Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Back to the gym

I’ve learned something new today. In the gym this morning I saw a girl doing what I thought was a squat with very bad form. Having asked Boyf about this, I have learned that there is an exercise called “Good Morning” which looks a lot like what the girl was doing. According to Wikipedia, there’s a school of thought that suggests that this is a move which is likely to cause injury. Now, I don’t do that exercise – mostly because I’ve never seen it before, but also because I would be very concerned that I might hurt my back and/or legs in doing it. I’ll stick to my squats thank you.
Speaking of squats, I’ve upped my weight on my first session back from holiday! Woo! I squatted my third set at 67.5kg. I’m quite proud of that, now I just need to get the weights up on some of my other lifts. I struggled with the shoulder press at 17.5kg, but I did manage to complete both sets of 8 lifts. I added a new exercise this time too; I did 8 bicep curls. I didn’t enjoy it! I managed to use a 15kg bar for those.
I’ve also stopped the slim fast plan. I really can’t stick to it for long periods, and it’s been several months anyway. I’ll be trying to eat healthily though. I intend to make packed lunches for Boyf and me, probably starting next week. I think I need to buy some more lunch boxes, or possibly some differently designed ones, to include snack compartments.
This morning after the gym I have had a Promax Diet shake. I made it up with a whole pint of milk instead of the 350ml of water it recommended. I had that at about 9:15 and I’m still not hungry at 12:15, so that’s good. I might get one of the snack bars while I’m getting my lunch today, but if I do I might not want my tea tonight!

One of the hardest things about eating healthily, for me, is being organised enough to eat healthily. I don’t dislike the sorts of food I should be eating, things like salmon, tuna, chicken or turkey fillets, eggs – I have absolutely no problem with those sorts of food. I’m not a big fan of lettuce or other salad leaves, but I like tomatoes, cucumber, and things like that. In fact, there aren’t many foods I’d list under dislikes. Black olives, beetroot, and celery – those are my least favourite. I’ll not eat black olives at all, and I avoid beetroot and celery where possible.
Prior to the holiday Boyf and I had two wheat-free days. It was great! Boyf missed having toast, I think. For me, the main benefit of bread is its convenience. However it’s not exactly top of the list for foods to eat while dieting! If I could slice the home-made stuff a bit more thinly that might help. Still, now that we do make our own bread i get to choose what goes in it, so we can have some very exciting loaves! I have all sorts of flour (somewhere in the boxes of stuff that is yet to be moved into the kitchen).
So, yesterday I posted a picture of me in my bikini (sort of) and I wondered about doing a before-and-after type thing. Sadly there isn’t a picture of me in the same getup “before”.
However, I do intend to lose even more of that flab, so perhaps this photo can serve as the before for the next phase. Though the chances of me being in a bikini at Christmas are slim…

Monday, September 28, 2009


Boyf and I have recently come back from Lanzarote. We had a lovely time, and I’d like to share some of it with you.

We flew out in the morning, meaning that we arrived at the resort early afternoon. I found that quite pleasing. The flight itself was almost four hours, which isn’t bad really. I had some magazines and some crochet to keep me entertained. (I have finished the large bag, but it needs lining. You’ll see it soon enough).

So as not to completely bore you, I’ve created a collage with some comments/captions for you. If you click on the collage you’ll be taken to Flickr. If you’re interested from there you can view all my holiday snaps.

Lanzarote Mosaic 1. Timanfaya - Vulcan Grill - We got to eat food grilled on top of a volcano!
2. Timanfaya - Vulcan Grill - We got to see the national park of Timanfaya, including the volcanoes.
3. Timanfaya - Vulcan Grill - We even got to get out of the coach, which you can’t do on many of the tours!
4. Evening drinks... after earlier drinks
5. Ready to head to the beach - I promised you a bikini photo, and here it is. I’m pretty pleased with this new bikini actually, it’s by Panache from Bravissimo… (There are even photos of me in a smaller bikini too – but you can only see those if you’re my friend on Flickr!)
6. Local Tipple - I tried the local wine. I tried quite a lot of the local wine, actually!
7. Jameos del Agua a Cesar Manrique creation, like something out of a Bond movie!
8. Jameos del Agua - and my handknit shawl out in the wild!
9. First Evening - on the beach front for dinner, very pleasant!

(Created with fd's Flickr Toys)

We had a really nice time, and then to top it off we spent Sunday at the Masham Sheep Fair! Woo! I bought yarn, fleecy stuff, more carders (shiny silver ones!), books and soaps. There were lots of sheep to look at, sheep racing and all manner of craft suppliers.

Well, now we’re back to the grind, we’ve a kitchen to finish! There’s actually not that much left to be done, only finishing. However, as I know from my knitting, it’s the finishing that’s the killer! I have to touch up some paint tonight where there have been some additional unexpected renovations. We have to put doors on, handles on, tile and skirting. Oh, and a window sill!

