Friday, 29 April 2016

Pizza Cucina Van - review by Bex

In complete contrast to this week's posts, I recently discovered there is a "Pizza Van" which visits Buxted every Thursday.  I heard it was pretty good and thought we should give it a try as we love pizza and it's very close by.  Nik was a bit dubious about a pizza van producing good pizza but I reassured him a couple of my new local friends had recommended it and I checked it out one day and saw it had a proper wood fired pizza oven on board!

A few weeks ago we finally sampled the pizzas and I could see it becoming a regular Thursday dinner!  They were the best pizzas we've had in a long time.  Very cheesy, delicious and reasonably priced too!  The fact it's close by means they're still hot when we get them home too.  We had another last week before I started my new plan, they're SO good!

Nik ordered the pepperoni (£7.50) and I made up my own topping with chicken, artichokes and pesto (£9.00).  

What we didn't expect was a couple of trips!  I checked the top box when I collected them but when I got back - only one pizza!!!  Oops!

I obviously called them immediately and explained and they found the other one in the van, they'd just given me the wrong box.  They apologised and asked if I could return for it.  As mine was there, Nik went back for his so mine didn't get cold.  They were very good and gave him a refund so we got his pizza free.  It was cold by the time he got home so he had to pop his in the oven but he loved it once he actually got to eat it!

 Despite the little mix up, we really loved the Pizza Cucina Van and will be using it again.  They were very friendly, nearby, have good customer service and seriously yummy pizzas!  We will be regular customers.

Olive Dragonfly Rating - Pizza Cucina Van
Food - 10/10
Atmosphere - n/a
Service - 9/10
Overall - 9.5/10

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

90 Day SSS the start - Weight Loss by Bex

So, my first day on my new plan went pretty well.  I was very worried about the volume of water I'd be required to drink, I've always struggled to drink water if I'm not thirsty.  Even then, I have to use our soda stream to make fizzy water as I really just don't like water.  I know that's weird to a lot of people but I just don't like the non-taste of it.  The fizzy water tastes different due to the fizz and I love it!  Bizarre but hey, it works for me.  Anyway, there are no specific notes about the water having to be still so I'm sticking with what I like despite the fact I will be full of bubbles!  I'd REALLY struggle to force down 3.25 litres of still water every day!  I've to try to limit my fizzy water to 50% of my intake though, I manage to have the still water during work outs but I need to work on forcing it down the rest of the time!

I found it easier than I thought to drink it all though.  Baring in mind that it's in addition to my protein shakes, I managed to have over a litre before I left for work on Monday!  I had my 275 mls when I woke, then my peach & mango BCAA shake with 300mls water, then 500mls water during my HIIT workout, then BCAA with 200mls (seriously - that stuff is disgusting so I reduced the recommended by Joe volume to the minimum it said on the packet and washed it down with more water - I've been recommended to try the berry blast instead) then my 300ml protein shake (this one was actually quite nice - I got the blueberry flavour) and another glass of water before I left.  I then managed to finish my 1L bottle of water at work by lunchtime and started my next one which I finished with dinner.

Obviously as a result of all that liquid, my kidneys are getting a good workout too and I've been constantly popping to the loo!

I didn't expect to be hungry on the plan given the large portions of protein but I was, particularly in the afternoon.  On my first day I got up early at 6am to drink my water and BCAA, did my measurements and work out, drank everything else and had my Build Up Bagel for breakfast.  That was yummy!  I tried to find out if there was something I could substitute for the Walden's Farm BBQ sauce (low or no calorie I think) as I'm not really a fan of BBQ flavour but couldn't find any info on the website or google.  I ended up using mustard which I figured wouldn't be too bad and would be yummy, which it was!  I have ordered the Walden's farm sauce as it's used in a couple of other recipes (i.e. with mince) so I figured I should at least try it in case it's not too smoky and I like it.  (Update: it arrived yesterday and I hate it - too smoky for me.  If anybody wants mine, let me know!)

