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All Hallows’ Eve

I realise the last couple of post haven’t been the most cheerful ever, so I thought I’d change the mood a bit.

This week is Halloween. Every year I plan on doing something, and then every year I never do anything! Last year, I tested a sugar skull design on my face a few days before the date, but then I never painted my face on the day because no one dressed up at work.

This year, I’ve tested something again. I tried a realistic skull design, and a cracked golden face one, and I’m not convinced with either. Unfortunately, my skills aren’t very good, and I know someone is already going to the office in a sugar skull full face, and she’s a make up artist, so… Damn! I don’t know what to do.

I’ve seen a few really cool designs on Pinterest (yes, yes, I’m addicted to it, we all know that), but I don’t know if I could pull them off…

In terms of sugar skulls, I like these designs. I think they’re good inspiration.

I really like the detail of this, and the red tones, but I think I would take me ages to get something that wouldn’t look half as good!

This is much simpler, and I like the little stones around the eyes… which I don’t have, but it could work.

Last year I was going to do a design like this last one. I tried it on half of my face and of course it didn’t look as good as this, but I still liked it. Sort of.

If I were to go for the scarier look (which right now, sounds very tempting), I really like these ideas.

I think I could pretty mucho do this. It doesn’t seem to require crazy amounts of different make up, so I guess it would be doable.

I love this. I love the fact that it’s completely white and only the detail of the eyes and the lips. I love the demon eyes (Supernatural, anyone?) and the hair. Have I said I’m in love with granny hair? Watch this space!

Relatively simple, yet difficult to get the details right, I think. This is a strong contestant though!

This. Is. Scary. I love it! Surely I could do this, right?

I love this design! I think the eyes are super striking and the half face is very cool. I could definitely pull this off, but it would take me at least 3 days to remove all make up!

I think I like the scary look a bit more… But I will need time to do it! I was thinking of going to work early on Friday and pop down to the showers, so I could lock myself in one of the cubicles and have a mirror and water available. It would be pretty funny if on my way back via the staircase I bumped into people and give them a scare especially since at the moment, the type of make up that seems in the lead is something like this:

(I couldn’t find any video with just the series footage… Seriously).

I will need to get to the office at dawn in order to get all my make up sorted, and then I’ll have to think of clothes too! Am I getting excited? I think so!

Anyway, we’ll see.

What about you? Are you dressing up for Halloween? Maybe just painting your face? I would love to see your costumes and make up!

Some days the bear eats you…

Yesterday I was thinking about writing today’s post in advance. I wanted to talk about the imminent flat move, but I didn’t know what I should really say.

There were two possible outcomes to happen today, either it was all good and confirmed, or it wasn’t. For some reason, I considered writing two versions, like they do in PR and presidential campaigns, just in case, and the hit publish on whichever one happened. It was a bit silly, to be honest, because it was 99% confirmed and today the guy was going to get rid of his estate agents as a last step.

Last night, Su texted me to tell me the guy had received a better offer for one year, and I’m guessing at the full original rent price, and so he thought he should go with that. Now, I don’t blame him, of course he should go with that offer instead, but it sucks. I had already made up my mind to move, and I had let myself get a bit excited, even if I’ve kept telling everyone that it isn’t over till it’s over, and that anything could happen. You know, the whole don’t sell the skin of the bear sort of thing. Now, call me pessimist or whatever you may, but, what now? We didn’t shoot the bear soon enough, and now we have no skin to sell, and the bear has had breakfast on us.

I hadn’t given my agents any notice yet (because I know how these things go), so at least I still have my cold, damp flat to live in, but I’ve now had a taste of freedom, and I really don’t want to stay in my current flat, but now… I don’t know.

The problem is that I had let myself get excited about this before anything was actually signed, and the people who knew about it had already been saying all the positive things you normally say in these cases, and what’s worst, telling me that it was a great thing because I really needed that change. And now that change is not happening, and I really need it… No?

So last night I went to bed very early because when I get down or disappointed, I eat and I didn’t want to ruin what I’ve accomplished so far (today is day 5!) by eating my feelings with the wrong choices, so I made myself a camomile tea, and went to bed to read. I don’t know, maybe the tea wasn’t a good choice either, but give this woman a break!

Now, I have two choices: be down, or move on. It sucks to have to move on, but I can’t afford to be down again because I’m too low on energy at the moment, and not completely healthy, and I might end up sucked into a black pit of despair! Better to move on.

This weekend I’m going to have time to prepare yummy meals, so my plan is to spend either Saturday or Sunday cooking, and then be able to take nice photos while there’s still natural light (so I might have to start cooking at 7am, because winter is coming!).

I guess I have to think positively and if my physical condition doesn’t allow me to be physically active, then I’ll have to do stuff indoors. A good thing is that I have ideas for my November novel (yay!) and I even have a hint of a plot that I need to sketch out before the challenge starts. And there are a couple of other things I want to look into.

I’ll let you know how it went next week, who knows, maybe I’ll end up in bed watching series the whole weekend! Don’t worry, I won’t eat non-compliant food!

