Time to Lose

So, after my grand plan of learning how to do things in moderation, have I made a good start? Have I heck. This week I’ve felt especially low, and eating well started to go down the toilet from Thursday afternoon. I’m really quite cross with myself (understatement of the year!)

Thursday should have been perfect. My friend put his car in for its MOT so I kept him company while he was waiting for a call back from the garage. I dragged him along for a walk at Langdon Hills, and although it was still much too cold for my liking, it was a beautiful day.

Comparisons have been made between that second picture and one you may remember from Windows XP. I’m pretty sure the Windows picture earned the photographer an obscene amount of money, so I’m now patiently waiting for several thousand pounds to hit my back account.

So, after a healthy and hilly stroll, what did I do? I went out for lunch. At a pizza restaurant. Did I search out a tomato-based pasta dish with salad? Nope. I had a three-course meal including sugary drink and I didn’t even enjoy it that much.

Things went downhill from there, though I did still get out of the house, this time with my little brother. Now we’re members of the Essex Wildlife Trust I’m on a mission to visit all of the sites in Essex, so we started at Fingringhoe Wick.

I didn’t have any expectations as to what it would be like or do any research, but it turned out to be lovely. It’s a bird-orientated place with loads of hides and loads of wildlife. We didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, but we did see a cormorant eating fish which was really cool. It disappeared under the water for ages it a time and came back successful about five times as we watched.

We also made friends with a pheasant, who we have named Bertram.

It was a really rubbish day in terms of weather, and the light was flat (bad for photography) so I was happy looking for the little details.

Another trick is to look for things that suit black & white.

That evening though, once I was home, I felt more out of control with my eating than ever. I honestly haven’t made myself feel that ill in years.

Yesterday I didn’t eat much, but for everything I didn’t eat I made up with several gin & tonics. Perhaps I’m understating things. I mean a lot of gin and tonics.

In this instance I have no regrets (not even the fact that I’ve been in bed all day nursing an awful hangover) because I had a lovely time. I bought me and Steve tickets to see ABC months and months ago and it finally came around.

They were accompanied by an orchestra who played an instrumental medley of their most famous hits. It was spine-tingly awesome. The band then played in two halves – the first half didn’t grab us so we went out to find more gin (strangely the venue closes the bar when the band is on, never seen that before) and we came back just in time for the second half. Then the band played their most famous album, The Lexicon of Love, in its entirety. It was seated but we got up and had a dance and I had just the most fabulous time.

I weighed in this evening, and was actually quite surprised that I only put on 2.5lbs. Now I really do have to make some changes to my current lifestyle, especially because I have something really exciting happening next week.

Next Tuesday I’m going for an interview for something really cool, and this is a massive deal. Traditionally I’ve been terrified of interviews and it’s probably definitely the main reason my career never progressed.

So me going for an interview now is especially great because it means for one I feel confident enough to actually do it, and two the thing I’m interviewing for is important enough to me for me to risk failure and rejection. No small deal at all.

This week I’m aiming for a decent loss (I’ve pledged five pounds in group) because I’d love to be feeling properly back in control for the first time in months when I have my interview. From then on I want to start making proper progress again. I’m not happy right now, and I know that making progress will undoubtedly bring me happiness.

I just have to stop stalling and get the hell on with it.

Hayley x

A New Chapter

Now that the thing I had hanging over my head has been resolved, I can be a tiny bit more open in my blog (without airing my dirty laundry in public of course).

I am once more a singleton, and whilst this is OK it has affected my eating in more ways than one. Even if you know it’s absolutely the right thing to do for everyone involved, ending a relationship is scary, and it hurts. The feeling scared part had me reaching for the bad foods, that’s for sure.

It’s not just that though. Once I’d made the decision and I realised I wasn’t morally obliged (although I never really was, these are obligations I totally put on myself) to tell a partner my results after going to group, I had a bit of a free-for-all. Hence last week’s 5.5 lb gain.

This week I had a bit of anxiety leading up the telling-the-other-person part, which again saw some bad food choices, but not as bad as the week before. I had a 1 lb gain this week which is about right. I knew what I was doing and I’m cool with it.

Whilst I’m feeling super-duper positive about the next chapter in my life, there’s still a little foreword to get out of the way before I really begin. I’m going to the pub with a friend on Thursday, then I’m out with the youngsters from work Sunday night. This is not conducive to a good result on the scales!

I could play it a few ways. I could go to the pub and drink diet coke, and do the same on Sunday. I could say ‘to hell with it’ again and have another mahoosive gain. I’ve thought about it and have decided to do something in between.

My main strategy is to be ‘on plan whenever I can’, so rather than thinking ‘I’m going to be naughty Thursday so I might as well not bother now’, I will make sure that today, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday are perfect days. Although Slimming World do not recommend it, I’m also going to be setting aside a few syns.

