So Busy!

This has got to be the longest I’ve been without posting in over a year, but for the sake of my own sanity I’ve had to prioritise and unfortunately blogging was one of many things that just had to wait. It’s weird though how hard it is to get my words down on the page now, it’s not coming easily!

Instead of getting my jumbled thoughts down I’ve been cramming as much rest in as possible, and I’m pleased to say that although I don’t know whether I’m coming or going, most of the time things are generally ticking over nicely.

Next week is my holiday, so a lot of my energy has gone into getting everything sorted for that, and I’ve been spending waaaaaaay too much money. I could get by with taking a few backpacks, but instead I treated myself to a new suitcase. It was only £30 and should last for years and years (it has a ten year warranty), and I would have needed one eventually as I’m planning some trips abroad next year, but still… all the little things that I kind of need have really been adding up.

Last Sunday me and Mr. S went to visit his mum because he had an absolutely fabulous idea. The area where we’ll be hiking is where his mum and dad explored when they were first courting. His dad, who sadly passed away back in the 80’s, was a keen photographer who even had his own darkroom, and his mum has an absolutely beautiful photographic record of that time. So Mr. S said we should try to find some of the spots they visited and recreate the photos. And you guys know how much I love my photography, it’s going to be BRILLIANT!

We can’t recreate this particular photo, because we aren’t taking a dog, but I just had to include something from the albums in this post and I don’t want to be putting pictures of Mr. S’s mother here without her permission.

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Digitising the photos was a really emotional experience for me. Because his parents were clearly so very much in love, and the photos are so beautiful, I spent most of the time in tears. And then there’s also glimpses of Mr. S here and there, little expressions that I recognise jumping out of the pages. What a privilege to be able to see them!

On Monday I went into work for overtime (yes, I sicken myself) because we have loads of new starters coming in and it won’t be available for long. I hate doing it, but it makes sense to take advantage while the opportunity is there.

Then on Tuesday me and Mr. S took our first proper shopping trip together to get some bits for holiday. On the last night of our trip we are going out on the town in Sheffield and I needed something nice to wear, so that was my number one priority.

We went to Next and I took a couple of bits into the changing rooms to try on, going as quickly as I could thinking that Mr. S would be bored out of his mind. I could not have been more wrong about that!

Before I’d finished trying on the first thing I could hear him saying to the changing room attendant ‘excuse me, do you know where the tall lady with red hair is? Can you give her these please?’ and the nice lady handed me more things to try.

Mr. S picked out a whole load of stuff for me, and eventually I chose a lovely dress that I would never have thought to try on if I’d been alone.

Another thing I needed for holiday was a swimsuit, and this part was not as straightforward. The hotel we’re staying at in Sheffield has a pool, and I’m determined to have a swim since I haven’t swum for over ten years.

As I’m 6ft tall, I need something that is long in the body so my first stop was Long Tall Sally. A quick glance told me that none would be suitable, because every suit had a ridiculously high leg. Since I have an ‘apron’ of skin, wearing something with a high leg is inconceivable, and in any case I really didn’t want to pay £60 for one.

In the end I chose a suit from Simply Be with tummy control specifically for tall women. That came early in the week and it was a COMPLETE LIE. It was no longer in the body than a normal swimsuit, and again it had a stupidly high leg which wasn’t clear in the pictures. So that went back.

I decided to look for swimsuits while out shopping so I could see how they’re cut for myself and I couldn’t find anything, not a single thing that would have been suitable!

It was getting depressing by this point, so I went back online and tried two suits from Yours Clothing. They looked so awful when I tried them on, so poorly fitting, that I could have cried.

So I went back to Long Tall Sally, and ordered the one with the lowest leg. Considering Long Tall Sally is a brand just for tall people, and they usually cater for people starting at my height, I was surprised that the suit was no longer in the body than the Simply Be one.

At this point I almost gave up. There was one last thing to try. I went on to Amazon, and found something that just might work. But could I really pull it off? Really? It came this morning, and this is the result…

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I’d just got out of bed, so excuse the hair, but just look! This is the first time in my life I have ever, EVER, tried on a bikini, and it’s something I never, EVER, thought I would do. Yet here I am, doing it, and it looks better than any of the swimsuits I tried.

I’m terribly self-conscious of my wibbly, dimply thighs, but I still feel like I can swim in public like this. I hope this feeling stays, and that I can get into the pool with my head held high, because right now I feel amazing. And in any case, what difference would it really make if that middle bit was covered up? None at all actually! So there we have it, a huge first for me and a wonderful NSV.

Anyway, Wednesday we trained, and yesterday I finally got a haircut as my fringe was starting to migrate into my eyes. My hairdresser was very disappointed that I wasn’t having anything mental done, but all the same he assured me that he can do ‘normal’ cuts just as well as he can do the weird stuff. I asked for something soft and feminine, and this is what I got:

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I’m so happy with it, I’m absolutely loving the 60’s vibe! It’s a terrible photo, but it’ll have to do for now because I don’t intend to do my hair until I have to go to work this evening.

