Saturday, 27 February 2010

Hello again

I'm not hiding, honest. I've been ill with a sickness bug that has been going around. And what with that, work going a bit mad and visits to my parents etc (from whom I caught the damn bug!), it has been very hectic.

Anyway, D is home now and we're off to Cheshire to see his brother and fiancee and watch the England/Ireland rugby game.

But I will return.

Have a lovely weekend all.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


I knew there were some photos I hadn't posted! These are from a pre-Christmas walk around the Chatsworth Estate, starting in Baslow. The houses with that shade of blue trim are all owned by the Estate.

Alpaca or Llama??

The Chatsworth Estate's tribute to the Queen's Golden Jubilee

A rather bleak looking field and farmplace with cow eating the remains of a cabbage crop - even LL is better than that!

A fellow ginger for Peridot!

A good ruin always helps a view I find.

I also like a nice walled, muddy country lane.

I was struck by this farmplace, hidden away in the fold of an icy valley, only accessible by a long track. It's a nice place but would I want to live there? Even a country girl like me would probably conclude, no.

Spot the odd one out!

The church spire of Edensor peeking out.

The handsome village of Edensor (pronounced En-ser) is owned by Chatsworth. Apparently the original village was not pretty enough and spoiled the view from the big house so they knocked it down and built this rather strange pastiche of Italianate/Derbyshire buildings. I don't think I'd like to live in Edensor - no pub and thousands of tourists. Nice church though!

Sheet ice on the footpaths as I recall.

I managed to cut the scaffolding out of the picture so this is Chatsworth House with the Cascades in the centre.
Walking through the grounds alongside the River Derwent.

Then back to Baslow

I love the fact that I have flexi time at work. So I can work slightly longer hours than contracted for and then take a flexi day each month. Today is my February flexi day. Normally I would take it while D is around but I got caught out by the short month and noticed that he's not back 'til Friday 26th by which time February will be over!

So, as it's half term, my friend was childfree (they're staying at granny's) and I went over to Glossop last night for supper out at her favourite restaurant (Dowds in case you're local) and then on to a pub quiz. She had invited another friend of hers from Uni who I've come to know over the years and we had a really nice evening catching up. I stayed over as it was late and the Snake Pass was snowy so moved personal training to 11am.

How civilised the world is when you're not racing to work and back. How relaxed and pleasant. Getting up naturally, having a calm, unhurried breakfast, a traffic-free drive through snow covered hills, moors, valleys and forests followed by a mid-morning workout. This must be what it's like for all those women at the golf club who don't work but who either don't have kids or whose children are grown. I could do this.

Anyway, a shower, spot of lunch and then off to my parents for an unscheduled visit because my brother is over from Canada for a few days. He's been made redundant so he's heading up to Aberdeen to meet some contacts and see what he can rustle up. He doesn't seem overly concerned so I presume he's confident of finding something soon. I'm looking forward to seeing him as it's quite rare really.

I have every intention of being restrained on the food front and don't seem to be finding it too difficult at the moment and should be able to fit in a run or long walk tomorrow.

Byee, from the (temporary) Lady of Leisure!!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Rest assured....

I'm not starving myself. I just wanted to do one particularly frugal day to make the point to myself/my chimp that that a bit of hunger is not the worst thing in the world. Beck had an exercise which I found helpful which invovled missing a meal and recording how it felt. This is something similar.

As we know, a lot of eating is nothing to do with nutrition and, although I feel I've broken lots of links between food and emotion, I also found it helpful to remind myself of the fact that food is fuel, not an emotional crutch.

So, after Monday I have increased my intake and feel much much better, both for increasing it after my wobbley Tuesday morning but also for cutting it back after the excesses of the weekend.

Do you find that? That eating less can energise you? I do but wish I would remember that when I'm about to stuff something unnecessary into my chops and then feel dismal and lethargic afterwards!!

