Patternless Sleep

Oh bloody hell, my sleep is totally broken. I’m doing well in one respect – I’m not generally having caffeine at work, but then for some reason I’m finding it even harder to sleep after my shift. On the first day of my weekend, if I sleep in too long I can’t sleep at night, or (as was the case this Sunday) I physically cannot keep myself awake watching Princess Mononoke at 7pm! It’s ridiculous.

I did have a bad anxiety day on Saturday where I completely overreacted about something and barely slept at all, so I had break my no caffeine rule and had two 500ml energy drinks to get me through my shift.

Despite being awake, I couldn’t concentrate or settle on anything, so I’m a bit behind on all the things I want to do. It was my birthday yesterday, and I got some art supplies I’d asked for (metallic watercolours and black paper, I’m looking at you) and I really wanted to try them out, but I simply ran out of time. Now I’m just way too tired, ‘cept I can’t sleep. Damn it.

This is probably because I’ve been hammering the coffee today, and in actual fact I’m going to knock it on the head completely because it’s not doing me any good, in any respect. Sure, it’ll keep me awake at certain times (usually the wrong times) but it doesn’t help me function any better. If anything it’s mainly become a procrastination aid – I’ll do the thing after just one more cup of coffee, honestly. I’ll just finish off my last jar of caramel popcorn Beanies, which is less than half full, then I’ll go cold turkey and see how that goes.

Because of the sleep problem, I haven’t had time to go running again, but my brother did come on a birthday walk with me. The park I chose I haven’t been to since I was a kid, and I certainly was never allowed to go there alone because it was full of perverts, murderers and drug addicts. Apparently. I chose it because a friend from work told me the rats there are ridiculously bold, and I wanted to see for myself.

He wasn’t lying. Those guys really don’t give a damn.

After that we had a walk around and we found loads of mushrooms, with this one being my shot of the day:

My brother did a bit of research and was going to take one home to eat before he realised the mushroom he had chosen fit the description of at least three different varieties, probably more, and not all of them were edible. Definitely not worth the risk.

He was somewhat put off after reading about a certain fungus that will give you terrible sickness and diarrhoea, after which you will seem to make a full recovery, then you will die. Thanks but no thanks.

Because I slept so badly the night before, and because I got up early to see my sister when she dropped Newton off in the morning, I desperately needed a birthday nap before heading off to Slimming World.

To be honest I was so reluctant to get up when my alarm went off that I really thought about giving group a miss. However I decided against it because as I’ve been doing so well, I didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardise my losses. Hence going to get weighed in on my actual birthday! Group was… embarrassing! They sang happy birthday to me, and I was slightly mortified, but losing 3 pounds AND getting Slimmer of the Week more than made up for it. That’s two whole weeks on plan! If (scratch that, when) this month is up and I’ve been perfectly on plan, it’ll be the best I’ve done this whole year.

Today, apart from making sure I get enough sleep before work, I’m going to catch up on #birdtober and play with my pressies before getting out for exercise Wednesday. Then I will work on building a routine again.

It’s all happening now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Only Up

Thursday was supposed to be my getting out day. It didn’t work out at all. The reason will not surprise you at all.

I mean seriously, would you have done anything different? I didn’t make it past the living room floor! I did have to make a deal with myself – if Thursday wasn’t to be the day then I absolutely had to go today. No excuses. Of course the weather on Thursday was quite nice, and today was drizzly. That’s ok by me though. The park was virtually empty and everything was nice and clean and shiny. There was a lot of everything to see as it happens.

Mushroom season is in full swing! One thing I’m rather desperate to see is a red toadstool, but that’s going to take some active searching while I’m not focusing on my fitness. That’s probably not going to happen this season, because getting back into my fitness is the most important thing. It felt so good to be out!

The last time I walked in the park it took me about an hour because I kept stopping to take pictures, but I did the same route today (and clearly took plenty of pictures) and it took about 50 minutes. That’s because whenever I could, I RAN! I only ran on the level or uphill parts, and if my knee started to hurt I stopped, but it was so good! I got all rosy cheeked but the rain cooled me down again nicely. When there are less mushrooms to see I hope to get the time down to under 40 minutes, purely from a time-saving point of view. The quicker I get my route done, the more time I have left in the day for other things. Like drawing and painting!

I’m now up-to-date with #birdtober again, and I’m especially happy with the wren. It came out exactly as I wanted it to.

