Fighting Flab before 50 #Day 2


I woke up this morning and weighed myself! Day 2  ?????? Yeah, like I’ve lost 3lbs already. Or perhaps I have emptied my bladder etc – but I’ve decided I HAVE LOST 3 lbs and so am motivated to continue.

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Breakfast was yesterday’s recipe Berry Breakfast.

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Work was busy and after a meeting when I finished work (and not being paid – public service worker) I went home and had to feed myself quickly before I raided the fridge. Cottage cheese sandwich and beetroot. I love both cottage cheese and beetroot so, for me, it was like eating junk food. I craved beetroot when I was pregnant 25 and 21 years ago and I still love it. So I was happy and it was healthy.

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Dinner was going to be totally clean food but time took over and needs must. So I had vegetarian sausages with onions, potato wedges and mushy peas. Filling and yummy and vegetarian. I’ve been doing this for 2 whole days and haven’t mentioned I’m vegetarian yet! I started eating this and realised I hadn’t taken a photo, so note one sausage nearly eaten. I’d fail badly on Instagram with food pictures.

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As for exercise I haven’t got round to that yet. However I work in a Primary school and the kids suck out all my energy by the time I’ve finished work. But tomorrow is another day. I am way below my calorie intake which I should be pleased about but I do know “starvation” isn’t the answer. My macro’s are okay but I have heard that on a diet you can under eat and in the long run that isn’t healthy. Will try harder tomorrow for a more balanced diet.

I will say that using MyFitnessPal is amazing and without it I would panic, fail and promise myself I will try again soon and just give in!

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Fighting Flab before 50 #Day 1


I woke up this morning feeling positive. My morning routine before work is the same day in day out but always starts with a black coffee brought to me by a nervous husband, wondering what kind of mood I’m in.

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I came downstairs and made myself a breakfast to take to work – I don’t do and have never done breakfast but am always starving by 10.30 (Playtime. I work in a Primary School). My breakfast is, what I’ve put in MyFitnessPal aka, Berry Breakfast. 1/3 cup full fat Greek Yogurt mixed with 1/3 cup frozen raspberries, topped with a 1/3 cup of maple and pecan “muesli” = 225 cal compared to the usual staff room snacks of cake and biscuits and left over birthday cake!  My daughter is a vegan, gym monkey and says not to eat fat free yogurt or fat free anything as they are loaded with sugar or aspartame which only trick the brain in to being full and when you crash from the high you will then binge and I’m afraid I feel she is right. This breakfast keeps me going for hours.

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Lunch was fun. I hadn’t planned anything but quickly made 2 slices of 5 seed bread, 20g of mature cheddar cheese and a teaspoon of pickle which should have been 373 cal but the Reno Cat jumped up and stole a little cheese as I went for the pickle! So I saved some calories there.

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I was aware of feeling full but not totally satisfied without the junk so filled up with water and all was well. The better the quality of food the more full I feel for longer.

I filled up on fresh peas and their pods when school finished as I had a computer club to run. This was a result as I didn’t go for the cookies or cake in the staff room!

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One thing I don’t count when dieting is my alcoholic beverage. I want to lose weight but not deprive myself of what makes me happy. However I don’t drink wine or beer. I drink small Bacardi and large diet cokes. I know it’s not clean eating but I’m only human and know from experience if I go in to hard I will fail.

My dinner was cooked for me by daughter. It was an amazing salad with feta cheese but the mushrooms (my most favourite food of all) was fried in coconut oil and I did not like that. I did eat everything apart from the coconut, sponge soaked mushrooms so I had 450 cal for my main meal, or so I was told.

Nikki Swift Clean Food

So out of 1700 cal allowance I have 505 cal left and I have even factored in 122 cal of 4 squares of Milka chocolate.

