The One and Only Wedding

Finally I can stop worrying, because the wedding is done! The relief is almost palpable. Friday night I had something between four and five hours sleep, that’s how stressed I was. I just couldn’t get off.

I learned a lot this weekend. I learned that anything related to a wedding will take at least four times as long as it would ordinarily. I learned that you need someone to boss the wedding party around otherwise nothing will ever get done. I realised that wedding guests are like particularly unruly cats who just refuse to go where you want them to. In short, I learned I am never doing this again!

I’m not complaining though, because despite all of the negatives I actually had a fantastic time and really enjoyed the experience. The first plus point was meeting Kerry, my friend’s parents’ goddaughter. The usher dropped out last minute at which point Kerry stepped in, and she was BRILLIANT.

I’ve rarely met someone I’ve liked so quickly and so fully – she’s an absolute diamond and I truly believe the bride would still be getting into her dress now if we hadn’t had her to keep everyone in check. She’s a pure soul, completely and utterly herself at all times and so full of life. She helped me fulfil my photographic duties no end, and even had some great suggestions for shots which came out beautifully. I will be forever grateful that she was there. She’s also a wonderful hair stylist, with her own salon no less, so if you’re ever in Devon and need your hair (or beard) tended to, you can find her at Shortcutz.

Here she is taking a break in her ushering duties getting the groom’s beard under control.

At this point I even managed to sneak in a selfie of me in the wonderful dress!

The scariest part for me was the bride coming down the aisle. It was a particularly short aisle, and I just didn’t have the time to screw up. But I got the shot, then I could relax a bit. That was probably the part I was most worried about. Anything else could be redone. After that I could breathe again.

Then came the group shots, and a really weird thing happened. I kind of ended up in charge, taking over from Kerry, but the especially strange thing is that I was pretty good at it! I really surprised myself. What’s more, I enjoyed it.

I well and truly found my very loud ‘do as I say’ voice which certainly carried itself all the way to the stragglers at the bar, but when people were being particularly stubborn I found that I was bossing them around in a nice way, with a smile on my face. I actually spent a large portion of this stage of the proceedings laughing my head off. I never knew I had being confident in front of 60 people all looking to me for direction in me!

Next up I got into a stunningly beautiful VW camper van with the newlyweds where we drove to a nice spot to get the couple shots.

In a way I’m disappointed with what I got, because if I’d had a couple of hours to play around I could have done so much more. But I didn’t have a couple of hours, I had about 20 minutes. The couple have seen an initial couple of edits and thankfully they’re over the moon. I don’t have to move away and change my name after all!

The chap who drove the van, Lawrence from Retro Rides 4 Brides, was just an absolute star. I told him I’d never photographed a wedding before and he chipped in straight away with the best shots he’d seen other photographers do during the course of his work. He was so friendly and helpful, I honestly could have cried with how sweet everyone involved was. I’m feeling the love!

The DJ in the evening was the same. He arranged his lights the way most photographers asked it to be done to make sure they didn’t ruin the shots for the first dance, he took the time to learn my name and made sure I was available before he announced the dance or the cake cutting.

Once those bits were done I really started to enjoy myself. Official duties were over, so I dumped my flash in my room, grabbed my fastest lens (the lens that lets in the most light, so it’s good for low light conditions) and did what I do best – just capturing little moments throughout the night where the subjects are none the wiser. Because I don’t have to think so much about this kind of photography, I unashamedly got on the G&T’s. Which explains the dreadful hangover I had the next day.

Now the editing really begins, and I have a lot of work to do. Professional photographers often allow months for this turnaround, so I’m happy to take my time and do it over the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to rush it.

Plus I have other things to be getting on with, which I’ll talk about in the next post. The wedding day felt very much like both an ending for me and a new beginning, which I wasn’t expecting.

Right, time for me to get on now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Student Digs

Whenever I’ve stayed away from home lately I’ve been spoiled. Over the last year or so I’ve grabbed some serious bargains when it comes to accommodation (the cheapest being FREE) and I’ve been super lucky that everywhere I stayed was rather lovely. I suppose my luck had to run out eventually.

