After the Storm

Today I feel like I haven’t stopped, but at the same time I haven’t really achieved very much at all. Maybe it’s because I didn’t sleep too well last night, and that’s because everything went a bit screwy around bed time.

After we’d all finished watching Blade Runner I was messaging a friend and not really paying attention to what was going on in the room, and while this was happening a disagreement was brewing between my mum and my brother. I had a feeling there was going to be some sort of conflict because my mum had been really argumentative the whole day. Whereas I (probably from my childhood years spent trying not to antagonise either parent) am quite good at letting things go and diffusing the situation, my brother is too young to remember the old times and hasn’t had much practice. Or sometimes he just won’t back down as a matter of principle. It’s just his nature.

A little while later I thought things were OK-ish, so I got myself off to bed. Ever since I first started working nights I’ve worn earplugs to bed, and now I can’t sleep without them, but even with them in about half an hour later I could hear shouting. I managed to stay upstairs until I heard my mum shouting some stuff that was totally made up, and about me, so I couldn’t control myself and went down to give my money’s worth. Thankfully it all kind of got sorted and everything is kind of OK again, but these things really take it out of me. I’ve always hated living in that kind of environment, and whenever things kick off (which admittedly was rarely but is now worryingly increasing in frequency) it takes me right back to when arguments like this between my mum and my dad were at least a weekly occurrence. As a result my resting heart rate has shot up despite it usually dropping like a stone when I get back on plan. In fact is was dropping steadily until yesterday. Hopefully we get a nice long run before there are any more arguments, because there really isn’t much I can do about the situation.

There are many reasons I can’t and don’t even really want to move out, and I can’t change my mum’s attitude after so many years. My brother is too stubborn so I wouldn’t even attempt it. But being screamed at because it’s apparently your fault your mum doesn’t watch Casualty any more is not much fun. It sounds ludicrous writing it down, but it’s actually frightening because I genuinely think, no I know, that she needs help. Unfortunately I can’t seem to get it for her and the last attempt to calmly talk to her about it ended up with some great conspiracy about me and my brother basically gaslighting her because we are just awful people. Or so she thinks.

I don’t know, I just wish I could get her counselling or something, but when she saw the doctor about her depression getting worse he gave her the web address for Therapy 4 U. She watched stupid videos totally unrelated to anything she’s going through and filled out irrelevant multiple choice questionnaires. Needless to say it did not cure 50 years-worth of depression and anxiety. Weird that.

There are so many more layers to the situation, so many things that I could talk about that I don’t even know where to start. All I know is that these feelings need to be outside instead of bottled up inside.

Anyway, things are calm and civil between us all now. Fingers crossed it stays that way for a while.

The good thing (or the excellent thing I should say) is that I did NOT use food to comfort me. I’ve had an excellent on plan day today, and weirdly I seem to have (at least temporarily) acquired a willpower made of steel. I have two and a half Mini Vego bars in the fridge, which are absolutely delicious vegan chocolate bars with whole hazelnuts them. The problem is that even the Mini bars have almost twenty syns in them! Somehow, miraculously, two days this week I had a quarter of a bar and I still have half of one bar completely untouched. I haven’t gone over 12 syns any day this week! It’s complete madness, but I’m not knocking it that’s for sure. Long may it continue!

Another good thing is that between putting my washing on the line, it raining, taking it off the line, raining, putting it back on and eventually relenting and using the tumble drier, I got some lovely rainy autumn shots for the photo album. We did have an actual storm (not counting the one last night) and once the clouds had blown over everything was fresh and clean and lovely again.

We also have a mad amount of apples on the tree this year, so much so that some of the branches are nearly touching the ground. A lot of them have been partially eaten by unknown critters, but because it’s such a bumper year I think we have enough sacrificial apples to ensure there are plenty left for us too. Speed food that doesn’t cost a penny? Yes please!

Finally me and Pea had a wonderful day, and she let me touch her wing with my lips. Because she was parent-reared instead of hand-reared  she won’t let me touch her, she’ll only perch on me. So we’re working on our trust (lips are much less scary for birds than fingers) and hopefully, one day I’ll be able to scritch her neck and help preen new feathers coming throuh. The good thing about her being parent-reared is that she’s much less prone to behavioural issues, but I do sometimes wish I could touch her like my sister does with her birds. Mostly because I think it will be nice for Pea, for us to have that bond. Even if it never happens though, as long as she’s happy then I’m happy too.I h

I haven’t done as many steps as I’d like today, but I did do a 40 minute workout on the exercise bike so I’m not feeling as guilty as I would have otherwise. Now my plan is to escape into another universe, specifically the Marvel one!

