Monday, 30 June 2014

A weekend full of Pride.

Has anyone had that dream where you are thrown onto a stage, told you're the star of the show and everyone knows their lines, but you have no idea what it is that you are doing? Next thing you know, you're trying to fumble your way through it and pretend like you have the slightest idea on what you're doing, but you really don't know, and everyone is watching you, and there is no escape whatsoever?


Have you ever had that happen for real? Ahem... There's a chance that something similar to that may have happened to me this weekend.

This Saturday was Gay Pride in London. It was also my friend TJ's birthday weekend. So I got suited and booted and made my way to Soho to meet up with him and some of his friends. Due to me loving a bit of decade shopping, I had decided to go for the 1950's style for this weekend. I had a dress, a petticoat, fake eyelashes, red lipstick, a fake beauty spot and a mixture of hairspray and youtube hair tutorials to put in the final touches. It only took me about 2 hours to complete, but finally I was ready and raring to go.

To say the day was Fabulous with a capital F would be slightly stereo typical of me, but completely accurate nonetheless. We mingled and drank champagne in the streets. We laughed and took an insane amount of pictures and the whole freakin day was so happy and amazing, I can't even begin to put it into words.

By the time the parade got to us, we squeezed to the front of the railings and got ourselves well and truly stickered up and kitted out with flags, banners and blue sunglasses. We cheered, we laughed, it was awesome. At some point, someone came over to us from the parade who clearly knew TJ. After the tiniest amount of coaxing from this person, we were convinced to climb over the railing and join the parade ourselves. We did. I have a bruise the size of a tennis ball on my inner thigh to prove that we did. It was amazing. We laughed and waved and got swept up in the excitement. So excited were we that we didn't even realise we had walked ahead a little bit and was now smack bang in the middle of a group of guys, all wearing the same outfit.

It was just about the time that I realised we probably looked out of place in this particular group and should just fall back and let them go ahead that someone in the front of this section yells out "Formation!"

Everyone began to file into lines. Not knowing what the hell is going on but also not wanting to ruin anything, I, too, fell into line, thinking that everything would be just fine if all that was required of us was to march in sync with each other.

However, out of the speakers ahead of us, music began to play and everyone around me called out in sync. The man who had yelled out initially, shouted something like "Dance No 2" and people began to raise their hands, ready to start. It was at this point that I officially began cacking myself. TJ, who was just ahead of me in his own line, turned to me and gave me a panicked look that matched my own sentiments. Our other friends, who were walking behind us, all seemed equally as terrified. I turned back to TJ, he turned his panicked look to one of resignation and he simply shrugged, displaying a look that seemed to say "When in Rome..."

And so we did just as the Romans did. We put on a smile, suppressed as much of our 'rabbit in a headlight' looks as we could, and too raised our hands into the same pose as those around us. Then began the most impressive account of improvisation and copying that any of us have ever done. Thankfully the dance mainly consisted of arm movements and walking in a line. It was fairly easy to pick up and I was not required at any point to do a cartwheel or the splits, no matter how tempted I was... however, TJ being the only shirtless guy in the dance, and I the only woman, did mean that I'm sure no one really thought we were meant to be there. But no one particularly cared either, including those around us who knew what they were doing. They just laughed with us and urged us on. Everyone was in the celebratory mood and no one was going to ruin that.

It was one of the happiest days I have ever been a part of. Everyone was in the best of moods and I made so many friends in every new location I went to, and we went to a LOT of places. All that happened and I still managed to get home at a stupidly reasonable hour of about 6pm. I know that sounds like a stupidly early time to go home, but we had started at midday and I knew it was time to head home when I stepped out of one of the bars, saw that it was daylight outside and managed to convince myself entirely (with the slightest of nudges by TJ) that we had managed to stay in that bar all night and it was now Sunday morning, despite only having one drink in there. After about 30 minutes of reasoning with myself, I realised that it was daylight because it was still, in fact, daytime. But once I worked out how long it had taken for me to realise this, I decided that it was cut off time and I needed to head home. Apparently champagne makes me stupid...

And so home I went, dressed as a slightly dishevelled but highly happy with herself 1950s lady. There should be pride every day. Such fun.

Peace out my lovelies

Friday, 27 June 2014

Fancy Things Friday: Ed Sheeran X (xxxxxx)

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

If you have been reading any of my posts this week, then you will be all too aware of what it is that I will be Fancying up today. This particular Fancy Thing has, quite simply, blown my mind to such an extent, I'm not certain there is much of it left in my head. I have found a new obsession and it is all wrapped up in an old already well established obsession within me; the beauty that is Ed Sheeran and his ability to make heaven with his voice. This time, with the genius that is his new album X.

I've made it no secret in the past that I love the Sheeran. Indeed, when he brought out his first album +, I do believe a wrote a post declaring my undying love and devotion to the man. In this post (see link) I write him a letter, asking him to write me a song, so you can imagine my excitement when I hear he has a whole new album, all full of possible songs about me. 

I'm currently in the process of dissecting the songs word by word to find any hint that it's about me, but I have to admit, so far there has been nothing that would suggest I'm in there... although I am secretly hoping that 'Photograph', 'One' or 'Thinking out Loud' are actually with me in mind, I'm still waiting to hear back on confirmation of this however. 

This week, I have been on a one woman PR campaign for Sheeran's album. I have recommended it to almost everyone who has engaged me in conversation, no matter what the topic might be. This has included work related conversations, workout related conversations, culture, deeply emotional conversations and a few spontaneous outbursts where I have gotten so excited listening to a song, I've had to explode with exclamations such as "Ed Sheeran is a God!" etc and so forth. Disclaimer: As far as I know, Ed Sheeran is not a God... I meant it figuratively, before you start getting carried away and building churches in his name. 

Okay, so here's what the album's like. As opposed to the first one (which is freakin' awesome by the way) it is a lot more varied in its styling. He has upbeat songs that have led me to dance (rather stylishly in my opinion) in my office, such as 'Sing' and 'Don't', as well as... do we call it hip hop? Nope, we definitely don't. I would say more hip hop inspired... I don't even want to say he raps... he speaks quickly. I don't know... he's Ed Sheeran, he does what he does. All I know is it's amazing, for examples of this check out 'The Man' and 'Take it Back.' Then there are the beautiful songs, the ones that grip your heart and cause you to feel all sorts of emotions that make you genuinely worried because real life stuff never makes you feel this strongly... The reasons for all of these emotions is his uncanny ability to combine beautiful melodies with stunning, yet simple, lyrics. 

Amazing examples, and a few of my favs of these are 

So you can keep me inside the pocket of your ripped jeans
Holding me close until our eyes meet
You won't ever be alone
Wait for me to come home

Tenerife Sea 
Should you be the last thing I see
I want you to know it's enough for me
Because all that you are is all I'll ever need

Even My Dad Does Sometimes
It's alright to cry, even my dad does sometimes
So don't wipe your eyes, tears remind you you're alive

There is also 'Thinking out loud' or, as I like to call it, the song that will feature in every wedding of 2014/2015. Which is slightly more upbeat and so very very beautiful lyrically, once more. 

When your legs don't work like they used to before, 
And I can't sweep you off your feet
Will your mouth still remember the taste of my love? 
Will your eyes still smile from your cheeks? 

Darling, I will be loving you till we're 70...

Yup. Every single wedding. Watch this space. It'll be Shania Twain's 'From this moment' all over again. 

And lastly, there are the songs that do that amazing thing that Ed Sheeran loves to do. Yes, it's the songs where he has the building bridge. One line repeated over and over, building more and more until you find yourself shouting out in inappropriate places about your love for the Sheeran. Basically, it's like 'Give me Love' from his first album but brought up a notch. These songs are 'I'm a mess', 'Bloodstream', and (my personal favourite) 'Afire Love.'

In short, there is not one song on this album that I wanted to skip through, which never happens with me and an album. Now that I have listened to it nonstop for 5 days, there are favourites, but I usually show these by putting particular songs on repeat instead of skipping through the ones I don't like as much. In fact, the ones I started to not like around the 2nd to 3rd day, I've now gone back to liking again. Just trust me on this people, go check this album out. It will be completely worth it. I promise you. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go and draft another letter for Ed Sheeran, asking him how the hell he became such a musical genius and whether he is aware that he is the only man who is able to make me feel this way through music... well, him and a few film composers, but that's a whole different genre so it doesn't count. 

Honestly, I'm beginning to think that he isn't human... also adding further proof to my theory that all ginger people are clearly superior beings. 

Have an awesome weekend guys, and BUY THIS ALBUM. 

Peace out my lovelies.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

My eyes are broken... so are my glasses. I'm in quite a pickle.

