Slimming World Journey: Weeks 1-3

As you are aware if you follow us on Instagram, I am now trying Slimming World as part of my plan to lose the desk chair arse I have acquired over the past few years. So far, so good. I mean, I still have ass but the numbers on the scales are going way down.

Here are the results so far:

Week 1: -5.5lb loss

Week 2: -3.5lb loss

Week 3: -2lb loss

Needless to say I am pretty chuffed with the results! I know the first week of any diet is always the best and is usually the biggest loss, but I am hoping to maintain a 2lb loss a week – but any loss will make me happy!

Considering that the only thing I have changed is my meals – and I am now eating breakfast which is a meal I haven’t eaten since I was 10, I think this is pretty good going.

I literally don’t do any exercise – I have an office job, I drive everywhere, and the furthest I walk is upstairs in my own house.

I do intend to include exercise into my new lifestyle, but I don’t want too much too soon and end up burning out and giving up like I have done so many times before. I will soon be walking from the car park for work rather than catching the park and ride bus, which saves me £24 a month and means I will be walking up a very steep hill for 1.6 miles a day.

Hopefully this will keep me on track before adding an actual gym routine a few times a week!

But for now, my first few weeks on Slimming World were very easy with just small adjustments to what I used to eat – I don’t feel deprived or like it is an actual diet.

In these three weeks I have still had a whole weekend from dieting for a hen party in Manchester complete with Nando’s, Wetherspoon’s breakfast, alcohol and a cheeseburger at 2am as well as the odd takeaway or two.

For example, my usual order from the chippy is a chicken and mushroom pie, a cone of chips and a scallop with a can of Fanta and usually a slice or two of bread, whereas now I have a cone of chips, fish with the batter taken off, mushy peas and a Diet Coke. But with this, I will usually eat an apple and a nectarine before my dinner so I don’t eat so much and still get my Speed Foods in!

For those who think a crash diet is the way to lose serious lbs you’re right, but it’s the worst thing to do if you actually want to maintain your weight loss (and I imagine that you do).

I have tried many diets from juicing, to 5:2 to Atkins, to point blank 800 calories a day, and I can firmly tell you that none of them are sustainable.

Slimming World is the food lover’s diet, and as I say there is initially no exercise involved, unless you really want to you don’t actually have to – but it helps.

If you are looking for a change in your life, I firmly think this is for you – don’t wait until Monday, or next week, start now and visit your local group. I’m so glad I did, I just wish I’d have done it sooner.

Are you on Slimming World? We would love to hear about your journey, and new recipes would be hugely appreciated.

You can follow my food diary on Instagram, and I would love to follow yours!

– love Carla x

SimplyCook: Restaurant quality food at home

The internet is inundated with goodie boxes being delivered to your door, from beauty to food to stuff for your pets, it’s hard to know what’s legit, what’s worth the money and what isn’t.

I stumbled upon SimplyCook by accident, but I am glad I did. Here’s the details:

What’s in the box?

Firstly I’ll point out the box fits perfectly through a letter box, and it took two days to arrive – now that is service!

There are four individual boxes inside, each containing ingredients for some VERY tasty food, along with four very simply recipe cards.
simply cook

Each individual box has three separate pots of spices/herbs/pastes to make something delicious, and it contains enough to serve two – although if you upped the other ingredients I don’t see why you couldn’t get them to serve four.

chicken tinga

I started with the Chicken Tinga – very simple and I already had in the kitchen everything I needed to make it. I’m no chef, but the recipe cards are definitely idiot proof – they are so simple any one could do it!

From covering the chicken in a paste…

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To adding herbs to some oven-baked tomatoes to make the tastiest salsa!

All in all it took around 40 minutes cooking time, but in the end we had these beauties:

chicken tinga wrap

And they were beyond tasty! We also had Goan Fish Curry (but the bf doesn’t “do” fish so we swapped it for chicken) and it was the best curry I honestly think we have ever had.