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So today I have succeeded. I have eaten food that keeps me full. I have eaten, mostly, clean food? I have had an alcoholic beverage and some chocolate. And I’m below 1700 cal and don’t feel like I want anything else to eat. I didn’t get the gym clothes on or do any exercise but tomorrow is another day. It’s a step in the right direction and as I said at the start its baby steps. A foot in the right direction and a move forward. Life is hard enough without me making it impossible!

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Fighting flab before 50!


Today is my 49th Birthday!!!!!!!!

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I‘ve just had a WhatsApp from my best friend from college and we can’t understand where the time has gone. We don’t like this grown up business and adulting isn’t much fun. We left college in 1986.

I am aware of the big Five O next year and my birthday resolution is to be as fit and healthy as I can possibly be when I hit 50.

I haven’t been looking after myself due to life getting in the way and have put on a few wobbly pounds, been eating nasty, energy zapping food and not having enough sleep. My problem is I know what the problem is but have been too exhausted, busy and unmotivated to do anything about it. However my birthday is the perfect time to reassess, get back on track and work my back to fitness and not fatness!

My first step to this was to weigh myself this morning and it was not good but not surprising. I have been out for Birthday meal, eaten so much wonderful, bad food over the past few weeks but I’m actually fed up with bad food now. I’m ready for some good clean eating and eating for health and energy.

MyFitnessPal

MyFitnessPal needs to be used again because the graph for my weight was not good, in fact it looked hideous. It looked like an incline for a 1 in 4 hill! My daughter bought me back some amazing Lululemon leggings from America and I have the most amazing pair of Nike trainers that are rather under used. I have some great guided sleep meditations ready on YouTube for relaxation. My exercise regime will be the 7 minute workout and the Couch to 5k App. All to be introduced in a staggered manner.

So tomorrow I will start by at least putting my exercise kit on #babysteps. I will drink lots of water and my calorie intake will be 1700 calories and as clean as possible. One thing I have learned over the years about working back to fitness is to not go in too hard straight away, otherwise you end up tired, achey and hungry and on the path to failure. I do know if I start with too many things at once I’m setting myself up for failure and self-loathing and I’m too old for that shit! Slow and steady wins the race and I have a full year to get to the finish line.

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Watch this space for my personal journey on being fabulous at fifty and frumpy at forty. I will post what I’ve been doing to reach my goal and hopefully share some easy recipes/diet meals and my struggle with exercise which hopefully will become something I come to enjoy and embrace, but we’ll have to see about that. I have plenty of knowledge and lots of experience so now just need to bring it altogether to make it work!

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The evolution of a our coffee table ..


Our coffee table has been with us since the beginning, Duncan lovingly put it together and painted it (with that posh grey paint that you see people use on Pinterest posts) when we moved into our first proper home, it really fulfilled our table needs .. full of fun stuff like booze … more booze … hot cups of tea, painkillers, cheese, nail polish and basically anything that we would want close to us while binge watching Netflix and living our child free lives.

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we really didn’t have a coffee table care in the world …. until

Herbie arrived, the table wasn’t for booze anymore it was for quick access to dummies, bottles, breast pads and held many cups of cold half drunk tea and coffee (as no new parent has the time to make AND drink a whole cup of hot tea right ?)

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Our exhausted new parent coffee…

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Unsatisfactory, Jewellery & Madness!


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After months of serious family illness, OFSTED claiming we are unsatisfactory at school and the general feeling of where is my life going at the age of 46 I decided to put myself out there. I have started my own jewellery business. I like to make things and fell onto this by accident. I made myself a pair of earrings, loved them and kept making them. I had so many thought I could sell these. I can sit for hours just making them but had to stop myself and set up a website, take photographs, design business cards and set up Facebook and Twitter accounts. Easy peasy you’d think. When I went online I had a couple of orders and even though I post everyday, I have lots of wonderful comments on Facebook they are not transferring into sales. I have come to the conclusion you can have the most amazing Product and great functioning website but I now need a way to get my Brand out there. I have decided I’m in this marketing lark for the long haul so am not panicking about Christmas and in the New Year will start to find different ways to get seen and known. However if anyone has any advice for me I would be so grateful. My marketing budget is zero but I will not give up. In January I will set up a blog for my Jewellery but for the time being I will just carry on posting and researching how to get my brand seen. If I love what I make someone else out there will I just need to connect with them. I would also really appreciate any feedback about my earrings and my website. Every Little Helps and so does a slight touch of madness!

http://unexample.wix.com/unexample

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Business, Creativity & Christmas Gifts!


