Such a Perfect Day

I had to get up early this morning so obviously I had real trouble sleeping last night, because isn’t that always the way? But I refused to let that stop me making the best of the day.

First stop was ferrying my mum to a 9:00am doctor’s appointment, which I expected to last a lot longer than it did. I was home and out the door again by 9:30am. Result!

I left the car on the drive and walked into the town centre via the park which was just beautiful today. The sky has been amazing the whole day – so many interesting clouds! My mum loves learning about weather and via a book I bought her last year we believe that they were cirrus uncinus, which has streaky bits, and the streaky bits are ice crystals and snow. Yep, it’s been snowing today but it never reached the ground. Bonkers!

Best of all, the park was virtually empty apart from a few seasoned fisher-people, some very loud grasshoppers, plus the birds, bees and butterflies.

 

Once in town I realised I was pretty hungry, and it’s a sign of how healthy my attitude to food is right now that I really, really, really craved a perfectly ripe, juicy nectarine. There is no point buying a ‘perfectly ripe’ anything from Tesco or Asda, because the last supposedly perfectly ripe fruit I bought from either of them could have been used to break a car window. But we have an M&S in town, and if they can’t provide you with a juicy nectarine then no-one can.

I was not disappointed so, craving satisfied, I hit the shops. I went to Hobbycraft to pick up some art supplies, WH Smith to spend a Love2Shop voucher my mum gave me (and being a grown-up I bought some kitty stickers and push pins shaped like buttons), Evans for the only tights I can get that will fit me width-ways as well as length-ways, then it was time for some clothes shopping. I went to Primark but didn’t end up buying anything, but it’s still a huge buzz for me that they sell clothes that fit me at all. I tried on a dress and it was too big. Madness. I tried on a couple of bits in other places but the real highlight was in Next.

Next go up to a size 18, which is the size I am now, and they are the only place I’ve found that does a high waist, long leg jean that might actually fit me. Except you can’t get a size 18 for love nor money. So I tried on a size 16 and they felt really damn good, but sitting down in them would be an impossibility at this stage. Plus if I wear jeans or trousers that are too tight I get violent hiccups! Normally I’d buy them to ‘shrink into’, but they were £48 so I’m not going to be buying any jeans from Next until I’m maintaining my weight. I also saw a top I liked, and again they had the 16 but not the 18 so I thought I’d give it a go. I was delighted to find that it fits, and I’ll be wearing it to weigh in tomorrow, and probably to every weigh in for next six months knowing me! I can sit down in it, it feels really comfortable, it’s long enough which is a rare find for me, and it’s not black… It’s perfect!

Finally I visited Starbucks for a venti (mahoosive) cold brew to sip on the way home.

Again I went home via the park and I saw not one but three dragonflies! I didn’t get a chance to photograph them because they were so fast. I just heard the thrumming of their wings and saw a flash of electric blue. There were also countless butterflies and wild poppies and little yellow flowers everywhere, so I sat down with not a soul in sight to finish my coffee, eat another nectarine and soak up the scenery.

On the way home I decided I wasn’t ready to go indoors yet, so I walked to a nearby church at the top of a nice big hill. It’s about a ten minute walk from my house, it backs onto a little conservation area, it has some beautiful flowers, and despite living here for over 15 years this is only the second time I’ve been there. Disgraceful! I live about a 30-minute train ride from Fenchurch Street but on a clear day like today I could make out Canary Wharf and The Shard, and since I’m really not a city person for me it’s the perfect distance to be viewing them from.

Finally, after being out for four hours and not having a huge amount to show for it, I returned home to relax in the garden with Pea and a good book. The only problem is I was supposed to go to Lidl’s before going home because I absolutely needed a cabbage, so once Pea was bored with watching the bees enjoy our mallow plant, I headed out again.

Just after getting home my new lens arrived and I’ve been playing with that ever since, but annoyingly every bird in the area seems to have deserted me so I haven’t had a chance to properly test it. Besides, I think there are enough pictures in this post to be getting on with!

I’ve just had such an amazing day, enjoying the simple things in life. The only downside is the sunburn I stupidly allowed myself to get. I MUST remember to put cream on in future!

It’s scary to think that no so long ago I never would have dreamed of going for a walk by myself, or just for fun for that matter. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to the church alone or stopped to take a photo in case someone looked at me. God forbid! I’m never going back to that, not ever.

Now all that’s left to do today is keep my fingers crossed for a good result on the scales tomorrow. Wish me luck!

