Lazy Bones

So far this week I’ve done less steps over seven days than I did in just the Monday of the week before. I know I’ve been chilling out but that is just ridiculous! It also goes a little way to explaining how, according my scales, I have now gained THIRTEEN POUNDS since the 27th of November. That’s a pound a day!

I’m now regretting saying that I’ll definitely go to group on Tuesday in my last post, but I’m still going. A couple at group I’ve known from my Slimming World days in 2012 have been on holiday to Lapland, and they always have enormous holiday gains. So if nothing else I’ll make them feel better (or at least show them how it’s done!)

Perhaps I’ll also make other people feel better if they’ve had a couple of pound gains here and there from work Christmas parties and the like. Then next week I’ll (hopefully) show them that even when you’ve gained almost an ENTIRE STONE you can make a significant difference in just seven days. Hopefully.

Today I’ve been hungry, and I’ve massively overeaten. Before lunch I could feel some intense cravings coming on, and I ended up eating an entire packet of Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages. They are free, and I’ve lost weight eating those kind of volumes at a similar weight to what I am now, but it still feels wrong. Greedy, even. Having said that, they did the job and I’m still not hungry now. If I feel I need a dinner later I’m going to roast a (speedy) butternut squash and have it with some salad. I’m well within my syns, so I should actually be okay. I still feel guilty though.

I just have everything crossed that some of the bloating comes off before Tuesday evening. Because despite everything I’ve just said, I still don’t want to go and face that kind of gain. It’s no one’s fault but my own though. When will you learn Hayley?!

Last night was my one solitary night in work before I’m off for nine, yes nine days of guilt-free and all being well illness-free holiday. Because I’d been off sick I had to drag myself in for that one day otherwise all of my holiday would go down as sickness and I’d have to get a doctor’s note to explain my absence. Which I wouldn’t even be able to do because I’d long be back at work before even getting an appointment!

Thankfully there wasn’t much actually work to be done and I got away a couple of hours early. My alarm went off in the morning to make sure I don’t make Pea wait for her breakfast, and when I pulled back the curtains I was greeted with a veritable winter wonderland!

I quickly got Pea’s breakfast sorted then wrapped up in my work gear then went out into the garden to take pictures.

I’ve been raving about the work salopettes I got this year, because even out in the snow I was actually breaking out in a sweat. Perhaps I shouldn’t have worn my winter coat on top of everything else…

IMG_3156After rushing around before my camera got too wet, I took some more birdy pictures from indoors. The robin looks all the more festive in the snow!

I can remember the last time we had this much snow round our way – it was 2008 – and I got home from work at 3am so I could make a snowman in the back garden. I don’t remember the last time it snowed in December though. How exciting!

This afternoon I sat down with my mum, brother and Pea to watch The Santa Claus and do Christmas crafts, and it was lovely. Pea seems to be enjoying Christmas films weirdly – she’s has chattered all the way through every single one we’ve watched. I think it must be the music that she likes.

Tomorrow I have the dentist for my filling (yep, I’m dreading that) then I’m free to only do enjoyable things for the rest of the week. Just gotta get that one damn thing out of the way first…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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Perkier

This morning I woke up at 4am and couldn’t get back to sleep. The whole reason behind it was that my mojo unexpectedly came back, and I’m so pleased to see it that I’m not going to complain about the less-than-ideal timing.

I am so excited for the future, the only way I could calm my thoughts was to get up, make a cup of tea and jot down a list of things to do and things I’m looking forward to.

Me and my brother have started planning our annual holiday already. At the end of May we’re climbing Scafell Pike, hiking in the Isle of Skye, climbing Ben Nevis, and and some point fitting in some sleep. That part’s not a huge priority though.

A friend of mine has been talking a lot about the universe being on his side lately, and I had a similar feeling today. One thing I’m going to need is new hiking boots, because mine pinch the big toe on one foot if I do too much ‘going down hills’. Going down Snowdon this year it did give me some jip, so I need to do something about that.

As I opened Facebook today the first thing I saw was a brand new post from a vegan site I read – all about vegan friendly hiking boots! They have contacted a whole shedload of companies to ask about everything from the glue they use to their working practices, and have compiled a nice list so I can choose a pair without it being a huge headache. How awesome is that?

The only spanner in the works is the price, which is a fair one considering the quality of the boots and the fact that a lot of work has gone into making them eco-friendly, but I’ll have to start saving now. I almost, almost bought them anyway (I still have an emergency overdraft) but I stopped myself just in time. Needing something for the end of May cannot be considered an emergency!

The thing that’s really getting me going is that fact that I’ll be at target by the time we go. Going up Snowdon last May I felt fantastic, but when I saw the pictures of me and my brother’s Gopro footage I must admit that my heart sank just a tad. I was two stone heavier then than I am now, so I know I look a lot different already, it’ll just be that extra bit special this time around. Even if we aren’t so lucky with the weather. Look at that gorgeous sky!!!

