Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Beat The Heat challenge - Week Nine

Weight Wars

It's the penultimate week! Appologies for the lateness however ^_^;;

1 - What have you achieved towards your goals this week?

Absoloutely nothing. I've been much too busy, but that's not necissarily a bad thing!

2 - What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

This past week has been pretty amazing. When I've not been at work I've been at ChildLine or treating myself to some new none foody things or spending time with family. I think it just summed up how I've been feeling recently when Ben's aunty kept telling me how wonderful I was looking. I don't know whether it was the fact that I was wearing my new outfit or my weight loss (I'm a stone lighter than I was last time I saw her, which isn't much considering I have 12 more stone to loose but it's got to count for something!) or because at this little point in time I feel so fulfilled with life I must just be radiating awesomeness. Or maybe it was just a lovely mix of all three of those reasons. Maybe it's because I was actually physically able to go with them on a long walk with her dogs (if she isn't careful I will be stealing her new 1 year old labrador puppy!) without being crippled over in pain/gasping for breath halfway through it. Maybe I'm just all round fabulous in general this week? I can't tell you what I did to make myself feel fabulous, but there is no shortage of awesome all around me making me feel that way anyhow!

3 - This is week 9 and the final week of the challenge! Is there anything you want to really push to achieve now?

I may not have a hope in hell of meeting all of my goals...but if you'd said to me 9 weeks ago; "In ten weeks time you will have a job, spending just about every day out and about even days you aren't working, looking forward to long walks, socializing and making merry, feeling fabulous and sexy and confident about yourself and your future, and your flat will be so clean and tidy that even your mother in law will have to agree" I would have laughed at you and said "yeah, right, jog on mate, not in ten weeks".

I know it sounds really cheesy but I joined this challenge for a reason. I had no drive to do anything with myself and no means to do it anyhow. I can put my hand on my heart and say I wouldn't have applied for this job had I not given myself the goal of x number of job applications a week, because I didn't think I'd get it.

I think, all in all, I'm happy with where I've come to thanks to this challenge, and I'm ready to wind down, learn what I have to learn, and look forward to the next one in a few weeks time.

4  - How have you felt throughout the challenge? Has anything been more difficult than you thought? Anything easier?

I've generally felt pretty good and motivated. In fact I'd say drumming up the motivation to do "stuff" in general was easier than I thought it would be; I just needed the drive and the reason to do it. Sadly this motivation crumbled in the face of my beloved food. This is really something I have to work on, which I've known for a long time and keep complaining about. I know it's there and I know it's something that only I can fix. Perhaps in the next challenge I will make it all about changing those attitudes; not necissarily loosing a set ammount of weight, but if I've been succesful in changing my attitude towards life in general for this challenge I can surely focus that energy on changing my attitude towards food in the next.

5 - Where do you fit in your family? Are you a middle child for example? How does that effect your "place" in your family?

I'm the eldest and it's a double edged sword. It's been great having two baby siblings who I love and adore with all my heart. I'm so lucky that I have them and I'd give the world for them if they needed me to. On the other hand I did everything first and kinda have to be a "role model" for them, and let's not be coy here, I havent been the greatest role model! I often feel I have to guard what I say (although this isn't so bad now that they're growing up too). Sometimes I feel guilty that, for example, my sister (the middle of us) cannot do things that I did because dad is afraid it will have an adverse affect on her the way it did on me, and because I messed up my A levels and Uni my parents have been harder on her than they were on me. On the other hand, I get to watch her and my brother have things that I never had (laptops and ipods and gadgets and driving lessons) whether that is because there is generally more money around or because the money only has to stretch to support a family of four instead of five, I'm an adult and I love them I don't feel jealous per se....since I was 18 I've either owned or shared a second hand computer, so I really just hope that they appreciate that they are able to have these beautiful new things!

And then there's the fact that as the grown up I now live away from the family, have settled down and am attempting to establish a family life of my own, which is a wonderful thing to be doing and I'm happy that this is where my life is right now; however, sometimes I feel left out of my family. Don't get me wrong, it's mostly because of the distance and that is a lifestyle choice that I and I alone made. If I lived closer to the family I would no doubt go to the cinema or theatre or what have you with them and get to partake in all the family celebrations with them and see my sis when she performs at her concerts and all that wonderful family stuff. I love living in Liverpool however, and if I lived closer to home I'd probably be having constant arguments with my dad or some such shit, our relationship would not be as good as it is; but I do miss those family connections. Ben feels the same about his too. The situation also means that I don't always feel so close to my siblings the way that many other siblings do; I watch my friends have an acive social life with theirs, but it always seems so forced with mine because we barely see each other.

Gah, it all sounds so bloody terrible doesn't it? Hahaha! It's not a perfect situation and it's all down to living so far away I'm sure. I love them all dearly and if I could go out with my sis and bro more and do things and have an awesome time it'd be great, but as this is the situation we're in, we just make the best of it.

Anyhow...I'm afraid I've been much too busy to find you a positive picture this week. Perhaps I will post two next week?

Till later folks!


Friday, 26 August 2011

I'm a monochrome work of art

Why yes I do realise this is a rather pompous and self important title, but it's true, and it pretty much sums up the most exciting parts of my day so far in an odd roundabout way!

First off, I did it, I bought a load of clothes just because, you know what, screw you hippies, I wanted to! Yes I got what I needed...mainly tights because I managed to rip holes in all of my other ones when I decided I wanted to grow my nails out again...and some new brassiers...but I also treat myself to some new black jeans because it's been years since I had a pair of black jeans and I already have a perfectly servicable pair of blue ones. I also got a black and white stripey t-shirt, partially because I think black and white stripes are simply the best...

Ben got Sky Sports which means I get more Newcastle!

...but also because they're very much in fashion at the minute and can be worn with my black jeans. Hear that? I'm fashionable! And then I topped it all off with a nice pair of earrings featuring black butterfly's. Mind you, I had gone in with the intention of getting something more colourful, but hey, like I said, black and white is fine by me!

As for the work of art, I got accosted by a very nice pair of young gentlemen on the bus stop while I awaited my busly chariot into town to do all of this shopping business. They were filming 30 second portraits of local people for an art installation that's going in a new community centre opening up in December on Townsend Lane. 30 seconds is really a very long time to be stood still grinning/grimmacing stupidly into a camera, but hey. I shall have to go in and see if I can spot myself when it's all opened up.

So yes, today I am a monochromatic work of art! And very happy too that I took the time to actually do something with my hair and face before venturing out, and wore my nice coat, because I wasn't going to ^_^;;

Also on my adventures today I treat myself to a mini organiser so that I can try to juggle all of my commitments when I'm away from the computer and haven't got my google calendar to hand, the augmented edition Deus Ex as a present for my Benjikins (last one in the shop because I'm a boss) a new bright red lipstick (It goes well with the black and white stripes look, you see) and a black eyeliner (because my other one was worn down to a stub!), a whole bunch of orange scented soap and a new folder for my ChildLine portfolio which is very much not monochromatic and is very bright and cheerful indeed.

Some would call it "Kawaii"
I could of course have bought out the entireity of Paper Chase's stock, but I don't think my pay would have stretched that far.

