Murphizzle Poppizzle Foshizzle

Do you remember I was planning to dress up as Mary Poppins for charity? That event came around quicker than I thought it would – mainly because I thought Good Friday was next Friday. That means I booked the wrong week off work so when it was time to get my Mary on I had work the night before and I was knackered. Thankfully I managed to get home a couple of hours early so I wasn’t as knackered as I could have been, but it still wasn’t ideal.

Continuing the theme of being completely unprepared I didn’t think to ask how long it would be going on for, I just assumed it couldn’t be toooooo long. Surely?

There was another thing I failed to consider. I am 6 feet tall, and children are teeny, so I did lots of crouching down for photos. This wasn’t too bad for the first hour or so, but after FIVE HOURS I must admit it was beginning to take its toll on my knees.

Finally after over 1000 kids had met Ms Poppins I was able to escape the woods and head home sharpish to try to get just a little bit of sleep before going back to work again. It was an exhausting day, and when I woke up again in the evening I realised that it wasn’t my knees I should have worried about – my thighs were absolutely killing me and to be honest they aren’t much better now. Imagine doing squats for five hours! On the plus side my thighs should be like steel from this point onwards.

The exhaustion was worth it though, for several reasons. I was still feeling quite low but it was good to know I can slap a smile on my face and just get on with things, as uncomfortable as it was to begin with.

It was also waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. I haven’t interacted with kids much in my adult life so I don’t really know how to deal with them, but I did just fine. The same for having the attention on me – I found that I was able to cope with it quite well.

On the day over £6000 was raised for the local school, but apart from that what I enjoyed the most was being physically able to do it. When I was heavier I couldn’t have crouched down all those times, I couldn’t have made it to my spot in the woods (wearing hells no less), I couldn’t have been on my feet for that long and I couldn’t have fit in the biggest Mary Poppins costume available to buy.

I also had some lovely compliments saying that I was a very pretty Mary Poppins and one person who said I was like Mary Poppins but slimmer. That was rather unexpected! I have a friend who is a rapper in his spare time who years ago nicknamed me ‘Murphizzle’ (my surname is Murphy) which has now been extended to Murphizzle Poppizzle. I must admit I rather like it.

Saturday I was out again even though I haven’t been getting nearly enough sleep. I’ve definitely been overdoing it this week, but since I’m now off work for two GLORIOUS weeks I thought I could afford to be a bit silly.

So instead of catching up on some shuteye I went with my friend (who knows a thing or two about cars) and my sister to see about her buying her first set of wheels. We found something suitable for her, and while she was was sorting out her insurance I got my friend to take a picture of me because I love my stripy top so much.

Summery or what? I saw it in a shop for £20 which I thought was a bit pricey, but I couldn’t find anything even vaguely comparable anywhere else so I had a ‘screw it’ moment. Which worked out perfectly because I got it in the Easter sale for a lower price. Sweet!

Saturday night I got out of work early again so I got a good sleep before going out leafleting once more with my friend (and now esteemed colleague) Amanda. I was annoyed that I didn’t think to bring bunny ears, but don’t think for one second I’ll ever be making that mistake again.

Now I’m just chilling in the garden with little Pea, contemplating the things I have to get done and the fun stuff I have planned over the next fortnight. I also have to think about how these things fit in with Slimming World.

First of all, I have to get weigh in tomorrow out of the way. I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it but my schedule has been freed up so I will indeed be attending. To be honest I’ve been only been on plan for about half of this week, but I’m likely to get a gain much bigger than I deserve. This is because as soon as the sun came out I puffed up like a damn balloon. I shan’t be avoiding weigh in for that reason though, I will just take it on the chin.

I’m out for a meal in a vegan restaurant Thursday evening at another place I’ve wanted to try for at least a year, then it’s drinkies on Friday with a good friend. In general the eating out and drinking lifestyle is not one I’d like to make a habit of, so once these two weeks are over I’m definitely going back to concentrating on healthier pursuits.

I’m allowing myself this for now though because I want to make time for certain friends before I knuckle down and really try to make a success of my Slimming World group. I want to give it all of my focus.

Of course I still have Swingamajig on the horizon, but once that’s over I’m definitely back to ‘walking for fun’ rather than ‘drinking in the pub for fun’. I only really enjoy these things if they’re sporadic in any case, so I certainly won’t feel like I’m missing out.

In the meantime it’s ‘on plan when I can’, which I’ve been much better at over the last week. Mainly because I’m feeling a lot happier I think – that sure makes it easier. I also want to catch up on things around the house that have been neglected, and make sure I’m properly organised and ready to go once my Slimming World training starts.

I’ve got to say, the immediate future is looking very bright indeed.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Choosing

I’ve been feeling real bad lately. Real, real low. When you’re feeling like that the last thing you probably want to do is put on your happy face and go to a job interview – one where it’s essential that you are warm and positive and enthusiastic.

