Getting Out

Now I think of it, having this week off of training couldn’t have worked out better. Let’s face it, it’s way too hot to run, even in the shade. Since having that revelation I feel a lot better about the whole resting thing.

Mr. S picked me up this afternoon and for a trip back to Warley Place, which we visited last month. This time we had another friend of his along for the ride, and we all enjoyed the gentle stroll which is mostly in the shade. Which is helpful, because the thermometer tipped a rather toasty 30 degrees celsius today. I took my wide-angle lens with me this time to get a different take on the same scenery.

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I’m already looking forward to coming here in the autumn, I bet it’s absolutely beautiful.

Yesterday was a good photo day too. Mr. S is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society so he took me to Hyde Hall as his non-paying guest. It sounds really fancy if you aren’t an RHS member, but it’s more or less the same of being a National Trust or English Heritage member – you pay a membership fee and visit as many places as you like.

Hyde Hall is well worth a visit if  you’re ever in Essex, the gardens are stunning. It was swelteringly hot, which I’m not complaining about because I hate the cold so damn much, but I’m the first to admit getting caught by sprinkler spray every so often was very refreshing!

They also have a sculpture trail on at the moment, and I know we didn’t manage to see all of them.

It’s been ages since I had quite so many photo opportunities in one place. Afterwards I went back to Mr. S’s for dinner and a movie, where we slowly melted on his sofa, and were periodically visited by an expectant fox.

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Mr. S is a sucker for foxes. This little guy knew full well he had a big chunk of ham coming his way!

It’s back to work for me tonight and I have another busy day coming up tomorrow. My sister is having a little (benign) lump removed from her leg and I’m going with her because she’s a fainter. She’ll sometimes pass out if it’s just slightly warm and she’s a bit dehydrated so the combination of this heat and a little procedure could be troublesome. I reckon she’ll be fine, but I’d best accompany her just in case.

Then I have work Saturday night but I’m already anticipating my next couple of days off because I am just zonked. Although I’ve just remembered that I may have to come into work Sunday because I agreed to swap shifts with someone so he can go out disco dancing… I’m just too nice!

Until next time,

Hayley x

Drenched!

I’ve bitten the bullet and made a doctors appointment. I hate going but I really should get a professional opinion about my knee, which is feeling better still but isn’t right. Or even pain free for that matter. I walked today as I said I would, but although it was lovely it added half an hour onto my time for that route. It’s no problem when I’m off work, like today, but otherwise it would just eat up too much of my day. So I must run! I MISS running!

Having said that, it was waaaaay too hot to actually run today. I started at 10:30am and was melting within minutes. I don’t know what the temperature was but the sun was already beating down and being reflected back up from the sand/gravel track. It’s not so much of a problem for me these days, but there was a time when that kind of environment would have floored me. Today it was mostly me trying to be sensible that prevented me from attempting a run regardless.

I remember going to festivals with my friends and although I loved the music I would often only wear jeans and cover up with long-sleeved tops. I don’t think anyone knew how much of a struggle, how utterly exhausting it was. There’s also a lot of walking involved when you’re making your way between stages, and my thighs would rub until they were literally bleeding. I’m glad that kind of thing is firmly in my past, so the only things I have to think about now when it’s hot are ‘do I have enough water’, ‘do I have enough sunscreen on’ and ‘have I remembered my sunglasses’.

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As it happens today I remembered all of those things.

Everything was so gorgeous today, just saturated with colour. It was nice on the eyes but by the time I got back to the car I was drenched!

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Obviously it was well worth it though. So that’s 1 Body Magic session out of a total of 5 planned for this week. I really hope there’s good new at my doctor’s appointment, which is on Saturday morning. No matter what the verdict though I know I’ll keep active one way or another, because now I’ve started I know I can’t stop. There are plenty of options out there.

As mentioned in my last post, I gave it some thought and I’ve decided I’m REALLY going to try to only weigh myself after Lady Time. If I can do it, then imagine the excitement as I step on the scales to get the verdict of a whole month’s worth of being on plan. I just have to stick to it.

I had a really bad sleep last night (my brain wouldn’t turn off) and I think I have just enough time to nap before my friend comes over this afternoon to do some bits to my car. So I’ll be off now.

Mmm, naps…

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Trapped

I made a decision today, one that I’ll talk about in a future post. I know it’s infuriating to drop little hints, but it really wouldn’t be right of me to talk about the thing before I’ve done the thing.

It’s something that needs to be done, because I can feel that history is about to repeat itself, but I sure don’t want to do it. If I had to describe how I feel right now I guess it would be… heartbroken. That sounds really melodramatic, but there it is.

