The weight race: the final verdict

20161231-the-weight-race-2016

In January of this year, me and Michelle decided to go vegan for lots of different reasons, but for me being lactose intolerant was one of the main reasons.

One of the happy outcomes of this lifestyle change was; the weight started coming off me really easily. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, so losing weight isn’t exactly easy but I have to say that being vegan is really suiting my body. As well as going vegan, we also dropped refined sugar, which has really helped too.

I just calculated that this year I have lost a whopping 2st 3lbs, which I am really happy with! This is the lowest I have weighed in the 8 years that Michelle and I have been together, and therefore the lowest weight I’ve been in my 30s! I’m excited to see how much I will lose in 2017, as we will be starting back in the gym in January after a bout of ill health stopped us going in.

Bring on 2017! 🙂

My blog is 4 years old today!

4-year-anniversaryI just popped on to my blog to catch up on posts and found out from my notifications that my blog is 4 years old today! This was the very first blog I ever created, and back in 2012 I was reluctant to even start one as back then blogs were quite often seen as “Look at me! Look at me! Give me attention!” kind of things, and seen in a negative light. Happily, people love blogs now 🙂

I haven’t had the chance to blog on here as often as I would like, but this blog gives me the opportunity to chat about all kinds of stuff that I enjoy, like films, music and food, and I love having an outlet to just waffle in 🙂

I took a look at my stats over the last 4 years, and here’s what I have found:

I’ve had an amazing 7,866 views! That’s crazy! I never realised that I’d had over 3,000 visitors too. For such a small blog, that’s a fantastic number.

4-year-views

I was interested to see what my most popular posts had been over the years too:

In 2013 it was when I was nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award, which I was very proud about 🙂

In 2014 it was a poster about a bike repair and recycle project in Frodsham, which is such a great idea.

In 2015 it was a post about desserts from my childhood, which was inspired by a post by Nostalgia Pie in a post about ‘Old-Skool Ice-Cream Flavours‘. It was a fun post to research and gave me such a trip down memory lane!

So far in 2016, the most popular post has been about The Voice’s battle round 1 on 27th February 2016. I love The Voice and I was sad to hear that it was leaving the BBC for ITV, but now that I’ve heard that Tom Jones is back on it, along with will.i.am, I can’t wait to watch the new series 🙂

I had a look at the search terms that brought people to my blog and to be honest, they were all fairly relevant to the posts people ended up looking at. I was expecting comedic ones, but they were all pretty sensible. The post that a lot of search terms brought people to my blog for was “My favourite Sia songs“. I love Sia, and the fact that I mentioned that I walked down the aisle at my wedding in 2010 to Sia’s song, Day Too Soon seems to have brought a lot of people to my blog.

I have to say that I have loved having this blog and I am excited to see what I get to post about in the next 4 years! 🙂

Wednesday wisdom: Aldous Huxley

aldous-huxley-ww1
So many times I have felt like a passenger in my own life. Like someone else was in charge of the driving, and I was a hapless victim, waiting to find out where we are going and feeling ambivalent about it all. I have started to realise recently that I may not be able to influence the big things in life like health issues, money issues, etc, but I actually do have some small amount of control in certain areas of my life, and it’s on those areas that I am now going to focus  🙂

Less than 16 weeks to go!

But, to what you may ask! Well, it’s my 38th birthday in November and I am planning on going somewhere really fun and important to me, but I can’t tell you where yet as it’s top secret!

Sadly our car stopped working on Monday and we don’t have the money to get it fixed yet, so for now I am walking to work, which is 2.3 miles. There and back gives me exercise of 4.6 miles a day, which takes about an hour each way, so two hours in total. It was day 1 yesterday, which went fine, but I was so stiff when I got up today!

I’m currently 14st 8lbs so I’m hoping to lose a couple of stones with all of the walking (I only eat 1500 calories of healthy vegan food each day so hopefully it should be easy!), I’m hoping to be around the 12st mark by the big day.

Wish me luck! 🙂

Do you know an unsigned UK artist or band?

One of the things I love to champion is unsigned UK artist and bands. With that in mind, I run a regular feature on the Merryn Magazine website on Mondays called Independent Music Monday where I interview a different singer or band each week. If you know of anyone that I should be featuring, please ask them to take a look at this webpage, as that will give them more information 🙂

Weigh(t) to go – July 2016

Hello, happy July! (I know, I know, I’m a bit late with that greeting!)

I have been utterly rubbish at going in the gym since the last post in May, I was working flat out on issue 2 of the magazine, as well as working full-time in my day job, so the gym was the last thing on my mind every evening! Weirdly, I have actually lost weight but I’m not going to complain that I don’t understand how.

