Ronnie this morning ….

Ronnie was on the “This morning” ITV show earlier today … cooking a curry.

I found this account in the press (the Mirror) with some pictures.

Ronnie O’Sullivan swapped his cue for a frying pan today during a live cooking segment on This Morning.

The world snooker champion proved he is a dab hand in the kitchen as well as on the green baize.

Ronnie rustled up a chicken curry for presenters Ruth Langsford and Eamonn Holmes, who admitted it was a “surreal” experience.

The presenter confessed: “This is surreal. I’m loving talking to you. This king of the green baize and there he is standing in the kitchen and we’re talking cooking.”

Ronnie ‘The Rocket’ admitted he struggled with his weight as a child but had lost two stone after meeting a nutritionist and fallen in love with cooking.

Ronnie O’Sullivan turned his hand to cooking in the This Morning kitchen (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)
Ruth pointed out that he was only using one hand (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)

Ronnie has released a new cook book, Top Of Your Game, which has Top Of Your Game, 70 recipes to cook for your best self.

Ruth did warn Ronnie to turn down the hob to make sure the food wouldn’t spit.

She also pointed out that he only uses one hand when cooking – and some viewers at home noticed as well.

The presenters tucked into Ronnie’s delicious meal, but Eamonn admitted the three of four person portion looked like two to him.

Ronnie was an ace in the kitchen (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)
Eamonn and Ruth were big fans (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)

The Rocket revealed that he had weight problems in his childhood.

He explained: “I kind of always had a problem with my weight as a kid. I was a bit chubby and overweight and a lot of that had to do with being down the snooker club, a lot of fried food and that sort of stuff.

“Then obviously as I turned professional I realised to try and be the best I could be I tried to eat a bit healthy. I had awareness there was a good and bad side to eating. It just took over.

Then I got into running and that meant I could eat what I liked. I was slim. Then I got lots of injuries and couldn’t run so I piled on the weight. So I always had that fear as a kid I didn’t want to be too overweight.”

Ronnie struggled with his weight as a child (Image: Ken McKay/ITV/REX)

Well those who have seen him cooking with Rhiannon live on facebook will be able to reassure Ruth: he can and does use both hands when cooking. But then the Mirror wouldn’t be able  make a story out of it 😉

Anyway, judge by yourself… here is the show!

This Morning on ITV (17.05.2019.): from snooker pro to chef: Ronnie O’Sullivan

And Ronnie was on talksport as well in the morning, before the show.

 

Publishing Day …

Today is the day this book hits the shelves

TopOfYourGameCover

Rhiannon Lambert came on twitter to promote it

…I’m so proud to share and I’s book is out today! 🙌🏻 Top Of Your Game: Eating For Mind & Body with is all about showing you how to eat, think, and work your way to being your very best – and staying there!

and

🍕🥘🍔Just look at the recipes! You‘ll find our favourite stir fries, curries, pizzas and all sorts of food you may think are typically unhealthy. Far from being disastrous, these will quickly become your go-to meals, made with satisfying ingredients that won’t break the bank!

Plus some pictures that are bound to tempt us…

Ronnie on Instagram also posted about a one off signing session

And with that I’m going back to the kitchen! Bon appétit!

Food for health …

The new book by Ronnie and Rhiannon Lambert , “Top of your Game” is due to be published on May 16, 2019.

It didn’t happen for Ronnie in Sheffield, but 2018/19 still remains one of his most successful seasons, one during which he broke several records, and, maybe more importantly, one he enjoyed.

Ronnie spoke to The Times about the book, food and health

Ronnie O’Sullivan on the food regime that transformed his physical — and mental — health

He may have had his professional ups and downs, but armed with a new attitude to eating, the snooker ace’s life is in balance. He tells Lisa Markwell what he has learnt, and why health is always better than wealth

PORTRAIT BY ANDREW HAYES-WATKINS
The Sunday Times, 

Ronnie O’Sullivan is known as much for his mercurial temperament as for his stellar success as a snooker player. Recently, within a month, he was named world No 1 and crashed out of the World Snooker Championships in the first round, beaten by an amateur. It was one of the sport’s biggest upsets, but O’Sullivan seemed to take it in his stride.

Over the years, he has battled addictions and continues to suffer from crippling insomnia, but there’s one area in which he’s found a happy equilibrium — food — and he credits it with changing his entire approach to life.

“The penny’s dropped,” he says. “I used to eat two steaks, all the potatoes, my dessert and everyone else’s too. Now, I’ll still have dessert, but just one or two mouthfuls. It’s about moderation.” Perhaps inevitably, he’s written a food book about the changes to his diet that have transformed his physical — and mental — health.

What makes the book so interesting is that it’s not a get-fit-quick diet book, but a thought-provoking read, with half dedicated to his acceptance of his addictions, what he was doing wrong and the lessons he’s learnt.

For the rest of us, these lessons can be translated into a steady, manageable lifestyle that leads, if not to world domination, then certainly to feeling and looking better. As he writes in the introduction, “moderation, healthy living and self-care aren’t necessarily things that you would automatically associate with me. I’ve been very honest about my addictive personality in the past; depending on the year and what else was going on in my life, my addictions have included drink, drugs, food, Prozac and running. It’s taken me a while, but I can now accept that my addictive personality is just the way I am. It’s my nature and I’m finally OK with that.”

When one of his obsessive pursuits — running — reached a professional level, he cut out all carbs, saying, “I thought this was the way forward.” It wasn’t easy, being the son of a Sicilian mother and spending half his life travelling and working late into the night, filling up on whatever food he could grab. He laughs ruefully. “I’ve always been a big eater.” But with typical focus, he cut out carbohydrates altogether — and replaced them with vast amounts of avocados.

He couldn’t understand why he seemed so fit and yet was unable to concentrate during snooker matches. “A match can last seven hours and I need to try and stay alert during that time. Snooker is an endurance sport.”

O’Sullivan, 43, has battled insomnia for some time, but this was different. “I’d never felt so bad. I ended up at the doctors having blood tests because I thought there’s got to be something wrong with me. I was just exhausted and I had to go and do TV interviews. Honestly, it was embarrassing, because I felt people could see that I was not really concentrating on what they were saying. They thought maybe I was being a bit rude or a bit distant.”

It was when he was introduced to the nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert that he was told in no uncertain terms what needed to change. “I told her what I was doing and she said, ‘That explains why you were feeling like that. Carbs feed the brain.’” He followed her nutritional advice. “Since then,” he says, “I’ve never had a day where I’ve not felt how I’m supposed to feel.”

“It was a lightbulb moment,” he says now, comparing it to the time, several years earlier, when he started working with the psychiatrist Steve Peters. As a result of eating a regular, balanced diet, he has lost 1½ stone, has more energy and is generally playing brilliantly. Was it important to have regained that No 1 status? “Not really. Not that I’m not feeling good, I’m just not driven by it. When everyone was going, ‘You’re going to be No 1’, for a nanosecond I kind of thought, ‘Yeah, it would be nice,’ but then I realised, that’s not why I play the game.

“The thing I love, more important than snooker or anything, is my health and fitness,” he says emphatically. In a flash of that addictive personality, he says: “I still run three, four, five miles a day, but that’s what I call not running. That’s just fun.”

He talks about the “rat race” of competing with trademark candour. O’Sullivan has managed to break free of the exhausting routine of comparing himself to other players. Instead, he likens himself to a racehorse. “You don’t race it every day. You don’t overtrain the horse. You want it on the start line raring to go. You don’t want to leave its best form on the gallops. I used to do that. I’d practise six, seven hours a day. I was overplaying, just playing out of guilt, because you think, ‘If I do it more and more, I deserve to win — everyone else is doing more’.

“I don’t look at anybody else now. I go by how I feel, and I’m not worried about results so much, just about being ready, having longevity and feeling as good as I can for as long as I can.”

He shows me his diary on his phone, with notes on all of his performances, annotated with emojis. “I play 45 matches a season, maximum. In Shanghai, I played shit, but I felt good in myself. Smiley face. Smiley face. Smiley face. Smiley face. Smiley face… I’m not playing good in every tournament, but the smiley face measures what I felt. Was I happy, was my whole life balanced?

“You get one life, one body,” he continues. “It’s the most important thing we own, and I’d like to get the best out of it because I abused it for quite a while. I could have been kinder to myself maybe, done things differently. That doesn’t mean I have to carry on doing that.”

He lives in Chigwell, Essex, and has three children — a grown-up daughter (who has just had a child of her own) and a younger son and daughter, although he doesn’t live with them. He calls himself “a bit of a gypsy” and is never happier than on his boat. He proudly shows me pictures of a very smart houseboat, with a full kitchen for his regular cooking sessions.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a man who skipped a season of competitive snooker to work on a farm, he’s fascinated by the idea of a “gap year” to train as a chef. “I was thinking about doing something like that,” he says. “Is it expensive? I’d have to move closer to the school. I’m definitely thinking about it.” For now, he enjoys planning each day’s meals and making packed lunches for when he is on the road.

Judging by the enthusiasm with which he talks about the recipes in the book, and the upbeat, natural Instagram stories and short videos in which he rustles up healthy dinners, this is no “famous person attaches their name to a ghost-written money-spinner”. He is taking this, like everything else in life, seriously.

“This book ain’t for everyone. It’s for someone that wants to make a shift, wants to have a go, wants to feel good about themselves. If they do, then this is something I’ve tried and tested. It’s not a diet book. It’s just about getting your portion size down and taking control.”

Meanwhile, he continues competing. After all, he’s been playing tournaments for 30 years. “I have plans. If one doesn’t work out, then I’ve got another one, and if that one doesn’t work out, I’ve got another. I’d rather be in control of my own destiny. I will probably still be playing in my mid-fifties, maybe sixties, as long as I’m fit and healthy.

“I think the key — if you can create some space and time for yourself — is to listen to the body. That’s all I do. That’s why I use the smiley faces, because sometimes you can forget how you felt and I go, ‘That smiley face tells me that I was on the right system for me. It worked for me.’” And with that he moves on to the next part of his day, armed with plastic boxes filled with snacks and meals.

RONNIE’S DAY ON A PLATE

Before Two eggs and an avocado; chocolate bar; mezze including hummus, falafel, rice, bread and chicken; crisps; two portions of curry; chocolate cake

After Porridge with berries and flaxseed; fruit and yoghurt; chicken, rice and salad; hummus, rye crispbreads and cottage cheese; fish, sweet potato and vegetables; fruit

MINDFUL EATING

  • Acknowledge colours, flavours, textures and smells
  • Chew food slowly and put down your knife and fork between bites to help slow down your eating
  • Lose the TV or mobile phone at mealtimes
  • Learn skills to cope with anxiety and guilt around food
  • Set realistic goals
  • Avoid eating directly from a packet, and always pre-portion food
  • Eat something hot within the first hour of waking
  • Avoid going more than 3-4 hours without eating anything

PORTION SIZES PER MEAL

  • 1 outstretched palm of protein — for example, chicken, fish or tofu
  • 1 handful of carbohydrates — oats, rice or starchy fruit and vegetables
  • 2 handfuls of non-starchy vegetables — broccoli, spinach or peppers
  • 1 thumb of healthy fats — olive oil, butter, coconut oil or nut butter

RONNIE’S GAME CHANGERS

  • Consistency is key, so stick to your plan
  • Premix your favourite spice blends in big batches to save time — you can then label and freeze them, either in big portions or in ice cube trays
  • Batch cook your main meals with extra portions and freeze some of them for another time
  • Write a weekly shopping list, planning your meals and snacks
  • Keep a food diary. If I eat too many biscuits, I make a note and put a sad face next to it, because that’s how I feel afterwards

GOOD SNACKS

  • 1 small pot of Greek yoghurt
  • Almonds and a piece of fruit
  • 125g edamame beans
  • 1 apple and 30g nut butter
  • 2 sausages (chicken or vegetarian)

GOOD CARBS

  • Wholegrain bread
  • Brown rice
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa
  • Starchy vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Legumes
  • Oats

TOP OF YOUR GAME by Ronnie O’Sullivan and Rhiannon Lambert is published on May 16 (Lagom £15)

 

Snooker is for all, from babies to grannies

Whilst action continued in Barnsley this week for the German Masters qualifiers (two rounds), Ronnie met fans and signed books yesterday in Bluewater.

It was covered by the local press 

Snooker champion Ronnie O’Sullivan delights one of his oldest fans at Bluewater – Sheila Ulph from Chatham

By Lynn Cox

Five-time snooker world champion Ronnie O’Sullivan delighted fans young and old when he popped into Bluewater.

The top sportsman was at the WHSmith store signing copies of his newest book, Soho Nights thriller, The Break.

Pensioner Sheila Ulph who is from Chatham, is probably Kent’s oldest Ronnie fan.

Mrs Ulph, 91, got a signed card from him because by time she got there yesterday, all his books had sold out.

She was delighted as her daughters had not told her they were taking her to meet him.

Mrs Ulph said: “As far back as I can remember watching snooker with my husband (I have been a fan).

“I didn’t know I was going to meet him – it was a total surprise from my two daughters.

Sheila with the card signed by the snooker champion
Sheila with the card signed by the snooker champion

“My grandson met him before and got his book but I was too late to get the book, but we will buy one.”

However, she said he would treasure the signed Christmas card she had received from him.

Her daughters say their mum has also turned down days out with them and opted to stay in to watch Ronnie play in matches and finals.

“She also put bets on him winning whenever he played.

Ronnie O'Sullivan was at Bluewater meeting fans and signing his book
Ronnie O’Sullivan was at Bluewater meeting fans and signing his book
Ronnie signed a Christmas card for Shelia (6117463)
Ronnie signed a Christmas card for Shelia 
Ronnie O'Sullivan also met a young fan at the book signing
Ronnie O’Sullivan also met a young fan at the book signing

Mrs Ulph added:”Every time I saw him whether he won or lost, it was good.

“Just watching him is enough for me, he’s absolutely superb.”

Hundreds of people went along to meet the sportsman turned author including a young baby which he held and posted for photos with.

His book explores the gangland world of ’90s Soho.

Set in 1997, when Cool Britannia’s in full swing and Oasis and Blur are top of the pops and it feels like the whole country’s sorted out for E’s and wizz.

But it’s not just UK that’s on a high, life’s looking up for Frankie James too – the main character in the book. Frankie’s paid off his debts to London’s fierce gang lord, Tommy Riley.

His Soho open snooker tournament is about to kick off at his club.

Ronnie O'Sullivan was at Bluewater meeting fans and signing his book
Ronnie O’Sullivan was at Bluewater meeting fans and signing his book

The future looks bright, but then Frankie finds himself being blackmailed by a face from his past.

They want him to steal something worth millions and it is enough to get him killed or banged up for life.

Frankie’s going to need every ounce of luck and guile that he’s got if he’s going to pull off the heist of the century and get out of this in one piece.

The Break is the third, fast-paced Soho Nights thriller, written by O’Sullivan.

Since turning professional in 1992, he has clocked up number of awards and trophies, including the UK Championship, the China Open, the Regal Championships, the Benson and Hedges Masters and the British Open.

In January 2000 O’Sullivan won the Nations Cup for England, boasting the best record of any player, 13 wins from 15 frames played.

In 2016 he turned his hand to fiction, publishing his debut novel Framed.

The last part of the article is just a cut and paste from the “trailer” on Amazon and what they chose to “highlight” regarding Ronnie’s record just baffles me … but there you have it. Whoever wrote this trailer probably isn’t a snooker fan.

This was my own review of the book.

As for the German Masters qualifiers, I’ll cover the first round outcome tomorrow.

Snooker (not great) news and a lovely podcast

The Scottish Open 2018 starts today, and maybe not surprisingly, Ronnie has withdrawn from it. Surely winning the UK Championship yesterday has taken a lot out of him and he deserves a break. His next event will probably be the Masters in January.

Meanwhile, this podcast by Rhiannon Lambert and Ronnie is worth a listen, especially with the end-of-year celebrations, and over-eating coming soon!

FoodforThoughts

Regarding the sports itself, it was announced in the media last week that a ban will be enforced on adds for gambling and betting on TV during sports events. There were many articles in the press about it, and this is one of them, by the Guardian.

