Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Beautiful autumn leaves by Kazuend

Another month has gone by without a post, but I'm here now and not really sure what I'm going to say. I'm loving slowly slipping into Autumn though and just love seeing the leaves on the ground and feeling that chilly nip in the air. I am always happier in the colder months.

I have started uni again and have decided to be disciplined this year - I don't want whole weekends swallowed up by my last-minute assignment writing like I did last year. It was torture! I definitely think recent memories of sitting in my dim utility room on the laptop for 48 hrs before my submission deadline is what made me feel so anxious about going back again. I was really panicking through late August and September. Still, I'm back with a bang and have done a running jump into my first assignment of this year.

I am not running right now. I started so well last month but got an injury - I think I did too much too soon and gave myself 'plantar fasciitis' or 'Runner's Heel'. I have rested probably more than I need to but it's starting to feel better now so will try to fit in an easy run soon. I am not beating myself up about it though - there's just no point - I have lots of stuff to fit into my life and running is just one of the less important ones. 

I went to the doctor a few months ago to ask about fertility stuff and was referred back to a specialist at the hospital I have seen before. He was less than impressed with me. The last time I saw him was about two years ago and he told me to lose weight and come back in 4 months. Well for one reason or another that never happened, so going back last week heavier than two years ago and asking for help to lose weight meant he was quite hard on me. 

He told me it was inevitable I was going to get diabetes and 'if it's IVF you're looking for you won't be entitled because you already have a child'. I have never really considered IVF so not sure why he felt the need to say. He told me if I lost weight I 'could reduce my chances of diabetes by up to 60%' and recommended I buy a book about blood sugar by Michael Mosley

Anyway, despite a thorough telling off I got what I went for which was a prescription to Metformin to help me to lose some weight. I have also started a very low calorie diet by having a Superdrug Slenderplan shake for breakfast and lunch (about 200 cals each - unfortunately not vegan) and a bowl of fresh soup in the evening (about 300 cals). I also take a banana to work with me and have one or two cups of tea a day with Stevia sweetners instead of my usual teaspoon of sugar. 

I lost 6lb last week - my first week so I don't expect that to continue - but I am sleeping better and the one Metformin a day so far has meant I haven't felt hungry. I have to start taking a second tablet tomorrow though so fingers crossed the stomach cramps and nausea don't hit me too hard! 

I know this probably sounds drastic but at this point I just want to shed some weight. My life is busy and I can't always fit in exercise. I feel less hungry with more energy doing this, and for me that's vital to sticking to any kind of weight loss regime. I've tried being sensible and I've tried joining a group and it just doesn't work for me - well I find it too hard to stick to and the progress is slow. So this works, at least for now anyway.



Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Shut up and Run

A windy day in Hastings

I saw my counsellor last week and quite frankly, I was an emotional mess. I'd spent the previous three weeks wanting to cry all the time, I felt worthless and sad and demotivated. And I was so tired. There were some good days, but mostly I was distracting myself with insane amounts of crochet which was good and bad because it's great for shutting everything out and thinking about an immense amount of stuff all at the same time. 

Well I talked to my counsellor about how I was just so tired of overthinking things. It's not like a worry as such, I don't worry about everything. I get swept into a downward spiral of negative and honestly horrible thoughts about myself to the point where I don't think there's any point whatsoever in going on. It's a bit hard to explain but I guess the biggest effect it has on me is it stops me from doing good things for myself like eating healthily, exercising, even getting enough sleep. Sorry, I know it's morbid. I know deep down I wouldn't harm myself so don't send me the Samaritans number just yet. 

In the few days before my counselling session I was feeling pretty bloody depressed and Nick was being really sweet by trying to get me to run. Despite his best efforts this just made me feel worse. I had promised myself (and him) that we'd both start running again on the 5th September but I was feeling too sorry for myself to do it. He sent me a link to a post about running when you don't feel like it and it really made me laugh and struck a chord. Most importantly though, I realised that people don't get stuff done through motivation, they get stuff done by being disciplined. Motivation is fleeting. We all want to be better, fitter, healthier - but to get there you have to do it whether you're motivated or not. 

I Googled 'how to be disciplined' or something like that and I read that most of the people who have good discipline are less emotional about decision making and just do things without thinking too much about it. Well, that was the total opposite of me at that point because I talked myself out of everything. I was sabotaging myself and I didn't know why, and I would tie myself up in knots about not being able to work out why - all the while not doing anything. 

