My Slimming World update Week 29-31

Last time I updated you I was very, very close to my target. Well guess what? I only went and bloody done it!


Yes, I reached my new target of 9stone with the fabulous help of Slimming world. I have taken to this plan like a duck to water when I joined back in August last year. As I have mentioned before ( or maybe not!) I do not have the busiest of social life thanks to my ME and Fibromyalgia. It means I am not out surrounded by temptation every weekend, which has obviously been a good thing for me, however, it has also meant my weight loss has been a slow but steady journey due to the fact i cannot conventionally exercise.

But it’s true that slow and steady wins the race in my case.

I have just today got all my summer clothes out ( wishful thinking on my part maybe!) and while sorting out my wardrobe I realise that actually not a lot fits me anymore. Now don’t get me wrong, I am in no way complaining, it’s a great problem to have.

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Slimming World week 1 my results

So, I completed my first week following the Slimming World plan, a fairly easy one to work out and follow in my opinion. I was able to be completely on plan all week as I wasn’t really anywhere or had any plans that would throw any major temptation in my way. I am a sociable drinker only so I don’t really sit every evening with a glass of wine ( although I can drink like a lush when I am out in company!). Therefore, for me the syns tallied on alcohol only matters if I go out. In that respect I found that I wasn’t using any where near my limit of syns per day so far.

My weigh in is on a Monday at 5.30pm although I think I my change to the Monday morning club that runs at 9.30 as I found that last night I didn’t end up eating until 8.30pm and took a migraine while I was at the meeting, so I do not want a repeat of that.

I have to say I was actually quite nervous when I was waiting to be weighed, although I knew I had been on plan but I still felt quite bloated ( although I don’t have a period I still have the joys of the bloating and pains) and so I was preparing myself to have stayed the same.

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Bella Italia Oprington review

This time last week I had the chance to pop along the the new branch of Bella Italia that has opened in Orpington just next to the new cinema complex at The Walnuts centre. I have to admit it has been a few years since I was in a Bella Italia restaurant and so I was interested to see what had changed both in style and menu.

On entering the quirky style decor caught my eye immediately with vibrant colours and fabulous wall art. What did catch my attention was the brilliant use of lots of huge old picture frames painted in bright colours that made up the so called ceiling which you could see much higher up. I also adored the wire framed bulb lights which really suited the style perfectly.

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Ashford Eureka Park Beefeater review

I was recently asked to go along to this branch of Beefeater to review their menu ahead of Mother’s day and having not been down at this park before I was also interested to see what else was there.

We were booked into the restaurant for an earlyish meal around 6pm as a family of four before my eldest teen’s social like took priority and we became a party of three! When we arrived at Eureka Park it was clear to see the Beefeater was probably the main restaurant for the Premier Inn next to it and to be fair it seemed like it was one of the larger branches of the restaurant.

On entering it had a large bar area both with bar and table seating and seemed the perfect place for the people staying at the hotel to pop along in the evening and have a drink or some food. The reception area was a nice open space and we were greeted and seated straight away. Most of the seating in this branch is free standing tables and chairs however there is a diner style area of booth seating adjacent to the open cooking/ serving area and that’s were we were seated.

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The one hour Valentine

So I was on Twitter and Facebook for a while yesterday having a nosey at what everyone was getting up to on Valentines Day. We don’t really ‘do’ valentines after being married for almost 20 years! I prefer to have something planned on my anniversary instead.

Yesterday was no different and we just exchanged cards before OH went off to work. The kids were at school all day and OH wasn’t going to be in until almost 7pm. Instead of a relaxing Friday night my taxi duties started at around 5ish as I had to go and pick up my 13yr old from a friends house and drop him to his drama class. My eldest was cooked some food before he headed of to his club and was due to be picked up around 9.30pm.

As you all know the weather was horrendous so I spent much longer in the car on my journey’s than I had intended but I did manage to pop into a local Sainsbury’s and grab a £10 meal deal complete with wine!

So, after my youngest was home from drama and my OH had returned home I had the dinner ready as we had ONE WHOLE HOUR to eat and chill before the last club pick up. So not exactly a big extravaganza but at least I didn’t have to cook.

I did manage to clear half the table from the rubbish that gets piled on top of it and we did sit there for our food, and I even went to the trouble of lighting candles and everything LOL







But we were not alone!!

Talk about being watched!
Talk about being watched!

