Monday, August 31, 2015

weekend wanderings #73

weekend wanderings
I just wanted to give you a heads up that I might be a bit busy for the coming weeks - I have some time off booked with my friend for a little adventure, which means a couple of mad (but sneakily short weeks!) at work; I might be a bit up in the air, but you can always catch me over on Pinterest (please link yours up below!), Instagram and Twitter, as always, spouting nonsense and giving a tipsy commentary on Star Wars. 

(Yeah, I know this usually goes up on a Sunday, but Bank Holiday Monday's are basically Sunday's, aren't they?)


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Losing Weight: What to do when you hit a plateau

I think there comes a point in every weight-loss journey, when you stop losing weight. For whatever reason, things just slow down and eventually stop losing weight. At the beginning of this year, I lost the little bit of weight I put on over Christmas, and then... nothing. I was doing the same things, eating the same stuff, and nothing was happening. I know it is the most frustrating thing, I'm with you, kids. I got really disheartened, because I knew I still had a bunch of weight to lose, and it was just very frustrating for me. I felt like I was doing all the right things, making good choices, and nothing was happening.

what to do when you hit a weight loss plateau

In March this year, I started in a new job, but it became harder to lose the weight. I'd gone from being up and about and on my feet all day, working shifts and being able to fit it in the gym around my hours - to working in an office, sat down from nine to five, and being so sleepy in the evenings. I kept trying to go to the gym, but something just wasn't working anymore.

June rolls around, I realise I've gained about six or seven pounds. Not a lot, in the grand scheme of how much I've lost, but enough to make me feel a bit gross, a bit sluggish. In July I get the call saying my appointment has finally come up on the NHS waiting list, I'm off to get my gallbladder taken out, I can't exercise for about a month and spend two weeks lying around feeling sorry for myself. Now I'm starting to get back into a routine, and I feel horrible in myself, I wake up most mornings and I'm still tired and sleepy and lethargic. I'm getting back on track with my eating, but I want to kick start things. I'm going to New York later in the year and I want to be a bit lighter, a bit more free to do things.

So what now? I know that the gym I was previously going too, wasn't working for me anymore. It was a lovely place, but it's not motivating me enough, the hours don't suit me anymore, and I know that doing what I've always done, is not going to work anymore. When I was was (almost) 100lbs heavier, doing a bit more of any exercise or eating less than I had been doing would've made me lose weight, but now I am a lot lighter, I'm realising that this won't cut it anymore.

And so I found the most crucial thing to my weight loss journey, which is basically to...

C H A N G E   S O M E T H I N G

I mean, you made a massive commitment to kicking this shit off in the first place, didn't you? So why are you so afraid of change?! I'm mostly talking to myself here, by the way - I don't know why I was so terrified to try something new, I guess cause this thing I had been doing worked for me - it worked really well!
I had built up a security blanket around me, of how I got fit, how I lost weight. This was very much sticking to what was safe. Which is all good and fun, and I'm not knocking the method that I used - the way I lot weight really did work for me. But then I know I hit a point where I grew bored, grew complacent, and grew tired. Things slipped, I started reaching for more chocolate, dragged myself to the gym less...

So I decided to change things up a bit. Looking back at the periods of my journey that I enjoyed most, it was things like the month I quit sugar, the two weeks I went veggie... For me trying out running was an amazing learning curve, which I began to document right here on my blog! It also meant, trying to quit sugar for lent, which was semi-successful.. but even if these things aren't the most successful processes, you grow and you learn from it, and you take away things that work for you, and the things that don't.

For example, if you always use a meat-based protein in your meals, maybe try vegetarian proteins instead, and stick to that for a week - it makes you more creative in your cooking, makes you try food that you might not ordinarily go for.
Similarly, if you always use white rice, flour and pasta, maybe try doing brown flour for a bit, in doing this I realised brown rice was really nice, and some brown pasta is disgusting! I also discovered I really love beluga lentils and pearl barley. I was talking about this with my friend at work: you really have just got to find the thing that works for you, that you can get on board with.

