Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Day Six

Had a lovely day today - met up with a few old friends from uni and their children. Wonderful to see them again, after such a long time! We went to the play park where I got lots of exercise pushing the roundabout round about, seeing and sawing the seesaw, and pulling the pulley thing back up the rope. The children are delightful, and the eldest told me some wonderful stories about her imaginary friends; angels who are covered in multicoloured flowers which have hearts in the centre of each petal. I was lucky enough to stay all day and to help put them to bed at night as well.

It's been a really hot day, and I've continued sweating back at the flat despite the fan being on. I've managed to sort out some of my shoe collection a bit, have finished dusting in the bedroom, and have put all the clothes away.

Breakfast - banana and blackberry smoothie.

Lunch - spaghetti bolognese followed by fruit salad and ice cream.

Afternoon snack - a Feast ice cream!

Dinner - Omelette with cucumber and cherry tomato salad followed by a slice of toast and some homemade gooseberry jam.

(I also had 2 plums and a bagel with honey for supper last night.)

As of this morning, the scales were back at the 11 stone point, which was a bit disheartening but not too much - after all, it's not been a week yet, and I know my weight can fluctuate at different times. I definitely have lived a healthier life this week, doing lots more active work in and around the house, walking much more than normal, and eating lots of fruit and vegetables. I have not had any chocolate or biscuits, have felt healthy, and think I look healthy. Perhaps my fat is turning into muscle!!

However, tomorrow I shall visit my Auntie ... and who knows what we'll eat when I am there?! I'll try to stick to the healthy options, but I'll not have as much control over my choices, and I am sure there will be many more temptations!

H may come home a bit earlier, which will be lovely. I think he's really enjoyed his Grand Tour, and I'm looking forward to seeing his photographs and hearing his tales!

Right. It's after midnight now (I had to finish tidying up before I leave because I didn't want H coming back to a messy house!) so I think I better get to bed so I can make the most of tomorrow! (I slept in this morning!)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Day Five

Already?! Time seems to be flying by, so that's good - H will be home soon! But it also means I don't have long to get everything done!

I was woken up this morning with the plumber knocking on the door. Hadn't really expected him before 9am ... It also messed up my waking up routine a bit as well, and I didn't have breakfast until about 10am. In the meantime I switched on the computer, always a bad idea when there are things to be done.

Breakfast - banana, pear, blackberry, yoghurt, honey and cinnamon fruit smoothie with a toasted bagel and Mum's homemade strawberry jam.

Lunch - brown rice risotto, made with spring onions, cauliflower, aubergine and courgette, served with tomato and salad.

Afternoon snack - WeightWatcher's toffee yoghurt

Dinner - the rest of the risotto (didn't think I could freeze it, and I'm not sure what's happening tomorrow yet), along with some cucumber, mackerel and a couple of slices of houlloumi cheese.

I've also laid out all my shoes on the floor, swept under the clothes rail, and have done the laundry. I just need to get round to hoovering the bedroom and I'm almost there. I've also been for a walk to the library and back. While there I bought a bottle of water and a set of four WW yoghurts (about 84p for 4). I've also finished another book, The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Day Four

Sunday - a day of rest?! Not today it wasn't!

I left the house at 9am or so, after having a delicious banana, blackberry, natural yoghurt and lychee juice smoothie and a toasted bagel with honey, and walked to church.

After a nice service, I left church and started walking towards the Tower of London. I popped into the Whitechapel Art Gallery for a bit, to rest my weary feet, then continued onwards and arrived at the Tower about 12:30pm or so.

I then spent the day exploring. There is so much to see and do there! First of all, I arrived just as the free Yeoman-Warden guided tour was starting, so I joined the huge group to begin exploring. The former sergeant major (I think he said all Beefeaters have to have reached that rank and been in the army for 22 years - he certainly had a Major's voice!) was very funny, if quite cynical about a few things, and was very dramatic. He enjoyed frightening the little children by lowering his voice then suddenly SHOUTING something, normally about EXECUTIONS and people losing their heads.