UK betting firms back live sports advertising ban

Online gambling firms such as Bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes agree ban amid fears of impact on children

Online gambling companies have agreed in principle to a voluntary “whistle-to-whistle” ban on advertising during live sports, in an effort to address concerns about their impact on children.

Companies such as Bet365, William Hill and Ladbrokes would agree not to advertise during live sports, including after 9pm if the event started before the watershed.

While the proposals have yet to be approved, they are likely to be rubber-stamped at a meeting of the five major gambling industry associations next week, with a view to implementing the ban within six months.

A senior gambling industry figure said he would be “surprised and disappointed” if the measures were not agreed and said that while not every online betting firm would support them, all were likely to comply.

“It would be a very brave company that would stick its head above the parapet in isolation,” he said.

The whistle-to-whistle ban, which excludes horse racing, would involve the industry falling into line with Labour party proposals.

The advertising proposals, first reported by the BBC, have been put forward by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), which represents online betting firms.

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, said: “I’m delighted that gambling operators have adopted Labour’s proposal of a whistle-to-whistle ban on gambling advertising during live sport.

“With over 430,000 problem gamblers in the country, many of them children, the number of adverts during live sports had clearly reached crisis levels.

“There was clear public support for these restrictions and I’m glad that for once the industry, led by [the RGA], has taken its responsibilities seriously and listened.”

Several chief executives in the gambling industry, including the bosses of William Hill and Paddy Power Betfair, have said they would support greater restrictions on advertising to protect children.

Concern about the normalisation of gambling has risen due to the sheer volume of ads during televised sport.

Research by the Guardian during the World Cup found that children were “bombarded” with 90 minutes of gambling adverts during the tournament.

Shares in gambling companies fell on reports of a plan that would restrict their ability to reach TV viewers, while broadcasters are also likely to take a significant hit on lost advertising revenue.

One senior executive at a media agency told the Guardian that gambling ads were worth £200m to broadcasters last year, with the majority going to Sky and, to a lesser extent, ITV.

Online gambling companies are thought to have learned a lesson from the resistance shown by the Association of British Bookmakers, which fought tooth and nail against the cut in maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals.

Their campaign was ultimately unsuccessful and caused considerable damage to the industry’s reputation over efforts to prevent curbs on machines that the government branded a “social blight”.

RGA chief executive Clive Hawkswood is thought to be determined to get the measure approved by the gambling industry before he steps down in January.

It requires agreement from the National Casino Forum, Association of British Bookmakers, Bingo Association and the amusement arcade body Bacta, although their blessing is likely to be a formality as the online industry is by far the biggest TV advertiser.

The RGA has also put forward other proposals but is expected to stop short of adopting Labour’s stated policy of banning gambling companies from sponsoring football shirts.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, spokesman for campaign group Fairer Gambling, said: “This is long overdue but to be truly effective it should have also included bans on shirt and league sponsorship and pitch-side rolling displays.”

This is indeed good news as far as I’m concerned, and it’s not just about children either. But for snooker, a sport that is relying so much on the gambling industry, at least outside China, this might be only the start of a massive issue, very similar to what happened with the tobacco ban. If the bookies see their TV adds cut off, they will be less likely to sponsor live sporting events because the whole point for them is to expose their “brand” and promote their “products”. This was coming, and it baffled me how much in denial so many fans were when I raised the point earlier. I very really hope that WS will act wisely and diversify their sponsoring sources. And it might not be that easy because the strong association with the gambling business has created an image already that many other businesses don’t want to be associated with, especially in mainland Europe.

Speaking of mainland Europe, Snookerstars have announced on Facebook that the Paul Hunter Classic 2019 will take place, but as an invitational event for 16 players only. I’m not sure at this stage what the status of the event will be, nor if it will still be a pro-am. My guess is that no amateurs will be involved in the main competition. This is both a good news and a bad news. Good because I really feared that he would disappear entirely, bad because this was the best pro-am you could play in, or watch, and it has been ruined. Making it a full ranking event, without the financial backing to attract top players has killed it. And getting financial backing from sponsors in mainland Europe is extremely difficult (see above!)