Tonight I am staying in Canterbury ready for my friend’s wedding tomorrow, which I’m photographing. I only wanted a place nearby where I could sleep, because I don’t want to be braving the motorway on the morning of the wedding. Especially as the M20 is closed in both directions near my friend’s house. That would not be wise.

Since I’m only sleeping here, it’s not too much of a problem that it’s not exactly the nicest place I’ve stayed in. It smells like dog, and it’s generally all a bit forlorn, but it’ll do. I can just about see Canterbury cathedral from my room.

Since it’s a university town this kind of accommodation is to be expected, and it was dirt cheap, so I’m sure not complaining. I spent the money I saved in a Mountain Warehouse round the corner as they are in the midst of a massive sale. I bought a couple of quick-drying bits which I love, love, love. I wear moisture-wicking clothing whenever I can these days, it’s the best!

Anyway with this wedding imminent I can’t decide if I’m being calm today because I think I know what I’m doing, or if I’m in complete denial and will freak out tomorrow. It’s anyone’s guess.

I ate at Wagamama and spent the time between courses arriving finalising my shot list as well as making sure I have everything covered and appropriately planned. I am feeling positive but I’ll also be mightily glad when it’s all over. My friend hasn’t had the best track run when it comes to weddings, so this better be the last one he has because I sure ain’t photographing another one!

In the meantime, for all of my talk about avoiding diet culture I finally hit my limit. I have been unable to locate my off switch so I’m going back to Slimming World for help!

Basically I have put on a rather large and unacceptable amount of weight (the dress I bought only a couple of weeks ago for this very wedding is already rather tight) and I’m feeling downright uncomfortable now. My own reflection is looking odd to me. I look like I’ve been stung by several bees.

I don’t regret my actions of the last few months. I made big changes in my life and I needed to get to a good place before I could really think clearly about my diet.

What I do wish is that I could have figured out exactly what was going on at the time. The benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing is it not?

I think what I wanted deep down was a break from it all, and that’s what I got. But boy did I beat around the bush first!

After years of dedicating most of my thoughts to making progress with my weight, I’d just had enough. Plus my brain was too busy focusing on other things.

Now I really, really feel ready to continue, and it’s actually quite an inconvenience to have this wedding in the meantime. To be honest I’d like to start eating properly RIGHT NOW, but instead I have another day before my food is back in my own control.

It’s not the end of the world though. Tomorrow is going to be so busy (I will be on the go from 7am to midnight) it’ll be over before I know it.

I might not feel comfortable as I am, but I also know I’ll be feeling a million times better in just a week or two. It won’t take much to turn this around.

My plan today had been to explore Canterbury, but I didn’t even get a chance. The time has just disappeared. Instead I’m going to get as much sleep as possible to I’m in the best condition for tomorrow.

Wish me luck!

Hayley x

The Beast

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

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

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

Teak is SOLID.

Teak is DENSE.

Teak is HEAVY.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

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

I’ll do it tomorrow…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Responsibility

What with one thing or another, when my week off work came around I felt that it was desperately needed. What I forgot, since I was wrapped up in all kinds of different thoughts, is that I don’t do well with that much time to myself.

I’m not going to be hard on myself, because I got more done than I usually do and that’s an achievement. A massive room sort, lovely time hanging out with Pea, seeing friends, quality sibling time, walking loads, binge-watching Stranger Things, taking time to read… but I always feel sad by the end of the week and wish I hadn’t booked so much time off in one go. Long weekends are the best breaks for me, I just need to remember that.

Although I do have a whole week booked off in September there’s not really much I can do about that. In the first half of the week I’m camping with my brother, and in the second half I’m photographing my friend’s wedding. I’m starting to get a little nervous about that, but they’re the good kind of nerves. It’s something I’ve never done before but for once in my life I’m not actually doubting my abilities. Well that’s a weird feeling!

Since I’ll be so fully occupied I doubt I’ll have time to feel sad.

