Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Signing Off.

Those of you still reading this...hello. It's been a while - as I'm sure you've noticed.

I can't really put into words a valid reason for my extended absence from the blogging world. Things got a little weird for a while, and after a few weeks it seemed like too long to saunter back in as if nothing had happened. So I stayed away...then I stayed away a bit longer. And then, before I knew it, it had been four months.

I think part of the reason is that I no longer feel that I have so much of a connection with this blog. A Little Less Of Lauren will always have a big piece of my heart. It was my introduction to blogging, a labour of love that was borne of the encouragement of one friend and a burning desire to put into words how it felt to go from morbidly obese to healthy. Over time this blog became a great source of motivation and courage. It has been responsible for opportunities that I would never otherwise have had. It introduced me to people that I would not otherwise have met. To this day, the wit, intelligence, creativity and strength of the blogging community humbles and astounds me.

So while I feel like the time is right to say goodbye to A Little Less Of Lauren, I'm not quite ready to bow out of the blogosphere (God I hate that word).

You can now find me blogging at A Lauren To Herself. A Little Less Of Lauren struggled to make the transition from student weight loss to 'suddenly I have more than essays and my weight to worry about', but I'm hoping that my new blog will fare better. I'm sure there will still be the occasional weight loss post (me still being something of a heifer, and all that) but I'm not planning for this blog to be quite so niche. I'll never be a fully fledged beauty, fashion or lifestyle blogger, but I'll share tidbits of what I'm getting up to every now and again and probably some pictures of cats as well. A Lauren To Herself is still under construction at the moment, but I'd love to see you over there so feel free to pop over and say hello!

Before I sign off for the final time, I just want to say, from the very bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who has read, commented, tweeted or emailed over the last three years. You guys were instrumental in my success, and I really can't tell you what your support means to me. I can only hope that my new blog has as many wonderfully kind and supportive followers as this one has had.

With all my love and gratitude as always,
Lauren xxx

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Day 21: A blast from the past

I've got to admit, when I saw today's topic I was a bit 'meh'...having spent the last hour or so reading back over past posts however, my mind had been well and truly changed. I won't lie, I even got a tad emotional in (quite a few) places - maybe this Ice Queen aint quite so frosty after all.

So, without further ado, some of my favourite past posts -

A Lesson in Self-Worth

Love The Skin You're In

Food Porn and the Toxic Environment

Here's to you, 2012

Part of where I'm going, is knowing where I'm coming from

Class of 2012

In Five Years Time

The Princesses and the Playsuit

My Embarrassing Fat Body

Enjoy ;)

With all my love,
Lauren xx

Monday, 20 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Day 20

I most certainly dropped the ball on the Blog Every Day In May challenge last week - for this I offer my apologies! I had an extremely busy couple of days followed by a couple of extremely 'can't be bothered days' - I was considering trying to catch up with all the posts but I think instead of that I will just start afresh from today, and try to keep up.

So, day 20: Get real. Write about something you're struggling with right now.

Ok, I can do that. Be warned though, its not going to be pretty.

It's no secret that I suffer from depression. I've written about it on here several times, and alluded to it many more. It's not something I write about with alarming frequency, partly because I don't want to come off as being all 'woe is me, look how terrible my life is' (it isn't), and partly  because I don't want a medical condition to define my life and what I do with it. And ok, partly because I'm embarrassed.

I've suffered from depression, to the best of my calculations, since I was about 15 - possibly younger. 15 was the age at which I became aware of being 'a bit different' - a bit more melancholy, a bit more analytical, a bit...angrier, than my peers.  Of course the word 'depression' wasn't really part of my vocabulary at that age - I just thought that was how I was built. It wasn't until I got to university that I was diagnosed with depression, and even then it wasn't a conclusion I came to on my own. I went to the doctor with extreme fatigue. By this point I'd already joined Weight Watchers and had lost a couple of stone. My mind made the connection between the weight loss and feeling worse - but it didn't quite figure out that the reason was because I was no longer self-medicating with food. After a chat with my doctor about my options, I was prescribed a course of antidepressants - which I didn't take - and referred for counselling - which I didn't attend. I didn't want to be labelled as depressed. I didn't want to take pills or go to counselling or be 'that girl'. I was adamant that I'd be ok. I'd be ok once I'd lost the weight, I'd be ok once my exams were done, I'd be ok, I'd be ok, I'd be ok.

That was towards the end of my first year at university. My second year was worse. Far, far worse. I didn't like my course, I didn't like the majority of my housemates, and I definitely didn't like myself. I was angry all the time. I wouldn't leave my room for days - and if I did I timed it so that I wouldn't have to speak to anyone else in the house. On the rare occasions that I went out I got hideously, embarrassingly drunk. I started regaining weight. It was a bad, bad time. I never ever planned to hurt myself in any way, but I was in a bad place. I saw a tv ad, one of those road safety ones in which a teenager gets knocked down and killed, and I thought to myself 'if I got hit by a car and killed tomorrow it wouldn't really bother me'. I made a doctors appointment for that afternoon.

This time I did everything right. I took the tablets, I went to the counselling sessions. I started losing weight and exercising again. Gradually I started enjoying things again. Under my doctors advice I took the antidepressants for well over a year - a few months for them to take effect, and a year feeling 'stable' on them. Just before Easter last year my doctor advised that I start coming off them - gradually. My dose was decreased every month for three months until I stopped taking them. This coincided with my final exams, graduation and starting full time work.

With hindsight, it was a stupid move. In a time of great upheaval, the last thing I should have done was stop taking them. I queried it when my doctor suggested it, but you just sort of go with it, don't you? I mean, they're doctors. They know what their talking about. I should have insisted I stay on them until I was settled. Everyone has 20-20 hindsight, right? And in fairness, I was ok. A few mopey days here and there, but overall it was fine. Towards the end of October I started feeling the familiar pangs - what I can only describe as a sense of hopelessness, and the inability to see the point in anything. I attributed it to being bored with my job and having a lacklustre social life. It wasn't until early February that I finally realised it was happening again, and that something needed to be done. So on Valentine's Day (and they say romance is dead) and had a very frank discussion with her about where I was at and what was bothering me. And I mean, very frank. We're talking home life, work life, sex life, the lot. She told me what I already knew - that there is no logical reason for me to be depressed. I had a happy and stable childhood, in spite of my parents divorcing when I was nine. I was well cared for and well provided for. I've never been abused or assaulted or neglected. I've never lost a parent, or sibling, or child, or spouse. I have a stable job, a good education, I'm in good health. My life isn't perfect, but by any standard it's pretty damn good. There is not, nor has there ever been, any external reason for me to be in top third of the depression scale.

Internally, it's a completely different story. Because my depression isn't caused by a traumatic event. It is, quite simply, a chemical imbalance in the brain. A chemical imbalance that is genetic and that is never, ever going to go away. Sure it can be treated. I can be made to feel better with drugs and counselling and cuddles (never underestimate the power of the hug). A healthy lifestyle will ease the symptoms, but they will never truly go away.

I was told there and then by my doctor that she was happy to put me back on antidepressants, but it would be under the assumption that I would be on them for the long term - possibly for life. Alternatively she told me to work through some of the stresses in my life to see if that improved how I felt about things generally. I took the latter option, still terrified of spending the rest of my life dependent on the little white pills. Still not wanting to be cast as 'that girl'. Still desperately trying to believe that if I could make everything in my life perfect then it would all go away. So I dealt with the stresses - I got organised at work and reduced my stress there, I got my finances sorted, I spent a long time chatting with my mum about the way things were at home, I had the dreaded 'relationship' conversation with the boy. Three out of four of these things went my way - the final one threw me for a little while, but I'm getting there. Slowly.

