Thursday, 30 June 2011

A Where Are My Knees Update (otherwise known as oops falling off the diet waggon)


So ages ago I wrote this post (11th April to be precise) about the fabulous Where Are My Knees blog and being inspired by these gorgeous ladies to be a bit better and healthier with my lifestyle. I figured with it now being July (tomorrow) it was about time for an how have things gone after making my lofty ambitions public knowledge?

Well, badly would sum it up original goals were as follows:

1) Loose a stone before Glastonbury festival swings around (now over cue very sad face)
2) Exercise 3 times per week (gym, long walk, dancing etc etc)

3) Eat my 5 a day and reduce the junk from my diet

Well of these I have lost a couple of pounds but not the 14 I was aiming for....
I also haven't been exercising as planned, I have been to a Zumba class and loved it so need to go back again and I am doing the parking further away and walking to the office bit so that is I must have walked miles and miles and miles at Glastonbury Festival (although I guess the cider will counteract any good that did!)
As for the diet, it's been very hit and miss frankly. I have been eating more fruit and veg but not enough by any means to be classed as a healthy diet!!
I have been attempting to use the Pocket Fitness App - which while fab and clever just depresses me more than anything as it feels like I can't eat or drink anything. Much prefer my Slimming World plan where it is simple - eat this, limit this and count these...much much easier and I don't feel like I'm being deprived (or starved!)
So, time for a new set of goals
1. Saturday 6th August is Glastonbury Extravaganza where I am going with lots of family and friends and that is 5 weeks away. If I aim for a 2lb a week loss that would be 10lbs...I do like nice easy maths and that would certainly make me feel much better (and hopefully reduce the old bingo wings down a tad)
2. It is *gulp* my 34th birthday in September (eek I'm getting old...did I say 34 I meant 24 obviously) so that is time goal number 2 - 11 weeks from now (and therefore another 6 on from GE) means I should - based on my 2lb a week goal - manage to shift by then a total of 22lbs or 1.5 stone (yep I used a calculator for that one and yep this includes the 10lb mentioned above!)
3. Then the next one would be Christmas party season so another 12 weeks on from my birthday brings us to mid December ready for my Work Do - now another 12 weeks at 2lb would mean 24lbs BUT bearing in mind my birthday, our anniversary, a potential Paris trip and other bits and pieces (and the fact that my track record ain't so hot) I'm going to aim for 14lb so another stone and an average of 1.2lbs per week...
If I achieve all of these goals that would be a whopping 2.5 stone - and that would be AMAZING!!!
So wagon nice to see you again - let's become friends again and please get me motivated to:
a) Move my arse
b) Be more selective about my food/beverage choices (cider off the menu for a while, vodka and diet coke in)
c) Be focused, stay positive and enjoy being a tad healthier to my insides :)
I'll keep you posted.......

Monday, 27 June 2011

CP's No Shopping Challenge....


One of my favourite bloggers recently wrote this post about shopping and mooted the idea of a no shopping challenge. This post eerily echoed some of the thoughts I'd been having recently about why I buy stuff that came out of a conversation with Mr P. Imagine the following if you will:

Me: ooh I'm very excited about my upcoming shopping trip with Miss L
Mr P: I don't understand why girls find shopping enjoyable? I mean why do you need so much stuff? Why does it make you so happy?
Me: Well it's a social thing as well as the pleasure of seeking out pretty things....And I just "need" them!
Mr P: Why? Are you not happy enough with me? How come you feel the need to buy more things to make you happier? And where are you going to put even more stuff???

This conversation got me to thinking...can you hear the cogs whirling? Why with a wardrobe bursting at the seams full of clothes, shoes, bags and of course Filofaxes do I feel the need to shop? Is it that I think this dress/bag/flip flop will suddenly mean I loose 3 stone/grow taller/become more fun? Can it really be true that without said item my life will be an less fulfilling or complete?

