That’s not a title for a Girl Band vs Boy Band hair-off, but the sum of my weekend.
Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits actually had the weekend off – this is virtually unheard of. And very very welcome. We were knackered for want of a better word. And so we started Saturday off slowly, watched an episode or two of The Good Wife, he went off and worked out, I did a spot of Winter Olympics watching, then we settled down early and watched a documentary before bingeing on a few more episodes of the afore mentioned The Good Wife. All in all, my kind of Saturday.
Today has been much more productive which is a good thing, otherwise I would have achieved nada/zero/zilch all weekend. And you only need so much rest if truth be told. Sunday didn’t start well, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits got called early for a job which meant that he had to leave immediately – he was in the process of fighting his way into winter waterproof layers when he was called again saying that the job had gone away. Hooray! That meant he could come back to bed for another slow start – and that’s not a euphemism for anything else!
Breakfast and coffee quaffing was partaken with, you guessed it, another episode of The Good Wife before we were ready to face the grad master plan for today. I had a number of things I needed to achieve – a lower body workout, a cardio session, day 9 of the planking challenge (a 60 second muscle-quivering grit your teeth and bear it exercise), and a rather large pile of ironing. It was the worst kind of ironing – formal shirts and trousers, ruffled blouses – eeeeuurgh. With Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits around to help pile on the weights for squats and calf raises, it was a tough but fun workout. I warmed up with the plank, so I really feel as though I’ve worked off those late night Rich Tea biscuits today.
So here I am post-workout, desperately in need of a shower and with only one more item on my list of things to achieve today – call my parents to see how they’re doing. Well that, and decide whether it’s feasible to attempt the 30 day plank challenge and the 30 day squat challenge in quick succession or even simultaneously. Operation Bikini Bod is in full swing – that bikini bod will be mine, or I’ll die trying.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have a large desk – I need a large desk – actually, I really do. None of that minimalist, tidy all your tat away each and every day for me. I like to look at things that remind me of loved ones and some of the places I’ve visited. So no matter how bad the day is going I have a little bit of happiness with me each and every day.
You can see from this image that I have a snow globe and a crystal ball to hand as well as a small, leather-bound notebook, and post it notes with lists, lists and more lists.
This is a small part of my desk – I also have a thank you note, a note from my Mum, books, business cards, and a picture of donkeys. I like donkeys, they make me smile.
And in a world where stress is ever present you need to be surrounded by things that make you smile. Oh, and a laptop, keyboard, monitor, network hub, chargers and all sorts of other business-like paraphernalia too.
I like clutter, I like to have a lot of things to look at. It stimulates and comforts me. It also grounds me on the days where I feel the better option is to launch myself out of the 11th floor window just to see if my cape gives me super hero powers.
Health, happiness and donkey smiles to one and all for 2014.
Getting my hair cut used to be an absolute ordeal, but finding a hairdresser you trust is one of life’s great pleasures. Especially one you can enjoy a glass of wine with.
Over the years I’ve had my fair share of hairtastrophes, namely:
- when a hairdresser cut into my ear rather my hair (ears bleed more than you think they would)
- when a hairdresser gives you chemical burns and your fringe falls out
- when you ask for an inch off and they give you a pixie crop
- when a perm took so long I had to leave the salon with my hair dripping wet and still toxic to make the ferry home from university
Thus, when I find a hairdresser who makes me look great and feel fabulous, who’s had me in tears of laughter and who I trust enough to say, “do what you want” – that’s someone I’ll share a glass of wine with. Lately this has been mid appointment, although she waits until all the chemicals have been washed out and the cutting is complete before quaffing along with me.
One of life’s guilty pleasures – you bet. But I leave with a smile and a swagger (minus the bobble hat) looking my best.