Stop Effing Around!

Everything is a mess. I can feel myself torn in about ten different directions and it is driving me crazy. I need to get my thoughts together and commit! I want to do some crafts, but I feel I should be doing some sort of physical activity. Or I want to read but I should be cleaning. I want my 7 st award but I also want to eat cake. I want everything to be clean and tidy so I feel better but I also want to play with Pea. Rather than tackling these things one by one I’ve ended up doing not much of value at all.

Things are getting to me at the moment, and just when I think I’ve got on top of it again I go and mess it all up. But that stops NOW.

I’ve been having niggling worries about money recently. It’s not that I don’t have access to any, it’s that I’ve been using my credit cards more and more on total frivolities. A few years back I was in a serious amount of debt, and an inheritance I got from my dear nanny Barbara, probably the only member of the family I ever really loved (and also had a ton of stuff in common with) cleared it all off. I swore I’d never get back in that situation again. It’s kind of true, because I’m nowhere near the stage where I can’t afford the repayments and have debt collectors chasing me, but I still feel like I’m letting her down.

So today I faced up to how much I owe, increased the amount of my current loan (thus saving a lot on interest,too) and paid off all of my credit and store cards. I cut up the physical cards, removed them from Apple Pay and PayPal, and as soon as the balances are showing as zero online then I’ll phone up to cancel them completely.

I was hoping I’d be able to pay the loan off within a year, but unfortunately it’ll be more like two. The term of the loan is 34 months, but I can pay off more without any penalties so when I can I certainly will. So that’s one thing that under control.

My diet is suffering again, or should I say still, but I am managing to keep any massive gains at bay. I have at least two occasions coming up where I’ll be off plan, and as ever my ambition is to stay on plan 100% in between these times. I damn well WILL learn how to do it!

Because I’ve had another stupid gain this week I’m skipping group again. Partly because I’m too emotionally exhausted to face it, and also because I want to get this blog done (it really helps get my thoughts in order) get all my work stuff prepared and do as much tidying and sorting as I can before my shift starts. Why do I always find my motivation just before I go back to work?

Speaking of work I did actually go there last night, on my night off if you can believe it. I got there at 12:30 am to meet my friend in the car park and we actually did it. Yes, we went to the gym!

I had my first ever go on a treadmill, and it was surprisingly scary. If I glanced to the right to speak to my friend then I started to lose my balance and drift to the left. Seriously, I’m a danger to myself. But eventually I plucked up the courage to do a proper run and boy was it hard. But I also felt pretty awesome for giving it a go. I couldn’t keep it up for long, but I got my heart pumping that’s for sure, and I kept it going on the cross trainer, exercise bike and rowing machine.

Then I did some weights and found that I can bench press 10kg. Which is virtually nothing! But it’s a starting point. I also did some exercises for my shoulders but found I much prefer using kettlebells for that sort of thing. It’s much more fun.

We stayed for an hour and a half, and when we were finished I looked such a state. Much worse than my friend! But then I did push myself harder and didn’t spend any time texting people or watching YouTube. The youth of today…

Although it was virtually guaranteed we’d be the only ones there, and it’s a far cry from being a ‘proper’ gym, I feel like a little bit of the fear of exercising in public has gone out of me. I also realised that I need to get back to exercising regularly at home, because I forgot how much I enjoy it (and what an incredible mood-lifter exercise can be).

Although my mind feels so cluttered at the moment, I really have an absolute ton of stuff to look forward to in the next few weeks so life ain’t really that bad at all. There is much to be thankful for. Plus me and my brother have started planning our annual holiday, which we will have at the end of May. That way the weather will be getting nicer but it will be quieter as we’ll miss the school holidays.

All we know at the moment is that we (well, I) want to go to Skipton because there is a pub there that does delicious looking vegan food, plus there’s a castle with woods to explore, and my brother’s request is that we venture into Scotland. So it looks like we’ll be doing a little tour of the north, which is just wonderful. It really sucks to be a Southerner, although I think I’m supposed to feel some sort of rivalry with the Northerners. I’m probably letting the side down, because if I could I’d move north in a heartbeat. For one the south is just so damn boringly flat!

