Monday, 30 April 2012

Pants on fire

So, I smugly said on a comment on Seren's blog ( that I had no badness planned; I lied.  Inadvertently, but I did.  Sunday was a wedding cake tasting.  Cake Lady #2 came to our flat - I was working but had cunningly worked out the time I was likely to be not busy.  I was wrong.  So I had to dash off and leave P to talk to her.  But I tried the cake - well, 3 of the 5 as I don't like fruit cake.  It's not a good sign if you don't want to finish your small piece, let alone have a bit more, is it?  The fillings were lovely but the cake was too dry for my taste.  So that's that decision. 

And SoD is unlikely to look kindly on the experience.  Which is rather a shame as I'd lost 1lb last week - even though it was only 6 days since the last WI.  And I'd lost another on an unofficial WI pre-cake.  But, alas, the sudden carbs are likely to mean a less joyful encounter with SoD on Wednesday.  The carbs also caused me to get the shakes most unpleasantly by early afternoon.  All this for disappointing cake!  Still, our actual wedding cake will be worth all the side-effects.

I think my good results on SoD were partly due to an upset stomach I had presumably because of my nerves about Dress Shopping.  So it really is an ill wind, isn't it?!  I would like to lose a stone by November but I think - given my present rate of loss - half a stone is probably the most I can hope for.  The dress can only be improved by less of me to fill it though.

Ah the dress.  I've had a wobble!  The sensation of seeing myself is fading - it seems like a dream.  And I looked it up online where it did not look nice.  To be fair, the clever wedding dress lady had said that it looked nothing online; she was right.  I saw a few real brides in it - it didn't look great on them either.  I am reluctant to believe I could look better in it than other people and it's confusing me.  I'm keeping the faith though.

It certainly has made the rest of the shopping more pleasurable.  Not that I've done any but I've looked.  And the relief of having the dress sorted (ignoring my wobble) means I can enjoy finding shoes, earrings etc  I had bought earrings not long after we got engaged, thinking they'd go with any dress - I was wrong.  And my plans for make up won't work either.  But it's fun to seriously attend to these fripperies now.  In fact, I have found the shoes I want -  but they are eye-wateringly expensive.  But I can have a bespoke height of heel and they're supposed to be very comfortable.  And they are beeeyewtiful.  (can you hear the siren song of justification?!)

Friday, 27 April 2012


You know, dear Reader, how much I was dreading wedding dress shopping? From last weekend I couldn’t sleep. When I did sleep I had nightmares. I had stomach ache, I felt sick, I craved chocolate (yeah, I know – no logic there), my heart beat so loud and so fast, I could hear it - I could practically see it. I knew that I’d done my research and the two shops I had appointments with were renowned for their great and sympathetic service. It’s not that I thought they’d be unkind –but I did think I’d have to spend a lot of money for something that would ultimately make me feel bad about myself and my body. That I’d be settling for something that was ‘adequate’, that covered me up but would never, could never, make my heart sing. That would be a stark reminder of the chasm between my hopes, aspirations and dreams and grim reality.

I was literally shaking in the first shop, despite the assistant being really kind and friendly and not remotely intimidating. I couldn’t look at myself as she eased me into the first dress – I was terrified it wouldn’t even do up. I left the cubicle, still shaking – but.... I looked okay. Quite nice really – and certainly better than I thought. I probably tried on half a dozen dresses – most were okay-ish, one was not great but didn’t make me want to cringe as I looked at it and rip it off. I found a dress that, with some modification, would do very nicely. Simple, with a little detail. My mum liked it, my bridesmaid liked it, I liked it. I left feeling incredibly relieved – and if I hadn’t already had an appointment for the second shop, I’d have called it a day, much lighter of heart.

Then I went to the second shop. The owner was very different and I certainly wouldn’t mess with her, but that was a good thing for a wussy coward like me who would wriggle out of the encounter if I could. I also felt that I’d get an honest and frank opinion from her – no sales guff. Well, the first dress she put me in was sublime. I would not have chosen it – it was entirely lace in a very faintly apricotty cream. She popped on a little off the shoulder stretchy, fitted bolero, also in lace, very Audrey. “Ohhhh” breathed my mum and my friend. I actually gazed at myself – me, who cannot meet her own eye in the mirror! I didn’t care how much it cost, I would have to have it.

