Keeping Focus

Over the last week, I have not done everything in my power to make sure I got rid of last week’s gain. What I did do was to test my willpower, which was a really bad idea.

I bought a bag of dark chocolate lebkuchen hearts (vegan friendly) from Aldi, which always pop up in stores around this time of year and are also delicious. The little hearts are 2.5 syns each, so I intended to have one a day, to see if I could handle it.

I couldn’t handle it. 

I’ve been avoiding sugary stuff because it tends to set me off and I end up wanting more, but I wanted to see if I was ready to have ‘just a little bit’ every day. Truth is, I now know I’ll never be ready. I’m not saying I’ll never have sweet treats again, I’m just saying that I’m never going to be the kind of person who can have just a taster. I’m ok with that, because I don’t feel like I’m missing out once I lose the taste for these things again (which I invariably do) and it’s excellent that I’ve recognised that particular trigger so that I can stop lying to myself in future.

I experimented, and have proved conclusively what the outcome will be. If I choose to eat sugary stuff in future, there’s no getting around the fact that I need to make sure I only buy one small item instead of a whole bloody bag of yummy, chocolatey cakey things.

It didn’t stop at lebkuchen hearts though. Last night I also had other naughties, which again was a conscious decision. I do slightly regret it now, because group tonight should be an exciting one, but the thing is… I’m in love. 

I spent last night with a person who is very special to me, and since we won’t get a relaxed evening together like that for a good while I decided to let my hair down for a bit.

I’m sure I’ll give you more details on my love life in due course, but for now I feel like I’m holding a fragile bubble in my hand and I’m scared if I even look at it too hard it’ll burst. This year I’ve had some amazing highs and felt so incredibly low at times, and I’m just trying to enjoy the moment. So I’m tantalisingly keeping quiet about it for now!

Earlier on in the day we went for a nice long walk, and although it had been absolutely chucking it down the night before the weather was actually rather nice. I even had to take my hoody off as we got moving.

There was one great big rain cloud on the horizon, moving swiftly towards us, but we just skirted around the edge of it at the very end of our walk. Perfect.

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This morning I was out walking again, this time to town, and on my own. I’ve been walking into town at least once a week lately (through the park, of course) even if I don’t intend to buy anything. Sometimes a bauble selfie in Wilkinsons is enough and you don’t have to spend any money at all.

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Even so, I usually have a spare bit of change, so I’ve got into a routine of doing a charity shop crawl every time I’m there.

Today, yet again, I was not disappointed. You may remember I got a nice autumnal coat not so long ago, but that was more of a ‘going out’ coat. I needed a bog standard waterproof ‘out and about’ coat, but one that was warmer than my Trespass waterproof coat.

When I was at my heaviest I was always warm, so I didn’t have to worry much about dressing appropriately for the weather. I didn’t really go anywhere anyway, so there’s also that.

Nowadays I never know what clothing combination I’m going to need, so I’m always needing something more. But it’s fun getting new things, even if they are only new to me. Here’s my latest purchase.

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It’s hard to keep track but I think it was from Haven’s, it was TWO FLIPPING POUNDS and is a size S/M! Now I’m looking for a nice full length coat to wear over long dresses and skirts, and a short, smart jacket. I’d best keep up my weekly charity shop visits.

After a busy day of shopping I got myself to group to face the music. One positive I found from the weekend is that I’m definitely learning to stop eating once I’m full up, and I think that’s the reason I still managed a loss.

2lbs off!

This is where group is essential because although I’ve been super focused lately, I only have a finite supply. Group is where I go to get my focus tank refilled.

The week’s IMAGE therapy was a special one as we had a guest consultant while our Amanda was on a course at Head Office. We couldn’t have asked for a better replacement.

Our group was hosted by the incredible Ryan Lightfoot who has lost over 14.5 stone. You can read about him in the Daily Mail here (link) or check out his Instagram (link) if you fancy. Before IMAGE therapy began he gave a short talk about how much his life has changed since losing weight with Slimming World and boy was that emotional.

Before joining he barely left his house, but there he is hardly two years later standing in front of a group of strangers talking to us like we’re his best friends. Not only that, he’s now been promoted to Team Developer. Two years ago he was in the same position we’ve all been in, dreading the first step through those doors. Sometimes you truly can’t imagine where the path will lead.

I got a huge lump in my throat glancing over at his partner wiping what seemed to be tears of pride from her eyes. As the youngsters say, that gave me all the feels.

I found out last week that our current consultant isn’t staying with us, just looking after our group to see us through Christmas and New Year before we get a shiny new consultant. It’s a shame because I think Amanda is brilliant. She really does put in so much extra effort and, like Ryan, she is genuinely lovely and honestly cares about us. It’s the members that make the group (they are all so wonderful), but the consultant is the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle that makes it all work. I hope we get someone good (preferably with sparkly shoes).

After today I’m absolutely raring to go, especially since I’m not also contending with a hangover.

Have a simply brilliant week everyone.

Hayley x

Is it Enough?

I’m back! Where have I been I hear you ask? Well, mostly asleep actually. I had intended to do a significant amount of exercise this week but unfortunately I had to listen to what my body was telling me, and it was screaming at me to STOP.

I did go on one hour-and-a-half walk on Wednesday (even though it was drizzling the whole time and it never really got light throughout the entire day) and it was actually nicely refreshing. However I just didn’t have the get-up-and-go to do much else after that.

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Normally I potter around when I get in from work in the morning, then after a sleep I’m ready to carry on with my day at about 1pm. This week I’ve been struggling to get my head off of the pillow at 4pm, which hasn’t left me much time for anything else. I didn’t have the energy for anything else either.

Most of the week has just been about ‘getting by’, but yesterday morning I struggled to get to sleep because I had too many plans whizzing around in my head, and I happily jumped up ready to face the day at at my normal time. That’s better.

My food has all been on plan without exception, however because of my lack of energy I think my appetite has increased to try and compensate. Which is silly because if I’m doing less I need less, damn body. So decreased exercise, increased portions and some bloating due to lady things, means I’m not sure I will have done enough to eliminate last week’s gain. If I haven’t though I don’t doubt that it’ll be off the week after.

Now I’m feeling human again I’ll get out for a nice long walk tomorrow, which at least should help.

Yesterday night at work was a productive shift. On Thursday I was enthusing to anyone who stayed still long enough how much I was enjoying my apple. In the past I’ve avoided shop-bought apples because they always disappointed me, but the last week or so I’ve been LOVING Pink Lady’s.

I’d bought two in for myself on Thursday to eat throughout my shift (even though I’m not supposed to, tut tut) and two of the younger guys I work with were getting pretty jealous. I flat out refused to share though. So I decided to bring them in an apple each for the next shift, plus some Pristine grapes from Aldi. I did want the candyfloss grapes but they didn’t have any in, and the Pristine come a close second. They. Are. Delish.

What I’ve done now is to convert two people who eat pretty unhealthily into Pink Lady apple lovers. One of them had eaten a ‘dinner’ before work of a 9-pack of Penguins and a Galaxy Ripple. What’s disgusting though is that the multipack of Penguins was £1, whereas a 6-pack of Pink Lady’s was £2.70-odd. How does that work? I know you can get cheaper apples, but quite frankly they aren’t up to scratch in my opinion.

Tonight I’m bringing in an apple for another colleague who was feeling left out. Last night I saw him eat a Twix, some breakfast biscuits (both of which he found), a sharing bag of onion ring crisps, a sharing back of mini poppadoms and a microwave chicken curry. These guys need some vitamins! The annoying thing though? He is as slim as you like. How unfair. Not that I would swap my diet for his these days, even if I could stay thin, because I actually love what I eat now. Just as importantly as helping me lose weight, it makes me feel good too.

I can’t believe it took me over 30 years to realise that! Better late than never, eh?

Now it’s time to get on with a thousand other things I want to do. The only problem is deciding which to do first.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Hello There!

Yesterday was a false start. I drew the line, but somehow it got smudged and I ended up eating more bread-based products. On the one hand I’m proud of myself, because I didn’t have my main trigger food (ice cream) which would have been a lot worse. On the other hand part of me is asking ‘why bread?’ because I know it bloats me out so my gain this evening will be that much worse.

I’ve just got to take it on the chin though.

What I did do today was redraw that line, and this time I used permanent marker. I went on to my group’s secret Facebook page and told everyone what had happened and that I’d see them in group tonight to face my gain. Accountability is hugely important.

Fast-forward past a huge pile of laundry (which is still drying now) and a long, drawn out trip with my mother for her hospital appointment, and we get to weigh in. Which was actually the only positive thing about today, despite me gaining 3.5 lbs.

I didn’t gain as much as I thought I would so that’s good, plus there were others in the same boat as me. I think we all left feeling better than when we walked in.

Either way group was a really good laugh and I’m so glad I went, despite all of my instincts being to avoid group like the plague. Sometimes our instincts are lying little gits who should be ignored at all costs.

I have pledged to lose 4lbs this week and I will do everything in my power to achieve that. I feel like today has been stolen from me and I haven’t been able to get back on form as I’d hoped, but I have stayed on plan and tomorrow will be better.

In all of the ‘excitement’ of the last few days I did forget about one achievement – #onplanoctober. I did, by some miracle, manage to spend the entire month absolutely, 100% on plan.

Ok, so a repeat of that for November is now impossible, and I have plans for the 30th, but every other day will be on plan for sure. I may be five days late but…

My plan for this month was to hit target, but after a long chat with a friend on Saturday and lots of contemplation on Sunday, I’ve decided to lower my target.

I don’t even know what I want it to be, I just know that I want to lose more and I’m selling myself short if I don’t really go for it now. Why not aim for the flipping stars?

I’ve decided to just keep losing until my body tells me enough is enough. When the losses start to slow, or stop, that should be the right place.

In the meantime my November weight loss goal is to get to my original target of 12.10, and it’s my new Christmas wish to still be that weight or less once Christmas is over.

I think that’s quite reasonable.

The plan for tonight though is to get some (on plan) grub and get an early night. Tomorrow, I want to hit the ground running.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Ohhhhhh Dear

This is a bit of a shameful post. I thought about not writing it. I considered doing a ‘boy, Friday night was messy!’ kind of blog and leaving it at that. But that’s not really me, I want to be as honest as possible.

I very rarely go ‘out out’ so after a couple of hours in bed Friday morning I got up to start preparing for the evening. Most of the day was spent waiting for coats of nail varnish to dry, so much so that despite having hours and hours to get ready I was still in a mad rush and left the house slightly late. I still managed to smudge the varnish on one damn nail though! This is why I don’t usually bother with the stuff…

Normally when I go out, especially if I’m meeting new people, I end up drinking too much because I’m nervous. Friday was very different though, despite the fact that I knew I was meeting about twenty new people all in one go.

These last couple of weeks my confidence has gone through the roof. I’ve been talking to some of the new people at work without giving it a second thought, and I’ve had some great conversations with shop workers and other customers which would normally make me feel excruciatingly uncomfortable. Something has just clicked and I feel so much more outgoing. So if I drank too much (which I totally did) it wasn’t because I was nervous.

Thankfully I was not the only one who was running late, so when I got to my friend’s house and he’d only just got out of the shower, we made the decision to be late on purpose (AKA fashionably late).

While he was finishing up I poured myself a glass of wine and put on THE DRESS.

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There are better pictures of me (this one is a little blurry) but my grin is the biggest in this one and I wanted to show how happy I was.

I. Felt. Fabulous!

When we left I wasn’t drunk by any means, but walking into the restaurant was awesome. Because we were the last two to arrive everyone was already seated on one massive table, and as we walked in we were actually greeted to a huge uproar of cheers. They were for my friend, because I only knew three of the group after all, but I could feel everyone’s eyes on me all the same. Normally I’d hate that, but I felt so good I strode across the room feeling like some sort of rock star!

After sitting down I launched into conversations with the strangers around me but very dangerously, a whole bottle of wine was plonked down in front of me. After that, I have huge gaps where I don’t remember anything at all, and that’s where things go downhill.

Not that I’d know any differently, but thankfully I managed to hold things together until we left the restaurant. Once out I was very, very poorly, to the point where once we were home I went out into the garden and fell asleep on the ground. When my friend woke me up shortly after, I couldn’t even stand up. I was in that much of a state. If I’d had to get home on my own, I dread to think what would have happened to me.

The really scary thing is that usually if I’m going on a bender I choose to drink a lot. Not that I do these days, it’s obviously not worth it. The last time I did that was in 2016 and I had no intention of repeating that. But this just sort of… happened.

I think the main problem was that because the drink was just flowing around me I wasn’t conscious of how much I was drinking. If I had been ordering individual drinks things might have been different. But there’s also the fact that I seem to have turned into a complete and utter lightweight. It didn’t occur to me at the time, but since I’ve been doing so well with the weight loss I’m down 1.5 STONE since the last time I had so much as half a glass of wine, and 8 stone down since the last time I drank a significant amount. I clearly can’t handle it anymore.

I really should have thought of all this before, but at least I know now for next time. I’m out for a meal on the 16th of December, and when that comes around I shall insist upon a GLASS of wine and nothing more.

So there we have it. There’s nothing to be proud of about getting in such a state and believe me I’m absolutely sure I’ve learned my lesson. That’s why I had to let you know what I did – if I did something I’m ashamed of I should share that as much as I should share the good bits, and you should know I’m also being completely honest when I say I’m not going to do that again.

So what about the food? Again, honesty is key. I had a couple of sandwiches when I got in from work Friday morning, because although I tried hard to fight it I still had some of that ‘if I’m having a day off now is the time to eat some bread’ mentality. For lunch I had some very yummy vegan chicken nuggets from Tesco which are 1 syn each but I ate 16, followed by a vegan flapjack, but the only other food I had for the rest of the day was a couple of bites of my meal at the restaurant.

I had ordered veg tagine with couscous, and I was sober enough when the food came to remember that it was awful. Again, if I’d had a yummy meal maybe I would have actually eaten it and it would have soaked up some of the booze. How can a restaurant manage to get something I can whip up at home in minutes so utterly wrong?

I had planned to get up early Saturday morning and go for an epic walk, but I was in no fit state. Eventually I managed to keep down some beans on toast, but the rest of the day wasn’t on plan. I didn’t eat much, but I did avoid letting it seep into today (and not by any willpower on my part).

