Friday, 20 January 2017

A Tight Fit

If you'd have asked me a few years ago to take up exercise I would have told you I didn't have the time.  I'm out of the house at 8 in the morning and don't get home until 5:30 in the evening.  Then there's cooking and cleaning to do, maybe some washing and ironing and in the drier months there's the garden to look after.  On top of that I like a hobby or two twenty!  I scrapbook, card make, sew, crochet, knit, paint, bake, journal, quilt, cross stitch.......the list goes on.

How could I possibly find time to fit in some exercise?  Ask me if I wanted to go out for a drink and that's a horse of a different colour! :)  Things changed when my thoughts on exercise changed and I suddenly realised I did have the time.  Finding exercise that I loved made it go from feeling like a chore to being something fun, finding friends to exercise made it feel like a social event.

When I was younger I was a swimmer, a proper, competitive swimmer, a gala every weekend swimmer!  I dusted off my swimming hat and took the plunge :)  Every Monday, no matter how cold it is, I go for a swim and I swim at least a mile.  I sometimes meet my friend Lorna there and we have a chat while we pound up and down the pool.  When I finish, without fail, I always feel great.  There have been times when I've had a cluster headache but after a few lengths in the pool it's gone.  It's also a great exercise if you suffer with painful joints as it's zero impact.
Every Tuesday I go to Zumba.  I bung a couple of potatoes in the oven as I walk out of the door so I know dinner will be ready when I get home. The session I go to is run by Yvonne and she makes everything fun.  There are all ages and all shapes and sizes in the group but they are all, without exception, a great bunch of ladies who are turning in to friends.
On a Wednesday I go walking with my friend Jo.  We cover about 5 or 6 miles in an hour but we are so busy talking that it sometimes feels like we've only been out for about 10 minutes.  Even though we go to Zumba together we always have plenty to talk about because Zumba doesn't leave enough breath in the lungs to talk too much :)
Monday to Friday from 12 until 1, without fail, I can be found walking around the park.  I walk at least a couple of miles and feel so refreshed once I get back to the office.  When I'm walking alone I listen to a book and because I only listen to books when I'm walking, never indoors, then getting to a juicy bit of the story makes me walk even more!
I get a minimum of 10,000 steps in per day, no matter what the weather and I feel so much better for doing it :)
I still manage to do all of my hobbies, the house is still tidy and Maddie is still fed.  If I can fit exercise in to my day then anyone can, it's all about finding exercise you enjoy, exercise that doesn't feel like a chore.

The exercise I do, along with Slimming World, has meant that I am 7 stone lighter and feeling FANTASTIC!  If you look hard enough then it is possible to make a bit of time.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Traveller In Me

When I first thought of talking about and recommending books on my blog I really wondered how long I could go before ideas started to dry up.  As I started thinking about books it triggered something very much like word association and more and more lovely books came to my mind, I think it will be a long time before I have nothing to say on books :)

I really love to read autobiographies and today I'm sharing two of my favourites, two books that took me to different countries.

One of my favourite books from high school was all about a boy whose mother packed up the family and shipped them all to live on the Greek island of Corfu.  I felt the warmth of the sun and the waves lapping at my feet as I drifted through the pages.  I laughed so hard at some of the outrageous things that the family got up to and was hardly surprised at how stressed the mother got.  I also loved how she reminded me of my own mum who just lets things wash over her knowing it will all turn out well in the end.  I have watched two TV adaptations of this book but reading the book was much more fun than watching either of them.
The second book was one I heard about during a training session when I worked for a travel company.  Someone had read an excerpt from the book and it was a recipe for how to cook a dead fox!  I really have no idea why this made me want to read the book but it did.  I had spent two weeks of every year of my life in France and that was probably what else drew me to this book.  When I read how the French always greeted each other with a handshake and if their hands were full they would shake elbows or even their little fingers it drew memories from me of the very things I had witnessed.  This book covers the first year of Peter and his wife selling up their house in the UK and moving to France.  It's interesting and oh so funny and I've actually bought this book four times because if someone hasn't read it I insist they do :)
A Year in Provence was also made in to a TV series and yet again it didn't come close to how good the book was.

This got me thinking (the sort of word association thoughts) about another book I read as a child that was amazing and so much better than the film it was made in to:
If you haven't read these books then why not add them to your reading list?

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday, 16 January 2017

Week Two In The Life Of Me

I didn't have anything as exciting as appearing in the paper this week but that's not to say it wasn't a good one.  Here are the highlights:

I just loved how the clouds rippled in the full moon the other evening:
I treated myself to some birthday gifts which took far too long to arrive because the delivery driver couldn't be bothered to get out of his van!
Alice turned 4 and liked the blanket I made her, she did complain that it didn't smell like the old one that I made her a couple of years ago though!
It was great to get back to Zumba again, I really missed it during the Christmas break.
I didn't let the rain stop me walking in the park during my lunch break :)
We had snow!
I lost 2.5 lbs this week and was Slimmer of the Week :)
And of course that made dirty pudding taste all the sweeter :)
Alfie enjoyed having a play in the snow :)
I turned 45!
And spent my birthday morning walking in the left over snow :)
Maddie got me some lovely gifts :)
I had a lovely afternoon sorting through a few weeks months of Project Life photos!
And I had a play with my wool winder :)
I had a tiny win at bingo :)
I spent Sunday morning walking in the rain, Sarah dressed for deep sea fishing!
I actually cast on something for myself!
These two had a lot of cuddles :)
My mum cooked me, Maddie, Sarah and Sarah's mother in law, Pauline, a lovely roast to celebrate my birthday :)
So of course we had to play games in the evening :)
And then it was time for knitting and the final Sherlock :)
So all in all it was another lovely seven days.