Anyway, this is going to be a very quick post as I'm under orders to get over to Glossop before 7pm and the Snake Pass is going to be snowy!! What is it with snowy Wednesdays?? I may be turning back if it's bad when I get up top, dinner with pals is not worth getting stranded for!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Pushed too hard but learned some lessons..

So, yesterday was the first day of my self-imposed "Home Bootcamp". It was the first instalment of my 'the-sky-won't-fall-in-just-because-you're-a-little-hungry' lesson. And it went very well. I had a small cereal breakfast, no snacks, no cappucino, soup for lunch, no snacks, soup for supper and a tiny piece of fruit cake after the gym. Plenty of water and tea with skimmed milk and sweetener but not much else. It was all about reminding myself that self-discipline and restraint are nothing to be scared of.

I now have that new-diet zeal and feel full of energy and motivation. I'm determined to keep this going for the next couple of months and see at least a stone leave my frame. It's do-able and I want it!

Having said that, I have a couple of strategies to guard against failure.
Firstly, I'm going to allow myself meals out occasionally but make sure that the rest of the meals that day are suitably austere. The reasoning behind this is that I don't want to put my life on hold as I did during LL. The situation is nowhere near as bad as it was pre-LL days so the solution need not be as drastic either.

Secondly, I'm going to make sure that I have enough fuel for exercise. I exercised all the way through LL but, looking back, it was not as demanding as what I do now. I was a big woman and I used to go running (shuffling I called it!) for around 30 minutes or so, or do personal training with lighter weights and fewer reps. Now I do a very hard gym workout involving weights and aerobic stuff which totally drains me.

I discovered this morning that I cannot do that when I'm running on empty! I went to personal training this morning and really struggled, felt faint and a bit nauseous. We talked it through and I'm sure it was because I had not eaten much yesterday and had been to the gym in the evening and used up what fuel I had available. So, we adjusted the workout accordingly and, in the future, I will have a small, quick-hit carb burst before a workout (fruit juice/a banana/an energy bar). I'm not going to up the overall food intake substantially though as that is what I have not been in charge of over the last few months and that is what I really need to learn.

I really enjoyed the gym last night - doing the Rowing Machine Challenge was great. I was dreading it before I started - my chimp going mad trying to persuade me not to do it - it'll hurt, you don't need to do it; why put yourself through it? etc etc - but my competitive instincts kicked in and I overrode her objections. I saw some other names up on the board with their times and thought - if they can do it, I can bloody well do it, especially as the "theys" in question are both several years older than me!! And I was childishly pleased to be in the lead on the board; the fastest woman and faster than several of the men too. I'm sure one of the women in particular will have another go and probably overtake me but there's still time to fight for my top spot!

So, harnessing my chimp's natural competitiveness is good (as long as I don't go too far and feel bad about losing, which won't happen). Teaching her that what she wants is not always good for us is also good. But most important of all is reminding myself what it feels like to be in charge. It's very liberating and it's what I need to be to keep happy and healthy. And on the subject of competitiveness, I've just made a date in a couple of weeks' time to play squash against a colleague. We used to play quite a bit early last year and he always beats me but by very close margins; one day I will take a game off him!! So there's variety and challenge in the mix too.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Straight and Narrow

Dr Beeching I presume?? I used to walk along this disused railway track when I was a kid, the track had not long been removed so you could still find old sleepers, bolts and weird things that had fallen from the trains - hard to believe now. I wonder what England would be like if these old branch lines were still in operation?

Hints of spring in the snowdrops and aconites.

The village green and, more importantly, village pub. Still soldiering on despite the troubled times it faces. It is soooo sad when they go and we country folk should fight harder to keep them. Villages just die when the pub shuts. Had my first proper "date" in there - met up with Dave for a game of pool after meeting him at the local Young Farmers' Disco....aaaah. I was 15, he was 19 - Mum and Dad were horrified but wisely kept quiet and it all fizzled out shortly!

Big skies and pylons.

I know they're a bit dull and municipal in the summer but in the depths of winter you can't beat Dogwood for impact...

The lovely springline village of Coleby on top of the only hill for miles - actually it's an escarpment so stretches for about 50 miles south from Lincoln. Otherwise it's REALLY flat!

