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Times change and we with time… Ramblings Part 1

This post is OT to most things I’ve written and very much AT ( AgzyM-centric topic).

Be warned, it’s soapbox heavy and filled with honest ramblings that may induce severe headaches.

 For some, this may well be THE most boring post I’ve ever written (and that’s saying a lot!).

In other words, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m indulging myself and I will be back with more reader-friendly posts once I get this chain of thought out of my system.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about change recently.

Whether it be inspired by news of new RA projects, each more demanding and different from the last, or the natural flow and ebb of the fandom, not to mention the stories of change that my friends within the fandom share with me, and I get emotionally invested in.

I’ve been going through my own bunch of (somewhat) cathartic changes myself, so let me bore you a little on this subject.

I remember my late teens and early to mid- twenties being governed by the need to go, see do.

I felt like my feet were on fire (no, it wasn’t athletes foot…) and as soon as I would come back from one adventure, I’d be planning my next big escape.

The mere thought of holding down a job for a longer period, getting a driver’s license and car, any indication of stability would have me in cold sweats, checking for cheap airline tickets to London or NY.

Fast-forward 10 years later and I was positively stuck.

Not that I knew it, of course.

I had a thoroughly cushy life, with I job that I liked (and still do), financial and emotional stability, a life devoid of too much stress or worry.

Sure, there were things I wanted, but there just came a moment where things were OK as they were, my life was somehow set in stone, the trajectory set, me obviously heading down the road that I thought was destined for me.

The thing about being comfortable, stuck in a nice not demanding life is that you have no impulse to actually stretch yourself, try new things, take a risk on the off-chance that you’ll made an OK life a Great life.

I was convinced 20014 would be a kick ass year, but it started out rocky by kicking my ass instead and things happened that doused me with a big old bucket of icy cold water to snap me out of the rut.

By the time I was processing what was happening, many things I had read and learned in the past 5+ years had kicked in (see, you should never give up on educating yourself…) and gave me the impulse and tools to climb out of my comfort zone and start working on that life I was sure would someday come, but was doing nothing about so someday would be now.

Although this is much too big of a topic to write about in one post, let me skim through the key points and share the smart stuff that helped me on the off-chance someone else may be feeling the same way and is looking for that wake-up call/guidance to jump-start their life again (because, you know, this is it, we only go once on this carousel…).

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Today I’ll be tackling a difficult issue: The Body

I’ve probably complained/bitched/worried about my issues with the ol’ carcass on a number of occasions.

Long story short, after countless attempts to get that perfect body, I was none the slimmer, none the wiser and hell bummed.

Diets? I have tried them all.

Who cares you feel faint all the time, at least you’ll pass out in a cute dress, right?

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I had reached the point where I was actually researching gastric surgery.

Sure, maybe that would be a way out if it wasn’t for the fact that no sane doctor would ever operate on someone whose BMI wasn’t even in the “obese” category (not to worry, I had a cunning plan- I’d just plump myself up on purpose for a few months prior to the consult, play the old “I have a bad back card” and hope for the best).

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In other words, I had reached a point where I wasn’t thinking clearly anymore and I had been disappointed, or worse still, had disappointed myself so many times, I lost faith in any ability to change.

I was so hellbent on focusing on my body, I completely stopped to thing about the ol’ noodle (and I don’t mean the noodles in a stir-fry).

If I’m going round in circles, doing the same thing over and over again, how the heck am I expecting different results?

feel crap – crash diet – lose weight – go back to old eating habits – gain weight – feel crap… and so on…

I realised I had spent so much time focusing on the results (and it’s hard not to when they are glaring at your from your mirror reflection), but I had never wondered why.

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I must admit I was quite fortunate- reading up on healthy nutrition has been a pastime of mine for a while, but I had never really implemented what I knew and here’s why:

I was a compulsive overeater.

Yup, I found it a head scratcher when Milka introduced a chocolate wrapper that you could seal up again.

Seriously? Who opens a bar of chocolate, eats a few pieces and leaves the rest for another day?

I’d eat little all day, functioning on coffee and cigarets, but once the evening feast began it wouldn’t stop till it was time for bed.

When you wake up and you are still digesting food, you’re doing something terribly wrong.

