Saturday, 31 December 2011

2012 is the year I...

....take control of my body

....listen to my needs

....stop letting people walk over me

....speak my mind

....take control of my children
....make the right choices

....put myself first

....take control of my house

Not resolutions, but positive affirmations, looking forward to a new start. I hope 2012 brings you all you want it to. Happy New Year darlings!


Friday, 30 December 2011

Over for another year...

So, Christmas is over for another year. All the hype and then it passes in a heartbeat. All the planning and prep and, for me anyway, it was a bit of an anticlimax. We weren't spending it at home, and my sister in law has very different ideas on making things festive to what I do. Her house wasn't decorated for Christmas; she had one small white Christmas tree minimally decorated with white lights and silver decorations and that was it. There was no food or alcohol overload, in fact I spent the day feeling downright hungry (and by now I am used to that feeling!) and completely sober. Perhaps not a bad thing, but it didn't feel right! Also she is a clean FREAK (polar opposite to me) and the children were barely allowed to play with their toys before they were tidied away and cleaned up, which also resulted in things getting left behind. We weren't even allowed to watch any of the Christmas specials on the television - they were on but with the sound turned down, so even though everyone was talking about what was on the TV, we didn't know what was going on! Very odd! I definitely think we'll have Christmas at home next year in any case! Plus the children were out of their routine and the baby was poorly and grumpy, so I spent the whole holiday with a grumpy snotty toddler attached to my hip, or pushing him around unfamiliar streets on my own. Sorry to whinge, but I am glad it is over! I know we still have New Year celebrations to come, but I have no plans so back on the bandwagon for me.

I have made some awful food choices since my last weigh in on the 20th. We have had several take-away meals, I have eaten way too much bread (something I generally avoid) and not had very much water, preferring diet coke and coffee instead... So now I am 4 days away from weighing in and it's time to limit the damage. I took all the leftover food to my Mum's yesterday and I'm glad it's not hanging around my house anymore. I went for a run on the 28th (and it was HARD) and will be going again tonight, and Monday. In between I will Zumba, and I'm hoping to go for a family walk on New Years Day weather permitting. I might even persuade Mr FGS to take the kids swimming tomorrow, but it will take a lot of arm twisting. If he wont, I may go for a swim on my own, since he is off work until the 3rd.

Food wise, I've started the day by filling my litre water bottle, and will drink nothing else until that is empty. Then if I want a coke or a coffee I will have ONE and then refill the water bottle! I find when I am good with getting enough water it shows in my weight loss. Breakfast in a moment will be porridge made with water and a load of fruit, either soup or cottage cheese and an apple for lunch and something light for dinner. Hopefully this will go some way to minimising the damage I've undoubtedly done! Today will be difficult as Ollie has an appointment at the hearing clinic and we are going into town after to have a look around the shops, which will mean the kids and Mr FGS eating out, but I will go and get something healthy for me to take. And then on New years tomorrow I will share a few glasses of wine with Mr FGS, but cook a healthy meal and be sensible.

As for New years resolutions, I wont be making any. I have some goals in mind instead and I'm going to take some time and write them down today, to order them  in my mind. I've also signed up for Stormy's Spring Chick Challenge, and will post on that soon too!

Onwards and upwards!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and are looking forward to the new year and SMASHING IT!


Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I want to wish a Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year to all my lovely followers! I hope you have some fun, indulge a bit and don't feel bad about it! We deserve it!

See you on the other side!

Helly x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tuesday Treat - Looking after the tatas

Yeah it's Wednesday....oops

Apologies to my male followers, this post is one for the ladies! Well, there will be pictures of breasticles (not mine!) so you may want to keep reading...

One thing that doesn't seem to have shrunk like the rest of me are my boobs. When I last did my measurements around a month ago (I will be doing them again some time this week) the only place where I hadn't lost inches was around the bust. Although my back size is now smaller, and they need more support now...boobs are after all mostly just fat. I have always been, ahem, rather busty, and got my first proper bra at the tender age of 9. Yes, 9 ladies and gents, you can thank my Grandmother for that apparently. Before I started this weight loss journey I wore a bra around a 40F-FF, and now, realistically I'm about a 36-38E-F. Why so vague, Helly, I hear you cry. Well, because I desperately need to get the girls measured. I know that ALL of my current bras are the wrong size, the straps slide down, the wires dig in, the clasps are done up as tight as they'll go and things still aren't right. I also need a decent sports bra, as my current combination of normal bra plus super tight compression sports top isn't going to cut it much longer. So, with a boob in each hand (er, wut?) after Chrimbo I'll be marching down to a department store near you (or near me...) and getting these bad boys accounted for. Here are some of the over the shoulder boulder holders I've got my eye on...

Tango by Panache from Bravissimo £20, down from £25, 28-38 DD-H

Limited Edition Padded Spot Bra from Marks and Spencer £16, 30-36 DD-GG, Thong £6 Size 6-18
(Sorry about the teeny pic, click the link to see it better)

Showgirl Tempt Me Bra by Curvy Kate from £18.95 28-38 DD-GG

Tease me Bra by Curvy Kate from £14.20 28-38 DD-GG

Lola Luxe Basque from Bravissimo £50 28-38 DD-K


And a couple of sports bras. Your funbags need support while you're working out, or, in the words of Bangs and a Bun, they'll turn into sandbags. Click the link for an awesome post about sports bras!

Shock Absorber Max Support Level 4 Bra from £30 28-40 D-HH

Max Sports Bra Top by Shock Absorber from Bravissimo £24 down from £30 28-40 D-HH

All of the sites linked to ship internationally, and even better, have sales at the moment :) I can particularly recommend Bravissimo as they're just so helpful. Whenever I've asked them a question about absolutely anything, they've been really prompt with their answer, friendly and I just feel comfortable talking to them about my hooters.

So, will you be treating your tatas this Christmas? After all, they are your breast friends....


Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Weekly update - Smashing my goals!


And it is indeed a good day as I have succeeded! Whoop! 3lbs off on the scales this morning, bringing me to  a total loss of 37 disgusting pounds of FAT! According to Eggface that's a pound more than a mid sized microwave! Can you imagine carrying around a microwave? Insane!

And the Christmas Cracker challenge, tied into the end of Operation Fit and Fabulous. I smashed this goal too! I had hoped to lose 7lbs between the 9th November and today, and I in fact lost 8 :) Only slight annoyance is that  could have maybe lost a few more if I hadn't slipped and gained for 2 weeks... Never mind! This also means that I got another silver 7 at WW this morning (you get a little sticker for every half stone/7lbs you lose) and including the 7lbs I lost before starting WW I have lost 44lbs. *Insert smug face*

How have you done today? Looking forward to Christmas? I am going to treat myself to a mince pie...