It’s hard. In fact it’s exhausting, but in some cases it’s also really, really worthwhile. You see, I’ve been playing the long game.

I know from experience that my low patch was only going to be temporary, and that if I didn’t take the bull by the horns and throw everything I had at my interview then I’d deeply regret it. So rather than curl up into a ball I put on my brave face and went out there and did it.

I have only ever had one proper interview. Seriously, ever. It was in the early 2000’s and I had absolutely no idea how to prepare for it. What’s more I was going for a job I didn’t really want, as I have done with every single job I’ve done so far. My criteria is ‘can I actually do it?’ With the only other factor being ‘how miserable will it make me?’

As such my interview was a complete and utter disaster, with the low point being, in my nervous state, me forgetting to let go of the interviewers hand during a handshake and him having to pry himself out of my grasp. Mortifying.

Weirdly, I didn’t get the position, and it put me off going to another one until this very week.

Coming back to the present, my interview yesterday was for something that I badly want. I’ve been thinking about it on and off for years, because the idea of it has always grabbed me but I didn’t have the confidence to actually do it.

In 2012-ish I went to find out more about it, and the very thought made my palms sweat with anxiety. So I put it to the back of my mind for the time being.

Then more recently the idea presented itself again, but this time I started fantasising about how brilliant it could be and what I personally could bring to it. I’ve never felt like that about anything. I realised that not only can I do it, I can actually be really good at it AND make a difference. At 36 I’ve finally found a thing I want to do! What’s more, the stars seemed to have aligned and everything fell in to place. I was in exactly the right position to to be able to do it.

Then the blues hit. I thought to myself – if I get this job, then I need to be able to do it and do it well no matter how I’m feeling, because people are going to be looking to me for advice. I strongly believe that sometimes you have to listen to your instincts and if they are telling you that you’re doing too much and it isn’t the right time, perhaps you should heed the warning lest you completely burn out.

At other times though, it’s worth pushing through because the end result is worth it. It’s a tough one to judge, but in this case I got it right.

I woke up this morning feeling like the dark cloud had lifted from above my head and everything seemed more-or-less back to normal.

Relief!

I was told I’d possibly find out about the job by the end of the week, all being well, yet as I got on with the chores that I’d been neglecting in favour of other more enjoyable things, the phone rang.

It was the lady who did conducted my interview.

Since it’s only Wednesday I thought she must need some more information from me. I didn’t expect for one second she was phoning to tell me that I got the job.

So, my good readers, it is with great excitement that I can announce to you…

I’M GOING TO BE A SLIMMING WORLD CONSULTANT!

The best bit though is that I’m going to be taking over the group I currently go to. We’ve had various temporary consultants since before Christmas, trying their best to keep us going till someone was recruited to run it permanently. Who knew that person was going to be me?

I’m not the only one who has found the uncertainty tough, so I’m chuffed to bits that I’ll be able help the people who have been keeping me going to the last few months. That’s why it was especially important to me to do this now.

Although I’ve been struggling like mad, I have no doubt at all that I’m going to get to target with Slimming World. When I rejoined in August 2016 I made the decision there and then – this is going to be for life. I may flirt with unhealthy eating from time-to-time (especially lately) but Slimming World is going to be in my future for years and years to come, so it seemed fitting to cement that idea by making it my career, too.

Ha, career. A word I never thought I’d have the vaguest interest in. Yet here we are!

Yesterday I had no trouble at all getting back on plan after a day of eating some naughties. The sole reason is that although I was still feeling bad, I got back in control. When I ate some vegan treats with my sister during a visit to London, it was because I chose to, not because I was trying to self-medicate with food. It made alllll the difference.

This time I actually enjoyed my food sensibly rather than eating till I felt sick, and thought about whether or not I really wanted it before eating it.

I had a doughnut the size of my head from Doughnut Time, but it wasn’t just on a whim. I’ve been wanting to try this thing since it came into existence. It was worth the wait.

This photo was taken in Covent Garden, London. A trip to London always makes my contemplate how far I’ve come because it’s not a city that’s friendly to fat people.

Apart from to eat, drink or pose, we didn’t sit down the whole day. When I was a teenager I went to London a lot with a couple of slim and fit friends. We did a lot of walking, which always left me feeling sore and exhausted. It was an ordeal, but I put up with it because we were usually there to see bands. Music was EVERYTHING to me back then.

Thankfully, I’m unrecognisable from that person now.

What’s more I can sit down on a seat in a ridiculously cramped tube train without touching the people either side of me. I can trot up and down broken escalators, and I can go into almost any high street shop and find something to fit me on the rails.

