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!

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

Day 1 – Dubrovnik exceeded my expectations!

I’m currently sat on an EasyJet flight from Dubrovnik airport en-route to London Stansted! I live in the midlands so I really have no clue why I chose Stansted, but hey ho!

The flight is under 3 hours. Not too bad.

We arrived 5 days ago. Our flight was 6 am so we arrived with almost the whole first day ahead of us!

We arrived at our apartment before it was ready! Apartment Lukre is a 2 bedroom apartment, 5 minutes walk from the main entrance to the old town. Off a small kitchen area is a beautiful balcony with fabulous views of the old Town. Perfect for having dinner on or as I did, sit and enjoy a lovely cup of tea. If I was lucky the church bells would be ringing out. I never tired of it!

The owner of the apartment was lovely. So friendly. They can collect you from the airport if you wish and arrange trips for you.

They also have a double room next door to our apartment which our friends had. At 115 euro for ours and 55 Euro for the room, it is definitely value for money and a great find.

Even though our apartment wasn’t ready, the owner let us leave our bags so we could get out and about.

The 5 of us in our group headed off to the old town.

If you are a fan of Game if Thrones, you will fully understand why it was used for filming the movie!

As you walk through 2 sets of gates you come upon the Main Street! It’s beauty takes your breath away.

There is a water fountain like no other to your right. The water is cold and refreshing, so don’t forget to fill your water bottles up there.

One word of warning! There are a lot of steps in the old town! The pavements can become very slippy when it rains. It is definitely a place where you leave your heals at home! Comfortable shoes will ensure you enjoy the best of this beautiful old town!

The town is full of small streets and alleys packed with churches, beautiful buildings, shops and restaurants. It might feel daunting but you don’t need to worry, you can’t really get lost.

A must do is to walk around the city walls. It costs 300 kuna (£25) each, so not cheap but worth it! It certainly is a good workout, but the views make it something not to be missed.

Food and drink inside the old town is more expensive than outside, but you can still get some reasonably priced restaurants and cafes.

We had been warned to book our restaurants before coming, as they can get busy, especially on peak times, so we had prebook all nights.

Our first night was at a lovely restaurant in the old town – Konoba Jezuite. The menu was quite varied with mains ranging from £15-£20. Beer is £6 a pint and a bottle of house white around £23.

After placing our order they brought out baskets of bread with a pate dish. All complementary. I opted for the Tuna salad which was gorgeous as my main.

As we paid the bill they brought out cherry liquor! Gorgeous.

We took a slow walk back to the apartment via a local supermarket where we picked up some local wine and beers. It is so much cheaper. About £1.20 a can of larger and £3 a bottle of white wine.

We chilled out in our apartment excited at the day just gone and the days ahead!

I’m really loving Dubrovnik!

Tomorrow is our GOT walking tour.

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see the old town in my video.

The humble bee!

It’s amazing how you learn something new every day. Take Countryfile! I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea but hubby and I both love it! It’s also one of Lola’s favourite programmes too!

We have a few to catch up on, however the episode last night featured a section on the bee!

We have all heard about the decline of the bee, but do we really appreciate the importance of them?

For some, they are a nuisance. The fear of getting stung out ways anything else! But to be honest, unlike the really annoying wasp, which I really can’t be doing with, the bee is only interested in your pollen! They will only attack you if they feel attacked themselves!

So, what did I learn last night? Well, did you know there is over 270 species of bee? I didn’t! There is the honey bee, who is all fluffy and cute! They live together with their queen and other bees! The women do all the work! I had to laugh last night! When asked on the programme last night what the male does, the answer came back – they have sex and get drunk ! Sounds about right ! 😂

The other bees live in solitude. Maybe in the same area as other bees but not in groups like the honey bee!

I also learnt that some bees build their nests underground. Not what I would have said! They are also related to the ant!!

The numbers of bees are in massive decline. We have already lost around 19 species ! That is so sad!

Bees are really important. Yes they make honey? But they do a whole lot more!

Their pollination means we get the fruit and vegetables we eat every day. Without this we wouldn’t have the food on our plate!

So why are they declining? There are many reasons including loss of meadows, pesticides etc.

There is a lot we could be doing to help them though! Planting flowers and herbs that are bee friendly will really help.

Lavender is a great one! If you are not sure what to go for, most garden centres now have signs that highlight if they are bee friendly.

You don’t need to have a big garden! A few pots on your patio would be a great help.

A good water supply is essential, so a pond or water feature would be great, but if you don’t have that, how about just a bucket or bowl ?

Why not put up bee hotels in your garden for the solitude bees?

Every little helps!

So next time you are in your garden have a look around! Is there anything you could do to help keep the food we eat on our plates ?

Anton is so smooth!

So, after getting over the joy of meeting Ruth and Eamonn, including Eamonn having his hand on my knee, we continued to wander around the this morning LIVE stands.

It was lunch time so headed to the food area. Burgers, hotdogs, pulled pork were in abundance. Being on Slimming World, I wanted something healthy! After checking all the food stands we found one that did a duck salad! Woo hoo!

We paid and started to look for somewhere to sit!

To the right of me I could hear a commotion! Being nosey I decided to investigate! Salad in hand!

OMG, it was only Anton Du Beke! I know, how amazing right! He was on the WH Smith stand signing books! I one handed tried to take a picture. As we still had our salads in our hands we headed back to the food area where we found somewhere to sit and eat!

The whole time my eyes were drawn to where Anton was! Oh I so love him! Not in that way, but in the way that you have a celeb crush!

Many years ago I met him at a dinner dance at Wroxall Abbey! We got chatting and he invited me to dance lessons the next day, which I obviously took up!

He is such a gent! Cheeky, funny and so charming! You can’t help but love him!

He and Erin even gave me their autograph which was hung proudly in the hall in my old house until I moved.

So I’m sat there eating my lunch. I so want to meet him again ! I’ve finished my lunch but Charlie hasn’t! What to do? How long would he stay there for? It’s no good, I have to politely excuse myself and head back to the stand!

I quickly bought his new novel! Yes he is a man of many talents! I join the queue and wait my turn!

I am so excited. As I approached him, he was so warm and called me by my first name! We chat away and I mention the last time I met him. I’m so star struck I cant remember the name of the hotel! It’s ok though Anton does!

I get my signed book back, a hug and a kiss in the cheek! Oh that has really made my day!

Check it out here on my video of the day!

He really should be the next judge on strictly!

He has a baking programme out now. I’m definitely going to be series linking that!

He is everything and more of what you see on TV! @antondubeke @thismorning

Eamonn Holmes touched my leg!

Oh yes! I have photographic evidence to prove it!

I think before the papers pick up my headline, I should explain how it happened.

On Saturday my friend Charlie and I had Gold tickets to ‘this morning LIVE’ at the NEC in Birmingham. The Gold ticket gave us some extra perks including priority entry, VIP lounge, a beauty treatment, a goody bag, glass of bubbly, priority seat to stage show and last but certainly not least, a meet and greet with Eamonn and Ruth!

