Monthly Archives: December 2012

Boiler still off. At least I have good hair

Yep, still no sign of the boiler repair folk with the Missing Part that will give us heating and hot water again. I’m bored of having to stop the baby trying to eat the fan heater, and driving to a hotel to wash.  I’m bored of getting text messages from our useless service provider (won’t name them, but will say it might have been worth spending less money employing John Cleese to do the adverts and a bit more money on you know, the actual heating engineers) that say someone will be ringing the bell within the next ten minutes to fix it all and then still be waiting an hour and a half later.  I’m Just Bored.

The good news is, I actually had a haircut (and eyebrow wax and lash tint). On Saturday. The first haircut I’ve had since August (I think). So I am bored, but my hair looks amazing.  I meant to just have it tidied up a bit, but took my glasses off while she was cutting, and it’s now about three inches shorter, so gone from being a meh, split endsy mess that looked super tatty, to being a pretty sharp looking actual hairstyle. People have remarked! In a positive way, not a kind of sniggery ‘Mmmm, I like your haircut‘ way. And I have tidy brows. And new specs. And I’m actually wearing a new top today, that both fits and suits me, a sort of Breton stripe three quarter length sleeve T-shirt that I got in the Boden sale am very pleased with. And I’ve had compliments!  So I must be doing something right.

So in summary-bored and cold, but looking pretty good on it.


Cold burns calories, right?

I hope it does, because there has got to be a positive side to having the boiler switched off for 48 hours. We’re 24 hours in, and they have promised – PROMISED – to be here between 12 and 4 tomorrow, with the right bit of string or whatever it takes to get the boiler functioning again, in a way that won’t kill us in our sleep. The infuriating thing is that this was just a regular service-we had heating and hot water, then they came to check it was working and switched it off. And apparently it has been a bit possibly dangerous broken for a good couple of years, so a) they missed it last year, when we had them out to service the boiler in October and b) well done us for still being alive.

So, not the best couple of days here at Casa Minimum, but were doing ok-the baby is wrapped in a snuggly snowsuit and crawling around, so he is keeping warm, we have borrowed a couple of heaters so the house doesn’t feel too baltic, but we have no hot water, and although strip washing at the sink does the job, it isn’t very festive or luxurious. I have piles of lovely treat-y bath things (Molton Brown! L’Occitance! a gold bubble bar from Lush!) that I got for Christmas, and they will just have to wait another day for me. I’m actually daydreaming about a really hot bubble bath, with a warm towel on the radiator when I get out, and feeling very sorry for myself. Then I remember that forty years ago, most houses on my street didn’t have central heating, so it was like this all the time, and realise that things aren’t so bad after all-24 hours to go, and I’ve started a countdown to my bath!

First the feast, then the fast

I don’t write much about losing weight, but it’s an ongoing side project-my baby is almost seven months old, and I put on a huge amount of weight when I was pregnant (FIVE STONE), so it needed to come off. I’ve lost about 3.5 stone so far, so am getting there-1.5 stone came off pretty quickly, but the other two have gone since I started doing the 5:2 plan in September.

5:2, if you haven’t heard of it, is about eating normally for five days of the week, and fasting for the remaining two-not a total fast, women can eat around 500 calories on a fast day. I lose 1lb a week most weeks, and more than than sometimes-I’ve had the odd week where I stayed the same, but the following week has always seen a really good loss to make up for it.  So other than keeping to the 500 calorie rule (which is pretty simple for me-after years of calorie counting, I can calculate that without checking too many labels!) there are no rules. That’s it. Two days of 500 calories or less, and I do what I want the rest of the time.  The oddest thing is that having total food freedom for five days a week hasn’t resulted in hideous food binges on cream cakes and fried stuff-I genuinely just don’t want to eat as much of those foods anymore. So a normal day now will be coffee and a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a couple of scrambled eggs on toast or some soup and a roll for lunch and then a reasonable sized serving of pasta or curry or whatever I’ve made for tea.  If I fancy a biscuit, I’ll have one. Maybe even two. But not the packet. And it’s easy, and it’s working, so I’m sticking to it. 

Once I’ve reached my goal weight, I’ll cut back to one fast day a week (so 6:1) to maintain my weight. If I have a few days where I’m eating very rich food, I’ll do a week of 5:2, or even 4:3 to get myself back on track.  Talking of rich food, this is the first fast day since Christmas, and I’m very aware of the amount of food in the house-all sorts of lovely leftovers in the fridge, cakes, sweets and biscuits in nice boxes catching my eye. I can see them, but I just don’t fancy them. They’ll still be there tomorrow, and waiting 24 hours for a mince pie just means I’ll really enjoy it when I have it.

