Friday, 31 December 2010

End of 2010 Report

I think it's safe to say that Minty is a bit of a bully. She found a horse about the same size as her and could not resist making her feelings known - horses should not be that small!! Raaaaf, roof roof roof.....

It's been an interesting year, that much I can say for sure.

Seeing as this started out as a weight loss blog, I suppose I should start with the end of year report on that front. It's pretty good. I have managed to squeak in under 14 stone which is a few lbs less than last New Year and 12 or 13 lbs less than my heaviest weight this year. So, no spectacular loss but no gain either. That is good news.

I was a little worried about piling the lbs on at the last minute as I've had a nasty cough and cold so haven't been able to do any exercise and there has been a lot of eating and drinking opportunities. But I haven't gone crazy and have done what I can with walks and seem to have stayed stable for the last week or so.

On the personal side, as you'll know, I've left my marriage and started a new relationship. It's still surprising to me when I see that written so starkly. I was with D for a long long time and didn't really know how unhappy I had become throughout most of that time. So making the break, while it seemed obvious at the time, was a massive step. I don't regret leaving but I am sorry about how acrimonious it has been. I know I can't expect sweetness and light but, as one who has made a life and career out of shades of grey, I struggle with the black and white, all or nothing, love/hate approach D and his family have taken.

Maybe it'll change one day but I won't be counting on that.

On the upside, Rich and I are really happy together and seem to be well suited. (That sounds a tad Austen-esque....) I have spent a lot of time with his family over the holiday period which has been fun and we're slowly meeting each other's friends too. Oh, and most importantly, my doggie girls absolutely adore him.....sometimes I think they'd rather have him than me.....

My family are coming to realise that I'm happy although my dad is still not sure how to deal with all the upheaval. He's coming round though. My brother knew all along that there was something amiss so he is pleased for me and pushing like mad for us to visit them in Canada but it could be a while before we can get that organised. My sister is plotting a trip up north soon so hopefully we'll get Rich enveloped into the bosom of my family soon too (lucky chap eh??).

On the work front, I have managed to save my job and, in the process, came to realise how much I enjoy and value it. When the money I earned was only a small part of our income, I didn't value the job as much. D tended to put me down and make out that it was a nothing-y type of job and after a while I came to accept his estimation. But, when it was under threat and when I could see how much my colleagues valued their jobs and how much I needed it, I came to realise that it's NOT a nothing-y type job, it's important and varied and interesting. The pressure has given me a new lease of life professionally speaking so I'm looking forward to the challenges of next year.

What else am I looking forward to? A holiday or 2 with Richard; lots of golf; new management at Hillsborough so hopefully lots of good football (once they find a plumber to mend all the burst pipes in the ground and actually manage to play some game there!!); lots of exercise so I don't turn into a slug (which reminds me - I must get the Wiifit set up!!); getting the divorce sorted out (blegh!); and just lots of enjoying life and making sure that the things we promised we'd do get done and that we don't settle too quickly into humdrum, everyday life and keep the romance going. That's a lot to wish for I know but if you don't aim for the stars you'll never leave the ground.

I hope you all make lots of wishes too and that they nearly all come true.... Thanks for your support this year, it's been a wild ride for me but this place has been my refuge and my recharger. Big Kiss xxxxx

Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas catch-up

Walking alone the edge there are several small springs which usually create a muddy mess to be negotiated. Not today - about 7 inches of solid blue/white ice...

Not pretty but useful. When out riding you can always follow the pylons home if you get lost...

Lovely frost rimmed holly leaves..

and ivy too...

the dogs love the frost and snow, it makes Minty especially bouncy!

Well I had a very traditional Christmas at my parents. Went over on Christmas Eve, leaving Richard behind.....and about to head into Sheffield for drinks with the lads so not particularly sad to see me leave.... We were joined by some family friends of many years long-standing so it was a pleasant evening.

My dad was fretting though as he had agreed to play the electric organ in the local pub for some carol singing. It had been sketchily arranged so he had no idea how many would turn up or how sucessful the evening would be. Also he hates playing the electric organ as he's a pianist so wittered about that too. I was instructed to sing loudly and keep him informed how it was going. It was a good job I was there as the landlord was very disorganised and pretty drunk. So I had to take over and help my pa out. But he did really well, played away and got loads of people singing away. Of all ages too, from lads and lasses in their 20's through gussied up rich Lincolnshire farmer types with their glamourous blonde wives to the regulars, It was really nice and we all sang heartily.

If there is a next year, we'll try and do more secular Christmas songs as well as the traditional carols. Whenever Dad was waiting to find out what carol was next he played snippets of whatever he could remember and the old favourites like White Christmas, Rudolph and Jingle Bells went down really well.

Christmas Day was beautiful. Bright blue sky with a heavy white frost. I took the dogs out for a walk with my camera (as you can see above) and really enjoyed that early morning peace.

Jose and I went to church which was nice. Very few children which was a shame for a family service but it was really warm and loving. It was the first time I've been in that church (where I got married) since I left D and I had wondered if it would be uncomfortable but I realised that the wedding service is still one of my fondest memories and, not only that, I have many other cherished memories of that church - being christened (embarassingly aged 10); attending with my mother, Godmother Aileen (who I loved and who sadly died when I was 16) and her daughter Elaine and trying to stop her making us crack up with her loud whispers; going to Midnight Mass with my sister and her daughters and singing the alto part with her while the girls showboated the descants. Lots of other memories there too so no reason to feel awkward about one big one.

Then cooking with the help of our guests, Jose and Helen (mother and daughter). It was surprising how well we 3 got on in the cooking stakes. A dutch woman in her 60s, her daughter and me, none of whom knew the kitchen well or how we like to prepare Christmas lunch. But it went very smoothly and was almost relaxing. Surprising considering I had knocked back 2 pints of Snecklifter bitter in the pub with my Dad and the male half of the family friends....!!

I left on Boxing Day to get back to the Valley and Richard. We went up to the pub in the village and braved the crowds for a band which always plays there on Boxing Day. I hardly ever see them as I'm usually either in Ireland or at the football but, as the Tranmere game had been cancelled for the weather, it was good to be able to get up and have a few. Like with the church, I wondered if it might be awkward going back to the pub but with Rich but almost everyone was friendly and welcoming again and even the ones who I thought might blank me were more forthcoming than I'd expected. The spirit of Christmas perhaps....

But the best bit was getting back home and spending the evening cuddling on the sofa watching rubbish telly and then staying up as late as we could manage (nearly 4am) to watch England stuff the Aussies in the Ashes!!!

Thursday, 23 December 2010

I was reflecting to myself last night as we drove back from late night Christmas shopping at Meadowhall (the giant out of town shopping centre in Sheffield which ALL locals refer to ALL the time as MeadowHELL). On what you ask? Well, I was just thinking how very different my life is now to how it was this time last year. I suppose everyone pauses a little to reflect at this time of year - the shortest day, Christmas and the changing of the year all seem to demand some marking. Most years though my "marking" musings are about relatively small differences - weight changes usually feature highly; births and, sadly, deaths; a different house or job; a TV show or 2 (tee hee).

This year I have turned my life upside down and yet it feels "right" now. It feels as though I'm now doing what I wanted to be doing before but couldn't quite achieve.

Take Christmas shopping for example. For the last however many years, this has been a task which I have carried out mostly by myself. A combination of D working away and D not being interested meant that it increasingly came to be "my job" to buy not only for all of my family but also for his and to wrap and post or deliver them. Nothing unusual there I suspect. Although, thinking about it, last year we did make a very pleasant trip to the Christmas market in Manchester.

This year though Rich and I have been shopping together twice. Once to Sheffield on Sunday afternoon and then again last night to Meadowhell. I'm not saying that Rich exactly skipped into town with massive grin on his face at the prospect or anything but we shared the task and enjoyed picking out presents for each other's families together. None of this "you do this shop, I do that one and we'll meet here in an hour" stuff .... we walked round together, chatted about options, rang up various family members to check things and seek inspiration and made our selections, together.

And it was just right. I know I sound soppy and sentimental but this sort of thing is what I now know I wanted all along; a nice bloke to hold my hand and carry some of the bags when we go shopping. So, my presents may not be as lavish as they were last year but they are most happily purchased.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Christmas is a'comin'

Yes, startling news eh? Surely someone should have warned me??