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Coping with Christmas

Christmas is a difficult time of year for many people, not just diet and exercise wise, but emotionally and mentally too. I have certainly found my stress levels rising over the last few weeks, and we're not even hosting Christmas at our house this year. And, for me at least, when my stress levels rise, my food habits deteriorate into something less than desirable. I thought I would write a post on how I'm planning to stay in control this Christmas (and New Year!).

My last Weight Watchers meeting is on Tuesday (20th), and we miss a week before going back on the 3rd of January. The temptation to just have 2 weeks "off" is [i]huge[/i], and I know two friends of mine are doing that, but I am going to try my hardest not to. Usually on a Tuesday after my weigh in I do allow myself an "off" day, where I wont count my points, perhaps have a meal out or cook a meal I wouldn't usually eat or a drink or two, and my worry is that I'll just continue this for two weeks! Especially as I have some baking to do and a Christmas Cake to ice. I will have my usual "treat" on Tuesday (perhaps a Christmassy themed one so I don't feel left out!), but am planning to go straight back into it on Wednesday with my porridge for breakfast, soup for lunch routine that works so well for me. I'll carry that on until Saturday, Christmas Eve, when we are travelling to Birmingham to spend the next 3 days with Mr FGS's family, and staying with my sister in law (stick thin, seems to live on tea and water. Grr.)

Now because we are not at home Christmas day itself there wont be lots of Christmas nibbles, leftovers, cheese etc there. So, as soon as we get back on the 26th I can get back into it. Realistically, it will be the 27th, meaning I'll only have 3 days "off". Plus, staying with the aforementioned SIL I can't imagine there'll be loads of snacks around, everyone knows I've been on a diet so wont be buying me chocolate so as long as I avoid the kids sweeties (there will be 5 children there) I shouldn't do too much damage. Unless she sends me back with loads of leftovers that is (I am worried she's going to send me home with 3/4 of the Christmas cake I've made as only me and the father in law like it and he lives in Spain so wont be taking it home with him).

Alcohol, though, is a different matter. I don't drink much any more, in fact hardly anything. This year, I've only been 'drunk' twice. Once was at my best friend's wedding in May, and the other time was when a friend held a psychic evening and I was so nervous I had my reading last out of 12 people and got drunk first (and subsequently can barely remember a word he told me...). Mr FGS is a big drinker, and everyone in his family (apart from SIL) likes a drink. So, alcohol will be in abundance, no doubt. If I don't drink they will all think I'm pregnant again (for good reason, that's what happened 2 years ago...). For me, drinking leads to eating. If I have a hangover, I crave carbs and greasy food the whole day, I guess to level out my sugar levels. So, moderation for me. I don't like getting drunk and not being in control in front of other people (or eating a lot - another bonus) so as long as glass after glass isn't forced into my hands I should be able to stay in control.

Then, I have almost a week before the New Year celebrations start. We don't have any plans yet, but whatever we do there will be food and alcohol involved. I hope on New years Eve to be able to stick to plan all day, then the damage done in the evening should be controllable. I am also going to limit my alcohol intake so I don't have another "hangover day" on New Years Day, and get straight back on plan on the 2nd.

To balance out the excesses, I'm going to up my exercise in the hopes I can limit the damage. Wednesday 21st and Friday 23rd I plan on going for a run, which hopefully will see me complete week 5 of C25K. I'm hoping I'll have time to fit in a Zumba sesh or two as well, although my evenings will be taken up with baking, wrapping, cake decorating and packing (and doing my nails, naturally). The week in between Christmas and New Year Mr FGS has off work, so I'm hoping to be able to fit in a family walk or two, and maybe a swim. I think I can sometimes lack energy around this time of year too, so getting plenty of exercise will help with that too.

Now, while I don't think I can lose any weight over the Christmas period, I think if I can stick to this plan I'll manage to maintain my weight and not gain any. What do you think? Am I being realistic? Will the lure of the chocolate orange be too much to bear?

Whether it's stress, emotions, or just temptation that are threatening your good habits this year, how are you planning to cope with it? Are you going to have 2 weeks "off" completely, stick rigidly to your plan, or go with a bit of give and take like I am? I've come to realise I can have the things I want, I just can't have everything I want, and I'm happy with that. Please share your coping strategies!


Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Back on track

Whoop! After putting on a pound a week for the last 2 week, today I lost 2lbs. Relieved is not the word! So, I'm back at my lowest weight and I WILL NOT GO HIGHER! Ok, with Christmas coming I might go a wee bit higher, but I'm going to try my damnedest not to! I have one more weigh-in before the man in red's visit, one more pound to lose to reach 2 1/2 stone (35lbs) and also one more box in my weight watchers card before I need a new one. So this weeks goal will be to lose one pound. One tiny pound! Surely I can do that?!

How have you done this week?


Friday, 9 December 2011


Does your life get crazy around this time of the year? I don't have any social gatherings, Christmas parties, meals or anything like that to go to (apart from the kids ones!) but with shopping, wrapping, decorating and crafty things (along with a silly challenge I'm doing on my nail art blog and a story writing contest I stupidly entered) I'm afraid this blog has taken a back seat. I have so many recipes and articles floating around in my head, but no time to actually sit down, edit the photos and write them up. I promise I'll get a couple of posts up this week! Brownies honour!

In other news, the weight loss isn't going so well either. For the last 2 weeks I have gained a pound each time - meaning I am back up to 14st. Grrr. The week before last I knew why - it begins with a p and ends with izza. Bad Helly. But this week I have no idea why I gained, as I'd eaten really well, or so I thought. Maybe it was the week before still catching up on me, or maybe it was just a simple water imbalance or the monthly hormones coming into play (I have no idea, Aunt Flo seems to come and go as she pleases around here). I'm also struggling to fit the exercise in. I'm still loving running, but I'm limited to when I can do it. I would love to run in the mornings but my children also love to get me out of bed at 5.45am and I can't get up any earlier than that to run! Mr FGS generally gets home from work between 5 and 6, which is a crazy busy time in the house, when the kids need dinner, bath and bed for 7, so going then is practically impossible. So, the only time I can go for a run is at 7, providing Mr FGS is home from his first job, and not at his second. He works as a delivery driver a couple of evenings a week, which means I get to feed, bath and put the boys to bed on my own. The plan is to do Zumba or Wii Fit then, but truth be told by the time I've done everything all I want is to sit down with my dinner! And with the weather drawing in I think it's only going to get harder. I was going to run last night, but we had torrential rain and hurricane force winds. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind running in the rain, but I went to get something from the car and was soaked through to my underwear in 30 seconds, THROUGH my waterproof coat. Ridiculous! I am hoping that I can run tonight, although Mr FGS is working I want to go early...well, that's the plan...

