Updates

Weeks 14 & 15 walking progress

20180408_113228.jpg
Snowdonia National Park

Week 14 walking progress:

  • Total for week 14 = 43 miles
  • Average per day for this week (43 / 7) = 6.14
  • Running total = 408 + 43 = 451 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 451) = 599

Another super effort! 10.5 tough miles were achieved by climbing to the summit of Carnedd Llewelyn, the second highest mountain in Wales. And on Easter Monday I did a 15 mile walk in the Chilterns which boosted this weeks’ total.

 

Week 15 walking progress:

  • Total for week 14 = 43 miles
  • Average per day for this week (43 / 7) = 6.14
  • Running total = 451 + 43 = 494 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 494) = 556

Oddly the same total for weeks’ 14 and 15 but very different miles walked! Most of week 15’s miles were walked in and around my local town including a walk that Chris and I did to a local village pub and back… it took slightly longer to walk back…

 

 

 

Advertisements

Vegan progress…

Mid month update…

A last minute change of plan on 1st April, Easter Sunday, meant we didn’t go to visit my in-laws and I was able to stick to my first day as a vegan. After the promise of an aubergine and chickpea curry, I decided to cook a vegan curry in any case. I used vegan curry paste, vegan Bouillon, coconut milk, sweet potato, chick peas, cauliflower and peas and made enough for 2 nights. It was delicious!

Typical vegan breakfasts have consisted of: Alpro yogurt with grapes, blueberries and organic muesli. Or sometimes organic muesli or porridge with oat milk.

Lunches are often home made vegan soups or vegan soups from Pret. Or peanut butter or hummus with pitta bread.

I’m using oat milk in coffee or having black coffee and drinking fruit teas rather than black tea.

Dinners are often vegetable curries or something like spaghetti bolognaise made with quorn and vegan sauce and spaghetti.

I nearly forgot last night as I popped a pizza in the oven… then suddenly remembered the cheese! This meant that Chris had the pizza and I had the falafels and vegetable samosas!

So generally it is easy to stick with a vegan diet while at home… going away is a slightly different matter…

Work trip

I had a recent work trip and decided to mention to my colleagues that I was following a vegan diet. This meant that every time we had some food they were helping me to choose saying ‘Oh… you can have this… or that…’ which was fine! And I tend to do the same with my vegan daughter Zoe…

Breakfast in the Premier Inn was good with fruit, muesli, baked beans, tomato and hash browns.

The M & S lunch was a little disappointing… the only option I could find was a single choice of a pre-packed vegan salad…

Snowdonia weekend

I decided on this occasion not to mention to this particular group of friends that I was doing a vegan month. I wanted to find if I could do it without anyone noticing…

En-route: Starbucks cappuccino with coconut milk (delicious)

Coffee shop lunch: hummus with bread and fruit tea

Evening meal: Shepherdess pie made with lentils. This was actually the vegetarian option but it seemed the closest to being vegan. There was probably a small amount of butter in the mashed potato but I didn’t want to make a big deal of it.

Breakfast: there was no milk substitute available so I put orange juice on my muesli! On the second day I had porridge and requested it was made with soya milk which fortunately they had.

On the way home from Snowdonia I stayed in a different hotel where I had a delicious vegetarian chickpea and spinach jalfrezi. There was nothing vegan on the menu but I think this was made with coconut milk… I didn’t want to ask the in’s and out’s of the ingredients.

There was no fruit available for breakfast and the only vegan option I could find was beans on toast! I was tempted by a poached egg but resisted… if I’m going to try veganism for a month I need to do it properly and not be tempted by such an obvious animal product.

This weekend made me start to think there are different levels of veganism and that being vegan doesn’t mean the same thing for everyone. I’m classing myself as a ‘light touch’ vegan by choosing zero animal products as far as possible but not to the extent of examining all ingredients every time I go out for a meal.

A ‘hard core’ vegan would be strict and would ensure that absolutely no animal products are used in the production of their food.

