babble, mental health, story of my life

October Sucks

18th October 2018

Today is not a good day at all.  Scratch that: October is not a good month.  It hasn’t been a good month since 2015, when my friend Zero died during the summer.  He was born on Friday 13 October, 1989, and he told me that it was an unlucky day – it’s that typical old superstition, y’know?  What I never got the chance to tell him was that particular Friday 13th was pretty lucky for us, because we got Zero out of it, so.


I’ve had to celebrate three birthdays where he’s not been alive to celebrate it with us.  My little group of friends from back then is… well, it’s a tiny little group of friends, now.


And to add to the pain of celebrating a deceased friend’s birthday, on October 18 last year, I had to take my old lady cat, Twig, to the vet, and have her euthanised.

A photo of me with my (deceased) cat, Twig: I'm holding her in the crook of my arm, she's gripping my vest top with her claw, and she's got her head shoved against my chin while I look at the camera.
Me and my Twiglet. <3

Today’s one year since I had to say goodbye to my old lady, my darling, my babbu, and I still miss her.  It’s not like I ever expect to not miss her.  I still miss Zero, and it’s three years later.  Hell, I’m still grieving their losses.

A Painful Reminder

What I didn’t expect to see was the following:

One of my Timehop memories from yesterday (October 17)

I check Timehop basically every day – mostly for photos of my cats – and this one turned up last night, making me draw in a sharp breath through my clenched teeth.

I actually weighed myself yesterday morning so that I’ve got a start weight for a week of meal replacement products from Exante that I’ve to review, and it was… well.  Not at, but close enough to, my highest-ever weight of 449lbs, that I’m now just sort of staring at the screenshot above and going, “It’s been seven years?  It’s ONLY been seven years, and I managed to regain almost 100lbs – as well as losing some/regaining some/losing some/regaining some etc ad nauseum?!”

Seven years, and I’m close enough to my highest-ever weight again that I’m in constant agony instead of just constant pain.

Where To Go From Here?

You know those times where you sort of take a long hard look and go, “Yup, I’ve been ‘coping’ really badly,” and you need to re-evaluate where the hell you went wrong and what you’ve been doing?

That’s basically where I am right now.

Not back at square one, because square one is actually about 53lbs down from my current weight, but somewhere beyond that.

At some point, I’m going to be able to say, “I’m not giving up on myself,” and I’ll make good on that promise.  Sometimes, I don’t think I’m worth it (the words fat, ugly, disgusting, and useless, are words that I often use to describe myself, after all), and if I don’t think I’m worth it, why would I fight for myself?

It’s a hard place to be.

But you gotta hit rock bottom before you start to climb, right?  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” RIGHT?

Hell, I gotta start believing in MYSELF before I start believing in clichés.

Optimum Nutra, Phentatrim, review

[Product Review] Phentatrim Dietary Supplement

5th October 2018

During the summer, I was asked if I’d like to review a new product from my old friends at Optimum Nutra: Phentatrim. Phentatrim is a nutritional supplement containing three ingredients which help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and to reduce hunger – I’ve taken a nutritional supplement of one of its ingredients before, when I was using the Tony Ferguson products (no longer available in the UK), so I know how well Chromium can help you to beat your cravings!

I was also provided with a bottle of my old favourite, Phentaslim, which has been given a smart new look, as I was told that taking the two of these products together would provide the best supplemental intake for my weight loss. The design of the Phentaslim bottle has also been updated to complement the design of Phentatrim.

Phentatrim & Phentaslim – Packaging

Optimum Nutra packaging: plain, brown padded envelope with a customer reference

As I’m sure we’ve come to expect from Optimum Nutra, my product arrived quickly, and in unmarked packaging, so if you’re worried about receiving a package which screams, “FOOD SUPPLEMENT! WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT!” this definitely does not do that. It’s discreet, and the padded envelopes ensure that your products will arrive with you in perfect condition.

Phentatrim & Phentaslim – Bottles and Contents

First things first: I love this new design.  It’s eye-catching, it’s bold, and it’s very smart-looking.  I love the colours, and I love that the Phentaslim capsules even match the design, or vice-versa.

It still looks like a food supplement, of course, and has plenty of nutrition information, as shown below.

Directions for use of (top) Phentatrim and (bottom) Phentaslim.

The text on the front of Phentatrim reads:

  • ! Advanced Slimming and Weight Loss Formula
  • ! Appetite suppression and decreased food intake
  • ! Blood sugar regulation and thyroid support

While the text on the front of Phentaslim reads:

  • ! Breakdown of carbohydrates and fatty acids
  • ! Increase alertness, concentration, and endurance
  • ! Advanced diet blend and metabolic energy formula

Both are labelled as food supplements, and both bottles are marked with the warning (within the “Directions” paragraph):

Food supplements are not a substitute for a varied diet and healthy lifestyle.

