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

Peak Hayley

Oh darn. You may remember that I went for a run the other day. Well since then my knee has been hurting.

Damn and bother.

I may just have to accept, at least for now, that running is off the table. I get the impression that if I want to find out exactly what’s going on with it then it would mean a long fight to get a referral from my doctor to see a specialist, and I don’t really fancy having that fight right now. Walking still seems to be fine, so that’s what I’ll focus on.

On Wednesday I walked into town because I had to return a parcel for my mum, which I could have returned round the corner. But round the corner there aren’t swans and geese, so where’s the fun in that?

Since getting out and about I’ve been feeling a lot better and the positivity and focus is coming back. Having said that, yesterday I was hungry all day long and nothing I ate seemed to satisfy me. By the afternoon I was dreaming of coffee and walnut cake, but I didn’t really want it. What I really want is to fit into my vintage Levi’s once and for all!

Just lately I’ve been allowing myself to give in to my random cravings, telling myself that I’d give myself one more day then I’d get back on it. When I lost 7 stone in 2012, it was that exact mindset that saw me back where I started within a very short space of time. It was one more day every day for months and months. Every single time I believed myself that it was the last time, and it’s only experience that is telling me now that I need to nip it in the bud.

Don’t trust that inner voice Hayley, she’s lying.

I’m all for allowing yourself a treat, but the simple fact is that if I listened to every impulse that I have then one day it would likely kill me, one way or another.

Instead of saying ‘treat yo’self’, what I did was exactly what my body was asking me to do. I ate until I was satisfied, even if that did take more food than normal. I managed to say completely focussed until a saboteur came along in the form of Steve and a little bar of chocolate.

One of the reasons I know that I love Steve more than I’ve ever loved anyone before, is that I’m happy to share food with him. We always have a little (or big) bite of what the other is eating, and for the first time in my life I haven’t been genuinely tempted to stab the person taking my food with a fork. No really.

So when he wanted some of the chocolate he’d bought for me, I gave it up happily. The rest I did eat even though a little voice was telling me it may not be the best idea, but I also squirreled away the wrapper to check the Syns when I got home.

I decided to do something that I never do and actually record the Syns, even if it took me over my daily allowance, in my food diary. At group last week I picked up one of the 12 week journals and I’m absolutely determined to fill it in accurately for the duration.

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By doing that, I could well be at target by April. Wouldn’t that be something?

So I worked out the Syns for my portion of the chocolate, and found that by rejigging the dinner I had planned I could still be within 15 Syns for the day. Yay!

One thing Steve pointed out last night, that I’d never really been conscious of before, is that when I’m on plan is when I really thrive. It’s not about how I look, it’s that when I’m in control and giving my body healthy food, I’m at my best. I’m happier, more energetic, my mind is sharper… everything just comes together.

For dinner I piled my plate with a mountain of veggies and a big pile of Slimming World chips, and afterwards I was finally full. Mission accomplished. Today my appetite is right back to normal. Phew!

Apart from having the munchies, yesterday was a very exciting day. My friend who is getting married messaged me a few days ago to say he’d ring me at some point because he had a proposal for me. I was intrigued, as I knew it wasn’t a marriage proposal. He’d just done that after all!

He rang yesterday evening and I was absolutely honoured that he asked me to photograph his wedding. My reply was ‘yes, yes, a thousand times yes!’ To be honest I had secretly been hoping he would ask since he announced his engagement.

This whole situation is testament to how much I’ve changed lately, because a work colleague asked me the same thing a couple of years back. I really wanted to do it, but I had to decline in the end because I just didn’t have the confidence. Even the thought of it would make my palms sweat instantly. Apart from not wanting to interact with the wedding guests, I also didn’t have faith in myself that I could do his big day justice.

This time around, I know it’s going to be awesome in all respects. I can’t wait – my mind is brimming with ideas about how to capture all the special moments.

In addition to that, the wedding is in September so it’s a fantastic incentive to smash my goals well in advance. I have enough time to save up for a really spectacular outfit that I will feel amazing in. Bring it on.

Finally I’ve been feeling really creative and have found my journaling mojo. I decided I didn’t like the cover of my latest journal so I made a new one and stuck it over the top, and now I’m buzzing with lots of little ideas for the contents. It’s turned out to be a fantastic pursuit because it doesn’t take up that much time and it’s ridiculously satisfying.

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In fact I think it’s time for a little arty session right now, so I’ll sign off.

Have a great weekend!

Hayley x

The First

Yesterday was fantastic, and just what I needed to give me the motivation for yet another fresh start. I wasn’t on plan, but I just had the nicest and most relaxing day I’ve had in a long, long time.

I started off the day by getting creative. One of my bestest friends announced on Saturday that he’d proposed to his girlfriend (a truly lovely lady) and that she’d said YES. So I experimented with my watercolours and knocked them up a nice engagement card.