Deliveroo is now available in my area so I got on there and ordered two vegan pizzas from Pizza Express, one for dinner and one for my work lunch. As luck would have it 2.5 hours later my food still hadn’t arrived so I cancelled the order and had 6 crumpets for dinner. Not great, but still better than TWO pizzas.

I didn’t end up staying at work as my manager mercifully let me go home, so I didn’t have work lunch at all. From a mental perspective this is hugely important. Because I have my work lunch after midnight, psychologically speaking it would be hard for me to spend today on plan if I’d had something bad, because technically Sunday would already be ‘ruined’. It’s silly, yes, but that’s how my mind works. Or doesn’t, as the case may be.

That means the line is now drawn and I’m completely back on plan. I’m also feeling a little more human after a solid 8 hours sleep.

I suppose my night out was a game of two halves. From what I do remember I had a brilliant time, and I’m just so glad that I managed not to ruin anyone’s night. That’s more luck than judgement though.

Today I’ll be mostly making a plan of action for the month ahead, because although I’m a little late already I love a fresh new month and sitting down to think about the things to come.

You can be sure I’ll blog about that soon!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Feelin’ Slinky

Years ago, back at my old Tuesday Slimming World group, I was voted our group’s Miss Slinky. At the time I was doing well with my weight loss, but I felt anything but slinky! It’s one of the stranger Slimming World awards I think, but at least when my lovely group nominated me this time around I was at thankfully feeling a lot better about myself.

In fact I’ve spent a lot of time over the last couple of weeks becoming familiar with my body again, because after pretty much maintaining for six months, the recent changes have been pretty drastic. When I first started it took about three stone before I even noticed any physical changes, but as I get closer to target I’m finding that half a stone can make a huge difference.

It seems like every day I’m finding a new part of my skeleton that I never knew existed!

Yesterday was such a busy day. I did my laundry, I took my mum to an appointment that took a lot longer than it should have, then when I got home I headed straight back out again to go veggie shopping in Lidl’s. I bought all the veg I’d need for my meal prep (and then some) that I would start as soon as I got back.

I then spent roughly three hours in the kitchen. The fruits of my labour were three soups for the freezer (syn free), four work lunches (half a syn in each) and four dinners (max two syns in each). Since I’m out Friday I don’t have to prepare any more food until Saturday lunch time. I like that a lot!

There are other benefits to this batch cooking malarkey. I don’t have anything in the fridge that needs to be used up so I have completely eliminated the prospect of any food waste. The only fresh thing I have is a bag of apples for snacking and I’m sure to use those up.

I also wildly overestimated how much veg I’d need so next week I’ll be spending even less money on food.

After meal prep I got on the exercise bike and I felt really in the zone so I smashed my workout, then I went to visit my dad before walking around the corner to my Slimming World group.

By this point I was feeling very sleepy, and since it was lovely and warm in group by the time Image Therapy started I was feeling a tad spaced out (but totally content!) I remembered to pick up my Gold Body Magic award, so I have a nice new shiny sticker and certificate, and I lost a marvellous 2 lbs! 3 to go till target!

After our group chat we voted for our Miss Slinky and Mr Sleek. There was only one Mr Sleek nominee present in group, so he won by default, but I would have voted for him anyway. He’s a smashing guy who is always helpful in group and always has a cheesy joke to tell, plus since I’ve been going he’s been roughly at target. If he’s been out of target range he’s just worked through it till he’s back where he wants to be, plus he loves walking. A man after my own heart, and an inspiration too.

Then the lovely people voted me as their Miss Slinky which gave me all of the warm fuzzy feelings inside. This is my weight loss graph for 2018 so far, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the graph has taken a nice downward trend since I started coming (and staying) to that group.

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Once home I had just enough time to scoff my dinner, pin my new certificates onto the wall of inspiration before going out again.

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My current favourite part of my wall is my October calendar, where I’ve been crossing off every day I’ve spent on plan. And I’m nearly there!

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So I headed in to work on my day off to say farewell to my manager and hand over the cash that everyone had so generously parted with. It’s certainly the end of an era – this lady has helped me so much since I’ve known her and I’ve made a friend for life, so I’m very happy to see her go on to better things.

Once home do you think I could sleep? Nah! As is usual lately I was too excited after group, but I did have a nice lay in before I start another busy week. There’s lots of hard work to be done to make sure I don’t mess up over the weekend, because I would so love to have a loss next Monday. I’ll do all I can to make sure that happens, but if luck isn’t on my side then I have no doubt that I’ll sort it out the week after!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Funny Old Week

The theme of this week has mostly been tired and hungry. I haven’t had a huge appetite lately – I’ve even become someone who has dinner left overs. This has never happened before. But over the last couple of days I have felt myself getting hungrier. I’m sticking to Free and Speed food if I need it, but I think it’s my body trying to get more energy in me from the tiredness.

I was about to write that I have no idea where all this sleepiness has come from, but it’s probably down to only getting two hours sleep on Sunday and not really having a chance to catch up since then. I just paused for a little think and I still don’t know when I’ll have an opportunity for a nice big chunk of unbroken sleep, so for the time being I’ll just have to do what I can.

