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

One or the Other

From tomorrow (or right now, actually) I am throwing myself back into Slimming World. I’m still reading about body positivity, but sitting on the fence about it isn’t helping me. I need to commit to Food Optimising, or commit to never following another eating plan ever again. I am going to do that eventually, because I want to be free of the bad relationship I’ve had with food for roughly twenty years, but I have no intention of doing so until I’ve lost just a little more weight. I’m going against the advice of the book, but I truly believe this is the best path for me. So I’m that’s what I’m doing!

I’m going to get that last bit of weight off, for a few reasons:

  • Those vintage Levi’s that I want to fit into. I’ve never wanted to wear an item of clothing so much in my life!
  • I want to make sure I have minimum pressure on my knees. Now I know that running is my ‘thing’ then I will continue to do it until my bones crumble. I’d like to avoid that for as long as possible (preferably into my 80’s, at least!)
  • I want my tummy to go down a bit more so that clothes hang on me better
  • I’m so close to where I want to be, it seems silly not to have that last little push

It’s been good to reevaluate why I want to lose more weight, and exactly what I’m aiming for. I’ve been reading about people in situations where they get to their target weight and it’s never enough; they think they will be ‘fixed’ with just another 7lbs. Which becomes another 7lbs, and another. It’s a dangerous mindset, but I don’t think it’s one that I have.

I know that in a stone’s time I’m still not going to be entirely happy with my body, and that’s when I’m going to learn to truly love it. Because I sure as hell ain’t having surgery. What I do know is that I’m almost happy with my weight, and that I know when to stop. And it’s soon. It’s tantalisingly soon!

I must admit that I had been reconsidering a tummy tuck recently, and was even going to speak to my doctor about it. But then I cancelled the appointment because I was considering it for all the wrong reasons. Mostly because of a male interest, and that is NOT the way to go.

Not that the male in question has said that my body would be a problem, or has even seen it, or anything like that, it’s just that the old doubts came creeping back saying that I’m not worthy of his love or affection if I look the way I do. Naked at least.

I’ve said in previous posts that if someone has a problem with your body then they are not the one, but when you start falling for that particular someone then jeebus, it’s sure easier to talk the talk than it is to walk the walk!

Deep down I do know – if someone can only love you if you have bits hacked off of your body, then that is not the kind of love that you need or deserve. That’s not love at all.

Again, this situation has not arisen I must stress! No one has said anything like this to me, it’s purely me saying these things to myself. Because at times I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever could be.

Tummy concerns aside though, I’m actually feeling FABULOUS! I’ve spent the winter wearing salopettes at work, and in recent months the least amount of clothes anyone has seen me in has been jeans that are miles too big for me with thermal long johns worn underneath.

This week as the weather has improved I wore joggers to work for the first time EVER. I didn’t think much of it – the main draw is that since I’ve been exercising I have a good supply of them, they don’t need ironing (RESULT), and they are damn comfortable. I never considered how I actually look in them.

On my first night of the week though I got off of my forklift truck to put my warm jacket on and was shocked by a loud exclamation of  ‘F**KING HELL HAYLEY, WHERE HAVE YOUR LEGS GONE?!’

Although I haven’t lost much weight recently, my body is definitely changing and it would seem that I have runners legs now. They’re definitely leaner than they’ve ever been, and this is coming from someone whose mother used to say she had ‘thunder thighs’. Charming, I know.

Later on in the night I also got a ‘F**K, YOU ARE SO SKINNY NOW!’ and I got all excited explaining to the person in question that I’m so, so nearly ready to stop.

In other news yesterday I had my best. Run. EVER.

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Look at that, 11:07! I’m so nearly in the ten minute bracket! As soon as I stopped stressing over it, then good things started to happen. There will be runs in the future where my times are atrocious, and I need to accept that. It’s entirely normal.

I’ve also discovered what kind of running I love most, and it’s cross-country. I love, love, LOVE trying to stay on my feet whilst running through mud and roots and rocks and all sorts. It’s just so much fun! This is one of the best parts of the run, where after slipping and sliding down a huge muddy hill, then splashing through what is basically a bog, we run along a line of planks.

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I can’t believe I actually considered getting a treadmill. I would have absolutely hated it.

Today I did briefly consider having an off-plan meal later on, as uncharacteristically I’m doing overtime tomorrow (for the first time in about two years) and have subjected myself to a one-day weekend. I felt that because I only have one night off then I deserve a ‘treat’.

