Slimming World Week Six

It’s been six weeks since I started at Slimming World and so far I have lost eight and a half pounds.  Not brilliant, but OK considering I had a holiday in Yorkshire where wine and cake was consumed!

The strategies that are working for me so far are:

  • Drinking on one day a week only
  • No snacking at all
  • No food between 6 p.m. and 9 a.m.
  • lots of exercise: swimming, cycling, running, walking, yoga
  • Having Old Jamaica sugar free ginger beer instead of alcohol
  • Eating more green veg than I ever thought possible

I could do better if:

  • I cut out the bread I am having for lunch as laziness has overtaken me when it comes to preparing soups, plus nothing feels like lunch except bread.
  • I made more SW recipes instead of just adapting my normal day to day menu plan
  • Stopped eating lunch out and made more of an effort to prepare food to take with me on the go.

I’m still learning what works, but have to say I’m finding it much easier to order a black coffee when I’m out and not look at cakes.  I do feel my social life is slightly impeded but I guess it’s all in a good cause and I want to be healthier and happier after all!

 

 

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Half a Stone Under My Belt

 

 

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Three weigh ins and I have lost seven and a half pounds.

Although I have not been hungry, it hasn’t all been plain sailing.

My main issue is craving food which feels good – butter on my Jersey Royals or asparagus.  Butter on toast.  Honey in my yoghurt.  The added extras which make each meal a pleasure.

Oh and of course, no wine.  At all.  Not that difficult this week as we have not been out for dinner, but faced with a wine list in a nice restaurant next week I’m not sure I won’t cave.

Now, I can hear you saying ‘but you can have all these things on Slimming World if you count the syns’.  Yes, all well and good, but when just one glass of wine is maybe 10 syns and uses up all your daily allowance….well you get my drift.  As you can see in this picture, I’m on the mineral water and he’s on the Magners.

This last few weeks drinking has been limited to one night and having Bacardi and Diet Coke.

Drinking carbonated drinks containing sweetener goes against everything I’ve been led to believe about health.  I very rarely touch them and for most of my adult life, Diet Coke has been like the antichrist.  However, in the spirit of the plan, I tried it (and enjoyed it).  Not sure I will continue long term though because I just know it’s unhealthy.  On the flipside of course, being overweight is unhealthy too.  I figure I’ll just keep the diet drinks to a minimum and I should be OK.

I’m making it a mission to do at least 10,000 steps five days a week and cycling on the other two. I don’t have a Fitbit so I’m using the app on my phone to track it.  Once a week I’m swimming too and of course have my weekly yoga class.

Next week’s challenge is a birthday trip to Yorkshire, staying in a cottage next door to a pub.  Red alert!  I’m taking some basics with me, but not sure how the old willpower is going to cope when faced with the inevitable cream tea!

 

 

 

Luxurious Living At The Baron at Bucknell, Shropshire

Situated in the tiny Shropshire village of Bucknell, the Baron is a pub with rooms.  Nothing out of the ordinary about that, you may think.  However, this year, they have created  most amazing and luxurious garden rooms, elevating this establishment to something very special.

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I came across them on Twitter @Baronatbucknell and spotted that they had a competition running on Facebook to win an overnight stay.  Now you know I can’t resist a competition, so I entered and bingo!  I was picked as the winner.  Not one to let the grass grow, I booked immediately for the following week.

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From the moment we checked in, we were made to feel very special.  We were given a guided tour of the room and facilities (including a huge TV with Netflix, hot tub, swanky bean to cup coffee machine and….wait for it……a private wild swimming lake!).  The room was tastefully decorated and had the most enormous bed, complete with top quality bedlinen and snuggly mattress.  The fridge had fresh milk and chocolate (nice touch) and there were cookies laid out for us to sample.  Lots of quality teas to choose from as well as the fresh coffee.

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First things first, we hopped into the hot tub and gazed out over the adjoining fields, watching the sheep grazing and the rabbits darting about.  We then put a toe in the wild pool and, gorgeous as it was, an English summer just doesn’t tempt me to jump in, especially as the day was cool and overcast.

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For dinner, we nipped across the garden to the pub and enjoyed a tasty ribeye and a couple of drinks before heading back to our trendy lodgings to resume our nature watch.

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Breakfast the next morning was again taken in the pub – lots to choose from: fresh fruit, yoghurt, full English, smoked salmon and scrambled eggs.

We cheekily asked to look at the other rooms (there are three in total) and Phil, the owner was happy to oblige.  Take a look at the décor.  Wouldn’t you love to stay in one of these?

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Getting Back on Track

So, here we are again.  I’m back at a slimming club (this time Slimming World) and maybe this time, hope will triumph over experience and I will lose the weight I have gained in the last four years.

I have been hiding in tent dresses and buying bigger sizes in an act of denial, but deep down, I know for the sake of my dicky ticker that I have to lose weight, get my cholesterol down and generally be fitter.

This picture of me in my shorts was the final straw.  Shorts are never a good look for those of us who are vertically challenged, but I didn’t realise I was quite this chubby!