I feel trapped inside my own head at the moment, because I need to deal with the emotions but they are so strong, and I don’t really know how to. Mr. S let me down for training today last minute and I knew I had to move, so that’s what I did.

I was already good to go because I thought I’d be running, so I got on my walking boots and headed for the train station. I’ve been meaning to go to London for vegan kebabs and to visit St James’s Park again for ages, so it’s no wonder that’s the first thing that popped into my head.

Although my brain has been in a turmoil everything just seemed to go right. Without any kind of planning I arrived at the station just minutes before the train to London was leaving. Perfect!

I used the journey to plan the rest of the day. I didn’t much fancy heading into Shoreditch, so I decided to visit the brand new actual restaurant that What the Pitta have opened in Camden. I got the tube there, and was surprised to see that it was fairly quiet. But then I suppose most of their business is late-night and weekends.

I received the most friendly service, and as ever the vegan kebab was delicious. I had half a mind to go to Crosstown Donuts later in the day, but I always forget how filling the kebabs are. It’s nearly 8pm and I’m still not hungry! I suppose it might have something to do with all those chips…

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So yeah… the being back on plan thing isn’t working out so well. I’m allowing myself a little pity party today (I’ve already been to the shops for ice cream) then I really, really am going to focus on my eating.

What isn’t helping my state of mind is that my knee is really painful today and I think I need to lay off the training until it feels better. Plus I should probably also speak to a doctor, even though I don’t want to.

If I’m not training then my eating needs to be spot on. I’m not sure how I’m going to cope with it mentally though, running has become something of a lifeline. But I’ll figure it out somehow.

Anyway, despite my knee being dodgy I still walked from Camden to St James’s Park, which took over an hour. It wouldn’t have taken that long but I did stop and mooch around a few shops on my way. The only reason I didn’t buy these bad boys is that I’m already trying to declutter and I didn’t think they would help matters.

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So stylish though!

St James’s Park is always good for the soul, because I love pigeons, and it seems that pigeons love me. At least, they love the almonds that I bring them. I definitely made some new friends!

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Just call me the pigeon whisperer! I also got a few shots on my Sony camera, which isn’t my best quality camera, but still does a better job than my phone.

Until one decided to perch on it, that is…

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Despite being on my own I was laughing like a mad person, and I managed to amuse a little toddler, several Germans and a Chinese couple. Despite everything, it’s been a very successful day!

Miraculously I didn’t get pooped on, so after paying 20p for a tinkle I decided to head home. I didn’t much fancy being on the tube during rush hour, or any time for that matter. So a decided to walk to Fenchurch Street which again took about an hour, because the streets were busy too.

When I arrived at the station for the third time that day my train was ready and waiting for me. I got a nice seat, and also managed to get myself on a fast train where mine was the first stop. Again, perfect!

I’m feeling much better after traipsing the streets of London and getting everything straight in my head.

Everything will be fine, but I’ll give you more details when I can. In the meantime, the next time you hear from me I’ll be on that wagon.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Warley Place

Mr. S is so awesome. Even though we had work yesterday he called to say he was taking me somewhere as a surprise. It was only a ten minute drive away, but it was somewhere I’d never been and that he both knew I’d love and would provide nice photo opportunities.

The place in question was Warley Place, the remnants of an Edwardian house and gardens. It was made famous (although I’d never heard of it personally) by Ellen Ann Willmott in the 1880’s who was big in the world of horticulture. She had a team of over 100 gardeners, immense greenhouses and an alpine garden. She was even visited by Queen Mary, Queen Alexandra and Princess Victoria, but now all that’s left is ruins.

The site is now leased to the Essex Wildlife Trust, and they’ve been working to restore what they can whilst still making a home for nature. And it’s amazing how quickly nature has reclaimed the space in such a short amount of time.

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It was a beautiful day and such a nice gesture from Mr. S. I’m not sure if he’s extra nice or everyone who came before him was just a bit crap, but no one has ever been that thoughtful towards me before.

He’s also the first person who ever wanted to take pictures of me, which to be honest since I’ve lost weight I’m loving. It’s still a novelty to see a picture of me that I don’t hate so when he shows me I’m happy to have a record of a nice memory rather than being mortified.

He took this one while we were in the bird hide:

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Whenever I look at that picture I’ll be thinking ‘ah what a lovely day that was’ rather than ‘ugh, I was so miserable back then’. You can’t put a price on that feeling.

I’m now on day four of being super good and on plan, and I’m starting to get excited about my health and fitness again. I’ve also already noticed that, ahem, I’m less windy and the wind I do emit is a lot nicer for those around me. TMI? Of course, but then it’s good for others to know that there are other benefits of eating healthily that they might not have considered before.