We could always find our way home when out riding or on our bikes - just follow the pylons!

Why is it that you have to let yourself to be "bad" before you can motivated to be "good"?? I was unmotivated, unstructured and inactive last week. I knew I was doing it and still didn't change my behaviour. I knew the theory - that it was my chimp taking control, etc etc - but didn't implement the techniques to stop it. Hey ho. It was as though I gave myself a week to push the boundaries before reeling it all in again, but this time with feeling.

Not very grown up there Les. The week was not too bad foodwise - good breakfasts, good lunches (slightly too much food but generally healthy stuff) and then a gradual loosening over the afternoons leading to overly generous but not not terrible suppers. But I did very little in the way of exercise. A few walks, one personal training session but I failed miserably in making myself go to the gym or swimming despite having plenty of time to do both. There was much sitting around watching bad detective shows on Sky Plus in the evenings. Much "caving" and not going out to the pub. Much avoidance of chores and reality.

The weekend was my chimp's last hurrah - I drove to my parents and stopped for petrol station goodies, a big coffee and even - brace yourself - a KFC!! While at my parents I was okay but the return journey was similarly (without the KFC) debauched. Last night at home, I polished off the last of the Christmas cake (well, to be fair, the last of what I hadn't taken to my parents) and plotted firmly to myself.

The plotting started during my solitary walk on Saturday afternoon. My father didn't fancy it - too cold and looked like rain (he was right) so I just set off with no clear idea of a route. The Lincolnshire countryside is much less conducive to unstructured walking - much fewer footpaths - than the Peak District. I ended up walking for over 2 hours despite being caught in a shower. Just trudging and thinking really. There are very few hills so your route, where you've been and where you're going, is totally open. It makes for very thought-provoking company. When you walk around Bamford, you're always climbing a hill or rounding a corner; you're much more engaged by the scenery and the present. In Lincolnshire it is a flat, little varying open book - just massive skyscapes which have the effect of making you feel small and insignificant.
Look - big skies, not much else:

Here comes the rain....

I found it good for thinking and I think it was that walk, the relentless, tramps' heartbreak feel of it, that cemented this nowfound determination in me. At home, if I want to turn back, I can usually find a short cut or an alternative route. There are loads of routes to pick. On Saturday, once I'd committed to that route, I was stuck with it and could only carry on until I got home - the lack of choice and the realisation that being tired and getting wet wouldn't get me home any quicker and wouldn't kill me were freeing. That helped me translate that thought to dieting, not eating much and sticking the course won't kill me.... So, three cheers for Lincolnshire. I wouldn't choose you for a walking holiday but, when I want to reconnect with myself, you are always there for me.

I know the theory - diets do NOT have to start on Monday - but it has proved to be easier today than yesterday. I'm going for the fully fledged, calorie-controlled, no-frills approach. I want results and, more importantly, I want to remind myself that the sky will not fall in if I don't eat generous meals; that mild hunger is not necessarily a bad thing. And I feel soooo much better for it. Admittedly this is very early days but hey, I'm blogging agian aren't I?! Not hiding from what I know to be true as I have been doing.

And on the exercise front, although I didn't go swimming as planning at lunchtime, that was only becuase I was in the middle of some very productive work and I had already arranged to be picked up by Vicky to be taken to the gym this evening instead! See what I did there? And psychologically speaking, I've retrieved the memories of restraint and abstinence (without the chemical dust) and it is liberating. The gym was great too - did the rowing machine 5000 metres challenge in 21 minutes and 38 seconds and am currently leading the ladies' section - GO ME!!

My chimp had suceeded in convincing me that eating small amounts was terrible and, truly, it is not.

Now I just have to keep myself busy and active and hopefully I can get the extra 10lbs I've gained off and maybe a little more besides......fingers crossed for me please!

Monday, 8 February 2010

That London

What's not to like - posh chocs and french desserts??!

Purveyor of the stinky cheese...

Risotto for supper.

