Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I’ve not forgotten you!!

I’m sorry it’s been a while since my last post, I’ve been very busy these past few weeks.

Last week I finished my third and last round of chemo for now and I’ll be honest and say it totally and utterly floored me. Worse than the other two rounds of chemo. I was totally wiped out for three days as in I don’t remember them because I was asleep for three days. Yup you heard that right THREE WHOLE DAYS!! It really did take it’s toll on me and it took about two weeks for me to feel right again.

My chemo tablets ended last week and even they have had a go at me in a sense, my hands and feet are incredibly sore, like a sunburn kind of sore and very dry and flaky too, I’ve had to ask for help on opening bottles and lids because it hurts my fingers and my dexterity has dropped too, I find it hard to pick up coins from a table for example. It’s been a bit of a learning curve for me and a bit of an experience asking for help from others because I’m a very independent person and I’ve had to lower my pride and ask for people to help me at times.

I had my CT scan last week which will hopefully determine if I’m operable or not but it was a complete disaster because they couldn’t find a vein to put a cannula in for the high resolution dye they use for the scans and believe me they tried!! 
They tried a total of eight times to get a needle into me including once on my foot!! 
Three of the times they tried it resulted in my vein collapsing which basically meant that I bled a lot from that insertion point so a nurse had to compress that area for what seemed like ages and to say it stung is an understatement!! I’m now covered in bruises on various points over my arms and hands but on the plus side they don’t hurt anymore.
I don’t in any way blame the doctor that was trying to find my veins, my veins are notoriously bad to get a hold of and he was trying his best – it wasn’t a great experience for me but in the grand scheme of things it was nothing.

My main worries about this is that because they did the scan plain i.e. with no dye they won’t get as good a picture as they would have liked to have gotten so I worry that they won’t be able to make the decision of whether I’m operable or not with it and I’m sure you understand that it’s a pretty important thing in my life right now!!

My other concern is that they are going to have to find a vein for me to have my operation (if I’m declared operable) and what happens if they can’t? I’m not sure if they have other ways of putting people under but it worries me that at 27 my veins are next to none existent!! What happens when I’m a little old lady and need a blood test, operation etc when veins are expected to be hard to find?!

I should get my results in the New Year regarding operability – it’s my biggest Christmas wish right now and everything else pales into insignificance.

Apart from all that I’ve been having plenty of ‘Cancer Free’ days I’ve spent time with friends and family and I’ve been trying to work as much as possible to give me a decent amount of money to see me through being off work after my operation.

My boyfriend, Paul and I also bought our first home together, a flat in Glasgow and we moved in at the weekend – that was an event in itself because the flat is three floors up with no lift so I spent most of the weekend hauling boxes up three flights of stairs!! 

We have absolutely nothing in the flat at the moment, we are sleeping on a mattress on the floor and are sitting on deck chairs in the living room but I already love it! I love being able to see Paul every evening and, having only lived in rented accommodation up until this point, I love that we can change anything we want and really put our own stamp on the place.

We have ordered most of the main pieces of furniture but due to it being Christmas we might not get some of it until January. It’s amazing how these things don’t bother me any more though I’m not sure if it’s due to the cancer or because it’s simply our place and things will fall into place in their own time.

Other than that life is pretty good, I’m getting a bit of my hair back already, its more of a fuzz than its been in a while and I’m feeling pretty great in terms of my energy and health – I keep saying to everyone who asks, apart from the fact I know I’ve got cancer, I feel great!! 

I’m going to start jogging again soon to try and keep my fitness up before my operation (I’m totally believing that I’m operable) but on the plus side of my having chemo and the fact that I’m going to lose a lot of weight after my operation, I’m eating whatever I like and not really putting on weight!! 
I’ve put on five pounds since starting chemo which has been actively encouraged by my doctors and I’m enjoying being able to eat solid foods and go out to restaurants and not have to wonder where the toilets are or what on the menu I can eat!!

I’m actually looking forward to Christmas dinner, it’s one of my favourite meals of the year and I’m very glad I’ll be able to taste and chew it all rather than being served mashed potatoes and gravy like I had to eat before!! Don’t get me wrong I love mashed potato and gravy but when you’re surrounded by people eating a full Sunday roast dinner (my favourite meal) it breaks your heart a little bit!!

Anyway, I’m sorry for not being around much – I’m still here, still fighting and still enjoying every bit of life that I’m living because I’ve realised more than ever that it’s all precious.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


This is a very happy post!!

After spending the last few months being restricted to a liquid / mush diet due to not being able to eat food because it kept getting stuck in my throat I've been able to eat solid food again!
You have no idea what a blessing that is for my morale. For one reason because it's now a bit easier to keep my energy levels up by eating more calorie dense foods but it's also making a mental difference to me too, the tumour must be getting smaller if I can now swallow solids right?!
My chemo is doing it's amazing job and beating back the growth (at least) of the tumour and with my few and far between symptoms it seems my body is playing ball too by keeping as healthy as possible to allow me to have enough energy to fight this.

It's very strange having to change my mindset regarding calories and exercise having been on this weight loss journey for what seems like forever but with a little modification I have all the tools already that I need to deal with this.

I've been told that I'll probably lose weight whilst on chemo and I'll lose a lot of weight after my operation (In the region of three stone or 42 pounds apparently) so at the moment I need to consume as many calories as possible in order to maintain my weight before my operation.
I still want to eat healthily as I totally believe I need as many nutrients as possible at this moment in time but it has meant that I have made a few changes to my diet, mainly to full fat options ie milk, cheese, yogurt etc
I also plan (now I can eat solids again) to make homemade pasta sauces and serve that with wholemeal pasta for long lasting energy but it's also nice being able to eat chips (fries) whenever I feel like it!!

It's quite hard doing this after being on a 'diet' for so long but I need to think about the bigger picture here and the likelihood is I'll be classed as underweight after I've been through my operation and my energy levels and my body's ability to fight both the cancer and any other diseases / infections that may appear whilst my immune system is decimated when on chemo is the more important battle at the moment. I'm expecting to have the rest of my life (a long one) to deal with any weight issues I may or may not have.

The good thing about being on a diet for so long is that food accountability / calorie counting comes very easily to me. One thing I'm very good at is keeping track of what I'm eating and how much - I just need to turn this around and make sure I'm no longer creating a deficit.

I have sadly made the decision to cancel my gym membership for now.
I accept that in the next few months I probably won't have the energy to go to the gym and due to my low immune system I've been told that even swimming is off the cards due to the warm and wet environment poolside which also happens to be the ideal germ breeding ground.
The other thing that often occurs at the gym, especially during strength training which I was a big fan of, is micro trauma where you intentionally tear your muscles very slightly. This then encourages your muscle to rebuild and in doing so it rebuilds bigger / stronger to attempt to prevent the injury again.
Whilst on chemo the last thing I need to be doing is creating trauma in other parts of my body, I need my body's energy to be totally focussed on beating this tumour and recovering from my surgery.

So my plan is to try and get out and walk as much as possible - my main form of exercise is going to be this.
On days that I'm feeling a bit more energetic then I'll be continuing with my dance classes for both exercise and my state of mind - it's something I really enjoy doing and that will in itself make me feel better
I've also bought a ballet DVD so that if I'm house bound I could still get in a bit of gentle exercise and stretching.

Once again, I intend to have the rest of my life to get back into shape / keep fit but for now my goals are on hold.
I'm just very glad and grateful that I managed to bring fitness into my life and make it part of my routine before all of this happened because I know how much I enjoy it and I have no fear that I will get back to it in due course.

I weighed in yesterday and I have managed to maintain my weight from last week which is a good thing for me, which I probably owe in part to my bowls of porridge made with full fat milk, golden syrup and peanut butter, seriously guys it's like a big hug in a bowl!!

All in all I have no grumbles with life at the moment!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Chemo Days

I've had a pretty good last few days to be honest.

