Friday, 25 December 2015

Merry Christmas!!!

Christmas greetings from my daddy's household where I'm currently residing for the holiday period!


I'm watching the Christmas Strictly special and waiting for an extremely-imminent chicken and stuffing sandwich to appear for tea.  I'm relaxed, happy and enjoying the day, which is full of new traditions for me and my dad.


It's the first year it's just the two of us.  I've been away for two years, and before that we had my frail grandmother to get dinner delivered to, but this year it's Christmas Day a deux and we've made it just for us.  A few presents under the tree, a proper breakfast at the table, an amazing Christmas lunch (if I do so myself), bits of seasonal tv, Christmas music from the Puppini Sisters on Spotify while I cooked and some festive jigsaw-ing this afternoon.


It being a Friday, it was my weigh in day for Weightwatchers this morning.  I didn't weight in last week, due to being in the Alps skiing and all (shaaaaaame, I know) so this was judgement day for a week of chalet board and booze on top, as well as the usual pre-festive buildup.  Ordinarily, my friends and I joke that we put on about half a stone for every ski holiday week we do.  You can see why - multi-course breakfasts, hot lunches, afternoon tea and cake (and beers in the hot tub), 3 course dinner with limitless wine and usually drinks in the evening.  Ummmm, yeah.

Damage report: a mere 2lbs.

I'm feeling pretty damn chuffed about that, since I also had Chinese takeaway for dinner last night!

So here's to Christmas!  I hope it finds you well, wherever you are and whoever or however you spend this day.  I hope you're with friends, family or loved ones, got some nice presents, but more importantly appreciate those that make you happy.

xxx

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Back Where I Belong



This week's episode is bought to you all the way from the French Alps, where I'm currently enjoying some early snow, a lot of cake and cheese and catching up with friends.  A terrible start to Christmas, as you can imagine, but I'm soldiering on.




It was a busy week last week with interviews and a lot of social stuff, so I'm treating this week as a bit of a retreat .... hence the fact it's nearly 11am and I'm still in bed in the chalet.  This is my old stomping ground, and as it's all familiar ground to me in La Plagne, I absolutely refuse to feel guilty about honouring myself with some rest because I can feel that I need it.  Having said that, I have been up the mountain for at least some time every day with friends so I'm not being soooooo lazy.




Ski weeks, especially those in catered chalets, are never that healthy because the food is plentiful and rich.  Rather than try and worry about it, I'm just trying to pay attention to when and how hungry I am and work from there.  So although breakfast is vast if you want it, most mornings I've just been having the cooked bit (bacon and scrambled eggs or similar) and a bit of fruit or yoghurt, and leaving the bread and cereals alone.  For lunches I've just eaten until I'm full and left the rest if it's too much.  That's something I normally have trouble with, but I've been working on it recently and I'm getting better at it.  I still fully expect to go home a bit heavier than I left, but hopefully not crazy amounts.

Booze on the other hand has been plentiful, and I had shocking hangovers the first couple of mornings, so I've been trying to reign that in since then so I can actually survive the week!

Best of all though (aside from time spent with awesome friends), I got a call yesterday afternoon to say I've been offered a new contract for January!  When you're self-employed as a contractor, there's always a slight worry that another job won't come through when you need it, and there's always a slight anxiety lurking even as you're enjoying the break between contracts.  So it's always a relief when one comes through - especially as this is only my second contract and I worried that getting the first one was a fluke.

So now, I can sit back and enjoy the last couple of days up here .... all I have on the agenda for today is meeting an old friend for lunch and cruising round the mountain this afternoon on the empty, empty pistes.  Such a chore.




Damn, I'm lucky sometimes.

Friday, 11 December 2015

All Change

Happy Friday y'all.

This morning is all change in my household as I step over to the new Weightwatchers plan with trepidation.

For anyone not trying to get to grips with their weight, this would seem like a fairly trivial thing, but for those of us that basically use the twin W's as a lifeline against The Outward Creep Of The Waist, it's like someone telling you that the way we're all going to breathe has changed, 5 minutes ago, and you'd best figure it out now because it isn't changing back and how you're currently doing it is wrong and will not work anymore.

Gulp.

Having said that, despite hearing a lot of cries of protest from the Community Boards of the Weightwatchers forum, I'm determined to approach this change with neutrality, even if I can't muster positivity.

So far it .... doesn't look too bad actually.

First things first, I put a lb back on this week, but that's unsurprising as it's been a crazy busy week and I've been feeling bloated. I didn't expect to lose last week and did, and haven't quite put it all back on so I'm still net down and happy with that.

The week has been a crazy rush of booking and sorting holidays (tomorrow - eeeek), job stuff, visiting dad, and Christmas social stuff: parties, drinks, catch ups, gigs, and hangovers.

I may have been offered a job yesterday. I say may, not because I'm being coy, but because I'm genuinely not sure. We were talking on the phone about a contract they're interested in using me for, and the next thing I know they're hanging up with "cool, well we'll get all the paperwork sorted then". It took me about 5 minutes in my hungover state to think "wait, does that mean I've got the job? Did I accept the job? But we haven't even talked money yet!".

So yeah, super confused.  In the meantime, I have another interview and a separate coffee meeting today for other opportunities- might as well keep all avenues open, eh?

**********

Ok - let's talk Weightwatchers then. New points system and allowances for all. New targets for fitness points but you're not allowed to swap them for food unless you're desperate. Foods have all changed points values, some up and some down.

A lot of people have commented that they feel like their choice is being taken away from them because things like chocolate have gone up so much in points. For me, it's my darling ice cream that's rocketed. Sob.

BUT. We still have the option to eat it, just at a slightly higher cost than before, and honestly it should be an occasional treat anyway, not a regular part of our diets.

I had a glance through at a lot of my standby foods this morning, and not too much has actually changed radically for my go to meals. Carbs, at least refined ones, are generally more now, but basics are all the same. Meats and Quorn are down - happy days, I eat a lot of those. Veg and fruit is still free. Plain carbs (pasta, rice, etc) are the same. Butter's gone up but I eat too much of that anyway, so I might go back to subbing with low fat cream cheese for some savoury stuff.

As I have a Christmas party with 3 course dinner tonight and then I'm off skiing for the week with chalet cooking, I might be largely ignoring the plan this week, but it honestly doesn't look too bad from my point of view.

Now I just have to avoid putting on half a stone over the next week just in time for a ball next weekend and Christmas itself.

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 4 December 2015

Lost Again

I'm a loser again, in the best possible way.

I really didn't expect it this week, as I was away at the weekend, and there were lots of cakes on my last day at work on Monday, and dinner out on Wednesday night, but 1.25lbs is missing from the scales.

Which makes me very happy.

It also makes me the exact weight I was when I went off for my ski season last year - hooooorah! I love little coincidences like that.  And after all, it took me 6 months to put on that bit of weight, so makes a sort of sense it would take 6 relaxed months to lose it again. Yes?

Also, it means I'm only a tiny bit over a stone from where my happy weight is, which is back at 12 and a half stone - a stone seems very do-able, especially since I'm in no hurry whatsoever - no deadlines makes the whole thing much more amiable.

The weekend just gone was gorgeous - I went to South West Wales with the girls, to a friend's cottage in the middle of nowhere.  Heaven.  The cottage was down a single track lane and then a mud track, and you could literally walk out the end of the drive, turn 20m right and be on the beach of a tiny natural harbour.  There was a log fire and no phone reception, which makes it a haven and perfect relaxing territory in my book.

The weather could have left a lot to be desired in typical British fashion, but actually the wild and wintry weather just added to the cosy factor of being holed in a cottage with really good friends, a fire and wine.  Mind you, wine is not great for the old healthy eating, but at least I can honestly say that when the chocolates, crisps and dip were put on the table on Saturday night I didn't bother.  I realised I was already full from dinner and enjoying the glass of wine I had in my hand, and that nibbles weren't going to add anything to that.  Winning at life, that's me!





(my friend Stacey at Little Haven, the girls at breakfast, a hidden beach near Dale, and us all messing around at Little Haven)

I finished my current contract on Monday, with my old team and saying goodbye yet again (3rd time round) was weird and a bit sad, but since most of the contracts I'm looking at for my next role are in the same building, I'm pretty sure I'll be seeing them soon.  Since then I've been enjoying some downtime at home (as opposed to downtime on holiday - yeah, they're really different, get over it).

