An apology from the lap of a wise man in the guise of a girl

It has been a scarily long three weeks since I last wrote to you all on here. A fabulous, but exhausting and busy three weeks which soon, I promise I shall share with you.

But just not today.

Today, all I will say is a meek sorry to you all. I hope I haven’t annoyed any of you into a grumpy state of ignoring me, but to be honest, I wouldn’t blame you. I have not been the most consistent blogger! As all of those wise men that live in temples in the midst of beautiful jungles preach to us: Each day is a New Day, so make of it what you will. (Ok, so they may not say those exact words. But they should. They’re good, solid words.)

So on this New Day, I have decided to reach out to old friends and familiar writers in order to wrap up a story I was sharing with you all: the journey of the NYPG (or, for those of you who don’t know a jot about it, my New York Plan of Greatness).

Why today? I hear you ask. Why now?

Well, my lovelies, that would be because I fly out to the Big Apple TOMORROW MORNING!!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

(Excitement boxed away and put to one side for a second.)

The last time I wrote about the NYPG, I wasn’t entirely sure how much weight I had lost, if any at all. I was busy feeling good and happy and wonderfully, entirely me.

NOW, however, I can happily tell you all that in the last month and a half since I started, I have lost a neat 9 pounds and am a very happy chappy. Before and after photos to follow, when I have a picture of the whole of me and not just my grinning face!

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Here I am, being all happy!

It’s been a month of three mile hikes to work every morning, sandwiches for a brief lunch and then slimming down the portions of meals in the evenings. It’s been a month of scurrying around after little children, arguing with angry parents (professionally), and lugging boxes out of storerooms. It’s been a month of LIVING, without paying any real attention to food, and as a result, realising that I don’t need it as much as I used to think I did.

The whole point of this was for me to feel more confident on my trip to America. It was all to make me feel Great for New York and walk along the pavements of a new city with a different swagger in my step and glint in my eye. And when I look at myself now, I am starting to see it. I’m feeling my chin raised higher as I head down the road; I’m noticing what I wear and paying attention to what I look like; I’m making effort with myself and other people when I didn’t have the energy or drive to do so before.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is…the NYPG was a success, to a point. I don’t feel quite done with it yet, but I do feel like that’s ok. I have time. I have buckets of time and there’s no rush because I’ve done what I set out to do. I may not look as great as I had planned, but boy, do I FEEL it.

I have so many adventures coming up and so many things I have done recently to share with you all and I can’t wait. It’s going to be fantastic. You’re just going to have to bear with me and wait a little bit longer.

I’ll be back in a week. I’m heading to the States to try my hand at being Great in New York.

(Excitement unleashed.)

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE………………

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Builders, Morning Treks, and Upcoming Photos of Wind Swept Hair

Hey ‘Podders!

It has been a while since I’ve shared with you my NYPG (New York Plan of Greatness) experience, for which I have no real excuse.

Well, ok, I have one. I do now have a full time job that is slowly sapping all the life energy from my veins and making it difficult to do anything other than work and sleep…but I’ve been told you get used to it. In time.

Wish time would hurry up and get on with it in this case.

I’m missing blogging so much! It’s not been until these past few days that I’ve had a chance to actually sit down and type to you all. I have a short break away from work so as to move out of my uni house and spend a few days at the British coast somewhere, and have found myself drawn to the computer at every spare second I have, reading blogs, catching up with my regular readers, drafting ideas. In fact, I have so many ideas I want to share with you all that I keep forgetting them – they slip right out of my brain the moment I try to recall them, like soap through slimy fingers.

So, thousands of fantastical ideas or not, I thought that for today at least I should stick to schedule and do my NYPG themed Monday. Fantastical may come in short bursts over the next few days. Maybe. I make no promises. I am a girl headed for a very rain soaked, wind swept, British beach holiday.

Source: DailyMail

Source: DailyMail

* * *

Last time I wrote to you all, it was mainly about my belly. And it’s total lack of shrinking. I talked to you about stamina and have mentioned in previous posts how important motivation is (hence the name of the plan – the word ‘diet’ is forbidden here).

Today though, I want to talk to you all about activity.

EURGH. I know. But bear with me.

