So Busy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Melting

Blogs have been a bit thin on the ground this week and for that I apologise. The ‘getting more sleep’ thing didn’t work out at all and rather than setting time aside for myself I’ve been busier than ever. I only just have time to hang out with Pea and write a quick post before I really must get my head down to prepare for work tonight.

My main problem is that everything is taking much longer than it should these days. I trained this morning, in the woods where the temperature is much more agreeable, and I still melted. It felt like the air was made of soup!

We did a short route, but the heat just saps the energy out of me. I’m really not complaining though – I’ll take this over the cold any day of the week. I think it’s just that since I’m so new to running I’ve never run in these conditions before, so with every change of the season there’s a new challenge to face. It sure keeps things interesting though.

Last week as well the training sessions have been less intense because, let’s face it, staying out of hospital is the number one priority!

There’s been a lot more fast walking where I’ve just run out of steam, and that’s OK, because it’s still better than doing nothing. The thing that IS bothering me is that the heat has made me swell up like a balloon and I put on 9 lbs (yes, NINE POUNDS) of fluid overnight which doesn’t seem to be showing signs of going anywhere for the time being.

It’s disheartening, but I’ve been eating well so there’s no way on earth that’s 9 lbs of fat. I just need to keep my head until it’s gone and not freak out.

Speaking of training, I need to stop referring to my trainer as ‘my trainer’ because even though we aren’t a couple he certainly is more than that now. Friend doesn’t quite cut it either, because we’re just so close (we do seem to spend every spare minute together!) so I shall henceforth refer to him as ‘Mr. S’. It might get a bit confusing, but I’ll see how it goes.

Anyway, the last week with Mr. S has been great. After training we’ve been sitting in his garden, which backs directly on to some woods. He doesn’t even have a fence at the bottom which I think is just lovely, so it’s even easier for the wildlife to come and go as it pleases. He gets loads of incredibly tame foxes so I’ll have to get a good photo when I remember to take my camera.

We’ve also been watching a series called Detectorists, which somehow managed to completely pass me by until now. It’s on Netflix and it’s absolutely wonderful. It’s sweet, charming and a little odd, and I’m totally in love with it from everything from the camera angles to the theme song, which ‘gives me all the feels’ every time I hear it. I’ve now bought the song and have listened to it quite possibly thousands of times already. Well, I may have exaggerated a bit but it’s certainly been a lot.

Check it out below:

Another benefit from having to decrease the intensity of training is the opportunity for more photos. Just look how glorious it’s been. Everything seems right with the world when it looks like that.

On Sunday I decided to have a rest day and spend some time with my sister. Sister times are always great – I really don’t know what I’d do without her. She lives a 20 minute car journey away but I just didn’t want to be in a car on that particular day so I walked 20 minutes to the train station, took a ten minute train journey, then walked another 40 minutes the other side to her house.

I’ve certainly been treating myself lately (perhaps a little too much) but after I tried my friend’s Apple Airpods I knew I just had to have them. They. Are. Amazing.

So I was walking with a spring in my step blaring out my music and I must tell you – the sound quality is incredible. I had the sun on my face, a breeze blowing through my hair and everything was a damn near perfect as anything ever gets.

After a quick stop at Starbucks for a cold brew we headed to the park to feed the swans. Of course we know that swans have bloody strong beaks, but we’ll do anything to get ‘the shot’. I have little cuts on my fingers but I don’t even care!

 

 

 

Now I just have to hang things out at work for another two weeks then I’m off on holiday, spending four days in the Peak District (everyone please cross their fingers for reasonable weather) followed by a night at a posh spa hotel in Sheffield. I simply CANNOT WAIT.

I must be cracking on now, so as ever, thank you so much for reading!

Hayley x

I Was Wrong

I have come to the conclusion that it is too soon for me to throw in the towel with Slimming World, at least for the time being. I think when it comes to maintenance I won’t need the extra bit of help that a proper plan brings, but right now, especially since I’m so busy, I definitely need rules.

