Another Fresh Start

Three weeks ago, on 23rd January, we joined a new Slimming World group.

We’d been to another group previously but decided we’d move to a Saturday session. Weekends were always a difficult time for us, but coming fresh out of class on Saturday lunchtimes keeps us fired up for the week somehow.

I’ve lost 12 pounds in total – 9.5 in the first week, nothing in the second and 2.5 in the third. I’m good with that. The big loss at the start is the most I’ve ever had, so I wasn’t too disappointed when I maintained in week two.

Aside from the move to a Saturday session, there are a couple of other things we’ve done differently this time.

The plan’s different. More of an emphasis on the speedy fruit and vegetables, and a few syns added to some of the packet meals I used to enjoy. I’m struggling a bit with eating enough vegetables – sometimes because I’m having something that doesn’t lend itself to adding extra veg, and sometimes because I’m simply not in the mood to eat lots. So that’s my big challenge at the moment.

We bought two things just as we started. A Nespresso machine and an actifry. We’d had a Nespresso in our room on holiday this year and I decided to invest in one for home. We always have our coffee black without sugar, and it’s great to have a treat that we don’t have to count. It also means we can avoid tempting trips to Costa on Saturday afternoons when we’re craving real coffee. It’s gorgeous, takes up very little space and feels like a proper indulgence!

The Actifry has been a revelation. I’ve been hankering after one for years; ever since Slimming World types started getting them and bragging about making chips in them. Well, after years of making Slimming World chips in the oven, this is a whole new experience. It really does work, takes hardly any cleaning and delivers perfect chips every time.

I keep promising myself I’ll try something new, but so far that’s been limited to some sweet potato paprika bites and a bit of spicy chicken. But it’s been worth it just for the chips.

And then there are the Slimming World meals. I think they’ve been really key in keeping us on plan. In the past, there’d always be that temptation to order a takeaway after a long day at work. Now we have a freezer that’s half full of ready meals that don’t need synning and are big enough to be a full meal – unlike a lot of slimming meals, these ones are really substantial.

All of those things have helped, but what’s really made a difference is that I felt truly ready for this. I was feeling fat and miserable for months beforehand, but I knew that I had to wait until I was ready. I don’t know how that comes about or what the trick is, but I just knew that the time was right.

Since I started, I’ve stuck to it 100%. No cheating, no black holes. And I’ve not really felt tempted.

The next few weeks will be more tricky; we have a meal out this week and I have a conference at the end of the month. But I feel determined to keep powering on.

Slimming World Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake

So, this version of Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake is a great standby for when I just have to have cake. It’s not quite the real thing, but it’s as close as I can get without blowing the syns.

Serves 8 in theory. In reality, it tends to be 2 at most.

Syns 12 for the whole cake – or 6 if you’re counting the Scanbran as a HexB

Time About 40 minutes

One full sized Curly Wurly
One sachet Options (or other low cal hot choc)
Two eggs
4 Scan Bran biscuits
2 tbsp granulated sweetener

Pre-heat the oven to 200c (180c for a fan oven / Gas Mark 6)

Put the scan bran into a smallish bowl and add around 500mls boiling water.
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (3)

Give it about five minutes and you should have softened scan bran. Pour off any excess water, give it a stir and you should have something like this:
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (4)Power through. Honestly. It does get better.

Beat both of the eggs and add the softened scan bran. Stir to combine.

Cut the Curly Wurly up into small pieces and add to the mix.
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (5)

Pop into a cake tin or ovenproof dish (I use a silicone cake pan, which is perfect and doesn’t need any extra greaseproofing).
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (6)

Cook until the cake’s just starting to come away from the sides (35 to 40 minutes).
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (7)

When it’s cold (if you can wait that long) serve with a bit of fruit for extra sweetness.
Scan Bran Curly Wurly Cake (1)

Strawberry Bites – Syn Free on Slimming World

Just a simple little idea that came to me. Really light & delicious – and Syn Free!.

