Tuesday, 23 December 2014

A Christmas Staple

See what I did there. Replaced Story with Staple? Yes was a bit lame. Its meant to be a nice lead into signing off till after the big day. The Christmas staples have all been taken care of. That is the Gingerbread House, the school plays, school parties (seems like a million years ago), carol concerts, mince pies, spiced Xmas muffins for friends and my postie men folk. Seriously, you have to look after these guys. The postman and two Hermes guys get a fiver each and Xmas Muffins.  They deliver all my stuff all year round. Look after your postman and they'll look after you! The hairdresser also - even if they do give you a 1980s retro Madonna haircut.

The gingerbread xmas jumper biscuits for teachers and doubling up as place settings, the table centre piece (courtesy of my husband who's sexuality I'm doubting! Don't worry its a standing joke in this house whenever his creative juices are flowing even he says "I'm soooo gay").

My husbands wonderful table creation 

My turkey is on its way from the butcher (again tip the delivery guy -which may be my friend's husband - even better), the Aldi shop was done with military precision with my daughter. We went just after it opened, got a prime location parking space, was first at the check out and were home by 10.15 am on Sunday.

Its nearly Christmas Eve where all the preps will be done with my daughter - who loves helping out in the kitchen. I have my parents and one sister coming to join us for Christmas dinner.  I might even fit in a church service with the kids.

Now, this all sounds lovely but I would also like to remember the people that can't be with us at Christmas time. Christmas can also be a very upsetting and basically a shit time for people. It isn't a glitzy John Lewis advert full of festive cheer and merriment.

I am thinking of  the families that have lost people this year. My great uncle died last week and a mum I know was left widowed with 3 children - he wasn't even 40.  I suspect this Christmas will be one to get through rather than a joyous occasion.

I will also remember my wonderful grandad who I always miss at Christmas and generally feel blessed to still be around to experience life. Sadly, we can't always live life as if it were the last day. Life doesn't work like that. But we can feel blessed with what we have. The simple things.

Finally, I keep remembering an old work colleage Parryman - as I used to call him. He was called Peter Parry and we started our job at the same time. We sat opposite each other and immediately bonded. The love affair was instant. We used to email each other across our desk. We had bacon sandwiches together in the staff restaurant every Friday. We would phone each other on our 'working from home day'  and discuss cases before me going for a swim and him going to the gym.

We would be joint at the hip and have such a laugh. I was high maintenance and dramatic. He was my reason and calm. We did compliment each other though and made each other laugh in equal measure. Peter was gay. He had been with the same boyfriend from his late teens.  He had been anorexic when he was younger and whilst skinny he did eat but was extremely conscience of his slight frame. He would work out and always have a snickers bar sitting on his desk. I used to say "are you going to bloody well eat this thing?" - of course he never did and replaced the ones that I ate!

He would tell me of the drunken things I said at the office party between pissing himself with laughter. We would whoop with delight when wagamama's arrived at Canary Wharf and following on from 2001 we had a standing joke to "hold onto your legs" whilst travelling the tube. He was also such a gent - he'd always open a door for me and be so kind. And no you didn't need botox in your 30s. You looked fine Peter. I'll always remember him telling me, before he went on holiday, he'd hoover backwards until he reached the front door and how he'd pay his sister to wrap his Xmas presents. He had a wonderful close relationship with his family.

I have so many stories and memories I couldn't possibly list them all here but he so loved Christmas and a G&T.

Peter in his nice shirt - am sure it was French Connection
Then I got pregnant and after the birth I never came back to work and had 2 more children.  We keep in contact for a few years then, as things do, it fizzled out and we lost contact.  I found out a few years ago he died.

So Parryman, Peter "I know people", Peter and your wrapping issues. I'll be thinking of you this Xmas and feel grateful for those wonderful years we had together.

Merry Christmas to you all. Thank you all so much for reading my waffling blog and commenting. I wish you all peace and happiness in 2015!


Monday, 22 December 2014

Another Success Story

I know how you all love these success story - as do I. It might be my blog but I also get a lot of inspiration from people who like to share their personal weight loss stories with my readers. Please give it up to Dawn who writes very candidly about her battles and the reasons why she had to to lose weight for the sake of her health. Over to you Dawn... 

So I have been overweight for as long as I remember. I first joined weightwatchers at the age of 12 and since then I have joined slimming clubs every other year until I hit 38 last year.

For 20 plus years I have used every excuse from ‘I am big boned’ to ‘I can’t lose weight’ to ‘I have an underactive thyroid’ so what has changed my mindset, well it happened my weight has finally impacted on my health. I won’t bore you with the details but I have now developed a health condition that could go into remission if I finally banish the bulk. Amazing how that biscuit, bar of chocolate and bowl of crisps no longer looks as attractive. I won’t deny it hasn’t been easy those first few weeks were soooo hard, my body craved a sugar pick me up nearly every hour between mealtimes but it has got easier or is it that I have finally broken the habit! I use to think you can’t possibly eat a sandwich without a packet of crisps that would be just so wrong!!

It is, as they say, eat three good meals a day and move more gets results. At my heaviest in December 2012 I weighed 18st 5lb I got down to 17st 12lbs when I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension in May this year. Today I am 14st 13lb with a journey still to go but now I think when I get to target not will I ever get to target!

Dawn pre diet
Don’t let crisps, chocolate, alcohol, cakes etc be part of your everyday diet let them be the monthly treat and I promise you will enjoy them so much more. Feeling better in yourself gives you such a positive outlook on all aspects of life and the energy you begin to get. I don’t shout for my sons to get me the phone or to run upstairs and get me a towel etc I do it myself. It no longer feels such an effort.

Dawn after cutting out the junk - looking much healthier and happier. Well done! 
Simple diet. Boring even but effective eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and NOTHING else. The more you lose the better you feel, the lighter you feel the more you move, it’s been that simple not easy but that simple. Forget that one biscuit won’t hurt, just a small piece of chocolate DON’T do it and in a very short period of time you won’t want to! I try to keep breakfast to 300 calories, lunch 400 calories and dinner around 500 calories or less.

Well I am looking forward to saying goodbye to 2014 and hello to a healthier me in 2015!

Catch up with you all in the Spring, take care...

...Dawn xx

Thank you so much Dawn. Your efforts have been highly rewarded. It takes guts to put yourself out there wtih before/after pictures but equally it forces your hand to keep going. I've added a link to Dawn's medical condition which I for one had never heard of.  I think aiming for 1200 calories a day is perfect because it gives you that 200 calorie discrepancy i.e the things that slip through the net so even if you get to 1400 you still lose weight.  Dawn admits that she had been going to a slimming club from the age of 12 on and off until she was 38. I rest my case on these clubs. I can't wait for your next up date. Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Saturday Prat Chat!

Yay, its back. Saturday chit chat - more of the prat later.  Its been a while I know. We've been a tad busy with the lead up to Xmas. Well on the exercise front (after last weeks no show due to flu like symptoms) - I did a hill walk with various items loaded in my backpack following my trip to Sainsbury's at the top of the hill and then 40 lengths on Wednesday. So not bad, not bad.  I didn't quite make my 14lbs before xmas but its 11lbs so will take that. Now the fun part of trying to keep it off next week and continue into the New Year.

So, we've had a great few weeks. We saw Paddington Bear, went up to Covent Garden to see the wonderful Santa Lego creation, the British Transport Museum (I could spend an absolute fortune in their gift shop!), Trafalgar Square street artists and then through the little winter wonderland at Trafalgar Square.  I also managed to get my hair cut in a Madonna circa 1980's style - this was not my intention. I went in asking for a a little bit off (I'm thinking 4 inches) and my trusted hairdresser lobbed off about 8 inches. That's probably a conservative estimate. Not content with this she gave me a 'lob' i.e it chopped very short at the back. Urgh. So now I have a sort of bob - luckily its well past my ear lobes and if I pull the front down it does sit on my shoulders.  I was slightly traumatised for a couple of days but am now over myself.  I don't live in Syria. Its a hair cut and it will grow. The only bonus to my retro haircut is it does make me look younger - or so I'm told!

Here are a few pics from the last week...

Santa's lego presents! Kids loved this and it wasn't busy 

Beautiful Covent Garden

Trafalgar Square in all its winter glory
Paddington in Trafalgar Square - we also saw the gold one in Leicester Square
I have been trying to get a pic of my hair but its taken me about 30 minutes of faffing and to no avail. I am such a luddite.  Speaking of which something horrific happened to me yesterday. I don't mind facebook. Although not this timehop thing -seriously not only do we update a status you can now see what our status was 4 years ago incase you missed it and you can comment on it again! The world has gone mad hasn't it. Only the other day I witnessed a dad talking on his phone whilst his son headbutted a wall. It was a proper thump like possible minor injuries. The dad rubbed his head whilst still on the phone. He did not even finish his call and  he got the child to speak into his phone to tell the person why he was crying.  I try and switch off my phone every evening at 8.30 pm and I make sure I'm not scrolling through when the kids are chatting. Next year, I think I'm going to limit it even further.