I have done some but not all the usual Christmassy tasks this year. It has been refreshing seeing what subtle changes are wrought by a dramatic change in one's circumstances. Family traditions are different for a start. Social gatherings too. The house to be decorated is smaller, the views altered and the person I'm sharing it all with different too. I'm rejoicing in the changes for the most part but struggling with some aspects of this season.

Work is a nightmare at the moment. There is just so much to do and so little help in doing it. The people around me are pretty grumpy and demoralised after months of jobcuts and restructurings. Frankly, I cannot wait for Thursday to come so I can get out of here and enjoy the break. Hopefully we will be a cheerier although much smaller band in January.

The weather is beautiful and festive and encourages much in the way of crisp walks with dogs and snuggling in front of fires and old films but it also makes life that little bit harder. Walking down the hill in the ice is perilous. Praying that the car will start in minus 15 degrees. Scraping ice endlessly. Wondering whether I will be able to get to my parents for Christmas Eve. And exercise has all but stopped....try as I might, I could not make myself go swimming yesterday in minus 9 degrees.... I tried, I really tried but my hair would freeze and I only had time for a brief swim anyway as I had a meeting in the afternoon. Also, Rich's car was in the garage so I had to leave early to get to it and get home....sigh.. Sometimes life is very complicated.

But enough of this moaning. This post was not meant to be grumpy and "complicated" this post was meant to be about the nice things associated with Christmas.

Lots of contact with one's nearest and dearest. I have been speaking to my family much more than I usually do - not that I avoid them or anything but everyone is busy and days and weeks can pass.... So it has been nice having long chatty calls. Not only that but we spent an evening with Rich's brother and his wife and his other brother and his girlfriend on Friday so spending time with Rich's family too. We went to the Panto in Sheffield last night with some friends of Rich. It was a real laugh, heart-warming, full of happy kids laughing at the same jokes that I used to laugh at and sheffield was very pretty all decorated for the season (Christmas, Hannukah and Eid...). It really cheered us up after 2 nasty days at work. We would both probably rather have gone dancing but friends are friends and I'm glad we went in the end....

Then there's the beauty of it all. The crisp snow and hard frost. Your breath hanging in the air and the sound of snow crunching underfoot. Christmas lights as you drive through villages. Poinsettia plants (I love them although they always die on me...). A pretty Christmas tree and lots of candles in our front room. (Although Rich was not impressed by my colour scheme of "traditional" green, red and a died in the wool Sheffield Wednesday household, we should, apparently, have a blue and white tree - but I don't like them so nerr....) Singing carols and Christmas shopping.

The food. I have made mince pies and a Christmas cake and we've munched through a bought Stollen. The cake has not yet been cut, having only been iced over the weekend but it looks great. The second batch of mince pies was a disaster as I cheated and used bought pastry and failed to check the pastry so made them with puff pastry!! Very tasty but very messy!!

The telly - I loved the Strictly final this year and was so chuffed that the best dancer won (IMO anyway). I always love Sports Personality of the Year (although missed half of it for the quiz last night - well done AP McCoy!! I've enjoyed acquainting myself with some traditional Christmas films that I've somehow never seen before - It's A Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz etc There's usually loads of good football on over the Christmas period although the snow may put a kibosh on that this year.

The live footie - we have trips to Tranmere on Boxing Day, at home against Yeovil on 28th December and away to Huddersfield on 3 January!! Loads of Sheffield Wednesday to feast on....hopefully they have got their defeats out of the way with a woeful 5-1 against Exeter on Saturday and we can get back to the winning ways we started on Milan's first game in charge (6-2 against Bristol Rovers in case the score escaped you....!!)

Time off from work....'nuff said.

There, I've cheered myself up. Hope you find plenty of things to cheer you up too.

Friday, 17 December 2010

What do you want for Christmas?

Last year I don't know what I wanted for Christmas. Probably some toy. In the end I got a selection of "stuff" from my family and D's and D bought me a very expensive state of the art long lens for my digital SLR camera. It was a thoughtful present based on our holiday to Botswana where I'd taken some great shots but who knows what I could have taken with an even bigger lens.

This year will be different. Rich and I will not be spending Christmas together which is a source of sadness to both of us and we have agreed to put the money we would have spent on presents towards a holiday next year. It's very sensible but I must admit, now that Christmas approaches, to being a bit disappointed. I like the buying of gifts as well as the receiving and have thought of so many things I would have liked to have bought for him.

Still, maybe I can negotiate a small gift each...

But, what I was really getting at in the title was what do I REALLY want for Christmas? If I could wave a magic wand and make things right, what would I ask for?

  • I'd like to see D losing his bitterness and hatred and learning to be happy in himself. I truly hope he is happy already but now, whenever I see him, he is so engaged in making me unhappy that I can only assume that he is still bitter. So, I'd like to know that he is happy again.
  • I'd like my father to see how happy I am now and trust in that. He naturally worries about me and, while he's beginning to see it, think he needs a bit more time to accept it. I suppose the word "divorce" is troubling for a man of his generation in itself and carries inevitable connotations of upset and unhappiness which are not necessarily the case.
  • I'd like the happiness I've found with Richard to continue and deepen.
  • Oh, and World Peace....

What do you lot REALLY want for Christmas??

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Ups and downs...

Well, Day 1 of the big push is not looking like being a stellar sucess on the exercise front! Had to cancel training because I had too much to do before a meeting this morning which was shaping up to be a nightmare. Of course the meeting was delayed so I would have had time after all and turned out not to be a nightmare so I did not need to be over-prepared. Could have gone to training....

Can't go swimming at lunchtime as kit in the wrong place due to deep stress caused by 2 hour journey home last night and nearly being late for dancing.

Can't go to the gym this evening as have a haircut booked in and will not be able to get another appointment now before Christmas. And I look like a spaniel with big curly "ears" of hair which really need to be removed before Christmas. There's only so much hair you can sucessfully tuck behind your (real) ears....

So, lets look on the bright side shall we:

I weighed myself this morning and have not gained tooooo much. Am starting the big pre-Christmas push at 13.12.6 (yikes...) I had a sensible breakfast and have not had any of the cakes currently causing the snack table to groan only a few feet from my desk.

We made it to dancing last night despite my horrible journey home. I had thought I wouldn't enjoy it because of the stress of the journey but there was a sandwich waiting for me and Rich drove us back into Sheffield and by the time we got there I had de-stressed. We didn't have any new steps to learn (which might have taxed my pea-brain last night) just practised our new waltz step and did a bit more on the tango and quickstep. It's a shame, we used to love the quickstep but the new "lock step" sequence in the middle has made it a bit tricky and now it's back to being a struggle. Hopefully it'll click next week.

I now have time at lunchtime to do some essential chores and write some Christmas cards.

I can set up the Wii and WiiFit this evening or, more accurately, I can watch while Rich sets up the Wii (well, you don't keep a dog and bark do you?) and hopefully have a play later.

Yep, that just about sums up the positives and that's not too bad for a busy pre-Christmas week. Still got lots of presents to buy but should be able to get them polished off this weekend (snow willing). Hope you're all under control peeps.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Back to Swimming Ways...

Lest the complacency I was complaining about in my earlier post set in for another week, I determined to take action immediately. We went for a walk yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and I contrived to make sure that it was a long and hilly one. It was not a pretty day, being gloomy and muddy but the walk was very refreshing and the exercise welcome.

Then today, after the unexpected unpleasantness of a nasty comment to my last post, I decided that being derailed would only be what the nasty poster might want so I went swimming at lunchtime. It took some willpower to make myself go as it is chilly and drizzling here in Rotherham but, once I got there, I was rewarded with a great lunchtime swim. It's not often I can say that, especially not on a Monday. On Mondays the fast lane is cut down from a third of the width of the pool to a mere 6th to allow a learners class to take place.....Yes, I know I know, it is churlish of me to resent them but "why my lane?" I whine.... This means that it's much harder to overtake the slowcoaches who should not be in the fast lane in the first place and who will not let you pass at the end of each lap.....grrrrr....blood boiling now....