My chemo session was pretty uneventful and I'm happy to say my side effects have been minimal.
The main thing that I experienced was nausea and general lack of appetite, things that I used to love to eat now seem to turn my stomach when I think of them, mainly sweet things which I suppose isn't such a bad thing!!

I'm currently laid in bed with my laptop on my knee because I'm working from home today - once again work has been amazing through all of this and have said I can work from home as much as I'd like to and it's going to be a life saver in terms of both my income and my health - I'm still feeling very tired from my chemo session last week.
So I'm all snuggled up against a lovely crisp Autumn day with my work scattered around me having just eaten lunch and taken all my magic pills and I might even have a wee afternoon nap in a bit!

I'm still not used to how much good feeling is coming my way through all of this - I'm humbled and honoured to 'know' so many well meaning people whether in real life or you guys who read this - your kind words and thoughts do not go unnoticed and I'd just like to take the time to say thank you now

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Cancer fighting begins

I'm writing this post from my hospital bed surrounded by a pretty decent breakfast and the most amazing nurses you could hope for. Seriously everyone here must have angel status because they are so kind and attentive, friendly and upbeat. I try to be as kind and helpful as possible in life (I totally live by the mantra of 'nastiness is just wasted energy' and I've been on the receiving end of far too many nasty things to ever want to pass that particular present on!!)

Anyway, I was admitted yesterday morning and my day consisted of blood tests, weighings and an ECG, the chemo drugs they are putting me on can mess with my heart so they wanted to get a 'baseline' of my rhythm so that they know if anything starts going wrong.

Then, after hundreds (or so it's seemed) of people coming to talk to me about my medication, possible side effects and my chemo drug process, my magic potions arrived and the fight has begun! My first chemo drug had to be bolused (I'm sorry I have no idea how to spell that!!) into my system which means that a patient nurse had to sit with me for about forty minutes and manually inject the drug into me!! Then, because the second drug I'm being given can mess with my kidneys I have to make sure that they're well hydrated so I was given a bag of saline, a bag of potassium, a bag of magnesium and a bag of heavy duty anti sickness drugs (one of the other side effects) each of this bags takes an hour to drip through so it was another four hours down the line before I could start my second type of chemo drug. That bag takes four hours to drip through and then I was given another bag each of magnesium, potassium and saline so you can imagine what time the process finished for me when it didn't get started until about three o'clock in the afternoon!
I still have no complaints though the nurses crept in in the night made sure I was ok, changed my bag to the new one and crept out again.

My third chemo drug is up to me, tablets to take for the three weeks I'll not be in hospital.

At the moment I feel fine, as usual in hospitals I'm a bit warmer than I'd like to be but apart from that I've got no symptoms at all so I'm feeling pretty lucky - let's hope it stays that way but I'm also of the mindset that for this situation, a few months of feeling crappy in return for years of happiness with my amazing boyfriend, family and friends is a trade off I'm more than willing to endure.

Here's to the chemo drugs coursing through my body, I hope they are targeting the tumour and teaching them that they don't really want to live in Hannah's body anymore.

Here's to the nurses here who, as I've said above, are absolutely fantastic.

Here's to modern technology and science for at least allowing me to attempt to fight this.

Here's to my surgeon who, hopefully, in a couple of months will reach inside me and take away what is left of my tumour.

Here's to my friends and family who have shown me more love and support than I ever realised. Especially to friends of my parents, I know they must be feeling useless four hours away, I can't thank you enough for all your support to them, your offers of cleaning and cooking and general well wishes.

Here's to everyone who has donated to my just giving pages - I hope that the money raised can help to fund the research into new cures for cancer and also help to continue the amazing work of the Macmillan nurses.

If this all goes as I'm hoping it will and I make it through this to live to fight another day, none of the above will be forgotten.

Friday, September 28, 2012

It begins

My meeting with my Oncologist, Professor MiracleMaker went really well this week.

I have had my tumour staged at a T2, which I believe is still considered an early stage cancer and my N and M factors are considered 0 which is very good news

From Wikipedia:

T describes the size of the tumour and whether it has invaded nearby tissue
     Tx - Tumour cannot be evaluated
     Tis - Carcinoma in situ
     T0 - No signs of tumour
     T1, T2, T3, T4 - Size and/or extension of the primary tumour

N describes regional lymph nodes that are involved
     Nx - Lymph nodes cannot be evaluated
     N0 - Tumour cells absent from regional lymph nodes
     N1 - Regional lymph node metastasis present OR tumour spread to closest or small number of regional lymph nodes
     N2 - Tumour spread to an extent between N1 and N3
     N3 - Tumour spread to more distant or numerous regional lymph nodes

M describes distant metastasis (the spread of cancer from one body part to another).
     Mx - Distant metastasis cannot be evaluated
     M0 - No distant metastasis
     M1 - Metastasis to distant organs (beyond regional lymph nodes)

So at the moment I'm a T2 N0 M0
Which considering I have a visible (from a scan) tumour in my body I couldn't have hoped for a better outcome - my tumour was probably already too big to be classified as a T1 so the fact that it's 'only' a T2 is great news - I've never been the fastest person in anything I've done sports or otherwise and I'm happy to say my little growth is taking after me in that respect!!
The N0 and M0 results are quite frankly FANTASTIC - normally with my type of cancer it has spread to other parts of the body before it gives people any symptoms so I'm very glad it decided to be a shy little thing and not try to make friends with any other organs.

Next week I am due to have my laparoscopy where my surgeon Mr MeasureTwiceCutOnce will insert a camera into my abdomen to have an actual look at my tumour so that he can gauge what will need to be done when the time comes for my operation. They will also fill my abdomen with water and then bag up said water and test that for rogue cancer cells - I'm still astounded at the level of detail they go to when looking for the cancer - I'm totally confident in their approach and I'm glad they're being thorough.
At first I thought I'd get nervous having to go through all of these tests as each one could bring with it bad news but now I've come to realise that all of these things simply allow me and my team of Professor MiracleMaker and Mr MeasureTwiceCutOnce to arm ourselves with enough ammunition for the fight. The cancer treatment is going to be tough and I'd rather bare it the once and be as sure as possible that they're getting it all out than them storm in, treat the main tumour yet miss a sneaky cancer cell elsewhere.

After my laparoscopy I will get approximately ten days to recover and then I will experience my first Chemotherapy session.
Professor MiracleMaker has decided to go at me with all guns blazing considering my age and (thanks to the last couple of years) level of fitness so I will be undertaking three rounds of chemotherapy each taking three weeks, then I will be given about six weeks off to recover from the chemo and I'll have another scan to see how teeny tiny my tumour now is and then I'll go for my operation with Mr MeasureTwiceCutOnce then I'll have another six weeks off to recover from surgery and I'll go back for three more rounds of chemo to blast my body again to make extra sure that there is no more cancer in my body!!

This is probably going to be the hardest few months of my life and there are going to be highs and lows but breaking it down is helping quite a lot
For example:
I can do ANYTHING three times - I'll have three rounds of chemo - the first time will be scary / exciting as I start my first day at cancer killing school, I'll hopefully make friends with other patients and I hope my chemo drugs make friends with the cancer and, as the rebellious older sibling, convince the tumour to go on a trip of a lifetime by having an 'out of body' experience!!
After that I'll go in for round two three weeks later which, when you think of it in a course of three, is already more than halfway there and then round three will be the last one! Term one in cancer killing school is over already! Time for a wee holiday before packing my bag once again to go back for Term two!