Apart from the fact that it’s a really silly mindset to have, I mostly remembered how awful I feel when I train after eating badly so I dismissed the idea almost as soon as it appeared.

This morning I went for a walk with my brother around my usual running route, and the contrast between the weather yesterday and the weather today is fairly drastic.

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From the same position as the first picture the castle wasn’t visible at all, so I had to get closer. Walking around the route I realised just how tough it is, even walking, and the eventual aim is to be able to run the whole lot without stopping. Even the Hill of Doom. One day, anyway. Even my trainer can’t do that yet.

It might even be years before I achieve that, but that’s OK. One thing I do know is that I never want to give this up. It feels way too good.

Now all of my thoughts are in order and I’m feeling motivated, it’s time to get on with what’s left of my day.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Train in Rain

It has been chucking it down since I woke up this morning. I had an atrocious sleep (about three hours) and knew I wasn’t getting off again any time soon so I got up to let Pea out while I had my pre-workout coffee. She has been so affectionate lately, but she soon deserted me for her window perch so she could watch the rain for a while.

My trainer couldn’t come out to play today so I headed out to my usual haunt when I’m training alone, except I’m getting bored with my four laps around the green so I thought I’d venture further into the woods.

I am a little concerned over how isolated I am when I do this so I think I’ll invest in some self-defence lessons, just to be extra careful.

I’ll give the local dog walkers credit where it is due, as even though the view from my car window when I arrived at the nature reserve looked like this, there were still loads of people about, at least on the easy access path.

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As I got further in though it was just lil ol’ me for the best part. I only saw one other jogger until I was nearly back at the car.

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Today I wasn’t just exploring a new route – because I knew there would be less people around I decided to try out running without wearing leggings under my joggers. I’ve spoken before about ‘the dreaded applause’ (that noise where your loose skin is flapping about and it sounds like someone’s clapping) and I decided to see if I still get it when I run.

Sadly, I do, so the first mile was mostly just walking until I got away from the dog walkers. Even when I was totally alone the sound was so cringy, I’m definitely not going to be able to wear just joggers any time soon. What I do hope is that my body shape improves enough with my continued fitness/weight loss regime that I’ll at least be able to wear running leggings on their own without looking totally ridiculous.

That’s one goal, but another one I’ve added to my list seems so out there at the moment. My trainer said at some point he wants to get me to do an eight minute mile. Previously I would have scoffed at that, but if anyone can help me achieve it then it’s him. The good thing is he’ll be getting me to work towards it without me even realising, but for the time being I’m just thinking about getting into the 11 minute bracket.

Today’s times were pretty atrocious because of the aforementioned reason, plus I had to stop and look at the map on my phone a few times and backtrack when I’d gone completely the wrong way.

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Plus I had to stop for selfies (gotta indulge when there’s no one else about!) and to take a shot of some slippery ‘shrooms.

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I say my times were atrocious, but a couple of months ago that would have been inconceivable to me. Yet I managed it today without exerting myself too much. I took it rather gently because I’m training tomorrow and I wanted to save myself. I’m going to really go for it!

I’ve just had a post-workout snack of kale and soya beans (sounds boring but it’s one of my absolute faves) wolfed down my A&B choices as dessert (porridge and almond milk) and had a steamy hot shower. Which can only mean one thing – it’s now time for a well-deserved sleep.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

No Excuses

There’s something I’ve been meaning to mention for a few days, but I keep getting sidetracked. Last week some time I had an email from WordPress saying I could have 30% off a premium account subscription, so I bit off the metaphorical hand. The main draw for me is a proper domain name, followed closely by being ad-free. So now my website is simply wordsbyhayley.com, which feels proper. Plus I can now add videos and gifs I’ve made myself, rather than having to put everything through YouTube first, which is just that much neater. I’m easily pleased.

Unfortunately I have been very short on funds this month, and as is usual with me, if one area of my life is going well (specifically diet and exercise) then something else is falling by the wayside. I have spent much more money than I’ve actually earned, so I’ve put myself quite a bit back as far as my ‘living within my means’ and ‘reducing debt’ resolutions go. I could have done without buying a WordPress subscription, but there you go. What’s done is done.

What’s also done is me buying a load of exercise clothing, make-up, crystal wine glasses, a new travel mug, a new dress for the work’s night out and bits for the car. Plus other stuff I’ve probably forgotten about.

Yes. I’ve been very, very naughty.

I don’t actually regret any of these purchases as such though. I did need a new travel mug because even though my current one is supposed to fit a tall/medium/regular whatever from Starbucks or Costa, it doesn’t, and some always gets thrown away. My new ‘mug’ is huge and should easily fit a grande and just about by a smidgen perhaps a venti. According the interwebs anyway.

