Well it's been an amazing month. Our diets (lifestyle changes) are going great and we were in Italy for a week over our 10 year wedding anniversary!
We had an amazing holiday and even lived through the 93+ degree heat everyday!! I took many many photos and I have put links to them all below. You do not have to have a Facebook account to look through them... Enjoy!
Well it's been an amazing month. Our diets (lifestyle changes) are going great and we were in Italy for a week over our 10 year wedding anniversary!
Just thought I would do a quick check in... Nothing much going on to be honest. It was rough going back to work on Monday after having two relaxing weeks off. Andy and I didn't have anything planned but to just workout, relax and watch football. Which is exactly what we did for two whole weeks... it was bliss.
Then Monday hit and it was back to work. Oh well... it was great while it lasted!
Our next time off is scheduled in August. We will be celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary on August 11th and we will be celebrating it in.... (drum roll please).... Rome! Can not wait for this trip, it is going to be a blast! We were in Paris in May and that was a great 4 days but we have a whole week in Rome and it is going to be awesome! I think we may take the train for a day trip to Florence and Pisa also.
Since I was MIA from my blog in May when we went to Paris I'll post a link to the photos from our trip.
I would first like to apologize to you that find my new obsession with exercise and calorie counting boring but it's hard to find other things to write about right now for the simple fact that it is a 24/7 lifestyle change and so much of my time is centered around this right now. I hope you don't find it too boring!
Anyway... Look what I got today.
This is my new heart rate monitor! I have used it four times already and I can not say enough about how much I love it! The chest strap is just worn during any kind of exercise and it transmits your heart rate to the watch. You are able to keep track of calories burned, heart rate, laps and much, much more.
After you are done you can go to the Polar website and by putting the watch next to the microphone on the laptop it will transmit all of the details it recorded directly to your profile where you can monitor your progress.
This is my main diary page. It loads the data into the time in which it was recorded and then you can click on it for more detail.
These are the overall details from the exercise. This was recorded during a 30 minute exercise video 'Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred'. As you can see it shows my average heart rate and my maximum heart rate.
When you click on Training Zones...
It then breaks down the data into even more detail. It will show you what percentage of time was spent in each Training Zone. I had no idea before starting all of this that there are better zones in which to keep your heart rate in as it will burn more fat in those zones. For me the best zones to be in for this are Zone 3 & 4 (Green & Orange).
I would also like to say that of course when you do things such as exercise videos you have no idea how many calories you are burning as everybody is different. But on some machines, such as my treadmill, it has a calorie counter. It had always told me that 3 miles = 424 calories. However now with my Heart Rate Monitor I know exactly how many I am burning which turns out to be more around 280! That is a big difference!
Okay enough about this... I think you guys get the idea of how much I love it!
At work we had a collection for Laura C. She is leaving us to go on maternity leave and won't be back for nine whole months!
She is a very creative crafty person so I knew she would appreciate something with a little thought and effort put into it. So I discussed my idea with my co-workers and they all agreed she would love this gift.
Here is the before shot [after a long day of shopping in the 68° heat]...
After I found the colorful polka dot tea towels I knew that they had to be used and that it would be bright and beautiful.
Here is the after shot...
I couldn't really figure out a way to get the digital thermometer in the cake without taking up much needed diaper space so I decided to wrap it on the side.
So each level is made from folding and pinning the tea towels together and then rolling up diapers inside. It officially held around 85 or so. Then all around the tiers, as you can see, I added little goodies for the baby.
My favorite part of the whole cake was the cute little caterpillar... how adorable?
I was off work on Friday but I took it in for Laura's last day and she LOVED it! As we all knew she would. I'm so glad it turned out so nice cause she deserves the very best! I'm going to miss her loads over the next nine months. But I've already told her that there will be lots of visits.