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Everything I ate was processed, came in a plastic wrapper, box or can and the living daylights processed out of it, not to mention a ton of crap added.

Overweight and malnourished/starved because you’re filling yourself up on empty crap is an interesting mix.

You eat when you’re happy and celebrating, eat when you’re sad, depressed, worried, stressed, eat to fill that empty hole and chase it with more food to clog up the hole being overweight has created.

Then you actually use your dissatisfaction with your body to actually not do stuff (added bonus- you have more time to eat…).

As I type out the eating sins of the past (and the list is by no means exhaustive!) I’m sure that at least a handful of you are nodding in acknowledgement of this painful truth.

I knew if I was to make any changes in my life, I’d have to start with my relationship with my body and with food (spoiler alert- the ripples of the change have affected many many aspects of my life…).

Here’s how it all went down.

I started to confront my eating problems and this is what has worked for me:

I acknowledged that diets don’t work.

Nope, not one bit.

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I have had countless arguments with people who swear by the ………………. (insert diet name) diet, they lost weight last year, so they will do the same this year.

If diets worked we wouldn’t have to spend a fortune, year after year, trying new low-this, high-that diets.

If you need to come back to a diet a year later, it actually means it did not work i  any meaningful way.

Chances are a year or so on, you’ve not only gained it all back, but I’m guessing that boomerang weight actually brought along a few additional kilogram buddies (hey the more the merrier, right?).

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What works is a complete permanent shift in your eating habits.

All of the slim people I spoke to gave similar answers to me bugging them about *insert whiny voice* whyyyyyy are you skinny and I’m not :

they eat breakfast

they eat when they are hungry

they stop when they are full

(btw, most didn’t even realise that what they were eating was considered a healthy clean balanced diet- they just saw it as food that fills the belly)

None of those points had ever occurred to me.

I started with tackling the problem of breakfast, which I have never eaten before, apart from those buffets in fancy hotels which I would hit with a vengeance…

I started out by taking vegetable juices to work with me and sipping them throughout my classes.

Belly full, vitamin/mineral intake- check!, problem of no time to sit and eat- solved!

I’ve learned that hen to eat is important, but what to eat is key.

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If you’re reliant on processed food, let me just urge you to read the book Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us by Michael Moss.

I’ll be writing more about this book in a post for my April 52 Books in 52 Weeks post, but I am obligating everyone to pick it up.

This book made me furious, both at the audacity of food manufacturers, but also at my own stupidity.

Although I had already switched to a diet of 80% veggies and fruit by the time I read this, it helped me eliminate any cravings for things like Diet Coke.

See, we are hooked, we are processed food junkies and about 90% of the stuff in the supermarket was carefully designed that way.

No strong will, no inner strength? Bummed you let yourself down again?

Wrong and WRONG!

“Food” on offer is created to make you want more, keep crawling back (and loathe yourself in the process).

Until you wean yourself off the crap food corporations have addicted you too (hello sugar, salt and fat, my old friends), you are powerless to ever experience a healthy relationship with food and your body.

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Nowadays when I go shopping I have a clear list of what meals I’m shopping for, I start with the tea aisle and stock up on herbal ones, then I go to the nut/seed aisle, a quick stop at the diary and fish section and then the bulk in the fruit and vegetable part (OK, I usually stop off at the clothes section, my excuse- I’m not going to work in baggy jeans!).

You won’t see me in any other food aisle because those big wig food manufacturers are not going to rope me in.

I’ve identified my food triggers and have worked around them.

I’ve eliminated rice, pasta and grains as they trigger overeating, I buy fish/salad mixes that are a perfect serving for 2 so I don’t make the portions too big, when eating I stop every couple of mouthfuls to let my brain assess whether I’m full, I eat meals at specific times and I try not to skip any.

It really is so easy that I’m kicking myself for not getting my head straight years ago (but also feel fortunate I didn’t learn all of this 10 years from now).

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I make sure to eat a balanced meal- fish, an avocado, nuts/seeds, eggs at least once a week.

I experiment with veggies and fruit that I would never have tried before, stay clear of anything processed, avoid situations which can trigger me.