As for Thursday and Sunday, they are going to be gin-and-slimline-tonic kinda days, rather than the high-syn red wines I’m normally drawn to. Damage limitation is not my strong point, but I’ll never stop trying anyway.

The Sunday after will be a similar situation, then it’s a clear run till Swingamajig.

Anyway, onwards and downwards.

The week before last I went to Warley Place, which is run by the Essex Wildlife Trust. There was a chap there trying to sign people up to be members, but he was really pushy. I also didn’t have a huge amount of time and could see that he wanted me to fill out forms and things. I said I’d think about it and do it online later if I decided I wanted to go ahead.

‘I’d rather you didn’t,’ was his curt reply. Hmm, that got my back up.

I went on my walk and on the way out he said ‘if you just come over here I’ll finish your application’… Er, no way. You just lost yourself a sale mate!

Pushy people who have no idea how to speak to members of the public aside, the Wildlife Trust do loads of good work so last week I went ahead and registered online. I got a voucher through the post to exchange for a guide to all of their sites in Essex.

I did that today at the visitor’s centre at the nature reserve just down the road, since I was planning to go for a walk there anyway.

As it happens my walk was sublime. There was absolutely no one else around and it was so peaceful. All I could hear were the scurrying of squirrels, a woodpecker pecking, robins singing… it was just the best.

At the visitor’s centre there are some beautiful gardens but they’re looking a bit sparse right now. There were loads of volunteers out working on them though so I don’t imagine it’ll be long before there’s colour everywhere.

The best bit though was walking back and finding a bumper collections of mushrooms.

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Nope, not these ones. Though they are pretty cool.

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Look even closer…

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And even closer…

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That last one was in a dark crevice right at the back. An honourable mention must also be given to the fungus that looks like a poo.

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After seeing a jay, several green woodpeckers, blackbirds, tits of all kinds, pied wagtails, robins and a sweet little wren, I can safely say it has been a most productive day! My plan now is to visit every single site in my guide. Who knows what other treasures I might find?

I’ll keep you posted.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

Just Try Again

This week has not been the turnaround I’d hoped it would be. I’ve been so tired, so I’ve been letting myself sleep, which is good. I’ve also had mad cravings again… and I listened to them. Again. Hmm, not so good. I’m getting really annoyed with myself because although up until this point I’ve been sort of ‘getting away with it’ and exercising a certain amount of damage limitation, I think this week it’s all catching up with me. It simply has to stop. It’s one thing knowing what I have to do and another thing altogether putting it into practice though isn’t it?

So I try again. I think that’s my super power.

There’s a thing hanging over my head that I can’t talk about here, and once that’s resolved I’m sure I’ll find things easier. My mood has dropped quite drastically and I feel awful. I felt that I was doing quite well up until now. In the meantime I still need to practice coping with having things over my head because this will often be the case in life and I can’t go stuffing my face every single time it happens.

One little shining light is Pea, who seems really happy lately. She’s been such a sweet birdy and she’s been helping me out modelling while I practice mixing ambient light with flash.

This is the kind of shot I’d get if I didn’t use flash:

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It’s nice in its own way, but not ideal if you actually want to see, well, anything. For one there’s no way the following pose would have made me laugh quite so much if I couldn’t see all of the details. Seriously, this mid-preen shot cracks me up every time I look at it – she just looks so utterly ridiculous!

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My next little mood-booster is a mixed bag. On the one hand I got my first ever pair of Irregular Choice shoes and I FLIPPING LOVE THEM. I was inspired by Davey’s post (link) and whilst I couldn’t afford anything from their current range I got an end-of-line deal via eBay for less than half the full price.

On the other hand, I bought them for Swingamajig and I’m feeling increasingly panicked that I will be the size of a house before it comes around. I will be if I don’t get my eating under control! In honour of the shoes and the outfit I must sort it out, because I tried on my dresses yesterday and did not feel good in them.

I’ll take a picture of me wearing them tomorrow and put them in a post on here which will hopefully spur me into action.

Either way the shoes are awesome, and once Swingamajig is over I’ll be wearing them on a regular basis, even to the shops. Yes really. It would be a crime to not wear these until they die, which in any case means… I can get another pair!

Finally, whilst I’m on the subject of material things, I am now the proud owner of my first ever Canon ‘L’ series lens (the L standing for luxury. Oh yeah.)

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I got it second-hand and I traded it in for several other lenses, otherwise this baby would have set me back around £560. I can’t tell you how much it would have been to buy new, but to give you an idea the latest version of the same lens is £1679. In photography you generally get what you pay for.

At the beginning of the year I wrote about being in a bit of a pickle financially, but I’m happy to report that things are looking up in that respect. I’m all straight again! The previous version of me would have stuck this new lens on a credit card and worried about it later, so I’m quite proud that I not only decluttered by paring down my lens collection, but also managed to keep on track with only spending money I actually have.

