Food and Restaurant Review · Product Review

Zenpop japan and snacks Review

For years now I’ve been meaning to buy one of these boxes, and with my passion for Japan and it’s culture I couldn’t say no to the opportunity of a single purchase box with all the goodies from Japan.  (Thank you husband!)

One of the main reasons why I haven’t bought a goodies box is because of the need to “subscribe for a minimum of…”, I don’t like the idea of subscribing to something without having a try first. And that’s where #Zenpopjapan appeared. I first heard of it through “Tokyo Creative” a Youtube channel with loads of information about Japan. One of their videos was sponsored by Zenpop.jp, and while they showed all the goodies they got all I could think of was: “I HAVE TO GET ONE BOX!”. Unfortunately, the one-time purchase was SoldOut! and I couldn’t use the discount code BUT, I waited until it was available and begged my husband for $25 as soon as it was available.  

And here we have it! I ordered it on the 25th of October and it arrived on the 13th of November. I did have to wait a while but it was sent all the way from Japan to the UK!. I can’t complain about it when most of the post sent from Spain doesn’t arrive to the UK for two weeks if ever. 

First of all, I wanted to show what Zenpop japan offers. The website has five different options: Sweets, Ramen, Sweets + Ramen, Beauty and Stationary. As a food lover, there was one only option for me…. Sweets and Ramen!

 

The box was a bit battered, maybe someone kicked it while in France. But all the goodies were in perfect condition. Nothing broken.

When opening the box, my eyes shined of happiness! There was a lot there that I have never tried and some you can’t buy in the UK ( or at least in the area I’m in). Let’s dig in!! 

First thing I wanted to try was the “CRATZ Edamame”, I have never tried a green soybean snack before so why not be the first one? Now I wish it was the last one because it was DELICIOUS!!!  You know when you want to continue eating something, normally it’s because of the addiction of it, like when you have Pringles and you keep eating them but you don’t know why as the 30th one doesn’t taste as nice as the first 4? WELL! This was the complete opposite, you wanted to continue eating because each bite was delicious! The burst of flavour was unique but at the same time, it reminded my husband and me of a coated peanut. But 10xbetter! I definitely know what I’m buying when I visit Japan at some point in my dream future.

CRATZ Edamame

Next, we tried the “Salted Peas Chips”, they are now quite common here in the UK with companies like Yushoi distributing them around UK supermarkets.  I do love them and they have become a nice simple snack since I found them 2 to 3 years back.  For those of you who haven’t tried them, imagine having a bite on a cheesy puff with the shape and colour of green beans and the flavour of well-seasoned peas. That’s basically what this is but you can find them in different flavours. This one that came with the box was the normal salted one. 

Calbee Green Pea Snack

The next savoury one in line after the Green Peas Salted Chips was the “Sapporo Potato Tsubu Tsubu Vegetable”. The interesting message about this packet of crisps was the fact that they wanted to show the vegetables inside of the potato crisps.  The “tsubu” for what it says online it means grain but – again for what I have found online- “tsubu tsubu” means freckly. Which makes sense as, as soon as you pick one crisp up you see the freckly vegetables inside it. These reminded me of the “Veggie and Kale straws” that you can find in Aldi but less oily. 

Calbee potato crisp with freckly 7 different vegetables

And finally the Tomato Pretz. I have seen Pretz make before in an international shop where they sold Polish and Oriental food. One of the crisps with tomato flavour was from Pretz. With that in mind, I believed I knew what kind of flavour I was going to get. I was wrong. This pack of stick biscuits/ breadsticks was very nicely done, with an easy way to open the box inside there were 2 bags. And they both had a good quantity of the product inside! Very surprised. When eating something that is tomato flavour, at least for me here in the UK, all I get is sour fake tomatoes. One bite on these and a flashback from my childhood in Spain and Sicily came to mind.

The taste of those tomatoes that you can just pick and bite in them as if they were fruit. The sweet but savoury taste. Definitely, I wasn’t expecting that! 

That concluded the savoury side of this box ( EXCEPT FOR THE RAMEN!). But, because my husband and I already eat before trying this box, we decided to leave the ramen without trying for now and concentrate on the snacks and sweets. So next up in the sweet section: “Petit Matcha Cookies”.  Complete honesty, I personally couldn’t taste the matcha in these. Yes, the taste was slightly different from the normal cookies bought in a shop, but it didn’t wow me. However, they are good as a quick snack as they are small bite size. But for me, the chocolate took most of the flavour. 

Look how cute that matcha bear looks! 

Next, the one I wanted to try the most: Melon Soda Sours! I LOVE MELON! I could eat melon and watermelon every single day if I could. And the next thing I love, sweets. SO!!! This was the best of both worlds! The name “SOURS” makes it sounds as if it’s extremely sour, to the point of making Sid face from Ice Age. 

But it wasn’t like that at all! The sweet is described as hard gummy, not something that I’ve found in the UK as most gummy sweets here they are quite soft and very easy to bite through. Whereas this gummy was tougher to bite into.  THE FLAVOUR! wow! it was like eating a real melon.  It was juicy and fresh and looking at the ingredients you realize that they use pure melon juice. For a few minutes, I decided to enjoy a few of these and just imagine myself on a sunny beach eating melon and enjoying the paradise view. 

