And of course it rained!

It’s so typical of the great British weather! It’s absolutely gorgeous all week. Come the weekend and the sun decides to take a break too!

This weekend was no different. All week it was beautiful. Friday I worked at home. Temperatures reached 25 degrees. Did I go outside and enjoy it? No! Why? Well firstly I had work to do, but secondly, I thought I’d have plenty of time in the sun at the weekend.

We had 4 friends coming to stay and had planned outdoor activities!

Firstly breakfast on the patio followed by a lovely walk around Stratford-upon-Avon. It was the river festival. Bands would be playing and a few little stalls selling a variety of goods. As it is held on the banks of the River Avon, it was going to be a lovely few hours relaxing!

Well that was the plan! What wasn’t planned was the rain! Not to be put off we all still ventured out to Stratford, after eating breakfast indoors !!

Dinner was going to be a braai! We had the biggest piece of meat to cook!

Just as we thought the rain was going to stop, it started up again! The Gazebo it was then. Rain was not going to stop 3 South African men from doing what they do best!

As we 3 ladies watched them through the lounge widows sipping our Gin and Tonic, you can’t help but laugh at the body language of the men!

One of them checks the heat of the fire using the hand test! Then another checks it! Wait for it, yep, the third one has to check it too! Just in case one of them got it wrong !

The meat was a big beast and a challenge to cook. The fire to hot, the outside would burn but the inside would be raw. The fire too low and it would never cook. So, as with the 3 bears, it has to be just right!

After a couple of hours it was done. Absolutely gorgeous!

Sadly we had to eat indoors again!

My ice cream cake was probably the only thing that was pleased about the change in weather!

You know, the weather may have not been in our favour but it didn’t matter. We still had fun!

It doesn’t matter how much you plan things in life, something always goes wrong! Take it as an opportunity not a disaster!

Don’t put things on hold. Adapt and have fun!

Here is the video to my weekend:

This week the weather is going to be unpredictable. Don’t let that stop you enjoying life! Embrace it!

Have a good week.

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Feeling hot hot hot !

Wow, what great weather we had this weekend! So who has a Braai? Ok BBQ? Yep it has the be done.

We went the whole hog and had 2! First one Friday night and another last night. You have to love eating outside.

Last nights Braai was all about using the leftovers. It’s amazing what you can create with a bit of imagination.

Saturday temperatures reached over 34 degrees for us! Not that I sat out in it myself! Oh no! We had friends round on the evening so first things first I needed to catch up on the housework! It has to be done especially with 2 malting dogs!

Talking of malting dogs, they do struggle when it’s so warm! Fido thankfully knows how to cool down. He stands in the shower waiting for someone to turn the taps in for him!!

Anyway, back to the friends coming for dinner. As it was going to be such a lovely day I decided the menu needed to reflect that.

Hubby offered to make his prawn soup! It’s light but very tasty. Perfect for a hot summer evening.

For main, I opted for pineapple and salmon kebabs with Jerk seasoning, with home grown new potatoes and a pomegranate and feta salad. As a salad dressing I made a Dijon mustard dressing. So far all free on Slimming World, but still tasty.

Now, this is where it got interesting. For dessert, I decided on an ice cream cake. Well why wouldn’t you!

The cake requires 2 layers of ice cream and a raspberry coulis, topped with a ginger biscuit layer! Sounds fab doesn’t it! And it was apparently (I made a syn free version for me).

The problem I had was the weather! I mean, when it’s over 34 degrees outside, how are you supposed to stop the layers melting while constructing them!

It was a case of moving very quickly and having a hubby on hand to open freezer doors for you!

I published a video of it here!

I had to laugh when I watched it back. I looked quite fresh at the start of it! By the end I was definitely wilting !!

The main thing is the food went down a treat! Note to myself though! Don’t try it again unless it’s about 10 degrees cooler!

I’m not complaining though! I love it when it’s hot hot hot !

Have a good day.

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!

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!

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!