All posts by matt

Back online

Well I changed a few options on my hosting and ended up taking down all my personal websites yesterday. Oops. Anyway, my hosting company have restored to a back-up all during New Years too, awesome!

I’ve lost some content, such as my ‘Fat Mat Returns’ post. I won’t bother trying to replicate it in its entirety, but it basically described how I have put on over 3 stone in the last year, and from the New Year I’m on a mission to target. Thankfully, I had plenty of people who have now given me the requested kick up the arse!


The Wales Centre for Professional Teacher and Trainer Education

Today,  I had a slot at Wales’ Learning Technology Forum in Llandrindod. It was a brief look at my own personal transition from a learning technology role in FE to one in HE, the similarities and differences of both sectors that I have experienced to date and some of the important challenges and developments that face the current organisation that I work for.

I ended the slot with an observation and a thought for colleagues involved in education, across all sectors, to chew over.

I now work for a a centre which gets its core funding from Welsh Government to provide Professional Education to the Pharmacy workforce living or working in Wales. As far as I am aware, I have so far observed that there is similar provision for Medics, Dental, Optometry etc. I do not know whether these are directly Welsh Government funded and I have probably drastically over-simplified the set up!!

However, if healthcare professionals have centres dedicated to developing and maintaining the standards across their respective professions, then shouldn’t the workforce dedicated to educating our nation also have the same. Teachers, trainers, classroom assistants, all ages, sectors etc etc.

Surely this would mean the best chance of a consistent level and quality of continuing professional development in the Education sector, across the whole sector and allow particular national priorities to be addressed in rapid fashion.  It could be an answer to finally stepping up the game in how we use technology to enhance learning, or best practice in Essential Skills education, safeguarding, digital literacy,  etc etc.

Just putting it out there, as Seth Godin would say, just Poking the Box, to see what comes back 🙂 .



Back on plan for 1 week, 9.5lb loss

So chuffed. Weighed in last Tuesday evening after being back on plan for a week. OK, its only a week, but I’ve had a dream start with a 9.5lb loss. I have planned and tracked everything. It has been really nice to eat tidy again.

One thing that was sure to trip me up was the start of the Autumn Rugby Internationals. So, I made sure I had my saviour on hand, plenty of Sainsbury’s Low Alcohol Czech Lager, which as I mentioned in a recent post, is only 1 syn per bottle, but tastes great!

Here’s my food diary from the week:

Slimming World Friendly Chilli Con Carne

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Its the start of the Autumn Internationals, with Wales about to take on the Aussies later on today. Match day means only one thing – chilli at half time (its the law!!). My Slimming World friendly Chilli is one of my all time favourite meals. I just can’t get enough of it, which really helps on a match day as having a good meal diverts my attention away form snacks during the game. Here’s the recipe that I use, which I’ve modified from the a couple of other chilli recipes from Slimming World, but tweaked to our own taste and heat that we like (although I must admit I’ve toned down the heat from my preferred level a bit so that the rest of the family can enjoy it too!!).

The Chilli will be washed down with Sainsbury’s Low Alcohol Czech Lager, which drunk ice cold, is a lovely refreshing and low syn alternative to normal lager. It tastes pretty close to the real thing and fools me into thinking I’m having a proper drink. At 1 syn per 500ml bottle, its ideal to enjoying the rugby with a drink and not destroying all the good done during the week. If I were drinking 500ml of Stella, that would be 10 syns per 500ml, so I am saving myself 9 syns for every drink I have.

Chilli Con Carne:


500g extra lean beef mince

1 x Large onion – chopped

1 x large carrot

3 x peppers – deseeded and chopped

Loads of sliced mushrooms!!