She put me in a 2nd dress, it was lovely, very Grecian. I liked it but it could never compete with the apricotty lace number. Then. “You told me what you don’t like in a dress” said the lovely shop owner “but I’m going to put you in this anyway”. I regarded the dress warily – wasn’t it a bit showy for me? But I obediently wriggled in to it (it was a 10: it did not close at the back properly). My mum’s hand went up to her mouth, my friend’s mouth gaped open: “You look stunning”. I could see the shock in their eyes. I looked in the mirror – it was true. I could see the shock in my eyes! I cannot tell you how overwhelmed I was, I genuinely didn’t recognise myself – I almost wanted to touch the mirror to see if it were true.. I am very, very English, I do not do emotion in public, but I thought, I really thought, I was going to cry – my lip wobbled and my eyes filled, I was absolutely overwhelmed. If someone had designed a dress for me they could not have come up with anything that was as beautiful and that suited me as well. I bought the dress. Of course.

I’m going to be vague because I really want to keep it a secret until the wedding – and anyway, I’m not sure I could do it justice in a description. The owner said that it looks nothing on the website – and I’ve looked and it does not.

But as a sop, here’s the apricot one. Which is apparently cream lace over pale gold – but as I said, it looks like a cream with a hint of apricot. Ignore the gigantic flower at the waist.  I would put an actual pic in but Blogger is so bloody useless now, it barely works for me at all.

When lacing me in to the dress, the owner had told me of the “dark arts” of proper corset makers (the dress has corsetry – result!). “It’s alchemy” I exclaimed in wonder at the sudden revelation “I’m base metal, turned to gold”.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Frocky horror

I feel as if I am being marched towards the guillotine. An extreme reaction about going wedding dress shopping? Perhaps, perhaps not. Only time will tell.

I’m off tomorrow and Wednesday (with the latter being D-day). So next time I update, it will be the hiatus. Because on Saturday I go back for a second pasting to a second hand dress shop. Which I think could be worse – they only go up to a 16 (and don’t have many of those as most brides seem to be a size 8-10) and although I am a 16, apparently wedding dresses run small. Because after all, why wouldn’t you want to make a bride feel small – whilst and by telling her she’s bigger?

I’ve decided to WI tomorrow – it’s a day early and for reasons I will come on to, I am more than usually scared. Sufficiently scared that I missed Unofficial WIs on both Friday and today. This makes Tuesday even scarier. And the reason? We had a wedding cake consultation on Thursday evening. And I ate cake. The sugar caused my heart to beat too fast and too loud and too randomly. But the cake was good. At this stage we couldn’t choose the flavours, it was to give us an idea of quality. And OH BOY. We had white chocolate and Baileys: I don’t like white chocolate, I would never choose this, and it was DELICIOUS. We both loved it. Then we had chocolate and passionfruit – I didn’t fancy this either, it sounded like an odd combo to be. It was DELICIOUS (yep, this word is going to be over-used) – the sponge was so, so moist and the passionfruit icing tangy and sweet at the same time. Then we had peanut butter and chocolate which I would have thought would easily be my favourite – it was nice but nothing compared to the other two. Then P manfully ate the rum-soaked fruit cake on his own (fruit cake: ugh) and declared it....yes... DELICIOUS. So we have to wait and have an actual tasting with our other potential cake maker on Sunday but I cannot, cannot believe that they can be as good.

But now you see why I am a-feared, no? I had 3 half cakes on Thursday and a fairy cake at work. Oooohhhhhh, the guilt.

And I bet the fact that we had a really tough cycle ride on Saturday counts for zip. Actually, I couldn’t believe it when I worked out on the map that it was only 13.5 miles. Most of it was either on hilly roads (do NOT believe anyone who tells you Suffolk is flat – they’re not big hills but they’re long. And frequent) or off road. Or both. I literally couldn’t hold up my own arms at the end – they were like wet bits of string. Chunky, lumpy string, obv. I think it was the combination of bracing against the handlebars and the shaking from the terrain which must have been akin to being on a powerplate for the best part of an hour and forty minutes. It was specifically my triceps which were traumatised though which is rather pleasing. As long as it translates to trimmer arms, that is. Ideally before Wednesday.
Think of me at 11.30am and 2pm on Wednesday. And also a bit tomorrow morning. Gulp. And see you on the other side.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


I gave SoD a stern talking-to this morning before I climbed aboard: I have been nothing short of angelic this week. We had a (painful – my pelvis is... tender) partial off-road 16 mile cycle on Saturday and I’ve walked in three times. I’ve been really vigilant with my food too. I lost 1lb – that’s kind of okay except that I’d put on over 2lbs the preceding week and I was that weight on my informal WI on Friday. And Monday. Surely I should have lost some extra since then? Apparently not. So, I’m still 5lbs heavier than before Christmas, having lost 3.5lbs in 3.5 months. I am a stone and a quarter heavier than my target and just over a stone heavier than my heaviest weight. It’s hard not to feel a bit pulled down by this but pulled down or no, I just need to keep going. And so I will.

