My January Must Haves

Goodbye January and Hellooooo February.

I don’t know about you, but I am very much looking forward to seeing the first glimpses of spring and to the start of some lighter evenings.

As we are saying goodbye to January, I thought that I would share the things that I would not have got through January without…

Hats, Scarves and Gloves – my oh my, hasn’t January been cold. I’m not sure that I could have coped with the cold dark nights stood on the train platform without my trust bobble hat, tartan scarf and gloves. My hat was £3 and my gloves £1 and were both from Primark. My scarf was a splurge last year from Topshop and has been my trusty companion for the whole of this winter (the picture below is stolen from google but is the exact scarf – although mine is looking very loved). It cost £18 but has been worth every penny and is lovely and warm. Do you have any tips for staying warm while outside in the cold weather?

Topshop Tartan Scarf

Sunbites Sweet & Salty Popcorn – My new favourite snack. I used to hate sweet and salty popcorn but my tastes have changed and now I LOVE it. It is also not too bad on slimming world at only 2.5 syns for one of the small multi pack bags, and is perfect for a snack to throw in your bag or for eating while snuggled up watching a film. They also do a sweet caramel which is just as nice. I have really been loving popcorn this January and I don’t think this will change for a while.

Walkers_Sunbites_Popcorn_Sweet_And_Salty_30g

Cards Against Humanity – we have spent a couple of nights this January with friends playing this game. My hubby brought this just after Christmas following a recommendation and it really does live up to its reputation. Hearing my future brother in law laugh while playing was worth every penny. I would recommend this to any of you who have a dark sense of humor and are up for a laugh. We found that this was out of stock in lots of places, but we managed to get it direct from Cards Against Humanity and he also got the geek expansion pack. You can buy the game here:

https://www.cardsagainsthumanity.com/

Warmies – another something to love in the cold weather. I have a dinosaur and an owl and these are my saving grace for cold nights. Especially when your husband likes a colder bedroom. I take both to bed and have one by my feet and one by my belly in bed at night. I also have one at work that I use when it gets cold in the office (which is a lot since we work in a very old building). As much as I love these, part of me can’t wait to put them away until next winter.

dinosaur

Soap & Glory Hand Dream Hand Cream – it does what it says on the tin (or squeezy bottle). I love hand cream all year round but this one is particularly hydrating for dry hands over the winter and it smells pretty good too. I am a bit lover of the Soap and Glory products but especially the hand creams and body scrubs. I keep a hand cream by the side of the bed, by the side of sofa and a small one in my handbag.

hand cream

The Greatest Showman Soundtrack – for those of you who have not yet seen The Greatest Showman I would highly recommend that you do. For those of you that have, how much do you love it? I enjoyed every single moment of that film – the characters, the story and the MUSIC. I’m pretty sure my hubby was fed up of me going on and on about how wonderful it was and about how much I loved it, but he’s a good egg and put up with it. As soon as we got home from the cinema I was on iTunes downloading the album and it is pretty much all I have listened to since. I am a big fan of musicals, but this has got to be one of my new favourites.

You can buy the soundtrack here:

https://store.hmv.com/music/cd/the-greatest-showman-on-earth?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvsix77uF2QIVr73tCh3DPg2gEAQYASABEgK2v_D_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

and you can pre-order the DVD here:

https://store.hmv.com/film-tv/dvd/the-greatest-showman?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvsix77uF2QIVr73tCh3DPg2gEAQYAyABEgLq1vD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

For those of you who are unsure about watching this…. DO IT!

Too Faced Chocolate Bar – I am LOVING this eye shadow palette. This was a Christmas gift and is so versatile. In fact I love it so much that I have also purchased the Too Faced Chocolate Chip palette, which is a mini version of the chocolate bar, for when I am travelling. I love all of the colours and you can make lots of different looks for both day and night with this palette. I didn’t think I would ever love eye shadows as much as I love my Urban Decay palettes but this one is just as good.

 

And finally…

Fruity Tea Bags – a little bit of a boring one. But I have swapped my normal tea for fruit again this January. I am actually loving drinking these teas now instead of normal tea. I am not a big tea drinker anyway and these are making me feel like I am being healthier and making better choices. I would be interested to know what your favourite fruit and herbal teas are.

And so folks… there you have it. My January Must Haves.

What have you not been able to live without this January? Please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for reading.

