Sunday, 30 December 2012

Post Christmas Weigh In!

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas filled with fun, laughter, food and drink I know that's exactly what mine has been filled with!
Sunday night and it was the biggest weigh in I have ever had to face literally! I knew that I had been bad and my fate was left to the scales all I could do was pray!
I stepped on nervously to find out I had gained 5 n half pounds, yes it's quite a big gain but I was over the moon, I was filled with relief that it wasn't worse. Now weigh in was done it is seriously onwards and upwards I will soon have that back off and more I hope. The next weigh in for my group isn't while 8th jan now so I have plenty of time to get a decent loss.
Finally I would like to wish everyone a very happy new year and here's to a brilliant 2013 for all. I am also going to say that 2012 has been a brilliant year for me and I hope it continues. The support and inspiration of every person at my slimming world group has been immense I love everyone of them, I actually look forward to going to group just to see them. So a massive thank you to you all because without you I would not be here with a 4 and a half stone weight loss and a new healthier, happier life!!
Now all the festivities are over I can't wait to get back in the gym and start eating properly again.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Pre Christmas Weigh In!

Due to the Christmas period the weigh in's for group are all slightly different. Today was our choice head to group Christmas Eve morning and see how we had done before the Christmas "treats" appeared.
Well I got on the scales hoping for a loss, yea I would have loved to tell you I had really done well this week but in truth I knew it hadn't been one of the best. Especially when last night I went out to Toby Carvery for a meal which included a pudding oopsie! So I was really pleased when I lost 2.5lb this week I am now only 1.5lb away from getting my 5 stone award which won't be this week!!
To end I would like to say a huge Merry Christmas to everyone who reads my blog and all your families I hope you all have a fab time and I will up date my "Post Christmas Weigh In" on Sunday after group!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Text Santa!

This is a random post but I feel like it is valid.
Tonight on ITV is the show Text Santa which is a money raising show full of Christmas cheer. I personally sat watching with my mum and friend Joanne. The programme raises money for a number of charities these include:
Marie Curie Cancer
Age UK
Anthony Nolan
Carers UK
Together For Short Lives

The charities all raise money for brilliant causes if you missed the show but would love to donate something no matter how small, it really is easy, the easiest and wat way (the way I chose) was to text Santa 70070 which donates £5.00. Other ways to donate include the ITV website and branches of Santander around the UK.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bad week turned excellent!

Well what a truly horrendous week for my diet it has been. I had some time off work which meant that there was places to go and people to see. The first glitch was after weigh in last Tuesday when we all went out for a lovely xmas meal. Moving on to Thursday it was our annual trip to London for the day where I basically lost all control of my diet and ate whatever I wanted this included a chicken and mushroom pasty at 01:30am at the service station! Friday came around and it was a Xmas meal out with work so off to the all you can eat Chinese I went and again didn't even think about slimming world. Then finally Saturday a Xmas shopping day in York where once again I had a meal out with family and friends and once again it wasn't slimming world friendly!
Tuesday night and it was truly time to face my fate! I stepped on the scales hoping it wasn't going to be too bad but when the figure jumped up by 4 stone I practically fainted however thanks to my slimming world consultant Mandy winding me up and stepping on the back of them it wasn't true phew!!! So in the end I came away with a 1 and half gain which I was very pleased with.
This week in group it was Christmas party week which is where members took in some low syn treats for the table and also the big Christmas raffle. The raffle came round and it was time to see who had won the main prize of a tefal actifry. So a bad week came good when it was my number that got shouted out, I was so over the moon I couldn't believe it!! Merry Christmas me and thanks to Mandy for my prize!
This week is last week before Christmas and next weeks weigh in is on Christmas Eve morning so my socks have been pulled up and I am set for a good week hopefully I can pull off a nice 4lb weight loss to hit my 5 stone award before Christmas that really would be an amazing Christmas present.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Motivation is the Key to Success!