Stacey and Natalie at the beer stall, shurely shome mishtake?!

I love London flower stands.

I hadn't been to London for ages and now I've been down twice in less than a month. I've really enjoyed it too. This time was a visit to an old Uni mate, Nat and a get together with 2 more Uni/Law School pals, Rachel and Stacey. We haven't got together for over 2 years now (where does the time go to??) so it was great.

Drunken night out on the Friday evening, Thai meal followed by the worst "club" in London! Nat really didn't want to go clubbing so, being good friends of hers, Stacey and I unceremoniously made her. It was called the Mango Lounge and it was dire!! Terrible, pointless Garage music and overpriced drinks and an assortment of foreigners having what looked like an awful, joyless time. We loved it of course...

Trouble is, after another few hours drinking at home, the hangover was monumental. Which in turn meant that Saturday was a bit of a write-off. Still, we eventually managed to drag ourselves out and across London to Borough Market. We've all lived in London for years between us and none of us had ever been!! How rubbish is that?? It's top!

If you don't know it's a great foodie market in Southwark. Gorgeous food, somewhat overpriced but beautiful and soooo tasty. We had a good time picking our feast for Saturday night and then went home and ate it. Well, I couldn't countenance the Vacheran cheese (toooo toooo stinky for me!) but everything else was delish.

So, I'm very sorry that this post is the anti-diet post. But, but but, I managed a run on Sunday morning and didn't drink on Saturday night (that pesky hangover again)........

And now I'm truly on the straight and narrow. I've made a great fresh start and am feeling very positive. Long may it last.

Friday, 5 February 2010

What a difference a day makes!

Here we are at the start of the night - all fresh faced and sober looking!

Oh dear - accessories have been purchased and not quite so fresh-faced!

The full pack

Yes - the Facebook Face makes an appearance. My nieces will be so proud!

I do know this chap BTW - we bumped into some Bamford locals (well, I reckon they were looking for us). Note slightly bleary eyes but not too bad overall as we were about to leave (unfortunately via a kebab shop....)

I'm working from home today and, surprise surprise, I'm feeling much better! After a solid night's sleep I was up and at my desk drafting hard by 8am and have made great inroads into a tricky deed. There's no way I would have done as much in the office, sad but true. I work in an open plan office and am totally at the mercy of whoever wanders over to collar me. This is not conducive to detailed drafting work!

I also feel more lively and seem to be able to get chores done in short burst while waiting for kettle to boil etc so I even feel better about the household chores which were beginning to depress me!

So, thought you might like some pics from my Saturday night out. How classy and mature eh?? I seem to be regressing now that I've hit 40. And, in case you're wondering, I was doing that horrible "Facebook Face" pose on purpose and it should be ironic....honest.....

So - hopefully I'll be able to get this deed finished in time to let me go to the gym before heading down to London.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Apologies for the blah post. I'm feeling a bit blah myself at the mo. Life seems quite hard work. I'm enjoying it but don't seem to have a lot of spare energy beyond going to work, exercising, doing the bare minimum of socialising, even less housework and that is it! It is an effort to light a fire and cook supper at the mo so, once I manage that, I'm pretty much stuck to the sofa cuddling the dogs.

The good news is that I've not stopped exercising and I'm not eating badly so no major damage being done. Nor am I miserable or anything, just a bit blah. So, I'm going to go with it and not beatr myself up about the inactivity. Keep trying to do bits and bobs of chores and outings but, if I don't fancy it, just veg until I feel more lively.

That said, I'm off to London tomorrow for a long overdue visit to some capital based pals. We're planning a nice supper on Friday night then a visit to Borough market on Saturday to pick up nice food and because, shamefully, none of us have been. Rachel has, unfortunately, hurt her foot and is on crutches so she's coming over in the evening for a meal in and a good girly chat.

And, I'm going to take my running kit down with me to see if my foot is up to jogging yet. It feels better but you never know 'til you try. I'm going to try for a couple of morning runs to keep me on the straight and narrow. Wish me luck!