I have the lining to make of the bag I crocheted on the flight, but I also made this smaller one out of the leftovers. I lined it with some fabric from my stash (yes, I have a fabric stash too) and I’m pretty pleased with it overall.
Note to self: when there are straps, buttons and lining, do the lining last otherwise you have to take it out again…
Small Crochet Bag
I’m using one of Boyf’s old shirts to make the lining for the bigger bag. I might put a pocket in this one, as it’s quite a bit bigger than the little bag. I also can’t decide how the bag should fasten – or indeed whether it should fasten. Hmm.

I’m also joining in another dye-along. I don’t know exactly what colours yet. The theme is “inspired by flowers”. I went on a mad photos-of-flowers mission over the past few days, so perhaps that will help. It’s amazing how much you see when you’re looking for pretty things to photograph!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Not about the kitchen!

I know, I haven't posted in an age. Bad blogger!

So, anyway, I know I promised a post about the kitchen. I'm afraid that I've failed in that respect. We haven't uploaded any photos of the kitchen and I'm now in a situation where I don't have access to a wire to do so.

The best I can do is post old pictures which went on a while ago, or else take photos with the camera on my laptop.
Which is actually not bad, for a webcam.

So, anyway, instead of talking about the kitchen, I have a bunch of other things to talk about.

As I breifly mentioned at the end of the last post, I've been lifting some pretty heavy weights in the gym. I have mixed reactions when I tell people about this. The majority of people seem to be concerned that I might get “too muscular” or something. Well, if that were my goal then it would be none of their business, but it's not. I'm not worried that this will happen though. I'm already squatting 65kg (yep, a new personal best again). I bench 20kg, I dead lift 20kg, I can shoulder press 17.5kg, but it's hard.
I read two really good blogs about women and training, specifically weight training rather than cardio. (I hate cardio with a passion, really – who enjoys spending hours running on the spot in a dull old gym?) one of them is Cassandra Forsythe. She's a nutrition expert, and has co authored a number of books about weight training for women, including The New Rules of Lifting for Women: Lift like a Man, Look like a Goddess which I own. The programs in there are pretty tough, and there's a lot of bizarre exercises, but the main point of the book is that women can, and should, lift heavy weights. The other blog I read a lot is Rachel Cosgrove. Anyone who has looked into male fitness might recognise the name. She's married to a famous male fitness expert, but is well qualified in her own right. Anyway, go on and take a look at those two blogs. Especially at the photos on Rachel's blog. Then come back and tell me whether those ladies are too muscular.

Anyway, I haven't just been lifting – to be honest until about three weeks ago we haven't been going to the gym regularly enough to make a proper difference. However, about three weeks ago we started going every morning. One morning we do strength training, the other morning we do 15-20 minutes of slow swimming (and then sit in the spa/sauna for a while too!)
I'm finding that pretty satisfying. However, it does make breakfast a challenge. I have been on the “Slim Fast” diet. Yeah, I've slimmed. My work trousers are a bit big around the waist now, which is quite satisfying. Also my stomach (my current least favourite part) looks more toned. (But not enough to show you pics)
Anyway, I've had enough of the slim fast. My actual weight hasn't changed that much, and while needing a belt for my jeans and having work trousers a bit big is nice, it's really not enough.
That's not to say I don't feel pretty good, I've bought some new bikinis for my holiday in the sun, and I'm reasonably confident that I'll look okay on the beach. Perhaps even pretty good, if I'm having a good day.
Not having been to the gym for a week prior to the holiday will not help, and I might have to do some crunches or something to make myself feel better.

So, yeah, that's going well. I'm going to move on to a low(ish) calorie diet. The main points I plan to hit are: high protein, low wheat (at least baking our own bread means we can do that!), eating little and often. Lots of grilled fish, chicken or turkey, and prawns!

Knitting. Crochet. So, as I alluded to above, I'm off on holiday soon. We're going to the Canaries again...
After much debate (mostly with myself) I'm not going to take my knitting on the plane. Technically knitting needles aren't in the forbidden list, but the FAQ clearly states that knitting needles are not allowed. So, I am going to crochet. I have tried this before and created nothing of use, so this time I have a very simple pattern: [rav link] The Easy Peasy Crochet Bag [Non Rav link]. I'm going to make it out of some yarn I have purchased especially, it's two shades of Sirdar Crofter (60% Acrylic, 25% Cotton, 15% Wool). I'm usually a yarn snob (avoiding synthetics) but this is great because it's inexpensive, hardwearing and pretty. Here's a webcam picture of it!
I'm actually quite excited about the bag, I haven't yet decided whether to go for the handles as described in the tutorial or another sort.
It's a four hour flight, so I might even finish it! Though I do have two magazines to read (and two more in my luggage for the way back or the beach) as well. Boyf just has a book, so I might have to talk to him!
I'll almost certainly have some pictures for you after the holiday, some of which might even be of me in my bikini (then you can judge for yourselves exactly how much further I have to go...)

Til then, TTFN.