With regards to my weight loss, I was 14 stones 7lbs (203lbs/93kg) at the start of this month, which means I have lost 7lbs (3kg) in 2 months, which I’m really happy with. I know that people say that the slower you lose it, the more likely you are to keep it off, so that works for me!

Here’s my latest infopic. So, since 11th January I have lost a total of 2 stones 1lbs, which I’m really happy about! Onwards and upwards and I really hope that I can report back in in August with another weight loss 🙂

The weight race- (non-IG)- 01-07-16

Weigh(t) to go – May 2016

Hello, happy May!

I don’t know about you, but the first third of the year for me was shockingly bad, and watching the clock count down to midnight last night felt like New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad to see the back of January-April, and I am excited to see what May-August brings!

With regards to my weight loss, I am exactly 15 stones (210lbs/95kg) this morning, which is a nice place to be at the start of the month. I recorded in my blog post “So hello 2015!” which was on 11th January 2015, that I was 16st 8lbs (232lbs/106kg), so I have lost 1 stone 8lbs (22lbs/11kg) in 16 months, which I’m really happy about!

The weight loss did start coming off quicker once I went vegan on 1st January this year, and I started back in the gym recently, so I’m hoping that when I do my next weight update on 1st June that I will have lost even more! 🙂

To help me to see how far I’ve come, I’ve created a little infopic for myself 🙂

The weight race- (non-IG)- 01-05-16

I’ve got a Liebster Award!

liebster-award-10Thank you so much to the lovely Vinnie for my Liebster Award! It’s always an honour to get an award from my blogging peers 🙂

The rules of the Liebster Award are, you answer the questions posed to you by the person who nominated you, you think up 11 questions and pose them to 11 of your chosen blogs. I have no idea why it’s 11 questions and blogs, but I’ve usually seen it to be 11. I like to read the answers to the questions other people have asked, it’s a great way to learn more about the people you follow and leads onto all kinds of conversations 🙂

So, here are the questions Vinnie posed to me:

1. What do you find most beneficial about being a blogger?
I actually wrote this answer after writing number 6 as I’d originally skipped it, so now I know that it gives me the opportunity to just chill out and read some amazing blog posts by clever and funny people 🙂

2. What are your views on nudism?
I used to live in Brighton and they have a nudist beach and it never bothered me. I think it’s great that there are nudist camps where nudists can just be themselves without worrying about complaints or the police trying to arrest them.

3. Have you ever gone to see a movie that you were too young to watch at the time?
No, I am so dull! I would never have dared try in case my mum found out. I’d have been for the high jump if she did!

4. If you could date a Hollywood star, who would it be?
Before I was happily married, I would have said Channing Tatum. I love Step Up, he’s so good in that.

5. If you were the supreme ruler of a country, what would be the first law you would pass?
That people had to be nicer/more helpful/more supportive/any positive trait really, or they’d be thrown in jail. I know that’s unrealistic as how would you even police that? There doesn’t need to be the amount of murders, burglaries, crimes, etc. that there are daily, it’s so sad to constantly read negative news in the, erm, news. I love blogs like Kindness Blog, they share the most inspirational stories, guaranteed to make you smile. And cry.

6. What do you consider to be the best thing about your blog?
Another hard question! I don’t really think about my blog. I think because I run so many other websites; for Michelle’s books, for the magazine, for events and attractions, this blog is my downtime blog, where I get to chat about what films I’ve seen, or music I like, or “it’s hug your cat day!” type posts! So I guess the best thing is, it helps me chill out after a crazy day at work before I start working on all of my other websites! Thanks Vinnie, I hadn’t thought of it like that before!

7. Do you believe in the supernatural or paranormal?
I do believe in the supernatural and paranormal. I had to look up what the difference was and I still don’t fully understand it. I have experienced things in the past I couldn’t explain away and I sometimes feel like I pick up ‘messages’ for people. I don’t exactly hear a ‘message’ as clearly as someone verbally delivering it, it’s a weird intuition. A lot of my ‘messages’ for people have come true, I have quite a high hit rate. I have no idea what it is though.

8. Where is your dream destination for a holiday?
Believe it or not, with all of the places we can travel to, it’s Brighton. I lived there for just over a year a long time ago, and of all of the places I have lived (I am now living in my 7th city), Brighton was hands down my ultimate favourite. It’s such a great place to live, there’s always something going on. I moved there in a very cold February, and even though it’s by the seaside, there was plenty going on. From eating freshly cooked doughnuts on the pier, to going to the aquarium, to going shopping in The Lanes and Churchill Square, Brighton is a great place for a holiday and if I ever won the lottery, I’d buy a house there in a second.