But today, all was sunshine and roses. There was only one other chap in the fast lane and he conveniently left after a few minutes leaving me to plow up and down for 1.25km of uninterrupted front crawl in splendid isolation. Heaven!

Foodwise, I did have a small slice of cake before swimming (I was hungry but didn't want to eat my lunch before swimming) but have been much more restrained and managed to stick to my sushi and yoghurt combo without any other extras.

I've also printed off my calendar for the month of December to take home and will be recording my weight each morning as I did sucessfully at the beginning of the year. I found it useful to be confronted with the inarguable truth each morning and not allow my chimp (remember her?) to rationalise away any small gains. If I had lost or STS (see, I'm getting it Peri!), I could record the weight in green pen. If I gained it had to go down in red. That way, I could see at a glance any disturbing trend upwards. I'm only intending to stick to this for a few weeks or a couple of months just to get me back to the bottom of my swing or a few lbs down even. My main aim is NOT to start 2011 with a gain, to be a stone lighter this year than last.

I can think about whether I want to make the effort to push on downwards later, this is damage limitation!!

I've also been reading some old posts and old material from my TV show days. Reading what Steve Peters tried to teach us about our chimp and what I found helpful back then. It was surprising how much had receded from my mind and how useful and inspiring it was to read it back. So, I'm going back to basics for a few weeks to see if I can get it to stick in my brain for a while longer.

PS. I bought the Wii and WiiFit in the end. Looking forward to getting it set up and having a play. Not sure what the dogs will make of us prancing round the living room, I foresee lots of barking and whining...!!

Sunday, 12 December 2010


I have been quite complacent recently about weight and exercise matters. Because I seem to have cracked the "staying the same" game, or STS as I believe it is referred to in WW circles, I have been settling down into a nice food-lined rut. Also because I'm just so happy at the moment. But I have had a minor reality check over the last few days. Although it is great that I don't seem to be struggling with the intractable knee-jerk weight gain and lack of control over food that I have lived with for so long, this does not mean that I'm the weight I'd ideally like to be or a particularly healthy weight come to think of it.
I'm currently hovering at the top end of 13 stone, just under 14 stone. This is NOT slim!! I am naturally quite a large woman and look slimmer than this weight might suggest at a relatively athletic 14/16 but still....

Now, I don't want to upset the applecart so to speak by started a "diet" but I do want to make sure that 2011 (pronounced Twenty Eleven by me these days.....but that is another story) is the year I lose some weight and say goodbye forever to the 13 stone tag at the very least. I'd like to weigh less than Richard for a start!!

What has led me to this sense of reality/dissatisfaction? Well, reading back through several months of my own blog posts for starters. I keep on harping on about how in control I feel but how I'd like to start moving downwards etc etc but here I am, in exactly the same place, no progress downwards having been commenced. In fact, at the upper end of my 4lb "swing" I'm actually 6lbs heavier than I was when I first left Diarmuid in the summer. Nearly half a stone....
Actions speak louder than words Lesley so you had better start taking action or your words will become more and more hollow sounding.

Also, I was leafing through Facebook recently and saw a set of photos of my (soon to be former) brother in law and his fiancee on holiday in the Carribean. They are young, attractive and obsessed with taking photos of each other and are very photogenic and in love which is lovely to see. They were in a beautiful white sand, turquoise beach, luxury hotel setting so the pictures looked great and she was wearing a sucession of brightly coloured bikinis, shorts and little tops, dresses etc and looked lovely in all of them. She has a nice figure but is not rake thin by any means and I've always admired her attitude to her weight, very sassy and in control and not at all apologetic for not being a stick.

It occurred to me that I could not put up pictures of myself in a swimming cossie or even shorts without some extreme styling (for styling read hiding...). I'm only 41 so should be able to do a bit better than that. I'd like to go on holiday to France next year with Richard, play golf, go to the beach, sight-seeing in shorts and look youthful and I had better start now.

Or at the very least, make sure that I do NOT put my traditional 10-14lbs on over Christmas and find myself back where I started 2010 at 14 stone 11. Kudos to me for losing that stone last spring but I don't want to be losing the same stone next spring....I want it to be new territory.

So, what am I going to do about this?? More exercise (it has slackened off since the snow hit, my bad). Less food. I have been dishing up the same portions to myself as to Rich and having desserts more often and more fattening sandwiches for lunch and snacks at work. Treats have crept back in to my repertoire. No no no, they are not necessary Lesley! Today I went back to my sushi/yoghurt combo for lunch and it was lovely and tasty and very satisfying. I do not need the extras I had been buying.

Has anyone got a Wii Fit? Are they any good for sustained but steady weight loss?? A friend in the Valley swears by hers and has lost loads. Her figure looks more like that of a 25 year old's than the 50 she is pushing!! There is one for sale on our internal message board so might give that a go..... Watch this space.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

It's a Wonderful Life

I really don't know what either of my 2 dogs do when they stick their heads deep into the snow and there some poor wee beastie trembling beneath their hot breath??

We're walking along a road would you idea when that'll be clear!

He's getting sick of being my model but co-operating, just...

Neither Rich nor I had seen the film "It's a Wonderful Life" 'til last Friday night! I thought I was the only person in the world who hadn't seen it and was resigned to never seeing it. But no! We spotted it on some crummy Christmas channel on Sky (digitally remastered into HD too...) and recorded it for some unspecified date.

Then on Friday evening after all chores were done and while I was cooking supper (comfort food lasagne in case you're interested) Rich wandered through and suggested that we stay in and watch the film.

I loved it! I had thought that it sounded very schmaltzy and a bit sickly and the clips I've seen on the various "50 Best films" compliations have made it look a bit miserable too. But it's not. It's brilliant, well-acted, timeless, loving, thought-provoking, schmaltzy, teary and just lovely. I particularly enjoyed the fact that the only tears I shed were at the happy bits (and I enjoyed the fact that Rich had wet eyes at that part too).

So, if you've not seen it, watch it. It's great, really.

Then on Saturday, after shopping, chores and a long, crispy, snowy, cold dog walk in the afternoon we decided to have another night in and watch Slumdog Millionaire. Yet another film which I (seemingly alone in the world) have never seen. The 2 films are not dissimilar actually, both slightly darker than you expect them to be, both about love, honour, integrity and real life and both ultimately uplifting in a very satisfying manner.

What was so great for me was not just watching a couple of films but the fact that we're perfectly happy staying in once in a while. I don't have to get dressed up and go out to a pub (often an empty one) EVERY weekend. That I'm with a man who enjoys my company whether in the house or outside of it. It may seem like a little thing to most people but it's huge to me.

Sunday night I went to yet another distant away pub quiz league fixture with my mates from the old pub. Richard looked at me as though I was a little mad for going out as the snow was still quite bad. We dithered for a while as to whether or not to go all the way to Winster (which is a remote, hilly village about 40 minutes away from here). In the end we decided that, sod it, we would go.

The roads weren't too bad and me and the rest of the team were very pleased that we went. We had a really good win; the pub we were playing in was cracking, really traditional, cosy, friendly and great beers and all in all it felt like the start of Christmas. As we left the pub at around 11pm, it was freezing (minus 10 or so) but the snow was crunchy, the village was beautiful. Our breath just hanging in the air looked lovely and the stars were stunning. A proper feelgood evening.

Monday night, however, Richard and I did leave the house. For dancing of course!! Having missed last Monday we were a bit nervous about whether they had learned loads of new steps and how much we might have missed. Luckily no new steps. This was not however, to mean that all would be well. Everyone else had spent last Monday practising the complicated new steps we had learned the previous week!! Which Rich and I could hardly remember!! It was a nightmare....all those new quickstep and tango moves were just dim wisps to us whereas everyone else was sailing round the floor!! Yikes. We won't be missing another week in a hurry!

This week though, we were very fortunate not to miss new waltz steps so now we have the Basic and the "Whisk and Chasse". We're getting very professional I tells ya! Or, maybe not.... but it's great and we love it. You just lose yourself in the concentration but once in a while you feel like you're really dancing and it seems effortless. W were having such a laugh doing the cha cha cha though that we started showing off and promptly lost our place. Idiots..couldn't stop laughing...

Friday, 3 December 2010

More snow days...

