Chicken Tikka Masala – Slimming World

I adapted this recipe from one I found in a Slimming World magazine. This needs some marinating time so bare that in mind if you are going to make it.

Serves 4
Free on Extra Easy

For the marinade
4 tbsp tikka spice blend
Juice of 1 lime
200g fat free natural yoghurt
4 skinless chicken breasts sliced

! red, green and yellow pepper sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
8 tbsp tomato puree
200g passata with onions and garlic
1/4 tsp sweetner
300ml chicken stock
1 cinnamon stick
2 tbsp quark
Handful of coriander
Lime wedges to serve

Marinade – In a bowl, add the tikka spice, lime juice, chicken and yoghurt, mix together cover and place in the fridge overnight (I had forgotten to do this part and only marinated for 3 hours and it still tasted lovely)

In a pan sprayed with Frylight, add your marinaded chicken mix along with the onions and cook for around 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, chilli, peppers and remaining tikka and stir fry for a few minutes. Stir in the tomato puree, pasatta, sweetener, stock and cinnamon stick. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Remove from the heat and mix in the Quark, remove the cinnamon stick. Garnish with coriander and serve with rice and a slice of lime.


Claire xx

Slow cooked Bolognese – Slimming World

I have been searching high and low for the ultimate Bolognese recipe and I think I may just have found it.

It is an adapation of the ‘Ultimate spaghetti Bolognese’ recipe in the Jan/Feb 15 Slimming World magazine which I decided to do in the slow cooker.

Serves 4 – Free on Extra Easy Plan

500g lean mince beef
1 onion, very finely chopped *
2 carrots, very finely chopped *
200g button mushrooms. very finely chopped *
8 rashers of bacon (all fat removed), very finely chopped *
4 garlic cloves, crushed
6 tbsp tomato puree
400g chopped tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 tsp dried oregano
300ml Beef stock

* I blitzed all of these ingredients in the food processor which worked really well.

1 Brown the mince with the onion, bacon, carrots and garlic. Dry fry until the meat is brown.
2 Add the mushrooms and stir fry for a few minutes. Remove pan from heat, add the stock, tomatoes, tomato puree, oregano and bay leaf. Stir well and transfer to slow cooker.
3 Cook for 2 hours on high heat and one hour on low heat.
4 Cook 75g portion of Spaghetti per person. Top with the bolognese (remove bay leaf) and serve.


Claire xx


It’s the small things ~ December edition

The small things that have made up the month of December.

IMG_9092.PNG There was loading up of Christmas Spotify playlists.

IMG_9129.JPG The first hard frost of the year. Pretty.

IMG_9199.JPG There was a Schnauzer Christmas party. 40 odd Schnauzers dressed for Santa 🙂

IMG_9186-0.JPG It was time for the Christmas tree and decorations to go up.

IMG_9254.JPG And new cars to be delivered!

IMG_9257.JPG There was Christmas cups and mince pies.

IMG_9280.JPG Snooooow!!

IMG_9284.JPG Christmas jumper day at work.

IMG_9337.JPG There was an early Christmas celebration with the family, involving cocktails in Teapots.

IMG_9341.JPG And French martinis in front of twinkling Christmas trees.


IMG_9350.JPG Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a wee Baileys.

IMG_9352.JPG There was Christmas jumpers just because it was Christmas Eve.

IMG_9369.JPG There was Schnauzers opening presents on Christmas morning.

IMG_9392.JPG And Scotland showing its beauty at sunset.

Let the battle commence…….again

The last post I did about my long running battle with trying to lose weight was back on the 22nd October not long after our failed IVF cycle. I had gained 11.5lbs from just before we started to 3 weeks after our failure.

I tried to restart Slimming World but to be honest I really struggled, I’m an emotional eater and I use food as a crutch and if there has ever been a time I needed a crutch it was the last 4 months of 2014. You can tell where this is going can’t you?

Yeah you guessed it! When I finally made myself get back on the scales on 4th January I had of course gained more, what with a week abroad, Christmas, New Year and comfort eating I was now 1 stone & 2lbs heavier than when we started IVF back in August.

Image Credit
I knew it would be bad but that’s ridiculous and really not necessary. I know I have no one to blame but myself and I hate to admit it but it is a cycle that I have been in most of my adult life.

I need to stop this cycle and I do believe that if I fully stick to Slimming World that I would be able to, I just need to blooming stick to it!

So with a New Year and not to mention our next IVF cycle looming on the horizon I restarted Slimming World although I am making a few tweaks for myself to make it more fertility friendly. I’m not going to bore you with weekly weight loss posts this time, I’m thinking that posting monthly updates will be enough. I’ve also signed myself up to the #walk1000miles challenge which I had seen on Twitter in a bid to get me walking more.

I’m planning on posting some more Slimming World recipes on here too, to keep me motivated and I’ll be tracking my weight loss using marbles. Yeah you did read that right!

IMG_9526.JPG I had seen this idea a few months ago and thought it was good visual motivation.

There are 20 marbles in the ‘To Lose’ pot, how quickly can they jump to ‘Lost’?

Bring it on!

Claire xx

Getting my freak on!

Every Time I think about going for IVF#2 my tummy does that whole flippy thing. That’s normal, right?

I suppose the main feeling is nervousness or maybe to rephrase it to really saying how I feel it would be more a totally crapping myself kinda feeling.

