Tuesday, 19 August 2014

PAULA'S STAGES OF DIETING . . .

As you all probably know about me, I am a bit of an enthusiastic "dieter". Well, sort of.

Here is the constant cycle I go through. I'm sure some of you can identify . . .

1. LET'S START A NEW DIET!!!
Diet means healthy (disclaimer: I know it does not necessarily mean this). Healthy means good. Good means acquiring the abs of Britney Spears when she's not mainlining junk food and the bum cheeks of Kylie Minogue in the "Spinning Around" era. Yes. I am going to do this. I am I am I am.

2. THE PLANNING STAGE
This is the bit I love the most. I love the internet, I love googling the different types of diet going, what the best way to exercise and lose the most weight is this week . . . I love looking at Instagram for inspiration. I like reading diet and fitness magazines. I especially like to do all of the planning while enjoying a bottle of wine and some pizza. And maybe some chocolate too while I'm at it. Because I'm OBVIOUSLY not going to be allowed any of these once I hit Dietsville.

3. EATING ALL THE BAD STUFF
This follows on logically from step 2. The bad stuff has got to go before I start the diet. It's got to go . . . in my stomach. Of course.

4. DAY 1
It all starts so well . . .I'm totally prepared and eager to get started. My breakfast has been made the night before, I chop up salad ingredients for lunch in the morning, I've allowed myself extra time to get the food prepared, if I'm REALLY organised I've even updated the calorie intake for breakfast and lunch into My Fitness Pal before I actually EAT anything. I'm good to go for the day.

5. THE FIRST HURDLE
Of course, my first day of a diet will almost always coincide with a colleague bringing in some sort of amazing home-made treat, or my favourite type of sweet in the world ever (I swear it's a conspiracy). It will also usually coincide with me having either an a) incredibly stressful day or b) an incredibly boring day both of which will make me want to eat junk. It also usually coincides with the unexpected arrival of my period. If I resist this treat, it's a miracle. If I give in, it's an early exit straight back to stage one to start planning (and eating junk) all over again in preparation of the next attempt. On the first day of my diet though, I'm generally pretty good. I'm feeling motivated. I'm thinking "this time I'm going to make it work", that I'm going to make my gym bunny sister jealous of MY stomach muscles instead of the other way around . . . I can beat the temptation. Go me. I AM STRONG!!!

6. HOMETIME
Off I go home, all ready to make a healthy meal. Two hours later I have dirtied pretty much every dish in my kitchen, and am actually so tired I can barely be bothered to EAT whatever healthy "mush" I have spent my leisure time creating. And why is my newly-emptied bin already full? Why does healthy eating involve so many dishes and so much RUBBISH???

7.BEDTIME
I must have a treat before I go to bed. Even if I've managed to stay good all day, I always need something at night, it's like rewarding myself for being good all day! (You KNOW it makes sense.) I try and force myself not to overdo it though. I congratulate myself for being good and go to bed. Where I can't sleep properly because my stomach won't stop growling at me.

8. REPEAT STEPS 4 TO SEVEN ON A DAILY BASIS UNTIL . . .
I step on the scale and realise I've lost no weight yet. (This is usually day 4 maximum and, yes, I know I have massively unrealistic expectations). Also realise I have no clean dishes or Tupperware left and therefore I should have chips and cheese for lunch followed by whatever treat is in work that day, followed by a pizza for dinner and a bottle of sauvignon blanc. Or two. Weigh myself the next day with trepidation only to discover I've actually lost two pounds since the day before. Decide dieting is silly and I should just stick to everything in moderation. Which obviously means eat EVERYTHING ALWAYS. Put weight back on, feel depressed and decide "Oooh, I know, I should go on a diet! What diet should I go on? What exercise should I do? Oooh, let's get planning.... where's that cava???"

9. REPEAT STEPS 1 TO 8 . . . OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

Ah, fuck it. There's wine in the fridge. . . ;-)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

MORE MCSHABBY THAN MCPHABBY...

I rarely complain about bad service. Even when it is REALLY bad. I'm not the confrontational type. I don't like to cause a scene.

But this time, I can't hold my peace, because what I was subjected to last night was ludicrous.