The road down through the village to the pub, sweet eh? And steep too...

Rich leaning on a snow drift

Me and Minty. I know the hat is deeply unflattering but it's warm and keeps my ears covered up so nerr...

It's been a mini snow-cation this week:
  • I worked from home Tuesday by arrangement.
  • There was not a cat's chance in hell of getting in on Wednesday so I did about half a day's work before abandoning that effort. Well, Richard was sent home from work and there were walks to be had, dogs to be cuddled and films to be watched.
  • Thursday was hardly any better. The car was totally covered and couldn't be moved until late afternoon and, even if I had been able to shift it, the trains weren't running anyway.
  • Today, I probably could have made it in. The occasional train was running but there were big delays - 60/90 minutes. Rotherham station was totally closed but I suppose I could have tried to drive (didn't fancy it over the hill in the ice...) or take the train to Meadowhall and try and get a taxi from there. But the effort seemed disproportionate to the reward. Richard's work texted yesterday and said it was going to be closed today and I have plenty of leave days left so I decided early to take another one and make the most of it!
So, what have I been up to?

I was very proud of myself yesterday. I re-arranged personal training from 7am to a more civilised 11am. You'd have to be insane to get up that early if you don't have to and schlep through the deep snow and ice for a mile and a half.... But I did schelp through the snow and ice for a mile and a half at 10.30am to get there and, as a "reward" he worked me exceedingly hard. Huw said I was one of the dedicated half dozen out of his clients who had not cancelled and who had made a proper effort to keep up with my routine.

(I hope you're picturing me now with chest puffed up with pride because that is how I felt....smug, virtuous, insufferable to be honest!! Tee hee...)

Once that was out of the way, we dug my car out and went to Hope a couple of miles down the road to do some essential chores. Then a proper snowed-in session in the local last night rounded off another lovely day.

Today, Rich had to go up to his flat so I stayed and made my Christmas cake. I know, I know, it should have been made weeks ago and be sitting in a cupboard being lovingly fed brandy but 3 weeks will jsut have to do. I'm now sitting blogging in a warm kitchen scented with the heavenly smell of baking fruit cake....mmmmmm....droooool.....

We've just been for a walk and while it wasn't as pretty as it had been first thing this morning when the sun was out, it was still beautiful. Some of those lanes are so deep in snow which has now frozen that I can't see them being passable for weeks. A few looked more like footpaths than roads. It is pretty epic up there.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


As you can see, I have finally managed to upload some snowy photos. They're in 3 lots; the first are from the weekend when we had a picturesque dusting set off by glorious sunshine and an incomparable blue sky. The second lot are from yesterday when we had a proper downfall and the last 2 pics I took from my back door this morning when I stuck my nose out and snapped the "view".

Its been fun seeking out new routes for dog walking and admiring new views too. Hope you like them.

This is the view from the top of Bradwell looking back down the Valley with Win Hill on the left and Bamford Edge in the background.

This the point I turn back on my walk, the very edge of the village looking out towards Windmill and Tideswell with Shatton Edge to the left.

Its a very hilly area. There's no such thing as a flat walk round here!!

So, this is what it looked like yesterday in between snow showers.

I could see the dogs yesterday but suspect if we went out today, they would be invisible. This morning when I let them out for a pee, they hopped about 2 foot from the door, did their business then turned tail and came back in! In the minute they had been outside they were already covered in snow and looked like baby snowdogs!

This morning it was chucking it down. I was half-heartedly thinking about starting the 2 or 3 mile trek to the station and then heard a whisper on the radio that the trains weren't running. I checked the website (thank God I've got broadband finally!!) and discovered that the trains between Sheffield and Manchester are cancelled. I've not seen this much snow so quickly and certainly not so early in the year.
I emailed work and found out that only one person has made it in from my team and all of the bosses are snowed in so it's a genuine snow day!! I'm doing a bit of checking of emails etc but really it's a lovely day off. Will probably take it off and not bother claiming that I worked from home, just credit a couple of hours to my flexi pot.
Rich walked to work at 6.30am and got in bang on time (what a hero eh?) and was sent home with pay 2 hours later. It's looking like a day watching old films and hopefully heading out for a walk to the shops once (if!) it stops snowing later.
I am pretty well provisioned but don't have any spuds to go with the 2 lush looking steaks I have in the fridge and the delivery to the Co-op in the village didn't have any either....panic!! I'm also struggling for dog food - there is a pack of chicken wings in the freezer in Rich's flat but we can't get to them!! So the girls enjoyed scrambled eggs on toast with me for breakfast!!
They're now curled up so tight you couldn't squeeze a finger in to scratch their tummies
but, no doubt, once we hit the sofa, they will clamber up for a proper cuddle!
Actually, these are out of date - there is even more snow now as it's been coming down solidly for the last 3 hours! There are 2 foot long icicles on the guttering of the house opposite!!

Anyway, I'm off to the sofa now. Hope you're all safe and well and can enjoy your snow day in peace or, if you're in sunnier climes, that you're enjoying the tales of the UK's unusual weather.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Snowy working from home day

I had actually planned to work from home today anyway before all the snow hit as I had a boring set of documents to wade through so it fell quite nicely for me today.

But, it is still a Tuesday so that means personal training at 7am. And it was very very snowy. We were both up and out at 6.30am to see whether our respective cars would move having left them at the bottom of the village on the flat(ish) bit. They would, although somewhat slippily. So I found myself quite strangely sitting outside the studio at 6.45am waiting for my trainer to arrive (he, of course, jogged in!!). It was a great start to the day and I have been really productive since. Sitting in my warm kitchen with my happy doggies typing away and smirking at the snow falling through the window.

Rich was sent home at lunchtime so he's been watching rubbish on the telly and begging cups of tea (lazy beast) but we snuck out for a snowy walk before it got dark so it has not been a totally interior day. It is STUNNING out there. I wish I could show you how pretty but my camera situation is still rubbish. Chargers have, erm, gone "missing" in a very irritating fashion so I have to buy new ones. I feel as though an important bit of me has been amputated when I'm walking without a camera... oh well, I'll get it sorted along with the 300 other things...

I have no idea what tomorrow will bring work and travel wise. Hopefully I will be able to get to a train and get to work. More importantly though I hope we can get into Sheffield in the evening as we have tickets to see the mighty Madness in the O2 tomorrow night!! Really looking forward to it and hope the weather doesn't put a downer on it. Fingers crossed.

My evening with a friend and Rich's Golf Club committee meeting (yawn....) have both been cancelled for weather-related reasons so we have a nice unexpected night in to look forward to. Lamb curry methinks and maybe some baking....mince pies anyone??

Hope you're all enjoying and not being beaten by the snow. xxx

Sunday, 28 November 2010

I Heart Broadband

Now we have broadband I can blog on sucessive days. Ok, I have very little to say but it's a point of principle!

It has been a beautiful sunny and freezing snowy weekend. We were at the Golf Club Presentation dinner last night which was a riot. We couldn't debut our quickstep or waltz due to lack of appropriate music but we did manage a rather drunken cha cha cha!! Don't think we would have troubled the judges with it but we enjoyed ourselves.

It was a very late night not helped by much wine and, bizarrely, Jaegermeister. I know I know - I'm far too old to be supping Jaegermeister and redbull but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

So, not feeling in best order today. I took the dogs out for a beautiful frosty walk first thing this, erm.....afternoon.... and since then we've been holed up on the sofa watching the golf, the cricket highlights, the football and now Strictly recorded from last night. A lovely way to spend the day.

I am going out this evening to the pub quiz so it won't be a totally sedentary day. We have a distant away fixture so it'll be a long night. Hope the roads aren't too icy. It was minus 11 last night!!

Hope you've all had a lovely weekend too.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Birthday weekend

It was my birthday last Friday and I had a lovely day and weekend following. We both took the day off and pottled round doing nice touristy things on a pretty,wintry day. We went away for a night in a hotel and for a smart meal and it was romantic and lovely. Nice to have a bit of luxury for a change. It was also nice to receive loads of cards and a fair few pressies to open on the morning - I felt like a kid again. So, thanks to those of you who sent me a card - they were much appreciated.