So, I left the building where I work yesterday and realised that I still had my glasses on. I don't wear glasses all the time. My eyesight is generally okay for everyday things, but I become blind as a bat when I'm in front of a computer more than 30cm away from me. As such, glasses are integral for work but I keep them there as it's the only place I really need them.

So, when I left work yesterday still wearing them, I stopped and considered going back inside. The glasses case was on my desk, and the office was a simple 30 second walk from where I was currently at. However, that walk involved stairs and suddenly I couldn't be arsed... ironic as I was on my way to the gym, but hey, I tend to try and live outside the realms of normalcy and logic. Anyway, due to my laziness of not wanting to go back on myself, I determined that if my sunglasses can quite happily live in my bag for months and not get damaged, my glasses should also be able to withstand it. I popped them into my bag and headed for gym then home, thinking nothing more of it.

It wasn't until this morning, as I set up my desk for the day, that I remembered my glasses were in my bag. I had vague memories of roughly handling said bag when chucking it in and out of lockers at the gym, and grimaced slightly, sending up a quick prayer that they were okay... they weren't. In fact, instead of being okay, they looked like this.

This resulted in my having to spend a stupid amount of time desperately trying to find the ridiculously tiny screw that was missing from my glasses in my ridiculously messy bag that hadn't been cleaned out for about a year. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful... although I did manage to find almost £5 in coins which was a nice surprise. After I admitted defeat that the screw was well and truly gone forever, I then had the genius idea of stealing the screw from my sunglasses... it took about 50 tries before I realised that perhaps this screw wasn't the right size for my glasses and gave up on that idea as well.

All this has led to rearranging my desk so that I am now sitting with my computer screen a mere 30cm from my face (just measured it) whilst I squint at the text and try and fight off the headache that is now threatening to emerge from making my eyes work harder than they want to. Apparently I look ridiculous and have been told repeatedly to use my lunchbreak to pop into a local opticians, but then I wouldn't be able to write my blog today and, for reasons I'm forgetting the more my eyes scream at me, I've decided that this is way more important.

Okay, I just stopped writing this post as I needed to go and do something and I caught myself picking up a piece of paper and holding it 10cm from my face in order to read it... This probably proves that I should do something about the whole 'not being able to see' thing... ugh, but the walk is so far... it's like a whole 5 minutes... and then they're going to make me pay them money and tell me I should have an eye test, which I will agree to because I have no backbone to speak of when it comes to telling people no, even though I know I'm not due one yet, and then they're going to realise that I need a new subscription because my eyes are getting so bad that I can't read the train times at the station anymore unless I'm standing right in front of the board, and I will have to spend even more money getting new glasses... when then leads to their tempting me with deals such as 'buy one, get one half price' coupled with logic such as 'you really should have two pairs of glasses, then when a screw comes loose the next time, you won't have to sit on top of your computer getting migraines' and I won't be able to argue with that, because it just happened, plus the whole no backbone thing, and then next thing you know, I'm walking out of that place with at least £150 less than I had going in, safe in the knowledge that I am about to experience the exact same amount of headaches as my eyes get used to the new prescription, which will lead to spending even more money on a week's supply of Nurofen to ease the pain...

See, it might seem like my reasons for not going were purely lazy, but I've clearly thought it through.

Peace out my lovelies.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

The Wall versus The Benefit... The Wall is winning

People keep on telling me that doing all the exercise I'm doing will really start to effect my general fitness. Apparently I'm really "going to feel the benefit" any moment now... if that's due to happen, it hasn't happened yet. One-And-Only-Daniela and I went to the gym yesterday and practically collapsed a mere 40 minutes in, which led to us giving up and going home. This kinda sucks as we've been staying for at least an hour and a half up until now.

Now, I've also heard of this thing called "The Wall", which apparently is something that we also all have to hit before we start to get to the 'feeling the benefits' bit. This is all well and good, but I've been repeatedly hitting this wall now for about a week. In fact, I'm pretty certain that I've set up camp in front of this wall and am calling it home, which just adds further insult to injury as I hate camping. I'm knackered and am beginning to wonder if exercise might be the first thing that I am unable to become obsessed over... yes, that might sound weird coming from a woman who has spent almost every day at the gym for coming up to 3 weeks, but it is getting harder and harder to find the energy to continue. What worries me is my biggest trick that I play on my brain to get me to go (having One-And-Only-Daniela going too) has now been taken away from me as she going off on holiday for 2 weeks and all that's left as a push is my own will power... ah pants. I have no will power. I lost it years ago. I am a woman who lives her life on vices, OCDs, obsessions with fictional characters and story lines, and the need to consume Big Macs on a weekly basis. (Good news on that front, it's been about a month since my last Big Mac... maybe there's hope for me yet.)

Yes, my dieting is still going strong. Although my body appears to be upset with me for not giving it enough processed food. I'm finding myself staring down my healthy meals for about 10 minutes before I can bring myself to eat them, all the while my brain is screaming at me to get something more interesting to eat... On the odd occasions that I have given in and gone for a plate of chips or a burger, I can barely eat it... so I'm in this weird place where apparently food of any type is going to cause protests from one part of my body or the other... sigh.

So, as a result of all this, I decided that I need to start to make the gym going a more interesting thing. As it stands, I have one beautiful technique that gets me to do the main bulk of my cardio without wanting to give up... we have TVs built into the machines, I happen to arrive at the gym just in time for The Big Bang Theory's double bill on E4+1 to start. I watch, I laugh, I look to see that 15 minutes of my workout has already gone by... man, I love that show. But I'm going to need something else to add some spice into it soon... I just don't know what... there really is very little you can do with a set routine built by Trainer that takes up all the time available between you arriving and when the gym begins to close...

I do weigh myself every day and have now dropped a whopping 7lbs in just under 3 weeks. But even this is starting to lose it's excitable reaction from me. I weighed myself last night, saw that I'd lost another lb since Sunday and, instead of getting all happy in the fact that I'm still going in the right direction, I found myself shrugging and wondering how long it would take for me to get into my bed... This sodding wall won't come down.

This is about the time that I start to give up on trying to be fit. However, I am also ridiculously competitive, and I've set myself a goal now, one that I have to reach. I have just over 4 weeks to go until I need to be at my goal weight, which I predict is another 6lbs to lose. I'm definitely ahead of time at the mo, I won't lose out on it... I won't... although KFC have just brought out this Brazillian meal and it looks so good. Argh life is hard sometimes!! ... Hi, I'm Lisa, the queen of complaining about first world problems.

I'd like to think that, in a week's time, I will be writing on this thing telling you that suddenly exercise has become amazing; I have developed the ability to get to the top of the stairs without feeling knackered, I'm able to do 45 crunches without spontaneously crying and my inability to sit up without help is far behind me, along with all my excess fat; but I'm not seeing that happening... ah well, one can dream I suppose.

And my grumble post is complete. Sorry it sounds so pessimistic... ironically, I'm having a pretty good day today. I bought tickets to see Jake And Amir's If I Were You show in London and everything... maybe I just need a nap. Excuse me whilst I crawl under my desk inconspicuously before anyone notices.

Peace out my lovelies

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

A moment of inspiration that even made me want to gag.

Ladies and gents, my workplace has finally come to terms with the fact that I sit on top of the doors to hell and decided that it was probably time they did something about it... yes, that's right, they have given my office air conditioning! Such is my excitement over this that I have been repeatedly finding excuses to walk in and out of my office, so that I can walk in and (as Marmie would say) really 'feel the benefit' of the change in climate. We have shut the door in the tiny office, and are currently filling it with beautifully awesome cool air.

Don't get me wrong, the weather is uncharacteristically hot for this country and it is hell that I'm sitting on top of, so it's not as if the room is completely cool, but it has stopped being so hot that I leave at the end of the day with soaking wet clothes on account of all the female 'glistening' I had been doing. Also, it's only a portable one and I sit by the window that the plastic tube thing lets all the heat out of, so I'm getting the teensiest bit of that heat on my back... but I'm trying to be a 'glass half full' kinda gal, so it's better.

In other news, I am quietly feeling impressed with myself as I have been the queen of productivity. You see, I had a real, some might call it 'douchy', others might call it 'artistic', moment last night. I didn't go to the gym for once, but arrived home, put on the new Ed Sheeran album (am-a-zing) and caught myself looking off into the distance with a wistful look in my eye. Then, out of nowhere, I felt an overwhelming need to write take over and I grabbed my lap top and wrote three chapters of Book 3 of my series. If anyone had been watching, I would imagine it would have caused a few people to vomit due to the sheer dramatic flare behind my actions, but I was in the moment and listening to a man who (considering book 2 was almost entirely written while listening to the song "I see fire") is fast becoming my artistic muse. But again, I will stop myself as I'm saving the true fandom and review for the end of the week.