This month, I joined a new gym. It's a big fancy gym, full of super-fit people, and proper gym equipment that scares me. But in a good way - I need this, the hours and equipment suit me better, but it does scare me. Even though I've done so much for my health, I will always feel like the fat girl, and I want to change this mindset. I feel like I've been wrapped in my blanket for too long, when it comes to losing weight - I want to get out there.

I think I'm quite old-school, in that the end of the summer feels like the end of the year: Autumn is around the corner and it always makes me think of new school years, and fresh starts. It's all good fun, is what I'm saying, and I think it helps kick start you when you're in a bit of an eating, exercise, weight-loss rut, and it helped me shift a few pounds. Now I'm wondering what I should try next...

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    RHS Wisley in the Springtime - pt. 2

    Way back in April, I visited RHS Wisley with my mum for a little afternoon out - have a look at my previous post here - but we only live about 20 minutes up the M3 from it, so I was appalled that it took me so long to get around to visiting again! Especially since I found out they had a gorgeous glasshouse (you know I love a glasshouse), which is what this post will feature heavily...

    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley

    The glasshouse is a fairly recent addition and opened in 2012 (Wisley house and gardens were given to the RHS in 1903), with three sections; you can read about the glasshouse at Wisley here, but it really is fantastic. With it's tropical section, filled with giant palms, hanging orchids, and all the ferns a girl could wish for, I could happily spend hours in there. I loved the arid glasshouse too, filled with beautiful cacti and scented flowers, when I visited.

    Keep reading for the orchids...!

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    RHS Wisley in the Springtime - pt. 1

    Way back in April, I visited RHS Wisley with my mum for a little afternoon out. Having been several times when I was a little kid, I really couldn't remember it too well, so we decided to refresh my memory.  We only live about 20 minutes up the M3 from it, so I was appalled that it took me so long to get around to visiting, especially since I found out they had a gorgeous glasshouse (you know I love a glasshouse).  
    I know that I'm a bit out of season with these pictures - but I had so many to resize and edit, because everything there was so beautiful, that I just hadn't had the time to get around it, and it seemed like such a daunting task - so now I have finally got around to it, I think I'll have to split it into a couple of posts...! 

    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley

    I particularly loved walking around the initial gardens when you come in, in the spring these are full of magnolia trees, cherry blossoms and acers, all sorts of brightly coloured spring flowers to admire as you walk through to the glass house, which really had my heart.
    This pink tree is my absolute favourite - I'm determined to get one for my dad for his garden: it's something like a chinese cedar/mahogany, but the name is 'Flamingo' - which is the most perfect pink with white trunks.

    RHS Wisley
    RHS Wisley

    Keep reading to see the bonsai trees...!

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    New in: gold jewellery from Accessorize

    Maybe it has something to do with growing up in the early nineties, when gold hoop earrings were the height of 'chav' - but I've never really been one for gold jewellery. With the exception of a few special 'hand-me-down' pieces (which you can read about here in my everyday jewellery post) I generally always opt for silver - until recently, that is..

    accessorize gold jewellery
    accessorize gold jewellery
    accessorize gold jewellery
    accessorize gold jewellery

    Recently, I've realised that it's obviously so fashionable for a reason - all these pieces I've been wearing were picked up at different times from Accessorize - who are really knocking it out the park with their new Z by Acessorize range, in particular. I love the shiny gold chains, semi-precious stones, and dainty charms - I want it all. Before you ask - this post isn't sponsored - I just really love their new jewellery!
    For work, I wear a lot of plain shirts, blouses and tops - and I really wanted a few pieces to brighten up the outfits - and add a little bit of individuality to my work 'uniform'. I particularly love the plain gold chain, it goes with anything.

    Also, please excuse my beautiful, but scratched coffee table, it's a well loved piece of furniture that my grandfather made - but it has seen better days unfortunately.