That’s pretty much all that’s been going on so I’d best get on with trying to cram too many things into one day. Today’s priority is going out for a run, because I haven’t been for a couple of days and it just feels wrong! Plus the weather is too perfect not to.

Hopefully I’ll be back to updating a bit more regularly soon.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A New Name

The old brain cogs have been seriously whirring this week. As I’ve transferred from group back to being a Slimming World online member (yet again), I was looking at when I’ll next have to renew my subscription. It occured to me that in the not-too-distant future I’ll no longer be a paying member. My next renewal could well be the last one ever. It may be that as I get closer to my target I decide to transfer back to group for the last time, so that when I finally reach that 12 st 10 lbs I can be a member for free. I think you only have to weigh in once every 6 weeks to keep your membership active, and I think I could brave group in that instance.

On the other hand I might just knock Slimming World on the head once I’m at target and learn to live without it. This is dangerous territory, and may not be wise until I’ve at least had some experience maintaining my weight, but the more I think of it the more I’ll be happy to see the back of Slimming World, sooner or later.

I still love the plan, but I’m falling out of love with the company. Since becoming vegan I’ve noticed errors in Syn values on the app, which myself and others have notified Slimming World of. One particular member pestered them relentlessly, for months, until they admitted something was wrong, but they still haven’t updated Syns Online.

I’ve repeatedly sent product information via the Syns tools, but nope, nothing. There’s one thing I’ve been waiting for since September despite sending the packaging over and over, and it’s still not on there! There’s also the fact that the Syns tools in themselves are so dreadful, and that technologically speaking Slimming World are so far behind the times it’s untrue.

And let’s not forget that one day I’d like to naturally be able to eat well without thinking about it too much. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life counting every single Syn. I think I’m in a place where I could do that now, but it’s not worth the risk while I’m on a roll.

Since I don’t see Slimming World in my (at least long-term) future, that I now write about things other than just losing weight, and the fact that at some point this year I’ll no longer be slimming but maintaining, I thought it was time for a name change! And it had to be something all-encompassing so I’m not tied down to any particular subject. As such my blog is now simply called Words by Hayley.

This is all really exciting, because although I am absolutely determined to reach target this year, taking this step makes it seem all the more real. It’s actually going to happen! One day soon, very soon, I won’t be trying to lose weight for literally the first time since I was perhaps twelve. What a surreal yet wonderful thought!

In other exciting news I finally picked up my thermals that work have supplied. They’ve been sitting on a shelf for ages, because they came after my salopettes arrived and since having them I’ve been so toasty and warm I never gave the t-shirts and long johns a second thought.

I think I ordered the thermals in October, and I was ecstatic at the time because I ordered a medium top and large bottoms. In the winter of 2016 I didn’t wear thermals at all, because the 2xl was too small and I was too ashamed to order 3xl.

I tried on the thermals this morning, with a nagging voice in my head warning me that I may have been a little premature with ordering the medium.

Well the voice in my head was DEAD WRONG, because everything fits absolutely perfectly. I was feeling very trim indeed looking in the mirror this morning!

It’s also looking pretty likely that I’ll be able to go to the work outing in April, so since I’ve hit all of my exercise goals this week and stayed on plan, I’ve treated myself to an aspirational dress to slim into.

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I’ve been looking at this dress for ages and ages. I consulted my sister, and she agrees that it’s perfect for me. It can be worn casually or as a going out dress, the style is just me all over, it’s a loose fit so should be comfortable… It’s also made by Thought Clothing – an ethical brand who make clothes from sustainable fabrics. My dress is made out of 100% organic cotton, a tiny bit of elastane and Tencel (a sustainable fabric regenerated from wood cellulose), and it’s ON SALE.

Last night at work it was so quiet my manager gave us the option to go home at the halfway point (unpaid) but I said to myself ‘Hayley, if you stick it out I’ll allow you to buy that dress’. So I ordered it on my lunch break and that kept me going till the end.

Now the only downside is that I might have to wait an entire week before it arrives, but that’s not so bad. Knowing me I’ll probably forget what I’ve ordered and when it comes it’ll be a lovely surprise.

This afternoon I took my mum and brother over to my sister’s and we all had a real coffee from the Starbucks round the corner (we sent my brother out in the snow even though he was wearing shorts, poor boy) and we had a lovely chat whilst watching the snow drift down out of her huge windows. I’m always cold so I was snuggled under a blanket, and it was just lovely.

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I’m feeling pretty damn smug that I messaged my sister ahead of time and asked her not to get any snacks in, because we are all trying to be good and having real coffee and good company is enough of a treat already.

Now dinner is calling, and I suspect it’s going to be tasty so I can’t wait a second longer!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Magical

The lead up to Christmas Day was not great. I had to go back to work even though I’m still feeling drained and run down, and sleep-wise it’s probably the most deprived of it I’ve ever been yet I still managed to function somehow. By Friday I felt like an elastic band that was being stretched to its limit and was about to snap. I have also cried more this week than I have in the rest of the year put together, the most notable instance being when I broke down because it was Wednesday but I thought it was Thursday. I’m really pleased with myself for managing to keep it together as well as I did!