These are not intended for meal replacement, but, as the name suggests, supplement.

Both bottles are also sealed with the “Sealed For Your Protection” barrier, but neither have that little ball of cotton wool that Superfruit Slim had in it – I’m not sure what the point of the little ball of cotton wool is, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the capsules, to the best of my experience.

Ingredients List And Claims

Nutritional Information from (top) Phentaslim and (bottom) Phentatrim.

As with all of the previous products I’ve used from Optimum Nutra (and I should hope every nutritional supplement currently on the market!) there is a detailed ingredients list, including the NRV (Nutritional Reference Value) % if available, which means you know how much of any given ingredient you should have in your daily life – which is great if you’re trying to get more of a certain vitamin, then you’ll know how much you need.  Everything is labelled clearly,  including what weight of a product is present in each serving.

Effects And Measurements

While I know that I usually include a weigh-in before and after doing product tests like this, I have really been trying to avoid weigh-ins this summer, as I know I gained a ton of weight after finishing college in June.  Not the healthiest mentality to have, but I really didn’t want to obsess over my weight, and have, instead, been trying to eat healthier, and not snack as much.  But I’ll talk about that in another post.

Measurements: Before

Right upper arm: 19.5″
Bust: 64″
Under bust: 54″
Waist: 59″
Hips: 75″
Upper Right Thigh: 37″
Upper Right Calf: 20″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 22.5″

Measurements: After

Right upper arm: 19″
Bust: 63″
Under bust: 52″
Waist: 57″
Hips: 74″
Upper Right Thigh: 36″
Upper Right Calf: 20″
Upper Left Calf (mutant/left leg): 22″

It may not seem that there’s a huge difference, but considering that it’s a month’s supply in a bottle, it means that I reduced my measurements by an overall 8″ in a month – which I think is pretty great, considering I didn’t actually go on a diet, and all I did was incorporate a little bit of dancing in my room for exercise – I’d say, “I also lifted some weights” but the weights I have at home are 2.5lbs each and I don’t think that’d make much of a difference.

As for physical and mental effects, I noticed that, in the month I was taking Phentaslim and Phentatrim, I felt more awake and had better concentration.  My cravings were also drastically reduced, as I expected they would be.  Chromium nutritional supplements really do do wonders for balancing your blood sugars, so you don’t get the sugar spike/crash that can be terrible for causing carb cravings.  I also didn’t need to nap, even once, on the days that I woke early…

And that’s another thing.  I woke early a few days of the month, and was able to stay awake until it was actually bed time, instead of my normal days where I can sometimes sleep until 10am, 11am, or 12 noon, and either go to bed around midnight, or stay up really late.  During my month of taking Phentaslim and Phentatrim, I didn’t need to nap once, and I think that’s pretty great.  I was also, as I said, able to concentrate better on what I was doing, as I wasn’t as tired as I usually am.  My coffee intake was reduced from 2 or 3 cups a day to one cup a day, and that wasn’t even to keep me awake – that was because I enjoy coffee!

Overall And Value For Money

Overall, I would definitely recommend buying Phentatrim – along with Phentaslim – as there seem to be a raft of benefits to taking them.  Reduced sugar/carb cravings, increased energy and alertness, and the added benefit of actually being able to lose weight thanks to the above.  Considering the fact that I didn’t really change my diet while using these for the month, I’d love to see how they performed and help me to perform if I actually took them while doing something like Atkins or South Beach, or any other manner of healthy eating or weight loss – I imagine that the outcome would be even better than taking 8″ off of my measurements in a month.

As for value for money, I absolutely believe that if you take these as prescribed, and make the required changes, the benefits of Phentatrim and Phentaslim would far outweigh the cost – especially as there are deals available, such as Buy 3 Get 1 Free on both Phentaslim and Phentatrim.  I know that plenty of people probably spend that amount of money on coffee every three months – why not put that money to good use instead?!


Phentatrim and Phentaslim are available exclusively through Optimum Nutra’s website, with free worldwide shipping on every order, easy payment methods, and, best of all?

Optimum Nutra will NEVER auto-ship an order to you – no surprise credit/debit card charges for your next order.  No “free” trial, no scams.  The company is wonderfully honest, and there is also a 60-day Money-Back Guarantee, detailed on the website.

Vegan/Vegetarian Safe?

