Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas ditty

There were intense festivities last night.  I had to be at home as I was on call so it seemed a good time to Christmasify the flat.  I wrestled the tree into its stand (of which more later) and festooned it until it was groaning under the weight of baubles, hung cards, decorated the table, hung stockings etc.  It was knackering!  No-one ever tells you that bit.  It’s not the glow of Christmas spirit that make people look rosy-cheeked, it’s the hard work!

Then I wrapped presents for one of my best friend’s and her son as I’m seeing her tonight and painted my nails sparkly red.  Oh yes, the air in East London was redolent with Christmas spirit.  P was impressed when he came home to the fragrance of Christmas tree and the soft glow of the lights glinting off the baubles.  And a dishevelled wife slumped on the sofa.  But hey, what I lacked in personal grooming at that point, I made up for with festive nails.  (Why do boys never notice these things?)

But that was before.  Before I looked like I’d caught some nasty skin complaint.  It turns out that too much festive spirit can be bad for you.  Or at least, that some trees fight back.  Mine clearly hates me.  I’ve had an allergic reaction to the sap and have attractive and stinging rash on my wrists and forearms.  Because nothing says Christmas like a nasty red rash.  Still, at least it matches my nails.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Losing my weigh

I'm having a tough time of it.  I managed one day eating too much of the right thing but am otherwise eating in moderation of the wrong things.  Problem is, the wrong things have a poor effect on me.

I'm talking carbs.  I'm not evangelical and I don't think a carb-free diet is for everyone - I think dieting is much more personal than we are led to believe - but it certainly makes a difference for me.  I know my stomach is more bloated than usual - partly more weight and partly just more bloat.  I also have a perpetually upset stomach, my skin is breaking out and I'm hovering on the verge of a cold.  So why can I not stay away from the carbs?  Damn them for being just too delicious.  Damn me for being so stupid.

I don't even have a plan.  Or at least, not a good one.  My current non-formulated plan is a kind of drifting towards Christmas and then getting back on the wagon in the New Year.  Not a clever plan, is it?  I reckon I'm a stone heavier than this time last year but dare not get on the scales.  Nor do I dare wash my jeans.  And I can't see it being safe to wash them any time soon - best stand downwind of me til Spring. 

And that's if I am able to kick my own wobbly butt into gear before then.  I must or my wardrobe will be even more seriously compromised than it already is.  I'm thinking of trying the Slimfast route which is what the Starvation Diet advocates (and some useful intelligence from Caroline); I'm slightly scared that LighterLife has meant that I can never again drink any kind of shake.  I had a mouthful of P's McDonalds one a couple of months ago and literally gagged.  Still, nothing ventured..... So, I need to get on and venture.  Somehow, someday.

Monday, 10 December 2012

On the (cream) horns of a dilemma

It’s the classic fat girl’s vicious circle: I want to look nice so I want to buy something new but I want to lose weight so should I buy anything new and can I look nice anyway? But I want to look nice... etc etc
I have spent the past three days dithering over a dark green leather pencil skirt. It’s a bit reduced but we’re still looking at the best part of £100. Which makes it an investment buy – and I don’t want to be wearing this size by next winter. Of course, I’ve said that for the last god-knows-how-many years and essentially I’m much the same size but I’ve got to still hope – because if I don’t, I’ll stop trying and then will balloon to pre-LighterLife days no doubt.
There is also a navy sequin pencil skirt but I reluctantly accept that I have nowhere to wear this anyway. All the magazines etc make me paranoid this time of year – it’s all about this party outfit and that festive make-up look/nails/hair. Yes, I tend to see more friends in the run up to Christmas but I don’t have any Christmas parties to go to – is it just me? My social life is clearly not as dazzling as it might be. Tragically I’m most excited about seeing The Hobbit – and a sequin skirt is not required for that. Admittedly one of my best friends will be in town and I’m meeting her – something we only get the chance to do rarely – but I think she might be bemused if I turned up in full party gear. And possibly a bit scared.
The weekend was not as virtuous as I hoped but not as sinful as it could easily have been. The only thing I really, really regret was the piece of Viennetta I had at P’s parents. I don’t like Viennetta – I never have done –but felt obliged to eat it for politeness’ sake. P felt the same, I discovered afterwards. I’m amazed it’s still available – thought it had died out in 1982.
We had a bit of drama when one of the members of the choir I sing with collapsed mid-performance. In true the-show-must-go-on style, he was shunted on to a pew to await the ambulance whilst we carried on merrily carolling. It felt a bit inappropriate. Still, with most of the choir in their 70s+, I now understand why we have to wear black to all performances.

Thanks for all the comments - good to know you're all still out there! Caroline - have thought about Slimfast but it doesn't fit very well with the low-carb thing, indeed au contraire.


Friday, 7 December 2012

Coach potato

The word for the week is: supine.  Essentially that's been me.  My life has shrunk to the path from bedroom to kitchen to living room (with a bit of bathroom thrown in).  We live in a flat: I am probably averaging 50 steps a day.

This is because when I try and go further than that - eg an ill-fated trip to work on Wednesday - I have to go home again.  Not because I've forgotten something, but because the world starts tilting and spinning in a tiresome way and I weave along, looking for all the world as if I've been hitting the festive egg-nog in a big way.  But I haven't.  Instead I appear to have an inner-ear infection that renders me a seeming drunk (people actually veer away from me (has its benefits on the tube)).  The problem is that if I'm relatively still, I feel okay - and thus a fraud and incredibly guilty for not being at work.  And I've missed dinner out with friends, my penultimate singing rehearsal, the work Christmas party and a chocolate fair, sigh.

A lesser known side effect of labyrinthitis seems to be the obligatory consumption of carbs.  I've looked at NHS Direct and it says nothing about this and yet it seems to be true.  I've essentially been surviving during the day on hot chocolate (with marshmallows and spray cream) and bread (loaded with either melted cheese or pate).  I hardly need tell you this is not good.  My jeans are feeling tighter and my bras are digging in, leaving wheals when I take them off.  My stomach is bloated, my skin is congested and I feel physically and spiritually bleurgh.  Winter weather plus illness seem to have stolen my resolve.  And yet that honeymoon is only (!) a little over 5 months away and I will have to be wearing evening dresses: I want to enjoy dressing up, not find it traumatic.

So sure, Christmas is coming but I don't have to fatten myself up.  I might not be as strict as in other months but I am veering dangerously to the other extreme; moderation would be a big step forward for me.  So, a fairly feeble plan.  Tomorrow we're at my mother's - some sort of halloumi dish and crumble with a choral performance in between the two.  So I need to concentrate on a modest and abstemious breakfast and lunch.  Sunday we're taking her out for lunch as her festive send-off as she goes to Australia with my brother, the Chav-in-law and my ex-sister-in-law - as well as all three neices and my nephew.  But next week I need to make soup to take in for lunch and concentrate on a good, carb-free week.  I'm out to dinner with my friend J on Monday - she has the appetite of a small mouse so this won't be too hedonistic, Tuesday I'm having my haircut so won't have a chance for dinner, Wednesday I'm singing so again, no dinner, Thursday we're going to see The Hobbit which I'm so excited about that I may not be able to eat anything and then Friday night we're off to Suffolk.  I'm not going to think beyond that - I need to plan and, more to the point, execute a plan for next week before I worry any further ahead.  My plan is essentially yoghurt, berries and seeds for breakfast, home-made carb-free soup and fruit for lunch, more fruit late afternoon to carry me through and a modest carb-free dinner.  Sounds so easy, doesn't it?  And yet it's not.

And blogger-land is sadly silent these days.  I don't know if it's the time of year or whether people are drifting away.  But I'm guilty too.  So I'm going to try and hold myself accountable by posting more regularly  if there's anyone out there, do let me know that you're hanging in there too.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Wife after wed.

