Category: Advice

Clearing up the Confusion about Coronavirus

Hello, hello, hello from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I feel that it is about time that I stepped into the coronavirus ‘pond’ and helped clear some of the muddy water that is https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/causing confusion, with more to come by the sound of it. Now that Birmingham has been fenced off (some might say it should have been done sooner, but that’s just spitefulness) and there are restrictions on how many people you may meet up with, I felt I needed to clarify just exactly what you can and can’t do. You can then print out these clarifications and carry them with you as a reminder in your handbag or wallet or pocket or even down your underwear (and remember that the LSG does not discriminate, so get those Wonderbras out, boys; unpack those y-fronts, girls!). I will try to condense them as best as I can.
If you live in England:
1. You may not travel into or out of Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford or anywhere else beginning with B unless you have an exceptionally good reason. The only exemption is Barnard Castle, and this is only available to people whose initials are DC.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/2. You may meet up in groups of six in order to eat or drink and generally make merry. If you don’t have five friends to make up a group of six, you are barred from socialising altogether and must sit at home staring soulfully out of your window.
3. If you live in a household of more than six, you will need to get rid of one or more of the household. I suggest that you choose the unfortunate victim(s) by means of a short straw; or perhaps choose by age, or height? Or how much they eat? The ‘chosen ones’ will then have to look for a household with fewer than six in it and ask if they can join it.
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/4. Wear a face mask as often as possible – according to the government website, ‘An infected person can pass on the virus even if they do not have any symptoms, through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing.’ You should therefore try to avoid doing any of these, although you may find the breathing restriction a little difficult at first, but persevere – it will be worth it.
5. Further advice from the government: ‘When with people you do not live with, you should also avoid physical contact; being close and face-to-face; and shouting or singing close to them.’ My plan of going out and cheering people up by hugging complete strangers and singing ‘Men of Harlech’ into their faces looks like it will have to be postponed…
6. There are exceptions to the ‘rule of six’ – ‘wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, or other religious life-cycle ceremonies – where up to 30 people will be able to attend; funerals – where up to 30 people will be able to attend… protests and political activities… ’ I’m not sure what ‘other religious life-cycle ceremonies’ are, but it’s clear that you can have a wonderful party if you can find someone who’s about to get married, someone who’s popped their clogs, and a couple of political activists and combine them all together on the same day.
7. Fill up your car with petrol in case you need a covid test – you may be asked to travel to Wales or Scotland to get one.
Remember that there are different guidelines for Wales and Scotland – I suggest not visiting either of these countries until they have learned to speak properly and can explain their rules clearly. Northern Ireland is staying quiet – unusually!
Remember – Hands, Face, Space – or Clap, Slap, Gap! Goodnight and sleep well.

Party Animal!

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Good evening once again from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I now regard myself as a REAL party animal. I have been to two parties in as many weeks, which is twice as many as in the past two years, so I feel that I am more than qualified to offer advice on how parties should be run should you wish to organise one of your own.

Party 1

This was a 50th birthday party for a good friend of mine who is just marginally younger than me, so I don’t wish to call her an ‘old’ friend. I’ll call her Sarah for the sake of anonymity. She started the evening well in the LSG’s eyes by inviting me and next-sibling-down to join her and her own siblings, whom we have known for many a decade – in fact, probably our oldest friends – for a pre-party glass or two of bubbles at her gaff since, as she said, we count as family. There’s lovely, as they say in the Valleys!
https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/
Buoyed by the bubbles, we moved on to the local rugby club (where else would you have a party in Wales?) and continued with the celebrations. We all made sure we had a table next to the toilets – well, not next to, but very near, since advancing years mean that one’s visits to the toilets increase accordingly – but also withing spitting distance of the bar – well, not quite spitting distance, but close enough to mean that arthritic joints don’t have to be overused. Isn’t age a wonderful thing? 😊
All the birthday girl had to do was sit at the well-placed table and wait for guests to arrive and duly hand over their presents which were all of the alcoholic variety – can’t imagine why, since Sarah is a woman of meagre habits when it comes to alcohol. A distinct lack of imagination, I feel, on the part of her friends. I can’t remember what I gave her … 😊
The last I heard, she was talking about opening her own off-licence …