    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    weekend wanderings #72

    lifestyle blog links
    • This week I made fun of bloggers and their peony obsession (in jest), and shared my recipe for banana matcha ice-cream
    • More pretties from the upcoming Ikea collection - the cork jars and the soft furnishings look right up my street.
    • I've never tried panna cotta - maybe I've been living under a rock - but I'm willing to give it a go for salted caramel panna cotta.
    • There are so many places I want to visit - my aunt is sending me pictures from Dubrovnik, and the internet is telling me to visit Slovenia...
    • Freya's pictures from Pakistan are so interesting and beautiful, I highly recommend her blog if you have not taken the time to check it out. 
    • I want to read more by Margaret Atwood - and Jennie has reviewed The Edible Woman, which looks very interesting. 
    • Being nice is something that as a bit of a bitch, I find hard to do - it's something I need to work on. I even make fun of the word nice...!
    • I often link things from Spoon and Tamago, an amazing blog that shows weird and wonderful creative things from Japan: but I would suggest it if you love finding odd things that you had no idea you wanted to see. Like this sprawling treehouse, or these sweet little animated gifs, not unlike something from a Studio Ghibli film
    • Another week, another ice-cream (I refuse to acknowledge the fact we're half-way through August!): roasted banana and coconut ice-cream
    • I am visiting the Peak district in a few weeks, and I know that's not quite Yorkshire, but the dales and ridings of Yorkshire county and all that it has to offer is somewhere I wouldn't say no to spending some time. 
    • I was eagerly awaiting the photos from Rosie's honeymoon: she does not disappoint. 
    • I should not read Alice's blog, it gives me unrealistic expectations of life, generally, but holidays, too.
    • Like Kate, I have dreams of planting a wildflower meadow in the garden, but I need to make sure I follow these guidelines.  
    • I need to keep telling myself that where I live is beautiful too, because I forget. 
    • Cannock Chase in Staffordshire is not very far from where a lot of my family live, but it looks so beautiful - I must make a point of visiting. 
    • As per usual, I cannot resist a good garden, this week it's the Botanical Gardens in Berlin
    • I always forget that my garden birds are not the same elsewhere, they're just such staples in my life, that it would be weird not to see them every day.
    • Ruth's tour of the lovely little shops and quirky spaces of the PMQ in Hong Kong are making me want to visit there, also. 

      Thursday, August 13, 2015

      Banana Matcha Ice-Cream Recipe

      There are processes I go through when trying out a new recipe, the first stage starts with that excitable joy. That hope that this it will be the best cake/dessert/dish I've ever made, I'll take it to dinner parties and pass it on to my children in recipe books. Then there is that middle stage, that, I'm not really convinced by this, why are they telling me to use 5 bowls and three pans - that seems excessive, right? Is it supposed to be that consistency? It looks a bit like it'd curdling/burning/falling apart... Then you follow it through to the end, and it's actually not quite good - this ice-cream recipe summed up that process completely.

      When this was a mushy greenish paste, I was completely not convinced. But it actually tastes really good - don't let the odd, yellowish green consistency put you off!

      banana matcha ice cream
      banana matcha ice cream

      Keep reading for the recipe...

      Monday, August 10, 2015

      Bloggers, you need to stop buying peonies...

      I have oft mocked my own breed but we bloggers are an odd bunch - we will find something that we like and we used it to death - be that a product, a prop, a saying, a style... I am also guilty of the the flat lay, the soft focus, the aerial shots of food on a table or coffee in a cafe, but I feel I need to address the elephant in the room: a peony.

      why do bloggers love peonies

      Guys, peonies are beautiful flowers - I know. Their time in season is brief, only a few months in the summer and you want to make the most of that - I understand. However, there comes a time when you must break the habit. That time is probably the end of the summer, when they're no longer available...
      I know that until that point, you want to make the most of these beautiful, tissue paper like blooms, with their marbled effect leaves, that take so long to open up, it seems like they never will: however, bloggers, you need to stop.

      You need to stop artfully scattering them across your bed linen, your marble trays, your hard wood floors.

      You need to stop using them in every single photograph, every Instagram, every header and footer on your blog.

      You need to stop scattering the petals across your flat lays of spring-makeup picks, of seasonal summer cocktails, and blogger tips and tricks photographs.

