Tub on the Run


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Christmas Tag!

I first saw this on Milk Bubble Tea and thought it looked like a bit of fun, so here you have it – Tub’s Christmas Tag.

1. What is your favourite Christmas Movie/s?

This isn’t getting me off to the best start, as I have to admit, I’m not the greatest person for Christmas movies (I am THAT person who hates Elf.  Actual hate.).  However, my little stone heart is always warmed by Miracle on 34th Street (the newer one).

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?

This depends in part on where we spend Christmas.  Most of the time, we spend Christmas at my parents’ (Matt’s live 60 miles away), so we always open them on Christmas morning.  We have a set routine and specific seating – I sit on the floor near the TV, my sister is on gift finding duty by the tree, Matt sits on the sofa next to her and Mum and Dad share a sofa.  I love this.

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?

Not really, as I really do love all of our Christmases.  One of my favourite ones was probably carrying our dog for part of the Christmas walk as she was getting really tired (well, that and I think she figured we were all soft touches and may have milked it a bit!).  Another is probably watching her go mad at the Scalectrix.  I am sad that we won’t have a Beany to join in with our Christmas this year.  Mum and Dad have got kittens though, so they should help take the edge off it.

4. Favourite festive food?

Christmas pudding and clotted cream!  I have a sweet tooth through and through, and while I enjoy the roast, it’s all about the pud for me.

5. Favourite Christmas gift ?

Oooh… tough question!  Probably a purple bear that my parents gave me when I was quite little.  He is originally named Purpley.

6. Favourite Christmas scent?

The smell of woodburners and cinnamon.

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?

This coming Christmas Eve is probably one of the first ones where I haven’t done a traditional thing.  During my childhood, we used to go to the Christingle service at the church that Matt and I married in last year.  I loved that.  Then, as I got older, I used to go round to one of my best friend’s houses and we’d watch films, chat away, drink and eat cheese puff or Doritos.  We progressed on to the pub as we got older.  Sadly (for me) she emigrated last year, and that put a stop to a long tradition.  Time to make a new one!

8.  What tops your tree?

I *think* is it a star.  We didn’t have a topper for about 3 years because we couldn’t find one that we liked, but I think we might have bought one for last year.  We try to buy a nice bauble for each Christmas that we have been together, though we’re in negative nice baubles at the moment as the cats smashed two last year.

9.  As a kid what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for but never received?

I always wanted a Mr Frosty, but never got one.  I can’t actually remember why I wanted one now, but they seemed amazing at the time (who wouldn’t want to make their own ice lollies in the middle of winter…).

10.  What’s the best part about Christmas for you?

It is, without doubt, spending time with my family.  My sister comes home and Dad has time off from work (being self-employed, he doesn’t get much in the way of holidays).  We all have a good amount of time out from work, and it’s just nice to relax.  On Boxing Day we usually go to see Matt’s family – his mum cooks, and it is always delicious!

What would your answers be?


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Life, lately

Matt and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary at the beginning of the month.  I feel like say this all the time, but where has that year gone!  We went to London to see a band, along with my Mum and sister.  It was a nice weekend away, good music (in my opinion!), okay food (it was a Marks and Spencer picnic in the hotel), good wine (M&S zinfandel FTW) and great company.  We didn’t get too much time to do a lot on the Saturday, and after nearly 8 hours of travelling, I was very much ready not to burn out before the gig.

On the Sunday, despite the Tube closures on seemingly every line we wanted to use, we did make it to Westminster for Matt to get a few photos with his new camera (not realising that the batteries needed a charge).  It was then a short Tube hop and walk over to the Tower, as we all wanted to see the poppies.  Matt and I had got a couple of photos from when we were in the City in August, but to see the nearly complete field was breathtaking and so sad all in one hit.

I didn’t realise that the poppies were being sold until quite recently, and I am pleased to hear that they all sold really quickly.

In other news, I am the heaviest I have ever been (grump!).  I do feel a bit down about that, but I have more pressing concerns right now which are work related.  I’ve also caught the office lurgy which has moved to my chest and stopped any kind of exercise.  Having considered my weight, my 2 year-old’s-lung-capacity and the distinct lack of training, I have made the decision to pull out of the Weston Christmas Cracker 10k, which I am gutted about.  I don’t want the place to go to waste, so I am offering it out (I don’t want any money for it – if you know anyone who might be interested, please let me know!).  It’s a really great race, but my timing sucks.

Thankfully, I have a couple of things dotted around between now and Christmas to really look forward to, and of course, there is Christmas itself, which is all helping to keep my spirits up.

Did you see the poppies?