We finished in the Chapel of St Peter Vincula (in chains) (we weren't in chains, apparently it means St Peter in chains. Just thought I should clarify.) and I left to begin to wander round by myself. I can't quite remember the order in which I wandered, but I think I first of all went to the cafe to have some lunch. Had already decided that I would probably have soup, but the cream teas looked exceedingly good! As did the Tudor beef pies ... However, I stuck to the thick tomato soup with giant croutons and a slice of bread, with pink lemonade on the side. £6.15 altogether (I have since discovered that there's another cafe outside which does the soup for £1 cheaper, but I think next time I would just take my own packed lunch). A short break, then I thought I'd go and see the crown jewels.

As I approached the Jewel House, there was a fairly long queue that went along one wall. I decided to go to the toilet first, and a few short minutes later I was back in the courtyard - but the queue now would all the way around the square! Fortunately it moved quickly. I liked the first room which had a chair for each of the English / British monarchs from William the Conqueror on. There was a gold line along the top that stated the name of the Royal House (eg Norman, Tudor, Windsor), and the name of each monarch above their chair. Interesting that after Elizabeth II there were only two empty chairs, then the room ran out of space ... ??!?

Obviously the highlight of the Jewel House was seeing the Crown Jewels. There is a moving walk way that you stand on that takes you passed the main crowns, sceptres and orbs. You stand and watch them go by, so no one can hog one crown or the Koh-i-Noor too long. The jewels, the diamonds in particular, sparkle like little rainbows, and are simply amazing. Towards the end of the tour is the gown worn by the Queen at her coronation. Or rather two pieces of clothing, both of which were golden, embroidered, and heavy.

Back outside again, I decided I ought to visit the White Tower. But on my way I was stopped by the re-enactment that was going on - two knights were about to fight for the honour of representing Elizabeth, the Queen Consort of some king or other. I happened to be nearest Sir, or Lord, someone Neville. He was very funny, and engaged our half of the audience, while the other, younger, man, the brother of the Queen, was talking to those further down. This meant that when they started fighting, we were cheering on Neville and booing Woodville - and we were definitely louder! It was great fun, but as the time was going on, I decided to leave and explore the White Tower, so I don't know who won in the end - I fear it may have been the younger man.

The White Tower is the place where all the armour that still exists that belonged to Henry VIII is gathered. What was special was that, as so much of the armour fits fairly snug to the body, you could really see how Henry changed in shape and size over the year. The suit of armour that may have been the last suit made for him is quite huge, just like those big portraits of the overweight man that we are so used to. Another particularly strange piece of armour was a horned helmet, which had a bizarre looking face with buck teeth and spectacles on it.

Exiting, I thought I might go and see the torture instruments next, but then changed my mind when I saw the queue and went in to St Thomas' Tower instead. There began a long walk along the walls, passing through Medieval bedchambers, the ghostly Salt Tower where condemned prisoners were kept, along the ballistrades where we learnt how to handle weaponry, and finally into the Diamond room. One of the funny facts about the Culliane diamond was that a heavily-guarded decoy was sent back to the UK, while the real thing was sent by ordinary post! Very interesting display.

And then it was time to close the Tower, so I slowly made my way to the exit, and headed towards Tower Bridge. I paused, and bought an ice cream (£1.90) and looked forward to reaching Tower Hill and settling down for a tube ride home. Alas, this was not to be - Tower Hill station was closed, so I then had to walk all the way back to Whitechapel, where I caught a bus which dropped me ... about another 20 mins from home! Still, I made it eventually - but I am not sure if I will be able to move my legs tomorrow!

Since arriving home I have cleaned the bathroom, been on the internet and cooked and eaten - mackerel with boiled potatoes, leeks and sweetcorn. I am now exhausted - this has taken me ages to write, in between doing other things, like cleaning silver with toothpaste - so I am off to bed, for some much needed sleep!

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Day Three - last for today

At least, I think it will be the last post for today!

