Hello There!

Yesterday was a false start. I drew the line, but somehow it got smudged and I ended up eating more bread-based products. On the one hand I’m proud of myself, because I didn’t have my main trigger food (ice cream) which would have been a lot worse. On the other hand part of me is asking ‘why bread?’ because I know it bloats me out so my gain this evening will be that much worse.

I’ve just got to take it on the chin though.

What I did do today was redraw that line, and this time I used permanent marker. I went on to my group’s secret Facebook page and told everyone what had happened and that I’d see them in group tonight to face my gain. Accountability is hugely important.

Fast-forward past a huge pile of laundry (which is still drying now) and a long, drawn out trip with my mother for her hospital appointment, and we get to weigh in. Which was actually the only positive thing about today, despite me gaining 3.5 lbs.

I didn’t gain as much as I thought I would so that’s good, plus there were others in the same boat as me. I think we all left feeling better than when we walked in.

Either way group was a really good laugh and I’m so glad I went, despite all of my instincts being to avoid group like the plague. Sometimes our instincts are lying little gits who should be ignored at all costs.

I have pledged to lose 4lbs this week and I will do everything in my power to achieve that. I feel like today has been stolen from me and I haven’t been able to get back on form as I’d hoped, but I have stayed on plan and tomorrow will be better.

In all of the ‘excitement’ of the last few days I did forget about one achievement – #onplanoctober. I did, by some miracle, manage to spend the entire month absolutely, 100% on plan.

Ok, so a repeat of that for November is now impossible, and I have plans for the 30th, but every other day will be on plan for sure. I may be five days late but…

My plan for this month was to hit target, but after a long chat with a friend on Saturday and lots of contemplation on Sunday, I’ve decided to lower my target.

I don’t even know what I want it to be, I just know that I want to lose more and I’m selling myself short if I don’t really go for it now. Why not aim for the flipping stars?

I’ve decided to just keep losing until my body tells me enough is enough. When the losses start to slow, or stop, that should be the right place.

In the meantime my November weight loss goal is to get to my original target of 12.10, and it’s my new Christmas wish to still be that weight or less once Christmas is over.

I think that’s quite reasonable.

The plan for tonight though is to get some (on plan) grub and get an early night. Tomorrow, I want to hit the ground running.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Awards & Results

I had intended to get up early on Monday morning and be on a train by 6am, but do you think I could wake myself up? Course not. Taking into consideration the epic walk I had planned, I thought it best to snooze for another hour. It was probably wise.

By 8:30 I was at the train station, in a massive queue for the ticket office. Of course all of the machines were out of order, which is just great for a monday morning. I got my tickets at 8:35, the exact time my train was due to leave. However my train was exactly 1 minute late, and I got on the platform just as it was arriving. Woo!

I got off at Benfleet station, which is just around the corner from my favourite park, and is actually two parks – The Benfleet Downs and Hadleigh Park. As I started trudging along my planned route I decided that I wasn’t going to stop too much to take pictures and things, mostly because leaving late meant that time was now against me. I’ve walked this part of the route what feels like a thousand times now, but there is always something that catches my eye and I have to stop for. Last time it was a caterpillar, this time it was some teasels with a lovely pinky/orange background.

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The autumn leaves and a very small amount of editing make the day look a lot nicer than it was. In actual fact there was an oppressive iron grey sky for the entire day, but I’m sure not complaining. There was no rain like there was supposed to be, just a really fine mist that kept me cool while I was walking and made my fringe go curly.

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So where does one walk to on such a day? The beach of course! My route took me through the two parks and right down to the coast. After a few hours of walking I was thoroughly enjoying the views and just having a good old think to myself, but there was nothing very photogenic until I got to Southend-on-Sea.

There didn’t seem to be much open that would sell a coffee, but when I came across a really nice looking place advertising that it was family run, I decided to give it a go. The gentleman who served me was so sweet, even suggesting that I have my drink in a mug instead so I can stay and sit in the very nice covered outside seating area, but I didn’t have much time to spare so I declined. I was already thinking about how lovely it would be to leave a good review and shop independent (which usually it is of course) but unfortunately the coffee was absolutely vile and I had to throw it away. You can’t win ’em all! The man still left me with a smile on my face so that’s nice.

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A quick shot of the water fountains, which kids and dogs LOVE to play in during summer (who can blame them) and I headed for the beach.

Walking along the beach seems to be a great butt (perhaps I should say glutes) workout, because that’s the only part of me that is still aching a little today. I’ll keep that in mind for future outdoor pursuits.

I always love looking at the shells and struggle not to take more home with me every time. Oyster shells are so beautiful, I just love the blues and purples. As far as bird life goes you are always guaranteed to see oyster catchers, so I’m assuming they are responsible for all the empty shells!

As I got away from Southend and headed into the less touristy areas I took the opportunity to use the camera remote on my watch again. It’s not the composition I was after, but I didn’t want to stop for long so I just went with the first one. I am enjoying how either the boat looks small or I look like a giant!