I gave it three months. Nobody can say that I didn't try, because I did. I had the conversations I didn't want to have and I dealt with the consequences - one of which being the end of a fledgling relationship. I know that part of the issue was him, but if I hadn't pushed, if I'd let it run its course, things may have been different. He wasn't ready for there to be 'labels and expectations', and I'm too neurotic and insecure for there not to be. It's that simple.

I gave it my best, like I try to do with everything. Eventually I had to accept that it wasn't going to be enough, and I'm struggling with that.

I'm struggling with the knowledge that there's something wrong with me - that there's a part of my brain that just doesn't work the way everyone else's does. I'm struggling with the fact that, to all intents and purposes, I am broken. That all the weight loss, all the dream jobs, all the fantastic friends, all the wonderful family, all the kings horses and all the kings men aren't going to be able to put poor little Lauren's brain back together again.

I'm scared of what this means for the future, because people don't like the depressed girl. They like the happy-go-lucky, bubbly, perky girl, and that is never going to be me. I'm scared of how I'll cope - not only with work but with life in general. How will I manage if, god forbid, I should lose someone close to me? How will I manage if and when the time comes to have a baby? Am I going to be one of those mothers crippled by PND, unable to bond and resenting her kids? Am I even going to be able to have kids - am I going to meet someone who is willing to take on all the stuff that comes with this problem?

How am I going to explain it to people? How am I supposed to look people in the eye, people who have gone through far worse things than I ever have, and tell them that I'm depressed?

So yes, I'm struggling. I'm also angry. I'm angry at myself for being like this, and at whatever genetic anomaly it is that has resulted in me feeling this way. I'm angry that I have to remind myself of all the wonderful things in my life, instead of just being able to appreciate them. I'm angry that my options are either medication or a constant, oppressive feeling of hopelessness. I get to decide between Prozac or a life spent wondering 'what's the point?'. Lucky me. I'm angry, and sad, that part of this problem is the constant over-analysis of everything. Everything is a puzzle to be solved. A conversation is obsessed over, a sideways glance from a stranger on the train is picked apart and examined for every possible meaning. It's exhausting and it's maddening and it doesn't endear me to myself or anyone else. And knowing that it's not going to get better, that this is what my life will be...that's what I'm struggling with.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Day In The Life

Day 15: A day in the life (include photos from throughout your typical day - 
this could be 'a photo an hour' if you'd like)

Sunday, 12 May 2013

'A picture is worth a thousand words, but memories are priceless.'

Whenever there is talking of missing something, I always find my mind drifting to a certain time, a certain group of friends, a certain set of memories that evoke a smile at almost the same time as this weird panging feeling I get in my chest. I can never really decide if that time was a good one or a bad one. One thing is for sure - it definitely wasn't boring.

I'm talking, of course, about the teen years. Specifically the latter part of my teen years, from 16-19. It's no secret that I was a complete monster when I was younger (blame it on the hormones) and I gave my parents no end of stress. I've said before that I think I was suffering from depression even then, a theory corroborated by my doctor last week - but that's a post for another time. I see this period of time as sort of a transitional period...at 16 I was a nightmare, but by the time I left for university just after my 19th birthday I'd managed to screw my head on a little better. I was no longer as aggressive and hostile and just generally unhappy as I had been. For the most part, anyway.

You might be wondering why I would choose this period of time as the time that I miss, when I was perhaps finding things difficult. And I won't lie, there were times when things were pretty damn bad. Even with the depression, and the added difficulty of a fairly volatile relationship (I once smashed his face into a car bonnet during an argument - ahh the folly of youth) I still mostly remember all the wonderful things that happened during that time. I had a brilliant group of friends, and I often feel sad that I'm no longer as close with any of them. I was top of my game academically, being one of the very few big fish in the small pond that was my under-achieving comprehensive secondary school and sixth form college. I went to local gigs, drank pints of snakebite and smoked endless Mayfairs, dressed up in ridiculous fancy dress costumes for Halloween, had my tongue, lip and nosed pierced, got both my tattoos, dyed my hair all manner of ridiculous colours - then cut it all off. I had house parties - house parties that have gone down as friendship group legends. I flirted with the boy who worked in the Gadget Shop, then wrote my number on the back of a receipt and gave it to him. He took me to see the Simpson's Movie and bought me a Peanut Butter and Oreo milkshake from Shake About. I spent hours and hours hanging out in skate parks, in the woods, in fields, basically anywhere and every teenagers go with their friends when they're at that age - that age when huddling under a half-pipe in the freezing cold and rain is a more appealing thought than sitting at home. I went on nights out with a fiver in my purse and a bottle of vodka stashed in my bag. I thought I was so painfully cool with my piercings and my converse and my angsty on-off relationship. I mentioned he was in a band, right? Yep. Drummer. I mean, it would have been cooler if he'd been the guitarist or lead singer of course, but still. He was in a band. And he had his own car. And his parents had a swimming pool. I basically thought I was the coolest person on earth.

Those were good times - much simpler times. When you're sixteen you think everything is the end of the world, that every drama is going to ruin your life and that nobody on earth has ever felt this way about anything or anyone ever before. And to be honest, I still feel like that now - it's just not as easy to get away with when you're in your twenties. I'm not sure when or even how it happened, but at some point it stopped being acceptable to be flighty and impulsive. To be overly emotional, to throw things at people, to spend hours doing nothing just 'because'. It's no longer ok for me to come home with grass stains on my jeans. Strongbow is no longer the right thing for me to drink. Now I drink wine or gin and tonic or fancy cocktails that I can't pronounce the names of. I am no longer allowed to burst into tears at the slightest provocation. Now, at not-even-23, it is no longer ok for me to like the boy that works in the Gadget Shop. Now I have to like the advertising exec, the banker, the insurance broker. When did that happen? When did which boy I like stop depending on a cute smile and start depending on their career prospects? When did it stop being ok for me to cry for absolutely no reason at all, which at the time felt like all the reasons in the world?
I am a woman now - a grown woman with a career, and I cannot for the life of me figure out how that happened.
I miss that time. I miss being a teenager. I miss being allowed to be angsty and angry and volatile. I miss having that 'get out of jail free' card that comes hand in hand with the hormones. I miss spending entire weekends raking the streets, traipsing around shopping centres, sneaking into pubs and clubs with fake IDs. I miss laughing over ridiculous things that I cannot for the life of me remember now. I miss whispering secrets to my best friend. I miss milkshake dates and that first day of summer feeling, when six weeks seems like an eternity and a heartbeat all at once, when you know that no matter how much you try you will never manage to do all the things you want to do but you're so excited that you don't care anyway.
And, you know what? I miss the Strongbow too.
With all my love,
Lauren xxx

Perfect 10.

Yesterday's (sorry, still playing catch-up) Blog Every Day In May topic is 'sell yourself in ten words or less' - infinitely harder than 'describe yourself' or 'sum yourself up'. If I'm selling myself, these all need to be positive traits...or at least be traits I can put a positive spin on. Right?

Ok, here goes...

Insightful. Determined. Compassionate. Eloquent. Communicative. Independent. Supportive. Analytical. Protective. Funny.
So what do you think? Would you buy me? ;)
Which ten words would you use to sell yourself?
With love,
Lauren xxx

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Top Cringes

Ahhh, I've had so many....so many horribly embarrassing moments that spring to mind. Off the top of my head...

The day I got so drunk I was sick in my boyfriends bed...the day we got together. I was sixteen, it was the last day of the school term, and we'd spent the night at his with four of our friends. They were all older than I was and as such we're seasoned drinkers by comparison...obviously I tried to keep up and ended up completely wasted. I passed out in his bed, woke up long enough to throw up in his bed, and then had to be carried home by aforementioned horrified new boyfriend. He delivered me to my fathers doorstep, rang the doorbell and ran before my dad had a chance to answer the door! Not my finest moment...

