Just Try Again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

The Most Sleepy Time of the Year

I woke up late Christmas morning (7am) because I was way behind on all the things I was meant to do, yet I still managed to squeeze in a quick photo session in the garden. In recent years it’s been too warm and sunny and hasn’t felt like Christmas, but there was a nice frost so I got out there to make the most of it.

At 9:30 I left to pick up my sister, her boyfriend and little Petrie (more about her later) which was exactly when the tiredness hit me. At that very moment I think I could have happily crawled into bed and slept for 10 hours straight. But it was Christmas Day, and Christmas Day is for fun things!

I picked them up in full-on Mrs Claus attire, and I must say I think I rocked it.

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What’s especially awesome is that even though this month has seen a fair few gains, I could still do up and sit down in my size 14 dress. That belt has absolutely no give whatsoever, so I feel pretty good about that.

Once everyone was collected and I was home safe, that was when the tiredness really hit me, and I felt pretty rough. I’ve been powering through the sleepiness all month and (typical eh?) it decided to catch up with me Christmas Day.

I wasn’t as ‘present’ as I would liked to have been (no pun intended) but I didn’t have anything left in me so I kind of slumped down in the corner. Of course I still managed to open my presents.

We had a £10 per person limit this year and I’ll tell you this – never again! You think it’ll make things easier, but it’s actually incredibly difficult. However all of the presents I got were super thoughtful and I think I did pretty well, too. The result is that I’m feeling super loved this year.

My sister painted me an absolutely INCREDIBLE fox, but at the time I didn’t realise she’d painted it herself. I looked at the tiny signature on the painting but where I was so tired I honestly couldn’t process what I was looking at so it was only yesterday I realised how special her present is.

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What an absolute numpty I am.

One thing I’d been especially excited about this year was giving handmade gifts, and although I ran out of time and didn’t do as much as I wanted, two special friends were as happy with their embroidery hoops as I hoped they would be. I’ve been itching to share this photo.

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I enjoyed making them so much, I can’t wait to get making again in the new year. After I’ve caught up on my sleep that is.

In the afternoon we sat down to a delicious dinner cooked by mother (my mouth genuinely just watered at the thought of it) then while it was going down Petrie came out to play.

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She took a special liking to my brother’s head, and also the pocket of the dungarees I bought my sister for her birthday. How adorable is she?!

Before I knew it, it was time to meet Steve at his mum’s which was an hour’s drive away. By the time I got there I was flushed with tiredness but glad I’d managed to make the journey safely and exceptionally glad that I didn’t have to go anywhere else for the time being!

I’d bought a few little presents for Steve’s son, daughter, his mum and her partner, and I was very relieved to find that everyone was happy with what I’d bought. They were also really chuffed with my wrapping and label-writing, as I’d hoped they would be. I’m actually quite proud of how my calligraphy has improved this month.

I even made some labels for a work friend to give to his girlfriend.

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At this point I was so tired I forgot that I had presents to open too, and I was absolutely blown away by my present from Steve. I’ll share a picture of that in a future post because I want to take a better picture of it and the light at the moment is rubbish.

Speaking to people at work and whatnot, it seems that for a lot of people Christmas is a time for grudgingly spending time with family members you don’t like all that much, but I’m feeling so lucky that I got to spend my day with all of the people (and animals!) I care about most in the world.

I might have been away with the fairies for a lot of it, but it was still an awesome Christmas.

From a Slimming World perspective the month has not gone well. I made the effort to weigh in Christmas Eve and I’m glad I did, because even though I gained another 6lbs (on top of the 5.5 gained the last time I was weighed) I needed that wake up call.

I finished off the last of my ‘naughty’ food on Boxing Day so now I’m right back on it and feeling exceptionally positive. Me and Steve are planning to have a quiet new year and to, quite literally, hit the ground running on the 1st. We’re planning to train New Year’s Day and I am SO looking forward to it.

I’m also in quite a good place mentally. I don’t feel particularly guilty about going off plan, and even had a laugh with some colleagues about the ‘food babies’ we have grown. At that moment I felt just like everyone else, and completely normal for overindulging over the festive period.

I think it’s because I don’t feel guilty that I feel particularly good about being on plan now, and totally sure that 2019 is my final target year.

Bring it on!

Hayley x

I Still Didn’t

What an awful week. For the first three days I was perfectly on plan, getting more organised and feeling positive, but then something terrible happened.

Just over five years ago my sister’s boyfriend got a tiny little parrot (a pacific parrotlet, similar to Pea) called Kiwi. It’s really hard to describe to anyone who hasn’t met a friendly parrot what they are like, because no words can really quite convey how amazing they are.

I’m just going to leave this little video right here, because it speaks volumes I think.

I thought I’d include this one as well to show you her feisty side. I was bird-sitting, which she really wasn’t happy about. Bird body-language is quite easy to read, and as you can probably imagine she is saying ‘I would give anything right now to bite the absolute eff out of you’.

On Wednesday evening I got a call from my sister, which is never a good sign as we are texters through and through, to say that Kiwi was badly hurt. That’s the thing about these little birds. Pea is rather shy and reserved but in general parrotlets are ridiculously inquisitive and often get themselves into trouble. Pea has had a couple of visits to the vets already where she’s managed to hurt herself despite all of the bird-proofing I’ve done.

Kiwi was in a bad way but we couldn’t get her to a specialist vet until the next morning. After her vet appointment everything seemed very positive and she really perked up, but as these birds are so, so fragile everything can change in an instant. By Friday evening she was gone.

As you can imagine we are all heartbroken, but my sister and her boyfriend especially so. I’d say Kiwi was like one of the family, but truth is she was family. My little bird-niece.

Since Wednesday almost everything I’ve eaten has been crap that I’ve picked up purely out of convenience. I should have caught up on sleep this week but I haven’t been able to stay asleep (case in point, I was exhausted last night but inexplicably woke up at 4am and have been up since then) so I’ve been exceptionally lazy where it comes to food.

I haven’t even really wanted the rubbish I’ve been eating, the one exception being lunch yesterday.

Steve and I had a meal booked in with his family that was arranged weeks ago, but as is so often the case (especially when there is a big group of people involved) things didn’t quite go to plan. When we got there we did a headcount and there were 12 of us, but the table booked was for 10. Oops.

They couldn’t squeeze us in so Steve and I offered to go and find somewhere else to eat, which was fine by me because I’d looked into another pub just round the corner while I was investigating vegan options and I thought it would be right up my street. Also we’d be meeting the family back at his mum’s house later on so we wouldn’t have to miss out on catching up with everyone.

I was right – the pub was absolutely lovely. Being so close to Christmas everywhere seems to be fully booked but we were able to sneak on to a reserved table as long as we were out by 3:30. We had an hour-and-a-half which was perfect for us.

As it happens we ended up sitting at the best and most sought-after table in the room, we had fast service as they needed us to eat our dinner before the next people got there, and the food was absolutely spectacular.

My nut roast was so succulent – I’d love to know their secret, and Steve absolutely loved his sticky toffee pudding. After eating although there was still time to hang around we left the table and relaxed in comfy chairs in front of a wood burner.

The day started with potential disaster but ended up as absolute perfection.

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I was just sitting here thinking about having a week on plan without any social events to trip me up when I got a message asking me out for dinner one day. In this instance it’s a chain restaurant (albeit a nice one) so at least I can look up exactly what I’ll be having beforehand. I’m also designated driver and I’m working that night anyway so no drinking for me.

Tonight will see me facing another gain on the scales, and although it’s our group’s Christmas party and I really want to go to that, I also really don’t want to go to group either. You could say I’m feeling a little bit conflicted! However I know that once I’ve had my weigh in I’ll start to feel better and I can enjoy the evening.

I just have to focus on the good.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

I can, but I didn’t.

But I will.

In my last post I wrote about being on plan when I can, but that didn’t quite work out. I did one day before everything went topsy turvy.

The next day I got into work to find out that one of the managers had brought in cakes to thank us for our hard work. That’s OK I thought, I won’t be able to eat any of those.

Before the thought had barely registered though my manager pulled me to one side. She felt bad that the last time we had cakes I missed out, so she bought me a big bar of vegan-friendly dark chocolate and a little honeycomb bar. How lovely of her! I’d seen the honeycomb one online and it was on my to-try list, so that was extra brilliant.

I lasted two hours before I cracked, and all of the chocolate was gone shortly after.

The next day I found the giant vegan-friendly mince pies in Co-op, so I bought a couple of those (but I did give one to Steve) and then on Saturday things really went wrong.

We were planning to go out, but Steve wasn’t feeling very well so that was shelved, and by the time I got round to his I wasn’t really feeling it either. I’ve just been exhausted this weekend – I think everything has finally caught up with me.

So over the weekend I totally lost the plot and have eaten waaaaaay too much, and all of it was the wrong stuff.

On the plus side I’m now sick to death of bad food, but since I’ve been eating rubbish right up until bed time yesterday, I’m bloated as hell and will be seeing a massive gain at group this evening. I’m also hormonal. It is what it is though. I missed group last week and refuse to miss it again.

The good thing is that there’s still time.

I reckon I’ve put on half a stone, but I also know I’m in with a good chance of getting that back off in a week, and certainly by Christmas Eve morning. Originally there was going to be no group, but my awesome consultant has arranged a morning session so we can weigh in one last time before the big day.

I’ve got two whole weeks to undo any damage done, with only one thing that might throw a spanner in the works. I’m out of a meal on the 16th, but it’s just one meal, and I doubt it’ll be anything particularly bad. It’s not a very vegan-friendly place so last time we ate there I had the only option available to me which was a tomato-based gnocchi dish. If I don’t drink (and I don’t plan to) I should be fine. Let’s do this!