Saturday was NOT luxurious! It was back to business as usual. Rich tells me that it is a tradition to go to the Sheffield Wednesday away game nearest to your birthday so we went down to Milton Keynes! I have been to MK before but am not, I'm afraid, impressed. I find it very soulless, something about all the roundabouts and the houses and businesses being hidden away in their little grids.

The MK Dons stadium was also pretty soulless, new and with the appearance of being half-finished. It was conveniently situated next to a giant Asda but miles away from any pubs or hint of an atmosphere. It was also, as are all these new stadiums, flipping freezing. Our feet were like blocks of ice until our third goal went in. At that point, we had been bouncing up and down so hard that we must have de-frosted!

So, Sheffield Wednesday came through for my birthday with a cracking 1-4 away win. We've now had 6 wins out of 6 which is pretty amazing. Not only that but a mega-rich Serbian (Milan Mandaric) has bought the club and saved it from the threat of administration. This is huge! We might be able to press on now and not be the useless bunch of no-hopers that I've been watching for the last z13 or so years!! Wish me luck.

Work is busy too. I have managed to save my skin in the this first round of job cuts as the only solicitor in the team. It was touch and go for a while as they could have decided that they didn't need a solicitor and saved my salary for 2 other members of staff but I am so busy now that they saw sense and kept me on!!! It is a horrible time though with nearly everyone else in the team having to apply for their own jobs and with at least 5 compulsory redundancies out of a team of 22 (reduced from 28 with all the voluntaries and early retirements we've had recently). It's a bloodbath and very sad. It also means that the atmosphere is pretty poisonous at time.

As the only person who is safe, I am trying to keep my mouth shut and my head down but not always easy.

In the midst of this, I'm trying to keep up the exercise and not eat for comfort and it is generally working. I'm hovering at the top end of my comfort zone so watching myself like a hawk. I've noticed that autumn/winter tendency to want sandwiches instead of sushi/salad and biscuits instead of fruit. Understandable but something to guard against.

Anyway, got to dash - we're going to the golf club Christmas dinner dance tonight. I'm looking forward to dressing up and having a dance. Who knows, we may debut our waltz or quickstep if we feel brave enough?! I'm not looking forward to the snowy freezing walk home though. I hope we can scab a lift....

Have a great weekend everyone and stay strong through this most difficult of seasons for dieters everywhere!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Food and Exercise

Generally speaking I seem to have moved away from the original reason for starting this blog back in 2007 which was to document losing weight and then keeping it off. I suppose it's natural as, when your weight is pretty static, it's hard to find new things to say about it and other things are happening in my life which are much more momentous. But, when I reflect, being able to keep a stable weight, albeit one which is 20lbs or so heavier than I would ideally like, is pretty momentous for me! I have never previously been able to do this.

My weight has always fluctuated daily and weekly and any loss of control or concentration or period of depression or happiness would result in a gain which would then, eventually, have to be followed by a slow tortuous period of dieting and strict exercising as I gradually clawed the extra lbs off.

Since I lost that stone and a bit in the early spring, I have managed to stay within 3 or 4 lbs of that weight (between 13 stone 7 and 13 stone 11), that's 7 months now! But I'm not consciously dieting. I try and have a healthy-ish routine 4 or 5 days each week consisting of cereals/yoghurt/fruit or toast for breakfast; sandwich or sushi with fruit and a couple of biscuits for lunch and a cooked supper but I also have a cappucino most days, drink wine or a couple of beers 2 or 3 evenings a week and occasionally pick at the snack table during the day. At weekends, I have cooked brekkies, bigger meals and sometimes drink more (although don't always). It feels as though I'm eating more but I suspect I'm not. I don't guzzle or have seconds very often, I plate up slightly smaller meals with larger because that is all I want and I seldom buy treats. I tend to make biscuits or cakes when I have some spare time and we share them over the course of a week rather than furtively buying a packet of biscuits and eating them by myself in one sitting.

If I feel a bit podgy through time of the month or because I'm at the upper end of my scale I find I naturally want to cut back and make sure that I do my exercise a little more rigorously and then my weight relaxes back down over the next week or so.

It feels very easy and natural at the moment although I'm trying to stay vigilant as I'm conscious that easy and natural can lead to slovenly and slack....

On the exercise front, I still go to training twice a week although I suspect that I'll have to cut back on that for financial reasons. I have been running a little, going to the gym once in a while, swimming a lot and going for a few strenuous walks at weekends. Ballroom dancing is getting tougher too now that we can actually do the steps. So, all in all, for now I'm happy with this balance. I would like eventually to drop another dress size so maybe next year I'll work on that. Richard says I'm perfect just as I am but I suspect he'll still fancy me as a 12/14 rather than a 14/16 as long as I've still got those curves...

Saturday, 30 October 2010


I thought you might like to "meet" Rich. Above are a couple of pics of us out walking up Win Hill a week or so ago. We did have Shelagh with us too but she declined to stand still for a photograph and delegated this task to Minty! As you can see, I have some competition from Minty judging by the adoring stare..

Settling down and reflecting

Now that D is back on the rig and I have my dogs with me, life is settling down. I'm still uncertain about lots of things: money, job, friends and my family but one thing I am sure about is that I was right to decide to leave. I have looked at photos of me and D and felt some nostalgia and some sadness but no regret. I know that he is a good man, but he was not good for me. Like milk to someone who is lactose intolerant.

It seems that, while I am a strong woman in nearly every aspect of my life, work, friends, family etc, I was not strong enough in my relationship with D. So ultimately I ended up becoming a second class citizen. And then, instead of standing up for myself, I hid away in food, drink, activities and seeking validation from other people, including other men. None of these reactions were healthy or what I needed and they ultimately made me feel worse and perpetuated the whole cycle. Finding someone who loves me for me, warts and all and doesn't need me to pretend to be what I'm not has really freed me up from all that.

I worry that I'll start the cycle again with Rich - seeking approval and hiding etc but I don't think so. I seem to be able to stand up to him and he doesn't seem to want to dominate me anyway. When we have a disagreement, he doesn't need to conquer me - can leave it as that, a disagreement. Sometimes he comes round to my way of thinking or agrees to do it my way despite disagreeing with me. I know now that this is "normal" but it was a shock to the system the first time it happened!!

D used to make me feel guilty for even daring to disagree with him. I find it hard to believe that I capitulated so easily with D, that I became such a doormat. I self-censored and caved in and was so spineless. But I'm not going to feel bad about it. Maybe it was my "fault" but there are probably loads of reasons for it. Our respective personalities; his work patterns; the fact that we met so young; my weight and attitude towards it; my relationship with my father; my chimp! At the end of the day, it didn't work for me. D says it worked for him and that we had a good relationship but I have to hope that he will find someone better for him and be happier. I don't believe that making me unhappy was what he wanted and I don't believe that he was particularly happy himself anyway.

Looking back is difficult. I don't want to re-write history. I can see in so many photographs that we did have happy times. But I also remember the truth that, a lot of the time, all we had to talk about was the dogs. That we hid in social events to avoid being alone together. That I walked on eggshells a lot of the time and that we could have a row at the drop of a hat, even before or after some of our happiest times. Many's the photo which I look at and remember what preceded or followed that happy moment.

Our house and travels (especially that holiday in Botswana and the boating holidays) are particularly difficult to work through. They are genuinely good things about our marriage to remember. We had a wonderful time on the Broads and in Botswana and I can't imagine doing that with anyone else. I hope we can build on those real things to remake some sort of a friendship in the years to come. I would like to but I don't know if he will be able to.

But I know I'm more honest with myself now and I hope that will make me a stronger and better companion, whatever happens in the future.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Our visit to the Ryder Cup...or Getting Very Wet in Wales!

You've got to try things or you never do anything!! But sometimes, you wonder why you bothered.

I managed to get last minute cheap tickets to the Ryder Cup a couple of Fridays ago. I only got the tickets on the previous Wednesday afternoon so there was a fair bit of organising to do in order to be able to use them but Rich and I set to and we managed it. Booked a cheapo hotel within 30 minutes drive of the course, hired a car (reasons for that later!), time off work, someone to feed his cat, clothes and packing and we eventually managed to get out of the door before our target time of 5pm on Thursday in order to drive down to South Wales.

