There’s that small moment of “oh oh” when you notice that your pee is not part of the acceptable pantone colour chart for bodily waste. This thought is immediately replaced by “emergency doctor’s appointment” until my brain finally kicked into gear and settled on the correct answer, “too much beetroot for lunch”.
I love beetroot, I could eat an entire family-sized pickled beetroot jar in one sitting if I could ever get the bleeping lid off. Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits recently caught me desperately trying to twist my way into one, too proud to ask for his assistance. He watched me for a second, then calmly wrangled the jar away from me and told me that there was only one failsafe way to open them on my own. He set the jar down on the kitchen worktop then picked up a large sharp kitchen knife before flamboyantly and rather violently stabbing the lid, effectively breaking the air seal and allowing the jar to open sesame.
That is now my second best kitchen trick. My favourite is saved for work. Never get between a demi-nerd and her coffee. I’m 5ft 3 and a hairs breadth tall – this means that reaching the top shelves in cupboards can be somewhat challenging. Our freshly ground filter coffee lives on the top shelf in our communal kitchen. I need coffee, the jar is empty, I can’t reach the refill bags – I could go and fetch a tall nerd to reach it for me, I could get a chair or a ladder to stand on. Neither is the most energy efficient way of dealing with this problem, I simply open the kitchen drawer and find the salad servers then pincer the coffee down to me. Quick and efficient and bypasses the smurf / hobbit / borrowers commentary.
Working in a technology company means a lot of sitting around eating cake and drinking coffee. We feel guilty about this, especially on Bacon Sandwich Fridays when we phone our breakfast orders into a local cafe and they deliver them to our office. This is honestly the highlight of some people’s week.
As part of our corporate responsibility initiative we’ve adopted a charity of the year and, feeling guilty about the cake, the bacon and the sedentary coffee consumption, we’ve signed ourselves up for a 30 day fitness challenge with all proceeds going to our chosen charity – this involves a yoga-esque pose called The Plank. This didn’t sound too scary – no running around and getting sweaty, you just hold one position for a set amount of time each day, even the Jedis amongst us could cope with that. Day 1 starts off easy enough, assume the position and hold for 20 seconds, by day 30 you should be able to plank for 300 seconds. There was a lot of over-confidence. The yoga practitioners smiled knowingly, everyone else went home and practiced before committing themselves to some public ridicule. I’m fairly fit, but I started shaking after about 40 seconds so I’m looking forward to the challenge. One of our business developers was openly honest – he had tried it and managed 4.7 seconds and informed us “he’s in it to win it”. Somehow, I don’t think so. One of our mega nerds asked if he could use some bricks or something to elevate himself as his tummy was still touching the floor when he assumed the correct position.
We’re starting tomorrow, 1st February, there is a betting syndicate already set up with an odds-on favourite to win. Will I still be hanging in there on Day 30 – I hope so!
Today is your birthday. The anniversary of the last day I saw you as you were – vibrant, funny, fierce.
I’m trying to remember the happy times, the laughs, the scandals, the debates.
But today those memories are bittersweet.
I wish you were here to see what we’re up and to tell us off for not doing it properly.
Life isn’t like that though. We can never recapture a moment, and there’s no point in moving forward with regrets of any kind.
So today I will celebrate your life, I will raise a glass tonight and remember you with love.
Today (as it is 4-5 times a week) was all about working out. Luckily, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits was around to help. I’m a pear shape with hour glass aspirations – my upper body has snapped back into shape quite well and I can be persuaded to get my lady guns out without too much trouble, but my lower body always has been and always will be my nemesis.
I always find that my lower body workout is so much harder than my upper body one – the extra effort does work though – my butt is lifting, my thighs are getting thinner and my cankles are separating out into calves and ankles once again.
Operation Bikini Bod (OBB) has been a long hard slog, but I can almost see the end in sight. My confidence is up, my weight is down and my energy levels are on the rise. Not bad for a middle-aged leftie.
Operation Shop Til I Drop (OSTID) will soon begin – well, I will need some new clothes when all that blood, sweat and tears pays off. And if that doesn’t motivate me, then nothing will. Better start saving.
We’re just so hard on ourselves – all of the time. We’re not good enough, not thin enough, not clever enough, not creative enough.