I've been a fan of the pub McPhabbs for years. We used to nip up for lunch on a Friday regularly years back, and I would occasionally be there for a night out and I always loved it. But I don't think I've been there for a good couple of years. Anyway, it was me and the boyfriend's 9 month anniversary last night, and we decided to go for dinner there after a couple of drinks at a work leaving night.

I was really looking forward to it. The menu had changed since I'd been last and I already had planned what I was going to have for my starter and main by the time my boyfriend booked it through a restaurant booking website. Mushrooms to start, and then the mac and cheese and chips. I was even talking about how much I was looking forward to the meal as we walked up there just before seven. Anyways . . .

I'd also had a pretty shitty and stressful week, working eight plus hour days from Tuesday to Thursday, and had been in work in 8am on Friday, so this gave me an extra big reason to look forward to dinner. It was booked for 7pm and I only came out of a last-minute meeting at 4.15ish so we headed up to the leaving night in Rockus and were there for about quarter to five.

Three drinks later, it was about quarter to seven, so we left Rockus to head for dinner. Now, some of you readers know me in real life and you know this: three drinks does not make me drunk. Three drinks in and I'm pretty much the same I am sober. This is not a boast. If anything, it is a little frustrating that I am not a cheap date. So when I left Rockus, I was in the same state that I had arrived in. Remember this for later.

So we got to McPhabbs, and were lead to the reserved table. A different dude came up to serve us. We had a free drink with our two course dinner deal, but the boyfriend had asked if we could possibly upgrade this to a bottle and pay for the extra. This was swiftly (and not politely) rebuffed. That would have been fair enough though. I think both of us would have understood that.

What happened next is actually one of the most appalling and humiliating acts of bad customer service I have ever been party to.

This guy then starts interrogating me as to how many drinks I have had. At this point, I think the only thing I've probably said is what colour of wine I want. I said three, wondering immediately why I'm being treated like it's midnight and I'm in the queue at the Garage trying to get my story straight. He informs me I am SLURRING MY WORDS and that I can have my drink as part of the deal but that's it. As far as he's concerned, that's it. He then stalks off self-righteously.

I already felt humiliated and spoken-down to. I am 34 years old and have NEVER been spoken to like that in a place where I am (or would have been) a paying customer. I think the fact that I was quite patently NOT drunk added to the humiliation - had I been drunk I would have probably just have meekly accepted the fact that I was drunk and taken that last drink and ate dinner. However, I felt really upset and embarrassed that I was being picked on for no reason . . . so when the boyfriend suggested we left, I agreed. So we left. I got about ten steps away and then my anger kicked in. I decided to go back but my boyfriend had the same anger creeping in so he went instead. Which makes sense. I am so bad at confrontation and I was so angry and upset that I was shaking and on the verge of tears... I would not have been able to provide a coherent argument.

So the boyfriend went back and spoke to the guy... but to no avail. I obviously was not party to the conversation... but it seems like my boyfriend was speaking to a rude brick wall. He came back even more annoyed, we decided to go elsewhere and booked a table at Roastit Bubbly Jocks in Dumbarton Road instead. Lovely food, and I was permitted wine without any arsy-ness. Result!

I still remain angry though... let me re-iterate the points.

I had THREE drinks beforehand. I wasn't drunk. I was there for DINNER. I actually didn't even mind that much about the alcohol, but I resent being spoken to like I'm either an alcoholic or a child. The man's customer service was appalling. You do not speak to customers like that. I was not making any sort of scene either. And someone pointed out to me on twitter today, some people have conditions which mean they DO slur their words. So to humiliate me on THAT basis (if anything this now makes me paranoid I have a speech impediment I was not previously aware of) is actually borderline discrimination.

McPhabbs was a place I really liked, which I had fond memories of. However, it has now been tainted for me. There are plenty of amazing places in Glasgow, with amazing food and amazing customer service, and the service we were shown for that five minutes we were in there last night was completely below par. I won't be back there.

I've been compiling a post about good places to go for food in Glasgow which should be up in the next few days. This will NOT be making the cut. Well done!

UPDATE. After I posted this, a fellow blogger re-tweeted my link to it, copying in McPhabbs. They contacted me directly to ask for further information but, a month on, I still haven't heard anything further.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

CORFU IN PICTURES . . .

Earlier last month I was on the Greek island of Corfu, in the beautiful peaceful little resort of Kalami. It was absolutely beautiful and I would thoroughly recommend a visit if you ever get the chance.