I often think about the scene from Sex and the City when Carrie realises that she has no savings, property or assets other than her wardrobe full of expensive shoes....glamorous but not especially useful when one is trying to secure a mortgage! Is that me but with £40 not £400 shoes?

I am lucky enough to be at a time in my life where I really am very happy. I have a wonderful man, a lovely home, a fabulous job (something is bound to go wrong soon I'm sure as this is all far more than I deserve) but clearly there is something wrong inside for me to need to buy things as regularly as I do. So inspired by Caribbean Princess here is my homage to her no shopping challenge. I will be fully participating in her challenge group and here are my not to be purchased rules from July 1st:

1) Any non work essential magazine subscriptions/magazine purchases other than She and Red. No more of the monthly/weekly glossies telling me what I "must" have so it will in fact be a double winner - saving money for not purchasing the magazine and then also not being tempted by the items within said magazine.

2) No clothes, shoes, bags and Filofaxes. I have more than enough of all for my whole street it feels sometimes and far more than fits into my wardrobes/cupboards.....unless it is something for an event that I really don't have in my wardrobe (fancy dress theme for example) nothing new!!!!

3) Books - I'm a bugger for buying new books and then not reading them. So until I have read the whole backlog of novels I have stockpiled at home no more fiction for me. And then I'm going to join our local library and try reading some for free!!

4) CD's, DVD's and mp3 downloads etc. I do tend to buy music quite a bit whether a song or album I've heard on the radio or decide to liberate a film that might be in the DVD bargain bin. But I have so much it is about time I revisited some of it and found out why I fell in love with certain albums/bands/films again!

5) Accessories - beads, bangles, scarves and earrings. Another thing I do is buy new accessories to spangle up an outfit. You can never be having a fat day where your favourite earrings don't fit!! However this is something else that I buy and rarely wear, I have my favourites for sure but I probably only wear about 10% of my total collection so time to dig out some of my older pieces and start enjoying them. That goes for my "posh" jewellery too - the special occasion stuff that I don't wear in case I loose/break it. Time to enjoy that too otherwise it will never get worn!!

6) Random, non essential kitchen items. I do get carried away sometimes and buy shiny new kitchen items that never see the light of day (yes slow cooker I'm talking about you) so no more - unless of course the kettle/toaster/coffee machine blows up and needs replacing!

7) Nik naks - fridge magnets, memorabilia, souvenir pencils the list is endless of the junk that I collect and bring home to lie in a drawer never to see the light of day again. No more! Without buying a considerably bigger fridge I have very little room left for any more magnets....

There are however several areas that I will not be including in my shopping embargo list:

1) Ski wear - in January my first ever ski trip is planned. I'm gatecrashing Mr P's ski buddy group which includes the very lovely Mr T and several other gorgeous boys. Now on this trip I will be happily at (utter) beginners ski school leaving the boys to carry on as normal with their ski holibobs as while I've never skied before they are all quite seasoned pros. But of course I have none of the gear yet - so I shall be hunting out some bargains I hope in my local TKMaxx/outdoor store/eBay for my first ski kit.

2) Birthday presents and the like. I have so many lovely people's birthdays coming up in the second half of the year and I love shopping for gifts for people so this will help alleviate the shopping pangs hopefully.

3) Vital replacements - by this I mean items that have actually broken/worn out and are essentials only. This will mean said broken item is recycled/thrown away though! An example would be if on my winter coat the sleeve ripped off....

4) Core beauty products. Not frivolous lip glosses or eye shadows but replacing the essentials (shower gel/hair dye etc etc) that without which I would turn into a bedraggled witch.

5) Furniture - we are looking to purchase some new furniture for our spare bedroom potentially so that is excluded from the embargo - it will just help with being able to access all the stuff I already have much easier!!

