Flash Fiction Competition!

Flash Fiction Competition!

Have you heard about the Bath Flash Fiction Competition that is currently running?

Books coming soon
Published Books

Flash Fiction Award

What is flash fiction? Read the interview with our judge Mary-Jane Holmes.
Runs three times per year, full details in the rules. In summary:

  • 300 word limit.
  • £1000 prize for the winner, £300 second and £100 third. Two commendations £30 each.
  • 50 longlisted entrants offered publication in our end of year print and digital anthology. Those accepting receive a free copy.
  • Flash Award judge, Mary-Jane Holmes, shortlists to 20 and chooses the winning, second, third, and two commended fictions.
  • This Flash Fiction Award round closes Midnight GMT June 7th 2020.
  • Winners will be announced by 1st July 2020 on our Winners pages.
  • Enter the Flash Fiction Award here online.

Format for your Competition Entry

As with all competitions there are some rules and regulations that you need to adhere to. Please find those listed below. For more information on the rules, please visit the website.

  1. Maximum length is 300 words, title excluded.
  2. Entries should be typed in a plain legible font. A sans 14pt font is suggested.
  3. Entries will be read and judged anonymously so do not put your name, address, email, telephone number or any personally identifying information on any page.
  4. If the piece has no title, then its first five words must be used as the title.
  5. Acceptable file types are odt, doc, docx, txt and pdf.
  6. The file name must be the title of your piece, punctuation removed. If your piece does not have a title, then the file name must be its first five words, punctuation removed.

So get your pens and paper out, start writing your Flash fiction winning entry. For more information check out their website here. As of writing, 4 March 2020 they there are 13 weeks, 14 days until this competition closes.

Don’t want to take part in a competition but have a book to publish?

How do I get my book published? Julie Farmer Publishing can help
Julie Farmer Publishing
www.juliefarmer.co.uk

If you don’t want to take part in the competition and have a book you would like to get published then take a look at our author services.

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Womens History

Womens History

The Women’s Verbal History project started as an exhibition I created for Women in the First World War, but as time went on it became apparent that there isn’t much written about the history of normal women and what they did or do on a daily basis.  As a result, I have embarked on this project to record, recognise and acknowledge the history of women in the United Kingdom.

This website has been created to help promote the project and record and recognise the contribution women have made to our society.  We are not against men and we are not saying that the history of men and women is not as important. The majority of history that is recorded is gender specific and class orientated (in the UK).  What we are saying is that that the history of women, in their everyday lives is not recognised or recorded.  My fear is that if we don’t record this history then it will get lost and we will never know what our grand mothers, great grandmothers, aunts, mothers, sisters and daughters have done.

If you or your ancestors would like to take part or you have a wonderful story about one of your female relatives please record their history here.  Together we can keep them alive. Together we can learn from their experiences and together we will remember that we have a strong history to be proud of.

My Mother the Artist

This is the quilt my mum made.

This is the quilt my mum made.

My mother created this quilt for my father in a few months.  She started from an idea in her head, a book and just went for it. I think she is very talented. Unfortunately, my mother is on of the women who was born in and around WW2.  This is when the majority of women were told that all they had to do was go to school, find a husband and then look after the children.  This is so sad as she is a very talented woman.

In fact, I firmly believe that if she had been given the opportunity, she would have been on of the first women in her family to go to University.

My Grandmother the adventuress

Fancy DressMy grandmother on my father’s side of the family was still lifting an anchor on the boat she helped sail around the Med with her husband (my grandfather).  Her lucky number must have been the number 3.  She met my grandfather and three years later married him.  Three years after that she had her first child, three years later her second child and then three years after that her third child.

 

 

My Great Grandmother the Entrepreneur

Sara and Julie

 

Once I have documented our oral history, I intend to create a book of the stories and experiences.  If you would like to take part in this project, please contact me or write to me with your stories.  I would love to hear from you.

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First-Time Buyers, what you really need to know

First-Time Buyers, what you really need to know

First-Time Buyers should know how stressful and costly the process of buying a house could be. I cannot see any reason why it has to be any different from purchasing a car or any other item that cost a lot of money, and yet it is.  If you buy an expensive piece of jewellery, for example, this bracelet, which is worth £195,049.  You need to write a cheque, put it on your credit card or pay cash.

