Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Snow News

I'm alive.  Just about.  I think.

It's turning out to be a pretty intense first week, with the training and constant socialising - I've just had my first experience of the chalet shop today with a banging hangover and, conveniently, a chalet list for one of the Austrian chalets, that gave German translations instead of French ... tricky when you in France.

Intermittently, I get concerned about the amount of food and booze I'm consuming, with absolutely no exercise happening (unless you count the nightly trek through town to the bars, and several hours dancing), but so far everything still fits.  However, as of today training has officially finished and we've started working, and suddenly it's 5 hours trekking round the supermarket and hauling crates into chalets, and foraging for your own food, and I suspect that the amount of food available and the copious, free wine is about to disappear completely, so that should counteract this week I suppose!

With no scales to stand on, I'm going completely blind, but I did sneak a tape measure into my bag, so I took some measurements yesterday and jotted them down - they were smaller than when I last took them mid-October, so that will have to do as a sliding scale to alert me to changes.  I'll probably try and take them every week or 2 so I can track.  For now I'm not tracking my food at all, as it would be virtually impossible, but if the measurements start going seriously up I may have to start trying to do that again.

I've spent this first week with some amazing people, and now we're all splitting up to go off to our respective resorts, and I suddenly felt a bit sad, and a little homesick with it - just hope the team I end up with in resort, and the friends I make there, are as lovely!  It seems very quiet here at the moment, as we're one of the last teams to disperse from the training lodge, and it's absolutely freezing as well - it's -11 here and the heating here doesn't seem to be working properly right now, so between the cold, the quiet and feeling a bit rundown ... I'm fighting the inclination to feel low.

Monday, 18 November 2013


I think I'm just about alive, but it's hard to tell. Mostly because I feel extremely tired and more than a little hungover.

The last couple of days, the first of the season, have been HECTIC! It's Monday and since Friday it's been non-stop. On Friday I frantically finished packing and shoved my 3 bags in the car, before wishing my dad a rushed but emotional goodbye and getting my hire car back to Bristol. I knew what time I needed to leave to get the car back in time, but obviously I was late leaving. I was still booking coach tickets on Friday morning and it was never going to be a relaxed morning.

One thing I'd massively underestimated was how hard carrying all of my bags at the same time would be. None of them were unmanageable on their own, but try adding them all together and I was struggling to walk more than 50m before having to put everything down and reorganise. Just walking from the hire car garage to the bank in town and then back to the coach station killed me - probably a distance of less than 500m. Getting them from the coach station on to the tube in London and then dragging them all the way to my mate's house was an absolute nightmare. Seriously - a walk of about 10 mins at either end and a couple of flights of stairs and I was ready to cry. Or collapse. Or both. I've never been so glad to put everything down and pick up a glass of wine before!

I had actual bruises on my shoulders on Saturday morning and my entire upper body felt like I'd had a mega workout the day before ... so I booked a taxi to get myself back to Victoria coach station - one last little luxury (necessity!) for myself.

It's sort of been a blur since then: the 18 hour coach trip, arriving in Val d'Isere, finding our rooms and getting uniforms etc, followed by a very boozy night out when you literally haven't been to sleep for 36 hours. Suffice it to say that I was feeling a little wobbly for our first morning's training this morning.

But I'm here! There's snow outside! There's some really lovely people and it's really happening!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 15 November 2013

En Route

Well, this is it - the adventure starts here.

I'm currently sat on the coach heading to London, with 3 big bags of stuff to my name, and quite a big case of nerves. I'm spending my last night in the country for 6 months with one of my oldest friends. I've said goodbye to my Dad for the longest time we've ever been apart. I've panicked, run around like a loon trying to get everything in my bags and now all I can do is put my best foot forward and be the best me I can be.

Weigh-in wise, I stepped on the scales for the last time this morning and registered a 2lb loss since last week. Last week's lb back off and an extra one as well. Ideally, my goal had been to aim for 12st 6lb by time I left, but I feel like 17lbs in 10 weeks was a pretty good effort, so I shan't be disappointed that I haven't lost an extra 2.5lbs.

Where I go from here, diet-wise, I don't know. I feel a bit like the last 10 weeks was the easy bit, and now the hard part starts. To try and track or not to track? No scales to measure it by. A different life-style and culture to get used to (by which I mean the seasonaire's little ski-bubble world up the mountain, as much as being in France!). I'm going to take it one step at at tine and see how it goes.

Wish me luck!

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Late Again

Aaaaargh - where did the week go already????  Sooooo much to update on, and the time is just flying by without me noticing!

Ok - first things first - last week's weigh in.  It actually wasn't as bad as I was expecting, but it was a gain and I fully deserved it.  1lb on, taking me back to 12st 10.5lb.

Accept it and move on.

This week has been absolute chaos, and I can't believe how quickly it's gone by.  On Friday night I had some leaving drinks for work - although I'm actually on sabbatical and therefore coming back to the company next year, there were demands for drinks so I capitulated.  Pub at lunch time and drinks in the evening, which were really nice and relaxed.  Yeah, I ate a bit too much during the day and then downed about 7 gins in the evening, but I then rolled myself home, ate a bit of healthy dim sum and poured myself into bed at a reasonable hour to get some sleep.

As a consequence of my good sense the night before, I was awake bright and early on Saturday morning and managed to get to the gym.  Sadly spin class was full when I got there, so I inflicted my trainer's circuits routine on myself instead (and successfully made myself ache for several days afterwards in the process!).  The rest of the day was taken up with collecting some parcels from work that I'd left there on Friday night and trudging home through the rain to dry out and cozy up for the day - no point spending more time in the pouring rain that I had too!  Especially as Saturday night was my (now-ex)flatmate's 30th b'day.  Amazing Carribbean food, a lot of rum and some good times before again pouring myself into bed at 3am.

Sunday was a chill day - a much-needed lie-in, some washing and pottering and a trip to my favourite coffee shop just so I could say I'd left the house.  And also because it would be my last chance to spend lazy time there before I left my beloved Bristol for the winter!  Sad times!

Monday and Tuesday were crazy busy work days, as they were my last two days in the office before my sabbatical started, and I was frantically meeting up with friends to say farewell before my adventures - my lovely, crazy ex-flatmates threw me a Fake Christmas evening on Tuesday, since I'll be missing the festive season here, complete with full roast dinner, crackers and warm mince pies with ice-cream for pudding.  They also bought me a whole array of lovely birthday / leaving presents.

In fact, I've been totally overwhelmed with amazing presents from various friends and colleagues.  I've been given gorgeous elbow long fingerless gloves, socks that won't smell (they contain bamboo ... and they're covered in pretty birds - what more could you want?), super bright bobble hats, with gin and tonic in cans for the coach trip, gel hand warmers, amazing chocolate to take, butterfly bunting for my room and photos of all my friends and me to take with me as mementos / decorations, a travel journal, comedy plasters and playing cards, fleece lined mittens - I'm just fantastically lucky to have such wonderful people in my life.

Yesterday was my first day on sabbatical and ended up being pretty hectic as I ran round collecting contact lens supplies and my hire car, packing everything from my temporary digs into the car and cleaning my room up, and then rushing home to unpack and finally get to the pub in time to see my home friends last night (giggles aplenty - I'm so glad I did).

Imagine my surprise though, after all that eating out and drinking, when I stepped on the scales and saw quite a drop in them.  I moved them and stepped on them again, just to be sure, and then went and stepped on my Dad's scales to compare.  Somehow, I seem to have lost quite a bit this week!  My final official weigh in isn't until tomorrow, but if the scales stay where they are I'll be mighty happy!

Then what?  Well, tonight is my last night at my Dad's - I'm spending the evening in with him and tomorrow I have to say goodbye for 6 months and drive back to Bristol to take my car back.  I'll have to finalise all my packing this afternoon (for what seems like the eleventy billionth time), and when I return to Bristol it will be with just three bags - everything I'm allowed to until next Spring.  Then I'll be catching a coach to London to spend my final night in the UK with one of my oldest friends and then ... I'm leaving.

Eeeeeeeeeeek.  The longest I've ever been out the country before, and therefore away from all my friends and family for, is just over 1 month.  This trip will be 5 times that and I'm nervous and excited and anxious all in one.

