Relaxation

I have felt pretty rotten lately, which is extremely irritating because it’s conflicting with my need to be festive. I’ve had one bug after another, and what with my teeth problems I must admit it’s been tough to stay positive. In the last couple of days I’ve also developed a hacking cough and a really uncomfortable nobbly rash that started behind my ears and has now spread all around my neck.

Thankfully I’ve had a really lovely few days where I’ve had the opportunity to (mostly) relax. I’ve been at my sister’s looking after her birds while she was at a wedding in Italy, although looking after three attention-loving birds isn’t exactly easy. The last time I bird-sat both Kiwi and Petrie attacked me, so I was hoping things would go a bit better this time round.

Unfortunately Kiwi still mostly hates me, although she was showing a few signs of wanting to be friends. They were few and far between though! I have a pretty impressive bite on my neck, which has come up in a big lump (plus I wonder if that has something to do with my rash?), and I had two bites to my fingers, though thankfully only one of them punctured the skin. It’s always a shock to the system because Pea is so gentle. On the rare occasion I’ve had to catch her and hold her down, for instance when I had to give her painkillers via a syringe, she’d give me a warning nip but she never, ever hurt me. Kiwi and Petrie however mean business.

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This weekend though Petrie was a little sweetie! She was nicer to me than she’s ever been and she cheered me up no end. At one point she sat on my finger and put her head under my thumb to make me scratch her head! She was just a delight. Excuse my ghost-like appearance here, and my birds-nest of a hairstyle, but in my defence I’d just got out of bed.

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Pea had a good time too, she even got to check out a real life Christmas tree!

IMG_3362I took advantage of the combination of being alone and having access to full-length mirrors and took some ‘before’ pictures ready for the new year. I’ll be honest – I even took a set of me completely in the nude, which was scary but when I looked at the pictures afterwards it’s actually not that bad. I didn’t get that sinking feeling I’ve had in the past, rather I could look at them objectively and say ‘right, this is what needs to be done, let’s go do it!’ Or at least ‘let’s go do it after Christmas’ I should say…

The good thing (or sort of good) is that I’m back at work tomorrow so I’ll be burning more calories, and I find it easier to eat healthily when I’m forced into a routine. I’m not expecting any miracle weight losses between now and Christmas Day, but what I do know is that from Boxing Day night I’m totally back on it. I have complete faith in myself that I’m not going to backtrack on that, as I have so often done just lately. In fact I’m both really looking forward to Christmas Day and really, really looking forward to the new year. I’m already prepared!

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The weekly calendar will be great for meal planning, the small diary I’ll take with me wherever I go, and the other thing is a scrap book. I have a really fancy photo album, but I also wanted something I can stick odds and ends in like train tickets and the like, plus my Instax photos. Instant film is just so much fun!

Today I had a wander round town to just soak in the Christmas atmosphere, which was great because my Christmas shopping is done so there was no element of stress. It was good to get out and stroll through the park, and laugh at a seagull standing on the frozen lake just as the ice gave way. He had a bit of a fright! It definitely blew some cobwebs away.

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Although I do feel like a bit of a failure because my diet has just gone so wrong lately, I also feel like better times are just around the corner. I’m still happy with my appearance, my clothes still comfortably fit, and despite feeling a bit rough these last few weeks I know that 2017 has been the best year of my life so far. I intend to make sure 2018 is even better!

Here’s to the future.

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!

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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Sevens

It’s been something of an eventful week so far, and it’s only Wednesday! I don’t remember how long ago it was now that arrangements were made for me to meet a fellow blogger (this awesome dude here) but it was certainly a while ago. At the time it seemed like a perfectly natural thing to do. I’d estimate that I’ve been reading his blog for about a year now, and what with regular snapshots into another person’s life and the odd comment becoming the odd conversation becoming a proper (albeit online) friendship, I completely forgot that I’m ridiculously shy and that my default setting is to avoid meeting new people at any cost.

I remembered this fact a few days before we were due to meet, and thought I’d warn him incase (at least initially) I struggled to come out of my shell like the social tortoise that I am. Then I put it out of my mind, and early Monday morning I managed to make the two-hour-something car journey in a state of relative calm.