Right, I’m off to get coffee before I start on my chores. If that doesn’t fire me up then nothing will!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Advertisements

Rescue

One of my pledges this week was to move more, and that I have done. At work Wednesday night I was put on a job that I really dislike doing, because it’s soul-destroyingly boring. Luckily for me (though not so lucky for the people it happened to) the area I was working in is upstairs so we have to take pallets up in the lift, but they’re always breaking down and in the last couple of weeks people have spent hours trapped inside. So now we aren’t allowed to go up in the lifts, and another person downstairs sends them up to us all night.

The lucky part, besides not having to spend hours trapped in a confined space, is that there wasn’t a huge amount to do. I had to keep flitting between different jobs which meant going up and down the stairs. All six flights of them! On an ordinary work day I do about 6,000 steps, but that night I did 19,000. Plus I did extra steps at home and ended on 24,400. THAT’S more like it! I also burned over 4,000 calories, and it’s only the third time (since losing weight, anyway) that I’ve managed that since climbing Snowdon in May.

At the beginning of the week it was looking to be the most dreadful one ever in terms of steps done and calories burned, but I’ve completely turned it around and now I’m ahead of the minimum targets I set myself. Way ahead in fact!

Last night I was put on a reasonably active job again, so I’m wondering if I won’t be quite so lucky tonight and I’ll end up sitting on my behind all night. If I do I’ll just have to make up for it when I get home, because I’m absolutely determined that this week will be excellent. 

The best thing about work last night was that at around 5am I found a ladybird on a pallet that was 11.5 meters up in the air. At first I thought he was dead, because he didn’t move when I picked him up, but I decided to put him on my truck anyway. Once I started driving around he perked right up, so I kept an eye on him until home time then stowed him away in my bag. I called him Fernando, and my colleagues now think I’m completely and utterly insane.

IMG_2503.jpg

IMG_2504.jpg

He stayed with me all the way home, and only made his escape into our jungle of a front garden when I opened the car door.

Goodbye Fernando, may you live a long and happy life! Hopefully you didn’t get eaten by the great tits I saw out there this morning…

Well that’s it from me, because nothing much else has been going on and I could probably do with nap (there’s rarely a moment where I’m not thinking about napping).

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Chiseled?

A man at work last night asked me how my diet is going. He is trying to eat healthily so we do talk about these things a lot, but last night he confessed that up until the last week or two he could see I’d lost weight on my body but he hadn’t really noticed much of a difference on my face. He said that now he can see the change he can tell me the truth, and that I’m now looking very ‘chiseled’. I had to laugh, firstly because he’s entirely wrong. There has been a huge change in my face, which has been noticeable for at least 6 months. I know this because I have mirrors, photos, and eyes, and also because it’s the first compliment everyone else started giving me. ‘Ooh, you can really see it on your face now!’ Secondly I had to laugh at his choice of words. Chiseled seems quite a masculine word, but do you know what? If this guy (who clearly doesn’t have the best powers of observation) can see that I’m looking a helluva lot different now, then I’ll damn well take the compliment. Backhanded or not!

The last couple of days have just been mildly irritating. I’m generally behind on everything. Blogging doesn’t really help, it’s not an essential task, but because I like doing it I’m saying to hell with it and doing it anyway. Work has been crazy busy, but because I’m one of the faster workers I’ve been put on a job just putting pallets away into storage. I must have moved thousands of Christmas trees this week alone! This means that I’ve barely been getting off the truck each night and my calorie burn is really suffering for it. It also means that with it being colder anyway, I also have to contend with wind chill factor. I had to finally relent and break out my big winter thermal hi-viz jacket. I have to wonder though- if I’m this cold now, what am I going to be like when the temperature gets into minus figures? It doesn’t bare thinking about.

I do work hard, but it’s not the kind of job that takes up a lot of mental capacity so my mind is free to wander. I was thinking last night – we sell a crazy amount of artificial Christmas trees, but who is buying them? Our family always keep a tree until it completely disintegrates, but are there families out there who get a new one every year? Are there that many people from a new generation reaching adulthood who are moving into their own place and getting their first Christmas tree? Are there people who have one in every room? It boggles my mind to think that along with the amount my employer sells, there’s also all of the other companies that sell them, and there are the people who buy real Christmas trees, too. It makes my brain hurt. As you can see it’s no wonder I start thinking about Christmas so early. It’s just one of the many joys of working in retail.