I'm still trying to finalise my packing in my head, and work out what I've missed.  I have a few last things to get today and errands to run, and I'm still trying to work out how best to maintain my weight whilst I'm away.  Do I try and track?  Do I just rely on having a job / lifestyle where I'm likely to be running around the mountain most of the day and then scavenging food from the chalet kitchens when I get time to keep my weight stable?  And what about this first 10 days when I'm on training in a very nice lodge and being cooked for at every meal?  I just don't know.  All I know is I won't be able to weigh myself for the next 6 months and I'm looking at there being a lot of bread, cheese and booze, so I'm going to have to find some way to deal with it!  I'm sure my clothes will tell me soon enough if I'm overdoing it!

I'll try and keep checking in here though and updating on my adventures!

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Stumbling Along

Where did the week go?? I've just realised I weigh in again tomorrow and I still haven't posted last week's result!

Last week's result: good. Another 1.5lbs off, taking me to a solid 12st 9.5lb. Just 3.5lb away from my target of 12st 6lb for the start of the season with 2 weeks to go.

And then this week happened. I got a little contemplative, wedding weekends came and went, friends birthdays got celebrated, and with one day to go before this week's weigh in, I can say without doubt that there will be no loss this week. In fact, I expect a slight gain.


I've single-handedly managed to break the longest losing streak I've ever had! Damn it!

It started with moving day on Friday. A stressed, flat-out morning to get all my remaining belongings out of the my flat, my room cleaned and everything moved to my temporary digs at a friend's house. OF COURSE it took longer than expected and I was stressed, sweaty and knackered by the time I had to rush my hire car back to its allotted space and run into town on foot to meet a friend for lunch.

Strike 1 - I didn't eat a particularly healthy lunch.

An afternoon spent running errands in town and getting more stuff off my final kit list, and arriving back to my new home to find chaos in my room and it was cold and I was tired and it was raining hard.

Strike 2 - takeaway. Not a good one (although not the worst).

Over the weekend we were wedding-ing in Herfordshire - staying in a B & B with spectacular food, drinking and eating it out for most of the weekend.

Strike 3: two massive lunches and a huge breakfast. Even ditching dinner on both nights because I just wasn't hungry wasn't going to help.

Strike 4: birthday drinks for my ex-housemate on Tuesday night. She bought home Patisserie Valerie cake and I had a slice without even thinking about it.

Yeah - it's not been a great week. And the remaining time before I go is a flat-out social smorgasbord, so I need to find a way to arrest the rot before "holiday" mode well and truly sets in for no reason!

I might not be able to hit my perfect target, but I can still aim for one further loss at the end of next week before I go. I need to plan!!! I have cocktails, leaving drinks, birthday celebrations a fake Christmas to negotiate but I don't see why that has to be a disaster.

Wish me luck!

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 25 October 2013

Willpower and Mussels

Normal weight loss service seems to have been resumed this week, with another solid 1.75 lbs down, taking me down a solid stone (and half a lb) since I got going again after holiday. Not the quickest perhaps, but good steady progress.

In all honesty, this weekend has been a bit up and down though. I got a little carried away on Saturday when, after a virtuous morning spin class, I went a bit overboard at a girls lunch and then had to struggle through a birthday dinner which left me feeling soooooo sick because I was far too full. Silly, silly girl!!

I was then excellently well behaved for the next several days, before hitting a bit of a unexpected bump. At a dinner out on Wednesday night (when I was making some sensible choices and had eaten lightly during the day to be good) I think I had a bad mussel. Yeah, possibly 'nough said.

Suffice it to say I wasn't a very well bunny on Wednesday night, and was feeling a little fragile and sleep deprived on Thursday. Ah well, these things happen, but although I made it to work on Thursday I didn't feel up to a gym workout, so I'm a bit down on my activity for the week. Work is still busy so it's a still a bit of a struggle keeping up with anything at all this week!

On the good side of these things, my "skinny" skinny jeans are now wearable! They are snug, but wearable, which is very good news.

Sooooooo, the weeks seem to be whipping by at the moment, and it's already time to start the move out of my flat this weekend! Oh my god, where have the months gone? It's only 3 weeks tomorrow before I leave the country and make my way to the French mountains - argh!!!! I'm ... sort of organised! I've done quite a bit of packing already, but still have quite a lot more organising to do before tomorrow. Luckily, I have a very lovely friend coming to help me to load my hire van tomorrow, which makes this part of the move a little less intimidating. I've got a big chunk of stuff packed already (good), and have trial packed my ski season luggage and what I need for the next couple of weeks (very foresightful of me if I do say so!), but I definitely feel like I could do with an extra day to get sorted (arrrrrrgh).

Wish me luck!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

No Time

What a crap day! Or it could have been anyway.

Like many days recently, I feel like I've been non-stop-go-go-go all damn day. 12.5 hours in the office, lunch break spent on hold to the various utilities companies cancelling stuff ready for the move, get home at 9.40pm, shove some dinner down my throat, put gym kit wash on so I actually have some clean, non-stinky kit, and then unload what's left of one wardrobe into the other (I've been packing stuff already), bag up all my shoes into those to go back to dad's and those still needed, and dismantle said wardrobe and stack everything neatly downstairs. Just in time to go to bed at midnight.

Get up at 6.20am, squeeze in a sneaky spin class before work and repeat.

It's bloody knackering, and I'm glad that I think this week will hopefully be the last of the truly hectic ones. Early next week at the latest, as I'm off for the second part of next week actually moving house. Unfortunately, moving next week means taking everything not needed home in a van this weekend. And somewhere in the middle of all that I'm trying to hold together my weight loss and get fit / healthy campaign.

On days like today, it feels like a miracle that I've stayed on track. I haven't worked out today, but my eating has been pretty damn saintly. Which is all the more amazing when you consider that I caught myself, at various points this evening, staring into the tuck drawer at work and then closing it and walking away empty-handed, turning down my boss's offer of a chocolate biscuit, and guilty hunting down the chocolates belonging to the neighbouring team, before turning back to the drawer and putting the chocolate in my hand back in the box and going back to my desk. Resistance!

I'm tamping down the feelings of panic about not being packed and ready to move in time for the weekend by setting myself smaller, discrete jobs to achieve; it'd just difficult when I come home late and knackered every night (and I have a birthday night out to attend on Wednesday).

In the interests of full dislosure and honesty, I should say that my eating did go a little awry on Saturday when I ended up having both a leisurely lunch with one of ,y best friends and then another birthday night out in the evening with dinner. I felt so ludicrously sick after two meals out in one day though ... that'll teach me to practice a little self-restraint. Which is why I've been extra determined to get it right every other day this week.

Baby steps and persistence though.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 19 October 2013

A Loss Is A Loss

Well, it wasn't the most dramatic weight loss result the world has ever seen, but it was a loss.  The smallest loss I could have had and still technically called it a loss, I'll grant you, but I'll take what I'm given!

Was this week 9?  Probably.  And the result was a tiny, little, sliver of a quarter lb off.  In one way, that's a little disappointing, but a loss is a loss is a loss.  And frankly, after a week of stress, lack of sleep, and some rather inprudent eating, I'd say it was entirely what I deserved.  The fact also remains that I saw the scale go considerably lower than that during the week, which gives me some confidence that I haven't gone completely off the reservation, and that this is just a little "bounce" of the scales.

It has also given me a well-timed kick up the arse to strengthen my resolve and get it right this week.  Friday's are often one of my more relaxed days eating-wise - the start of a new week and the furthest point from weigh in, etc - but I don't think I've been too shabby today at all.  Catching myself with thoughts of takeaway a I left work (8pm this evening - not so bad!), I sort of stopped and listened to what I was saying.  Metaphorically speaking.  I was thinking "it's been a long day, it's wet and miserable out - I could treat myself to a takeaway and catchup on all the recorded tv".  Then I thought, actually it's been a bloody long week, lacking in sleep, relaxation or vegetables - if you want to treat yourself when you get home, have something healthy and including veggies.  Treat your body well.

So I did.

This is how I behaved the first couple of weeks when i got some really excellent results - little things and baby steps

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Dealing With It

Well, it wasn't quite the immaculate week of healthy eating and living I wanted it to be, as work has now ramped up to such an extent that sleep is getting somewhat optional (in that even on nights when I do get home at a reasonable(ish) hour, I'm usually too wired to get to sleep and then wake up stressing over something in the middle of the night), and eating for comfort looks like an entirely viable and perfectly tempting option. But I haven't let it all go to the dogs, so there's hope yet.