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It’s also spill-proof and speaks words of wisdom to me. All you need IS in fact coffee.

The other most important thing is this rather lary excuse-remover which comes in the form of a waterproof running jacket.

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It should keep me dry and perfectly visible on these grey and rainy days. I (very briskly) walked into town and back today so I reckon I’ll have a rest day tomorrow and train on Thursday, come what may.

My walk to town was actually lovely. It was chucking it down on the way there, but I always enjoy the sound of the rain on my brolly. Until it broke that is, but by that time it was the kind of rain that’s more like a mist which just covers everything in dew drops. My brolly was ancient anyway, it had a good run!

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Of course I stopped to take a couple of (rather disappointing) pictures, so I waited till the return journey to turn on MapMyRun and get an updated idea of what my brisk walking pace is like. The first time I checked was in May 2017, and the best I did then was 18:30. The last time I checked my average mile time was on the 26th of February and it was 16:59. Today it was 15:21 which is quite an excellent, considering I wasn’t actually trying. My heart rate was elevated, and I was definitely breathing harder than usual, but I could have easily held a normal conversation the whole time. Yay for improvements!

It’s time for dinner so I’d best sign off for now.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Scary Things

Yesterday my friend phoned me to tell me that we wouldn’t be alone for training today – his son has been off work and is going a bit stir crazy so he’d be joining us. I said no, repeatedly, but it fell on deaf ears. I’ve said it before but my friend is not someone you can say no to!

After no small amount of emotional blackmail I eventually agreed to come, but I had a bad sleep because of it. I’m not good with meeting new people as I find it really stressful. There are other factors that made me worry even more though – I think it’s quite an important thing to meet a good friend’s son at the best of times, but when you factor in the ‘extra’ feelings I have towards my friend it becomes even more so.

And then there’s the fact that it took so much guts for me to go running in the first place, and my friend wants me to train with a bloody semi-professional boxer and regular snowboarder? The guy is fit as HELL. Yeah, I’m sure I wouldn’t be self-conscious at all!

As it happens his son is currently in a brace for a broken shoulder so running wasn’t on the cards anyway. I suspect my friend wanted me to run up the hills regardless, but in the end we were all happy to just have a fast walk, then afterwards we went for lunch at Harvester.

I wasn’t as good as I could have been, because they were out of my usual penne arrabiata and there’s only one other vegan option (stuffed peppers) which is more calorific, but it’s not the end of the world.

It was a really lovely morning/afternoon and I’m glad I went. My friend’s son is an absolutely adorable person and I’m glad to have met him despite worrying about it so much. In fact he’s one of the few people I’ve been able to have a proper conversation to about being vegan. My friend brought it up and he was really interested in how easy/hard it is to stick to and what kind of things I can eat. He’s also already eaten at a vegan-friendly vegetarian restaurant I’ve been wanting to visit and said the food is great. It was so nice to not have the usual ‘but bacon!’ conversation!

Now I’m just hanging around with Pea for a bit while I wait for another friend to finish work. He’s going to look at my car because I’m not convinced it’s as close to death’s door as I originally thought. I have an oil leak which has been collecting in a tray below the engine, which has come loose and is hanging down. So I’m wondering if the milky oil is from there and not an indication that my head gasket is knackered. We’ll see what he thinks later on. I still need a new car soon, but hopefully I’ll have a chance to shop around a bit.

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Seriously, don’t mess with us!

It’s now time for a caffeine top-up so I’ll say goodbye.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Back to Seven

Note to Self: When December comes around, remember that it took you until the end of February to get rid of your Christmas gain. Remember how long it took you to truly get back into the swing of things, and ask yourself if all of those mince pies are really worth it. Hint: They’re not.

I originally got my seven stone award at the end of November, and a couple of days later was when I snapped and spent most of December bingeing on sweet Christmas treats. My mood and self-esteem really suffered, although I tried to pretend at the time that I was OK with it. I was trying to convince myself more than anyone else.

This week I lost 3 lbs, and I’m so happy with that because it did not come easily. I’m so proud that instead of using my trainer’s illness as an excuse to be lazy that I faced my fears and went out alone. I’m proud that despite wanting badly to binge, twice, I managed to keep my cravings in check.

All of that hard work means I can now say I have my seven stone award back, with a total loss of 7 st 1 lb. We’re into (relatively) new territory now, as I haven’t been this weight since 2004.

