Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas everyone!

"T'is the season to be jolly. Fa la la la la, la la la laaaa!"

Today's the day! It's finally here. How exciting?! :D

I'm a little nervous about how much I might pig out on (any dieter would be).. I don't intend to pig out, but Christmas Day is always so hard compared to every other day in the festive period.. With the sweet, homemade breakfast, the big lunch roast dinner with homemade dessert for afterwards, the buffet-style tea and alcohol flowing throughout - it's going to be difficult! But I won't not let myself enjoy it all.. If I want something, I'll have it. But I just won't go stupid and stuff my face to the point where I'll feel I'll need a fork lift to move me afterwards! Then tomorrow, I shall start a fresh. I can't wait for New Year, as it always helps me get back to my healthy eating, a bit more strictly, and gets me motivated to lose more weight!

I haven't been feeling overly festive this past week.. Partially because of family stuff and also because I've been working a ridiculous amount of overtime. But I'm sure when the morning comes, I'll feel just as excited as I use to when I was a child! The pile of presents downstairs is huge, under our twinkling, little Christmas tree. I can't wait to hand out the presents I've bought everyone! Giving can be such a great feeling. :)

By the way, I don't normally stay up until 3am on the computer Christmas morning.. I am writing this in the middle of the night because I'm currently in the middle of baking my family a surprise Christmas Day breakfast, of banana baked oatmeal (the smell is lingering through the house and it smells delicious, mmmm!). I hope they all enjoy it. I seem to be the baking fairy in my home - I always like baking in the middle of the night as a surprise for everyone the next day, especially on people's birthdays!

I wish all of you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas! I hope you all get what you wished for. I'll write soon. :)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Christmas Graze giveaway!

With Christmas only 8 days away now, I thought "why not do a little giveaway for all my lovely readers, as a little thank you?". So here it is!

I have 3 Graze box gift vouchers up for grabs! There will be one winner who will receive a gift voucher entitling them to two free Graze boxes, and two runners up who will both receive a gift voucher entitling them to one free Graze box each. Unfortunately, if you already receive Graze boxes, these gift vouchers won't work - they only work for new customers! Also this is only open to people from the UK - as Graze only delivers to the UK.. I'm sorry!

All you have to do, to be in with a chance of winning, is email:


with your name - simple as that. After the giveaway closes, I will put all the names into a hat, mix it up and pick 3 at random. The closing date for the giveaway is Monday 31st December at 11:59pm GMT. The winners will be drawn out and contacted by email between the 1st and 3rd of January 2013! Have any questions? Just ask.

Most people who read my blog will know I pay to receive a fortnightly Graze box. I've now been receiving them since January 2012. They weren't very well known, but are growing more and more popular, they even have their own TV advert now. They send out a box with 4 healthy, natural snacks to people all over the UK. Such a big range of punnets to choose from - there's something for everyone! Rate their punnets with 'Love', 'Like', 'Try' or 'Bin', and even select 'Send Soon' to ensure you get exactly what you like. A very trustworthy company - I have never had any delayed deliveries or any issues cancelling/postponing boxes. Just excellent! Please have a browse of their website to see what all the fuss is about: click here.

P.S. To the winners: these should be one-off boxes, but I am not entirely sure - so just incase, make sure you check online, on the Graze website, after you've received all of your free boxes and if it says you'll be receiving another after that, just cancel your deliveries and you'll never receive them again (I know it's easy to cancel them, as I have 2 friends who have in the past and have had no issues).


Monday, 10 December 2012

Gift inspiration - the dieters edition.

Christmas day is fast approaching (only 2 weeks to go!) and whilst some of us are prepared well in advance, there are a lot of us who tend to leave everything to the last minute - well this post is for you. We all have a friend or two who are forever dieting (I know I'm always dieting and I know lots of other people who are too). If you have yet to get them a gift, why not show your support on their journey by buying them some slimming friendly/themed gifts this year? I've put together this post, full of lots of different types of gifts, to give you some inspiration. Or even to give other people ideas of some things that you'd like to receive this year (or you can just treat yourself)! All of these gifts can be purchased online, and a few can be purchased in stores, and there's something suitable for all budgets! :)

Gifts £10 or less:
1. Union Jack A5 recipe book - £8.75, Paperchase.  2. Back away fatty magnet - £3.50, Really Good Shop.  3. Retro magnetic meal planner - £7.00, Paperchase4. Diet cheating fines money tin - £2.99, Amazon5. Run Fat B!tch Run paperback book - £8.39, Waterstones. 6. Diet kit - £5.99, Amazon.

Gifts £25 or less:

1. Calorie/jump counting skipping rope - £10.98, Amazon.  2. Jamie Oliver herb display pots - £18.50, Boots.  3. The Nakd Celebration Box - £13.00, Natural Balance Foods.  4. Healthy Food Guide subscription - was £27.00 now £21.99, Healthy Food Guide.  5. Union Jack adult apron - £16.99, Joshua's Harvest Store.  6. Wooden cookbook stand - £16.99, Lakeland.

Gifts £50 or less:

1. Typhoon electronic scales - £29.99, Lakeland.  2. George Foreman 14532 10portion health grill - £44.97, Tesco direct.  3. Biosync fitness set - was £39.99 £29.97, Amazon.  4. 16 jar revolving spice jar - £35.00, BHS5. La Cafetiere Titania 1 litre - £26.31, Tesco direct6. Zumba Exhilarate DVD fitness pack - was £59.96 £48.00, Tesco direct.

Gifts £50+.

1. Delonghi 18 bar pump espresso machine - £169.97, Tesco direct.  2. Body sculpture cable rower with DVD - £99.99, Sainsburys.  3. Robert Welch signature knife block - £274.99, Lakeland.  4. Kenwood FPP225 food processor - £59.97, Tesco direct.

Another gift you can give this year is a gift card! If your friend has lost a considerable amount of weight, dropped a dress size or two, or has reached/almost reached their ultimate weight-loss goal, then getting them a voucher for their favourite clothing store (mine's Topshop, *wink wink*) will be a wonderful gift. They'll be able to buy some new clothes better fitting to their lovely new figure. Most shops allow you to load up as much or as little as you want onto the card, so another great gift for all budgets. :)

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Homemade mince pies!

Mince pies are one of my favourite Christmas treats. The taste of mincemeat is just gorgeous! The only downside I can think of when it comes to mince pies is their calorie content, which is pretty high! So I was very determined to find a low-kcal mince pie recipe to help me and my waistline out this year. Luckily for me there was one in my new issue of Healthy Food Guide (Winter 2012 issue, page 72/73). I can't tell you how excited I was just thinking about making them! So as soon as I got paid I went out and bought all the ingredients I needed so I was prepared (I had to work a lot though, so I couldn't make them straight away..). My sister and I made them together earlier today. They were a lot of fun to make and they tasted absolutely wonderful. Such a Christmassy, heart warming taste. Mmmmm!

These taste great both warm and cool. They could be served as a pudding, eaten as a cheeky snack, put in yours or a kid's lunchbox or even leave some out on Christmas Eve for Santa and his elves! ;)

This recipe makes 12 mince pies and is apparently 164kcal per mince pie, but I make it out to be approx. 183kcal. So I'm not sure, but I'd go bang in the middle (178kcal), to be safe. They're best eaten within two days or can be frozen for up to three months, then defrosted at room temperature.

(for the pastry)
- 125g Flora Light (the original recipe uses Flora Original, but I chose to use Light)
- 275g plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
(for the filling)
- 175g mixed dried fruit
- zest and juice from 1 lemon
- 50g dark muscovado sugar
- 1.5tbsp rum or brandy (I used dark rum)
- 1.5tsp mixed spice
- 1 small dessert apple, coursely grated and excess juice squeezed out
- 1 tsp icing sugar, to dust (optional - I chose not to)


1. In a bowl rub the Flora into the flour and baking powder until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix the egg with 2tbsp cold water. Reserve 1 tbsp and add the rest into the flour mix. Bring the mixture together to make a smooth dough - you may need to add a little more cold water or a little more flour. Wrap in clingfilm, and chill for 20 minutes.

2. Put the filling ingredients into a saucepan and cook over a low heat for 10 minutes until the apple has broken down a little. Leave to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 190°c/fan 170°c/gas 5 and grease a 12-hole muffin tray, or fill the tray with 12 foil mince pie cases (which is what I did). Roll out the pastry on to a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut out 12 x 7cm discs/circles and use to line the tins. Spoon the cooled filling into the pastry cases.

4. Cut out 12 x 3-4cm stars from the remaining pastry and put on top of each filled pie. Brush with the reserved egg mix and bake for 18-20 minutes until the pastry is golden. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and dust with icing sugar (optional). Enjoy! :)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Let the festive countdown begin!

Christmas lights decorate the streets of Salisbury (taken 6:30am today)!

Happy 1st day of December everybody! Only 24 more days until Christmas! And only 30 more days until New Years Eve - it's crazy how fast this year has flown by!

Being a dieter/calorie counter is a struggle at times, but I find December is the most difficult month of the year. There are so many temptations everywhere you look! Scrummy Christmas drinks in coffee shops, chocolate and cake offers everywhere you look in supermarkets, advent calenders to open throughout the month (I've got my Mars Bar advent calender!) and of course hundreds of alcohol and parties - and hardly any of it's low kcal, boohoo! This can all be a bit too much for someone who has been minding what they eat for so long.. But stay strong! I'm not saying don't indulge at all, as it's Christmas - you can't forbid yourself a few treats around Christmas time (mince pies are a massive weakness of mine, this time of the year), it's just not natural! I'm just saying don't over-do it, as when you do your dreaded after Christmas/New Years weigh in, you will kick yourself! Everyone's bound to put on a few pounds though - I know I will, but you don't want to be setting yourself back too much. But even if you did, don't beat yourself up too much about it. Use it as the push you need to get back into the dieting game! Maybe even make it a New Years resolution to lose the weight plus more?

I have some great thoughts for festive posts in my noggin that I'm hoping to share with you all over the course of this wonderful, wintery month, so keep your eyes peeled! First one should be posted on Monday (if all goes to plan)! :)