Charlie and I were so excited as we queued for our turn.

As we approached them, Eamonn asked if we were sisters, which made me giggle.

I met them first. They were both so so nice. Very chatty and made you feel like you were meeting an old friend!

Staff from the show snapped away for me, so I had a memory of the time I met my gym buddies! Ok they don’t actually come to the gym with me, but I do try and time my gym sessions to watch them or Phil and Holly on This Morning!

Next Charlie went up! Eamonn commented that he liked her riding outfit! He really is a funny man!

As we left the meet and greet session Charlie and I couldn’t wait to see the photos. As we scrolled through them, there it was! Eamonn has his hand on my knee! I hadn’t even noticed but then again, it was such a chilled out relaxing meeting why would I!

It totally made my day!

Check out the photo and more of what we did on my video here!

When you see people on TV, you do wonder if they are truly like that in real life! I have to say, I think they are nicer in real life! Definitely something I will remember forever.

After I got over that, I got to see another on my celebrity favourites, but you will have to either watch my video or wait for my next blog to find out about that!!

Have a great day.

The madness that is Ryanair! You

Ok. Before I start, I know Ryanair are a budget airline! I get it! You get what you pay for! But come on guys, there are some things that they do that make absolutely no sense. Even to say, bonkers! Or is it their last ditch attempt to bleed money from their passengers?

Are you sitting comfortably? Let me explain!

So my hubby and I booked a return flight to Dublin from Birmingham airport! 1 booking for both of us!

First add on – the price they advertise is effectively for you to sit on the plane. Ok if it’s a day trip, but how often does that happen?

So as we are staying over we need a small bag! That will cost you extra! We only need 1 bag but as both of us are on the same booking we have to pay for 2!

Well at least they acknowledge we are both on the same booking!

So we now want to check in! You can only do this online unless you want to pay an extra £55!! No thank you!

So we check in online! You can only check in 48 hours before! So if you are away for more than a day you need to make sure you have access to WiFi or a printer, as you will need to arrange your check in for your return while you are away. Or pay £55 extra ! Your choice !!

So you check in online ! It’s 1 booking don’t forget! You can’t add just 1 bag as it’s a joint booking ! Yep, now, this is where they choose to treat each passenger as an individual.

When you check in, their lovely computer picks your seat at random. Well unless you want to pay up to £14 a seat each to sit together !

So, if you don’t want to pay extra the computer picks seats on different sides of the plane! Of course it does!

Now the sceptic would say ‘surely not if you had a child’. Oh you may wonder! My hubby was asked when seated if he minded moving to allow a father and child to sit together. He obviously said he would be happy to! Why could he do this? Well, the seat next to him was empty!

As it happens he didn’t end up moving but I did! Next to him!

Seriously, I am at a complete loss to the madness that is Ryanair! It’s not rocket science. They may use a computer to allocate seats, but how hard is it for them to programme it to seat passengers on same booking together. I get as plane fills up it gets harder? But if you can pay to sit together at this time? The computer can sit you together!

There is one obvious answer! They want to make more money!

Imagine if their original plan to charge for the toilet took off! Women would be buying those gadgets that allow them to pee into a bottle so they don’t have to leave their seats !

I’d love Ryanair to give me a full explanation as to their true rationale. I doubt they will!

Air regulators really need to deal with these pricing ripoffs before they get out of hand!

So now I’m on the plane the next rant!!

The flight is said to be 1 hour 10 mins! It never is!! We have left almost 30 mins late! If we arrive within the 1 hour 10 mins, they will reward themselves with a fanfare!

I can’t wait to see if they do on this trip, but when we have already built in a great contingency, it’s going to happen more often than not’. Is that false SLA’s?

Rant now over until next time! I don’t mind getting what I pay for, but it still has to be logical and fair!!

6 mins to expected arrival and captain has already said ‘prepare to land’. It does make me laugh!

I wish my SLA’s at work could be that flexible!

On this occasion touchdown was 6 minutes late but not bad for a 40 minute late take off !!

It would be great to know your experience or views !

Here is a link to my vlog of the trip including our amazing hotel !

GOT is almost over!

So last night we sat down to watch the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones! To say I was disappointed would be an understatement!

When GOT, as everyone calls it first came out, we weren’t really interested. Everyone was raving about how fantastic it was, but hubby and I weren’t even curious, so it passed us by!

Then last year, with news of a final series we got curious. We decided that perhaps we should see what all the fuss was about.

We borrowed the box set from a colleague at work and set aside some time.

The first series was difficult. Not in the usual sense, but in an interesting sense! There was so many things going on, different lands, characters etc that it wasn’t easy viewing. This said, we were still hooked.

As we got to learn who was who, who was linked to who etc, we were hooked.

We don’t have much free time as you know in the evenings, so told ourselves we would only watch 1 episode a night during the week! Yer right!

We would have great intentions, then as that episode finished there was no way we could go to bed without knowing what happened next!

We were totally hooked! GOT had taken over our lives. Sleep no longer mattered! I think in a few weeks we blitzed 7 Series! OMG! It was amazing. We couldn’t wait for the final series to start!

As the time drew closer, we decided to revisit series 7 again just to remind us of everything that had happened before!

Series 8 started and we were so excited. It was due to be shown at 2am in the morning so we had to record it, but Monday night was now our GOT night.

If you haven’t watched it, don’t worry I won’t do any spoilers!

The final series is made up of 6 episodes. I have to say, this series isn’t a patch on the first 7. Don’t get me wrong, there are still some twists and turns that you don’t expect.

Last night though, while there were plenty of them, it didn’t feel right! Things happened that shouldn’t! It certainly wasn’t what I expected! I finished watching feeling disappointed and cheated!

Next week is the final episode. I have no clue what will happen. That is probably a good sign as the script writers have really kept the plot creative. My only hope is that they don’t rush the ending.

Based on the series so far, I can see this will be the last one, so I hope I don’t end on disappointment. Only a week to find out!

If you haven’t seen GOT yet, definitely watch it, but from the very beginning!

If you have seen it, I’d love to know your thoughts too.

When life tests you!

Wow what a week this has been.  The last 7 days have certainly been eventful!

Let’s start with the ‘devil scanner’.  If you have seen my video from last weekend, you will know that this machine was certainly testing my patience!   What should have been a quick and easy solution to a problem, turned into a challenge of who was going to give up first – me or the scanner!

https://youtu.be/eMtWuMOL3Lk

My hubby has hundreds of old slides which used to belong to his father.  He decided to preserve them by scanning them onto his computer.  A really good idea, I know!  After a bit of research he had found a company that rents scanners by the week.  The scanner should take 50 slides at a time and scan them direct onto the computer!  Sounds amazing!

We planned for the scanner to come on Friday 3 May so that he would have the whole bank holiday weekend to use it!