The good things about this is, if I keep to plan and my body stays healthy enough to have the chemo every three weeks then my three rounds will be over before the end of this year and I'll be in my 'six week holiday' during Christmas which means that hopefully I won't be too 'loopy' from the Chemo to actually enjoy Christmas and hopefully the Chemo will have done it's job and shrunk the tumour enough for me to be able to eat slightly more solid foods i.e. attempt an actual Christmas dinner!!
The other even better thing is if my body stays healthy enough to be on schedule, my Chemo - Operation - Chemo journey will have finished three weeks BEFORE my brother's wedding next year!!
I only have one sibling and although we've had our bad times (he's five years older than me so during childhood we always seemed to be in different phases of our lives) he's an amazing big brother and I'm so proud of everything he's done. I was away when he graduated from University so I missed that and a couple of weeks ago I honestly didn't think I'd be around anymore to make his wedding and to have that as a goal and a target will be a light to lead me on in my darker days.
My last chemo session should (all things being well) also fall on the week of my birthday and I can't think of a better present than being given the gift of life!

Anyways - I'm going to stop being so poetic (yup people that's what I call poetic) and leave you to your no doubt wonderful Friday! Have a great weekend everyone - for those in the UK lets hope all this rain stops soon - it's causing too much chaos everywhere!!

Monday, September 24, 2012


My results have come back and it has been confirmed that I do indeed have Oesophageal Cancer.

I have been for various different scans so far and I'm still waiting for the results of my PET scan which allows the doctors to 'stage' the tumour i.e. see how big it is, how far it has spread (or hasn't spread hopefully) and if any of my lymph nodes are affected.
So far from the results of my CT scan the tumour looks to be quite small, hasn't spread to the outside wall of my oesophagus (less chance of it spreading to my heart and lungs through contact that way) and there were no enlarged lymph nodes so hopefully the PET scan doesn't show anything that the CT scan didn't show!!

I have a meeting with my Oncologist tomorrow where we will discuss my treatment plan and the way forward from here - it's going to be a 'take each day as it comes' period in my life but I'm hoping that in a year's time I'll be starting my road to recovery a better, stronger person than before.

I count myself lucky at the amount of love and support I have felt so far on this journey and there are so many people who go through life not knowing how much you mean to people and how many lives you touch along the way and I'm very privileged to be experiencing this right now. I'll never take it for granted again and apart from this diagnosis I'm a very blessed and lucky woman.

Monday, September 17, 2012

My new story

I haven't been on here for a while because I have had a lot of things going on in my life recently.
I'm not sure if you remember me saying that food kept getting stuck in my throat and I had to make myself sick to get it back up again which meant that I wasn't really keeping any food down and resulted in a few weeks of sudden weight loss?

Well, I went for some tests at the hospital and last week an endoscopy showed a growth in my oesophagus which could turn out to be cancer, yup those words were said to little 27 year old me and they hit me very hard. They took biopsies of the growth to study in the lab (I'm praying its a benign growth)
This seems to have stunned even my doctor as this type of thing is often found in smoking, alcohol drinking, 60+ year old men and here I am sitting here a reasonably fit, healthy eating 27 year old woman - it just doesn't add up but apparently this is the road I will be travelling down.
Several extremely hard phone calls to my parents and brother were next which hurt me more than actually getting the news. What parent wants to hear that your child could be desperately ill?!
I then went for a full body CT scan on Friday to see if the cancer (I'm calling it that at the moment although it's still not been confirmed) has spread to anywhere else in my body and the actual size of the growth in my throat as this will indicate whether or not I can have treatment / surgery and if I can what kind it will be.

So at the moment I'm in the grey area of my life waiting until Wednesday (only two more days to go and I'm not sure how I made it through the past week!!) when I, plus my boyfriend and Mum who is travelling up specially, go to see my specialist and I'll hear if this thing is cancer or not.

So as you can probably understand, the maintenance of my blog has been quite far down on my list of priorities at the moment but as I seemed to have a handful of readers I thought it would be good to give you a quick update of what I'm up to.
My blog will now change it's focus on keeping weight on / putting on weight in preparation for any treatment / surgery I may need (gosh I never thought I'd hear myself saying I'm trying to put weight on!!) and just being a way of telling my story and all that I'm going through at the time.

I hope all those on the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge have done well on their final weigh ins and if you could send me a little bit of wishful thinking my way then I'd really appreciate it!!

Today has been good so far - Paul stayed over last night so I woke up snuggled up to him, work have all been amazing when they heard my news offering me time off from work whenever / work from home opportunities, I kept my lunch down and have managed a chocolate bar (I've been told by my nurse to have full fat everything) plus my dried fruit and green tea (apparently that can inhibit cancer growth - it's all worth a try isn't it?!) and I've found an amazing website with a brilliant group of people who have all been through this and come out the other side so for the first time in about a week the black cloud above me has turned a lighter shade of grey and I'm going to my first improvers ballet class tonight because I finished my beginners course last week and the teacher said she thought I was good enough to move on!!
Also I'm going to be busy cleaning the flat tonight because (under slightly horrid circumstances I know) tomorrow night I get to cuddle my Mum!!

Have a great day, make the most out of it and in the words of another amazing blogger (found here) Do Today Well

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finally it seems a bit of a drop

So I did something yesterday that I never thought I would do - I forgot about a weigh in!!
I'm supposed to weigh in every Monday morning for the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge and I totally forgot!! I'll admit that I'm quite pleased with this, I'm pleased that my attention is drawn away from the scales for once because I often find myself wanting to weigh myself mid week just to see how I'm doing but last week seemed to go so fast that I barely had time to organise myself never mind stop to step on the scales.
Also it might be because I haven't been eating too well recently so my mind was probably diverting my attention from the scales because I feared that they wouldn't give me very good results.
I haven't been eating terribly but I have had to modify my eating quite a bit recently because for the last five weeks or so I've been having trouble swallowing - food keeps getting stuck in my throat and I often have to make myself sick to get it out, this is now happening most meal times and so I'm sure my weight loss this week (3.4 lbs) is due to the fact that not much of my food that I eat stays in my stomach!!
So my eating choices have been anything that seems to 'go' down quite well, wet and squishy things tend to work better that plain grilled things so I've been eating more things with mayo on them to allow them to slide down easier - I'm trying to continue making good decisions (i.e. lately a tuna mayo and salad wrap seems to be doing OK so that's all I've been eating for lunch - cous cous, roasted vegetables and chicken on the other hand last night resulted in me being sick four times so I'm going to stay away from that particular meal for the time being!!)
I'm currently waiting for a appointment for some tests at the hospital so fingers crossed they find out what it is, it's nothing too serious and they can do something about it.
I'm not religious at all but if you guys are and wanna put in a good word for me, then I'm hoping it might help?

Anyway enough about my throat problems - I managed to get to the gym three times last week plus ballet and street dance classes and I managed to walk a fair bit in between too - I don't think there was a day last week where I didn't make my 10,000 steps target on my fitbit.
We also had a bit of excitement / hassle in our flat at the weekend - we ran out of hot water!! There seems to be a bit of a problem outside of our flat which is meaning that we have very limited hot water at the moment, there doesn't seem to be an answer to the problem at the moment so I'm making sure I have a good long shower at my gym before I head home - this also means that there is more of a chance that there will be hot water for my flatmate who doesn't have a gym shower to go to.

Last night was a short one at the gym - I didn't feel like I had enough energy to do anything too strenuous (Monday's always feel the same) so I just hopped on the treadmill and busted out a 5k (a very slow 5k - 44mins!!) and then worked on my arms for a bit on the chest press and the lat pulldown then I headed to the changing room to for a shower and hair wash.

Apart from that I'm feeling pretty weary at the moment, like I said I'm not sure how much food I eat is staying down so it's probably just that but I'm continuing to go to the gym and dance classes.
It's week 5 in my ballet lessons tonight so only three more to go of this course after this!! I'm still not sure how much of it I'm getting but I figure I could always do over this course before moving on if I don't feel comfortable.

If there's any kind of dance you would like to try, what would it be and why?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Another installment in the exciting life of Hannah!!