I’m enjoying it so much I’m going to paint as many birds as I can once the month is up.

That’s it for my news I think. Thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Counter-cursed

The curse of the Sunday night takeaway has been broken! It wasn’t easy, because Sunday night was also family film night. We’re working our way through the Studio Ghibli classics, and Spirited Away night also coincided with mum and brother’s monthly takeaway. I just tried not to think about it too much, and I got through it without too much bother. Even the smell of the pizza dough seemed less intoxicating than usual.

So with this victory in mind how did I get on at group on Monday? Well, I lost a rather wonderful 6.5 pounds! That’s it, that’s exactly what I needed. Now the ball is rolling again I know I can keep going.

My consultant is lovely, but I didn’t enjoy group all that much this week. I think it was a combination of just being really sleepy and wishing I was in bed, combined with the pungent smell of a fish curry. Yuk! We had a curry night in group, and even if I did trust any of the food (I overheard fish curry lady telling someone her dish was vegetarian) I wouldn’t have fancied it anyway. What I am looking forward to is mocktail night which is coming up next month. That could be interesting, especially as I’m off the sauce. No drinkies for me till Christmas Day!

I had planned to do more walking last week but I was so tired that it never came to fruition. I figured if I let myself get too tired, I’m more likely to go off plan, plus it’s good to let yourself have a decent catch up. I must get out this week though because it’s mushroom season and I want to find some good ones.

The trouble is, my sleep pattern is a little bit messed up. It’s mostly because of Newton! When I got in from work this morning, I should have gone straight to sleep. Instead I spent way too long playing with an energetic puppy. Not sensible! I should be sleeping now really, but I just couldn’t get off.

As ever I think it’s just a case if rebalancing again. I’m doing a more physical job at work tonight and I’m determined to get out for a walk tomorrow, so that should help me reset my pattern.

Yesterday a lot of time was taken up at the hair salon. About three hours actually, but it’s always good to catch up with the awesome dude who has been styling my hair on and off for the last seventeen years. Or thereabouts.

In recent times as you know I’ve struggled to locate my mojo, and I haven’t felt much like myself. However as myself has come back stronger than ever I felt it was time that the outside should match the inside.

I thought about getting my haircut once I’d lost a bit more weight. Then I thought… eff that!

This was me yesterday morning:

This was me yesterday afternoon:

Richard has mulleted me many times over the years. It’s something that really shouldn’t work, but I absolutely love it. Just like the mullet, I’m back!

In fact I’d say I’m more ‘me’ than ever right now. After my latest foray into the world of relationships, I really wondered why I allow myself to be treated badly. The usual suspects didn’t ring true – I don’t crave love or relationships (at least I don’t think I do, perhaps I should question that assumption), I’m really happy when I’m on my own, and I never go actively looking for partners. So I figure it’s not a case of just feeling like I’m not complete without a boyfriend.

But when I fall for someone, I ignore all the red flags and will fold myself in half trying to keep the person who is tearing me apart. I have a telephone assessment for counselling coming up later this month, but from what I can the gather the thing I’m mostly likely to be offered is CBT in order to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety in the future.

But I don’t want to cope. I WANT TO HEAL!

I’ve been asking myself if that’s even possible. Do people ‘get better’ or do they just learn to live with it? Is there something wrong with me? Can I be ‘fixed’? If I want more than CBT, what do I even ask for? Is a more in-depth treatment accessible to me? Do I deserve it? Am I depressed ‘enough’?

The answer popped up most unexpectedly, in the most unlikely of places – Instagram! I stumbled across a whole plethora of help and information after reading about dating advice from someone I follow for a completely different reason and it’s been a total game changer.

I thought I was weird, that others don’t have the same problems as me, but when it comes to love it seems I’m pretty much textbook. Everything I read is almost word-for-word my own experience, and what’s more, I’m learning what do to about it! I’ve never felt so sure that I can stop repeating past mistakes and that something/someone really good is out there waiting for me. I could actually share my life with someone in a really fun, healthy and special way, without destroying myself in the process. WHO KNEW?

Well, a lot of you knew. You tried to tell me, but I didn’t really understand, or if I did and happened to believe it, it didn’t think it could be true for me. I’m sure I’ll go into this more in future posts where I’ll share really valuable resources (I need to make a list and get all of the information in order) but for now let’s just say my mind is well and truly blown. If you are struggling with absolutely anything in life, although social media obviously isn’t a replacement for actual therapy, you can guarantee there’s an Insta-therapist who can point you in the right direction. In my case it simply helped me learn what to ask for. That’s a pretty good starting point.

