Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Season's Greetings!


Hello my beauties! And a belated Merry Christmas/Happy Hanakkuh/Season's Greetings from me! I hope you've all had a wonderful few days eating, drinking, opening presents - and most importantly, spending time with your loved ones. I've had a very manic but totally enjoyable Christmas myself - I've been shuttled between Dad's house, Mum's house, my Auntie's and my Nan's. Needless to say I've eaten enough food to sink a ship, and judging by the number of empty bottles in our recycling bin there is probably no wine left in the entire South-East of England. But its Christmas. And if you can't indulge at Christmas then when can you indulge?

This is not to say that I plan to continue to indulge for the rest of this week - I am back on the wagon as of this morning. I haven't managed to get to a meeting this week (the local one at my Mum's is closed for Christmas - on the 28th of December!? I mean, really?) but I'm estimating a gain of about 5lbs. I'd like to get rid of most of it before I weigh in next week, which means I'm avoiding all the leftover Christmas goodies at all costs (my Mother's house basically looks like a Cadbury bomb exploded in it. Chocolate's everywhere. Not to mention the cheese and crisps and cake and mince pies and lots of other yummy stuff that's lingering in the kitchen. Sob!) Once I'm back at Uni and am removed from temptation I can really start to get my head back in the game - not to mention get back in the gym. I'm actually missing exercise after sitting on my arse doing nothing for the last fortnight. And this is coming from me - I hate exercise!

Anyway, this is just a quick one from me to check in and wish you all a 'proper merry Crimbo' (if you don't know what that means, shame on you), and I'll be back with regular updates soon...probably when there's actually something for me to update you with!

Lots of love
Lauren xxx

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Catching Up

Hi guys!

I know I've been AWOL over the last few weeks but I'm trying to get my head back in the game! This is just a really quick update from me to let you know that I have officially reached the 6st mark. I weighed in this week with a 4.5lb loss (don't ask me how that happened!) after a 3lb loss last week as well. My grand total is now 6st 3lbs - or 87lbs for those of you who don't speak 'old money'. I couldn't be happier about it - I literally had the most ridiculous grin on my face all day yesterday, it was sickening.

I have to go now, I'm currently in the library working on an essay that I should have finished weeks ago...why do I do this for every deadline?! I just wanted to share a picture with you all before I go.





Who are these people!? I don't recognise either of them! ;)

Monday, 12 December 2011

Often, in times of particular stress or emotional upheaval, I find myself withdrawing - pulling back into myself and away from other people. My family assure me that this is normal, that it is how I've always been and probably always will be. I'm not a social person by nature - for the most part human companionship is not something that I require. I enjoy socialising with friends and family, but I'm also perfectly comfortable alone. With this in mind, perhaps its not surprising that I withdraw into myself when I'm stressed or unsettled - its where I'm most comfortable and at peace.

At the moment, there are things going on that I can scarecely find the energy to really think about, never mind talk or write about. Even if I could, I wouldn't be able to share them on here. Unfortunately this blog is no longer a place where I can express myself without fear of judgement. It has made it difficult to blog about anything at all recently - hence my extended absence, for which I apologise. I guess because these things take up so much room in my head, they become inextricably linked with everything else. To write about one aspect of my life without mentioning the things that seem to be defining and dictating my every thought and movement feels like a lie - and I would rather be silent than lie, especially on here.

I'm still here though. I'm still checking in on everybody and I'm still fighting the Weight Watchers corner - although somehow it feels a little different now. I've always said that Weight Watchers is something that I'm doing for myself, and only myself. With everything else that is going on, its beginning to feel like this is not just for my benefit anymore. I know that this needs to change. I want to get to goal and feel ecstatic at my own achievement, not devastated because my success hasn't had the desired effect on other people. I've never really been an achiever - I've never done anything noteworthy in my life. This is the only thing that I've ever done that matters - even if it only realy matters to me. Somehow I need to find a way to protect that - a way to cordon off this little part of myself from the messy and complicated parts of my life. I''m not sure how I'm going to go about doing this, but I hope I can. It would be a shame to let the one part of my life that I can control become tainted by those parts that I can't.

I'm sorry for rambling on at you for all this time, but after going AWOL for so long I felt like you needed a slightly better explanation that 'I've been busy' (even though I actually have). I made a commitment to be honest on here, and as the saying goes 'you're only as good as your word'. There are certain commitments that I'm not willing to break, and certain people that I'm not willing to let down.

So yeah...just know that I'm still about - I haven't gone anywhere. Please bear with me and hopefully things will soon return to business as usual!

Lauren xx

Friday, 25 November 2011

Hi, I'm Lauren and I'll be your waitress tonight.

I am pleased to announce that I am now an official employee of The Olive Grove restaurant in Canterbury. I even have an apron and an order pad.

This is very good news, for several reasons. Firstly, I really need the pennies. Like, seriously need them. Because I'm in my final year of uni I get about £500 less a term than I have done for previous years. This would be fine if I had a lovely rich mummy and daddy to take the fall for me financially, but unfortunately they're almost as poverty as I am so nothing doing. It also means that I'm going to have to pull my finger out and get myself organised uni work-wise. I've slipped into the dangerous habit of thinking of Wednesday-Sunday as my 'five day weekend', which generally means I get to Sunday afternoon and panic over how much work I haven't done over the last four days. You'd think I'd have learnt by now, wouldn't you?! Hopefully having some sort of routine on those days will keep me motivated and stop me from lounging around all day watching Bones/Castle/CSI/House/True Blood or whatever the latest obsession is.

On the other hand, me having a job is also very bad news, for one reason...I don't actually like working. And I especially don't like working with the public. Sorry, but I don't. I was put on this earth to be a solitary lady of leisure. This is not to say that I'm some weird recluse with no social skills, because I'm not. Well, I'm not a weird recluse...the social skills bit is debatable. I enjoy spending time with certain people, like my family and friends and housemates, but that's only because they (for the most part) have known me for a long time and know we well. Even then I get a bit fidgety after a while and have to go chill out on my own for a bit. I can count on one hand the number of people that I could spend more than 24 hours with and not want to throttle. I'm pretty sure that's not normal, right? Well anyway, normal or not, that's me and 'me' doesn't tend to go well with a hot, crowded restaurant full of idiots. Fortunately the people I work with all seem to be really lovely, otherwise there would be all sorts of issues!

