Here is my list of tTop 10 places I have been to and would recommend to visit in Autumn. Some faraway, some close to home - something for everyone:
1 - Belfast. Belfast in Northern Ireland has so much to see and do. It was especially spooky going to see the Giant's Causeway and the Dark Trees on a blustery Autumn Day.
2 - Alberta, Canada. I was lucky enough to visit the Alberta area of Canada at the perfect time of year. Banff was beautiful. Lake Louise, with the first drifts of snow was spectacular. Glacial rivers, lakes and mountains are the epitome of a cooler destination and the Rockies take some beating.
3 - Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh is a superb destination any time of year, but when the weather starts to cool, its something special indeed. The vaults tour you can go on underneath the city becomes especially spooky when the nights draw in.
4 - London, England. London is obviously the capital city, so you would expect it to hold lots of history and it certainly does not disappoint. From Jack the Ripper walks to the London Eye, its fantastic, and again, all the more spooky when its gloomy on those windy walks along by the river Thames.
5 - San Francisco, USA. California is known as the Golden State, but catch the Golden Gate on an autumn day and you will see it rise out of the mist from the bay. Its a buzzing, vibrant place, but gets so hot in the summer months. I was lucky enough to go across to Alcatraz prison, and am so glad for the cool crisp air as it was baking even in those temperatures.
6 - Queenstown, New Zealand. The South Island of New Zealand, scene of the Lord of the Rings. Queenstown is an absolute gem. Hemmed in by the Remarkable Mountains, and featuring a large glacial lake, its full of outdoor activities and places to eat and drink.
7 - NYC, USA. New York, the Big Apple. Doesn't really need much introduction. Autumn to me is the perfect time to visit.
8 - Dovedale Stepping Stones, Derbyshire, England. In summer, this is a pretty and fun place, with low waters. In autumn, when its foggy and misty, and the waters are rushing a little (but still not too deep) its more breathtaking. The stepping stones are fun, if a little scary, but just take care as they are a little slippy.
9 - The Trentham Estate, Staffordshire. There are gardens where you can explore and gaze across the lake, past Perseus holding the Medusa. There is a little train, an outdoor entertainment area, and a barefoot outdoors activity. Then, there are the shops, and for the more adventurous there is a Monkey Forest and an Aerial Extreme. Or you can hike up to the monument on the wider estate.
10 - Manchester, England. Finally, at number 10, its Manchester. An exciting, vibrant place, full of top shops, night life, places to walk and explore. In Autumn, it comes alive with street artists, and light shows before the madness of the Christmas season kicks in!! Full of culture and history, its a must.
I read a quote that said dance like noone is watching. Great advice that - just let it go, let your hair down, shake it out.
However, the same does not apply to the gym. My quote - work out like the world is watching - give it your all. What's the difference you may ask?
I shall tell you. Dancing is more energetic when you do not care what you look like, whether you have rhythm or whether you have two left feet.
The gym however, is where just going through the motions kidding yourself that a slow plod will work wonders is not going to get you results. Since having a PT, I now realise that you have to push yourself.
So my advice is this - work out like you have your PT standing over you, and you are showing the world what you are made of. Don't spend your precious hour gossiping with your mate - you can go for a coffee, shopping or drinks to do that.
I'm not saying that a brisk low impact walk is bad for you, but I am saying that you get out what you put in. You've done the hard bit getting to the gym in the first place, so workout like the world is watching once you are there!! Give it your all!! :)
I am trying at the moment, to battle the bulge. I realise its not all about exercise, it has to be a combination of eating less, eating right, being healthy, getting exercise and getting good rest, but for me, it has to start with the exercise.
When I get my trainers on and get a good workout done, it keeps me on track with everything else. So here is my round up of this week's efforts so far:
Monday - gym session
1 mile jog, walking on incline, cross trainer, stepper and abs
For my final choice of my week with Adele its 'Set Fire to the Rain'.
'Set Fire to the Rain' was released as a single in 2011. It was the third single to be released from her second album 21.
Personally, I think this is one of Adele's strongest singles, but it didn't make the top ten in the UK singles chart, narrowly missing out by reaching number 11. It fared much better over the pond in the us where it hit the top spot.
I love how dramatic this song is. Its much more of a pop epic ballad than her more melancholy vocals and piano type arrangement. This one packs a punch and her vocals soar over them.
The lyrics, no pun intended, really do set a fire in you "I set fire to the rain, watched it pour as I touched your face". As she says watched she really snarls it. So much power to her performance in this one, and the strings in the background are just beautiful.
So there we have it - my week with Adele is over. All that remains to be done now is to decide which of my seven choices are in the top spot overall.
For my previous Adele choices for this week, plus my singles of the week and loads more music stuff check out My Music page here. Happy listening :)
We live not to far away from a place called Trentham Gardens. We regularly go walking there as it is beautiful. Earlier this year, they scattered a few beautiful fairy sculptures around its grounds. So we went Fairy Hunting.
It was a beautiful day, with perfect blue skies, so the fairies looked amazing, sparkling in the sun light and twinkling against the blue.
There were fairies in the trees, fairies peering over fences.
Then there were the dare devil fairies, dangling precariously from overheard suspension cables!
Then there were the attention seekers - the "look at me" ones that were just plain posing.
All of them absolutely beautiful. I was mesmerised by them. Despite being a grown up, there is something in these sculptures that made me believe in magic again. Its good to have a bit of magic in your life, and growing up is way overrated anyway. I recommend Fairy Hunting x
Chatting away about the woes of dieting, and the toughness of getting my behind to the gym, me and the other half got onto the topic of rewards.
As a joke, I said I might treat myself to a Pandora charm for each half stone milestone I reach. I do respond well to motivation like that. To my surprise, the other half, not known for his loving or supportive gestures it has to be said, suddenly said he would get me one too for each half stone! Wow!
So now I need to get planning for which ones I might buy. So far, I'm loving the Stiletto charm and the Handbag charm for two. Plus those with hearts on. Decisions decisions.
One charm I shall not be buying though, and woe betide anyone foolish enough to purchase for me when the time comes, is the 40 charm. Why on earth would I want to broadcast to the world that I have reached that particular milestone? Not a chance.
The Red Apple charm is gorgeous and actually quite apt for a diet theme. Wishing star charm is lovely and getting to my goal would be my wish. The sparkling leaves one would match my ring and earrings which I had for my birthday.
I like the Bear Hug and the Penguin family charms too. The pink pave charm is beautiful so is the lots of love charm. The Aries charm is quite personal to me. The sparkling butterfly charm is really pretty. I like the S as well as that's my name!!
Back on the healthy food theme and there is a strawberry charm which is really cute. But I also like the castle and the Frog Prince charms - bit Fairy Tale time.
On a quite poignant note, there is a Cupcake and an elephant - quite a good combination to remind me what happens to my body when I eat cupcakes!!
So many to choose from and such a lovely way of remembering the journey to get to my goal weight and an incentive to firstly lose the weight, and secondly to keep it off!
This is my intention to think of a reason every day to stick to my diet.
If I can keep that thought in mind for each whole day, I hope it will be enough to keep me motivated and inspired.
#Reason No 2 - I want to be a Size 10/12
My intention to think of a reason every day to stick to my diet.
If I can keep this thought in mind for each whole day, I hope it will be enough to keep me motivated and inspired.
Reason Number 2 is that I have reached a Size 12 once or twice, but never maintained it, and I need to be a bit smaller still. So size 10/12 is the goal.
Reason number 3 to stick to my diet: To fit into all those lovely clothes in my wardrobe!!
I have many items in my wardrobe that I can't currently wear. Some are mere pounds away from fitting, some I can barely get up to my knees!! Some do fit, but look awful because they fit in all the wrong places!!
It would be lovely to open my wardrobe and just be able to select an item, knowing it will fit me. It would make packing for holiday a pleasure, not a challenge!!
My reason number 4 for sticking to my diet is to look good at work. I am fed up of wearing the same old clothes every day. I want to be able to wear what I want to wear, not just black and grey.
I want to be more stylish, more groomed, more put together. So my fourth reason is to look good at work.
Number 5 on my list of reasons to stick to my diet is to have more confidence. When I gain weight, I feel self conscious, and horrible, and grumpy.
When I lose some weight, I have more confidence, I feel happier and better. So that's reason number 5!
I want to be noticed for the right reasons!! I am fed up of walking into bars, restaurants, offices and feeling eyes on me - for all the wrong reasons! I want to be the person that gets looks in a good way. So that is my reason number 6!!
Ok so number 7 is a bit different. This reason is a bit of a phobia I seem to have developed. I have a real issue with facing the mirrors at the gym. When I am working certain exercises, I am supposed to check my technique in the mirror. Not me, no way, never!! I will face the other way, or if I have no choice, I will look anywhere but at that damn mirror!!
So reason number 7 for sticking to my diet is to reach a weight where I am comfortable seeing myself in the mirror when I work out.
Number 8 :
When I am overweight in the summer when its warm, it makes me feel even more hot and uncomfortable. I lose weight to go on holiday abroad, and it feels so good being able to wear bikini's, shorts and skirts.
Unfortunately, when I get home to the UK, I gain weight and then when it gets warm here, I am not able to wear my summer clothes. This is ridiculous. So I am changing the pattern this year and I am going to be slim for the summer here for once!!!