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I didn’t realise I had a passion for earrings until I made a pair for myself.

I had grown my hair long and had began to tie it up for work. Looking at myself in the mirror, I thought how an amazing pair of earrings would really cheer up my drab 40 something face.
I had recently been mourning the loss of a silver small hoop earring that I thought was particularly stylish in an understated way. I went back to the jewellers to see if I could get a replacement pair but the styles had changed and the cost of a new silver pair was £40. It seemed the cost of silver had rocketed since I was last jewellery shopping. Considering I had just lost one earring, the thought of £20 dropping out of my ear made me leave the shop empty handed. Having said that, I became desperate and would have paid £40 for the perfect match. For months I searched shops for the ideal pair of earrings, but nothing ever grabbed or moved me enough to part with my hard earned money.
On a day out, walking the dogs, I stumbled over a “hippy” shop and bought the bits and bobs to make my own earrings. The ones I made I instantly fell in love with. They had everything I had been searching the shops and internet for – understated style.
I continued to make my earrings, now having a pair to go with each outfit and mood that I may possibly have. Family and friends then started to comment on my earrings and I would make one-off pairs for them which I felt best suited their look or style. After lots of hours of earring making, I then realised I actually now had a portfolio of fine-looking earrings and decided to start marketing them to a wider audience. My thinking behind this was that if I struggled to buy things I loved, other people may just appreciate my earrings. Hence the start up of Unexample Jewellery.
I have always had a creative gene in me. I paint and draw for my own enjoyment, not very well but I find it very therapeutic. I teach art to primary school juniors and am passionate about art and design and the joy that comes with producing something unique. On a personal level, I always need to be creating and producing something and my earrings are my artistic outlet.
Each pair of earrings is made from a feeling and vision I have when I pick up the raw materials. I will put an earring together and dismantle it and remake it several times until I look at it and think, “That is exactly what I want”, and I actually want to keep it for myself. My beads are clay, glass, resin, plastic and metals, although I am more concerned with colour and shape than the actual raw materials I use.
My vision is to branch out and make necklaces and bracelets.
Unexample Jewellery isn’t just jewellery it is my passion and my future. Being able to wake up every morning and your job is your passion, now that is what Unexample Jewellery is for me.
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Love, Life & What Happened!