In other news I dropped my glasses on the floor and they are now completely buggered. I was somewhat clever when I bought my last pair and got my prescription sunglasses in the same frame, so that if I have any bother I can swap the lenses over. But I broke them not long before work and I couldn’t undo the damn screws, so I had to wear an old pair that I thankfully came across the other day. I’m also lucky in the fact that the prescription is only marginally different to the one I have now so I can still see well enough to do my job safely. When I found them I took a picture of myself and compared it to my go-to awful ‘before’ picture.

I hate the style of them now, probably because I’ve had them for donkey’s years. In fact in the first photo I’d dug them out to see me over until I could replace the most recent pair of glasses that I’d bought. If I remember rightly I sat on that pair… What I am pleased about is the difference in my face, and despite not liking them I think they look a lot better on me now!

Today I had a delivery from The Ethical Superstore. I bought some exciting Slimming World-friendly vegan treats- fake mayo that’s 3 syns per tbsp, sausage and burger mix, mock duck, and best of all… tins of sausages and beans! I’ve already tried the sausages and beans and they taste just like the ones I remember having as a kid. They’re 6.5 syns a tin but well worth it I’d say, especially since I don’t tend to spend syns on snacking these days so tend to have a fair few left over daily. The mock duck is free, and probably the one I’m most wary of even though I hear good things from other vegans. Finally the sausage and burger mixes are only a few syns each per packet, but I hear on the grapevine that they’re being discontinued so even if I love them I probably won’t get them again. I like trying new things though.

Well I suppose I really should get on now. I have some chores to do but they will be made easier with the power of music. It’s been ages since I last properly listened to anything, so I bought both of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks. Because as the title suggests they really are awesome! I will dance around the house like a loon and see if I can bump that calorie burn up a little.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Vanity

Every now and then it’s nice to see what I look like in a full-length mirror. At least it is now, it never used to be nice at all! I had a passing thought not so long ago that it would be even nicer to have a full-length mirror at home, but I dismissed the thought straight away as being way too vain.

On Monday my friend, the one I went to the cinema with, asked me if I wanted a full-length mirror that makes you look fat. Well I almost bit his hand off. The fact that it would make me appear bigger than I am didn’t really bother me, I just wanted to have some idea of how I look in new outfits. Especially when I’m trying on stuff that I’m waiting to fit into.

He assured me that it was like a circus mirror and I would be hugely distorted, but when I got it home and gave it a good clean I checked myself out and was surprised to see that I looked super slim. I called my mum over for her to compare me to my mirror image and she confirmed what I didn’t think could possibly be true – my actual self and the mirror image were the same. I suppose it must have become warped and as I was cleaning it I popped it back to its original shape, but until my mum confirmed it I thought I’d pushed it too far the other way and it was distorting my image to make me look slimmer. I’m glad that doesn’t seem to be the case, but it is still a really vain thing for me to have. I’ll try not to look in it too often.

At the same time as trying not to be vain, today I was taking selfies to show off my new hat which arrived today. Every year I like to buy a new silly hat and I’m absolutely in love with this one. OK, I won’t be called comrade like I did last year with my trapper hat, but I’m sure someone will come up with some sort of nickname. I sent this picture to my friend and got the reply ‘it looks like they found Wally’, but I think there’s room for improvement on that. Suggestions on a postcard please!

What I like about this hat is that it will keep my ears warm but even better than that, there is the opportunity to stick tinsel around the balls. Which is very important to me. I’m also something of a magpie and love anything that’s shiny or glitters, so while looking for some vegan mascara recently I just had to treat myself to a tiny bottle of fairy farts. Every home should have one in my opinion.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about where my money goes. Yes, it’s partly rent and other bills. But if I’m honest a lot of it goes on the emissions of mythical creatures, too. Thankfully I I managed to restrain myself and didn’t buy any unicorn tears. Not yet anyway. You may also be pleased to hear that I went to the shops today and managed to stop myself buying a wooden elephant and three enormous glass acorns. I’m rather proud of that actually!

At work yesterday the order forms for the cold weather clothing finally came through and as I expected I was rather excited to tick the boxes for medium and large. I then took the form back to my manager and instead of going bright red and pleading with him not to look, I shoved it under his nose saying ‘hey, look at that! Look at the sizes I’ve ordered!’ For the next few hours I drove around feeling fab with the ‘Everything is Awesome’ song from the Lego movie going round and round in my head.