After my super duper shopping trip of awesome treatness I came home and joined Weight Watchers as planned, and so I shall hopefully be able to let you know how that goes. The interface isn't very well done I have to say, and they could use a few tips from MFP, however I think I'll probably get used to it. I'm going to stick to the plan like....sticky jacks stick to cardigans...and then if I'm not seeing any great improvement at the end of the 3 months I've bought myself I'm going to cancel and try the Just Slim plan that Rebecca over at Weight Wars has been raving about. That said, my sister in law announced today that she's lost 4lb at WW so it must be good for something! I just can't bring myself to believe my daily points allowance (54!!!!) considering I've been eating WW frozen ready meals that are only 6 points each. You never know, I may be under eating too much!

Anyhow, ciao for now my little bloggies. I've got to go and get ready for another evening at the work place. Thank God that next week I have all my days off and only one evening shift (I think!)


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Wee bit Wednesday v 43 and other musings

{one} what's your guilty pleasure tv show?
Some mornings I look in the mirror and I don't even recognise myself anymore...but it's Eastenders. Cannot get enough of it.

{two} ear piercings on men: yes or no?
Not really bothered, to be honest!
{three} do you have dish or comcast?
I don't speak your crazy language. Um. I presume you're talking about how I recieve Eastenders through my telebox? We have Virgin. Is so much better than Sky....
{four} what's your favorite current fashion trend?
Tunics, and long length stuff in general. Makes it so much easier for a big tall girl like me to look presentable!
{five} if you could learn to do anything, money not being an issue, what would it be?
How to make REAL jewellery. Like...not just wrapping wire around stuff, but silversmithing and working with precious gemstones and set them in rings I've made from scratch. You know what I mean. Hard core jeweller stuff.
{six} red or white wine?
I prefer sweet white german wines. Apparently that is so obvious that it's been pointed out to me on at least three occasions by different people before they even order. Am I really that much of a wine wuss? Anyhow, I had a lovely fruity red the other day, a shame I only realised how delicious it was after I'd used most of it in a bolognaise sauce, but we got a nice little whiff of it left over to go with dinner too!
{seven} what type of food is your favorite (ex. italian, mexican, etc.)
Well if we're going soley on country of origin, there's nothing quite like our stodgey old British fare! But if I had to choose, it would be French followed very closely by Spanish (which only comes second because Spanish food uses way too much rice for my liking and I cannot eat rice)
{eight} hp or mac?
Never used a mac in my life and have no reason to. However, why is HP the only other option? Just anything that isn't a mac will do for me!
{nine} what color is your bedroom?
Black and white. Mostly white. The black is the mould garden that we're growing on the outside facing wall.
{ten} what's your favorite form of exercise?
I really don't have a favourite exercise because I really don't exercise enough, so I'm going to be very immature and saw "bow chicka bow wow" and leave it at that.

I'm absoloutely shattered at the minute, but in a good way. There no longer seems to be enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do, but that has to be good because before there were way too many hours and I still didn't do it, so now there are fewer I'm prompted to spend more of those few hours actually doing things that I want to...although that probably makes no sense at all to anyone but me!

Anyhow, yesterday was the only day all this entire week in which I got home before ten o clock (I got in at 9:45). I'm beginning to wonder at the wisdom of everything I've taken on but I have to remind myself it's only this one week. If work hadn't demanded I be in to meet our training coordinators on my day off I wouldn't be in this position, and anything ChildLine related I only have myself to blame for. I have to head out to work in ten minutes and once I finish work I get to come home, change clothes, put on the washer then head out for an observation shift that lasts from quarter to six till ten o clock tonight. I could have gone to one last night, but then I wouldn't have gotten out until half one in the morning!

The training for ChildLine is, on the whole, a rather enjoyable experience. Everyone is lovely and extremely thoughtful and intelligent. It is a wonderful contrast to the punters I deal with at work who can be lovely but can also be aggressive, drunk, generally disorderly, and of the opinion that it is quite alright to leave bodily excretions of varying natures around the shop (I have had the unpleasant duty of dealing with two such excretions). Not that everyone is like that at all! On the whole I enjoy the work, and those cases are the extreme...but I've been told that so far I've had it easy. I find that difficult to dispute from some of the stories I've been told. We deal with cash, so it's a very high strung atmosphere where mistrust and suspicion can grow rife if you let it; already I've heard rumours of at least two people stealing. I've no reason to believe either but you can't be too careful. I watch my every step and jump at my own shadow.

ChildLine is a different kettle of fish altogether. Tonight, as I said, I get to sit and listen in to calls with one of the counsellors. Anything could happen and I'm prepared to have to hear some disturbing information based on our training so far, although training has also taught me that a lot of calls are just "testing" the service. However the children use the service or whatever they ask, the support from supervisors and my fellow trainees is already wonderful. In fact in some ways I feel like a very tiny fish in a massive pond; for example, last night we were role playing some sticky situations and I was grouped with a middle aged woman and an older man, both with experience of this kind of work before (she on her last year of a degree which will take her into a career with child protection services, he having worked with a charity providing a similar service to ChildLine but specifically for young folk having questions about their sexuality and gender identity). Whilst none of us were perfect they seemed so much better equipped than I for this and that's a bit intimidating. Not that it's a competition at all, because it isn't, but still I feel like I could be as young and inexperienced as the children we've been role playing as in their face. At the same time, they've been nothing but supportive and generous towards me with their feedback, and have told me they were quite impressed with my mad counselling skillz.

Counselling skillz that are really quite difficult to aquire because you have to let go of everything that you hold onto instinctively when someone comes to cry on your shoulder or ask advice...but that is an entirely different blog post!

For now I really do have to get going. Half way through the week now, though who knows what next week is going to be like - I havent even got my rota yet!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Beat The Heat challenge - Week Eight

Weight Wars

It's week eight...only two more weeks to go before the end of our summer challenge and then it's only a matter of time before autumn is here...where has this year gone to?

1 - What did you do this week towards your goals?

I completed my weightloss bracelet, and oddly enough it's been a help to keep me focussed. I hit the one stone lost mark on Thursday but I think I've scuppered it this weekend with bad, bad eating of the bad bad things. I'm not sweating over it as this has become a regular thing and each time I seem to lose even more than I began with, but I must work on not overdoing it at weekends because it is obviously getting in my way. It's been a bit of a tradition that on weekends we pretty much do as we please but from the past years weight loss performance I think we can honestly say it isn't something thats worked for either of us so it's got to stop, limit any treats to Friday alone and treat the weekend as the rest of the week. I start WeightWatchers this Friday and from my research their 49 a week extra points to be used wherever you like can accomodate a Friday treat, so that should be quite easy to incorporate, and may even help keep me on the straight and narrow on Saturday and Sunday.