Reader, I married him.
And that’s where it ends, doesn’t it?  It’s the culmination, the peak of feminine endeavour.  And yet, it’s not the end of the story.  Pretty fortunately really as otherwise no one would ever achieve the dizzying excitement of their paper wedding anniversary!
We’re now 3 weeks in.  We’re still re-living bits of the day but having spent the entire drive up to York, just going over and over it, we’re kind of short of things to repeat.  Although I still love the bit when I was dragged out of my pre-wedding nerves in the car over to the ceremony by my godmother asking my niece what her favourite bit of school was; “Lunch” my niece firmly replied.  Like aunt, like niece....
Does it feel different?  Well, it does a bit.  It’s not as if, after 17 years, we were in a flimsy relationship but somehow it feels even more solid and secure.  Which is of course, lovely.  I’m warding off the post-wedding blues by focussing on Christmas, but I suspect my usual post-Christmas blues will be positively navy in colour.  That is when I’m going to start booking our honeymoon proper though, to try and lighten the gloom. 
So, the mini-moon.  It was good in parts (like the curate’s egg).  The York Hotel de Vin was lovely – although we’d signed up to a deal which was supposed to upgrade us to the best room available, we were in a basic room I suspect.  But it was perfectly nice.  What made it lovely was the staff – they were like people who worked for a standalone hotel in which they had a stake.  They were so friendly that we were quite disarmed.  From the free bottle of fizz they sent up within minutes of our arrival, to the very knowledgeable and enthusiastic sommelier to the waiting staff that were absolutely happy for us to go and watch Homeland between main course and pudding to the lovely front desk staff, we felt really privileged to have such warm and friendly service.  How can we do anything but go back?  Luckily, we liked York enough to want to go back anyway.
It made Northumberland a bit of a rude shock: we arrived at our cottage in the pitch black to find it cold and unwelcoming.  We spent ages firstly finding boiler instructions and then trying to coax it into life.  Eventually we discovered that the gas bottles in a shed to the rear of the property had run out.  Not the welcome we’d become all-too used to.  When P finally threatened to put the log basket on the fire to keep warm, things finally started to happen.  But I’d picked the village as it had a good pub and a restaurant so we could just walk to dinner.  Both were closed.  In fact, Northumberland was generally closed.  We couldn’t find a single castle or place to visit that was open.  The scenery was glorious though and we’ll have to go back when it’s open for business.  We won’t stay in that cottage or with the badly named Grace Darling holidays at all though – they were very graceless in my dealings with them and not darling at all!  It’s unusual to find a small, local firm as resolutely disinterested in engaging. 
Overall, I’m glad it wasn’t the honeymoon proper.  But the key lesson learnt is not to break my heart over things not going perfectly for the main event.  No matter how much I plan and hope and dream, the honeymoon won’t necessarily be perfect.  I have a real perfectionist problem, P hates it as he has to deal with my disappointment and self-castigation when it doesn’t work out.  Hard to see how it would be possible to not have a fantastic time in this case though!
Unless I can’t fit into any evening frocks on the liner.  Really need to stop eating as if it’s Christmas.  Oh I wish it could be Christmas every daaaaaayyy....

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Playing footsie

The Reader with a good memory and a keen interest in shoes may remember that I bought an eye-wateringly expensive – if extremely beautiful – pair of shoes for the wedding. 
Exhibit A:

It was a struggle wearing them in but I persevered, even risking the blood supply stopping to my feet by wearing them with socks to soften and stretch them in the evenings at home.  It’s a wonder P still married me, confronted with that pretty picture every night.
But those shoes still killed me.
And 10 days later I still have no sensation in my middle toe of my left foot (a very odd, dead flopping toe feeling) and if I try to put (other) heels on, I get shooting, stabbing pains down my toes.  Hopefully this will wear off but this is taking suffering for beauty just too far.
I did succumb and put my jokey cowboy boots on for the evening – I couldn’t even stand in the shoes by then, far less dance in them. 
P is convinced I will never wear Shoes of Beauty and Pain again but I will, I will.  I want to have them dyed ballet shoe nude and wear them on the honeymoon cruise.  He’s worried I won’t be able to hike Yosemite etc afterwards as my feet will no longer function pain-free but I figure I just need to put more effort in.  Maybe.
So, wedding presents.  It’s very odd (not a natural segue there but go with it).  The majority of our guests were really generous; not everyone gave us a present but we did word it on our giftlist cards that they didn’t have to.  I confess with a certain amount of shame that I was still mildly surprised by people who came to the full day, that we fed twice and provided a non-ending supply of very good cocktails, wine and beer for, and who didn’t even buy us a bottle of wine.  But hey.  On the flip side, we didn’t tell any of our evening guests about our wedding list and many of them bought us gifts anyway – both on and off our list.  I slightly have the knock with P’s sister, whose partner is always boasting about how much money they have, who put almost the lowest sum possible in – and she alone drank double that, let alone the rest of her family of four adults!  It’s just that she’s his SISTER for heaven’s sake – and if they struggled financially, I wouldn’t think twice but they don’t; she doesn’t even have to work (jealous?  Moi?!).  She also got so drunk she was embarrassing so I still feel a bit sore about that too.  The weirdest thing is people who instead of things on our list, bought us vouchers.  I really appreciate the gift but I’d have expected anyone who went off-list to do so because they had a clear idea of something they really wanted us to get.  John Lewis vouchers don’t really hit that.  Still, I am sure we will find something to spend them on!  P suggested canapés for Christmas – I seriously cannot resist all the Christmas canapés in M&S and Waitrose, mini burgers!  Mini pies!  (And I don’t actually like full size pies so why I like these is a mystery).  Mini coquille St Jacques!  Mini Yorkshire puddings with beef!  Okay, I’ll stop now as I suspect you get the picture.  None of these make for a mini me, sadly.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Well, I’m back.  Spliced, hitched, be-knotted.

I think there’s more to say than a single post without writing a piece so long that it would try your patience, dear Reader.  I won’t tease though and start on the day before – today I’ll talk about the wedding.

It was a wonderful day.  I have to say, without the bias I obviously feel, it was the best wedding I have ever been to.  This was essentially because the food and wine was of such a high quality, rather than any super-hosting skills.  Although the ceilid band helped (think carnage on the dancefloor).

We kept the newspaper after all and I think it went down really well.  Who knows if people wondered if I was up the duff?  We did write “(not the)” in front of ‘shotgun‘ which people seemed to take as an intended joke.  I have seen a couple of photos from a friend of P’s and I certainly look fat enough for people to believe I was about ready to pop out a sprog or two.  But on the day I felt pretty good.  Initially I felt a bit anxious, but even the most suspicious person can’t help but be disarmed by such a torrent of compliments – even two women dashing off the street as I got into the car to tell me I looked “beautiful” and the registrar saying it was the most beautiful dress she’d seen in 10 years of being a registrar.  I did voice to one friend that no-one says to a bride “not a great choice there, love” but she said she’d be just less effusive if she hadn’t liked it.  Thinking about it now, it was probably the dress that knocked people for six – I certainly didn’t do it justice.  In fact there was a girl trying on the sample when I picked mine up and she looked lovely in it (I think she was a size 10) – I was definitely the sow’s ear masquerading as a silk purse but who cares?!  P thought I looked beautiful and, he told me firmly, ‘not fat’.  Although the photographic evidence shows he’s wrong, I’m just glad that that’s what he thought.

And the ceremony was lovely – really emotional and meaningful.  I had been worried it might feel impersonal and perfunctory as I have been to civil ceremonies like that, but it was anything but.  I felt so happy I coped with the photography and videographer because I really felt like I wanted a record of the day (having now seen a couple of pics, I may live to regret this).  Really I want to see everyone else though.  My bridesmaids looked AMAZING – they really did look stunning and I was so proud of them.  I enjoyed their transformation far more than my own!

And the sheer overwhelming feeling of everyone there for us, wishing us well, it was humbling, intoxicating and magical, all at once.  I wish I could go back in time and relive it over and over, scooping up the details I missed (I have NO IDEA what the cake looked like, or the cheese stack).  And annoyingly, I hardly ate or drank a thing so would like to go back and rectify that error!

I’ve made up for it since.  Got to get off bread and sugar and back on the wagon – a subject for another post perhaps.

Thursday, 8 November 2012


So, this is my last post before I get married on Saturday.  I've learnt a lot during this time - firstly, it's not possible to do every little touch you see on wedding blogs (HOW do they have the time?), secondly, Sod's Law will mean that work becomes ferociously busy just when you could do with having a lunch hour, leaving on time and sneaking a bit of wedmin into your working day and thirdly, an engagement ring does not mean that you will be a different person.

By that I mean that I had, somehow, thought that this might be the way I finally lost weight.  But that would only have worked if I had not really been trying; if my barriers were mental rather than physical.  I confess I am bitterly disappointed in myself even though I do know I tried as hard as I could.  I feel ashamed of myself as a bride, sort of apologetic that I don't fit the ideal.  Or even close to that ideal.  I am working very hard on getting over this and still enjoying the day.  I am determined that although I will be a fat bride, I will be a happy one too.  Although I seriously fear the cameras.

And I've made things worse for myself too.  As a surprise for P, who is a media hound, a journo friend and I wrote a spoof, silly paper to give to people when they arrive for the ceremony.  I gave it to P in advance in the end as there were similarities to his speech and I didn't want it to spoil that and for him to find himself repeating things.  He didn't like it.  I should have known really as he doesn't really like my humour (he doesn't find it very funny).  I am really disappointed that I failed to give him the lovely surprise I'd hoped to.  But it gets worse.  I had as my headline "Peridot and P in shock shotgun wedding".  I didn't realise that shotgun weddings were because of pregnancy - I thought it could be but that it was essentially a sudden wedding.  We've been together 17 years, that was the joke.  Except it's now not funny.  And people will think I'm pregnant (never a good thing but especially for a fat girl).  P's distinctly unimpressed, partly because he knows I'm so thin-skinned and partly because he can't see how me and P (yes, another P!) could be so dense ("fucking idiots" is the phrase he actually used).  I can't decide whether to just scrap the lot (£80 worth - but could be worse) or tough it out.  Either way, it's spoilt for me because I had envisaged a different reaction from P.

What do you think though?  Would you think it was a joke or would you think I was pregnant? 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Persepective. And boots.

Sometimes it takes something serious to put ridiculousness into persepective. I speak, dear Reader, of course of my own ridiculousness.

