The one where the wedding is only three months away and at this rate there’ll be no guests and my groom will be naked

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Almost two months have passed since I last wrote. Wedding plans are coming along nicely… Except that they are not and that last statement was a big fat porky pie. We’re in exactly the same position as we were back in May, apart from the fact that we’ve started to have conversations that end with “Yeah, we really should do something about that…” before we start watching the next episode of *insert generic box set title*.

Our next challenge is to get invitations sent out. This is taxing because it involves concentrated and continuous use of a pen, and a fancy pen at that. We’re not talking bog standard Bic, we’ve got the big guns out; italic nib, swanky case, ritzy ink. The Prince of pens.

Considering we live in a technological age, I don’t think I’ve properly used a pen since the millennium. God forbid someone even asks me to sign my name these days; I stare at them distastefully “Can’t I just press a button or something?”. Sadly, it turns out that Facebook event wedding invites are just not the done thing, so we’re going to have to start practicing our penmanship post haste.

In this mammoth game of ‘wedding planning’ that we are playing right now (less fun than Trivial Pursuit, I’ll be honest), Brad has one job. His job is to pick a suit, so that we can order more suits for the rest of the men in the wedding party. I tricked him into Marks and Spencer recently with the promise of Percy Pigs and encouraged him to look around at the suits whilst he was there. I received a similar response to the time I’d asked him to unblock the kitchen sink because it wasn’t draining and it smelled like a sweaty, farty gym. In fact I think he’d take smelly sink unblocking over suit shopping any day of the week.

In other news, my weight loss is continuing which has brought me both great joy and immense sadness.

On the plus side I can buy smaller clothes and fit into some of the clothes from my “Hmmm, it doesn’t strictly fit me now (circa 1997) but I’m sure I will lose weight soon so it would be wrong to return it to the store in exchange for replacement money” clothes drawer. So if you see me wandering around looking like some sort of ancient spice girl, you’ll understand why.

Weight loss negatives are that I have suffered a catastrophic bereavement; RIP boobs. You were so loved and gave so much joy to so many. Who knew that you were actually 50% cake?

I am also discovering how much more uncomfortable the world is without a bouncy layer of fat to protect you. There is a lump in my car seat, it’s always been there, I’ve never paid it much attention, suddenly it’s started impertinently digging into my arse. The fat soldier is no longer on duty to protect me from such rascals.

And now for my most significant achievement since my last post. It is one that I hardly dared dream about. It just goes to show that wishes can come true…. I am delighted to announce that I have gone down another setting on my Fitbit wrist band.

Screw the wedding, weight loss: Nailed it.

The wanderer returns…

Ah, beloved reader. Have you missed me? I am sorry for my tardiness, life has been rather hectic since my last post.

I’ve turned from regular Josiejolene: cake eater, 9 to 5 worker, closet ‘Eastenders’ viewer, occasional blogger to Josiejolene 2.0 (The Bride-to-be edition): cake avoider, work out every damn day-er , closet ‘Don’t tell the bride’ viewer, never blogger.

Yes indeed, eight months ago Brad presented me with a sparkly ring, on a beautiful roof terrace in Gran Canaria. It was romantic and meaningful and made me weep in that girly way that creates involuntary and dramatic fluttering of at least one hand in front of the eyes.

He made me happy cry; where one looks radiant and filled with emotion, rather than that ugly, hiccup filled, crying that makes you sound like a set of bagpipes and causes rivers of snot to flow down your face.

So the boy did it, he changed the course of our lives; not least by creating such excitement that we drank most of the resort dry of alcohol resulting in the worst hangover known to man.

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Hangover inducing drinks

Day one of engaged life involved the two of us fighting for control of a Spanish hotel toilet in which to repeatedly be sick into. They don’t show you that in the movies.

We had a very slow recovery from quite probable alcohol poisoning. We spent the day lying in bed with a do not disturb sign on the hotel room door (and not in a good way), curtains pulled tightly closed to protect us from the bright sunshine which would surely burn painfully into our hungover heads whilst trying to keep down tiny sips of full fat Coke and watching Spanish telly, very quietly. I knew Brad was starting to feel better when he expressed considerable disappointment that ‘La Sexta’ (which is the name of a Spanish television channel meaning ‘The Sixth’) was “not what it sounds like”.

And so, once we were able to keep down more than just lukewarm cola flavoured beverages, we returned to Blighty and the wedding planning began in earnest. Of course by that I mean I started talking about wedding venues and colour schemes and Brad tried to work out if it was too late to suggest a quick trip to Gretna Green because talk of best men, bouquets and bridesmaids made his ears bleed.

