anyway, it stops me from feeling hungry for a little while.

Aloe inner leaf gel cleanses the digestive system, improves absorption of nutrients, and helps metabolic disorders. It naturally contains 13 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 20 of the aa amino acids required by humans, including seven of the essential amino acids that we can't product ourselves.

Aloe inner leaf gel cleanses the digestive system, improves absorption of nutrients, and helps metabolic disorders. It naturally contains 13 vitamins, 14 minerals, and 20 of the 22 amino acids required by humans, including seven of the essential amino acids that we can’t product ourselves.

8.45 am

Kids to school.  Having not had a breakfast I have more time than usual! But we are still late for school, of course…

9.30 am

Need to do 20 minutes exercise.  It’s chucking it down, I can’t say I’m at all inclined to go out. However, I urgently need more bin bags so I plan in a brisk walk to the shops en route to collecting smallest one from nursery.  Sorted.

10.45 am

Hunger kicking in properly now.  Using distraction as much as possible.  Wish one of the children hadn’t put an energy bar on my desk earlier! Hide it out of sight and temptation.  Realise I’m a bit behind on drinking enough water (240ml or 8oz), but don’t get a chance as the phone rings.

11.15 am

Hungry! Catch up on the water I was supposed to finish earlier. And bee pollen.  Forget to drink more water.  Rush off to squeeze in that walk before nursery.  Bin bags and all.  Get to nursery just in time (very brisk walk!

2.30 pm

Realise early afternoon when, after a busy two hours, I notice how hungry I am and that my water bottle is nowhere near empty!  Take garcinia, set timer again, catch up on water while waiting.  It’s great fun shaking the shake. Next dose of aloe, chased by chocolate shake. Eke out shake for a good half an hour, thanks to cute distractions from smallest one.


Two portions contain 100% RDA of vitamins and minerals.  Also used by athletes to gain muscle healthily.

Two portions contain 100% RDA of vitamins and minerals. Also used by athletes to gain muscle healthily.

4.00 pm

Kids home from school, homework and reading take priority for a while.  Then I need to prepare for work; I have a table at a swishing event tonight.  I don’t even think about food.  I don’t feel hungry either so far. Also, the lack of eating (and, admittedly, not wanting to test my resolve in the kitchen, so leaving feeding of children to the hub as much as possible), seems to have given me masses of extra time.

7.00 pm

Suddenly notice the time and that I should have left! Dash out, heave a sigh of relief that traffic is OK, park, lug stuff across to the venue, and set up, just in time.  Don’t think about food for ages.

8.00 pm

Realise I should probably get going.  Briefly delude myself that I’m due another shake, take garcinia tablets and, still deluded, kick myself for forgetting the milk to put in my shake.  Just before I take my 120ml of aloe, I remember that I wasn’t supposed to have a shake anyway.  Stop kicking myself, neck the aloe and beg lovely bartender for a pint of water.  Remember bee pollen. Keep myself busy so I don’t think about food.

9.00 pm

Event has dried up, so everyone clears up including me (but not before I spot a fab leather jacket for £1 – result!).  Suddenly realise that not having caffeine regularly has prevented the usual Day 1 headaches. Congratulate myself silently.  Head home in a good mood.

At home the hub and some friends are watching a movie.  I’ve seen it before, and can hear singing upstairs, so head on up to find smallest one extremely awake.  After some fruitless efforts to get her to sleep, I let her keep me company as I change our bedlinen. As a result it takes twice as long, but is much more fun! Still not feeling properly hungry.

10.00 pm

Finally settle smallest one back in her bed after some considerable time, and head bedwards myself. Nice clean sheets. Mmm.  Fall asleep quickly, relieved not to be feeling grumpy like I expected!

Night night.  Days 2-9 coming soon!



Oops. Been a VERY long time since I blogged properly.  I must learn to stop making promises I’m too busy to keep. Sorry.

Anyway, I’m typing on an old laptop with a new keyboard that’s improved things from some-keys-don’t-work-at-all-since-smallest-one-picked-them-all-off …to works-OK-if-you’re-prepared-to-type-as-if-your-fingers-were-tiny-sledgehammers.  My desk now looks out of our living room window and the kids, some of whom came home from school in a really bad mood, have turned the volume up on the stereo and are bouncing round behind me.

I felt inspired to reach for my inner poet today, what with my loved one being, well, just lovely. Life goes on at such a fast pace that sometimes it takes me a while to stop, reflect and realise just how wonderful he is to me.  So I wrote a poem in advance of our weddng anniversary.  Thought I’d share it with you.  Some of you will recognise the references…and if you want to ask more the comments section is open!

(Feeling quietly proud of achieving a proper Iambic Heptameter too.*)


Another spring comes round again;

We’ve reached that time of year

When daffodils and crocuses

And blossomed trees are here.

From this I know that very soon

For one sweet day and night

I get to have you to myself:

A rare but fine delight. 


I bless the day I realised

That you were meant for me,

I must admit, I was amazed

That you seemed to agree!

From broken ankles, moving in,

Eclipses, trips and more

I bear two moments dearest

When I knew our love was sure.