The flavours are just amazing, so much so we have attempted and failed miserably to re-create it to no avail! The next few pics are a bit of food porn for the foodie in you…

goan curry

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There is no way I could have created the flavours in these meals on my own – simple yet so tasty and flavourful.

goan curry finished

Finally we tried the Vietnamese Pork – this was unlike anything I have ever tried, it was sweet and delicious.

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As I said, there are four recipes per box and only three in this post… Let’s just say a very overexcited cat may have somehow chewed through the box and the plastic tubs. I was not happy!

Overall, I will definitely be buying one of these in the future. I don’t necessarily think one a week, but one a month would be ideal. At £8.99 a box with free delivery this really is a favourite and one I will be returning for again.

I couldn’t recommend them enough – and what’s more, all of the meals are calorie counted and are very low in calories. I am on a Slimming World journey and I found it easy to work out syns and still enjoy the meals!

Have you tried SimplyCook? We would love to hear your thoughts!

– love Carla x

*This post contains a press sample kindly provided by SimplyCook.com

Recipe: Mint Aero Birthday Cheesecake

Mint Aero Cheesecake 3

As it was the boyf.’s birthday a few weeks back, I thought I’d don my chef whites once again and attempt to make a cheesecake that he’d been eyeing up online for a while.

I’ve made a cheesecake before and it was actually a success, but I cheated slightly by using a pre-made base. This time I was going all out by making everything, and I can safely say although it went down a treat with the birthday boy, I never want to smell another mint Aero for as long as I live…

Mint Aero Cheesecake 1

Ingredients:

For the base:

  • 4oz digestive biscuits (around 12 biscuits)
  • 3oz melted butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 320g soft cheese (Philadelphia or the like)
  • 250g icing sugar
  • 250ml whipping cream
  • 2 large  mint Aero bars
  • 1 bag of mint Aero Bubbles (optional)

Method:

1. Place the digestive biscuits into a food bag, seal and than bash the living daylights out of them until finely crushed

2. Tip the biscuits crumbs into a bowl and slowly add in the melted butter, mixing as you go

3. Line your tin with clingfilm (easy way to get the cheesecake out later, always thinking)

4. Evenly cover the bottom of the tin with the crushed biscuit mix

5. In another bowl (obvs) mix together the Philadelphia and the icing sugar

6. Whip up the whipping cream and add to the Philadelphia mixture

7. Grate the two large Aero bars

*You will hate your life as you get covered in melted minty chocolate, but stick with it*

8. Add 3/4 of the grated Aero to the Philadelphia mixture

9. Spread the mixture onto the biscuit base, sprinkle the rest of the grated Aero on top and decorate with the Aero Bubbles

10. Leave in the fridge for at least 12 hours to ensure it’s fully set

Et voilà! A mint Aero cheesecake fit for a birthday cake replacement 🙂

– love Stef x

Poundworld Beauty: July 2015

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Hello!

As you are all very aware by now I love a good bargain, so I thought I would share with you my cracking deals once again.

First up, the Elegant Touch fake nails:

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I get SO excited when I manage to find these as they retail from £6.99 each, so to get all three for £3 is brilliant!

Next was the Sally Hansen Hard As Nails nylon treatment – this stuff is fantastic for strengthening nails.

I use it as a basecoat and you can really feel the difference. It is something I would pay full price for, its RRP is £4.75 in Boots at the moment, so again for £1 I’m well in!

hard as nails

And finally, probably my favourite part of this haul as I have NEVER seen the full size bottles sell for less than £3 is Aussie Luscious Long Conditioner:

aussie

Any female knows how good this stuff is, and the smell is incredible! I did hunt for more bottles or the matching shampoo but to no avail, but again this was an amazing find!

Head on down to Poundworld and grab yourself some serious beauty bargains!

– love Carla x

Gym wear review: Skechers Flex Appeal

As you know, SWHH tends to focus on the normal struggles of normal twenty-somethings (well, as normal as myself and Miss Regan can get) and with those struggles comes the constant attempts at maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.

You’ve read about our juice diets, various 30-day fitness challenges and now the Slimming World journey my co-editor is currently embarking on. As for me, I feel for the first time that I’m very much in a good, controlled and happy place when it comes to my health and fitness.

