A little less Alice…

No it doesn’t mean I will be writing less (although I know I have been rubbish recently at actually posting!) It means that I have a very happy milestone (or 2 in fact!) to share with you all.

As you all know (as I have been posting a lot about it recently, I know, I am sorry!), I’m on a journey trying to lose some weight. After much trying and failing of other methods, I decided to join Slimming World after speaking to one of my colleagues about it and her giving me lots of guidance and encouragement to give it a go. I must say it is the best decision I could have made for my weight loss, because having been at it for around 9 weeks (?), last week, I achieved my 1 stone award! In fact, that week, I managed to go over the 1 stone mark but we won’t quibble! That brings my current loss (including that week and this one) to 1 stone 3lbs. I must say, I never thought I’d stick at it for this long or that I’d even be able to achieve that. As a result, the initial target I set that I wanted to lose was 2 stone, not thinking I’d even make it that far, but as I’m now over halfway to that goal, I am quite confident in saying I think its more than achievable. I made the decision (officially) tonight that I would extend my target to 4 stone over all. I might get partway there and decide I like how I am and change my target, but this gives me real motivation and a real target to shoot for, which I think will help.

Now, I said there were 2 milestones to tell you about. Not only did I achieve my 1 stone award in the last week, I also had to buy trousers 1 size smaller!!! Meaning I have achieved another milestone, which is to drop a dress size. My initial target was to drop 2 overall, but I think I may be able to go beyond that, so I might as well try, right? So its good news all around this week with regards my progress. I am beyond excited and motivated to carry on and reach my next goal (each dress size and each 1/2 stone is a mini goal) to becoming a much slimmer Alice.

Some of the other things I’ve noticed since I’ve been on Slimming World, are that I no longer really get heartburn. I used to drink Gaviscon like it was water, but now, I barely have to touch the stuff! I’m enjoying how I no longer have to battle with my tights to pull them up. My face and neck area look a lot less puffy than they used to and my shoulders seem a lot less broad (because of the weight loss around my upper body obviously). But its all the little things that you don’t necessarily think about or notice day-to-day and when you do it gives you a little smile to yourself.

So on that positive note, wonderlanders, I hope you’re all well and reaching your own goals and targets in whatever you want to achieve, and stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

Meet Georgette the Courgette

Yes, I named a courgette….Georgette….

Welcome wonderlanders to a post all about courgette. “Why?!”, you ask? Well, I won a rather large courgette in one of my Slimming World meetings so I needed to find some ways to use it up. There are surprisingly lots of different recipes you can use courgettes in and some of them I would not necessarily have considered before. I thought I would share a few of the ideas I found and used to destroy the monster that was “Georgette the courgette”.

Courgette Pizza

Yes, you can make pizza out of courgette, pretty easily actually. Its nicer than you think! You can do this with regular sized courgettes and just make mini pizzas, or if you have a giant courgette, you can make more medium-sized pizzas. Firstly, you take a slice of 20191013_141346.jpgcourgette and put it under the grill for a couple of minutes each size to dry it out. Then, put a spoonful of either tinned tomatoes, tomato puree or tomato passata on each piece of courgette, give it a sprinkle of your chosen herbs. Finally, use grated mozzarella as your Healthy Extra A (If you’re on Slimming World and need to know about healthy extra choices etc.). If you want to add any other toppings, mushrooms or bacon work quite nicely. Put the pizzas under the grill until nicely browned and the cheese is melted, then eat and enjoy! I just had mine as plain cheese, but they were still tasty!

Bulk out meals

Courgette is a great way to bulk out meals and add a bit more veg to your meals. If you are on Slimming World, its a great way to get extra Speed Foods without having to think too much about it. I used mine in Spaghetti Bolognaise. The bolognaise I usually make is actually one from The Hairy Dieter’s cookbook. Basically, when you are making it, you use a bit less mince than you would usually and instead add in lots of veg. I use courgette, mushrooms, celery and onion, but you could also use bell peppers as well if you wanted to add more veg in. You can also add courgette to chilli, stews or casseroles which adds extra volume to the meal. It takes on the flavour of the meal very well.

Tagliatelle carbonara

This is another one I nabbed from the Hairy Dieters. It feels a bit naughty but its actually not all that bad, syn-wise (or calorie-wise if you’re calorie counting). If you use the cheese as your healthy extra A choice, this is 3 syns per serving (as it serves 2). You could probably substitute the crΓ¨me fraiche for fat free natural yoghurt or fat free fromage fraise if you wanted to make it free. Again, its a great way to sneak some speed foods in to your meal.

Ingredients
  • 75g dried tagliatelle
  • 2 rashers low fat rindless smoked bacon
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium courgette, diced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 tbsp half-fat creme fraiche
  • 15g parmesan cheese, grated
  • freshly ground pepper
Steps
  • Cook pasta according to directions.
  • Trim visible fat off bacon and cut into strips.
  • Fry bacon and mushrooms for around 4 mins, then add courgette (cook for another 2 minutes)
  • drain pasta, then tip it back into the saucepan. Add the bacon, mushrooms, courgette & tomatoes. Spoon over the creme fraiche, season with pepper and mix.
  • Serve with parmesan grated on top.

Roasted Vegetables

Make a tray of roasted veg! I made mine with lamb and used new potatoes, carrots, parsnip and courgette. Again, great way to get more speed foods in to a meal! It was really nice. It also means using your veggies in a different way, because it can get really boring if you’re just eating the same veg in the same way all the time.

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I hope you enjoy courgette-ing and found new ways to use up courgette! Until next time, stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

Recent weeks

Hi Wonderlanders!

I know, I know, I’ve been very quiet recently, so I thought I’d just do a general update and explain what’s been happening and what’s coming up.

I’ve had a realisation recently that I have been spending a lot of time being busy and being creative. As much as I enjoy doing stuff that’s creative, it wasn’t really feeling like “time off”. I was always doing something for an outcome and I was always feeling so tired and worn out and like I wasn’t stopping. So I decided things needed to change and I had to try something else, something that essentially was a waste of my time. That probably sounds weird, but if you’ve ever seen Red Dwarf, it’s basically Kryten’s explanation of fun “The employment of time in a profitless and non-practical way”, is probably the best way to describe it. So I’m now on a mission to do more things that aren’t productive, like gaming and reading. Since I started doing this, I must say I’ve felt a lot more relaxed.

Over the past weeks, the wedding planning has also been moving ahead full-force, which I’ll be posting about on the other blog. So as a result, I’ve been busy with that side of things too. Its all going fine, but it has meant being busy! Apart from this, life has been fairly quiet of late. There have been less adventures over the past few months, mostly due to focusing on other things. That’s going to change as November will be as busy as it always is (for some reason, lots of events seem to just happen in November). I have a number of gigs coming up and more wedding planning to go, so I’ll hopefully be able to post on both blogs a bit more through November.

I’m still on the wagon with the slimming and making steady progress. I have some posts planned about that coming up as well. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times where I quite happily would have demolished an entire box of Krispy Kremes, or a large bar of Galaxy chocolate, but I’ve managed to resist the urge. I’ve still enjoyed the odd pizza here and there, but overall, I’ve been pretty well restrained.

So that’s where I’ve been recently and what’s coming up. I’m afraid its not a very exciting, but there should be more coming up that is more exciting. Take care of yourselves, particularly if you are experiencing the adverse weather conditions that are battering the UK at the moment, and stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

Is happiness at the end of the bottle…?

Hi Wonderlanders! As promised, a non-diet-related post!

This post is spanning quite a long time really. Back in January I was involved in being an extra for a music video for Tokyo Taboo’s song: Whiskey. I decided to combine the post about the filming and the post about the music video premier, and also the release of the video (although this bit was a few weeks ago!). This was partially because I didn’t want to put spoilers about the video out there before it came out and also because I thought it might be cool to combine it. As I’ve been writing it all, its got a bit more philosophical than I was expecting at one point, so apologies in advance! Photos of the video shooting/behind the scenes (including the image at the top of the post) are courtesy of Nocturna Photography, any after that are just my own. For starters, lets talk about the filming!

Its been a while since I have done anything vaguely performance related. Back when I was in college, my course was on Performing Arts with a focus on acting. When I was in college, acting was what I wanted to do as a career but as I got part way through the course, I realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do with my life but also that it would be unreliable for an income. Taking part in the filming was nostalgic, but it did also remind 58662336_816639315369667_8481970873799016448_nme about some of the things I wasn’t a fan of with performing arts. I’ve always enjoyed creativity and performance, its something that’s fun. If, in the morning you are in an area and get told to pretend you’re drunk and dancing at a nightclub and have to just do it on cue, you do. There’s something surreal about it when you think about it, which always makes me smile. Any moments in life where you get to take a step back and think “this is so random, what am I doing?”Β  are always a winner for me. I’ve been lucky in that a lot of the jobs I have done in more recent years have resulted in similar thoughts of “am I really doing this right now?”.

Another thing that is always interesting about experiences is talking to different people and seeing where they are in their lives, and realising that where they are and where they are going is very different to your own self. What is important to them is different to what is important to you. If you don’t get too deep in to it and aren’t judgemental 59295388_2286582851562910_4226461030030508032_nabout such things, you have the chance to interact with some fascinating life experiences. I realise I’ve gone a bit deep there, so let me talk a little more about practicalities! I arrived at my appointed time and was told where to go and get ready. There were a few of us, some were fans of the band’s music and others were from an extras agency, the differences of which became clear pretty quickly. We all had our own reasons for being there. After the time we had to get ready (which was longer than expected really) we were all called through to set and the ground rules of the shoot were explained. The rest of the day that followed was basically as you’d expect. Sometimes standing around waiting, sometimes following instructions, sometimes being moved around and being shot in different ways. As my motivations for being involved in this were not career-related, and I’m not a big fan of myself on camera, I was more than happy to be more in the background. As the scenes were mostly party59178121_304036187160554_5015124197895045120_n scenes, this was pretty easy for me to be more in the background. In between times, the extras mostly sat around chatting or sometimes watching the other filming. The environment we were filming in had lots of random props that we could mess around with as well, so we kind of did! All in all the day was long (because I travelled to London and back in the same day via coach, leaving very early in the morning) but it was also good fun. I would recommend at least trying being an extra some time if you’re interested in all the creative behind the scenes stuff. That and pretending to have a rave at like 10am on a Sunday is also a good laugh.

There was a premier screening for the music video, which I thought was a pretty cool 20190407_185251.jpgidea. I first started writing this blog post when I was on my way to London for it back in April (so this has been sitting in my drafts for a looooong time). We all dressed up and went to the small screening room in the W Hotel in London. The premier involved watching the video a couple of times (of course), a few songs performed by the band and a Q&A for the director. Afterwards we all sat in the bar and had a few drinks and socialised. I couldn’t stay all that long unfortunately due to needing to get my coach home, but it was still nice. It was a pretty swanky venue all-in-all. It was nice to be able to20190407_202932.jpg see everyone again and to see the video on the big screen before it was being relegated to computer monitors and laptop screens when it was due to be released later in the year. I was really impressed by the quality and editing of the video and was really proud to have played a very small part in the process. As much as I dreaded seeing myself in something that would be around forever, I actually didn’t find this as hard to see as I’d thought initially.

After the premier it felt like a totally agonising wait until the release in October. Not because I wanted to show off, but because I knew the song and video were awesome and needed to be shared with the world. So when it came out I was super excited to watch it again and share it with other people. I knew I was going to write this post but life got in the way and I have been too busy to write it up until this point, so I hadn’t shared it on the blog until now. I’ve spoken about the song in a previous post when the single launch initially happened so if you want to know more about the song you can go and check that out. It has a very powerful message about how alcohol can having a very damning effect for some people, and how alcoholism is no party when everyone around you seems to be having the time of their life. The video shows this concept really well and personifies the loneliness that a person in this position can experience. If you haven’t already seen the video, why not?! You should go and watch it. So without further rambling on my part, please watch and enjoy the video: Whiskey. Until next time, stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

Milestones

Good day wonderlanders!

I know, I’m a bit quiet recently, but I have been quite busy in other areas of my life and they’re either not really something that I’d write about, or they’re more things that’d be appropriate for posting on the wedding blog, but I haven’t really got round to updating that either! But rest assured, I have a few posts planned.

So what am I posting about today? Well, I thought I would share with you all when I reach some milestones with my weight loss and talk a little bit about things are going at those times, rather than saying “I’ll update about it once a month” or whatever. Which milestone did I reach? I have achieved my half a stone weight loss award! I’ve been on Slimming World for 3 weeks (well, more like 3 and a half weeks now) and I have lost half a stone in that time. I thought that’s pretty alright going to be honest. (I’ve actually lost 8 pounds so its just over half a stone, but we won’t quibble on that. lol) I haven’t been 100% good the whole time, there have been says where I’ve gone over my syns but then there’s been days where I’ve been under. That includes eating pizza, drinking vodka, having curry, all sorts. I have obviously been more good than not good and that’s resulted in my loss. I’ve also been trying to be a little more active. That’s included just small changes, like walking instead driving some places, using the stairs instead of the lift or escalator, that kind of stuff. I also decided that I should gently introduce myself to the gym again. As its been a long time since I really exercised much I thought that the best thing to do would be book in to a class, just to take away from of the daunting element as well as make me accountable to a set day and time to go. It worked well and I went to Yoga and it seemed to help me towards my goal. I’m going to aim to go to the gym at least once a week to begin with and then try to build it up gradually. Its all about trying not to do too much too soon because its not sustainable.

As a bonus, on the same day I received my half a stone award, I also achieved Slimmer of the Week! For this, you gain the prize of a hamper (created by everyone in the group) of “free” foods. Part of this was a giant courgette. When I say giant, I mean giant. I will be doing a separate post, dedicated to “Georgette the Courgette” with lots of courgette recipes if you end up overwhelmed by large quantities of courgette, for whatever reason!

My feelings around the whole slimming situation at the moment are actually kind of pessimistic. I know that probably sounds weird as I am talking about success and that I’ve achieved a milestone, but let me explain. I am pleased with what I have achieved so far, and I would say that this experience of slimming feels different to how any dieting has felt before, but I think its possibly due to the amount of time that has passed so far. Around this time is usually when I lost willpower and start to eat rubbish again, gradually. I think it kind of feels like its too good to be true at the moment. Like I feel like I’m going to plateau soon and I won’t lose anymore, or I’ll start putting it back on or something like that. It feels that although I have my goal and it should be possible, I feel a sense of disbelief that I can get there. I’ll still keep trying and hoping, don’t get me wrong, but I will be amazed if I achieve it. I think its partially because I’ve never managed anything like this before. If or when I make it to another milestone, I’ll update again πŸ™‚ It may be a weight milestone or it might be a drop in dress size, but we’ll see! I’ll try and make my next post not slimming-related though so we’re not turning in to a diet blog!

If anyone else is on their own journey with making a lifestyle change or losing weight, I hope you’re doing well πŸ™‚ and until next time, stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

The willpower was not strong…

Hi wonderlanders, I have a confession to make. Due to my outstanding lack of willpower, I decided I needed extra help with the weight loss and after asking around, Slimming World seemed to be the way forward. I am now through my first week and thought I would talk a little bit about it and how its going.

For those of you not well-versed in the Slimming World plan, it basically boils down to healthy eating and a balanced diet. Sounds weird because most people think they probably eat a reasonable balance and don’t lose weight. Well, it also involves some moderation of the naughty foods. The thing I like the best is the fact that you should never be hungry because there is no limit to how much food you can eat. Yes, that’s right, you can eat all the food your want….just maybe not the type you want.