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11 miles and four hours after setting off (NOT including the train journey), I arrived at my destination – Shoeburyness. So I turned around and started walking back in the other direction.

This next part of the journey was completely uneventful. When I got to Leigh-on-Sea train station I checked my watch and Fitbit. I was wearing both because I am totally smitten with my Apple watch, but also wanted to go out on a bang with Fitbit. Had I beaten my previous record of 35.5k steps?

You bet!

I was currently on 45k, so despite being quite weary by this point and wanting to cheat and jump on the train at Leigh, instead I decided to continue. Google told me that it was another 1 hour 45 minutes of walking back to Benfleet. I had time, I could do it.

So on I trudged.

I took a different route back through the park and to the station, which was extremely fortuitous because it was cow and mushroom heaven! This was the boost I needed to get me through the rest of the journey.

When I got in, more than 8 hours and 22 miles after leaving, I reflected on how mental the journey had been. Not because of anything that had happened, but because I’d been on my feet for that amount of time (with a few stops for food and drink but not for any length of time) and for that distance without coming home a complete wreck. My feet were a little achy (as well as the bum cheeks) but other than that I was still good to go.

My fitness and stamina has improved so much this year, I can hardly believe it. I checked my email and I had three letting me know that I’d earned new Fitbit badges for 40k, 45k and 50k steps in a single day. That was the main purpose of my walk so I got exactly what I wanted before I abandoned Fitbit forever!

After getting in you’d think I’d be spent, right? Nah! I had to get ready to go to group and get weighed in! It was a taster night so I prepared some food. I couldn’t decide what to take out of the available options in my freezer, so I cooked up all three. I took Tesco sweet potato falafels (half a syn each), Sainsbury’s veggie meatballs (half a syn for 5) and Tesco meat free nuggets (1 syn each).

I had no idea what the taster was in aid of, because I hadn’t heard anyone on my vegan Facebook groups talking about it as I would have expected. It soon became clear though.

It turns out my consultant, who has been the one constant in my Slimming World journey since 2012, is leaving our group! It’s terribly sad, but I’m not completely despairing because there are some positives.

She isn’t leaving Slimming World, so I can still get weighed in at her Tuesday group from time to time. The only reason I haven’t popped in to say hello to the group members I know there already is that I don’t want to weigh in at a different day or time until I’m at target!

Also, I have a really good feeling about the new lady, Amanda. She’s very friendly and upbeat, I found it easy to talk to her from the off, and she was wearing sparkly shoes. I’m sold.

My consultant pointed out that it’s the members that make the group, not the consultant, but I don’t think that’s true. I’ve found that it’s a lot of different factors that make my group the best. It’s the day, the time, the WONDERFUL people, a good consultant, that all come together in exactly the right combination. I think Amanda will be a perfect fit for this group so I’m not at all worried. I think we still have our winning formula.

So how did I do? I must admit to having a sneak peek before I went on my walk. The reasoning behind this is that if the walk caused a drastic gain, then I would know what was going on and wouldn’t feel bad. Or, if on the flipside I had a massive loss then I wouldn’t get too cocky.

What actually happened was that Slimming World’s scales corresponded with my own pre-walk weigh in and I lost a magnificent four flipping pounds! 

Do you know what that means? I GOT MY 8 STONE AWARD!!!

I got a HUGE round of applause that made me feel really emotional. God knows what kind of a state I’ll be in when I’m at target.

I left group feeling like Christmas had come early – tired and flushed but also happy and excited. It was a really fab day.

This morning I weighed myself again just to check it wasn’t a complete fluke (and it wasn’t) so that’s it for sneak peeks this week.

6.5 pounds to go!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Rituals

I’ve developed a certain set of rituals that I now perform every Monday before weighing in, and now that they have been established it’s almost inconceivable to think of changing them.

Every week I eat exactly the same food- wheat biscuits and plant milk for breakfast followed by a punnet of mushrooms and smoked tofu for lunch. I wear the same clothes each week, even down to a specific pair of knickers and a specific pair of socks. I also try to do the same level of activity but this is a bit hit and miss.

This way, I figure, my weigh in result each week will be as accurate as possible. However there is a problem.

It’s getting cold and I need to wear thicker clothes!

I suppose it’s just one more motivator for getting to target as soon as possible – once I’m there I can afford to wear heavier clothes. Until then, I will try not to change anything, with the exception of next Monday.

Since I’ve decided that’s the day I’m going to do my long walk and smash my step record, despite the possibility of it messing up my weigh in I’m being stubborn and sticking to my guns.

My walk is sure to help with a loss, it’s just a question of when it’ll show on the scales. It could throw a temporary spanner into the works in the form of an undeserved gain, but as long as I stick to plan I’ll get what I’m owed.

This week I had my fifth loss in a row, which I’m chuffed with even if I would have liked more than 1 pound off. But a loss is a loss, so I shan’t complain.

