Meal Planning Monday w/c 27th May

Meal Planning Monday

Bit late writing and linking up with Mrs M, but was having a bit of a melt down today following weigh-in. After a guilt free Chinese taking away, I'm back up and running and ready to go.

This weeks menu

Slimming world beef hash

Baked potato beans and cheese

Cottage pie

Mixed bean casserole

Mushroom risotto

Roast chicken and the trimmings

So lets see if I can reverse the trend and post a loss next week!


'If you want to see a rainbow, you have to learn to feel the rain' Paulo Coelho

Today I weighed in and cried in group (sorry everyone who witnessed my mini meltdown) I don't know what came over me, I can normally see the brighter side of life, the bigger picture and all those other cliches. But I was tipped over putting on 1.5 pounds.

But I wasn't really upset about that. It wasn't a shock, I've been teetering on the edge for a while now. I'd weighed myself when I got up, so knew it wasn't going to be pretty. Plus the carton of magnum ice cream I'd eaten Friday night, or the jam sandwiches I craved and then caved into on Saturday ( you getting the picture?) won't have helped.  

The simple fact is, I comfort eat. When things go wrong, when I want to cheer myself up, when I want to give myself a little food cuddle, chocolate (or cakes or biscuits) are always there as a pick me up. But I'm also usually disciplined enough to plan these little treats. The yumminess as the chocolate melts in my mouth and covers my tongue in velvety sweetness. The comforting repetitive action (always a whole packet!) of dunking biscuits into a piping hot cup of tea, which never fails to take me back to visits with my Nan who owned a bottomless biscuit barrel 

But at the moment my grasp on that discipline is slipping. 

I can cope with the sore feet, the crushing fatigue. I ignore the hair loss, (I understand from my daughter people pay a lot of money at beauty salons waxing to lose hair there, which i get for free!) I push to the back of mind that cancer might come back and remind myself I'm on the drug trial to give myself the best chance of that, and help others in the future at the same time. It's hard, but I put on the scarf, plaster on the eye make-up and walk with a positive attitude every morning.

Sometimes though its not enough.

And something breaks

This week it was my resolve. My self discipline. And my positivity. 

However in group today, they made me see that all of it, is ok. So what if I want a cake, everyone feels like that sometimes. So what if I've put on this week, I still weighed-in. So what? It's no big deal in the grand scheme of things. I'm still here, not just in group, planning my meals, going to work, doing things.

I'm here, full stop.

The title of this post was on Tracey's t-shirt today. It's so true. Sometimes even rain can look beautiful.

Ps. I've just ordered takeaway!

#MealPlanningMonday - w/c 20th May

Meal Planning Monday

Fingers crossed with this weeks weigh-in. I've been ok....ish. I was tempted with jam butties late at night (In my defense I had them without butter!) and could have decided to carry on with the naughty eating, but stopped with just that. Phew. 

Did a shop at Lidl this week and then Tesco for the stuff I couldn't get there. Was hoping it'd work out cheaper, wasn't the case this time. However will persevere. Budget shopping I think is something I need to practice!

Onto this week's menu

Roasted chicken thighs with butter bean and tomato and garlic roasted potato (Syn Free)
Slow cooker gammon, potato wedges and salad (Syn Free)
Stuffed red peppers with beans, rice and sweetcorn (Syn Free)
Mustard glazed sausages with carrot and swede mash (2 Syns a quorn sausage)
Salmon with lemon cousous and salad (Syn Free)
Butternut squash soup with potato skins (Syn Free) 
Baked potato, cauliflower cheese and beans (Syn Free)

Loving having beans or spaghetti on toast for breakfast, keeps me going! Lunches are leftovers and plenty of fruit for snacks. Fallen back in love sugar free jelly which I've been making up with fat free yogurt for a blancmange. Picked up a huge carton of fat free greek yogurt at Lidl for £1.58 so think that will be accompanying this week's jelly!

So, what do you think? A good Extra Easy Slimming World menu plan? What's caught your eye? What are you having? Do share

Email From My Brother - Doldrums, Spring, Autumn and Girl Guides

(First sent to me back in the beginning of April)

Hi Fay,

How's it going? So you are in the doldrums. It's probably a little bit weather related what with the UK appearing to still be in winter and all. You'll be hankering for some nice Spring weather with lighter evenings and warmer days. I reckon that might buck you up a bit, a least in part. Have you tried staring into 100 watt light bulb while humming the theme tune to Happy Days? No? Then I am all out of ideas. No wait, here's another one. Have you tried going to your nearest play ground,selecting a suitable swing and having a go? Just one swing for the swing averse adult creates nausea but if you stick with it at the very least when you put your feet down to stop swinging you can pretend you are Superman coming in for landing. Sam forces me to go on the swings all the time and I often make excuses like I'm an adult or I'm five times his weight and I'll break it but eventually or there's half a pint of dew on the equipment but I always wipe it clean and have a go and enjoy it. Once the nausea has stopped. Do it! Do it and blog about it! "My time on a swing" I double dare you.

