Monday, 25 March 2013

To lose or not to lose that is the question??

As regular readers will know I have been dieting since October and have been quite successful consistently losing weight (except in Christmas week). Today I reached my 3 stone award and am really pleased. 

However this means I am now only 1 1/2 pounds off my overall target weight. This should be manageable to lose by next Monday at the next 'weigh in', this 'weigh in' is also the last week paid for and the last space on my weight chart! So this would tie everything up nicely and I could leave Slimming World at target weight, save money and have  a totally full page of steady weight loss to look at and be proud of.

When I set my weight target it sounded so distant I could not picture what I would look like at that weight and could not think what I would be like or feel like at that size.

Now that I am there, well almost, I am sure I can lose lots more, many women have joined Slimming World weighing less than me and this makes you think...

I have never thought I could be a slim person or even a normal sized person I had always thought I would be a big person, who ate lots and wore big clothes, but now I think I could be an average size person who eats lots of good food and wears medium clothes. Last week I went shopping for the first time since loosing weight and I now wear medium clothes! 

I think people are more like breeds of dogs than we think - some big, some small. There is no chance that I will ever be a size zero or even a size 10 but I could just maybe fit in to a size 12 some day.... 

But do I want to...? 

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Moonfleece at Central

On Thursday afternoon we took the train down to London to see ex-Stage2 member Adrian in his 3rd year production of Moonfleece by Philip Ridley. Although we do love to support friends and ex-members in their shows, a BIG reason for traveling the distance to see this show was because Lucy will be directing this show in the summer, along with two other Philip Ridley plays to become Towerblock Trio... (a very exciting project which we have been emailing the playwright himself about... tell you more about it soon!) 
After a lovely walk through Regent's Park (and a the decision to avoid walking to the top of Primrose Hill!) we arrived at Central School of Speech and Drama, which, as it's right in the centre of London really lives up to it's name! With the Hamstead theatre just next door, and two plays being performed at the school that night, we really felt the atmosphere of the London Theatre scene. 

After the sightseers-route walk from Marylbone Station to Swiss Cottage our tummies were rumbling so we grabbed a bite to eat at Me Love Sushi Japanese Restaurant. Being central is convenient but, of course, expensive! What we thought were mains, were as small as sides! But is was really tasty and we thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere.

So, the show. We were really proud of Adrian. Having not seen him act since before he went to drama school, his commitment to learning and developing was so apparent in this role that was so active throughout the whole play. 

Seeing the play performed the whole way though and the pace and emotional involvement needed from each of the actors was hugely beneficial for us at this stage of planning. It's not often you watch a professional standard show that you have been working on yourself so intensely - we knew every line coming up but we still saw lots of new things in its delivery, and particularly the different character relationships.

It was great to talk to Adrian after the show about the rehearsal process, his progress and our upcoming production.

Finding Joy

Well hello there! Long time no speaky.

So we've had an interesting week. We love the theatre and after a barren period, we saw 4 shows this week!

On Wednesday we met up with Lucy's family and drove down to Ombersley in Worcestershire to watch Vamos Theatre's latest production, Finding Joy.

We first saw Vamos two years ago with Nursing Lives, then again with Much Ado About Wenlock. 

They are a fantastic company who design brilliantly expressive and characterful masks to represent each character they play. In a cast of 4 there could be 20 characters as they switch round roles dependent on the combination of characters and scenes. This means they have to portray the character through recognisable physicality, as there are no words spoken at all! This could be a cameo of the patronising doctor, only seen once but instantly familiar - or the recurring character of the mother rushed off her feet worried about her ageing mum and tearaway son.

The story focused on Danny, a teenage boy who is usually found hanging out with his pants-showing-mates, and how he finds his vocation caring for his Nan who is suffering from dementia. The play shows how her memories are of her youth, playing with her dog, or when she first met her husband as a young seamstress. The actresses playing young and old Joy, mirroring each other's movement as we drift in and out of her perceptions of what's happening around her.

We love this company because of the skill they show in representing these characters with such warmth and humour through their physicality. These actors truly are masters of their craft. Each character is rich even if they are in the play for less than 30 seconds. They devise pieces that are relevant, moving and entertaining, so we will defiantly see the next show they do! They tour the country so do try and catch them if you can!

The venue was a village hall - suitable for the occasion even if they people behind us had to stand up to see - and we were treated to complimentary canapes on arrival!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

"How's your house?"

A lot of people have been asking us "So, how's your house?".  It's only been 6 weeks since we moved in but it feels like we've lived here for years! A big part of that was how much we planned before we moved, and knowing how much stuff we needed to get to fill the extra rooms we now have.

We've managed to source furniture from a variety of places...

  1.  Our flat. We took most of our furniture across on the move day (much to the surprise of the removal men, who through we would only have 15 boxes, instead of the 70 we packed... hahaha!), but then we had to think about how best to redistribute everything. Instead of one big living/teaching/tv/dining room we now have 4 rooms to do those different activities in. 
  2. Buying new. We decided to treat ourselves to a new bed, dining table and sofa, and made the most of the sales.
  3. Second hand shops. Very cleverly we moved opposite a second hand furniture shop! Every week there's new stuff in there and we've bagged dining chairs, cabinets and a coffee table for charity-cheep prices
  4. Finding stuff hidden in the new house. In the outhouse in the garden was an old but functional cabinet - a lick of paint later and it looks like it was custom-made for our kitchen!
  5. Kind donations from family and friends. We are very lucky not only to have very generous family, but also ones whose circumstances meant that their downsizing, re-shuffeling of rooms and clear-outs has left them with surplice furniture which is now pride of place in our home. One of our friends moved house on the same day as us, and there was a wardrobe in her new house so big she couldn't open it! After a lot of heavy lifting it's now in our attic! 
  6. Vintage fairs. We've been round a few vintage shops where "upcycling" is the name of the game.  We haven't actually bought anything, but with Kirstie Allsopp as inspiration we are looking for old pieces that could be altered to look homely and stylish. 
In the pics you might notice that the colour of the furniture matches the walls perfectly! Well done to Lucy for her creative designs.

Upcycled charity shop table with thistle paint design
 tying in with our highland theme in the living room

Beautiful chest of drawers originally Lucy's Great Aunt's via her Aunty
 displaying a house warming present, an engagement gift,
 a birthday present and a painting by Lucy's Grandma.
Upcycled cupboard from the outhouse,
now the perfect place for our vintage teacup wedding present

Friday, 18 January 2013

Keeping Fit and Finding Time

After our move to Kings Heath we decided to join LA fitness, a local gym with fitness classes, loads of equipment and most importantly for me a swimming pool.

I have started to regularly attend classes and go swimming a few times a week, I am really enjoying the Zumba classes at the gym and with 4 per week each at different times I am able to squeeze at least one in, I decided on Wednesday to switch from Zumba to Aqua Aerobics (because I think 4 Zumba classes with the same instructors in a week maybe a bit too much) I really really enjoyed the Aqua Aerobics. I am a real water baby and love swimming and generally being in the pool, bath, puddles, sink! What I also had not appreciated before going is that you don't get too hot because you can just duck under water and you are soon cool. I really felt I was getting a good work out!

Wednesday was also my first Yoga class which was a really nice gentle but concentrating session which I am definitely going to try to do each week. The great thing about LA fitness is that you can sign up for classes anything from 5 minutes  to 8 days before so you don't have to sign up for 10 weeks  you can mix and match and most classes are on more than once a  week so you can pick and choose when best suits you!

It is currently fitting in great with my work as I work part time and do 3 or 4 longish days per week. I was really impressed last week as although it was the week of my play and I had to be at the theatre every evening and in the office or at the theatre most days, I still got in  a couple of sessions in the pool and classes in the gym. I am looking forward to when term starts back and I start teaching in the evenings when I can really get in to a pattern and a stride with my work, life, fitness balance.

The problem I am now foreseeing is that I may be using the gym as an excuse not to do housework and important life organising! I hate post! The thought of someone sending me a bill or worst still, something I have to make a decision about and send back is just detestable. I know that with moving house recently there are more things I have to organise and I needed to change my address with the world and his wife, (I feel like I have only just changed my name  with everyone) but it really is a task I dread but not quite as much as Emma hates it so I feel I need to take the lead but my lead is like that of a snail!