It’s been a weird week. I’ve not really recovered from buying the evening dresses and then had my first ever order from ASOS delivered with two dresses I’d had recommended to me. One was a turquoise jersey maxi with a ruched tube bodice and halterneck, then just falling straight to the floor (or, in my case, to the floor and then puddled on it) – it looked terrible. I’d never appreciated how ugly my back was – it looked like an enormous slab of (white) meat. The other was a cream chiffony faux-wrap with balloon sleeves – I like the dress, I love the sleeves, but I suspect it doesn’t suit me. It’s pretty short and my pudgy knees are not really up to the exposure. Am taking it to my mum’s tonight for a second opinion. Rather dispiriting all in all though.

Then last night I had an appointment at Bravissimo for a strapless bra, ready for the Wedding Dress Ordeal. I was not looking forward to it. But I had an AMAZING fitter (ask for Antoinette at the Oxford Circus branch – so helpful, knowledgeable, calm and frank) and walked out having bought 3 bras (and matching knickers because I have a slight ‘issue’ with non matching lingerie) and a basque. It turns out I’ve been wearing the wrong cup size (not sure for how long) and that is why I’ve had an ugly overspill of fat under each arm. Although I’m sure ugly fat has something to do with it too, but apparently it’s boob. It also explains the purple and red bruising I’ve had at the side of my boobs each night. I didn’t buy a strapless in the end but an ivory basque as it gave me a better shape and obviously the extra coverage and pulling in is a very good thing. But it turns out I’m a 34-36FF! That’s....absurd. Actually literally, that sounds like a comedy bosom - especially on someone my height. I’ve been wearing 36D so you can see, dear Reader, the cause of my shock.

And tomorrow we have a cake consultation that will involve some actual eating of cake. Still, weather permitting, I’ll be back – wincing – in the saddle on Saturday and I’m hoping to swim walk to work on Friday and Monday. But WI next week will have to be either Monday or Friday as the only two days SoD and I will be together. Eeek – I’m fearing it already whereas I should be enjoying a few days away from its tyranny!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Going undercover

With a mere 10 days to go, I am ramping up my anxiety about wedding dress shopping. In a whole morass of fear, I am focussing on one thing at the moment – principally how I can wear as much as possible in the changing cubicle where (so I hear) you have to strip down with someone else there. Gulp. This will be unpleasant for both of us.

I tried one of those sort of sucky-in slip dresses on – it didn’t suck in and it dragged my boobs down. So my latest plan is sucky-in knickers under a slip (petticoat, not dress. It’s just that petticoat sounds frilly and this is just a nude straight slippy thing) and a strapless bra. It’s the area of waist to mid thigh that I’m keenest to keep under wraps (for wedding shop lady's sake too!) and I think this is the best way, short of making like a Victorian lady and insisting on changing in a box. Which I would totally do if I thought I could get away with it. And if I thought I could a) buy and b) transport my box there. Even with a slip, I’m still going to be very self-conscious and very anxious about the whole thing but I simply can’t put it off any longer.

Gabby made the intriguing suggestion of fake tan to make my blobby arms look less blobby in my sleeveless dress. Now, I do St Tropez my legs in the summer as the glare reflecting from my stark white limbs could blind an unsuspecting passer-by. But I have never tanned anything else. Because I am so white, even those hint of fake tanners can look alarming on me – I tried one when they first came out (was it Nivea?) and achieved a fetching orange zebra effect which although high in comedy value, was low in attractiveness. So my question is: can anyone recommend a very gentle hit of fake tanner for the terminally pallid?

Also, thanks Amy for your comment on my diet. I eat macadamias because they’re the least carby nut – I like most nuts so it’s not direct preference. Is there a better choice? Happy to try out almonds/cashews (my favourite) or anything else really. Except peanuts – not allowed those.

I’ve had a good week diet-wise and the weekend looks good too. No social plans except for being with my lovely P and we’re hoping to cycle 10 miles off-road round a forest tomorrow which, assuming it doesn’t kill me, should do me some good I hope. I’m hoping it shocks my body into dumping quite a bit of lard – this miserliness has to stop! I have much lard so there’s no need for hoarding.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

A tale of two dresses

After spending the weekend terrifed that I would burst, Hulk-like, out of a small hole on the inner thigh of my jeans, last night was designated 'go to the shops' night. This always involves me tussling with stroppy bus drivers and so it proved. Nevertheless, jeans had to be bought.