Then our youngest decided he would have some too so he came and joined us as well. We had our yummy desert before my OH left on the last pick up but unfortunately I was so eager to tuck in I didn’t take a picture but I can assure you it was lush. My OH did partake in alcohol once he had finished driving and by then I was in bed …………… and not for the reason you would expect!!

So that was it, all thrown together in an hour but at least the sentiment was there.

How was your Valentines?


Best ‘Feel Good’ Chicken soup ever!

Well in my opinion obviously. In the winter I love soups, my boys don’t generally unless it’s tinned tomato and my OH generally is of the opinion soup is not a proper dinner!

However, I could live off the stuff and in the winter when everyone is more tired and run down they can be great immune system busters.

This chicken soup I have made lots recently and will have it at lunchtime on it’s own or for dinner with some crusty bread. It’s warming, filling and altogether yummy.


1x leek chopped

1x large carrot chopped

1x celery stalk chopped

1x medium potato chopped

1x sweet potato chopped / or a good handful of chopped swede

800ml chicken or vegetable stock ( I use 1 veg and 1 chicken cube in 800mls water)

2-3 chicken legs or thighs raw

some mixed herbs

salt and plenty of black cracked pepper

* Put all the ingredients in a large pot, bring to the boil and then simmer for about an hour.

*Take out the chicken pieces and remove the meat from the bone, then put the meat back in the soup.

* Mix the chicken through and if you need to mash some of the veg against the side of the pot to thicken and add any extra salt and pepper to taste

LUSH, full of veg, all the goodness from the chicken……………….like I said ‘The Best Feel Good Chicken Soup Ever!


My Hungry2Happy Challenge

Hungry2Happy Challenge

I came across Britmums Hungry2Happy Challenge and it isn’t something I would normally do but lets face it £200 Tesco vouchers or £700 Centre Parcs Vouchers is nothing to be sniffed at.

Normally when I see these food challenges a lot of them are aimed at getting younger children to eat and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to join in with this one. My boys are now 12 and 15 years old and seem to be always hungry.  So this one is for the teens.

When I saw it was to use Richmond’s new mini meatballs I knew my boys would eat them, we already like Richmond’s Irish recipe sausages. So with that in mind I aimed the meal at something more teen friendly with an element of fast food.

There are days where we have after school clubs that are timed so that dinner would be too early but they wouldn’t feel like eating if it was too late!! So I decided that my meatball  sub would be a great fast food alternative for teens.

This was very quick to make up and cook through and with ingredients that I would naturally have in my house. Nothing fancy needed, that’s a bonus!

Hungry2Happy challenge

1. Put the meatballs in the oven to cook for 8minutes, add the ciabbatta rolls, 1 for each person.

2. Dice the onion and the mushrooms, cook in a little olive oil while the meatballs are cooking.

3. Once the meatballs are done add to the pot with the onion and mushrooms and crumble on the Oxo cube.

Hungry2Happy challenge

4. Stir in the tomatoes and add a decent shake of the Italian spice and cook through for around 10 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

Hungry2Happy challenge

5. Cut the rolls open, butter if you prefer, and add a couple of spoonfuls of the meatball mixture and serve!

* you could add cheese on top

* you could serve open with salad or closed as a sub!

Time taken- 20 minutes in total and I would bet that it would be great kept in the fridge and reheated the next day for seconds.

hungry2happy challenge
I added a compulsory bit of greenery!!


This post is an entry for BritMums Hungry to Happy Challenge sponsored by Richmond Mini Meatballs. You will find more details of the challenge here


Green Giant and eating your 5 a day!

Parents reveal the top tricks they still use to get their kids to eat their greens

Hiding veggies, bribing with dessert, and creating pictures still used by modern day parents

It’s an age old struggle for parents around the world. How do you get your kids to eat their vegetables instead of pushing them around their plates, hoping you’ll give up?

Well, according to a new poll out today, classic tricks and old fashioned subterfuge are still being used by parents, with number one on the list the simple camouflaging of veg within other foods and sauces.

Second on the list is the threat of no dessert if veggies aren’t eaten first, while third was telling children that vegetables would give them special powers such as the old ‘carrots will help you see in the dark’, or ‘spinach will give you muscles as big as Popeye’.

Further down the list were rewarding children for polishing off their greens with toys and stickers, making it into a competition between siblings and friends as to who can eat their veggies first, and telling their children their favourite superheroes or characters loves their vegetables.

