Friday, 28 April 2017


After my drive home yesterday was so much less good than I hoped I got home to bake a cake for today's bake sale. Did I briefly consider buying one instead? Maybe... Very briefly. But I resisted and made the flourless clementine cake. It wasn't my best effort due to hurried stress baking but still went down quite well at the sale. After baking the cake I went to bed and tossed and turned all night; I was so sleep deprived that I had a splitting headache all morning.
I took the train today because I didn't fancy adding bank holiday traffic to the rubbish traffic I experienced yesterday. Because of the headache and lack of sleep I abandoned my original intention of driving to the station and just hitched a ride with Min the morning. The train ran like a dream, but walking home after work was pretty painful - my left ankle and foot are acting up big time at the moment. I think I may have plantar fasciitis but that's a self diagnosis based on googling my symptoms so it could be something else altogether.
During my first two weeks at work I have been eating appallingly due to a combination of the uncertainty of a new position, the novelty of the shopping opportunities in Cardiff, and the fact that I keep messing up my food planning - hardly surprising after being free to improvise my meals for so long. For once I'm not inclined to beat myself up over it as it has been just part of the adjustment process, but now I need to get things under control. Especially as my current weight can't be doing my ankle / foot any favours. Wish me luck!!!

Thursday, 27 April 2017


One hour 10 minutes to drive 16 miles.
16 MILES!!!!


Sorry I forgot to post yesterday. At work I actually did some work - for the first time in almost a year! It made me tired :-) It also made me hungry. As I walked home from the station I emailed M to demand a takeaway and stopped on the way home to buy some beer to accompany said takeaway. I still spent time in the kitchen prepping lunch and breakfast for both of us for today, and shortly after eating dinner I collapsed - which is why I didn't post.
This morning I drove to work since my concessionary pass for the car park came yesterday. The drive in was fine, though even leaving home at 6:15 the roads weren't as quiet as I hoped they'd be, but driving home this evening will be the real test.
In other news winter is definitely back - yesterday it was so cold I couldn't bring myself to go out at lunch time (the contrast between the heating in the office and the temperature outside was just too much) and this morning the car informed me it was -1.0 degrees. It's come with beautiful sunny spells interspersed with total cloud cover so it's really unpredictable and annoying. At least I now have an option to cut out the walk from the train station (assuming the drive isn't too horrendous)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Bad start to the day

I use an iPad apologize as an alarm. Last night it crashed and as a result didn't wake me up. Usually I would still wake up pretty much as early but I'd had some wine and some Night Nurse so... I had been planning to walk to the train station but when I finally woke up it was already time to leave, so I had to rush around madly getting ready and drove to the station instead. It was so cold I wasn't entirely sorry - even less so when I looked out of the train window at the hailstones bouncing off the train.
Today I was running some tests - rerunning really, with no pressure other than the desire to get ready for the real work. It made the day pass much more quickly and I enjoyed it (novelty value!)
I had a very short walk at lunch but mostly my exercise was just the 7 minute walk from the station to the office and the 7 minute walk back again. Ah well...

Monday, 24 April 2017

Weekends are too short

And Mondays come too quickly.
I had a fairly quiet weekend, watched a movie I liked - called Oblivion - and tried to watch another, which was boring so I didn't bother watching it all. I walked only a short distance each day - less than 3 miles each day - and just relaxed a lot.
I appreciated the advice from Joy and Diane and I decided to do as you suggested in terms of baking the cake rather than making muffins. I did boil and puree the clementines and froze the puree since that takes such a long time.
Today was officially tedious. I need to get to work! Just reading docs is boring and feels pointless given how hard it is to take things in that way. Sigh. I should just be happy to be earning again - and grateful for being eased in to things - but I'm not actually as lazy as I sometimes represent myself and I need something to think about. I'm sure I'll change my mind tomorrow though...

Friday, 21 April 2017

Catch up

Yesterday and today have both been pretty quiet for me - no revelations or upsets at work, no problems with the train, M took me to the station both mornings to reduce the effort of the commute for me a bit.
I have decided to try driving in instead but parking is obscenely expensive in Cardiff do I'm waiting for a discount card offered by my company before I start. I'm sure you won't be surprised if I complain a lot about the state of the roads and the amount of traffic once I get going :-)
Next Friday is the first charity bake sale I've agreed to take part in at work. So I have a few questions for you ladies who bake or indeed just eat cakes :-)
I'm planning to make Nigella Lawson's flourless  Clementine Cake. It's a doddle and it's brilliant, although last time I made it into used oranges instead of clementines. I'm using clementines this time. 

