Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Blog Giveaway - Sugar and Spice Kits

Last month I purchased some spice kits from Sugar and Spice and reviewed them here. Now here is your chance to try out the spice kits for yourself, for free. The lovely Diane from Sugar and Spice has agreed to give one of my lovely blog readers their choice of kit, plus a rice/side dish kit.

There are two ways for you to enter, and each way will count as one entry, so you can get two entries by doing both!

Enter by:
  1. Following my blog AND leaving a comment under this post
  2. Following me on twitter @lauraasnell and tweeting the following ‘I have followed @lauraasnell to win a @healthymealkitz spice kit with http://lauraswjourney.blogspot.com/ #lauraspicescomp’

The giveaway will close on 30th June, and a winner will be picked at random and contacted on 1st July. UK only.

Amsterdam - Diet Fail

A few weeks ago I'd booked a long weekend in Amsterdam with some friends, and had been told that sticking to Slimming World there was going to be near impossible because there was so much delicious fast food around, and by the time my flight on Thursday morning came around I had completely embraced the idea of having a few days off plan and eating whatever I wanted - in fact I'd started with a bacon and hash brown roll at the airport!

We spent a lovely 4 days in Amsterdam, and pretty much ate from our arrival to getting on the plane yesterday morning! And my friends were not wrong - I sampled deliciously crisp chips covered in either mayonnaise or curry sauce, some brilliant large pizza slices, one of the best burgers I'd had in a long time, warm croissants, lots of bread with cheese and salami, etc. You get the picture! Then there was the ridiculous amount of crisps we ate of an evening back in the flat we stayed in whilst playing a few games of cards. And lets not forget the gallons of beer which were consumed whilst people watching from tables in lovely Dutch bars, oh and the amazing hot chocolate I had one day which was made up from hot milk and a giant block of chocolate on a stick! In other words, it was a holiday of eating and drinking whatever I liked, and although it's probably increased the number on the scales I really enjoyed it!

The one good 'diet' thing I can say is that we walked a lot! We were on a couple of trams for the larger journeys, but mostly we walked all over the city (although the walks were more strolls, and were interspersed with stops for drinks!). Hopefully this has made a small dent in the calories consumed over the weekend.

Now it's time for me to get back on track for weigh in next Monday. I'd given myself the rest of yesterday off, and enjoyed a nice meal out and a few more beers with the intention of getting fully back on track today. Unfortunately that's not been quite as successful as I'd hoped. When I mentioned getting back on track yesterday on Facebook one of my friends pointed out that we were meeting for dinner tonight - and whilst I know I could, and should, have eaten healthily for the rest of the day, it hasn't worked out like that. That little food-obsessed devil in my head suggested that there was no point, and just to bring on the naughty for another day! But that is it, tomorrow I'm going to be 100% on plan, and I've got a gym session booked in for the evening.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Week 8 - No Weigh In

I was all set to go to weigh in this evening, when I got the news that the Forth Road Bridge was closed due to high winds. My consultant lives on one side of the bridge, our class is on the other, so naturally I wondered whether the class was on. I really hoped it was for 2 reasons - I'd been relatively good most of the week, and really hoped to have lost 2lb, which would have got me my one stone award, and also because we were due to have a taster evening at class tonight and I was looking forward to getting some new recipe ideas.

Unfortunately when I spoke to my consultant on the phone, she confirmed that she was stuck on the wrong side of the bridge and the class wouldn't be on. I can't get to another class this week as there are none over the next couple of days that I can make nearby, and I'm due to fly to Amsterdam on Thursday. This means it'll now be another 2 weeks before I weigh in, as I can't make next Monday's class because of my holiday. Hopefully I'll be able to break through the stone and a bit more by that time, providing I don't go too off track when I'm away (assuming the new ash cloud doesn't stop me going!)

Good luck to everyone weighing in this week, and I hope you're not all having the same weather related problems!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Twitter and Slimming World

When I started this blog, I mentioned one of the reasons I decided to join a Slimming World class rather than continue online was because I wanted some group support to help me on my journey. Since we've had our new consultant, I've felt very supported by both the consultant and the group, and the classes are starting to be what I expected when I enjoyed.