Halloween 2012...getting so hammered I was sick in a pint glass IN THE CLUB and was then sick again in my friends bathroom sink.

My dad's 50th...got drunk, fell over in the kitchen and then passed out in a pool of my own vomit.

My graduation night...oh god, I can't even.

Hmm....I see a pattern developing here....

Don't worry, they don't all involve me getting hammered and misplacing my stomach contents.

There was also the time I flashed the entire swimming pool after my too-big swimming costume fell down. I COULD HAVE DIED.

Let's not forget the time I tripped over thin air and ended up with a broken ankle. Or the time I went over the handlebars of my bike and had to have an ambulance called out to attend to me WHILE I LAID ON MY BACK ON THE PAVEMENT. Mortifying.

The time my boss walked in on me in the staff kitchen discussing what I'd been up to the weekend before. I don't think I need to say any more than that.

Oh and let's not neglect to mention all horrifying fat moments that continue shame me....not being able to buy clothes from normal shops, the whole 'fitting behind lecture tables' issue, just generally being 'that fat girl in our seminar'....shudder.

So yeah, these are just a few of my social faux pas (is there a plural of 'faux pas'? I have no idea) over the years. I promise that I am actually a very refined, classy and cultured young lady....until I move or speak, that is.

What are your most cringeworthy moments?

With all my love,
Lauren xxx

A Moment of My Day

Ok, so I'm cheating slightly with this one, having dropped the ball and missed two days of the Blog Every Day in May challenge. Worry not, I intend to make them up!

The following photo was taken yesterday evening. After an extremely stressful two days of playing catch-up at work (it's almost not worth taking time off just because of the stress it causes afterwards) and when I was on the verge of throwing my computer across the room, I look up across the office, and saw this:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is my boss.
Well, if you're going to be at work at 7pm on a Friday, it might as well be with Britain's favourite soap star. Right?

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Borrowed Wisdom

So ladies and gentlemen, here we are. We have made it to day eight of the Blog Every Day In May challenge, and so far I can't help but feel it's all going swimmingly. I will be returning to work tomorrow after a very pleasant few days off - lets hope my efforts continue to be as sterling as they have been so far!

Onto today's post...

Day 8, Wednesday: A piece of advice you have for others. Anything at all.

This is a post that has me umming and ahhing somewhat. On the surface it's easy enough, but when it comes down to it I'm not all that sure I have any advice that would be of value. I mean, I'm 22. I haven't really lived yet. I can't give advice on marriage, or parenting, or mortgages, or career advancement or any of that stuff because I haven't done it. I could probably offer some wise words on losing weight, but that would depend on who I was talking to and what their situation is. Maybe if I was pushed to it I could offer advice to other people in a similar situation to myself, but even then it's pushing it. To me 'advice' is something you get from someone older and wiser, more worldly and learned. You categorically do not get advice from someone like me. I mean, it took me ten minutes to be able to switch on the dishwasher yesterday. For real.

Maybe if you come back to me in ten, or fifteen, or twenty years time I will have some profound words of wisdom to offer to you. Maybe by then I'll be some famous PR 'guru' (I hate that word with the fire of a thousand suns) who flies around the world consulting with mega brands. Maybe I'll be one of those nauseating women who thinks she's the only person in the history of the world to get married and reproduce, and therefore believes she's qualified to tell others how to conduct their marriages or raise their children (I'm pretty sure we're safe on this one, but you never know). To be perfectly honest with you, I don't mind what advice I'm qualified to give in twenty years time. I just hope I've got the hang of basic household appliances by then.

Because I am so woefully under-qualified to offer advice on any topic at all, I thought I'd borrow some from a woman who knows far more, and can express it far more eloquently than I will ever be able to. I first read the below when I was 16, and it stuck with me ever since - in bold you will find the lines that resonate strongly with me. My lovely readers, I give you Mary Schmich.

'Ladies and gentlemen of the class of '97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they've faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.
Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don't be reckless with other people's hearts. Don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Don't waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind. The race is long and, in the end, it's only with yourself.
Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don't congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.
Get to know your parents. You never know when they'll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They're your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you'll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair or by the time you're 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.'

With all my love, as always,
Lauren xxx

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Day 7

Day 7, Tuesday: The thing(s) you're most afraid of.
There was only one thing that immediately jumped to my mind when I read the subject of today's post. I mean sure, I have more than one fear.
I have all the usual ones, of course. I'm terrified of losing my family and friends, and I'm filled with a sense of awe when I look at those around me who have lost loved ones and still maintain some semblance of functionality. I don't think I could do it.
I'm scared of failing - something that links to yesterday's post. I'm scared of messing up, of not being able to do something. My self-esteem is fragile enough to find the thought of failure terrifying.
I'm scared that - God forbid - something bad will happen to me. That I'll leave the house one day and never come back. Not necessarily because of what that would mean for me - more because of those that are left behind. I'm scared that I won't get a chance to tell people how important they are. Also because it would mean my parents finding my bank statements, which I'm almost certain would give the pair of them a coronary on the spot.
I'm scared of ending up alone. Yes, I know I'm 22. Yes, I know that chances are this will not be the case. A lot of this fear in particular is down to my job and my own messed up neurosis. I'm in that dreadful post-breakup-except-it-wasn't-a-real-breakup-because-we-weren't-together stage where all I hear in any social situation is how I should already be out there dating new people. And I have been. I've been on a few dates. They were hideously tedious and awkward and not an experience I have any particular desire to repeat any time soon. I blame it on work being so time-consuming and energy sapping, but what if I always feel like that? And then what if, one day, I wake up and suddenly realise that I'm 48 and I've spent my entire life not bothering with people? That I'm actually dried up and alone with nothing to show for my efforts except my job? That is a thought that scares me. I spend quite a lot of my time worrying about that.
So yeah, all of those things scare me. But there is one thing that terrifies me above and beyond everything else.
Blindness. I am absolutely petrified of going blind.
This may seem slightly strange - allow me to elaborate. I have bad eyes - I have done since I was 12. Probably before, but that's when the headaches and squint got bad enough for me to end up at the opticians. For a while they gradually got worse, then the rate seemed to increase. It is now no longer a gradual decrease of visual field - it's become a hurtling descent into blindness. Every time I go to the opticians I get the concerned look as they pile higher and higher prescriptions in front of my face to find the one that actually allows me to see more than 30cm beyond the end of my nose. In the three months since my last contact lens check-up, my left eye has decreased by a further .25. Means nothing to a lot of you, but most people's decrease by less than that over the course of a year. If anything. Me? Three months. Three tiny, insignificant months.
Laser eye surgery is an option. Eventually. When I have the money. Right now I'm limited to contact lenses and glasses and getting good at reading the signs my body sends me. Twitch in the left eye? Time to head to the opticians again. Stomach-turningly severe headache radiating from the centre of my brain? Definitely time to head to the opticians again.
I don't want to go blind. More than anything else in the world, I can't bear the thought of going blind. Sometimes if I sit up too fast my left eye goes blank - apparently nothing to do with my eyesight and everything to do with me bolting out of bed and not allowing my blood a chance to circulate to important parts of my body, such as my brain - and I'm gripped with panic at the thought of it never coming back. I think I could handle almost anything else, but the thought of ending up in the dark truly terrifies me.
That and spiders. Ugh.
With love,
Lauren xxx


Monday, 6 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Day Six

Yes, alright, so I skipped day five. I'm sorry, ok!? I didn't like the topic and I was too sad and hungover and generally mean-spirited to write a love-post for anyone. Mostly I just wanted to eat my body weight in chocolate and rip out the eyeballs of every person that dared look at me funny. Needless to say I'm feeling better today, which leads me nicely to today's topic...