We were staying a really nice little family hotel in a beauty spot called Symonds Yat between Monmouth and Ross-on-Wye. It is probably gorgeous, all steep-sided river valley, rocky outcrops and tumbling river on which there are cruises and canoe treks. We didn't see any of this as we arrived at 9pm in the dark and rain and left again at 5am in the dark and rain and fog! I'd like to go back though as it really looked lovely in the headlights!

So, up mega early to get to the Park & Ride. Eat cornflakes in bowls filched from the hotel (well, they were meant to give us breakfast and wouldn't get up in time!!) Trek across a mile of car park. Queue for ages to get through security. Meet a jobsworth of a security man who objected to our rucksacks as being a couple of inches over standard and, even when we took stuff out and scrunched them down to standard size, wouldn't let both in as it "wasn't fair" for both of us to have a rucksack!!? (While arguing about this at least 12 much larger rucksacks sailed past us allowed in by less contentious guards.....sigh....) Queue again for the left luggage for an EMPTY rucksack. Explain the reason for this to the incredulous man at the left luggage. Queue again for security. Queue for the shuttle bus.

Arrive 15 minutes late at the course. Walk a mile in the mild, dry morning air. Walk onto the course and try to get bearings. Rain starts. Put up umbrella. Watch Lee Westwood hole a birdie put on the 2nd to go 2 up through a sea of umbrellas. Watch most of the third while standing on tippy toes on a muddy bank. Decide to get a good spot further up the course to watch all 4 fourballs go through.

Trudge through the mud to the 6th. Find a great vantage spot to watch the drives coming up the fairway and the 2nd shots on to the green as well as being able to see the putting and any bunker shots! Leave Rich guarding the spot and trudge through deepening mud to a concession stand where I pay 4 quid for 2 tiny coffees (I thought those cups were for the espressos!!). Trudge back getting splashed by red mud up to the hips by a group of yank WAGs on a buggy (honestly their make-up was an inch thick!!!).

Stand waiting in the rain watching ducks actually swimming in the puddles on the fairway. Watch with delight as our plan comes together and the first group plays their drives and we have a great view of their approach shots. Watch with dismay as the course umpire approaches them and, after some consultation, stops play.

And by 9.45am, that was it. We saw about a dozen golf shots. Got drenched and covered in mud. Bought a souvenir pitchmark repairer each for a fiver (!) in the Merchandise Stand. Ate our sandwiches sitting in the stands under an umbrella with the rain dripping off in floods all around us (I've always wondered who those people are when I see them on telly, now I know!!). Eventually, after another hour long deluge between 1 and 2pm, we gave up.

We knew there would probably be some play later but not until 5pm and by that time we would be really cold and still have an hour and a half to get back to the car and then a 4 hour drive home and just couldn't face it. So we listened to the radio and heard John Inverdale waxing lyrical all about the players wearing shirt sleeves and the beautiful lilac sunset and the lengthening shadows on the course etc etc ... while grinding our teeth remembering the morning of low cloud which hid the view and the waterlogged bunkers and greens.....

It was heart-breaking.

But, but but but, despite all that, we still had a good day. We walked the course so when we watched the rest of the match on Sky we knew what the holes look like and could appreciate the choices and the difficulty facing the golfers. We were together and didn't whinge or moan or blame each other for coming to see it even though we knew it would rain.

There was no sulking or moaning, just lots of kissing and cuddling under an umbrella, laughing and joking with each other and the other fans and making the best of a sorry situation. And we ate stuff but not a huge amount - no consolatory overpriced burgers or do-nuts, only one very expensive pint of bitter. Just the sandwiches and fruit and treats I'd packed for us and not all of that. And, when you think about all the walking/trudging in the cold and mud, I'm sure I walked the pint off......

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Ballroom Dancing

Just a quick post to let you know what fun we had at our first ballroom dancing class! It was great, really funny but entertaining and interesting too. I love learning new things and to be learning a new physical skill in a sociable setting with Rich was brilliant.

There were about 20-24 couples and the studio was big and plush so didn't feel seedy or embarrassing or anything. The studio is owned by Darren Bennett and Lilya Kopilova of Strictly Come Dancing fame and our class was taken by Darren's dad!! He was excellent - funny, patient and very thorough.

We tackled 2 dances - the cha cha cha and waltz - and learned the one basic step of each dance. So, that is 30 minutes to master each step!! Seemed rather slow to me but I pick up routines and steps quite quickly. There were plenty of people who clearly needed the slow approach... I'm not complaining anyway, the longer you take, the more it will sink in and presumably the easier it'll be to go on to learn more complicated steps.

Rich was doing really well on the cha cha cha (I keep hearing Craig Revell-Horwood saying "char char char darling....") but struggled a bit with the basic waltz step. He'd be going on fine and then get the wrong foot and lose it! We giggled so much though, it was hilarious. And there were moments when we felt as though we were really dancing, floating along doing a waltz, looking into each others' eyes rather than at our feet - then we'd crash into some other poor hapless couple and bump back to earth again!!

It was so nice to try something new and be willing to make fools of ourselves. Very liberating.
After class we had a quick drink with another couple from the class in the pub next door which happens to be the pub I drink in before Sheffield Wednesday games on Saturday afternoons! The landlord was really taking the mick out of me!! Threatening to "out" me to the football locals etc etc Which is nothing compared to the micky taking that will hit Rich in the golf club this evening after I accidentally on purpose told my friend about our dance classes knowing that her husband is a fellow committee member down there!!

So, we will definitely be going back. I don't know how good we'll get but we really enjoyed it. And hopefully it will eventually be good exercise. It was a bit slow this week but, as we get better, we'll fly round I'm sure. Can't be bad.

PS. It wasn't quite as comical as your Country Dancing class Beth/Peridot - I still giggle when I think about that.....

Well, as you might have guessed, the above was prepared after our first class a week last Monday but, due to cyber issues, I didn't post it. Now, having had a think about what I'm going to do about the blog, I've decided that I will carry on posting and talking about my life. I'm not intending to be airing dirty linen in public as details of someone else's divorce are pretty damn dull but think that there is plenty of food and exercise and life type stuff happening which I still want to chat about.

As an aside, I might start a Divorce Blog - are there such sad things out there?? Must be. It would be a place where I could weep and moan and gnash teeth and vent bitter spleen if required without infecting my usual prevailing mood of positivity and optimism.

We went back for ballroom/latin dancing class number 2 last Monday. It was even better than the first. We were much more competent at our 2 basic steps and actually learned a third - the tango. We managed much longer spells of dancing in hold to actual music so it felt more natural and fluent. I know we're going to love it. At one point, as we were tackling the tango (not to be confused with the Argentine Tango - flicking legs and jumps etc) I caught sight in the mirror of the 2 of us speeding round the floor and thought - "Wow! We're actually dancing!!"

The couple we met last week brought another couple along and so the 6 of us and another couple joined us in the pub afterwards. It was such a lighthearted atmosphere, everyone brimming full of enthusiasm for the class and for learning something new. I loved it. I'd say all 8 of us were in our 40's (maybe heading for 50 in some cases) but we were giggling like teenagers. Although maybe that is wrong - teenagers are far too concerned about being "cool" and not embarrassing themselves to be going ballroom dancing!!

So, there is plenty of stress, tension, anger, angst and downright criminal damage going on (Rich's car has been trashed on 3 separate occasions now - yikes!). But there is also fun, laughter, hope, love and, most important of all, potential.

God - time flies when you're having fun! We should have been to class number 3 on the Monday just passed but, after a difficult day emotionally, we decided to stay in and watch the highlights of the final day of the Ryder Cup instead. So, we'll have some serious catching up to do next week! Thank God that the Europeans pulled through - the mighty G-Mac justifying his pick as the guy bringing up the rear. It was nail-biting but the best contest I've seen for years!!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

What I'm thinking is....

That I'm going to carry on as I am and just moderate comments. Trouble is, I have 3 posts typed up and ready to go but very intermittent internet access at the moment so can't get them posted. So bear with me peeps, I'll be back soon. And your lovely comments and support have been great and have meant a lot to me.