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I was also itching to get back on plan this morning as I’m feeling a lot better. I can breathe through both nostrils at the same time and the only thing ‘bothering’ me now is a tickly cough. I can take a tickly cough all day long, it’s nothing compared to a blocked up nose! At lunch I settled down to read Harry Potter (it always makes me feel Christmassy) and a ginormous bowl of thick, silky, syn free, cauliflower soup. Yum!

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I even felt well enough to get out in the garden to take some pictures, but I’ve got to admit these pictures of some of our visitors were taken through the window. They’re a bit shy you see!

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Now let’s see how much of my latest gain I can get off before Christmas! I’ve put on about ten pounds (according to my scales) which is a fair consequence of the way I’ve been eating. I don’t feel bad about it as such, but I’m still going to skip group on Tuesday if I’m showing a gain of over 7lbs. It’s normally quick on/quick off with me though so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I end up going. We’ll see. Either way, I’m going to stay on plan now until Christmas Eve.

Everything is pretty much back to normal now (at least as normal as it ever gets) so I can get back to being festive in peace!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS Scratch that. I’m going to group anyway to face the music, no matter what happens. It’s time to start doing things properly again!

Bad Times

Ah, best laid plans and all that. I had such high hopes for this week, but fate had other ideas! I’ve had a niggling pain in a wisdom tooth that hasn’t come out yet for about a year now. When I last went to the dentist they said it was on its way through and not to worry about it, just to come back if the pain got worse. This week the pain got worse. Unbearably worse. So instead of taking my mum to the hospital and giving blood I was pacing around the living room trying to figure out a way to ease the pain. I spoke to the receptionist at my dentist and the earliest I could get an appointment was the middle of FEBRUARY. Or I could call back NEXT WEDNESDAY to see if they could do me an emergency appointment on the day. Alternatively, I was advised to wait until after 6pm then ring 111, who would put me in touch with an out of hours dentist.

HA!

So I called 111, and the lady gave me two numbers to ring. I got answer machines for both of them, advising in an emergency to call… 111. Sigh. I was also directed towards the NHS Choices website, where there’s a traffic light system showing how likely it is you’ll be able to get an emergency appointment. After trying about 20 different dentists and getting 20 different answering machines ALL advising me to call 111, eventually a lovely, lovely lady actually answered the phone.

She didn’t sound hopeful though. ‘I’m really sorry,’ she began, ‘but I don’t think we can fit you in until Friday’. I was literally in tears with the pain by this point, if I’d been in the room with her I would have kissed her! Because I figured I’d need ongoing treatment after actually seeing a dentist, I asked if I could switch to be a new patient there so that was arranged. When she assigned me to an actual dentist (she chose the lady she considered to be the nicest and best dentist there for me) I was informed that I could have an appointment the very next day. Woo!

So I went to that appointment yesterday, where I was given a proper examination and told that my wisdom tooth was not going to come through in a million years. It had in fact decayed inside me. Because it’s still mostly in my jaw bone, I have to wait for a referral to see an oral surgeon which should take about four weeks. I asked about being sedated because I won’t lie – I am terrified at the very thought of having a tooth out, particularly in such an awkward place, but if I want to be put under I have to wait six months. I simply cannot wait that long with a rotten tooth in my mouth. Scratch that, two rotten teeth, because the dodgy wisdom tooth has also completely mullered the tooth next door and that has to come out too.

Thankfully the pain has died off considerably, because I’m not sure how I would have coped. It’s now just a constant dull throb. To take my mind off it though I’ve come down with another stinky bloody cold. I feel absolutely awful, and all of my Christmas spirit has up and left me for the time being. I’m taking time off work to look after myself (which is most unlike me) and spending my time sleeping when I can, and reading when I can’t.

It’s annoying because I’m really in the mood to exercise, I just don’t have the energy! Plus there are so many crafty things I want to get done, but I’m not feeling it right now. I just have to be patient for another couple of days and then I’m sure I’ll perk up considerably. Apart from on Monday, because I’m having a filling that day. It’s not causing any problems, but I decided to get it out of the way before it goes as wrong as my wisdom tooth!

On the plus side I have all of my Christmas lights up, my mum has decorated the main tree in the living room and the little tree in the kitchen, so everything is looking much more cheerful. Which is nice because I swear it hasn’t got properly light here in days. I’d still like to go out for a walk though, but it’s probably not a good idea right now. Ho hum.

I have to admit, my diet has gone completely out of the window because I simply cannot be bothered to cook a single damn thing, but as soon as I’m feeling better I’m going to stick to plan and have a bloody awesome couple of weeks leading up to Christmas. It’s going to be brilliant. At the end of next week it’s bird sitting time and I’m going to explore the area around where my sister lives, so at least there will be new places to walk and get my steps in. So far this week I’ve done less steps than I normally do in one day!

