Weightloss Wednesday – an unexpected surprise

Woman of the year

As you may or may not know, I have been on a big weightloss mission since the beginning of this year. I thought that some of you might be interested in finding out how I have been getting on, especially when I reach milestones and so Weightloss Wednesdays were created. Rather than post every week (which would bore you, I’m sure!) I am posting roughly every month.Continue Reading . . .

Pineapple wishlist

pineapple wishlist

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9

In all seriousness, who doesn’t like pineapples?! They are just so tropical and summery, I love them. Not only do they taste amazing, but they just look so cute and they remind me of being on holiday in the Caribbean! This year I think there has been an abundance of pineapple prints and homeware so I have decided to collate some of my faves in a pineapple themed wishlist for you all to enjoy too.

I’m loving the cushion, but unfortunately it wouldn’t go with our living room’s colour scheme, wahh. Just need to have a tropical themed bedroom now…..

The gold pineapple necklace from River Island is too cute and the perfect way to tropical up any outfit, so ideal for holidays.

Pineapple cocktail sticks, you need these in your life for homemade pina coladas or Singapore slings. Just think how fancy you will look with a pineapple chunk skewered on it. Cocktail umbrella optional.

The Boohoo playsuit is so perfect for summer. It is casual enough you could wear it on the beach over a bikini, but could be dressed up with wedges and a statement necklace. It looks so comfortable too! The pineapple print is quite understated for those who don’t want to go full on in your face tropical.

So apparently you can get pineapple spoons! I know I’m going a bit far now, but if they are out there then there must be a demand! They would be great for serving with a pineapple dessert at a dinner party. You’d be the hostess with the mostess for sure.

The LUSH shampoo sounds lie heaven in a bottle to me. Packed full of tropical fruits it works to clarify your hair and leaves it smelling like a fruit cocktail, om nom nom!

Would you buy any of these items?

How I’ve lost two stone since Janaury

I’ve never been the kind of person that could stick to new year’s resolutions. Every year since I can remember I have pledged at midnight I will become a better version of myself. I will work harder. I will cut out junk food. I will eat more fruit and the list goes on. This year, I made the same pledges, but for once I decided to do something about it, rather than hope it would happen by itself.

On 5 January I went to a Slimming World group all on my own. I sat in the car in the carpark for about five minutes, completely scared. Scared because I had to go in alone. Scared because I might not go in. Scared of what I would have to give up and scared of who I might become. That all seems very melodramatic, I know, but my self confidence was at an all time low.

Eventually I got out of the car and walked through those doors and joined the semi circle of people sat inside the hall. The consultant came over and introduced herself, she was friendly and handed me an application form to fill out. I was also given a little pack (pictured above) containing books packed full of information and food diaries which I had a read through while the current members were weighed in.

When everything had settled down, the consultant went through the book inside the pack, it turned out the plan had changed slightly over Christmas, so it was new to the current members as well. I had done some research over the Christmas holidays, so I knew roughly what to expect already. I picked Slimming World over any other diet plan or slimming group because is not a calorie restricted diet, so you will never be hungry. It is about changing your lifestyle and learning to make good choices.

You can eat as much meat, fruits and veggies, and carbs such as pasta, rice and potatoes as you want. The only rule is a third of your plate should be filled with “speed” foods which as certain types of fruit and vegetables. The only foods that are limited are cheese and milk which you can have one measured portion of a day. And bread and cereal which again you can have one measured portion a day. On top of this, you can have between five and 15 “syns” a day which include naughty foods like chocolate, crisps, mayonnaise, oils etc.

With this plan you never have to cut things out, just moderate them which is perfect, if like me, you have tried to give up chocolate for lent and failed every year. When you ban yourself from food you crave it more and end up giving up, so a measured amount keeps the cravings at bay, and the pounds too.

The plan involves a lot of cooking from scratch, which I love to do anyway, so it wasn’t a huge adjustment for me. I found that all I needed to do was swap what I was already having for lower fat versions. So using Frylight instead of oil to cook with, fat free yoghurt instead of full fat.

I have cut some foods out of my diet, and that is because I simply don’t miss them, and I’d rather use my syns on something else. I never realised just how bad fruit juice is for you. It is packed full of sugar. Just because a glass is one of your five a day, doesn’t make it healthy. I’ve also cut out houmous which I used to eat all the time with chopped up veggies, thinking I was being really healthy. If I want it now, I make it from scratch which is much better for you.

A typical day

Breakfast
30g of granola with a big dollop of Total 0% fat greek yoghurt and half a bowl of strawberries. If I need a sugar boost I will add a little drizzle of honey, which is “synned”.

Snack
An apple

Lunch
Leftover chili con carne from the night before (made with 5% fat mince) packed full of peppers, a big handful of spinach and some brown rice (you can have white rice too, I find brown rice more filling and tasty).

Snack
Mullerlight vanilla yoghurt

Dinner
Pasta with chicken, bacon (all fat removed before cooking), peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic, pesto (synned) and quark (a very low fat cream cheese) with 30g of cheddar cheese sprinkled on top and a salad and low fat dressing.

If later on I fancy something sweet I might have a Freddo bar (synned).

As you can see from my sample menu I can eat plenty of food. The naughty things are limited and every plate had a decent amount of fruit or vegetables which helps to control portion sizes. I find eating a typical menu like this (obviously I eat a wide variety of things, not just this every day!!) would result in a 2lb weight loss at the end of the week.

I’ve had my ups and downs since joining with a little holiday to Berlin, days out, and nights out. These things do get in the way sometimes and can hinder progress. Life can get in the way, but 95% of the time I am on plan and I am loving it.

So today I am two stone lighter than when I first stepped on those scales. I have lost a total of 15 inches from my body with a massive 6 inches coming off my hips alone! I’ve had to buy smaller bras and a smaller pair of jeans and a lot of my clothes are looking too big for me now. I’m not really sure what clothes size I am now, but I’d suspect I have gone down two sizes.

I was terrified going in to group for the first time, but everyone there is in the same boat and is understanding. A six months ago I would have told you I’d be fat forever. But now I can see a future where I am smaller, healthier and fitter.

A summer cocktail with Prairie Charms

When Prairie Charms announced their latest collaboration with the Make A Wish Foundation, I was really keen to get involved. 25% of every order goes straight to this fantastic charity who work with children with life-threatening illnesses to grant their wishes. I bought the Aalia Pink Chevron Paper Straws and the Beatrix Washi Tape to help me accessorise my summery cocktail. Plus Prairie Charms also sent me two lovely gifts, a pot of the Dalia Nail Glitter*, a black glitter that is perfect for a statement nail or nail art and a gold Willow Heart Clip* that can jazz up any outfit!

We have had some gorgeous weather recently, and hopefully it will just keep getting better and better as we get closer to summer. Last weekend was particularly sunny where I live, so I took advantage of this by grabbing my copy of Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes, my sunnies and beach towel for a little sunbathe on the balcony. The only thing missing was a summer drink to cool my down in the heat!

Summer berry fizz

50ml of gin (you could also use vodka)
A small handful of mixed frozen berries
Top up with white grape and blackberry sparkling flavoured water

Before I started, I decorated my jar with the purple polka dot tape from the Beatrix Washi Tape set. This is a great way to jazz up your glassware without spending a fortune. Plus you can go crazy with all sorts of colours and patterns.

There is no “method” for this cocktail, it is really quick and simple, just literally put all the ingredients together and you are ready to go! To enhance the flavour, I’d suggest mixing the cocktail half an hour or so before you want to serve it and pop in the fridge to give the berries a chance to infuse with the sparkling water.

When you are ready to serve, remove from the fridge and add ice if you want. You could also add a few mint leaves and some lime for a fresher taste. To top off the cocktail I added an Aalia Pink Chevron Paper Straw which is so summery and fun. Plus I made my own flag straw using a plain white straw from Ikea, then I wrapped some washi tape around it and cut a triangle out to make the flag shape. Super easy, and very cute.

Prairie Charms have so many lovely products including jewellery, floral crowns, nail art and cute packaging, so you are sure to find something you love. Plus 10% of profits go to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, so it really is guilt-free shopping! 
What is your favourite cocktail recipe? Which is your favourite Prairie Charms product?

Is The Girl on the Train on your summer reading list?

This week I have been reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins which has been billed by the press as the next Gone Girl. I loved the book and the film so obviously I wanted to give it a go and see if it was everything it was cracked up to be.
The novel revolves around Rachel who takes a commuter train into London every morning. The train stops at a signal each day giving her a view into the gardens of a perfect row of Victorian houses where she has conjured up a whole back story about “Jess” and “Jason”, a couple who live in one of the houses. But one day Rachel sees something that shatters the illusion she has created and it changes everything.

Now I need to put this out there before any of you rush out and buy this book, you will not like any of the characters. All of them are unlikable. Rachel, the main character, is totally unstable, her busybody housemate is annoying, the “real” Jess and Jason are definitely not the perfect couple. However, I personally loved that all of the characters are a hot mess, I think it makes for a much more interesting story.

This is your typical psychological thriller, and it was certainly a page turner. I did guess the ending about half way through, but up until that point I was pointing fingers at people left right and centre, so I’m not disappointed.

I will say that The Girl on the Train isn’t really much like Gone Girl other than it is a psychological thriller. I think that Gone Girl is much more complex and the twist is far better. However I really enjoyed reading The Girl on the Train and I would recommend it as a summer read. Paula Hawkins writing style captivated me, and while I didn’t particularly like Rachel, I empathised with her and what she was going through, which implicitly conveys her talent as a writer,

Have you read The Girl on the Train? What is on your summer reading list?

Best blog reads #1

I want to start sharing with you some of the best blog posts that I have read recently. I don’t know if this will become a regular feature or if I will do it once in a while, but let’s give it a go anyway!

A Little Obsessed
Sabrina’s latest bog gives five tips to improve your blog over the weekend. This is a must read for newbie bloggers.
If you are a lover of Mexican food, Roisin has some lovely recipes to celebrate Cino de Mayo. Just add a margarita!
Running White Horses
Carina’s trip to Copenhagen makes me want to jump on a plane and explore the world.

Style Sunrise

Karen looks stunning in her latest post, pairing bright red skinnies with a charity tee from Connected Generation. If you want to find a way to give something back, but on your own terms it is well worth checking this post out.

Who’s blog have you been loving? Proud of a post? Send me a link in a comment below!

Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel

 

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel menu Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel tea choices

It was my little sister’s 21st birthday in March, so to celebrate, I took her to Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel in London. We were both so excited to go, some friends of mine had been just before us and told us how amazing it was. Alice in Wonderland is such a unique story so we had high hopes that the afternoon tea would be just as special.

Upon arrival we were shown to our table under a canopy in a garden in the centre of the hotel. In the middle was a really pretty water feature and either side were tables filled up with families celebrating birthdays, and groups of friends on girly days out. The waitress brought over the menu which was in the middle of an old book and it detailed exactly what we could expect from the Mad Hatter’s experience. She then placed a silver tray with four glass vials filled with flavoured teas on our table and invited us to smell them and decide what we’d like to accompany our food. All of them smelled gorgeous, it was a tough choice between, strawberries and cream, apple pie, mint chocolate chip and rhubarb and custard. I went for the latter and it was amazing!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel rhubarb and custard tea

 

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sugar lumps

 

The details were very well thought out, from a riddle from the novel serving as a napkin ring, sugar lumps stashed away in a vintage jewellery box, and paper crowns worn by the teapot King of Hearts. These extra touches really helped to make it all feel extra special.

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel

 

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel cakes

 

When the beautiful cake stand arrived were both pretty much the heart eye emoji. They very top tier boasted a monochrome teacup on top with live pea shoots growing from it, Hiding in amongst the greenery were two carrot meringues and underneath were some strawberry and cream marshmallows. The middle tier was where the magic really happened. A clock shaped Victoria sponge, mango and white chocolate cheesecake and white chocolate and matcha green tea mousse in a chocolate tea cup. Everything was delicious, but very sweet!

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel sandwiches

 

Mad Hatter's Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel drink me

 

The bottom tier had some mini scones, one type traditional and the other a savoury spinach version, plus herb butter, strawberry jam and clotted cream. The tiny brown bottles had, in true Alice in Wonderland style, little labels saying “drink me”. The potion was delicious and made up of coconut cream and passion fruit puree – unfortunately it seemed to have no effect on us… The sandwiches and quiches were probably my favourite part. I am a lover of savoury flavours, and they were definitely needed to balance out the sweetness of the cakes.

Our experience at the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea was completely perfect, it was the attention to detail as well as the fantastic service and well thought out menu that really made it something special. London has plenty of places that offer afternoon tea, but if you are after one that stands out from the crowd, this is definitely the one for you.