Working weekends has made me grumpy, which in turn tends to lead me to an "oh fuck it" mentality. It also means lunch is bought for us and the boys inevitably want the good stuff. By which I mean pizza or similar. But I dealt with it - I pre-planned my choice from my eating out guide and cut back my breakfast and lunch to compensate.

Working evenings makes me rather to anxious to reach for the wine when I finally get home. Especially when it turns out to be a rather delicious Viognier I bought back from France in the summer (for a whole €2.80 - fancy that!).

Stress over deadlines and delays makes me a little too eager to cave in and say "yes" to the offer of sweets and cookies.

BUT. But - I tracked every last miserable little chocolate that passed my lips. If I couldn't restrain myself, I could at least be honest enough to write it down, so I always knew the bigger picture for the week. And just doing that definitely stopped me rolling further off track.

I just about found time to get two spin classes and 2 circuits workouts (1 with my trainer) in this week. It was hard work finding the time - 3 before work and one straight after but then returning to the office for another couple of hours. The sacrificed sleep was (probably) worth it though. And with the added activity points from my gym sessions, I ended up being 22 points over for the week. That doesn't include the 6+ hours that I spent walking to and from work, the gym and the cinema this week either.

So what will this mean for weigh in? I started to recover from my stress-driven blip yesterday and made a real effort to get it right these last two days. My weight has remained solidly in the 12's all week and a bit lower than my last weigh in, so fingers crossed that I get a small loss this week.

And then, whatever happens, I WILL make a good effort this week. I just need to plan for the stress!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Urgent Update!!

Breaking news!!!! There has been a rare sighting of the Twelves in the vicinity if Bristol. I repeat: a rare sighting of the Twelves!

Local experts had begun to fear that the explosion in the population of the Thirteens had spelled disaster for the Twelves and placed them in danger of extinction, but it seems they have rallied and sightings on 3 consecutive days have been recorded. We have yet to see any evidence of the smaller Twelves, but if the larger ones are still alive and kicking there is hope that smaller ones may be sighted soon.


For the 6th week in a row I've lost! Whooop - another 1.5lbs off!!!! 12.5 lbs gone in total since I got my ass in gear at the end of August, and I'm FINALLY back into the 12st bracket. Finally!!!

This is where I felt more comfortable before, although I'm still half a stone off my goal before I leave for the winter season. I haven't been at this weight for around 18 months or more .... basically since I moved into my shared house, so it's good to know I can do it.

I'm getting to the point now where I'm noticing a difference I my clothes - some stuff I haven't worn for ages fits again - my Skinny skinny jeans (if you know what I mean) nearly fit again - whilst other things are now getting too big - annoyingly my two current pairs of skinny jeans are rapidly getting loose just ahead of the other ones fitting - rubbish! Ah well - at least I know I've got plenty of choice of dresses that will fit well for the wedding I'm going to next month!

Focusing on having a really good week to make good headway into the 12's - I'm working this weekend but decided to stay in and cook last night (lovely fish pie!) and get in a 60 min spin class this morning before hitting the office. I really want to try not to use all my flex this week as I've been using them all the last couple of weeks.

And in other exciting news - I'm going to try ski boots tomorrow!! I love kit shopping :-)

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 4 October 2013

The Weekly Report

In which we find our heroine sitting at the kitchen table on a lovely sunny Friday afternoon, enjoying a cup of tea and some biscuits, and basking in the happy glow of cheques received through the post from Mr Taxman. Oh yes, and another 1.75lbs off at her morning weigh in.

Hells yeah, that makes it 11lbs in 7 weeks!!

Once our heroine has finished her tea, she'll get changed and hike off out the door for a Friday evening spin class because that's how she rolls. (Or spins).

The list of things I need to do before the ski season starts seems to be getting longer, but at least I'm crossing some things off the top of the list, so something's happening. And those tax refunds will come in handy paying for some of the shopping bill involved in getting ready! Spending half an hour with some HMRC paperwork was definitely worth it!

I'm keeping a low profile socially at the moment as work's ramping up to busy season and I've lots of organising and packing to at home, so I don't want to book up all my spare time and have nothing left for me! Especially as that makes it so much harder to spend time on exercising, cooking properly and sleeping well.

In the meantime, I'm just enjoying wearing a shirt and skirt that haven't fitted properly in ages and knowing they're comfy again.

Happy Friday everybody!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Baby Steps

Baby steps - that's pretty much all I'm capable of after my resident evil-genius trainer decimated my entire lower body last night in the name health and ski-fitness...

Quads, inside thigh, and my poor old gluteus maximus are all feeling the after effects today. Even a spin class hasn't helped loosen anything up.

I can't complain though as I'm reaping the benefits of all this gym time and healthy eating. I decided to update my measurements tonight to see what was happening outside of the scale numbers, and the answer is small increments of happiness. I've known things were changing a bit because I've recently worn a skirt twice that I haven't looked at in months and my jeans are feeling a bit looser, so it was nice to see it in hard numbers.

1.25 inches off my chest and 1.5 from my waist. 0.75 inches from my hips and a whopping 1 in gone from my thigh (that'll be the spin then!). My measurements were last done at the beginning of August, so pre-France-cheese-and-wine lbs, so I think I was about 8lbs heavier then than I am now. Happy with that.

Talking of baby steps, I'm also trying to introduce a bit more variety into my meal planning. Over the last 7 weeks, I've pretty much figured out the basics that work for me. A sensible but not too big breakfast, a hearty lunch and a pared back dinner seems to work well, and I'm happy to stick to those parameters, but there's a limit to how many times I can eat protein and veg, or carbs and veg, plain and simple, before I get a bit bored.

So sticking to the idea of pared down dinners, I'm also trying to mix up what I have a bit. For a completely different flavour combo tonight I revisited good old scrambled eggs on toast with some ham and mushroom chucked in. I know - hardly revolutionary - but I need to make sure I keep some variety (whilst also keeping it simple and quick to prepare) in my weekday dinners so I don't go stir crazy any time soon! I'm thinking some winter casseroles might be making an appearance sometime soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Still Sinking

ANOTHER 1.75lbs off this week for me. This is excellent progress, and not even the lowest weight I saw this week (damn these Thursday night social events with their eating late!). So that's just over 9lbs in 6 weeks!!

Now things start to get a little interesting - I'm coming down with a cold (boooooo) and next week work starts getting a little crazy for the next month to 6 weeks - which pretty much takes me up to the time I leave. Eeeeek - where is the time going!! Oh, and I have to move out of my house in about 4 weeks too!

So lots of stuff coming up, but I don't see that as a reason or excuse to get off plan. Despite a little nagging sore throat and sniffles I decided to start my weekend on the right note last night and go to the gym after work.

I'm just going to say this really quickly and get it out there: I LOVE the gym on a Friday night! Why? Because it's dead! I can get into the Personal Trainers' area to use all the kit I want and it's lovely and quiet and I just quite like working out in the gym undisturbed and unobserved. Then there's the ultra-virtuous feeling of being there at all when most other people are either in the pub or getting ready for a night out / getting takeaway and slobbing in front of the tv. Not that there is anything wrong with either of those options. But I have to say Friday evening workouts make me feel particularly good.

The rest of my evening consisted of a load of tasty roasted veg and chicken, a nice hot shower, a delicious glass of red wine, some icecream for my throat and my book. Yep - I was in bed by 10.30pm.

Thursday night we clothes-swapped. A friend organised it for charity - we paid £15 to our host for wine and nibbles, took along stuff we no longer wanted and everyone rummaged - I came home with 5 new tops, a new skirt and a dress after getting rid of my stuff. Not a bad deal really!! Try organising one it - it was loads of fun and everyone walked away with stuff.

Now I just need to do a bit of sorting out - my flat feels a bit chaotic after I started taking stuff back to my dad's last weekend to store for the winter, and I could do with sorting what's left, seeing if there's more I can get rid of and maybe starting to pack the next load of stuff. Soooooo much to organise and I really want to be on top of it so it's not stressful come 4 weeks time!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Skirting The Issue

Sometimes the scales aren't everything. This morning I put on a pencil skirt I haven't worn for 6 months or more. It's still snug, very snug, but it does up and doesn't cut in too much, so that is definitely progress.

Probably a good thing as we had a work lunch out today and there's nothing like a very slim-fitting pencil skirt to stop you over-eating!

