Sharing The Blog Love – Part 1

So today’s post is the first of an occasional series where I’ll share some of my favourite blogs with you.

When I first started out blogging (waaaayyyy back in 2008), almost every blog I visited had a blogroll of the blogger’s favourite sites, but this seems not to be the case any more – indeed, my own blogroll page has been ‘under construction’ for longer than I care to remember.

 Leanne over at Broke in the Big Smoke recently did a series about some of her favourite blogs (and I was one of them – thanks so much, Leanne, mwah!), and I thought that this is a nice way to share some great blogs and, at the risk of sounding like a bit of a hippy, spread the love, so to speak.

Much as I love the plethora of blogs out there by 20- and 30- somethings, my favourite blogs are those written by people in their 40s (like me) and older. I guess you just resonate with your peers more.

So I was delighted when an old work colleague from way back when, Glynis (who has been my top commenter for the last few years – thanks, G!), decided to start her own blog recently – primarily a book blog, but branching out into other things as well. You’ll find her at

The Sunny Bookworm

Glynis is retired and lives in Spain, is an avid reader like myself, and has an opinion about just about everything.  Please go and visit – she’s feeling a bit dispirited about her lack of comments so far.

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The second blog I want to share with you today is my lovely friend Teresa, who writes at

TCakes

I first came across Teresa when we were partnered up in a blog swap aeons ago, and have been a huge fan of her blog ever since. Teresa works at Selfridges (honestly, that’s the sort of job dreams are made of). She’s something rather important there, and works some very long hours, but also finds time do lots of fabulous things in London and blog about them, along with beautiful pictures. Her current 5 In New York series is keeping me gripped as well, as well as the lovely pics she shares on Instagram of her cute kittens, Darcy and Fitz.

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Finally, today, another of my favourite reads is Fiona over at

Made in A Muddle

Fiona’s dry sense of humour is very similar to my own, and it’s rare that I read one of her posts without having a little giggle.

Like me, Fiona’s a huge fan of second hand shopping, and regularly shares her charity shop and jumble sale finds in her blog. She’s also a bit of a crafter,, a vintage fan, and spent many years flying round the world as an air stewardess, and wrote a fabulous post a while back with pictures of her various uniforms over the years.

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Do go and visit these three lovely ladies, and if you have a second before you go, in the comments I would love to know what your favourite blogs are to visit – I could do with some new finds for my reading list.

 

 

My Life In Instagram

A few snippets from the last couple of weeks …

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Still crocheting snowflakes.

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And squares for a big blanket for William’s bed.

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Rare selfie with the teenager.  Although he tells me I’m not allowed to use the word ‘selfie’ on account of my age.

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Gorgeous sky over Exeter.

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Made this framed poster (frame from Next, £16)  for a shelf in my dressing room, so I can display my shoes!

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Booked myself a few days in Spain to visit Mum & Dad at the end of June.

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New ballet flats from M&S – love the colour and super-comfy after only a few hours of wearing in.

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Will and Ashley wanted to go camping on Good Friday, but as Ashley had to work on Saturday morning, they settled for the next best thing – putting up the tent and having a BBQ in the garden!

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Snaffled this vintage 1970s crochet booklet from Mum at the weekend – quite fancy having a try at some of the shawl patterns, though I think I’ll give all that full-on fringing a miss.

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Super school report – very proud of my boy.

Diet: One Week In

Well, where to start?

I have now completed one week on the Exante meal replacement diet.

It’s been bloody hard. And joyless.

Good Things

  • I’ve lost 9 pounds.  Although bearing in mind I lost 7 lbs on my first week of Weight Watchers when I lost weight seven years ago, the extra 2 lbs doesn’t seem worth the extreme deprivation to me.
  • I’ve learnt an awful lot about hunger and my ability to deal with it.
  • Apart from one tiny blip involving quarter of a glass of wine, and two tiny crackers with a sliver of cheese, I’ve stuck absolutely rigidly to the plan. I’m very proud of myself, because no word of a lie, it’s been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.
  • I’ve slept really well.

Bad Things

  • The mood swings.  Not fun – for me or those around me.
  • The ‘food’ is vile. And the more I eat of it, the less I can stomach it. I can’t tell you how much I want to eat a crunchy salad or some lightly steamed vegetables, or JUST ABOUT ANYTHING other than a ‘meal’ made out of bloody powder in a sachet.
  • My skin doesn’t look great – I have dark circles round my eyes which I didn’t have before I started this, and I think I look a bit sallow.
  • Feeling like I’m missing out on family time – sometimes I can manage to stay in the room while Ashley and William eat, other times it’s too hard. Today we’re going to my parents’ for Sunday lunch. Only I won’t be eating lunch, obviously.  Can’t wait.  Not.
  • It’s very life limiting. I can’t meet a friend for lunch or go out for a spontaneous drink to the pub of an evening (unless it’s a glass of water).
  • Having nothing to look forward to at the end of the day. No glass of wine, no dinner.

 Where Do I Go From Here?