I’ve also been a bit stressed at work, for the most silly reason. My manager is leaving for another job next week and I’ve been put in charge of her collection. Because she has been so good to me over the years I’ve been worrying constantly that I’m not getting enough money out of my colleagues.

I meant to get the card this morning so I could start to collect signatures tonight but I couldn’t find a nice card at the local shops. Instead of driving to the big Tesco, instead I selfishly chose to go for a walk, so now I feel bad about that too. All the while I’m struggling to find the energy to tell myself how stupid I’m being because I’m just so (yawn) damn (yawn) TIRED!

I must go to the shops straight from work in the morning and get the card then, otherwise I really will be cutting it fine.

I probably would have stayed in bed all day today but I had to get up and do some bits for my mum so while I was out I went for a walk around the local nature reserve. The car park was rammed (ah, half term…) but as always seems to be the case away from the main paths I barely saw a soul.

What I did see was a huge amount of fungus – there was so much that the air itself smelt mushroomy!

Considering I am now in full-on winter mode at work, it was lovely to walk around without a coat and not freeze my butt off. Especially as it looks like from tomorrow the weather is going to be taking a turn for the worse.

The walk was quite gentle but it really took it out of me and I was ready to drop by the time I got home. So drop I did, right into a deep sleep. It’s just a shame I didn’t have time for a few hours more.

I did still make time to model my latest charity shop purchase. I bought a bright yellow scarf the other day – just because winter is cold it doesn’t mean it has to be dull. But then I decided I also needed a more festive scarf when the occasion calls for it (Winter Wonderland, I’m looking at you) so I grabbed this bargain while I had the chance.

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I’m definitely feeling a lot differently about the upcoming ‘party’ season. I did mean to go to Winter Wonderland with my sister for the last couple of years running, but it never happened for one reason or another. What I do know is that when I thought about going, the first thing that came to mind was the FOOD. This time though I’m definitely going, and it’s with a friend from work. What I’m most looking forward to is the atmosphere, the lights, photo ops and (most importantly) good company.

Also on the agenda is another trip to London with another friend, a sibling outing, a meal out, and another trip with the wonderful people I met up with in Oxford not so long ago. Out of nowhere I seem to have a social life! I’m so looking forward to just making time for people in the next couple of months, rather than just stuffing my face at every opportunity.

Finally, my wonderful group has nominated me for the Miss Slinky award, which is so kind because I haven’t been going to this group for a huge amount of time. If I remember rightly I have to get up and talk a little bit about my weight loss, and despite writing about it weekly for the last two flipping YEARS I really have no clue what I’m going to say.

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Maybe I’ll just have to wing it!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Wishing

It took me a while but I realised last week’s taster session at group had nothing to do with my consultant leaving. Although I’ve been anticipating it for the last few weeks, the other event at group kind of eclipsed the fact that we were given our Slimming World Christmas Wishes.

Last year we were given a bauble, and my wish then was to get into the 13 stone bracket. As it happens I didn’t even get close, and it took me till just last month before I finally made it. Better late than never though.

This year we have a snowflake. The idea is that you put it on your tree as a reminder to stay on track over the Christmas period. Since our tree is obviously not up yet (I’m not quite that Christmas mad) I have hung mine from the light fitting so it bonks me on the head every time I cross the room.

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I felt really guilty about group last night. My friend asked me to visit so I agreed to pop over after weighing in, but I completely forgot it was my new consultant’s first night. I really wish I had stayed to offer my support, but I went on the Facebook group to assure her I’d definitely be staying next week.

As for weigh in, I lost a very respectable 1.5 pounds meaning I have just 5 lbs left to go before I hit target. I do have a meal out a week on Friday, and I’ve already chosen what I’m having – vegetable tagine with herb couscous. I’m guessing there will be a lot of oil in there but it’s certainly the best of the bunch out of all the options. If I do drink I’ll just have a few gins and slimline tonics, so I’m hoping I still get away with a loss the following week.

This week I have everything crossed that I lose another 1.5 pounds or more, because it will mean I’ll be in the 12 stone bracket for the first time since April 2004! My exercise has suffered today because even though I’ve been on the go all day I haven’t filled my green ring on my Apple watch. Same for yesterday, too. I am letting myself off, just on this occasion, because I am so busy and so tired. Once we hit November I’m going for a perfect month though so no excuses.

Thinking of other things that could delay me getting to target, I have also agreed to go to Winter Wonderland in London with a work friend some time after payday at the end of November. I’m hoping to be at target by then, but if I’m not the fact remains there are 8 weigh ins left, 2 days of not being entirely on plan, and 5 pounds to be rid of. That is entirely within the realms of possibility.

Yesterday I spent the whole day with my sister and it was brilliant. We started off the day with an enormous coffee and a tour of the charity shops near her house. Disgracefully, she had never set foot in one until now! I was on the lookout for a hat, and I found one that suited me in the first shop. It was brand new though, and a bit pricey, so I decided to give it a miss.

