Friday, 29 July 2016

Blueberry Biscuits

This is probably one of the easiest recipes that I have ever created. It is also one of the tastiest so I couldn't wait to share it with you.

2 bananas
100g honey
1 egg
50g coconut oil
150g oats
150g self raising flour
1 tbsp baking powder
100g blueberries

1. Mash the bananas thoroughly until there are no lumps left. You can use a hand blender if that is easier.
2. Beat the egg and mix it into the bananas.
3. Add the honey and coconut oil then mix thoroughly until combined.
4. Stir in the oats, flour and baking powder. Mix until you have a sticky dough like mixture.
5. Fold the blueberries into the mixture and stir gently.
6. Place heaped tablespoons of the mixture at intervals on a greased baking sheet. Flatten the mixture using either your fingers or the back of a spoon.
7. Cook in a preheated oven at 175 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.
8. Leave to cool before removing from the baking tray.

The recipe makes 18 biscuits and they are only 99 calories each. They make a fantastic healthy snack. My youngest daughter loves them!

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

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 29 - Still Going

Only one quarter of a pound lost this week but hey, it's still a loss and takes me to 27.25 pounds in total

If you read my blog then you will know that I always like to look back on the week and think about what I have done that may have impacted on my weight loss. I have definitely been less active over this last week. My daughter is on holiday from school so there was less running around after her, also she had a heavy cold so she wasn't going to athletics training either. So we had a very chilled and sedate week mostly indoors apart from our trip to the Anniversary Games at the Olympic Stadium. If you follow me on Instagram you'll have already seen a picture

It was an incredibly afternoon and we got to watch some top athletes including Mo Farah

I didn't even get to do any gardening this week. So I can't even say that I got some exercise that way. I was generally either looking after my daughter or chained to my laptop working. 

So I'm not displeased about only a quarter of a pound lost. It's still a loss. I always knew that the school holidays would be hard so I will be happy with any loss or even just maintaining my weight. My knee is feeling so much stronger now so I will be ready to really push myself in September!

I think it's important when you embark on a long weight loss to recognise that there might be times when you need to go easier on yourself or it might just not be possible to push yourself as much. In my opinion, this is fine as long as you don't see it as an excuse to go completely off the rails. I may not be able to keep to an exercise routine in the school holidays but I will keep to my healthy diet and fit in exercise where I can even if it is just through walking instead of using the car or through strenuous gardening.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 25 July 2016

Monday Motivation - Enthusiasm

Life is invariably formed of a series of routine. Even a radical lifestyle change that may seem fresh and exciting will eventually become your normal routine. In my opinion, enthusiasm is the key to keeping it exciting.

The dictionary defines enthusiasm as "intense and eager enjoyment". Therefore if you are enthusiastic about something then you are more likely to throw yourself into it fully. 

My motivation for today has been to come up with three things in my life that I am currently enthusiastic about. In no particular order, they are:

1. Writing - I love writing this blog and starting it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I'm excited to see what direction I go in next with the planned ebook.

2. Cooking - I have always enjoyed cooking and particularly baking but have never devised my own recipes before. This is something I enjoy so much and I am really enthusiastic about creating new recipes.

3. Being healthy - I started this weight loss journey because I wanted to improve my life and being healthy is a huge part of that. It's still a work in progress but I have retained that enthusiasm to better myself.

Here's some of the images that have motivated me this week.

I hope you are all feeling motivated today. Try and think of three things in your life that you are enthusiastic about at the moment. Let me know what you come up with. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 22 July 2016

Fat Shaming vs Fat Acceptance

If you have read my blog before then you will know that I have expressed concern over the Big Is Beautiful ideology and its message that basically it is ok to be overweight.

An incident tonight raised my concerns again and made me question the role of the media. An article on Facebook caught my attention tonight because of its title about not losing weight, lose the clothes you hate instead. It was about a young girl who had broke out of an unhealthy cycle of binging and dieting, put 30lbs on and then bought a new wardrobe of clothes. I felt driven to comment. While I understood the choices that this girl made, I was uneasy about the tone and impact of the article. I've done the whole hiding your weight gain under larger size clothes. There is no denying that being overweight is bad for your health and I felt that the article did not stress that at all. In my opinion, it gave the impression that buying new clothes was the simpler option. 

I was immediately slammed by vitriolic comments accusing me of judging the girl and that I should mind my own business. This was even though I clearly stated that I understood that this was the right decision for her and that my issue was with the headline and tone of the article. 

What was interesting was that upon reading through the comments, I noticed that anyone who mentioned weight gain being unhealthy or questioned the tone and impact of the article was immediately shouted down. 