"If you couldn't answer with your job, how would you answer the question 'what do you do?'"

The answer to this one is quite simple really.

My best. I do my best.

I try my hardest, I give my everything. Sometimes that isn't enough - and that kills me. Sometimes things don't go my way, and that's hard. It's hard when things don't go your way anyway, but it's especially hard when you've thrown everything you have at it and it still doesn't work. It's a bitter pill to swallow, and it leaves you feeling wounded and insignificant and like nothing you do will ever be good enough. It leaves you feeling like you aren't enough.

Sometimes though, your best is enough. Sometimes throwing yourself into it is rewarded. Your efforts are acknowledged and praised, and you know that it was worth it. The hard work, the exhaustion, the hours of effort ploughed into a task or project, the fleeting bursts of resentment you felt at having to work so damn hard wither and die when confronted with a smile of gratitude, a word of thanks, some small gesture that lets you know what you did was noticed and appreciated. That it made a difference.

Does the good always outweigh the bad? No, not necessarily. I'm my own worst enemy, harshest critic, biggest saboteur. For me, the bad will always be far more potent than the good. That chest-crushing feeling of frustration and helplessness will always far outweigh the memories of jobs well done. I will always wonder why my best wasn't good enough. But I will also know that I gave it everything, that I threw all I had at it and that there was nothing else I could have done. I learn from the mistakes that I've made in the past, and I hope that one day my best will be better. And there's comfort to be taken from that

I do my best. It might not always be good enough, but it's what I always do.

With all my love,
Lauren x

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Slightly Belated Day Four

I know, I know, I missed yesterday....so will be making up for it today instead! I spent the whole day yesterday travelling up to Liverpool with my family and headed straight out in the evening to get food and party like its 1969 in the Cavern Club. It was probably one of the best nights I've had in a very long time - which my current hungover state can definitely attest to!

Anyway, onto day four...today's subject posed something of a problem for me, because I hand HUNDREDS of favourite quotes. I guess when you spend three years memorising quotes for essays and exams its inevitable that a few will stick with you! I'm also well known to be a complete sucker for nice words so things from songs, films and tv shows stick with me. Here are a few....

'Well don't you know that it's a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder.' - Hey Jude, The Beatles. Partly because its beautiful, but mostly because it reminds me of my mum.

'I like the night. Without the dark, we'd never see the stars.' - Stephenie Meyer, Twilight. Cringe I know but it reminds me that sometimes something bad has to happen, to help you appreciate all the wonderful things you do have.

'I have made the most important discovery of my career - the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you. You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons.' - A Beautiful Mind. Just because its so incredibly beautiful.

'Life is far too important a thing to ever talk seriously about.' - Oscar Wilde, Lady Lady Windermere's Fan. I think it's something we would all do well to remember from time to time.

'It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.' - J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Sometimes everyone gets so caught up in what it is they want to do, what they aspire to be, that they neglect to live now. I'm as guilty as anyone. This quote reminds me that it's fine to have aspirations and dreams but not at the cost of what we have and who we are in the here and now. Aim for the best there is and the best you can be, but make sure you enjoy the ride there.

With all my love, as always,
Lauren xxx

Friday, 3 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Day Three

When I read the topic of today's post I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about it. A lot of the things that make me uncomfortable would make no sense at all to other people. Chances are voicing them aloud would result in the swift arrival of the men in white coats. But then I thought, well that's a risk I take every time I open my mouth and speak, so why change the habit of a lifetime.

So, things that make me uncomfortable -

Having my hair tied up.
Shoes. Yes, really. I have weird shaped feet and shoes hurt me.
Bras. Pretty sure I'm not alone in this one - right ladies?!
Exercise. Because I don't care what any of you say, finding it that difficult to breathe definitely isn't good for me.
Posh people. They make me scared to speak.
Bad grammar. As long as we're now accepting 'uncomfortable' as a substitute for 'downright furious'.
No eye make-up. Because I have tiny piggy eyes. And yes, I know you're now looking at my photos and noticing it.
The entire Punk Goes 90s album. Don't ask.
Cherry Lambrini.
Jeans. I'm just too disproportionate.
People who bop along to their iPods on public transport. I'm sitting next to one right now. Like dude, sit fucking still.

What makes you uncomfortable?

Lauren xx

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May - Day 2

Day 2, Thursday: Educate us on something you know a lot about or are good at.
So, I made it to day 2. You're impressed, I can tell.
This is a challenge that I suspect will be very difficult for a lot of people. I'm imagining reams of posts all stating 'but there's nothing I'm good at'. And to be honest, that's exactly how I feel. Sure, there are things I'm ok at, but I've never really excelled at anything. I had decent grades and graduated with an ok degree, but nothing ground-breaking. I'm not terrible at my job but I wouldn't go around singing my own praises either. I can't dance, or sing, or draw, or take photographs, or any of that wonderful arty creative stuff. I can't even walk in heels without falling over.
So instead of what will inevitably be a painful and humiliating foray into my sad, empty, talentless life, I thought I'd take a further leaf out of Laura's book and share with you something that I do know.
This quote has been with my a lot recently. I'm at a stage - in my job, in my life - where I'm learning. Learning and adapting, and all I can do now is my best. And eventually I'll learn - I'll figure out better ways to do things, I'll learn new methods. I'll change, be different, be better.
So what am I good at now? Nothing, really. But the question is, what will I be good at one day?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Blog Every Day In May

So in typical Lauren fashion - I saw something, I thought it was cool, I decided to jump on the bandwagon. Precisely five minutes ago I spotted a link to my friend Laura's first 'Blog Every Day In May' post, and thought to myself...why the hell not!? Having previously stated that I will never be a consistent blogger, I know some of you may be rolling your eyes. And I am too, if I'm honest! I think having prescribed subjects will definitely help...I'd blog more often if I felt like anything I had to say was of any interest to anyone!

If you want to know more about the challenge you can find out here.

So, here goes.

Day 1, Wednesday: The story of your life in 250 words or less.
This is going to be a tough one. We all know 'concise' is not my strong point.
Ok, so that's me. Lauren Elizabeth Jones, first known as 'Baby Parle', born 15th September 1990 at Harold Wood Hospital weighing 8lbs 4.5oz. I was raised by my parents in a myriad of homes in Essex and London. In 1996 my little brother arrived, and in 1999 my parents separated and subsequently divorced.
I was not an easy teenager to raise. I went from a happy child to the demon bitch from hell, pretty much overnight. Throughout my teenage years there were fights, arguments, disappearing acts, inappropriate boyfriends and even run-ins with the police. In spite of all that, and to the frank disbelief of family and teachers, my grades were always very good. Knowing what I know now I’d say I was already suffering with depression – but that’s a story for another post.
Throughout this time I was ‘overweight’. By the time I finished my first term at uni in 2010 I was 0.4 BMI points shy of morbidly obese. Everything I have achieved between now and then is due to my decision to join Weight Watchers. The pictures here and in the sidebar speak a thousand words, but it’s still not enough to convey the effect that losing weight had. I was on the verge of leaving university, miserably unhappy, horribly unhealthy and starting the think ‘the bad thoughts’. Life isn’t all sunshine and butterflies now but it’s a world away from what it was. It sounds incredibly shallow to say that my life has been shaped by losing weight, but it’s true. Many of my closest friends I met through Weight Watchers. It led me into my current career. I think it’s fair to say that in one way or another, it shaped everything that happened between then and now.
293 words…close enough ;)
With all my love,
Lauren xx

Sunday, 21 April 2013

All Too Well.

