Saving to Travel More

I always have plans to go on holiday, but a few things get in the way; money, work, and being a responsible parent!

As my daughter is getting older, this is becoming less of a struggle, she has a great group of friends with amazing parents, who happily (at least that’s what they tell me!) look after her.

Work is a necessary evil, but it does support the money side!

Money, this is the main reason I don’t travel as much as I would like to. This year, I really want to focus on saving to holiday more, to do this I need an action plan.

1. Limit takeaways to one a month.
Approx. saving £70 per month.

2. Do a weekly shop. I’m a nightmare for shopping on my way back from work, when I’m tired and hungry, often meaning I shop in the more expensive convenience stores. I tried this for the first time this week, I spent just under £30, instead of my usual £15 per day (including lunch). Approx. saving £330 per month. WOW!!!!

3. Make my own lunches, not only is it healthier, but the saving on canteen food is so much better. Approx. saving £included above.

4. Unsubscribe from emails. This isn’t an obvious one, but I am a marketeers’ dream! I see something online and without having time to think, I’ve added it to my basket…I don’t even have any space in my wardrobe for anymore clothes/shoes. Approx. saving £20 per month (I’m not always bad, so have averaged this over a year).

All in all, this will save approximately £420 per month, around £5k in one year!!!!

This is an incredible amount of money, but at the end of the year, I don’t expect to see any of it, as I really want to work to live, living for me is seeing the world.

Have you got any tips on saving? What are you saving for?

2016 wasn’t that bad

Everyone seems to be super excited that 2016 is over, like it was cursed. Yes, there were some political factors that are potentially worrying, but as a lot of people voted for these changes, there’s not much point in moaning about it now.

I also lost a couple of family members, which was sad, but they were both suffering and I can only hope that they are in a better place now.

So enough of the negatives and congratulations to those that got married this year, and to the 4 I was invited to, thank you for letting me a part of it.

In addition there were some special birthdays; my daughter turned 13, my grandmother turned 80 and a friend had her 40th.

Robot Wars for 13th B’day

At the backend of 2015, I wrote about where I was hoping to go on holiday this year (European Holiday Planning). Whilst I didn’t make it to most of them, I did make it to Budapest and a few others including Berlin. I even managed to squeeze in a quick festival and a break to Manchester and Leeds.

The most valuable advice I received for these trips was to download the Triposo app. I was so pleased that I could download the app and use offline to see the sites and even view my location on the interactive map. I will definitely be using it in future for city breaks in and out of the UK.

Trips for 2017 haven’t been confirmed yet, other than a short trip to Italy for my friend’s wedding. I am hoping to see more European cities this year as well as some places I didn’t tick off last year’s list.

Who knows what 2017 will hold, but if it’s half as fun as 2016, I will be happy.

Wishing you all the best for 2017.

I’m a teenager again!

I didn’t want to go to the gym this morning, I was tired and had major DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness – or something similar) from the painting this weekend.

I couldn’t justify having 2 mornings off in a row (doctor again tomorrow), so off I went. I was really glad I did, as I managed a personal best dead lift of 70kgs (2 sets of 6 after a few lighter weights beforehand).

I left feeling really proud of myself, and was actually looking forward to my weights and measurements being done this evening.

A few weeks ago I was struggling with a kettle bell

A few weeks ago I was struggling with a kettle bell

Everything just seemed to click today, 3 people commented on how much thinner I was looking and I didn’t feel like I needed to eat all the cake.

Total results so far

Total results so far

I couldn’t be happier, it just shows that weight alone is not important. If I was just looking at that, I would be seriously upset with myself. Sometimes it’s that buzz of being able to fit comfortably into a pair of denim shorts which have always been tight, other times it’s about being able to wake up at 6am every morning and workout other times it’s about getting your metabolic age down from 32 to 19, which is what I have done, I’m a teenager again!!!!!!

What have been your non-scale victories recently?

With a spring in my step I headed off to Boogie Bounce, and was able to push myself harder than I have for a few weeks. I did have to take it a bit easy still as my knee isn’t completely healed.

Tonight's effort

Tonight’s effort

I am suitably sweaty now and ready for a shower then bed!

