About Me

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I'm a working mum of two lovely children who, like all children, go through 'phases', both good and bad. Trying to juggle parenthood, weight loss and life in general.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

All good things

Wow, a whole month since my last post! And unsurprisingly there's lots to catch up on. We've had a family holiday in Spain full of lots of yummy food (some slimming world friendly and some not quite on plan!), a fantastic lunchtime treat at a vege cafe, and some pretty normal meals in between. The main reason for my mini break from the blog is that my return to work was looming. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with my babies whilst I could have them to myself. But all good things must come to an end, and at least I'll have my long weekends with them, rather than just the morning rush and bedtime routine. 

I'll concentrate this post on the normal stuff and post a separate one later on the holiday food. 


We've mostly had the old favourites in the last few weeks, but one particularly memorable breakfast was when I asked little miss what she'd like and got this response: 
It made me laugh lots and is now the standard response from her. 

Little man has started having Suuuper Hoooops for breakfast now too and seems to be enjoying them. They tend to share a banana afterwards too, which he tries to eat in as few bites as possible! Whilst I've been sticking to my strawberries, raspberries, grapes and pomegranates with either shape yogurt or Fage total 0% Greek yogurt, sometimes with 35g Dorset cereal nutty muesli sprinkled on top for my healthy extra. 

My alternative breakfast has been a slimming world friendly BLT, all fat removed from the bacon, lots of lettuce and tomato, and a tablespoon of low fat Mayo instead of butter on the 2 slices of 400g wholemeal bread (healthy extra). Scrummy and filling. 


Lunches have largely been leftovers of the previous evening's meal, Bolognese, chilli etc. But there have been a few exceptions. This super speedy jacket potato with tuna, pepper, sweetcorn and 1 tablespoon of light mayo (1 syn), with cucumber, tomatoes, lettuce and carrot on the side was particular scrummy, and enjoyed  by us all.

A recent trip to 'the bear' a vegetarian cafe in Todmorden was a surprising delight. My friend had told me about this place before, and being a firm lover of meat I was sceptical. But it was absolutely gorgeous. The Mexican casserole itself can only have been about 2 Syns at the most. But the tortilla chips, yogurt dip and coconut and lime  rice will have racked up the Syns up a bit. Still, it was probably better than the wraps, puff pastry tarts and feta samosas. 

I made a super scrummy salad and coleslaw for myself the other day (the sun was shining and it seemed like the perfect food choice.) we decided to have a picnic in the garden because it was so lovely. Coleslaw: 2 Syns for the whole pot (1/2 syn per serving):
1 carrot grated, 3/4 small white cabbage, chopped up into slithers, 1/4 red onion slices fine and roughly chopped, huge dollop of fat free fromage frais, 2 tbsp light mayo and a squeeze of lime juice

Pasta salad: 2 Syns for the whole pot (1/2 syn per serving):
Pasta, 1 tin Tuna in spring water, 1 tin sweetcorn, 1/2 cucumber diced, 1/2 grated carrot, 1/4 white cabbage roughly chopped, fresh basil torn up, fresh mint leaves finely chopped, 3/4 red onion roughly chopped, 1 tin potatoes, huge dollop of fat free fromage frais, 2 tbsp light mayo, black pepper to taste. 
Little man was loving the pasta. 

Bean salad; 1 syn for whole pot, 1/2 syn per serving): 
1 tin mixed beans, 1 tbsp olive oil, fresh mint finely chopped, juice of 1/2 lime, black pepper. 

All served with a nice crunchy salad (handful from a bag!), baby plum tomatoes, beetroot and a hard boiled egg. 


the regular favourites have been a staple part of the diet of late; chilli with extra peppers, mixed beans and served with rice and healthy extra cheese, sausages and potatoes, either mashed, roasted or new season jersey royals, with lots of veg. I use chipolata sausages because they are lower in Syns and seem to go further! 

Whilst sausages are always a firm favourite with little miss and little man, my surprise favourite, was something I knocked together using left over roast chicken, to satiate a desire for a Chinese takeaway. Much to my chagrin we still haven't found a nice Chinese near to our new house, BUT from a Slimming World perspective that's probably a good thing. 

