Diet Tips from a Boot Camp Virgin

For the very first time in years, about 10 years if I’m honest, I have eaten out without consuming any wine. That is right, there was not even a Holy-Communion-sized thimble of wine. I enjoyed a three course meal in a restaurant and there was no wine.

I, Delia Jane Monk, drank water. My body is a temple. I am at fat camp boot camp.

This is not me, it is the lovely Lucy who is also on boot camp and just so happens to be behind my water

Some of you who don’t know me very well might think that this is an exaggeration, but I can assure you it is not. I live in a city where I do not need to drive a car, and I have never been pregnant, why would I have ever forgone wine with dinner?

However, I am currently residing at Clumber Park Hotel and Spa near Worksop in Notts where I am trialling a new boot camp session they are planning to launch next year. My meals have been planned by a nutritionist (get me!) and only water will pass these lips. In for a penny, in for a pound.

I know my love for wine and food makes me an odd guinea pig choice for a boot camp trial but it comes with my job you see. I shall be reviewing the boot camp for the Nottingham Post, and for that reason I shall stay fairly tight-lipped about the muddy, sweaty details of what I am enduring. However, I thought it was wrong not to share with you a few healthy diet tips I’ve picked up.

1) Beer has ’empty calories’. Best fact of the day. This means that after a squiffy night on the ales you just need to work out the next day, apparently beer calories burn off very, very easily and don’t take much trouble to shift if you do it in the next couple of days. Told you this one was good eh?!

2) White wine has less calories than red wine. A small glass of white has about 125 calories compared to about 180 in a cheeky little red glass.

3) When you drink ice cold water, the water sticks to your fat. It’s always better to drink water at room temperature so your body doesn’t waste time trying to deal with all that cold water. Don’t forget the other little things – always take the stairs instead of the lift, walk or cycle to work if you can.

4) Waking up in the morning and just doing five minutes of exercise will speed up your metabolism for the day. Just a minute of squats, sit-ups, press ups, star jumps or whatever takes your fancy could make all the difference if you do it every day. Also have a glass of water first thing… Apparently this is another metabolism booster..

5) If your fitness is not improving then you need to mix it up. Instead of that same old four mile run, try running up a hill and walking down it four times. Allow your body to recover, then do it again five more times.

6) Eat dinner between 6pm and 8.30pm, try to eat your carb intake at lunch time instead of at your evening meal. Apparently your meat should never be bigger than the size of your palm, and it is better to eat five small meals a day than three large ones.

7) It is true that eating celery burns of more calories than you put on eating it. That’s why supermodels are skinny.

8) Eating hot food is good for your metabolism but…

9) You should not eat takeaway curry once a week. Worst fact ever. Kyle, our wonderful trainer, has even informed me (curry fans log off now) that if you are really committed to a hard workout then, and only then, is it ok to have curry once a month. Once a month?! I guess I’ll just have to make them hotter…

Disclaimer: If any of these facts are found to be incorrect it is because I a) am slightly hard of hearing and was sitting at the end of the dinner table and b) because I now have too much blood in my alcohol system.

Best pubs in Nottingham for Sunny Nibbles

This summer I vowed I would sample every single sunny terrace, garden, bench and patio that Nottingham’s pubs have to offer. Often disappointed by the lack of sun traps that serve beer in the city I think this is an important task that must be carried out so we know once and for all where we can chase the sun with our favourite tipple.

Unfortunately we haven’t had that much sun. This means when he does come out, with his hat on, I run to my two favourite sunny retreats, too terrified that I may stumble across a terrace of shade if I try elsewhere.

These staples are, my friends, The Lion in Basford, with it’s large, sunny beer garden and ample seating, and the Golden Fleece, with its sun-kissed inner city roof top terrace. The Lion, which is nestled in the heart of Nottingham’s old factory quarter, has a fantastic range of ales and is the sort of place where you can take a blanket and throw yourself on the grass for the day. Don’t be surprised if a group of Morris Men rock up for a dance.


However, this summer I have discovered a wonderful addition to the summer dining scene. It’s called called Tapas Tuesday and can be found at the trusty Golden Fleece.

It was any other Tuesday afternoon, except it was sunny, so Matty and I abandoned our shopping trip and made our way to the Golden Fleece (Mansfield Road, Nottingham if you’re not a local). We were actually the first people there (note the Golden fleece opens at 4pm on Tuesdays and not 11am, I promise) so we easily bagged ourselves one of the large wooden tables that adorn the roof terrace.

With large planters of colourful flowers sitting on green painted wooden panels around the terrace, it has a bit of a secret garden feel to it. Feeling smug with ourselves (warning – you can’t always get a seat), we were delighted to learn it was Tapas Tuesday. This not only means they are serving an exciting range of tapas dishes that are not normally on the menu, but you can have four dishes for £10 – and a bottle of wine for £7.50. Folks, it does not get much better than this. Especially on a Tuesday.

The chef was still writing the menu and preparing the food but at 5pm, with the ink still wet, we were handed the first-printed menu of the day. On it was a delicious selection of mouth-watering dishes, which we inevitably failed to narrow down to four.

Sipping our £7.50 bottle of wine (which admittedly is not the finest wine available to humanity but nevertheless is an adequate bottle of plonk that comes with an ice bucket) we eagerly awaited our dishes. Slowly they were laid out in front of us.


The chorizo slices came in narrow strips, perfectly fried so their juices and flavours were contained by the crisp finish but oozed out as you bit into them. The king prawns were just that, king of the sea world, and beautifully marinated, while the patatas bravas resembled sliced, roasted new potatoes with a tangy tomato sauce. Perhaps the star of the show for me was the slices of halloumi cheese which were served piping hot and melted in your mouth, alongside a sun blushed tomato salad.


It was a feast that would not have been out of place in Spain, and as the sun beat down, you could almost, almost imagine the alleyway below was an infinity pool and that the distant hum of cars on Mansfield Road was actually the waves of a far away ocean lapping the golden shores. Almost.