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

I Was Wrong

I have come to the conclusion that it is too soon for me to throw in the towel with Slimming World, at least for the time being. I think when it comes to maintenance I won’t need the extra bit of help that a proper plan brings, but right now, especially since I’m so busy, I definitely need rules.

I’m currently having some troubles when it comes to my training buddy. The problem is he’s just so nice (I know, first world problems, right?) as he’s always offering to cook me a lunch or is bringing me healthy snacks to work. And although they are healthy – nuts, seeds, dried fruit etc, if I’m having big Slimming World-esque main meals and having what would have been Synned meat alternatives, then I’m ending up going over my expended calories each day. He probably doesn’t realise that he can get away with doing that whereas I can’t – he’s not that much taller than me but he is a lot more muscular, so will naturally need a lot more calories to function than I do.

I think it’ll be easier for me to explain to him what I will/won’t/can/can’t eat if I frame it in terms of Food Optimising, plus it means I myself won’t have to think about what I’m eating too much. I just don’t have the headspace for it what with training ramping up and trying to keep on top of everything else in life, and if I’ve been working out and need extra fuel then I don’t want to be worrying about portion control. I’ve realised that I need the freedom Free and Speed foods bring, and that kind of eating only seems to work for me if I follow the whole plan. At the end of the day if it makes me slimmer and healthier AND makes life easier, then I’m doing it.

Although in the main I wouldn’t say I’ve been unhealthy this week and I haven’t felt out of control exactly, I still haven’t been eating how I want to and I’m 99% sure I’m in for another gain. The biggest obstacle now is finding out whether my friend is OK with me destroying his frying pan with Fry Light! If not perhaps I’ll have to start bringing packed lunches when we hang out…

As expected the snow has been causing havoc this weekend. I ordered a Sainsbury’s shop to be delivered Saturday evening without even giving it a second thought, especially since when I order from Tesco they always make it through in bad weather. Sadly all of the Tesco slots were gone though. When my shopping was already an hour and a half late I had to make an emergency supply run to Lidl because… shock… HORROR… I was completely out of coffee. And I cannot go to work without my own coffee, because how anyone can drink the stuff out of those Klix machines is beyond me.

It felt like I had the world more or less to my very own self, as I didn’t even see another set of footprints until I was virtually at Lidl’s. It was so quiet I got to enjoy all the fun bits of it snowing, such as making tracks on fresh snow, hearing ice crunch and the snow creaking when you step on it. It’s a shame I had to go to work because I was tempted to just keep on walking.

It’s a good job I did go out because just as I was leaving for work I got a phone call from Sainsbury’s to say my shopping wouldn’t be delivered that day, and they would try again some time tomorrow.

This morning while I was sleeping my shopping was indeed delivered (without any kind of notification as to when they were coming) or at least some of it was delivered. My mum took delivery because I was totally out of it but unfortunately she didn’t notice that they had only given me about £15-worth of produce out of a £70 shop.

By the time I realised what had happened anyone from Sainsbury’s who could help me had gone home so I now have to wait until tomorrow to either get a refund or actually get all of my frozen goods delivered. Unfortunately that made up the bulk of my order as I was stocking up. It’s so annoying as it’s not the first time they’ve done this – the same thing happened when the truck broke down on it’s way to me. They delivered again the next day except… no frozen stuff. Sigh.

This afternoon I took my walk into town to buy my summer exercise clothes, but it could not have been more different to my fun walk to Lidl’s the night before. The wind was oh so bitter and it was blowing right in my face the whole damn time I was walking, so by the time I got into town I was frozen stiff.

The park was looking quite pretty, but I’ve got to say I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen blossom and snow together. Mother nature must be seriously confused right now!

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I didn’t manage to get any more pictures until the return journey, because it was so cold my phone couldn’t function any more. I hustled my way into town from this point.

