Am I always rambling on?

Me again. Harping on about food, diet, fitness, where I’ve been, where I am at. A broken record it may seem. But a lot of small things have sparked big ideas and triggered thoughts for me between photos, places, things I have done. It may appear as something to irrelevant but it’s all a huge accomplishment for me.

September 2010 (second from left)

September 2010 (second from left)

On Monday I was in Junction One & as soon as I entered the car park a wave of emotions came over me. Scary ones. Sort of a panicky feeling. I had spent days on end travelling to Antrim to get weighed, told to eat more & told I was going to die. Each time we left the hospital there was a fallout between Mummy & I as it was always “snack time” which was inevitably a horrible time for me but Mummy would remind me of the number on the scales & the fact my heart was so weak it could stop and insist that I would eat as and when she told me to. So we would go for coffee & have 2 biscuits each. That was all.

But that was enough to put the switch on in my head and the voice perked up causing me distress & frustration. I knew I had to get better but at this low point his voice was overpowering the strength I had to make myself eat. I can remember walking into Starbucks one of those days wearing a jumper, leggings & boots. I was skeletal. The epitome of ill health and I looked as though I was going to collapse at any time. I could see my reflection in the glass doors and I thought it was ok. I knew I was thin because everyone told me but I was ok with it. I caught two women at a table staring at me, at my legs; at my face before turning to discuss the horrific sight with eachother. I proceeded to a wooden chair (with my head down) but it wasn’t before long I had to get up because the bones in my backside protruded and caused serious discomfort against the hard chair. Snack time was a struggle and I cried the whole way home.

As I walked through the doors on Monday, I, again caught my reflection in the doors. I was wearing my gym gear (Monday comforts and that) and as daft as I sound I felt a serious amount of pride as I could recall how weak I was 4 years ago compared to how I am now.

It’s not really anything to do with the number on the scales when it comes to judging my progress in recovery – in fact, I couldn’t tell you what I weigh and I couldn’t give a fiddlers what I do. I am healthy. I’m getting stronger & most of all I am happy. I haven’t been content in my own skin in years (well…who is?) but I push myself each day to become better, stronger & to achieve my goals where fitness is concerned. Goals are achievable for absolutely anybody, you just have to use your resources, your strength & determination and a backbone to get to the top!

Last night, after having fuelled my body wisely throughout the day it told me it fancied a pick me up after dinner. Making a wise choice (as much as I love chocolate and all things bad) I had two rice cakes with almond butter & banana. Only months ago I was having that as my dinner after not eating all day & still training quite a bit. Physically I looked ok, mentally I was in turmoil and emotionally I was drained. Exhausted fighting with the pleas of my body and the pains in my stomach. Desperate not to give in or to eat.

I say it time and time again. I think I am more pushy with it because I’ve walked the walk, I’ve been to the lowest point of lows and I’ve seen some of the darkest days all in the name of starvation. All I want now is to make a difference for those who are suffering, silently and furiously. It can be a silent killer but, being here now I can vouch for what they say; if it doesn’t kill you it’ll only make you stronger.

I’m strong enough now to make healthy food choices, to eat well, treat myself, fuel my body accordingly (particularly on high training days) and to never starve it of the nutrients (and treats) it needs. I’m strong enough to refuse fad diets and 3 day juice detoxes. They are not natural nor are they healthy choices.

I’m well on the road to leading a healthy, fit and happy life and I think it’s all thanks to me hitting rock bottom before.

“She believed she could, so she did.”

Until the next ramble…….

Food For Thought…

Back again. This time it’s not fashion related as I am, believe it or not, currently on a shopping and even browsing ban (so much so that I avoided the newspaper stand in Tesco this evening to ensure the LOOK magazine didn’t fall into my basket) until my wardrobes get bigger and/or the amount of clothes I own gets lesser.

