GET IN MY POD…(please)

Hey there, ‘podders!

This is going to be a very short post, more of a cybernet wave to all of you out there to let you know I AM STILL HERE.

Having a whale of a time at the moment – (not that I’m entirely sure what a whale fills its time with or why it’s relevant right now) – but unfortunately that means I have no time to sit down and take the space to blog.

So I’m going to rapid-shoot news of my life at you all and hope that satiates your elspod-y thirst until I come back!

Weekend news:

Wonderful time, glorious time, memorable time! We jumped in the car first thing saturday morning a whizzed down to the beach in the glorious summer weather. Spent the day burning my thighs, they now look like two giant hams…but then, who doesn’t like ham? Or the vegetarian equivalent? Ham is good.

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Can anyone tell where the man ends and the sand begins?

Can anyone tell where the man ends and the sand begins?

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A grumpy burnt little sister

A grumpy burnt little sister

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The Sunday we spent (foolishly in my overheated opinion) trekking up a gorge. The views were breathtaking at the top, and the whole thing was that little bit more worth it when we were treated to a delectable picnic back at the car.

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Not just that, but I then only went and GOT MYSELF A JOB that very same day.

I know, I am a superstar.

It’s a placement with a five day week, long hours and is in a place buzzing with tourists and young children getting overexcited on their summer holiday. (So already, I love it there!)

I started three days ago and my ankles haven’t stopped throbbing, I have said the words ‘chenny pain’ instead of ‘penny change’ more times than I can count, and have discovered how to gently refuse a young child all the money out of the till even when he’s waving a plastic gun at you.

Week time news:

The NYPG is still up and running but I haven’t DARED step on the scales. I keep telling my tutting reflection that it’s because I naturally put on weight in the heat. I soak in all the sun’s rays. And there’s not a chance I’ll have lost any body mass when I’m full of burning star.

*Cough*

Otherwise, my life has been a whirlwind of work, meeting new staff and finding my place in the maintenance of the Zap Zone (which yes, is as fun as it sounds).

I thought I would leave you with a video of me that le man’s younger brother made. It’s a selection of funny clips of me trying and failing to play a game called Minecraft. (I am fully aware I most likely lost a lot of my audience by typing those words.) I won’t bore you with the details.

Shockingly, as with many games, the baddies are the monsters – you should avoid them, or at least be a true gamer and try to kill them. I make no pretences however…

…this is a thorough demonstration of how NOT to kill them.

I hope you’re all having a smashingly good week. It’s my sister’s eighteenth birthday this Friday (eee, I’m feeling old), so I’m off to bake her a cake. No doubt you’ll hear from me before the week is out.

Have a sunny smiley week, everyone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ax9vaFg4lg&feature=c4-overview&list=UUj95UGf4OTcCNM2AZujKFhw

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A weight off my mind and back on my belly

…That’s right, people. The NYPG hasn’t quite gone to plan in the past few weeks. I’ve been to parties, and enjoyed family barbecues, and sat eating ice lollies in an attempt to cool down in this beautiful, soul melting heat we’re experiencing in England at the moment.

It's too hot!!

It’s too hot!!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been doing too badly, everything considered. I have only put on half a pound in the past two weeks – but STILL.

Sulk.

My diet topic today therefore is stamina. Where do we find it? How do we cope when we suddenly realise this is going to be a much longer journey than we originally bargained for? Is it ok when you think you have none at all?

Let me start off by saying that without motivation, you can have no stamina. Whether that motivation be a simple ‘I want to lose that belly bulge’ or a rather dramatic ‘I must feel like a SUPERSTAR by the time I go to New York’, it is the key to you reaching your goal.

The thing is, once you’ve pondered over that goal and gone through that original burst of inspiration and determination, you’re left with a long, bleak road without chocolate and with many a weighing-scale set back.

*Enter Stamina, Center Stage*

Stamina is the driving force behind marathon runners, charity walkers, even Sunday strollers. It gets you through the tough times with fierce grit and a set jaw. It picks you up when you fall down and shoves you onwards, no protestations accepted.

It sits heavily on the weighing scales and propels you forward even when all you want to do is sit and mope.

And eat a bowl full of icing.

Stamina is something that doesn’t necessarily come naturally to us all. It comes from within, from our own determination, and I won’t lie, not everyone is cut out for it, at least not when it comes to food. I most definitely had no stamina when it came to not eating in between meals.

But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. I conquered that by putting myself in a position where it wouldn’t be possible to snack. I planned my meals for the week and bought only the bare essentials for those meals. My budget couldn’t then physically cover for snacks and so, over time, I taught myself stamina. You know yourself better than anyone. If you know the food is there, will you eat it? If so, remove the food. It’s not an impossible mountain to climb.

At least, it’s not an impossible mountain to climb most of the time. Sometimes, like I experienced today, we have zero stamina, no matter how much we are screaming at ourselves to ‘NOT PICK UP THAT CHEESE SLICE.’ The world is just begging to be eaten and you have no choice but to oblige.

But you know what? That’s ok.

Because that’s the beauty with stamina: it means that however often you fail, you find the will to pick yourself back up and try again.

