Small Succsess

Having received my Fitbit on Tuesday last week I have worn it almost constantly (with the only exception being when it made my wrist a bit sore on the first Friday night and then on the Saturday when it was on charge). While wearing ti overnight has taken quite a bit of getting used to, I am finding it amazingly useful!

It is making me so much more aware of exactly how much (or how little) exercise I really am doing! I have an office job in an office which is basically one room with only one other person in it. The door to our office is directly onto the car-park so it’s not even like we are in a larger building that I can roam around on a short break. I take less than 10 steps in any direction and I hit a wall … not very conducive to increasing exercise levels!

However the prompt feature of the fitbit is very useful in that it will tell me how fare off the 250 steps per hour target I am with 10 minutes to go. So if I get a prompt saying that I have below 100 steps to go, up I pop from my chair and pace back and forth like a stressed zoo animal for a couple of minutes. It’s a small step but I feel it is helping.

The ability to use the same program to log my food intake is also extremely useful. I have been using other apps previously but the fact that I am now getting a more accurate estimate on how many calories I am burning during the day, It helps me to control how much I eat. I am also becoming more aware of exactly what I am putting in my body and helps me to steer clear of any naughty snacks during the day!

For example, as I have been able to keep on track with my meal plans this week I have been able to log my breakfast after I have eaten it and then enter what we are going to be having for evening dinner at the same time. This helps me to plan how much I can take in during the day and helps to strengthen my resolve to resist the constant temptation of the Mcdonalds that is less than 5 minute walk from my office door! Especially after I looked up exactly how many calories are in one of their meals … yikes!

So things seem to have been working out with this! Thankfully I am starting to see the physical evidence of this in that since I received my fitbit and logged my starting weight I have lost 5lb!

Now to keep this ball rolling!

Last week I managed to stick with my meal plan as below:

  • Monday: Quiche Loraine with home made curly fries (yay for spiralizer) and salad
  • Tuesday: Smoked gammon steak with whips and vegetables
  • Wednesday: Curry with rice and naan bread (finally getting the hang of sticking to smaller portions of this)
  • Tuesday: chili sausage with roasted vegetables and home made wedges

Friday is as always a take-out night.

Next week will be a bit of a challenge as I have training at work in one of the other offices so for two nights this week I will be getting home late. But hopefully we will be able to stick to this plan:

  • Monday: Cheesy pasta with ham and roast veggies
  • Tuesday: Slow cooker beef and potato gratin (recipe by The Magical Slowcooker)
  • Wednesday: (training day 1) Pizza with garlic focaccia bread
  • Thursday: (training day 2) Fake-Friday takeaway
  • Friday: (bank holiday day off) Roast lamb with mash potato and vegetables

you may be thinking that none of this really looks all that healthy or low fat … well for me it’s not the fat content I am focusing on right now, it is portion size. Traditionally I have piled food high on the plate in order to provide myself and husband with what looks like a sufficient meal, when actually it is twice or three times what we should have. I have always ignored the “serving size” recommendations on the packaging. Now I am finally getting better at limiting what I put on the plate which is already having a great effect on how we feel after we have eaten a meal.

Fingers crossed I can keep this small success going!


Yet Another Bandwagon

Over the last few weeks life kind of got the better of us, leaving husband and myself feeling incredibly drained and rather touchy. The Motorhome we purchased needed a lit more work doing to it than we had imagined and now, 4 weeks since we took possession of it, it is still not ready for the road.

As a result of both our moods being low we have also fallen well short of our healthier eating plans. last week we had takeout Chinese on Thursday, pizza on Friday and a chip shop takeaway on Saturday followed by a McDonalds breakfast on Sunday morning! Comfort food it may be but I always find that while I enjoy this sort of food a lot more than I should, it actually makes me feel worse afterwards. I feel heavy and sluggish and just generally bleh.

Thankfully things do seem to be looking up as day by day the motorhome is inching closer to being ready and as it does, the mood improves too. This week I am trying to claw our way back into a better meal plan too. Monday was quiche and chips with salad, yesterday we had lasagna and garlic bread with a side salad and today is sausage and mash. Tomorrow we will be experimenting with Quorn kievs which should be interesting considering neither of us have ever eaten Quorn in our lives.

