Thursday, 30 June 2016

5th Transformation Picture - 25 weeks difference

Time to post another picture. I was really pleased today because the tankini on the right didn't fit me before and is actually a size smaller than the one in the left.

My tummy is still the area with the biggest difference and a side on shot really demonstrates that

I want to work on toning up more before I take another picture for you. I'm going to start yoga again so hopefully that will help especially while my knee is still healing.

I really do recommend taking photos to document your progress. It's a great motivator. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 25 - Losing it!

I lost a quarter of a pound this week which makes 26.25 pounds in total. 

I'm still pleased as its a loss, however small. Still no major workouts this week which does mean that to lose anything is really good. I'm still trying to strengthen my knee. The good news is that yesterday I had to do a phenomenal amount of walking and today I felt no reaction from my knee. Something that hasn't happened previously.

I do feel that this period where I haven't really been able to exercise much has been quite educational. It has made me think again about what I am eating and about how much I need to eat. I have a better understanding of how much my body actually really needs each day for fuel and that's got to be useful. 

Over the week ahead I'm going to start reintroducing some cardio workouts and see how my knee reacts. Definitely no running yet though. I will take it one step at a time!

I know that I will reach my goals however long it takes me. Nothing worth achieving is ever easy and every weight loss journey is bound to have a few bumps in the road! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 27 June 2016

Monday Motivation - Fight For What's Right

I seriously thought of not posting today. It seemed wrong to talk about Monday Motivation when I just felt that the world had shifted a little on its axis over the weekend and I was consumed with fear for my country.

This is not a political blog so I won't dwell on this too much. Just to explain though, I am from the UK and in case you don't already know, we have voted by a small majority to leave the European Union. I voted REMAIN. Since then I have been sworn at on social media for expressing my views and ridiculed for not shutting up. My daughter's mixed race friend was racially abused walking down a London Street.

The motivation part of this has come from my realisation of how important it is to fight for what you believe is right and in particular what is right for you. This doesn't have to be political, it could be making family help you so you have time to exercise, ignoring people who scoff when you say how much weight you want to lose or ignoring friends to try to tempt you into eating unhealthy food.

I suppose what I am saying is that it is important to motivate yourself to find the inner strength to stand up and fight for what you want in your life, including your personal life regardless of the opposition. 

Here are some of the images that have helped me find some motivation today.

I hope that you find some motivation in your life this Monday. Peace and love to you all. Speak to you soon 

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Review of the Little Known Box

I have been feeling quite down lately. The pressures of work, financial difficulties and a few niggling injuries have all taken their toll. So when I saw an advert for the Little Known Box, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to treat myself.

Little Known Box is a new subscription beauty box. It sends five or six products each month from up and coming or niche brands. I was also really impressed to see that this features a lot of natural or organic products. 

I was really excited when my box arrived on Friday. The box looks classically chic.

The packaging inside is equally luxurious I loved the tissue paper and the black and gold ribbon. It seemed a shame to open it but I was dying to see what products I had received.

The personalised thank you card was a nice touch and I was pleased to see that the box included a lot of information about each product.

I received six products in total, three of which were full size.

Product one was the Power Infuse Cushion Foam from Oxynergy Paris.

This is a rich and foaming cleanser which contains amino acids. I used it last night and couldn't believe how fresh my face felt afterwards. I received a full size product which normally costs £23.50.

The second product was the Fantasy 3-in-1 eyeshadow from Manna Kadar Cosmetics.

If you like products which can be used for multitasking then you will love this one. It can used as a blush or a highlighter as well as an eyeshadow. This is great for keeping your makeup bag uncluttered and the nude blush pink shade will complement all shades of skin.

Manna Kadar are an American company and Fantasy 3-in-1 costs £13.12

I was excited to see that the third product was a serum as I have found them to be really beneficial for my skin in the past.