On 24 April, I am notified that the scanner has had a failed delivery!  It was arriving a week early!  Even though the lady who looks after my dog was at my home, the delivery man hadn’t made her aware he was there, so it was sent back to the depot.

After 4 phone calls we had arranged a delivery for the following Wednesday 1 May, so we happily went about our business that weekend.  We then realised that on Saturday 25ththe scanner was delivered to a neighbour because we were out!  Eek.

I contacted the company to ask when the rental was due to start and was shocked to know they had started our clock running on 24th!  We had already missed a couple of days of the rental, plus we were at work during the day.  How were we going to deal with all those slides in that time.

The company were great and agreed an extension until Monday 6 May.   We would load it before work, straight after we got home and before going to bed.  That still also gave us the bank holiday weekend.  Well, until hubby realised he was in London for 2 of the days, so it was left to me to make sure the slides were running for as much as possible.

Now in theory that wasn’t going to be a problem as you just load it, set it up and leave it to run for a few hours!  Or so I thought!  Oh no, the ‘devil scanner’ as I have now named it had decided to jam at every opportunity.  To make it worse, hubby’s car had broken down in London and I was on standby to have to go down and collect him.  That would have wiped out my Sunday of scanning!

With the clock ticking away, and still 100’s of slides to get through there was only one thing for it, to work through the night on the Saturday!  

With no sleep, by Sunday morning I was exhausted, but the pile had come down!

Thankfully, the garage got hubby’s car sorted enough for him to get home.  The car is now sat on the drive until we get it fixed.  We are now down to just my car.  You don’t realise how much you rely on 2 cars until you don’t have them both!

We finally finished the slides and got the ‘devil scanner’ back in the post.  I think we were both glad to see it go!  It had certainly taken over our lives during the time we had it!

We decide to have a relaxing bank holiday Monday before the return to work on Tuesday.

Tuesday comes and we arrive at our train station to no trains!  Some bright sparks had decided to try and steal cables to the signals which meant they couldn’t run the trains on our line.  After a bit of research we drove to a different station to get one of many delayed or packed trains.  Oh and for the pleasure also had to pay £12 a day parking!

The one benefit of this new station was that there were more options to get a train back!  Well in theory!  Not today.  Oh no!  A train has broken down on the line preventing trains passing, so the trains were all cancelled or very delayed.

We do eventually get a train home, but later than normal.  We are in the car and looking forward to getting home.  The next joy was to find the road we would take home was now closed for 10 weeks!  Seriously could this day go any more wrong!

After turning around we head down the motorway!  Motorways in rush hour are certainly not fun and very slow!

Finally we arrive home, late but we are home!

I decide to put some washing on!   What else do you do after a day like that!

I hear the machine beep to tell me it is finished.  As I pull the washing out the top clothes are dry, the bottom ones soaking!  The machine drum has not been turning!  Aaaah!  We now have no washing machine, I car and a disaster of a trip home!

I try to get an engineer out to fix the machine but it won’t be until Monday next week!  Thank you to my amazing mum who is going to let me use her machine in the meantime.

We have a reminder in our calendar that we have to do our visa applications for China so hubby and I sit down together to go through them. Him on his computer, me on my laptop!  The plan was to get them done, then go and watch Countryfile in bed at 8.30 pm.

2.5 hours later we still have not completed the form!  If you have ever had to do a visa for China you will know our pain!  You have to put so much information in from your parents, jobs, what your managers duties are, where you have been in the last 5 years, schooling etc etc.  By 10.00 am we decide we have to go to bed.

We finally finished and submitted the form last night.  

Today is Friday and I am now so looking forward to the weekend.  I am praying that the next few days will be far less stressful.  

Tonight, the weekend will start with drinks at my local pub with hubby and friends.  It’s Prosecco night, so that isn’t a bad start to the weekend is it!

Have a great weekend!

Could your bra help a vulnerable women or child ?

Social media is a great platform for spreading the plight of those less fortunate than us, and some great charities out there that are trying to make the world a better place.

I recently fell upon a charity on Facebook called ‘Smalls ForAll’.   It sparked a great interest in me, so I decided to look into it further.

I was amazed to read how things that I take for granted such as underwear was an unaffordable item for others in Africa.

Underwear in certain parts of Africa is seen as a luxury.  A sign of wealth and perhaps that the women or child has a male figure in their lives.  Those without, are more at risk of being attacked and even raped.  

Reading about this broke my heart.  There are many young girls who cannot go to school during their period as they don’t have any underwear or sanitary items.  Imagine how they must feel during this particular time.  The humiliation and embarrassment they must feel. This in turn impacts on their education, not forgetting hygiene and health problems.

Thankfully in 2010, a lady called Maria Macnamara has set up an amazing charity that helps these vulnerable women and children.

The idea is really simple.  We send the charity our old, unwanted bras.  Those that are in good enough condition are sent to orphanages or IDP camps and given to women and girls that can’t afford them.  The bras that are not able to be reused are recycled.  The money they get from this is then used to buy pants for them.  

I think this is an amazing idea, and I wish I had known about it many years ago.

Charities do not take used underwear, so it is likely to be sent to landfill sites.  The fact that we can now send them somewhere to be recycled to do such good, is fantastic.  Even those bras that have lost their wires in the wash, or been mixed in with the darks, all have a purpose.

I was so inspired by this, I set about going through my own bra drawer at home.  See how I got on in my Youtube video:

 

https://youtu.be/Vk2GL5VLKoE

 

Why don’t you have a look through your own cupboards and drawers?  Even 1 bra will make a difference.  To date, the charity has received over 1m pieces of underwear and distributed almost 1m out.

They are now also sponsoring some children in education.

This is truly a charity worth our support.

If you are interested to know more checkout their website:

https://www.smallsforall.org/

When you want a specific dish but you don’t have the recipe!

Have you ever had a taste for a specific dish, or seen something on the TV or in a magazine but you don’t have a recipe?

This happens to me all the time. The other one I get from my hubby is ‘my mum used to make ……’. When asked how she made it, of course he never has a clue!

This week when at my Slimming World group, we were given a sneak preview to a new cookery book which feature meals for Extra Easy SP meals.

I’ll be honest, when I heard there would be another recipe book, I’d decided not to buy it without even seeing it. I have so many already which I don’t use all the time. I also couldn’t think what else they could bring out that would be worth me buying another time one!

As I flicked through, there were so many recipes I loved. It’s not on sale yet as it will be part of a 12 week countdown. As I’m so close to target It won’t be worth me buying one. Well I keep telling myself that! I’ve been messing about for 18 months now trying to get into my target range again!

For me, the motivation has slightly gone as everyone especially hubby doesn’t want me to lose that 7lb again, but I do!

Anyway back to the book! I know it will be a couple of months before I’ll be able to buy it.

There was one specific recipe that really caught my eye! Moroccan Lamb! Now if you know me, you will know I don’t eat lamb, but I thought it would be great with chicken!