At least that’s one huge thing off my mind.

Hopefully tomorrow there will be a bit of sunshine and I can take my lens out for a proper test drive. I expect to be ripped by the time I get home because boy is it heavy!

Anyhoo, I’m going to try my best to turn around my mood and my eating, so hopefully I’ll have something more positive to tell you next time. I’ll sure give it a good try.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Binge Behaviours

Something is definitely rearing its ugly head and I’m not happy about it. After months of not giving it a second thought, binge-eating tendencies have started resurfacing and I want to get them nipped in the bud right now.

I’ve had a Saturday/Sunday slip-up after stupidly having a sneak peek on the scales and seeing a massive and quite undeserved gain, which saw me managing to go about things all the wrong way and do the exact opposite of what I’d recommend anyone in my position to do. What did I do? I ate. A lot.

It’s Monday morning and I have group tonight. Our ‘Greatest Loser’ will be announced. I’m fairly sure that even with the huge gain I’m due it’ll be me (out of everyone who stays at my group I’ve lost the most weight) and I’ve never felt less deserving of the title. I knew it was coming, and I really wanted to have a loss so as not to ‘let my group down’ (not that any of them think that way) but I screwed up anyway.

Rather than making the decision to have something off-plan, this felt more like a compulsion, and it really scares me. I must regain control.

Something that should help me regulate my currently insatiable appetite is getting off my arse again. I’m currently sitting on a train en route to meet my friend (when said friend suggests an impromptu meetup one does not say no lightly), and luckily my knee is back to a fairly ordinary ache rather than the pain I was experiencing. Come rain or shine, this week is going to be about getting out of the house and making progress again.

I’ve just passed through London to get on my connecting train, and it’s looking rather nice, at least from a distance. I’m not really a fan of the city so it’s nice to be heading out in a different direction.

It’s now Tuesday and I’m picking this post up after finally getting some sleep! I was on the go all day and didn’t have the mental or physical energy to write, so now we’re changing over to past tense. I say on the go… a lot of it was based around sitting down drinking coffee but once all that caffeine wore off, I assure you I was pooped.

Coffee, chatting, strolling and charity shop browsing were the themes of the day, which are some of my very favourite things. I found a nice pair of thermal tights which were perfect for wearing to Slimming World later in the evening.

Spending time with my buddy Davey is always a great experience. He’s a font of excellent advice, an interesting fellow in general, and a positive influence when it comes to food. I only munched on fresh Syn-free grub the whole day, washed down with cup after cup of black Americano. I didn’t once feel like eating everything in sight, and in fact only ate in the first place as I knew if I didn’t I’d let myself get too hungry and be more likely to reach for crap food later on.

Once every single charity shop had been exhausted, and there were a few mind you, we headed to a park across the road for a walk around and somewhere nice to munch on not just any fruit, but M&S fruit. Ain’t we posh?

What did we find in the park? Only an outdoor gym!

It’s actually really cool. It uses your own body weight for the resistance. My arms even have a nice little ache today, and I’m so impressed I’m going to write to the council and ask for something like that locally.

Dave did much better than me what with his strong swimming arms. That reminds me, I really must get around to going swimming one day…

The park turned out to be quite beautiful once we found a secluded area up some stairs. I don’t think anyone had realised what was up there.

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Plum in hand, we investigated.

After a little sit down I learned a valuable lesson – my knee will start hurting again if I sit with my legs crossed. So I really must remember not to do that. Thankfully it recovered again really quickly and it’s mostly OK today.

After more coffee and such a lovely day I got the train home, only just making it in time for Slimming World. It’s a good job I left right then as I didn’t have as much time as I thought I did (story of my life).

Group was a surprise to say the least, because somehow, by some miracle, I managed to maintain. I can only assume that the walking, coffee and fruit did me the world of good, and now I just have to be especially on it in order to avoid a catch-up gain.

I’m by no means out of the woods, but at least I got to accept my award without feeling too guilty about it.

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Funnily enough although I’ve gained it’s great to still feel ‘normal’, whatever that may be. This is no time to relax though, because I’ve ordered a new dress for Swingamajig that I absolutely ADORE. It’s in a size 12-14 though (the biggest size it comes in), and I have no idea whether it’ll fit in time. I’m currently a 14-16 but this dress will leave nothing to the imagination so it will definitely be touch and go.

This week I’m restarting my tummy exercises which I let slip over Christmas. It has therefore resulted in everything getting even more squidgy around the middle if I’m honest.

When the dress arrives I’ll take a picture of me wearing it, no matter how silly it looks, and we’ll compare it in roughly 8 weeks time when the big event rolls around.

It’ll be a fun challenge!

