I’ve never been much of a chef, but on the Slimming World plan, all meals are best if they’re made from scratch.
So i thought every Friday, as well as an update on how I’m getting on, I’d give a few meal ideas and recipes – that even a rubbish cook like myself can master!
Slimming World Minestrone Soup
Extra Easy – Free
What you’ll need:
One small onion
Half a courgette
3 sticks of celery
1 large leek (or 3 baby leeks)
Bacon Rashers (all visible fat cut off)
Spinach (frozen or fresh)
Garlic (puree or fresh) (for Gia Garlic puree, above, add 3 syns per tablespoon)
Cannelini beans (optional)
One carton chopped tomatoes
One ham stock cube
The good thing with this soup, is that it can be adapted for whatever vegetables you want and/or fancy.
First of all, you sweat off the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and courgette in Fry Light, in a large pan. You then add the chopped up bacon and cook until browned. Then, add water to cover all of the vegetables, the stock cube, carton of chopped tomatoes, a couple of handfuls of pasta and the beans. Boil this until the pasta and all the vegetables are cooked. Then add the chopped leeks and spinach and cook for a further 5-7 minutes until they are also cooked through.
This recipe is syn free if using fresh garlic. If, like me, you use puree garlic which is mixed with vegetable oil, (Gia brand) add 3 syns for every tablespoon of garlic used. That is 3 syns for the entire pot of soup.
Extra Easy – Free
What you’ll need:
Fish of your choice (i used cod loin)
Maybe the easiest dinner in the world. All you have to do is get a piece of tinfoil and place the piece of fish in the centre. I then layered on top slices of lemon, mushrooms, tomatoes and asparagus. You then fold the tinfoil into a little package, leaving plenty of room for the steam to move about inside, and put it in the oven at gas mark 6 for about 15-20 minutes (obviously depending on the size of fish used)
I served mine with coucous made with chicken stock, tomatoes and onions, Brussel sprouts and a watercress spinach and rocket salad. This entire meal is completely free on Extra Easy.
I think all this cooking calls for a small (large) glass of wine 😉
The Southside Girl x
I’ve never been skinny. I think I was born a size 12 and it’s steadily increased since then. It’s always been something that’s been there, and something I know I need to sort but I’ve never really had the determination to do it. In other words, I’m just plain LAZY!
Yesterday, I took a leap and joined my local Slimming World group. I’ve done the Slimming World plan before – for a week where I lost 4lbs and clearly got over excited and celebrated with a chinese takeaway and a few dozen cakes. Sigh.
There are 3 options within the plan and I’ve decided to go for the extra easy, as it requires the minimum amount of thinking possible. With this, you can eat as much free food, two healthy extra choices and 5-15 syns a day. For all of you who have no clue, I’ll try to summarise it as best I can.
On this plan, you do something called ‘food optimising’ where you can eat as much fresh and frozen fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, fat free dairy products (quark), potatoes, pulses, starchy vegetables, rice, pasta, grains and vegetable proteins (e.g tofu, quorn) as you want. You also get one healthy choice A (milk/cheese) and one healthy choice B(cereals/bread) per day. On top of all of this, you get up to 15 syns a day that can be used for things like alcohol or treats (in my case, wine and Twirl bars)
That’s alot of food.
I have absolutely no idea how it works. It sounds slightly too good to be true. But the proof was in the pudding ( excuse the fat pun 😉 ) when the first lady I spoke to lost 3lbs which took her overall weight loss to 7stone 2lbs in under a year. If that’s not inspiration, I don’t know what is.
So I’ve ordered all of my shopping, I’ve started to write up my meal planner for the week, and for the first time in absolutely ages I am feeling 100% determined and motivated to move my backside and do something about my weight. I have two babies + a million takeaways worth of fat to lose, so it wont be an overnight miracle but I’m set up for the long haul.
Every Friday on this blog from now on will be my “fat fighting friday” where I’m hoping to update you all on how I’m getting on, my meals etc, and I might even take a delve into the world of YouTube and film some grocery hauls (cause I’m a sad act and I watch stuff like that!) Blogging about it, hopefully, will keep me motivated to stick to the plan. Fingers crossed!