My number one new thing that I’ve loved this week is the Alpro dark chocolate desserts, which are 5.5 syns each. They go perfectly with some summery strawberries.

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So food is spot on, but it’s taking a little while to get back to top form as far as fitness is concerned. I trained on Tuesday and it was really hard going. Mr. S said it was probably just anxiety but I just couldn’t regulate my breathing properly and I really struggled. We trained again today, locally because we were short on time, and things went much better. I’m walking into town tomorrow then training properly on Saturday, so I hope things will be back to normal by then.

If not it won’t be long before they are.

Right then, it’s time to pay some attention to the third part of the holy trinity of health. I need to get some bloody sleep!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Slippery Mountain

Oh my, I am soooooo tired. I am can-barely-sit-up-straight exhausted, but there’s a blog in me just bursting to get out. There’s no use putting it off.

Over the last week Mr. S has been poorly (we overdid it just a tad on holiday and I must admit I was struggling to recover too) so we only trained once. Other than that I’ve just been trying (and failing) to catch up on sleep and chores, despite having the week off. I did make it to the charity shop after clearing out four sacks-worth of clothes, shoes, bags, books and various other bits and bobs, but there’s still a lot more spring cleaning to be done. I want to have minimal stuff so that I can decorate as soon as I get the chance, but life keeps getting in the way, as it does tend to do.

I’m OK with this, because life has been good to me. As it happens, I am no longer entirely single! Me and Mr. S aren’t exactly an official couple, but we’re also not not a couple either. Confused? I don’t blame you! Basically, we have a thing going on. But we aren’t giving it a name or thinking too much about it right now, we’re just enjoying being together. For me it’s been a big change, because in the past I’ve been very much in the ‘I need to know exactly what’s happening’ camp, but lately I’ve been enjoying simply living, instead of fretting about the past or the future. I feel a lot happier for it.

Because we’ve spent so much time together lately, going away for the weekend with my little brother has been FANTASTIC, but also a little tough. I’ve missed Mr. S terribly, but I couldn’t have brought him along in any case. He couldn’t get the time off work, plus I’ve had this booked in with my little bro since before me and Mr. S even started talking.

Anyway, on Wednesday me and little bro went shopping for food supplies. We needed dry/canned goods as we were camping and didn’t have access to a refrigerator. On the way there little bro asked ‘have you had any reliability issues with the car since you’ve had it?’ ‘Nope!’ I replied, confident that my wee Micra could handle the 640 mile round trip drive easily.

The very next day, the day before our adventure, I got in the car to visit Mr. S one last time before we went. I turned the key and… nothing. The battery was as flat as a pancake. I got a jump-start, but the damn thing wouldn’t hold a charge – it was completely knackered. Typical.

Thankfully I have a wonderful friend who came over at 11:30pm with a new battery, so after he kindly changed it over for me we got on the road. I was full of nervous energy and just wanted to get going.

Driving in the middle of the night is a great idea, especially if like me you’re a night worker and you’re used to driving around in the small hours. You get to see stunning sunrises like this one, for a start.

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Five hours into the journey, we were just making our way into the Lake District – the views were getting more and more beautiful and my sense of wellbeing was increasing exponentially.

Then the car suddenly started losing power. I couldn’t believe it – I’ve done plenty of journeys and not had a single problem. So why now?!

Luck was on our side again though, because it was fine in the lower gears, and I could get to 60 miles-per-hour. So I decided to carry on the journey and just hope it got us to the campsite. After that we didn’t need to drive again until the ride home, so I put that particular concern to one side until Sunday morning. I was damn well going to enjoy my holiday no matter what!

My little car did spectacularly well – she made it up some INSANE hills, many of which I had to crawl up in first gear. That’s not my bad driving, they really were that steep. But the old girl did it.

As we got nearer our destination things went from beautiful to STUNNING.

And that was just the beginning.

As we’d left so early, we still had a whole day in which to explore. So we set up camp, had a little rest, then headed out to see what we could find. There were sheep absolutely everywhere, but this little bundle of fluff was my favourite. Look at that adorable face!

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We walked to a little inn where I enjoyed an ice cold G&T whilst taking in the views and listening to the river water making its way down from the mountains. The weather was turning out to be glorious, too.

The rest of the day was spent wandering around, then we both struggled to stay awake until 8pm. Then we allowed ourselves a well-deserved early night early night as we were heading up Scafell Pike at daybreak.