But I’m back to share a few thoughts, ramblings – whatever you want to call them – that have been on my mind recently. I’ve already shared my battle with you, the biggest hurdle I’ve had to overcome and one that still plays a part in my every day life to date. Five years ago (it scares the living daylights out of me when I say that out loud) I was descending into a very dark place where I would soon be the girl whose life revolved around restricting calories, excessive exercise, hiding food, lying to those who cared about me and dropping my weight to such a dangerously low level that I would soon be fighting for my life. And with most challenges/tasks I set myself, I was determined I would succeed and a matter of months later I was occupying a bed in Antrim Hospital with what looked to be a very bleak future ahead of me.

That said, five years on and where am I? Had you asked me that question in September (5 months ago) I’d have admitted that my eating to exercise ratio was unhealthy. I struggled to understand that my body NEEDED nutrients, calories, ENERGY in order to be as active as I wanted it to be. I was exercising 6 days a week and working 45+ hours in an energy demanding job, yet with a (now, very embarrassing) low level of food intake. I maintained that once I ate breakfast I could last the day until dinner time, and I did – but it wasn’t dinner at all. It could have been toast, cereal, sometimes a toasted sandwich – anything to subside the hunger whilst keeping my mind assured that calorie intake was as little as possible. Now, I was still a healthy weight and so I convinced myself that I too was healthy but that’s the fun of having to battle with the mind at all times – I was wrong, so wrong.

Looking healthy in September 2014

Looking healthy in September 2014

I ignored daily comments from family and friends about having to eat more to keep my body ticking over, especially with how active I was. I often felt as though they were out to get me! In addition to this, I was getting a maximum of 4 hours of sleep each night so my body was literally running on empty. Imagine trying to push your car up a hill once it’s ran out of fuel – each day was a similar battle for me.  Yet, convinced I knew my body better than any of them, I kept up the exercising, working and lack of eating. Surely I would have known better than to deprive my body, I had been through this before, and this was not an episode I wanted to Sky + and watch over again. The mind is a powerful and often extremely debilitating thing so I listened to my head, not my tired body which ached constantly.

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Continuous abuse, ignorance towards common nutrition facts and essentially complete and utter stupidity found my immune system giving up. I was constantly run down, exhausted, irritable, my skin broke out every other week and there were days I didn’t leave my room to talk to anyone because I didn’t have the energy to do so. I was fighting an inner battle, one I knew only too well yet one I wasn’t sure how I would break away from. I kept up my training and I enjoyed every minute of the gruelling Bootcamps and challenging Body Pump classes but I didn’t have any energy to give them my all. I was groggy and it took away from the pleasure of the challenges I set myself through my training. I allowed this to continue into early December until my body, tired of fighting against the abuse I gave it, started to shut down.

I spent the whole of December with a flu, having virtually no energy whatsoever and running on total empty as I tried to train, work excessive hours (Christmas was obviously our busy period so to take a back seat there wasn’t an option) while depriving myself of any form of nutritious food I could. Eventually I could see that by keeping this up I would only leave myself bed ridden and in a place I didn’t want to be. The light switch turned on, and I decided enough was enough. I had to make a change or things would get out of my control.

Five months later, I feel like an entirely different person. I love training, I am fuelled by the challenges I can set myself through exercise – to be better next week, to see results and to become a stronger person. With this, goes hand in hand, my food intake and something which I can admit is becoming another passion. I now cook my own meals, I plan ahead and I think if I was to spend any more time in the day eating, there’d need to be another day in the week! I am, by no means a ‘fit freak’ ‘clean eater’ or whatever else they call people who look after themselves today – I have just FINALLY realised that if I am to maintain a lifestyle that I strive to achieve, I have got to look after my body.

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Why am I sharing this with you? Because in the short space of 5 months I have turned another corner on my road to recovery. Food used to be my enemy, one which I avoided at all costs and used every inch of my being to do so. Today, Mummy asked me was I still in the kitchen – haha – I think my inner ‘foodie’ has been unleashed. I eat healthy, I challenge myself in the gym through my workouts and to become a stronger, healthier person. I fight off the inner demons which are still there, telling me food isn’t essential but the healthy, arguably wiser me knows that to make an empty sack stand you have got to fill it up! I am a healthy food junkie who goes to bed thinking about her breakfast (maybe that’s what only allows me to have 4 hours sleep at night!) but I am also human. I have my indulgences – I mean, if I want the packet of Jaffa Cakes, I’ll have them. (I do not promote eating a full packet of Jaffa Cakes but sometimes there is no other option!)

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I can whole heartedly say, despite this ‘fitness craze’ everyone maintains we have been sucked into, this is the healthiest I have been and felt in years. I have more energy, I am happier, relationships have improved because I am not the irritable old cow that not eating turned me into (ok, I can be…sometimes!) and I wake up each morning with drive and determination to smash the challenge I have set myself for that day. I’m not going to bore you with a food diary, partially because I can’t even remember what I ate today as I constantly grazed in between workouts and meal times yet I wouldn’t go back to 5 months ago for all the money in the world.

Wisely fuelled and with a somewhat healthier head on my shoulders I am more than ready to attack the fitness goals I have in place for 2015 while continuing to enjoy food as any human should do. I remember when I was at the early stages of diagnosis, the doctor told me I would never be allowed to exercise again. It always feels great to prove people wrong.

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*Operation getting stronger*

We are not designed to be starved, love your body and nourish the mind!

“Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther”

Do it for the people who want to see you fail!

 

Until next time,

(I’m away to have a bedtime snack….!)

January 2015

January 2015

Sarah, x

Scrap The Sales & Spring Into Summer

It would be criminal for me to start this post without apologising for how unbelievably quiet/useless/negligent I have been over…well, the last few months really. Christmas took over, as it does in most people’s lives (yes, we are all silly enough to allow it) and we’re now almost touching February and I have failed to update you lovely people with anything remotely interesting in the fashion world or simply in my own head. BUT let this serve as a warning to you all, as on the 23rd January 2015 (three weeks late but nonetheless) I have made a New Year Resolution (another error – I vowed never to get involved with those things again) to post regular ramblings, perhaps the odd ‘daily distress’ in our fashion worlds and anything else I feel will entertain you during your 10am coffee break, lunch hour or the sneaky 5 minutes you have to nosey online while the boss turns their back.

I have to let you in on a little secret, every day when I woke up I said to myself “Ok Sarah – blog post. Do it. Get it done. NO excuses. Find something to talk about.” but then my dear old friend procrastination kicked in closely followed by doubt and I found myself convinced that anything I wrote about in the month of January wouldn’t be worth a bean and I would ‘try again tomorrow’. So…this IS tomorrow. And this is the beginning of a year full of personal changes, challenges and with a little push & a shove, achievements!

January is a tricky month, sort of bitter sweet as each store is coming down with those big red sale signs (which to me, are red to warn of danger; sales and frantic shoppers can get messy) and the rails are jam packed with basically anything (and everything) they can fit onto each rail. My.worst.nightmare. I’m not a lazy shopper, believe me – if I was it wouldn’t be a workout every day for me to get clothes in and out of my wardrobe. Yet, at the same time I hate having to hoke, poke and climb over the top of someone else just to get that last dress which has been slashed by 75%. There’s nothing I love more than a bargain, I’m only human, but experience has left me weary of attempting sale shopping as more often than not the impulsive, slightly obsessive streak in my steers me towards the full priced new season arrivals and I leave the shop with bags full and purse empty.

Having said that, every other year I succumb to temptation and nothing would do but to get my teeth into the sales to see what bargains I could snap up despite not needing another stitch. Last year Ted Baker got a good turn from myself, likewise every other high street store but I have genuinely surprised myself with my ability to stay strong and ignore every last bit of temptation which arose and often made an attempt at swamping me.

Sarah – 1. Sales – 0.

The victory and the episode where I held the upper hand was surely enjoyable while it lasted but as the sales slowly start to fizzle out and our favourite shops on the street are filled with the beginning of SS15  (I just wrote SS14 – seems I’m a bit slow getting in touch with 2015 altogether, oops!) colours, materials and patterns I find my “I really need that, I don’t think I can live without it and I’ll get lots of wear out of it” voice overpowering the timid, practically inaudible “Sarah, you don’t have a millimetre of space for another dress and you already have one hundred similar” one and once again I won’t have two pennies to rub together but instead a wardrobe bursting (really quite literally) with spring/summer clothes which are nice to look at/lovely to hold and will more than likely never be worn! Oh, the troubles faced by a fanatic shopper…

And on that note, as my watchful eye is as keen and attentive as ever I will share just a few little pieces that have caught my eye and well….obviously I’ve added to my SS15 wishlist.

1. Blooming Gorgeous

Trousers: £42 @ Topshop

Trousers: £42 @ Topshop

What is there not to love about a pair of bold printed cigarette pants which are so versatile we can’t decide whether to keep them for a sneaky night out or take them on a days shopping! With the trousers essentially doing all the talking, matching them up top is so easy you could do it with your eyes closed. (Ok, maybe don’t try this one unless you know exactly where your little tee or crisp white shirt is situated) I love the colour combination of these pair also as they are perfect to wear now and right through the spring months! Winner winner!

2. Nicely Neon

Skirt: £129 @ Ted Baker

Skirt: £129 @ Ted Baker

Ah there we go; Ted is at his handy work once again. I am a wee bit obsessed about this neon jacquard skirt which is a spot on combination of sophisticated and sexy with a mid way split to show a little leg. Take it out on a Saturday night or if you really wanted to impress the rest of the office, be the boss of ‘casual’ Friday!

3. Elegant Evening Wear

Dress @ Sarah-Jane Boutique, Magherafelt

Dress @ Sarah-Jane Boutique, Magherafelt

This is the most striking, classic, elegant and ultimately beautiful dress I have laid eyes on in some time. The fabulous neckline detail along with the dropped hem gives this dress a finish to ensure that you are the belle of the ball whatever the occasion! Such a classic, statement number can be accessorised with countless colours and finished in so many different ways you will never get bored of taking it out of the wardrobe. Sadly I haven’t got anywhere worth talking about to wear this but if there was a date in the calendar, this would be mine!

5. Lemon Lovin’

Dress @ Sarah-Jane Boutique, Magherafelt

Dress @ Sarah-Jane Boutique, Magherafelt

Another gorgeous little number from Sarah-Jane Boutique in Magherafelt. I spied this in the window in the midst of the dreary January sales and I’ve been in love ever since. Lemon always has been one of my favourite spring colours as it can be worn with literally ANY other colour! This girlie, fun skater would be breathtaking with purple courts, a pink clutch and simple pearl jewellery……..I didn’t say you had to match it with just ONE colour! 😉 Wedding, Confirmation, Communion – any excuse!

6. Tweet Tweet.

Top: £34 @ Spoilt Belle Boutique

Top: £34 @ Spoilt Belle Boutique

My favourite blouses are back and even better than before with simple detail on the back! Spoilt Belle Boutique in Magherafelt have casual cuteness down to a tee with an exceptional range of quirky tops, blouses & shirts that are so no high street! Wear with your comfiest jeans or dress it up a little with a simple skater skirt. I have to have this one! (to add to my already extensive collection)

7. Star in Stripes

Playsuit: £44 @ Spoilt Belle Boutique

Playsuit: £44 @ Spoilt Belle Boutique

You can never do wrong with monochrome. Stripes are a big YES and we all go crazy for a playsuit! (Except when you’re in need of a toilet but that’s a different story) I think we have a huge winner with this one here. This structured playsuit, also from Spoilt Belle Boutique, scores full marks from me as it’s easy to wear, READY to wear and all it needs is a pair of killer heels, grab a little clutch & finish it with a statement earring for your Saturday night attire.

