On Guest Lists & Stag Do's

I haven't mentioned much about wedding planning lately, because the travels have completely overtaken my brain. If people ask, I tell them what we're up to so far, and then gladly use the 'we'll be doing more when we're back in Sydney!' excuse. I've been plodding along trying not to get too far ahead of myself, and my inspiration folder is growing every day. I'll admit it, I was feeling pretty proud of myself for not turning into this whole other person, a wedding planning mutated version of my former self.

Until I looked at the date and realised how fast the next few months will go by.. and then I freaked out. There will be no excuse when I get home: I'll be throwing myself face first into the planning and the DIY-ing and the vendor-finding and all that jazz. And when people ask me what's happening and what needs doing, I'll actually need to give them real answers.. jeepers. That's scary. Maybe I'm not as organised as I thought I was.

While Jason's parents were here, we tackled a rough guest list - because one of the first things I want to do when we get back is sort that out. It's a mock one at this stage, but good to know what we're looking at in terms of numbers. It kind of terrifies me that all those people will be coming to watch us get married. I'm not a huge attention loving kind of girl, but poor Jase can't stand it - so this ought to be fun to combat. Is it too late to elope?

So here's the deal: I'm a pretty laid back fiancé. If the boy wants to go out, he goes out - as long as each of us knows roughly where the other is headed {to avoid the worries, you know} we're fine. We trust one another, and we work well with freedom. It suits us. Which brings us nicely into the subject of: the grooms pre-wedding festivities.

Right, so as I mentioned before, the boy isn't big on attention. He's never even had a birthday party, and I'm not kidding when I say that. He hates the spotlight, he hates a fuss being made and he hates having his picture taken, despite the fact that he's completely gorgeous. This blows my mind because.. I kind of love attention - in small doses!

When we talked about wedding related activities, he was quick to announce that he wasn't going to have a stag-do/bucks night. His argument was that two out of his three groomsmen lived abroad, so wouldn't necessarily be in the country in the lead-up to the wedding, so it wasn't an option. I thought that he should at least do something to celebrate pre-wedding, but we thought we'd leave it until a little later to talk about it.

Until recently, when one of his UK groomsmen decided to organise something for Jase before he leaves the UK! I'm so thrilled that he's going to get a chance to hang out with the boys here, and I think he is secretly pretty chuffed as well. No date is set yet, but I have a feeling it's going to be after I've already left for Europe - so it'll be a proper boys night out.. no strings attached! Who knows what will happen, but that's something I'm *gasp* giving the groomsmen free reign over. Hopefully they keep it classy!

As for me - well, I'm sure I'll have something fabulous with my girls once I'm home. In the meantime though, I'll be going away with two out of my three bridesmaids and exploring Europe with them, I couldn't ask for anything better than that!

(Except maybe if Jase could come along to that too.. but I'll catch him shortly after for our Pre-Wedding-Moon!)

September Twenty-Seven

Because everybody {well, most everybody} loves starting their week looking at cat photography. Or at least I do.

Oscar cat, you are so handsome.

Even when you wake me up at 5am. And then 6am. And when you scratch on our carpet. And try and eat our food.

You're lucky you're cute, buddy.

What To Do, What To Do?

Lists keep me sane. {Or at least, they help me to feel a little more sane.} There's nothing like a little organised chaos.

{Image from here}

Here's a quick snapshot of the bits and pieces I have to get finished over the following few weeks:
  • Pack. Pack, Pack, Pack. Those boxes aren't going to fill themselves up. Just like when we moved flats last year, I'm still amazed at just how many boxes we've accumulated over the years of being here. It's a far cry from when I arrived in London with just a suitcase and a carry-on bag to my name.

  • And that's just the shipping boxes! I also need to pack my travel suitcase - which is also not an easy task because I need to pack clothes that a) I can live in for TWO MONTHS and b) will cover me cool weather, humid weather, rainy weather, FREEZING weather, tropical weather AND hot Australian summer weather. My mind boggles.

  • Use up the food we have in our cupboards. It's harder than you might think!

  • Take another box of books over to the charity bookstore on Portobello Road. I know they'll go to good homes.

  • Write up a to-do list for Jase; what needs doing before he packs up and ships out himself.

