Lots Of Walking And A Cookery Class

I have been so busy for the last few days!  Busy doing fun things that have made me very happy.  One bit of particularly happy news is that I lost 1 pound on Friday which was amazing after last weekend’s over eating and several mistakes with syns during the week.  It just goes to show that if you blow it with the eating, then exercise, exercise exercise!

The significance of that 1 pound is that it means I have now lost 4 stone from my heaviest weight.  Yes, 4 STONE !!!!  I am very happy about that.  It also means I have lost 1 stone and 3 and a half pounds since joining Slimming World in September so I am happy about that too.

I have made this twice recently; once for supper and once for breakfast and I love it.  Such a simple, colourful and nutritious bowlful of pink grapefruit, orange, fig and half an avocado.

On Thursday morning I had a delightful early morning walk along the sea front at Bulverhythe with Milton.

I then walked in to town for a haircut but on the way back I do confess I came up the hill  in the funicular as I couldn’t face the hill.  The little carriages are so cute and I particularly like the West Hill lift as you go through a tunnel.

The walk home from the West Hill lift is lovely.  There’s my street, in the distance.IMG_2091For lunch on Thursday I made a huge salad, using as much as I could from the garden.  I began with the green stuff: lettuce, mizuna, cucumber, celery and alfalfa sprouts.  Go greens!IMG_2094Red for danger.IMG_2095Plus some chick pea “tuna”.IMG_2096Some vegans claim this tastes like tuna so I decided to make it.  You drain a can of tuna, add some vegan mayo, some paprika, seaweed, spring onions and gherkins.IMG_2097It didn’t taste at all like tuna but it was very tasty.IMG_2098In the evening I did another walk, across part of the Hastings Country Park.  I found this field of sunflowers.IMG_2115I had some company on this walk which was lovely.IMG_2114Hurricane Brian has not damaged my garden which is just as well because the slugs, snails and caterpillars are annihilating it!IMG_2138I did another lovely walk on Friday in Surrey with Sally and Michelle. We had lunch in a country pub first (nut roast for me) and that evening I had supper with my Dad and step-Mother which was fun.

Today I woke up very early so I took Milton down to Rock A Nore for sunrise which was invigorating.IMG_2144I made a yummy breakfast; a tofu scramble with chick peas and rice.  It was delicious.IMG_2154I then hopped on a train up to London where I met Lara and we had a bite to eat at Arabica in Borough Market.  I had quite a light lunch as I was still full up from breakfast.IMG_2156I went to London because Lara and I were going to the Waitrose Cookery School at Granary Square near King’s Cross.  We were attending a vegan street food lesson, given by Jackie Kearney, who was a Masterchef finalist in 2012.

The cookery school is next to a massive Waitrose shop which proved useful during the class when we needed anything.IMG_2157It was very well equipped.IMG_2159It was a bit like being in a stage set as the building was actually huge !IMG_2160Jackie was great.  She showed us what to do and then we got to have a go.

This was my lovely partner for the cookery lesson.

IMG_2173Lara was complimented by Jackie for her dumplings and it turns out that she regularly makes gyoza which are the same shape.  IMG_2174Hers were far neater then mine.IMG_2175But mine tasted great too.  We ate them with 2 really hot sambals  that Jackie made while we shaped and cooked our dumplings.IMG_2179Ta daaIMG_2180Jackie also showed us how to make a Thai green vegetable curry and then a vegeball sub with a fabulous cheese sauce.IMG_2181IMG_2184This was completely delicious and I will definitely be making this.  We all helped make enough for everyone to have one to take away.IMG_2186I really enjoyed cookery school and came away with one of Jackie’s books so brace yourselves for many street food recipes.











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Eating Simply

I ate very simply today and exercised and I feel good for it.

Breakfast was a repeat of Monday’s yummy buckwheat groats with cashew nut milk, cinnamon and a fresh orange.  This tastes delicious and keeps me feeling full and sated for hours.  The buckwheat, which I soak overnight in water and then rinse, is cooked gently with the milk and cinnamon.  When the milk is nearly simmering, I add the orange so that warms up slightly and serve it all up.  Really tasty and nourishing.  Rather hygge too as it seems comforting.IMG_2050I planned a substantial breakfast because the plan today was to do a very long walk in the Hastings Country Park but the forecast was rain so we didn’t go.  Then it didn’t rain which was very disappointing as it meant we could have done the walk.  Instead I did a lot of tidying and clutter clearing which was very satisfying but I would have preferred to walk.


  • I steamed half a small cauliflower and a corn cob.
  • When they were cooked (5 minutes) I set them aside and saved the water.
  • I “fried” a small red onion and a large portobello mushroom in a small amount of the water left over from steaming the corn and cauliflower.
  • Then I added some brown Basmati rice (previously cooked) and a good slug of soy sauce for seasoning.
  • When it was warmed through, I stirred in the cauliflower and corn and placed it all in a large bowl and topped it with alfalfa sprouts.

It was simple and satisfying and tasted salty (from the soy sauce) and sweet (from the corn).  It hit the spot perfectly.IMG_2055This afternoon Lucy and I gave up on our planned walk and went to the gym instead where we swam (I swam 50 lengths/1 km) and then relaxed in a sauna and then the outside jacuzzi.

I went straight from swimming to yoga which I really enjoyed.  I walked there and back so am nearly up to 9,000 steps.  I know it’s not 10,000 but its close and I did swim and go to yoga so I have definitely exercised today.

IMG_2058I got home from yoga at about 7:30 and fancied a simple and low syn meal.  This was very light, took about 5 minutes to throw together,  tasted fresh and looked vibrant and I enjoyed every mouthful.IMG_205615 cashew nuts (HE B) which I munched while I chopped up 1 pink grapefruit, 1 orange and half an avocado.IMG_2057Did I manage to keep under the 15 syns today?  Oh yes I did.  I only had 7 today so half my allowance.

Ingredient Syns
Buckwheat groats Free
Orange Speed
Cashew nut milk HE A
Brown Basmati rice Free
Red onion Speed
Mushroom Speed
Corn cob Free
Cauliflower Speed
Soy Sauce Free
Pink grapefruit Speed
1/2 avocado 7
15 cashew nuts HE B


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Eight Sisters, a Friend and a Dhal

My sister Abi and friend Alison live in Seaford, East Sussex, and they sometimes post photos of the white cliffs of the Seven Sisters.  I joined them both this morning to walk there, in the Seven Sisters Country Park.  Despite a very cloudy day, the scenery was stunning and the company lovely.IMG_2003Stupid people are regularly seen on the cliff tops here which is so dangerous as huge chunks regularly fall off and crash in the sea.IMG_2004That was the view I came for.IMG_2018Hello lovely ladies.IMG_2015You may recognise the coastguard cottages as they were used in ‘Atonement’ and ‘Luther’.  The lighthouse on the cliff at the far end was used in ‘The Life and Loves of a She-Devil’ and also featured in ‘Changing Rooms’.IMG_2012I love that milky sea.IMG_2011

IMG_2010We spotted 3 people on what looked like motorised paddle boards, moving quickly up the Cuckmere River.  What a fun thing to do!IMG_2008The views did not disappoint.IMG_2006After our walk we needed coffee and lunch so we went in to Seaford to Front Room.  They didn’t have any vegan options on the menu but they were happy to leave the halloumi out of the falafel burger.  IMG_2021I enjoyed my lunch; I didn’t eat any of the burger bun or the mayonnaise but I liked the actual burger, the salad and those big fat chips.  I thought that as it was not a huge portion, it wouldn’t have too many syns – I was wrong.  I would estimate the burger to be 6 ( based on 1 falafel ball being 1.5 and I think this is equivalent to 4 of those).  I think the chips would be 7-15 syns but hard to say as I don’t know how much they weighed.  Thick cut chips that are deep fried are 7.5 syns per 100g.

I hadn’t had breakfast, other than an almond milk latte and I had another almond milk latte here (HE A).IMG_2022Once home I decided to cook a meal that involved a little more effort than I usually make.  I have recently been enjoying Anna Jones’ cook book; ‘A Modern Way To Eat’.  I flicked through and chose to make ‘Dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney’.  Oh my goodness, the dhal was incredible.

The recipe serves 4 people so I made the full amount so we can have leftovers another day.  The ingredients list is quite long but they are mainly spices so don’t panic.  It was straightforward to make and well worth it, especially the dhal.  I am giving the recipe as 3 separate dishes because you could make just one of the three to eat with something else if you wanted to.  They do go brilliantly all together though.IMG_2034

Dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney (serves 4)

The Sweet Potatoes



  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped in to 1.5 cm cubes (leave the skin on)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • olive oil



  • Preheat oven to 220°C/fan 200°C
  • Put the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray, add the salt, pepper, cumin and fennel seeds and a drizzle of oil


  • Roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes until soft in the middle and crispy on the outside