Going off on a tangent again now! As for my other goals, they've kind of fizzled out into obscurity. Obviously some have been completed already, but others such as work out every day for 30 minutes for a month I don't even have the time to do now before the end of the challenge. I think I have to admit that I was maybe pushing myself too far on that particular one considering I barely moved an inch for days on end before the challenge started. Nevertheless, I have been working out, just not every day! The keeping up with the chores goal is going well, the place is still clean and tidy and I'm getting rid of more and more clutter every week. I still haven't gotten round to finishing the scarf I started eight weeks ago, things keep coming up and getting in my way of being able to sit down and knit. I didn't expect that to become a problem when I started the challenge!

2 - What did you do this week to make yourself feel fabulous?

My wardrobe clearout. Which was in itself a chore and now I have barely a weeks worth of clothes to get by on at a time, so you might think well, how does that make you feel fabulous? But it was full of things that were ill fitting, frumpy, repaired beyond recognition, things that just aren't my style anymore. I mean I had a jumper that was my favourite but I'd had it since I was thirteen...and yes it fit but only because it had been stretched beyond all recognition, and there were about ten places I could see where I'd had to do repair jobs on it. Why wear cothes that make me look and feel like some poor old Cinderella?

I never ask for new clothes of my own; as much as I love my mum and dad to bits and pieces I grew up watching the arguments that spawned from mum maxing out her Evans card a couple of times (not just on herself, as I was a big girl it was easier just to go straight there for my clothes and not trapse around looking for other plus sized sections in 'regular' clothes shop...they exist now but then they were few and far between), and whenever I asked my mum for new clothes there'd be the obvious huffing and puffing and I'd have to justify every last penny spent..I wouldn't dare ask for a new top that was over £30, so would have to wait for the sales. I have to reiterate here that money was tighter back when I was a teenager so there is good reason, I wasn't just being picked on.

Anyway, the point is that I now have this issue where I just can't bring myself to buy new clothes unless it's 100% justified, and as a result most of my wardrobe (until Saturday anyway) was stuff that I've had since before I even set foot in Liverpool for the first time (why buy new clothes when you have a wardrobe full of clothes that fit well enough to cover your naked shame?), or hand me downs from my mum or even my Granny (why buy new clothes when you can get them for free?). Once again, my own limited budget up until now has been a factor in this, but the only new clothes I've bought myself over the past six years I had to justify because I "needed them for work" or because "my jeans are beyond repair" or "We're dressing up to go out but I haven't anything to wear". That last one was the reason I got a pretty frock from Ben last Xmas and I felt gutted and guilty for weeks on end about it. It's one of the reasons I have a few clothes related goals on my day zero list. I shouldn't have to feel guilty for having nice clothes that don't look terrible on me and that I actually like to wear. I should be able to have my own style and not have to wait for my mothers old cast offs and pray I like them.

But now I've cleared away all of those horrid old clothes I have room and even justification to fill my otoman up with lovely new things that I've chosen for myself and not bought because I have a practical requirement for a shirt of this or that description. I'll never be one of those women who buys a whole new wardrobe every season or a new outfit every week (and that's probably a very good thing!), but now I can determine my own style and be picky about it too. And just the knowlege that I can finally do that makes me feel more fabulous than you'll ever know!

3 - What has been your biggest challenge this week?

Keeping up with my commitments. Things have gotten hectic and this next week looks even more so. I have commitments from work or ChildLine now that mean I'll be out every day this week and not be back home until after 10pm until Saturday, when I finish at 4pm. But then Ben's mum is coming to visit so I'll be getting in and rushing out again! I think of it as making up for the very unhectic initial seven months of 2011 however. And I haven't slept so well in a long time!

4 - Do you need neatness and order to feel good or does a bit of untidiness not bother you?

Hmmm. Good question. Anyone who saw my flat at its worst would have said that obviously untidiness doesn't bother me...and to an extent they'd be right, I can function when things are unorganized. However it isn't the preference, and I know I function at my best in clean, ordered, tidy surroundings. From my own experience, I think disorder breeds disorder, and the worse you let it get the less likely you are to get up on any given day and do something about it. Take our bedroom for example...it's more like a storeroom for things that have no where else to go, and despite its small size is by far the worst room in the house. I've been building myself up to doing something about it for two months now, but I can't bring myself to do it. Next time I have a couple of days off togther however I may well bottle down to it, because it really does need it, and it's the last area of the flat that really does need to be done.

5 - Would you rather be attacked by 20 duck sized horses or 20 horse sized ducks

Having been bitten and chased by duck sized ducks multiple times in my life, I can safely say that I would not want to get on the bad side of a whole heard of horse sized ducks. Duck sized horses could be nasty little nibblers too but I'd rather face my chances with them...at least at that size they're not going to bowl me over and stampede me to death! Besides, even fully grown horses are skittish and flighty if scare them, ducks are gutsy little buggers. Imagine gutsy big horse sized ones!

Finally my positive picture for the week;

Because this just really sums up how I feel at the minute. Yes I'm finding it sometimes annoying to be in the position where I have to try and squeeze things into ever smaller and restricted time slots, however everything I'm doing is in its own way worthwhile and beneficial to me and my life, whether it be a job to fund my fun, volunteering to both help kids who need it and progress my skills and get me to where I want to be, seeing my friends and family or making little knick knacks and keeping house...I don't see anything that I do right now as a frivolous, meaningless task. Everything fits into place and has a purpose now. This is indeed a very good thing :)


Saturday, 20 August 2011

Premature excitement

I know it's sad, but Ben was talking about his novel he's currently writing and I got thinking about NaNoWriMo and came up with my concept for it, and now I'm completely ridiculously excited about it...even though it's not until November! It's in my day zero list to both win and complete NaNo at some point between now and the end of the 1001 days...which gives me three shots at.

Let me explain what I mean by both win and complete it...for those who don't know what NaNoWriMo is, it is a challenge in which you write a novel of at least 50,000 words in the month of November. You don't need to finish the story, but to qualify having "won" NaNoWriMo you have to have written the word count.

I've entered NaNo about four times in the past, but the first few times I entered late and gave up after a couple of days. Last year I planned for about two weeks in advance and started on time. I hit the target of writing 50,000 words by the 30th November, but despite careful planning I didn't actually complete the story, so I won it but never completed. I was writing a high fantasy, a nice bit of escapism, and planned on writing the follow up this year. After NaNo however I had written myself out and never went back to it, and then the computer it was on kinda died....even if I wanted to finish it I couldn't, because I don't have a copy of it.


So this year I'm determined that I shall win it again, but actually finish the damn thing too. This years offering isn't a fantasy, more a sci-fi/horror, something along the vague lines of a dystopic future but not since it's in a kind of parallel universe...I have some trepidation over the originality of the premise, but since I've only ever written for fun and not for publishing I'm not really that bothered because this is going to be rather fun to write. More careful planning I'm sure will ensure I actually finish it off too. Ben thinks I shouldn't wait for NaNo and just write it now anyway but where's the challenge in that? :p

Hurry up and get here, November!

Oh, it just occured to me that since we own a laptop now I might actually be able to attend one of the local write ins this year....ooooooooooh!!!!!