I’ve managed to find a routine that doesn’t feel like a laborious chore and I’ve changed my diet to accommodate a few things that I never thought it would… Yes people, I’ve boycotted the blue WKD and instead embraced the world of fruit juice *gasp* and even *faint*

That aside, I’ve also stuck to going to the gym four days a week, trimmed my food portions and upped Denver’s walks so we both have a bit more cardio going on – and it’s working. But, because of new said lifestyle, I’ve had to say goodbye to my old gym attire and welcome some new hardcore gym bunny clothing (yes, that sentence just happened).

First up are my new trainers. These are the Skechers Flex Appeal in pink (obvs) and despite not being a girly girl, I absolutely LOVE them!

Feeling like an utterly cool late-90s Britney, I’ve always had a slight soft spot for the American shoe company, although I didn’t know that they actually make damn good trainers.

Yes they’re pegged as a ‘running shoe’ and you all know by now that I ain’t no runner, but in terms of going to the gym and taking the dog out on his walks, these are the most comfortable trainers I’ve ever worn. The memory foam insole is genius, moulding to my feet so that every time I put them on it’s like walking on a pillow and the mesh fabric sends a lovely breeze of fresh air through to keep everything nice and cool.

Skechers Flex Appeal, £58.99, Cloggs

If I were to take up running (and when I wear these, the really ambitious part of me thinks I can) they would definitely be the shoes I would wear. Having abnormally thin feet, I’m also often plagued with the delight that is ‘new shoe blisters’ but they didn’t even fall foul of that fate, which in itself is miraculous.

The saying ‘Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life‘, (which I live by FYI), is in this instance true. Looking more the part and feeling unbelievably comfortable have been key to the maintaining of my new regime.

I’m also fairly certain that good ol’ Cinders would be rocking a pair of these beauties if you stumbled across her at the gym…

– love Stef x

Slimming World: Week 1

It is no secret I need a good diet. I have tried everything from Atkins, gluten free, meat free, 5:2, juicing to plain old starving myself. Some of it works briefly, some not at all, but what I have learnt is that none of it is sustainable. The only one I surprisingly felt ok doing was the juice diet, mainly because I was drinking so much I was never hungry,but you can only do liquids for so long, so every now and then I’ll do a three day juice cleanse to re-set my body if I have had a particularly bad week but other than that, these “diets” for me just don’t work. And right there is why, they were diets and not a lifestyle change – which was what I am in desperate need of. So I joined Slimming World. All I can say is wow. I can eat so much food it’s not a diet, and I am finding it SO easy!

What is Slimming World?

I would basically call it the food lovers diet, simply because you can eat so much, you can have naughty treats (Syns) and not feel guilty, and it is incredibly easy to maintain. It has changed now and gone are the Red and Green days, instead it is Extra Easy and Extra Easy SP. It is all about Food Optimising and combinations of food that speed up your weight loss whilst keeping you fuller for longer. It is broken down into three basic categories: Free Foods, Healthy Extras and Syns. You need to incorporate all three for this to work, for you to maintain and not feel deprived of food.

Free Food

Free Foods are the best bit – you can have as much as you want, no weighing, measuring or calorie counting. Free Foods include:

  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Fish
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Meat Replacement
  • Eggs
  • Rice and Pasta
  • Beans, Peas and Pulses
  • Some dairy products

Basically pile your plate high with pasta or potatoes if you fancy it -it’s all about what you eat with it that makes it work, the important bit being Speed Foods marked with and “S” in the bible you get for joining. For example, you want Spaghetti Bolognese for dinner, go for it pile on the pasta and the meat, your speed food will be the veg you have with it, and make the sauce with passata to keep it Syn free!

Healthy Extras

Healthy Extras are the bits you can’t eat so much of, but you must still have one of each a day. You will have an “A” choice (hexa) being dairy foods high in Calcium such as cheeses and milk, and your “B” choice (hexb) will be items high in Fibre such as some cereals, bread, canned soups, nuts and seeds. This was a tiny struggle for me as I always use mozzarella cheese as my healthy extra A choice but I can only have 50g a day and anything else dairy I use my Syns for. Sounds adequate for some, but cheese is definitely my favourite thing in the world so it is hard to weight it out and put the rest away.