Weekly Windup

I thought I’d give you all a quick update on my life, you might be interested!

Firstly, if you’ve read my previous posts, you’ll see that I was struggling with injuries and they were hampering my training at the gym. I am pretty much there with the recovery now, and am starting to load the weights again. My personal best on a back squat is 50kg and 65kg deadlift.

Front squat 35kg

Front squat 35kg

I’m determined to increase this though, especially after the newbies at the gym casually stated they were lifting 70kg and 60kg after starting 2 weeks ago *cue angry face*. I’m super competitive, but this is ridiculous, why am I so weak?! I am putting it down to being overly flexible, that must be it right!

In addition to going to the gym, I have been working on my garden. I have lived in my flat for 4 years and never had a garden. I had a huge, ugly, asbestos garage, which I rarely entered…mainly because I lost the key 2 years ago, but also because my driveway is too narrow to fit a car down. Even when I had the Smart car, I couldn’t get through the gap between the houses.

I decided to turn the garage into a garden, this was never going to be cheap, but I eventually got enough savings together to get the garage taken down and put up the fencing.

Post demolition

Post demolition

After shifting 2 tonnes of rubble and sand, the garden is ready for the artificial grass. I really want an easy to maintain garden that looks good all year round.

Enjoying the sandpit

Enjoying the sandpit

It turns out fake grass is super expensive! After going £1000 over budget, because I wanted the nicer wood and the bigger shed, I am pretty much skint now, so have decided to stick with the beach look for a few months, then look at getting the grass in the winter…it is nice to be by the seaside after all (honestly, I’m so sad that I can’t finish it yet!).

It’s not all bad though, last weekend I went to Brighton for Kemptown Carnival. Admittedly we missed the parade because my friends and I went for Bottomless Brunch at North Laines Brewhouse and turned into the Mimosa Monsters!

Mimosa Monsters

Mimosa Monsters

£20 for delicious food (I had eggs royale, a vegetarian option was also available) and unlimited Mimosas or Bloody Marys from 11am till 3pm.

I laughed loads and with the help of my selfieclip, managed to get some photos of us…most of which I can’t show you!

Jelly shots in the street

Jelly shots in the street

We ended up chilling in an antiques store, eating street food, seeing the Eastend Cabaret as part of the Brighton Fringe, dancing at a random street party with out of date Corona and watching a Burlesque show.

Needless to say, I was a bit tired on Sunday, so was looking forward to relaxing in my garden this weekend.

In typical British weather, however, the sun has decided to bog off this weekend, so I shall be spending it painting my downstairs hallway a few shades of grey and purple, who needs to relax anyway. I hope you’re all enjoying your weekend xoxo

Fighting Back

Last week I was I a really bad place mentally. My leg was sore, I just wanted to eat everything in sight and I was fed up of moaning about everything, so much so, that I wrote down my misery and didn’t post it for all to see.

After going to the doctor and being told to take off the bandage on my knee (I was told it was doing more psychological damage and not doing much to help my knee), I instantly felt better. I was told I could do light exercise and gently load the knee. I was booked in for an X-ray on my shoulder and referred for an MRI on my knee.

Since then, I have been re-assessed at the gym and have lost 2% body fat, 14cm across my body and reduced my metabolic age to 23 (9 years off where I started and 11 years off my actual age). My MyZone maximum heart rate has been reassessed 3 times, as I’m finally able to work it.


I have moved onto phase 2 of the fitness program and am reassessing what I can eat. High protein is key, honestly, this is the hardest thing I have done since trying Whole30, but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

I may have gone a bit overboard on some exercises, and pushed myself beyond my body’s capabilities (much to people’s better judgement), but this is my body and I know my pain threshold as well as my recovery rate. I am not going to be defeated mentally, and regardless of how many people tell me to rest, they are not me, and they can whistle! I am modifying exercises as per the trainers’ advice and am working the good muscles harder to make up for it. You can keep up to date with my progress on Instagram.

My X-Ray results came back as nothing broken and no arthritis (great news), so hopefully tendinitis which should start to recover in a couple of weeks. The doc was happy to see the exercises I had been doing were what she would have recommended, bonus!

I am definitely feeling more positive.

Positive attitude with the selfieclip

Positive attitude with the selfieclip

Carbs or No Carbs!

I have hit an emotional wall with my training. I’m well aware that to shed fat, I need to eat healthily as well as exercise, so this isn’t me asking for a sympathy card saying “sorry you’re fat, but cut out the cakes”.

I thought I was eating a pretty balanced diet, which includes a small treat. I adopted quite a lot of the Whole30 ideas and definitely reduced the added sugar I was putting into my body. So when I was told that for the first 10 days of my fitness plan, I shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates, I went into melt down.

I’m a firm believer that you shouldn’t cut out ANY food group, they all have their own purpose. Having had it explained to me that the first 10 days are critical to retrain my bodies insulin production and some other sciencey stuff I zoned out for, I feel I should at least try. I’m paying a lot of money for me to ignore the process.

All of a sudden I am having to re-read food packaging, give up foods that helped me through Whole30, and struggle to stomach breakfast again.

Carbohydrates are in sooooo much, this is ridiculous! I’m not sleeping well, I’m constantly thinking about food and because I don’t have a convenience equivalent, I’m ending going hangry (no I did not misspell that!).

Hangry definition

At work it seems to be birthdays everyday, there are cakes and sweets all over the desks. I’m ignoring them as best as I can, and boring my colleagues by repeating at constant intervals “I WANT CAKE, nope nope NO!”

Haribo Cakes

Rob (my trainer), has asked me to text him “I did not flinch” every time I successfully manage to not eat a naughty treat. This is really helpful, until I want to murder him for thinking I picked a healthy lunch and him then telling me how many carbs are in it…IT’S NOT F’ING CAKE THOUGH IS IT?!?!?!?

The most annoying part of all of this, is that I don’t even like blooming cake, I just want it because I have been told I can’t have it.

As I sit here drinking my coffee with milk (another no no!), I realise that I am never going to have an Instagram body, and that maybe an odd roast potato isn’t going to kill me, unless I choke on it! I will however, try and reduce the carb intake for a few more days, I don’t want to be the only person not achieving their goals at the gym.

And rest!

I’m not very good at being told what to do or even what not to do, so when I was told not to exercise for 2 weeks and rest my knee, my gut reaction was to find ways I could work out without injuring myself further.

I didn’t completely ignore the doctor. I rested my knee in the evenings and have kept it compressed. I have even learnt to sleep in the most awkward position, with my leg in the air (I prefer to sleep in the foetal position).

I have been doing upper body exercises and trying to work through the pain of what is possibly a frozen shoulder. I have learnt to do push-ups with 1 leg in the air. I have been trying to push the weights up, but am getting a massive wobble on when reaching my flexibility limit. I’m hoping I don’t end up with wonky muscle growth!

Lateral pull downs with Resistance bands

Lateral pull downs with Resistance bands

At the weekend I did a fair bit of walking, which seemed to be ok, so last night I decided to attempt Boogie Bounce. I have had better ideas in my life!

At first I thought I would be able to join in at the same speed, I quickly found that that involves a lot more movement than expected. As I gently bounced and tried to balance, I realised that perhaps the doctor was right (what does a degree mean these days *eye roll*).

Today was meant to be a rest day, which I was extremely grateful for. As I hobbled around Southampton airport, waiting for my flight to Newcastle, I soon realised that wasn’t going to be the case.

On my flight back, 2 people asked if I needed assistance and 1 offered me a wheelchair! Feeling like a fake, I declined with a smile and attempted to stop limping.

Safely home now and where are my painkillers!?

If all else fails, eat!

After this weekend’s antics, I thought I’d still make it to the gym. I got up early and was raring to go, albeit with a slight limp.

2 minutes into the warm up, I was really struggling, Rob took one look at me and told me to leave (charming hey!). I was dying to do some upper body work, but (probably correctly) I was told not until a doctor had assessed me. Fine!

In the evening I was meant to have Boogie Bounce, and was looking forward to the new routine, but again this was out of the question. I took Tamana and watched her doing the moves, at first very envious, then a small evil laugh took over as I realised how sore she would be in the morning.