For those who suffer from cravings, I came across a very good method to free you from them, but make sure you do the following exercise a number of times:

Close your eyes and imagine your guilty pleasure, say chocolate.

How it feels, melts in your mouth, coats the tongue.

Then press your thumb and little finger as you….

 imagine that the chocolate had melted and strands of hair had melted in it.

Seriously, there’s hair in the chocolate stuck in the chocolate and with each mouthful of chocolate you keep putting hair, nice long strands of blonde hair, into your mouth.

(I’m gagging as I type…)

The next time you get a craving for chocolate, just press your thumb and finger and you should automatically recollect this nasty sensation (it works, I’m programmed for hair-filled crisps, redhead and onion flavored, anyone?).

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OK, enough with the nasty…

Some of you will be wanting to know the bottom line, the numbers, statistics, feasible results (and I’m much too vain not to mention them).

Before I do I just want to underline again that this is not a so-called “diet”, this is a complete permanent overhaul, so weight loss has been a side-effect to the journey I’m on which consisted of ridding myself of food addiction, of nourishing my poor starved body, boosting my energy so I go out, do more, experience a fuller life.

Since I eliminated processed food I’ve dropped 13 kg but just like you can never watch a kettle boil, this has very much happened in the process of other things.

I have about 4 kg to go to the weight I would ordinarily boomerang from (and, conveniently, the size where all my skinny clothes fit).

The plan is this: I shall still monitor my weight to reach that benchmark, once I do I will let my body decide which weight is the healthiest for me (for a change).

If it wants to go lower- great, if not I will be more than content!

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Getting into those jeans isn’t the only benefit of eating a non-processed diet.

I also have energy to spare (yes, for those who know me in RL, I can chitchat for hours more now without even breaking a sweat…).

I’ve felt so good about myself that I’ve actually done something I never thought possible.

See, AgzyM doesn’t run.

She’s freakishly strong and I’ve always known there’s an athlete in me even if it was somewhat weighed down, but running? You must be joking!

Well, the jokes on me as I’ve engaged on a 5k training to get me in even better shape.

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Yes, I have allowed the madness of Zombies, Run to wash over me and I am helping the settlement of Abel out while they try to survive the zombie invasion in the post-apocalyptic world.

Hell, I AM Runner 5!

This 5k app is the absolute bee’s (running) knees and it’s perfect for anyone who has never run before.

Seriously, you can’t run for 15 seconds (week one)? Have you ever tried?

It’s gotten MagzyM and I so motivated that we get up at 5.30 am to do the run three times a week.

On Friday I felt like Wonder Woman as I strolled in to work- on top of the standard training I ran 10 minutes non stop.

(disclaimer for those who run marathons, I know it’s not a big deal, but for me this was huuuuuuge!).

And let me tell you, this is just the tip of the AgzyM iceberg!

Changing the way I eat was just the first habit that I changed, but one that allowed me to wake up,  get back control, to gain the strength and courage to do other things, to start dreaming again.

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OK, I think I have bored you enough, but for those who are on their own journey and would be interested in watching/reading more, here’s a tiny list of things that may help you make changes:

Food Matters by Mark Bittman

The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel (requires a bit of an open mind)

Watch Forks Over Knives HERE

Food Inc

The Weight of the Nation

There’s another rambling coming along soon, so run, hide, save yourselves!!!

 

Don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind a Pina Colada…

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Hey there, could you use a good holiday?

Well, pack your string bikini, suntan lotion, Pocket Shrine® and get ready to board the Armitage Airways.

Hey,

You liked Pina Coladas

and getting caught in the rain
And the feel of the ocean

and the taste of the champagne
If you like making love at midnight in the dunes on the cape
You’re the lady I’ve looked for, come with me and escape…

pina colada Richard armitage1

Unfortunately, I’m not going on an exotic holiday, but I have some exciting new RL stuff going on (not to mention the not so exciting end-of-semester yawn fest ) and I need to focus my energies on doing everything to the best of my abilities.

I know, it’s always a bummer when making a living/having a life infringes on my Armitage admiration time, but what’s a gal to do?

I’ve scheduled a few “favorite pictures” posts to litter the blog while I’m away.