On the other hand, my new ski kit has arrived today. The ski pants fit pretty damn well - there's space for me to lose some more weight without a problem, but I'll be able to wear them from the start of the season. The jacket is a bit of a different story. I took a bit of a punt, because the brand is American, and they run between sizes. It was either an XL (14-16 UK) or a L (12-14 UK) ... and the XL was out of stock ... and I REALLY loved the style. So I bought the L.

Now the good news is that is does do up. The bad news is that it is very tight. Like "I need to lose 1-1.5 inches off most of measurements to make it fit properly" tight. But I love it sooooooo much. I have a 21 day return period - 3 weeks to decide whether I think I can lose enough to make keeping it worthwhile. And if not, back it goes and I get a replacement option. I think I actually saw one on the Roxy website that looks pretty nice, if needed.

I've eaten a few more of my flex points than I'd like so far this week. Like all of them, plus most of my activity points (of the ones I bother to track that is). Even so, the scales have me down and I'm trying to make good choices and finish the week well- I've been to two spin classes this week, and I'll aim for Pilates tomorrow, and I've survived two meals out, a weekend at home and I've got lunch packed for tomorrow.

All in all, I've got even more motivation to do a good job now. I've got a lovely jacket I want to style on the slopes this winter :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Steady As She Goes

This week's weigh in was a steady 0.5lbs off, taking me to 7.5lbs lost in 5 weeks. I'm quite happy with that loss, as in reality I know I was closer to a 1.5lb loss this week, but we had a dinner out on Thursday night and eating that late in the evening was bound to have a physical impact on my weigh in.

It was a pretty hectic week at work, so I'm quite pleased to have just continued with my steady routine - I managed to get to the gym for 2 more spin classes and a Body Balance class, and I've FINALLY got round to booking some more sessions with my personal trainer to cover my last weeks in the UK before ski season starts.

Talking of being at the gym, I realised this week that my back is feeling better than it has for ages!!! Whilst I still get more stiffness than the average person in it, and there are always going to be weak spots where certain movements aren't as easy for me, I've noticed that there are a lot of movements that are feeling a lot stronger than "usual". Ordinarily, bending straight forwards to pick something up, I would either have a twinge in my lower back or my hamstrings would be so tight that I automatically duck sideways or support myself with a hand to my knees. It's so second-nature to me with years of the injury, that it took me a while to notice it had lessened.

Having my back feel strong and normal (or more so anyway) is pretty precious to me, because I want to be able to enjoy my ski season without worrying about the physicality of it. This is definitely one part of the "fit and strong pre-season" ambition I can get 100% behind!

Exciting things this week - my contracts have finally arrived from my company, so I feel a bit more definite about everything going ahead, and with it they've set up Facebook groups for the staff in each resort, meaning I can start to have a little snoop of who my co-workers will be this winter ... it's nice to know who you'll be working, living and playing with! So far they look like they'll be a fun group, and thankfully it looks like there might be at least a few a little closer to my own age ... I've been praying for peeps in their late 20s / early 30s so it's not all school leavers!!

Oooooh, and my new snow boots have arrived and fit like a glove!!! Shiny!! And sooooo pretty! I have these ones:

I've also taken the plunge and ordered some more kit (I already have a ski jacket and pants, but figure for 5.5 months I can definitively use 2 sets!). So I'll be seeing if this lot fits, as I've had my eye on this jacket for ages!

I love kit shopping!!!! :-)

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Saturday, 14 September 2013

And Again!!!

After another insanely busy week, I was thrilled to step on the scales yesterday morning and be able to claim another 1.5lbs off this week. Thrilled, I tells ya!!!

Which means I've clocked a wonderful 7lbs in 4 weeks. 1/2 a stone!!! Whoop!

The secret? Consistency, I guess. I'm not going crazy with my food, although I've enjoyed a little of everything in moderation - a nice glass of red here, a couple of glasses of bubbly there, the odd cupcake and piece of flapjack and of course, some brunch. Alongside that has been lots of veg and fruit and I now tend towards EITHER protein or carbs with my evening meal - not so often the two together.

And the gym. Ahhhh, the gym. I'm back in the habit of going at least a couple of times a week. I even sneaked in a quick weights and intervals circuits session on the way home from work last night before heading to a house party, simply because I knew I hadn't been for a couple of days due to silly work hours. That's a whole different me, right there.

Add in a little activity on the weekend (surfing, cycling), and some good quality sleep and relaxation time. That seems to be the recipe to success.

I've got 9 weeks until the ski season starts (I think - I've only got provisional dates so far), and so much to organise!!! Eeeeek. I feel like I must be boring everyone I know with my constant chatter about it, but I'm so freaking excited.

However, there's kit to be bought, trip packing to be done, a whole flat to be packed up and handovers to do at work. In fact, I've got what is likely to be our busiest month at work this year to get through first in October! And 9 weeks to keep getting fitter and healthier. My ski gear fits a little better already (yay!), but lots more progress I can make yet!

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Friday, 6 September 2013


Hoorah!! I think we can safely say I'm feeling much better about this week's weigh in than last week's. 2.25lbs off this week, which totals to 5.5lbs over the last 3 weeks and since I started back on Weightwatchers and back to the gym properly too.

Of course, in the irony of all ironies, after being spectacularly good during the second week, and then experiencing that disappointing little 0.5lb gain, I wasn't quite as good this week (or more specifically last weekend) and then got a cracking loss - go figure!!

But, focussing on more than just the scales, I can truthfully say that my eating is tons better at the moment, I'm going to the gym and exercising regularly again and feel great for it, and the scales are not the only thing that are changing - I'm actually starting to feel better in myself with my strength and how my clothes fit. This morning I even realised that I'd done my belt up a notch tighter than I have been for some time. Result.

Last weekend did go a little awry because we were camping in North Cornwall. It was so good to get away, and a-mazing to get back in the sea with my surfboard - a couple of hours of that was like tonic to the soul. However camping trips, and especially with this group, can lead to rather less control of the food than I'd like.

Left to my own devices, I'd cook more in camp and be more self-sufficient with my supplies, however this trip was more of a "plan-lite" trip, and seemed rather dependent on eating out. Still, the food was lovely, and I certainly enjoyed every little bit I had.

Other than a small bit of drama when one of my friends had to barred off to the local hospital (it turned out to be just a bad ankle sprain), there were breakfast views like this to be had from my tent, whilst we waited for the "lazy" tent to surface:

Which was followed later by enjoying a hot mug of tea and a bacon sandwich from the lovely little campsite cafe:

With this beautiful little guy to play with:

(The cat, Ruffles, not my tent mate Lysney, although she's lovely too!)

This weekend is looking very relaxed and full of loveliness so far. I've finished my week with that great weigh in above, and the lovely news that my rating at work has been been put up and I'm now rated as "Good+" (which means I'm on an above average grade - my work is highly competitive so that's not to be sneezed at!). It was totally unexpected, and as work has been hectic and stressful recently, was a wonderful little surprise.

After all that excitement, I started my weekend with a thoroughly satisfying gym workout (weights circuits with cardio intervals, courtesy of my trainer) and a healthy tasty dinner. I might even go wild and have early night! Then tomorrow I have a friend's 30th birthday, which means catching up with lots of lovely people (and very definitely NOT going bonkers with the food and drink!) and that's all my plans for this weekend - leaving lots of time for me; sleeping, relaxing, more organising and decluttering and pottering. And doing my homework for my last French class before I leave!! I can't believe the time is going so quickly and two terms have flown past already!!

Happy weekend!

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Friday, 30 August 2013


Just sadly not the low I'd have liked. After a second week of immaculate eating and getting back into the gym, the tiny loss I'd been seeing all week has some how had a eleventh hour reversal and turned into half a lb on from last week.

Highly frustrating and enough to make you wonder why you bother trying so hard.

BUT I came to this conclusion: staying on plan may not have resulted in the second consecutive loss I wanted to see this week, but veering off plan will sure as hell not result in that loss happening either.

So with gritted teeth I'm gluing my ass into the driving seat for a third week and trying to keep in mind that whatever else, I'm still 3 lbs down from where I started 2 weeks ago.

In the meantime, I'm going to wash my frustration away in the sea and go surfing and camping this weekend. Whilst attempting not to do anything stupid eating and drinking wise!

Keep going Teeth Gritters!!

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 29 August 2013


I have to confess, at the end of my second week back on Weightwatchers, I'm feeling a little nervous.

Last week I had an amazing weigh in result, that saw me drop nearly 4lbs - that's a huge amount for me, as I often struggle to lose the weight with any speed.