I shall update again tomorrow with my official weigh in results. Eek!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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Baker’s Dozen

Yesterday was the Think Parrots exhibition and I thought I’d have tons to write about, but unfortunately I wasn’t all that taken with it. We watched a talk by a specialist avian vet named Matthew Fiddes who seems to be more or less at the top of the avian veterinary game. He even name dropped the Supervet who he knows personally, so in the bird world it was probably a very rock n’ roll event! He went through common bird health problems but where I did so much research before getting Pea I honestly either knew it already or it wasn’t relevant to her species. In fact I felt the small parrots were very under-represented! God I sound like such a big head… But it was interesting to watch anyway and it was fun to hear him being heckled by a macaw in the audience.

As for the rest of the event it was very small and was mostly people selling bird stuff. I bought a desk perch for Pea for £3 which will be useful for training but at the moment she is absolutely terrified of it. It’s going to take some training just to get her on the thing. I also bought her some dried grasses for her to pick through which will be good for enrichment. It was very nice to see my sister but for the money I spent on petrol and the time I wasted on the M25, there would have been better ways to have a sibling meet-up. In fact she’s coming over for dinner next Sunday (hopefully for a BBQ if the weather is good) so it could have waited until then, but ho hum, now I know to try a different bird exhibition next time!

As for the food, the lunch I took with me weighed 9 pounds so you could say I went a little bit overboard. I arrived just before my sister so I ate my cereal bars (B Choice) then when it came to lunch I wasn’t all that hungry so I just ate my four scotch eggs. I made them with panko breadcrumbs which cost me 4.5 syns, so if I make them again I’ll leave them off because they didn’t add anything to the flavour. I’d rather save the syns in future.

So I brought all the rest of the food back home with me and had my quiche for dinner. For breakfast yesterday I had two eggs, Quorn low fat sausages and garlic mushrooms. After dinner I was still feeling full although I could have had dessert if I wanted it. Turning down dessert is most unlike me, and at that point it occurred to me that I’d had quite a lot of protein. I had a count – yesterday I ate a total of THIRTEEN EGGS. God help my poor mother who has to live with me for the next couple of days! As a result of all this things, um, aren’t quite working as they should be and if this feeling keeps up I’m predicting an undeserved gain or maintain on the scales tomorrow. I think egg bound is the phrase I’m looking for (sorry, TMI I know…)

Yesterday my sister complimented me on my weight loss and told me I was looking particularly slim. That’s the good thing about not seeing her for a few weeks at a time – she picks up on the things I can’t see. I am feeling pretty fantastic this week so I decided to do some comparison pics which, when I’m doing well at least, is one of my very favourite (and most narcissistic) things to do to help keep me motivated. For me the most shocking aspect is my back!

I’m really pleased at the progress I’ve made there! On the left I’m bulging out of a size 22 top, one that I only used to wear around the house because I knew it was becoming like a second skin. I wouldn’t have dared to go out in it. The dress on the right is a size 18.

I’m really happy with how things are going right now, and I absolutely love my dress (I got one in a pink stripe too) which I will no doubt wear until it disintegrates. I feel so comfortable in it, plus it has a drawstring waist so it’ll see me through for a while as I continue to lose weight.

The rest of yesterday was dedicated to crafty pursuits, as I need to take more time to do the things that I enjoy. After Pea had gone to sleep I got my watercolours out and sat down to do a quick painting of one of the geeselets I photographed the other day.

I have an important thing to say about doing anything like this: it’s OK to be a bit crap.

You might think my little painting is alright, but then just look at these pictures below, all done by my remarkably talented little sis.

They’re such incredible little paintings, but I don’t let that take the joy out of sitting down and taking the time to paint something. Just because you’re not good at something doesn’t mean you can’t have fun doing it! In fact I’m going to try to find an art class nearby at some point, which seems a bit silly what with my sister being an art teacher and all. But I know if we met up to paint we’d just end up chatting for the whole time and never get anything done!

Today for breakfast I had defrosted berries and a pot of vanilla Skyr, which was originally supposed to be yesterday’s lunch, then yesterday’s dessert. So now I need to go and get my lunch, which is Shredded Wheat, almond milk and two oranges, and which should have been today’s breakfast! Confused? Yeah, me too!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Victory Is Mine

The Workweek Hustle is over and the results are in – between Monday and Friday my sister did 74,392 steps but I did a winning 87,581! My sister was gaining on me considerably, that is until Thursday night when my manager put me on a really physical job and I worked my absolute butt off. I’m really hoping this increases my chances of a good loss come Tuesday because I am seriously chasing that 15 stone bracket now. I want to see those numbers so, so badly!