Chicken & noodles: shred some roast chicken, put into a shallow pan/wok, add some chicken stock, a handfull of frozen peas, 1 pack of value noodles (approx. 23p from a supermarket - throw out the flavour pack, this is where the Syns live), a good slug of light soy sauce and 2 good slugs of oyster sauce, a shake of Chinese 5 spice, and put a lid on to cook as per noodle instructions (usually bring to the boil and simmer 3-5 minutes), once you are about to serve add a full pack of sugar snap peas (or mange tout) and serve. it was super quick and delicious. if you have any other green leafy veg i'd recommend adding it, particularly kale or similar for that extra super speedy weight loss boost. 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Mombie day 2

As I mentioned at the end of my last post Little man's fever returned last night. He finally gave in 2 and a bit hours after his calpol, at around 2.30am! Little miss woke up and climbed into bed with us at half 6. After watching 2 films in bed in an attempt to make myself feel like I'd had a bit of a sleep in, little man woke up and we went downstairs for breakfast/brunch. Little miss had a few sausages left over from yesterday. Little man had 2 'yummy yogurts.' And I promptly started cooking.

 I adapted a recipe from the new slimming world book, syn free meals. In the book it's Louisiana red bean rice. Mine is a sort of chicken jambalaya.

Soften 30g chorizo, 1 shallot, 1 onion, and 2 garlic cloves in fry light. Add Cajun spices, sweet smoked paprika, mixed herbs and 1/2 courgette. Add 2 chicken breasts, diced, and brown off. Add 2 tins mixed beans, 1 tin sweetcorn, frozen peas, frozen green beans and 275g washed long grain basmati rice. Add 500ml boiling chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then turn heat low and cover with a tight lid. Cook for 10 mins. Remove from heat but leave lid on for a further 10 mins. Fluff the rice with a fork and serve. 3 Syns for the whole pot.

I'm estimating 1 serving as 1/2 syn. It was tasty but could have done with a bit more spice (2-3 tsp Cajun spice, rather than 1.) Little miss had the usual delaying tactics (I need the toilet, I don't like onions/peas/chicken! Etc) little man had some but was clearly not feeling up to the effort, he didn't even eat much of his chocolate custard, which madam kindly offered to finish for him. She's so selfless!

We spent the afternoon playing catch, and schools with little miss being teacher obviously. I love that no one can get little man to giggle as much as his big sister. He absolutely idolises her.

For dinner little miss had 'picnic.' The remaining leftover sausages, cheese chunks, tomatoes and cucumber. Little man had half a pouch of Ella's lentil bake with a bit of rice and peas/beans mixed in. Which he wolfed down. Meanwhile I had more of the jambalaya and added 30g cheddar for my healthy extra. Because cheese makes pretty much everything taste better!

I also tried a bag of hula hoops new puft crisps. At 3.5 Syns a bag they're just the savoury snack hit I needed without the high 'syn tag.'

Total Syns today = 4.5.

Monday, 4 April 2016

Salad fever

After the higher-Syns-than-planned weekend, I thought I'd best reign it in a bit today. But little man's fever really took hold last night. 3 hours in the middle of the night 'uuuuuhhhing' meant I'm a bit (more than usual)  of a mombie today.

We started the day with what is now becoming the norm for the littlies, Suuuper Hoooops (my autocorrect has now learnt the 'correct' spelling of this!) and fruit puree pot followed by a mini fromage frais, and I grabbed a couple of healthy extra slices of toast. Although I'm not sure they were that 'healthy' after I'd cremated them, forgetting to cancel the toaster after putting them back on to brown some more. I spread a bit of marmite on to hide the blackened state (and save Syns.)

Little man has developed a bit of a Heinz biscotti snack habit. And today he actually ate them, well one,  rather than just squishing them into a mush where they dry like concrete.

   For lunch, I took inspiration from a comment made last night by the mr and made Chorizo, chicken and 'fried' potato salad. Does it still count as lunch when you don't actually eat it until 3pm? 

Dice 50g chorizo (5.5 Syns,) pop it in a frying pan with fry light. Then add some leftover roast chicken (shredded/chopped,) par boil some potatoes (I find it quicker and easier to chop them into pieces before boiling,) turn down low and put a lid on for a few minutes. Serve on a bed (mountain) of salad. In this case, rocket, watercress, lambs leaf, and romaine lettuce with red cabbage, red onion, grated carrot, sweetcorn, and cucumber. Meanwhile little man had the rest of yesterday's Ella pouch, and 3/4 of a pot of rice pudding with chopped strawberries added. He stored the strawberries in his cheeks like a hamster, and spat them out whenever I wasn't looking at him! 

I was sent to bed when little miss and daddy returned from nursery to catch up on some much needed sleep. My 'ok but just an hour' turned into a 3 hour sleep, when I got up little miss was in bed and little man was asleep in a daddy cuddle. Cute. 

We had a pack of sausages that had to be used up today so I roasted them and had 3 sausages with salad as before but with the addition of cherry toms, and a slice of bread so I could make my once renowned (for being a bit odd) sausage salad sarnie. It's no weirder than a BLT in my opinion and much tastier. 

Finished on 12.5 Syns. Not as low as I'd planned, but very tasty!

As I write this, it's accompanied by the 'uuuuhhing' of a little man, with a high temperature waiting for calpol to kick in. He's been fine all afternoon. Silly me for thinking he'd kicked it hopefully the magic of calpol will mean we both get a good sleep....but I suspect I'm in for (another) long night.

Mostly planned weekend

Friday I kept food Syns low so I could indulge a bit on beer. The mr and I had a rare treat trip to the pub thanks to Nanna babysitting. So I stuck to shape yogurt for breakfast (Suuuper Hoooops and fruit puree pot for the little ones.) For lunch we shared some of the syn free bacon, bean and tomato soup I'd made earlier in the week. With 2 slices of 400g wholemeal bread for my healthy extra, with 2 Syns of low fat marge. 

For dinner I made my thai curry, but even more slimming world friendly. I defrosted the rest of the curry sauce from the last batch I made (see earlier post for recipe), and then realised I was missing most of my usual veg, so I went with what I had. 

1 shallot, 1 onion, 1/2 courgette, 1 orange pepper, 1 red pepper, 1 small tin of water chestnut and 2 chicken breasts with all fat removed. I fried all of these in fry light, added the sauce and brought it to the boil. Then transferred it to the oven on a low heat for an hour. I stirred some Fage Total 0% Greek yogurt through just before serving (make sure it's room temp before adding to stop it splitting) and served with boiled rice. Whole thing was 1/2 a syn. So 2.5 Syns before the several pints of beer. 

Saturday I had a sleep in (hoorah for the mr) and so missed breakfast. For lunch we had KFC! I tried to resist but I just couldn't do it so opted for a boneless box and shared it with little miss. 3syns per mini breast fillet, and 4.5 Syns for the portion of popcorn chicken. 10.5 Syns for regular fries and 6 Syns for a small gravy. 17 Syns in total for my share. But as I usually would have had a zinger tower meal and gravy at a whopping 47.5 Syns I was feeling rather proud of myself. Little man had some chicken (no coating) and a few fries to suck and then distribute around the floor.  I had the rest of yesterday's Thai curry for my dinner, 1/5 syn. Total 17.5 Syns. 

Sunday I was out for lunch with the girls. Once we got back from our obscenely-early-for-a-Sunday-morning swimming lessons, I made me and the kids scrambled eggs on toast (no butter for me) and I added a tin of tomatoes to mine. Little miss found every reason possible to not eat (I need a wee, I need a poo etc) and finally finished the egg. Little man scoffed the lot and squished some into his hair, face, clothes, highchair etc as usual.

I did a little research online at the menu for the pub we were meeting at and was down to 2 options;  the angelic but dull 'jacket potato with beans' or blackened Cajun chicken burger (I figured I could swap fries for salad and not eat the bun!, yeah right.) when I got there they had a Sunday roast on the menu so I opted for roast beef. I removed all the fat, and loaded up with veg (mange tout, green beans and broccoli.) I reckon it'll have been about 9 Syns erring on the side of caution, allowing for oils/butter etc.  I had a lime and soda, 1 syn as I assume it wasn't sugar free cordial. And then this happened: 

Everyone was getting deserts, sticky toffee pudding, chocolate brownies with cream and ice cream, fruit crumble with custard, so in my wisdom thought Eton mess would be the safest option,  if I tried to focus on the fruit and meringue. I hadn't counted on there being an actual mountain of cream to go with it (as you can tell by my face!!) I thought I ought to take an after shot to prove that I didn't eat the lot. And frankly what I left would have been enough to keep a small family going for a day. I have no idea where to even start with the Syns but after a bit of rough calculating I'd guess maybe 12-16 Syns (more like 30+ if I'd eaten the lot) So much for being good. 

When I got home the mr had roasted a chicken for the little ones which was served with oven chips (which she didn't eat) for little miss and, after another epic battle, was followed with custard. Little man was starting to get a fever (teething and cold related we think) so was off it a bit and just had half an Ella pouch a nibble of chicken and a bit of custard. I picked at chicken but was still pretty full from my mammoth lunch. 22 - 26 Syns in total! 

I really need to pull it back in the next few days! 

Thursday, 31 March 2016

I will not eat the Easter eggs ...repeat...

