Summer In Autumn

What an amazingly sunny and warm day we had today !!  The lovely weather inspired us to have a long walk through the Hastings Country Park which was stunning; more on that in a minute as we shall begin with the start of the day.

I knew weigh day was not going to be great due to a very sociable weekend and a holiday.  To try and limit the damage I went swimming last night and I went again this morning.  The weight gain was not too bad – I put on half a pound which is acceptable after the week I have had.  Disappointing but ok.  I did receive this certificate which I was pleased about.  I should have received it in September but better late than never.

IMG_2454Having been weighed I could go home and have breakfast; a banana, some grapes and 15 cashews (HEX B).IMG_2433Soon after that I had lunch.IMG_2434Last night Rebecca joined me for supper and I made 2 recipes from the Jackie Kearney cookery book I bought last Saturday after the cookery class.  I made a savoury vegetable pancake (cheela) using gram flour and which included peas, spring onion and leeks.  The pancake batter was spiced with freshly roasted and ground cumin and coriander seeds.  I also made a coleslaw with red cabbage, carrots and kohl rabi, dressed with fresh mango, lime zest and juice and soy sauce.  Each pancake was 8 syns and the coleslaw was free (mainly made up of speed foods).IMG_2435I had the pancake and coleslaw with raw tomato, celery, carrot and cucumber, a boiled potato and 100g steamed basil tofu (4.5 syns).  It was very enjoyable and provided some fuel for the long walk I had planned for the afternoon.IMG_2436I was going to do some chores today but having seen the weather forecast, Lucy suggested we did the walk we didn’t manage last week due to predicted heavy rain.  It ony took half a second for me to shelve the list of chores and grab my walking boots!

We started at Barley Lane and walked up a steep hill to the Country Park.  That got us to the Eastern side of the Old Town, which you can see in the valley below.  We have not done this walk before but were aiming for the tea-rooms near the Coastguard’s cottage.IMG_2437The weather!  It was perfect.IMG_2438We had to make a slight detour due to a landslide and that took us out on to a road near a holiday park.IMG_2439Good views of a part of Hastings I have not seen before.IMG_2440We walked in open spaces and through woods.IMG_2441We didn’t go to the naturist beach today although the sea looked so calm and it was so warm we probably could have stopped for a swim.IMG_2442There were a lot of uphill parts of this walk which was challenging but good for cardiovascular exercise and it all helps burn some calories.IMG_2443We walked on IMG_2444and on.  It was glorious.IMG_2445The green grass was incredibly vibrant; such a bright green.  The Belted Galloway cows seemed to be enjoying it.IMG_2447We walked for just over 2 hours.IMG_2455Supper was a very quick stir fry which I made with a red onion, red cabbage, leek, red pepper, half a block of smoked tofu with almonds and fresh coriander.  8.5 syns for the large bowlful.  I seasoned it with light soy sauce and served it with dried chilli flakes and 1 tbsp hot mango chutney (2 syns).IMG_2457I also had 2 bananas and some black grapes as I felt hungry after a swim and a decent walk.

The light was stunning tonight on the hill opposite my house.

Daily Syn calculation

Gram Flour Pancake (Cheela) With Peas and Leeks
Ingredient Syns for total recipe Syns for 1 portion (1/8)
2 tbsp cumin seeds Free 0
1 tbsp coriander seeds Free 0
350 g gram flour 56 7
2 tsp baking powder 1 0.125
2 spring onions Speed 0
coriander Free 0
2 tbsp vegetable oil 6 0.75
3 baby leeks Speed 0
100 g peas Free 0
Syns per portion 7.875
Mango and Lime Vegetable Slaw
Ingredient Syns for total recipe Syns for 1 portion (1/4)
4 limes, juice and zest Speed 0
mango Free 0
Light soy sauce (1 tbsp) Free 0
Red cabbage Speed 0
White cabbage Speed 0
Carrots Speed 0
Mint Free 0
 Syns per portion 0
Tofu stir fry
Ingredient Syns for 1 portion
Coconut oil, 1 tbsp 6
Red onion Speed
Red cabbage Speed
Leek Speed
Red pepper Speed
Tofu, Taifun smoked with almonds and sesame seeds 2.5
Coriander Free
 Syns per portion 8.5
HEX A 400 ml soya milk
HEX B 15 cashew nuts
Breakfast 0
Lunch 12.5
Dinner 10.5
Total 23


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Copenhagen: Norrebro, Paper Island, Tivoli and Carlsberg.

This post is a quick romp through two days we enjoyed in Copenhagen.  We hired bicycles on Tuesday so we could go to some of the places we wanted to visit which were a bit too far to walk.  I also really wanted to cycle round a city which is so well suited to cyclists.  It was brilliant because most streets have a cycle track which is clearly marked and defined.  There are traffic lights for cyclists and no shortage of parking places.

We cycled to an area called Norrebro, specifically to a street called Jaegersborggade which has some charming independent shops and cafes.  We had breakfast in a cafe oozing hygge.  It was an unusual breakfast of humous, bread and nut brittle.  Unusual but delicious.

Cute and cool shops to browse in.

We liked Norrebro.  It was a colourful urban landscape and we really enjoyed pottering about.