Now is a great time to look at non-scale victories, especially as I had a doozy of one yesterday.

Almost a year ago now I bought a pair of vintage Levi 501s in the biggest size they do for my leg length, which is a 34 waist and 34 leg (the equivalent of a UK size 14).

When I tried them on I was really disheartened. I couldn’t even get near to doing them up, and eventually I stuck them in the loft because they were making me feel bad. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them though. These are some pictures I took back in June before I squirrelled them away. I was also wearing control knickers at the time.

Since they have absolutely no give in them whatsoever, I figured I might have to be realistic and abandon the dream of ever fitting into them.

Then I was up in the loft going through some old clothes when I came across them again. I hesitated, because if they still fit like the last time I tried them, I knew it would put me in a terrible mood.

I couldn’t help it though. I had to know!

I can actually do them up. Compared to when I was bursting out of size 24 jeans and still wearing them every day, these are practically comfortable. There’s certainly less muffin top than I used to have on a daily basis, and I can even sit down in them. I reckon by the time I’m at target (10.5 pounds to go) they will fit PERFECTLY! Can you tell I’m excited? Oh I am so excited!

But it doesn’t even end there. On Sunday I went out for a walk with my friend to a lovely little village just around the corner that I never knew was there. You walk along a fairly uninteresting path, up a hill, then BOOM, you get a great view.

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As we stopped to drink in the scenery my friend took a photo of me which, after he forwarded it to me, I realised was just begging to be used in a comparison photo.

Enlight8I still have trouble believing that the woman on the right is me.

Although it was only a short walk (we had to make it to Tesco before closing time as so far that day all I’d eaten was 6 grapes) it’s possible to walk for hours along the… estuary? I don’t know, whatever body of water that is! So that’s one to keep in mind for a future trek.

On the way back I had a Slimming World-related accident. I saw a nice juicy blackberry sitting atop a bush, but it seems that the blackberry bushes have become sentient. To stop Slimming World members stealing its fruits one sneakily grew it’s brambles over a really deep ditch, so when I stepped over to get my blackberry I fell right in.

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My buttocks (where I fell backwards) and my knees (from getting out again) bear similar injuries. And I never got my damn blackberry! I am however still picking thorns out of various body parts.

My plan for this week is to try and get more sleep, give myself time to be more mindful about what I’m eating, to keep up with the exercise, and try not to fall over.

It’s also my birthday this week but I have no plans whatsoever to ‘celebrate’ by being off plan. All I have scheduled so far (apart from my walk) is a boot sale with my friend (more walking, yay!) and coffee with my sister.

Perfect!

Have a fabulous week everyone,

Hayley x

On it in Oxford for On Plan October

Saturday was a day for friends, and it was FANTASTIC. Where my head has been so fuzzy lately I personally made meeting up with these particular humans more difficult than it had to be. When me and two other magnificent bloggers (Dave and Marjolein) decided we would meet in the first place, we had a little discussion about what we could possibly get up to.

I was feeling a bit (a lot) low at the time so I went ahead and booked my train tickets for Oxford as soon as we’d decided which day we were doing it. My reasoning was sound – I’d booked them way in advance, when I actually had some money, so that when it got nearer the time I wouldn’t find I’d run out of cash and have to bail. That wouldn’t do at all. Plus I’d have something solid to look forward to that I could focus on.

The only problem is that I’d invented a memory in my head that we’d decided on Oxford, which we absolutely hadn’t! Thankfully Dave and Mar are awesome and didn’t mind a bit, or if they did they were kind enough to reassure me that it wasn’t a problem anyway.

Then all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it was the 6th of October and it was time to meet!

I was a bit anxious about the journey, starting with my tickets. I had to phone up and change them (in actual fact a simple task, but I managed to blow it out of proportion in my mind) as I thought I was booking an any time ticket for the outward journey when in fact I’d managed to book a time that would get me there much too late.

For the return journey I thought I’d booked an any day and any time ticket, but I hadn’t. It was just for the 7th, which was the Sunday. I’d had half a mind to book a B&B and stay overnight, but eventually decided against it mainly because I didn’t want to put myself in the path of temptation where food is concerned. I’m sure I’d have made some good choices, but I want to be totally in control of what I eat for the time being.

After waking up at 4:15 (damn) I started the day as I meant to go on – I had my wheat biscuits and oat milk for breakfast, followed by some veggie sausages, butternut squash and tomatoes. I ate until I was full, but that didn’t stop me being famished by the time I made it through London to Paddington Station. I was afraid that would happen.

After a little trek to find a loo (this was to be a theme of the day in fact, needing to pee) and paying 30p for the privilege, my nostrils detected the intoxicating smell of Cornish Pasties. The scent was coming from a shop I’m familiar with which I know sells a delicious vegan pasty, but this is Hayley version 2.0 we’re talking about, and she doesn’t eat such things. Hayley v2.0 went to Pret for an Americano then M&S for a berry medley to eat on the train. That’s more like it.