After C left, I spoke to my Gran, then slept for a bit - longer than expected, I think! - and had mackerel and salad with a beef tomato for dinner. Still thinking about the possibility of a sweet, or supper. Have just worked out that dinner probably cost about £2. Could probably have done with a couple of potatoes to finish it off, but I'm quite enjoying this slightly rumbley tummy feeling! Eating just not enough to feel full. Might have a bagel and honey later on.

Otherwise, heard from H (yeah!), spoke to Dad, watched some of the Proms on TV while eating dinner, and have been on the internet for a bit. Not too long! Think I might have that bagel then go to bed earlyish with a good book (The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde) and read for a bit. Early start tomorrow for church, then I think I'll walk to the Tower of London. Maybe. You'll find out tomorrow!

Day Three - continued

Well, my cousin has just left, and we had a lovely time. Lots of chat, sharing photos, and eating!

Lunch - I made a lentil curry, featuring onions, plantain, courgette, cauliflower, broccoli, aubergine and lentils, with a veg oxo cube and some curry powder. I added a spoonful of natural yoghurt to mine after I dished it. We had it with brown rice. A very filling and tasty dish - as C said, it tasted healthy! For pudding we had mango and blueberries - again, I added a spoonful of natural yoghurt. We each had a glass of white grape, pear and apple juice. The whole meal probably cost about £1.20 a portion. Makes you think ...

It's now 3pm, and I need to decide what to do next ... I must have lots of energy after that meal! Perhaps I should go out ... but it would also be nice to relax in my nice clean room, with my feet up and a good book ... !!

Day Three - So Far

I know you are not supposed to weigh yourself every morning, but as this is a two week experiment, I thought I better keep tight records! So this morning, I was 10 st 10 lbs! That walk up to Tesco's yesterday was worth it then!

For breakfast this morning I had a fruit smoothie. One banana, one mango, a handful of blueberries, a couple of spoons of low fat natural yoghurt and a splash of white grape, pear and apple juice. Delicious! And quite filling too.

I have managed to throw away another couple of black bin bags this morning, finished sweeping and hoovering the floor, cleaned (most of) the bathroom, the kitchen floor, dusted a bit, and have put on some atmospheric easy listening music. It's now 10.45am and I am awaiting my cousin, who is visiting this morning after her morning jog. I plan a lentil curry for lunch. Will tell you how it goes later ... !!

It's a beautiful day - might go for a walk later.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Day Two

I think I've made slightly better progress today - although I couldn't have done it without yesterday, and I still have quite a bit to do!

I woke up around 9am this morning, with my alarm - no bright sun to open my eyes today! No, it was bleak, overcast, damp and cool, and remained so for most of the day (until I left around 7pm to go shopping, when, very kindly, it cheered up a lot and was a pleasant summer's evening!)

I have swept and hoovered about half of the room, and cleared most of both desks. I have just now been to the shops and stocked up on vegetables.

Breakfast - poached egg on toast

Lunch - carrot and coriander "healthy eating" soup with toast

Snack - banana

Dinner - small slice of cheese and onion quiche and some boiled veg. Cabbage, courgettes, carrots and cauliflower in a veg stock cube. I should have added some celery, as I bought some of that as well! Hadn't realised until now that they all began with C!

Drinks - lots of water and a cup of lemon and ginger tea

Exercise - sweeping and hoovering, and walking to the shops (I took the bus back, because the three bags were so heavy!)

I spent just under £30 at the supermarket, which may have been a bit more than I had hoped, but I hope to use all the veg and fruit wisely so it should do me for some time. Hopefully. Wondering just now whether to make C Soup from the leftovers, or if I should just eat the rest of the veg as they are ... ???

My cousin is coming round tomorrow, so I have decided to make lentil curry. As I have never made this before, it could be interesting!

I have just paused for a short while to turn the leftover vegetables into soup - very nice and thick it is too!

I wanted to keep a record of my shopping to see how much I spend on each meal.