I’m currently having some troubles when it comes to my training buddy. The problem is he’s just so nice (I know, first world problems, right?) as he’s always offering to cook me a lunch or is bringing me healthy snacks to work. And although they are healthy – nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc, if I’m having big Slimming World-esque main meals and having what would have been Synned meat alternatives, then I’m ending up going over my expended calories each day. He probably doesn’t realise that he can get away with doing that whereas I can’t – he’s not that much taller than me but he is a lot more muscular, so will naturally need a lot more calories to function than I do.

I think it’ll be easier for me to explain to him what I will/won’t/can/can’t eat if I frame it in terms of Food Optimising, plus it means I myself won’t have to think about what I’m eating too much. I just don’t have the headspace for it what with training ramping up and trying to keep on top of everything else in life, and if I’ve been working out and need extra fuel then I don’t want to be worrying about portion control. I’ve realised that I need the freedom Free and Speed foods bring, and that kind of eating only seems to work for me if I follow the whole plan. At the end of the day if it makes me slimmer and healthier AND makes life easier, then I’m doing it.

Although in the main I wouldn’t say I’ve been unhealthy this week and I haven’t felt out of control exactly, I still haven’t been eating how I want to and I’m 99% sure I’m in for another gain. The biggest obstacle now is finding out whether my friend is OK with me destroying his frying pan with Fry Light! If not perhaps I’ll have to start bringing packed lunches when we hang out…

As expected the snow has been causing havoc this weekend. I ordered a Sainsbury’s shop to be delivered Saturday evening without even giving it a second thought, especially since when I order from Tesco they always make it through in bad weather. Sadly all of the Tesco slots were gone though. When my shopping was already an hour and a half late I had to make an emergency supply run to Lidl because… shock… HORROR… I was completely out of coffee. And I cannot go to work without my own coffee, because how anyone can drink the stuff out of those Klix machines is beyond me.

It felt like I had the world more or less to my very own self, as I didn’t even see another set of footprints until I was virtually at Lidl’s. It was so quiet I got to enjoy all the fun bits of it snowing, such as making tracks on fresh snow, hearing ice crunch and the snow creaking when you step on it. It’s a shame I had to go to work because I was tempted to just keep on walking.

It’s a good job I did go out because just as I was leaving for work I got a phone call from Sainsbury’s to say my shopping wouldn’t be delivered that day, and they would try again some time tomorrow.

This morning while I was sleeping my shopping was indeed delivered (without any kind of notification as to when they were coming) or at least some of it was delivered. My mum took delivery because I was totally out of it but unfortunately she didn’t notice that they had only given me about £15-worth of produce out of a £70 shop.

By the time I realised what had happened anyone from Sainsbury’s who could help me had gone home so I now have to wait until tomorrow to either get a refund or actually get all of my frozen goods delivered. Unfortunately that made up the bulk of my order as I was stocking up. It’s so annoying as it’s not the first time they’ve done this – the same thing happened when the truck broke down on it’s way to me. They delivered again the next day except… no frozen stuff. Sigh.

This afternoon I took my walk into town to buy my summer exercise clothes, but it could not have been more different to my fun walk to Lidl’s the night before. The wind was oh so bitter and it was blowing right in my face the whole damn time I was walking, so by the time I got into town I was frozen stiff.

The park was looking quite pretty, but I’ve got to say I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen blossom and snow together. Mother nature must be seriously confused right now!

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I didn’t manage to get any more pictures until the return journey, because it was so cold my phone couldn’t function any more. I hustled my way into town from this point.

My shopping trip was ever so successful. So far the hardest thing to get hold of has been a proper running top that is long enough in the body to cover up my tummy. But lo, I have now found the perfect one:

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I’m 6ft and it covers my bum and tum completely, so I got three of them. That means I can do my three workouts a week and only have to do one load of washing! I got this in a large, which is the equivalent of a 14, some cropped running leggings in a 16, and a pair of lightweight mens joggers (for the length) in a medium.

I’ve been feeling a bit down the last couple of days, but buying in those sizes sure did perk me up. Just the very fact that I could go into an ordinary shop and they had everything, and I mean everything I liked in my size made me feel incredible. I hope I never cease to appreciate just how wonderful that is.

One of my aims is to be able to wear this top with just running leggings and not feel self-conscious. It’s so vain but from a fashion perspective I absolutely love that sporty look and would be so happy if I could one day really look the part. Fortunately I don’t think I’m too far off, now that I’ve found a long-length top that I like. It’s a great incentive to keep going, that’s for sure.