I hadn't heard of PHB Ethical Beauty before so I did a bit of research. They are a UK company who make all of their products by hand from 100% natural ingredients. PHB also donate 20% of their profits to charity.

The first thing I noticed about the serum was the gorgeous smell of rose. The serum is light, was absorbed quickly and was the perfect base under makeup.

The fourth product was a treatment oil. I used to be obsessed with essential oils and mixed my own. I was delighted to see that the oil from Lucy Annabella contained patchouli and ylang ylang which are two of my favourite fragrances.

This is such a versatile oil. It can be used on your hair, face and body. You only need a few drops each time so this bottle will last for ages. It costs £6.

Product number five is the In The Buff Makeup Highlighter.

In The Buff produce 100% natural makeup and this golden highlighter is the perfect choice to complement your summer tan. This is a full size product that costs £14.

The sixth and final product was two samples from Creme of Nature. 

The first sample was Argan Oil

The second sample was a leave in conditioner containing Argan oil.

Argan oil is amazingly versatile. It will tame and condition hair, treat dry skin and nourish nails. You can even put a few drops in the bath. 

The leave in conditioner costs £2.99 and the sample of Argan oil costs £9.99.

Little Known Box offers a variety of subscription plans. You can pay monthly, pre pay for either 3, 6 or 12 months or you can do what I did and pay for a one off box. One off boxes would also make a great gift. 

I paid £15.95  for my box and the contents were worth an incredible £75.55. I also received money off codes to order additional products from the brands that I received.

I thoroughly recommend the Little Known Box. The products were incredibly high quality and it was a real pick me up to receive the box. It made a great treat and I will definitely order more.

You can find lots of additional information and order boxes on their website at

Let me know if you order a box. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 24 - It All Adds Up

I lost half a pound this week. Not huge but it's still a loss and that's without working out. 

This takes my total weight loss to 26 pounds.

Although it's a small loss this week, the thing to remember is that the small losses add up and it is all progress. Half a pound lost each week is two pound lost in a month. That's the equivalent of a bag of sugar!

The last few weeks have really emphasised to me just how vital exercise is when you are trying to lose weight. I haven't worked out at all because of my knee. Instead I have been trying a different tactic. I have found a lot of strengthening exercises for the knee and I am doing them daily to see if that helps. I have also increased my daily walking instead of trying to run. As an extra help for my joints, I am also taking fish oil supplements and glucosamine. When I do start to run again then I will avoid running on the pavement in case that puts too great a strain on the knee and will stick to the park. 

Hopefully I should see some improvement from this and at least I feel like I am being proactive.

Diet wise, I will just stick to the normal routine this week. I'm a bit broke until the end of the month so it'll be a case of making do with what's in the freezer and the cupboards. I may do some baking though so watch out for new recipes on the blog later this week. 

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Bad habits can stop you losing weight

I've been thinking about things that can hamper weight loss and how easy it is to slip into habits that might seem harmless but which can actually stop you from losing weight. 

Here is my top 10 bad habits that you should stop in order to speed up your weight loss.

1. Clearing Your Plate
I can remember when I was a child, my mum telling me that I couldn't leave the table at dinner time until I had cleared my plate. Sadly this is an attitude that many of us take forward into adulthood. You feel bad about leaving food on your plate even if you feel full. This can lead to overeating. 

It's important to learn to listen to the signals that your body is giving you. If you feel full then stop eating.

2. Skipping Meals
Dont get into the mindset of thinking that skipping a meal is a good thing as you are eating less. As well as missing out on nutrients, it just means that you will be more inclined to snack between meals. It will also be harder for you to choose healthy snacks as your blood sugar levels will have dropped due to missing a meal and your body will be craving something sweet to rectify this.

3. Emotional Eating
This is a big one for me. If I have a bad day or I'm sad or fed up then my first instinct is turn to food. It's not a solution though and doesn't make you feel better in the long term. I try to use distraction techniques to take my mind off food. A good trick is to go and brush your teeth. That always works for me!