In the meantime....keeeeeep dancing!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


In my optimistic world, I hoped that this place would be my safe place to explore my side of the story. After all, that is what a blog is, one person's diary, not an attempt to tell the unbiased truth from all sides (which would be impossible in any event). Unfortunately that has not proved to be the case. I suppose these times are hard on everyone and I should have been more pessimistic.

So, comments are now moderated and I'll be self-censoring until I decide what to do, whether to go private or set up another blog or just disappear.

Sorry to everyone who used to enjoy this blog for the weight and food chat, the photos and dogs and the snippets about my dull country life - I now apparently live in a soap opera - I had hoped it would be like a Joanna Trollope novel but it is turning out more like Shameless.....sigh..... I hope one day to return to a happy country life with dogs and events, football and golf, weight and exercise woes and triumphs.

PS, I typed a lovely post earlier about ballroom dancing last night - won't post it just yet but it was fab, we loved it!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Longstanding food issues

One thing that was very apparent to me while I was back with D for those 2 weeks of trying to reconcile was my desperate need to eat for emotional reasons! I have felt that urge before but never as strongly or as clearly.

After the first few days when I was crying nearly all the time and couldn't eat (and lost 2-3 lbs) I became ravenous. I would find myself standing in the kitchen thinking about what I could eat. It felt as though I had a physical pain or hole in my chest and only food could subdue it. I have heard emotional eating described in these terms but never experienced it as starkly myself. I bought biscuits and cakes and ate round after round of toast; we went out for posh meals and ate out several times and, inevitably, I gained 5 or 6lbs in 2 weeks!

Then, when I decided that nothing would be served by staying and trying to reconcile, I stopped eating. Well no, I didn't stop eating as such. I just stopped that sort of eating. I went back to what I had started to do over the last few months - "normal" eating!! It felt so easy. I eat when I'm hungry and pretty much what I feel like and I stop when I'm not hungry. My weight has since gently decreased so I'm now back down to 13 stone 7 and falling...

This must tell me something - perhaps that a lot of my past food issues have been to do with the fact that I've been in the wrong relationship. I didn't feel accepted so I ate for comfort even though I didn't recognise that that's what I was doing. As soon as I felt loved and accepted for who I am, I lost that fear of food and the corresponding need for it.

That's not to say that I can relax totally on the food front. This last weekend has shown me that. Rich and I had a really good weekend but a very busy one. And, as I'm currenty staying with friends so don't have a stocked kitchen to fall back on, we did a lot of grabbing food on the run and eating out. So - fish and chips after golf on Friday; a restaurant curry on Saturday and a full English breakfast on Sunday as well as a few beers, wines and some cider!!! Perhaps not the virtuous weekend of moderation one might hope for?

But no harm has been done. I played golf on Friday, went for an hour and a quarter's hilly run on Saturday followed by an afternoon painting a shop and a walk on Sunday. And this morning I'm straight back to my normal healthy eating - muesli, sushi, fruit etc.

And the joy of playing golf with your boyfriend (and his brother), sharing a couple of early evening drinks in the club then picking up fish and chips and having a quiet night in!! I know this is what nearly everyone I know does (well, not the golf obviously) but for me it was just heaven. Not worrying about eating fish and chips in front of him, not bargaining with myself about having to work them off, not feeling judged. Yeah, heaven.

It also helped the next morning as, instead of feeling that I HAD to go for the run and resenting it, I was actively looking forward to going out running and ended up going much further and higher than I'd planned because I was enjoying the run for its own sake not as a means to an end. Hopefully this means that I'll gradually lose another stone or so over the next few months but, if I don't, I know I'm happy (and fit and healthy) as I am and Rich is happy too.

In other news, we're really looking forward to our first dancing lesson this evening - ballroom and latin at Darren and Lilya off Strictly's dance studio in Sheffield - can't quite believe it to be honest. There may be photos one day but not until we're halfway decent!!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Full Disclosure

Well, you know that me and D have split up and those of you with whom I'm in email contact know that I've been seeing someone else both before I left D and now. I don't know why I didn't mention him in the blog once D knew about him. Not out of shame for sure as this blog is my arena which I'm happy to share but which, for me, has primarily always been a place to explore and record how I'm feeling. While it's great to have "met" so many great people, I know that not everyone will agree with everything you do so I'm happy to accept the love and support you get from a blog and skirt around the occasional brickbat.

But it didn't feel right writing only half the story either.

So, I've been seeing Richard (Rich, Tatts) for the last few months since March. It started (as these things do) as a fling which made me feel good about myself while I was in a pretty bad place. Not big, not clever... Then it rapidly developed into something more. I developed the habit of writing emails to myself about our relationship as I couldn't talk about it to anyone and, looking back over these, I can see that I fell for him (and he for me I thought) very quickly. He made (makes..) me feel special, valuable, attractive, like I matter. Now, I know that that is what affairs do - that they're not "real" etc etc but what I took from it was the strength to think about a new life and what was important to me. The confidence that, if he valued me, so would others and that I didn't need to stay where I was, apparently unvalued and unloved but secure and financially stable!

Going back to the stuff I learned on the TV show, my chimp had been very insecure and desperate to hold onto D because that is how female chimps are programmed. The fact of Rich showed me something different - that I could be fine on my own (ironically!). It took away my fear and allowed me to focus on what I want out of life.

After various chapters of to-ing and fro-ing, I've left D and we're starting on the divorce merry-go-round and I've gone back to Rich after a brief hiatus. It's weird, to be able to be so happy and excited on the one hand and so sad and worried on the other. It's terrible seeing D unhappy and knowing that I am responsible. It's terrible feeling scared about money and jobs and knowing that my safety net has gone. But it's great to feel that I'm taking responsibilty for myself for a change. It's great that I have potential now. And it's great that I'm so excited about the future.

And it's fun with Rich - I want to gush and be in love, but because of how and when it happened I have to be more circumspect. We're well suited though - he sits next to me at the football and has done for the last 13 years (throughout that time, absolutely not a flicker between us - weird!); he plays golf so we often play together; he likes hillwalking and we've had some brilliant day long hikes with the dogs; he likes staying in watching films or rubbish TV with me and a glass of wine; he revealed over the weekend that he wants to learn to dance (proper ballroom stuff) so we're starting dance classes together next week!!!; we can go out or stay in and we so often suggest the same things to each other or text each other at the same times that it's getting spooky. He's 42 and single with no kids....phew, no more complications than the ones I have created!!

So, that's why I'm so excited (and conflicted). I'm trying to take it slowly and not rush into anything while going through the trauma with D. Mutual friends are going to be a problem. In a small village and valley like this one EVERYONE knows EVERYTHING. I'm trying to lie low and not be confrontational which leaves D out there telling everyone what a cow I am!! Still, I can't deny that I was the unfaithful one and many people will condemn me for that, fairly too. But, I can't ignore the last 10 years and I can't ignore how I feel now.

So, there you have it. Not comprehensive as there are too many nuances for that but as warts and all as I can manage....

Friday, 10 September 2010

All change please!!

Well, the attempted reconciliation lasted a mere 2 weeks. For me it felt wrong from the start and I couldn't keep it up. Feel terribly sad that a 22 year relationship has gone down the swanee; awful that I've hurt D who I still love and care for, just not in that way but convinced that I've made the right decision for me and excited about the future, whatever it holds.

when I went back, it didn't feel like the right decision, right from the start and I just felt I would have been flogging a dead horse and probably hurting D even more.

Anyway, am at lovely kind friends at the moment but have found a sweet cottage to rent (near where you and Mr L stayed that time in Bradwell Mrs L if you're reading this!!). It's newly refurbished so clean and nice but unfurnished so will need a bit of work to get me in!!

Weight and exercise not been a problem - eat healthily and exercise in moderation!! Amazing! Weight still in the same zone as it has been since March, currently 13 stone 8. Went swimming today, training on Tuesday, golfing Wednesday and walks planned over the weekend.

I can't quite believe it - thought I would have succumbed to comfort eating by now at least! How much better an excuse does one get??!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Second chances

Me and D are giving it another go. It's difficult but worth another try. Misery diet is going well too - down to 13 stone 5lbs now which is the first time I've hit that number since we finished filming last summer!