After throwing myself about (metaphorically) over the photos, it took a text from P this morning to make me realise that if I look awful, in real life, in the photos , it just doesn’t matter. P, who is stoic on the matter of health, who has never had a bout of man flu in his life (“Don’t FUSS” being his mantra), who almost never goes to the GP, sent me a text saying that he’d gone to the doctor/hospital: “I think there’s something wrong with me”.

Now, I have a tendancy to catastrophize, but my heart squeezed painfully in fear. He’s been waking in the night, choking and gasping for breath, in a cold sweat. And getting headaches and spitting blood. He’s now had blood tests and x-rays and there doesn’t seem to be anything seriously wrong, thank goodness.

But it makes me realise, all that matters to me is standing up in front of most of the people we love (and a few assorted hangers on ;-)) and saying that I love him and I want to be his wife.

The chances are that I am not going to be happy with the way I look – I will be a dumpy, fat, older bride and there’s nothing I can do about any of that. The photos are going to show that too as unfortunately the camera never DOES like (damnit). But. I will be a happy bride, surrounded by people I love and marrying the man I love.

On a shallow note: advice please. My beautiful oh-so-expensive shoes (easily the most expensive item in my wardrobe) are crippling. Never believe the hype about expensive shoes being more comfortable (I still have scars on my feet from Jimmy Choo ballet pumps). I am wearing them in - currently over socks for an hour or two each evening in a desperate attempt not to add a rictus expression of pain to the photos. But I think I’ll need to change in the evening if I am to dance or, you know, walk or stand or something. I had thought ballet pumps but to lose 3” is going to give me a problem with the hem of my dress. So, given that we’re having a barn dance, I wondered about cowboy boots. What do you think? Witty and practical or hideously mismatched? My dress is quite sparkly and vintage looking but funnily enough, the only real bride I found a picture of was wearing boots. Of course, she was from Texas and not East London.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Pretty as a picture

The wedding was lovely.  The bride and groom were so in love that they glowed with it.  The weather was beautiful - freezing but sunny and bright.  My dress fit (and I was complimented) and I kept my shoes on for almost the whole night.  All very positive.  Lest I get carried away by the relative glamour of my dress and super high heels, I have to tell you that I bought a hat to try and keep warm.  Reader, I looked startlingly like an Ewok (teddy bear creatures in Return of the Jedi).  It was not the look I was going for but I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this hat.  It covered up the scarlet stripes a treat!  Actually, I did some concerted washing and managed to tone those right down.  AND the hat also kept my ears warm.  A useful wardrobe addition.  Especially if I have to go to a Star Wars themed party any time soon.

I managed to tick off a few more wedding tasks which made me feel calmer.  I'm even relatively upbeat about the fact that I feel ill and coming down with a cold (not flu I hope) as it must surely grant me immunity for the wedding.

But it only takes a small thing to derail me.  I got the photos from our 'engagement shoot' today.  I look awful.  I think if I hadn't got them at work I would have cried.  I look stiff which is only my own fault as I was so anxious at the time - maybe now I've seen the worst I'll be able to relax.  Maybe booze will help.  Maybe the wedding atmosphere will help.  But I want to throw away everything I wore on that day - it was actually a shock to see how bad I looked.  P is fed up with what he sees as my moroseness and negativity - and I've put on a positive act for him! - we had a quarrel about it. 

Really I am only just keeping a grip to not pitch headfirst into self-loathing.  It's not our photographers' fault; as I said to them, 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear'.  Their technique was great - I can see that, save the subject, they are good pics.  They sent me 3 photos on email at work and I hated one with a frenzy, one was okay of me but not P and the third was not too bad (I just look lined and haggard).  Then the disc arrived tonight with an additional 5 - they were mostly worse (although the one I hated is still in the bottom two).  And they took loads on the actual afternoon - it's terrifying to think what the others were like.  I must be vainer than I thought - I must think I look better than I really do.  Or think that getting married would sprinkle shimmery magic dust on me.  I looked lined, dumpy and fat with piggy suspicious little eyes.  And roots (but that I can fix).

Trying to 'reframe' this: now I know the worst, it won't be such a shock after the wedding.  And I don't need nice photos to have a good time - all that really matters is marrying P; I'll look as good as I can and not let my hopes of what I might have been spoil our day. 

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Red for danger

I'm back in Blighty.  And about to leave it again.  Kinda. 

But back to the rest of last week: India meant long days and room service in the evening whilst typing at my computer (work, I'm afraid!) so I have very little knowledge of the country outside of my very nice but bland hotel.  Except.  One day we went out to the countryside for some business visits.  It was an experience.  Firstly, the drivers out there are crazy - it's terrifying.  They all fold their wing mirrors in so they can shimmy through gaps in the traffic; shimmying is not comfortable.  We were the 3rd car in a convoy when I thought my end had come.  We were overtaking a fast mountain of steel - a lorry bowling along a narrow country road so fast that we struggled to overtake.  And then a car driving a similar speed zoomed round the bend (yes, they overtake on bends, crowns of hills - you name it); our driver had to slam his brakes on to a standstill and pull sharply behind the lorry.  The oncoming car didn't bother declerating and missed us by about 6"; even the Indian people in our car gasped and moaned.  On the way back we carefully pulled around the sign saying the highway was closed until - surprise! - we found the highway blocked; we drove onto the scrubland and tried to drive around the blocade, we couldn't; we reversed back on to the highway and drove back down it.  The wrong way.  In the dark.  Until we came across a wall of sand.  Back down the road (the right way this time) until we found the slip road we'd entered on.  Then back down that (the wrong way) at high speed.  And we hit a dog.  Not clipped it, comprehensively bashed it.  I can only hope it was dead or it would have been in terrible pain.  And then we went over such a big bump, so fast, that my colleague in the back got mild concussion from being thrown against the ceiling.  And all this on a day where I went 15 1/2 hours without being able to eat and 16 1/2 without being able to use the loo.  Possibly a record. 

Then another appalling flight - NEVER go BA direct.  Inedible food, scruffy planes and screeching children running wild.

I had hoped that routinely missing lunch might have meant I lost some weight, but eating biscuits when I could just because I didn't know when I'd be able to eat again, did not, I suspect, lead to weight loss (haven't dared to encounter Scales of Doom).  But when I went for a wedding dress fitting it was distinctly snug.  And whilst I'm not battling with jet lag (mostly because I was up for 19 hours a day over there and the last day I was up from 7am on Friday solidly until Sunday 3am so was just generally exhausted) I am battling to come off sugar.  What's annoying is that I don't even LIKE biscuits - it genuinely was re-fuelling.

Tomorrow off to County Down for a wedding on Saturday.  In a very tight dress (that Vivien Holloway one again) and very high painful shoes.  There's a lot that could go wrong here. But I'm hoping I've negated the jinx by trying to add some colour to my faded hair:  there is colour but sadly it includes bright scarlet streaks at the back.  Oops.  My hair is literally scarlet with embarrassment at itself!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Currying favour

I write this, waiting for a biryani at my desk.  In an hotel in India.  I'm here for work and feeling a bit sorry for myself.  Despite the hotel room being incredible (ginormous bed, a stylish (if immodest) glass cube of a bathroom, a chaise longue and a desk) and emphatically not what I'm used to for work. 

I'm sorry for myself essentially because I've had two and a half hours sleep; this is not enough.  I was the only person who travelled economy and apparently business class was lovely and premium economy was bearable: economy was UNbearable.  There were a lot of small children who were allowed to run up and down the aisles, screeching, everyone else seemed to have an extraordinary view of what constituted hand baggage (bigger than the case I checked), I had a rubbish seat and the food was the worst airline food I have ever had - and it was BA!  Really, truly inedible.  And the flight was expensive.  So I arrived, hungry, sleepless and cross, got 2 1/2 hours sleep and then worked for 10 hours, missing dinner. 

And I know it's only because of the sleep deprivation that I feel left out that I couldn't find the others.  Since my day starts again in 9 1/2 hours, an early night would do me no harm anyway.  My nerves are already shattered by the journey here and could do with some re-building - they make the Syrians seem like crazily cautious drivers.  My colleague wondered how quickly they go through their brake pads; I reckon they probably write the car off before that becomes an issue

Biryani has arrived.  How can rice be so hot?  That's spicy, not in terms of temperature.  Wow.  The man was so pleased I'd ordered Indian food too!  I've stuck with veg in an attempt not to get ill before the wedding.  To be honest, my body must be a hostile place for germs with this biryani ripping through me like an inferno; ouch, ouch, ouch, not sure I'll be able to eat it all, hungry as I am.  Ohhhhhh, the pain.

Friday, 12 October 2012


This is a post-fitting, post-WI and post-interview post.  I am currently the poster girl of posts.

None of these was a happy experience. 

