Slave to Fitbit

I got a Fitbit for Christmas 2017.

(I wish to take this moment to remind people to never buy someone a Fitbit or any other kind of fitness device without them asking for one.)

I decided to set myself the challenge of not going below 10000 steps on any day for the year. I decided on the last day of January to make it a month long challenge because I’d learned what  needed to from the challenge. Amusingly the BBC had a programme and article that day about how we should be aiming for the ‘Active 10’ rather than ‘10000 steps’ You can read it here:

I learned different things:

  1. Firstly, amazingly, is available.
  2. My legs ache when I do lots of walking or standing but rarely when I run.
  3. I easily get obsessed over data.
  4. That obsessive behaviour can be positive fuel, but also can be bad.
  5. I rarely stray from the paths I know
  6. I learned how to think about walking as a part of my regular travel plans.

I love a challenge. Last year I entered a 10 week challenge at the gym and that really helped kick things off with my weight loss. I had started, but that really got things going. I didn’t win the competition but I was one of 4 runners up and I took that as a big success. By the end of the year I had stalled and needed new motivation, a new challenge.

Getting my Fitbit, the natural challenge seemed to be to aim for 10000 steps every day. The Fitbit ecosystem is very much built around that, and has step competitions you can do with friends and people your friends have invited. I set my goal and got to work. And it WAS work. I had to get my steps in. I can tell you that it takes just under 2500 steps from my flat to the train station. It is 1500 to the golf shop (AKA Pokestop) and back. A brisk 30 min walk is around 3000 steps. I started planning my day around it, where I’d park, if I’d need to go out for an additional walk or not. I knew the numbers. I went for walks. The day I realised how many of the numbers I knew and how much it was affecting my daily planning I googled I was surprised to find it available.

Side effect, I got achy legs again. I’ve had “bad legs” since I was a kid. I’ve been told by many a doctor that it’s growing pains but at 34 and 5 foot 2 and a bit, I don’t believe them. I’ve never really believed them. My own investigations and Dr Google gave me a diagnosis of restless leg syndrome. There are different kinds of RLS, I get the painful kind. I get the kind that had me in hospitals as a kid getting tests to see if I had childhood arthritis or not. Thankfully that wasn’t it. Since the start of the year I’ve had a few episodes of “bad legs” and many days although I’m not having a “bad legs” I’m way more aware of my lower limbs than anyone should be. Dull ache. The only thing I have changed since December is the walking. Also, any day where I’ve had to stand for long periods will end in “bad legs” but that has always been the case. Weirdly, running doesn’t seem to have any effect and over the last year I’ve done rather a bit of that so I’d have noticed by now.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a fan of data. I love a spreadsheet. Thankfully I have not gone down the spreadsheet route with this. I have nipped some of the obsession in the bud. When I left the other half in my flat with the instructions to “play computer games until I buzz” I realised I’d gone to the bad place. His back wouldn’t have been happy with the speed I was walking, hence giving him game time. We don’t get as much time together as I’d like so realising part way through this very quick strut that I had made the choice of steps over romance saddened me and sealed the deal that it would be January only. Funny part to this story, I realised this and came home; I was at 9000 steps. He sent me back out to finish because he wanted to be supportive and knew that the vein in my head would twitch being so close to a goal. I went round the block and came back timed so it would buzz as I was getting to the couch again. I told him then I’d decided it was for January only. That was January 31st.

So far this sounds like a very negative experience, but I have some positive take aways too. I discovered community centres, parks and more that I didn’t know were there, all within walking distance of my home. I worked out that there is one affordable (if you know where to get your ticket stamped) car park in Edinburgh that I can use as a centralish hub and walk to different bookings from. That wouldn’t have occurred to me before. I also figured out that many things I automatically drive to I can walk to faster than I thought, so maybe I should walk after all.

So far, as I write this on the evening of 8th Feb I have reached 10000 steps 6 out of 8 days in February. But now it is a nice side effect of other activity and not the goal itself.

February has other projects now, but that is a blog post for another day.

Chat soon

KT :)


Tap tap, is this thing on?