  1. Still water - £0.93
  2. Fresh milk - £0.45
  3. Lentils (tin) - £0.40
  4. White vinegar - £0.45 (I have been using vinegar lots recently as a cleaning product!)
  5. Bean salad - £0.46 (thought this would go nice with veg in a curry or stew)
  6. Potatoes - £1.98 (very versatile! And these should last for a while)
  7. Lychee juice £0.79 (I bought a different brand from my favourite Rubicon. Hope it's okay!)
  8. Brown rice £1.23 (thought I'd try some while H is away!)
  9. Plain bagels £1.15 (the last time I was on a diet the magazine recommended these a lot, so I ate them a lot!)
  10. Blueberries £1.00 (want to have them in smoothies)
  11. Blackberries £1.99 (ditto)
  12. 3 beef tomatoes £1.74 (3 for the price of 2, so actually £1.16)
  13. White cabbage £0.68
  14. Spring onions £0.59
  15. Leeks £0.57
  16. Broccoli £0.76
  17. Cauliflower £0.78
  18. Courgettes £0.50
  19. Twin Sweetcorn £0.66 (reduced)
  20. Plantain £0.31 (reduced)
  21. Ground cinnamon £1.40 (hmmm. Sure it said £1.23 on the aisle ... only just noticed ...) (Bought it to put in smoothies)
  22. Prepared salad £2.00 (rocket, watercress and spinach, my favourite)
  23. Smoked mackerel £1.68 (thought I should have some oily fish!)
  24. Celery £0.50
  25. Cucumber portion £0.33
  26. Mushrooms £1.08 (3 large flat ones)
  27. Bananas (5) £0.60
  28. Plums (punnet) £1.00
  29. Natural yoghurt £0.68 (for smoothies in the morning!)
  30. Carrots £0.42
  31. Aubergine £0.84
  32. Onions (3) £0.51
  33. Red onion £0.19
  34. Pear £0.20
  35. Quiche £0.31 (reduced)
  36. Seasons best £0.66 (not sure what this is though! Will need to go and look in the fridge!!)
So, today's dinner so far has cost about ... about 85 pence. Not bad! And it's been very healthy. Quiche, soup and veg. Might even make a smoothie for supper!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The End of Day One

It's now 10.15pm, and I am about to go to bed. I will check my email first in case H has sent a message - but it was nice to hear from him earlier on that he has arrived safely at his first destination!

I spent too long on the computer during the middle of the day - about 2 1/2 hours I think, but that was interspersed with phone calls and doing a bit of work. I have finally managed to go through all the filing, I think, and have almost filled a second bag.

For dinner, I cooked a meal in the wok which consisted of cubed potatoes, aubergine, spinach and cheese. It was very tasty, and quite different to the stews I would normally have. I ate at 6pm, and watched Captain Corelli's Mandolin. It is not as good as the book - at least about half of the story lines are missing! - but it wasn't as bad as I feared it was going to be, according to many of the reviews I read at the time. Passed a good couple of hours. Another hour tidying, and here I am.

One desk is almost cleared - well, there is a space in the middle, anyway - and I will attempt to plough through the papers on the other desk (H's desk) tomorrow. Then my aim is to dust everything and sweep and hoover the floors. I'll also have to go shopping, as my cousin is coming on Saturday and I'd like to cook her lunch. Also want to buy some more white vinegar, which really is marvellous for cleaning things! Used the last of it to descale the bottom of the kettle today. It's all shiny and bright now! But could do with some more so it descales further up ... I've already used it lots for glass and mirrors. The only problem is it makes the house stink of vinegar! I quite like it, but H isn't too keen, and it does get wearing after a while!

Right. Off to bed. Goodnight! (Wonder if I'll wake up as early tomorrow?) (Oh, and I've just eaten a banana - hadn't wanted to eat anything after 6pm or so, but I really felt hungry and I haven't had any fruit today. I have, however, drunk lots of glasses of water, which did a good job of filling me up until the banana, but it has also slowed me down because of the frequent comfort breaks!!)