I had an interview on Tuesday for a contract that I didn't really want but allowed myself to get talked into.  Remind me to follow my instincts in future - I really didn't want it at all after the interview just based on the job spec itself, but was also getting a strange vibe from the interviewer that extra-cherry-on-top put me off.  Aggressive and yet intermittently glancing at my boobs .... not a great impression!

Other than that, I've been reading, watching Netflix (sooooo much good stuff!), colouring in and allowed myself a quick trip to the mall to get a few bits I've had my eye on for a while.  I was an exercise in self-restraint and didn't buy anything not on the shopping list apart from a cool t-shirt though.  Yay me.

Oh yeah, and I got a bit bored and booked some flights to flee the grey gloom and cold for some wintry snow and extra cold next weekend ..... I spontaneously organised a last-minute trip to go and stay with friends in La Plagne for the first week of the season. OhmygodI'msoexcitedImightspew.  Mates rates are the best and I'm staying in my friend's amazing chalet for a week of luxury and great company - aaaaaaaah - time off really is the best!!

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

A Little Bit Of Asia

Hey again!

I'm back from a glorious three weeks in Vietnam, and sort of raring for the rest of the year.  What's left.

First things first, turns out Asia was pretty kind to me on the scales front, and for pretty much the first time ever I came back from a trip lighter than I left.  Yep - that's right - I actually lost a couple of lbs on a holiday, instead of gaining them.

And no, that wasn't down to a dicky tummy or any particular effort watching what I was eating.  Instead, I ate exactly what I wanted, drank beer and smoothies /milkshakes when I fancied them and generally relaxed in a soul-deep way that felt good.

It was a pretty hectic couple of weeks, as we visited eight different places over the three weeks (plus a couple of return stopovers so we could loop back round on our route), so we saw loads but the beach days I'd sort of hoped for were a bit lacking.  There was still time to unwind and let anxieties go though, whilst soaking up such an amazing culture.











(Mekong Delta, Po Na Towers, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Marble Mountain, Hai Van Pass,  Hue Imperial Citadel - selfie and palace gate, Halong Bay - our boat and selfie).

I'm kind of feeling really positive about things at the moment.  I'm back at work one week before my current contract ends and then I'm potentially taking December off work between contracts - I'm sorting contracts out at the moment, but it's looking like it might work out that way.  Shaaaaaaame.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Paradise

It's been a busy but lovely first week in beautiful Vietnam.

It hasn't been at all what I expected in many ways, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, and in other places it's definitely exceeded expectations.

We've now gathered the fourth and final member of our group on a fly-through trip back through Saigon, and we've traveled up the coast North to Nha Trang. I'm writing to you from a stunning beach bar overlooking a golden beach, blue sea and white parasols. The fan above me is sending a nice cooling breeze down on my head.

The first week had it's ups and downs. Saigon was hectic, as you'd imagine, but interesting. The Mekong Delta a region of poverty, cottage industry and unexpected glimpses of lush quiet waterways amongst the hustle and bustle of the floating markets and the few cities. After that we travelled to the island of Phu Quoc for a few days of peace and quiet. We definitely got that, along with a bucketload of rain (it's right on the cusp of the transition from wet season to dry at the moment) but we sneaked in moments of sun around the pool on the garden of our little resort, and found a friendly beach bar down the road run by some lovely Kiwis which was a great place to hang and play cards, drink beers and tropical milk shakes and watch the rain and sunsets.

We also hired scooters for the day, but it turns out I suck at turning corners and once we'd got lost in a random town way off the tourist track I managed to topple off at a crossroad and had to be rescued by some very helpful local guys who jumped up to grab the bike off me and help me up. They were so sweet and bought me water to wash off the dust (and some blood) and offered me some salve for my grazes and somewhere to sit until the shock passed. People are good.

Even more amazing were the people we'd hired the scooter from, who far from charging us an arm and a leg for the cracked sidelight and scratches on their lovely shiny scooter, charged us about £10 and were more worried that I was ok and kept apologising. See people truly are good.

Nha Trang where we are now is far more traditional touristy resort than we've been too yet, and I wasn't sure I liked it, but we went to a stunning 2nd century temple yesterday and then out of town to a spa with the local natural mid baths. This mini utopia cost us a whole £8 for the day and the place was enormous and luxurious, whilst still relatively quiet. Coupled with today's beautiful beach bar location, I feel better disposed to this town now!

Tonight we're catching an overnight sleeper bus (sure to be an experience and adventure) to Hoi An, 11 hours North. Hopefully I don't murder anyone on the bus if the famed karaoke / Kung Fu TV is too loud!

Goooooooood Mooooooorniiiing Viiiiiieeeetnaaaaam!

Ha!!! I've been waiting to say that for months. Although it is fact evening as I type this, but we'll ignore that small inconvenience, shall we?

So yeah. I'm currently in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City, if you want to be official about it) and enjoying the first couple of days of holiday. Three whole weeks

My encounter with the scales before I left put me down another lb which I'll quite gratefully take, although given the amazing food we've had out here so far, I could well come home the size of a house!

It's massively hot and sticky here which is a bit of a shock after the gloomy autumnal UK so I'm trying to get used to sweating my tits off all the time - there's a lovely image for you, eh?

We left Saturday afternoon and just arrived Sunday lunchtime, so whilst trying to avoid jet lag, we've so far walked around the city, visited a Buddhist temple, driven out to see the Cu Chi tunnels used in the war with the Americans. Oh yeah, and I fired an M16 automatic just for shits and giggles. Loud. Very, very loud. 

Tomorrow we're heading off early for a couple of days in the Mekong Delta .... which will probably be even more humid than the 697% humidity here in the city. The joy. 

(Written last week but delayed posting due to wifi!)



- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Holiday Prep

The sound of excitement is in my head today - one week from now I'll be at the airport heading off to Vietnam for three whole weeks!

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

It's felt like forever for this trip to come round and now it's FINALLY here - yay! Just seven days to go and between work and packing I think it'll go pretty quick.

Weight-wise, I'm still sitting where I was a fortnight ago, and that's pretty fine with me. I lost half a stone in two weeks at the start of the month and then had two hellish weeks of six day working weeks and somehow squeezing in a friend's hen do last weekend, so I'm happy with maintaining that loss. A few more pounds before I go to Vietnam (that just never starts sounding old to me!) would be lovely, but frankly I'm pretty happy at the moment as it's amazing how much difference half a stone makes to how your clothes fit and your self-image. Yes, there's still more to go, but making a hefty dent in it like that feels positive.

The hen do was lovely, despite how tired I was from work, as we skipped off to Rhosilli in South Wales for the weekend. I managed to get there by 10pm on Friday night after being late leaving the office, but we had fun surfing on Saturday and then a gorgeous late lunch with a walk along the cliff path back home afterwards, and some fun games on Saturday night. I missed out on the mountain biking on Sunday so that I could shoot straight back to the office first thing in the morning, which I was a bit gutted about but it was still lovely seeing everyone briefly.




This weekend is just about chilling at Dad's - a chance to see him before I go and start to recover a bit from the chaos at work over the last few weeks ready for holidays!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Work Carousel and Relaxing

Hey hey,

It's been such a lovely day today and so relaxing that it's absolutely flown by and I can't quite believe that it's nearly Monday again already.

Work is going a bit crazy at the moment so the days are flying by in a rush of busy, busy, busy.  The week flies by and suddenly 7 days have gone - how is it the second week of October already???

Aside from that I've been sorting out visas for Vietnam (3 weeks - wooohoooo!), and trying to find time to relax and decompress from the office stress.  Basically making sure that I look after myself and showing myself a bit of kindness.

Despite it being so hectic, and not getting to the gym as much as I wanted to this week, I had a pretty on point week and lost another 2 lbs.  Happy days.

I had to work yesterday until about mid-afternoon, but then had a couple of hours chilling before meeting a friend for a quick but tasty local curry and really silly old films in our pyjamas at hers (The Rock - can't beat it).


This morning was all about brunch at our amazing local, Rosemarinos (if you're in Bristol, try it, but remember to book because it gets super busy), and a lazy walk round Clifton running errands and generally admiring the beautiful architecture - I love the area so much.





And the cycle begins again tomorrow.