This week, I've continued to be really honest with my tracking, and have only used about half of my weekly flex points. I've also clocked fair few activity points which I haven't dipped into, courtesy of two spin classes, a Body Balance and a solo session in the gym with my trainer's programme. That in itself makes me very proud, as I know I've made some conscious choices about my eating and I've made the effort to fit in exercise time ... even when it's meant hitting the gym at 7am!

However, I'm not sure the scales are going to move this week. I had a big loss last week, and I know if I stick to it and I'm honest, that they'll continue moving in the future, but right now they seem a little stuck. I need to mentally prepare for that, so I'm not disappointed with whatever I get tomorrow.

I want to stay motivated for the whole 12 week run up to ski season - that's more than just losing weight, that's getting strong and fit too.

Just a little lb tomorrow would be nice though.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 24 August 2013


Sometimes, for no apparent reason, a fire is lit under your motivation, and just roars to life all on its own. And just like that, everything seems easier to accomplish. The challenges are manageable, the everyday becomes straightforward, and progress starts to occur.

This is what apparently happened to me whilst in France last week. I had a lovely week near Cognac with a big group of friends, which was exactly what I needed it to be. It was mostly comprised of sleeping, and relaxing, and chatting to wise and wonderful people - both those I'd known for a good long while and some excellent new additions to my circle of acquaintances - and eating lots of bread, cheese and pâté, and drinking wine, and diving in the pool and then floating around it for hours on a giant inflatable ring stolen from the kids, reading my book and nursing a cold glass of white some kindly soul had bought out to me. And then some more reading in the glorious sunshine. And a lot of napping. All in the surroundings of a sprawling, quirky farmhouse and some idyllically quiet countryside.

Occasionally, I stirred myself to daytrip to Congac for a tasting at Maison Hennessy (where I discovered a love of Hennessy VS and ginger), or a pootle round La Rochelle's pretty old riviera style, but mostly it was about the restorative effects of just disconnecting for a while.

I allowed myself to eat and drink what I pleased, and the sheer amount of sleeping and napping I did told me how much I needed the break, but towards the end of the week I found myself becoming increasing eager to get on with my healthiness and fitness goals ready for ski season.

I've come to the conclusion that, in order to make real progress, I need a bit of good old-fashioned discipline, and that means a framework to guide me. As much as I enjoyed the break away from Weightwatchers and trying to some different approaches, right now I need the control of their portion sizes. I originally left WWs because I thought their revised plan didn't work for me ... I lost all my weight on the older plan, and when ProPoints came in I really couldn't get to grips with it. In hindsight, I think I'd just got to a point where I didn't have enough motivation to make it work. And now I do.

The first week? Spectacularly well! I stayed on my basic daily points pretty much all week, with only a night at my Dad's seeing me dipping into a few flex points. I made it to my first spin class and did my fist run in 7 months or more. I would have done Pilates too, but when I arrived at the gym it had been cancelled and I didn't have kit to do an alternative work out with me. And in the first 5 days I dropped nearly 4lbs. 4!!

This morning I even got up and made it to the gym for an hour long RPM class (slightly different spin). At 10am. On a Saturday!!!

I feel energised, and positive. And I've enjoyed wine and a bit of chocolate this week.

I seem to have found a menu balance that works, so for now I'll stick roughly to that whilst I work out some other alternatives to add in. Lots of veggies with my dinner. Lots of fruit during the day. Carbs or protein for dinner - not both together (helps keep my points total down). Lots and lots of fluids. And a touch of discipline.

Long may this feeling continue!!

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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Oop North

It's been a gloriously sunny weekend up in Leeds catching up with some of my oldest friends (plus 2 husbands and a baby).

Lunches were had in York, and homemade icecream, (York) Minsters were admired, BBQs dusted off and much wine and Pimms drunk. A lovely slow weekend of reminiscing and dissecting of life.

These days I find that I'm happy for my friends, with their huge houses, new cars and babies, and whatever other different avenues their lives have taken them down because, whilst I don't know where my future lies, I have short and loose medium term plans that I'm content with. Their path is not mine, and vice versa, and that's absolutely fine.

It was good to catch up, compare and contrast, and know that I'm doing what's right for me, and that they're happy too.

Mind you, all that wine and food doesn't make for an easy first weekend when you're trying very hard to get your weightloss kick started again!! Loosely speaking I'd like to aim to lose a lb a week between now and leaving. I'm not sure I'll have reached that lb tomorrow, but aside from yesterday's over-indulgence and a few chocolates and glasses of wine on Friday night, I've not been bad this week, and have been very conscious with my choices.

Hopefully tomorrow's scales won't show too much damage from the weekend and I can catch up with my progress. Especially since I'm off on holiday this Friday!! I have a very busy week at work ahead and need to pack and finalise holiday details too, but have intentions of getting to the gym when I can and maintaining my conscious eating efforts.

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Still Going

Positive Monday was followed by Steady Tuesday. Sensible eating and a nice stretchy Balance class after work.

So why do I currently feel bigger and none of my formal dresses fit??????? Argh!!!!

Sorry - that was last minute angst over dress choices for a wedding tomorrow evening.

2 days of healthy eating do not a miracle make, but I have been doing the right things, so there's no point getting in a huff about it. Plus, trying on dresses straight after dinner is probably not ideal timing.

Dress selected, gym kit unpacked and slung in the washing basket - time to get some quality shut-eye.

And stop being so bloody impatient!!!

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Monday, 29 July 2013

Positive Mondays

One thing with knowing I'm going to be going away this winter is that I have come to several conclusions about how I want to be when I go. I want to be fit and healthy. I want to be comfortable. I want to feel good in myself. And in my clothes. I want to feel confident.

In other words, I want to be happy with my weight.

I would like to be where I was the last time I went skiing, or close to there anywhere, as I felt great there. My existing ski gear fit well, and it would be easier getting the other stuff I need, as I'll have more choice. I felt more balanced and energetic ... which meant I was better at throwing myself down slopes and pushing myself. And I was happy and confident - not that I'm not a happy, confident person now, but I felt GOOD.

The excellent news is that I have time to make my best effort and put my best foot forward before I go. And having had a relaxed, thoughtful weekend I was feeling very positive about putting that food forward starting this morning.

I've eaten well today, and hit the gym after work to try out my trainer's latest program. I feel positive - today can be the last day I'm at this point in my healthiness journey - I can feel better by tomorrow and every day after.

I know that nothing's ever easy, but a little work never hurt anyone, right? And a little motivation and positivity go a long way.

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Sunday, 28 July 2013

Full Of The Joys Of ... Summer

It's amazing what a good night's sleep does for you. This morning I feel full of beans and happy and energetic.

Started the day right with a slice of fresh watermelon, followed by some raspberries and full fat Greek yoghurt with coconut. Delish.

Off to see my daddy now as a friend is heading to the same town and kindly giving me a lift.

Happy Sunday!

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Lazy Saturdays

The best kind of day in my opinion: the longed for day off. A day of total peace and aimlessness.

A lie-in, a lengthy shower and time to put myself together in casual clothes and potter in front of the dressing table mirror. Delicious home made soup, bread and butter in my local coffee shop, followed by raspberry flapjack. Hours spent reading with my feet tucked up on the table rail, and browsing the Internet for Winter kit (I probably can't really afford yet).

Running through the rain to the supermarket to buy actual food for my sadly empty fridge. Dinner, chat to flatmates, bed.

Heaven is carving time out of an over-packed schedule, just for yourself.

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Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Working It Out

Wow - even with the temperature cooling down a little after that MEGA thunder storm on Monday night it's still overly hot and humid. I must drink more water to stop my head banging, which I suspect is purely down to dehydration.

Hetty kindly asked after what I'd be doing whilst in France this season .... which is to say what work I'll (supposedly) be fitting in between skiing, eating yummy French food and, possibly, drinking. The truth is that, fingers crossed all the paperwork comes through ok and nothing changes, I have totally landed on my feet.

Being that I'm barely domesticated myself, the thought of me looking after an entire chalet of guests is laughable - they'd be foraging for themselves by the second week. So with chalet hosting out of the equation as an option, I looked at what the other possibilities were. Repping was one - but I wouldn't be able to promise I wouldn't swear at the guests or hit a child over the head out of sheer frustration some days. So I looked at behind the scenes roles.