My shopping trip was ever so successful. So far the hardest thing to get hold of has been a proper running top that is long enough in the body to cover up my tummy. But lo, I have now found the perfect one:

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I’m 6ft and it covers my bum and tum completely, so I got three of them. That means I can do my three workouts a week and only have to do one load of washing! I got this in a large, which is the equivalent of a 14, some cropped running leggings in a 16, and a pair of lightweight mens joggers (for the length) in a medium.

I’ve been feeling a bit down the last couple of days, but buying in those sizes sure did perk me up. Just the very fact that I could go into an ordinary shop and they had everything, and I mean everything I liked in my size made me feel incredible. I hope I never cease to appreciate just how wonderful that is.

One of my aims is to be able to wear this top with just running leggings and not feel self-conscious. It’s so vain but from a fashion perspective I absolutely love that sporty look and would be so happy if I could one day really look the part. Fortunately I don’t think I’m too far off, now that I’ve found a long-length top that I like. It’s a great incentive to keep going, that’s for sure.

Mission accomplished, I made my way back home and the going was a lot easier. It started snowing heavily again but in turn the wind dropped and it was a lovely walk. And my phone started working again too.

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The weather forecast for tomorrow says cold yet sunny, so I’m going out one way or another even if my friend can’t make it. He says we’re definitely on, but things have gone wrong so often lately that I’m taking it with a pinch of salt… yet staying quietly optimistic! In the big scheme of things it doesn’t matter too much – I’m running no matter what.

Despite feeling like I could do with an extra day, I’m definitely weighing in on Monday’s now and I’m looking forward to a totally fresh start tomorrow.

Let’s make it a good one!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Happy Monday

Well I’ve been busy today! For some reason I can’t just pop into town, when I go it’s a major mission. I left at 12:30, and I was fully prepared. I actually remembered to apply sunscreen, which was lucky because the last time I walked into town on a sunny day like today I was almost burned to a crisp.

First stop was M&S where I used their spacious changing rooms to find out roughly what bra size I am now. It was no mean feat, as they had hardly any bras anywhere near my size. But I did manage to pick up an extra high impact sports bra that fits like a glove so at least that part was easy. Eventually I discovered my bra size, so I then took myself off to Asda to get 3 bras for £12.50 instead of one for £27.50. There’s also the fact that M&S bras make the metal detectors at work go off, which in turn adds at least 20 seconds to my getting-out-of-the-building time. Which is obviously unacceptable!

Next stop was Sports Direct which is one of those shops where you get several ‘can I help you at all?’ people coming up to you. Except when you want them to, like today. I was perusing the ‘She Runs’ section and was looking for the most shockingly coloured pair when I remembered that I want to go jogging, and therefore must be sensible and go for trainers that are going to help my joints stay fully functional.

Eventually I found a chap who brought me trainers in my size and I settled on a Karrimor pair made for people with high arches (mine are super high) that are lovely and comfy and also pretty cheap (£35). They aren’t as bright as I wanted, but we can’t have everything in life. I then picked up some running leggings (in a size 16, mental…) which will hopefully keep everything in place as I bounce along. They have a tiny little zipped pocket in the rear and I have to wonder what exactly it’s for. Ventilation perhaps? If so I think it needs to be bigger!

Although by now I’d been in town for about 3 hours when I come to writing it down I’m not exactly sure what I was doing all that time. However hunting down Holland & Barrett did take a while. I didn’t even know there was one in town until I checked online to see where the nearest one was, and I think it must have magical properties because like a muggle trying to find The Leaky Cauldron I walked past it 3 times before I had to check the shopping centre map. Turns out it’s between Evans and Next, two shops that I go in every time I go into town.

Holland & Barrett did not disappoint – I read the other day that they sell a vegan maple bacon substitute that’s only half a syn per rasher, and indeed it is true! Fingers crossed it’s actually edible.

Finally I picked up my usual venti cold brew from Starbucks and took it to the park to drink while I fed the ducks. I now carry either porridge oats or almond slithers with me wherever I go, in case I meet a bird I want to feed. Because you just never know.

Thankfully there were no drunk people in the park today, just lots of men in suits getting some greenery in during their lunch breaks. The sound of the police helicopter overhead did spoil the ambience just a little but I’m not complaining!

