Sunday, 4 October 2015

Saying Goodbye to Zero and Body Dysmorphia

When I first began losing weight, dropping dress sizes was magical – it felt like a dream.
 I couldn’t believe it, I remember struggling to fit into my old clothes, skirts began dropping to my knees (even in public) and tops became so baggy it was like they had never belonged to me. 

The first time I went shopping was an out of this world experience.  I can’t explain the feeling – I only ventured to George at Asda, but I was shell shocked that the garments I’d taken into the fitting room and tried on were FAR too big.  I had picked up sizes I was so used to wearing – 12s, 14s, 16s – they looked like all my other clothes previous, why didn’t they fit?
It took a long time for me to get my head around my decreasing size.  Because, even though I was aware I had lost weight, the image in my mind was still set around a size 14/16 (not a smaller digit, if anything a bigger one).

When I was at my lowest weight, I found that size 10 was still too big.  With a petite frame, I struggled with proportions tremendously. I found myself wandering into the children’s section a lot – something which was very strange.
But, being the woman that I am I never gave up on my quest to lose weight for my wedding in 2014. When I got married I was a size 8 – and I’m warmly accepting of that.  Because something carried me through the lead up to the wedding, but hell heck, you know I failed to laugh and I can look back now and firmly say that I did it my way – but not necessarily the right way.

If I had been a few pounds heavier would my husband still have married me?  Of course he would have done, lets face it he would have married me if I was the size of an elephant!
 Would I have felt as confident on my wedding day as I did?  Sadly probably not

The fairy tale happened after my wedding (and it didn’t involve dress sizes).  I was firmly set on conquering health and happiness.  From my time spent in Thailand, to embarking on vegetarianism, to my undying love of tropical fruit. Yes, I do rather love good food.
People, who know me, still consider me to be one of the healthiest people they know – but for me, health is about lifestyle. If you are passionate about what you eat and how you eat it, then there is no need to crash diet, beat yourself up about calories or lose faith in yourself.  

I could talk about the perils of weight loss all day long, I can emphasise with girls who struggle with their weight, much younger than me.  But, also every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and disliked the figure staring back at them – I once was that woman, every woman. 

Sorting through some clothing for charity this weekend, I stumbled upon my size zero skirt. The one and only item I ever purchased with the aptly sized 0 tag.  I laughed, because the girl who bought this skirt two years ago was so fixated on the size printed on the tag, but was it really necessary?
At the time, yes it was.  Now – absolutely not.

Be whoever you want to be, and always be true to yourself.

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Marrakesh, Souks and Culture

When I was in Morocco last month, I was so intrigued by the promise of culture that lay ahead in Marrakesh and visiting some of the world famous souks, but had my reservations – I was a young female traveller with little knowledge of the country and felt partly out of my depth. 

Trousers: NEXT Petite Top and Scarf: Second-hand Sandals: Debenhams

But, sometimes you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Because, I knew I would regret it if I didn’t at least try. Luckily my friend wanted to accompany me. That didn’t mean we didn’t get absolutely swarmed on by locals and traders alike. It was definitely tough – but I felt a huge sense of awareness afterwards.  

Having travelled to Dubai last year, I had already had a taste of souks previously (a market full of many treasures such as gold, food, textiles and souvenirs), so thankfully knew how to deal with bargaining and agreeing or you could say disagreeing on a price.

Marrakesh was hot, very hot. Golden, and noisy. Cars, scooters and buses lined the streets and traders, tourists and local men and women made up the crowds...

Above: Scorching Marrakesh midday

My favourite memory was stepping into a tiny café to grab water, where a group of men casually dressed in beige suits were sharing mint tea (traditional Moroccan tea), and reading newspapers. It goes to show that wherever you may be in the world, there is always time for tea and news.
Homewares, textiles and candles all on offer in the souks
As we walked from souk to souk, we became aware of what goods were available, I discovered the most beautiful lamp figurine. The beauty came in the fact the seller didn’t once bother me, or force the sale on me, which I was incredibly gracious of.

On our way back to our hotel later that day, my friend and I chatted about our experience in Marrakesh and how different things were from anywhere we had ever experienced. But, we both said how different selling goods is, the fact that nothing had a price tag or a 'fixed value' – it’s open to suggestion.
I only saw a tiny part of an incredibly fascinating place – I imagine if I went back, I would be far braver, and more adventurous.
I truly believe that sometimes doing things you wouldn’t imagine yourself doing is sometimes the most satisfying journey you can take. 

Tasting Morocco - The Olive and Date way

Moroccan Dreams

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Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Tasting Morocco – The Olive and Date way

I was enthused by the opportunity to sample both dates and olives whilst in Morocco - which are both staples of my diet back home.  
My favourite Moroccan breakfast - a selection of dates, apricots, prunes and plums with a glass of tropical juice. This tasted so good, and I *definitely* need some mosaic breakfast bowls now.
Firstly, let’s start with...olives.  You either love them or hate them.  I once loathed them – to the point of ‘insulting’ them, whilst my husband always ordered them as an appetizer when we first started dating.  But, like most great food revolutions, you have to give everything a fair chance...
The olive trees where so glorious within our hotel grounds, I absolutely adored how close we were to one of my favourite trees... bliss!
It was in Spain a few years ago and the introductory of Tapas, I suddenly found myself tasting the most glorious juicy green and black olives and guess what?  Enjoying them.  As per usual, when I fall in love with something – I fall head over heels.
  In the case of the olive, I actually chose olive branches as my wedding bouquet over traditional flowers.  Symbolic of not only our mutual love of olives, but also a little deeper in the thought of handing out an olive branch to new possibilities. (everybody knows a good marriage is born on olives, right?)

I soon realised that in Morocco, olives come with everything. There is no right or wrong time to eat olives – so that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner then!  There were ginormous jars at every corner and ample opportunity to sample them.  Try as I might, every plate of mine (except breakfast and pudding) included olives. Sometimes a handful, sometimes a mountain.
Dates always seem to get a bad reaction in my experiences, but I think they are beautiful - inside and out! Just like any fruit, the irregularity and imperfection is what makes them so naturally good.
I started eating dates last year, and have become quite accustomed to snacking on them usually throughout the day aka whenever I’m in the kitchen and hungry.  I’m a devil with those dates, and always seem to giggle when I discover a new variety. (Medjool all the way)
Dates in Morocco where big, and plentiful. They felt luxurious; usually I eat them straight out of the cardboard box and don’t really dress them up on my plate. Eating them at breakfast really gave me a true sense of satisfaction.

You know you’ve got food love, when you arrive home and all you want to eat is EXACTLY what you did whilst in another country.  This is partially true, but true to my form I was eating my weight in dates and olives before I went to Morocco, but now I feel a rich sense of pride. I want to eat them not only for incredible taste, flavour and nourishment, but for pure joy. 

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