Sophie

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Slimming World & Diet Groups

It has been 12 months since I joined Slimming World and despite being a long way away from my target weight, I have still noticed a lot of things while on my journey.

I know that as it is January a lot of people will be joining, or will have already joined, slimming clubs (I mean, I was one of the New Year, new me, people last year) and what I also know is that a lot of people won’t stick it out. My words of encouragement for those of you who are just starting out would be to hang in there. Sometimes things can feel tough, but muddle through, I promise it is worth it.

I am now on a push to get to target this year (I would love to get there by August but who knows).

However, as I have now been a member for 12 months I thought I would share some observations with you that may, or may not, help you on your journey.

  • Not everyone will be a cheerleader. I’ve found that some people will not congratulate you, or make a comment about how you have lost weight etc. and this is ok. It might feel hard at the time (I know I was upset when one of my closest friends refused to speak to me when I first started losing weight – she even went as far as to turn her face to the wall when I walked in a room). As soon as these people realise that it isn’t necessarily a vanity thing that is making you diet, it is actually for health benefits, they will loosen up a little bit. Just give these people a little bit of time.
  • There will be a diet friendly recipe for most of your favourite things. Places like Pinterest are your friend. One thing to remember is that although these things will give you a little bit of a chocolate or biscuit fix they will not taste exactly like their real counterpart and sometimes it is worth using more syns to give yourself a real fix – curly wurlys are only 6 syns and some small bags of popcorn are only 2.5-3 syns. Have a little of what you love, it will help keep you on track.
  • Stay to group. It’s so daunting for those first few weeks and months to be the new face but it really is inspirational and you will get lots of tips. Plus, on harder weeks it feels like you have the whole world supporting you. I have made some lovely new friends by staying for image therapy and these are the people who will understand your struggle and will support you through it.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others. Someone might have lost 7lbs last week, but it doesn’t mean you will but that is ok. Sometimes I am quite hard on myself if I feel my loss hasn’t been big enough, this is not ok and I am trying to stop and be happy with any loss.
  • People will try to sabotage you. They will try to give you chocolate, crisps, pizza… you must resist. I think you will always have people in your life who like that you are the fat friend. Be strong and show them!

Finally… the most important thing to remember is:

ENJOY EVERY MINUTE. Enjoy every loss, every non-scale victory (clothes being too big, fitting into clothes that haven’t fit for a while, not getting out of breath when climbing the stairs) and be proud of those stickers and certificates.

I would also urge you to take photos as you go along. A photo that was taken last year where I felt great as I’d lost over a stone, I now think I look big in. It’s so great to be able to compare.

But good luck on your journey, no matter how big or small, and remember to never give up!

I thought I would share some photos from along the way…

The last photo is the same dress, 12 months apart.

Blue Monday

I’m not really sure I buy into this “Blue Monday” thing. I have had quite a nice day which included managing to avoid the rain on my walk to, and from, the station and on my walk around town today. I also had the yummiest breakfast (a new discovery by me) of porridge and dark chocolate chips – it’s truly delicious and very filling.

January does seem to be the longest month EVER and I do agree with that. For me the thing that is making me blue and wish that January was over already is that I have not yet managed to shift my Christmas and New Year weight gain and that it is very cold (especially annoying when the train is late and has no heating like today).

So… I think an idea to beat the January blues is to pick something positive from everyday, no matter how big or how small! I have been doing this throughout January but it seems a very apt thing to be thinking of today.

Some of the little things I have focussed on this January that have made me happy are:

  • lunchtime meetings being cancelled, which means I get to go for a walk and get fresh air at lunchtime.
  • taking the time to do things for me – like a long bath, a manicure or just watching something on TV that makes me happy.
  • getting to spend time with my husband, especially when we get to go out on wintery walks or even just a cwtch while watching a film.
  • the fact I am keeping hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  • Telephone chats with my wonderful Nan and afternoons out and about with my fabulous Aunty and her little brood.

To some, these things may seem trivial, but to me they bring a little bit of happiness to my day.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to be more positive, and to inspire others to be more positive, and although some days are a struggle I am trying to find a little bit of good in each day.

What do you all think? I would be interested to hear your views. And if there are little bits of positive in your day that you would like to share then please do.

I love lists.

Shopping lists, packing lists, to do lists… the list (excuse the pun) is endless.