Only two things left in the “Sweet” section and anything with a panda and strawberries will ALWAYS get the first pick out of those two! The way the leaflet describes these cookies is “sour-sweet strawberry chocolate with strawberry powder and sour but rich strawberry chocolate”, for me they were more “amazing strawberry chocolate that melts in your mouth like a yoghurt coating on top of nice biscuits.” There was no sour involved in this snack at all, they looked cute, they tasted amazing and it is another thing that I can see myself buying in the future. I can’t really compare it to anything I have tried in the UK. Unique. 

Yes they look exactly like that when you open the bag! 

And finally, something I thought I would really like: Chocolate pie. Who doesn’t like chocolate and who doesn’t like pies?! So these two combined, what can go wrong? Well…. make sure you have a nice drink in hand because this is super dry! Not something I liked, unfortunately.  It has dark chocolate, which I don’t mind at all but…. it didn’t work. The “crispy pie” is more of a “dry pie”.  I can’t find a picture of it online. 

My conclusion?

I will buy from Zenpo.jp again! The cost for all of these is not bad at all (remember there’s still 2 pots of noodles not tried yet!), especially when it’s delivered all the way from Osaka Japan! For me it was worth it with the Cratz, the Sakusaku cookies and the Melon Soda Sours. The company itself was super easy to order with, their website is simple and straightforward. You can select to buy a one time only or subscribe to 3 or 6 months – I’m not sure when I will be able to get another one.  Looking online this pack that I received was the “Green Goodness pack”, it was green for sure and overflowing with goodness! 

As for the goodies inside, it’s made me want to go to Japan even more if that was even possible. Every single pack (while google translating) didn’t contain any of the artificial colouring and flavours that you find everywhere here in the UK.  They were delicious and slightly healthy! Bonus! 

I LOVED IT!  

Advertisements
diary · diet

Step 2 in the lifestyle change

Dear diary,

As you know I’ve been trying to change my lifestyle and lose all the extra weight I put on since I moved to the UK. That was 11 years ago and 35kg lighter!

Back in July 2018, I decided it was time to change. The decision came along when I couldn’t recognize myself in the mirror and all I used was a small makeup mirror. The main shock came when a good friend of mine came round and we took some pictures together. I couldn’t believe how bad I got!

From July to October, I ran 4 miles every day, I calorie counted and I ended up going from 98Kg to 84Kg! I managed to lose 14Kg! I couldn’t be happier with how far I went without crumbling down.

But the time for that “crumbling down” was upon me.

My mum visited me at the beginning of October and it was the best time I have ever spent with her, so much so that when she left I was very sad! I didn’t realise how it affected me, but I ended up eating and not training! It took me an entire month to get my mind straight… well, not completely there yet but, getting there!

I took a picture of myself in September and then another picture of me now, and it got me thinking again. Told myself: This is it! I need to get back into it! I can’t let all this hard work go to waste!

So here’s the picture:

img_20181102_163521285470094893752820.jpg

On the right in September: Size 16 and XL on the top / On the left is now Size 14 and L on top (I still have big boobs lol! – Honestly I see some difference but not that much).

I bought the same top in different sizes as I knew I would be losing weight but I didn’t think I would be using the L size so soon. During this transaction, I changed the t-shirt sizes a lot! I have 3 different piles now: XL pile (for the 89Kg old me), L/M Pile (For the 84Kg now me) and GOAL pile (For the 70Kg future me). I have to reach that Goal pile!!

So here I am, starting from fresh. Today I have decided to make it the day where I go back into my training and my diet. Today I am going forwards and lose the extra 10Kg! Lose the extra jeans size and be able to wear the t-shirts on the Goal pile.

I’ve had my binge eating, no joking tho… I ended up with boxes of chocolate and sweets next to me while watching tv. The calorie counting Cinzia was completely gone!

one small pile of the junk food
This is just one small pile of the goodies I had on Saturday. There’s still some left but…. this was a new buy. For the entire month, we’ve been at the shop buying junk food every 3 days.

What is going to happen now?

Well, I am going to go through the torture of sugar addiction. I will be a week eating less and less sugar until I reach a reasonable point (normally what’s inside of food already and not added), it’s difficult as you end up shaking and wanting to eat something with sugar. But as soon as you do, you are hooked and end up eating more of it. I’ve also decided to do more running, not much but… While I have the opportunity of being at home and not working… I will be running 4 miles in the morning and then another 3 to 4 miles in the evening ( While the hubby is doing his own training).

So here I am again. I don’t know how long this will go but hopefully, I don’t crumble down as I did last month. I can do this!

Future me, here I come! Get those size 12 ready! 

diary

I’m stuck in life.

Dear diary,

It’s been a while since I poured my feelings into this. As you’ve seen. I haven’t written much, apart from the “Tattoo artist shout out!“. And here’s the reason why.

For a while I had high hopes for my future. Finally, I completed my degree, I was working as a translator for a company and I was aiming at opening my own limited company: Translate for a living.

Little did I know that things wouldn’t go as hoped for.

After opening my limited company I ended up getting quite a bit of work all in one go, translating for an Irish company, translating for banks in Italy, translating certificates! It was perfect! I thought: “Here we go!!! This is the amazing start of my career!!”.

