Tag Archives: honeymoon

My fat year: And so it begins

IMG_4193a

Mute swan hissing at dog. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Today’s picture is purely for decorative purposes as the only “my fat year” pics we have at the moment are our “before” pictures – and you ain’t seeing none of them yet. (Dialect intentional for those pedants out there … 🙂 )

So, having both slimmed down sufficiently for us to feel comfortable on our honeymoon, we both also managed to put it all back on by Christmas. Well, actually, I’m still 5lb lighter than when we started and the poet’s also a few pounds lighter. But we’re not as slim as we were back in May.

I’ve tried lots of diets and the only ones that have been really successful have been those where I’ve only exercised regularly (Rosemary Conley DVDs and classes based on her DVDs) and the 5:2 diet (Kate Harrison’s version). All the poet has to do is eat less.

Over the Christmas break, one of the things I did was start to research the various diets that are currently going around, and – to be honest – I wasn’t impressed. I’ve tried fad diets. They don’t work – for me. They don’t even work temporarily. The only thing that works is cutting back my calories over a week, rather than per day, and exercise.

During my research I was quite surprised to see that the Rosemary Conley brand had suffered some significant financial setbacks. But I also discovered that she’s found alternative financial backing (I presume) and relaunched her website, at least, some time in the past year. And then I saw that she has adapted the 5:2 diet to suit her own beliefs.

Online annual membership to Rosemary Conley seems to be one of the cheaper ones at the moment, plus there was a £10 discount *and* a free copy of her book The 3:2:1 Diet. You can also pay monthly or quarterly, but working it out, £60 for the year (plus a book) is a lot better value than £13 per month.

Because I’m a bit of a gadget freak, I like to *see* my progress on charts and in colour. And, other than me not finding any nutrition charts, which I also like to see, this site seemed to be the best fit for me.

So I signed up, measured myself (and the poet), set up my profile, and logged my food/calorie intake for one week. On average I’m consuming around 2,000 calories on an exercise day (or walk day) and around 1,500 – 1,600 calories generally. My recommended amount is 1,449.

After the first week, the poet lost 3lb. I lost 0lb.

So yesterday evening I decided to go for the 3:2:1 diet, whereby you have 3 “light” days in the first week (I call them “starvation” days, everyone else calls them “fast” days), 2 light days for the duration of the diet, and 1 light day for maintenance purposes. But I’ll go straight in to 2 starvation days, I think.

The other differences are to try to maintain the less-than-5%-fat “rule” on ordinary days (“feast” days), and instead of 500 – 600 calories on light days, you get 800 calories (it may be more for men, I’ve not looked yet).  And she has 3 types of menu to choose from: comfort eating; feast eaters; and grazers. (I’m usually a grazer on starvation days for blood-sugar regulation.)

I’d like to lose 2½ stone (35lb). The poet wants to lose “a couple of stone” (28lb).

If you’d like to join us, let us know how you’re getting on in the comments section below. Otherwise, wish us luck!

Product tests
Oh yes, I almost forgot … We’ll also be testing various products over the course of the year. If you’d like us to review your product, let us know via the contact form.

Holiday “snaps”

protaros 01

The view from our balcony (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The final leg of our honeymoon started at 5am on a Sunday morning when we got up to head off to Glasgow Airport for our flight to Cyprus. We were only going for a week.

The poet had been craving sunshine – proper sunshine – and so when we got the chance we decided to take advantage of having pet sitters and off we popped.

protaros 02

The view from our balcony (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We had an all inclusive hotel, which I’m really not used to, but it was nice for our honeymoon.

I’ve never been to Cyprus but lots of friends have raved about how beautiful it is. And it is – plus, there’s still a very heavy British influence there on things like the road signs and traffic lights. I was expecting it to be a bit more Greek, but it’s actually quite cosmopolitan. We had glorious weather on all but one day.

protaros 03

Ian in the pool (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

So here are some “snapshots” of our first and last days there. The more touristy pictures will follow in the next few posts.

I’m suddenly very busy again. Not only did I already have one job waiting for me when we got back off holiday, but another arrived on my first day back at work.

Two days later another arrived.

protaros 04

Protaras, our closest big town (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And I think there may be another 2 editing or proofreading jobs in the pipeline too, but one of them needs me to get a pdf editor. I’m not sure I want a free one as I need one that will do the job properly and not drop out or expire when I least expect it.

