Syn Free Sweet WafflesIf I told you that you can have healthy breakfast waffles on Slimming World would you believe me? Probably not, I wouldn’t either. I have to say that I just love sweet waffles but calorie wise and syn wise, they aren’t worth it. When I was scouring the internet I found that Pinch of Nom and a lot of Slimming Worlders had been making syn free waffles which baffled me. I honestly wasn’t sure that they could be as good as the ones I would have usually bought but let me tell you, they are so easy and so tasty as well.

INGREDIENTS

  • You will need a waffle mould which are really inexpensive.
  • 40g of Oats (add 6 syns if not using as your Healthy Extra B)
  • 75g of syn free yogurt. I used natural but I think vanilla would be nice as well.
  • 1 tbsp sweetener or less depending how sweet you want them (I tend to have Stevia)
  • 1 medium egg, whisked
  • An optional few drops of vanilla essence (or any other flavouring you wish)
  • You can use a variety of toppings but my favourites are fresh strawberries and raspberries.

METHOD

  1. Mix your oats, egg, sweetener, essence of choice and yogurt together. I’ve seen it recommended to blitz them which I didn’t do but you can it you wish.
  2. Once you have the mixture at the consistency you want (if it’s too thick, blitz at this point) simply pour into your waffle mould.
  3. Bake the waffles at around 180ºc for around 15/20 minutes until the waffles are firm to touch and slightly brown.
  4. Take the waffles out of the mould and place them on a baking tray so they can cook to be golden brown. This takes around 5 minutes.
  5. Once your waffles are cooked all that’s left is to add your toppings and enjoy!

My Thoughts On Being 30I am now a 30 year old. Eek! I wanted to write this post before my actual birthday but because I ended up ridiculously busy right before, I had to leave my blog to one side for a couple of weeks, sorry about that.

I know we all say it every single year but I really feel like this year is going by at a stupidly fast pace, it’s officially Autumn which can only mean one thing – my candle collection is coming out. I can’t believe that I am now 30. I had the most amazing birthday and was lucky enough to be celebrating it in the city I’ve always wanted to go to – New York. It was one of the most amazing holiday’s, ever and both my boyfriend and I loved it. A lot of people seem to dread the big 3-0 but I was more excited than anything else.

I wanted to write this post to share how I feel now that I’ve turned 30 and how I’ve changed over the last few years as I feel that I’m a different person to who I was last year, let alone the person I was in my early twenties. I am honestly so excited about being my 30’s – bring on the good times!

1. I am a lot more happy in myself and confident – I’m definitely more of a happy person these days with more confidence than I have had in a long time. I spent most of my twenties feeling really uneasy and unhappy in myself.  Although I do try and keep myself to myself and some people may think I’m quiet (I’m not when you get to know me!) I am able to speak out when I need to and more and more I will stand up for myself which I think is a good quality. I’m also more confident in my body and appearance which I haven’t been in years and although I’m not at my target weight yet, I’m getting there.

2. I’ve finally learnt that quality is better than quantity – This was something I started learn a few years ago and it pretty much applies to everything in my life, especially friendships (and chocolate, of course). I have had a number of friends over the years some of which I’ve known for a very long time, but now I’m left with a handful of friends that I keep close to me and class as my best friends and I honestly wouldn’t know what to do without them. None of them are toxic people, they are all lovely and I know would do anything for me which means I am now surrounded by a small group of people who I trust with everything.

3. I know how I like to spend my time – I feel that I know who I am, what I like and how I like to spend my time. Time is precious and my absolute favourite way to spend my time is with the people I love the most – my boyfriend, family and friends. My perfect evening in would be with friends, Gaz or my parents, a DVD and some popcorn to snack on. I’ve never been a huge fan of going to a club or going out-out constantly, but I really enjoy a nice meal out with a few glasses of prosecco, gin or even some delicious cocktails. I also like to give myself a bit of me time which will often happen while my boyfriend plays on Fifa and usually involves having a bath and watching YouTube, Netflix or spending my time writing my blog posts and pinning on Pinterest. Sometimes me time will also be in the kitchen, cooking a nice meal while I watch the iPad. I am so cool, I know.