However, I've also discovered another massive source of support. That first day of class, I posted on my twitter account that I was nervous about joining a class, and since then I have been overwhelmed by the massive amount of support available on twitter at all times of the day and night. Slimming World itself has an active twitter account, and will often retweet messages from SW followers, and in fact actually told me to tell my consultant about this blog! In addition there are many other SW followers online who I now regularly tweet with for support.

The Slimming Worlders on Twitter are all very friendly and supportive - always ready with good luck messages before weigh in and well done messages after a loss or an award. They're also helpful when it comes to suggesting recipes, snacks, different meals, etc. and helping out with numbers of syns/am I doing things right type questions. In fact, I don't think I would have done as well without being able to log on at any time and know that everyone is there to support and help each other. If you have read my previous post, twitter was also how I discovered the Sugar and Spice Kits, which I'm sure will be a great tool in the next few weeks and months as I make more and more recipes.

So this post is really just a thank you to all of the lovely SW people on twitter - your support means a lot.

Finally, and completely off topic, I couldn't mention twitter without mentioning the other company I have come to know about and love through this medium - and that is Busy Bee Candles. You can't eat them, but they do smell amazing, and come in a massive variety of flavours and sizes. Their customer service via twitter is also excellent as they are always there to answer questions and help you out. If you like your candles, please have a look for them on twitter or at their website: www.busybeecandles.co.uk And just to bring it back around to slimming, perhaps instead of eating the bad things you could burn them - with flavours such as Strawberries & Cream, Chocolate Fudge Brownie or Fresh Bread.

Review - Sugar and Spice Kits

I love cooking things from scratch because I get a lot of satisfaction from the cooking process, and I can control exactly what's in it. The Slimming World plan is great for me to follow, because proper home cooking is encouraged, as its always going to end up lower syns than a pre-bought ready meal. The third superfree rule is also easy to achieve when I'm cooking everything, as I can always sneak in some extra vegetables either in sauces or on the side.

Unfortunately the only problem with having to cook everything from scratch can be the time involved. Sometimes I've had a busy day, sometimes I'm tired, other times I just want something quick and it would be all too easy to phone for a takeaway. I've tried to get around this in the past by bulk cooking, and freezing, but the problem with this is remembering to take things out the freezer in the morning so that they defrost (and I'm never at my best in the mornings). I also have a few quick and easy meals (such as my penne arrabiata, which is already listed on here), but I don't like having them too often as the key for me is having a wide variety of meals so I don't get bored.

I've recently came across a great solution - a way to create delicious, homemade, easy and low-syn  meals, through using spice kits from Sugar and Spice: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Sugar-and-Spice-Kits, run by the lovely Diane Prince. Diane sells ready made bags of spices to allow you to easily make your own dishes, without having to buy in lots of different spices and measure them out. There are a range of kits to chose from, including curries, casseroles, side dishes and soups, so there should be something to suit all tastes! All you need to do is add the appropriate vegetables/meat, and follow the clear recipe which is included with the spices. Kits are priced at only £1.50 and feed 4 people. They are all syn free, and if any synned items are used in the recipe Diane has already worked out the syns per portion for you. It really is easy!

Last night I tried out the Andhra Chilli Chicken. I'd ordered a few packs of spices but this was the one I was desperate to try because I love a really spicy curry, and this one was marked as hot (though don't worry - there are plenty of milder curry options available). The kit came in two bags. One was used to make a paste with tomato puree and water, and then added into a frying pan, along with chicken, vegetables and the second bag of spices. That was it! One of the easiest curries I'd ever made, and only half a syn per portion (from the tomato puree). I served it with homemade syn-free pilau rice, and really enjoyed the meal. The flavours were perfectly balanced, it was as hot as was described, and I honestly couldn't have expected better. In fact it was so good, that I'm having some more tonight (there's only 2 of us living here, so half the recipe was left over)!

I've got another few spice kits already to try, which I'm really looking forward to having a go at next time I want a quick and tasty meal, and I will definitely be ordering from Sugar and Spice again.

I'm sure I've said on this blog before that I'm a bit of a curry-a-holic, and I am used to making my own curries from scratch, however this always tends to be a jalfrezi (with slight variations), as this is the one that I perfected myself over quite a few years of trying out different spice combinations. I've tried making other curries, but never been entirely happy with them, however Diane seems to have perfected the combination of spices required for the different recipes, so I can stop trying, and start buying!

Finally, I would also just like to stress that although these kits give you a healthy way to cook these dishes, I would definitely recommend them to anyone wanting to cook a curry from scratch, regardless of whether you're following an eating plan or not. The quality is excellent, they're easy to make and I can honestly say the one I tried was just as good I'd get from any restaurant, without all the horrible oil swimming around. The shop is listed above - please go and have a look!

Monday, 16 May 2011

Week 7 Weigh In

Another week has passed where I haven't been entirely on plan, and I was still on my exercise ban, so I went to class tonight not expecting too much. Today is my birthday, and because of that I had a Indian on Saturday and insisted on having poppadoms and naan bread - things that are definitely not Slimming World friendly! (I did really enjoy it though!) As I mentioned earlier, lots of wine was consumed on Friday night, and I'd had another curry out last Thursday, so all in all there had been a fair amount of overindulgence!

Once again I was shocked that I had actually lost - 1lb this time, taking my total to 12lbs. I think that being extra good the rest of the time must be helping my losses, because despite the bad things mentioned above, I had very few other syns, which I think must have balanced everything out.

Having said that, a loss of 1lb a week isn't going to get me into my wedding dress so I do need to pick things up this week. I'm only 2lbs away from my stone award, so that's my aim for the coming week. I'm going to make more of the Super Speed Soup tomorrow, and I'm allowed to exercise again from Friday. Sticking to plan this week is going to be difficult once more - on Friday I have a cocktail and canape doo to go to, and then I'm going to a wedding reception on Saturday, but I will try my best to make sensible buffet choices and not drink too much!

Good luck to everyone else for the coming week.

RECIPE - Potato and Celeriac Gratin

This isn't quite like the delicious creamy cheesy gratin you're probably used to, but I think its a very good diet substitute. It doesn't have to be potato and celeriac - you could just used potato, but I find the celeriac adds a lot more flavour.

I use part of my HEXA allowance for the milk in this recipe, but you could also syn the milk and it would be 1.5syns per portion on Extra Easy.

(Serves 4)
3 large potatoes
One celeriac
2 rashers smoked bacon
2 garlic cloves
1 tub quark
250ml milk
6 spring onions

  1. Peel and very finely slice the potato and celeriac, and finely chop the spring onions
  2. Fry the bacon, remove all fat and chop into small pieces. Allow to cool.
  3. Spray an oven dish with frylight, and add half the potatoes then half the celeriac in layers. Add half the spring onions. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes, celeriac and spring onions.
  4. Mix the milk, quark, bacon and garlic in a blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheesy mixture over the potato/celeriac, ensuring that it gets into all the little holes. Depending on the size of dish you may have milk mix left over.
  6. Cover and bake in the oven for about an hour, removing the cover for the last 15 minutes to crisp up the top

RECIPE - Steak Pie

The only syns in this on (extra easy) are for the puff pastry and for the red wine. I only have about 25g of pastry (raw weight), which is 6 syns, so its a tiny amount but enough so that you are having steak pie. The red wine means the meat is 2 syns per portion. The meat mixture is also delicious on its own, as a stew, for just 2 syns per portion.

(Serves 4)
600g lean stewing steak
2 onions
4 carrots
4 cloves garlic
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 oxo cubes (or other beef stock)
Fresh (sprig) or dried (tsp) rosemary
2 Bay leaves
250ml red wine
Salt and Pepper
Handful red lentils

  1. Roughly chop the steak, onions, carrots, garlic and rosemary if using fresh.
  2. Put all the ingredients in a slow cooker, along with just enough water to cover
  3. Cook on low for around 6 hours.
  4. At this point, use a slotted spoon to remove the meat and bay leaves temporarily to a bowl. Put the remaining liquidy mix into a blender, this gives a lovely thick 'gravy'.
  5. Put the gravy and meat back into the slow cooker, and continue cooking on low for a further 2 hours.
  6. 20 minutes before serving, roll out the puff pastry and brush the top with egg. Cook in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes.
  7. Serve with plenty of vegetables!

My Come Dine With Me Night

As I've mentioned over the last few weeks, my friend's and I have been doing our own series of 'Come Dine With Me' dinners. Last Friday saw my turn, and therefore the opportunity for me to both show off some Slimming World food and keep things on track!