Sunday, 4 October 2015

Mini Adventures

Oh heeeeeeeey! It's a bit like I forget this blog exists for a while, or time flies by and I'm suddenly all "whoops it's been about 2 weeks since I posted anything". So soz.

As always, life seems pretty hectic at the moment, as I race between work which is suddenly passing the time quickly right now, and fun social stuff, with a healthy dose of has-to-be-done-or-life-comes-grinding-to-a-halt admin jobs on the side.

The social stuff has been awesome though and I've been a lucky girl, with trips to Dismaland, which was all kinds of fun and thought-provoking:











And World Cup Rugby in the form of Wales vs Fiji at the Millenium Stadium which was a completely chance last minute engagement when I found out friends had some spare tickets a week or two ago:





Somehow, despite all the running round like a lunatic, I've managed to lose about 4 lbs in the last couple of weeks, which is absolutely fine by me - long may that pattern continue. The gym is mostly happening on a regular basis, I'm trying to teach myself that not every plate has to be completely finished every time, and it's crossed my mind that it's less than 4 weeks until I leave for Vietnam now so maybe we'd a) better book a few places to stay and b) I might want to start thinking about my packing list and figuring out where everything I want to take is!

I also have the most gloriously tidy flat I've ever lived in as we've made the momentous decision to get a housekeeping service and they start tomorrow - it's motivated us into to getting it looking at least tidy and organised so they can actually clean for us! I've discovered that this level of organisation and zen calm in the flat is definitely soothing to my disorganised self!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Rhythm of Life

Life is slowly settling back into it's normal pattern over here as everything returns to normal.  Five weeks in, work seems like I never actually left and that's ... ok, actually.  The flat looks like a home and Sam (my flatmate and I) have settled in and are enjoying living together again.  It's been busy though and time is flying by!



There's been work drama of a good, but slightly stressful, variety.  After 3 and a bit hard months of hunting for my right contract and turning down the wrong ones, it seems like the offers of employment just keep coming.  I had TWO enquiries about my availability for permanent positions in the last two weeks - pretty serious enquiries and not from the agents actively searching for new opportunities either.  One of them even ended up with my going to coffee with the financial director of a company I saw back in early August who still wanted me.  Anyhoo, it turned out to be wasted time for both the director and I as the agent had cocked up and got start dates wrong on all sides, but it was a relief for me in all honesty, as I didn't really want a permanent job when I've only just got into contracting but felt guilty for not listening at least.

There's been other adventures recently too - a sunset visit to the zoo a couple of weekends ago was pretty awesome - quiet and peaceful with the animals settling down for the night, talks from the keepers, bands playing in the gardens and a BBQ - it was a gorgeous evening.

Last weekend I was in London and we watched the Great River Race from my friend's flat and had a BBQ by the Thames, followed by sunny walks from Kingston to Richmond admiring the property porn along the way!



Earlier this week, I also attended an evening event at Harvey Nichols with Sam.  It was a lovely evening with a talk through the history of the Dress of the Year selections since 1963 and a look at fashion history at the same time.  The talk was given by the curator of the Bath Fashion Museum and the writer and editor of the new book about Dress of the Year and was fascinating, illustrated by slides of all they were talking about and chat about no just the clothes themselves but snippets on the designers and selectors and how all the outfits were shot for the book.  Plus there were goodie bags, and I'm not going to lie .... being let into Harvey Nicks after dark to an event populated but the most fashionably and expensively dressed people I've ever seen was pretty cool.  And there was champagne.  I could get used to it.

I've been catching up with all my Bristol friends in between - we've had dinners at the house, and I've met up for drinks and dinner out and about - being back in Bristol's ace.  And the next couple of month's look even better!  We're going to Dismaland on Sunday evening, the Banksy exhibit which Sam managed to get tickets for.  I'm going to some World Cup rugby courtesy of friends from home, and our trip to Vietnam is looming on the horizon along with ski trips plural once the winter arrives.

Life is busy but good!!

Thursday, 3 September 2015

The Effects of Giving Up Diet Coke

It's now been about 6 - 8 weeks since I gave up Diet Coke.

After years of being virtually dependent on it, I recently, and quite suddenly, found the motivation to give it up, and to date I've only had it twice since then.  And to be quite honest, on both occasions it didn't taste as good as I remembered.

I went cold turkey from drinking about a litre a day on a standard work day (a 500ml bottle in the morning, and another in the afternoon) to zero.  I drank it at the pub, I drank it at restaurants. Whilst on my ski season, it wasn't unusual for me to demolish a whole 2l bottle in a day.  Not every day obviously, but too often.

Aside from feelings of virtuousness, I hadn't really noticed any other effect of my giving up, although I'm sure my insides are cleaner for it.  And of course, I no longer have late night jitters / insomnia if I've accidentally had it too late at night.  But quantitatively, I've not known one way or another whether it was actually good for me to give up.

Until today.  Possibly.

Today, I had my Health MOT session at my new gym.  Which also happens to be my old gym, and being posh and efficient, it turns out they kept my old Health MOT records on file from a couple of years ago.  I fully expected today's results to be much worse than my previous testing, given that I'm heavier.  When I first joined the gym, I was surfing around the top end of the 12st bracket, and when I had another MOT a bit later, I was little heavier (I wasn't having a very motivated period and was still learning how to make Weightwatchers and having-very-social-flatmates coexist), somewhere in the lower half of the 13st bracket.  And of course, I'm heavier still at the moment, so yeah, I wasn't expecting great things, but I thought at least it's a starting point to work from.

What I didn't expect was that my blood sugars, cholesterol and blood pressure would all be significantly lower, and the only positive lifestyle change I can think that I've made in the interim is that I don't drink Diet Coke anymore.

I haven't given up takeaways, or drinking alcohol, or anything else that should have a significant impact on those numbers.  I haven't even been eating particularly well in recent weeks due to the move.

So is this proof positive that Diet Coke really is that bad for you??  We don't know yet.  My analyst said he believed the blood sugars number at the very least could well be directly linked.  He also said he would be very interested to see if these numbers stayed lower at my next scheduled check in 3 months time, assuming I'm still Diet Coke free at that point.

I'm very interested too!


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Hello? Anyone Still There

Well, greetings from the other side of Big Change, whereby I am now a fully employed person (well, technically a fully self-employed person), living in a new flat in a different city.

It's been a busy few weeks and a lot of stuff has happened - I started work two weeks ago, which has been more than just getting back into my old team and learning new stuff for what I'm doing this time round, but also trying to navigate myself through the new world of contracting with timesheets, invoicing and expenses.  Fun, fun, fun.

Then ten days ago, I got the keys to the new flat.  I had a week camping out solo, sans furniture, until my flatmate came home from holiday and bought all our big furniture home.  For two nights I was literally sleeping on the floor until my new bed was delivered by the lovely folks at Ikea, but let me tell you I was so pleased to see actual furniture last Friday.  Now it looks like a proper home after a lot of work put in over the weekend.  Let me tell you, I'm sick of building wardrobes and organising my belongings.  Plus all the crappy admin that goes with house moves and an added bonus that was water pouring from the hall ceiling on Monday morning last week.  Peachy.

Finally though, I think things are levelling off and some kind of a routine is settling in.  I've re-joined a gym - my lovely posh gym from a couple of years ago - although annoyingly I've also managed to pick up a shoulder injury somehow, so I'm not sure how much I can do until I've seen the physio tomorrow.

I'd love to tell you how much I weigh right now, but I'm afraid I can't.  See my scales broke a couple of weeks ago and I didn't have any time to get new ones until this weekend.  Unfortunately the ones I bought don't actually work.  Awesome.  So I have to try and take them back for an exchange sometime soon.  In all honesty, there's been a lot of food over the last long weekend and a lot of improvising before that (the week when I only had one saucepan, no microwave and a non-functional oven was fun), and I know by the feel of my clothes that all is not super awesome.  I don't even have a tape measure to quantify where I'm at, but regardless of the numbers I'm trusting how I feel and I've set myself a new routine straight away now that the kitchen is fully functional and we're all moved in.

It's been a long time coming and a lot of things got in the way (being at dad's, holidays, moving house) but let's see if this can be a fresh start.  Finally.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Cosmic Laughs

I feel a lot like the Universe has been having a giant cosmic laugh at my expense.