I couldn't eat for quite a while but seem to be back onto food now and now the stress is making me ravenous. Still, I've stuck to the exercise, went for a run this evening. 4, maybe 5 miles and I made it up the hill which I've been avoiding. I was meant to be running 3 miles and meeting D and driving him home from the pub but our messages got mixed up so I ended up having to run home too!!

I'd like to go into more detail but it's a bit painful at the mo and D reads this blog too so better keep schtum for now.

Sorry this is dull. Will try again later....

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Thanks Sian!

I can't post back on yours obviously but just wanted to say - thanks for breaking your silence - what you said and the fact that you said it really touched me and really helps!!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Thanks Claire for the Hope Award. I'm dim and couldn't work out how to get the pic up. Tried copying and pasting but ended up with a load of text but no pic.....I repeat - am very dim in the IT sense.

So, I have to blog about something that I'm happy about now (something that makes me smile) and something that gives me hope for the future. A bit of a challenge for a woman who has just told her husband of 16 years that she wants to split up! Note I can't even now use the D word...

But probably even more worth the effort now than when things are going well. I could do with seeing what good stuff I have going on right now, now more than ever. So thanks Claire for the big challenge.

So, what am I happy about right now? What puts a smile on my face? Hmmmm, smile - what dat?

I'm happy in a non-smiley way that I've finally had the guts to do something about my relationship with D. Yes, it has been to end it but that is something. I now have the potential for a better life. Before, when I did nothing, I had no potential. Any goodness was by-product or chance.

Now, if D and I are able to work through this, it will be for a better relationship. If we do not, I have a chance at something better and, equally importantly, so does he. So that makes me happy although not particularly smiley.

As an aside, I'm perpetually smiley about my dogs. They've just had a hair cut and are looking very cute. A cuteness which belies their wolflike natures. I heard today from the dog walker that Minty (yes, sweet 2 year old Minty!) killed and ate a baby rabbit while out on a walk today. That shouldn't really make me smile either but hey - I'm blind when it comes to my doggie girls...

So what gives me hope for the future? I have my health and am fit and strong. This is such a huge change from a few years ago when I was nearly 20 stone and although health-ish, tired easily, hurt a lot and had little energy. Now I have loads of energy, the mental strength which goes with fitness and a joie de vivre which I used to only think I had. So, I have tons of hope for the future, cos I know I have the strength and energy to tackle whatever comes my way and the general chirpiness to enjoy whatever I can!!

So - once again, thanks Claire for making me say out loud - THINGS ARE NOT SO BAD!!! THEY'RE PRETTY GOOD REALLY!!!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Well, that's that then

Me and D have split up. I told him when he got back from the rig this lunchtime and he seemed to take it surprisingly well. It's a relief to get the actual doing of it out of the way but I know there is a lot of pain ahead of us.

Couldn't eat a thing this morning waiting for him to get home - felt sick with nerves but am ravemous now after a 3 hour walk on an empty stomach!!

We've been together 22 years so it's been a pretty tough decision.

Wish me luck peeps. xxx

Wednesday, 11 August 2010


Me and my pal Eric at a party during carnival week.

I pondered over my last post, especially the last 2 paragraphs. If I'm so balanced now, surely now is the time to make a few small adjustments and actually make a little bit of progress in a downward trajectory?? Why am I putting it off? So, I've decided to, in a cautious, limited manner, implement Operation Sexy Lady Golfer! I don't know if you've ever watched the Ladies' Pro Golf Tour but a lot of those girly golfers are HOT! I think I could stand to get a bit more weight off so I'm going to give it a go rather than treading water.

But, but, but, but, I'm not going to undo the good stuff which is going on. I'm not going to obsess about it; not going to beat myself up when I slip; not going to set ambitious targets and deadlines. I'm happy as I am but want to, over time, get slimmer and fitter.

So what Does Operation Sexy Lady Golfer (OSLG) consist of?? Hmmmm, not sure. Lets have a think.
  • No biscuits or cakes at work. There has been a veritable biscuit mountain here over the last few weeks and months and it is getting beyond a joke. I have previously managed to avoid it without problems but have got in bad habits. Before I know it, a couple at lunch has become 3, becomes 4 etc etc. Empty calories.
  • Daily weigh-ins (which I do anyway) and writing the results up on my chart in the kitchen for accountability.
  • Exercise 6 days out of 7 and reinstate some weekly runs and bike rides, both of which have mysteriously disappeared from the schedule....
  • Rein in the booze a bit and have a few more salads and a few fewer big meals
  • Go back to your muesli and fruit breakfasts. You like them but seem to be eating all sorts for breakfast now - toast, bacon and egg, crunchy nut cornflakes. Breakfast is an important start to the day for me and sets the tone so get back to basics for a while.

That should be enough for starters. I'll monitor how I'm getting on and get more savage with the cuts as and when I feel the need. Could still lose my morning cappucino and go heavier on the booze cuts but will start gently for now...

Monday, 9 August 2010

Treading water but that's good thing

As you will know, I've been going through a pretty torrid time emotionally over the last few weeks and months and work is also precarious. It seems that every few days we have another briefing about how dire the Council's finances are and how cuts and redundancies are inevitable. So, forgive me, but my mind has not been fully focussed on diet and exercise. But the really good thing from my point of ivrew is that, despite little attention, my body seems to have found an equilibrium. I have been going out, eating and drinking without major reining in and only exercising when it suits me to yet my weight has stayed within the same 4 lbs for the last 3-4 months. A high of 13 stone 11 and a low of 13 stone 7. Mostly square in the middle.

On the plus side, I'm semi-consciously having slightly smaller portions and cooking food in a healthier way. On the down side, I've had more booze and biscuits in the house over the last few months than I would ever have had before. But the strange thing about having biscuits and cakes etc in the house, is that I'm not totally desperate to eat them!! This is a new phenomenon for me!! I have had a packet of Werthers Originals unopened in the house since Friday and have not been tempted. The last pack I bought lasted me over a week (the small tube packets). I bought a millionaires shortcake from a local cafe as I knew I would be playing golf and thought it'd be a nice mid-round treat. Forgot to put it in my golf bag and haven't touched it since (although I suspect it may be taking a hammering this evening or it'll dry out!).

Items of food which would normally be hoovered are eaten sparingly if at all. It's very strange. Crunchy Nut Cornflakes is a good example! They would previously been a product coming with a MAJOR warning label: "Warning - Lesley - Purchasing this packet will result in you eating up to 3 big bowlfuls in quick sucession and using up all your milk!". Bought some on Friday and had a moderate bowl for my breakfast this morning. Not only that, I was going to have a bowl yesterday but then deicded I fancied fruit (strawberries, blueberries and a banana) with yoghurt and a sprinkling of muesli instead. And not only that, I actually moaned with pleasure at the yoghurt and had no pangs about the Crunchy Nut cornflakes.

Okay, who are you and what have you done with Lesley??!

So - I'm really trying to be kind to myself at the moment. And by that I do NOT mean stuff my face with foodie treats. I mean not: setting over-ambitious goals; beating myself up for still being over 13 stone; worrying if I have to cancel exercise or if I go for a walk instead of a run; beating myself up if I buy or consume food or alcohol that I don't strictly need. And as a result, I'm finding that I'm keeping in balance and have at least one less thing to worry about.

Having said that, I haven't forgotten my long-term goals. I saw a woman playing golf the other day who I know but who I hadn't seen for a while. She's a few years older than me, so around 45, very wealthy lady of leisure type but pretty nice and down to earth despite that. She has really prioritised her golf so she's good (cow!) and when I saw her she looked amazing! A slim, shapely, sporty, athletic figure wearing nice modern golf garb (there is such a thing believe me - it's not all Pringle sweaters and plus fours any more!!). I was jealous. Started to do the whiney beating myself up thing.

Then I thought - "there is no reason why I couldn't be that nice looking!" She's probably a size 12, similar height and shape as me. I'm an athletic 14/16. If I lost 2 stone my figure would be every bit as nice as hers (and I wouldn't have frosty dyed blonde hair.....miiiaaaow!). And the thought was empowering, not depressing. At the moment I'm not CHOOSING to make that extra effort to get down to that size and shape but I can do it and hopefully will do it, as and when it is my priority.