  • Sell our television and treadmill/weights. I've put ads out, but no bites yet. It'll be good to get them gone, so we can have more space for packing boxes. And also, because we're not using them AND I'd like some extra spending money!

  • Book a few activities on our travels. More specifically, I want to arrange a Grand Canyon day trip from Vegas {any day trip recommendations?} and some Hawaii sightseeing trips, like a luau and an inter-island trip.

  • Get our travel documents all printed off and organised, one set for J and one set for me.

  • Spend lots of time cuddling Oscar, since I'm leaving in three weeks and won't be seeing him for TWO MONTHS.

  • Murder the contractors up on scaffolding outside our apartment, who have been making our place dirty and dusty thanks to whatever it is they're doing to the exterior of the building. The early morning starts also make me cranky.

  • Get some blog inspiration going for the next few months - hopefully a few scheduled posts by me AND some very special guest posters, mean you won't forget about me while I'm away. And then, I'll be back and ready to throw a billion travel pictures in your face. I can't help it, I love pictures.

  • Share with you some very random things I've discovered while cleaning the flat. Look:

  • So.. I'm assuming that I did purchase the cat litter-tray deodorant at some point, though when I can't remember. And I have no idea why it's in a foreign language, is it German? I don't know. All I know is that Tiffany the cat does not look like a happy camper. And it mustn't have worked all that well, if it's been in a drawer for three years.

    As for the the other image, why yes, that's a neon crucifix light bulb. What else would it be? I take no claim to owning that one, but I'm kind of tempted to plug it in, just to see what it looks like. I hurriedly put that one back where I found it, I don't want to be messing with anyone's religious light-bulb collection, that's for sure.

    Have you ever discovered random stuff lying around your home?

    Shiny Gold Dollars

    This week I had a delayed reaction lightbulb moment where I realised we were ploughing through September. And I realised that this time next month? I'll be travelling around Europe. In fact, I'll have already been gone for about a week - which means I'm probably somewhere in Barcelona or heading towards Nice and the French Riviera.

    This year has gone by in a big old rush. I clearly remember sitting at home with Jase on New Years Day, figuring out where we could go and how we should get home at the end of the year. It was so hard to plan back then, because it was too early for flights and for cheap travel deals, so I concentrated on other things throughout the year.

    I got busy with wedding planning during my April trip home to Sydney.
    I handed in my notice at work and finished up at my job.
    Then it was focus, focus, focus on the health and exercise as I became bffs with my local gym.
    Then came summer, with its constant stream of visitors.
    My little brother and his girlfriend have come and gone, and I miss them already!
    The in-laws have also come and gone, on several different occasions.

    The boy's dad has left for home now, but his Mum will be back with us again in another week, before heading home for good. Soon after that, two of my favourite girls from Sydney will arrive - and then I'll be gone too.

    Say what? Where has the time gone? I HAVE SO MUCH TO DO, omgz.

    After putting on my London and Paris tour-guide hat last this week, I came home completely exhausted. Travelling is hard work, you know. I can't even imagine how I'm going to feel after a month in Europe, followed by a month in the US/Canada. I'm not complaining {please don't hurl rotten fruits at me} but I'm just being realistic about getting mentally prepared for being on the road again for such a long period of time.

    So I'm a forward planner, we all know that. I have a whole stack of items on my to-do list, which I'm sure you'll hear more about soon. Getting organised for me means sorting out things weeks in advance, if possible. My next focus? Working out how I'm going to manage my money while I'm travelling. These days, banks offer all sorts of fancy money cards that you can load up and use just like a credit card while you're away - but I want to steer clear of this, as we'll not be returning to the UK and I don't want to get stuck with a card I can't use.

    I'm thinking I'll probably stick to just using my current credit cards {if I need them} and making sure I carry a heap of Euros & Canadian/US dollars with me. In fact, since I'll be meeting up with Jase in Florida (he flies over there from London a few days before I do) I think I'll let him be in charge of the North American currency until I arrive, and I'll just stick to the European currency myself. I'm not a huge fan of carrying cash around with me, but I have an assortment of hidey holes in my suitcases and carry-on luggage that will get me through.

    I totally intend to tuck a little hunk of cash away while I travel - or possibly even spreading little amounts out in my random bags. It's partially so that I know I always have a back-up, but it's mostly because finding a little windfall towards the end of a long trip is fabulous & means I'll have more {well, the same amount really} of my own money to spend! Sometimes my backwards logic astounds me, but hey! Works for me.

    How do you manage your money while you're travelling in long stints?


    Today is the 21st of September. Eight years ago, Jason & I began officially seeing one another. It's our anniversary!

    {And this year, unlike last year's little bungle, I actually got the number of years correct.}

    They say that the number eight is considered to be lucky in some cultures, what with its perfect balance and symmetry. I think that's a pretty good way to describe our relationship too - we balance each other out. Him: Logic. Me: Emotion. Him: Reserved. Me: Overly excitable. Him: Lefty. Me: Righty. You get the idea.

    This will be our last anniversary before we get married, and start a whole new series of anniversaries. But September 21st will always hold a special place in my heart, even when it is replaced with our wedding date.

    Happy eighth anniversary, Jason. There is so much goodness still to come, and I can't wait for it all to happen.*

    {I'm not entirely sure why it looks like I was about to put him in a choke hold. I wish I could out my whole arm.}

    *Speaking of good news, I have some - but it'll have to wait for a little while longer yet. I can't wait to share it!

    PCOS Is Not My Friend: The Weight

    I started off with the obvious symptom I'd experienced with PCOS: my out-of-whack and barely there menstrual cycle, if you can call it that. Now, we're moving on to the weight gain that comes with the syndrome.

    You know my struggles with weight gain - if you need a refresher, you can read about my journey here and here.

    So what's the deal with the weight gain & PCOS? This website states it well when it describes it like this:

    "Another telltale symptom of PCOS is steady, significant weight gain — even with reduced caloric intake. Some women report that they’re gaining weight no matter what they do. It’s not unusual for patients with PCOS to tell me they’ve recently gained 60 or more pounds in less than a year, despite dieting all the time and exercise. This weight usually accumulates around their middle. Why do some women with PCOS gain weight at such alarming rates? The research is showing that PCOS is strongly linked with insulin resistance."

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: I've always struggled with my weight, for as long as I can recall.

    Little did I know that after spending years of complaining about how heavy I was, that I was actually prone to weight gain thanks to the joy that is borderline insulin resistance. Now, I'm not going to say that I have always eaten a perfectly healthy diet, because that would be a lie. I've always been a fussy eater, too quick to jump at the fast option and never really able to switch off and just say 'no' to hefty potions. But what I didn't know was that I was pre-disposed to put on weight at a much faster rate than most others, thanks to the hormonal imbalance and problems with insulin resistance that come hand in hand with PCOS.

    I put on the majority of my weight during university. In January 2007, I hit an all-time high of 97kg. The only reason I remember that, is because it was the weight they had scrawled on my hand when I was being weighed in for my bungy jump and canyon swing on our New Zealand holiday. I had never been more mortified to have my weight announced to everyone like that, but it was the kick up the butt I needed to start seriously losing weight. In 2007, I lost around 17kg and got down to my lowest weight of 80kg. I had also completed the Couch to 5k program and was running almost every other day, until I developed severe shin splints, that plague me even now!

    When I moved to London, I was back up to around 85kg, but looking and feeling better than I had in a very long time. People warned me about the Heathrow Injection, but I wasn't that worried - I was moving in with Jase who is quite possibly the most health conscious boy on the planet, and I had big plans for joining a gym, walking around & loving life over here! That happened, for the most part. We hardly ate out (and still don't now!) and I was working out quite a bit, and enjoying walking around the city while exploring. Unfortunately while I was doing all of those lovely things, I was gaining weight at the same time.

    It's always frustrating when you're putting on weight. What is MORE frustrating is putting on weight when you're still doing all the right things. By the time we moved flats last year and despite me joining the nearby gym and working out five days a week, it had just gotten worse. When I started the portion controlled diet in July, I had hit 100kg. Again with the mortification. I felt like a whale. I felt like a disappointment.