Now I just have to muddle through tonight at work because at the moment I’m already looking forward to going to bed in the morning. This is because I’ve been up all day finally getting the brakes on my car sorted, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while. I’m somewhat buzzing, not only because I just generally feel great, but because while I was waiting I foolishly chanced a Costa Coffee. I had a soya cortada, which is very small so only 3 syns, but it has still prevented me from having my afternoon nap. I suppose that’s what happens when you don’t have a lot of caffeine for a while, but on the plus side it didn’t make me feel ill so I think I can start to slowly re-introduce coffee into my daily routine. On my list of things to try is a vegan pumpkin spice latté, as I’ve never tried pumpkin spice before, but that’ll have to wait until I go to London with my sister next month. I hear people are divided on the matter so I’m interested to see what it’s like!

Well that’s it from me for today as nothing much else is going on, despite the last day or two being marginally more interesting than a normal work day.

Thank you for reading,

Hayley x

Twelve Week Countdown

If you’re familiar with Slimming World you’ve probably heard of a 12 week countdown, where you pay for 12 weeks in advance and you get a discount. As it happens I always pay for 12 weeks at a time because of the savings, and I know I’m going to use it because there’s no way I’m giving up! That’s not what I’m talking about here though, and I’m so sorry to mention the C-word again, but I have twelve weigh in’s left before Christmas Day.

I weighed in this morning and was exceptionally relieved to find that I’ve lost 1.5lbs, taking me officially into the 14 stone bracket. I am now 14st 13lbs to be precise. And isn’t that an excellent starting point for my 12 week challenge? I even made myself a little motivational thing to keep a record for the duration of the challenge which should help to keep me on track.

As you can see my goal is to get into the 13-stone-bracket, but more than that I would like to stay in the 13 stone bracket over Christmas. I’d like to lose enough to have a little wiggle room. Last year I tried to stay on plan 100% but I did feel a bit deprived on Christmas Day and ended up eating crappy non-Christmas food, and finding that nothing hit the spot. I only gained half a pound which I’m still majorly proud of, but I’m taking a different approach this year.

I’m going to be prepared but there are three potential days over the whole period where I might go off plan.

The first is a work outing. The young chaps want to get suited and booted and go out disco dancing in London (that’s not quite how they put it but that’s the crux of it) and I really want to go. I don’t care about getting ‘wasted’ and not remembering any of the night, I just want to go out feeling confident in a gorgeous dress and dance the night away! No date has been set and there’s a very high probability I won’t be able to book the night off work, so although it does sound like it’ll be fun I’ll leave it completely up to fate. If I can get the time off easily I’ll go, if not I won’t. Swapping shifts with someone or sweet talking my manager could swing it for me, but I’m not going to do that because my sister’s birthday meal on the 20th of December is more important. I’d rather save any favours for that.

My sister’s birthday meal is occassion number two. I may have already mentioned it (my memory is awful!) but she wants to have a meal in an Italian restaurant near her house. She is going to call them beforehand to check they can cater for a vegan, which I’m sure they can, and ask if I can have Penne Arrabiata (basically pasta in a tomato sauce) which also happens to be super Slimming World-friendly. It won’t be totally on plan because there will be oil in there, and I should imagine there will be some prosecco doing the rounds, but as far as these things go it should be easily manageable and there’s no reason it should mean disaster for my diet. Again this is dependent on getting the night off work, during our peak season, which could prove very difficult.

The last occasion is Christmas Day, the one day I’ll completely let my hair down. Working in retail has turned out to be very helpful this year, because the way my shifts work out will mean that I only get Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off. There is a work Christmas dinner in the staff canteen but I stopped having it years ago because it’s so gross, and they never cater for vegans so I can’t now even if I went insane and did want to! Other than that on Boxing Day it’s right back to normality and the daily grind.

Christmas Eve I’m going to stay completely on plan because I don’t want to feel bloated and sluggish Christmas Morning – this year will be the first year in absolutely ages where all of my siblings will be together and I cannot wait so it’s all about family. Food definitely comes second!

So there we have it. For the next 12 weeks and beyond I’m going to be 100% on plan apart from those three exceptions. And even then they might not all happen.