6) Kitchen appliances - I'm living in hope of getting a new bigger fridge and possibly even a dishwasher...I can't cut that dream off just yet ;0)

7) Car....I do believe in the next 6 months that I will need to be purchasing a new motor of sorts as I think I have nearly killed Mr P's lovely car with the amount of miles I do to work and back everyday. So having stolen that for the past year and half it is about time I coughed up some cash and purchased a new one to replace it. See here for more on that....

So there it is...can I do it? Mr P certainly isn't convinced!


Friday, 17 June 2011

Cars...A to B or driving in style?

This year is the year that I believe I will need to invest in a new set of wheels as with the miles I do each week (around 400) there can't be much longer left on Mr P's tardis car. For a Corsa, which by it's own admission is a small car, it is amazing what you can fit in it. Band equipment like drums, speakers, multiple guitars are no problem. Neither was moving all my possessions from my old flat into Mr P's house. It really is quite astonishing how much crams inside!!

But the time is coming for her to be retired and a new P-mobile will be sought out. But what are the key requirements we each need from the new car? And are they the same? Is there one vehicle that can satisfy both wish lists?

First up - Me. I need the following:

1) Easy to park - I need a car that is highly manoeuvrable for parallel parking while I'm at work. I'm not going to lie, I'm not great at parking. I accept my flaws in this area willingly. I know that if I can see someone is watching me I am guaranteed to completely balls up any parking attempt so this means no estate cars, no car without power steering or heavy suspension. It needs to be a nifty little number preferably with rear parking sensors for just in case.

2) Acceleration - I drive along a lot of country roads and dual carriage ways on my way to anywhere from our house. There are lots of roundabouts too. And I miss having a sports injection for that bit of oomph while at a roundabout to be able to nip out easily without that sluggish pull away. Admittedly is may be more the way I drive than the car itself but psychologically a sports injection car does make me go faster...

3) Dark colour - as Mr P will testify I'm not a big one for washing cars (isn't that what the rain is for?) so no white or red cars please. I'd like a nice dark one to hide the dirt...can you get mud brown coloured cars? Or slef cleaning ones, like the non iron shirts Marks and Spencer now sell? Maybe this is a gap in the market - Dragon's Den here I come!!

4) Safety first - again with the miles and type of roads I drive along and having witnessed the aftermath of lots of crashes recently the element of having a safe, durable car is becoming ever more important. Maybe one kind of like a bumper car with a bounce off bumper all the way round perhaps?

5) Storage - I do tend to end up with several pairs of shoes, the odd jacket, scarf, brolly and spare bag in the car much to Mr P's chagrin. He really isn't impressed when I turn his car into a wardrobe on wheels but with the weather in Weymouth often being at complete odds with that in Bournemouth I've learnt that being prepared pays huge dividends to avoid getting wet!

So what requirements does Mr P have? Well to be honest I'm not entirely sure but what I reckon could be important to him would be:

1) Cool car. He misses his old car, a Vauxhall Vectra a lot. Like loads. Masses. Not that he ever mentions it (ha! I knew more about that car than I did about his family until I met them!) It suffered an untimely demise at the hands of a mutant ninja deer that attacked it one night rendering her inoperable and unrepairable. The loss still haunts him to this day. So the next car that takes up residence on his drive needs to be a far cooler replacement than the current P-mobile. An Audi would be I think the car of choice. A3 if I'm lucky, A4 preferably. (Eek!)

2) Spacious part 1. Unlike myself who is a tad on the vertically challenged side Mr P is a healthy boy height of 6" so something roomy and spacious would be preferable. This has ruled out having a mini which I'd love as he'd be all squished up inside (apparently)

3) Spacious part 2. As I mentioned earlier the current P-mobile is like a tardis with the amount of stuff it can hold. This is a requirement of the new motor too as there is still the band equipment issue to consider! Squashed guitars are not an option! And contrary to any beliefs you may have there are no foldable versions yet available (ooh second Dragon's Den idea of the day - I'm on fire!!)