This week training has been put back yet another day, but after yesterday’s walk I’m not too worried. Where I’m off work on a Monday I find it really hard to hit my calorie burn goal but yesterday I smashed it. I’ll do some home exercise before work today and if training goes back another day then I’ll go out on my own tomorrow. Already it feels wrong if I haven’t been running for a while.

This week has the potential to go wrong, but I sure as hell won’t let it. In January me and my sister pencilled in a date for a food trip to London where we can eat loads of vegan goodies (which happens to be this Sunday), but after our run the other day we both agreed that it wasn’t really conducive to achieving our goals.

We are still going out for a meal, at Mildred’s, but I’ve already checked out the menu and have chosen what I’m having. I’m going to have the ‘Soul Bowl’ which includes so many healthy foods!

How full of goodness does that sound? And where I’m not exactly following Slimming World anymore I can eat the avocado, cashew cheese and seeds without worrying too much.

The important thing for me right now is having three sensible meals a day, and having one meal with more healthy fats than I’m used to is not going to do much, if any, damage.

Rather than go on a food tour of the rest of the city, I suggested that we do something more wholesome and revisit St James’s Park. The wildlife there is so tame it can hardly be called wildlife at all – the last time we went I fed a great tit from my hand, had a squirrel run up my leg and ended up covered in beautiful pigeons!

But there’s more to it than that. The last time we went was in April 2016 and I was pushing 20 stone, so it’ll be fun to go back over five stone lighter. I was also only just getting into photography, so I’m looking forward to getting better pictures, too.

These seem ok, but the top one is not as sharp as I’d like and both are heavily cropped. There’s a lot of room for improvement there, especially now I know what I’m doing.

It’ll be extra exercise, too, because I’ll be taking my heaviest camera and lenses. I’ll probably be lugging an additional stone about, but I’m no stranger to carrying extra weight so it shouldn’t be a problem.

As I’ve changed my daily step goal to 15k, I’d best get moving now because these steps aren’t going to do themselves.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Snow Day

I’ve got everything crossed that proper training goes ahead tomorrow because I’ve really missed it. My friend has confirmed that we are going whether it’s snowing or not, the only thing that remains to be seen is whether he’s well enough.

I remembered that I left my hat in my locker at work, and since I’m not back until Tuesday night I’ll definitely be needing one during training. Where we go is quite high and always windy, so I imagine it’ll be bitterly cold, too. Me being me, I decided to walk into town, in the snow, to get a hat.

Y’know, I really could have done with a hat while I was doing that…

As soon as I stepped out of the house the wind was so icy I got brain freeze, but thankfully that didn’t last as I got used to the temperature and warmed up a bit by walking fast.

By the time I reached the park, which is right near town, the snow had stopped and in one direction there was a nice blue sky.

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The other direction (the one I was headed in) was not looking quite so inviting…

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Despite the temperature there was just so much life about! I think it’s because I seemed to have the whole park to myself and all of the creatures could go about their business without being disturbed. I saw a grey heron, swans, canada geese, coots, moorhens, blackbirds, magpies, pigeons, gulls, squirrels, voles, tufted ducks and mallards. Which is pretty damn cool.

In town I finally found a vegan deodorant I like so I stocked up on those, and also got a hat for £1.

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I must admit that despite my ethical new year’s resolutions I did get it from Primark. They have all of their summer stuff in now and only had a few hats left in the corner so I grabbed one while I could. I have made progress with that particular resolution but it still needs work.

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Well, it’ll keep me noggin warm in any case, and it’s also highly likely that I won’t bother doing my hair for future runs!

I had loads of things that needed doing today but most of them have been postponed. One of our cats has been off her food so me and my brother took her to the vets to get checked out. They’ve done a blood test and sent it off for speedy and detailed results, so we should find out something tomorrow, and they have also kept her in to try her on appetite stimulants and to get some fluids into her.

She’s a very old cat now, but I have everything crossed that it’s nothing terrible. Things just wouldn’t be the same without that kitty…

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Somehow a trip to town, the vets and just doing a few bits around the house has eaten up the whole of the day and I’m just about ready to drop. It doesn’t help that I woke up early after having really grim nightmare with my heart trying to escape from my chest!

The good thing about being this tired is that I should sleep well. At least I hope I do, because it’s weigh day tomorrow and I’d rather not spend the night anticipating what the results will be. I’ve had a couple of sneak peeks but you never really know till the official time. I reckon it’ll be OK but it would be so awesome if my Christmas gain has finally been eliminated!

I’ll keep you updated.

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