Coconut Chutney (you could use pre-made mango chutney if you prefer)IMG_2029


  • 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10 curry leaves ( I didn’t have any and there is no substitute that I could think of)
  • a little coconut oil
  • 20 g piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped


  • Place the coconut in a bowl and pour over 150 ml of boiling water.  Set aside to soak
  • After 20-30 minutes, drain the coconut and put it back in to the bowl
  •  Fry the mustard seeds and curry leaves in a little oil until they begin to crackle and then pour over the coconut
  • Season with salt and pepper , stir in the ginger and chilli and mix together

The DhalIMG_2028


  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed/chopped
  • thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped (I only had red)
  • 1 red onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds (I used ground cumin)
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds (I used ground coriander)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 200g red lentils
  • 1 x 400ml coconut milk
  • 400ml vegetable stock
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach
  • bunch of fresh coriander, chopped, use the leaves and stalks
  • juice of 1 lemon (I used a lime)



  • In a large saucepan, fry the garlic, ginger, chilli and red onion in a little oil for about 10 minutes
  • Add all the spices to the saucepan and fry for a couple of minutes
  • Add the lentils, coconut milk and stock.  Bring to a simmer and simmer for 25-30 minutes
  • Take the dhal off the heat, stir in the spinach and let it wilt a little
  • Add half the coriander and the lemon/lime juice

To serve, spoon the dhal in to bowls, top with the crispy sweet potatoes and coconut chutney and the remaining coriander.  I had mine with a small portion of brown rice too.  You could also serve chapattis or roti.

IMG_2031I could easily have eaten twice as much as I did as this was a very modest portion but I want another loss this week.IMG_2032This is one of the tastiest things I have eaten for a while and I will enjoy another portion another day.IMG_2033

Syn values for the dhal with crispy sweet potato and quick coconut chutney are 13.25 per portion.

Ingredient Syns for total recipe Syns for 1 portion
2 sweet potatoes Free
Spices Free
1 tbsp olive oil 6 1.5
50g unsweetened desiccated coconut 15 3.75
1 teaspoon coconut oil 2 0.5
Fresh ginger Speed
1 red chilli Speed
2 cloves of garlic Speed
1 red onion Speed
200g red lentils Free
1 x 400ml coconut milk 30 7.5
400ml vegetable stock Free
2 large handfuls of spinach Speed
bunch of fresh coriander Free
juice of 1 lemon Speed

The desiccated coconut and the tin of coconut milk have so many calories/syns so next time I will leave out the coconut chutney and use a low fat coconut milk.  Hopefully the walk will help at the scales this week.

I do need to check syns before eating things rather then at the end of the day!

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Under a Saharan Sky

I felt very tired today so decided to take care of myself by resting a little and eating well.  I have got really sore feet from walking so far in shoes that were too small.  My feet are blistered, bruised and swollen so I didn’t go out for either a walk or a swim today.  The shoes have been given away as I am not going through this again.

I also made an effort today because I have been amongst several people recently with colds and I do not want to catch one.  So I started my day with a hot water with ginger, lime and cayenne pepper.

IMG_1953As I drove back to Hastings from St.Leonard’s at 9am this morning, I pulled over to look at the sky which was stunning.  It was very cloudy but there were gaps in the sky where you could see rays of sunshine streaming though.  It was beautiful.IMG_1958Last night I had soaked 1 cup of buckwheat groats in water so they were softer and easier to cook this morning.  I fancied making a porridge with cinnamon and a fresh orange.

It was delicious.  Warming and comforting and packed with nutrients.

IMG_1966I made sure I was well hydrated all day and sipped plenty of water.IMG_1967I spent the day doing paper work as it needed doing and was a sedentary activity.  To make my room smell lovely I burnt palo santo which I love.IMG_1968These two kept me company all day.  I love how Beryl finds the sunny spot to sit in.IMG_1970For lunch I made a salad from an Anna Jones recipe book.  It was really good but can be better and when I have made it again I will share the recipe.  It was slices of cucumber, with crispy garlic slices, broccoli stir fried until crispy in soy sauce, maple syrup and sesame oil with chilli and a peanut dressing made with peanut butter, fresh ginger, lime juice and maple syrup.  It was good but I had converted a recipe for 4 in to a recipe for 1 but made several mistakes.  So I will make it again and then share the recipe.