I think this happens to me for lots of reasons that would take me forever to write about and would be pretty boring - nobody wants to wade through my quite in-extraordinary life story - but I asked my counsellor what she thought. 

She said some people are 'psychologically minded' and some are not. She said as a counsellor one of her jobs is get people to think more about things, to spend time on what they're thinking and feeling maybe analyse it a bit. But she said I am very psychologically minded and seem to analyse everything to the point where she sometimes feels like telling me to stop and just do stuff. When she said this stuff, I felt tears well up and a strange sense of relief. I can't really explain it but it was as if by pointing out the bleeding obvious I was somehow released of it. 

I decided then to just stop it. I decided to do what she told me and 'dare to succeed'.

The next day, I ran on my treadmill for 30 mins and on Saturday Nick, Archie and I took part in another parkrun. I came 67th of 68 runners (only the steward who 'brings up the rear' was after me!) and I completed it in 42:58. Yesterday I cycled to my local running club meet and joined them. I ran 5k with them, cycled home and I'm definitely going back next week - no questions asked.

I guess I am writing all this because it feels like a turning point for me. Allowing myself to do things because I said so, not because I deserve it or should or even want to. I'm doing it because I said I would, and there is no reason why I can't be as disciplined about it as the next person.

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
- Aristotle

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

A Margate bank holiday and book writing





My parents visited this bank hol weekend and as ever, it went too fast. We had a lovely time though, strolling down to Margate on Sunday and along the harbour arm for a pint of my favourite rhubarb cider.

We ended up in the Old Kent Market which is a big building on the harbour a stone's throw from the Turner which is painted a delicious pillar-box red. Inside is a gallery of small market units.

Downstairs is crammed full of independent eateries like Mexican, south Indian, pies, a vegan juice and salady type place, a bakery and a Caribbean. There's also a mysterious red double decker bus in there (mysterious because there's no doors big enough for it to have got in) and the UK's smallest pub (ok maybe not yet, but it's going for the title) called The Little Prince which is small (can't hold more than six people) but perfectly formed, down to the brassy pumps and stained glass leaded windows.


We sat in there for a few hours drinking yet more cider, whilst Archie made friends with a couple of the stall holders on the first floor of the gallery. One was a wildlife photographer from whom Archie bought a photograph of a baby orangutan and another of a celebes macaque (I know... why?). He enjoyed it though. And the other was a generic handbag stand which sold Archie a decidedly overpriced 'Pokeball' with a little Pikachu inside. I use quote marks because I'm almost 100% sure it wasn't official but it still cost him seven quid.



Whilst there we got talking to a local author called Steve Haughan who has written and self-published a few books, one of which is doing rather well at the moment called 'Peshwari Nans: Beyond the Bucket List' which is about a pair of octogenarian sisters who travel all the way to India in a classic car. He was explaining that he's a builder who left school with no qualifications but obviously harboured a great talent for story-telling as one year he bound a bedtime story he told his sons in to a book for Christmas. He has self-published a number of other books too, and we chatted about the process of self-publishing a book.

They say everyone has at least one book in them, but I told him I was fascinated by those who can actually sit down and get that book out. I would love to write a book one day, but feel I lack the imagination to make up an entire story good enough that other people would want to read it. It's funny because I was only talking to my friend at work the other day about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and how I've a friend who has taken part for the last five years or so. I would love to do NaNoWriMo but it'll have to wait til I have finished my degree as I definitely couldn't commit to writing over 1600 words a day for the whole of November to meet the 50,000 word count.

I discovered that there is also another website called Camp NaNoWriMo which is a very similar project which runs through the month of August instead, with online 'workshops' leading up to August to help you prep and plan your novel. That might work!

In the mean time I guess it would be a good idea to concentrate on my impending second year at uni, which I'm ready to get stuck in to now. I have bought myself a new lever arch file and everything ;-)

Thursday, 28 July 2016

What the blog?




It feels like a hundred years ago that I had Archie but sometimes I really can't believe I have a seven year old already, and I still feel like some part of me just stopped when I had him at 22.

I think it feels like such a long time ago because a lot has changed since I had him. For a start the blogging community has come on leaps and bounds in the last seven years and it seems almost a requirement for new mums to document their journey to parenthood by way of  a blog or Facebook page. I can just picture each Bounty pack coming with a 'how to blog about your baby' guide. (Do they even give out Bounty packs any more?!)

In my day (ha!) I wasn't even aware of parenting blogs. If I wanted to know something I headed to Netmums and desperately scoured forums for answers to my questions or someone to relate to. I think it's really fantastic how there's so much more for new mums (and all parents actually) out here in the Blogosphere. Mums and dads from all walks of life share their experiences online and it's great to see how others do and feel about things.

I can't help feeling a bit regretful that I didn't document my journey with Archie more clearly. I still  have my old, abandoned and deactivated Facebook account to look back on. I deleted it a couple of years ago when I felt weird about loads of people I hardly knew anymore seeing pictures of me, my life, my family. I keep it there and secretly log in from time to time to rediscover all my old posts as I navigated my way through new mum-hood. And single mum-hood. It doesn't feel like enough though. I feel sort of guilty that I haven't kept a diary or a blog with more of my thoughts and feelings about the whole parenting thing, especially as I have found it so tough. Perhaps I didn't want to share too much or be disloyal to my precious, beautiful baby boy. My hardships weren't because of gaining him, they were about feeling I'd lost me. I didn't want him to one day read them and think he made me unhappy, because he didn't.

Apart from being a parent to Archie, there are other things in my life that I feel bad about not documenting better. Even now I am going through quite an emotional time, wondering if and when I will ever have another baby. We want one, but it's not happening. Should I write about it? Does it feel ok? Not sure. I also started a degree last year which I should probably talk about more. Being a mum and a wife and working full time is HARD WORK - will I want to look back on these times? Will it help me to get through if I write about them? Then there's our move to Kent which I rarely talk about and it was (and still is) bloody hard living hours away from friends and family. Would it help me to share the homesickness, the regret, the joys? I don't know... 

I think what I am getting at is I seem to have a reluctance to share anything on here that I might later regret. Does every blogger feel this? What's the point in keeping a blog if it doesn't actually share anything genuinely me? Does anyone care about my recipe or crochet posts? Doubt it. Do I really want to post about that stuff? Not really - I'd rather tell you how I ate 6 bags of crisps coz I felt like an ugly piece of shit only to realise life is worth living because Archie drew me a picture of a mildly perturbed reindeer. 

Mum-hood is confusing. Life is shitty and confusing too. Blogging is weird and confusing.

Lots of love, 
Amy xxx

Monday, 18 July 2016

Crochet, babies and broodiness...

I have been thoroughly enjoying my summer off uni so far and I don't want it to end. We've been camping three times and have lots planned for the summer holidays, like friends visiting and a holiday to sunny Dawlish in Devon.

Being free from essays and reading has unlocked time in my evenings and weekends to crochet and I have been loving it!I didn't realise how much I had missed sitting down and making something - of course I did do this when I was studying but I always felt really guilty about not doing my work! It's given me the opportunity to try my hand at baby clothes for the first time and they're so quick to make and of course so cute I can't seem to stop. I have decided to set up a little Etsy shop to list the stuff I'm not going to give away as gifts. It's called MOOSE of Margate, come and give me a wave :-)

I think my crochet frenzy was sparked by the news that Nick's sister was expecting a baby. He was born last week and is very cute! We are meeting him this weekend and I have made this little baby grow for him...


It's so soft and cuddly, I hope they like it! I can't wait to see him and give him a cuddle. Everyone seems to be having babies at the moment, I think it's that time of year. The whole thing has made us both quite broody!

My best friend has asked me to crochet a hooded cardigan for her friend's baby so I ordered some Stylecraft Aran this evening. I am looking forward to trying out Stylecraft yarn as it's so popular and a bit cheaper than the WI yarn I've been buying from hobbycraft. Fingers crossed I can get it done by the end of the month as she is leaving to see her on the 3rd August!

I also bought a little yarn winder this week and have had lots of fun winding my untidy skeins into beautifully neat little yarn cakes of joy...


Aaaanyway I just thought I would keep you updated as my hands are hardly free to type with all this crocheting! I hope you're all enjoying the warmer weather and have lots of fun stuff coming up through the summer.

Until next time,
Amy xx


Sunday, 26 June 2016

Sutton Vale Country Park

We stayed at Sutton Vale Country Park for one night this weekend, to test out our camping gear before our week in Dawlish in the summer holidays. 


It did feel a bit strange packing the whole car up to camp 17 miles away from home, but living in the Garden of England means the scenery of the countryside and the fun of the seaside is always on our doorstep. 

It was also our first camping trip as almost-vegans. This wasn't a big deal of course, but the smell of bacon sandwiches made on a tiny stove on the grass the morning after a slightly damp night in a tent is how I remember so many of my childhood holidays. So to make it special for us, I bottled up some vegan pancake mix and enjoyed those for breakfast. I'm hoping we've started our own family camping tradition!


The camping field was surrounded by countryside with lovely views. There was a road behind the field so you could occasionally hear passing traffic but it wasn't very busy and we hardly heard it.


The pitches were well spaced and there was plenty of room for the children to run around and play. We were allocated pitch no. 31 which was in the middle of the field. At first I was a bit disappointed as I liked the sheltered feel of field-edge pitches that back on to hedges, but actually being in the middle meant we had lots of space all around the tent and we were able to park next to our pitch which was very handy. 

Archie had loads of space to fly his kite!




There were lots of other families staying in the same field as us and most pitches were occupied, but it didn't feel crowded at all. Archie made friends with some other boys and played football with them. He asked me to go over with him to ask to play which was really sweet, it's not often it feels like he needs me anymore! 

The ladies' loo block was a bit dated but very clean (I was impressed!) and perfectly usable. Nice hot water, hand soap and paper towels. Nick said the men's could have been a bit cleaner, and there was some water puddling on the floor. 

Whilst Wales v. Northern Ireland was on I took Archie for a swim in the Park's indoor heated pool. It was a little shabbier than I was expecting from the pictures on the website - think a big farm shed with corrugated plastic roofing - and the inside of the pool probably could have done with a lick of paint as the chipped blue it was painted gave the water a slightly green tinge. It definitely wasn't as 'polished' as it looks on the website, but it was still a massive bonus to have a warm swim on a rainy day at a UK campsite! And there were changing cubicles, lockers and hot showers at the poolside. Fine for a splash around!

In the evening (and during the huge downpours throughout Saturday!) we played Charades for Kids which was hilarious (particularly Archie trying to make himself look like a chair!!) and Archie and I read six chapters of Mr Stink by David Walliams. 

The sun did come out sometimes! 
To top things off, the staff were very friendly and the permanent residents of the site were also friendly and welcoming - they chatted to Archie whilst we waited to be checked in. The drinks were reasonably priced, too and Archie was very happy to spend 50p of his pocket money on a bag of sweets at the bar!

All together we loved Sutton Vale and think it's great value. We'd recommend it for families and despite it being really close to home (so not much reason to go back) we probably will head there again if we fancy a camping trip without having to travel for hours!



Saturday, 25 June 2016

KM Colour Run 2016



I ran my first 5k a couple of weeks ago in the KM Colour Run at Betteshanger Country Park. It was so much fun and I am very proud to have raised money for such a worthy cause. I also managed to complete the whole 5k without walking, which was the first time I'd ever done that!

I was a bit nervous about running it on my own as I have only done two parkruns before and both times I ran with Nick by my side. I must admit this was easier though, I think perhaps I went entirely at my own pace rather than trying to run a little bit faster so as not to hold Nick up. And no shin splints or stitch whatsoever!

Everyone was so excited to be there, the atmosphere was great and at 1k intervals around the route there were colour stations manned by kids who were more than happy to chuck yet more powdered paint in your face! I had several mouthfuls!!

I paid £15 to enter and I received a KM Colour Run t-shirt, a pair of sunglasses and a packet of powder paint to throw. I really wanted to wear my EKM t-shirt though and I am glad I did because I felt like I stood out from the crowd a little bit.

It has both spurred me on and made me that little bit more scared of the 10k I have booked in September at the QE Olympic Park.

If you're thinking of signing up I'd say absolutely go for it. It was fun and very do-able. I didn't even complete my Couch to 5k programme and I managed it just fine! If I can, you can!

Here are a few pics from the day...




Archie getting his moneys worth of throwing paint over me! 


My first medal!

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

SW Best Bits #1

Being new to Slimming World - especially as an almost-vegan - has been a bit daunting for me. I've found most dairy free options are synned and I learned that the hard way this week when I used 12.5 syns on 3.5 tablespoons of vegan mayonnaise! (But if it's any consolation, Tesco vegan salad cream is only 1.5 syns per tablespoon...)

So in this series I'd like to share the low-syn or free vegan foods that I've discovered and loved. I hope they're helpful, and I'd love to hear about your finds too!