But it turns out it wasn’t going to last.

It’s November and I don’t have anything! I’ve contacted people, I’ve been bidding for work, I have my new website… and Nothing! No work and No money.  Talking to people in the same industry, I’m not the only one. For people who have the same languages as I do (Spanish, Italian, Catalan, and English) and they live in Europe, we don’t have a chance anymore because our services are “too expensive”. Not because we charge a lot, I only charge £0.02  to £0.03p per word; but it’s because there are these agencies located in India and Egypt where people without any language skills charge £0.003p per word and then use google translate or equivalent. They can make a living out of that cost, we can’t. I’m not saying everyone who works as a translator and lives in those areas are part of these agencies, but us here in the UK and Europe have noticed the change because of them.

It angers me so much! People like myself, we bid constantly to make a living and we get pushed aside because “it’s cheaper “. Fuck quality right?

So after 4 months of constant battle and trying to make some sort of money I’ve ended up making the decision to close the company. I just can’t afford it. I can’t even afford to pay my rent, how am I going to afford to continue the business running? In the 4 to 5 months I’ve had the business and worked translating, I only managed to pay myself one time. ONE TIME! and that was only £600, enough to pay my rent. No money for other things, no money to tell myself: You deserve this.

Now what? All I’ve worked for, studied for and aimed for …. these past 5 years of my life gone. Yes I have learned a lot and I have grown from it, but it all comes down that I have to start from 0 again.

The questions of: What am I good at? What can I do? What industry can I go into? What can I learn? What is there out there?

I’ve started applying for work in different sectors, here in Nottingham the main one is Finance, but… is that where I want to go? I have never been interested in finance lol!

I must say, because of living with my future husband, he is providing for everything and I couldn’t be more grateful to him for what he is doing and sacrificing. He is giving me the opportunity to choose where I want to go, I don’t have to select what I don’t like, I can choose. At least for a couple of months. I HATE using him (at least that’s how I feel), I like bringing the money in, I want to work to support us both. The thought of not being able to buy him a Christmas present this year angers me so much! I need to find something that I can be proud of doing, happy working for and I can say: I want to continue working here, making a career out of it and retire happy.

What would I like to do? My mind is stuck, I look at what is out there and I’m lost. I feel like my roots have been cut down and I’m trying to reach a place where I can grow again.  I don’t want to waste this amazing opportunity allowing me to find something new that I like, but how can you find something when what you liked is gone?

Maybe I should just walk out of the house, go for walks and not worry about it. Maybe, not thinking about it might bring the ideas. I’ve been stuck inside my house for months now, yes I’ve gone out during the weekend for some fresh air, but during the week I’m in front of this pc applying for jobs, bidding for translation jobs, looking at any sort of education that can give me a push towards something else. That’s all I do, from 8.30am to 5pm. Do I get anything back from all the applications? Nope.  And it’s not like I’m lacking the experience or qualifications for it.

I am sorry that I sound like a moaning bitch. But I know that, if I keep it all in it will get worse and worse. This way, putting it out there, out of my mind, it will show me things a bit more clear. Allowing me to organize my mind and see what I can do.

On top of all this, I ended up putting weight back on. LOL. I stopped dieting and exercising at the beginning of October and from then until now I’ve been eating loads and not doing any workouts. I can’t blame that on anyone except myself. When my mum arrived at the beginning of October I didn’t want to be spending time calorie counting and running, as soon as she left I was crying for a week (I miss her a lot!), and then I got into this mindset where everything is going wrong and what can I do?!

It’s all spiraled down. I need to see what I can bring for my future. Honestly, I wish I had the mentality of both of my brothers, one is in Grand Canarias building his own little tent out of wood on the beach and living off fishing and surfing, and the other one is being paid to play saxophone around the world. I’m the one stuck in the middle without a purpose.

Yes, I can get a job, I can work at a shop again, I can work at a restaurant again, but this is not what all this moaning is about. I want THE job. The job that I can be proud of, the job that each and every one of us wants in their own way.

I had it…. but it just slipped through my fingers. Disintegrating in front of me.

So no, I can’t look back. I need to look forward. I need to look into the future! What am I good at? I have good people skills; What are the things I enjoy? Writing (badly I know), Technology, Travel, Languages, craft.  So what can I be? What can I do?

What I don’t see myself being? As a teacher (I don’t have the patience for kids, honestly teacher our there I don’t know how you do it), as a carer (I just know, I don’t have the power to be a carer. You have to have a strong heart and will to do that, and I admire every single person who is a career). So what can I be? What can I aspire to be?

Are you doing what you wanted to do since you were a kid?

At one point I wanted to be an archeologist, but as soon as I was 19-20 I knew it wasn’t for me. So I started teaching languages, I really enjoyed it, but I wouldn’t be able to do that now. From there I chose to be a translator, the use of languages to bring the world together, one customer at a time. A world that I have to say goodbye to. From school I was an average student, I don’t want to be an average person. I want to thrive! I want to reach places!

But right now, I don’t know how. I’m truly stuck.

diary · Shop Review · Tattoo

Tattoo Artist shout out!

Dear Diary!