I have had this blog space for a long time now. When I first set it up I had big plans for it. I also had big plans for me.

Funny story, without keeping a record through this blog, I’ve done a lot of what I set out to do over the last 5ish years. It’s a funny story because see all of those great plans I laid out? The achievements I made were almost all by taking different routes to what I mapped in the pages I set up.

Looking at the categories I had in mind for this blog, I started with money. I’ve gotten quite good at managing my money over the last few years. I’m not rich by any stretch, but I’m in control of what I have. I have established myself in my chosen field and I am running a successful one woman business.

Under the “Creating My Home” banner I had clutter control, cleaning routines and decorating and maintenance. Well, although the clutter often tries to creep back, I did a huge clear out, Kon Mari style, in 2016, and it’s stayed in check since then. I have routines in check lists that I sometimes obey (and often ignore) that mean my flat is usually clean enough and tidy enough for if someone was to drop by. I never did do all the maintenance and decorating though. Perhaps this will be the year for that? (insert rolling around laughing emoji here…)

“Creating My Network is all about getting the right people around me, making friends and nurturing healthy relationships.”

That’s what I said back in 2011/2012 when I was setting this all up. Mission accomplished. I did it mostly over the last 2 years, and in a way I never would have expected. But that is a story for another post.

I make things still. I knit, I tat and that still bring me joy.

There is a huge area of what my life is now that is completely absent from these pages, I have nothing in here about creating the body I wanted to go through this life in. Exercise has become so ingrained over the last year, I find it strange to look and not see it there. Nothing about healthy eating or learning how to cook either. (Still working on them)

I am really not sure what to do with those old pages I created. Archive them somehow probably. They were the catalyst, or showing my working perhaps. They were my inspiration for the journey I took but they aren’t a good reflection of that journey at all.

The last few years have been a ride and a half. A year of finishing my qualifications, getting qualified and all that would bring. A year of focusing on getting my weight to a healthier level and learning what my body could do. My viewpoint changing trip to Nepal in 2015 is missing too. I “created me” and forgot to write down how I did it! I can’t go back and write it all now, but as I pick this back up for a little while, there will probably be some reflections and trips down memory lane to be had. I hope so. I’ve done some awesome things. I’ve done plenty of very ordinary things too. All of those things have made me the me that wants to start writing again.

Chat soon.

KT :)

Adult isn’t a verb…

…but it should be!    
 Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is to be an adult. I’m 32 years old and I don’t really feel like an adult yet. I thought that maybe it was because I wasn’t married, or because I don’t have children. Like any good kid I’ve asked my mum about this over the last few years and she tells me that she still doesn’t feel like an adult either so that’s probably not it. (Well, really I’m the mum, she’s the big kid so perhaps its not a shock that she doesn’t feel grown up yet… Sorry mum but you know it’s true ;-) )I decided this week that adult isn’t really a state of being, it’s a verb. Some days we adult well, other days less so. So, if adult is a verb, it needs a definition. (Hold on, this all has a purpose I promise)
Adult: verb, to chose what you want most over what you want now.
Ok, with that in mind, for me to adult, I need to define what I want most. I’ve thought about this for a couple of days. The answer to this will be different for everyone but here is my answer:
Right! Great! That means nothing…

My next step was to drill down. Okay, I want freedom, but what does that look like to me.

  • Freedom is opening my wardrobe and, on seeing a selection of clothes that fit me well, select an outfit that makes me zing.
  • Freedom is having enough money to go somewhere at the drop of a hat, either because someone needs me or because I have found myself with a couple of days and want to go exploring.
  • Freedom is going to work and knowing I belong there because I am good at it and have been well trained to handle any situation that faces me.
  • Freedom is knowing my body is fit and strong and can do what I ask of it.
  • Freedom is looking in the mirror and smiling at what I see.
  • Freedom is arriving home and kicking off my shoes, sitting on a comfy couch in a beautiful relaxing space.
  • Freedom is being silly and fun and not giving a monkeys what anyone else things.
  • Freedom is sometimes sitting in front of Netflix with knitting or tatting and just being.
  • Freedom is dancing to music that nobody else needs to like. (Dancing in ones underwear is optional but strongly encouraged)
  • Freedom is a decent retirement account
  • Freedom is a reliable car full of fuel
  • Freedom is choice.