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The journey to Oxford took a hefty three hours or so from leaving my front door, but I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly public transport seemed to be running on this particular day. Everything just seemed to go my way.

When I arrived at Oxford, before my companions, I had time to pee again and grab another coffee. Then I had just enough time to have a little worry. For some reason I’d assumed Dave, who I’ve met before, would get there first. Then it suddenly occurred to me that it could in fact be Mar. I started worrying if I’d recognise her from the picture on her blog or not.

As is the case for practically everything I’ve worried about so far this year, it was a complete waste of time since I recognised her instantly as she came through the ticket barrier, closely followed by Dave.

The first task was to obtain coffee and to decide what to actually do, because we’d only come up with the vaguest of plans thus far. I don’t think you could even call it a plan to be honest! It just so happened that having a coffee and a chat first of all was probably the best idea anyway, because it meant we got to relax (out of the rain) and get to know each other a bit more before heading out into the city.

It was actually really cool to hang out with people who interests overlap as ours do. We visited a few Harry Potter-related places, and since both myself and Mar are Hufflepuff’s (or so the sorting hat tells us) this pleased us greatly. But there was also plenty of history, architecture, art and stained glass to keep Dave happy, too. It was lovely to see that we could all visit the same place but take something different away from it.

Whilst visiting the Divinity School, where a scene from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was filmed, we snuck past Madam Pince (possibly) and had a look around in the Restricted Section.

There we became trapped by a group of people on a tour, so we had to wait quietly until they were finished before we could escape. We were caught and told we weren’t allowed there, but only on our way out and only after we’d had some fun with selfies and whatnot.

Personally I blame Dave for my uncharacteristic naughtiness, since he seems to have a complete disregard for the rules. My theory was proved later on when he recklessly encouraged us to eat our packed lunches in Café Nero. It’s a slippery slope – no doubt this time next year I’ll be making a living stealing car stereos.

After lunch we went to the Ashmolean Museum which I liked very much. Again there is something for everyone and I even took away some inspiration for a future craft project. I’m keeping the details under wraps for now though.

Later on we visited the Great Hall at Christchurch, which features in all of the Harry Potter films. It was a great chance to geek out, and I made sure I messaged my sister afterwards to check that she was sufficiently jealous. We’re all Potterheads in our family.

Next door was a beautiful cathedral with some very pretty stained glass windows, though I’m more impressed by the colours than the subject matter (which to be honest I never pay that much attention to).

With this one however I’m pretty sure it’s depicting how someone on a lads night out got drunk, stole a life buoy, and wore it as a hat for the rest of the night.

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Soon after it was time to part ways after a thoroughly satisfying day spent with the loveliest people.

The minimal planning I did before hand, namely the food prep I’d done, definitely paid off because I took enough for lunch and dinner with me. I could feel my resolve slipping by the time I got back to London (with another hour or so of travel to go) so I was glad to be able to munch my leftovers on the last train journey of the day.

I ended the day with lot of steps under my belt, a warm fuzzy feeling inside and my goals for #onplanoctober completely intact.

I’d call that a win.

Hayley x

Hello October!

If you were reading my blog last year (can someone please tell me where the time has gone?) then you may vaguely recall my disastrous attempts at #onplanoctober. I had the best intentions at the beginning, but overall I didn’t do very well. This time around I’m going to do it – have every single day on plan throughout the whole month, NO EXCEPTIONS.

Why am I going to succeed this time around I hear you ask? Well the difference is my attitude I think. This year I really want to do it, whereas last year I was using it as a tool to try and force myself to stay on track. It had its uses, as I did do better than if I hadn’t tried at all, but now I have no doubt at all that I’m going to do it.

By the time the month is through I will be lighter than when it started, and I will have my Gold Body Magic award under my belt. I’ve just made a strong start to week 5 (of 8) with a 2 hour walk into town and back, with plenty of plans to do more throughout the week. In fact it’s going to be quite a busy week, but I’ll talk more about upcoming events as they occur.

I’m enjoying making the most of these blue skies while they last, as there’s a definite nip in the air now.

Although technically it’s now Tuesday, since I haven’t slept yet I’ll let you know how ‘today’s’ weigh in went. I would have been in bed earlier, but I stayed up to watch a film with the family. I still would have had time to update the blog while it was still Monday, but we paused halfway through when my brother noticed a mouse had somehow found its way into the kitchen.

It was soooooo fast, it was impossible to get a good picture. I took some video but this was as good as I could get:

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Please excuse the bare floor – we should be getting a new kitchen next year so there’s no point decorating until then.

Anyway, I got sidetracked! Group was awesome – I lost 2.5 lbs meaning I’m still on track to reach target in 6 weeks or so. Amazing! Group also gave me a lot to think about, but since I’m so tired I’ll have to wait till tomorrow to explore those thoughts further. Hopefully I can pick up on all the threads in my brain.