      You need to stop angling them in the background of every shot.

      You need to stop buying out the entire amount in Waitrose, Marks and Spencers, Aldi and garden centres - other people might like a bunch too...

      I love you guys and I love peonies just as much as you do (hell, I bought a plant for my garden last week) however I think this is a much needed public service announcement - hell, I need to follow some of these rules myself. Spare a thought for all those other flowers long forgotten by bloggers: tulips, roses, lilies, hydrangeas, freesias, daisies and gypsophila... 


      why do bloggers love peonies

      Also, because incase it is mentioned: I wrote this long before this post, but it is definitely in a similar vein! Please don't take this too seriously... I'm mocking myself, too. ;) 

      Sunday, August 09, 2015

      weekend wanderings #71

      lifestyle blog links

      Thursday, August 06, 2015

      Hello August

      I think I get to this point in every season, when I'm tired of the weather not being what I want, and I haven't done all the things I wanted to do and blah blah blah... And then I start anticipating the next season, the next month, and then I miss out on moments, whilst I'm dreaming of the future. I loved having this kind of post on my blog for Autumn 2014 (and even did a seasonal recipe round-up!)  so as it is now officially August, I thought I'd share what I've been pinning on Pinterest, and how I want to make the most of the last few weeks of the summer...

      summer bucket list
      summer bucket list

      This is my summer in a nutshell, my summer holidays were spent at the various lakes, woods, meadows and fields where I live, finding rocks and getting my feet wet and chasing my brothers. We would spend longs hours playing cricket or tennis in the grass (which mostly just consisted of me throwing the ball for my brother to whack...) 
      As I've got older, it was filled with the joy of coming down in the morning to the dappled sunlight in the kitchen, opening the patio doors and drinking coffee on the patio...

      summer bucket list
      summer bucket list

      I used to think I was missing out, when I was little, that I never had the 'exotic' holidays to Majorca or Disneyland (where all my friends seemed to go) - but now I have precious memories of stunning Cornish coastlines, fond memories of eating picnics in the countryside and feeling like I always have a connection to those southern counties.

      summer bucket list
      summer bucket list

      Near the somewhat unglamorous office block that I work in, there is a roundabout that they've covered entirely with wildflowers, and it makes my heart sing every time I see it in the morning sunlight, waiting for my turn to cross. I want to cover my entire garden with wildflowers of every kind, and have that amazing hum of the bees. 

      summer bucket list
      summer bucket list

      My goal, every year is to just spend more time outside - unfortunately since having my operation unexpectedly - it's just not happened. I tried to get out whilst I was healing, but it didn't go to plan - however now I'm feeling much better, I have started to plan a few trips (taking it easy, mostly just around the south of the UK) to explore a bit...

      summer bucket list
      summer bucket list

      I want to devour all the summer foods, eat flat peaches and nectarines with the juice dripping down my fingers, to consume strawberry clotted cream ice-cream overlooking the sea, I want to sip gin and tonics in the fading sunsets on the patio, feeling crispy and sunburnt from a long day in the sunshine. 

      What is on your 'bucket list' for the last of the summer? Share in the comments below, and leave links to your Pinterest accounts, as I'm fully obsessed with it at the moment..

      summer bucket list
      (All images credited where possible on Pinterest.)

      Tuesday, August 04, 2015

      The Barbican Conservatory

      The first time I visited the Barbican - it was on a sleety day in March, with my friend Tam to see an exhibition. I had seen pictures, and knew I would enjoy the architecture, the feel of the place, but didn't realise quite how much I would love it. I love the shapes, the styles, the plants and the water mixed with the harsh grey brick everywhere. 

      At one point, I discovered that there was a conservatory there, and made it my mission to find it and visit it: a simple task, you might say. It only opens on Sunday's, and until very the end of 2014, I worked most Sundays. I think I made three attempts at visiting it, even getting as far as Waterloo once, before having to turn back. 

      barbican conservatory
      barbican conservatory
      barbican conservatory
      barbican conservatory

      For my thoughts on the conservatory, keep reading..