In other news I decided to empty out my "wardrobe" today and chuck everything that was either too big or small or too frumpy and ugly and not my style or that had been repaired a few too many times. It was quite an eye opener; I've reduced my otoman that was too full to lose properly, and plastic crate that was overflowing (Ben has the actual wardrobe to himself as he has a lot of work shirts that require hanging, and we don't have room for a second wardrobe for myself) to the otoman being only half full, and a hook over the door to hang a couple of skirts, my one remaining party dress, good blouses and workshirts off of (which take up very few hangers and so hang nice and inconspiculously off of the back of the living room door). I knew I had a staple few items of clothes that I wear on a regular basis, however I didn't realise I had so few of them.

I did have a plan whereby I would gradually replace all of the old clothes in my wardrobe with new ones as I earned the money to treat myself with each month, however I think I actually need to beef it up! I do have enough things to see me through a week, if I am very diligent in keeping up with the laundry and don't have a really cold spell. If for whatever reason I had to go away for a couple of weeks I'd have to pray they had laundry facilities because I definitely do not have enough clothes to see me past one week, and if it turned cold (which it is not want to do in August but just saying if it did) I'd be up the creek without a paddle. Next months priority buys are jumpers!

But enough of my prattling on about clothes and novels you'll never read. I've gotta be up earlyish for ChildLine training in the morning, so I bid you farewell and goodnight and shall be back on Monday :)

Friday, 19 August 2011


I have a love hate relationship with maths. 

In many ways, I actively embrace numbers. When it comes to setting goals, in whatever area of my life, if I can't measure my progress towards it with numbers it just isn't worth setting as an actual goal. I like sitting down to do the monthly budget and think of how we can stretch that decimal point just a little further. I like calculating the calories in a meal. I like to see the statistics of any given situation right there in easily readable chart form, then go digging around to see how it will change if x was to happen.

But I'm shit at it. I can't *do* maths for the life of me. I mean, I don't even know all of my times tables, it's shocking. I know my two times table...easy stuff really....and I know my ten and eleven times tables because they're pretty damn obvious. But the others?

With fives and nines I have coping strategies; I couldn't for the life of me tell you what seven fives are off of the top of my head but I can count "five, ten, fifteen, twenty" whilst counting each one off on my fingers (yes, I count on my fingers) until I hit seven which is...what do you know, it's thirty five. With my nines it's even worse, I use the "put your hands up, palms facing you" method where, say, for seven nines you count off your fingers from the left thumb to the right thumb, and when you hit the desired number (so for seven, the ring finger of your right hand) the number of fingers to the left of that finger is the value in tens (so six fingers = sixty) plus the number of fingers to the right, so seven nines I can tell you now is sixty three.

My three times table I know some of. 3, 6, 9, 12...and then I have to start counting...
Fours I know up to 16
Sixes I know up to 36
Sevens up to 21 and after that I throw a mega tantrum of a rage. I don't know why, but the sevens times table is just the worst, I always felt that as a child and I still feel it now. It's evil incarnate.
Eights I can do to 24
Twelves I can do to 24 also, because obviously like I said I know my two times table.

It's just horrifically terrible. I even stumble on basic addition and subtraction. Don't even get me started on division. I've never, ever been able to divide in a neat and timely fashion, unless by multiples of two.

So Ben said to me today he was so confused about my maths. We were totting up a budget together over our lunch time call and I was confused because I could have sworn we should have had less in the bank account than we do...about £20 less, which is not an insignificant ammount of money to be down. We went over the sums again, but in my head I was still right and he actually had to walk me through step by step to tell me how come actually, I was wrong and he was right. Afterwards, I got out a calculator just to double check because I couldn't believe it myself, and he was right; we shouldn't be (and weren't) down by £20.

It confused him, he said, because I'm the one who sits down to work out how much we'll be paid a month. By which I mean we know how much in theory we are paid, but after tax etc which requires some fiddling around and working out of percentages and all kinds. Not terribly difficult if you know what you're doing. He on the other hand hasn't got the foggiest clue with where to start on such a task.


How come, Bex, you can not do simple addition and subtraction...oh yes here's another confession...the tills at work have a subtotal function, but no function to say how much a customer has paid, so I often go very slowly and discreetly work out how much change I owe them on my fingers as I pretend to rake through the till for change. I've already been caught out a couple of times.

I don't know why I can't do it. I just can't. I'm just not conversant with numbers. To get my job we had to do a basic maths test online...I swear I never used a calculator, and I must have gotten the pass rate because here I am in that job.

It haunted me all the way through school, from the moment I started to the moment I left. In Infant school I used to be taken out of lessons with some of the other kids to go work with a lovely teacher by the name of Mrs Simpson. I thought it was because I was awesome and special. Well take out the awesome bit and you'd be right, I'd been put in special needs because my maths was so poor, but when we started doing other exercises, English and science and all that jazz, actually it turned out that I didn't need to be there and I was just sent back. I was always in the bottom group for maths in any given class, but in the top for everything else. It was so frustrating because it was a big black cloud hanging over an otherwise pretty spotless record. I very nearly left school without my maths GCSE...and by that I don't just mean a shitty grade, I mean I failed all of my modules and in the end my teacher had to put me (and a few others who, like me, were top of the class in other subjects but just couldn't do maths) onto a different syllabus where the modules didn't count and we'd just have to do a longer exam at the end of it (and in the end thanks to a new teacher and some really intensive study over some great revision guides, I got a grade B, which was the highest available grade on that syllabus).

Sadly my mathematical triumph was short lived when I started doing Chemistry at A level and it became apparent that my maths skills really weren't up to par. Our teacher was an old school kinda guy who found it incomprehensible that maths could be a struggle to anyone. It went from one of my favourite, strongest subjects at school to something I hated with a passion in college. I barely passed my first year after having lost all interest and stopped going to classes. I subsequently dropped it.

But chemistry aside, I was more than aware of the fact that I needed to learn how to do basic sums just to survive in day to day life, and as I said above with the times tables and certain times when I haven't instant access to a calculator I've got various coping methods but often times it doesn't feel like quite enough. And I know why I can do things like work out pay after tax...because I'm honestly not stupid, I know by heart the formulas and equations and processes to go through step by step to work it out...it's just that complex formulas are built out of the tiny building blocks of more basic arithmetic...and that's what I struggle with (while other people may struggle with remembering the bigger formulas....if that makes sense). Or to put it another way....I know the theory behind it, but I haven't the brain capactity to put it into practise.

Seriously, my brain just freezes up when it comes to doing my sums.

I've often wondered before if I have number dyslexia. I know there's such a thing (I looked into it recently, it's called Discalculia and is defined by the DfE as ‘A condition that affects the ability to acquire arithmetical skills. Dyscalculic learners may have difficulty understanding simple number concepts, lack an intuitive grasp of numbers, and have problems learning number facts and procedures. Even if they produce a correct answer or use a correct method, they may do so mechanically and without confidence.’ which is just me all over). I thought of it first because I have difficulty reading long numbers. If I'm paying for something online I have to give Ben my bank card and have him read out my account and card numbers to me. I could do it myself, but it would take about ten minutes. The sort code is no problem; on my bank card, it's broken up into sections of two.