Right, I’m off to get dinner then. The plan is the same as yesterday – I must not let myself get too hungry.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

R&R

Well I’ve really gone and messed up this time. Despite trying to make you readers (and myself) believe otherwise, I’ve actually been in complete denial about the state of my knee. The weather was much too nice to stay indoors, so on Wednesday I went for a walk. I’ve been wearing my running gear ‘just in case’, so I just couldn’t resist. I ran for two miles without any problems, and when I stopped it was partly because I thought that it would be the sensible thing to do, and partly because I fancied playing around with using my Apple watch as a camera remote. Soooooo much fun.

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I walked the rest of my 4-mile route, not that there was any choice in the matter. Whenever I went down a hill I was feeling discomfort in the side of my knee, so I just plodded along, taking nice pictures on the way.

Gorgeous greenery or what? It makes my heart happy.

Later on at work that night I was full of beans and running up and down stairs instead of taking the lift, but when I went into work the next night I knew something wasn’t right. I spent the rest of the shift limping until my manager finally let me go home early.

When my knee has hurt lately, after a day or two of rest it’s bounced right back. This time I haven’t been so lucky. I went to meet a friend for coffee on Saturday and decided to walk there, gently, but going downhill even on the slightest gradient was excruciatingly painful.

Also the weather has turned, but at least there’s blossom! Blossom means that better things are on the way.

My knee has been feeling a little better today, so I took a really slow walk into town. It held up ok but I know I need to take it easy, and I know I have to stop running. For good. My sister popped round last weekend and we were comparing which of our joints crunch and knock when they move. Did you know that joints aren’t supposed to do that?

As such March’s theme is going to be rest and relaxation. I was thinking about why I’ve been struggling with my diet so much lately and although it’s not directly because I’ve been stressed, I think everything has been having a knock-on effect. Because I’ve been stressed and trying to do too much (again) I haven’t been sleeping properly.

When I don’t sleep properly everything is doubly hard, because I crave sugar for energy and also can’t be bothered to prepare healthy food.

So do you know what I did? I made sleep my number one priority, and since then things have been easier.

Who even knows what the scales will say this evening, but I’m going to have a proper weigh in so I know exactly what I’m dealing with.

I also have a plan. There’s so much I want to do, and it’s true what they say. You can do anything but you can’t do everything. To help with the feeling of being completely overwhelmed, I’ve made a habit tracker in my journal. The idea is to colour just one box in a day. Or more if I feel like it, but to accept that one is enough.

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Right, it’s hours later and I’m back from group. I am DELIGHTED to find that I’ve lost 2.5 lbs since my last weigh in. I’m feeling a lot better about the whole thing.

My current loss is 7 st 11.5 lbs, which is obviously, y’know, a decent amount, but no matter how much I fluctuate I feel better once I’m over the 8 st loss mark. At least in my mind.

As such my goal for next week is to lose 2.5 lbs or more. Which I can totally do.

After group I took the first step to something potentially very exciting, but I’m just going to leave that teaser here and say no more about it just yet. Annoying aren’t I?

Anyway, sleep is calling me and for once, I’m listening.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

That’s Enough

Things have been pretty stressful lately, with this and that going on behind the scenes, but I’ve been dealing with it pretty well I think. This has coincided with massive cravings for everything and anything sugary, but most unusually I don’t think the two are connected.

I’m almost 100% sure that it’s not a case of emotional eating. I suppose I could be doing it subconsciously, but that’s not what my instinct is telling me. I think I just got a taste for the sweet stuff again and it’s been like trying to get rid of a genuine addiction.

This morning I decided that enough was enough, and I was out of the house by 6:30 in the morning in order to set off on an epic walk. I knew I’d be hungry by the time I reached an Aldi which was on the way, so I’d already planned what Free foods I’d be picking up.

By the time I was well on my way I realised I’d forgotten my gloves, and it was ridiculously cold even though the weather was set to be nice later on. I was too stubborn to turn back, which is a mistake I will try not to make again. Even after four miles I couldn’t walk fast enough to get warm and the sun wasn’t much use either. At least it had the decency to make everything look pretty.

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At Aldi I warmed up a little and picked up the bits I’d intended to, but just before I got there a message popped up from Steve asking if I fancied going to a Viking vs Saxon battle site in a nearby town.

Well you don’t get offers like that every day! I rang back straight away to say ‘YES!’, at which point he suggested we also got breakfast while we were out. What’s one more day off plan, eh?

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During breakfast I had a really hard time adhering to the signs everywhere telling me NOT TO FEED THE STARLINGS. I reckon I could have got one eating out of my hand, and what a good shot that would have made. It’s a shame I’m so scared of getting told off.

Once we started our exploring we came across a lady making knotted bracelets and other bits and bobs, and suddenly my memory was well and truly jogged. When I was a kid my parents bought me and my sister bracelets just like the ones she was selling, and then I realised – it was the exact same lady! I double-checked and she confirmed that she’s been selling the same things from the same spot for 26 years, so it was definitely her.