Hayley x

Nice Weather For Ducks… and Hayley 

Since I’ve decided that for every day in June I’m going to do 10,000 steps a day or more, I realised that on my days off I just have to get out of the house. My usual routine would mean me doing about 1,800 steps and that just ain’t good enough! I don’t feel like I’ve done all that much today but the day has disappeared nonetheless . I did the vacuuming, popped to Lidl for supplies, pottered around on the computer then before I knew it I had to leave to meet my brother. On his way home from work he rides through a park so I walked to meet him there this evening.

I deliberately got there about 45 minutes early so I did a few laps of the lake and got my 10,000 steps. Then I only went and saw a bloody heron! He had a fish in his mouth, which I watched him eat, then I quickly rooted around in my bag for my camera. He was too far away for me to get a decent pic (the one below is cropped) but there he is just the same.

I’m glad I’ve got a picture because for some reason seeing a heron feels really surreal to me. This first time I saw one it was about 6 am and I was on a stress-induced walk. It was a few years ago and I was still with my boyfriend, who had a habit of going off the radar whenever he went to visit his kids. He has a history of falling asleep at the wheel so when after a couple of days I still hadn’t heard from him and I eventually plucked up the courage to call (I wasn’t allowed to in case his ex found out he was seeing someone… go figure…) his phone was switched off and I couldn’t get the images of him lying in a hospital bed out of my head. In such situations my anxiety was just too much to bear and I just had to move, no matter what. So I went out walking in the early hours.

I walked up a hill I’ve driven up a thousand times, and as far as I knew it was just rows of very posh houses up there. I was stomping along when I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was eerily quiet and I hadn’t seen another soul so I was shocked when I looked to the side of me to see a little stream which runs underneath the road, one I didn’t even know was there, and a heron just standing there looking at me. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was hallucinating or not!

Today was similar. There were kids all around playing football, lots of dads riding bikes with their kids, people walking dogs, yet all of a sudden I was completely alone except for the geese, ducks and cootes (who had gone for a swim, frightened off by the footballers) and Mr Heron here.

My brother arrived just seconds before the heron flew away, then we tempted the geese out of the lake with some tasty porridge oats. It also started to rain, but such things won’t deter seasoned walkers like ourselves, and I kept my camera dry but putting it in a carrier bag and making holes for the lens and the viewfinder. 

 

I cannot believe how quickly these geeselets have grown. This is what they looked like when I saw them last, on the 13th of May. I wish I’d taken my camera that day!

I suppose they must be teenagers now, although it was the parents who were the worst behaved. This one had clearly taken offence to us feeding the kids and it kept hissing and sticking its tongue out. How unfriendly!

We saw some ducks too, and at least someone other than me didn’t seem to mind that it was raining. I know it’s not really smiling but seriously how happy does that duck look?

But this little one though, THIS one was the absolute cutest. JUST LOOK AT THAT FACE!

I’m pleased I had a good photo day, I love getting home to find out what I’ve captured. It was especially fun today because of the rain – I couldn’t review the pictures as I took them so I was completely in the dark as to what they’d come out like.

When I got in I was starving but there’s only one thing that can truly distract me from food, and that’s editing my photos. Once I was done though I had a potato salad with Quorn crispy fillets. I’m just loving simplicity when it comes to my food the last few days – the salad was just baby plum tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and boiled potatoes and it was just so damn good.

I can’t quite believe it’s weigh in tomorrow because it’s come around so quickly. It honestly feels like it was only yesterday I was last at group. I suppose that’s what being back at work has done to me, I’m completely up the wall with my sense of time. Ho hum, hopefully I’ve lost weight, which I’m not sure about because Star Week (sorry, TMI) has arrived early. I did wonder why I was extra angry at work this week, I just put it down to resenting being back after all that time off. I’m not usually one to sulk about things like that though, so it’s making a lot more sense now!

Ok, I’m going now before I ramble at you any further.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On Top of the World

Denial is something I’m really, really good at. When I’m on plan I log every morsel that passes my lips, I look in the mirror regularly to try and spot changes, and usually there are some. I’m generally pleased with my reflection these days, too. But when I’m off plan, like I have been since I last posted, then I’m adept at not thinking at all about how I look, how my clothes fit (or don’t as the case may be), the huge volumes of food that I’m eating and the effect it’s having on my body. All I allow myself to think about it what I’m going to eat next.

