Thursday 19 November 2009

top tips on how to eat more healthily when you’re away from home

Following a set of discussions with a friend of mine who commutes to London for work every week (i.e. he stays during the week), I thought I’d try to pool some of the ideas and techniques I developed for eating [at least relatively] healthily when I was working away from home alot.

(There may also be more to come on this subject in the future.)


  • Firstly, and obviously, think about what you’re eating, generally – does your diet consist primarily of convenience snacks and fatty foods? Can you simply eat healthier things?
  • Think about and plan when you are going to eat each day (this may not always be possible, but you should try to stick to a well thought out and consistent regime as much as you can).
  • Set yourself a guideline as to which meal is going to be the main meal of the day (classic example: if you expect that one day you will have to skip lunch, plan to make your main meal in the evening, or if you think you will have to work late, perhaps consider making lunch your main source of sustenance for the day and have a simple snack in the evening).
  • If it does look like you will need to skip lunch on a particular day, think about taking in a ‘packed lunch’ bought or prepared the day before, that way you won’t actually need to skip the meal entirely – this should help you to resist the urge to ‘binge’ later on, or snack on chocolate or crisps from a vending machine.
  • Think about where you will be getting your food from each day – if you have this planned out in advance, you will be far less likely to just grab something horrendous from the first convenient fast food store or chip shop.
  • Plan the general outline of your meals (by that I mean roughly what and how much of particular types of food like sandwiches, pieces of fruit, snack bars etc).


  • Find places that sell healthier types of ‘convenience’ food – a good example is the chain ‘EAT’ – alot of the food they sell actually isn’t too bad.
  • Try to minimise the amount of heavily processed and ‘calorie rich’ food you consume. Generally avoiding fairly obvious items like chocolate, cakes and crisps is ALWAYS a good idea.
  • Substitute ‘healthier options’ for those calorie rich items you are now avoiding – fruit is an especially good choice.
  • At lunch, don’t have soup AND a sandwich, have one OR the other (this also means don’t have two sandwiches – a sandwich AND a sandwich).
  • Packed lunches are your friend as they stop you going out and just buying whatever you fancy at the time, which for those who lack a degree of self-discipline, is a sure way to end up buying and eating too much, even if what you’re having isn’t necessarily unhealthy.
  • Go to a supermarket and buy the basic ingredients to prepare your own meals.
  • A quick, easy and healthy option for an evening meal you can prepare in a hotel room is pre-flavoured cous cous (just add boiling water), plus some cooked meat or chicken to add in.
  • Pot Noodles are BAD.

Friday 13 November 2009

Thursday 12 November 2009

list number 17: build a training board

Well it is finally done. I have my own garage ‘woody’ – a 30 degree overhanging plywood board with a roof to finish. I need more juggy holds to put on it though because at the moment even the easiest ‘rainbow’ problems to the high jugs are probably V0+/V1 ish!

Pictures to follow.

Thursday 5 November 2009

Penderyn, welsh single malt whisky


Welsh whisky!

Not bad, but not stunning either. If it were £20-25 for a bottle I’d buy it, but seeing as it is priced (varyingly) at £30-40, I think I’ll pass – it simply isn’t that good, not when compared to similarly priced scotch.

That’ll be number 40 off the list then.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

