Monthly Archives: August 2016

Spending What I’ve Earned *Cough*


So, I was telling you about my holiday…we got as far as Tuesday, and the first sign of wobbly wheels if I recall. It was fine, I mean nothing disastrous. I’d climbed the steps which would have counteracted some of the naughtiness at dinner that evening. Just not all of it. It might have brought me safely over the line of three courses. Maybe. But not five, and definitely not the cheese board.

That said, I enjoyed every mouthful, and the Asshole voice talked me into being okay about it with a fine selection of reasons why…the steps, the walking, you’re on holiday, everybody deserves a treat, you can’t expect your friend to eat alone, you’re doing a big hike tomorrow, you’ve deprived yourself for a whole fucking year and you deserve this…

And it’s true, I was doing a big hike the next day. Which seemed to offset a whole host of eating opportunities, in fact it would be fair to say there was definitely a bit of creative accounting going on. Let’s count them…you’d better have a good breakfast, you’ll need the energy. (Number 1) – Cue full English breakfast, on account of the fact that we were meeting for the hike at 12.20pm and wouldn’t be eating lunch. That’s plausible, right? Most important meal of the day and all that.

And after that big breakfast we had a busy morning…Wednesday was Geirangerfjord, a stunning village at the foot of the enormous mountain I was going to hike up in the afternoon on an organised excursion. My friend and I walked a fair distance as we explored, climbing at least as many steps as I’d done the day before only this time it was up the side of a waterfall. It was so pretty I forgot to notice how much effort it took to get up there you know?

When we got back down to the village there was a little cafe selling ice-cream, and Asshole logic suggested that a small snack might be in order whilst I waited for my tour group, seeing as I’d used up quite a lot of energy climbing the waterfall. I’m not sure three scoops in a cone the size of a small hat was absolutely necessary but hey, I was hiking up a mountain, so I’d burn that off in no time, right? (Number 2).

And then the hike…man that was hardcore. We walked about three and a half miles, to a height of around 650m and it was challenging walking, with a guide who must have been some distant relative of Usain Bolt. At one point I thought perhaps my lungs were going to explode, but I just pushed through it, and powered as I was by mint choc-chip, pistachio and rum and raisin ice cream I made it to the top, and the waterfall we’d gone to see was spectacular.

I’ve got to be honest, it was worth the climb. We were looking down on the clouds as they blew in and out, and when they cleared the views were breathtaking. And I felt genuinely on top of the world, it was certainly the most physically challenging thing I’ve done to date but I did it, and what’s more there were younger fitter folk who took longer to get up there than I did. It seems I have some grit when it’s needed…who knew? Coming down was tough on the knees and I was glad to get back to the valley, but all in all it was an awesome experience.

Before we went back to the ship they took us to a little farm nestled against the hillside where they served us coffee and big fat waffles loaded with jam and cream. I was going to say no thanks, but before I had chance, yes please came out. Fuck. But it was okay, because I’d just climbed a mountain, right? I’d earned that waffle. (Number 3)

When I finally got back on the ship, my friend had bagged a table in the pool bar out on deck at the very back of the ship so we could enjoy the sail-away from the best seat in the house, and we ordered a bottle of wine, which to be honest barely touched the sides as it went down. Shall we have another..? Oh go on then…be rude not to…things got a little jumbled after that.

I remember us deciding that since the scenery was so stunning we’d forget about dressing for dinner and we’d stay up on deck, grabbing something from the buffet to eat where we were sitting. Never a good idea when you’ve got a couple of bottles of wine under your belt, especially when you fancy everything on the buffet and you can keep going back for more. And double especially when you’ve climbed a mountain and feel like you’ve earned a bit of what you fancy, having conveniently forgotten that you’ve already spent anything you’ve earned twice over, on the full English, the whopper ice-cream, the fully loaded waffle and two bottles of wine.

And best not get me started on the rocky road dessert. I had at least one whilst we were up on deck and I seem to remember taking one down to the cabin with me when we made our way to bed much, much later that night. Actually that’s not strictly true, I don’t remember doing that per se but the empty dish was there when I woke up and there was a spoon in bed with me.

