Sunday, 2 June 2013

Organised Chaos

That's what this blog appears to be suffering from right now. Not for a lack on inspiration for things to write, but just a lack of time and mental power to string words together to post something.
My life is currently a string of events, each seeming to trip right of the heels of the one in front, with not a lot of break in between. Lots of exciting things, but it's exhausting none the less!!
In recent weeks I have got on stage and sung backing vocals in front of several hundred people at a sold out gig, busked with a little choir at work to raise money for charity, been on a hen do, marshalled at an urban arts festival, started learning the ukulele, picked up my viola again, visited London and walked my butt off, been to the physio and been given new core-strength exercises and the ok to start working out again when I feel ready, been trying to organise my sabbatical with work, re-written my CV for a ski-season and started to doing job applications, kept up with my French lessons, and just arrived back from weekend up near Blackpool .... and tried to find some time in between to sleep and look after myself. The last two may have inadvertently taken a bit of a back seat.
It's been a roller coaster ride, and a lot of things have come about from a somewhat minor (at the time) decision of mine to just say "yes" to something for a change, instead of faffing around, ummmming and ahhhhing, when I want to do something, but am too scared to say so. There's talk of more singing and more gigs in the months ahead, as well as assorted other musical fun-ness, and it's such a long time since I've joined in with anything musical, that I'd forgotten how fun and therapeutic it could be. The joy of music is that you can't worry about anything else while your playing as all your concentration is taken up elsewhere.

Sound-check and set up at the venue, pre-gig. I've never done a sound-check before. Scary!!

The beautiful bluebell woods in full colour in Kew Gardens, London.

Chilling out in the sun at Malvern Spa on the hen party. God bless the sun for finally making an appearance - it was heaven to be lying outside and not freezing for a change!!
On the injury / physio front, she was very pleased with my progress at my last appointment and gave me some core exercises to do, and then told me to go away for a month and get on with it. So I am. The exercises do seem to help, and I've had around a week now where my back as felt far more settled and normal. I've still been too scared to get back go exercise, and have now thoroughly fallen out of the habit, but have decided this is the week that has to change. So this week I shall be making a real effort to get back into the gym. A swim first, then some Pilates / yoga, and if it's still feeling ok after that, I shall risk some spin. Gently.
One thing that's lacked somewhat in the organised chaos of my life is my eating and sleeping. With exercise taking a back seat, as well as the availability of general down-time, I've been slipping on my discipline and there's been too many takeaways and eating out. Again. I was doing rather well but it didn't last, so back to the beginning we go again. I HAVE maintained my tracking for some of the last month, but with not enough discipline. I'm not in a terrible place on the scales, just exactly where I've been for the last year and not where I want to be. Still, we all know the answer to that!
Back soon (I promise!!!) with more tale of adventure and the mundanity of life!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 17 March 2013


I'm still alive, just buried very deep in southern Africa and far away from my real life.

I'm in Botswana at the moment, and have seen so many beautiful and amazing places and people in the last 3 and a bit weeks ... I could cry a little at the thought of having to go home again. I'm already plotting my return trip to see the next chunk of this stunning continent.

I have no idea what I weigh, as I haven't been near a scale since being here, and sometimes not even a mirror for days at a time. All I know is that my clothes still fit and I'm very brown! My feet are filthy as I haven't worn shoes when I can avoid it for several weeks, my hair is a tangled, unconditioned, sun-lightened mess, I've worn makeup once since getting here .... and I'm absurdly happy.

Day to day life is a long way from my norm, as we're frequently up by 5.30 or 6am, and in bed by 10pm as a result. I've given up putting up a tent when I can avoid it (i.e. when there's no hyenas or elephants around) and have taken to sleeping under the stars and a mosquito net tied to the back of the truck. Food is whatever we're dished up at meal-times and occasional snacks when I've remembered to buy them in the last town we drive through.

The only problem I'm finding is that if you keep expanding your horizons, you realise how much you've still got to see and experience.

The Germans have a wonderful word for it: fernweh. Literally - far-sickness; the longing for far away places and the yearning to travel.

- Posted from my iPhone

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Cape Town Calling

I've made it to Cape Town, as they kindly decided to let me into South Africa, and it's bloody lovely here.

For one thing, after a week of sharing a very sparsely furnished house (so basically there were beds and one long table with chairs and that was it) with 9 other people, no air con and some extremely temperamental plumbing, I now have a double bed and lots of hot water with a functioning AC unit - luxury!!!

I also had my first meal today that wasn't rice, veg and a bit of meat. And a bit of chocolate - it would have melted in 3 seconds in Kenya. But for all that, Kenya was wonderful and I miss it mightily.

Over the last days of our work in Magadi, we finished painting and fixing at the school and helped run a free medical clinic for the local tribes with the help of 6 wonderful doctors from Nairobi. I even learned a bit of on-the-spot Swahili so I could help dispense the medicines .... which was fine until we started encountering older tribe members who only spoke Maasai. Still, we bumbled through and managed!

All in all, it was an emotional and amazing week, and I'm so glad I took a chance and wrote that off-the-cuff application all those months ago.

It was hard saying goodbye to everyone at Nairobo airport yesterday as I'd grown close to so many of them do quickly ... and it was also frightening to be flying off to countries unknown for my first solo trip!

One step at a time though, and I now find myself safely installed in my hotel in Cape Town. I arrived yesterday evening and just took the chance to relax last night as it was a looooooon day as we'd been up at 2am to leave for the airport.

This morning, I took a deep breath and (after a lengthy lie-in) I found a launderette to sort out my filthy clothes from last week and then navigated my way downtown to explore the Waterfront area. It's vibrant, pretty and lovely, albeit VERY full of tourists. Still, I passed a leisurely lunch in the shade readying and people-watching and then wandered a little more.