Tuesday night once again and as you all know last week i was a little bit down in the dumps. I thought i had lost all my motivation and felt like i was giving up on myself. Well after that bump in the road i re-read my Slimming World book and really got my focus back. Not only did i give it 100% with my Food Optimising i really pushed myself with the Body Magic aspect, and i am very proud to say it worked!!
I got on the scales at group last night and was praying that my hard work would pay off and it would reflect on the scales and show me a decent weight loss. I had told myself that i deserved a least 2 or 3 pounds off. Imagine my shock, pride and utter suprise when my best mates in group, who do the weigh in's, Sarah and Adele told me i had lost 4lb this week!!!!!
You seriously could have knocked me over with a feather. What a fab weight loss, and all because i got my motivation and focus into gear and really pushed myself. Its a great feeling when you know you have acheieved something. In image therapy i was also given the Slimmer of the Week title, another proud moment for me. The support of the group and all the new friends i have there is just brilliant, they really helped me last week to boost my confidence and basically push me forward, so i just want to say a massive thank you to everyone in my group without you lot i would not be writing this now!!!!
I now need just 2.5lb to hit my 5 stone award which i know and will be truly honest to everyone i will not get next week. This week is a really hectic and syn filled week for me.
Today sees the start of some time off work and if you read the blog of my best mate Charlotte you will have already seen how action packed it is. Basically after weigh in it was our groups night out which was a beautiful 3 course meal at The Viking in Goole. The night was brilliant, such a good laugh with all our new "Fat Fighters" friends. This also signifies the start of things to come, Thursday is a day out and meal in London, Friday night is Chinese Meal out with work and Saturday is a meal out in York. However, as Mandy, Our consultant says, if i take out those bad days i can really try and work some magic for the rest of the time. I am so focused now that i am going to be extra good on the other days and go to the gym 4 times plus swimming next Monday to see if i can at least maintain or come in with a small gain. If its a loss at all next week i will be exstatic so watch this space everyone.

Almond Christmas Cookies!

Here is another recipe that i tried whilst on my weekend off work however i've only just had the chance to put it on here! So here are all the details you need to create your own.
Slimming World Almond Cookies
57g Self raising flour
113g Plain Flour
42g Low Fat Baking Margarine
100g Vanilla Mullerlight
4 x Tbsp Sweetner
Fry Light
6 x Drops of Almond Essence
1. Seive the flour into a bowl and rub in the margarine until the mix in your bowl resembles breadcrumbs. Add in the yoghurt, sweetner and almond essence, then knead the mix together until it forms a soft dough. Wrap your dough in clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight.
2. Preheat your oven to 220oc/Gas 7. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment and sray lightly with fry light. On a floured surface rollout your dough to the thickness of a pound coin. The using a cutter (i used christmas trees but the recipe says a star cutter) and cut out 24 cookies. Place them on the baking sheets and bake them in the oven for 12-15 minutes until they are slightly risen and browned.
3. Remove the cookies from the oven and place them onto a wire rack and allow to cool. Then enjoy
If you would like to decorate your cookies remember that 1 tsp of icing is 1syn. These cookies are brilliant to add onto a buffet or just to snack on with a hot drink. They are only 1.5 syns too so can be enjoyed without breaking your syn allowance.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Cheese, Ham and Broccoli Pasta

Here we go then the 3rd and final recipe of the day.
Slimming World Cheese, Ham and Broccoli Pasta
200g dried pasta
6 x extra light cheese triangles
200g Brocolli, stalks removed
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 x Large Onion. chopped
400g Ham, cubed
Fry Light
1. Place pasta in boiling water, add in the brocolli and cook until the pasta is soft and the brocolli is cooked through. Drain and Set aside.
2. In a frying pan, sprayed with fry light, fry the onions and the mushrooms until they are soft, add in the ham and fry for about 5 minutes until the ham has warmed through. Add in the Pasta and brocolli and stil the mix well. Add in the cheese triangles and mix really well until the cheese has melted and coats the pasta. Serve immediately.
This is a very filling dish, it incorrporates your superfree and makes a very tasty meal. The above ingredients serve 2 people and is 3 syns per serving. However to make this syn free you could use the cheese element as your Healthy Extra A for that day.

Coconut Macaroons

This is the second recipe of the day:
Slimming World Coconut Macaroons
4x Egg Whites
198g/7oz Sugar
71g/2 1/2 oz Coconut
1. Beat the egg whites until they are frothy.
2. Add in the sugar and beat the mixture until stiff.
3. Fold in the coconut using a metal teaspoon, then drop small amounts of the mixture onto a parchment covered baking tray. This should create 30 macaroons.
4. Bake for 30 minutes in a preheated oven on 170c/325f/Gas3.
5. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes before removing them from the baking sheet.
Another fantastic buffet idea or a nice sweet treat if you need it! They are brilliant on diet too at only 2 syns per macaroon.

Prawn and Chilli Ginger Cakes

This is the first of 3 recipes i am going to blog today so here goes:

Slimming World Prawn and Chilli Ginger Cakes

113g/4oz Wholemeal Bread, Crusts removed
255g/9oz Raw Prawns, peeled
2.5cm/1" piece of root ginger, finely chopped
1 x Tbsp chopped corriander
1 x Red Chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1 x egg
fry light

1. Place the bread in a bowl, cover with water and soak for about 10 minutes, then squeeze out the excess water.
2. Place the bread, prawns, chilli, ginger, corriander, egg and seasoning into a food processor and whizz until all ingredients have combined.
3. Form the mixture into small cake shapes, heat a frying pan sprayed with fry light. Cook the cakes for 2-3 minutes on each side until they are golden brown. Serve them immediately.