Alpro Go On Passion fruit yoghurt - 1.5 syns of pure heaven. A thick fromage frais style yoghurt on top of a delicious passion fruit compote. Can't quite believe they're only 1.5 syns!



Spicy Lentil Soup from the Slimming World website. It's syn-free, filling and delicious. We had it for lunch and Nick loved it too. Apparently you can buy it ready made at Iceland? But it was so quick to make, and I assume cheaper too! I skipped the sweetner as I didn't think it needed it.

Alpro almond dark chocolate milk - 250 ml can be used as your Healthy Extra A. Bargain. I prefer yoghurt for breakfast so most of this week I've gone without my hex a. But now I've stocked up on this I will be able to meet my duties!!




My veggie 'chicken' and pea risotto - hearty and filling and one of my fave dinners ever. Recipe here.


Just Wholefoods jelly crystals are made up with boiling water to 1 pint of jelly which is 14 syns for the lot. I served up a quarter of a pint (3.5 syns) with 2 tablespoons of Alpro soya single cream (2 syns) and some fresh strawberries or raspberries. 5.5 syns for a satisfyingly sweet and cruelty free pudding! They're available in Holland and Barrett.

I hope you've enjoyed my best bits for the week, I certainly did! Until next time...

Amy xx

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Vegan Slimming World 'Chicken' and Pea Risotto



Before I was vegan, this was my favourite Slimming World dinner, so of course I've veganised it! There are two ways to make this delicious, vegan, Slimming World-friendly risotto - the on-the-hob-stirry method, or the in-the-oven-watching-TV-whilst-it-cooks method.

SYN FREE

Ingredients

Fry Light cooking oil spray
1 large red onion, diced
2 crushed garlic cloves, or 2 tsp Lazy Garlic
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup of vegan Quorn pieces (optional)
8 oz arborio risotto rice
1 ltr vegan stock (I use this bouillon powder)

Method

1. If you are going for the oven method, preheat the oven to 200c/180 Fan/ Gas mark 6.
2. Heat a large saucepan (for the hob method) or a large lidded casserole (for the oven method) and spray with Fry Light. Add the onion and cook until softened, approx. 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook for a further 3 minutes.
3. Add the peas, Quorn pieces and risotto rice and mix well with the onions and garlic. Allow to saute for a minute or two.

For the HOB
4. Gradually add the stock, stirring until each addition is absorbed by the risotto rice. Reduce the heat and allow to gently simmer whilst stirring until the rice is tender and the risotto is lovely and creamy. This should take about 15 minutes or so. Serve immediately.

For the OVEN
4. Pour in all the stock and stir well. Bring to a simmer, stir again and cover the casserole with its lid. Place on a baking tray in the middle of the oven and allow to cook for approx. 20 minutes until the rice is tender and the risotto is lovely and creamy. Serve immediately.

ENJOY!

Amy xx

Friday, 10 June 2016

Week 13: Clawing back my motivation!

It's been a few lazy and nonchalant weeks with my healthy eating and exercise taking a battering. I have had a lot going on - although not enough to stop me from making the right choices - and yet that's just what's happened.

But for the first time ever I haven't given up. I've still done what I could on the better days, even when I felt like just not bothering. And I'm still counting my journey in weeks from the beginning (so it's week 13 on Saturday). I think this has helped keep me going, that feeling like I am already invested and it's worth carrying on. A year or two down the line I probably won't even remember this few weeks of fannying about.

A couple of weeks ago I sat wondering why I couldn't get my arse into gear and remembered that two friends at work are doing Slimming World. I thought, well, it can't get any worse than losing nothing week in week out, so I spoke to one of them and arranged to meet them there last night. The group was lovely and I have had my first 'good day' in weeks.

It's my sponsored run on Sunday and I'm looking forward to it. I wish I'd have lost a bit more by now and perhaps built my stamina up a bit, but I know I can do it and I definitely couldn't say that 4 months ago. It's time to be a grown up about these things and not let myself fall into a downward spiral of shame, self-hate and not looking after my body.

Amy xx


Monday, 2 May 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 2nd May


Hi everyone! Doing more exercise is making me realise how important it is to eat enough of the good stuff to fuel myself so after a couple of weeks of slap-dashing it I am getting back in the meal planning game.