In the meantime I’ve added a couple of paintings to my Birdtober collection, but I am now a couple of days behind. I intend to catch up tomorrow though and I’m ridiculously excited about fairy wrens. Watch this space.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I vs It

I’M IN LOVE!

Before you start wondering what the hell I’ve got myself into this time, then fear not. My new love cannot break my heart, because the object of my affection is just that, an object. It is a set of watercolour paints.

I must say Instagram seem to be making rather a success of their targeted ads, because they appear to know exactly what I like. When I saw these watercolours, I followed the company and saved a post in my ‘wish list’ collection. I’d come back to that after pay day.

But once posts from people using the products started filling my newsfeed, I just couldn’t wait. So what’s so special about these paints? The coolest thing, the reason I bought them, is that they are kind of printed in a little cardboard booklet! Talk about portable, they fit so nicely into my pencil case. The colours are also so vibrant and blend so well, and you only need a single brush pen with you to use them. It’s just genius.

But when they came, they turned out to be even more fabulous. Check out these colours! But the descriptions don’t quite fit, right?

Right. These paints clearly come directly from Diagon Alley, because they’re nothing short of magic. And you only need the teeniest bit on your brush for a whole load of colour.

I neither know nor care how they do it! They are expensive, but they’ve already been so much fun to use and it’s nigh on impossible to paint a bad picture with them. I’ve used them every single day since I got them.

Check out Viviva Color Sheets if you want to know more.

In between painting, sketching, and stressing about weddings, I’ve been doing a LOT of thinking. I reckon my inner toddler has been showing up in full force, because truth be told, I think I’ve just been rebelling against all things diet.

I didn’t want to eat my veggies. I didn’t want to be healthy. I wanted ice cream for breakfast, and on more than one occasion, I did just that.

It started off with hormones, medication, life-changing decisions… all of that making me reach for unhealthy foods in an effort to comfort myself or try to relieve the intense cravings I was experiencing. But I’ve done the work on this before so it didn’t take much for me to go back and revisit what I learned previously.

My findings come from the book Brain over Binge by Kathryn Hensen, but knowing me I’ve quite possibly got everything arse about tit. If it sounds like something you’d find useful, I’d recommend cutting out the middle woman and just reading the book.

Anyway, the book theorises (I think the brain is too complicated for solid conclusions and in any case, the author isn’t a scientist) that the more primitive part of the brain (It) is just trying to keep us alive in times of food deprivation. If my brain thinks I’m starving, it’s going to send out strong signals for me to find food.

As I lose weight, part of my brain thinks there’s a problem and tries its hardest to protect me. This part of the brain is a bit behind with the times and doesn’t know there’s a 24hr BP garage down the road. I tried to tell it but it just will not listen to reason.

As I start to agree with its compelling arguments to find sugar and fat, I build myself a nice little habit of binge eating, and thus find it incredibly difficult to break out of once I’m feeling better.

The thing is though, it’s the more recently developed part of the brain (I) that is in charge. I can choose to listen to the other part of my brain’s compelling arguments (you had a hard night at work, you deserve to binge. You are worried about the wedding, a binge will make you feel better) and ignore it. The more I do this, the better I become at doing it, and eventually urges to binge subside.

I know it works, I’ve done it before! I just needed to re-read the book to remind myself of all this and get myself back in control. The book talks about ‘intrusive’ thoughts to binge, as if it’s not really coming from me. That’s exactly how it feels.

I don’t want this. I want to be healthy and in control.

I can be, because I am ultimately in charge.

Now I’m back in this good mental space, I felt it was the right time to return to Slimming World. I have put on just under three stone since last November, but weirdly I’m not too worried. I know I’ve got this now.

I’m doing a complete fresh start. My start weight is 15st 6.5lbs, with a target of 13st. There won’t be much to write about in terms of my diet, because I have no doubt I’m going to smash it. There won’t be many struggles to get out onto the page. I will however update you every Monday. Let’s do this!

Since I’m getting back into healthy habits, I started yesterday with a big long walk, in the rain no less. My waterproofs just about still fit me, as long as I don’t attempt to bend over.