Firstly the fitting.  You remember my alchemy moment dear Reader?  Well, the tarnish is back.  The dress was fine (although oddly both paler and deeper in colour than I remember) but I was...not.  It was fine.  But I don't look amazing or anywhere near it.  I look okay, considering.  Considering that I'm fat, I suppose.  I look in the mirror and I don't feel joy or excitement, I feel sad and apologetic and I don't want to look for any longer than I have to.  Situation normal I guess.  Still, at least I KNOW I've done my best to lose weight for our wedding - I think if I'd faffed about and not tried as hard as I have, I would really hate myself.  The fitting lady was lovely as I joked and apologised my way through a frenzy of embarrassment and self-consiousness about being semi-naked in front of her (and my mum).  She told me stories of bigger brides (including one that lost 4st, bought her dress and then put on the 4st again before it arrived.  Got to be Lighter Life) and asked me "Are you healthy?" (yes), "Does he love you?" (yes) and told me that was all that mattered.  I know it's true.  Or it ought to be.  And yet...

Post WI.  Despite some very tough starvation days, I had not lost so much as a 1lb.  Of course there was the hen day but the tea was very dainty and I had 2 cocktails, 1 G&T and 1 glass prosecco.  I'm not sure that that balances out the 4 starving days.

Post interview.  It was really tough and, quite frankly, totally over the top.  A written exercise, a presentation as well as that role play and the actual interview.  I think I did okay.  And when I got the call this afternoon, some 5 hours after the 3 1/2 hour interview, I thought it was a good sign; it was not.  I did not get the job.  I kind of know that I'm more upset and disappointed than I would have been pleased and happy had I got the job, but it still feels ugh.

It's also post-hen.  It was a lovely day.  It was SO nice to see all my friends there and after a while I forgot to worry about whether J was having a good time or whether anyone was talking to M.  We started off with a charleston lesson - surprisingly tough, I really ached the following couple of days - but great fun.  Then tea in a lovely pub; that sounds odd but really wasn't.  Then cocktails at the most unusual bar - it was like Heston Blumenthal does cocktails.  Mine came with liquid nitrogen poured in (this was at approximately the same time as a girl was having her stomach removed because of that same ingredient!), another was flamed and a third had a balloon coming out of it which the barman lit the string and caused it to explode, releasing lemon scented gas into the air.  Then back, relatively sober by 10.30pm!  And I was fine the next day - well, except for a bit of post-Charleston ache.   Perhaps it's my halo that's weighing heavy and bulking out that dress?!

Thursday, 11 October 2012


No, Lesley, not the game where a couple of dozen men run around in man-made fabrics, embracing one another but something far more vital: shoes.

Shoes are currently very much on my mind due to the fact that my feet seriously hurt today. I bought an amazing pair of damson high heels (see http://www.duoboots.com/ladies-shoes/purple-suede/bacall/d/) which felt fine in the shop but wearing them just to sit in the office, wander to the loo and the kitchen and stand outside in them for about 15 minutes yesterday has caused my feet to still be throbbing today. They’re to wear to a wedding and I think I’m going to have to buy some flats too. This makes buying shoes an (even more) expensive business.

Also, I am trying to wear my wedding shoes in. They also hurt – after an hour of just sitting, I lost sensation in my toes. Wearing them with pop socks (ugh) makes a huge difference though (I had naked feet!) and they are incredibly soft suede so the sales assistant assures me that perseverance will lead to them moulding to my foot. I do hope so as they are more expensive than any other object I own other than my Mulberry bag.

I also wore some high bronze t-bars to my hen do. I wore them to meet my mother – about an hour – and again lost sensation in my toes and had to remove them on the train for some frumpy-feeling ballet pumps. I was back in them later but I was disappointed with my lack of staying power.

Now Reader, I have put the effort in here; I have been wearing heels in the office for some time to build up the appropriate muscle tone, so when is wearing heels going to become a pain free business? Does it ever? Is there anyone out there who knows? I do love them, and the way they make my ankles and calves look, but I am emphatically not loving the pain.

Organising a wedding, looking for a job and preparing for a week’s overseas trip are not things that should be contemplated together. I feel somewhat overloaded – hence the scarcity of blog posts recently (this may be a blessing for you, dear Reader, of course!). I have a dress fitting this afternoon and an interview first thing tomorrow: this is more stress than I can comfortably cope with. It is only by an effort of supreme will that I am not running about aimlessly, shrieking maniacally. I view both appointments with the same degree of dread – a three and a half hour interview (which includes a role play. Shudder. No, I am not auditioning for RADA and I find this as repellent an idea as it is unnecessary) and stripping to my underwear to be (possibly) squeezed into the most important and expensive dress of my life, I am not in love with October so far.

More on the hen do tomorrow post-traumatic appointments, hopefully.

Friday, 5 October 2012

(Not) all is vanity

I can see the point of vanity sizing: if I find an item of clothing that I like, it suits me AND it’s in a smaller size, well, that just about makes my week, if not my year. And I clearly have to buy it. But the opposite? Reader, that doesn’t make a jot of sense to me. I went to Vivien of Holloway for a dress to possibly wear to my hen do the other day (I know Linzerellos is a fan) – I had to take an afternoon off work to do this as they’re based out in zone 2 in the opposite direction to me. Anyway, they measured my waist and declared me to be a dress size 2-3 sizes larger than I usually wear. Four sizes than my current smaller clothes. Now, I know that I can usually wear smaller skirts than anything non-stretchy for my, ahem, top half but this was ridiculous.

“Oh it’s because they’re vintage sizes” explained the assistant.

But they’re not actually vintage dresses are they? They’re repro dresses so why make people feel bad about themselves? I bought the dress but it’s difficult to take any pleasure in it because I know what size it is – and that size is what I was wearing three stone ago.

So this weekend is the hen do. Having bought this dress for it, my friend who will be class swot at Charleston says it makes her “glow” so much that she’s often “dripping in glow”. I don’t think I’ll be wearing a snug 1950s style dress to sweat in. I need to go home and find something else to wear from my – frankly rubbish – wardrobe. It’ll be fine. Somehow. And I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends – I just don’t get to see them enough.

P is very sweetly making sure he’s home to come and meet me from the station.  It's a 5 min walk so possibly overkill but it's nice of him - I don't know if he's expecting me to be a bit befuddled...

I finally stepped aboard the Scales of Doom today. I was 1lb up from before the East-West holiday (typed that as Eat West by mistake – some truth in that typo). It’s depressing as I’ve had 4 starvation days since then and many a sensible day. Tomorrow will not be a sensible day. And tonight we are out for dinner with friends (Lebanese). And I have finally made an appointment for a wedding dress fitting – next Thursday. Very scared. Can they make a silk purse out of this sow’s ear? I’d settle for polyester gladly - just more silky than sowy.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Uptight, up-weight and update

An update is overdue. I’ve been back from our East-West trip (okay, Devon and Suffolk) since Thursday but trying to get back on top of work has dominated my time. More particularly, applying for jobs to take me away from work. There’s nothing that makes me so excited as the job I missed out on but I’ve put in a couple of applications and am scouting for more opportunities whilst keeping my fingers crossed for something that appeals as much as The One That Got Away. Ideally actually getting the job this time.

I have just fallen in that the wedding is only 5 weeks away now. Not sure why that’s suddenly come as a surprise but it has. And a week of that I’m away in India with work. I am kind of freaking out. Not sure why or what purpose that will fulfil but there we go. Clearly I’m going to be a fat bride (assuming I don’t contract something dreadful in India. Dysentery didn’t make me lose weight you might recall...) . At least I’ve really done my best not to be a fat bride. In such minor points must I seek consolation. Of a type. As it is, I’m especially freaking out about my dress fitting. It was to be this week but 10 days off, with more carbs than I should have had, will have caused my weight to rocket (I’m too scared to actually get on the scales) and the fitting would be a couple of days before my period is due which would cause more bloating. But. What if I’m the only bride who’s fatter now than when the dress was ordered? What if it doesn’t fit? I am literally breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it. My heart is pounding and I want to cry. What a wuss.

There is, I am sure, a myriad of other wedding details to sort out (I spent yesterday looking at over 8000 cufflinks on Etsy. That is not an exaggeration – in fact there were 8,128) but I can’t see past the dress fear to work out what they are. If only, IF ONLY I was the sort of girl who lost weight through stress. I’m on a fasting day today (and last Friday and Wednesday and Thursday this week) and I am hungry; stress or no stress, I could seriously eat. I could eat for panic, I could eat for hunger and I’m pretty sure that despite not doing either, my metabolism is still flatlining.

Other things stressing me out: my mum got me in a right tizz about my hen do. Now, this is organised by my two best friends who are, I think, like sisters to me. I don’t actually have a sister but if I did, I cannot believe I would love her as much as I love these women. I trust them explicitly, implicitly and every which way. But my mum started saying what I could and couldn’t wear and I got breathless with fear. As it is, I’m going shopping tonight but I do have a back up outfit in mind. Not a great one but it’s good to have that safety blanket. At one stage I thought they’d planned a ‘bag lady’ theme – which they’d both be rubbish at but which I could probably have quite a choice of outfit for.

And we went to lunch with friends of P’s on Saturday. I had in mind exactly what I would wear, but when I put it on and showed P he said it looked too tight. The skirt was actually a bit big but what he meant –and clarified in slightly too graphic a way – was that it emphasised my horrible stomach. I changed but felt awful – about myself and about my outfit choice and about my wardrobe in general - and these clothing crises are just too close to the wedding day for comfort or sanity.