It’s been a weird old week. Wednesday I wore two layers of clothes to work and needed a hot water bottle to warm me up when I got home in the morning, but today it’s absolutely gorgeous out there. I did a bit of washing as I’m out tomorrow and my favourite summer outfit was dirty, but it took me a while to get it on the line. The first time I went into the garden my brother was out there with Chester, our ginger cat. He has to be supervised outside, on a lead (Chester that is, not my brother), because he has kidney failure. He can’t go exploring by himself because where he isn’t processing protein properly his back legs are weak so he can’t get himself out of trouble if he needs to. Weirdly he seems quite content with being on a lead. So I just had to run in and grab my camera.

After Chester had finished posing I went indoors and actually managed to get the wet washing out of the machine before Kitt came along to say hello. Kitt (named after the car from Knight Rider) and Chester are brother and sister and they are both getting on a bit now, so Kitt doesn’t venture far these days. Most of the time she escapes through the back door then goes straight round to the front of the house to sit on the window ledge and meow to be let back in. They’re not the brightest of creatures! Eventually I managed to stop getting distracted and the washing is drying in the sun and the wind as I type.

Whilst out in the garden I noticed that it can’t be long now until the cherries are ready to eat. There’s nothing like eating them straight off the tree, although it’s still more of an overgrown twig at this stage.

It occurred to me today that in a way I seem to have aged considerably in the last year. I have become a person who watches Springwatch on purpose, I have started doing embroidery, I joined a bird identification group on Facebook, I am contemplating learning how to do gardening (what kind of stuff do I plant where? Will it come back next year? Do I need to know what pH my soil is?) and I love being outdoors. In my early twenties I harboured a secret ambition to become a hermit but now I’m the complete opposite and I’m absolutely loving it.

My sister is the same, and we talked recently about how we used to be so different yet we have independently become practically the same person. She went to university in Southampton, moved to London, became a teacher, met a guy… I never had a clue (still don’t) about what I want to do, never had any luck with relationships, never had much interest in nature or animals, yet here we are, for the most part sickeningly happy and both obsessed with birds, nature and absolutely anything arty or crafty! I think we both agree on one thing though – being happy certainly didn’t come naturally to either of us and we had to work bloody hard to get to where we are now. If you asked us how we did it though, I doubt we could come up with an answer. There’s not a one-size-fits-all solution sadly.

Oops I seem to have got a little bit too thoughtful there and have gone off on a tangent! Anyway, this evening I don’t have to go to work because I booked the night off. I’m leaving early in the morning for the Think Parrots show and I have a ton of food prep to do before hand. It’s going to be an absolute feast! I also have an enormous batch of ‘chilli-non-carné’ that I prepared yesterday so that’s today’s and tomorrow’s dinner sorted, meaning I can just concentrate on making my enormous Slimming World picnic. Another dinner highlight this week has been Fishless Fingers (thank you Quorn, they really hit the spot) which I served with all of the most summery-looking veg I had in my fridge.

Well, I’d better stop sitting on my butt now and get cooking!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Gloriousness

Has it or has it not been the most beautiful day of the year so far? At least it has been where I am, so if you have had bad weather then commiserations to you. Yesterday was a work day but I burnt the candle at both ends and went in search of geeselets (goslings, whatever!) with my brother and at the same time I got a load of steps in. It was also part one of a little test to see the average time it takes me to walk a mile, without putting any extra effort in. The verdict was 18 minutes and 30 seconds, which seems quite slow to me but as I say I certainly wasn’t pushing myself and I didn’t get out of breath.

We found the goslings straight away but the parents wouldn’t let us get too near (and of course I forgot to bring any food for them) so we went for a little walk around. My brother suggested we sprint up a hill and I decided to go along with it. In the process I learned something about myself – I have forgotten how to run. You know those dreams you have where you’re trying to run but it feels like you’re in quicksand? That’s what my normal run is like! My brother honestly thought that I was playing around, but I really am that slow. I did have a second and more successful attempt (with him shouting at me to get my knees up) but it’s definitely not my idea of fun! At least now I know that if I encounter a fight or flight scenario then I’d better be ready to throw some punches.

As we were deciding to go home we noticed that the geeselets were having a swim so I stopped to take some video. As luck would have it they came right over to the shore where I was standing so I managed to see the cuteness first hand. Goodness me I wanted to pick one of the fuzzy little lumps up, but I’ve been chased by a goose as a child and I do not want to relive that experience. Especially since we have established that I’m not going to be able to outrun it.

After having a quick nap this morning I got up, fed Pea whilst having a coffee then since it looked so nice out I decided to head into town to mosey around for a bit. I walked of course, there’s no way I’d be taking the car on a day like today! This also constituted phase two of my little experiment and again it took me 18-and-a-half minutes to do a mile. So there’s a good baseline to improve upon anyway. It was so lovely and warm out, but with a nice breeze too, and I broke out my sunglasses for the first time this year.

