March 2009

End of an era

There were so many things I had planned to write about this week. There was the fact that the Deadly West Brom Winger had scored a fantastic hat trick at the weekend in a 16-0 thrashing of some poor team who probably wished they hadn’t turned up; or there was the on-going saga of my Wii fit experiment that left me crippled for the week after just 2 days doing the yoga moves or even Mother’s Day which saw me sitting in casualty on Sunday evening after taking a nasty fall and sustaining a suspected broken right wrist – what a nightmare that was! (Turns out it was just a sprain but painful nonetheless).

No, today I am going to pay homage to the end of an era.

My grandfather’s younger brother, Ernest Godfrey James Shill passed away last weekend and with him went the last of a generation. As I sat next to my father in the crematorium today I couldn’t help
wiping the tears from my eyes as I thought about the people he had lost
and the emptiness he must feel. My grandfather, Robert passed away some 12 years ago, my grandmother, Kathleen just 2 years ago; my uncle, his only brother Leslie over 20 years ago. I gazed around the room at people I hardly knew, family I hardly knew, family who I had only ever remembered seeing at funerals. All connected but all so unfamiliar.

I don’t remember meeting Ernest or should I say “Curly’ – no-one ever knew him as Ernest. I learnt he had been a gun dog handler, a lover of country and western and big band music and he left behind him a wife, several children and 14 grandchildren. He had been one of 4 children all now sadly gone (I knew this as I have been researching our family tree on ancestry) and his father, Godfrey, my great-grandfather, I had been told by my father, was a lovely man. Having said that my grandfather was a lovely man, a real character with a wonderful manner and jovial to the core.

So it was with a saddened heart that I left the crematorium and said my goodbyes to people I hardly knew. I also dwelled on our family history, our family name, the SHILL name. My father, proud as he is of his 3 daughters, knows that our name will soon die out. My sister Maxine is unmarried and still bears the SHILL name but she will be the last Shill descendent from our known ancestors: Robert Shill (b.1796) and Sarah Shill (b 1791) and it is sad to think of it this way. Our future lies with our children, The Daniels’, The Hay’s, The Brady’s – all I can do is document it and ‘scrap’ it for them and their children so that our names and our histories will always be remembered long after we are gone.

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Are Wii Fit yet? – DAY ONE: Benchmark

Day 1 is always the worst – the realisation of just how unfit you are can be really uncomfortable. I finally took the plunge, took the Wii board out of the box and got myself weighed in (I took my body measurements myself)Wii-fit-20080402033455209_640wWii-fit-20080402033438991_640w

Here are the vitals:

Age: 42

Height: 5′ 7.5″
Weight:  9st 4lbs
Bust: 37″
Waist: 29″ (ouch!)
Hip: 37″

Visible ‘jelly’ – considerable on belly, hips, thighs and uh-hum…bum!

BMI: 20.35 (not bad eh?!)
Centre of gravity reading (COG) :  Left:  49.36%   Right:   50.64%

Wii fit age: 36 (woohoo!)

Ski jump – 4 attempts (310m – currently have the family record…love it!)
Slalom – 4 attempts (average)
Putting the balls in holes – 3 attempts (completed all levels on 3rd go – woohoo!)
Tight rope – 1 (completed first time- check me!)
Running – 5 minutes (nearly killed me)
Step Aerobics – 5 minutes (I have no rhythym at all)
Hula Hoops – 3 attempts (I’m so bad at this!)
Yoga (nearly fell over attempting ‘The Tree’)

TOTAL TIME SPENT: 34 minutes
MOOD: Completed knackered – Oh my g*d what have I started!
FOOD: Dinner was a disaster – a chip buttie, soooo unike me!

Oh well, there’s always tomorrow…

Wii Fit Images courtesy of

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Are Wii fit yet?

We had talked about getting a Wii fit for sometime. Friends had bought one for their kids and had bragged about how much they used it and how good it was and well, we kinda thought we should get one… you know fun for the kids, good for us ( yadda yadda) but nothing appeared at Christmas and I admit I was thankful when the idea seemed to have been dropped.

Then Karl came home on wednesday after taking Greta shopping, ordered me to close me eyes and hold my hands out.

My mind raced…week in Barbados…spa weekend…dinner at Simpsons…I’d have settled for a jar of Ginger Rush from Origins …..but no, it was a Wii Fit! I have to admit I was kinda pleased but also a little gutted  – dinner at Simpsons would have been divine!