Hidden costs for first time buyers

First-time buyers bracelet

Now, if you are going to buy a house, there is much more involved.  First of all, you need to find a house.  For this, you go to an estate agent.  Easy enough, walk along any high street, and there are usually three or four estate agents all wanting your custom.  Alternatively, look online at a number of online property websites.  If you are a first-time buyer than you enter the housing chain at the bottom of the pile, which means that you are purchasing the least expensive house in a chain that can result in a million-pound purchase for someone at the top of the chain.

Getting a Deposit the First-Time Buyers

Unlike the bracelet mentioned above, you may not have £195,049 just laying around.  Which means you will need to borrow the money from a bank or building society.  To do this, you will need to have a deposit, as these institutions will no longer loan 100% of the value of a house.  This deposit is generally 10% of the value of the house but can range from 5% to 20%.  Let’s assume that your first house is going to cost you £207,693 (according to the Halifax Building Society this is the average cost of a first-time buyers house, £12,644 more than our bracelet above).  So, 10% of £207,693 will be £20,769.  The average household income for first-time buyers is £35,635, and they spend on average five years saving for the deposit.  First-time buyers also borrow on average £10,000 from the bank of mum and dad (according to The Independent)

You would think that once the deposit has been saved, you have the money from Mum and Dad. The next process would be simple quick and easy.

Well, it’s not, this is when the hard work starts, and you find that everyone you meet is standing there with their hands out wanting your money.  First-Time buyers will not pay the Estate Agent, which is probably the only saving grace for an Estate Agent.  Estate Agents don’t enjoy working with first-time buyers.  They are an essential aspect of many purchases in a property chain, but first-time buyers are treated the same way as a throwaway product.  You know those products, they get people in the door to buy more high-end purchases.

The House

Looking for a house for a first-time buyer is tough.  There are so many beautiful houses for sale, and your expectations are high.  You look at your parent’s home, your rented home or that of your friends.  You want and expect the same type of home.  The same space, the same furniture and well, the same lifestyle.  Unfortunately, this is NOT going to happen. For a start ,they have all probably had two or three homes. They have also been on the property ladder for a number of years.  You are a first-time buyer, and as such you get the runt of the litter.  There is nothing wrong with the runt, but your expectations have to alter.  A first-time buyers house will be small.  When I say small, I mean small.

The second bedroom, if there is one will be the size of a double bed, or maybe a little bigger, but not much.  You might be able to fit in a wardrobe or chest of draws, but that’s it.  The Master bedroom will be able to fit in a double bed, wardrobe and chest of draws and you may even be able to walk around the bed.  Don’t expect an au-suite.  Your bathroom will have a bath with a shower attached to the bath, a sink and a loo. Not much else.  Your kitchen will be small, one person in the kitchen and it will be crowded.  The living room will be compact.  You may get a sofa in, but don’t expect a sofa and a chair.

Remember you will need to find a place for the television and a small table to rest your coffee up on.  If you are very, very lucky you may have a dining room.  Otherwise, you are eating on your knee for the next few years.  Your garden will be small but manageable.

The Mortgage

Once you have found a house within your price range, and I say within your price range as this will not be your dream house, then the hands start to extend for your hard-earnt money.  First of all, you will need to find a mortgage provider. Most offer their services for free. However, you will need to bear your financial life to the mortgage provider. They will want to know everything about you, your job, your income, savings and your inside leg measurement. It is stressful. This whole process can take up to 6 weeks.

You might be offered a mortgage in principle. It is in principle as they don’t know which house you are going to buy. Alternatively, you may have a house in mind and go to the mortgage company with that purchase, and they will take all the details you have and then ask for your inside leg measurement.

The mortgage is only offered in principle as they will want to check the house out.  The mortgage company will do their survey on the property. Pirmarily to ensure that if you don’t repay your mortgage, they will want to get the property from you and sell it to cover the mortgage. Therefore, they need to ensure that the property is worth the money they are leading to you. This survey is generally free.  However, if you put in an offer on the house and or some reason the house sale fails, you will need to pay for the next survey yourself.  At a cost of around £300, depending on the mortgage company.

Your Surveyors Report

In addition to the Mortgage company doing a survey, it is advisable that you conduct your survey on the property.  Everyone will be telling you to do this and will advise you to do the most comprehensive survey on the market.  It is easy for them to tell you, it isn’t their money they are spending.  There are four types of surveys on offer.

