City Limits

Before I get into things I’m so pleased I can finally share the below picture. It has now been received by Mr Daveywankenobie and partner so I can show you what is possibly the loveliest thing I’ve ever made.

Although I haven’t met said partner yet she seems absolutely wonderful, and I couldn’t have made something that adorable without their relationship as inspiration. #relationshipsgoals right there, and whilst in general it’s not helpful to compare yourself to others, I refuse to settle for anything less than what they have in future. Because I’m worth it! Check out Davey’s recent blog post on that very subject in fact -it’s a good ‘un.

Today I’m still feeling upbeat after a lovely day out with my little sister yesterday. Since she’s off work for an obscene amount of time (bloody teachers!) it has now become tradition for us to go to London for tasty treats every summer holiday.

We headed to Camden because we wanted to go somewhere from our extensive list of vegan places to try, and that’s where Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner happens to be situated.

It wasn’t open for a while (we like to start early) so we had a mosey around Camden. First up was the garden centre, which puts the measly little sections you get at B&Q and Homebase to shame. I’m fast transitioning to a plant lady, so I thought I’d get some inspiration.

Look at that. Actual olives on trees!

Then we went into Cyberdog which I’ve seen from the outside many times, but my sister, who has been in before, suggested I give it a go.

It’s full of flashing lights and neon rave attire, but the most interesting part is the downstairs section. Unfortunately no photography is allowed in that part, but let’s just say it’s not every day your sister takes you to a sex shop. Camden never ceases to surprise!

Changing the subject briefly, apart from being worried about letting my friend down when I photograph his wedding, I was also feeling worried about what I’d wear since I’ve put on weight. I don’t feel comfortable in anything I have already so I’ve been on the lookout for something in a larger size for the occasion. I also didn’t want to put pressure on myself to attempt losing a large amount of weight before the 7th of September. That kind of thing never works out for me.

It felt like admitting defeat though, and I wasn’t feeling great about it.

Since I like vintage-style things, my sister pointed out a clothes shop called Collectif. We went inside and they had so much stuff I liked. I picked up a few things to try on, but when I came across a beautiful blue lace dress everything else went by the wayside. This was the one.

I tried it on and I felt fabulous. I didn’t even care that it says it’s a size 18, which I haven’t bought for a long time. It doesn’t matter, it’s just a number! What matters is it fit me properly and has a beautiful swishy skirt that is so much fun to twirl in.

On the label it said reduced from £125 to £43.75, but when I got to the checkout they applied a further reduction. I paid just £31.20 for this gorgeous piece of clothing. Sweet!

After a coffee the diner was finally open so we filled our tummies full of vegan junk. I had a burger and a peanut butter ‘milkshake’ while my sister went for the hotdog. It was all sooooo good, but the milkshake was heaven.

We absolutely had to go to Doughnut Time, because they ramped up their Biscoff doughnut (now called the David Hassel-Biscoff) and I’ve been hankering to try it ever since.

It was just the absolute best. I’ve never had anything like it before, but there’s so much sugar in there it’s probably best I only have one a year. Much more delicious and hefty than the last Biscoff doughnut I had.

After picking up some art supplies for an art day me and the sister have planned in the coming weeks, I was all Londoned out. After a while all the people start to get to me and I hit my limit, so we got ourselves back home just in time. It all worked out perfectly.

Although I ate a lot of junk yesterday, it’s a whole different ball game to a binge. It’s a case of eating junk because it’s delicious and I’m enjoying time with my sister, rather than shoving down crap because I feel sad and I’m trying, desperately trying, to smother my real feelings with food. It doesn’t exactly feel like that when I’m doing it, but when I consider what happened afterwards it feels like that’s what was going on.

Today I feel in control, and whilst I have a planned meal out this evening I’m not tempted to eat a pile of rubbish beforehand. This is a very good thing, because ordinarily it would be the perfect excuse. ‘Well I’m being naughty later so what’s the point in being good now?’

None of that today though. I’m too busy getting my s**t together and generally feeling good. No time for any nonsense!

The coming days are going to be good ones. Even though I’m back at work.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Choosing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relief!

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

It was the lady who did conducted my interview.

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

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

I’M GOING TO BE A SLIMMING WORLD CONSULTANT!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thankfully, I’m unrecognisable from that person now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Things are on the up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Short Arms

After Sunday’s run I’ve been feeling really good – it’s given me the energy boost that I’ve sorely needed over the last couple of weeks. I haven’t had any problems with my knee at all, so I’m going to try to do another run on Friday. Since I have so much to do, my recovery has come at the exact right time. It means I can get the same benefits from 30 minutes of running that it takes an hour-and-a-half to achieve by walking alone.

That’s not to say I won’t keep up with the walking though, because apart from the fact that I really enjoy it, I still can’t bring myself to drive into town even when I am short on time.