Slimming World uses foods called “free foods”. These are things you can eat in ANY QUANTITY YOU WANT! Its mostly fruit and vegetables, lean meat, but also some fat free stuff, eggs, rice, pasta, noodles etc. as long as they are of the dried variety before cooking. Also pretty weird right? Some of these are called “speed foods” which you are encouraged to eat plenty of as they keep you fuller for longer. On top of that you have 2 small calcium portions (either dairy or dairy free if you don’t have dairy) and a fibre portion each day (although other foods you eat are obviously going to contain fibre. Here we are talking about cereals, breads, nuts, that kind of things). You can still eat some naughty foods like chocolate, cakes, crisps etc. but you have to be smart about it. These food items are “Syn” items. Foods that aren’t free have a Syn value and you’re allowed a certain amount each day. Its usually about enough for one or two small treats in a day.

I decided that a diet where I am never hungry would probably be about my best bet given how I then end up going back to the fatty foods so quickly when I usually diet. Its seeing it more as a lifestyle change too. Clearly me eating alot less is not helpful and is a quick way to fail so this is pretty good really. So far I can only really comment on my first week’s progress whereby I have lost 4.5lbs, and I can say its been reasonably easy to follow and I haven’t been tempted to buckle and eat all of the chocolate. (An evening chocolate mousse has sufficed) I haven’t really craved the naughty foods either. Not sure if it will be the same story in 6 weeks time, but we can hope!

I will keep you all updated on my progress, now I have a whole group of people to face up to when I misbehave food-wise! Stay wonderful πŸ˜‰

Getting my s**t in order: Part 3

What’s up wonderlanders?!

The sorting continued with the make-up and cosmetic items. I know that I haven’t posted about the sorting for quite some time, but it has been gradually happening in the background! I sorted my cosmetic items a while ago. Over time, it is so easy to end up with so much stuff that you don’t really use.

For me the biggest issues I had was that I hoard make-up. I may get a new product and only use it a handful of times but it doesn’t quite make it in to my regular rotation or my heap of favourites. If that’s the case it ends up just in a drawer in my dressing table because I just can’t bear to get rid of it, or I don’t necessarily know anyone that may want it. So in the drawer it stays. I’d wanted it to get some use from people that may actually need it and appreciate it, so I had a good clear out of make-up that has been barely used or in some cases, not used and only kept what I used regularly or would be likely to use. Some of it was far too old and was no good anymore, so it went in the bin, but some of it was still in good condition so it went into the “donation heap”.

When it came to the other cosmetic items, such as shampoos, body washes etc. I had a similar issue. There were some bits that I have used just a little of but didn’t get long with (usually things like shampoos) and in other cases there’s items I can’t use such as bath items as I have no bathtub and don’t think I will do soon. Again, its not necessarily something that I can gift to others, but I wouldn’t want it going to waste sitting in my drawer until I one day own a bathtub again. So I sorted through and picked out the items that I hadn’t really used that I didn’t get on with that were still in good condition, I binned the bits that were no good anymore.

So what next? I sorted all of the bits out but then what to do with them? Well there were a few different options after much searching online. Initially I came up empty but in the end I found some good causes that would appreciate some new or lightly used items. The main places were those such as women’s charities and women’s refuges where women are escaping awful domestic situations. They often need such necessary items because they either weren’t able to leave the house with anything or have very little. As many women will appreciate, nothing makes you feel more human than feeling clean and experiencing a little bit of luxury some times, and that should not be a novelty that is out of reach for anyone. There are a few places that will take donations via the post or with some places, you can contact them directly and ask them about donations. Below are some links for places that will accept donations:

Give and Makeup

Give and Makeup accept new or slightly used make-up, everyday essentials such as shampoo, feminine hygiene products, body lotions, skincare etc. The general rule is, if you would give it to a friend then it is in a good enough condition for donation. If you wish to donate there is a London address and a Wales address as below:

London:
Give And Makeup
PO BOX 855
London
W4 4AW

Wales:
Give and MakeUp c/o
Escentual.com
63-67 Wellfied Road
Cardiff
CF24 3PA

Toiletries Amnesty

If you have more varied items such as for males as well as females or children’s cosmetics that you would like to donate, there is a directory called Toiletries Amnesty that has a whole list of places in the UK that accept donations. Each have different rules about what they will accept and how to donate. Use the link below to find out where to donate.

Homepage

I wish you happy sorting and donating. Maybe you will be able to help a great deal of others in the process. Until next time, stay wonderful πŸ˜‰