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Ultimate Coffee Date – November 2014

I was introduced to the Ultimate Coffee Date by Laura over at Laura: Fat 2 Fit a few months back.

Post shopping cuppa

Ultimate Coffee Date is hosted by Jill Conyers, Grab your kicks, and Fitness Mom Wine Country, and takes place on the first Saturday of each month.  Some of the blogs that I have added into my reader have come courtesy of link ups, and think they’re a great way to get introduced to new people.  The point of the Ultimate Coffee Date is to take 5 minutes once a month for a bit of a catch up.

So…

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that Matt and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary this weekend.

Coming out of church

I can’t believe that this year has gone by so quickly, but if I am completely honest, I have thoroughly enjoyed not wedding planning this year!  2013 felt like it was all wedding planning and it was all I could talk about, which I have no doubt got incredibly boring for my nearest and dearest.  Having said that I still need to find homes for some of the left over bits and bobs (and get my dress dry cleaned…), and get a momento box thing together.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am loving autumn.  Autumn is probably my favourite season.

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Autumn means wellies, and I have awesome wellies!  I like the colour changes as the world prepares itself for winter, from red and orange leaves to the high streets preparing for their Christmas lights.  Candles in the evening as entirely acceptable again, and mugs of steaming hot tea become my drink of choice.  Also, it means that I feel more comfortable running again – as the nights draw in, I much prefer the anonymity of running under cover of darkness.

If we were having coffee, you would know how excited I am for this weekend.  One of my favourite bands is playing at Wembley, and it is going to be amazing!  We came across Blackstone Cherry when they supported Nickelback on one of their tours (I can’t remember which it was), and have seen them once since, when they came to Cardiff.

Because I have a cool family, it is a bit of a family outing – me, Matt, my mum and sister.  Dad has to stay at home unfortunately.  We don’t get a huge amount of time to spend in London, which is a shame, but I am hoping to be able to see the progress made with the poppies at the Tower of London.

What’s new with you?  Do you have a favourite season?


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Scoring a B+ this week

Now, I’m not quite “all over it”, but I’ve done pretty well this week I think.  Headline news is that I am 4lbs down on my weigh in last week, which is really great.  It’s not been the strictest of weeks, but it’s a dramatic improvement on the weeks that have gone before.  Anyway, we have a #TransformationTuesday in the making…

Transformation Tuesday in the making

Ignore the lovely face – it was very bright out on our walk today, and I should have remembered my sunglasses.  I am hoping that in a month or so I will be able to post another picture with some noticeable progress.  Every journey starts somewhere right?!

How has this week been different?

Food wise, we haven’t really planned too much.  Luckily there have still been a couple of frozen meals from a batch cooking marathon I did a couple of weeks ago.  A quick nip to Tesco to get some fresh veggies and milk, and we were away!  One day I was incredibly late home, so we ordered takeaway, but other than that, we’ve been sensible.  Breakfast has consisted of porridge, lunch has been soup or leftovers, and teas have been mostly freezer food.  We’re actually beginning to use up some of the stuff in the cupboard that we’ve had for ages.

Favourite food thing this week: Stur squash.  Beki, who blogs over at Miss Wheezy, wrote a post about Stur this week.  They are doing free samples, so I thought I would give it a go, especially as I saw they have a peach iced tea flavour.  My sample arrived really quickly, and it tastes exactly how I expected it to!  Win!

http://instagram.com/p/uS-Hgrn1La/

Ooh.. I lied a bit.  I have two favourite things – the second is Christmas pudding Nakd bars!  They’re… well… Christmas puddingy without the calories of a Christmas pud!

http://instagram.com/p/uJQHFln1AC/

Next up – exercise!  I have a plan, and that plan has worked quite nicely this week.  Of the 7 days, I completed 5, which I think is a good start.  For the runs, I haven’t actually run as I don’t want to kill my knees off, so I’ve walked the distances.  Matt joined me for kettlebells at the start of the week, and also came out on my long “run” today.  I don’t think he’ll be joining me for kettlebells again – he doesn’t quite get that feeling of joy that I get from lobbing weights around.  It’s probably not helped by a muscle twinge that he has been having in his shoulder either.

I’ve struggled a bit with yoga too.  My wrist strength is noticeably poorer than it has been in the past, which makes any poses like downward dog, or even cat/cows intense.  I can’t hold the poses for too long.  I always thought that this was a problem only I really experienced (again, I don’t think the weight helps), but it seems I am not alone, and Ekhart Yoga have even posted a video to help build that strength.

I’m hoping that over the coming weeks and months, completing this video regularly will help me to progress more comfortably in my yoga.