Anyway. Goodnight!

Day One - so far

I woke up about 6am. As I was not getting back to sleep, and there was no reason for me to stay in bed, I eventually decided to get up. After breakfast and a shower, I was ready to start work at 7am.

Since then, until about half an hour ago, I have been destroying old documents. This has filled up the first of my bin bags, and has made some room in our filing cabinet so I can now file the documents that are cluttering up my desk because I couldn't fit them in the filing cabinet before. I have also booked a dental appointment for October, have spoken to my Auntie, and have had about half an hour on the internet on an occasional basis to break up the day. I've made plans to get a new oven as well, so the day has been going well so far. Although looking around the room, you wouldn't exactly notice any difference from yesterday - yet!

I have decided to keep a record of what I eat, drink and do during the day, and to record any weight loss. So this morning, at 6.15am, I weighed about 11st (give or take a lb).

Breakfast - cereal with milk (full fat)

Lunch - meatballs (leftovers from yesterday) on toast with a slice of cheese and a dollop of coleslaw

Drinks - so far, one large glass of water and one medium glass of white grape and apple juice.

Exercise - ripping up pieces of paper for hours on end. Surely, that must do my flappy upper arms some good?!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

My 2 Week Challenge!

H has gone abroad for a couple of weeks on a work trip, so I am going to make the best use of my time here. It's the holidays, and I have a lot to do. I think I sometimes work best when I have a list and a goal, or a challenge, so I am going to outline some of my plans below. Also, I have decided I am going to try and eat as cheaply and healthily as I can over the next two weeks, and keep a record of what I spend/buy/eat etc. I also hope to do a bit more exercise, by walking rather than taking the tube or buses (we'll see how long that lasts!!), partly in the hope that I can also lose some weight before H arrives home! Then I'll see if I can keep it off!!!

I have started by spending £3.60 tonight on six eggs (£1.55) and some bin liners (£2.05). The bin liners are important, as you will see in my list of things to do, below.

Things to do:

  1. Thursday 6th August - Throw away as much as possible. Old bills, bits of papers, old shoes, broken/torn bags/clothes etc - if it can't be mended, and is no use to anyone anymore, it has to go. Hence the bin bags!
  2. Friday - Good clean of the whole apartment. Dusting, cleaning, hoovering - this is my day for it. Want the house gleaming by Saturday.
  3. Saturday - My cousin is coming to visit in the morning, hopefully will stay for lunch. So I'll need to plan something nice for that. Take it easy day.
  4. Sunday - Church, then any more cleaning etc that needs done. Eg bedroom, bathroom, kitchen. If I didn't manage it on Friday.
  5. Monday - I have lots of computer stuff to do for school. This would be a good day for that, if I have managed to finish tidying the house by then.
  6. Tuesday - One of my friends will have arrived back from overseas by then and hopefully I'll go and see her today!
  7. Wednesday - Probably will go into school today. I still have some windows to cover up and some filing to do. As long as I have an early night and get up bright and early (and take a packed lunch of a homemade sandwich!) then I should have plenty of time to get everything done that needs to be done. Hopefully.
  8. Thursday - I'd like to visit my Auntie. This would be a good time to do that.
  9. Friday - Hopefully at my Auntie's. Obviously, I'll need to phone and ask her first!
  10. Saturday - Might leave Auntie's and go and visit another friend and former colleague of mine on the way home.
  11. Sunday - If I stay over with colleague, then I might still be driving home today.
  12. Monday - I think H is planning on starting his return journey home around now. I'll try to get some more planning done for school, putting stuff on the internet etc. Would love to have everything up and running by the time I get back, and I'd also love to make the most of H not being around to do that. Of course, if I didn't manage to finish tidying the house, then that's what I'll probably be doing!!
  13. Tuesday - Think H will arrive back today. Hurrah!
I should probably think of some nice recipes as well so I can plan my shopping list. But I think I'll leave that for another time!