On the 23rd of October, I went into Thundercat Tattoo Studio in Nottingham and had my second tattoo done by Wiktoria aka Chestnut.

I wanted to take this opportunity to express how happy I am with the artist and the studio!

First I would love to talk about the artist. Her name is Wiktoria Sztompka and she’s from Poland. I first saw her style when Thundercat Tattoo Studio showed what their guests did during summer. I fell in love with her style!

I immediately contacted her to find out if she would come back! She instantly answered back and reassured me that she was going to be back in Nottingham at the end of October! I was super excited!!! These are some of her work:

Her work is breathtaking

When I met her in person, I could see why she’s such a good artist. Her personality is vibrant and refreshing, and on top of it, she is professional. Her passion for tattooing showed when we spoke during our two to three-hour session. During the session, we took a small break, while on that break a woman walked in who wanted a tattoo from Chestnut and she happily did a 10-minute consultation. Within that consultation, you could see the eyes of this new client light up! While talking about the future tattoo, Chestnut was creating on the fly the unique design that the client wanted.

I loved how she puts that love on every single design.  These are her social media links, please check them out!

Facebook: @Chestnuttattoo , Instagram: chestnut_tattoo , Pinterest: Chestnut Tattoo

Her goal is to be able to be a guest tattoo artist around the world! I would love that for her and for her magic appear around the world!

So what did she tattoo on me?

Well, when I contacted her I asked if she could incorporate two of her previous work and make it unique. Before the session a notification appeared from her Instagram, she added a short video on her story. It was my tattoo! She was drawing it from scratch!! While on the tram ride to the studio I was falling in love with the work and I was getting more and more excited about it!

And here it is:

tatt

I couldn’t be happier! And definitely getting a third one by her! 

All this experience wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for Thundercat Tattoo Studio in Nottingham. I don’t think I would have been able to find Chestnut if it wasn’t for them!

As soon as I walked into the studio I was welcomed and made sure I was comfortable. Everyone in there created this friendly atmosphere, the team talked to each other as if they have been childhood friends. I even got to the point where I was joining in with the jokes and laughs. While being tattooed, I was incorporated in the conversations, making me feel part of this friendship they all have.

Definitely, a place to go back and a place to suggest for other people who want tattoos.

Here are the links for Thundercat Tattoo Studio:

Website: https://thundercattattoostudio.com/ , Facebook: @thundercattattoostudio

I wasn’t expecting to have such an awesome day with everyone there. And I want people to have the same awesome experience.

diary · diet · holiday

Mum, holiday and the inlaws!

Dear Diary!

It’s been a while! On the 3rd of October, my mum flew over from Spain to be with me for 10 days! I can’t believe she’s gone back to Spain already.

Let’s start from the beginning, of course, I knew I wouldn’t do my diet while she was here. I wanted to enjoy every second with her, and that included eating her amazing food! It was a year since I last saw her, and although we have internet and we skype each other quite often, it’s never the same as real life. Hugging her and getting those mother kisses, nothing can compare to that.

After a day of shopping around Nottingham, we both got ourselves nice and ready for our trip to London. Little did she know that Dave got us a room in one of the best hotels and with the best view; but I made sure she wouldn’t find out until the end of that day. Before the hotel, we ended up going to the Wallace Collection. It was my first time there and I was amazed by everything! You walk in and you are surrounded by art, and the best part, it wasn’t touristy. If you now go to the British Museum you know you will be pushed around with crowds of people, at the Wallace Collection I could read and admire every single painting, sculpture, and weapon without the feeling of hurry. While there we had to do two things, first eat some breakfast which we had in a relaxing environment under a glass roof and surrounded by trees; and second, mum had to find her favourite painting in this entire gallery, The Laughing Cavalier from Frans Hals. She loves it and who wouldn’t! look at him!

laughing cavalier
It’s said that this painting resembles the Mona Lisa in the way that he keeps looking at you no matter where you are in the room. But this one has that cheeky smile to him. 

From there we decided to go to Selfridges, a huge department store where I felt out of place. You realise what kind of simple lifestyle you have when you go into this store, a place where the rich show their true colours. You walk in and you are surrounded by Gucci, Tiffany’s, Armani, Channel… Everything you see famous people buying without the need to check the price tags.

After a delicious meal with my mum’s friend and a walk through a really bizarre antique shop, it was time for the surprise!

We got the tube towards Tower Bridge, here’s a nice picture of it.

tower_bridge_fotolia.jpg

My plan was simple:

We got out of the tube and I knew mum would love the area. We started walking towards the hotel, passing by the entrance I froze looking at my phone. You know the typical, let me check where we need to know as I might be a bit lost. I looked at her, smiled and then looked at our side. “We are here!”

grange-1030x618
The Grange Hotel near Tower Bridge and Tower Castle. A 5* Hotel!!! 

 But that wasn’t all. Dave made sure that not only we were near this amazing area but he also made sure we had a good room to enjoy the night ( the poor man used all his savings for this, it will take me quite a few years to pay him back lol! ). We slept in the Executive Twin room with an entire view of the Tower Bridge and Castle!!! Mum Loved It!

1-grange-city-twin-exe

We felt like the queen and the princess enjoying life!!!

From there we went for a nice walk as we still had some time before meeting up with another friend.