So, I need a plan of action. This is what I'm doing to get myself back on track.

  • Stay hydrated - water, lots of it. When your body is dehydrated it will hold onto every last drop of water it can, and this will show in your weight loss. I have quit Diet Coke (I'm seriously addicted) and am drinking at least 2l of water a day again. I've not quit caffeine (I get terrible headaches if I do) but am limiting my intake of that too.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. Every day. If I don't run, I'll do Zumba. And crunches. Time for the jelly belly to go!
  • Track. By logging everything I eat I know how much of my allowance I've used up, and it helps me make better choices. Instead of grabbing a biscuit because "it's only 2 points" I'm more likely to go for fruit or something better if I can see how it will affect my daily points allowance.
  • Soup! It's the way forward. I've made a huge batch of vegetable soup (0PP value) and that is my lunch each day, either with a bagel or small roll. It fills me up, and if I get hungry again later in the afternoon I can have a mug of that and it staves of any hunger pangs.

 I need to lose a couple of pounds before Christmas so I have a buffer and don't go over the 14st (196lbs) mark, because that is a weight I don't want to go back to. I have 2 more weigh ins before a 2 week break. I'll write a separate post about my Christmas plans soon - I need a plan of action in order to minimise the damage for that too!

How is everyone? I'm afraid I've not had much time to read and comment on blogs either, I promise to try and be a better blogger!


Friday, 25 November 2011

Recipe of the Week - 5 minute lasagne

Ok, so it takes a bit more than 5 minutes to cook it, but only 5 minutes to prepare, which is a good thing in my book. It means I can get the kids to bed, throw it together and get it in the oven, and have time to exercise before it's ready. It's vegetarian, very low fat and tasty!

Serves 4. 7 ProPoints per serving

300 grams Quorn mince (tvp mince)
6 lasagne sheets
500g carton of passata
250g virtually fat free soft cheese (I used Quark)
80g half fat cheddar

In a lasagne dish layer a quarter of the passata, a third of the mince and two lasagne sheets. Repeat 2 more times and finish with the remaining passata.

Mix the cream cheese with a little water and spread on top of the final layer.

Top with the grated cheese and bake at 200/400 gas 6 for 30-45 mins or until the pasta is tender and it looks like this.

So easy, and really tasty. Mr F-G-S hates Quorn mince but he didn't even realise it wasn't beef (and I'm not telling him either ;) )! Sneaky Helly! If you have more than 5 minutes a chopped onion, mushrooms or peppers added to the mince would be a welcome addition, and you could chuck some dried herbs (basil or oregano would be the ones I'd use) in the passata, but actually it was pretty tasty without it. Serve with a big salad, and you'd never tell it wasn't the real thing!

If you don't want the extra cheese on top, leave it off. The PP value would then be 6 per serving. You don't have to remember any weights and measurements because (here in the UK at least) most of the ingredients come in packages of the size you need. Just a simple, healthy, tasty meal! Yum.


Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Measuring the flab...

I took my measurements on 27th September and saved them in the tracker section of the Weight Watchers website, but when I looked the other day I didn't think it'd saved and got really annoyed. Turns out I was just being retarded and not working it properly, so I just took my measurements again and can compare! The biggest difference, apparently, is in my upper arm (the much hated bingo wings) when I've lost 7.5cm, or 3 inches! That's a huge difference!

I was told that if you've felt like you have had a good week, but it hasn't shown on the scales it will be showing in your measurements instead, so now I'm glad I have these as a reference point. I'll check once a month and post any changes with my monthly picture...if I'm brave enough!

Measurements 22 Nov 2011 (Previous 27th Sept 2011)

Waist 104cm (Previous 110cm)
Hips 122cm (Previous 126cm)
Thighs 63cm (Previous 67cm)
Arms 36.5cm (Previous 44cm)
Bust 116cm (Previous 116cm HAHA!)
Dress size 16-18 (USA 12-14)

So yeah, the tatas haven't changed at all! Bahah! I've always been pretty well endowed in that area so it doesn't really surprise me. Of course, it could just be that I'm wearing a different bra today, or hormones etc, as I definitely feel that my breasticles aren't as big as they used to be!

The place I've noticed it most is in my legs. Boots that wouldn't do up all the way are now loose around the calves, and I was considering buying a short skirt the other day (soon came to my senses, don't worry). My stomach is still my main annoyance though, go away jelly belly!

And, the picture...the top I'm wearing is too big now, and I'm wearing heels which makes my legs look slimmer so bear that in mind...

My tiny 5'2" (Bad phone camera is bad, sorry!)

Yeah, so that's me now. Check here for how I was back in April...can you see the difference?


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tuesday treat - Yours Clothing Wishlist

All my adult life I have worn plus-size clothes, so it's not fair that I only discovered Yours Clothing about a year ago, and soon I wont need them at all! But seriously, I always struggled finding affordable clothes that fitted, were fashionable and looked good. I would buy anything that fitted if I could afford it, which often meant I would wear things too big, too long or plain frumpy and awful. A google search for "cheap plus size clothes" about this time last year put me on Your's doorstep and I have to spread the word! Sick of paying over the odds for plus size clothes that you don't even like? Give them a look. My first order from them was just for a t-shirt and a pair of leggings, but since then I've had jeans, a coat, cropped trousers, accessories, swimwear and even shapewear (my Briget Jones pants, we all have them!) from them, and never returned a thing. They also have stores and the little Milton Keynes store is the first shop I head for when I need something. Their jeans come in different leg lengths (a must when you're 5 foot nothing like me) and are so comfortable, and they often have great sales and promotions. As I said, I'm now just about a size 16, so I can get clothes in regular shops (yay!), but I'll always still check out Yours for their value and comfort. They start at a UK 14 and go right to a 32 (US 10/12-28/30 I think), and they ship internationally, so give them a try!

I put together a quick peek at some things I'm lusting over from their website. If I don't find the boots under the Christmas tree, Mr F-G-S,  there will be trouble!

Anything catch your eye? Where's your favourite place to buy clothes?


Weekly Weigh In

It's Tuesday and you know what that means! I put on the lightest clothes I own and pay £5.99 to go and queue up to stand on a scale! Haha, cynical, moi? Anyway this week I lost 1 1/2 lbs :) I always say "I'm happy with that", and this week, well I am! I was really unsure how I would do as although I've been eating really very well and stuck rigidly to my points allowance, hormones have been in play and I've had very little energy, so the exercise has been a bit lack lustre. Since I had my son (and a Depoprovera injection 6 weeks later, which I suspect is more the culprit) my cycle has been messed up, and this was the first time since I was a teenager that I've ever felt in the slightest bit pre-menstrual. As soon as AF did arrive it was like a weight had been llifted, and hopefully now I've sent her packing again I can get back into the swing of things.

