Tuesday, 30 October 2012


As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have been re-reading my blog from the beginning. It is most illuminating (for me!). I'm only up to March 2009 but what strikes me is that I have started (and subsequently drifted away from) so many new regimes and tried so many different tactics in my quest to keep the weight I dropped in 2007 off and drop what I'd gained. What a repetitive life I lead.

I can, however, see that I AM learning and moving forward albeit slowly. I suspect the Chimp Theory will be the most pivotal point for my "journey" in more ways than one although I haven't got there yet in my re-reading. I'm conscious of one major change from what I did in following Lighter Life and what I do now and that is hiding from the NUMBERS!! I used to report my actual weight and the various rises and falls and then, for some reason, I stopped. I think it was shame (definitely pre-Chimp Theory thinking there!). I wanted to start again but just couldn't face letting you all in as it would have felt like an admission of GUILT so I was coy about what I actually weighed.

Now, years later, I've ditched the guilt and shame element to my thinking about weight but I still don't habitually reveal actual numbers just drops and gains. Possibly because I'm aware that some people who I don't necessarily want to be reading this blog probably ARE reading it and I don't want to give them the satisfaction of seeing the number?? I suspect that's at least partly it. Well, that is just stupid. I'm not embarrassed about what I weigh or what I look like, especially when I know I'm doing something about it. I don't care what other people think about me anyway, not after all the crap I've been through.

If it would help me stay accountable, motivate my chimp and possibly help others to display a ticker then I will do it. I think it would. Especially as I'm currently entering that danger zone of having achieved a decent drop but not being anywhere near where I want to be yet. I'm aware it's going to be a long haul and I still have Christmas to negotiate. Historically, this is the zone where I tend to stray. I get ill or something crops up and jolts me off track and I never quite get back going again. I am determined that this is not going to happen this time and a ticker may assist in showing me and my chimp the bigger picture.

I have tried rewards (remember that promised meal out when I drop half a stone - well, I never got there did I?). They don't seem to motivate me. Whereas numbers and seeing my progress do.

So, that is this week's target: find a decent online ticker tool and get it posted for all to see.

For the record and so that I don't chicken out, I started this 6 Weeks to OMG push at a longtime high of 15 stone 7.6 lbs and I currently weigh 14 stone 10.6 lbs. Yikes! I was a very fat size 16, peeking into the 18's. Now I'm heading back into the normal 16's and back to a manageable weight. I'm aiming to be low 14 stone something by Christmas which will see me fitting into all but my tightest size 16's. I know I want to get back down to low 13's (size 14-16) as a non-negotiable medium term aim. I suspect I want to continue down to low 12's (which would have me as a fat-ish size 12 and slim size 14) but I'll see how I'm getting on nearer that target zone. At the moment, I'm concentrating on keeping this push going up to and through Christmas and getting out of the dreaded 14 stones FOREVER!

Monday, 29 October 2012

Week 6 Results - OMG!!

I know I've been weighing myself on a Tuesday for the last few weeks but today is officially the end of my initial 6 week stint and, when I stood on the scales this morning, there was a drop so it's Results Day today!!

I dropped 2.2 lbs of unwanted blubber last week taking me to a very neat and tidy 11 lbs off in 6 weeks.  Venice (personally) assured me that, if I followed the mildest form of his diet plan (Wave), I should drop between 10 and 15 lbs so I have met his expectations.  Well done Venice!!

I'm very pleased with this result.  It is the most I've dropped for over a year since I dropped 12 lbs on Slimming World at the end of last summer.  I remember feeling like I was on a roll then and that I'd cracked it and then we went on holiday to Northumberland, did quite well that week but never quite got back to it afterwards and put it all back on along with a bit extra!!

So, let's see if I can learn my lessons from that experience eh?!  We don't have any holidays planned for the rest of the year so that is one banana skin avoided. I'm enjoying this diet and can't see why I should come off it; I've managed to stick to it through temptations and  big nights out and still achieve steady results.  Long may it continue.