      Sunday, August 02, 2015

      weekend wanderings #70

      lifestyle blogs
      • I shared my recipe for lemon and thyme bars this week, which seemed to go down well, and I want to try making them again! 
      • This morning I also shared my lovely new whale measuring cups I picked up from Anthropologie... 
      • The problem with following lots of beautiful blogs, is getting ideas from all their beautiful holidays... Recently, Croatia has been calling to me, and I really want to visit. There's also Slovenia, and all these beautiful places that I've never considered until recently. Or Turkey, which has been on my wishlist for years, along with Kefalonia. Or even the Grand Canyon in America...
      • Then there is also Venice, which I have visited before (though I'm not sure I ever shared with you my photos?!) and has captured my heart with it's aqua water and skies.
      • I don't visit the South Downs nearly often enough - considering they're practically on my doorstep, I really should... 
      • On a similar note, I forget how beautiful this country is, how much I love our coastline: Cornwall and Devon really have my heart.
      • I love Tayler's blog: kittens and sunsets and general Portland beautifulness
      • This weeks edition of homes to lust after: Jason Grant's house in Rue. The colour, the plants, the furniture, the paintings.. so perfect.
      • I think you can tell my mood by how many travel posts there are linked today - but I'm so excited for my New York trip later this year, I'm devouring posts like Georgina's for the best tips and places to visit. 
      • I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't excited for the 2016 Ikea catalogue collection - there are some gems in there - the greenery, the wood, the cork, the glass, the colours... 
      • In general, he quality and styling of the photos on THAT GRACE GIRL's blog make me want to buy all the beautiful items, but I love the brand Aesop, and I really want to try their haircare
      • Sunsets are precious, the golden hour even more so. They remind me of my childhood and lazy summers. 
      • I discovered Sarah's blog a fortnight or so ago, and I'm so smitten with it: The Salty Sea Blog reminds me of all my holidays as a child, and I am in love with her dreamy photography.
      • I've finally got around to putting my name on the allotment waiting list (one of my goals for the year)! After losing ours last year, I've missed it terribly, so even if I have to wait a while, I can live vicariously through Rachel's green fingered exploits
      • As a girl that has never been 'skinny' (conventionally, etc) - I know that I've probably skinny shamed in the past, and I forget that it can be as harmful as fat shaming, so I really enjoyed this post from Saoirse
      • There is something about road-trips that I just adore - I have a few coming up with my friend Gemma around the UK, and whilst it isn't as exciting as Sophie's trips to Canada, Australia and Hawaii, they'll do.
      • And to round off this summery, travel heavy post: have a summer playlist to go along with these far-off places and pretty photographs. :)

      new in: whale measuring cups by anthropologie

      I like whales so much that I knitted one, once. He sits on the end of my bed with my pile of cushions, and was affectionately named Hector, which has stuck, despite me generally just using him to wedge against my stomach when I was ill.
      I have a whole board on Pinterest for my love of all things whale-related, so when I was in the Anthropologie during the sale, I had to pick up these little guys.

      whale measuring cups anthropologie
      whale measuring cups anthropologie
      whale measuring cups anthropologie

      They were reduced in the sale, down from £28, to a bearable £16, and come in four sizes, each with a cute face, and the measurement marked in the base. I don't know if they'll get used for this intention, as I would worry about washing them too much, but they're certainly adorable.

      These innocent creatures were also an odd catalyst - I was stood in the queue, these ceramic whales clutched in my hands, so proud of my Sale find, and realised that this is what I wanted. A little place of my own, that smells of the grapefruit candles they sell in there, with cushions and soft furnishings galore, colourful mugs and plates to serve things on. I've been putting away chunks of my earnings for quite some time now, sacrificing pay-day treats and my bonus for several years, and recently I've started a new job that pays well, and has more prospects.
      So it can all be a reality, soon. A place of my own. Now I just need to get the bank statements out, and work out how much I can afford... then I get to start looking? Wish me luck...

      whale measuring cups anthropologie