Also, I think I've settled on a title for Book 3, although am going to wait to see if it still feels right in a week's time... it's usually how I decide on my titles.

Once I had run out of writing steam and felt suitably exhausted from all my dramatic and flourishing motions in the way I typed (imagine a lot of unnecessary throwing of my hands in the air whilst typing and pen chewing (even though I wasn't actually writing anything down) whilst gazing pensively into the distance and speaking the dialogue out loud, pretending to be all the characters (FYI: My interpretation of Duncan is immense, I quite clearly rock at being a man), I settled in to watch the first series of American Horror Story for the second time, on account of its awesomeness... also there's a chance that I just wanted to see Evan Peters act all creepy again because I am oddly attracted to him when he does that... I'm not exactly proud of this, but I've come to terms with it.

If you guys haven't watched American Horror Story yet, and don't mind a bit of creepiness in your tv watching, then go check it out (tis on Netflix). If you haven't read my first two books yet, and don't mind a bit of bad grammar occasionally dotted around your book reading, then go and check them out on Amazon (link to the right). If you want the very depths of your soul to be stirred, whilst emotion is squeezed out of your heart with beautiful melodies and words, then for crying out loud, check out the new Ed Sheeran album X.

And that's all I have to say for today... love you all with most of my heart (the rest is saved for Ed Sheeran... and cheeseburgers).

Peace out my lovelies.

Monday, 23 June 2014

A Plum's guide to exercise boot camp

The days that Ed Sheeran decides to bring out new albums should be deemed as a national holiday. I'm not going to say much more than that, as I'm saving it for Friday, but once again the Sheeran has left me a crumpled mess with his musical genius. Is he actually capable of writing a bad song? The answer to that question is no... no he is not.

In other news, sorry I didn't do a Fancy Things Friday last week. Father, who normally resides in Ireland, surprised me by being in the country with a break in his day for lunch. As such, he came down to my area of work and we had dinner! Huzzah, free food!! As mentioned before, my lunchtime is usually the only time that I have to write these blogs. Especially now, as I'm spending all my evenings in the gym at the mo...

Did I mention that I've lost 6 pounds in 2 weeks? Hells yeah. The other day, I even tried the dress on again and I'm so close to fitting into that shizzle.

As exciting as it all sounds, I'm struggling to see it today. On Saturday, One-And-Only-Daniela and I managed to spend over 4 hours in the gym. In amongst that time, I met with my trainer (whom I shall simply call Trainer) who gave me a new regime and then offered to give both myself and One-And-Only-Daniela a half hour 'boot camp'.

Now, I've never taken part in a boot camp of any kind before. Mainly because it looks like hard work and a lot of people shouting at you whilst you sweat and cry and pray for the moment it is over. Some people respond well to that, although it's not exactly my idea of a good time. However, he sort of sprung it on us last minute, and we were positioned just outside a yoga class, so I know that he wouldn't be able to shout at us too loudly. As such, in some bizarre moment of insanity, I agreed to the torture.

Okay, now if you ever find yourself in a situation where you are signed up for a boot camp type session, let me explain to you a few tips on the survival of this, whilst also keeping some part of your dignity...

1. If a person asks you to do a certain exercise and you don't really understand what that exercise is, don't try and work it out for yourself... ask. 

So Trainer brings over little plastic steps and promptly announced that we were going to start the session with an exercise called 'Burpies.' I, not knowing what these were, immediately started to allow my imagination to run wild. Suddenly, I found myself getting excited that there was a possibility of losing weight and exercising just in the simple act of letting air escape my mouth. Now, I know that I am technically a lady and so society deems it impolite for me to do this, but let me tell you, I drink copious amounts of Pepsi Max, like stupid quantities. As such, the need to burp does tend to come to me frequently. Not only that, but it is such a satisfying feeling to burp sometimes, I can't help but enjoy it. I do tend to limit my work burps to a quiet ladylike release, and save all my awesome manly belches for alone time in my room.

All that being said, when the trainer suggested this, I immediately began to wonder why it was that this was going to be a boot camp. I was certainly going to sail through this first exercise with flying colours. I was just about to excuse myself to replace my bottle of water with a fizzy drink, so as add more oomph to the exercise and really sail forward as teacher's pet, when I spotted One-And-Only-Daniela groan and bend over to touch the step. I briefly wondered if this was a new method of burping that I hadn't heard of but suddenly realised that this wasn't the case as she jumped backwards, forwards, stood up straight and jumped on the step, then back down again.

It was at this point that I decided to ask Trainer to explain to me what a burpie was. He did, and let me tell you this, it is a little bit more strenuous than letting out a good belch.

2. Do NOT gloat/look smug about how well you are doing until you are aware of all the exercises you will be asked to do.

We did about 15 minutes of cardio type exercises to start off with. I have to admit, I lasted quite well with these, having spent almost every day doing cardio workouts for 2 1/2 weeks. I had the edge on One-And-Only-Daniela at this point. I tried not to gloat, and certainly didn't say anything out loud, mainly on account of the fact that an angry One-And-Only-Daniela terrifies me, and if we were to fight, she would totally win. Having said that, I couldn't help but allow a small smug smile on my face. Mainly because One-And-Only-Daniela is a hell of a lot thinner and generally fitter than I, so to deal with these exercises a little better than she could felt quite good.

Needless to say, One-And-Only-Daniela did notice the smug look on my face as I sailed through these exercises. She promptly asked if there would be mat work after that, and my face shortly lost its smugness. Now, I know what you're thinking, mat work sounds a hell of a lot easier. All that lying on the ground and stretching etc... maybe so, but let me tell you this, my abs and general stomach area is, quite simply, broken. It has ceased to work. One-And-Only-Daniela, on the other hand, does daily ab exercises and is the queen of these exercises. The last 15 minutes were all mat based.

One-And-Only-Daniela jumped down, all excited about what was to come, and I simply threw a withered look at Trainer and warned him that this would not go well for me. He threw me an encouraging smile, and said that he was sure it wouldn't be as bad as that... he was proved wrong.

3. When you are having a session one-to-one or two-to-one, there is no chance of hiding in the back of the class during the boot camp and pretending you're doing the exercises, whilst really having a little nap every time Trainer turns their back on you. 

Trainer was generally nice to me throughout this whole ab workout. There was a little bit of "Come on Lisa! How are you going to fit into that dress if you don't do the exercises?" and "Stop being a wuss and start working, Daniela's doing it!" But generally, he recognised that my physique wasn't quite on par with One-And-Only-Daniela's and so deviated towards helping me out a little bit more.

Looking back, I didn't totally suck on the exercises as a whole. I generally managed to do the excruciating 3 sets of 15 of crunches, double crunches, side twists and others, however, it was the last exercise that broke me.

Basically he gave us both a round bag each that we had to hug to ourselves  whilst laying on the floor (so far, so good). From this position, we then had to hoist ourselves up to a sitting position and back down again... 15 times... x3... ahem.

To say I struggled with this task would be an understatement. In actual fact after he yelled 'go' at us, One-And-Only-Daniela was up and back down again before I had managed to work out how to move a single muscle. It was as if my entire body had ceased to work. My brain was sending signals down to the rest of me to move, but my head appeared to be the only thing that knew how to comply. It wasn't that it hurt so I didn't want to do it, no... I couldn't physically do it. My body just said no.

Trainer tried to help. He placed his feet over mine to keep my bottom half levered down, but nothing would happen. On top of this, he tried (and failed) to keep a straight face as my own face strained and scrunched and contorted in my attempts to simply sit up. Eventually, he leaned forward and held onto my arm, pulling me up into a sitting position... even with this, the whole thing still hurt like a sonofabitch. But I managed it... probably about 3 times... all with his help pulling me up.

After One-And-Only-Daniela had finished her 15 and I had done my highly impressive 3, Trainer threw me a withered look and shook his head sadly.

"Looks like I'm going to have to get you the Pink Bag." He said, taking away the 'grown up' bag from me. He came back with a much smaller bag, all cute and pink, and weighing half the amount the previous one had.

A small part of me wanted to feel ashamed, especially as One-And-Only-Daniela was now laughing heartily at me and muttering something about how I now had the wimpy 'girly' bag, however I was too knackered to care and just wanted the whole experience to be over. At least with this one, I would have a fighting chance of keeping up with One-And-Only-Daniela... I had never been so wrong. All that this meant was that the ridicule and disbelief over my non-functioning body just got bigger.

I laid back down and attempted to sit up once more. Once more, my body laughed heartily at the notion, incidentally causing the rest of me to go into a state of hysteria where I now couldn't stop laughing at the ridiculousness of not being able to do this very simple task. Once again, Trainer had to stand on my feet and pull me up to sitting position. He attempted at one point to let go midway up, but my body just simply fell backwards in defeat. It was around this point that he looked down at me with a look of sheer dismay.