No really.

I landed a job this morning, and in the greatest of all ironies, it's back in my old team at the bank.  The very same team I left twice to go and do winter seasons.  And it's on a contracting basis, which I'd just about given up on.  Oh - and it's the same preferred rate I was going for in London, but in Bristol which is, y'know, cheaper, and the bank gave it to me without blinking when I named my price.  Oh (one more time) and they approved my Vietnam trip leave without hesitation, because even though it's over month end, it just so happens that that month end isn't happening for one reason or another this reporting cycle.

Yeah.  I'm struggling to get my head round it too.

For extra cosmic belly laughs, the Universe had my text announcing the job to a friend answered by a phone call a bare 5 minutes later saying that, yes, she was still looking for a flatmate and would be delighted to move in with me.  Same budget and area I'm looking, flexible moving date, and since we lived together a couple of years ago, I know she's someone I can cohabit with, not kill and have fun with.

In the space of about an hour this morning, I'd gone from a tentative chat with a manager in my old team, to an agreed contract, a start date and a new flatmate.

It seems Fate just wanted me to wait 3 months for it all.

It's been a crazy morning, as I also had calls from my agents in London wanting to set up an interview for an interesting looking job on Monday, and a new agent who had received my CV from a  friend and wanted to talk seriously big money jobs.  I had to make my decisions about the job quickly and decisively, but as I realised when I told my existing Bristol agent about accepting the job and he asked if I was sure I was making the right decision given everything else on the table at the moment, I am sure.

I think this is the right thing for now - it feels right.  It gives me time to recoup my security blanket of money that has dwindled over the last couple of months, whilst not needing to worry about my trip in November.  It means I can start my next round of job-hunting during my last weeks in this role and from a position of financial stability, rather than the faintly desperate position I now find myself in.  It's with a team I know I get on with, working for people I've worked alongside for the last 4 years - I know their foibles, strengths and weaknesses, and they know mine.

So life's taken another twist and I'm going with it, seeing where it takes me.

In the meantime, I have two weeks before I start back.  For the last 3 months, I've not dared to stray far from my phone or home, in case I'm needed for interviews, etc.  The next 2 weeks are finally free time.  Everything is set now and I can breathe a sigh of relief and step away if I want to.  I'm thinking I might check the weather and the surf report and wander off down to Devon or Cornwall for a few days - just take off and step away from the subtle tensions I've felt for the last few months.  Take some books and uncouple from tech for a while.

Weigh in this week - 0.5lb off.  Not a lot, but I'm happy with that.  It's been a busy week with meetings and interviews, so lots of time in the car driving, and I still don't have a regular exercise routine, so I'm happy with this sort of maintenance I've been going through.  I'm still lower than when I started back after my winter season, and as I said before I have no deadline - I just want to find a healthy relationship with food.

Happy weekend, y'all  - I'm off to sit in the sun and marvel at how life changes in 24 hours.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Weigh In - Week 11

In all honesty, this week's weigh in had me up 0.5lb.  Not what I'd hope to see, but I understand why. I weighed in on Saturday morning this week, a day late, as I was unexpectedly delayed in London on Thursday night.  Friday was not a good day for me.

I had a interview on Thursday that I was hopeful would bare fruit for a new job starting tomorrow.  When I hadn't heard anything by Friday lunchtime I wasn't feeling so optimistic and I couldn't get hold of my agent either.  And the rain, it was pouring down, so my drive home was completely ballsed up by bad traffic and ended up taking 5 hours by the time I'd factored in a lunch stop.

I was feeling pretty miserable and craving dirty, dirty fried chicken, so I picked a small meal and actually ditched half the chips as they weren't what I was actually obsessing over.  But yeah, fried chicken - nice and salty.  And then when I finally got home and managed to get hold of my agents, I talked to an entirely tactless and unsympathetic person who told me in the no uncertain terms that yeah, I was quite right in my suspicion that I hadn't got the job, but hey, they hadn't employed any of the candidates.  Like that was meant to make me feel better about the rejection, eh?  I had a good little sniffle about it when I got off the phone, before going in search of some dinner.  Later than usual, and maybe a few points over for the day.  Not much, but a little bit.

So where I could have expected a nice little loss, based on the rest of the week, I ended up being a bit up on Saturday morning.  If I look back on the week though, whilst it might not have been the weigh in I was hoping for, I still had a great week. There was a lot of socialising going on, and I can be proud of how I managed it, even if there was a little bit of emotional eating in there at the very end.

As far as the job hunt goes, I wallowed in my rejection for about 36 hours (can't deny it was 2pm yesterday before I finally emerged downstairs showered and fully dressed) and today I've done some more job applications.  Turns out I'm not particularly good at wallowing for too long.  Mind you, I do need a job pretty urgently now, as my savings have reached alarmingly low levels.  Fingers crossed that something comes up soon!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Delay

There will be a delay on weigh in this week as I'm in London for an extra day, which means I'll have to suck it up and treat tomorrow like an extra day for this week (stay strict) rather than the first day of the new week (more relaxed) - oh well - that can only have a positive impact on next week really!

I've been pretty saintly this week what with all the socialising and somehow managed to stay on track and within my points ... until this afternoon when I've been waiting for a call back following a phone interview earlier. When the call didn't materialise I got a bit angsty and had some Haagen Dazs to console myself. Unsurprisingly it didn't really offer much consolation, just vague feelings of guilt over wasted icecream. I'm hoping for a small loss anyway this week though - even 0.5lb would do.

Oh well - at least the outdoor cinema last night was fun. We went to see the Grand Budapest Hotel at Kew Gardens last night, courtesy of Luna Cinema, and it was a gorgeous evening out. We arrived fairly soon after the gates opened, luckily, so secured a pretty good (and spacious) plot for ourselves. We went fully equipped with rugs, cushions, picnics and drinks and lazed around quite happily waiting for the sun to set so the film could start. I even purchased a brilliant inflatable backrest that will be awesome for future trips to the beach / picnics / garden lounging activities as it has it's own little groundsheet to stop it sliding away from you and keep your posterior from getting damp and grubby.

Here we are enjoying the film as the sun goes down:




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Pre-pay Picnic

You know how I can tell that I'm on the ball with my eating at the moment?

I got a text earlier today reminding me that I'm going to an outdoor cinema tomorrow evening (we're seeing The Grand Budapest Hotel at Kew Gardens - yay, I get to tick another thing off my 35 before 35 list!), and letting me know that one of my friends would pick up the picnic and that we should bring a bottle of wine each.  In all honesty, I'd completely forgotten / hadn't realised that this was happening tomorrow, and as the chat of picnics continued, I was thinking "crap, this is going to be bad and throw me off my points".  I've already negotiated a day at a festival followed by takeaway, and a christening and garden party this weekend, which has done for my weekly points, so I did what any self-respecting dieter would do - I sucked it up, apologised for being awkward, and said to sort themselves out and I'd deal with my own picnic and booze.

I've been to the supermarket and wandered around looking for healthy options (side note: why do I always end up in the supermarket when I'm staaaaaaarving???), and I've even gone so far as to point them up and put it in my tracker for tomorrow already, so I know what points I've got left to play with for the rest of the day.  I've pre-paid it, if you will.

BOOOOM!

Whilst this might seem a little over-organised to some (and trust me, I'd usually be one of the those), doing this means I can take my picnic tomorrow and get stuck in knowing I don't need to worry about whether I'm sabotaging myself.  I've tons of food to take, and as long as I don't get sidetracked by the girls' food, which I'm pretty sure is going to be baaaaad, then I'm home free.

And thanks to my wise choices and a bit of pre-planning I've got a great picnic - sandwiches, humous and crudités, sweet chilli chicken skewers, edamame beans, strawberries, a big cookie and 3 lots of pre-mixed Pimms (with diet lemonade) in cans.  Plenty to keep me going through a film.

I'm feeling pretty impressed with myself to be honest!

On the job front:  still no news.  The people who were rumbling about offering me a job in London are being awkward and want me to go permanent which isn't on my agenda, and the Bristol people still haven't responded.  Meh.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Lost

Apologies for the absence from blogging, which was rather unintended, if not unexpected given my track record for these things!