Mission accomplished, I made my way back home and the going was a lot easier. It started snowing heavily again but in turn the wind dropped and it was a lovely walk. And my phone started working again too.

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The weather forecast for tomorrow says cold yet sunny, so I’m going out one way or another even if my friend can’t make it. He says we’re definitely on, but things have gone wrong so often lately that I’m taking it with a pinch of salt… yet staying quietly optimistic! In the big scheme of things it doesn’t matter too much – I’m running no matter what.

Despite feeling like I could do with an extra day, I’m definitely weighing in on Monday’s now and I’m looking forward to a totally fresh start tomorrow.

Let’s make it a good one!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Signs of Life

I experienced a huge blow today. One of my favourite things in the whole world is photography, and it seems that ordinary photo printing is NOT vegan. I already know that gelatin is used in film, but I didn’t realise that it is also used in most photographic paper. I love getting proper prints, but for the time being I’m going to knock it on the head until I do further research.

I’m definitely not giving up entirely, because I’ve only contacted one photo printing company so far and there are many other avenues to explore. And in any case I’d never give up my photography itself because I still like to share my photos digitally. Also just because there might not be vegan photo printing now it doesn’t mean there won’t be vegan photo printing in the future. Maybe that’s my calling. Maybe I should become a scientist then revolutionise the industry!

Today I was supposed to be training with my friend but he couldn’t make it (he’s got a lot on at the moment and has said we can go more regularly from next week) so I stuck to my guns and went out on my own. I did four laps round the nature reserve (5km), beat my fastest lap time to date, then did another lap just strolling along, saying hello to some horses and a squirrel, and taking note of the signs of spring.

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Google sent me a ‘remember this day’ notification and last year and the year before things were a lot more ‘springy’ in the park, but what with the recent weather I think that doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us. Spring is on its way now though and that’s what matters.

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I came home to a delivery consisting of my Vegan Tuck Box, which I bought by accident after forgetting to cancel my trial subscription. Everything in my last box, with the exception of a tea bag, was incredibly calorific and I ended up scoffing the lot in a very short space of time. This box however is a lot more reasonable, apart from a small box of giant chocolate buttons which inexplicably has nearly 500 calories in it. I’m going to leave those at my friend’s and we can share them at some point, perhaps after a particularly good training session, when we have both earned them.

After today’s run I ate a fruit and chia seed bar (150 calories) and had the bag of coffee that also came in my box. Who even knew there was such a thing? It seems like a handy thing to have, but I wouldn’t buy them myself in future. It does seem like a lot of unnecessary packaging.

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Although official weigh day is now Monday, I did still weigh myself this morning to get an idea of how I’m doing. If today had have been the day then I would have had a maintain, so that’s good to know considering I ate badly for several days last week. I think the combination of increased exercise and my friend keeping tabs on me has meant that I haven’t been able to go quite as badly off the rails as I would normally. After all I’ve been known on several occasions to put on over half a stone in a single week, but there’s something in me now that will do anything to avoid doing that kind of damage in future. Perhaps I’m getting better at drawing the line?

Right, it’s nap time now as I’m back to work tonight. Hopefully, hopefully, I’ll have proper training tomorrow and it WON’T be cancelled. Fingers crossed!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Turning it Around

Yesterday I was hungry.

All. Day. Long.

I had an extra meal when I got in from work (though all on plan) and when I woke up I was still ravenous. It didn’t let up until after dinner where I had an enormous bowl of pasta, passata, tomatoes and a whole pack of Sainsbury’s vegetarian meatballs. Seriously, those balls are one of my favourite vegan-friendly items of all time, plus if you’re on Slimming World they’re only 2 syns for the whole pack (20 meatballs, I think). They’re so yummy – better than any meaty version I ever tried. In fact I bought 7 packs when I last shopped at Sainsbury’s. One pack was for my mum because I like them so much I’m getting everyone else to try them too.