I tried to memorise it in my head!

The next day I planned to make it! I couldn’t however remember what liquid was required. It certainly wasn’t in the ingredients so maybe it was in the instructions which I hadn’t really read!

I contacted my consultant who kindly sent me a photo.

So last night I set about to make the dish I’d been dreaming of all day!

I got all the ingredients ready from what I had remembered. I grabbed my phone to check them against the pictures my consultant had sent!

As I looked at my phone the colour drained! I’d somehow deleted the message! Can you believe it!

I was not going to be put off! I decided I would make it anyway using my memory of the recipe and my own cooking knowledge.

Here is what I did:

I love experimenting with food! I never let not having the recipe stop me being creative!

If it doesn’t turn out quite right first time, try it again a different way! It might not taste exactly like the one on TV or in that magazine, but who cares! If you like it, then that is all that matters.

So what you waiting for? Get into the kitchen and start being creative! You will be amazed at what you will come up with. It will also bring variety back into you mealtimes.

Good luck and let me know how you get on!

More new products!

In my quest to add variety to our meals, this week I have 2 new companies to try!

The first one in fairness, I did order from a few weeks ago! Compared to the other online shops I’ve done, I found this one to be very slow in comparison. Over 2 weeks for my order to arrive compared to a couple of days! The say though that the best things in life are worth waiting for! So what is the product? Skinny sauces from The Skinny Company!

Since starting with Slimming World I’ve almost given up on sauces, opting for using my syns on other things.

After over 2 years, I felt the need to zing up my food so when I saw these on Facebook, I thought why not give them a try!

I decided to go for a big variety. With summer around the corner we will be having more salads and Braai’s, but also with the good old British weather I’ll be having roasts and baked dishes too.

I opted for honey & mustard, thousand island, bbq, mayonnaise, and a few more! At zero syns it would be rude not to! Check out my video to see the whole haul!

I’ve also bought the chocolate sauce. What amazed me was that for 100g it is equivalent to under 4 cubes of sugar. This compares with other brands like Nutella which are around 57 cubes! That is a staggering saving!

I’m looking forward to getting creative with that product!

Last night I decided to try my first bottle!

At the weekend I also visited a spring fair locally where I bought my second new product! Heck chicken burgers! At 1 syn a burger I had to try them!

Wow the zingy chicken was lovely . With a splash of honey and mustard sauce, it was like going out for a full fat burger.

I’m looking forward to trying the bbq one out tonight now!

It’s amazing how much of a routine we can get into with our food! By just changing a few items in your shopping back, you can reignite your taste buds!

So what’s new in your basket this week?

Why are short weeks so long?

A friend reminded me of this today and she is spot on!

Today is the last working day of our week! Monday was a bank holiday, so why has it taken so long to get to Friday?

It’s one of the mysteries of life? Surely 4 days is less than 5! So on that basis tomorrow should have arrived sooner!

I have some theories! Is it because we are so relaxed from our long weekend that it takes us longer to get back into work? Is it the extra sleep we had that our bodies want more? Or is it just that we enjoy being off more than we enjoy being at work ?

I wonder if people on shifts get the same feeling ?

Whatever the reason, I am so so glad it is Friday!

This said, I do love it when you have a bank holiday! Obviously it means I get more time off, but for me there is another reason!

Bank holidays mean that people are more likely to tag leave onto the break! That then means one important thing – I get a seat on the train to work! Woo hoo!

It might be a small thing, but believe me, it means a lot! No standing squashed up to the person next to you! No listening in to other people’s conversations, being able to write my blog etc etc.

With Easter being late this year it falls only a week before May Day. Then it’s not long until Whitsun! Ooh how exciting! There is hope that for a few days over the next month I will be able to have a relaxing trip to work!

I’ve probably jinxed it now. There will be cancelled trains etc and I’ll be back to standing. Ah well, it’s like the lottery. You have to have a dream and live in hope!

Sometimes it’s the small pleasures in life that make the biggest difference!

Have a good weekend x

What a fab weekend

I can’t believe it’s back to work again so soon. This weekend has been amazing. There are 3 reasons why it was so special:

1) A 4 day weekend

2) The sun was out

3) It was hubbys birthday

The 3 combined meant we had a fun filled weekend.

As you know, we both have a very early start during the week. To be able to wake up when we wanted to, relax in bed with a couple of cups of tea, and getting up when we wanted was magical. The dogs loved it too. Especially Lola who isn’t a morning girl.

Friday we decided to go into Birmingham for the day. A bit odd you may think for people who travel there everyday for work! Whilst we work there, we never really go into the centre.

With the worlds biggest Primark, hubby was intrigued as to what it was like. I needed to get him a birthday present from my parents do this seemed like to perfect excuse to go.

I have to say, shopping for men’s clothes is a nightmare. He wanted a lightweights jacket. Do you think we could find one? It was so hard! It seems that men only get a limited amount of space in stores! Very frustrating!

As hubby isn’t a shopper, we agreed we would get his things together, then he would go off and do some photography around the city while I shopped for me!

Check out what we bought here !

After a few hours we met up and had lunch on the canal at Marco Pierre White Restaurant- Bardolinos! It was so lovely to chill out and enjoy a nice late lunch together!

Saturday was even more chilled which just a hair cut for me before heading out to Hubbys favourite Thai restaurant for Dinner.

Sunday was his actual birthday so after another lazy start, we went off for a nice long walk around Charlecote. With the warmth of the sun, it was a perfect day out!

In the evening we celebrated with friends at their house.

The last day of the weekend was equally as chilled! We visited a museum at our local airfield which was a training airfield for British, Canadian, American and Belgium RAF. Reading stories of bravery and lives lost, it was very humbling. A spot of brunch at the cafe followed by a bit of gardening and a braai, it certainly had been a magical weekend!

Now I’m back on the train and it will soon be a distant memory, but at least they will be good memories!

Have a great week.

Another new product for me – Lo-Dough!

So what is Lo-Dough I hear you ask? Well, it’s a completely unusual bread or pastry alternative.

I’d seen it advertised on Facebook for a while now but was never sure. For one, I thought it was expensive, but when I saw they had a 10% off voucher, I decided to google it.

It seemed to be a very good product and low in syns, so thought I should give it a go.

There was another reason to! The ingredients, or to be precise, one in particular. So what is it made from?

Water, Wheat fibre (gluten free), Dried Free Range Egg White, Stabiliser (E464), Konjac Flour, Psyllium Husk Powder, Salt.

My hubby follows a diet during the week, which he picked up from his native South Africa – The Banting Diet!

The basic principle is that you don’t eat carbs or sugar!

One ingredient they recommend as an alternative is Psyllium Husk. I’ve bought it and used it to make a bread alternative etc for him! It’s expensive!! This put this product cost into perspective for me.