This past Friday was our last day at work for two weeks! That's right... 16 whole days off with nothing planned but lots and lots of relaxing and football watching. *bliss*
As I am sure most of you know (even if you don't follow football/soccer) the World Cup has started. Last night was the England vs USA match. As I am sure you all know I live in England but I still support USA and there has been quite a bit of banter at work regarding this match. I would have loved to have had a win but having a draw at 1-1 was about the most politically correct score there could have been. We kept up with England even though they planned on blowing past us and now nobody has bragging rights. Good stuff!
As you can see in my previous posts I had started Couch 2 5K but I have decided to put a hold on it. I made it through Week 1 Day 3 but noticed that my right knee was not liking it at all. I had to take three days off from walking because of it and that is not want I'm wanting to do. Right now I'm trying to lose at least 2lbs a week and yes working myself up to Running 3 Miles straight would help with the exercise but if it stops me from even being able to walk then I'm not going to get any exercise done. So for now I am going to hold off on running and just keep walking as much as I can. My knee still hurts a little a day after a long walk (did 5 miles yesterday) but I'm allowing myself one day on and one day off to rest and it seems to be better then. After I have gotten myself to a comfortable weight then I will look to start the program again.
When Andy and I started tracking all of our calories I thought it was going to be a pain in the butt to track every little thing but honestly we find it so easy now. We are both tracking them at My Fitness Pal and it has to be the easiest thing to use ever! Almost all of the food we have come across is already listed and only a few things have had to be corrected.
I have also found my measuring to be much easier than I first thought because of me purchasing the below cutting board.
When I first moved to England I found it so hard to cook here. I am used to using tablespoons, ounces, cups and Fahrenheit. Now everything is in milliliters, grams, liters and Celsius. It has been a learning curve to say the least. Well know with this handy cutting board I just have to look down and compare.
I love it!
Well today (for England standards) was a scorcher! The highest was 75° with the sun shining bright... thankfully the weather says it is going to start cooling down tomorrow and there might even be some rain. Yay!
So I figured I would give everybody a glimpse into where I have been spending a lot of time lately...
As you can see... This is my treadmill. Of course I have a much needed fan pointing right on me. I have my iPhone plugged into speakers next to me. I don't listen to music though, this is used for my Couch to 5K application, it tells me when to switch from walking to running. Instead of listening to music I choose to watch TV which honestly seems to make the time go by really fast. I use the time to catch up on all of my shows, right now I am catching up with Brothers and Sisters.
Today I also bought some cool new wrist weights.
They have nifty little thumb holes that make it so that they don't slide up and down, which can really hurt. They had two sizes so I went with the smaller ones for now, they are just over 1 pound each. I was surprised at how much I actually felt it when I was walking. I didn't use them while doing the C25K (Couch to 5K) Week 1 Day 2 as I don't need any extra weight during the running portions right now! But after that 30 minutes was over I continued on walking for another 47 minutes so that I could make it to 4 miles so I used them then. Yes.. Me.. 4 miles.. It's crazy! I hate walking, but again I come back to the TV, it makes it so much easier to just focus and watch it.
Here is how it ended up...
The distance is in Kilometers and not Miles so I always have to convert it but I have already remembered what 2, 3 and 4 miles are so that is all I really need to know.
Tomorrow will be a rest day so that on Monday I can attempt C25K Week 1 Day 3. But even more exciting than that... Andy and I only have 5 days of work left until we are off for 2 whole weeks! I am so excited to have 16 days off in a row... And that will be filled with tons of football watching, I am SO excited for the World Cup!!!
Not sure if you have noticed the little weight tracker off to the right side of the page? ------------->
Well Andy and I have both started a lifestyle change... I like the sound of 'lifestyle change' rather than diet. We are weighing all of our food, counting our calories and exercising. We started on May 20th and have picked Sundays to weigh in. This past Sunday we both did and the results were good! After a week and a half I had lost 5 lbs and Andy had lost 6 lbs. Of course with any change such as this the first couple of weeks are easy to lose as they say it is mostly water weight. But that had to be on me somewhere and I'm just glad it is now off and never to return!