4) Durability is also a key one for him. Not for safety aspects for me while driving so much but more for the car and the way that I drive. I believe he thinks I'm a little "heavy handed" or "heavy footed" so any new motor needs to be a toughie to handle it! Charming eh!

5) iPod dock/connection. Mr P gets highly annoyed with the amount of CDs I have rattling around the car (mainly in the passenger side door pocket) both because they get in the way but also because of my choice of music in the car. A fan of Britney and Take That he is not. So being able to easily plug in his iPhone and choose the music selection would be a definite winner for him.

So anyone got any bright ideas on what type of car could fit both of our requirements other than an Ikea wardrobe fitted with speakers and a jet pack on a skateboard? Does anyone else have these type of issues or is it just us?


Monday, 6 June 2011

Loulou's guide to summer festivals - part 1 the 3 day posh one

My view at Glasto 2010 from the tent
So I've mentioned before that I love live music - I love watching/listening to all types of music especially when the sun is shining and I have a cold cider in my mitts. And this summer I am lucky enough to be going to 2 festivals this month!!!! So for this guide to festivals (part 1) I'm going to divulge my key tips for surviving a festival when if you are anything like me the whole idea of not having easy access to showers/flushing loos and washing machines makes you feel a little queasy.

First up I'm off to the Isle of Wight festival which is this weekend the 10th, 11th and 12th of June and includes acts I love including Lissie, The Script, Plan B, Kaiser Chiefs and most excitingly for me and the main reason for going the FOO FIGHTERS - cue whooping and screaming!! I'm also very excited about seeing Pulp I do hope they rock some of the classics!!

After a week or so off we then head off back to my home county of Somerset for the megafest of Glastonbury where Coldplay, U2, Biffy Clyro, Jessie J, Don McLean and so so so many more than I could ever list here so click on see here to see the full list! This is a 5 day festival so not for the faint hearted but rest assured in part 2 I'll tell you how to survive in style.

But first up how to survive a poshfest like Isle Of Wight....