9. What is the first horror movie you recall viewing?
The People Under the Stairs (1991) when I was around 14. I had a small portable TV in my bedroom, and it was on Channel 4 as part of some horror season, it may have been around Halloween. I shouldn’t have watched it, it really freaked me out. I can’t even discuss the plot here. If you don’t know it, Google it, you’ll find out all about it! I also saw The Poseidon Adventure (1972) when I was about 7, but only the part after the water comes in. That actually gave me a lifelong phobia of boats and ferries!

10. If you had a magic power, what would it be?
To remove the calories from chocolate. That would be awesome!

11. And finally, what do you believe the future holds for you?
Wow, happy stuff, I hope. The last 6 years since Michelle got her brain injury in the car accident have been so hard, I really hope that our luck is turning. My magazine comes out in April so I’m hoping that people get behind it and spread the word. I’d love to do that, and the events website, full-time, so you never know!

Thanks for those great questions Vinnie, I had fun answering them.

Now it’s time for me to nominate 11 great blogs (though I could only choose 8!):
Nanny Cool
Abbi Osbiston
Cinema Parrot Disco
Mr Rumsey’s Film Related Musings
Nostalgia Pie
Beetleypete
Squibb Vicious
Steve Says…

My questions for the lucky 8 who choose to accept my challenge are below:

1. Which film do you think everybody should see, and why?
2. If money were no object, what would you do with your time?
3. Do you have any funny responses when you receive spam phonecalls?
4. Is there any animal that you’d like as a pet, but can’t because they’re not really ‘in the house’ pets?
5. If a film was being made about your life, what would they call it and who would you want to play you?
6. What do you enjoy most about blogging?
7. What was your favourite place that you’ve ever been?
8. What’s your favourite quote?
9. What was the first record/cassette/CD/download single you ever bought?
10. What do you love most about where you live?
11. What made you start blogging?

So, I hope you enjoyed my blog post and good luck to my nominees!

November already?

The last time I was on here it was September and the weather was warmer. Now it’s November and not so warm, sadly.

So, how is everyone in WordPress-land? Since I’ve been on here, I’ve turned 37 (the hardest age I’ve had to deal with so far. It’s too near to 40 for my liking), I’ve been working on my new project, Merryn Magazine and we’ve gotten ever closer to Christmas. We recently watched “Cowspiracy” on Netflix, but I’ll talk about that in my next blog post.

Those of you who know me know that I am married to Michael, but things have changed in that department. I am still married, but Michael recently legally changed his name to Michelle, as “he” is transgender. She has been referred to a Gender Identity Clinic and we have been on the waiting list for three months now. We should be seen sometime next year and it’s all very exciting. I’m so relieved for both of us that I am able to support Michelle through this as I know that not all marriages survive one partner transitioning from one gender to another. The journey is going to be a long one, but one that will all be worthwhile once Michelle can be truly happy with who she is.

So, it’s been a busy couple of months, I’m really excited to see what December will bring (besides Christmas!).

Liebster Award

Liebster

Thank you so much to restinbitchface for the nomination, I love your blog. So many people seem to edit their life on WordPress/Twitter/Facebook/social media into one big happy life so it’s refreshing to find a blog where someone says, “this is me.” I love reading your posts.

INSTRUCTIONS:
You need to answer 11 Questions as asked by a Liebster awarder, then Give 11 facts about yourself, then also supply 11 questions to your nominated Liebster Award Receivers.

The 11 questions from restinbitchface are:

1. If you could give your younger self a bit of advice, what would it be and why?
Don’t stress! I used to worry what people thought of me so much so that I used to each my lunch in the toilets in whatever job I was working in because I’ve always been overweight, and let’s face it; people don’t want to see fat people eat, do they? It took me until I was in my mid-20’s before I could eat properly in public. Sometimes I’ll be eating at my desk at work now and I’ll remember that feeling and it just doesn’t compute. I couldn’t imagine doing that now. Besides, it’s not very hygienic! I’m 36 now and I love having that feeling of, “I don’t care what you think”. It’s so freeing.

2. If you had to go into a Nuclear Bunker, what would be the 5 things you take in with you?
a) ooh, well, my husband Michael for one! I’d miss him so much if I left him behind

b) enough food and drink that we’d survive
c) my friends and family as we’d miss them too much too
d) a first aid kit to keep everyone safe and well
e) tools because you never know when you may need tools

3. Reading books or a kindle (tablet type gadget)?
Ooh, a tricky one for me as our books are available in both paperback and Kindle. We did try paperback only, but people complained that they wanted to read them on Kindle so once Amazon changed their tax tactics (try saying that fast!), we put them back on Kindle. I personally prefer paperbacks as I love their smell, the feel of the book, the bookmark sticking out of the end of the book signalling how far you’ve read and how long’s left. I love bookshops too. You couldn’t replicate an online only store in bricks and mortar, it wouldn’t feel the same.