But, you know, even if I do I see no point seeking a diagnosis; the time when I could have really done with the help is long gone and my coping strategies of counting on fingers or getting Ben to read out long strings of numbers to me seems to work. Oh, and here's another good one actually...I don't know my mobile number but because I've typed Bens mobile number out so many times I know the tone each key on the telephone pad makes, which makes a little tune, so if he needs his number for anything, I just sing it to him...which is pretty neat. I also sing my parents phone number, although their phone number has been the same for so long that I don't need to recite it to the tune anymore.

But anyhow. There's a little ramble for you. Maths, you're lovely, and you can tell me so much about the world around me, but I just don't get you.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

And now, over to Kelly

So guys, I promised you something a little different today, did I not? Thanks to 20SB I've handed the reins of my blog over to this crazy lady by the name of "Kelly" for the day, and I in return have hijacked hers. Enjoy!


Hello readers of Adventures with Bex!

I am invading Bex blog to reflect on summer as part of the 20SB Blog Swap #9 - thanks for having me Bex!

Introductions make me awkward so I'm just going to leap on into it...

I love summer! Oh boy, do I love summer. I spend the months between April and September wishing it would hurry itself up because I can't wait to feel the kiss of the sun on my bare skin again. However, like some sun addict that's been locked away in winter, I end up OD'ing on it. And in a bad, bad way.

I live in Australia, where I've heard a couple of times that our rays from the sun are apparently harsher than most others around the world, and I have white skin, very white skin.

I lived in the States a few years back and loved only wearing SPF8 sunscreen, if I even put any on; by the middle of summer I was this beautiful cocoa brown colour. I think experiencing that may have been what lead me to forget that I am not invincible to the power of the sun.

A couple of years ago some friends of mine came to visit me in the November and after the wet and cold winter we'd had I was looking forward to some serious sun time.

I took them on a 3hr trip up the coast to show them my favourite bay and the Nambung National Park; I packed a picnic, some towels and the sunscreen - I planned to put it on when we got there. It was an absolutely glorious day, I remember thinking "I really am in God's country" on that drive. I had this top on with flimsy straps and when we stopped at the wind farm I pulled them down and tucked them inside the boob tube part of the top, figured it would totally minimise the tan lines - this was the point I should have applied the sunscreen.

Onwards we went to Hangover Bay (seriously, if you ever find yourself in Western Australia head north and find this bay) where we head down to the beach to check it out; the wind had picked up as we hit the coastline so we decided not to get the picnic out there but wait until we hit the Pinnacles. I didn't think we'd go down to the beach for so long if that was the plan so I decided I'd put the sunscreen on when I got back to the car - in relation to alert levels I had reached amber, like that light was going to flick red very damn soon and I'd be in panic mode.

The beach was stunning. The water was beautiful greens and blues whilst the sand was blindly white. The boys fell in love with it like I did and decided to wander up the beach. As I picked up shells and wrote in the sand with my toes I felt my skin getting warmer and had a thought of "maybe I should've put sunscreen on?" except when I looked down I was still about as blinding as the sand (in hindsight I was probably blinded by the sand).

Once we returned to the car an hour later, I was feeling a little tender and I asked them if I looked red, Boy 1 responded with "you look a little pink". He slapped some sunscreen on me at that point and we drove to the Pinnacles so I could show them how awesome I think they are. We got out of the car a couple of times, including to have our picnic, and each time we all noticed I was definitely escalating from "a little pink" to all out "holy motherfucking Mary I feel like I'm being stabbed by millions of tiny needles". But, not being one to acknowledge how bad the damage was, we kept exploring until the rain came in; the sky was slate grey, the rain was cool and I was red, like red-raw red. Like you-couldn't-miss-it-even-if-you-tried red.

My skin tightened on the drive back to Perth. I could hardly move by the time we got home.

For the remainder of their 5 days in Perth I struggled to wear a top, thanks to the ingenious idea of removing the straps I didn't give myself any unburnt skin for my bra straps so it was excruciating pain to leave the house. Thanks to the heat I was radiating, you could've cooked an egg on me for a good 4 days after this little day trip. I could hardly wear a top, I definitely couldn't expose any of my skin to the sun for days and as soon as we would walk into the house they were having to remove my top and bra off me so I could proceed to walk around the house with a towel tucked under my arms.

We tried aloe - even straight from the freezer that shit wasn't cold enough
We tried some special burn cream - I don't even know if that did anything but leave weird crystals on my skin
We tried hot showers - Boy 1 swore by this method "hot water will draw the heat out! Cold water will trap it". Maybe it works on mild burn... I had I-should've-gone-to-the-hospital type of burns.
We tried yoghurt - some bright spark suggested that it would help, it only helped with making me smell like a carton of sour milk within 5 minutes and no one would come near me
We tried bags of ice - Boy 2 (after 3 days he was the only one who would keep trying to help me get rid of the burning feeling) went to the servo and bought a bag of ice which we then put into a shopping bag and I laid, very gently, on the floor while he sat on the couch and held the bags on my burning skin
We tried tomato - I smelt like salad for the rest of the afternoon

The whole experience was god awful. And I think it won't happen again every year except the only thing that has changed is that I make sure I'm wearing a top with straps, at least that's some sort of learning from past experiences right there...

I love summer!



Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Fairy Charms!

So I mentioned yesterday how I'd finished my weightloss tracker bracelet, just a little something to wear, it's relatively heavy on the wrist and will be a subconcious reminder not to over indulge when there are, for example, biscuits around. It has 26 little holes for charms to be fitted, and so if I put a charm on for every seven pounds off of my top weight I lose (so every half a stone) I will have a bracelet full of charms when I reach my ideal weight. It is therefore also a great way to keep focussed on both short term and long term goals. Oh, my first charm is on of course, and if my performance on the scale this morning is anything to go by, come Friday I'll be adding my second one, a happy day indeed as despite my near constant "dieting" this past year, self sabotage has meant that first stone has been frustratingly out of grasp. A happy Friday it will be indeed if I can add that charm :)

 The one with the single Chrysolite and Amethyst charm is mine, and the one with the two Pearl and Chrysolite charms are for my manager. I was explaining the idea behind it last night, and she thought it was great and asked me to make one for herself. As she has less to loose than me she adds a charm for every five pounds lost (it was supposed to be three pounds but we both figured that was a bit much).

I love the charms,  I love how the Chrysolite flowers cup the round beads. I think they look like fairy hats or some such thing, hence why I call them my fairy charms! I have already used these charms in other pieces of jewellery that I haven't gotten around to finishing off (pendants needing chain etc) and I can see I'm going to have to invest in more of them come pay day!

Away from the happy happy (prepare for an emo rant and a half) I heard some news yesterday which...well it's happy for the person involved I'm very sure and part of me wishes said person all the best (scraping the barrel a bit, but I'm supposed to be a Christian and find such charity and graciousness from somewhere) but thanks to deep seated issues that would you believe it lead all the way back to my weight (Becky knows why and so I can be cryptic as I like and know that someone understands!) I shed a fair few tears in private after a brief public (As in, in front of close friends, haha, been a while since I actually cried in public!) outburst and it's made me seriously think not only about that but myself as a person. I can't believe how selfish, bitter, jealous and, well, generally unpleasant I still can be. I thought I'd gotten past that aspect of my personality, however we are all human and imperfect at the end of the day. Ben shrugs, all things come to those who wait, and says why should we even care. Well on the second point he does indeed have a point. Why should I care? Why indeed. Why doesn't mean bull though, because whether or not there is any good reason to do so, I do care.

