Status Revelation

I have secured a weekend job.

8 hours, 4 Saturday, 4 Sunday.

At a certain retailer.

I am overjoyed.

I had my induction today, and I continue tomorrow.

After tax, national insurance, pension, and union fees (I joined the union, for security) I won’t be on mega bucks, but my first full month payslip will coincide with the increase in my wage at job 1.

This means if I pretty much work everyday over the next year (annual leave will be paid and thus taken, don’t worry) I can maybe just about be debt free by my 30th birthday. Potentially.

Let’s recap the debts:

Balance Transfer Card 1: £1080

Balance Transfer Card 2: £2720

Debt to The Boy: £1800

Debt to Sister: £70

TOTAL = £5670

I also want to save £1000 as soon as possible.

At this moment in time I feel very strong, very happy, very confident. At this moment in time I feel like I am going to smash my goals.

I feel E P I C.

 

 

I Don’t Care (In a Good Way)

I am pretty sure someone I work with doesn’t like me.

He has seemed a bit off with me for a while.

The old Flo would have been agonising over this. The old Flo would have been crawling the walls with worry and anxiety. I would be going over and over again every exchange we had had together looking for proof he hated me, looking for signs, trying to fix it.

I would have been a simpering mess of a woman, practically resorting to bribery and flattery to win him over.

I would have done more to make him like me then I have done for previous crushes/lovers.

But now?

Well, I went over the ‘data’ calmly and rationally. I have no proof that our relationship has changed (though there does seem to be an increase in digs). All I have is speculation.

I look at the facts.

Do I think I am worthy of love, affection, good will? Yes. Do I think I am a good, hard working worker? Yes. Do I think I have done anything heinous to warrant this perceived change in his feelings towards me?

No.

So I am not going to invest any more time or energy on it.

I have finally realised something that has long traumatised me. That no matter how lovely, pleasant or agreeable you are as a person the law of averages dictates that someone, somewhere will dislike you. Probably for being so lovely, pleasant and agreeable in the first place.

I have shied away from social media, I have kept my opinions to myself, I have been afraid of rocking the boat or being outspoken lest I offend anyone. Whilst I don’t necessarily think that is the worst way to live, I have now decided to define my self worth on the opinions of those who matter to me.

And more importantly myself.

Do I like myself?

I can honestly say for perhaps the first time in my life I like myself. I am not perfect, but no one is, and I like myself in spite of or maybe because of my flaws.

I would go so far as to say I am great.

(However The Boy still maintains he is the best person in the Universe and I am at most second best).

So I don’t care if someone doesn’t like me. And I don’t mean in a petty, childish, antagonistic way. I am not about to be discourteous to my work colleague, I will still be professional, I harbour no ill will feelings towards him, I genuinely wish him nothing but the best.

But I have finally accepted that self worth should come from within, not from the opinions of others.

Thanks for reading guys, love to ya all.

Gooey Date Bars

This is my interpretation of a recipe I came across on the Money Saving Expert site.

I intend for these to be a post gym snack.

MAKES 16 SQUARES

INGREDIENTS

20cm x 20cm Baking Tin

250ml Water

200g Dates

180g Plain Flour

1/2 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

180g Soft Brown Sugar

200g Porridge Oats

180g Butter

METHOD

Cook the dates in the water over a low heat until the water is evaporated and you have soft, sticky dates.

Add all the other dried ingredients (sifted) into a large mixing bowl and then add the butter and mix together (it will be quick sticky/wet).

Add the date mix and combine well.

Press down the mixture into the lined tin and then bake in the oven for around about 50 minutes on Gas Mark 5, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool and then cut into 16 squares.

These are so good that when I had one I went to The Boy and said ‘I feel sorry for you not liking dates, as these are great!’

Store Cupboard Granola (Batch Cooking)

This was inspired by a recipe in Eat Smart by Niomi Smart, which I currently have out on loan from the Library.