Once I finished work on the morning of Christmas Eve I got as much sleep as I could (2hrs 45mins, hardly worth bothering with) then got on with all the things I had to prepare. I also managed to fit in a visit to my dad’s, as traditionally we go there for Boxing Day but I couldn’t this year because I’m back to work tonight.

In the evening yesterday I watched A Muppet’s Christmas Carol with my mum, because we do it every year and it just isn’t the same if we haven’t sung ’cause tonight there’s only one more sleep till Christmas!’ along with Kermit. I don’t even remember what we used to do before that film came out.

Then after another crappy night’s sleep it was Christmas morning, and I was up early elfing myself up, inflating balloons and curling ribbons before I had to go and pick up my sister and her boyfriend. By the time I’d finished the living room was looking pretty damn magical!

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Because I only recently decorated we decided against pinning any decorations to the walls or ceilings, so that’s where the balloon idea came from.

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Once the driving part of the day was over I must admit I started on the booze. Normally Christmas is all about food, food and more food with our family (well to be fair I have been eating Christmas food the whole month so that is still true) but this year I wanted to get merry. Normally we eat too much to fit in liquids as well but this year we had sensible dinner portions and didn’t leave the table feeling like we were going to explode. Since I don’t really drink at all these days, I didn’t do well with controlling myself and I’ve been very, very poorly today. Well that’s certainly a lesson learned!

The actual day was wonderful, despite how I’m feeling today, and I got loads of thoughtful gifts from my family. When I was sorting out the balloons and rushing around to get everything done I forgot about the present side of things entirely. My sister bought me a new pair of pyjamas, which I was chuffed with because I nearly bought some the other day but stopped myself because I didn’t really need them as such. She got them in a size 14, and although I’m not actually a 14 and they’re really not flattering for my current shape, I can get them on and they fit comfortably! I know because they’re jimjams there’s a lot of give so I’m not really a size 14, far from it, but it’s really encouraging that I can wear them now and that the huge gains I’ve been having this month haven’t yet had a great impact on my size.

She also bought me a lovely dress in a size 14, which again goes on OK. I’m even more pleased about this, because it’s quite fitted and less forgiving. I can’t wear it just yet though because it shows all kinds of lumps and bumps (it doesn’t leave much to the imagination at all!) but it won’t be long before I can.

Unfortunately with the Christmas food I bought way too much, so since I’m feeling too delicate to eat much today (so far I’m on three slices of dry toast) and I’m getting straight back on plan tomorrow, I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with all the leftovers since food banks don’t take junk food. I think I’ll put it away because it all has a long shelf-life, but if I feel like I can’t control myself with it in the house then it’ll simply have to go. I’ll see how I get on with it.

So that was my Christmas. I’m still not feeling right in myself, but if I don’t get control over my eating then I’m going to go from feeling a bit crappy to every aspect of my life going back to being entirely crap.

I can’t control my moods or hormones or whatever, but I can control my size and weight by controlling what I eat. I can and I will.

I’ll update again tomorrow with my back-on-plan strategies. Until then, thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

A Weird Feeling

I don’t know what is up with me lately but I feel weird. All panicky and anxious.

I only have tonight in work then I’m off for the rest of the week. I have a lot of things I need to get done, the most important being taking my mum to get steroid injections for her carpal tunnel syndrome (plus subsequently waiting on her and keeping her supplied with cups of tea) then decorating the living room. The living room is a pain because Pea can’t be in the house (the paint fumes could literally kill her) so I have to get it all done in one day while she’s at my sister’s. And because I have to work the night before my mum’s appointment I’m going to be knackered, and I’m tired anyway, and I don’t want to do any of it and instead just hide under my duvet.

Blah, blah, blah, moan, moan, moan.

I can’t change the situation, I just have to get on and do it. But why I can’t get that straight in my mind and just soldier on I don’t know. That’s what I normally do – once I know the outcome is inevitable I normally feel better about it. I suppose we all need to have a tantrum every now and then.

Yesterday I managed to find another charity shop bargain, and all of this is stemming from the fact that I can just about squeeze into a size 14, which seems to be the most available size in charity shops and elsewhere. It has opened up a whole new world of frugal clothes shopping. I picked up a lovely dress for just £3! I tried it on and it looks perfect from the front, the only issue is at the back where a roll of back fat looks just a little odd. But it won’t be long before I’m fitting into it properly that’s for sure! It’s more of a summer dress, but I saw a lady I follow on Instagram wearing rollneck tops underneath summer dresses and thought why the hell didn’t I think of that? It’s a great idea!

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After I took to my mum to the podiatrist and found my charity shop bargain I went to visit a friend I haven’t seen in over a year for his birthday. I went early and spent an hour or so chatting to his girlfriend who is a lovely lady, before I completely surprised him as he came home from work. He’s an emotional guy at the best of times so I wasn’t surprised at all to see him well up. It was just lovely!