My absence is...inexcusable, as always. I think I have finally come to accept that I will never be a 'proper' blogger. If you can find a way to work full time, blog 5+ times a week, have a social life and not be an emotionally exhausted wreck of a human being I salute you, but that is just never going to be me.

So what has been going on in my absence? Well I guess the main news is that we bid goodbye to the latest boy toy. I know right, that didn't last long. I have it down to a fine art. I do apologise in advance if this post all gets a bit angsty by the way - I will try to keep it as anti-emo cringe fest as is possible. But as I am a closet emo and am basically the cringiest person I know that could be tough.

Anyway. Another one bites the dust.

I would love to tell you that I was the epitome of a healthy, well adjusted, classy young woman when dealing with this turn of events. Of course, that would be a massive lie. The truth is I cried a fair bit (friends were horrified, I never cry), listened to a LOT of Taylor Swift, drank too much wine and went on a slutty rampage. I'm pure class, I know. Did it make me feel better? Briefly. Until I hit the post alcohol, post slutty rampage come-down and then I just felt kind of gross. It almost feels like I've had a three week hangover. A three week emotional hangover, after a four month emotional binge drinking session. To clarify, I'm a happy go lucky drunk who loves everyone and then falls asleep, not a violent and aggressive drunk who gets in fights and gets arrested. Although if I were that might go some way towards explaining my predicament. Anyway, I digress. My point is this - when you first meet someone you present yourself in a certain way, but over time inhibitions loosen and your guard slips a few inches. People get in, in the same way that alcohol soaks your system and persuades you that dancing on the table is actually a good idea. And it is a good idea - at the time. But the following morning you're lying in bed nursing a twisted ankle or a concussion or worse, and there's this sort of dull thudding ache where your liver used to be and your brain is rattling around your skull and your eyes feel like they're going to drop out of your head and you wonder to yourself - what the fuck was I thinking? Why have I done this to myself again? Sound familiar? Well, that's how I've felt for three weeks.

I know, I know, I'm way too young to be this cynical and jaded. The thing is, I'm simply going by experience here. I know that not ALL men are shits. Just like I know not all women are crazy psycho bitches (off the top of my head can't think of any that aren't but they must be out there, right?) I do know all that, really I do. But it's difficult to keep that in mind with the phrase 'not girlfriend material' still ringing in your ears.

And please...please do not misread this as a the whinging of a desperate girl who can't live without a boyfriend. That's not the case at all. I'm not one of these people who wants a relationship for the sake of having one. If that was the case then I probably would be in a relationship right now. I don't want a boyfriend just so I can say I have one. I just want to be treated with some respect. And in this instance, I haven't been. And that makes me angry.

You won't like me when I'm angry.

In seriousness. I'm ok. I'm not great, but I am ok. I'm sad and angry and hurt, but I'll get over it. The hardest part, as is the case in these situations, is trying to figure out why. My fragile little ego, that I've spent the last three years nurturing into something more than a quivering wreck, still isn't strong enough to withstand that sort of beating. Honestly, I'm not sure it ever will be. I think of how some people spend 10, 15, 20 years on the dating scene and I think...how!? How have you not drowned yourself in a vat of melted chocolate yet? How do you maintain the energy and enthusiasm? I've only been doing it five or six years and I'm already over it. I just want to curl up with a bar of Dairy Milk the size of a breeze block and watch Disney films and cuddle my cat. I know that's not a healthy attitude to have, nor is getting blind drunk and whoring myself out, so I have taken alternative action.

I've signed up for a 10k run.

Yes, you did read that correctly. And yes, I know how stupid it sounds. I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without passing out, how the hell I'm going to run 10k I will never know.

I decided to sign up for a few reasons really. I need a fitness goal, and by putting a date on it I can ensure that I will keep working hard to get there. I also wanted to do something to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis - you can read more about that here. Mostly I just need a distraction. Something to focus on that isn't my own neurosis. I figure the prospect of passing out from exhaustion halfway round a course should provide ample distraction from my fucked up love life. So there you have it.

Here it comes....the shameless plug for sponsorship. If you would like to sponsor me, you can do it via my JustGiving page. My fundraising target is modest because in honesty that was just an afterthought, and it seems somewhat cynical to beg for sponsorship when that wasn't my original motivation to start with. If you can afford to sponsor a couple of pounds then please do. If you can't, or you just don't want to - fair enough. I've closed plenty of sponsorship pages without entering my bank details before now too. Incidentally, I will be recording my progress with 10k training on here, when I can be bothered, because as previously established I'm a rubbish blogger. Keep your eyes peeled for hilarious anecdotes about blisters with their own gravitational pull and what are sure to be some fetching post exercise selfies.

You're excited, I can tell.

With all my love, as always,
Lauren xxxx

Monday, 25 March 2013

(Belated) Sunday Summary - 24/03

So has anyone else noticed a correlation between me being off work and blogging more? Apparently the only time I can maintain any level of blogging dedication is when I'm off sick, and as I don't plan to do that again for a while (partly because unwell is rubbish, but mostly because I had 450 emails in my inbox when I got back to work) you will just have to tolerate my higgledy piggledy mish-mash of blog posts. Sorry!

This week has been cray-cray busy. In fact, all my weeks seem to be cray-cray busy. I'm torn between loving it, loving what I do, loving the cool office and the brilliant colleagues and the interesting work and being able to say 'I'm in PR', and this overwhelming sense of panic. The weeks and months are whizzing by in a blur of stress and panic about missed deadlines, emails I haven't replied to and a to-do list as long as my arm and there are days, like today, when I wonder at what point it stops being ok? When does it stop being a job and turn into an obsession? I never expected to have a job that I like. In my world, work is what you do to put food on the table and occasionally pay for something more extravagant. A holiday, or a new car. Both my parents have always worked, but I've never been led to believe that they work because they want to. They work because they have to, because they have kids to feed and mortgages to pay. So firstly, for me to have a job that I like and enjoy is a novelty. For me to have a job that I like and enjoy and that takes up so much of my time and puts me under such a lot of pressure and I still enjoy it...well, that's gobsmacking. And scary. Three months have passed in a blink of an eye and I'm slightly scared that I'm forgetting how to have a life outside of work. Never was this fear more pronounced than this evening, after having spent a solid 11 hours at my desk without making a dent in my to-do list. It's a balance I need to find. I'll get there. Eventually. I hope.

So anyway, apart from minor nervous breakdowns, what else have I been up to this week?

Finally jumping on The Hunger Games bandwagon. I read all three in a week and am now re-reading...don't judge me, I have a long commute and need diversions!

My first Twitter party at work - image by Vanesa Guallar
 A boozy night in London with my (one of) my favourite ex-housemates. This was shortly before he spilled an entire glass of red wine in my lap. Bless him.
A snowy pilgrimage to Leicester to visit the boy, who has recently returned from his slightly more impressive pilgrimage to the Sudan. I will be spending my Easter weekend sampling the delights of Leicestershire (read: sleeping for solid twelve hour periods and letting him cook for me) - I can only hope its slightly warmer by then, although I doubt it.
What have you been up to this week?
All my love,
Lauren xxx

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Sunday Summary 17/03

This week started so well - there was promise of exciting days and nights out and lots of new things and places for me to write (brag) about. That lasted until approximately 10am on Monday, and things went rapidly downhill from there. After suffering all week with whatever cold/flu like virus is currently doing the rounds, I woke up on Thursday morning with pains running across my chest and upper back. A quick call to NHS Direct later - my mother's idea, I only came down to ask for some pain killers - and we were on our way to A&E - for some reason the words 'chest pain' and 'history of heart problems' (albeit not in the last 21 years) sends everyone into a tizzy, even though I told them I was fine. Four hours in A&E later and I had been poked, prodded and jabbed with needles by two triage nurses, two final year medical students and a doctor and was merrily sent on my way with no more idea what the problem was than when I arrived. The hospital may be Basildon's finest (!!) but the doctor was not, and while he was perfectly friendly and I'm sure he knew exactly what he was doing, well....I couldn't understand a bloody word he was saying. He handed me a prescription for whatever ailment he decided I had and I just about deciphered the words 'see your GP' and then off I went...still in some pain but mostly just relieved to be going home. I told the NHS Direct nurse I was fine.

Fortunately I had no problem understanding my GP when I saw him on Friday. He poked me in the ribs a couple of times (what is it with medical professionals and poking? It wouldn't kill them to be a bit gentler, surely?) listened to my chest for about three seconds and cheerily announced that I have a chest infection and I've 'pulled something' during a coughing fit. No big deal.

And that, more or less, has been my week. Dinner and drinks with a friend on Thursday and a lovely belated Mother's Day outing on Saturday were both cancelled so I could putrefy on the sofa. All my good intentions about going to the gym were scuppered and my boredom at being stuck in the house with nothing to do just made me want to eat all the things. The week was partially saved by a trip to my Nan's...although I can't say the same for my weight loss efforts after we had a huge Indian takeaway last night followed by a mammoth roast this afternoon. I will literally never be skinny.

Someone, please, tell me about your exciting week so I can know there is still joy in the world?

Lauren x

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Hairy W***ers Spanish Chicken

Ok, so I'm just going to come out and say it.

I don't like the Hairy Bikers. And I especially don't like them now they're all 'look how skinny we are' Hairy Dieters. Blah.

I've always found them irritating. Now I find them irritating and smug. The only good thing about them is their food. And their beards.

See, here's the thing...their food is awesome. Since the Hairy Dieters recipe book graced our kitchen I'd say we've had more yummy, different, and relatively healthy meals than we have in a long time previously. I say relatively healthy, because most of these are cooked by my mum, and she's not so much about the weighing and measuring. She's more of a 'lets just chuck it in and see what happens' kind of a gal - one of the reasons trying to keep track of my evening meals is an effing nightmare.

Unfortunately I can't blame my mother for this meal being slightly naughtier than Dave and Si intended, as it was prepared by my own fair hands - on Mothering Sunday no less. You see, I was all for knocking up a traditional Sunday roast, but here's the thing. Nobody's roast is every going to top Mum's, is it? Actually that's a lie. Nobody's roast is ever going to top my Nan's, with my mother's coming in at a close second. Actually probably joint second with my stepmum's. Anyway, the sentiment remains the same - my roast dinner skills are way down on the list of yumminess and the idea of opening myself up to the 'Lauren cooked a rubbish roast' humiliation is not something I relish. So I went Espanol a la Hairy Bikers.

Spanish Style Chicken (inspired by the Hairy Bikers, made more fattening by me)

Serves 4

You will need -

8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (naturally I didn't bother with the skinning and boning, because...well those are the best bits. Hence this recipe being slightly (a lot) more fattening than the bearded ones intended)
75g chorizo, skinned and sliced
500g new potatoes, halved or quartered depending on how big they are
3 peppers, whatever colour you fancy - I used green and yellow - deseeded and sliced into strips
Tomatoes - the recipe calls for 8 medium ones quartered, I just used a 300g pack of cherry tomatoes and whacked them in whole
Two onions, preferably one red and one white, cut into wedges.
8 garlic cloves, peeled
Sweet smoked paprika (quantity to be confirmed later)
Dried oregano (again, quantity to be confirmed)
Sea salt and black pepper
Olive Oil, preferably in the form of a spray but bottle is fine too
One large baking tray

Preheat your oven - 200 for fans, 180 or gas mark 6 for gas
Whack the chorizo, potatoes, peppers, onions, tomatoes and garlic into the baking tray and mix up so its all evenly distributed. At this point I sprayed over some olive oil, but it wasn't necessary as the juices from the chicken, chorizo and veg are definitely sufficient. Sprinkle over 1 tsp of paprika and another or oregano. Season well with black pepper and a little salt (the chorizo is quite salty anyway) and turn so everything is well covered. Here's one I made earlier -

Now, onto the chicken. The original recipe calls to cook the veg for a while first, then place the chicken on top and season....I tried that the first time and found the veg ended up overcooked (I like mine to still have a bite) and kind of bland, hence the adjustments. So, anyway. Season veg and chorizo, then set aside while you sort out the chicken.

I made a rub with a little olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, some more black pepper and some paprika and oregano. Rub a little of this all over each of the chicken thighs (yours will be skinless because you are better people than me) and then place on top of the veg.

Like so - kind of like a giant pie with chicken as the pastry. Mmm, pie.

Place in the oven for around 45 minutes to an hour. Check the chicken is cooked through before serving. When it looks like this (and your house smells like a tapas restaurant) then it's probably done -

We served it with a little savoury rice and some garlic bread - remember to work out the additional ProPoints values or calories for these if you choose to have them!

Including the olive oil (which could easily be omitted if you want to lower the points) this recipe works out the be 14 ProPoints per serving. If you followed Dave and Si's recipe to the letter it'd probably be less. Oh well.

Disclaimer - my family like things hot. If you're not a fan of spice, cut back on the paprika.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

If At First You Don't Succeed, Try Try Try Try Try Again.

I mentioned in my last post that I'm not really losing at the moment, but that I'd like to be. I find it all too easy to slip into bad habits, particularly at the moment when my oh-so-wonderful habits of my university days are so far behind me. It's been a long time since I've been properly on track - my week normally consists of a couple of good days, followed by four or five terrible ones. And repeat. Going to weigh in at meetings wasn't helping - I think its more the actual meeting that helps me stay on track, rather than the getting weighed part. With my job keeping me at work late regularly and my current 'joint custody' weekend set-up with the boy-toy, committing to a meeting is practically impossible. Instead of paying for a service I can't get to with any regularity I've instead cancelled my monthly pass (the money is going towards a gym membership instead) and have joined forces with Elinor and Sarah in the hope that having someone who I'm regularly in contact with will help keep me on track. The girls and I have been chatting all week and I've found it's helped me to not completely freak out and stuff my face at every opportunity, even with three meals out. One of which included a starter. One of which included dessert. One of which included both. And a baileys latte. And two cocktails and half a bottle of wine. But let's not dwell on that.

By some miracle I managed to lose 2lbs this week in spite of all that - don't ask me why, I cannot for the life of me figure it out but I'm certainly not complaining. All three of us weighed ourselves this morning and lost a total of 6lbs between us - Elle's 3lb loss took her to a total loss of 6st and her lowest ever weight, so go show her some love and congrats on twitter or her blog.
Anyway, my nothing-short-of-miraculous weight loss has spurred me on and given me some motivation to actually make more of an effort this week. Even though I have a dinner on Thursday and a late Mothers Day trip to London planned for this weekend, there's no reason I shouldn't be able to behave myself the rest of the time. Despite the last couple of days of wintry weather (seriously England, what is up with you at the moment?!) I am very aware that spring and summer are fast approaching and being the fat chick in the too-tight shorts is so not what its about. I have a wardrobe full of clothes from last summer, when I was about a stone lighter, and I'd quite like for them to fit and look nice again this summer. That's the plan anyway. I'm removing myself from the temptation of my mothers cooking by taking over my own dinners and trying to avoid the temptation to blow out at lunch time just because my colleagues are going somewhere I quite fancy. I fully appreciate that this will go completely out the window when I go to Leicester next weekend and end up matching half a rugby team drink for drink and then scoffing sausage and chips on the way back...lets hope that being good in the meantime will counteract that at least a little bit!

Have you weighed in yet this week? How did you get on?

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Sunday Summary 10/03

Hi, my name is Lauren...you might remember me, I used to blog around here from time to time...no? Well, that's ok. It's been a while.

I know, I know, I'm rubbish at this blogging malarkey. So much so, I have so much to catch you up on that this will be less of a 'look what I did this week' post, and more of a 'look what I've done in 2013 so far' post. And on that note, welcome to the first Sunday Summary on A Little Less of Lauren. I'm hoping that by having a scheduled weekly post that is expected by my lovely readers, I'll be more likely to sort my life out and actually post something. Well, that's the plan anyway.

First off, lets address the elephant on the blog (me) (just kidding) (but not really)....there isn't actually a little less of me. That being said, there isn't any more of me either. I seem to be holding steady around 13st 12lb at the moment, which is about 20lbs heavier than I'd like to be but isn't the end of the world. I'm wearing 12-14s and while I'd like to be a consistent size 12 and have a bit more fitness and bit less thigh, life is pretty much all good. I think the only reason I've managed to 'maintain' at this weight rather than pile on the pounds is due to my good behaviour during the day (most of the time). Work is so busy that snacking isn't really an option, and while lunch is a potential landmine (we have a big 'going out for lunch' culture in the office, which is not conducive to a healthy waistline or purse) I'm normally pretty good. The evenings are a different story, but in an attempt to combat that and drop the last stone and a half I have now taken over the menus at home and have *gulp* rejoined the gym. I'll let you know how it goes!

So what else has been happening in the life of me? Well as I'm sure you've all seen by now, I have now stepped down from Team Where Are My Knees?. There were several reasons for this really. Firstly I'm not actually losing weight or doing any kind of fitness regime at the moment, so posting 'I stayed the same' week after week with not much else to add seemed a bit pointless. It also made me feel the need to make excuses, when in reality I don't need to. Truth is losing weight is not top of my list of priorities at the moment. I am, for the most part, happy with where I am now. Of course I would like to lose more, tone up, get fit and all that noise, but I don't have that driving desire to do it right this very second. Until I do, its not going to happen. The other big reason I decided to take a step away from Where Are My Knees? is because of my job. Not only does it take up a lot of my time and energy (honestly, I don't know how people manage full-time jobs, relationships, children and blogging, I can barely cope with one) but it also affiliates me very strongly with Weight Watchers. Where Are My Knees? works with a lot of different weight loss and fitness plans and it wouldn't have been wholly appropriate for me to be affiliated with X through a blog, when I work with Y. I was both a pleasure and privilege to be part of Where Are My Knees?, and I loved being part of the team. The girls and Chris have kindly agreed to have me back for guest posts from time-to-time, so when I have something weight-loss related to post about I will dropping them all a line.

Life, otherwise, has been pretty much amazing. Work is wonderfully manic and stressful (if that's even a real thing). I've always had jobs that have kept me busy, but unlike previously this job actually challenges me and I'm noticing more and more how I'm picking things up and learning things as I go along. I work on some pretty big clients, each one extremely different to the others, so no two days are ever the same. Both my close colleagues and other people within the company are all lovely and its genuinely a really nice place to work. I'm aware that I'm bragging a little bit now, and I would hate to be one of those insufferable 'look at how amazing my job is' types but...well, it is. My evenings, especially over the last couple weeks (since pay day) have consisted of various drinks and meals out with friends and family. Unfortunately I'm a terrible blogger and am crap at taking pictures, but I've been spending money and consuming an excessive number of calories with my parents and extended family, the lovely Laura who I worked with at DK, my good friend Jack and the wonderful Sophie. I'm especially sad Sophie and I didn't get any pictures of our evening of cocktails and pizza - we were both looking pretty fit that night ;)

As for my weekends...they have, for the most part, consisted of a lot of time spent in Leicester. You see, there's a boy. He has a horribly inconvenient job that means he currently resides in the midlands. I shouldn't grumble, because a) he used to work in Chile, which is a lot further away than Leicester, and b) Leicester is super-duper cheap and makes a refreshing change for my poor London-battered bank account. I mean, as if we got a large glass of wine and a big bottle of Bulmers for £7 the other day. I would've paid £9.50 just for the wine in London and thought myself lucky for getting change of a tenner.

Anyway, the boy-type...I have spent the last few weeks debating whether or not to mention him on here. I kind of feel like mentioning someone new on your blog is a bit of a danger zone. It's almost like introducing them to your family (which I haven't yet, because I quite like this one and my family terrifies even me...I'm not entirely sure he'd survive an encounter with my mother. Particularly if she's had a glass or two of wine.) To me, at least, acknowledging the presence of someone in your life in writing, on the internet, for the world and his uncle to see, signifies a certain level of commitment that I'm not sure actually exists...but it felt fake and a bit sordid to completely gloss over the entire thing in a 'here's what I've been up to' post when that's what I've been doing most weekends since the end of December. So anyway, yeah. There it is. Out there for the world to see. Now I'm scared. As previously discussed, I don't really do relationships in the traditional sense...this is all very new and different for me and I wasn't really expecting it. Its really horribly inconvenient given everything else going on at the moment. I mean, surely a new job is enough stress, without throwing this into the mix too? I'm not entirely sure where, if anywhere, things are going yet...and if I'm honest, I'm not entirely sure how I feel about not being sure. The control freak in me wants an itinerary of what's happening and when, in any given situation, but I'm trying not to let my own psychosis dictate things too much. Yes, this is me trying to be normal. I'll keep you posted on whether or not it works.

So, that's this week's Sunday Summary and that's been my life for the last few weeks. I wish I had some pretty pictures to add to it all, but as previously mentioned I'm generally a bit of a shit blogger so this is what you're getting. What have all you been up to? I hope all the yummy mummys out there have had a day of being spoiled, and that everyone else has had a wonderful weekend!

All my love,

Monday, 11 February 2013

All These Little Things

In lieu of an actual 'progress' update, I thought I'd hop on the bandwagon (admittedly I'm rather late to the party, but never mind) with one of these - 30 Facts about little old me. Some of these you may already know, some may be a surprise...none of them will be particularly groundbreaking because...well...I'm pretty boring.

