Monday, November 30, 2015

Project - I Will Look Awesome In My Wedding Dress - Week 1 Update

Possibly the worst week to have started anything meaningful. Monday was great as I had body conditioning but the days that followed consisted of a gig, a theatre performance, two lots of Christmas drinks, one lot of general drinks and a birthday meal.

And despite my best efforts to limit alcohol, it really isn't helped when Brewdog send you an email to inform you that as a shareholder you get a free bottle of Born to Die this week only when you are due to go to one of their bars that night. It was like they had heard across the internet that I was curbing my intake and trying to tempt me back to the drunk side.

Needless to say I took advantage of my free bottle but for the remainder of the week (bar Saturday) I did limit what I had.

I have also been fairly good with food this week and tried not to snack and eat healthy meals.

I spent some time with Anthony on Saturday coming up with a fitness plan. I didn't do a full work out, just trying out some exercises and seeing how they felt with my back. My shoulders already kill. Come Christmas I will either be sporting a physic Supergirl would be jealous of or sprawled on the sofa a broken mess.

The week in stats:

w/e 22nd Nov 2015
w/e 29th Nov 2015

A very small change but for only a week, and a tough week at that I am quite pleased with that. 

This week will be a lot easier. I only have one night out planned thankfully so eating healthily and getting some decent sleep should be much easier.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week in Awesomeness 16th to 22nd November

On the back of my last post I feel I have some of my blogging mojo back. It's been a while since I have been prolific in my typing.

This week has been fairly good though and I want to share some of the more awesome elements of my week with you.

When I went on my hen do two weeks ago, we went and saw the Nottingham Panthers Vs Belfast Giants in the ice hockey. I wasn't aware at the time that the assistant coach was my favourite player from my youth, Rob Stewart. What I also didn't know is that mum had emailed the Belfast Giants to see if I could come and meet Rob in one of the intervals. Sadly the email wasn't forwarded on to Rob before the match but on Monday Mum forwarded an email to me from Rob apologising for not meeting up with us due to the delay. He said had he got the email sooner he would have met us after the match for a few drinks (although god knows how he would have handled 17 hens!) but next time we are at a Belfast match he will definitely come and say hi. It's nice to know that my idol in my youth is still awesome. That made my Monday!

Tuesday myself and my SE16 group of friends went to our local bowling alley for owning night. My recent weight training did mean that I managed to achieve some sort of consistency over the night and managed one of my highest scores for some time. Even better, after a few problems with our lanes, we were given free upgrades to the VIP lanes next time we bowl. Result!

Hollywood Bowl in Surrey Quays - Photo courtesy of Tadders
On my cycle home on Friday, I was approached by a gentleman on a Boris Bike looking quite lost and looking for instructions to get to London Bridge. As I was going that way anyway I rode with him and ended up having a rather pleasant chat. I got him where he needed to be and I just hope he managed to catch his train in time.

Saturday was filled with Mia cuddles. Andy's best man and wife have just had a baby girl, Mia and we went to visit them on Saturday to meet Mia and to visit their new home. I got lots of cuddles even though it is still a bit terrifying for me to be handling week old babies. They are so delicate I am petrified I am going to break them! I'll get the hang of it one day!

And lastly across Saturday night and Sunday morning, I along with Tadders and Andy survived the Avengers Phase 2 movie marathon at the Prince Charles Cinema. We watched 6 films - Iron Man 3, Thor: Dark World, Captain America: Winter Solider, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Ant-Man. Admittedly I did fall asleep at time but I did manage to make it through the first and last without any sleep.

The before and after shot - 14 hours apart
In all a fairly awesome week!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Project - I will look awesome in my wedding dress!

I am fairly sure most of you will know by now that I have an ongoing battle with my weight.

I am not considered fat and I am fairly fit, but for me I am at a stage where I am bigger than I have been for a while and that is never going to make a girl feel good!

In less than 3 months I will be walking down the aisle to marry the man I love and I also want to love my body by the time I get there.

Why you ask? Two reasons - Andy is currently training for the London Marathon so will be very fit and toned come the wedding and I want to be too, and secondly despite not wanting to bow to any pressure heaped onto every bride to be - I want to look bloody good in my dress!

I have spent the past two months getting a new tattoo so exercise has been limited but now it has healed I am going at this all guns blazing.

And I am not going it alone this time. I have enlisted my friend and personal trainer Ant (@BreatheFitPT) to help me.