Unfortunately, Phentatrim and Phentaslim are NOT suitable for vegetarians or vegans, as the capsules contain a small amount of gelatin.  It is, however, entirely possible to break the capsules apart and take the ingredients with a glass of water, or with food, if you’d prefer to do that.


In the interests of full disclosure: I have received no monetary compensation for this, or any future review for Phentaslim, Phentatrim, Superfruit Slim, or any other product from Optimum Nutra.  Any and all opinions are my own, and do not reflect the beliefs or opinions of Optimum Nutra. I received a One Month package of Phentaslim (90 capsules) and One Month package of Phentatrim (180 capsules). However, if you use the links provided above and should purchase anything from the Optimum Nutra website, I will receive a small affiliate’s payment. Affiliate Links were correct as of October 4, 2018.


If you would like me to review your product, please contact me, although requesting a review does not guarantee acceptance, and I will NEVER guarantee a positive review before I have fully tested out the product for myself.


Sorry For The Silence

10th May 2018

I know, I know, I’ve gone quiet again! I’m sorry for the silence on the blog, and it’ll be that way for another couple of weeks. I’ve got three weeks left until all of my finals should be handed in and I’ll be finished with my HND Graphic Design course.


Then it’ll be summer and I’ll be free, without homework, to actually blog and exercise and hopefully eat right, too.

There’ll be a product review of a new dietary supplement, Phentatrim, and an update on our old favourite, Phentaslim, at some point in the next three weeks, so look out for that.

And please wish me the best of luck with finishing my HND! I’m looking forward to having some free time again, and not being so quiet.

fitness, food, Muscle Food, review, weigh-in, weight loss

[Product Review]: Muscle Food + Do The Unthinkable

22nd April 2018

I was invited to review Muscle Food‘s new Food and Fitness program, Do The Unthinkable, and was absolutely delighted to work with Muscle Food, as I’ve been very tempted to purchase some of their protein bundles… only to be thwarted by the lack of space in the freezer.

Included in Do The Unthinkable is food to feed you for every meal, plus snacks. It comes in a huge box (or two), so your cat will be extra-grateful.

Muscle Cat

The Food

A week's worth of food from Muscle Food

For a week, I received the following:

  • 1x Chicken Tikka Pizza
  • 1x Goat’s Cheese Pizza
  • 1x Roasted Squash & Chilli Soup
  • 1x Tomato, Basil & Quinoa Soup
  • 1x Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup
  • 1x Thai Green Chicken Curry
  • 1x Satay Chicken
  • 1x Thai Chicken Stir Fry
  • 1x Chicken Fajita Stir Fry
  • 1x Chinese Pork Stir Fry
  • 1x Chicken Pad Thai with Asian Veg
  • 1x Persian Lime Chicken with Quinoa & Minted Peas
  • 1x Beef Lasagna with Italian Veg
  • 2x Shreddies MAX Granola
  • 2x Fuel Porridge
  • 3x Oomf Protein Oats
  • 5x Muscle Food Bar (Chocolate Decadence, Lemon Crunch, Cookies & Cream)
  • 3x PhD Diet Whey Protein Bar (Salted Caramel, Triple Chocolate Cookies)
  • 2x Zippers (very crispy almost biscuit-like stick things!; BBQ flavour, Cheddar & Sour Cream)
  • 1x Cheese & Onion Protein Crisps
  • 1x Beef Jerky
  • 1x Chinese Marinaded Chicken-On-A-Stick Snack

The Breakfast Foods

Unfortunately, I really didn’t like ANY of the porridges and protein oats, which I’m really sad about, because I like porridge, and used to eat quite a lot of the porridge pots, but it’s entirely possible that this is why I didn’t enjoy them, because they weren’t sweetened! I realise that this is the whole point of healthy food (to be healthy!) but I’d have rather just eaten plain porridge with salt. Others’ taste buds may appreciate the Oomf and Fuel oats more than I did, however. The best of those was the apple, cinnamon and raisin flavour, which had an excellent flavour of apple and cinnamon, but was lacking in raisins. I think I found two, and the sweetness of that pot might have been better with more raisins. The Shreddies MAX Granola was actually quite nice, although a 45g serving is tiny, and on the morning that I ate the Shreddies, I really, really needed a snack to keep me going until lunch time.

The Soups

I was a huge fan of the soups, although I didn’t enjoy the chicken & sweetcorn flavour… only because it had a lot of fresh coriander in it, and I’m one of those people who really can’t enjoy coriander, because it tastes like soap. Apparently that’s a genetic thing! The roasted squash and chilli soup was DELICIOUS! It had a beautiful flavour of squash, and the chilli was FIERY-HOT. I’ve never been a fan of overly-spicy foods, but this was beautiful, and left my tongue tingling. The Tomato, Basil & Quinoa soup was lovely, and the flavours were balanced nicely.