It’s a really nice feeling knowing I don’t have anything scary coming up and I can spend my time enjoying art and nature exactly as I see fit.

Today I finally timed the route in the park near me without stopping for photos. I only took one shot, still moving, as I was joined by this wonderful entourage. Sadly I wasn’t allowed to take them home, boooooo.

Well, I’m back at work tonight after a quite wonderful week off, but to be honest it’ll be nice to get back into something of a routine!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Love Conkers All

Aha, I’m BACK! Where have I been you might ask?

I don’t rightly know.

In fact I didn’t realise just how far I’d wandered until I returned. I started feeling a bit more like myself last week, but as I said in my last post, part of me was waiting for it all to go wrong again. I certainly wasn’t going to be counting any chickens before they’d hatched, not this time.

But the weird old month of August did its thing – I set some boundaries, I accepted some things that couldn’t be changed, I stopped waiting for apologies and explanations that I knew wouldn’t come, and I started living for myself. It was like my inner self knew that it was safe to come back home.

Now we’re back together again we’re stronger than ever, and we are finally on the same page as far as weight loss goes. I might not be miserable where I am now, but I’m not prepared to settle for simply ‘not being miserable’. I can do be better than that. I can make a really good life for myself. Can and WILL.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very much conflicted. I so, so want a world without diet culture, because there’s so much wrong with it. Most of us know that the vast majority of people who go down that road end up right back where they started or, worst case scenario, with a serious eating disorder. I know that my relationship with food is not a good one, and I know that as a dieter (especially one who does it in the public domain) I’m part of the problem.

Whenever I post a before and after picture, I’m sending out a subconscious message to everyone who still looks like my ‘before’ picture that they need to change. I’m making an assumption that because my life was horrible at that size, then theirs must be too. I don’t want to make people feel bad. I don’t want the way society views fat people to carry on as it is now.

On the other hand (and this is where I start myself running around in circles) I am SO GOSH DARN DETERMINED to get back to 12 stone 10 pounds and nothing will stop me doing that! I want to fit into my nice clothes that have become too small. I want to continue to take advantage of vastly more clothing options than I used to have. I want to continue to be able to find things that fit in charity shops. I JUST WILL NOT SETTLE FOR ANYTHING LESS.

I’m aware that I’m a hypocrite, but that’s just something I’ll have to accept about myself for now. That’s probably the least harsh thing I’ve thought about myself in recent times, so there’s progress there at least.

So it’s a new season, a new start, and autumn is coming in strong! I’m off work this week and I’ll be honest, I’m currently sitting in the garden wearing warm socks, a cosy cardigan, with a lovely glass of red wine at my side. The big push to get back to my target weight starts properly next week when I don’t have so much going on. Until then I’m simply refusing to give it too much headspace.

My disentanglement from my last post continues however, because despite what I’ve eaten I’ve still managed to hold on to the enormous value of going for a lovely walk. Typically if I’ve eaten rubbish I default to a ‘what’s the point’ attitude, but there’s always a point.

My most recent walk was intended as an experiment. I devised a new route that I think will take me about 45 minutes, but the last time I did it, it took me about an hour as I kept stopping to take photos.

What I want is a decent, shortish route that I enjoy walking so that I can do it every day and still fit in all of my arty pursuits, which I am loving with an absolute passion right now.

So Saturday morning, straight after work I told myself sternly – ‘no photos, ‘kay? Let’s just get a move on and see how long it takes’. 30 seconds later, however…

Well! I can’t be blamed, can I? It was a beautiful morning and there was so much to see! The route that took me an hour last time took me an hour-and-a-half this time round. Oh well, it’s not like the park is going anywhere.

I did nearly get stuck in a ditch trying to find my way into a field isn’t officially part of the park and that was full of early-morning mist. The sun was hitting it just perfectly, but I couldn’t get the shot. After escaping from the deceptively deep ditch, I took a detour thinking I could get through but I hit a dead end – a little cul-de-sac in the woodland with one special feature. A frikkin horse-chestnut tree!

I don’t find a decent conker in years then I stumble across this untouched treasure trove! Quite simply, I am winning at life.

As I mentioned before, my arty pursuits are becoming so much fun. Trying to make something used to exhaust me, because I always found it hard to push through the ‘ugh this is going to be sh*t’ moments. From what I can tell I think everyone has those. What I’ve found is that things always look a bit pants halfway through, so now I just accept it as part of the process.