I’m also suddenly feeling a bit self-conscious about being the centre of attention – more at the hen as P will do a good job at sopping up attention on the wedding day (most people there are on his side): how absurd? There will only be half a dozen of us at my hen do so I can hardly be too worried. Not to mention that these are my closest friends. I’m hoping that a zen like calm will descend on me any day soon and persist until well after the wedding. Ohhhhmmmmmm.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012


I have about 10 days off now.  I need a break; P needs a break.  It's a good thing.  We are going to stay in an amazing hotel in Devon for two nights (seriously, booking took ages as they consulted me to the minutest detail on our preference for bedding and pillow fillings) and then to the lovely B&B we stay in each May for three nights.  Then a few days in Suffolk as P has leave he needs to use and I need to be with him and away from the office.

I booked the hotel as a birthday present for P; we're eating there on both evenings.  In fact, we know the hotel because we've eaten there twice but have never stayed.  The food is very good but it's the experience that's amazing.  On his actual birthday we're having a seven course tasting menu with matched wines.  It's all amazing and I'm looking forward to it.


I am always scared of the impact that having a life will have on my lardiness.  We'll be eating out pretty much every evening (we may have a room picnic at the B&B one evening), there will be wonderful breakfasts, a cream tea for sure, wine and who knows what other wonderful, terrifying things.  I owe it to P to enjoy it fully with him - he's very patient about the fact we rarely eat together - but I owe it to me to make the best choices I can.  Is it possible to do all this at the same time?

We'll be doing some very hilly hiking too but I'm not naive enough to think that will do much to the balance sheet.  If the weather's like this though, it should be lovely.  At least one pleasure that doesn't come with a side order of fear.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Eyes down

So, it appears that you can't swallow down sadness with food.  Nor can you take the bitter taste of disappointment away with sweet things.  That's right, dear Reader, I didn't get the job that I wanted so badly.  I heard this morning by email.  I suppose I knew it was unlikely but the rebellious bit of my mind that wouldn't quite give up on the dream had constructed whole alternative universes with me working there, away from the vileness of my office and somewhere where people are nice and I could have been enthusiastic about the work. 

It doesn't help that this knock back comes hard on the heels of my six monthly check up with the mad Prof about my weight.  I absolutely know going in there that it won't change anything (other than it's nice to see him) but when I leave, having recounted the failures of the last six month and having agreed together that there's no drug on the horizon and I'm doing the right things so maybe at some point my metabolism will perk up (or show some signs of existance - perhaps I need the Higgs Bosun guys), I want to cry and cry and cry.  Being terribly English I just sit quietly for a day or so and will away the frequent surge of tears when they threaten to take over and try and count my blessings (which are of course plentiful).  At least I managed not to cry in his office this time; that's progress.  My voice went a bit squeaky and wobbly but we politely had an unspoken pact to ignore it.  He's very English too.  Insists on calling me Miss ....

They say that nothing tastes as good as being slim feels.  'They' clearly aren't getting out much but nothing tasted right tonight. It's pointless grazing all evening of nothing of nutritional value, let alone diet compliant, but just at the moment I don't have the mental resilience to stick to the diet.  So that's been my Friday night. That and watching an indifferent chick flick featuring the absurdly beautiful Nathalie Portman.  I even bought a bottle of wine to drink solo (P is out) which is incredibly rare.  But I had to force down my solitary glass in the end (pretty stupid in itself).  It could have been indifferent wine of course but nothing seems to take the taste of disappointment in myself away and I suspect that's the problem. 

I worry that I've inherited my father's bodge gene (along with his mean little eyes) - if there are two courses of action, he unerringly picks the wrong one; bad luck seems to dog him and it's not entirely of his own making.  Although he has a spirited and unceasing attemt to botch up his life comprehensively.  Maybe I have that trait?  The one that makes me clumsy and mistake-ridden and unlucky?  Count blessings, count blessings....  Anyway, I've practically had a heart attack every time my mobile has rung this week (uncharacteristically frequently) so at least I needn't be so on edge now that I know that the man from Del Monte say no.

I had the call to say my wedding dress has arrived (one of the ones that precipitate my heart to a gallop).  The boutique owner told me what to bring for my fitting and included Spanx adding politely if mendaciously "not that you need it".  I joked that they hadn't yet invented Spanx that could contain me and that they'd need to be made of a stronger substance than kryptonite to stand the merest chance.  But at least I had started work on my bingo wings before I had this call.  It gives me the illusion that I might make some progress in de-wobbling myself.  Okay, it's unlikely in about a month and a half but worth a shot.  I've been doing some weights at home - three sets of targeted exercises, three sets of reps of 15, four times a week.  My arms feel hot and achy and I hope that this will at some point frighten the fat away.  Sometimes it seems that the only fearless part of me is my fat because it toughes it out whatever I throw at it (a hungry and hard week of intermittent fasting achieved a very disappointing loss of 3/4lb this week).

Perhaps I'll win the lottery tomorrow and then I won't need to worry about work at least.  Assuming I win the big prize that is, I don't think £10 will emancipate me from my life of wage-slavery.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Life in the fast(ing) lane

So, Blogger has decided that I can’t blog from my work computer. No, not even not in work hours. Who would have thought that a virtual entity could make such strict moral judgements? It’s going to make life trickier, that’s for sure. I can see my blog but I can’t log in and post. Apparently it’s sniffy about the creakiness of my ‘platform’. So, happy to make those sort of moral judgements then...

I finally braved Scales of Doom yesterday; I had put on 3lbs. It’s been 2 weeks and long weekend of hedonism since my last WI. But also 4 days of ‘fasting’. I am, of course, hacked off but I did eat a lot of bread products. Sadly the memory of that is fading fast whilst the fresh wound caused by results on the scales is seared into my psyche. I thought I had better slot in an extra ‘fast’ day today. So please excuse any grumpiness....

I’m actually going to change my routine to make it more literally ‘intermittent fasting’ so that I’m (mostly) doing this Monday, Wednesday and (you guessed it) Friday. It means changing WI to a Tuesday I think (since I’m at my mum’s on a Thursday morning mostly) and that’s not ideal. But I’ll give it a go. Okay, the BBC man only did it twice a week but I do not have a normal metabolism to contend with. And I’d really like to lose a stone before the wedding. Okay, a stone and a half but I know that’s not possible.  Let's leave aside the elephant in the room here (no, not me, a metaphorical one) of whether it's possible to lose a stone and concentrate on going forward.

The key to this diet seems to be not treating the non-fasting days as a free-for-all – tempting though that undoubtedly is. I see it as a 3 phaser: phase 1 – very restricted calories, phase 2 – a normal dieting day and phase 3 weekends when I allow myself to have a glass of wine or two and maybe, just maybe, the odd treat.  Occasionally. In actual fact, there isn’t a massive difference between phases 1 and 2 – compare and contrast the last two days as an example:

Phase 1
B: Large latte
L: Tub cottage cheese, head chicory or a few cherry tomatoes.  Nectarine
D: Vegetable stir fry.  Fruit yoghurt
Phase 2

B: Greek yoghurt with a few raspberries and some nuts/seeds
L: Chicken salad.  Nectarine, 4 greengages
D: Marinated squid and salad.  4 greengages.  2 dark chocolates

Essentially the difference is more fruit and a bit of chocolate. And I don't put up with being so hungry either, I guess.  At weekends I might have a different breakfast – a cheese and tomato omelette or smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and some wine with a more substantial (but carb free) evening meal.

This weekend we back down to Suffolk. And, dear Reader, you remember the 22 bike ride that nearly killed us? Yep, we’re doing that again. Possibly with a bit more of a rest built in. I seem to remember that it had no effect on weight loss but I can’t help but think that it ought to. And that this time, it might. Yeah, yeah, I know – definition of idiot is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. So bite me.  (Unless you're fasting too.)

Friday, 31 August 2012


I am proof positive that there are no such things as guardian angels. Or at least if there are, I’ve had a vacancy for a very long time.

I mentioned that I have an interview on Monday, right? I really would like to work for this company and I’ve been doing my research and preparing like mad. And this weekend I was going to pull all that research together and formulate my responses to likely (and unlikely) questions. I’d planned my outfit. I’d plotted how to slip away from work without detection. I was going to be slick, professional, prepared.

So I was mildly surprised when my colleague wished me luck this morning over my computer. His girlfriend was one of the interviewers so he knew about it. I sent a merry note back about Monday and how nervous I was; he queried the date. I checked my letter. No, the interview was TODAY in half an hour’s time. Dear Reader, I hope you are gasping in horror and sympathy – can you imagine how I felt? Well, let me compound your horror that by telling you that it’s dress down Friday in my office and I was in skinny jeans (they’re still called that if you’re not skinny, right?), a coral Breton tunic and plimsolls. Their HR department was sympathetic but immovable. Shaking with distress and fear I ran out of the door, straight there.