By the time I got home I was actually melting, I swear, so I laid down in the garden until my body temperature returned to normal. Plus I took my weirdest selfie yet…

That is a look of pure contentment at my successful shopping trip and a good ole walk completed!

For some reason I’m not stressing out about weigh in tomorrow (long may that continue) and I’m really looking forward to seeing how I’ve done. Despite the couple of days off plan I just have a feeling I’m doing OK. And even if I don’t lose, next week I sure as hell will.

As for now the cold brew has worn off and I am in need of a caffeine top-up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley X

Weigh In Results: Did I Lose the Epic Gain?

I’m not going to keep you waiting. Last week I gained 9 pounds, this week I LOST 9 POUNDS! I’m not going to get complacent. I was incredibly lucky to get that off all in one go. Now it’s time to knuckle down and get some serious weight off! I want to lose another 1st 12.5 by the end of the year, so let’s get cracking. Today I did a kettlebell workout for the first time in absolutely ages, and my legs have forgotten how to go up and down the stairs. But apart from being rather wibbly it feels damn good!

Last night I was doing the more physical aspect of my job as a warehouse operative. It used to be all on foot and an excellent workout but now we have a little electric contraption that ferries us around the warehouse. Although I only do a fraction of the steps I used to at work, I figure that since you stand up on these machines that very fact will mean that I’m burning more calories than I am when I’m sitting on my butt. So it’s not ideal but better than nowt, and at least I’m getting paid to do it.

Tomorrow I need to catch up on the housework and take delivery of an Ocado shop (the final one just before my free Smart Pass trial runs out) then on Saturday I’m walking to a local park with my brother. He has reliably informed me that we will see plenty of ickle baby geeses, so I’m totally sold on that.

I have been preparing for my Snowdon trip and now have pretty much everything I need, including an enormous (plastic) jar of peanut butter. I’ve decided that will be my main energy source for if I start to flag, because it’s packed with energy and protein, is relatively light and easily transportable. And scrummy. Normal Slimming World rules shall not apply! I’ve bought a lovely backpack that sits nice and snug against my back, has comfortable padded straps and does up at the front. It was a close call – just a couple of pounds heavier and I don’t think I would have been able to do the clasps up. So that was a nice non-scale victory right there.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m terrible with money, and I haven’t made any progress on sorting that out just yet. Instead of being sensible Mr Credit Card treated me to a pair of beautiful Swedish Clogs by Lotta From Stockholm. They’ve just brought out a vegan range which is absolutely awesome, because since turning veggie I haven’t bought any leather products. I have had a red pair for several years and thought I’d never be able to get another, but here they are. In a lovely aqua green!

They’re going to be so perfect for the summer, and they’re totally comfortable and easy to walk in so I can wear them anywhere. Yay! In my defence the vegan range has completely sold out in my size already, so, y’know, really I had to get them when I did. And I’ll pay the whole lot off as soon as I get paid, honest!

If you remember, a couple of blogs ago I was talking about how I don’t enjoy drinking any more. This week I nearly forgot everything I learned when I was invited out by the work people on the 2nd of June. To a club. I nearly said yes, because it’s an alternative club so the music would be much more up my street. But then I remembered that my expectations vs what it would actually be like would be very different indeed. So I put my foot down and said no despite lots of cajoling. Then not five minutes later I was invited out on a pub crawl on the 3rd. Nope, nope and nope again! I have had so many people tell me that I’ll be missing out, and how much fun it will be, but they just aren’t listening to me. They seem to find it impossible to understand that just because they find something fun doesn’t mean everyone else does too! I shall stick to my guns no matter what, especially as me and my sister are going to a parrot show on the 11th. Now THAT is my idea of fun! Perhaps I should start pestering all of my colleagues to come with me. They won’t know what they’re missing out on!

Hayley x

Not a Minute Wasted

Blimey I am tired. But it’s the satisfied kind of tired you get from being outdoors and actually doing stuff. Loads of fun stuff!