Strangely enough I'm kind of wanting Autumn to get started properly here. After waiting for ages for last winter to finish (when we had no hot water for six weeks too) we had a glorious Summer of dust sucking drought but it's got to the point where it's time to move on. Maybe that's human nature. I've got the wood pile finished, I've got the blankets all stacked away for the beds. I'm prepared to be stripped to the waist shoveling wood into the fire like a stoker on the Titanic, sweating bullets, as it steams it's way to it's own inevitable watery grave. So I'm a little bit looking forward to roaring winter fires and hearing the rain lashing on the windows again. Six months time I'll be all like "Where's Spring?" but right now, I'll take a bit of cold weather.

This week I handed over all the money we made from selling Girl Guide biscuits. As Eva is in the Pippins we're now required to help raise funds via the annual Girl Guide biscuit selling business. You're allowed to choose how many boxes you want to sell (they're stacked up in Guide Hall like the warehouse scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark, I am amazed the forklift trucks fitted through the door) and luckily I plumped for just about the right amount to make it look liked we'd made an effort but not so much that we thought we wanted to found a biscuit empire to rival McVities. We had one box of chocolate biscuits, one box of mini-chocolate biscuits and one box of plain biscuits to sell. That may not sound much but there's anything from about fourteen to eighteen packs per box and the total cost to buy all of them was a hundred and seventy two dollars and fifty cents. That's a lot of money and just a bit too much for us to just purchase all of them in one go and do zero work (which was obviously the first choice because who wants to sell biscuits to strangers). In the end we sold most of them to Juliette's family and only had to buy about half our stock ourselves. I need to convince who ever runs this funding run that they need to change stock to perhaps selling stuff that people need and not just think as a luxury item. MIlk perhaps. Everyone buys milk. I'd buy Girl Guide milk if it meant raising some cash. Or beer. Can you imagine that. Yes, I bought seventeen Girl Guide crates of beers. It's for a good cause and party on! I don't know if the Pippins give badges for number of biscuits sold but I reckon I should get one for packets of biscuits eaten. I should be biscuit arkala or something with the number of Guide Biscuits I've put away this last month. I bought some petrol last week and a mum and her girl had set up stall next to the pay in desk. They were like "Would you like to buy some Girl Guide biscuits?" and I was like laughing in their faces like Arkle the Racehorse.

This week an e-mail has come in to the SCA asking if we'd like to take part in an opening ceremony type thing for a National Archery Competition. Apparently they have Kyoto archery and Mongolian Horse Archery booked so if we stumped up to do a show we'd have to up our game by oooooh, about a thousand percent. Last public show I did was in 2008 under the Major Oak in Sherwood Forest. It was a Robin Hood themed show because apparently that goes down best with the tourists in the area for some puzzling reason. There was one bit where the bloke playing Robin Hood dropped the chest full of "tax money" and it fell open to reveal all the coins rattling around in there were modern 1p and 2p pieces. As they'd spilled our Robin ad libed and grabbed two handful of coins and threw them into the crowd while shouting "Here's some money poor people!". I wouldn't see that many Japanese people clutching their heads again until the earthquake/tsunami of 2011.

So, waiting for the cold weather I'm basically living the tag line of Game of Thrones. Brilliant.

Take care,
Love Mark xxx

Meal Planning Monday - lots of the same #MealPlanningMonday

Meal Planning Monday

This week I'm sticking with what I know, lots of my favourite meals. I'm still cooking for winter though, as I'm so cold, ALL THE TIME. The only time I seem to heat up is after a hot bath or a filling meal! Not that I'm complaining, I love a good casserole. The menu this week, looks like this:-

Spanish chicken with rice - Syn free
Bolognaise and pasta from the freezer and Syn free
Cottage pie from the freezer with lots of vegetables and Syn free
Beef stew and dumplings - six syns for the dumpling
Butternut squash soup - Syn free
Fridge frittata with all the leftover veg in the fridge! 

It's all quick and easy to cook (even MrC can do a beef stew) which will help me in the evenings, as I'm suffering a fair bit with fatigue at the moment.

I've posted the spicy bean stew recipe, this week, I'll spice it up with chili flakes. Am sure the beans and spice will help with the weight loss.