I managed a merry quip about the lovely jacket I’d been intending to wear at the start of the interview; I closed by laughing that at least no-one at work would dream of where I’d been, dressed as I was, but really I was a hair breadth from screaming with rage, frustration and disappointment. Mixed in with a dash of humiliation for being such an idiot (HOW did I think it was Monday? It’s in my diary for Monday, I had it all planned out...). I didn’t do my best; I was nervous and gabbled too much and too fast. My answers were not succinct and slick, they were flabby and unfocussed. I think I managed maybe 60-70% of my best at most – that’s all. Okay, under the circumstances that’s probably all I could do but it’s not enough. P thinks that my 70% is better than anyone else’s 100%, bless him, and praised me for my bravery in getting up and just doing it under difficult circumstances. And he pointed out that I have more chance of getting it by doing what I did, than by taking the easy option and not going.

I have to wait for two weeks now to hear the result. And I need to. I’m pretty certain that I won’t get that job but I cannot help but have a little, teeny-tiny flicker of hope and I need that to be put out so I can move on. But I bet I have nightmares tonight.

Still, at least they’ll remember me, right? Grrrrooooaaaan.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012


So I’ve clearly missed refined flour. A lot. I’ve eaten quite a bit of bread, a croissant (and a bite) and a couple of cakes. It may be coincidence that I’ve had dreadful stomach pain and bloating for the last couple of days. I don’t think I’m gluten intolerant but maybe my system was a bit shocked to have been dough-bombed to this extent. What the reason is for my severely upset stomach is another matter. I’m trying to tell myself that it will help with weight loss but I remember that dysentery from Syria did not. Oh yes, the mental scars on that one are still super-fresh. Suffice it to say that it was a mercy for the passengers of the Jubilee line that I was working from home this morning or we could all have found ourselves in a pretty pickle. Well, not a pretty one...

Apart from the gastric upsets which set in on my actual birthday, the weekend has been fun. We saw my friend and god-daughter and handed over their bridesmaid/flower girl dresses – and were quizzed by her husband on canapés and eating times! (My friend’s husband that is, not my god-daughter’s because she’s 6. And anyway, I intend her for my nephew. Who may well be gay, but hey). We had a lovely long hike with a picnic (baguette with pate and a bottle of cider – oh happy days!) in the sunshine and watched a film with a bottle. We went out to dinner and had a lovely meal (squid followed by duck with pistachio pilaf followed by baked nectarines). And P bought me a beautiful 1950s ladies’ dress watch.

I drank much more than usual, ate much more than usual and much less judiciously than usual. And I know Lesley quotes Mrs L’s mantra “knowledge is power” but in my experience knowledge has the power to turn round and whack you round the face, leaving you blinking in pain and disappointment. So I did not consult Scales of Doom this morning – even though I could sense it peering beadily at me whilst I was, erm, pinioned to the loo. Next week will be soon enough. Especially since the way that the weeks have worked out means that I’ll have done 4 ‘fasting’ days between now and then. Even then, I bet the knowledge still has the power to sadden, dismay and disappoint me. Even with a little light dysentery on the side.

Ah yes, the tie shop. Well, it’s actually rather a prestigious shirtmaker’s. But although the full story is – I confess – rather good, I can’t tell you because I’d have to play a bit fast and loose with P’s details. And he absolutely hates that I write this anyway so I can’t be too candid. Suffice it to say that I was working there and he wasn’t but nor was he a customer – he had a specific reason for being roughly there-ish. And we got talking. And then we went to an exhibition over the road and it went from there. And a mere 17 years later we’re getting married!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Hedonism ahoy!

My bi-annual bout of hedonism is about to commence.  I look forward to this with more than usual eagerness as today I'm on a 'fasting' day and so am a) hungry and b) very, very tired of cottage cheese.  But tomorrow there will be cake!  Croissant!  Dinner out with pudding! Wine! All of which I am sure will make me very sad when I crawl back to Scales of Doom on Wednesday.  I may even chicken out....  But in the meantime I will enjoy immensely.

It's my 3rd day of 'fasting' this calendar week but diet weeks currently start on a Wednesday and I can't see when I'm going to fit in another before next Wednesday.  No matter, I will be 'fasting' next Wednesday and Thursday (probably) and I'm sure it will be a grievous shock to the system after a few days off.

Yesterday afternoon I took a half day's leave to do more wedding stuff.  Poor P tried on many suits in order to find 'the one'.  His line in the sand was that he wanted them to have a working cuff.  This automatically cut out almost all the suits we looked at.  In the end, having been to a number of posher options, we found that the Saville Row collection for M&S were a great buy - okay, they were expensive (especially for M&S) but the fit and the quality was great.  And then we found that they had 20% off!  This cheered P up no end - after walking for miles and being sold at by salemen intent on making him buy something he didn't want and didn't like, he was not happy mid point through the afternoon.  We also bought bridesmaids' dresses and ties for the groomsmen.  P told the man in the tie shop that we'd actually met there (we did!) and now we'd come back to buy ties for our wedding - the man showed some interest but didn't offer us a discount, affected by the romance of the moment!

Laden, we staggered in to an over-crowded pub to meet the secret drinkers from my office (ie the nice people who had snuck off and not told the coven of evil managers or the brown-nosers, rather than people with alcohol problems) where I discovered that foregoing alcohol in the interests of The Diet meant that 2 gin and diet tonics made me rather squiffy.  Maybe I'm not build for hedonism!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Tunnel vision

My boss has resigned. He doesn’t even have another job to go to, he just can’t deal with the toxic way our office is run. I can see the difference in him – it’s like a weight has been lifted from him. He’s also abandoned all pretence at towing the line and is being very frank (“career cul-de-sac” was a personal favourite). But it was still a shock when he confirmed that there was literally a campaign against me. I kind of hoped I was just being paranoid but it seems I am not. He advised me to “get out as quickly as you can”. Good advice. And on the upside, at least I’m not paranoid! (Or if I am, that they really are out to get me!)

This is the third ‘campaign’ against someone in less than the year my boss has been there but of course I have been there for four years and this is the 6th I know of. I don’t suppose it will ever end. In fact, I can see them gearing up against a newish girl on another team too. She’s good at her job but they’ve just taken against her. It’s a cycle of persecution that never ends. And why does this keep happening? Well, no-one’s really sure – partly it’s fear (I might be next so quick, let’s pick on someone else) and partly I’m sure it’s because the Dementor gets a kick out of the drama, with her in the middle of it all.

So it’s good advice I got from my boss – but kinda superfluous. Believe me, I’m trying to escape. So I was devastated to find out – by accident – that I hadn’t even been shortlisted for one of the jobs I’ve applied for. Devastated because it’s exactly the job I’m doing, just in another department; it would have been the easiest to do and the easiest to move to with the same money and I’d be able to take the leave I’ve been squirreling away for the wedding. I’ve now found out the reason I wasn’t shortlisted which is pretty shocking – even too shocking to share here, anonymously – and maybe, just maybe I had a narrow escape. Apart from the salary, the leave and the ease of it all.

I do however have an interview for a week on Monday. I’m terrified. It would be a struggle financially, I’d also struggle with my leave for the wedding and honeymoon and the job is only for a year. But it’s a great organisation – it literally sounds like the antithesis of where I am now. And I do really want it. So I’m terrified.

Luckily I lost 1 ½ lbs this week – that was with 3 days on the “fasting” programme in anticipation of the weekend. I say 'luckily' as L is a fabulous baker and brought a whole tray of her incredibly delicious millionaire’s shortbread which I definitely had my fair share of. I was pretty restrained apart from that but I think that third day 'fasting' saved me – that and a 5 hour hike anyway. It was a great weekend – they’re such a well suited and lovely couple – and it stopped me brooding when my escape tunnel had caved in. I’m now digging my way to tunnel 2.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Purple haze

Bless her, R must have tried on approaching a dozen dresses yesterday – and E joined us at half time (when it would actually have been quite nice to suck an orange but which actually found R and I in semi-stupified silence in Starbucks necking a quick drink). E must have tried on the ‘short’ list of half a dozen before we moved on to fresh frocks – I am a purple meanie who just sat/stood outside or dashed off for additional sizes.

But the long and the short of it is that we have a dress. I haven’t actually bought them yet because I’m hoping for a shopping event over the bank holiday to get the price down a little if I can. It doesn’t tick all the boxes – it was E’s first choice but only R’s second (and mine too actually) which caused a people pleaser like me a bit of anxiety – I did suggest they wore different dresses but E and R didn’t think that was a good idea. I have to say that they did both look amazing in it – it’s quite 50s but in a very elegant way rather than a cute way - and R looked like an off-duty ballerina dressing for dinner with an admirer after a performance and E looked like a wealthy, glamorous socialite or film star. I was in fact so struck by how they looked in it that I snuck away at lunchtime today to try it on myself as a possible cruise dress: I looked like a frumpy housewife. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a housewife (I currently rather aspire to this) but frumpy? Never.

The frumpy me that stared back out of the mirror today was the icing on the cake of this week’s weight struggle: I put on just over a lb. After that monster cycle ride, talk about rude! I’ve decided to squeeze in an extra milk ‘fast’ day today in the hope of a much better result next week. Especially since we have friends staying with us in Suffolk this weekend and P has been cooking up a storm of SE Asian food which does tend to have sugar in it even if I stay away from the coconut rice and Singapore noodles (and I won’t be able to entirely) and there will be plentiful wine. I’m doing starter and pudding – I’m doing a mango and lime fool with coconut and lime macaroons which is, at best, damage limitation as it’s not actually swathed in yards of pastry or similar but still, has the evil sugar in (both naturally occurring in the mango and added in).