As far as eating goes, I have been eating all the things, but miraculously I have still hovered within a few pounds of the 14 stone mark. My body seems to be really happy at that weight, and I can easily maintain it whilst having a really unhealthy diet. I could call target right now and ‘live my best life’. Is that what I want though? Is my definition of my best life one where I settled for less than I wanted? Do I want to keep up with what could easily escalate into an uncontrollable binge/purge cycle? Maybe once, but not now.

I’ve been so unsure of myself lately. I’ve been stuck in a rut, especially as far as Slimming World goes, and I’ve felt boredom settling in. I spoke to my sister yesterday about perhaps stopping my membership for a few weeks, then I thought it through on my own. Then I got another opinion from a trusted friend, and eventually figured out what it is I actually want and need.

I need a fresh start, that’s for sure, and I’d absolutely love to have my old consultant Amanda helping me get to target. Now I’m just a plain ole member again I’m free to switch to her group if I wish, but I feel bad about leaving my existing group.

Y’know what? I’m sick to death of feeling bad. I can be miserable and guilty where I am, or I can change things and be happy in the long term. I have to remind myself – I’M NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR EVERYONE ELSE. I feel the most ridiculous amount of responsibility, so much more than anyone would probably guess. There’s someone at work with a poorly family member. I don’t even know him that well at all but when talking to him about it I felt guilty that I didn’t know how to make him feel better. That’s just… stoopid! Most of the time just being a friendly ear is enough.

I was reading this post from Elsie from A Beautiful Mess about how she changed her life, and although she wasn’t giving advice, simply sharing her experience, I was inspired to do something similar.

I had a pretty notebook with no particular function, so rather than let it sit there gathering dust I’ve used it to list a whole bunch of stuff I want to change, do and work on. There’s no time limit, though in general I’m thinking along the lines of the remainder of the year, and my plan is to just flip through it and decide which thing to do next.

Some will take longer than others as I’ll need money (such as re-carpeting most of the house) but others are simpler, like making a doctor’s appointment I’ve been putting off or not ripping pages out of my sketch book if something isn’t ‘good enough’. I think it’ll be a fun, useful and eye-opening project.

So, a plan of action. I’m back at work tonight which always makes eating healthy easier too, so back on plan it is. It’s soooooo hot this week, I’m going on my walks straight from work so I don’t get burnt to a crisp, and I’ll go to my group next week and explain to them I’ll be moving on after that. Simple, right?

Now I’m hanging out in the garden until it’s time for my pre-work nap.

Bye for now!

Hayley x

Rivalry

I don’t normally check the weather before I go out walking, but something made me have a look before bed yesterday. In the morning thunder storms were forecast, and since I was going walking in the woods I figured it would be best to wait till the afternoon. I really don’t fancy getting hit by a bolt of lightening.

Before I left the house, just before midday, I double checked. The forecast was cloud then sunshine. Perfect!

In a bid to attempt to free the legs, I got myself some cargo shorts. I wish I’d done this sooner – they are so comfy and airy!

What I might do though, is invest in some of the quick-drying variety, because as I arrived at the nature reserve the heavens opened. The other day I got rained on plenty, but this was something else entirely. It was like someone had poured a bucket of water over my head, and I could barely see in front of me. Then the thunder and lightening started, but since I was well in amongst the trees by then there wasn’t really much I could do but carry on.

I was soaked through to my under crackers.

There’s a bit of friendly rivalry going on between me and a friend, to see who covers the highest average daily distance over the month. With this in mind I walked to the nature reserve rather than driving then walking, did my old 5k running route, then crossed the road to another part of the reserve to go to the visitors centre.

There I bought 2kg of wild bird seed, as you do, because I figure it’s nicer for the profits to go to the Essex Wildlife Trust than some big corporation. They do some damn good work y’know. Plus it’s more exercise lugging the extra weight home.

Since my friend is tracking in kilometres I decided to do the same to make it easier, and I covered almost 20 of them today. Not bad.

As the sun came out to play I was almost completely dry in a very short space of time, apart from my bottom which stayed soggy all the way home.

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how ridiculous I must have looked taking that photo?

From there on in I was able to appreciate the reserve more, so of course I went and got myself licked by a cow. As you do.

Everything was all so nice and fresh after the rain. So good for the soul.