I needn’t have worried at all though, because after an entire day of hopping from parks to coffee shops to charity shops and back again, it was clear that I wasn’t meeting a ‘new person’ at all, it is just a lot easier to have a conversation with a good friend when you can see them in person, rather than having to type everything out!

It also helps when that friend is a complete chatterbox, but a chatterbox who actually has something to say rather than someone who just fills the silence for the sake of it. As such I came away from the experience feeling kind of… nourished. There aren’t many people within a 100 mile radius of me who are on the same wavelength (I can count them on one hand) so to meet up with someone who just gets it was simply brilliant. We went to Harvester for dinner and there was no ‘oh let’s just have what we want and screw the diet’ but a healthy dose of ‘look how much salad I can fit on this plate’. It was a Free Food feast!

According to my Fitbit I walked about 15 miles in that one day, but when you combine that with an epic natter then believe me, you don’t even realise you’re exercising. It was my first experience of having an official Twalk™ and I know it won’t be my last.

I was treated to a tour of my friend’s local haunts, and at first I did get my camera out but as the conversation got into full swing it ended up being forgotten about. Eventually it found its way back into my bag without me quite realising it. This is no bad thing of course, it just goes to show how absorbed I was because normally I’m always thinking about what would make an interesting photo.

It just goes to show though – look at the cool stuff that can happen if you put aside the things you think you know about yourself. Am I really that shy these days? I think not. What other assumptions am I making about myself that simply aren’t true any more? I’m sure there will be more revelations as time goes on.

When I got home the next day I spent several hours with a very sulky Pea on my shoulder. My brother looked after her, which she normally enjoys, but she’s been in a bit of a mood lately and only Hayley would do. Well it’s nice to be wanted!

In the evening I toddled off to group to find out how I’ve done this week. I hadn’t weighed in officially for a couple of weeks, but I had entered my home weigh-ins into the app because I have a complete record of my weekly weight from August 2015 so I can’t be having gaps now!

It was a bit of shocker – I lost SEVEN POUNDS and got my SEVEN STONE AWARD!

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Initially my Christmas goal was to get into the 13 stones, and even though I’m 14 stone 3.5 lbs now and it’s doable, I changed my goal to getting this award because I didn’t want to feel bad for not achieving the first one. Although it’s within the realms of possibility, I have a lot going on over the next couple of weeks so if I can just maintain the weight I am now I’ll be very happy indeed. I’ll keep trying though, I just don’t want to pile on the pressure too much.

Next Tuesday I’m not weighing in because in the afternoon I’m taking my mum to a hospital appointment, then a little bit later I’m going to give blood. What with having to go to work later as well, I think it would just be too much to do in one day. On Sunday I’m out with my sister and naughty food will be had, so I have to stay extra focused during the in between times. The past week shows that I am absolutely capable of doing that, and I’m not even grudgingly on plan as I sometimes am. I’m damn well enjoying it again! I keep trying to find the balance between food-orientated social events and not backtracking and undoing everything I’ve achieved so far. I feel that I’m actually getting there!

On that note it’s time to prepare a perfectly on-plan and delicious dinner before work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Abandoned

Not much has gone to plan this week, with the exception of decorating the living room. The end result turned out to be less dreadful than I’d expected, even if the actual doing it was hell. I despise decorating!

I managed to stay on plan for two days this week, with the remainder of the days seeing some of the most out of control eating I’ve done in months and months. I completely abandoned all of my goals and did A LOT of burying my head in the sand. I’ve still been doing it today.

I don’t know whether I’m going to weigh in tomorrow. I know I should, because it will help to draw the line, but I know group won’t help in itself because it’s a taster session. I really try to like these events but I just don’t, and no amount of me trying to convince myself otherwise seems to help. So if I really can’t face the scales then I simply won’t. I’ve got to do what I think is best.

Every time I think I’ve cracked this slimming business, that seems to be when things take a massive nosedive. Maybe I let myself get too relaxed? Maybe it’s the opposite and I’ve been too strict which caused me to want to eat all of the things? Maybe it’s that I’ve had some really non-eventful star weeks lately and it’s all been saved up for this one and it’s why I feel so awful?

