#100happydays :: spring cleaning and productivity

Day 65

I found myself rooting through the junk cupboard at work this week, where discarded items from employees long gone have been left to rot.  And I found this!  Now, I am quite the nostalgia junkie...flashbacks to my childhood fill me with a wonderful warm and fuzzy feeling, so this mug really brightened my day.  I had one like it as a kid, and when I shared this photo on Facebook it turned out I wasn't alone...we had a group warm&fuzzy moment!

Day 66

I have posted the full-size version of this image at the bottom of the post, as this scale one doesn't show the detail.  This is the bush at my front door, and the raindrops on spring flowers capture the weather of the week perfectly.  Spring in Scotland sure is a mixed bag!

Day 67

I finally got round to getting my hair seen to, and as my usual stylist is off on maternity leave I had someone different...who seems to have made me a bit darker than I usually go for.  But I like it!  I've been wanting to tone down my blonde before I hit 30, and this is very nice. 

Day 68

My wee pooch got in her first swim of the year!  There is something about watching the unbridled joy of a little mad dog dashing about the beach and bounding into the water that is infectious.  The rest of us were being whipped across our cold-nipped cheeks by the gale that was blowing, but we'd have been smiling right along with her if our faces hadn't gone numb!

Day 69

Another junk cupboard find...my desk is turning into the office magpie nest!  This makes me giggle, as not only is a Snoopy cardiologist a lot less intimidating than the human ones I work with, but the idea that a fast food chain gave this effigy of a heart doctor away with its kids meals is so ironic, given how closely linked obesity is with heart conditions.  But most of all, he's pretty cute.

Day 70

I went along to the postgraduate open day at Caledonian University, and as well as some handy information I also got given this pink canvas bag.   I really am finding this statement to be true, and I am hoping that a Masters in public health may be the help I need to open the oyster of the career path I want to get into.

Day 71

I live by the to-do list, and nothing makes me feel more accomplished than a to-do list all ta-done.  Especially a beast of a list like this one was...and this was only my work list, my housework list was twice as long (and, um...not as ta-done as this one...).

Here's that spring picture in all its glory...

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#100happydays :: junk food and dancing shoes

Another instalment to get back on track with sharing my #100happydays pictures.  Excuse any typos, I'm multitasking - blogging and teleconferencing at the same time!

 Day 58

It was one of those days...and I needed chemicals to make me happy.  Looking at this now, especially after my post yesterday about focusing on foods that love me just as much as I love them, it seems a little negative that this was what made me happy!

Day 59

I went on my first work night out, and it was pretty good  evening.  It's interesting to see certain people let their hair down outside of the office!  But this picture is about something a bit more dull than the actual night itself though - it was capturing that lovely moment when you kick off your heals at the end of the night!

Day 60

One of the many things I love about the Milkman is his ability to make me laugh because he doesn't take himself too seriously.  This was him working the "I'm daddy and I know it" look. 

Day 61

Here I am celebrating the one outfit of the whole day that wasn't thrown up on by Mini Milk.  The jammies I woke up in copped it, plus another two outfits during the day (and the change table, and my in-laws living room!).  But at least I went to bed not stinking of toddler spew, and the wee fella was feeling back to his usual self the next day.

Day 62

A blast from the past!  Sometimes a wee dose of nostalgia gives you pause for thought to let in some good memories.  though I am aware this is the second time that junk food made me happy in this week! 

Day 63

Driving home with the windows open, what a treat!  Fresh air to revive me after a day at work, and to clear the stale air out of the car...it feels like forever since I could last do this!  Though judging by today's weather, it might be a while before I can do it again... 

Day 64

Mini Milk is now in his 18-24m wardrobe, and I'm a sucker for a baby in cute jammas...too cute, I wish he could stay this size forever!

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Love The Food That Loves You Back [ overhaul week 10 ]

Weight loss this week    2.4lbs
Weight loss in total    5lbs
Pounds still to lose    14.4lbs

I am slowly starting to make some progress, as I have been really focused since the wake up call I gave myself the other week when I looked at my erratic journey since January and realised that I had got basically nowhere in my weight loss aims.  Now I can at least say that I'm averaging at 0.5lb a week so far.  Not great, but it's a start.