The recipe makes 12 cakes and the syn value per cake is only 1 syn! They are perfect for Slimming World friendly buffets.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Can do attitude!

I know this update is a little late seeing as it is now Thursday and weigh in was on Tuesday night but here goes.
Tuesday night once again came round very quickly and i knew that it wouldnt be an outstanding one. The weekend before had consisted of 2 very naughty and syn filled days. Saturday night i went out for an Italian meal with Charlotte and Joanne and even though i knew it was wrong and very high in syns i just couldnt say no. So off we went to Bella Italia and i must say it was beautiful however even that did not help the guilty feeling i got afterwards. However i still did not help myself anymore and on Sunday i caved once again and off i went to Toby Carvery with Joanne. Ok so maybe it was not as syn filled as the previous night but it was still quite high in syn values.
It was safe to say i was on self destruct mode, my motivation had vanished and i really was not in the mood to even think about Slimming World let alone what i was eating.
Tuesday night and it was time to face facts and see what damage i had done to myself. I was quite shocked to find that i had actually lost half a pound. However even seeing a loss on the scales i could tell in myself that my motivation and drive just wasnt there. So in image therapy i told the group about my mood and my lack of enthusiasm. My group were fantastic as always and really boosted my mood and gave me some handy hints and tips to try and get myself back on track. I must say, it worked, i now feel a different person i have decided, with the help and "slight push" of group to really try and hit my 5 stone award before Christmas so i have 3 weeks to loose 6.5lb, i really do need to knuckle down and go back to basics to see if i can pull a really good number next week. I have a weekend off work this week too ,so instead of dwelling on places that i want to eat or tempting takeaways i could snaffle in front of the tv, i have decided i will try out some new Slimming World recipes, yes i will post my efforts on here so keep those eyes peeled and you never know you may spot something you would like to try yourself.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

It's beginning to look alot like Christmas!

It truly is that time of the year again! The halls are decked and that Christmassy feeling is upon us all.
I do have to say though that I disagree with the "Christmas people" who start decking their halls in November, so the first weekend in December is always the time to get those decorations out and start the Christmas proceedings!
I hope you all have that Christmas feeling, if not i hope you get it soon. I think it really is the best time of the year... Well apart from summer holidays of course!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

4 Awards in One Night!!

Tuesday night's come round so fast, and its back to those dreaded scales to see how my weight has changed in the past week. This week i went off to Slimming World feeling ok, i didn't think my week had gone too bad but i had slipped up a couple of times, 2 meals out with friends and family and a very naughty Cafe Latte whilst sat in the cinema on Sunday Night oooopppss, plus i had not really done any Body Magic this week. However, despite all this i still felt like i could be cheeky and pull some kind of loss.
My turn quickly came round and it was my turn to step on the scales and face the facts. Imagine my shock when i was told: " Well Done Gareth, you have lost 3lb this week!!", i have never been so shocked in all my life!!!!
Not only have i had an amazing weight loss this week i hit my 4 and half stone award, which was my Christmas Wish, so with 4 week till Christmas i had already hit it! The shocks kept coming throughout image therapy though. I was awarded my 4 and half stone award, then i was given Slimmer of the Week and then to top it all off i was announced as Slimmer of the Month for November. WOW! What a night and one i will not forget in a hurry and on top of everything it was my mates birthday in group so i think i will dedicate all my awards to Sarah, she is my biggest inspiration in group and is a brilliant mate!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Winter Wonderland 2012

Tomorrow is the opening of this years Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, London. Me, Charlotte and Gemma travelled down to London for the day last Christmas and visited the Winter Wonderland, and it really was good. Hyde Park lierally get's transformed into a wonderland.
It boasts many attractions including a Circus, Fair Rides, Ice skating Rink, Santa Land and Angel's Christmas Market. Plus new for 2012 is the Magical Ice Kingdom, which looks like it will be worth a visit. The entrance is free into the park but some of the main attractions are payable and the Circus and Giant Wheel are being advised for people to prebook so they are not disappointed about missing out.
Hyde Park is easily accesible whilst your visiting London either by Tube, Bus or Taxi so it really is worth popping in and having  look around. Winter Wonderland Opens tomorrow 23rd November and is open right until 6th January 2013, plenty of time for you to go. We will be visiting once again this year on our day trip to London in December as we enjoyed it last year and it really does help lift your christmas spirit and get you in the mood. Here is a couple of pictures of it:

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Week 26 at Slimming World

I can't believe it has been 26 week since I first walked into my first ever Slimming World meeting, all those nerves and unknowing what was going to happen. Now the group is like my second family they are a brilliant group!
This week was a brilliant weigh in I lost 2.5lb which I am so happy with I feel amazing and I am now at a total loss of 4 stone 4 pounds! Only 3 more pound to go to hit my Christmas wish of 4 and a half stone before the festivities begin. My Slimming World consultant, Mandy, also told me that my average weekly weight loss over 24 weigh in's ( missed 2 due to holiday) is 2.5lb a week which I'm chuffed with.
So tonight it was back to the gym with Charlotte and building up the body magic points, only 3 more week need to get my gold award!! I really pushed myself tonight and now I'm aching slightly but hopefully it will be worth it. I am aiming for 2lb this week, fingers crossed!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Night out in Swinefleet

Last night was such a good night myself, Charlotte and Joanne went to Swinefleet for a night out "swiney style" and it was brilliant!
The local pub in the village had Jake Quickenden, from the X Factor, there. He was singing a few songs and meeting people having photos etc. Then Lucy Spraggan appeared at the pub, I really loved Lucy while she was on the X Factor so I was loving it! Unfourtunatly she did not sing but still we managed to meet her and got our pic took with her and Jake. It really was a brilliant night such a great laugh and met some brilliant new people! Thanks to all!!

Friday, 16 November 2012

Just for you Debs!

This was tonight's meal, I couldn't resist trying a new recipe from my Little Book of Sauces from Slimming World, so this was the first one. Plus I had some help choosing my first recipe from one of my friends at my slimming world group, Debs! She loved the look of it and says she couldn't wait for me to try it so I could tell her how it was hahaha well I can say it really was gorgeous.
So here is all the information you need to create this lovely sauce for yourself.

Low cal cooking spray
1 x onion peeled and finely chopped
2 x Garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 x Tbsp curry powder (i used mild)
400g can chopped tomatoes
60ml Vegetable stock
2 x Tbsp sweetener
50g Fat free fromage frais
1 x Tbsp freshly chopped coriander
1 x Tbsp freshly chopped mint

1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic, cooking them until soft. Add the ginger in and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, then add the curry powder and cook again for another 1-2 minutes.
2. Add the tomatoes, stock and sweetener to the pan and bring the mixture to the boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 12-15 minutes.
3. Transfer your curry mixture to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pan and add the fromage frais, coriander and mint. Gently heat through before serving being careful not boil so the fromage frais does not curdle.

This dish serves 4 people and is syn free. It makes a brilliant takeaway substitute, you feel like your being naughty when in fact your being really good and not using any of your syns. To be extra good on your diet you could have a fruit salad for your dessert that way you are also getting plenty of superfree into the meal. 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Little Book of Sauces....Watch This Space!

I know i have not posted on here in a while but it is simply because i have been pushing myself at the gym, last week i went on Wednesday,Friday and Sunday plus on Monday night i went swimming with Charlotte, so loads of body magic this week.
 Last night was weigh in again, it comes round really quickly, and i was quite pleased with the result on the scales. I lost 1.5lb meaning i dropped into a new number, literally just dropped in, but i am really pleased. I am now boasting a 4 stone 1.5lb weight loss in 6 months. Whilst in group i decided to buy Slimming World's Little Book of Sauces, mainly because i am looking for new things to try and new sauces that will go well with my meals. So watch this space... there will be some new recipes soon.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Chicken Biryani Slimming World Style

This was my second new recipe i couldn't resist giving ago. We have had this for our Dinner this evening and it was delicious, really tasty, and something different to have without being naughty on your diet. Here is the recipe for this gorgeous Chicken Biryani. 


300g Basmati Rice
4 Chicken Breasts, diced
800ml Chicken Stock
1 large onion diced
2 Tbsp Curry Powder
1/2 Tsp Turmeric
1 Tsp Cumin
Salt and Pepper (to taste)
Fry Light


1: Fry the onion using you fry light until soft.
2: Add in the chicken, Cumin, Turmeric, Curry Powder and Salt and Pepper and fry until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
3: Add the rice into the pan and fry for a further 2 minutes.
4: Put the stock into the pan and lower the heat to allow your Biryani to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until the rice is soft. Serve immediately and enjoy.

This tasty serves 2-3 people depending on portion size etc. This one pot meal is really quick and easy to make and the best bit about it, you can have this Syn Free on your Slimming World diet. So go on, give it a go and see what you think!

Carrot Cake Muffins

Today was my day off from work and after my lovely colleague Penny had printed me some new Slimming World recipes to try it was hard to resist giving a couple of them a go. So here is the first one: Carrot Cake Muffins.

