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

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

Signs of Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Turning it Around

Yesterday I was hungry.

All. Day. Long.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Several hours later…

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

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

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

This was back then:

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And these are from today:

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

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

Hayley x

A Wibble

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

This will NOT do.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Not Exactly My Week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

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

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

 

Frustration

I’m really proud of myself for the last week. It was so hard to get back on plan after the Christmas period (which for me started in November) and even harder because of being off work and unable to do all of the things I wanted to do. Some of the time I was genuinely hungry because I couldn’t eat properly, other times I was just plain hungry. I know I overate free foods at some point during the week, but I didn’t go over my syns on any day. I also made sure I did my 70,000 steps even though for two days I barely moved and for the others I had to hold my cheek a lot of the time to stop it from hurting too much. But I did it!

My reward for all of this hard work? Half a pound off.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t completely peed off, truth be told! But I am pleased it’s still a loss because I’d feel a lot worse otherwise. This week there is nothing holding me back. I’m definitely back to work tonight, which comes just at the right time because when I woke up this morning for the first time in a week my first thought wasn’t ‘ouch!’

I have an inkling that I could be due a catch-up loss next week, but that’s certainly not guaranteed so I won’t pin my hopes on it. I would like two pounds though, because then I will be back in the 14 stone bracket. I’m so desperate to get there, I think that’s what’s going to keep me from eating my feelings regarding this half pound business!

Never mind. I just have to keep moving forwards and this week is going to be a good one. Plans for the week ahead? No sneak peeks on the scales (starting from right now), 70k+ steps, plenty of speed food, keep working towards that elusive push-up.

In other news my camera has finally come!

Look how teeny it is! As the sun has now gone to bed what I can tell you is that it doesn’t do very well in low light conditions (which I suspected anyway) but the whole reason I bought it is so I don’t have to lug my gear up a mountain so in that situation low light is unlikely to be a problem. Plus if I’m indoors, likelihood is I’m going to have my proper camera with me anyway.

The main draw for me is that it shoots in RAW, which is an absolute must. With an ordinary point-and-shoot camera, when you take a picture it saves as a JPEG. When the picture is taken there’s an absolutely huge amount of information captured, but to save space the JPEG decides what information to keep and what to throw away. It dumps anything it doesn’t need and you’re left with a much smaller file. When you shoot in RAW however it keeps EVERYTHING. Most importantly it means you get to decide for yourself what stays and what goes, and you can edit the photo to look how you think it should look.

For the kind of photography I do it’s mostly about representing the scene as it was, at least in terms of colour and exposure. I’ll never not want a shallow depth of field (blurry background). It’s also much closer to traditional photography, because that’s what people would have done in the dark room – deciding on how much contrast and whatnot. Other bonuses are that the file doesn’t degrade when you edit it (with the JPEG it’ll keep dumping and dumping the information until you’re left with an unusable pixelated monstrosity) and the fact that you can sometimes ‘rescue’ a badly exposed photo. This is why I love photography, there’s just so much to it! You can make it as simple or as complicated as you like.

Overall the excitement of the camera has cancelled out the bad feeling about my disappointing loss, so everything is quite alright in Hayley land.

Until next time, thanks for reading!

Hayley x

SERIOUS Budgeting

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need a new camera, and after nearly impulse buying one particular model I thankfully stopped myself and did proper research. This is most unlike me. I’ve found something for £330 (an RX100) that has pretty much all of the functions of an SLR that I like but is teeny tiny. That’s the main draw for me.

Because the equipment I’m using is so old anyway I’m not even sacrificing picture quality (unless you count the macro capabilities of my remarkable 100mm lens) but the major benefit is that it’s portable. At the moment when I go out and about I’m literally carrying a couple of stones worth of equipment around with me and I end up with extremely sore shoulders. Since I can take the new one with my everywhere, even the shops, I’m never going to miss a photo opportunity that my phone camera can’t handle.

I can just about afford it, so after carefully looking through what’s left to pay out this month and pooling the money from several different accounts, I made the plunge and ordered it. I would have liked to order it through my work and get a 10% discount, but it’s out of stock. I suppose I could have waited till they got more, but it’s an old model so it’s not guaranteed, plus when I checked on Amazon they only had FOUR LEFT. It would have been silly of me not to get it right away!

So that leaves me with £60 to spend on food and petrol until payday on the 26th. Hmm…

I have quite a bit of food in the freezer already, so if I only buy fruits and veggies from Lidl then I should be able to do it. It’s within the realms of possibility shall we say, and I might even be able to make the petrol in the car last too, although I am taking my mum to an appointment on the 23rd. That may throw a spanner in the works.

It’s exciting though! Seeing it as a challenge that I want to complete rather than a burden that’s been placed upon me changes things entirely. Plus my new super lightweight camera will encourage me to get out and about more, without having to decide what lenses to take and inevitably regretting my decision as soon as I see something interesting.

In the meantime #onplanjan has been going fabulously, especially now I can eat normally. I definitely went overboard with my kebab dinner, but I was Hank Marvin I tell you. Now it’s time to up those speed foods again.

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I’ve also been taking photos of my daily food diaries (excuse the handwriting) and adding them to my #onplanjan page. If you’re that way inclined then feel free to take a peek!

Yesterday I forced myself to get my 10,000 steps, and today I am forcing myself to return to work because I’m sick of these four walls. The pain has mostly gone, it’s just an unpleasant feeling from the stitches that remains (plus I still have a chubby cheek and will no doubt be made fun of tonight). But I can handle that.

The difference between staying at home and going to work, even with exercise, is in the region of a thousand calories, so I’m better off going if I can.

Well, if I’m going to make it to work then I really need to get my butt into gear.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x