We got it out the box and it soon became apparent that the adults weren’t going to get a look in. Greta and Amber were on it staight away and completely hogged it so it wasn’t until yesterday that either Me or Karl finally got anywhere near it.Wii fit

I’m not a big lady by any stretch of the imagination, in fact I’ve
spent most of my life hovering between an 8 and a 10 (that’s UK not US)
and a friend was seen recently literally jumping up and down after I
showed her my ‘jelly belly’ declaring how happy she was that Andrea had
finally joined the rest of us in the fight against the bulge.  I’ve
always been pretty fortunate too in that I have a fast metabolism, have
a low fat ratio and I get ‘fit’ really quickly once you get me going.

having a baby in my forties, starting my menopause and spending all
day in front of a computer without even having to leave the house has
finally taken it’s toll. Where I could burn calories in my sleep (I am
not kidding here!) I know pile on the pounds. Something was going to
have to change

So there I was staring at the kids running, jumping, swinging their hips, and laughing their heads off and a little idea struck me. Could this thing really work? Could this game really strengthen my back, tighten my muscles, reduce my waistline and give my heart a good enough work out to really make a difference?

Well, we’re going to find out. I am going to be upfront and honest about my weight, physique, lifestyle and eating habits. I am going to publish my BMI, body measurements, physical activity statistics and a list of what I’ve eaten on a regular basis. I’m also going to detail what I’ve done on the Wii and when I’ve done it.

So, if you’re up for a laugh, subscribe or bookmark me and let’s find out if Wii really can get you fit.


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Producing the goods

I have many nephews (5 to be exact) and 1 niece – all of which are Superstars in their own rights AND in their own ways. They are all great characters (it must be the Shill genes…) but every now and again one or even two of them leave me in a state of shock or wonderment at something they have achieved, gained or experienced.

Take Tyla for example. Tyla is NOT your average 14 year old. His appearance strikes you immediately – a skinny kid with a massive afro (frequently seen embedded with an afro comb) and a huge cheeky grin. Yes, he possesses all the usual teenager issues and attitudes BUT this is a kid, for example, that will put himself up to play netball  ‘coz the girls dig it’  and not only play, but play well! His speech can drive you to distraction so laden is it with hip-hop slang, Chav speak and lazy english you could mistake this lad for an ignorant, vacuous yob until you spend more than 5 minutes talking to him and realise he’s doing it deliberately to wind you up, get your attention and amuse himself; attention, I may add, you gladly give because he is so amusing.

TylaNow, last year was a bad year for Tyla. Sometimes this cheeky chappy just doesn’t know when to say no or when to put the brakes on his jovial ‘bad-self’. His friendship with several other notorious pupils keen to exploit his need for attention and acceptance coupled with his somewhat challenging attitude towards authority saw him get several suspensions and a near expulsion from school – one more offense and he was out and he had only just started the New Year! Now, this isn’t a bad kid, just an intelligent, bored kid with a real need for attention and recognition – he was just looking for it in the wrong place. His poor mother, along with the rest of us, held her breath ’til the end of the year when the slate would be wiped clean and he could start afresh.

And start afresh he did!

New teachers and a fresh start have seen him adjust his attitude, knuckle down and produce the goods… and oh has he produced the goods. Last Thursday his Mom popped in for her morning cuppa armed with a thick bright orange, dog-eared school book, a big grin and a request from Tyla to ‘show Aunty Andrea’ something special. The book it turns out was his Maths book from this year (September 08 – March 09). At first I was a little bemused but as I slowly turned the pages I realised that I couldn’t see a single cross anywhere in the book.

Not a single WRONG ANSWER in the entire book!

In fact, it was completely full of right answers, merits and ‘good skills marks’. Tons of them!IMG_9846b

I have never seen anything like it! Neither has anyone else I have shown. I was so proud of him and so pleased for his poor Mom whose relief was evident.

A couple of years ago I rewarded his brother financially for producing a straight A’s school report so when I finally got to see the big man himself and commented on his maths book, his answer was simple, cheeky and to the point …

‘More birthday presents for me then Aunty Andrea!”

Yes, Tyla, most definitely more birthday presents for you!

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Time flies… when you’re behind

IMG_9368bWell, we certainly knew Spring was on it’s way this weekend when I awoke on Sunday to blue skies, glorious hazy sunshine and a chorus of birds. It put me in such a fantastic mood I was up and out the house before anyone else had even begun to stir.

My good mood wasn’t to last too long though as after a few minutes driving around it dawned on me that it was the 1st March  – the FIRST OF MARCH! What happened to January and February?
Is it me or does time fly ridiculously fast the older you get?  The first of March already!



You see, March is an odd month, it comes with the usual promise of endless weeks of rain, that awful realisation as you peel off your wintery sweaters that you ate too much during the colder months and for us, the start of the silly season. Yes, I said the ‘silly season’ – it’s when the birthday’s start.
Months of them
weeks of them
after another
after another
after another
until the end of September.
Have I made a single card yet – uh, no! Have I bought a single present yet, uh – another no. Have I even consulted my BBB (birthday book bible) to check who is first? Uh, that’ll be another no. All my good intentions of ‘getting ahead’ and being organised this year have already disappeared and I’m only 9 weeks into the year.  Where does the time go?

This thought ruined my good mood. (Nothing that a large slice of carrot cake and a double latte couldn’t fix though – now, where’s that sweater?)

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