In town I went to Starbucks with the intention of getting a flat white, but then I saw cold brew iced coffee advertised. I’ve never had a cold brew before so that’s what I had, and since it’s just coffee it must be Syn free! A cold brew is supposed to be smoother than ordinary iced coffee and it certainly seemed that way. I’m pretty sure it’s not just my imagination. Either way it was lovely walking home in the sun sipping on my summery drink! Weirdly though, I’ve only just gotten around to putting the cup in the recycling and three hours later there is still solid ice in there. Um, HOW?

For the rest of the afternoon me and the green one chilled in the garden. I read a chapter of my book while she shouted at a sparrow, so we were both doing things we enjoy!

After all the fresh air and exercise I’m feeling super content but just about ready to drop. So I’ll leave it there for today, I just had to come and tell you how beautiful the simple things in life can be.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

No Weigh!

Not weighing in at home has been ridiculously easy after I had an epiphany a couple of days ago. When I woke up as soon as I got out of bed I just felt really slim. My first instinct was to get on the scales to see if it was ‘true’. Then I said to myself ‘hold up brain, just hold up. Think about what you are saying’. My mission, as a Slimming World member, is to feel slimmer. To look in the mirror and see a slimmer self looking back. Well, mission accomplished! I felt good. WHY OH WHY would I need the scales to verify that? It is so glaringly obvious that I can’t believe I never thought about it that way before. Hopefully this is signifying a turning point in obsessive weighing behaviour.

Today has been pretty great. For the last 24 hours I’ve just felt super duper awesomely fantastic! Whilst talking to someone in a Facebook group I’m a member of, I learned a new phrase – up at sparrow fart. To begin with I thought it was an auto correction, but no, it’s an actual military phrase! It is used to express the utter disgust at being up early enough to watch the sparrows waking up, stretching, farting, scratching themselves etc. In the interest of science I would just like to point out that sparrows don’t fart, or at least parrotlets don’t so I’m assuming sparrows don’t either. When I got Pea I looked it up because I was curious. Something to do with food passing through too quickly to create gas… But I had a good old chuckle at the thought regardless! I shall now be integrating that phrase into my everyday vocabulary.

Yesterday I went for a top up shop at Tesco and whilst I was there I picked up some fluffy little Easter chicks. I love Easter, and not because of chocolate or Jeebus or anything like that, but because of spring and rebirth. It’s such a fantastic time of year, and the shops are full of cute stuff. So obviously I had a have a little photo shoot.

What a perfect little model I’ve got.

Today’s endeavours have so far been much scarier. I may have mentioned it before but I’ve wanted to create a YouTube channel documenting my Slimming World adventure for a wee bit now. In the last couple of weeks I have come across so many inspiring people. You know when Slimming World talk about their groups being warm and friendly and supportive? Well these people I’ve been watching are living and breathing that philosophy. They are just an amazing bunch of people. It felt a little weird that so many people are sharing so much of themselves with me and I wasn’t contributing anything that I finally bit the bullet and managed to get a video recorded that I was reasonably happy with, or at least one where I was audible. Turns out it’s incredibly hard to talk normally in front of a camera, my throat just felt really constricted.

Now it’s out there in the ether I can start panicking about what abuse I’m going to get. Years ago a friend of mine took video of me attempting to play the drums and he uploaded it to YouTube. When I stumbled across it accidentally one day I was mortified to find that people had commented on it saying they thought I was a man, and they also seemed compelled to tell me how fat I am. Like I never knew! So I am preparing myself for some hate, but what the hell. I’m not letting the trolls hold me back. What I do hope is that no one I know at work comes across it, the same thing that I hope for this blog, as their negativity and cruelty seemingly knows no bounds. If it does happen though, I will find a way to deal with it because I’m not going to live a smaller life (pun intended) for the sake of people like that. Or any people for that matter.

As such, here it is!

Utterly terrifying, but nothing worth doing was ever easy, right? I have much to learn about editing a whatnot, plus I need to learn how to stop saying ‘erm’ and ‘so’, but that will come in time. I did spend an inordinate time getting the damn thing to upload so I’m quite behind, therefore I must leave it there for today.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Full of Beans

I’m feeling a lot more positive today. Yesterday I spent way too much time thinking about the mean work man, and I kept finding my thoughts wandering back to it without me even realising. The evening was tough too. After a lovely filling dinner I wanted something else, so as we sat down to watch Kubo and the Two Strings I had some wasabi peanuts for 5 syns, which took me up to 14 syns for the day. 

After the film I wanted even more food, but when I really thought about it I realised I wasn’t bored, sad, tired, and most importantly, I wasn’t hungry. So even though I could have had a free Skinny Latté Yoghurt I didn’t need it so I left it in the fridge. I was rather proud of myself for that. 

The morning I spent a lot of time with my parrot who is absolutely full of beans at the moment. She’s going through a massive moult which is triggered by longer daylight hours, so even she knows that it’s spring. Which is clever since it’s done nothing but chuck it down the whole day! 