Favourite exercise this week:  My walk with Matt today.  It was nice to get out in the fresh air, and he got to play with his camera too.  Win all round!

Sunday walks

Next week, I’m hoping to have eaten a little more into the cupboards and freezer, and then next weekend batch cook a few more meals and also make some soups.  Exercise wise, I plan to start some gentle (read: super slow) running.

How has your week been?

 

 


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Feeling brighter and breaking tasks down

In my last post, I talked about chunking it all up – one step at a time to achieve the bigger picture.  I’ve had to think about what my goals are again, and it really boils down to achieving a 100lbs weight loss .  That will put me at 162lbs (11 and a half stone in old money).  I don’t actually know if 162lbs is right for me, but I will decided nearer that point where I want to go with it.

One of the things I have started to add in to my little arsenal of inspiration and motivation is the Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Editions.  There is also One Year to Save My Life.  Trashy TV?  Kind of!  Realistically something I could do in those timescales?  Probably not so much.  I couldn’t give up work for 3 months for a start and I doubt that Chris Powell would come and live with me to kick my ass for free.  But, motivational?  Absolutely!  Of the things I am learning is that cardio isn’t king, but that intervals, cardio and weights seem to be a much more effective strategy.

So in honour of chunking exercise down, there is a plan.  The plan isn’t something to be terrified or overwhelmed by, which is how I have viewed it in the past, but something to help me.  There is a plan which spans a long time, and I know that constantly looking at that will result in wide rabbit-in-headlights eyes.  It’s time to crack out the Believe I Am planner that I bought last year.  I’ve got a master spreadsheet (because I am just so cool) which looks at the wider picture, which I have put reward intervals on.

However, we all know that abs aren’t made in the gym (though truth be told, I’m not too worried about seeing my abs).  Meal planning means getting back to the batch cooking and asking myself the “will this help or hinder me?” question on a regular basis.  I will also be reacquainting myself with the “am I hungry or bored” question, and looking for keep-outta-the-kitchen tactics that I can stick with.  No more beating myself up, but also, no more binges.  I must learn my triggers and new, more effective ways of coping.

Does this mean I am going 100% paleo?  Not necessarily.  I think the paleo framework fits me really well, and I have honestly never felt so good as when I completed my Whole 30, but for me it is not a sustainable way of eating in the longer term (I like to eat out every now and then!).  A little of what you like doesn’t do you harm (well… unless you like dangerous things or are allergic!).

Measuring success isn’t just about the scales, but going in 10lb blocks will be helpful to me.  Losing 10lb chunks instead of the overall 100lbs, I think we can all agree, is much less daunting.  Rewards?  Why not!  No idea about what the rewards will be, but we’ll get to that point later.

I feel so much more positive after getting my previous thoughts down and feel genuinely ready to start tackling this all again.

 


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Time out

I’ve taken some unintended time out recently.  I haven’t had much in the way of positive things to write about and I have wondered whether September just needs writing off altogether.  Better things are planned for October, that is for sure!

I’ve done a reasonable amount of wallowing, and true to form, my old habits and coping mechanisms have crept back in, stealth-like.  My diet in September has been pretty poor, but I have managed to get a little bit of exercise in.  It hasn’t been consistent, but it was there and I’ll take that little bit of good.  Kettlebells are actually quite therapeutic even though I walk like I’ve lost my horse for the following three days!  I’ve snuck a bit of yoga in too.

What I have spent more time doing recently is rebuilding my bank of inspiring people, including following new people on Twitter and Instagram, reading more and trying to consolidate where I am and where I need to go, and how I get there.  Having stalked followed many of these people over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realised that I’ve become so overwhelmed by the enormity of losing the weight or getting back in to exercise that I’ve lost sight of how to get there, and stopped taking it one step at a time.  Will doing or not doing something make my situation better in the longer term?  This is the question I have allowed to get lost in the fluff of overthought.  I’ve focused on the all-consuming goal rather than breaking stuff down in to manageable chunks.

So now it is time to chunk it up!

P.S – in other news, I have written my first ever guest post over on Paleo Demystified.  I was all silly excited when they asked me if I would like to put something together, and it’s even more exciting to see it up!


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30 things before I turn 30

I’ve recently turned 29, and I’ve really liked some of the 30 by 30 lists I have seen floating around the interwebs, so I bring you my list, in no particular order.

30 before 30

 

I will be blogging about my adventures in achieving this list over the next 11 months.  I suppose I had best get started!

Is there anything you have always wanted to do?  Do you have a bucket list (or a mini-bucket list)?