So 1) given that I'd rather bake at the weekend than on a school night, do you think it will freeze OK? It's made with almond flour and pureed fruit so it's quite dense and moist.
2) would I be better making one large cake according to the original recipe or using the batter to make muffins instead - the muffins provide instant portion control but I'd have to adjust the baking time which could lead to it not being properly cooked and it is less flexible in terms of deciding how big a piece is appropriate for a £1 charity donation. On the other hand if I decide against freezing it this weekend muffins would bake more quickly in the evening.
And 3) the original recipe doesn't use any icing and for my taste it doesn't need it, but I wonder if it might look a little plain. Any thoughts as to icing or creamy toppings that might go well with a very citrusy cake? Or if you agree that it doesn't need it that would also be good to know!
The blogger app won't let me add a link to the recipe properly  but if you feel like researching the cake here it is:
I don't know how to do a poll - especially on the extremely basic blogger app - so please pretty please advise me in the credits and thank you very much in advance xxx

Thursday, 20 April 2017


Working full time - even when you're not doing anything really productive - takes up a LOT of time! And if you decide to walk to the train station (resulting in almost 3 hours total travel time on top of the working day) well, you're likely to be knackered by evening, at least if you are as out of practice as I am. Something tells me that public transport is not going to be my long term solution - even though it's cheaper than driving in to and more importantly parking in the centre of Cardiff.
Yesterday was quite good, dull of course since I still spend most of my time ploughing through documents at the moment and the lady who sits next to me is working from home at the moment. I met some more nice people, ate some 'last day cake' and signed up for a baking group who hold a bake sale every so often for charity. I've almost stopped walking the wrong way to the kitchen every time I want a cup of tea as well. I spent my lunch break racing around town in search of miso paste, only to refuse to buy it when I found it because it was so incredibly expensive. My eating wasn't great but between the great miso hunt and the commute I walked 6 miles so that was good. 

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Newark on Trent

First day of work

The above photos were taken from behind my new office. I won't have much trouble walking around there in my lunch break!
Before I talk about today I should mention that a post from last week failed to publish and I only just realized. I'll try again shortly, if I manage it don't be confused by a post from Cardiff being immediately followed by one from Newark on Trent ;-)
I had to start at 9 this morning, which to me is the middle of the day. As I felt it was very important not to be late today of all days, I caught a fairly early train and arrived in Cardiff just after 8. That's when I strolled around outside the office and took the photos above.
Once I got inside I was made very welcome, and based on the admittedly superficial judgement of just one day they are nice people, who should be good to work with.
At lunch my manager invited the team to lunch to welcome me, and that was very enjoyable. The actual worky bits of the day were rubbish - mostly reading documentation about their processes, and filling in paperwork. Unlike on a contract - where contractors are typically employed approximately a week after they're really needed and immediately set to work - this company expects a fairly gentle introduction over a week of two. That's quite novel for me, and should give me plenty of time to think about what I want to get from this job. Should be good!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Sorry I disappeared again

I wasn't having another crisis, possibly coming out from the last one still, I just kept falling asleep in front of the TV without finding the energy to write a post or to click 'Publish' if I did. Probably due to all the interrupted sleep. I'm still not sleeping brilliantly as I keep having vivid weird dreams that wake me up feeling whatever feeling applies to the subject of the dream. Which is why I'm still tired a lot, but not, happily, depressed.
On Thursday and Friday last week I didn't do anything particularly worth mentioning. Saturday was a mixed day - lots of sunshine, a massive 7.5 miles walk up and down a mountain and along the Rhymney Ridge Walk, but a totally sleepless night due to stress.
The walk was amazing though!

Although difficult to photograph due to the incredible scale of everything.
On Sunday I was off again, walking along the Sirhowy Way beside the Sirhowy River. It's almost like I have a feeling I need to cram in as many miles as possible before I start work...

This morning I was up at the crack of dawn to drive 200 miles for a visit to my Dad's house in Lincolnshire. I arrived around 10 and relaxed and chatted till after lunch, when we went to my beloved Woodhall Spa. I keep showing you photos taken there every trip and this is no exception!

After THAT we went to RAF Conigsby and watched planes a bit - Conigsby is the home of a Lancaster, Dakota, Hurricanes and Spitfires - and we saw a Hurricane taking off, performing a series of rolls, loops, and other maneuvers I can't name before landing again. I'm not a plane fanatic but my dad was in the RAF for years and had many memories of acting as ground crew on similar flights, so it was really interesting. Now however I am knackered, shattered, exhausted... Going to bed!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Sorry I went awol yesterday; I meant to post but we were celebrating my job offer (M was away for work on Monday) and I got a tiny bit drunk on prosecco...
It's official now; I've e-signed my contract and agreed to start on the 18th. So now I can start having a confidence crisis over having to remember how to work!
This morning I went to Cardiff to shop for work clothes. The office has a casual dress code so I bought some new jeans. Unfortunately they were MASSIVE jeans - which I expected but still didn't enjoy. Ah well, they weren't too expensive so when I finally do lose the weight I won't lose much money! And I walked 6 miles (including mowing the lawn after lunch) without even noticing.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Well well well

I was offered a job today. An actual real job. A permie job in Cardiff.
I'll be accepting it tomorrow and hopefully starting work pretty soon.
When I came back last week to tell you about my horrible rock bottom day part of the problem was that I had an anxiety attacks ten minutes before being involved in a telephone interview, and due to lingering anxiety/agitation I felt like I'd babbled like a maniac, screwing my prospects. In the event I clearly wasn't as manic as I thought because they invited me to a face to face interview on Thursday last week, and then a final stage interview today, which resulted in a job offer. As it happens I was invited to another face to face interview (also for a permanent role in Cardiff) next Monday but I won't be going to that one now.
I'm not going to be unemployed much longer and right now I'm really happy about it!!! (I expect the panic to set in tomorrow ;-))
Should I enter the lottery now that my luck has finally changed???