43238480_10156932412867474_1225239141734678528_n.jpg
Can’t miss the picture while walking Tower Bridge!

Back in the hotel room, we got a phone call through the room phone. “Hello miss, sorry for disturbing, may I ask if you are expecting a visitor?” (imagine the poshness of Alfred from Batman, that’s how the question was asked). As soon as this friend arrived we opened the bottle of champagne she brought and we started our night of drinks and food!

What a day! Unfortunately, the following day wasn’t as adventurous as the first one. It started to pour it down! We went to Covent Garden, but I think everyone had the same idea. We ended up spending most of the day in St. Pancras Station waiting for our train back to Nottingham. A bit of a wasted day, but we did have a nice conversation with a Roman woman working at the station.

Back in Nottingham, we didn’t stop our full adventure days and food days!

During the time she was here, she made chicken curry, fish pie, cheese cauliflower and nice breaded chicken among other things.  YUM YUM YUM!!! By the end, I knew I would have put on at least 4kg in weight, but I didn’t care. 

On the 7th of October, we went to the Goose Fair. The only reason we went is because I kept nagging to go. You can’t blame me! Look how exciting it looked!!

The Nottingham Goose Fair is an annual travelling funfair held at the Forest Recreation Ground in Nottingham, England, during the first week of October.

Although it is now known for its fairground rides and attractions, the fair started as a livestock and trade event, with a reputation for its excellent cheese. The name “Goose Fair” is derived from the thousands of geese that were driven from the Lincolnshire fens in the East of England to be sold in Nottingham at the fair each year.

In 1284, a charter was granted by King Edward I which referred to city fairs in Nottingham, although it is thought that a fair was already established in the city before then. Goose Fair was originally held for eight days starting on 21 September, but was moved to early October in 1752, when the Gregorian calendar was first adopted in Britain. The fair was cancelled in 1646 due to an outbreak of the bubonic plague, and again during the two World Wars of the 20th century.

For centuries, Goose Fair was held in Nottingham’s Old Market Square in the city centre, until it was moved to the Forest Recreation Ground in 1928, due to space limitations and planned redevelopment of the market square.

(Wiki :P)

I thought I would provide a bit of a background about this Goose fair.

What else did we do?

Mum and I decided to visit the Nottingham Arboretum and enjoy a nice walk surrounded by trees and squirrels!

giphy.gif

Here’s a couple of pictures:

43623175_10156945531682474_5589004271854026752_n43576801_10156945531797474_4296567544979914752_n

(No idea why they are so blurry….  check out my Instagram: cinzia.chii for some better quality pictures)

After that walk, we decided that the following day we HAD to go to a nature area. And we did. We visited the Wollaton Hall, a beautiful place with 500 acres of trees, land and deer roam freely in the park!

deer-heart.jpg
Famous capture ❤

43727763_10156948133352474_8521401748772880384_o43828180_10156948127967474_7105074358078406656_o43828411_10156948130662474_7980716424777695232_o43951611_10156948134857474_4080266824380317696_o

The weather was perfect, animals walking around, with autumn all the trees had different colours. It was perfect!

Time was flying by. From the moment she arrived, we didn’t stop, walking around, visiting new places, exploring the area. Two days before she had to leave, we explored the City of Caves!!!

These caves run under most of Nottingham city, a network of caves, carved out of sandstone that have been variously used over the years as a tannery, public house cellars, and as an air raid shelter.

43731757_10156950105062474_7723293866220060672_n
Can I point out the perfect Italian Flag formation?! 

After roaming through the caves, we had to do the TRADITION! Last time my parents came over, we went to YE OLDE TRIP TO JERUSALEM. This place is built inside of the rock that surrounds the Nottingham Castle! It’s so popular that you will find it hard to find a table. And this time around we had to do it again! The food here is delicious, both mum and Dave had Fish and Chips and I ended up having the Chicken Hunter. Yum!

download2790_700

Finally, the day arrived, the final day my mum would be here with us before she had to go back to her real world in Spain.

Saturday, the day Dave and I worried about, the day my mother would meet Daves parents! I guess after 8 years together and the plan of getting married next year meant they had to meet up sooner or later. If not now, then at the wedding! hahahaha We decided to go to the Steak House, it was the wrong decision! For some reason, they decided to get the new training people (which they didn’t tell us they were new) on a Saturday, with a full house….  We walked in and they sort of pointed out towards a big table (we were only 5, the table was for 8), we waiting for 10 minutes for someone to come and give us some menus. This waiter asked if we wanted to order drinks, and then asked if we needed to see the menus… (em…. yes we did book the table at this specific time for food, why else would we be here?!) *Facepalm moment*.  Then she comes along with our drinks, spilling each and every one of them on the table and on us! I had to bite my tongue, all I was thinking was: We all start somewhere, she must be having a bad day….

We managed to order food, and when it arrived it was awful! Dave and I have eaten in this place so many times! What happened?! Why did it happen in this specific day! Everything was bland, it looked like the old peoples home food, except for the roast potatoes, they were too hard for old people.