  • Condition Report – the condition of the property with any risks and potential legal issues with any critical defects identified. The cost to the first-time buyers circa £250 + VAT
  • Home Buyers Report – identify structural problems including subsidence and damp. The cost to the first-time buyers circa £400 + VAT
  • Building Survey – in-depth analysis of the condition of the property and advises on defects, repairs and maintenance. The cost to the first-time buyers circa £500 + VAT
  • Building or Full Structural Survey – an amalgamation of all of the above. The cost to the first-time buyers circa £800 + VAT

You decide on which survey you want.  When you are saving your deposit, you will tell yourself that you will go for the best, but when it comes to it, £800 + Vat is a lot of money and can represent two- or three-months savings.  It is your call.

The survey, in my experience, is a tick list of the surveyor covering his rear end.  They will note everything that is wrong with the property.  Just in case anyone decides to sue him or her because the property was damaged, in need of repair or any other issue.  The report will be a perfect dissertation on house construction.  They will advise on how to re-plaster walls, tell you the house has damp (all houses have a certain amount of damp) and other bits and bobs.

Once you have the survey, you will then need to read it, and then get someone to interoperate what the report is telling you.  It is worth the cost no, do you need to get it done, just in case yes.  A survey will be the final straw in deciding if you want to buy the house or not.

The Solicitor

Then you will need a solicitor. To purchase a house, you are looking at about £850 + Vat. The solicitor will be very helpful to you, but you will have to chase for updates. The solicitor’s work will take about six weeks. The first job you have to do is sign a contract with the solicitor and agree on prices.  They will then start to work for you, but you will need to send them a cheque, generally about  £300 before they do anything.

The solicitor will then start to run additional checks on the house at an extra charge to you:

  • Land Registry to ensure the house is there and that the garden belongs to the house etc. A fee circa £270.
  • A drainage enquiry. A fee of circa £30.
  • Then there is the cost of Local Searches, to see if there are going to be any power stations etc. built next to your new house. A fee of circa £112.
  • Then there is the cost of Land Transaction Return Form. A fee of circa £65 + VAT
  • Cost of Telegraphic transfer (sending the money to the seller of your house) £40 + VAT

The Government has its hand out

The government has its hand out when you are buying a house. For the average house purchase of £207,693, you won’t pay stamp duty. This only applies to purchases over £300,000. Therefore, any house over the value of £300,00 will have to pay a fee of £5% (Basically £50 for every £1000 added to the cost over £300,000).

More Costs for First-Time Buyers

There are even more costs.  You then have movers that will move your positions from your current home to your new house. Also if you are doing this yourself, there is a cost involved.

In conclusion, it appears that if you don’t have enough money to buy a house, then you have to spend more money to get that house.  Those with money don’t appear to have to spend as much.  The UK has a system of house purchase that is created to ensure that no-one is able to get ahead, unless you pay for it.

The purchase of a house in the UK is outdated, complicated and to be frank, a disgrace to this country and anyone who is trying to make a life for themselves.

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Second viewing of my property

Second viewing of my property

So, I might have to admit I am maybe a little excited; I have a second viewing of my property. There’s a young couple, looking to buy their first house. They came to see my cottage last weekend. This weekend they will be bringing their parents with them. It’s going to be interesting to see if they remember what my cottage looks. I have commissioned a decorator to repaint the living room and the master bedroom. The master bedroom had a patterned wallpaper when they visited; now it is being changed to a magnolia.  The living room will have a fresh coat of magnolia with a new coat of white for the ceiling.

I’m not sure how I feel about the parents coming along.  It will go one of two ways.

  1. They look of the cottage, that was built in 1860 and say there is too much work to be done to maintain it or
  2. They fall head over heels in love with it instantly.

It’s hard to call. Before the second viewing my property the couple going to look at a brand new house in the price range. The new houses are tiny. The bedrooms of small, although some of them have on suites. My cottage doesn’t have an on-site. In a new build, the kitchen will be brand-new, although most new builds have an open plan feel about them. Having lived in an open plan house, I have to say I dislike that style of living. You have to keep on top of any mess at all times. There is no way, for example, you can cook a meal and not do the dishes instantly as they are an eyesore.

A second viewing of my property

The second viewing of my property is viewed favourably by the estate agents as someone wanting to put in an offer. I’m not sure that I would agree.

