Our january Weight Loss Journey with a Personal Trainer

I have just started my 28 day fat loss journey. Last Tuesday I began a 28 day personal training and nutrition plan with support from personal trainer City of London and my Husband who also wants to lose weight too. We also started with an online PT from Superprof  and with the help of the Diet Chef website, the meals were delivered and our diets began with our one to one personal training.

Weight Loss, Week one with a Personal Training


photo 3 (1)

This past week has gone pretty well. I was hungry the first two days, but then my stomach adjusted to normal-sized portions. Diet Chef gives you three meals and one snack for each day. The three meals work out to about 800-900 calories in total. The snacks are all about 100 calories. Then you add whichever fruit and vegetables you like. You can be tough and have 1200 calories a day, but I have been consuming 1400.

I am starting to see a difference in the way my clothing fits. Things are feeling looser, which is wonderful. I still have a long way to go, but it is really motivating to see a difference.  I have found most of the food to be delicious, which also keeps me from cheating. I have mentioned before that Husband and I have difficulty eating healthy (we both love pudding and anything made out of chocolate). But we were able to pick some chocolate snacks which help satiate our sweet tooths.

Diet Chefphoto 1 (1)photo 2 (1)

I was very happy when I stepped on the scale on Tuesday to reveal that I had lost four pounds with the help of three extra hard personal training sessions per week. I don’t expect this loss every week, but this has been a great start to Diet Chef. Check back next week to see how my progress continues.

Total Weight Loss
14 July: 15 stone 1
21 July: 14 stone 12 (four pounds lost)
(diet holiday)
5 August: 14 stone 12
12 August: 14 stone 8 (four pounds lost)

 Weight Loss, Week two with nutrition and Fitness Trainer

Diet Chef scale

So here I am, three weeks into my healthy eating regime and two weeks into Diet Chef. I won’t save the big reveal for the end. I knew it would not be another four-pound loss like the previous week. I lost two pounds! I was quite pleased with this, especially as I took a day off for my birthday. I’m now moving a bit further away from the 15 stone mark which has really encouraged me. I’m still really enjoying the Diet Chef meals and I love the freedom it gives me in the way of fruit, vegetables and side dishes (pasta or rice or couscous, etc).

What I found about taking the day off of Diet Chef is that I did not eat as much as I would have in the past. I had small portions for breakfast and lunch, and ate fruit as my snacks. But then it was birthday cake time and Husband served me a huge slice of chocolate cake. Husband then made a lovely steak dinner (which included a large glass of red wine), which I could have stopped eating before I finished my plate. But I could not waste such a gorgeous steak. It did get me to thinking why many of us link fatty foods with birthdays, anniversaries and other special occasions. Why can’t we have a small low-calorie meal and enjoy a nice, refreshing glass of water?

I would have felt guilty for my birthday splurge, but I had done a 50-minute Pilates workout that afternoon which left me sore for days. I’ve bought a yoga mat and have started doing Pilates and yoga a couple of times a week. I would like to eventually squeeze in some exercise every other day, but I am starting slow. I have had back problems for years and only managed to lessen them a few years ago when I saw the physio and took up Pilates Reformer (machine-based Pilates). But then I got pregnant with my second child and gained the three stone that I am only now trying to lose.

Anyway, I am attempting to strengthen the muscles in my legs with my personal trainer and core so that my back is not doing all the work. I am trying out different workouts on Youtube (which I can watch on my television and which are accessed through my Virgin Media cable). I already do a fair bit of walking, with the kids, and often while pushing a buggy. And once I’m stronger, I plan to add some medium-impact workouts into the mix.

See the below results from personal training and bespoke nutrtion plan.

14 July: 15 stone 1
21 July: 14 stone 12 (four pounds lost)
(diet holiday)
5 August: 14 stone 12
12 August: 14 stone 8 (four pounds lost)
19 August: 14 stone 6 (two pounds lost)


I was given a 28-day supply of Diet Chef for the purpose of my weekly reviews. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

5 Reasons to Visit York

I love living in London, for so many reasons. But one reason is that is makes travelling around the UK extremely easy. Although my family and I often drive to many of our British holiday destinations, we sometimes prefer the ease of the trains. I had been wanting to visit York for ages, and when I discovered that there was a direct train from London, I knew that we should head there for a mini-break.

In August, Husband and I packed the kids off to their grandparents’ house and we headed to York for a mid-week break to celebrate my 41st birthday. We had a glorious time. We ate lots of lovely meals, drank plenty of delightful cocktails and saw so many beautiful sights. I thought three days would be adequate for seeing this city. But I was mistaken. Husband and I have already discussed returning to York – next time with Moozles and Dubz. There’s still so much more to see. But I thought I would share my top five favourite reasons to visit York.


york view


1. Beautiful Architecture


Everywhere you look, it is just ancient gorgeousness. Besides cobbled streets, York has the longest medieval town wall in England. The walls aren’t complete but mainly go around the city centre. The walls are over two miles long, which takes about two hours to walk around. It is free to walk along, and makes for a fun activity. Any walk around York would have its share of beautiful buildings, and we really enjoyed just walking around. While walking around, you are likely to see Clifford’s Tower, the only remaining part left of York Castle (which was built by William the Conqueror). They are about to repair and renovate the tower, which will make it much easier for visitors to climb and explore the tower.

A visit to York would not be complete without seeing York Minster, Northern Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral. Husband and I are not religious people, but this cathedral is just stunning (imagine beautiful stained glass and the cavernous nave). And you can even go into the Undercroft, which was my history-loving Husband’s favourite part. You get to explore under the cathedral.

2. Great Food


Before a holiday or mini-break, I like to spend about four or five hours on the internet looking for potential restaurants. This may seem excessive, but I am able to admit that I have a problem in over-researching places/purchases. But my researching paid off as we had an abundance of great restaurants to choose from. My favourite was Khao San Road, a cute Thai restaurant less than five minutes’ walk from the hotel. For my birthday meal we went to Ambiente Tapas Fossgate, which is a Mediterranean tapas restaurant and sherry bar. It was quite cool and buzzy, and the food was delicious. Neither Husband nor I are great sherry lovers but it was fun to try them out. We did think that the upstairs part of the restaurant was too smoky and were happy to get out in the fresh air after dinner. But other than that we enjoyed the meal.

3. Afternoon Tea & Cafe Culture


Okay, okay, I know I already did a section on food. But afternoon tea is something else. There are so many tea houses in York. We went to Bettys as it is renowned for its afternoon tea. You could just show up and wait in the long queue, but you can also book (for a little bit more money) and book a table. The service is fantastic and the afternoon tea is superb. If tea is not your thing, there are loads of cafes – both chains and independents. Husband, who is serious when it comes to good coffee, really enjoyed The Fossgate Social.

4.Transport Links


York is in the county of Yorkshire, which means it is in the north of England. This sounds like it is very very far away from London. So imagine my surprise when I checked the Virgin Trains East Coast timetable and discovered that we could get a direct train to York in just under two hours. Two hours! We had never travelled first class on a train before so our other surprise was that food, drinks and wifi were included. We actually arrived into York wishing we had had a longer train journey.

5. Lovely Hotels


When I first looked into visiting York, I was surprised at the number of fab boutique hotels, modern apartments and posh hotels. It was a tough choice but we decided upon Hotel Indigo York. The hotel is utterly cool. I was so impressed with the interiors, not to mention the complimentary chocolate in our room. And the employees were always really cheerful and helpful (it was like being in the States). The breakfasts were delicious, and we enjoyed the night-time ambience when we had drinks in the bar. Another great aspect of the hotel was its location. Walmgate is the foodie district so there are tons of restaurants and cafes within a few minutes walk from the hotel.


And that’s it – five great reasons to visit York. It is such a beautiful city full of friendly people. You’ll never want to leave!


Whipsnade Zoo

We normally have a zoo visit around Christmas time. Last year our son Dubz was only seven months so we gave it a miss. But this year we went back to our tradition. We decided on Whipsnade Zoo, even though London Zoo is closer. Whipsnade Zoo has elephants, and Dubz LOVES elephants.
We thought we would go to Whipsnade on the 1st January since we weren’t planning to party on New Year’s Eve and we thought the zoo would be quieter on New Year’s Day. We were right. I’m not sure how much of it had to do with the day after NYE festivities, or the fact that it rained all day and even hailed at one point.
Despite the weather we had a fab time at Whipsnade. The elephants were in their enclosure so we got to see them up close. Walker was thrilled. We saw the baby hippo who was just born three weeks ago. Our other highlights included the chimpanzees, the turtles and spiders in the Discovery Centre and the Hullabazoo soft play centre (which I think is quite new). The soft play was extremely good. We got some respite out of the rain and had some drinks and snacks. Walker got to play in the toddler area, which was perfect for him. Moozles enjoyed the bit for the big kids.


The soft play is next to the petting zoo. We were going to skip this bit as we have a few farms by our house, but we saw some sheep wandering around and had to get a closer look. Walker loves sheep too so we had to keep hold of him cause he just wanted to pet and hug them.

We’re thinking about getting the ZSL annual zoo pass, which would allow us into Whipsnade and London Zoos. Does anyone else have one? I like the zoo being a special outing, and don’t want to turn it into a chore of going just to get our money’s worth. Then again, it would be nice to go more than once a year.

Whipsnade Zoo Address:


Whipsnade Zoo

Tel: 0344 225 1826 

Opening times:

Opening Last Entry Closing
4 September 2023 – 29 October 2023 10am 4pm 5pm
30 October 2023 – 9 February 2024 10am 3pm 4pm
10 February 2024 – 28 March 2024 10am 4pm 5pm
For more info on Whipsnade, check out  whipsnade-zoo

Yo Sushi Leamington Spa

We visit my in-laws in Leamington Spa quite regularly. And we were lucky to be there last week for the opening of the new Yo! Sushi. Yo! Sushi is my daughter’s favourite restaurant. Moozles loves sushi and especially loves seeing the food come by on the conveyor belt. Her favourite sushi is the Yo! Roll (raw salmon and avocado surrounded by rice and smelt roe).

Now you might be thinking, ‘Who cares? I don’t like raw fish.’ Well, you don’t need to eat raw fish at Yo! Sushi. In fact, you don’t need to eat any fish at all. Just ask Husband (the man does not like fish, not even fish fingers!!!!). Yo! Sushi offer warm dishes such as chicken, beef, fried rice and noodles. There are even vegetarian options. Husband especially enjoyed the Beef Tataki (basically rare beef). I wish I had taken photos of the food, but everything was so yummy that nothing lasted very long.

I had brought snacks for my two-year old, Dubz. He had never tried sushi before and I thought he might share some of his father’s silly tastes. Seeing my son wolf down raw tuna and salmon — oh how it made my heart soar. Moozles better be prepared. We might have to start bringing her brother along on our sushi dates.

If you live in/nearby Leamington Spa, pop on over to Yo! Sushi for yumminess. They’re located on Livery Street. The food is delicious and the service is fantastic. And don’t worry if you have children, they have high chairs and a menu noting items that children might like.

I nabbed our free meals at Yo Sushi through a Facebook offer for Leamington customers. I wrote the post out of my own desire to let people know that Yo! Sushi rocks!
Pecan sandie

Pecan Sandie Pie Recipe

I love pecan sandies they are one of the most popular choices in desserts in the united states of America. But I hadn’t seen/tasted any since moving to the UK in 2002. So I did a little research on the interweb and found a couple of recipes which seemed good. I made the dough and kept it in the fridge for a few days (I normally refrigerate cookie dough for at least 24 hours before baking as you get a better consistency). You don’t have to bake all the dough at once. Dough normally keeps in the fridge for up to a month, so it is handy to have it in the fridge in case a friend pops in.
pecan sandie cake

Pecan Sandies Instructions

  • 225 g butter
  • 65 g caster sugar
  • 250 g plain flour
  • 110 g chopped pecans
  • 25 g icing sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Pecan Nuts


Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and salt. Stir in flour until well-mixed. Add pecans. Roll into cling film and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 165C/150C for a fan-assisted oven. Shape dough into balls and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool down for 5-10 minutes, then roll in confectioners’ sugar (this is my daughter’s favourite part). You can store these cookies for five days, but they don’t normally last longer than one.

Walnut cookie mix

Walnut Cookies

I love Walnet cookies. And one of my favourites are pecan sandies. I have an old recipe from this blog which I’ve amended slightly to make them a bit festive and turn them into Winter Walnut Cookies. These are probably the most loved cookies that I have ever made. People eat them and make lots of ‘ooh ahh’ noises, and then they are snaffled up in minutes.

Winter Walnut Cookies

Walnut Cookie ingredients


225g salted butter
65g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
250g all-purpose flour
100g chopped walnuts
25g icing sugar/confectioner’s sugar/powdered sugar (for later)


Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla, salt and flour until well-mixed. Add walnuts. Roll into cling film and chill in refrigerator for at least two hours, but you can leave it up to one month.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 165C/150C fan-assisted oven. Shape dough into balls and bake for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool down for 5-10 minutes, then roll in icing sugar (although I’ve specified an amount of icing sugar, I just throw some in a bowl). You can store these cookies for up to five days in an air-tight container. The recipe makes about 35-40 cookies, depending on the size you make them. I like them a little smaller so I can just pop one straight into my mouth. Hmmm.


Winter Snowball CookiesWinter Snowball CookiesWinter Snowball CookiesWinter Snowball CookiesWinter Walnut CookiesWinter Walnut CookiesWinter Walnut CookiesWinter Walnut Cookies

Now make yourself a cup of tea and enjoy! And let me know if you can stop after just two Winter Walnut Cookies.

coconut muffins

Coconut Muffins

I came down with a cold on Wednesday night and by Thursday morning I was feeling pretty rough. I knew I would need to take a break from my healthy living as I needed a sweet pick-me-up. I have some desiccated coconut in my cupboard as I am planning to make a coconut cake soon, so I thought I’d use some of that to make a loaf cake/bread. I adapted a couple of recipes to get something not too coconutty nor too sweet. This takes 10 minutes to prepare. The loaf takes 45 minutes to bake and the muffins take 35 minutes.

How to Make Coconut Muffins


Coconut Muffins Mixture

  • 120g butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice (fresh or not, doesn’t make a huge difference)
  • 2 eggs
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • 5 tbsp dessicated coconut
  • 12ml whole milk (but can use semi-skimmed) *I use lactofree milk as both my son and I are lactose
  • intolerantPreheat ven to 160C (fan-assisted) or 180C. I always use a tin liner so that I don’t have to worry about greasing the loaf tin. Plus, it makes it easier if you’re taking the loaf to a friend’s. I made a 1-lb loaf so that I would have extra batter to make cupcakes. Once I’ve baked the muffins, I can put them in the freezer and then defrost for last-minute visitors or treats for the kids.



1. Cream sugar and butter.
2. Add lemon juice and eggs.
3. In a separate bowl, add flour and salt.
4. Add to creamed mixture. Add milk. Add coconut.
5. Pour mixtures into one-pound loaf tin and into cupcake tin.
6. Bake loaf for 40-50 minutes. Don’t let the loaf get too dark/well done. Remove from the oven and cool.
7. Bake muffins for about 35 minutes.


1. Substitute milk for coconut milk, for more of a coconut flavour.
2. Once baked, add raspberry jam on top of the loaf then sprinkle with dessicated coconut.
3. Halfway through baking the loaf, add desiccated coconut then bake for the rest of the time.
4. Once the loaf has been baked and cooled, mix 50g sugar and the juice of one lemon (2-3 tbsp lemon juice) and drizzle over loaf.

The final results


Making the Muffins Visual Pictures

Ready for the oven…


Looking good… Final results!

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