My Aunty and Uncle are coming to see the house tomorrow and there is so much sorting and organising I need to do but instead I am writing blogs and working out when I can get back in the pool!

Another great thing about the gym is that Emma is a member too so we can do classes together! YAY!

P.S Gym is now closed because of snow, house work it is boooo!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas in a New House

10 days after moving in, we had Christmas at our house this year with our Mums, Dads and Siblings.
We really enjoyed showing them all the work we had done in the house and cooking a traditional meal but with a twist!
On Christmas eve we tidied polished and prepped the house. We also did lots of food prep while watching Christmas movies, we combined some Nigella and Jamie tips with family traditions and Lucy inspirations...

We woke up early on Christmas day to get the turkey sorted and in the oven. Emma and I went to church with Emma's family in the morning, now just a  short walk away from our house! 
Then we walked home to do some final prep before our families descended, we had just put everything away tidily when both families turned up with bags and boxes of stuff, we had asked them to bring their own drinks for the day but I think each of them brought enough drinks for all 8 of us!
We showed Emma's parents and Brother around the house as they hadn't seen it since the furniture moved in and they really liked what we had done with it! 
Our theme for the decoration was snowflakes, reindeer and little houses all in red blue and white in our dining room and purple green and gold in the lounge.
Lucy then carried on with the cooking while Emma prepared drinks and entertained the family. We sat down just before 1.30pm for a great meal which went on until 3.30pm.

Salmon mousse with crackers and a water cress salad
Bread Sauce
Roast Potatoes
 Pigs in Blankets
 Cranberry Sauce
 Sweet Potato & Swede Mash
 Sprouts with bacon and pine nuts
Sausage meat, Chestnut and Amereto Stuffing
Christmas Pudding Ice Cream
Lemon and Dark Chocolate Tart 
Cheese and crackers for those with an inch of space left!

After lunch we retired to the lounge to open presents. Emma and I had not opened any of our presents but our brothers and sisters and parents had opened their presents from each other at their own homes earlier so it was a bit over whelming for us to get all our gifts at once - usually we would see family and friends at separate times but this was a bit crazy and hard to keep a track of who brought what for who.

I think everyone was pleased with their presents! 

Everyone went home full, both from dinner and the happiness of spending time with family, leaving us time to watch Strictly and Call the Midwife.

Overall it was a traditional Christmas Day, but that's what this time of year's about.
We hope you all had a Happy Christmas.


Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Moving House

Should have posted on Monday! But got distracted hanging snow flakes!

So last Monday we moved to Kings Heath!
Birmingham is a really diverse city with lots going on and loads of different areas. I have always wanted to live in Kings Heath because of the beautiful houses, bustling high Street, proximity to my work, transport links, friendly people, friends and family close by and generally great atmosphere.

Our move went surprisingly smoothy despite leaving quite a few things behind in our flat whoops! We really appreciated the time we had to decorate before we moved in all our stuff.

Although we knew KH was a  great place to live and were already pretty obsessed with it, already we have found our lives soooo much easier and really do love living here even more than we expected to.

Also another huge plus point of our new house is having a front door at the same level as our lounge and kitchen, when we lived in the flat it seamed like we were not connected to the world outside but living in  a house with a down stairs has totally changed our living habits.Also we now eat up to table in the kitchen, making us be much tidier and enjoy our meals and our time together.
We have loads of Charity shops in Kings Heath and have found some great bargains for the house including a set of 6 dining chairs for under £50 and a lovely little TV table.

Every day this week the house has  got better and better and now it really feels like our home we have really tried to inject our characters into the house and it feels warm, cosy and homely. We even managed to get a Christmas Tree! We are hosting Christmas for both our families tomorrow and we are really pleased that the house will just be ready in time, the dining table arrived yesterday!

Before we moved we made a theme book of how we wanted each room to look and we have had a look back on it today and although we don't have  a single item that matches the magazine clippings fabric swatches we have captured the spirit and feel of each room.