This recipe relegated from my cupboards my seeds, walnuts and cranberries which has freed up a lot of space.

INGREDIENTS

60ml Coconut Oil

125ml Agave Nectar

200g Porridge Oats

260g of mixed nuts, I used walnuts and pecans

60g Mixed Seeds (or seeds of your choice)

120g Dried Fruit, I used Cranberries and Prunes

METHOD 

Heat the oil and agave nectar together until melted, then set aside.

Add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until you have ‘chopped’ them into a mix of sizes.

Add the oats, nuts and seeds to a bowl and then pour over the oil/nectar mix, mix together.

Baked in the oven on Gas Mark 3 for 40 minutes/until golden and toasted.

Add the dried fruit and mix together.

Look at your depleted cupboards, smile and think ‘I need to go shopping’.

 

Batch Cooking My Work Lunches: Red Lentil and Coconut Soup

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to batch cook.

(Ok, that is not strictly true, I made 2 portions of a swede, cabbage, onion, carrot and pea soup earlier this week, but for various reasons it smelt and tasted bad, we all make mistakes).

I have decided to use up what I have in my cupboards, perhaps inspired by being stuck at home due to the snow, and I decided to tackle a bag of lentils I bought in 2017. Probably mid 2017.

I had a quick look on BBC Good Food for ideas and made this.

Note: I have divided it into 4 potions, but I think it would have been better as 3, but maybe I am greedy (I am greedy).

INGREDIENTS

150g Red Split Lentils

1 Tbsp Chopped Ginger (I used frozen)

2 Gloves Garlic (I used 2 tsp of lazy garlic)

1 lovely sized tsp of Turmeric (There ain’t no party like a Turmeric party)

1.2l Vegetable Stock.

1/2 Onion, or 2 handfuls of Frozen Onion

3 ‘clumps’ (technical term, obviously) of Frozen Spinach

400ml Can of Light Coconut Milk

METHOD

Add the lentils, turmeric, ginger and garlic to a large pan and then add the stock.

Bring to the boil and then simmer for about 15 minutes, until the lentils are soft.

Add the coconut milk, mix and then add the frozen vegetables and simmer until cooked.

Lean over the saucepan and smell your delicious soup.

When The Boy suggests you assign your coloured soup mugs to certain days of the week – e.g. Red = Monday, scoff at him, but actually think it’s a good idea.

(What colour would you guys assign to each day?)

(I would have Red = Monday, Pink = Tuesday, Green = Wednesday and Blue = Thursday)

(They only had 4 colours in the shop, poor Friday).

 

Snow Day Rolls

In South Wales on Thursday and Friday there were Red Level Weather Warnings due to the snow.

On Saturday we were running low on supplies. Well, we had plenty of ‘freezer bread’ but The Boy for some reason detests the freezer bread, he also turned his nose up at my dried milk powder, so we had to venture to the shops.

This was what greeted us in the bread aisle.

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So I made the bread rolls from the River Cottage Veg Everyday book, and I felt like I could survive anything.

The Boy liked that the house smelt of bread.

INGREDIENTS

250g Strong/Bread Flour

250g Plain Flour

1.5 Tsp of Sea Salt/Best quality salt you have

1 x 7g Sachet of Dried Fast Active Yeast

325ml Warm Water

METHOD

Measure out the flours with the salt and yeast into a bowl.

Add the water and mix to a dough.

Knead for 10 minutes until it is slightly sticky and smooth.

Place in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a clean tea towel and place in a warm place for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. (I placed it in a recently used but coolish oven).

Knock out the air and then divide into 8 roughly equal round shapes.

Place on a baking tray in a warm place (uncovered) until they have risen.

Cook in an oven at gas mark 5 for about 30 minutes.

Eat one of them immediately with butter to ‘test it’ (That is why there are 7 rolls in the photo when the recipe said 8)

Losing Weight the Frugal Way…Not So Much (You Can’t Outrun a Bad Diet)

The Boy finally got round to making me a follow up certificate to celebrate my 1 stone weight loss that I had achieved by the 17th of February.