I really didn’t think I’d lose that much again this week, and I probably didn’t look as chuffed as I should have when my consultant told me I got Slimmer of the Week again.

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I really wasn’t expecting it, and it’s been such a long day I was a little bit dazed to be honest. I only have 11.5 lbs to go before I reach target.

Less than a stone.

I’m reading the words as I write but it doesn’t seem real.

As I’ve just been wracked with yawns I think it’s time for bed and a good sleep to help me process everything.

Until next time,

thanks for reading!

Hayley x

Bye Bye September

What a month, and what a turnaround! August was a such a low point for me, one that I’m sure I’ll be remembering with a shudder for years to come, but I genuinely feel that all of the work I’m putting in now will bring results that will completely eclipse all of that.

This month I’ve lost a total of 10lbs and have finally, finally, found myself well established in the 13 stone bracket. To put that achievement into perspective it was my Christmas goal last year to make it into the thirteens and here I am.

Yesterday I completed day five of my Gold Body Magic award with a two hour walk before work, which may seem like a terrible idea but in actual fact getting active again has given me more energy if anything.

I explored an area I’m not overly familiar with even though I worked there for a good while, but at the time I wasn’t the ‘going out’ type.

I do remember one week I made a half-hearted promise that I’d walk up and down the hill on top of which the office I worked was situated, but that only lasted a couple of days.

I decided to revisit this hill on my walk, and was surprised to see an entrance to some woods that I’d never noticed before.

It might not have been the best idea because I don’t know how rough the area is and I was on my own, so I sent a text to my friend informing him where to look for my body if I went missing.

Thankfully it didn’t come to that, but I did see an interesting tree thank kinda spooked me if I’m honest. It looked like it was… coming for me or something!

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Work later was same old same old, but I was glad when it ended because it meant the weekend could start.

As it’s the weekend it also means it’s weigh day tomorrow, so naturally I’m feeling large. So I had a sneak peek and of course it’s all in my head.

Same old same old.

This morning was a motorbike ride with my brother which quite frankly was AWESOME. And the perfect day for it too.

I’ve only been out with him once before and it was scary and exciting, but this time he wanted to practice leaning into the turns with me riding pillion.

At first I was fairly terrified. You can’t passively be a passenger on a bike – I was looking at the road ahead to anticipate when he’d brake, so I could brace myself and prevent our helmets from smashing together, plus trying to stay on the bike when he accelerated, and also looking for turns so I could lean in the right places.

I had a fantastic arm workout just from clinging on for dear life!

Despite the fear though it was brilliant, and I already feel much more relaxed and confident. We were leaned over as much as the bike is able to without the pegs hitting the road, so that was as terrifying as it’ll ever get. At least I hope that’s the case, I imagine falling off the thing would be pretty scary…

One thing I especially enjoyed was being able to sit on the bike and breathe at the same time. When I first started going out on the back of people’s bikes (I know a few bikers!) my tummy got in the way and all of my organs were constricted. It took the joy out of it.

Now I’m facing the prospect of having to fork out a few hundred quid for gear that doesn’t drown me, but would I have it any other way?

Course not!

After a nap I went to visit a friend for dinner, and although it was a bog standard popping over for the usual boring stuff I’d eat anyway, I wanted to wear a new dress I bought that I absolutely love. Plus he has a mirror in the loo that’s good for selfies.

I have two dresses at the moment that get me loads of compliments. There’s this one, and the other is one I got in a sale yonks ago. I tried it on to show my mum the other day, not expecting her to say much.

The last thing I wore, I pointed out that it was fitting a lot better these days. Her response? ‘Well your boobs are shrinking that’s for sure’. Er, thanks mum!

But with this other dress she blurted out ‘HAYLEY, YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL!’ Which is definitely a good sign!

I’d say this means things are looking hopeful for weigh in, so I’ll update tomorrow evening.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Drinks with Peter

I’m not saying I put things off, but this year I intend to sew two little birds for my sister and her boyfriend after taking just a little while to get round to it. I bought the pattern from an artist I really admire – Ann Wood – via Etsy some time ago, and thankfully the file is still there to download.

So yes, there has been a slight delay between me purchasing the pattern and even thinking about making it. A TWO YEAR delay in fact. Yes, it’s definitely time to get on and do that.

One of my biggest problems right now is that I spend way too much time thinking about doing things and writing lists and making plans, and never actually doing the things. Today for instance I have wasted so much time thinking about what to do with the day that the day is nearly done.

I need to get straight out of bed and GET GOING if I’m ever going to get on. She says, writing a blog post instead of doing exactly that.

I am letting myself off for today and tomorrow though because I’m meeting a friend later, then I’m spending tomorrow afternoon with another friend. Friday though? On Friday I’m going to DO SOMETHING.

