Tuesday, 31 December 2013

My hopes and plans for 2014

I've never really been big on resolutions, and tend to think that January is a pretty awful time to start anything new when it's cold and rainy outside and I really just want to sit tucked under a blanket. However, I've already set a few things in progress which means we could be due a few changes in 2014, so I may as well set myself some plans to keep to. Hopefully by writing it down, it'll motivate me.

Get my health and fitness kick back on track
I'd done really well in mid 2013, I'd lost about a stone due to a combination of eating less and moving more. That was until work got stressful at the same time as Autumn appeared, so comfort eating set in. I've also had a suspected broken foot for three months (I know!) so I've been nervous about walking too far on it, let alone running. I'm planning to get my foot looked in the next week or so, so I can get back to walking, return to the gym and combine it with healthier eating. My Fitbit and MyFitnessPal will keep an eye on me!

Get my work-life balance sorted
After a work merger early in 2013, I've not been happy at work, plus the amount of work I've had to do has increased exponentially. I finally got fed up in November and found myself a new job which I start in February. I'm hoping my last month in my current job won't be too stressful and that I'll settle into my new job easily enough. Once I've got everything under control, I should be able to come home at 5.30 and not have to pick up and respond to emails in the evening. Sounds good, huh?!

Find a new home
    This fab new job? Well, it's about 50 miles from here. The commute is doable, but not something I'd want to be doing forever. We've talked about moving house for years to somewhere more rural, so hopefully 2014 will be the year that happens. Every time I move house I find it incredibly stressful and vow never to do it again. I'm trying to forget that for the next twelve months and I'm sure it'll come easily enough when we find out new perfect home.

Keep better control of my purse strings
I'm lucky enough to have a relatively well paid job, so within reason, if I want something, I can afford it. My new job is going to mean my fuel bills increasing significantly, plus a house move won't be cheap. Add to this that I've taken a slight initial salary cut for my new job, and I'm aware I need to be less spendthrift. Due to various factors, we've always planned to save as much as we can so we can retire before we're too old to enjoy it properly. I need to keep that in mind, concentrate on the longer term picture and realise that I probably don't need an extra pair of shoes or a new eyeshadow.

Get my geocaching log count up to 400
 I love geocaching, but life and weather seem to have conspired against me this year. I'm going to aim to get up to 400 geocaches logged in 2014. It helps motivate me to get out walking, so hopefully it'll help with my first resolution too.

Just to really depress me I've found an infographic which shows just how unlikely I am to achieve my aims. Oh well, I never did believe random statistics.

Monday, 30 December 2013

My photo heavy Christmas 2013

I'm lucky enough to still be off work, so I think I can probably still just about get away with a Christmas post.

Probably the best way of illustrating my Christmas is through the various photographs I took. I started on Christmas Eve, wanting to get a few pictures of the tree and decorations before the presents were unwrapped. We'd been to visit Andrew's parents on the 23rd, so had gifts from them for us, as well as from each other to ourselves, I couldn't believe how many there were!

Christmas tree with presents
Christmas tree complete with presents
Tealight holder
One of the bargain tealight holders I got from Sainsbury's last year
Tealight holder
Another tealight holder, I've had this one for years and still love the way it lights up.
Christmas cards hanging
I swear a lot trying to hang up the Christmas cards, but it's inevitably worth it!
Bokeh Christmas tree
My first attempt at taking a bokeh style photo of the Christmas tree.
Bokeh Christmas tree
My second attempt with my new lens, much better!
Secret Santa gift
I'd taken part in Romany Scarlett's Twitter Secret Santa, this was my wrapped gift. Beautiful!
Secret Santa gift
And this is what I got, chocolate and a geocaching travel bug. Awesome!
Christmas finger puppets
These little guys have been knocking around the front room for years, they come into their own at Christmas!
Arthur Christmas
We had a late Christmas lunch, I watched Arthur Christmas whilst the turkey cooked.
Christmas Dinner
The result. Very good it was too, although I could hardly eat the next day!
We saw my parents and brother on Boxing Day and Andrew's family on the 27th. Bramble, Andrew's parents' dog was as photogenic as ever.
Penguin snowglobe
I got this penguin snowglobe from my parents. He's very seasonal, if a little grumpy looking.
Christmas presents
For those who like seeing presents. This is what I was lucky enough to get from Andrew and his parents (plus my Secret Santa!)
Christmas presents
And this is what I got from my family and Andrew's aunt. A few price tags were missed in packing! We also had a few joint presents which I've not photographed, but were much appreciated.
I had a wonderful Christmas this year. It was nice having Christmas Day to ourselves, but then really good to catch up with family afterwards. I've also had over a week off work which has given me a much needed break, it'll be a real struggle getting back to it on Thursday!

I hope you've had a good Christmas too. Leave me a link if you've blogged about your Christmas, I love reading about them.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

A year of braces (and some!)

I've been a bit remiss about posting an update on my braces recently, mainly as progress is so slow that I have little to report. I passed the one year mark at the end of October and had hoped that I'd be done by this Christmas, but no such luck. I'll be seeing in 2014 complete with wires!

My last but one check up was in mid November and was a really easy appointment. My wires came out easily enough and were replaced with new wires that continued the same work. My top wire still has a bend by my second incisor which was set back and a bend out to encourage my bite to widen. Again, the bottom wire is bent upwards, to encourage my premolars to move up, and my molars to move down. I'd also developed a gap between my premolar and first molar on the bottom left hand side, so it's back to power chain to close the gap. The photograph below was taken after my November appointment.

I then went back again in mid to late December. My top wire came out easily enough, but my bottom wire put up a fight. That was nothing compared with the fight to get one back in though, it took three attempts and various work sanding away a few microns of surface of the wire, so it would fit. I was seriously regretting not taking painkillers before I left the house. I still have power chain as I still have a gap between the teeth on the bottom left hand side and a bend in the wire to encourage my teeth to level out. The bend in the top wire had had a little too much effect and had started to twist my right centre incisor at the top, so that's been dispensed with. At last I have a wire with no visible nicks! The top wire is still bent out slightly as my bite still needs minor adjustment and my lower left teeth still aren't quite flat, meaning that I have a larger gap between my top and bottom teeth on the left hand side than the right side. You can also see where my right top centre tooth (left in the picture below) has been worn down by the lower bracket. I've been assured that's easy to fix, easy as filing nails apparently!

Much as I'm pleased with progress, I can't wait to get the wires off and get them cleaned properly. The original estimate of twelve to fifteen months is now starting to look a little unlikely, but it'll be worth the wait to get them as good as possible. No regrets!