I don’t see a second viewing of my property as being an entirely positive outcome.  This is why I am dubious and can’t seem to get excited about the about second viewings. You still have a lot of work to do. Keeping the house clean and tidy, making sure the rooms are all dressed, making sure the house smells nice and has that warm and cosy feel that wraps you in a warm blanket the moment they walk through the door. Anyone, who views a property doesn’t realise the that there is a three-hour ordeal for every viewing.

It will be easy to say that you should keep your house clean and tidy at all times. However, the reality is we don’t. For example, we walk into a room with a coffee cup and put it down, then go and get a packet of biscuits to eat with the coffee. We come back and sit down and watch television, while at the same time playing on an iPad or doing a craft. You then put those things down to go to the loo.  On your way back to the living room you pick up a glass of water, or something else. Thus creating a mess where ever we go.

The Selling Process

Selling a home is stressful especially when you have a second viewing of my propertyIt has been almost eight months since I made the decision to put my cottage for sale. Although I had an offer and he pulled out 48 hours before exchange (his work sent him to another office) this is the first, second viewing of my property I have had.

To be honest; I hate it. I hate the whole process of putting my Cottage for sale. The fact you have estate agents telling you to hide or remove some of your valuable positions (they call it decluttering).  Having to repaint, do additional repairs and letting people walk around your home and judging you. You know they are judging because you get feedback from the Estate Agents. Charming cottage, to small, couldn’t put a sofa in there, so you get a sofa.  The rooms need painting, so you paint the rooms.    The redecoration is the advice of the estate agents, who want to the colour pop and light bounce off the walls. The garden needs a good tidy, so you tidy the garden. The list just goes on and on.

Estate Agents

Then, of course, you have to deal with the estate agents.  Even now, after eight-plus months, I am not sure if the estate agents are telling me the truth, a version of it that they think I want to hear or are just lying to me.  I have no idea.  Do I trust them? No, I don’t think they are all trustworthy?  Do they talk a good talk? Absolutely.  They all sound convincing, they seem as if they speak with conviction, but I am sure behind my back they have a giggle.

Also, my Cottage for sale is tiny, in comparison to the Million pound houses they sell.  It’s a first-time buyer cottage and would suit a girl or a young couple. So do they push it, yes?  Do they want the sale as much as me, I don’t know.  There is a flat fee if they sell but nothing if they don’t.  However, after eight months are they board of trying to sell it? I don’t know, I know I am bored of trying to sell it.

My Cottage for sale and those purchases

What I have learnt so far about any prospective purchasers is that they are blind, naïve or have no imagination. How is it that they can walk into a room and see that it’s packed with the current owner’s possessions and not see themselves living in there. What is it that a purchaser sees when they look around the house.  I was told to ignore the positions people have and look at the ceiling.  That will give you an idea of the space available and what it is you are buying.  The current possessions in the house will be gone when the owners move out.  Don’t look at them, don’t judge them, just look at the ceiling and use your imagination.

In Conclusion – A Second Viewing of my Property

Am I happy about the second viewing of my property? I think I am excited but daunted at the prospect of having four people criticise my cottage. Do I want to sell my cottage, yes absolutely? The cottage will look its best and offer that cosy blanket!

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Living like a Ghost because you are selling a house

Living like a Ghost because you are selling a house

I would never have thought I would actively live like a ghost because I am selling a house.  Nevertheless, I am now living like a ghost just in Selling a house comes with questionscase the estate agents have a drop by viewing.  It is ridiculous when you think about it.  How can you live in your own home, yet make it available for viewing at any time of the day or night and have the place look immaculate?

Just try it for the next few days, when you walk into a room what you have taken with you?  Did you go into a room to get something? If so what did you do with that item?  We very rarely walk into a room with nothing in our hands or out of a room.

What did you do last night? Did you have a hobby that you practised, knitting, crocheting, playing on your iPad?  Did you pack everything away before you went to bed?

The simple things like making a cup of coffee then become difficult.  You boil the kettle and steam spew from the kettle, what would happen if someone came in just after that. Would they think the house is damp?  With the smell of coffee, the old selling trick that everyone knows, will the potentials realise you were merely making a coffee.  Then you have the teaspoon that has to be washed, dried and put away immediately.  Sitting in front of the TV, as soon as the coffee has been drunk, the cup has to be washed and put away or placed in dishwasher.