My mum, Daves dad and I ended up finishing our food before Dave and his mum… *Yep another angry facepalm commonsense out of the window moment* the “waiter” decided to get our plates and ask us if we wanted to the dessert menu. THE DESSERT MENU while other people were still eating at the table! WHAT?! WHO is teaching this girl! She might be new, but has she really never been to a pub or restaurant to know how it works? At that point I had to say something, both my mum and I had enough.

Oh, and what you might be wondering, my mum did get along with Daves parents! It was a success if it wasn’t for that damn meal!

And there you have it, the super fast days while my mum was here with me. I’m still really sad that she’s gone back, even though at times she annoyed me hahaha When we got back home from leaving her at the airport I just cried. I miss both of my parents so much! I also miss my brothers! And having my mum here made me miss them more and more.

It’s strange how you do your day to day, I moved to the UK, graduated, worked… before my mum arrived I was working and doing my normal day. I was thinking of my family and I do miss them but the effect of her being here and hugging me, it changes your mind in an instant. It’s a good emotional bump on the road, one that makes you think how much you are wasting your time on stupid things rather than using that time to go and see your family.

welcome-family-memes.jpg

Ok so, what about the diet and that lifestyle change? Well, I thought I was going to start from 0. I wasn’t really thinking about my diet while mum was here but today I had to check. I had to see the damage done.

I was happy to know that I only put approx 1kg on. Well happy!

So today I’m starting from fresh.

Weighing at 84Kg ( Total lost 14Kg from when I started, not counting the fat and muscle mass – I still need to get myself that scale!).

The goal for the 6th of November is to reach 78Kg and size 12 Jeans.

After that, I will aim to lose more weight and try to reach around 65Kg ( depending on muscle mass and fat mass, and how I look in front of the mirror, I don’t want to go all skinny and lose my sexy curves!).

Let’s do this!

Achievements · diary · diet

Update after 3 Months of “Change of Lifestyle”

Dear diary,

I wanted to write about how far I’ve come with my Lifestyle change. It’s October and what better way to start the cold month than writing about how much weight I’ve lost, the cheat days and the goals.

Everything started in July, and as you might remember, I just couldn’t look at myself in the mirror. Well now, after three months, I can’t stop looking at myself. I still see the fat and areas that I want to change, BUT, I look good!

So what did I change? I cut out all sugar ( ALL OF IT!), I’m calorie counting (Believe me it works), I’ve changed my food from microwaving meals to cooking at home (Extremely easy things to cook that only take 3 minutes) and I started running.

I know what you are going to say: Wow, that’s too much to change, what a pain! I’m too lazy!

Honestly, I thought it was going to be a lot harder!

The worse bit was cutting out all the sugar and my daily Monster drink.  That was my only intake of caffeine, I don’t drink coffee and only drank Green Tea. It took me a month to change and to feel energetic without any sugar or caffeine.  Now, 3 months down the line, when I eat something sweet I think it’s too sweet and I end up feeling sick.

The main struggle of getting rid of sugar was dealing with its withdrawals. No wonder everyone struggles with this as it’s proven that sugar is similar to cocaine! This was written in this post from BainMD: “… new research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine backs that up by demonstrating that sugar has a similar effect on the brain to powerful illegal drugs and that it can be as addictive as cocaine!…” (Link)

Looking back at my childhood, I was always addicted to sugar. It didn’t come from my parents, they were amazing at providing us the best-balanced food, however, by the age of 12 I wanted sweets, I would eat a cube or two of sugar, I even went as far as having a sugar sandwich! If you don’t know what that is, I basically got one slice of bread, added sugar and then folded it like half a sandwich. Yes, I know, WHAT?!  But my parents weren’t around and I could eat what I wanted but when they were around I was a good girl…mostly. hahaha!

My memories of sugar started when I was allowed to get a few sweets with 100 pesetas, we are talking before 1999.  That would have been around 50p now a day, I would go to the shop and get a small bag with all different gummy style sweets, the big jawbreaker and loads of other stuff. Yep, back then 100 pesetas would have given you sweets for 2 days. Since then I’ve always wanted sweets, by the age of 17 I bought sweets during my lunch break and up to now, I used to buy those Wilkos Pick and Mix. Oh, and I’m only talking about gummy sweets, I used to get more sugar out of Nutella, Icecreams, cakes, and loads of other stuff.

0-beat-your-sugar-addiction-r

So many years of constant addiction and only one month to get over it. It was hard. But I did it!

While dealing with mood swings, headaches, migraines, tiredness and everything that comes from the withdrawals. I stopped all fried, high calories, high-fat foods. If I was going to suffer from the sugar, might as well suffer for everything else! I stopped eating as much meat (Only chicken or turkey), added a lot more vegetables in my diet (especially spinach and broccoli) and everything I eat is cooked at home and calorie controlled.

One of the main things that are a must during this Trip to the Unknown, is the morning pancake. YEP, 1 pancake.  I love it and it’s super easy to make. I normally make a batch of 5 for the week, but since I’m at home I cook one each morning.  (Dave, my man, also eats them. I make the batch for him on Sunday and he eats one a day at work)

All you need is:

1- Sachets of Oats so Simple ( or any pack of oats that come in sachets which you only have to add water /milk and then put in the microwave) 33g

2-  Large Egg whites x 2

oats-and-eggs.jpg

That’s it, that’s all you need. You mix any type of oats with the egg whites. When mixed, pour it on a warm pan, just as you make pancakes. Flip it over, cook on both sides. AND DONE!

pancake.PNG
I needed some extra fiber and the raspberries were on offer, so I had to indulge. For this one, I added a tinny bit of honey. Just to change things for the weekend.

