Sunday, 14 July 2013

Fat Woman and the importance of shopping in sport

Fat Woman has done a lot of shopping to support her interest in sport and fitness. Fat Woman loves a bargain and prides herself on being a canny shopper, finding useful or beautiful things at bargain prices. Fat Woman was never quite so upset as when she was supporting a friend's appearance on a TV show where they had to raise money for charity by having a yard sale and she was caught on camera paying over the odds for something. Luckily, Fat Woman didn't make good television and the exchange didn't make the cut. The whole section of Thin Husband bargaining for a mirror made it on to screen because he had a lovely stripey scarf that looked great on camera and good cheekbones, ditto.

Most of Fat Woman's purchases for sporting activities have been brand new. Fat Woman is not generally medieval in her thinking about second hand goods but thinks that second hand sweat is a bit icky and tries to avoid it. Fat Woman prefers to buy new and cheap for first time interests, on the grounds that if she wears out her first cheap purchase it is reasonable for her to invest in something better. Fat Woman's boxing gloves are the best example of this. Fat Woman has used them for many, many hours, yet they remain in good condition. This is partly because Fat Woman drew hearts and flowers on the white parts so boys didn't want to use them. Fat Woman would have been fine buying equipment such as racquets or bats second hand, but there never seemed to be any need to invest in anything expensive - until Fat Woman took up shooting.

Fat Woman found that buying a gun was a bit like trying to buy a pair of shoes that fit when you've never actually had a pair of shoes the right length or the right width. Fat Woman had never shot with a stock the right length before buying her gun. Fat Woman also had to deal with stocks with very pointy toes, which meant that the entire recoil of the gun would be concentrated on a 0.5" circle. Fat Woman knows that shooting is male-dominated and is therefore fairly sexist, but the complete lack of consideration and understanding by even the nicest people surprised her greatly. Fat Woman ran across people who were adamant she should go gun down straight away. Fat Woman would have been more understanding of these folk if they had been more appreciative of that 0.5" pressure circle. NONE of these people were cognisant of the recognised gun down technique for ladies who happen to be gifted with what Sparky calls 'bazoomas' (hold the gun out directly in front). Fat Woman was also very unimpressed at the number of people who assumed she would want a 20 bore simply because she is a woman. Fat Woman shoots clays - although has been promised pigeons in the future - and a light 12 bore is much nicer for her than a kicky 20 bore. Fat Woman admits however that she is not a delicate little flower and spends time lifting weights. Thin Husband is very happy with his 20 bore (see Fat Woman and the bore) although he has admitted that having got used to it he could handle a 12 bore of his own.

Fat Woman has created a guide for the frustrated gun-buying lady. Here, in easy steps, are Fat Woman's recommendations on how to go about buying a sporting gun (originally posted in the forum at

1. Learn the basics of shooting - how to mount the gun, where your hands and eyes should be etc.
2. Try every gun you can. Get friends and coaches to let you try their guns. Hire club guns. Fall in love with something very expensive.
3. Listen to the advice and prejudices and preferences of those you know. Be amused at how people seem to either love or hate the Beretta DT10/11 and the Miroku MK38 and have serious views on brands without much evidence or reason.
4. Go around all the gun shops and announce you need a gun, your budget is £X and you like Very Expensive Gun, what do they have for you? Try holding all their guns. Listen to the advice and recommendations as a good gun shop will be able to tell what might suit you. Do not get swept away at this point.
5. When the recommendations start lining up with your thoughts from holding the guns, try shooting the models you like. Gun shops will loan some stock if you are a serious buyer. You can't shoot a new gun but second hand guns and demonstration models are plentiful.
6. Once you've chosen some models you like, look around them for similar guns e.g same maker, next model up or down, same make and model but premier version compared to basic, same make but earlier model version.
7. When you've found the make and model you like best, find one in your price range and buy it. Share the news ecstatically.
8. Shoot with your new gun for a bit and then get it fitted.
9. Shoot more until you find yourself giving the same advice to people even newer than you. 