Today I’m starting off by printing off the pattern because I think it’ll be easier if I have it on paper, then I’ll need to check what supplies I’m going to need because you can guarantee I’ll have to buy at least a couple of bits. I’ll try to get as much as I can, fabrics and whatnot, from charity shops. The artist in question makes her work from vintage pieces which is a fabulous idea. And economical too.

Oh damn. I just visited Ann’s Etsy shop and saw a load of other things I want to make. But first things first Hayley. Stop getting distracted!

Yesterday I started off the week’s exercise by walking into town and back, which took two hours. A nice start I think.

It’s been a bit chilly (I’m wearing thermals to work tonight) but the sun has been out anyway and that’s what really matters. And the grey heron was about, so that was my day complete already really.

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I do believe I was successful in visiting every single charity shop in town. I’m still on the hunt for sequins, and it seems that you will only find that particular thing when you no longer need it. People of Essex, why aren’t you donating your sequined clothes? What people do seem to be getting shot of though is little bags, so although I didn’t really want to spend £3, I just had to get this monstrosity.

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Classy eh? But there are different kinds of beads there which will come in very handy for future projects, plus the sequins are holographic. And sitting underneath that very understated little clutch is my bargain of the day – a skirt I bought that’s perfect for autumn and also shows off how many inches I’ve lost from my tummy lately. This item of clothing is going to get a lot of outings this season!

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Even though money is tight I enjoyed these bargains guilt free. I rarely use cash these days, and I’ve had a spare change jar gathering dust for some time. I forgot all about it but stumbled across it a couple of days ago. I managed to get a tenners worth of 10p’s out of it, so that paid for my charity shop excursions and then some. Get in!

I’ve also found that charity shop workers and customers alike are more patient when you are digging around for coins in your purse, which is not so much the case in the supermarket.

My final stop was Iceland’s to pick up a few essentials since I was running out of food. Ages and ages ago I lent a friend some money, and he had some vouchers kicking around which I took as part repayment. Of course me being me I forgot all about them until yesterday, and was relieved to find out they don’t expire till next month.

Even better, you can use them to buy FOOD so off I toddled to get some fruit, veg and Slimming World bits. I was starving by the time I got there, so I bought some lovely watermelon to eat in the park on the way back.

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I’d call that a day well spent.

For now I’m off to get everything ready for work then I’ll meet my friend Peter. I’ll check back with you later!

Some hours pass…

Well I’m sitting in the pub garden waiting for Pete, and reflecting that some unusual things have happened today. For one, I’m wearing my new skirt with the top tucked into it.

I haven’t worn anything tucked in since I was forced to do so in the early years of secondary school (towards the end the teachers gave up on enforcing any rules about uniform). So that’s quite monumental.

Also, while Peter was stuck is traffic I was feeling confident enough to walk into the pub, on my own, order and Diet Coke and plonk myself down on a bench outside.

Yep, I’m a total badass.

Even more later on…

Well I’m home and knackered, which doesn’t bode well for work tonight. The problem is me and Peter find it really difficult to find times when we are both free so I thought it was important to just damn well do it.

It was lovely to meet up, but boy am I wanting my bed now! At the pub I just had two diet cokes and wasn’t tempted at all by all of the food sights and smells (despite them having many decent vegan options) because I am just so determined to get to target. Yep, ain’t nothing getting in my way.

Now after a positive yet tiring day, it’s time for me to get some grub, a bucket of caffeine, and prepare myself for work!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Doing Too Much?

I’ve had a really good week, where I’ve tried to cram in as much as possible. But by the time Saturday night came around it occurred to me that I may be pushing myself too hard.

I suppose the way I’ve felt over the last week can only be described as driven. And I’m just so excited about everything right now, about the possibilities for the future rather than not being able to see past the next day.

On Saturday I got up after only a couple of hours sleep in order to be an awesome friend. One of my bestest chums was working overtime and had no possibility to pick up his prescription before he ran out so I offered to get it for him. So pick it up I did, then I posted it through his letter box.

This friend happens to live right near my favourite park, so I took my brother with me and we went for a wander. A two hour wander actually. Week three of my Gold Body Magic is now complete!

The weather was boring, all grey clouds and flat and ‘orrible. But that’s why I like photography, because even if on the surface everything looks rubbish, if you look closer you can always find something beautiful. Ok, you can’t beat beautiful golden light, but there’s still good stuff to be found.

And even more good stuff.

My brother opened a few of these little things up and it seems that an earwig lives inside every single one. That a lot of earwigs.

Later on we came across a herd of cows I’d tried to approach before but they were way too nervous. But I had little bro with me, and he has a curious affinity with cows. They weren’t interested in him (one gave him a sniff and went back to munching on its grass) but they didn’t run away either, as they did with me.

I zoomed in on one cow when I got home and had to laugh. Even though she’s just chewing the cud she looked super grumpy!

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By the time we got home I crawled straight into bed, but I didn’t sleep very well. As soon as I get disturbed, to wake up for a tinkle for instance, I’ve been finding it really hard to get back to sleep again because I just want to carry on with my day.