Next stop was Paper Island and to get there we cycled relatively easily through central Copenhagen.IMG_2341I really liked the lightweight bicycle with the upright riding position.  And the large and comfortable saddle.IMG_2342We went to Paper Island to visit CC, the Contemporary Arts Centre and the Street Food.

The virtual reality exhibition was one of the most interesting and amazing things I have ever seen and we all loved it.

The Street Food was fabulous.  Inside one huge building were many stalls selling all kinds of food and drink.  There was a lively and fun atmosphere and we all enjoyed choosing what to have for supper.  I had a vegan burger and plantain chips.  The chips were literally made from a flattened chunk of plantain which was then fried on a hot plate.  It was delicious.

We had intended to spend the evening at Tivoli but due to torrential rain completely soaking us, we had a peaceful (and warm and dry) evening at our hotel.  Instead we went to Tivoli the following morning.

We all enjoyed the cycling very much so here are a few more pictures of some of the thousands of bicycles of Copenhagen.

Wednesday was our last day in Copenhagen and we set off to the centre to visit Tivoli.  First of all we looked for somewhere for breakfast; finding a cafe seems to be harder here than London and eventually we stopped looking for an independent cafe and opted for an excellent chain called ‘Joe and the Juice’.  I had a juice and an avocado and tomato toasted sandwich, both of which were delicious.IMG_2371We ate in the central station and this was our view.IMG_2373We went to Tivoli because I thought it was part funfair (which I am not interested in) and part gardens.  Unfortunately these days it’s just a funfair.  IMG_2226It is very well laid out and charming and there was a good Halloween theme and we enjoyed walking around but did not stay for long.

We then walked to the Carlsberg brewery through an area called Vesterbro which we all agreed we would have liked more time to look round.  We did a self guided tour which was interesting.  We looked at displays about the history of the brewery and ended in a beer hall where we had a good choice of beers (and soft drinks) which were included in the entrance price.

I felt sorry for these beautiful horses, left shackled up to a cart for the benefit of the tourists.  Their stables were very grand and I hope they get to spend lots of time outside on some green grass.

The beer hall we ended up in overlooks a bottling plant which was interesting to look at, while we tried different beers.  Cheers!

We only had 4 days in Copenhagen.  My wallet was relieved it was a short trip but we all loved it and could easily have spent more time there.  I like to think I will go back again one day.

Our final meal was at Yo Sushi at the airport which is not very Danish (apart from the heft £100 bill !!) but then airports are not renowned for their good food.

IMG_2428We only ate 2 meals each day; the meals were not on the Slimming World plan and I definitely did not eat enough fruits and veggies.  However, they were only ever one course and apart from some salt licquorice, there was no snacking.  I didn’t drink much alcohol either but I do feel as if I have put weight on.  That will be a shame because I have exercised a lot this week.


All will be revealed on the scales tomorrow !












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Copenhagen: Christianshavn and City

This is my third visit to Copenhagen so you could say I am a fan. I like all of the parts of Scandinavia I have seen and Copenhagen is no exception.   I am here for a few days with Lara and Harvey.

Today we walked in to Christianshavn.  Along the way we saw this outside gymnand this cute floating house.I would love to stay in here.We noticed that many people cycle to get around and the city is well set up for cycling with cycle lanes everywhere.  Consequently there are bicycles all over the place.We admired the architecture as we walked along. Copenhagen is on the coast and is made up of several islands, connected by bridges. Some of the larger bridges open up to let large boats through and these building contain the controls to open the bridge.When we got to Christianshavn we found a bakery ( Brodflov) to have breakfast in.  Why are Danish places sooooo cool?Vegan food was not a strong point of this bakery so I had a black coffee and a bread roll. Both were excellent.We headed to Our Saviours Church because it has a tall steeple you can climb up.  First though we looked around the church. It was large and white and warm and very beautiful.Charming pews.A very ornate pulpit.A huge organ that is over 300 years old.The ceiling was high, painted white with stars on it and ornate sculptures on the wall.Check out this baptism font.We then climbed up the tower which was quite a tough climb in places.The church bells were huge!There was a bell to warn you when they rang but luckily I did not experience them.I was relieved to get to the top and admire the view. You can then walk round the outside of the steeple but it was a bit high for me.So I returned to the street and waited for my children who were braver then I was.We headed towards Nyhavn,stopping for a cuppa on the way.This is Nyhavn, a charming canal side street.We went for a boat trip and then returned to Nyhavn for a relax.We had a drink and played cards so we could rest and warm up as it was cold out there.We had not eaten since breakfast so we looked for somewhere for supper. Unfortunately Copenhagen is VERY expensive so we went to a fast food place – Wok On.

You choose your base (noodles, rice or just veg), then your protein and then a sauce.It is then cooked fresh.Yummy. I had tofu and broccoli with brown rice and vegetables and a garlic and black pepper sauce. We have walked over 20,000 steps today and as it is cold outside and ludicrously expensive to have a drink out, we are relaxing in our hotel tonight. We stopped in a Seven Eleven and bought provisions; a small bar of chocolate and salt liquorice for me.
Tomorrow we are hiring bikes.

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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.

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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!





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