My original plan was to see if I could apply my existing skill set (such as it is) to something season-y, and I've landed a beaut of a job. I'd found out that a few companies have finance staff in resort to keep things ticking over, and by chance I stumbled across an old job advert from a couple of years ago for a finance administrator role that sounded perfect. I didn't see it in the current years listings though, so set about researching to apply for an assistant resort manager role instead. Then just as I was about to apply, up popped the finance role on the job site I was looking on - they were recruiting it after all!

One application later, I had a phone interview lined up with France. That led to an interview in London and a job offer a week later. I never did do any other applications!

So I'll be spending this winter putting together the chalet accounts for my resort with the records my hosts give me, accounting for the reps' sales for the week, organising lift passes and ski school for the guests once the orders are taken on transfer day and banking the cash, and helping out a bit with transfer day itself and maybe some après ski for the guests.

The perks are looking pretty good - because there's no office in resort I work from my staff accommodation - i.e. my bed. In my pj's. Because my flat is accommodation is essentially my office, I'll be sharing the managers' flat with one or two other people and I'll have my own room - no shared dorms or bunk beds for me. I'm assuming they'll have to provide wireless, a laptop and possibly a phone as well. I'll also get my return travel, food, lift pass, equipment hire and winter insurance thrown in.

I have no set hours, so as long as I meet my weekly deadlines, when I work is up to me. I'm told that once I've beaten my hosts and reps into submission and established a routine, I get quite a bloody lot of free time (although the first couple of months might be quite hectic - which is fine because my ski legs will be useless and the snow potentially not that great to start off). With all that, who cares if I get the same crap wages as all the other seasonnaires. All I need is beer money!

I'm under no illusion that it's not going to be hard work and that sometimes I'll wonder what the hell I'm doing, but given my current job and lifestyle, I'm hoping that this will basically be my usual job with less stress and politics and much better scenery. And potentially more sleep. Ironically.

Talking of real life, I met up with my trainer again on Monday. A whole new set of weights and strength exercises, all focused on my core (and some ski fitness too) and interval cardio training to round it out. She's good but evil - I hurt in some unexpected places this morning!

Last night was tapas night with the girls - home-cooked potatas bravas, paella and lots of nibbles. Cava and sangria to drink ... and banoffee pie to finish. All delicious, but I felt horrible afterwards. It was far too much rich food, so I'm detoxing today and have stuck to minimal portions of basic food - watermelon, some noodles and chicken and sweet potato for dinner.

And apparently, not enough water.

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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Destination: La Plagne

Whoooooop!!!  I now have a destination to look forward to this winter: following a phone call from France on Friday afternoon, it's looking likely I'll be based in La Plagne for 5 months of skiing snowy goodness!!


Since La Plagne is made up of around 10 different villages, I don't exactly know which bit I'll be based in, but imagine (hope) I'll be fairly cental. 

This is excellent news, as it means I have the full run of the whole Paradiski area over my time there (my kindly employers provide a full area ski pass as part of my package), so hopefully I might even come back a better skiier than I arrived!

Either way, I suspect I'll have this expression on my face for most of it:

Funny enough that was taken in the La Plagne area too - just over the mountain in Montchavin in 2010.

Anyway - enough of snow-related things - it's definitely summer still here!  Heat is still killing my appetite (although I seem determined to fight it lol), and I'm a few lbs lighter than I was.  Sadly, it's also killing my will to move at all .... ahem .... I'm a little lazy right now.

Time to get off my lazy ass now though, don my lovely new silky loose shorts from French Connection, some sandals and a bit of warpaint and head out to toast a friend's exit to Australia for 2 years.  Oh, the things we must do in the name of friendship!

Hope you're having lovely relaxed weekends!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Heating Up

Wow, is this weather scorching at the moment!! (Yes, I know, how terribly British of me to commentate on the weather.) I would love it lot more if I had more time to enjoy it, but work is taking up an inordinate amount of my time at the moment, resulting in my finishing on the wrong side of the divide between and 9 and 10pm last night. Boooooo. Sadly, it looks like it's only going to keep going like this for a good while longer yet.

In between that glumness though, I'm finding a little time to appreciate the finer points of the British summer. Sunday night was a lovely relaxed BBQ with some friends, which was a welcome chance to cool down outside, as we have no outdoor space with our own flat. It was a glorious veggie feast followed by a bit of retro Viennetta - how 90's! There may also have been a few rum and gingers.

Tonight, I resolutely left work (nearly) on time to hit up some yoga - the added heat is definitely a boost there as I found myself gloriously deep into some of the stretches and feeling surprisingly strong. And sweaty. But most of all, calm and energised afterwards.

I love the heat for another good reason too: it suppresses my appetite and leaves me gulping back water and fluids like there's no tomorrow - maybe I'll even be a little lighter when it finally cools off!!

How do you cope with the heat? Or what's your favourite aspect of the summer?

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Sunday, 14 July 2013


Today I shall mostly be lazing around and enjoying the fact it's a lovely sunny day and I am, for once, NOT BLOODY WORKING.

Wow, these 6 working day weeks are fun!!!

I may even find time to throw a few more things out in the effort to continue The Great Declutter, since I will have to box my life up for around 6 months this winter!

Or I may lie on my bed and read all day.


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Saturday, 13 July 2013


I've been working recently on trying to only eat when I'm hungry, which I find easier when the weather's hot and I can lose myself in what I'm doing and forget to eat.

Some days it goes the other way though - working in the office on a Saturday and distracted, I wandered round the neighbouring Foodies Festival at lunchtime, pondering what to eat and thinking I wasn't very hungry. I eventually settled on a burrito, but gave up about half way down as I just wasn't hungry.

It only occurred to me after I'd thrown the remainder away that the reason I wasn't hungry .... I only had breakfast 1.5 hours ago.


Just not with it today at all.

On the upside, I had intended to buy some homemade fudge to take home, but in the heat I was too lethargic and uninterested to bother.

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 11 July 2013


So it's not quite official, but I would say it's about 80% there:





Oh. My. Effing. God.

I've really gone and done it this time!!

I've only gone and got myself a ski season job and a sabbatical from work. I'm going to be living in France!!! For 5 and a half whole months!! In a ski resort!!!!!!


At the moment I have informal offers for both, and I'm just waiting for the official paperwork from the ski company so I can wrap everything up and sign on dotted lines. I'm half terrified to do it, and half terrified it will all fall apart, having got this far.

It's kind of liberating to have taken a step this big though! Fingers crossed it all works out!

Laters, party people / skiing gods!!

(Just to clarify - none of the pics above are mine, or of me - they're just an insight into how I'm hoping even a tiny bit of my season will go!)

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Sunday, 7 July 2013

6 Questions

I've borrowed this from the wonderful Sas' website, because after reading her own post, the questions rang very true with me. I'm a little later than the solstice, but it's still very much the midpoint of the year, and that's good enough for me.

One: Did you have a word for this year? How has it manifested itself? If you didn’t have a word, what is the theme that has played out in your life so far this year?
Two: What are you most proud of?
Three: What have you chosen to let go of?
Four: What has been your greatest joy or surprise?
Five: What book, movie, exhibition, tv programme, play, concert, article, photograph, or website has been your favourite find?
Six: What three things do you want for yourself by the next Solstice – 21st December 2013?


One: Did you have a word for this year? How has it manifested itself? If you didn’t have a word, what is the theme that has played out in your life so far this year?

If I had any word for this year, it would be "challenge". And I really feel like I have. I've travelled alone for the first time in my life this year. In Africa no less. For a month. That was certainly challenging, and I genuinely feel like I was a better person for it. As a result of that, I came back and took on all sorts of other challenges - I got on stage and sung in front of 100's of people, I've started learning a language again and another instrument. And I've pushed myself way, way outside my comfort zone with the next adventure I've got planned - even planning and making it happen scared me; the execution is certainly going to be challenging.

Two: What are you most proud of?

Facing the fear and doing it anyway. You hear that sentence all the time, but I really have done it this year and it feels good .... when the fear has passed. In terms of real life experiences, being able to participate in running a free medical clinic for an incredibly worthwhile and deserving community and school in Kenya was the kind of event that left me with a real lump in my throat. As indeed, did the entire week working at the school - beautiful, wonderful people.

Three: What have you chosen to let go of?

Other people's expectations for me. You can't live your life for anyone else, and you're a fool to try. When you stop trying to please everyone else, and focus on what you want, the magic starts to happen.

Four: What has been your greatest joy or surprise?

