2018 final summary

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Local wooden bench where I sat in July pondering about the point of doing this blog…

The final day and my final post of 2018 so time for a little reflection…

Producing a ‘doing 50 things bucket list’ to mark the year I turned 50 is a form of goal setting with personal development and self improvement in mind.

I had something of a kick up the backside during a health check in December 2017 when I was basically told I was overweight, drank too much alcohol and had a borderline high cholesterol! And this was just 2 months before my 50th birthday… Staying fit and healthy so I can continue to travel and live my best life is a priority for me so several of my 50 goals were related to improving my health. Thankfully a health check in August revealed my cholesterol was down to ‘normal’ levels!

One of the most positive outcomes of maintaining this blog for the last 12 months has been the sense of achievement I’ve felt. Never before have I kept up a gym membership for longer than 2 or 3 months; I have rarely kept my weight under control and I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have pushed myself to walk over 2000 miles had I not blogged about it. Publishing regular updates has made me feel accountable and has pushed me towards achieving my challenges. I might well have been tempted to cheat on my vegan month or sober October if it were not for this blog!

Walking was a significant and an immensely positive aspect of my life throughout the last year. Walking over 2000 miles has:

  • Certainly helped me to keep my weight down;
  • Kept me fit and healthy;
  • Most likely helped me to stay positive;
  • Continued to enhance my social life (I’ve met several lovely new friends this year);
  • Enabled me to see beautiful scenery (Switzerland, the Peak District and even local scenery around my home town);
  • Saved me quite a sum of money (by not paying for public transport or using my car);
  • Helped to build relationships with my husband Chris and my friends;
  • Given me little ‘light bulb moments’…

In relation to the last point above, walking is almost like a form of meditation. While I didn’t achieve my meditation goal this year, I found walking is great for switching off and clearing your mind. And I did have several moments of inspiration while walking.

Other than the meditation goal I didn’t achieve, I also didn’t do a cooking class, or watch Greg Braden or get another job or complete the first draft of a book of our 2016 global adventures! Never mind… 45  / 50 isn’t bad… and its best to settle for 90% than try to achieve everything and get stressed about it! Rather than force myself to do a cooking class I just accepted this wasn’t going to happen this year.

Plans for 2019 and beyond: 

While having 50 goals and challenges has been fun and has enabled me to stay focussed, at times it has been quite exhausting! I have several travel plans for 2019 but will maybe spend a little more time at home and a few less weekends away… I have applied for another job and I’ll definitely aim to lose the extra 4 lb’s gained over Christmas!

I read somewhere earlier today something along the lines of “tomorrow marks the first day of a set of 365 blank pages… make sure the story you write is a good one…”. How exciting! Life is what you make it and who knows what will be written in the next 365 pages…

Finally, thank you for reading my blog posts and traveling alongside me on the journey into my 50’s… I’m now nearly 51 so here’s to 2019 and the next 9 years until I’m 60!

Happy New Year! 

Marc and Angel: “You have to make yourself happy. Its not selfish, its called personal development”

 

End of 2018 final weigh-in

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Weight shown month by month in kilograms

 

Final weight of 2018: 8 st 7 lb

Having managed to stick to 8 st 2 or 3 throughout most of 2018 unfortunately I put on a few extra pounds at Christmas… Thankfully my new smaller clothes still fit and at least I am still around 2 stones less than I was just over a year ago! I am keen to get back to 8 st 3, the weight I had begun to feel comfortable at. I’m therefore planning to get back to my exercise routine together with a calorie cut down for the new year…

 

 

 

 

 

December weigh-in

Weight on 1st December 2018: 8 st 4 lb

Thankfully I’ve lost most of the weight I gained while on holiday at the beginning of November although I’m still keen to lose another lb or two. This might be difficult now we are coming up to the festive season 🎄

The cheese picture above was taken last weekend where I overindulged (again) at a fab activity weekend. As well as lazer clay pigeon shooting, segway riding and axe throwing, the other activities were drinking Prosecco, gin, wine, Baileys and consuming huge amounts of food. I’m just about managing to keep my weight down by burning hundreds of calories at the gym and walking over 40 miles a week…

I’ll do a final 2018 post at the end of December, right after Christmas!

