Sunday, 31 May 2015

Kensington Palace and Poltergeists

Even the rain didn't spoil the day

Considering tomorrow is the first of June and technically 'Summer', it was incredibly rainy today. I went to London to see a friend who I haven't seen for ages. As she's got children and works, it's been hard trying to find a mutually convenient time, however today seemed to work for both of us. After meeting in Waterloo (and surviving the train journey with the 7 drunken teenagers drinking Stella at the table opposite me) we decided to go to Kensington Palace, wander round and catch up on life.

Getting there was pretty easy and it wasn't too busy which was surprising considering it was a weekend. £17.50 each, so not exactly the cheapest place in the world, but it was London. Whilst it was nice go round and investigate as I'd never been there before, I have to say it wasn't as good as Hampton Court - the rooms were very empty and didn't have much furniture or character in them - I assume that's because of the amount of visitors that come through the rooms and the fact that furniture would make it harder to walk around.

Despite Kensington Palace being 'meh', it was lovely catching up with my friend and despite not seeing her for ages, it didn't feel like any time had passed at all. After a nice cup of tea and a wander around the rest of the palace, we decided to grab some sushi for lunch at the Japan Centre - the one close to Picadilly Circus. 

I think I'm like 'proverbial kid in the sweet shop' when it comes to the Japan Centre, I love sushi and there's literally so much to choose from, it's scary. It's probably a good thing that there isn't one in Berkshire, otherwise I'd no doubt be buying food from there most days. I have my staple favourites - the tofu pockets (Inari) and the egg sushi (tamago), but the rest of the shopping basket is flexible. As I knew I wouldn't be getting back home until after 10:00pm, I also bought dinner from there and ended up with a lovely Chicken teriyaki don (chicken, rice, egg...). I thought I'd also buy a chocolate pancake (Doriyaki) for pudding and after we purchased all of our stuff, we decided to sit outside and eat our lunch as it was chucking it down from the sky.

Unfortunately, the sushi doesn't have calories, fat or any kind of nutritional information on it - so it's a bit of a mystery unless you look it up on the internet beforehand. I assumed this was also true for my chocolate pancake, however after consuming it, I actually saw that there were figures on the back of it - Hrm.. I have to say, I was shocked in regards to how many calories were in it, over 200! and nearly 9 grams of fat as well? Well, I enjoyed it, but once again it goes to show that I can be really ignorant when it comes to how many calories are in things and my 'educated guessing' isn't all that accurate.

After we had lunch, we realised that the rain really wasn't going to stop any time soon, so we headed back to Waterloo, had another coffee and then said our goodbyes - As she's got a Samsung Note 4 phone, she showed me how many steps we had done together - over 11,000 - Not bad for a days walking :-) After I got back home, I ate the rest of the Sushi for dinner before heading out to the cinema to meet my lovely Vegan work friend. She's also into horror movies so we had made a cinema date to watch Poltergeist. I was hoping it would be better than the film was saw the other month 'It follows' which seemed incredibly random and the bad 80's style music was very frustrating.

Turns out, it was rather scary and had both of us cringing behind our hands by the end of it, so missions accomplished. After driving her back home, I'm now writing this whilst in my PJ's and watching Family Guy before sorting out my breakfast for tomorrow and going to sleep before I go back to dreaded work tomorrow.

Thankfully only 2 days of work next week before I'm off to Northumberland with my lovely boyfriend to stay with his parents until Sunday. Thankfully, his parents are really, really nice and friendly, so I'm really looking forward to it. 

Tomorrow night I'm back at the gym - the first time in over 3 months! I'm actually slightly nervous, but know that once I've gone, it will be great and I'll feel really good, too. 

End of May

Wow. End of the month already.

I can't believe it's 3 weeks and 6 days since I started my healthy eating. It feels as if it's been a few days if that. Honestly, it's not actually been that hard - the more time I've healthy eaten, the less I've had to think about it and the more it's become 'normal' and I'm really proud of what I've done so far.

I think it's really important to physically write down the fact I'm proud of myself, I never really say I'm proud of myself for anything - I stepped on the scales yesterday morning and since the 9th of May I've gone from 99.9Kg to 96.7Kg. If I lose the same again next month, then I'll have lost 6.4Kg and will take another photo of myself in the mirror and see if I can see the change. (I took a photo at the start of the month.. so I know what I looked like when I started my healthy eating).

It's not just the lesser number on the scales, although I am proud of that, it's also:

1. My jeans feel loser. I can wear a pair of jeans I couldn't fit into at the start of this month.
2. I feel so much happier, my moods are more positive
3. I haven't felt bloated or uncomfortable as I've eaten too much
4. I have slept so much better - usually I wake up at least twice a night, I've been sleeping through or waking up a lot less often, at the very least.
5. Even though work is really, really stressful at the moment, I've NOT reached for food, I've NOT done my usual 'comfort eating' and I HAVE made healthier choices.
6. My bowels *ahem* are much more regular and I don't suffer from flatulence at all (I know... TMI!)