Ha ha sometimes my life is so exciting I even bore myself!!

This picture is testament to exactly just how boring I am!! This is what I spent my Saturday doing...
I decided to organise my wardrobe and I'm ashamed to say I'm pretty impressed with it if I do say so myself!!
Because I have big plans to be going to the gym at lunchtime at work and also on an evening too plus throwing in my dance classes most days I'm going to need two sets of gym clothes with me and working a 50 hour week on top of that means that I needed to get organised so that I could just grab a handful of clothes every night after work and shove them in my gym bag and I would be ready to go!!
We'll see how it goes - at the moment I'm still waiting to see if I have enough gym stuff to last me a week, our washing machine has broken down at the moment and the landlord is less than speedy at getting it fixed so I'm having to do my washing at the launderette and not only is that working out as quite expensive, its not a journey I want to be making more than once a week!!
Also with working full time, it's usually closed by the time I get home.

Anyways back to the main reason for the above activity - the gym.

Friday's session was brilliant - Chris the trainer that took me round the gym made me a programme to follow which involved more weights than usual - but it seems a lot like the New Rules of Lifting for Women book so I'm going to give this programme a try for a bit at least. I'm hoping to help tone up my arms a bit and lose some more junk from my trunk!!

I tried the programme right through for the first time last night (well not quite right through, I was running late to meet up with a friend so I had to cut it a bit short!! :-( )
Boy though the workout is pretty hard!! It starts with a short burst on the rowing machine, covering 500m in less than 2 minutes - Chris says I should aim to improve on my time every time I'm there.
Then it moves onto weighted squats, deadlifts, military push ups, chest presses, lat pulldowns and a super set of leg presses with jumping lunges (boy do those make my legs feel like jelly!!)
Then if that wasn't enough it's all rounded up with intervals on the bike, this starts with a minute of warm ups then 10 repeats of twenty seconds as fast as I can go (not letting the speed on the bike dip below 100) and then 40 seconds of recovery time ending with a minutes cool down.

Last night I didn't manage the leg press super sets or the intervals but I managed everything else and I'm definitely feeling it today! I'm in that weird good but painful bubble after the gym still which I'm enjoying.
I have ballet tonight after work so I hope that my legs don't give way on me during the class!! They seem fairly OK at the moment but I'm sure the pain will develop over time.

Last night I caught up with an old friend for dinner that I haven't seen for months - we always joke that we'll meet more often but time always seems to get away with us and the next thing we know another six months has passed.
She's got a new guy in her life so I don't mind her being pre-occupied at all ;-P
We met up at a place called Bar SOBA in Glasgow which serves Japanese food - we both had vegetable tempura to start and then Kerry had a beef curry and I had a pork noodle soup.
I totally should have taken a picture of this soup because it was absolutely huge!! It turned up filled to the brim and I sent it back, after I was stuffed, with what seemed like only an inch gone from the bowl!! Kerry and I were laughing that it seemed to fill itself back up again!!

I was a bit naughty and had two small glasses of wine with dinner - to be honest though I'm not too bothered about it (until it shows on next week's weigh in that is!! Lol) I really don't drink alcohol at all nowadays and it was nice having a couple of glasses of wine to go with the girly catch up.
After that it was pretty late once I got home so I literally got changed for bed and crashed.

Kerry is also doing something really cool - she turns 30 next March and she's asking 30 of her friends to give her something to do - 30 before 30 basically
I'm totally getting in on a couple of them - one is run a 10k (count me in on that one), another is climb a mountain (I'm in for that too!!) and another is cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh which is 50 miles (I've hijacked that too!!)
My idea for her was to learn the trapeze, I might join her for that too. It's not as hard as it sounds because there are a couple of companies in Glasgow who offer trapeze classes so it's hopefully not going to be too hard or too expensive for her to achieve that.
Another one she was given was that she has to break a world record so we're trying to find an obscure one that could be doable - I may need to spend my lunchtime googling world records!!
I can't wait to hear how she's getting on with everything!!

My weigh in for the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge wasn't that great but I was expecting it - I haven't been great at accounting for my eating recently for a few reasons (I might tell you what it is when I know what's going on myself!!) and I knew it was going to show on the scale - I lost 0.4lbs
I know that's a loss and believe me I'm pleased it's not a gain but to see not even a whole pound loss is a bit annoying.

No matter though - onward and upward I say - and this week I'm totally bringing it in the gym department

I hope you all have a great week - I hope your weigh in went well if you're taking part in the challenge or even if you're not!!

What world record would you like to break?
If a friend asked you for an entry to her 30 before 30 challenge - what would you propose they do?

Friday, August 10, 2012

In a Funk

I've been feeling a bit down lately (which is why I've not been on here for a while) and I don't really know why, it must just be one of those weeks!!
I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel appearing so I'm hoping the darkness will lift completely soon.

And so after that - back to my week...

I got another Graze box in the post this week and my first one to try was this one:-

It was a gluten free lemon and poppy seed cake with a tea bag (the concept is to make it into an afternoon tea!!)
I have to say I'm not an expert on gluten free dishes simply because I don't need to be but this cake was delicious!! Just the right amount of sweet vs lemony flavour and something that seems more wicked than it's 84 calories let on.
I haven't tried the tea bag yet mainly because it was really hot in Glasgow yesterday (yup I did just say that!!) so I really didn't want to drink a hot cup of tea but I'll let you know what it's like when I've tried it.
I like the idea of it, it's something a bit different but for me I'd maybe prefer a bigger slice of the cake and lose the tea bag in the box but that's because I'm greedy!! I still really liked it though.

On Tuesday night I went to Ballet class as usual and as usual I was very nearly late due to the time I have to leave work and then I need to get ready and head out the door for a twenty to thirty minute walk to get there. I'm sure I can be more organised than I am but it's only the third lesson so I'm sure I'll get back into the swing of things soon enough.
I think it's a combination of me starting work at 6am so I'm out of the house by 5:20am to get there on time so I don't really have the time to sort things on a morning (more like I don't want to sacrifice those few precious moments in bed to get my clothes ready!!)
And because it's on a Tuesday night, the night before is a Monday night which is the evening of the first day back at work which means I'm being a petulant child and sulking and don't want to do anything!! I also have another dance class on a Monday night that doesn't finish until 9pm which means I'm not home until about half 9 and after I've made something to eat I'm ready to crash!!
I think next week I'm going to try taking my clothes to work with me and I'll get changed there before I leave which will mean I just need to dump my car at my flat and then head off. We'll see how that goes!!

I've also just realised that I've just written a whole paragraph on clothing strategy!! Booorrrrriiiinnnnggggg!!
Sorry folks!!

I also had some bad news this week!! My gym is shutting for good!! Luckily this means that they cancelled my contract with no quibbles. So I went to the other (posh and rather more expensive) gym on my business park and signed up - to be honest it's not too bad for a gym I think I was just paying such a good price for the other one (£17 / month) that I begrudged signing up to pay the fees for this one (£44 / month)
However I came to the following conclusions:-
My original gym was very basic, it had everything I needed / wanted but only a couple of them so sometimes you had to wait to get on the treadmills etc - this new gym has rows and rows of machines and TWO weights rooms.
This gym is still on my business park and that has seemed to work for me this time around - I have found in the past that if I get home I don't tend to go back out to get to the gym or if I've driven more than halfway home then I'll tend to drive home rather than turning off in a direction to go to the gym - so if I go right out of work then I get my workout done so I'm going to give this gym a try.
£44 / month is a lot more than the other gym but this gym also has a pool (for when I find myself wanting to get back in the water after training so much in there for my swim!!) and a sauna and steam room which would be nice after a hard workout if I fancied it. They also have classes which are included in the membership (my original gym didn't do classes) and they even do special high intensity ones that only last half an hour at lunch time specially made for the people working on the business park to get in and out on their lunch break in an hour. I'm actually quite excited to try some of these!! I'm even excited that this could mean I could go to the gym TWICE in one day!! I know - I don't know who I am any more either!!
Also the price isn't too much over the average gym cost in the UK - I think most of them are around the mid £30's to early £40's anyway and I realise that I use the gym so much these days that it's never going to be a waste of money - I keep thinking I'm still that girl who signs up for a gym and never uses it or even the girl who doesn't want to go to the gym any more - I'm not her any more so if I want to spend that amount of money, it's not going to be wasted.