I only managed two c25k runs this week, on Monday and Wednesday, and though I should now move onto week 4 I think when I get out tomorrow I am going to repeat one more day of week 3. I'm still not 100% comfortable with 3 minutes of running - although if I'm honest I do think if I had a flat circuit I'd manage it easily. But I can't come up with a circuit in my local area without any incline so I'll stick to waht I have a repeat a day, especially as I've had such a long gap between runs. I have been doing Zumba and Wii fit in between runs though, so I'm not just sitting on my sizeable bum!

In other news, I'm thinking of taking some pics to post - maybe once a month? Hopefully then I'll be able to see the changes in my body shape for myself, and it'll spur me on even more. I have been getting lots of lovely compliments lately, which always makes me smile :)

Hope you've had a good week too!


Monday, 21 November 2011

Christmas Challenge Time!

I've decided I need a boost to keep me motivated in the run up to Christmas, so I set myself a little challenge last week. Between Wednesday 9th November and Tuesday 20th December (My last WW weigh in before Christmas) I want to lose 7lbs/half a stone. I think 7lbs in just under 6 weeks is achieveable, and I'm already a pound and a half down ;) So, 5 1/2lbs in 5 weeks.....join in and we can keep each other motivated! Go on, be a Christmas Cracker!

Another blogger, the lovely Maren of From Cow to Wow! has come up with The Sweet Tooth Challenge and I decided to join in. Hopefully, my Christmas wont be too indulgent as we're spending it with my sister in law, so wont have too many treats hanging around the house. But, I know there will be a little over indulgence on the day. I've written about my love for biscuits before, and I read Maren's post with a biscuit in hand. So, from now until Christmas I am challenging myself to avoid the biscuit tin, and not eat any biscuits or cookies. Can I do it? I hope so!

Are you setting yourself a pre-Christmas challenge?


Saturday, 19 November 2011

Feeling the cold

The weather has turned, and although here in the UK we've had a very mild November so far, it's really rather chilly! I've never been one to be bothered by cold weather, I grew up in a very drafty flat with very little heating apart from two gas fires, but this winter I'm really feeling it. Not just a little, but bl**dy freezing! Chilled right to the bone cold, and I can't warm up. I'm trying to have the central heating on as little as possible, especially during the day, so you'll quite often find me huddled up under a blanket, wearing warm socks, fluffy slippers, and two jumpers, and once I've put my scarf on to take my eldest to school in the morning, it doesn't come off for the day! I wont leave the house without my gloves on and my coat buttoned all the way up, and I'm going to need some gloves for running very soon too. I've even been wearing socks to bed, which I never ever usually do. Sexy, right?!

So, is this constant coldness to do with my weight loss? I have over 30lbs less fat to keep me warm I guess! Often, weight loss surgery patients who lose weight very quickly find that they suddenly get very cold. I haven't got my layer of fat to keep me warm anymore! Seeing as I've only lost a third of what I want to lose altogether, it seems like next winter is going to be even colder...

After a quick bit of research it seems that this is a common problem. If course, fat is insulating (when I was pregnant at the height of summer 2010 I remember feeling like I was literally cooking), and also having a full stomach makes you warmer too. But feeling cold can also be a sign of low metabolism, anaemia and lack of zinc. So, if, like me, you're feeling the cold, make sure you are eating enough and exercising to stabilise your metabolism, and eat a balanced diet, with supplements if necessary. Exercise will warm you up, and burn calories at the same time, bonus!

Now, where did I put those long johns....


Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Tuesday Treat!

I don't have a specific Tuesday treat for you today, but I found this on Pinterest and thought I'd share it. It made me laugh out loud! Thanks Cyn!

If you use Pinterest, you can follow me here (and leave your links for me to follow you too!) or just ask if you want an invite - my contact details are in the right side bar.

Have you got a collection of inspirational images or quotes? Pinterest is fast becoming my new obsession!


Weekly Weigh In - 15% less Helly!


Another 1 1/2lbs down this morning, taking me to a grand total of 32 1/2lbs lost since I started Weight Watchers at the end of June. This also means I have lost 15% of my starting weight :) I was hoping for a little bit more (3lbs would have meant another half stone gone, but there's always next week). I have been exercising lots, and I am feeling leaner, even if the scales aren't going down as much as I'd like. But, muscle is heavier than fat after all. A loss is a loss, I'll happily take it :)

It also means that for the first time (that I can remember anyway, certainly since I was a teenager) I weigh less than 14 stone (a stone is 14lbs for my international friends!). Ok, so it's only by 1/2 a pound, but I am not going back over that 14 stone mark EVER AGAIN. I will not allow it. Even if I get pregnant with triplets and they discover that obesity is good for you, I will never weigh more than I do now. Exciting!

Another positive, this morning I found my collarbones! Seems they've been hiding right where they should be under a load of disgusting fat! Who'da thunk it?

How have you all done?


Friday, 11 November 2011

Live. Laugh. Love.

This weeks Operation Fit and Fabulous mission was to laugh a lot. Laughter is the best medicine, after all! This got me thinking about how much I laugh. Not just a little titter, or a giggle, but a full on laugh-until-your-sides-hurt laugh. I realised I definitely don't laugh enough. With money worries, counting points and exercise minutes, pressure to keep the house clean and tidy and be a good Mum, the time I actually spend enjoying any of it is few and far between!

So what actually makes me laugh? I'd say the number one thing is my gorgeous, beautiful, precious boys. Ollie is four now, and the things he comes out with are priceless. Even his tempers and sulks are absolutely hilarious (although I try not to laugh out loud to those!) And Jake, who is 16 months old is the the most precious, innocent soul. Whether he's pretending to talk on the phone, blowing kisses or grunting like a pig it never fails to make me smile.

This evening, after they'd had their dinner, I left the washing up sitting in the sink, lay a duvet down and spent half an hour rolling around on the floor with them, and being very silly! We did headstands, roly polys, horseback rides, tickled, pretended to be cats and blew raspberries on each others tummies. It was bliss, utter childish innocent horseplay and I forgot everything and just enjoyed them. I laughed, they laughed, and when we'd (Ok, when I'd) had enough, we snuggled on the sofa reading stories and watching IgglePiggle. More than a few chuckles were had, and it made me realise how lucky I am.

So, from now on I am going to put down the dishcloth more often, build more dens, play more games, make more mess (like I need any more of that!) It's not that I don't do all of those things, but there's always something niggling at me while I do. Those niggles go when I laugh.