Here's a couple of fun facts about Corfu:

  • Despite its beauty, it tends to be one of the cheapest options when it comes to booking a holiday, at least from the UK. (Greek islands often are)
  • As it's closer to Albania than Greece, it's actually a ridiculously short flight from the UK, if you aren't a big fan of long flights like myself. It ended up being just over 3 hours which compared to nearer to five hours to the other Greek Islands I've been to, or to the Canary Islands, is pretty damn short.
  • The flight times are relatively normal compared to the other Greek islands I've been to. We had an early morning flight out and a lunchtime flight back. The last Greek island I visited was Zante back in 2010 and our late flighttimes drove me nuts . . . having to leave at six am on a Monday morning after having to check out of our room at midday the previous day was exhausting!
Anyway, whether you like it or not, here are some pictures from my trip. :-)



 
















Don't worry, if you're experiencing holiday envy with my pictures from Paris and now Corfu, there's no need to panic... this weekend I am visiting the far more exotic climes of BLACKPOOL, so the pictures may not be quite so pretty. You never know though... my phone camera IS pretty good. ;-)

Have you ever been to Corfu?

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

GYM BUNNY BOX . . .

"Motivational confetti", for packing


I like a little project. Especially present-related ones. Especially when they let me do some colouring-in (Yes, I'm a big kid at heart.) So when I get a crafty present idea in my head I like to embrace it. I've made several friends scrapbooks in the past, and then of course who could forget the time I made a mix-tape CD for my boyfriend as a Valentine's gift?!? (I don't know how I'm ever going to better that gift, I really don't.)

So when my sister's birthday rolled around earlier this month, I decided to make her gift into a bit of a project too. She's really into the gym so I decided to make her a themed box of gym-related presents!

It took me a while to decide what presents to actually buy to put in the box, but I had a couple of ideas. The box ended up holding the following:

Cafepress top
  • Red padlock (I know, it sounds boring. I wanted to get her a really cool padlock for using at the gym lockers but apparently, there's no such thing! It's definitely an untapped market as far as I'm concerned. A plain bright red one had to suffice.) (Ebay is your best bet for these.)
  • A zebra print popband. (I'm a big fan of these hair accessories, and my sister is a big fan of animal print. Their customer service is also pretty spot-on - I didn't receive my delivery first time around and they sent me out a new package as soon as I let them know, no questions asked.)
  • A selection of protein bars. (These aren't cheap so I figured she'd appreciate this.)
  • Jillian Michael - Yoga Meltdown [DVD] yoga dvd. (She'd mentioned wanting to get a yoga dvd to help stretch her after her intense workouts. That being said, given that I know what Jillian's workouts can be like, it might just be more like torture.)
  • Red top for the gym. (Cafepress has some AWESOME inspirational tops for the gym bunny. I even used some of the slogans from the other tops to make the "motivational confetti" in the top pic for inside the box - I was bored during the football, okay???)
Obviously there are plenty of other things you could get for a gym bunny if you wanted to try something similar. Other ideas I had? Cute trainer socks, funky earphones, fitness magazines, a resistance band, yoga mat . . . the possibilities are pretty much endless. Once I had assembled all of my presents together, they went in a decorated shoe-box.



I also included a bottle of M&S Elderflower Liqueur, which is unrelated to the gym but I know she loves elderflower flavour and you can't ALWAYS be good, right?

I think she liked it.

Have you ever made a themed gift like this for someone? Would YOU be happy to receive a gym-themed present yourself? (I probably wouldn't be, personally, but I thought she would appreciate it.) Please feel free to share in the comments. :-)



Monday, 9 June 2014

WEEKEND SHENANIGANS . . .

Victoria Park
This weekend was definitely a good 'un. It started off with a Friday evening spent sitting in my local park Victoria park, watching the birds in the pond and admiring all the dogs going past, followed by some vino back at my flat.

Saturday I headed over to the lovely Dawn's for a catch-up with her and the equally lovely Smidge, where Dawn plied us with gin cocktails (featuring delicious
home-made lemonade), expresso martinis and bellinis, while we gorged on several varieties of cheese (there were other food options but I'm all about the cheese really) and gossiped away all night.

Then on Sunday me and the boyfriend met up with my sis and headed for the parade on Byres Road which was part of the Mela Festival. I usually miss out on this as I 1) hate people and 2)I'm more often than not headed down to London for work on that particular weekend. But 2) wasn't happening this year and I decided to try and put 1) aside. I'm glad I did.