The Ready Meals

First off: the pizzas are excellent, although portion sizes for pizzas tend towards the smaller side, which is its only let-down. The takeaway container ready meals are delicious, despite the Satay Chicken not tasting at all like peanut sauce. It was still lovely to eat, and the red peppers and green beans cook wonderfully – still some crunch left, and they didn’t go soggy.

Actually, that was a thing I noticed about all of the food: the veg definitely feels fresh, when I’m eating it. There’s a lot of peppers and onions, and there was always a good bit of crunch from them during meal times.

I was also lucky enough that I got quite a few Asian flavours: Thai Green chicken, chicken Pad Thai, Chinese Pork, Satay Chicken (for the main means); chicken tikka pizza; Chinese marinated Chicken-On-A-Stick snack. The Chinese flavours I’ve always had from ready meals has been an over-saturation of Five Spice… but while there’s five spice in these meals and snacks (not all but some of them) it wasn’t overly-strong, and just added a nice flavour. The Chicken-On-A-Stick snack was actually one of my favourite items, especially as it turned out to be actual chicken meat – chicken breast, even! – and I don’t think I’ve ever eaten chicken-on-a-stick that wasn’t processed meat. It tasted lovely, it was moist, and it was delicious.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the beef lasagne, which wasn’t saucy enough for me. I like plenty of sauce in my lasagna, which is a personal preference of course.

The Snacks

Ever eaten a protein bar before? I’ve tried a few diets with meal replacement bars, and I’ve found that they all taste quite the same: a little powdery, and nothing like their description.

Luckily, the protein bars included in this bundle weren’t powdery, and in the case of the chocolate chip/chocolate decadence, they were actually chewy and sticky, and that was fine by me, because it made them so much easier to eat than previous bars I’ve tried. The beef jerky was the first beef jerky I’ve ever tried, and while it was a little on the tough side (I’ve been assured by other eaters of jerky that this is Normal and How It’s Supposed To Be) the marinade was delicious, and I will happily eat jerky again in the future. The zippers were brilliant – very crunchy, and so, so much flavour. I’ve never had so much flavour on crunchy biscuity crispy snack things before (the only thing I can even think that comes close to their texture is the little cheese crackers that you get in snack packs) and I’m definitely going to order zippers if/when I get a Muscle Food bundle again. The Cheese & Onion crisps tasted just like cheese and onion crisps, and they had a great crunch to them that I really enjoyed.

The Plan

The plan’s simple: three meals a day, plus three snacks a day, and it’s your choice as to what to eat when, although I’d suggest no more than one protein bar per day, as this reduces the amount of processed food eaten each day. Each food pack is portioned (or has the portion count mentioned on the ingredients/nutritional information label) and includes cooking instructions where necessary. The easiest way to keep your food at its best is to freeze the items that can be frozen on day of receipt, and defrost the next day’s food in the fridge overnight. Almost everything is freezer-compatible, including the soups, which makes it easy to keep the food fresh and delicious.

Incorporate the suggested exercise from the DVD on the days marked on your calendar, and you should see an improvement in your health shortly!

The Outcome

Now, I didn’t take my measurements for the before and after, because it was only a week’s course, so I didn’t expect to see any difference, even with the Do The Unthinkable fitness plan incorporated into my life (see below).

Do The Unthinkable Weigh-In: April 13

30st 6lbs (193.23kg)

Do The Unthinkable Weigh-In: April 20

30st 2lbs (191.42kg)
-4lbs since April 20, 2018

Yup, I managed to lose 4lbs in a week while eating more food than I’ve been eating recently. I was only hungry that one morning that I ate Shreddies Granola instead of porridge/oats. And I don’t think I’ve ever eaten that many vegetables in one week before in my life.

Do The Unthinkable

Do The Unthinkable

The other part of the Muscle Foods Do The Unthinkable program is the exercise. You get a 90-day planner with spaces to mark in your fitness test scores (marked on the calendar in green) and which days to rest, which days to work out, and spaces to mark completion of your exercises. None of these exercises require anything more than a towel, some water and a bit of space, which is awesome, because it means the only thing standing in the way of a great workout is… well. You.

(Trust me: I got in the way of a lot of the workouts.)

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I learned something very important during the fitness test on day one:

I am very, very unfit.

I honestly couldn’t even do most of the fitness test. Mountain climbers? Nope. 123 with High Knees? Nope. A press up? Nope. Glute bridges? NOPE. I am unfit. It’s not even funny how unfit I am.