I can't say I see any change in my appearance. When I look in the mirror I still see my large stomach and huge thighs and I'm not happy about the figure staring back at me - However, this can only be changed if I continue my healthy eating and I need to remember: This is not a quick fix, this is a lifestyle change so it will take time to change my body.

Eating badly for one day will not change things - nor will eating healthy for one
day... I need to be sensible and make sensible choices in what I put in my body.

This month I've focussed 100% on food - I've not gone crazy with exercise as I don't think I would have been able to maintain it due to work stress. In June, I'm going to make myself 2 promises.

1. I'm going to go to the gym once a week for a spin class.
2. I'm going to look more closely at the processed food I eat and try and reduce it in various ways.

I don't think it's a good idea to change everything at once - I think I'd feel overwhelmed and not stick to them. I'm going to try and not weigh myself more than once every two weeks, but we'll see what happens.... Either way, I'll be honest about what I weigh and when I succumb to the lure of the scales.

I'm also kinda chuffed that I've had over 1,100 views on my Blog. I don't know if that's real people / bots on the net, or magic pixies, but whoever / whatever it is, I'd like to think that there are people out there who can identify with what I'm saying and maybe I can motivate others to eat more healthy and they can also motivate me :-)

Looking forward to a healthy, positive and motivated June! 

Saturday, 30 May 2015

West Berkshire BreweryTour

Today has been really nice and chilled

After breakfast, I picked my boyfriend up and we went on the West Berkshire Brewery Tour. It cost £12.50 each and only took 45 minutes to go round as it's not the biggest brewery in the world, however the tour also including a pint glass and three pints, which they were only too happy to serve you. I don't like beer, I never have, so settled for a diet coke instead, however my boyfriend was more than happy to indulge! It was interesting tasting the different types of malt that goes into beer - some tasted like Maltesers, whereas others were more like burnt toast and coffee. 

The tour was pretty cool and the bloke giving the tour obviously knew an awful lot about beer. We've been on quite a few brewery tours - Binghams Brewery, Wadworth 6x in Devizes in Wiltshire... About 5 in total, I think? I was the only woman in a group of about 15 men which was slightly odd, however I guess it's not the typical thing that women like to do? Shame really, as it's quite interesting :-)

Once we'd been round, we headed back to the bar and it was already 12:15, lunch time.

Thankfully I'd already planned ahead, I had half a pot of houmous left over from yesterday and some wholemeal pita bread, a pepper and another nakd bar. I'll be honest, it wasn't as tasty as usual and I think that was due to the fact that the houmous was in the car for an hour - it's quite impressive the difference in both taste and texture if you eat it straight from the fridge, versus when it's left in the car for over an hour - Don't think I'll be doing that again.....

After the tour, we headed back via Reading so stopped to get some petrol and got some fish to cook for tonight as we'd decided on how we were going to use the Riverford Vegetable box veg - Oven baked cod with crisp potatoes, wilted spinach with nutmeg and steamed carrots...Yummy. I also decided to stock up on a few essentials - More porridge and more nakd bars. The Bakewell tart one is quite hard to find, so I decided to make the most of the fact that they had a large number in, and bought have a box - Doesn't exactly look like the most balanced shopping list, however I do have a lot of fruit and vegetables at home and I now have enough porridge and snacks to take to Northumberland with me, so I don't have to give in to my partners Mother offering me cakes and sandwiches every 5 minutes.

After dropping the fish and other food stuffs at home, we headed out for a drink in a local pub - I'm trying to drink less diet coke and Pepsi Max (although it's still one of my vices I don't want to give up altogether, so am just drinking it in moderation) so actually ordered a mineral water instead.. 

I also think it's a bit silly to be mindful of the calories you're eating, but totally oblivious or not mindful of the ones you're drinking. Apparently there's 139 calories in a can of coke and 35g of sugar. I know 'pub coke' is different, however I still think I'd rather not drink a lot of it. Apparently you'd have to do a lot of exercise, just to burn off one can of the stuff.

It was nice sitting in the sun, having a chat - We don't usually do that, we're always doing one thing or another and to actually 'chill' and enjoy each others company was nice

Dinner tonight was a nice piece of cod with some lemon and pepper butter, with the organic carrots and spinach I had got from the Riverford Veg box, topped off with some thinly sliced potatoes which we boiled for 5 minutes, then put in the oven and roasted for 15 minutes with some groundnut oil and a little bit of salt - It was really nice.

We watched 'The Fast and the Furious 7', which I have to say, was pretty watchable if not ever so slightly unbelievable (they might be good, but driving a car across 3 buildings in Dubai? Hrm.... ) I thought they did a rather classy tribute at the end of the film to Paul Walker who sadly lost his life in a car crash. 

I'm now sat at home, watching 'The Woman in Black' on TV. I've got it on DVD as it's a Horror Movie and I'm rather partial to them, however it's on TV, it's not a bad movie and I'm happy to watch it whilst browsing eBay for more antiques :-)

7 lbs lost!

I'm such an impatient person - not sure I can change that fact AND change my lifestyle at the same time though :-)

Hello weekend! Today I slept in until 8:48am which is a miracle for me as usually I still wake up at about 7:00am, whether it's a week day or not. I think it had something to do with the annoying pigeon sat in a tree outside my bedroom window coo-ing at 5:00am this morning......

Either way, got up, had a shower - there's something really nice about getting out of the shower, all clean, knowing you aren't working today or tomorrow. Once again, the slim, shiny, square thing was looking at me 'Come on, step on me.. it's been a few days, you know you want to....' I said I wasn't going to step on the scales until the end of the month, so it's *nearly* there! 

I have to say, I was quite chuffed with the result.

9th May start weight 99.9Kg
30th May current weight 96.7Kg

This means I've lost 3.2Kg which is 7lbs, so half a stone! I'm really, really happy with that result and it's been achieved 95% through changing my diet as I've not been in the gym since I started my healthy eating, just been on a few long walks and some short ones. 

If I keep the same weight loss up:

End of June - 1 stone
End of July - 1.5 stone
End of August - 2 stone
End of September - 2.5 stone
End of October - 3 stone
End of November - 3.5 stone
End of December - 4 stone.

Wow... even just looking at what I could achieve by a mere 7lbs a month is awesome - even achieve HALF of that, should mean I'm able to fit into size 14 jeans by Christmas and I'm not changing that goal.... 

To celebrate I had..... exactly the same breakfast I would have had regardless of what the scales say. I'm not keen on the saying 'Don't reward yourself with food, you're not a dog', but I do agree with the sentiment, I don't want to treat myself with food and it's not a short term fix. 

Therefore breakfast was a nice cup of green tea (well jasmine tea really, as I honestly think plain green tea tastes like puddle water) and porridge. It's struck me that I should actually change my breakfasts on a weekend as I don't have an excuse that I need to 'grab and go', so once I'm back from my Northumberland Holiday next week, I'm going to focus on doing healthier breakfasts that aren't so 'ready-mealish' however as instant porridge is working for me at the moment and I enjoy it, I'm not going to beat myself up over it. 

Wearing my lovely new earrings I got from eBay, I'm now off to pick up my partner and head off for the Brewery Tour :-)

Friday, 29 May 2015

Hairy Bikers healthy chilli

Hurrah! No more work for two days...

Today wasn't too bad - The interest from recruiters has increased and I've got one interview booked! I'm just so paranoid at the moment... sitting next to my Boss, wondering if the way he said 'Good Afternoon' is because he's annoyed with me, wondering if the reason he has 4 'private' appointments in his diary next week is because he's interviewing people to take over part of my role, wondering if he's having a long meeting (with the woman who I believe he's sleeping with) to discuss how useless I am and how she can take over various things. It's hard going in day after day, but you do as you're an adult and you have bills to pay - However life is too short to be unhappy.

One of the things that really, really annoys me is when people moan about stuff but don't do anything about it - I've never been like that. Work is upsetting me and it's gone from being something I love, to something I feel sick about every morning, so I'm going to do something about it and find another job. It's the same with my weight - it's not where I want it to be, so rather than moaning about it and shoving another Mars Bar in my mouth, I'm doing my best to change things in my life so it stops being an issue.

Anyway, no work for 2 days so I'm going to park the moaning and focus on the fact that my eBay things came today :-)

I'm a bit of an eBay addict and I like buying clothes and jewellery - clothes especially as when I'm losing weight, I don't want to spend ££££ on things that will (hopefully) be too big for me in a few months time. So when I won this lovely Dorothy Perkins top for just over £5, I was rather chuffed - the same with the Kit Heath earrings for £12 as I love simple, small things. Both are pretty awesome and I'm currently writing this Blog, wearing my lovely new top (it was washed before it was sent!) and feeling smug that it fits well, looks really, really nice and as I'm sitting here, typing this on my laptop... my tummy doesn't look like it's protruding as much as it did a few weeks ago.

Is this my imagination? Or is this another positive thing to note about my weight loss journey? I guess the scales on Sunday will provide an indication as to whether that could be the case or not!

After getting home, I had yet another lovely delivery - my monthly Healthy Good Food Magazine! I get 2 magazines a month: BBC Good Food Magazine and the Healthy Good Food one. I like both, as I am a total foodie and the HGF magazine focusses on healthy recipes so I usually find one or two new ones to try a month. This really keeps my motivated as I love trying new things. I find it quite boring to always have the same thing (apart from my breakfast porridge... for some reason, I'm happy eating that for weeks on end at the moment)

So, I got changed into my new top... and set out to make dinner for my friend and I, before settling down to read my magazine before she arrived.

HGF Magazine isn't too bad this month - There's an interesting article in it about 'wrong turns on your weight loss journey' which details 8 things you might do which aren't necessarily going to help you:

1. Choosing food and drink labelled 'no added sugar' (it could be high in sugar so you should find thigns that are less than 5g per 100g or 2.5ml per 100ml)
2. Cutting out fat (some fats are good for you!)
3. Snacking on rice cakes (choose things that enhance your diet)
4. Thinking 'raw' means healthy (be selective about what 'raw' products you eat, they're not all good)
5. Falling for the latest food fad (sustainable weight loss differs from person to person, find what works for YOU!)
6. Blending and juicing everything (Juicing is fine, but only counts as 1 of our 5 a day)
7. Choosing to go dairy free (dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet, despite what the media say)
8. Denying yourself all treats (Eat treats mindfully, but don't deny yourself everything)

Makes sense I think? :-)

Dinner was the Hairy Bikers recipe for Chilli Salad Bowl, however as I had run out of wraps (and I find them quite tricky to do, anyway) I made it with rice and salad. Here's a thing - I made a concious effort not to do as much rice as I was going to allocate at least a third of the plate to salad. Once I'd poured the rice into the saucepan, I saw on the side that I'd actually already poured THREE recommended portions into the saucepan. Wow.. yet more evidence that I really do need to watch my portion sizes - I think that's the thing, when you overeat for years, it's so hard to know what a 'portion' is.... Back into the packet you go, you evil rice! :-)

A very rainy Friday

TFI Friday!

I hope everyone is looking forward to the weekend as much as me - Having checked the weather forecast I'm not entirely sure that it's going to be beach or picnic weather, however I can still hope!

This morning I didn't have to get up as early as the last 2 days, so jumped out of bed, did the usual bathroom ablutions and then had the hard task of working out what to wear. When I was thinner, I used to take more pride in what I wore to the point, I'd pick it out the night before (complete with accessories) and then in the morning I didn't need to engage my brain until much later. The last few months, I've not done this as I don't feel as positive about myself - therefore it's more of a 'Meh, whatever, that will do', which is not how I like to be.

Additionally, my type of clothes has changed - I currently live in my Marks and Spencers Waterfall cardigans as they're floaty and hide any lumps and bumps I have. Whereas when I was thinner, I'd be fine in just a fitted shirt, or a tighter jumper as I felt good when I looked in the mirror.

Today, we have a hybrid look. Due to being blessed / cursed (depends on your viewpoint) in the chest department, having a 36 GG chest means I find it hard to buy shirts and tops that fit, so I tend to buy my things from Pepperberry and this has been a total blessing. I got both my black shirt and cardigan from Pepperberry and they're both size 16SC (which stands for Super Curvy in pepperberry terms). Jeans are from Next and they're a size 18 - I'm having to wear a belt and they're pretty lose, however they're smarter than most of the denim I own, so for the moment, they'll do.

I'm lucky, as I can wear what I want to work, jeans.. T-shirts... however due to my position, I do try and keep it slightly formal, so tend to go towards shirts, rather than tops and dark jeans, rather than ripped jeans or ones that have patterns on them. As bad as it is, people do make judgements on you and being a woman in I.T, working with a lot of men who are older than you.... Well, let's just say it's easier if you don't look too scruffy!

As it's Friday, I opened my door this morning to find another box of Riverford
Organic Vegetables waiting for me - having a quick look inside of it before I went to work, there doesn't appear to be any weird or strange things like there were last week (Come back Kohlrabi, I want to eat more of you!) however I'm sure my boyfriend and I can find a nice recipe that incorporates most of them. 

Breakfast was porridge (sadly not fruit as I've run out) and that kept me going until lunch time, when, despite it absolutely chucking it down from the sky, I headed out into town to buy some more houmous and a bag of salad for my friend coming round tonight. I found another new 'snack pot' - this one has beans and salmon in it and I thought it sounded quite nice.

I toasted another wholewheat pita bread and munched the peppers and tomatoes - after 15 minutes I realised, I was totally full and the snack pot is probably going to go to waste. This is annoying as 1. I'm trying to be more sensible with money and 2. I don't like wasting food.

The old Imogen would have probably eaten it anyway, however I don't want to do that - I'm full, I need to listen to my body and I don't need to put anything else in it at the moment. I think I've always had 'eyes bigger than my stomach' and today has been more evidence of this - OK, so now I know - I don't need more food if I've got some vegetables and a pita bread, it's just being greedy.  

My snack today is a cocoa orange 'nakd bar', which I'll much on at about 4:00pm. It's funny, as most people (including myself) associate Vegan products as being tasteless or bland or 'weird', however the nakd bar range has become one of my favourite snacks - especially the new bakewell tart flavoured ones as they honestly taste like bakewell tart!

Tonight I'm seeing one of my lovely friends who I've not seen for a little while so I will be feeding her Hairy Bikers healthy chilli and having a gossip before the exciting weekend ahead!

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Easter... at the end of May?

I never thought that I'd be given an Easter Egg today...

After this mornings 'disappointment' with my car, the day got much better - especially after I emailed my boyfriend a picture of my pathetic exhaust pipe and he suggested you can buy 'bolt ons' which I assume are the treasured possession of a lot of teenage boy racers?  So, on Saturday we will take a trip to Halfords and hopefully make my car look like it did before 'exhaust-gate' happened.

Having left work at 5:00pm, I travelled to Twickenham to see my friend - well, she's kind of my sisters friend, however I'm getting to know her a lot better and she's an amazing woman. She's also a very talented eyelash technician who has done eyelashes for models, actresses and travels all around London making people have longer eyelashes. 

I've had it done about 5 times, I believe - The first time they were way too long and I ended up taking them out less than 24 hours after I had them done. It was a total waste of money and I thought I'd never do it again, however my sister convinced me to try again and ask them to be a lot shorter (8's and 9's apparently... which is the length in mm) and I LOVED them. 

Due to having twice as much hair as 'normal' white people (as evidenced by my
afro-hair and the need to get it chemically straightened every 3 months) turns out, I also have twice as many eyelashes! This means they look really full, but it takes my poor friend 2 hours to stick the fake ones on. Thankfully we had a good catch up as I haven't seen her for over 4 months and the time went really quickly.

Upon leaving, I noticed she had an Easter egg on her living room shelf and announced 'Lesley, you're a better woman than me... you've managed to have so much willpower, you've still got Easter Eggs left!' to which she replied,'No, it's not me being good, I just hate dark chocolate - do you like dark chocolate? have it, have it!' I'm perfectly happy eating dark chocolate, white chocolate or any chocolate to be honest, however it feel as if temptation had just jumped 100 feet in the air saying 'EAT THIS EGG' which I thought was quite funny.

I did take, as I didn't want to be rude, however it's already left my house again and is now happily residing with my partner - He lives very close to me and is very supportive over my healthy eating, so had no issue 'adopting' the chocolate. This is the perfect solution as whilst I'm motivated at the moment, I'd rather not have a huge chocolate egg in the house as I'll be so concious it's there and the slightest 'down' moment, and I might reach for it - Why put yourself in that position?

Dinner? Well, it was a rather rushed roast chicken slices and the M&S egg and spinach pot, which apparently has been available in PRET for a while (M&S... ripping off coffee shops... shame on you!) Once I'd left my friends house, I quickly ate it in the car, before driving the hour back home and arrived back at 9:00pm.

I'm now drinking a cup of green tea, watching the Big Bang Theory, trying to work out when to book my super-exciting-fun cervical smear test, as I received a lovely reminder letter, telling me it's been 3 years since a nurse investigated the cavern down below. May as well get it over and done with, so I'm going to sort it out tomorrow - I can't say I'm keen on them, but I do believe they're a necessary evil and I'm grateful that I live in a country which takes cervical cancer seriously.

So excited that it's Friday tomorrow - My organic box of Vegetables from Riverford should be delivered tomorrow morning, so it will be fun finding out what new and weird fruit and vegetables are included this week..... 

Who's looking at you, kid? :-)

First world problems

In the grand scheme of things, your cars exhaust pipe shouldn't be a drama....

Today hasn’t exactly started as I would have hoped, however it’s certainly a ‘first world problem’ when you look at it. I had to get up early again to pick my car up from the garage which is OK, especially when they managed to fit the exhaust for £350 instead of the £570 they quoted me last month. Everything was looking good until I got to work and had a look at the new exhaust… then felt like crying. My car is a ‘rare’ 1.8 SRI Vauxhall Corsa, which basically means it’s pretty small but actually, quite fast for a Corsa. I had Corsas before and am rather brand loyal when it comes to my cars – this particular car I’ve had for over 6 years and have become rather attached to it.

Before yesterday, it had a massive shiny exhaust, much bigger than the ‘standard’ ones, which looked rather impressive – Imagine my disappointment when I looked behind and saw this…. I mean, it’s smaller than the new Corsa exhausts! Logically, I shouldn’t care – It’s a new exhaust so bits of stuff shouldn’t come out the back of it, it gets me from A to B and it shouldn’t matter what it looks like. Also… considering the problems that other people have, it’s hardly going to top the ‘worlds worst problem’ list.
However, it matters to me as I’m very attached to my car (not in a kind of weird, creepy Channel 5 documentary kind of way) and it just looks so pathetic with it’s beefy engine and sad little exhaust pipe :-(

Despite my Boss being sat next to me, he doesn’t seem in a bad mood so work has been quite productive so far! Breakfast was the standard porridge with blueberries (I wonder if I’ll get bored of it soon? So far, so good!) and lunch was houmous with pepper, tomato, cucumber and a pita bread. Despite having my lunch, I walked into town again to buy a couple of work related things and also got some sugar free ginger beer from M&S which I have to say, I’m rather partial to. Whilst at M&S, I decided I’d try one of their new snack pots for dinner (as I’m not getting back until really late), and the egg and spinach one seemed rather interesting… At the moment, dinner consists of roast chicken slices, eggs and spinach which I appreciate is quite random, but will be quick to eat and mean I don’t go 9-10 hours without food.

The weather seems to be beautiful today so it’s a shame to be stuck inside at work – I’m hoping it stays like this at the weekend as I’m spending all of Saturday with my boyfriend and we’re going on a brewery tour (I hate beer but enjoy learning things,  he enjoys it so I’m happy to drive and spend time with him,) and I’m hoping we’ll have some time afterwards to go to 1 or 2 antique shops and maybe have a picnic in a park somewhere…..