Aside from the editing work, I’ve also come back from both Scotland and Cyprus with loads and loads of ideas for articles and fillers.

protaros 05

Doing his Daniel Craig impression ♥ (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I’ve been frantically making notes and doing some market research and, once the current edit is done (due in tomorrow), I’ll probably look at getting some pitches out. I’d like to send at least a pitch a day, or maybe 5 per week. (I did say there were loads of ideas.)

Last week too was spent redrafting the outline for CATCH THE RAINBOW. I’m trying to write scene-by-scene this time, rather than chapter-by-chapter and I’m hoping that helps me to flit from one era or viewpoint to another. I now have 75 scenes, including a prologue and plus an afterword. So I’m chomping at the bit to be getting on with that as well.

Then I have 2 books in for proofreading that I’ve already edited. I usually leave those until the proofreader/author revisions come in. But I’d like to build in proper proofreading time  to my schedule if I can, so I know they’ve picked up everything that I would.

protaros 06

Diane doesn’t really do sunbathing … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

And the promise of more to come … It’s very nice to be so busy. On the job boards I get so many invitations to pitch now that I don’t even trawl the wanted pages any more. So yes, lots to do on the writing and editing side of things.

There’s stuff I need to do around the house too, and I’ve only just today hit the bottom of the laundry basket following our holiday. It’s only taken 2 weeks …

protaros 07

Watersports on Protaras beach (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

I want to bake more as well, though, making full use of the fresh ingredients we’re getting once a fortnight. I think the poet is using pak choi for tea this evening … I have no idea what that is or what to do with it. But hopefully he does.

The poet has one more band practice this week before other band members start their summer holidays. The next gig is in August, so it will be nice to have the summer off.

protaros 08

Arty shot (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

We have plans to go to a few summer festivals over the break and not having to be back on a Saturday in time for a gig will mean we don’t have to dash around.

And I think that’s it for today. I have work due in tomorrow and another job starting tomorrow, so I really need to be getting on with that now. The heating has packed up too, so I’m also hanging around waiting for the gas man.

Enjoy the pictures. 🙂

Nevis and Culloden

nevis 01

The Commando Memorial, Great Glen Way (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

As it’s a Wednesday, I’d normally be writing my diary of a scaredy cat today, and I did promise one this week. However, I’ve not done a lot of actual writing work in the week since we got home (although I have been reading lots and making copious notes), so here are some more photographs from the Scottish leg of our honeymoon.

On the Monday we decided to drive through the Nevis range of mountains to see the Caledonian Canal and Loch Ness, and we took the “scenic route” along the minor roads that run parallel to the canal.

The scenery was stunningly breathtaking and we were additionally rewarded with little surprises here and there, such as the Commando Memorial that stands overlooking the landscape in which our first commandos did their training in the Second World War.

nevis 02

Caledonian Canal (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I particularly wanted to see the Caledonian Canal, having seen it featured on the BBC’s Coast series. This beautiful stretch of water links several lochs, rivers and lakes so that boats may take a short cut from one side of the country to the other without having to sail around the top.

But once we’d seen Loch Ness (and no, we didn’t see the monster, funnily enough), we wondered where to next.

nevis 03

The Nevis Range (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Then the poet remembered his parents taking him to see Culloden when he was very young, and as I’ve always been interested in Scottish history, that’s where we decided to go.

When we arrived we were delighted to see that it belonged to the National Trust for Scotland and, as National Trust members, we not only saved our admission fee, but also our car park fee – a total of £25.

nevis 04

Loch Ness. And no, we didn’t … (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The poet said that it had changed a lot since he’d been – a very lot. And we spent a good while exploring the visitor centre and then part of the battlefield. But it was already late in the day and we had to do battle with the Inverness traffic at rush hour on our way back as well.

So off we headed, back to our hotel, getting something to eat on the way. The food really was delicious at our hotel, but we fancied something a bit less … fancy for our last evening in Glencoe.

nevis 05

Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The next day we were up early and off on the next leg of our trip … but more on that when the pictures are posted …

Yesterday I did quite a lot of work but I was feeling a bit rough. So when the poet called and asked if I wanted to ride shotgun with him on a visit, and get lunch while we were out again, I jumped at it again. This time our sandwiches came from the Co-op, but I had a nice prawn salad and he forced us to have chocolate covered doughnuts …

nevis 06

Diane at the MacDonald memorial on Culloden battlefield (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m still washing, washing, washing – and drying it indoors and out, depending on the weather. And yesterday was no exception. I had a packed, full washing line and bedding in the tumble dryer. But yesterday I also had to tidy up the gig list and put out the shout for this weekend’s gigs as well as plug the next Monkey Dust gig too.