Party 2

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/This second party was a new one for the LSG. It was described as a ‘drinks reception’ – such an event in itself is not a new experience for the LSG, of course, but it was being thrown by a three-month-old baby! I have a feeling this child will go far in the world. This is far better than those awful ‘baby showers’ imported from America where yummy mummies sit around in ‘rustic’ settings eating ‘artisan’ cucumber sandwiches and drinking fruit tea. How can that possibly compare to a choice of wines (specially selected by a qualified wine taster! – my heroine! Since she’s an ex-student, I like to think I played no small part in her choice of career, although I’m sure her mother and father will also have encouraged her to follow that path) and snacks such as samosas, brie bites, spicy sausage roll slices, radishes (yum, yum!), smoked salmon and cream cheese on cucumber slices, battered prawns …
The party started with a discussion with the baby’s Irish father about the upcoming rugby matches and who would win the 6 Nations – we were both very polite about each other’s teams – much to the baby’s grandmother’s relief, who had envisaged fisticuffs of some sort since she is a football supporter and that is all they understand. 😊 In fact, the conversation didn’t wander much further from that topic all afternoon!
A very pleasant occasion and the only thing that puzzled the LSG was the number of people who removed their shoes before going into the living room. It would have been understandable if they had been asked to do so by the hosts and if most guests had been wearing stiletto heels, but nearly everyone was of a ‘certain age’ and, therefore, wearing ‘sensible’ shoes. Even the younger element was in low heels. One person had even brought her own fluffy slippers – that’s above and beyond! The baby who was throwing the party behaved impeccably throughout and even earned a smile from the LSG, which is unusual, to say the least!
I can certainly recommend going to a drinks reception thrown by a baby – they know how to party! Don’t forget to invite the LSG! And if you enjoyed this piece of advice from the LSG, you may also enjoy Party Animal Aces It, Confessions Of A Party Animal, and The Party Is Over, though of course it wasn’t!

Eggsciting Times!

Tonight, dear devotees, I intend to offer some tips on cooking. As you know, I am particularly adept at producing the perfect Pot Noodle, but you don’t need me to advise you on this culinary creation since the instructions are written on the pot anyway. No, today I wish to offer some advice on poached eggs on toast and, more specifically, poached eggs in the microwave. You may not have realised that poached eggs could be cooked in a microwave, so I am here to broaden your horizons and offer you two alternative methods of poaching eggs in the microwave, as tested by the Lifestyle Support Guru and a male sibling. It is up to you to decide which method you will eventually choose. Both are equally effective. I will set the scene:

Male sibling suggests poached egg on toast for lunch as a change from Pot Noodle. You point out that the sliced bread has mould on it, but accept that the cobs are still relatively fresh, so they could be cut in half in order to fit in the toaster. And now here are the two methods:

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/

1. Male sibling looks at the instructions for the (until now unused) poached egg device for using in the microwave and breaks two eggs into it, pricking the yolks and whites, as instructed, so that they don’t explode. He then says that he needs to add half a tablespoonful of water to each egg and proceeds to add water straight from the tap rather than go to the trouble of getting a tablespoon out of the drawer. You stand looking on in awe at this facility to measure half a tablespoonful straight from the tap. The instructions go on to say that the eggs should be cooked on low-medium power; unfortunately, neither of us has ever used this function before and can’t work out how to change the power setting, so he takes a chance and stays with ‘high’. (I did offer to get the microwave instructions out, but he said not to bother – so I didn’t.) Meanwhile, he has forced the two halves of the cob into the toaster and there is a wonderful smell of burning coming from it because they are a touch too wide for the slots, At the same time there are some wonderful popping sounds coming from the microwave before it pings. Since the sibling is wrestling with getting the oversized cob halves out of the toaster, you open the microwave and find that there are splatters of egg white decorating all its inner walls and a puddle of water on the microwave plate. Sibling slides the eggs onto his ‘toast’ and goes off to eat them, quite satisfied with his efforts.