So, that’s not all of it, but that is what freedom looks like for me.

Going back to adult as a verb. Making choices that bring me closer to those freedoms is good adulting. I’m on the road to some very good responsible and fun (for me, YMMV) adulting. I’ve read a book, I’ve downloaded software, I’ve talked to friends and loved ones but those are all blog posts for other days. I’ve decided this is reset time, new path, new journey, but with the same destination I’ve always had. I’m still one girl, working on her life to be the best that she can be. But maybe I should change that, I’m just one girl, working on her life to make it the best that it can be…

“Life is not about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw.

Life is not about finding myself, it’s about creating myself and I’m creating me! One adult thing at a time.


Baked omelette recipe

I have had it in my head for years that I am a pretty rubbish cook. I have a degree in chemistry and that lends itself more to baking. I can bake. Precise measurements, temperatures and following recipes to the letter. I can do that. But the kind of cooking where you start with ingredients and bish bash bosh, tasty dinner? Didn’t think I could do that.

Recently I have started to prove that to be incorrect quite regularly. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I can cook. I usually just can’t be bothered to. That’s something different.

I really want to stretch every penny as far as I can because I have big dreams that will take money to achieve (money = freedom in my mind). I am also working on eating more vegetables and improving my health. These two things go together because I keep buying nice food that gets wasted when I buy and then consume something less healthy.

My fight against that lead to this lovely dinner this evening.

I had some sorry looking spring onions in the fridge and eggs that we’re getting close to their date. I came up with the following:

Baked Omelette – serves 4 (293 kcal per serving)


  • 1tsp Butter
  • ~150g Frozen spinach
  • 6 Free range eggs (medium)
  • 200ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 3 spring onions
  • 125g mature cheddar
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C
  2. Put frozen spinach into a sieve and run under cold water until it defrosts. Then squeeze as much water out as possible.
  3. Chop up spring onions quite small and grate cheese
  4. Break eggs into a jug (if you’re as clumsy as me, check for shell and remove before doing anything else. Curse words and tutting at one’s self is entirely optional during shell removal)
  5. Wipe around the bottom and sides of a 20x20cm baking dish with the butter
  6. Place the spinach around the bottom of the dish (it will almost cover the bottom).
  7. Take a small amount of the cheese (less than a quarter) and sprinkle over the spinach.
  8. Add the spring onions and most of the cheese to the eggs with the milk and beat together well. Don’t worry, the spring onion will float to the top.
  9. Pour this mixture over the spinach and cheese in the dish.
  10. Sprinkle the left over cheese on top.
  11. Place in oven for 30mins or until brown on top and egg fully cooked.

Mine rose quite a bit in the oven. It settles back down after cooling a little bit. I also added a dollop of cream cheese in 3 places on one side. This is totally optional. Pretty much every ingredient here is optional except the eggs, milk and cheese. It would be lovely with ham, or peppers maybe? Please let me know if you try it and what variations you make.

I will openly admit to going back for seconds.

Hope you enjoy!

KT. :-)

heels and lifelines

Hiya again! Just a quick one today, I have some knitting to get back to before bed, and a cup of tea with my name on it.

Yesterday knit the heels on my current sock project. I did something that I’ve never done in all my knitting career before. I inserted a lifeline at the end of a section before moving on to the next part. For those who don’t know knitting or what a lifeline is: a lifeline is an extra piece of yarn that you thread through the stitches on your needle, that way if you need to do the unthinkable and rip back your knitting you can go back to the point you’ve saved with your lifeline. when you unravel what you’ve done (crying optional) you get to the lifeline and all the little liberated stitches are nicely perched, waiting to be picked back up.

That lifeline felt like defeat. It felt like I had lost trust in myself. And then… then I felt free. I didn’t want to have to go backwards but if I had to, it wasn’t a disaster.