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Adventures in the South East

Phew! What a week!  Sore today, strong tomorrow has lasted quite a long time, and I’m still not 100% which is irritating.  It didn’t stop me enjoying my week off too much though!

It has been a week of indulgence and excess, and while I enjoyed it, I am also glad to see my kitchen and normal food again!

Mid-week, Matt and I headed across country to stay with his aunt and uncle in Sussex for a few days.  The plan was simple – go, relax and enjoy some time with them.  We arrived on Wednesday afternoon in their lovely little village, and spent the afternoon chatting away with his uncle while we waited for his aunt to return home from work.  When everyone had arrived home, dinner was prepared, and it became apparent that the cooking gene runs in the family.  Matt is a good cook, as is his mum, and so it seems, is his uncle.  He cooked the most delicious steak and veggies, and washed it down with plenty (too much?) wine.  Pudding was home-made tiramisu which was like heaven in a glass dish.  Needless to say, we went to bed full and content.

On Thursday, we all went to Hampton Court Palace.  I’d said quite a long time ago that it was somewhere I would like to visit, having never been there before.  It didn’t disappoint at all.  I was surprised to see such a beautiful animal so close to busy roads.

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There were free audio guides which worked in conjunction with a small leaflet that guided you through different parts of the palace.  Matt and I only managed the Tudor part, and didn’t get anywhere near the newer parts.  Matt’s aunt and uncle managed to cover a little bit more ground than us though.  I would love to go back and have a look at the parts we didn’t get to see, as well as the gardens which we missed out altogether.

Hampton Court Collage

A thoroughly pleasant day was topped off by one of the best Thai meals that I have ever had in a great little restaurant called Good Evening.  I’m not normally much of a fish eater, but even I thought the salmon dish was amazing.

Friday was a little slower paced, and we headed to Arundel for the afternoon.  The sun shone as we made our way around the various antique shops.  I don’t think any of us had a specific purchase in mind, but it was just nice to wander.  We didn’t stop at the castle, as we arrived a little too late to have a proper look around.  On Friday evening, we were joined by Matt’s aunt’s niece and fiancé, who had made the 7 hour trek down from Manchester.  Dinner was at the Rose and Crown.  I think my experience here was marred a little bit by my neck, as it had become increasingly painful during the day, so I didn’t enjoy the meal as much.  I also had food envy of Matt’s aunt’s meal.

I have never been to the theatre before, which Matt’s aunt and uncle thought was a travesty.  So on Saturday, ticket had been booked for a musical in London.  We made the train by the skin of our teeth.  I enjoyed playing tourist, watching the sites of Battersea, the Shard, the Thames and the Eye as we made our way in to London Victoria.  Matt’s uncle, despite having worked in the City for years, has only set foot on the Underground twice before.  I was amazed, as I have always travelled on the Underground when I have visited London.  We travelled in the means that I am accustomed to, and headed towards the Tower of London, as Matt’s aunt and I wanted to see the ceramic poppies.

 

Tower Poppies

It is so sad that each poppy represents a fallen soldier, and that despite the large amount of poppies already there, it isn’t yet finished.

Back on the Tube, we zoomed over to Regent’s Park for the Open Air Theatre.  This was a real highlight of the weekend.  The production was Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  The weather was perfect, the show was moving and I would definitely recommend it to anyone.  I’ve said to Matt that I would like to go and see something else there one day.

(source)

The weather couldn’t have been more perfectly timed – within 5 minutes of leaving the theatre, the heavens opened.  We made a swift exit towards London Zoo and headed towards the Feng Shang Princess for dinner.  It’s an interesting little restaurant, but I can honestly say that I have had much better Chinese food elsewhere.

I wish I had a little more time to have spent in London, but Matt and I have said we’ll try to spend a couple of days there during our next holiday.

We really enjoyed our few days away, but it is nice to be back to normal.


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Sore today, strong tomorrow?

Sore today, strong tomorrow?  Is that the phrase?  Well, Cross Fit, eat your heart out!  Cross Fit a bit expensive?  I have the solution!  Volunteer for house moving duties!

Mum and I drove a couple of hours east yesterday to help my sister move house.  This involved a lot of lifting and shifting of all sorts, down from the first floor of her old flat, up the 3 floors to her new flat.  Mum and I have stipulated that the next move must be in to a ground floor flat.  It was nice to spend some time with both my mum and sister though, and despite a couple of moments of fraying temper (mine), and some impressive bruises.

The three of us were completely pooped come yesterday evening, and knew the sore muscles awaited us today.  To make matters worse, I then pulled a muscle in my shoulder/neck in the shower this morning.