On Monday I went shopping with my sister as planned, and it was good. My sister is 28 and I am 34, yet Monday was the first time ever that we have been clothes shopping together. She’s such a tiny thing so for one we couldn’t have shopped in many of the same places before, and for another I never really felt we had the same kind of interests relating to clothes and makeup or whatever. But we do now!

First stop was Starbucks as the shops weren’t open when we got there. We went to Westfield in Stratford, London, and I was really surprised that nothing opens until 10am there. Very strange. Anyway a flat white has been on my list of things to try for absolutely ages, and this was finally the day! I checked the Slimming World app before ordering and it’s 6 syns, but then I remembered some people use their A choices and deduct the syns from their fancy coffees. Well I added sweetener so the only syn-able item in my drink was milk. An A choice of whole milk is 6 syns, so that was absolutely perfect! A (technically) syn free fancy Starbucks? Don’t mind if I do. It was very nice – strong enough to blow your head off but smooth enough not to!

Then we headed to John Lewis where I discovered Studio 8 and, at least for now, I have found a brand that I love. I can’t afford to buy anything they sell mind, but that’s a minor technicality. All I need is a fancy occasion to use as an excuse and I’m heading straight back.

This was the one. It fit so perfectly, I can’t even describe how comfortable I felt. It was like it was made for me, but unfortunately the price tag wasn’t. At £140 I sadly had to put it back. Quick, someone invite me to a wedding and it’ll be mine! We tried some bits on in a few other shops and I’m so close to being a size 18 I can taste it. I could get all of the 18’s I tried on, even the fitted styles with zips, but I’m just not quite there yet. I’m patient though, I can wait. Eventually I bought a £13 dress from Primark that is perfect for summer evenings as it’s black but has some fancy details on it, plus it has a really relaxed fit and is very complimentary to my apple shape.

After shopping we headed back to Starbucks but this time I kept it syn free with an iced Americano. We had lunch while we were out and I stayed angelic with a Spudulike. I considered having cheese too but unless I could weigh it I just wasn’t going to risk it. It was actually really tasty so I’m glad I didn’t take the chance.

Time flies when you’re having fun so before I knew it I was on the train home, with 15,000 steps under my belt and a walk from the station the other end waiting for me.

Then on Tuesday I was out and about again, this time checking out the bluebells to see if the light was better this time. It was a bit better, but the bluebells are just really ropy so they didn’t photograph all that well. I’m actually pretty chuffed with myself that I managed to use my photography skillz (note the Z, that means extra skilled I believe) to get a few passable shots.

We found white ones too. What are they? White bluebells? Whitebells? Who can say? After traipsing around the woods for a couple of hours all I wanted to do was lay down, but nope, group was calling! It was taster night so I got my Quorn mini kievs in the oven (half a syn each) got the twigs out of my hair and generally tried to make myself presentable.

The results were pleasing enough – I lost 2.5 lbs which is a thoroughly decent loss, I was just mildly peeved that I still have half a pound of gain to get rid of. On the other hand, I’m trying not to focus on the numbers. I’ve been on plan, I’m staying on plan. If I stick to it, the numbers will take care of themselves. Most importantly I didn’t weigh at home, and I felt so much better for it. I’ll be doing the same again this week in fact, and the week after, and the week after, and blah, blah, blah!

Today was my fourth exercise-filled day on the trot as we had a sibling day out at the White Cliffs of Dover. When we got there we had a brief spell of sunshine before it clouded over and became bloody cold, but it was loads of fun and I got a few nice shots before the light became horribly flat and dull. That wasn’t such a bad thing though, sometimes it’s nice to put the camera away and just enjoy the view. Plus we took all of the most difficult-looking paths so I needed my hands free as there was some clambering at times!

Sadly it’s back to normality tomorrow, but I’m so glad I’ve managed to completely fill my long weekend. I feel like not a minute has been misspent, and I haven’t felt like that for a long, long time. There’s still more time to be used today as I’m going to attempt to stay awake until at least 1am to try and ease myself back into a night-working pattern, but considering it’s not even 7pm and I’m ready to drop we’ll see how that goes!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Posh Shopping

I decided to give Ocado a try this week (which is purely an online supermarket, just in case you’re in the minority of people who has never had a leaflet fall out of their Slimming World mag!) 