My menu was as follows:

Thai Chicken Cakes and Chilli Chickpea Cakes on a bed of rocket and parmesan with sweet chilli sauce
(Both of the cake recipes are in the 'Extra Easy Meals in Minutes' book)

Main Course
Steak Pie served with a potato and celeriac gratin, minted peas and extra gravy.
(recipes to follow)

Apple Crumble and Ice Cream

Obviously from the look of the menu it doesn't look the healthiest, but because I was cooking I was able to easily adjust my portions - for example I only had a very small bit of pastry, and didn't add butter to my peas; and I only had a tiny bite of the crumble, and kept it mostly apple, with less crumble and icecream! Instead of using cream in the gratin, I used milk; and the steak pie didn't have any oil or flour in it.

I think the recipes all went down well, particularly the starters - 3 out of my 4 guests had extras, and one of the guests has emailed me this morning for the recipes! 2 out of the 4 guests also had extra steak pie so I think that went down well too, and there were clean plates generally all round! A good night was had by all, and we managed to sneak in some exercise doing Just Dance on the wii!

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A New Consultant

As I mentioned a couple of weeks after I'd started Slimming World, I wasn't really enjoying the classes. I felt uncomfortable, and felt the group were a bit unfriendly. The meetings were interesting and useful in part, but I still felt I wanted, and expected, more from staying to class. There was very obviously a huge amount of respect for our consultant amongst the class, however when she announced she was leaving after my 4th class, I wasn't particularly concerned or disappointed.

Our new consultant started 2 weeks ago, and already I've felt a massive difference in the classes. The classes are far more interactive, with people sharing recipes and tips, and helping each other out with ways to overcome difficulties stopping us losing weight. Our new consultant has also lost 11 stone herself, so is the perfect example of how much Slimming World can work. Unfortunately it seems that not everyone feels the same - as one member commented to me last week how she was leaving now because the new consultant wasn't the same as "our dear Susan". However, as for me, I'm loving the new classes and the new consultant is one of the things that is keeping me going back!

Week 6 Weigh In and Personal Milestone

Last Thursday I had laser eye surgery, which means a two week exercise ban whilst my eyes heal. In the run up to the surgery I'd also been really busy (not to mention stressed), so I hadn't had time to exercise for the few days before either. This meant that Monday was my first weigh in where I'd done no exercise whatsoever.

In addition to the lack of exercise, I'd also had the next of our Come Dine With Me meals on the Sunday evening - which amongst other things consisted of delicious but cheesy brushetta and tiramisu, which I absolutely adore, and after a few mouthfuls (OK half of it) I had to literally force myself to put the spoon down and hide it out of reach so that I didn't scoff the lot. Plus lots of wine. Not exactly the best thing to eat the evening before a weigh in!

Given these two things, I wasn't feeling hugely positive as I stepped onto the scales and watched the numbers flickering, however when things finally settled I was 1.5lbs down and happy! This takes my total loss to 11lbs, and getting that 1.5lbs marks an important milestone for me. Last August, I started suffering badly from panic attacks and depression, and whilst I wasn't happy with my weight before then, and wanted to lose a bit of weight, I didn't feel too bad about myself. However with the panic attacks and depression came the comfort eating, and for a while I gave up on worrying about the rising numbers on the scale because everytime I tried to do something about it, I ended up straight back in the biscuit tin, or the crisp cupboard, or the ice cream tub (you get the picture!) and in a worse place than before.

When I started the Slimming World classes, I also felt that my illness was coming better under control, and having lost the 1.5lbs this week takes me below the weight I was when my depression started. Whilst I still have a long way to go to reach my target, I still feel that this is a significant milestone for me as in some ways it proves to me that I am getting better, and that I have taken control of my feelings once more. I am running my life again, and not allowing an illness to drive me into overeating.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

RECIPE - Pilau Rice

I've just posted my Chicken Jalfrezi recipe, and cannot serve it without my syn free pilau rice. It tastes just like the real thing, and is very easy to make. This can also be frozen.

500g basmati rice
1 small onion, diced as small as possible
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
4 black peppercorns
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
pinch saffron
2 bay leaves
700ml vegetable stock

  1. Rinse and soak the basmati rice as per the pack instructions
  2. Fry the onion, cardamom pods, cloves and peppercorns over a medium heat until the onion has softened
  3. Add the rice to the frying pan, along with the cinnamon, turmeric and saffron. Mix thoroughly to ensure the rice is coated with the spices. You should see the rice turning a lovely yellow colour.
  4. Add the stock and bay leaves, bring to the boil.
  5. Cover your frying pan with a lid, or if you don't have one some tinfoil.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, and leave for 15 minutes. Don't lift the lid.
  7. Switch the heat off, and allow to rest for another 5 - 10 minutes. This will partially steam the rice, and ensure all the stock and flavours have been absorbed.
  8. Fluff with a fork and then serve with the curry of your choice!

