This week I’m loving – Philadelphia Milka

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As regular readers of the blog will know, I LOVE cheesecake. But why does it have to be so flipping calorific?! Ditto both points for chocolate.

So when I spotted Philadelphia Milka on a recent supermarket trip, I HAD to try it and I’m pleased to report it might just be the best £2 I’ve ever spent!

It tastes just like a good chocolate cheesecake filling and is rich, sweet, tangy and creamy in all the right proportions.

At only 4 Smart Points for a rather generous 30g serving, it’s delicious spread on WW Shortbread Biscuits or a good old digestive for a little cheesecake hit for a fraction of the Smart Points/calorie spend.

If you love a bit of cheesecake too, you might like to make my Breakfast Cheesecake and read my review of Costa’s Baked Vanilla Cheesecake.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Be Kind to Your Future Self

One of the things I’ve previously struggled with when trying to create and, more importantly, maintain, new habits, it to keep the motivation going over the long term. I’ve often found that I’m good at getting motivated to begin a new habit, but once the initial wave of optimism fades, I find it becomes trickier to balance the demands of keeping the new habit going with the routines and unexpected happenings of daily life.

Recently, however, I’ve come across a new mantra courtesy of Gretchen Rubin and Liz Craft’s Happier podcast. In one of the episodes I listened to this summer (apologies, I can’t remember which one – note to self: jot things down in future!), Gretchen and Elizabeth talked about the idea of being kind to your future self. In short, there may be things you don’t really feel like doing in the moment but which, if you do do them, your future self will thank you for. For example, you might feel too tired after dinner to wash the dishes but if you leave them, when you wake up in the morning, you’ll wish you had just done them at the time. Therefore, thinking of your future self at the time you don’t feel like doing something can help to encourage you to do it.

I’ve been using this to my advantage in helping to stick to my healthy eating and exercise habits. There have been (several)times when I haven’t felt like preparing a healthy lunch or going to the gym, but I’ve stopped and thought about how grateful my future self will be that I did make the lunch or go to the gym. Similarly, I’ve employed this strategy when trying to avoid certain behaviours such as binge-eating or when tempted to indulge in more sweet treats than ar good for me. I’ve also found that picturing how that future self will look and feel – strong, lean, healthy and confident – when she’s thanking me for my actions has helped to boost the motivation to stick with my healthy habits.

 What are you going to do this week that your future self will thank you for? Let me know in the comments section.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Beef Tacos – 5 Smart Points

Quick and easy to put together for a Friday night dinner, this dish is delicious served with some Cajun Courgettes

Servings: 2

Smart Points: 5 per serving

Time: 15-20 minutes

What you need:

  • 1 tsp oil
  • 250g lean beef mince
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tin kidney beans
  • Mexican seasoning
  • 2 taco shells

What to do:

  1. Heat a non-stick pan and add the oil. Soften the onions before adding the minced beef stirring until browned all over.
  2. Sprinkle over the Mexican seasoning and stir in the tomatoes and kidney beans. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes until everything is heated through.
  3. Heat the taco shells in the oven according to the instructions on the packet.
  4. Fill the taco shells with the beef filling and try not to make a complete mess whilst eating. (If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know!)

Progress Report 1.10.19

Weigh-in Result: -2lb

What do you do when plans go awry? That’s how my healthy eating plans have felt this week. I’ve been trying to streamline my meal planning and shopping process to save me time but this is in the early stages and this week I ran into a few problems involving missing ingredients. In the past, my reaction would have been to throw any ideas of sticking to my plan out of the window as I headed to the chippy. But this time has been different. I’ve reminded myself of the progress I’ve made and how much better I’m feeling and I honestly haven’t wanted to resort to takeaway food.

I’ve been back in the kitchen baking along with the Great British Bake Off and this time it was the turn of my colleagues to ensure that I didn’t eat the entire cake!

This week was book club week and, as I mentioned last month, this would usually be an excuse for me to indulge in a glass of wine and a slice of cake without tracking either of them. Last time around I chose cake, this time, I opted for wine. It was actually the first glass of wine I’ve had since my summer cruise and it was nice to savour it whilst discussing this month’s read.

The weekend saw me visiting my parents in Wales. Previous visits have always had quite a boozy theme to them – although there are 9 pubs in the small town (population 2013) that she lives in, so it can’t really be helped! But this time around, my mum knows how focused Mr FFF and I are on improving our health and fitness so, rather than just getting us some drink in for our arrival on Friday after work, she asked us about it first and we politely declined.

We went out for dinner on Saturday night (almost all of the pubs serve delicious, home-cooked food) but I again stayed in control of my eating by having a light breakfast and lunch and only having two alcoholic drinks with dinner.

A warming bowl of cawl made a delicious lunch.

I continue to surprise myself with my attitude towards my fitness. Rather than seeing spending the weekend at my mum’s as an excuse not to exercise, I took my walking boots to Wales with me. Unfortunately, we were thwarted by the Welsh weather but we managed 20 minute walk and also walked to and from the pub! What I did notice was that climbing the steep hill on the way back from the pub no longer leaves me breathless.

I’d also booked an appointment with my PT for the Sunday afternoon when I got back and was delighted that I was able to tell him that I’d been gyming-it consistently whilst he’s been on holiday.

After a busy couple of weeks, I’m looking forward to a quieter time over the next couple of weeks.

Here’s hoping…

FFF

Who Doesn’t Want to be Happier?

People often comment that I’m always happy and have a positive attitude. Don’t get me wrong, I have my off days and I’m more than capable of having a good old strop, as Mr FFF will confirm, but, on the whole, I do try to maintain a positive outlook.

The key word in that statement is ‘maintain’. It’s something I actively work on and have done for years. One of the ways I do this is by listening to podcasts that promote positive thinking. One of the podcasts I particularly love in this vein in the ‘Happier‘ podcast.

Hosted by Gretchen Rubin, a writer who studies happiness and habits, and her sister Elizabeth Craft, a TV writer and producer. Each week they discuss tips and strategies for how to be happier and provide ‘try it at home’ ideas. Despite living, and recording the podcast, on opposite coasts of the USA, Gretchen and Elizabeth clearly have a close and supportive relationship which shines through in each episode.

I personally love listening to their podcasts whilst doing the housework – it always makes a boring chore a little Happier.

Thanks for reading,

FFF

Keeping My Hands Out of the Biscuit Tin – Sewing Projects: Knitting Needle Case

As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I’ve taken up crafting over the last couple of years (although Mr FFF says I’ve always been crafty!). I started with painting before investing in a sewing machine and beginning to explore the world of needlecraft.

I started last November after buying myself a sewing machine for my birthday. At that time of the year, it was easy to practise my skills by making a variety of Christmas-themed decorations for myself and my nearest and dearest. But once the festive season had passed, I was a bit stuck for what to make.

Imagine my delight then when my mum decided to take up knitting once again and requested a knitting needle case.

I found a pattern online, had a very enjoyable trip to Hobbycraft to pick some appropriate fabric and trimmings and got to work. It was a tricky little project and I considered giving up on it at one point, but I persevered and managed to get it finished in time for Mother’s Day. My mum was delighted with it and I’d honed my skills, learnt new techniques and enjoyed myself in the process.

This Week I’m Loving: Toft Studio HQ

As I’ve written about previously, I have been learning to crochet over the summer. A friend of mine, who also crafts, was visiting from the USA and had found a knitting and crocheting company, Toft, near to my house that she wanted to visit. So, being a good friend, I dutifully took her and was rewarded with being introduced to a real jewel of a place.

The TOFT Studio is home to the TOFT luxury British DIY knitwear and wool company, offering alpaca and wool knitting yarns and exclusive easy-to-make knitting and crochet patterns. TOFT was founded in 2006 by Kerry Lord, who is also the writer and designer of the Edward’s Menagerie crochet pattern series. 

Toft UK

Their studio is at Dunchurch in Warwickshire where you can buy supplies, attend workshops, visit the lamas or just enjoy some of their fabulous cake.

The place itself is gorgeous. Set on the outskirts of the village, the studio is housed in a large, modern barn conversion. Exposed beams and brick, a polished concrete floor and display racks made from crates give it an industrial yet cosy feel.

I’ve now visited twice and on both occasions, the staff have been friendly and welcoming, happy to have a chat and offer advice. I didn’t feel pressured to buy and you’re quite welcome to sit with a cuppa working on one of your projects.

They sell a great range of products including easy to use kits which contain everything you need to crochet one of their fabulous patterns. The patterns they offer range from animals to dolls to scarfs and hats. There are plenty of sample projects on display around the shop so you can get an idea of how the finished product should look and each one has a tag on it giving all the information you need to purchase the materials you’d need to make your own.

Each of their kits is marked by level of difficulty so you can easily choose a project to suit your skill level. Even better, they have a huge number of videos available on their YouTube channel to show you how to how to do the different types of stitch.

They have a number of pattern books including some where you get to mix and match bodies, heads and limbs to create your own unique creatures. A range of subscription services is also available including kits, yarn and a magazine.

To top it all off, you get a complimentary tea or coffee with each purchase.

I haven’t yet tried one of their workshops, but I plan to get one booked in the near future.

I think I may just have found a new favourite place.

Thanks for reading,

FFF