Bonjour Mon Amis!

 

 

So, after a *lot* of hush hush and tip toeing about, I was finally able to reveal our secret birthday/Anniversary trip plans to Mark! On Saturday morning at stupid o’clock, we rocked up to fell into George Best’s airport and I presented him with an Anniversary card and an envelope containing our tickets to see… FRANK TURNER and SOCIAL DISTORTION in Le Trianon in Paris!! Yes – frickin’ Paris! How good a girlfriend am I?! ;p Needless to say he was well-chuffed considering he loves Frank Turner and never thought he’d ever get to see Social D, never mind in somewhere as amazing as Paris! So here’s a bunch of pics of the trip to give you a wee insight into what we got up to!

Cupcakes in Birmingham airport which almost made us miss our flight. Yes, the airport announcer man actually had to call our individual names to get us to hurry to the gate. Thankfully, a gaggle of grannies, parents and kiddies on their way to Disneyland were so busy bustling about and sorting out their stuff at the plane’s entrance that we made it on to the flight without being boo’d or slow-clapped by the irate early-arrivers!

Bonjour Paris!

(The Eiffel Tower is actually in this pic, but it’s faded and near the top so you probably can’t see it!)

Tunnel from the train to Metro stations at Garde de Nord.

The view from our hotel. The nicest bakeries ever were on this street, and the bar you can see just cut off at the bottom was great for cheap-ish drinks and enormous measures!

First drinks in the first bar we could find once we got out of the sticky heat of the Metro station. Jeans, double-t-shirts and heavy bags blinded us to the fact – it was a fucking British chain of pubs!

But it did have Magners, which is what I would’ve killed for! 😀

Our hotel was right next to the Moulin Rouge, so had a bit of a burlesque, Moulin theme going on. It was a shabby, tiny little studio apartment – but it suited us brilliantly and added to the charm of the city.

Because the room had a little kitchenette, we were able to buy some gorgeous, fresh French bread, jam and juice and have delicious, to-die-for breakfasts!

Cheap, cheap wine. All in the name of fresh and fruity Louise!

Metro station

Pet market at Notre Dam. I actually love this photo.. not sure why!

This was a bizarre little market, definitely not what we expected hen we stepped out of the Metro station at Notre Dam. Lots of all kinda of parrots, love birds, budgies, finches etc, as well as poultry, ferrets, hamsters, rats, rabbits, mice and degus. There were lots of dog and cat toys and food stalls too. I bought our dog a cool collar. No doubt I’ll get a pic of him wearing it up soon!

Notre Dam Cathedral was amazing. So much intricate detail on every surface. Bizarre that there was a service going on with the regulars while hundreds of tourists circled the inside of the building taking photos. Oh and for the record, god didn’t melt, burn or smite Mark and I while we were in his house. Maybe he doesn’t hate non-believers after all! ;p

Beautiful little street in Notre Dam. Exactly what I picture when I think of Paris! Just wish the café and shops had been open – would’ve made a better picture!

My delicious double ice cream in Notre Dam. Strawberry cheesecake with raspberry sorbet. Quare powerful stuff!

From Notre Dam, we headed to the Eiffel tower. It’s truly amazing. So much bigger and better than photos or video footage can show. I loved it.

We didn’t go up the tower because we wanted to see as much as we could of the city in the short time we were there. The queues were insane and we would’ve been there all day, so we just sat in the park for a bit then took off again.

This was the brilliant view from the government building behind the tower. I think it was a government building.. I was calling it ‘Paris’ Stormont’, so even if it isn’t, it will always be to me! I think this photo gives a bit more of an idea exactly how big the Tower really is.

The famous Moulin Rouge. Our hotel was right next to it on the corner, and this was just a few feet from the Metro. Absolutely perfect place to stay! And HOW iconic is this building?!

Brilliant old building on our street. I just love the old window shutters and cracked walls. It looks amazing!

Very cool brass band playing great covers of songs like the Star Wars theme, Thriller and various obscure oddities. This was in Montmartre, the artsy place!