4. Not Drinking Enough
So much has been written about the benefits of keeping yourself hydrated that I don't need to go into details here. It benefits you in numerous ways. If I think I feel peckish and fancy a snack then I often have a drink of water instead, it's surprising how often I then realise that I didn't really want anything to eat.

5. Cutting Out Food Groups
The body needs nutrients from a wide selection of food in order to thrive. You may think that cutting out a food group such as carbohydrates will help you lose weight and in the short term, it probably will. In the long term your body could be missing out. I believe it is better to eat in moderation from all food groups.

6. Using Exercise As An Excuse To Eat
By this I mean that just because you have exercised for half an hour, that does not justify eating s doughnut. This is another habit that I used to have until I googled how long it takes for the body to actually burn off high calories snacks such as doughnuts. I was very surprised. Now I follow the principle that Exercise Doesn't Justify Excess

7. Not Getting Enough Sleep
I've already covered this in detail in one of my previous posts. Not getting sufficient sleep every night can interfere with your body's hormone production and may slow down your weight loss.

8. Eating Too Late
Your body will find it more difficult to burn off food consumed late at night as you will normally not be as active at this time. I try to follow the old principle that you should "breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper."

9.  Choosing The Wrong Snacks
if you need to build snacks into your daily food intake then look for ones that are not just low in fat but that are low in sugar too. If you can keep your blood sugar level steady throughout the day then it's much easier to stick to healthy choices.

10. Unconscious Eating
This is eating without really thinking about it. I was guilty of this one today. I was clearing away breakfast, my daughter had left some toast and I just took a bite. The trouble is that all those bites add up and it does make a difference. So just try and think before you nibble at anything.

I hope that you find some of these useful. I just tried to think of habits that I have struggled to break and that I know are not particularly good for me. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 20 June 2016

Monday Motivation- Sleep and Sunshine

As usual on a Monday morning, I sat down today to think about what was motivating me before I started writing to you. Sleep and sunshine were literally the only things that came into my head.

Sleep is because I was up late working last night and then had to get up extra early today to get my youngest daughter to school as she is off on an activity trip today. This was made worse by the fact that she forgot her spare clothes and I then had to drive home and back again with them for her. I've tried really hard over the last week to get some extra sleep as I was worried about the detrimental effects on my health. All that good work was just destroyed by last night though. When I look at this picture, I just want to crawl under the duvet!! I'm seriously looking forward to bedtime tonight. 

The other thing motivating me this week is sunshine. Where has summer gone?? Yet again we have torrential rain today. I really do find this type of weather really depressing as it's just so grey and horrible. I can't afford a holiday abroad this year so I'm trying to hold onto the thought that the weather must improve soon and surely we will finally get some sunshine! These are the images I was looking at today to cheer myself up.

Lack of sleep means that I might write today off for working out. I'm so tired that my poor body aches anyway. I have work to do so I can't catch up on any sleep but I can at least be gentle with myself today.

Hope that you all have a great Mondsy and that the sun is shining for at least some of you. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Quorn Chilli With NoodleSlim Rice

I've said quite a few times that I wanted to shake up my diet and try to introduce some new foods. Chilli is not something that I would normally eat so I had a go at devising my own recipe so that I could keep it as low in calories as possible.


1/4 onion
1/4 red pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp paprika 
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
150g quorn mince
100ml boiling water 
1 tsp gravy granules
200g chopped tomatoes
3 tbsps tomato purée
150g red kidney beans
1 packet NoodleSlim rice


1. Finely chop the onion, pepper and garlic then fry it gently in a pan with low fat cooking spray for a couple of minutes.
2. Add the paprika, cumin and chilli powder. Stir so that the mixture is fully coated with the spices and then continue frying for another two minutes.
3. Add the quorn mince and stir thoroughly. You may need to add a little oil at this point as quorn mince is quite dry. Cook on a reduced heat for five minutes
4. Stir the gravy granules into the boiling water and then add to the pan. Stir thoroughly.
5. Add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Stir until completely combined.
6. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
7. Drain and rinse the kidney beans then add to the pan stirring until mixed.