Today my hunger levels seem to have gone back to normal, thank goodness, and I’m celebrating by having a really naughty day. It’s naughty because at work last night I went up to my manager and asked if I could have a short-notice night off. And he said yes! Yep, I am a complete layabout. The plan was to go training today, have lunch with my friend and help him move some furniture (I find it really cool that my totally hench friend has called me in for a bit of extra muscle) but that’s been rescheduled for tomorrow, so instead I’ll do the bits I had planned for Friday today. If I ever stop procrastinating on the computer that is…

The first job is to clean out my car. Before I met my new work/training friend I’d spend my lunch breaks in there so there’s an accumulation of travel salt and pepper pots, knives, forks, spoons and various other items. Plus several cardigans, blankets, thermal jackets in various sizes, scarves, hats… I could go on. So I need to go through all of that rubbish and sort out what I’m keeping before my car totally goes bang, because I don’t want to be doing it all last minute.

Another friend is really good at finding cheap cars and is currently on the lookout for one for me, and I’m really looking forward to having something different, if not new. For one the inside of a passenger door is currently in my boot and it takes up a lot of space! Also my current MPG is 14, so I’m hoping to get something a helluva lot more efficient…

After doing that I’m going to pop over to the country park where I do my training and hopefully get some nice sunset photos of the castle. My Golden Hour app tells me there’s a decent chance for a good photo, so fingers crossed. I usually get my brother to tag along as I don’t like going on my own – it’s a photography hotspot so I’m always self conscious that I’ll see another photographer and they will look at me and think I don’t know what I’m doing. Which is bloody stupid – I need to get over that. When I see another photographer, even if they don’t look like they know what they’re doing I just think ‘cool, I hope they get nice shots!’ And I do know what I’m doing anyhoo.

So even if I don’t get the shot it’s still good that I’m going and yet again getting further and further away from that poxy comfort zone.

I need to crack on now and get the car sorted so I’ll update again when I’m back from the castle.

Several hours later…

Well that was a productive afternoon! I wonder if anyone can explain why I had four, yes four jacks in my boot? Two sets of jump leads? Two air compressors? No, I can’t figure it out either… Thankfully now I’m carrying around a LOT less junk, and when it comes to transferring things over to a new car it will now be a lot easier.

It also turns out that I chose the perfect time to visit the country park. The light was gorgeous, and I only saw two other people. One was a cyclist on his way home, and the other was a dog walker. Other than that the place was completely mine. It’s nice not to worry about people walking into my shots.

I’m SO happy with what I got, it was totally worth braving the rush hour traffic for. I’ve made a lot of improvements since I first photographed the castle back in May 2015. For one I only got a single passable shot.

This was back then:

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And these are from today:

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I’d say that’s a fair old improvement. I probably could have stayed longer for more golden hour action, but as the sun made its way down I started to freeze so I headed home. I was planning to go to the shops but then remembered that I left my purse on the kitchen table (that is so me), so I’ll pop out for a veggie top-up once I’m done here.

And that’s that. Until next time, thanks for reading!

Hayley x

A Wibble

It was weigh in this morning and I put on 1.5 lbs. Despite my recent positivity this (entirely expected) event totally knocked me off track. For a short while, anyway. I hit the bread bin, and I hit it HARD, and now I feel doubly guilty for the initial gain and the subsequent emotional eating.

This will NOT do.

So I did the laundry then had a nap. When I woke up I still felt bad, so I spent half an hour just laying quietly and thinking things through. Until then I hadn’t figured out that it was the gain that made me feel bad. I thought perhaps it was a delayed bad feeling from yesterday, although at the time of eating I definitely wasn’t thinking about why. It was a total knee jerk reaction, without pause for thought, which is unusual for me these days. I think if I’d given myself that pause then the outcome would have been different.

Ho hum, I can’t go back in time! Going forward, I feel better after my little self-therapy session and getting the thoughts out here on the blog is the final step.

I’ve had a healthy dinner, I’m currently writing on my phone whilst pacing around the house to get my step count up before work (it’s quite likely I’m going to walk into something) and I have six whole days in which to turn this completely around.

Depending on hunger levels I’m going to try to reduce my carb intake and up what used to be my Speed Food intake. Speed food is just Slimming World’s own way of describing the less energy-dense fruit and veggies, so I shall henceforth be munching them like there’s no tomorrow. Bring on lots of top up shops in Lidl this week!

I have training on Thursday but in the meantime the cat has the vets and I have to try to find a cheap car as my head gasket is in a bad way. Hopefully I can find a run around to tide me over because I need wheels to get to training and to ferry my mum around to various hospital and doctor’s appointments.

Also, I’ve taken another exciting step even further out of my comfort zone. An ex-colleague saw some of my photos on Facebook and wants to hire me to take some shots of his wife before their wedding vow renewal. At first I said no, and was about to recommend a lady I know, when I thought ‘I can actually do this!’

I AM scared, because it will involve talking to people I don’t know and I’m going to have to my friend’s wife at ease when inside I myself will be the least at ease person there ever was.

But who knows what doors this could open? I was asked to do a wedding once but couldn’t stand the pressure of potentially messing up some of the most important photos of their lives. The very thought still fills me with dread, but I don’t have to start out doing weddings. I can do smaller things and see how I feel.

I’m not sure I’d like a photography business, but it would be lovely to take it further in my spare time. Let’s see what happens!

It’s nearly time for work now, and already I can’t wait for it to be over so I can get back to my own department.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Not Exactly My Week

Nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing has gone to plan this week. One of my work friends has started nicknaming me ‘cancelled’, because every time he asks me how something has gone that’s been my reply.

On the flipside, nothing and I honestly mean absolutely nothing at all is going to get me down. There are upsides to everything that has annoyed me.

Obviously training (or lack thereof) has been the biggest annoyance, but then the last couple of days I’ve really struggled with tiredness and last night at work was the final straw. I felt so weak and could hardly lift anything, so when early finishes came up at 4am I grabbed the opportunity and got out of there.

I popped to the 24hr Tesco for some essentials, then tried to have a sing-song in the car on the way home but there was something wrong with my voice. As I stepped through the front door and did five consecutive sneezes I realised that I’m coming down with a bloody cold and that’s why I feel so icky.

Now I have the feeling I was swallowing razor blades in my sleep because my throat is raw, but I’m so happy I’m ill now rather than when the snow is thawed. Come Monday at the latest I reckon I’ll be fighting fit and ready to go, and if training was an option now I’d be furious that my body chose that exact moment to let me down. As it is, it’s all worked out pretty well.

Work has been annoying too, and I’ve officially had enough of the department I’m on at the moment. When you get (via the luck of the draw) decent equipment, then everything runs smoothly and the night flies by. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen very often and it’s just about driven me nuts. I have two nights left to do of this week then one more full week before I’m back on my base department, not that I’m counting. After that it’ll probably be another year before I have to spend any significant time doing that job. See? Upside!

Work hasn’t been terrible in general either. I got talking to a chap on yet another department and it turns out he is an excellent source of advice when it comes to matters of the heart. I also know from experience that he’s completely trustworthy and it was just great chatting with him.

Another work friend has been great too – he picked up that I was in a bit of a mood a few days ago and went out of his way to make me feel better. He was so sweet he almost made me cry!

Yet another work person is becoming a closer friend and that’s just wonderful, especially considering in the past we didn’t get on at all. Plus I got talking to a new-ish man which is really difficult for me because I’m so shy, and it turns out he’s nice too.

I also can’t go on without an honourable mention to my friend who has been getting WhatsApp updates from me at regular intervals (you know who you are!) He never fails to reply with words of advice, so all of these things combined mean that I’m feeling incredibly happy and loved!

The meal out on Sunday with my siblings has been cancelled (see, that word again) or at least postponed until the weather is more predictable. Although I was looking forward to it, I’m also happy that there’s now no temptation to avoid – staying on plan this weekend will be that much easier.

Yesterday after training was cancelled (grr!) I tried to make a snowman as promised but the snow is just way too powdery for that. So instead I took a few pictures, and although they aren’t as sharp as I’d like because it was too windy, and nothing interesting really jumped out at me, I still went out and did something. Something is always better than nothing.

Today I’m having a duvet day, at least until I have to go to work. Rather than struggling on and making everything harder, I’m going to be kinder to myself now, feel better sooner, smash my exercise goals next week.

And sit here feeling smug that despite all of the irritations of the week my eating has been perfect.

Speaking of, it’s time to go and get me some nice warming porridge.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Great Outdoors

It has been so flipping cold this week, but at least the sky has had the decency to be blue from time to time. It makes finding the motivation to actually go outside so much easier.

Yesterday me and the brother went on our long walk, and ended up being out for three-and-a-half hours. It was windy, and bitingly cold, but we both had hoods which kept the worst at bay. When I took mine off I actually got brain freeze.

I was working the night before, so we went out about 6:30am, which coincided perfectly with the blue hour (the hour before golden hour).

I checked the light and sky indices using the (free) app GoldenHour.One, which tells you how likely you are to have a nice sky for a decent shot, but I also use it just to tell me whether it’s likely to be a depressing grey day or a nice interesting one. As it happens Thursday is looking to be a stonker!

The skies were lovely and clear yesterday so I managed to get a blue hour shot that I’m really happy with. There’s something really magical about that these times of day. 110218_2479

And my app informed me that the sky index would be quite good. It was right!

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How gorgeous? We did a gentle 7.5 miles, since my brother is way out of practice with his walking after spending most of the summer either fishing or on his motorbike. I was happy with that too actually, since I was feeling pretty tired after all!

I found out that my expensive new boots are in fact waterproof as advertised, which is always nice to know.

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They’re not quite as shiny as when I first got them though…

After we’d finished exploring one half of the nature reserve, we crossed the road to visit the other part which is also home to the visitor centre.

We arrived there at the exact right time, when it was still empty, so we purchased a bag of duck food and sat down for a cup of coffee. Just as we had finished the place started filling up so we moved on to the duck lake.

Before we got there though we met a friendly robin who hopped into a bush just feet from me. And it turns out robins like duck food too. Who knew?

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In fact the robin seemed to like the duck food more than the ducks, who weren’t all that hungry. We did see some tufted ducks, but they were timid and wouldn’t come very near. Mostly it was just seagulls dive bombing and stealing it all.

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By the time we got home I was absolutely exhausted, and vaguely aware that the only thing I’d put into my body since two in the morning was coffee. But I needed sleep more than food, so I had a quick nap.

When I woke up it was a mad rush to get ready to go to my friend’s house. I took him over a load of dirty washing, because I’m nice like that, and we left the washing machine running while we went to the cinema to see Downsizing.

On the drive to the cinema I realised that I was actually ravenously hungry, and Tesco was due to shut in 15 minutes. Once there I just grabbed whatever I could find, which ended up being a vegan sandwich and wrap from the new Wicked range, and some chocolate.

Not the healthiest choices ever, but in terms of calories in vs calories out I reckon I was way in credit for the day, so I don’t feel bad about it at all.

The film was not something I would have chosen to see myself, it’s mainly that the showing time fit in with mine and my friend’s schedules. It wasn’t at all what I expected, and although it’s been slated it’s actually quite an interesting film. Not great, or perhaps not even good, but interesting (if poorly executed). Hardly a glowing review, but there you go!

After that I dropped my friend off, picked up my laundry, then crashed out for an epic sleep. Today I have a day filled with bits and bobs to do, but with the sun shining through my window it’s not all that bad.

From tomorrow I’m looking after my sister’s birds so that should sure keep me busy, training with my friend has been pencilled in for either Wednesday or Thursday, and I’m doing the physical job at work for four weeks that I should have been doing for the last four weeks, only for it to be cancelled. Hopefully it actually happens this time!

I will update again tomorrow with weigh in results, especially since I’ve no clue how it’s going to go.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

 

All Sparkles

When I first said I was going to go running with my friend, to be honest it was one of those vague ‘yeah I’ll definitely do that at some point’ kind of commitments. The idea of it in theory was exciting, but when I imagined what the actual execution would probably be like, I became terrified. It took me right back to my school days, and I felt like I had a tummy full of squirming things.

I figured it’d be the week after next before I would have a chance to actually go, so I did my usual ‘don’t-think-about-it-at-all-costs-until-absolutely-necessary’ thing.

But I forgot that my friend is one of those people you just don’t say no to, so when he said ‘Friday then?’ I found ‘hell yes!’ escaping my lips before I had a chance to think it through. Which is lucky, because thinking hasn’t done me a whole lot of good thus far.

Friday eventually came around, and when it was almost time to leave I put on my running leggings. Something like this is essential, because it holds everything in and stops The Dreaded Applause. For those who aren’t sure what that is I’ll explain – it’s where bits of you slap against other bits as you exercise and make a clapping sound! I’ve had this all of my life, but as I’ve lost weight it’s become worse.

The leggings looked bloody awful, and I knew I wouldn’t be comfortable enough to run in them. So I wore ordinary leggings with joggers over the top, which thankfully was sufficient. And I didn’t get too hot because it was bloody freezing!

When I’ve previously attempted to run, which was on a treadmill, it was more of a fast stomp. I thought it was just because I was heavy and unfit – it never occured to me that there was something wrong with my technique. Running is running, isn’t it?

Once we’d warmed up with a short walk and reached a flat bit, my friend got me to give it a try. After a short glance at me he said I should try to land on my heels and kind of roll my feet, and lean forwards slightly.

And that was that. I WAS RUNNING! And without me stomping around like a lunatic it felt bloody good! We ran until we were nice and out of breath then slowed it down to a fast walk again, and we repeated that until we reached an area with wooden bars at different heights put there specifically for people wanting to do press-ups without getting their hands muddy.

After I’d done some press-ups, including a REAL, genuine, proper press-up (goal achieved, whoop whoop!) and got my arm muscles all nice and wibbly, we moved on. But my friend had a cunning plan. From this point on there are a few benches dotted around, and whenever you reach a bench you have to do press-ups on it.

My arms were really wibbly by now, and by the last bench I completely lost it and my arms gave way. But it’s progress!

When I got home I synced my Fitbit and waited to see myself smugly jump ahead in all the challenges I was currently in.

Oh but wait.

One lady was still quite a bit ahead of me.

I couldn’t leave it like that now, could I? So I did my usual figure of eight route between the kitchen and living room until I was firmly in the lead, and got myself to bed to get some sleep before work. It was really hard to get off, because I was still absolutely buzzing from the running.

When I got up I found that the other Fitbit challengees (I just invented a word) had rudely been walking while I was asleep and I was no longer in the lead. So whilst making my dinner and preparing for work I carried on walking around the house.

But that STILL wasn’t good enough, so I decided to walk to work, which resulted in my second best day ever for burning calories with a magnificent total of 5,101. The only time I burned more was when I climbed Snowdon!

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I’ve also won the two Workweek Hustle challenges I was a part of, and come first in a challenge to walk the distance of the NYC marathon (26.2 miles).

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Next up is a Weekend Warrior challenge, and I got a nice big head start after walking home from work this morning. When I left it was still dark, which was a bit scary but also pretty cool. I had a nice cup of coffee with me and thoroughly enjoyed looking at the sparkling frost that had covered absolutely everything whilst being completely snug in my cold weather gear. In fact by the time I got home I was sweating, and after removing my chiller jacket noticed that you can wear it in temperatures up to below 50 degrees celsius. No wonder I was so hot!

I am feeling on top of the world. But also rather sleepy… Today I’m having something of a rest day, although I’ll probably still get another 5,000 or so steps in by the end of the day.

Tomorrow I’m out walking with my brother at our local nature reserve, and while we’re there I’m going to scout out a route for when I’m ready to go running on my own. Because I absolutely will! As much as it would be great to go running with my friend every time, he lives a 30 minute drive away and I don’t have the time or money to do that journey 5 times a week. For now we’ll be meeting up just once a week, which is enough to be getting on with. I’m also roping in my brother and sister to come with me at some point, and they seem quite enthusiastic!

Diet-wise I’ve been on plan and have only weighed myself once since my last post. That’s a huge improvement to at least 5 times a day.

In other news the washing machine has packed up, and the earliest an engineer can come is Wednesday. But do you know what? I don’t really care. It will get sorted in the end, I have plenty of clean clothes to tide me over, and I refuse to let anything bother me right now.

Now I’m out and about more and that things will soon start growing again, I need to get on top of my photo printing and adding things to my album. I need to do it before I get more lovely shots and then get really behind, which I think is a worthy pursuit for my rest day.