In the next shop though, I found my hat! I put it on and straight away my sister said ‘YES! That is the one!’ One minute and £6 later, I was walking out of the shop wearing my new purchase.

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After our charity shop crawl we headed to the park for a nice long walk. There were so many swans! We found a little group of our own but there were easily twice as many again congregating around a toddler who had FOOD!

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We then had lunch back at my sisters where I dined with a gold knife and fork sitting at her expensive table (she’s super fancy) before doing something creative.

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The creative thing in question was calligraphy. My sister did a workshop last year and fell in love with it, so shortly after I got myself the basic equipment and gave it a go. We both love it, but as with everything else I let it fall by the wayside while I concentrated on other things.

When I picked up my new pen, that my sister got me for my birthday, I was incredibly rusty but by the end of our little session my hand was getting steadier. We had the radio on and were sporadically chatting, but it’s a nice thing to do because you can’t rush it and it takes a surprising amount of concentration. There’s not really room for thinking about other things. I really must do it more regularly.

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After calligraphy time my sister let her boyfriend’s parrot, Kiwi, out to stretch her wings. When I first met Kiwi she was fine with me, but every time after that she has either tried to bite me or has been successful in biting me.

I’ve made the effort to see her more often and going by body language, I’ve been getting the impression that she’s been warming to me. So yesterday was the test.

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THANKFULLY it seems that, at the very least, there is a truce. Phew. My sister tells me that Kiwi has never been this friendly and well behaved in front of anyone other than her and her boyfriend before, so we have definitely made progress. No blood offering was necessary this time!

I haven’t had time for any crafts today because I’ve been batch cooking, doing a mountain of washing, cleaning and tidying. But that does mean everything should be in enough order by tomorrow for me to do something creative in the afternoons.

That’s the idea anyway!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Hmm, Maybe

Flipping HECK I’ve been busy! There have been countless times over the last week where I’ve wanted to blog but something else has had to take a priority. That something has mostly been sleep. For once in my life I’ve done the sensible thing that will pay off in the long-term rather than just making everything harder for myself.

Now it’s time to remember what on earth I’ve been doing lately.

One day I had to pop to the local shops, which are now mostly shut down, but the post office and the charity shops are still there till next month. After dropping off a parcel to be returned, I headed to the Sue Ryder which is where I get my best and most bargainous purchases.

Since I’ve been looking for materials rather than actual items of clothing, I find it really hard not to just zoom in on my own size and the things I automatically know will suit me. I dragged my eyes away from the 16’s and started from the beginning of the rail nearest me.

Bingo!

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I now have a lovely selection of sequins to fulfil all of my craft project needs, but can I really butcher this rather fetching scarf for materials? Well yes, because that ain’t no scarf.

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It is in fact a size 8 mini skirt that wouldn’t look out of place on a Spice Girl. My mother, bless her, thinks that I can shrink into it but I proved that unless I have reconstructive surgery on my skeleton, then that will never be the case. My hip bones are wider than the actual skirt, which I really don’t have a problem with – as a 6-footer getting into single digit clothing has never once been an aspiration of mine! Regardless, it’s a brilliant non-scale victory to be able to feel my hip bones at all. The NSV’s are coming thick and fast lately.

For the record I don’t think I would wear it even if it did fit me.

On Friday I, wait for it, went for a walk in my favourite park. No surprises there then. The light was gorgeous though, and after carefully making sure my shadow was out of shot I then took another photo with my shadow in shot. Because, and I know it doesn’t exactly count because it’s stretched anyway,  my shadow has never looked that good! Another NSV for the collection…

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On Saturday I went to my dad’s to have a soak in his tub before he came back from holiday in the afternoon, where I spent a good couple of hours reading and getting wrinkly. It was delightful.

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Did I mention I’ve been getting lots of NSV’s lately? While I was waiting for enough hot water for my bath, I decided to get on my dad’s exercise bike and get my minimum 30 minutes cardio in for the day. Except even with the resistance set to the maximum and cycling as very fast as I could go, I just couldn’t keep my heart rate up enough for it to count! I know it’s not the best bike, but there was a time when I couldn’t do ten minutes on it and half the resistance, so I’ll take that and run with it.

After getting home, doing 30 minutes on my own exercise bike with one of the fancy hill-climb programs, the rest of the day was meal prep and sleep. The meal prep was especially important because I was out for a birthday lunch with a friend today, at his mum’s, and I insisted on taking my own grub so I could remain totally in control. It might seem a bit drastic, but being vegan I have a cast-iron excuse for doing it that people don’t tend to question. I told you, I’m serious about this getting to target business!

While we were in the area we took a peek at Abberton Reservoir which looks stunning. We didn’t have time to have a proper look but we’ll definitely go back to explore in future.