Tonight I'm getting fake eyelashes, however despite most people conjuring up 'drag queen' images (like I did, the first time), I've actually found the length that I'm really comfy with and I really like how they look. Not so keen on them falling out and being stuck to the side of my face, mind you...  :-)

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Low fat rhubarb pudding

I do have a rather sweet tooth, but don't want to over indulge too often

My Mother has a rather big garden and grows lots of stuff. She then fails to use it all up and gives it to whoever wants it. When I saw her last week, she mentioned she had loads of rhubarb and would I like some? I really like rhubarb (at least, I do in crumbles!) so thought I'd try and do some other things with rhubarb and take it off my Mothers hands.

After scouring the internet for 'low fat rhubarb recipes', I've come to the conclusion, that there doesn't seem to be many - They say they're low fat or low calorie, but I think that's rather subjective - I mean, who things 350 calories or 20g of fat is 'low'???? Anyway, After thinking about it, maybe going back to basics is best? So, I decided to roast it with some sugar.

I also thought I'd find something to accompany it. I could use low fat custard, however that's a bit of a faff as I don't own a microwave, so I thought I'd give this 'low fat yoghurt' a go.... I've never had low fat yoghurt - or if I have, it can't have been a very memorable experience. However finding it in the freezer isle of the Supermarket and seeing it was very low in fat / calories per portion, I thought it would make a perfect friend for my roasted rhubarb.

My recipe? Well, it couldn't be more simple. 

1. Wash rhubarb to ensure there's no dirt or bird poop on it.
2. Cut it into small chunks
3. Arrange on tray, sprinkling some caster sugar over it.
4. Roast for 15 minutes under foil at about 180C (fan) then uncover and cook for a further 5 minutes.
5. Take out, pop on plate and serve with something low fat and yummy.

You might be tempted to make it more healthy by not adding sugar - don't. I tried it.. and it's way too tart for me and quite frankly, not very enjoyable. Each to their own, but for me, it's about genuinely enjoying what I'm putting in my body. Plus, sugar isn't 'evil', it's just a bit silly to eat it in excess.

I only used this bowl as I don't have any small ones - it looks a bit pathetic in this big bowl, but honestly, it was lovely - Approx 94 calories and 1g of fat per portion (plus whatever you're serving it with), it's a rather nice pudding which you don't have to feel guilty about.

Vietnamese River Cobbler

The word 'Cobbler' shouldn't make me snigger like a child, but it does.....

Considering I was back at work today after 4 days off, it hasn't been too bad. I even got an email from my boss with a smiley face in it! 

I had to drop my car off this morning at the garage as on Friday night (just as the Bank Holiday kicked in) it looked like it was growing a tail - Yup, that's my car and yup.. there's stuff coming out the back of the exhaust, which, after a quick Google, looked like it was 'exhaust padding'. I got rather upset (I love my car) and phoned the garage who booked it in for Wednesday after ordering the necessary parts. This meant getting up extra early and making sure that I brought all my breakfast and lunch with me (I usually eat breakfast at work, anyway). 

In regards to my healthy eating, it's been pretty darn good - I started off with my instant porridge with blueberries and strawberries (I know it's not as good as home made, but unless I can do home made porridge in 2 minutes, I'm not going to change - I need things that can work around my lifestyle!) and as I had yesterday off work, I'd planned what I was going to eat for lunch, which was peppers, cucumber, tomatoes, hummus and pitta bread and hey presto.. I actually stuck to it!

When lunch time came, my lovely work colleague suggested we walk into town - despite having my lunch with me, I said yes - It got me out of the office which is so good for my happiness, I got some fresh air and I got some EXERCISE :-) It was only 20 minutes of walking, but it always feels good to eat lunch after going for a bit of a walk and it's something I can certainly keep up - even when my work colleague isn't around, I sometimes go into town for a random reason 'Buy a birthday card for a friend' or 'Pick up some more milk', just so I can get out the office. 

The rest of the day went well - After work I saw my work colleague's friend who is a qualified beauty therapist and had a facial and had my eyebrows waxed. I am feeling really good about myself at the moment and just chilling for an hour, talking to her was great. Quite honestly, I have so much respect for anyone who waxes anything as my eyebrows hurt enough, I don't think I'd go any further than that!

I was starving when I got home this evening - It felt like the drive home was taking longer than usual and all the traffic lights were turning red out of spite. I always find that my motivation decreases when I'm really hungry, so I was mindful that I was really hungry and cooked as soon as I got in, rather than turn to something 'quick' to shove in my mouth, like biscuits... chocolate... etc.

I like fish, cod is my favourite - Sadly Sainsburys didn't have any, so I thought I'd try this, instead. Behold! The Vietnamese River Cobbler in all it's glory! I believe this has been introduced to try and encourage people to eat different types of fish and not just shove cod in their gobs? The name made me laugh, so I thought I'd try it - I was particularly taken with the low fat and low calories in it... as well as the rather cheap price!