Until next time, thanks for reading.

Hayley x

Renewed Focus

I was so excited about going walking with my new friend that I almost forgot about weigh-in this week. It’s a double-edged sword – on the one hand it’s been freeing not being quite so concerned about food and the scales this week, but for now it’s not what I need. I need to keep my eyes on the prize, so this week is all about staying focused on my goals. It still has its positives – I’ve managed a few days without weighing myself at all which I really need to work on.

This week’s main goal is to STAY AWAY FROM THOSE SCALES. I’ve said this so many times, but it’s incredibly important because daily weighing is not healthy and is making me miserable. I need to learn to control myself dammit!

The results of official weigh-in are half a pound on. I’m now 14 st 11.5 lbs and need to lose 2 st 1.5 lbs to reach target. I’d like to lose at least 2 lbs this week to make it so I have less than 2 st to lose in total. I am disappointed in myself, especially since I had another day of bad eating yesterday, but I am glad I’m still in the 14 stone bracket and that my gain this week wasn’t more.

Over the next seven days I am going to be on it.

Well, on to my walk. It was great! Walking with my brother is good and all, but when we go somewhere we’re mostly just strolling around and I’m looking for stuff to take photos of. The incidental exercise is wonderful, but it’s not the primary aim.

Walking with my new friend is a whole different kettle of fish. His focus is absolutely on fitness, and although at first he asked if I’d like to come on a hike, it quickly became clear that what he really meant was would you like to come training? After all, hiking does not normally involve press-ups (I’m getting better at those by the way!)

There were no gentle strolls to be had on this occasion, and no stopping half way up a hill to catch my breath. Even walking up the hills he usually runs up had me lagging behind slightly, which just goes to show what regular training can do. Although I’m no stranger to hill walking, I was still eating the dust of a man 16 years my senior.

In between hills I did have enough breath left for us to get to know each other better, which is good because if I’m to go training with him in future then there won’t be much chatting. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that I will have to RUN (Shock! Horror!) and I have agreed to this torture. I’m not sure when this will be happening, because I don’t want to interfere with his usual training and hold him back (plus I’m very busy over the next couple of weeks) but it’ll sure be happening one way or another.

I can’t say with any certainty that I’ll do it again afterwards, but I get the feeling I will. And maybe running with him a few times will give me enough confidence to do it on my own. I sure hope so!

Either way I’m so pleased I decided to go out and be sociable, despite the warnings of snow and ice, because otherwise I wouldn’t have seen anything like this:

060218_2473060218_2472060218_2474With the sun out (mostly) it actually wasn’t that cold – we couldn’t have picked a better day I reckon.

Afterwards my friend treated me to breakfast at a local café by the name of Café Max. To be honest I expected to be taken to a greasy spoon that didn’t have a hope in hell of having vegan options, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. There weren’t any vegan options on the menu, but the nice lady serving us said that they have one other vegan customer (a regular) who has a selection of vegetables with hash browns and beans. So I ordered that, and wasn’t too excited about it but glad to have something.

We sat down at a nice table which was spotlessly clean (no grease here!) and got stared at by some old ladies. That was weird, but I think it might have been because me and my friend are both so big. I’m not talking about being overweight, it’s just that I’m 6ft tall myself and my friend is so tall he makes me feel dainty (a first) so we probably look quite imposing as a pair!

Anyway when breakfast came I was blown away. The hash browns were light, crispy and fluffy on the inside, and the accompanying veg wasn’t just your bog standard fried tomatoes and mushrooms swimming in oil. I had cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, yellow pepper (I don’t know what they did with it but that was especially delicious) and asparagus. I would be more than happy to have that again every single time, even if I wasn’t vegan.

It’s now gone 3am and I hope I can get some sleep soon (the joys of being a night worker) because tomorrow I have more strength training planned with my new kettlebells. I have started a little routine that I want to do three times a week, along with two exercise bike sessions and at least one day of yoga. And of course some running (eek!) thrown in at some point. I honestly never thought I’d get this excited about exercise, yet here I am. The girl who faked notes from her parents to get out of P.E. for five years (and got away with it) is now working out ON PURPOSE.

People actually can change!

Hayley x