Makes 12
Syn free
40 minutes

4 eggs
2 Strawberry Mullerlights (or 330g of other syn free yogurt)
1 tbsp granulated sweetener
A few fresh strawberries to decorate

Syn Free


1 – Set oven to 180° C

2 – Whisk the eggs.

3 – Add the yogurt and whisk until smooth.

4 – Stir in the sweetener.

5 – Divide between 12 greaseproof muffin cases.

Syn Free Sweet Bites

6 – Bake for 25 – 40 minutes until golden brown.

7 – After cooling on a wire rack, decorate with a piece of fresh strawberry.

Syn Free Strawberry Bites (1)

New Year. New Resolve.

I’ve had a lot of hits here over the past couple of days. We’re all alive with resolutions and intentions. One of mine is to post more here and to have a proper record of my journey – I’ve not written at all for almost a year.

When I come across abandoned slimming blogs, I always assume that the person’s given up or given in and abandoned the blog at the same time they abandoned the diet. That’s not the case at all with me; I’ve just been lax with updates here.


In 2013, I lost the most weight I ever have. I’m two and a half stone lighter than I was this time last year, even after the excesses of Christmas. I can finally buy trousers from M&S instead of Evans, I have more energy than I can remember and I feel good about myself. Mostly.

I could have done far better. Life gets in the way sometimes, and it doesn’t take much to throw me off course.

I still have a very long way to go.

If you’re reading this and wondering whether Slimming World’s for you, do give it a try. It depends on clean, basic food and a bit of forward planning. But it’s worth the effort. I can create something pretty lovely in less time than it used to take to have a pizza delivered.

It depends on following it properly, though. There’s a kind of mysterious alchemy to Slimming World that works perfectly when all the components are there. Not so well when I do it half-heartedly.

And go to a class. I haven’t done that enough at all this year. Go to a few if the first doesn’t seem right for you. Find one where you fit and you’ll have the best support, friendship and a very gentle kick up the bum on the weeks where that’s what you need most of all.

For so many of us, this is a very long journey. It’s always good to have company.

Slimming World Lasagne Recipe

This Slimming World Lasagne recipe is adapted from the one on the official Slimming World website.  I’ve made a couple of tweaks to it, but it’s still very straightforward.

Serves 4
Syns 1 1/2 per serving
(Also uses 120g – 4 HexAs – of cheddar; add 6 syns to each portion if you’d rather syn it)
TIme 40 minutes, plus 30 – 40 minutes in the oven.

400g extra lean minced beef
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into small pieces
1 courgette, cut into small pieces
400g mushrooms, chopped
2 onions, chopped into small pieces
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped or crushed finely
400g can chopped tomatoes
400g passata
3 tsp italian herbs
500g fat free natural yogurt
2 eggs
120g grated cheddar (used as 4 x HexA)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Salt and pepper
12 sheets dried lasagne
4 level tbsp grated parmesan


1 – Using a very large frying pan or wok, fry the minced beef, red pepper, courgettes, mushrooms, onions and garlic over a high heat for 6 – 8 minutes.

Lasagne 1

2 – Beat the eggs, and carefully stir in the yogurt. Add the cheddar and nutmeg to this mixture and stir to combine.

Lasagne 2

3 – Preheat the oven to 200c / Gas mark 6 (only do this if you’re planning to eat straight away – skip this step if you’re making the lasagne to heat later).

4 – Add the tinned tomatoes, passata and dried herbs and cook for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.

Lasagne 3

5 – Spray a large lasagne dish with frylight.  Spread half the mince mixture across the base of the dish.  Add layer of lasagne sheets, followed by half the yogurt and cheese mixture.

6 – Add a second layer of mince, then the rest of the lasagne sheets and the remaining yogurt and cheese mixture.

7 – Sprinkle the parmesan over the top.

8 – Cook in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes (up to 45 minutes if cooking from cold) or until the top is golden. Serve hot with Slimming World chips or salad.


(Huge apologies for my shocking food photography. I’m working on it!).