Be good to one another, keep on Richarding and I’ll be back in no time 😉

She’s into superstitions, black cats and voodoo dolls (but sadly doesn’t bang…)

SuperstitionsThis one is for you Magzy, my little felinophobic

I have a confession to make that although I may regard myself as a somewhat rational person, I have a few kinks.

Case in point, years ago I’d have to park my car near work, but some mornings it was a tedious act of circling around looking for someone to drive off and put me out of my misery.

There was, however, one sure way that a parking spot was right around the corner:

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A black cat (but I wasn’t all too bothered with the exact colour) would cross the road right in front of me.

As far-fetched as it may sound, each time one would appear within my line of vision I was guaranteed to find a spot on the next round.

For the record I firmly do believe that there’s more than mere superstition at play here:

Black magic?

Voodoo?

Fortune-telling traffic-regulating felines?

Cat’s getting ready to take over the world one parking spot at a time?

I’m either becoming a superstitious fool or slowly transforming into the village witch- just call me Baba Jaga 😉

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I also grab a button when I see a chimney sweep, but seeing I don’t actually live next door to Mary Poppins, that’s perhaps a moot point.

Of course, there are people who are superstitious about a number of things.

My mum won’t change the sheets on a Friday nor will she willingly make an appointment to see a  doctor (irony of ironies, her weekly chemo is schedule for that day…).

She will sit down, at least for a few seconds, when she’s had to come back home after forgetting something.

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Some superstitions are just common sense:

Don’t walk under a ladder (or the bucket will drop on your head)

Don’t open an umbrella indoors (or you’ll take someone’s eye out)

Don’t crack a mirror or when applied, your eyeliner will end up all dodgy

The there are superstitions that differ in countries and regions:

In English they say that bad luck comes in threes, in Poland they are actually paired.

We knock on wood but in Poland it’s important that the wood is unpainted/bear.

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In English you cross your fingers, in Poland we “hold our thumbs” for good luck.

As a child raised in 2 cultures I have actually perfected the art of simultaneous finger-crossing/thumb-holding to double my chances and I bet at least a few of you are trying it out this very moment 😉

Yup, Poland may be a bit of an odd country because we regard being pooped on by birds and stepping in dog crap as a sign of good luck and prosperity, so think of that the next time you’re washing sh*t off your new coat or shoes…

The reason that I bring all of this up is that today as me and my pups were driving home a black cat appeared.

Granted, it didn’t cross the road but rather ran alongside us for a few meters, but I’m taking that as a good omen.

Over to you:

What are the superstitions in your country, which ones bring you luck?

On chilling, being a slob and letting your mind go numb…

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Peeps have been asking me how I celebrated the end of my MA quest and seemed perplexed when I told them I spent the entire weekend laying on 20 % of the couch (my two Yorkies took the rest) in front of the fireplace at my country cottage watching season 2 of Glee.

What?

So what if I relax in pyjamas that also serve as day wear, a comb not even coming close to my hair, eating all different types of fried cheese (we experimented with camembert, Greek feta, and the string variety, all popped into a hot frying pan until it was either gooey, crispy or both…).

Don’t judge me.

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That’s not the only mind-numbing viewing I needed in order to let all the stress go.

We also started on the UK X Factor season 10 last night.

I’m the perfect audience- I laugh when they want me too, cry like a ninny when they want me too, there’s no independent thought involved, no questions raised as to validity or value of this type of program.

Just good old mindless viewing, they provide the content, I provide my time and fruit fly attention.

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 I’m not ashamed to talk about my guilty pleasures, even if  they prove I may well have abysmal taste in light entertainment.

I feel like I provide a good portion of intellectual stimuli to the little grey cells so I can dose them with the TV equivalent of an Amsterdam joint every now and again, numbing and dumbing down, but chillin’ man!

One may say that being involved in the RA community is also a guilty pleasure, something we do to take our minds off the outside world.

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WRONG!

RAdmiring is a full-time profession, a labour of love, a commitment that you need a holiday away from because after a while is may run you down.

So what’s your guilty pleasure?

What food for not-so-much thought do you serve up when the old hat rack needs a break?

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Cartoons by Mischa Richter.

By the way, talking of X Factor, if you haven’t heard of James Arthur, check him out.

We had a chance to see him live last year in London and he was amazeballs!