Fat Woman had fallen for Personal Trainer's DT10, but it was coming out of his cold dead hands so Fat Woman went looking elsewhere. It turned out that the reason Fat Woman liked the DT10 because it was backweighted and so was easier for her to handle. Fat Woman now has a Browning 425 nicely fitted to her. Shooting Coach says guns are just a stick that goes bang, so until someone tells Fat Woman her gun is letting her down she will stick with it. Fat Woman is a bit undiscerning when it comes to things like engraved game scenes and wouldn't pay extra for them, but she does like her stock having pretty wood.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Fat Woman and the dessert revolution

Fat Woman is a big fan of dessert or, as she prefers to call it, pudding. Fat Woman is aware that some American readers might think that she meant the soft, whipped dessert made from a packet, similar to what UK people know as Angel Delight, but Fat Woman likes the solidness of the word "pudding". A pudding is something good and filling. In Britain Fat Woman has found the word "dessert" too often means that whatever is available has aerated cream and a dry sponge base made from a powdered mix. The only thing to make Fat Woman shudder more than a British dessert is the word "sweet". If someone asked Fat Woman if she would like a sweet Fat Woman would think she was being offered a Fox's glacier mint or some other kind of boiled sweet in a crinkly cellophane wrapper.

Fat Woman is now wondering how many puddings she has turned down when she thought she was being offered a tooth-shattering Murray Mint.

Fat Woman is very fond of pudding. Fat Woman doesn't have a lot of pudding these days, which is a shame because Fat Woman makes amazing puddings. Fat Woman can turn out a New York Cheesecake that will make you cry, in a good way, and has seen men fight over the last piece of her banoffee pie. Fat Woman regrets that no gentlemen have ever been inclined to fight over her person, but accepts that some are made to be beautiful and some are made to be useful. Fat Woman also does a treacle tart that would do any school pudding revival justice and a chocolate floaty pudding where the sponge rises to the top leaving a delicious fudgy sauce underneath. This in addition to the two minute treacle sponge, cooked in the microwave when unexpected guests stay for dinner, and a range of fruit crumbles and pies. Fat Woman regards making pudding as a craft and has studied for many years.

Fat Woman is not only fond of making pudding. Fat Woman is fond of eating pudding. Fat Woman inherited the idea that pudding is a treat from her mother, who whilst an utterly splendid lady had her own food issues and was inclined to use sweet food as a celebration, a reward and a way of showing love. Fat Woman's mother didn't serve pudding unless there was a special occasion, but a special occasion would require a decent amount of pudding. Fat Woman still serves two contrasting puddings at dinner parties, usually one with fruit and one without as Thin Husband doesn't really like fruit in puddings.

Fat Woman may give the impression that she has spent most of her life scarfing down sweet food, but actually she simply doesn't have pudding very often. Fat Woman has turned into one of those irritating people who will buy very expensive punnets of out-of-season raspberries as a treat. Once Fat Woman started eating a very clean diet she found that she no longer appreciated the bland sweetness of most purchased puddings. Simply put, they weren't worth the calories. Fat Woman was heartbroken to find bought cheesecake bland, the pastry of any pie too sweet and that anything marked "Dairy Milk" now tasted exactly like chocolate protein powder. It has had the benefit that any time Fat Woman has a milk chocolate craving she has a chocolate protein shake instead.

Fat Woman's relationship with protein powder has been slow-burning. Personal Trainer introduced Fat Woman to protein powder, but for a long time Fat Woman was determined that she could get all the protein she needed from food. People kept telling Fat Woman that a protein shake was "Just like a milkshake" but Fat Woman never liked milkshakes, with the exception of a McDonald's thick shake when you could get them both thick and vanilla flavoured. Fat Woman managed to eat protein after she developed a protein fudge bar, which Personal Trainer adores. Fat Woman learned to drink protein shakes when she realised that she was going to spend five days out of every seven on ibuprofen if she didn't get a handle on her DOMS, and there was research showing the constant ibuprofen use leads to hearing loss in women. Fat Woman also had firm instructions from Personal Trainer to increase the protein value of her breakfast.  On training days Fat Woman eats eggs but on other days she wants cereal and has a protein shake on the side as a convenient way to meet her nutritional requirements. Fat Woman spent the first week of liquid protein consumption blending unflavoured protein with fruit juice, to Personal Trainer's apparent irritation, because fruit juice has needless sugar, until she took delivery of orange and passionfruit whey isolate. Personal Trainer thinks that all whey protein should be chocolate flavoured and was possibly as disgusted at the orange and passion fruit flavour as he was at the mixing whey with fruit juice.

