Chocolate Therapy

My mother is usually the calm and organised type but I enjoy the rare moments of panic, because she sort of throws her hands in the air and shrieks, "Shit! Shit! Shit a brick!"

I am having a Shit Shit Shit A Brick kind of week. Not only is the Moonwalk on Saturday, my pal Jenny arrives from Australia. Then Rhiannon arrives next Tuesday and we're going on a mini road trip. I can't wait to see which version of a Scottish summer we encounter – pouring rain or mauled by midges?

The flat is almost finished – no couch or carpet but the painting is done and Dr G put down a sexy new kitchen floor. There is the small issue of complete lack of things upon which guests can sleep. No food in the cupboards no accommodation booked no clean clothes no sleep no mercy at work no idea what to do about my stupid Moonwalk Bra of Doom etc etc but we're totally calm and cool, really now.

Things may get a little haphazard around here for the next couple of weeks but rest assured I'm planning to answer your burning questions such as, "How do I stay on the wagon?" Hopefully by then I'll have figured out the answer for myself!

. . .

Aside from boundless support and inspiration, one of the very best things about blogging is International Parcel Swaps. Like old school pen pals, but TASTY! Earlier this year Gracie in Alabama was pining for Tunnocks Tea Cakes so I sent her some sickly Scottish treats and she sent me a bulging box of American candy, complete with bottles of ale for Dr G !

More recently Amanda, an Australian expat in The Netherlands, expressed her longing for Tetley tea so I pounced on the opportunity. I exchanged 240 Tetley tea bags for THREE boxes of my favourite Droste cocoa!

I first fell in love with Droste for aesthetic reasons on a trip to Amsterdam – the chick on the cocoa box is holding another cocoa box with a chick on it who is holding another cocoa box with a chick on it who is holding another cocoa box with a chick on it! And so on. This is known as the Droste effect and can keep the simple-minded amused for hours! Just imagine my eyeballs spinning round now that I have THREE!


When I first started lard-busting I was hooked on low-fat sugar-free just-add-water hot chocolate sachets, the ones with 275 unpronounceable ingredients. A colleague used to scream at me in the tearoom, "THEY GIVE YOU CANCER!" but I guzzled on defiantly! Then one day I admitted that I didn't really like the taste so switched to old fashioned cocoa and real sugar. Gasp!

But as they say so persuasively on the Green & Blacks website, one teaspoon of cocoa is only 12 calories. I have three, but that's still only 36. A teaspoon of sugar is 15 calories. Cup of semi-skimmed milk, 115 calories. So 166 calories in total.

I also make it on the stove now, after adding up all the time I'd wasted mopping up the microwave. I liked it served it in a Starbucks mug that I got for free at the Society of Authors conference because it's so thick and cuddly.

(Many authors removed the mugs from their goody bags, as if loathe to sully their authorly lips with merchandise from a corporate behemoth. "DUDES ARE YOU CRAZY", I wanted to say as I swiped an extra one, "They just told us that the average British author earns less than Β£5,000 per year and you're turning down a free mug? Flog it on eBay for 10p or use it as a begging bowl!" )

So yes, 166 calories is more calories than the old diet sachets but the whole cocoa ritual tastes and feels  more satisfying. Thank you Amanda for enabling the habit! I will think of you while I sip away and watch the mighty Dutch footballers at the Euros.

I'm really quite delirious today; apologies for loopy nature of this entry. Take care, dear comrades!

34 thoughts on “Chocolate Therapy

  1. I’m glad you liked your “Care” package! Mine went pretty quick, especially after my Father discovered those wafer cookies… I didn’t even get one!

  2. “They just told us that the average British author earns less than Β£5,000 per year and you’re turning down a free mug? Flog it on eBay for 10p or use it as a begging bowl!”

    I love your attitude!

    Cannot understand the snobbish-ness of some arty farty pretentious types.

  3. Good luck with the moonwalk, my husband and I will be there willing everyone along as stewards. Road trip sounds fun too. Enjoy and don’t panic – its amazing what adrenaline can do for you.

  4. If you put a spoonful of honey in instead of sugar then you can feel more righteous. It is like medicine, then. Tastes great too, but like, HONEY! There is NOTHING wrong with that, it is HEALTHY…

  5. Hi Shauna, please tell us your thoughts on the American candy. I would love to know what you received and if you liked it. I’ve heard it’s not well liked by people from other countries.

  6. I’m with you on the free swag: it’s free for pity’s sake and you can always pitch it in the Goodwill bag if you don’t need/want it. I’m especially incredulous at the people who skip free lunches at work because they can’t be bothered…it’s free, people!

  7. Love the Droste packaging. And when you find out how to stay on track, get on track or even find the track, do let me know! Good luck for Saturday x

  8. I spent 6 months in sydney 7 years ago and I still dream of dunking a tim tam into a steaming cup of coffee and eating the gooey goodness … sigh. I guess I need to look at the bright side that my waist line is no longer subject to that kind of abuse!