I had an interesting conversation recently where, during a discussion about vegetarianism and veganism, a friend, defending the steak they had just consumed said “you have to enjoy your life”. I’ve found that you can enjoy your life without eating animal products. It seemed unfair that an intelligent animal such as a cow has to lose its life just to enable a human to enjoy eating them when there are other options available. Why do we humans seem to think we’re entitled to ‘make use of’ and eat other animals when we don’t need to?

Just a thought…

 

 

April book review

Book number 6

Book read: The Long and Whining Road by Simeon Courtie

An interesting and realistic account of a family of 5 who travelled around the world in an old VW camper van. The author (the dad, Simeon) gives you a good insight of what would be involved if you ever wanted to take on such a trip, setting out a number of issues for example with border controls and with shipping their van between continents.

This book did take me a while to get into so progress was slow at the beginning. However the book got better and better as the family continued to drive through Europe and into Turkey, Syria and Jordan and onto India, Australia and the US.

Incredibly Simeon drove his family through Syria although thankfully for them this was shortly before the tragic events of Syria took hold. Even so, he described the tensions the family felt in a country on the brink of civil war.

This book definitely inspired me even more to take on something similar… maybe not driving around the world in one go but I would certainly love to drive around the UK, Europe, Australia and the US in camper vans!

 

 

Snowdonia road trip

20180408_123103.jpg
Snowdonia National Park

Wikipedia road trip definition:

“A road trip is a long distance journey on the road”

I wasn’t sure whether a weekend trip of driving for 4+ hours to North Wales and back would technically be classed as a ‘road trip’ and it certainly wasn’t on the same scale as the road trip Chris and I took across Europe from Calais to Prague and back in July 2016 or the road trip through Northern Argentina in November 2016.

However, on the basis I had given this challenge the title ‘Go on a UK weekend road trip’ and this was a weekend, on the road and within the UK, I decided this should therefore count!

The purpose of the weekend was to explore the gorgeous scenery on foot by means of a series of 3 separate hikes which I’ve covered separately in our travel blog.

I did a little bit of driving around Snowdonia but this was mostly driving to and from the starting point of each hike.

And on the way back, I had a night in a spa hotel in Llangollen, a small town near the English border.

 

 

Week 13 walking progress

Week 13 walking progress:

  • Total for week 13 = 40 miles
  • Average per day for this week (40 / 7) = 5.71
  • Running total = 368 + 40 = 408 miles
  • Miles left to walk in 2018 (1050 – 408) = 642

So, the first three months, or 25% of 2018 has gone already and I’ve achieved over 50% of my target for the year. This means I have been walking over twice as many miles on average each day to meet my target of 1050 miles.

I seem to be walking more and more miles each week which I think is partly because I am recording them in this blog. Counting them up and putting updates on here is inspiring me to walk even more…

I’ve got a big 16 miler coming up tomorrow, Bank Holiday Monday, with a semi-local walking club that I haven’t walked with before. I’ll be exploring the rolling hills of the Chilterns with 20 other people I haven’t met. It’s like a mini, or micro adventure!

The great thing about these walking groups is that you also get to meet loads of interesting people and even though the weather forecast is for rain tomorrow, walking 16 miles with random strangers is better than sitting on the sofa!

 

 

April weigh-in

Starting weight: 10 st 3 lb

January weight: 9 st 10 lb

February weight: 9 st 0 lb (weight on 1st Feb would have been around 9 st 4 lb)

March weight: 8 st 12 lb

April weight: 8 st 7 lb (119 lbs or 54 kg)

Total weight loss: 24 lbs

I’ve gone quite a bit under my original 2018 target weight of 9 stones! The recommended weight for a 50 year old medium build 5′ 3″ woman is actually 8 st 10 lb so I’m slightly under the ‘normal’ weight for my height. I’m happy with this and would like to be able to keep my weight at around 8 st 7 lb rather than 9 st. The reason I originally set my target at 9 st was because I didn’t think I would be able to get below that weight!