There is something very therapeutic about having a list. To be able to cross items off and they are found or completed gives a sense of accomplishment. How many of you are with me on this?

We are currently 5 days into 2018 and it seems that my list writing has already exploded and I am loving it… I currently have the following lists on the go:

  • A shopping list of holiday essentials
  • A list of changes/New Years resolutions I would like to make for the new year
  • A list of all the birthday cards I need to buy for the WHOLE year!

I have also had a list of things that I have needed to do this week both at work and at home (feeling very smug as I have done them all), a shopping list and a list of my meals for the week.

Yes, my friends, I have gone list mad.

But I feel in control and that, in turn, makes me feel good.

What are your opinions on lists? Do you love or hate them?

I am interested to know how many other people like them and use them…

for now… I’m off to write another list.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year…

I hope you are all waking up optimistic for the year ahead (and with not too much of a hangover).

2018 is starting hangover free for me. Rather than a big boozy party, we spent the evening with friends playing Cluedo and eating takeaway. It was the perfect evening for us and I’m so glad that is how we decided to spend it.

This morning I am feeling positive for 2018. I’ve started my year with a lie in, a healthy breakfast, a manicure and some chilled out TV watching. The weather here is a bit pants today so there will be no New Years Day outdoor adventures I don’t suspect.

Last year was not a particularly exciting one… but was lovely all the same. 2016 was full of travels abroad and I loved every minute of exploring those new places. 2017 was more of UK exploration… I went to places in I had never been before – Yorkshire and North Wales – and despite the fact the weather was not as it is abroad I still had a wonderful time. I don’t feel like I have missed out at all and I still got to spend time doing fun things with my lovely hubby.

One of this biggest things for me last year however, was joining slimming world. I ended 2017 almost 6 stone lighter than I was at the start and I have to say I feel so much better for it. I have hope that 2018 will be my year to get to target (once I get over my inevitable Christmas and New Year weight gain, which will be revealed on Wednesday night). Hitting target is my main New Year Resolution and I am going to try and get there before our planned holiday for this year. I will keep you all updated.

My other New Years resolution is to blog more. This page has been neglected quite a bit, but that will change.

So for today I am going to start as I mean to go on. With this blog post, with healthy food and by completing the first day in my Fearne Cotton Happy the Journal.

I am really excited about using this book throughout the year it log all the lovely and not so lovely things that happen. It will be fab to be able to sit here this time next year to fully reflect on 2018.

I really hope 2018 brings everyone all that they wish for… and what is really important to remember is that you can make your own wishes come true.

Over and out…

Its the most wonderful time of the year…

I love Christmas… the music, the cheesy films, spending time with friends and family and the general feeling of happiness and good will that everyone seems to have.

Last week I took a days annual leave to sit in my living room, ginger bread candle lit, tree lights on and the cheesiest Christmas films you will ever watch playing in the background, while I sat and wrapped all of my Christmas presents. There really isn’t anything better to get you in the Christmas spirit.

There is something that I don’t do at Christmas, and that is give cards. Why, you may ask… well there is a reason for this.

I let the people that I love and care about, know that I am thinking of them throughout the year, and not just at Christmas. I still get my loved ones gifts, but I don’t send cards. Instead, I arrange a collection with my work colleagues and use the money to support a charity.

We have been doing this for the past few years and have previously supported the local food bank and a local homeless charity. This year, we chose to support young people in the care system.

Together with my colleagues we raised a whopping £196 along with some lovely donated gifts. Last Monday, myself and my darling friend Donna went on a shopping spree armed with a notepad, a calculator and our imaginations. Our trolley was brimming with lots of lovely treats and when we had finished, with what we had purchased and the donations we had, we had enough to give gifts to 24 young people.

And really it is this, that has put me into the Christmas spirit.

The thought of putting a smile onto someones face on Christmas day, really is what it is all about. And we all really hope that our little contributions may help make Christmas a bit more special for some people.

So while we are all enjoying nights out, Christmas markets and shopping and all the other lovely things that this time of year brings. Please take a moment to think of those not as fortunate, and perhaps try and do something nice for others. Whether it be an extra tin in your shopping for the food bank, a donation in a charity box or just a smile to someone who looks like they need it. Let’s be kind.

 

Body Positivity… what I think

So… I am going to post something now that may be a little bit controversial, but I feel it needs to be said.

At the beginning of this year I was a size 22 (probably creeping into a 24) and from the outside looking in, anyone would have said that I was happy. I would have said that I was happy just the way I was. I followed all of the plus size models and body positive activists on Instagram and I did feel empowered by these truly amazing people – I mean, why couldn’t I be just like them? I could, couldn’t I? Friends and family all thought I was confident and happy but there was a story behind the smile and that is what I am wanting to talk about.

I can remember a time when magazines, adverts, posters and catwalks were all full of tiny, airbrushed women and being fuller figured was not OK. In fact, my teenage years were a 50/50 of being bigger at age 14-15 and then a tiny little size 10-12 after having my braces fitted (god damn those things) from the age of 15-17 before gaining weight again.

At age 14 being teased was the norm and I quite often used the “I may be fat but I can diet, and you’ll always be ugly” phrase, especially to the nasty boys who thought that they were gods gift to women. This was around 2001-2003, social media had not quite kicked off and so, neither had the body positive movement. I’m sure there were lots of other teenage girls in my position, that would really have benefited from a body positive role model.

2012, the year I got married, is when I found my first plus sized blogger and I fell in love. I found myself actively looking for posts, and for more bloggers and instagrammers. Anyone who could make me feel that being larger was OK, that I was still attractive and still happy.

2012 to 2017 I got bigger, and bigger and bigger. Going from a size 18-20 to a size 22-24. No longer living with my Mum, contentment and the convenience of takeaways are all to blame for this. I was still convincing people that I was happy to be like this, why the hell not, everyone else was!

BUT…

I WAS NOT happy. Far from it!

Smiles on the outside masked a whole world of upset underneath.

Instead of wanting to go out with friends, I would make excuses to maybe just go for a meal, and when we did go out I would be trying to go home after an hour or two. I had a headache, I was hungry, I was tired… I can’t remember the last time I had a night out and actually felt comfortable.

Shopping had become a nightmare… instead of buying the clothes I wanted to wear, I was buying clothes that fit. If I managed to find something that was a nice fit on the  high street, I would buy it regardless of whether I liked it or not.

I loved holidays, but in hot countries I wanted to stay by the pool rather than going out on day trips and I always worried when getting on a plane that I would be able to do the seat belt up. I felt awkward when sat by strangers, aware that sitting next to me could not be that comfortable.

But the final thing, the thing that I think is most important, was that it was having an impact on my health. My blood pressure was never really normal, I do have white coat syndrome but that wasn’t all that was causing it to be raised. My knees hurt on climbing the stairs and I was suffering with plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinitis.

I was miserable, but I wasn’t willing to accept it.

Fast forward to now… almost 5 1/2 stone lighter, wearing a size 16 and feeling much better. The smile in the photos is now real, I can shop for clothes that I want and not just clothes that fit and I no longer need to have by blood pressure taken with a large cuff or have the aches in my joints. I now can’t wait till the next night out, and even though I know I want to lose more weight (I would love to have a healthy BMI) I am aware that I am already feeling so much happier.

And now for the controversial part…

I am on groups on Facebook that spread so much body positive love, I am proud to be a part of these groups and of all the women that help to buoy up lovely ladies who are not feeling particularly happy in their own skin. Its about blood time that women are nicer to each other. BUT, it makes me sad that weight loss is a taboo subject in these groups.

I am 100% behind these women who make others feel wonderful about themselves and I am slightly envious of those who truly feel happy in their skin and love being plus size.

But what about the poor people who struggle to love themselves. Why should they be made to feel alienated and bullied for wanting to change themselves?

I read a post the other day about GP’s “fat shaming” their patients by suggesting they lose weight. I agree that sometimes weight loss is not appropriate to be discussed, but I do not think that fat shaming is the correct term when talking about medical professionals. And if my weight loss proves anything, it is that my health is better since losing the weight and therefore they are not just saying to lose weight because they don’t like fat people.

Finally, why the hate on smaller women? Some ladies get very defensive of people who wear a size 12-14…  some girls who are smaller still have curves, and still have hang ups about their bodies. Why can’t we all just big each other up instead of having a “them and us” attitude? I know a girl who is TINY, who would love to gain weight but struggles due to health problems.

Lets just love each other, and not get angry when someone wants to lose weight or gain weight or change their body in any way.

I would be interested to know others thoughts on this subject.

Sorry if this offends anyone… but I have been thinking about this for a while.