We went into Zara, somewhere I’ve never shopped before. Their sizes range from S to XXL, so when I saw something I liked I automatically picked up the XXL, whilst hoping against hope that it won’t be too small.

Turns out when shopping at Zara I’m an M. A flipping MEDIUM people!

I’ve also wanted something from Oliver Bonas for an age. I picked up a dress in a 16. I’m a 14-16, but since I’ve put on a few pounds lately I went for the larger size. It drowned me!

I’m now the proud owner of a size 14 gingham dress that I have no doubt I will wear the HELL out of over the summer.

I knew things would turn around. I’m so glad I grit my teeth and saw it through.

The icing on the cake? Despite the fact I normally have light meals on weigh day, I just about made it to weigh in on time Monday evening with a tummy full of vegan goodies and came in with a loss of half a pound!

I’ve never been happier to lose such a teeny amount.

Things are on the up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Far From Perfect

I have a rather large confession to make. Over the last couple of months I (consciously) slipped off of the V-wagon. That is to say, I made the decision to go back to being vegetarian for a while. Well, the original plan was to have a few veggie meals when out and about with Steve if no other options were available and eat as much vegan food as I could in the meantime.

Because I’ve been feeling so down I haven’t had the mental capacity to care much about much at all to be honest. Nothing seemed to matter any more. So I’ve been eating cheesy pizza and ice cream like it’s going out of fashion, with no thought to how it affects the animals or my own health. Deep down though I haven’t been happy with myself for backtracking. In actual fact I’ve felt rather ashamed.

I didn’t say anything about it publicly through a genuine fear of backlash from a minority of the vegan community, but now I’m ready to jump back on the wagon I feel like I should get it out in the open, come what may.

I’m reluctant to call myself vegan from now on, because there’s one thing I haven’t been able to give up – photo printing.

I’m an all-or-nothing kinda gal, so for me knowingly doing something that involves animal products means that I couldn’t and shouldn’t call myself a vegan. However, I am going back to eating like one. The same goes for cleaning materials, cosmetics etc. I’m happy to say that all of that has remained vegan for me.

No more cheese from now on! Anything else aside, boy that stuff is addictive. Seriously! Completely going without was working much, much better for me. Plus now I can start to get my life back in line with my values. Perhaps I’ll sleep better with a clearer conscience too.

I think it’s important for me to be open about this particular struggle, because maybe there’s someone else doing something similar who isn’t sure where to go from here. I ate vegan for an entire year before I slipped, so that’s better than doing nothing at all, right? Plus I intend to be doing it many years from now on (well, forever if I can!)

Another thing I’ve been giving a lot of thought to is my target weight. Originally it was 12 stone 10 pounds, which I smashed in November. I felt the best I’ve ever felt in my entire life when I got there, but I felt compelled to go lower. Now I’m 1 stone 4 pounds away from that weight, and I’ve decided that to go any lower than that just isn’t right for me.

Looking over some fairly recent photos, I can’t say that I’m unhappy with them at all!

Everyone I’ve voiced my thoughts to has unanimously agreed that I looked great at that point and wondered why on earth I wanted to lose more.

This was me in November:

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That’ll do thanks.

As soon as I talked about it I felt much, much better. I know deep down that it’s the right thing for me and me alone. In this case my opinion is the only one that actually matters.

Also, I know I can do it. Because I already did!

I’m tentatively feeling rather excited at the prospect of officially becoming a target member of Slimming World, but since I know how much my moods have been up and down lately I’m trying not to get ahead of myself.

Just gotta keep going, and try to get those numbers going down instead of up for a while.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Time to Lose

So, after my grand plan of learning how to do things in moderation, have I made a good start? Have I heck. This week I’ve felt especially low, and eating well started to go down the toilet from Thursday afternoon. I’m really quite cross with myself (understatement of the year!)

Thursday should have been perfect. My friend put his car in for its MOT so I kept him company while he was waiting for a call back from the garage. I dragged him along for a walk at Langdon Hills, and although it was still much too cold for my liking, it was a beautiful day.

Comparisons have been made between that second picture and one you may remember from Windows XP. I’m pretty sure the Windows picture earned the photographer an obscene amount of money, so I’m now patiently waiting for several thousand pounds to hit my back account.

So, after a healthy and hilly stroll, what did I do? I went out for lunch. At a pizza restaurant. Did I search out a tomato-based pasta dish with salad? Nope. I had a three-course meal including sugary drink and I didn’t even enjoy it that much.

Things went downhill from there, though I did still get out of the house, this time with my little brother. Now we’re members of the Essex Wildlife Trust I’m on a mission to visit all of the sites in Essex, so we started at Fingringhoe Wick.

I didn’t have any expectations as to what it would be like or do any research, but it turned out to be lovely. It’s a bird-orientated place with loads of hides and loads of wildlife. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but we did see a cormorant eating fish which was really cool. It disappeared under the water for ages it a time and came back successful about five times as we watched.