Then, of course, there is cooking.  My goodness me, what a mess we all make when we cook.  You may think it is just a few pots and pans, but try clearing that away before you eat.  Then putting your plates away and ensuring the kitchen is showroom ready before you sit down to rest for the evening.

Living like a ghost with others when selling a house

If you have other people in the house, then they have to live like a ghost too.  However, trying to explain the importance of putting things away, not making a mess and being adaptable to someone else’s schedule is dire.

What about daily living, when on earth are you meant to be able to do your washing.  Most of us work and need to do a few loads of washing every week, but when?

Selling a house comes with questions

Then there are the constant questions from everyone.

  • How much are you asking for your house?
  • How much did you buy it for and when?
  • What will you make from it?
  • Have you had any viewings?
  • What is the feedback from the viewings?
  • What are you going to do if it doesn’t sell?
  • Where are you going to move?
  • When do you want to move?
  • How much will you take?
  • What is the asking price, will you move from that?

Selling a home is stressful

These questions would seem okay if they weren’t all together and from almost everyone, you know all the time.  Saying that you hadn’t thought about this or that doesn’t seem to appease them.  The truth is, those of us who are selling a house are exhausted from all the questions, we don’t want to talk about it.  We know the house is for sale, we are asking ourselves all these questions and you know what, WE DONT HAVE THE FLIPPIN ANSWERS.

Selling a house comes with suggestions

One of the worst things about selling a house is the number of recommendations you get.  From everyone! No matter if you asked for help or not.

  • Paint the front door for curb appeal
  • Estate agents are rubbish sell it yourself
  • It won’t sell unless you put in a new kitchen
  • You don’t need a new kitchen, spend the money on a modern bathroom
  • You should paint all the rooms
  • Don’t paint the rooms its a waste of your time and money; the new owners will only repaint it
  • Tidy your garden
  • Get a sofa to show the room is big enough to take a sofa
  • Remove the chest of draws so people can see wall space
  • Don’t leave laundry out
  • Declutter your house, people don’t have an imagination, they need to envisage their ‘things’ there
  • Don’t take out the character of the house you are selling a lifestyle
  • Get your neighbours to tidy their gardens

Stress of Selling a houseListen to me, we know all this, we are not stupid.  We are just trying to keep our lives on course.  We are selling a house, but we still need to go to work, still have family commitments and everything else you have.  Give us a break, please.  Why not just say how are you doing today? Don’t ask about the selling a house unless we start the conversation.  You know what, we know its stressful, we are living it.  We know that you once sold a house and bought one, bully for you.

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Surveyors Report on my house

Surveyors Report on my house

Surveyors Report on my house scared my buyer

I have had a surveyors report on my house, the purchaser of my cottage was kind enough to send me a copy.  On the whole, I didn’t know what to expect from the report so decided not to worry about it. My first mistake.  What I hadn’t realised was that the surveyor was a complete and utter arse.  As you can see, this post is going to be very complimentary about the arse.

Surveyors report on my house

Report on my house for sale

I live in a tiny house, a two up two down style of Victorian Cottage built around 1860.  The date is significant on this occasion.  My cottage is very sweet; some would say quaint.  My cottage is one of 12 that all have front gardens and a back alley with communal entry at the front and back.  We are directly in front of another row of cottages.  The story I was told when I purchased the house was that there two farmers.  They disliked each other immensely and would always try and outdo each other.  Farmer one built his tenants a warm brick cottage.  The other farmer, not wanting to be outdone, built cottages for his tenants.  However, the cottages (the second farmer) built his tenanted cottages 10 yards in front of the first farmer’s cottages, blocking their views.

My Cottage

Communal Garden Path commented on by Surveyors Report on my house

Communal Garden Path

My cottage has a garden, that is over 180 foot long, in fact, I rent out the top part of the garden as an allotment.  However, my cottage garden is in front of my neighbour’s cottage with a communal path separating the house from the garden.  The story of the offset garden is that the cottages had been compulsorily purchased in the past.  When they became privately owned, someone measured out the gardens so that every cottage had the same size garden.  However, they forgot to add the length of a path for each cottage.  So all cottages gardens are out by one path length which is why my garden is opposite my neighbour.  Like I said, quaint.