To be honest, the actual shopping part was a bit of a pain in the bum because there’s just so much to choose from. The veg did seem a little on the expensive side but my order was delivered this morning and I’ve got to admit- it was a lot better quality than the stuff I’m used to. I also got a couple of Slimming World-friendly bits that Tesco don’t deliver online (at least not to my area) such as Meridian Free From pesto, Liberto vegetarian paté, Ohso chocolate and Quorn gammon steaks. If money was no object and I had the freezer space I would have bought a lot more. The fanciest bit of all though is that on your receipt everything is listed in order of how quickly it will go off, so you can see at a glance what you need to eat first. That is SO handy, as when I’m Food Optimising I’m forever trying to eat the fresh stuff as quickly as possible before it goes off (and forever going to the shops to top up again). I’ll probably get an Ocado shop about once a month from now on, as it’s the most convenient stockist I’ve found for the higher-welfare eggs that I like to get. Having said that, this week I’ll be experimenting with vegan egg replacer so we’ll see how that goes. It is syn free so it’s worth a try, and apparently one packet can replace 66 eggs! We’ll see how true that is in practice though…

It’s nearly time for me to get ready for weigh-in but I’ve had to ditch my lightest weighing-in outfit (shock, horror!) due to the iron packing up. Well, it didn’t actually break to be fair, it just turns the power to the whole house off thanks to our newly installed circuit breaker. It’s a bit scary that we’ve been using a dodgy iron all this time with the risk of electrocution, but to be honest I avoid ironing at all costs so the risk to me personally was minimal! Instead I actually weighed another top that I have on the kitchen scales, one which doesn’t need ironing, and it’s only a few grams heavier than my normal top. It’s going to be a gain anyway so I really don’t know what I’m worried about!

I’m actually feeling very positive about this week and I’m looking forward to learning what the damage is so that I can properly move on. I’ve got loads of speed food in the fridge, I’ve already done 6,000 steps towards my daily goal, work should be a doddle… all is right with the world again, at least in my world I should say. And if I believed in tempting fate then I’d be seriously asking for trouble!

So, off to group I go. I’ll update again in a couple of hours…

Well the results are in and I managed to LOSE weight! I’m totally over the moon for losing half a pound. A loss is a loss after all!  

That teeny half a pound that means I’m still going in the right direction and that I only need another measly half a pound to get my 4 st award.

It was a very interesting group this evening because I’m not the only one who has struggled this week. We were able to give each other some really valuable support and advice  After all that’s what it’s all about. And it made me feel that at least something good has come from my fall from the wagon. 

This was my post-group celebratory dinner – completely on plan Quorn Southern Fried Bites, chips, salad and only 7 syns harmed. 

Cheers to a week being 100% on plan! 

Hayley x 
 

Downtown

This morning I took a walk into town, which I had originally planned to do Sunday. However on Sunday I was completely knackered – so much so that I slept through several alarms and my mum coming in to check that I hadn’t died. I am determined at the moment to do what I need to do to stay on plan (and sane). Sometimes that might be giving myself a kick up the butt and pushing through the tiredness, but it’s important to recognise that sometimes the best thing for you is a 12-hour catch-up. After all you can’t go off plan if you’re unconscious!

I didn’t need 12 hours on this occasion and woke up early feeling refreshed. I was out the door at 10am and ready to face the delights of my local town centre. It’s really not a great place! I took my ‘personal attack alarm’ with me as I walked past the place where a lady was sexually attacked in broad daylight. It’s scarily common to see the police dogs over there hunting through the bushes for god-knows-what. Evidence? Criminals? I don’t know. After passing this point (which is still on a busy main road I might add) I had the choice of going through the park or sticking to the main roads. I went for the latter as the local newspaper recently discouraged people from walking alone around the park area. Someone was mugged just a couple of months ago, again in broad daylight.