I live for my boys, laugh with them and love them with all my being. Those three things are more important than a blog post, a pile of ironing or a dirty floor.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Tuesday Treat - simple pleasures

Today's treat is a simple one, but something I don't often do. Buy yourself a magazine...and read it! I quite often buy mags for the freebies, recipes or interesting articles, but I rarely get the chance to read it. So, when my other half is at his second job on Friday evening and the kids are in bed I am going to turn off the telly, my phone and my laptop and sit down and read. If the magazine has a freebie with it, all the better! This month's Glamour has a free Nails Inc polish worth £11 if you're in the UK. As you can imagine I was all over that like a dieter on cake... ;)

What's your treat of the week?


Weekly Weigh In - 2lb off and back on track


Just been to my weigh in and have lost 2lb this week, so lost what I put on last week and half a pound more. I'm happy with that! I have tried really hard, exercised 5 nights out of 7 and stuck within my points limit every day (for the most part!). This brings my total weight loss to 31lbs, and losing 1lb more will mean I have shed 15% of my starting weight. So that'smymini goal for this week - to lose at least 1lb (more would be great though!) and be 15% slimmer, fitter and healthier!

How have you done this week? Have you set a mini goal?


Saturday, 5 November 2011

C25K Week 2

Today I did the week 2 day 1 run from the Couch to 5k plan, and it felt good! I took slightly longer doing week one due to my ear infection, so was wondering whether I should repeat week 1 for another day but I'm glad I went onto week two. Last week I ran on Wednesday, Saturday and then Wednesday again (it should have been Monday) and on Wednesday's run I felt like I could run for longer than the 60 seconds if I wanted to. So today instead of 60 second runs and then 90 second walks I did 90 second runs and 2 minute walks with no problem! Yay me :) There were 6 intervals over the 20 minute running time, and the first 3 were fine. The fourth was the hardest as by the time I got to that part in my circuit it's slightly uphill and but by the 5th and 6th I'd recovered again.

I was worried about going out tonight, since it's Guy Fawkes night and I thought there would be lots of people going to bonfire parties out and about (since I nearly knocked a child over in week one I'm nervous of other people on the pavement!) but it was actually quieter than usual. There weren't even any leery boys smoking outside the pub. I got to run through the cold smoky air and watch firework displays as I did. Maybe I'll learn to love this running malarky, who'da thunk it?

Feeling positive in general this week, I've worked hard and eaten will so hoping for a good loss on Tuesday - we shall see! Thank you for your lovely comments :)

Feeling snacky now, so as soon as I hit 'publish' I'm going to bed to avoid temptation!


Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Tuesday Treat - Say it with...

Flowers! A simple way to perk yourself up if you've had a bad week, are feeling down or to celebrate a good week. You can spend as much or as little as you like and every time you look at them you'll be reminded of your success overall and spurred on to keep going! I haven't treated myself yet today, but I'm hoping Mr F-G-S has got the (numerous and heavy handed) hints I've been dropping!

Interflora £29.99

iFlorist £69.90 (we can dream, right girls?)

Of course, your £5 bunch from your local supermarket will do too :) Mr F-G-S has just walked in flowerless, so I'll have to dream on...

What will you be treating yourself to this week?


Weekly Weigh In - illness = a bad week

Hi loves, a short and sweet post since I have an ear infection and can't see straight! I've had a cold for what seems like weeks and this weekend it came to a head. I felt rough on Saturday but pushed on, did my second C25k run fine and got ready to go and visit my Dad on Sunday. Sunday morning I woke up with raging earache, took some paracetamol, had no breakfast and then went to my Dads, where I had a huge dinner of toad in the hole and roast potatoes, then cheese on toast and lots of nibbles all day. Yesterday, I tried to be good, just having fruit for breakfast and soup for lunch, but I couldn't face a trip to the shops to stock up on fruit so I ended up eating the wrong things and the result of all that was that I gained a pound and a half this week :( This morning I feel 100 times worse than I did yesterday but I forced myself to go to weigh in and face up to it! I'm glad I did as in the past one bad week has deterred me from going back, and I don't want that to happen.

So, hopefully tomorrow I'll be feeling better as I have some medicine to help the dizzyness. I'm going to find some new recipes to try and write a full meal plan for the week this evening, and finish my first C25k week tomorrow morning (running in daylight, eek!). I haven't managed to do any of my ab exercises last week, so in between C25k runs I'm going to do a wii fit tummy routine and the post natal abdominal separation pilates, and really get back on track. I will lose this 1 1/2 lb this week and get back on track. Earache will not beat me!

How have you done this week? Have you had this awful cold that wont go away? I can see some vitamin c tablets in my future...


Thursday, 27 October 2011

Recipe of the Week - Fizzy Orange Chicken!

Yes, you read that right, today I made chicken marinated in orange pop! No, I haven't lost my (admittedly rather loose) marbles, and in fact I make a dish where the chicken is in diet coke too...but I'll save that one for another day! This dish is super easy, really yummy, and only 5 propoints per serving.

Fizzy Ornage Chicken - Serves 2 - 5 ProPoints per serving.

2 medium chicken breasts (4PP each)
1 cup (300ml) DIET fizzy orange (0PP)
100ml dark soy sauce (2PP)
1 onion or 3-4 spring onions (0PP)
chopped peppers (I use a big handful of frozen ones) (0PP)

Place the chicken breasts in a casserole dish and pour over the soy and fizzy orange. Leave to marinade for a few hours, or overnight in the fridge. Add the chopped onion and peppers and bake for an hour in a medium (190 degrees, gas 5) oven for an hour. Simples!

Serve with 0PP veg (maybe stir-fried), rice (30g dried 3PP) or noodles (30g dried egg nooles 3PP), or wedges of sweet potato (150g 4PP) or butternut squash (0PP). I had it this evening with rice, broccoli and baby corn.

Go on, be brave and try it! Make sure you use diet pop. It really doesn't taste very orangey at all, just savoury and yummy! And you definitely wont need any extra salt with all that soy. Use low-sodium soy sauce if high salt intake is a concern.


Couch to 5K

Hi everyone,

Last night I went on my first ever proper "run" completely on my own without having to stop every two seconds because someone needs their nose wiped or has fallen off their scooter (and I'm only taking about Mr F-G-S here, never mind the children...) I stumbled across the Couch to 5k plan though a facebook friend, googled it and downloaded the app and podcasts straight away.

Basically, the plan is designed to get you from being a non-runner (sounds like a dodgy car...) to being able to run comfortably for half an hour in 9 short weeks. You run three times a week with a rest day inbetween. Week one starts off with a brisk warm up walk for 5 minutes, and then intervals of running for 60 seconds, then walking for 90 seconds for 20 minutes total, and then a cool down walk for another 5 minutes. Each week the running interval will increase slightly and eventually you'll be running the whole way...