By the time I have to confront SoD again, I will have done 3 milk ‘fast’ days and I’m hoping that will both compensate for a very little extra excess on Saturday (we’re also doing a long hike) and make up for this week’s disappointing result.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Not as flat as all that

On the basis that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, I'm pretty damn strong at the moment. 

I found a mostly-off-road cycle trail in a book that we fancied trying on Saturday; it was 22 miles - which seemed on the wimpy side but manageable.  We were gone four and a half hours.  Seriously.  I've taken off the time P took to mend both our chains when they got stuck.  With at least 5 miles still to go, I felt really tired and turning the pedals became more and more of an effort.  Suffolk is not as flat as you might think - it has a lot of barely discernable but long inclines (up of course) which became very discernable as time went on.  Even P who walks up 18 flights of stairs every day was flagging by the end.  I had to sit on the sofa comatose before I could summon up the energy to get in the shower.

So, I ought to have a respectable loss tomorrow.  The two 'fasting' days this week have been my toughest yet - not sure whether it was the cycle ride, the fact that my period has just started or some other random factor.  I'm looking forward to being able to eat a little more tomorrow though.  And looking forward to a good result (p-l-e-a-s-e Scales of Doom).  (Ms Kay - have answered your question as best I can (not sure what the opposite of diet guru is but that's me) in the comments section under your comment.)

Actually I have a critical shopping trip tomorrow - for bridesmaids' dresses - and may not have time to think about food too much.  I'm meeting my two best friends and we're hoping that some time and determination will find what has so far been a disturbingly elusive dress.  I want it to be purple, them both to love it and ideally be something they can wear again.  It doesn't sound hard, does it?  We shall see.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Working for my crust

I feel you are due an update. I have been avoiding coming on here for fear of being what is glibly called “a Debbie Downer”. Things at work are still desperate but I’d like to thank you for your words of support, advice and encouragement; I have applied for one job and am in the process of applying for another and I have my eyes peeled for any others. Applying for jobs is a lengthy and time-consuming process; applying for jobs whilst trying to satisfy the despotism of a cliquey group of tyrants and trying to keep one’s wilting pecker up, is a whole other world of pain. But oh so worth it – even to feel that I’m doing something to get myself out of that situation is good.

And good news on the old WI – Scales of Doom are obviously aware that I am teetering on the brink of the abyss and awarded me a 2.5lb loss for the week! I can’t quite believe it! Okay, the misery diet may have helped a little but I had fish and chips, 3 fizzy cola bottle sweets, 1 spoonful of ice cream, 1 slice of bread and 2 glasses of wine (not all at the same time – over the course of the weekend). I have no impending tricky things to negotiate in the week ahead (food-wise at any rate) so it will be interesting to see what happens this week. As long as TOTM doesn’t sod it all up.

The trick, I think (and it is harder than you might imagine) is not to think of it as a 2 day a week diet; oh no, it’s an all week diet where 2 days are particularly tough. It’s all too easy to put off having anything on the milk days by thinking you’ll have it once the 2 days are out of the way – and then thinking you’ve promised yourself and you deserve it! The reward needs to be scales-based rather than food-based.

Talking of which.....

My birthday weekend is in 3 weeks time now and I have been consoling myself with self-indulgent thoughts of a diet-free nature in times of stress. This is what I fancy but will try to talk myself out of at least some of this arrant hedonism:
Breakfast – chocolate croissant, fruit
Lunch – picnic, mid-hike, with baguette, pate and cheese and a cupcake or brownie
Dinner – we’re going out. 3 courses plus wine plus a glass (or two) of fizz.
Following day – afternoon tea and more fizz I expect
I know, terrible isn’t it? And I’m not usually that interested in croissants – I have no idea why I suddenly want one so badly, pastry is not something that ever calls to me usually. But then, I always said my favourite carb was rice and it’s actually bread I really, really miss. Not boring old sliced bread but yummy artisanal have to cut it yourself (wonkily in my case) bread. Okay, I need to stop thinking about bread now.

I am working from home today. It’s a weird one – I miss my colleagues (most of them are lovely – just a few (senior) ones who are vile) but it’s a treat to have a lie in and be able to bung washes through the machine. I had thought of it as a respite from the spite but although I’m out of the atmosphere, an unpleasant email last time I was working from home showed that they can bring the nastiness to you. Poor P came home to me in tears again. I am not really a cryer so this must be alarming for him (I think 3x in the last week) but he takes it all in his stride; on Monday he looked at my face when I got in and said “you’re not going to be eating tonight, are you?” so he knows the signs! He’s been an absolute tower of strength and I really think I wouldn’t be so sane without him (okay, my definition of sane may be different to yours!). Every day he tells me that it can’t get any worse and they can’t physically hurt me or kill me so it’s okay. I am trying to stop finding it all so hard, adopt a ‘sod it’ mentality and just think that it’s only a matter of time before I’m out. Work in progress.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Living for the weekend

I think I’ve hit rock bottom at work. I am trying to think of this as a good thing because although I may languish here for a bit, it can’t get any worse unless they sack me. And that’s hard to do in the civil service and with years of good appraisals behind me.

Wednesday was appalling; it was a day without food again (just felt too sick) but a day in which I cried on two people; one was a friend but the other was a senior manager who just came over to say she was sorry I was being treated so badly but that I wasn’t alone in that, if it made me feel any better. It did a bit (which I know is wrong) but I just burst into tears and choked out “I’m so sorry, I’m just not used to people being kind” which, whilst pathetic, is true.

I had agreed with my manager to do a first draft of a major piece of work for when he came back in 3 weeks time. It was brought forward to 3 days time. I tried to explain why this wasn’t possible but to no avail. I managed something for a meeting with my head and deputy head of department; it was the wrong thing and they didn’t like it (despite me telling the deputy head what I was doing). I was torn to shreds in the meeting. And the information I needed to do my work, none of my contacts could understand a) why the rush (it’s for something at the end of October) and they were working to a previously agreed deadline and b) there was nothing they could say and they were mystified as to why it was getting this level of interest. I couldn’t explain since as far as I know (and that’s precious little) it’s simply about the egos in my office. At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe because the alternative is that it’s simply aimed at making my life wretched for no good reason. But the lack of substance doesn’t prevent these two demanding that I find substance where there’s none. There’s no scrap that I can embroider into anything even, no matter what the pressure.

Then the Dep (Queen of Dementors) took another piece of work my manager was happy with, asked for proof he’d signed it off, then told me it wasn’t good enough.

I was in the office for 11 hours straight on Wednesday and 9 yesterday. I didn’t even dare leave my desk to get something to eat or go to the loo as I feared it would call attention to me. As it was, because I hadn’t eaten or drunk anything, I didn’t need the loo, so that was one problem solved I suppose.

One of our new and junior members of staff who was looking some stuff up for me actually asked me “Are you being punished for something? Because that’s what it feels like”. She’s really unhappy there and wants to leave because of the toxic culture where bullying is not just condoned but encouraged and the blame culture that leaves people frightened and unhappy. She wants to leave but she’s only been there 6 months and thinks she can’t. I’ve been there over 4 years and I think I must. Fingers crossed for the job I put my application in for last week – and that something else suitable comes along, I’m certainly scrutinising everything.  And I'm leaving an escape tunnel behind me if I possibly can.

In diet news, well am hoping a day without eating and a day eating practically nothing will balance up the fish and chips planned for Saturday night. My official WI showed me 1lb up on the previous week but nearly 3lbs down on the unofficial post-weekend WI so there’s a lot of work to do and I need to keep on working hard at it. I walked past Ben’s Cookies last night and so strongly wanted to treat myself because of how miserable I feel – but managed not to and come home for a piece of fish and some courgettes instead. No, not the same thing at all is it?! But my one treat will be that supper and I mustn’t waver in any other respect. My brother’s asked me to make sure that my niece doesn’t have too many sweets or chocolate and says she’s “greedy”. Poor little girl, she’s only 9. But she doesn’t want to grow up like her Auntie, of that I am sure.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The great white hope

So, a WI post weekend showed that all those hated lbs had gone back on - and brought a chubby little 1/2 lb friend with them.  I'm hoping that this was a false start and that this is still a plan that will pull my diet plan from the smouldering ruins of despair and I had some cake over the weekend so maybe that has bitten me on my wobbly bum and if I stick to the (admittedly joyless) plan, I will make some progress.  I have an official WI tomorrow, having just done 2 intermittent VLCD days so we'll see where I am then.

A lurking trap just waiting to bite me with fanged jaws is, as ever, disguised as fun.  I have my 9 year old niece coming to stay with us in Suffolk with my mum and her dogs.  We'll be pretty cosy in our little hut.  Anyway, the hastily conceived entertainment plans end in fish and chips on Saturday night.  I am hoping that one lapse will not derail me but I am not optimistic.  I can't see a way round it though.  We're getting off an evening boat trip and heading back hutwards and need to pick up something hasty, child-friendly and treaty but not expensive en route.  Anyway, it will be lovely to see my niece - I don't see her often as she lives well and truly oop north (okay, Manchester) and she's very sweet and funny.  And she has a strong accent which amuses me although she pronounces 'bath' the way I do - because, as she says, she is "half southern"!