I also caught up on the daily competitions and did yet more name change admin online.

nevis 07

Graves on island in Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

My lovely business manager suggested I take the afternoon off. I argued at first, but then decided to heed his advice as I had lots of reading work to catch up on as well. So I was still working, even if I was taking it easy. When he got home he brought the washing in too, bless him, before cutting the grass.

Today I’m back at the washing – there’s another line-full and more bedding drying in the tumble dryer (just call me Widow Twanky …).

nevis 08

Loch Levin, Ballachulish (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m going to surf the job boards and catch up with emails and invitations there. I also have that new edit to continue with and more reading, writing, research and note-making work to do.

This last picture is one of my favourites from all the Scotland holiday. This was the view from our hotel room. I think the poet has done a lovely job with the light, the colours and the perspective.

I hope you enjoy all of the photographs.

3 weeks ago

gretna 01 sign

Picture: Ian Wordsworth

Three weeks ago today the poet and I tied the knot in Gretna Green, in Scotland.

We decided to go to Scotland because we already wanted to honeymoon there and we didn’t want our friends or families to feel obliged to come to yet another wedding – this is my 3rd wedding and his 2nd.

Two of our friends, however, wouldn’t let us get married either on our own or without them. And so they travelled with us and helped make our special day so much more special. (Sharon made the dress too, by the way.) We had a lovely ceremony, performed by a registrar who hailed from Barnsley too. So it was a nice little local celebration anyway.

gretna 02 chapel

The Chapel at the Mill Forge. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’m not going to bang on and on about the wedding. I’m sure all of you know how they go. But here is a small selection of photographs to give you a feel while I carry on with the rest of today’s blog post.

It’s been a stupidly busy week not helped at all by the torrential rain that greeted us when we got back. I have piles and piles and piles of washing still to do, from both the 2 holidays but also what we left before we went and what we’ve used since we got back.

gretna 03 pump

Hand pump. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The tumble dryer has been in action, but the washing line has only been filled once this week, and still the laundry basket overflows.

I’d allowed myself half a day to do the washing, but I should have allowed (a) much longer, and (b) more time just to change my name online. I’ve had to change all of my contact details as well as username where I can, and I’ve had to find out who to write to if they need to change username.

gretna 04 water wheel

Waterwheel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

This includes WordPress (for this blog), Blogger (for the gig list), Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo (for the email address) …

It includes notifying everyone and hoping the email hasn’t gone into their spam. It includes 3 job boards I’m registered on. And it includes a lot of the daily competition auto-complete information. It’s taken the best part of 3 days, and still it’s not all done.

gretna 05 smith

Man of steel. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

What it doesn’t include so far is my banking details – which is the important thing – my driving licence, and my passport. But I can’t do those until the marriage certificate arrives. So I still have tons and tons to do on the name change front. And a marriage certificate to chase …

Also this week I’ve launched the new website. I’d already done the bulk of this work in downtime earlier in the year. But being a superstitious kinda gal, I didn’t want to officially launch it until after the official name change.

The website is still very much a work-in-progress and some of you have already started to give me feedback – all of which I will attend to, digest, and apply if desired. Thanks for all of the messages so far.

One new thing I have created this week is a Facebook page.

gretna 06 register

Diane and Ian signing the register. (Picture: Billy Rodgers)

My old Facebook profile is now a joint one as the poet decided he didn’t want a FB presence any more. But as he still needs to administer the gig list (both the website/blog and the Facebook page) and his Monkey Dust page, he’s going in on mine.

The new page, which I’ve resisted creating for so long but now seems the natural thing to do, can be found here. I don’t know what it will include as yet, but presume it will be all the writerly/editing/workish stuff I already share on the profile, but which I’ll be doing less of now it’s a joint profile. Again, it will no doubt evolve.

So that’s all the admin stuff …

gretna 07 billy sharon

Our lovely friends, Billy and Sharon, who wouldn’t let us get married on our own. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

… what about the writing side of things?

Well, I’ve been stupidly busy there too, furiously brainstorming a million and one article ideas following our recent travels. I’ve filled in pages and pages of my notebook and selected 5 – so far – to maybe concentrate on for now.

I’ve always been a natural feature writer, and while I’m desperately trying to get back into fiction (long and short), I may as well exercise the writing muscle anyway. So I’ve been very busy with that as well.

gretna 08 billy diane sharon ian

(Picture: Ian Wordsworth – he has a remote control)

And, of course, the brain has been percolating quietly away on the fiction side of things too. Next week I start work again on CATCH THE RAINBOW.