It comes in packs of 2 in the shape of a circle, around 8″ wide. A pack of 6 costs £14, so with 10% off it came in at approx £2.30 a piece!

I looked at their website again!

https://lodough.co/

It was a lot more versatile than just being used as a pizza base alternative. This excited me!

I quickly put my order in. Within an hour I got an email back saying it had been dispatched! Wow, what service!

It arrived very quickly and I couldn’t wait to try it!

It’s extremely light and doesn’t roll out, which can make you a bit nervous to begin with.

I decided for my first try, I would revisit a childhood favourite- egg custard!

See how it turned out on my YouTube channel.

I was surprised at how it tasted.

Next, I thought I should go back to basics and do the pizza!

My hubby was blown away by it. The base really worked. Better still at only 2 syns on SW and fitting in with the Banting diet, it meant it was something both of us could enjoy!

Every month we get a magazine from Tesco. My hubby has started to take a real interest in it. So much so, he actually cooked 2 meals for me recently from them! He never cooks! I have a lot to thank Tesco for, that’s for sure!!

In a recent magazine, he spotted a Mexican Pizza recipe and suggested we use the Lo-Dough to make it! It looks like he now has the Lo-Dough bug too! Possibly something for dinner next week. Who knows !

My next recipe is going to be a chocolate brownie. Instead of using it as it is, you make it into breadcrumbs. I can’t wait to see what it comes out like!

If you want to try it too, use discount code RECIPES10 to get 10% off!

After avoiding it for so long, it’s now definitely a product which I will use regularly. @Lo-Dough is certainly an amazing product.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on!

On my pizza video, I also give you a review of another new product that you MUST try! Misfits is a nutritious, high protein snack. They have a fab offer on at the moment where you can get a taster pack for only £3 instead of £11.99 with the cost Taste3!

https://missfitsnutrition.com/collections/all

Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel to see other recipes and products.

Worlds biggest PRIMARK has opened in Birmingham

Yesterday saw the opening of the worlds biggest Primark store in the world.

I’m not a great shopper but as I was working near there, I decided to pop in on my way home to have a look!

As I walked up to what used to be the old Pavilion shopping centre I was blown away. As I walked through the doors, I just couldn’t believe the transformation. It was HUGE!

I have never seen a place like it. This wasn’t just a shop, it was a whole day out! Sadly I only had about 40 minutes, so I quickly made my way around as much as I could!

I certainly didn’t get to see it all! It’s too vast! What I did see as soon as I walked through the doors was a nail and hair bar! Very trendy!

There is also a barbers on the ground floor for the men!

A place to get personalised t-shirts, a Disney cafe, place to chill and charge phones and so many clothes, accessories etc!

What I liked was it felt spacious. You were not bumping into people!

There are so many checkouts so you don’t have to worry about queues!

In my short time I did manage to pick out 16 items which you can see on my YouTube channel here:

The store is over 5 floors. It’s been designed very well, with great views down the floors from the escalators.

There are water fountains around which after hours of shopping in there, you will be very grateful for that!

As I said, I only had a very short time, but I’m so impressed, I’m planning a second trip soon. Hubby wants to come and see the menswear section, but I may have to leave him in the cafe while I explore the ladies section. I feel it may take me many hours!

So if you are local, why not pop along and see what you think !

It’s time to try something new!

As with most things in life, if you do something long enough you can get into a rut!

I have been on Slimming World now for over 2 years, and food is no exception to that. Don’t get me wrong, just joining Slimming World opened up a whole new array of goods. Who knew about quark before Slimming World? I didn’t. And now I have it every day. I absolutely love it! It is fair to say, I think it has transformed my life. I use it for breakfast, sauces, desserts, dips etc. You name it, I’ve probably used it for something. Its also a free food on the plan. Bonus!

Another new food for me was Grapenuts. Great to add into yoghurts and are a HEB. That was 2 years ago, and I have since kept to the same sort of food groups. Don’t get me wrong, I am very good at making different recipes up, and being creative as my Youtube Channel will show, but as my weight has sort of settled down, I wanted to try and see if I could find other food items out there!

The best place to find new things is certainly by staying to group, but also social media is a good place to look.

The last 2 months, I decided to start pushing myself to try something new every few weeks.

The first one was by complete accident. My mum bought a health bar but didn’t want it, so gave it to me. It had been sitting in my bag for a few weeks! With SW you can have up to 15 syns a day, but I always try to avoid syns. The only time I really allow myself to have them is at the weekend for my @slimlinewine. At 3.5 syns for 125 ml, I can enjoy a good quality wine, and still protect my weight!

I had been looking at this bar in my bag but too nervous to eat it! It was going to be so high in syns wasn’t it! I was hungry one day at work, but was avoiding the biscuits and chocolate. I decided to have a look on the SW App to see the syns of this bar. It was 11 syns! I decided I should go for it. It sounded a lot, but it was in my syns so why not! I’m so glad I did, as it was absolutely delicious. Packed full of nuts, it really filled me up for the rest of the day until dinner!

It got me thinking about what other snacks were out there that would fill me up, but not break the syns bank. 11 syns is very high for me, but surely there must be other foods out there not so high that I could enjoy.

I was looking through Facebook the other day and came across an advert for Missfits. @Missfitsnutrition they sell protein snacks and shakes, which are also suitable for vegans. I decided to have a look on their site. They were formed in 2016 by a group of ladies who felt there wasn’t much out there for ladies looking for protein items.

They were offering a taster pack for £3 from £11.99. I thought this was too good an opportunity not to explore. I looked on the SW App for their syns, but couldn’t find them. I decided to buy them anyway. I could work out the syns when I get them!

Now I have to say, the service from start to finish has been absolutely excellent! When I put my order in, it wouldn’t allow me to put in my discount code (Taste3), so I was charged the full price. When I contacted them, they immediately refunded me the difference!

Their products have no refined sugar and all natural ingredients. Delivery was free and quick. The pack arrived yesterday and I was so excited to see what was in it.

I received:
2x Chocolate Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g), 
2x Vanilla Vegan Protein Multitasker (25g),
2 x Cacao Orange Protein Wonderballs (35g),
2 x Coconut Protein Wonderballs (35g)

I was so excited to try them, but first of all checked out the syn value on the SW Syn Calculator. The shakes were 4 syns whilst the coconut wonderballs 6 and orange 5. I was really impressed.

Obviously it would be rude not to sample both flavours of wonderballs wouldn’t it! Wow, they were both delicious.

The orange flavour is a cross between a truffle and a chocolate orange, while the coconut tastes like one of my favourite childhood sweets, coconut mushrooms! I had to finish the opened bag of coconut ones last night! I was tempted to finish the orange bag too, but decided they are just too good to rush!

I haven’t tried the shakes yet, but I will be very soon. I’m planning to have them after a gym session one day!

They help you overcome your sugar craving without breaking the syn bank. Because they are high in protein, they fill you up longer too!

