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

Holiday Mode

Tuesday was a bit of a weird day. I weigh in on a Tuesday, plus it’s the first day of my working week, and I’m finding it difficult to get into a decent routine. But I have a plan – I’m going to switch groups and weigh in on Tuesday morning instead which works a lot better for me. The walk to and from the group is about the same distance but it’ll be good for me to get some steps in at the beginning of the day. Once I’m weighed and home I can then get some sleep to prepare me for my night shift. At the moment group occurs just as my body starts to think how lovely it would be to have a nap! There is a small problem – I’m not keen on the consultant and the last time I went I wasn’t that taken on the group either, but I’m finding I’m getting less and less from group as the weeks go on. To be honest I’m just finding it boring at the moment. Also, my time is very precious to me and it just drags on for so long. I’m out of the house for two-and-a-half hours every week, and it’s just crazy. So I’m going to weigh and go for a while, but when I have the chance I’ll still pop back to my old group. I do like that about Slimming World, that you can go to any group in any part of the country!

This week I lost a very respectable 2 lbs, which I’m very pleased with. Although I’ve been on plan I expected water retention for various reasons. There’s always that little part of you that wanted more though, isn’t there! I needed 3 lbs to get into the 15 stone bracket, but that will just have to wait until next week. I have found it incredibly difficult to stay on plan for the last couple of days, and that’s because my brain is well and truly in holiday mode. I’m not actually on holiday until next week, but I only went into work Tuesday and probably won’t be back until next month. I can’t go into the details as I might get in trouble, so let’s just say there’s a dispute going on. Either way, as soon as I’m off work my brain is thinking HOLIDAY FOOD but I’m keeping it firmly in check! I have been given a fantastic opportunity to get stuff done around the house, and also I have plenty of time to exercise. When I’m off work my typical calorie burn (according to my Fitbit) is about 2700 so I’m going to fight to keep it above 3000 a day for the whole time I’m off.

This afternoon I’m taking my mum to visit one of my numerous aunties but tomorrow I’m walking into town. This does serve another purpose – my sister wants me to see if Primark has a jacket she wants in her size. It’ll be quite odd, size 20 me buying a size 8 jacket, but things like that don’t bother me as much as they used to. In the past I’d be really embarrassed and looking at the teeny little jacket would have made me really miserable. Not now though, I’m feeling too good to be worried about such trivial things! Plus I think my skeleton is probably a size 8, so if something like that ever fit me I think I’d be in quite a bit of bother.

It’s currently 10am and although there’s not much sun I’ve been out in the garden photographing the first poppy of the year. Well, we’ve had some little wild yellow poppies for a while but they’re not quite as interesting!

We also have some cherries growing on our still rather small cherry tree, and if only half of the little buds on the apple tree turn into actual apples, then we are going to have a bumper year this year! Which is an improvement on last year where we had one single, stunted apple right on top of the tree that just sat and rotted up there. Poor show, apple tree.

Right, I’m going to toddle off now and get on with my day before the time starts running away from me!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x