There has been a lot of comments about the media promoting unhealthy body images through the use of skinny models and perhaps the media needs now to make sure that they don't swing too far in the other direction. Articles that may be aimed at promoting being comfortable with your own body still need to ensure that they are also promoting a healthy weight too! The obesity crisis is getting worse not better!

I actually deleted my comment in the end as the replies were becoming more unpleasant. I would never try to fat shame someone, it would be a bit ironic as I personally am still classified as an obese weight. In my opinion though, fat acceptance takes things too far in the other direction as it will impact on health, if not immediately then in the future.

I'd be interested to know your opinions on this. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Ebook update

I thought I would let you know how I am getting on with my recipe ebook.

It's taking a little more time than I had envisaged, mainly because normal work has got in the way. That pays the bills so it has had to take priority. 

I have sorted out all the formatting. I was surprised at all the different applications that you can use to create an ebook. I decided to go with PowerPoint because it gives me a lot more flexibility over the layout and the images that I want to include.  I can give you a sneak peek of how it will look. 

I've also sorted out the new recipes that I want to put in the ebook including the Banana and Kiwi cakes that I made yesterday. 

These were tricky little devils to make. The kiwi makes the cakes surprisingly moist so I had to play around with the recipe to make sure they rose enough.

The other thing that I have been working on is the ebook cover. I've finally finished the design but I'm going to keep it under wraps for now. 

So all I have to do is transcribe the recipes into the PowerPoint template then convert it to a pdf file once complete. Keep reading my blog and I'll continue to update you on my progress.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 28 - Creeping Towards 2 Stone Off

I've lost half a pound this week which takes me up to a total loss of 27 pounds. 

It's been slow and painful progress lately but I keep reminding myself that it is still progress. It's good to look at how far I have actually come.

When I started on this journey I felt like I was at rock bottom

So this has been a process not just of losing weight but of rebuilding myself. Now I look in the mirror and think of myself as a work in progress.

 I've come a long way and I may still have a long way to go but I'm on the right road and I will get there!

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 18 July 2016

Monday Motivation - Love

This may seem an unusual topic for a Monday motivation post but for me it's a way of summing up what I've been thinking and feeling over the weekend.

I started off by feeling incredibly low. The hideous events in Nice really haunted me. That is one of my favourite holiday destinations and I have been to promenade parties on the Promenade des Anglais with my children.

It didn't feel like there was much love left in the world at that point.

Following on from the Nice attack I had to explain to my 12 year old daughter why I may not let her go on a school residential trip to France in the next school year due to my concerns over safety. She wasn't happy but I know that parental love isn't about popularity. It's about doing what you feel is best for your child. It was a struggle to explain this to her though.

If you have read my blog before then you will know that I am an emotional overeater. Bad moods, bad experiences or just generally tough times will usually have sent me reaching for the cakes and biscuits. Even though I felt incredibly low over the weekend, I was able to stop my self from comfort eating. I was in a reflective mood anyway so I took some time to think about what was different this time and why was I able to control my mood.

I came to the conclusion that the difference is how I feel about myself now. I wouldn't go as far as to say I love myself. I still have self esteem and body issues to combat as well as depression. However I can recognise that I am in a different place now compared to the start of the year and I know how far I have managed to come. 

Maybe this is the answer for me. Being happier with myself and more content with my choices puts me in a position of strength to deal with the crap that life throws at me and make difficult choices.

Carrie Bradshaw summed it up perfectly in Sex and the City - "The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself."

So love your friends, love your family, love your pets but don't forget to love yourself and don't let anyone ever tell you that you are not worth that!

Here's some of the images that have motivated me today.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 27 - Stalemate

No change this week, I stayed at 15 st 5

This has finally pushed me towards making a decision that I have been mulling over for a while. From today I am moving back onto Weightwatchers Smartpoints instead of counting calories.

My reason for doing this is that counting calories has increasingly felt like a weight maintenance plan and I think this has been reflected in the small weight losses lately. I'm glad I did switch for a while though, it suited me to take things easier for a few weeks and took the pressure off me for a while. Now with the school holidays looming, I feel that it's time to introduce some more structure back in my diet. I don't rule out switching back to calorie counting again in the future but it's not the right thing for me at the moment. I'm actually quite enthusiastic to see whether switching back has a big impact or not. So watch this space.....

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Fat Vs Sugar

Fat has always been regarded as a heinous and forbidden substance if you were trying to lose weight. A huge industry has sprung up around the manufacturing of low fat food. Only now it seems that there is a new bogeyman on the street and Sugar should be regarded as public enemy number one. So which one is worse for you? Are they as bad as each other? Do we all need to rethink our attitudes towards healthy eating? I've been doing some reading and some research to try and make sense  of it 

Assessing the impact of fat on your health is quite complicated and even experts seem to disagree. The most important thing to look for is the type of fat that you are consuming.