    I'm down 10kg since then and am now weighing in at 89.9kg. I'm SO pleased with this {you have no idea!} and I'm still going, still aiming to shift as much of this weight as I can before we get home. Because of the insulin problems, I'm trying to follow a low GI diet. That means goodbye to my favourite things like potato, corn, white bread and pasta. Of course, I'm still having carbohydrates, but just in smaller portions and in wholegrain options if possible. We made little switches, like using brown rice, wholemeal bread and wholewheat tortillas. We don't buy potatoes. We never really drank sugary soda here at home, but we've made sure to switch to sugar free cordial and snacks, where we can. Little things, you know?

    But what scares me is what will happen when the weight loss slows down, which it almost always does. What happens when I continue eating right and exercising right, but when I get stuck? Or worse, what happens if I start putting things back on again? I've mentioned before that the one thing I'm afraid of with weight loss is a mental barrier I have: it's one of disappointing people. I don't want Jase to always think of me as a big girl. I don't want to be dreading my wedding day because I know I'll look at pictures and be disappointed in not being pretty enough, or thin enough. I don't want to be an overweight wife who struggles to get pregnant, and if lucky enough, carries a baby in an unhealthy body. I don't want to be that mum, who was overweight when she started the journey and continues to be overweight, and then some, after the birth. I'm sick of being in this cycle!

    Ah, but I digress. {Having a blog is great for venting, sometimes.} The weight gain part of PCOS, well, to be blunt? It blows. It's not bad enough that you're not ovulating properly and are at risk of infertility, but to also feel and look fat and frumpy at the same time? It's really awful. I really feel for those women out there who have PCOS and similar symptoms, because I know from personal experience, just how degrading the whole process is.

    It's not over yet, folks. There are even more symptoms to come. I had some amazing emails and messages come through after the last blog post which I really appreciated, so feel free to share your support in the comments.

    On Travelling with Siblings

    “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.”
    – Mark Twain

    Sometimes stepping away from technology for a while can be a good thing. Travelling is a great excuse to take a few days off from posting - even though we got back from Paris last night, we've been out and about all day once again. Oh my goodness, it has been so wonderful having the Brother and his Girlfriend staying with us. It really has.

    They are so genuinely excited to be over here discovering Europe and are just as sweet together as I remembered.

    I keep having flashbacks to 2004 when Jase and I came to the UK; we were so tired and jet-lagged that we staggered around in a daze our first day before passing out over a plate of Chinese food that night. These two were so keen to get out and see everything that on the same day they arrived, they saw basically all of the big tourist spots in London.

    And honestly, despite wanting to deliver a hearty kick to the Brother's backside every now and again (boys, you know) we travelled really well together. His girlfriend is hilarious, and kept us in stitches the entire time we were in Paris. I don't think I've laughed that hard in a long time, and it was a fabulous city get-away.

    And oh, Paris. Where to begin? It was a little grey to begin with, but the sun eventually came out which was lovely!

    This was my fifth or sixth visit to this fair city and I can make my way around pretty well after all this time. I like to think I'm a pretty easy-going travelling companion, if you can put up with my compulsive need to be early for everything and my severe irritation with people cutting in front of me in lines, that is. But despite those little annoyances, I think we did well, hoofing it around on foot and by metro and exploring the traditional sights as well as some random ones along the way. We did such a lot of walking, I'm still paying for it today.

    And then there was Disneyland Paris, which can be summed up in just a few quick images:

    The next few days we'll be London-bound, enjoying their company for a little longer before they then head off for a week long stint in Italy. And I'm happy to admit that we have another groomsman in our bridal party: he said yes!

    How was this week for you - what exciting things have I missed being away?

    The Third Wheel

    I've been nagging my little brother to come and visit us here in London since the day I arrived here myself.

    Other than travelling with our parents to California when we were younger, he has never really travelled outside of Australia. His interests didn't lie with travelling; they were with fixing up cars and spending money on the latest gadgets. We were offering him free accommodation in one of the most notoriously expensive cities in the world, and he didn't want to save for the flight to come and visit? He's crazy! I couldn't understand it. After a while, I gave up asking him about coming; he'd turned me down so many times, I knew he wasn't interested.

    My little brother is actually not so little. In fact, he's considerably taller than me and possesses a metabolism that I covet, which enables him to stuff himself full of food and never gain a pound. Ridiculously unfair.