I’ve been doing some training with her today in order to burn off some of her excess energy. Next month she’ll have lived with me for a year and up until last week she has gone to sleep at 7:30pm like clockwork. At the moment though she just wants to keep playing so I’ve had to cover her cage in order to get her to go to bed. She’s been an absolute delight though and we’ve had so much fun, so I’m not complaining. 

In the afternoon I needed to do some training myself so I did 30 minutes on the cross trainer followed by 15 minutes of kettlebell exercises. I use my kettlebells pretty much every day now and I’m slowly but surely building up how many sit-ups and whatnot I do. I can’t use the cross trainer with bare feet so I get the opportunity to wear my totally over-the-top trainers which I absolute love. If unicorns had human feet, this is what they would wear. They’d be absolutely useless for running or something like that, but for my purposes they’re just perfect. 

As I was putting my washing away today I realised that my usual weigh-in leggings have gone missing. How I could lose them is beyond me but it’s a disaster! They are the lightest of all my leggings so although rationally speaking I know that what I wear will not affect the amount of weight I’ve actually lost, I’m really paranoid that I won’t have a loss tomorrow. Especially as I had such a good one last week. But I know I’ve been 100% on plan, I’ve had the correct amount of speed food and I’ve done plenty of exercise so there’s no reason to feel paranoid at all. I know that the number on the scales is irrelevant, but I love to see that number going down all the same. 

Dinner saw the result of an experiment that I started weeks and weeks ago. When I buy some Slimming World friendly foods quite often I can’t eat them all in one go or just don’t want to spend all of my syns on them. 

So a while ago I decided to freeze the remainder of a pot of half fat sour cream in ice cube trays and while I was at it I put some Mini Stand n’ Stuff tortillas in there too. 

When I defrosted the sour cream it had split a bit but with a good stir it was just fine. The tortillas were perhaps a little dry but they were fine for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my epic yet very orange Quorn fajita concoction with sweet potato, although it could have done with some nice little gem lettuce. I’ll have to remember that for next time. 

Today I want to get my 10,000 steps and I’m still 4,000 short, so now I must go and stroll around for a while. Hopefully I’ll get time to update tomorrow with my weigh-in results. Wish me luck! 

Hayley x 

Change It Up

A comment on a post I made on my group’s Facebook page has really got me thinking. It was something about me having a love affair with sausages – so I looked through my Instagram feed and it’s actually true. I eat some variety of vegetarian sausage nearly every single day! It’s not a problem – some varieties are syn free or very low syn, they cook from frozen and are done in 20 minutes or under. So they’re tasty, convenient, healthy… but it’s important not to get stuck in a rut and to change things up every once in a while.

Yesterday I made salt and chilli chips, like that kind you may or may not have had from a Chinese takeaway. It’s such an easy dinner to make too – just shove some Slimming World chips (or wedges in this case) onto a baking tray, add peppers, onions, salt, chilli and garlic, pop in the oven and cook until done. And since I was in an ‘Extra Easy’ mood, I served them up with three delicious Clarence Court fancy heritage breed eggs. I used to flip my eggs over and cook them on both sides but I have recently found the trick of cooking a Fry Light egg and not having the white all runny on top (and not burning the bottom). All you have to do is put a lid on the frying pan while it’s cooking. I mean, duh, how did I not learn that until now? I frighten myself sometimes…

img_4015Last night at work I went out to my car to eat lunch at 4am and wondered what all the fuss was about when it comes to this storm Doris. It wasn’t even that windy. Then when I went home at 6am I was nearly blown over! I doesn’t help that I don’t have as much fat to weigh me down these days, and once that thought had occurred to me I sent a text to my sister advising her to put rocks in her pockets before leaving the house. She’s so small she may just be blown away entirely. A friend of a friend on Facebook found a canoe in her garden, but so far nothing interesting has turned up in ours. In all seriousness though I hope you have all stayed safe! The internet tells me that it should have died down in my area by the time I have to leave for work, and in the meantime I’ve just been taking a couple of snaps through the window while my parrot shouts at things. We have heard a lot of sirens today and she absolutely hates the noise, plus she seems to hate the noise of the wind too. She has been angrily telling it off the whole day!

230217_1252When the sun did poke through the clouds for bit it lit up the little church on the hill quite nicely. If I was a real photographer I’d be out there taking candid snaps of people trying to stay upright in the wind but for one I’m not confident enough to take pictures of strangers then go up to them to ask if it’s OK to keep the shot (even though there’s no legal requirement to do so I think that’s only fair) and also I’m feeling much too lazy for that today!

230217_1254I haven’t been sitting on my bum completely though. I tried the tofu crustless quiches using egg replacer but didn’t follow the instructions properly so they were a bit, well, slimy. I will try again tomorrow and post a link to the recipe.