Andy joined a gym not too far a drive from where we live but I have decided to focus mainly on using our treadmill. I like using our treadmill and for now it is perfect for me. I have it in our dining room/kitchen area and there is even a TV set up just in front of it so I just catch up on shows I have missed.
Over the weekend Meg had mentioned that she was going to restart the Couch to 5k (C25K) program and asked if there were any others that wanted to be her fitness buddies. So I jumped on the bandwagon and decided to give it a go.
Over the past two weeks I have been making sure that I walk 3 times a week, 3 miles each time. Not bad as everybody who knows me, knows how much I hate walking! Well the C25K program is designed to gradually get you from walking to running for 5K (3 miles). You can read all about it HERE.
Well today was Week 1 - Day 1. You start with a 5 minute warm up then you alternate 60 seconds running then 90 seconds brisk walking. You do this for 20 minutes and then end with a 5 minute warm down.
I honestly think I may have blacked out in the middle of it but it seems I have made it through alive! I will not lie it was tough. After I was done I had gone 2.68km/1.66mi. Since I had been normally going 3 miles I decided to stay on and walk at 2.5mph until I hit 4.83km/3mi... and I did it!
I was knackered like I haven't been in ages but am so proud of myself! I know it can only get easier from here so bring on Week 1 - Day 2! Well after my day off in between of course.
I have an overall goal set in terms of weight loss but have also set my first 'mini' goal. It is to lose 22 lbs before August 11th. Why August 11th? That is Andy and my 10 Year wedding anniversary and we will be in Rome so it would be nice to be a bit lighter for all the walking we will have to do in the hot Italian Summer sun!
I will be the first one to admit that I have failed and keeping my 365 Blog up and going for two years straight! Did very well until March and then something just happened... I realized that there isn't that much variety in my days and I was struggling to get pictures taken.
So... I took a much needed break away from posting and now I am back. There is a new look on the place and I have decided that my blog will simply be updated when I have something to share. Could be something interesting or it could just be something stupid. But either way it will be on my terms and not required on a daily basis. There are just not enough hours in the day to keep that up for more than a year.
So there it is. Glad to be back... hope you don't hate that there won't be a photo a day.
After work Andy wanted to run to Game to pick up a new Playstation 3 game so I decided to go next door to Sport Direct. The last time I was in there they had these really great knee high socks. I bought a couple pair then but wanted to see if they had any more.
Finally after walking around searching for about 10 minutes I found this display and at the very tip top... there they were.
I didn't know how I was expected to get them down so I went over to the counter and asked, here is how that conversation went:
Me: Hi! I would like some of those socks at the top of that display, how would I get those down?
Worker: Which ones?
Me: Those at the very top, the knee length ones.
Worker: I'm sorry, what was that?
Me: (inside my head I was thinking 'let me repeat in slower English, yes that is right I ALSO SPEAK ENGLISH it just doesn't sound like your English) Those at the very top,the ones with the bright stripes.
Worker: Oh, have you looked around the store to see if there are any you can reach?
Me: Yeah I have and those are the only ones.
Worker: Are you sure? Have you looked over in the bargain area?
Me: Yep I have been looking for about 10 minutes but those are the only I could find.
Worker: Right well let me see if I can get you somebody to help.
Me: (inside my head I was thinking 'sorry I thought you were the one that could help') Right okay I'll just wait over by the display.
Finally went back over to the counter and asked again for help... she said somebody would be over right away. (This was after I had to pull her away from her private conversation with another co-worker)
Finally after waiting for about 10 minutes a kid comes over.
Kid Worker: Are you the one wanting the socks at the top?
Me: (inside my head I was thinking 'yeah sorry for actually wanting to buy some of your merchandise and sorry that you put it so high I couldn't get it myself) Yep that's me!