I am a girl who loves to get up and shake her booty in a zumba class. I love to go swimming, or at least sit peacefully in water and poke my tongue out at annoying children when their parents aren’t looking. I love cycling, as long as it’s not up any hills. I love all of this, but if I had the choice, I would rather stay inside with a good movie and snuggle up with my man.

Not the best quality in a gal who’s trying to shift some tummy.

However, since starting my new job, I’ve combined the two most perfect traits of laziness and exercise. As oxymoron-ish as that sounds, it is possible.

I work about 3 miles away from where I live, and for the first few days of working there, I did get a bus. It didn’t take long for me to realise the foolishness of this plan. The bus got me in nearly an hour early for my shift. It cost me £3.10 every day. That’s an average of £15.50 a WEEK on travel and I’m not exactly earning a massive wage.

So, one morning, I walked. It was a long walk, took me nearly an hour, but it wasn’t impossible. I saved money that day and enjoyed the cool morning air, and waved at some jolly builders. The walk put a smile on my face. I felt so gooooood.

That first day of walking, I still got in early. I had over estimated how long it would take me. Day Two of walking, however, I had calculated that by walking in, I could spend an extra 45 minutes asleep in the blissful comfort of my bed.

Sold. No more buses for me if it means an extra bit of sleep. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?

After two weeks of walking 3 miles every morning, I’ve noticed changes. Le man works in the same place as me and he’s lost 3 pounds. We simply don’t have the time to eat when we’re working 9-6pm every day.

And simply noticing changes is starting to physically make changes to me, too.

I’m wearing nicer clothes, parading around in a nice bra with no qualms, I’m more chatty and bubbly with my family even after a long day. It doesn’t sound like much, but aren’t all of these the things we’re really truly searching for when we’re trying to improve ourselves? Aren’t we really just looking for that bit of confidence and self acceptance?

Right now I can’t tell you how many pounds I’ve lost, if any at all. But I can tell you something else just as concrete.

I’ve lost a bit of that tummy shame. I’m embracing my reflection. I’m a tiny bit more me.

Which if you ask me, is worth more than a number on some weighing scales.

*Cue the music* : 'Lady in red...'

*Cue the music* :
‘Lady in red…’

Introducing my Wednesday and Thursday!

This time last week, I introduced you all to my New York Plan of Greatness (NYPG). In order to make it to my Friday, I needed a goal – my New York trip in this case – to work towards, something to remind me of why I am sacrificing my morning bagel and torturing myself with six mile hikes on the weekends.

Here I am. Hiking and posing away in a pair of stonkingly nice yellow wellies.

Here I am. Hiking and posing away in a pair of stonkingly nice yellow wellies.

My NYPG has actually been a lot of fun so far. In the photo above, I am with my Ma, sister and baby half brother. Le man is behind the camera. We decided to get active in the sun this weekend and did a canal walk that, fortunately enough, ended in a pub visit for an ice cold diet coke.

We all laughed when the little nine year old in our midst was the first to spot it in the distance, because on sight of it he yelled: ‘A pub! We’re SAVED.’ I swear he didn’t get that from me.

Along the way, we picked a few flowers (and interesting looking weeds), so as to do a bit of flower pressing. We played Pooh Sticks over the bridge. The two boys had a great time, flying up and down the path pretending to be Superman, while the girls walked sedately along and squealed appropriately at the sight of thorns of cow pats.

It was a great day, because I got to do what I love most: spend time with the people I love and EXPLORE. It was simply a bonus that the hike benefited my NYPG.

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After writing last week’s post, I got thinking. New York is a fantastic goal. It’s inspiring, motivational, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing for me so I want it to be perfect. But it would also be nice to have some mini goals. Maybe so I can make it to my Wednesday and Thursday.

So here’s introducing the new days of the week:

Introducing Wednesday...

Introducing Wednesday…

...and Thursday!

…and Thursday!

Come on, I am a GIRL, what could be better motivation than pretty dresses to spur me on? These are two of my favourites, two dresses that I have never quite fitted in to, at least not comfortably. I have these hanging up in my room, there as a visual reminder of the smaller steps I have to take before I get to my end goal.

We all have goals – but there is no point in pressuring ourselves to make it there at the snap of our fingers. Setting some smaller goals that help us along the way gives that sense of achievement, that motivation to keep going. Today of all days, we need this: on a Monday, we all need something to look forward to with such a long week stretching ahead of us.