I want to be cool, and look cool, not hot and uncomfortable!!!
Today, I want to get under the stone mark. I am sick of almost reaching goal, then never quite getting under that stone mark!!!!
As a woman, and just turned 40, the area around my middle is a problem. Always has been if I'm brutally honest, but now it bugs me more than ever!!
So, my reason to continue with this intense plan is that - I want that middle trimmed down and not bulging over the top of my waistbands!!
Its also a reason to do a lot of abs. :)
I have never been one of those women that throws on a pair of shorts in summer. At a push, I will don a pair on holiday where noone I know is likely to see me but I don't have the pins for shorty shorts.
I would love to have toned pins so that I can - so that's today's motivation :) Number 12:
Today's reason to stick to my diet and exercise plan is that I want to see my cheekbones again. I am very lucky to possess good bone structure - I have been told many times.
Many times that is, when you can actually see them, unlike now!! My face is the first place weight seems to go from when I lose it. Unfortunately, its also the first place that it goes back on, which is what I am rocking or sadly not, at the moment.
So, today's reason is to rediscover them bones them bones them dry bones. Cheekbones that it is :)
Today's reason to stick to the diet - lying on the sofa won't make me bikini ready!! And yet I am having one of those days when that is all I want to do.
I just want to put my head in those cushions, lay back, still a film on and be done with it. But I can't. Well, I could, but then there would be no point when I am looking back on holiday in beating myself up and feeling fat. If I choose that option, I deserve to look crap on the beach.
So, today's reason is that lying on the sofa will not make me bikini ready. So that has to be a start to get me up and active today and stay away from the chocolates!! :)
Today's reason to stick to the diet - I want to look good in lingerie.
Yes, its that female enjoyment of wearing beautiful underwear. The problem at the moment, is that my underwear is tending to be functional rather than beautiful. This must change.
I want to wear gorgeous lacy things, delicate items - not boulder holders!! So that is today's reason to stick to the diet. :)
Today's reason to stick to the diet - I am not getting any younger!!
Right - its that old saying that as you get older, you generally thicken out, and gain a few pounds. Now, if this is the case, having just turned 40 myself, it sure is not going to get any easier battling against my body.
If age does slow the metabolism, all the more reason to lose the weight now, before biology starts to tick against me!!
So that is today's reason to motivate me, and as reasons go, this one seems to be pretty powerful!! :)
Today's reason for sticking to my diet - I want toned arms.
Yep, I want rid of the bingo wings and the armpit fat. I'm not really that big - probably somewhere between a size 12 and a size 14 at the present time - a size 13 if you will, if there was such a thing!!
However, I want my arms to be defined, to be toned, to get rid of these annoying flabby bits so that I look nice in dresses and am not worried about the hammy area at the top of my arms.
Diet alone won't shift this so I need to up the ante on the weight front.
Today's reason to stick to the diet - I want to have some wine!!
Yes, when I reach goal weight, or holiday, whichever comes first, I can finally have some wine!! But only, and I repeat, only, if I get under that stone mark!!
So that is today's reason. Bribery. Works a treat with me :)
Today's reason to stick to the diet is that I want rid of the muffin top!!
I am losing weight, I am sticking to the exercise and yet still, that unsightly bulge over my waistband when I sit down remains. I don't know how slim I will need to get to in order to get rid of this damned bit of flab, but I am determined.
So that is today's reason. No more muffins - either the food variety or the overhang!! :)
Yep, today's reason is simple. It is not at all long now until my holiday. I am just weeks away now, and I have to make each day count!!
Tonight, I could easily have given in. The last thing in the world I wanted for my tea tonight was the 3 day diet measly portions. But I have done it. Why? Because I want to be the best I can be when I get on that plane.
Ok, so miracles don't happen, but I can at least be unbloated and more streamlined that if I pig out at this point!!
Today's reason to stick to my diet is that the scales have not dropped on weigh in this morning. I was really fed up. I have been so good, exercised so much, every single day.
The result? Stayed the bloody same!! So, today's reason to stick to it is exactly that - I haven't lost any weight, so I have to keep going until I do!!
Today's reason to stick to the diet - I want to go to posh restaurants!!
What I mean is, that I want to get dressed up in glamorous clothes looking amazing and go out to posh restaurants. I do go out, to lovely places, but I always feel frumpy.
I end up overeating- starters, mains and puddings, washed down with wine. Calorific? Hell yes. Taste good? Damn right!!
The problem is the getting ready and how I feel about me. I want to look nice, to feel confident. I do not want to look like the person who orders everything on the menu!!
So that is today's reason, so that one day, I will look like the person I want to be :)
Today's reason for sticking to my diet is because I am fed up of being fed up about my weight and my body. I go on a diet, lose a bit, go on holiday or to the wedding - whatever the event that prompted the weight loss.
