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Monthly Archives: July 2012

I started Weight Watchers a few weeks ago after seeing a video of myself being interviewed at a conference. You can never trust a photo – a bad or good angle makes all the difference – but with a video, you realise exactly how you look when you talk, smile and laugh. And so I realised that the double chin is always there.

It was week four this evening and weigh-in number three. So far I’ve lost each meeting, with 6.5 lbs in total – just a tiny half a pound away from my first silver seven! Weight Watchers is a system that works for me – it fits with my day to day life but means I can go crazy at the weekend if I want, which so far seems likely!

Three things that I’ve discovered so far:

Fruit. Using the ProPoints system, most fruit and vegetables are point free. This has made such a difference to my eating habits – I’m still grazing throughout the day, but it’s on a variety of different interesting fruits. I’m typically at 5 a day by lunchtime.

Portion control. For these first few weeks, I’ve been weighing and measuring almost everything. I’m starting to get an idea of what a tablespoon of mayo looks like or how many Blueberry Wheaties is a normal portion. Moving in with my boyfriend was definitely a major cause of gaining weight – I started cooking larger portions and then just split everything by two. This has been a great reminder of how much food I actually need to fill myself up.

Tracking. This is pretty much Weight Watcher’s core method – write down every single thing you eat or drink. I have to do this on the go or I forget things, so the WW iPhone app is brilliant. Only available if you sign up to monthly pass though, but well worth it.

Three things I’ve heard and want to try:

Red plates. The colour red is so hardwired into our brains as ‘STOP’ that apparently eating off a red plate encourages you to stop eating when you get fuller and start seeing more and more of the plate. I hate chucking food away but I guess it’s better to do that than eat more than you need to. Just need to buy some new crockery now…

Chickpeas. A gold member who attends my meetings used to swear by dried chickpeas on nights out. She’d put as many chickpeas in her bag as she had points to use, and then as she drank throughout the night would throw out a chickpea for each point. When she ran out of chickpeas she knew she’d had enough. I really like this idea but seem to find myself at events with limited booze options lately – only realising when I go to point up that the Rekorderlig I’ve been drinking is a massive 8 ProPoints.

Make your own chocolate box. I love this one – a woman who loved to indulge in boxes of chocolates used to regularly buy selections of the different Weight Watchers low points bars, chop them up into bitesize pieces, and refill a chocolate box with them. She could scoff a whole box of chocolates and it was still only a few points.

I recently stumbled across Screenfunk, which offers “insanely great wallpapers for your iPhone and iPad”. There’s a great combination of bold text, animated graphics, and subtle patterns, available to download for free.

I love the bold designs of ‘Spaceman‘ by Lianne Lee Flang and ‘Bicycle Man‘ by Marco Recuero. The falling astronaut currently features as my lock screen – it makes me smile every time I see it but I’m not sure why, because in reality that spaceman is without a tether, likely drifting in space, running out of oxygen.

Spaceman   Bicycle Man

For a desktop background though I prefer more subtle geometric shapes or patterns – I love the appearance of colourful iPhone icons so my first screen is just apps – no folders. I’m currently using ‘A quiet raft‘ by Michael Latimer (below left), it’s got great texture and clean lines but doesn’t shout about it. His illustrations are some of my favourites, like the topographic ‘Floatation003‘ (below right). He sells prints of his work online – I may be tempted when I’m feeling flusher.

A quiet raft   Floatation003

A few other favourites: ‘Figuras‘ and ‘Mandala Occidental‘ by Missa Kanin, ‘Flower Power‘ by Deniz Tekkul and ‘Deer‘ by a user going by Jack516.

   

   

After all that chat about colours and font and making this my own, I realised that what I actually wanted was a fairly simple blog theme which could be customised as my mood fancied. I’m also naturally tight and thus don’t really like to spend money on something I feel like I could do myself.

So after some tinkering with themes, I’m now using Blogum, which is described as “a clean and minimalist theme that allows your reader to focus on your content”. It uses a simple font, Helvetica Neue, and doesn’t include lots of extra embellishments. The nice folks at WordPress have a demo Blogum blog and links to a few nice blogs using the theme – my favourite being ‘b for bonnie‘, which uses such crisp photography that is definitely complimented by the simplicity of the blog style. I’ve also recently stumbled upon Southwarkbear and love the header – similar(ish) to the doodlesome madness I’m currently planning for my own…

The specs:

  1. The maximum content width is 545 pixels.
  2. Full-width layout: The main column is 785 pixels.
  3. The maximum sidebar width is 225 pixels.
  4. The header image is 945 pixels wide and 150 pixels high.
  5. The maximum width for images on attachment pages is 785 pixels.

The great thing about WordPress is that it’s so customisable. The features of Blogum include customisable menu, header, sidebar, but much more is possible thanks to the wonders of the World Wide Web and some kind people sharing their knowledge.

The official WordPress forums provide great advice on specific issues, and this site provides some really handy tips for changing the formatting of the blog title (or removing it completely):

http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/customizing-blog-title-in-blogum/

I’m pretty keen to try out the styling feature for Header 6, which allows you to display part of your content (145px wide) outside of the main column. This may take a few attempts.

So, the title of this blog post was a total lie since really it is only about Blogum. But ‘To Blogum… and then really that’s it because there’s nothing else to report about the blog at this particular moment’ was not as catchy.

Topical post! Olympics opening ceremony this evening, and considering the hilarious mistakes that have made in the build up to the Olympics, it promises to be entertaining viewing.

BBC comedy mockumentary ‘Twenty Twelve’, following the fictional Olympics Deliverance Commission, has been one of the main highlights of the Olympics to date. It’s also alarming how some of the errors made by the fictional team have been followed by remarkably similar events occurring in real life.

The twitter feed of fictitious Siobhan Sharpe, of PR agency ‘Perfect Curve’ @perfect_siohan is brilliant, reacting to real-life Olympic slip-ups almost as well as the scripted ones. On the  news that the wrong Korean flag had been used for the women’s football, she tweeted, “So there are two Koreas, like who knew? #Holyshet”

You couldn’t make this up.

Well, you probably could, but there’d be more Brazillos in it.

A new blog requires decisions about identity, content, style, and perspective. And of course these things are important, especially if I ever expect anyone to actually read this thing. But I’m hoping most of those choices will come over time as I start to write and post things and get an idea of what works for me. Is this a place to share exciting and interesting things I find and like, to philosophise on life, share titbits from my own day to day, to add my own voice and opinions to the already teeming community that is the hugely expansive Internet…? I should probably have figured these things out as Step Number One, but I didn’t. Instead, I started thinking about what it will look like.

I hate moving house. I hate sorting, packing, and cleaning, I hate lifting boxes that are too heavy for me. I hate remembering that loving books has a serious downside. I hate moving in and realising that there isn’t in fact a space for everything and that even though you through away loads of things before you moved, it still wasn’t enough. BUT I love figuring out how things will look. How I’ll rearrange the furniture to create a space that is perfect for me, where I’ll hang my own pictures in place of the neutral abstract pastel creations that typically adorn rented flats, whether I can add a hanging star or a multicoloured elephant to make a place just me.

The great thing with this blog is, if I change a colour or layout I don’t have to strain my back lifting a sofa or try out a million tester pots. So I have a feeling that before I add anything of any value whatsoever to the world online (let’s face it, if ever), I’m going to spend a long long time clicking through the gazillion themes offered by WordPress and trying out every single colour combination possible.

This could be the beginning of a beautiful web log…

Image source: http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/quick-history-pantoneretrospec-163877