Sorry I Have Been Away

Since I started my blog in 2011, I have never left it so long between posts.  But recently I have been very busy and have prioritised spending time with my children and resting when I can over blogging.  Hopefully life will now revert to a more familiar and easier going rhythm and I can re-focus on eating healthily.  I have been very bad and need to improve both what I eat and how much I eat and definitely do more exercise as I have been too sedentary.

Last weekend Lara moved up to London which was both exciting and also sad for those of us left behind as we miss her so much but are we also so proud of her.  To prepare us for a weekend of packing and moving I took her and Harvey out to brunch at Cocolicious in Cranbrook.  They make a decent coffee.Cocolicious cappuchino brunch in Cocolicious I had roasted cherry tomatoes and mashed avocado on sourdough which was delicious.  I made myself one of these yesterday at home with coriander on it as I had enjoyed this one so much.roasted cherry toms avo sourdough We also had cake.  My goodness I have eaten so much cake and so many biscuits recently I feel quite disgusted by myself.  Damn my sweet tooth!cocolicious cake

After helping Lara move in to her flat in London, we went out for dinner at The Chicago Rib Shack

Z and H Lara in Rib Shack This is clearly not diet friendly but it was good.  I had a serving of ribs which were delicious and macaroni cheese instead of fries.  It was one of the best macaroni cheeses I have ever had.ribs and macaroni cheeseMy husband, James, had his moment of glory this week with an exhibition of some of his amazing wildlife photos.  He mainly takes pictures of birds but also has wonderful pictures of landscapes, flowers, otters, kangaroos, koalas, otters and insects.  You can see some of his work here.  In addition to his exhibition, he found out one of his pictures was selected as the editor of National Geographic’s favourite which is an amazing achievement.  You can see that picture here – have a look as it is an incredible photo, especially if you look at it on a laptop screen rather then a phone.
Mr B's exhibition I also visited the Weladen Times Midwinter Fair.  I was there early so I could look round before it was too busy.Midwinter fair This stall was amazing and the air was filled with the scent of citrus fruits, cinnamon and cloves.  Very festive.  The reindeer and FC were actually life size.santa and reindeer dried fruit santa and reindeerThis charming little pot may look like it is made of paper but actually it is ceramic.  I love it and burn a grapefruit scented tealight in it.  We brought this back from Stockholm.

small not paper cup As well as too many sweet and sugary carbs I have also eaten lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  I chopped up a pink grapefruit and some watermelon to munch on but then decided to blitz it and made a smoothie.watermelon and pink grapefruit Very refreshing.grapefruit and watermelon smoothieAnother smoothie I enjoyed was made with spinach, half an avocado, 2 small bananas, frozen berries and soya milk, topped with sesame seeds for extra protein and calcium.

smoothie with sesame seeds I haven’t eaten as many salads as I should but I do eat them regularly.huge salad I had this one with mayonnaise, jacket potato and cheddar.Jacket potato and salad A meal I enjoyed several times after making a huge batch was ribollita.  I used a recipe from Hugh’s Veg Everyday! and it was excellent.  I had been looking for a recipe after enjoying this soup in Stockholm.

Hugh writes “Ribollita means ‘reboiled’: traditionally this Italian soup was made in large quantities so it could be reheated on subsequent days.  It’s fantastic, economical peasant food and proves how humble ingredients …. can yield truly delicious results.”  It really is good, cheap and nutritious so I highly recommend it.Ribollita


Ingredients (serves 6)

2 x 400g can cannellini beans (or cook dried beans)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 leek, washed, trimmed and finely sliced
1 x 400g tin tomatoes or 6 large fresh tomatoes (I used canned)
800ml vegetable stock
1 sprig of rosemary and 1 sprig of thyme, tied together with string
300g kale, cavolo nero or savoy cabbage, tough stalks removed and chopped
Salt and Pepper


Mash half the beans and leave half whole.  Set aside.
In a large saucepan heat the olive oil and saute the onion over a medium heat for about 15 minutes until softened.
Add the carrots, celery and leek and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add the tomatoes, pureed and whole beans, stock, rosemary, thyme and simmer gently for about an hour.
Add the shredded kale/cabbage ( I used cavolo nero) and cook for 10 minutes.
Remove the thyme and rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
onion, carrots and leeks cavolo nero in bowl cannellini beans mashed beans ribollita 2 ribollita 1

Veg Everyday! recommends serving this with bread, toasted and rubbed with garlic and brushed with olive oil.  However, I had mine served with some sharp Cheddar which went perfectly.

ribolita and cheddar

I have over eaten again this weekend.  I ate far too much at the Midwinter Fair and in the evening at the Tennis Club’s Quiz Night.  Tonight I ate about a week’s worth of calories thanks to my brother in law Jim’s delicious roast lamb and chocolate mousse and my sister Abi’s amazing carrot cake and then cheese and biscuits.

So I am where I am.  I am heavier then I was this time 2 weeks ago for sure, but feeling more relaxed now some of the things that have been occupying my mind and my time are behind me.   I will focus again next week on a very high proportion of raw plant food and lean proteins and get back to Slimming World.



About Lose Weight and Gain Health

Hi! My name is Zoe and I live in Hastings, East Sussex, with my son Harvey and dog, Milton. I have been fighting the fat for years but this time I am serious. I want to lose weight and gain health. This blog is about how I am changing my lifestyle so I can lose weight but not by just "being on a diet" but by making small changes to our lives so that as I lose weight, I gain health. I want my family to be healthy too and never have to struggle with their weight like I have. In common with many large people, I have gained and lost weight many times over the years. This time, I want to lose it and maintain a healthy low weight. I am interested in eating food that is nutrient dense and delicious and that appeals to children and adults. I do not eat animal products so follow a vegan diet. I try to use locally produced food supplemented with what I can grow myself. I support and try to use local farmers markets and farm shops. Another objective is to add more exercise to our days. It sounds so simple when I write it down :-)
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sorry I Have Been Away

  1. Sarah says:

    Hi Zoe
    Firstly, I have to say I’m gob-smacked by James’ photography! I have so many questions I need to ask! Amazing!
    Secondly, and on a completely different level…Chicago Rib Shack! Wow – I haven’t been there for years but it was a bit of a haunt in my youth! What fun.
    Good for you getting back into the swing – I’m gearing myself up for something similar – just in time for Christmas, I guess it has to be done.
    Speak soon, love S x

    • His photos really are amazing. James does have a really good camera with a variety of top quality lenses but he is also completely technical and knows how to use them all properly. He has the patience to wait for the picture and then superb editing skills.
      Chicago Rib Shack was good – it seemed quite retro!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s