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My friend insisted on my wearing one of his many flat caps because he said it suited me, and though his noggin is quite a bit larger than mine and I’m not entirely sure I carried it off, I’m now taken by the idea of hats. Maybe I am a hat person after all.

Perhaps I can’t pull all three off at once though?

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Either way I’ve been thinking about my personal style more and more lately, and I’m rather excited now that I’m brave enough to wear pretty much anything that catches my eye. Except sequined mini-skirts perhaps…

This post reads as rather sedate, but I swear I haven’t had a minute to myself! Knowing me I’ve probably forgotten half of what I did.

As for tomorrow, I was thinking of having a waaaaaay overdue get-stuff-done day, but when my sister reminded me she’s off work for the week instead I asked if she wanted to meet up and do something. My being sensible streak couldn’t last forever you know, and in any case the boring chores will still be there on Tuesday.

I’ve suddenly been reminded of #onplanoctober, and I’m happy to say every single day of the month so far I have been absolutely 100% on it. As ever I’m not convinced this will show on the scales tomorrow, especially after my long walk and fabulous loss last week. Oh, and I should also give the appearance of star week this very morning an honourable mention. Damn.

I can’t control any of these things, but I can control what I eat. So that’s exactly what I intend to do.

Until tomorrow,

Hayley x

Birthday Weekend

I’m currently a little bit behind with my blogging. Last week was such a busy one! It’s not just the blog that’s fallen by the wayside – I’m behind on absolutely everything. I did want to get started with some crafty pursuits but I decided to make activity a priority instead. I’ve probably done too much if I’m honest (and work was exceptionally hard as a result of that) so I’m looking forward to a calmer week this week.

Friday was a walk in the park before work, which took 1 hour 23 minutes. It wouldn’t have been quite that long, but at one point I was down on my hands and knees getting photos of a furry little critter. I also had to hang around to make sure it made it safely across the path. As you do.

I wonder what it’ll grow up to be? It was an absolutely beautiful day – it was the perfect temperature and everything looked really picturesque. I know that’s not going to last so I’ve been making the most of it.

Saturday was a walk into town (via the park) with two of my absolute favourite human beings, namely my brother and sister. It was my birthday weekend so my sister had visited to drop off my presents and spend some time with me. If Friday was a nice day it was nothing, nothing, to how gorgeous Saturday was.

We took some oats and fed the birdies, and I found some mushrooms. They’re everywhere right now. It also occurred to me how utterly absurdly long a swan’s neck looks when it’s fully extended. Weird.

I’ve got to say, I felt especially wonderful on Saturday. I put on my dungarees and a mustardy stripy top, and came down to check with my sister that it wasn’t a little too much.

I bumped into my brother first who exclaimed that my outfit was just ‘so me’. Which made me very happy because I thought the same thing! My mum and sister agreed wholeheartedly, so I went into town in (what I think is) a bold outfit without worrying what people would think.

Non-scale victory? You bet! As it happens my outfit went perfectly with a sunny autumn day in the park.

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It was also the perfect opportunity to play with my new gadget – a series 1 Apple Watch. As anyone who has read more than one of my posts will know, I’m absolutely terrible with money. Having said that, even I have been sensible enough not to blow several hundred pounds that I don’t have on something that isn’t really necessary.

But then my good friend offered me first refusal on his old watch and I managed to get myself a bargain! You would never know that it wasn’t brand, spanking new, it’s been that well looked after.

The first picture I took using the camera remote is one of my favourites of all time. I love these guys!

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Sunday was more birthday shenanigans, but I was so tired I can barely remember what happened. The day passed in a blur really. I opened my presents in the morning, then a friend visited and we went shopping in Tesco and Lidl. It was crazy busy, so somehow that managed to take up a huge chunk of the day. After that I did a little food prep for my walk on Monday.

I really wanted to get ahead on some chores but I was so tired I just had to have a little sleep.

When I got up I realised that I hadn’t done my official exercise for the day, so I managed to squeeze in 30 mins of hula hooping before I went to visit a friend for some dinner and more presents, and some flowers too. Yay!

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Actually, when I got there I hadn’t quite filled my green activity ring (I’m really getting into the Apple Watch fitness app now, but more about that another time) so while my friend was having a quick shower I jogged around the house to make sure my goals were entirely complete.

By the time I got home I was cream-crackered, so I got myself straight to bed. Not before reflecting on how proud of myself I was. My friend really wanted me to have a bottle of prosecco but I outright refused, my mother listened to me when I said I didn’t want cake, so I spent my whole birthday weekend entirely on plan.

I did do the same thing last year, but it was different then. I didn’t really want to be on plan, so I spent the whole time feeling like I was missing out on something. What happened next was that I eventually cracked and had a massive binge.

I’m so glad I didn’t feel like that this time around.