Yesterday I spent all day making a really cool present for my brother. I’ll share that in a couple of weeks once his birthday has come and gone.

What I can share now is my journal progress which I’m oh so happy with! This morning I woke up at 3am, unable to get back to sleep, so I painted this whilst watching the new Netflix series of The Dark Crystal.

I absolutely adored those weird 80’s movies, whilst simultaneously being rather terrified of them. In fact David Bowie in Labyrinth used to scare the absolute bejaysus out of me and often I couldn’t watch it without my mum in the room. I kinda miss being that kind of scared of things, it was fun!

A few birdies later and it was time for a check up at the dentist, which is testament to how much better I’m being at taking care of myself. My check up was a year overdue, but thankfully no treatment is needed so after a clean I went on my merry way.

After that I went to visit an old work friend for coffee and a catch up, but I needed some serious nap time when I got home. Which again will leave me awake at stupid hours when I have another early start tomorrow. Ah well, what can you do? I’m taking my brother somewhere fun as a surprise, so more on that after the event.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Beast

In between me paying for my most recent charity shop purchase (namely the 70’s unit) and it being delivered, I managed to shrink it in my mind. When it turned up I was sure it had doubled in size since I last saw it.

The delivery guys left it in the hall at my request because I knew I’d need to move some things in order to get it up the stairs. So I moved the bookcase that lives in the hall then asked my brother to help me lug it up to my room.

Another thing I didn’t realise, is that the unit is make of teak.

Teak is SOLID.

Teak is DENSE.

Teak is HEAVY.

We somehow got the unit to the top of the stairs, at which point it got stuck. We couldn’t get it round the bannister at the top. I felt sick, my vision started going grainy and I was sure I was going to pass out. Luckily my brother was able to hold it at the top while I dashed off for a sip of water, but when I came back to help we couldn’t get it back down into the hall again, at least not without flipping it over. I’d reached complete muscle fatigue by this point and knew I didn’t have it in me.

By now I was considering going to the shops for an axe and smashing the thing to smithereens, but instead I patiently unscrewed the legs.

Let me tell you, they built things to last in those days. When the earth is decimated by nuclear war one thing will still be standing – my beast of a unit. Once I’d removed all of the screws, still nothing was moving.

They were also held on by glue that’d had 40-odd years to set. My little bro was not to be deterred though, and eventually he got the legs off using an ancient chisel, a hammer and plenty of brute force.

Then we got it up the stairs! My brother may possibly have a broken foot, I am bruised and aching everywhere, but it’s in its place. It’ll now be some time before I get around to doing it up, but I’m in no rush. The main thing is that I have places to put all of my stuff.

Clothes and shoes live under the bed (it’s one of those lift-up ones), photography stuff lives in my telephone table (also to be up-cycled), Pea sits on my Ikea drawers and everything else goes in the unit. Lovely. I’ve never been this decluttered and free of stuff in my entire life.

I’d also never repotted a plant, until this week. So I think I am a proper adult now?

Let’s see if I can keep these alive. I absolutely love my yellow pot which is another Ikea purchase, and was originally terracotta. I took a can of cheap spray paint to it and now it’s a lot more cheerful. I’m all about bright colours lately.

Yesterday was a trip to the doctor’s to get more happy pills and to talk about my knee. As far as the knee goes (it’s been especially painful lately) the doctor assured me it’s just wear and tear and I won’t make it worse by continuing to go on long walks. However he is referring me for physio to strengthen the muscles around the knee, and I’m looking forward to getting more specialist advice.

As for the depression I must say I’m still feeling rather flat. Although it’s not ideal, at least I’m feeling stable and managing to get loads of stuff done. I’m keeping up with my little sketches and generally doing ok, but I’m still not entirely pleased with my progress.

I suppose I just have to be patient and give it time, but apart from feeling flat my eating is waaaaaay outta control, the worst it’s been in years. I desperately want to sort it out, and each evening I pull myself together and tell myself tomorrow will be different. So far it hasn’t been true though. Still, at least it’s now only one aspect of daily life I’m struggling with as opposed to this time last week when I was questioning everything. I’m feeling a lot more settled in that respect!