November weigh-in

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Holiday breakfast started like this each morning…

29th October pre-holiday weight: 8 st 2 lb

9th November post-holiday weight: 8 st 9 lb

As I was on holiday for 1st November I’ve included pre and post holiday weights.

Oh dear… a week of all inclusive indulgence resulted in a weight gain of 7 lb! I must say I was a bit reluctant to get on the scales this morning, the first full day back from the holiday 😦

In the past I wouldn’t have faced up to the weight gain and would have ignored the fact my clothes felt a bit tighter… this is how my weight got to 10 st 7 lb by this time last year. However being honest with myself and acknowledging this weight gain has inspired me to get rid of the extra pounds quickly so today I’ll resume calorie counting and up the exercise for the next week or two and see what happens…

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…but the bar opened at 10 am

Above is a ‘Nutty Russian’ an example of one of the delicious cocktails available. It contains generous measures of:

  • Vodka
  • Tia Maria
  • Baileys
  • Nutmeg

 

 

 

September weigh-in

Weight today… 8 st 5 lb! Oh dear…

For the first time this year, my weight has increased…

I think this happened during last weekend, August Bank Holiday where I was camping in the Peak District. Despite 2 mountain hikes this also involved a 4 day binge of alcohol, crisps and snacks, curries, cakes, cream teas and ‘taking my finger off the diet pulse…’

So it seems the moment I stop tracking my calories my weight creeps upwards…

Thankfully I haven’t lost my focus and I am still in the mindset of taking care of my weight and fitness levels and aim to be back at 8 st 3 lb in October!

 

 

August book reviews(s)

Book number 14

Book read: The Little Princess by Casey Watson

One of the most powerful and emotional books I’ve ever read was ‘One Child’ by Torey Haden which I read sometime around 2004. The contents of that book were horrifying and humbling and caused me to take a different approach to life and really appreciate my own upbringing.

This short book was also sickening and also described the abuse of a 6 year old girl. The girl had been removed from her own evil parents and was taken in to spend Christmas with a foster family. While only a short story I feel full of admiration and respect for families such as Casey’s who consistently give generosity and kindness in such tragic circumstances.

 

Book number 15

Book read: Thunder and Sunshine: Around the World by bike Part 2 by Alastair Humphreys

Wow… another superb book which I read quickly as I found it difficult to put down! Having travelled pretty much the length of South America in 2016 I could closely relate to many of the places Alastair visited on his epic adventure from the tip of South America or ‘El Fin Del Mundo’ (the end of the World) to the top of Alaska.

OK… so Alastair cycled and I took the soft luxury option travelling by plane, bus and cruise liner however I was able to visualise many South American places as well as LA, Seattle and Alaska.

The book continued with Alastair’s incredible cycle journey through Siberia… in the winter and then through Asia and back into Europe inspiring me to do something more adventurous and push a few more boundaries… I’m not yet sure what…

Alastair had some awesome quotes in his book too, particularly towards the end as he reflected on his fantastic journey:

Page 341: How mad we are to neglect our body, the very machine that carries all our thoughts, emotions, ambitions, dreams, fears and our life itself. And yet we still expect to live smoothly, healthily and happily to a ripe old age.” So very true and something I am very conscious of… especially now that I am 50…

Page 339: I decided to see some of the world and to escape from England and the conveyor belt of my life” most people probably do live on a conveyor belt of a life and conform to a similar pattern without even questioning they could be doing something different…

 

 

 

Ice bar birthday drinks!

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A trip to Below Zero ice bar in London seemed a different and somewhat novel treat for my daughter’s birthday and an opportunity for me to tick this one off my list!