So, did all of this hard work pay off at weigh in yesterday? Well, you’ll have to wait till the next post to find out otherwise this post will turn into a novel!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Teeny Hot Water Bottles

I am happy. Really really happy. It’s mostly down to some marvellous purchases I’ve made over the last couple of days, and although I’d say generally I’m not that materialistic, I’m quite happy to call myself a material girl in this instance. Mostly the best things in life are free, but some of them are £36 and £4.50.

I love dungarees. Always have done. I have a memory of being at play school (so I couldn’t have been more than 4 years old) of the teacher having to undo the clasps of my denim dungas so that I could pee. I think that was the last time I had a pair that fit me though.

After that I remember wearing pinafore dresses at school, which is like the top bit of dungarees that then go into a dress, and it makes me so, so happy that they have made a serious comeback in recent years. I have two in my wardrobe currently and they are among my very favourite things.

Dungarees have now also become readily available, but the last pair I tried on (about a year ago) looked bloody awful on me. Until now my tummy has been covered up with something loose-fitting at all times, and I didn’t imagine that would be changing any time soon. But after my success at getting my Levi’s to do up I decided to give dungarees another go.

As luck would have it, I’ve been following a company on Instagram called Lucy and Yak for some time, who make the most wonderful collection of dungarees and other cool items of clothing. The dungas though… they are particularly awesome.

I’ve been thinking about them for a while, but when I saw a post where someone had put a mini hot water bottle in the front pocket… well I knew I had to have a pair.

It’s not my birthday just yet, but my dad always gives me £40 every year without fail, so that’s what I used to buy mine. I did want a more vibrant colour, but they were sold out in my size for almost everything I clicked on so eventually I went with cappuccino. The cappuccino at least is very autumnal and I have some lovely tops that will go really well underneath.

So my dungarees arrived, and I felt a wee bit disheartened when I took them out of their little (plastic free) bag that they’d come in. They looked really small, and I’d ordered the biggest size they do.

Well then, I’d just see how far they were from fitting. Except… they already fit! They went over my tummy easily, and even though I’m 6ft and they don’t seem to do anything more than a 30″ leg in a large, I could tie them up so that they were long enough, or pull them up properly and have roll-ups. Either way I feel absolutely fantastic in them, and basically intend to live in them and my two dresses for the rest of my life.

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They are pricier than your usual supermarket/Primark stuff, but the extra money comes with extra benefits. There’s been a lot in the media lately about how terrible for the environment ‘fast fashion’ is, but Lucy and Yak are a really ethical company.

This is from a little note I got with my package:

Your Lucy & Yaks are handmade by a fabulous small family business in an impoverished rural part of north India. We know all of the tailors personally. We helped build their factory and we know how much they are paid. Our UK warehouse, studio and offices all run on 100% renewable energy and we are now an accredited LivingWage.org employer. We are 100% self funded and we think profit comes last.

Yep, that’s a company policy I can get behind. If that’s not enough the particular dungaree I bought used cotton woven on an old loom to give it character, so every piece has slight imperfections. It was made by hand, by the same tailor from start to finish, meaning that there’s no other pair of dungarees out there quite like mine. I think that’s awesome.

Of course this is all wonderful, but it hasn’t been all plain sailing this week. On Wednesday I got out of work early, intending to get to the 24 hour Tesco for supplies, get a good sleep, then go for a nice long walk in the afternoon. But things did NOT go to plan.

By the time I got to Tesco, which is a ten minute journey from work, my engine temperature gauge was nudging the red. Damn.

I checked the oil (all good) and water (oh dear, dry as a bone) then went to get my shopping. I topped up the water when I got out but it wasn’t going anywhere. Not good.

I waited for the engine to cool and got home by stopping repeatedly to make sure I didn’t kill the engine completely, then after a very restless sleep I spent the rest of the day with my friend making arrangements to get it fixed.

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He very kindly discovered what was wrong (the water pump is broken), bought the new part, and got underneath the car to see how difficult it would be to replace himself. It would be a load of faff it turns out, so he’s arranged for a mobile mechanic to fix it Tuesday, and is insisting on covering the entire cost as my birthday present.

How flipping wonderful is my friend?

More wonderful than that even, because he has lent me his Jaguar until my car is fixed while he drives around in an old banger. Seriously, I am so lucky.

While we were outside the Amazon guy delivered the package I was waiting for and in it was… a teeny tiny hot water bottle (which is where the £4.50 comes in). I may have car troubles, but my life is actually now complete I think. Winter, I am ready for you!

I’ve spent the rest of my time being a little concerned that my weight isn’t changing (though it’s prolly hormones), but there’s nothing to do about that except carry on with what I’ve been doing. Sometimes I’m easy going about it, other times it niggles at me constantly.

I volunteered for the more physical job at work last night and got some extra calories burned, I’m going out for a walk later, I’m walking into town with my sister tomorrow and will probably do something active Sunday too. Food has been on point, so I’m doing all I can. I just have to be patient and wait for my body to play ball. A loss or not this week, I still fit into some pretty damn awesome items of clothing!

As ever the clock is ticking, so I’ll say bye for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x