The July Round-Up

I honestly feel like July went in a blink. I know, we say that after almost every month but July went in the blink of an eye and now we’re in August. So, what happened in July?

I spent the first week with my parents, we went to the Lake District for few days and then onto Scotland for a few days. Honestly, that week feels like it was lifetime ago now but it was a fantastic week which I came back feeling really relaxed from. I then came back to Coventry to what seemed like a two week heatwave.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who wishes every season away. I just don’t like being in work when it’s so warm in the UK with no air con and you feel like there’s no air. Luckily, I have been bringing out my dresses to keep me cooler in the warmer weather. I also finally started my bullet journal which I’m hoping to film mini videos for, so more on that soon. 

The July Round-Up

My boyfriend and I went with our friends to a live comedy night at the Showcase Cinema which is one of my favourite nights out. It was a fantastic night out for all of us and overall great value for money. The comedy was excellent and we also had some cheap drinks there as well. You can’t really go wrong, it was such a good night out. 

July ended with me leaving my old blog name behind and changing to my new domain which is where you are reading now. I was lucky enough to have Pipdig helping me move my domain which made it that much easier as I genuinely wouldn’t know where to start, just like I didn’t know where to start when I moved to WordPress. I have changed most of my social media and am in the process of changing the last few handles now. I am changing my layout slightly too, nothing major I just want a little refresh. 

In July I’ve been enjoying finding new recipes and watching recipe videos on Pinch of Nom. They also have a fantastic community on Facebook as well so I would highly recommend you request to join if you’re interested in Slimming World friendly recipes, tips and chit chat.

I’ve also been enjoying sorting my clothes out and having a good clear out using the Marie Kondo method. I’m not sure where this method has been all my life but it has helped.

My new favourite app is WhatsApp web/desktop which is where you download whatsapp for your computer and you can use it without being on your phone 24/7. It’s fabulous! 

TV wise I’ve started a new show thanks to my friend Amanda – The Catch. If you like White Collar or Blacklist, you will love this. I’d highly recommend.

August is going to be a busy month for me, jam packed from start to finish with weekends away, planning for New York which is less than 6 weeks away *eep!* and seeing friends and family. I still don’t feel like I’m going to New York. I’ve been saying I am since I booked the week away in January but it doesn’t feel real. I suppose it won’t feel real until I’m actually there and looking at my surroundings. I’ve wanted to go there for a long time so I am very much looking forward to spending my 30th birthday there with my boyfriend.

How was your July?

A New Chapter

I can remember the day I decided to start a blog. I can also remember trying to come up with a cool name for my blog, and at the time RockandGlitter was it. I can’t remember how or why I decided to go with that name but it’s stuck with me ever since and I’ve rolled with it.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but  during this year I have been changing the way I blog and make YouTube videos to allow everything to feel more like me.

I’m Alison, I’m nearly 30, I love Doctor Who, drinking Prosecco, I follow Slimming World and I like taking photos of anything and everything. That’s what I want my little space on the internet to be – just me, nothing fancy but something real and authentic. Somewhere I can be proud of.

So, this will be the last time you see me as RockandGlitter because next week I will become – it’s my name, and I don’t think anything can be more me than my own name.

I hope to see you over there. Nothing will change over here really, just a name – all my previous content will be transferred. I have changed my social media and once everything’s changed I will post all my social media links. I will kind of miss RockandGlitter, it was my baby.

Here’s to nearly turning 30 and starting a new chapter.

A Few Days In The Lake District

A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend, parents and I (and Daisy, of course) went to the Lake District. We stayed for a few days and had such a lovely time before we headed up to Scotland so I thought I would share some of my photos with you all of our trip.

A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

We were lucky enough to stay in a lovely cottage in Motherby which is roughly about 7 miles from junction 40 of  the M6. As you can see it had great views which we could look out on every evening from the living room. It also had lovely enclosed garden that Daisy enjoyed walking around and having a few sniffs. There was also a lovely pub nearby which we had a lovely meal at one evening.

A Few Days In The Lake District

This photo was from the first day we got there. We went to Glenridding which we’d been to on a previous visit and on the way back stopped by Ullswater and managed to capture this beautiful photo.

While we were visiting we were lucky enough to have some lovely weather which enabled us to go and visit some places we hadn’t seen in our last trip in 2014. Maryport was the first new place we went. It is a beautiful little town which was about 45 minutes away from our cottage (maybe longer if you take the wrong turning, oops!). It had a lovely harbour which we enjoyed a walk around even though it was a bit of a windy day when we went.

A Few Days In The Lake District

We also took a trip to Grasmere and went on a lovely walk around the village and by the lake itself. Unfortunately we didn’t get any gingerbread much to my Mum’s disappointment but maybe next time.

A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

On our last full day we visited Caldbeck. Mum had read in the cottage guest book that there was a nice wool shop there so we thought we’d get a few hours there – turns out we got most of the day there. It was a really lovely village and we enjoyed a nice (sometimes steep) walk to see a waterfall.

A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake District A Few Days In The Lake DistrictA Few Days In The Lake District

 We had such a nice few days in the Lake District and would definitely go back again.

June Round-Up

June felt like a very busy month and the theme of the month was celebrating birthdays. I spent the first weekend celebrating one of my best friends 30th birthday. A few of us went for a spa day at Bannatynes and I felt very relaxed by the end of my Swedish massage.

We also celebrated with a lovely BBQ at her house on her actual birthday – she couldn’t have had better weather, it was beautiful. I dug out one of my dresses I haven’t worn since 2014 which also resulted in me writing this post about noticing a difference in the mirror.

My boyfriend bought me the lovely Long Champ rucksack for achieving my two stone award at Slimming World which has came in handy ever since. I would never have thought at nearly turning 30 that I’d want a rucksack rather than a handbag. There was also a lot of strange, muggy weather in June so we took the fan out of the loft and used that overnight – bliss. I also ended the month by going on a shopping trip to Birmingham with one of my best friends, Kirsty and celebrated her birthday early. I love Birmingham – even more so with the new Grand Central. We managed to shop until we dropped and even catch a bit of football while we were out.

Other things I enjoyed in June:

Game of Thrones Season 6 – I think this was the best one yet, they really spoilt us. I loved it and can’t wait for Season 7.

Snapchat – Yes, I’m VERY late to this bandwagon but after one of my work colleagues explained it to me, I think I’ve finally got my head around it. My username is alisonthursby if you want to add me.

July seems to be flying by already, I think I’ll be in New York before I know it!

Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake Slimming World Spicy Sausage Pasta Bake

On Slimming World it is so easy to make a delicious pasta bake that will keep you full for hours. I would say that I make a pasta bake a couple of times a week. I just love pasta that much! Who’s with me? They are great for making in bulk and even freezing if you wanted to. One of my favourites is my delicious tuna pasta bake.

Today I have a lovely pasta bake recipe for you all which is inspired by my lovely friend Hayley who always posts pictures of her yummy pasta bakes on Instagram. If you aren’t following her, you should be now. 

I’ll be honest and admit that for a long time I wasn’t keen on using syns for sausages as a lot of them are quite high in syn value. Then I heard about the Heck sausages which have been given a big thumbs up by everyone I know at Slimming World. I had been wanting to try them for a long time but my local Tesco only stocked a couple of them but I was finally able to buy them in Asda. I bought the Smoky Paprika Chicken and Zesty Chicken Chipolatas which are absolutely delicious. They are 0.5 syns for two and totally worth it as they add a lot of flavour to this delicious pasta bake.

70g pasta per person
Sausages (I use Heck)
2 garlic cloves
1 red chilli
1 onion
1 stalk of celery
1 carrot
1 tsp Italian Herbs
Salt & Pepper
250ml Water
Chicken Oxo
Fresh Chopped Basil
Mixed Salad Peppers
Tomato Puree
Mozzarella (I use half fat)

Firstly, boil your pasta and cook your sausages and set aside.
Finely chop (or blend) your carrot, celery, onion and chilli.
In a pan fry your vegetables in frylight and add in some mixed salad peppers.
Once the vegetables are softened add in your Italian herbs, pinch of salt and black pepper, tbsp tomato purée, then add in a carton of passata, 250ml water and chicken oxo and some fresh chopped basil.
Let it simmer for around half an hour and once thickened to your liking add the pasta and chopped sausages and add to an oven proof dish, tear off your mozzarella and add on top.
Place in the oven on 200 for about 20 minutes or until golden.

Why I Love Slimming World

I have followed the slimming world plan for some time now and I absolutely love it to the point I would recommend it for anyone wanting to lose a bit of weight simply because it is a lifestyle and not a diet. I know a lot of people say this and some may not believe you but honestly, it’s the best and I never feel like I’m missing out.

The beauty of Slimming World means that I can have a takeaway, a meal out, a glass or three of prosecco, some chocolate and I can still lose weight. It’s all in moderation but the plan just works, I don’t have to count anything really, just my syns each week and I have to weigh my healthy extra’s which is fine as well. It’s just effortless and the community is fantastic as well, my group is so supportive and I am a member of a bloggers Facebook group and I also have a Pinterest group for inspiration.

Some of favourite meals: I honestly don’t know how I can narrow this down but some of my favourites at the moment are Potato, Leek and Bacon Bake, Bolognese BakeKeema Mince, Enchilada Style Lasagne and Tuna Pasta Bake.

Essentials?  I did a whole video on some of my essentials here but other essentials I would purchase over and over again are oxo cubes (chicken and vegetable mainly), balsamic vinegar, extra lean mince, heck sausages (paprika chicken are my favourite!) and vegetables (celery and carrots are two of my favourites).

Have I learnt anything new? Yes one major thing I have learnt throughout my journey is the simple fact that I can have a life and lose weight. I can enjoy myself, see my friends, go out for a meal, have a drink, go on holiday and I can still lose weight.

Aims overall? My main aim which seems more realistic than it did when I first started is to get to target and stay at target. I know that it won’t be easy to maintain my loss but I also want to get fitter as well as healthier and that goal doesn’t seem so far away now.

Any new dishes to try? I want to try and make some more fakeaway’s at the weekend rather than using my syns on a takeaway. I want to try and make more curry dishes as well.

Wanting to lose? Another 1 and a half stone to get to target ideally. This may change, we will see as I get closer to the original target I had in mind.

If you do Slimming World, why do you love the plan?

Noticing The Difference In The Mirror

Weight loss is sometimes strange to me, seeing my body change is also strange and even though I’m over two stone lighter than I was this time last year, looking in the mirror I still find difficult. My Slimming World leader, Debbie, always asks how I feel and I say I feel good, because I do. However, I find it strange because I can feel that my clothes are better, easier to get on, I can get into clothes I couldn’t this time last year and I feel that my clothes look good but then I don’t really completely notice the difference in myself. I’m honestly not sure if that’s a strange notion or if anyone else feels like that? I often wonder if that’s because I look at myself daily and maybe that’s why I can’t see it as much.

Many people have said to me that I look amazing and I look like I’ve lost so much weight and I always say thank you but then again, can I really see it in myself? I have bought new clothes, they are either a size 12 or 14 on top and it makes me feel a lot better to be able to go into certain shops, pick up a top and try it on to need a smaller size because my usual size is too big.

Having said that I can’t notice the difference I think I finally have. On the first weekend of June I went to a BBQ for one of my best friends 30th birthday celebrations. I organised my wardrobe a few weeks ago and got my summer dresses out from under the spare bed but I hadn’t really tried them on. The weekend of the BBQ it was really warm which I knew meant dress weather and I decided to get one of my favourite dresses out and put it on which made me feel amazing and it felt like it had a lot more room.

I posted the picture on the left that weekend and I felt fantastic and I knew that the dress fitted me better than when I bought it. Later that evening my boyfriend found the picture on the right and pointed it out to me to show me how different I look which I have to admit I do. In my face, and my body and wow, I can finally see it and it feels amazing to be able to see difference.

I wish I had taken proper before and after photo’s but I suppose this is a middle of my journey photo. On the photo on the left I was about 2 and a half stone heavier than I am now in Majorca celebrating my 28th birthday. I honestly can’t wait to post my after photo’s so I can see what I look like throughout the journey and how much I changed.

Do you find it hard noticing weight loss difference?

Slimming World Meals for OneAs we all know by now, I absolutely love recipe books and I have some what of a collection – mainly of the Slimming World variety. I adore the Slimming World books and have most of them in my collection as they are full of lovely ideas and food inspiration, plus they are always incredible value coming in at under £5 for most of the books.

The latest addition to the Slimming World recipe book is the new Meals For One book which launched a couple of months ago but has been in my recipe book collection ever since. This book is great because it gives meal inspiration but also focuses on meals for one. I lived on my own for a number of years but now I live with my boyfriend and I am lucky because he will eat anything I throw at him so he will always eat my Slimming World friendly offerings (although he eats pizza a lot more than I do!).

I have noticed that a lot of the recipes featured in previous books are focussed for two or more people so sometimes it seems a little daunting to make that much if you are just cooking for yourself and not everyone has the room to batch cook and freeze.

The new Meals For One recipe book has 60 new recipes that have been designed for just one person. This means that the ingredients and measurements means minimal leftover but also means that if you wanted to double up for batch cooking, it can easily be done.

Slimming World Meals for OneThe book has five separate sections of different recipes. Firstly, light fantastic which features snacks, starters and higher meals such as a delicious breakfast soufflé and a perfect snack or starter – beetroot houmous with crudités.  

Then we have one-hit wonders which focuses on delicious meals for one that sound incredible if you ask me – next on my list to make is the yakitori turkey and balsamic pork with celeriac mash. Yum yum!

Fast and fabulous by name suggests quickness, and the idea of this section is that you can make the meals in 20 minutes. How amazing is that? My favourite so far has been the chicken and sweetcorn pasta salad – delicious and perfect for lunchtime or a main meal.

Slimming World Meals for One

Feasts from the freezer is all about freezing ahead of time to prepare for your meal which is a great idea as these recipes are all perfect for batch cooking. The ragu, stew and BBQ chicken recipes are on my never ending list to try next. They all look amazing!

Slimming World Meals for OneSweetness and light will probably be a favourite in most households. There are some beautiful recipes and ideas for pudding in this section. Eton Mess is one of them and it is so easy to make for one person or even two, so if you are just cooking for one you should never go without. 

Once again, this recipe book is fantastic and even though I normally cook for two, I have been enjoying using this recipe book a lot recently.

What are your favourite recipes at the moment?

This post contains a PR Sample or gifted item but all opinions are my own.

Achieving My Two Stone Award

When I restarted my Slimming World journey last August I had a weight I wanted to be in my head. I couldn’t vision being that weight at that point but I knew I had a lot of hard work ahead of me. I’ve never found it easy to lose weight but oh boy can I gain it, I suppose that’s just my body – we’re all different, right? Having not been happy in my own skin for years I knew something needed to be done. I got to my half stone award and was feeling good, not really noticing that much difference. Then I got my stone award which felt amazing, my clothes were beginning to feel better and I was getting more confident.

Then I got my stone and a half award and I knew that my two stone was next which was so exciting for me. In the middle of this I got my Club 10 award meaning that I had lost 10% of my starting weight which is something I was incredibly proud of and also the fact that getting that award meant loads of added health benefits. I was feeling so much fitter, I could walk for longer and faster and I felt great.

From getting that award my next half stone seemed to take forever and a day to come off but I still persisted and here I am now, just over two stone lighter and I feel fantastic. I have came to the realisation that it’s not always going to fall off straight away, sometimes these things take time and that’s fine. I am also really proud of myself, which isn’t something I say often but I am. I am turning 30 in September and I’m ready to leave my 20’s feeling fabulous and continue throughout my 30’s feeling the same way. I have gone up and down with my weight over the past 10 years and this time I’m convinced it will stay off. I have battled emotional eating and came out the other side so much stronger. Overall, I can’t thank Slimming World enough, it has changed my life for the better and now I am at the stage that people notice my loss. I can’t tell you how good that feels.

My target is about a stone and a half away, maybe a little less. Finally, target is feeling much more achievable. I know I can do it, I know I will do it and I can still having a life while doing it. So here’s to two stone gone forever and a bit more to come.

prestige luxury flowers

I am the kind of person that will always love having a bunch of fresh flowers in my home – I remember once my best friend bought be a lovely white rose bouquet which I kept for ages because they are my favourite flower and it was so thoughtful of her. There’s also nothing nicer than walking into a room and seeing a lovely bunch of fresh flowers especially as they usually give off a lovely smell and brighten up the room.

Even though the majority of the flowers in my home are actually artificial wooden roses, I still think that there’s nothing better than receiving a lovely bunch of flowers which is why I will quite often choose to send some to my Mum as a gift.

Over the years I have used various companies to order flowers and gifts for my Mum and friends and have found that some are better than others. One of my favourite places to order from over the last year or so has been Prestige Flowers, so when they offered to send me one of the bouquets they offer I jumped at the chance because I have always been a paying customer and know that their customer service and delivery service has always been great in the couple of years I have been using them.

prestige luxury flowersprestige luxury flowers 

This time the service and flowers I received were no exception to my previous experiences and I was lucky enough to be sent the beautiful Grandeur Bouquet which is in the luxury flower range that they offer as a gift package. This lovely bouquet was sent to me using the next day flower delivery service that they offer which is great when you need to send a last minute gift which I have done in the past.

Onto the bouquet itself, the Grandeur Bouquet is absolutely stunning and not like one I have ever sent or received before. Within this bouquet is a fantastic arrangement of beautiful avalanche red roses (which also give off a fantastic small), sea holly and finished with some lovely  bright green foliage.

This bouquet also came with a lovely pink vase and some Finest Belgian chocolates so I would say that this is a great gift. As for how long the flowers last, I am happy to report that they are still going strong two weeks later. I am once again happy with the service and flowers received from Prestige Flowers and will continue to be a happy customer. 

Do you like giving flowers as a gift? If so, what are your favourite flowers?

This post was in collaboration with Prestige Flowers but all opinions are my own.

May Roundup I am a bit late in rounding up May, but you know what they say, better late than never, right? I spent the first bank holiday weekend in Scotland looking after my Mum and I booked a day of annual leave to extend my bank holiday. My Mum had an operation to remove one of her bunions and straighten her hammer toe so I went to help out, look after her and help around the house where I could. That weekend went by really quickly but it was nice to be able to go and help my Mum.

It was also Gaz’s 35th birthday in May and to celebrate we decided to have a day out in London which was a beautiful day, and then to extend the celebrations we also had a meal out in Turtle Bay which was delicious.

I also decided to buy some baskets from Tesco and make my bookcase look a little nicer as for a long time all you could see were the books Gaz has which are all about history and war. The end of April and the start of May were quite stressful and I found myself not loving my blog as much.

I took a step back and decided that I would like to change the way I blog and find myself again along with making videos as well. Sometimes you have to find your blogging mojo, right? I think I’ve got it back now. Thanks to a Twitter widget reminding me that some of my older blog posts were corrupt, I made the decision to change my blog a little I decided to do some much needed blog admin which I regretted after a week of having to go through over 300 posts and sort them out. I am thankful that exercise is finished now but it was worth it and left me feeling a lot better about my little space on the internet.

May Roundup Slimming World wise I got to my next goal of achieving my two stone award (more on that soon) and for getting that, Gaz bought me a Longchamp rucksack that I have wanted for ages. It’s quite a small rucksack but perfect for a day out. I also decided to change things up on the Slimming World front and change the fruit I’m eating to make sure they are all speed. It has definitely helped along the way. June has been great so far, although we’re almost half way through already.

How was your May?

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationI remember when I first saw the ‘tap tap’ advert for this foundation and I was curious because I’d never seen anything like it. I was kindly sent this to review from L’Oreal and to me, this base is a new revolution and is essentially liquid foundation pressed in a sponge. The idea is that you tap the foundation with the applicator sponge and tap it on to your face to build up coverage so that you can go from light to medium coverage, whatever your preference is really. As a side note, I have this foundation in the shade 01.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationThe L’Oreal Cushion comes in a lovely compact perfect for taking on holiday with you. When you open the compact you can see where the sponge sits in straight away and then you open up the rest of the compact and that reveals the foundation along with a mirror.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationAs you will be able to see from the photo below, the L’Oreal Cushion delivers a very natural looking coverage and is very skin like. After application I noticed that the tone of my skin is much more even. I am a big fan of the softly dewy finish my face has after applying this foundation and the best part is that you can easily build to the coverage you need so it would be suitable for all. Although you have a sponge which you can use for application I still tend to prefer taking my buffing brush and tapping it into the product and applying directly to my face.

L'Oreal Nude Magique Cushion FoundationOverall I was really impressed with this product, it’s perfect for your handbag or travel makeup. My only reservation is that there doesn’t seem to be a lot of product as it’s soaked up in the sponge. I can’t see that it will last as long as a regular bottle of foundation but only time will tell so I could be wrong.

All in all, I think it’s great and if you want light to medium coverage with a healthy glow finish, this is definitely one to try. The L’Oreal Nude Magique Cushion Foundation is available for £9.99 here.

This post contains a PR Sample or gifted item but all opinions are my own.