Challenges everywhere

Day 3. It feels weird this time around, I guess because I have a bunch of other stuff crowding my mind too.

It seems that my default comforting activity is to eat, and to eat junk food. OK, not junk food as such, since I don’t normally go to fast food outlets, but you know what I mean, non-compliant food seems to be my jam (that pun might or might not have been intentional…).

It’s no secret that I haven’t been feeling my best for the past couple of weeks (past month?). A lot of things have been piling up on top of one another and I’ve been feeling like forgetting about everything and just taking a nap. A month long nap, actually.

First, the flat. The boiler is not working and you know how this goes, the landlord never wants to spend money so you have to argue and pretty much annoy the estate agents until they agree to fix it just so you leave them alone. The problem with it is that it suddenly stops. Now, during summer, I don’t care about the heater, but the main issue is not having hot water to do the dishes! Especially when you like cooking! Of course, every time someone came to check it, they flicked a switch and voilĂ , it worked again, so they refused to fix it. And of course, after a day or two it would malfunction again.

I’ve been sending stern emails in which I pretty much wanted to tell them to go take a hike, but I’ve restrained myself and just drily stated my complaint and what I expected them to do and when, without actually saying anything along the lines of not paying rent or similar (although the tone of my emails clearly showed I’d had enough). Finally, some dude went to the flat today and informed me that the boiler is indeed broken and he needs to order parts, which will take a few days to arrive… Of course they will.

The toilet was also broken, and the overflow wasn’t stopping so for a few days we just had a constant stream of water coming out of the pipe outside (clean water, the one filling the tank). Again, it took a few tries to get this fixed.

Work has been (is) busy. Way too busy sometimes, with tasks and projects being thrown at my lap. I am expected to say when it becomes too much, which I’ve already said about a couple of jobs, and the answer I’ve received is to add them to my list and do them later on (to be chased about them almost straight away). I’ve also been given instructions to prioritise requests from a couple of people, to the point of dropping something I might already been working on if necessary to help that/those person/people. When the stuff I’m already working on is labelled as urgent and important by my boss, and requested to be done ASAP, what am I supposed to do?

I’ve been trying my best to not let it affect me, and I’ve sort of succeeded, except that after a stressful day at work I would go back to a cold home, which also has mould in some areas of the ceiling.

To top things off, I’ve been feeling pretty bad, physically speaking. I’ve been suffering from one ailment or another pretty much since I came back from Dublin, and the new treatment I’m on to help me with my health issues is on that phase in which is making it a bit worse before it’s been long enough to start having a positive effect on the problem. I’m exhausted, seriously.

I spent Saturday in bed all day. I didn’t even get out to eat, because I wasn’t feeling hungry at all, I just felt sick. In the evening, I did have some dinner, but nothing healthy to be honest.

When Oummou said to start Whole30 ASAP, I didn’t think it twice and jumped at the opportunity. After all, Whole30 is awesome!

I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a fridge full of healthy choices, but I started anyway. So far, so good. My only problem is that I’m craving the less healthy choices. Right now, I would kill for a piece of toast bread, or a grilled cheese sandwich. I don’t even want to end up having a greasy burger from a fast food outlet, but I could really do with some cheese and crackers right now. Or a glass of wine.

For some reason, I think this time around is going to be trickier than last time. I say for some reason, but I’m almost certain I know exactly why. Everything is being a challenge these days and the only way I can treat myself easily is with food (which is the sort of behaviour Whole30 tries to address, by the way!).

I’m going to a concert tonight, and my friend has suggested a pub where we can meet. As soon as she said the name, I quickly checked their menu, and it seems I can have a bun-less burger with avocado and maybe a fried eggs, and a side of sweet potato fries (I can’t even have their salads, what has the world come to?). It will depend on what they add to the food… I didn’t have time to close my eyes before I saw the blue cheese option, and now that’s all I can think about. Still, I’m going to be strong. It’s really quite simple, come the time, I’ll have a decision to make, whether to choose the healthier option, or not. One decision will bring me closer to where I want to be, the other won’t.

Yesterday, at the end of the day, I just wanted to hop on a train and pretty much be carried home. I was super tired (having anaemia doesn’t help). Instead, I forced myself to walk to the station, so I grabbed Amit, who also walks to the same train station (ish), and asked him to walk together. When I got back to Lewisham, I fought myself all the way from the train to the bus stop trying to decide whether to take the bus or walk home. In the end, I told myself that if I wanted to go back to my step count, and if I wanted to be healthier, the only way I could was by actually doing it, so I walked. I also decided I would go the hard way, up the hill and back down (mostly I choose that way because there’s a traffic light that freaks me out that I would need to cross if I wanted the easy way home).

Last night it was spent cooking a roasted chicken following this recipe. I’ve done a similar one in the past, but with chorizo instead of bacon, and let me tell you it’s a winner! I also prepared jars and jars of cabbage slaw, so I have lunch for the rest of the week, and then some.