In other news, you may have noticed that my usual Wednesday Weigh-In post was conspicuous only in its absence this week...yeah, I was totes hiding from you all because I gained. A completely justified 2lbs, if you're interested. I blame it on the 10-hour long cinema trip on Thursday (Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse, followed by the midnight viewing of Breaking Dawn part 1. I was literally in sexy vampire and werewolf heaven. R-Pattz, why are you so perfect!?) I went with Mumma Jones, and we had lots of chocolate and other goodies as sustenance. I should probably feel worse about it than I do, but it was worth it.

I have also truly overcome 'the fear' and have now been to three different fitness classes. Time was I would do anything to avoid setting foot in a fitness studio. Gym, fine. Classes, no way Pedro. Now it seems to be a different story, and so far I've been to Spin (love), Deep Aqua (love) and then...you won't believe this...fucking ZUMBA of all things. I have always hated anything even remotely dance-oriented. I can't dance at all. The only time I can dance is when I'm very drunk, and even then I'm not actually dancing well. I just think I am because I have a tiny Bacardi-susceptible mind that lets me think I'm Beyonce after a couple of bevvies - like on Wednesday night. We went out for two of my housemates 21st birthdays, and I was owning that dance floor. Until I fell over on it. So yeah, moral of the story? Just don't drink. Ever. Under any circumstances. Anyway, back to Zumba...I'm shit at it. Literally, so bad. I have no rhythm, no coordination, no nothing. And to make matters worse the instructor kept yelling 'be sexy when you do this move' and then gyrating her hips and wiggling her bazoomas at us. Now firstly, I don't have any bazoomas to wiggle, particularly when I'm strapped into a (very saucy & flattering) sports bra. And secondly, I don't have a sexy bone in my body - particularly not when I'm wearing skanky gym clothes and sweating like a fat bird at a disco (which, in fairness, I kind of was at the time). After 7 years of trying to be a sexy minx like all the other girls, I've now accepted the fact that I'm just not in any way 'sexy' - and when I try to be I just come across as really awkward and uncomfortable and a bit socially retarded. This is fine by me, I'm ok with not being sexy. I've found ways around it. But apparently there is no way around it in a Zumba class. Its a requirement. If you're not sexy, you're doing it wrong.

I think I'll stick to Spinning.

There really isn't anything else to update you on...in my drunken fug on Wednesday I didn't even manage to get any blogworthy pictures! Which is fine, because I was rocking my birthday dress again. Thats birthday dress, by the way. Not birthday suit. I wasn't that hammered.

I hope every body has had a glorious week and has lots of exciting things lined up for the weekend! I myself have a Spin class and three shifts at the restaurant in store! Lucky girl, eh!?

Lauren xxx

Monday, 21 November 2011

Feel-Good Monday - A Little Affirmation.

This weeks post comes from another of my very good friends, Sarah. Sarah and I first got chatting on the Weight Watchers forum just after I joined in January 2010 - we were both students with around 8st to lose so we had a lot to talk about! Since then we've stayed in pretty much constant contact and she's always there if I need to talk about anything, Weight Watchers related or otherwise.
I asked Sarah to write this post for me as I know she has some experience on the subject of self-esteem and the problems associated with it. I'm sure that most of the people, whether they're attempting to lose weight or not, have struggled with low self-esteem at some point in their lives. Its not necessarily a physical thing - it may not have anything to do with how you look, but can instead be focused on work or studying, or anything really. So here is Sarah's story about her struggles with low self-esteem, and a few tips for overcoming it.
Low self-esteem is an issue that most young women and surprisingly a lot of men suffer from. I am one of those people. Low self-esteem has always been a problem for me ever since I started senior school I would say. There are many reasons for my low self-esteem, most being around issues with my weight and with bullying. I was bullied by a girl I went to school with from a very young age, mostly about my weight and my family’s weight as I come from a family full of obese people. I used to fear going to school and never walked home alone because of passing her house on the way. These fears led to more and more negative thoughts which in turn gave me lower and lower self-esteem. The bullying continued all the way through school up to an incident when we were 14 where she attacked me on the way home from a local shop with two of her friends which resulted in the police being involved.
Even now I still look out every time I walk past her parents’ house, even though she no longer lives there, it’s the fear and remembrance of one of the lowest points of my life. Through the low self-esteem I have become somewhat a social recluse, I struggle to make new friendships and often unintentionally sabotage the ones I currently have out of fear of what they will think of me, and how much I might get hurt.
Going to University was a turning point for me, I took a huge risk and moved into student halls of residence which placed me living with 5 other people every day and I have to say it was one of the best experiences of my life and one of best things I ever did for myself. It forced me out there to socialise with other people, I was still somewhat shy and reserved, but me and one of my flatmates constantly clicked and I would say she really helped me develop myself. It wasn’t a miraculous change, I still only spent time with people she or my other flatmates knew, I didn’t let very many people get close to me, but it was still progress in my eyes.
During my second year though I fell ill in the first week of term and I was off for the first 12 weeks of the semester right up to Christmas. This ruined our friendship, and I moved back home and since then I have to say I have returned to many of my old ways. I have lost contact with most of my friends from school and college and those I do know I still see little. I’ve returned to the old fears and thoughts and the cycle is very hard to break.
May this year I decided to do something about it, I was at probably my lowest point by then, I wasn’t going out at all other than for university and work. But having spent 4 weeks finishing my dissertation with now access to outside world I knew I was ready to change. So I started going to a self-esteem counselling group through the university. I almost backed out at the start but I am so glad I went, to meet and talk with other people and realise you are not the only person who has these thoughts and these fears was so relieving.  There were even people that were worse off than me in terms of self-esteem which made me realise I wasn’t ready to take a step back but needed to take one forward.
The group session wasn’t about talking about what the issues of your low self-esteem were, in fact it never even came up at all really, what it was about was small changes you could make to help improve your self-esteem. Each week we had a topic to talk about and then a small goal to set ourselves for the following week that was related to the topic we had discuss. So I thought I would share these with you.
1.     Body Language/Gestures – This is the use of words like “I can’t”, “I don’t know how” or gestures such as turning away, avoiding eye contact
  A  Assertiveness - this is mostly around the issue of yes and no. have you ever had someone ask you to do something and you want to say no, but you say yes because you’re worried about what they will think if you say no? This is one of the signs of low self-esteem. – So be assertive. Say no. Even just once and for something simple can be very empowering.
3.    Positive Thinking – are you a half full or half empty type of person? If you’re half empty it could be a sign of low self-esteem. Do you automatically assume the worst will happen? Do your thoughts constantly spiral from one negative thought to another? If something goes wrong is it the end of the world, does it feel like everything is going wrong? Changing our thought patterns from negative thoughts to even neutral ones can have a surprisingly positive effect on your self-esteem. Using words such as maybe, possibly instead of I can’t, I don’t know how. Not assuming the worst will happen and thinking, well I don’t know what’s going to happen.
4.    Stress Management – Stress is our perceived ability to handle a situation, so the lower your self-esteem the more stressed you will become as you will automatically assume you can’t cope with the situation you’re in or that’s arising. This can also lead to more negative thought processes as well. When you are stressed it’s important to take out time for yourself. Small things like taking care of yourself often get neglected. Make sure you do all the usual things you would do, shower, moisturise, and then do something a little more. Paint your nails, watch a movie, have a bath instead of a shower. Even 5 minutes to unwind is better than none at all.
With low self-esteem it’s so very easy to take a step backwards into the spiral of low self-esteem so it’s important to remember to keep making these small changes. Even a small change of thought or gesture can make a significant difference in your confidence and each small step forward is better than a step backwards. Even I have to keep reminding myself of this sometimes.
I just want to say another massive thank you to Sarah for taking the time for writing that post for me today, and everyone go check out her blog - She's Coming Undone.
Happy Monday everybody!
Lauren xxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Homemade Veggie Soup