The first was back in Central Park -

You sprang a ring on me.

I was relieved you listened

And stayed off the bended knee.

The glistening snow, the words you spoke

Were such a huge surprise

I really couldn’t stop the tears

That trickled from my eyes. 


The second time, our wedding day

I knew our love was strong

But when we spoke the vows we gave

I realised I’d been wrong.

I knew right then that what we had

Was so much more than love.

The feelings that we had that day

Had reached a plane above.


Today we’re twelve years further on

And one thing I have learned

My love is sometimes buried deep

Which risks you feeling spurned.

So let me now articulate

Those feelings deep inside.

I love you more than life itself

I cannot stem the tide.


The flow of love I have for you

Is matched by you alone.

Through times when we are struggling

Or kept away from home.

Each year I love you more and more; 

I take my strength from you.

It’s you that makes my life complete:

I love you through and through.



Here’s a little photo of Loved One. Just in case you were wondering what he looks like.  

Thanks for reading! Till the next time…








*yes, I did have to look that up. 

Hello everyone!  How long has it been since I last posted? A year? Goodness knows.

Well, I am firing the brain dribbles back up again, and specifically on this night, because in exactly 6 months’ time I will be doing something really rather crazy. In my opinion, anyway.

Let me rewind three months and tell you the story from the start…

Back in July, I resolved to myself that I would do a parachute jump for NCT and raise some money to help us set up a much needed baby café (breastfeeding drop-in clinic) in Wycombe town centre. I had always wanted to give it ago, and had already put it off three years running. A bit too much alongside having a baby and moving house…

So I emailed head office to enquire.  They emailed back, saying, sorry, not doing it next year.  How about something else? Maybe the London Marathon? Applications available in a month’s time.

My eyes popped out of my head. If you don’t already know me, I’m overweight, technically obese, and haven’t run in 20-plus years. I haven’t done any regular exercise since having my children. It was out of the question. And how disappointing not to be able to do a parachute jump after all.  So I replied, saying, not for me, thanks, not for an award-winning couch potato.  I’d had something altogether less strenuous in mind. Jumping out of a plane is easy by comparison.

But then I couldn’t get it out of my mind.  It’s as if they had sowed a seed and it had taken root.  The more I thought about it, the more I realised that by doing something WAY out of my comfort zone, the more it might be worth sponsoring.  And, for me, it doesn’t get further from my comfort zone than running a marathon.

So, when the applications became available, I sent it in the same day. Amazingly, they accepted me as one of the 8 NCT runners nationwide.  And all the money I raise (£2014, so I’ll need all the help I can get!), can go towards setting up the breastfeeding drop-in that mums of new babies so badly need in the Wycombe area.

Now it’s real, and I am training.  I think it sunk in when I ran in the pouring rain yesterday and I had to take my specs off to see where I was going…. So please sponsor me if you can!

Sometimes things don’t turn out how you plan. Maybe something unexpected happens. Maybe you thought you would have the cash for something you really wanted and were waiting for for months, and then you realise you just don’t have that kind of money. You had put off facing the obvious truth because you weren’t ready to believe it. It wouldn’t be the first time I wanted to do something and only later realised the money wasn’t there.

So that happened to me a while back, and I had to let some people down. So I sent an apologetically toned email explaining the situation.

Then I received an email from one of those people a few weeks later, asking me if I could change my mind. So I explained again, much more fully, that it just wasn’t an option, even though I was sad that I couldn’t make it work out. It took me a long time to write, because the person who sent the email is important to me.

I received a two sentence reply. The response implied that they didn’t understand that I cared. That I had spent a long time trying to find a solution to the problem and failed. Even though I had said so, in the email. Extensively.

I love email, it keeps me in touch with people I would otherwise lose entirely. But sometimes it really sucks as a form of communication.

Or maybe it just sucks because people choose to read what they want, no matter what words are in front of them. When I read the two sentence reply, I felt that my correspondent wanted to be offended. If I had been able to call, maybe that person would have been offended anyway. My inability to produce a magic wand and make it all better appears to have made me the wrongdoer.

Or maybe  am choosing to read what want from that person’s short reply. I still feel there is a lack of understanding or perspective due to the words used, but maybe no offence has been taken. Maybe it is me reading into it. That’s the thing with email and written forms of communication. It’s too easy to assume how the other person is thinking when they write it.

I don’t really have a solution here. It just worries me that a few emails can seemingly create a faultline in such a cherished relationship. It has weighed on my mind for some time already. I will wait, and hope for understanding. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come. And that really would be a shame.

Has anyone else had this kind of experience? Or maybe read something into someone else’s words that wasn’t there?

Easter Music

Posted on: 02/04/2013

I promised you more about my musical shenanigans… and it’s been a very interesting couple of months on that front.  In a good way!  (It’s rare for me to not enjoy anything involving music.  Unless it’s rap or hip-hop, of course. Oh, and terrible 90s club music. Ugh.)

The bad news is, our choir’s professional conductor fell ill and had to take time off for a couple of months.  The good news is, he’s now fine. And in the meantime the choir kindly let me have a go at the helm.  So I spent Friday afternoons waving at the piano to the music, Friday evenings waving at the choir singing the music, and finally last week waving at the choir performing the music in concert.