I’m stuck in this horrible pattern of losing a large chunk of weight one week and gaining it back in a fortnight or so. It’s not good for me, and I need to stop it. Unfortunately I’m expecting my biggest gain yet at group on Tuesday. Now I’ve faced up to what I’ve done I need to face the scales, and I think that’s best done at my usual group. Plus I’m not back at work until Wednesday night so there’s no excuse not to go. I’m dreading it, but I need to break the cycle. This has happened to me before, in 2013, and my consultant suggested that I call target for a while until I get my head straight. I didn’t, and I regained everything I’d lost plus more. This time I’m not going to let history repeat itself. I have a few weeks left of a 12 week countdown, so if I’m back to my lowest weight (at least this time around) by the time it’s finished I think I will maintain for a while, probably for a month or so, to take some of the pressure I’ve given myself off a little bit.

On the plus side (and it’s a very big plus indeed) on Thursday my Snowdon trip finally came around. It was a 6 hour drive to our campsite so on the way there me and my brother had plenty of time to plan our strategies. We both admitted that we were rather worried about not being able to reach the summit, and agreed that if we needed to we’d turn around and go back. I don’t like giving up as much as the next person, but it is dangerous and if we got out of our depth we needed to be able to admit that. We also agreed that we’d set off from the Pen Y Pass car park at 5am the next day. It sounds a little bit bonkers, but Snowdon gets really busy and we both like peace and quiet so it was worth getting up early for.

On Thursday the weather was absolutely glorious, and baking hot, so we were looking forward to it being at least slightly cooler up the mountain. Despite the long drive we did have time to get some dinner at a local pub and check out a little waterfall. As we bought cold drinks from the café it was free for us to get in, otherwise it would have been a pound each. It wasn’t the most spectacular waterfall I’d ever seen, it was more of a big stream really, but it was a nice little walk and you really can’t go wrong for that kind of money.

We did try to get an early night but I really struggled to get off, so I must have had about 5 hours tops. Not ideal for when you’re about to go up a mountain but there’s not much I could do about it! I did wake up for a tinkle at 3am and the sky was just stunning. We were camped about a 30 second walk, literally, from the lake you can see in the picture below. What with it being so remote there was no light pollution, and happily at 3am there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, either. I’ve never seen so many stars in my life!

When we set off for the summit the next day, as we’d hoped there was barely another soul around. We did see people occasionally as we made our way up, but they were clearly seasoned walkers and they overtook us every time. We saw one man carrying a mountain bike up, which was inconceivable to us. How did he manage to carry it over the precarious parts? When did he actually get to ride it? Who can say… Anyway we didn’t mind being overtaken, and considering it was our first time doing anything like that we were making really good progress. The best part though was seeing the sun come up behind the mountains.

Another benefit of leaving so early was that we were able to cope in the heat! And considering 90% of the year visibility is pretty awful we couldn’t have wished for the views to be any better. We gradually made our way up the Pyg Track which is one of the steepest yet shortest routes, and it involved actually climbing at various points. I’m talking using both arms to clamber over the parts where the path isn’t actually a path. It was scary, but so exciting and so much fun!

We checked online before we went and apparently a ‘reasonably fit person’ can complete the Pyg Track in about 3 hours. Somehow, we managed to do it and three-and-half and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of myself. 7 months ago I couldn’t walk from the clocking out machine at work to the car park without getting out of breath, and I certainly couldn’t hold a conversation. But on Friday I climbed a mountain. An actual mountain! I still can’t quite believe it!

The views from the top were absolutely spectacular and we even had the summit, which is very small, to ourselves for 15 minutes or so. My camera is old and very heavy, but I’m so glad I lugged that extra weight around. I mean just look at it!

I must admit I found going down a lot harder than going up. My legs were like jelly by the time we got to the lake you can see in the picture above. The picture below? Yep, same lake! We took a different route back down, the Miners Track, which took us right down to the shore where I put my feet in the numbingly cold water and rinsed my hair. It was just an amazing feeling, I can’t even describe it. It was a magical experience. And the water was so clear.

The very last bit was reasonably flat and eventually it turns into what can be described as an actual path, but it was a hard slog as I’d run out of steam at that point. In all, including stopping for breaks and to take pictures (I also video-called my sister from the summit, the only place we could get mobile internet bizarrely) it took us 7.5 hours to get there and back.  When we got back to the campsite I felt super happy and content though! Until this morning I’ve been enjoying my holiday and have continued to eat and drink anything I wanted, but today I’m back on plan before I cause any more damage.