One of the potential perils of Weight Watchers is the cost. For the most part, people have to pay a membership fee of around £20 a month (I'm exempt because I help out at the meetings and so I get it for free). This covers your weigh-in, the meeting afterwards and includes access to the online resources - recipes and ProPoints calculators and so forth. You also receive a lot of money-off vouchers in the post every month, which go towards some of the Weight Watchers products. Considering the amount of help you get, its really quite a reasonable price to pay.

However the cost doesn't stop there. A lot of the Weight Watchers friendly recipes out there are not cost-effective - particularly if you are a) cooking for one, and b) a poverty ridden student. Both of which I am. I mean, I could try to cook for my housemates sometimes but honestly its such hard work finding something that we will all eat, plus finding a time when we're all home to eat it. One of the best solutions is cooking in bulk and then freezing - alas, our pokey little student kitchen is not bless with masses of freezer space, particularly as I share a house with four boys who are very much of the 'whack it out of the freezer and into the oven' persuasion. Sometimes all these things make it really hard for me to resist the lure of 10p noodles in Asda (not really, those things are rank. But I do often find myself being drawn towards the cheap and convenient - and subsequently not Weight Watchers friendly food options.)

One of the hardest spots of the day to fill, for me at least, is lunch time. I tend to get stuck in the sandwich-bagel-pitta bread rut quite easily, so this week I am making a conscious effort to banish as many processed carbs as possible from my diet, and instead have made a delicious vegetable soup.

Now, one of the best things about soups - especially veggie soups - is that more or less anything goes. I used what I had to hand and it has come out lovely, but if you want to experiment then go for it. I wasn't following a particular recipe for this soup and following my gut (I'm sure there is a Fat Club related joke in there somewhere) hasn't done it any harm at all.

Ingredients
1 large or 1 and a half small onions
1 large carrot
1 parsnip
1 turnip
Approximately 1/4 of a swede
1 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
250g tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
Approximately 700ml vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Dried chilli flakes (optional)
Garlic (I used granules)
Dried mixed italian herbs
1 tsp olive oil.

You will need
One large lidded saucepan

  1. Chop the onion, carrot, turnip, parsnip and swede into small chunks. Heat the oil over a low heat and then add the vegetables and fry for 5-10 minutes, or until just beginning to soften.
  2. Pour over the passata, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock. Add a generous pinch of italian herbs, a sprinkle of chilli flakes and garlic granules, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir thoroughly and bring to the boil. Then reduce the heat, put the lid on the pan and leave to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour, or until the vegetables are soft.

The only thing with any points in the recipe is the parsnip and olive oil, which has a grand total of 3 ProPoints - by my estimates the whole recipe makes upwards of 6 servings, so to all intents and purposes it is 0pts (if you're being super-strict you could point it at 1 per serving.) Serve with a slice of bread and low-fat spread for a ProPoints value of 3 and you're done! Its also freezable, so if you're one of the lucky ones who doesn't have to battle for freezer space you can divide it into portions and defrost it as you need it!

Let me know if you decide to give it a go! :)

Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Weigh-In and Homecoming

Hey lovelies!!

I am very pleased to announce that I have now officially lost 80lbs - 81.5lbs, in fact!! I weighed in at my meeting with a loss of 2lbs, although I privately think that it should have been a bigger loss than that, my reasoning being that I usually weigh in my tracksuit bottoms because I go to the gym straight from my meeting. This week I was getting the train home straight after the meeting so I was wearing 'normal clothes' - ie denim shorts, which definitely weigh more than my joggers do! (Incidentally, anyone ever heard of jogging bottoms being referred to as "trackie-b's"?? My housemate is a bit obsessed with that term and for some reason I find it really amusing.) Also, the scales flickered between 13st 13.5lbs and 14st for quite a while, before finally settling on 14st, bummer! I would have loved to have been in the 13s this week! Still, a loss is a loss and there's always next week.

This is just a quick update from me as I have returned to the Wonderland that is Essex (which is to be pronounced as Essickss, or Essiiiix, at all times) and so I should really be socialising with the family. I'm here for three nights, the primary reason for the visit being the realease of Breaking Dawn part 1 - mum and I are massive Twihards, judge us if you will! It is so nice to be home in a nice clean house that isn't full of testosterone. Don't get me wrong, I love my boys, but they're loud and messy and just generally quite mannish and I don't think they really understand me most of the time. They're a bit like puppies really - ridiculously cute, but you can't really have a 'serious' conversation with them. Anyway, I sat in the kitchen and had a glass of wine and a lovely chat with Mumma Jones and then inhaled possibly the best meal of my life - beef goulash with braised red cabbage, followed by homemade apple pie and custard. My mother is the best. The goulash and cabbage was even quite Weight Watchers friendly!! (We won't talk about the pie.) This, plus the inescapable cinema treats tomorrow are going to make things a bit more tricky when it comes to weigh-in next week. I'm hoping that being uber good from Friday onwards and squeezing in a few gym sessions will negate whatever damage I manage to do within this 48 hour period. 