Here’s his version of Wrecking Ball which is actually a great song if you get rid of Miley with stringy spit running her tongue and private lady parts over metal objects.

And here is a compilation of his X Factor tracks:

Wrapped up in Thornton on Valentine’s Day

Wrapped up in Thornton on Valentine’s Day

I still need more of your face/body parts for my FanstRA4 project, so please send them my way!

Thank You! to all of you who have but you! *knocks on the screen*  yeah YOU!

Yes, YOU!

I haven’t got your pics yet!

Send them my way please 🙂

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

I’ve actually been getting into a frisky romantic mood in the past few weeks, probably due to a need to escape the pressures of RL and exams and such nonsense.

My go-to haven turned out to be North and South, and once again, Mr Thornton kissed and made it all better (although no train stations were involved this time around…).

I tend to rewatch this BBC mini-series about 4 times a year, and when the time comes to pop it into the DVD or my laptop, a girl just knows.

There an itch that only a cravat can scratch.

There are emotions that are forgotten more than a pair of worn leather gloves, and they need to brought to light.

N&S is so much more than merely a love story set in a dirty smokey industrial hell of Milton.

I adore some characters, like the Thornton’s, at the same time I adore to loathe others, like the Hale’s (Yeah, that’s right! I said it! They need to ALL climb out of their self-important arses and get with the Milton program!).

Overbearing Mill master John Thornton North and South

As fulfilling as the series is, I decided to go looking for some fanfics that would prolong my N&S glow.

There’s quite a mixed bag out there, and I was horribly disappointed on more than one occasion when I got terribly involved with a plot (as in 3am and I’m still reading…) only to find out the fic had never been finished.

I’d like to recommend some N&S insipred fanfic, but this is by no means a full list.

Please add any other fanfic recs to comments.

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Let’s start off with something a bit saucy.

There are two stories I’d like to recommend, both dealing with the physical aspect of John and Margaret’s relationship after they get married.

I love me some smut, but full-blown slash doesn’t seem to work for these two characters, so I really enjoyed the following stories.

Take Her there with me by Redizded

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The story is an exploration of  how things might be between John and Margaret in terms of sexuality, taking into account their passionate nature, but also the strong Victorian inhibitions and rules that undoubtedly would have influenced any couples’ sex life at that time.

And let me tell you, Mr Thornton does not disappoint 😉

Touch by fiablue

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The story is set during the course of one evening.

Margaret and Mr Thornton are forced to marry as a consequence of their actions during the riot.

Emotions are still running high, and they are both having to make some big adjustments to their life.

It’s an interesting take on sexual tension and Victorian sexuality in general.

Plus, who could resist the urge to touch a sleeping Mr Thornton?

Lavender and Ink by  FadingWinter

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A quick one-shot in more ways than one…

Mr Thornton is alone in his office and can’t stop thinking about Margaret, so he decides to take matters into his own hands… *cough*

Sick of Shadows (chapter 1-8) by lettered

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I really enjoyed this fanfic, although it was never finished (but a girl can hope!).

Chapter 9 continues HERE .

You can find what the author describes as Victorian porn (bless her!) meaning the rest of chapter 9 HERE.

Poor Mr Thornton does the right thing and saves Margaret from ruin by marrying her.

This story is full of angst, and the misunderstandings are thick, but there isn’t much John’s love cannot conquer.

John Thornton, Look Back at Me  by Loyal Wynyard

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You can also buy the book HERE.

John is tortured by the loss of the woman he so desperately loved, only to learn that things are much, much worse, as Margaret is now a married woman.

A Heart for Milton by Trudy Brasure

You can also buy the book HERE.

The is probably the most famous continuation of North and South, and I really enjoyed it.

This tale unfolds the joy, hope, passion, and fulfillment of the love forged between John Thornton and Margaret Hale as the reader follows their journey through the uncertainties of their engagement to the trials encountered in their first year of marriage …and beyond.

Only criticism? Mr Thornton seems to be a ig fan of the missionary position… just saying it like it is 😉

Master of the Mill by whatcatydidnext

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Some of you will loathe the story in which Margaret has to get a job at the mill, Mr Thornton is enjoys some rough sexy time with a slutty Miss Latimer and I’m not even going to start on Henry.