Usually when a blogger goes AWOL it's bad news, and I suppose for a while it was.  Week 11 of my recent weigh ins and I am ashamed to say I gained.  Yet again.  It was a crazy busy week, socially, and my head still wasn't in the game.  I was in Bristol on the Friday night to catch up with friends, and several shared bottles of prosecco and wine, pitchers of Pimms and daiquiris, and an Indian restaurant later, I'd put a dent in both my resolve and my weekly points.

That Saturday was a bit hungover, but after a full English, Hannah and I made it up the hill in Bristol to a branch of STA Travel, and emerged 40 mins later with our flights to Vietnam booked for November.  Which is so exciting, that it definitely merited a milkshake (although shared) to celebrate - after all the legendary Rocotillos (a Bristol Institution worthy of Capital Letters) was just the other side of the road .... so it would have been rude not to!

Then on that Monday, I went to Wimbledon with my friend Lou.  Since we're both too inept to have got into the ticket ballot last summer, we did it the old fashioned way and got in via The Queue (another Institution and an event in its own right, really).  I'd never been to Wimbledon before, and we were lucky that we scored a day that had both beautiful clear weather and a brilliant line-up of games - whilst we only had Grounds Tickets (no specific entry to the big matches on the premier courts) we did get to the watch the Williams sisters duking it out and Andy Murray's quarter final match from prime spots on Henman Hill, and we got into some of the smaller courts to watch some frankly thrilling doubles matches and the juniors knocking the spots of each other.  All of that accompanied by a very English picnic, that couldn't possibly have not had scones, a bottle of bubbly and some very large Pimms later on.  In other words not another good day for Weight Watchers.

The rest of that week was spent scurrying round for interviews and other bits and bobs, so you can see why I ended with a gain 1.75lbs.  And yeah, I was feeling too guilty to write about it.

But it was a kick up the arse to finally figure out what I'm doing.  As is the fact that Vietnam is now booked (it's a whole separate issue as to whether it was wise to book it considering I'm still jobless), and I'd like to be in a better place by then.  No numbers, no targets, just motivation to get moving.

I decided that the only way to do it, was to start eating much more basic food.  In other words:  start cooking again.  Whilst I do have full access to Dad's kitchen, I don't enjoy cooking in it, because it's massively cluttered to the point where there's very little counter space.  Plus most of my own utensils are still in storage, i.e. buried somewhere in massive Ikea bags in the spare room.  But really that's all excuses, so on Friday last week, I started eating properly again.  Lots of veg, grilled meat, and starting to make multiple batches of things like bolognese so I've got easy leftovers to reheat.

The funny thing is that that approach left me with so many spare points last week, that I had enough to have Chinese takeaway on Sunday night, go to the coffee shop twice during the week, survive a BBQ on Saturday afternoon, cook duck and enjoy some Ben and Jerry's ice-cream a couple of times.  Go figure.

Week 12's weight in result was far more palatable - 4lbs off.  Back to 13st 11.5lbs.  And I'm still going strong, having been to the Bristol Harbourside Festival on Saturday and a big garden party for a Christening yesterday, and still inside my points.

Unfortunately, weights not the only thing feeling lost this week;  I am too.  This whole work situation is making my head spin.  Last week, after talking to Hannah and my dad, I decided to widen my job search to Bristol as well as London.  I felt a bit like quitting but a sensible thing to do.  But the more I've thought about it, the more I feel like I actually want to be going back to Bristol rather than to London.  So many of my friends are there, and I like the pace of life.  My job search in London seems to have been shifted by my agents, so that rather than being put forward for jobs in central London, they're all out of London.  That's fine for the few jobs (that I didn't get) which were potentially close enough to cycle to from the flat but, as my flatmate pointed out, if I'm driving out to Surrey everyday for a job, I'm not really going to have much of a life in London - I won't be able to meet up with people after work like I would if I was working centrally, it's going to be difficult to fit in things like going to the gym - basically my life will be work and come home.  The more I think about it, the more Bristol seems more sensible, although I'd feel horribly guilty letting down my friend and flatmate after months of me talking about moving in, but I'm suddenly not sure that London is the right move after all.  It seemed such an exciting and easy idea whilst I was in the snowy Alps, now ... not so much.

Which of course means that I think I might be about to get offered the job in Surrey.  My agent emailed me at 8.30am this morning asking me to call him.  I can't think why else he'd be asking me to contact him so early on a Monday morning, unless he has job offer news.  I waited an hour, because I was too chicken to call him, my thoughts too ... swirly ... to know what I'm thinking.  Typically, I now can't get hold of him, so I'll have to wait a bit longer to speak to him.

I feel lost. I don't know what the right decision is.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Healthy Banana Pancakes

In the midst of all the unhealthy eating that's been happening recently, I've actually been trying out some new recipes for healthy dishes too. And this one is definitely my favourite so far!

Breakfasts are the one meal I really struggle with when I'm trying to eat healthily and lose some weight. I know that breakfast should be a really solid start to the day but often lack of time (or let's face it, energy) to be doing complicated cooking or prepping in the morning means I'm just eating cereal. Or worse. I'm still trying to figure out the ultimate answer to work mornings breakfast, but this recipe is certainly awesome for the weekend.

These are American style pancakes but minus any wheat or dairy; in fact they only need two fresh ingredients and one store cupboard basic and you're ready to go. And for people on Weightwatchers the whole stack is only 4 points (plus whatever you might add in the way of oil or butter to fry them - we have super saucepans that don't need any at all) and then you just add the toppings of your choice. Granted they don't taste exactly like traditional pancakes but the very subtle flavour of bananas tasted good to my naive palate.

I had mine with a bit of leftover stewed rhubarb and nectarine, a few grapes, a drizzle of maple syrup and a scattering of chia seeds. Not the prettiest but damn tasty. One batch was four fairly large pancakes.



For one batch - serves one person:

2 eggs
1 banana
Pinch of baking powder (optional but makes them fluffier)
Toppings of your choice

1) Peel the banana, and roughly mash in a bowl with a fork. Make sure it's pretty smooth although some small chunks won't matter.
2) Break in the eggs and add the baking powder and mix together thoroughly until combined and even consistency throughout (the original recipe points out that some people prefer to just lob it all in the food processor, especially if doing multiple batches, but by hand certainly works fine for a single batch).
3) Heat your non-stick pan and (if needed) add butter or oil (coconut oil is suggested). Add a ladle full of mixture to the centre of the pan and allow to spread and cook - it might take a minute a side max on a hot pan. Lift and check the underside and when starting to brown flip or turn - I flipped and they held together fine although there was a little splatter from the uncooked mixture on the top as it turned - this was in the pan though and I just tidied it back into the main pancake. Allow the second side to start to brown and slide out onto a plate to serve.
4) Keep repeating step 3 for the remaining mixture.


I was really surprised with just how tasty and fluffy this incredibly simple recipe was ... as was my Dad who was stealing bits! They probably wouldn't work for savoury toppings, e.g. bacon, but they sure work with sweet toppings!

Hope you enjoy!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 3 July 2015

Weigh In - Week 10

It's with some guilt that I have to own up to another gain this week. I suspected it was coming, as I mentioned in my last post that I've not been on the ball, but there it is.

2.25lbs on.

Back to 13st 13.75. I suspect that a lot of it is water bloat from eating too much processed food and the heat, and some will also be due to me weighing in significantly earlier this morning than I usually do (I was up about 4 hours earlier as I had an appointment early in Bristol this morning), but a gain is still what I deserved; I earnt it fair and square.

Hopefully, this will be the kick up the arse I need to get myself back on track. Hopefully. I'm feeling a bit grumpy with myself for wandering off track from my slow but steady process, although it can always be worse and at least I'm not back where I started.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Weigh In - Week 9

Hmmmm - I say I shall be better at posting weigh in posts and then ... yeah, about the same as before.  Ooops.

So it turns out, that after my rather good loss the week before, I did my usual trick and got a bit complacent last week (and really, well, this week too - I've yet to snap out of it which is annoying), and thus I had a gain last week.

1lb on.

Nothing terrible, but a reminder that perhaps it pays to be a bit more restrained.  Unfortunately, as mentioned that's a reminder that my brain has yet to take on board, and I'm still being a bit too lax at the moment, so I don't expect a fabulous result this week either.  I start each new day afresh, but call it too much socialising, the hot weather or job-related angst, I'm not doing anything amazing on the healthy eating front at the moment.