I'm not going to lie - walking with lions, stroking them and admiring their sheer elegance and majesty was quite simply joyous and awe-inspiring.

Five: What book, movie, exhibition, tv programme, play, concert, article, photograph, or website has been your favourite find?

Life of Pi (the book) was beautiful, Of Monsters and Men were wonderful at Glastonbury last week, keeping the crowd dancing and singing for the whole set, Made In Chelsea is a new guilty pleasure with my flatmates, and I'm haunting the website http://secretsofaseasonaire.com/.

Six: What three things do you want for yourself by the next Solstice – 21st December 2013?

I want to continue to work on my relationship with food, with my health and to be much more injury-free and strong by end of the year. I want to be more at peace with myself. And I want to be in France - living the challenge and biggest adventure of my life so far.

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Monday, 6 May 2013

The Sun Is Shining

Happy Bank Holiday weekend!!!

Like the incredibly lazy person I am, and because I need a little slothfulness once in a while to recuperate from life in general, it's 1.30pm on a gloriously sunny Sunday and I'm still sat in my PJ's at the kitchen table watching Cougar Town (a recent find, and I'm addicted!) and just finishing off a cooked breakfast. I promise to get out and go and get some fresh air and talk to some actual humans shortly though!!

The sun is shining, Spring feels like it's finally here and generally all is quite positive feeling here at Casa Sue at the moment.

Sorry, sometimes I can't resist messing around!

I decided that I needed to start tracking my food again, and have been for nearly a week now. That's not to say I'm perfect, but I realise that what tracking does for me is keep me conscious of what balance of food I'm eating, which is what I desperately lack when I'm left to my own devices.

In other good news, I saw my physio on Friday for my weekly appointment and she's really happy with my progress and said I can start swimming, Pilates / yoga and maybe even short rides on my bike on the road again .... woohoo!! Aaaaand I don't need to see her for another 2 weeks now ... progress indeed!!

Work is busy, as always, but to be honest, I sort of prefer it that way - if I don't have an urgent list of things to do it's far too easy to procrastinate and waste time, and then I get bored. Not good. I need to give them a nudge about my Sabbatical request though, and just make sure they haven't forgotten!!

The life detox is also slowly progressing, and the pile of stuff to be recycled / charity shopped / binned by my door is slowly growing. Possibly to the point where I should now actually do something about it rather than just keep adding to it!! Maybe I'll do something about that today?

Finances are also slowly being detoxed, and although it's been a long couple of months, what with travelling and winter bills, etc, it IS slowly getting there and I'm proud to be making progress on that.

All in all, life is ... not too shabby right now. Not too shabby at all in fact! Jump for joy for feeling like that!

I shall leave you with some cute pictures of the lions I met in Zambia - just like giant pussy cats :-)

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Sunday, 5 May 2013

The Life List

I think so much about the future, and 9 times out of 10, I worry.  I think about worse case scenarios and the fear of possibly being alone.  But what if .... instead of stressing about everything that could go wrong or disappoint, well, what if I thought about the best possible outcomes, and the things that could be?  Things I want and can aim for.  What about all the things I want to do or achieve?

I've had the wrong priorities for so long.  I've been reading a lot recently on positivity, and I stumbled on the utterly fantastic Mighty Girl, and one look at this site had me grinning.  Her view of life is inspirational.  The Mightly Life List is a work of art.  And what if I were to finally figure out what I want for me?

I've spoken of this before; it was one of the reasons I uprooted my life and moved to Bristol.  I thought that I needed to work out what I wanted - me - not my friends, not my family, not social expectations, but little ol' me.

So what the hell do I want?

I have a goals board (that currently needs updating again!).  It's the product of my first stumbling into life-planning.  On it are my 5 main areas of focus in my life, and a few specific goals with each one.  Work, family, travel, money and my health.  The over-riding things I want to aim for in life.  Practical goals.

What this list here does though is pick up on all those wonderful life experiences that make our lives richer.  Driven from the emotions I want to feel in my life.  Individual items that I want to be able to say I've done when I'm old.  I want to be able to look back on a life that was full and rich and satisfying.

Excitement, wonder, awe, peace, serenity, accomplishment and pride.  Satisfaction at a job well done.  Beauty, joy, happiness long lasting.  Understanding and enlightenment. So, so much to fit in my life.  Order, balance and harmony. Peace, again. 

Those are what I want my life to be full of.

With today's massive blanket of social media, there's a new phenomenon of what some call "FOMO".  AKA - Feelings Of Missing Out.  I am very familiar with these. I am currently far too externally focused for my happiness - my closest friends tell me so, my councellor confirmed it (and thus confirmed the undoubted wisdom of my friends too!).  I see what other people are up to and feel I should have it too.  I forget, or choose to ignore, that what we see on Facebook, Twitter, or anything else, are the highlights of their life - the bits they want us to see.  It doesn't matter - I immediately feel inadequate.

So ignoring that - here's what I want to achieve.  Some easy, some not so much.

100 things to shoot for:

1) Clear the debts.  All of them. 2) Own a house by the sea.  3) Stand on top of Sydney Harbour Bridge. 4) Ski a black run competently.  5) Learn to jump my bike.  6) Make a piece of furniture for my house from scratch.  7) Swim in the Indian Ocean. 8) Learn another language - properly this time.  9) Visit the V & A.  10) Visit the Natural History Museum.  11) Get my picture taken in Times Square.  12)  Surf at least once standing up properly.  13)  Paint with my Dad.  14)  Be a mother.  15) Sew some cushions for my house.  16) Live in a penthouse with a proper roof terrace.  17)  Cook something on a camp-fire.  18)  Climb the Three Peaks.  19)  Have a picnic in an orchard.  20)  Windsurf / surf in Haiwaii.  21)  Horseride with my relatives in Canada.  22)  Bike in Whistler, Canada.  23) Camp on an uninhabited island.  24) Go on safari and see the Big Five.  (All but the leopard - we didn't get to see one of them) 25)  Walk on a beach at sunset, holding hands with someone I care about.  26)  Declare my love for someone.  27)  Receive flowers by delivery.  28)  Do yoga on the beach.  29)  Go off-roading in the desert.  30)  See the pyramids.  31)  See the Northern Lights.  32)  Get to my goal weight.  33)  Start my own company.  34)  Buy and sell some stocks / shares.  35)  Go on a retreat.  36)  Learn to make a souffle. 37)  Dance at carnival in Rio.  38)  Climb Macchu Piccu.  39)  Run a half-marathon.   40)  Live abroad for at least 4 months.  41)  Jump out a plane (with parachute attached of course).  42)  Scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef.  43)  Read the top 100 books of all time.  44)  Take a cake-decorating course.  45)  Stay in a 5 star hotel.  Or better.  46)  Go on a sailing holiday.  47)  Own a diamond or two.  48)  Take a gondola ride in Venice.    49)  Dog sled in the Arctic Circle.  50)  Ride a camel.  51)  Drive across the States.  52)  See the fall in New England / Vermont.  53)  Learn to make my own bread.  54)  Pick my own fruit!  55)  Get dressed up and drink champagne at a polo match.  56)  Volunteer my time to charity.  57)  Own a proper SLR and learn to take beautiful pictures.  58)  Have afternoon tea at The Ritz.  59)  Try kitesurfing. 60) Fly a plane or helicopter.  61) Walk on the Great Wall of China.  62) Sail around the Whitsunday Islands. 63) Practice yoga in India. 64) Have a garden with a hammock. 65) Hang a piece of my own artwork in my house.  66) Learn another instrument.  67)  Get my heels on the floor during Downward Dog in yoga.

.... the list is still in progress, and will be added to, as and when I think of something else.

When I achieve something, I cross it off!

Sunday, 21 April 2013

New Adventures

As anyone who has been around this locale for a while will well know, I'm not good at staying in one place for long.

I get bored quickly, and so I tend to move around a lot, both physically and metaphorically. Staying still is falling behind in my book - it's missing out and wasting what precious little time we have .... and I've already done enough of that in my life.

So, although, I'm only just back from Africa, and the dust has barely settled (sometimes literally when I empty out something else that came on the trip with me and find yet more sand appearing on the floor!), I'm already well into planning the next Grand Adventure. If I'm really honest, I've been musing over the planning of it for months now - planning the planning, so to speak - but now I can finally crack on with it.

And to that end, this is how I'm spending my Sunday afternoon:

Yep - French homework. With cake, because I haven't done French for a very long time and my head feels like it's exploding very gently. It's a long story as to how I arrived at this point, but suffice to say it's both exciting and scary in equal measures.