I feel like I’ve been given a rare bit of clarity today – I can see how easy it would be for me to give up now and undo all of my hard work, or I can do something I’ve never done before – to just keep going even when the going is really tough. Even if I don’t lose much more weight for the time being, I need to remember how different I feel now. I’ve achieved something I never, ever thought possible, and I’m looking forward to finding out what else I can do when I put my mind to it.

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

Weigh In Results: Did I Lose the Epic Gain?

I’m not going to keep you waiting. Last week I gained 9 pounds, this week I LOST 9 POUNDS! I’m not going to get complacent. I was incredibly lucky to get that off all in one go. Now it’s time to knuckle down and get some serious weight off! I want to lose another 1st 12.5 by the end of the year, so let’s get cracking. Today I did a kettlebell workout for the first time in absolutely ages, and my legs have forgotten how to go up and down the stairs. But apart from being rather wibbly it feels damn good!

Last night I was doing the more physical aspect of my job as a warehouse operative. It used to be all on foot and an excellent workout but now we have a little electric contraption that ferries us around the warehouse. Although I only do a fraction of the steps I used to at work, I figure that since you stand up on these machines that very fact will mean that I’m burning more calories than I am when I’m sitting on my butt. So it’s not ideal but better than nowt, and at least I’m getting paid to do it.

Tomorrow I need to catch up on the housework and take delivery of an Ocado shop (the final one just before my free Smart Pass trial runs out) then on Saturday I’m walking to a local park with my brother. He has reliably informed me that we will see plenty of ickle baby geeses, so I’m totally sold on that.

I have been preparing for my Snowdon trip and now have pretty much everything I need, including an enormous (plastic) jar of peanut butter. I’ve decided that will be my main energy source for if I start to flag, because it’s packed with energy and protein, is relatively light and easily transportable. And scrummy. Normal Slimming World rules shall not apply! I’ve bought a lovely backpack that sits nice and snug against my back, has comfortable padded straps and does up at the front. It was a close call – just a couple of pounds heavier and I don’t think I would have been able to do the clasps up. So that was a nice non-scale victory right there.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m terrible with money, and I haven’t made any progress on sorting that out just yet. Instead of being sensible Mr Credit Card treated me to a pair of beautiful Swedish Clogs by Lotta From Stockholm. They’ve just brought out a vegan range which is absolutely awesome, because since turning veggie I haven’t bought any leather products. I have had a red pair for several years and thought I’d never be able to get another, but here they are. In a lovely aqua green!

They’re going to be so perfect for the summer, and they’re totally comfortable and easy to walk in so I can wear them anywhere. Yay! In my defence the vegan range has completely sold out in my size already, so, y’know, really I had to get them when I did. And I’ll pay the whole lot off as soon as I get paid, honest!

If you remember, a couple of blogs ago I was talking about how I don’t enjoy drinking any more. This week I nearly forgot everything I learned when I was invited out by the work people on the 2nd of June. To a club. I nearly said yes, because it’s an alternative club so the music would be much more up my street. But then I remembered that my expectations vs what it would actually be like would be very different indeed. So I put my foot down and said no despite lots of cajoling. Then not five minutes later I was invited out on a pub crawl on the 3rd. Nope, nope and nope again! I have had so many people tell me that I’ll be missing out, and how much fun it will be, but they just aren’t listening to me. They seem to find it impossible to understand that just because they find something fun doesn’t mean everyone else does too! I shall stick to my guns no matter what, especially as me and my sister are going to a parrot show on the 11th. Now THAT is my idea of fun! Perhaps I should start pestering all of my colleagues to come with me. They won’t know what they’re missing out on!

Hayley x

Ivinghoe Beacon

On Monday I left the house at 6am in order to start the day off with a nice walk. We don’t have many nice places near us so I drove for just over an hour to Ivinghoe Beacon which is basically a bloody big hill. When we arrived the car park was virtually empty and it was damn cold but that’s ok because I hate getting too hot while I’m walking. Once I got moving I soon warmed up. The first thing we saw when we got there was a field full of little lambs and they were so cute! You could go in with them too, there was just a little sign warning not to get between the mothers and their babies. The little ones were so inquisitive, but we didn’t want to disturb them so I only managed to get a photo using my phone as I didn’t have the right lens with me for taking pictures of sheep!