The next morning we were up at 4am because we wanted to miss the crowds. We were on our way from the beginning as the trail started right from our campsite, so there wasn’t a moment wasted.

After doing Snowdon last year I was confident that Scafell Pike was completely doable, but it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Snowdon is higher than Scafell Pike (though not by much) but I’d say it’s easier. You go up a bit, then along, and down at times, and there’s enough variety in the terrain that it doesn’t feel too bad. But Scafell Pike is just UP, UP, UP! Plus there are loads of points on the way where you think you’re at the summit, but the next part is hidden behind the current peak you’re on. I was prepared though – my brother climbed it last month and pre warned me!

We made it to the summit in good time, and without incident. And just as the sun was making it over the peaks, too.

It was breathtakingly beautiful.

As it happens climbing Scafell Pike was a lot easier to climb than Snowdon, but that’s mainly because I am SO MUCH FITTER now! Not to mention over two stone lighter. At least, it was easier on the way up. The way down… now THAT was hard.

My brother warned me that it was slippery, and boy he wasn’t kidding. It’s basically gravel and loose stones the whole way down, and it really is treacherous. Me being me, I went over and managed to land on my arse and elbow.

I’ll be honest – I really thought I’d done some serious damage. I went down hard, but luckily it just shook me up, gave me a nice deep cut on my elbow (which is painful but healing nicely) and some pretty impressive bruises on my right bum cheek. It could have been a lot worse.

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So, having given my tribute of blood to the mountain I made it safely to the bottom again. After another nap, me and my brother had a really special evening.

Just like me, my brother has struggled with his weight most of his life. He’s currently getting back into the swing of things and getting fitter and healthier, but all the same… neither of us are happy with our bodies just yet.

We were camped right near a beautiful lake, so we decided to take our camping chairs and stove down to the rocky shore and have dinner there. It was so hot, and the water so clear and inviting, we put our feet it and splashed our faces. It was delicious, it’s the only word for it.

Then we wondered… even though it’s been over a decade since either of us swam, could we go all the way? Well of course we could!

It was utterly freezing at first, but we found out that we can in fact still swim. Which is good, because there wasn’t a soul around to save us if we couldn’t, and what with this particular lake (Wastwater) being the deepest in England, it would have been… problematic shall we say.

In all seriousness, we stayed in the shallows before being sure we weren’t going to drown. We’re not quite that stupid.

Well, it was absolutely magical. After years and years of spending summers hot and sweaty, afraid to show ourselves and get in the water, here we were swimming in a crystal clear lake. It’s a wonderful memory that will stay with us forever.

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As you may have guessed I made it home, and it was without incident. The car seems to have fixed itself, as we didn’t have any problems at all. I wonder if it was just all too much for it on the way there.

Now I’m going to sign off, because my exhaustion has reached critical levels and I haven’t even had dinner yet. I’ll update again tomorrow (I promise!) to let you know what comes next in Hayley Land.

Thanks for reading!

X

Most Pleasing!

All good things must come to an end, and my holiday is one of them. I did intend to blog while I was away, but every single moment was just completely jam packed and I didn’t give it a single thought once I’d left my house. Until now that is.

We got to our beautiful cottage on Tuesday afternoon, and although we’d seen pictures it was better than we could have imagined. After all, a picture can’t describe the stream we could hear or the little bleating lambs! We stayed in the village of Wincle (yes, actually pronounced winkle *snigger*) and it was beautiful. 

I’m not sure how big the village actually is, but what we saw of it was just one street with a few cottages, a pub, a microbrewery and a fishery.

It took us a little while to get to our cottage as once we’d got out of the car we were greeted by a lovely lady walking her dog, Rocky. It turns out she permanently lives next door to the cottage we were staying in (all of the other residents live there full time), and afterwards as we made our way down the little row all of the other neighbours came out to say hello, too.

Everyone was just so friendly, but the couple we got speaking to in the pub probably had the edge. They were talking about their favourite local walks, and by the time we’d finished our drinks they’d been home to photocopy the route and instructions and left it at the bar for us. How lovely is that?

After just relaxing for the first evening, and perhaps drinking a little too much wine, the next day we went to Mam Tor. Who doesn’t love a good Tor? The weather was stunningly beautiful but not too hot (perfect for walking) and me and Mr. S got to discover how terrible we both are at reading maps.

Thankfully there were plenty of people around to help us, and we got where we were aiming to go eventually.

Day two we started off in Dovedale for a nice big circular walk. I don’t remember exactly what villages we ended up going through, but it was another beautiful day. And once we’d got out of Dovedale itself, which is nice but a little bit tame for my liking, we barely saw another person.

