When it’s not quite how you expected!

So today I’d planned the topic of my blog out! It was supposed to be titled ‘The Sun is out, the sky is blue!’. Well the sun is definitely not out and the sky is a grubby shade of grey!

The weather reports have been promising us a heatwave. Europe is steeped in temperatures in the 40’s. We were not going to get those type of temperatures, but in the 20’s is still good for me!

Yesterday was a horrible day. It did start off around 18 degrees and humid, but oh boy did it rain. I really considered not taking the dogs out, but then that wouldn’t be fair. Being Border Collies they have so much energy. If you don’t exercise them you know about it! Especially Lola who is currently going through the terrible 2’s!

So I popped on a pair of shorts and raincoat. Yes you heard right, shorts. I figured that wet legs would be more comfortable than wet trousers or jeans! And I was right!

By the time we got back the 3 of us were dripping wet. I was able to jump into the hot shower but the dogs had to settle for a rub-a-dub-dub! In normal speak, a towel dry!

The downside to wet dogs is that smell! Eek! Lots of Scentsy wax warmers were needed. I tried opening windows but the rain was just heavy!

Thankfully it finally stopped late afternoon, but not before it had dropped around 50mm of rain! I know that as I bought my hubby a weather station for Christmas. It’s great for keeping a check on what the weather really did in our area.

Working at home yesterday meant I had time to be creative in the kitchen last night. I do love having that extra hour our so. I’ve posted one of my videos from that session here:

Tomorrow I will publish my gorgeous breakfast cakes.

After an amazing dinner it was time to relax, in anticipation of the heatwave today!

I woke up all excited this morning. I dressed in shorts and a fleece!

As I stepped out of the house it dawned on me. Instead of sun it was raining. That was not forecast!

We had a drizzly walk. Quite cool too! I’m not loving this.

It’s nearly July and I can count on 1 hand the sunny days we have had this year! I’m so disappointed.

I’m praying now that this is just a blip! Tomorrow I’m going to be swamped in that heatwave.

Fingers crossed guys!

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When Life Gives You Lemons Do You Make Lemonade?

Sometimes, even after you have put you heart and soul into something, the outcome isn’t what you expected.

Take my current mission to hit target again by the time I reach 50.

I really want to be at my target weight by the time I go out for dinner on my birthday.  That is now only 6 weeks away.  I set myself a realistic target of 2lb a week.  I should reach target with a couple of weeks to spare, which gives me a contingency.  Well that was the plan!

Last week I made the conscious decision to make sure I wrote everything down that I ate.  I planned every meal.  I have the new SP Sensations cookbook from Slimming World as you know, and this was a true inspiration for me.

Every day I took breakfast and lunch to work with me.  For snacks I had plenty of fruit.  I had cleared the house of all temptation, so at night even if I felt tempted, there was nothing in.  When I was peckish one day, I popped to Sainsburys and bought a pack of sliced ham!  I kid you not!!

I had made a great decision that I would use my syns this time round.  Previously, I would try and get through the week without having a syn.  If I did, it was never on meals, but treats.  To help me keep motivated, I decided it was ok for my meals to have syns.  It would ensure I was able to have variety and keep me focused.

The meals I had were amazing.  Even hubby enjoyed them.  Many of them are on my Youtube channel for you to enjoy.

I wear a Fitbit so tracked my steps.  On average around 15000 steps a day.  It is easy for me to keep active with 2 border collies to exercise. I also go to the gym in my lunch break.  It all helps to burn those calories off.

In the evenings, I would try and make sure that I found 30 minutes to do sit-ups.  Usually this would be in front of the TV whilst catching up on one of my soaps.  I think last night was the only night I missed, as I just didn’t have even 5 minutes to myself!

We had a work event where cakes were in abundance.  I opted for the fruit bowl.  Later on, there was a basket of pretzels and fruit and nut.  I picked up a pack of each.  Before I opened them, I checked on my Slimming World App.  The pretzels were 4 syns.  I couldn’t find the fruit and nut, so looked at the back of the packet.  They were 250 calories.  That is potentially 13 syns!  Wow.  I was not wasting my syns on that.  I did decide though that as I hadn’t got any syns planned for the day so far, I would treat myself to the pretzels

I really don’t think I could have done any more than I did last week.