And it also won’t be long till there are plenty of blackberries to forage. I’ve been making a mental note of all the best spots to go back to.

So yesterday I went to the cinema for the first time in months, with a zombie-nut friend to see The Dead don’t Die. I don’t have much to say other than please don’t bother seeing thus awful film! I feel it is my duty to warn you. I kind of see what they were trying to do – they were trying to make a commentary on the materialism of modern society, which could have been interesting but OH MY CRAP IT WAS JUST SO BORING TO WATCH. Go ahead, be arty, have meaning, but Jesus make it watchable yeah? Just a thought. It was so bad, four people couldn’t even make it to the end and walked out!

I’m going to a boot sale tomorrow with the same friend, which will hopefully be a more successful venture. Plus it’s massive so I’ll get more kilometres in. I can’t go wrong.

I’m up early for that, so it’d best get to bed.

Until next time!

Hayley x

Holiday Mode: Engaged!

Yesterday I made a couple of mistakes. First of all, I agreed to do something I didn’t really want to do. I’m aware I’m being annoyingly cryptic, but I’m trying to find the sweet spot between telling you what’s been going on and airing my dirty laundry in public.

Sometimes the relationships we have with people (I’m primarily talking about friendships here) naturally run their course and you just end up drifting away from each other. Sometimes a person is toxic and although the friendship clearly isn’t a good one, it takes some sort of action to get things to their inevitable conclusion.

In my life I have one person who really isn’t good for me in any way, and although I’ve been seeing less and less of said person, for my own peace of mind I know it categorically has to be zero contact from now on. My options are a) block and ignore, or b) face up to it and explain to the person, then block. I feel like the bad guy in both of these scenarios.

After sticking to my guns and staying on plan whilst eating out at Wagamama Sunday afternoon (om nom nom, kare baruso ramen, 14 syns) when I got home I went for option c) eat a load of crap to bury my feelings. Ugh, so dumb. I wasn’t even hungry. I have a nice relaxing day planned tomorrow, so I shall choose which option (a or b, no more c!) to take then actually follow through with it.

In the meantime I’m not exactly looking forward to weigh in because not only did yesterday happen, I’ve also puffed up like a balloon again. I have sausage fingers! So it’s gonna be a gain, however it’s not so bad. I already have my next plan of action. Screw SP, I’m going back to my happy, carb-filled life. Rather than boost my weight loss, SP just gives me a tummy ache, so there’s no point in trying to do a whole week of it. I also know without a doubt that yesterday evening’s slip up is definitely confined to yesterday, and won’t be creeping into this lovely, fresh new week. Onwards and upwards, and no letting a bad few hours turn into a bad month.

So yes, it’s now holiday time! I’m not going away anywhere, but I am really going to enjoy this week. Last night I kicked things off by starting series three of Stranger Things. I intended to watch just one episode then go to sleep, however one episode escalated into the whole series. I liked the second series, but it didn’t blow me away, however the latest offering was right back to original form. Totally loved it. As such I ended up going to sleep at 3am. Oops!

Today I’d planned to do some sorting in my room, but instead I slept in very late and ran out of time. But hey, that’s what holidays are for right?

Now I have to get ready to go to group and find out what the damage is. I’ll update you tomorrow, hopefully from banks of a rather lovely lake.

Until then!

Hayley x

Right Buttock

In my last post I described myself as clumsy. I’d like to add ‘accident-prone’ to that as well, because clumsy just isn’t adequate.

I’ve been away this weekend, but before I went I hurt my fingers by accidentally punching a cupboard. I reached to get something out of it, missed, and somehow punched it instead. That’s just me.

On the long, long drive up to visit my friend my accident-proneness thankfully didn’t extend to the car, because I had quite enough trouble to be getting on with thank you very much. I haven’t had much luck with the M25 lately – last time I did a long journey I got stuck for hours as both sides of the motorway were closed while an injured child was helicoptered out and the police investigated.

This time an hour was added to my journey to avoid multiple crashes on the M25, and although in general I’m happy enough as long as traffic is moving, my new route sent me around the outskirts of London, which is nightmarish. Sirens everywhere, people cutting each other up left, right and centre, shouting, horns blaring, a set of traffic lights every five minutes… not fun.