the list: day zero

So what the hell is this all about then – Day Zero…the easy answer is go check the website:
In short, this is a pretty pointless exercise, but one that the super-anal list maker and ticker in me loved the idea of – 101 things to be done in 1001 days. Of course it is unlikely that I will complete all of them in that time, but I will of course be trying.
So the stats: this frigging list has taken me some 3 weeks or so to write (you have no idea just how many things 101 is until you try to make a list of them, oh and the vast, VAST majority of other people’s lists will be full of ideas which to you will seem tedious and insignificant (in the words of a friend of mine - ‘banal’), and so will fail to provide any inspiration at all). Phew.
My start date is somewhat contrived to include a couple of routes that I have climbed recently into the count figures so that everything is legit (the only exception: my summit of Mont Blanc is included in my 15 Alpine summits goal even though it was done before my start date, simply because it really was quite a major thing for me, and it wasn’t all that long before in reality…)
Start Date: 15/09/2009
End Date (1001 days): 12/06/2012
1. Climb F7a (sport)
2. Climb F7b (sport)
3. Climb F6c onsight (sport)
4. Climb 20 routes of F6c and up (4/20) In progress
5. Climb another 20 routes of E1 + (trad) (4/20) In progress
6. Climb E2 onsight (trad)
7. Boulder font 7a or V6
8. Climb WI5+ (ice)
9. Climb VI onsight (Scottish winter)
10. Summit the Matterhorn
11. Summit the Eiger
12. Climb the Frendo Spur
13. Attain 15 Alpine summits (5/15) In progress
14. Summit a 6000m+ peak
15. Do the Cuillin Ridge traverse (summer)
16. Do the Cuillin Ridge traverse (winter)
17. Build a training and drytooling board in the garage Completed 12/11/09
18. Do a winter route using a vintage ice axe
19. Go to a climbing themed lecture Completed: 17/11/09 BMC Winter skills, 21/11/09 Andy Kirkpatrick at Kendal, 26/11/09 Doug Scott, 19/02/10 Nick Bullock in Rjukan, PyB/UKC Alpine Festival
20. Do a route on a sea stack
21. Climb 10 routes that feature significant traverses (2/10)
22. Learn to jam
23. Climb 30 grit routes (trad) (0/30)
24. Write an article and have it published
25. Make a great photo collage
26. Get a Wedding photo album made
27. Photograph a landscape from the same spot in all four seasons (0/4)
28. Create 5 instructional videos for my blog (0/5)
29. Take a photograph of the Greenwich Meridian line
30. Build a big, elaborate sand castle on the beach and photograph it
31. Write a paper diary of this list In progress
32. Take (or have taken) 101 pictures of myself that I actually like (0/101)
33. Bake some Yorkshire Fat Rascals
34. See the Northern Lights
35. Go to a Mountain Film Festival
36. See a West End show
37. Volunteer as a Special Constable
38. Do a tour of a mine
39. Eat a vegetarian diet for 1 week
40. Try the Welsh single malt whisky (Penderyn) Completed 3/11/09
41. Ride on the London Eye
42. Visit Llanberis Slate Museum
43. Visit Powis Castle
44. Visit a WW1 battlefield
45. Visit a former Concentration Camp
46. Go to an Air Race
47. Go to an aerobatics competition
48. Do a motorcycle track day
49. Go to a classical music ‘prom’
50. Go caving with Dave W
51. Be a tourist in Paris
52. Have a go at kite boarding
53. Be a tourist in Stockholm
54. Go to Switzerland Completed (Arolla Aug '10)
55. Go to Russia
56. Go to Ireland
57. Drive something cool (like a tank or a rally car?)
58. Visit a vineyard
59. Run a marathon
60. Run the Midnattsloppet with Anders
61. Run 2 miles with a sub 7 minute pace
62. Run around Lake Vrynwy
63. Do sets of 20 pull ups
64. Do the Welsh 3000’s
65. Have a sports massage Completed 22/08/2010
66. Ride the MTB runs at Llandegla
67. Ride the MTB runs at Coed y Brenin
68. Fly to France
69. Get a taildragger rating
70. Fly solo in a Tiger Moth
71. Land at Barra
72. Take David flying
73. Join a Mountain Rescue Team In progress - NEWSAR
74. Shoot for food
75. Cook a meal without using any shop bought ingredients (hunt, forage, grow etc)
76. Learn to navigate well (on foot) Happy! Passed NEWSAR hill team nav assessment 23/06/2010
77. Do a mountain/wilderness First Aid course In progress - NEWSAR training
78. Do a night hike
79. Bivi Vallee Blanche 11/07/10
80. Build and sleep in a snow hole
81. Learn to ski
82. Learn some basic Welsh
83. Learn some basic Norwegian (for trips to Rjukan)
84. Learn to canoe properly
85. Learn some basic photography skills
86. Learn to SRT (caving)
87. Learn to identify some of the constellations
88. Ride a motorcycle offroad
89. Get another job… Semi-completed (short term contract work)
With Phil
90. Visit RAF Cosford Completed 28/02/2010
91. Visit Duxford
92. Get the guns back
93. Do a long distance walk or canoe journey
94. Canoe on Lake Vrynwy
95. Cycle round Lake Vrynwy and have a picnic
96. Visit a Brewery
97. Visit another 5 whisky distilleries (0/5)
98. Learn to use the sextant
99. Stay in an ice hotel
100. Do 5 extra things of Phil’s choosing (0/5)
101. Start writing a new list…