His girlfriend wasn’t feeling well so she got an early night while we headed over the road to a hotel restaurant that he was raving about.

Unfortunately as soon as we sat down I could see it would be an issue for me. Not one of the three vegetarian options were labelled as such, which wasn’t a good sign, so I asked the waitress if there was anything that could be made vegan. She didn’t know but bought me out the allergen list, that companies have to have by law. As I scanned through almost everything had eggs or dairy in it, until my heart leaped at the sight of ‘wheat, gluten’. Ooh, what’s this then? Oh. Chicken nuggets. Then again… Oh. Red wine. Finally – garlic bread! A lot of supermarket garlic bread is vegan because they use oil and not butter, and this must have been the same!

Nope.

The waitress came back (after taking my order of garlic bread and chips) to inform me that the allergen sheet is wrong and the garlic bread does in fact have butter. Furthermore it’s from a packet so the ‘chef’ can’t make it with oil for me.

Chips it is then!

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I wasn’t sure about the portions so I ordered three, but they were massive so I didn’t eat all of them. I sure as hell felt sick by the time I got home, probably because I’m not used to such an oily carb overload.

I’ll be honest – earlier in the day I was feeling sorry for myself and had peanut butter on toast plus way too many custard donuts from the Co-op. Screw it, I’ll be totally honest. I ate 9 donuts in total. So I’m expecting a gain believe it or not!

I am so excited about getting into a 14 (I’m sure that’s been coming across in my posts!) that I just cannot let this continue. If hunger isn’t the problem, food isn’t the answer.

Being off work is always a danger, but it’s weigh in later on and the line has been drawn. I am pledging to have a week 100% on plan, then once that’s under my belt things should be easier.

Plus I’ll feel better when all the bits and bobs have been done this week and I can concentrate on things I want to do, not things I have to do.

Sorry for the moany post, and thank you if you made it this far!

Hayley x

Shopping Trip

I just had a quick read through my last post to see what was happening the last time we spoke. I ended with ‘I will stick to plan no matter what’ which seems to be the thing I always write just before I go off plan. In my defence I did last a couple of days before it actually happened!

There’s a whole world of difference between this incident and last week’s slip up. Last week I just lost it and couldn’t control myself, whereas this week I made a choice. At the moment I don’t regret it, though that will probably change once I’ve stepped on the scales Tuesday. I just need to remember that it’s not the end of the world!

I think this post is going to be a bit of a long one so why don’t you grab yourself a cuppa before you really get stuck in?

Sometimes on this here blog I mention doing stuff with a friend, and sometimes that friend is actually my ex-boyfriend. I’ve written about it before from time to time, but our relationship was not a good one. There were huge trust issues, because he kept bloody lying to me all the time! This is not an ex-bashing post, because as I have already stated we are still friends, and good ones at that.

The problem is that my ex has an insatiable desire to try and keep everyone happy all of the time, and will tell any number of porky pies to achieve that. And it’s something he either can’t or won’t change.

I myself grew up with a lying toerag of a father and cannot stand being lied to. It is something I cannot and will not compromise on.

So in the end, although there are plenty of other facets to the honesty thing, and there’s a whole book’s-worth of other reasons we didn’t make it in the end, I’d say that’s the main one. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that though I wish things hadn’t gotten to the point where I was so, so unhappy, and although I was so terribly hurt by the whole thing, my ex is not a bad person and he makes a really stonking friend. His intentions have always been good, which is why it took me so long to walk away from something that was so bad for me.

Being friends with your ex is dangerous territory indeed. At the moment my main concern is that our friendship will hurt one of us. For me, I feel that this is the relationship we were meant to have, because I finally feel that we are on an even keel. As a partner, I always wanted things that he couldn’t give, but as friends I think we are both getting back what we give. And that’s a lovely thing. But if he secretly does want more, that’s when it gets tricky, because it wouldn’t be fair of me to keep hanging around if it causes him pain. Problem is it’s unlikely he’d ever tell me, because he’s not one to talk about feelings, so I just need to keep an eye out for potential signs.

The other problem of course would be new partners. I don’t think he’s looking at the mo, but if it does happen for him then I will quietly step aside, because I think it’s a rare case indeed where a new girlfriend is happy for the old one to still be hanging around! I’d like to give him the best chance at happiness, and because he has children with two different women then this potential new partner will have quite enough ex’s to be getting on with already.

So, on to the actual events after that glimpse into my current deep thoughts!

My friend felt bad for not getting me a proper birthday present (you can have money OR kids, but rarely both I’ve heard) so I asked if he’d accompany me on a shopping trip instead, because that would mean more to me anyway. So he agreed, and I’d just like to point out that I’m not a stereotypical woman shopper so it wasn’t an ordeal for him. I rarely browse as such, I kind of scan the wares like Predator and zone in on what I want.

We went to Chelmsford (the birthplace of radio, or so the sign on the way there says) as it has about five times the amount of shops of my local high street. It also has a much better quality of charity shop.

