Thursday, 31 May 2012

What I wore - Raincoat

Just a quick one today as I'm all worded out after writing not one but TWO posts for the fabulous AOW!

I'm quite glad it's rainy today as I have to sort out our spare room as the In-Laws are coming to stay for the weekend and it's gotten a bit too similar to the old days of the study!  (See here and here.)  I better get a move on as it's almost 3pm already!!  Ooops!  When the writing bug hits, it hits, what can I say!?  ;)

I did have to pop to the doctor's though to get my bloods checked again so I got to use my new raincoat for the first time!  My North Face raincoat is amazing, cosy and perfect for Glasgow's winter (and a lot of the rest of the year's) weather but if it's still warm as it is today but wet, I get waaaay too hot in it with it's padded down lining.

I spotted this one when I was in Primark and love the idea that you can roll it up to fit inside one of it's pockets for travelling!  It's light and comfortable but waterproof so ideal for this weather!  It has drawstrings on the inside to pull in the waist so it's flattering rather than a hanging sack shape and around the hood so it won't blow off your head in a breeze.  The sleeves can be folded up and strapped back with poppers and it has zipped pockets to keep things secure.  All this for only £9!!!

I also wore my new skinny jeans from Warehouse in this gorgeous teal colour with my favourite top of the moment, my heart print vest from Red Herring.  I didn't bother to accessorise as I was running late and only popping out for 20 minutes!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sorrento, here we come!

I am delighted to say we have booked our holiday!  Thanks again to all those who gave recommendations on Twitter and on my blog post!  They were hugely helpful in narrowing down our search and have added many more places to my list of places to go!!

Image Source

We have now booked one of those places - Sorrento, Italy - recommended by the lovely aDizzyGirl who has literally just emailed me a whole bunch of tips I can't wait to read properly.  Thanks so much!  Blog-land and Twitter-ville have truly amazing residents.  ;)

We leave in just 2 weeks!!  We were limited by our dates due to Nik's rota and other events already arranged and as it happens, I will have to cancel one of my events (a professional lecture on the Tuesday night of the day we planned to return - I wasn't cancelling the super exciting fashion event I have booked with friends on the Monday before we leave - keep an eye out for that on the blog!) as we could only get flights for Wednesday-Wednesday rather than Tuesday-Tuesday and are flying from Edinburgh with EasyJet.

I have never been to Italy but have always wanted to.  Particularly as I love food, especially Italian food and I cannot wait to try real, authentic Italian food!  The hotel we have booked even appears to have an outdoor Pizza oven - cue one very excited Bex as Pizza is one of my most favourite!

The hotel is the Hotel Mediteranneo Sorrento and seems ideal for what we are after - a relaxing, laid back yet stylish hotel with a pool and the option of exploring nearby places if we get bored of lounging around (unlikely looking at the surroundings).  It's a 4-star hotel on the edge of a cliff, just 1km from the city centre with a free shuttle bus, although the walk sounds lovely, and free WiFi - so prepare for tweet updates!  ;)

The hotel's website states the following reasons to stay with them...

  • The unforgettable views of romantic sunsets that paint the Gulf of Sorrento red
  • The courteous staff and familiar climate  which allows hotel to be recommended on Tripadvisor
  • The wide outdoor areas that offer guests the luxury of peace and quiet and relaxation, which has become precious in today’s world
  • Fresh and genuine flavors with simple, quality ingredients
  • Its location: overlooking the sea (with access to the beach with the hotel’s internal elevator); close to Sorrento (1.2 km); well-connected to the surrounding areas (free shuttle 12 times a day, train, public bus)
  • If you book directly, we have a special offer for you: customized offer, suggestions about dates and rooms, additional discounts for loyal customers and professional and courteous reservation staff

  • Sounds pretty perfect to me, how exciting does an elevator to the beach sound!?  And check out those hotel surroundings below...

    The breakfasts in particular look amazing!

    The rooms look airy and tastefully decorated, we have booked a standard garden view room as we sadly couldn't justify the extra per person to upgrade to a sea view.  The superior room shown below looks lovely and spacious - we will ask when we get there in case we can get a reduced rate upgrade if there are any available.  I've read that the views are amazing and it would be a lovely way to end our first year as a married couple looking out over the sea at sunset.  It's our first anniversary the week after we get back but Nik couldn't get that week off work sadly (still in that annoying junior doctor phase of not having much say over the holiday rota, hence the late booking and the fact we still haven't been away to celebrate my 30th in December.)

    Standard garden view room
    Superior sea view room

    I hope I can return to tell you all how amazing this place is and write a proper review with my own photos.  Having just succumbed to reading aDizzyGirl's email of tips (crikey, even more excited now!) and the comments on Tripadvisor, which we always utilise when booking hotels, I am confident that I will!  I love the look of the sleek and stylish white bar and can't wait to eat dinner looking out across the sea from the restaurant balcony.  Just what we need after a crazy busy year so far and all of my annoying illnesses.  Heaven!