We arrived in sweltering temperatures of +31 degrees so it was a good day to spend some time hanging around a bar made from ice and drinking a pina colada from an ice glass! We had to ensure we were wearing gloves to pick them up so that our hands didn’t freeze to the ‘glasses’ and as we drank from them the rim of the thick ice glass slowly began to melt!

 

 

 

July book review(s)

Book number 12

Book read: Moods of Future Joys: Around the World by bike Part 1 by Alastair Humphreys

Another book about cycling around the world… and I loved it! Another incredible adventure which was well written and so interesting to read. Alastair was only 24 when he decided to leave his home and family in England and cycle through Europe and the Middle East and all the way down the length of Africa to Cape Town. Brilliant!

These are a couple of quotes which really demonstrate Alastair’s ability not only to write beautifully but to fully capture his humble sense of engagement and absorption from his surroundings:

Alastair supports ‘Hope and Homes for Children‘ an organisation set up by a British couple who find homes for children who have been abandoned or orphaned. When Alastair met some of these children in Sudan he said “as I shook their small hands and looked into their shy eyes it was with a feeling of ‘you are amazing’… A beginning with no schooling, home or parents is out of my comprehension and I drew so much strength and resolve from them.”

A few pages later… “Despite their poverty, the Sudanese people I met were happy. They had dignity and self-respect and were content with what little they had. And they had an abundance of friends, family and faith. They were the kindest, most cheerful, hospitable and welcoming people that I had ever met. I pedalled through the village towards Ethiopia with a smile on my face.

Paragraphs such as these are so inspiring and heart warming that I can’t wait to read about the next leg of Alastair’s journey which stretches the full length of the Americas. I love the sense of adventure mixed with dose of motivation each time I read a section.

Following this first book Alastair became an adventurer who writes about his travels, gives lectures and pioneered the concept of microadventures. Alastair’s idea of microadventures are about fitting in a little inexpensive adventure at the weekend to escape your life perhaps by camping under the stars or wild swimming in rivers.

My version of a microadventure has been many mini trips to Europe where, when I’ve been short of time and money, I’ve still travelled and seen the highlights of Paris, Amsterdam, Florence, Berlin and several more cities in a day or short weekend. In fact, I see and appreciate my life as being packed with microadventures… a beautiful 5 mile walk which ends in a country pub during a warm sunny evening after work; a weekend of camping with lovely friends; an afternoon bike ride across bumpy tracks and fields to see my parents… or end in another pub… a trip to the coast or Peak District to do a long walk…

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Wild camping in the Brecon Beacons last weekend

 

 

Book number 13

Book read: What Happened That Night by Sheila O’Flanagan

In preparation for my relaxing Cuba beach holiday I purchased a good old paperback which I felt would be far easier to read than reading books from the Kindle app on my iPad! You can leave a book lying around on the sun bed, it doesn’t matter if you get your smeary sun cream fingers on it and the odd splash of pina colada doesn’t hurt…

I managed to read this book within the week I was in Cuba and while I found it quite good and I enjoyed reading it, I could take it or leave it… it wasn’t one of those books that keep you gripped from start to finish…

I did enjoy some of the themes and values which came out strongly from the book… the warmth of the traditional Irish family, the complications of relationships and the idea that following your true feelings is best!

However I’m starting to realise that ‘chick lit’ isn’t really my thing… I’m really keen to read the next instalment from Alastair Humphreys where he cycles from Patagonia at the tip of South America, right up to Alaska in the very north of the Americas land mass. Tales from real life adventures are much more exciting!

 

 

 

 

South West coast path

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It is July already and with such a busy 2018 I don’t think I’m going to get to the west coast of Wales this year. I therefore changed this challenge from the Pembrokeshire coast path to the South West coast path.

OK, so I did only a tiny fraction a couple of months ago and had just a taster of this amazing 630 mile walk. I would love to do the entire South West coast path at some point and I’ll try and get to Pembrokeshire next year…

Details of my short experience of a section near Weymouth and Lulworth Cove of the South West coast path can be found on frombluetogreen.com