I shall complete my holiday memoir in the next post. For now, let’s just say I’m in the process of dealing with the aftermath..  🙂

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Limping Across The Finish Line…

finish line

Crikey I’ll tell you what, I know I was leaning towards feeling mardy about the fact that I was only going on holiday for a week this year instead of two, but as it turns out that’s probably a good thing. I reckon one more day and caution may well have been well and truly thrown to the wind. We’ve had a great holiday but staying on the straight and narrow was much much harder than I thought it was going to be.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I didn’t put a foot wrong whilst I’ve been away. I mean, I talked a really good game before I left, didn’t I..? I was a woman with a plan, and I was going to stick to it. And I did on day one, and mostly on day two but then as the week’s gone on, I’ve fallen out of the naughty tree and hit quite a few branches on the way down. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being really disciplined and focused and one completely flipping the bird to anything resembling self-control, I started the week around an eight or nine and probably limped across the finish line scraping a three. Dammit.

Pretty much as soon as we got on the ship I headed up to go check out the gym and all the fitness facilities. My head was full of all the things I was going to do. But then I met the fitness woman and she managed to talk me through all the classes that were available whilst at the same time giving me that look…you know the one I mean, where someone’s eyes contradict what’s coming out of their mouth?

You’d be very welcome in the spinning class are the words I heard, but the eyes said don’t even fucking think about it, my gym isn’t for people like you, in fact we’re way out of your league, now run along…go and be fat and old somewhere else.

And I let it get to me, which in hindsight was more than a bit stupid. But it put me right off, you know? I did still intend to go the next day, but I got the times wrong due to switching off mobile data on my phone which then didn’t update the time change on my watch overnight – duh – so I missed the first class, which made me then feel even more awkward about going to the next one…the Asshole voice definitely had a hand in all that because whatever was going on was one hundred percent in my head.

So anyway, to cut a long story short, I decided to stop stressing about it and walk instead. Whenever we cruise, my friend starts her day off with three miles around the promenade deck, and I joined her this year for the first time…hell, I even jogged a little bit of it. At pretty much first light we could be found outside on deck seven, with the wind in our hair and fresh air in our lungs which to be fair was much nicer than the stupid gym anyway. Three times around was one mile, and we just carried on walking until we’d hit our three miles target.

Most days by the time we went to bed we’d walked seven or eight miles, and especially on days where we’d walked around our ports of call we’d done even more. In Alesund there was a viewing platform on top of the tallest peak in town, which was reached by a little tourist train that buzzed up and down the hairpin bends snaking their way to the top, or by four hundred and forty four steps cut into the hillside.

My friend and I went up together on the little train, intending to leave it at the top and walk down the steps but my friend wanted to stay on for the rest of the tour so that’s what we did. Once it dropped us off having shown us all the sights we had a good walk around the town, poking about in little shops and doing our holiday thing, which was lovely. The fact that I’d not even walked down the steps was bugging me though. It kind of felt like a missed opportunity.

So, when we went back to the ship I got changed into my exercise gear and went back on shore, and I walked those steps on my own, every one of them, right up to the top . I swear the views were better second time around, after I’d earned the right to sit and enjoy them. It was steep and tough but I loved it, and more than that, I loved knowing I could do it, you know? Without actually dying. If you’ve been following the Facebook page you might have seen the pictures.

Thing is, knowing I’d done it somehow made me feel like I had license to take my foot off the gas where my food was concerned as we went down to dinner that night. And that wasn’t a good move…if it wasn’t nailed down, I ate it. I’d been fairly sensible up to that point but I’d just walked the steps so in my head that meant I’d earned enough brownie points to take care of however many fucking calories chef could throw at me. Appetiser, soup, main, dessert…cheese board? Hell yeah bring it on…I climbed the steps.

And that’s the point at which I sort of lost the plot…we were halfway though the holiday at this point, it was Tuesday and the wheels were starting to wobble.