I now have a lifeline placed before the heal and one after. I can now move on to the lace on the leg a little more relaxed. And I might even use more of them later (but knowing me I won’t, and then there will be a moment of crying)

KT :-)

Four kinds of milk

I didn’t manage to update this blog yesterday. When I got home from work I was good for nothing other than watching some tv, making my first batch of frugal homemade yogurt and continuing to not be able to get to sleep when I need to. Work left me exhausted. Thankfully I have some good people I could talk to about it.

I was a little sad going back to work, not because I don’t like my job. Quite the opposite really. As long time readers of this blog might know, I am a self employed sign language interpreter for part of my week and I am a lecturer in a college supported learning department teaching students with various learning disabilities the rest of the time. I love both of my jobs. I’m very lucky.

What made me sad was when I arrived I was met with what can only be described as wall of sign language. I got the impression that the student I work with that day had had very minimal communication in his own language during the two weeks we were off. He has a lovely family, they are doing the best they can but they don’t seem to have as much support as they could have. The student (my student) deserves more. He deserves good Deaf role models to help show him how to make the most of what he has. He is a bright boy who finds some things difficult. I hope he will do well and get enough support when it comes time for him to leave the college environment and I’ll do all I can to make sure that happens.

On a lighter note, I would like to share the funny moment I had when I stopped into the supermarket on the way home to buy the supplies to make the frugal version of homemade yogurt. I’d like to share a photograph with you. This was the moment when the checkout assistant went “huh??”

4 kinds of milk

Yup, you are looking at 4 different kinds of milk… The regular Grahams semi-skimmed is for tea, coffee cereal etc. The whole milk is UHT and was to make the first batch of yogurt. I wanted to used what seemed to be the most foolproof method first and that meant using the whole milk (93p for a litre) and a couple of table spoons of the dried milk to make it thicker that meant getting the dried milk too (£1.15 for the box above). If that worked well I also wanted to try the lower fat and even cheaper but less foolproof method, using skimmed UHT milk (57p for a litre). I checked the 93p version of skimmed and the 57p skimmed milk, the ingredients and nutritional data were exactly the same, only different packaging. Yay! But that meant 4 different kinds of milk… I looked even stranger than normal!

The other item you see above is one of my favourite things, salmon pate. You can probably see the yellow “whoopsie” sticker on the bottom.

reduced salmon pateI couldn’t resist. It was only 15p! I had it with dinner.

And with that I better get back to finishing my lesson plan for tomorrow.

Talk soon!

K :-)

Relaxation continued

Well, yesterday’s plan of an earlier night and early morning failed spectacularly. I was still awake at 3.30am and didn’t get out of bed till midday. Tomorrow morning is going to be a struggle.

I’m glad I’m going back to work tomorrow, holidays are good but I’m ready to get stuck back in now. I wish I’d done more prep for the day job over the holiday but I didn’t, and there is nothing I can do about it now.

I have enjoyed the last day of this break. I haven’t done a lot but what I’ve done was good. I have knit a little, relaxed a lot and made some soda bread for tomorrows lunch.

soda breadI used my homemade yogurt. It will be eaten tomorrow with my homemade soup that was made with proper chicken stock boiled up from the carcass of a roast chicken. I’m serious, I don’t even recognise myself anymore! I’ve never really enjoyed this kind of thing. I’ve been faux frugal because I felt I had to be. Now I am being properly frugal because I am enjoying the cooking and the not spending money. It’s becoming a game.

For the soda bread recipe please see Mortgage Free in Three

I have no idea how long I can keep up the “good life” but I’ll run with it as long as I can.

Tonight I really don’t have a choice. I have to cosy myself up and get some sleep. I really don’t want to be grouchy to everyone on my first working day of 2014.

KT :-)

Slowly powering up

Today started the slow powering up again into this year.  I’ve found myself slipping towards nocturnal during this holiday. I think that has been made worse because of the amount of sleeping I did while I wasn’t well last week. Basically what is happening is I am finding myself with the most energy from 9pm onwards and around 1am I suddenly want to fix ALL the things.