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/

2. You follow the same method as above right up until you realise that you need to add half a TEASPOONFUL of water to each egg, which you duly do. You then get the microwave instructions out and learn how to change the power setting. The eggs are ready to go, so you follow the sibling’s actions with regard to the cob halves. Unfortunately, you have cut them unevenly, so one of them has to be squashed into the slot, which means it comes close to setting the toaster on fire. There is that wonderful smell of burning again! But no popping sounds from the microwave! And no layer of egg white or puddle of water in the bottom (so to speak). You wrestle with the ‘toast’ and eventually have to turn the toaster upside down to get all the bits of cob left inside, but it needed a good clean out anyway. The eggs don’t quite slide smoothly out of the microwave dish – they need a little ‘persuasion’ with a knife, but they taste fine, even if the toast is a little unevenly cooked (or, rather, hardly cooked at all since you started to panic at the first smell of burning) and it doesn’t matter that the whole meal is cold because of the time you spent working on the toaster (which has since remained safely unplugged) because you get an immense feeling of satisfaction from having cooked it all yourself, putting in even more effort than you would for a Pot Noodle. And it only took half an hour from start to finish!

https://www.lifestylesupportguru.com/Please let me know if you would like more detailed instructions on preparing this healthy, quick and tasty meal. Buoyed by this success, next week we will be attempting Chateaubriand steak with duchesse potatoes and asparagus spears.

T.I.M or S.O.W

www.lifestylesupportguru.comI’m back again! Did you miss me? I have been incredibly busy over the last few weeks, dashing up and down the A1 (it’s nicer than the M1), being expelled from a medical practice (more of that another time), being gently questioned by a doctor to whom I offered a place in the Sixth Form several years ago (thank goodness; I think that’s why he described my blood pressure as ‘good’ – he was repaying a favour), the occasional lunch – and I DO mean ‘occasional’, since they seem to have dropped off alarmingly in recent months – and waiting in for wine deliveries.

Today, however, I wish to offer you a little questionnaire, because I know how much you enjoy discovering your inner self and that is exactly what the Lifestyle Support Guru is for – helping you to find the real person inside, as opposed to the one you show to the world, that jovial, laughing person who is wailing and weeping on the inside because Greggs has run out of vegan sausage rolls and you wanted to show how ‘woke’ you are by eating at least one!

The question today is: are you a T.I.M or a S.O.W.? Or both? I have finally discovered my Achilles’ Heel – I am BOTH! However, this is not necessarily a Bad Thing since it shows that I am able to relate to, and understand the pain of, mere mortals who do not have the inner knowledge and self-perception like what I have got (although I haven’t yet eaten a vegan sausage roll, but I’m sure that will come). You simply need to consider the following situations:

1. Turning Into my Mother (T.I.M.)

When you go into a shop, do you feel the need to explain exactly why you need whatever it is you intend purchasing? If your answer is ‘Yes’, then you are turning into your mother. I found myself doing this today when I explained just why I wanted the vitamin tablets I was considering purchasing – it was because my eldest sister had suggested trying them and when my eldest sister suggests something like that, I know it’s worth listening because she knows EVERYTHING (well, about vitamins, anyway). My next-eldest sister doesn’t know QUITE everything, but that’s not her fault, because she was born after Eldest Sister, so she has had less time to learn EVERYTHING (about vitamins).