I’d carry on telling the tale right now if I wasn’t now in full damage limitation mode, however my walking boots are waiting along with my enthusiastic fur-baby who’s reaping the benefits of me trying to make amends to myself for not quite pulling off the plan…don’t worry, I’ll pick up where I left off next time. You know me, I have to ‘fess up and cleanse my soul to you lot, it’s part of the deal 🙂

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Not This Year…

I’d somehow imagined that my suitcase this year would be as light as a feather given that the clothes in it are several sizes smaller than the ones it carried last year. I had the good grace to look a bit sheepish earlier this afternoon when packing of said suitcase was in full swing, once I realised exactly how many new clothes I’ve actually bought.

It’s not even like I’m planning to stay in a size 18 for long, I’m kind of passing through if you like…it’s just that when you start to feel better, and look better in your clothes the temptation to go just a tiny bit overboard – pardon the pun – is so hard to resist, you know?

I even repeated to myself several times just because you’ve bought them doesn’t mean you have to take all of them…as I carried on folding them and putting them in my case. All of them. I latched firmly onto the excuse that I don’t know what the weather’s going to be like in Norway so I need to take a bit of everything. I thought that sounded rather plausible, so I’m sticking to it, and I’ll roll it out whenever someone risks a hernia from lifting my suitcase. And I’ve got a few spare things for emergencies, you know like if the ship breaks down and we’re there for six weeks instead of one.

Other items which are still in a holding pattern waiting for their allocated spot in the case include hair straighteners, make-up, jewellery…all those things were conspicuous by their absence last year. I remember sitting on the bed in our cabin with freshly washed but un-styled hair, and not a scrap of make-up on my face waiting for my friend to finish getting ready.

I didn’t see the point of making an effort beyond pulling on my trusty black palazzo pants and yet another shapeless top. The phrase you can cover a turd in glitter but it’s still a turd ran through my head constantly on a loop, and when you know that no matter how much slap you put on you’re still going to look and feel like crap it’s so easy to give up and just not bother. So I didn’t.

Not this year. There’s more bling in my suitcase than you could shake a big stick at. Every outfit has an accessory. I’m not exaggerating folks, in fact it looks like I’m dressing a party of ten but you know what, knickers to it…I’m having fun. It doesn’t matter than one sniff of salty sea air will send my hair into a birds nest as soon as I step out of the cabin…I’ll look like I made an effort, even if it lasts all of ten minutes. And I’ll feel good, which I’m still trying to wrap my head around.

So, I’ve got my false lashes on, I’m manicured and pedicured to within an inch of my life, and I’ve even waxed my legs…I know, right? I couldn’t even reach them last year. I’m just about packed, excited, and we’re leaving at the crack of sparrows to pick up our ship around lunchtime tomorrow.

I’m going to take the next week as it comes. I promise pictures through the Facebook page, and if I get chance in between hiking up waterfalls and mooching through pretty little towns and working up a sweat in the gym to earn my fine dining tokens, I may even fit in the odd post…I’ll play it by ear.

Lots of love to you all…giddy giddy giddy!!!  🙂


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Getting All Reflective On Your Ass

Can you remember what you were doing exactly one year ago today..? I can. It was a Monday – of course it was – and more than that it was the first Monday after my holiday. It was the Monday I started my diet. It’s been a year folks…I could get a bit choked if I tried, you know? It’s the day a new life came screaming into this world. My new life.

What I wanted to do was spend last night scrolling through some of my early posts and have a good old root about down memory lane. Somewhere around the six months mark I  read through loads of them, and I really enjoyed myself although it kind of felt like I was reading someone else’s diary, if you know what I mean. Was that really me? In the end I didn’t get chance to poke about in the blog because I was working until quite late – I only have two more days at work with a hundred things to do before I switch on my holiday out-of-office so I was a bit up against it to get some stuff finished.

It doesn’t really matter…I don’t need to read it to reflect on the last year. I can kind of feel my way through it by memory, to be honest. I mean sure, I’ll have forgotten some of the detail but if I had to do the elevator summary it goes something like this…Monday 17th August 2015, I started my diet. Like a muppet I decided not to get weighed on day 1, after chickening out of the come to Jesus moment on the scale. I knew the number would be horrible, so I gave it an educated guess instead and decided that when my clothes started to feel looser I’d know I was on track.