"This is completely ridiculous. How are you not able to sit up? Everyone can sit up on their own, babies can sit up on their own."

"I told you my abs were broken!" I responded. "They have been cushioned underneath a nice blanket of fat for so long, they've become lethargic and lazy."

One-And-Only-Daniela by this point, was probably on her 5th set of 15 and laughing my struggled attempts. Once the whole ordeal was over, she asked to borrow the pink bag, as she wanted to see what I struggled with. She took it and did another 15 easily.

"Lisa! It's like holding air!"

"My abs are broken!" I shouted, once again. Why was no one listening to me when I said that?

Guys, I think you can all safely guess that I hurt a lot today. I hurt a lot yesterday and still went to the gym. Although we both only lasted about an hour and a half that time. I slept for 13 hours on Saturday night, and still felt as if I hadn't slept in a week at the gym on Sunday. But it's starting to show on me now, which is awesome. 4 1/2 weeks to go... maybe by that point I'll be able to sit up without any help at all... it's the dream.

Peace out my lovelies

Thursday, 19 June 2014

I relapsed, but I'm back on my way to recovery.

I totally didn't post anything yesterday. This was because my normal lunch of 'salad at my desk whilst typing this blog' was interrupted by 'visiting the east end for a meeting and popping in to have lunch with Old-Work-Buddy-James' instead. The whole thing was awesome. Yes, there is a chance that I broke the diet yesterday to accommodate this, but I kinda knew that would happen when we arranged the meet up.

You see, there were a great many things that contributed towards the weight gain I achieved over the past couple years, however, one of the key factors was the sheer amount of times that Old-Work-Buddy-James and I would eat in fast food restaurants for our lunch. I mean, it happened almost every day... or at least close enough. Thus, when we met up yesterday and immediately gravitated towards the nearest Burger King, it felt so natural, we didn't question it.

Having said that, my natural inclination to become addicted to anything and everything in my life appeared to also apply to the act of eating greasy burgers. Since treating myself to this one off burger meal, I have been finding myself craving pizza, kebabs, Mcdonalds, KFC, and all other kinds of processed fatty foods. Last night, when I prepared my lowly bowl of Tuna (this time only able to use one can instead of two, due to all the calories eaten earlier in the day) I was no longer excited for it's salad cream/mayonnaise goodness. I was hungry and I wanted to munch down on something that had only been cooked whilst swimming in fat. Thankfully, I didn't succumb to this, but guys, this is hard.

With the food aside, it was really good to catch up with Old-Work-Buddy-James, even if I turned up ridiculously late to the time I said I would meet him. This was down to the complexity that is the District Line on our London Underground system. Apparently, there is a point that it reaches, at about halfway down the line, where you have to get off the train you've been travelling on, cross to another platform, and then get on a train going in the same direction. If you don't do this, you will find yourself on a train that is now going back the way it came. This was news to me, and there is one particular train station near where I have to get off, that I ended up visiting at least three times before I managed to work out how to travel in the correct direction. Of course, Old-Work-Buddy-James saw all of this as some elaborate, yet false, excuse for my just being generally lazy at getting to where we were meant to meet... highly frustrating.

But we did manage to meet up and have a fairly decent chat before we went our separate ways, back to our now separate jobs... which felt weird, as we've never eaten and then not ended up back at the same workplace... which really shouldn't feel weird, as we haven't actually worked together for coming up to 8 months now (has it really been 8 months already??).

I am currently dealing with mild withdrawal symptoms from the processed tasty food today. It's nothing serious; just a little bit of shaking, some vomiting and an irritable mood, nothing I can't handle. And despite all these symptoms, I am standing strong, going back to my grey porridge for breakfast and eating my simple tasteless salad whilst typing this... One day, someone is going to figure out how to make a Big Mac that tastes just as it does now but is also the most healthiest thing you can eat, and that person is going to make a fortune. (Mental Note: Patent that idea before anyone else can... Mental note to mental note: This may prove to be a little difficult due to Big Mac being a name brand already, but believe in yourself and you will find a way around it. Mental note to the mental note's mental note: You may not be able to find a way around it.)

Peace out my lovelies

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

How to prepare a really lazy but high protein dinner after being in the gym... I am using the term 'dinner' incredibly lightly here.

I don't understand why the world is built in such a way that all the amazing tasting food is bad for you and all the food that is supposedly good for you is bland... Before everyone jumps onto their high horse and starts suggesting to me recipes of great tasting food that's cheap and easy to cook, I am aware. I have researched it fully, and spent a ridiculous amount of time searching through SORTED Food's website for something tasty and fun. There is plenty to be cooking, but I am currently living in a house where I share a kitchen with three other guys and very limited kitchen utensils to use for cooking.

On top of that, my usual laziness for cooking has been increased. Before, the thought of coming home from work and then putting something together from scratch use to make me immediately want to take a nap. However, this laziness has only been increased over the past couple of weeks since I have begun attending the gym after work every day. This is good for the losing weight shizzle, and I am doing fairly well so far. Plus I'm no longer coming out of my gym sessions looking like I've been sunburnt terribly:

I know, hella sexy right? That was taken after my second workout at the gym. However, now I'm finishing my sessions only soaking with sweat, as opposed to blending into my pink top... this is progress people.

But, as I'm putting all my focus on the workout aspect of the weight loss, I am leaving hardly any energy for the cooking part. So I have devised a diet of the same food every day to make my exercise and food go together. This is Porridge, Tuna Salad, and then two cans of Tuna in the evening. The first two are prepared by my work cafeteria, and the last I tend to do myself. It's very fancy. Basically, the recipe is thus:

1. Take two cans of 'tuna in spring water' out of your cupboard.
2. Desperately search for the can opener that works, as opposed to the three others in the drawer that probably do also work but you can't, for the life of you, work out how to use them.
3. Finally find the can opener after spending 10 minutes only picking up the ones you can't use and screaming "Why are you even in here??" at them until the frustration is out.
4. Open the cans with the correct can opener. This should preferably be done in the sink, as there will be spillage involved and who can be arsed to clean that?
5. Once both cans are opened, put the can opener in a place where you know to find it, as you will be needing it again tomorrow night.
6. Using the lid of the can, pressed up against the side, (or a sieve, if your posh), drain the tuna of all the excess spring water.
7. Take the tuna over to a bowl and empty the contents into it.
8. Take a moment to feel a little overwhelmed by the sheer amount of tuna that is now in your bowl. You will have to eat this soon, and quickly wonder whether this, coupled with the tuna in your salad earlier in the day, will eventually result in mercury poisoning, should you eat this repeatedly for the next month.
9. Push that thought from your mind, filing it under something that 'future you' can deal with, should it come up.
10. Grab and fork and stab at the tuna repeatedly until all big chunks are now pretty little flakes. NB: If you have had a particularly stressful day, this can be used as a good release, should you need it. Feel free to use as much gusto as you would like, the Tuna is already dead so it's not inhumane at all.
11. Take a bottle of light mayonnaise and light salad cream and squirt both generously into the bowl with the tuna. You want to make it an equal amount to each other, with perhaps a tiny bit more of the mayo.
12. Don't recoil at what you've just done. I know that mayo and Salad Cream together have never worked together before, but when applied to tuna, all previous rules are thrown out of the window. This will, most definitely, become the most beautiful thing you've ever tasted. Not to mention the only way you will eat tuna in the future. Trust me, I've done field testing on this particular subject. People are adamant they are going to hate it and then collapse into a heap of heaven when they actually experience the taste.
13. Use your stabbing fork to mix this concoction together. Take a few tastes every so often to judge whether you have got the balance of mayo and salad cream right. Trust your taste buds, they know what they want, and the first time you taste that perfect balance, your mouth will spend the rest of its life trying to  get that taste back.
14. Take your bowl to wherever you want to go to eat your tuna.
15. Eat your tuna.

Yup, that's how I cook. And Yup, that's what I constitute as cooking.

Now I know I've contradicted myself by saying that the fattening food is the nice food and the healthy food is bland, and then gone on to talk about the taste sensation that is Tuna, mayo and salad cream, but trust me, when this is all you plan to eat for the next month, that shizzle is going to get bland again.

Not to mention, porridge and tuna are both dank and grey looking. Salad has a bit more of a chipper upbeat look to it, but it still doesn't hold a candle to a cake that looks like this:

So, that's about as far as my culinary expertise will take you on this blog. You are very welcome.

Peace out my lovelies.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Hey guys, remember Housemate-Anna? Well, big news...

