I’ve hardly updated this blog for the last few months – not because I don’t know what to write about, but because what’s been going on hasn’t been my story to write – and the people that I love don’t need to read about their lives through my eyes on these pages. But those same people need distractions and so I’m back, by parental demand.
In a nutshell, I’ve still been buying shoes (including the shiny happy sparkly boots that arrived in a big parcel of happiness yesterday), I’ve still been going to the gym (well, not quite so much as I should have been) and I’m still enjoying a glass of wine or two.
Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits and I have bought bicycles (electric bikes with power assisted pedalling – so that we can race each other uphill), and well, we’re growing middle-aged disgracefully. I bought a sensible-ish folding one, but he went for a mountain bike with suspension, just because he could. His bike looks as cool as all hell but my one is way quicker from a standing start (as we discovered doing a mini grand prix in our local supermarket car park).
I’ve been to summer barbecues, wedding receptions, and have been camping in the Cotswolds. I’ve laughed and cried like no other time in my life and endeavour to be a better person, to let the people I love and who love me, know that they are always in my thoughts.
Life is way too short, but enjoy it in every way you can. Now, I’m off to ride my byocycle, I’m off to ride my bike…
I’ve been conspicuously absent these last couple of months – this is due to epic amounts of stress on all fronts. My coping mechanisms have included the following: I’ve indulged in oodles of retail therapy, satisfied significant carb cravings and have swigged a few too many bottles of sauvignon blanc – and it’s never a good idea to write a blog under the influence of that last one.
Enough was enough – it was time to retake control. I joined a gym close to the office and vigourously signed up for a few classes. I was still reasonably fit thus was slightly over-confident in my abilities. I started easily enough – the Zumba class was sweaty but fun, I did a few cardio-only sessions on the cross trainer, and then I leapt happily into Urban Iron. Oh dear god. Utter Agony for the following two days was the result – I really enjoyed the class but chose too heavy a weight set. Half way through I knew that although I was doing ok, I was going to hurt in the morning. And hurt I did – ‘no pain, no gain’ was the mantra I kept repeating to myself over and over. I nearly had to wake Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits on the Monday morning convinced that my legs were incapable of bending enough for me to buckle up my shoes. My body had aged 30 years over night, I had to mentally prepare for lowering myself into a chair or heaving myself up again – taking a good 30 seconds each way and a lot of groaning.
But I worked through the pain and booked myself onto the same Saturday morning class for the week after, I halved my weight set and got through the whole class and the following two days without any pain. I’m going to Strength & Tone tonight, I’m on the standyby list for the terrifyingly named RIPPD on Thursday and will be back to Urban Iron again on Saturday. I haven’t over-indulged on the vino or partaken in an online shopping spreen since getting back to the gym. Somehow, throwing those weights around is good for the mind, the body and the bank balance. And that’s good enough for me.
MrShoeThatAlwaysFits was with me on a recent shopping trip to find the perfect pair of zebra print shoes.
He, of course, not understanding that I would never sleep again if I didn’t buy them, balked at the price. I didn’t bat an eye telling him that I would wear them so often that the underlying cost per wear would in fact be pennies. I’ve worn them pretty much constantly since.
The reason they had to be zebra print in the first place was this:
My reward for finally wearing a bikini on a recent trip to Portugal. OBB is still work in progress but a 17 year absence from bikini babe-dom has been eliminated – and if that ‘s not worth some celebratory zebra prints then I don’t know what is !
It’s not the light start and end to the days, the cherry blossom on the trees or the fact that I’m trying to get my feet sandal fit that marks the onset of a new season for me. It’s the itchy eyes, the sneezing and the bulk purchase of the strongest antihistamines that money can buy.
I didn’t even suffer from hay fever well into my twenties; I spent a blissful childhood running through fields, throwing myself into mounds of grass cuttings and picking wild flowers. I’ll be forever grateful for that at least. It was a mild irritation when we lived in Scotland rarely flaring up for more than a few days at a time, but it became debilitating when we moved to the southwest of England. It’s hard to maintain a professional facade when your client starts handing you tissues when your eyes won’t stop running.
It’s easy enough to prevent though, which is just as well or I’d spend my spring and summer time in a barren landscape. I also have trouble with orchids and christmas trees, so whenever I visit my parents I need to bring industrial strength drugs with me.
I wouldn’t change it for the world though. There is no other season that makes me feel as alive as I do in spring – it’s as though I’m awakening from a dark, muted sleep and open my eyes to a sea of colour. We held a ‘yellow’ day in the office last week in support of a local charity and decorated the office with daffodils. Neither we, nor the office, have ever looked brighter or healthier. They call it mellow yellow for a reason.