That theory works fine unless every garment you possess is made almost entirely of stretchy elasticated middle-agedness. No fixed waistbands on this body back then, so after a couple of weeks when I was very confident that I’d lost at least twenty pounds, I took the plunge and weighed myself…not a smooth move on my part I’ve got to say. I was a decent chunk of change heavier than I’d thought I might have been right at the start, and given that I’d definitely dropped some poundage, I’d obviously underestimated the starting number. Badly.

However, it didn’t throw me off course, when it so easily could have done. Would definitely have done in the past…thing is, I’d started to discover that writing down my feelings was way preferable to eating my feelings. It helped, to talk through what was going on in my head and by some miracle, you lot began to listen, and join in. And out of nowhere, this awesome and unexpected support system sprang up around me. It’s the reason I’m still here.

I don’t remember moving much in the very early days…that came early in the new year when I’d committed to doing the trek and I knew I had to start getting fit pretty much from the lowest possible base. Charlie’s walks got longer bit by bit. Then the hurt machine arrived…do you remember the first time I went on it, and five minutes on the easiest setting almost killed me?

I remember staggering downstairs on legs made of rubber and wondering whether being a fat knacker pre-qualified me to get a refund since it was clear that the relationship between me and that machine was never going to work out. But look what happened when I stuck at it…it became easier, and doing time on the cross-trainer helped me to walk further and further as the weeks rolled on.

In May I discovered two things…firstly I started exploring all the local footpaths and bridle ways which opened a whole new world of interesting walks for both me and Charlie-dog. It spurred me on to walk further. And my friend introduced me to the God Of Pain which was the point at which this shit just got serious…

Those first few weeks in the Kingdom of Pain were tough. But I kept my head down and cracked on…I wasn’t going to step a toe out of line, he was too scary, but I made some new friends who also started getting behind my determination to make it over the mountain. We made it over our own mountain in fact this very weekend.

And here we now are…you lot standing firmly at my shoulder, ready to steady me if I trip and keep me going if I’m running out of steam. My new friends giving up their precious weekend days to push me and walk beside me as I practise and practise some more in preparation for the trek.

I guess what I’m trying to say is if I hadn’t have taken that first step one year ago today, I might be sitting here forty pounds heavier instead of eighty pounds lighter, wishing I had. I’d be packing shapeless garment after shapeless garment into my suitcase ready for my holiday, with frequent stops to get my breath and most of all I’d be hoping that the scenery in Norway was so spectacular that nobody else on the ship would notice me, or how fat I was.

But I did take that first step. And it’s been one of the best years of my life. I’m having a ball. Happy birthday to my fledgling new life. One year down, eighty pounds off and another eighty to go. I’m halfway there folks, and that’s got to be something to celebrate!

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Four Women, One Mountain, And A Wayward Dog

Saturday was an enormous day…I conquered my very first mountain. I use the word mountain in its loosest sense you understand, since technically Pen Y Ghent is a peak, but to me it looked like a mountain, so that’s what I’m calling it. I mean it’s bigger than a hill, right? It’s rumoured to be the most challenging of the three famous Yorkshire peaks, so let’s not split hairs…it was hard, and I did it. We did it, me and my three fellow mountaineers. Oh, and four dogs. I know I’m not normally big on photos in here, but this sort of feels like a special occasion, so I’ve included a few. Come on, I climbed a mountain!


That’s it, way in the distance. I’ve got to be honest, I nearly did a load in my pants when I realised what we were actually climbing. I’ve heard the name Pen Y Ghent a lot…as a girl born and raised in Yorkshire the name is familiar to me, but I’ve only ever heard it in conjunction with somebody else’s adventure. Me and Pen Y Ghent have never moved in the same social circles, you know?  On the outside I was full of enthusiasm as we pulled into the car park – that’s where I took the photo from. The reality was, I wanted to turn and run, as fast as I could manage in the opposite direction. To a fat lass still in the early stages of recovery from a sofa-surfing lifestyle, it looked downright terrifying.