Also, I want to apologise for my last few posts being a bit 'wordy'. Hopefully there will be interesting things in my life for me to take photos of soon, and until then you'll just have to put up with my ramblings! You know you love it really!!

Te amo muito! (Thats Portuguese for 'love you lots' by the way - I am just so cultured!) Enjoy the rest of your week!!

Lauren xxx

Monday, 14 November 2011

Feel-Good Monday

As a literature student, I find myself quite frequently overcome by the power of words. One of my favourite things about my degree is the power that the words hold - from Shakespeare to Emerson, Shelley to Woolf, and all the nuances in between. I love that the words these people wrote are still so powerful, all these years later. That, more than anything else about my degree (including the hours spent curled up in bed with a cup of tea and a crime novel and being able to legitimately say 'I'm working') inspires me. I love the idea of opening your heart and mind to complete strangers and offering them a piece of yourself. I love the idea that the words of one person can change the lives of millions. I want to do that one day.

When I have been at some of my lowest ebbs, I have sought comfort and inspiration in the words of others. That's why, for this weeks edition of 'Feel-Good Monday', I've chosen to share some of my favourite quotes with you. While most of them don't relate directly to weight-loss ('Little pickers wear bigger knickers' is not a favourite of mine, as true as it may be) they are words that I've found inspiring. I hope they fill you with some positivity and motivation for the Monday ahead of you!


'I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.' - Stephenie Meyer. This is perhaps my all-time favourite quote, and it seems especially fitting this week as its from Twilight. Are we all excited about the release of Breaking Dawn part 1 on Friday? I know I am! I have loved this quote since first reading it all those years ago when Twilight was first released (I am a true Twihard and read the book when it was first released). It reminds me that sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to truly appreciate all the wonderful things in your life. There is never a time that I appreciate the love and support of my friends and family more than when I'm really struggling.


'History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.' Sir Winston Churchill - he needs no introduction, and the quote says it all. Don't be a side-note in somebody elses story.

'The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.' Michelangelo - I love this quote. At times it just seems so appealing to settle for whats easiest but this quote reminds me to keep aiming for the top, no matter how hard it might be to get there sometimes. 

'You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.' Jack London - don't sit around waiting for things to change. Go out there and change them for yourself. You won't regret it.

'Nobody's journey is seamless or smooth. We all stumble. We all have setbacks. It's just life's way of saying, "Time to change course."' Oprah Winfrey - sometimes its easy to look at others and feel as though they're doing so much better than you are, but in reality they have their own struggles as well. Just because we don't all have the same problems, it doesn't mean that we don't all have some problems. I think sometimes we all need to be reminded to be a little more understanding towards those around us. We also need to be reminded that coming up against obstacles doesn't mean that we've failed. Sometimes you just need to step back, accept that you took a wrong turn, and look for an alternate route. 

And finally....

'Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about.' Oscar Wilde - fittingly, a quote by one of my favourite authors to finish. I, for one, tend to take life far too seriously - and sometimes it just doesn't need to be We're here for such a short amount of time, and we need to cram as much fun and love and laughter into that time as we possibly can. As hard as it can be, sometimes you just have to accept that worrying about something isn't going to change a damn thing. Its just going to give you a headache or an ulcer - or both. Mondays are the epitome of stress and worry - at least they are in my book - but try not to let it drag you down this week. In fact, try not to let it drag you down ever. After all, 'the supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive.' Robert Heinlein.

Have a very happy Monday everybody!

Lauren xxx

Friday, 11 November 2011

Lest We Forget.

At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the year 1918, after four years of fighting, The Great War came to an end. It has been estimated that the total losses from the First World War stand at more than fifteen million people - approximately ten million of whom were military personnel.

Almost a century later, those brave soldiers remain in our thoughts - as do those that have lost their lives while serving our country both before and since then. At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, we honour them. We take two minutes out of our busy schedule to reflect in silence upon the sacrifices of the men and women who have fought for their country - fought for us - and we honour them.

It is days like this that make me proud to be British, and proud to have relatives that have served our country in our battles to remain free. My great-grandmother lost her brother in the First World War, and lost a daughter in the bombings of the Second World War. My cousin served in the Armed Forces for six years, including tours of the Far East. Thankfully he came home alive. But we should never forget the millions who didn't.

I'm not what I would call exceptionally patriotic - when the country you live in has as many problems as ours does, sometimes its hard to be. But on days like today, when I watch our veterans play tribute to their colleagues, when I see the people in town sporting their poppies, I can't help but feel proud of my heritage, and proud of the brave battles our servicemen and women have fought over the years.


To all those who have given their lives fighting for their country - goodnight and God bless. Though you may be gone, you are not forgotten.

Thank you.

I wanted to share this poem with you because its a personal favourite of mine. I studied War literature for my English Literature A-Level, and along with Wilfred Owen's 'Anthem for Doomed Youth' this is the one that stuck with me. It was written before the beginning of the First World War, but it always seems to appropriate on Remembrance Day.

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me;
   That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
   In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
   Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
   Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
  A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
    Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
  And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
    In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Rupert Brooke

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Its That Time Of The Week Again....

Wednesday!! Which means, in other words, weigh-in!

This week I weighed in with what us old Weight Watchers gang like to call a STS - I Stayed The Same. Surprisingly, I am very ok with this - I kind of went off the rails last weekend food-wise and was expecting a gain of around 1 or 2lbs. I ate out both Saturday and Sunday, I didn't track or even choose the healthiest thing on the menu. I had what I wanted to have - and it just so happened that what I wanted to have was a carb and cheese overload Calzone in Zizzi's and a meat-sweat inducing Plantation Platter in The Harvester. Washed down with a couple of glasses of wine and LOTS of chocolate. So to have stayed the same?? I'm freaking ecstatic.

I also feel like I have my mojo back now - I had my few days of not tracking and living on the wild side, and now I'm ready to get my nose back to the grind-stone and get rid of this last 30 or so lbs. It needs to go before graduation. Those photos are going to be on the living room wall in at least four different houses - and they're going to be there forever. I can't have fat graduation photos. I just can't. So I'm not going to.