We also made friends with a pheasant, who we have named Bertram.

It was a really rubbish day in terms of weather, and the light was flat (bad for photography) so I was happy looking for the little details.

Another trick is to look for things that suit black & white.

That evening though, once I was home, I felt more out of control with my eating than ever. I honestly haven’t made myself feel that ill in years.

Yesterday I didn’t eat much, but for everything I didn’t eat I made up with several gin & tonics. Perhaps I’m understating things. I mean a lot of gin and tonics.

In this instance I have no regrets (not even the fact that I’ve been in bed all day nursing an awful hangover) because I had a lovely time. I bought me and Steve tickets to see ABC months and months ago and it finally came around.

They were accompanied by an orchestra who played an instrumental medley of their most famous hits. It was spine-tingly awesome. The band then played in two halves – the first half didn’t grab us so we went out to find more gin (strangely the venue closes the bar when the band is on, never seen that before) and we came back just in time for the second half. Then the band played their most famous album, The Lexicon of Love, in its entirety. It was seated but we got up and had a dance and I had just the most fabulous time.

I weighed in this evening, and was actually quite surprised that I only put on 2.5lbs. Now I really do have to make some changes to my current lifestyle, especially because I have something really exciting happening next week.

Next Tuesday I’m going for an interview for something really cool, and this is a massive deal. Traditionally I’ve been terrified of interviews and it’s probably definitely the main reason my career never progressed.

So me going for an interview now is especially great because it means for one I feel confident enough to actually do it, and two the thing I’m interviewing for is important enough to me for me to risk failure and rejection. No small deal at all.

This week I’m aiming for a decent loss (I’ve pledged five pounds in group) because I’d love to be feeling properly back in control for the first time in months when I have my interview. From then on I want to start making proper progress again. I’m not happy right now, and I know that making progress will undoubtedly bring me happiness.

I just have to stop stalling and get the hell on with it.

Hayley x

If at First You Don’t Succeed…

Someone asked me a question the other day, which I don’t believe was meant in a concerned, sincere way. It was this: why do you have to eat a whole pizza? Why can’t you just have one slice? Why can’t you just have a little bit of what you fancy?

If there wasn’t anger and accusation behind those words, I would have answered it. But for my own sake and anyone else who struggles with ‘a little bit of what you fancy’, I’ve given it some thought.

First of all, I don’t have to, not really. In theory, it’s completely within my power to just have a little bit. I’ve done it before, though admittedly not often, and on those occasions it has meant that I’ve been able to enjoy social events revolving around food and/or drink without feeling deprived. What’s more, I’ve invariably surprised myself and lost weight come the next weigh in.

There’s a lot to be said for simply being sensible, but if it were that easy then I would never have had a problem with my weight now would I?

It’s a many-layered problem. Since I was a kid any situation slightly out of the ordinary meant FOOD as far as I was concerned. Family party? BUFFET! Holiday? Cooked breakfasts and McDonald’s. Funeral? BUFFET! Visiting a family member? WHAT’S IN THEIR FRIDGE? So as soon as I arrange to do anything, the first thing that pops into my mind is ‘what nice thing can I eat?’

One thing I’m finding it really hard to get away from is the mentality of eating as much ‘nice’ stuff as I can before getting back on my so-called diet. This is ridiculous, because Slimming World especially really discourage this way of thinking. No food is banned, so there’s simply no reason to have to binge on it when you’re being naughty. You can have it any time (in moderation).

That’s the hard part, isn’t it. When I eat something nice I want to eat it till I feel sick, and I experience a genuine feeling of euphoria as I’m doing it. It’s like a drug. But the comedown is oh so bad. There’s a lot of guilt, and that makes it all the harder to get back on plan. When I feel that amount of shame it’s hard to get into a positive mindset which makes eating healthily that much easier. It’s difficult to feel good about what you’re doing when you see it as desperately making up for a terrible mistake.

What’s more, there’s also the troublesome fact that I’m an emotional eater. Happy? Let’s celebrate with food! Sad? Let’s commiserate with food! I’m getting better at this in recent years, but I’m far from perfect. Miles away actually.

The way I see it, I have a two options. I could not eat the ‘high risk foods’ ever again, as my old consultant used to call them. If I don’t have them for a while (cake, ice cream, pizza etc) then I do find it easier to avoid them as time goes on.

Or, I could really and truly learn, once and for all, how to be sensible with food.

I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve tried to do this and failed, especially since I started blogging. I’d write a post about it, saying how determined I was to just have one meal off plan then get back on it the next day.

If we look at my track record then the odds are not great. I fail many more times than I succeed. That’s doesn’t mean I’m giving up though.

