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Tips for Staying on Plan with Slimming World...


Despite my enthusiasm I have been bobbing up and down around my two stone mark ever since I got back from Australia. So to reach my interim target by summer I went back to basics and did a start over. When you start Slimming World you have amazing losses but as you lose it slows down and that can sometimes be a bit disheartening but DON'T GIVE UP! Just push through and KEEP AT IT! the lbs WILL come off if you stick to the plan.

Here are my tips for staying on plan.

1. Write EVERYTHING down.
Use your food diary and write everything down, I mean everything. If you have a gain and don't understand why this will help. You can go over your syn limit so easily and by writing things down you can keep on track.

2. Use the tools
Slimming World has some great tools online and offline. USE THEM! Food diaries, Fitness Logs, S.A.S logs, Syn calculator, Food search, recipe search and recipe books. All things you can utilize to optimize your weight loss.

3. Set your syn limit and stick to it
Most people have a 15 - 20 syn limit so stick to that. Even lower it if you feel you need or want to. Syns WILL prevent you from reaching target.

4. Measure
Always measure things or have a container/cup that you know equals your allowed weight. Guestimating will get you nowhere.

5. Plan
Plan your meals for the week ahead and do your shopping based off that list, that way you wont buy unnecessary goods.  Online shopping is great for this too as you can save favorites and you are not tempted to pop anything in your trolly you don't need, saving you money!

6. Change it up
Don't always eat the same thing, you will get bored and lose interest. The Slimming World mag and website are full of delicious recipes USE THEM. You can even convert your favorite recipe. There is no limit.

7.  Body Magic
Body Magic by itself wont shift the lbs but combined with Food Optimising you will see results as well as feel better.

8. Treat Yourself
Allow yourself a little treat every now and again. Have that glass of wine or that chocie biscuit just remember to count it as syns. ( if you are having a big weekend why not save your syns throughout the week)

9. Motivate yourself
I set myself interim targets and treat myself when I reach them. Something new for my camera, or a new outfit. The one I am working towards now is a new gym kit! I have also started a pound for lb jar for a special treat when I reach target.

10. Join a Group
Being part of a Slimming World Group is amazing!!! You get so much encouragement and help when you need it. It gives you something to work towards each week, weigh in and it helps you to not lose focus. Of course not everybody has access to a group or can attend one so why not do it with a friend. That way you can encourage eachother and lose together!

I lost another 2lbs tonight, with just 3 1/2 to go till my 2 stone!! and another 2 for my interim target which I want to reach by June! I know now I can and will get there and its by STAYING ON PLAN! The tips above are what I use everyday and they are working, I hope they work for you too.

Don't ever give up, you can reach your weightloss goal!!


Coffee & Chocolate Facemask...


A few weeks ago I posted the first in a series of natural facemasks and today I have another one for you all!

A Coffee and Chocolate Facemask. This is a favorite among many beauty lovers as it can decrease puffiness,brighten skin and wake up tired looking complexions. Everything you need can be found in your kitchen and it is whipped up in less then 2 minutes. You can also tailor it to your skin type by adding honey or lemon juice.

Here is how to make it..


Ingredients

1 tbsp Ground Coffee
1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
2 tbsp Natural yogurt

for dry skin add
1 tbsp honey

for oily skin add
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

1. Put everything into a bowl and mix. Leave for one minute and then mix again to make sure all the coffee and cocoa is dissolved.

Using a foundation brush, brush over a clean face and neck. You want quite a thick layer. Then leave for 10 minutes or until dry and then remove with warm water. You may want to use a facecloth/wipe.

It leaves your skin smooth, energized and ready to take on a busy day! or WINDY day like today!!


10 Habits for a Happier You...


I have had 28 years of ups and MASSIVE downs and those downs can really take their toll! But I try to remember everyone goes through the bad times, its just how you deal with them and learn from them. You are in charge of your own life and its up to you how you live it.

Here are my 10 Habits for a happier you.