The cottages have a beautiful community feel, and my neighbours are fantastic.  There is always someone ready to help and give advice when asked.  I like living there.  However, I have decided that I want a bigger house with a craft room.  I put the house on the market ready to make this fantastic craft room I was after.

After eight months, I had an offer on the cottage.  It wasn’t what I wanted, but it was an offer and craft room here I come or so I thought. The cottages are so unusual that they won’t appeal to everyone so I knew it might take some time.  This was when my purchaser decided that he would contact a surveyor to check out the cottage.

Surveyors Report on my house

Never having been in contact with a surveyor, I didn’t think anything of it.  This is my first mistake.  I  had no idea that a surveyors report on my house could be so upsetting.  The report, totalling 73 pages on a two up two down house was devastating.  If he were creating a dissertation or essay on an older property, I would have given him an A*.  A surveyors report on my house he gets an F.  Wading through the report these are my observations:

  • Surveyed the wrong garden, even though my neighbour told him he was in the wrong garden
  • Noted missing slates on my neighbour’s roof that was in my report to repair
  • Wanted me to dig up a communal path so that there was no concrete near my house for up to 1 meter
  • Get planning permission for my second bedroom that was built when the house was built – how I will get the builder to sign the project off from 1860 still baffles me
  • Excavate my front garden by 8 inches to prevent rising damp
  • Excavate my front garden by 8 inches just in case there is some flooding as  you take a step down into my house
  • Advised the purchaser to get insurance for subsidence on a cottage that has been there for 200 years and no evidence of subsidence
  • Get insurance for rising damp even though there is no evidence of rising damp
  • Took pictures of another neighbours roof with comments

Like I said he was, is and will be an arse.  There were other things in the report as well, that were inaccurate, but the above were the major ones.  Naturally, the buyer pulled out.  To be honest, so would I if I had this report.  With my buyer pulling out, I am now stuck with costs of the house I was going to buy (surveyor, solicitor etc) and selling expenses that seem to mount up.  I have spent over £5000 and have nothing to show for it except a 73-page report.

What did the surveyors report on my house get right?

He did get a few things right:

  • The skirting boards in my living room had excessive moisture in them.  20% is acceptable, and my reading was about 27%
  • There was some mortar lose on my chimney that needed repair
  • There was no damp course, (the cottage was built in 1860, they didn’t install a damp course then)

The Results

As a result, my buyer withdrew his offer.  I then lost my dream house and am right back at the beginning of the sales process.  Back to living like a ghost.

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Slimming World here I come!!

Slimming World here I come!!

Back at Slimming World

Slimming World welcomed me back with open arms

OK, let’s be honest here.  I tried to diet on my own last year and it worked to some extent. However, if I am honest, I didn’t really get anywhere. There was some success, I lost a few pounds here and there and put more on! Then a happy coincidence occurred, you could say serendipity. I attended my Doctors for a blood test and the very nice nurse brought the conversation around to diet. You know you are overweight when the nurse asks you about weight! After a few moments of panic and total shock, I mentioned that I am trying to lose weight. I explained that I am finding it difficult doing it alone as it is hard work. She then mentioned I could join Slimming World for a 12-week programme that would be paid for by them. Well, what an opportunity. I jumped at the chance.

Slimming World or Weight Watchers Hurdles

There are a few hurdles that you have to go through to get this free pass to Slimming World or Weight Watchers.  Firstly, you need to be overweight. This may be one of the easiest hurdles to complete. However, you have to have a certain BMI before you are considered overweight and I just managed to fulfil that requirement. (That’s my story and I am going to stick to it).  Then you need to have your blood pressure checked and your weight recorded. After that, a recommendation is passed to the weight loss partners where a telephone interview is given. The interview was very simple and consisted of three questions:

  1. Have you been offered a weightloss package before, you can only have one package of weight loss help in a 24 month period. (Easy, No I have not)
  2. Are you committed to losing weight (Yes)
  3. Do you know which club you would like to attend (Yes Slimming World)

After qualifying a letter/certificate is then sent to you via the post.

I have a Slimming World meeting in my town that is about a 15-minute walk from my home. I was a member of that group about 6 years ago. However, I decided to drive to the next town, its only 10 minutes by car. The decision was that if I am going to be serious about losing weight I want to make an effort.  Driving to the group gives me the time to take a few minutes to think about me, think about what I am doing and what I want to do. I found that walking into the class made it easy to get in, weight and then leave. If you drive somewhere, subconsciously you want to make it worthwhile. So I will be staying in the class after the weight in.