There are things I want to do, places I want to go, and I would dearly love to be able to make decent choices at the same time.

I’m out Sunday night, and I want to have a few spirits with low-calorie mixers. This seems perfectly doable, but my danger area is the Sunday morning beforehand. I tell myself I’m bound to screw up so I might as well eat half a loaf of bread with peanut butter and jam for breakfast. I’m not exaggerating, it really would be in the region of half a loaf.

I’m going out with my sister on the 12th for various non-food related pursuits, but she suggested checking out a vegan burger place I’ve wanted to sample for months and months. I can do the just-eating-the-burger part, but when I get home I’ll start to feel guilty about it which will lead to the ‘eff it all’ thoughts.

When I dress up as Mary Poppins I’ll take some food with me but I’m not sure how long I’ll be there and when I’ll be able to eat. If I have to eat out at any point I want to be able to make a sensible, well-informed choice.

Then we have Swingamajig, where food will be largely of the takeaway kind for an entire weekend. When faced with a load of food stalls, I want to be able to make a wise choice. When it comes to breakfast at the hotel, I want to ask for grilled veg and beans, instead of cracking and asking for slice after slice of fried bread with greasy mushrooms or who even knows what.

I can do this, it’s within the realms of possibility. I’m choosing to see it this way – the coming five weeks are a perfect opportunity for me to practice doing those things. I think it’s like exercising a muscle – the more I do it, the stronger I’ll become.

Deep down, although I really want to do all of these things, part of me is already convinced of my failure. That makes me want to avoid the fun stuff altogether. I don’t want to live my life that way.

So I’m daring to imagine that things could actually go well, that I can have my cake and eat it. How wonderful would that be?

I will try again, because I don’t want to live my life avoiding all of the foods I enjoy. Doing that is the absolute last resort.

So how has life been in general? Now I think of it, I’ve already managed to prove my own point. On Thursday I was supposed to be meeting up with a friend for a quiet couple of drinks, but he had an insane hangover from the night before and couldn’t make it.

Before I even knew this, I ate a load of rubbish when I got home from work in the morning. Same old, same old. I’m bound to blow it later, I thought. I’d been looking forward to that afternoon, so when I found out I wasn’t going socialising after all, I ate more crap. So silly.

Friday my mum had a little operation and despite us only being at the hospital for a few hours, when we might have been there all day, I used it as an excuse to… eat more crap.

Saturday I kind of came to my senses and ate a bit better, then Sunday it was a mixed bag.

After sleeping for just an hour and a half, I went to a boot sale with my friend. It was so cold, we left after covering about half of it, but only after we’d picked up some sweet treats for ourselves from the cake stall.

Then I cooked a nice roast dinner for mother’s day, which wasn’t too bad (in fact I had a sensible portion), and I didn’t eat again till the next day. By this point I really wasn’t feeling great about going out with the work chaps in the afternoon/evening.

For the first time in ages I did that thing where you try on a load of outfits and feel rubbish in all of them – I very nearly blew it off. Instead I forced myself to go and actually had a fantastic time! I had a few G&T’s with slimline tonic, but when we arrived at a place doing 2-for-1 cocktails I confess to making the most of the Pornstar Martini. In my defence passion fruit is surely good for you…

I’m a bit of nightmare when I go on these nights out as I don’t really have an off-switch, but one of our group overdid it before I got the chance to so all of us from our part of Essex escorted him home in a cab. We never leave a man behind.

I woke up the next day without a real hangover, just feeling a little tired, and I stayed on plan the whole day. I didn’t even feel guilty about the night before, probably because I had so much fun. I was feeling the love from my work buddies.

That brings us right up to weigh in, and miracle of miracles… I lost 1.5 lbs! It just goes to show, the things I did right (at least in this case) made up for the things I did wrong and I came out the other side with a good result. It would have been even better if I’d stuck to plan all the times I could have.

Lesson learned? Not quite, but it’s a step in the right direction. Point proven? Certainly.

This week I’m off to a good start, and I’ve just almost finished a bowl of ramen after being inspired by a fellow slimmer on Instagram.

It’s the best thing I’ve eaten in a long time, and even when I halve the recipe (this is easily enough for four people) it’ll still be filling. I honestly can’t believe how tasty it was despite being completely free on the Slimming World plan. This’ll definitely be a weekly lunch from this point onwards.

I just remembered how awful I felt the last time I posted, so I’m happy to say that things are much, much better now.

If you’re struggling, hang on in there. Things will improve, I promise.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

It’ll Pass

Whilst I’ve welcomed the return of the sun this week, at the same time I’ve been unable to really appreciate it. This is because I feel sad. Really. Frickin. Sad. And a little bit lost. OK, a lot lost.