3 medium eggs
6 Tbsp granulated sweetener
85g Wholemeal self raising flour
2 Tsp ground mixed spice
170g Grated Carrot
200g Quark
Sweetener (to taste)
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

1: Preheat your oven to 180/Gas Mark 4.
2: Place 8 muffin cases into a muffin tray. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sweetener until the mix is frothy. Sieve the flour and ground mixed spice into the mix. adding the husks that are left behind in the sieve. Add the carrot and fold together.
3: Spoon the mixture into the 8 muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes or until golden and firm. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to allow them to coll down.
4: Mix together the Quark, sweetener and vanilla essence, and top the muffins with the mixture. Place your completed muffins into the fridge until you are ready to eat them.

These are great little treats and are fantastic for your Slimming World diet at only 1.5 syns per muffin!!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

4 stone award WooHoo

After a full week of really pushing myself and putting all my effort into my Slimming World journey I am very proud to say I did it!!!
4lb lost this week and finally hit my 4 stone award all within 6 months of first walking through them doors into my first ever Slimming World meeting. I still can't believe that I have done it, I mean a 4 stone weight loss is something you read about in a magazine it doesn't happy to me but It has and I'm over the moon.
I also want to say a massive well done to my best mate and fellow blogger Charlotte who hit her 3 stone award tonight. I'm also very proud to say that as 2 best friends we have lost a massive 7 stone between us.
Onwards and upwards now my next target is my Christmas Wish if hitting 4.5 stone by Christmas I know I can do it when my head is in it!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Viva Las Vegas!

3rd November 2012, exactly a year ago today myself and my best mate Charlotte flew out for 7 nights in the "adults playground" and "City of Sin", Las Vegas!
 The strip is where all the main action is and the majority of the fantastic, huge hotel and casino resorts are located from the South end of the strip which is where the famous Las Vegas Sign is located the hotels start with the Mandalay Bay Resort and Luxor right up to the North End of the Strip which is where you will find the Stratosphere Resort which not boasts attractions right at the very top, if you dare to go on them, we didn't haha! In addition to the main Vegas Strip there is another area called Freemont Street, which is the "Old Vegas" and boasts older casinos like the Golden Nugget for example and the canopy of Freemont Street has a fantastic Light show which is amazing and is well worth a visit one evening.
 We stayed at the Excalibur Hotel and Casino which was close to the South end of the strip and was attached, by walkways, to the Luxor, New York New York and Tropicana Resorts. We found the hotel had a brilliant location and was really good value for money for what we wanted.
 It is true that everything is bigger and better in Vegas from the Super hotel and casino resorts to the size of the food portions they truly are huge yet really cheap. The food outlets range from brilliant buffets to very expensive and boutique style restaurants. Plus no blog about Vegas is complete without mentioning the fantastic shows available up and down the strip. Me and Charlotte were lucky enough to be able to visit 3 of them in 7 days. So we started with Tournament of the Kings which is in the Excalibur Hotel, you get a show and a meal which was a really good family night out, cheering on your designated knight, it really was a good laugh and good night out. Secondly we booked The Lion King at Mandalay Bay, all i can say is WOW! what a show from fantastic costumes to brilliant music we really enjoyed it. However when we got a recomendation from our rep to see a show called Le Reve, to start with we thought is it going to be worth the amount of money we had to pay to go? How wrong we were the show is located in the Wynn hotel and what a breathtaking show it was, clearly the best show we had seen in our time in Las Vegas, but with so many other shows to pick we were happy with our selection.
Finally no trip to Sin City is complete without a day trip out to the Grand Canyon, which is out of this world, without visiting it i really don't believe you can grasp the scale of this amazing place.
We travelled with a company called Pink Jeep Tours who were amazing and again well worth the money we paid to go. We had a full day out which included 3 view points of the Grand Canyon, a meal at a ranch and also a quick visit to the Hoover Dam. A truly amazing day out and was really enojyed by both us.
 We travelled with Virgin Holidays out to Las Vegas but there are many other Travel Companies who run package holidays out to Sin City so its always best to shop around. Direct flights are available from most major airports in the UK out to Las Vegas Mccaran Airport with a flight time of aprox 10 and a half hours.
 So to sum up our holiday in Vegas i would say everyone should visit Las Vegas at least once in their life however i personally found 7 nights to be a bit long and would have rather had less time in Vegas and maybe moved on to somewhere else in America maybe San Fransisco or LA. Where as in Charlottes opinion she loved the place and really wants to go back again, i would travel back to Vegas if it was being used a stop over on a longer trip. Maybe you should go a try it for yourself i doubt you will be disappointed!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