2 x cans of chopped tomatoes

1 x can of kidney beans (drained)

1 x tablespoon tomato puree

2 x beef oxo cubes

3 x teaspoons of ground garlic powder ( or 3 fresh cloves)

1 x tablespoon of cumin

1 x tablespoon of chilli power

1 x teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 x teaspoons paprika ground sea salt ground pepper


  • Brown mince in a large deep saucepan (sprayed with frylight) with the chopped onions, cumin, chilli powder, garlic, paprika, and cinnamon.
  • Grate carrot into pan and mix.
  • Add all other ingredients mixing well after adding each one.
  • Add tomatoes last along with the tomatoes puree and crumble in the oxo cubes. Stir well and season.
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down low. I usually then cook it for a minimum of 40 minutes, however, I will leave it simmer sometimes for hours until it is half time. The slower it is cooked – the better!!!!
  • Serve with steamed or boiled rice.

Although you are probably not supposed to eat Thai Jasmine Rice with this dish, I have really fallen for this rice. Its slightly sticky andtastes gorgeous with any dish, in my opinion!!!

Syns in Chilli – 0   (on extra easy)

Syns in Lager – 1 per 500ml Bottle,  Czech Low Alcohol Lager, available in Sainsburys for £1.20 a bottle.

Photos to follow 🙂


Has Apple masterminded a marketing stroke of genius?

April 3rd 2010. The day the first generation iPad launched and set alight a new product category that every other major electronics, software, even retail companies have sought to get a slice of.

However, has Apple pulled off and masterminded a stroke of genius by using the ipad to suck consumers into their technology ecosystem, which has never been as popular in the mass market enjoyed by hardware running Microsoft Windows. Over the past few years, many consumers have put off a desktop or laptop purchase in favour of their cousin, the tablet computer.

In many ways more portable, easy to use, more affordable etc etc. However, they have never been as functional as a fully formed computer system. This has led to a level of criticism of the product category, particularly ipads, due to their lack of standard ports such as USB, HDMI etc.

However, the ipad would also have been many consumers first experience of Apple. Now, a few years down the line, many of the consumers who put off their desktop purchase in favour of a tablet, are back in the market for that purchase. And guess what? I bet they immediately look at the ipad’s cousins the imac or macbook. In fact if you look at the difference between the pricing of a high end ipad and a low end macbook, there is very little difference. Thus, wouldn’t it be worth buying a fully functional laptop rather than getting a second, less functional ipad?

I feel, therefore, that Apple has pulled off a massive feat of pulling consumers into their technology ecosystem. Tablet sales are slowing, and Apple has started tying their devices together with features such as Handoff, which is rather an impressive way of bringing your range of ios devices closer to your Mac OS devices.


….more thoughts to follow as my thinking surrounding this continues (included some sources to potentially back up my ‘hunch’!)

Back in class. Back on Track

As I wrote yesterday, I re-joined my Slimming World class tonight. I am now where I feared – 17 stone 13lb. I’ve put on 1 stone and 1/2 lb since my last visit approximately 10 weeks ago and I have a net loss of 5 stone 9 1/2 . Considering I got down to 15 stone,  and a net loss of 8.5 stone, this is awful. But I know what I have to do.

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I’ve had a final blow out today in the form of a full on Subway binge. I have it all out of my system and ready to go again.

I may give it a few days to get my head back into the eating before I hit the gym again, but will definitely start again soon. After all the Silverstone Half Marathon in March is fast approaching!!!!

Wish me luck (I need it) !!!


Bad Habits (and getting rid of them).

I have really struggled recently. Despite the achievements I have attained, I have started to slip into old habits. The weight has been piling back on, and its all down to a lack of discipline and willpower. I’ve also been taking a break from Slimming World classes. I thought I could manage this myself. But I can’t.

Tomorrow, I’ll be back at the Slimming World class and will start off, as I did previously, by being open and honest about my weight and eating habits.

I always said  I would never go back to the way I was, but over the past few weeks, months,  even year, I have slipped back into bad habits. This has seen my weight creep from a low of 15 stone to knocking on the door of 18 stone again. I had a loss of 8.5 stone. Now it is looking closer to 5.5 stone.

So, here is to another new start. This time, there is no stopping until I get back to at least 15 stone. I’ll be updating regularly and sharing my successes and mishaps. Hopefully this will help me on my way.