    I wasn't always such a great big sister. Or maybe I was trying to be, but I didn't really know how to be one. And let's face it, he was an annoying little brat growing up - always irritating me, knowing all the right buttons to push to send me over the edge. I can't even begin to tell you how many times he managed to start something, see me snap in a spectacular fashion, and then sit back grinning while I copped all the flack from my parents. Brothers, I tell you.

    He had his share of girlfriends as a young'un. And being the big sister, I judged them all and deemed them not worthy. If you know me at all, you'll know that I can pull off a pretty incredibly stern face. These girls, they were just babies. I'll admit it, I never want out of my way to be nice to them. Why would I? They weren't going to last. They weren't right for my brother, and I wasn't going to waste any time on them.

    Until he met this girl. She was gorgeous - the kind of girl who cannot take a bad picture. She's sweet. She's funny. They're a perfect match. I love how she changed my little brother, and they give me the warm fuzzies.

    The cuteness, it blinds me. Also, I wish J & I could get some sweet shots like that! These two make it look effortless.

    Fast forward a few years, and I randomly get am email from my brother - telling me he's going to be here in September. Say, what? They are coming to London! A few phone calls, frantic text messages and late night emails later, and I found out the details: the pair were going to be in London for a week, followed by a week frolicking around Italy together before he heads back to Australia for work, and H heads to Europe with her girlfriends.

    I am so, so excited for them to be here. They'll get to see our cosy little apartment and they'll get to see the city we've called home for the past three years.They'll get to travel internationally together for the first time. When they were planning, they mentioned wanting to visit Disneyland Paris, and having been there a few times (hi, I'm obsessed!) I began throwing a million ideas their way to help them with their planning.

    Then something awesome happened; they invited us to go with them! Unfortunately Jase is working so isn't available, but I jumped at the chance to visit one more time - so from this Monday to Wednesday, I'll be off in France with my sibling and relishing being a third wheel. Paris, je t'aime! It's one of my favourite cities.

    But aside from all of that, we do have one more ulterior motive to be so excited about their visit. My brother doesn't know it yet, but Jason is planning on asking him to be a groomsman on our wedding day. It would be awesome to have him involved, I can't wait to see his expression. I hope he'll be as excited about it as we are!

    Did you, or are you planning to involve your siblings in your bridal party?

    Finding The Perfect Dress

    The other night I was up late and randomly thinking about wedding bits and pieces, which led me to quickly scribbling a post on my side blog about dresses. I thought I'd share it here too, so that you can share your feedback.

    You see, I've not really tackled the bridal dress experience yet - my one fairly average experience is a whole massive blog post in itself, which I'll write about soon. But what I have done in the meantime is spend goodness knows how many hours researching dresses on the internet and in magazines, and trying to figure out what sort of dress will best suit my larger frame and make me feel comfortable on the wedding day. It's not as easy as it sounds!

    I've taken quiz after quiz about body shapes.
    I've bookmarked dozens of dresses from designers all over the world.
    I've debated which shade of white or ivory would suit me best.
    It's kind of overwhelming - especially when you're just not a dress person!

    I seem to keep coming back to just one particular favourite style - with a few recurring elements. The first is lace: I have a bit of an obsession with it. Of the dozens and dozens of pages that I've added to my favourites, I guarantee that 95% of them involve a lacy overlay or are made from pure lace fabric. I don't like a huge train, so my ideal train would be fairly minimal, just a nice simple flare at the bottom of the skirt.

    But possibly the biggest factor for me is the kind of neckline I'm looking for: I want a v-neck with wider straps. I have a fairly decent sized chest, so want to use that area as a feature {perhaps to draw away from my less than ideal stomach?} and a v-neck will allow me to wear a well supported bra. Strapless bras on my figure do not work well. They're also uncomfortable. I've always suited wider straps, so I'd like to incorporate that into my wedding dress.

    So there you have it: I'm on the hunt for a lacy, v-neck wedding dress that will flatter my curves and not leave me looking like I'm draped in a tent. Sounds simple enough, but now I have to find it!