In other news, Matt and I have been half and half paleo since we finished the Whole 30, and it really is noticeable how eating sugar and rubbish impacts on us both.  With that in mind, we’ve decided to do another Whole 30 in September, ready to take a bit of a bigger step into a 90% ish paleo diet.  This time round though, I intend to exercise, reintroducing some running and kettlebells.  I won’t be doing much this week, as I have a week’s holiday, in which Matt and I will be visiting family and gallivanting.


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My #Whole30 results

Day 30 came and went without too much notice.  I had started to feel a bit anxious about what I was going to eat when the Whole30 was over, and partly for good reason.  Matt and I were due to go to the Silverstone Classic on Thursday 24th July.  We made it there in good time, but hadn’t really catered for a camping trip for the Thursday (our Day 30).  We’d already planned to eat whatever we could rather than try to find compliant food when we were out and about, and I had deliberately started the Whole30 when we did so that camping wouldn’t be a problem.

Thursday morning was a bit of a rush, taking photos and measurements before work, but we got it done, and I am certainly pleased with the results, and I know Matt is pretty chuffed with his too.  At the beginning, in my elevator pitch of Whole30, I wrote about what I wanted out of the 30 days:

  • Making significant inroads into breaking my problem with sugar

  • Learning more about what I truly benefit from and what does me harm

  • I won’t lie, some weight loss would be nice!

  • I’d also like to see if some of the skin problems I have are linked to my diet.  I imagine that they probably are

Looking at it in a bit of detail, I think it was a worthwhile exercise.

Energy

I didn’t think I was really one to suffer with mid-afternoon slumps, but one thing that has really made itself known since we came off of Whole30 is that I do.  My concentration is poor and I don’t feel like I am firing on all cylinders for a sustained period of time.  On Whole30, I felt great.  The world was my lobster and I felt ready to take on the challenges.

Sleep

I’ve never been a bad sleeper.  I’m a fidget and nuisance as I have restless legs and sleep walk and talk sometimes, but it rarely wakes me up.  Poor Matt, on the other hand, can often be the victim of a randomly flung leg or arm.  I wouldn’t feel like I would wake up refreshed and raring though.  Whole30 didn’t change this for me much.  I continued to sleep well, but I woke feeling a little brighter.

Sugar Addiction

This, for me, has to be one of the greatest successes.  I’m not “cured”, but these 30 days have helped me to sit out a craving, or find something else.  It’s proved to me that I don’t need the sugar and that I work better as a human being with less sugar.  I am still getting cravings every now and then, and although we’re not really following paleo or Whole30 right now, I haven’t slipped back in to my old ways of reaching for the first sweet thing I can find.  I feel like I have made a significant inroad on this particular aspect, and one that I am very keen to continue.

 (source)

Skin

My skin has never been great.  Ever since I hit puberty, the dermatology gods decided that I was destined to be plagued with breakouts and problem skin.  This has continued into my late 20s, though thankfully it isn’t as bad as it used to be.  That said, I am still unhappy with it and I find it to be a source of self-consciousness.  The Whole30 website says that improved skin can be one of the benefits of the 30 days, but I didn’t really find this to be the case.  I must make a point of saying that I have stress related breakouts and July was a stressful month, so Whole30 might have saved me a couple of nasty spots, but I’ll never know.

Weight

I don’t think there is a huge difference between the photos, but there is a good difference on the scales.  I started the Whole30 at 18 stone 9.5lbs and weighed in on Day 30 at 17 stone 7.5lbs, losing 16lbs and 8 inches.  Is it water weight?  Maybe.  I don’t really know.  I have really tried to make this more than just about losing the weight, but this is one of the best indicators for me. Something you can actually see.

Tub on the Run Side Comparison Whole 30

Tub on the Run Front Comparison Whole 30

Life after Whole30

Since finishing the 30 days, I have not stuck to any semblance of the principles of Whole 30.  This has seen my moods go up and down, my ability to cope with stress is compromised, I’m not feeling as efficient and I’m bloating.  I don’t feel great.  I actually feel sad.

Matt has seen a return to bloating too.

We’ve discussed what our next plans are in terms of diet.  We’ll be returning to a paleo/primal kind of eating soon, working on a 90% rule.  We’ve loved most of the meals that we’ve eaten and definitely want to keep them in the meal plans going forwards.  The issue is that August tends to be quite a social month for us, and eating out on paleo seems quite difficult, though not impossible.  With that in mind, we’ve discussed doing another Whole 30 in September.

I’ve got a few more thoughts on Whole 30 that I will write down at some point soon, but I thought this post was long enough, without getting in to the rest of it.