I'm beginning to see actual benefits of shrinking.  My jeans are VERY baggy now so I must be nearly into the ones which I haven't worn for a year.  I have been running 3 times now and suspect that, if I'd been lugging an extra 11 lbs round with me, my chimp would have successfully talked me out of it. I can fit into last year's Christmas party dress and a dancing outfit which I stopped wearing months ago.  And I feel positive and energetic.

PS.  No-one has stopped me and said "OMG - you've lost loads of weight!" which Venice ASSURED me would happen but I have faith that it WILL happen given a bit more time.  (Okay, a LOT more time.)

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Lessons and Timing

Wednesday was an interesting day. It showed me both that I HAVE learned a lot and have come a long way and yet also that I have many more lessons to earn.

Lessons to be learned:

I was working from home so was in control of my timings to a point. As we were going to Blackburn for the football leaving at 4pm I had taken a half day to do some chores in the afternoon. I had also intended to go for a run at lunchtime as Huw has been away so no personal training for a while.

The problem was with timings of eating and exercising. I was up early and then worked through until 12.30 and THEN ate. By then I was starving and made myself a large bowl of pasta with a tomato based vegetable and chorizo ratatouille. As I'm on a low carb regime, I don't have a large portion of pasta but, because I was so hungry, had LOADS of the veggies. I was then full up (tummy felt like a bowling ball - maybe I'm not used to pasta any more?) and, although I really wanted to, couldn't face going for a run even at 2 (an hour after I'd finished eating). I was determined not to let myself off the hook so went for the hilliest walk I could think of - 45 minutes, of which 30 minutes were pretty much straight uphill. It felt like good exercise but it also felt like a cop-out as I had intended to go running.

So, what should I have done?? I should have had my lunch earlier, say around 11/11.30. I wouldn't have been as hungry and wouldn't have eaten as much. I could then have gone and done another hour's work and left a bigger gap between eating and running so wouldn't have felt so full and wouldn't have been able to avoid going for the run. Lesson learned. I'm pleased I did make myself go for the strenuous walk but disappointed about the lack of the timetabled run.

Lessons already learned:

On the positive side though. Rich and I went to an away game in the evening. I made a plan to cope with the football-related eating and drinking opportunities which I stuck to and which worked. I wasn't hungry before we left so I made a salad to take with me. I drove (my turn!) and ate the salad in the car when we got there. We couldn't find a pub open to away fans (God knows what they think a 40-something couple like me and Rich, not wearing Wednesday colours, are going to be inciting!) so went into the ground early. I had a cappuccino (part of my meal) and a glass of red wine. It was very pleasant and meant that I avoided pints, pies or chips. My food intake for the day was ultimately pretty low - pasta and ratatouille, piece of fruit, ham salad, cappuccino and glass of red wine (as well as water, black coffee and green teas).

On our drive home I was a little hungry and I guessed that Rich was even hungrier as all he'd had was a meat and potato pie!! We were driving through Darwen, Bolton, Stockport etc and past literally dozens of kebab shops and burger bars. I almost suggested to him we could stop if he wanted but then I remembered that he's trying to drop a bit and thought I'd wait to see if he suggested it rather than putting it in his head. When we got home he went straight to make himself a snack and I mentioned the kebab shops. He admitted that he'd really wanted one but didn't want to put me through the temptation. Awwww. That's just what I was saying in my last post about him "following through" and being thoughtful.

On tht topic, one of my newer cyber pals, Caroline, mentioned that she'd been reading my old blogs from when I was doing Lighter Life. This piqued my curiosity so I've been reading my old posts, not just dipping in here and there, but methodically reading from the start. It's very illuminating from my present perspective and I'm amazed at how much I had forgotten about my old life.

Despite a massive self-censoring exercise/cleaning up job I did on my blog a few years ago under extreme pressure from a screaming D, it is clear from my posts that he never put himself out to accommodate my needs. He would never have denied himself something he wanted just to make life/dieting easier for me. I can see numerous mentions throughout those early months of me (sober and cold) driving round in the middle of the night dropping people off from the pub and picking up curries or kebabs for them, sitting in restaurants not eating etc etc. I can actually remember sitting, knackered, watching him eat a kebab in the car on the way back from a concert in Manchester, having already had to stay while he had 2 pints after the concert, feeling utterly resentful and deprived.