Slimming World welcomed me back like a long lost friend

The first meeting was interesting. I was the only new member as it was a few weeks before Christmas. I made the decision to join before Christmas as I was worried that I would overeat during Christmas.  As a result of joining before Christmas, I knew I had to be careful during the festive period.  I am glad I joined then as I have had time to read and understand what is expected of me during the diet.

 

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Yet another Day Two

Yet another Day Two

I have decided not to calorie count on this diet or follow a strict kind of diet. I have tried these diets before and they work when I am on the diet, but when I stop, I put the weight back on. Logically I know I need to educate my mind about what I should and should not eat, but I like the food I eat. I like the foods I cook. I don’t think I eat too badly but I do eat too much and don’t know when to stop.


I am just watching what I eat, eat smaller portions and drink lots of water. I am not sure if this is a good action plan but I am going to give it a month to see what happens.

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To exercise or not?

To exercise or not?

I know in my heart of hearts I should do some kind of exercise to lose weight but to be honest, I just don’t want to. I don’t mind walking as I have a little dog and she needs to exercise. I am very happy to walk her but to the gym is something very different.

I have done the gym before, but it takes all evening.  You get to the gym, exercise for an hour, swim or shower and by the time you get home it’s 8 or 9 o’clock and too late to cook. It’s just a lot of trouble for very little reward.

The only exercise I will be doing is walking my dog.

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Slimming World HiFi Bars

Slimming World HiFi Bars

The Slimming World HiFi bars are a slimmers saviour. Let’s be honest, those of us who have a bit of weight to lose have a sweet tooth. The mere mention of chocolate and we have gained two pounds and end up running to the nearest packet of crisps to comfort us. Sitting in the living room and the yelling in the fridge from the pot of ice cream can be ridiculous. So, its safe to say that many of us have a sweet tooth.

Slimming World Hifi bars have come to the rescue. They are a little bit of naughty while

Choca Mocha Slimming World HiFi bars

Slimming World HiFi Bars

Staying on the plan. In addition to that, you can have TWO. That’s right; you can have two chocolate bars as long as they are the Slimming World HiFi bars. The HiFi bars count as your Healthy B. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s your fibre. Slimming World has put something in the bars that make them high in Fiber. Which is great. I have used my HiFi bars as a dessert or something sweet at the end of the evening when I usually hear the fridge yelling. A health B also consists of other foods if you want them, for example:

  • 40g Porridge Oats
  • 40g All-Bran
  • 2 slice of wholemeal bread (Small Slices)
  • 2 Weetabix

However, who in their right mind is going to opt for All-Bran over a bar of chocolate. I know I can hear you already. ‘You’re trying to lose weight and change your eating habits forever’. Yea, yea, yea.  Look, life is for the living. It’s for fun, enjoyment and being able to eat a bar of chocolate if you want to.  What Slimming World and any diet for that matter, is trying to teach us is Moderation. That a little of what you fancy is OK. It’s when a little of what you fancy becomes your main meal, that’s when you have to worry. One other thing, Slimming World HiFi Bars are about as big as your index finger. They are relatively small but punch above their weight. They are also only circa 70 calories each.

Slimming World HiFi bars have a dark side?

HiFi Bars from Slimming World

Dark Choc Min Slimming World HiFi Bars

Having said that, there is a bit of a downside to the Slimming World HiFi bars. Not all people are created equal, and some of us have a rubbish digestive system. As a result, if you eat two HiFi bars for your healthy B and one for a treat (only 3 syns each) you may find yourself running to the loo. Yep, they can give you a bit of a funny tummy. If you don’t get to the bathroom on time, you could have a problem. I have since found out that they can, in fact, be a diuretic for some people.

If you want to try the HiFi bars, they come in 6 flavours you can get them online. Either from www.slimmingworld.co.uk or www.amazon.co.uk. I am sure that if you found a group near you, you would also be able to buy from them.  To find a club near you take a look here.

Does Slimming World Work?

This is the start of my second week, which means I have been on a diet for one week.  In my first week, I lost five and a half pounds. So it is indeed working for me. In addition, I have never eaten so much in one sitting. Eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Three meals and one snack. Seems to be working.

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