    I also spotted a couple of great excursion ideas on the hotel website - maybe going to a Michelin starred restaurant which would be great to sample in Italy of all places and a day trip to Capri (another place recommended to us by the lovely Esme) on the hotel yacht (cost dependant!) not to mention Pompeii which sounds really interesting!  Ooooooh, I can't wait!!  Can I pack now??!

    All photos taken from the hotel website, unless otherwise stated.

    Monday, 28 May 2012

    Sunday Bike Ride & Picnic

    We recently got our bikes out of the cupboard under the close stairs where they had been stored since we moved in, hmm almost 4 years ago now!) and had to find somewhere else to keep them.  There's a new lawnmower to be kept in there with lots of other gardening stuff and it's a shared cupboard so we had more than our fair share of use and there was no longer room for them.  Living on the 2nd floor we didn't want to have to drag them up and down the spiral stairs each time we wanted to use them (which may be never as they haven't been used for 4 whole years!!) and I didn't want them hanging around the beautiful new study which is no doubt where they'd end up!  So they are currently locked to the garden fence, where another two bikes (the middle neighbours') are kept.  This makes us MUCH more likely to use them and since getting them out, Nik was determined we should get some use out of them and this weather has been a huge incentive!

    So, today's plan was to go on the bikes to a local park for a picnic in the sunshine.  Which is exactly what we did.  One of the main reasons (other than having been lazy in the past and them being locked away and needing work) for not riding our bikes here is the traffic in Glasgow, especially round where we live.  NO-ONE uses indicators, they pull out in front of you with no warning and try and squeeze past you if you aren't going fast enough and that's when you're in a car!!  We took a twisty, windy route which I made up as I went but did get us there pretty much as I expected, along smaller roads around Pollokshields with minimal traffic before getting safely to Pollok Country Park.  There we rode around for a bit before settling on a spot for our picnic, starting in the shade before some full on sunbathing!

    Sleeping husband's thigh makes a great pillow!

    Nik went wandering off and made friends with a scarecrow, came back to fetch me and I made friends with a horse.

    A random group then turned up in the middle of the park in a huge van, unloaded a crate, loads of bags and a huge box then proceeded to build their brand new massive barbecue next to one of the picnic tables.  Bizarre.  What happened to subtle disposable BBQs in parks?

    We then found a quieter spot to lay down and enjoy the early evening sun, which we don't get in our garden, under a couple of pretty trees.

    On the way home, we spotted a heron right by the edge of the river near the cycle path so I tried some sneaking with the camera, getting closer and closer.


    We got home tired, hot, sticky but happy from our afternoon out :)  I think we'll use the bikes a lot more from now on and I may swap some of my evening swims for bike rides instead if the weather keeps up!

    Sunday, 27 May 2012

    Sunday Weigh In 12

    Blogger has failed me yet again and after working on this post all morning, inserting all the photos (except for today's obviously) and writing about how I feel this week (not to mention the entire week's diet which I update every day so I remember) has all been lost with the exception of Monday for some reason!  I have had to try and fill it in from memory so it may not be accurate (mostly the snacks as I luckily have my photos of most main meals to remind me!) this week and I may sound more grumpy despite this being a happy post this morning!  (At the moment I mostly want to scream!)

    It's now been 12 weeks since starting my new healthy lifestyle I decided that each Sunday I will post up my progress, whether successful or not in the hope that it encourages me to stay positive and keep going.  Knowing that I will be sharing it all here will hopefully keep my willpower up!  In order for me to keep track and look back for ideas, I will be listing my food diary here as well (and who knows, it might inspire others to have a go too!)  It also gives me somewhere to put all the photos of the yummy food I love to take as it always looks so good!

    This week I have really enjoyed my walk to work and back while soaking up the rays!  I have stripped to my vest top and trousers in the sunshine and had 30-45 mins in the garden every day during my lunch hour.   I have, however, been going a bit mad with the seasonal treats such as cider, ice lollies and BBQ stuff but have still been trying to think healthily most of the time, opting for frozen smoothies and healthy options rather than sausages and burgers on the BBQ.  I still haven't got back into swimming yet as it's been too hard to resist the positively balmy evenings we've been having instead!


    Breakfast - hard boiled egg, 1/2 large fruit pack (apple, kiwi, watermelon, grapes, pineapple), orange juice
    Lunch - salad (chicken tikka pieces, lettuce, tomatoes, yellow pepper, black olives, chilli, black pepper, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar), skimmed milk
    Dinner - steak pie, garlic broccoli, potato wedges, garlic mushrooms, tiny bit of light mayo with Tabasco, orange juice
    Snacks - hard boiled egg, quavers, raspberry yoghurt, slice of low fat leerdammer, other 1/2 of fruit box (apple, pineapple), 

    Exercise - 1 hour walking


    Breakfast - 1 slice 50/50 toast with low fat butter & bovril, 1 slice with left over garlic mushrooms, cup of tea
    Lunch - salad (chicken pieces, black olives, lettuce, tomato, yellow pepper, red onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, black pepper), orange juice
    Dinner - spaghetti with chicken in mushroom, pepper and tomato pasta sauce from Wholefoods Market
    Snacks - sweet chilli snacker jacks, fruit?