Trans Fat
This is the fat that you really need to avoid. It raises the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood and also lowers the amount of good cholesterol. It is also commonly known as partially hydrogenated oils. Some countries have taken legal steps to limit the use of trans fats in fast food restaurants but unfortunately it still remains in use in many areas. Trans fats are often found in baked or fried goods.

Saturated Fat
This is where you can start to get some conflicting evidence about whether fat is harmful. Previously all types of saturated fat have been lumped together and viewed as equally bad. Research is now showing that this may be incorrect as certain types can be worse than others and some may have health benefits that possibly outweigh any small risks. 

Stearin acid, commonly found in meat, has been shown to have little effect on cholesterol. Myristic acid, found in dairy products and coconut oil, may increase bad cholesterol but it also increases good cholesterol as well thereby maintaining the correct ratio in the blood.  Lauric acid, also found in coconut oil, may increase good cholesterol more than it increases bad cholesterol. 

This doesn't mean that we should all go out and start eating huge amounts of saturated fat as part of our diet. It does mean that it has probably been incorrect to demonise all types.

Unsaturated Fat
These are divided into two types - monosaturated and polyunsaturated. The general advice is that these types of fats, while still being fairly high in calories, can have a beneficial effect on your health by improving cholesterol levels.


The impact of consuming high levels of sugar in your diet has really only been properly assessed recently. I can certainly remember my mum on diets where she would eat sugary snacks every day but she thought it was alright because they were low in fat. 

Sugar is often described as empty calories as it gives no health benefits. Recent research gives a long list of the detrimental effects of high sugar consumption. This includes:-

Insulin resistance 
Fatty liver disease

In addition to this, there is evidence to show that consuming fructose, one of the common forms of added sugar, can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. 

Which is worse?

I don't think you can say conclusively that either fat or sugar is worse for you. What it is safe to say is that certain fats may not be so bad for you after all and can be consumed in moderation.

What the latest research has clearly demonstrated is the potential harmful effects of sugar which had not been a deciding factor in many people's dietary decisions before. 

Personally I am going to keep to the principle of everything in moderation although I will pay greater attention to the types of fats that I consume. I feel happier about including coconut oil in my diet now. I also now understand why weightwatchers changed their points system to cut out more sugar and this has motivated me to stick with Smartpoints again.

Hope you found some of this useful. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx


Monday, 11 July 2016

Monday Motivation - Make Time

Finding extra time is my motivation for this week. I've been feeling quite swamped lately with too many things to do and not enough time. 

I'm self employed and work on a freelance basis. This means that I have to grab work while its there and can mean working late into the night. If I don't work then I don't get paid and I can't pay my bills!

I'm a single mum with one daughter at home and one at university. My youngest has special educational needs which means she can need extra support plus she is an athlete and trains three times per week. I get no respite at all. I'm mum 24/7. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have it any other way but it is another time constraint. Add into this, trying to workout each week and work on this blog and you get an idea why I struggle for time. Sleep seems to be the thing that I cut down in order to try and fit everything else in, although I know that this is not particularly healthy for me. 

Now I really have proved myself to be a glutton for punishment by deciding to produce the recipe ebook. I'm not panicking, honest!! 

So solving my time management issues is definitely my motivation for this week. It's July now and before we know it, it will be 2017.

I have an idea of where I want to be both personally and professionally by 2017 but how do I get there? I don't have an easy answer and it frequently feels like time is getting away from me.

I'm going to start by making a series of lists. I'm a great one for making lists anyway but this will take it to a new level. I intend to have daily lists, weekly lists, monthly lists plus a plan of what I want to have achieved by the end of the year. I know this sounds a bit obsessive and that something might slip but it will focus my mind and help me prioritise. I might even colour code my lists! Maybe then I will manage to get more than five hours sleep on a regular basis. 

So I have a notepad ready and now I just need to set aside time today to start working on the lists! 

Here's a few images that have motivated me today.

The last image struck a particular chord with me. I read it as meaning that you should never rest on your laurels. We are all on a journey and you can always push to improve. 

Hope you are all feeling motivated and having a great Monday. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Spicy Chicken and Date Tagine

My continuing obsession with using dates in my recipes really is getting out of hand! I promise that this will be the last recipe using them that I post for a while. This dish was partly inspired by my attempts to increase the amount of spicy food in my diet.

