Wednesday, 20 August 2014


When you come round to our house, you can most definitely expect to see me, William, Elsa and Gatsby. And, for the most part, Mark too.

Our family has grown. From two, to four, and now five.

And when he's here, in truth, it really does feel like home. He's probably here for the majority of the week now. Something that has happened gradually over the past few months. I remember introducing William and Mark to each other for the first time and Mark and I knew that it would be make or break. But he's not left our side since. 

And I love him for it. 

I really do. 

And it's not like he lives five minutes down the road. We actually, at the moment, live 45 miles apart. 

It's far. And I don't always appreciate how far it is, because we work together. 

He'll drive, or get the train as normal and then we'll leave work together and go back to William who we'll collect as soon as we arrive back in our village. 

Slowly my house has started to have male touches around it again. I know for a fact that there's a razor in my bathroom and three toothbrushes, not two. There's a Preston North End coaster on my bedside table and dining table. And I've had to clear out some space in a room that had become very much mine. 

And it feels really right for us. William is happy. And we are happy. And it's a great comfort to know that this person, who I put a lot of faith in, has made such a difference to our lives. 

And while it may be a small thing, when House of Fraser asked me if I'd like to review something for the man in my life, I thought for a moment and said yes. There was something he definitely needed. 

And that was a bag. A Fred Perry Classic Barrel Bag* to be exact. One big enough to throw his things into, but not too big to carry or fit in the boot or on the train. And one that looked nice. And removed the need for plastic bags, or a bag so stuffed that the strap broke. 

No one will ever take the place of William's father, who is wholly present in his son's life. But I want to be happy now. I deserve that. And I get to choose someone to help me raise that little boy, in this new way, Mark would be it. When he's here, our family, as new and as disjointed as it may seem, is complete. 

And I'm glad to say that there'll be a point, in the future, where that bag will have a different use. 

*We were kindly given this to review. And what started out as something nice for him, became an opportunity to say, very nervously, that I'm happy. And that, however you feel about joint-custody and modern families, that I hope you'll be happy for me too. 

Living Room Makeover - Part 3

If you follow me on Instagram (I'm @CharlTaylor if you wanted to know), you'll probably have seen me share a few snaps of my little collection, as and when I've come across new bits and bobs.

I've had to buy in stages, as it's easier for me to spread the cost out, and it's quite fun to buy something every week or so, and look forward to watching my collection grow.

I've not updated on our lounge for a while, because, well, I'm not that much further on. Work has been very busy recently, and I've been travelling a fair bit for me, which has left me behind on this blog and my house, as I'm just too tired to do anything else.

Next week, William is spending a long weekend with his dad and grandparents and I know that he'll be having the best time, so, while he's not here, instead of feeling glum, Mark and I are going to attack the lounge and strip some more paper after work. I still think we'll need a couple of days to get this God-awful stuff off my walls, but once it's done, my Mum and Gramps will be lending a hand with lining paper (seems funny to take stuff off to put new stuff on, but that's uneven walls for you) and then it's time for paint.

The sofa arrives at the end of September, so, while William is with his Dad again, after our holiday, Mark and I will be sorting a carpet out, as well as furniture and furnishings and goodness knows what else. But we really need to get this done! This post is actually scaring me a little - I've a lot of time and money to spend in the new few weeks.

For now, to save my heart, I thought I'd share some of my little collection, as I love seeing posts like this, and hopefully you will too.

Before I get into details, a theme that is coming from all of this is yellow. I don't think it's going to be the colour of the room by any means, but I'm loving picking up little yellow accents, whether it's a pillow case or a postcard. It's my favourite colour, and I want it to feature in our living room without it looking like the sun threw-up in there. I seem to warm to aqua and teal colours too, as you'll note from my spare room. And I have added black and white, because of the chalkboard fireplace, which I want to feel part of the room and not too bold and stark.

The cushion covers above (folded) are from H&M. I could have bought ten of them but no one needs that many pillows. Not even me. I'm going to buy the cushion padding from IKEA when we go in September. So much cheaper than anywhere else.

The chalkboard was something I happened across in a local village shop. It was reduced by £14.99 to just £10.00, so of course it came home, balanced on the buggy. I think I'll use it for movie nights as a 'Now Showing' board, or maybe to share tonight's menu with some grumpy teenagers as I grow older. But you know me - sucker for a chalkboard (have you seen my chalkboard tutorial by the way?).

I bought some postcards from Not On The High Street - gosh they have some amazing things on there don't they? I just had a browse and ended up with some quotes from The Great Gatsby - a nod to my most bizarre cat (I'll have to find Elsa something soon) - the yellow 'Hello' card, from The Happy Pencil, and the quote below, from Ernest Hemingway.

That's a motto I can live by.

That's all I've got to share for now. But I'll have more soon hopefully. I just need to crack on...

P.S. I'm still looking for the stag's head. I haven't had chance to have a nosey around any shops yet.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Bikini Countdown & What I'm Eating

According to my MyThomson app, I have exactly 11 days to turn into Beyonce.

I mean, that's a bit scary.

In my last weight loss update, I wrote about this one bikini that I'd bought and really wanted to fit into (you can also see my weight loss in pictures).

And I do fit. I fit into it when I bought it, but I was so self-conscious that I wanted to cry.

I wore a bikini last year and I was much larger than I am now, but for some reason - maybe denial or just not caring - I didn't feel quite as nervous as I do this time around.

I decided with the advice of my good friend Eve, that, for the next 11 days, I would try a low-carb diet. I'm not going to be unhealthy, and starve myself of food, but I'm going to try to avoid filling up on carbs which are my biggest weakness and also involve the addition of butter and cheese too.

I feel like changing my diet has worked wonders for me. It really and truly has. I think back to the constant takeaways and special treats and puddings that I used to think I deserved as a treat, and I wonder where I put it all. I used to eat so much food and I didn't consider what I put in my mouth at all.

Part of the journey, probably the biggest part, was educating myself. And I can honestly say that it will stay with me for life now.

Don't get me wrong - I have eaten a Domino's recently, with Mark, when we got back from a Christening and were too tired to cook. And I did bake and eat three of these Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies at the weekend. But I just don't do that every day.

I want to try and get into exercise properly again. I do walk around a fair bit, as I don't have a car, but a full-time job, join custody, a full-time blog and DIY work means that I can honestly say that finding the time is the biggest obstacle at the moment. Part of me does wish I could enrol with some sort of fitness programme like The Biggest Loser, and get a personal trainer in Phildelphia, and come home a sleeker and healthier person than I was before, but it's not going to happen.

I'm hoping, more than anything, that I will lose a little extra weight from my waist and and thighs before I go. I want to stand next to Mark in a bikini and run around after Bill and feel happy and enjoy the moment, not worry about my stomach and my scars, and end up missing a special memory.

So what am I eating?

I have been starting with porridge in the mornings. Yes, I know it's a carb. But I want slow-release energy that I am guaranteed to burn off throughout the morning. The addition of blueberries and banana helps me reach my five-a-day. And all of this staves off any temptation to snack. In fact, this and a couple of brews, and some water, sees me off until lunchtime.

For lunch, I’ve been having salads a lot anyway. But I’ve upped my game and dodged dressings and focused on things that add flavour and texture. Whether olives, or coriander, or using leftover chicken or some good-quality ham. I have been popping a Babybel in with this, because it gives me a cheese rush, without being too much. I’ve also got a fridge full of fruit and Müller Light yoghurts if I feel like I need more food.

An example of what I’d have for tea would most likely be some form of protein and vegetables. So last night I had lime, ginger and coriander chicken skewers, with green beans, asparagus and mushrooms cooked in the over with with a little soy, garlic and pepper.

And I was stuffed. I really pile on the greens and I feel full and I’m not throwing away veg that goes off too. I tend to munch on fruit and yoghurt again, along with a handful of popcorn if I really need a treat.

I don’t drink Monday to Thursday anyway, but a special drink that staves off any cravings for an 'grown-up drink' is lime cordial and soda water. It’s not too sweet but it’s so refreshing and beats a glass of water or cordial. And it’s nowhere near a glass of Coke.

Tonight, I’m taking a life out of The Londoner’s book and making her no-carb mash with some sausages and greens. And then I think I may also try her cauliflower fried rice and cauliflower pizza base too. I like the idea of making some Asian-style lettuce wraps, and perhaps this Greek omelette.

As for inspiration, my main source of inspiration is Pinterest (you can find me here) and Instagram (I’m @CharlTaylor). I use Instagram the most and follow the #slimmingworld and #weightwatchers tags for ideas and people who keep me feeling motivated.

If you have any tips for me, or ways I can appear magically slimmer overnight (crosses fingers) let me know.

Now, where did I leave my lettuce…?
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...