"Betty Leopard": July 2011

Monday, 25 July 2011

eBay

eBay used to terrify me. I would search for wild and weird things, pink glitter sunglasses and band merchandise that was only available in the US. It was a long time before searching turned to buying, and to this day I prefer Buy-It-Now items to auctions. I find the bidding process ridiculously stressful, the very first time I bought an auction item I actually had to get my boyfriend at the time to do it for me, I just couldn't face it. These days auctions are more of a problem in terms of how much money I will spend, I often continue bidding beyond my set maximum just to spite that last minute bidder who thinks they can steal that item from under my nose.
I now have a reasonable feedback score over 180 from regularly buying clothes, baking paraphernalia, comics and even gifts. eBay is one of the first places I look for things or cheaper alternatives to items I've seen elsewhere. If it's not on eBay you probably can't get it.
While I am a regular eBay buyer, it was only last week when I made the leap to also being an eBay seller. I have long considered selling some of my belongings online. I have a lot of stuff, I know I have a lot of stuff, my boyfriend regularly reminds me of how much stuff I have. I usually respond by informing him that I am a girl, I need to have a lot of things! Although I am increasingly coming to the realisation that a lot of my stuff is actually just useless crap. So, having received an email about a weekend of no insertion fees, I decided to dig out some of the better items from the charity bag that I have successfully forgotten to put out for more than a year. I photographed about 8 items, a couple of skirts, a few tops and a dress, inspected for damage or defects and took measurements. The actual process of listing the items was awfully time consuming, so much so that I was bored after listing just 3 of the items and gave up. All were set at a start price of 99p and were on 5 day auctions. So I sat back and waited. Actually, that's far too calm. I regularly checked my selling page to see if anyone was watching or bidding. After 5 days, one skirt didn't sell, the other went for 99p with £2 p&p with the dress going for £1.70 also with £2. So then I waited for payment, then packed up the items and printed postage, which was more or less £2 for each item.
Now I am waiting hopefully, and nervously, for my customers to receive their items. From all this I've made a grand profit of less than £2. While this is more than if I had given the items to charity, given the effort involved, I'd rather have the feel good factor of donating to a good cause rather than a lousy few pennies. I don't think I'll be rushing to sell anything on eBay again. Maybe I'll try a car-boot sale to shift some of my junk next time.

Well, I guess I'll go see what I can get for my money on eBay,
Betty
x

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Catching Up

I am a bad, bad blogger. In all honesty I've felt very drained recently, I've had words to write but no energy to actually write them with.
Prior to my lack of energy, I was actually feeling pretty good :) The diet and exercise have already begun to pay off, I've lost nearly 4 pounds in 2 weeks which I think is pretty good. It already shows when I wear my skinny jeans, almost no muffin tops, which were one of my biggest drivers. It hasn't been easy though. I have next to no will power, especially when it comes to cakes, biscuits and chocolate, but I've been very, very good. I've even surprised myself! I do miss baking though. I'm also almost enjoying exercise. Almost. It's still a hideous process, and I hate being sweaty, but, once I've recovered, I do feel good for having done it :)

Also got my hair cut last week. I've had short hair since I was about 18, and no matter how many times I think I'd like to try and grow it longer it always gets to a point where I get so frustrated and annoyed with it that I just go to the hairdresser and have it all chopped off again. Sometimes I regret going too short, but not this time, I'm loving how easy it is to manage and style :) I'm pretty sure my hairdresser likes being given more-or-less free rein over my hair. I'm not really too scared to try anything, at least once. It's only hair, it'll grow back! Even if it doesn't, I can buy wigs and have different hair every day!

Hmm, nice background of piles of work :/
Having my hair cut actually made me feel loads better, more so than I expected. That combined with the weight loss gave me a very good few days :) I've also managed to get to see most of my really good friends over the past week. I didn't go out, just had people round for chats, but it was still nice. It's good to remember that there are people who want to see me and that I can manage social situations, hold conversations and not totally bore people.

The good feelings have been wearing off a bit over the past few days. Weight loss has hit a bit of a plateau and I don't have much energy to boost the exercise, although I am going to try later. I sort of miss doing it, in a really strange and unfamiliar sort of way. Lack of energy and enthusiasm has also taken a bit of a toll on my work rate and I haven't got as much done as I feel I should have done.
Tried going out with some work friends last night, but that might have been a step too far. One of those situations where being around a lot of people actually leaves me feeling more alone than ever. It wasn't bad, nothing bad happened, but it just reminded me of how distant I am from all those people and their lives.
All I want is someone to hold me today, so I'm probably not going to be very productive.