In a project like this one, it’s good to remember to bite off chewable chunks, not mouthfuls that choke you (little foody pun there for you all). Here’s my little nibble for the moment at least.

I’m still searching for my NYPG Tuesday, but I know that’ll come to me. No point in worrying. Baby steps.

Baby steps, that have led me to a loss of 2 and a half pounds this week.

COME ON NEW YORK!

* * *

I just want to say a quick thank you for those who have shown concern for me recently and have commented on posts that I’ve not yet replied to – I will get around to it, but I have to dash as tonight I have my girly night with cocktails that I told you all about on Saturday! Have a lovely Monday everyone, drinks on me!

Summer Loves on a Saturday Night

summer

You ever feel that tingly buzz in the air that means summer has arrived? Because I think it’s here.

The city is fragrant with summer tonight: the sun is shining, the sky is blue, my feet are covered in stripy tan lines from my sandals as I type this is the back garden. And I can hear the sound checks and laughter and music that announces the preparations for the University Summer Ball.

This is my first year here so this Ball is somewhat new to me. An unknown. With a hefty price tag on the ticket, I will not be going tonight, but I still feel it in the air. It’s like that feeling of summer. It IS that feeling of summer.

Ahhh! I feel excited! It’s like an addiction almost, this happy bubbly season. I want to whack on a pair of shorts and go barbecue some meat, sunglasses shading my eyes, a cold can of beer clutched in hand as I wave the prongs around.

Burger anyone?

Source: thebroadhouse.com

Source: thebroadhouse.com

Some of my best summer memories are evenings spent out in the garden. One of the family barbecues sizzling away as we sit chatting until the sun goes down, fat jacket potatoes puffing out heat from the oven, glasses sweating white wine. Giggling about boys and wistfully planning out future holidays. New York, Milan, Hawaii…

cocktailsIt’s pretty great having an all-girl family. I love my dad and my brother TO BITS, but it is nice to relax with your girls. We can swap clothes and nail varnish, and spend hours getting ready in front of mirrors with a bit of Britney Spears blaring as we dance around trying to zip up a dress. It’s the expected girly traits, it’s the cliche, and it’s fantastic.

This is how summer makes me feel, I suppose. Girly. No excuse for wearing big hoodies and hiding away in a bulky coat. It’s the time to paint yourself in beautiful colours and wear skirts that swish around your ankles; share cocktails in the sun and play music out of your open bedroom window.

People come together just to be together.

On this particular summer night, I am with my man, who is currently whipping me up some tea (isn’t he nice?) He’s no girl, I grant you, so perhaps the nail painting isn’t going to happen.

But, it’s summer, and we can feel it in the air.

And there’s nothing to stop us dancing to a bit of Britney in the setting sun with a bottle of wine.

summer

Grubby, floured, raw and real

Getting crafty for Easter!

Getting crafty for Easter!

I sometimes find myself sitting down to start writing a blog only to start worrying. What if no one reads it? What if no one likes it? How do I make a day in my life interesting to the world wide web?

Cue the minor meltdown and a hasty scuttle away from the computer.

But now I’m beginning to understand what a waste of energy all of that worry is. No one can have exciting days every day. Not everyone has a new story to share after just 24 hours. It’s not a given that your next blog post will have more ‘likes’ than the last.

And that’s ok. The thing is, I don’t come on wordpress for popularity. I’m not on here to get as many followers as possible or an inbox full of comments. I embrace the fact that – for now, maybe not forever – I am simply me. I am one person with one life, sharing one story. So what I have to say is already different from everyone else.

So what is my story today?

Welcome to my Easter weekend…

* * *

Saturday was a day for baking! Hot cross buns and a three tiered Easter cake…our ambitious goal for one afternoon. For the hot cross buns, we used Delia Smith’s recipe.

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It was going so well…until the timer failed to go off. What remained of the buns were a sorry sight!

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So we quickly turned to the cake, a simple regular sponge with coloured butter icing and decorated with creme eggs, mini marshmallows, and butterfly sprinkles.

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This was the result!

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Exhausted and (mostly) pleased with the results, we settled in for the night with the rest of Britain to watch the long anticipated episode of Doctor Who, ready for our Easter Sunday walk through Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.

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So, today, this was me. This is my Easter. This is my story.

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What’s yours?