During these past three months, I’ve been using MyFitnessPal (if you want to add me, this is my nickname: chii2309). It’s a free app! There I control how many calories I eat every day.  I make sure I don’t go over 1.2k, everyone is different so make sure you follow your own amount needed.

Another point to make with food, I followed the Military Diet for the first two months. It involved eating specific food (shown in the picture below) for the first 3 days of the week and then controlling my calories the following days. The reason I stopped doing that is because I was tired of it, I got to the third month and I was used to the calories intake and I didn’t need to have a food plan anymore. BUT I definitely recommend it as you have to follow it to the letter and allowing you to have 3 of the 7 days already planned for you. The food is SUPER easy and you can change a few things like: If you don’t like cottage cheese you can change it for one small slice of low fat/low calories cheese ( I changed it for Edam) and I also changed the Green Beans (I hate them) with Spinach, which I LOVE!!! You don’t have to drink the coffee, because I was going caffeine free I ended up drinking lemon water (Cheap 30p bottles from Aldi which I drink one to two bottles a day).

military-diet.png

And finally, my running. Back in July, I couldn’t run more than 3 minutes today I managed to reach 6 miles! 6 MILES!!!!! I can’t believe it!

8873696

For the running I use C25K, it’s an app you can download for Free. It starts you off really easy, running for a minute and walking for 5 ( repeat X amount of times). Then as you improve it will increase to the point where I am now, running 17 minutes with a 1-minute walk x 3 times (Total 51 minutes running with 3 minutes walking, but by the 48th minute I already reach my 6 miles goal!, I think I’m running a bit faster than what I should lol)

But what about the down times? OHHHH! I had them. The times where I needed something extra, like an entire bag of crisps, or the time it was my birthday and I wanted that cake so bad! Or the time my neighbor found out it was my birthday and she decided to give me a cake!

In the 3 months, I cheated 4 times. I think… Yeah, I think it was 4 times. 1st time was with a Pizza, I didn’t eat a full one but half a pizza was already over 500kcals which pushed me over my limit of the day; The second time was the Ben and Jerrys… I was in that mood where I wanted to say FUCK IT! so I bought a tub of Ben and Jerrys but I only eat a quarter of it. It was WORTH IT, not for my body and my goals, but for my mood hahaha. Then the third time was when I eat an entire packet of Poppables Walkers Crisps, yep, the entire bag. I didn’t really enjoy it, but I was eating to eat. (Not sure if you know the feeling) but I did eat it all. And finally, my neighbor found out that I had my birthday in September and decided to pass a cake box over the fence. I had to eat some of it! I only managed to eat 1/8th, it was so yummy!!!!! Those are my sins of these past 3 months. I think  I can be forgiven, especially when I’m aiming to run 6 miles nearly every day!

42970403_10156919261787474_7757519069032480768_n.jpg

So, what has all this change done for me? 

Well,

  • I used to be a size 18… a size 18 wearing stretchy jeans… so not sure if I was more than a size 18.  NOW I’m a size 14 in normal non-stretchy jeans!!! I’ve missed these jeans! I’ve had them in the wardrobe for so long, and finally, I can wear them! ( – 2 Jeans size!!!! Woop Woop!!)
  • I used to weigh 98Kg… eating over 2500kcals or more a day. Now I weigh 80Kg.  Losing 18 Kg (2.8 stones) but adding muscle too. – As soon as I get some sort of income I’m getting myself a scale that shows Fat %, Muscle %, and other % haha-.

It is an amazing feeling when you can do so much more without getting so tired. Dance in the kitchen while cooking, dance in the shower, dance while running… it’s all so light and easier! Doing the everyday stuff like waking up, or the laundry! it’s now so much easier. I don’t even have to sit down to fold the clothes!!! Definitely, the best decision I made in my entire life, well it’s one of the best lol.

What are my goals? I want to fit in my size 12 jeans and weigh around 65Kg (not including muscle weight). Because of my body type I know I won’t be less than a size 12, I have my Sicilian genes (Big hips made to give birth to 6 or more children – Not happening- and Big boobs) so aiming for lower than a size 12 will be an unachievable goal.  With the weight, honestly, it will all depend on the way I look. If I can easily fit in a size 12, I don’t care if I weigh 65 kg or more.

Now to aim at the new goals! I will make this happen! 

“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb

 

 

Achievements · diary

Goodbye 20s, Hello 30s!

Dear diary,

Here it is. The day I say goodbye to my 20s and hello to my new world in the 30s.

Something happened yesterday, I cried when I was being told over and over again that today was my birthday. Although I know I’ve achieved things in my 20s, I feel as if I should have achieved more by the time I got to this date.

20140504-220725.jpg

I want to use this space to remind me of what I managed to do, and hopefully cheer myself up. I’ve still got years to reach goals and get where I want to be! (I keep telling myself that, I think I will keep saying it until I’m 79 and then say “Oh well…I can’t say that anymore!”).

So what have I done with myself during these years?