It is my birthday a week today and my mum is coming to visit, so my diet and exercise regime may not be easy to maintain. I suppose I'm just hoping I don't put on any weight, I'm definitely not expecting to lose any. Need to try and get as much work done as I can before my mum gets here. Really need to find some get-up-and-go, any ideas where it got-up-and-went to? :/

Best Wishes
Betty
x

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Elmo Cupcakes

This is a long overdue post, and a long overdue return to my maker-baker ways :)

These are the Elmo Cupcakes I made for my sister for her 23rd Birthday


I used the recipe for Vanilla Cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook with the addition of sugar stars to the mix to make the cake more colourful (they didn't need to be stars but they were what I had). 
I was lazy and used a jar of Betty Crocker Vanilla Frosting, which is insanely artificial, but tastes and smells so good :) You can tell how artificial it is by the fact that it's vegan friendly.
The Elmo faces are edible ink printed on rice paper that I bought on eBay. The awesome hundreds and thousands were also from eBay, I just put some on a plate then roled the edges of the frosting in them.
They seemed to go down pretty well.


Thanks for stopping by,
Betty
x

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Calorie Counting

Skinny Cow Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream Bar Thing - 93 calories each
Unsurprisingly quite small, but doesn't melt too quickly so still feels like you're getting a lot as it takes a while to eat. Low fat ice cream isn't terribly satisfying, not being very creamy. Brownie bits are a little dry and kind of unneccessary, would prefer a chocolate sauce. It's not as good as a regular ice cream, but you buy low-fat low calorie ice cream for a reason, and for 93 calories they're not a bad distraction from real desserts.


Snack-A-Jack Chocolate Chip Rice Cakes - 62 calories each
Rice cakes are definitely designed for dieters, I'm not sure I know anyone who doesn't care about calories who eat rice cakes. I think flavoured rice cakes are a bit of a false economy though, these definitely aren't nice enough to warrant giving up 62 calories of something else. I prefer the Tesco Disney themed Apple rice cakes at 85 calories a bag (yes they are meant for kids). Fake chocolate products just make me want real chocolate all the more.

Jaffa Cakes - 43 calories each
I don't actually have proper McVities Jaffa Cakes, this is based on Tesco own brand Jaffa Cakes. They aren't bad, satisfying as a cakey biscuity vaguely chocolatey treat. 43 calories isn't bad either, but who can eat just one Jaffa Cake!? I've managed to mostly limit myself to 2 or 3 as a post dinner evening snack, to curb my sweet treat craving without over indulging. But if I can control my cravings like that then why don't I just have some managed indulgence in something I really like, like carrot cake, or cookies.



So, if I can treat myself in under 100 calories, what would I choose?
A Skinny Cow Ice Cream? One and a half chocolate rice cakes? two and a half Jaffa Cakes?

Or just 25g of Carrot Cake?

Not much competition in my book :)


I am a very bad dieter. I'm constantly looking for the short cuts to getting the things I crave while trying to cut back the calories. I even consider Slim Fast milkshakes, just because they're milkshakes!! Really need to get a proper grip on my will power if I'm going to do this.

Fingers crossed
Betty
x

Walking Contradiction

So, one of my greatest pleasures is eating cake, not so distantly followed by making cake. But right now, I'm on a diet, and it's soooooo hard. I can't eat cake and I can't even distract myself by making cake (well, I suppose technically I could make cake for other people, but that's just not as enjoyable.
It's been nearly a week since I started counting those calories properly, and I've only lost a pound so far, and that's a pound that would occasionally fluctuate of its own accord anyway. I would like to provide assurance that I am doing this sensibly, I'm not starving myself, just paying much more attention to the calorie content of food and trying to take in a few fewer of them in the hope of shedding just a couple of pounds.
I'm also doing some exercise as well, not masses, but some is a darn sight more than my usual. I'm just not the exercise type. I've been giving Gillian Michael's 30 Day Shred a go. It's not too bad, although I'm still sticking to level 1 and am not doing it everyday like you're supposed to, but then again, I just want to lose some hip and thigh related blubber, not get all uber toned like her . It's only a 20 minute work out but still gets my heart rate up and makes me more sweaty that I'm comfortable with, so it must be doing something, right?
I've got myself some Skinny Cow choc fudge ice-cream things as an occassional treat, apparently they're only 99 calories, which I can just about squeeze into my allowance. I hope they live up to expectations, low fat, low calorie, diet foods are often a big let down and leave me wishing I hadn't even indulged myself :/ I'll let you know what I think.

I hope my will power holds out
Betty
x