It’s the small things – April edition 

  
The small things that have made April. 

  Watching the swans in the sunshine. 
  Loving my new Fitbit, so pretty looking and fancy too! 
  Schnauzer shadows. 
  Crying in public places at book endings. 
  Loving getting fitter. 
  Lots of healthy cooking. 

  Catch up coffees with great friends. 
  Beautiful tulips from my wonderful hubby. 
 Nespresso machine purchased. 

  Long spring park walks. 

  IVF notes dusted off..is it time to go again?! 
  Smaller clothes purchased. 

  Freezing cold spring days but beautiful blue skies.
  Pretty nails for a girly day out. 
  And selfies…just because. 
  Coffee and cake catch up with a gorgeous friend. 
  And plenty of wine enjoyed! 
  Fancy espresso martinis. 
  Lots of workouts completed. 

  Nespresso boutique visited. 
  Stopping to admire the ducklings. 

  Amazing sunsets admired. 
  Coffees enjoyed. 
  Long weekends spent with this hairy monster. 
  Rainbow tulips to brighten up a long weekend. 
  Blog planning happening. Hopefully will help me get more posts up. 

And that was April. 

Claire xx 

Is it possible to get fit in 4 minutes a day?! 

So is it actually possible to get fit in 4 minutes a day?  The lovely Lucy Wyndham Read believes you can and over the course of April she has been posting daily free 4 minute Hiit workouts for all abilities over on her YouTube channel.

LWR Fitness Web site link
The lovely Lucy

I’ve blogged before about my new found love for HIIT training and about loving Lucy’s free workouts on Youtube, so when I seen on her Instagram that she was going to be doing a HIIT workout challenge for April I was fully signed up. Uploaded every day over the course of April (Now available in a playlist on her YouTube channel) Lucy made working out everyday at home so easy.  I mean who doesn’t have 4 minutes a day to spare?

I really enjoyed to workouts, they were so easy to fit into my day.  Some I found easy, others not so much and they build up over the course of the four weeks which was great.  I continued on with longer selection of HIIT workouts at the weekend and added in the Hiit in 4 workouts daily – some days even doing more than one!

The important question though, is did it make a difference?  I am no longer trying to lose weight so my goal is to maintain my weight but to tone up, build lean muscle and to reduce my body fat.  I went to my local Boots and used their scales to get my body fat percentage on starting which was 29%.

And after completing the 28 day 4 minute Hiit in a day challenge plus my added longer weekend workouts and maybe a sneaky little extra 4 minute one here and there and following the slimming world plan with a cleaner approach to eating my body fat percentage is now at 27.1%!!

Body fat % after #lwrhiitin4
I am over the moon with that result! My weight has stayed within a pound of my starting weight so I’m again over the moon with that too. And I’ve lost some inches as well.

Inches lost completing #lwrhiitin4

So yes, the answer is you can get fit in 4 minutes a day. The proof is in the figures above and I’m very pleased. I’m so proud of myself for sticking to it each day as well and I have my certificate to prove it.

certificate of completion

Check out Lucy’s Website in early May for her eBook all about healthy eating, motivation and four minute workouts.


If you are looking for a good fitness challenge then I would totally recommend heading over here to check this one out.

I can’t wait to see her challenge for May! Thank you Lucy xx

Claire x

Snippets from Scotland ~ Loch Katrine 

 

Because we are so lucky to live in such a beautiful country, I’ve decided to start a new series  of posts titled, Snippets from Scotland starting with a lovely visit to Loch Katrine.

Loch Katrine is based in the heart of the Loch Lommond and The Trossachs National Park and less than an hour away from where we live so a perfect place to head to for a great walk.
Loch Katrine cruiser You can take a boat trip across the loch on one of their one or two hour boat trips either on the old steamer boat or the cruiser. We have never done the boat trip but if the views from shore are anything to go by, it looks like it would be a gorgeous trip.

Loch KatrineWhen we visit it’s for the lovely loch side walk which is just perfect for tiring out the excitable doggy. You can hire bikes from the pier as well but a word of warning is that there are plenty of steep inclines as you make your way around.