I’m not nervous about the appointments, the injections, the medications or even the egg collection this time. What I am totally crapping myself about is the whole part of this being potentially our last attempt. I don’t know if we will ever be in the position to self fund, I’m not saying never but it’s not something that we are able to look at at the minute. Now I know we are extremely lucky to get two free cycles and I’m not moaning about that, it’s just so damn scary thinking about the last cycle looming and trying to emotionally prepare for it.

I’m trying to prepare that’s for sure but it seems so much bigger this time. That big that sometimes I just want to phone up and delay treatment again, you know, to just keep this last cycle in the bank, always having it as a back up. I know though that’s not possible, I know I have to big up and just get on with it, to fill myself back up with positivity and hope, to try again and pray this time is different.


Claire xx

Will 2015 be the year?

This day last year I posted this blog post  ‘will 2014 be the year?’  I can’t quite believe that I am writing a post a year later still asking the same thing.  I never in my wildest dreams thought that we wouldn’t be at least sitting here pregnant now, or if I am really honest with you, I thought that we would have just celebrated our first Christmas with our baby.  But things in my dreams have not become a reality and I’m faced with wondering again if 2015 will be the year that we finally become a family of three.

IMG_1020.JPGWe started the year off with fertility drugs and full of hope and optimism but it wasn’t meant to be.  By August we were embarking on our first round of IVF which also wasn’t meant to be.  And by Christmas we were lost and didn’t really know how to move on from a year that was filled with so much hope but in relation to infertility, gave us nothing but disappointment. There were points in the run up to Christmas that I just really couldn’t see how we could carry on, I had thought I was coping so well but honestly there were some very very dark days where I felt so overwhelmed I couldn’t see how we were ever going to move on from the failures of 2014.  But move on we must and somehow we got through Christmas, we allowed ourselves to feel happy and sad and the hope for New Year started returning.

I’m writing this now with that hope continuing to return, with thoughts of our next and final NHS IVF cycle coming up in the next few months, dreams slowly coming back to me, wishes and hopes that 2015 will be the year that we have been waiting for.


Yes 2014 wasn’t kind, it didn’t come up with the goods that we wanted but it did show me that my marriage is solid, it showed me that through shared pain we have become even more of a team than I ever imagined we could be.  Infertility is an evil, soul destroying illness, one I would never wish on anyone, it may give me dark dark days but it will not ruin me.

Bring it on 2015!

Claire xx


Snowman Soup

I came across Snowman Soup when I was browsing Pinterest – the invention of Pinterest has a lot of answer for in this house that’s for sure! Though a quick google of Snowman Soup, brought up hundreds of links to different versions of this so I suppose I’m just late to the party.

I found a link to a lovely printable to attach to the ingredients over on Ginger Snap Crafts


* Brown paper bags – I picked up 10 in Home Bargains for 80p
* Hot Chocolate packets
* Candy Canes
* Hershey Kisses – I got a packet of these in Tesco in their international aisle for ÂŁ3
* Mini Marshmallows
* Ribbon
* Printable Snowman Soup poem found here

I cut the handles of the bags I had as I thought they looked better without, folded the top over then punched two holes in to be able to tie with ribbon and added the Snowman Soup poem.

I think they look really cute and they were cheap and easy to make so a winner all round.

Claire xx

Christmas Printable O Holy Night Print

O Holy Night is my favourite Christmas Hymn of all time and when I came across this printable last year I knew that I really wanted to make it.

It is available via the lovely Emily Hope over at Hope Ink . Emily has very kindly set up the print to be downloaded and printed as an 10×8″ PDF print so it is really easy to print out at home. I decided that I would like to frame mine too so that I would have it for every year so I picked up a cheap 10×8″ white frame to put it in to match my living room.

I also decided that I would like to add a little bit of sparkle to it so that it would reflect when my Christmas lights were on. I felt the design really lent itself to adding some small gems which I had at home already

I loved the end effect of adding them, I didn’t put too many on, I just wanted a few to help set it off and to draw your attention to it.

I then put it into a plain frame so I could put it in the living room for Christmas.

It now takes pride of place on our fireplace and I am so happy that I finally got round to printing it off.

I couldn’t blog about making a print from my favourite Christmas hymn without linking into my all time favourite version of the song. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Claire xx

Coping or not?!?

This infertility lark catches you unawares, coasting along thinking I’m coping fine. Telling everyone I’m coping fine, putting a smile on, believing I’m coping fine.

Then bam, it hits you like a slap around the face, the feeling of being so overwhelmed, that maybe you’re not coping, maybe you’re just kidding yourself…. What’s the truth? Am I coping or I’m I just kidding myself on?

To be honest with you, times like this morning, I’m not actually sure. But what I do know, the coping face needs to go back on, it’s the only way I know how to survive.


Claire xx

Quick Christmas candle crafting

I had seen a picture of candles covered with cinnamon sticks on Pinterest a while ago and thought it would be a really easy Christmas craft that would look great on our dining table so I thought I’d give it a try.

You really don’t need much to make them.

* candle
* cinnamon sticks
* glue
* string or ribbon
* small decorations of your choice

I picked up everything I needed in Hobbycraft and set to work.

All you need to do is glue the cinnamon sticks on around your candle, tie with the string and allow to dry then add your decoration. Easy peasy!

I had a few cinnamon sticks left over from my bag so decided to make a cinnamon stacker.

IMG_9107.JPG I just cut enough string to gather them together then tied them up leaving one out to glue to the top and added some decorations.

Overall I’m really happy with the end results.


Are you planning any crafts for Christmas?

Claire xx