Syns

Syns are the good bits of food you really love, chocolate, crisps, naught cereals, ice lollies, alcohol and basically everything I have way too much of. The way it works is you have 5 to 15 Syns a day so you don’t feel deprived, so if you want a jam and cream doughnut you can have one, but it will cost you 12 Syns! You can be flexile with your Syns, so if you want to save them for the weekend you can, but always set a new goal to stay within your allowance and keep you on track.

Food Diary

That may all seem a bit much for someone who has no clue what Slimming World is, but I promise it is way easier than it sounds! Here is a typical weekday for me, as I work in an office it can be easy to pick at food, but I have managed to rope three of my colleagues into joining so it is much easier for me now!

Breakfast

1 slice of wholemeal toast (hexb) no butter (because gross!)

1 poached egg (you can have as many as you want, it’s Free!)

Mushrooms (Speed food)

Grilled tomatoes (S)

Baked beans (Free)

Then in the car I will eat an apple (S) and a nectarine (S)

Lunch

Jacket potato (Free)

Baked Beans (Free)

50g grated mozzarella cheese (hexa)

Salad – lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion red pepper and carrot (all S)

Strawberries and an apple (S) in a mullerlight (Free)

Dinner

Turkey breast steaks with lemon, garlic and Italian herbs (Free)

Sweet potato fries made with Fry Light and salt (Free)

Roasted vegetables (S)

Snacks

I generally pick at blueberries during the day at work, and at around 3pm I have a cup of tea (1/2 syn)

with 2 jaffa cakes (5 syns)

Day finished with 5.5 syns out of 15.

I am a creature of habit, so I actually eat the same things most days for ease, unless I want a lie in then of course I have two Rocky Road Hi-Fi bars (which are AMAZING but only available for purchase from the class, but I hear you can buy them from Ebay!) and my fruit on the way to work. All diet drinks are FREE, so I drink a LOT of Diet Coke!

Weight lost

This is the exciting bit, I have done no exercise at all, and literally the only thing I have changed is what I eat, and I actually never used to have breakfast so now I eat even more! I went to my first weigh in on Wednesday and lost 5lbs!

Whilst writing this I am nearly through my second week, and I have had a sneaky go on the scales and I have got say I am VERY pleased with the results so far! I have a few recipes I want to try so stay tuned and follow my food diary over on Instagram.

If you are on Slimming World and have any tips or recipes you want to share we would love to hear from you!

love Carla x

 

 

Places to visit in Shropshire: Greenfield’s Farm Shop

greenfields

I have lived in Shropshire for 15 years and I am sad to say I am only just appreciating it now – from the Ironbridge Gorge to the Victorian town of Shrewsbury, there really is  a lot to appreciate.

So as summer has finally arrived, we decided to grab some goodies for a picnic and what better than organic, cruelty-free food?

I am a foodie and very much a meat eater, but I absolutely do not agree with the cruelty of battery farming that can come with it, so obviously a farm shop is the best place to go, and what a treat!

Behold, Greenfield’s – a tiny piece of heaven for any foodie!

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The fresh fruit is mouth-wateringly colourful…

fruit

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They even have freshly baked cakes with locally sourced ingredients.

cake

There is a deli counter full of meats, cheeses and everything else you could possibly desire…

cheese

deli

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And every flavour of jam you could ever dream of!

jams

basket

We left with freshly made pasties, sandwiches and fruit. Our only problem was to decide where to tucker down with our goodies.

In the end we settled for our own back garden, since we have lived in our new home for nearly two months and never actually spent time in it!

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If you ever find yourself visiting Shropshire, I seriously recommend paying Greenfield’s a visit, they have two shops on Telford, and one is just a 60-second drive from Junction 4 of the M54.

The food is delicious and the staff are so friendly – I’ll be heading back soon for a homemade cheesecake!

– love Carla x