While living in Spain with my family, I ended up working in a job where I got a full-time wage at the age of 17. For me that was a happy moment, seeing a nice 1K in my bank every month! It was a summer job at a company selling nautic merchandise, everything that people needed for their luxurious yachts.

I was the sales assistant and my mum was the manager, I know what you are going to say “Working with your mother!”, yep! and honestly, it was the best mother-daughter teamwork that company has ever had, or better yet, the best teamwork in general that that company has ever had.

Yacht
Yacht luxury boat near Roses / Cadaques – One of our customers’ boat.

But, I ended up falling in love with a random English man who traveled to Empuriabrava with his English friends. My mum always spoke highly of England, as she was born and raised there, and I knew I would end up in the UK at some point. Never knew I would spontaneously move there by the age of 18!

From the moment I met this guy, I ended up using all my money to travel back and forward to the UK.  It was a longish distance relationship of Ryanair trips and Skype. On Valentines day I arrived in the UK, walked through his parents house and surprised him with my luggage ( don’t worry it was planned I would move, but I told him the plane was canceled because of the storm… I wasn’t being a psycho and just move to his parents house without warning!).  So that’s my other achievement, moved to the UK on my own at the age of 18 hoping to have a life with this miserable human being… oh yeah, as you can tell things didn’t go well with this man. But we are not here to talk about that.

10399256_23128142473_1777_n
A year after moving to the UK Graduating

The best part of the last achievement was that my life changed completely! You will see why by the end of this.

As soon as I moved I ended up getting three different jobs and joining the Access to Higher Education course (For some reason the University wouldn’t accept my Spanish qualifications), BUT! gave me a chance to improve my English. The picture above was after my graduation of Access to Higher Education in Humanities and Social Science. 

From there, the road was clear to start my University course!

In 2008 I enrolled in what I thought would be my future career in Archaeology. Unfortunately, the official Archaeology course was canceled before I could enroll so I went for something closer which had some Archaeology training in the second year. Boy, was I wrong, they decided to cancel the second year Archaeology training. By 2011 (3 years of enjoying but not really my thing) I decided to not hand in my final work and was happy to receive a High Education Degree in Conservation and Restoration.

400119_10150630105372474_745904920_n

During those 3 years, I ended up moving to a different city, changing jobs, became a teacher and then ended up jobless, moving to different jobs, and also falling in love with the man of my life.

After failing at completing that full degree and not wanting to be working as a sales assistant all my life, I decided to take the plunge and enroll in the Open University and do what I love and know best, Languages! By now, I moved in with Dave and we rented a house together and we both fell in love with our cat Mishi! I think those achievements are the most special ones for me!

I started my Modern Languages course in 2011 and worked part-time, first I worked at an Italian Deli called Pompeo’s. This deli became a restaurant for a Masterchef (literally a man who got second in the Masterchef tv show), I worked in the Deli during the mornings and then as a waitress during the evening serving a specific amount of people. Let’s just say, the Mayor and the high-end people with money came quite often.

After that, I ended up working for Carphone Warehouse ( a phone company) during which I became a Samsung Ambassador ( a new achievement in my life!), I was invited to the premiere of new Samsung phones and I ended up being top 1 in the UK for providing and selling the most Samsung phones. I was so proud of myself until my manager decided to strip me off the Samsung ambassador title (after 3 years!) and gave it to someone else, who btw, sucked at doing the job. I got too stressed and with the constant “this will be an unofficial meeting but I will have someone here as a witness and take notes” I ended up having to leave, for my own sanity.

That’s when I got a job at CEX, for me at first it looked like a step-down but then I saw how I was surrounded by the most amazing people! CEX is a second-hand store, not the most liked of places but the best second hand and game shop around the area.

ezgif.com-video-to-gif.gif
Yep, that’s them dancing around! ❤

During this time, not only was I still doing my university degree but I was also training as a Keysi Instructor. I was part of a self-defense company following the style and creation of Justo Dieguez. The man who taught Christian Bale in Batman, Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible 3 and in Jack Reacher to kick ass in those movies!

10342950_10152493550487474_4681341883805942904_n

So of course, I kicked ass and became an official Keysi Instructor! Now I know how to break someone’s neck, legs, and arms in one swoop! (considering who I  can use those movements with).

From there, we reached 2017 where I graduated with a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages and a month after I found my dream job! Translator administrator, unfortunately, that didn’t go as far as I wished for, one year later and the boss decides to make everyone in relations to translating redundant.

23518913_10156003030912474_5000526532857106231_n.jpg

And that takes us to now, from June 2018 until this precise day, 23rd September 2018. I did manage to achieve something, not sure it was a good move especially when the Translation industry is becoming rare and technology is overrunning it; but I opened my own business. There’s no money coming in just yet but I can always have some hope, if not I’m going into an office job and forget I ever opened my own crumbling down company. hahaha!

I guess the last achievement to mention is the change of lifestyle that I’ve been mentioning on here over and over again. Tomorrow will be the day to see if I lost more weight. We will see after the ” I don’t care, it’s my birthday, I want cake!”.

And here you have it, Today I’m 30 and I’ve achieved a few things. But fingers crossed that by 40 I can be proud of how far I’ve come.

bday.png