I was absolutely blown away by this product. If you are in the market for protein or vegan snacks or shakes, you seriously have to visit this website:

All

I’m not vegan, but these are still high on my list of must haves. I’m going to be ordering more. I’m especially interested in trying the salted caramel and cocoa ones.

I’m looking forward to getting home this evening to enjoy my orange wonderballs! I doubt the other 2 packs will be around by the end of next week. I am certainly hiding them from hubby! They are too nice to share!

So guys, for 5-6 syns you could have a really healthy, delicious, nutritious, high protein snack. Why would you use your syns on chocolate when you can have a bag of Missfits?

Give them a go with their taster pack and don’t forget to use the code to buy them for £3. You won’t regret it, I promise!

Enjoy!

A perfect weekend with friends

I’m on my way home now after an amazing weekend with friends!

Our friends live in Bridgend in Wales. After feeling very guilty about how long it’s been since we last visited them, we put a date in our diaries!

So yesterday we drove the 2 1/2 hours to see them. Now if you know me, Wales and I just don’t get on when it comes to the weather! For some reason it always rains on me! This weekend however it was kind! The sun came out. A little bit chilly, but still it was a beautiful spring day.

After arriving our friends took us out to 2 amazing beaches. The first one was in Ogmore-by-sea. So beautiful. The dogs would have loved it.

Next was Dunraven Bay – Southerndown. Again the dogs would have loved this beach, but what was stunning was the rock formations!

Both beaches are absolutely worth a visit. There is something magical about walking along the beach. Listening to the waves. I just love it. Great way to get exercise too.

We headed back to their home and enjoyed a few drinks in the garden in the spring sun. A nice Cedars gin and tonic was perfect ! Followed by a Slim Wine!

As the sun set the braai (BBQ) was lit! Steak, South African sausage were cooked to perfection by our host.

The salads to go with it were amazing. Slimming world friendly pasta dishes and salad. Even a @promise roll for garlic bread. Delicious!

It was a lovely evening catching up.

This morning after a cooked breakfast we headed home via Caerphilly Castle.

Wow, we were totally blown away by it! If you have never been I highly recommend it! I’ll post some pictures on my YouTube channel. In its prime it must have been magnificent! The entrance fee is £8.90 for adults, but well worth it!

Eventually it was time to head home.

We have had such an amazing weekend. Thank you to our hosts Derek and Michelle.

Sometimes just a night away can really recharge your batteries, and getting to visit new places is fantastic.

Here is a fuller insight to my weekend

We will certainly not be leaving it so long next time!

Kings Head – Wellesbourne – Is it worth a visit?

So last night I was one of the lucky few to be picked to take 3 friends to the Kings Head in Wellesbourne, to sample their new menu.

The invite said we would get canapé size samples of the menu. From this, I expected just a little bite of different foods. What my hubby and 2 friends got was something else!

Now I must begin by saying that the pub is part of the Vintage Inn group. When my hubby and I were looking to move to Wellesbourne 3 years ago, we went to the pub to see what it was like! I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t impressed!

As you walked in, it lacked character. It was tired and just didn’t have the atmosphere I was looking for! This said, as part of the chain, I knew the food would be good, so we still went and ate there every so often, but it wasn’t the place we would take visitors to the area to. There were nicer pubs and restaurants to show case where we live than the Kings Head!

The staff there have always been lovely, and through talking to them, I knew they were due to get a refurbishment, as soon as planning permission could be agreed. This took a long time but eventually they got it!

After a short closure the pub reopened on Friday 15 March this year. We were lucky enough to go along on that night. The transformation was outstanding. The pub was reborn again. It had a cosy sophisticated feel!

The first night was just a drinks night. As we had a friend staying that weekend, we booked a table and took him there! We were finally happy to show off our local!

The food was excellent, as was the service.

When it came to Mothers Day, there was only 1 place I was going to take mum and dad to! The Kings Head. We had another spectacular 3 course meal. I couldn’t fault the food or the service!

So when I saw the competition on Facebook to sample the new menu, I was there like a shot! I was so excited to discover I had won 4 free places!

We arrived at 7 pm to a really warm welcome from Andrew the manager and some of the team! We were taken to our table and given a free glass of fizz and the menu! Yes, that’s right the menu!

Wow, we certainly wasn’t going hungry!  Just look at the array of food above!

Now when you look at the list you might think there is a lot on there! And there was. On top of this, there was also mini chicken pies!

The pizza was a selection of different toppings and the desserts from memory were 4 or 5 different types! Eton Mess, chocolate brownie, milk tart and cheesecake.

We were all blown away by the quality and selection of food!

My favourite has to be the scallops with bacon and black pudding. I could have eaten them a hundred times over.

The beef was cooked to perfection. Slightly pink and melted in your mouth. One beef dish came with Yorkshire pudding and gravy! Oh wow, the pudding was crispy just as I like it, and the gravy thick and lush!

The flavours in the Pies were to die for, with a lovely flaky top.

The burger had a bit of a kick to it!  A nice surprise!

The pizza had a perfect thin base, and they brought out a great selection of toppings to try.  Unfortunately, by this point I was bursting so only tried 1.  Well it would be rude to refuse wouldn’t it!

The Eton Mess was sensational. The chocolate brownie – well let’s just say I loved it!

Now, you may be thinking – surely everything couldn’t have been that good!  Well actually it was!  Ok, if you had to pin me down, I have to say my least favourite was the dough sticks.  The 3 dips they came with were amazing though!  I think as a bar snack they would be perfect for us, but I don’t think I will be having it as a starter!

Our waitress Jo was so friendly and helpful.

The whole evening was just amazing. We waddled home very happy.

Do I recommend you go and eat there? Well I’ve already booked a table for Sunday dinner, so I think that is your answer!

If you have never been to the Kings Head in Wellesbourne before, I definitely recommend you go.

If you have been and been disappointed, then you do need to go back.  For good food, good atmosphere, and reasonably priced food, the Kings Head is a must!

Check out their menu on their website https://bit.ly/2I3qD5E

What happened to manners !

Well I’ve seen it all now !

I boarded my train this evening as usual. We were one of the first into the train so there was plenty of space. I headed to 2 seats at the back for hubby and I to sit together! Hubby was right behind me so not a problem.

As I had my gym bag with me I decided to place my bag in the overhead rack!

As I reached up a women ducked under my arms and sat in my seat! Seriously! She swooped in like a seagull pinching your chips! She then had the cheek to just glare at me.

Now not to stereotype but she looked on the surface a normal business women. Obviously that’s a good reason not to judge a book by its cover!

I was furious as was hubby! I thought I could argue with her or I could get the upper hand! I decided on the later!

I looked her in the face and said to my hubby ‘if she is so desperate let her have it’! There are plenty of seats down here!’

As we walked away my hubby made a passing remark loud enough for her to just hear – ‘how bloody rude! Does she want to jump in my grave?’

We then walked away and found another 2 seats together!

I cannot even begin to understand what went through her mind to behave like that! It wasn’t as if it was the last seat! Even if it was you don’t steal it! It’s absolutely unbelievable that people can behave that way!

It reminds me of the time I spent 4 months in a cast! I had crutches too! Not once during 4 months of commuting did anyone offer me a seat! If a seat did come up near the window, no-one offered to move up so I could have the isle seat! Oh no! They expected me to climb over feet and bags !

I often offer my seat to people who look like they need it. It’s how I was brought up!

While I’m on one, I should also mention the man who ran past me down the isle to beat me to a seat. Pushing past me on my crutches! Again on that occasion I just said ‘if you are that desperate for it, take it’!

When did we become a world of man eat dog? Where is respect and kindness gone!

Commuting is stressful enough without this rudeness! So come on, think before you act!

When you take flexible syns too far!

Ok, confession time!

If you follow my vlogs you will know that after 4 weeks of maintaining the same weight, I decided to do a week of Extra Easy SP on Slimming World.

For those who don’t know, EESP is a way to give your weightloss a kick start. You focus on foods that are classed as ‘Speed’ – your body burns the calories quicker, or ‘Protein’ which keeps you fuller for longer!

Basically, you don’t eat potatoes, pasta, rice, bananas, grapes and anything else that isn’t classed as speed or protein.

For me, I only had a few pounds to get within my target range. My motivation to get there isn’t what it used to be as everyone I know, including my hubby, parents and friends didn’t like me at my target range. They said I looked too thin. I don’t agree, so still strive to get there. I’m also not going to drop a dress size if I get back down to my target range!

So I embarked on an EESP week. I had originally planned to just have a normal ‘on plan’ day on the Sunday, as I really enjoy my Sunday roast, which includes the roast potatoes, but the other 6 days, I would be strict!

Every day, you are entitled to have up to 10 syns. As I usually don’t really have my syns, this wasn’t going to be a problem!

I was extremely good all week. I kept to my EESP plan every day. I recorded in on my vlog as an added incentive.

Follow my week here:

Come the weekend, I usually enjoy a glass of wine! I decided I would use my syns for this on Slim Zero wine. At only 3.5 syns for 125 ml, I could have 357 ml of wine each day. To make sure I didn’t go over, I weighed out my wine! Yes you heard me right, I weighed out my wine!

Come Sunday, I was so focused, I decided I didn’t need my roast potatoes. One week without them wouldn’t hurt. The feeling of getting to my target range was more important, so it was roast butternut for me instead!

I went to the gym everyday, and walked the dogs twice a day to make sure I had plenty of body magic!

Come Wednesday for my weigh in, I was soooo excited as I stepped on the scales.

I cannot begin to describe how I felt when I looked at the number in front of me! 1lb off! 1lb off! I couldn’t believe it. All that effort, commitment and focus for 1lb off! I was gutted.

Now, I don’t know why I was so surprised. Historically EESP hasn’t never been great for me. The norm is that the following week I see a greater loss. I’m not sure if it is because I work out so much that my body craves the carbs or what it is, but the following week is always better. What I should have done is kept this in my head and gone home refocused. Instead, I went home extremely deflated and just lost my way!

I decided to have a glass of wine with my dinner. That is ok on SW as you can normally have 15 syns a day! I should have gone for my Slim Zero wine? Or measured it out! But no, instead I poured myself a very large glass of normal white wine. With 10 syns for 250 ml, the second glass definately wasn’t on plan and so neither was the chocolate I ate!

The next day was no better! Don’t get me wrong, all my meals were planned and in plan! It was the biscuit here and there, and the large glass of wine with my meal that weren’t! Come Friday, we decided to go to the Fish and Chip shop for dinner! Normally this isn’t an issue as I would have chicken meat and salad! Not this Friday! Oh no. It was chicken meat, salad and a small portion of chips. Now that in itself would have been ok, if I hadn’t then had a bottle of full sugar wine and some more chocolate!

Saturday I woke up with good intentions again! It was all going so well, until the crisps came out as nibbles! Initially I went for the baked ones – well they are healthier, but as the evening started I hit the full fat ones. On a good note, I was drinking slim wine, just too much of it to be in my syns! Then my hubby got the biscuits out! That was Saturday completely out of my syns!

Sunday was Mothers Day. I had booked to take my parents out for a meal. It was a set meal and normally this wouldn’t be a problem as I would ask the pub to change it for me. Not Sunday, I went full on! Starter was ok as it was scallops. Main was turkey roast with all the trimmings, including pinching a couple of my dads onion rings! The final course was a cheese board which was huge! All enjoyed with a bottle of white wine.

When we got home, a further bottle was enjoyed!

By Monday I decided to draw a line. I had stepped on my scales and seen the damage! I was putting a stop to this!

As usual, I had planned my meals and they were all on plan!

For days now I had been craving Jammie Dodgers. Now I really had to have them! So on the way home, I called into Tesco and grabbed a packet! My hubby and I shared them on the train journey home!

By the time I got home something clicked. If I had actually given in to my craving last week when I wanted the Jammie Dodgers maybe I wouldn’t have gone so far off the rails! Maybe, if I had stayed within my syns, my weight would have come down. Maybe, I needed to remember why I am doing this!

I decided there and then enough was enough! I had to get my syns back under control!

It is a bit late for this weeks weigh in, but you have to start somewhere!

I’m know I am going to get a gain this week and I completely deserve it! I am going to buy a 6 week plan and give myself a strict target each week.

I know I can do this, and I will.

Sometimes, when you don’t have the same motivation and drive it is hard, but with a little bit of commitment you can. I’m going to ignore everyone telling me I don’t need to lose anymore, or I look good as I am. I know I won’t go down another dress size when I’m at my chosen weight, but I know how much better I will feel, and that is the most important thing!

So whatever you goal is, don’t let others sabotage it. They may not mean to, but mentally it can effect you! As does a bad week on the scales!

Take a step back, focus on what you want and put in place everything you can to help you get there!

Next week is another week!

Best Ever April Fool

I have just seen the best April Fool ever!

I was watching Holly & Phil whilst at the gym, as is my usual daily routine. I arrived at the cross trainer just as they were talking to the husband of someone they had given a make-over to! I had missed the start as I only go to the gym in my lunch hour.

The bit I caught was that this lady was going to her first every school reunion. She was really nervous about what to wear. It was also their 25th Wedding Anniversary. @Lisa Snowdon was providing the wardrobe makeover whilst a hairdresser and makeup artist did the rest.

I absolutely love Lisa Snowdon. In fact if you read one of my previous blogs, you will know I would love her to give me a makeover to! Well, I did! I was mentally crossing that one off my list!

https://bit.ly/2OFtMsF

What I like about Lisa is her dress style. She always makes them look a million dollars. She herself is I think the iconic style queen. She has a figure like mine, and I always aspire to be like here, hence why she is on my list!