I downloaded a podcast to my phone, where the C25k plan's creator Robert Ullrey talks you through the plan, tells you when to run and walk, and plays some good running music, but there is also an app available that you can set to your own music - and you get a "beep" when it's time for the next interval. I used the podcast last night, but think when I go again over the weekend I'll use my own music and only use the podcasts for the first run of each week.

I found it surprisingly liberating running on my own, in the dark at my own pace, and the route I took was 1.6 miles - or about 3k. It'll be interesting to see if I get to the full 30 minutes (about 5k - hence the name) in the 9 weeks - but you can also repeat a week if you're not sure you can manage the next one. It's all about going at your own pace, which is great for me. Now as long as I get time to do it each week (Mr F-G-S works some evenings although I could do it with the pram) and don't end up injuring myself I think I could really get into it. We'll see! I'll also have to get myself some new trousers, as I spent my "running" intervals holding my joggers up so they wouldn't fall down!

You can read more about the plan here and download the podcasts here.

Have you tried this? What did you think?


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Operation Fit and Fabulous Update - Week 5

A quick update on Operation Fit and Fabulous!
Week 5's mission was to jazz it up food wise. We had to try something new and share a favourite recipe. I tried a new soup and stir fry, and shared the recipes with the rest of the team, and tried someone else's chorizo cassoulet - yummy! I've also been considering going vegetarian again - I was veggie for over 10 years until I fell pregnant and was terribly anaemic (and craved chicken chow mein...) and as I've been having lots of pulses and beans in my food this week I've found I don't miss meat when I don't have it. It's something to think about anyway. As far as the rest of the missions are concerned, I think I'm doing ok! Getting my water most days, exercise is 3ish hours a week, 5 a day check! Morning pages not so much... I get up when the children do which varies between 5am and 7am so I can't really set an alarm 15mins early for it. But when I'm not rushing around making packed lunches and finding lost socks and can devote a bit of time for it I find it clears my head and helps me set out what to do for the day.
This weeks mission, Attack is the best defence, is a good one for me. We have to target an area of our body that we are unhappy about, and basically do something about it! While there are many areas of my body that bother me (it'd be quicker to tell you which parts don't to be honest...) I have lost over 2 stone, but not in proportion and I feel like my stomach is still as big as it was before. Of course it isn't, but it's not shrinking as quickly as I'd like it to, and it's the only part of me that's making me uncomfortable now. Of course I have had two children, and I've always been a big girl, so it's never going to be a washboard. When you're pregnant your abs separate to allow your womb and growing baby through, and I don't think mine ever went back together as I have a vertical line down the middle of my tummy! I think it's pretty common, but I'm going to try this postnatal ab routine every day, even though the 'baby' is 15 months old now! I am also starting the couch to 5k running plan - I just have to find time to get out of the house and run three times a week...and somewhere safe to do it now the evenings are dark or my other half is going to make me wear one of his building site high vis jackets... More on that tomorrow!

Are there any areas of your body that bother you the most? How do you tackle them? Anyone experienced Postnatal Abdominal Seperation?


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tuesday Treat! - My Soap

I was lucky enough to win a Twitter comp a few weeks ago that was run by the lovely My Soap, a company making luxury handmade soaps using the traditional cold process method. They use all natural ingredients and their soaps contain no synthetic fragrances, SLS, detergents or commercially manufactured soap bases and are not tested on animals. Can't say fairer than that! The fact that these soaps are completely natural, packed with great ingredients like shea butter and coconut oil means they're great for the most sensitive of skins and I can honestly say they feel great. I like to use handmade soap rather than liquid soap for handwashing, but my skin (which is or the most part very well behaved and not normally dry) feels a little tight afterwards, but not after I'd used this. 

My Soap kindly sent me three slices of their marbled soap range.

L-R - Cool Fresh Aloe, Summer Citrus, Gobi Gold

I couldn't wait to get them open and smell them, but these soaps have very little fragrance - actually really nice! I do usually go for scent over anything else when choosing soap and bath products (having good skin helps as I don't have to take that into consideration) but sometimes when washing my hands or having a bath I don't want to be overpowered with scent the whole day. It also means I can also use them on my boys (who are 4 and 1) and as they're so gentle I don't have to worry about their skin either. The Gobi Gold (red) soap I tried first now has pride of place on my bathroom sink, and it's not drying my hands out when I wash them either.

My Soap launched their website last Monday, and though the marbled soaps I have are no longer available there are lots of other yummy sounding goodies to try. I'm loving the look of the Fresh Orange Butter and the Goat's Milk and Honey naked soap.

You can follow My Soap on Twitter here (they often run competitions and giveaways!) and their facebook is currently under construction! Well worth a look :) I know what's going on my Christmas list!

What will you treat yourself to this week?


Disclaimer: Product was received free as a competition win, but all opinions are 100% my own and honest. This is not a sponsored post.

Weekly Weight In - Out of the 1lb a week club!

Hooray! I lost 2 1/2lbs this week, thank WEYBI! I'd been plodding on at 1lb a week for about the last month, and although I'm happy to lose the weight slowly and steadily I'd just like it to not be as slow and steady, especially as I still have a lot to lose. If I carry on at 1lb a week it'd be over a year until I get to my goal but I'd be happier if I could lose 1-2lbs a week and be at goal or thereabouts sometime next summer.

My total loss now is 30 1/2lbs in 16 weeks, which also brings me under 200lbs :) I now weigh 197 1/2 pounds, or 14st 1 1/2lbs I still have a long way to go (60lbs at least) to get within the healthy BMI range for my miniscule height, but at least I can look at it now as I'm a third of the way there! AND if I can lose 1 1/12 pounds this week I will have lost 15% of my starting weight. Can't argue with that!

How have you done this week? Are you feeling positive?


Sunday, 23 October 2011

Recipe of the Week - Sweet Chilli Chicken Stir Fry

Hi lovelies,

Computer issues have prevented me from posting this week, but I have a scrummy recipe to make up for it, and it's only 7 ProPoints, super easy to do and really quick and tasty.

Sweet Chilli Chicken Stir Fry - 7 ProPoints per serving
Serves 2

2 medium chicken breasts (4PP each)
2 cloves garlic (0PP)
2 tbsp soy sauce (0PP)
1/4 tsp (or more to taste) dried chilli flakes (0PP)
stir fry veg (I used a pepper stir fry pack from tesco and added an extra onion and pepper) (0PP)
150g cooked brown rice (about 60g dried) (3PP each serving)
Large tin pineapple chunks in natural juice (0PP for the fruit, negligible for the amount of juice you'd use)
Fry light (0PP)
Slice the chicken breasts and marinade for as long as you have with the soy, crushed garlic and chilli. Could be done in the morning, an hour before or just while you prepare the veg.
Heat a wok or deep sided frying pan and spray with Fry light (about 5 sprays). Add the chicken in it’s marinade and stir fry until almost cooked through. Add the veg and rice, then the drained pineapple and a couple of teaspoons of the juice. Stir fry until the chicken is cooked, the veg is hot but still crunchy and the rice is properly reheated.
Quick, easy, and it’s not going to break the bank! Could substitute the chicken for prawns, pork, tofu or even cashew nuts. You could also use noodles instead of rice, but the PP will be higher and brown rice is more filling so this is a relatively small amount.
A really healthy dinner and  was absolutely stuffed when I'd finished. Chinese with no nasty MSG.

In other news, Mr F-G-S said tonight that he was absolutely sick of f***ing Weight Watchers food when I served him up a pumpkin and chickpea curry, so it looks like I'll be cooking two separate evening meals from now on. Fun times.


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Weekly Update! 2 stone down...

Hi lovelies :)

Weigh in day this morning, and another pound gone :) Which equals two stone in total since I started Weight Watchers on the 28 June! I'm pleased, and I can really see a difference now, especially in odd places like my shoulders and back. Lots of people are complimenting me, which feels great, and not only do my old clothes fit me, but they're starting to get too big! Shame I'm utterly broke and can't afford new ones just yet...

I still have 4 1/2 stone to lose to get within the healthy BMI range for my height, which seems like a huge mountain to climb. but I know I can do it. In the almost 4 months I've been on the Weight Watchers plan I've only put on weight one week, and that was only half a pound. But if I keep losing a pound a week and carry on going in the right direction I'll get there eventually! Maybe this time next year I'll be reaching goal...

In the meantime, I only have 4 pounds to lose to have lost 15% of my starting weight, so I am going to put in a huge effort over the next two weeks and hopefully reach that. 1 pound a week seems like slow going, but I know there's more I can do to speed that up. So I am going to track everything I eat, stick religously to 30 points a day and up the exercise - wish me luck!

How have you done this week?


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Weekly Weigh In - not as bad as I thought it would be!

By some miracle I managed to lose another pound! I cannot believe it one bit, after the week I had last week. I will not get complacent about it though, and this week I'm going to attack it with renewed vigour. I only need to lose anther pound to reach 2 stone stince I started WW, and it will be mine this week!

I'll be back later with a Tuesday Treat and will update you on my Operation Fit and Fabulous progress later in the week.

How have you all done lately?


Monday, 10 October 2011

It's been a bad week...

I don't know what has gotten into me this week, but I just haven't been able to stop stuffing my face! Bread, sweets, biscuits, cheese - anything and everything. I've still been eating my healthy main meals, but having a slice of bread with it, or a sandwich mid afternoon, or a packet of crisps in the evening. THen once I've had one bad thing it's like I can't stop. Shocking behavior Helen! And not even any exercise to counteract it. I know I am going to have a gain tomorrow on the scales, let's just hope it's not a big one...

I seem to have righted myself again today, having had fruit and yoghurt for breakfast, then ran to the park and chased the kids around for a while before running back, and then having a nice big bowl of veg soup for lunch. Tuna salad planned for dinner and then maybe some Wii fit aswell to hopefully minimise the damage. Better late than never I suppose.

I'm attributing this funk to cutting down on the amount of diet coke I'm drinking. All I've had in the last 4 or 5 days in half a glass, whereas I could sometimes get through a litre or more in a day before. It's seriously addictive stuff! It's terrible but I get awful headaches sometimes, and the only thing that will sort it out is to drink a diet coke. I wont give it up completely, but I've pledged myself that I'll only drink it with meals, or in the evening, and only after I've drunk at least half of my 2l of water for the day. We'll see how that goes... I'm going cold turkey on the cheese too - one little blob of cottage cheese is like a gateway drug and a few hours later I'm onto the extra mature cheddar .

What do you do on days (or weeks!) like this? Any tips gratefully accepted!


Saturday, 8 October 2011

Recipe of the Week - Sausage and Butternut Squash Bake


Butternut Squash is a great vegetable, and has a ProPoints Value of 0. Can't argue with that! You can mash it, bake it, roast and stuff it, make it into soup or wedges instead of chips. I find it quite sweet so I like to pair it with very savoury or spicy flavours. This is a one pot dish (less washing up is always a bonus!) and is warm and comforting now the nights are drawing in and it's getting colder. Even my kids liked it - another plus!

I used Weight Watchers Cumberland sausages, which have a ProPoints value of 3 for two sausages, but if you can't get those any low fat sausage will do although the ProPoints value will be different. For example, Tesco Light Choices Cumberland sausages are 4 ProPoints for 2 sausages.

Serves 4
ProPoints per serving (when using WW sausages) 7

8 low fat sausages (I used Weight Watchers)
1 red onion
1 butternut squash
2 tsp dried sage
Calorie controlled cooking spray
800g potatoes
Salt and pepper to taste.

Chop and deseed the butternut squash - there is no need to peel it as once baked the skin is very thin and edible (and good for you!). You can peel it if you like - wrestling with it is good exercise! I chopped mine into wedges, although chunks will do too!

Chop the onion into wedges, and the potatoes into chunks (didn't peel these either!).

Spray a roasting tin with calorie controlled cooking spray (I used Fry Light) and put the veg in, with the sage and seasoning, spray again and roast in a 200 degree oven for 15 mins.

Turn the veg over and add the sausages to the pan. Roast for a further 20 minutes.

Serve with green veg such as brocolli, cabbage or mange tout.


Just a quick note about the calorie controlled cooking spray, as it isn't completely free of ProPoints. I use Fry Light 1 Calorie Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which, according to the Weight Watchers ProPoints online tracker doesn't contain ProPoints until you've used 19 sprays of it. I would usually use about 10 or so for a recipe such as this, and that's for 4 servings, so well within the limit before it starts costing points! Just be aware that if you're using it several times a day for more than one meal you might have to count a point or two.

You could add some red pepper to boost your veg intake and make it more filling too. You could also use chicken or pork chops in place of the sausages, or make a veggie version with more veg (courgettes and mushrooms might work well), chick peas and add some goats cheese or feta at the end.

What do you do with butternut squash? make the most of it while it's in season!


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cheese, cheese is good for your heart...oh, wait...