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Steven bought me a nice new yellow bracelet, bright and summery to complement the day.

After a frosty start look at how the day turned out! Beautiful or what? Exploring is hard work, so when Steve suggested he treat me to lunch at Mrs Salisbury’s Famous Tea Rooms, I displayed all the resistance of a wet lettuce.

He had to pop off to make a quick phone call while I did the ordering, and I accidentally got myself a passion fruit Bellini. Oops.

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In all honesty it was great to not have to worry about what I was eating. I was well and truly in holiday mode even though it was just a little day trip – I just wanted to relax and enjoy myself. For the most part I don’t feel guilty about it. But the simple fact remains that if I keep eating like I have been, I won’t be able to continue to live the life that I have come to know and love.

A couple of days ago Steve and I were traipsing up the hill of doom in our favourite park when I spotted a familiar pair at the top. It was my ex (my first proper boyfriend in fact) and his wife, and it was a great feeling to bump into them after a good few years and have them struggle to recognise me because I look so different. It’s something I never tire of, and I don’t want to go back to dreading bumping into people I haven’t seen for a while because I know only too well that look of shock that appears on their faces. It’s not the good kind.

Today I had already been walking for 8 miles/three hours before Steve picked me up, and we spent most of the afternoon on our feet on top of that. I don’t have a single ache or pain, and although I’m a bit weary from not sleeping too well last night I could easily go for many more miles. No food is nice enough to warrant giving that up.

I also have a really exciting event coming up in May, called Swingamajig. My friend Paul invited me (he is friends with the organisers and goes every year) and apart from seeing a friend I haven’t seen in aaaaages, it’s also a fantastic photographic opportunity and, by the sounds of it, a whole load of fun.

It’s described as being all about the sights and sounds of the 1920’s (I love that whole era) with a modern twist, and I am going all in. Check out my dress!

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I want to be feeling my best when I go, because I’m hoping to get some fantastic shots. This will no doubt mean engaging with other festival-goers. As such I need to keep my confidence levels as they are currently (or better) and one thing that helps that is being in control of my food and staying fit.

It’s going to be awesome.

I’ve come to the conclusion that a blind weigh-in hasn’t helped one way or another, and I’d rather face up to how I’m doing and just get the hell on with it. I skipped weigh in today (naughty!) so let’s see what next week brings.

This evening I had my first proper on-plan meal in I-don’t-know-how-long, so now I just need to stick to it.

Time to go cold turkey then! There are too many good things in the future not to.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Belief

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Valentine’s Day marked another little slip for me. Truth be told I used it as an excuse to have ‘one last day’ of naughtiness before really knuckling down again. That’s OK though! Reading my friend’s blog always helps, because no matter what internal struggle I’m going through the likelihood is that he’s been through it too and has some wise words to say on the subject.

One part of his latest post jumped out at me.

‘I screw up and then I sort it out.

Over and over again.’

Exactly that. It’s normal to slip, everyone does it. Neither of us has quite got the hang of not feeling bad about it afterwards, but we’ve both become experts at the sorting out part. That’s why, for the first time in both of our lives, our (lower) weights have been stable.

Dave also mentioned that our new appearances have become our new ‘normal’. I’ve gone from seeing my reflection in a window or mirror while I’m out and realising with a jolt that the person looking back at me is, well, me, to seeing old photos and not recognising that person at all. I’m not sure exactly when my perception shifted, but it’s a good feeling!

Until now any success on the scales would have been very short lived, something my colleagues would testify to.

I don’t really get many compliments about my weight loss at work these days, because any losses I have now certainly aren’t as drastic or noticable, but I do still get the odd ‘we didn’t think you’d keep it off, you know’ comment. I quite like these comments, because I didn’t think so either, and it reminds me of how flipping awesome I am for managing it.

Believe me though, you can do it too. Don’t ever doubt it. If you screw up, sort it out. Over and over again.  

One thing that has cheered me up is the reappearance of that mystical ball of light in the sky, otherwise known as the sun. A few rays and some warmer days has perked me up no end.

Yesterday I went on a walk to get some exercise in before Steve came over, and there was actual evidence of SPRING.

That bumblebee is quite possibly the biggest one I’ve ever seen.

This week I’ve been thinking a lot about my photography and how excited I am for the future, but I did have a little moment of doubt. I was thinking about how a couple of years ago a friend and colleague asked me to do a wedding but I didn’t have the confidence, so in the end another colleague (who I don’t know personally) did it for him.

I remember seeing the photos and thinking ‘I could have done that’, and it was true as far as technical skills go.

This person quit work not so long ago to go into photography full time, so I thought I’d take a peek at his Facebook page (link) to see how he’s getting on.

Oh. My. Word.

His work is absolutely stunning. Whilst appreciating the hard work that has gone into honing his skills and generally just admiring his style, I also had a sinking feeling. I felt like that should have been me. I should have done that first wedding. I should have had more confidence. I should have pushed myself out of my comfort zone.

Then I metaphorically shook myself, because I couldn’t have just forced myself to become the person that could do that, it’s taken time and effort. I’ve spent the last two-and-a-half years thinking and changing and shrinking and growing in all kinds of different ways, and it’s OK that it took me a while (36 years!) to get to this point. Better late than never.

Today was something of a landmark occasion actually. When I went back to Slimming World in 2016 I met a lovely lady called Steph, who is also a photographer. I knew instantly that I liked her, and that it would be cool to take our cameras out together for a walk and have a chat.

We haven’t attended the same Slimming World group for a long time, but we stayed Facebook friends and I always liked to see how she was getting on. Then last week, after literally years of meaning to do it, I asked if she wanted to go out for a walk and a talk (or a twalk, as Dave the blogger would say).

She has a gorgeous rescue dog called Cinnamon (who for a photographer’s dog annoyingly does not seem to want to look at the camera) but I managed a few nice snaps regardless.

I like this new Hayley who isn’t frightened of talking to people, even people she knows. I’d been hoping to meet her for a long, long time.

As for my weight loss, whilst mulling it over at work last night I’ve decided to try something new. From now until April, I’m going to do completely blind weigh-ins. I’m even going to ask the social team not to write my results in my book, because I know it’ll be really hard for me to resist peeking.

The reason for this is that whenever I get close to target I get a little bit obsessed with thinking ‘if I can just lose x amount per week I’ll be at target by such-and-such a date’. It’s good to be focused and have goals, but if I get too obsessed it makes me think of all the worst kinds of food for some reason.

I’m still going to work hard and stay active, but without being consumed by the numbers. Let’s see how it goes!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Plot

Last Wednesday marked a whole year since me and Steve first went walking together at what is now my favourite park, so I painted him a little card to mark the occasion.

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It depicts the hill of doomwhich neither of us has been able to run up without stopping so far, but is also one of my favourite places to pause and take a picture. In fact we were there today.

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You may notice that I used artistic licence to get the castle in the picture, which is just out of shot to the right. So sue me!

I was taking a walk into town this morning and had just closed my exercise ring on my Apple watch when a message popped up from Steve. He was asking if I wanted to meet him at the park. I stopped in my tracks and turned around whilst ringing him to say ‘hell yes!’

As such I’ve had double the amount of exercise I intended for today, which is good because from a health point-of-view the weekend didn’t go so well and I have some catching up to do.

I totally lost the plot, and some bad habits returned. I’m determined to make it a temporary return though. On Saturday, before work, Steve needed to pop and see his friend José. He said I probably wouldn’t want to come, what with having work and all. I shouldn’t have gone – sensible Hayley would have stayed behind and rested before doing an 8-hour night shift. Sensible Hayley wasn’t home though.

I really like this particular friend, although I’d only met him once before, plus I knew Steve’s son and his girlfriend would be there who are also just the best people. That’s my defence and I’m sticking to it! While I think of it, this is in contrast to a little under a year ago when I was absolutely terrified at the thought of meeting Steve’s son because I was so shy. Now I’m thinking of launching a photography business where I’ll voluntarily be dealing with lots of strangers. Mental. Anyway, I digress…

By the time we got back to mine Steve was coming down with something and I was absolutely cream crackered. Steve went home and I ordered… takeaway pizza.

On Sunday, the first day of my weekend, Steve texted to say he was really feeling poorly and that he wouldn’t be able to come over. I decided to make the most of it and sat down to binge watch the second half of the series The Haunting of Hill House. I watched this alone because Steve wasn’t into it and it didn’t make it on to our shared watch list, so it was the perfect opportunity. The only problem is that after the pizza incident I didn’t really stop eating and drinking for the whole damn weekend.

On Monday I deeply regretted the food side of things, but I decided to eat a couple of things I’ve been seriously craving for weeks, and I think I have it out of my system now. The worst part is that I ditched my Slimming World group because I wasn’t feeling up to it at all. In itself it’s not a good idea, but I know how I bloat and I just couldn’t handle seeing a 10lb gain on the scales.

I’m really cross with myself that I was so determined to get to target by the end of my 12 week countdown, yet I’ve given myself such a huge setback. It certainly isn’t over yet though, so let’s see what next weigh-in brings now I’m totally back on it and fighting again. It’s still doable!

Foodwise it was a three-day black hole, but on the other hand I’m really pleased with myself that I had such a productive weekend. When I eat badly and feel guilty, it makes me want to do absolutely nothing, but I forced myself to do the things that needed to be done and I felt so much better for it.

I put some things up for sale on Shpock, hoping to avoid lots of post office runs, but I’ve given that up as a bad job because there are just too many time-wasters. I’ve had so many no-shows, even for something that was only £3!

