Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Still here

Not posted much lately due to being on holiday and I probably wont be posting much over christmas either - but don't give up on me I will be back!

It was a great holiday, absolutely freezing cold - I couldn't feel my fingers for most of the trip - but it was worth it! Ate lots of good food and drank an awful lot of Vin Chaud from the Christmas markets!

I'll leave you with some photos from Paris!



















This was the crowd taking photos of the Mona Lisa - it was a bit weird, the corridors leading up to the painting were filled with people just rushing to see it and ignoring all the other paintings around them :(











Our beautiful hotel room! Really handily right across from a Metro station - shame we didn't realise that the night we arrived until after the 20 minute walk with our luggage in the FREEZING cold from the previous Metro stop!



And here are a couple of shots of the snow in our garden that we came home to! It rained over night though so it's not so pretty today.



Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Smoothie in a Bowl

Foowing on from my new favourite snack I now also have a new favourite breakfast! Smoothie in a bowl! (thanks Mama Pea ;) )

I blended a scoop of cookies and cream protien powder (trying to use this stuff up so I can move onto something better, more on that in another post!) with a large handful of frozen raspberries, 1 medium frozen banana and 200ml of vanilla rice milk. I then added some plain yogurt, granola, organic dried berries and crushed yogurt coated brazil nuts - heaven in a bowl! well, almost, the smoothie needs to be thicker next time! By the time I get to work and am ready to eat it the berries and banana have melted and thinned it a bit too much.


Sorry for the lack of posting lately, with year end at work, preparing for Christmas eating and going to Paris, and several work nights out! I've been really busy and not particularly interesting or healthy! hopefully I can make up for it with some great photos from Paris!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

New Favourite Snack!

Well, one of many favourites!

Banana Bread Nakd bar with a blob of crunchy peanut butter, another of hazelnut butter and one of almond butter - oh wow! This could be dangerous!



And, on the subject of Wow! Cherry and beer is a very, very good combination! I don't like any other bee but this stiff is fab!

Christmas Tree

We finally got our tree up when we got home on Sunday night :D I know it may seem early to some but since we are going away for almost a week we want to make the most of it!

Since our room has a lot of darker colours in it we went with a white tree this year and lots of bright and shiny decorations - I did think the white tree might be too tacky, in a bad way, but I absolutely love it! And we've only had to re-decorate it once so far. We were cooking dinner last night when all of a sudden the tree appeared on the kitchen floor! Jeff, our cat, had jumped on it, bent a bunch of branches and knocked a load of decorations off. He got the silent treatment and hasn't been near it since.

Anyway, this is Mr Tree





And some close ups of some decorations















And a garland-y thing I wrapped some lights around and added some left over decorations to



Tuesday, 8 December 2009

The Road Trip

Was fun! No disasters, we didn't fall out, managed to see everyone, went to Ikea, didn't spend too much money... success!

Though I definitely failed getting in that blog post or two - we were just too busy and my bettery died on my iphone, I'd managed to pack some random white cable instead of the actual charging cable.

It really was great being able to do it on our own! It was too bad we didn't get to spend more time with everyone but I'm just so happy to have seen them. We were both pretty exhausted when we got home on Sunday night - I fell fast asleep face down on the sofa and woke up with drool all over my face and hair - oh dear!

We made some creamy, dark chocolate truffles with Baileys as gifts for everyone, fortunately there were some left over for us (I say us but I ate all but two bites really, oops!) they really were amazing and so simple to make. I'll be making another batch, or 2, or 3! And I'll definitely be posting the recipe and some pictures, they're so good I have to share!

There's not really much else to say about it, our stops were so quick it was pretty much a cup of tea and some catching up, and me taking hundreds of pictures of my little sisters!

Here are some boring driving pictures (it's my first road trip I'm allowed to be stupidly excited!)













Yes, I am a loser! To be honest I thought I'd get some really good photos, it's such a lovely part of the country but it was cold, rainy and miserable pretty much the entire time we were driving!

Essential Shopping

Tonight we went out to buy some essentials....



It's going to be a very merry christmas :D

Friday, 4 December 2009

Food

I've been thinking a lot about the way I eat lately, well, the way I want to eat really! I'm going more and more off processed foods, not just the thought of what's in them but also the taste. I just find them too bland and disappointing and a waste of calories really! My preference for natural and homemade foods is constantly getting stronger, despite my junk food binges, each time I do it is less satisfying than the last which is certainly a good thing.

I've also pretty much given up on protein shakes - I used to have one before and one after each work out for energy to get through the workout and for a quick fix while I make some proper food after - as well as the whole muscle repair thing. After reading a guest post on the Fintessista blog written by Gena from the Choosing Raw blog I decided I wanted to tryout a more natural workout fuel so started making Green Monsters and having raw fruit/nuts either on their own or in the form of Larabars of gluten free Nakd bars.

Gena writesabout fuelling a workout with foods that "offer maximum nutrition while causing minimal bodily stress" ie. foods that are easy and quick for your body to digest - like fruits and vegetables opposed to animal proteins which can take your body hours to deal with. The protein supplement I use is vegetarian, but I'd still say my body is going to find it far easier to digest fruit and veg than a processed protein powder! She also mentions the acidity vs. alkalinity of the foods - acidic foods being more taxing on your body and another argument for fuelling with vegetables (amongst other things). I was particularly interested in what Gena had to say about protein - I do eat a lot more protien now and I do find I function better when I eat increased protein and fat with reduced carbs, I just generally feel 'better', happier, less tired and sluggish - and less bloated. I now make more of an effort to get some leafy greens down before and after a workout in the form of a Green Monster usually instead of the usual protein shake, I also have a hemp protein on my list of things to buy when I next get paid to add more of a protein boost to my juices and smoothies (though actually I will use up the last of my current protein powder first as I don't want to waste it) And I'm going to have a go at growing my own sprouts! It should be fun and I've always enjoyed that little packs I occassionally see in the supermarket added to salads and stir frys, I don't buy them as often as I would like due to the cost.

In the new year I'm going to get back into my regular gym routine and try some of Gena's performance-boosting recipes listed in her post as I have found the Green Monsters to be great but would like a bit more variety.

I've also had several thoughts of giving up meat altogehter or just eating fish and seafood - I'm mostly not that fussed on other meats, lamb i just cna't like, beef I could easily live without, though I do really enjoy the odd steak, chicken...well it's usually the herbs, sauce and/or extras that make me enjoy a chicken dish! Other meats I do enjoy - but eat them so rarely I really don't think I'd miss them! For some reason though, I just can't bring myself to give up meat, not yet anyway!

Then, as I started getting into making my own almond milk (desperately need to get another sack of almons as I've really missed this!) and finding yogurt was maknig me a bit bloaty in the afternoons I started thinking about ditching dairy - the only time I'd miss it is in tea and coffee, but I'm drinking a lot less regular tea these days anyway in favour of green tea and Tea Pigs red tea with winter spices, which I don't use milk in, so really it's just coffee but I'm sure black coffee is something I can get used to. I do eat yogurt most days but that's another thing that's more about what I add to it or eat with it, and there are dairy-free alternatives.

There's a part of me - the part that doesn't make a lot of sense - that thinks I'd quite like to follow a partly raw and partly vegan diet - but still eat fish and sea food and the occassional steak or bacon roll with lots of butter! This part of me also thinks it would help control the emotional side of my eating, if I can say to myself 'no I can't have that, it's not vegan' and I can say it to the people at work that try to force feed me sweeties and cakes! There's another part of me that thinks maybe vegan's might want to stone me for pretending :D I guess it's like saying "clean eating" it's just an easy quick phrase that kind of sums it up. As for raw - I do really want to make more of an effort to eat raw meals, I've been put off in the past due to the wanting to eat lost of protein and thinking the best way would be to have meat with my lunch, but know I know I really don't need to, I can't say it's something that appeals to me enough to do it exclusivley.

I suppose part of the reason I'm looking a raw and vegan recipes is variety - by limiting certain things it kind of forces you to either get really bored, or get creative and try new things - I want to get creative and try new things!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Road Trip!

This weekend we get to do our first ever road trip!

My boyfriend passed his test a couple of weeks ago - first time with only a few lessons! Got his license on Saturday and we bought our first car on Monday!

Here he is:





He is called Gurg and he's very cure and shiny! :D I'm really pleased with him, he even comes with alloy's (lol!), a CD player and he gets really nice and warm inside, and he can go fast! He seems to be doing well despite my boyfriend trying to kill him on day two!

Sadly I can't drive him :( Driving seems like far too scary a thing for me to want to do!

So on Saturday we are spending the day driving around visiting our parents - it's so great knowing we can just drive down whenever we fancy now, we now longer need to rely on buses and trains and remember to plan and book tickets in advance to get a good price, we can just go!

It's going to be a busy weekend, we drive down from Aberdeen to see my mum and her.... partner, I guess - I never know how to refer to him, they aren't married but calling him her boyfriend just sounds ridiculous! They are down on the West Coast of Scotland, after a few hours we'll head further down the coast to see my boyfriends parents, then we drive all the way back up to Glasgow to see my dad, his 'girlfriend' and my 3 little sisters - we're gonig to stay the night, have some dinner, drinks, watch X-Factor, play some Call of Duty 4 player :D get some sleep and head home on Sunday - possibly via Ikea!

We have friends visiting next weekend and the one after that we are in Paris, then it's christmas!!! So not much time for visiting family and we like spending christmas in our home and we have our little Jeff too - can't leave him home alone over christmas, I feel mean making him travel, he's really naughty so I hate having him in other people's houses - I get so stressed! Plus my dad has a cat now too and he's a bit territorial, he's a pure breed siamese who spends his days roaming the streets looking for a fight and comes home battered, bruised and scratched every day, he even tried to take on a fox recently! He's still only a tiny kitten!

So anyway, it's great to be able to go see family now as we were worrying it would need to be after New Year. Also means we can drop off some presents and save on postage/worrying if things will be delivered on time, if at all!

I'm going to be a geek and take my laptop in the car with me so I can continue planning our christmas eats and food shopping list! I can also hopefully get a blog post or two in over the weekend.

I might be a bit quiet over the next few weeks as I have loads on with visiting people, people visiting us, employer and client christmas do's, year end at work (I'm an accountant) will be very busy, 5 nights in Paris, plus lots of food prep - I don't want to buy food in packets this year and I'm probably planning to do too much but I'm really looking forward to it! I'm not even sure I'll make it to the gym too much - then it will be mobbed in January with everyone who joins up after christmas and gives up after a few weeks - that used to be me!

Friday, 27 November 2009

Weigh In

I had my first proper weigh in for ages this morning. It was a good one! I've just passed my second goal weight!

My first goal weight was just a random guess at an ok weight but I still felt too big so set my second goal for another 10lb. I've been ill for the past two weeks and eating badly and not exercising enough for the last 2+months - but generally Monday - Friday 9-5 I've eaten well. I've kep an eye on my weight the whole time and stuck at around 139lb. While I've been ill I've not had much of an appetite but when it did come back it was mostly sugary drinks, crisps and bacon rolls with butter I was cramming in. I'm also just through with TOTM, last month I didn't take a break from my pill so have been suffering the bloating effects all month so I am fairly confident with what the scales said this morning and that it wont go shooting up as my appetite returns.

Anyway I have lost a total of 2.2 stones since mid February this year. I started for about a month on 1100 calories per day for a loss of 2lb per week, I found this just wasn't enough and changed to a 1lb a week loss then when I got to the first goal I went down to 0.5lb a week. In total it works out that I've been losing 0.7lb per week with some weeks being over 2lb and others being small gains or staying the same.

I've tried to stick to eating natrual and unprocessed foods, I've gone lower carb and higher protein to support my exercise which consisted of heavy weight training and interval training on the exercise bike/cross trainer/treadmill. I also used a personal trainer once a week for a few months - which was a fantastic motivator but just too expensive to keep up.
My consistency has been quite poor - though far better than any other times I've tried losing weight, and improving! Whenever I've wandered off track I've managed to get back on - though this latest fall is taking a lot longer to recover from!
I found keeping a diary on a thread in a forum I used incredibly helpful, sadly the forum kind of died a death so my blog took over and has been such a great tool in keeping me going and interested in what I'm doing. I like being accountable, even if I don't know who is reading or if no one was reading, putting it out there and knowing people can see really does help!

I still have a bit of podge to shift so I have set my next goal for 10lb though I have no idea if I will reach it. I'm now under 10 stones for the firstr time since I was a child, I really never thought it was possible - I'm quite broad built and always figured I just would be big, I never realised I had as much as 2 stone going spare that I could comfortably lose!
My main aim now is to focus on exercise, getting fit and improving my shape - and falling into a comfortable exercise habit I never want to give up!

Ideally I'd love to not have to count calories but I'm not quite there yet so will be sticking with WLR and counting until I am! I am going to try to be a bit more relaxed about counting by making more of an effort to stick to the right foods.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Pome-not-so-great

After getting to work on pomegranate number 2 I have come to the conclusion that pomogranate is just not worth the effort, not ones bought in Aberdeen anyway!

Firstly they look a bit.... peely wally and sad, dull pale red or a pale pinky-red-yellow kind of colour.

Then inside, I was expecting something like this:



But the reality looks a bit dry and more like lots of seeds with a wee bit of juice, not like a little plump and juicy berries with a little seed inside



I mean they don't look bad or anything, just not so exciting!

Which is why I added vodka! :D



It was....not as good as it looks! Too bitter. And I still had 3 more left! I'm not impressed but they are good enough for me to eat the rest so I am trying again tomorrow and have packed a tub of raspberries and pomegranate arils to take to work tomorrow



I also packed up some oats with coconut water and a thinly sliced banana for breakfast and a salad with mived leaves, grated courgette, yellow pepper and pomodoro tomatoes with some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mustard dressing to add



I'm feeling much better today and even ate lunch so thought I should get back into the habit of preparing food to take into work. I now just have a painful and irritating cough but at least I feel normal and have a lot more. Which is just as well since I had to spend this evening preparing food for my friends who are coming round for dinner and drinks tomorrow - I can't wait!

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Spoke Too Soon

Because I'm still ill and feeling rubbish :(

Fed up of it now - it's just a bad cold and it's getting better which is good. I went back to work yesterday only to be off again today! I'm sure I'll be baack tomorrow and fine for the rest of the week but definitely going to be taking it easy aand not going to bother with the gym. I've thought about doing some yoga at home but I'm struggling to breathe so will probably give that a miss too for a few more days.

 



Food has been a bit better, I still have harldy any appetite during the days but less foods are making me feel sick. I'm on a really tight budget this week so no cash left for crappy foods - though I am having friends over for dinner on Friday so I wont exactly be eating healthy all week, but it will be homemade, and there will be pictures!

 



Get well soon to all those others suffering with colds or flu!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Feeling Human Again...

...ish.

I no longer feel like I have flu/have been hit by a train, it just feels like a bod cold now.

I'll be making an effort to post properly again over the next few dats, and hopefully be back at the gym from Tuesday.

No point in a diet update since there hasn't really been one! For what must be the first time in my life I have lost my appetite! Even when hungry over the last week there was nothing that I actually wanted to eat, there's been a lot of juice (shop bought, no energy to do my own), lots of cereal and lots of bread, plus some crisps. I am starting to want food now though, just no much of it and it mostly seem to revolve around really crispy bacon.

Making a real effort from tomorrow - it's not going to be an exciting food week - we have about £20 to last until payday between us! But I will be having more pumpkin tomorrow, and making a pumpkin soup for lunches during the week!

 



Going to wait and see how I feel but I'm hoping to go back to spin class on Tuesday and other than that exercise will be on the gentle side! I'm also going to be getting into yoga this week - I want something *more* than weights and cardio and I kind of have the yoga bug from a lot of the other blogs I read.

 



Umm....anything else interesting? Not really! I bought 4 pommegranates! They don't look as appetising as the ones from the blogs, they are yellow for a start. I'm not feeling too hopeful for the flavour, I imagine they might be a bit bland sadly.

 



Well I'm off to fill up my glass (Koko Kanu coconut rum and cranberry juice). Have a good weekend!

Monday, 16 November 2009

Flu

Sorry for the lack of posts, I've been away for the weekend and now I'm in bed with flu, never felt so awful in my life!! Will update as soon as I feel able.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Pumpkin Love

Whoohoo! I got more pumpkin! I would have bought even more but I couldn't carry it :(

 



I now have a little pumpkin family :D

Umpkin

The munchkins are my favourite, I'm not so sure I even want to share them with my boyfriend... so it's a good thing I made a big batch of chunky chocolate nut cookies to bribe him with!

 



Cookies

I mixed 25g of Flora Extra Light Margerine with 150g Light Brown Muscovado Sugar and then stirred in 300g Self Raising Flour along with 2 tbsp of Skimmed Milk then chucked in some Green & Blacks Maya Gold chocolate which I smashed off the floor gently chopped into odd sized pieces and roughly choped cashews, brazils and walnuts, added some cinnamon and grated nutmeg, stirred it all up and baked in blobs for about 30 minutes, maybe more, at 180 degrees.

I haven't tried them yet but they were delicious last time I made them!

 



Cookie

 



I also had a go at making some kale chips after reading about them on the Fitnessista blog and on Kath Eats Real Food

Raw Kale

I didn't like them.... but I will try again! I've never had kale before and I put some nutritional yeast on them which I've also never had before. Thr flavour of the nutritional yeast was good, the kale flavour was ok, but the texture was a bit weird for me, I found it quite jaggy. But I'll try again.

I cooked the kale in the oven at 150 degrees for around 15 minutes after throwing over some olive oil, salt and nutritional yeast

Kale Chips

 



And then I took some more pictures of my cat!

 



IMG_1896

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