It only took 15 minutes to steam in the oven in foil and I am now sat on my sofa, stuffed full of fish and steamed vegetables feeling both virtuous and awesome. Cobbler (*snigger*) is lovely - it tasted like a less strong kipper but still quite meaty and tasty. I'd certainly try it again. I think I'd probably serve it with sweet potato as well as veg, or some different vegetables as whilst my dinner was nice, it was slightly boring and I think I'd get a bit bored if I ate it more than a few times - Hrm... baby roasted potatoes with rosemary.... There's a thought!

Tomorrow night, I won't be getting home until about 9:30-10:00pm so it's really important I know what I'm going to be eating for dinner, so I'm not tempted to eat the Pizza / chicken wings that my friend (who does my eyelashes) offers me. I'm going to take an additional pita bread and investigate the new range of food that M&S is now doing..... 

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Mediterranean vegetables with lamb

The evening has finished really nicely with a culinary success!

This has been a truly awesome day. It continued being awesome this evening as well. I decided to try and get over my aversion to courgettes, despite not liking them my entire life. So I decided to make the BBC Good Food's recipe of 'Mediterranean vegetables with lamb' as it's both low in fat, and calories and serve it with some couscous. Usually I get the whole-wheat couscous from Sainsburys, however unfortunately they seemed to be sold out, so decided to go crazy and buy some random Ainsley Harriot stuff. I thought this might work well, despite the crazy photo of Ainsley on the front of it!

The recipe says it cooks in 30 minutes, however I decided to make the most of the fact I was still on holiday by chucking it all in the slow cooker at 1pm and letting it cook for 5 hours, 30 minutes before I saw my boyfriend in the evening. 

The house smelt amazing and I have to say, it was a total success - it looked a bit odd in the slow cooker, but it smelt and tasted fantastic and I'd certainly do it again. 192 calories and 9g of fat per portion? (more, if you serve with couscous) sounds pretty damn good to me!

After a very nice dinner, we headed to the pub - I had a glass of red wine which much be the first alcohol I've had in over a month. It was actually really nice, however I stopped at one glass as I know that when I'm drunk or even mildly inebriated, my willpower quickly decreases and I eat ANYTHING. I don't mind getting the munchies occasionally, but I don't want to do it on a regular basis, so settled at one glass and headed back after a nice hour, chatting.

One of the crazy things we were talking about was having kids. It honestly feels like our entire relationship is reversed - he's the calm one, not phased about the idea of being a parent and I'm totally freaking out about the idea. It's something I've wanted for the past few years, but actually, now the possibility is here and he's like 'it's cool, let's just go for it if you want', I'm like 'OH MY GOD IT'S LIKE WE'RE GROWN UPS AND I COULD GET PREGNANT AND IT'S COMMITMENT'.

You wouldn't believe I'm 33 and we've been together for a really long time, would you? If I was going to have kids, it would be with him as he's truly the most amazing man I've ever met, however I think I'm going to need a few months just to get used to the idea of actually trying for a child and also taking care of myself and continuing my healthy eating - if we do try for a child, I'd like my body to be as fit and as healthy as possible.

Work tomorrow, which is a shame.. but thankfully it's only 3 days!

Productive and positive Tuesday

Today has been bliss so far.

Not having to get up and go to work has vastly improved my mental state, positivity and motivation. After a lie in, listening to the birds,  reading my book with a cup of (green) tea, I changed the sheets, cut the grass, fed the birds, put the washing on, had a shower and had my breakfast which was strawberries and blueberries and was really nice - I would have had raspberries as well, however they seemed to be mouldy, so I threw them away. One of the dangers of fresh fruit, I guess!

I was rather chuffed as I tried on some size 16 jeans which were too tight to wear a month ago and whilst they're still snug, they actually fitted! This really motivated me to continue as I really don't like playing Russian roulette with my jeans - every time I wash them, am I still going to be able to fit into them if I've been eating junk food and rubbish?

After breakfast, I went food shopping to get things for the rest of the week - I've never actually gone food shopping at 11:00am before and it was just really nice - far less people, no queues at the tills, people seemed much less harassed and the whole experience was far, far nicer than at a weekend. I drove back in the sunshine, hung up the washing and started on lunch which was a really nice chicken salad. I appreciate I'm not the worlds most amazing food photographer, however it comprised of beetroot, lettuce, pepper, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, roast chicken and a little bit of crumbled feta cheese with balsamic glaze - utterly delicious and I actually felt really virtuous eating it. 

I've already made dinner which is 'Mediterranean vegetables with lamb' and it's in the slow cooker, cooking. I'm seeing my boyfriend tonight so I thought I'd make the most of the slow cooker, considering I don't have to work and throw something together quite quickly. Fingers crossed it will turn out nicely - if so, I'll share the recipe, if not.. I won't inflict it on anyone else! 

The next couple of hours are going to be spent watching 'The curse of the witching tree' which I have to say, after 15 minutes, I'm not overly impressed, but hey ho... there seem to be a lack of good horror films out at the moment!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Healthy meal planning

It might be effort to do, but it makes my healthy eating easier

If you're a naturally organised person, meal planning shouldn't be too much of an issue - I actually really enjoy it as it's almost as if I'm creating a week menu from scratch. 