So, for Richard to put himself out to help me (without being asked and without seeking brownie points for it) is very touching.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Eyes Wide Open

I'm going through one of those phases of my life where I feel like I'm living fully in the moment. Everything is full-on and I'm engaged and conscious. It's pleasing to notice this as usually I only notice the periods of my life when I'm exisiting in a bit of a fog. I seem able to appreciate how good life is, make plans, address problems and tackle chores. I'm not saying everything is perfect but I have clarity and focus for a change rather than fog and sloth.

Could it be partly as a result of my changed diet? I'm certainly eating less sugar, bread and drinking less alcohol, all of which are meant to cause sugar spikes, dehydration and bloating. I don't generally notice those symptons to be fair, except when I've really overdone it but this could be a contributory factor. Then there's the cold shower and black coffee in the mornings and the morning POM all of which must wake me up more than my previous bowl of cereal and sleep-walking to work routine. And the other significant change is not snacking. I'm not sure why this might make me feel more alert but it might do I suppose.

Anyway, whatever the cause, I'll take it. When I feel mentally more alert and alive, I can give more to friends, family and whatever I'm doing and be more loving, less grumpy and that makes my home life even better too. Things which previously might have dragged me down are more likely to wash over me and I can take greater pleasure in the good stuff. And there's a lot of good stuff to appreciate.

A beautiful, sunny weekend for one. After my lovely Saturday walk with Kerry, I played golf on Sunday morning with Nigel and Fran. We played a bit later than usual because we'd been at the gig in Sheffield late the night before. The mist was still lying in the valley but it was burning off fast. By the third hole the tops of the hills and edges were peeking through the mist and the sun was catching on ghostly trees still swathed in mist. I was kicking myself for not taking my camera out but, to be honest, when you're golfing, you should give it your full concentration and photography would have distracted me! Not that it could have made my score any worse. I was having a great time, playing quite well but then making silly mistakes and scoring badly. Luckily, I got it together for the back nine and eventually played really well - 9 points out and 22 back - how's that for Jekyll and Hyde behaviour!?

Then there's cutthroat competition. I went to the quiz on Sunday evening as usual. We were playing one of the weaker teams in the league (although they beat us last year) and we played an absolute blinder. We seemed to know everything! Our team's knowledge dovetailed brilliantly and, despite some near misses (we just couldn't remember the actress, Kristin Stewart's surname despite being able to picture her perfectly and couldn't retrieve Robert Carlyle as the actor who played Hamish MacBeth from the 80's series) scored our best EVER score - 73! What a high. That score should be in with a chance of the league's best of the season which would also be a first for us. And we won the beer round. Happy days.

Then there's Richard. The more I think about him, the more I realise how happy he makes me. He's not perfect by any means (like me) but he's so consistent and thoughtful (in the sense of thinking about things and acting on his thoughts, rather than only in the sense of being considerate although he is also pretty considerate), loving and active. He's not all talk and stands up for me and for what he believes in and also DOES stuff. I like the fact that he doesn't just SAY he likes music or going to the cinema or weekends away, he actually organises or helps me organise these things. He follows through. And the same applies around the house. Although, like all men in my experience, he doesn't "see" things which need doing as well I as I do, he does do his share and when I point out needs doing (in his own time sometimes!!).

When we'd been together for a year or so, I used to miss (and occasionally fret about) the waning of the overt, falling-in-love type romance but now I see that there is still plenty of understated romance and a lot of fun. I also realise that consistency and following through are a lot more important than avowing eternal love and saying that we'll do this, that and the other but never walking the walk.

And, in terms of romance, what I love is pretty simple really - last Wednesday evening for example. I had been working from home so was totally relaxed; I cooked a nice meal while he did some chores; we lit a fire and candles; opened a bottle of wine and watched 3 back-to-back episodes of Downton Abbey curled up on the sofa together with the dogs. It was comfortable, funny, warm and totally romantic.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Week 5 Results

It was with nervous trepidation I stepped onto the scales this morning.  They have been somewhat inconsistent this week so, although feeling that I had stuck pretty well to the plan, I feared a random smiting by fate.