[PAUSE]

My lovely husband just came home and treated me to lunch “out” (aka sandwich and cake from Gregg’s), and before he got here the postman brought … (ta-daa) our marriage certificate.

gretna 09 ian diane waterwheel

Picture: Billy Rodgers (although you can see his remote in this pic)

This was particularly useful because we needed it as we were registering at our local doctor’s. He’d already tried to register several months ago online and had also returned a questionnaire to them. But it somehow got lost in transit and he needed to register in person.

So that’s where he took me during his lunch break. That’s what I like to see – a man who knows how to treat his wife! 🙂

Of course, now the certificate has arrived, my workload has just jumped up again. But I think I’ve had enough this week. I’ll start again next week.

gretna 10 billy n ian

I love this picture from the end of the evening. They’d both made speeches and everything, and I think Ian looks really relaxed. (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

Today, then – or what’s left of it – I had planned to start a new edit that arrived on the very same day that I started back at work. Unfortunately, it sat in my in box for 2 days before I spotted it. Fortunately, they knew we were going away and hadn’t offered it anywhere else yet.

I also have at least one more to do for lovely already boss, with another 2 potential jobs hopefully on their way. I already completed proofreader and author revisions on another yesterday, and we delivered it by hand yesterday evening on the way back from band practice.

We’re having at least one do-diddle-day over this coming bank holiday weekend, we’re visiting the parents in both Birmingham and in Doncaster, and we might go to the pictures. Other than that, we’re having the weekend off.

Enjoy the pictures. 🙂

Lots of news today

IMG_2294 (3)

Picture: Billy Rodgers

Such a lot has happened in the past few weeks, I hardly know where to start.

We got back at just before 2am Sunday night/Monday morning after a 4-hour  non-stop drive from Glasgow airport in pouring rain. The poet was straight back to work for 8:45am on Monday, and while I’d given myself the morning off to empty cases and do the washing, that clearly wasn’t enough and we’ve been in a bit of a tired whirl ever since.

So, from the beginning …

On 30 April my dad and my sister arrived to look after the animals and for Dad to have a bit of a break. The poet was at work until 5pm and I’d spent the day changing beds, washing crocks, packing suitcases, etc. By 5:30pm we were on our way to Gretna Green for our wedding the following day.

At some point along the A66 we wondered how our friends Billy and Sharon were doing. From the moment we told them we were getting married they’d said we weren’t getting married without them, and while we wanted a small, private ceremony, we were happy to have 2 friendly faces with us and the poet gave them a job each – best man and maid of honour, and also our witnesses. At almost the same moment we had a phone call from Billy. They were only in the car in front!

We all arrived just in time to have dinner in the restaurant, and we arranged to meet at breakfast the following morning too, which the poet and I managed with about 5 minutes to spare. At about 10am we all went off on an orientation drive of the area and were back by 3pm because the flowers were due at 3:30pm.

Ian and Billy went off at 5pm to be collected from the bar at 5:15pm, and we were to be collected at bang on 5:30pm. They came to see how we were doing at 5:20pm, and as we were ready and there wasn’t a ceremony before ours, they were able to fit us in a little early. And one of the nicest things of all was that our registrar’s home town was Barnsley, the same village as Sharon and Billy, in fact. So that made for a nice atmosphere.

Ten minutes later we were married.

We weren’t married in the usual centre of Gretna Green but a smaller hamlet just outside. But we all agreed that the ceremony was lovely and the accommodation and food was great.

On Saturday morning, we waved Sharon and Billy goodbye, and Gretna Green, and while they went home, we headed further north for the first leg of our honeymoon. We had 3 nights in Glencoe, 3 nights on the Isle of Mull, and 2 nights in Oban before driving down to Glasgow at 5am the following Sunday morning and catching our flight to Cyprus by the skin of our teeth. (The parking people had sent us directions from Yorkshire, not knowing we were coming from the north west of Scotland, and the M8 doesn’t have a J28a coming that way, so we got a bit lost.) Then we spent a lovely, sun-filled week in the Protaras area of the island, squeezing 3 day-long excursions in as well.

IMG_2239

Detail from the bouquet. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

There will be more about the places we visited, and lots of pictures, over the coming days. But, for now, I need to crack on with some work.

Yesterday, instead of my half a day I managed to spend the entire day sorting out washing into piles – we had 2 lots of cases from 2 completely different types of holiday – and I only did 2 washloads that could also be tumble-dried. Late afternoon I had to nip out to get some food, and that put paid to doing any work in the afternoon after all.