1. Wake up and attack the day

Everyday should start as you mean to go on. You need to make everyday count whether it is a day at home or a day full of activities. Try adding something new to your routine or setting some new life goals to work towards.

2. Do it with a smile

Its amazing what a smile can do. If you don't want to do something just suck it up and do it...with a smile! It will make the task allot easier and make those around you smile too.

3. Be active

Being active and getting regular activity can really change your mood. I am not saying join the gym or run 5 miles but why not walk to the shop instead of driving or dance around the kitchen as you cook! That little bit of extra moment can make the world of difference.

4. Don't judge

For some this can be hard but remember we have all been there and someone has judged us, I bet it wasn't a nice feeling.  Everybody is different. Treat people how you would like to be treated and ignore those who don't.

5. Love yourself

You can be your own worst enemy! Learn to love and respect yourself . Its hard I know but you are stuck with you, why not make it a wonderful relationship and enjoy life as you!

6.  Be Optimistic

This is something I struggle with myself but being optimistic and always thinking positively can have it benefits. Of course things don't always go our way but if you focus on that we will never try something new or feel excited about the future. So think YES! I can do this, it will be amazing, I will get that job and things will come round. Just be patient.

7. Surround yourself with like minded people

People around you can have a massive affect on your life. Surround yourself with happy, smiling and driven people. Ones that will push you to do your best and inspire you to do better. Remove negativity and negative people from your life.

8. Encourage

Encourage people to reach their dreams, to achieve those goals and live life to the fullest. Its one of the greatest gifts you can give someone.

9. Slow down

It is so very important to slow down every now and again. Yes we want to live life and for it to be jammed packed with excitement but don't forget to enjoy the quieter, slower things in life. Like reading, sitting in the garden or on the beach and just taking in what is around you. Take time for yourself, time to breath and gather your thoughts.

10. Be grateful

Always be grateful for what you have. No matter if its allot or a little. You are lucky to have what you have in life so treasure it and be thankful.

Why not adopt these habits in your life or even create a few of your own and see what difference it makes.

Friday - Chicken Noodles in Oyster Sauce...


SO late I know, another one of those days! But dinner was made and it was tasty!

Tonight I was in the mood for Chinese takeaway so I made a Chinese Fakeaway :) This recipe is so easy and is probably quicker and cheaper then a normal takeaway! Allot healthier too.


Ingredients

Fry light
large bag of stirfry vegetables
Dried Chinese noodles, cooked
Diced chicken
Jar Oyster Sauce
Soya Sauce to season

Method

1. Cook your chicken in a hot wok. Add your vegetables, noddles and sauce.
2. Once everything is cooked and mixed together, season with a little soya sauce and serve.

and that's it! Its hardly a recipe :)


Hope you all had a great week and have an even better weekend!

syns - Free
recipe - mine

Thursday - Courgette Lasagne...


Good evening foodies, sorry tonight's recipe is a bit late! I have had a crazy day with nursery, a driving lesson and hosted the second FoodieChat on twitter. But the boy is now alseep and the OH is watching a movie so I can finally sit down and share some foodie love with you all!

Tonight I tried out a new recipe, something I have seen a couple of times but never tried. Courgette Lasagne. Using courgettes instead of pasta is a great way to bulk up a meal without the use of carbs and you will be surprised how well it works. You don't just have to use it in a dish like this, courgettes make great noodles too. Again Slimming Worlders this would be great on a SP day.


Here is how to make it.