We had a yellow and orange afternoon.  The world became darker and yellow.   The sun was a bright blood orange colour and we ended with a gorgeous sunset.  The sky became orange and apparently this is due to all the sand from the Sahara in the sky, blown over by hurricane Ophelia.IMG_1994I am not sure why this one is pink as it should have been orange.IMG_1995For supper I made a simple salad with cucumber, tomato and alfalfa sprouts.  I heated up 2 of the mini burgers (there were 8 in the packet) and I made sweet potato fries.  I rubbed the fries with a little oil, seasoned them with salt and pepper and added 1 tbsp polenta to add crunch.  Served with 2 tbsp humous.  It was very tasty.

It is hard to be certain of the syns for everything but here’s an attempt.

Breakfast – 0 syns

  • buckwheat is free – that was a nice surprise
  • Cashew milk as HEA

Lunch = 13

  • 1 tbsp peanut butter = 4.5
  • half tbsp sesame oil = 3.5
  • half tbsp cooking oil = 3
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup = 2

Dinner = 15 1/2

  • 2 tbsp humous = 5
  • 1/2 tbsp polenta = 1/2
  • 1 tsp cooking oil = 2
  • 2 mini Biona burgers = 8 (estimated based on 1 syn per 20 calories)

Oh dear, I managed double the amount of syns I am allowed and with little exercise to offset it, that is not good.  I did however get some much needed rest and ate plenty of mutinous food, even if it did come with too many calories.

Posted in Slimming World, Vegan | 4 Comments

Hastings Borough Bonfire Society Event 2017

WOW, WOW, WOW !!!  What an amazing event the Hastings Borough Bonfire Society (HBBS) put on last night.  I joined the HBBS a few months ago and since the day I joined, I have been so impressed by all they do.  The members spend a year planning this event and each member spends many hours working to make it a fun evening for the spectators, enjoyable for the visiting societies and keeping it safe for everyone.  All that time is voluntary and the event is free for all.  HBBS raise money by selling programmes and rattling buckets for donations.  HBBS members also support and help with many other events held in the town.

I decorated my pirate hat with ribbon and feathers in the cinque ports colours.IMG_1841I donned my HBBS sweater (it was too hot for the jerkin so I carried that) and my members badge and set off for The Stade where the marshalls had to meet up for briefing.  (I don’t have puffy eyes but I had just been swimming and you can see my goggles imprint).   I thought I needed the exercise but as I then went on to walk 20,000 steps I didn’t but I always like a swim.IMG_1843I walked along the seafront and was excited about the evening ahead, particularly because we were so lucky with the weather.  It was warm and with no wind which is perfect for the bonfire and fireworks.  This is the massive bonfire.IMG_1844The huge guy HBBS will be pulling round the procession.IMG_1845IMG_1846 (1)An effigy of ‘Popeye’, an affectionate nickname for local, Ron Everett, who died this year.  This was made with papier mache, over a chicken wire and wooden frame.  It was packed with fireworks and set off during the evening event as a memorial to a much loved and popular member of the community.IMG_1848I was to marshall the procession with a fellow member called Ken and we were asked to work at the America Ground, which is the start of the procession.  I liked this image of one of the drumming groups, taking an opportunity to rest before the procession began.IMG_1849The jerkin and high vis are now on so I am ready for duty.  I found myself a guy !IMG_1853I enjoyed watching the different societies taking their places in the procession.  This group were very glamorous.  The couple told me they attend an event every week for 10 weeks every year.

The Hastings Runners begin proceedings by running from the America Ground to the Beacon, which they light.  When they return, the procession begins at the America Ground with a declaration of independence from the town crier.

Then off they go.  Ken and I marshalled the area in front of the procession, to make sure the road was clear for the marchers as they carry burning torches and need to be able to proceed safely.  Many members marshalled sections along the route and we were asked to look after the America Ground and the initial stages of the procession.  But I wasn’t sure when I was meant to stop so I kept going, all evening.  We walked along the sea front and through the Old Town which was particularly magical because of the narrow streets and because it is darker there so the torches really stand out.

The Hastings drumming group created a passageway for the procession to move in to the bonfire site.  I stood behind the drummers which meant I then got to see the procession which was spectacular.  There were about 2,000 people in the procession.

The people hauling the fire trucks do a brilliant job.  Any spent torches are burnt so they do not create litter or a hazard on the roads.

IMG_1905An advantage of being a member of HBBS is that you can go in to the bonfire site, as do all the members of all the visiting societies.IMG_1901It was a warm and mild evening anyway and it became very warm with such a huge fire.IMG_1907Seeing all the different societies, in their varied costumes, backlit by the fire was quite a spectacle.IMG_1918IMG_1924The crowd was enormous, partly because the weather was so clement and also because there were no other bonfire events in nearby towns this evening.  Estimates have varied from 25,000-40,000 people.  It was incredible looking around and seeing how many people were sharing the spectacle.