This is great in one way, but I need to make sure I don’t burn myself out or I’ll be right back where I started before I know it.

As such when I got into work and found we were seriously overmanned, I jumped at the chance of an impromptu night off. To be honest since I’m out of annual leave I had to take it unpaid, which isn’t exactly sensible given my current financial situation, but this will now come out of my pay at the end of October. So I have plenty of time to adjust my outgoings accordingly. That’s how I’m convincing myself it’s OK anyway!

I actually ended up having a fantastic weekend, doing some walking and hanging out with friends. I really enjoyed a rainy wander through the glen Sunday morning.

Since I’m feeling in a cooking mood lately, yesterday when I got back I made dinner and dessert. I want to cook for people but don’t really want to eat it, so after dinner I made a decadent apple crumble. It went down so well that one friend kept eating it till he felt sick. I’ll take that as a win.

As for me I’ve been avoiding sweet stuff entirely, apart from unsweetened soya yoghurt with fruit and wheat biscuits for breakfast. Because anything like chocolate or ice cream will set off my sweet tooth. With Slimming World (if you aren’t familiar with the plan) nothing is off limits. If you want to eat a chocolate bar every single day and still lose weight, you can totally do that (though it might not be the healthiest way to go!) But when it comes to the sweet stuff I always crave more and more once I get going, and since I’m really enjoying my food lately I’m going to carry on with cutting these things out entirely. It seems to be working well for me anyway, as I haven’t felt deprived at all.

On Thursday I have another friend coming over for tea but I’m planning on making him something healthy. He’s been working so hard and such long hours, he hasn’t had time to feed himself properly and I want to get some goodness into him.

Other than that I want to make sure I get a good balance for the week ahead with plenty of sleep as well as exercise and creativity, because I need food for the soul, too.

Tonight is weigh in and I’m not sure how it’s going to go, because my hormones have gone a little up the wall and I’m feeling huge. But then I felt like that last week and it all turned out OK anyway. Time will tell!

I’ll update tomorrow with how it went.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Once Around the Lake

I had to get up early today after only a couple of hours sleep in order to get to my doctor’s appointment. The doctor wanted to see how I was getting on with the antidepressants before giving me any more.

I thought back on how I was feeling just a few short weeks ago, and it honestly feels like a fog has lifted from my brain. My main problem when I was feeling my most anxious was ruminating, which Psychology Today describes as repetitively going over a thought or a problem without completion. These thoughts completely consumed me to the point where I felt I couldn’t take it anymore. And that’s when I went to the doctor’s for help.

I’m not saying medication is right for everyone or will even work for everyone (scientists still aren’t sure exactly how antidepressants even work), but during week three the side-effects subsided and I’m not saying I felt immediately OK, but I did get a sense of clarity back.

I can think clearly again!

One thing I was thinking over and over, is that I was a ‘completely useless piece of sh*t’. They were the exact words in my head. Now I can remember the things I do like about myself, and although I’m not perfect I can see that I’m made up of a mixture of good, bad and everything in between. Just like everyone else. It seems glaringly obvious. It IS glaringly obvious. But when you feel like that you just can’t tell yourself these things and actually believe them.

The doctor has said he’ll keep me on this dose for six months with a view to weaning me off of them at the end of the course. I’m happy with that. What I do want, after a rollercoaster of a year so far, is simply stability. I have my routine back, I’m happy, and I just don’t want anything to change (too much) for a while.

Of course change is essential, we can’t grow without it, but some things I’m happy to keep as they are just until I’m positive I’m back on my feet.

But the future’s looking bright anyway!

I only had one pill left so I put my prescription in straight after getting out of the the doctor’s. It was a 45 minute wait, so even though I was pretty tired I decided to get the day’s exercise done right away and headed for the park.

The park was very quiet – I felt the odd spits of rain so I guess most people didn’t want to risk it. I have recently started hoarding an umbrella in my bag because it’s still too warm (most of the time) for a coat, however it would have been completely useless with these winds we’re having. They aren’t too bad here but if you are badly affected, then please stay safe people.

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Luckily it didn’t chuck it down, not that I would have really minded anyway.

Most of my walking was done getting to and from the park, so once I was there I just did one lap around the lake. But that lap took quite a while, because I was very busy getting tons of Boomerangs of fallen leaves (every time I pressed the shutter button the winds mysteriously dropped) and I look even longer getting distracted by pretty leaves.

A passing lady smiled at me as I was jumping up and down in order to grab a branch that was out of my reach. I never succeeded. Bad times.

I also scoped out a few horse chestnuts because after a friend mentioning conkers on his blog the other day I now really, really want some. I am so easily influenced.

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Damn, They’re not quite ready yet though. I’ll just have to keep checking back.

As it happens in terms of active minutes I’ve already smashed this week’s Gold Body Magic goals (twice over actually), but I still need another two active days in order for it to count. I’m feeling very outdoorsy lately so believe me, that will not be a problem.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Going for it!