    There are plenty of styles that match on the web, but the tricky part is hunting one down in Sydney, Australia - which might not be the easiest thing to do. From the stores I visited while I was back home & from my time spent scouring designs online, the majority of styles featured were strapless (which had straight or princess necklines) or halter-necks. When I mentioned the type I was looking for, I was told that they don't carry it.

    I have to look more once I'm back in Sydney, I know. But it worries me that the one style I've sorted of decided WILL BE MINE, is going to be difficult to find and/or very costly to get shipped over to me. I'm quite nervous about the hunt for the perfect dress, so I'm hoping that doing some research before I go back home permanently will make it that little bit easier. At present, I have one contender lined up - the question will be whether that sample will still be around by the time I'm back in December, so fingers crossed it will be! It's hard enough finding the style that I'm seeking - it's even harder finding stores that carry bigger sizes that will allow me to try them on.

    Did you know what sort of dress you wanted? Did your dress match up to the style you expected to love?

    Wax On, Wax Off

    I've only ever shaved my legs.

    It seems crazy in this modern day and age where new and improved hair removal treatments are coming out by the truck-load, but that's all I've ever done. I'm mostly happy about that - apart from losing several layers of skin across the last decade since a sharp razor combined with some dodgy co-ordination skills does not an unscathed leg make.

    Every time I prepare to set off on a bout of travelling, I always wonder if I should bite the bullet and go for a professional leg waxing. A few weeks of not having to constantly be aware of the fuzz and bristles sprouting from my legs would be heavenly.. but alas, I am on a budget. And paying someone to cause me great pain and discomfort seems like a not so pleasant way to spend my limited shiny dollars.

    I also have the pain threshold of a flea. Well, it's not so much about the pain itself, it's more that I can't stand the mere thought of pain. You know how ripping off a band aid hurts, but only for a quick second? I'm the kind of person who sits there and thinks about how painful it's going to be - essentially working my fears up to make it way more scary and painful than it was ever going to be. I think I got more than my share of the over-thinking genes.

    I've had one short-lived experience with waxing, if you can call it that.

    When I was fifteen, I decided I'd been a wimp for too long and I really ought to give it a go before I declare myself a non-waxer for the rest of eternity. Of course back then I was also not rolling around in the moolah, so I decided to take the budget approach and buy a home-waxing kit. Applying strips then ripping them off quickly? I can do that! It seemed pretty simple, and they had lots of diagrams to go along with it AND step by step instructions. I'm sold.

    I followed the instructions word for word. I remember setting up my own little sterile area of my bedroom, ready to go. I had a towel underneath me (perhaps I was expecting an emergency, like accidentally waxing off my entire leg or something?) along with a few bowls to catch the used wax strips and a mirror. Don't ask me what the mirror was for: maybe I thought I'd get brave and venture on to other areas, once I'd mastered my technique. Preparation, ftw!

    Ha. Haha. HAHAHAHA.

    I had no technique.

    Once I'd applied my first strip, I proceeded to sit there and admire it for a while - look! It's on straight! No bubbles! In reality, I was completely terrified of the fact that it had actually had to come off, and so I sat. And I waited. Eventually I decided to just DO it already, but just as I'd gripped the edge of the strip and began to count myself down, I wimped out. Repeat this a few times, and I'd turned into a big quivering heap at the mere thought of getting this ONE strip off, let alone continuing with the rest of my leg.. and other leg.

    What I did next was what no woman should ever attempt to do when home waxing: I started peeling the wax strip off slowly. What followed was a lot of yowling and whimpering and me becoming a very, very frightened young woman, because WOW, THAT HURTS. Don't ever do that. Peeling slowly with gooey wax = slow, torturous death. By this stage, I had gone from slightly smug and highly self confident teenager to a flailing, panicking mess:

    Come to think of it, looking back now it kind of reminds me of that scene from Friends, where Monica and Phoebe are experimenting with the wax strips that are supposed to be "pain-free". Only they persevered and kept on going. I couldn't do it. I wimped out after a few dismal attempts at removing the strip, slouched off to the bathroom in defeat and had a hot shower to soften off the strips before peeling them off in a big, gooey heap.

    And then I shaved my legs.

    Looks like I'll be sticking with my trusty razor for my upcoming travels.