So far today have been a point-perfect day, and thats including the two beers I just had with my ex-boyfriend/friend (he was buying, and I'm never one to say no to a free drink!). I also have that warm and fuzzy inspired feeling from my Weight Watchers meeting this morning, which I think will help to keep me focused this weekend. We had two members get to goal on my scales this morning. I can't even tell you how awesome it is to be able to say to somebody 'You've done it. You've got to your goal.' One of them hugged me, and I genuinely thought the other one was going to start crying. Without having a total mushy-love-fest, which as we all know is not my idea of fun, it was an amazing thing to see. These are people that I hardly know, and I felt so proud of them. After a bit of an iffy week, I came home reminded that its possible to get there if you want it enough.

SO. Eating mojo back on track. As always with me, it comes back to exercise. I was getting myself into a decent routine before reading week, when I somehow managed to twist my knee in a Spin class. I've given myself a week of nothing too hardcore, and I'm hoping that its sorted itself back out. Back to the gym tomorrow to, quite literally, work my arse off. I am aware of the fact that its going to hurt and I'm going to hate every second, but unfortunately I've got to that unpleasant stage of my weight loss where if I don't bust a gut in the gym every other day I'm going to end up with weekly losses of half a pound. And that, quite frankly, isn't good enough!

Before I sign off and immerse myself in my new obsession (Bones!!), I've just noticed that I now have 90 followers - WOW! You guys are awesome, thank you so much for stopping by to read my ramblings!

Lauren xxx

Monday, 7 November 2011

A Wee Update...

Two posts in one day - aren't you lucky? Seriously though, I know I've been neglecting you all recently and I felt this needed to be rectified as soon as possible! The truth is I just haven't really felt like blogging over the last couple of weeks. As well as impending essay deadlines (they are now completed, printed and handed in - thank God!), I've also had a lot of other stuff on my mind as well. I've spoken before about not necessarily being the most forthcoming person when it comes to talking about 'feelings and stuff', and this has definitely been the case over the last couple of weeks. Its also made more difficult by my extremely male surroundings - any sign of an sort of emotion or anger and it is immediately assumed that I'm 'on the blob' (disgusting turn of phrase) and am therefore just an irrational hormonal mess.

(FYI male readers. There is nothing, and I do mean nothing that is more guaranteed to irritate a woman than a man insinuating that the reason for a woman's anger is her 'time of the month'. Newsflash: sometimes we're not pissy because we're on. Sometimes we're pissy because you're an idiot.)

Anyway, enough of my period-related rantings. The long and short of it is that there's been a lot of stuff that I've been trying to deal with - with the result that I haven't exactly been in a caring and sharing kind of mood. I apologise profusely for my absence though, and I'll try to do better from now on!

Because its been so long there are a few things to update you all on - the most important being last weeks weigh-in which showed a loss of 1.5lbs. While this is a great loss, I couldn't help but feel a little miffed, I only needed another 0.5lb to hit -80lbs!! I know its not a race and that I'll get there when I get there...it just would have been nice to get there last week!

I've also been something of a social butterfly over the last week. Hallowe'en is considered by most as one of the biggest nights in student land - so much so that its almost a crime to not dress up and head out for a few drinks and a dance. I didn't go out last year because I was working, so I was very up for it this year. Plus, being 5.5st lighter makes fancy dress a far more enjoyable experience!!

Hallowe'en '09 - as a pirate's wench with Terry and Thom


Hallowe'en '11 - as a vampire with Katie

I will admit to quite possibly having had one too many £1 vodka and diet cokes, with the result that I was pretty much hungover for the rest of the week. I couldn't even drink the following night when we went out for Emma's 21st birthday celebrations.




These are just a few of the many snaps taken on the night - despite not drinking and still feeling pretty dire from the night before, I had an amazing night with everyone. As shallow as it sounds, going out and not having to worry about being the 'fat friend' always makes the night so much more enjoyable!

I'm off now to battle through the 100 pages of reading that I have to do before tomorrow!

Love to you all :)
Lauren xxx

Feel-Good Monday

First of all - an apology! I know I went AWOL last week. I wish I could say that I have a really good excuse, but its basically because I'm just shit at life. Well, I did have two essays to write, but as I only wrote those this weekend I can't really use that as an excuse. So yeah, shit at life it is. I will try better this week - promise!

Anyway, Feel-Good Monday!! This weeks post comes from the wonderful Rosie from Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On, who as well as being an amazing blogger is also one of my best friends. I never cease to be amazed by how brave and strong Rosie is, and how much she has overcome over the last few years. If there is anyone who is going to inspire and motivate you on this grey and miserable Monday morning (well its grey and miserable in the UK, anyway!) its her!