Ah, it’ll all be fine I’m sure. One constant I have is good people around me, and when it comes to that side of things I couldn’t be more content. Yay for decent folk!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

PS for some reason my commenting has turned itself off and won’t come back, despite it working on a test post I did the other day. I’m currently stumped! So sorry about that, and I’ll sort it when I can!

PPS I figured it out! Lord knows how it got switched off because I had to do it through the ancient WordPress editor that I haven’t used in yonks. Stoopid WordPress…

Never Simple

Is this it now? Am I healing? For the last few weeks my sadness has been pressing on my chest like a physical weight. It actually hurt. But then yesterday and the day before that I started feeling better. Every time I think I’m on the up however, I come crashing down again. I wish there was a simple answer, like THIS is the thing that’s making you feel bad. Fix it and all will be well! If only.

Will it all be for naught once my monthly arrives again? (They seem to be getting worse lately, I’ll have to speak to the doctor about that). Will my cravings, which have subsided a bit over the last few days, come back with a vengeance? I have to carry on as if they won’t, because the only way is forward.

I know I’m on the up because I’ve been tidier and more organised, and I’ve been creative without feeling like a bag of poo. I started a little project last week and loved it at the start. Then I lost my way and almost gave up completely, until yesterday when I decided to give it another shot. I kept looking at it thinking ‘I can’t do it, everything I do is rubbish’.

What happened was that I wound up having a fabulous art session. I put a film on Netflix to have on in the background but hardly looked up. I spent three hours in the end, fixing what I wasn’t happy with, trying something different for the bits that weren’t working out. I’m delighted with the end result and can’t wait to share it with you, but it has to reach the recipient first. It won’t be long I promise.

I think what changed is that, although it was always intended to be given to someone, I stopped thinking that way and did it for the joy of it, for the process, rather than thinking it had to be perfect. It’s far from perfect, but I still love it.

Petrie the little blue house guest has now gone home after causing havoc. Just after the above picture was taken she stole my earring out of my ear and wouldn’t give it back. How she even did it I have no idea, because I find them quite difficult to get out! Then it disappeared and I was terrified, thinking she’d swallowed it, but luckily I found it under the newspaper in her cage. Phew! I put the earring back in and didn’t think anything of it until I took it out to clean.

The little cow! Please excuse the state of my fingers by the way, I got clothes dye on them. I’ve decided to keep my mullered earring because firstly they’re so small you can’t tell unless you look really closely, and secondly I think it’s super adorable to go around with her little beak imprints. I just love her, even if she is a bloody menace.

Bird time goes especially well with journaling, which I’ve got right back into in a major way. Pea is hardly ever quiet but when we’re sitting together with me working on my bits and bobs she’s good as gold. I’ve been using my bullet journal more like a traditional diary but also adding little ten-minute sketches, to illustrate something out of my day. Such as when Petrie visited…

And when a colleague handed me a dead moth at work…

I actually love how it’s just accepted now that I’m a bit odd, and that when someone finds a dead thing they’ll bring to to me because they know I’ll be interested.

Poor headless elephant hawk moth. On this occasion it isn’t as weird as it seems. A work friend has recently got a tattoo so I sent him a picture of my brother’s tattoo of this moth. He had no idea something like that could be found in the UK, then lo and behold one turns up at work a few days later! How cool would it be to see a live one though. Of course I took it home to show my little bro, adding it to the list of other insects I’ve rescued from work, including the live ladybird that I released into our front garden.

Right now I have to crack on because I have an important delivery coming tomorrow -a hideous 70’s wall unit that I have big renovation plans for. It’s going to be AWESOME. Plus it was only £20 from the charity shop. I just need to move everything around first to accommodate it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I’ll do it tomorrow…

‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ has been my motto for the last month. I’ll get back on plan, I’ll go for the walk, I’ll do the thing, whatever the thing may be. But tomorrow never arrives, so yesterday I had to grit my teeth and just do it. I haven’t been doing much, because everything is an uphill struggle again. There’s no real reason why, just the blues I guess.

So I ate the healthy things, and have done the same today. That can only improve matters in the long run, especially as due to the rubbish I’ve been eating my face has erupted with spots. They’re everywhere, in parts of my face I’ve never had a spot in my life! If that’s not my body telling me things have to change then I don’t know what is.

They have started to calm down now, but in any case I think my current house guest is doing a good job at taking the attention away from my face.

Here she is again modelling my latest Ikea purchase which I’m oh so happy with. I fell in love with these boards as soon as I saw them, and luckily they’re some of the crazy cheap things you can get from Ikea.