I’ve been browsing charity shops for a while now and was starting to think that I’d never get lucky. I never seem to find anything I’m remotely interested in, except near my sister’s one time where I found a faded old dress… that was over £20.

I think Chelmsford must have a much more generous population, because the goods donated there are of much better quality, and I reckon the larger variety of charity shops there may have driven the prices down a bit. In one I found a lovely dress from Monsoon for £6, which is a brand I love anyway but they are just so expensive. The reason they are expensive is because they’re right up there with some of the most ethical brands (y’know, paying a proper wage for staff and having decent conditions for them and whatnot) so I’d be happy to pay out more in the future, just not now because it’ll be too big before I know it. It was a summer dress too, so I knew I had to leave it on the rack.

In another I found a lovely winter coat, but I’m already sorted for this year so again it had to stay where it was. It was under a tenner though! I wish I’d found it before I got my current coat!

At last I found something I could use though – a Primark dress in exactly my size with some fantastic autumn vibes – for a fiver! Yessssss! It has most of the qualities I look for in a dress and a new quality I’ve just discovered. Flattering arms? Check. Mesh? Check. Flattering tummy-covering? Check. Seriously sweet old lady serving me? Check.

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But it also has a low back which shows off my newly discovered angular shoulder blades, and my slender neck. I have a neck. I’m going to get a tattoo there one day, of Pea, but I’m saving that as a treat for when I reach target.

After our charity shop crawl, well, that’s when things went a little awry. I’d researched vegan-friendly eateries beforehand but had then dismissed the idea because I wanted to stay on plan. Despite having porridge for breakfast which always keeps me fuller for longer, at the very mention of lunch I suggested a place called Acanteen. I can’t get over the name, because it doesn’t flow off the tongue nicely, but that’s a small criticism because OH MY GOD THE FOOD IS LOVELY.

I went for a caulikale pizza, because I haven’t had a pizza in months and months and boy have I been wanting one. And they had the option to replace ordinary cheese with vegan cheese, so I thought why not.

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It was amazing.

The base was thin and crispy in all the right places, and the combination of a gorgeously flavoured tomato sauce, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, along with kale (which is right up there at the top of the list of my favourite veggies) was delicious. Although not Slimming-World friendly, it would still be a fraction of the syns of one of the 20″ pizzas I used to buy.

Recently I’ve been thinking about being more ethical in my clothing choices, but I was going to put off doing anything about it until I get to target. That way I can buy things that will last years and years because I won’t be growing or shrinking out of them every five minutes.

I came across a very helpful blog called The Sustainable Edit, and one of the most recent posts suggested the brand Fatface. I love Fatface anyway but the last time I went in there I could only just squeeze into a size 16. Plus they are (rightfully) a bit on the pricey side.

After lunch I told myself the biggest lie of all (lying to myself is OK it seems!) and I went in to just have a little look.

Ha!

Five minutes later I came out with a dress and a skirt, both of very high quality, both versatile in their uses, both in a size 14, and both half price or less.

These I can put away for later use, because my ultimate goal is no longer a weight, it’s to be a size 14. The skirt especially can be worn casually or dressed up, so I think this is the first little seed of a capsule wardrobe. I’m stupidly excited about all this!

I didn’t try them on in store, but when I got home I found that although a little tight and not quite the ideal fit, if I wanted I could get away with wearing them now. That little fact pleases me more than I could possibly tell you with my limited vocabulary. Perhaps the words don’t even exist.

When I got home I ate the last of my dairy free Ben & Jerry’s, because it seems if something is unopened I can leave it but once it’s been started on I can’t get it out of my head. That’s something to remember in future. Finally I had a naughty dinner for much the same reason – using up the opened packet of Linda McCartney’s mushroom wellington bites. They’re only 2.5 syns each but it was killing me just eating a couple at a time!

So that’s that. I fell off the wagon but, perhaps because I had such a lovely day, I don’t have the same kind of guilt that I’ve had with other episodes. That also made it a lot easier to get right back on plan after dinner, rather than let it get out of hand.

Today I went pumpkin picking, although it wasn’t pumpkin picking at all. I was disappointed because I didn’t realise all of the pumpkins had already been picked, put in piles, and left on the ground where some of them were rotting. Where’s the fun in that? That’s pumpkin choosing, surely? And why didn’t anyone take away the furry and putrefying ones? I left a very fair review (I thought so, anyway) on their Facebook page stating that (but nicely), because I thought it was a bit misleading, and I was immediately trolled. I don’t have much experience of internet trolls because I’ve never put myself out there as much as I do now, and although I was really angry I thought (specially now I love blogging so much) it’ll be good to learn how to let it go. Some internet people really do go a bit crazy when you disagree with them – she seemed genuinely furious that I didn’t think the pumpkin farm was a nice place. Very strange indeed.

I did get a couple of nice pictures from the nicer piles, though to be honest that’s more to do with my photography skills than the surroundings, which weren’t great.