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Friday, 13 January 2017

What's The Rush?

So many people are looking for a quick fix, not just post Christmas but throughout the year.  When I post about my weight loss the one question I get asked the most is "how long has it taken you?".   The first flush of magazines in the New Year don't really help either, all of them claiming that you can lose a huge amount of weight in a matter of days!
Yes I did used to be one of those people, I want to get slim and I wanted it to happen overnight.  I'd go to bed thinking about those skinny jeans I was going to get in to, I'd feel so positive when I fell asleep and then deflated and disappointed when I woke up in the morning and realised what a mamouth task it would be.  And I'd do nothing.
Although I've lost 6st 9.5lbs in total, 4st 7lbs of that has been lost in the last 7 months and I can tell you now, those last 7 months have gone in the blink of an eye!  Although I've always wanted a quick fix I've never actually tried anything other than changing my eating habits.  I have friends who have been down the route of pills, potions and shakes.  I've seen them lose the hair from their heads and I've seen that hair reappear on their chests!  I've watched them go from a size 18 to a size 8 and then back up to a size 22!  The reason?  They are trying something that can't be sustained for life.
I do Slimming World and I love it, it fits in well with me & Maddie and the busy lives we lead.  Everything clicked for me and I realised that I was going to lost weight a damn sight quicker if I got of my backside and found something that worked well for me, for every day, forever.  I can't remember the last time I went searching in the post Christmas mags for a quick way to shed those pounds because I've found something that allows me to enjoy a guilt free Christmas.

Now to answer the question "how long has it taken you?", well about 30 years!  I sometimes feel that those 30 years were wasted looking for a quick fix when I could have been enjoying the journey I'm on now, a journey that would have probably reached it's destination a very long time ago!

The best thing you can do, the best thing I've done, is to set myself a goal and just keep that goal in mind.  The time will pass anyway so you may as well make small (or big) changes everyday to reach your target because you will definitely get there a lot quicker than those people waiting for the January 'quick fix' magazines to go on sale.

I hope this has helped someone in someway.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

How Do You Judge A Book?

There are plenty of times I judge a book by it's cover, I know I shouldn't but I do.  When I've just got a limited amount of time to speed browse a charity shop then I only really have the time to look at the book covers that really jump out at me.  That's how I found this gem of a book:
Alison Penton Harper was a runner up in a competition held by none other that Richard and Judy!  It follows the life of Helen Robbins as she goes from housewife to widow in the blink on an eye.  Now don't be put off by that, it's not a heavy book.  There are plenty of times that I laughed out loud, actually guffawed on the bus!
Getting to know Helen and her friends was great but it took me a long time to find the second book, they didn't have it in any of the libraries near here and my budget doesn't often stretch to a new book
A couple of years after finishing the second book I found numbers 3, 4 and 5 all nestled together in a charity shop.  Reading about Helen and co was just like meeting up with old friends after a long break.
The scrapes she gets herself into had me laughing and gasping all at the same time.  I binge read those last 3 books just as I binge watch a great series on Netflix :)
As soon as I finished the last book I jumped on the Internet to find out what was next.  I was so disappointed when I found out it really was the last book :( I'm not sure what happened to Alison and why she stopped writing because the last things posted about her were in 2012.

If you're looking for a series of books then I really can recommend these for easy, chilled out reading and, thanks to this heads up, you'll savour the final pages of the last book.

Do you have a favourite series of books?  You know, that ones you just have to share with a friend because they've taken you on a wonderful journey.

Thanks for stopping by
Jo xx

Monday, 9 January 2017

Week 1 - The One Where....

The first week of the year has been great, here are the highlights:

Alfie got caught up with the Christmas episode of For The Love of Dogs :)
I had to do my shopping but I wanted to get some walking in so I got my trolley out and didn't give a damn if I looked like an old lady :)
The weather has been lovely enough for me to walk in the park on my lunch break :)
Alfie took a shine to my ripple blanket and decided that's where he was going to sleep :)
I had a lovely 6 mile walk after work on Wednesday, it was nice getting back in to a walking routine after Christmas.
I've also pledged to #walk1000milesin2017 so I've been pounding the pavements at every opportunity :)
I was so pleased to lose the pound I gained over Christmas as well as losing a little bit more :)
Dirty pudding doesn't look much but tasted AMAZING.  A client had sent them to the office as a thank you gift and I can't describe how good they were.  They came from a company called Konditor & Cook and are well worth the money.
I was delighted when my weight loss journey featured in a local paper!
But I was sad that Christmas had to be packed away :(
Saturday was crop day and I had a fantastic time :)
It was also my friend Sarah's birthday so I went out out!
For a lovely meal with the girls :)
And then had lots of cuddles with my boy when I got home :)
I was up and out early on Sunday morning for a 4 mile walk :)
Before working on my bullet journal and catching up with Gilmore Girls.
In the afternoon I ordered a ton of photos and then got started on the Attic24 Moorland CAL. I've only done a couple of rows but I know it's a pattern I'm going to love :)
But now it's Monday again and back to work :(

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by
Jo xx