I’m adding this to my rec list because it boldly goes beyond what we believe to be true about our beloved characters.

I hope you enjoy my recs and please feel free to leave yours in comments.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

Making life a wee bit better…

All images: RANet

Attention readers!

Due to the fact that you have spoilt this blogger rotten with your kind words in the last 36 hours, she has developed a serious case of head swelling and therefore will, at least temporarily, refer to herself in the third person.

AgzyM would like to thank you all so very much for making her first blogiversary an absolute hoot and for putting a smile on that giant face attached to a head too big for her own good…

She would like to…

OK, I’ll drop the third person act (probably should’ve stopped it a few lines ago, but then it can never be said that I don’t know how to run a joke into the ground and grind it for what it’s worth…).

Anyway, I Thank You!  🙂

I have a few posts ideas, but I have college tomorrow, and I’m not prepared at all, so I’ll be busy catching up, but let me leave you with a thought I had yesterday.

There are a few mini pleasures in life, a split-second burst of joy that might not last long, but makes life that little bit better.

I’m not referring to the obvious pleasures like boozing, sex or winning the lottery (although all three sound mighty nice right about now…).

I’m talking about that fleeting moment of butterflies in your belly, a burst of sunshine on a cloudy day, unicorns, rainbow, dew and all that other crapaloo that puts a smile on our face.

Here’s my list of life’s little pleasures:

– sitting in a dark theatre moments before the curtain goes up

– doing somersaults in the water

– taking a steaming hot shower on a cold winter morning

– getting a mint condition iPhone 4 from Dad, then noticing it’s been pimped with a purple cover with hot pink polka dots

– awakening to new RA news

or

– coming across an older picture that takes your breath away (and making it your screen saver)

– finding a connection online with you’ never ordinarily have the opportunity to meet

– going down a size

– knowing the words (all the words) to the theme tune from Big Bang Theory and singing them correctly.

Cos they BUILT THE PYRAMIIIDSSS!!!!

What’s your little pleasure that makes life a wee bit better?

Richard Armitage Fault Mag collage

Wouldn’t you know it, it’s my 1st Blogiversary!

I was going to act cool on my 1st Blogiversary, casually mentioning it, thanking my readers, then moving on to bigger better things, but then  I decided HELL NO!

It’s my (blogging) party and I’ll celebrate if I want to!

Bear with me please as I put on a dodgy paper hat and blow up a few balloons!

I figured horns are made for hooting and good times are meant for celebrating 🙂

1st blogiversary

Well holy cow, how did I get here?

No, seriously, how the heck did this happen?

This blog started exactly a year ago with absolutely no clear direction.

It was supposed to be a place where I’d keep all the info I found interesting without clogging up my computer, as well as a quick writing practise before tackling my MA thesis.

In the first months I had told zero people about its existence, as there really wasn’t anything to say on the matter or to boast about.

I really didn’t know if it would be something I’d continue or most probably abandon after the first few weeks.

You must understand that exactly a year ago I was a lurking Armitage Admirer who had only left one comment throughout my entire 6 month craze, but more about that later on.

What I’m driving at is that starting out no one within the fandom had any idea who I was (some undoubtedly miss those good ol’ days…) nor did I seek the support of my RL friends to help push this thing forward, so in the first month of blogging I received a little over 20 clicks and I’ll be honest, I don’t know how I managed to get so many 🙂

Things have certainly changed, and with the amount of visitors dropping by I really do regret writing better, more interesting posts 🙂

 I’d like to thank each and every one of you for visiting, commenting, supporting and being an integral part of this experience.

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again that without your presence here I’d just be a sad old (mad) cow posting for no one.

Hey, it worked in January but I think it would have lost its appeal by April…

Your friendship means almost as much to me as Lucas North’s bottom in tight denim jeans, and that really is saying a lot!

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I’d also like to give special thanks to Servetus at Me+Richard, as she happens to be connected to many of my firsts!

She was the first blog I had visited after watching North and South, when certain Mr Thornton took possession of my heart and soul.