So anyway - after all that (yet another exciting installment in the life of Hannah!!) I signed up last night and I have my induction and training programme setup this afternoon!! I'm excited to get back in the gym - it'll also mean I can start the New Rules of Lifting for Women programme again!! Watch out everyone - Hannah and her guns will be arriving soon!! Ha Ha

Anyways - I'll let you all get back to something infinitely more exciting than reading about my gym problems!!
Have a great day and weekend - if you're in the UK I hope you all enjoy this nice weather while it lasts!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Paul's Birthday Weekend

So this week's weigh in was a disappointment - I put on 2.8lbs which also means that I'm heavier than when I started the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge which is an even bigger disappointment!!
I'm trying to get it back on track now though - I'm concentrating on drinking all my water and trying to eat healthy although that might be a bit difficult because my flatmate and I decided to defrost the fridge / freezer which means that not only am I trying to eat the food that I've had to take out of the fridge before it goes bad but I also haven't been able to go and do a food shop so my diet will be sadly devoid of salad for the next couple of days!!
I'm going to try and not let it get me down though - I'm going to up my exercise and understand that everyone has their bad days / weeks and I've achieved a lot already. Although my gym is still shut so any suggestions of workouts I can do at home with only a Swiss Ball and a kettle bell would be awesome peeps!!

Saturday night after the hype of the amazing Boring Runner's Virtual Sweat your Thorns Off 5K Paul and I headed out for dinner to celebrate his birthday - it's actually today but seeing as he's so busy with his PhD he decided he wanted to go out to eat at the weekend.
I had picked a restaurant to surprise him called Tempus in the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow City Centre.
I'll be honest and say it was disappointing for me anyway because they managed to get my order wrong three times!!
It started with the drinks order - I ordered a Diet Coke and the waiter brought full fat Coke.
The starters were fine - I ordered a Chicken and Chorizo Terrine with apple chutney which was very nice and Paul ordered black pudding and poached egg stack which he said was nice, he loves black pudding though so you couldn't really go wrong with that!!
We also ordered some bread to share, this was lovely too with sun dried tomato pesto and hummus to dip into - the only thing we didn't like was the olive bread but that because neither of us like olives.
Then for mains we both ordered steaks - they came with grilled tomato and grilled mushrooms and chips and you could pick a sauce.
Paul ordered a Peppercorn sauce which he got with his steak no problem - I ordered a Diane sauce but my steak turned up with Garlic Butter!! I told the waiter and they brought me out some Diane sauce so it was fixed with not much fuss but I was still a bit disappointed that my order had been wrong twice!
Then we asked for the dessert menu and waited a long time and had to ask someone else for the menu after waiting so long!!
Paul ordered the Crème Brulee which was supposed to be orange flavoured but was actually a vanilla one - Paul said it was nice but after everything that had already happened I was increasingly unhappy!
I ordered the Warm Chocolate Fondant which when it arrived turned up in the form of Sticky Toffee Pudding!! I told the waiter and they took it away and brought me out a Chocolate Fondant which I'm sure had gone in the microwave because of the mix-up because it was quite rubbery and didn't have a saucy centre like it should have.
For the price of the meal I was very disappointed but Paul still seemed to enjoy himself so I suppose that's all that mattered.

Tonight it's his present opening and cake time!!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Sweat your Thorns Off 5K race review

Saturday morning was the big day - I was going to 'compete' in my first 'official' and virtual 5K race.
I've run my 5K route a few times now but I've always used it as part of my 10K training and have walked sections and run sections so my aim was to try and run my 5K completely.
I'll be honest and say I failed this - I made it two miles before I had to stop and walk - this also coincided with a big hill that my route includes.
It was also pretty hot (for Scotland) and the sun was beating down on my back which I'm not used to which made it pretty hard for me

Look at the gorgeous sunshine!!

I also made the mistake of needing a pee for basically the whole of my run which made it a bit uncomfortable

I finished in 35.36 mins which equals my previous best time so I was a bit bummed out about that - I really wanted this to be a PR but then again it's my first race so anything is a PR I guess!!

I'm really glad I did this - and it's amazing to hear all about other's experiences - I finally feel like I am part of something bigger than myself - great job The Boring Runner

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More Grazing - No More Graceful

As I have scheduled to get my Graze boxes on a Tuesday I was excited to get home from work last night to see what I got!!

Today I am trying the Cheddar, Red Onion and Chutney Focaccia
Doesn't it look yummy!!
There's a warning on it that because it's fresh I should eat it quickly which is why this is the box that made it's way into work with me today.
The whole thing is only 133 calories which for me to get a wee bit of bready goodness into my tummy sounds great.

I've decided I'm going to add a tab to my blog to review each graze box I get - that way if you're interested they are all in one place and if you're not my main blog won't be full of reviews you're not interested in.
I'll do that this weekend (fingers crossed) and then let you know whenever I update it and put a little link in my main post.
I haven't tried the focaccia yet so I'll add that to my review also.

Last night was week two of my beginners ballet class - it was a bit hectic getting there and I thought I was going to be late!! But the class was just warming up as I arrived so I managed to sneak in and one of the other ballet goers (mind blank of what to call people who go to a class?!?!) said they had only just started so I was relieved.
It's always going to be a bit of a rush to get there on time, I'm just going to have to be a bit more organised at home - the class starts at 17:45 but I don't finish work until 16:45 and it takes me on average 20 minutes to drive home. The ballet class is about a mile away which usually takes me 20 minutes to walk there but I would prefer to walk at a slower pace so I'm not all flustered and sweaty when I get there!! Not at all graceful!
I can get home at about 5 past / 10 past 5 and I'd prefer to set off walking at quarter past 5 to give me half an hour to get there and put my stuff away in the lockers so that gives me between 5 and 10 minutes to get changed and pick up my dance stuff
Yesterday not only did I get stuck in traffic and didn't get home until closer to quarter past 5 but I was also bursting for the toilet (TMI?! sorry!!) I must learn to pee during my work hours!!
So anyway this meant that I ended up rushing to ballet class and got there all red and flustered and sweaty exactly how I didn't want to end up!!

The class went back over what we had learnt the week before and then quickly moved onto some new steps that involved attempting to fling your leg up high in front, behind and to the side of you, this was fun and created some laughs by the class due to some people kicking others up the bum!! However, my thighs are not liking it today! As I was last week, my legs are pretty sore and I'm not looking forward to tomorrow as in my experience the day after the day after is always the worst!!
The class ended with some jumps which we did in groups of three while the rest of the class watched, I was mortified!! I'm easily the heaviest in the class and I'm a former rugby / kickboxing girl so I'm not exactly light on my feet!! I also got my steps wrong which meant that I did a sort of skip with a little jump across the floor rather than the arabesques we were aiming for!!
The rest of the class seemed to have the same problems though so I didn't feel as embarrassed as I thought I would have done.

I'm still enjoying the classes though and the dance studio I go to is brilliant and very friendly and I never at all feel like anyone is looking at me and wondering why I'm there!
I'm also getting to know some of the people in my classes so its nice to see the same faces to say hi to.