I arrived at my weigh in just as they were about to start group due to my train being late!  I was a bit flustered already.  As I stood on the scales, I watched the numbers!  Half a pound on!  That is right, on!  I literarily had to hold back the tears.  If my hubby hadn’t have dropped me off and wasn’t coming back for an hour, I think I would have turned around and left!  As it was, I sat in the group furious.

I looked at my food journal.  I read all my meals and snacks.  How on earth had I gained?  My consultant asked me what I could do differently this week.  Did I want an SOS log.  No, I didn’t and nothing could be different.  I had followed the plan.  I had been really good.

Suddenly I was no longer motivated.  I was never going to lose that last 11 pound now! 

I left group and went home.  I could have hit self-destruct, but thankfully there was nothing in the house for me to have.

All night it was going around in my head.  How could I do the plan and put on!

The next morning, I looked in the mirror.  Yes, I want that 11 pounds but if I don’t get it, it is ok.  As long as I can honestly say I’d tried.  My body has obviously decided it didn’t want to lose the weight this week.

If I quit now, how would I feel.  I’m gutted now and I had really tried.  If I gave in now, I would feel a million times worse. 

I’m not in a great head space at the moment because of this knock back, but it isn’t going to beat me.  I’m going to continue for the next 6 weeks.  I may not get the 11 pounds, but for every pound I do lose, I’m going to be a step closer.

Sometimes life doesn’t always go to plan.  That doesn’t mean you have to give up.  What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.  It’s a saying I always live by.

So, the week ahead, I’m still on plan.  I’m still writing it down and I’m still exercising.  Hopefully the scales will be kind to me this week.  Whatever happens, I’m keeping the reason I want this in my mind.  It is to feel the best I can the day I turn 50!

So guys, don’t quit – be true to yourself.  Keep going!  It will all be worth it.

See my personal account on my Youtube video when it is published tomorrow.

Be Inspired!

If you are a member of Slimming World you will know there are so many recipe books out there. I think I have most of them.

Every so often, if you buy a 12 week countdown you get one for free!

I must be honest, recently I’ve been a little bit negative about them producing another book. What else could they come up with. I mean, they have the BBQ, Soups, One Pot, Meals for One, meals using 5 ingredients, desserts, the list goes on!

The recent one is called SP Sensations. I received mine as part of a 12 week countdown a few weeks ago!

I took it home expecting it to go into my recipe book cupboard, never to see the light of day!

That evening as I ate dinner I flicked through. Suddenly I found myself leaving markers of things I liked! Oh wow, this book truly was different and amazing.

Suddenly I had an increased urge to be more creative in the kitchen. I got my groceries app out and started my weekly shopping list!

Turkey with Chorizo, Tuna Niscose are my first dishes. Hubby tasted them and was amazed at the flavours!

Another dish was cinnamon prawns! I think I actually got ‘you have excelled yourself’ from hubby on this one!

Even where I haven’t used the recipe exactly, it’s inspired other dishes.

The other night I made the Gong Bao Chicken. The recipe is for 4. As I only needed it for 2 I still made up the oyster sauce mix for 4, so I could use the left over to create a dish last night. Which I have to say was amazing. I will be posting that dish on my YouTube channel on Friday!

Suddenly dinner times are exciting again. I’m no longer tired or bored of having to think of meals every night to cook. I can’t wait to get home and produce something amazing.

When you have only 2 hours every evening to cook, prepare breakfast and lunch for the next day, eat and do everything else that you need to do before going to bed to start the day again the next day, it’s easy to get into a rut. This new book has completely reenergised me!

So if you are able, go get this book. If you can’t, then make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel to see my creations, as I share them with you!

It’s time to go home!

Today is a very sad day!  We have to leave this amazing place and return home.  This place has been absolutely amazing and has exceeded our expectations a thousand-fold!