He got me a few pairs and brought them down. They were 50% off so at £1.29 a piece I wasn't walking out without a few of them.
I guess this whole exchange could have been worse though... At least I had two conversations and neither one of them asked me if I was American or why I would choose to live in England over America.
So yeah, it could have been worse.
Everton season tickets go on sale Monday and we got our renewal packet in the post today. We have until April 17th to renew with an early bird discount.
We will be keeping our same seats because we love them and I feel moving anywhere else would put some kind of jinx on the team! haha
We were driving home at around 5:45pm and realized the sun was still out. Another sure sign that Spring is on the way.
I would be depressed because it also means warmer weather is on the way but here it doesn't really ever get that hot so it's all good!
I love English post boxes! There is so much history behind them and I love finding new ones that I have never seen before.
I know... this is odd but I do love them.
It started out really sunny this morning. Then it turned really dark and hailed for a little while and then sunny again. Then when we were out in our car at lunch it started hailing again. Ended sunny but still very cold.
Was very strange weather all day!
As you could tell with my previous posts I am slowly but surely getting all of the supplies needed for Quilling together so that I can work on a few new projects.
Well this is my new fancy Quilling board. My Mom had said it was required to get a cork board to work on as it is needed to hold your quills in place as the glue dries. When I found this one online I knew I had to get it. I thought the pre-shaped cut outs would help with forming pieces.
I can't wait to get everything together and start playing around with my new craft!
... For Ikea!
Today was my Saturday to work so when I got out at 1:00pm I went and picked Laura C up and we headed off to Ikea and Hobbycraft.
I was in search of Shadow Box Frames. Yes I know they shouldn't be that difficult to find but over here it was! Thankfully Ikea had them and not at a too bad of a price either. I picked up a couple white ones and a black one.
Even though it is against my very nature to buy anything from Hobby 'Rip You Off' Craft (because of how much they jack up their prices) there are some things that you just can't find anywhere else so we also stopped by there. I ended up finding the cutest flower paper punches so I picked those up. They were not even that expensive either which was a shock!
Spotted these balloons on our way into work today but couldn't get my camera out in time. Was pretty happy to see they were still there on our way back home.
The sun came out to play today... too bad I was stuck at work for most of the day.
I picked this up at Homebase after work tonight. It is going to be perfect to keep all of my Quilling stuff together. The plastic containers have dividers inside that run long ways. It will be perfect for my papers and a way to keep them from getting smashed and tore up.
There are also little grooves and square pieces of plastic that you can use to make smaller storage areas and this will be nice for my tools, pins, etc...
I love being organized!
These are just some of the goodies that I got in the post today from my Mom!
I have been wanting to get into Quilling so Mom was nice enough to pick some supplies up for me to send with a little care package. I was almost out of dry Ranch dressing and we know I can't live without that! She had bought the pumpkin carving kits just after Halloween. They do not have these over here and since carving pumpkins is one of my favorite things to do how could I be without these?
Thanks mom!! Love ya! xx
Was snowing really badly again on our way home tonight. I love the snow however most of the others at work hate it.
This didn't stay around very long though... by around 9pm it had turned to rain and everything was gone.
Rooney what's the score?
Today was another great day out at Goodison Park. I will be completely honest I was so nervous about today's against Manchester United.
There is the whole Wayne Rooney aspect to playing them as he grew up supporting Everton, was in their youth team and played in their first team. Made comments such as 'Once a Blue always a Blue' only to move to Manchester United with a lot of cash in his pocket. Then he kissed the Man United badge at a match against Everton some years later... Let's just say he is not cheered when we play him. But today he was kept well and truly quiet.
Manchester United are one of the clubs which are considered 'The Big 4' and I think the last time Everton beat them in a regular season match was something like 2004 or 2005.
Well... until today!
United went up 0-1 after 15 minutes. I have to admit at that point I was terrified. I did not want us to lose this match and am made up that Diniyar Bilyaletdinov scored a screamer only a few minutes later. We were back in it!