As is the tradition for a British bank holiday there was a little bit of rain and it was cloudy and dull the whole day, but that certainly didn’t stop us. When we got home we checked my brother’s GPS tracker and we had climbed 1/3 the height of Snowdon. It was hard work so I’m starting to become somewhat apprehensive about our Snowdon climb next month, but I’m not going to know if I can do it or not until I try. In the meantime I’m going to keep walking and also ramp up my use of the cross trainer to get my legs nice and strong! Squats probably wouldn’t be a bad idea either because the area most affected by Monday’s walk was my butt!

I also managed to get a picture of some bluebells that I actually like! We went off the beaten track to investigate a fallen tree and found this little plant nestled behind it.

Some sunshine would have been nice, but we can’t have everything in life. When I got home I updated my Fitbit and found that I’d broken my record for most flights of stairs climbed in a day (or at least the equivalent height).

I was on 135 flights of stairs at this point so I thought to myself, ‘is there another badge for climbing 150?’ So I ran up and down the stairs for a bit and this is what I got when I was finished:

I wonder how many it’ll be once I get to the top of Snowdon? I’m excited to find out!

On Tuesday I got up early again to walk into town and clock up a nice amount of steps. While I was there I had my bra fitting at M&S and it was about as uncomfortable as I thought it would be. It was very thorough and I got two lovely fitting bras (I realised that this is the first time in my life I’ve had a bra that actually fitted) and the woman was very friendly but there’s still nothing that really prepares you for getting your boobies out in front of a total stranger. Even though in my younger days I flashed a couple of times (alcohol has a lot to answer for) and I had two medical scares that needed to be investigated. They were nothing serious thankfully, but still the whole process was fairly awful. Apart from the fact that the NHS service I received was wonderful and I had the all clear within the week on both occasions.

After that I strolled over to Yours to pick up a parcel and all three dresses I ordered in the sale fit perfectly and look exactly as I hoped they would, then I popped to Starbucks to spend 6 syns on a delicious flat white. I walked back home, got a couple of hours sleep and before I knew it weigh in time was nearly upon me.

Again I hadn’t had a single sneak peek this week so I had no idea what to expect, especially since I still had some muscle soreness from Monday, but I lost 2.5 lbs and picked up this beauty!

This week I have to be spot on because on the 1st of May I’m going on an epic work night out. Yes, there will be a gain, but I have to make sure I’m only off plan for one single day. There can be no hangover fry ups or stops for cheesy chips from the kebab van on the way home. It’s all about the prep so I’m going to make a Slimming World curry and syn free onion bhajis that I can reheat when I get in and also have ingredients for a Slimming World grill-up on hand for the morning. I’m also not going to go mad on the booze and make sure I drink plenty of water throughout the night. Finally I shall be forewarning everyone that if they buy me a shot then it won’t be going anywhere near my mouth, so it’ll just be a waste of money for them. Other than that I’m just going to enjoy myself.

Until next time thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Health & Safety

You may or may not know that I work in a warehouse. When you start your training in such a place one of the first things you cover is manual handling. I’m not sure about other sites but at my place the maximum we are allowed to lift is 25kg. For anything heavier we have to find another person to help us. Even with anything up to 25kg there are certain rules we have to follow, like making sure we are in the correct position and assessing the load before attempting to actually lift it. Today I worked out my loss so far in kilograms, and I have already lost more weight than it is safe for me to lift. How frightening is that? My weight loss so far equates to just over 30kg, which I can lift, but not easily and not for long. I was carrying that around with me. Every. Single. Day. And I still have that amount to lose again! It shocked me to think of it like that, but I’m also very much looking forward to finding out how much more of a spring in my step I get once the rest of the excess weight has gone. It’s just mind-boggling…

I’m currently executing a brilliant plan. I buy so many food items on a whim and my fridge, freezer and cupboards are full of random crud that I never get around to using. I have part-used bags of quinoa, macaroni, lentils, couscous, chickpeas, kidney beans… I need to stop buying more things and use up all the stuff that I have. Plus I desperately need to de-ice the little freezer compartment in my fridge that I REALLY WISH WASN’T EVEN THERE! Whoever invented that needs a slap, bloody pointless things. It doesn’t even keep anything frozen!