Hello everyone! I'm Rosie from over at such stuff as dreams are made on, and Lauren is one of my real life best friends! I think her blog and journey is amazing so when she asked me to do a guest post filled with positivity for her, I jumped at the chance. I thought long and hard about what to write, before settling on deciding to just tell you all a little about myself....
It's easy to gain weight and hard to lose weight right? But it's also easy to lose weight and hard to gain weight. I've lived through both sides of the scale, and let me tell you that it can be easy to do both and hard to do both: it's all a matter of our minds.
I have suffered with depression on and off for about 9 years now, and my mood has always affected my eating to some greater or lesser extent too. This is most noticeable in my two significant bouts of depression at 15-16 and 19-23ish. When I was 15 I suffered from anorexia. There I said it. Despite what you might think, this was born out of no desire of mine to be thin, it was about gaining control over my life: being able to lose weight easily made me feel good when nothing else was going right. It distracted me from feelings of self hatred, from feelings of inadequacy, from feelings of never reaching perfection...these were all things I could achieve by heavily controlling what I was eating. Needless to say I lost a lot of weight, and somewhere along the line my family and friends got through to me that I was hurting myself. I'm not going to go into all the gory details here because I could write an entire book about my struggles with anorexia, but I just wanted to point out that when I decided I wanted to get better, to gain some weight again, it was incredibly difficult. Eating 'normal' meals made me very uncomfortable and it was painful; my body wasn't used to digesting so much food. It was also incredibly difficult emotionally. All the time I was trying to get better though, the focus was on feeding me up, nourishing me in terms of food etc, but no one ever thought to try to confront the issues behind the eating for me.
So I was better right? Wrong. 3 years later my depression came back again. I could no longer avoid it by controlling my food, as I knew first hand how dangerous and horrible this was and I did not want to go back to that dark place. I tried other 'coping' methods: controlling my time, keeping myself insanely busy so that I didn't have to confront my feelings of derision about myself, and becoming obsessed with my money and what I was spending. I used so many tactics to keep my mind busy from focussing on what was really upsetting me. Ultimately I returned to food though. It had served me well as an avoidance tactic in the past, so I knew I could count on it. Only this time I went in the other direction: I binged. I binged and I binged and I binged. At my worst I would consume 7000 calories a day (and yes I always still counted, because yes it made me feel in control in some weird twisted way). And that was every day. I was bloated, and sore and unhappy that my weight was rocketing up. I went from 8 stone to 13 stone. But you see how clever I was being? Instead of really finally confronting my feelings of unhappiness I had created another sure fire way for me to avoid it. I knew bingeing made me unhappy, but it gave me something tangible and solid to be unhappy about. This time around, loosing weight became hard and gaining weight easy.
I would say I was at my worst about 2-3 years ago in terms of bingeing. Slowly my bingeing has improved, and I have been trying to tackle the issues around it. It takes a long time to re educate your body when it has used some coping mechanism for so long.
Anyway, I can here you thinking around now 'how the hell is this positive'?? Well here's the positive bit...in the last 18 months I have slowly been getting my life back together, and in the last 6 in particular. I have almost completed eradicated bingeing from my life, and when I do binge it's a normal persons over indulgence rather than a sickening 'stuffing myself till I'm almost sick'. I am seeing a counsellor that is helping me for the first time. I am tackling the issues behind my depression. And you know what? The happier I get the more my eating improves, and the easier it is for me to lose some weight again in a healthy and sensible way. I feel more contented now than I can remember being in a long time; I have some control and purpose back in my life, but not in a way that it takes over me and controls me. I have friends who know more of me than I remember sharing with anyone in a long time, and they don't hate me when they find out things about me I would rather no one knew, as I always feared friends would. I have goals, dreams and aspirations based on what will make me happy rather than what I think I 'should' do, what is 'right' or what is 'impressive'. I have my determination and my drive back, because they *are* positive attributes, even thought they have contributed to some of my difficulties along the way...without them at all I run into even more problems! I also have weight watchers. This helps me to lose weight in a sensible way, not eating too much or too little, not having 'good' and 'bad' foods, re educating myself and my body. 
Three years ago I didn't leave the house at all for 6 months. I didn't shower for weeks. I didn't get out of bed. I didn't see anyone or talk to anyone except my family. Now I have a maths degree, a part time job whilst I study creative writing part time, am seeing a counsellor, am incredibly sociable and bubbly and giggly again, have hobbies and interests and passions once more, and am slowly tackling my deep rooted issues to do with self worth. 
And you know what?? Lauren is one of the amazing friends who has helped me through some of these tough times and got me to where I am today :)

Love
Rosie
xxx

I just want to say a massive thank you to Rosie for taking the time to write this post for me - I know what a busy girl she is at the moment! And for those of you who don't already follow her blog you should definitely pop over there now to say hello!

Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Welcome to ONEderland.

This is just a really really really quick one from me, as I have an absolute mountain of work to crack on with! Blurghhh.

I weighed in this morning with a 1lb loss - this is very unfair because I have been SO good this week and I've been to the gym loads as well. I'm trying not to let it bother me too much though - knowing my body it will catch up with me this week and I'll see it on the scales next Wednesday. Here's hoping!

My 1lb loss has also brought me into something that I haven't been in in a very long time....Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd like to welcome you to ONEderland!

Yes, I know that I need a pedicure. And also, my feet look really chubby in this photo. But I don't care - because that is definitely a 1 at the beginning of that number!

I will confess to this photo being slightly misleading - my scales are about 1lb out compared to those at the meeting so according to the Weight Watchers scales I'm 199.5lb...but still! I'm now aiming for a 2lb loss this week so I can officially say that I've lost 80lbs!

Just quickly before I go - 


I'm not normally a massive fan of Rihanna but I love this one.

Have a good week everyone!

Lauren xx

Monday, 24 October 2011

Feel-Good...wait, Monday!?

I don't care who you are, what you do or where you live...you don't like Mondays. Go on, try and convince me otherwise - I aint buying it! Nobody likes Mondays. In fact, most people I know dislike Mondays so much that their dread starts the day before and taints all of Sunday as well.

I am no exception to this rule. I am not a fan of Mondays. To me, Monday isn't just 'the end of the weekend' - its the day that I start fretting about weighing-in, the day that I have invariably told myself I will start being strict with my gym/uni work/spending habits. Like, its the start of a new week and the start of a new me, and all that rubbish. Its also the day that I have the classes for my least favourite module (Nineteenth Century Literature, bluerrrrgh), so my entire day is spent 'learning' about prissy Victorian housewives and other equally tedious things like that. Whether its self-fulfilling prophecy, or whether Mondays are just rubbish in general, I don't know. What I do know is that I don't like them and I want it to be Thursday please. Or better yet, Friday. Lets make it Friday. I want a week that consists of the weekend. No week days. Just the weekend. That'd be ace.

Not gunna happen? No? Right, well in that case, maybe we can bring some positivity to this notoriously crappy day?

Without further ado, I welcome you to the (very creatively named) Feel-Good Mondays.

Every Monday, I will do my utmost to bring some happiness and positivity and a feel-good factor to Blogland - in the form of guest posts, recipes, work-out ideas or anything else that might inspire you or lift those Monday blues!

This weeks Feel-Good Monday post comes from the one-man weight-loss machine that is Chris. Chris is a financial blogger for moneysupermarket.com who specialises in life insurance. He has recently started losing weight through a combination of Slimming World and exercise. 


Shedding Pounds and Losing Baggage


Have you ever seen your life fall apart in front of your eyes?

I have, and let me tell you something: It’s not much fun.

Six months ago five years of relationship fell down around me, leaving me homeless and with little more than the couple of bags of stuff I had grabbed on leaving. Not the best Sunday afternoon I’ve ever had, I can tell you.

Thanks to some good friends I managed to get myself sorted with a bed and a roof quite quickly, and once I was settled it was time to rebuild what was left of my life – to make it better, to streamline and to improve.

I’d already quit drinking about eighteen months previous, but I was still quite dramatically overweight (I weighed nearly 300lbs), I smoked, I had real insomnia issues and was mentally fried.

Well, I’m still working on a few of those problems, in truth (six hours sleep in an evening is still a pleasant surprise, for example, and I’m still not quite sure where my head is at some days), but in the last six months my life has changed so much for the positive I barely recognise the person I see in the mirror.

I’d wanted to lose some weight for quite a long time before the breakup, but cooking for two people, one of whom had no intention of dieting, made doing so somewhat tricky.

Well, now I was cooking for myself, and as such I was determined to start eating properly. Gone were crisps, fried things and deserts; in came grapes, apples, pasta and more veg than you could shake a stick at.

Initially, I decided that I was going to do this quietly; I wasn’t going to go announcing to the world that I was dieting or even really admitting it to myself; a very good way to make sure that I fail at something is to make as big a deal out of it as possible.

So off I went for a few weeks, not really paying attention to my weight at all… And I actually started to see a difference. I’d moved to a smaller notch on my belt, for one – This wasn’t a huge achievement as I wasn’t far off the new notch anyway, but doing it felt good.

Then, fate conspired to place a friend of a high-school ex and myself in the same pub one night, and we took to chatting when she mentioned Slimming World, which she’d lost two or three stone through in the last few months. “It’s really good” she told me, “Not like a normal diet at all.”

Call me sceptical, but I didn’t believe a word. She handed me a leaflet featuring slim, grinning women talking about cooked breakfasts, chips and enjoying a wine on the weekend and my disbelief was instantly piqued.

“Come along”, said my friend. “You’d be amazed how well it works”.

Well, Wednesday rolled round and I found myself sat in a local community centre having the difference between Superfree and Free foods explained to me, A and B choices mentioned and Synergy points discussed. To the uninitiated it’s baffling, but after a couple of days I was well on track – and at the end of my first week I’d lost 5lbs!

This was the start of something great – since May I’ve lost over 80lbs, and my plan is to keep going past the 100lb marker to around 194lbs – putting me just in a healthy BMI for my height. Then, who knows what after that?

My life has changed enormously since I started the diet – as someone who works in life insurance I was aware of the dangers that being the size I was could cause, but only since losing the weight have I seen the benefits.

And what benefits! I bound up flights of stairs now, and now spend long weekend days out on my bike after getting up early – A huge change from lounging in bed until gone midday every Saturday and Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good laze (Fridays after work is my time for not moving at all), but now being active is easier, I enjoy it so much more. 

I also eat like a king: Giant veggie stir-fries, omelettes, potato wedges, chilli chicken – all sorts – and I still make the occasional trip to the takeaway as well – evidence that if you’re clever you can still eat good, exciting food and still shed the pounds.

Financially I am suffering at the moment, I will admit (working in the financial industry, you worry about these things) – Between spending twenty quid a month on going to Slimming World and the almost constant hassle of having to buy new clothes (which thankfully is starting to abate) means that I’ve spent a tremendous amount over the last few months.

However, short-term pain equals long term gain; I no longer have to pay the inflated prices “big and tall” shops charge for clothes, and my shopping bills have decreased since I have cut out buying things like Pringles, Ice Cream and sweets. I’ve also quit smoking; at almost £7 a packet, four or five packs a week, that’s quite some saving each month!

I’m also going to be saving petrol money soon when I start riding my bike to work; fuel doesn’t look like it’ll be getting any cheaper any time soon, so my legs are going to be getting a workout!

I really can’t even begin to stress how much my life has changed for the better over the last few months: I’ve become more confident (potentially spurred on by my new girlfriend, who shouts viciously at me if I do something self-deprecating like refer to myself as a river troll or suggest that I should be sent to space to live with the other moon-creatures), my body is kinder to me in a whole raft of ways too numerous (and in some cases, too personal) to mention, and let me tell you, the compliments do NOT get boring. The first time doesn’t recognise you, or does a double take as you walk past is an amazing sensation, and I’m yet to hear somebody tell me how good I look now and think “Oh, I’m fed up with this, now.”

I do hope reading this has given inspiration to others – whether you want to start dieting, are in the middle of a diet and having a hard time or rocketing through it. If I’m honest my life was a mess, having it fall apart in front of me was quite possibly the best thing that ever happened to me, it gave me opportunity to put it back together better than ever before. I’m not for a minute suggesting that you should put yourself through the same heartbreak and pain I went through, but if you’re given an opportunity to rebuild your life from the ground up, do. You won’t regret it, I promise.


Pre-slimming world...

And now, over 80lbs lighter.

I just want to say a quick thank you to Chris for agreeing to share his story on here - I don't know about anyone else but I was bordering on gobsmacked! Over 80lbs in less than a year - incredible! 

I hope you've all enjoyed the first installment of my new little feature, and that it has brightened your outlook for the day and warmed the cockles of your heart and all that jazz. And if its shite, well then I'm sure you'll all let me know soon enough!

Lauren xx

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Redefining Productivity.

Those of you who are long-term followers of this blog will know that I am the Queen Bee of procrastination - I will literally find any means possible to delay doing the work that I know needs to be done. The first term of my final year at university is now in full swing and essays are due in just over two weeks. I was so full of good intentions for this weekend, and was eagerly (ha!) anticipating a weekend chained to my desk getting on with some essay prep. I was imagining the warm glow I would be basking in come this evening when I could look back over my weekend and feel a swell of pride in the kick-ass essay plans/drafts that I'd written up. I was looking forward to feeling my mind physically swell with knowledge as I read up on the roles of women in Victorian England and the origins of American hard-boiled detective fiction.

Yeah, well, that didn't happen. My good intentions were thwarted by...well, nothing, really.

I'm not saying that I didn't get any work done - I did. I read some poems, I finished a book...normal Literature student stuff really. I'm yet to make a dent in my essay-related to-do list, and subsequently there is a very good chance (and by chance, I do mean certainty) that the essays will be shit. BUT HEY LOOK, I READ SOME POEMS, that counts for something!

I'm so going to fail my degree.