I had a sneaky suspicion getting the certificate might be a curse, and not that I believe in any of that mystic stuff but it may have been.

In the last week I wasn’t able to exercise as much. Monday I had to pick up a parcel after work, Tuesday was busy as I had an interview for a weekend position, Wednesday I was ill, Thursday it snowed but I went to the gym and had an epic work out (but then had a takeaway for tea).

On Friday I felt that despite the red level weather warnings that had been announced across the UK due to the snow, it would have simply been lazy of me to not go to the gym again.

I live a 30 minute walk from the gym, the snow was very deep, at one point I slipped and hurt my wrist and knee and considered turning back.

I ploughed on (get it!? Ha ha ha) and arrived at the gym only to realise I felt ‘wrong’. I was in a weird head space and I wasn’t sure why. I was ok on the weights machines but the cardio machines felt beyond me.

There is a difference between me being reluctant to exercise, or being just tired, compared to what I felt yesterday. I assessed that I wasn’t up for exercising because walking in the deep snow is really hard! At least it is hard to me as we get snow once every 3 years in the parts of the UK I have lived in so I am not used to it.

Let me finally get to my point.

I had a gain this week, and not really that insignificant a gain either. 3 pounds. My weight this morning was 15 Stone and 0.125 pounds.

Boy, and I was complaining about my 0.125 lb loss last week, I would have loved that this week.

I also, confession time here, went to Pizza Express last night with The Boy and some friends. I did (briefly) consider getting the under 500 calorie salad, but instead had a broad bean pasta dish…and cheesy garlic bread…and a beer…and cake…with ice cream.

One thing I have read time and time again when it comes to exercise and weight loss (and in particular weight loss and running) is:

YOU CAN’T OUTRUN A BAD DIET.

The principle being no matter how much you exercise, if all you eat is crap and too much of that crap, then you will put on weight.

So although I burned an estimated 700 calories at the gym on Thursday, I probably consumed that in about half of one of the two blow out meals I had over the last two days.

BUT it is not all bad news, as I have lost a half inch from my thighs in the last 3 weeks, and I still have my (fl)abs. And I keep accidentally brushing my leg and realising it is nice and toned.

There is a popular ‘don’t do this, you idiot’ bit of advice bandied around weight loss group and articles. It is that if you eat a big blow out meal, most people get into the ‘I’ve f***** it now’ frame of mind and carry on scoffing.

Which I think we can all agree is stupid. But I have been like that with food, and I was certainly like that with money, because when I was poor and using credit cards to pay for everything, because I couldn’t afford anything it was meaningless to me whether what I couldn’t afford was £5 or £50 (or £500).

I have been there and done that with Slimming World and I think I went 4 times in total across 3 different groups and each time it would be the same.

WEEK 1-3 Motivated to lose weight, and so I do.

WEEK 3-5 Work really hard but stay the same, get disheartened.

WEEK 5-15 Try to be good, fail, usually put on a pound or so, maybe lose it the next week, then put it back on, or stay the same and round and round until I give up on it all.

Now, I know I said this last week, but it is clear my diet has been to blame.

Addressing what went wrong and taking responsibility for it will mean it won’t happen again.

The last two weeks have been us coming to the end of the food budget month, which I had extended to take into account my new pay day dates. This meant we were going for longer with diminishing funds, and I couldn’t buy everything I wanted. I also got busy and couldn’t batch cook something healthy for Breakfast or Lunch. I’ve been ill, it’s snowed, I’ve been cold and want to snuggle down. I have also let The Boy dictate the Dinner Meal Plan which has resulted in higher calorie food then I would have chosen.

So, going forward, I need to find the time to prep food. I need to tell The Boy that we need healthier dinners, I need to find ways to exercise. I have an exercise bike, I can exercise in the house should I need to.

I hope to see you all again next week with better weight loss news.