 Mark ordered a beer. He was asked if he wanted a small or large one. Thinking, as you would, that a small would be a glass, and a large would be a pint, he ordered the large. let me introduce you to.. enormopint!

Pigeon!

French flag at Pigalle station, just opposite where we were drinking.

My favourite Metro sign. Love it.

The bar I mentioned before with the very generous measures.. the sheer amount of vodka in a drink does this to a man…

…and this to a woman!

Our hotel’s tiny TINY lift! How one person, never mind two or more fit in here is some form of witchcraft.

Arc de Triomphe, ending our crazily hot and painful walk along the champs Elysees. What a place – Massive superstores, moneybags galore and super car central. Mark and I must’ve looked like two tramps. By the way, the traffic here was insane – no lanes, no road markings – just madness.

We went to the sex museum. It was huge. And this was one of the most bizarre things I found. There was no explanation really, just.. a sexy girl with an owl’s head. This place was pure filth, we loved it.

Awful photo of the man himself!

This is us with Frank Turner. We finally met him! After years of going to his gigs and not having the balls to say hello for fear of saying something stupid, we finally said hello and met one of the nicest people in the world. Genuinely lovely guy who spent his entire time off stage selling his merch, chatting to folk and being an all-round-sound-as-a-pound bloke. ❤ He was supporting another band, US rockers Social Distortion who we both really love. They were incredible live. So energetic, funny and as for Mike Ness – possibly the coolest bastard that exists,, and what a voice! Amazing way to spend our Anniversary!

So there you have it. Some holiday snaps of our secret trip. Gutted it’s all over, but what a time. We didn’t see half of what Paris has to offer, but we took in a lot in the short time we were there. We want to go back for bus tours, Catacombs, museums, galleries and more hidden treasures in tiny side streets. Paris has so much to discover and I doubt even a month-long trip would cover everything, but we will definitely get back to give it a shot! We’ll just make sure our purses and banks are well-stocked!

Oh yes, and for anyone who doesn’t know who Frank Turner is, or who hasn’t heard his songs yet – you need to. Even if you end up not being a fan, you still need to hear him. He writes and performs passionately and straight from the heart and I doubt there are many who say he hasn’t spoken to them through his songs in some way or other. He tells it how it is, highlights the importance of living for the moment, following your heart and chasing your dreams and sings about love and loneliness as if he’s reading your mind – the man is a genius. Check him out! Here’s a video to one of his latest – and best – songs, ‘I still Believe’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ-D4jmkUiQ – enjoy!

Au Revior!

Saz xx

 

 

 

Normal Service Resumes

Ok, so after my few weeks of falling waaaay off track due to adjusting to my brand new circumstances, I think I’m finally back on track! For the last few weeks of Slimming World-ing it alone, I’ve maintained my weight, and this week I’VE LOST 1LB! Now it’s not loads, I know, but it’s a start and it’s in the right direction so I’m happy.

To be honest, my food this last week hasn’t been totally amazing, but I’ve been cutting down on bread, having pasta or noodles lunches and syn-free dinners. I’m still sneaking in the odd crisps or chocolate, but most of the time they’re within my syn allowance so it’s all ok! 

For next week, I’m going to scribble down a list of foods that I can make loads of so I can eat some and bring some to work for lunch, along with yummy foods that don’t take too long to prepare. We need a big ol’ healthy food shop in so can’t wait to get it and it’ll truly feel like a fresh start.

Although I’m glad I’m back on track, I’m still disappointed in the fact that I fell off track to start off with. I’m going on my ‘secret trip’ next Saturday and if I’d been able to stick to plan from a few weeks ago, I would have been a lot lighter, but no point in dwelling and annoying myself over it – I’m gonna go and enjoy my holiday fully (can’t effing wait!), and use this experience to help me in the future.