  9. I completely fell in love with Dutch chocolate when I was living in Den Haag a few years ago… they have some of the best chocolate EVER! What I wouldn’t give for some good quality Dutch chocolate right now… sighs:)

  10. Oh my! I was going to ask you one day if you’d be interested in doing a swap of some kind, after eating those chocolates you sent from before… ’cause, seriously? Those are the BEST! But I thought it’d be too cheeky! haha, kickin’ myself in the ol’ butt now…

  11. I found your amazing blog a few days ago and have pyschotically read every post since then. I’m just starting out (100+ lbs to go) and was incredibly inspired.

    You look amazing!

  12. You can get Droste choccies here now, the little disc ones in the hexagonal/cylindrical packaging seem to be everywhere. They are good.

    Haven’t seen the cocoa though.

    Here being Oz :-).

  13. It must be an Aussie Mum thing. Mine often used the term “Shit a Brick” and even followed on with “Fart a Pebble!”
    These hallowed words have been passed down to me and I am sure I will pass them onto my child without meaning to. (I can picture a mini Tri-Hard piping up “SHIT A BRICK” in kindy!)
    As for hot chocolate from other countries… mmmmm. I went to Bali a few months back and tried their hot choccy mix. Lurrrvley! So much that my boyfriend and I bought back a few bags. I wanted to stash a few kg in a boogy board bag but my man suggested that not everyone had my sense of humor – and that we didn’t have a boogie board bag!
    Enjoy your road trip!

  14. Droste was available in the shop I worked at when I was at Uni – yes, that means you could have had it then, Shauna!!

  15. Sorry, I must have missed the Moonwalk bra of Doom – what’s happened with that? Quickly run out and buy an Enell, they are the Best Evah.
    And good luck!

  16. Yeah support the Dutch!! I am a Dutch girl living in Edinburgh and it is boring here at the moment football wise. At these times I miss the craziness that is going on in Holland with all the orange, everything painted orange, orange food, everyone wearing orange.. It’s great!! Thanks for the support. And yeah Droste cocoa is good.

  17. Good luck with the Moonwalk! It will be awesome and exciting and you will do the whole thing on adrenaline. Well, the first 5 miles, anyway!

  18. Have fun on the walk. Don’t forget to carry vaseline in case of any chafing moments.

    (Actually I found wearing lycra shorts under other shorts was the best way to encourgage glide and discourage chafing, but if you’ve got what you’re wearing sorted you may not want to change now.)

    Hmmm, not actually sure why I’m giving you chafing advice – you haven’t mentioned it at all. Sorry for bringing the tone down.

  19. Dear sweet Shauna, hang in there! Remember, you’re young & healthy and you can handle anything. =) This post was a fun read, too. At least you don’t lose your sense of humor when you’re up to your eyeballs in stress.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog yesterday. It sure means a lot knowing how nuts life is for you right now.

    Best wishes on the Moonwalk!!!!

  20. I think I need to start saying, “Shit! Shit! Shit a brick!” The repetition is satisfying. Also, I just found your blog and I love it! Thank you for keeping it up. Very inspiring πŸ™‚

  21. Oooh, recursive pictures. Retro recursive pictures at that. Cool.

    I approve of your cocoa reasoning – that’s what I do too, in that I don’t make hot chocolate often enough for the calories to be that much of an issue. I do recommend using honey, though; makes it easier to blend.

  22. Not only are your cocoa drinks relatively low-cal, they’re probably also good for you. Chocolate has lots of anti-oxidants and I don’t know for sure but I bet cocoa powdwer does too.

  23. Good luck with the moom walk.

    What an achievment (to add to your already long list). You’re a star.

    Just think, afterwards you can come home to as many warm snuggly cups of Droste as you like and still feel virtuous!

  24. Please, can we have lots of photos of the Moonwalk? I put up a post on Cranky Fitness about the Moonwalk a few months ago, but I don’t think people quite believed me. They might believe you. (If I posted photos, they’d all be crying “Photoshop!”)

    Love the Nurse-on-a-Cocoa-box πŸ™‚

  25. Please, can we have lots of photos of the Moonwalk? I put up a post on Cranky Fitness about the Moonwalk a few months ago, but I don’t think people quite believed me. They might believe you. (If I posted photos, they’d all be crying “Photoshop!”)

    Love the Nurse-on-a-Cocoa-box πŸ™‚

  26. I do have to say that the nun on the box is a little scary, and had I gone to Catholic school as a child I would be a little traumatized. But it’s like, all made better by the fact that she’s holding chocolate. Offering it, even.

    I’m going to have dreams now….

  27. I too discovered Droste cocoa at my local fruit and vegetable market. I thought I’d give it a try. It satisfies my craving for dark, rich chocolate… It’s great.

  28. PS. For those Aussies, I discovered it at the Minchinbury Fruit and Vegetable market if you live around the area.

  29. We have Droste in the USA but the packaging is not nearly as cool. Also, I just looked up Green & Blacks and they dont sell it in Texas! Only in posh states on the east coast. Bah!

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