Eventually I made it onto the M1 where a lorry had broken down in the middle lane of three particularly narrow lanes, in the middle of a huge stretch of roadworks, and was causing absolute havoc. Add another half-an-hour to my journey. Yay!

As these things go it wasn’t too stressful, because there was no particular time I had to be at my friends and for once in my life I wasn’t too desperate to pee. I arrived with dry underwear and plenty of time for us to do something fun.

The fun thing came in the form of disc golf, which is like golf but played with frisbees which you have to get into a metal basket. Golf is something I’ve never been the slightest bit interested in, so I wasn’t expecting to like disc golf either, but it was actually awesome!

The park it was in is absolutely beautiful, and I was doing loads of exercise without even realising it. It was also a gorgeous evening, so even a few mishaps couldn’t bring me down. In fact they added to the experience.

Before I went away I shared my location with my mother via an app on our phones, because I usually forget to tell her I’ve arrived safely or give any information as to what I’m actually up to. Shortly into the course I get a text from her:

‘It’s saying you’re in the river Avon. You’re not in the river Avon are you?’

Or something along those lines. My reply?

‘Well… I’m not in the Avon now.’

The thing about frisbees is, it’s really hard to get them to go where you want them to go. I’m also not very good at throwing things (weak arms) so one of my discs was almost guaranteed to go in the river. It didn’t go too far in, so I was getting that baby out!

It is nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t fall in.

Later on I lost a disc in a huge patch of nettles, and although I had to admit defeat, that didn’t stop me from trying.

I got stung. A lot.

There was plenty of laughing and plenty of swearing as I tried, and failed, to beat the nettles down with a stick whilst getting stung around the ankles. All good fun. Then later on, as it started to get dusky and the grass started to collect dew drops, I slipped whilst walking down a hill.

I always, ALWAYS land on my right buttock, and it ALWAYS hurts like hell. Once a boyfriend of mine picked me up. I was feeling pretty good because I’d lost quite a bit of weight at Slimming World at the time (the time I stopped going and ended up putting it all back on) but then he dropped me and, you guessed it. I landed on the right butt cheek. The annoying thing though is that it never bruises, so although it hurts for days afterwards I never have anything to show for it. Life is sometimes so unfair!

For the next day we had planned an epic canal walk, but sections of it were closed off for repair so we gave that a miss (for now, anyway) and just ended up doing a local route before heading back home to chill out while the rain eased off. My friend is just getting into walking and isn’t quite at the ‘all weathers no matter what’ stage.

Later on we just chose ‘a nice bridge’ as a place to aim for and ended up here.

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It’s not my usual way of doing things, but we did end up doing more than 20 miles over the course of the weekend, so I can’t really complain. As for me, I prefer to drive somewhere especially nice then explore from there rather than having to do a long trek through town first.

Sunday morning we went to a boot sale, which I was quietly optimistic about because people from that area seem to give away/sell much nicer stuff than I am used to at home. I have been on the lookout for a cheap Ikea POÄNG chair since I first sat in one over a year ago, at another friend’s house. He lives in the same area, and got his chair super cheap. The friend I was visiting also got his POÄNG chair locally and it was also super cheap. Surely it was my turn?

The boot sale turned out to be really small, but… there was someone selling one! They’re about £60 to buy new, but this one was going for £15. When I asked how much it was going for the seller informed me that a lady had just enquired about it and gone off to get her husband to carry it. However, since no cash had yet changed hands he was happy to give it to me. I felt a bit bad but, y’know, I’ve been waiting for sooooooo long and I wanted it sooooooo badly. So eff it. I now have my comfy chair! Plus I saved that poor chap from having to lug it around, because it really is heavy.

Now I’m back home again and feeling rather pleased with myself. My friend is getting healthy but he is still in the phase where he doesn’t want to give up the ‘nice’ things. Therefore he’s been trying to convince me (and himself) that we deserve the nice things, because we walked far.