As much as I am not into body shaming, I felt I needed to take photos and post them to a) show myself how much weight I have gained and b) to give myself something to compare against. This is my starting point:

Best unimpressed face I could manage. I don't think even I had realised how much my body had changed recently. Two years ago I ran a marathon and was feeling really great about my body. I have bloody back boobs!! A lot of people have commented recently that I look good and that I have lost weight. Personally I think I have just been very good at hiding it using a combination of baggy tops, pull you in pants and a lot of black (well the last is not really purposeful just that my wardrobe mainly consists of black).

This was me in 2009 when I was training hard and spending a lot of time at Virgin Active. I had just finished a 10k in the photo:

Same outfit - 6 years apart. I can't even begin to tell you how hard getting the top on and off was! 2009 me though is where I want to get back to. Not overly muscley (although would not say no to a Jessica Ennis-Hill washboard style stomach but have to be realistic!) but definitely no muffin top (although as the moment I think I have a full bloody gateaux).

Despite not really wanting to, I am also making some sacrifices to achieve my goal. The hardest being cutting down on beer. I love beer. This is going to be a tough one. There is no point going cold turkey as I will fail, hard! But I am definitely cutting down. And the sweets and chocolate, time to pretty much cut them out.

Only trouble is we are coming up to Christmas which means party season (beer) and well Christmas (Quality Street boxes, chocolate, mince pies and the like!). I could not have picked a harder time to start!

Ant keeps telling me it is not all about weight and it will be about muscle tone and fitness but I am hoping to lose weight too. My starting stats are the following:

Weight: 69kg
Bust: 38"
Waist: 33.5"
Hips: 38"
Thighs: 23"

I will actually chart my progress for a change as I am intrigued to see what I can do during such a hard part of the year to be starting these kinds of challenges.

In the meantime, here is a video from Ant to let you know what I am letting myself in for!

Breathe Fitness operate in London. Check out the Website here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Becoming a theatre buff

I'm not sure why but lately I have been watching just as many theatre performances as I have been gigs. Personally I blame the Book of Mormon for re-igniting my love of the theatre. Watch something enjoyable and suddenly you realise there is a whole world of musicals and plays to be watched.

So far this year we have been to Cats (odd, didn't make any sense at the time but a read on Wikipedia cleared up the confusion), Avenue Q (touring at the provincial theatres but still awesome - if it is coming to a town near you, get a ticket), and The Rocky Horror Picture Show featuring the one and only Richard O'Brien as the narrator (Myself, Tadders, Mum and Hannah were in our element. Andy was not impressed and sadly did not enjoy it. On the plus side after all my nagging he has finally succumbed and watched it so he can now say with authority that he doesn't like it!).

This week though we were and watch the UK production of Green Day's American Idiot.

Green Day were the soundtrack to university for me. My first two years consisted of listening to Dookie and Nimrod on repeat (the third year was all about Muse and Eminem). Forward to a world post university and American Idiot was released.

I loved the story in it and was forever hoping that it would be turned into a film or play at some point. So towards the end of the decade when it was announced it would indeed be turned into a stage play I was excited. Only issue - it was only going to be on Broadway.

Had our trip to New York not been so packed last year I might have seen if we could have got tickets to it when we were there. In the end though it was announced it was coming to the UK. I was a bit slow to pick up when it opened though but thanks to a mail shot from StarGreen we had tickets 5 rows from the front.

The Arts theatre in Covent Garden is very cosy and I was surprised it was in such a small venue but it worked so well. To see the concept of the album brought to life was amazing. I sung my heart out the whole way through (not too loud though - I am not Tadders and her friend Caroline at a Book of Mormon performance!).

The tale focuses on 3 friends and the different paths their lives take in the course of a year post 9/11. I could really philosophical and get deep and meaningful as to what I think the play was telling us about America but to be honest - awesome Green Day songs, fantastic acting (I mean really good - I was absolutely blown away by the performances) and a sign-a-long to Good Riddance (Time of your life) at the end - WHAT MORE COULD A ROCK CHICK ASK FOR!!

If you get the chance, go and see it. If you love Green Day, you will love it. If you like air guitars, you will love it. If you were once a fan of Son of Dork, you may also want to pop along (one of the band members is in it). If you are a fan of X-Factor it has the girl who got kicked off and then voted back in because one of the other contestants was doing drugs and a bit of a twat. Honestly, it is worth going and seeing!

Next up for me on the theatre front - The Railway Children at Kings Cross Station (seriously I think I have been to the theatre more than gigs this year!!).

American Idiot is currently showing at the Arts Theatre, Covent Garden until the 22nd November starring Amelia Lily and Adam Sidwell. For more info click here.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Projects for everything

If you didn't already know, I am a Project Manager by day (although I prefer Multitasking Ninja but apparently this is not considered a professional job title).