Ingredients 

Fry light
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks of celery, finely chopped
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sweetner/sugar
1 tsp tomato puree
1 beef stock cube
1 - 2 large courgettes, sliced long ways
1 cup of fat free fromage frais
1 egg, beaten
25g chedder cheese, grated (or more if not on SW)
salt and pepper
salad leaves to serve

Note: you can also use bachamel/white sauce if you prefer


Method

1. In a large pan fry your onion, celery and garlic. Add your mince and brown.
2. Once your mince is browned, crumble in your stock cube and add your tinned tomato, tomato puree and sweetner. Simmer on a medium heat until cooked through. 15 min or so.
3. While that is cooking mix your fromage frais, egg and 1/3 of the cheese together. Season well.
4. Once your mince is cooked start to layer. First courgette, then mince and finally a little of your white sauce. Do the same for a second layer and then on your final layer cover the courgette with the rest of your sauce and sprinkle with romaining cheese.
5. Bake in the oven at 160C fan for 30 min and then place under the grill for 3 - 5 min to brown.
6. Once out the oven leave to one side for a few minutes to settle and cool down as Lasagne can be lethal when hot!:) Serve with a fresh salad.


This recipe is really delicious and packed with flavour. It keeps well in the fridge too, leftovers would make a great lunch.

syns - free if cheese is used as a healthy extra or 5 syns 
recipe - mine 

Natural Green Tea Facemask...


My skin is looking so lifeless at the moment due to fatigue and stress andI have been looking around for a facemask to combat it but they all seem to be so expensive. So instead of paying a small fortune on something that may not work I have decided to look into more natural remedies like green tea, honey, coconut, all packed with goodness.

Today I went for something simple, Green tea.


Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can help to sooth irritated and damaged skin. It also helps to refresh the skin and give it a bit of a boost balancing out its natural oils.

All you need to do is pop 1 or 2 green tea bags into boiling water and let it brew for 2 - 3 minutes. Then using some cotton wool apply to your face and neck. Leave for 10 minutes and then rinse off.
For a more cooling effect you could pop it in the fridge to get cold before you use it.

It gives your skin a great refreshing kick and can be done when ever you need a little boost.


Keep an eye out for more natural facemask over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday - Mediterranean Chicken...


It's Wednesday which means we are half way through the week. YAY ... nearly weekend! Tonight I am sharing a favorite of mine, Mediterranean Chicken in a lemon sauce. Its light , easy to make and packed with colour and goodness. For Slimming Worlders its a great SP meal ( if you leave out the rice)


Ingredients

1 red and yellow pepper, chopped roughly
good handful of mushrooms, chopped roughly
1 large courgette, sliced
1 large onion, wedged
1 lemon, quartered
3 skinless chicken breasts
mixed herbs/Greek herbs
cup of rice
1/2 stock cube
salt and pepper
Fry light

for the lemon sauce
1/2 stock cube
1/2 pint of boiling water
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 tbsp fat free fromage frais

handful parsley for garnish


Method

1. Put all your veggies into a oven tray, spray with fry light, sprinkle with herbs, season and pop into a oven at 160C fan. Cook for 30 min.
2. Season your chicken breast and sprinkle with herbs, then fry in a pan with a little fry light until browned. Transfer into your oven tray with the vegetables. ( you can cover with a little wet grease proof paper for 10 min to help it steam but leave uncovered for the last 10 min)
3. Cook your rice with 1/2 stock cube for flavour.
4. While everything is baking in the oven make your sauce. In the same pan you browned your chicken in cook down your chicken stock and lemon juice until reduced by half. Then turn down the heat to low and stir in your fromage frais. Set aside and keep warm.
5. Serve chicken on a bed of rice and pour over your lemon sauce, sprinkle with parsley to garnish.


syns - Free
recipe - mine

Tuesday - Dublin Coddle...


Last week I started my 'Week of Recipes' feature but only got as far as Monday due to a hectic week! This week however I am much more organised and even have a St Patrick's day themed dinner for you all! Dublin Coddle... This is not a dish I have had before but will definitely have again as it is so super scrumptious! 
It's similer to a  normal hotpot but made with pork sossies and bacon. 