My mindset is currently a million miles away from his, so I was able to say no over and over, to the suggestions of pizza, rhubarb crumble, chocolate, and (a favourite of mine) Wagamama. I could have fit a huge bowl of ramen (14 syns for my favourite one) into my day, however he had convinced me to go to a cafe for breakfast and I’d already used my syns for the day on wholemeal bread as the best option available to me was beans on toast.

On the return journey various crashes and holdups mercifully only added half-an-hour onto my trip, and I’d already prepared by packing Quorn vegan ham and cherry tomatoes as my car snacks.

I passed about 20 McDonald’s as I drove home, and I must admit it did take a lot to not stop off and order five portions of salty fries. No one would know, after all. But if I want to get to target this year I have to stay strong. So that’s what I did. When I got in I didn’t feel much like cooking, so I just whipped up a plate of Free pretend chicken and, exhausted, got myself to bed. After assembling my chair of course!

Although this weekend has been slightly lacking in the Speed Food department, I have stayed on plan overall and I’m dead chuffed with that.

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This morning I went out for a walk in the park whilst hoping that the fresh air would clear my head and let me remember where my GODDAMN KEYS ARE. Thankfully I have two cars (sounds fancier than it is) and most luckily the car keys don’t live on the same keyring. So I am still able to get out and about.

I only have one key to each car, so I really need to find them. They can’t have gone far, I drove the car home for eff’s sake! I’m really trying not to let it wind me up. That won’t help anything.

Several Hours Later…

The keys have been found! I sometimes put them on the water butt (as you do) whilst I’m carrying heavy things in through the back door. For some reason I decided to check in the clump of weeds wild poppies growing at the base and there they were! What a numpty.

I’m now back from weigh in. I’ve lost half a pound and I’m cheesed off, because it’s not an accurate reflection of my week. I’ve worked so damn hard, but clearly my body doesn’t know that and how I deal with this for the next seven days is pivotal to my success.

Normally I’d be thinking ‘what’s the point, may as well go and eat crap’ but deep down I know that if I just carry on, then it’ll likely show as a nice big loss on the scales next week.

Time to stop repeating past mistakes. I’ll just keep going.

Hayley x

By a Thread

Since I last posted I’ve been in a dark place. Me starting to feel a tiny bit better was then replaced by depression coming along and punching me right in the side of the head with all its strength – and I’m still reeling from the blow.

Notable achievements over the past week have been having a shower and being awake for a few hours in a row. The other day I even picked my post up from the floor. It sounds funny when I put it like that, but I’m not exaggerating. That was a big deal.

My ‘ordinary’ job has been quiet, which is lucky, so I have been going home early at every opportunity, though without pay. I know I can’t really afford it, and I feel guilty and scared about that, but also I know that being unconscious is the only thing that feels good at the moment and I’ll take any opportunity that will allow me to achieve that. What I dearly want from most from life right now is to be asleep. To be anything but feeling like this.

Oblivion please.

Eating well has gone out of the window and I skipped weigh-in on Tuesday partly because I genuinely didn’t have the energy and partly because I wasn’t in a fit state to interact with people, at least unless absolutely necessary. I wanted to go, but there’s only so much I can handle.

Somehow, on Monday night I managed to find the strength to make it to my own Slimming World group and deliver what seemed to be a perfectly acceptable new member talk. Huh. Although I suspected I had it in me, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it feeling like… this. But I did. Cool.

Let me try and explain what it’s like. I know things, logically – for instance I went out for a walk last Thursday and I knew that the cool breeze was lovely on my face, I knew that the sun was making everything look pretty, and that going for a walk is good for me. I knew it but I couldn’t feel it.

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I took a picture. See, pretty yes?

Afterwards I went for a really nice meal at a pub down the road. The food was super fancy but in a down-to-earth setting with no snooty staff. I had a chocolate bomb and the waitress came round with a teeny tiny saucepan full of sauce to pour over the top, melt the shell and reveal the delicious insides. It came with real flowers on top. I ate a flower. Normally that would have thrilled me, but not then. Damn.

Today a friend very kindly came out with me for moral support while I was putting up some posters for my Slimming World group. It went a lot better with company, and I am feeling more confident that I’ll find some hidden reserves in order to give my group the service they deserve when I launch on the 24th. They really do deserve it, they are special people.