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I am so happy with how it turned out. I did a little five minute sketch of my sister’s bird, Petrie, being a borb (a round bird) and made a cover for a journal I’m working on. I’m trying not to be too precious about anything and just do it purely for enjoyment. It worked – I was having a great time.

In the evening Steve and I went to the cinema together for the first time ever, to see Stan & Ollie, and it was one of those rare occasions where I’ve seen a film and not had a single criticism. To top it all off, when I got home I had an early night and slept for a magnificent eleven-and-a-half hours. I needed that so badly.

I’ve decided that the last two weeks don’t count and that today (the 14th) is my official start of the year. So happy new year to me!

In the spirit of openness I will tell you that over the last two weeks (I last weighed in New Year’s Eve) I have gained 5 lbs. It’s half as bad as I thought it would be actually.

What came before doesn’t matter though, what matters is what I do now.

This morning training officially restarted with a run, and again it went better than I expected. The first two miles were a similar pace to what I was doing before my knee went wrong which was a nice surprise, and I only had to stop because my upper thighs were protesting. I probably could have pushed myself harder but I wanted to avoid an injury on my very first run of the year.

The next two miles were very slow indeed, but only because I had company.

A Labrador joined me on my walk, and whereas usually an owner turns up eventually this one was apparently owner-less. I waited around for a bit and soon saw a lady with three dogs who was not the owner. She was very snippy with me for not having ‘my dog’ on a lead, because she couldn’t control her largest dog which was, ahem, not on a lead. I didn’t press the issue though and took my new friend back in the direction he came from.

I kept him with me for a while but all of sudden he just bolted and there was nothing I could do to hold on to him. I don’t think he’s fully grown yet but wow, he was strong! It turns out with his super-duper dog hearing he heard something I didn’t – his owner calling him.

I soon learned that he’s a rescue dog named Barney, whose favourite pastime is running away when his owner’s children leave the garden gate open. He was so friendly, but his owner told me he will make a run for it at every opportunity. I wished them both good luck and continued my walk, making the most of the slower pace by taking a few snaps and getting proof that there was a tiny bit of blue sky, even if it didn’t last.

This evening I had group with my lovely Slimming World buddies. Me being me I totally forgot that January is a busy time in group so it was a nice surprise to see so many people there. I left with a 12-week journal in hand and tons of motivation for the week ahead.

I’m ending this weekend feeling like I’m finally getting somewhere. It’s going to be a good week people, I can feel it.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Most Sleepy Time of the Year

I woke up late Christmas morning (7am) because I was way behind on all the things I was meant to do, yet I still managed to squeeze in a quick photo session in the garden. In recent years it’s been too warm and sunny and hasn’t felt like Christmas, but there was a nice frost so I got out there to make the most of it.

At 9:30 I left to pick up my sister, her boyfriend and little Petrie (more about her later) which was exactly when the tiredness hit me. At that very moment I think I could have happily crawled into bed and slept for 10 hours straight. But it was Christmas Day, and Christmas Day is for fun things!

I picked them up in full-on Mrs Claus attire, and I must say I think I rocked it.

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What’s especially awesome is that even though this month has seen a fair few gains, I could still do up and sit down in my size 14 dress. That belt has absolutely no give whatsoever, so I feel pretty good about that.

Once everyone was collected and I was home safe, that was when the tiredness really hit me, and I felt pretty rough. I’ve been powering through the sleepiness all month and (typical eh?) it decided to catch up with me Christmas Day.

I wasn’t as ‘present’ as I would liked to have been (no pun intended) but I didn’t have anything left in me so I kind of slumped down in the corner. Of course I still managed to open my presents.

We had a £10 per person limit this year and I’ll tell you this – never again! You think it’ll make things easier, but it’s actually incredibly difficult. However all of the presents I got were super thoughtful and I think I did pretty well, too. The result is that I’m feeling super loved this year.

My sister painted me an absolutely INCREDIBLE fox, but at the time I didn’t realise she’d painted it herself. I looked at the tiny signature on the painting but where I was so tired I honestly couldn’t process what I was looking at so it was only yesterday I realised how special her present is.

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What an absolute numpty I am.

One thing I’d been especially excited about this year was giving handmade gifts, and although I ran out of time and didn’t do as much as I wanted, two special friends were as happy with their embroidery hoops as I hoped they would be. I’ve been itching to share this photo.

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I enjoyed making them so much, I can’t wait to get making again in the new year. After I’ve caught up on my sleep that is.

In the afternoon we sat down to a delicious dinner cooked by mother (my mouth genuinely just watered at the thought of it) then while it was going down Petrie came out to play.

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She took a special liking to my brother’s head, and also the pocket of the dungarees I bought my sister for her birthday. How adorable is she?!