I attempted to get a taxi up to Table Mountain to get the cable car after that, but got there to find the cable car closed ..... grrrrr. As it was sunny and clear, it didn't occur to me it might now be running so I hadn't attempted to check .... Doh!!

I did argue the taxi-man down on the fare though as he dropped me back at my hotel and then tried to charge me double the agreed one-way fare from the Waterfront to Table Mountain .... since my hotel was only about the distance back I pointed out that was rather steep and won! Yay me - I hate bartering arguing, but stood my ground - twice in 24 hours in fact, as a man at Johannesburg airport attempted to fleece me for a $10 tip yesterday for telling me where Terminal B departures was and then insisting on walking me the whole way. I was brave and said a couple of $'s was plenty for what was a 3 min walk - I felt mean but $10? No way! Note to self - don't stand looking lost next time!

Tomorrow im getting a quick day tour in of Cape Point, Chapmans Peak and the Boulders Beach penguin colony amongst other things, before I head off on my big tour on Monday.

Weight-wise, I've no idea where I stand, but I doubt last week's rice, meat and veg diet did me any harm. The only bad stuff I had was the occasional fizzy drink or beer to cool down, and we were running round from about 8 til 6 most days in 40 degree heat.

I'm relaxing for the couple of days I'm in Cape Town, as I imagine our diet on the main tour will be pretty basic since we'll be cooking in a camp kitchen for most of it .... no chocolate or snacks and I can't see there being too many alcoholic drinks ... and that's assuming I don't catch some dreaded stomach bug. I've been ok so far, but accommodations last week were scrupulously clean at least! You never know - I might even lose some weight this trip! :-)

One big discovery for me - apparently I love watermelon!!! Can't believe I thought I hated it for so long!! Still, doesn't change the fact I hate normal melon though :-)

- Posted from my iPhone

Friday, 22 February 2013

Greetings from Nairobi!

Yay - I'm travelling again!

After all the angst and stress of the last couple of months at work and planning this trip, I'm finally away and I feel so much more at peace already.

Right now I've been up for about 36+ hours straight, and frustratingly I don't yet feel that tired but I think I'll sleep better than I have done for a while tonight!

Up early tomorrow morning for a 7am departure for a safari day an then heading deep into the Masai Mara for the rest of the week.

Happy days.

- Posted from my iPhone

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Week 8

Yay for another fairly awesome result this week, after a week of steadily plodding through life with a few duff evenings of eating and a lot of steady meals of goodness. There may even have been a pre-work swim or two in there as well.

In short, I managed to ditch another 1.5lbs at the scales at weigh in this week.

More excitingly though, the scales (my home scales that is) showed me a weight I haven't seen in over a year this week. Just a half lb shy if 13 stone, and therefore only a lb away from getting back into the 12's!!! Of course, since then there has been a birthday cake for my flatmate, pancake day and several shit days at work including today where I left work at 8.15pm on Valentine's day, grumpy, very single, and hating the world ... so there might have been a bit more cake. So I have little work to do if I want to make any kind of loss appear on the scales next week ... best get cracking!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Week 7

This week is mostly bought to you by a fog of tiredness. Too much work and a little too much socialising have bought be head to head with a wall of exhaustion that I hit with a resounding thud this morning.

Weigh in this week was great as far as I was concerned. I felt like I'd had a pretty good week and hoped for a loss, but no way did I expect to lose 2.5lbs and not o ly take off last weeks hormonal-base gain, but also the week before's post-sickness gain AND go half a lb more than that.

Very pleased indeed.

Not too much to get in the way this week - I have a couple more portions of home-made soup in the fridge, I've been trying to make some time to go to the the gym where possible, and although last weekend was a social workout with way too ,ugh booze, this weekend looks much quieter.

Which is good .... because I badly need some sleep!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Week 6

Ahem - I'm thick.

Last night's weigh in wasn't actually as bad as I'd feared, as I was geared up for a gain, and a big one at that, so the 1.5lb reality was actually pretty benevolent in the end.

I was all prepared with my "take it on the chin" attitude all day - grumpy but prepared. Until 3 o'clock in the afternoon when my uterus quite suddenly started trying to exit my body via clawing through my right hip (or at least it felt like that - reality may have been slightly less dramatic) and it all became blindingly clear. As per usual, I can't recognise the flashing neon signs of blatant PMS when they're clouting me over the head, but that's exactly what my tearful-grouchy-bloated-scales-don't-love-me-anymore self was suffering from.



After that, I approached weigh in with an altogether more cheerful attitude. The lady at the scales even gave me a wincing "sorry" look whilst noting down my gain and seemed entirely puzzled by my cheerful "well that wasn't too bad response" .... little does she know my body's capacity to gain 4 or 5 lbs around my period!!

Ironically, it would seem all 4 of us who Slimming World together I are "synced", if you get my drift, so we agreed that it wasn't the night to turn the other face to our various gains and maintains, but rather to indulge a little and soothe the day away with Thai. And a bit of chocolate cake. And it was really sodding lovely.

I think I've sort of made up for it today though, as I've only just got home from work at 10pm and I can't be arsed to eat dinner (a pack of Mini Cheddars in the office counts as a square meal doesn't it?), so I've decided to not bother.

Strange as it might seem, this is actually a major break-through for me, as I've long had a problem with obsessively needing to eat because it's a meal-time, even when I'm not hungry, so yay for something good!!! (And just to reassure you, I did have a whacking great big jacket potato with roast pesto veg for lunch, so I'm probably still digesting that .... definitely no starvation round here, just a measured decision that I'm not hungry and it's too late for tea).

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad