Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Starting Fresh

Hello November.

The last time I bothered to write anything here was in August. How terrible is that?  I'm not going to list the excuses I have, as it would be a waste of time but in my defence I've had an incredibly hard year. Health issues (stress/anxiety - more on that another time) and also with a major 2 year long project at work. When you're at a computer screen for 8+ hours at work, the thought of then picking up your MAC Book to write blog posts really doesn't feel that good.  It's can be time consuming just washing my hair, let alone being good and hitting the gym four times a week!

Now enough of that ... lets continue. 

I started this blog in order help myself and perhaps help and inspire others. I love to help in any shape or form. I like to think I'm quite a supportive person - If anyone needs a shoulder I'm usually the shoulder. However right now I don't feel like an inspiration to others let alone myself.  Since March I have gained weight (this is also the same time I was dealing with stress and anxiety - double blow). I have gained over one stone (16 pounds). You might think that's nothing and to be honest I've had people say the same to my face. But to me it is - everyone is different. I am only 5ft 3/4 inches tall - basically 5ft1 and gaining 14 plus pounds is a lot for my body to handle.  It's difficult to try and be a better person when you're being fed sandwiches at meetings and there is always a fat Friday with doughnuts and cake brought in for everyone. There is only so much will power you can have before it dries up!  And as for a support network around me... well that's a whole other blog post right there. 

I now need to start a fresh. As I write this I'm sitting on the tube going to the gym. It's 6 something am!  I used to a big gym bunny.... four times a week - slimmer, fitter (I don't use the term skinny as I don't like that word). I loved weight lifting and HITT. I used to have this buzz run through me - I was more confident, fitter and was generally happy with life. Now a U-turn has happened and I'm not oozing confidence, I'm not happy and just feel like I want to eat myself to death.  I really need to change my life and make efforts to get healthier before and has an terrible impact on me. I just need to figure out a way - help! 


Where can you find me??

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Healthy Home Made Popcorn

We all love a cheeky snack don't we?  Sometimes it doesn't have to be a naughty snack,  but it can be a healthy one with a little something naughty added to it.  I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate and I also love popcorn.  Oh yes chocolate and popcorn two of my favourite treats yum yum. 

To me popcorn isn't too bad, trust me there are worse things you can eat.... I could name plenty if you'd let me.  Anyway... I am a sucker for salty popcorn goodness.  It is seriously addicting.  Instead of buying a packet of ready made popcorn I opted to make my own.  It was a little more time consuming but we'll worth it and fun!

To make this all you need is... 

* A large sauce pan and a lid for it. 
* One TBS of cooking oil (you can use anything - except olive) 
* A bag of kernels
* Some salt (optional) 
* Chocolate of your choice - I used dark :-)
* Another pan, hot water, a heat proof bowl plus a wooden spoon (this will be your banmarie)
* A large baking tray

How to make it is easy.

In your pan,  place your TBS of oil and add about 1/2 cup of the kernels (more if you desire).  Make sure the kernels get a light coating of oil. Then pop on your lid.. Cook it on a medium heat.

You'll soon hear popping.  Every now again pick the pan up,  holding down the lid and give it a shake and replace back on the heat.   The is no 'ready' time just until the is no more popping or the popcorn is busting out of the pan... You can always lift the lid to see.. but be careful.

Take off heat and leave for a few minutes. Then lift the lid and sprinkle on your salt.  Replace the lid and shake.   You can now eat it if you want but I'm covering mine in chocolate.

Melt your chocolate in a banmarie, whilst it's melting place your popcorn on a baking sheet as flat as possible.  Once the chocolate has melted you can you use a fork to dribble on your chocolate.  Once happy with the way it looks... Leave it to cool.

You're done..... now eat!!!!


Where can you find me??


Thursday, 27 August 2015

Cooking Inspiration

I love planning and putting together meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner.  Being creative is great and I completely encourage it in any shape or form and of course in the kitchen.  After time we may end up feeling uninspired and because of this sometimes meals can become repetitive and boring. No one likes to eat the same meals day in day out do they??

These days many look to the internet for inspiration but I like the old traditional way of grabbing a book.  Will books exist in years to come??? Any ways I picked up this book Five Ingredients, Ten Minutes by Jules Clancy in Home Sense a few months ago.  The name and the fact it only takes ten minutes to knock up the dishes in this book grabbed my attention.

If you are looking for fast not very good for you meals, then this is not for you.  Each recipe in the book contains only five ingredients and are healthy and delicious.  I'll be honest and tell you that some are a little basic, however you could perhaps add a few extra ingredients if you fancy.  As for getting the dishes ready in ten minutes...I'm not the most skilled knifes-men and I'd rather keep all my fingers in tacked...but that said if your organised you can easily get the meal done in that time.

The book contains lots of pictures so you can see what the finished result will be and the instructions are easy to follow.  There are also variations in case you are fussy and don't like a particular items on the list.  Any one should be able to make these meals as most ingredients are likely to be in you fridge/freezer or stored in your kitchen cupboards.

I completely recommend this book if you are looking for some healthy eating clean meal recommendations.  You can pick up your copy from Amazon right HERE.


Where can you find me??

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Can you eat out and be healthy??

The simple answer to this is yes.  It is all about making better and wiser choices (plus having the meal out with someone who understands your journey, there is nothing worse than peer pressure to eat a Banoffi Pie -  true story!).

If you're leading a healthy lifestyle there is nothing worse than temptations especially if you're someone who can easily cave in to it.  Here are a few helpful tips.

If you're going out for a meal, plan ahead.  Agree a restaurant which has healthier options on the menu. You can even pick the meal before you step foot in the restaurant.  This way you won't be looking at everything on the menu.  Don't put temptation under your nose!!

Avoid the bread basket
I, like the next person loves a chunk of bread with balsamic and olive oil.  However most restaurants give you white bread option.  Go for olives instead as they contain healthy fats. Plus you'll be saving yourself from the bread basket bloat.

These days I'm all about the water. I rarely have soda/pop/fizzy (whatever you call them) drinks at all.  However with a meal I may have the occasional glass of white wine.  If you're going down this road have water too as it's all about balance.  Plus water fills you up so you may not be a hungry.

So your dying for a steak but the only options on the menu is they serve it with chips and covered in sauce.  Ask your waiter if you can swap items over or have the sauce on the side.  Restaurants are quite acommendating these days and are more than happy to chop and change chips or French fries for let's say a jacket or boiled potatoes.  If you don't ask, you don't get!

If you're dying for a side dish of chips then have them but perhaps share them with who you are with.  You won't feel like you have to eat them all if you're sharing with a friend.

Two Out Of Three
When you're at a restaurant there is normally the traditional of starters, mains, dessert. Well my friend just have two... either starters and no dessert or indulge in dessert but skip the starters.  Less is more.

Hope this helps and inspires.


Where can you find me??


Sunday, 23 August 2015

Healthy Banana Oat Cookies

There is always a time when I just crave something naughty, be it a woman thing or just fancy a pig out... you know how it is.  However this can be difficult if you are attempting to live a healthy life style and not to eat so much crap.  I am up to day 21 of entering my daily food in take in to My Fitness Pal.   Not a naughty thing has crossed my lips with the exception of a piece of dark chocolate now and again.  But day 21 has proved challenging.  So with some very ripe bananas I did some baking.  But healthy baking I might add and yes there is such a thing.

What you'll need ingredients wise are...

3 cups of porridge oats
3 large or 3 1/2 small ripe bananas (ripe being the KEY word there)

That's it!!  That is all you need.  However you can add some optional extras like the following...

Nuts: almonds/pecans/walnuts
Chocolate chips: dark/milk/white
Coconut flakes
Vanilla or Almond extract
Dried fruit: cranberries/sultanas/raisins

If you include an optional extra, you need to add 1/2 a cup.  

In my cookies I added a TBS of nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of raisins.

Equipment you need is a food processor, measuring cups, baking trays, a large bowl and wooden spoon.

1.  Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
2.  In a food processor blend your oats in to flour.  Some little lumps are OK so don't worry about it being perfect.
3.  In a large bowl place your peeled bananas and mash them up until smooth.
4.  Add your oat flour - at this point I threw in my 1/2 cup of dried fruit, cinnamon/nutmeg and and a TBS of vanilla extract.
5.  Combine together with a wooden spoon, then on your greased baking tray (I sprayed mine with Fry Light) place balls of the mixture.  Flatten each one with a fork.
6.  Place into the oven for 10 to 15 minutes.

Now take them out and let them cool.  Then enjoy them with a cuppa.

You will have these cookies prepped, baked and eaten within 30 minutes.  Or if you cannot eat them all at once, they will keep for about 10 days in an air tight container.  They may not look the nicest but they taste pretty darn good plus they are better than a Mars bar!!  This can also be a Slimming World Healthy Recipe.


Where can you find me??

Friday, 21 August 2015

Alexa Jean Fitness

Well hello, last night I spent an hour in my back garden torturing myself.  I was determined to spend at least one hour doing exercise, so I whipped out my three new fitness programmes.  Oh my poor little body was crying afterwards.

For quite a while I have followed Alexa Jean Fitness on Instagram and longed to have a body remotely close to hers.  Oh please god!  Considering she's had a child too it makes me even more envious.

Alexa sells three e-books which targets different areas of the body.  If you check her out on Instagram you'll see what kind of moves her programmes entail.  This week I bought a bundle set containing all three of her 30 day exercise programmes.  There is Sore To The Core for abs, Butt and Leg which obviously is for your bottom and legs and finally the Upper Body Challenge.  You can buy all three for $25.00 (approximately £15.00 for us Brits). I think this is a fair price for three e-books when each contains 4 weeks of exercise routines.  Everything is written out for you and is very easy to follow with photographs with reps and times.  You can buy each of them separate for $10.00 if you wish.

If you need support or wish to show your progress pictures there is a hashtag system on Instagram.  Lots if ladies show their success stories with before and after pictures.  I'm determined to do this and I cannot wait. Bring it on!

Fancy trying out Alexa's fitness programmes??


Where can you find me??

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

New Read | Eat. Nourish. Glow.

Ok, so I'm slightly obsessed with my new read.  Amelia Freer's Eat. Nourish. Glow. is a book once you pick up to read, it's very hard to put back down on the coffee table.  As they say, once you pop, you can't stop!  Amelia's name is one that has been floating around for a while and I was desperate to find out more.

I'm one of those people who are always searching and gathering information especially on subjects like nutrition.  Amelia is a fully qualified  nutritional therapist and her book covers 10 points and they all talk a lot of sense.   You eat due to boredom and the need for a distraction...  SO TRUE!! 

I'm only a couple of pages in but I can tell this will be life changing read.  I have sticky tabs at the ready so I can mark my favourite pages.   I plan to write a follow-up post where I will do a more in depth review when I have read more.  I am quite excited! 


Where can you find me??


Monday, 17 August 2015

What is in my yoga bag?

Yoga is far more than standing on one leg, humming and looking ridiculous.  It's actually a rather good work out - try it if you do not believe me!  For the past few weeks I have been enjoying an evening class.  I thought it would nice to share what kind of clothes I wear and what bits and bobs I take with me.  I attend classes after work, so I take a bag with my yoga essentials and a set of work out clothes.  So what's in my bag you ask?  

Let's start clothes...

The key thing with yoga is comfort.  None of the positions you try to obtain should cause you any unnecessary discomfort and neither should your clothes you wear to class.  You need to feel comfortable, nothing too tight or too loose it's falling down round your ankles.  I like to wear a skin tight work out vests - I prefer these to loose fitting flowy tops as there is no fabric falling in your face when you're in your downward facing dog!  The Nike Dri and the Adidas ClimaLite lines are one of my favourites as they are breathable and move along with you - almost like a second layer of skin.

For my bottoms I like my leggings and when I say leggings I mean work out ones, not those causal thin black ones.  The causal ones generally are a little thinner and can show your knickers off - keep that for the bedroom ladies!!!!!  I own a few nice pairs from USA Pro, which have good Lycra in them and are quite high waisted.  No falling down to my ankles!

Now ladies, when it comes to your boobies - please wear good support.  Whether you are small, medium or large or even extra large in the bust department - you need support.  I wear my sports bra as I have mountains (as per Shakira - Whenever, Wherever).   The bras I use are from Active D+ range from Shocker Absorber, I love this kind I wear as they are high at the front so I don't fall out.  No awkward moments!

Okay on to the essentials...

You may not necessarily need any equipment to begin with.  If you're attending a new group perhaps message your instructor and find out if they supply matts at the class.  If you love it, want to make the class a regular thing, then you may want to buy your own.  The matt I have is from the Argos Davina McCall range.  I personally didn't want anything too fancy and this does the job perfectly.

On to blocks, these aren't a must - it is dependant on you really.  Unfortunately I don't have long luscious limbs like a super model.  With some of the yoga positions you need a little help and I certainly do.  The two I picked up are from USA Pro (not being sponsored - promise).  I've provided the link to an Ebay page as the blocks weren't on the USA Pro site - LINK.

The belt is next on my list to buy.  I'm currently using a range of residence rubber bands I've collected over the years.  These are great too if you aren't that flexible yet and need help reaching certain positions.  Link HERE if you want to browser at some.

I hope this helps any yoga newbies out there.  Have you ever tried yoga?  Do you have any yoga essentials recommendations?


Where can you find me??


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Weekend Breakfasts

I love the weekend.  Mostly because those two precious days are my days of rest plus I don't have to rush breakfast time.  Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day, I really enjoying creating a yummy dish.  During the week it can be far too busy to give it much thought, I still am healthy but I cannot really sit down to enjoy it.

This weekend I have documented my meals to share.  Perhaps I can inspire someone to recreate??  I hope so.

Here goes. 

... pancakes were on the menu - the healthy version however (I'll pop receipe up soon).  I have not had these for ages so I grabbed two eggs and one banana - added a little cinnamon and nutmeg to season it.  I gave them all a good mashing and ta-dah healthy pancakes are born!! I managed to squeeze out four servings (which I ate all of -yum yum). Strawberries on the side and there you go.... food heaven.  I also had a smoothie which was ice cubes, blueberries, apple and pineapple plus extra water.  You can never have enough H2O!!!

... was eggs again but however I added red onion and spinach.  I fried half a red onion in coconut oil to soften them and the added frozen spinach to cook (which took forever as it was frozen like a rock!!). Once cooked through, I broke two eggs and stirred with my wooden spoon... Added some Himalayan pink salt to season then I served it up with half an avocado.  This was sooooo yummy, I know I cooked it but it was lush!  My smoothie was 80mls of coconut water, one banana and some frozen red berries. I also added ice and water.  Fluids fluids fluids!

What do you love to eat for breakkie???!


Where can you find me??


Sunday, 2 August 2015

Breakfast in bed

Today was a breakfast in bed kind of day.  A beautiful Sunday day plus I was feeling slightly under the weather! Due to the later, my super-duper hubby took pity on me and whipped up a delicious breakfast in bed and this is what I got. 

Egg on a bed of peppers, tomato, cubed feta and avocado. 


I thought my hubby's creation was blog post /picture worthy (don't tell him or he'll get a big head) as it was quite yummy and also extremely healthy.  I'm really into my eggs at the moment, as I find the feel me up and I do not tend to pick between meals.  I totally recommend this meal as it was lovely.

All he did was poach an egg in a pan and while that was cooking - he soften some orange pepper and tomatoes on the hob.  He then scooped out half an avocado, grabbed some herbs and a small amount of cubed feta cheese to serve with it.

Pretty simple and very tasty.  What did you eat today??


Where can you find me??


Thursday, 30 July 2015

Food Temptations

It was someone's last day at my company yesterday and as a goodbye she brought in massive cakes (yes two of them!!!!)  Oh man!!  I was surrounded by mouths munching on these all day yesterday.

It was hard!

However I made it and didn't succumb to temptation by having a giant slab of sugar disguised as a red velvet cake.  I know from personal experience it can be very difficult to avoid temptation when they, aka naughty treats are literally put under your nose. What I usually do which sounds very weird is I sniff the food.  Doughnuts, cakes, chocolate, biscuits whatever is, I'll take a deep breath through my nose...I take in the smell of it and that's enough for me.  Strange I know, but there is no calories in sniffing, only when you eat it! True story.  I'm quite lucky to have a strong will power but I know others can struggle..here are some of my tips for you to avoid temptation.

The bigger picture
There is a very good saying... A moment on the lips, a life time on the hips.  Just guesstimating, but I think you'll need to do approximately 500+ burpees to burn that slice of cake off.  You fancy doing that really? No?  Then put the spoon down my friend!  If you eat it then remember have to burn it off!  Keep in mind the bigger picture, don't let one piece of cake ruin it for you... If you eat it you might cave and want more bad things!

Do you really want it?
Just because it's there does not mean you have to grab a fork and start digging in.  If it was not there, would you rush out to the shops to buy something similar?? If the answer is no, then you don't really need it do you.  Just walk away. Yep just keep walking.

Visual trick
I like this trick where I visually change what the naughty food looks like.  Instead of seeing cake for example, in my mind I just see a big bowl of sugar with a spoon.  Seem very advertising now?  Not really hey.  No one would eat sugar with a spoon on its own would they??  Technically that's what cake is.... Just think about it.

And finally

Have some...
...but have a very very small portion.  If you cannot keep the craving at bay or you've been healthy eating for a while then have a small piece (and I mean SMALL!!). If you've gone without sugar for a long time, it'll be out of your system.  You might only be able to manage a small amount of cake, as you'll find the sugar in it too sweet and your stomach has reduced in size meaning you'll fill up faster.  Afterwards you might think why did I bother?!

If  you had some did you enjoy it?  Was it really nourishing food?  Naughty treats never are.

I hope these tips help someone. Do you have any tips??


Where can you find me??


Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Bring Your Own....

... lunch!!!

We're having a little competition in work to see who can lose the most weight by September 1st.  There are four of us and we have all set ourselves goals of what we wish to shred.  My goal is 14lbs, however I technically started my healthy life style two days before and I'd already lost 2lbs.  So it was agreed my goal is 12lbs for fairness.  We all throw £10 in to the kitty and the winner gets it.  I personally don't care about the extra cash, but I DO care about loosing my spare tyre around my waistline!!!!

Afterwards we were all having a group discussion where most of my competitors admitted they usually munch on a wrap or sandwich from the likes of Pret or Eat.  Nothing wrong with that, however not the best option.  I always take to work my own lunches, either prepped the night before or that morning.  I much prefer this... Why?  Because I'll know what I'm shoving in my mouth.  It's very easy to run to the shops to buy a 'healthy' sandwich but are they really?

I generally have a salad which makes my work mates groan, however I usually eat more than just a lettuce leaf.   You cannot really tell from the picture as it's hiding underneath - but there is a whole chicken breast, feta cheese and sunflower seeds in there too!  Yes I have rocket and spinach with tomato, cucumber and radishes in there, but I always love to build my salads up so they fill me up.  And they do!!!  

These are my go to during the week whilst I'm at work.  I know what I'm eating - which is good, plus you can get a weeks worth of salad goodies whereas buying sandwiches etc from the high street can be costly.

For a week try to make your own lunches.  Experiment on ingredients, salads don't have to be boring - get creative!! See how you get on and also how much you save.


Where can you find me??


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Tomato Butter Beans with Courgette Ribbons

The other night I posted this picture on my Instagram account (link below).  It was one of those evenings where I was home alone and didn't really feel like I had a fridge bursting full of inspiration. Happens to us all right?

I didn't want to spend money on ingredients and just wanted to use what I already had.  I grabbed everything I had in the fridge and kitchen cupboards and came up with this:  Tomato Butter Beans with Courgette Ribbons.

What you see before you is

Plum tomatoes
Red onion
Fresh basil leaves
Aubergine(or eggplant)
Courgette (or zucchini)
Butter beans
Seasoning of garlic and pink Himalayan sea salt.

In my pan I threw in coconut oil and cooked my red onion.  Once soften I poured in passatta, chopped basil and aubergine, garlic and my plum tomatoes. I let this simmer away to thicken and reduce.

In another frying pan I added a small amount of water which I brought to the boil, I popped in my ribbons of courgette and let the steam cook until soft.

Stir your tomato mixture and add the butter beans to cook for a few minutes.  Then when soft drain and add the courgette ribbons. You could just pour the tomato mixture on top of the ribbons when serving however I wanted the sauce all over my ribbons.

That was it. A healthy bowl of yummy goodness. Vegan and vegetarian friendly too!!  Try it out!  This is also a Slimming World Healthy recipe.


Where can you find me??


Monday, 6 July 2015


I'm really struggling right now.

In the last 4 months I have gained just under one stone (10lbs to be exact) and I'm really struggling with that fact.   This is the most I've ever gained since I was my fattest in 2011...a whopping 13st.02lbs.  And I'm only 5'1 tall so as you can imagine I was FAT!

Personal issues,  not eating very well
 and lack of exercise has been the main reason for my gain.  I quit the gym and my personal trainer then Christmas and new years the  in March I was diagnosed with anxiety and stress.  I no longer cared about myself,  hence the weight gain.

Now I do care again and I can't see the light at the end if the tunnel.  I can't see my way out and I need help and I don't know what to do.

I have rejoined the gym but have yet to venture into it to start training.  I mainly need to sort my eating out but I just cannot figure out how.



Where can you find me??


Thursday, 25 June 2015

Breakfast: What I Ate

Being someone with little time to spend over the stove cooking up eggs every morning, I like to enjoy healthy fast breakfast alternatives which I don't have to think too hard about. Quick and easy... I like it! 

This morning I had overnight oats for breakfast.  As the name suggests, they are prepared the night before and it literally takes less than 5 minutes of my time.  What I also love is you can make at least three days worth of overnight oats in one go.  Space in your fridge and some decent Tupperware is all you need.

I make it using the following ingredients:

Porridge Oats - 1/3 cup
Almond Unsweetened Milk -1/3 cup 
Yogurt (I use low fat) - 1 cup
Cinnamon and Nutmeg (to season)
Raisins - I add a small handful 

Throw everything in to a bowl or container of your choice, mix up then place it into the fridge overnight.  In the morning, bring it out and give it a stir - eat!!  Easy peasy. 

You can really can adapt this recipe to how you want it.  Don't like raisins?  Use fresh fruit instead, just add it in the morning when you're ready to eat it. Like it sweeter just add honey or maple syrup - just remember this is meant to be healthy!  Remember your portion sizes.

It might not look to amazing (cold gloppy porridge some say) however it is yummy.  



Where can you find me??


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Why Start Next Week??

When it comes to starting a healthy life style or diet as many people refer to it - many say "I'll have start next week" or "I'll begin it on Monday".  I'm here to tell you to start today and get fit. 

I myself will admit that I pretty much have once a upon a time said those words.  But it must stop.  Be through half of your day and say to yourself "No more junk, it's time to change". You don't have to wait till next week or Monday, Tuesday whenever it is - you can change this instance.  Yes change is hard, and it's the must difficult step sometimes on the road to change but you won't change unless you take the leap. 

Let's start this journey together TODAY


Where can you find me??

Monday, 15 June 2015

So it beginnings!!

Well hello,  so we're doing this??

The blog for my fitness journey starts here.  This is the place where I will document my journey to better fitness and a healthy life.

There will be NO mention of skinny or diet on here as this place is not the location for both of those things.

Healthy and happy are two words I want to spread.

What you will find here are food and meal ideas, tips and tricks, fitness and exercise plus my thoughts and weigh ins with you.

Stand by let's get going..... Why wait..  Start today, get fit!!!

Where can you find me??

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