This weekend has been a very exciting weekend. I honestly cannot believe that I have taken this long to let you know about this. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, might remember a certain housemate I had in 2011-2012, aptly nicknamed Housemate-Anna. We lived together for a year, we got into all sorts of antics like me getting stuck under my bed and her having to pull me out, we bonded and she made me the most girly I had ever been, I got myself into all sorts of hilarious scrapes and she nursed me back to health, we had a habit of panic cleaning when we realised there were weird smells coming from our kitchen, and many many other tales of fun and weirdness. In short, living with her was an awesome and immense time.

Well, during this period I may have also mentioned a certain boyfriend of hers. It was all fairly new at the point of our moving in together. However, 2-3 years on, they are still going strong and this Saturday they totally got married!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Look, it's their first dance and everything!!

When I say that this was an exciting and awesome time, I am not doing it enough justice. Seeing them tie the knot is the most exciting thing to happen this year, only just going to be topped by the day Older-Brother-Glyn gets married next month (sorry Housemate-Anna). I do believe my cheeks ached for the majority of the day.

On top of the awesomeness that was seeing them get married, they had also put together the best guestlist in the world. Basically, I know Housemate-Anna and Karl from a youth group I was heavily involved in through the age of 18-22. In those years, there were a group of around 120 of us who lived and breathed this youth group. I personally spent almost every evening there. I ran and drama and dance group, as well as several other things. We were all incredibly tight and close. To paint a picture of how close this group was, Housemate-Anna and Karl's wedding was the 13th wedding to come out of people who met via this youth group. It was a matchmaking organisation in its own right.

Having said all that, life moved on and we all moved with it. People went off to uni or moved to different places and generally became adults, no longer qualifying for the 'youth' aspect of the group. Due to this, the group that was once incredibly close dissipated and, for the most part, haven't been back together for about 6-7 years. All that changed however on Saturday, as Housemate-Anna and Karl went right ahead and invited so many of us back to celebrate their day with them. Being the awesome couple that they are, all these people accepted and this resulted in a reunion unlike any other I've ever been a part of. I spent the entire wedding ceremony looking across a sea of faces and double taking when I realised I had caught sight of yet another older looking version of a face I had once known so well. As such, the day mostly consisted of a lot of screaming and "Oh my days! Look at you!" or "I barely recognised you!" or "You guys are married now??" or "Freaking hell! You're pregnant! You are growing a real life person inside your belly, that is insane!"

It was so awesome that my brain thought it was going to explode for most of the day. And now Housemate-Anna and Karl are an old married couple, living it up on their honeymoon and I am still trying to get my brain around it.

So that was my weekend. Probably the next time a reunion like that will happen with these people, one of us will be bragging about grandchildren (I get the sneaky feeling, that won't be me...) but it was good while it lasted. For a very long time, we had all considered we were going to be in this group together for the rest of our lives, and although that was a pretty unrealistic expectation to have, it was immense to get to have at least one more day of it. Not to mention, on top of that, we got to do it at a wedding of two of the loveliest people I know. Needless to say, I came away from that wedding with a smile on my face that is only just beginning to fade... my cheeks are killing me.

Peace out my lovelies.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Fancy Things Friday: The IT Crowd

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

Okay, this week's Fancy Thing is an old one but a good one. It is four series of pure English comedy. I'm bringing it up now because I've started rewatching them on Netflix, so you can check it out on there. 

The Fancy Thing is a TV show called The IT Crowd. 

It's about an IT department in a big corporate company and it is all sorts of excellent. If you have ever worked in an IT department (like I have) it will be even funnier, as some of the jokes are massively accurate to the way these departments work.  

It consists of three main characters, two geeky guys and a their manager, a woman who has no clue about computers. It has stopped now, I think mainly due to the fact that Chris O'Dowd (who plays one of the geeky guys) is all sorts of famous in America now, thanks to the film Bridesmaids. 

As much as I love this show on a whole, and thoroughly recommend it to all people who read this blog, there are a few hit and miss bits about it, in my opinion. For example, in the first series, whilst they are finding their feet, there are some not so great or funny moments. But this is to be expected for a show that has only just started. Besides, they completely make up for it in the future episodes. Also, and before I say this next bit, I want to add a disclaimer that this is not an opinion that is shared by most of my friends, but one that I have nonetheless, I am not the biggest fan of the main lady in it. The character is called Jen Barber, and she is played by Katherine Parkinson. She's not completely bad and does have some good moments in it, but sometimes she comes across as a little over the top. Again, this improves as the series goes on, and I do like Parkinson in other things she has done (in particular, The Boat That Rocked). 

The thing that makes the show for me, is the character of Maurice Moss, played by Richard Ayoade. To be honest, there isn't really anything Ayoade has done that I don't completely adore. The other favourites of mine include The Mighty Boosh and Garth Meringhi's Darkplace. Both shows are cult British comedies that I have spent a part of my life obsessed over at one point or another. I'm not going to go into these too much at the moment as, especially in the case of 'Darkplace', I need a whole Fancy Things Friday just to get across the genius of the concept of the shows. 

In The IT Crowd however, he plays a very nerdy character who is your classic 'obsessed with computers and all things sciency' type. He looks like this, which in itself tells you he's hilarious: 

His storylines throughout the series are my favourites. I can't think of a single line that he doesn't deliver with complete genius, but then that is the amazingness of Ayoade, who always comes across as naturally a little awkward but in the most awesome way. We could all learn to be a little awkward like him. You might recognise him from the Ben Stiller film 'The Watch' but other than that, he's mainly done low key (but still freakin' awesome) shows and films. 

When I first started watching this show, I began working in an IT department of a hospital about halfway through. I remember sitting down at their helpdesk and listening to the people talking to the customers there. There is an ongoing joke throughout the whole series about how, whenever anyone calls down to IT, the first thing that they ask is "Have you tried turning it off, then on again?" Then there are a series of other fairly basic questions they follow this up with, if that hadn't worked. Everything I heard the helpdesk ask on that first day could have been a direct quote from the show. I remember hardly being able to concentrate on account of looking around for one of the cast to turn up. 

The show is cleverly written, albeit silly in places, but you learn to love that about it. I'm not really a fan of the overly silly "big" humour, in fact, I tend to run away from it, sprinkling holy water as I go, but this show manages to do it in such a way that it's just enough to be hilarious, before turning it into annoying. 

It is completely 2 dimensional in its characters and plots. There are no deep messages and no moments of real character development or growth, it is a comedy; simple as. And it does the comedy incredibly well. If you want something that will not require a great deal of thought and yet will cause you to giggle like a school girl, then watch this show this weekend. If you have already seen it, might I suggest a rewatch? That's what I'm doing and I can confirm, it's still as funny now as it was when it came out. 

That's all for today. Have an awesome weekend. I will be... didn't I mention? Ex-Housemate-Anna (remember her? From three houses ago?) is getting married tomorrow! How freakin awesome is that? MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Speak soon!

Peace out my lovelies.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Next On Netflix: Orange is the New Black

Oh yes, ladies and gents, I'm going there. I finished the second series last night and I am all ready to review the hell out of this programme, in a completely spoiler free way of course.

Okay, so a quick breakdown of the series and what it's about. It's based, as far as I can tell, on a true story of a woman called Piper who was sent to a low secure woman's prison for smuggling drugs across a country years before. She gets carted off to prison for (I think) 18 months (I've just finished series 2 but it's been a long while since I saw series 1).

The whole thing is therefore set in a woman's prison. It deals with everything; crime, drugs, racism, sexism, sexuality, back stabbing, oppression, depression, attacks, love, sex, mental health, friendship, segregation... and the list goes on. In fact, I don't reckon there's anything that they don't cover... Although it is technically based around the life of Piper, each episodes deviates to another inmate and her reason for being in prison. In fact, in series 2, Piper very much takes a back seat to the other characters in the prison.

It's not one to watch with the kiddies, let me get that out there immediately. Pretty much all the characters are completely screwed up in their own way, and yet almost all of them you find yourself loving. It's a very good series for making the undesirable look desirable and confusing the hell out of you at times when you feel like you should be disapproving of a particular person, but instead find yourself almost egging them on.

I remember being quite surprised that I enjoyed Series 1 when it came out. It's a Netflix original series, so only available on Netflix, as far as I'm aware. But, in true Netflix style, when they release a new series, they release all the episodes at once so there's absolutely no waiting time... except for wait between series 2 and 3... but I guess that can't be helped.

As I mentioned before, each episode tends to focus in on one particular character. When this happens, they then throw in flashbacks to their time prior to being in prison and what has happened to make them who they are or cause them to do what they have done to get thrown into prison in the first place. Sort of like how Lost did it. These back stories are what makes the series I think. Each series has one consistent person that you full out hate all the way through. Although, it's different for each series. I'm not kidding, both people they put in there to cause problems made me fall into a right rage. I can't even tell you how much I've screamed at the screen this week during these episodes.