I start back at work on Monday, I can’t be staying up until 2am and waking up at 11am. Tonight I will be forcing myself to go to bed at 11.30pm and setting an alarm for 8am. It will be hard but hopefully it will help come Monday morning.

I have gotten a few things done today, not as much as I’d have liked, but I did get some documents up to date, write a letter that I’m now going to sit on for a day or two before sending, finish a piece of homework, did a little bit of knitting and a bit of batch cooking.

YogurtI would first like to report back about yesterdays yogurt making activity. I hail this a success. It looks a little lumpy there, it was a teeny bit lumpy but I gave it a stir and it is tasty, mostly smooth and lovely! It tastes so fresh. I am looking forward to trying it the frugal way too.

Mashed potato

What you are looking at above is a massive pot of mashed potatoes. Why would I make a massive pot of mashed potatoes? Well, number 1  reason is “I can”. I asked for the large soup pot for Christmas (yup, I’m that person) and the second reason is I had a large amount of potatoes that were looking rather past their best. I decided to make mashed potatoes and have now frozen generous portions. Dinner tonight included cheesy mashed potatoes.

ready for freezingIt’s worth noting that my masher has gone walk-about (after a paper-making “activity” at work) so this was all mashed mostly using just the back of the wooden spoon.

Right, it is getting close to my self-enforced curfew. Time for bed and another day tomorrow!

KT :-)



downs and ups

Hello again everyone!

It’s been a mixed day. Another day of not getting anything done. I really can’t have another day like this tomorrow.

It has been so wet here that there have been talks of gathering all the animals in pairs… you know, just in case. The crazy weather meant cancelling plans I’d had to go and visit Kersti. That felt rubbish. I’ve been on holiday from work for a couple of weeks now. I go back to work on Monday and thanks to having what I think was the flu and the general stress of Christmas and New Year, I don’t really feel ready to go back yet. Two more days. I hope to make the most of them.

I saw the Man-shape briefly today, I ran him in for an audition. He got the job so that perked me up again.

I also wandered aimlessly round the shops for a little while. I don’t really do that often, I hate shopping as a general rule. Although, I have been known to spend a ridiculous amount of time in supermarkets. During my shopping I bought myself a treat. I am a strange human and to me a treat can be one of two things, something hideously unhealthy and cheap or something that will help me be save money and be healthier at the same time. There isn’t really a mid point with me. I bought myself an Easiyo yogurt maker.

Easiyo yogurt maker

This time I am cheating and using the sachet but in the future I am most likely going to experiment with the frugal way of making yogurt, UHT milk and a yogurt starter. 1kg of yogurt for ~£1. (it would cost more than double for the Tesco own brand equivalent). I will be sure to add a write up of my first cheat batch of yogurt and of course a tutorial of the old school method when I have figured it out too.

I have been having some issues with my digestion for a couple of months now so I am hoping a small dose of healthy bacteria every day will help me a lot. I’ve not been buying yogurt that often because is feels like there is never a decent shelf life on the shop bought stuff and I ended up having to throw a lot away which was just a waste. I am hoping that this is a new chapter in a healthier me.

I also can’t wait for that moment when I use my homemade yogurt to make homemade soda bread to eat with my homemade soup! I don’t enjoy cooking really, I have to force myself to do it. But this is all starting to look scarily like fun. Who the hell am I?!

The other reason for the yogurt maker (other than an unusual way to spend my Christmas money) was to really think about how to stretch my money as far as possible. Making my own yogurt won’t make me a millionaire but it does make me more aware of where my money goes. And it sort of turns it into a game. I like that.

In the last 6 months I have begun the journey (again, properly this time) to pay down any debt I have. I want to have experiences, go on holidays, buy new clothes, not have to settle, and generally to feel free in my life. I personally feel that any debts at all, even cheap debts like my remaining student loan, stop me from doing that. Part of tomorrows plan is to figure out what has already been paid so far, and what bills that might be put off, become debts and cost me more, have been cash-flowed in that time. I will hopefully add more info here about that when I know the numbers.

Till later,

KT :-)

relaxation is an art form

Hello again!