I think I know what the problem is. Although my new status of being single is right, it doesn’t make it easy. Aside from anything else, my life (which was way too filled up with things to do) is now a little bit empty. feel empty. There are tons of things I have been itching to get cracking with, until now that is.

I’ve been desperate for the time to concentrate on my photography, my health, or my embroidery, or painting (or take my pick of a thousand other things) but now I have the time, I don’t have the slightest inclination to actually do it. Any of it.

Damn.

On top of it all my eating has been atrocious. I’ve been eating when I’m not hungry, and the thought of savoury food makes my stomach turn over. I just want sugar, sugar and more sugar. I also don’t want to move from my bed, not just because I don’t want to face the world (I really don’t) but also because I’m just so gosh darn tired again.

Despite all this I have managed a couple of days on plan this week, and I have forced myself to get outside. I walked through the park into town, where I finally picked up a swimming costume I’m completely satisfied with.

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Although it’s super unflattering, I’m still really pleased with this purchase because it holds everything in where it should and nothing falls out of any gaps. That was all I ever really wanted from my costume.

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I think it says I mean business. Since we’re approaching the beginning of April I wanted to set down some goals for the month. I’m going to lose some weight, search out my mojo, and definitely, definitely, go swimming.

Speaking of costumes, I’ve also agreed to dress up as Mary Poppins for an Easter Egg hunt at the end of April. It’s to raise money for a school in the village where Steve’s mum and brother live, and there are several reasons why I said I’d do it.

Number one, I really love the film. Two, I’ve never been to a fancy dress party despite the fact I’ve always wanted to dress up. Three, it’s for a good cause. My sister is a teacher and I know how hard it is for schools to manage on government funding alone. Well, it’s not really possible. Four, it’s completely out of my comfort zone and I think it’ll be good for me.

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I’m not quite satisfied with the basic costume though, so I’m going to add a few bits and bobs to it. I’ll keep you updated! Perhaps when I’m happy with the costume I can get rid of my stern face.

This morning my sister came over and we went for a walk in the woods. Again I wasn’t really feeling it, but it did us both good I think. Plus she’s an excellent listener and also offers good advice.

She also sneakily took a picture of me and added it to her Instagram story. When I saw it I was pleasantly surprised that I don’t look like I’ve gained 8 stone overnight, which is how I was feeling.

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We fed the ducks and geese, saw the first bluebells of the season, and had some fancy apple juice. Maybe things aren’t so bad.

Another positive is that because of daylight savings I only have a 7 hour shift tonight. Oh, and I have a nice busy day planned tomorrow which will hopefully perk me up a bit. After tomorrow I’m going to work hard and…

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Check out my 8 week food diary from the White Triangle Co. It was a bit pricey, but I wanted it, I had the money, so I got it. Watcha gonna do?

Right, I have to get ready for work now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A New Chapter

Now that the thing I had hanging over my head has been resolved, I can be a tiny bit more open in my blog (without airing my dirty laundry in public of course).

I am once more a singleton, and whilst this is OK it has affected my eating in more ways than one. Even if you know it’s absolutely the right thing to do for everyone involved, ending a relationship is scary, and it hurts. The feeling scared part had me reaching for the bad foods, that’s for sure.

It’s not just that though. Once I’d made the decision and I realised I wasn’t morally obliged (although I never really was, these are obligations I totally put on myself) to tell a partner my results after going to group, I had a bit of a free-for-all. Hence last week’s 5.5 lb gain.

This week I had a bit of anxiety leading up the telling-the-other-person part, which again saw some bad food choices, but not as bad as the week before. I had a 1 lb gain this week which is about right. I knew what I was doing and I’m cool with it.

Whilst I’m feeling super-duper positive about the next chapter in my life, there’s still a little foreword to get out of the way before I really begin. I’m going to the pub with a friend on Thursday, then I’m out with the youngsters from work Sunday night. This is not conducive to a good result on the scales!

I could play it a few ways. I could go to the pub and drink diet coke, and do the same on Sunday. I could say ‘to hell with it’ again and have another mahoosive gain. I’ve thought about it and have decided to do something in between.

My main strategy is to be ‘on plan whenever I can’, so rather than thinking ‘I’m going to be naughty Thursday so I might as well not bother now’, I will make sure that today, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are perfect days. Although Slimming World do not recommend it, I’m also going to be setting aside a few syns.

As for Thursday and Sunday, they are going to be gin-and-slimline-tonic kinda days, rather than the high-syn red wines I’m normally drawn to. Damage limitation is not my strong point, but I’ll never stop trying anyway.

The Sunday after will be a similar situation, then it’s a clear run till Swingamajig.

Anyway, onwards and downwards.

The week before last I went to Warley Place, which is run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. There was a chap there trying to sign people up to be members, but he was really pushy. I also didn’t have a huge amount of time and could see that he wanted me to fill out forms and things. I said I’d think about it and do it online later if I decided I wanted to go ahead.