Still, it's not all bad news:  I seem to be on my way to kicking my Diet Coke habit, which is a huge thing for me.  Whilst I was working at the bank, I routinely got through two 500ml bottles of Diet Coke a day.  I drank it when I was socialising.  I drank it when I was boozing.  I basically drank it a lot.  And right now?  I don't think I've had one in the last couple of weeks.

It's hard breaking the habit, as there are plenty of situations when I would routinely have a Diet Coke as my first choice of beverage, but I've been having either sparkling water or sometimes a different fizzy drink ... basically anything but the caffeine and sweetener together.  Getting there slowly!

On the social front, it was a really fun weekend.  Jo got tickets for the Formula E race at Battersea Park on Saturday, so we went along and enjoyed all that was on offer; watching the qualification and the race, having a picnic in the park and enjoying our contraband alcohol in the sun (it hadn't said anywhere in advance that we couldn't bring booze in and we weren't about to just throw away our gins and Pimm's so snuck them in).  It was a really lovely day in a beautiful setting - I'm always blown away by London's parks!




Then on Sunday it was the dreaded 5k race.  What would have been a regular training run back in the day, was looming as a major challenge for me, as we rocked up for the Colour Rush Obstacle Race at Kempton Park racecourse on Sunday morning.  We were very lucky, as being in an early wave meant we got the best weather and a quiet course plus very little queuing during check in, etc.

I haven't done a race for so long, and I literally haven't run since a couple of short runs last summer, so I was pretty much woefully unprepared for this, but Jo and I had agreed we would stick together and just take it easy.  We were joking that we were just going to walk the whole thing, but set off running, and apart from needing to take regular walking breaks, ran the majority of it.  Since the course is broken up by 10 obstacles plus several colour tents we were never going to get a super-speedy time anyway, because we had to pause to get on each obstacle in a small queue.  I think we were probably close to  an hour by the time we'd navigated anything - I didn't time it and I really don't care, it was just nice to be out doing something active ... and pick up another piece of race bling obviously!





Now I just need to get my head back in the game eating-wise, and try not to melt in this current little heat wave.  My car's inappropriately decided that now's a good time for the air-con to break whilst I've been shuttling backwards and forwards to London for job interviews, so I've spent two days this week just dissolving into a small pool of sweat on the M4.  Delightful.  Right now I'm basking in the cool heaven that is my new big fan for my room and hoping for a decent night's sleep!

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Weigh In - Week 8

First things first: wow - I must get better at doing weekly weigh in posts on time!  Ooooops!

So last week's results were .... surprising.  I had fully expected to stay the same, as it hadn't been the best of weeks, eating-wise, but then I stood on the scales and BAM!!! 

2.25lbs off.

Thank you very much, I'll definitely take that!  So that puts me at 13st 10.5lbs.  

There's a small part of me that thinks "8 weeks and only 6lbs lost ...", but I remind myself that I said all along that this was no race, and I had no timetable.  Plus, 6lbs is nearly half a stone, which is an achievement all in its own right, and if I think that really I wanted to lose somewhere between 1 1/2 and 2 stones, then half a stone is a good landmark in that goal.  Another part of my brain also realised yesterday, that in another 2lb's time, I'll be back to the weight I was before last ski season, which is also satisfying, as I can view my loss as rolling back time.

Re-framing and all that.

Here's another piece of re-framing for you, which I picked up whilst watching the documentary Hungry For Change last week:

Instead of thinking "I WANT IT but I CAN'T have it", try looking at it as "I CAN have it, but I DON'T WANT it".  I've had a couple of times in the last week where I've been eyeing the kitchen cupboards up, with a little voice whining in my head, and then I've flipped the way I looked at it and walked away.

Talking of walking away, and moving away from the weight loss side of life to the job side of life, I may have done something very stupid this week.  After 2 months sitting around searching for jobs, and going off to occasional interviews, I got offered a job on Monday.  And I turned.  It.  Down.

What the hell is wrong with me?????

This may well be one of the most idiotic, risky things I've done for  ... well .... quite a long time.

I just turned down a job worth nearly £70k a year.

Oh Jesus - I feel a bit faint thinking about it.

But you know what?  I didn't feel right.  I jumped out of the rat race last year, and I feel like if I'm going to jump back in, then it has to be on my terms. And this job?  This job felt like everything was on their terms.  From the way they kept changing the length of the contract (it was advertised as 6-9 months, and they were trying to get me to sign an 18 or 24 month fixed term contract in the end), to the way there holiday policy was so restricted, that they tried to make me go from a day rate to on their payroll, and finally that they only gave me 45 mins to make a decision before they were going to offer it to the next candidate.  You know what that made me feel?  Backed into a corner and like this was going to be a lot more hassle than it's worth.  So I said no.

Possibly crazy, but I was getting bad vibes from them when the first interviewer, who would also be my line manager, said "I just want someone who won't give me any hassle".  Way to make the candidate feel like you'll be working in a supportive environment, eh?

So now we know that people rate me for work, but I've decided to be picky.  Thankfully my dad didn't throw a massive hissy fit about me chucking a well paid work opportunity away and is standing behind me on this one.  I can only pity my poor recruitment consultant!

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Painful Eating

Why is it I sometimes eat until I'm in pain?

Am I the only one that does this?

I did it on Friday night - had takeaway, which was more food that one person needs, and continued eating until it was all gone, despite that fact I knew I didn't need it.  Despite that fact that I was full way before the end, and was really having to force the food down.  It wasn't pleasurable, but more of a gentle compulsion to finish.

Now I'm not a binge eater in the way some people struggle with it.  I don't go into the kitchen and inhale the food with no clue what I've eaten accompanied by true feelings of being out of control.  This is more something subconscious that happens when I look at a plate of food.  Doesn't matter what size it is, there's a need in me to finish the plate.  At some point in time, it became drilled into my head that you must finish the plate.   You must eat it before it's taken away.  Why?

And this is the problem, I literally have no idea why.  I think my parents told me to finish my food when I was young, but I didn't have siblings who would literally whisk the food from under my nose. I've never really gone hungry either, not the sort of hunger that would ingrain this behaviour.  So I really can't figure out where this unspoken fear comes from that if I don't finish the plate something bad will happen.

This is why when I sometimes say it's a victory for me to have stopped eating something when I'm full, it really is a big thing for me.  It's an odd sort of behaviour, because it seems to be linked to a specific portion rather than general eating and is maybe linked to "wasting" food - if you put a family sized bag of crisps or something else in front of me - I could quite happily eat til I'm satisfied (which would probably still be more than I "needed" because I'm greedy and all) and then put the rest away in the kitchen somewhere for later.  But put a plate of food in front of me, and I'll eat the whole thing, maybe because I feel like it will go to waste when it goes in the bin otherwise.

Friday night was one of the stronger examples of this.  I ate the two dishes I'd bought - I ate all of it.  Because I thought the food I had wouldn't reheat well?  I don't know.  But I regretted it later, because when I went to bed I suddenly realised that I was so full I felt sick.  I could literally feel the food trying to come back up because my stomach was over-full.  And in fact, in spirit of honesty, and I'm sorry if it's too honest, I was a bit sick.

Why on earth would our brains think that it's a good idea to eat so much that we're actually sick later?     This isn't getting enjoyment from food.  Does anyone else ever have this problem?

As with everything, I guess that the more I understand the problem, the more aware of it I am, the more I can do something about it.  But I do want to know where the bloody hell it came from!

Weigh In - Week 7

Weeeeeell - it was a gain this week.  A tiny gain, the smallest it could have been, but a gain.

0.25lb on, taking me to 13st 12.75lb.

So what happened?  A mix of things, I think.  Obviously, there was the weekend, which took me over my points for the week.  Then there's the face that I've been feeling a little bloated recently, and I don't know if this is down to lack of exercise, but I feel in my gut that it might be.  And then there's the chocolate in the goddamn kitchen.

One problem with living at Dad's is that he keeps snacks, lots and lots of sweet, sugary snacks, all over the damn kitchen.  It drives me insane.  And the one that drives me the most insane?  The constant open bag of Cadbury's Wispa Bites or similar that lives in the fruit bowl on the side.

Do you know how hard it is to ignore that????

