Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Center Parcs

I'm sat here eating my breakfast - toast (made from proper bread!) with a local strawberry jam in our cabin at Center Parcs. Everyone is fast asleep and I'm watching all the wildlife. Next to our cabin there is a small pond, and so far this morning I've seen a group of six ducks, two geese, three rabbits, one adult and two baby deer and two squirrels. All of which have been a few feet from the cabin. All you can hear is the birds in the trees, it's so peaceful here - until the kids wake up that is!!
Yesterday we went clay pigeon shooting in the morning, I hit the first clay spot on - which I think was pure luck as I didn't hit that many after that!! We then spent two hours in the afternoon geo caching which was a lot of fun, although it was a very warm day to be out walking. I looked into geo caching before but this is the first time I've actually done it and think I'll definitely be doing it again. We enjoyed a BBQ in the afternoon courtesy of Chef Pete, I think I ate enough sausages to last me a lifetime!! Then we played badminton in the evening before taking the girls to the junior disco - where Paige got a certificate for 'best dancer'
I think I must have done a bit too much yesterday, as I've been awake most of the night with back and leg pain :( so have had to take vicodin this morning. I think also the bed is very soft and that hasn't helped. Tempted to sleep on the sofa tonight as that is a bit more supportive.
Last time the dr gave me steroids I was pain free for two weeks, but this time I haven't been pain free at all :( Looking forward to getting home and starting physio and hopefully getting this herniated disk sorted. Just hoping I don't need surgery.
So I've been in England now for just under a week, and my food intake hasn't been great, I've definitely been enjoying eating all my favorite English foods, plus the steroids make me hungry too, and I also feel quite swollen on them too. The course of steroids finish next Tuesday, so I can get home and focus on healthy eating and getting back into an exercise regime, I've missed my swimming and water running classes. Just hope I haven't gained too much weight whilst away, either way I'll soon be back on track and losing whatever I've gained. I have been doing a lot of walking since being here, would have been interesting to see how far I've walked, if only I'd hit my 275lb target I would have had my fit bit to wear now. Hopefully I will be a proud fit bit owner by the end of April - in thinking I'm going to go for that over the Nike fuel band.
The weather in England has been really nice since I've been here, I believe I left the wet miserable weather in San Francisco!! (sorry) This happened when I was here in October last year too, we had a mini heat wave then.
I haven't taken a lot of photos, but here is one of the geese.

I also thought this Starbucks one was funny, back in SF there are Starbucks on every corner, here in England there aren't as many but turns out there is a few at Center Parcs and not far from our cabin

Just realized that I haven't watched any tv since Sunday, which is a good thing, there are Tvs in our cabin but we haven't had them on. The wifi here has been a bit spotty, so you never know when you'll get online, but in a way that's good too, as being away from a computer isn't that bad after all, it just goes to show you (well me anyway) that most of the time I go online at home when I'm bored!!
Plans for today are archery this morning and adventure golf this afternoon, although I'm thinking I might give the golf a miss if I'm still in pain.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Homeward bound

I'm actually blogging from 39108 feet, whilst going at a speed of 508mph (isn't technology great!)

Just in case you weren't aware (and missed my hundreds of updates on twitter and Facebook!) I'm currently flying from San Francisco to London Heathrow on a Virgin Atlantic flight. As you can see from the back of my passport I like flying with Virgin

They are the only carrier I will use long haul and are fantastic, I've never had a bad flight or bad experience and the staff are super helpful and friendly, and they did a great job when we flew our dogs from LHR to SFO in 2009.

Today I flew in Premium Economy, which means I got a bit of extra leg and seat room, which is always handy when you are on the bigger side and has helped with my disk injury too as I've been able to move around more. The flight has gone really quick this time, I think the fact I only had four hours sleep last night helped, as I've just slept for 5 hours on the flight which is something I never normally do! Got on the flight and read 150 pages of the new Sophie Kinsella book called 'Ive got your number' which is really good so far. I then enjoyed a nice dinner ( you get proper cutlery and plates in premium) and watched Dolphin Tale (good movie) then slept for 5 hours.