8. Add additional seasoning if required. This is a matter of personal taste depending on how spicy you like your food.
9. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
10. Prepare the NoddleSlim rice as per the packet instructions. Add to the pan, stir until fully mixed and then simmer for another two to three minutes.
11. Serve with some fresh coriander as garnish if you would like.

This recipe actually makes two large servings which are 378 calories each. You can keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days. Just be sure to thoroughly reheat before eating.

What I really liked about this recipe was how incredibly filling it was for only 378 calories. I actually struggled to finish it and certainly wasn't hungry at all for the rest of the day.

Let me know if you try making it. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 23 - No Change

So no weight loss this week. I've stayed at 15 stone 6.

I suppose the way to look at it is that although there's no loss, there's no gain either! It's also the week in the month when I would normally have put weight on and I do feel horribly bloated and grumpy with PMT. One thing I have found out on this weight loss journey is that this week each month will never be great but that it will pass.

I seem to have hit a bit of a plateau with weight loss. It's slowed down terribly. Now would be the time to step up my exercise to make the difference if it wasn't for my damn knee. I thought my knee was ok again as I had rested it and all pain seemed to have gone. I ran 3km on Monday without pain then yesterday the pain was back, bad as ever and it hurt to bend it. I think I may need to see a sports physio. There is no point in going to my doctor, he will just tell me to rest it and take painkillers. I've no idea how much a sports physio would cost but I'd better start saving. 

On the positive side I have been doing some cooking. If you fancy a sweet snack then try my banana and date bread recipe that I posted yesterday. Watch out tomorrow for a great dinner recipe too.

So the plan for the week is to keep plodding along. I can't do much else with my knee at the moment 😂 Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Banana And Date Bread

I haven't made banana bread for ages so I decided to have a go at a healthy version with dates. I think it turned out really well.

100g coconut oil
100g maple syrup
200g self raising flour
2 bananas
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
100g pitted dates

1. Mash the bananas. I used a hand blender to make the mixture smooth.
2. Beat the eggs and add to the bananas.
3. Add the coconut oil and maple syrup. Stir thoroughly until everything is combined.
4. Add the flour and baking powder to make a sticky doughy mixture.
5. Chop the dates into small pieces. I used a food processor which was easier.
6. Put the mixture into a greased bread tin.

7. Cook for approximately 30 minutes at 180 degrees in a preheated oven. It's best to use a skewer or a very thin knife to check that the bread is cooked right through.

Allow to cool thoroughly before removing the bread from the tin.

The recipe makes one loaf which is 3070 calories. It cuts into 15 slices so each slice is only 204 calories each. You could reduce the calories by using margarine instead of coconut oil but the bread may lose some of its moistness. You could also leave out the maple syrup and rely on the dates and bananas to provide sweetness. Another option would to reduce the amount of dates used to 50g.

This makes a great snack and can be stored in an airtight container for about a week.

Let me know if you try making this. I'm off to enjoy a slice now with a cup of coffee. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 13 June 2016

Monday Motivation - Treat Life Like A Jigsaw

It's Monday again but I've got up in a positive and happy mood this morning. I'm obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack at the moment so I was thrilled to hear that it won 11 well deserved Tony awards last night. Plus I actually got six and a half hours sleep. I was aiming for seven but work got in the way again but I'll keep trying.

My motivation for this week is to look at the bigger picture and try to give everything in my life equal emphasis. Not easy but everything fits together, hence the title of this post, and if I don't get the balance right then things do not fit in properly.

So my aims this week are seven hours sleep per night, work on the recipes I have been devising and that I keep putting off completing, workout but think quality more than quantity and factor in a rest day here and there. 

I'm not saying that I will get all this immediately sorted out this week which is why I am calling them aims rather than plans. This is my motivational image for the week.