My friend Dawn (http://inanityandthegirl.blogspot.com/) wrote about how circumstances effect your eating habits in her blog, and to be honest, it made me feel a whole lot better about the fact I’d gone off plan. It made me realise it happens to everyone and if you beat yourself up about it, it’s easy to let it fall off track more and more. So thank you to her, here’s a wee quote from her – 

“What we must accept on a long term weight loss journey is that life is not always going to see us easily losing weight. It takes more courage to keep going through the gains and look at yourself and your actions and try and rectify them than it does to sail along in the losses. People who are still battling on through these periods of slumps and difficulties will be stronger for it, don’t give in! I’ve found through my busiest work periods that I’ve had a hard time staying on plan…Yes, life gets in the way but the sooner you realise that the better. Accept it, forgive yourself of any hard feelings and move on.”

It’s such a big help to find someone else who can sympathise, understand and encourage you to get over it and move on. At the end of the day, I didn’t actually put any weight on over the few weeks, and when you step back and look at the bigger picture – it’s a long term plan, so there’s bound to be bumps along the way. Hopefully though this is me over my first major bump, so onwards and upwards for now!

Progress So Far
Week 1 – 1.5lb loss

Week2 – 3.5lbs loss

Week3 – 0.5lbs gain

Week4 – 3.5lbs loss

Week5 – 3lbs loss

Week6 – 1lb loss

Week7 – 1lb loss

Week8 – 1lb loss

Week9 – 2lb loss

Week10 – maintain

Week11 – 3lb gain

Week12 – 6lb loss!

Week13 – missed group so don’t know.

Week14 – 1/2lbs loss

Weeks15,16 and 17 – maintain

Week17 – 1lb loss

Total Loss – 20.5lbs (1 stone 6.5 lbs!)

Frank Turner ‘Eulogy’

Last Sunday was Mark’s birthday and Lexie bought him Frank Turner’s new album, ‘England Keep My Bones’. I’ve only heard bits and pieces so far (and so far so very, very good!), but the first song has really stood out. It’s so simple, only has eight lines and both of us agree is makes an absolutely amazing beginning to an album. The lyrics are just brilliant – don’t think I have to say any more, they speak for themselves! Enjoy!

Frank Turner ‘Eulogy’

Not everyone grows up to be an astronaut,

Not everyone was born to be a king,

Not everyone can be Freddie Mercury,

But everyone can raise their glass and sing.

I may not be the perfect kind of person,

I may not do what mum and dad dreamed,

But on the day I die, I’ll say ‘At least I fucking tried!’

That’s the only eulogy I need.

That’s the only eulogy I need.


	

Dust Yourself Off and Start Again

Well, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve posted a blog. Partly because I’ve been so busy, and partly because I’ve been finding Slimming World so, so difficult the last few weeks that I’ve been burying my head in the same a wee bit. But, I always said this blog would highlight the good and the bad, make me accountable for my little huge slip ups and basically not let me hide from weight issues. So have forced myself to sit on the sofa with laptop on lap and tap tap tap away and formulate some form of plan. So here goes..

The last few weeks have been amazing in terms of my job, my life, my bank account and my brain. I’ve been learning so much in work and getting loads of hands-on experience, been spending lots of time with Mark and Babbles and I’ve been able to get the bills paid without panicking or stressing. Wow! However, the last few weeks have been utterly horrendous in terms of my Slimming World plan. I’ve just been so busy, it’s slipped to the very back of my list of priorities and I’ve been eating on the go, grabbing grub and eating on the go and allowing a helluva lot of junk food back in just to fill myself up and give myself a wee energy boost.

On top of this, I’ve had to stop going to Slimming World groups.  It’s a biggie, I know but here’s why. I can no longer make my Thursday night group so have to go to the Thursday morning one instead. The problem is that it’s at 9.30am and it’s up the road from my mum and dad’s, meaning I have to get a bus there. If any of you have kids, you’ll know how hard it is to get up, get breakfast for you and kiddo, shower for you, bath for Babbles, clothes packed, uniform ready, house sorted etc all before having to leave the house at 9.10am to walk down to get the bus. The Thursday morning group is huge too, so it’s long queues to pay, long queues to get weighed, then I can’t even stay for the group anyway because I need to get home to get Babbles down for her sleep. So I’ve decided to leave. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not abandoning Slimming World and piling the lbs on again, instead I’ve bought myself a really good set of scales and I’m going to scratch everything and start all over again. I’m going to re-read all the books and leaflets, make sure I plan ahead and, for the first week or two, keep a food diary and have as little syns as possible just to get back in to the swing of things. The good thing is that when I stood on my new lovely scales I haven’t gained anything. I haven’t lost anything either, but at least I’m still where I was a few weeks ago. So I’m still positive about it all. I just had a pretty big off-track moment, but as of now, I’m going to be well-and-truly back on track.

I’ve always said that Slimming World is by far the best plan for losing weight, keeping it off long-term and living a healthy, well-balanced lifestyle, but what I have noticed is that it’s much easier to stick to and do well on if you’re at home most of the day. I have friends on SW who either don’t work or work part time who are doing amazingly well on it because they have a lot of time to prepare, cook and plan, as well as more time to exercise when they fancy it. In fat, that was me at the start which is why I was losing relatively easily at the start. Now I’m at work 40 hours a week and have a house to try to keep relatively clean and tidy, and a toddler and boyfriend to spend time with, it’s not so easy to stick to, however I’m determined to make it work. Planning ahead is the absolute key, so starting Tuesday (when I’m back to work) I’ll be bringing lunches to work, planning dinners and getting a big ol’ healthy food shop in.

I have me and Mark’s ‘secret trip’ coming up on the 2nd July, then Mark, me and our very good friend Simsie are going to London in August to visit our friends, and I’m really hoping our friends in Wales make it over, or us over to them some time soon too, so I’ve a lot to look forward to and to try to slim down for, so bearing all that in mind, I’m 100% sure I can do this and I’m as determined as ever to make it work!

I hope!  ;p

Relieved!

Well, I finally made it to the early morning group. Couldn’t stay as I had Lexie with me and we had to get home for her to have a sleep before going to the childminders, but at least I was able to check in and get weighed. I’m relieved. I was honestly expecting 3 or 4 lbs on because of the way I’ve been eating (too much bread and eating the wrong thing and the wrong times) and because I’ve not been able to get out walking like normal. So needless to say I was really nervous stepping on the scales – though at least I knew what was wrong and what I had to fix. Thankfully, the scales have moved down for me! Not by much – only a wee half pound, but at least it’s moving in the right direction, and waaaay better than what I thought it would be!

So, my plan for this week is to cut my bread munching down. It’s hard because in work I never really get regular, scheduled or lengthy breaks/lunches so I can’t really bring something in with me that I need to cook and that will take 20minutes to make and eat, so I’ve just been bringing sandwiches with me, then when I get home I’m always knackered so usually make egg and bacon omelette with toast (yet more bread!) or tinned spaghetti with toast (even MORE bread!), so I think I’m going to cut out the bread at home because there’s not a lot else I can do with regards to eating in work. I’m also going to cut down on some of my meat intake and give myself a slap on the wrist any time I reach for the Chocolate Digestives! Pretty positive about it all, so fingers crossed these small differences keep me on the right track!

Progress So Far
Week 1 – 1.5lb loss

Week2 – 3.5lbs loss

Week3 – 0.5lbs gain

Week4 – 3.5lbs loss

Week5 – 3lbs loss

Week6 – 1lb loss

Week7 – 1lb loss

Week8 – 1lb loss

Week9 – 2lb loss

Week10 – maintain

Week11 – 3lb gain

Week12 – 6lb loss!

Week13 – missed group so don’t know.

Week14 – 1/2lbs loss

Total Loss – 19.5lbs (1 stone 5.5 lbs!)

All a Bit of a Mess

Hello! Last week I missed my Slimming World meeting. It was my first morning meeting and my first since I started the new job but because it’s at 9.30am and because I hadn’t everything packed for Lexie, we missed the bus therefore missed the meeting. Pretty gutted because I was looking forward to seeing how things had changed since the new work routine, but I guess this week will be more telling as I’m into my second week.