She’s the first blog I ever commented on some time in the autumn of 2011, under a different alias, and sweating buckets worried that I’d look foolish because of what I had written (being rejected by the RArmy was a big fear of mine back then, as everyone seemed so friendly with each other, and I doubted such a tight-knit group would accept me, let alone welcome me with open arms. You live, you learn!).

Servetus had written one of the first comments on this blog and I swear, I had been such a lurker/admirer over at Me+R it felt like a celebrity sighting 🙂

Anyway, how better to say a heartfelt Thank You! than a Richard Armitage thumb cupcake ( and yes I also think it may well be one of the most disturbing things I’ve seen in a while…).

Richard Armitage Thumb Cupcake Servetus Thank You!

Apart from search engines Servetus’ blog refers the most traffic to this site, followed by RAFrenzy!

Thank You for the support of other bloggers!

I adore being perched on your blogrolls, and I’m there in good company, so I’m grateful to you for sticking me there.

I’ll be updating my blogroll to include all of my blogging friends and fellow admirers, so please take a second to click on a few.

We all know how long it takes to write a single post, not to mention updating, checking comments, and in general keeping that machine running, so I can only applaud you for constantly providing new posts for Armitage Admirers worldwide!

Guy of Gisborne collage

Here’s my year in numbers:

I’ve written close to 450 posts in the past 12 months.

There are the good ones, the bad and the right darn ugly ones (sorry about those…).

A few months in I thought it would be the bees knees to get 100 000 clicks in the first year, but it seemed like a bit of a pipe dream.

Wouldn’t you know it, I’m just a couple of clicks shy of doubling that number and will be hitting 200 000 in the next few days, so THANK YOU!

Online traffic is a funny little thing as it often depends on where you’re placed in search engines.

That means that posts that aren’t really all that special seem to attract a huge amount of readers, while other are  popular for a few days after being published, and then go into (semi-) retirement.

Lucas Borth Collage

The posts that have attracted the most views are:

1. On Richard Armitage and Lee Pace

2. Marilyn Monroe and Plastic Surgery

3. DIY Pin-Up

See what I mean?

Anyway, I think the statistics will change in the next few weeks judging by the interest in Richard Armitage and all things The Hobbit.

Fanstra# collage

My favorite posts are:

Fanstravaganza3 was a blast and I absolutely loved taking part in it!

I also really enjoyed putting together all three of my Fanstra3 posts.

I loved punning it out doggy style, seeing Heinz Kruger in his tighty whities, and stripping Richard down just to dress him up again.

I really (REALLY!!!) hope Fanstra4 will happen, because there’s no better way to celebrate the wonder that is Armitage Admiration 🙂

I also enjoyed blogging in July and August (December being my most flaky month…) as I was on holiday and could spend hours fiddling with images, gifs and posts to my heart’s content.

Gisborne's Boy cake kopia

I especially liked the run-up to Armitage Day and  Operation Armitage.

I really do hope that we manage to have a Richard Armitage-rekated competition every year!

I’d like to take this opportunity to give a special Thank You! to my partner in crime Seba from Gisborne’s Boy  for sharing his amazing talent and helping me with the competition.

I hope we collaborate on many other projects in the future (and if you’re reading this Bug, I’m waiting on your email!).

PinUp Collage

The thing is, in the past year of blogging I’ve made many friends, and lost a few (some I’ve mourned, to others I can only say: Good riddance…)

I’ve expanded my horizons, but also tested my patience and understanding.

I’ve bitten my tongue and stepped away from a fight more time than I have in RL, and I think I’ve also been more generous with expressing my delight, enthusiasm, friendship.

I honestly think I’m a better version of my RL self, so if you don’t like me here, believe me, it doesn’t get any better out there 😉

I’ve gone beyond anything I would have though myself capable of, but I’ve also made a few mistakes, some I’ve learned from, others probably not.

I should really finish by thanking Richard for getting this whole project started, but what I’m really grateful for is that by being such a stand up sort of gentleman he seems to attract the absolute best type of admirer any fandom could wish for.

Are there crazy fans in the Armitage Army?

ABSOFUCKINGLUTLEY!

But I’d like to believe that we’re crazy in our own special, unique way 🙂

AgzyM 2012 collage

While I’m on the topic of AgzyM (move over Thorin, I’m all about Me Me Me! today), I’ve decided to retire the Dita photo I’ve been using as a visual representation of my online alter ego.