Post virus and snot-fest OBB (Operation Bikini Bod) is still on track – I’m down another dress size which means that the charity shops are getting an influx of donations, and the credit card is taking a serious hit.
This, of course, makes me very happy indeed. But my work-wear wardrobe is shrinking at an alarming rate. It was already pretty much a capsule wardrobe, and it’s getting more compact and bijoux by the day. I’m so close to my end goal that I could almost strip off and dance around in the itsy bitsy teeny weeny pistol panties bikini that has been my nemesis for a year now.
I’m not body dysmorphic, I did a victory lap around the flat with my t-shirt over my head and arms in the air premier league footballer style when I zipped myself into a fitted UK size 10 shift dress. It was a truly epic moment and has taken me many many cardio miles, pyramids of doom, and body-quivering planking sessions to get this far. The end is nigh – but I still need to shift a few pounds of fat and tone up the peary bits of my pear shaped body.
I look and feel better than I have for years – and I want to keep that up. I’ll soon be moving from my ‘losing’ phase to a maintenance based one. In a way I’ll miss the slow but steady sense of achievement on losing those unwanted inches. I like the way I feel now, I feel healthy. I still have the odd splurge, I don’t deny myself anything major, but I do keep a daily eye on my calorie intake and exercise a minimum of 3 days a week.
I didn’t think that I’d stick with it, it seemed insurmountable in the beginning, but like the hare and the tortoise, slow and steady wins the day.
Both Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits and I have been ill with a glandular fever-esque virus for a few days. It sucked. We got snarky, over-dosed on Season 4 of The Good Wife and I slept more than I have so far this year.
I attempted to go to work on Monday – I managed a little over two hours in situ, but with my tolerance levels at an all time low I thought that I should leave before I started on a squeakily terrifying laryngitis riddled tirade of abuse that was bubbling up inside me. I made it home, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits saw my sweaty little face and attempted to cheer me up by liberating the shoes I bought in London. They were were hostages for over a week and he wanted some thanks. I think not !
I made it in today, called a few clients, dealt with an alarming amount of emails and boxed up and returned some little parcels of loveliness that weren’t quite right. I’ve come home, tackled the ironing, done the dishes, made some calls, and done some jobs for Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits for his early start tomorrow. In short, I’ve achieved more in the last 14 hours than I have over the last 5 days.
It’s good to have a bit of a spring back in my step, and I’m feeling a lot more like my old self.
It’s been a challenging week so far and today has gone beyond, way beyond taking the Michael.
And thus I wandered home, looked longingly at the box of wine, decided “later my pretty, later” and put the OBB kit on instead. It’s been a good night – I’ve lunged my way through the pyramid of doom, spinned my way through the women’s curling bronze medal match (go Team GB), and successfully planked for the designated 150 seconds (thank you Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits for the Metallica playlist). I now feel better about this week – it’s amazing how much life goes back into perspective when you’re wheezing for dear life whilst the little endomorphins rush around your body.
But today was a tough one – my default fantasy when office life is getting me down is to run away and join the circus. I have it all figured out – I’m the bombshell who gets fired out of a cannon wearing spandex outfits emblazoned with The Titanium Tempest. Hey, a girl’s gotta dream.
Anyway, my day started off with puddle avoidance, deteriorated into broken wifi routers, faulty laptops, disobedient developers, a depressing amount of yet-to-be-written policies and anarchy. I also have two members of staff on compassionate leave, another about to go on paternity leave and an alarming office plague that’s turning lovely people into feverish phlegm-spouters. I bought cookies and wasabi-flavoured crisps – it was the only sensible thing to do.
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.
We’re well into day 4 of our company planking challenge for charity – today we have to hold the plank position for a whole 30 seconds.
Those who remembered to start the challenge on Saturday as agreed, immediately forgot the rules – start small and build your way up to the full 300 seconds.
But, because this challenge is mastered by those who sit still for hours on end, and who can assume the above pose easily enough – the menfolks have gone all Alpha Papa on me and are treating each day as holding the pose for as long as possible. Out planking one another has become the new office hobby – this is freaking me out, I’m used to the debates on Skyrim vs World of Warcraft, how the makers of CandyCrush are evil and should go straight to a special kind of hell and how you simply can’t survive without a water-cooled hard drive. But now they’re talking voluntarily about a form of exercise. There are people planking in the boardroom, others are side planking after a rendition of happy birthday in our main open plan nerd hub. The earth has indeed spun off of its axis and we’re going to plunge screaming into the heart of the sun. No wonder I need retail therapy. Beam me up Scotty, I actually mean it this time.
Image courtesy of http://img.breakingmuscle.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/full_width/images/bydate/nov_29_2011_-_1201pm/shutterstock_55088689.jpg