So right now things are pretty pants, but I won’t really let it get me down, because it’s just a temporary state of affairs. It won’t be long and I’ll be right as rain, especially as there’s so much to look forward to.

Here’s to better times ahead!

Hayley x

Fun Times

I should not be writing this blog. I should be trying to create order out of the chaos that has become my bedroom.

The last week has been truly, truly wonderful. It was one of those rare moments in time that seemed to go on forever, so when I think back on what I was doing last Monday it feels like it was months ago. But on the other hand the time is passing in the blink of an eye, and I’m running out of it!

Now we’re in December I’ve officially gone Christmas crazy so the whole of Thursday afternoon was spent wrapping presents. I’m not even halfway done. On Friday I put up the tree and spent an age untangling and removing the lights (note to self: never buy ‘pre-lit’ again) and on Saturday I spent the day having a good 8 hours sleep in order to prepare myself for Christmas shopping in London on Sunday.

Thankfully my manager let me leave work at 5am Sunday morning so I got a full 2 hours sleep. It was a good job too, because I left the house at 8:30 and didn’t get back until 17:30. I was bloody exhausted! The good kind of exhausted though…

After having a preemptive coffee we went to Oxford Street to buy Christmas knick knacks from Flying Tiger. We got there for opening as it gets INSANELY busy, and it’s a good job we did because we were still in the queue to pay for an inordinately long amount of time. The Oxford Street Christmas lights were rubbish, so I wasn’t feeling very Christmassy at all, but on our way to Carnaby Street we saw a little brass band that changed all of that.

Then London redeemed itself entirely because Carnaby Street is looking fantastic! I couldn’t get any good photos because the weather was so dull and grey, but in real life it was great.

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And the most festive bit of all – the Hertfordshire Concert Band at Liverpool Street.

Ooh I’m feeling warm and fuzzy again watching that! I had a lovely day with my sister, and I ate an absolute ton of food (none of it Slimming World friendly) but I’m done with feeling guilty for the rest of this year. I will be on plan when I’m in the mood, but this month is all about fun times, and I will embrace them in whatever form they come. I’ll probably be on plan for tomorrow and Wednesday, but on Thursday I’m going to try the new vegan range at Pizza Hut so that definitely won’t be within my syns!

The most important thing is that although I’m really, really enjoying the season, I’m also desperately excited for the new year and all the possibilities it will bring. No matter what happens this month, I know any gains will be gone in no time and that 2018 is, without the slightest grain of doubt, the year I will reach my target weight. I can’t not be.

This morning I intended to get straight on and sort out all of my Christmas lights. I have loads of string lights because I love a twinkly Christmas, but I got distracted by Pea coming out to play and we spent hours just hanging out. I did get her to sit on the polar bear my mum knitted (eventually, anyway) so that was a result. It’s just a shame she’s moulting so badly right now. She’s not very photogenic.

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Now Pea is ready for her afternoon nap the lights are up but where I’ve sorted through so much stuff to find them, there is crap everywhere and a helluva lot of tidying to be done. Plus I need to sort out my work things and clean Pea’s cage, because I won’t have time tomorrow. As well as taking my mum to a hospital appointment as soon as I get her home I’m leaving again to go and give blood. Then I’ll have to try my best to have a pre-work nap and fit in dinner somehow.

Then on Wednesday I’m going to the cinema with a work friend. I’ve never done anything with her outside of work before, but I’m emboldened by my recent friendship successes and am starting to accept that I’m not quite at antisocial as I previously thought.

As I said before Thursday is pizza day, then on Friday I suspect I’m going to crash and burn and spend the whole day asleep.

Then once I get Saturday out of the way I have the week off work, where I’ll mostly be looking after my sister’s birds. She was telling me yesterday that Kiwi especially is in an exceptionally bitey mood, so there will be blood. I love her birdies though, so bitten or not I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

So yeah, I’m busy busy busy!

Now I must get on, because it’s my mission to be able to see the floor before bedtime. Wish me luck!

Hayley x

PS I spent the next hour after finishing this post fannying around with Pea, taking photos, editing photos and generally procrastinating. Someone slap me please!

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Black Fri-Nay

I hear that Black Friday has been something of a washout this year, and that makes me happy, even though I work in retail and a huge amount of the yearly profit is supposedly made in that one day. I just hate the excessive greed of it, and I’m glad that we aren’t all lowering ourselves to have fights over cheap TV’s in supermarket aisles.

I haven’t left the house today, at least not since I came in from work this morning, but I have made one special Black Friday purchase. Just before I went into work last night I spotted a post from Lush on Instagram. They are doing a limited edition orangutan-shaped soap, and 100% of the proceeds (minus VAT) are going towards buying land to reforest in Indonesia. As I skimmed over the post I read that only 14,600 of these soaps have been made, but until I went back to find the post this morning I didn’t realise why they only made that number. It’s because that’s how many orangutans there are left in Sumatra. So I was happy to pay more than £8 for a soap, because it’s going to a damn good cause. And it’s cute as hell. I’ll post a picture when it arrives.