We have managed to reach a compromise, I can talk to him about wedding plans in return for his full attention if I confiscate his mobile phone, lock him in the car and take him out for food.

I have fallen into the typical bride-to-be trap of wanting to lose at least 50lb before the big day so I’ll be talking to him about wedding plans and nibbling on a tiny child sized salad whilst he devours a massive steak and orders another beer. I have started to wonder if having secret thoughts of tipping beer over the head of your betrothed and poking him in the eye with one of your dull, tasteless salad carrots is usual in the circumstances.

The weight loss plan is going well, I am in constant pain and exceedingly grumpy from exercising every day and I have started to dream obsessively about cake so I have clearly achieved greatness.

I am also really, really sweaty. You know that saying “women glow, men perspire and horses sweat”? Well you can just go ahead and call me Red Rum.

The sweating has additional side effects, I’m currently trying to work out if looking like I’ve stolen my face from an acne riddled adolescent is better than having too big a bottom and don’t even get me started on trying to take off a sports bra when sweaty. Those bad boys stick to you like superglue and require almost industrial assistance to remove. I can’t tell you how many times Brad has been faced with me, panicked and red faced yelling at him to help me because the bra won’t budge any further and I’ve got one boob hanging out and one arm trapped over my head preventing me from completing the seemingly simple task of undressing myself.

I have lost weight. I’m not at the 50lb mark yet, but it’s all going in the right direction. Only a few weeks ago I had to adjust the wrist strap on my FitBit. Because that’s the dream for any bride-to-be. Skinny fucking wrists. My life has been plagued with the struggle of trying to buy plus size watches and elasticated bangles, so it’s marvellous that this hell is over.

Seriously? My wrists are getting smaller? I have enough bum for two people and I’ve done more burpees and squats in the past five months than quite possibly I’ve done in the entire 37 other years that I’ve been alive, and I’m rewarded with going down a wristband strap hole. I could have been eating cake!

So, in summary: Blogging hiatus caused by man with carrot related eye injury proposing to spotty girl with particularly tiny wrists.

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The scene of the crime

Evil Leggings

I am an evil pair of leggingsLeggings:  “a type of skin-tight garment that covers the legs and that may be worn by both men and women.”

My name is Jo and I loathe leggings.

I go to the gym about three or four times a week. I’m not boasting, I’m actually just really tight; I bought myself gym membership a few months ago and now I’m out for all I can get. Do I want to go for a run on the treadmill next to a 65 year old man in lycra instead of watching Eastenders? Yes I do. Shall I spend some time on a spin bike that makes my bum feel like I’ve actually been sitting on a fence? Bring it on. Would it be great to Zumba until I’ve literally sweated off my nail polish? Hell yeah.

For the record, the nail polish thing is absolutely true. A few weeks ago I went into a Zumba class with red nail polish on all ten fingers, came out with nail polish on only six. No idea what happened to the other four fingers. Never mind shaking my thang; I appear to have been shaking my black cherry chutney (genuine name of a nail polish colour) all over the place.

At the gym, you see lots of people in leggings. It’s standard gym attire, I think it’s safe to say that probably 95% of women wear leggings to exercise in. The problem with this is that leggings come in a variety of standards of quality. Buying leggings from the cheaper end of the market can lead to the clothing becoming less opaque over time and showing off whatever you are wearing underneath.

It’s not just gym leggings that suffer with this affliction, regular leggings can too. Brad and I were virtually flashed at by a belegginged lady at the weekend and it really was not a pretty sight.

There is a girl who attends one of my exercise classes who experiences this unforeseen exposure and I feel for her.  I don’t want to see her pants and I have no doubt that she doesn’t want me to see them, but I’m now past the point of being able to take action. The first time the pants were grinning at me through the leggings I should have told her. I should have said ‘Hey lady in leggings, less arse coverage than you were hoping for in those bad boys, might want to pop down to JD Sports for a new pair” but I didn’t. Now, as punishment for my cowardy cowardy custard ways, I get to see tomorrow’s washing with every press up, sit up and jumping jack she cares to undertake.

I fear suffering a similar knicker exposé as retribution and am constantly attempting to check out my bottom at every available opportunity to check for legging transparency. I’ve become obsessed, stretching the material to see if I can read the paper through it before it’s worn. You know, because that’s the best approach; make the fabric thinner. I will even randomly, with no prior warning bend over in front of Brad and yell like a crazy lady “CAN YOU SEE MY KNICKERS?”.