The fireworks were excellent – well done to Renegade Pyrotechnics for such a display.  Well done to HBBS for such a brilliant event.

IMG_1932This morning I was down on the beach at 8am to help clear up.  Thats the downside to being a member of HBBS; it’s the same as the morning after the night before at a party you have hosted.  No hardship on such a sunny day though and with so many volunteers helping we finished before lunch time.  Harvey came along to help too – he did brilliantly.

IMG_1935All this has to be dismantled.IMG_1937The barriers were all stacked up and loaded on to lorries, the bonfire remains cleared away, the beach was litter picked and the various banners and fire trucks cleaned, emptied and stored, ready for the next event.  The beach was open to the public again by early morning.IMG_1940After clearing up I was really hungry as I had missed dinner the night before.  So I made one of my favourite meals; stir fried broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and onions with Taifun smoked tofu with almonds.IMG_1944Simply seasoned with soy sauce and ginger it’s delicious and very healthy.  I started the stir fry with 1 tbsp oil and then added a small amount of water, whenever it began to stick.  So simple but so good and very quick to prepare. IMG_1945I felt tired and achey after the previous day’s excertions so we went out to The Stagg for a late lunch.  There was a lunch for all the HBBS helpers at the White Rock Hotel but I haven’t spent much time with Harvey this weekend so I had a lovely lunch with him instead.

I often choose the Stagg for a Sunday lunch out because they always have tasty vegan food.  I had sweetcorn fritters to start.IMG_1948Followed by the vegan roast.  That did me for the day and I didn’t need anything for supper.IMG_1950That was followed by a long snooze on the sofa at home!  I had walked 10,000 steps tidying up this morning so did not feel bad about my lazy day.  I shouldn’t have shared a bottle of wine with Rebecca this evening but some things are worth the calories and that was an enjoyable end to a very sociable and hugely fun weekend.  I will have to spend the rest of the week behaving myself to lose more weight this Friday.





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Rows of Lines

As regular blog readers and people who know me well will be aware, one of my favourite activities is walking besides the sea.  I enjoy the walk from, or sections of,  Rock a Nore in Hastings all the way to Bexhill because the scenery changes so much.

On Thursday I walked from Bulverhythe towards the pier and it was delightful.  The weather was perfect and I loved every step along the way.  As I walked I was struck by how many lines there are along the promenade.  I will show you some photos so you can see what I mean.

On the promenade opposite Marine Court are these seating areas.IMG_1792They provide shelter from sun or rain.  And lots of lines.IMG_1793Most shelters are whitewashed but some have charming mosaics with a sea theme.IMG_1799While I walk along the promenades Milton has to be on the lead but when I can,IMG_1794I let him off the lead so he can run along the beach.  He does tend to spend more time searching for mussels, or other edible snacks, than running these days.IMG_1796These colourful steps and padlock stump is at Warrior Square.

Bottle Alley takes you to the pier.

IMG_1807Do you see what I mean about the lines?  Walkways, pier supports, railings, groynes and the horizon to name a few.IMG_1808Rows of lines everywhere.IMG_1810I like it.IMG_1812The lines are in contrast to the constantly moving sea and sky.IMG_1815The lines are replicated by the shadows.  As a neat and tidy person, I like the sense of order the neat rows provide.

I noticed several signs and took the time to read them.  These two are about the quality of the swimming water and the history of the development of Burton St.Leonard’s

There is a plaque about an artist and I assume one of his pieces of art.  I wondered if it is the same artist who made the dolphin mosaic in the sitting shelter I photographed above.

There is also some information about the location of a historic pier, and I had no idea, before this walk, that there had ever been a pier anywhere other then the location of the current pier.

I think this is a lesson in mindfulness.  I have walked up and down here many times before and not noticed much of what I saw today.  On this day, I took my time to appreciate, and be aware of, all that was around me and it was so much more enjoyable that way.

The delightful walk set me up perfectly for a lovely workshop about essential oils, which a neighbour, Daniela,  hosted.  I really enjoyed it; I learnt a lot and met some wonderful women.  I have ordered some oils and will be using them to make a natural deodorant, for healing, and for enhancing my mood.  I can’t wait for them to arrive.IMG_1836I returned to Sissinghurst on Thursday and had a hilarious evening, playing cards and chatting with my old neighbours.  I haven’t laughed so much for ages or eaten so many snacks (!!!!!) so I was very anxious about weigh day.  I had also had a bad previous weekend so was dreading the scales.  I did go for a swim before going to Slimming World and swam 60 lengths which is 1.2 km.

Friday is weigh day and to my amazement I lost again.  I have consistently lost weight for the 5 weeks I have been following the Slimming World diet.  I have not always stuck to the plan but I have walked and swam a lot and that is obviously helping.  I have also eaten very healthily and to plan in between the occasional splurge so the plan definitely works.IMG_1835I was delighted to receive my certificate.IMG_1832On Friday evening I did not do anything to set me up for a loss in the week ahead.  I went back to Sissinghurst and thoroughly enjoyed a gin tasting evening.  What happened at the gin tasting stays at the gin tasting !  Needless to say I blew the entire month’s syn allowance in one night so I need to work very hard this week to ensure another weight loss.  It was brilliant fun though and so lovely to see my dear friends.  Thank you Annette and David for letting me stay; it was brilliant.IMG_1838This week I will have to swim a lot, walk a lot and eat very strictly to plan.








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In The Garden

I spent all morning in the garden today and really enjoyed it.  Autumn is a very pleasant time of year to be outside because the weather is clement, there is plenty to pick in the vegetable garden and you are preparing the garden for winter so plenty of pruning which I find satisfying.

Porridge for breakfast which I made with 40 g oats (HE B), 100ml coconut water ( 1 syn) and topped with a banana.  Tropical!IMG_1760I had Mick helping me in the garden today; he mainly cleared the area around the old compost bin (no mean feat! ) and set up the new bin.

IMG_1768I am happy with that because it had become quite a mission to get to the old compost bin every time I emptied the kitchen waste in to it.  I am also pleased that all the compost from the old bin has now been dug in to the flower beds.IMG_1774I weeded the vegetable beds and planted some brassicae.  This is emerald kale which has very pale green leaves with darker green edges.  Well, it will do once it has grown.  It should grow and produce leaves all winter and through to Spring.IMG_1761I popped them in next to the radishes.IMG_1762In the top bed I put some black kale and some purple sprouting broccoli.  They are next to the leeks.IMG_1777The apple tree is an unusual shape (!!!!) but has produced some of the nicest apples I have ever had.  They are crisp and sweet and juicy.  Perfect.IMG_1772I think I ate all those so will need to pick some more tomorrow.  I ate them with some cashews, about 15 I think (7 syns).IMG_1773I was able to pick quite a lot of today’s lunch from the garden.

Apples, radishes, kohl rabi, lettuce and mizuna.IMG_1780I shredded the kohl rabi and a large carrot.IMG_1781I mixed half of it with 1 tbsp Vegenaise (4 syns) to make a coleslaw and the other half was cooked with the rice and beans.IMG_1784I “fried” the pre-cooked rice in water, with the carrots, kohl rabi and beans and seasoned it with smokey paprika, salt and pepper.IMG_1783Enjoyed with the salad greens, radishes and coleslaw.IMG_1786Yummy and really nutritious as its fresh picked from the garden.IMG_1787Supper was a hash I made with potato, butternut squash, courgette and green pepper, cooked in 1 tbsp oil (6 syns) served with half a can of baked beans.  Simple and satisfying.IMG_178918 syns today which is over the 15 I aim for which is a shame.  The cashew nuts tipped me over.  I should have eaten more apples!





Posted in Grow Your Own, Slimming World, Vegan | 3 Comments

Following The Rules

I have tried very hard to follow the Slimming World rules today to ensure I lose weight by the end of the week.  I had a very ‘off-plan’ weekend and do not want to gain weight or fail to lose any.

Very light breakfast of a large orange with 14 cashew nuts (HE B)IMG_1710It was a lovely morning for a beach walk but I resisted the temptation as I was going walking in the Country Park later and I had loads of chores to do today.  I enjoyed doing a lot of exercise last week but this week I need to get some work done too.IMG_1711There were a few people down on the sand, enjoying the lovely walking conditions.IMG_1712Sigh ……. no time to stand and stare today.IMG_1714Lunch was easy.  I boiled a few new potatoes and heated some leftover lentil and vegetable bolognaise with some extra baked beans added.IMG_1716One of the Slimming World rules is to fill 1/3 of your plate with “speed” foods.  Oranges are speed foods so I can definitely tick the speed box for breakfast but I am not sure about lunch.  Onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and courgettes are all speed foods and the lentil bolognaise was full of those so I think I am ok here.  This was delicious and syn free.IMG_1717After lunch I took Milton to Hastings Country Park, with Rebecca and Beryl.  500 acres to walk around in.IMG_1718Another lovely day in the park.  I really enjoy walking on the beach or close to it but the views from the cliff tops across the sea are also immensely enjoyable.IMG_1719I love these clouds.IMG_1720There are lots of mushrooms growing on the ground but I have no idea if they are edible or even if we are allowed to take them so they are still growing there.

I snacked on some grapes and a small banana this afternoon.  They are free but not speed foods.  I also drank a few cups of tea, mainly Rooibos with soya milk (HE A).IMG_1728Supper was a quick and easy black bean and sweetcorn taco meal.  I bought a taco kit (contains the taco shells, a sachet of seasoning mix and a sachet of salsa which I didn’t use) and warmed through a tin of black beans with the kernels from 2 cobs of corn and 4 large spring onions.  I added the taco seasoning powder and 150ml water and simmered it for 10 minutes.  That was the same instructions as if you were using minced beef which the recipe of the taco kit says to use.

I had 2 taco shells, filled with the black bean mix, topped with a little vegan cheddar-style cheese and served with 2 huge tomatoes and a large chunk of cucumber.IMG_1729

  • 2 taco shells = 7 syns (3.5 each !!)
  • 10-15 g vegan cheddar-style cheese = 2 syns (estimated as SW online does not have the exact brand I used)
  • 1/2 the Old El Paso sachet of taco seasoning = 1.5 syns

Total syns for supper = 10.5

IMG_1730I did well today and finished the day very much on plan.



Posted in Beach, Slimming World, Vegan | 3 Comments

Old Friends, Art and Food in London and a Country Park

What a weekend that was !  I had the absolute pleasure of seeing my oldest friends this weekend, as in, those I have known the longest, rather then those who are the most advanced in years.

The weekend’s fun began on Friday night in a pub near Blackfriars Bridge where I met Jeremy and Laura, 2 lovely people I was at University with.  We had dinner at Sea Container in the Mondrian which is on Southbank.  It was delicious food in very opulent surroundings and with very posh loos.  Delightful company too.

Southbank is great fun in the evenings; we saw people juggling wth fire sticks, admired the views of London and watched the skateboarders as we walked back to Waterloo.  I stayed at Laura’s and it was a relief to not have to trek back to the South coast after a fun evening out.

On Saturday I met Lara at Waterloo and we had breakfast together at Le Pain Quotidien. I had avocado on toast and a very large (and very delicious) soya milk latte.

Our next destination was Tate Modern where we met up with Harvey and some of my schoolfriends and their children.  We had an 18th and a 21st to celebrate and chose to meet at Tate Modern to kick of the birthday celebrations.

IMG_1632Tate Modern had an adult playground (Superflex) in the Turbine Hall which was fun and spectacular, as everything in that huge space tends to be.  Lara, Harvey and I had a go on one of the many huge swings they had installed.

We looked at some of the exhibitions.  My favourite was a series of photographs depicting activities in America we may not be aware of.  I have respected the artists copyright and not taken photos of their work but instead I photographed the description alongside the pictures I most enjoyed.IMG_1649I found these and other pictures fascinating.IMG_1648We then set off for Granary Square at King’s Cross.  We walked over the Millennium Bridge to get to the tube on the North side of the river.IMG_1657

IMG_1656We had lunch at Dishoom, my favourite Indian restaurant.  There were 13 of us for lunch and it was was great fun.  IMG_1690This was not a lunch to help with my weight loss as we had cocktails (gimlets and Pimms) and fried foods but it was worth it.  I had gunpowder potatoes and green veg as my main which was delicious.IMG_1661The food in Dishoom is amazing and I particularly like the building and decor at the Kings Cross branch.

I am so happy I still have my friends from school, and one of my first jobs, in my life.  We have known each other’s children all their lives and it has been lovely seeing them grow in to the delightful young adults they now are.IMG_1663I think we have done rather well between us.IMG_1673

I did eat too much on Saturday but at least I managed to walk a lot; nearly 15,000 steps.

This morning I woke up to blue skies and as the forecast was not great for the afternoon, I took Harvey and Milton up to the Country Park first thing.IMG_1681The views from the park are spectacular.IMG_1683

IMG_1685This was Harvey’s first trip and he loved it too.IMG_1686




IMG_1697I had grapes and cups of tea for breakfast and a roast for lunch made with Linda McCartney red onion sausages and vegan gravy.  Served with lots of vegetables.

I did then have a spectacularly lazy day but I had walked over 10,000 steps so it could have been worse.  Supper was a pizza and pint of stout in the Imperial which was tasty but not diet friendly so I need to be really good for the rest of the week.IMG_1706I lost 2.5 pounds this week which is 13.5 in total and I really want to have lost a stone by Friday.





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Exercising and Dieting

I have managed to maintain a regular amount of exercise recently and I am mainly feeling the benefit.  It is becoming easier and that makes it more enjoyable and I am grateful to have had the time to devote to it.  But I do find it makes me hungrier so I have not been as good at eating this week.  I am finding this a real challenge so I think I need to plan to eat bigger quantities of the speed and free food I can eat when following the Slimming World plan.

I have had a lot of fun with exercising too as I have combined it with socialising.  Yesterday I walked along the river and round Bodiam castle with Lucy, which is a delightful walk.  Bodiam Castle is managed by the National Trust but you can pay £3 to use the car park and do the walk without having to pay £9 which also gives you access to the inside of the castle.  Their facilities are good as they have a coffee shop and nice loos too!IMG_1535This is such a pretty castle.IMG_1536One day I should go inside.IMG_1538We went from Bodiam to the gym as we are both members of the same health club and had a swim, a sauna and a relax in the jacuzzi.  I swam 50 lengths (1 km).

In the afternoon I did another walk, because although I had enjoyed a walk round Bodiam castle, Milton (the dog) had not, so I picked up Harvey from school and we walked from St.Leonards to Bulverhythe.  That took my walking total to over 10,000 steps.

It was a windy day so the kitesurfers were out.  It looks like fun but I wouldn’t have the confidence to try that.  IMG_1547

IMG_1550I always enjoy a walk beside the sea, even in the wind.IMG_1552My socialising continued in the evening as I went to the White Dog in Ewhurst Green for a drink with Lucy and Clare.  It’s a very traditional English country pub.  I had one half pint of stout (Smild) which had 4 syns and 2 lime and sodas which I think are 3 syns each.  So my fairly abstemious night out was a whopping 10 syns!

Eating was not a disaster but not great either.  I had a smoothie for breakfast and for supper.  I made them both with 2 bananas, cashew milk, peanut and seed butter, cocoa powder and sea greens.  I also added a pear for breakfast.  You have to add syns for a smoothie but I don’t understand how many so will ask my consultant about that at the next meeting I can stay at.IMG_1532Lunch was delicious and full of nutritious vegetables.  IMG_1542I made a stir fry with brown Basmati rice and all the left over veggies I had in the fridge, plus a large leaf of green kale and half a large green chilli.  I also added half a packet of Taifun smoked tofu with almonds and sesame seeds which is my favourite tofu.  I can eat it from the packet it is so delicious.  Lunch was 6 syns for 1 tbsp oil and the tofu is 2.5 syns per 100 g which is half a pack.  Only plain tofu is free, unfortunately.

Daily syns total is: 18.5 + smoothies

  • Smoothies = ?
  • Lunch = 8.5
  • Drinks in pub = 10

So I didn’t actually eat much, I exercised a lot and was over my syn allowance which is frustrating.

Today I did more moderate exercise; I walked 11,000 steps (over 7 km) as I walked in to town and around the shops as I had several things to buy and errands to run.  I had a really bad night’s sleep and felt exhausted today so I comfort ate which I can’t seem to stop doing.  I do choose much better foods than I used to.  Once I would have bought chocolate, cakes, crisps, cheese and other high fat foods.  So I am doing much better but still have a way to go.

For breakfast I fried up some boiled potato and vegetables;  6 syns for 1 tbsp oil.IMG_1569By lunch time I was making slow progress with my errands and popped in to a Moroccan restaurant on George Street where I had a huge bowl of humous with pitta bread and olives. IMG_1572No idea how many syns in that lot but far too many.  Ditto the vegan Turkish delight I had afterwards!IMG_1573The very cloudy morning turned in to a very warm and sunny afternoon so my walk home was very enjoyable.  IMG_1574I still find the climb up from the Old Town very hard work but it is steep.  IMG_1576And long.IMG_1577Worth it though, both for the exercise and the views when you get up to the West Hill and again along St Mary’s Terrace.  IMG_1579I can see my house in the distance.IMG_1581Nearly home.IMG_1582I made a lentil and mushroom bolognaise for supper but I wasn’t actually hungry so I didn’t eat anything.  I did however have a small bowl of CoYo vanilla yogurt with 3 fresh figs.  10 syns for 100 ml of the yogurt.IMG_1594Not a great day for eating.  I hope I get a better nights sleep tonight and that weigh day tomorrow shows me a small loss.



Posted in Diet Struggles, Healthy Lifestyle, Slimming World, Vegan | 4 Comments