You see, I'm thinking of jacking in my job, or at least putting it on hold for 6 months, and prancing off to Europe to spend a season on the slopes.

Yes. Eeeeek, indeed.

In short, this is born of a number of different factors. I love travelling, and feel most contented when I'm out there in the big wide world. On my life list (what do you mean I haven't posted that up here yet?? I keep meaning to, and will do so shortly), I have a goal to live abroad for at least 4 months. Also on that list is learning to ski a black run competently and learning a foreign language properly.

My life list got written a year or more ago, and has been sitting in my drafts folder as a work in progress ever since - intermittently added to, but for some reason never published. But since I drafted it, I started to focus on what I wanted in life, and more importantly what I could do to achieve the goals I can influence.

Rewind a couple of years to 2010, to when I finally decided to do something about my unhappiness with my life, and get someone qualified to help me understand it. One of the biggest things I took away from my counselling sessions was that I needed to stop comparing myself to other people and just be me. A hard thing to be, when I wasn't entirely sure who "me" was. So I went to Costa Rica a week later and just enjoyed it, and "was", and it was that trip that crystallised that feeling I now constantly seek of just being in the moment and soaking up the foreign, beautiful, exotic different-ness around me.

When I got back, I made the leap of moving to Bristol because it was what I needed - to be on my own and discover what I wanted and needed. A roller coaster couple of years later, I'm starting to understand what makes me happy in life. I can't remember if my counsellor ever explicitly said to me that it was quite ok to be me and be different, if that what was what I wanted, but it was certainly the direction she sent me off in. So while many of my friends back home are busy getting engaged, married, decorating homes, trying for children and generally living and loving the middle class ideal, I'm slowly becoming more adventurous and less tied down. They are genuinely happy, which is all I want for them, and I've stopped trying to be them and not being happy with it. Maybe that's all in my future, but I'm not ready for it yet.

The funny thing is that, in not following the crowd, I've discovered there are so many other people out there doing the same, that they're a veritable crowd of their own!

Back to the topic of French lessons. It turns out that moving to bristol bought me into contact with a lot of people who'd all done ski seasons, and quite without realising it, I realised it was something I was very keen to do myself. Of course, being me, I want to do it on my own terms, so no chalet hosting or repping for me - what I'm after is slightly different, so we'll have to see if I'm lucky enough to land the job I want . I've seen a couple advertised from previous seasons that would be perfect, so now I just have to make myself as qualified and appealing as possible to try and land one. I figured brushing up my French would be a good start. Plus it's fun to be learning again.

And since this blog also focuses on my health, eating hasn't been too shabby this weekend either, lots of sleep, and I'm pleased to report that my back's feeling a little better today, which leads me to hope the physio was wrong on Friday (or at least overly pessimistic) and that it won't take months to settle down. Because I'd quite like a summer spent outside and having fun!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Work Life Balance

It's easy to stop taking such good care of yourself when life is busy and work is stressful. Given how I was feeling last week, it therefore seemed obvious to me that while the busy period rumbles on at work, I need to take extra care of myself rather than less.

With that in mind, I've had a rather relaxed weekend as far as I could. I worked in the office for 7 hours yesterday, and had to pop in for a couple more today, but other than that, I've taken the time to connect with friends, have a good night's sleep and eat well. I've enjoyed catching up with a tv series that I enjoy (the gloriously melodramatic Revenge), and have de-cluttered a few more things from my bookshelf in passing.

This care feels like it might finally be starting to pay off - I feel a little less bloated, and a little less tired and stressed. Even my back feels a little less grumbly than it did, although I still find it hard not to get frustrated at the slow progress on that front. But persistence not perfection is, like always, key.

I'm going to attempt to get a little swimming in this week, or just pool-walking depending on how it feels, and I'm going to try Pilates again too. It's slow and painful, but it's the route back to being active. I'll also be aiming for more quality sleep and some more solid eating.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Pushing Through

Sometimes, especially when you've had a period when you've not been feeling so good in yourself, the effect of looking after yourself again isn't so immediately obvious. You start eating right again, getting some decent sleep and relaxation time, maybe even exercising again, but you still feel the lingering after-effects of what came before for a little while longer.

So it is with me this week. I've made my lunches and dinners and put them ready in the fridge (it's one of my horrible, long, stressy weeks at work where I'm very grateful not to have to think at mealtimes), and I've been getting to bed early and trying to unwind properly in the evenings, but I still feel horribly bloated and tired.

Still, I know if I keep going in this vein, I will feel better. Spring is coming, I'm having physio for an injury that will surely start to feel better soon, the bloatedness will eventually go away, and my energy will slowly return. It will. I just need to keep looking after myself, and not back-slide to a woe-is-me mentality where "treating" myself is the aner that will really hurt me more.

I'm also in a bit of a spring clean phase at the moment too. I don't have time (or energy or willpower) to do a huge all-in-one clean out / up, so I'm doing little bits here and little bits there instead. There is a growing pile of things by my bedroom door to be recycled or disposed of, as I try and de-clutter my life a bit. Similarly, I'm making tough decisions in my financial life to make progress with my debts, and I know I'm slowly getting there. I'm even car-free at the moment to save some money on that front, which is scary but I'm going to see if I can make it work!!!

It's all really just a matter of knowing what you're true goals are and pushing through a little bit at a time to achieve them.

Please remind me of that the next time I'm feeling like it will never happen!! :-)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


I have to confess to feeling a little under the weather at the moment. Not because of illness, although I do have that annoying closed-up feeling in my throat that signifies I may get a cold soon, but because of my back and life. Whilst I was away in Africa, my back injury flared up once more. Nothing as bad as it has been previously, but it was sore. And it kept being sore. 5 weeks later and it's still bloody sore!!

I decided last week that enough was enough, and it was time to seek out the help of a physio, but up until yesterday it just didn't feel like I was making any progress at all with it. After physio last week it felt worse, which she'd warned me it might. I also mistakenly indulged in a little dancing at the weekend at a black-tie party we were at (at the urging of friends) and even that 20 mins caused a significant increase in pain on Sunday and Monday. Honestly, yesterday I wanted to cry as it's just been going on so long now.

On top of that, last week ended up being a solid week of eating out. I was dodging restaurant meals where I could, but it was still one takeaway, 3 restaurant meals, a dinner party and a night out drinking .... and by the end of that I felt rubbish. After the first two meals, I realised how many more were still to go and did my best to minimise the damage, but I still felt horrible by Sunday.

So here we find me, feeling bloated and over-salted, and grumpy from pain, and fidgety from lack of exercise. The sun and Spring has finally made some kind of appearance and I'm too stiff and painful to do anything about it ... I've been scared to exercise for fear of making things worse.

BUT ... I've decided that I can't let any of that define me. I can't magically cure my back, so I have to just give it the time to heal, and there are still things I can do. The physio's suggested gentle swimming, cross trainer (carefully) and some walking, and I'm allowed to try Pilates and see how that goes. I have no more eating out / drinking dates this week, so I'm back in control of my food. I don't have control of everything, but I do have control of some things and I can take advantage of that.

And today? I feel a little less bloated, and my back feels a little less painful. Baby steps in the right direction.

Having said that, I may skip weigh-in tonight .... I don't think I need to see that number on the scales!!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013



Is this thing on?

I've ummed and ahhed about posting here, but whilst I have continued to blog elsewhere in the year since I left this little space alone, I've often felt like I was just muttering to myself, and missed the feedback I often got on here. At the same time, I left this alone as I realised it had been found by some people I knew, and I'm not sure if a year is enough time to have let that interest die down. I guess we'll find out.

Anyhow - hello.

Much has changed in a year, and some things have changed not at all. I went travelling round Africa for just over a month, I dated and had my heart stomped on a little ... and then I bounced back. I changed my hair colour, I switched from Weightwatchers to Slimming World and I ran my first adventure race. I'm also still in the same old job and living the same old life. And my weight is pretty much how we left off last year - a little higher than I would like, but still pretty much under control.

I'm currently fresh back from travelling (Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia, thank you very much), and still trying to settle back in to life in the Real World, whilst planning how to keep life as interesting as possible in the future. And with Christmas and travelling now out of the way, I'm keen to settle down and get this annoying stone or so off that I've been waging war on all year.

So if you'd like make yourself comfortable, we shall begin.