I had a conversation with someone the other day, who was commenting on how I apparently eat so healthily (ha, they haven't seen me at the weekend).  She made a statement that stuck with me - "I couldn't eat all that healthy stuff, I love my real food too much."

Real food.  That really got me thinking, because I can only assume that her definition of real food is different to mine, and that hers favours things with more fat, salt and sugar than the veggies I was at that moment eating.  And forgive me if that sounds preachy, because it's not meant to be at all.  I am not immune to her sorts of foods either!  But I do know that real food isn't food that is bad for you, no matter how good it may feel to eat it.

In a way, her statement made me think of a dysfunctional relationship.   It's as if she was saying "I couldn't put up with a relationship that was good for me, I love this damaging one too much."

It's funny, because I have actually found that by dieting I have fallen more in love with food.  In fact, scrap that - dieting made me suspicious of food.  Eating healthily has made me fall more in love with food.  The more I learn about nutrition and the value of food which not only satisfies my appetite but does good for my body as well, the deeper my feelings grow.  The cupboard doors have been flung wide open and there is a new world of flavours, cuisines, ingredients and cooking methods I never knew about before I started to appreciate the good that can come from food.  My world is all the better for healthy food being in it, and I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life with it.

Unfortunately though I often cheat on that wonderful, nurturing food with food I know is bad for me.  If we stay with the relationship analogy, this is something that is really messing with my head.  I would never swap the healthy, nurturing and delicious relationship I have for one I knew was going to be bad for me, no matter how instant and cheap the thrills were.  So why is it that at times I really struggle to apply those same morals to my diet?

Love the food that loves you back

This is going to be my mantra from now on.  I'm not going to kid myself or anyone else by claiming that I will never eat food that doesn't have my best interests at heart.  But maybe I can encourage myself to consider some better choices by pausing to ask will my body love this food as much as my sweet tooth will?

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#100happydays :: coming out of hibernation

Wow, I am seriously behind with sharing my shots for #100happydays.  Today is day 69 (dude), and the last pic I shared was from day 49!  Today has been draining, so I'm taking the chance to lift my spirits by looking through some of the images.  Here's the first batch to get me caught up.

Day 50

Driving to work in daylight has helped to lift my spirits.  I've never identified as being too affected by the seasons, and in fact usually quite like the dark evenings.  But since the sun has started to rise earlier and stick around a bit longer, I have felt brighter too.

Day 51

In keeping with the spring feelings, the Milkman and I came out of hibernation and had some friends round.  I don't drink much nowadays, but when I do I've started to enjoy red wine.  Admittedly I have to take it tinto de verano style, but at least it makes it last longer!

Day 52

My wee baby is growing up so fast - we spent a good hour walking around Luss with my dad and Mini Milk didn't want carried once.  I've invested in some reigns, because I have a feeling we'll be retiring the pram soon and he isn't a big fan of hand holding!

Day 53

I managed to score not one but two free wedding magazines at the Cameron House wedding show.  We did a double whammy of shows, stopping in at the Duck Bay one to say hi to our photographer and talk kilts and wedding rings with some of the exhibitors.

Day 54

The next best thing to eating chocolate is smelling it, and I love getting out the shower smelling good enough to eat!

Day 55

Speaking of chocolate, we had something a bit posher than the usual cinema snacks to savour after our meal when we went to see Labyrinth at Sloans for EatFilm.  Beautiful.

Day 56

My mum knitted Mini Milk jumper, complete with car buttons (this kid is obsessed with cars)!  I love the colours she chose, and he looks adorable in it.

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Weaning, or How I Got My Baby Off To A Healthy Start

I don't subscribe to a particular school of thought when it comes to weaning, and I didn't really have a plan of how I was going to do things when it came to that stage in Mini Milk's babyhood.  All I knew was how I had worded things in goal #21 of my 101 things to achieve in 1001 days - Don't feed Mini Milk jarred baby food at home. 

When I had Half Pint I didn't know much better than to feed him jarred or powdered baby food - I couldn't cook for myself, and when I saw the baby food aisle in the supermarket I just thought that was what you did.  But I didn't use them for long as this came at a time in my life when I was actually starting to question my own diet, and in turn taught myself to cook.  By the time Half Pint was eating more textured food, I was cooking us both basic meals which at least had more vegetables and less junk in them.