    Are you a leg shaver or a leg waxer? How do you cope with the pain factor?

    Also: I'm a guest-poster for Britt who is off on her honeymoon as we speak - come check it out & leave her some love!

    PCOS Is Not My Friend: The Cycle

    It's been a few months since I wrote about how I was faring since my PCOS diagnosis. It's sort of interesting, because I'm writing about my experience with it from a non-TTC point of a view; most of the research I've found online so far have been through women who are struggling with the infertility aspect of it. Since I'm not up to that stage yet, I'm focusing on it from a health perspective - particularly on some of the symptoms that I've been experiencing since the diagnosis, as well as some that I had potentially experienced before it as well.

    If you're not keen on reading about lady-cycles, periods and all that jazz, I recommend skipping today's blog post.

    The biggest symptom for me, and the one which led me to the doctors knowing that something definitely wasn't right, were my periods - or lack thereof. When I was younger, I never had a regular cycle, it would come and go whenever it liked, and I would experience really heavy bouts of bleeding and cramps that would leave me bedridden at least once every month or two. It was for that reason that I was put on the birth control pill at a fairly young age {I think I was 14?} and had been on it ever since.

    Being on the pill was something I grew up with, and I never really had any problems with it, but back in 2008, my supply was running low and I decided to stop using it. I'd been on it for such a long time that it was only to be expected that getting a 'natural rhythm' back to my cycle would not be the easiest thing in the world, so I was patient. I waited. And I waited. And waited some more.

    My first period after stopping the pill was long and painful - a good few weeks worth. It was awful. After that, the same mess started again: months of waiting for one to arrive, followed by weeks of feeling like death. That continued, until I was back home & went for the blood tests and pelvic ultrasound which found the cause.

    It's kind of ironic, isn't it? When I was younger, I didn't mind missing a period - who wants to deal with that anyway? And now, I'm praying for a more regular cycle and find myself getting disappointed when the 'normal' timeframe comes and goes, yet again. And then, when the time comes for us to start actively trying, I'll be once again crossing my fingers that my period WON'T arrive, to show us that we've managed to fall pregnant. It's a vicious cycle.

    I was diagnosed in April. I've been on Metformin tablets and I've been working on weight loss - two things combined that are supposed to play a major part in having a more regular cycle and monthly ovulation. At its worst, my cycle was around 90 days long. For most women it's between 24-35 days. I've been tracking myself since last year, and my current average cycle length has dropped down to 73 days. It's still well, well over what it should be. Since April, I've had my period twice. I'm currently waiting on one, and am on day 48 as we speak. If you go by the average, my next period isn't due until October.

    I feel so disappointed in myself as a woman. I always used to know something wasn't quite right, but when they stuck a label on me and released me into the wild to do my own research, the severity of it really hit home. I never used to know enough about ovulation to care about what it is or when I experienced it - and now, I'm twenty-six and petrified that things still aren't working. I use a program on my iPhone that helps me track my cycles and at the current average, it's forecasting that in 2011, I'll have 4-5 periods.

    I read somewhere that a healthy fertile woman only has something like a 25% chance of everything working at the right time and a pregnancy resulting in each ovulation cycle. At this rate, I'll have less than half of those opportunities; which is a scary thought. I know you might think I'm being ridiculous being this worried now, when we are not even trying for a baby right now, but I can't help it. I'm a worrier, that's how I roll.

    I'll be blogging more about this over the coming weeks (possibly even months/years!) but I always like to hear feedback and advice from fellow bloggers, if you have it. Hopefully I'll have more positive things to say as the journey progresses, as it's only really been five months since I was officially 'diagnosed' with the syndrome. I hope the statistics become more promising as the months continue. And at this point, I'll continue tracking everything until I'm back home in Sydney in December for my follow up appointment - and we decide what happens next.

    Coming soon in the PCOS chronicles, the other joys I've experienced so far. Are you ready for this?

    Life in 140 Characters Or Less - Round II

    Since I'm feeling smug and self righteous this lovely Friday morning IN SEPTEMBER {wowsers} I intend on chilling out today. The coming weekends will see us begin the packing voyage, host the in-laws again AND my brother & his girlfriend, and me heading off to Paris for a few days. Busy, busy. To celebrate all things short and sweet, here's the next batch of snippets from my life - from my 'Life in 140 characters or less' series. And if you're not already..