Was shocked to wake up and see less than 90 mins left in the flight :)
Just been served a full English breakfast (well a compact version, (mini English sausage, proper rasher of English back bacon, cherry tomato, scrambled egg and mushrooms!) plus a banana for good measure :)
Still doesn't feel real I'm going home yet. I find it normally hits me when we land and the pilot says 'We have now arrived at London Heathrow, thank you for traveling with Virgin, enjoy your stay in London and for the rest of you welcome home' That's when it becomes real and I start crying, just typing that has made me shed a few tears.
I'm writing this on my US iPhone which I'm hoping will work on wifi (as verizon data roaming costs are super expensive) when I get there so I can upload this post. I also have my UK iPhone and iPad too if that fails :)
Oh yeah passenger update, I ended up sat next to the perfect passenger (in my eyes) An English lady who said hello when she sat down and then promptly went to sleep and hasn't disturbed me since.
And I had a #NSV I didn't need a seat belt extender :)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Week 10

This is going to be a quick blog post, as for those of you who didn't know I'm flying home to England for a visit today. Will be leaving for the airport in the next 30 mins :)

Didn't track at all this week and no exercise either, definitely got my 'holiday head' on and also Ive been in lots of pain. On the plus side my MRI went well (even though I did freak out a bit as I'm claustrophobic!), and the result is I have a herniated disc at L5/S1 so at least we now know the problem. My Dr has recommended physio and gentle exercise and then will re-evaluate in 6 weeks, hopefully there will be an improvement and I wont need surgery.

This week I bought a living social deal for hot yoga, as lots of people on twitter have been raving about it. I got 20 classes for $20 which was a steal, so looking forward (although a bit nervous) to doing that when i return from England.

Down to the nitty gritty. I gained 0.6lbs this week, which to be honest was much better than I expected, as I did eat anything and everything this week (again), I was expecting at least 2lbs on.

I wont be weighing now for 2 weeks as I'm away, but am hoping to come home and have a small gain - or even a loss.

My Dr has given me a course of steroids which help with the pain, so I should be able to get some exercise in whilst I'm away. Next week we are going to be staying at Center Parcs and have lots of fun activities planned and hopefully the weather will be nice so I can get lots of walking in.

Right best go get my passport ready and head to the airport, my next blog will be from across the pond.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Hill's Science Diet - Ideal Balance

It's Bzz Agent time again. As most of you will know I am a Bzz Agent, which means I get sent products/services to try for free or a small fee, and then I get to share all the good (and bad) things about the product/service with you guys :) They are looking for new agents all the time and its free to sign up, they want people in UK, USA and Canada, so go check them out and you could also be getting lots of cool things to try.

This month I was sent a bag of the new Hill's Science Diet - Ideal Balance, grain free dog food.

I've used Hill's science diet in the past, and do like to change my food every now and then to give the dog's some variety. Although they can be fussy eaters, but not when it came to this food, they both emptied their bowls straight away. I mixed it with some of their current food for the first few days, but now they are eating it on its own and seem to love it. Their bowel movements have been perfect (if there is such a thing!! - dog owners will know what I mean), and I haven't noticed any itching which can be a common problem in westies.

The first ingredient in the food is fresh chicken, which is always a good sign, and it contains no corn, artificial colors or preservatives. It is supposed to improve their skin and coat, but I haven't noticed any change yet, although it has only been a week. Not sure if I will continue with the food as it seems a lot more expensive than the brand I normally use, but if I do see a positive change in their skin/coat then I may well change to it permanently.

You can find out more about the food on their web page http://www.hillspet.com/ideal-balance/ideal-balance-home.html and Ive just noticed there is a link on that page under the dog food, where you can try the food for free via a rebate form, so if you think your dog (or cat as they do a cat version) may benefit from this new food, go try it for free.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Week 9

So where do I begin - this week hasn't been a great week. I've been suffering from sciatica since the end of January, so have been living off painkillers, but the pain has got worse. I started physio last week, but that just made the pain worse. I now have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow, and hopefully they can find the cause of the pain.

I've had a secret for the last few months, well some people knew, the main person who didn't know was my mum. I am flying to England next week for a visit :) I'm excited about this but now it's public knowledge I'm even more excited as it seems real now as I can properly count down the number of sleeps till I go. I was last there in October. Whilst there we are going to Center Parcs for a week with Dave's family which is going to be lots of fun, as we will get to see all our nieces again, I imagine the youngest won't remember us from October as she was only 8 months when we saw her last :(

So weight watchers!! I haven't tracked at all this week, and due to the pain I haven't exercised, plus TOTM, and I've basically been eating very unhealthily, pizza, Mcdonalds (twice) and i don't even like Mcdonalds, plus other takeout. So it was no surprise when I got on the scale this morning to a 4.2lb gain - yes i know 4.2lb, its not good. I think also my mind has started to go into holiday mode. I'm hoping this week will be a much better week. The exercise will be limited, but I'm going to work on eating better. I plan to weigh next Wednesday morning before I fly, then I will miss the following week as I will be in England, then Ill be back in time for weigh in the week after. Last time I was in England I ate loads (those of you who are expats will understand!), but this time I'm going to try and make better choices, but it is a vacation and i will be having a few treats. Last time I gained 10lbs in the two weeks I was there :( definitely don't want to be doing that this time.