But it was not to be!  1.6lbs off.  I'm pleased with that after my flirting with complacency in the middle of the week.  I successfully managed to haul myself back onto the plan and have, for the most part, enjoyed it.

That takes me to a 5 week total of 8.8 lbs, the very definition of slow but steady.  I'm still in with a shout of hitting the 10 lb total for the 6 weeks but, to be honest that is totally arbitrary.  I'm going to be on the plan for a lot longer than that and sustainability is much more important than hitting some random target.

In related news, I wore a dress to dancing last night which has been out of my available choices for a while due to excessive stomach.  It was fine last night!  I think it contributed towards us having a really good dance.  I felt better and looked foxier so put more effort into what the dance looked like, especially the waltz and tango again.  I'm looking forward to the next batch of new/old clothesto be  liberated from the back of my wardrobe!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

So, how am I getting on with this diet eh??

But before we get to that malarkey, here are some pics from my Saturday walk with Kerry up at Dale Dyke Reservoir.  It was, as you can see, a lovely sunny autumn day and the colours were simply stunning.  The path circled the reservoir, starting in the woods and finishing in open fields.

Minty enjoys snuffling through crunchy autumn leaves.

Kerry somewhat overexposed with bright sunshine on her face.

Me looking deeply inelegant.  Need a nicer fleece!

Into the open fields with bright sunshine.  It was lovely and warm - tee shirt weather!

I think the successes of last week in avoiding temptation (almost?) led me to complacency this week.  At the beginning of the week, I found myself being a bit slack in observing the diets's strictures.  Nothing major but a few too many small departures.  Possibly focussing on future clothing successes made me forget that I have still to do the hard yards.  Choices still have to be made, correctly, every single day.

This was where my decision to weigh myself every morning comes in.  I had a couple of days of a small drop and then on Friday morning the drop was reversed and became a small GAIN!  This really put the wind up me.  But I wasn't downhearted (much) and re-focussed on what I am doing here.  I was worried though because I still had several drinking opportunities to negotiate in the week so a gain so early really spelled danger.

Thursday was darts and dominoes, Friday was the football against Leeds and Saturday was a gig in Sheffield - the excellent Sheffield band, Reverend and the Makers.  Eeeeek!!

So, I tightened up my daily routine.  I also concentrated on a making a plan.  Planning has been crucial to this diet so far.  Visualising in advance temptations and difficult situations has really helped me overcome them.

I agreed to drive on Thursday so that was one night with only one glass of wine. 

On Friday I decided to either go swimming or to a class while Rich and his dad went to the pub before the match.  Unfortunately, when I investigated what was on offer at Hillsborough leisure centre, there was no lane swimming and the only class at the right time was full up.  Grrrr  But I will check earlier next match and book in.  Undetered, howver, I went for a run!!  Hallelujah.  I haven't been running for months so it was good to remind myself that I DO actually enjoy it and it wasn't toooo painful.  Of course, as mentioned in my last post, I did end up drinking one too many pints but these things do happen - it was a mistake alright?!

So that just leaves Saturday.  Last time we went to see the Rev, I drank like a fish, pints too.   I thought it through though and realised that  I genuinely want to drop the lbs more than I want to have a big night out on the beer.  I pledged that I would drink shorts and alternate with sparkling water or lime and soda.  And I did!  I had a wonderful night.  We danced and bounced up and down like nutters and had a few drinks afterwards too and I limited the booze to 4 single measure of rum with diet coke.  Rich was great too - said he didn't fance a kebab/burger on our way home (which he did of course) so I didn't have to put up with the torment of resisting.  That little consideration was MUCH appreciated.

After the gig, Jon Mcclure (the Rev) usually comes outside and does a accoustic set standing on a flower bed amongst the crowd.  Rich had seen it before so guessed he would use the same flower bed.  He did, so we ended up in the front row with the Rev was conducting a sweet and mellow singalong 2 foot in front of us which was great.  He is very down to earth and obviously enjoys being right in the middle of the crowd and blagging a ciggie off a woman next to us!