As the lady in question walked on, my jaw dropped! I almost fell off the cross trainer. She was wearing this very tight, pink velvety dress. It was above the knee with white cowboy boots! Nothing wrong with either in the right context. If that wasn’t bad enough, her eyes were very dark and smokey and her hair, although not offensive in its own right, didn’t look right!

She looked absolutely awful. In fact as she walked on the phrase that popped into my head was ‘mutton dressed up as lamb’!

As they revealed the look to her, she looked in horror at her reflection. Tears came into her eyes. Holly and Phil were prompting her for her opinion. At first Holly was excited for her, but then she realised she didn’t like the look. She asked if they could stop filming, but they continued. I was screaming at them to stop filming her.

As Phil went to get some tissues, Holly came to console her, offering her to go downstairs to look at other things in the wardrobe.

Phil then announces there was a further surprise! A day trip in London, including dinner at the Ivy, the London Eye, etc. That a car was waiting to take them now. Phil suggested she see how she feels after her day out!

The camera follows them to the car. You can still hear her distraught about the outfit. Holly is beside herself.

As they watch the car pulls off it crashes!

OMG, I nearly fell off the cross trainer!

Holly is in bits. Phil is also really concerned. And then it happens! Phil announces its a complete April Fool! The whole thing was to set Holly up! The couple were actors and the car a stunt car!

Absolutely brilliant! I was completely taken in. Holly’s reaction was priceless too. She is such a good sport! (Meeting them is also on my list).

My faith is now totally restored in Lisa Snowdon! How could anyone of us have believed she would have made such a bad job! I’m still laughing hours later!

Best prank ever! Well done @thismorning

TV in the bedroom?

It’s been long debated whether it’s a good or bad thing to have a TV in the bedroom!

For me, it’s a must! I’ve had one in my bedroom for as long as I can remember. My dad always used to say that if you can’t sleep, just watching something on the TV. It will relax your brain and send you off! It certainly works for me, but that isn’t the reason I have one!

For me, it’s the news! And Lola too!

Every morning while I’m getting up, I like to switch on the news! It’s a chance to catch up on what has happened overnight. When time is precious, you can easily let life pass you by. This is my time to engage with the world!

Lola is particularly interested in Brexit at the moment !

Since moving, the TV in my bedroom only worked on BBC. Thankfully that was the news channel I wanted to watch. Apart from that, I never really used it. Then something magical happened! Sky Q!

I’ve had Sky for 13 years, but after my HD box died, I decided it was time to upgrade.

This meant we got a second box which was installed in our bedroom!

Why did we never do this before!

Suddenly hubby and I are planning to go to bed an hour earlier to watch something we have recorded.

It’s been so nice having that hour before we go to sleep to relax in bed watching something together. It may sound weird, but it’s so much nicer than watching down in the lounge on the sofa!

Don’t get me wrong, the TV hasn’t taken over our lives, it’s just enhanced it!

Don’t knock it till you try it!

Happy Friday x

How is it Monday already?

Wow, I can’t believe it’s Monday already. How does it come round so fast?

It’s like Groundhog Day when the alarm goes off! While I try to wake myself up to take the dogs out for a walk with hubby, Fido is there jumping all over the bed in excitement! Lola is a bit like us. Actually no that’s wrong. We do get moving when the alarm goes off, whereas she lies there moaning, groaning and stretching! She really doesn’t do mornings !

At least now the mornings are lighter! Chilly but spring is definitely here!

The weekend was good. For a weekend with nothing planned it was fun.

Saturday morning was a leisurely start. An amazing brunch followed by a spring clean! I do love it when you give the house a good going over! Hubby was productive too in the garden. It’s the first time this year he has been able to really get out there! It looks so much nicer now with the spring bulbs coming through and the new shoots appearing. It’s amazing what a bit of sun can do!

Saturday evening hubby had offered to cook dinner! If you know me you will know that rarely happens! He had seen a recipe in the latest Tesco magazine for a Chinese soup! As long as I made sure he had all the right ingredients he would make it for me!

OMG, for a man that doesn’t cook very often it was amazing! I know he followed the recipe, but even his chopping and presentation skills were spot on! Restaurant quality.

You can see what we ate here on my YouTube channel.

We ended a perfect day by watching Bohemian Rhapsody. It was a great film don’t get me wrong, but I’m not sure I’d go and see it multiple times. Hubby thinks we feel that way because we already knew the story, and maybe he is right! I’d still recommend you watching it though.

As the days are brighter we decided on Sunday to take the dogs for a longer walk. We opted for Earlswood Lakes. I haven’t been there for years. I printed a walk off the internet and off we went!

Now, I have to point out that today it wasn’t our fault! I know whenever we go on long walks hubby and I will always take a wrong turn at some point, but today wasn’t down to us!

The route we picked didn’t include a map! The instructions looked clear when we started, but soon they didn’t make sense. We had to ask directions a couple of times. Well I did! Hubby wouldn’t ask lol!

Eventually we gave up on the route and did our own thing. We didn’t mind. It was nice just to get out!

As we headed back to the car it dawned on me! We went the wrong exit out of the car park at the beginning! No wonder it didn’t make sense!

At least it made us chuckle!

The afternoon was relaxing with a visit from my wonderful parents.

As with every Sunday in our house we had a lovely roast to finish off the weekend.

Next thing I know the alarm is going off and it’s Monday again.

As we arrive at the station the car park is more full than usual! I’m dreading the train now. I’m expecting to crush my way on!

As it pulls onto the platform I look through the windows. A few people are standing but there is still daylight! I’m shocked but pleased. What happens next shocked me even more ! I got a seat! Woo hoo! I can’t believe it! Maybe Monday isn’t going to be so bad after all!

Have a great week!

So what are you doing this weekend?

I’m so glad it’s Friday. Early mornings and busy weeks mean that by Friday I’m exhausted.

I’m so excited this weekend! Why? Because I have absolutely nothing on!

Ok that’s strictly not true. The house will still need cleaning. That washing basket won’t empty itself. Believe me, I’ve asked it so many times to no avail! The dogs will need walking and of course we will need feeding, but apart from that I have nothing on!

Tomorrow there will be no alarm clock waking me up! Ok technically again, I won’t set an alarm. I will just have Lola and Fido waking me! The challenge will be how many times I can send them back to bed before I have to give in and put them out!

If it’s around 5 I don’t mind. I can put them out and all go back to bed, but if it’s after 7 it’s a dilemma. Is it worth going back to bed to sleep? Shouldn’t I just pop the kettle on and watch tv in bed with a cuppa? It’s always a tough one!

The main thing is that this weekend, I don’t have to be tied down to doing anything at a certain time.

I know it’s sad, but I find weekends like this so precious. It’s a chance to recharge my batteries and spend time on things I enjoy.

We may end up packing lots in, but it will be at a far leisurely pace than normal!

So whatever you are doing this weekend enjoy it!

Happy Friday !