I digress. I rarely go on twitter. I used to when I was really into my blogging but really can't see the point of documenting what you're thinking etc. I don't by and large follow celebrities but for some mad reason I decided to follow Russell Brand after he appeared on Question Time.  I also unwittingly 'followed' (it could have been buddy but now I think it was that stupid 'other people you may wish to follow') someone I would never in a million years wish to follow. I have never really typed about the reasons why - they know that I know what they did. Enough said. Oh er cryptic ain't it in my best Russell Brand voice. Thankfully it was unfollowed at the same time (I'm assuming it was seriously have no idea! #wails #WTF! Has that ever happened to you?  I remember asking a mum from school on how she'd found me on twitter and she said it came up on her who to follow. Well, who to follow - you have a lot to answer for! Its dangerous out there people. Be safe.

In other jolly news, my wonderful friend Cath (you know what I'm talking about above luv!) sent me a la surprise Mickey O'Flanagan's DVD. What a wonderful and thoughtful surprise. She was aware I was so disappointed I hadn't seen the Tour of France he did. I am delighted with it thank you!!

Finally, we saw the big man today at the garden centre. We have been to many Santa's over the years but this garden centre always comes up trumps. You don't have to queue long and the kids get a lovely xmas tree and coins. My son who is nearly 11 still believes in the big man but was less than impressed with seeing an 'imposter'. Fair point - why see one of his santa stand ins. Well, having questionned him about the nice/naughty list etc he's just said to me he thought that was the real Santa!

And on that note I wish you all a wonderful weekend. I have a fabulous quest post coming up - another success story on cutting calories. We are off out on a date night to see Frank Skinner tonight - hope he's funny.

Until next time.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Sunday Chit Chat

Well hello folks its been a little while. This time of year gets a little crazy doesn't it? So I haven't been blogging as much as I would like.  On the diet front I've lost a total of 10lbs since I kicked my arse into gear but I only lost 1lb in two weeks (the two that have just been). Still, its okay even though I did put on this weight! The best thing about the past 3 weeks is that I've managed to exercise at least 3 times. Last week it was 4 times.

I feel so much better for it and have been very determined this month what with it being December its very easy to feel sluggish and just yuk and I don't want to feel like that.  I have been doing my hill walk on a Monday, swimming 40 x lengths on a Wednesday and another hill walk on a Friday. This week I also did a 30 minute kettle bell workout on a Tuesday.  I plan to do the same this week. So I am entering my 4th week of consistent exercise. I know I'll be able to do the same the week before Xmas even factoring in the kids Christmas Carol Concerts.  Naturally Xmas week won't be as easy as we have family over on the Monday, London on the Tuesday, preparation on Christmas Eve and then, of course, Christmas Day but I could get out or exercise during the latter part of that week.  Its all in the planning.  I am trying to keep in mind the last book I read on 'what's your excuse' i.e how far back do I want to set myself over the Xmas period? The answer to that would be no set backs at all if you please!

Poppy box arrived 

Hubster made a stand

I particularly enjoy my swim on a Wednesday it clears my mind of all the chatter and also focuses my mind on my Xmas 'to do' list. It energizes, relaxes and works me out all in one go!

In other tittle tattle news. Our poppy arrived this week. Its lovely - my husband made a stand for it. It takes pride of place in our living room. I made a gingerbread house for the school fair - I'll do a 'how to guide shortly'.  My eldest son and I made some rather scrummy mince pies this afternoon. I like all the Xmas baking we do together. My daughter and I made our Xmas cake a few weeks ago. Next week it'll be the spiced muffins and Xmas jumper biscuits for the teachers with some left overs for us.

This year's gingerbread creation
Tonight its Xmas card writing and this week I'll need to make a start on the dreaded wrapping. I read a top tip the other day - use an ironing board to wrap your presents. I'm going to give it a whirl.  I also need to go booze shopping this week and then the last bits and pieces will be next week. Not sure when our decs will go up - we've ordered another artificial tree for our front room as we need a tall thin one otherwise no one will be able to watch any telly. I reckon it'll be a week before Xmas Eve - that would give us 2 weeks up with the decs plenty of time.

Couldn't leave this fella behind 

Oh I nearly forgot - the Lego advent calendars I purchased for the kids are going down a storm. I thought they might be a one off but it appears we must get them next year as well.

I think my son's mince pies on the left are far superior!

I am waffling now - this blog is my little to do list isn't it. I also got a refund for my phone (again another blog post) that took 3 weeks to repair (badly) as opposed to 3-5 days as they claimed. Hooray for paypal that's what I say!

There is so much that is wrong with this quote - I couldn't even get beyond the title! 
Okay that's my news in a nutshell. I have a few blog posts in the pipeline - sexy at 74! Good god. Why a grand jury can't convict a police officer murdering a black man whilst watching a video of a white police officer murdering a black man and fair weather friends. That should keep me going for a good while!