So, maybe just today, don’t allow yourself to feel so guilty. Let the weight that accompanies calorie counting lift from your mind. Go out and enjoy that burger from the grill. Delight in the sweet sensation of chocolate sliding down your throat in all it’s creamy goodness. Go to an all-you-can-eat buffet with foods from around the world. Tell yourself you’re being adventurous.

And then try like hell to do better tomorrow.

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I’ll let you know how my stamina holds up next week!

Who knew I had a Safari Park on my doorstep?!

Today has been BLISTERINGLY hot. Insanely warm. It has felt like a foreign country and I’m pretty sure some of my face melted off in the heat.

However, I am not complaining, because it was also beautiful. It is so rare for us to have weather like this, I am treasuring every day of it. This is what Summer should be like. I got a chance to get my legs out, warm my face with a single glance skyward, and travel with my family to Longleat – a safari park on breathtaking grounds – for the day.

Now, this won’t be a long post. I am too flustered for that and am dying to be in my birthday suit, lying very still in a bath of ice with several fans blowing cool air at me. But I will share with you some photographs of the day – because, sometimes, so much more is said with a picture than with words.

What I will say though, is that today has been one of the best days in a long time. I saw incredible animals, ventured through an impossible maze, and had a cruise on a lake – all with the people who make me smile the most. You cannot ask for more beauty in life.

Though you can definitely ask for more skill in my photography.

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I want a baby goat!

I want a baby goat!

My favourite animal of the day <3

My favourite animal of the day ❤

Sisters feeding the deer

Sisters feeding the deer

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We can be a Big Cat too!

We can be a Big Cat too!

WE CONQUERED THE MAZE.

WE CONQUERED THE MAZE.

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Rather him than me.

Rather him than me.

 

A train ride around the park to finish the day off.

A train ride around the park to finish the day off.

I hope you’ve all had a wonderful day in the sun!

 

 

 

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!

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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!

Exploring and Dreams and Smiles and Sun

This morning, I had a dream. A horrible and beautiful and terrifying dream.

It was the kind of dream that completely altered the mood I was prepared to wake up in. I was planning to be happy. The sun was shining, I could feel it sliding through the slits in the blinds, bathing my eyelids, and I was going to be smiley all day. I was going to grab my man’s hand, and hoist him out of bed to go exploring. I like exploring. We found the cathedral of the city we live in the other day. Took us a year of living here, but we found it. And that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to take my man and my smiles and go exploring.

But then I had this dream.

I have a problem with the word goodbye. Give me the most heart-wrenching scene in a film or a book or in real life, and it won’t have the slightest affect on me until I hear the word goodbye. Then the tears come, and the tissues are pulled out, and the cheeks start to burn as I realise how silly I’m being.

This dream though, was ALL about the goodbye. It tugged on about every heart string you could have, from every which direction. You barely had time to gasp for breath before the next PUNG and you were fighting for air again.

Oh, it was a horrible one. A horrible, beautiful, terrifying one.

It stayed with me when I opened my eyes. I rolled over to say good morning in the most terrible grump. Frown on my face, impatience on my lips. Not a happy camper to say the least.

The thing is, it got me wondering why. Why one would dream do that; chemically alter a person with three short seconds of story…unless that dream was a special.

My favourite creative writing tutor once told me that we all have a story within us at any given time. It is nestled in your subconscious, you may not even know it’s there – you may ignore it if you do. But these stories, he told me, are the ones of real grit, real truth. These are the raw imprints of yourself on a page. Let your story come to life.

So that’s what I’m going to do. But I made a decision that I wouldn’t do it today.

No, today, I went exploring with the man I love. Today, I took my smile and showed it off in the sunshine.

We went to the Aquarium

We went to the Aquarium

And found a beach

And found a beach

Walked past a pretty harbour

Walked past a pretty harbour

And got very excited when we saw a very BIG BOAT.

And got very excited when we saw a very BIG BOAT.

All the while, smiling in the sun <3

All the while, smiling in the sun ❤

What did you do today? I hope you all had days shiny and bright and new and exciting.

 

 

 

 

Hello Sun!

It has been a glorious day today. The sun has been shining quite fabulously for Britain’s standards, so unsurprisingly we have seen the emergence of pasty English men proudly strutting from the darkness of their homes, socks and sandals their preferred footwear.

Which, as we all know, is tres chic.

The sun has this wonderful effect on people: it brightens their mood, gives a certain squint to their eye and lives up to the well known song, making people believe ‘THIIIIIIIINGS CAN ONLY GET BETTEEEEEEER!’

I, for one, am incredibly happy today. I have booked a holiday with my boyfriend, successfully completed Day One of the ‘generally nicer body’ diet and got out of the house, camera clutched in hand to commemorate the beginning of summer.

*Pause for satisfied sigh*

I have not the energy or the philosophy in me today for a deep insightful message. After a stress free and largely thought-free day (who wants to REALLY think about the amount of money they just spent?), I am simply sitting at my laptop, a glass of red wine in hand, virtually penning my thoughts and sending them out to all of you.

In the vague hope that all of you have a smile on your face too.

Because what’s sun without a little joy?