Yesterday I sorted through my clothes and was delighted to find a size 10 holiday skirt which fitted beautifully! I haven’t been able to wear this for a few years and thankfully its one that never really goes out of fashion.

I’m consuming around 1200  – 1300 calories a day and still doing a huge amount of exercise most days. I’m anxious not to regain any of this weight and concerned that if I indulge in chocolate or cakes that I will lose my focus and the weight will pile on again…

A typical week of exercise for me at the moment is:

  • Mon: walk 5.25 miles to the station and back; spend an hour at the gym (700 calories burned)
  • Tue: work at home and go swimming at lunchtime (400 calories burned)
  • Wed: work at home and go swimming at lunchtime (400 calories burned)
  • Thu: walk to and from station and hour at gym (700 calories)
  • Fri: as above (700 calories)
  • Sat: walk around my local town (300 calories)
  • Sun: walk with a local walking club (750 calories)

This is more exercise than I’ve ever done so I’m probably fitter now than I was 10 or even 20 years ago!

A typical day of eating goes something like this:

  • Breakfast: a small bowl of bircher muesli with oat milk (300 calories)
  • Snack: banana (100 calories)
  • Lunch: Vegetarian soup from Pret (200 calories)
  • Snack: grapes/mixed nuts (200 calories)
  • Dinner: Sweet potato curry (400 calories)
  • Coffee: (100 calories)

The calories are estimated and rounded to the nearest 100!

Having received some helpful advice from my best friend (who is the same height as me and has had a similar yo-yo diet pattern over the years), in order to try and maintain my current weight I am going to do the following:

  • Stick to around 1200 calories a day during weekdays
  • Continue doing lots of exercise each day
  • Have treats and eat more at the weekends

And monitor my weight each week to keep a check and ensure it doesn’t start creeping upwards again!

Today I start my vegan month

 

 

Beginning my clutter overhaul

In many ways I would like to think I lead a fairly minimalist lifestyle. Five years ago, my husband Chris and I downsized from our house and moved into a smaller apartment. Before we moved we significantly reduced our possessions and spent many weekends taking stuff to charity shops and to the tip.

Nearly 5 years on and the clutter is starting to build again… I’m not overly keen on spending time ‘tidying up’ as there always seems something better I could be doing. So I have to be in the mood to have a sort out…

Well… I’ve made a start today! The first bit of decluttering I’ve undertaken this year began with a clothes sort-out. As this ties in with my ‘capsule wardrobe‘ challenge, I’ve put the details under that heading.

As well as finishing off my clothing declutter, I also need to focus on the following:

  • Sorting through my paperwork (tends to build up however hard you try to reduce it)
  • Sorting through my books (I now buy Kindle books but have quite a few books that I haven’t even looked at for 5 or even 10 years…)
  • Sorting the kitchen cupboards (checking everything is in date and fit for consumption)
  • Sorting the freezer

So, as mentioned above, I’m not entirely new to the concept of minimalism and de-cluttering. One of the main reasons for doing this is just to keep life simple. Sorting through heaving wardrobes trying to find something to wear is stressful and I’m keen that my life is as stress-free and easy as possible.

Decluttering isn’t just of the material nature… I’ve got my meditation classes starting next Tuesday in order to do some mind de-cluttering!

 

 

First step: getting rid of unwanted clothes

20180331_144843.jpg
Clothes to get rid of

Its Easter Saturday today which means a long four day weekend and the perfect time to start making some progress towards a capsule wardrobe!

Wikipedia explains the official term capsule wardrobe was coined in the 1970’s by somebody called Susie Faux with the idea being you create a wardrobe with a few essential pieces of key clothing that don’t go out of fashion.