  1. I'm just over 5 feet 11 inches in height. When I was a kid I loved being tall, then I hit 14 and got interested in boys and they were all half my size. That was a dark time.
  2. I have always been and probably will always be my own worst critic. 
  3. My parents divorced when I was 9 and have since both met new partners. I always thought that I was ok with this - with hindsight, I wasn't. My wild teenage years are a pretty strong indicator of this.
  4. I have extremely poor eyesight and wear contact lenses all the time - from the moment I wake up to just before I close my eyes to sleep. I have done since I was 14.
  5. I cry all the time, but never in front of other people. Books, films, tv shows, music, adverts, anything really. There is rarely a day goes by when I don't well up about something or another. Considering the amount of eye makeup I wear, this is a problem.
  6. I have a pronounced dimple on my right thigh from when one of my immunisations as a baby went wrong.
  7. When I was a kid I genuinely believed I would be getting a letter from Hogwarts on my 11th birthday. I'm still waiting - I can only assume my owl got lost.
  8. Further to that, I've read each of the Harry Potter books at least eight times. I still cry at the end of each one.
  9. I stand by my opinion that baked beans are a vegetable.
  10. I'm allergic to exercise. (I'm lazy.)
  11. The scar above my left eye is from a 'stone war' that took place outside my Nan's flat when I was five. One of the bigger boys threw half a brick at me. We lived in East London, what can I say.
  12. My brother is five years and ten months younger than me. To this day I'm still devastated that he wasn't a girl.
  13. I changed my degree four times before settling on English and American Literature.
  14. I'm currently working in Public Relations, a feat that seems quite astounding as I'm socially awkward at the best of times.
  15. When I lost weight, my feet shrank. I went from a size 8-9 to a 7. And promptly spent an obscene amount of money on new shoes.
  16. I refuse to watch the last fifteen minutes of Remember Me. Too sad.
  17. I consider it a sign of my parents' success at raising me that my iPod is filled with The Beatles, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Paul Weller, Abba and various other 60s/70s/80s brilliance from their childhood and youth.
  18. I still have a tongue piercing, even though I haven't worn a bar in it for almost two years.
  19. When I was first born, the nurse took me to be weighed and I slipped out of her hands. She didn't drop me, but I still have nightmares and wake up thinking I'm falling even now.
  20. I've been known to eat peanut butter straight from the jar with a spoon. Which doesn't sound too bad, until I tell you it was the whole jar and that it was the only thing I ate that day.
  21. I'm completely terrified by the fact that all my friends know exactly what they're doing and where they're going, and I still don't have a clue.
  22. I'm the most accident prone person I know. I once broke my ankle just walking down the street.
  23. My favourite book changes on a regular basis. At the moment it's Silver Linings Playbook.
  24. I have a mole on my right nipple. No, you can't see it. Perverts.
  25. The majority of the liquids I consume are brown and full of caffeine. Those that aren't are red and full of alcohol.
  26. I pretend that I'm really cynical, but I'm actually a typical mushy girl who likes bags carried, doors held open and jackets offered. Don't tell anyone though, you'll ruin my street cred.
  27. The best essay grade I ever got was for a piece of work started at 2am on the morning it was due.
  28. I know every word to the full-length version of Don McLean's 'American Pie'. Even without the music.
  29. I once played an instrumental part in making a tourist at the Tower of London cry, after she scratched me and the Yeoman Warder on duty threatened to have her arrested for assaulting a member of staff.
  30. I have an irrational hatred for Ashley Cole.
That was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be. I can only conclude that I am either an exceptionally boring person or....no, that's it. I'm boring.

Did you do one of these? Link me up if so! 

Lauren xxx

Sunday, 3 February 2013


I seem to be something of a fair-weather blogger recently (read: the whole time I've been blogging). I don't mean to be. In fact every day I promise myself I'm going to come home and blog something, anything, but it just never seems to happen. I think part of the problem is the fact that I've put myself in too much of a niche. I feel like I should only blog when I have something weight loss related to talk about, and the fact of the matter is at the moment I'm not losing weight. Ergo I feel like I have nothing of note to talk about. This becomes doubly problematic when I actually write for another blog that is specifically about weight loss. I feel like a bit of a fraud when all my fellow WAMK-ers are dropping the pounds and spending hours a day in the gym, and here I am all like 'I stayed the same this week.'

Because the reality of the matter is, I am staying the same. At the moment I'm hovering somewhere between 13st 7lbs and 14st (that number makes me feel sick), so about a stone to two stone above where I need to be and roughly where I've been at since my birthday in September. I saw 2013 in at 13st 12lb - the exact same weight I was when I saw in 2012. In late April I was 12st 9lbs - exactly 100lbs lighter than I was once upon a time. I lost over a stone very quickly in the first four months of 2012, and spent the following 8 months regaining it. Which is horrible, depressing, humiliating because I swore to myself that I wouldn't be that girl. I didn't ever want to be the girl that was all 'look at me, look at all the weight I've lost and how goddamn fabulous I am', only to get fat again. And yet, here I am.

And you'd think, you'd think that that would be enough. Enough for me to get my arse in gear and do something about it. But is it? Apparently not.

You see, half the problem is that I don't hate the way I look now. To some people 14st may sound huge - in fact even to me it sounds pretty damn up there - but what you have to remember is I'm 5'11. Even at almost 20st, I was only (!!) a size 20-22. At my current weight I'm a size 12-14. While I'm not as comfortable in a body con dress as I was a stone or so lighter, I don't dread getting ready to go out or find excuses not to go shopping like I did before. But that's not to say I'm happy with the way things are.

I know what you're all thinking. Anyone who gets their kit off on the internet for the world and his uncle to see has to have a fair amount of confidence, right? Well, yes and no. There's a whole world of difference between posing in front of a webcam and actually being in any state of undress in front of another real life person. Or being dressed in front of another real life person, for that matter. I can give it the big I-am and hide behind my laptop but much as I would like to live my entire life online, I do actually have to be a human being sometimes. I have to go out, I have to socialise, I have to (shock horror gasp) go on dates sometimes, all this I have to do with other human beings and while I'm not living in a constant fear of not fitting in a cinema seat or of having some other terrible fat person related incident, I'm not feeling my best. I'm not as confident or as happy in myself as I could be, or was even a few short months ago. With other things going on in my life right now (having a new job to name but one, as well as several others that are either unofficially embargoed or too sensitive for discussion on this blog at the moment), I really want to be feeling good in myself, and right now I just don't. And the thing is, its not even solely physical. Of course that plays a big part in it, but more than anything else its hating that feeling of not being able to control it. I hate feeling defined by what I can and can't eat - and the feelings of guilt that come with it. I'm a young women who is reasonably attractive and possesses a modicum of intelligence and wit - going for lunch should not be the cause of so much stress.

So what am I going to do about this?

I could sit here and type a load of babble about how good I'm going to be, about all the 5am runs I'm going to go on over the next few weeks, but the fact of the matter is I'm not going to get up at 5am to go running. Ever. And I'm not going to go when I get home either, as currently my home-time is anywhere between 7.30 and 9pm and the thought of having to do a full 9+ hours at work and then come home and workout is soul destroying. Although weirdly the thought of doing 9 hours at work and then going to the pub is totally ok. I'm not going to pass on going to the pub with colleagues and make a social hermit of myself, because that's not real life.

What I am going to do is admit that this is causing me a problem. I'm going to admit that I'm struggling with this. My resolution for 2013 was to be more honest - and that includes admitting that I'm not ok. When I was still at uni I was in a really good habit of 'fessing up when I had something that wasn't technically on the plan. Sometimes I would own up even before it had happened. I would text one of the girls and say 'Massively craving X' or 'Would kill for Y right now'. When I moved home I got out of that habit and I miss it. It kept me accountable and gave me a chance to stop and assess whether or not I actually wanted it. It gave them a chance to say 'think of weigh-in' or sometimes, quite simply, 'use your weeklies for it' and then that was that. Either I decided I didn't want it, or I had it and pointed it. Easy. Done. I need to get back to that. That will involve assaulting my friends with 'I want chocolate' texts approximately 18 times a day, but they're going to have to live with it. I know they have jobs and degrees to study for, but my chocolate intake is more important than that. Obviously.

I'm really not sure what I'm trying to achieve with this post. I have no groundbreaking revelations or promises to be made. I don't do 'not ok' very well - in fact I'd more or less go to the ends of the Earth before having any remotely difficult conversations. So you can understand that its hard for me to own up to this. I do a very good job of putting up a wall and hiding anything unpleasant behind it. The rest of the world thinks I'm fine, and in the meantime I drive myself insane thinking of the worst case scenario.

Did anyone else experience this? Did any of you guys lose your direction during your weight loss and struggle to get back on track? If anyone has any advice or motivation that you think might help then please comment or email me with suggestions - I want to hear what worked for you!

All my love,
Lauren xxx