My name is Jo, and I loathe leggings.

Do or diet

20140122-233213.jpgA recent survey has reported that women go on twice as many diets as they have lovers.

The first thing that occurred to when I read this report was that based on my dieting history, I needed to get myself some more lovers…

I am an all or nothing dieter. I will either eat a whole box of doughnuts or I will not allow one crumb of sugary evilness past my lips. Every last one of the Maltesters; crispy balls of scrumptiousness, from one of those oversized ‘peel and reseal’ bags or not even one lone globe of chocolatey honeycomby joy.

Talking of those bags, does anyone actually peel and reseal? Surely the Mars company could save thousands of pounds in packaging costs by getting rid of the futile peel and reseal sticker? I may write to Mr Mars and suggest it.

Apparently, Maltesers were first sold in 1937 and were described as energy balls, aimed at slimming women. Sadly, we now know that if you stuff yourself full of energy balls, you will soon struggle to fit into your frock.

71% of the women polled in this diet survey believe that diets are an effective way of losing weight and I agree with them completely. The only way to lose weight is to move your backside more and shove less cake in your face. The problem with this is that star jumps and eating celery are both less enjoyable activities than sitting down and eating biscuits.

This year, I am attempting to be healthier, slimmer and fitter. I say attempting because we’re only at week three and each passing day the golden arches of McDonalds shine a little brighter, tempting me with their delicious fat laden, deep fried delights. Oh tasty tasty fries why must you tease me so?

In order to assist with my healthy living I have been trialling a number of different exercise classes. This week, was the turn of the kettle bell. For anyone unfamiliar with these instruments of torture, let me explain further. A kettle bell looks like a shot with a handle on top, to clarify, I mean the metal ball used for shot put, not an alcoholic beverage. At a kettle bell class you swing this device around whilst bending and stretching until it feels as though your arms are about to fall off and someone has set fire to your legs. Just when you think that you can take no more of the kettle bell hell, you get a break, in which you are required to partake in cardiovascular pursuits like skipping, jumping jacks, squats and other hideous activities.

I’m also giving Zumba another shot. Unfortunately I do not possess the two key skills required for this activity, namely multi-tasking or coordination. As a woman, admitting to being unable to multitask is a bit like admitting that you’ve never cried for no apparent reason or you don’t own any cushions. It’s shameful. Unladylike. Yet, it’s true. I can’t do actions with my arms if my legs are required to do something different and there is no chance that I can  manage booty shaking as well. I do not look sexy, I look like I’ve wet myself. Less Latino vamp, more tena lady tramp.

Still, I shall persevere. Embrace the exercise and welcome the work outs. Eat more carrots and less carrot cake, ban the pizza delivery man and who knows, I may even utilise the peel and reseal sticker on my bag of Maltesters.

When do I get my promotion?

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Like many people I do suffer with a relentless, overwhelming, depression touch of the blues on a Monday.  I recently came across an article called “10 things successful people do on a Monday morning”, so thought I’d have a read to see where I was going wrong:

10. Use your weekends effectively

By “effectively” they mean asleep or drunk, right?

9. Plan your week

I do. My week plan looks like this:
Monday: Speak to as few people as possible. Drink a lot of caffeinated beverages.
Tuesday: Delight in the fact that it is not Monday.
Wednesday: Work extra hard to make up for marginal disinterest on Monday and Tuesday. Count down to 1.01pm so that I know I’m officially over the hump and closer to Friday than to Monday. Giggle childishly at the term “hump” at least once.
Thursday: Spend most of the day wondering whether it’s too soon to wish people a nice weekend.
Friday: Perform a quite restricted, because I should be in full control of my vehicle at all times, “almost the weekend” dance in the car on the way to work. Usually whilst simultaneously changing gear, checking my hair in the rear view mirror and singing loudly.

8. Get up early

Yes, okay. I will do this*. Good plan. Great advice.

*blatant lie

The article talks about getting up early in order to do something “personal and worthwhile, like working out”. Given the choice between forty winks and ‘get down and give me forty’, slumber will beat sport every day of the week.

7. Tackle emails first thing…

I am terribly obsessive about checking my emails, I just can’t leave the little yellow envelope in the corner of the screen. I have to know what the email says, just in case it’s announcing a payrise or an increase to my holiday entitlement. I’m the same with post at home too. Chances are it is some sort of demand for payment that has come through the door but every so often it’s a “The limit on your credit card has been increased” letter or a “Look at these beautiful shoes, aren’t they magnificent and shiny? You must buy them, such a bargain” leaflet. Of course the problems arise when the credit card limit and the beautiful shoe leaflet coincide because one does tend to offset the other.