I have also decided to throw a bit of money at the problem and bought myself a Fitbit to try and help me focus on being active more. I work in an office which makes getting any form of exercise during the day rather difficult. My Fitbit arrived yesterday and it seems like it’s sleep monitoring system will be quite useful and today it has been buzzing away on my wrist to tell me to more my ass a bit more. It does feel strange just walking up and down the office while waiting to be taken off hold, I feel like a tiger pacing round it’s territory! luckily I work in a small office so my coworkers know what I’m doing and that I haven’t just gone round the twist!

Fingers crossed we will be able to stay on this particular bandwagon for a while.

The Shadow Of Doubt

Doubt. It is a terrible thing.

It can make a person reconsider a decision that could vastly improve their lives for ever, just because that person is afraid that something bad might happen. It clouds judgment, blinds you to new possibilities and prevents you from taking that leap of faith.

Sometimes it can be over something truly monuments, like getting married. I never had an ounce of doubt in my mind over getting married to my truly amazing husband, but I know a fair few who did feel a pang of “what the hell am I doing?!?” as they walk down the isle.

However it seems to be smaller, but still reasonably big decisions that cause me the most anxiety from doubting a decision once it has been made. Well, we are both feeling this level of doubt right now. We just bought a motor-home.

We have been wanting a motor-home for a while now, we currently have a caravan which is perfectly good but the car that we use to tow it is a total and utter money pit and hardly gets about 13 MPG. But that car was my husbands favorite toy, he would spend hours working on it, cursing at it and then grinning with pride when he finally got it to do what he wanted it to do.

But now it and the caravan has to go, and although we are gaining an added level of freedom in the form of this motor-home, we are taking a rather large financial risk.

We have no real way of knowing if this thing is any good. we know it has some faults and we managed to barter the salesman down by pointing out some obviously broken (but fixable) things. But there are still so many unknowns and now we are without the 4×4 car that has always been the workhorse in our lives.

It’s doubt over which one was the lesser of two evils. The financial drain of the car and caravan or the unknown of the motor-home.

Yes, this is a material issue and is not in any way intended to reflect against people going through much more serious situations. However to us, this is a big step and I have been going from nervous to excited to down-right nauseous just thinking about it. I’m still not sure if we have made the right decision over this particular one.

I guess we will have to wait and see …

Accidental Success

Today I learned a lesson. Ribbon blade on the Spiralizer does not work on a wonky carrot! However, while I do not have carrot ribbons, I do have cute little carrot curls which will still taste just as nice after a quick stir-fry.

It’s too bad the rest of the meal is rather unhealthy. After a very trying few days at work and a bit of a bad week last week, we felt the need for some comfort food. Enter home made potato wedges (not overly un-healthy as I try not to use too much oil) and the food-of-the-gods that is Bernard Matthews Hamwiches!

Hyper-processed turkey ham, rubber cheese and breadcrumbs mixed into small triangles of goodness.

Everyone has their Achilles Heel. Be it burgers, chocolate or *checks for people listening in* Soda.

The good news is food went down a storm!

Little does husband know tomorrow’d tea is all-out health food 😉

The Early Bird Gathers No Moss

Yes, I know it’s a mixed metaphor but hey, if a girl can’t continue a good day with a joke that what can she do?

Yesterday started out much earlier than I had ever panned it to. Thanks to a pair of particularly restless legs I found myself awake a 7:30 AM with my husband sleeping softly beside me. After half an our of staring at the ceiling being just very awake, I decided to sneak out of bed and stretch my legs a little.

After pulling on my comfy knee-high socks (to add a it of pressure to me legs to relieve the restlessness) and ambling around the house for a bit I decided there was no way I was going to be able to get back to sleep. So, Cinderella here got to work.

After a cup of coffee and a bite to eat I tidied the kitchen, cleared the clutter that had accumulated in the living room (mainly my stuff), fed the dog, fed the cat, cleaned out the cat tray and cleaned out the bunny hutch. I then tacked one job that has been on my to-do list for a long time, inventory the store cupboards and freezers.

I hate wasting food but it seems that between liking to pick up bargains in the reduced section at the supermarket to freeze for later, and having a husband who likes to change his mid about what he wants to eat, we have accumulated a vast amount of stored food. Needless to say a lot of food had been forgotten about and had regretfully gone well beyond it’s “use by” date. Now I’m not normally too prissy about use-by and best-before dates. After all, these are put in place by the manufacturers and who else would be more inclined to persuade customers to throw out unused produce just to go and buy more under the guise of ‘freshness’?  I go by my senses, if it’s anything it shouldn’t be (squishy, stale, smelly, fuzzy) it goes but until then I will not have a problem with using it. The husband has other ideas but that’s another story.