I did have success with another recipe though and made some scrummy houmous. It’s hard to go wrong with this one- it’s a can of chickpeas, one roasted red pepper, garlic and lemon juice. But don’t eat it if you need to kiss someone because the garlic is rather pungent!

Then I made the most delicious smoked tofu stir fry using 4 syns for hoi sin sauce. Smoked tofu is one of those things that I find it hard to get hold of but thankfully Ocado came to my rescue! I also used brown rice as I’m trying to be extra healthy and increase my whole grain intake… but in the same breath I’ve saved the rest of my syns for a Cadbury’s Creme Egg. Well, it’s all about balance!


Hayley x

Out of Exile

I am ashamed to say that I didn’t make it to work the other night. In fact I have not been to work (or barely moved if I’m honest) at all since Wednesday night. You see I have been struck down with the dreaded lurgy! On Friday I had an evening nap to prepare me for work but when I woke up I couldn’t walk in a straight line, so I thought it’d be best for the general public and my colleagues alike that I stay home. Then on Saturday morning I woke up with a red, itchy rash all over my back and arms. By lunchtime it had spread to my tummy and I felt absolutely rotten, prompting my dearest mother to exile me to my room as she was convinced I had scarlet fever. To be fair it is doing the rounds in our area.

This morning I woke up still feeling utterly dreadful but even if it wasn’t a two-week wait for me to see a doctor at my local surgery I feel guilty for going with a potentially contagious bug and infecting the poor (already ill) people in the waiting room. But if it was scarlet fever and I went back to work, which I’d obviously have to do eventually, I’d infect people there too. So after some consideration I decided to trial Push Doctor, which is where you get to speak to a real life doctor via the magic of a video call. I had to wait 6 minutes for a doctor to become available, then within 10 minutes and for £7 (an introductory price) I had the diagnosis of an allergic reaction coupled with an entirely coincidental cold. So on Tuesday (the next day I’m due in work) I’m safe to go back. It was a good feeling that I didn’t unnecessarily take up an NHS appointment or waste the doctor’s time, so perhaps someone who really needs it won’t have to wait two weeks for their appointment. For minor things I think it’s a great idea and I’ll definitely be using them again. Normally a 10 minute consultation is £20 but I think that’s reasonable. Even when I’ve had a more serious problem I don’t ever remember taking more than 10 minutes in a doctor’s appointment. There was the time I waited hours for my appointment only to find the doctor had forgotten about me and gone home, but that’s something else entirely…

Weirdly, I’d really like to be back at work as I’m missing my routine terribly. My appetite has been all over the shop with me mostly not wanting to eat a huge amount then an hour later wanting to eat everything in sight. I have managed to stay on plan, but exercise has gone completely out of the window. I tried to get a decent amount of steps in this morning but after 3,000 I was completely wiped out! I’ll still do some more later though because my Fitbit tells me my calorie burn this week is virtually non-existent and I’m worried about how that will (or won’t) affect the scales. I need to get moving again no matter what!

For the last two days I’ve been spending my time watching numerous episodes of How to Lose Weight Well, where ordinary people trial some of the mental diets that are on offer these days. I’ve watched every episode aired so far and on not one occasion have they featured a diet that works as well or fits into ordinary life as easily as Food Optimising does. There was not one single instance where I thought ‘hmm, I’d like to give that a go one day’ which reaffirmed to me that I’ve chosen the absolute best healthy eating plan for me. It did make me sad to see people on a restrictive plan for four months who only lost a couple of pounds. It just doesn’t have to be that way! I really hope they feature Slimming World in the next series and that the person trialling it makes a proper attempt at it. They featured one woman (as an extreme case) who was paying £350 a pop to eat NOTHING for 10 days while nutrients were pumped into her stomach (she carried the pump around in a backpack the whole time) via a nasal tube. I think she was on her sixth session and she’d only lost 2 stone, and she was doing it again in order to lose the last 7 lbs. How awful and how wrong that it’s completely legal for people to offer such a thing.

Over the last couple of days I’ve noticed that the weather has been a lot milder which is good for me as I HATE being cold, and that the quality of the light is a lot better. I really love that kind of muted winter-coming-into-spring light that’s just so much nicer than ordinary winter grey. If my brother was reading this he’d roll his eyes, tut and say ‘photographers’. But anyway, I was itching to get outside to look for and photograph signs of spring but thought better of it, so as usual I looked to Pea (my little parrotlet) for inspiration. She was the first to let me know that spring is on the way as she’s started to molt like there’s no tomorrow. There is a direct link between her growing new feathers and the increase in daylight hours, but until they’ve grown through properly she’s looking like a right little scruff pot. That doesn’t stop her posing for the camera though!