This morning has been spent mostly changing my name on as much of my online presence as I can think of. And I still need to do the official stuff, like banks, yet. I’ve also done 2 more washloads, but unable to hang any of it out.

So a busy few days ahead still, catching up on work and washing – if the rain lets me.

Final countdown …

cows

These guys turned up in the field at the bottom of our garden the other day.

This time next week we’ll already be enjoying our wedding day. There is still so much to do and sort out, especially with us going off on honeymoon the very next day, and very little time in which to do it. We have another busy few days ahead, but boy, are we going to make the most of our holiday.

I’ve managed to do a lot of my own work this week, adding nicely to the word counts in the sidebar. I’ve also done a fair bit of reading work and some research. The washing basket has been hammered and we’ve made some inroads into the shopping we need to buy for both our holiday and to leave behind for my sister, who’s pet/house-sitting for us.

When these cows appeared in the field at the bottom of our garden on Wednesday, the distraction didn’t help a great deal. But it was lovely to see them run around the field with gay abandon. (Can we still say that now?) They’ve had a jolly good wander too, exploring every inch of the field, the woods, the brook, the grassed bridge over the brook. I’ve not seen them yet today, but keep looking – so there’s more distraction. 🙂

Today I have a hair appointment at 4:30pm, so a short day for me. I would have done the shopping while I was over there too, but we decided to go last night instead. That gives us the rest of this evening free.

It’s my mom’s birthday tomorrow, so we’re going to see my parents. We won’t be able to visit for 3 weeks, so we would have gone anyway. We also want to see the poet’s parents this weekend too. As we’re getting married in Scotland, none of the parents will be coming. So we want to see them all this weekend instead.

Incidentally, those who know the details and who want to come are very welcome. We’re just not putting anything special on. We didn’t want anyone to feel obliged to come, especially as it’s the third time my friends and family will have had to suffer the ordeal. But, likewise, if anyone fancies a short break, and can get there, we’re not discouraging them.

When we get back from Birmingham we may have another visit to Meadowhall to do more last minute holiday shopping, then on Sunday I think we’re hoping to get out for another walk. We’re going to be doing a lot of walking in Scotland and want to ensure a reasonable level of fitness at least.

Son #2 moves into his new house today, so we want to try and squeeze in a visit over there in the next few days. It’s all go, isn’t it?

I’m waiting for our postal ballot papers for the general election. My sister’s arrived today, but we’ve not heard anything since we registered at the new address. I’ll have to chase them today if we don’t get anything in the post. I’d be mortified if I couldn’t vote in a general election. We both would.

I also have more reading/writing/research work to do today and I also want to do a backup as the computer has crashed twice this week and each time it does I have kittens.

Have a great weekend and enjoy the cows. 🙂

Lots going on

We have an awful lot going on at the moment here in Baggins Bottom, and we seem to be chasing our own tails trying to keep up with everything. But we’re managing, and we know that all of the hard work will pay off in the end.

For example, we’re planning a wedding, and not in this country. We’re also planning the honeymoon – also not in this country. We’re selling a house, or renting if it it doesn’t shift. We’re looking for a new place to live of our own. We’re trying to encourage my parents to move somewhere more suitable, house-hunting for them, and we’re visiting them too – in Birmingham – and the poet’s parents, in Doncaster. My dad is coming for a visit for a few days while my sister stays with our mom. We’re taking him on a birthday celebration weekend, so we’re sorting that too. And Monkey Dust has been busy with gigs just recently as well.

And, of course, the poet is still working in Scotland. I’m still dropping him off and picking him up at/from the station. He’s still spending more time than he’d like away from home doing a job that wasn’t really his career choice and hoping it’s coming to an end in the next few weeks, when he’ll be working locally again. We’re also keeping the gig list going throughout all of this, which can be hard work too.

Neither of us is particularly very well at the moment either. We both have a bit of a throat, but he’s full of cold too. So that’s not helping at all.

BUT, there is light at the end of the tunnel, and we’re so going to enjoy it when it finally gets here.

Aside from all of this, and keeping a 3-storey house running, I also have work too. And I need to be shifting that quickly so that we can pay for all of the stuff mentioned above.

I think we deserve a very nice holiday at the end of it all, but I need to crack on. It’s already dinner time (lunch time) and I don’t seem to have done anything at all, and I have 2 books in to edit and quite a few author/proofreader revisions on books already edited.

blog thumbnail

%d bloggers like this: