Thursday, 28 March 2013

Race For Life 2013. I've signed up, have you?

Today I signed myself up for this years local 5km Race For Life (Sunday July 14th 2013)! I normally leave it pretty last minute to sign up, but I decided to do it well in advance this year so I can try and get the most sponsors I possibly can. I've only set myself a small target of raising £30.00 to begin with. I know it's quite low, but I know from previous years that not many people seem to sponsor me. I've decided this year to sign up earlier and try starting off with a lower target. I'll aim for that target and then gradually increase it. Hopefully, if this new tactic works, I will smash the first £30.00 target by the time the event actually arrives.

Please sponsor me on my JustGiving page:

Sponsoring me through JustGiving means the money gets donated straight to Cancer Research UK. If you're a UK taxpayer, don't forget to tick the "Gift Aid" box, which will increase your donation by 25% at no extra cost to you!

I participated in the Race For Life last year too (click here for the blog post) and I did better than any other years I've done it! I jogged the whole thing non-stop last year - even the really horrible hill near the very end (hopefully they'll purposely miss that bit out this year, as it was an absolute killer). I am not a runner nor a jogger, so it was a pretty big confidence boost for myself completing it non-stop. I finished it in 32 minutes and 29 seconds, so I will hopefully beat that this year!

I am a lot more active than I was last year, but I mainly lift weights at the gym nowadays. I don't do much cardio at all.. I guess I'll have to try and incorporate more cardio into my gym routine to prep myself for this! I will be gutted if I finish at a really bad time compared to last year. But even if I do, it's the raising money that counts. So please sponsor me! Every sponsor, no matter how big or small, will help this amazing cause and will be greatly appreciated!

If you are interested in joining in, go onto the Race For Life website to see if there are any events near you. There's a small fee to sign up, but it is all for Cancer Research - so a fantastic cause! Please don't be put off or embarrassed if you think you can't run/jog it. Just because it's called a "race", doesn't mean you're actually racing. You can walk the whole 5km if you want to! It's just a fun day out for all the family! Only women can participate though (which is a little unfair in my opinion, as men can get breast cancer too, but hey ho..), but feel free to bring your male family members, partner and friends to come cheer you on in the sidelines!

Spread the word about Race For Life 2013 and get all of your friends and family involved.


Friday, 22 March 2013

5-a-day fruit smoothie.

This tasty fruit combination was pot-luck really, as I made up on the spot. I'd picked up some "reduced-price" fruit from the supermarket yesterday that needed using, so I just chose other fruits we already had that I thought would compliment them in taste. I think I chose pretty well, as this smoothie is absolutely delicious! Such a wonderful, refreshing taste and looks very attractive too - a nice colour and it isn't too thick or too smooth. Perfect for a quick, healthy breakfast. I will definitely be making this again. I'm a sucker for a good tasting smoothie!

This smoothie serves 1 and is approx. 369 kcal. (You could make it into 2 smaller servings, at approx. 185 kcal per serving, but this would be more appropriate as a small side to another small breakfast dish, rather than a whole breakfast by itself, like one big serving would be - if that makes sense.. Haha).

- 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced
- 1 clementine, peeled and any seeds removed
- 1 mango, peeled and cubed
- juice from 1/2 a lime
- 1 banana, peeled and sliced
- handful of ice cubes

1. Place all fruit it the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Once blended, place the ice cubes in and blend again until smooth.
3. Pour into a pint glass and enjoy!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

I need to set my priorities straight..

As some of you may know, I like a good night out (don't judge, please - I know this is a weightloss blog, but I do like to enjoy myself and let my hair down sometimes too). But last night may have changed my opinion a little.. It was... eventful? I went drinking in town with a few friends and predrank beforehand.. But I predrank WAY more than usual.. Why? I have no idea. Maybe I'm just an idiot. After spending the majority of the night with my head in a toilet, crying and eating a mountain of cheesy chips, I've come to the realisation, I cannot handle my alcohol. I like to think I can, but after last night I know I can't. This morning I found what was left in my bottle of Malibu, and I was disgusted in myself when I actually saw how much I got through - I'm lucky I didn't have to go to hospital. I am so ashamed and very embarrassed. I know we all make mistakes and "you only live once", but the events of last night are playing with my mind. I have spent nearly all day in town, killing time with the worst hangover to date, as I didn't feel sober enough to drive home this morning. I'm finally home and it's gone 4pm.. Almost a whole day wasted.

I have realised that I clearly have my priorities all wrong. Yes, socialising and having a dance with a few drinks down you is great fun, but for me it just happens way too often now. Each night I go out I seem to get through more and more alcohol, thinking I can handle it when I clearly can't. I need to start setting dates for my nights out way in advance, instead of deciding the day before that I'm going to go out, as that way I won't be going out once every week or two, and they'll be more spread out. I'll probably appreciate the nights out and time with my friends more, and I'm sure mine and my boyfriend's pockets will appreciate that too. I also need to stop predrinking, or buy seriously less alcohol for myself to drink if I do. Buying drinks in town is more expensive, which sucks, but it means I'll drink less as I won't be able to afford many drinks (I am extremely stingy with my money on nights out, no matter how intoxicated I am). So I'm now going to have to find something else to do on my Saturday nights.. No idea what though.

I want to spend more of my time doing more important things, like working a bit more and saving up some money, seeing family and friends (whilst sober), looking into going back to college in September, focusing on writing for my blog and the e-magazine, Pie, that I now write a little bit for each month and tackling my insomnia, anxiety and weight issues. Also I need to get my butt back down the gym and get back into a proper routine instead of going 1-2 times a week, whenever I can be bothered, and I need to start eating more healthily again, as I keep yo-yoing from eating really good one day to really naughty the next. I need to look after my body and stop treating it like a dustbin.

Hopefully, with support from my family (and hopefully friends too), and of course will power, I'll be able to stick to all of this. *Fingers crossed*, I can do this!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Treat yourself to a FREE Graze Box!

I've been receiving Graze Box's through the post, fortnightly, since January 2012 and I am still really enjoying them. I enjoy them as snacks and occasionally as a quick get-up-and-go breakfast. I have tried many of Graze's punnets now and I still get sent new ones I've yet to try, and they never disappoint. A few of my latest punnets I've tried and loved are 'walnut and vanilla truffle', 'summer berry compote' and 'salt and vinegar nut selection' - yum yum! One I am dying to receive is their new "better-for-you brownie" - it looks and sounds delicious (I'm a sucker for a gooey, chocolatey brownie).

I received my first Graze Box by receiving a code from a friend, and I've never regretted it. I never cancelled and now pay a small price for a each box, but I think it's worth it. So here's a code for you to receive your first Graze Box for FREE:


If you don't enjoy your first box or only wanted the free one, you can easily cancel all future Graze Box's at no extra cost. This is a very trustworthy company and I have never had any issues with them. My friend has cancelled her boxes with them before and had no issues either, so no need to worry. You can also postpone boxes and move dates around to choose when and how often you receive them. Don't forget to rate the punnets they offer so you're more likely to receive ones you actually like. You can "bin" them too so you will never receive ones you know you won't like. This is great if you hate certain flavours (like me with coconut flakes. I "binned" those within the first hour of redeeming my code), are allergic to anything (lots of the punnets contain nuts/dairy, but they have a column on the side to point them all out) or if you're vegan (they also have all non-vegan boxes listed in the column).

I hope you take advantage of this free code and enjoy your Graze Box(es) as much as I enjoy mine! :)

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Tiger prawn Thai green curry.

I originally cooked this dish for my boyfriend, as part of a three course meal. As of March 4th this year we have been together for two years! This dish was the main course, and I made garlic and rosemary foceccia bread with dipping oil for the starter and I made blondies for dessert. It was all so delicious, but this curry was my favourite out of the three. When I made I before, I was following a recipe I found online. Although it was very tasty, it ended up being quite calorific. But I knew I really wanted to make it again, so I took it upon myself to create the same dish with just as much flavour, but with fewer calories, and I've done it. This dish tastes beautiful - better than any Indian dish I've ever tried at a restaurant. It tastes sweet, with subtle heat which isn't too overwhelming and has a citrusy kick from the lime and coriander. I've used jumbo tiger prawns in my recipe as they're pretty meaty and have a lovely texture. But if you're not into those, you can always use some little prawns, a meat such as chicken or even some Quorn or tofu for vegetarians. Just replace the jumbo tiger prawns with whatever you'd prefer and do everything in the same order (if using a raw fish/meat, please make sure it's cooked right through before serving).

This recipe serves 1 and contains approx. 473 kcal.

- 3 raw jumbo tiger prawns, unshelled
- 1.5tbsp Thai green curry paste
- 100ml reduced-fat coconut milk
- 1tbsp clear honey
- juice of half a lime
- small handful of coriander, chopped
- 50g (uncooked) wholegrain basmati rice
- red chilli, thinly sliced, to garnish (optional)

1. In a bowl (or, if big enough, use the jug you measured the coconut milk in) place in the coconut milk, honey, curry paste and lime juice, and mix it all together well.

2. Place the raw prawns into a small shallow bowl. Pour over the curry paste sauce mixture, and make sure it covers them completely. Leave to soak for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, get a small saucepan, fill it with about 500ml water and place it on a high heat. Bring the water to boil. Place in the uncooked rice and turn the heat down to medium. Leave to cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Once the prawns have finished soaking in the sauce, pour it all into a saucepan and place it on a medium heat. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the prawns are cooked through (they will turn from grey to bright pink) and the sauce has thickened slightly. Now stir in the coriander, and turn the heat off.

5. Once the rice has cooked, drain it and place on a hot plate. Then pour on the cooked prawns and thickened sauce, either beside or over the top of the rice. If using, place some very thin slices of chilli on top for some fancy-looking garnish.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

The beautiful city of Paris!

Well we're back from our short break in Paris. Other than feeling utterly exhausted every day (late nights and very early mornings) and having to sit on the floor of our last train home, I had a fantastic time! We saw so many beautiful sights. We went up the Eiffel Tower, went in the Notre Dame and went on an evening cruise down the river Seine. We also saw the Louvre, went shopping in the most amazing "mall" I've ever been in and visited a local art gallery. It was wonderful and I am so glad I went.

This was my first ever trip to Paris and I had never experienced a place like it. The traffic is manic - everyone drives like lunatics, as if they're all in some mad rush! They also drive on the opposite side of the road, which I kept forgetting, so I nearly got knocked over every 5 minutes! Even the cyclists ride crazily. We saw motorbikes mounting the pavements and swerving in and out of pedestrians and cars - always made my heart jump a bit, haha. Our hotel room wasn't that great (the double bed sunk in the middle and our toilet was boxed against a wall so we had to sit on it sideways, haha) but it was bearable.. We didn't spend much time in there anyway. The side alleys and the more unpopular places weren't that nice. There was a lot of tacky shops, mainly selling suits, and homeless people with their babies, cats and dogs were everywhere - it was very sad to see. There was also a lot of beggars and drunks shouting at everyone and waving wine bottles around. Not a pretty sight, but all of the landmarks were beautiful. I loved the Eiffel Tower at night - the twinkling lights looked so magical! My other favourite was the Notre Dame Cathedral. The architecture is incredible and so sophisticated. I loved the gargoyles all around the outside of the building - they reminded me a lot of a childhood film, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'. The atmosphere inside was lovely too and I loved admiring the ceilings (I've always had a thing about pretty Church/Cathedral ceilings) and stain glass windows. I also really enjoyed the shopping! I bought a lovely black maxi dress, a Hard Rock Cafe shirt and a bright purple lipstick. I also bought a few little souvenirs back for my family.

I was a bit nervous about the French cuisine before arriving there, and I had a right to be. There was rarely a vegetarian option that wasn't a dessert. Thank God I eat fish, else I wouldn't be able to eat very much other than salads or brushetta. One waiter tried to persuade me that frog's legs were fish and not meat.. But I luckily didn't fall for it. I think I would have been slightly horrified to see them on my plate.  I took photos of all the foods I ate whilst there, so I could show you all! My favourite meal was probably the pastries we shared in the shopping mall. They were perfection - especially the pain au chocolate (they are my favourite, and I had one almost everyday for breakfast - as you can probably tell from the photos). I tried my first ever real, non-homemade macaroons too - they were lovely, especially the chocolate flavoured one. The price of drinks are absolutely crazy in Paris! A 45cl drink of diet coke (pictured below) cost us 6 Euros, so we rarely bought drinks, except water.

I was such a piglet whilst in Paris, and I managed to put on 2.5 lbs over the Paris trip and my birthday celebrations combined.. I'm surprised it's not more, to be honest.. But it's still bad. It's got me feeling a little down, but I am getting back on track now.