It's a good series to get your teeth stuck into. There are plenty enough characters to have you picking favourites, although these will ultimately change as the series goes on. There are a few recognisable faces; American Pie's Jason Biggs and Natasha Lyonne, as well as That 70's Show's Laura Prepon (those are the main one's I recognised but a lot of them have been in quite a few things).

I would say that Series 2 is better than Series 1, although don't think that this means Series 1 is not good, because it is. In series 2 however, the characters are more established and you get to see some awesome depth into some of their past that had only been touched upon in the first series. Lorna Morello's story in particular was my fav, (she's also one of my fav characters).

It's dirty and violent and all sorts, but it's also touching and funny and sweet. It's a very easy watch as well. I do recommend getting into this one, I think it's my top Netflix Original Series they've done so far... I know people normally say House of Cards, which I do like, but American Politics isn't really my bag and I tend to get bored quite easily. The same thing happened with The West Wing... The Green Wing however, is a whole other different ballgame of awesome, but I'll save that for another time.

In short, if you want something fairly hard hitting but fun, then this is the series for you. If you're easily offended, maybe not. Lots of nudity, sex, swearing, violence and all the other stuff that makes adult viewing required... Enjoy!!

Peace out my lovelies.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

I've never realised how complicated and freakin' dangerous dieting is, until now

Up until this week, I always just assumed that to diet well you just needed to cut back on what you ate. I thought it was simply all about the calories, and as long as I didn't go over the allocated amount, I was officially losing weight.

To be fair, I was actually losing weight when I thought this, so I guess there's some truth in it, but apparently that will only take you so far before your weight plateaus and you need to start to get more creative.

It's no secret that I have been attending the gym lately. I'm nothing if not an obsessive girl, and this is my new obsession. I have been every day since last Wednesday, with the exception of Sunday. Last night I was set up with a cardio work out that lasts a couple of hours, and I was fully accepting of it. When someone gives me a set structure to abide by, I thrive. I work it into my own routine and I can do it until the cows come home. (Mental note: Come back to that phrase another time to fully explore why it is that cows coming home is an applicable metaphor for this sentence.)

What has completely flummoxed me however is the diet side. I do not understand that part of this whole 'losing weight' thing at all. You see, I found out last night that I wasn't eating enough calories but I also needed to be cutting down on the food that I was eating although I needed to eat more, just less of what it was... this cycle of conversation went on for quite a while with my trainer as I tried to get my head around it, and even longer with my work colleague today. However, after hours of feeling my brain smack itself against a brick wall, I think I've managed to work it out.

Basically, I need to be eating 1200 to 1400 calories a day in my diet. Anything under 1000 calories eaten will mean that the exercising will start to eat away at bits of my body that isn't fat as it won't have any of the correct things to eat away at. This will, apparently, result in my body weight plateauing and no weight loss happening. All well and good, except that I always thought I was eating well, but it turns out that I'm lucky to be consuming 800 calories a day, let alone 1200. Initially, this sounded like awesome news, as I do love me my food so maybe this meant I could go back to eating some of my old food favourites.

However, before I could get the word 'Mac' out after I uttered 'Big' I was given the most appalled look in the world. Apparently this was not an excuse to eat any food I'd like. This was an instruction to make sure that I ate better food. When I mentioned what it was that I was currently eating, I was told off once again. (Last night, there was a lot of resigned shaking of heads coming from my new trainer.) I had far too many carbs in my diet, although not enough food. This was about the time that my brain stopped working. And then when he began on the fact that I needed to buy steamers and food processors for the food I should be eating, I became light headed. I do not have the money to be spending on fancy tools for eating food. I have since learnt that I am able to buy high protein food without restocking my kitchen with gadgets and machines, and do this fairly cheaply as well.

I have the beginnings of a possible diet forming in my head, thanks to further explanations and help from my work colleague and Oldest-Friend-Cafrin, who went through this whole thing last year. But I am ultimately facing two massive changes/problems.

1. I need to find a way to add calories to my diet in a way that won't involve spending more money that I currently am on food.
2. I need to find a way of doing this with food that's good for me, which means that it's going to be lower in calories so I will have to eat even more of it in the day to make the calories up.

In summary, I have to find a way to eat more than I want to and not have it be fatty at all. Why are our bodies so complicated? WHY???

Also, salad without any mayo or dressing is the most depressing meal of my day, which is annoying as the dressing/mayo would have upped my calories to closer to where I need them to be for today, which would have been ideal except the diet police say that's wrong... you see the problem I'm having trying to get my brain around this?

It's actually got to a point where I'm terrified of eating anything. What if it has just a little bit too much carbohydrates? What if I eat it and don't reach my protein quota? I don't want my exercise to cause my body to start eating itself instead of the unwanted fat in it. And we all know that I'm an amateur cannibal as well as my body having a mind of it's own, therefore it will not need much convincing to go this way. What if, by cooking a pork chop the wrong way, I lose out on protein and then my body accidentally eats my heart? Don't look at me like I'm crazy! I was told that the body starts eating the muscles when there's not enough calories to work on, the heart is the most juiciest muscle in there! Of course my body is going to go for that first! Why do I feel like I'm dicing with death every day I try to lose weight? WHY WOULD ANYONE SAY THAT THIS IS GOOD FOR YOU??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Aaand I've officially worked myself up into a frenzy now. Excuse me while I go and calm me down.

Peace out my lovelies.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

I've found hell. I think it deserves its bad rep...

So I've been building this theory in my mind about the position of my chair at work. I have decided that this theory is now officially correct after a period of nonstop proof.

My theory is simple, my chair is situated on top of the gates of hell. My reasons for why I think this, I hear you ask? Well it's really only one reason, but it's a good one. If you walk anywhere else within my place of work, you are met with a nice cool breezy air. It makes you relaxed and comfortable, you find yourself smiling for no reason, so at peace are you that you begin to hug yourself and welcome in the neverending bliss that is a room that is neither too hot or too cold, but just right.

However, there is a little pocket of air that seems to be the exception to the rule. The only pocket of air, apparently, that exists within my workplace. This pocket of air surrounds my chair, my desk and anything within 5 feet of that area. Inside this pocket, it is a furnace. There is no cool breeze, regardless of the fan blowing directly at it, there is no freshness and comfortableness, there is only heat. Heat and sweat and the want to cry even though you have no idea why. Either that or strip down to your underwear in a desperate attempt to find yourself some relief from the neverending tirade of mugginess and bad bodily odours. But you can't because people have deemed it as "unprofessional" so you have to sit in it instead and spend your entire day trying your very hardest not to turn the uncomfortable feeling into a snappy mood. This is an action that, try as you may, you find hella hard.

Now, no one seems to be able to offer me an explanation for why this particular section of my office is so unbelievably horrible. In fact, the most that they have to say is to walk into said office and exclaim that it is unbelievably stuffy. I usually just nod my agreement outwardly, whilst thinking "Really? You think it's stuffy? Because I've been sitting here all day and I hadn't noticed." But I refrain from snapping these words and watch them longingly as they escape out of the bubble of heat and back into the beautiful air conditioned world. Because there is no explanation, I have decided that this must mean mine is correct. Somewhere, underneath me, there is a large set of gates being guarded by a dog with three heads or something. There are volcanoes and fiery pits, and people are desperately applying Aloe Vera to help with the burns they have sustained. And as we all know from our science classes, heat rises, so all of that fire is slowly travelling up further and further until it reaches me just as it hits the most excruciating heights of its heat... and that's what I'm sitting in at the moment. It is not comfortable at all.

Peace out my lovelies

Monday, 9 June 2014

An unfit person attempting to be a gym enthusiast... there are hours of material I can bring out of this one.

I'm definitely one of those people who finds a theme to talk about and sticks to it...

To say I ache at the moment would be grossly underplaying the pain occurring all over my body. Not to mention, there is a muscle in the back of my thigh that spasms every 30 seconds and the feeling is quite bizarre. My reason for all this pain? I am still doing the whole exercise thing.

Yup, ladies and gents, I have attended the gym for a total of 5 solid days in a row, with a small break yesterday where I nursed a hangover from a particularly dance orientated night in central London.

On Friday night, I attended a Legs, Tums and Bums class, thinking that it sounded like a fun and peppy title, so therefore the class would also be fun and peppy. However, five minutes into this class, I realised that not only was I drastically mistaken about the type of class I was attending, but in actual fact, this class might actually have been created by the devil himself.