I have three or four big items that have to be collection only, but other than that I’ll have to take the time to eBay things properly. Ah well, it was worth a try, and at least I’ve made a start.

After a trip to the tip (the recycling centre) I went to see my dad. Getting out of the house was a good idea and I was feeling a bit better so I then edited my 200 favourite phone pictures from 2018 down into 50 6×4 prints, which didn’t take as long as I thought it would now that the keyboard shortcuts for Photoshop are second nature to me.

I did two lessons for my Wedding Photography diploma, I did my washing, I learned how to use a camera my friend has lent me (more on that at a later date) had excellent quality time with Pea and best of all I got my nan’s sewing machine out to make a new home for all of my pins.

It’s been much too long since I last had it out but weirdly I remembered how to thread it and it wasn’t too long before I knocked this up, using one of Pea’s old perches instead of a piece of dowling. I cleaned the poops off of it first, I assure you.

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It was a little bitter-sweet though, because it reminded me of how much I would have had in common with my nan if she hadn’t died just as I’d become an adult. If she’d still been alive now we would have been such good friends.

Bummer.

Anyway, there’s nowt to do but carry on, and after just half a day back on plan I’m already feeling tip top once more.

Here’s to a good week.

Hayley x

Target Talks & Farewell’s

If I had kept to my original target of 12 stone 10 pounds, the one that I’ve had in mind for most of my adult life, then last night would have seen me just nudge back into target range. I have lowered my target to 11 stone 7 pounds, so I still have a little way to go. Even so it’s a good feeling to know that once upon a time getting to this weight was so important to me, and that I’ve actually done it. I’m really proud of myself y’know? Especially since I’ve managed to turn things around after a difficult (as far as staying on plan goes) start of the year.

I purchased myself a nice 12 week countdown, which comes with Slimming World’s ‘Free Food on the Go’ book (can’t wait to try some of the recipes in there) and some added incentive. In the past I’ve said ‘wouldn’t it be nice to be at target by the time I finish my countdown?’ Now I’m saying ‘I WILL DO EVERYTHING IN MY POWER TO BE AT TARGET BY THE END OF THIS COUNTDOWN!

I have 20 lbs left to lose, which means I have to lose just under 2 lbs per week on average in order to achieve that. In terms of doing ‘everything in my power’, all I really need to do is stick to plan and everything should take care of itself.

Last night I did ‘only’ lose 1.5 lbs, but I think I’ll do better next week when my hormones have sorted themselves out again.

Group last night was an unusually sad one, because my consultant Amanda has to leave to go back to her usual group. She is so lovely that I forgot on a weekly basis that she wasn’t going to be with us on a permanent basis, yet all good things must eventually come to an end.

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Blimey I look sleepy. I really was.

I will miss her so much, but in all likelihood I’ll be moving to her area at some point this year and I’d love for her to be my consultant once more. I even got crafting for her, something I’ve never done for any other consultant.

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The only problem is, I’d want to take all of the group members with me, and I don’t think every single one of them will want to move house just for my benefit! It’d be nice if they did though.

For now we have another temporary consultant as we will probably get a shiny new person when we get our next consultant. That’ll be fun, having someone fresh out of the Sparkly Castle!

This week is definitely still about moving more, although yesterday I didn’t manage much of that at all. I went to visit a friend of mine who I used to work with and we had a lovely catch up. I also got to take a couple of pictures of her kitty, who doesn’t look very relaxed for the sole reason that the sound of my camera shutter completely freaked her out.

I did manage a long walk on Sunday, but Steve joined me and we did a lot of talking. It was lovely, but we didn’t go fast enough for me to get my heart rate up in order to fill the green ring on my Apple Watch.

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Despite not filling the one ring (hehe) as you can see I was hardly sitting on my behind all day.

Because I was out all day yesterday I didn’t have time to make much progress as far as rings are concerned, but today has been pretty good with 55 mins added to my exercise ring. Steve and I did some running, my knee isn’t hurting, and I’m looking forward to getting out again Thursday. It feels sooooo good to be outside.

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For now I’ll sign off as dinner is calling me, and I have a rather special day tomorrow that I’ll tell you about later.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Buzzing!

Remember I said I was working ten shifts in a row? Well it’s all done now. I expected it to be hell on toast, but as I’ve been getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating well and generally looking after myself, it was a breeze. In fact it was miles easier than doing a 4-day-week not so long ago.

The best part of all though was (is) the four-day weekend which I’m still enjoying now. Friday I hardly sat down and got an absolute ton of stuff done. I did a couple of errands for Steve, I had a massive clear out in the kitchen, I went shopping, I dropped off seven bags of stuff at the charity shop, I did my laundry, I cleaned Pea’s cage and I vacuumed. Then Steve came over and I cooked him dinner. Phew!