Spaghetti or beans on toast is setting me up for the day brilliantly, so I'll continue with that for breakfasts. Lunch will be leftovers from the night before, maybe with a salad. I keep a bowl of apples and satsuma's on my desk for snacks and I've stocked up on Muller light yogurt for puddings.

I also need to keep well hydrated (having only the one kidney now its important to keep it working) so a pot of my favourite herbal tea gets at least 1.5 litres down my neck by lunch time (just have to make sure I time my frequent loo breaks in between conference calls!) I've also found a cup of fruity tea helps me curb my sweet stuff craving. Generally after a cup, I'm back in control and don't 'need' that chocolate bar!

Oh and I lost 1.5lbs this week, which I'm very pleased with. I'm still in the zone! 

What have you got planned?

Slimming World Friendly Bean Stew

I've been reading A Girl Called Jack blog, which is primarily about eating on a (strict) budget and have been inspired to give dried beans a go. I've always been a bit scared before and used tinned, it's the thought of maybe poisoning myself which has put me off in the past. But they are easier than you think, cheap and flavoursome  You just need to be a bit organised, as most need soaking for 8-12 hours, then cooking from 1 to 2 hours, but its worth it!

This started as a Barbecue style bean stew, using diet coke, but didn't work out for me; ended up as a tasty bean stew instead! Sorry if you don't do 'a bit of this' or a 'handful of that' type of cooking, but I didn't weigh of measure anything.


A selection of beans, already soaked, and cooked as per the packet instructions
I used a couple of good handfuls of the following
Cannellini beans
Butter beans
Kidney beans
Pinto beans
Chick peas
Large roughly chopped onion
Couple of peppers - I had green and yellow
Stock, about 400ml or a can of diet coke
Half carton of passata
Couple cloves of chopped garlic
Balsamic vinegar - couple of good glugs
Mixed herbs
Salt and pepper


  • Gently soften the onion for a couple of minutes, using either fry light or water
  • Add the roughly chopped peppers and stir for another couple of minutes.
  • Add in all the other ingredients, stir, bring to a simmer and cook for 1-2 hours to reduce down to a thick sauce. Stir every 20 minutes or so to stop sticking
  • Check the seasoning and serve! 

I had it the first day in a big bowl with lots of black pepper. Leftovers went a bit further when I added the rest of the passata, reheated and served with brown rice (and more pepper, chemo has dampened my taste buds a fair bit!)

I think for Extra Easy the ingredients make it Syn Free. You can spice it up and make a chilli or curry and imagine it would be nice with some lemon running through it too. How about stuffing it in beef tomato's or peppers? Lovely!

Let me know if you give it a go, I'd be interested in knowing what you think.

#MealPlanningMonday w/c 6th May - Beans, beans and beans

Meal Planning Monday

Just looked at my blog and seems all I'm posting are my meal planners! Not a bad thing I'm sure, but something I need to rectify soon.

Today I made the effort to actually walk around Tesco's to get some meal time inspiration. I usually shop online for delivery and after today I've realised why; my chemo feet are killing me. However it's worth it, because I've a few more cupboard staples I wouldn't normally have bought, which'll give me a few more things to try.

And because it's a Bank Holiday and no work, I've managed to weigh-in before I wrote this post. I'm pleased to say I've lost the 2.5 lbs I put on last week. I'm a happy bunny! My aim for this week is to lose a pound, which I think is doable.

The least meal plan saw me trying and loving Jack's chilli and kidney bean, carrot and cumin burger. Great success all round although next time I'm going to play around with the burger seasonings, as it was a bit flat for my addled taste buds.

This weeks menu looks like this

Quorn Sausages with mustard glaze and carrot mash (inspired by Nigel Slater's recipe but will adapt to Slimming World) about 4 Syns
Chilli bean and rice Syn Free
Homemade burger with SW chips and salad Syn Free
BBQ Bean stew Syn Free
Cottage Pie (from freezer) Syn Free
Bolognaise (from freezer) Syn Free
Egg and SW chips Syn Free

I'm discovering the gorgeousness (and budget friendliness) of dried beans and pulses, I'm really enjoying them. They're tasty and good for you. The BBQ Bean Stew I saw on Sunday Brunch but I'm going to adapt it, taking out the treacle and sugar and using diet coke and cooking it down. A bit like Diet Coke Chicken but with beans. Will let you know how it works out! 

I've been pretty terrible with comfort eating this week though, so I've planned in some treats. I've some muller light greek style yogurt in the fridge with my name on them, which are 0.5 syns each and I'm going to make a sugar free jelly with natural yogurt too. Lunches as usual will be leftovers from the night before, but I've also planned a Slimming World Quiche, like this one but with extra vegetables to fill me up! 

Wish my luck

Don't forget to check out Mrs M for other meal planning inspirations