100% Food Optimising

I have made a vow that from today I am going to stick to my diet 100% I'm really going to try my best and go back to basics!
Today's meals have been really healthy, having my healthy a and b (milk and cereal) for breakfast topped with banana and then for lunch I used my soup cubes and had a lovely warming bowl of Slimming World mushroom soup, perfect in this autumnal weather, with an apple and plum for dessert. Then finally ending my day with jacket potato and pasta salad for my tea.
So day one has gone really well and I still have about 8 syns left for a treat in front of the tv but before that its back to the gym and back to the body magic with Joanne!
All in all a good positive day and I feel better for it too! Oh and Happy Halloween to everyone

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The dreaded weigh in

Well it's safe to say this week has been a total write off and tonight the scales certainly showed it. So I gained 1lb and to be honest I'm actually ok with it after all I have had a decent excuse!
I do want to say a massive well done to my best friend and fellow blogger Charlotte for losing 6lb this week am so proud of her and chuffed to bits for her.
Onto a new week now and I am determined not to fail I will food optimise 100% and try and get back in the gym and carry on towards my gold body magic award plus a weight loss next! I now need just 4lb hit that magic 4 stone award will I be able to pull that next week? Watch this space!!

Illness Strikes!

Well i can truly say it has not been the best week of my journey so far. Illness has well and truly struck, i have felt lethargic, sick and basically had no energy at all. Plus i have been full of cold which has not helped at all. Then we get to Sunday night where my illness hit its peak (i hope) when all of a sudden i went really dizzy and then passed out on the kitchen floor and began to shake like i was having some kind of fit. Luckily i was with my mum who managed to bring me round and look after me, bless her, however since then i could not sleep all night. Monday morning came round and i still felt horrific so i had to ring in sick at work, not something i ever do, but i felt like i could not drive or manage a day at work. So a day in bed it was trying to get myself better again.Luckily after a day of rest and a decent ish night sleep last night i am feeling slightly better still feel a little lethargic but far better than Sunday night,
 So that brings me to Tuesday and the dreaded weigh in, whilst i have been ill i have fallen off the wagon, not only i have been picking at food but its been the wrong food and when my mum presented me with a scone filled with fresh cream and jam and a nice cup of tea i couldn't say no, after all it was bought to "cheer me up and make me feel better". I can honestly say it was delish but now i have to face the scales and pray the damage is minimal.
 I will keep you informed how it goes!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Maldives: Boring or Blissful?

The Maldives a place where a lot of people say they would like to visit but is it really that good?

The hotels in the Maldives are literally tiny islands in the Indian Ocean, and are very luxurious resorts with some fantastic rooms and even water bungalows, which sit in the ocean on stilts so your views are truly amazing.

The Maldives are served by Male International Airport and can be easily accessed from the larger airports in the UK, and with a flight time of roughly 12-13 hours surely it has to be worth it when you arrive. However once you have flown all that way your still not in your tropical retreat, you are then transferred to most of the islands by speed boat or if you want to splash the cash you can opt to take a sea plane transfer.
 In my opinion the Maldives could be quite boring, i mean how long can you really spend reading in the sun or walking round an island that in total would take probably 30minutes. Mind you saying that with the more popular options of twin centre holidays which can include the Maldives and Dubai this would be more appealing to me, 1 week of activity in Dubai then a relaxing week in the Maldives.
 So Boring or Blissful? well i suppose it depends on the person and what you really want out your much needed holiday abroad.

      Here are a couple of pictures to tickle your taste buds.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Soup Cubes!

Gemma, a very good friend of mine and also fellow blogger, gave me an idea to make u some soup and make them into these handy little soup cubes which are small portions of your soup that allowd you to enjoy it whenever you want to. I decided to make some Slimming World mushroom soup which is Syn Free and one of my favourite soups to have especially with the weather on the change. So how can you try this for yourselves at home, make your favourite, winter warming and healthy soup then once you have made your soup transfer it into some silicone muffin trays, allow to cool and transfer to the freezer. I find these especially good when i do not know what to take to work for lunch, i simple pop one or two portions out the tray and take it work and pop it in our freezer, then when lunchtime comes around i pop my cubes into a bowl and heat through then enjoy. The picture above shows my soup cubes, whilst cooling, before i transfer them into the freezer.
If you would like to try this slimming world mushroom soup here is the recipe.
2 onions peeled and chopped
500g mushrooms any variety
2.5 pints of Vegetabke stock, use slightly less if you want your soup thicker
200g Low fat fromage frais
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
1. Finely chop all your mushrooms and fry them along with the onions in some fry light in a large frying pan.
2. Add the vegetable stock and bring it to the boil, Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove this from the heat and transfer your soup into a food processor, blender or use a hand blender to blitz everything togther.
4. Add the fromage frais and blitz again until smooth and well mixed. Serve immediately or allow to cool slightly and transfer into your trays to store in the freezer as soup cubes.
Definately a quick and easy winter warmer, perfect to enjoy whilst at work or simply sitting at home and chilling out on your sofa.