Work is dreadful.  I won't try your patience but sometimes it feels as if I'm teetering on the edge of insanity.  Or some kind of abyss anyway, I try not to look down into the depths.  I've put one job application in so keep your fingers crossed for me.  I just have to scrape enough confidence together to get through the interview; I'd be very unlucky not to get an interview but getting the job is a whole other ball game.  And I am notoriously butter fingered.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Holy cow (juice)

After two hungry days I lost 2 3/4 lbs.  Pretty damn amazing.  That's up there with Lighterlife.  I will need to see how the other 5 days impact on this - ie whether my weight just shoots straight back up - but if it doesn't, then this is very good news.  Okay, the 2 days were unpleasant but if I can lose 2lbs (+!) a week, I can put up with that. 

Of course, as much as I try to resist the temptation to, it's impossible not to do frantic sums and work out on this trajectory what this could mean.  Essentially if I could lose 1/2 a stone a month (so I'm not maxing out my optimism here), I could be a stone and a half lighter by the wedding.  This would be enough for me to retrieve my sense of self-esteem.  This would be, well, wonderful.  I'm trying not to get my hopes up to dashable heights but it's pretty tough.

So potential diet busting events between now and the wedding:
- my birthday (end of August) when a meal out, a slice of cake and a glass of fizz would be nice
- P's birthday (end of September) when I'm taking him to this amazing hotel in Devon for a long weekend - partially there and partially at our usual (lovely) B&B
- my hen do (more of that later)
- my family hen do.

My hen do is being sorted out by my lovely bridesmaids.  I have never thought of myself as deficient in the friend department until now.  Because there are only a very small handful of women I could invite and several of them can't make it.  Quality over quantitity is usually my watchword but I do actually feel a bit vulnerable about this.  And realistically, since there are only likely to be about 5 of us, we're limited in what we can do.  Not that I wanted the whole raucous L-plate wearing, sex toy brandishing, ritual humiliation, drunken clubbing night (fine if that's your thing, it is emphatically not mine), but even so, we're limited.  And yet, I know I'll enjoy whatever E and R come up with (no, they're not the queen) but I feel a bit embarrassed and ashamed for some of the others - that they'll think I'm a tad tragic.  I'm not well versed in hen dos - I've only ever been to one in my life; I've only ever been invited to two!

My other hen do is easier - less expectation maybe - and bizarrely bigger.  I wanted to do something for family - my weeny literal family (my mum), my metaphorical family (E and R and my godmother who will be over from the US and who I haven't seen since I wept bitterly as she returned to the States when I was 9 years old), and P's mother and two sisters.  And his three neices if they want to come - I suspect the 20 year old isn't happy with us for not asking her boyfriend.  Who we've met once.  He seemed nice but.... Anyway, he can come in the evening.  The middle one essentially only eats sweet stuff and fish fingers so it might not be her thing.  Heaven knows how she's made it to 17 without passing out.  And the youngest is 12.  A young 12.  So, we're all going out for afternoon tea the Sunday before the wedding.  Those of us who want to.  It will be nice for all of them to know who the others are.  And I felt as if there was no role for me when my brothers got married.  One previous sister-in-law invited me to spend the day before her wedding with her, her sisters and bridesmaids and have my nails done and drink fizz.  It was lovely and I was so thrilled to be included.  But that was it (out of their three weddings so far).  I guess the Chav-bride's equivalent was when the whole of her family went, en masse, for a spray tan (at the end of October); not sorry to have missed that experience at least.

Monday, 23 July 2012

The milky jar kid

So, after a weekend of on-track eating and a cycle ride.... I have put on 1 ¼ lbs. How can this be? I really don’t understand what is going on. I’m hurtling in the wrong direction despite my best efforts.

Today is the first day of my 2 day v reduced calorie milk diet (that Genesis Intermittent thingy I mentioned). My menu for today looks like this:
Breakfast – Flat White, small plum yoghurt
Lunch – pot cottage cheese, chicory bulb and a peach
Dinner – vegetable stir fry and maybe another half yoghurt

Then I eat ‘normally’ for the other 5 days. I would just revert to my usual complex-carb-free diet. IF this works, I might be tempted to do this for 5 days and eat normally for 2 whenever possible – kind of invert the concept. I am feeling something approaching frantic about my weight and at the moment am scratching around for a Plan B so I really have my fingers crossed.

I’m a bit worried as to exactly how hungry I’m likely to be later but I guess that’s kind of the point (the point is that you’re supposed to come in under 650 cals). I have to grit my teeth and hope it’s worth the effort. And that I don’t get the shakes.

I spent a lot of time writing a job application yesterday. This is not fun. It’s such an investment of time and hope (breaks off to check lottery numbers. Damn.) and in my field, the application processes are a flipping nightmare. Still, I’ve got to try to escape; I can’t go on in such a toxic atmosphere.

The combined stress of work and diet seem to have made me even more clumsy than usual. And not in a ‘aren’t I just so cute and adorable’ Twilight/Bella way either. I managed to flip cream over the carpet and myself on Saturday night and I STILL don’t know how I caused the pot to do a full somersault in mid air. And then I tipped red wine over the table and carpet yesterday. I think I need to be kept away from any liquids for the duration.

PS Am hungry. Gaaahhhh, this had better work.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Weighing heavy

I KNEW knowledge wasn’t power (sorry Lesley). After a whole week in which all I’ve done is picked at fruit and plain yoghurt, had some bread and coffee and had just one meal (veg and noodle soup) I thought I’d approach Scales of Doom. After all, we’d not spent any time together for a month and it might feel insecure and needy – and therefore appeasing. Apparently not. I’ve put on 1lb.
Obviously I want to rail at the unfairness of it all but I’ll spare you that. Sadly my appetite seems to slowly be returning and I had my first proper meal last night, despite still feeling wretched and desperate about work. I’m not eating much but am starting to feel hungry. I’m actually pretty disappointed – screwy huh? I thought that at least if I got a decent weight loss out of all this misery, it would at least have achieved something positive. I was even wondering how long I could go without properly eating and how much I could lose. Not sane or sensible – I can see how you could really go astray here. If I’d had a good loss, maybe I would be trying to starve myself to achieve more. But with no loss I just feel even more fed up.

• 3lbs heavier than last year ( a year of solid, conscientious dieting),
• ¾ lb less than I started the year, post Christmas eating
• 1 stone 4lbs heavier than my lightest – about 3-4 years ago
• 4lbs heavier than my lightest this year so far
• So much over my target for the wedding that I dare not think about it but certainly at least a stone and a half heavier than my ‘surely I can lose this pitiful amount and this will make me feel a bit better’ weight
• 3lbs heavier than when I went wedding dress shopping

I’m never going to crack this, am I? If you looked on one side at the effort I’ve put in and the minutes, days, months and years that I’ve spent on this and on the other, at my ‘achievement’ it’s laughable. It’s laughable and lamentable and completely bloody inexplicable. I’m so tired and fed up and depressed by it that I don’t know where to turn or what to do. I commented on a post about weight loss for weddings the other day and I wrote, determinedly bright and positively, ‘but I can honestly say, hand on heart that I have done my best’. And then I found myself adding ‘but my best just isn’t good enough’. And it’s true.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Silver linings

I'm clinging to them.  I am lucky to have a happy home life with P who I love and who loves me, some amazing friends and my mother who is more like a friend than a mum.

Because work is very, very bad.  I got back from a week's leave to an atmosphere you could cut with a knife.  And given that I am more or less used to working in a toxic environment (actually... kinda literally too) it takes something extra 'special' to notice a deterioration.  By lunchtime I was shaking.  I had already had to cancel my dress rehearsal of my choir performance - thus foregoing the performance which I've worked on for many weeks and was looking forward to and the half day's leave I'd planned so that when my mother came to see me, I could take her out to lunch and not get stuck in the office.  I was - rather feebly - close to tears with the disappointment in any case.  But I pushed the issue to find out what was happening.

It transpires that my head of section thinks that I am no good and that my boss is carrying me.  I do not have a high opinion of myself and I KNOW that's not true.  But unfortunately he gets an idea in his head and it's hard to shift - logic alone will not prevail.  And of course Queen Dementor is there, thrilling at the misery and drama of it all, ready to stir and stick the knife in.  So, although my boss is supportive, the next two levels have got it in for me.  I know that sounds paranoid but I work in a huge blame culture and I've seen it happen before with people being forced out through bullying and ill treatment.  I just never thought it would happen to me.

So, although I love the subjects which I deal with, I'm going to have to find something less interesting and less personally appealling in order to escape the toxicity and bullying.  It's not a good time to look - summer is notoriously quiet even without the Olympics and the economy is not as rosy as our politicians would have us believe.  And I have built up enough leave for the wedding and honeymoon too which will be a problem. 

Another silver lining is that I can't eat.  This has only happened to me once before.  I feel hungry but I just.  Can't.  Eat.  If I were more like a normal girl, this would surely involve impressive weight loss  But.... 

More on hiking in the monsoons some other time when I'm feeling less bruised and wretched.