Schnauzer pose at Loch Katrine It is debatable how far this walk actually is, given that there is no phone signal round here, never mind a 3G signal we had no way of tracking it properly and I would have to say that we did disagree with the one sign we actually did find! Our tracker on the health app on the iPhone had it at just over 5 miles though it felt like so much more with the hills!

It is worth the walk for these views though!
Claire xx

My top 10 Slimming World must haves. 

Starting out on any healthy eating plan can be quite overwhelming and Slimming World is no different. Over the time I’ve been following it I have come up with my top 10 slimming world must haves to make my life easier.

Slimming World Top 10 Must haves - SW MagazineThe Slimming World magazine has been so useful for me. It’s available in group earlier and for 80p less than in the shops so a bargain too! It’s packed full of inspirational stories and recipes and I normally find at least 2 new things to try every month. I’ve also been taking the recipes out of all the magazines and putting them into an A4 lever arch file for easy to reach recipes.

Slimming World Top 10 must haves post - Full Spice Rack A large spice rack and every herb and spice you can imagine!! This spice rack that screws onto the inside of your cupboard door was a lifesaver for me, no more pulling out every bottle trying to find the one you want. Obviously I didn’t buy these all at once, it’s easy with Slimming World to be building up these kind of store cupboard ingredients as you are making more recipes.

Slimming World Top 10 Must Haves - Food Diary My food diary. I write down everything, every single day and find its the only way that I don’t cheat myself. It’s so easy to forgot something you had when you were rushing around in work and overeat syns without thinking.  I’ve had lots of different Troyes of food diaries but currently love this one that fits into my Filofax planner. I just change the kcal used to syns used and it works perfectly for me. Plus it’s very pretty.

Slimming World Top 10 must haves - Slimming World InstagramThe wonderful world of Slimming World on Instagram. I post all my food pictures on there and I find it so helpful. Just search out the Slimming World Hashtag on there and a new world opens right up. There are so many inspirational people on there that you can’t help but get motivated by. I love it and if I’m totally honest am a little addicted. Just don’t go on when you are hungry!

Slimming World Top 10 must haves - Syn tinA selection of go too things that you like. I’m a snacker so having a bowl of low syn/calorie things that I can just reach for if the notion takes me is a must for me.

Slimming World Top 10 must haves -  Cook BooksSome slimming world cookbooks, I don’t have loads but these ones are a total must for me. Especially the extra easy express one which is just perfect for those after work meals and is my most used cookbook.
Fat Free Yogurt Fat free, syn free yogurt. Great to add to Overnight OatsSyn Free Pancakes or for having on its own with some speedy fruit added to it. If you don’t like flavoured yogurt you can always buy some fat free natural yogurt and sweeten it if you like.

Frozen FruitFrozen berries are a total life changer for me. Either put some out in a little bowl overnight in the fridge to defrost before putting on top of your breakfast or take some out frozen and sprinkle them over your yogurt. Cheaper but just as good as fresh and they don’t end up going bad in the fridge on you before you get the chance to finish them.

Almond and coconut milk are my go too for breakfasts as you get so much more for you healthy extra A allowance. 600mls of coconut milk or 500mls of the Almond. If you buy the unsweetened Almond you get a massive 1 litre! One thing though is it is not nice in coffee at all in my opinion and I’ve ruined many a good coffee trying it.  Perfect for breakfast cereal though and a staple in my shopping.

Slimming World top 10 must haves - water And I’ve left the easiest and cheapest thing to last. My absolute must have for Slimming World or any healthy living lifestyle has to be water.  I think we can all hold our hands up and say that unless we are actively thinking about it then it is highly likely that we don’t drink anywhere near enough.  I aim to drink at least two litres a day and have noticed so much difference, not only to me overall weight but for my general health as well.  Totally a winner for me.

What are your go to Slimming World or healthy living must haves?

Claire xx

Motivation Monday with the Fitbit Blaze 

Last week I took the plunge and upgraded my beloved Fitbit to the Fitbit Blaze and I have not been disappointed, I blooming love it!

Motivation Monday - Fitbit Blaze
I’ve worked my way up through different Fitbits over the last two years, starting with the ‘One’ then moving up to the ‘Charge HR’ both of which I loved but didn’t quite give me everything I was looking for. I would say though that that is mainly due to me developing different wants in terms of my fitness levels and what I want to see on my fitness tracker.