The last day in the cottage wasn’t all blue skies like the previous days, and we were pretty tired by this point (perhaps we may have been burning the candle at both ends…) so we decided to do the recommended walk to Lud’s church, which also meant we didn’t have to drive anywhere first.

We started off with a nice forest-y, windy walk alongside a river then after climbing steeply we ended up in a huge cleft in the rock which was created by a landslip. It’s not actually a church as such, but supposedly an illegal religious sect used it as a secret meeting place in the 15th century. Either way, it definitely has that churchy kind of feel about it! Again we were the only ones there, and where the moss that covered absolutely everything muffled the sound and made it extra spooky.

After the fourth night in the cottage we were booked up to stay in a hotel in Sheffield for the final night of our holiday. As such we both agreed that we had to be in bed by 10pm so we could pack and make sure the cottage was tidy before we left.

However, things did not go to plan. We started our walk pretty much exhausted, but when we got back to the village we decided to just stop off in the pub before going back to the cottage. Of course, one drink led to another and everything got a little bit hazy after that. At 1:30am one of us had the good sense to check the time, and we finally got ourselves to bed.

I managed to wake up early so I packed and cleaned most of the things and we just managed to get out in time and leave everything immaculate. However I was wondering how we were going to cope out on the town in Sheffield as we were both just so tired.

Somehow though, we just kept going. Mr. S got to watch his football match, then after that we headed back to the hotel to get changed into fancy things. After that the best way of finding out what the hell we got up to was by checking my bank account the next day and seeing how many different bars we’d visited!

Every night of the holiday we’d been… ‘jolly’ shall we say, and every night the time just ran away from us. This night it sprinted though, because when I checked my watch it was HALF PAST FRIKKIN FIVE IN THE MORNING!!! 

Since checkout was at 11am, there was just no way either one of us was going to get sober enough to drive home, and if we hung around the city until we were, there’s no way either one of us would be awake enough to drive home.

So at 7am I went to speak to reception and we managed to stay in our room for an extra night.

Mr. S couldn’t sleep in the morning, but I managed to get a couple of hours so I went out to explore. Literally a few days ago I started following a company (Joni) on Facebook who sell vegan croissants, and when I checked my news feed (while I was working on the will to get out of bed) I noticed an update from them – they were at a food festival that was going on right outside our hotel window! 

I was clearly meant to have my first croissant since becoming vegan, and it was clearly meant to be delicious. They had two varieties so I ended up having both – they were deep filled with so much chocolate and they were oh so good. Better than any buttery version I’ve tried (and believe me, I’ve eaten A LOT of croissants).

After eating dessert I looked for a savoury treat and also had my first pasty since becoming vegan! The Proper Pasty Co have two vegan varieties – spicy Mediterranean veg and apple and blackcurrant. Sadly the sweet one was sold out, but then I didn’t really need it anyway.

In the evening we went to Pizza Express for dinner (it was very scrummy indeed, plus I’m LOVING their app which you can use to pay the bill) and then we actually managed to get an early night as intended for the first time.

A truly honourable mention has to go to Make No Bones. It’s a vegan café in Sheffield and I’ve been hearing people raving about their food since before went vegan. When we first got into the city we made a detour to try their wares – it was my condition for sitting through the football you see.

By the time we got there I was so hungry I ordered avocado fries, sticky seitan ribs with ‘blue cheese’ sauce, a kebab and a PB&J cheesecake. I practically inhaled it so I didn’t get any pictures, but the food is INCREDIBLE. So if you have the chance to go, even if it’s right out of your way and you have a tired and hungry Mr. S trying to talk you out of it, then GO!

As it happens Mr. S (an omnivore) had a vegan Philly cheesesteak. Although he wasn’t expecting to like it he actually bloody loved it!

I have just a couple more things to mention before I go – Somehow, miraculously, I managed to LOSE a whole two pounds while I was away. I have no idea how. I have drunk and eaten whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and yet I seem to be maintaining my weight spectacularly without even trying!

However, I do want to knuckle down and lose some more weight now so it’s back on plan for me.

Finally, although I expected to be self-conscious around Mr. S I surprised myself at how much I was at ease with my body. So I don’t think I have too long to go before I’ll be content with how I look. My ex never took a single picture of me while we were together, but Mr. S was snapping away the whole time and I like almost all of what he took. I did not expect to feel this way about myself so it’s come completely out of the blue and is also rather marvellous!

Despite feeling pretty bummed at my holiday ending, I’m also pretty excited for the future!

I’ll be telling you about it in more regular blogs from now on. Normal service is henceforth resumed!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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