Hope you all have a good Monday and a great week. Be kind to yourself! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 11 June 2016

A measure of success

If you have read my blog before then you will be aware that I am a big fan of measuring my progress in a variety of ways and not just using the scales. I take my measurements once a month to see how they change and I just did it again a couple of days ago. These are the results.

7th June

Chest - 44 inches
Waist - 40.5 inches
Hips - 44 inches
Thigh - 23.5 inches
Calf - 16 inches
Upper arm - 13 inches

It's interesting that there are losses in different places but not overall this month. The differences in measurements are

Chest - 0 inches lost this month and 3 inches lost in total

Waist - half an inch lost this month and 6.5 inches lost in total

Hips - 1 inch lost this month and 5 inches lost in total

Thigh - 0 inches lost this month and 1.5 inches lost in total

Calf - no loss this month and 1 inch lost in total

Upper arm - half an inch lost this month and an inch lost in total.

If you are not seeing any dramatic losses on the scales for a little while then checking your body measurements can be a great motivator. Seeing the changes in your measurements actually written down really reinforces what you have achieved rather than just thinking that your clothes feel looser. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Is lack of sleep stopping my weight loss?

I never get enough sleep. My eldest daughter is 19 now so I can truthfully say that I have been tired for the best part of the last 19 years. Over the last month in particular, my workload has been crazy and I have ended up working until 1 or 2 in the morning every day. I am then up at 7am every day. I had never thought about how this could potentially damage my weight loss plans but I just read an article that has given me food for thought.

A lack of sleep will actually make you feel hungrier. There is a hormone called Leptin which sends signals to the brain to  say that you are full up and a lack of sleep reduces the production of Leptin. There is another hormone called Ghrelin which stimulates the appetite. A lack of sleep makes the body increase its production of Ghrelin. So simply by not getting enough sleep, you are putting your body in a state where you will find it incredibly difficult to keep to a healthy diet.

Another major impact of lack of sleep is how your body deals with cortisol and the levels of cortisol in your body. This can cause your body to store fat particularly around your abdomen and have a bad effect on your blood sugar levels. 

Research has shown that people who sleep less than seven hours per night are at a greatly increased risk of obesity and developing serious conditions such as diabetes.

I'm not sure how I am going to manage this but I clearly need to increase the amount of sleep that I am getting. I really had no idea that a lack of sleep could be having such a bad effect of my health. It has made me wonder if this could be one of the reasons why my weight loss has slowed down over the last month as my levels of sleep have definitely gone down in that period of time. 

It will be interesting to see if more sleep will help my weight loss. I'll keep you posted. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 22 - Going Down

I lost 3/4 of a pound this week. Yay, it's a boost to see the scales going down again

This takes my total loss down to 25.5 pounds. It feels good to be back on track and working out. I didn't run this week after all but I did spend 2 hours walking yesterday so I figured that was quite good. My knee twinged a bit after that so maybe it was best I didn't run after all. I won't be working out today as my daughter is swimming in the London Youth ParaGames so I'll be cheering her on all day. I will try to fit in a workout tomorrow in between taking my cat to the vets. I'm desperate to do some cooking too but I haven't had the time. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

Maybe all this rushing around is helping with my weight anyway! Now I'm rushing off to the ParaGames. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Why I'm Turning to High Protein Snacks to Improve My Workouts

If you read my blog on a regular basis then you will know that I've been becoming more concerned with the quality of what I am eating as opposed to the quantity. It's very easy when you are on a long term weight loss journey to slip into a pattern of just repeating the same food because it's low fat or low calorie when there may be other choices that would be of more benefit to your body.

Now that I am following the SparkPeople App, I receive a daily nutritional breakdown of everything that I eat and I was very surprised to see that my protein intake is lower than they recommend. This probably explains why my energy levels have been quite low especially when I am exercising most days and it may even be a minor cause of why I have been picking up niggling little injuries lately.