‘I’d rather you didn’t,’ was his curt reply. Hmm, that got my back up.

I went on my walk and on the way out he said ‘if you just come over here I’ll finish your application’… Er, no way. You just lost yourself a sale mate!

Pushy people who have no idea how to speak to members of the public aside, the Wildlife Trust do loads of good work so last week I went ahead and registered online. I got a voucher through the post to exchange for a guide to all of their sites in Essex.

I did that today at the visitor’s centre at the nature reserve just down the road, since I was planning to go for a walk there anyway.

As it happens my walk was sublime. There was absolutely no one else around and it was so peaceful. All I could hear were the scurrying of squirrels, a woodpecker pecking, robins singing… it was just the best.

At the visitor’s centre there are some beautiful gardens but they’re looking a bit sparse right now. There were loads of volunteers out working on them though so I don’t imagine it’ll be long before there’s colour everywhere.

The best bit though was walking back and finding a bumper collections of mushrooms.

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Nope, not these ones. Though they are pretty cool.

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Look even closer…

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And even closer…

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That last one was in a dark crevice right at the back. An honourable mention must also be given to the fungus that looks like a poo.

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After seeing a jay, several green woodpeckers, blackbirds, tits of all kinds, pied wagtails, robins and a sweet little wren, I can safely say it has been a most productive day! My plan now is to visit every single site in my guide. Who knows what other treasures I might find?

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

I’ve Been Waiting for This

The security department at work are having a new system put in. Whilst it’s being implemented, the question has been raised – if someone from another site came in and looked at our passes, would they be able to identify them from our pictures?

In my case, the answer is probably not.

I’ve been wanting to get my photo updated for quite some time, but it wasn’t allowed. Now I can finally get what I want! Although it’s fun to have an awful picture of me to hand to show newer members of staff who never saw me when I was bigger, I also don’t really like being reminded daily of how much I was struggling back then.

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Back to the present, and I’m actually feeling rather good. Once I’m done here I’m going to do some hula hooping then jump on the exercise bike. Yesterday I went out for a little walk before having my glorious soak in the tub, but my knee hurt too much for me to fill my exercise ring. Most disappointing.

I’ve been considering swimming on and off for about a year now, but there are still some things putting me off. I’m worried about being too slow and whether I’ll get in someone’s way, and I’m worried about sinking. The last time I swam (in a lake in the lake district, it was awesome) I realised that I’m actually a rubbish swimmer.

But I won’t get better if I don’t practice now, will I?

Since I’m nervous my plan of action is to visit the David Lloyd down the road. I’ve checked and their pool opens at 6am so I could go straight after work, and I’ll simply ask if there are any restrictions for beginners. Is there such a thing as a slow lane? Well that’s what I intend to find out.

Whilst my knee is recovering I do need to find something that’ll get my heart rate up a little higher, because limping along just isn’t cutting it right now. Swimming could quite possibly be the answer. We’ll see.

It was nice getting out and about yesterday, but I must remember not to visit this particular park next time. I always forget how weird and grim it is.

The WWII pillbox is pretty cool. We used to go on trips there when I was in junior school, but I am sad to say that people are still using it as a toilet.

The giant metal cockroach is a relatively new addition, as are the creepy wooden people. I’m not convinced they were a great idea. My main issue with the park though is that it’s just not very explorable.

On the plus side they do have some seriously old houses there. On one of my school trips I remember going inside them. This one was actually moved to make way for an additional terminal at Stansted airport, and I remember being fascinated that they could actually do that. How do you go about moving a house?

I could look it up, but I’d rather be happily baffled in this instance. Sometimes it’s ok to just look at something and think… bonkers. Just bonkers.

After I was done at the park I was early for my bath appointment, and I knew I wanted something nice. I was determined to stay on plan, so I went to McDonald’s for the teeniest little cup of coffee. I’m so easily pleased!

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HOW CUTE!!!

I’ve done quite a bit of thinking over the last couple of days and I think I know specifically why I’ve been struggling to stay on plan. I think it always helps to figure out the ‘why’. Annoyingly it’s another of those things I can’t talk about publically, but hopefully you get the idea. Now I’ve figured out what’s really going on in my subconscious, I can fight it properly.

Right, it’s time to get cracking with my exercise now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

As Promised

If I have, scratch that, had one regret in life, it’s that last season I didn’t get a mustard pinafore dress when I had the chance. I wasn’t feeling brave enough to sport such a bright and unusual colour, so I left it on the shelf in favour of the maroon.

I do love the maroon dress I bought (it’s one of my wardrobe staples), but the mustard was always the one that got away. Until now.

I walked into town for a spot of exercise and retail therapy, and my reward was finding the perfect mustardy dress, in a sale no less. It was meant to be.