Cheese. Much like biscuits and bread, cheese is one of the things I miss the most on the Weight Watchers plan. I quite often sit with a bunch of grapes, an apple, or a glass of water and think, you know what would go good with this? Cheese.

The problem is, cheese is high in Pro Points and isn't very filling. Tasty, yes but filling, no. Fatty too. And the low fat stuff, despite being only 1PP per 20g for half fat cheddar, just isn't the same. It doesn't melt as well, is a bit plasticky and grows penicillin quicker than normal cheese, meaning that if you eat tiny portions and don't use it quickly your fridge will soon be rivalling that of Alexander Fleming.

So how do you get your cheese fix? Here are a few suggestions:
  • use strong cheese, in smaller amounts. You'll get more flavour than from mild cheese so you wont need as much.
  • use the small side of the grater when grating cheese - you'll be amazed at how much further it goes!
  • grate your cheese and store it in a ziplock bag in the fridge, as often if you cut a chunk off then weigh it and it's more than you should have you'll be tempted to eat the extra (I know I am!). If it's ready grated you can just pop it back in the bag. You can freeze it once it's grated too, and use it straight from the freezer for most things. This solves the problem of it going off before you can use it all.
  • cottage cheese makes a good dip for vegetable crudities and apple or grapes. 60g of low fat cottage cheese equals 1PP
  • extra light cream cheese (such as Philadelphia) makes a good pasta sauce (like my Cheats Carbonara), base for risotto, and makes soup lovely and creamy if you stir a spoonful through. 50g of extra light is 1PP, or light is 30g per PP. You can get different flavours such as garlic and herb and roasted pepper. Stuff a medium chicken breast with some before baking for a diet friendly kiev for 5 PP.
  • adding a bit of mustard to a cheese sauce really enhances the cheese flavour, meaning you don't need as much cheese. 1tsp of mustard is free (any more than that and it has a points value) and can also be stirred into mash to make it taste creamier.
  • Have some cheese and biccies instead of a desert. Weight Watchers do crackers which are 1PP for a pack of three. They taste like cardboard but it's the cheese that counts!
I'll hold my hands up and admit it, cheese is a weakness of mine. But I can still enjoy it on this plan. 

What are your weaknesses?


Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Tuesday Treat! Lush goodies review

Hi! Tuesday treat on a Wednesday for you!

As part of Operation Fit and Fabulous I was sent some Lush goodies to review. I'm a huge Lush lover and love their bath bombs and bubble bars as an affordable treat every now and then. Even my boys love an Ickle Baby Bot bath fizzer, and Ollie always asks for a robot when we pass the shop. So you can imagine my delight when a package of three new products to try was handed to me by the postman last Tuesday.

The three things I was sent were a Phoenix Rising bath ballistic, a Rose Jam Bubbleroon and a Friends with Benefits massage bar.

Rose Jam Bubbleroon - £3.50 each

The first thing I chose to try out was the bubbleroon. Up until recently I've stuck to bath ballistics on my trips to Lush, but I got given a bubble bar for my birthday this year and haven't looked back! You crumble them under running water for an amazing bubbly bath that smells divine. Lush describes Bubbleroons as macaroon inspired bubble bars with a shea butter and coconut oil base and a coconut oil cream centre. Unfortunately mine arrived crumbly but it didn't matter as you crumble them into the water anyway, and if you were clever you could save half for another time ;)

I not usually a huge fan of rose or floral smells, but this wasn't overpowering at all, and actually made me feel really girly sitting there in a pink bath surrounded by 11tybillion bubbles smelling of roses!

I wouldn't say my skin felt overly moisturised, but it was by no means dry at all, unlike some bubble baths I've never found a Lush bubble bar drying on the skin.

Friends with Benefits massage bar - £6.50 for 65g
Getting a massage from my other half is about as likely as George Clooney landing his helicopter in my street, knocking on my door with a rose between his teeth, whisking me off to a 5 star Parisian hotel and having his wicked way with me, and then feeding me deep fried Mars bars in the morning. Ok, so that's an overly long analogy, but you get the picture! So, I had to resort to using the massage bar on myself.

Lush say it is a sexy massage bar with a chocolate orange scent for enjoying with your very best friends. The smell of tagetes, the essential oil from African marigolds, has notes of chocolate to it.  So here we blended it in a fragrance with cooca absolute, then put that in our lovely fair trade organic cocoa butter, which has its own strong chocolate notes too. 

The result is a massage bar with benefits: cocoa butter and shea butters to give your body a moisturised glow, tagetes to help sore, red or damaged skin and a posh chocolate fragrance that leaves you smelling irresistible to everyone around you. All you have to do is reap the rewards. 

The scent to me reminds me of those yoghurt coated raisins you get - sort of creamy but with a definite sharpness to it. I started by rubbing the bars on my thighs and as the bar warmed up it melted and glided over my skin, leaving a film of shea butter. It wasn't sticky at all but would be too much for everyday moisturising
- although perfect for it's intended use if your partner is more amenable than mine! I rubbed in the residue and my skin was left soft and hydrated, and I can (only) imagine how nice it would be when used for a proper massage.

Phoenix Rising Bath Ballistic - £2.95 for 100g

Bath Ballistics are my favourite of all the Lush goodies, my favourites being Mrs Whippy, Honey Bee, Butterball and Vanilla Fountain - if you know Lush you'll know these are all quite similar, creamy, vanillary scented bath bombs. So Phoenix Rising was quite different for me, as Lush says he'll release gentle shea butter, cocoa butter and jojoba oil to leave your skin feather soft, and exotic essential oils of fruit and spices, which take your mind on a flight of fancy to distant shores where you are lying on a beach drinking spiced rum. I'm not usually a fan of spiced scents, but this is a very delicate spiciness, and it's so pretty! The outside of the bomb is a lovely purple colour, with gold lustre sparkles which float around in the bath making it look all potion like and mystical. Then when you get to the middle of the bathbomb it turns green, which turns the vivid purple murkier and somehow even more mythical. Every now and then the piece of cinnamon bark that was on top of the bomb emerges from the depths and it will be great for cold days when you need warming up! My only complaint was the colour it turned my bath afterwards...but I can live with that!

Overall, I would completely recommend these products, or any Lush goodies, to anyone who'll listen to me rambling on about them. My favourite was the Bubbleroon, and I'll be checking out the other "flavours" Green, and Yuzu & Cocoa next time I get to a Lush store. Go for Phoenix Rising if you're a fan of spice, or if you're not and want something different. The massage bar wasn't for me, at least until I trade the old man in for a newer model, but if your better half is more willing definitely give it a go. You can buy these online at now and in Lush stores from 15th October.

How will you be treating yourself this week?


PR sample provided for review. Opinions are my own and 100% honest.