On Saturday my little sister came to visit, and I was supposed to drop her off at home. As it happens her boyfriend fell off his bike and needed to go to the hospital, so I drove to hers, picked him up and then dropped them both off at A&E. That’s not exactly the whole story though. He fell off about two minutes from home, did a two hour bike ride, came home, showered, cleaned his bike, then realised that his arm was most probably broken. He’s one of the most educated and intelligent people I know whilst simultaneously being a complete tit. It turns out he broke the radial head in his arm (something to do with the elbow?) so no cycling for him for six weeks. It’s probably for the best.

Between then and the early hours of this morning I barely moved from my desk, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.

I have a ‘Project Life’ photo album where I print off and keep all of my favourite shots. I love the layout and it looks great, however it’s very time-consuming. First of all I decide what I want to print, specifically edit them for gloss paper, make sure I have the right number of portrait and landscape shots, then (the really fun part) I have to resize the portrait ones and stitch two together at a time in Photoshop so that they can be printed on 4×6 paper.

Let us not forget that when I collect the prints the little ones have to then be separated, plus I have to be awkward – I don’t like square corners so I then use a corner punch to round them off. No really.

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Since meeting Steve I have taken a lot of photos and had very little spare time, which has resulted in me being a year-and-a-half behind on my editing and printing. It took me hours, but the editing is finally done and some of the prints ordered. I only ordered 36, because that’s how many prepaid print credits I had left. The rest will have to wait until I get my March pay.

Only my best DSLR shots and/or special events make it into the main album, so now I ‘only’ have literally thousands of phone shots to go through. I want them to be even smaller than 2×3 prints (I’ll show you what I’m doing with them at a later date) so that’s going to take even more editing, but I’m getting the hang of it and my workflow is, well, flowing.

I’m going to stay on top of it from now on. Honest.

This morning I was up at 6am to be at a local park for sunrise. My brother asked me if I had a camera he could borrow that would be suitable, but I knew if he just trusted the automatic settings it would be overexposed. The best solution was for me to meet him there (he cycled) so I could take the picture myself.

Unfortunately the light index was rubbish meaning that the photo isn’t very interesting, but it was still sort-of nice to get out in the painfully cold fresh air. I had thermal gloves on and I swear I was on the verge of getting frostbite. It felt like it anyway.

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There just weren’t enough little clouds for it to be a decent shot. Ho hum.

After returning home I loaded the car up for a trip to the local recycling centre, visited the farm shop for a giant Spanish onion, super cheap sprouts, some yummy looking kale and an argument debate at the checkout with a man who said you only see fat people at Slimming World so it can’t possibly work. Then I legged it home just in time for my photography lesson.

Yep, you read that right. Some years ago I made a really excellent decision. I did a foundation diploma in photography for £20 (online) with the Shaw Academy and once I’d finished I found I’d caught the bug. I thought about simply signing up for the advanced course, but instead I bought a package which means I get access to all of their courses for the rest of my life. I think I paid somewhere between £300 and £400, and it was worth every penny just for the two courses I’ve done so far.

Since technology changes so fast and there’s something new in the photography world every other minute, I thought it would be good to be able to revisit the course as and when I please.

When my friend asked me to photograph his wedding I logged in with the intention of redoing the advanced course, just for a refresher, but then I noticed that they do a specific course in wedding photography. BONUS!

My first lesson went brilliantly and I’m positively buzzing with excitement. Until recently I never would have considered it, but I’ve decided to try and do something with my skills, and already I’m seeing benefits from putting out the feelers.

I spoke to a friend yesterday who invited me to an event in Birmingham in May. Just on the off chance (because he knows A LOT of people) I asked if he knows the organisers and if he could find out whether I’d be allowed to take a professional-type camera in just for personal use. I need to practice shooting with a flash in low-light conditions because until now I’ve purely been in love with natural light, plus I need to start building a portfolio. He thinks that wouldn’t be a problem, but even better than that, he can probably get me in for free if I agree that they can use the photos I take.

Experience AND exposure? Erm, YES PLEASE!

In addition to the photography stuff, when I’m done with the wedding course there are a ton of other courses I can take to help with the business-side of things such as promotion and whatnot.

Until now I never thought I had anything to offer in an industry that’s already so competitive, but I think my style is developing and that I have something quite out-of-the-ordinary to offer.

Whatever direction I decide to go in, what I know right now is that I’m EXCITED at the uncertainty of it all for the first time in my life.

ANYTHING could happen!

Speaking of which it’s time for weigh in. Talk amongst yourselves…

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I lost 3 lbs! I had one of those weeks where I felt like I hadn’t lost much, and I was concerned that my change in schedule over the weekend and the fact I’ve barely moved would have an impact but it seems I’m home and dry.

I now weigh 13st 0.5lbs and I’m tantalisingly close to being back into the 12 stone bracket. Not to worry though, I’ll have that next week for sure.

Group overran this evening so I’d best get on with cooking dinner before I start trying to eat my keyboard.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x