    Exercise - 1 hour walking, 1 hour Pilates class, 20 mins walking


    Breakfast - left over spaghetti, 
    Lunch - It was far too nice to waste any time inside making a salad today so I nipped to Greggs on the way hoe instead - Greggs Chicken New Orleans on granary bread, quavers, pear, orange juice
    Dinner - Wild mushroom risotto cake with Parmesan crisp, pork loin with sweet potato mash & peas, custard tart with malted banana ice cream, 1 glass rose prosecco, sparkling water
    Snacks - Wotsits, melon & grape fruit box

    Exercise - 1 hour walking



    Breakfast - 2 boiled eggs, 1 1/2 slices 50/50 toast with low fat butter & bovril
    Lunch - tuna salad sandwich, Kopparberg Elderflower & Lime cider, 'French Fries' cheese & onion crisps
    Dinner - tomato & red pepper soup, 1 slice carrot & ginger cake
    Snacks - 1/2 tuna sandwich, soda & elderflower & squeeze lime, pear, frozen smoothie tube, 

    Exercise - none


    Breakfast - tuna sandwich, banana, skimmed milk
    Lunch - ham salad wrap, salad (celery, tomato, black olive, black pepper, yellow pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar), soda water
    Dinner - roast beef sandwich with English mustard, sweetcorn, low fat sour cream & chive dip,
    Snacks - garlic & coriander prawns, 2 x slices carrot & ginger cake, quavers, blueberries

    Exercise - 1 hour walking

    Tastes much better blended!


    Breakfast - omelette (chicken pieces, yellow pepper, tomato, black pepper, 2 eggs), orange juice
    Lunch - 1 slice wholemeal bread with low fat butter
    Dinner - BBQ - Spicy tomato chicken skewers, sun-dried tomato cous cous, salad, toasted marshmallows, chocolate & marshmallow banana, Cobra beer with lime, soda water
    Snacks - cherries, melon, frozen smoothie tube, Bloody Mary, Wotsits

    Exercise - hoiking all the food, etc up and down the stairs! (I think that counts ;) )

    I can never seem to get it out in one piece when it's full of veggies!



    Breakfast - 2 fried eggs (in sunflower spray), 1 slice wholemeal bread, banana, orange juice
    Lunch - ham salad wrap, chicken salad wrap, blueberries, sharon fruit, yoghurt, soda water
    Dinner - chilli beef with rice & wholemeal pitta, skimmed milk
    Snacks - 1 apple, water & elderflower cordial

    Exercise - bike ride via twisty route and back a different way and around Pollok Park (about 6-7 miles I think)  No body pump or swimming today as trying to make the most of the weather by exercising outdoors instead!

    And the results this week:

    Weight last week - 12 st 5 lbs
    Weight this week - 12 st 4 lbs
    Loss/Gain this week - -1lbs

    Total Loss - 1 stone!!!!!!  Yipeee!  I had expected to have put on weight this week, considering all of the treats I have succumbed to - pastry, bread, cakes/puddings and alcohol.

    I am delighted with the changes in me, how I look and feel since February when I was at my heaviest.  I even have the confidence to post pictures of myself in my bikini now!!

    Sunbathing today
    very proud of my flat tummy although that's easier to cheat when lying down ;)

    As I've hit such a target and it's now 3 months since I started I have worked out the difference in my BMI and my inch loss since the beginning...

    BMI before - 27.5 (overweight)
    BMI now - 25.2 (still overweight but only just!)

    Total Inch Loss:
    Arm - 0.5"
    Chest - 1"
    Waist - 2"
    Love Handles (Muffin Top) - 3.5"
    Bum - 1"
    Thighs (Saddle Bags) - 2.5"
    Single Thigh - 2"

    Beginning, 1 month and now (3 months) in my gym gear... (relaxed - not sucking in tummy!)

    Very happy :D

    I can honestly say I've found this easy, I'm enjoying the exercise and I love my diet.  I could have lost the weight faster had I been stricter with myself and not allowed as many treats but I feel I have still utterly changed my diet from what it was and by not denying myself too much I have been able to stick with it, otherwise I feel I may have given up by now.  I'm glad I'm doing it my own way and in my own time and plan to keep going until I'm well within the healthy zone which is another half a stone to a stone :)  I basically don't have a target, I'll just know when I get there that I want to maintain it.  I think I will need to concentrate more on the exercise now though as I really want to tone up my thighs and arms a lot more!

    Phew, I'm now off to enjoy my chilli after re-writing this entire post, grrrr!  Maybe I will be adding a glass of red and another slice of cake (it has no butter in it and has carrots - totally healthy right!?) to today's dinner too!!
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