Ingredients

Fry light
2 large onions
8 smoked rashers of bacon, all fat removed
8 Slimming World/ 3% fat sausages, halved
550ml hot beef stock
650g potatoes, sliced
salt and pepper

Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180C fan.
2. Spray a large pan with fry light and cook your onions until soft. Then add your bacon and sausages and cook until browned and your onions are slightly caramelised.
3. Spoon the mixture into a casserole dish and cover with your potatoe, making sure they overlap slightly. Then cover with your stock.
4. Season and place in the oven with the lid and cook for 45min.
5. Turn down the heat to 160C Fan, spray potatoes with a little fry light and cook for a further 30min without a lid until the potatoes are brown and crispy.
6. Serve hot with your favorite veggies.


This is a hearty dish perfect for a chilly night in.

syns - 2 per serving
recipe - Food Glorious Food

Guinness Black Velvet Cakes...



Happy St Patrick's Day all! I hope you are all having a day filled with Irish cheer and luck!

Today I am sharing my favorite Irish St Patrick's Day inspired recipes, starting off with desert! It's the proper way round really he he
These little cakes/puddings are so rich and indulgent with plenty of chocolate, Guinness and cream.


Ingredients

cakes
100g softened butter
175g dark brown sugar
100g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
5 tbsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp bicarb
150ml Guinness
topping
200ml double cream
25g icing sugar

Method

1. Heat your oven to 160C Fan. Grease and line 6 small oven proof dishes or a large muffin tin.
2. In a bowl mix all your ingredients until smooth.
3. Divide between the 6 dishes and pop into the oven for 20 - 25 minutes.
4. Once cooked leave to cool completely.
5. While the cakes are cooling whip your cream and icing sugar until firm.
6. Top your cakes with the cream and dust with cocoa powder to serve.


Enjoy by themselves or as a desert.

Mothers Day DIY Meringues...


This Sunday is Mothers Day, a day to celebrate mummys all around the world and to Thank them for all that they do for us. And what is a better way to do that then with something home made and delicious.

These little bites of yumminess are so easy to make and all you need to make them is 3 things from your local grocery store.


What you will need:

A tub of mini meringues, pink food colouring and vanilla icing.


How to make them:

1. In a bowl mix some icing with a little food colouring until you have reached your desired colour.
2. Spoon a little icing onto a mini meringue.
3. Sandwich with another mini meringue and place on a plate.Do as many or as little as you want.
4. Once you have finished place the meringues in the fridge to set, about 10min or so.


After your meringues have set place them in a bag or box and tie with a ribbon or piece of string.


Add a pretty bunch of flowers and a card to complete the gift.


If any mummy's are doing Slimming World just leave out the icing and give mum a little bag of mini meringues, they are only 1 1/2 syns each.

Monday - Cauliflower Cheese Soup...


It's been awhile since I have done a week of recipes, mostly due to the fact that it's hard work!( being a mum to a toddler, cooking, photos, the post...its alot!) I think however it is worth the effort though as it's a great way to show people that you don't have to have the same boring meal every night. With a little planning and effort you can have something different and tasty ever night.

Right so on the menu tonight we have ...Cauliflower Cheese Soup

serves 4 
25 minutes

Ingredients 

Fry light
1 Large onion, peeled and finally chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
550g small cauliflower florets
800ml vegetable stock
10 the Laughing Cow Extra Light Cheese Triangles
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Smoked paprika

Method

1.Spray a large pan with Fry light and heat gently. Add the onion and paprika and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened.
2. Add the cauliflower and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender.
3. Stir in the cheese triangles and blend. Season to taste.
4. Serve with a garnish of cauliflower and paprika. 

This soup is really tasty and very filling. I wouldn't try to reheat as the cheese may curdle. So eat it in 1 sitting.


syns - 2 1/2
recipe - SW Little Book of Soups

Vegetable Fritatta...


 Here is a recipe to go along with my last post!, focusing on eggs of course. Its quick, easy and super filling.


A fritatta is packed with protein and as much free food as you want! Of course this isn't only good for an after workout meal/snack but it's great for breakfast, lunch and even dinner. 
It can have pretty much anything you fancy in it. Traditionally with onion and potato butI tend to add mushrooms, peppers and tomato or what ever is on my fridge really! 

Here his how you make it...