Things to take with you

1. What to
The most important thing when packing for any festival is to be aware of the weather. You will be outside pretty much the whole time so you will need comfy, warm, lightweight and waterproof clothing to meet any eventuality. It can be roasting hot from bitterly cold and wet late at night so layers are your friend. Try and pack the following and you shouldn't go far wrong:
  • Vest tops
  • Long sleeve t-shirts
  • Fleece jumper (tragic nerd that I am mine is a glasto one)
  • Pac a mac (also handy for sitting on)
  • maxi dresses (great for if it's hot)
  • flipflops
  • wellies (well it doesn't take a lot of rain to make it muddy with thousands tramping around)
  • trainers
  • leggings (to keep the chill off at night under skirts)
  • sun hat
  • lots of socks (nothing worse than wet feet!)
  • cross body handbag (need the hands for drinks and waving in the air while dancing)
2. What to pack...toiletries
Now I think I'm relatively low maintenance for a girl but even I have standards so I do tend to take a fair few bits with me:
  • wet wipes (these really are the festival essential if you take nothing else take a whole large packet of these)
  • 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner (just add a standpipe and you're all set)
  • leave in conditioner
  • dry shampoo (for when there's no tap/too cold/wet to wash under it)
  • shower gel
  • toothbrush and toothpaste plus mouthwash (well just because you are camping there's no need to neglect your health!)
  • make up essentials (for me that is eyeliner, foundation compact and mascara)
  • hairbrush and comb
  • suncream (no burnt bits please peoples we don't want to grow old before our time now do we)
3. Key things to remember...
Now we all have different tastes but there are some key things that if you remember to take them with you will make your experience that bit more comfy...
  • Airbed - call me a snob but sleeping for more than 1 night on anything less than an airbed at my age isn't fun. For the few hours I get of kip a night I do like to be comfy so an airbed is now a must
  • Camping chairs - handy for by the tent for early mornings waking up or last thing at night before bed because you do a LOT of walking every now and again it's nice to take a load off away from the floor!
  • Power monkey - mobiles are essential if you loose your friends etc but they don't last long these days. power monkeys are great for giving you extra charge - my iPhone lasted the whole of Glasto last year thanks to my monkey!
  • First aid kit - not the earth but some key things like paracetamol, neurofen, anti histamine (even if you aren't a hayfever sufferer it sure can come in handy),
  • Anti bacterial hand gel
  • Loo roll - or as I like to use packets of tissues - so much easier to carry around with you but either way you'll need em!
  • Pen and paper - or if you're me a pocket filofax - handy for making sure you have everyone's phone numbers (in case you loose yours), making notes of any bands you want to see, leaving notes for other people etc etc
  • Money - you really don't want to waste time away from all the fun queuing for hours to get some dosh. So take plenty, you don't have to spend it all. But make sure you spread it around and don't keep it all in one place. For example I usually take a small purse in which I keep that day's spends and then in a separate cash bag in my handbag in a different pocket some more of my money. Well you can never be too careful!
  • Torch - it gets dark at night, you're outside and it's grass. Torchlight is essential to make sure you don't sprain an ankle (as is not drinking a bottle of wine while putting up your tent and then drinking shots and cider but that is another story!)
  • Camera - well you don't want to miss some essential sunsets/facebook/blog/twitter moments!
  • And finally in your absolute essentials - bin bags! Handy for keeping stuff dry if it rains, putting dirty clothes in and of course disposing of rubbish!
4. Things to look out for...
There are some key things that can make or break your festival experience but with a little knowledge and planning you can make sure you enjoy every moment:
  1. Know where you want to camp...knowing where you want to put your tent is key as once you get on site it is a bun fight to get the best space. You want to avoid a) being anywhere too near the loos - v whiffy by day 2 b) avoid being at the bottom of a hill - if it rains where do you think all that water is going to go c) try and avoid being too close or too far away from the path - too close and you'll be kept awake all night and too far away trying to find your tent in the dark can be a nightmare
  2. Organise a meeting spot should you get separated from all your friends at any point - remember your mobile may die so a little preparation can be key
  3. Agree in advance on your must sees with your group and see what everyone else wants to see - me and my man don't always want to see the same things so we go off and watch stuff and then meet up again later. The key to enjoying a festival is be aware of everyone but make sure you also get to see what you want - remember it is an experience that you will never get again!
  4. Be aware of your surroundings - you are there to have a good time BUT it is no different than being out on a Saturday night. Don't take unnecessary risks and be aware of who and what is going on around you. Which also means being careful not to get so out of it you don't know what you are doing! Being disorientated in the dark can be a scary feeling.
  5. Utilise the property lock ups - remember your tent has no security! Don't leave anything in it your would be bereft to loose. While (touch wood) I've never had a problem I really don't think it is worth the risk of taking all your best clobber!!
Loulou's festival fashion parade

So what will I be wearing to the Isle of Wight? Being that this is a more suburban festival on a smaller scale than the acres and acres of Glasto I can be a bit more girlie so here are some of my festival wares (I'm keeping everything crossed for good sunny weather)

First up the Maxi Dress - this one is from Warehouse and fits me remarkably well - plus even on my midget like height I can wear it with flip flops/converse as well as wellies if necessary! I'll team it with a cardigan and denim jacket for when the evenings draw in (oh and a pair of leggings underneath for warmth at night too)

Maxi Dress

The cross body bag - this one is from Fossil and I got it for less than half price (yay!) I love the yellow colour and it's leather! Perfect for carting around all my essentials!

And a bright top to stand out from the crowd, I do like some bright colours in the summer. Now I need a camisole with this top otherwise it is positively indecent but teamed with cropped denims it will be a perfect jump around in top for IOW.

 So there we go, my very brief guide to surviving a festival! Have you any tips that you would like to share?