Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Busy Busy Bee :0)

Apologies for my shockingly long absence over the month of February. Life got very very busy due to my resolution of "living on the front row" (i.e. not staying in and backing out of things because I'm too tired, or it's too hard or too far). In fact, it's now the 24th and, looking back on the month, I have been out for 17 out of those 24 evenings, 11 of those 17 being weekdays. It would have been 18 had it not snowed on Monday 2nd!
It's been a busy month. Most of those evenings have been church meetings so I don't regret any of it, it's the beginning of the year so we've been looking ahead, planning and driving things forward etc etc, and we've also had the chance to go to some brilliant seminars and training. I also am well aware that I am where I am today, both in my personal life and with the responsibilities I've been entrusted with at church, because I am consistent and I "just showed up". So no regrets there - I'm learning loads!

I did manage to squeeze in a valentines meal (ok, so we went to Nandos because it was late and we were hungry) and a trip to see Slumdog Millionaire, and we also went away for a weekend to South Wales - so there was a little bit of me-time.... ok a tiny bit.

To be honest though, I am exhausted. I don't remember the last time I went to bed without setting an alarm, last night was the first time in over a week that I actually ate dinner at home, and I have lately had regular bouts of tiredness, sleepiness and severe loss of concentration at work. I think the last time I spent the day with Jon with no plans or commitments whatsover was probably Christmas day.

I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night, I've upped my water intake and although I don't do a huge amount of exercise, I do walk a lot and general activities don't tire me out - when I do exercise I push myself quite far and feel quite fit and healthy... so I don't know what the problem is. Plenty of people get up at 6am, travel an hour to work, get home at 7pm (ish!) or go out for the evening and go to bed at 10pm without any trouble, don't they?! And a lot of people I know live this kind of lifestyle whilst going out in the evenings and leading busy lives. I know it's been a hectic month, but I thought I would be able to cope for a short period without too much trouble! :0)

This week is empty though so I'm looking forward to lots of early nights, homecooked dinners (vegetables!!) and cosy duvets. I do have plans on Saturday morning but I have the rest of that day free, and I've booked March 13th off work so I can spend the day with Jon, relax and recuperate (it seems a long way off but it's not, honest!)

In other news....
- After a very busy 2008 and not having been on holiday since August '07 I was in desperate need of a holiday. However, we had agreed not to pay out on such luxuries until our student debts were paid. We have recently been told that Jon won an incentive at work whereby we (that's me too!) get five nights in Las Vegas!!! Flights, accomodation and an activity included! We're hoping to go later in the year so we have something to look forward to!

- On February 7th I got up early and went for a run in the glorious sunshine, upon returning home I realised that no one else was about so did a Pilates session before eating a very healthy soup lunch. I then promptly fell asleep for 3 hours between 2pm and 5pm, wasting my whole day off! (And yes, that was the last time I had a Saturday off!)

- My budget and healthy eating goals went out the window because we were eating out so much this month. However, we've managed to last til the end of the month without dipping into our savings account, as well as paying extortionate amounts for train travel to Wales (I remember when it used to cost less than £30 when you paid on the day!).

- I'm struggling with Pride and Prejudice. It's just a bit slower than Sense and Sensibility. However, I am not a quitter, I'm more than two thirds of the way through, and I will finish it! Just give me a few weeks yeah?

Monday, 2 February 2009

Looking back on a good month

Well, seeing as we are now one twelfth through 2009, and one month into my goal setting plans, I thought it might be good to see how far I've come and what I've achieved. The good news is, when I first started this my goals in their most basic form were 1. To work out what my goals are, and 2. To blog regularly enough for this to be worth it. And I've achieved both of those - hurray!!

Area 1: Health and Fitness
I really wanted to go running once a week and so far I've managed once a fortnight. I know I know, that seems bad, but at the moment I can only go running on Saturdays (once summer rolls around, evenings will be much more feesable), and the only reason why I haven't been is because I've had plans - not because I'm lying in bed without the motivation to go.

I also said I would keep reading the magazines and I am. In fact yesterday I subscribed to one of them so looking forward to having that in the post every month - and saving a HUGE amount on the cover price.

Area 2: Budget & Finance
I have now knocked £100 off my overdraft - so well on track to reducing it by £500 by May.
I don't always stick to budget, and still fritter away pennies on an incredible amount of food BUT I am much more aware of the accounts and know whether I can afford to do this or not.
I haven't bought any clothes until Saturday when firstly, it was just after pay day, and secondly I mostly used my vouchers from Christmas.
We haven't eaten out as much this month.
It has been a long month, that much has to be said, and we were thrown out of sync a bit with Jon being paid before Christmas instead, so looking forward to February when things can go back to normal.