Today I relaxed. No really, I relaxed. I thought I was relaxed before but it turns out I’m not actually all that good at it. I have to force myself to relax which I am sure defeats the purpose. I have been pushing really hard towards the end of the year to finish things because that makes me feel in control (note to self: draft up the “illusion of control” post). I have pushed so much that even when I’ve been “relaxing” I have had a mind filled with lists and business and, to put it in a way my knitter friends will totally relate to, loose ends to be woven in.

Stripy ends

Now, thinking about it, the loose ends metaphor is a good one. Those pesky ends can teach us so much. Something can look superficially finished but look a little deeper and that lovely stripy vest is hiding a horrible secret. When I was going through interpreter training there is another, related, metaphor that is used by many tutors: Be like swans. Swans are graceful, they glide along beautifully and look calm… on the surface! Underneath they can be paddling like the dickens to stay afloat and we’d never know. Be like swans, when your brain is running a sprint, remain calm and look graceful. Easier said than done, but some people are masters of it. Ever had a friend drop the bombshell that they are really struggling but you had no idea? yeah, that.

Back to the stripy vest, it looks done on one side but it’s not, it needs the ends put away and finished properly. If you don’t finish it properly and then try to wear it, you know what will happen, it will unravel and that shiny finished exterior illusion is blown.

Hmmm, my current interpreter professional development has me focused on freer translations and that means really understanding the meaning of the English to get its essence to achieve the best translation. Apologies if that leads to the over-analysis and subsequent killing of any metaphors in the process. But still, the above metaphor is good for explaining what I’ve been trying to do lately.

I am a master procrastinator. I’d have awards to show you to prove it but I didn’t make it to the ceremony because I found other things to do. That procrastination builds up unfinished things, half finished things, lists of lists and general stressful un-satisfaction. So I decided I’d had enough. I split my massive “To do” list into smaller lists by subject area (I didn’t say I was stopping procrastination completely).

  • To be paid
  • Self employment tasks
  • General to do list
  • College lecturing tasks
  • Professional development homework

The list system

Each of these lists started rather long but I would just take one achievable task from one list and hammer it out until it was done. Some of them were quick and easy, some took more time and planning to complete. But now, about 3 weeks on from the list separation and I feel like this is a system I can use indefinitely to keep on top of things. It has slowly given me focus and drive, but that meant I was always “on”, if you know what I mean.

There are still some nastier things that I am putting off from my lists (that I shouldn’t be) but it feels good seeing each one shrink even if they are rolling lists with re-growth.

How was today different? How did I relax? I did relax for most of today even if not as deeply as I perhaps will in future. I don’t know what made today different, whether I saw it as the Scottish holiday that it is meant to be or something but when I couldn’t do my first choice activity today (spend time with my mum) I chose to spend time on me.

I cooked. I used up some past its best veg to make a very tasty pasta dish.

Chicken past prep

  • 400g chicken
  • 2 leaks
  • 1 onion
  • 1 orange pepper
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 packet of chicken fajita spice mix
  • pasta

I don’t really do recipes as such but this was really tasty. I don’t know how much it cost per portion but I now have one large portion in the freezer, one snack size and one regular size in the fridge. I fried off the chicken until sealed, added the onion, leak and then pepper. When that was all cooked I added the garlic and fajita mix and cooked for another couple of minutes then mixed into some cooked pasta. For extra kick I added jalepenos.

Chicken pasta served

I baked. It’s not new years in Scotland without shortbread so I made some of that too.

I pottered, cleaning and tidying the kitchen as I went.

I listened to podcasts.

I watched some shows on netflix (currently watching Vampire Diaries).

I knit. I am so close to the heels I can nearly taste it! I am bored of this pattern though. Ironically I think I would have been less bored if I was knitting a completely plain sock that just went round and round… I could focus just a little less on that. It would be nice.

Sock progress

For a day, I just was. I didn’t tick off anything from my lists. I didn’t write up the goal/resolution list that has been rattling around in my brain for a few days. I just was. And it was completely needed.

KT :-)

ps. The all ends on the stripy vest were sewn in and it was worn for the first time yesterday.

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