I had to go into town anyway to return some things, but after my Tuesday shift at work I knew that wasn’t the only reason I’d be going.

First of all I bumped into a day manager who I used to work with on nights. I’ve known him for years and years, and I was greeted with a ‘bloody hell Hayley, you’re wasting away!’ I never quite know how to take those comments, because it’s not exactly a compliment as such, but since it’s ambiguous I can choose how to take it.

‘THANK YOU!’ I replied, and (after prompting) I revealed my current loss. I was then treated to a great big hug, a well done, and a kiss on the cheek.

Secondly I did something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I approached a good work friend of mine who is also slim, image conscious, and prone to the more ‘Photo-shopped-looking’ kind of lady. I asked if he could please tell me when he thinks I’m skinny, because I trust his opinion, and also trust him to be honest whilst still considering my feelings. The reason I asked is that I still genuinely have no idea what I really look like.

I was looking at some old pictures the other day and although I was unhappy with my appearance (understatement of the year perhaps?) I didn’t see how bad it really was. Stumbling across old pictures was nothing short of truly shocking, but also raised the question – even now, am I still in denial?

However without missing a beat he replied ‘now!’ Bless him! I was wearing a baggy top though so in the new year (after making some more progress, hopefully) he’s going to tell me what he thinks. It’ll be interesting to get a reasonably impartial viewpoint since my own is so utterly skewed.

How I appear is one thing, but what size I am is now undeniable. After all that I knew a trying-on session was needed, so I spent Wednesday afternoon visiting every single shop in the town centre that sells women’s clothing.

One of the highlights was going into River Island. The last time I looked in there, even their newly-released plus-size range didn’t come close to fitting me. Just to get an idea of how I’m doing, I picked up a few of the snuggest-fitting items I could try.

These are ‘bodycon’ dresses, which I’ve always wanted to wear because they are always plentiful, come in a huge variety and are generally cheap. But they don’t leave a huge amount to the imagination so after I’d lost about 6 stone and still wouldn’t dream of wearing one, I started to believe that it would just never happen.

Looking at the pictures from yesterday though… I’m starting to believe. I’m not that far off (I think) so a few more pounds and a good pair of control panties and the bodycon world will be my oyster!

On top of that I realised it was the first time I’d ever set foot in the River Island changing rooms.

In Debenhams I tried on a jumpsuit for the first time ever, but apart from the fact it was miles too short and in the most clingy, unflattering fabric, I still think they might not be for me. I’m not ruling it out though. Who the hell even knows what the future will bring?

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I tried on a fancy purple velvet dress, just for fun, but there was a definite curtain vibe going on. Does mother know you weareth her drapes?

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I had fun trying stuff on, but I didn’t end up buying anything. Then I decided I wanted a fancy coat that I can wear over one of my nice dresses. Hmm, sounds simple doesn’t it? On the plus side I had a huge non-scale victory. Every single size 16 I tried on was absolutely massive on me. Win!

On the flip side, when you go down to a size 14 it seems that manufacturers assume people who are a size 14 all have very short arms. I swear to you, I tried on a coat in every single shop, and it was the same everywhere.

So yay for size 14, boo for short arms. When I went in Peacocks and an assistant asked me if I needed help, I actually asked if they had any coats for a woman who has the arms of an orangutan. He laughed, but wasn’t able to help.

Later on I spoke to my sister and she reminded me of the tall range from ASOS, so today I had a nice delivery of two size 14 coats I found in the sale with 50% off. They were long enough in the sleeves, but miles too big. I was getting a bit of an ‘old lady’ feeling off of them too.

Sigh.

For now, I’m giving up. I only have one night out where I’m wearing a dress but I should only need to go from the car to a nice warm pub, so I’ll just make do with what I have for now.

It’s a pain in the bum, but still pretty awesome when it comes down to it!

I’ve still been super busy, but I’ve been doing great with staying on plan during these times. Last night I didn’t have a dinner prepared and didn’t have much indoors, so I roasted some veg, stuck a rice pouch in the microwave, poured over some Slimming World jalfrezi sauce from Iceland and served with the only thing I had in the freezer – Linda McCartney veggies sausages.

A sausage curry you ask? Yes, it’s weird, but it worked! Who knew?

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I’ve been doing a terrible job of posting my meals on our group’s Slimming World Facebook page because of a lack of spare time, so I don’t think I’ll be winning that five pounds. Even so, the most important thing is that I’ve been eating a lot of Speed food.

Hopefully it gives me a good loss come Monday, because I’ve been really good and haven’t weighed myself at all. As such I have no clue how I’m doing this week and weigh in will be a complete surprise. Right now I feel OK, but I know the nerves will start kicking in come Sunday night.

I just have to be strong.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x