Fast forward ten years and my own attitude to food has continued to develop, and as a knock-on so have my ideas on how I wanted to feed my new baby.  To me this meant making all the food he ate at home from scratch (which is how we eat most of the time anyway), and also trying to avoid using jarred or powdered foods outside the home as much as possible too.

I am pleased to say that I stuck to my ideals, and since Mini Milk has long since made the transition to regular food I can claim this goal as complete!  I can probably count on one hand the number of occasions where we did have to use jarred food, and those times were because we were staying away from home without facilities to store or make suitable food.  It turned out that Mini Milk really didn't like jarred food anyway - he tolerated fruit purées from sachets for a while, but he even went off them!  I learned a lot in our weaning journey, so I thought I'd share what helped me the most.

The weaning toolkit that helped me get my baby off to a good start


Duh, right?  But actually you might not need any to begin with, as you're introducing single flavours.  But if you're not sure which flavours are the best to start with, you need somewhere to turn.  The sources I used were a booklet I got from one of the formula milk companies when I signed up to their mother and baby club, and a book on baby purées by Annabel Karmel.  These were particularly useful when it came to combining flavours and starting to introduce textures, but there are lots of other books and websites out there.  Recipes can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be, so its all about choosing what works best for you. 

Batch cooking

The more convenient home made food is, the less you will need convenience food!  Whipping up enough food so that you can portion it up, freeze it and then grab it when you need it cuts down on the times when you need to use processed foods. 

The right kitchen kit 
  • Blender.  To make purées you need a blender but you don't need to buy a special baby food one or one with a million attachments.  A cheap hand-held one will do, though I would recommend going a step up and getting something a bit more substantial just because I think you can get a smoother finish, which is important when your baby is first trying food.
  • Freezer trays.  When your baby is on small portions, an ice cube tray is fine for portioning up and freezing servings.  But you need something a little bigger as they grow, and I had a great little tray from Mothercare.  You don't really need more than one or two, as once the portions are frozen you can pop them out and store them in freezer bags, freeing up the tray for your next batch.
  • Tupperware. For taking your home made food with you when you go out!

Encourage independence

Finger foods and introducing cutlery as soon as possible gets your baby used to the idea that they can have an active role in their own mealtimes.  Finger food not only helps them learn to coordinate their hand-to-mouth movements, but also gives them the chance to choose which things they like or how much to have.  Giving them their own set of cutlery when you feed them allows them to get used to it, and also gives you a fighting chance of keeping hold of the set you need to feed them with!

The right attitude

Keep things fun and let weaning be a time for exploration.  There will be mess, there will be certain foods that they refuse to touch and there will no doubt be times where all they will eat is one particular thing. Just go with the flow, and enjoy this time!

I think that last point is maybe the most important of all.  Don't be too hung up on how you want things to be.  Being too rigid with it can get you stressed out and drain the joy from the experience.  For instance, I knew that when Mini Milk started attending childcare it would be unrealistic to expect him never to eat processed foods, but I didn't let that cause me worry.  He had got off to a good start, and that was what mattered most to me. 

That good start has done exactly what I wanted it to do - he is a pretty good little eater with a real love of fruit, who has a good variety in his diet and eats what the family eats.  That allows me to relax, and not worry too much about the odd occasion where he does have something unhealthy.  He can still be picky, and there are certain things he wont eat, but show me a kid who doesn't have clearly defined likes and dislikes?!  Funnily enough, his biggest dislike seems to be fast food or things in a batter or crumb coating - I can't get him to touch fish fingers, and the one time I had to resort to a McDonald's he point blank refused to touch any of it!  I like to think that's in part due to the fact that he isn't used to that type of food, and hope that the foundation this start has given him will be something that stays with him throughout his life.

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101 things to achieve in 1001 days :: one year in

Last Tuesday marked me bing one year into my Day Zero challenge of trying to achieve 101 things in 1001 days.  I took the chance this week to update my list and have a look over my progress so far and thought I should mark the anniversary of starting this mission with an official update.

I am now 376 days into my challenge, which means I have 626 days left.  Since beginning I have completed 14 tasks and started working towards another 34.  I was wondering if I hadn't made as much progress as I should have, and to be honest who knows whether I'll get anywhere near completing all 101 tasks, but looking back this challenge has already given me that push to try things I may never have got around to doing.  That is exactly the point of taking up this challenge, and reflecting on the last twelve months has got me excited about what the rest of the 1001 days will hold!

What my first year of 101/1001 has seen me do...

http://skimmedmiilk.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/fitness-friday-pilates-and-blogilates.html #10 :: Take a Pilates class

I set this goal just for fun as I'd enjoyed the DVD I did when I was pregnant and was curious as to where my interest could take me.  I blogged about how I completed my goal of taking a Pilates class and how although that class fell through my interest in Pilates has lead me to the wonderful world of Blogilates!

#16 :: Sign Half Pint up for piano lessons

Half Pint had always shown an interest in my piano at my parents' house, but I kept putting off lessons because his sporting commitments got the bulk of his time.  But we have bitten the bullet before he heads off to high school and has even less time to spend on hobbies, and I blogged about how naturally he has taken to playing the piano.

#18 :: Take Half Pint on the Jacobite (aka the Hogwart's Express)

We did this for Half Pint's birthday last summer, just me and him and we had a really great day out.  I blogged about it in a lot of detail!  I'm not even a Harry Potter fan and even I would recommend the day trip.  The end destination, Mallaig, is worth the visit if you can get a sunny day to stroll around the harbour.

#21 :: Don't feed Mini Milk jarred baby food at home

This was an important goal to me, and I am glad to say that it is one I achieved near perfectly.  I haven't written an official blog post about this yet, but I will do soon.

#24 :: Play crazy golf with the kids 

This is one of my more recent achievements, I just blogged about playing crazy golf with Half Pint the other night!  It was a fun way to spend time with Half Pint at a time where it's tricky to find things that appeal to a boy of his age.

#47 :: Cook "Christmas" dinner 

Christmas day itself looks set to always be spent with one set of our parents or the other, but I really wanted to give cooking the most important meal of the year a go at least once. So I cooked Christmas dinner for the pre-Christmas meal we have with Pink Milk rather than going to a restaurant, and it went so well that I hope to do it every year!

#50 :: Try real sushi 
#58 :: Try tofu
I tried real sushi and tofu for the first time recently, in a really nice restaurant in Glasgow called Nippon Kitchen.  I was surprised to find that I really liked the sushi...and the plum wine I washed it down with!  The tofu wasn't quite as mind blowing but it was ok, and trying it in a restaurant has made me want to try cooking with it myself.

#56 :: Actually make something from The Pioneer Woman Cooks
I've drooled over her blog for years, and even treated myself to her book...but my fear of the calories had always held me back.  But I swallowed my fear (and oh so much more) when I made the Pioneer Woman's spicy pulled pork.  I've made it more than once, and even tried a Chinese version recently.  Shredded and packed full of flavour, this is a great way to serve pork on a laid back Saturday evening.

#57 :: Make my own hummus

Shop bought hummus never satisfies me in the way the homemade hummus I used to order in a little tea shop did. I set this goal to try and recreate that natural, wholesome taste and comforting mouthfeel.  I've completed the goal in that I've made hummus, but I don't think my recipe was quite right so I haven't blogged about this.  I want to practice more and try some new things before I write about it.

#62 :: Complete the blogging month

This wasn't really anything official, it was just a bunch of blogging prompts I found and combined to give me a different topic each day. I actually did it in my personal blog, before this blog was even created.  I found it a challenge to commit to writing something every single day. but it helped mto be slightly more consistent with how often I post.

#76 :: Find a sleeved wedding dress

I knew there could be no compromises here. I don't like my upper arms and I don't want to spend the most important day of my life worrying about them being on show. But I also didn't just want to throw a bolero over my dress.  Thankfully, not only did I find a sleeved dress, I found my dream sleeved dress...and it was a bargain - how I bought my dream wedding dress!

#80 :: Visit Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis

I spent years walking and driving past both of these when I studied at Strathclyde and then did placements in the Glasgow Royal, but I'd never set foot in either of them until Half Pint and I had a fun day out with death and religion!  Seriously though, we had a really interesting day exploring the crazy Victorian graveyard and the beautiful cathedral.  We've been back to that area again as part of another goal in progress, and its a lovely part of the city, steeped in history.

Bring on the next 87 tasks! I can't wait to have an even bigger list of completed goals when I post my 2nd year update!

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Tween days out [ crazy golf at Paradise Island, Xscape ]

I like to think that when I retire I'll take up some granny sports to fill my time.  Things like bowls and golf.  But because I'm young and trendy (humour me) and a long way off being ready for a sedate round of real golf, I set myself the goal of taking the kids to play crazy golf

But seriously, taking the kids to play crazy golf was goal #24 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days.    It sounded like a fun, dorky way to spend time with them, but I also knew that it was the kind of thing I'd never get round to doing unless I stuck it on my list.  Well, during the recent half term I managed to mark this one as completed, as we went to Paradise Island Golf in Xscape at Braehead.

Now, I was under the impression that crazy golf was like you see on the Simpsons - a course full of moving obstacles and convoluted fairways.  But I'm starting to think I have been lied to if our experience was anything to go by!  We went camping a few years ago in Norfolk, and our campsite had a small course of different shaped greens you could try your hand at.  Treasure Island was on a much bigger scale (and came with a bigger admission fee) than that, but except for some sound effects and a couple of holes a bit more intricate than the others, it wasn't actually much different to our campsite experience.

I decided not to be disappointed though, and just enjoyed the moment - Half Pint had been there before for a birthday party and he was excited to be doing it again.  I actually thought it was a great way to spend time together, given the tricky tween stage we've been struggling with recently.  We were both focused on the game, and it was good to have fun with something together without phones or tablets or worries or the tv or housework butting in.

Things like crazy golf are a good activity for pre-teens, as it indulges the part of them that is still very much a child.  It gives them the opportunity to stop trying to be grown up, without the risk of being classed as babyish.  I don't know about anyone else, but there are very few things I can think of that fall into that safe category of being fun but still maintaining a slight edge of cool.  I know it wont be long before even things like this will no doubt be dumped on the "lame" or "boring" or "mum is such a nerd" pile, so I think we should try out another course soon!

I'm aware that this goal was to take the kids and this time I only took Half Pint.  We only see Pink Milk at the weekends but only had the chance to do this mid-week when I had childcare for Mini Milk.  Next time Pink Milk (and the Milkman) will get dragged along to play!

Do you have any other suggestions for activities which manage to let pre-teens be kids without falling into the babyish dangerzone?  I'd love some suggestions!


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Tween hormones and how to handle them

I used to dismiss the term "tween" as just a silly label coined by the media.  It was not a term that I used, especially not in relation to my own child.  I didn't know that the word is actually short for between - I had thought it was a baby-voice version of teen, which is why I refused to use it.  But now I understand the term better, it makes a lot of sense - Half Pint is smack bang in between his childhood and his teens, and being on the verge of twelve he is apparently at the peak of tweendom.  And boy are we all feeling what that means in our house right now!

I've done some research about what is going on with him and am trying to work with rather than against him (like finding tween-friendly ways to spend time with him) at this um...interesting stage.  I thought I'd share what I'd learned so far, and my top tips for coping with tween outbursts.

Tweens get hormonal too

Tweens experience a unique cocktail of hormones that can wreak havoc on them and those around them.  Looking back over the past few years this explains a lot.  Half Pint is by no means badly behaved, rude or wild.  He's smart, funny, does his chores and is generally so much fun to spend time with.  But with increasing frequency a dark cloud of sulkiness, stroppiness and painful sensitivity settles over him and the rest of us can't stay dry in the storm when that cloud breaks.  It is so often girls who are discussed in terms of teen and pre-teen behaviours that it's taken me a while to understand that Half Pint is going through the boy's equivalent.

Hormones are often spoken about as if they are something to be feared.  They get blamed for all the downsides of periods, pregnancy, complexions, weight, teenagers...you name it. But hormones are fascinating, and control a lot of necessary developments at this time in our kids' lives.  The difficulty lies in the fact that tweens get totally bombarded with them - their physical and emotional development is at the mercy of hormones and often they don't know how to deal with that.  I know a lot of adult women who will excuse an emotional outburst by blaming the fact that they are hormonal, but kids aren't always equipped to make that link.

Both boys and girls will be swept away in hormone surges all through their tween and teen years, and one of the best ways to help them (and everyone else) to deal with it is to teach them what is happening.  Another way to help them is to understand how to deal with them yourself.  I had got to a point where I was questioning my parenting and was convinced that Half Pint's reactions and behaviours were because I was failing as his mother.  I thought I had done something wrong when he was little, or that maybe I was doing something wrong right now...and whilst that can't be ruled out completely (I'm the first to admit to being an imperfect mum), it is a relief to know that a good chunk of it is down to those wild hormones.  I can't control those hormones, but I can at least control how I handle them.  I am no where near mastering this and I'm still learning the best way to respond, but I have picked up a few tricks.

My top tips on handling tween hormone outbursts

  1. Don't take it personally.  For the most part these outbursts aren't premeditated and your child probably enjoys them even less than you do!  Kids can sling a fair bit of mud, and may even utter the dreaded "I hate you" but you have to remove yourself from that to avoid reacting in a way that you will regret later.  In the same way you'd excuse a friend for saying something stupid when they're drunk, you have to excuse some of the things your child may say when they're under the influence of hormones.  And that may also mean letting the small stuff slide rather than raking over the coals once things have cooled off, as that can often start things back up again or make your child feel even worse for the things they may have said...lather, rinse, repeat!
  2. But don't be scared to talk about what has happened. This is a good chance to help them understand what is going on in their body, as well as facing up to and addressing any of the more hurtful aspects of their behaviour.  It also lets them know that although you understand that their hormones are to blame, they are not an excuse to act badly or to hurt others. 
  3. Don't dismiss your child's feelings.  Whatever may have sparked an emotional typhoon may be trivial to us as adults, but you have to remember that stresses are relative - what is small to us can be major to a child.  Avoid saying that they're overreacting or being silly, or telling them to pull themselves together (or even worse, to grow up!).  Dismissing feelings will make them feel even worse, and may encourage them to start bottling their feelings up.  Pre-teens don't always want to talk about things, particularly not at the height of emotion, but acknowledging that something is upsetting them may encourage them to speak to you.  Even if they don't open up at that particular moment, it at least lets them know that you are ready to talk when they are.
  4. Try not to lecture them, crowd them or shout back.  When your kid is acting like a hormonal brat, give them some space...and take time for yourself as well!  I know this is one I struggle with, as I work full time so I don't like to send Half Pint to his room with the limited time we have together.  I always want to solve and resolve as soon as I can, but this sometimes creates even more drama.  Kids at this age need cooling off time and the chance to mull things over - it helps them learn how to get a handle on spiralling emotions and to figure things out for themselves.

Any other parents wading through the tween years, or any who have made it out the other side - what tips do you have?  I'd love to hear them, so help a mother out!

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Labyrinth at EatFilm [ Sloans, Glasgow ]

So, I did something very cool on Tuesday night...

the EatFilm cinema
trying to take a photo without drawing attention to myself...
Sloans in Glasgow turn their ballroom into a cinema every Tuesday night, where you can enjoy a nice meal before the lights go down and the film starts.  Food and film (and time with my bestie) are right up there with some of my favourite things in life, so this is right up my street.

My parents actually had their wedding reception in Sloans back in the 70's, but I had never been inside.  I was really taken aback by the place, with it's lovely wooden panelling and beautiful ballroom.  I'm actually a little sad I hadn't known how nice it was, because they host weddings and it would have been special to have my own wedding in the place were my parents had celebrated theirs.  But I've gone off in a tangent!  Yeah, Sloans is a nice wee find right in the heart of the city.

This week they were showing Labyrinth, and as this film has a bit of history with us we knew we had to go see it!  I had never watched the film until recently, despite my bestie nagging me for years and years and years to watch it.  She eventually forced my hand by buying me a copy for my birthday...and I loved it!  I hadn't known that Brian Froud (an artist who I first became obsessed with as a teenager when I found his Faerie book in a charity shop) had worked on the film, and it is really the visuals that sold the film to me.  That and the cheesiest greatest 80's movie song ever! 

I wasn't sure what to expect from the set-up, as I was fairly certain they didn't have a actual cinema.  The ballroom is laid out with tables as you'd expect in a restaurant, but they're laid out so that everyone is facing the screen and (at least from where we were sitting) so no one in front of you is blocking your view! 

There are only three options on the menu (plus desserts, though we didn't have one of those), which put my efforts of trying to be good right out of the window.  I went for the chilli as I thought it would be the healthiest, but it came with a pile of nachos and was covered in cheese so I was fighting a losing battle!  It was delicious though, as you can see by the fact I'd nearly eaten the whole thing before I thought to snap a photo!  Bestie had the hot dog, and although that's something I wouldn't usually go for unless I was in Ikea it was probably the best quality hot dog I think I've ever tasted.

yes, I did pick off all the chillies off my chilli...