I mean, I tried. I did. But honestly? I’m just so fat that I can’t do some of the exercises. My belly gets in the way, and I’m in no way strong enough or fit enough to fix that right now. So I did what I could, which wasn’t much at all, because I’m being honest.

For those capable of performing the exercises, Phase One of the program (also known as “The Base” in the material) will provide a more than adequate amount of difficulty to keep them interested and to work them out hard. It was more than I could cope with, and I’m a little ashamed to say that, but I’m not ashamed to say that I would be happy to work at it until I am capable of performing the workouts.

The calendar included in your materials is for the entire length of the program, so includes Phase Two and Phase Three, and includes space for all fitness tests (start and end of phase one; start and end of phase two; start and end of phase three) as well as spaces for your measurements on days 1, 30, 60 and 90.

Included Materials

Included With Do The Unthinkable...

These are the items that I received; my program was for a week only, and so if you purchase the full program for 90 days, you’ll receive everything for the duration, including 3 DVDs in total. You will also get access to an account area on Muscle, which includes things like a meal planner, a workout tracker, and a progress tracker, not to mention access to Steve, a personal trainer and nutritionist who can answer questions you may have via social media (you need to have a Facebook account to access this part of the program).

Deliveries are weekly, and you can change your food choices whenever you want/need, and you get the option of having a weekend off (you’ll receive food enough for 5 days); a cheat day (you’ll receive food enough for 6 days); or total dedication, which means you’ll receive food enough for all 7 days of the week. Total Dedication offers the best value for money, and you’ll eat better than you’d ever expect, while never feeling hungry, and never feeling deprived.


Overall, I’m really happy with everything to do with Muscle Food and Do The Unthinkable – the quality of the fresh food, the taste of the meals, the freshness of the ingredients – as well as the workout program, are pretty incredible. The plan is especially good if preparing your own healthy meals is a bit of a problem, as there’s no preparation involved in any of the meals, unless you feel like adding a half an avocado or something to that effect. The most work you’ll need to do is frying the stir fries or heating up the oven. It’s perfect for people who aren’t so hot in the kitchen, especially as the food is all delicious, and you’ll have more than 40 choices of foods.

While the workouts may seem difficult, I’ve no doubt that you will not regret a single day of the 90 days of the duration of the program.

Given my experience with the food and the workout, I’m more than happy to award Muscle Food and Do The Unthinkable an outstanding ★★★★★/★★★★★


You can set up and choose your plan at the Do The Unthinkable homepage, or you can check out Muscle to see what else they have to offer. Do The Unthinkable costs between £60-79 per week, depending on which package you’re choosing:

  • £60 for 30 meals (“Weekend Off” 5-day plan)
  • £69 for 36 meals (“Cheat Day” plan)
  • £79 for 42 meals (“Total Dedication” plan)

After completion of the program (90 days’ subscription), you will also receive 5x£10 Muscle Food vouchers, and a, “Do The Unthinkable” t-shirt!


I received no monetary compensation for this review; I was provided with one week (7 days) of Muscle Food‘s Do The Unthinkable meal products, snacks and breakfast foods to try out, and was also given Phase One of the Do The Unthinkable fitness plan, which included a DVD and a 90-day calendar. The links included in this review contain affiliate links, which means that if you follow one of my links and make a purchase, I will receive a small affiliate’s compensation payment. This does not increase your cost for the products; prices are correct as of April 22, 2018.

babble, body talk, exercise, spinning, story of my life

I’ve Finally Recovered From Spinfit

10th April 2018

As you may have read, I went back to Spinfit on Friday.

I’ve only today recovered from the 30-minute workout.

See, I was going to go to the gym after finishing class, but honestly? I came out of the room, sat down on the stairs, and I thought I was going to die. Therefore I did not go the gym to lift weights, which was my original plan. Instead, I chose to sit on the stairs and catch my breath, cool down, and wait for my mother to come and pick me up.

I was in agony on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, in places that I’d forgotten I could feel pain. I tried to do my stretches as much as I could to try to make my muscles feel better, but I’m not entirely sure that it helped much.

I woke up this morning and was amazed that I was only in my normal amount of pain. I felt fine-ish.

Now, I’ve booked myself in for this Friday’s Spinfit class, and I’m excited. I can’t wait to get back into the gym afterwards, as I’m going to go and lift weights or do something in the gym after my class. I had planned on going to the gym in the middle of the week, but I think until I’ve gotten used to going back to Spinfit and the gym after class, I’ll leave attending the gym itself (down the road from my house and across the football fields) for later, when I’m at least a tiny bit fitter.

I’ll admit, I’m also kinda terrified that I’d kill myself at the gym, and not want to go Spinning, so I’m saving that for later.

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