1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp cinnamon 
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp tumeric
375g diced chicken
2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 red onion
100g chestnut mushrooms 
2 tsps chilli purée
400g tin of chopped tomatoes 
150g dates
100ml cold water
Knorr chicken stockpot

1. Mix all of the spices together in a small bowl.
2. Toss the diced chicken in the spice mixture until it is fully coated on every surface. Leave the chicken for 20 minutes.
3. Heat the oil in a large stir fry pan or wok. Add the chicken and cook over a medium heat until it has browned. This may take about 4 minutes but use your judgement.
4. Slice the mushrooms and finely chop the red onion and garlic. Add these to the pan and cook for another 2 - 3 minutes while stirring.
5. Chop the dates into small chunks.
6. Add the dates, chilli purée, tomatoes, water and stockpot. Stir until mixed in.
7. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 - 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

There are a number of ways that you can serve this. I was cooking for my eldest daughter as well as myself so I served hers on a bed of couscous.

I had mine with my favourite NoodleSlim rice so I just added that to the Tagine for a couple of minutes and stirred until the rice was heated thoroughly.

The recipe is 1141 in total. It made two very generous portions and could have easily been stretched to three particularly if you added a side salad. Two portions came to 570 calories each whereas three portions would only be 381 calories. If you decide to serve it with couscous then don't forget to add in the extra calories.

I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed this considering the fact that it contains a lot of spices. There is a definite kick to it was it wasn't overly hot.

I also loved the fact that my daughter doesn't normally like dates but she ate this without realising there was dates in the recipe. She even rated the Tagine as 8/10 which is good as she's quite fussy. 

This is definitely a meal I will make again. Let me know if you try making it. Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Friday, 8 July 2016

Exciting News

Just a quick post as I really wanted to share some news that I am really excited about.

I have had such a lovely response to my recipes that I have posted on the blog that I am looking at bringing them all together into an ebook. This is a big step for me as it's something that I have never considered before. I've spent the last couple of days reading about how to publish my own book and what I need to do. Although it's a lot of work, it doesn't appear to be too difficult so I've decided tonight that I'm definitely going to go ahead. 

The book will include all the recipes that have been featured on the blog plus some new ones. I haven't decided whether to place the book on Amazon for kindles but I'll make sure that you are all the first to know when it's available. 

So I've been downloading design apps and templates and hopefully it will be completed within the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime I will keep you up to date with how it's progressing and maybe even give you a few glimpses of how it looks. It's a completely new venture for me so I'm really excited to see how it pans out.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Honey and Date Muffins

These muffins were born out of the fact that I still have a huge bag of dates in my kitchen cupboard and I'm trying to think of different ways to use them. I think they actually turned out really well.


100g Coconut Oil
100g dates
100ml Almond Milk
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking Powder
250g Self Raising Flour
150g Honey


1. Beat the eggs and add to the coconut oil and honey. Mix well until combined.
2. Add the flour, baking powder and milk, then mix together.
3. Chop the dates into small chunks. I used a cooks knife which worked quite well.
4. Fold the dates into the mixture.
5. Place a heaped tablespoon of the mixture into large muffin cases in a muffin tin.
6. Cook in a preheated oven at 180 degrees for approximately 20 minutes or until the muffins  are golden brown on top.
7. Allow to cook until removing from the 
muffin tin.

These make the perfect snack. The recipe makes 12 muffins and they are only 231 calories each. 

They would also be really good for a quick breakfast. The dates make them deliciously moist inside and they combine beautifully with the flavour of the honey.

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

Love Erica xxx

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Wednesday Weigh In - Week 26 - Feeling like a tortoise!

I lost another quarter of a pound this week! 

This takes me to 26.5 pounds lost in total. I know it's very small losses each week at the moment. I keep reminding myself of the story of the tortoise and the hate, hence the title of this post. The tortoise plodded along slowly while the hate streaked ahead. It was the tortoise though who won the race with his slow and steady progress. That will be me on this weight loss journey! I also keep reminding myself that weight lost slowly is more likely to stay off permanently.

I'm still working on strengthening my knee. I had to walk for miles yesterday as my car had to go into the garage. I had no bad reaction from my knee so that's definitely promising.

Hoping to work on some new recipes this week. If you're a fan of spicy chicken then keep an eye on my posts! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

Monday, 4 July 2016

Monday Motivation - Peace

I titled this post Peace because I had been thinking about inner peace. By that I mean the certainty of knowing that you have chosen the right path for yourself and that you are comfortable either with the person you are now or the person that you are trying to become.

I'm trying not to sound too cliched but I suppose it's listening to that inner voice that we all hear in our minds and recognising that our actions and decisions are in sync with that voice.

For me it mean knowing my end goal, not listening to any doubters or cynics and recognising that if I do lapse or have a setback then I will get over it and carry on.

We all make minor decisions every day but deciding to do something to improve your health and fitness is a big decision that can only enhance your life. Recognising that will bring you peace with your decision and help you become singleminded. 

Here's some of the images that have motivated me today.

Hope you are all having a peaceful and motivated week. Thank you for reading my somewhat rambling thoughts! Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx
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