We are so busy trying to be better than we are that we forget to just stop and think. We forget to be thankful for everything that we have and everything that we are, however we got there.
I’ve been lucky enough to have many female role models in my life – they’ve taught me that it’s ok to be different, it’s ok to fail, it’s ok to be imperfect. They’ve also taught me that it’s ok to follow your heart wherever it takes you, however hard that road may be, because you won’t rest easy unless you do.
I’m lucky, I’ve met and been loved by many inspirational women. My job is to ensure that I can pass along some of that wisdom to the young women I work with. They aren’t ready to hear it yet, they’re just starting out on their own paths, but in a decade or so I’ll hope that they remember me as fondly as I remember those who have picked me up when I’ve been down, those who’ve made me laugh through my tears, and those who have shown me that you can be successful and still have a soul.
Even though I’ve lost some of them along the way, these women are always with me. They still make me smile.
I was trying to bring some sunlight into my day with a lovely summery daisy-hemmed halter dress, a white shirt, corduroy blazer and woolly tights with chelsea boots combo. A little bit of spring to be precise.
But alas, instead of a cute little outfit, I found myself in “my dress is mating with my tights” kind of hell. This is not a big deal – there are many more problems in the world than my dress turning itself into (vivid flashback) a puffball number from the not distant enough past, but it’s enough of an annoyance to pique you prior to your morning coffee.
I’ve had many more embarrassing clothing malfunctions – pinging buttons exposing a bit too much flesh, burst trouser seams, stuck fast zips, that awkward moment when you realise you can’t get a dress off in the changing room and have to call for help – but the static cling thing annoys you all day long.
Here’s hoping that tomorrow I’m footloose and cling free. Vive la elegance.
In my ongoing Operation Bikini Bod (aka OBB) motivated state, I’m upping the workouts again. This is doubly insane because I am somewhat of a medical anomaly – in 4 weeks of abstinence (yes, including alcohol – there’s only been one serious slip), calorie controlling, exercise and green tea quaffing I have shed an amazing 1 lb of body weight. You heard me – 1 lb.
Lesser people would weep in frustration, I however can pinch less than I could do on Christmas Day so I know what I’m doing is working. I weigh myself no more than once a month for this reason alone – our digital scales lie – well maybe they don’t lie, but they certainly don’t tell the whole truth. And that truth is I’m getting leaner, and building muscle. With 13 lbs still to shed, at my current weight loss rate of 1 lb per month, I’ve got a year to go. Go me! My goal is April so I require some additional motivation. I came home after a long day out on the road when I was too tired to workout and tried on my bikini (the middle ‘B’ in OBB) and asked Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits to take photos of me in unflattering light from the front, the side and the back. I can almost live with the front and side views, but as I already knew, the rear view needs more work. Damn my pear shaped genetics. And more work means squats, lots and lots of buttock-lifting squats. It’s not known as the king of exercises for nothing.
Today’s workout needs a whole lot of help from Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits, however, he’s off filming in the middle of nowhere with just an outside broadcast crew for company, so I have alternate instructions. Do the exercises I can do alone, but do more, and do a pyramid. This had me concerned and so it should – I can’t do squats on my own – but unfortunately, I can do lunges. And so I find myself gearing up for a 5 set marathon:
Set 1 – low weight
Set 2 – raise weight
Set 3 – heaviest weight
Set 4 – same weight as set 2
Set 5 – same weight as set 1
When you write it down it doesn’t look a lot, but when you add in the other exercises and the 45 min spin session afterwards, I may need some medical attention. Or at the very least, some gas and air.
I’m doing this for me – exercise allows me to clear my mind, it keeps me healthier and my clothes fit me better. It’s so easy not to do it – I didn’t do much of anything for 15 years, which is why it’s so hard to take 15 years of bad-living off. But it’s never too late to right the wrongs of your youth. I want to make the most of my life, and I need this body to do it, I just want to look good whilst I’m doing it.
I love hats – they can transform your look, turn you invisible, and quite literally save your life.
Stockport has a museum dedicated to them where they have a plethora of information and displays.