  •  My plan is to continue this regime for one more week. Well, until next Saturday evening, when we have friends coming over for dinner, and I’m bloody well not going to be sitting there with a glass of water and a sachet of reconstituted sh*t.
  • After that, I plan to continue with two sachets of sh*t a day for breakfast and lunch, and a healthy meal of real food in the evening. With plenty of flexibility built in for having a life.

 Final Thoughts

I’ve met several people over the years who have used these meal replacement diets, some for several months, most of whom have lost considerable amounts of weight. Without exception they have put it back on.

I’m glad that I have tried it myself, if only to discover it’s a joyless way of losing weight (at my lowest point this week I weighed myself, discovered I’d lost 8lbs and didn’t even feel happy about it, just felt depressed that I was having to undergo this awful regime in order to achieve it). And that’s not how I want to live my life.

It’s certainly made me think about what I put into my body, and reminded me what it is to feel genuine hunger. I know that I don’t want to continue solely on a diet of packet sludge that looks like sick and tastes similar, but I also recognize that a limited amount of it going forward is going to help me to shed more pounds.

Above all, I feel a bit more confident in my own ability to control my eating and make better choices about what I eat. So overall, I’d say it’s been a success. A brutal one, but a success nevertheless.

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Finally, would I recommend it?  Absolutely not, if I’m honest – if you think you can possibly achieve weightloss while still eating real food, please don’t try this – it doesn’t feel healthy, it’s not only the hardest, but also one of the most depressing things I’ve ever done, and the food tastes disgusting.

Why am I continuing it for another week, then, I hear you ask?  Because I don’t want to feel like a failure, and it’s a goal I’ve set myself and want to achieve.

Ahhhh, Springtime!

For the last two days, other than a brief trip to the supermarket, I have been at home the whole time.  I’m delighted to report that my hideous cold (that’ll teach me to brag that I haven’t had a cold all winter, won’t it?) has finally cleared up, and today has been a whirlwind of productivity around the house.

The last two days have also been absolutely beautiful, weather-wise.  In the absence of anything interesting to say, therefore, this post mostly consists of a few photos I snapped around the garden this afternoon.

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A Weighty Issue

Back in 2007, the year before I started writing this blog, I lost a lot of weight. 3 stone (approx. 40 lbs) to be exact. Although I could have done with losing more, I looked so much better, and felt absolutely great.

Sadly over the last seven years, all the weight has gradually piled back on, and probably a bit more, and I’m now back where I started. Very fat, very unhappy about it, and a long way the wrong side of 40. Not a great mixture, particularly health-wise.

I am aware that I have an extremely unhealthy relationship with food, and I recognize that I will, almost without a doubt, struggle with my weight for the rest of my life. I have started a diet twice this year, and failed twice. Lack of willpower, pure and simple.

So I was really interested when my friend Amy started the Cambridge Diet several weeks ago, and has had some amazing results in a very short time. Until recently, I’ve always been very against meal replacement diets, but I feel now as though I’m in a situation where I’ll give anything a go.

And I started looking into these ‘VLCDs’ (very low calorie diets), and researching the different options. And I decided that I am now desperate enough, and worried enough about the impact of my weight of my health, to try one.

When you have as much weight to lose as I do, the attraction of very speedy weightloss is a big incentive. The thought of Weight Watchers or Slimming World yet again, and that 1 or 2 lbs a week loss just feels too big a mountain to climb.

So today I have started the Exante diet. 600 calories per day, in the form of 3 dehydrated shakes, soups and meals. Along with lots of water, and the occasional can of Coke Zero (oh yeah, Coke Zero, can’t tell you how happy it made me when I found out I could have it with Exante!).

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Yes, it might be a ‘quick fix’. Yes, it might not work. Yes, I might fail. Again. But if I don’t try, how will I ever know?

It won’t be easy, I know that. But I’m hoping that the weight loss will be dramatic, and that the ‘food’ won’t taste too awful. In a weird way, I’m actually looking forward to taking proper food right out of the equation – because of my issues around overeating, maybe this will be a good thing for me.

So wish me luck and send positive vibes my way, please.  I’m keeping everything crossed that this will be the time I succeed.

 

Sunday Car Booty

IMG_2539Oooh, what a fab morning’s bargain hunting I had today!  Best so far this year.  Here’s a little taster of things I bought.

New post up with all today’s finds over at

http://sundaycarbooty.wordpress.com/2014/04/13/sunday-car-booty/

Once again, I think I’ve sent invites to the new blog to everybody who’s asked me for one, but if not, let me know in the comments here.  And please introduce yourself if I don’t ‘know’ you.

And pop back here later for a post on a subject rather close to my heart.

Have a fab Sunday, everybody x

 

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Charity Shop Bargains

New post up over at my Sunday Car Booty blog, showing off my latest charity shop bargains.

http://sundaycarbooty.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/charity-shop-bargains/

I think I’ve sent invitations to the new blog to everybody who asked for one, but if not, or if you’d like to continue to view my second hand shopping posts, let me know in the comments, and I’ll whizz an invite straight over to you by email.

As I said before, if I don’t ‘know’ you and you don’t have a blog, please introduce yourself when you ask for an invite.

Happy Friday, everybody! x