The great thing about being so bitter, jealous and horrid in general is that when I feel this way, hell or high water generally doesn't get in my way of proving myself better (better probably isn't the right word in this case but you get the idea, the general concept) and so, like I said, since my particular problem relates back to the weight, I find myself even more reignited than I was yesterday morning. This mornings interim weigh in too has bolstered me and given me a magnificent morale boost. When I realised I was just a pound off of the stone loss, I think I actually did a little jump for joy. So in this sense, perhaps this bit of ugliness festering away inside my brain will blossom into something really positive in and for my life.

Enough of cryptic things though (feels good to get it off my chest still!). I'm hoping (fingers crossed that everything pulls off right) that tomorrow I will have something a little different for you to enjoy. So until then, MERRY TUESDAY!


Monday, 15 August 2011

Beat The Heat challenge - Week Seven


1 - What have you done this week to work towards your goals?
  • I've lost all but one pound of what I put on over my "holiday week" with the parents. Our food hasn't necissarily been healthy all the time, but being busy we've not snacked on crap at the end of the day and this has certainly helped. I've totally dropped off on the calorie counting...I feel disillusioned with it, I've not gained healthy eating habits but have managed to gain a few unhealthy ones, which are too numerous and actually ridiculous to list here. I've plans to take up Weight Watchers for a fresh perspective and a new kick start, so in the meantime I've been very focussed on eating healthy sized portions and three decent meals a day.
  • Not sure I'll be making hand made Christmas presents for everyone as planned. Doing that was a response to being unemployed (and therefore skint) but now having a job I find I'll have the money to buy, but without the time to make...see my predicament? I'm currently aiming to finish the knitted piece I started in the first place by the end of the challenge.
  • I started my weight loss tracker bracelet last night and would have finished it except tiredness hit me suddenly like a brick wall! Should be finished today though :)  - Just finished it after this blog entry, but as I have to be leaving the house in fifteen minutes I shall show it to you all tomorrow ^_^
  • I've had to really work on keeping up with my chores, and it isn't helped that I sometimes have to run around putting shit away that should already have been put away in the first instance (like fighting a loosing battle at times) however it gets done. I officially hate cables and wires, but it gets done!

2 - What did you do to make yourself feel fabulous?

I've had a bit of an epiphany week. I feel fabulous this week because I find myself wonderfully happy with my lot in life right at this point in time!

3 - If your house was on fire and you could grab ONE thing (outside people and your laptop/computer, they are all out) what would it be?

This is a toughy. If I was thinking logically it would be my file of all our paper documents. I thought I might say my asthma meds etc but they can be replaced for free...however passports, birth certificates etc all cost a bomb to replace! However if I was thinking emotionally it would probably be my jewellery box. I don't have a lot of jewellery but everything I wear on a regular basis has special meaning to me for one reason or another.

4 - Tell us about your blog. Treat it like a book, what's happened so far?

Well it started off in January of this very year as a way to record my last few months in Liverpool as we were planning on moving back to the North East, and to create a more personal link for friends in Liverpool to keep up with me (there's only so much you can say in a facebook status!). It was meant to tell a story, but as it became evident that we would not be moving it morphed into more of a tale of personal development and progression, epitomised by the various challenges I signed up for. These are no fluffy little challenges either; it has helped me to change a few aspects of myself that I wanted to change. I probably could have changed these things without the blog, but that doesn't mean I would have.

5 - Tell an embarrasing story about yourself. No dodging.

When I was 16 I started going to Taekwondo classes. My dad had done it as a teen/young adult and wanted to get back into it to loose a few stone, and my sister had also dabbled in it in the past. It seemed like a great way for us as a family to get fitter. The instructor lifted weights as well as doing Taekwondo and he was really big on physical fitness, therefore only about half of our session was dedicated to the topic at hand...the first hour was always spent doing laps around the hall, push ups, squats, stretching, you name it we did it. It was a rigorous warm up and physical conditioning programme, and looking back on it now if my stupid local yokel doctor hadn't been an idiot and keept me on an 11 year old childs dose of "preventor" inhalor for my asthma (I was already at this point at least 5ft 10" tall and about 224 pounds - I did NOT have the body or lungs of an 11 year old child!) I could have fit as a fiddle. Either way, I was the fittest then than I'd ever been before or ever have been since.

But I was still 224 pounds (probably a bit more, but I know I've put on about a stone in weight for every year of my life so that's just a ball park figure really) with a big round tummy and a big bum, and what many call thunder thighs. I would say it was more like big bass drum thighs because there aint no thunder like the thunder in my thighs right now, but I digress.

You'll all have seen the kind of uniform you have to wear for martial arts. Taekwondo shirts aren't wrap arounds (thank God!) but they're all prety much white pyjama suits. They don't come in ladies size 20 (I think I was about a ladies size 20 then, or wavering between 18 and 20) you order them based on your height. They're pretty spacious anyhow, they have to be to allow for movement, so when my first set finally came I was delighted. It was a bit tight around the hips perhaps but nothing tragic.

Oh how I was mistaken.

All that fitness we did beforehand? After our 30 laps or so, the instructor lined us up in rows, and in order of seniority, seniority dictated first by grade (belt colour) then by age, the most senior at the front and the least senior at the back. It just so happened that this evening we had two black belts, one or two other intermediate grades then a whole army of us new beginners, so I was stood in the front row with everyone else right behind me as our instructor had us begin standing squats.

I can still remember the rip roaring, ear drum bursting BANG that sounded as my butt burst the seam of my "pyjama" pants right open, infront of pretty much everyone in the room. And let me tell you, these aren't cheap old pieces of tat. They're well made, quality pieces of workmanship. Those seams are tough as old boots.

The funny thing is that after a moment of going bright red I got over it, grabbed my hoody and tied it around my waist so as to hide my bum shame, and got on with it for the rest of the night. I think I earned myself some brownie points of respect that evening. I'm probably more embarrased now than I was then. Kinda wish I still had the same motivation I had then, the same determination. I probably do have somewhere, I just need to find something that inspires it as much as that did back then.

And finally, the positive picutre of the week. You know me, I'm not one for taking my camera around with me so it's another filched photo. Everything in the news this week has been doom and gloom with senseless riots having taken place up and down the country, ridiculous criminality, little scally idiots trying to cash in on a free pair of trainers or, infamously, a bag of tesco value basmati rice. It actually really suprised me that they hit us here in Liverpool. Outsiders (hahaha, yeah, 'outsiders') may not have been suprised, and seven years ago I might not have been suprised, as Liverpool still has a notorious reputation to said 'outsiders'. However, having lived here for five or six years now, just about every native of the city always seems so proud to be a part of it and very family or community oriented. Yeah you do get some bad stuff that goes on, people fight and steal cars and crash them into school walls and nick your post...but those are individual crimes by individual low lives that you could find anywhere in the world. To have so many people from the place group together to trash it up and make the place look a burnt out dump really did suprise me. But anyhow, enough of their idiocy, they have had too much coverage, so my positive picture is this;

This of course is not Liverpool, but London where it all kicked off. However, it would seem that these so called "Riot Wombles" popped up wherever the rioters did to clean up the mess they left in their wake, wherever that was in the country. Not paid, not pressured, just united in their common cause to put wrongs to somewhat right again. If politicians wanted to talk about communities fractured and broken by the actions of their opposing parties being the cause of these riots, I believe pictures like this show that they're wrong.