Our flight is scheduled for 10 am so its another early start.  I have already packed most things the night before!  If you know me, I can’t leave anything until last minute.  Obviously, the toiletries we need for today can’t go in until last minute, but you know what I mean!

I’ve pre-booked our pickup.  They have confirmed they will be here at 7.15 am, and they are punctual.

I take a last look across the old town from our balcony.  I’m going to miss that view!

This morning I made sure I was up early enough so I could sit one last time on the balcony, drinking my tea, taking in the view!  I wanted to make the most of every minute here!

As we travel in our taxi to the airport, I get one last chance to look back and see the view from above of Kings Landing and the Red Keep – aka Dubrovnik!  The sun is shining on the orange roofs below.  The sea is clear and bright blue.  This place certainly has some magic!

It is only a short trip to the airport.  Getting through security is very quick and easy.  We have 2.5 hours to kill.  There isn’t a lot to do here but as we are early, we decide to grab a drink and something to eat.  Whilst small, it is very comfortable.

After a while we decided to head down to our gate to wait to be called for our Easyjet flight home.

Just before we board, I decide I should pop to the ladies!  I have a middle seat so its not always easy to get out on the plane, without disturbing the person next to you! Plus what if they are sleeping, do you wake them? I’m not sure if you should!

I pop off and do what ladies do.  I’m walking back to the gate.  I’ve seen a man looking out across the runway looking at the planes and think nothing of it.  Suddenly he turns and gets his leg in front of mine!  There is nothing I can do.  I’m falling at a pace.  Ahead of me I can see the edge of the lift and metal bollards, they are heading towards my head at speed.  I can’t stop myself.  I quickly put my arm up to try and protect me.  With a thud I hit the floor, bollard and lift! 

At first, I can’t move.  I’m somehow wrapped amongst the bollard.  Thankfully I didn’t hit my head, but my leg, arm and hand really hurt.  The man has rushed to me so apologetic.  He knows he was completely to blame and is mortified.  I’m suddenly aware of a lot of people around me waiting for their flight home!

The man wants to call for help but I assure him I’m fine.  I need to get my flight home and its boarding soon!  He helps me up!  I’m trying hard not to cry.  The pain is horrendous.  I can’t show the man how I’m feeling, he feels so bad as it is, and it was an accident.   These things happen.

As he helps me up, he apologises again and asks if I need anything.  I say I’m fine and not to worry.  I slowly walk off trying to put a brave face on it.

As I walk back to my seat, I don’t know what to rub first.  I think I’ve broken a finger at least!  I quickly mention to my hubby that I’ve had a fall but then our flight is called so we board the plane!

I travel home feeling very bruised and battered.

After a horrible drive home in the pouring rain we relax and unwind!  As I take my coat off, I see the extent of the damage.  A beautiful bruise on my right arm.  My right hand is also swollen, and I can’t move my little finger.  The pain is horrible.  Bruises start to appear on my leg and knee too!  My hubby suddenly realises it wasn’t just a little fall after all!

I soldier on for 10 days now.  The bruises are starting to fade a little, but my hand is still in pain.  I decide that maybe I should have got it checked out sooner, so book an appointment with my GP. 

After checking it he confirms that yep I have a fracture!

It is amazing how in a split-second things can change.  I’m not cross at the man.  It was an accident.  I’m sure he is still feeling mortified about it.  And if anyone knows me, if an accident is going to happen it has to be me who will have it!

At the end of the day, it was still the most amazing holiday.  It isn’t goodbye Dubrovnik, it is until we see you again!  We will be back!

Korcula & Peljesac Day Tour from Dubrovnik

So today was our last full day in this beautiful place. The trip so far had exceeded our expectations, so we had already set the bar quite high for today’s trip.

Another early start saw us outside the Hilton Hotel around 7.15 am! Today’s trip was on an organised trip on a coach.

As the coach pulled up it was relatively empty so we headed towards the back.

For the duration of the trip we seemed to have the back half of the coach all to ourselves. This was fantastic, especially when we started to take in the views! Oh wow. Could Croatia get anymore beautiful?

Our first stop was a little town called Ston. Its white stone buildings greeted us. It had been badly damaged in the 1979 Earthquake and was gradually being rebuilt. The main church looked magnificent in the morning sun.