In other news Friday was ‘Dress like an Elf Day’, and as I suspected I was the only one who made an effort. Unfortunately it was also a really quiet night at work with not many people in so it was all a little underwhelming.

Some of the newer members of staff just stared at me like I was absolutely cracked, but a few others laughed so that was nice.

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Regardless, I clearly looked fabulous. I’m also pretty chuffed that the last time I wore that jumper it was tight on me. Christmas NSV, yay!

Today I made an effort to get up early so I can make two Christmas presents. I aim to have them done by the time I leave for group this evening, then I have tomorrow off work so I plan to make three more Christmas presents. These ones are a little more in-depth but I reckon I can complete them. After that the present-making will all be done and I can concentrate on wrapping and making pretty labels which is one of my very favourite parts.

While I’m doing my crafting I’m also going to be watching Christmas films with my mum. I do love this time of year!

I’m definitely going to make more time for blogging this week, because it really helps me stay on track.

And I really need to stay on track.

Until next time,

Hayley x

Party Time

Let’s start off with a little big confession. I had the best plan – I worked out how many days I’d be off plan in December and tried to concentrate on being spot on every other day. Then Sunday happened.

I’ve got to admit that, last week especially, I’ve been doing too much and pushing myself to the limit. Several days I had less than four hours sleep, was doing a night shift (and working hard) whilst trying to make the most of seeing my, eek, boyfriend AND doing fun things with the family.

Speaking of which, I’d like to introduce you to someone.

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This is Steve, and he’s the person who was training me back in February, going on holiday with me in May and generally spending all of his time with me. Thankfully he’s now realised how awesome I am and well, we’re inseparable now.

Anyway, you’ll undoubtedly be seeing more of him, but for now lets get on with things. On Saturday instead of spending the day in bed like I should have I was out of the house by 10am to drive my brother to get his tattoo done. The place was just around the corner from my sister’s, so I hung out with her as he’d be spending pretty much the whole day there.

My sister would have been totally fine with me spending the day asleep, but where’s the fun in that? Instead (after a spot of shopping and a trip to Costa Coffee) we did calligraphy practice, and I’m really happy with the results.

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Nice and festive!

In the afternoon I had to relent and went for a nap, and as soon as my head hit the pillow I was gone. The next thing I knew, it was all dark and someone was shaking me. I jumped out of my skin, and so did my sister who had been trying to wake me up for quite a while and believed that I was dead. My brother’s tattoo was finished (which looks absolutely SPECTACULAR by the way) and it was time to go home.

I managed another hour before work, but having about five hours sleep for the whole day, broken into three parts, is less than ideal.

On Sunday morning after work I slept for 2.5 hours before getting up for more fun stuff. I’d invited my sister over for family Christmas craft day with my mum and brother. It’s not really my brother’s cup of tea normally but I told him it was compulsory.

I’ll go into a bit more detail about what we got up to in another post because I’m really disorganised today and don’t have access to the photos I took.

Anyway, after popping to the shops for a GIANT Americano, Steve picked me up so that we could go to Lakeside. Lakeside is a HUGE shopping centre, which is generally hell on earth, and even more so at weekend’s. But he needed a new battery for his phone which we couldn’t get on a Sunday anywhere else, so we had to brave it.

The shops were rammed and the heating was set to ‘tropical’, so by the time it came to grab some food (from M&S, how fancy) I just wanted to get out of there. I was hot, tired, a bit stressed and damn well HUNGRY.

When I spotted the M&S vegan Christmas sandwich, well, I couldn’t resist. The thing about sandwiches is, well, they’re made of bread. I haven’t had bread for months, and do you know why that is? When I have bread, it totally sets me off.

In my weakened state I didn’t stop to consider that.

When we got back home we ended up having no small amount of wine and an impromptu little living-room party. Which was awesome, but not exactly sensible. 

Since then I’ve been craving bread like nothing on earth which has sent me off the rails. I had to skip weigh in yesterday because I just didn’t have the damn time, so I must admit it has carried on to today.

Tomorrow though, I’m going to be good. Not just good, I’m going to absolutely perfect until I go out for a birthday celebration on Saturday. I have so many things planned between now and the new year, that gains are now inevitable, and we are now into damage limitation territory.

I’m not overly concerned though. As long as I go cold turkey from now on and stay away from bread, which I honestly need to cut out of my life completely, then things should get easier again. Plus there’s no reason why I should miss weigh in between now and… the foreseeable future, so I’m all good.

I keep shifting the goalposts when it comes to my Christmas goals, and for now it’s just to stay in the 12 stone bracket, which I think I can do. I’ll try my best anyway!

Already though although I’m looking forward to all of the events leading up to it and Christmas day itself, I’m also super excited about the new year and really smashing my goals. It’s going to be bloody brilliant.

Now I must pop off and get my dinner, and honestly, once I’ve eaten a giant vegan-friendly mince pie from Co-op, I swear I’ll be good.

Scout’s honour.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x