Despite not getting much work done though, I can't help but feel that this weekend was extremely productive in terms of 'me time'. I know 'me time' isn't going to get me a qualification or a job, but after feeling like utter crap since I got back from New York I was long-overdue some TLC! So I went shopping and treated myself to this little beauty, I went to a Spin class yesterday morning and went to the gym today as well (feeling the burn in a big way. OUCH MY THIGHSSS), I spent some quality time out on the town with my friend Emma, I cleaned my hovel of a house (remind me never to have sons, boys are so messy) and I made another cake. This time it was a Victoria sponge sandwich and it was delicious - just call me Betty Crocker. I also spent some time doing some non-degree related writing, something which I've been neglecting over the last month or so due to the influx of university work (which I've also been neglecting, ha). OH and I caught up on the new series of CSI and House. This is the first weekend since my birthday that I've had a chance to just do what I wanted to do - between celebrating my birthday, Jack's birthday, going home for the weekend, going to New York and having my friend Caitlan to stay, somehow the last five weekends seem to have just not happened. This weekend was on my terms - I saw who I wanted to see when I wanted to see them, I've had no distractions at home and I didn't have to keep any guests entertained. And I know that it would have been a golden opportunity to get some proper work done, but I just can't bring myself to regret my weekend of productive procrastination. I'm sure that I will tomorrow, when I realise how behind I am. But I'll worry about that then!

I hope everyone has had as much of a glorious weekend as I have!

Lauren xxx

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Weigh-In (and cake!!) Wednesday

Hi guys!

Well, I weighed in this morning with a loss of 4lb - goodbye vast majority of my New York weight! I now only have 0.5lb to go until I'm back to my pre-NY weight - easily do-able in a week! I also realised this morning that I now weight 200.5lbs - a 1lb loss will place me in the elusive 'ONEderland'!! Granted, this isn't as big a deal to me as it is to most of my American weight-loss blogger pals, because I normally work in stones as opposed to pounds....but its still exciting! So its 1lb til ONEderland, 3lbs to an 80lb total loss, and 7lbs to a loss of 6st! Lots of mini-goals to achieve...I do love a mini-goal!

I'd love to conclude this post with an exciting update of all the really cool and adventurous things that I've been doing this week, but my life is basically extremely boring so there'll be none of that I'm afraid! I have managed a couple of gym sessions this week, and I have some Spin classes booked with my friend Sophie - I'm hoping that having a gym buddy will keep me more motivated than going it alone. Now that the weather is getting colder its going to take extra motivation to get out of bed and get to the gym - especially as the gym is a 30 minute walk away! I'd like to lose about another stone by Christmas, so I'm going to have to be extra strict with the exercise if I'm going to manage that.

In other news, my housemate Jack just put 35kg (roughly the same as what I've lost since I started Weight Watchers) onto the bar bell that the boys use in the house....its fucking HEAVY. Seriously, I can just about lift it. It baffles me that I was carrying all that extra weight around ON me! He said that once I'm at goal he's going to put the full amount on there, but I'm not sure they have enough weights to do it! Awkward.

One more thing before I love you and leave! I've been promising the boys for weeks that I'd make them a cake, and today I finally made good on my promise!!


Chocolate sponge sandwich topped with chocolate buttercream icing and Cadbury chocolate buttons...its probably the least Weight Watchers friendly thing I've cooked in a year and a half, but I thoroughly enjoyed making it and I'm going to thoroughly enjoy eating a slice later as well! (All pointed, of course!)

I hope everyone is having a good week!

Lauren xxx

Monday, 17 October 2011

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of.

Hello beautiful readers!

You'll all be pleased to know that I have returned safe and sound from The Big Apple! I actually got back last Tuesday, so sincere apologies for the shoddy blogging efforts - its been on my to-do list.

I had an absolutely amazing time in the states - my only criticism is that five days definitely wasn't enough! I honestly think I could spend a month just exploring New York every day and still have more things to see and do. Maybe it was just me getting caught up in the romance of it all but everything just felt so exciting and so much bigger and louder and more over-the-top than it does in London. Don't get me wrong, I love London and stand by my opinion that (rioters and rubbish public transport aside) it is the best city on the planet, but there is something about being in an entirely new city that you've never visited before...everything was just so thrilling. I honestly spent most of the weekend feeling like a kid in a sweet shop.

For obvious reasons, I'm not going to share all of my photos with you on here - or give you an hour by hour itinerary of what we got up to - because you would be extremely bored and would leave my blog and probably click the 'unfollow' button for good measure. Like I said, there were a lot of things we didn't get to do due to our limited time in the city, but we spent a day shopping at Woodbury Common outlet store, another day perusing the shops on Fifth Avenue, and then a couple of days exploring the other 'important' parts of the city - Times Square, Top of the Rock, Battery Park, etc etc. I was also lucky enough to make a 'new friend' while I was out there (his name is Italo and he's a little bit gorgeous) and he took me to some great out-of-the-way places that tourists don't normally get to hear too much about, like the High Line and some real New Yorker bars. All in all it was an amazing trip and it was definitely the perfect way to celebrate my 21st.

Just arrived at JFK after taking full advantage of the complimentary on-board bar.

Times Square baby!

Mum with all the bags from our Woodbury Common haul.

Cocktails in Greenwich Village.

 Outside the HBO shop with our True Blood bottles and Sex and the City Keyrings.

 Last of the big spenders with my Tiffany's and Saks bags!

 View of the park from Top of the Rock.
More drinks!

These are just a few of my favourite photos, I thought uploading all 200 of them would be a tad excessive...yes, ok, so I got a bit camera happy. I was on holiday, for crying out loud!

As well as having a fantastic time, I also managed to get all the things that I wanted while I was out there - namely my Tiffany Charm Bracelet and my Uggs. Shopping is so much cheaper in the states, as is eating and drinking out...I honestly don't know why there are any people left in this country at all. COME ON ENGLAND, SORT YOUR LIFE OUT. I made a conscious decision while I was out there to just let go, enjoy myself and not worry about Weight Watchers...shockingly enough (not), this was very easy to do, and I had such a good time eating pancakes for breakfast and burgers for dinner that I don't even care about the 4.5lb gain I was greeted with upon my arrival home. I see that as a small price to pay for five days of total over-indulgence! Besides, it'll be gone in a fortnight. Mark my words.

Unfortunately I have now dropped down from New York Cloud Nine with a very large bump, and have been inundated with reading and essays to be done - curse the Third Year workload! I think I'm also suffering with a pretty sever case of post-holiday blues because I'm definitely feeling a bit sorry for myself! Hopefully getting back into a decent routine over the next week or so will cheer me up - I mean, how could hours spent in the library and gym not cheer me up?? 

I hope everyone has had a good couple of weeks, and apologies again for my extended absence!

Lauren xx