I’ve been finding sticking to plan a wee bit tricky but I think it’s because I’m not eating enough while in work, so ending up starving on the buses home. Yesterday I had a bag of yoghurt raisins on the bus, and some chocolate digestives while dinner was cooking, plus more bread than I should be having in order to fill myself up quicker.

From tomorrow (when I can get a few bits’n’pieces from the shop) I’m going to try the green plan for a while. I know it’s aimed at vegetarians but I can probably tailor it to suit myself. I love Quorn sausages, and I’m eating more vegetables than before, so why not?! I’m also aiming to cut out most of the crap I’m eating (chocolate, crisps etc) for a month to try to step up my weight loss in preparation for me going away on our ‘secret’ trip in July (secret because although Mark knows we’re going somewhere, he doesn’t know where we’re going, or why!), so I’d love as much off by then as possible!

I’ll definitely make it to group this week, though I’ll only be staying to get weighed because Lexie needs a sleep now in the mornings and it wouldn’t be fair to keep her up. Because of this I’ll be losing quite a but of support from group but I’ve got the website, friends, blogs, Twitter and Facebook to help, then when I start my course in September I’ll be able to get to my normal group!

Will I Lose, Will I Gain?!

Hello! So I’m three days in to my new job and I absolutely LOVE it! It’s honestly the best decision I’ve ever made and I’m delighted to be able to actually, and honestly say – I LOVE MY JOB!

Anyway! I was a bit worried about how the new job would effect my Slimming World progress, and I guess I’ll not *really* know for another week or so because I’ only a few days into this new routine and it’ll maybe take a wee while for my body to adjust, but tomorrow’s weigh-in (which will now be in the mornings!) should be a bit of an indicator.

Now that I’m working full time, I don’t have time for big walks like I did before. The way my shifts work I’m in until late afternoon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, then in from 3 until 8.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays as well as every other Saturday morning. So the only time I have for a big walk is in the mornings on a Tuesday and Thursday, but that is the only proper time I have to spend with my daughter and although she loves going for big walks in the pram by the sea, I want to play with her and talk rubbish with her as I miss her when I’m away from her the rest of the time. I managed a 4 mile walk on Tuesday morning, but because I was a bit later leaving (had to wait for my Tesco delivery to arrive!), Lex didn’t get her sleep so she was a nightmare by the time I got her to the child minder. Not good!

In saying this about the walking, I have been rushing about a lot more. I get between 4 and 5 buses EVERY DAY so I’m darting about town or rushing down to our bus stop, walking Lex to the child minders, walking around town etc. Then the job itself involves quite a lot of standing up, holding and handling animals etc, and the rest of the time I’m reading, writing and learning a hell of a lot (surely brain exercising counts… no?! Worth a shot.) so I really don’t know how much it’s going to balance out.

Food-wise, I’ve been finding it really easy to stick to plan while in work because of one main thing – PLANNING AHEAD! I’ve been making up ham or bacon and egg sandwiches, and throwing them in my bag along with Alpen Light bars, Muller Light yoghurt, Quavers, bananas, apples, strawberries, Diet Coke etc. There’s no vending machines or anything in work so I’m not tempted, and I’ve found myself working through a lot of my breaks so I’m not thinking about food. I’ve learnt this week that my worst time is at home, just sitting watching tv. I’ve just go into the habit of hunting around the kitchen for something tasty, despite not being hungry, and it’s a hard wee habit to break. But, because I’ve barely been in the house, I don’t think I’ve gone over my 15 syns since Monday. I got my uniform in work today and it fits, though it’s a bit ‘fitted’ round the ol’ stomach and sides (though not so much I look ridiculous – I hope!) so there’s another wee motivational tool for me!

So higher or lower for tomorrow? I really don’t know. I would absolutely love 2lb off so I’d get my stone and a half off, but it won’t shock me if I’ve not reached it because everything’s all changing! So I’ll update tomorrow.. *crosses fingers*

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