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    • Go away morning, can't you see I'm asleep?
    • Oscar freaks me out when he sleeps with his eyes open.
    • I'm a bit embarrassed at how many little tins of rose-tinted Vaseline lip balm I have accumulated. {four?} I am addicted to the stuff.
    • I have exactly 0 calories spare today; the obsessive-compulsive part of me really likes it when that happens.
    • Jason is about to head off to a stag do involving paintballing and strippers. Hopefully not at the same time - that might be painful.
    • Jase is being an ass-hat this morning and I'd rather like to punch him in the face.. but I will be a lady and restrain myself.
    • I don't understand why you have to pay for checking bags.. I miss the old days when that was included in the cost of your ticket.
    • I'll say it.. and you'll probably hear me say it again on the weekend.. but I'm NOT looking forward to the Notting Hill Carnival this year.
    • Kind of ironic that they are cleaning the streets for carnival, when one day from now they'll be a mess of glass, chicken bones & vomit.
    • I would seriously do a LOT of things for a few hot cinnamon donuts from the van parked across the road from us.
    • Watching British documentaries on childbirth is an interesting way to spend a Thursday evening.
    • So I wore a dress out today to the wedding.. with a new bra. And wowsers, my boobs looked ginormous. Not doing that combination again!
    • I could get out and walk faster than this stupid bus.
    • I just saw my first fox! Crazy noises coming from the backyard so looked out our window and saw him jumping over the fence.
    • Sometimes I surprise myself with really petty thoughts.
    • Would anyone like to make me a cup of tea?
    Your turn: what's happening in your life right now? You have 140 characters or less to tell me.. go!

    Operation Healthy: Two Months In

    This is an ongoing battle for me - catch up on the journey so far by clicking here:

    Operation Healthy: One Month In

    The first month in to a lifestyle change generally brings with it the best results. Your body adjusts to the changes that you make and things like water retention and portion reduction really does result in a big change to the numbers on the scale. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing - not at all! In fact, motivationally speaking, it's the best thing that could happen; results make you want to keep going, keep pushing ahead. During my first month of focusing on me, my relationship to food, and my portion sizes in particular, I managed to lose fourteen pounds.

    Those bigger numbers were a good step in the right direction for me. I really do think that becoming more aware of the size of my meals was my 'lightbulb' moment when it came to losing weight my own way. And as well as that, I learned that I actually wasn't eating enough calories throughout the day, especially when I was exercising so regularly. That too could've resulted in the previous months of being frustrated by my efforts and lack of results.

    This month, I've plodded on along. I'm still following the food program, but only to use up the remainder of pouches I have in our pantry - I've cancelled the subscription and plan on doing it on my own from here-on in. I've got myself into a good routine for breakfasts and lunches, and while I'm back at eating my own creations for dinner, I'm keeping an eye on what I'm eating and how much is actually need versus want. I know that's common sense for most people, but I'm someone who has always, always just kept eating. If it was there, I would snack on it. Now, I think I'm learning to know better and I feel much happier about it too. I've also managed to keep things under control while we've had visitors staying with us and while we've been out for lots of dinners and events, which is brilliant.

    The weight loss has slowed down this second month, but the important thing is that it's continued going in the right direction. I'm down another nine pounds this month, which brings my total weight loss to twenty-three pounds.

    I'm obviously happy with the weight loss, but I still have a very long way to go yet. This month was good in terms of milestones, as I hit the 200lb mark as well as the 90kg mark - both of these are 'magic' numbers for me, and it's nice to achieve those goals. I'll be taking baby steps from now on and aiming for smaller goals at a time to make it more manageable and to seem less daunting. Next step: 190lbs & 85kg. I'm continuing to randomly blog through the journey, so head over there if you're interested in the smaller details.

    I can't wait to see what the next month brings - it's my last full month in the UK, as my crazy travels will begin shortly after that, meaning I'll have to combat weight loss on the move. I'm nervous but looking forward to that at the same time. Hopefully my portion control will help me enjoy food on the go, without going overboard.

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