I am going to make an extra effort to have fruit, yoghurt, oats and seeds again this week. I didn't have it at all last week and I think that contributed to my 'meh'-ness every day. It's obvious but it does set me up for the day. Also I found out that I'm supposed to mill the flax seeds I put on my breakfast every morning otherwise my body can't digest them and get all the nutrients out?! Who knew!

Lunch is still a sticking point with me as I just don't fancy salad anymore...last year I ate LOADS of salad and really enjoyed it but this year...nah. I think I am going to treat myself to some seeded bloomer rolls and have my most favourite sandwich - houmous (hummus?), grilled peppers (the jarred ones), tomatoes, cucumber and spinach. YUM! I may also try to make some kind of cous cous-y thing? Perhaps that will get my lunch mojo back.

I've looked back over the last 6 weeks of my Instagram posts for inspiration and think this will do us just fine this week...

Monday: Roasted sweet potato and chickpea curry with rice
Tuesday: Sausages and roasted veg (butternut squash, potatoes, sweet potato, onion and garlic)
Wednesday: Veggie spaghetti bolognese
Thursday: Burritos or fajitas
Friday: Stir fry with Monday's leftover curry
Saturday: Veggie cottage pie
Sunday: Parents visiting so will probably eat out (poss. a veggie roast!)

My phone is very old and crap now so I am having trouble taking photos of all my meals, but that certainly helps so  I will do my best - the main problem is I have to be online to use the Instagram camera (for some reason the camera app on my phone won't start up) but for that I need the internet and I work in a basement!

Anyway, hope you all have a great week, please share your meal ideas :-)

Amy xx

Saturday, 23 April 2016

My 30 Day Strength Challenge

Hi everyone! If you watch my vlog you'll know I am training for a 5k in June and one of the problems I have encountered is shin splints *shudders*.

One of the ways to avoid this problem is to incorporate strength training into your weekly routine, so I have made a chart to stick in to my weight-loss diary which includes upper, core and lower body strength exercises - push ups, planks and squats (ouch, I'm hurting just thinking about it!)

Please feel free to use this chart and let me know how you find it. If you have trouble saving it to your computer then just leave me a comment and I can email it to you or something :-)

I am sure I'll be posting about it on my weight-loss Instagram account so follow me and I'll follow you back :-)


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Make your own Weight-Loss Journal

My DIY weight-loss journal has it's kept me motivated in the last few weeks of my diet and exercise plan, so I'm sharing what I have in my journal to hopefully provide some inspiration so perhaps you can create your own!

Of course, every journal will be unique and I am sure once you get started you'll find your own useful pictures, quotes, charts and other motivators. There's lots of inspiration on Pinterest and even other vloggers make videos on theirs. Feel free to follow my Weight-Loss Diary Pinterest board for more ideas.

I hope you find this video helpful, and if you already keep a weight-loss diary then I'd love to share ideas! Please comment here or on my YouTube channel :-)



Saturday, 26 March 2016

HDYGG? // Hyacinths + Lots of buds


I had to get out to the garden this weekend and show you how the hyacinths I potted in October are blooming. I am so proud! There's also lots going on with the shrubs in the border and my plum tree is budding again - so exciting! I love the anticipation of a bud that's ready to burst into shapes and colours.













It's lovely to take a break from studying to wander around the garden, pondering the way you plant an ugly oniony looking bulb in the ground and a few months later a beautiful flower pops up to say hello.

How does your garden grow?

Amy xx



Monday, 21 March 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 21st March


Hi everyone, hoping my MPM is better late than never! I had an assignment due this morning and - me being as last minute as I am - I was working on it over the weekend and didn't have time to blog - boooo!

I am definitely sticking with my oaty breakfast bowls this week, they are delicious and fill me up til lunchtime. I make them with:

2 tbsp oats
125g ish of Alpro soya yoghurt - I tried the almond one last week and it was SO GOOD
A couple of pieces of fruit - usually 1/2 a banana and a few strawberries, blueberries or nectarine. 
A sprinkling of dried fruits - cranberries are a firm favourite at the mo
1 tsp of chia seeds
1 tsp of flax seeds
And maybe a dash of Choc Shot if I'm feeling fancy 


The salads were not a huge hit last week, everything tasted a bit bitter to me, but I might try them again this week and have some soup too. 

Snacks will be carrot and cucumber sticks, pitta, houmous, fruit and nuts. I didn't miss crisps, chocolate or breakfast bars last week and I think these tasty snacks helped, along with copious amounts of water.

My parents are coming to stay for Easter weekend and that means we'll probably decide what we're eating on the day as they usually like to go out. 

Monday: Stir fry with sweet and sour sauce

Tuesday: Pasta with spicy tomato sauce and veg

Wednesday: Spaghetti bolognese 

Thursday: Veggie sausages and roasted butternut squash, red onions and carrots (one of our favourites ever!)

Friday: Decide on the day

Saturday: Decide on the day

Sunday: Out for a roast dinner with my parents. I am also planning on making a chocolate cake for Easter Sunday using a Betty Crocker cake mix and a can of pop to replace the eggs - it really works!! And makes it vegan ;-) 

I hope you all have a lovely, relaxing Easter! See you on the other side :-)

What are you eating this week?

Amy xx

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Weight-Loss Diaries: Week 1 Weigh-In



I have completed the first week of my weight loss journey and I have lost 6 lbs! I am so happy! I can't remember ever losing that much in a week before, it must have really needed to shift. Wahoo!

What I've eaten

Nick and I wrote a meal plan for this week and stuck to it (hooray!)

My breakfast has been variants of the same thing every day - oats, yoghurt, fruit, chia and flax seeds. I have LOVED it and it's filled me up til lunch time. Dried cranberries were a favourite topping this week. I am going to stick with this for breakfast next week too coz it's lovely!



We thought we'd make quinoa for lunch this week but it was all out of stock at the supermarket. Instead we had salad for a couple of days, soup for a couple (Aldi tinned veg soup) and one day of roasted veg and lentils. Nick also sent me to work with plenty of fruit, carrot and cucumber sticks with houmous and a little tub of cashews and almonds. He is very good to me.

I also loved all of the dinners Nick made this week, but I think my favourite was a potato and lentil stew with rosemary and red onion vegan sausages (Linda McCartney). The recipe was from a vegan slow cooker book I bought last year but never used and was so hearty and delicious, and cheap come to think of it.

I usually want something sweet after dinner and we hadn't really planned for that, some evenings I had yoghurt and fruit again which was nice but felt like breakfast. We treated ourselves to hot choc and veggie marshmallows on a couple of nights but the BEST treat was pitted dates dipped in natural peanut butter. Omg it was divine!


If you reeeaaaalllly want to see what I eat every day, I am taking pics to keep a track and uploading them on my weight loss account on Instagram @muddlingfit - see what I did there? ;-)

I have also managed to drink at least 2 litres of water every day and I think that has been key in keeping my hunger at bay.


Exercise

I have done hardly any exercise this week as I made a decision to concentrate on sorting out my food. I walked about two and a half miles one day whilst at work, but other than that it's been a 'normal' week for me. I bought a pedometer today and from MondayI'm going to challenge myself to take 10,000 steps for 30 days.

Weirdly, I am beginning to look forward to exercising regularly, I think the success of this week is helping me to change my mindset and it feels good to be making these healthy decisions for myself.

I also made a weight loss journal which has really helped me to keep motivated, I bought some more stickers today to make it pretty (I know, it's sad, I don't care).  I think I will dedicate another post to it some time.

I am off to make my second vlog now, you can subscribe to my channel on YouTube if you would like to see me awkwardly talking into a camera lens. But if not, see you next time!

Amy x


Monday, 14 March 2016

Meal Planning Monday - 14th March


Breakfast this week will be overnight oats - a jar of oats (I usually use 2 tbsp / 30g ish), some Alpro vanilla yoghurt, a teaspoon of chia seeds and some fresh or frozen berries and half a banana shaken up in a jar and refrigerated over night. This is quite a big breakfast but it should see me through til lunchtime.

We'll probably make up a batch of quinoa with veg to have with salad for lunches at work this week

Snacks will be carrot, cucumber and pepper sticks, houmous, fruit and nuts. Avoiding crisps, sweets and chocolate this week (and all that other delicious but bad stuff).

Monday: Stir fry 

Tuesday: Pasta with tomato sauce and veg

Wednesday: Chilli non carne and rice

Thursday: Jacket potatoes with leftover chilli (or beans if we eat it all!)

Friday: Something sausagey (poss. roast veg or a casserole)

Saturday: Will probably decide on the day but it's between fajitas or home made curry at the mo

Sunday: Veggie roast dinner 

I'm also taking part in a 30 day water challenge from tomorrow because I haven't been drinking much lately, and this week marks the start of weight-loss journalling which I plan to share in another post soon.

What are you eating this week?