The parade was great: colourful, noisy, fun . . . Glasgow was trying to do its whole "four seasons in one day" performance though and flipping through its weather options with the unpredictability of John McEnroe on a tennis court. One minute our skin was burning, the next freezing cold rain was plopping down on us. We persevered regardless.

After the parade ended we headed over to Kelvingrove Park (what should have been a five minute journey took about five times that due to the many people holding us up as they headed, zombie like, in the same direction) and the boyfriend immediately sniffed out an outside bar bit near the bandstand. So we worked our way through a couple of glasses of wine while the weather continued to change its mind around us, then ended up going to Lebowskis for a burger and several more glasses of booze.

I bloody love Glasgow... especially in the summer. Even WITH the unpredictable summer weather. And we have the Commonwealth Games starting here in July as well, which makes living here even more exciting. I even have tickets to a couple of the athletic events so it's going to be awesome!!!

Anyway... on the Glasgow subject . . .I'm representing GlesgaGobs on twitter this week. so you should come check me out! I'll try my best to be entertaining and not neglect my pollypoptart account too much. But come join me!!!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

RUNNING AS FAR AS MY LEGS CAN'T CARRY ME . . .

While I was in Corfu last month, I decided on impulse that I would give running another try when I got back to Scotland. It seemed to make sense - I hate the gym, I need to lose weight and get a bit fitter, and so many people I know seem to get so much enjoyment out of running that it seemed like a no-brainer.

Let's put to one side the fact that I have "taken up running" at least five times in the past only to fail after approximately three goes at it (maximum), usually because "it's suddenly icy and I might fall" (doesn't really wash in July, not even in Scotland) or "I can't find a decent route", or there was the time that those little ned girls shouted unflattering things about my velour jogging suit as I ran past them near Maryhill one night. That last one was, I admit, my own fault for wearing a velour jogging suit in the first place and I probably didn't help matters by throwing both my middle fingers up in the air after I ran past, but I had a head start so it made sense at the time. And it was ten years ago so I could probably run a bit faster then, having youth on my side. Anyway.

Let's also ignore the fact that most of the time I feel I run with about as much grace as Phoebe from "Friends" and the unflattering colour my face goes when I am working out too hard. This whole running thing made sense, right?

Two and a half weeks, 10 runs and 21 miles into this "running thing" and I've already realised my main problem. And it's a pretty big one.

I cannot fucking run.

And I DON'T actually mean in the Phoebe-from-Friends sense. I mean my legs will physically not allow me to run more than a short distance without forcing me to slow to a virtual stop. I actually have a hell of a lot more stamina than I give myself credit for, and while my legs are screaming "STOP PUNISHING ME, YOU CRAZY PERSON!" I'm actually not particularly out of breath or red in the face. I know people say it's mind over matter or "if it doesn't hurt, it's not worth it" (I hope that's only in reference to exercise, and I may be paraphrasing slightly) but I DON'T WANT TO BE IN PAIN!!!

I've never been a good runner. I managed a couple of short cross-country runs as a child, and then there was the memorable time I came 4th in a school gala day in my hometown. 4th out of 4 people. In a heat. Yep. THAT'S how not good I am.

Maybe some people are destined to be runners and maybe some people are not?

If that is the case, I definitely fall into the latter camp. But, for now, I'll keep trying. Just to make sure.

Anyone else out there not a natural "runner" who has managed to become one? If so, please share - I would like to know how the hell you managed it. And how do I stop my legs from being so sore???

Saturday, 24 May 2014

CLEAN BANDIT . . .

Last summer I posted a random music video I'd fallen in love with, thanks to appearances of the song on such highbrow entertainment as "Made in Chelsea" and "Hollyoaks". This was the song:



After my first introduction to Clean Bandit, I went searching for their other tunes on youtube and was so impressed with their sound, a bit of a fusion of dance music and classical music. I hadn't really heard anything like this before and became a bit obsessed with a lot of their other songs too.

Thankfully, since then they have hit the big time since their single "Rather Be" hit number one earlier this year. So, when I found out in February that they would be coming to Glasgow earlier this month I immediately jumped online to grab some tickets for it. Considering I had bought them back in February, I was a bit stressed out by early May when I still hadn't received them - the gig was on the 8th and I was already stressing enough about the fact we had a very early morning wake-up to catch our flight to Corfu the following day! When I contacted the ticket company they said the tickets hadn't been printed yet (this was on Tuesday and the gig was on the Thursday, so this was extra worrying) but they'd arrange for them to be left at the door. (I was wondering how this would be possible if they hadn't yet been printed two days before!) I had actually convinced myself we would get to the venue and the tickets wouldn't be there - I would have been absolutely GUTTED! - but luckily it all worked out and the tickets were there as planned. Phew. Anyway, if you ever get the chance to see Clean Bandit live, I would thoroughly recommend you do so. The performance was electric and full of so much energy, and even the songs I didn't already know I already loved on first listen. As the encore performance, before the inevitable "Rather Be" was played, they even did a cover of the old dance classic "Show Me Love" by Robyn S. AMAZING! I'm so looking forward to seeing what else the band have up their sleeve for future releases!








PS I'm no music critic, but I just love this band so much I can't help but rave about them! Apologies for gushing. ;-)

Anyone else a fan?

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

DIET CONFUSION . . .

I'm back on the diet wagon... again. I know I sound like a broken record. I seem to have been starting some sort of diet or detox every other week for the past five thousand years or so, don't I? Yet I never seem to be able to stick to them. The lure of pizza, chocolate and wine is just too strong.

To be honest, it's definitely the wine that has contributed in the main to putting the weight on me. I mean, you're talking about 600 calories in a not-too-calorific bottle of wine, so if you end up indulging in two bottles on a Saturday night after a shitty week, then that's a day's worth of calories there alone, and that's not including the chips and cheese you have at the end of the night, or the junk food you consume the next day to soak up your hangover. Alcohol HAS calories and CAUSES additional calories elsewhere as a side effect.

I was on holiday in Corfu last week with my boyfriend and the only reason I was looking forward to coming back was that I could get my diet back in check and start to not feel completely awful all the time. But it's so hard to know what diet to go on... there are soooo bloody many!

At the moment I'm trying to stick to 1200 calories or thereabouts, exercise regularly, not eat too many carbs and generally try to eat well. I always have to allow myself a treat; I cannot get through a day without the promise of a bit of chocolate or cheese or a packet of crisps. I figure though as long as I a) don't overdo it and b) am within my calorie allowance then that's not too bad.

But then I have ended up feeling like people judging me for not eating enough (some people say 1200 is not enough), or not "eating clean" enough (surely as long as I'm MAINLY eating clean, unprocessed foods then that's the most important thing?). It seems from my "research" (which mainly consists of Instagram and various health blogs, admittedly, and is not based in any scientific investigation upon my own part) that no one agrees on the best way to lose weight or tone up. And, it seems that different ways work for different people. No carbs, high carbs, low fat, high fat, low calories, high calories, certain types of food cut out, all types of food embraced . . . there doesn't seem to be an exact science to it.

So why am I becoming so obsessed in finding the perfect diet? I'm sorry... lifestyle change. I agree that diets are only a short-term fix and you have to see it as a long-term thing. But if I'm going to change my lifestyle, I want to make sure I'm doing it in the right way. The right way for ME.

I just need to work out what the fuck that is.

What has worked for you in terms of losing weight? Please feel free to share in the comments.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

PARIS IN PICTURES . . .

So I got back from Paris a couple of weeks ago now after a five day break there and I still miss it now. (Thank God I have Corfu to look forward to in ten days - the only way to get over one holiday is to book another, right???) So here are some belated pictures from my trip there...

Day 1 - photobombed by the Eiffel Tower...

Up the Arc de Triomphe... an exhausting climb but I bet it was good for the thighs!





Notre Dame

From one church to another . . . the gorgeous Sacre Coeur!

And a bit of street-performance going outside... this guy TOTALLY would upstage me at pole fitness class!


The Paris Marathon in action . . .

Celebrating my boyfriend completing the marathon...






Loving being able to drink in public!


Scared before going onto the below ride . . .

ARGH!!!

Yes... I'm at Eurodisney! #bigkid

Ironically, we got our cheapest drink in Paris in the Disney complex, who'd have thunk it???
It's official... I hadn't been in 19 years but I still bloody love Paris to bits!!! Can't wait to go back!