Like most things, you can take this type of phrase and adapt it as you wish. My reasons for creating a capsule wardrobe are as follows:

  • Reduce the stress of too much clothing clutter
  • Create more space in my wardrobe
  • Only keep clothes I actually wear

With reference to the third point above it has been said that the 80:20 rule often applies to clothes and I found several web articles on this. The idea is “many people wear only 20% of their clothes for 80% of the time”. I think this is a fairly accurate description of the frequency of the clothes I wear!

I’ve made the initial attempt at de-cluttering my wardrobe… I think I still have a few more things to reduce before I can official say I have a ‘capsule wardrobe’ but I’m pleased I’ve made a start today!

These were the basic rules I applied to my clothing de-clutter:

  1. Get rid of anything that is too big – now that I’ve lost nearly 2 stones since 4th December 2017 I don’t want to keep anything that is too big ‘just in case’. I need to get it into my head that my current size is my size and that it is a permanent thing and not a temporary state. So after trying multiple things on I’ve sifted out various items of larger clothing that now look ridiculously baggy.
  2. Get rid of old and tired looking clothes – and faded and generally clothes that are past their best. Some of these items of clothing have hung around in my wardrobe for a couple of years and are just taking up space.
  3. Just keep a small number of ‘indoor’ clothes – like the old pair of jeans that you wouldn’t want to wear if you are going out but are OK to wear around the home. You only need one such pair! And maybe a couple of tops…
  4. Get rid of clothes I haven’t worn in a while – I don’t want to put a time limit on these as some only get worn on certain types of occasion. For example, I may not have worn my strappy sandals for 12 months but that doesn’t mean I won’t wear them in the summer. I think this just needs a bit of common sense and maybe re-phrasing to ‘get rid of clothes I am not intending to wear ever again’…

So I still have my shoes and underwear to go through but already I have a nice big chunk of space in my wardrobe!

And I need to start thinking more carefully about how I’m going to apply the idea of a capsule wardrobe which I think is something more than just getting rid of a few clothes…

 

 

Vegapril starts tomorrow

“The number of vegans in Britain has risen by 360% in 10 years” says the Daily Telegraph.

This means that over half a million people or over 1% of the UK population has turned to a vegan diet, a choice more popular with the younger generation. The Telegraph suggests the main factors driving this trend are healthy eating and a growing awareness about the way animals are farmed.

My month as a vegan is starting tomorrow, 1st April which also happens to be Easter Sunday. And happens to coincide with a visit to my elderly parents-in-law.

My in-laws live in Norfolk which is a two hour drive and means we don’t get to see them as often as we would if they lived closer. So when we visit they usually book up a restaurant and the four of us go out for dinner which saves them any work and we can maximise the time we have with them.

Unfortunately my father-in-law hasn’t been too well and isn’t feeling up to going out so my mother-in-law is going to cook for us. She has kindly offered to cook a chickpea and aubergine curry which sounds delicious. However, with my father-in-law being unwell I don’t want to give her anything else to have to think about. So I haven’t actually told her that I am starting a vegan month…

Similar to my thoughts as mentioned when I started my March vegetarian month, I don’t like to put people to any trouble, particularly as she is elderly and cooking for us and looking after my father-in-law.

Lets see how things go tomorrow…

In addition, I’ve just checked on the wine situation for vegans. Apparently most wine does contain small amounts of animal by-products. I’m not sure I want to give up wine as well for a month so on the basis I only usually have about 3 – 4 glasses of red wine a week, I’ll continue to drink the odd glass of wine on my vegan month but will make a point of seeking out vegan wine.

I’ve been having oat milk on my breakfast cereal for over a year and I now prefer this to cows milk. The only milk I do have is in coffee which means I’ll need to drink black coffee from tomorrow. I think I’ll miss having milk in my coffee…

I’m going to try my best to follow a vegan diet by removing all meat, fish, dairy and eggs and will try to substitute these for healthy options where possible. And the odd glass of wine…

And I’ve discovered that vegans eat dark chocolate! Hurrah!