As we walked around the small town though it was sad to see so many buildings still in need of repair.

To the back of the town was a Salt museum. It wasn’t open at the time we were there but we were able to wander in and have a quick look!

Salt is still produced there so it was great to see.

After a stop in a little cafe for a cup of tea it was time to get back into the bus for our next and main stop – Korcula.

Korcula is a little island in the Adriatic Sea, which you can only reach by boat.

Now guys, when I tell you this place was stunningly beautiful, I am not kidding! The town is full of history, with Parco Polo being one of its residents. It is postcard material. On the one side of the island you can really feel the wind coming off the sea, however the opposite side is lovely and sheltered. With cafes and restaurants stretching along the sea front, you can’t ask for anything more relaxing to stop off for lunch.

We were given just under 3 hours on the Island, I think we could have stayed forever.

The return to the mainland was with deep heart! We were just so relaxed here. It was like a magical place!

To help uplift us, the trip then took us to a little winery in Peljesac Pennisala.

We were treated to a little taste of white, light red, full bodied red, cherry liquor and Grappa! I have say all but the last one were lovely, but I still prefer my slimline wine. Before heading back to Dubrovnik we were given a tour around the winery before being able to purchase some wine to take home. As we were leaving the next day, we couldn’t take up the offer sadly.

After an amazing day, it was time to head back! It had been a magical day!

The trip was around £55 per person so definitely worth it.

For our last night there was only 1 place we could possibly eat! Yes you guessed it – Restaurant 1836. This was truly a fabulous Restaurant and I would recommend it highly.

Tomorrow we head home! This holiday has been amazing and I strongly recommend you take a visit one day soon! It certainly exceeded all our expectations!

Make sure you check out my YouTube Channel to see it’s true beauty!

Day 3 – Montenegro

Today was a very early start. We had arranged a private tour for the 5 of us to Montenegro. Due to having to go through border controls, we had to be ready by the old gate at 7 am.

If there is a small group of you this is a great way to get around! Your guide will custom your trip based on the time you have. For us it was a full day tour, 11-12 hours. It worked out at about 64 Euro each but this included our own minibus and guide just for us!

It’s important to check if you are doing some day trips if you need your passports. As we were going to a different country, today we did.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect in Montenegro.

As we drove across the border the landscape really unfolded. Beautiful mountains framed the view!

Our first stop was a chance to get out and see the view across the ocean. Stunning. An old abandoned building to our left showed us the reality of this country.

Our next stop was to take in views of 2 small islands, both with churches in the middle! Both very tiny but beautiful. Our guide explained that we could take a boat over to one of the islands if we wanted to, which of course we did!

The trip went from Perast and took only 10 minutes and cost only 5 Euro each. I should mention that Montenegro only accept Euros.

There was so much history in such a small place. The views again were breathtaking.

Back on the mainland we took a few minutes to visit the old town before heading to our next destination.

Kutor is a stunningly beautiful old city. Walking around the tiny streets it is steeped in history. There is a city wall however you can’t walk around it like you can in Dubrovnik.

If you look carefully at the photo above you will see the wall stretching up into the mountain. This was a theme over here. You could walk up that part of the wall however you would need a full day and proper walking boots to fully experience it, which we didn’t!

We did go up the parts of the wall you can see in the main frame which gave great views over the harbour.

There were some amazing yachts moored there! A girl can dream!

Budva was our next and final stop! A smaller old town greeted us. Our guide took us around again and explained the history to us.

A quick stop off for a late lunch over looking the ocean was perfect. Food and drink is a lot cheaper here compared to Dubrovnik. Beer for example is under €3 a pint.

At around 3pm we headed back to Dubrovnik. Our timing was perfect as the heavens opened!

As we reached Dubrovnik the sun blessed us again!

I’d decided to cancel our original restaurant booking as it was slightly too far. We were later home than expected so only had 30 mins to shower and change, so we decided to go back to Restaurant 1838. It was so good last night, why not !