Eventually Fat Woman got to the stage of chugging down vanilla whey with ease. Fat Woman has unflavoured whey for baking and for use with the flav drops - raspberry and apple for the mornings, chocolate whey for baking and satisfying the occassional chocolate craving, vanilla as an all-around stand-by and orange and passionfruit for using when travelling. People seem to accept that a double flavoured protein shake like orange and passionfruit can't taste all that bad.

Fat Woman's relationship with protein products has centred mostly around those produced by Fat Woman has heard reasons why other products are supposedly 'better' but she is a whizz with a spreadsheet and has never found proof, either nutritional or financial, that any company has a product that is better for her. At least Personal Trainer approves of Fat Woman's collection of proteins from; he was very rude about the protein shakes on sale at the gym when Fat Woman bought one and said that if she ever forgot her protein again she should come and get some from him. Fat Woman did this and it was a very nasty tasting serious blend that she was grateful for at the time, but will go to great pains to avoid in future.

Fat Woman was therefore delighted to be appointed an official tester of products. Partly this came about because Fat Woman is a blogger with a widely read audience, but also because Fat Woman is persistent. Fat Woman loves research and shopping and food and having worked in marketing knows the value of thoughtful, honest feedback. Fat Woman has been promised all kinds of goodies to try out, but the first thing to arrive was a protein dessert. Fat Woman overlooked the word "dessert" on the grounds that the prospect of a good protein pudding was simply too exciting. Fat Woman has made protein pudding herself but it was a faff and a chore and wasn't that tasty, so now she doesn't bother.

Personal Trainer was also very keen to try the protein puddings. Personal Trainer is a huge fan of puddings, although it seems to Fat Woman that he does tremendous mental gymnastics in order to allow himself the odd treat. Fat Woman tries very hard to respect Personal Trainer's dietary regime, but does miss the days when he was eating anything he wanted as she rarely found such an appreciate and unsatiable audience for her cake. However, Personal Trainer is a lean, mean fitness machine so whatever he is doing is obviously working for him. Personal Trainer did make Fat Woman's banoffee pie part of his last cheat meal before his summer slim down. The pie was so filling (or possibly calorific) that Personal Trainer even let Sparky have a piece. Sparky was so impressed he came to thank Fat Woman, which Fat Woman thinks was sweet.

Fat Woman had three flavours of protein dessert to try: strawberry, banana and chocolate. Fat Woman was disappointed that there was no vanilla flavour as that his her favourite, but was very impressed at the originality of the banana flavour. Fat Woman had prepped by reading the instructions, and as it was so easy to make the pudding (put in shaker with 150-200ml of milk, shake and refrigerate for 15 minutes) she made the puddings up in three separate shakers and stored them in the gym fridge whilst she trained. Fat Woman's mistake was not putting the milk in first; the mixture didn't all get mixed in, which Fat Woman considered a terrible waste. Fat Woman admittedly didn't use shakers, which might have been part of the problem. Fat Woman had however used 4% fat milk. Personal Trainer is a fan of full fat milk, and although Fat Woman doesn't usually have it at home she thinks that a pudding ought to be given a fair chance by being made with the milk that is closest to cream. Fat Woman had brought a pint of milk to split between the three shakers, which is possibly why there wasn't quite enough milk for the packet size.