I have loved Fitbit and their app interface from the moment I bought my first one so knew I didn’t want to swap brands and I also knew that I didn’t want a chest strap heart rate monitor despite there being some issues regarding the inaccuracies of wrist based heart monitors.  For me though, Fitbit ticks all the boxes that I need and the ‘Blaze‘ is just gorgeous….yes I’m a sucker for all things pretty!

One of the things that really sold the ‘Blaze’ to me was the colour touch screen and the interchangeable bands. The reason I had held onto to my ‘One’ for so long was so I could use it instead of my ‘Charge HR’ if we were going out for a night, with this one I can switch the straps to a metal one to make it more watch like and I love this idea. So much so, I’ve picked myself up one already! How pretty does that look?

Fitbit Blaze with metal strap
Along with daily tracking, of steps, floors, calories burned, heart rate, miles covered and your sleep pattern. It also has multi sport options built in which will automatically pick up you exercising or you can put it into a specific exercise mode manually and everything feeds into the app on your phone via Bluetooth. It also has an in built ‘Fitstar’ exercise section which takes you through a warm up, 7 minute workout or an abs workout directly from your wrist.

You can add friends and take part in challenges too whilst collecting badges for steps in a day, lifetime miles, floors in a day, lifetime floors and some others.
Fitbit Badges

Everything is so easy to use, from the watch to the app, and the main thing is it really motivates me. Having it right there on a screen in front of me is such a motivator for me. I want to see a full green screen, for my watch to vibrate when I hit my goals (all set by you in the app)

If you are thinking about investing in an activity tracker then I would recommend any of the Fitbit trackers…. If you are wanting a super pretty but very functional adaptable tracker then I would totally recommend the ‘Blaze’

Claire xx

This is not a sponsored post – I have purchased all my Fitbits and just wanted to give my readers an insight into what they can offer.

Slimming World Friendly Pizzas 

Who says you can’t have a Slimming World Friendly Pizza!

Slimming World Friendly Pizza
Made using a healthy Extra B option and part Healthy Extra A along with any syns for your toppings, this is a low syn, easy to make ‘healthy’ option for those wanting that little bit of treat night food.

Ingredients

Weight Watchers Wrap (Healthy Extra B)
lighter mature Cheese – 15g grated (Part Healthy Extra A)
Diced Chorizo – 10g (2 syns)
Slice of Ham – diced
Green Chilli – finely chopped
Tomato Puree – 1 tbsp or more according to your taste
Oregano – 1 tsp
Spinach – pre cooked by placing in boiling water for a few minutes and water squeezed out.

Simply spread your wrap with the tomato purée and sprinkle the oregano then top with whatever toppings you have decided on and pop under the grill until your cheese melts.

Super simple and tasty!

Claire xx

Beauty products I’m loving now

Today I have decided to share some of the products I am loving right now. I am by no means a beauty blogger and to be honest I don’t have much of a clue on all things beauty but I have found some things that really work for me and I thought I would share.

I don’t have a tendency to stick to one brand and I mix up between cheaper and more expensive products, these are the ones I can’t live without at the minute.

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Flash Beauty Balm £29

Ohh Clarins and your amazing flash beauty balm, how I love thee when the bags are the only thing I can see in the mirror you help to make me feel I can face the day. This is very expensive in my book for a small bottle however I don’t use it every day and you don’t need too much of it to tighten your skin and brighten your face.

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Superdrug £2.99

I love this moisturiser, it is a cheapy from Superdrug but covers my skin really well.  I have combination skin and this helps moisturise but is not overly oily so doesn’t affect the oily places of my skin.

I don’t wear foundation every day but have over the last few years realised that my skin does need some kind of coverage. I have been using BB Creams for a while as I have found them really easy to apply and they give me good coverage. I was on the look out for a new one recently and a few of my chums on twitter were talking about this one so I took the plunge when they were on 3 for 2 in Boots and picked it up. I love it and feel that it gets great coverage and feels so light, something that was really missing in other BB creams that I have used.