I've been doing some research into how I can improve my protein consumption and how this will benefit me and my workout routine in particular. Protein is the main tool that the body uses to repair itself so this becomes even more important when you work out. Eating protein snacks will help strengthen your muscles and aid their growth. It will also help to reduce your hunger and regulate your blood sugar levels. A heavy workout routine and a lack of protein will result in you feeling constantly tired, you will take longer to recover from workout sessions and you may find yourself picking up more injuries.

There are a lot of websites giving information about the benefits of protein, personally I found to be really useful. As well as selling a great range of snacks, they provide information, ideas and recipes. I was surprised to learn that how many complex proteins the body needs to function and that insulin is actually a protein. The information and advice given on their page about High Protein Snacks is really useful. I definitely want to try out their recipe ideas! I used to just think of meat or eggs when I thought about eating protein but there are so many more possibilities, I can't wait to get experimenting. By increasing my protein intake, particularly after workouts, I should increase my energy levels and make my workouts more effective. It should also help me to tone up more.

I am definitely a grazer in my daily eating pattern. I tend to prefer three smaller meals with a range of snacks spread out in between so the quality of my snacks is really important to my diet. I generally feel that this is another area I need to work on. The registered dietitian at highlights the healthiest snacks you can eat on their Healthy Snacks page and I found this really useful to read. They all contain protein or fibre, are low in saturated fat and have a maximum of 160 calories. Perfect choices really!

This graphic was also really helpful

The raw chocolate chip granola bites look particularly yummy!

I'm starting working out again from Monday now that my knee is on the mend and I'm definitely going to build more protein snacks into my diet especially for after my workouts. They will  help my muscles to recover and build plus they will make me feel fuller. The final deciding factor is that your body burns more calories to break down protein so, in a way, it will be like I'm continuing my workout. Definitely a win-win situation. 

I'll keep you posted how I get on with the protein snacks and will share some pictures of my favourites. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 6 June 2016

Monday Motivation - Get Back In The Game

Wow, just realised its four days since I wrote a post. It's unlike me to leave it so long but I really have been horrendously busy. Yesterday I had a four hour drive to take my daughter to an athletics meet and back. Sadly she didn't have a great race and picked up a niggling injury. We did have dinner out on the way home though which cheered her up. A great tip for anyone with a slight muscle pull is to do what I did for my daughter once we were home. I wrapped a bag of frozen peas in a tea towel and put it on her leg for an hour. It works wonders and this morning she feels fine. 

So today I'm feeling tired but at least I'm back in my normal routine as my daughter is back at school. My aim is just to get back on track this week with workouts. My knee feels ok so I'll try some gentle jogging. I also want to work on some new recipes so looks like I'm going to be busy! 

Here's a few images I've made to help motivate myself this week. 

Hope Monday is being kind to you! Have a great week. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 21 - Teeny Tiny Gain Again

I have put on a quarter of a pound this week but I'm not surprised.

I haven't been able to exercise at all because of my knee which always has a huge impact on whether I lose weight or it. Also it's the school holidays so this has meant eating out a bit more in McDonalds and Wagamamas. I have tried to choose healthy options but I think it still has an impact. The final factor has been that my hormones are clearly all over the place this week; I feel bloated and yucky which usually means I'm retaining water. 

So although it's disappointing to gain weight, it really is the smallest amount and that's life! Things will turn up as obstacles and it won't always be easy. All you can do is regroup and keep going as the nex week will probably be different.

I do expect the next week to be better for me as my knee is clearly on the mend so I will start exercising from Monday when my daughter returns to school. I've also started working on giving my diet a complete overhaul but I had to wait for payday to go shopping and carry this out! Hopefully my hormones will settle down again next week too!

My advice is never get disheartened if you have a disappointing week. See it as just a bump in the road on your weight loss journey. Just get past it, gather yourself together and refocus. That's the philosophy I try to stick to. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

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