That fruit bowl is right by the fridge, the microwave and the light switch.  I've realised that I've been grabbing one or two little bites nearly every time I wander past for whatever reason.  Given the layout of the house, that could be when I'm in the kitchen for food, or for laundry, or going past to the downstairs bathroom, or into the study behind the kitchen.  It suddenly occurred to me yesterday, that I have no idea how much chocolate I've actually been eating that I haven't been recording.  It could add up to an entire standard chocolate bar a day, or more, for all I know!  Ouch.  Which means if I didn't change last week aside from just subtracting the chocolate, I might have had a small loss for all I know!

Oh for the love of god!!!  Arrrrrrrgh!

So, starting yesterday, I'm not having the chocolate.  I have plenty of small snacks of my own in the cupboard, if I need to satisfy a sweet craving, so I definitely don't need that chocolate.  I had a bit of a blow-out day yesterday, and used up most of my flex points for the week, but other than that, there's no reason I can't have a good week this week - there's a christening tomorrow, but that's not really an occasion to go nuts with food.  I also want to try and go swimming and do some yoga this week in an attempt to slowly ease myself back into exercise.

Keep going!



Thursday, 11 June 2015

Weigh In - Week 6

I am being RUBBISH at writing at the moment.  In fact, I'm pretty much being rubbish at doing anything at all.  I have entered a lethargic can't-be-arsed spiral of unemployed-ness that basically means you're lucky to see me present my face to the world pre-11 am.

Yep.  That bad.

Which means it's Thursday and I haven't even posted up last week's weigh in yet .... and it's already nearly next week.

Rubbish indeed.

So last week was a lb off - all good and moving in the right direction.  13st 12.5lb and moving slowly downwards.

I suspect this week won't be so good, as the weekend definitely wasn't.  Well - it was awesome in terms of entertainment, just crappy in terms of food.  We wondered off up to Wrexham at the weekend for time spent with friends just before the birth of their first baby.  Given our friend was 8 months pregnant, the weekend was pretty sedentary and involved quite a lot of food.  And booze.  Because whilst our friend, Nia, is pregnant, her boyfriend isn't and was enjoying the chance to have someone to drink with again!

Then on the way home, we dropped into Shrewsbury to have a quick catch up with more friends, and popped out for lunch.  The original plan was to wander to the local pub for Sunday lunch.  Somehow this ended up as a walk towards town, which was supposedly 20 mins away, which then translated into wandering straight through town to a pub that then turned out to be overrun with tourists from a local fete.

The quick trip to the pub ended up more like a 5 mile walk (especially after muggins here managed to drop her hoodie somewhere and we had to turn back to find it) and 5 miles in flip-flops does .... bad things to the feet.  I had that queasy moment whilst walking across a field when I took a step and felt something pop on the bottom of my foot and thought there goes that blister.  I didn't look until I got back to the car as I thought I might be too squeamish to walk on it if I looked before!  So yeah - I was hobbling round for a couple of days waiting for my feet to seal themselves back together.

Last night, I decided there was only so much laziness I could take and went to the local pool for a swim.  After the first two lengths I thought I was going to DIE!!  18 months of no swimming does not a fit person make!!!!  I eventually pottered my way to 40 lengths and then pretty much wobbled my way to the showers via the steam room - I definitely need to find some fitness again, since I'm supposed to be running a 5k race (albeit a fun one with obstacles, foam and colour) in a couple of weeks time - eeeeeeek!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Set Back

The most frustrating thing happened today - I rang to chase the rather-too-quiet recruitment agents to see what the current situation was (i.e. give them a boot up the arse), and after not reaching my agent the first few times, I let the phone ring through until someone else picked up so I could leave a message.  Except it turns out my agent left the company a couple of weeks ago .... which must have literally been a few days after I went for my meeting.

Helpful.

Sooooooooo ..... current situation is that I am on the books for the agent covering West London, who got me the interview with England Rugby, but apparently no one in the Central London team is looking at my cv.  I was promised a call back from that team this afternoon to establish a new contact.  Nada.

Basically, this means that I'm rather too close to being right back at square one and without an agent *insert scream of frustration here*.  I'm giving them one last call tomorrow morning to try and sort this mess out, but I've rather lost confidence in them right now, so I've already started asking around friends in the same business for any recommendations they have for actual, decent agents.  Better luck next time, huh?

So whilst all this job-hunting rubbish is going on, I remain pretty much trapped at my dad's house, at least during the week.  I can't plan anything in case I need to hoof it to London on short notice for meetings / interviews.  I can't really afford to spend any more money as I'm going through my new savings with alarming speed.  And.  I'm.  Bored.

Good things:  it's taken me until today (Wednesday) to use up all my weekly flex points on Weightwatchers.  This is something of a victory, as I've usually done that by Saturday or Sunday (for a week which starts on Friday).  I know, I know - the point of the flex points usually is to not use all of them at all, but ... well ... I'm just never that strict with myself.  So I'm celebrating my victories where I can find them.  I also channelled all this afternoon's frustration into another ruthless bout of decluttering, and shovelled 3 bin bags and an old hi-fi into the car to jettison at the tip.  I can almost see some of my bedroom floor now; a minor miracle, I can tell you.

Bad things: I have to yell at agents tomorrow morning, or rather try really hard not to yell at them, whilst simultaneously eliciting some sign of life from them.  Testing .... really testing.  And I still have way too much stuff which I need to declutter - even after the 5 bags of trash, 3 bags of donations to the charity shop and the hi-fi - my belongings are definitely breeding when I'm not looking.  Oh yeah - and I just found out today that my bonus from my ski season, which I could really do with right about now, is coming 2 weeks later this year, so won't be arriving in my bank account until the end of the month, not the end of next week.  Ugh.

Aims for the end of the week: some progress on any or all of the job hunt, the scales and the uncovering of the floor in my room.  And tomorrow I'm going to go and spend the afternoon with a harassed new-mummy friend, and we'll compare which of us slowly going more insane.  Probably over cake.

That is all.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Rejection

It's funny, isn't it, how even when you've already told yourself in your head that you didn't get the job, you're still disappointed when someone else tells you that for sure.

I didn't get the job.

And even though I'd been sure that there would be better candidates than me, I'd secretly started making little plans in my head for how I'd get to work every day (cycle - how exciting!) and how good it would be, because that's what we do.

I think more than the disappointment of the rejection from this job specifically, I'm depressed that it's been 5 weeks of job-hunting and I've got nothing whatsoever to show for it. I'm right back at square 1, burning through what savings I've got and with the whole process to start again. And because I'm living at dad's to save money every time I get an interview I have to drive across the country to London for it which is more expense.

The job was with England Rugby at Twickenham, so was pretty damn exciting, what with it being the World Cup this year. It wasn't meant to be, but I can't help feeling that any other job opportunities from the agent will be distinctly less exciting than that one.

For extra funsies, my flatmate-to-be has just been headhunted for and accepted an amazing new job so is all excited and wants to be excited for me too .... except I can't provide that. I'm super pleased for her (utterly genuinely - she deserves that job as she's amazing at what she does) but getting a bit depressed by hers and everyone else's texts every 5 mins asking if there's any news.

If there were news, I'd tell them.

So yeah, sorry for being a bit bleak this morning .... turns out being unemployed makes me feel like less of a person. Fingers crossed for a breakthrough soon please, before I cease to exist altogether.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Weigh In - Week 5

Yesterday was a friend's funeral - I wasn't going (too far and it was already massively over-attended for the venue) but it was all over Facebook as we all said our personal goodbyes. Yesterday was an old friend's wedding, but I wasn't invited for political reasons along with a handful of others, and had to watch all our other friends plus 150 others go off to enjoy the celebrations and try not feel left out. Yesterday I found out that I got screwed over on a recent sale I made on eBay and had to sort it all out including refunding the buyer and ending up out of pocket ... the last thing was the smallest, but the straw that broke the proverbial camel.

It ended up being a day of complete emotional turmoil - I should have seen it coming but I didn't and it knocked me sideways. And yeah, I'm human, and I'm now embarrassed that I screamed .... and I mean absolutely SCREAMED .... at my dad when he said the wrong thing and put me over the edge.

Being human is letting yourself feel all those emotions. I screamed, I cried hard (in the privacy of my bedroom, because I'm still not that liberated about crying in front of other people), I slept for a while then I stayed by myself and watched some films and read for the rest of the day.