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Now, it’s not all doom and gloom in 2017, because last November, at a yoga retreat, I had a lightbulb moment when I met the most amazingly motivated and fit, like-minded women. I thought to myself ‘I want to be like you’.

So in January, with the help of my triathlon loving sister, I acquired a proper bike and have been cycling for six months now (and loving it!).

I also started running again, but anxiety over my heart is holding me back and I’m not sure I will carry on.

In June I took up swimming and have been doing lengths of the Atlantic pool in Chester City Baths – aiming to increase weekly.

Right this minute I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by the information available on the SW plan and a bit scared to eat anything – but I’m off to Sainsburys in a bit to get the right things in and maybe that will settle me!

So, the plans are in place.  I have the tools and I’m feeling sufficiently motivated.  Let’s go!

 

 

 

Wild Goose Restaurant & Bar Chester

Every now and again you come across somewhere in your vicinity that you didn’t even know existed.  Just such a thing happened today when my bestie Linda and I had coffee and cake at the Wild Goose in Dodleston.  We had no idea it was here!  Hidden in the Cheshire countryside, but only a few miles from home.

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To be fair, it’s only been open for a few weeks.  It’s on the site of Chester Lakes, a fishery which has been popular with anglers for a long time.

Anyway, I had won a Facebook competition for coffee and cake, so it was the perfect excuse to try it out (and follow it up with a visit to the nearby Grosvenor Garden Centre).

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The décor is very country chic, with a quirky bar made up of wine crates.

 

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Outside there are the cutest little huts overlooking the lake which would be perfect on a summer night.  Pity it was pouring with rain!

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The menu looks good enough to tempt us back for dinner too!  PS I can recommend the chocolate cake!

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Walking and running in Malta

April is a beautiful month in Malta.  Wildflowers abound and there are still places on this very small island that you can get away from it all.  We stayed in Mellieha, an ideal base for running and walking as it is in the less populated north.  All the following trails started from our hotel, the Mellieha Bay and all are easy (no more than five miles).

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Our first run/walk started in the hotel grounds.  There is a trail right on the doorstep which starts at the edge of the gardens – just follow the coast path towards Marfa Ridge.  It’s not far until you are rewarded with this amazing view.

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From here, we scrambled across rough ground to a track with a campsite.  Following this road we ended up right on top of Marfa Ridge, on the main road to the ferry at Cirkewwa.  There are clear views of Gozo from here.

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We dropped down to the other side of the ridge, easy running, down to Armier Bay where we stopped at the Victoria café, right on the seafront, for a coffee and a rest before heading back towards Ramla Bay.

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By this point, aside from a few locals in the café, we had met just one other couple out walking. Bliss.

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Carrying on the main road past Ramla Bay you see the Red Fort ahead.  This landmark led us back to Mellieha.

Our next run was into the village of Mellieha.  Not far, maybe a mile and a bit, but uphill (seriously uphill!).  After a mooch around the village, we were able to run back in much more comfort, getting onto the beach at Mellieha for a better view of the sea.

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Our third outing was much more random.  We set out for Anchor Bay where the Popeye Village stands.  No way we were going to walk along the main road, so we followed our noses, starting at the rows of prefab houses opposite the hotel.  This took us right into open country, so we headed for the cliffs and figured we could follow the coastal path.  Wrong!  After climbing to the top of a ridge, all we got was a great view of a sheer drop into the sea.

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Tracing our steps back, we spotted what seemed like a well worn path and took that.

IMG_1452Eventually we spotted the cliff edge and beyond that, what appeared to be Anchor Bay.  Spot on: there it was.

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However, this wasn’t straightforward as there were signs along the cliff edge saying keep out and danger, so following the edge wasn’t an option.  Instead we could see the back of Popeye Village in the distance, so we headed for it, hoping to find a way in.

The place looked shut to be honest and there was no obvious entrance, so we climbed over a small gate and we were in!

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Making our way to the official entrance, we were relieved to find a coffee shop (excellent espresso).

We were not the only visitors.  Sicily’s version of Hell’s Angels had come over for the day on the ferry and all their Harleys were parked up!  We enjoyed giving them a send off.

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The view over to Anchor Bay is absolutely amazing.  The Popeye film set is now a kiddies attraction, but pretty nonetheless.

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The weather was cool enough for running, but from May to September, I don’t think I could do it.  I will come back in Spring again no doubt.

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Tenby Under Moody Skies

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Tenby is a gorgeous place for a weekend getaway: beautiful beaches, quirky shops and cafes and the South Wales coast on your doorstep for you to explore.

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We spent four days there in the winter months.  Everything was deserted but beautiful nonetheless.

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Aside from a couple of dog walkers, I think we were the only people on the beach.

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The town itself is picture box pretty.  Set within ancient walls are a myriad of shops and cafes which kept us amused when the rain came!

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The harbour is famous for it’s higgledy piggledy ice cream coloured houses which even on a grey day looked fabulous!

We used it as a base to visit nearby Saundersfoot (excellent fish & chips on the front!) and St David’s with its magnificent cathedral.

Well worth a visit.