So, after a blip, I got back on track and I'm sure the weighing myself was crucial to achieving this.  If I hadn't weighed, I wouldn't have noticed my complacency and might have gone over the top on at least one of Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

So, I have 2 days left before WI on Tuesday morning and I'm hopeful that I might achieve a small drop, or at least no gain.....

Saturday, 20 October 2012

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Forgive me Peridot for a football based post but, after last night, I had to say something.  We went to the Yorkshire derby between Sheffield Wednesday and Leed United last night and it was, as you may have heard on the news, a very eventful evening.

So, The Good?

  • A great night out with Rich, his dad and another pal.
  • Exciting, pulsating Championship football.
  • A draw after loads of defeats, against a side in the top 3 while we are in the bottom 3.
  • Our team showing real fight and grit and a lot of skill.
  • A big crowd - over 28,000 - probably the highest in our league so far this season.
  • Good banter, inventive chants, lots of singing.
  • People standing up for what is right.  It is possible to stop racists and bullies (more later).
  • Not eating when we got home even though I was hungry.

The Bad?

  • 2 pints in the pub before the game.  I was intending to have none, then my chimp talked me into "just the one".  To be fair to me and my chimp, I then asked for a diet coke but Rich forgot and came back with a second pint (the queues were huge so there was no way we were going back for another!).
  • Some of the chants go over the line and there is a lot of swearing.  I'm not a prude and don't want to emasculate football and make it into some namby pamby "family" entertainment like ice hockey or basketball but I do think there is too much gratuitous swearing and chants which, if you think about what is being said, are a bit shameful.  I'm working on not just joining in unthinkingly.
  • They equalised which was a kick in the guts.
  • We were, once again, deprived of a nailed on penalty.  Their player soared across the box and pushed the ball away from our player with his hand.  The TV pictures are unequivocable, it was an intentional handball and the referee didn't see it!!  That takes us to about 3 nailed on penalties NOT awarded this season and it is heart-breaking. But this one was by far the worst as just so obvious.  WE could see it  real time from the other end of the ground and confirmed what we saw by looking at the TV pictures later.
The Downright Ugly?

  • 3 neanderthal throwbacks from the 70's and 80's sitting in the row behind us.  One of them started up a racist chant.  Singing to El Hadji Diouf (who is a vile, spitting toerag for whichever team he has played with over the years)  "you're a expletive expletive cheat, and you're black as well".

    Which takes me back to the Good entry above.  I heard it and turned round straight away and said "Sit down.  We're not having that sh*t here" at exactly the same time as Rich said "give over with that racist sh*t" and another mate also had a go.  They were 50something wannabe hardmen  but Rich and his pal aren't pushovers and I wasn't backing down either with my middle-class resources of willingness to report people and to stand up and be counted.  They gave it some argument but didn't repeat anything like that although they did try and have a go at Rich when he was chanting (in support of our team - shocker) a bit later.

    I went to the loo a few minutes afterwards and I heard one of them say to his mate - "watch her, watch where she goes". I had been making sure that I had a really good look at their faces in case I needed to identify them and also checking their seat numbers.  They must have seen me and were worried I was going to report them to the stewards.  If they had made one more racist chant, I would have but, as it was only one sentence and they stopped, I didn't.  Perhaps I should have but you're never going to change someone's mind but you can stop their behaviour.