There were a few technical hitches during the film, but they were brief and as I'm assuming pretty much everyone in that room was a fan of the film and had probably seen it many times before I don't think it spoiled anyone's enjoyment.  There was a really good atmosphere and we all kind of laughed it off.  It was also fascinating to be in a room of adults who all giggled like children whenever there was a full-length or close-up shot of Bowie's incredibly tight trousers!

I had a really good night, and for the very reasonable price I don't think I could find a better way to spend an evening.  Ok, so sitting in a restaurant chair isn't as comfy as lounging on the sofa at home, and you do get the odd head in the way or noise of a drink being poured at the bar, but on the whole I think it's a great event.  I'll definitely be doing this one again if the right film comes up.  You can check out the EatFilm listing on Sloans' website.

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Disclaimer :: this is not a sponsored review and I didn't receive anything for writing about it. I just like to share fun things to do in Glasgow!

Lifestyle Changes and Turning Actions into Habits [ operation overhaul week 8 ]

Weight loss this week-3lbs
Weight loss in total5.6lbs
Pounds still to lose13.8lbs

This may be an Operation Overhaul post, but it's overhaul in name only.  It's been a few weeks since I last wrote a blog post focused on my weight loss efforts, and I think that speaks volumes about where my head is at.  I have to be honest - when I look back over the past couple of weeks I have really messed up my weight loss progress.  School holidays always seem to unravel me, and I have spent the time since mid-February bouncing between two weights.  The second round of the six month DietBet I'm doing ends in a couple of days and it doesn't look like I'm going to win this one.  What a come down after smashing my target for the first month...it's  been a bit of a wake-up call, I can tell you.

I am struggling to commit to my efforts completely.  I am too quick to say yes to any sugary, fatty, processed foods that come my way, too quick to find reasons not to exercise.  This has not been the change that I wanted 2014 to hold for me, and I think the reason is that I have yet to break the barrier between doing something because I know I have to, and it becoming an unconscious behaviour that is simply part of who I am.  When I last wrote about my dieting progress and behaviours, I really thought I was starting to get to that stage, but literally after I hit publish on that last post everything reverted almost back to the beginning.

The health and fitness commitment scale

I did a little research last night, looking for ways to help me commit to the changes I so desperately want to make.  Unsurprisingly, there is no magic formula.  I did come across a great article on SparkPeople.com which suggests a scale of commitment.  I found this positive as I was able to see that I'm not right at the bottom of the scale, and it also shows how I'd need to be feeling and acting if I were to increase my commitment levels.  Right now I identify with "very committed" (although last week it was probably more like "somewhat committed"), and would very much like to move myself into the "passionately committed" zone.  That gives me something to imagine and focus on that isn't just numbers on a scale or clothing label, and I think that is really healthy.

Turning behaviours into habits

This is a lifestyle change and I need to learn to embrace that, to get excited about the different things I will discover along the way.  I also need to work on my stamina for the smaller changes.  According to some clever types, you need to carry out an action for at least 66 days before that behaviour becomes second nature.  So each little adjustment in my lifestyle needs to happen a whole bunch of times before it becomes a habit.  That's kind of major...but it also explains why I struggle with certain things.  I can take a positive from this theory as well though, by looking at how many actions have become habit for me over the years.  Things like cutting down on eating out and take aways, eating a range of vegetables, making the switch to brown rice, using skimmed milk, quitting smoking, cutting out daily diet fizzy drinks, meal planning, weighing ingredients in my cooking and eating porridge for breakfast to name but a few.  Those are habits that for the most part I stick with even when I'm not as focused as I should be. 

This is all giving me some food for thought (pun not intended!) and some perspective of how I should move forward.  And not just from weigh-in to weigh-in, but from the old part of my lifestyle to the new.  Hopefully I can keep the bigger picture in mind.

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Any views expressed in this blog are mine alone. I am not an employee of any company I may mention, and I have not benefited financially or otherwise from sharing my opinions. If I am ever lucky enough to be invited by a company to review their product/service, then I will always state so in the entry.