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Tomorrow I don’t care if I feel better or not, I’m going to get out of the house and do something, because I’m going quietly insane trapped in here. As much as I love hanging out with Pea she’s not much of a conversationalist!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Smashed It

By the time work came around yesterday I was absolutely knackered and wondering how I’d get through the night, let alone go out walking with my brother the next day. But then there was a minor miracle and I got out of work 5.5 hours early. Things had been going well until that point – when my Fitbit reset at midnight I’d hit over 18,000 steps and burned over 4000 kcals (by a smidge) plus I’d helped out a nice manager with my superior knowledge of the system. The two-and-a-half hours I managed to stay in work were productive then! That being the case I went home without an ounce of guilt and got some sleep ready for today’s walk.

Some people might think that an estuary is not the best place to go when it’s a little, shall we say, on the cold side? But I am obviously a hardcore walker because even though it was snowing when I got in the car at 9am it didn’t put me off. 40 minutes later I arrived at my destination which was a little car park at Heybridge Basin. Well I didn’t see any kitchen or bathroom sinks, only a canal that leads into an estuary. I was looking forward to seeing the lock and hoped a boat would be going through at some point but unfortunately Heybridge is currently undergoing a facelift and all the boats are trapped where they are for the time being.

It was (or would have been) a short walk to the lock from the car park but me being me I accidentally went in the complete opposite direction. This wasn’t such a bad thing because we got to see more of the canal, got more exercise, and we also saw some ducks and moorhens. I took a few pictures on my travels and was surprised at how well they came out. I took my old camera and lens that I bought when I first got into digital photography as I was afraid all of my better gear would get snowed on. I needn’t have worried because it stayed dry for the rest of the day but there you go.

After the canal ran out of boats and became a lot less interesting we turned back and headed for one of the two pubs at the lock. As usual when I’m out walking I find I need the ladies room as soon as we set off, which I’m sure is psychological. I don’t know about anyone else but I find it impossible to go in a place just to use the loo so felt obliged to buy a coffee even though I had a flask back in the car. Happily it was a very nice cup of coffee and it was good to have a little sit down before we set off again. I would also like to point out that the sugar didn’t get touched!

img_3531As we headed out along the edge the estuary it was a lot colder but we walked along the sea wall for a good while, all the time my brother telling me interesting ‘facts’. My brother is really good at retaining information and it’s interesting to hear what he’s learned recently, but he has a terrible habit of mixing in some stuff he’s made up himself. A small part of me finds it infuriating that he can so convincingly make up elaborate lies but the rest of me is mostly impressed and finds it fun. Just don’t tell him I said that…

I’m pleased I had him with me because there wasn’t really a huge amount to see, though a passing local (this awesome old dude who left us in the dust) assured us that it’s much nicer in the summer.  We carried on walking until we reached what looked like an industrial estate and decided to turn back. In some ways it’s nice that we’re never far from civilisation but in other ways it really, really isn’t! All in all we walked for about 8 miles, did 14,000 steps, met some friendly dogs, and spotted a cormorant (I couldn’t get a good picture sadly). It was also nice to see the last remains of autumn which added a little colour to an otherwise gray day.

We were out for about 2-and-a-half hours in the end which I think isn’t bad for 8 miles-worth of exercise, plus I got to christen my new boots. I was right- I don’t have a single blister and my dodgy right knee didn’t ache at all despite us trudging through quite a lot of mud. That usually does me in! All in all I’m feeling virtuous for getting off of my back side and braving the cold.

When I got home I decided I wasn’t quite done with exercise yet, so after hanging out with my parrot for a while (she was very displeased indeed that I’d gone and left her for the morning) I felt that I needed to get walking again. I mentioned in my previous post that I wanted to hit 30,000 steps in a single day before weigh-in, and since I was over halfway there already I thought I might as well smash it out before the end of the day.


And smash it I did! My sister’s record is 31.5k steps and I did have a fleeting desire to beat her, but I’ve got to admit I am EXHAUSTED, and my knee has started to hurt. That’s my signal to stop.


I also exceeded my weekly step record by 12,000 steps. And now I’m off to bed before I fall down. 

Good night!

 

Late Night Shopping

Last night at work was not going well for me. Yet again I was really struggling with my energy levels (I’m pretty sure I know what that’s all about and it should sort itself out soon) and even worse, when I’m doing this job my nose runs from the moment I start work to the moment I finish. I think it’s a combination of lots of dust and that it’s so cold in the warehouse. It’s really not pleasant though- as I need both hands for driving and lifting I can’t use a tissue all the time. Therefore I’m sniffing all the time like some sort of cocaine addict. But worst of all, I was hungry. I’d eaten a big dinner and had a snack just before leaving the house but all I could think about was the egg salad I had waiting for me on my lunch break. At 1:30am the call went out- the manager was letting some people take an early finish! So I got there as quickly as I could (safety first) but it looked like it was going to go to draw as too many people wanted to go. Luckily the manager took pity on us and let us all have the early.