Still, 15 minutes and £16 after leaving the house I was proud owner of some pumpkins for carving and one spaghetti squash for eating.

Do you want to know the best bit though? It looked like it was going to rain, so I got out my waterproof coat I bought back in May. It was intended for my Snowdon trip, so although it’s been up and down a mountain the weather was so nice I never actually wore it. I thought it couldn’t be that big on me now, so I might as well get a bit of use out of it.

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Or perhaps not. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for a second-hand one in a 14, because it really is a decent coat. What a great reason to no longer be able to wear it though!

Tomorrow I’m off to visit a friend (not an ex this time!) as I’ve arranged with his partner to surprise him for his birthday. There was a surprise meal for him on Saturday but I couldn’t make it (damn you, work) so I’m making up for it with a visit all of my own. I don’t manage to see the few friends I have (I’m very picky, you know) as much as I’d like, so I’m very much looking forward to it.

And now I’m going to stop writing before this post gets any longer. Thank you for making it this far!

Hayley x

Red Roses and Cabbages

On Thursday a friend popped round as he couldn’t see me on my actual birthday, which is today, and I was surprised with a lovely bunch of flowers. We’re good enough friends that he knows how much I love vegetables, so my bunch of flowers included what seemed to be cabbages or kale of some description! As he suspected, I was impressed. Since I don’t know exactly what they are I’ll resist eating them though.

Then this morning everything went topsy turvy and I had a slip-up. I knew I was getting a chocolate frog from my brother, which I had intended to save until Hallowe’en. Just because. But as soon as I opened him I lost control and bit his poor little head off.

I’ll be honest. The rest of him did not last much longer. Then I opened my next present, which was a gorgeous little box of 6 gold-dusted vegan truffles (not real gold, I’m assuming) and they didn’t last long either. I followed that up with toast smothered in peanut butter, then finally with dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s. Not the healthiest breakfast I’ve ever had. On the plus side, I stopped eating before I felt sick, although in ‘normal person’ terms by rights I should have been feeling sick already. I probably ate 1/5th of the ice cream before I put it back in the freezer, which I’m fairly certain has never happened before.

I then opened a present from my mum – a size 14 sweater-dress that I was quite sure would be a bit tight even though the style is deliberately oversized. Nope! It fits perfectly. I’m not sure if it’s how it’s supposed to fit, but I felt just brilliant wearing it, plus it has a nice high neckline that will keep me nice and warm but still shows evidence of my actual neck. I absolutely love it and at that point I felt over the moon.

After a little more present-opening, including a very sweary cookbook called Thug Kitchen – Eat Like You Give a F*ck (check it out, there are loads of healthy recipes that look easy enough to convert to Slimming World) I went to bed for some much needed sleep.

When I woke up, before I was even aware what day of the week it is, a wave of guilt at what I’d eaten this morning washed over me. So I did what I promised myself I would do the next time I found myself feeling bad about food, and that’s to reach out for some help.

I messaged my friend and favourite blogger to confess, and I was given some excellent advice. It was all stuff that any of us slimmers would tell each other in the same situation – that we’re only human, that it’s not the end of the world, that beating yourself up doesn’t do any good whatsoever. Sometimes we just need to hear it from someone else. And as the messages came pouring in I felt myself exhale and my shoulders drop (they had been making their way up to my earlobes) because I was so tense and I hadn’t even realised. I remembered to just breathe and that actually, everything is still OK.

Another result of talking to a fellow slimmer is that I’ve cemented a goal I’ve had floating around in my head for a while. My target weight (for now) is 12st 10lbs, which will take me into the top end of a healthy BMI and also give me leeway of a couple of pounds. But more than that, I want to comfortably fit into a size 14 from any high street store such as Topshop, River Island, New Look, Next etc. Once I can do that, there won’t be many (perhaps any) places I can’t shop and from then on I’ll only have to worry about getting clothes that are long enough, rather than wide enough, to fit me. Wouldn’t that be something?

Tonight I’m at work but tomorrow I’m out and about in London with my sister, and although I will still have my vegan pumpkin spice latté, that’s the only thing I’m going to have while we’re out unless it’s a free food. I’m taking a packed lunch with me, and I’ve given my sister instructions to knock any bad food straight out of my hand if I do pick any up. Although I don’t think I will even want to now. I still have all of my goals in sight and I can’t afford to be distracted any further.

This is where I’ve gone wrong in the past – one bad morning, or evening, or whatever, has sent my spiralling out of control. And it doesn’t have to be that way. It WON’T be that way.

I’m going to enjoy the rest of my birthday guilt free and safe in the knowledge that I’m still on my way to target. It feels damn good.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Losers Club

This is my pin collection. Every one of them represents a half-stone that is gone forever, and rather than rewarding myself with food or with clothes (that I will inevitably shrink out of) I wanted something that would last forever. These are in no particular order, but to begin with I chose things that meant something to me. As time went on that got harder and harder, so they’re mostly just pins that I like now.