It’s one of these occasions where I just can’t reason it out at all, which doesn’t help. If I can’t figure out what the problem is it makes it that much harder to fix.

I have to sort this out though, otherwise before I know it I’ll be back in the 15 stone bracket and it’s the 13 stones I’m aiming for dammit!

On Saturday I was supposed to go and see some Fireworks but I just wanted to stay in bed. So that’s what I did. Sunday I still wanted to stay in bed, but me and my brother had plans to visit a castle (which was also his birthday present to me) so I couldn’t really sit and mope any longer. It was nice to get out and I did enjoy myself, but at the same time I found it really draining.

Today Pea went for her annual check up at the vets which was a complete and utter waste of time. The usual avian vet wasn’t there which is a shame as he’s so good. He knows how to hold her properly, never lets her fly off, and always gives her a thorough examination. Today though the lady let her escape (only into the examination room but still, that’s always problematic with Pea) and we had to chase her with towels to get her back. It was so stressful for Pea, the next time I’ll have to make sure we’re seeing the specialist vet. Although I thought we were this time, we waited weeks for an appointment for when he was back from holiday! The lady trimmed the toenails on Pea’s left foot, after saying they didn’t really need doing, and didn’t manage to trim the one that could have done with being a teeny bit shorter. To be fair Pea just wasn’t giving up that foot for love nor millet!

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Another thing that didn’t go to plan was the delivery of some vintage Levi 501’s in a size 14 that I treated myself to. The size 14 is the largest waist size I can get whilst also getting the right leg length, and they are so far off fitting me it’s untrue. I have a lot of tummy to get rid of before those babies are going on. I suppose it hit home how much further I have to go, just when I thought I was getting close. I will not give up though. These jeans are now my target jeans, and the second I can do them up comfortably, that’s when I stop. I think I was lulled into a false sense of security by looser-fitting size 14 items of clothing, but I still need to remember I’ve never been able to get into any kind of 14 until now, loose-fitting or not. It’s still excellent progress! Writing it down though I now realise how much I let that little knock of confidence affect me. Interesting…

This week hasn’t been a complete write-off though. The positives are that I watched the new series of Stranger Things in one day, which was pure, unadulterated pleasure, and last night I read an entire book – La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman. If you’ve read the His Dark Materials trilogy then you just have to read this book, because it’s the first book of a prequel trilogy that revisits Lyra’s Oxford. If you haven’t read the original trilogy then what are you waiting for? It’s the best thing ever!

One thing that’s clear is that I do not cope well with time off work, and I had 6 days in a row to contend with on this occasion. In December I have nine days off in a row as I’m looking after my sister’s birds. I only need three of the days, but where I work in order to book holiday in advance you have to book the whole week. I’ll have to keep myself busy over this period, but only doing fun stuff. Because the decorating proved that busy or not, if I’m not enjoying it then it’s no good. As for the actual bird-sitting, that will keep me on my toes without a doubt. All of my energy will be spent trying to keep my face in one piece. Last time I was bitten on the cheeks, earlobes, nostrils and fingers, all for the crime of not actually being my sister. They are waaaaaay too attached to her!

See, Petrie looks cute but that’s what she’ll do to you. They are too clever for their own good – they know the exact places that will hurt the most to bite, such as the very outside of your nostril. That’s how I got a bleeding finger – I was trying to get her off my nose – and of course she got that sensitive bit of skin right on the edge of my nail. I still love her though.

The plan of attack for the week ahead is as follows:

  • Move more. My calorie burn for the last week was the lowest it’s ever been. I need to get off my butt!
  • Stop the negative thoughts. I’ve gone from looking in the mirror and saying ‘good progress, Hayley’ to despising myself overnight. That’s gotta stop RIGHT NOW.
  • Write everything down. This was suggested by a friend so I’ll start off doing it for a week and see how I go. I used to write down everything but lately it’s just been Healthy Extras and Syns (or nothing at all) so seeing all the Free and Speed food written down too might help to spur me on. I’ll try to get as much variety as possible.
  • Drink lots of water. I normally drink loads of water because I genuinely like it, but for some weird reason I’ve hardly had any fluids lately. Maybe because I’m always so cold. So I need to turn that around this week, too.