4. Dinner in or Dinner out?
I’d have to say dinner in. Since Michael got his brain injury from a car accident in 2009, he hasn’t really been able to eat while in noisy, busy or unfamiliar places. When we’re out and about, we tend to get sandwich meal deals and eat them in the car, and that’s romantic enough for me 🙂

5. What’s your favourite meal?
I love mexican food; nachos, chimichangas, tacos, burritos and fajitas, and there has to be jalapenos! I think my favourite Mexican dish is chilli topped nachos. I want some now!

6. If you could change one aspect of society, what would it be and why?
That everyone would treat everyone else fairly and equally. Thin people aren’t “better” than fat people because they’re thin for example. Everyone is equal for what they contribute to society, and if everyone’s contribution was positive, just imagine what kind of world we’d live in. Sometimes when I get a bit “isn’t the world an awful place”, I take a look at websites like Kindness Blog, TED Talks and Huffington Post’s Good News and I feel a lot better.

7. If you could send a message into Space, what would it say?
I’d ask for aliens to come and make society more economically and politically equal, and give us their take on religion!

8. What is your favourite thing to do on a stormy night?
Sit with Michael, all snuggled up and watch the rain 🙂

9. What do you do to cope with stressful situations?
I used to eat to be honest. I was always an emotional eater, and I think some of that came from having PCOS with regards to it being sugary food. Now, I try and think about what part of the situation is making me stressed and see if I can change it. If I can’t change it, I try and just deal with it. I love the Reinhold Niebuhr quote, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” I’m not a religious person but this is how I deal with things now.

10. If you could change anything about your past, would you and why?
Not a thing from before I was 30. I have realised many, many times that if I had passed my driving test (I failed 3 times and I still don’t have a driving licence, only a provisional), changed jobs at all, made any other decision than the ones I did, then I probably wouldn’t have met Michael. I met him when I was 30 years and 26 days old so anything before then; no. Since I met Michael? Loads! I haven’t dealt with life situations very well in the last 5 years, but I have really turned that around in the last 6 months.

11. If you could have a meal with 11 (going with the theme here) people, dead or alive, who would they be and why
Good question!

– Michael, it wouldn’t be the same without him there
– Paul Rudd because he’s cute AND hilarious
– The boys from McFly as I love them and their music
– Monica Bellucci because Michael finds her really interesting
– Art Bell so that he could delight us with his knowledge of the weird and supernatural
– Joseph Gordon-Levitt because I love his work and find him really interesting
– Christopher Hitchens because it’d be fascinating to hear his argument with the next person,
– Alan Watts because he’s one of the few people with a deep enough knowledge of religion to argue against Hitchens (sadly, they are no longer with us)
– Freddie Mercury because he’s a legend and could entertain us all
– Peter Ustinov because he was a raconteur extraordinaire
– Napoleon because he’d be fascinating

11 Facts about me!
1. I’m from Leeds and I lived there for the first 19 years of my life, then various times in between city moves around the UK

2. I love Fimo modelling clay and I have had some for ages but I don’t quite know what to make yet. I have a feeling that when inspiration strikes that I’ll make cool things
3. The 80s are my favourite decade but then, I was born in 1978 so my childhood took place in the 80s. The music, the fashion, the films, the television. I’d go back to visit if I could!
4. My ideal job would be working with charities and community projects, helping to publicise their fundraising events
5. I cannot walk properly in high heels and I much prefer ballet pumps or trainers
6. I am a fiend for tea and Michael makes the best cups in the world!
7. My first foreign holiday was an island hopping holiday around the Greek islands Santorini, Ios and Naxos and it was amazing. I was 28!
8. I have a scar on one of my bumcheeks as I cartwheeled into a rose bush when I was about 8!
9. I love bike riding and I have a bright pink Pashley Poppy bike
10. My favourite films are Shaun Of The Dead, Hot Fuzz, Strictly Ballroom, She’s The Man and Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.
11. I’ve been using internet since 1999, when everyone thought that the only people who went on the internet were “perverts and weirdos”. I’m glad I stuck with it!

My questions
1. If money was no object, what job would you be doing (if any?)

2. What’s your favourite colour, and why?
3. If I beemed down in an alien spaceship and wanted to be shown your favourite place, where would you take me, and why?
4. If you could meet one famous person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
5. If you could ban one bad habit in people, what would it be and why?
6. If you had to look like any celebrity, who would it be and why?
7. What are your 5 favourite songs and why?
8. Do you have a signature dish that you are brilliant at making?
9. Which fictional detective would you most like to be and why?
10. What’s your favourite book and why?
11. What place most sticks in your mind and why?

My Nominations!

abbiosbiston

Cinema Parrot Disco

Enjoy By Paula

Fitness On Toast

Flux + Flow

Grandma Eileen’s Vintage

Insidethelifeofmoi

Nanny Cool

Nostalgia Pie

Tea With Erika

This Was Dinner