I know it’s really early to be thinking about all this, but I needed to get a plan in action. If a situation arises there will be no shall I/shan’t I because I’ve already made the important decisions. As such now it’s all straight in my head I will just concentrate on my weekly losses, fill in my charts and graphs and enjoy myself whilst being happy and content that I’m completely in control.

Speaking of charts and graphs today I filled in my measurements so I can compare them again at the end of the 12 weeks. So today was an excellent opportunity to compare them to the ones I took roughly at the beginning of my journey. Here’s how many inches I’ve lost so far:

  • Waist -14.5
  • Hips -10.5
  • Bust -7.5
  • Thigh -6
  • Upper arm -3.5

That’s a total of 42 inches which I’m incredibly happy with! In all of my previous weight loss attempts I never kept these kind of records, and I’m glad I do now. It’s really helpful, especially when the scales aren’t moving as fast as you’d like (not that I had to worry about that this week after all).

As usual this weekend has passed in a blur but I made time to hang out with my friend yesterday. We had booked our tickets to see IT in the evening and he was running a bit late (that’s kind of his thing!) so we had to rush to Tesco to get something for dinner and also cook it in time. This would have been a perfect opportunity to use the lack of time as an excuse to eat peanut butter sandwiches but instead I used my noggin and got Bannister’s microwave jackets which are really nice and 1 syn each, a tin of beans and Linda McCartney vegetarian sausages. As such a filling 2.5 syn dinner took me just 15 minutes to prepare. If I’d had more time I would have had mushrooms too, but the only other thing I’d eaten the whole day was porridge with hazelnut milk so the lack of speed food didn’t bother me at all.

If that wasn’t enough to make me feel pleased with myself, my friend kept glancing over and saying that he swears I’ve lost more weight every time he looks, plus I decided to wear a nice outfit and do my makeup properly. In case you haven’t noticed yet I’ll reiterate that I LOVE autumn, so I wore an acorn necklace and acorn earrings and got out my orangey lipstick.

I felt pretty damn fantastic!

It’s back to work tonight but I don’t even care. Nothing can bring me down!

Hayley x

Harvest

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hayley x

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

Hello Autumn

On the surface today has been a bit of a non-event, but I’m feeling good all the same. I haven’t been out, so I’m writing this while simultaneously doing a figure of eight between the kitchen and living room. Hopefully it makes sense, I just need more steps!

Frighteningly, I’m back at work Tuesday night. This is not ideal, because I don’t give the place much thought when I’m not there. For the last three weeks I’ve sort of forgotten that I even have a job, so going back is going to be a shock to the system.

As the weather has turned a bit chillier the last couple of nights I thought I’d better start thinking about my winter work wear. In the next few weeks I’ll no doubt be in thermals, it gets that cold in the (unheated) warehouse.

On Monday I thought I’d have a peek at the Long Tall Sally website. As luck would have it Monday was the last day of a huge sale, and I managed to get three pairs of jeans that are normally £60+ EACH for £56 in total and free delivery to boot!

My parcel arrived this morning and it was one of those very rare and magical moments. I have three pairs of jeans that fit absolutely perfectly. I mean so perfect that they stay up without a belt. That never happens! One pair I bought in a larger size so I can wear two pairs of thermal long johns underneath. Sigh, I love autumn and winter, just not the part where I have to go to work and freeze my butt off!

September is also my brother’s birthday month, and although I’m normally an excellent gift-giver, this year I’ve been coming up short. But then it came to me. We’ve been wanting to visit more historical places but it’s just so darn expensive (Leeds Castle last year was over £20 each) so I thought I’d get him an English Heritage yearly pass. And since I’m the driver and he’s not going to get far without me, I bought one for myself too!

There are loads of sites with plenty of walking involved, so it’ll be good for my step goals, for photographic opportunities and for some plain old fun. I checked with my brother that he didn’t have a problem with me buying myself a gift for his birthday too, and luckily he is all for it. I’m looking forward to us having some interesting adventures soon.

Other than that all I’ve done is try on some dresses in my wardrobe that are too small for me. What with all my yo-yo-ing lately I’ve been too scared to see how close I am to fitting in them, but I braved it and was surprised to find I’m not as far away as I thought I was.