I’ve had such fun with that particular image, but I needed something new, so here it is:

AgzyM IWantToBeApinUp 2013

You know it’s only a matter of time before I stick a beard on this gravatar!

And here is the full body superhero version, because it seems like it’s going to be one of those years when you really need a cape:

AgzyM 2013 Boom

Thank You!

Photoshop your Life on a Silly Sunday

Many Richard Armitage fans have spread their creative wings and have accessed their artistic side.

I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve had a giggle while adding an absurd beard or make Thorin’s brows dance around his forehead.

One of the most wonderful tools to experiment with is Photoshop.

I know there are many of us out there who have taken the time and pushed ourselves to create interesting RA images to entertain fellow fans.

The sky really is the limit and fiddling with pictures and gifs can be addictive.

Sad and Useless pushed the envelope and takes a look at how our life would change if we could use PS in real life.

If you don’t get the jokes, it’s time to check out a tutorial, because you’re missing out!

Whining Wednesday on a Saturday and the Dreaded Fat Pants

I was meaning to write this post as part of a Whining Wednesday cycle, but it turns out it’s been pushed all the way to Saturday.

Whining Saturday doesn’t really sound as good, does it?

My summer is well and truly over, which means the usual shift from countryside to city.

It’s back to work, back to RL.

It’s also time to face and start tackling the consequences of a care-free 2 months.

There’s nothing quite like that feeling of putting away your casual sport’s clothes, sweatpants/tracksuit bottoms, stretchy T-shirts and tank tops, and trying to squeeze into work clothes.

Dear dear me!

I really have indulged myself this summer!

Even my ‘fat pants’ are filled to capacity!

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of ‘fat pants’ here’s an explanation.

My weight fluctuates terribly, meaning 65% of my wardrobe are my skinny clothes.

There are the dresses, skirts, tops I’ve been collecting for years, all designed to simply pull out of the closet, put on a sashay away to work.

They are accompanied with cute high-heel shoes and adorable accessories.

I used to refer to them as my ‘normal’ clothes, but I haven’t actually worn many of them for a while now.

Then we have the collection of clothes a size or two larger, for those periods when you’ve indulged a little too much and you need a fabric or cut that is more forgiving.

Then there’s the last category, the dreaded fat clothes, the thorn in my side.

These are my go-to clothes when I’m on the verge of changing my lifestyle yet again, the ones I am so happy to discard when I’ve been a good girl.

Oh, the dreaded fat pants!

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed myself immensely this summer, and I take responsibility for reaching the point where, yet again, I need to serve up a dose of tough love instead of a bar of chocolate.

I’m an extremist.

I’m either very good or very VERY bad.

After being a naughty girl this summer, it’s time to shift gear and actually be kind to myself!

I have the knowledge, I’ve been down this path before, and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle are evident.

It’s just sticking to it that’s an issue.

I’m a cheater.

In my case it’s connected to food and exercise

I love the thrill that cheating brings.

Sneaking in something naughty, skipping exercise they; all provide a short-lived thrill that I may well be addicted to.

After 6 months we finally figured out how the TIVO-style function works, and we’ve been taking advantage of it.

At the moment I was making changes, I came across a program that resonated with me.

It’s an OWN production called Addicted to Food.

It’s a documentary series which follows the recovery process of 8 people addicted, in one way or another, to food.

I’m not obese, and contestants of The Biggest Loser drop more weight for a weekly weigh-in, but it’s all relative.

The show sheds light on the strange relationship between me and what I stick in my gob.

It’s made me  analyze why I constantly find myself in the same spot time after time.

Anyway, I hope to use this space to write about the issue, as well as mention things that work or motivate me.

The first that I’d like to mention is a blog I came across called Raw Girl in a Toxic World.

It’s a blog written by a vegan, and there are plenty of useful information.

She disspells the myth that going vegetarian can help you lose weight.

From my experience I tend to exchange meat for pasta with lovely creamy sauces.

By now I think we ALL know diets don’t work, so it’s time to implement a lifestyle with lasting results.

That’s what I’m planning to do, and I hope to write more about the steps I’m taking!

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