Before I knew it, it was time to meet Steve at his mum’s which was an hour’s drive away. By the time I got there I was flushed with tiredness but glad I’d managed to make the journey safely and exceptionally glad that I didn’t have to go anywhere else for the time being!

I’d bought a few little presents for Steve’s son, daughter, his mum and her partner, and I was very relieved to find that everyone was happy with what I’d bought. They were also really chuffed with my wrapping and label-writing, as I’d hoped they would be. I’m actually quite proud of how my calligraphy has improved this month.

I even made some labels for a work friend to give to his girlfriend.

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At this point I was so tired I forgot that I had presents to open too, and I was absolutely blown away by my present from Steve. I’ll share a picture of that in a future post because I want to take a better picture of it and the light at the moment is rubbish.

Speaking to people at work and whatnot, it seems that for a lot of people Christmas is a time for grudgingly spending time with family members you don’t like all that much, but I’m feeling so lucky that I got to spend my day with all of the people (and animals!) I care about most in the world.

I might have been away with the fairies for a lot of it, but it was still an awesome Christmas.

From a Slimming World perspective the month has not gone well. I made the effort to weigh in Christmas Eve and I’m glad I did, because even though I gained another 6lbs (on top of the 5.5 gained the last time I was weighed) I needed that wake up call.

I finished off the last of my ‘naughty’ food on Boxing Day so now I’m right back on it and feeling exceptionally positive. Me and Steve are planning to have a quiet new year and to, quite literally, hit the ground running on the 1st. We’re planning to train New Year’s Day and I am SO looking forward to it.

I’m also in quite a good place mentally. I don’t feel particularly guilty about going off plan, and even had a laugh with some colleagues about the ‘food babies’ we have grown. At that moment I felt just like everyone else, and completely normal for overindulging over the festive period.

I think it’s because I don’t feel guilty that I feel particularly good about being on plan now, and totally sure that 2019 is my final target year.

Bring it on!

Hayley x

I can, but I didn’t.

But I will.

In my last post I wrote about being on plan when I can, but that didn’t quite work out. I did one day before everything went topsy turvy.

The next day I got into work to find out that one of the managers had brought in cakes to thank us for our hard work. That’s OK I thought, I won’t be able to eat any of those.

Before the thought had barely registered though my manager pulled me to one side. She felt bad that the last time we had cakes I missed out, so she bought me a big bar of vegan-friendly dark chocolate and a little honeycomb bar. How lovely of her! I’d seen the honeycomb one online and it was on my to-try list, so that was extra brilliant.

I lasted two hours before I cracked, and all of the chocolate was gone shortly after.

The next day I found the giant vegan-friendly mince pies in Co-op, so I bought a couple of those (but I did give one to Steve) and then on Saturday things really went wrong.

We were planning to go out, but Steve wasn’t feeling very well so that was shelved, and by the time I got round to his I wasn’t really feeling it either. I’ve just been exhausted this weekend – I think everything has finally caught up with me.

So over the weekend I totally lost the plot and have eaten waaaaaay too much, and all of it was the wrong stuff.

On the plus side I’m now sick to death of bad food, but since I’ve been eating rubbish right up until bed time yesterday, I’m bloated as hell and will be seeing a massive gain at group this evening. I’m also hormonal. It is what it is though. I missed group last week and refuse to miss it again.

The good thing is that there’s still time.

I reckon I’ve put on half a stone, but I also know I’m in with a good chance of getting that back off in a week, and certainly by Christmas Eve morning. Originally there was going to be no group, but my awesome consultant has arranged a morning session so we can weigh in one last time before the big day.

I’ve got two whole weeks to undo any damage done, with only one thing that might throw a spanner in the works. I’m out of a meal on the 16th, but it’s just one meal, and I doubt it’ll be anything particularly bad. It’s not a very vegan-friendly place so last time we ate there I had the only option available to me which was a tomato-based gnocchi dish. If I don’t drink (and I don’t plan to) I should be fine. Let’s do this!

In other news Friday was ‘Dress like an Elf Day’, and as I suspected I was the only one who made an effort. Unfortunately it was also a really quiet night at work with not many people in so it was all a little underwhelming.

Some of the newer members of staff just stared at me like I was absolutely cracked, but a few others laughed so that was nice.

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Regardless, I clearly looked fabulous. I’m also pretty chuffed that the last time I wore that jumper it was tight on me. Christmas NSV, yay!

Today I made an effort to get up early so I can make two Christmas presents. I aim to have them done by the time I leave for group this evening, then I have tomorrow off work so I plan to make three more Christmas presents. These ones are a little more in-depth but I reckon I can complete them. After that the present-making will all be done and I can concentrate on wrapping and making pretty labels which is one of my very favourite parts.

While I’m doing my crafting I’m also going to be watching Christmas films with my mum. I do love this time of year!

I’m definitely going to make more time for blogging this week, because it really helps me stay on track.

And I really need to stay on track.

Until next time,

Hayley x