2. Silly Old Woman (S.O.W.)

While you are explaining in great detail just why you need whatever it is you are purchasing (although this should be unnecessary if you are buying, for example, incontinence pads), do you notice the shop assistant’s eyes glazing over? You may be concerned that she is developing a rapid form of cataracts, but fear not for her health – it is only her way of confirming that you are a Silly Old Woman, just as you had feared, boring everyone within close vicinity with tales of bunions, hip replacements, the need to visit the toilet far more often, how many tablets you take a day, turning up the volume on the television, bemoaning the fact that ‘that nice Terry Wogan’ seems to have been replaced by a shrieking harpie who interviews little Tarquins and Arabellas about their violin-playing skills rather than recording risqué Janet and John ‘playlets’.

Please do not worry if you are male (or ‘would rather not say’) and think that you do not fit into the above categories. T.I.M. is non-gender-specific and S.O.W. can easily become S.A.M. – Silly And Male – or S.O.N.G.S – Silly Old Non-Gender-Specific – or S.O.T. – Silly Old Transgender. There, that should cover everyone!

Are you a T.I.M. or a S.O.W.? Test yourself! Goodnight!

Paying my debt to society

www.lifestylesupportguru.comI am aware that it is many moons since I last offered you any advice, faithful followers, so I shall try to make up for it today by telling you how to atone for one’s sins against society.
As some of you may know, I had the misfortune to go over the speed limit whilst visiting somewhere ‘oop north’ a little while ago – actually, it wasn’t so much exceeding the speed limit as getting caught that was the misfortune.
To make up for this crime against humanity, I was offered the opportunity to go on a Speed Awareness course, thus avoiding three points on my (clean) licence, although it would also cost me the equivalent of my annual wine allowance (I can imagine you all frantically trying to work out whether that’s true!).
Today was the day of my penance, so I donned my hair shirt and headed for the punishment centre, which also had many other groups meeting up for other, non-criminal reasons.
Upon arriving, I asked for the ‘I drove too fast’ room (the receptionist knew exactly what I meant and smiled, as one should when the LSG makes a little joke) and was given directions: ‘turn right after reception, then go to the top left corner, take a seat and someone will fetch you.’ The top left corner turned out to be a room where Rolls-Royce was holding a meeting. In fact, I needed the top right corner. The receptionist had obviously failed her Brownies Orienteering badge.www.lifestylesupportguru.com
While waiting to be fetched (along with about 30 other people), I watched some other attendees come and get lunch from a buffet set out in the centre of the main hall. As well as the usual selection of sandwiches, chicken on skewers, samosas, mini burgers and sausage rolls, there were also two dishes of macaroni cheese (or mac’n’cheese as it is so trendily called these days). One chap in the queue – who should really have been in the Slimming World line – made a point of saying loudly how much he disliked mac’n’cheese and that was the only thing he wouldn’t eat and then went on to prove it by loading his plate with double of everything else.
We were eventually called into the Speeding is Bad Room and the afternoon could www.lifestylesupportguru.comfinally begin. (I could have gone to the morning session, but it started at 7.45 am and my alarm clock doesn’t wake up until after 8 am.) All went well as we settled down and I turned into the table show off because I got all the speed limit questions right (so how come I got done for speeding, I asked myself!). I also spotted more hazards than anyone else when they showed us a ‘hazard perception’ film, but I lied this time because I didn’t want to be seen as the class show off. However, it was slightly worrying when a few class members said they’d spotted around 5 hazards while everyone else had spotted at least 10 (and one of us, who will remain nameless, identified at least 17, including the roadside blue bin that no one else spotted) – I don’t want to be anywhere near any of those drivers when they’re on the roads!
My main disappointment was that there were no free biscuits and coffee as so many people had told me there would be; only water and mint imperials (and I accidentally chose the sparkling water, which I HATE!) – oh, and I didn’t get a certificate saying I’d passed with flying colours! I feel I should have got at least a diploma for spotting the most hazards but, apparently, some people don’t even admit to going on these courses! I’ve told everyone!!
I have now paid my debt to society – and I have an email to prove it. I drove home very carefully and well within the speed limit, especially when a police car tucked itself in behind me just as I was about to cross over a hatched area to break into a line of traffic … 😊 Drive safely!