#11 Good Intentions

They say the road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions, but in my case it was the road to Heaven, or pretty damn close.  If you read my last Blog post you will know that I have spent the last few weeks skipping around Far East Asia with Niffa and friends C & J.  I would love to tell you that we set off as intrepid explorers with only our backpacks, some basic rations, and a rough guide to Asia in our bag, ready to seize the moment and move on when the wind changed direction, or we were ready to hike into new uncharted territory.  However having 2 businesses and a 12 year child at home with Nanna (sorry H), our plans had to be far more practical than that.  And having a penchant for posh hotels and a warm comfy bed, we decided on hotels with a lovely luxurious 14 night cruise to take us on a whistle stop tour.  So did I post one single Blog Entry whilst on these travels?  ….. tumbleweed across the screen moment ….. so, that will be a big fat NO then.

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MS Volendam, our home for 14 nights

I started my trip full of Good Intentions, namely I was going to :-

  1. Blog from every Destination – Our tour included 3 days in Hong Kong, 5 stops in Vietnam, Cambodia, 2 stops in Thailand, and ended with 2 days in Singapore.

OMG I was going to have so much writing material, so many new and exciting (and sometimes downright disgusting) sights, smells and sounds to describe to you all. I have never been to this part of the world and was beyond excited.  I planned to update you every couple of days with my news, ideas on what to visit and where to avoid, what to eat and what not to eat (boingy, spicy hot fishy balls on a stick were definitely on the No-No list), and experiences that you MUST not miss (Halong Bay – Wow wow wow).  Well I am afraid that all my good intentions came to a screaming screeching halt, I had NO time to write!! I was TOO busy living it! (In between the relaxing sea and beach days of course).  I was utterly immersed in this new world of adventure, I wanted to feel it, to absorb it, to taste it, to take home a little bit of each town, village, beach, and city in my heart, and just “be” in the moment.  And I did all of those things, I kept thinking I must sit and Blog about this trip, or that site, but it just never happened.  HOWEVER, I did  make lots and lots of notes, so although none of them made it out there on the “tinternet” as Niffa would say, they do exist, and they will at some point hopefully make it onto this Blog, they just will not be live as it happened.

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Marble Mountain, Vietnam

 

2. Try to Eat Healthily even though I was on Holiday

As someone who feels like I have been on a diet ever since my son was born, and most recently managed to lose that pesky Cyprus Stone with the help of Slimming World (but still with a few pounds to go to achieve my personal target), I wanted to try and control my eating whilst away so I did not return feeling bloated and mad at myself.  Now to put this in perspective, I am not hugely overweight, I vary between a size 12 and a very curvy size 14, but having been a size 10 in the past, that is the elusive figure for which I strive but it is SO difficult, I LOVE my food, I LOVE to cook and eat out, and I LOVE to have a glass of wine (or three) and a G & T  (or four) – not on the same night (am not quite yet a certified alcofrolic) and I do try to abstain during the week.  But being a very sociable person, and even when not on holiday, we are out and about a lot and seeing friends.  So my point is, it was really hard work to reach the weight I was when I set off on our trip, which was somewhere between a size 10 and 12.

Did my Good Intentions come good regarding the diet you ask? Well the scales at Slimming World this morning (unless they are broken – hopeful face?!) are testament to the fact that they did not.  However I did try really hard for the first week or so, eating lots of healthy salads and fruit and veggies which were in abundance on the cruise ship, and when I ordered puddings I ate only half (I once read that eating half of what you fancy is better than eating all of it, which does make sense I suppose), but in the end I just could not resist.  In the face of so many incredible food choices, I was as helpless as a naked new born babe.  By day 8 all thoughts of my diet (oops, I mean “healthy way of eating for life”) had sailed merrily away down the Mekong River, or somewhere thereabouts.  I then spent the rest of the time just pleasing myself, there were lots of healthy fish, noodle and stir fry dishes consumed, as we were in Asia after all, but unfortunately there were many more unhealthy choices as well.  If you have ever cruised, you will know that the restaurant food is incredible, evening after evening, with anywhere between 4 and 7 courses every night, with new menus, and the best quality ingredients.  What can I say? I am clearly just a girl who can’t say no!

  • So am I mad at myself? Well, a little bit (but I am a consenting adult after all, nobody made me eat all that food)
  • Am a fatter than when I set off? Well that is a resounding YES!
  • Am I going to shift this extra poundage? I am going to TRY very very hard (but it is Niffa’s birthday this weekend, and I haven’t had Cyprus Souvla for weeks!)
  • Do I regret the unhealthy food and drink choices I made whilst away? NO, not one scrummy tasty mouthful!  I ate my way through the most moist and tender of rare fillet steaks, sweet succulent crabs legs dripping in garlicky butter, the crunchiest saltiest french fries, the most melt in the mouth delicate pastries, sweet sticky crunchy cointreau creme brulee.  All washed down with the finest wines (that we could afford!), ice cold beers, and the yummyest rummyest creamy Pina Coladas ever.
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Food Glorious Food

3. Exercise Every Day

“Body Magic” they call it at Slimming World, it won’t help you to lose weight but it might motivate you to make better choices, feel happier and healthier, and of course it is good for you. Well the only magic that happened to this body is that is magically expanded when I wasn’t looking.  That bikini which looked so lovely on my slim and almost toned body at the beginning of our trip, started to dig in a little, and bits of me that should never be allowed to “all hang out” were doing just that by around day 12.

You may have noticed a theme here, I had the Good Intentions, but not quite the willpower to succeed.  However I started off well, J also goes to Slimming World (but unlike me she is a target member and has been for quite a few months), and she also has waaaay more willpower than me, my perfect partner in crime I thought, to keep me on the path to fitness not fatness.  So after a few days in Hong Kong where we walked A LOT, I did manage a few gym sessions (if two classed as a few) and a couple of Bodytone classes (well I did one, I think J did 3 in total).  I would have done more but the South African tyrant who ran the gym on the ship and thought it was okay to yell “Give me MORE, and don’t stop until you DIE!” at overweight octogenarians who actually looked like they might just do that, was rather off-putting.

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So after that (despite J’s gentle persuasions) I avoided the gym like the plague, and concentrated on natural ways of keeping fit including running (halfway) up 235 steps to see The Big Buddha, traisping up and around temples and small mountains in Vietnam, using the stairs on the ship instead of the lift, and doing numerous circuits every day (to be fair though, that was because I kept getting lost!).  It became more difficult in the final few days when we had the chance to truly relax on the stunning beaches of Cambodia and Thailand, and 12 o’clock (noon) became known as Beer o’clock or Cocktail o’clock.  So in the interests of Health and Safety (I am a qualified Paediatric First Aider), I had to demand an end to all and any exercise.  After all it would simply not have been dignified to keel over in front of those sweaty octogenarians due to alcoholic imbalance, it would have put them right off their evening meal!

Aldous Huxley famously said that “Hell isn’t merely paved with good intentions; it’s walled and roofed with them.  Yes, and furnished too.”  Does this mean I am going to Hell in a luxury cruise cabin furnished with them?  Well not for a long time hopefully, but if I do, I will be sure to have great fun along the way.  So I have every intention of blogging again very soon, hoping to redeem a bit of my lost soul, and planning to be a few pounds lighter and a little bit fitter when I do.

Love from Nelly x

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