4. I would rather spend my money on living life than a lipstick – In my early twenties I tended to be a bit more frivolous with my money and spend it on whatever I like whereas towards my late twenties and now, I’m a bit more realistic and don’t like to throw my money away. A lot of people laugh at me but I have a finances spreadsheet and I set aside a certain amount each month for myself and most of that is spent on doing things. I’ve realised that I would rather spend my money on doing things, going out with my friends, organising trips to London, booking theatre and ballet tickets, having a meal out with my boyfriend, visiting my parents etc. I used to want to buy loads of makeup but now I’m not so fussed. How life changes!

5. I’d rather have a quiet life than one filled with drama – Drama, gossiping and bitchiness will always happen but I feel like I spent a lot of my twenties in the middle of one massive drama but thankfully now I am completely out of that. Now that I’m 30 I definitely want more of a quiet, simple and drama free life. I have learnt to walk away from drama and gossiping and have no interest in anyone looking to create drama. Once I learned to let go of the people causing it, a weight was lifted off my shoulders.

6. My fashion sense has changed – Yes, it definitely has. I don’t feel the need to buy an excessive amount of clothes to fill my wardrobe and I would much rather spend a little bit more money and have a few nice pieces I can wear in different combinations. My favourite clothes to wear are my jeans with a nice top or a comfy jumper. I also live in my favourite Doctor Who hoody.

7. Sometimes it’s good to step back, take care of me and relax –  I’ve learnt a lot that sometimes life can just get too much and that I need to take some time out for me. Sometimes I find myself exhausted from work or life in general and I hit the point where I know I need to take action – this usually involves a break from social media and just enjoying my time offline a bit more. Sometimes I also get fed up with blogging so I have a bit of a break because I find that if I’m churning out content I’m not really bothered about, no one will want to read it anyway. I know the tell-tale signs to needing a break so I always make sure I have one, whatever that may involve. It’s good to listen to your body and know what’s best for you.

Have you recently hit a big birthday? Do you feel like your life has changed? I’d love to hear.

The August Round-Up

I feel as though I’ve blinked and August has gone. In fact, that kind of applies to the rest of 2016 as well. Where has this year gone? Really? So, what did I get up to in August?

Firstly, I spent a lot of time watching Netflix (thank god for Netflix!) because my Sky box decided to break and it took two weeks for an engineer to come out to fix it. Just in time for the football season to start, I might add. What wonderful timing….!

Line of Duty was the first thing we watched and boy are we now addicted to the story line. WHY didn’t I watch it before?! We also have been enjoying Impractical Jokers. Love those two shows!

The August Round-Up

Slimming World wise I’ve been really enjoying overnight oats with raspberries or strawberries chopped up. I particularly like raspberries, I end up with pink overnight oats. They are honestly the best breakfast and I often eat them at my desk when I get to work rather than having them at home. They keep me fuller for longer. 

My boyfriend and I also sat down to sort out our New York planning, we spent a couple of hours looking at the map and highlighting where we want to go and as you can imagine there were a lot of places. I honestly can’t believe I’m going to New York in two weeks. TWO WEEKS!

This also means that I’m nearly 30 which to me is crazy. I’m so excited to be spending my 30th birthday in the place I’ve always wanted to go. I also chose the handbag I’ll be buying over there for my birthday. I can’t wait to explore a city I’ve never been to in a country I’ve never been to and enjoy myself fully making memories I’ll never forget.

The August Round-Up

I also went on a trip to London with one of my best friends, we had such a nice girly weekend and had fun being tourists which isn’t something I do often. We’ve started planning our trip for next year already – there’s talk of going to a show and having afternoon tea as well. 

The August Round-Up

Now, we’re at the end of August *gulp* and I’m spending the bank holiday weekend in Scotland visiting my parents. I try and go to see them before I go away for my birthday but this weekend is even more special as it’s my Dad’s birthday so it will be nice to spend it with him. 

For the next week or so my blog posts may be a little sporadic so bear with me and normal service will resume shortly. Yes, I am aware that I sound like some kind of train announcement.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

This weekend was one I have been looking forward to for a long time now. One of my best friends and I were talking for a good few months about having a weekend in London. She hadn’t been in a long time and I’d never really done much in the way of touristy stuff when I’ve been down. So, in May we booked our train tickets and decided to stay overnight and this weekend we headed down. We booked the Hilton at London Bridge which is really easy to get to from the London Bridge tube in a fantastic location with a couple of minutes walk to Tower Bridge.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London  We decided quite early on that we were going to be a bit touristy in this trip so we booked to go on the London Eye which neither of us have ever been on before. I was hoping it would be a nice day so we would get some lovely views and luckily it was.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonA Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In London A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonI was amazed at how smooth the London Eye was to go on, I’m not sure what I was expecting really but you could barely feel it move, even when you were at the top. The views were fantastic and my friend and I were sight spotting from the top.

When we got off we decided to have a walk across the bridge to see Big Ben and Westminster. By this point it was really warm so we decided to make the most of the day.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London   We spent a lot of time walking and went to Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen was in, as you do. We also went to Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and then headed back to the hotel because by that point our feet were getting a little tired and we wanted to be back in time to go for dinner.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In LondonA Girly Touristy Weekend In London

We had booked a table at Browns in Covent Garden which was lovely. I’d never been there before, we were sat in a booth and had some lovely food (none of which I took photos of as we were chatting away and I was really hungry). We also had cocktails of course!

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

On Sunday we spent the morning getting ready, checking out of the hotel and having breakfast. We headed to Covent Garden not really knowing that most of the shops didn’t open until 12pm – rookie error. We did make the most of the day again and did quite a lot of walking across Waterloo Bridge and around Covent Garden as well. I love Covent Garden for a little bit of shopping and luckily I managed to go into Kate Spade to pick the bag I want to get in New York – so excited! We had such a lovely girly weekend and we’ve already started talking and planning what we will do next year. It was nice to be a bit of a tourist in London for the day and if you haven’t been on the London Eye, I would definitely recommend it.

A Girly Touristy Weekend In London

The Benefits From Weight Loss

I should probably preface this post by stating that I don’t think that weight loss equals instant happiness but losing weight has done a hell of a lot for me both mentally and psychically.

When I started this journey I was 28, turning 29 and I weighed over 15 stone and it wasn’t pretty. I felt fat, I was wearing baggy clothes in the hope that people wouldn’t notice how big I actually was and now I’m on the road back to the weight I was happy at (when I was 18, I might add!) and I feel great. I wanted to tell you all what I’ve found the benefits are to losing weight so far because I have realised that being so overweight did me good mentally or psychically.

Confidence – This is the biggest thing I would say losing weight has benefited me. I have much more confidence now, in myself, my ability, what I wear and how I act. I feel like a different person, it’s a strange way to describe the sensation I do, but I do. Friends, colleagues and family are noticing my loss now which is a big thing for me. They can see how well I’m doing and are always saying how well I look. I even have noticed that I’m wearing my hair up more which may seem a bit daft but I didn’t before, I felt self conscious with my round face but now I love to wear my hair up in different styles.

Healthier Mind – I used to be an emotional eater and I haven’t felt the need to if I’ve been stressed over recent months. I went through redundancy at work for the second time in a year and I didn’t binge whereas last year, I would have. My mind feels a lot less clouded which is good and in the back of my head there’s a voice telling me how far I’ve got and how far I want to go and that I won’t sabotage myself any longer. I also feel more relaxed and happier in general,  I don’t feel anxious all the time and I don’t feel self conscious around friends.

Exercise – I find that I can walk quicker, and I actually enjoy going for walks now even if I go on my own which I quite often do. I can also walk up flights of stairs without getting ridiculously out of breath which I might not have been able to do before. I am ready for my long walks in New York and I even have some Sketchers to wear while I do my thousands of steps each day.

Losing inches – Sometimes I get on the scale and it says I’ve maintained or gained weight and initially I get a feeling that I’ve not done well but then I remember, I’m losing inches. I’ve gone down 2 dress sizes, my clothes fit a hell of a lot better and I feel so much better. These days I am more focussed on how my clothes feel than how the scale is going and hey, even my pants are now big. Who would have thought it?

If you’ve lost weight, what benefits have you found?

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity TrackerI’ve been bart of the FitBit crew (is that really a thing now?) for a number of years now before they were the ‘in’ thing to have. In July 2013 I bought my FitBit Zip because I wanted a way to track my exercise and I’ve never looked back since. Funnily enough, the FitBit I own is the one I never hear much about and no one seems to own, so I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

What I love most about the Zip is that it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker. It’s small, subtle and you can clip it to your bra or jeans so no one will know you’ve got it on. If you’re looking to track your sleep, cycling or running then this FitBit won’t be for you but what it does, it does well.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

This FitBit tracks your daily steps, miles you’ve walked, calories burnt and the time you’ve been active for. Personally, this is all I need so it’s ideal for me and as if you’re like me and don’t want to wear a wristband or don’t like wearing anything on your wrist then this FitBit would be perfect for you.

It comes with a CR2025 battery and keeps track of the battery percentage and when it gets low you will receive an email to let you know you need to buy a new battery soon. The battery life on the trackers is fantastic and lasts a good few months before you need to replace them.

The FitBit Zip Wireless Activity Tracker

I use my FitBit on a daily basis and sync it with my phone at night so that I can see my daily steps. I also like to take part in weekly, weekend long and daily challenges with my friends. I think fitness trackers are really interesting, they are kind of an educational tool where you can improve your fitness. I like to try and achieve my daily goal of 10,000 steps. I think they are a fantastic motivational tool and would highly recommend buying the Zip, it’s inexpensive and does the job well.

If you’d like to be FitBit friends you can add me on my email: alison.thursby@ymail.com

Useful Slimming World Websites

As a Slimming World paying member you get access to the website which gives you extra recipes, up to date healthy extra lists and various other features. Then you have access to the app which allows you to look up syns really easily as well as logging a food diary, if you want. Slimming World isn’t exactly cheap, you pay £4.95 each week so not everyone can afford to pay that so I thought I would share some of my favourite websites for Slimming World tips, recipes, syn values and general help if you decide you’d like to give it a go from home and follow the principles of the diet. Or, if you’re just looking for some inspiration.

One of my favourite recipe websites at the moment is Pinch of Nom which has a large amount of recipes and little videos which show them cooking them. They have an amazing Facebook group as well which is full of members that share recipes and help each other out.

Also, as a blogger I have friends that follow the plan so we’re all in our own little Bloggers Group which is really nice. There’s just a group of blogging girls who follow the plan from home or go to group. We tell each other how we do on weigh in, help each other for advice and have general chit chat. It’s nice to have that community of people with very similar interests – blogging and Slimming World mixed is a winner as far as I’m concerned.

Facebook Friends Recipes is another fantastic group for recipe inspiration. I find that a lot of members go on there looking for the same thing I do, inspiration. You can join this group for a general chit chat, recipe inspiration or perhaps you have some ingredients left in your fridge and don’t know what to do? They are good to go to.

And last but lot least, I find the best group for any syn values has to be Syns Allowed which is ran by people who have done the Slimming World plan and updated regularly with different syn values from supermarkets all over the United Kingdom. All members are really helpful and it’s a great tool if you don’t have access to the app and aren’t a paying member.

I hope this was helpful to anyone reading it and hey, if you have any other recommendations, please let me know!

Bacon, Feta and Red Pepper Muffins Bacon, Feta and Red Pepper Muffins Bacon, Feta and Red Pepper Muffins

For me, when I think of muffins I tend to think of the chocolatey-sweet kind. After being on Slimming World for a while and hearing about savoury muffins, I wanted to give them a go. I’ve tried bacon and mushroom, tomato and cheese, ham etc etc but now I think I’ve found my favourite combination. The Slimming World muffins are delicious, they are really fluffy and are a perfect addition to the lunch time menu. They are made with minimal ingredients and don’t take long to whip up at all. I would also say you kind of feel a little indulgent eating them and you can kind of mix it up and make more of a breakfast style muffin if you want.

INGREDIENTS

4 Rashers of Bacon (all fat removed, personally I used medallions)
6 Eggs
90g Feta Chopped (45g is your healthy extra)
1 Onion
Salt & Pepper

METHOD

Heat the oven to 180°c.
Start buy chopping up your bacon and adding it into a pan with fry light. Cook until it’s golden and crispy.
Remove from the pan and then add your chopped onion and pepper and heat through until they are soft and the onions are clear.
Now, crack your eggs in a bowl and whisk.
Add the onion, bacon and pepper into the mixture along with some salt and pepper and stir thoroughly.
Now spray some fry light to the muffin cases to avoid any sticking or fighting to get them out.
Now you need to pour the mixture into the muffin cases and place the feta on top.
Put them into the oven for 20 minutes and remove when fluffy and golden on the top.