And the list goes on. And on…….and…….nevermind. My virtually non existant self control doesn’t stand a chance as we are coming into the bright colours, bold prints and all things that make us happy on the inside so keep your ear to the ground and don’t forget my resolution (because I might and I sometimes need reminding!) as I will be torturing you with posts and ramblings from here on in!

Hope you enjoyed my first(of many) post of 2015, here’s to what lies ahead!

Love,

Saz X

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year!

And here it is, once again. My most favourite time of the year. There’s excitement, cheer, bubbles, laughter and for us; a full house. The boys are home (one lives in Sweden and the other, Manchester) and for once the seats in the living room are limited and reinforcements have to be brought in for Christmas dinner. With working in a bar and having to serve party goers for the whole of December I haven’t felt a great amount of festive cheer myself but right this minute I am full of it! A turkey dinner has just beat me (unfortunately) and I am sitting with a glass of Prosecco in hand writing my first blog post in some time on a brand spanking new laptop from the main man himself! (I have no excuses now!!)

But this year has been different for us a family. For all of us, Christmas morning was spent at Granny’s house with Granny being at the heart of the whole gathering. However in August, Granny Mac was, all too soon, taken from our hands to a place where she could rest and be free from pain. Today I spent it numb and not really sure what to be thinking as the woman who always admired the style, fashion and kept us all going, wasn’t in our sight. Broken hearted, I realised Granny Mac would have wanted nothing more than for us all to enjoy our day and remember such good times that we had with her as a family so as I stood with her today I had a wee giggle to myself; I was standing froze and with too many inch heels on me which would only get the response of “Oh would you look at the fashion, and those shoes Sarah I don’t know how you stand” from the main woman herself! It really made me realise, no matter how often everyone else says it, that the most important and valuable aspect of Christmas is the people who surround you and not the presents they give you. Forever in our hearts, mind and in our presence Granny, hand in hand with Jack, would have been there every minute of today to keep us all in check!

The fashion today was obligatory. I reckon I was a bit slack this year with planning my outfit as I went to order it and realised it was sold out. Nonetheless I managed to pick myself up a couple of pieces with Santa providing the finishing touches. I’m wearing a velvet blouse with a white trimmed collar & sleeves from ASOS, a mixed patterned skirt also from ASOS, shoes from Topshop & bib necklace as subtly hinted to Santa from Sarah Jane Btq in Magherafelt! Here’s a couple of pictures so far of the festivities and I’m sure as the wine flows later and the days unfold, I will have a few more to share with you!

Christmas 2014

Loz & I

Loz & I

Pete & I

Pete & I

Now I’m off to open another bottle of Prosecco and enjoy the evening as a girl who is working the rest of Christmas should do! I promise now that Santa has provided the resources blogging will be a breeze and I’ll be torturing you all from here on in. I hope you have a very, very merry day & look after the ones you love!

Sending all my love,

Saz xxx

A Little Taste of A Dark Place

Writing a book about a tough & relatively raw time for me was never going to be easy, and while it has been somewhat challenging & draining, it has also been therapeutic, beneficial to myself and to others and a great achievement, so far. Obviously, Rome wasn’t built in a day but as it slowly but surely starts to come together the happier I am that I decided to do it.

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‘Somewhere inside me I knew I had a problem, but I wasn’t ready to address it nor did I want to admit to it. I was still functioning, I was still living. I couldn’t be Anorexic. I ate chocolate, sweets, chips – all the bad foods. Or so I did. I was stuck in the eating habits of the ‘old Sarah’ and was blinded by the fact that with an absent mind I had allowed him to eliminate each and every one of these from my diet. My daily eating just before Summer set in looked like this:

Breakfast

1 x (almost dry) Weetabix

Lunch

1 x Innocent Smoothie or 1 x small, dry bread roll

Dinner

1 x (small and virtually dry) cereal or 2 x toast

But I was ‘healthy’. I was merely a ‘conscious eater’. That’s what he kept telling me. And it is that belief that sent me to rock bottom.