And it’s no surprise parents are going to such lengths still to get vegetables into their children in any way they can, with only half of all children eating veggies willingly and one in ten actively avoiding them, according to the survey of more than 1,000 parents by Green Giant.

Four out of five parents admitted their children don’t get their advised five portions of fruit and veg a day, while one in five parents will allow their children to leave their veggies – sometimes just to avoid the stress that goes hand in hand with meal times when vegetables are involved. A number of parents stated that their children eat vegetables so rarely that they feel elated if they even eat a mouthful.  In turn, parents can spend on average up to two hours on top of mealtimes each week trying to prompt their children to eat their vegetables.


So how difficult is it for you to get your kids to eat what they should and what tactics do you use to get them into your children? Colin Jackson always ate his vegetables when he was a youngster and was told by his mum that if he did, he would grow up to be a World Champion athlete and Olympic Medalist…..and we know how that story ends!


Colin has joined with Green Giant to help parents come up with ways to educate their kids on healthy eating and even get them to grow to love their veggies.

I managed to get some questions put to Colin Jackson about getting involved with Green Giant’s initiative to help encourage parents to make sure their children are getting their 5 a day!!

How did you become involved with the Green Giant 5 a day initiative?

‘I’m heavily into my dieting so when they explained the whole concept it was an obvious choice for me- I felt I could be an ambassador’

So as a world class athlete, do you follow a healthy diet yourself?

‘Reasonably, your needs are different now. Now I’m not so exclusive and happy to have a little more pasta and a little more treats. But a lifetime of healthy eating has stayed with me.’

What do you think of mums and dads who disguise fruit and vegetables to encourage kids to get their 5 a day?

‘I think it’s a great idea-if it works-wonderful’.

What fruit and vegetables, do you now as an adult, still refuse to eat?

There’s no real fruit I don’t like and even vegetables……I even eat brussel sprouts! I’m not fearful of any fruit or veg’.

How did your mum encourage you to eat more fruit and vegetables as a child?

‘Putting me in front of the TV and saying- Look what Popeye is eating!! Also I’ve always wanted to visit the land of the Jolly Green Giant!’


One of my tricks is to blend fruit I know they would generally refuse to eat, raspberries being one of them, and mixing them into natural yogurt!! It works too and especially if I allow them to sprinkle on a little sugar!

So what tricks do you use on your children to get them to have their 5 a day?

For more information visit:


Bakestone Traditional Northern goods Review

Bakestone products are made with only the freshest ingredients and the company was started by baker Howard Hunter who has been in the baking industry for over 30 years and has a passion for bread and baked goods, he also still runs a family run company making and distributing bread.

I was lucky enough to be sent some of their goods to try out. but before I go any further I must confess:

* I am Irish and therefore have benn brought up on what I consider the best breads etc in the world!! ( OK may be slightly biased)

So here’s what we had the chance to try out:


Yum.........carbohydrate overload!! Love it


So as a bread and potato lover myself we went straight for the Potato Breads and had a very late breakfast!

Now as I said before as a true Irish girl at heart I had preconceptions of these being slightly under par in comparison to irish potato cakes!! But I must admit that it pains me to say that these really are on par with the irish ones…………………which is a huge compliment from me!

Second up was the scones:

Definitely my favourite!


Made in true Devon Tea style these were absolutely scrumptious with butter and jam and a pot of tea!! Not too overpowering with fruit but enough to taste and enjoy. I love anything that feels like a treat. These weren’t too floury ( some can be) and overall were beautiful with a cuppa on a cold afternoon!


I have been assured that the muffins were perfect for lunches both by my OH and the boys with thier packed lunches!! So much so I had to go and buy similar as the lunch boxes were coming back empty, for a change. This would have been something I would have overlooked on a bread shelf, but will actively by more of these if it means my boys will eat their lunches!


Lastly was the long wholemeal loaf. My boys would not touch it as they have to have wholemeal disguised like 50/50 or Best of Both!! I, however only eat wholemeal so this was left for me to review. I eat a lot of toast in one form or another ( normal toast/ toasted sandwiches/ tomatoes or beans on toast- you get the picture). I enjoyed the bread toasted but felt it was a bit dry to enjoy it in sandwich form.

But don’t take my word for it, take a look at their website to find out about the whole range of goods. See what you think.


Disclosure: all views are my own and the goods were sent free of charge in order for me to review.