God Bless the Riot Wombles!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Six Word Saturday - Loving Work

It's insane, but I'm loving it!

Hahaha, ok, I haven't actually mentioned where my new job is on my blog, and I don't intend to because we've all heard the horror stories of employers tracking you down. It's a high street name here in the UK, although you wouldn't find families in there and you wouldn't neccissarily buy anything of use either (and despite my six words, it's not McDonalds). It is hereby known as "the shop".

It's not a testing job by any stretch of the imagination, and some of the clinentelle are less than savoury. The old men are a bit lecherous at times and the young men can be surly and intimidating. The women on the other hand are lovely so it all evens out.

My workmates are stars, and very patient. During our induction we were only really taken through things like health and safety, crime prevention in the workplace and personal security. We weren't told anything about the meat of our work, how to do it, how to use the till system and how to process our customers orders, so I've felt at times like the biggest n00b in the whole wide world. But my colleagues have shown an amazing ammount of patience In the space of a week I've learned more about this particular product than I'd done in my entire life to date, and it wasn't as if I've never had any experience at all with it.

In other jobs, particularly a certain sales based one, they couldn't spare you the time of day (even though, once again, the induction was based entirely around sales tactics and health and safety as opposed to how to actually do the job) because their own personal gain was at risk if they took any time out to help...and yet this was the meat and bones of the over all training. It was ridiculous. The same can't be said about this place, and when I'm on my first evening shift tonight (which should be quiet, apparently) I'll finally be sitting down to learn some of the nitty gritty aspects with my assistant manager.

It's a minimum wage gig and it probably won't be a 'career job' (and as much as I enjoy it now whilst I'm buzzing around in my bubbles of 'new job' high doesn't mean I'll feel the same way in 3 months time) but for now it's freaking awesome. It's probably more to do with the fact that I'm in work at all as opposed to this job in particular, but this along with some of the recent changes I've made to my life means I currently feel happier than I have done in a long, long time.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Weight Watchers, anyone?

So, I've been contemplating treating myself to a 3 month Weight Wathers Online subscription with my shiny shiny pay cheque. I know of people who have had great success with WW, but I know probably twice as many for whome it did nothing. That, however, seems to be more to do with them not sticking to it correctly than there being a flaw in the programme.

I dabbled briefly once with Slimming World and it didn't go well. I had even less will power than I do now (Yes, that is actually possible) and after the first week in which I had some initial success I basically fucked it off. Everything was on paper and I didn't like the group leader. Frankly she was a self righteous bitch, but hey that might just be me.

It put me off meetings, I didn't want to be patronized and spoken down to like just because I'm fat I know nothing about how to loose weight or stay healthy (I know quite a bit, I just have more....psychological issues/lack of willpower/issues surrounding being a lazy bones). So I've shied away from it all, and besides, WW was just a fancy way of counting calories that you have to pay for (the old system based the point content of any given food on the calorific content and fat content) and I could count calories for myself just as (if not more, since most foods have calorie content written on the packaging) easily and for free.

I first started reconsidering my attitude towards WW when they brought out their highly publicized propoints system which takes into account not only the calorie content and fat, but other nutritional values such as carbohydrate, protein and fibre. It means that fruit which once cost one or two points is now free, and foods that are both filling and nutritious are promoted through their lower points values.

At the time I was having my first round of success with calorie counting alone so I continued onwards. I got my second interest in WW however when I saw how awesomely it was helping my sister in law out. She kinda talked me round to it in a big way. However, I was a little too skint to pay out for the membership.

I'm still not thrilled with the idea of going to meetings, and having looked the meetings up I don't think I'll be able to make them with my new timetable anyhow, but I'm definitely going to give the online version a go. Having noseyed around it looks like a flashier version of MFP but with more tools (a recipe database for example). I think actually paying for it will help (Im a sucker for getting the most out of my money), and as anything gadgety gets me hooked I'm sure I'll love working out the points value of all my favourite recipe's.

The other major reason I think this could help me more than mere calorie counting is that I have to face it, whilst I can and do stay within my calorie limit I'm not eating particularly healthy or nutritious meals. I've tried to track my macro nutrients on MFP in the past but it's such a big juggle it's ridiculous, so hopefully if I stick to lower point scorring foods I'll be automatically doing that. Plus at the minute, you know, I have to count all my fruit...I won't have to on WW so I'll probably be inclined to eat much much more!

Anyhow, I'll let you know how I fare on it of course. It may be a huge waste of money, or it may be the best thing I ever did.


Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Beat The Heat challenge - Week Six

Appologies for being a day late this week, but I've been rather busy with work and family and friends and all kinds of wonderful lovely things!

Weight Wars

So onwards we go!

1.       What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals? 

To be honest this past week I haven't done an awful lot of anything in particular towards me goals. It's been very hectic and I'm still adjusting to my new routine. Not only have I got a new job but this week my training with ChildLine begins and I'm still getting my head around how to squeeze my life (for example, the weekly/monthly chores rota I came up with as part of my BTH challenge to keep up with my chores) around these new commitments.

Oh, but speaking of chores, remember this?

The corner of shame. Oh how shameful it was...

Well it is now this:

 There's actually SPACE! And see that artfully placed throw cushion? I'm getting domesticated I am...but seriousy, this is the first time since we moved in here that there hasn't been a load of crates jammed in there and overflowing with junk. We now have a suitase filled with the few books we can't fit on our shelves and everything is neat and tidy and stored away in a relatively organised manner. To put it bluntly, "I'm well chuffed" with that!

2.       What have you done this week to make you feel fabulous? 

Becky came over for a catch up. Which was lovely. It was fantastic to be able to have a friend over when the place wasn't full to bursting with rubbish, and also we shared some delicious pink champagne type stuff which was yummy, and who doesn't feel fabulous when sharing pink champagne with their best friend?

3.       Do you feel you get everything out of your life? Would you like to change things or are you happy where you are 

I'm not getting as much as I could have been by this point had life run smoothly and to plan. But what life does run to plan? The past couple of months feels like I've finally "woken up" and started doing stuff with myself. Given the circumstances, I think I'm squeezing about 80% of awesome from what I have to hand. What I want to change is gradually changing and just require us to work towards it for the time being.

4.       What’s your ultimate favourite food? Is it healthy? Can you make it healthy? 

Cheese. Or meat. Or meat and cheese collated in a great big pile of cheesy, meaty awesomeness. My meal tonight will be a home made spicy chicken calzone, which involves both cheese and meat (amongst other things!), and it will come to a mighty 663 calories. I think that's pretty healthy ^_^

5.       What do you want to be when you grow up? 

Haha, "when" I grow up? I doubt I'll ever reach that point in time!