The little plastic drawers are so cool, they pull out but the lid stays put so you can put cute stuff on top! I’m going back to get another one next month.

Here’s part of my room as it looks now. There is normally more space but since I had to accommodate an extra birdy I had to move things around. I reckon I’ll have the time and money to decorate in October so I thought I’d use this opportunity to show you my ‘before’ picture. I’m really looking forward to the end result.

You can also see that under the window there is an old fashioned telephone table which I bought from a charity shop for £25. I’m going to sand it down and repaint it, then it will be used to store all of my photography equipment. My camera bag fits perfectly in the compartment under the seat and the more fragile bits and bobs go in the drawers.

All I’ll tell you about the rest of my plans for my room is that it’s ‘colourful’. You’ll just have to wait and see what else I have in store!

It’s now the end of my weekend which has flown by in record time. I went to visit the friend whose wedding I’m photographing on Sunday, and I ended up not getting home till gone 11pm after only having 3 hours sleep after my Saturday night shift. It’s taken me the rest of the weekend to recover from that to be honest, but at least I got some important things done. I’m sure this will be the last time he ever gets married so I really don’t want to mess it up.

I did manage to start filling in my sketch book during the week, and although I hadn’t planned on sharing it here is a little drawing of one of our cats.

Her head is a bit squished, but I must keep reminding myself IT DOESN’T MATTER! We all have to start somewhere.

My knee is still sore but I did manage to get out for one lovely walk with a friend.

He’s not the kind who would normally walk for fun so I’m not sure if he’ll come again, but I’ll keep trying anyhoo.

From tomorrow (yes, I really WILL do it tomorrow) I’m going to ramp up the walking again starting with a trip round the park straight from work in the morning.

That’s sure to make me feel a bit better at least.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Here We Go Then

I went back to group today after not weighing in last week, and my consultant was totally behind my decision to do blind weigh-ins for the time being. She said she has a lady at her other group who only gets her results once every four weeks which I think is a great idea, so I’m going to look at the number on the scales on the last weigh-in of each month. The biggest challenge is going to be not stepping on the scales at home, but I’m sure I can do it.

The main problem I have right now as that as soon as I get into the 12 stone bracket I start feeling like I deserve a ‘treat’, then everything goes a bit wonky. If I don’t know what I weigh, then I can’t get into that mindset. That’s the theory anyway.

As usual the weekend has flown by but I’ve spent a lot of it outside which has been wonderful. The weather on Sunday was spectacular so Steve and I went out for a walk/run interspersed with press-ups.

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Later on I spent hours working on my photo album, and I’m finally getting somewhere. Now I only have seven months to catch up on.

Today I’ve been to my sister’s for a crafty day, and although I didn’t get a huge amount done I did try something I haven’t done before which is making an animal using air-drying clay. It was much harder than I thought it would be, but I’m quite happy with my first attempt and have a good idea of how I can improve the next time.

I can’t wait till it’s dry and can be painted!

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Right now I’m fairly sure this is the most tired I’ve ever been in my entire life, so it’s off to bed for me.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Buzzing!

Remember I said I was working ten shifts in a row? Well it’s all done now. I expected it to be hell on toast, but as I’ve been getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating well and generally looking after myself, it was a breeze. In fact it was miles easier than doing a 4-day-week not so long ago.

The best part of all though was (is) the four-day weekend which I’m still enjoying now. Friday I hardly sat down and got an absolute ton of stuff done. I did a couple of errands for Steve, I had a massive clear out in the kitchen, I went shopping, I dropped off seven bags of stuff at the charity shop, I did my laundry, I cleaned Pea’s cage and I vacuumed. Then Steve came over and I cooked him dinner. Phew!

On Saturday my little sister came to visit, and I was supposed to drop her off at home. As it happens her boyfriend fell off his bike and needed to go to the hospital, so I drove to hers, picked him up and then dropped them both off at A&E. That’s not exactly the whole story though. He fell off about two minutes from home, did a two hour bike ride, came home, showered, cleaned his bike, then realised that his arm was most probably broken. He’s one of the most educated and intelligent people I know whilst simultaneously being a complete tit. It turns out he broke the radial head in his arm (something to do with the elbow?) so no cycling for him for six weeks. It’s probably for the best.

Between then and the early hours of this morning I barely moved from my desk, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.