    I just don't get the racism thing!  Not even getting into the societal evil of it, half our team is black! Just minutes later he was cheering when Jay Bothroyd (who is at least part black) scored for us from a throw-in by Michael Antonio (also black)! Is he blind or just stupid?? 
  •  The Leeds fans kicked off at the other end of the ground in the second half.  Some of the home support had been goading them with chants about Galatasaray.  I'm not proud of their behaviour but chants, in my opinion, are no excuse for charging the police, ripping up seats and throwing them onto the pitch, throwing water bottles and other missiles, fighting in the stands, kicking an advertising hoarding from the top tier onto their own fans and finally, disgracefully, a dozen or more running onto the pitch when they scored.
  • One of the hooligans on the pitch then ran from behind our keeper who was oblivious to the danger and shoved him hard in the face to the ground.  It wasn't a punch but it was an assault to his face.  He went down, understandably, as he must have been extremely shaken.  There is a line which just isn't crossed and assaulting a player on the pitch is well past that line.
  • At the end of the game, the Leeds manager encouraged his players to go over to the Leeds fans who had behaved so appallingly and applaud the support.  He justified this by saying that it was just one moron fan.  But he missed the point.  There were a lot more than one hooligan in that crowd, there were hundreds and to see them patting him on the back having assaulted a player was pretty sickening. And the players should applaud THAT?!
I'm sorry to write posts like this.  I know to non-football supporters it will sound appalling and violent and nasty and you'll wonder why I go and enjoy such muck but it is a game I love and for the most part it is NOT like last night.  That is why I'm so unhappy about the excesses and have woken up early to have a rant!

Rant over.  Have a great weekend everyone and no fighting!!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Targets, clothing and daydreaming

Do you find it helpful or distracting to set targets for weight loss? I generally try not to but, once I've dropped a few lbs, I can't stop myself from speculating in mathematical terms. The "if I drop 1 lb per week I will have dropped X stone by Christmas and will, therefore, be able to fit into X dress for the Christmas party" etc etc type of mental perambulation. I can see that Lovecat has been indulging in the same sort of thing which has led her to to a target drop of 1.25 lbs per week. I also know that Peridot habitually muses about how much she may be able to shed by when. It's probably very common!

I try not to do so, at least in public but of course, I do! Once I've started to feel a little slimmer, part of every morning POM includes breezy calculations about weights and measures. As long as they are positive, not too extreme and encouraging, then I don't see a problem with it and they certainly help with the motivation. After one such walk recently, I found myself leafing through the remoter regions of my wardrobe and picking up various long-forsaken items of party wear. I tried on a party dress which I wore last Christmas and a pair of trousers and a skirt which haven't been worn for 2 winters. The dress from last year fitted fine (it had been too tight a few weeks ago) so I'm reassured that I don't need to re-think my Christmas party options. The trousers and skirt went on but didn't do up. This is progress of sorts as it means they are probably about 10 lbs/a stone away from wearable use.

This sort of musing also means that one assesses one's overall aims. Over the last few years I have been sort of "settling" on a point 21-28 lbs below where I am now as the best I'm likely to be able to do. At this weight I would be a slim size 16 or a chunky 14. Let's call that a 14/16. This was, to be fair, my original aim way back in 2007 when I started Lighter Life although, when you're buying size 24 clothes, size 14/16 seems impossibly slim!

Now, with the (admittedly limited) success I'm achieving at the moment, I'm wondering whether I could go for a 4/4.5 stone drop and get all the way back down to a "proper" size 12 (possibly even a 10)??! On the basis that it might take a year or more to achieve that, but also on the basis that I'm quite enjoying life while I work on it, why not?? Rather than heaping on the pressure, focussing my energy on a genuinely slender target, rather than on an "okay" target feels quite liberating. After all, if I'm seeking to be healthy, I should be aiming for a decent BMI (not that I really believe in BMI as a measure of health) rather than one that is "better than before".

Another incentive was flicking through my unused clothing suitcase. I was putting away my summer clothes (sighing somewhat at how little they had been worn during "summer") and taking out various winter jumpers. Beneath the jumpers was an Aladdin's Cave of new and unworn clothes in smaller sizes. Some purchased slightly too tight in a haze of misplaced confidence that I would continue to drop the lbs before my weightloss journey ground to a halt. There are walking trousers, jeans, work clothes, tops, shirts, jumpers. I would LOVE to be able to fit into this lot!! Free, new clothes in small sizes (mostly 12's and 14's) - what's not to like?! So, that is the aim - reclaim my wardrobe.