RECIPE - Chicken Jalfrezi

Curry is my absolute favourite food. I could live on it given the chance - in fact the place I'm going on honeymoon is in the Indian Ocean and even serves curry for breakfast, which I am excited about! It's definitely not something I could cut out on a diet, so although I still allow myself the occasional takeaway treat, I've spent years trying to perfect a healthy version of my absolute favourite curry - the jalfrezi.

There are a lot of ingredients in this, so the initial outlay isn't cheap, but once you have everything it is cheap to make (and definitely much cheaper than a takeaway).

(Serves 4)
4 cloves
4 cardamom pods
2 large onions, chunkily chopped
2 green peppers, chunkily chopped
2 red chillies, finely chopped
4 chicken breasts
2 tins chopped tomatoes
6 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam massala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cumin
Handful fresh coriander
1 lemon
50g red lentils

  1. Spray a pan with frylight, add a splash of water and the cloves and cardamom pods. Fry over a medium heat for 1 minute
  2. Add the chopped onion and crushed garlic, and fry for a further 5 minutes, adding water if necessary to keep things from drying out
  3. Chop the chicken breast into chunks and add to the frying pan
  4. Add the turmeric and chili powder, then stir to coat the chicken and onions. Cook until the chicken has been browned
  5. Add one of the tins of chopped tomatoes and stir through.
  6. At this point I transfer everything to a large saucepan, but keep going in the frying pan if you have a lid and it is big enough.
  7. Add the rest of the chopped tomatoes, garam massala, cumin, ground coriander, peppers and chillies, stir well.
  8. Remove the end leaves from the coriander and reserve for later. Finely chop the stalks and add to the curry
  9. Simmer over a low heat for at least 30 minutes, but 60 minutes if you have the time, as this really helps the flavours mix.
  10. Serve garnished with a slice of lemon, and a sprinkling of the reserved coriander leaves. If you find it quite spicy, a dollop of fat free natural yogurt will cool it slightly.

RECIPE - The Smash Pizza

I'd heard a few of the lovely Slimming World ladies on Twitter talking about this, so this isn't my recipe but I felt it could still be useful to put it on here for anyone who doesn't know it, and also to note my mistakes from my first attempt!

I was very sceptical about this, given that I absolutely hate Smash. I think it tastes horrible, and smells just as bad. However, I also love pizza, and really miss having it on the diet. I decided to give it a go, and I was very surprised at how good it was. As crazy as it sounds, you don't get the same Smash taste, and although its not the same as a pizza, it's close enough to satsify a craving. If you count the cheese as a healthy extra, its also syn free.

I've now made it twice, and the first time was a bit of a disaster. I'd used a normal baking tray, sprayed with fry light and the base stuck - I had to scrape it off in bits with a knife. Some lovely people on Twitter suggested that I try using a pizza tray, and also make the dough with less water - I did both of these things today and had no problems at all. It came off the tray easily, and felt more like a proper pizza base.

(For 1 pizza, which I had all to myself!)
50g smash
sprinkling mixed herbs
small clove garlic, crushed
Tomato Pasata
42g mozarella (HEXA), I chopped this into pizza express style chunks, but could also grate
Free toppings of your choice (e.g. sweetcorn, onions, chicken, ham, peppers, etc)

  1. Spray a pizza tray with fry light
  2. Mix the smash, herbs and garlic with boiling water. Add the water a few drops at a time, and mix until you have a dough. Be really careful not to make it too watery - this makes it sticky, which was my first problem
  3. Use your hands to flatten the smash mixture onto the pizza tray - try and get it as thin as possible without it falling apart
  4. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until crispy on one side. Turn over then bake on the other side for 5 minutes
  5. Add the pasata, mozarella, oregano and toppings
  6. Pop back in the oven until the cheese has melted

RECIPE - Cajun Chicken Burgers

These are another syn free burger, which I made specially for the BBQ, but are just as nice fried then oven cooked. You will need a food blender for this recipe though.

4 chicken breasts
1 tsp cajun spices (more if you want it really hot)
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 egg
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
handful finely chopped corriander
salt and pepper

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food blender, and blitz until the chicken is smooth.
  2. Form patties with the chicken mixture
  3. Fry for 2 minutes on each side to brown the chicken, then transfer to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
These can also be frozen, but ensure they are fully defrosted before use.

RECIPE - Beefburgers

When I’m on a diet I always crave naughty things, and these burgers really help satisfy the cravings, especially when I serve them topped with a homemade salsa and Slimming World chips. It’s also fun when family members start questioning how you can eat such ‘bad food’ when you’re on a diet, as you sit scoffing the whole lot!

500g extra lean minced beef
1 egg
1 small onion, diced as small as possible
1 clove garlic, crushed
Mixed herbs
Beef stock cube, made up with around 25ml of water (trust me!)
Salt and Pepper
(Fresh chilli, finely chopped if you want to add some spice)

  1. Put all the ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Don't be afraid to get your hands dirty - get stuck in and really squash and mix everything together.
  2. Divide into balls and squash down to form a burger shape - thick or thin depending on your preference. (This mixture normally makes me about 5 - 6 burgers, but again, it depends how big or small you like them)
  3. The burgers can be cooked straight away, by frying in fry light until cooked through, or oven cooking. Alternatively they can be freezed individually for when you have a burger craving

The Ultimate Compliment

I just had to share this with you all. I have a 4 year old nephew who says exactly what he thinks. In the past he has told me that I was fat, that I should go on a diet and stop eating chocolate (he had a fair point!) Whilst on holiday last week, he said, completely out of the blue after we had been swimming, that my waist looked smaller and I was going to look good for my wedding! I was thrilled – recognition that I’ve lost weight is always welcome, but to have it come from a 4 year old who says what he means was such a confidence booster! Hopefully I’ll keep continuing to shrink my waist, and he’ll keep noticing!!

Holidays and Week 5 Weigh In

I missed my week 4 weigh in as I was on holiday, which was probably just as well. The day before I’d been to my future brother and sister-in-law’s house for an Easter Sunday meal, which consisted of a ridiculous amount of alcohol, 3 courses, cakes, Easter eggs and a massive cheese board!

The holiday then began the following day. It was a big family holiday, which we tend to do around once a year at a lodge in Dunkeld, Perthshire. It gives everyone a chance to catch up and enjoy ourselves in a beautiful part of the country. This year I had volunteered in advance to take over the cooking of dinner. I love cooking anyway, and none of the rest of my family are as keen as me, so they were happy for me to do it. This meant that for the 3 out of 4 nights which we ate in the lodge dinner was healthy. (Although my dad did question if I actually was on a diet!)

We had planned a BBQ for the first night, so I had made some beef burgers and Cajun chicken burgers in advance, which my mum actually preferred to the regular burgers she’d bought! Those and a baked potato meant I was nice and full without picking at the naughty sausages. The next night was a big cottage pie and lots of veg. This went down brilliantly with everyone, including my 4 year old nephew who doesn’t like potato but ate just about all of it! Finally we did a curry night, and I made chicken jalfrezi and syn free pilau rice.

So dinners were fine, as were breakfasts – most mornings I sat down to a good portion of Mexican scrambled eggs and some bacon, whilst everyone else had a fry up, though I have to confess to sneaking in the odd hash brown on a few occasions. Lunches weren’t too bad, as when we were out we tended to take picnics with us, so I could make up a sandwich using a healthy extra portion of bread, however I did tend to have crisps with my lunch! One day I also had a baguette from my favourite deli, which was very naughty but very enjoyable!

However, the worst problem was alcohol. When my family get together there tends to be a lot of alcohol drunk, and when I drink I eat badly too, so the evenings were full of nibblings on crisps and biscuits!

I did get some exercise in whilst on holiday too – being in the countryside gave me plenty of opportunity for walks, and I took the chance to play with my niece and nephew a lot, which I’m sure burned a few calories.

Overall I was pleased with how I’d done on holiday – I wanted to still enjoy myself and not feel like I was missing out, and I think that’s what I did. My aim for the 2 weeks was to stay the same weight, and when I weighed in on Monday I had actually lost half a pound, so I was thrilled.