Don't ask me how I did it, but I did manage to get through the entire class without dragging my pained body out the door. Sure, there were times when the rest of the class went ahead and squatted without me, whilst I pretended that my hair had fallen out of my clip once again, and so needed fixing, but I inevitably joined back in again, despite my body's many, many protests. Also, the instructor for this class was from the 'tough love' category when it came to her style of teaching. If you started to give up, she would scream at you about not falling behind, calling you out from the front of the class and saying over and over "if it's burning, that means it's working! Don't stop now!" It got even worse than that, if you stopped for a particularly long time then she would come and find you. Any time she came anywhere near to where I was, I found myself pulling some hidden adrenaline out from arse and using it just to make her turn around and not shame me in front of the rest of the class, I'm thankful to say that it worked... which was probably her plan all along.

I attended this class alone, but about halfway through, when I had well and truly changed colour to a shining red all over my body, and was, shall we say 'glistening' from head to toe, a girl in her 20s, no bigger than a size 10 came sauntering over to me in between exercises. I was, at the time, gulping down a gallon of water and trying to stop myself from falling into uncontrollable tears. I remember seeing her and thinking she was so lucky, she was completely pale faced, barely a bead of sweat on her and she seemed completely at ease. I knew I looked ridiculous next to her, which was confirmed when I glanced in the wall mirror in front of us. As such, I was torn between ignoring the hell out of her so that my envy wouldn't grow any more, and wanting to reach out to her and make conversation to A: find out her magical secret, and B: have a friend in this class. I decided to go for somewhere in the middle, and I offered her a friendly smile. She returned this smile with a pained one of her own and groaned.

"This has got to be the hardest thing I've ever done." She said. "I'm completely out of breath and don't know if I can do it for much longer!"

I rolled my eyes and muttered something like "Tell me about it", all the while thinking to myself that if this is what she looks like when she's completely knackered, then I don't even want to think about how intimidating she looks when she's not "completely out of breath." I caught myself comparing our looks once more in the mirror, my entire body had turned a shade of deep red and there were 'glistening' patches all over my top. My hair was matted to neck and my much bigger body type looked awkward and unstable next to hers. I resisted the urge to punch her in the face for being so naturally pristine in the face of exercise, realising that it probably wasn't her fault, if anything it was my fault for being so unfit to begin with. Before we could continue with any further conversation however, the screaming teacher pulled us back into another exercise routine and a further part of me died inside. However Perfect-Girl, as I'm now calling her, decided that exercising next to me for the rest of the class was a good idea, so I had that comparison to look at all the way through. One day, when exercise isn't so foreign to me, I might be able to get through one of those lessons without coming out looking like I'd spent 15 hours sunbathing with no lotion, and then I can intimidate everyone else with my relaxed face and normal skin tone... that's the dream...

Saturday, I went to an Abs attack class in the morning with One-And-Only-Daniela. Although this class wasn't nearly as strenuous, and was completely based on our backs, lying on the floor, there was something about it that I found even harder. One-And-Only-Daniela, on the other hand, being a gal obsessed with toning her abs, sailed through the class, whilst I usually got through about three of each exercise before collapsing spread eagled onto the floor and asking myself why the hell I was putting my body through this... then I thought of the bridesmaid dress, and a new push ran through me, forcing me back into the stretch the rest of the class was doing... at least for a couple of seconds before I remembered why I had stopped in the first place and collapsed once more.

Being the hardcore exercisers that we are (at least that we've been this week), One-And-Only-Daniela and I came back to the gym later that day and spent a whopping 2 1/2 hours doing cardio. This, I liked. I saw an instructor who briefly showed me around and booked me in for a proper programme (happening tomorrow), then told me that I should be doing cardio for an hour and a half, at least four days a week, in order to reach my target. However, after that, he left me to get on with it and that I did. One-And-Only-Daniela and I then spent the next few hours doing some hardcore cardio and, now that no one was yelling at me or looking over my shoulder, and there was a TV built into the machines so I was able to watch Big Bang Theory whilst exercising, I was able to do it all easily. (Side note: I also watched some show about a bunch of American girls all competing to marry Prince Harry, only it wasn't actually Prince Harry because Prince Harry would never do a show like that, instead it was a look alike, only none of them knew that and all thought they would end up as princesses. It was the most bizarre and riveting TV I've ever watched. I'm going to find that show properly and watch the hell out of it, then you can be sure that I will talk about it here. I mean, seriously? There's so much A: wrong and B: amazing about the whole concept.)

To end everything off, One-And-Only-Daniela has gone and got herself a gym membership at my gym, which is amazing as she lives on the other side of London and it's such a trek for her. But, as we both need other people to spur us on when a new trend of ours starts to fade away, we realised the necessity of being each other's wingmen in the gym. She's meeting me after work today and we're going for a session. Which is excellent as, considering the way my body feels right now, I would have totally chickened out and gone home instead... you watch people, I will become an exercise God... and that bridesmaid dress will fit me so perfectly, people will write songs about it.

Peace out my lovelies.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Fancy Things Friday: If you're on the fence about Doctor Who, here are three episodes that should convince you

Welcome to Fancy Things Friday, where I talk about things on a Friday that I think are fancy!!

Today's Fancy Thing is something I've talked about in the past. However due to the sheer level of awesome it has to it, I chose to only speak about a certain aspect of it, mainly because I knew that I would want to bring it up again in another Fancy Thing Friday when I rediscovered yet another part that I love. 

Yes, I am of course talking (once again) about Doctor Who. The last time I brought this up in a Fancy Thing, I was referring to the awesomeness that was the 11th Doctor's speeches. They are still just as awesome as they were when I initially wrote this, so go ahead and click on the link to get a taster. 

This time, I've been on a rewatching hype as Oldest-Friend-Cafrin has finally given in and began watching the show. Her links to the episodes got me all in the mood for them, and then I watched an awesome Doctor Who Parody and suddenly all I wanted to do was watch it again. In particular, the Donna Noble Series. 

It is one of the better parodies I've seen, and I'm one of those obsessive people who watch a lot of them. Check it out. 

Anywho, my Doctor Who focus this time is on three of my favourite episodes in the current Doctor Who collection. There are others that I probably put up there with these three, but I'm limiting myself so that I don't end up writing for days. My other reason for picking these three episodes is that, if you haven't ever watched a Doctor Who episode, you can quite easily watch these as stand alone episodes, as they really have nothing to do with the overall storyline and don't hold any spoilers. They are excellently written and give you a quick taster to the genius that is Doctor Who. So if you want to try it out to see if you like, give one of these a go. They're all available on Netflix, which I reckon everyone should have by now... if you don't, come on guys, get with the programme.

Series 4, Episode 10: Midnight
Reason for excellence: Such an immense script

Now, before I get into this, yes guys, I am fully aware of the many other episodes that are written superbly, and I do fully understand that Series 3, Episode 10: 'Blink' is still one of the best episodes scriptwise, but my reasons for picking the above episode is that it never seems to get much praise when people talk about some of the best episodes. I therefore wanted to give it the recognition it deserves. 

It's from the David Tennant/Catherine Tate (plays Donna Noble) series, although Donna is only in the episode for the first and last couple of minutes. Those of you who are British TV fans might recognise two of the guest stars in this episode, in particular; Merlin's Colin Morgan (plays Merlin) and Eastenders' Lindsey Coulsen (plays Carol Jackson). It's written by Russell T Davies, who was the head writer before the great Moffat took over. 

The whole episode happens in one place. They are all locked in on a shuttle bus on a planet far away which doesn't have any kind of breathable air. There is an attack on the shuttle bus. Not an obvious one, but rather a unique and interesting attack that allows all the characters on the bus to act their freakin' socks off. It is an episode completely reliant on dialogue and needs strong actors in order to pull it off. David Tennant is simply amazeballs in this episode. You are hooked from the moment of attack to the end. It is also an episode that has you empathising with the characters one second and then hating them with a passion, the next. Not to mention you get frustrated with them, but in a really good way that means you can't take your eyes off the screen for fear of missing anything. 

What I love most about this episode is that it gives off this air of massive amounts of things happening, but in actuality there is very little that really does. The suspense is in the script entirely. To me, that is my favourite thing about a good story. If a writer can accomplish this, they immediately go to the top of my 'will lust over their talent' list. I lust ridiculously all over this episode. 

Series 5, Episode 7: The Unicorn and the Wasp
Reason for excellence: Doctor Who comedy at its very best

I've mentioned before that I love Donna Noble as the companion so much because she provides humour into the series in such an awesome way, I just want to lick her face. We're still in the David Tennant/Catherine Tate series and this episode well and truly epitomises the genius comedy of this duo. It's written by Gareth Roberts, who is a recurring writer throughout the many series of the new Doctor Who. His episodes are usually pretty good and quite fun. For those of you who have seen the series before, he has written both of the James Corden episodes, as well as a few others. 