Jobs for this week: Buy some ballet shoes, I meant to do this last week but it totally slipped my mind, I danced in socks this week which was better but I might as well go the whole hog and buy some shoes.
I'm also going to try and practice my moves because I realised I couldn't remember a thing from last week when we were doing the recap at the start of the class!! Learning the names to match the movements is proving very tricky!!
I'm lucky that my flat has wooden floors so it shouldn't be too difficult to practice my slides etc

The only main thing I'm finding with ballet is that because I've got rugby girl thighs and calves (i.e. they're pretty big) I find it hard getting into fifth position
My bloody calves keep getting in the way!!
Anybody do dancing that could give me some advice on this?

I also spent last night making a cake and decorations for Paul's birthday cake. I like to make him one every year, I love baking and I think it's something nice and personal from me.
I'm not going to tell you what it is just yet because although I don't think Paul reads my blog - it'd be sod's law that this time would be the day he reads it!!
I'll post pictures (if it looks OK!!) after it's been revealed to him so you can see my attempt!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An award winner?!

I can't really believe this but I've been nominated for a Liebster Award from not one but two of my fellow bloggers - this is amazing because I read their blogs all the time and can't believe they have nominated me!!

I was awarded The Liebster Award from my fellow bloggers 

I can't believe it!!  It's a great way to share some things about yourself and learn from others in your blogging community!
So what is the Liebster Award:
The Liebster award is given to upcoming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.  The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Rules for receiving this award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Then answer the questions the tagger sent for them, plus create 11 questions for the people they've tagged to answer.
3. Choose 11 people and link them in your post.
4. Notify the people you have tagged.
5. No tag backs.
Here are 11 little things to share with you about my life...
1. I grew up on a farm in North Yorkshire
2. I applied for a Visa to emigrate to Australia but then met Paul so stayed in Scotland
3. When I get my own house I want to get a dog and call it Dexter
4. I became a Godmother to my gorgeous Godson Luke when I was 12
5. I currently drive a Vauxhall Corsa but would love a Mini
6. I love making cakes and would love to own a bakery
7. I have sung in the Royal Albert Hall
8. I’d love it if life was a musical
9. My favourite colour is red.
10. I want to learn how to speak Italian
11.I’m going to see my uni friend get married in Ghana next year.

I'm going to answer both sets of 11 questions below
Questions from Laura at Spicing up my life
1. Who has been an inspiration in your life?
My Mum – she’s a Primary school teacher and has quite literally brought up about three generations of our village – she’s everyone’s second Mum and I think she found her calling being a ‘mother’ figure and I’m one of only two people who can officially call her Mum.
2. What is a dream of yours that you've been holding back from achieving?
As I said above I’d have liked to have been a Film Score composer but I’m also very lucky to be doing the other dream job I wanted and I remind myself of that fact every day.
3. What is your best attribute?
People say I have nice eyes – Personality wise I try to be a nice person.
4. What is your favourite memory from childhood?
My Dad used to make amazing sculptures out of sand on the beach on holiday (racing cars we could actually sit in, mermaids, octopuses, trains you name it)
5. If you could rewind your life, what is one thing you would do differently?
I think everything that has gone before leads you to where you are today so I don’t think I’d change anything for fear of changing where I am now.
6. What was your proudest moment?
Getting my degree – at the end of it it got pretty tough and I didn’t know if I’d pass or not
7. What is your favourite quote?
I don’t have a favourite quote but my favourite ‘mantra’ is ‘If’ by Rudyard Kipling – I have it pinned to my desk at work
8. How did your life turn out differently than you expected?
I never thought I’d be living in Scotland, before I got sent here for work it was never a place I’d considered living
9. What is the quirkiest thing you do?
I have to wear a complete pair of socks - I can't wear odd ones
10. What is your richest blessing?
Paul – I met the best friend I never knew I had and I’m lucky enough that he wants to spend time with me too
11. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
If I can help / inspire just one person by sharing the ups and downs of my journey then that’d be great.

Questions from Kay at Goal of Losing
1. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
To be totally truthful I’m pretty happy being exactly where I am now, I’m very lucky to have a great life – but saying that, lying on a beach in Hawaii wouldn’t be such a bad thing!!
2. If you were given only one word to describe yourself, which word would you choose?
3. What is your favourite movie?
Any of the Harry Potter Films – they are my go to films if I’m stuck with nothing to do, the effects are amazing and I love the magical stories but I also love The Shawshank Redemption and the new Batman film (awesome!!)
4. What is your favourite book?
Angels and Demons but Dan Brown – I love all that Indiana Jones ish historical legends stuff
5. Where is the furthest you have travelled?
Vancouver Canada
6. If you could be anything when you grow up, what would you be?
A Film Score Composer
7. What would your answer to #6 have been when you were a child?
I’m pretty sure I wanted to be The Little Mermaid!!
8. What is your favourite food?
I’m going to choose a cuisine for this and it has to be Italian, I love all and everything about Italy and its food!!
9. Do you have one bad habit that you would like to break?
I crack my knuckles
10. What is one of your pet-peeves?
People not saying Please and Thank you – they’re such short words and cost nothing but people don’t always say them
11. When was the last time you laughed and why?
Last night at my dance class – the instructor actually said ‘if you think this hurts breathe it in because it’s only going to get worse!’ I laughed out of fear!!

And now my questions to all my lucky recipients:

1. Who has been an inspiration in your life?
2. What is a dream of yours?
3. When was the last time you've laughed and why?
4. What was your proudest moment?
5. If your life was a movie who would you like to play you?
6. If money were no object where would you go on holiday, who would you take and why?
7. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life what would it be and why?
8. If you were stuck in a lift (elevator) with two people (dead or alive) who would they be and why?
9. What is your favourite season? Spring / Summer / Autumn / Winter?
10. What is one thing you would love to learn to do?
11. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?

And now I'm passing it on...

Here are the winners in my eyes

Back people

Hey - I'm so sorry for being AWOL for the last few days!! Life totally got in my way and it seems like I've been on fast forward for the last week or so!!
So be prepared for a couple of thousand of blog posts today to get you all caught up.
You'll be glad to know that life didn't get in the way of my exercise or eating routine

Firstly I'm going to update you on my Marathon Weight Loss Challenge
I lost another pound!! I'm totally pleased with that!! Who wouldn't be?!
My eating has been pretty good, consisting of mainly omelettes and lean protein with salad which has been great during my hectic time because it takes no time at all to throw it together and it's healthy and filling.
My aim for next week is to continue with my weight loss - I've only lost 1.2lbs since the start of this Weight Loss Challenge so I'm not sure I'll be able to lose the half marathon I'd originally aimed to do but once again as far as I'm concerned if I lose weight I'm a winner aren't I?!
It's also Paul's birthday at the weekend and we're going out for dinner so I'm going to try and up my exercise to counter balance that meal - it's one of my self proclaimed 'special occasions' where I let myself enjoy what I want for dinner i.e. I'm going to have dessert.
The exercise shouldn't be too much of a problem though because I have The Boring Runner's Virtual 5K this Saturday!! My first 'official' 5K ever!! So excited! I'm going to make my race bib during the week and I've already got my route planned out - I've not ever run a full 5K without walking in places before but I'm really going to try and run the whole thing on Saturday!! I can't wait to read everyone's race reports!!

I've also been dancing a lot more - I started beginners ballet last week which was awesome but my calves didn't like it at all for the rest of the week!! I'm back again tonight for class number two so I'm hoping my calves get more used to the positions.
Last night I went to a stretch and tone class which was brilliant - not an energetic dance class like I'm used to but I'm hoping it'll help stretch out my ligaments a bit which in turn should help to prevent injuries. I've had a lot in the past due to torn ligaments and I think if they're a bit more supple then they'll bend and flex rather than tear?!

I also went to my street dance class on Friday night which was great fun - Courtney the dance instructor is totally mental but an amazing dancer - I dream of being able to move like her someday!! I already can't wait for Friday (for more reasons than simply because it's Friday!)

The other great thing about the dance class is that it's a mile away from my flat so I walk there and back which helps me get out and moving more plus adding an hour of dancing in the middle!!