I will definitely be blogging from England so look forward to some hopefully interesting blog posts.

I love the Virgin Atlantic countdown

Have a great week everyone xxx

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pier 39

I was browsing online the other day to get some ideas for things to do with some of my upcoming visitors and I cam across Pier 39 Local Advantage and I qualify as a 'local' - still sounds strange saying that. Basically by signing up you get some coupons sent to you, one of which gives you 2 hours of free parking at the Pier 39 parking garage - a nice saving of $14. So this morning I decided as it was a nice sunny day I would head down there with the dogs and take a few photos. 
I also heard about the whale that had appeared in the Bay yesterday, but there was no sign of it today whilst I was there.

Both dogs like going for a walk at Pier 39, as it means they get to share the mini fresh and hot donuts with me, and also lots of tourists always stop to pet them, as they miss their pets back home, and Jess especially loves the attention. The only thing she doesn't seem to like is the noise the sealions make, when we get too close she starts to cry and tries to get away from them :(  I enjoy going to Pier 39 first thing in the morning before all the tourists get there as it is really peaceful.

Family House

As most of you know since moving here in November 2009 I have been unable to work on my visa, so I like to spend my time volunteering at local organizations.

Last year I heard about a place called Family House in San Francisco. 

Founded in 1981, Family House is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization providing temporary housing to families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at the University of California San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital. 

I met with the volunteer co-coordinator  last month and discussed volunteering and arranged to go in once a month and bake for/with the families.

This week was the first time I volunteered and I went in and baked cookies for the families. I baked a total of 51 cookies whilst I was there and it was a lot of fun, and nice to meet and chat with some of the families who were staying there, and a few of them helped me out decorating the cookies.. I'm looking forward to going back and baking for them again next month.

Family House are always looking for volunteers, so check out their website and if you have a few hours to spare they would love to have you come along and help out. There are lots of different ways you can help out, or even ways you can donate to them.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Week 8

Weigh in Wednesday is here again :) I stuck to the same philosophy as last week and ate all my weekly points this week (early on!) and this week ate 5 of my 34 activity points, didn't get as much exercise in this week as I did last week as I was in a lot of pain with my leg, but started physio yesterday so hope to be able to do some more exercise this week.

Using my points this week definitely works for me as I lost another 1.4lbs this week, taking my total loss to 16lbs since January 18, and I got my third 5lb star :)

I'm now 1.2lbs away from my 275lbs goal, which hopefully I will hit next week, although I still havent decided whether to purchase the fitbit or the Nike+ fuelband, at the moment the deciding factor is that the fitbit is readily available the Nike+ fuelband is out of stock. 

Thanks for reading my blog everyone and good luck to everyone else weighing in today.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Want to try the new chobani flavors?

Enter the competition to win a case of all three flavors.


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Competition winner

Back in December I was contacted by Notonthehighstreet about a competition they were running. They basically gave me a virtual £300 and asked me to blog about what I would buy for friends and family back home (in England) as gifts. So I blogged away and you can read my blog post here.

Anyway, turns out I won the competition and all my family back home received their gifts, they were all super excited about them.
My brother loved his chocolate pizza and mug, he said the pizza was super yummy and didn't last long!

My mum thought her personalized record was awesome - Unfortunately it turned out they didn't have the top 40 when she was born, so I chose the record that was number 1 on the day I was born, as  a reminder of how I'm such an awesome daughter!

My sister received the personalized keyring with our names on, and is now using it on her keys to remind her of me each day :)

Jess and Bluey have been looking super cute and British in their new dog collars, and we often get told how cute they are (both the collars and dogs!)

Since these items arrived I have been back to the website and ordered my mum a gift for Mothers Day and a gift for my sister for her birthday. 

A reminder for those of you in the US with family back in the UK - Mothers Day is March 18 in the UK this year. You should definitely check out this site as there are so many super cool gifts on there that are unique and fun, and reasonably priced. Shipping costs and times are great, and some items even ship internationally too.