So that’s the plan. There’s nothing groundbreaking there, but if I can do those things then there’s no reason why the coming week won’t be the complete opposite of the one just gone. I just need to believe that I can do it, which is weird considering I’ve done it over and over again for more than a year now.  I told you to STOP you damn negative thoughts!

I can do it. I WILL do it.

That’s enough of that now. The next post is going to be me telling you what a great day I had!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

London

The last time I visited the city I had quite a nice experience. Notting Hill carnival was on at the time so the rest of London was virtually empty and it was LOVELY. Today however, even though I’ve been looking forward to it for ages, was not so nice. I think it just wasn’t the day trip I’d been expecting.

Now I love my sister to bits, and she’s generally a very thoughtful person. But today, and I’m not sure if it was just me being oversensitive after my blip yesterday, it seemed that her and her boyfriend were on a subconscious mission to eat everything I find the most delicious in life in front of my very eyes. I’m honestly exhausted at the sheer effort of staying on plan all day, even though I’ve been feeling so strong and positive lately.

We walked through Brick Lane first, and after we walked past stall after stall of mouth-wateringly good vegan food, (I HAVE to try the Ethiopian one at some point, the very sight of it made me drool) we went into a retro clothes shop I’ve been wanting to visit for a while. I was really disappointed though. Everything I picked up was a maximum of a size 12, and mostly size 10’s and 8’s. There was not a single thing that I could even try on. So that was deflating, but not entirely unexpected.

Then we went to What the Pitta in Shoreditch while I sat watching everyone around me eating my favourite food in the entire world. It was honestly the last place on earth I wanted to be. Thinking back on it now, I should have gone off for a wander while my sister and her boyfriend were eating, but for some reason it never occurred to me at the time. What a numpty.

We did a lot of walking around and I got my step count over 20,000 for the day for the first time in ages, and my calorie burn for the week is set to be the highest it’s been since the end of August. Considering I’m more than a stone lighter than I was then I’m really pleased with that.

Later on in the day we went to a Whole Foods Market store, the only place at the moment you can get the new vegan Bailey’s. I’m pretty sure it’ll be more widespread by the time Christmas comes around, but since I was in London anyway I got some while the going was good. For some reason they put it behind the cheese counter, which is just great for us vegans, she said sarcastically. I don’t think they thought that one through!

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When I got home I took a fancy picture with my fairy lights. Perhaps I should go into product photography?

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Luckily this really is one of those occasions where I have no desire to drink the Bailey’s. It’s for Christmas only, and things like that are not the same if you’re not sharing them. So there’s no chance of this innocent-looking bottle sabotaging my success.

My sister took a picture of me in my new favourite dress, and again I was a little bit disappointed at how I thought I looked vs. reality. And also that you can’t quite see the corduroy awesomeness of it. But it’s good enough for a picture to add to my progress folder, and that’s the main reason I wanted my photo taken.

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This post does sound really moany, and I assure you I’m not as miserable as I’m coming across. I’m just incredibly worn out, but still fairly pleased with myself. It wasn’t until we were on the tube back to my sister’s when I realised that I’d been on my feet for around 6 hours, with only one sit-down to quickly scoff down my pack lunch. Not a bit of me hurt even once, at least until I got the Bailey’s and the straps of my backpack started digging into my shoulders. That doesn’t really count though!

And then when I got in I downloaded some photos from my camera that I took this morning when the sun was shining on the jungle that is our front garden. The colours out there were truly stunning.

Right now I’m mostly just looking forward to my nice warm bed. I should get off to sleep easily, happy in the knowledge that I spent the entire day perfectly on plan despite the most incredible temptations. If that doesn’t earn me a good night’s kip then I don’t know what will.

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

One For The Road

If you’ve been reading my blog for the last couple of weeks then this post will come as no surprise to you. I haven’t fallen off the wagon, I’ve just kind of stepped off for the evening. The thing is, I’m back at work tomorrow after three weeks off and I’m partly really looking forward to getting back into a proper routine and partly dreading the very thought. I’m not going crazy, I’m just having a some crumpets, avocadoes, and I really fancied a bottle of rosé, so that’s what I’m having.

