It’s still been very cold this week , it even snowed in some parts of the UK but there’s a hint of spring in the air. Maybe it’s just the slightly longer days, arriving home from school and still having enough light to play in the garden for a while, or maybe the shoots of flowers I see pushing themselves through the earth or have I just had enough of winter? Probably, I have no idea how I used to last the months of cold in Folgaria.

Saturday was just the girls and me as daddy head off on his first stag do in Costa del Margate. We had a party to attend ourselves and the girls came home nice and exhausted making for an easy evening. Bessie polishes off all the milk from her cereal bowl and Alice shows off her new lip gloss found in her party bag.

Bessie and Alice

Sunday we were up at the crack of dawn to get to London, Leicester Square to watch a screening of Sammy’s Great Escape the new Warner Bros film in 3D. I must admit to being totally blown away by the 3D effect, it does feel like you’re swimming underwater with the fish. An amazing experience. The girls had a great time with all of the activities put on for them.

Sammy's Great Escape

Monday my cuff bracelet arrived from the Monsoon bridal collection (RRP £25). I tried it on and it’s quite tight but fits. I like the way it has a vintage feel to it. I had a go at playing with then light that bounced on the bed for my photos.

Monsoon bridal vintage cuff

Tuesday was dedicated to #TeamHonk and their trip to Ghana. I am so proud of these girls and so happy to be able to say I know them. I’ve met all of them and can honestly say they are stars, each and every one of them. I spent the day tweeting and waiting for my digital postcard to arrive which it did – fashionably late as it would do in real life too. Do check out little Desmond with his gorgeous mum at the Vaccine clinic and please share it to raise even more awareness of the #goodwork Comic Relief has done in the past 25 years. I also cooked Tex Mex Grill steaks for dinner and they were delicious to eat and easy to make

#Teamhonk Comic relief

Wednesday I had an appointment at the No 7 stall in Boots at Bluewater for a bridal makeover. I won’t be calling on a professional to do my make up that day. I’ve never been a full on make up girl and have always coped on my own but I was curious to see what she would do with me. Here is a shot and I shall write a post up next week of my experience which I thoroughly enjoyed and picked up a whole host of tips from her. What do you think? Too much? Just right?

bridal make up

Thursday a quick shot of the girls before they head off to school, I’m trying to encourage them to get themselves dressed of a morning and of an evening when they return from school. Alice is fine and being Little Miss Independant tries to do everything by herself but Bessie will just pout and moan and say she can’t do it. That’s our Bess on the left ;)

school uniform

Friday I posted our Kentish ceremony choices off to the registrar eek! That means the wedding is getting even closer and I have a whole load of things that still need doing. JUGS people I need jugs for the flowers! Off to do another search online for them

kentish ceremonies

 

tex mex grill steaks and spicy sweet potato wedges

Scroll down for the Tex Mex grill steak and spicy sweet potato wedges recipes

So my WeightWatchers efforts are beginning to show, it’s slow but I do cheat occasionally. I find the weekends are hardest for me as it’s the time of relax, of wine and chocolate and that’s when my points kind of go overboard *sigh* but on the whole I’m really liking this way of being aware of what you eat.

By counting your points you suddenly realise which foods carry more calories and therefore ask yourself – Is it worth it?

I didn’t know just how many WeightWatchers products there were out there until I started looking. So far I have tried the yogurts – only 1 point, I have tried the WeightWatchers wraps and I have some bagels for next week’s lunches.

The scales WeightWatchers sent have been a godsend, they show 1/4’s lb up so even though you should only weigh yourself once a week (does anyone do that?) you can watch your weight throughout the week. I find if I have a ‘bad’ day I’ll see it a couple of days later on the scales. I find by watching my progress every day spurs me on and by seeing my downfalls helps me to get back on the wagon. (RRP £29.95) I really should remove the stickers, you’re right!

weightwatchers bathroom scales

My favourite biscuit this week has been the ginger and lemon, two small biscuits individually wrapped for 2 points, they go down a real treat with my mid morning teabreak and I feel like I get a treat too.

Porridge has been the way forward for breakfast, it’s cold outside and this breakfast choice really warms me up PLUS it keeps me full right up to lunch time.

The weekly chocolate fix has been the WeightWatchers Jaffa Cake bars and I am giving a mighty thumbs up! Say with a french accent Deux points.

weightwatchers jaffa cake bars

Recipes tried this week are Pesto stuffed haddock for 8 points – absolutely delicious. So delicious I forgot to take a photo of it :)

Second up this week and VERY, very good was Tex Mex Grill Steaks. Husband-to-be also gave a massive thumbs up so I’ll definitely be doing them again

Tex Mex Grill Steaks

You’d never know you were on a diet whilst eating these delicious steaks and what’s more they only take minutes to prepare, an ingenious recipe that can also be adapted for only 9 points!

Ingredients – serves 4

500g extra lean beef mince
50g breadcrumbs (I didn’t have any and the recipe still worked)
2 tbsp chopped coriander (I didn’t have this either)
30g sachet dried fajita seasoning mix
1 red onion chopped finely
calorie controlled cooking spray

Mix together the mince, breadcrumbs, coriander, the fajita spice mix and the onion. With slightly wet hands, shape into four large patties.

tex mex grill steaks to cook

Preheat the grill to medium high. Place the patties on a foil lined grill tray and spray with cooking spray. Cook gently for 10 – 12 minutes turning half way through until cooked.

Adaptions – replace the fajita seasoning with a sachet of dried chilli con carne mix for the same propoint value

Tips – Steaks can be frozen and defrosted thoroughly before cooking so you could make double batch and have a dinner ready for future use.

Spicy sweet potato wedges

A long time ago we spoke about superfoods. Sweet potato is one of them.

Sweet potatoes – contain twice as much vitamin C and fibre as ordinary potatoes with high levels of beta-carotene warding off certain cancers and heart disease.

Ingredients

sweet potatoes
paprika
olive oil

Peel the potatoes and cut into long strips. Place in a pan and sprinkle paprika over them. Drizzle a little olive oil over and toss them so all sides are covered in the mix.

Pop in the oven at 200C / gas mark 6 for about 50 minutes turning them over half way through.

To make them even spicier you can add chilli powder, chilli flakes, black cracked pepper – how hot can you go?

spicy sweet potatoe wedges

salmon and prawn bakeI’m a few weeks into my WeightWatchers program now and am starting to get the hang of it….sort of.

I blame my scales, the battery is probably on the way out plus it doesn’t show ounces so by declaring 10st 7lbs for a fortnight – meaning no loss – but there could have been almost a lb difference had I been able to see the ounces!

However after the extra 5lbs added over Christmas (I know, I know, terrible) I am now back on track but in order to fit in The Dress I need to lose a couple/few more pounds.

I’ve signed up online and track my weight and propoints I use every day with the incredibly easy-to-use app that pops up. You can input all sorts of food including your own recipes too which is handy. I must admit it took me a week to realise my portion control was way OVER and my ‘that should be about 100g’ was actually closer to 200 g.

It took me another week to realise that eating a special ‘good girl’ treat after lunch like a chunky Kit Kat or Mars bar wasn’t the best choice so when Weight Watchers sent me lots of their bakery products to try I swapped and boy am I doing well now.

weightwatchers products

I mentioned them on Facebook and a lot of comments were from people who said they couldn’t stop at one Belgian chocolate slice but would eat the entire box! So it does go to show you have to be strong willed and determined to reach your goal.

Here’s what I’ve been eating #WWfooddiary

WeightWatcher Pitta breads

Egg and bacon pitta bread

Chop a slice of bacon up into bite size pieces and cut off the rind/fat. Dry fry and remove from the pan with a slotted spoon. Scramble an egg with 1 tsp margarine until almost set, add the bacon pieces, some chopped tomato and chives if you have them – ready to eat 9 Propoints I thought it looked quite ’empty’ and was worried I’d be hungry but I was fine it kept me filled all afternoon.

Roast beef, mustard and salad pitta bread

I had leftover beef from Sunday’s roast so I chopped 100g into small slices, mixed with a teaspoon of wholegrain mustard and added some lettuce sliced thinly.  8 Propoints I also had a portion of my slow roasted vegetable soup which has no points as it’s all vegetables but I allow for 2 just in case

roast beef pitta

WeightWatchers Wraps – 3 points

Prawn, salmon and garlic & herb Philadelphia bite

Take 100g of tiger prawns add 60g chopped smoked salmon, a handful of shredded lettuce, a few chopped baby plum tomatoes and a spring onion add a tablespon of Philadelphia Garlic and herbs low fat soft cheese. Place in the middle of the wrap and roll – a real winner, this one was delicious 8 Propoints

tiger prawn wrap

Salmon and Prawn Bake – 6 Propoints

Serves 4 – recipe taken from the Fresh and Easy Everyday WeightWatchers book

500g salmon, skin on
2 tbsps flat leaf parsely chopped
50g low fat soft cheese with garlic and herbs
15g red peppers from a jar, drained and chopped finely
50g tiger prawns
pinch of chilli flakes
calorie controlled cooking spray
salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to Gas 6/200C or 180C fan oven. Cut a pocket into the thick side of the salmon on an angle about 2.5cms deep

Mix together the peppers, half of the parsley with the soft cheese and seasoning, carefully spread inside the pockets. Arrange the prawns on top of the cheese inside the pocket. sprinkle over the chilli flakes and remaining parsley.

salmon and prawn bake prep

Place salmon on a non stick baking tray and spray with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked

My verdict – excellent recipe, very easy to follow and delicious, a winner with Other Half as well. Served with some new potatoes and fresh baby spinach. I used smaller pieces of salmon rather than one large bit and it worked just as well. I also didn’t have any parsley but sprinkled over some dried mixed herbs.

salmon and prawn bake

Yay, it snowed and how much fun did we have – a ton although our snowfall was only a couple of cms. Luckily our back garden is on a slope which at this time of year makes the perfect sledge run – see the tracks in the top photo?

We’ve all been ill this week (not daddy), the latest bug we’ve passed around and shared so, broken nights waking to try and soothe the girl’s, sore throats, headaches and general flu like symptoms.

I’ve volunteered at school to listen to the reception readers once a week, my day will be Wednesday afternoon and I will encourage the littl’uns to read, sound their phonics and start blending their words, I’m really excited about this.

I’m well on the WeightWatchers case, they’ve sent me a ton of products to try and so far they’re delicious especially the Double Chocolate Brownies – yum! (5 ProPoints each) but I’m not losing the lbs I need too :/

365.4

Sunday – After the snow – slippers check out my new babies and I made a Banoffee Pie

banoffee pie

Monday – Alice off school with a high temperature but by afternoon she’s already feeling better, we take some cool photos in the garden of flowers in the snow and I read her some excellent books for children as we snuggle on the sofa.

TuesdayShellac nails, at the end of 2 weeks they’re starting to peel off and once off, my nails are very weak and brittle :(

Wednesday – I miss the BritMums meet up in London thanks to feeling under the weather myself and bad weather plus Alice is back at school but not 100%, it might be better to stay close to home. I make a Beef and Onion braise WeightWatchers recipe. I swim 30 minutes in the morning :)

Thursday – My bridal shoes arrive from Girls of Elegance but they’re too small so I’m going to have to send them back and exchange them for a bigger size which is a bit of a pain. The table plan is defined, the menu ready to print and the place cards have arrived ready to write. I am getting VERY busy.

Friday – My new bookcase from Ikea arrives in the morning, I collect Paul’s ring from Bluewater, I do some work, collect the girls and then assemble my Expedit On My Own. I have to call in my neighbour to help me lift it but once in place the girls are eager to put all their toys on every shelf within their reach

Expedit bookcase

A hard week, a busy one, one I’m glad it’s over. Have a great weekend all, I’m off to the London Secret Room today to meet another 20 odd bloggers and eat chocolate, I’m imagining a fantastic Silent Sunday tomorrow.

beef and onion braise

I promise my next task will be to improve my food photography and place the food rather than ‘dish it up’

Having shown the photo of my Beef and Onion braise on the Week that was I thought I’d share the recipe with you as it’s a WeightWatchers recipe book from the One Pot Meals book which I was sent before Christmas to review.

This recipe is 7 Propoints for an extra 5 Propoints you could serve with a baked potato.

I didn’t follow the recipe exactly, I added a bottle of stout to the cooking liquor and therefore added an extra 2 Propoints per serving and where WW cook it in the oven I did mine in the slow cooker.

Beef and onion braise – WeightWatchers recipe

Ingredients
calorie controlled cooking spray
3 small onions, cut into wedges
4 x 150g lean braising steaks trimmed of all visible fat
2 tbsps flour
400 ml beef stock
1 bottle of Stout 750 ml
300g carrots cut into thin strips
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsps Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
350g mushrooms sliced
freshly ground black pepper
 

Spray a large non stick pan with cooking spray add the onions and cook for 4 minutes turning to colour on all sides. Place in slow cooker

beef and onion braise

Season the steaks with black pepper add to the pan and brown on all sides only to colour not to cook. Remove and add to the slow cooker

beef and onion braise

Sprinkle over 2 tbsps of plain flour and stir well. Add the stock and stir well. Add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to amalgamate well. Add a bottle of stout if you like. Here’s my Fuller’s Black Cab – not sponsored just loved the name and look of the bottle :)

Fullers Balck Cab stout

Place the lid and set on low cooking for 4 hours. Stir occasionally.

beef and onion braise