That's a bit of an update from me - I promise it's not going to be that long before I update again!!
I know! Naughty Hannah!!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Grace and Grazing

Sorry for not posting for a couple of days life got in the way and got a bit hectic.
My flatmate came back from travelling yesterday so I spent the night before giving the flat a bit of a tidy so that it wasn't a mess when she came home.
I'll be honest and say it really wasn't that bad, I'd hoovered the whole flat and cleaned the kitchen at the weekend and I generally tidy up after I'm done so it didn't take long. The thing that took the longest was making space in the fridge! Paul and I had taken over the whole fridge while she was away and that night I had to try and cram all of my food back into my half so that she could put stuff in there.
Paul and I also made a lovely dinner of Steak, Potato Wedges and Vegetables because it was our last night on our own in the flat

Tuesday night also consisted of my first Beginners Ballet class!!
I started going to Street Dance classes a while ago for something different to do to help me lose weight in a fun way and stop me from getting bored running all the time. The class is great fun, I'm easily the most uncoordinated and fattest person there but I try not to dwell on that and I figure if I stop going neither of those things will change!! One day I'll be able to move my feet AND arms at the same time and I'm hoping that I'll also shed a few more inches so I'm going to continue going and see how I get on.
Besides the classes are only £5 a session which is the best value I've found anywhere near Glasgow and the studio is right near where I live so it's handy to get to.
So anyway... back to the ballet
I've always wanted to be a bit more flexible - I can't even touch my toes!! I think it stems from years of rugby playing and having tight calves but anyways I thought learning ballet would help with that and once again bring something else different to my weekly workout routine.
The class was brilliant - I got a bit confused with some of the terminology because the teacher seemed to be teaching us a new word / position every few minutes but I really enjoyed myself.
Along with the flexibility I'm hoping it'll help me feel a bit more graceful. Like I said I played rugby for a good few years when I was at university and continued for a while afterwards and I've always been a bit of a tomboy since I was a kid so I've always thought of myself as a tough bruiser of a fat person.
I'm definitely big boned and I can't help that, I'm what people would call a 'typical Yorkshire lass' but now that I've lost a bit of weight and gained a more feminine figure (I have a big bum and thighs but that's counter balanced with a tiny waist) I'd like to feel a bit more feminine too.
Don't get me wrong I still love being a powerful and strong woman (I'm also considering starting CrossFit) but I'd like to know that there's some grace in me too!!
I'm really looking forward to the next class but at the moment my legs are on fire! Yesterday they were a wee bit sore but today my calves are screaming at me!!
Does anyone know of any tricks (without a foam roller at the moment, I'm going to buy one at the weekend) to help loosen my legs up because I'm planning on going for a run tonight and I have Street Dance tomorrow and I don't want to be in pain for either!!

Last night I took a night off from exercising - I had the beginnings of a migraine so I took myself to bed at about 9pm to try and sleep it off - my eyes still feel a bit funny today but not nearly as bad as yesterday so I'm hoping a nice gentle jog tonight will help clear my head.
I also fell off the wagon with my eating a bit yesterday - my flatmate brought me a red velvet cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery so I ate that which pushed me over my daily allowance but I'm hoping it's far enough away from Monday's weigh in so I can push myself running and not put the weight on!

I also heard back from FitBit and they are sending me a new one so hopefully that will arrive soon and I can start counting my steps again!! I've felt very lost without it recently!

The other thing I'm excited about is my Graze box arrived yesterday!! I was inspired my fellow blogger The Road to Less Cake to sign up for these again.
I got them a few months ago and then stopped them because at the time I was on the Slimming World plan and they added up to more syns than I wanted to eat for the box but now I'm just counting calories they are more than manageable and a great way to keep your snacks interesting.
You get a box with four little tubs in it each with a different assortment of snacks and a card which tells you all the nutritional values of each box. You can even log on to their website and rate each snack and tell them which ones you want more of etc
If you're in the UK check it out here - it's healthy and there's a little bit of excitement to see what's in each box every week!!
Today I'm going to be trying 'Poached Pear'
Its only 106 calories for the whole tub and has dried pear slices, vanilla pumpkin seeds and lemon sultanas in it!! Even better is that MFP has them in their database so it's really easy to account for them!
I'll let you know if I enjoy this box or not.

I hope everyone is having a good week - not one to wish my life away but it's nearly the weekend!!

Question: Has anyone got any tips on buying a foam roller? Has anyone else tried graze boxes? Doing anything special this weekend?

Monday, July 23, 2012

My lowest yet

Happy Monday people, I hope everyone had a great weekend, mine was full of good company, Paul in particular, and good food.
Like I said on an earlier post I had a voucher for a picnic hamper from a local bakery in Glasgow called 'Cup'.
I picked it up on Saturday afternoon and Paul and I ate it for our dinner.
It was lovely although (I can't believe I'm saying this) contained too many sweet things over savoury.

It came in a lovely little box with handles with the following things
Fresh Lemonade
Three Mini Bread Rolls - one each of ham, egg mayonaise and chicken
A fruit scone (Paul got a cinnamon one which smelled delicious) with a small pot of jam and some cream
A pot of carrot and celery sticks
A pot of strawberries and blueberries
A cupcake (I actually got two in my box but I was good and only ate the one)
A box of three mini pastries - a custard slice, a brownie and blueberry mousse in a dark chocolate cup

The whole box is a nice idea and Cup is apparently well known for their cupcakes and I'd love to go there for a treat one day, when I was picking the boxes up I saw all their different flavours and they all looked amazing!! I was very proud of myself that I didn't buy any there and then!
I'm not sure if I would get it again though - the lemonade was a bit sweet for me, I prefer fresh lemonade to be very tart.
Like I said above I would have preferred more savoury things in the box, this might have been because I hadn't really eaten anything all day and was hungry for 'food' and in those moments I'm not up for lots of sweet things.
The mini rolls were lovely but I think the egg mayonnaise had too much mayo for me. The cupcake was lovely and so was the scone, they make about five different types of scone and I would have liked to have chosen which one I got - I'm totally bitter about Paul getting a cinnamon one!! Lol.
I got the vouchers for £9 each but apparently they are £15 normally and I'm definite that I wouldn't pay that much for it.
It was a nice idea for something different to experience but also didn't fill either of us up and we ended up getting a grilled chicken kebab later on because we were hungry!!
I'm sure it was fine though as neither of us had had lunch so I just counted the picnic as lunch and the kebab as dinner and I didn't even finish all of my kebab.

Anyways I know it wasn't bad because this week for the Lose a Marathon challenge I lost 2.3 pounds!! This puts me at my lowest weight since I started weighing myself and I'm now 13 stone so fingers crossed if I have a good week this week, I'll be into the 12 stone bracket!! My goal weight (for now) is 12 stone so I now only have one stone to lose and it feels so do-able now!!

My weekend wasn't all good though :-( My FitBit decided to die on me!! I went out for a run on Saturday morning and it hasn't worked since!! I'm gutted too because I ran my usual 5k (3.1 miles) and then I walked to the bakery and back to collect the picnic hampers which is a mile either way so that would have been another two miles and I walked up and down my six flights of stairs both when I went for my run and when I came back from the picnic. I was also on the phone to my Mum walking up the stairs and I realised I had dropped my usb key out of my pocket only once I'd gotten to the top so I walked down the stairs again re-tracing my steps to find that I'd dropped it on the ground floor lobby!! I decided to do the good thing and walk back up the stairs again! I must have been well on my way to getting my 25 floors badge on my FitBit!!
I've emailed the company and they sent me a courtesy email back but because it was the weekend I haven't heard anything yet - I'm hoping to hear soon though because I'd only had it a week but I miss it already!! I'm already at a loss that I don't know how far I've walked today!!

Also my gym is still flooded and it has been pouring down all day so I decided not to go running tonight - I really hope my gym opens soon I don't want to undo all the good stuff that's been going on recently both with my weight loss and fitness!!

Question: Any suggestions on good workouts to do at home when I can't run or go to the gym? I have a Swiss ball and a kettle bell if that helps.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Run in the rain

I was determined that I'd make a good start to this weekend - I had gotten a Groupon voucher for a picnic hamper from a local bakery and Paul and I decided that we would pick it up this weekend although the weather is probably going to mean we have an indoor picnic but either way I'm looking forward to it! So I knew I wanted to do something to try and counteract the hamper eating - I had a sneaky weigh yesterday morning and it's looking like I've lost a little bit so I don't want this to give me a set back.
So this morning I got in my workout gear and laced up my trainers and headed out for a 5k run - I have a nice little loop from my flat and back that works out nicely as a 5k so I put my 10k training app on my iPhone and set off. The training programme finishes a bit before the end of my 5k so I tend to run through the 5 minute cool down section and then cool down after that - it gets me home anyways.
It actually went pretty well - I should have gotten out the house a bit earlier because it was actually quite bright and sunny but then the clouds rolled in and I got hit with a couple of showers while I was out but it actually felt pretty good, it helped cool me down anyways.

When I got in (after walking up the 6 flights of stairs to my flat I might add!!) I was still feeling pretty energetic so I did some housework, I hoovered the whole flat and sorted out the rubbish (I still need to put it all down the chute though) and emptied and re-filled the dishwasher.
I then made a cup of coffee and you will now find me sitting with my laptop with an Activia Banoffee yoghurt (delicious BTW) and my coffee looking through my emails, blogs and comments.
I've also decided to join the world of twitter (finally!! I hear you say - I don't profess to be up with the trends!!) so I'm trying to get my head around all that but if you want to follow me you can find me at

I'm due to pick up our picnic hamper at half four and its a half hour walk away so I'm gonna head for a shower and get ready to go back outside and I'll let you know what was in this mystery hamper!!

I hope everyone is having a great weekend so far

What is your take on exercise on a weekend? Do you work out hard during the week and take the weekend off or is the weekend just like any other day and you workout as normal or do you use the days not working to squeeze in your extra long runs / sessions?
What's your favourite flavour of yoghurt?

Friday, July 20, 2012


Firstly a bit of a disappointment last night - my normal gym still isn't open and I have run out of the free passes for the other uber expensive gym!! I'm not too sad because I ran 3k (totally thought it was 5k (3.1 miles)) on Monday and then 5k on Tuesday and Wednesday so it's not like I've not been doing anything and I know I'm allowed / should take rest days I just don't like it when outside factors 'force' a rest day.
I'm not going to say I sat on my sofa with a pet lip though the lazy girl inside had her comfy trousers on and the remote in her hand!!
The main thing I don't like about not going to the gym after work is the time it allows me at home which can lead to bored eating (eating rubbish when I'm not hungry just for something to do!!) I also usually go food shopping on a Friday / weekend too so by Thursday night my cupboards are pretty bare.
Last night's dinner consisted of a baked sweet potato and two chicken sausages - my food diary for the Lose a Marathon challenge is woefully 'unpretty' (I know that's not a word) but it was the only thing I could find in my flat that I felt like eating.

Then last night I watched a programme on TV called Panorama: The Truth about Sports Products
Panorama in the UK is an investigative programme that deals with lots of different issues and as you can probably tell this one spiked a bit of interest in me
Here is a link to the BBC iPlayer site for it if you want to give it a watch - I'm not sure if you guys who live overseas can watch it and it's only available for seven days on there but I'm sure you'll be able to find it if you are more proficient in the world of Google than me!!

It was very interesting - I'll be honest and say that I don't take a lot of 'sports products' mainly because I'm not that far down my fitness journey but I think without seeing this programme I may have ventured down that route a bit further down the line.

A group of researchers looked at several health magazines and the adverts that were in them and then looked into the research that each company had done to find out if they could actually substantiate their claims.
First was sports drinks Lucozade, Powerade etc
The basic conclusion was that unless you are a professional level athlete training for hours and hours at a time there is no discernible difference in performance. For a normal gym goer like me there is no advantage in spending money buying those kinds of drinks over drinking water from the tap.
The more worrying thing looked at when talking about drinking is regarding the thoughts that you have to drinks lots and lots and if you're at the point when you're thirsty then you've left it too long.
The programme basically said that over hydration is a problem and you should drink when your body tells you to drink i.e. when you're thirsty. People have DIED during sports events due to over hydration but NO ONE has ever died during a sports event due to dehydration - they can fix dehydration, over hydration is another matter.
In terms of the additional energy boost sports give they spoke to a Scottish Cyclist Graeme Obree who was nicknamed the flying Scotsman because of how fast he went round a track smashing several records and he said his energy boost came in the form of a jam sandwich!! The sugar in the jam giving an instant boost and the carbs from the bread providing longer term sugars.

Next was running shoes
Now I have to admit that I went and got fitted for running shoes, I ran on a treadmill and they filmed me to look at my stride.
The result of their study on injury prevention was that specialist shoes don't do a great deal and comes after your running technique, the surface you run on, how long you train, how hard you train and how much you allow yourself to rest.
So find a pair of trainers that you feel comfortable in and buy those.
This didn't bother me too much, I got my trainers on sale for £35 which in the UK is a very reasonable price for trainers - I wouldn't have been able to score some Nike's or Reebok's for that price so I'm not too bothered with this result and if they help even a little bit then that's money well spent.

The final thing to be investigated was protein powders
I have just recently bought some protein powder to make shakes after a strength workout so I was interested to see if I'd spent my money wisely.
They didn't totally wipe these away - I think the general consensus was that protein is useful after a workout but this can be achieved through the food you eat and you don't need to buy expensive powders to give you this.
The addition of BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) in these powders is apparently based on a study from the 1930's on rats!!
I'm not sure what to do here - it's sometimes a good hour and a half after a workout before I can get home and eat something so if me drinking an easily prepared shake straight after is going to help my body recover then I'll probably keep doing it - until I've finished the tubs I have at least. I think if anything it's helped calm me down that its not essential to be drinking these things and I'm not completely de-railing myself if I forget one day as long as I get a decent meal when I get home.

The overriding conclusion to the programme was to listen to your body, eat a balanced diet and drink when your body tells you it's thirsty and get out and be active and healthy

I'm not against sports drinks, protein powders or any other kinds of supplements at all but I think it was very interesting to see that these huge claims of better, faster, stronger performance from these companies are based on very little fact.
The minute that fact base becomes bigger and firmer then I'll totally jump on the wagon - anything that can improve my performance and / or make my workouts more productive I'm game for but until then I'm going to eat a varied and healthy diet, go running, drink water and, if I remember, I might throw a protein shake down my neck and keep on fighting my love for all things cake!!

Did anyone else see this programme? 
I know it's a bit controversial what I've said and I promise I'll not be this serious too often but I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Ha ha ha - as I suspected I checked with reception last night at the gym and the machines are in km not miles!!
I knew it was too good to be true that I'd managed 5k in such a short time - last night I ran an actual 5k in 38 minutes
It was a lot harder last night too - that might be due to actually running a long distance but my legs seemed a lot heavier last night than the night before.
Oh well, today is another day and I'm gonna head back to the gym tonight and see if I can better that - I'd like to run for longer than 5k tonight ideally but I'm going to see how I feel tonight.
I'm also going to see what's happening with my usual gym tonight to see if it's open again because my free pass for this gym runs out tonight :-(

On another note the mini challenge for the Marathon Weight Loss Challenge is to take a photo food diary this week.
I have been doing this and I'm going to create a page just for this when I get a chance. I eat both my breakfast and lunch at my desk though so unfortunately it never looks very pretty!!