Yesterday I got up early and went into town to pick up some jeans I’d ordered online. It’s virtually impossible to get a pair of jeans in my size and leg length in an actual shop, but at least it got me out of the house and also made me clock up some extra steps. I’ve now made up for spending Monday and most of Tuesday in bed!

I’ve also been on plan and I’m feeling great about it, especially since preliminary results seem to show that any gain caused by my Zizzi’s meal (plus extra) has since been obliterated. I was quite active in the week leading up to it, so that may well have helped too. Last night I had Quorn Fishless Fingers for dinner and it was bordering on the divine!

Today I have been told to eff off by several people, and that’s because I couldn’t help pointing out that this time next month it will be CHRISTMAS EVE!!! How exciting is that?

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I finally decided on how I’m going to decorate the five hessian Christmas stockings I bought, and the first one is complete. I got the cutest fairy light buttons, and I used some green wool to crochet the string they hang on. Plus I had little bells kicking around from last year and thought I’d put them to good use. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.

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I’ve also been using my (very basic) calligraphy skills to write out mini gift tags, and I’ve been practicing with the full-sized ones too.

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I have to start again with those though, because I decided I don’t like the actual tags and I’ve bought some nicer ones for the occasion.

My mum has been getting her Christmas Craft on too, and I appropriated this knitted polar bear the second he was done. Pea is currently in training to not be terrified of him, so I hope to get some nice festive pictures of her like I did last year. I’ll show you those next month.

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Before I go back to bed for my pre-work nap I’m starting to sort things out for a special visit I’m making on Monday. You can rest assured there will be more details to come on that very soon! I’m meeting up with an awesome person I haven’t seen in real life yet, so I suppose I’d best make sure I have clean clothes to wear and stuff like that. I’m normally a last minute kind of person, but I’m really, really trying to be more organised. I’m sure if I searched the blog for that phrase there would be numerous results, but really, I am trying!

On that note I’d really best crack on.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Induction

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

First of all I had to start with that little link 👆 because that’s how I ‘claim’ my blog in Bloglovin’. I’ve started reading a few blogs whose authors annoyingly don’t use WordPress or don’t have email subscribe buttons, so I was looking for somewhere to keep up-to-date with all of my blog reading but in one place. It seems I’ve found it.

Anyway, back to normal services. Today I feel much, much better. Yesterday was a big ole struggle to just keep going, and I did skip group after all. The thing that swayed it was the fact that it was a taster session, and I couldn’t quite take the additional social anxiety of having to make extra conversation rather than relying on the structure of IMAGE therapy.

When I came downstairs with the intention of starting on dinner though, the pumpkins I bought were accusatorily staring at me. They were judging me because I hadn’t carved them yet.

It was the very last thing I felt like doing, but I had to anyway because I’d feel even worse if I ended up throwing them away. That wouldn’t do at all.

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I just carved a simple design into my pumpkin, and he came out looking pretty miserable. It wasn’t intentional, I promise. My brother’s also reflected his own mood – evil and happy about it!

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I really like his double-decker pumpkin idea, he’s quite creative when he puts his mind to it.

Normally we are pretty boring when it comes to Halloween, but this year we put our pumpkins outside to let the local kids know that we had sweet treats.

When my brother was little the urchins in our street were just awful and we had to sit with the lights off, but this new generation are pretty awesome! They were all so nice, without exception, and it was a pleasure handing over the goodies. They all made a fab effort with their costumes too but even then they were polite enough to compliment me on my little witch’s hat. Bless them!

By the time we’d finished our carving I was pleased I’d forced myself to do it. It was a little accomplishment that made me feel a lot better.

Then I knocked up a quick dinner of chilli-non-carne that was filled with Speed foods (mostly a ridiculous amount of peppers and tomatoes) and came with plenty of beans. It also made a lunch for work, and a very generous lunch for today that I’ve just polished off. I had it with 4 syns of pretend vegan cheese, too.

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I’ve been on plan for a day-and-a-half now, and I can feel the motivation coming back. Once I see the scales shift (my home weigh-in showed an 8lb gain) then I’m sure I’ll be right as rain again.

Being back at work last night wasn’t too bad, although I was very sleepy. The best (and worst) bit was seeing that the on-site gym is now finished and they are taking names for inductions. I’m absolutely terrified at the prospect, but I put my name down regardless. I really want to build up some strength, especially in my arms, and I think the use of some proper gym equipment is the best way to achieve that. Plus it’s FREE and I can go after work whenever I want. I’d be stupid not to.

Still, exercising in front of other people, people who I know… I’m trying not to think about it too much. I’ll do the induction then think about what comes after that when I absolutely have to!