I know it’s only the first day of autumn and I really shouldn’t be dropping the C-bomb already, but I have one lovely little black dress that I’m planning to fit comfortably in by Christmas. It’s unlikely I’ll be going anywhere exciting, but hopefully now my sister is in her new place she’ll invite me over and we love an excuse to dress up together. And if she doesn’t I’ll just invite myself anyway.

Now I’m waiting for my shopping to arrive (I decided to get it last minute and my slot is between 10pm and 11pm) and yet again torturing my family with unpleasant emissions. I am short on speed foods so most of my 1/3 was made up of red onions. Which I coupled with Linda McCartney red onion and rosemary sausages. That is NOT a good combo!

I’d better get concentrating on those steps now, so I’ll say bye for now.

Thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Cooking

It’s been absolutely ages since I went out of my way to create something from scratch. Although I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, yesterday I actually made something from the packet of black turtle beans that I bought several months ago.

I’ve been seeing recipes for black bean burgers online for a while and they all look delicious, but they either contain synful binding agents or synful breadcrumbs, so I decided to create my own recipe and see how they hold up.

I cooked the beans in boiling water for an hour and ten minutes (they didn’t need soaking), prepared some quinoa, then I added sweetcorn, red onion, smoked paprika, garlic, chilli flakes and a generous splash of Henderson’s Relish. I decided to do away with any binding agent at all, even though I have egg replacer in the cupboard, just to see what would happen.

I mixed it all together and shaped them, and they were looking pretty good at this point, then I popped them into the fridge until it was time for dinner. They stayed in there for about an hour and a half in total.

IMG_0295

When it came to cooking them I fried them in a little fry light, and when turning them over they stayed together quite well but I could tell I’d have problems later.

IMG_0301

By the time I got them onto the plate they were falling apart, and as soon as I stuck a fork in them they just crumbled. If I was eating them in a burger bun I think they would have been absolutely fine, but just having them on the plate they definitely need something to hold them together. I’m still on the search for something syn free, so next time I might add sweet potato mash and see if that helps at all. I’ll keep trying though, because I only used a third of the pack of beans and that made 12 burgers, so I popped the rest into the freezer to have another time. The whole pack of beans was only £1.10, so it’s definitely a cheap dinner to have in my repertoire (if I can perfect the recipe that is!)

With some extra beans I had left over I also made some black bean and lime dip which was based on this recipe here, but I left out the olive oil to keep it free. I ate that today with a whole cucumber and it was lovely.

IMG_0296

The experimenting with new recipes has been fun, and I definitely want to do it more!

This week I only have two more nights left at work, and due to industrial action it’s quite possible that I’ll be off for the next three weeks. I have to be really careful during this period, as the last time I wasn’t at work I put on 11 lbs. I simply cannot view this as a food holiday.

As such I’m going to be going to bed early, getting up early and getting my butt out walking every single day, no matter what the weather. On Tuesday I’m walking to the hospital for my blood test, then Wednesday I’ll go to the local park (despite someone getting stabbed there the other day) and on Thursday I’m going to walk to a nearby high street. Because the area I live in is not so nice, it’s hard to go out walking just to see the sights – there aren’t many sights to be had. So I’m trying to go places where I have a proper destination in mind. Even if (in this case at least) it’s just to visit my nearest Oxfam! I’m also going to try to find the good/interesting in even the crappiest of places.

As if that wasn’t enough I’m also on a mission to save money as I’m absolutely determined not to go into my overdraft this month. Frugality is key! So I’m on the lookout for some excellent bargains. I think I might go to Debenhams and try on expensive dresses too!

I have a few ideas to be getting on with, and perhaps from time to time I’ll drive somewhere further afield. The only constraint I have is not wanting to leave Pea alone for too long, but she’s going to be spending more quality time with me anyway so every now and then won’t hurt.

The last time I was due to be off work I was already starting to feel inexplicably down in the leadup to it, but now although I don’t exactly feel ecstatic I have solid plans and I know I’m going to make the most of it. The fact that the industrial action could be called off at any point is also a huge motivator – I have to make the most of it in case I get sent back to work at short notice.

Speaking of work I suppose I’d better start getting prepared for my penultimate shift. Boo!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Wardrobe Malfunctions

A few posts back I met my brother at our local park for some walking and bird-photographing. What with all the excitement of the crazy drunk man, I forgot to tell you about my wardrobe malfunctions! I spent the entire time I was out hitching up my knickers and leggings which was extremely uncomfortable. And if at any point the leggings did stay up then my knickers fell down underneath them and sat just underneath my bottom. Which isn’t pleasant at all.