I love the onset of winter where I can turn to some old faithfuls. I have a black Kangol fluffy hat that is more smurf-esque than anything else, I have my cream bobble hat and I have a new grey and black cossack hat. The cossack hat has won hands down in outings this winter – it looks fabulous on, but sadly looks like a dead cat when in my handbag or resting on my desk.
dead cat in bag
dead cat on desk
It’s a tad on the ostentatious side having a hat stand beside your desk in an open plan office thus my dead cat is now the office pet. Maybe I should invest in a head mannequin instead, although I can see kidnappings and ransom notes as a direct consequence. What I like most about hats is that they have the power to transform an ordinary outfit into something extraordinary, the only downside being hat hair – less traumatic than helmet hair (don’t believe the Zovirax ads, your hair never looks that good if you’ve had a helmet on for longer than 10 minutes) but you will have some grooming to do once you’ve removed it. I can go one of two ways, uber fluffy haired or very very flat and smooth. Neither work for me, so I just tame it back into shape and wait longingly until I can put my hat back on.
My favourite hat muses: Bjork, Queen Elizabeth II and Lady Gaga – who can forget her Louis Vuitton headpiece? Be brave, wear a hat.
I like the lull between back to back meetings. We’re in full scale planning mode for the year ahead and are trying to scope out new product ideas. Three different meetings, lots of personalities, ideas and noise. Those types of Friday afternoons need biscuits – it’s been a long old week and the troops are revolting – therefore it’s time to feed the nerds.
Just as I was about to tuck in with true abandon, one of my colleagues was talking about the sleepless nights she’d been experiencing since the holidays, now that her children were back at nursery. It involved a small child, projectile and copious vomiting and the 2am clean up attempt. It was not the kind of mid afternoon chat that ensures you enjoy your coffee and sugar rush, but it got worse, much worse. Parent #2 trumped parent #1 with a tale of woe so disturbingly disgusting that colleagues had to leave the room mid retch. It also involved a small child, but with double ended projectile missile blasting. Needless to say that no-one wanted the Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers. Then there was a free for all amongst parents, grandparents and anyone who had a gross-out story to tell. Mayhem. Order was eventually restored but all sense of appetite was abandoned, some required nicotine to calm their nerves, others asked to be excused, permanently, from the rest of the afternoon session.
I’m not a parent, not a prude and empathise with those sleepless nights, but stories like that need to be “saved” for families and friends.
Well, it is, isn’t it? It’s a month of reflecting on the past and being excited about what lies ahead. It’s the time when our clothes feel a bit tighter and our skin looks a heck of a lot grayer due to epic over-indulgences.
It’s also time to embrace winter and all of its layering opportunities. This week alone I’ve rocked an artic explorer look , an ice-skating princess ensemble, and tried out being a russian spy for the day. All good fun.
January, aka the month of good intentions – of being good to our bodies and our minds. I started well, but failed on wine-down Wednesday. It turned yesterday a very long day indeed. This first full week back in the office has been long – we were all knackered by mid week (hence the afore-mentioned wine-down) as everyone is used to working in small, concentrated bursts. I’ve had to lure people into meetings with the promise of biscuits. But it’s now Friday and the energy levels are rising appropriately, we can smell the weekend coming, and it smells of duvet.
I’m in the midst of hatching a grand master plan for 2014, and that’s what I love most about January – I make the first in a series of plans. Compulsive list-making session imminent.
‘Tis the season for detoxing, the five-two diet and abstinence. Well, it certainly is here in nerd land.
We all know that I’m on OBB (Operation Bikini Bod) so none of the above applies to me – I’ve been on a healthy(ish) binge for the best part of a year – although I have ramped up the pace recently as my hamstrings and glutes can testify. I am in constant and chronic pain, but as with L’Oreal products, I’m worth it.
It’s the 8th of January and what we’ve learned so far this year is this little pearl of wisdom, don’t leave your green tea teabag in your cup. Unlike herbal tea, where the fruity or therapeutic infusions improve with a good stewing, green tea has the opposite effect. In one disciplined colleague’s own words, “Oh my god, I’ve got the green tea heaves. Niiice.”
And so the moral of the story of today is, caffeine is good, red wine is better, but if you absolutely have to drink the detoxing and anti-oxidating caffeine-free green tea goodness, only leave the tea bag in for a couple of minutes or your body will reject the goodness. It must be true, we’ve done scientific experiments and everything.