Things are definitely looking up then, and I’m still absolutely determined to get into the 13 stones by the 19th of December. I have 7 weigh-ins and about 11 pounds to go. I can still do it! The next time I feel my control slipping though, I need to remember that I’ve made achieving this goal a little tighter than it would have been and I just can’t afford to mess around any more. Watch this space!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Shopping Trip

I just had a quick read through my last post to see what was happening the last time we spoke. I ended with ‘I will stick to plan no matter what’ which seems to be the thing I always write just before I go off plan. In my defence I did last a couple of days before it actually happened!

There’s a whole world of difference between this incident and last week’s slip up. Last week I just lost it and couldn’t control myself, whereas this week I made a choice. At the moment I don’t regret it, though that will probably change once I’ve stepped on the scales Tuesday. I just need to remember that it’s not the end of the world!

I think this post is going to be a bit of a long one so why don’t you grab yourself a cuppa before you really get stuck in?

Sometimes on this here blog I mention doing stuff with a friend, and sometimes that friend is actually my ex-boyfriend. I’ve written about it before from time to time, but our relationship was not a good one. There were huge trust issues, because he kept bloody lying to me all the time! This is not an ex-bashing post, because as I have already stated we are still friends, and good ones at that.

The problem is that my ex has an insatiable desire to try and keep everyone happy all of the time, and will tell any number of porky pies to achieve that. And it’s something he either can’t or won’t change.

I myself grew up with a lying toerag of a father and cannot stand being lied to. It is something I cannot and will not compromise on.

So in the end, although there are plenty of other facets to the honesty thing, and there’s a whole book’s-worth of other reasons we didn’t make it in the end, I’d say that’s the main one. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that though I wish things hadn’t gotten to the point where I was so, so unhappy, and although I was so terribly hurt by the whole thing, my ex is not a bad person and he makes a really stonking friend. His intentions have always been good, which is why it took me so long to walk away from something that was so bad for me.

Being friends with your ex is dangerous territory indeed. At the moment my main concern is that our friendship will hurt one of us. For me, I feel that this is the relationship we were meant to have, because I finally feel that we are on an even keel. As a partner, I always wanted things that he couldn’t give, but as friends I think we are both getting back what we give. And that’s a lovely thing. But if he secretly does want more, that’s when it gets tricky, because it wouldn’t be fair of me to keep hanging around if it causes him pain. Problem is it’s unlikely he’d ever tell me, because he’s not one to talk about feelings, so I just need to keep an eye out for potential signs.

The other problem of course would be new partners. I don’t think he’s looking at the mo, but if it does happen for him then I will quietly step aside, because I think it’s a rare case indeed where a new girlfriend is happy for the old one to still be hanging around! I’d like to give him the best chance at happiness, and because he has children with two different women then this potential new partner will have quite enough ex’s to be getting on with already.

So, on to the actual events after that glimpse into my current deep thoughts!

My friend felt bad for not getting me a proper birthday present (you can have money OR kids, but rarely both I’ve heard) so I asked if he’d accompany me on a shopping trip instead, because that would mean more to me anyway. So he agreed, and I’d just like to point out that I’m not a stereotypical woman shopper so it wasn’t an ordeal for him. I rarely browse as such, I kind of scan the wares like Predator and zone in on what I want.

We went to Chelmsford (the birthplace of radio, or so the sign on the way there says) as it has about five times the amount of shops of my local high street. It also has a much better quality of charity shop.

I’ve been browsing charity shops for a while now and was starting to think that I’d never get lucky. I never seem to find anything I’m remotely interested in, except near my sister’s one time where I found a faded old dress… that was over £20.

I think Chelmsford must have a much more generous population, because the goods donated there are of much better quality, and I reckon the larger variety of charity shops there may have driven the prices down a bit. In one I found a lovely dress from Monsoon for £6, which is a brand I love anyway but they are just so expensive. The reason they are expensive is because they’re right up there with some of the most ethical brands (y’know, paying a proper wage for staff and having decent conditions for them and whatnot) so I’d be happy to pay out more in the future, just not now because it’ll be too big before I know it. It was a summer dress too, so I knew I had to leave it on the rack.

In another I found a lovely winter coat, but I’m already sorted for this year so again it had to stay where it was. It was under a tenner though! I wish I’d found it before I got my current coat!

At last I found something I could use though – a Primark dress in exactly my size with some fantastic autumn vibes – for a fiver! Yessssss! It has most of the qualities I look for in a dress and a new quality I’ve just discovered. Flattering arms? Check. Mesh? Check. Flattering tummy-covering? Check. Seriously sweet old lady serving me? Check.

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But it also has a low back which shows off my newly discovered angular shoulder blades, and my slender neck. I have a neck. I’m going to get a tattoo there one day, of Pea, but I’m saving that as a treat for when I reach target.

After our charity shop crawl, well, that’s when things went a little awry. I’d researched vegan-friendly eateries beforehand but had then dismissed the idea because I wanted to stay on plan. Despite having porridge for breakfast which always keeps me fuller for longer, at the very mention of lunch I suggested a place called Acanteen. I can’t get over the name, because it doesn’t flow off the tongue nicely, but that’s a small criticism because OH MY GOD THE FOOD IS LOVELY.

I went for a caulikale pizza, because I haven’t had a pizza in months and months and boy have I been wanting one. And they had the option to replace ordinary cheese with vegan cheese, so I thought why not.

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It was amazing.

The base was thin and crispy in all the right places, and the combination of a gorgeously flavoured tomato sauce, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, along with kale (which is right up there at the top of the list of my favourite veggies) was delicious. Although not Slimming-World friendly, it would still be a fraction of the syns of one of the 20″ pizzas I used to buy.

Recently I’ve been thinking about being more ethical in my clothing choices, but I was going to put off doing anything about it until I get to target. That way I can buy things that will last years and years because I won’t be growing or shrinking out of them every five minutes.

I came across a very helpful blog called The Sustainable Edit, and one of the most recent posts suggested the brand Fatface. I love Fatface anyway but the last time I went in there I could only just squeeze into a size 16. Plus they are (rightfully) a bit on the pricey side.

After lunch I told myself the biggest lie of all (lying to myself is OK it seems!) and I went in to just have a little look.

Ha!

Five minutes later I came out with a dress and a skirt, both of very high quality, both versatile in their uses, both in a size 14, and both half price or less.

These I can put away for later use, because my ultimate goal is no longer a weight, it’s to be a size 14. The skirt especially can be worn casually or dressed up, so I think this is the first little seed of a capsule wardrobe. I’m stupidly excited about all this!

I didn’t try them on in store, but when I got home I found that although a little tight and not quite the ideal fit, if I wanted I could get away with wearing them now. That little fact pleases me more than I could possibly tell you with my limited vocabulary. Perhaps the words don’t even exist.

When I got home I ate the last of my dairy free Ben & Jerry’s, because it seems if something is unopened I can leave it but once it’s been started on I can’t get it out of my head. That’s something to remember in future. Finally I had a naughty dinner for much the same reason – using up the opened packet of Linda McCartney’s mushroom wellington bites. They’re only 2.5 syns each but it was killing me just eating a couple at a time!

So that’s that. I fell off the wagon but, perhaps because I had such a lovely day, I don’t have the same kind of guilt that I’ve had with other episodes. That also made it a lot easier to get right back on plan after dinner, rather than let it get out of hand.

Today I went pumpkin picking, although it wasn’t pumpkin picking at all. I was disappointed because I didn’t realise all of the pumpkins had already been picked, put in piles, and left on the ground where some of them were rotting. Where’s the fun in that? That’s pumpkin choosing, surely? And why didn’t anyone take away the furry and putrefying ones? I left a very fair review (I thought so, anyway) on their Facebook page stating that (but nicely), because I thought it was a bit misleading, and I was immediately trolled. I don’t have much experience of internet trolls because I’ve never put myself out there as much as I do now, and although I was really angry I thought (specially now I love blogging so much) it’ll be good to learn how to let it go. Some internet people really do go a bit crazy when you disagree with them – she seemed genuinely furious that I didn’t think the pumpkin farm was a nice place. Very strange indeed.

I did get a couple of nice pictures from the nicer piles, though to be honest that’s more to do with my photography skills than the surroundings, which weren’t great.

Still, 15 minutes and £16 after leaving the house I was proud owner of some pumpkins for carving and one spaghetti squash for eating.

Do you want to know the best bit though? It looked like it was going to rain, so I got out my waterproof coat I bought back in May. It was intended for my Snowdon trip, so although it’s been up and down a mountain the weather was so nice I never actually wore it. I thought it couldn’t be that big on me now, so I might as well get a bit of use out of it.

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Or perhaps not. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a second-hand one in a 14, because it really is a decent coat. What a great reason to no longer be able to wear it though!

Tomorrow I’m off to visit a friend (not an ex this time!) as I’ve arranged with his partner to surprise him for his birthday. There was a surprise meal for him on Saturday but I couldn’t make it (damn you, work) so I’m making up for it with a visit all of my own. I don’t manage to see the few friends I have (I’m very picky, you know) as much as I’d like, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

And now I’m going to stop writing before this post gets any longer. Thank you for making it this far!

Hayley x

Red Roses and Cabbages

On Thursday a friend popped round as he couldn’t see me on my actual birthday, which is today, and I was surprised with a lovely bunch of flowers. We’re good enough friends that he knows how much I love vegetables, so my bunch of flowers included what seemed to be cabbages or kale of some description! As he suspected, I was impressed. Since I don’t know exactly what they are I’ll resist eating them though.

Then this morning everything went topsy turvy and I had a slip-up. I knew I was getting a chocolate frog from my brother, which I had intended to save until Hallowe’en. Just because. But as soon as I opened him I lost control and bit his poor little head off.

I’ll be honest. The rest of him did not last much longer. Then I opened my next present, which was a gorgeous little box of 6 gold-dusted vegan truffles (not real gold, I’m assuming) and they didn’t last long either. I followed that up with toast smothered in peanut butter, then finally with dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s. Not the healthiest breakfast I’ve ever had. On the plus side, I stopped eating before I felt sick, although in ‘normal person’ terms by rights I should have been feeling sick already. I probably ate 1/5th of the ice cream before I put it back in the freezer, which I’m fairly certain has never happened before.

I then opened a present from my mum – a size 14 sweater-dress that I was quite sure would be a bit tight even though the style is deliberately oversized. Nope! It fits perfectly. I’m not sure if it’s how it’s supposed to fit, but I felt just brilliant wearing it, plus it has a nice high neckline that will keep me nice and warm but still shows evidence of my actual neck. I absolutely love it and at that point I felt over the moon.

After a little more present-opening, including a very sweary cookbook called Thug Kitchen – Eat Like You Give a F*ck (check it out, there are loads of healthy recipes that look easy enough to convert to Slimming World) I went to bed for some much needed sleep.

When I woke up, before I was even aware what day of the week it is, a wave of guilt at what I’d eaten this morning washed over me. So I did what I promised myself I would do the next time I found myself feeling bad about food, and that’s to reach out for some help.

I messaged my friend and favourite blogger to confess, and I was given some excellent advice. It was all stuff that any of us slimmers would tell each other in the same situation – that we’re only human, that it’s not the end of the world, that beating yourself up doesn’t do any good whatsoever. Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. And as the messages came pouring in I felt myself exhale and my shoulders drop (they had been making their way up to my earlobes) because I was so tense and I hadn’t even realised. I remembered to just breathe and that actually, everything is still OK.

Another result of talking to a fellow slimmer is that I’ve cemented a goal I’ve had floating around in my head for a while. My target weight (for now) is 12st 10lbs, which will take me into the top end of a healthy BMI and also give me leeway of a couple of pounds. But more than that, I want to comfortably fit into a size 14 from any high street store such as Topshop, River Island, New Look, Next etc. Once I can do that, there won’t be many (perhaps any) places I can’t shop and from then on I’ll only have to worry about getting clothes that are long enough, rather than wide enough, to fit me. Wouldn’t that be something?

Tonight I’m at work but tomorrow I’m out and about in London with my sister, and although I will still have my vegan pumpkin spice latté, that’s the only thing I’m going to have while we’re out unless it’s a free food. I’m taking a packed lunch with me, and I’ve given my sister instructions to knock any bad food straight out of my hand if I do pick any up. Although I don’t think I will even want to now. I still have all of my goals in sight and I can’t afford to be distracted any further.

This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past – one bad morning, or evening, or whatever, has sent my spiralling out of control. And it doesn’t have to be that way. It WON’T be that way.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of my birthday guilt free and safe in the knowledge that I’m still on my way to target. It feels damn good.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Pleasant Surprise

Last night I wore my three layers to work, as has become the norm over the last week, and I nearly bloody melted. It’s been so warm today! I’m not complaining because it’s been beautiful, and it was absolutely ideal as me and my brother had already planned to visit Eltham Palace today.

Autumn colours are always lovely, but it’s even better when the sun is shining on them and there was barely a cloud in the sky all day. After arriving we headed straight to the house (palace my backside) and picked up one of the free audio guides. In fact it was all kind of free now that we are English Heritage members. That’s a very good thing because I would have been slightly cheesed off if I’d paid for the audio guide because it really was dreadful! It sounded like the narrator was trying to be seductive, and I don’t know who wrote the script but after one description of a painting I had to turn if off because I wanted to throw the thing through the window.

Hence I came home knowing nothing about Eltham Palace at all. I have just had a quick read on Wikipedia though and it seems it was a palace once, but it was all but destroyed in the 1600’s. What’s there now is a house that was built on the site, which includes the restored great hall of the original palace. The Art Deco house was apparently a ‘masterpiece of modern design’ and I read a little plaque that said it was inspired by Scandinavian design. I’d much rather kit my home out with Ikea though because I thought it was ugly. The only pictures I took inside the house were not Art Deco at all!

The grounds though, now they are lovely. There’s a big lake that goes part of the way around it and the fish there (I think my brother said they are carp) must be used to being fed because they are so friendly. Normally I have oats in my bag as a matter of course, in case I need to tempt a water bird on my travels, but I didn’t replenish the last lot I used so we had nothing to lure the fish closer with. Then along came a family eating their sarnies who decided to throw bread in the water.

I’m sure most people know that you shouldn’t feed birds bread, because uneaten bread can pollute the water and it doesn’t provide enough nutrition to see them through the winter. I’m not sure what the deal is with fish, but it would be irrelevant in this case anyway. The fish snaffled up the bread immediately and I’m not sure even a single crumb was missed.

We spent most of the afternoon just wandering around exploring the grounds or watching the fish, and I was just loving the colours of everything so much. I’m going to find out what kind of flowers they have because everything was still in bloom and it would be lovely to have our garden looking something like that this time next year. Not that I’ve done anything at all with the garden since I decided I was going to sort it out, however many months ago. I really must do my research in time for spring.

I don’t know why this year has been so different, but documenting the changes in the seasons and trying to enjoy every minute of it has been really important to me. I need to make sure I’m out every week until all of the leaves are gone because I don’t want to miss a single photo op!

Just gorgeous.

When we left in the late morning I’d just eaten breakfast and wasn’t hungry at all so I didn’t take food with me, but I did have the foresight to have a lunch already prepared for when I got home. That was a good call because on the drive back my tummy was rumbling like mad. I’m frightening myself with all of this organisation.

You may notice that I didn’t put any weekly goals up last week, and that’s because I had no intention at all of avoiding the sneak peek. I’m feeling really bloated and I think it’s possible I’ll have a maintain but the important thing is to not freak out about it.

That’s if it does happen at all, because a lot can change between now and Tuesday morning. What I do know is that I have had an impeccable week as far as food is concerned and if I don’t get a good result I only need to look to the people I admire who deal with gains and maintains spectacularly well. There are two in particular. One is Just Julie and I’m pretty sure the other can guess who he is, and the thing about these spectacular people is I see them have disappointing and undeserved results at times, and although they’re obviously not happy about it, they don’t let it derail them. I wait with anticipation for the following week’s results and watch all of the hard work pay off as they are rewarded for sticking with it. Even when it might be the last thing they wanted to do at the time.

And that’s where I must leave you because it’s 8pm and I haven’t even started dinner yet. So much for being organised…

Hayley x

Harvest

Pea is growing new feathers again which means that she is grumpy. This usually manifests itself by her shouting at me all day to be let out of her cage then resolutely refusing to come out – her ideal scenario is that I am awake but leaving her alone while she sits on her perch with the cage doors open. I’m fairly certain I could go to sleep and she’d be absolutely fine, but there’s always the chance she’ll go exploring without me and chew through an electrical cable or something else equally as deadly. So it’s not worth the risk. When she’s like this, which thankfully isn’t too often, I don’t tend to get much sleep during the day. Yesterday I slept in until the very last minute then very lazily drove to the Lidl’s around the corner because the only speed foods I had left in the house were lemons and limes.

I went in for mushrooms and courgettes but I came out with neither. I completely forgot about those before I even stepped into the shop because outside my eye was caught by some beautiful autumn heather. It was only £1.79 so I thought why the hell not!

I’ve got to say that Lidl is totally on it when it comes to the autumn produce. I’ve already been getting excited about fig season because I love them and the season is oh so short. Lidl provided, and I had my first figs of the year.

I’ve also been keeping my eye out for seasonal squashes. Again Lidl did not disappoint! I picked out all of the prettiest ones, and although it’s almost a shame to eat them it’s an even bigger shame not to. On top of that I got some beetroot, which I’ve never, ever cooked for myself (I’ll be having a go later), ‘Unicorn Carrots’, which are baby carrots and parsnips in various colours, and I got the very last packet of buttonhole kale. Just look at all the colours!

I ate the carrots with dinner yesterday – I just roasted them in Frylight and a little bit of garlic salt – and they were heavenly. As was the kale, it’s the prettiest-looking veg in the pan.

Today has been another day of not quite enough sleep, as I spent the morning driving my friend around after he scrapped a car. I was glad to help thought because it’s the same car/people-carrier-type thing that he loaned me to help my sister move. Thankfully the engine didn’t choose to fall apart until long after the job was done. My friend is obsessed with anything that has an engine and has another two cars left, plus a motorbike, so I think he’ll be OK getting around for the time being.

Last night at work marked a sign of things to come. I ordered some cheap thermals to keep me going until the work allowance comes through and last night I had to wear them for the first time. It’s all downhill from now on! All in all I’m feeling really happy about it though, because in the past I’ve bought all of my own cold weather gear due to being too ashamed for my manager to know my size. This year though the large I bought for myself fits comfortably so when it comes to ordering from work I’ll be getting medium tops and large bottoms. MEDIUM! REALLY! That’s something of a far cry from the XXL’s I was wearing last year that fit me like a second skin!

As anyone who’s been reading my blog for a while knows I’ve spent the last few months struggling to get into the rhythm of things, but as bad as I felt over that period of time, that’s as good as I feel now. I’m sure it’s because for the first time in my life I had a bad spell and instead of letting it consume me I worked through it and carried on. If I can do that after all these years of failing, then I think I can do just about anything.

Hayley x