Yesterday I watched Guardians of the Galaxy with the family, in preparation for Volume 2 being delivered today. Me and my brother have already seen the second one, but my mum hasn’t so we’re all sitting down together to watch it tonight. Then that’s it- once the film is over then it’s back to reality. I’m going to try and stay up as late as possible then sleep as much as I can during the day tomorrow, because I have to get back to my usual vampiric ways! It’s been really nice sleeping normally for a while though. I really feel that I’ve recharged my batteries, and that if this time off work hadn’t come when it did then I would have really struggled to cope. It all worked out OK in the end.

I’ve also been naughty in regards to weighing myself too often, but this week it’s actually worked out to my advantage. I weighed myself before, ahem, lady time and it showed a massive loss. But then lady time happened and now it shows a moderate loss. If I hadn’t seen that big loss then I’d be disheartened by what I saw after, but I know it’s just bloating and whatnot. I have no idea what the scales will show tomorrow, on official weigh day, but I have to be honest here and tell you exactly what’s going on. So if it’s a gain, it’s a gain, and I won’t try to hide it. Despite all of my ‘next weigh day will be fantastic!’ promises. I really do mean it when I say it, that’s the sad thing. Anyway I still intend to get all of my gains off by the end of the month – it ain’t over yet!

Yesterday was nice and active, which is handy because today I’ve just been chilling out in a spectacularly lazy fashion. Apart from doing a load of washing because I somehow only had one pair of undercrackers left, I’ve just lounged around reading. It’s actually been quite lovely!

Oh yes, I was going to tell you about yesterday. Me and the brother went to visit Lee Valley Regional Park. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite what we were after because it just doesn’t do a good enough job of making us feel like we’re away from civilisation. That’s been something of a theme with the last few places we’ve visited in fact. We walked around some lakes, and that was nice, but as we walked along the canal everything become more and more, well, disgusting. There was litter everywhere and people passing us were really rude, either just not wanting to walk single file down the narrow track or not even bothering to look up from their phones. It was really sad. But enough of that, on to the highlights!

It must be a great park for kids, because there are little sculptures to find all over the place. Some of them you are even encouraged to climb on, but I’ll come to that later.

The first lake we came to was filled with friendly swans. Well, as friendly as swans ever get I suppose!

Then, possibly for the first time ever, I saw some tufted ducks. I say possibly, because I may well have seen them before without noticing. But they’re certainly the first I’ve seen before I became interested in birds. I didn’t even notice them to begin with, despite their really cool yellow eyes. How did I not see that?

Tufted ducks are excellent divers, so I tried to get a shot of one mid-dive. They were just too fast though, so this is the closest I was able to get. But when I got home and reviewed my photos I noticed the little coot in the bottom right-hand corner.

I think he was coming up from a dive, but it looks like he’s just happily hanging out under water! 

I did see a heron but he was just too far away for me to get any kind of shot, and this cormorant was too far away for me to get a decent shot. This one will just have to suffice!

When we came to the canals we stopped for my brother to buy a cheese roll and a coke from an ice cream boat, as you do, and as we sat down we were treated to a couple of swans and their almost completely grown up swanling slowly making their way towards us.

And then, my favourite part of the day. We found a giant’s chair!

Although it seems like a pretty insignificant thing, I am really proud of this picture. For one, this time last year I would have been too self conscious to do this. And even if I had dared to, my arms are pretty weak (despite me trying to strengthen them with kettlebells) and there’s simply no way I would have been able to haul myself up. Yet here I am, posing for a photo. In a way it’s hard to believe that’s even me. But there I am, I even have proof. I wonder what kind of photos I’m going to be posting next year?

Do you know what, despite not entirely wanting to go back to work I am feeling really positive about the coming months. I really do find it so much easier to lose weight in the autumn and winter and I’m going to make so much progress. I’m going to make promises in this here blog, but instead of going back on them or making excuses I’m going to see them through.

The proof shall be, as they say, in the pudding (for want of a more slimming-friendly phrase!)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Races and Light Shows

A while ago Fitbit added a feature to their app where you can virtually walk along famous trails and races. When you get to each checkpoint you get to see a photo of what the view is like. It’s pretty cool, and fun to see how long it takes you to complete, but they’ve recently updated it so that you can race with people. Now that is cool. I’m currently in two races in Yosemite National Park – I was in the lead in both but I’m trailing behind so I need to get my butt into gear.