Steep learning curve doesn’t even begin to describe it. I had to re-learn how to conduct properly rather than just keep a beat ticking (even that was back in my student days), and I had to really know the music.  As someone who’s been lucky enough for sight-reading to come naturally, that was a surprise.

But it was so worth it.  I enjoyed the experience immensely.  If I’m not mistaken and people did honestly appreciate and enjoy the concert, I was OK at it too.

And, even though I could never keep that kind of thing up while the kids are still young, it did ignite a spark of ambition to take this more seriously some time in the not-too-distant future.

I feel a summer school coming on one day …

Well, hello again. I do hope you are all keeping well.

I have to confess, last year was something of a washout for me. Mild depression and major fatigue were significant elements, but I worked through it, felt just fine on plenty of occasions throughout the year, got some proper sleep after Christmas and the world righted itself. Being an optimistic person, these things often do work out fine in the end. Once you have worked out how to crank the handle and put your life back into gear.

Anyhow, I’ve been itching to blog again for a few weeks now. I thought you might like to know where things are at chez Braindribbles.

Oldest one is 9. He’s just at the point where putting everything into mock inverted commas is a major part of his humour. Thinner than a beanpole and hungrier than a mammoth, I am starting to question the laws of physics. Or biology. Either way, it’s a mystery.

The photo below is from our trip to Snowdonia last spring, at a moment when he turned around to find the Easter Bunny right there and offering him a small Easter gift. He was rooted to the spot with embarrassment for a full minute. It was hilarious. For me, anyway…


Middle child is 7. She is loving finally being at the same school as her brother. It has solved so many issues for us. She’s also been industrious artistically – her recent paintings have merged her two favourite things: Hello Kitty and Star Wars. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.


Smallest one is 2. She’s completely out of nappies, thanks to the most sensible potty training book I have read so far. Her favourite song right now is ‘Three little monkeys’, often sung whilst jumping on my bed, while I’m still in it. Here she is, kidnapping my teaching dolls. Again. (Photo credit to middle child, by the way)


All of them are providing me with many many delightful cuddles through the day.

Loved one is being lovely as usual. He works so hard that he doesn’t feature much in the blog. Maybe that will change one day. He has something exciting in the pipeline and I may one day be allowed to tell you more about it…

As for me, well, I did qualify and I have a shiny diploma certificate to prove it. Somewhere. Buried in the piles of clutter I am still trying to work my way around. I’m loving my work, still getting used to the extra dynamic it brings but feeling more settled about it after 9 months of regular teaching.

I’m much more involved in my music too…more on that another day, but it’s all good.

As for the house move and settling in, well, we have the loveliest bunch of neighbours you ever met (they don’t read this blog so I’m not just saying that to humour them!), and have been so, so helpful in a challenging year and also become good friends. We intend to let the builders loose on our home in the next month or two, so we hope they will stay good friends in spite of the disruption!

And my general wellbeing has been restored by, would you believe, hypnotherapy…? Yup. I went on a Natal Hypnotherapy study day back in May as part of my ongoing training, and realised the possibilities for both my work and personal life. Of course, I didn’t take any steps to sort this out till Christmastime, but when I did, and did it properly, wow, what a difference. I’ve been using the CDs from Trance Solutions, an Aussie clinic that had the thought to make their work available on iTunes (a heap better than some of the other choices up there) and now I drift to sleep to a soothing antipodean voice and soft unintrusive music. And, after a couple of weeks, I started to feel like a completely new person.

Things are just as busy. I am just as forgetful. Things are just as messy. But they are slowly improving and, most importantly of all, I am feeling the way I ought to feel once more. Life is good.

Next post? Well, don’t hold your breath. But no doubt the itchy fingers will be back to give you a glimpse into my brain dribbles again soon :-)

It’s ten o’clock at night. I have done all I can do. I am ready for bed.

I can tell, though, that you are itching to know whether I got it all done or not. At least, I presume so as you’ve read this far. If you are humouring me, you are doing an excellent job :-)

  • Get dressed. Yes! I managed to be fully clothed before going to the doctor’s. The doctor doesn’t know how lucky he is.
  • Take oldest one to doctor. Yes!
  • Clean up at home. Especially after smallest one took a lot of time and trouble to smoosh banana into the kitchen floor. Still not enough. I did nothing since the lunchtime post. Yuck.
  • Do a long and tedious work related email. Yes, but it took forever. And I realise I have one equally long one to do tomorrow. So it stays on the list for now. Sigh.
  • Pay that garage bill. At least I know how much I should pay, and I have found the chequebook. Hmm. Done. Just now. But missed the post. Blast it.
  • Do forms for oldest one and middle one’s school trips. And pay. Nope. Will have to be tomorrow.
  • Organise my teaching stuff. Tomorrow.
  • Re-think my teaching plans to include what I learned on an amazing Natal Hypnotherapy study day I just went on. Tomorrow.
  • Work out how to get the second freezer working. Read the rest of this entry »

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