I am a keen advocate of agile and love looking for ways to use agile management for organising everyday projects. Currently I have three everyday projects running at home - Project Wedding, Project Christmas Fair (for more details take a peek over on and Project Flat Tidy.

Project Flat Tidy is the one I am talking about today.

Andy and I have been insanely busy over the past 6 months. So much so we have hardly spent any time in our flat. As a result we have found ourselves swamped with stuff. I am not sure how this as happened as it is not as if we have spent the past 6 months on a shopping spree and neither of us got a lot of stuff for our birthdays.

Either way we now require a major clear out!

I like lists but when there are two of you it starts to get confusing. So I created a very simple kanban to use around the house as pictured here:

This is the most simple type of kanban. I had thought about having something a little more complex perhaps with either a "ready for charity shop" or "ready for tip column" but to be honest, simple is sometimes best.

One thing I did decide to change was my addition on the "In Progress" section of columns for myself and Andy so it was easy to see who was working on what.

Generally when Andy and I decide to tidy the flat we are easily distracted and find a lot of things end up half done. I made a point of limiting our work in progress to ensure we were not trying to do too many things in one go. Andy at one point started doing some tidying in the front room even though the spare room was still not finished. I pointed at the kanban and banished him back to the spare room.

To be honest I even surprised myself at how effective this was. Not only did we manage to complete everything on the kanban within a weekend, we even managed to add a few extra tasks. Ensuring we focused on particular tasks and didn't move on to something else before it was done seemed to give us motivation to get things done. Oh and the satisfaction of moving a post it note. The pair of us got incredibly excited when this happened. On Sunday night there was a great sense of job well done as we looked at an ensemble if pink post it notes stuck to the done section.

The kanban has now been transformed to a wedding kanban. Admittedly, things are not progressing as fast as we still have quite a while until the wedding but it is useful as a tool to show us what we still need to do, what we have completed and what we need to finish.

I recommend trying a kanban approach next time you have a person project to complete, be it a house tidy, a to do list or a bigger project. I now just need to get one made up for the Christmas fair so I can start monitoring my progress on that.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Where does the time go?!

I have started writing a number of blog posts recently but have failed to finish any of them!

To say the past few months have been busy is an understatement! I got engaged in February and have booked our wedding for next February. When we booked it back in March/April it felt like we had ages before we needed to start worrying. We have less that 5 months and suddenly February seems very close!

There is a kanban in the front room reminding us daily what we still need to sort out. As soon as I feel we are on top of everything, something else comes up that I hadn't considered

I hope to actually post something meaningful soon!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Changing Perspective

The January detox flew by and was one of the easiest ones we have done to date. However unlike previous detoxes this one did not see me shed the pounds as well.

I did feel a little dejected at the time especially as I was cycling further (new work is 8.5 miles away whereas old work was 6 miles), I was doing body conditioning (which I have now found out is actually a HIIT class) on Monday nights as well as pilates on Wednesdays and had recently joined @BreatheFitPT's bootcamp sessions on Saturday mornings.

At the time I couldn't understand why I hadn't lost anything but after a chat with @BreatheFitPT I realised I was eating things at the wrong time of day. After some soul searching I also realised I hadn't been eating the healthiest of things especially when "treating" myself after a work out.

I'll be honest - I haven't much improved in the past two months with a number of events and celebratory drinks among other things.

After a weekend of indulgence this Easter weekend, I have decided that going forward things have to change but I need to look at things differently.

I have been a size 12 on and off for most of my adult life. I can get down to a 10 but no lower , not that I would want to as my height would make me look rather gangly. These days though, even if I manage to get my waist and hips down to a 10, the amount of cycling I do is unlikely to allow me to get into a size 10 pair of skinny jeans.

So whilst walking around the shops today I decided that I need to embrace being a size 12 for now and rather than constantly worrying about my size, what I need to do is make healthier choices food wise.

Now I love my beer. There is no point in me trying to give it up. What I can do though is limit how many days a week I drink and on the days I do drink I can make healthier choices in the food I eat and limit how much I actually drink.

Same goes with chocolate and sweets. It's not about cutting them out completely but limiting how much I have.

Appreciate none of this is rocket science. But clearly focusing on my measurements is not helping nor is calorie counting.

So the changes I am planning to make this week - more veggies, no snacking, try and get to the gym at least one night as I cannot cycle this week due to meetings and limit my sweet stuff intake (always harder in the week of your birthday!)

I am hoping this shift in focus will yield the results I want rather than the ways I have been trying for the past god knows how many years.

If I remain a size 12 it is not the end of the world but if my body is more toned and I feel better then I'll be happy.