Still, the list of food items being thrown away grew rather alarmingly. Soup that was two years (TWO YEARS?!?) past it’s best before date, frozen dumplings we bought over a year ago that we have never used as all the instructions and content information is only in Chinese, chicken that had been in the freezer too long and had crystallized, beef mince that had gone a very unsightly brown and some finders crispy pancakes that had escaped their box and had been sitting in the bottom of the freezer drawer for goodness knows how long and had actually stuck to the plastic … the list went on until a bin bag full of wasted food was sitting on my kitchen floor.

I don’t like wasting food so now I have a full inventory of what food I have in long-term storage. This way I should be able to plan meals much more efficiently and make use of what we have ‘in stock’. Anything I keep passing over will be donated or given away  if it has been in the freezer or cupboard for too long. This should not only help me to cut down on my food waste, but also help with our monthly food budget too.

Well, let’s just hope we can stick with it! Here’s to a successful Sunday, if you can forgive the oversight for not posting this yesterday that is.


Pleasure In The Small Things

A vast majority of us feel overworked and underpaid. We trudge to work on food, by bike, bus, train or car, sit at a desk for 8 hours a day wondering if we are living to work or working to live and daydreaming about being anywhere else than here. A few lucky people get to do their absolute dream job, but even those people would have days when they just feel like everything has been pilled up on top of their shoulders until they reach breaking point.

Many of us suffer from the soul destroying combination of a demanding boss and unrealistic targets, yet we just keep going. Day in, day out, with the exact same routine.

It is in situations such as this that it is especially important to remember to look to the little things in life that give us pleasure. That make us smile and think, you know what … things really aren’t all bad. I try to look for something like this everyday and normally it involves snuggling up on the sofa with my husband at the end of the day and just relaxing.

Today, as I set off for work at 8:30 in the morning there was a slight frost on the ground and a fine mist in the air. I scraped the ice of my car as the engine warmed up and set off on my 9 mile commute. The first stage of my commute has me driving up the hill and through the centre of the village where we live. The main road through the centre of the village crests the top of the hill and gives very pretty views on it’s way down on either side.

Today, this view was even better than it has been before (If you can look beyond the roof of the supermarket mega-store a little further down the hill). The mist was sitting fairly close to the ground and made the countryside that stretched out in front of me look like it was a land in the clouds. A few small rises of land peeked out above the mist like small islands, the trees on their tops mysterious and faded behind the white layer to the air.

It was a magical way of seeing a view I drive past nearly every day. If it wasn’t for the need to get into work on time I would have pulled over and just looked at it for a bit longer.

What A Difference A Year Makes

This time last year I had very little concept of the effort it takes to design an invitation, let alone everything else that goes into planning a major event. This time last year I was gearing up for a trip away for the weekend with my boyfriend to celebrate the one year anniversary of us moving in together.

We were going on a short UK city break, just to do a bit of shopping, hit some clubs and just generally be away from the daily grind for a few days. Little did I know that this trip was ll a very cleverly constructed LIE, and also that I am quite possibly the most gullible woman on the planet.

I didn’t even cotton on the fact that something was afoot when he started weighing suitcases like a madman the night before we went away.

Anywho, long story short, that UK city break turned into a 3 day trip to Paris where said boyfriend got down on one knee under the Eiffel tower and asked me to marry him! Naturally I said yes, but even then I couldn’t anticipate how much of my soul would have to be poured into an even that is supposed to be about us and our love.

Which brings me on to the topic of this post. The invitations. In an attempt to keep costs down I decided to make all of the invitations and order of service booklets myself. This meant hours sat at my computer, editing images, adjusting sizes of pictures pixel by pixel. Printing a run off and then finding a spelling mistake, deciding to make a colour change, miscalculating how many invitations we would need to send out …

This stage of the wedding planning process was very stressful and ended up taking a lot longer than I ever could have anticipated.

So. If you are planning a wedding anytime soon and you look at the price of personalized invitations online, trust me, there is a reason for that price. Based on the amount of blood, sweat and the many many MANY tears that I shed in the invitation-making process, others would be going through the same things too.

Having said that, I am so very glad that we made our own invitations as this allowed us to put another aspect of ourselves into that day, and I wouldn’t change any little thing about it.