We went into half time 1-1 and it wasn't until minute 79 when Dan Gosling who had just come on as a substitute scored and then at minute 90 Jack Rodwell scored the third.
Goodison Park was going crazy!
I am sure you all realize how happy we were. You don't have to be into football to get at least an idea of how exciting a match like this can be.
I have no idea how I lived without Football in my life for so long...
All of us at work had a big laugh about this fax that came for me from a client today. Of course due to data protection I had to block a lot of words out but I kept the funny bit...
What gets me is that the person that sent it never once mentioned my accent for me being from America. So it was very funny that they added this to the fax. Was very funny!
I am still surprised that not more people ask me about where I am from. Seeing how I speak to people on the phone all day you would think it would come up more. Especially since I can't get on a bus or speak to somebody in a store without getting the dreaded "You are not from around here are you?" or the "Are you American?" questions.
Don't get me wrong I get asked at least once or twice a week on the phones at work but seeing how I speak to around 40 people a day it is not so bad.
Once I was asked if I was from Scotland though! That was a shocker. Then when I said no I was from the US she asked which state. I told her I was from Illinois but lived in Texas for the last three years and she said "Oh yeah, Texas that is the one by New York right?" I just said yes.
The funniest ones are when I get asked "Where are you from?" and I say "America" and then they try to be all rude about it and say "Well I know that I mean from which state".
The people at work think that when asked I should just start saying "I was born and grew up right here in Chorley". That would be pretty funny as most people at work are from Chorley and they do have a pretty thick accent. I wonder if the people asking would question it or just go with it.
Winnie-the-Pooh is all decked out for his Valentine and I almost forgot to take a picture of him this month! With that hat it makes me think of him as a little chef.
Wish he would have helped me with my Valentine cake the other day!
In 2007 Andy's sister, Tracey, got married to James in Rhodes, Greece. We were lucky enough to get to go over from the US to be with them. I was also a bridesmaid in the wedding.
These are some photo frames that I bought while we were there.
I love them! The frame is wrapped in leaves and it looks so nice. That was a great trip!
We had an early Everton match at 5:45pm today. It was a Europa League match against Sporting Lisbon. We won the match 2-1 but that goal we conceded in the last 5 minutes made the match feel like a loss to be honest. This game is over two matches and the Away Goal Rule comes into place. It is too hard to explain so if you would like to learn more about it you can read about it here.
It is also Pancake Day today. This is the best non-holiday ever! I of course opt for American style Pancakes rather than the UK Crepe style Pancakes.
They are so yummy! Andy hates any kind of Pancakes so he decided to have a Pot Noodle, so nutritious.
Weather can be so odd.
The bottom clouds were the whitest puffiest clouds I have seen yet this year and they didn't seem to be moving very fast at all.
But then you can see the dark almost rain like clouds that were above me and they were moving super fast across the sky.
Had to run back to Sainbury's this morning because I forgot to pick up sugar last night. My only complaint about the new store is that the shopping cart (aka trolley) requires you to pay for the use. Yes you get your £1.00 back when you return the cart but still... It does make it a pain in the butt.
I carry this little token around with me on my keys so that I don't have to dig out my wallet to get a pound but it is still annoying. Do people really steal carts? Or is this so that carts are not left all over the place? When you have these devices on them you have to walk them back to where they are kept so that you can get your money/token back. Maybe that is why they use them.
...that I am becoming a kitchen goddess.
We went to the new Sainsbury's that was opened in Westhoughton this week. This is the amount of pre-packaged bakery goods that they have. It is good that it is a Betty Crocker so maybe she is starting to make a move into the UK market but really? One brownie, one cookie, one muffin and two cakes. Oh and in case you didn't see ONE type of frosting.
This is why I have been learning how to make everything from scratch. There just isn't a good variety to pick from.