I begrudge going to my local Asda because you have to pay for parking, so next week as I have to pick up a parcel from town anyway I’m going to walk there and get the Asda-only bits I that I need. Tesco is a bit too far away to do that, but I need to plan better so that I make less trips. Really I only need Quark and frozen fruit from there so that’s not too bad. As for any fresh fruit and veg we have a Lidl round the corner, so I’ll be walking there every couple of days to top up on my greens and whatnot whilst I run down my freezer and cupboard bits. After that I want to keep my food items to a minimum because I’m so sick of all the clutter and sometimes having too much choice hinders me as much as having too little! As for eggs and Quorn products, I’ll bulk buy those from Ocado once a month.

Having said all that, I did fail from the offset. I went to Lidl yesterday with the intention of only buying soy sauce and frozen fruit, but in addition to those things I also bought sour cream, guacamole and mustard mayo. On the plus side they were super cheap and they range between 1-2 syns per 20g portion (that’s absolutely excellent) but let’s face it I didn’t need them so I should have left them on the shelf. As it is I’m refusing to open them and try them until I’ve used the other condiments I have already started on, such as pesto, mustard, garlic mayo, BBQ sauce and hoisin sauce. Well it’s a work in progress!

I’m refusing to do any more shopping whatsoever until Tuesday, so today I’ll be using some freezer bits including frozen stir fry mix (I’m a little afraid of that after my recent frozen veg fails) and I’m going to use up the last of the frozen courgette as although it’s fairly gross I refuse to bin it. I have a butternut squash which is enormous (thank you Ocado) so that will last two days and I’ll be making some sort of concoction to take with me on Monday when me and my brother visit Ivinghoe Beacon. It’s a really bloody big hill, so we’ll be getting there super early and going up and down it a fair few times as training for Snowdon, which we will be climbing at the end of May. We will also attempt a nearby hill which isn’t as high but is very  steep. We were too chicken to try it last time, but we’re a lot fitter and braver since we visited about a year ago. I think this is it, and I assure you the picture doesn’t do it justice! I am also a lot better at photography since the last time we went so I’m looking forward to updating my photo album.

Look how tiny the trees are at the top. It’s the only thing in the picture that gives it any sense of scale. So yeah, I’m very much looking forward to that and I also welcome any excuse for a picnic. Ooh, I think I’ll make some Slimming World-friendly scotch eggs!

My sister sent me a couple of pictures she took from Dover, including one of us together, and one of me and my brother. They are such lovely pictures they brought a tear to my eye, and it was also a lovely feeling that I didn’t think that me being in it ruined the picture.  In this one I can see myself from behind, and I’m almost unrecognisable. It’s very odd to look at a picture of myself and not hate it. Odd, but very nice indeed.

Right then, it’s time to get moving as I’m only halfway to my step goal for today.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Not a Minute Wasted

Blimey I am tired. But it’s the satisfied kind of tired you get from being outdoors and actually doing stuff. Loads of fun stuff!

On Monday I went shopping with my sister as planned, and it was good. My sister is 28 and I am 34, yet Monday was the first time ever that we have been clothes shopping together. She’s such a tiny thing so for one we couldn’t have shopped in many of the same places before, and for another I never really felt we had the same kind of interests relating to clothes and makeup or whatever. But we do now!

First stop was Starbucks as the shops weren’t open when we got there. We went to Westfield in Stratford, London, and I was really surprised that nothing opens until 10am there. Very strange. Anyway a flat white has been on my list of things to try for absolutely ages, and this was finally the day! I checked the Slimming World app before ordering and it’s 6 syns, but then I remembered some people use their A choices and deduct the syns from their fancy coffees. Well I added sweetener so the only syn-able item in my drink was milk. An A choice of whole milk is 6 syns, so that was absolutely perfect! A (technically) syn free fancy Starbucks? Don’t mind if I do. It was very nice – strong enough to blow your head off but smooth enough not to!

Then we headed to John Lewis where I discovered Studio 8 and, at least for now, I have found a brand that I love. I can’t afford to buy anything they sell mind, but that’s a minor technicality. All I need is a fancy occasion to use as an excuse and I’m heading straight back.

This was the one. It fit so perfectly, I can’t even describe how comfortable I felt. It was like it was made for me, but unfortunately the price tag wasn’t. At £140 I sadly had to put it back. Quick, someone invite me to a wedding and it’ll be mine! We tried some bits on in a few other shops and I’m so close to being a size 18 I can taste it. I could get all of the 18’s I tried on, even the fitted styles with zips, but I’m just not quite there yet. I’m patient though, I can wait. Eventually I bought a £13 dress from Primark that is perfect for summer evenings as it’s black but has some fancy details on it, plus it has a really relaxed fit and is very complimentary to my apple shape.