This episode takes the Doctor and Donna back to the 20s, where they end up at an overly posh and British garden party, where the main guest is none other than Agatha Christie. They stay the weekend and a series of murders begin to take place... I know right? Irony!! The whole episode is silly in the best way possible. Donna dropping hints about Agatha's future books and copywriting them etc. My main reason for loving this episode is the dynamic between the Doctor and Donna all the way through. Also, my single most favourite funny Doctor Who moment happens in this episode. I won't say much about it, but there is a certain moment that takes place between Donna and the Doctor in the kitchen. You'll know it when you get to it. 

And finally (for now)

Series 6, Episode 0: A Christmas Carol
Reason for excellence: Of all the Christmas specials, this is the most magical

This episode happens just after Matt Smith's first series as the Doctor. It's a Christmas special that guest stars Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins. It is written by Steven Moffat, and we all know how I feel about that man... 

Okay, so the concept of this is that Amy Pond is on a spaceship that is about to crash. There is a planet nearby that can help. However, in order for this to happen, the Doctor needs to convince a Scrooge type character to help; Kazran (Gambon). He won't, so the Doctor decides to go back in time and manipulate his past 'A Christmas Carol' style. 

It is a Christmas story at its best. It has romance, magic, redemption, humour and happiness all rolled into one beautiful bundle. Not to mention, the Doctor Who composer; Murray Gold knocks it out of the park with a song  sung at the end that is completely stunning. Want to hear it? 

I know it's not Christmas at the moment guys, but I watched this episode again last night and I have decided that, regardless of the time of year, you can never not need that kind of magical optimism in your life. Additionally, Matt Smith, who is the king of the comical one liners throughout his reign as the Doctor, has some absolute corkers in this episode. Trust me on that. 

So there are my three little stand alone tasters of the series we all know I am obsessed with. If you are still on the fence about whether you would want to watch this series, just try one of the above out. Alternatively, Series 3, Episode 10: 'Blink' is also AMAZING but every Whovian talks about that episode so I won't be going into it now, except to say that it is also written by the Moffat, which should be enough to convince you it's worth a watch. 

Recommendations for this week done! Have a great weekend. Enjoy these episodes! 

Peace out my lovelies. 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

A Plum's guide to the 'can't be arsed' brain versus the 'productive' brain when it comes to the gym

Okay, so this week has been very 'losing weight/exercise a lot' orientated in my posts. I'd like to say that I'm going to deviate from this now, but I'm not. Sorry. I have more to say on the topic.

For those of you not caught up, I came to realisation last weekend that I am, in fact, gaining weight instead of losing it, which was the opposite of what I was trying to do. I am very much on the 'curvy' side, putting it delicately, at the moment. This is something that I've normally been too lazy to sort out, but Older-Brother-Glyn is getting married in two months and I have a Bridesmaid dress that currently doesn't fit me. As such, I panicked and decided to do something about it.

As a result of this, never have I had to implement my previous CBT skills, learnt last year (click here for background on that), as much as I've had to this week. The long and short of it is that, upon having this realisation that I need to lose weight and quickly, I was overwhelmed with the sheer amount of work that would be involved in getting me down to my needed weight. Immediately, 28 years of habit kicked in and I began to shut down. I knew I had to do it, in order to ensure I didn't end up with a serious wardrobe malfunction on the day of the wedding, but I found myself habitually pushing the problem out of my mind and ignoring it completely.

This, ladies and gents, is the exact reason why I haven't really achieved all that much in my 20s. Any time I'm faced with a challenge to better my life, I tend to just go ahead and sabotage it instead. If this was the situation this time 18 months ago, I would have pushed the problem away and not thought about it again until I reach the point of morbidly obese and am suffering from heart problems (which kinda is what happened...).

However, my ignoring of the issue this time only lasted for a couple of days. I kept on getting waves of adrenalin that told me I should be doing something about this issue, and then would squash this down with all the reasons why I couldn't do what needed to be done, such as "I can't really afford to join a gym" or "If I'm really good at the whole not eating thing, then I should do it on that alone... oh look, a KFC! Oh go on, just this once." However, after I posted about the whole swimming idea, I spent the next 48 hours executing every CBT technique I knew to make sure that it actually happened. And then, once I had been, I realised that, with the right amount of budgeting for the month, I could actually afford a membership at the gym. So I joined yesterday. I went back last night and used their gym facilities instead of the pool, I only lasted for about 30 minutes before I collapsed into a heap, but I had started what I needed to do.

How did I do this? Well, putting on my CBT hat, I felt the 'can't be arsed' attitude kick in and immediately challenged it. I asked myself why it was that I was having this reaction? Was it a justified reaction to be having? What if I thought about it another way? So I did.

I looked at the cost, which I had previously decided I couldn't afford and worked up a budget, only to find I could afford it. Reason for not doing it no 1 was eradicated.

I thought about the embarrassment I'd feel being in a gym at my size, also what if I wasn't exercising right? I called the gym, they set me up with three sessions with a trainer, which happened to be included in the membership price, and I have my first one of these on Saturday. That trainer will give me an exercise plan to get what I need and if I keep to it, I won't look as flabby and unfit as I do right now.  Reason for not doing it no 2 was eradicated.

I looked at past experiences with gym memberships and how they never lasted because I eventually just give up. Do I really want to commit to a membership if I'm not going to use it? So I looked into their membership and saw that I didn't need to give notice for cancelling the membership, I can do it as soon as I don't need it anymore, therefore it won't be binding me to them. In terms of making sure I continue to use the gym... this is where my techniques became less CBT and more trickery, and this is also where the title to this post comes in. I have put into place the following tricks to ensure I attend the gym.

1. Avoid any chance to crash out of an evening before I go to the gym. 
I have invested in a gym bag and I have kitted it out with everything I need for the gym. I take it with me to work so that I can go straight after work before going home. So far this technique has fooled my 'can't be arsed' brain for two days in a row. I am feeling silently confident for future foolery.

2. Make preparations for when the novelty of going to the gym begins to fade (usually at around the two week mark).
My 'can't be arsed' brain is usually overpowered by my productive brain for the first two weeks of any gym membership. For those two weeks, I am the exercise God. I exercise the shizzle out of all gyms. However, at around 2 weeks, my productive brain is so knackered from all the productivity, it passes out in a comatose state and suddenly my 'can't be arsed' brain has all the power. It never fails to happen, no matter what.

However, this time round I am entering into this membership expecting this to happen. Therefore, I have put plans in place to combat it when it does. Mostly, these plans involve getting as many people as possible included in my gym activities. I have already made plans with two friends for separate occasions of swimming, I'm going to look into classes and invite the shizzle out of anyone else who wants to come.

Additionally, I have Oldest-Friend-Cafrin, who is by far my most experienced gym friend, instructed to send me regular pep talks at certain points to spur me on. Most importantly, I am using my biggest quirk to my advantage; that is my OCD for sticking to any routine I create. For something to end up qualified as a routine in my life, I have to have been doing it regularly for about a week. My plan is to make the 'go to the gym every evening straight after work' routine embedded in my psyche by the end of next week. Once that has hit my OCD radar, I am all good to go. The only way this can happen however is that I need to make sure it is a similar plan every evening, I can't deviate, otherwise it becomes sporadic and won't register on my OCD levels as a verified new contender for my neuroses. Yes, I do have some borderline mental problems, but the important thing is I know how to manipulate them to get what I want... I am totally in control of that shizzle... for now.

3. Create a realistic goal that doesn't sound so daunting but still has enough pressure to make me competitive about it.
Although I have joined gyms in the past, this is the first time that I have done it with such a short term goal in mind. I have a deadline I need to reach and so, at the moment, I am only considering my gym membership until then. Most of the time, when my brain's gone all 'can't be arsed' in the past, it's been because I've had nothing to motivate me and the task of losing all the weight I need to just seems like too much work. However, this time it's different. I'm not trying to lose weight to a model level (I do actually like having curves), I have just one goal, I need to go down one dress size. That's it. That's all I'm focusing on. And on top of that, having a due date gives it just the right amount of edge that has my competitive nature kicking in. Now, I might very well decide that exercise is the thing for me after the wedding and keep at it (pigs could fly), but right now I'm not thinking about that. I have until the end of July. That's all. Lose one dress size in two months... It's going to happen people, I just know it.

If I end up writing on this thing in a couple of weeks' time, saying that I gave up because I couldn't be arsed, you all have my permission to slap me round the face hard. Then throw me over your shoulder and march me back to the gym, screaming at me until I finish the exercise I need to do. Seriously, do it. It needs to be done.

Peace out my lovelies.