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.