As for my positive picture for the week...see above for my wonderful clean and tidy corner of shame! How more positive can you get? :D


Saturday, 6 August 2011

Six Word Saturday - Foodie Fail

I broke the weight loss plateau!

(In totally the wrong direction)

I knew I'd probably put on a couple of pounds this week but I didn't think I'd be back in "The Wii says I'm so fat it isn't even gonna weigh me let alone let me work out on it" territory. I'm not gutted or anything, there's various reasons, a couple above and beyond the simple "I ate like a pig last week". A little angry with myself because of course eating like a pig did have a lot to do with it though; I didn't need to get that slice of cake in Costa, I could have had fruit juice instead of hot chocolate at the zoo, I didn't have to order that second cocktail, I didn't need that large popcorn at the cinema, and when we were at pizza hut I could have probably skipped the starter since there is now unlimited free salad (which I did indulge in). There are more but these are to name a few.

Shoulda woulda coulda. But we also walked for miles each day, I pushed (with help) a rather heavy rusty car wheel accross wet sand (erm...pictures later lol). I was up at the crack of dawn each morning raring to go and absoloutely exhausted when I went to bed each night. When it came to meal times I was famished. Perhaps the meals themselves could have been less calorific and healthier choices, but I was famished before each and every one. I ate because I was hungry.

Add the fact that (TMI time boys) that I had my first "visit from Aunt Flo" in oh...three...four years...and have lost 2 centimetres from my waist over the past two weeks despite the extra weight I've added (my hands and feet on the other hand....) and I'm not sweating over the weight gain. The important thing now is to make sure it comes off again, and that it doesn't happen yet again at the end of this month. To this end I'm going to make a pact that should I feel the need to "treat" myself at the end of this month for all my hard work in earning a pay cheque, it won't be with food but instead with lovely clothes or perhaps some of my favourite brand makeup (which is, by the way, Urban Decay...that was a hint to Ben for future reference) or perhaps I'll even go to the hair dresser and get my roots done or even go and get a manicure or something...ANYTHING but a takeout or a three course meal or tons of sweeties. I've managed to make excuses the past 6 months about why I've worked so hard at loosing 12 pounds then regained the lot. This month happened to be that my family were down. No more, I swear to God no more because I'm sick of seeing the same numbers going up and down over and over again.

Friday, 5 August 2011


Aside from a brief Beath the Heat entry on Monday I've been away from blogging all this week. Partially because I NaBlo'ed in July and was sick of having to force an entry every day, and partially because I've been so busy with my family who came to visit.

It's been an absoloutely lovely couple of days, with lots of eating, lots of walking, lots of having fun. Me and the siblings went absoloutely barmy on the beach yesterday with a poor disheartened Ben looking onwards (yet still indulging us, you can't deny it my dear!).

The next couple of months look like they're going to be jam packed full of activity. I've spoken before about how basically the past year has been sat around doing nothing. Well between my new job, the extra training scheduled in for that until December and the training schedule for ChildLine (I'm enrolled on a Switchboard course next week, and the week after that all being well I'll start my counsellor training) I'm basically going from 0-60 almost instantaneously.

I would be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated by this at all, I'm very much intimidated. I've got all kinds of worries...will I crumble under the pressure of trying to prove myself in my new role whilst at the same time going through a long and rigorous training process with ChildLine and trying to fit their rigid, unflexible timetable around my new jobs extremely flexible approach to work. Will I be able to organise my life to fit everything in. I know that none of my training clashes, but given how tired I felt just after my first day of training will I be able to cope with hopping from work to volunteering and keep myself fully fuelled and happy. I fear cracking under the pressure, but I don't want to give up this chance (I've already given up so many chances and opportunities in my life). If it means I have to spend a couple of months rushed off my feet then so be it.

And besides, perhaps actually being a little rushed will be good for me. I think I've become soft and complacent and much too comfortable. I know that unless I push myself this complacancy will keep me rutted down where I am, going no where. Ben has expressed a worry that weekend shifts and training days and late nights at either work or CL will mean we don't see each other much but we've lived in each others pockets an awful lot since we got married, in fact my last job was for the same company as him and we would hang around waiting for each other after work. Whilst I am independant in my social life and he's happy for me to go spend time with friends without him, I think it's time I regained some independance in other areas. I know he'll always support me in what I wish to do, and at the end of the day we have eight splendid hours of cuddling together each and every night.

Yes, the thought of all this change is scary. It's like an earthquake, things have been so quiet, events building up to this point in time, and now boom, suddenly everything is "released" and things have quite suddenly moved forwards. But you know, it's rather exciting too.

Anyhow, I'm heading off now as I have to go shopping for new work trousers (my old ones are too big!) and food for the week (and trust me when I say that after the familial bonding done this past week it's all going to be dead healthy food!). In the meantime, a lovely picture which Ben took at the beach yesterday.

I studied the ripple marks on this very beach when I was in University...so lovely to be able to just enjoy them for their natural beauty now!


Monday, 1 August 2011

Beat The Heat challenge - Week Five

We're officially half way through the challenge now!

Weight Wars

1. What have you done this week to work towards your goals?
  • I've worked out for at least half an hour each and every day and even managed to be 0.1 of a pound lighter when it came to weigh in day. Not much, but it's something at least :) I'm feeling a tad apprehensive about this week with the family etc, however I have been exercising restraint over my food over the weekend, and so if I can keep that restraint up this week hopefully it will mean it's not a huge blip.
  • I started my new job today, so I think I can officially say that I don't need to worry about the job hunt goal any longer ^_^
  • The corner of shame is no longer shameful! However I may leave the picture posting for just now, perhaps I'll post it next week since I'm currently feeling absoloutely cream crackered from my first day back at work.

2. What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I've been paying extra attention to my appearence over the past week. Since I've had interviews etc to be done it's been important to maintain a spick and span appearence; curled hair, tweezed eyebrows etc. It's been a while since I allowed myself this kind of time to do it, and it's been lovely to strut down the street in my heels knowing Im looking slick.

3. How are you finding your goals this challenge? Do you still think you can achieve them?

I don't think I'm going to achieve all of them, but I've already accomplished 2 of them and I don't see any problems facing me completing at least a couple more.

4. Freebie! If you want to change one goal change it. Explain your decision even if you don’t change any.

I'd probably change my recipe goal to include more, as I went cooking mad over the weekend and now have four new recipe's just from this weekend alone to include in my recipe book. I think three was a little conservative, but then again I would have kicked myself if I'd set goals that were too high, especially on my first challenge.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be? Your funds are unlimited!

Me and Ben have always said we'd like to live in Canada. Nice climate (that is, not too hot! So many Brits retire to Spain or Australia or the south of France for the weather but I just couldn't cope living in that heat full time!) and nice wilderness. Whilst neither of us have ever been (though we plan on going some day!) it has always appealed and the Canadians we've met in our joint lifetimes have always seemed so nice and friendly. Plus, you know...Moose live there.