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BB Cream £9.99

When I was in Boots, I seen this CC cream which I had seen advertised in a magazine, it claims to give complete coverage and is a colour correcting cream.  As I have gotten older I feel that my skin has become redder so I thought I would try the anti-redness one.  It is great and is fast becoming my go to as I feel that it gives me really good coverage, the redness just disappears and I find it suits my skin tone really well.  I have read some blog posts about people finding these creams too orange but that has not been the case for me.

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CC Cream £9.99

I am not a big lipstick wearing, preferring to stick to lip glosses and I always go back to these L’Oreal ones. I find the colours are really nice and they don’t give you that sticky feeling when you wear them but the colour lasts long. You can use these alone or over your lip colour and they work great either way.

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Glam Shine £7.69

And perfumes, I love a good perfume though not the prices! These are two of my favourite at the moment and a little bit of a theme with my love for all Marc Jacobs perfumes.

Daisy is my all time favourite, I have it in various different blends and my cabinet on opening is full of these great daisy shaped bottles, aren’t they cute?

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Daisy – 100mls £56

And recently I bought Dot, oh how I love it! It’s a shame I only picked up a small bottle as I am currently wearing it more often than not, I feel another splurge will be coming on soon to replace it.

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Dot – 30mls £37

What are your must haves?

Claire xx

Mushroom Stroganoff – Slimming World Friendly 

Mushroom Stroganoff – Slimming World Friendly

Follow my recipe for an extra easy syn free Mushroom Stroganoff which is Slimming World Friendly

Ingredients – serves 1 – syn free

1 small onion
120g mushrooms, chopped
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 vegetable stock cube
100ml hot water
100g fat free natural yoghurt
Pinch of thyme
1 tsp parsley fresh or dried
Black pepper

Cook the onions gently in a pan sprayed with fry light, until the start to brown. You can add a tablespoon or two of water to stop them sticking if you need to.

Add the mushrooms, crumbled stock cube, tomato purée and thyme, stir for around a minute. Then add the 100mls of hot water and simmer gently for 3-4 mins or until it has thickened a little.

Remove the pan from heat and stir in your yoghurt. Return to heat and warm gently for a few seconds. Sprinkle with the parsley and black pepper and serve.

I served mine with pilau cauliflower rice.

Enjoy

Claire xx

It’s the small things ~ March Edition 

  
And this was March! 

  Coffees and Daffodils.  
 Breaks to the countryside to celebrate special birthdays.  

 Coffees on balconies.  

 Beautiful blue skies. 

 Tea all organised.  

 Dog walking at the kelpies in the sunshine.  

 Tulips that brighten up the day.  

 Sunset dog walks.  

 Prosecco enjoyed.  

 Coffee and kindle time.  

 Scottish countryside explored.  

 With this little buddy by our side.  

 Hot cross buns demolished.  

 A little Kir royale or two enjoyed.  

 Mini Egg Cheesecake savoured.  

 Easter bags prepared for neice and nephew.  

 Easter Sunday lunch enjoyed with the family.  

 Proud selfies taken…finally I’m beginning to really see my weight loss.  

 Relaxation with this gorgeous man. 

Working out and hiiting it hard

Did you see my little play on words there….hiiting it hard, or in other words HIIT training. HIIT training stands for High intensity Interval Training and it’s something that I have been trying to incorporate into my life since getting to my target weight with Slimming World. The only exercise I really focused on was walking when I was trying to get to target but I had long planned that when I got there my focus was to switch to fitness.

HIIT training seemed perfect for me, I’m not one for spending hours in the gym (though I did used to enjoy that) I wanted something that I could do at home, that was quick but made you work hard and boy have I found that with HIIT workouts. I have discovered a wealth of home workout videos on YouTube and have been chopping and changing my way through those.

My favourite YouTube trainer has to be the lovely Lucy Wyndham Read. Lucy gets training for women and tailors her workouts for a combination of HIIT and toning which is just perfect. She also has a website and blog where she posts Monthly workout plans that you can follow each month. I’ve not really followed the plans yet, though they do look good.  At the minute I seem to prefer to make up my own YouTube play lists using her selection of videos and each one makes me work hard.

So far I am loving HIIT training. I maintained my weight within the target zone last month and the big news was I still lost 1/2″ from my thighs which are my real problem area so it is getting the thumbs up from me as the perfect way to get fit not skinny!

Do any of you follow any fitness plans?

Claire xx