There are always seasonal casualties - summer or winter clothes which you somehow "miss" on your way up or down the scales. In the medium term, have my eye on a couple of pairs of walking trousers and jeans in slim-fitting size 16's which I should be able to get into before spring, possibly before Christmas. These shall be my first targets! They would be most welcome as my current walking trousers are becoming increasingly threadbare and I'm down to 2 usable pairs of jeans, the rest having faded or simply given up the ghost!

What I DO like though, is the fact that, although I'm setting targets, there is none of the urgency or imperative of such target-setting in my previous life. It used to be a case of "I must lose X stone to assuage D/to stop D picking fault with me/to save my marriage". My needs or desires didn't enter the equation. It was all about appeasement and living up to some arbitrary measure. Now I want to do it, for real reasons - to fit into nice clothes, to be healthy and to feel more attractive. No guillotine will come down if I DON'T manage to drop the desired amount. I'll just keep on keeping on.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Hangover Trail

 So the Sunday after the wedding dawned.  To the dulcet tones of Richard swearing because he'd slept through his alarm and was meant to be actually ON the golf course in less than 30 minutes!  Tee hee.  Trouble is, I'm too tender hearted so went downstairs to make him some toast to take with him.  This meant I was awake and couldn't get my beauty sleep after all!


Anyway, I thought I'd still have a nice lazy morning loafing around, uploading my photos and mucking around.  No camera.  Don't say I've left it at the hotel.  After a few calls, it appeared I might have done (and my coat!).  So I thought, no time like the present, I'll get back there and pick'em up!

What a beautiful day.  Below is Hassop Hall basking in the sunshine.  But unfortunately no camera or coat.  It could be an expensive wedding!

A few phone calls later, I establish that I hadn't left my camera but had dropped iit in the car on the way home and my coat must be at home as I'm assured I was wearing it when we left!  Doh!

So, then I thought I may as well make the most of being up at Hassop and go for a nice, flat, non-taxing hangover walk with the dogs.  The Monsal Trail is a disused railway line turned bridleway which you can pick up at the old Hassop station which is now a chintzy cafe, bookshop and bike hire centre. After a bacon and egg sandwich (well, I had been up for over 3 hours by now and was starving on just black coffee and a cold shower!), we set off.

It was great but, being so pretty, it was extremely popular with cyclists, families, pushchairs and wheechairs.  This meant I had to keep the dogs on a lead which was not restful to my hungover state.

Cue left turn up a hill onto a much quieter path.  I had no idea where it went and had no map but it looked fine.

And it was.  Totally deserted (I only met one other group in over an hour) and really pretty.  What a hangover cure. Perfect for the dogs as it was a broad, grassy, walled track.  No livestock but plenty of room to snuffle around.

Possibly a bit hillier than I'd anticipated but even that was rewarding. 

Great views.  Eventually we topped the hill and saw Bakewell in the distance.  I then found a right turn onto a footpath running across a field.  I hoped that this path would eventually lead us back to the Monsal Trail to avoid having to retrace our steps.

The dogs love a run around in a massive empty field!

I can't describe quite how isolated this house was.  There was NO road to it, just a track and a very muddy, ancient landrover.  It looked idyllic if you like peace and quiet, extreme peace and quiet!

From the fields we stepped into a green, shady wooded path heading back to the road down a steep hill.  I'm still hopeful about the Monsal trail though...

Yay!!  A circular walk.  Well, sort of.   The footpath hit a busy road with no footpath.  It was a bit of a pain with the dogs but I knew it wasn't far back to Hassop.  Then, just round the corner we saw the trail on a overpass above the road.  I struck through a thicket of nettles and cottony rosebay willowherb, up a steep clinker-sided embankment and then scaled the wall into another thicket before eventually emerging like Tarzan of the jungle back onto the Trail.  The dogs were wild with excitement and barking their heads off; I looked like I'd been dragged through a thicket twice and the families around me just stared....tee hee....

The last few hundred yards of our walk were the most surreal however.  First I saw a pennyfarthing ride past.  The chap was not, as you'd hope, wearing a frock coat and a top hat, but full-on lycra cycling gear.  V strange.