For me there’s only one thing to do when I get an early, and that’s to leg it to the giant Tesco a couple of miles away. It is the ONLY place I can find Linda McCartney red pepper and chorizo sausages, but I flat out refuse to go there during daylight hours as it’s just so damn busy. As it happens the sausages were on special offer too so I stocked up on those plus a couple of other bits.

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My salad was still waiting for me in the car and shopping whilst hungry could have been disastrous. Instead of picking up naughties though I treated myself to an Alpro Go On (1 syn) and a fancy variety of tomatoes. I’m a sucker for a tomato I’ve never tried before!

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When I got home I sat down and really enjoyed my salad, which was more delicious than was actually feasible. But hey, I’m not complaining. Then it was time for an early night morning as I had an appointment to take Chester the cat for a checkup at the vets at 9:40.

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Thankfully Chester the cat is doing very well and obviously takes after his owners. He is getting on really well with the special food he has to eat- he loves it and scoffs the lot- which our vet has never heard of before. He said most owners find they have to try 4 or 5 different brands before they find one their cat will even touch, and some have to give up the pursuit altogether. We like our food in this family, pets included! As a result Chester has put on a decent amount of weight and is doing really well. We do have to get a urine sample though. Thankfully my brother has achieved this before with our other cat so I’ll leave it in his capable hands.

Yesterday I finally got around to booking my fancy new haircut, and this is a big deal for me. Originally I had intended to wait until I got to target before having a new style, for two reasons-

1) I thought my face was too fat for the style I want

2) I didn’t want to draw attention to myself

Number 2 kind of makes sense, but number 1 is actually really dumb. I wear my hair back in a ponytail all the time so it doesn’t cover up my chins anyway. Plus when I wear it down I think it makes my face look even worse as it just hangs there and isn’t styled. But all that is about to change as I’ve started to like my face and I care less about what people think than I did three months ago.

The date is set for the 11th of March and I could not be more excited! I would quite happily go and have it done today, but since Richard is the top stylist-type-person he also comes with the heftiest price tag. In my opinion he is worth every penny but still, it has to wait until after pay day. Either way it’s good to have something else to look forward to. I had so many insane haircuts when I was younger and although I did have a digital camera (they hadn’t been out long and it cost me a FORTUNE) taking pictures of yourself was not as common in those days. I did have some photographic evidence, but most of them had a past boyfriend in the shot and in the spirit of moving on I didn’t keep them. It never occurred to me that I’d want to look back on those haircuts some day. This time however there will be tons of photographic evidence. Consider this fair warning.

I’m feeling pretty trim this past week, and although it’s something I’ve never done until just recently I’ve started to keep a record of my measurements. In 12 weeks I lost a total of 18.5 inches from various parts of my body, the most being 5.5 from around my waist. But since my tummy’s feeling a lot flatter I decided to have another measure after just 2 weeks. I was shocked and delighted to find out I’ve lost another 3 inches from my waist! I put this down to being more active at work, so although I’m bored of the job I’m doing now and really would like to go back to my main department, I’m very grateful for these positive side effects. I was thinking back on how I would have coped doing all this activity with an extra 3.5 stone to carry around, and I honestly think it would have been hell for me. As it is the only bit of me that’s in real discomfort is my big toe, and I can deal with that for another two weeks and two days. Not that I’m counting…

I feel like I’m getting into a bit of a food rut just lately. It’s good to have my go-to quick fixes like Linda McCartney sausages and Quorn steaks, but I reckon it’s time to try some new things. I have an online shop being delivered tomorrow and with it will be the ingredients for four lentil-based curry-type meals, which will apparently serve four people with each batch cooked. The best bit is that all of the ingredients come to less than £10, most of which are store-cupboard bits and bobs that will last me ages. I just hope I like the recipes otherwise I’m trouble.

So that’s it. There’s one more night at work to go until I have a three-day weekend. Sunday I plan to walk into town to pick up some jeans I ordered, Monday I need to return a parcel via the post office, and Tuesday I’m picking up my sister from work then later on it’s Slimming World time. I booked Tuesday night off because Wednesday morning I’m taking my mum to an eye hospital appointment which is about 20 miles away, the only appointment we could get is in rush hour, and I’ve been informed by a Facebook friend who has just been to an appointment at the very same hospital that ongoing roadworks are causing absolute traffic chaos. So there’s that to look forward to! Oh, and the parking there is atrocious too. I think I’m going to take a packed lunch with me in case we get stuck for any length of time. It’s best to be prepared!

Until next time, as ever, thanks for reading.

Hayley x