Amy xx

Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Start of Something


Last night I discovered Amy and her YouTube channel, She Cooks She Eats and OMG - I seriously think I have found my spiritual doppelganger.

Amy has worked really bloody hard over the last 24 months to lose weight and she documents her journey with a weekly weight-loss vlog. She is so honest and lovely and I feel like I have finally found someone online who suffers the same struggles as me to do with dieting and motivation and confidence. I have been inspired not only because she has lost weight but because one way or another she keeps going and one of her main goals is to treat herself better and get healthy - physically and emotionally.

I have been seeking inspiration for ages and running out of places to look, but I can't tell you how happy I am that I typed 'weight loss diaries' into YouTube yesterday and found Amy's channel. I have been utterly inspired and I've decided to start my own weight-loss vlog. This is the first time I've ever appeared on YouTube and it's a bit daunting, especially as I'm publishing my weight and such on there, but I feel it necessary at this point to commit to myself and this seems like the next natural step to take as I dabble in the bloggerverse at the moment anyway.

I've put together an action plan for success (at least, I think it should work!) so in no particular order I am going to...

1. Write a meal plan and stick to it - A blogger friend of mine Nelly's Cupcakes has a 'Meal Planning Monday' feature on her blog which I am going to steal and use to take over the world. Or at least plan what to eat each week, much of a muchness.

2. Record what I am doing and how I am feeling - By keeping a weight-loss journal! I have a lovely notebook and some ideas I pinched from this video so I will update you with my thing of wonder when it has been created. I also saw a tip to take lots of progress photos so I will defo be doing this as whilst I think I will hate them to begin with I know it will be good to see before photos when the time comes.

3. Set small goals- I think, given the rate I lose weight, my goals should be in 3lb intervals, but I'll have to see how I get on! And that brings us to...

4. Exercise. As much as I hate to admit it. - I have signed up to do a 5K Colour Run in June to raise money for the charity I work for - this is a good fitness goal that is achievable as long as I exercise regularly. This is going to be very difficult for me as I really don't enjoy exercise and am very bad at motivating myself to do it! I feel awful for saying it but seeing Amy struggle with her running so much in the beginning was actually quite a comfort to me as I thought I was the only one who hated it! But it was also great to see she did start to feel good about it. Eventually. Nick has wanted us to join in with the Margate Park Run for ages now and I am considering starting the NHS Couch to 5k plan BUT I am going to concentrate on food first coz that's my biggest problem at the mo. I am giving myself til the 1st of April before I torture myself with exercise.

5. Weigh myself weekly ONLY - I am highly likely to become despondent if the scales don't show a loss every.time.I.weigh. And let's be honest - that definitely isn't going to happen if I weigh in every day! When on a diet I tend to focus so heavily on what the scales say I give up pretty quickly when I don't get to goal by day 7. This is stupid because a) slowly forwards is better than staying still and b) I have PCOS and weight loss will always be slow. Weekly weigh ins are enough.

6. Look after myself in other ways, too - Paint my nails. have a bath, do my hair, wear nice make up, dress up - doing these things helps me to feel good and despite what I tell myself on the bad days, I am still good enough as a fat person to wear nice clothes. Also smoothing my hair out and putting eyeliner on helps an untold amount with being able to face the world.

7. Continue to see my counsellor - this is something that I can't really afford but does me good. My emotional well-being has a massive impact on how I feel about myself and how I treat my body and I think it would  be short-sighted to stop seeing my counsellor at this stage. Also I think she may be able to help me to stay focused in some way, so I will ask her about that.

8. Sleep more - Nick always laughs when I say I feel like my natural bedtime is around 10pm because I stay up til the early hours more than I care to admit, usually binge-watching YouTube videos or documentaries or reading blogz. Functioning at life on 2hrs sleep is crapola.

9. Motivate myself every day because nobody is going to do it for me. - I have put this little list together for this:

I am doing this because I want to...
...get my face back
...buy nice clothes
...make my own clothes  - believe it or not most standard patterns stop at size 18 - FML!
...enjoy the good things in my life
...stop feeling bad about myself
...stop comparing myself to others
...avoid diabetes
...get my periods back

10. Treat myself - I have no problem with this one, I love shopping! Haha!

So there you go - alls that's left to do is all that stuff and I'll be there before I know it (!)

Until next time, check out my shiny new YouTube channel and let me know what you think of my first vlog!

Lots of love
Amy xx