When I got home I did some exercises on the Wii and during a 3 minute jog-on-the-spot activity they both gave up entirely and ended up round my ankles. So I had a little shopping spree, and now I have enough tops, dresses, leggings, jeans and knickers for me to wear a different outfit that actually fits me every single day. I know this won’t last long, because I’m still shrinking, but it’s still a very nice feeling.

One thing I didn’t factor in though, is boob shrinkage. I got properly measured for some bras not so long ago and thought I could make them last but sadly this is not the case! The other day I wore a little vest top to bed and when I woke up my left boobage had escaped through the arm hole! Part of me was dismayed at the little pink pancake lying there on the bed but for the most part I just had to laugh! I also told the story to my mum so she could have a little giggle too.

Then at work that night I bent over to pick something up and both boobies escaped over the top of my bra, but thankfully no one was around to see me adjusting myself. So this week I’ve been wearing a different bra, my last viable option, but last night they attempted to escape via the bottom of said bra. So tomorrow I absolutely must make a trip into town to get supplies before they really try to make a break for it.

As happy as  I am with my current progress, this week has been a real struggle. And it’s all down to tiredness. I don’t think there’s any particular reason for it, I’m just a tad under the weather and need to listen to my body. For the first time in a very long time I’ve had to relent and put resting above all else, which feels just plain wrong. On Wednesday I got a reasonably good sleep before work but by Thursday morning I was so tired I felt ill, and for the first time ever I didn’t hit my rate at work. Thankfully it’s measured as a weekly average so I think I’ve done enough to make up for it but it’s just not like me at all. So instead of getting my daily steps in I’ve been getting extra sleep which is incredibly boring, but sadly necessary.

Physically I am feeling a lot better now thanks to me being uncharacteristically sensible, but in typical fashion someone upset me on the way out of work (just as my weekend started, too) so I’m also feeling deflated and damn well angry. A man in front of me was making fun out a man in front of him. I was angry enough already, because I’m just sick to death of how utterly obsessed the people I work with are of other people’s appearances, and how they think it’s OK to criticize people in their exaggerated whispers, but then he says ‘ha, he looks like Hayley’. Someone then pointed out that I was standing behind him, and I asked him what he meant by that. Because I’m genuinely not sure. He paused for a really awkward amount of time then just said ‘I don’t know’. At this point we had reached the exit and he made a run for it, but I’m just really upset by his remark for some reason.

I think he was trying to say that I walk funny, which I do (as that is how my bones fit together and there’s nothing I can do about it and also what the bleep does it matter) or that my jeans don’t fit as he would like them to. The chap walking in front of him was very tall (like me) doesn’t have much in the butt department, and our knees go inwards. And because of our unconventional butt shapes jeans don’t fit us exactly as they do everyone else. Well I’m so sorry for that!

When I next see the criticising man I’m going to brave and tell him that he was being very rude, then I won’t speak to him any more. Just like I don’t speak to the man with the ‘no fat chicks’ sticker on his car or the guy who wouldn’t ‘do’ Jennifer Aniston because she (allegedly) has ugly knees.

The sad thing is that I think these people behave the way they do because they hold themselves up to impossibly high standards, and I do wonder how miserable they actually are. I can’t see any other reason for scrutinising everyone’s tiniest little faults. I suppose the only alternative is that they’re just downright mean, which I can’t really bring myself to believe.

On the plus side, in between sleeps, my sister popped in before meeting up with her friends for a meal to teach me what she learned at a calligraphy course the other day. She’s a teacher so it was fun to get a lesson from her, and there’s something really wholesome and satisfying about doing calligraphy,or calligraphizing as I intend to call it from now on. It’s also good for keeping your mind off of food or mean people because it does take a surprising amount of care and concentration (although I still managed to get ink everywhere regardless). In future all of the birthday cards I write in are going to look awesome!

As for the rest of the day I’m going to spend it chilling (might as well since that has been the theme of the week so far!) and trying out some new things after my Ocado shop has been delivered. I’ll let you know what delights I purchased (and whether they were in fact edible) next time.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x