On an even more positive note…i stood on the scales for my first weigh in today only to find out I’m a stone lighter than I was at the beginning of the year. Yay! No idea how that happened but I’ve settled on either their scales are broken, my scales are broken or I’ve suddenly got number dyslexia and am reading it wrong. In any case, it was just the wee boost that I needed.
If any of you are losing weight at the moment, or are wanting to, then please leave a comment! It’s always great to have extra support from other people going through the same thing.
Same time, same place, next week…. hopefully a few pounds down! 🙂
The Southside Girl x
Recently, I’ve been attempting to make my way through the backlog of blogs I’ve come across but haven’t managed to properly read. Today was a great day for my catch up and I found some blogs I love!
Now, i waste a ridiculous amount of time on Youtube watching all the beauty vloggers videos of their gigantic designer handbags, filled to the brim with high-end make up, designer sunglasses, Ipads and the like.
My handbag really isn’t like that. Really, really not.
I go for handbags the size of small trailers – at least big enough for the kitchen sink, obviously! Wipeable is a must as my boys have a tendency to spill stuff constantly at, on or near me (water, juice, melted chocolate, playdough, slime…) I’m not one for compartments as I usually have at least one ridiculously large toy that Logan has decided to bring along with him, only to decide 5 minutes later that he hates it.
For some reason I always have my make-up bag with me, which is laughable because there is not a hope in hell I’d ever have the chance/time/energy to reapply my rushed, beat-the-zombie-mum-look make up. Luckily, I’m passed the changing bag stage now and no longer have to carry nappies/cream/nappysacks with me everywhere I go… unfortunately these have been replaced by a ridiculous amount of crap. As you will see.
You might want to take note (and be warned) that I haven’t even checked what is in my handbag just now. So this could be embarrassingly mortifying. But hey ho, all in the name of blogging i suppose.
So here it is, in all it’s glory. My handbag – mummy style.
Excuse the absolutely disgusting brush. My mum will be completely mortified. Sorry Mum.
The contents of my ridiculous handbag are:
1. Make up bag full to the brim of mostly lip glosses/stains. I never use them. And 1 disgusting hair brush. Note to self – buy a new one. This one is beyond saving.
2. One fluorescent pink purse – bright colour makes it easy to find in overly messy handbag.
3. A bottle of Cutex Nourishing nail varnish remover, two L’Oreal Colour Riche nail varnishes and a Boots mini firm hold hair spray. Because you just never know!
4. Three snack packs from my latest Graze box. Aiden loves these. I hide them in my bag so he can’t get them. Whoops.
5. Two inhalers – because I have the breathing ability of a 90 year old 60-a-day smoker. Lovely.
6. Marc Jacobs Daisy Summer perfume – love this. The boys, however, loved the lid and it is currently being used as part of their police headquarters game thing.
7. One Woody toy, a Lego board, a mini car from Cars and a water gun. No explanation.
8. One packet of baby wipes. I have extremely sticky children.
9. Two odd socks and two pairs of the boys pants. The odd socks seem to collect in whichever handbag I’m using. I have absolutely no idea how it happens!
10. My Kindle Fire – this is the best thing in the world. Ever. Shame the battery lasts all of 10 minutes!
11. A notebook, a pen and a pack of highlighters. The boys were getting their haircuts today – distractions needed.
12. Lovefilm membership renewal reminder thing. Don’t think that will be getting used! And my Birdsong ticket from a few weeks ago (must start clearing out handbag!)
13. The boys record books for the health visitor. Was double checking the MMR situation and realised Logan’s wasn’t noted in his book. Enter me, overly dramatic mummy thinking I hadn’t taken him for his jag and he was now going to get the measles. Turns out, I’d just forgotten to take his book to that appointment. Exit scatty mummy.
What do you keep in your handbag? Everything including the kitchen sink? Or are you more organised? (please, teach me!)
The Southside Girl x
Don’t get me wrong. I really do love that old husband of mine. I’ve landed pretty lucky with the grump that I’ve got. He chauffeurs me about. He works ridiculously hard to provide for our family. He makes me laugh hysterically (usually at him, not with him) and he’s a daddy in a million to our boys.
Obviously I love him, but sometimes I really don’t like him. He drives me insane with his wee quirks and habits. And being the loving, thoughtful, dutiful wife that I am – obviously I’m going to list those bad habits here for all to see! So this is him, introducing my Mr P, warts and all….
– He leaves coppers lying everywhere. The bathroom window ledge. The dresser in the bedroom. The kitchen worktops. If I find another 2p on a random surface I will lose the will to live.
– He doesn’t understand privacy. He will quite happily go to the toilet and leave the door wide open. So he can chat. Lovely.
– He refuses to eat any vegetables, at all. The closest we’ve gotten is cauliflower pakora. That was a milestone. He counts chips as vegetables. Says it all.
– He mumbles. I rarely understand a word he’s saying.
– He turns into a sweary teenager when playing a ridiculous football game on the computer. Of course, he doesn’t mumble then.
– When he leaves a pot to steep in the sink, he will never EVER go back and finish washing said pot.
– The only things he will happily watch on the television is football, football highlights, football results, and the sports news which he turns off once the football part has finished.
– He hangs his massive heavy work jacket over the back of my dining room chairs. Then moans when the chair tips over. That drives me mental.
– He finds it hysterical to wait until you’ve done your full makeup…then comes up and licks your face.
– He’s the one who introduced the boys to wrestling. I’ll forever hate him for that one!
*Disclaimer – The husband is an all round good guy. These bad habits do not reflect his character as a whole. Maybe.
The Southside Girl x
A couple of months ago, i found my first ever laptop(circa 2005) amongst my ever increasing pile of 8 year old bank statements and old digital picture frames. I made the ridiculous decision to charge it up, and the result was 3 hours of hysterical laughter, embarrassment and questions as to why my husband ever married me. Really.
One of the files was my “10 year plan”, written in 2005. I have no idea why I feel the need to emphasise the fact i have a non existent professional life and embarrass myself further by putting this up here – but clearly my mind works in mysterious ways – so here it is in all its unedited glory (obviously with my added comments to attempt to defend myself haha) …
My 10 Year Plan
2006 – Age 19 – Change course and university. You hate the one you’re doing! The highlight of my university life was the people I met – and discovering 99p a drink Tuesdays. Plus, I have the attention span of a gnat.
2007 – Age 20 – Get a job working abroad and think about moving out. Because clearly I thought I could magic money out my arse.
2008 – Age 21 – Have a massive party and work abroad again for the Summer. I have no idea what the fascination is with summer working holidays. I would never have handled an Ayia Napa or Magaluf working holiday – no matter how much I told myself I could have.
2009 – Age 22 – Get a work experience placement or internship to gain more experience. Finally – the girl makes sense.
2010 – Age 23 – Try and get a teaching post abroad with a charity. Again, written down, this looks like a smart move. However, I know i probably would have been thinking sunshine and cheap vodka. Sigh.
2011 – Age 24 – Graduate and teach English as a foreign language in South Korea. I have no idea why South Korea was where I decided on. Of all the countries in the world….Typical me. Could have been worse right enough – could have been bunking up with old Kim Jong-un.
2012 – Age 25 – Start my Post Graduate course – I was hoping to study teaching secondary school English – but since having children i have realised I probably would have had a mental breakdown within the first 2 weeks.
2013 – Age 26 – Start full time job – In this country? In this recession? Not a chance.
2014 – Age 27 – Move away from Glasgow – Australia was always the aim. Oh to have sunshine. I probably would have settled for the Mediterranean somewhere. Now, I’d be happy with Motherwell.
2015 – Age 28 – Maybe get married, but NOT to Paul ‘the idiot’ – Yup. I wrote that exact phrase. Of course, I married Paul – who takes their own advice anyways? 😉
2016 – Age 29 – Babies? Don’t think they’re for me but you never know! – Yeah…..
Now, I have managed to complete one of these points. Babies. The one i wasn’t even sure about and which wasn’t to even be considered for another 3 years – 9 years after Aiden was born. I had children young – maybe slightly too young – but it is something i would never change because it’s made me a much better, less selfish person (well, in my opinion anyway!)
Sometimes plans don’t work out. Particularly when it comes to life. But then, life wouldn’t be the same if it was already all marked out for us, would it? Yes, at times I am disappointed – but not because I didn’t succeed in a life I thought I wanted. It is simply that I am terrified that I have disappointed everyone else. But I live with that, i deal with that, and then I look at my boys and can’t even consider a life without them. So, my professional life didn’t exactly work out as planned – but I have an incredible husband, two healthy if slightly insane children, a great family and family-in-law, and an amazing group of girls around me I’m lucky enough to call my friends. That’s not too shabby. So, with that in mind, here is my updated “10 Year Plan” –
2013 – 2023 Be as happy as I can possibly be *
*and actually have money in my savings account!
Sounds good to me.
The Southside Girl x
For as long as I can remember, I have loved books. Looking at picture books, reading books, attempting to write books, finding books no one else around me had read… books have always been a part of my life. I think it stems from my Dad reading to me from a ridiculously young age, (probably in utero!) but it is one thing I can’t thank him enough for.
I have wanted my boys to have the same love of books that I have. Since they were born, I have read to them (nearly) every night. There are times where they will go and choose books, from their ridiculously huge collection, and are quite happy to sit for an afternoon and just listen to me read to them. I love it.
On twitter recently, I was lucky enough to win a children’s book from the lovely Natasha of @BarefootHello. Natasha is an advisor for Barefoot Books and sent me out a copy of “My Granny Went to Market – A Round the World Counting Rhyme” by Stella Blackstone and Christopher Corr.
The ethos and core values behind Barefoot Books are fantastic.
At Barefoot Books, we celebrate art and story that opens the hearts and minds of children from all walks of life, focusing on themes that encourage independence of spirit, enthusiasm for learning and respect for the world’s diversity. The welfare of our children is dependent on the welfare of the planet, so we source paper from sustainably managed forests and constantly strive to reduce our environmental impact. Playful, beautiful and created to last a lifetime, our products combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow.
My Granny Went to Market is a beautiful book, following Granny as she takes a round-the-world trip on a flying carpet. From each location, she collects souvenirs which are representative of that country. The illustrations in the book are fantastic and each different country’s culture is represented through these vivid, colourful drawings – albeit slightly stereotypically. The rhyme, illustrations and counting patterns would really appeal to children of a pre-shool age, although my 3 year old loved the book just as much as his brother! This book is a fantastic tool for introducing counting, number patterns and other cultures to your child.
My boys absolutely loved this book. So much so it has been to bed with them, to their grans and even on the bus. The illustrations have so much going on in them that they were looking at them for ages to see what they could find. Aiden was full of questions about Africa and Australia and Russia afterwards so this is definitely a fantastic book for introducing children to our multi-cultural world. As I said before, the cultures portrayed are slightly stereotypical – but for a young child it is a starting block of knowledge that can be expanded as they get older.
Natasha has introduced me and my boys to a fantastic company and a beautiful, creative set of books. I can’t thank her enough!
Visit Natasha’s Barefoot Books website here and use the discount code GIRAFFE for an amazing 25% off! The boys have already chosen what books they want next! Natasha also runs regular competitions on her twitter and you can follow her @BarefootHello.
Again, visit www.lifeisbetterbarefoot.co.uk and use the discount code GIRAFFE for 25% off of these amazing books.
The Southside Girl x
…that not everyone blooms and gets that pregnancy glow. Sometimes, people just think you’ve gotten fat – and sweaty.
…that not everyone gets a perfect bump…my arse got bigger than my bump. Probably down to the abnormal amount of Pepperami’s i was eating.
…that any weight gained in pregnancy doesn’t just fall off once the baby’s here. It just kind of…sags.
…that not everyone’s boobs get bigger when pregnant. Buying those bras was an overly optimistic waste of money.
…that towards the end of your pregnancy, waxing/shaving your legs never mind any other areas becomes an adventure in itself – sometimes resulting in a trip to A&E.
…that trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in takes most of the night – therefore you’re tired all the time. A baby becomes a welcome rest.
…that no matter how bad your heartburn is, Gaviscon is a no-go. It is rank.
…that the likelihood of my husband fainting during labour was a near definite.
…that a water birth wouldn’t be for me – I felt like a beached whale. And more than likely looked like one too.
…that whilst some midwives are absolute angels – others can terrify the absolute bejesus out of you.
…that no matter how my labour went – my dignity would be left at the door, never to return.
…that post-labour peeing will become the most terrifying thing you have ever done. And as for pooing – well you never want to push again so you end up a constipated mess.
…that toast and tea would become the most amazing meal you would ever have in your life.
…that stretch marks won’t just magically disappear….they turn silver and leave you resembling a fat albino tiger.
…that you would get a new-found respect for what your body can do. Babies heads aren’t small. But your body will never be the same. Ever again.
…that you would become a judgemental old boot when someone else’s baby wouldn’t stop crying on the maternity ward. Shame on you.
…that not everyone can breastfeed. And spending 10 hours attempting to express was not helping anyone. No matter what the midwife said.
…that Post Natal Depression is a real thing – and it can sneak up and hit you on your arse without you realising.
…that baby poo is absolutely revolting. Even though that baby is yours and you love them more than life – they stink.
…that no matter how many times you say you can’t wait to have a wee glass of wine – you won’t. If you get any free time, then you sleep. Or end up sitting on the couch in some kind of exhausted half awake coma.
…that your lovely pricey handbag will soon become a wipeable, suitcase sized array of nappies, baby wipes, packets of raisins, dummies, fireman sam figures…and odd socks.
…that going to the toilet yourself will never happen again. Private peeing is a thing of the past.
…the same goes for having a bath. You will end up in the bath with one of your angelic little children lobbing army guys in whilst re-enacting his favourite fighting scene. Before attempting to belly-flop in himself.
…that you will become a glorified waitress. Who no one ever tips.
…that you will continue to spend the rest of your life picking up tiny pieces of Playmobil – and sneakily throwing them in the bin before your kids notice. Again, shame on you.
…that the constant chanting of “Muuuuuuuuuuum” will pull at your heartstrings whilst also sending you to the brink of a nervous breakdown.
…that bribery and blackmail will become staples of your everyday life.
…that you will allow your children to watch cartoons and eat Macdonalds….but you will continue to declare that they eat organic vegetables and listen to baby Mozart to impress the mums at soft play.
…that no matter how much you doubt yourself, as soon as your baby is in your arms, the feeling of absolute unconditional love is overwhelming.
…that you will be insane enough to go through the whole process again….23 months later. And it’ll be completely worth it.
*disclaimer – don’t let this put you off pregnancy/labour/mummyhood. It’s bloody brilliant in every other way 🙂
When I started this blog, I had no idea there would be any interest in it. At all. It was more a way of me getting the old brain working again and going back to doing something I loved.
All through school I wanted to be a journalist – a foreign correspondent if we’re being precise! I got the grades and went to university to study English. Two years in and I found out I was expecting our little “holiday surprise” baby so it was a case of both P and I getting ‘proper’ jobs to provide for our family. But the ambition and love for writing has never left. It just ended up buried inside my brain under all the nappy/puree carrot/maternity bra chat.
I’ve loved writing again, coming up with ideas for what to write about and getting my whole family involved (although my husband has got slightly obsessed over stats!)
However, the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done is to share this blog on Facebook. Having people you actually know and see on a regular basis, read your writing and judge you on it – well it’s a whole different ball game. I’ve been lucky though, I’ve had nothing but positive feedback and what I don’t think people realise is just how much it means to me.
I’ve never been one for handling criticism well – I usually cry or throw a strop and spit my dummy out. I’m a stubborn old cow. But when it comes to this blog, any feedback is hugely appreciated – and I’m asking for it now.
This blog doesn’t fit into a specific niche. It covers whatever I feel like on the day whether it be a beauty review, rants about my husband, laughs about my boys, charity awareness etc. What I would like to know is, what would you like to read more about? It can be something I’ve done before, or something completely new. Please, feel free to leave a comment under this blog, as a comment on Facebook or on twitter. It would really help me out!
Thank you – you bunch of gorgeous folk. Apart from you Dad. You passed gorgeous about 20 years ago… 😉
The Southside Girl x