Area 3: Becoming a well-rounded person
I've read Sense and Sensibility - and finished it - and enjoyed it!
I'm half way through Pride and Prejudiced, loving that one too.
Still working through Joseph Prince, but enjoying taking notes and studying, rather than just reading and not taking it all in.
I haven't been able to do as much crafting as I would like. In fact, I still haven't got my beads out and had a play - need to set aside more time for me!

Area 4: Being organised
The list thing is going well. All the long-term things that were on my list at the beginning of the month are now completed - including hemming trousers which I'm very proud about! I feel a lot more organised and that means I have more time to concentrate on other things. I do tend to do things when I think of them as well so that's cool.

Area 5: Living life on the front row
I live a very busy life but whereas last year I was feeling run down and tired, this year I'm enjoying being busy and feel like I'e accomplished a lot just in this last month. This week was going to be the testing point because I was due to be out every night this week, but my meeting tonight got cancelled 'cause of the snow so if that's a sign of things to come it looks like I'll have to test myself another time.

Area 6: Food
Well, a more recent goal means I haven't been focussing on it all month, but so far I have cooked two proper dinners. Woohoo!

Ok, so it might not look a lot to you, but to me I've made a lot of huge changes so far and I feel a lot better for it. Things are going well, especially in the midst of a really busy month at work, and kicking off the year at church. I'm pleased. :0)

Battling against the elements...

This was our garden last night.... and even that would normally be bad. You just don't get snow in London.

This was our garden at 6.45am this morning (compare the garden table to see exactly how much snow fell!)

This was our street at 6.55am when I left the house. Hardly anyone had walked on it yet, and you couldn't see where the pavement ended and the road began.

And this was platform 10 at Stratford station. You can't see it that well but around the lamp posts the snow was almost knee deep.

When I finally got on the train (delayed by 20minutes), I got as far as Chelmsford and was forced to turn around and go back for fear that we wouldn't be able to get home. We were told it was set to get worse and travelling back tonight would be a nightmare. So, really, I didn't have to battle the elements at all.

And... it's STILL snowing. Heavily!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Area 6: Food glorious food!

Despite the fact that I absolutely love food, I have to say that I absolutely hate cooking. Well... actually maybe I don't HATE cooking, I just have no patience for it. I leave the house at 7am, I get back home at about 7pm (at the earliest), and by that point I'm not really in the mood for waiting an hour for things to cook and then having to deal with all the pots and pans that follow (ok, so Jon normally does that bit, but as I said, I'm not in the mood).

My kind of evening generally consists of putting some kind of frozen object in the oven, collapsing on the sofa and waiting 30 mins (max!) until I have a lovely, (albeit processed and fattening) plate of chips and pizza or something to that effect. (I have a good metabolism btw).

Anyway, I'm getting old(er!) and not too sure how long I can keep this up before it catches up with me so 2009 will also be the year for eating proper food. Not always, admittedly, because sometimes it's just not possible - especially when Jon works late. But I do miss proper, home-cooked, meals, even with a few vegetables thrown in here and there.

In the last fortnight I have cooked two (what I would call) 'proper' meals. Bangers and Mash was the first and came about ebcause we had left-over potatoes that needed eating. And then, for the first time in my life, I cooked Pasta Bake. Now I know it sounds silly, but this was a real achievement for me - I even found that I had the exact right sized dish to cook it in! And I did it all on my own. :0)

Yes, it was as delicious as it looks! Now I'm not saying that these 'proper' meals are the healthiest in the world. But it's a tiny step away from ready meals and processed tins. So give me SOME credit!

The only problem is, when we eat out. I am a fussy eater. Name a restaurant and I will be able to tell you my exact order for that particular establishment. Ok so....

Wagamamas: Chicken Katsu Curry (I believe that's a number 73?!)
Nandos: Lemon & Herb Chicken Fillet Burger with Cheese (no pineapple), chips and coleslaw.
Pizza Hut: Chicken Supreme, deep pan pizza with garlic bread and potato skins.
Any kind of Indian: Chicken Korma and pilau rice......

And so on. Hmmm I like chicken don't I?

Anyway, the point is I am not very adventurous. And if there's a burger on the menu, I'll order it because I hate making decisions. On Friday we went out for a friends birthday and there was a variety of burgers on offer (I hate decisions!) But I was semi-adventurous and ordered a chilli burger:
Looks good doesn't it?! Anyway, the point is, it's really difficult to eat healthily when we eat out. Because I find ceasar salads boring, monotonous, and not very filling.

But 2009 is the year for me to choose healthier options on the menu, cook more 'proper' dinners and generally cut out as much junk as possible.

  • Eat more fruit throughout the day, and stop being fussy about buying chopped apples in a bag. It's cheaper to buy whole apples and cut them up!
  • Include vegetables in meals instead of frozen chips.
  • Cook proper dinners at least once a week.
  • If eating out, be a bit more adventurous and choose a healthier option.
  • Stop feeling like you've missed out when the meal doesn't come with chips.
  • Don't order something and then pine for what Jon has until he swaps with you!