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As I put the final full stop to the second chapter this evening, I felt super proud as it was this day 4 years ago that I was admitted to hospital, with such little strength in me I was hardly able to stand.  It was the most terrifying day of my life as I sat up in the hospital bed, convinced that was the end of it & Christmas was out of the picture. I was taken to and from places in a wheelchair and poked&prodded by nurses numerous times throughout the night and day. On my first night I cried sore with terror & with the Coronation Street train wreck showing on the TV on the ward all I could think was that I was a wreck. My life was in pieces and I had no power to change it. I had been taken over by a deathly illness & the battle I was in; I was losing. Little did I know, there was a spark in there somewhere and I had a support team greater than any voice in my head. The battle I was in which I thought I was losing, was just beginning and this time around; I was going to win.

 “It’s times like these you learn to live again”

Onwards & Upwards 💪

Sarah…x

CELEBRITY CRUSHES!

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The Saturdays @ The Cosmos last night

An oh so glam Miss Cara @ British Fashion Awards

An oh so glam Miss Cara @ British Fashion Awards

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A Perfect Poppy!

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Posh & Becks @ British Fashion Awards

Ok perhaps I haven’t been so active on the blog recently because I have been so busy crushing on all of our favourite celebs 😍😍😍

From a blooming Blake Lively to a perfectly pristine Posh & Becks at the British Fashion Awards that was only the beginning of the absolute glamour, sophistication, beauty, style and just total perfection that graced us this week! Posh wore an oh so simple yet so magnificent in a black & white pleated maxi skirt & black knitted jumper both from her own collection while David scored high in a Dior suit. Other style achievers on the night included Cara Delevingne who shone in a gold floor length gown complete with black side panelling and a sexy thigh split! Miss Poppy, on the other hand, went for something a little more fun in an edgy mesh embellished dress from Topshop and looked equally as gorgeous! I want their genes!

Emma Watson, crowned Best British Style on the night rocked an oversized blazer over a deep plunge cream dress ~ only our blossoming beauty could make a simple look work SO well! I could talk about all the lovely ladies who attended the awards all day long but unfortunately time is of the essence. However, a group of ladies who dazzled at the Cosmo awards last night were the Saturdays! Each and every one of them glowed radiantly whilst attaining a so sophisticated and polished look. Mollie gets brownie points having pulled two exceptional looks out of the bag, two nights in a row (she was one of my favourites at the British Fashion Awards!)

I want to be a celebrity…..and I want to be one now😒

What was your favourite look of the week?

Tell me more! 

Love,

Sarah…x

Pick Of The Day!

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Having plunged into a mad panic after realising that it is 3 weeks today until Christmas Day and I haven’t even so much as a Christmas card written I decided that NOW was the time for me to prioritise…….so I started to plan my obligatory Christmas Day outfit! 💁 I’ll probably have a Mummy & Sister to dress aswell so I’ll look after number one now.

Having said that, as always, I went off the beaten track and instead of looking at all of the things I COULD wear, I started to look at all the dresses that I have NOWHERE to wear to! Typical. This little embellished number caught my eye on ASOS because who doesn’t love a bit of sparkle at Christmas? It’s a far cry from your typical LBD/LRD & will still have you taking the limelight! I’ve kept it a little bit festive by teaming it with these carefully encrusted red courts by my oh so lovely Ted and would recommend a little red gilet to finish off the look(just incase the winter chill catches you as you go from one bar to another 😜)

What I also love about this look is the fact that the clutch bag is an exact match to the dress ~ not something we fashionistas are used to but I LOVE it! Such a glamorous look will leave nothing to be desired this Christmas party season & you heard it here first! 👯

Once I can steer myself onto the shopping track I’m supposed to be I will share my favourite Christmas Day looks with you very soon!

Hope Thursday is good to you; we only have two more to go 🙊

Lots of Love

Sarah…x