As I got closer to town I was suddenly transported down memory lane when I came across this sculpture. It’s actually in the middle of a roundabout that my dad drove around hundreds, probably thousands of times when I was little, and I always wondered if you could get down there. And if so how? That answer came many years ago but I only just remembered the question. It’s weird how these memories suddenly re-emerge without warning.

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Miraculously I made it to town alive where I was relatively safe but had to endure people spitting on the floor and the pervasive stench of Lynx body spray. Despite that, it was an excellent trip! First stop was M&S to try on some extra high-impact sports bras. I tried the biggest size on a couple of months ago and it wasn’t even close, so I thought I’d have another go and see how I’m getting on. I was very pleased to find that I needed the next size down, but I didn’t end up purchasing one in the end. The label claimed it had ‘excellent bounce control’ but I tested it out by jumping up and down a few times and it is a lie. While I was there I took the opportunity to take a changing-room selfie, and I was pleasantly surprised! I was already feeling good wearing my size 20 jeans and Paddington coat, but I had no idea what I currently looked like as I don’t have a full-length mirror. When I got home I compared it to a picture taken in June or July. It was really hot that day but I was wearing what can only be described as a knitted smock- it hid me the most out of all of my clothes.

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Next on the list was Primark. One of my goals is to be able to buy cheap clothes in ‘normal’ shops, so I thought I’d pop in and see what sort of stuff is available. I haven’t been able to buy anything from Primark for years so I was stunned to find three things that actually fit me, including a pair of skinny jeans. I didn’t manage to find much in my size though, so I don’t see this goal as complete just yet.

I had a stroll around a few other shops but nothing caught my interest so I went into Evans to pick up some jeans which I’d ordered online. They do a pretty good selection of jeans for women who are too tall for their own good (in the picture above I’m wearing a standard-length pair as a cropped jean), and I managed to get a pair of 33 inchers in their sale for £15.

Finally I popped into Iceland (someone was stabbed outside of it just last year) for a couple of Slimming World bits. It was quite sunny but still very cold so I thought I’d be safe carrying the frozen bits back on a 30 minute walk. Annoyingly I bought the onion gravy but didn’t realise it had beef stock in it until I got home. I mean, beef stock is obviously tasty but there are very few vegetarian options in Iceland. Couldn’t they just let us have that one? I also bought the sweetcorn chowder and a couple of the potato salads to try. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the potato salad but I thought it was lovely. Some people complained there was too much mint, but I love mint and potatoes together so I was in heaven. I scoffed a packet with salad and a bowl of the ‘Heinz’ tomato soup (Free) for lunch as soon as I got in.

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Speaking of the fake Heinz soup, I heard about it years ago but never tried it as I assumed it couldn’t be as good as people said. I’m distrustful by nature. But when I cooked it for myself I actually said ‘holy sh*t!’ out loud because it really does taste like cream of tomato soup! It’s mental! The only ingredients are two tins of beans, two tins of chopped tomatoes, a tin of carrots (including the water) and a few pickled onions. That’s it!’

Yesterday was clearly a day for cooking as I also made one of the lentil recipes I’d bookmarked earlier in the week – Curried Lentils with Ginger. It’s so rare nowadays that I cook a proper recipe from scratch, but I’m so glad I did. From the beginning the kitchen was filled with the most amazing aromas as I toasted off and ground the herbs in my pestle and mortar. And very conveniently each stage of the recipe allows time to tidy away all of the previous spices and whatnot. I am a very messy cook and it’s good to keep on top of these things.

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It was delicious, and I’m looking forward to having the leftovers for dinner tonight. I used less lentils than the recipe suggested as it seemed like an awful lot, and switched full fat coconut milk for light. The whole lot was 4 syns in total and definitely worth it. I also increased the quantity of the lime pickle as I love the stuff, and decided against skinning the tomatoes. Mostly because I couldn’t be bothered, but it’s also extra fibre. That’s what I’m telling myself anyway…

Hayley x