Today was a KIT day, so the morning was hectic trying to get the 3 of us up, ready and out before 8am. Thank heavens for half term traffic making the journey so much quicker. I grabbed a banana en route, and the little ones had breakfast at nursery (after a panic inducing missed call from nursery, which turned out to be a query on what little man would have for breakfast and how much milk to give him - I forgot to tell them that bit when I dropped him off!) 

The mr made my lunch for me last night, so I had a cheese and Branston pickle sandwich. 3 Syns for low fat marge and the pickle, and used up my healthy extras on the cheese and bread. I snacked on a punnet of grapes throughout the day, avoiding the tuck box of chocolate and crisps. 

When I got home tonight to one sleepy girl on the sofa and a little boy with the biggest 'yay it's mummy!' smile on his face, I was ravenous. So I finished off the cottage pie. There was only a little bit left so when little miss asked if she could 'have a sausage sandwich please mummy?' I promptly put the oven on and made them for us all. Adding another 12 Syns to my tally. 

As I write this I'm desperately avoiding the temptation to steal one of the kids' Easter eggs. But resist I will, as I've no Syns left and I'm determined to get my next award next week! 

Wednesday weigh day - 1lb loss

The kids both slept in this morning so I took the opportunity to join them. Little miss stayed in her own bed, hoorah, and little man and I continued the "go to sleep" "pppppppp"(raspberry blowing) conversation. Until the wee hours. So I was glad of the chance to catch up a bit. Breakfast was yogurt all round, and a bit rushed. 

We dropped little miss at nursery and then went holiday clothes shopping...for the whole day...and I didn't stop to eat (little man had milk on the go.) when we got back home I rushed off to group for the dreaded weekly weigh in.

I had absolutely no idea what the scales were going to show. Could have been a 1/2st gain and I wouldn't have been surprised but I decided to go and assess the damage and get back on plan to shift it. As it turned out I needn't have dreaded it. I lost 1lb. What a result. It just shows I was still making some food optimising choices and they worked. I did set myself a mini one week target of 3.5lb for next week. So I need to stay focused. Starting with tonight's dinner. Leftover cottage pie. And later a toasted cheese sandwich (I was ravenous having only had s yogurt all day!) using my healthy extras of cheese and bread, and 4 Syns for the low fat marge.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Soup and cottage pie

After a tiring night squashed between little man (I'm not tired raspberry blower) and little miss (the shadows are too scary) we got up a bit too late for breakfast. So I appeased them both with mini fromage frais and fruit puree (for little man) whilst I started making a syn free soup. 

Bacon, vegetable and mixed bean soup
Chop 1 shallot, 1 onion, 1 leek and 2 cloves of garlic. Soften in a pot with a few sprays of fry light a sprinkle of mixed herbs and Cajun spice mix. Remove all visible fat from a pack of bacon and chop into pot, add tomato puree, and cook for approx. 5 mins (if it starts to stick add a dash of water and keep stirring.) Chop 3 carrots and 1 courgette and add to the pot. Cook for a few minutes. 
Add chicken stock (I make fresh stock when we have a roast and freeze it down into little pots, but a stock cube would work),  1 tin of tomatoes, 1 carton of passatta, a bay leaf a teaspoon of mustard powder and 2 tins of mixed beans. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 mins. I love that this soup is so chunky it doesn't need bread with it. However I chose to use my healthy extra bread allowance.  Little miss didn't want any until little man and I had finished then she decided she did 'want some actually mummy, with bread.' She ate about 3 mouthfuls and then decided she'd had enough! 

For dinner I made my version of a cottage pie. I estimate 1 syn per serving. (It's probably less but it's best to over estimate) 
Chop 1 shallot, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic and soften in fry light with mixed herbs and a sprinkle of mustard powder. Add tomato puree and cook for approx 5 mins. Add in thinly chopped carrots, and a splash of red wine and fry a little longer before adding the minced beef (less than 5% fat.) Cook until mince is browned off. Add beef stock pot (or cube), and stir in. Then add tin of baked beans and tin of tomatoes. Mix together and add a hearty sprinkle of frozen peas. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer. Meanwhile peel and cook potatoes for mash. Once potatoes are cooked mash with splash of milk (from healthy extra allowance,  or use 2 tsp low fat marge for 2 Syns.) remove 'filling' from the heat and smooth mash on top. Place into a preheated oven at 180, and leave for 10-20 mins. 
I served it with broccoli, cauliflower and kale. 

As tasty as all that was and as good as I'd been up to that point I did not manage to resist the temptation of the Easter eggs and ate the majority of one! Then hid the evidence so little miss doesn't notice in the morning. Oops.