After shopping we headed back to Starbucks but this time I kept it syn free with an iced Americano. We had lunch while we were out and I stayed angelic with a Spudulike. I considered having cheese too but unless I could weigh it I just wasn’t going to risk it. It was actually really tasty so I’m glad I didn’t take the chance.

Time flies when you’re having fun so before I knew it I was on the train home, with 15,000 steps under my belt and a walk from the station the other end waiting for me.

Then on Tuesday I was out and about again, this time checking out the bluebells to see if the light was better this time. It was a bit better, but the bluebells are just really ropy so they didn’t photograph all that well. I’m actually pretty chuffed with myself that I managed to use my photography skillz (note the Z, that means extra skilled I believe) to get a few passable shots.

We found white ones too. What are they? White bluebells? Whitebells? Who can say? After traipsing around the woods for a couple of hours all I wanted to do was lay down, but nope, group was calling! It was taster night so I got my Quorn mini kievs in the oven (half a syn each) got the twigs out of my hair and generally tried to make myself presentable.

The results were pleasing enough – I lost 2.5 lbs which is a thoroughly decent loss, I was just mildly peeved that I still have half a pound of gain to get rid of. On the other hand, I’m trying not to focus on the numbers. I’ve been on plan, I’m staying on plan. If I stick to it, the numbers will take care of themselves. Most importantly I didn’t weigh at home, and I felt so much better for it. I’ll be doing the same again this week in fact, and the week after, and the week after, and blah, blah, blah!

Today was my fourth exercise-filled day on the trot as we had a sibling day out at the White Cliffs of Dover. When we got there we had a brief spell of sunshine before it clouded over and became bloody cold, but it was loads of fun and I got a few nice shots before the light became horribly flat and dull. That wasn’t such a bad thing though, sometimes it’s nice to put the camera away and just enjoy the view. Plus we took all of the most difficult-looking paths so I needed my hands free as there was some clambering at times!

Sadly it’s back to normality tomorrow, but I’m so glad I’ve managed to completely fill my long weekend. I feel like not a minute has been misspent, and I haven’t felt like that for a long, long time. There’s still more time to be used today as I’m going to attempt to stay awake until at least 1am to try and ease myself back into a night-working pattern, but considering it’s not even 7pm and I’m ready to drop we’ll see how that goes!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Super Sunday

Oh it’s been a great day today. I am tired and should be in bed (it’s an early start tomorrow for shopping with my sister) but I kind of need to get this blog out there in order to unwind. I need an empty head before I sleep so what better way than to pour all of my thoughts out onto this page.

I have been so busy today that the only time I’ve thought about food it was either in the context of ‘ooh, I can make a video/blog about that’ or ‘poo, I forgot to eat!’ And that’s the way I like it. Since I came home early from work Saturday night, early in this case meaning I was given a full night’s holiday before the shift even started, I used that time wisely by watching a film (the original Swedish version on The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and eating the lunch I had prepared for work. It was all Free/Speed and also lovely. Then I got my customary (during the work week) five hours sleep. Which was enough in this case.

Notable events of the day were as follows:

  • I tried the new flavour of Alpro Go On, which was strawberry and raspberry. It was OK but tasted a wee bit synthetic. Plus it’s 1.5 syns, whereas my favourite blackcurrant flavour is only 1 syn. My nan used to make her own blackcurrant jam so that brings back loads of memories. Not of my nan because I didn’t care much for her, but of slice after slice of jam on toast. Yum!
  • I tried quail eggs for the first (and no doubt last) time. They tasted exactly like chickens eggs. I’m not sure what I was expecting but hey ho, at least they didn’t taste like duck eggs which in my opinion are simply icky.
  • I made THE BEST iced latté. I decided to use 1 litre of unsweetened almond milk as my A choice instead of my usual portion of cheddar cheese. It’s good to mix these things up a bit. Out of the 1 litre carton I had three delicious glasses of Havana Rum flavoured coffee. That’s definitely one for the summer! I used a jar of Little’s flavoured coffee so there’s so much more that can be done with this drink, so many different varieties. I can’t wait to try them ALL!
  • Now for an NSV. I bought the top in the picture to slim into. In March 2016. It took a while but I got there eventually! Plus I’m sticking my middle finger up to people I used to know who said adults shouldn’t wear band t-shirts. What nonsense.
  • Dinner was amazing and I’m finding more and more often that a vegetable is the star of the show in my meals. In this case it was some samphire which I sauteéd in a pan with some garlic. I could have eaten it ten times over, it was utterly delicious.
  • I ended the day on 13.5 syns and I feel fabulous.