In the meantime, after sobbing down the phone to the doctor’s receptionist my appointment has been moved from next Wednesday to this Saturday morning. I’m genuinely counting down the days. One more to to get through once tonight is over with.

I know I won’t feel better straight away, but I need to know that something is going to get better.

I was looking back at photos from last year and the end of November was the last time I can say I felt really, properly happy. I really want to get back to feeling like I was then, and looking like I was then, too. Blimey I felt skinny!

I might be hanging on by a thread right now, but the truth is I know deep down that it’s a deceptively strong thread. I will be back to how I felt in November sooner or later. It’s testament to how much I’ve changed though because although I slip (more often than not these days it seems) apparently gone are the days when I completely give up.

So if you’re not feeling tip top right now, just like me, then give yourself a pat on the back for still putting one foot in front of the other, even if it is a tiny step.

We’ll get there.

Hayley x

Finding My Voice

I remember when I first started blogging and how uncomfortable I felt with the way it sounded when I read it back in my head. In time I found my ‘blogging voice’, and I’m finding that I need to go through the same kind of process to find my ‘talking to a group of people’ voice.

The initial talk I have planned for my new Slimming World members took much longer than expected, because the first time I tried to say it out loud I burst into tears and it took me a long time to stop. It didn’t happen that day. I was feeling panicked that I should have been further along with it by then, where I’m feeling down my confidence was a bit battered, I’m also not happy with myself and I felt like a fraud…

First of all, I messaged a few trusted people just to get my fears off of my chest, however silly they might have sounded. Reassurances came flooding back, and I arranged to meet my sister on Saturday so that she could listen to me say my talk out loud. I knew I needed to get it OUT of me, just one time, then I’d feel a lot better.

So Saturday came around, and although I was nearly in tears again I got it out. At first I was internally cringing like mad, and that came through in my voice. Plus I kept getting confused and losing my place. But by the time I was half-way through (it takes 25 minutes), my proper voice started to come through. Finally.

As a reward, because it sure did take a lot out of me, me and little sister went for a coffee and a walk. At long last it’s warm enough for me to wear my summer clothes! I started with a lovely floaty shirt dress, but found that unless all of it is included in the photo then I look a little bit like some sort of religious person.

Who cares though? Not me! You may notice the water behind me there. My sister has lived near this park with a lake for nearly two years, and finally we got around to having a go on a pedalo (a little boat with pedals that move the… propeller? Sounds about right).

Neither of us had been on one before and it was surprisingly hard work, but since my exercise has been a bit lacking lately that was an added bonus for me.

It was also surprisingly exciting, because at one point we were almost run aground. We were warned not to get too close to the island or the sides, and we didn’t, but the guy said nothing about going past the island. We pedalled like mad to get out of it, and were saved the embarrassment of either calling for help or just getting out and wading to the shore.

I slept well before work that evening I tell you!

Yesterday I did my new member talk for Pea, and it came out better still. She seemed to like it, too.

I then had a meeting which was all about planning my promotion, which starts next week. There are a lot of things I’ll be doing that will be taking me even further out of my comfort zone, plus I need to keep practicing the talk until I feel confident I can do it with my eyes shut. I have an enormous amount of work to do, plus my normal job, lots of things to worry about (some of which are valid worries, some aren’t) but it does mean that nerves about my first proper night in group are subsiding. Mostly because once that night is done I can relax for five minutes!

Yes I’m finding all of this really hard, but I’m imagining how fantastic I’ll feel when I’ve done all of these things I’m finding it hard to believe I can do in the first place. And there’s the fact I will have done them all on top of each other. I’m pretty sure that anything that comes after this will be a breeze.

I’m going to my group tonight but I’m not weighing in, because I’ve decided to got back to my original group. I was going to wait until after my first night running a group, but I’ve realised I need help, as a member and nothing else, as of right now. As I’ll be telling my members, this is your time, where you can figure out how to have a fantastic week and get loads of ideas from your lovely friends. I need that just as much as anyone else.

Right, to be honest I didn’t really have time to write this blog, so I must get going now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x