It didn’t disappoint! I had the mussels again! Oh and of course they gave us those amazing drinks again. I’m definitely going to try and make them when I get home!

Another great day in Dubrovnik! Well mostly in Montenegro, but this was turning out to be a fabulous trip!

I’m looking forward now to preparing my YouTube videos over the weekend to really share with you the beauty of this trip.

Tomorrow is our last day in the beautiful country. We have another trip planned! Stay tuned !

Day 2 – Game of Thrones

Today I’m so excited. We have booked on the GOT walking tour. It’s scheduled for 2 hours and promises to show us where some of the episodes were filmed.

I’d booked the tour through a company called – Get Your Guide. I’ve used them before and find their website really helpful. At only £17 per person it is very reasonable.

We met our guide Boska at the meeting point. Today was an unusually large group – around 19 of us, so we were given headsets so we could hear him fully.

To say Bosko was passionate about GOT is an understatement. In fact he auditioned to be an extra and was successful, but for personal reasons he couldn’t take it!

Funny enough, our taxi driver from the airport was an extra. He showed us very proudly a photo of him waking behind Cercei when she did the walk of shame!

We started our tour by walking up to the old fort! As with Dubrovnik it’s a bit of a steep walk, but the views are really worth it!

The entrance fee to the fort isn’t included in the tour price so you need to factor another 50 Kuna per person (approx £6).

Once inside the fort the magic of GOT unfolds. You do need a little bit of imagination due to the fact that on the set the fort has more levels due to special effects, but Boska has plenty of pictures to help you visualise it better.

Filming was done in July and August mainly, when Croatia is at its hottest! Can you imagine how the actors and extras coped in that heat in their costumes! It apparently got a little bit smelly as the weeks went on with long days and no time to wash the costumes!

I was amazed at how many different scenes were filmed from this small location. It was mainly used as the Red Keep, but other locations were also filmed there!

The view of the old town from the top is spectacular. If you are not a GOT fan it’s worth going up for that alone!

It was reassuring to see the local cat keeping guard for us !

You can also see the park where Joffrey and Sansa were married! Hubby and I had walked through it the day before completely unawares.

You learn all about the tricks of filming including using mirror image to move islands ! How do you tell? Check how many left hand people are in the scene!

Next stop was the harbour where Jon Snow said his good byes along with other scenes.

We then walk back into the old town. Thursday and Saturdays are cruise ship days so the town can get very busy. To avoid the crowds we were led down some lovely old alleys until we reached the steps where the walk of shame was filmed.

I was stunned at how much they compensated residents to move out or close businesses down to allow them to film. Even paying per window for them to keep their shutters closed!

All in all this was an amazing tour. I would certainly recommend it as a must do.

The tour ended with a photo opportunity in the iron thrown!

At the harbour was a lovely restaurant which we visited for lunch. Such a stunning setting and a perfect end to the morning.

As we finished lunch the rain started. Not hard but enough to send a lot of the people from the cruise ship back so the town wasn’t so full.

We decided to visit an exhibition on Photography of War. The Entrance fee is about 50 Kuna but worth it.

It’s not a joyful experience. Very humbling and heart wrenching. Photos over 2 floors on wars in Iran, Yugoslavia’s, Croatia, Afghanistan, Bosnia etc. The truth behind war! I’m so glad we went but it brought tears to my eyes.

It’s hard to imagine that Dubrovnik was in a war zone not that long ago. You would never know today.

After a relaxing walk around another part of the harbour we headed back to our apartment to get ready for dinner.

Tonight’s restaurant was called 1838. It’s right on the waters edge by the main entrance to the old town.

This restaurant is an absolute must.

The food is amazing. I had the mussels (89 Kuna) with a side salad (35 Kuna) and shared a litre of their house white (140 Kuna).

As with the previous night we were greeted with a complementary starter and plenty of bread.

When we paid the bill we were given the best drink I’ve ever tasted! Prosecco, lemon sorbet and vodka! OMG, I loved it!

It had been another great day. Tomorrow had more surprises to come !

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss when I start uploading my videos next week. Here is today’s : https://youtu.be/niVu4o0xHdw