The last thing is important so it deserves its own little paragraph. I went to the woods to photograph the bluebells but they haven’t fully flowered yet so despite thinking I was going to be too late, I was actually too early. In addition to that I need to go at sunrise not sunset, because their position on the hill means at sunset they’re in shadow. Or maybe I need to go midday when the sun is directly overhead but filtered out by the trees. I don’t know, I’ll have to experiment! I did get a couple of nice sunset pictures, one of which I definitely like, and the other I’m not sure of. I’ve played around with it and looked at it for too long so I need to step away and look again tomorrow. Here they are anyway:

Hmm. Still not convinced. But either way it was a beautiful evening and I got my steps up to over 18,000. That’s my best day for steps in a few weeks so I’m really happy with that.

Anyway it’s definitely bed time now because in half an hour it’s the start of a brand new week. I hope all of you out there have a fantastic one.

Hayley x

PS I’ll just leave this here…

Energy

I seem to be stuck in a weird energy cycle at the moment. For a couple of weeks I barely need any sleep, I’m super productive and I get a ton of stuff done. Then for the next couple of weeks I want to sleep all the time and can barely be bothered to cook dinner. For someone who loves to eat as much as me this is a big deal! During these times it’s a case of just slogging away and carrying on regardless, but there are times when I just can’t help but be lazy.

At the moment I feel like some area of my life always has to be out of control in some way. There is very little in my life right now that’s more important to me than staying on track with my weight loss. In order to be successful it’s right up there at the top of my list of priorities, second only to my gorgeous parrot. Deep down since I’m so tired at the moment I want to forego exercise, but I really want my Gold Body Magic award, I really want to improve my body shape, and get fitter, and aid my weight loss. So even when I should relax or go to bed I’m soldiering on. The downside of this is that when I get to work, like last night, I’m ready to drop. Then the manager says ‘there’s not much work, who would like to go home?’ and although I really shouldn’t, although I know money is going to be so tight come payday, I just can’t help myself.

Last night instead of earning money I slept for nearly 10 glorious hours. I should be getting stuff done now, but I’m procrastinating because what I really want to do is go back to bed. That can’t be right! On the other hand I remember how much I struggled with my energy levels the last time I was successful with Slimming World. It was definitely a factor when it came to me regaining all the weight- not because I genuinely needed extra food for energy, but because I just started letting things slide. For instance I’d tell myself that I ‘need’ a sugary energy drink to get through my shift. Or that I’m justified in ordering a takeaway because I need extra sleep.

That’s all nonsense though. The way to cope with this lies in planning. Today I’m going to get off my arse, go to the shops and get me some microwave jacket potatoes. These help me in two ways- when I do Slimming World chips it’s hard to me to control my portions, but with a jacket potato I just have the one potato rather than three or four. Also if I pre-cook some veggie sausages and whatnot plus get some salad bits, maybe boil a few eggs, then for the rest of the work week I can have a dinner ready in 10 minutes. For lunches I will knock up a batch of Slimming World ‘Heinz’ tomato soup. Preparation is key, and there is no excuse for failure!

With these strategies in place I can make sure I get extra sleep in the evening to prepare myself for my shifts. So no more going home without pay for me.

Despite these little struggles in some ways I’ve been having a fantastic week so far. I popped to my dad’s while he’s on holiday to have a soak in his tub which was nice, but to be honest I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. It was very nice to note how there’s a lot more space in the bath then there used to be, but I got bored pretty quickly so I posted back his keys ahead of time rather than going for a soak every day like I’d originally planned.

Tuesday was weigh day, and I lost a fantastic 4.5 lbs, got my 4.5 stone award and got Slimmer of the Week!

I’m now in the 16 stone bracket which I haven’t been in since early 2014, and I only have 11 lbs to go before the 15 st bracket. I can almost taste it! It’s my plan to be 15 st 13 lbs or under before my work night out on the 1st of May. This is one of the reasons I’m so focused right now- there’s no opportunity for a slip up when I want to achieve my goals this badly. The main focus point is my next award though. 6 lbs to go, that’s all I really need to think about.

Right then, I’d better be off and get some of things done that have to be done today. Then I’ll have an afternoon nap!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x