I have a ‘Project Life’ photo album where I print off and keep all of my favourite shots. I love the layout and it looks great, however it’s very time-consuming. First of all I decide what I want to print, specifically edit them for gloss paper, make sure I have the right number of portrait and landscape shots, then (the really fun part) I have to resize the portrait ones and stitch two together at a time in Photoshop so that they can be printed on 4×6 paper.

Let us not forget that when I collect the prints the little ones have to then be separated, plus I have to be awkward – I don’t like square corners so I then use a corner punch to round them off. No really.

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Since meeting Steve I have taken a lot of photos and had very little spare time, which has resulted in me being a year-and-a-half behind on my editing and printing. It took me hours, but the editing is finally done and some of the prints ordered. I only ordered 36, because that’s how many prepaid print credits I had left. The rest will have to wait until I get my March pay.

Only my best DSLR shots and/or special events make it into the main album, so now I ‘only’ have literally thousands of phone shots to go through. I want them to be even smaller than 2×3 prints (I’ll show you what I’m doing with them at a later date) so that’s going to take even more editing, but I’m getting the hang of it and my workflow is, well, flowing.

I’m going to stay on top of it from now on. Honest.

This morning I was up at 6am to be at a local park for sunrise. My brother asked me if I had a camera he could borrow that would be suitable, but I knew if he just trusted the automatic settings it would be overexposed. The best solution was for me to meet him there (he cycled) so I could take the picture myself.

Unfortunately the light index was rubbish meaning that the photo isn’t very interesting, but it was still sort-of nice to get out in the painfully cold fresh air. I had thermal gloves on and I swear I was on the verge of getting frostbite. It felt like it anyway.

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There just weren’t enough little clouds for it to be a decent shot. Ho hum.

After returning home I loaded the car up for a trip to the local recycling centre, visited the farm shop for a giant Spanish onion, super cheap sprouts, some yummy looking kale and an argument debate at the checkout with a man who said you only see fat people at Slimming World so it can’t possibly work. Then I legged it home just in time for my photography lesson.

Yep, you read that right. Some years ago I made a really excellent decision. I did a foundation diploma in photography for £20 (online) with the Shaw Academy and once I’d finished I found I’d caught the bug. I thought about simply signing up for the advanced course, but instead I bought a package which means I get access to all of their courses for the rest of my life. I think I paid somewhere between £300 and £400, and it was worth every penny just for the two courses I’ve done so far.

Since technology changes so fast and there’s something new in the photography world every other minute, I thought it would be good to be able to revisit the course as and when I please.

When my friend asked me to photograph his wedding I logged in with the intention of redoing the advanced course, just for a refresher, but then I noticed that they do a specific course in wedding photography. BONUS!

My first lesson went brilliantly and I’m positively buzzing with excitement. Until recently I never would have considered it, but I’ve decided to try and do something with my skills, and already I’m seeing benefits from putting out the feelers.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who invited me to an event in Birmingham in May. Just on the off chance (because he knows A LOT of people) I asked if he knows the organisers and if he could find out whether I’d be allowed to take a professional-type camera in just for personal use. I need to practice shooting with a flash in low-light conditions because until now I’ve purely been in love with natural light, plus I need to start building a portfolio. He thinks that wouldn’t be a problem, but even better than that, he can probably get me in for free if I agree that they can use the photos I take.

Experience AND exposure? Erm, YES PLEASE!

In addition to the photography stuff, when I’m done with the wedding course there are a ton of other courses I can take to help with the business-side of things such as promotion and whatnot.

Until now I never thought I had anything to offer in an industry that’s already so competitive, but I think my style is developing and that I have something quite out-of-the-ordinary to offer.

Whatever direction I decide to go in, what I know right now is that I’m EXCITED at the uncertainty of it all for the first time in my life.

ANYTHING could happen!

Speaking of which it’s time for weigh in. Talk amongst yourselves…

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I lost 3 lbs! I had one of those weeks where I felt like I hadn’t lost much, and I was concerned that my change in schedule over the weekend and the fact I’ve barely moved would have an impact but it seems I’m home and dry.

I now weigh 13st 0.5lbs and I’m tantalisingly close to being back into the 12 stone bracket. Not to worry though, I’ll have that next week for sure.

Group overran this evening so I’d best get on with cooking dinner before I start trying to eat my keyboard.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x