Be back soon..

Well it wouldn't be Xmas with a bit of Fanny now would it! Thanks to my friend Claire for sending me this! 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Pass me my chocolate orange trophy

Hello folks - I will do a chit chat post shortly but in the meantime I am very excited to hand over The 1970s Diet blog to Rachel who blogs at The Ordinary Lovely. I am sooooo impressed with her before and after pictures and a tad jealous!! I wish I could inspire myself this well! Having said this, Rachel has made me believe even more so that consuming 1400 calories and exercising is proof that's all you need to do to lose weight. She has lost an impressive amount of weight and inches in 3 months.  I shall hand you over as I'm about to fit in 30 minutes kettlebell workout and I'm also going to be taking some new snaps...

It’s been three months to the day since I decided that I needed to be rid of my jelly belly by Christmas. Three months to the day that I set my sights on being nine stone something by the end of the year. I’d reached a point in time whereby I was sick of having to breathe in to do up my size 14 jeans and was in danger of my size 16 tops popping open. At only 5 foot 4 and weighing 11 stone, I felt somewhat dumpy and very, very round.

I’ve been saying for a few years that I wanted to lose a few pounds but due to a horrendously sweet tooth, the scales seemed to be heading the wrong direction. With a nudge from my husband to start running and a recommendation from Natasha to use MyFitnessPal a to record all of my meals/snacks/drinks, I was determined to give it my best shot this time around.

Since I posted my last update, I’ve continued to run a couple of times a week. With it now being so dark in the mornings and early evenings, I’m thinking about joining a gym on a month by month basis. I’m still really keen to exercise but not so keen on pounding the pavement by myself with only torch light for company. I’d prefer to be outdoors but a running machine might be a safer option over the winter months.

Eating-wise, I’m consuming around 1,300 – 1,400 calories a day with perhaps one day a week where it sneaks up to around 1,700. Oddly enough, on the days where I do eat a higher amount, it feels like I’ve eaten a lot where in truth, this is still a lot less than what I would have eaten before starting this healthier lifestyle regime. I guess my brain has been rewired slightly.

For my 1,400 calories, I get to eat three meals a day, a snack, the odd small bar of Kinder chocolate and a couple of cups of tea or coffee. Very rarely do I feel like I’m missing out. I’ve learnt to make better choices about food and opt for what’s good for me and what will fill me up rather than what I fancy. I’m learning to see food as fuel rather than a treat. This has had quite an impact on our shopping bill too. We’re spending an awful lot less now.

It’s worth mentioning that while I’m not tea total, it’s highly unusual for me to have more than a couple of alcoholic drinks a month. In fact, in the past three months, I’ve drunk just one beer and half a glass of prosecco. If you want to try a similar lifestyle to mine, I really struggle to see how you can maintain a healthy but low calorie diet that includes a few glasses of wine a week. I’m sure it’s possible because many do it but I can only imagine that it’s quite difficult.

So three months in, here’s how the measurements stack up:

Weight: 9 stone 7 (was 11 stone) – loss of 21 pounds
Waist: 34 inches (was 38 inches) – loss of 4 inches
Chest: 39 inches (was 42 inches) – loss of 3 inches
Bottom: 37 inches (was 40 inches) – loss of 3 inches
Thighs: 20 inches (was 21 inches) – loss of 1 inch
Before taking these measurements, I knew I’d lost of a bit of weight but I honestly hadn’t realized how much and exactly where it had come from. I took these after photos at the weekend and had the shock of my life. I keep looking at them because I can’t quite get over the difference (I’m still not great at taking selfies, sorry).

I feel healthier and I feel fitter.  I was over the moon to weight nine stone something but nine and a half stone is like a dream come true. Now I can look in my wardrobe and say ‘nothing fits’ but for all the right reasons. Today, I bought a pair of size 12 jeans and they fit perfectly. No muffin top to speak of. I could have cried.

If you’re sitting at home reading this and really want to get fitter and lose a bit of weight, my only advice would be to start right now. I kept saying ‘after Christmas’, ‘after my birthday’, ‘in time to go on holiday’ but if you start today, you could even make a difference come Christmas. Maybe it would be just a few pounds, maybe it would be being able to run for ten minutes rather than five, but it would be a good difference. It’s so easy to put things off but don’t underestimate how fantastic you’ll feel when you see those scales heading in the right direction and your jeans fastening up without winding yourself.

As always, if you have any questions, just pop them in the comments box and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Go girl!!! You look amazing. Thank's so much for this blog post. I am positive that this has inspired many to JUST DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!