By the way I now have some serious hiking aspirations after seeing some of those views. The only thing that the puts me off is the sheer scale of the place (my mum was freaking out over the prospect of me falling down Snowdon, imagine how far away from help you’d be in this national park…) and the fact that there are other things that want to kill you, i.e. bears and stuff. But if I ever get around to doing it, it’ll be years from now and hopefully I’ll give less of a damn about what could go wrong. And I’d have a proper guide too, I’m not that mad!

The reason I’ve lagged so far behind in the races is that I spent the morning cooking, then I had lunch, spent some time with Pea, then I needed a nap. I’ve had a nap every day this week I think, but I’m allowing myself that because it will help me get back into a night shift pattern. That’s my excuse anyway!

Today I made an absolutely delicious mushroom orzotto (a risotto using orzo instead of rice) inspired by a recipe a nice lady posted in a vegan group on Facebook. I made a mountain of it too. I used a packet of frozen mushrooms, a punnet of fresh forestiere mushrooms (a fancy variety from Tesco) a grated courgette, a grated carrot, garlic, a mushroom stock cube and half a pack of orzo. You could say it’s fairly mushroomy. It’s so simple but really rich in flavour – in fact it’s so simple that I won’t write out a recipe. It’s just one of those bung-it-all-in-a-saucepan-and-job-done meals.

I had a very small portion as a pre-lunch snack. I’m out tomorrow with my brother on one of our adventures so I’m saving the rest for lunch on the go. As it happens I’m also starting to collect odds and ends to make my own vegetable stock. It seems that every variety of stock cube I buy is just more salty than having any particular flavour, so after seeing a short video about how to cut down on food waste I thought I’d give it a go. All of your veggie odds and ends get added to a ziplock freezer bag until it’s full, then you make the stock. What you don’t use you can freeze in ice cube trays, then you start again. Perfect!

After I’d finished my orzotto there was a first for me – I finally got around to trying jackfruit. You buy it in a tin, and I was a bit freaked out by the look of it at first. Veggies and vegans use it as a meat substitute, especially for things like pulled pork, and it’s eerily meaty to touch.

Not to be deterred I smothered it in jerk seasoning and lime juice while I prepared my chips and salad.

It looks much more appetising now! I cooked it in a frying pan (with Fry Light) for about twenty minutes, which I’m not sure is right but it didn’t kill me so I’m assuming it’s OK. Because I wanted to keep it low-syn I tried using just the jerk seasoning but it definitely needed something else, so I added two tablespoons of BBQ sauce for two syns. The jackfruit itself was two-and-a-half syns so my meal worked out less syns than a packet of Linda McCartney pulled chicken, but was probably more expensive in the long run. I don’t remember how much the jackfruit was but I bought it from Amazon. Individual items like that are not normally very cheap at all.

Last night I was treated to a very rare light show. Normally when there’s a storm I’m at work and miss the whole thing, but last night I was home and awake. So I used the slo-mo feature on my phone to see if I could capture anything. I got a couple of strikes before it died down again.

Another reason I was pleased to be home is that Pea was frightened. She’s not bothered by thunder or lightning, but when it started to hail so pooped her little green pants. Parrotlets don’t have very good night vision, so if she panics she’ll just flail around the cage and possibly hurt herself. So I put the light on and calmed her down a bit. Poor little bird!

Anyway here’s a little video of some slo-mo lightning:

You’ve got to love modern technology!

Right then, I’d better get moving (story of my life…)

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Indulgences and Inner Voices

I’ve been a bit quiet this week, and that’s because I haven’t really had much to talk about. I haven’t been 100% on plan, though I haven’t been terrible either, but most of all I’ve been making real choices based on whether I want something or not rather than just reacting to whatever emotion I’m feeling at the time. Tomorrow I’m out with little brother and sister, then since I haven’t really made much progress weight-wise since, hmm, April or so, September and October are going to be spent absolutely smashing the hell out of my goals.