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This evening, as promised I took some pictures of me wearing my flapper dresses. Those I’m not quite so happy with.

The first one is more than a bit too small, but oh so pretty.

You can tell by my expression that I’m really not happy about the situation! I’m not holding out much hope about fitting into this in one month, two weeks and two days time (not that I’m counting) but it makes a good ‘before’ picture I think.

I feel a lot more comfortable in the second dress, but still not at all happy with how it looks. Of course I’m not all done up like I will be on the day, and a bra that actually fits paired with some control panties will work wonders, but I still feel I have a long way to go.

My plan now is to stick to plan, and try not to think about the dresses too much. I’ll try them on again in a month and see how I feel. In the meantime my mind is at rest because I do have a less flapper-y back up outfit if I need it, so there’s no need to fret over it. What will be will be.

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time trying to talk myself out of weighing in this evening, but luckily brave and sensible Hayley won the argument. Having said that, I did have a lucky escape because it was just weigh-and-go today. My poor consultant has a nasty bug, however credit must be given to her for managing to set up at all.

My results were 5.5 lbs on, which isn’t as bad as I thought it would be, plus I was chatting to some lovely ladies in the queue. Honestly there are some absolutely cracking human beings in my group. They made me feel a whole lot better about everything.

Today has already been better. I’ve eaten properly, I’ve exercised (in fact I filled the green ring on my Apple watch twice over, when I haven’t even managed to fill it once for aaaaages) and done something that always cheers me up – I fed the birds.

All I need to do now is keep it going, which is exactly what I intend to do.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Just Try Again

This week has not been the turnaround I’d hoped it would be. I’ve been so tired, so I’ve been letting myself sleep, which is good. I’ve also had mad cravings again… and I listened to them. Again. Hmm, not so good. I’m getting really annoyed with myself because although up until this point I’ve been sort of ‘getting away with it’ and exercising a certain amount of damage limitation, I think this week it’s all catching up with me. It simply has to stop. It’s one thing knowing what I have to do and another thing altogether putting it into practice though isn’t it?

So I try again. I think that’s my super power.

There’s a thing hanging over my head that I can’t talk about here, and once that’s resolved I’m sure I’ll find things easier. My mood has dropped quite drastically and I feel awful. I felt that I was doing quite well up until now. In the meantime I still need to practice coping with having things over my head because this will often be the case in life and I can’t go stuffing my face every single time it happens.

One little shining light is Pea, who seems really happy lately. She’s been such a sweet birdy and she’s been helping me out modelling while I practice mixing ambient light with flash.

This is the kind of shot I’d get if I didn’t use flash:

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It’s nice in its own way, but not ideal if you actually want to see, well, anything. For one there’s no way the following pose would have made me laugh quite so much if I couldn’t see all of the details. Seriously, this mid-preen shot cracks me up every time I look at it – she just looks so utterly ridiculous!

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My next little mood-booster is a mixed bag. On the one hand I got my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes and I FLIPPING LOVE THEM. I was inspired by Davey’s post (link) and whilst I couldn’t afford anything from their current range I got an end-of-line deal via eBay for less than half the full price.

On the other hand, I bought them for Swingamajig and I’m feeling increasingly panicked that I will be the size of a house before it comes around. I will be if I don’t get my eating under control! In honour of the shoes and the outfit I must sort it out, because I tried on my dresses yesterday and did not feel good in them.

I’ll take a picture of me wearing them tomorrow and put them in a post on here which will hopefully spur me into action.

Either way the shoes are awesome, and once Swingamajig is over I’ll be wearing them on a regular basis, even to the shops. Yes really. It would be a crime to not wear these until they die, which in any case means… I can get another pair!

Finally, whilst I’m on the subject of material things, I am now the proud owner of my first ever Canon ‘L’ series lens (the L standing for luxury. Oh yeah.)

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I got it second-hand and I traded it in for several other lenses, otherwise this baby would have set me back around £560. I can’t tell you how much it would have been to buy new, but to give you an idea the latest version of the same lens is £1679. In photography you generally get what you pay for.

At the beginning of the year I wrote about being in a bit of a pickle financially, but I’m happy to report that things are looking up in that respect. I’m all straight again! The previous version of me would have stuck this new lens on a credit card and worried about it later, so I’m quite proud that I not only decluttered by paring down my lens collection, but also managed to keep on track with only spending money I actually have.

At least that’s one huge thing off my mind.

Hopefully tomorrow there will be a bit of sunshine and I can take my lens out for a proper test drive. I expect to be ripped by the time I get home because boy is it heavy!

Anyhoo, I’m going to try my best to turn around my mood and my eating, so hopefully I’ll have something more positive to tell you next time. I’ll sure give it a good try.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x