20131006-101934.jpgI feel lost at the moment. I am 45 and feel like a frightened child, which in effect I suppose I am.
My daily blog has just gone to pot. So much has been happening that I haven’t had the time or thinking space to write.
About 6 weeks ago my dad was taken into hospital after collapsing with low blood pressure, he had an intestinal internal bleed. For a moment I was worried but they cauterised the bleeds, gave him a blood transfusion and within the week he was home, although slightly tired. Over the next week be got his strength back and his colour returned.
On that Thursday my mum collapsed with a stroke while taking my three year old niece to the library (lots of amazing people helped with her while they got dad and an ambulance). She was in hospital within 45 minutes and was being treated. When I arrived her whole right side had collapsed and she looked very poorly. However within a week, hour by hour and day by day she was improving and the day they let her out of hospital her mouth was drooping but she could walk and didn’t need any modifications at home. Her recovery was miraculous in the scheme of things.
On the Tuesday of the week of her return she had a fall and broke her hip. She is now in hospital with a long road ahead of her in recovery.
Work is getting more stressful by the day. We have school inspectors and advisors all over the place each contradicting one another. I have a school governor wanting to change the school website, although ours is actually okay and serves its function well, which I do. The man is crazy sending spider diagrams about the website stakeholders. He retired early and has too much time on his hands and has no appreciation that that is only a very small fraction of my job.
I am currently helping my son look at Universities for next year.
We are now back to a hospital visiting rota for the evenings and weekends and personally I am running around like a blue arsed fly.
Nobody told me life gets harder as you get older.
I can’t believe that my mum has aged 20 years in a matter of days. I can’t believe on top of daily life how much has changed. One minute you know exactly what’s happening on a daily basis and the next the next you don’t have time to think about what’s for dinner.
I am exhausted with having 6 people in the house, with the extra demands at work, with after work hospital visits and the constant worry of what the future will bring and trying to keep some semblance of normality at home for everyone.
I am not moaning at all just reeling in shock about the past six weeks or so.
Hopefully now I am back on the blog spot I will continue next week. Some nice stuff has happened as well but the serious stuff has just overwhelmed it. Perhaps writing about that will give me a bit of balance back.

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NHS, Thank You & Priceless!


20130925-220228.jpgTo all NHS workers THANK YOU! A family member was struck down suddenly with a serious illness. Within 45 minutes they were in hospital. A team were waiting for them. Since then they have seen consultants, specialist nurses and nurses with great compassion.They have been fed and given drinks by the most lovely and humorous people. The physiotherapist and occupational therapist have made a home visit to make sure all is safe showing only empathy. They have received scans, blood tests and medication. I was even made a coffee while waiting on the ward. These people have cared for our loved one and us they never ever stop but always smile and more importantly care. The NHS is free at source, the dedication given by all the staff is priceless.

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OFSTED, Tears & Education!


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This week started and ended badly.
My school, the school I work in has been placed in special measures by OFSTED. At our last inspection, under the Labour Government, we were out standing now, under a Tory government we are now in special measures. The inspection criteria has changed and if you don’t do well in one area it has a domino effect on all the other areas. One area we failed on was a procedural thing. We had been following the local educational authority procedure, as we had done for years, on our Criminal Record Bureau checks and when OFSTED came in they said we should be following their guidelines but nobody bothered to tell us. I could go on and on but I feel like it was one almighty stitch up to fulfil a political agenda. The sad thing is though I haven’t even mentioned the education of our children yet and the whole inspection didn’t feel as though it was about Education just keeping up with the latest policies and guidelines.
On Monday evening we had a meeting for parents. The LEA, all the school staff and our governing body were there. It was hideous. A small but very vocal group of parents had amassed themselves together and then proceeded with a character assignation on my boss, The Head Teacher. Anybody who has read my blog in the past will know how brilliant, inspiring and generous I think my boss is, so to hear some of the venom directed at her in a public meeting was awful, hurtful and bought me to tears. One parent stood up to them and accused them of a fifth century witch hunt wanting her head on a spike, responded by saying move your children to another school if you are not happy, he reminded them this person they were attacking was a human being and whatever had happened did not deserve to be attacked and bullied. The person who stood up to them was my brother and I was so proud of him. As a member of staff we can’t put our point of view across, there wouldn’t be any point as i would only be accused of making excuses. but my brother said everything I wanted to say. The problem is these people are at the top of their professional game and throughout their adult lives have never had anybody question them or say no. They come into school demanding things that benefit their children and when their ideas are not actioned, most of the time due to governmental constraints, they are incensed. They were certainly unhappy that somebody dare question them.
I love my school. Yes there is always room for improvement as there is in any area of life. However we work hard and tirelessly to educate the children. The attack on my boss was also an attack on my school and its ethos and mission statement. It hurt a lot and between us we have shed a lot of tears. I am passionate about my school and wish everyone could see all the dedication, expertise, care and enthusiasm every single member of staff gives to every single child in our wonderful school.

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