Oh my, so it’s all kicking off again in the Slimming World community it seems! Yesterday the news broke that all flavoured yoghurts will now carry a Syn value, and of course, people aren’t happy that the Mullerlights are no longer free.

For me though, vegan agenda aside, I think this is a good thing. Even before I went vegetarian I stopped eating Mullers because basically I thought they were crap. Overpriced, chemically tasting, watery nastiness. But it is really easy to overeat them, and although they’re ‘only’ 99 calories per pot, if you eat six a day (as some people I know have done) then there’s a chance it’ll negatively affect your losses. Slimming World are just trying to protect our losses, and I’m glad they’re on the ball.

It’s an unpopular opinion among the plant-based members out there, but I agree with Slimming World that avocados shouldn’t be free. I would like to see them given a Healthy Extra allowance or maybe even see the Syns reduced, but if they were free… oh boy, I doubt I’d lose a single ounce!

But there is some EXCELLENT news for us vegans. In fact I was the only one in group last night with a massive grin plastered across my face. Canned jackfruit is now FREE. Plain/smoked seitan is now FREE. And… AND…. we even have FREE plain yoghurt we can eat! I’m chuffed to bits, because it’s nice to be able to plonk a dollop of (soya) yoghurt on a curry or something without having to worry, or to make a salad dressing or whatever.

I’ve just checked the app and Alpro, Asda, M&S and Tesco unsweetened plain soya yoghurts are all free now. Wonderful!

Some Syns for the Alpro yoghurts have increased by a small amount, but again I’m not bothered. I’d rather have to use an extra half a Syn than be frustrated that I’m not making as much progress as I should be.

To top it off we even have TWO vegan cheeses we can use as a Healthy Extra now, but I wasn’t able to get either in town yesterday. But on Thursday I’m going out hunting so we’ll see what I can find.

There will be a new book coming out late December reflecting all the changes, and I’m pretty sure current members will get a new one for free. At least that’s what’s happened in the past when I’ve been a member.

You can read all the info in full on the Slimming World website, which I’d recommend because there are other changes I haven’t talked about here.

Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk about yesterday. I’ve got into a really good routine where I pop in to visit my dad before going to group (he lives just around the corner) then I leave the car at his then walk the rest of the way.

But yesterday I’d just got up to leave when I realised I’d left my book and card at home. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, but since I joined at another group (and wasn’t sure if my details had been transferred over) I’d probably need my card in order to weigh in.

So I rushed back home, grabbed my book, and rushed back to group. I did make it (with plenty of time to spare actually) which was such a relief because I was very anxious indeed to find out how I’d done. It turns out because it’s the same consultant at both groups I needn’t have worried, so that’s good to know for the future!

I held my breath and stepped on the scales…

3lbs off! 

I now weigh 13st 12.5lbs (mini goal achieved, yay!) and have a mere 1st 2.5lbs to go till I reach my target weight.

Now, I’ve been giving target quite a lot of thought and it occurred to me that it’s now truly within reaching distance. At first I was worried to even think about it, but I’m feeling so confident about Slimming World at the moment that I’ve decided.

I’m going for it. I’m going to try to reach target BEFORE Christmas. 

For me there are 13 weigh-ins lefts before the big day, and if I lose 2lbs a week I will be at target in nine weeks. At the start of the year I was convinced that I would hit target in 2018, but assumed as time went on that I’d blown it. But it IS still possible. There is a chance I’ll fall short, but eff it. I’m going to try anyway.

How amazing would it be? I’m daring to dream, and why the hell shouldn’t I?

Group itself was fab as always, and by the end I was absolutely made up to have got Slimmer of the Week. When you have been at it for as long as I have (I’ve been on this current ‘journey’ for over two years now) you just don’t expect to get it any more.

But get it I did, and it was a very generous haul. Among other things there was a bottle of Fry Light, some delicious looking apricots, a tin of water chestnuts and a bunch of flowers. What a nice thought! I especially thanked the lady who put them in because it was such a lovely idea and really brightened my day.

Earlier on in the day I made a fantastic start to week 3 of my Gold Body Magic Award with a 2.5 hour walk around the park and into town. I was thinking about putting it off till today but I’m so glad I didn’t, because the light was so much nicer yesterday.

Along with other kinds of mojo I’m definitely getting my photography mojo back. My favourite thing from the walk though was a silvery bush where the odd few leaves had gone yellow and green.

One of my favourite things ever is light shining through the leaves, so it was good to be able to combine these two things.

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Just… gorgeous.

In town I didn’t get much except a couple of bottles of Fry Light, and a little retro robot for my brother for 99p, but it was such a lovely day I’m really glad I got out. Of course it goes without saying really, but I did feed the geese as well.

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It’s back to work tonight so my only real plan for today is to get some exercise in and have a nap. Normally I’d feel that this wasn’t ‘enough’ but I had a really active weekend so what the hell!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x