I pile it on again, and it all starts all over again. I never maintain - I only ever lose or gain. The more fed up I get, the harder I try, but then when I get to the end of the path, I go overboard everytime. I put it on and I feel fed up. I eat what I want, but then I feel fed up when I am fat.
So, that's today's reason - I do not want to be fed up about this anymore. It is just ridiculous and it has to stop.
Today's Reason to stick to my Diet - I want toned inner thighs My legs are toning up a bit, slowly. I am developing some good definition, but clearly, my inner thighs are not being worked in quite the same manner, as they are refusing to change.
My inner thighs are flabby and unsightly, and nothing - not squats, not Zumba, not running, seems to be making a difference. Losing weight will help of course. It won't tone them up, but it will remove some of the fat.
However, in order to accomplish this goal, I need to stick to my diet, every day, and stick to the exercise plan but also add some specialist moves to tone these bad boys up!!
So that is today's reason - if I do not stick to it, I shall have flabby inner thighs forever!! Not having that!! :)
Today's reason to stick to my diet is that I want to be proud of my body. I am 40 years old, and not once have I felt totally proud of how I look.
Don't get me wrong - sometimes I look ok and I scrub up well, but put me in a bikini or a pair of shorts and panic sets in. I resign myself to how I look thinking "when I reach goal weight" and then it never happens.
Not this time!!! This time, I am going to exercise, I am going to diet, I am going to reach goal and why? Because I want to be proud of my body.
Today's reason for sticking to the diet is that I want to be in control and not my body. My mind needs to rule, not my hunger or cravings.
This is the problem - I get the strongest desire to eat crap and drink wine. Or a lovely cold beer and a burger, or crisps, or cheese or cake. Its never good stuff. I give in and then I enjoy it for a few minutes, and then within minutes, I am feeling fat and horrible, and the impact lasts for days.
I am tired of being ruled by cravings for fatty foods and I want to be in control. The longer I stick to the plan, the more I form new habits to replace the unhealthy ones and the better I feel mentally because then I am in the driving seat and in control.
Today's reason to stick to my diet is how wonderful it feels to lose weight. When you get on the scales, and it has dropped, its a good feeling.
When the pounds start to add up and become half stones it feels great. When you start to drop whole stones and look and feel better, its the best feeling ever.
I need to keep that in mind, as the reverse is also true. When you get on those scales and its gone up, it feels awful.
So, I need to remember how bad it feels when the scales go up and how wonderful it feels when my weight is coming down.
Today's reason to stick to the plan is simple - I will never get my ass in shape by sitting on it!!
What I am saying is that there is no point sitting around, bemoaning the fact that I am not at goal weight whilst spending my time sitting on my backside. If I want a banging body and to reach goal weight, I have to get up and move and work at it.
Today's reason to stick to my diet - I want to be free to have a pint!!
Today was a lovely sunny day, and it killed me not being able to just go to the pub, sit in the beer garden and have a cold pint of lager. I used to do it a lot, but then I realised I was overweight and wanted to not be, so I stopped doing it to lose the weight.
The problem is that I spend most of damn summer trying to lose weight and I never get to have that pint!! So I want to stick to my diet, get to goal weight, and stay there.
Then I can have my pint in the sun!! Number 29:
Today's Reason to Diet is that I want to enjoy the sunshine not dread it.
It breaks down like this - the sun comes out, I panic. I have a desperate hunt through my wardrobe to find something I can be cool enough it whilst not looking like a hippo.
It gets on my nerves. I should be like "yay, sunshine, damn girl". Nope. It fills me full of fear.
So that is today's reason.
Today's Reason to Diet is that I want to look good wet.
Yep, no matter how much I can hold it in, patch it up and camouflage when it comes to getting in the water, all bets are off. I want to be able to get in that pool, dive in those waves, and come out looking good instead of coming out looking like I have narrowly avoided the harpoon!!
I want to be as glamourous soaking wet as when I am fully loaded with the war paint and spanx!!
That is today's reason :)
Today's Reason to Diet is that I want to show off my belly piercing!! Yes, I finally got it done, so now I need the body to be able to show it off!!
That is today's reason :)
Today's reason to stick to the diet is that I want to be a good role model. My step daughter loves her food, but I want to be able to encourage her to be healthy and to exercise.
I feel a bit of a hypocrite if I am overweight and not in shape, so that is today's reason :)
Yes, I recently discovered that because I am with a life insurance company who value good health, if I get to target weight and maintain it, I will get a cheaper insurance.
Not only that, but you also get perks like free cinema tickets and discounts on healthy stuff. Fab. What more reason do I need!!