6. …or don’t

Are you kidding me? They might be successful, but they are so indecisive.

5. Take advantage of your commute

Please refer to Friday on my week plan. If you have not seen me tripping the light fantastic in the car with my “almost the weekend” boogie, you have not lived.

4. Be grateful (that you have a career)

I would be more grateful for my career if it did not involve my having to know so much, having to do so much and having to be polite to so many people.

3. Exercise

The article tells me that Barack Obama and George W Bush are fans of exercising early. I wouldn’t dream of making a sassy comment about this I’m just going to mumble something discrete under my breath about how they might want to think about running the country instead of cross country running.

2. Eat that frog

I have to put the description to this because otherwise it makes no sense: Mark Twain said “If you eat a frog first thing in the morning, you’ll have it behind you for the rest of the day.” referring to tackling the toughest tasks first. That’s especially important on Mondays, because if you don’t, you’ll have it hanging over your head all day, all week or whenever you finally get around to it. That sense of dread can really affect your performance. Make a to-do list, and put the least savoury tasks at the top — you’ll feel a lot better once they’re complete.

Thought provoking statement Mr Twain, however, if you replace the word “frog” with the phrase “bacon sandwich”, it’s even better.

1. Start with a clean desk

My desk is always very tidy. My desk drawers on the other hand are the equivalent of what happens when you leave a toddler alone with a pile of papers. At 4.59pm on a Friday night, I chuck anything and everything that happens to be on my desk into the drawers with no regard for how I’m going to retrieve everything 64 hours later.  Subsequently, the first battle for me on a Monday morning is the desk drawer of doom.

Right, I’ve got it. Next Monday I shall clean my desk, star jump, eat an amphibian, send my boss flowers for hiring me and not check my emails.

Ding ding promotion central.

Lost: Dignity. If found: Return to nearest runner

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Running is not glamourous. When you run, you will generally experience sweating, chafing, sweating, heavy breathing, sweating, spitting, sweating, swearing, sweating, burping, sweating, farting and sweating.

Shall we start with the sweating? As the queen of yo-yo dieting, I have attempted a veritable array of exercise classes: aerobics, aquarobics, body pump, body tone, body sculpt, boxercise, dancercise, salsacise, hot yoga, cool yoga, just right yoga, none of which have made me sweat like running does.

Put it like this, rookie runners wear grey bottoms and it doesn’t take long before an accidental sideways glance in a shop window at the end of a run will have them converting to black faster than you can say “sweaty arse”. I didn’t even realise that my arse could sweat, let alone sweat in such abundance.

Another nasty side effect is, there’s no way to put this politely, wind. When you run, your body is basically bouncing up and down. Imagine that your body is a bottle of fizzy pop. When you shake the bottle of fizz: danger! So, when you shake your body: danger! Without doubt, from one end or other, wind will come out. If you see a runner look behind them surreptitiously for no good reason, I’ll bet good money that it’s because they are seeing if anyone is within hearing distance of a fart.

Until I became a runner, I would encounter runners whilst out and about and it didn’t occur to me to move out of their way when they headed in my direction. I thought “they’re running, they’re fit and active, they can move out of my way”. No, no, no, no, no. This is most definitely not the case, it is taking that runner every ounce of their strength to put one foot in front of each other and move forward in a straight line. When faced with an unexpected obstacle that involves changing direction, the runner is momentarily stunned. This feeling is closely followed by dismay. The runner has to summon up extra effort, take a few more steps and run around the obstruction when all they want to do is get home so that they can stop running.

Getting to the end of a run is the goal that every runner is aiming for, no matter what. I ran the Brighton Half Marathon in February 2011 and after about mile six I realised that I needed a wee, I thought I could carry on, I just wanted to finish the race. As time went on, my need for a wee became more urgent but there were no toilets on the part of the route that I was running and I just wanted to get to the end. If changing direction is difficult, then stopping, having a wee and starting to run again is a hundred times worse. A thought occurred to me: “I’m wearing black bottoms, I could just wee whilst running, no-one will ever know”.

And that is when I realised that I’d lost all dignity. If I was out shopping or at work, or sitting on a bus, nothing in a million years would possess me to contemplate wetting myself and yet, set me off in trainers and lycra and it seems like a serious option.

Oh and for the record, just in case you were worried…

…I didn’t.