June book review(s)

Book number 9

Book read: High and Low: How I hiked away from depression by Keith Foskett

I really like the way Keith writes… descriptive enough to make the book interesting and conjure up a suitable image in your mind but without being too over the top…

This is the second of Keith’s books that I’ve read and I was interested to learn more about the links between hiking and depression… since I’ve been doing so much exercise for the last 6 months I feel I’ve been on a permanent high… However I can see that even if you do a lot of exercise, this can surely help to lift your mood but it isn’t a cure for depression. Reading the book through the eyes of someone suffering helped me to understand the condition.

 

Book number 10

Book read: Together by Julie Cohen

I picked up this, the first paperback book I’ve read in years, at Heathrow Airport to take on my recent Seattle and Alaska trip.  This is also the first ‘story’ or fiction book I’ve read all year… or for several years in fact… I wanted to look further than travel adventure books this time!

This book is, in many ways, a heart-breaking love story about a couple called Robbie and Emily… the book begins with the couple in their 80’s and is a wrenching account of Robbie dealing with Alzheimers. The story jumps back to different times in their lives and the struggles they’ve faced together over the years. I enjoyed reading it but it has a weird and somewhat uncomfortable twist at the end…

 

Book number 11

Book read: Five Years from Now by Giovanna Fletcher

This book was the second of the ‘Buy One Get One Half Price’ Smiths airport deal… and another about relationships…  it took some perseverance for me to get into, but once I did, I quite enjoyed it. The book is set in Cornwall and follows the life journeys of its main characters, Nell and Van. There are a few twists and turns and several thought provoking sections… and much of the book is actually quite sad…

 

I did enjoy reading these two fictions books… but I’m back onto another travel book again… about another cyclist attempting to cycle around the world…

 

 

 

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Weeks 23 and 24 walking progress

Week 23 walking progress:

  • Total for week 23 = 45
  • Average per day for this week (45 / 7) = 6.43
  • Running total = 818 + 45 = 863
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 863) = 187

Week 24 walking progress:

  • Total for week 24 = 47
  • Average per day for this week (47 / 7) = 6.71
  • Running total = 863 + 47 = 910
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 910) = 140

I’m very pleased with my walking progress and only have 140 miles left to walk in 2018 until I reach my target! Woohoo 🙂

The weather in the UK has been really pleasant throughout the last couple of weeks and several of these miles were walked near to my home… making an extra effort to walk extra miles and make the most of the lovely weather. The wild flower photos below were all taken on recent local wanders…

 

 

 

Afternoon tea in Victoria, Canada

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This was something I wasn’t expecting to complete while on a recent cruise! I had no intention of an afternoon tea however while on the cruise I met Melinda and Linda who had both booked afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel in Victoria, Canada for more or less the same time. They didn’t know each other beforehand so this was something of a coincidence. They explained that this is ‘the bucket list thing to do’ while in Victoria and is based very much on the British influence of afternoon tea in the city. Great! I was in! Well, thankfully with a bit of sweet talking from Melinda the Empress kindly fitted me in when I turned up on the day. And what a lovely experience it was 🙂

 

 

Painting class

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Painting class

When I was at school art was one of my favourite subjects and I used to love painting and drawing as a child. Since starting work I didn’t pick up a paintbrush until 2016 when I did a South American cruise and participated in a painting class. So while on my recent Alaska cruise I jumped at the chance of another chance to do this! This lasted for about an hour or maybe a little over… and the result is below!

My painting style probably reflects my personality… I am a ‘big picture’ person and not someone who gets involved in too much detail. With my painting I’ve found (as with last time) my style is for large bold brush strokes with very little detail… although we did only have an hour and I wanted to get it finished!

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June weigh-in

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Warm chocolate lava cake

I weighed myself the day after returning from my recent cruise and my weight is… 8 st 3 lb! Yay! This means I managed a 2 week holiday with a 9 day cruise in the middle and didn’t put on a single pound 🙂

Achieving this did take quite a bit of determination and effort which might not appeal to everyone as most people take holidays as an opportunity to relax and enjoy a little overindulgence. However, after 6 months of hard work to reduce my weight by 2 stones (28 lbs) I was keen to find a good balance of enjoying the trip but not regaining any weight. This is how I did it:

  • Rough calculation each day of the estimated number of calories I was consuming and the estimated number I was burning off which helped me to keep track and stay focussed.
  • Daily gym sessions… it was easy to be in the ship’s gym at 06:00 each morning as with the -8/-9 hours time difference I was always awake at 5 am!
  • Paying $69 for a gym pass for the 9 day cruise duration which meant unlimited classes such as pilates and cycling and suspension training.
  • Booking active excursions; each of the 4 shore trips I did involved hiking.
  • Never taking the ship’s lift… as my cabin was on level 5 and many activities were on level 12 I did a great deal of walking up and down 7 flights of stairs!
  • Walking several miles around each of the ports while I wasn’t on any of the excursions.
  • Eating healthy breakfasts and lunches but allowing a few treats each evening.
  • Not snacking between meals.
  • Throughout the day I drank black coffee, herbal tea (mint, cinnamon & apple, orange etc) and water. I mostly had just one glass of wine which was enough for me.

At each meal I opted for the healthiest choice. A typical day would be:

Breakfast (600 calories):

  • Half a bran muffin (consumed early in the morning with a coffee before any gym classes)
  • Small bowl of bircher muesli
  • Melon, grapes, pineapple
  • Poached or scrambled egg

Lunch (400 calories)

  • Mostly salad; steamed vegetables; vegetable curry and fruit from the buffet

Dinner (1300 calories)

  • Bread roll and butter
  • Starter
  • Main
  • Dessert
  • Glass of wine

For a 50 year old 5’3″ woman to maintain a weight of 8 st 3 lb my ‘My Net Diary‘ app says I need to consume 1650 calories each day. For an average food consumption of 2,300 calories (as above) this meant burning off an extra 650 calories each day. This was achieved quite easily as with daily gym sessions, walking, trekking and climbing stairs several times a day I often burned off more than this. Extra time in the gym gave me more ‘calorie credits’ to enjoy delicious food each night, such as the delicious ‘warm chocolate lava cake’ as in the picture!

 

 

 

Weeks 21 and 22 walking progress

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Alaska hiking

Week 21 walking progress:

  • Total for week 21 = 40
  • Average per day for this week (40 / 7) = 5.71
  • Running total = 711 + 40 = 751
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 751) = 299

Week 22 walking progress:

  • Total for week 22 = 67
  • Average per day for this week (67 / 7) = 9.57
  • Running total = 751 + 67 = 818
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 818) = 232

What an amazing couple of walking weeks! I did this during a fantastic Seattle break (week 21) followed by an Alaskan cruise (weeks 21 and 22). As well as several hours of wandering around exploring Seattle I decided to focus on the hiking excursions on offer while on the cruise.

And 67 miles in week 22! Wow… what an effort and the best walking week so far of 2018… and while on the cruise for the whole of this week! I must say I did push myself in the gym, walking around the ship and walking around at all of the ports of call mostly because I wanted to eat a bit more than usual and enjoy the delicious food and desserts without increasing my weight! (My big post-cruise weigh-in is tomorrow…)

 

 

 

 

 

Alaska cruise

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Exploring the ship upon embarkation in Seattle

I’ve just completed my ocean cruise to Alaska and what a wonderful experience this was! The cruise was with Norwegian Cruise Lines on the ‘Norwegian Jewel‘, which departed from Seattle, cruised up to and around southern Alaska and ended in Vancouver. I’ll shortly be publishing a series of blog posts with full details… these will be on http://www.frombluetogreen.com, my travel blog site.