The one I ordered for my 6.5 stone award came today and this one does have a bit of a deeper meaning. Regular readers will know that I went to see IT recently, and although I’ve read the book too it’s not my all time favourite Stephen King (which is The Shining, by the way…) Having said that when I saw my latest IT-themed pin I knew I had to have it. The group of kids from the story call themselves The Losers Club which I absolutely love. I was never someone who just ‘fit in’ and I never will be, and I’ve always liked it that way. I don’t want to just do what everyone else is doing, no matter how unpopular it makes me. I like what I like and I will make no apologies for it!

Then there’s the obvious other meaning, that since I’m losing weight with Slimming World it’s a losers club of sorts! To top it off the year on the pin, (1958, the period the book is set in) happens to be the year my mum was born. I was obviously meant to have it.

Today has just been the absolute best, even though I’m exhausted. Last night I went to bed at 1am feeling like I’d drop off instantly, but my brain had other ideas and transported me back to when I was about ten and my best friend’s older sister randomly started bullying me at school. If you had asked me yesterday if I was bullied at school I would have said no – I’d completely forgotten about it up until last night. It went downhill from then on with me remembering awful things, some of which made me burn with shame in the darkness. So yeah, thanks for that brain! Through sheer bloody-mindedness I forced my thoughts back to my happy place and eventually got to sleep.

Sometimes after nights like that I wake up feeling dejected, but thankfully that didn’t happen today even though I got up at 7am after less than 5 hours actually asleep. There were things to be done! I got to town before most of the shops were even open so I decided to pop into Asda, which always opens earlier than everywhere else. I told myself to just look at the dresses, strictly no buying.

Yeah… that didn’t work.

As I was browsing I came across the most amazing dress. If I wrote a list of all the things I want in a dress then this one would tick almost every single box. I was convinced I was the wrong shape for it though, so I decided it was worth trying it on. It might put me off buying it.

So on it went, and when I looked in the mirror I was genuinely shocked. It’s like I was looking at the me I want to be. It’s almost the perfect fit, and the perfect style, and perfect for the season. And only £16 too!

I raced around town getting the other bits I needed because I wanted to get home and show my mum. When I got in I tore up the stairs to get changed, and when I came downstairs my mum (who is used to such shenanigans and just turned around reluctantly at my request) actually let out a genuine gasp because it’s such a lovely dress. And it really shows off my weight loss.

I’m not going to post a picture yet because I don’t have anyone around to take a good one for me, and I want you to see just how pretty it is. It is also the perfect vehicle for wearing pins as the material is thick enough, plus there are straps that are the perfect place for them to sit. I’m aware that I’ve said perfect about a million times (she says, not exaggerating at all) but it’s the only word for it! I’m going to wear this dress when I go to London with my sister next Sunday and I’m sure she will be amazed too. It even has pockets! I’m sure it’s not just me and my sister who think the holy grail of the dress world is the pocketed dress. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, it really is, I’m telling you.

This weekend I’ve done some drawings for Inktober, but to be honest after today I decided to give up on that. After a few nice sketches I just completely ran out of inspiration – the bee in my bonnet has flown off! There are other things I want to do more, and I’ve decided to just follow my instincts. That doesn’t mean I won’t be drawing anymore, but I’m not going to force myself to do something when I’m just not feeling it. What I am getting excited about it making some gifts for my family which I think are going to turn out great, I just need to wait for some additional materials to arrive after Hobbycraft completely let me down today.

That’s the reason I don’t do anything creative for a living. Part of me would love to just make things all day, but I could never build up a business because it’s so dependent on my moods. If don’t have my mojo then I find even the most basic artistic pursuits utterly draining. So I just do it for the love, as and when the mood takes me!

One thing I have sort of enjoyed today is having a good clear out. I have a veritable mountain of stuff for the charity shop, and three black sacks of things that are no good to anyone. I have been absolutely brutal when deciding what to keep and what to get rid of, and my room is going to look a lot better for it. I’m going to throw the toot out first then sort out the charity shop stuff, because I really don’t want to two to get mixed up.

Other than that I do need to increase my activity this week. I only barely managed to avoid last week being my worst ever in terms of calories burned, and I’m worried I haven’t lost weight too. It’s weigh day tomorrow so it’s not long until I find out, but either way I need to alter the balance a little because I’m not enjoying the lack of exercise. If anything I’ve found I have less energy and I don’t want to slip back into bad habits. As for food I have been absolutely PERFECT (sigh, there I go again) but the fact that my portions have decreased in line with my drop in activity only makes me feel marginally less guilty.

So there we have it, with a few tweaks I should be a lot more on my way to achieving goals than I feel I am this week. Only time will tell though, so I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ahead of Schedule

I woke up at 2:30am today, purely because I was excited about weighing in. I probably could have gone downstairs and got a nice result there and then, but official weigh in time is 10am so I just had to wait. I was too tired to get up and do stuff so I tried to quiet my brain but to no avail. At some point I gave up and started browsing the interwebs on my phone and as happens all too often I found myself looking at clothes.

I’ve been a bit uninspired by my go-to websites recently so I decided to leave my comfort zone and see what is available in the shops that were totally beyond my reach as a teenager. Firstly I checked out Miss Selfridge, and instead of the clothes being geared more towards the younger generation as I thought they’d be, I found a beautiful tea dress in exactly my size. I didn’t buy it though, because I already have two dresses in my wardrobe that have never been worn. I had planned to wear them in December but I tried them on the other day and they’re too big. So I’m not buying anything else for an occasion until the occasion is actually upon me.

Next stop was Topshop and again found plenty of things I really liked in my size. Then River Island, and it was the same there! Lastly I went on the George at Asda website to see if there was anything affordable that I liked and I very, very nearly bought a snowman print dress. I was halfway through the checkout process before I remembered I’d pledged not to buy anything yet.

I did have an Asos delivery today, and that’s because I had literally nothing in my wardrobe that fit me properly. I ordered a plain black swing dress in a size 14 (it was only £15) thinking it would be tight but that it would fit me soon, but as it’s very forgiving around the tummy area it fits me perfectly right now! I know that my mum has bought me a sweater dress for my birthday, also in a size 14, so I don’t doubt that I’ll be able to wear that straight away, too.

This is so exciting, I’ve never bought a size 14 anything, let alone have it fit me!

At 6:30am I eventually got back to sleep and stayed that way until it was time to make Pea’s breakfast and step on the scales.

And the result?

3.5 pounds off!

And do you know what that means?

Yep, you’ve guessed it…

IMG_1927

It’s been sooooo long since I got an award, I’d almost forgotten what it felt like. Yet here we are, and I only have 5.5 lbs to go until the next one. The plan is to get that by the end of the month – after all there are still 4 weigh in’s left so it’s absolutely achievable! And with such a decent loss today I’ve also put myself ahead of schedule for all the goals I have for the remainder of the year. All I can say is BRING IT ON!

I’ve kept up with Inktober so far and have added a fruit bat and a llama to my sketch book. I’m really enjoying this, I hope I continue to sketch regularly once the month is up.

I’d best be off now because I’m sure there are loads of things I’m supposed to get done today. Goodness knows what they are though…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Vanity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for reading,

Hayley x

Dressing Up

A year ago today I’d had a delivery from ASOS. I was going out with the people from work and I’d bought something that I was sure would cover me up sufficiently and be relatively flattering. But then I took some photos and the truth was revealed.

You can see by the look on my face how happy I am about that particular purchase! That outfit never saw the light of day, and by the time I remembered to try it on again it was too big. It went to the charity shop to find a new owner and start a new life. Fast forward to now and sometimes I still see that person looking back at me, because I’m not really sure what I look like any more.

I was talking to a chap at work who is about half a foot shorter than me, and he was telling me how he’s 13-stone-something, and although he’s happy with his weight he’s going to the gym because he wants to be fitter and get more muscle definition. Which is cool. But then it occurred to me that although men naturally have more muscle tone and all that guff, I’m not actually that much heavier than him. It’s just mind boggling, I can’t get my head around it, because this chap is just totally normal-looking. To think that I’m just two stone away from being his weight is just unbelievable!

I’m so used to thinking of myself as huge, I don’t know how to think of myself now. How big am I? I don’t even know.

I tried on another dress last week that I bought about six months ago and although looking at it now I can see how well I’ve done, sometimes I look at the same pictures and see something else entirely. It all depends on what mood I’m in, so how can I ever be sure that I look OK? The truth is that I can’t, I can only go by how I feel at the time. One day I’ll look back at this picture and not like what I see, but right now I’m really pleased! Or perhaps even next week I’ll come across it and despair at how far I have to go. Then the next minute I’ll be marvelling at how far I’ve come. It’s hard work living in my brain sometimes!

I also wonder about how I’ll feel when I eventually stop losing weight. I know there will be other goals to consider, especially fitness ones, but it’ll be weird to not put so much importance on getting smaller. One thing I am looking forward to when it comes to target though is making some environmentally conscious fashion choices. On the one hand I love the idea of going to Primark and picking up a whole wardrobe’s-worth of cheap clothes, but deep down I’d probably rather invest in a few better quality pieces that are going to last me years. I’ve just bought some vegan shoes which should break in like real leather (plus they’re gorgeous) so I’ll make sure I keep them in good order and get them resoled when it’s needed. And possibly start wearing the other 20 pairs of shoes I already have?

Ethical clothing is expensive, so I was reading about alternatives like clothes swaps. There’s also the fact that seasonal clothes can go into storage and come out again next year. Imagine consistently being the same size over a year! It’s something I hadn’t even considered until now. Imagine having a friend you could swap clothes with. Crazy!

I’m filled with excitement and apprehension about how things are going to go in the coming months, I’m just trying to find a balance between being patient, keeping the momentum going, staying motivated and also enjoying the ride.

At the moment I want everything NOW, but nothing that good ever came easy.

It’s hard, but totally worth it.

Hayley x