Day off work and a new reciepe to try!

After a quick gym session this morning which consisted of me hitting the treadmill to warm up then slowly building myself up to a decent workout, and i managed to increase my running up to a collective 8 minutes which is a massive achievement for me. After i was warmed up i moved onto the bikes for 10 minutes and then ended on the weight machines, not a long workout today but some is better than none i say plus i was restricted with time today.
 So with it being my day off and while i have time i like to experiment with new recipes from Slimming World and cook for the rest of my family. On the menu tonight for tea was Homemade Meatballs with SW Arribiata Sauce on Tagliatelle pasta. It was so easy to make and was really tasty with a little kick from the slightly spicy sauce.
If you want to give it a try yourself this is the ingredients you will require and how you to can create this beautiful meal.
500g extra lean mince either pork or beef
1 small onion either red or white which ever you prefer
2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp dried oregano
Arribiata Sauce
400g Passata
200ml Vegetable Stock
2 red chillies deseeded and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves
1 onion
Dried pasta your choice on type and also amount depending how many you are serving.
1. In a large bowl mix together your mince and onions, once it has all combined together add you Worcestershire sauce and oregano. Mix well until all ingredients are well combined. Then roll small amounts of the mix together in your hand to form a small meatball, then place on a baking tray. Repeat this until you have used all your mince mix. This amount of ingredients should make between 15 and 20 meatballs. Then place your tray in the fridge to allow them to bind together and marinade. Leave them for about 15 Min's, then remove them from the fridge and using a frying pan sprayed with fry light gently cook the meatballs until sealed and slightly browning. remove from the heat and set aside.
2. Now begin your sauce, spray a pan with some fry light and fry together the chillies, garlic and onion until softened. Then add in the pan the passata and stock and stir it to mix everything together. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, add you meatballs and allow the dish to simmer for 15-20 minutes until your sauce has reduced slightly and thickened and your meatballs are cooked through.
3. Whilst your sauce is simmering cook your pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
4. Once everything is ready serve immediately whilst warm.
Here is a picture of how mine looked when completed. The best thing about this whole dish is you can enjoy it Syn Free on your Slimming World Diet.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Weigh in!

What a mixed bag it was at group tonight! I lost 1.5lb which I did find a little bit disappointing as I really thought that I had done better. I know I can hear you all saying at least you lost and didn't maintain or even gain, so im trying some positive thinking and my total weight loss is now at 3st 11lb which I am really proud of!
Some members of the group have had fantastic weight losses so well done to those members and they will be my inspiration this week to try and loose 3lb this week to finally hit my 4 stone award!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Last chance workout

Tonight was definitely last chance workout before the weigh in tomorrow night.
So as we do every Monday evening myself and Charlotte hit the pool determined to do our usual 50 lengths and get that last bit of body magic in before tomorrow.
I am very pleased and proud to say not only did we do our usual 50 lengths we pushed each other to do more. We actually managed 60 which you may think wow you did another ten lengths but anyone who knows us both will know that it's such a big achievement for both of us.
I wanna say a massive thank you to Charlotte for pushing me to carry on even though I was starting to tire after 55 lengths and now I feel brilliant.
I will keep you informed on weigh in tomorrow night I really hope all this body magic pays off!!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

SW Coronation Chicken Pasta Salad

Due to popular demand, mainly from my Slimming World group, i have decided to put up the recipe for Coronoation Chicken Pasta Salad. I found this recipe whilst browsing through an old edition of the SW magazine and thought it sounded nice so i gave it a go. I must say it was well worth the try, so tasty and very filling and the best bit about it....the dish is only 1.5syns per serving! So here is the recipe so you can enjoy it too
13oz/396g Dried Pasta shapes
6 Level tbsp extra light mayonnaise
5oz/142g Fat Free Nataural Yoghurt
6 Spring Onions, Finely sliced
2 tbsp passata
1tbsp mild curry powder
1 level tbsp mango chutney
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
11oz/312g Cooked Chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
half a cucumber finely cubed
2 tomatoes, chopped
A small handful of fresh corriander, chopped, reserving some to garnish
1. Cook the pasta shapes according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, yoghurt, sliced spring onions, passata, curry powder and mango chutney and then season to taste.
3. Add the pasta and the chicken to the bowl and then stir in the cucumber, tomatoes and most of the corriander. Toss the ingredients together to mix well and then serve with th reserved corriander as a garnish.
This recipe serves 4 people.
So there you have it guys a gorgeous dish which is quick and easy to make and tastes amazing. Why not give a try yourself?