Ingredients
6 eggs, beaten and seasoned
good handful of sliced mushrooms and diced peppers
1 sliced Spring onion
1 small tomato, diced
salt, pepper and chopped chives to garnish
Fry light

Method
1. Into a hot medium sized pan add your vegetables and fry for a few minutes. With a few sprays of fry light.
2. Add your eggs and leave over a medium heat until the bottom is completely cooked.
3. Remove from the hob and place under a hot grill until cooked through and browned ontop.
4. Garnish with the chopped chives and season with salt and pepper.


Can be served hot or cold.

syns - free
recipe by me

Lets get Physical - working on those wobbly bits...



February has been a hard month for me, dealing with a very active soon to be toddler has really warn me down but I think I am finally finding my balance and gaining control of a misplaced routine.  I have managed to do something for myself (and sanity) by starting yoga! And it works like a dream! I have  also been focusing hard on my body magic/fitness and trying to tone all those wobbly bits that come from being a mummy and gaining weight through steroids (chemo).

I have been getting to the gym as much as possible to work on my cardio on the cross-trainer and through swimming and then I also do a few things at home like dumbbell exercises for my arms and Hip Hop Abs to get me that flat tummy.  - It's a little change from my normal 30day shred dvd that i always do. I am a person that gets bored really quickly so changing it up really helps me to stay focused and do what needs to be done to get back into shape.
Slimming World is definitely getting rid of the lbs but unfortunately there is no food in the world that will get rid of my wibble wobble tummy and thighs, so exercise has to be done! Especially with summer coming up and two holidays with my beautiful and skinny friends! I don't want to be the beached whale next to them but a sexy mama with them...he he but joking aside this is important to me as I want to be confident this summer, which I haven't been for a long time now. 

A little more on what I do - At gym I mainly go on the cross-trainer for cardio and to get those legs and bumcheeks moving ! I then head to the pool for a swim. Which in 1 hour can burn a good amount of calories. An hour swim (1 mile) can burn at least 500! It is also low impact so great for a person that has really bad knees like me. A reason why I go on the cross-trainer rather then the treadmill.
At home I focus on my arms and getting rid of my tummy and wobbly thighs. 
I have a little work out written and pinned to my notice board for this. That way I have a bit of a routine and get all areas covered without forgetting anything. And as mentioned before have also started Hip Hop Abs! It is something I saw on tele and awlay's wanted to try, so I decided to look on YT and gave it a go! Boy I'm glad I did! It's so much fun!!! I can really feel it in my abs! By using 3 simple moves you can tone and burn fat while dancing (trying to in my case) to hip hop with PT and dancer Shaun T! Who is blady funny with his slightly camp comments and struts! I am super pleased I do it at home though because I am no hip hop dancer lol
You can find his videos and podcast online or you can get the dvd pack which I think is only £19.95 at the mo! Usually &59.95. 

Now on a more calm note, As mentioned I have also started yoga (from home) which I really love! I try to do 20min while Ben eats his breakfast. I found some great videos on YT called Yoga with Adrien! She is easy to listen to and she explains things really well! I am currently on her 20min beginner video but I would love to finally do her weight loss yoga or 30days of yoga. For yoga fans or people looking to start I definitely recommend her!

The only prob I have found with working out so much is that I am super hungry now,so planning is key. After a good work out PTs usually recommend a protein shake to rebuild the muscles etc but while on Slimming World that is not the best thing to do, as they can be over 10 Syns. So I tend to stick to high protein food like chicken or eggs for lunch/dinner and then take bananas or apples as a post work out snack.

I want you to know I am a very lazy person so if I can do all this you can too, It's all mind over matter! If you want to achieve something or be a better you physically then you need to put in the work, even if its running up the hill near your house rather then walking. And to my SW lovelies, March has 5 weigh-ins so try and make them count. By losing just 2lbs a week you can lose just over half a stone in March!
What ever you do to get summer fit enjoy it and do it for yourself. Just make sure you don't push yourself to hard.