I was well prepared though. Well, I say that…I was well prepared for the heatwave promised by Yahoo weather on Friday night. I’d brought a lightweight waterproof jacket just in case it was a bit nippy at the top, and my sun-visor and sunglasses. Lots of suncream on my face you know? Didn’t want to get burned. As we arrived and got out of the car there was no evidence of any sunshine at all, and it occurred to me that perhaps the suncream might have been a bit premature.

The lightweight waterproof jacket bought with Cuba in mind a few weeks ago that I didn’t think I’d actually need to put on was a bit snug, in fact it’s safe to say that when zipped up it actually restricted the circulation to several bits of my body. To add insult to injury, when I did put it on, the navy blue and white spots clashed rather alarmingly with the black and white flowery pants I was wearing…I looked like I’d escaped from somewhere. Still, the rest of my prep had gone well…I’d brought some awesome sandwiches for our picnic at the top, and you know me…the promise of food was always going to help get my arse up to the summit.


The first couple of miles were okay. We were climbing, but it was fairly gentle incline. We covered maybe two miles getting to the bit where it got steeper, and that’s about the time when all bits of blue disappeared from the sky altogether and the mist started to roll in, taking every bit of warmth out of the day. We didn’t feel the cold too badly at that point because we were starting to work hard…it had definitely stopped feeling like a walk and we were climbing. The marker saying Pen Y Ghent summit 1 & 3/4 miles frankly didn’t help. It might have even fleetingly brought on my for fuck’s sake face, but the thought of that roast chicken in seeded ciabatta rolls kept my feet moving.

I wish I’d taken pictures of the hardest bit, because I feel like I’m being a drama queen now when I remember how tough it was, but there was a point where we were actually climbing, like properly pulling ourselves up on rocks and everything, zig-zagging up what felt like a sheer rock face, I shit you not it was practically vertical. It was very foggy, very windy and absolutely bloody freezing by this point, and it had started to rain.

The Asshole voice was chipping in like mad every time I came to a bit that was particularly hard to navigate…you’re going to fall, stop this lunacy immediately, you’ll never make it, Just stay here, it’s almost the top and fat people shouldn’t really go past this point, in fact they’re probably not even allowed right at the top anyway in case they have a heart attack…

Weirdly enough, I didn’t feel miserable. Despite the cold and the wind and the fact that I’m scared of heights and I couldn’t see much beyond the next few yards. I just felt determined. And then, all of a sudden, the ground sort of evened out and there was a proper pathway paved with Yorkshire stone leading right up to this kind of monument thingy…we all looked at each other and the penny dropped. That was the summit. We’d done it. We were there.


Check out those faces! This was us, at the top, hands on that monument at the summit…relief, elation, achievement…and for me, a burning desire to pillage my rucksack for the chicken sandwiches. And you bet your sweet ass we sat and had our picnic, in the cold and the rain…it didn’t matter. We’d earned it, right? Let me introduce you to these strong beautiful women…my friend in red was the experienced one, and led the way. My friend in black is amazing, do you know she’s lost over one hundred and forty pounds..? And my friend in purple on the right of the picture (check out @therealslimkayleigh on Instagram for some awesome recipe ideas) has dropped about seventy. Y’all know me, and my journey…I’m within touching distance of eighty pounds off now. How about them apples? We’ve lost over twenty stones between the three of us…if we’d still been living in Mooseville no way would Saturday ever have happened. We’ve all put in the hard yards to get to this point, and it’s beyond worth it.

Just to add a touch of drama to the day, one of the dogs fooled us on the way down the other side into thinking she’d hurled herself off the edge of the mountain, since one minute she was there and the next she wasn’t…it was so foggy and we lost her, only to be greeted about twenty minutes later by a very waggy tail further down the trail after we’d hollered, sweated, panicked and seriously considered calling out mountain rescue. As if that adventure wasn’t enough for one day, this one foot tall dog later went on to scale a six foot dry stone wall to go play with some very surprised sheep…she is an adventure on four legs.

So anyway I was expecting at least ten pounds off this week given yesterday’s expedition and last week’s sticky needle…not a chance. The bitch in the bathroom offered up one single solitary pound. Grrrr…but whatever. Not bothered, in fact I couldn’t care less.

I climbed a chuffing mountain 🙂

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