Yeah - I'm sorry that my dad got blasted by it, although honestly it might teach him a bit of tact on a day when I was obviously teetering close to the emotional edge .... or since he's a man and probably didn't clock that, just some general tact. If a 34 year old woman snaps at you for (apparently) no reason ..... telling her to not to sulk is probably never going to elicit a good response. But that's dad for you.

But here's the positive - I felt all the emotions, I didn't eat them. In fact, I didn't even eat lunch in the end.

Now I just need to work out how to get back to facing the world again, as I haven't quite forgiven dad yet, which is a bit awkward when I'm currently living his house.

Oh .... and the weigh in: stay the same.

I'm not frustrated by that for 3 reasons: I lost quite a bit the week before, my eating's still not 100% although there's good choices being made, and I weighed in earlier than normal yesterday morning (early hair appointment) so I probably had actually lost a little.

This week's non-scale victories: went to the cinema on Wednesday night with snacks in my bag - didn't bother eating them, went to my first gym class since being home and not eating all the sadness yesterday!

Keep it up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Interview

I finally (hah - a week - I'm so impatient!) heard from my agents on Tuesday about a job they wanted to put me forward for and was I interested?

Why, yes, yes I was!

Long story short, it all moved quite quickly and I went for an interview on Wednesday and now I have to wait until Monday to hear if I'm called back for a second interview.

Ironically, knowing I won't be hearing anything for at least a couple of days is relaxing, because I've now decided I would really like the job but suspect I'm going to be outclassed by the other applicants and that there's going to be a LOT of competition for the position. Basically, the job would be amazing but I'm preparing myself for the answer being a no. Apologies for being secretive about what the job is but it's at a pretty high profile institution and I think they're trying to avoid being swamped by time wasters - I'll tell you what it is afterwards and you'll understand why it would be pretty awesome.

Still, it was good to be doing something positive on my job hunt even if the morning turned into a bit of a comedy of errors. I was out the house and walking to the bus in good time yesterday morning when I suddenly realised .... I'd forgotten to brush my teeth! How does that even happen??? And why on interview day when you want to be feeling super confident??? Argh!! I was literally stood on the pavement looking both ways trying to work out if I had enough time to go back and do them (I didn't), then frantically looking for chewing gum (had none), before finally trying to remember where a shop was on the way to bus to get some. Major DUH! I think I went through two or three pieces in the journey.

Then having finally hopped off the bus and started walking to the interview location, and I realised I really needed to wee. Why do these things happen to me? Bloody nerves. So there's me trying to figure out if I've got time to charge into this huge Tesco Extra to try and find toilets without being late to the interview.

I'm so bloody suave.

There was obviously a fate smiling kindly on me somewhere as I did manage to arrive on time, and to the correct place first time, and I even think the interview went pretty positively and smoothly. Which really means it all hinges on my competition. Is it mean to wish small catastrophes on their heads???


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, 22 May 2015

Weigh In - Week 4

Truth be told, I'm feeling a bit all over the place at the moment, but we'll get to that in a second.  Despite fearing that the weekend had cocked things up a bit and that I'd wobbled a bit on Wednesday, I had 4 good days this week and actually turned in a good result:

2.5 lbs lost.

That means I've lost 3 lbs in total since starting back on Weightwatchers, and more importantly for me from a mental point of view, I've just dipped back into the 13 stone bracket, which feels like progress made.  I suppose 3 lbs lost in 4 weeks isn't magnificent in the scale of things, but I'm happy with it because it's steady progress in the right direction and comes in spite of holiday and quite a chunk of socialising.

In terms of non-scale victories, because I tend to forget how important it is to acknowledge those too, I've just had takeaway and actually stopped when I was full and before I'd gluttonously devoured the whole thing ... and put the leftovers safely in the bin.  Good girl.

Aside from the positivity with the food, I'm having quite a battle with myself to stay happy and bouncy at the moment.  I had a meeting with a recruitment agency in London at the end of last week, which left me feeling very up and since then .... nothing.  Which has left me on the way to feeling very down.

Truth be told - without a job and no one beating down the door to employ me, I'm feeling rather pathetically lost and a bit of a failure.  Logically, I realise that I only saw the agent last week, and have only been back in the country 4 weeks, the second of which I was back out the country again, but logic doesn't seem to be featuring too heavily in my feelings right now.  I'd naively expected it to be super-quick getting employed, and this uncertainty is preying on me.  

Looking back, I was thinking that it had always been speedy and easy in the past, but then when I took the rose-tinted specs off I realised it probably just looked that way because I was always employed (or travelling) during the period I was looking so probably didn't realise that there was indeed a delay of a couple of weeks, and whilst I have been extremely lucky with the number of interviews that I've been offered jobs from in the past, there have been one or two times when I haven't been immediately successful.  Plus I need to keep reminding myself that I'm trying to break into a new field, as I move away from permanent to contracting, so I'm potentially up against people with more relevant experience than me, and I just need to let my recruiters do their thing and and be patient whilst they do it.

In an attempt to stop myself wallowing my way into some really crappy, negative feelings, I've been doing a couple of things.  Firstly, I've prepared myself to be ready to interview and work as soon as something comes up by spending a bit of time reviewing my work wardrobe and updating it as appropriate.  Clothes are armour to me, and especially when I'm feeling a bit uncertain about the weight I'm at currently, looking good makes me feel more positive and confident.  Plus it will make packing easier in the event of a rapid move to London.

Whilst doing that, I've also been having another massive review and declutter of the rest of my belongings, which whilst slightly stressful and frustrating at the time, is massively cathartic afterwards.  I've started with my whole wardrobe and have binned some stuff as well making a (growing) pile for the charity shop.  I literally went through every drawer first and tried stuff on, assessing whether it fitted, was shabby or had holes, and of course whether I liked it.  That left me with a pile of stuff that is currently too small and is to go in storage for later (I'm going to try stuff on every half a stone or so) and a much larger pile of "current" wardrobe.  Thing is - I looked at the current stuff and really didn't feel inspired by much of it, so I got a bit stricter with my criteria.  

I set myself up to go through that pile and make a 3 second, instinctive decision about every item - either I loved it / wear it frequently, or I'm a bit "meh" about it and it joined the charity pile.  That was an eye-opening exercise I can tell you: probably another 1/6th of the pile joined the charity items.  I'm going to give it a couple of days and then do a quick review to make sure I'm not chucking out anything I shouldn't be, but I think that answers my problem with my wardrobe!

Clearing my wardrobe was another item to do on my "35 before 35" list, which is satisfying.  Next up, I want to go through my other belongings which are all still in the blue Ikea bags I moved them home in and sort those too.  And whilst I'm waiting around for employment, my flatmate-to-be Jo suggested I see what else I can do on my list without bankrupting myself.  Good plan.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

That Old Chestnut

Getting back to tracking regularly has been an ... interesting experience.

For one thing, I'd forgotten how much a weekend of being social can knock you completely off track. I love my school friends dearly and relish the time I have to catch up with them, but it cannot be said that it's any way good for healthy living.  So Thursday, Friday and Saturday were pretty much a write-off in terms of the healthy eating - I tracked it, I moved on.

By Sunday, Jo, my flatmate-to-be-and-very-old-friend, and I called time on ourselves and decided the gluttony must end.  We both want to live more healthy lifestyles and lose a bit of weight and we definitely weren't helping ourselves, so we ate good food and walked 3 miles to the cinema and generally felt more virtuous.

With Sunday under my belt, the days started to flow a bit better, and I've now had a streak of 3 days of good eating and was right in the middle of being all self-congratulatory about it today when, for no apparent reason, I just finished the day all wrong.  I made a not particularly excellent choice for dinner (fishcakes with chips with Dad instead of the low point fish pie that was in the fridge) and before you know it I've added dessert to it .... and it wasn't even a particularly satisfactory dessert!

So now I'm quietly kicking myself because I'm not sure why I did it, except that this has happened numerous times in the past, and the only thing to do is suck it up and move on.

Maybe I really was craving that scone with jam I had for pudding (which was annoyingly a bit stale so not as amazing as hoped).  Maybe it's because I'm feeling a bit lost and pathetic with my jobless state right now and it was a little food solace.  I don't know but it's still annoying.

I guess these things are sent to try us.  And usually succeed mightily.