Not only does it mean that I don't buy random food that goes off, thus saving me money - it also means I can ensure I'm planning to eat healthy meals, rather than just buy things on the fly or get home after work to realise I don't have anything I can eat in, and then potentially 'give in' to a takeaway as it's too much effort to go out and buy something at the Supermarket. Why put temptation in my way?

I tend to meal plan, looking at my Google calendar - as I'm always out and about, seeing friends, spending time with my Boyfriend and potentially staying away overnight, this all needs to be taken into account when meal planning - if it's a recipe for 2 or more people and I'm not cooking for anyone else, rather than myself, I can plan to eat the same thing for lunch the next day so long as I'm working in the office and not at a meeting or doing anything random. 

This week should be pretty cool as tomorrow I'm off work and the next few days, I'm seeing a friend, getting my fake eyelashes (Really looking forward to this, even though it sounds like I'm going to look all 'Essex' with massive fake lashes, they are quite short and just make my eyes look bigger).

After my 'cake and hummus crisps' day today, I'm going to skip porridge tomorrow and finish off the blueberries, strawberries and raspberries I've got in the kitchen... and wash it down with some green tea.

Most of the rest of the week looks like this:

Tuesday lunch: Chicken salad
Tuesday dinner: Mediterranean vegetables with lamb (192 calories / 9g fat per portion) 

Wednesday breakfast: Porridge with blueberries
Wednesday lunch: Mediterranean vegetables with lamb
Wednesday night: Tuna steak and steamed vegetables

Thursday breakfast:  Porridge with blueberries
Thursday lunch: pita bread with raw pepper and cucumber with some low fat hummus
Thursday night: Pita bread with chicken and raw peppers 
(I'm out until 9pm, so am going to take this with me and eat it before I get to my friends house)

Friday breakfast: Porridge with blueberries
Friday lunch: Pita bread with raw pepper, chicken and hummus
Friday night: Low fat chilli with salad
(one of my friends is coming over so I'm cooking for her)

Saturday breakfast: Porridge
Rest of Saturday: Depends on what vegetables get delivered on Friday in my vegetable box! My boyfriend and I will no doubt find something amazing to cook :-)

Sunday: Too far away to plan yet... 

I know this is too anal for some people and they prefer to 'life each day as it comes', but I can't do that as firstly, I'm a planner, and secondly, if I've had a crap day at work, get home and don't have anything nice to cook, I find it too easy to turn to junk food and this is just falling into my old habits.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the week being healthy and looking forward to fitting into those size 14 jeans at Christmas even more!

So much vegan food!

It's great having friends who have different lifestyles as you open your mind so much

Today is a good day as I'm not at work. Today is also a good day as I spent a lot of it with one of my lovely friends and we caught up on Geordie Shore episodes as well as watching 'The secret world of Tinder' 'My 600lb life' and 'Louis Therox and extreme bodybuilding'. We also ate A LOT of food and as she's been vegan for years, it was all vegan - so no meat or dairy at all.

You could tell it would be a day of food after she brought some amazing hummus and hummus chips with her - They are utterly delicious and munching them watching Geordie Shore was bliss. Thing is, just because it's vegan, it doesn't mean it's 'healthy', so I did try and maintain some willpower when eating them - I was getting hungry as it was near lunch which didn't help. I think it's one thing to not buy something that looks good in the supermarket, however it's so much harder not to eat something that looks good when it's in your living room and your friend is saying 'I brought this over for us'.

Lunch consisted of vegan sweet potato and butternut squash moroccan tagine with giant couscous. I've done this recipe loads before with chicken, so by substituting the chicken with the sweet potato and the chicken stock cube with a vegan stock cube, hey presto... you've got a lovely and very tasty lunch! (I'm sure the taste was helped by the fact we were watching 2 gay guys find some 'fun' on Tinder whilst dressed in leather.... we do LOVE our crazy documentaries on Channel 5!)

After lunch, I suggested we try and do something with the rhubarb my Mother had given me as I really want to use it up - We decided on a cake. We looked for a lot of recipes and most of the vegan rhubarb cake recipes used crumble on the top, so we gave it a go.... 

Most of the cake recipes we read used yeast... however it also said 'prove it for an hour' - both of us are quire impatient so we just used self raising flour and chucked a lot of baking powder in there, instead. 

We also used cocoa, which the recipe (we actually didn't really follow one, we just shoved loads of ingredients in the bowl) didn't suggest and popped some crumble on the top using some the 'Pure' vegan spread and self raising flour.. 

I have to say, it didn't turn out too badly. It was edible, however we didn't put any sugar into the crumble so it was a little tart and also a little bit tooooo crumbly! However, not a bad attempt considering we didn't really follow a recipe!

As I've got tomorrow off as well, I'm thinking of meal planning in the morning and going shopping for what I need - I genuinely do much better with my healthy eating when I'm able to meal plan, I also find a waste a lot less food. Happy Bank Holiday Monday!