I realise that things never go according to plan and many times when you’re down, life decides to step on you a little bit more. The past couple of weeks were gruelling for me, and I have to admit they got to me. I’m lucky because I have people around me I can talk to, and I have my personal heroes who are always there to help, no matter what. I’m usually quite good at snapping out of it, as they say, but sometimes it’s too difficult and you just want a break.

Things aren’t improving right now, but at least they’re not getting worse, so that’s something. I’m waiting to hear about a flat I could potentially move to by mid-November, but the guy is dragging his feet a bit, so it might not happen in the end. Work is still busy and stressful, but I’m getting a tiny bit better at organising myself (delegate and do the tasks that require other people to get back to me first, for example). My health, well, that’s a different story. There’s nothing I can do and I need to wait a couple of months to see whether the treatment is working or not.

In the meantime, it’s been almost a month that I haven’t set foot in a gym, or dipped my toe in a pool, and that’s driving me crazy. Given that I’m still waiting to hear from the physio about my knee treatment, and that walking slowly and enjoying the scenery from home to the train already gets me out of breath, I know it’s the right thing to do, but I can’t wait to being active again.

So that’s me. I’m a bit cranky at the moment, and I want food for all the wrong reasons. I’m still making the right choices, but damn it’s difficult.

What about you? What’s been challenging you lately?

And again, Day 1 – Whole30

I’m back to doing Whole30, although this time is more like… Whole A Lot (note how I was too lazy to count the actual days I’ll be doing it this time around).

The idea was to start on the 1st of November and continue all the way to New Year’s Eve. Yep. I wanted to go on a restrictive diet during the season in which you pretty much drink and eat non stop. Then, Oummou told me she wanted to do it as well, but she wanted to finish it before her wedding (second wedding, the civil one) which is at the end of November. I, in my Whole30 knowledge, did some calculations and the only way she could manage to finish it properly, reintroduction and all, was to start today. So, here we are.

Unfortunately, that means my fridge wasn’t really ready for this. I had bought some non-compliant ingredients (that I know my brother won’t eat, like cheese) and other stuff. But, then again, it’s not my first time doing this, so I already have a pretty good idea of what I can and cannot eat.

Super quickly (in around 10 minutes, actually), I boiled a bunch of eggs, which only lasted me today… I had vegetables, avocados…

This morning I had boiled eggs for breakfast with roasted potatoes and sauté cabbage. Not bad, huh? At lunch, I had eggs again, and parma ham, and the same vegetables.

For dinner, I decided to eat some Brussels sprouts (why do people hate them?) with bacon, mushrooms and diced potatoes, and yes, another egg. That’s it, no more eggs for now, except for breakfast!

Tomorrow I’ll have scrambled eggs (I said they were OK for breakfast!!), mushrooms and asparagus. I’ll eat the fruit portion of my meal when I get to the office, because I didn’t bring it back home. For lunch, I’ll have the Brussels sprouts again. I left aside a bigger portion, so won’t need to add any eggs again.

I’ve bought a chicken which I want to roast for dinner tomorrow night. So far, so good.

There are a couple of downsides to starting Whole30 right now… The first one is I’m broke (which reminds me, I need to claim back my dentist appointment fees on my health insurance plan, yay!). This means I don’t have a lot of money to spend on meat, for example, or a lot of vegetables. The dreaded end of the month is here!

Secondly, I had made plans with friends, all before 1st of November…

On Wednesday, I’m going to a concert and when my friend told me today to meet beforehand for a drink and some quick food, I thought yeah, about that… but as soon as I mentioned I was on Whole30, she quickly understood I had gone paleo (sort of, but that’s how people understand it). So not bad.

The biggest problem is next week… I had made plans to have dinner at Bodean’s with Amit and Dimple. That’s barbecue pork. I’m pretty sure their BBQ sauce is not compliant, so I guess I’ll have to pass on the burnt ends, and pulled pork, and delicious baby back ribs (I’m almost crying here) and just go for a bun-less plain-as-plain burger, and just assume that there’s nothing super weird inside the burger.

If I were doing this on my own, I wouldn’t mind it too much, I would just keep it mostly compliant and then start properly on the 1st, but I don’t want to discourage Oummou, since she wants the motivation. I guess I’ll be emailing Bodean’s to ask them about their menu then…

Here’s to being a pain on the backside of every waiter and food chain out there, but to a better health!

For some reason, I decided to do this during November, while I’m going to be attempting NaNoWriMo once again. Maybe not the best of plans ever. Now, to top things off, it seems I might (might, mind you, it’s not 100% sure!) be moving flat as well in November… How am I going to manage to do everything? I have absolutely no clue.

I’m feeling much better now, at least during the day. My health has been poop for the past couple of weeks, which has had me pretty down and with no energy. Things seem to be starting to look better in general, so I’m trying to keep a positive attitude. I did say it though… I said everything was going way too well to be true, and that I was expecting the universe to bring me down a notch or two, and it’s happened. I’ve had some dark days for the past week or so, and now it can only get better (life, seriously, that is not a challenge to make things worse, so back off!).

Since it’s been a long time, how are you? What have you been up to?