I finally made it to the doctor on Wednesday, who told me that I have probably damaged my ligament, but couldn’t do anything until the swelling had gone down. No exercise for 2 weeks, rest, compress and get fat were her instructions (not sure about the last one, but pretty sure it was implied).

In addition to my knee being sore, I have now triggered something in my shoulder, causing excruciating pain. Apparently this is linked to my knee injury, rendering me pretty useless.

So back to getting fat! I’m not entirely sure that I wouldn’t have eaten this anyway, but going out for a birthday lunch, I polished off this rather large calzone at Bournemouth Pizza Co.

Calzone Bournemouth pizza co

Oh and this was after stuffing my face with a cream filled chocolate eclair.

Cream eclair

Not all my food consumption has been naughty. Yesterday I made a trip to The Skinny Kitchen.


I have been dying to eat here since I heard they were opening. All clean food, all based on whether you’re trying to bulk up or get lean. There’s Gluten Free and Vegetarian options too.



In all honesty, the service was below what I would expect from a restaurant, they weren’t rude, but I just felt they didn’t care. It was such a shame, as I think their food is amazing, better than I expected. I will go again, but hope to see an improvement, otherwise, I can’t see other people being patient enough to go back.

I am unsure what I will be having for dinner tonight, but after filling myself up on tuna salad at lunch, I could do with a glass of water and bed. No doubt I will eat something rather more substantial.

P.S. What do you think of my new Ivy Park top from Topshop? I love how tiny it makes me feel (more room to hide food!).

Ivy park top

Watch out for my rolls!!!

Colour Me Green

After my first week using the MZ-3 MyZone belt, I felt so good. Not only did I feel better, I can track my performance during my exercise to make sure I’m pushing myself to achieve the best results. (The reason why I’m mixing my tenses, will hopefully become apparent).

MyZone breakdown

MyZone breakdown

As someone who likes to try new things and loves the idea of combining exercise with stupidity, this weekend, I took part in the Color Obstacle Rush (COR) at Brighton Racecourse.

COR is a great event where you can run or walk between mostly inflatable obstacles and get covered in colourful powder and foam.

I was having a fab time, dancing to the music, when I decided to walk up the stairs of the racecourse to take a photo, not really paying attention, luckily my phone was out in front of me, as I walked straight into a metal barrier. If it wasn’t for my phone, my nose would have been covered in a bright flurry of red liquid! I laughed at my own stupidity and took a quick photo before signing the waiver form (which I never read).

Color obstacle rush Brighton

Off to do the warm up, which seemed like a proper workout and definitely one I wasn’t expecting to cause me to be out of breath. I am obviously not as fit as I expected, or the Townsend Twins knew I was coming and wanted to get fitter.

The Townsend Twins on stage

The Townsend Twins on stage

After queuing to get to the starting point (the British patiently queue so much), we were off. The first obstacle was to run over an angled bouncy castle out through a small foam pit. Next up was similar to a tyre run, where you’re meant to step in the holes, unfortunately, this isn’t what I did, as I fell backwards and was laughing so much, I struggled to get up.

A few in and my clumsiness seemed to disburse. We decided to gently jog, as the course was full of holes and we weren’t in a rush. I already decided I would leave my competitiveness at home this weekend.

It wasn’t long before my clumsiness returned though, going down the big slide, I thought I had slowed down enough to put my hands down, but instead I scraped my arm along the Velcro and left myself a slightly stinging arm with a 6 inch graze to laugh off. Anyway, undeterred I got on with it until 2 obstacles on.

Being only 157cm (just under 5ft2), I was faced with a wooden triangular object to jump over, no problem I thought…first one done, I thought I’d speed it up a bit, as I got stuck half way and didn’t want to look pathetic. This was a mistake! Just as I ran up to it, I knew I had gone too fast, I looked down as I flew over the top, knowing I wasn’t going to land properly, but unable to correct my positioning. Snap! My shin went right, my thigh went left, I went down.

Triangle of doom!

Triangle of doom!

I was in agony, rolling on the floor, I felt like a premiership footballer. I couldn’t straighten my leg and all I could do was scream in pain as the volunteer weakly asked if I needed a medic “Of course I f^*?ing need a medic.”