Friday, 19 October 2012

It's all about Bulgaria in 2012

So as am a travel agent I have found that one of the most popular destinations of 2012 was Bulgaria!
So if it was good enough for most people I surely had to try it out for myself so that's exactly what me and Gemma did! We booked 2 weeks all inclusive to Sunny Beach, located on the Black Sea this resort is one which can suit everyone. It boasts a fantastic stretch of golden beach and a good resort centre with something for everyone from shopping to good restaurants and even some hot night spots to dance the night away. It also boasts fantastic temperatures throughout the summer season and whilst we were there in September we had a nice daily temperature of around 25 degrees.
Whilst on holiday we visited Nessebar which is easily reached either by bus, land train or even boat from Sunny Beach. This quaint little fishing village has beautiful cobbler streets featuring little trinket shops and some gorgeous little restaurants and street cages perfect for passing the day away in the sun. We also managed trips to Sozopol and Bourgas again both beautiful cities with their own identity. My personal favourite had to be Sozopol and when I return to Bulgaria I will surely re-visit this beautiful place.
So why choose Bulgaria? Well for a start its cheap not only to get there but while your on holiday with general costs starting at 0.98lv for a pint if beer which equates roughly to around 48p and three course meals costing no more than £30 for me and Gemma to eat!
The resort if Sunny Beach is served by Bourgas International Airport with flights going there from most UK regional and international airports.
Must visits on your trip have got to include Nessebar, Sozopol, and the fantastic night out at Khans Tent a night you will always remember and such good value for money!
The first picture shows the lovely Sunny Beach and the Second is the quaint and beautiful Nessebar!

The Art of Body Magic

So that was 21 weeks ago now and I'm very proud to say i am still working hard at my Slimming World diet and now boast a total weight loss of 3 stone 9.5 pounds. I am also 5 stone 11.5 pounds lighter than that big night back in January 2010, i do still have a decent way to go however i am a happier, healthier person and working towards my new slimmer life.
 In July this year i introduced myself to Body Magic, Slimming World's name for exercise. Four weeks after this i successfully achieved my Silver Body Magic award which meant i had done 1 and half hours exercise a week for the past 4 weeks, this may not seem a lot but to me this was a massive achievement to hit.
 3 weeks ago me and Charlotte decided we were getting complacent with our exercise routine so it was time to change. We decided to join the gym..... Choose Fitness was our best option to us not only was it a decent monthly cost we also got the added bonus of 9 places to train including the gym, pools, fitness classes and some spa facilities.
 I am now 3 week into my new fitness routine and also 3 week down on my Gold Body Magic Award, which states you must do 2 and half hours of exercise a week maintained for 8 weeks. I will keep you informed on the next 5 weeks of my journey.

Getting up to Speed!

So after a little persuasion i have decided to start writing my own blog. My blog will contain bits and bobs about my life, dieting and my biggest passion in life...Travel.
 I would say i have a relatively happy life, without a care in the world about how i look or what other people think of me. I suppose i finally took a good look at myself and my lifestyle after New Years Eve 09/10, after a fancy dress party with many family and friends, i was looking back over the pictures from the night i thought to myself my weight is becoming a real problem.
 Once the realisation had sunk in, my mood was very low, i was upset and so made a deal that 2010 would be the year for change. My friends began to notice a change in my mood and attitude so one night i sat with them both (Charlotte and Gemma) and explained everything to them and after plucking up the courage to step on the scales i revealed to them the astronomical weight i had reached. Together, whilst watching the TV programme The Biggest Loser, it was time we all changed and would all try to loose weight.
 So bringing the story forward i tried numerous amounts of diets and quick weight loss solutions including The Biggest Loser Diet, Slim Fast, Lipotrim and even Weight Watchers, all them bringing small results or results which would quickly disappear after the diet was finished.
 So now you are up to speed..May 14th 2012 myself and Charlotte got ourselves a cheap last minute deal to Gran Canaria for 7 nights, perfect i thought a week in the sun with my best friend in a new destination i had not yet explored. It was while we were on that trip that we both told each other that our weight was still bringing us down and we were not fully happy with what we weighed or what we looked like. Our good friend Joanne had joined Slimming World in January and we were starting see fantastic results from her. That was it decision made one last blow out on Holiday and when we returned to the UK it was time to bite the bullet and join with Joanne.
 Exactly a week after myself, Charlotte and Joanne walked into our first Slimming World meeting at a group in Goole. We were introduced to Mandy our Slimming World consultant, we had the full diet explained to us and were made to feel very welcome into the "slimming family" of our group.
 The challenge was on.. with so many free foods to eat and super free foods to eat how could i possible get it wrong. So i took the bull by the horns and took the diet into my life in full, changing my eating habits and the way i ate and viewed food. The following Tuesday arrived quicker than i expected...Weigh In Day. I knew i had done OK this week getting my head round the diet and eating what i thought would help me. That week i lost 11.5lb and have never looked back since.