I’m not recommending you start doing this if you have a few pounds to shift, but it works for me, and I wish I’d heard of it sooner. I’m lucky in that I don’t suffer any negative side effects on fast days (I’ve read about people feeling dizzy or headachey, or just not being able to get through the day on so few calories).  If you count points or syns or calories or carbs and it does the job, that’s brilliant. But I’ve tried a lot of diets over the years, and never found anything so simple and effective, and I think it will help me drop the weight and stay at a happy weight for the rest of my life.  And I’ve not even left it to the New Year to start properly!

A slightly dejected Christmas Eve post

So, the baby has stopped going to sleep in the evenings. It’s quite tiring for everyone, and very very dull. He is taking it as a personal insult that we are putting him in a COT, at SEVEN O’CLOCK, when we are clearly intending to drink wine, eat food that isn’t baby rice, and have fun while he is asleep. So my lovely evenings, clear for hours at a time while he sleeps happily, have been paused for now. No free time for applying nail polish, face masks and lovely long baths-nope, I now sit here, tensed and twitchy, waiting for him to shriek over the monitor, then run up the stairs two at a time to soothe and sing, and try to help him sleep again.

Super quick fixes for difficult evenings? I take my nail polish off, file my nails smooth and buff them so they’re nice and shiny. I apply hand cream. I keep my tweezers downstairs and tidy up the odd stray eyebrow hair. I file my feet smooth, and use a rich foot cream with warm socks over the top. And I wait for him to shout, and hope this phase doesn’t last long.

The importance of using primer

I always assumed primer was one of those pointless extra things designed to add time and products to a morning routine without necessarily doing anything useful. Then I actually got some, and it does exactly what it’s meant to-it smooths, it evens, it gives a lovely strokeable surface and makes my foundation last hours longer. Primer is ace. I only bought mine by accident-I had heard good things about Barbara Daly (Tesco range) nail products, so popped in for a brilliant undercoat/topcoat/clear polish called Goodbye Yellow, (has outlasted ALL nail polishes of mine so far, four days and no chips, makes my nails look properly done) and realised I needed a new foundation, so picked up one of those too (Moisture Foundation in Porcelain-very nice finish, will keep using this one). THEN I noticed that they had a 3 for 2 on all Barbara Daly things, and the primer was next to the foundation, and I’m pretty lazy, so just picked up one of those. It is great stuff, looks a mad orange colour, but I could almost go without foundation once it’s on (and with the shocking state of my skin at the moment, that’s saying something!)

Current make up looks like this-

Primer, Moisture Foundation in Porcelain, Benefit’s Lemon Aid on eyelids, nameless concealer on spots

Then Bourjois nudey looking eyeshadow, any black mascara, Dandelion by Benefit blusher and Brow Zing in Light (another Benefit one)

Takes less than 5 minutes in the morning, lasts almost all day-my back to work face is sorted!

The one where I’ve just lost an entire post about dodgy skin

Yep, the whole post. Wrote it, edited it a bit, saw it save as a draft several times, have somehow lost it. So in summary-two handy treatments for days when your face doesn’t look like it’s on your side:

Malin and Goetz Acne Treatment (Space NK). Pleasingly sciencey, has a white active ingredient on the bottom of a little glass jar and some clear stuff above it, you dip a clean cotton bud through the clear stuff into the white and dab onto your spot(s). Only for use at night, unless you work from home (in which case beware! If you forget it’s on, you will get funny looks from the postman/whoever you’re on a video conference call with) Seems to be pretty good at shrinking spots, reducing redness etc etc.

Cosmetic Warrior Fresh Face Mask from Lush. Smells vile (as would anything containing garlic, tea tree oil and er..grapes) but absolutely packed full of really good, natural antibacterial stuff. Use every other day till the pot runs out-seems good for blitzing whole face, not just the odd spot.

That’s it. Here’s to spot free days!

I don’t care if they just give me expensive wee

A teething baby and the start of Christmas evenings out mean my weekly routine night is postponed  (DH is out for a work thing, and I have friends coming over for dinner. I’m expecting to be interrupted about ninety times by wailing and dribbly baby, but they’re nice people and will leave some food for me if he takes ages to go to sleep.)

So, today’s post is about vitamins. I do know that supplements aren’t necessary if you’re eating a healthy balanced diet full of organic veg and whole grains. I am doing my best. I cook from scratch most days, but have also been know to have the odd (shameful) day where Salt and Vinegar Discos and Quorn hot dog sausages are the most wholesome things I consume, and I still want to feel reasonably energetic on those days. So I have started taking proper vitamins-fizzy multivit, something called For Women’s Health (has evening primrose and that kind of thing, doesn’t actually say To Settle Hysterical Wombs, but has that sort of feel to it), a B vitamin liquid that you have to squirt under your tongue and keep there for 30 seconds, and Floradix. And you know what? I think they’re helping. It’s been a couple of weeks, and I have no idea if I’m imagining it, but I do feel brighter and less knackered, despite the unsettlable baby. So even if it is all my head, I’ll stick with them, as I have less than three weeks to go before I’m back at work, and need all the boosting I can get.