After what felt like an eternity, I forced my leg straight and pushed myself off the ground. The medic made her way over, told me I’d probably done something to my cruciate ligament, all I could think about was can I just go finish this, so I can decide what I’m going to wear tonight! After much debate, I was allowed to continue, but told to walk. Fine.

Straight onto the next obstacle, rolling over the barrels were fine, as I got off I put my left leg down first, not even a millisecond after, snap! On the floor I went in agony. This time the medic was not allowing me to carry on, cue angry face x(



Not to be disheartened, I let the painkillers do their work and did the one legged dance as we got covered in powder. After an hour of putting on a brave face and falling down yet again, I decided it was time to head to the Minor Injuries Unit to get checked out.

Color obstacle rush powder paint

Unfortunately, I really am not the best patient and decided that hunger was more important to fix than a leg, so we headed to Nandos with the idea that my leg would be fine.

Still looking like Princess Fiona from Shrek, I polished off some chicken thighs, macho peas and peri salted chips. Hunger averted, now I just needed a hot bath and some sleep (2 baths in one week, this relaxing thing is not fun).



After a few good hours sleep, and an ice pack, I felt ready to get my drink on. Wearing a borrowed dress, some comfy heels and a beautiful tubigrip I was set to go out for a night involving lots of alcohol, food and one legged dancing.

I am hoping that the leg heals quickly, but I feel the training may have to be focussed on my upper body for the next few weeks…and I guess I should make an appointment to see a doctor to confirm what has actually happened (eye roll!).

Maybe I’ll try the COR next year, as it was really fun. Checkout my Facebook page for more photos of the day.

Fighting Fit or Fat Pt3

I feel like I should be giving these individual titles, but as they all follow on from each other, hopefully you don’t mind.

After my first day of the fitness programme, I wrote about how sore I was, well it hasnt eased off too much, but I can at least move my arms today.

On Tuesday I was subjected to a leg day, to be honest I was dreading it. Online, I always read how leg days usually get skipped, so I didn’t know what to expect. For fear that my personal trainers might read this, I was actually surprised about how I coped with it. My legs have always been pretty strong, so I think I had an advantage.

My routine consisted of the following after the warm up I mentioned in Part 2:

10x Bulgarian split squats each leg
6x Squat with 20kg barbell (behind neck)
12x Lunge with 20kg barbell (front neck)

Rest and repeat 3 times.

25x 12kg Kettle-bell swings
And 2 other exercises I have completely forgotten, sorry!

Rest and repeat 3 times.

Arm photo1

The best news came at the end, I asked Rob what he had in store for me the next day, dreading he would say “Arms”, but instead I was blessed with a day off. I was so excited to get a lie in.

As I am clearly a bit stupid, after work, I took my semi-sore legs to Boogie Bounce in the evening. I thought a bit of cardio would be fine, and just help to get my body into shape quicker. I was wrong!!!! I really had to force my legs to move and get my knees up, but the worst part was doing the muscle focussed exercises at the end, push-ups plus triceps dips and leg raises really had me pushing my muscles to their limits.

Yesterday (Wednesday) was great, I had an extra 30 minutes in bed, I took my time to do my makeup and generally felt good, except for my arms, which clearly were in need of a massage.

This morning was a struggle to get out of bed, the day off had done it’s damage. As I got to the gym, still dreading the pain I had in store, I was told it would be a full body workout. I was so grateful that I would be able to spread the pain.

Post warm out, workout as follows:

4x Sled push
30secs Battle Ropes
30secs Vertical chest pulls

2min rest and repeat 3 times

2x Sled pulls
4x Elasticated side squats
30secs 11kg medicine ball squat pickups/throw downs

2min rest and repeat 3 times

30secs 12kg Kettle-bell high swings
30secs 12kg Kettle-bell Russian deadlifts

30sec rest and repeat 3 times

3 minute cool down on the rowing machine

Sled pull 1

Sled pull 2

Surprisingly I felt OK after a few hours, but I am already thinking that this won’t last once I do my core work tomorrow morning.

I’d love to hear from you if you are getting inspired, want to know more or generally want to support me!

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