I am very excited that the Olympics start tonight but because of the time difference I won't be able to watch the opening ceremony until tomorrow. I was very saddened to hear of the death of the luger Nodar Kumaritashvili from Georgia, what a sad start of events.
Look what was delivered today while I was at work. I had bought a cheap cake box from Asda a while ago but it didn't lock and had no handle.
The other day while online I stumbled across my new favorite store in England, Lakeland. It has the cutest kitchen gadgets ever!
So far for work I have made a Carrot Cake, an Italian Cream Cake and a batch of Puppy Chow. Next week I hope to make a Strawberry cake for just after Valentine's Day. Now I'll have a nice carrier to take it in with.
a butt munch!
During the day there are letters that I have to write to clients and various other people but before they can be posted off they all have to be approved and signed.
Well Christian who normally does all of the signing is away for a couple of days so Kevin does it while he is away. Hannah was taking her signing down so she asked if anybody had any that needed to go also. I gave her mine... it was a bad mistake!
This is how it was brought back to me. As you can guess Kevin supports Liverpool FC (ugh I even hate writing it...) and he decided to deface my beautifully decorated signings folder.
This is why Kevin is a butt munch!
Now I will need to decorate a new folder. Maybe I'll make a blue Everton one!
Speaking of Everton... there was a night match tonight against Chelsea and we won 2-1. The atmosphere at Goodison was electric! I love night matches. And since our last one was against Manchester City and we won that 2-0 I am thinking the boys like playing under the lights also.
Oh and on a side note Liverpool got beat by Arsenal tonight 1-0. Double yay!
I love love love the Olympics! I am so looking forward to them starting on Friday (even though I wont be able to watch the opening ceremony until Saturday because of the time difference).
However... It got me thinking this morning about how much I am going to miss watching it on NBC. I will miss the Olympic song that they always play, I will miss the 'puff pieces' that they do on the athletes and I will very much miss Bob Costas!
The coverage over here is not going to be the same and I do have to admit it makes me a little sad.
Today at lunch I was looking on my iPhone for an Olympic App and found this one from NBC.! I was so excited. Until it finished downloading and I opened it up to find that it will not allow me to watch videos because I am not in the United States.
What the #$%&!?
Do they not know that there are Americans living outside the United States? NBC is a free TV station. Why would they block it?
I am sad again.
Sorry... The picture is a little wonky and crooked but you get the idea.
I was able to finish the inside of the restaurant and I am so glad that part is done! Still only about half way done but I am finally seeing progress. I started this on December 26th so not too shabby.
I think this is the first time in 15 months that the neighbor hasn't had clothing hanging out.
However I am sure the next time it rains or snows they will have the clothes out in it.
This is a new palette knife that I bought to use when icing cakes.
When I went through the self check out line in Tesco to buy it I had to wait for the worker to come over to verify that I was in fact over 25 years of age before I was allowed to continue.
Think of all the damage a person could do with a non sharp.. wobbly.. piece of metal. *shudder*
This was given to Andy by a friend of his at work. Let me explain.
His friend from work is the one in tank (DUSARA666). Another one of his friends he grew up with is the one in the plane (TLPN99) and another guy they play online with is the one in the helicopter (REBEL).
This of course leaves Andy (StJimmy)... He is the one they are all shooting.
Today the demo for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 comes out. Andy has been talking about this for weeks and everybody he plays Call of Duty with is planning on playing it tonight also.
I guess this picture was giving Andy a taste of what he has to look forward to tonight.
So... they got the weather right for once. It did started snowing at around noon today. It got very heavy and there was about an inch or so at 5:00pm. However it then turned warm and it started raining... Everything melted. Shame.
These pictures were taken when Andy and I drove to the Co-Op at lunch. I felt like crap all day and had a horrible sinus headache. I had to get medicine.
I am happy to say though that the medicine worked and by the time I got off work at 8:00pm I was feeling much better.