 And then up ahead we saw aneven stranger sight - a couple walking 3 little fluffy Bichon Frisees and 2 dogs I initially couldn't identify.  Mainly because they were not dogs but goats!  On leads being taken for a walk.  We caught up with them at the cafe and I asked if I could meet them and take some pics.  Aren't they lovely??

It was a lovely walk and my hangover had ALMOST gone by the time we got home.  Just a few hours of catching up with Strictly then before heading out for the quiz.  Perffick.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Successes, Failures and Learning, Learning, Learning

But, before we get onto the diet-y stuff, let's have some wedding photos.  I don't know what it is about them, but I love looking at wedding pics, even if I do not know the couple involved whereas strange peoples' holiday photos would not interest me at all!!

This is the venue, well, a corner of it. Brookfield Manor in Hathersage.

The groom with his little grandson while we waited (rather too long) for the bride to arrive. She was 40 minutes late!

Rich with his dad and stepmum.

It poured.  Such a shame as the weather forecast had said mostly dry with an occasional shower.  This "shower" lasted for about 3 hours!

The bride arriving with her father.  Her dress, while lovely, was maybe not  best suited to an October date??

Views of the main house from the terrace of the wedding pavilion.  I didn't venture out into the grounds due to the rain and likelihood of slipping in my new high heels!

As I said in an earlier post - the champagne flowed...

And was appreciated by all.

I'm very glad I had brought my coat as there were several women in little slip dresses who looked absolutely freezing!

I think I'm the only one who snapped them in the car as the official photog had already left by then and I think it's a nice pic.

We're in the dim recesses of Hassop Hall now - and we've moved onto mulled wine!

The rain did eventually let up and they chivvyed us outside for a group photo.

But eventually, they had to let us eat - not before speeches were made.  My guess of a 4.30pm start to the meal proved to be spot on!

And then, ties off and onto more drinking and dancing...

So - diet chat!


There have been many.  Being good in the week leading up to the wedding to allow for a totally relaxed and enjoyable day. Stopping the rot immediately on the day after the wedding so no major damage was done.

Yesterday was a case in point.  I had to go to Birmingham at the last minute for a work meeting.  I was travelling by train and by myself.  These are huge triggers for me to overeat and drink.  My chimp sees time on a train or a motorway (by myself) as time out from real life, unaccountable "free" time when she can talk me into eating and drinking whatever happens to be around.  Not only that but I'm usually bored and there is usually a ready availability of just the sort of food and drink which I should NOT be eating - giant vats of cappuccino, muffins, baguettes etc etc.

Mindful of this, I made a plan to ensure that I was ready for the temptation.  I did my morning routine and then packed a yummy salad in a tupperware with a piece of fruit and travel mug of green tea.  So I had it with me at my first mealtime of the day rather than being cast adrift in a sea of railway temptation. 

The meeting itself was good in that, buoyed by my virtuosity (and the fact that the other 2 women in the meeting were stick thin and very glamorous!) I had green tea throughout and NONE of the gorgeous looking cakes and biscuits offered.

So there are a few successes to be proud of.

What I hadn't planned for was the 30 minutes wait at Sheffield station on the way back!  Just at the time when I was ready for my second meal of the day.  Rats.  I succumbed.  But slightly ameliorated the succumbing by having a small cappuccino rather than a jumbo and only eating half the piece of cake.  This latter restraint is unheard of for me.  It was a fairly large piece and, as I was nearly halfway through, I started feeling that too sweet, cloying taste come through.  So, rather than ruin the treat I shouldn't have had in the first place, I decided to only eat half and save the rest for later, thus enjoying what I DID have and not spoiling it by feeling sick which would have been doubly annoying and led to those self-flagellating sort of recriminations.

Does that count as a partial success??  Not really but my fall from grace was better than it might have been.

And what have I learned?  That anticipating how to get through a difficult situation really helps.  Saying it out loud and having a plan gives me something to hold onto and aids my chimp through.  I hadn't anticipated the Sheffield station return trip situation but, if I had, I would have told myself to use the time in walking over the platforms to M&S and browsing the offers and picking up some of their yummy coleslaw.  That would have taken up the spare time, given me some exercise and helped me avoid the cafe.  Next time.