Still experiencing my heart intermittently palpitating in terror at the thought of what I was going to wear on this cruise, I thought I would look around the department store I was in. A colleague sensibly suggested that I try to buy something every 2 months so I didn't have a last minute panic. Reader, can you tell from that she's slim? Because I always spend the period of time leading up to an event (any event) doing series of complicated calculations in my head about how much weight I could/might be able to/would like to lose. And therefore only at the point where I absolutely have to, for fear of running out of time, do I shop. In a panic and full of self-recrimination. Please see current wedding dress avoidance behaviour for proof of this.

But actually, I have rather shown myself that this just doesn't work. If it were possible, I would have managed to lose a lot more weight before wedding dress shopping in 13 days time. Whilst I'm certainly not giving up dieting - or giving up hope that I will be slimmer - I am accepting the grim reality that if I am disciplined and diet, I can maintain being this overweight but not achieve much more than that.

So I thought I'd check out sale dresses. And I bought one. (£170 reduced to £103). It's a dark teal/green silk long dress. It's a pretty dress. It's okay on me - hopefully. The colour's good and the rest is - okay. With a decent strapless bra, a shrug-type device, heels and 4" chopped off the bottom to make it full length on my hobbit limbs, it will do.

So in my lunch-hour today, I went to buy a strapless bra. And I bought another dress. (£350 reduced to £140). (And a bra). It's very 30s (the dress, not the bra), taupe satin in a loose sort of fishtail design with a cowl front and back and sort of Grecian loops of material falling down the arm. And I think it almost looks nice - it's not at all the sort of thing I thought I could get away with and it needs sucky-in knickers but - it kind of looked quite... nice. It's about 1" too small to comfortably do up (at the side - really, who can do those up? You have to be double jointed) but I think that's achieveable - should be able to get into that in a year, it's not challengingly tight. The only scary bit is that I can't really wear anything on my podgy arms because of the Grecian loops. Is it even possible to get more toned arms whilst remaining stubbornly porky? This is not a rhetorical question.

Lesley suggested I borrow outfits for the cruise. Alas, all my friends are at least 3-4 sizes smaller than me - bless their ickle, slender cotton socks. Or so I thought. My old co-conspiritor from LL days reckons she's got some stuff from her bigger days that I can borrow (she kindly offered me 12s - 18s - but I well know it will be the bigger end of the spectrum). I can't borrow anything full-length as she's about 5" taller than me, but I'm keen to investigate this potential source of largesse.

But with two dresses behind me - even with one more full-length, two cocktail dresses and two "elegantly casual" dresses to go, I feel I can rest on my laurels a bit now. Of course, in a way it would be nice if I were too slim for these in a year's time but experience shows me otherwise. It might invoke sod's law (not SoD's law which is a tyranny of rage, disbelief and despair) but I'm not holding my breath. Except to get that zip all the way up.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Cruise control

The second post of the day! An almost unheard of event.

So, I just paid the deposit on the first bit of our honeymoon. Yes, that would be the end of May 2013....

We are going on the Queen Mary II to New York - it's a complete other world. Almost literally from the size of it. It's like the Death Star. But hopefully more fun and with less chance of being throttled. Especially since I leave Lady Vader back in the office.

I practically had a melt down at the level of commitment this required (and yet marriage has no fears: weird) but my terror is definitely tinged with excitement.

Terror reached a new level however when I read about the wardrobe requirements. I begin to wonder what sort of pressure I’m putting myself under. A scruffy, dumpy girl who in the next year now has to find: (apart from 1 x wedding dress) 3 x balldresses, 2 x cocktail dresses and 2 x formal outfits. And accompanying shoes. And that's just for the evenings (breathe).

I have nothing in my wardrobe that will in any way meet these requirements: on the rare occasions we go out to dinner I wear a skirt and t-shirt if it's summer and a skirt and jumper if it's winter (or any season which may purport to be otherwise but is in fact flipping freezing). It's poor but it's all I know. All I can say is "Eeeeeekkkk". In a very high pitched voice and possibly rocking a bit.

And then there are the practicalities. How does one pack a bag which has to contain all of the above PLUS hiking gear for Big Sur and Yosemite? There are no luggage restrictions on the ship but there most certainly will be flying on to California and then home again to the UK. All I can think of is shipping my cruise wear back from New York when I get there but I'm not sure that's even possible/affordable. And assuming that I'm ever that organised that I own this fictional wardrobe in the first place.