There was an iffy moment on Thursday where I thought I may have to go back to work (scary prospect) but it seems now that I’m not back until the 5th of September as planned. Fingers crossed. So from tomorrow it’s going to be a 20k-a-day jobby again. Tomorrow I’ll be in London, and I used to just get a Travelcard which will take you anywhere in central London you want to go for the whole day. It costs about £25 these days (I remember when it was £13… Wow…) but my tube days are in the past. Now once I get into central London I walk everywhere it’s feasibly possible to get to on foot. Which is pretty much anywhere to be honest, as long as I don’t have a time limit. My travel costs tomorrow should be about a fiver, which is much better for the bank balance, and better for my legs too. Plus the weather is supposed to be really nice, and who wants to be stuck underground with someone’s armpit in your face at the best of times?

The reason I don’t have much to talk about is because I’ve been allowing myself a week of pure indulgence, and I’m not talking about food. Although today has been an exception (I’ll explain why in a mo) I have been having wonderful amounts of sleep and finally, finally, I feel like me again. I feel perfectly happy, healthy and energised. Saturday night I slept for ten hours followed by a three hour afternoon nap. And my sister and I agree on this point – it’s perfectly reasonable to count any sleep up to three hours as a nap, and anyone who says otherwise is just plain wrong. I finished embroidering a flower in the evening, then I started reading The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I tried to watch the series that recently came out on Channel 4, but I couldn’t get along with it because of the adverts and how television is produced around them. They have to make them so that you don’t lose interest during the ad break, which affects the flow of the story. Books are normally better anyway, so I thought it would be easier to just read it. So I did, and I finished at 5am today. Unfortunately I was bitterly disappointed with the total cop-out of an ending (seriously, I can’t stand bad endings in books and this is right up there with the worst of them) and I can’t understand why it’s rated so highly. Why aren’t people furious? I do believe the first series ends where the novel ends, and that the story will be picked up from there. Which may give me the resolution I crave, but it’s not the way I would have preferred it. I have to let it go!

 

This week I have also read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, which I’ve read before but it’s been a while (like I say, it’s been a week of indulgences) and today has been spent reading graphic novels, specifically the Sandman series which is also by Neil Gaiman (and others). Since reading Watchmen some time ago, which I LOVED (it’s also one of my absolute favourite films) I’ve wanted to read more comics/graphic novels/whatever, but with the long-running stuff I have no idea where to start. So the Sandman series is perfect as it’s contained in 12 or so volumes – it’s not too overwhelming for me. If I wanted to read Batman for instance, where on earth do you begin? How would one find the time in their life to read everything? And how could one afford it. It’s just too big for my lil ol’ mind to contemplate.

Friday was a busy day I suppose. I drove my brother to work and back because he picked up a suit on his lunch break and (quite sensibly) didn’t think it prudent to attempt cycling home with it, and just as I was about to go into the hairdressers my sister asked me to come and pick her up because she sliced a fair old chunk of her finger off with a brand new bread knife. She wouldn’t listen to sensible suggestions like seeing a nurse in a walk-in clinic, she wanted my mum (who is notoriously bad with coping with any kind of difficult situation) to administer the first aid. So by the time I got out of the hairdressers she’d already made her way back to mine on the train. I suppose she just wanted her mam!

As usual my latest hair cut also means trying to quiet my inner voice which is telling me that I have made a mistake, that I have had it cut too short, that I look too masculine, that you can see too much of my face… I think I do look quite boyish from certain angles, but I can’t answer why that should be a bad thing. It isn’t a bad thing! Without thinking, if I catch myself in the mirror, I love my hair cut. And it feels nice on my head. It’s easy to style in the morning, and above all it’s just… me. It’s a reflection of my personality for all to see, I’m not hiding a thing.

 

What doesn’t help is when I see someone I haven’t seen in a while, like today, who after saying hello just blurted out ‘I liked your hair better long’. The last time I saw this person I looked like this:

It truly astounds me the amount of people who thought that was better. Are we not seeing the same thing? Like the ending of the Handmaid’s Tale, I need to stop trying to figure it out or I’m going to lose my marbles. Thankfully each time I get a new haircut it becomes less of a big deal, although people’s rudeness and inconsiderate comments sadly don’t seem to change. I can choose how I react to it though, and that’s the main thing.

So that’s it, not much has been happening. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll some some interesting London tales for you!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x