Personal Trainer designed to join Fat Woman in the gym reception area for testing. Fat Woman had provided serving spoons for each flavour, and plastic cups to eat out of. Fat Woman failed in her product testing etiquette because she only had one extra spoon for each of them to eat with, so each person would have to lick their spoon clean between new flavours. Personal Trainer had had to be reassured that Fat Woman was not inclined to swap saliva with him, but even he approved of Fat Woman's serving arrangements.

First to be tested was the banana pudding. Fat Woman helped herself to a couple of spoonfuls and tucked in. The first mouthful was chilled and creamy and delicious! It had a lovely texture, not the bland overly-processed smoothness Fat Woman remembers from Instant Whip, but somehow reminder her of that other 1980s pudding, table cream. Personal Trainer laughed at Fat Woman because she was eating her banana dessert in the same was as some over-excited lady would on an ice-cream advert, licking the spoon with great concentration and making sure she had finish all her serving. Personal Trainer admitted that he thought the dessert was nice - which Fat Woman felt was damning by faint praise giving the way he had gone through his portion at high speed - but couldn't be shifted into giving more fulsome praise. Fat Woman wasn't too bothered about this because Personal Trainer said her amazing chocolate cake was "very nice".

The strawberry dessert was next. Neither Fat Woman nor Personal Trainer are huge fans of strawberry flavoured things, except for jam in Fat Woman's case, but they agreed that for a strawberry flavoured dessert it was good. Strawberry lovers will probably love it.

The chocolate pudding was the highlight of the testing. Personal Trainer declared that the chocolate dessert was just like an Aero mousse. Fat Woman didn't think that the makers of Aero would be too keen on that comparison, and she certainly wasn't going to admit to have eaten an Aero mousse in front of Personal Trainer, but she did think that it tasted just like the chocolate mousse she had from Tesco. Well, that Thin Husband ate but he let Fat Woman have a teeny teeny taste.

Fat Woman and Personal Trainer discussed the use of such a protein dessert. Personal Trainer said that he would use it late at night when he wants something sweet to eat before bedtime. Personal Trainer also said that although most women he trains don't use protein like Fat Woman he could see the value in recommending something that is craving-killing because of the high protein content. The protein dessert would be a good part of a calorie controlled diet. Fat Woman made a mental note to give several people samples.

Fat Woman is giving thanks to the universe that finally someone has invented a pudding that tastes good and sweet AND kills the craving for an indefinable pudding something that fruit never seems to get rid off. Fat Woman now has her own large bag of banana pudding, plus a sample of vanilla to  try and a little bag of chocolate for emergencies. Fat Woman just loves the texture of the banana pudding. Instead of being blandly smooth it has a slight grain to it that reminds Fat Woman of some food from her childhood but she can't think exactly what. Symingtons table cream perhaps.

Fat Woman is continuing to experiment with different kinds of milk. With 4% fat milk the puddings are thick and solid after 15 minutes in the fridge. With 2% milk the puddings feel a little bit lighter but are solid enough to create a good mouthfeel. Fat Woman finds that 50g of protein dessert and 150ml is the best mix and that if you put the milk in first the powder doesn't end up in clumps at the bottom of the shaker. It needs to be shaken; whisking doesn't work anywhere near so well. Fat Woman splits each batch into two, making individual servings in ramekins. The pudding needs covering or else it develops quite a thick skin.

Fat Woman is honestly delighted at the protein dessert. It tastes good and it's quick and easy to make. Most importantly for Fat Woman, when she wants that something sweet and yet fatty at the same time this protein dessert made with milk hits the spot. Satiety is a big requirement from a pudding, and to find one that will deliver without setting up a sugar spike is a huge deal in Fat Woman's world. Fat Woman is fairly sure she doesn't have a sugar addiction but it is such a relief to want something sweet, be able to eat something sweet and tasty, and then feel satisfied.

Fat Woman doesn't think the protein dessert is a replacement for the home cooked perfection she strives for when making pudding, but it beat the heck out of anything else she has found for the same amount of calories.

Fat Woman got her lovely protein dessert samples from the nice people at The Hut who are working on behalf of You can buy your own protein dessert from