I am going to put a paper bag over my mouth to breathe into, right now.

The good news...and the bad

So, WI last week. I was going to get back to you wasn’t I? And then events overtook me on Thursday and I didn’t have time. Let’s start with the good news: I lost 1lb and a ¼. Which – and don’t tell me you didn’t see this one coming – brings us to the bad news: I weighed myself yesterday and have put on 1lb ¾. List of things which have taken me to this dismal state of affairs: 2 hot cross buns, ¼ piece bread, 4 glasses of wine (over 4 nights I hasten to add), 3 mini crème eggs, 6 coconut M&Ms and more of the officially sanctioned chocolate than is, er, officially sanctioned. I’m going to have a good week and take stock next week and make some decisions on what I can change/cut out then. But I'm not convinced that this was such a heinous stash that it justifies an almost 2lb gain.

For those that are wondering what I’m eating, this is a typical weekday menu:

Breakfast – berries, 100g yoghurt, 1 tsp each of sunflower seeds, 2 tsp flaked almonds, 6 walnut halves.
Lunch – home-made soup. If it ever gets warm enough, this will change to salad.
Snack – 100g macadamias
Dinner – fish and veg (eg tonight is Cajun salmon and roasted ratatouille), couple of squares dark chocolate

Now, sometimes there are cheesy things in the dinner – not slabs of the stuff but in recipes. And at weekends I have a more substantial breakfast – a cheese and mushroom omelette or scrambled eggs with bacon/smoked salmon. And the weekend also includes a glass or two of wine. But that’s pretty much it.

Perhaps I can find a new breakfast – any ideas? That would cut those nuts and seeds which I am suspicious of. I prefer something that I can have at work since when I walk in, I like to delude myself that I’m burning fat by doing it before I eat. Breakfast is always a problem. And maybe I can find a better afternoon snack. But lunch and dinner are stellar I think.

Next week should be pretty straight forward and assuming it doesn’t hail as much as it did last night (AND I had nubuck boots on – not good) I can walk in most mornings and we’re due to do our inaugural cycle on Saturday. I predict a very painful pelvis for Sunday/Monday/Tuesday...

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

A brief reprieve

My decidedly non-official WIs show that SoD is showing its usual determination to destroy my equilibrium by refusing to budge despite heroic efforts on my part. I have done a lot of walking (enough to budge the bulge but not to cause my (useless) body to panic and cling on to its ready fat supplies) - 10 miles on Saturday and 2.5 -3 on Wednesday, Friday and Monday (and today). I ate a hearty breakfast at the weekend and so just had a snack for lunch those days and I just had the one glass of wine over the entire weekend. But, as ever, SoD is winning the mental battle and today I ate too much chocolate - the right stuff: dark and 'only' 100g but it's more than I usually allow myself. And stupidly and senselessly it's because the scales aren't budging - exactly where's the logic there, doofus (I speak to myself, dear Reader, not to you)? And it made my heart flutter most uncomfortably as if I'd had a couple of strong coffees. On the pain/pleasure basis, I ought to realise that this much chocolate is A Bad Idea and never do it again. Hmmm.

But I do realise how far I've come (I mistyped 'far' as 'fat' which was sobering) - I've had a couple of comments recently admiring my "willpower". Now, I've always thought of myself as so entirely lacking in willpower that I don't possess an iota of it in my entire body, but you know what, although I do fail sometimes (see, sigh, above) I succeed so many times. And I'm SO much better than I used to be. It's still a story in progress but I've come a long way. If not to the kingdom of slimdom, alas.

Bizarrely I've also had 3 comments all around me looking "sleek" or been asked if I've lost weight. SoD says a big fat NUH-UH. And I know I've not built muscle and reduced chub so it's not that. I am, frankly, mystified. All I can think is that people assume that because I'm getting married, I must be dieting and therefore must be losing weight. And that people see what they expect to see. May that continue through the ceremony is all I can say - just keep those rose-tinted glasses (or whatever they are) firmly affixed please.

Today should have been the WI but I wasn't at home at SoD's disposal to diss me and dismiss me this morning - I stayed at my mum's last night (not to avoid SoD but because I'd had my hair cut). So tomorrow is the day which dictates my mood for the week (only a slight exaggeration). Panic-eating 100g of chocolate was probably not the best timing then. Even if it is the season of chocolate. I really want to skip the WI so I will have to force myself to do it tomorrow - and then I'll try and come on here as a way of holding myself accountable and tell you the news. And our weekend plans. Best to look ahead, hey?