The rest of my day's menu was:
Breakfast - Bagel
Snack 1 - Salmon pate & 2 rice cakes
Lunch - Chicken stir fry
Snack 2 - Melon
Dinner - Chicken cashew curry with broccoli

I managed my 3.25L water and protein shakes and various other supplements too.  And yet I was still hungry after lunch!  The melon helped briefly but I might try the more eggy options or a protein shake next time and see if they fill me up more.

I've enjoyed all of the food so far (if you don't count the BCAA shake - reminded me of Movicol when I had to get a colonoscopy a couple of years ago!) and hope I adjust to the new menu soon so I don't feel hungry.  That's one reason why I've never dieted - I get HANGRY!  I can't cope if I'm hungry.  That's what attracted me to this plan, so many people saying they struggled to eat everything.  Hmmm, not me apparently!

I've since been recommended to try the berry blast flavour of BCAA or some of the flavours from a different website (not the one Joe recommends) so I'll give them a go.  SO far I've been making them with as little volume as possible, pinching my nose and downing them in one and quickly rinsing down with fizzy water!

On day 2  my menu was as follows:

Water, BCAA shake, HIIT workout, BCAA shake, Impact Whey shake, more water and Vit C.
Breakfast - I was going to make protein pancakes but after my sweet Blueberry protein shake I didn't fancy sweet pancakes so made another build up bagel with mustard.  Yum!
Snack - Avocado dip with celery
Lunch - Chicken Stir Fry
Snack - Boiled egg
Dinner - Spicy Turkey Mince with avocado & spinach.  (I never quite anticipated just how much spinach 175g is!  A serious mountain of it - I had to have it in a separate bowl and might stick to the other greens next time although it did help cool my mouth with the very hot mince!)
I managed my full water in take again.

The work outs are hard (of course or what's the point!?) as I am so unfit at the moment.  I'm not hating them though but I do struggle to do the whole thing the whole time.  I am definitely having to take more rest time between each exercise!  Hopefully this will improve quickly.

Today I have had my protein based breakfast as I knew I wouldn't manage a workout this morning (it's always crazy busy on the day I have to get everything ready for the childminder and get the house tidy for the cleaner coming!  I usually do as much as possible the night before for the kids and cleaner but that plus getting their lunch packed and sorting myself out takes too long in the morning on my own when we need to be out of the house before 8am!  I've discovered that sorting my shakes, workout and breakfast takes a good 1-1.5 hours even with food prep done in advance and the workout itself being about 30 mins including warm up and cool down.

This morning I had these delicious scrambled eggs with feta and spinach.  I didn't get enough of the house tidy yesterday and was knackered so ended up being in a massive rush this morning (thank goodness the twins slept til 8!) and had to shove my breakfast in a big box to take to work (I start at 8.30!) and wolfed it down when I got there with 3 mins to spare!!

I planned to do a workout this evening before dinner but Nik is on call and will likely be home late so I'm going to have a rest day today and stick to the protein based meals all day.

As for my starting point, I'm not sharing the before (bikini and workout wear) shots until I have some after shots for comparison as they're just horrendous!  My starting weight is 202lbs (91.6kg, 14.4 stones!) and my measurements are below:

StartingEnd of Cycle OneEnd of Cycle TwoEnd of Cycle Three
Bicep - Left14.5
Bicep - Right14
Thigh - Left28
Thigh - Right27.5

As you can see, I'm not in good shape at all at the moment and still carrying a lot of excess fat around my middle and thighs.  Fingers crossed this plan works to get me back to a fit & healthy me again!

Monday, 25 April 2016

The Body Coach 90 Day Shift Shape & Sustain Plan - Weight Loss by Bex

A few things have been getting me a little down recently, mostly regarding lack of meaningful friendships, loss of old friendships and how I'm worried I am failing at being a friend since having the twins.  I wrote a blog post about it and then decided it probably made me sound a bit paranoid (maybe I am) and all woe-is-me.  It remains unpublished for now but the main thing getting me down was to do with the friends where I feel I have tried to make an effort only to be repeatedly left hanging and feeling left out.  (I do want to emphasise these are not the friends who I've made arrangements to see and one or both of us has had to cancel or postpone!  We all have busier lives these days with families to care for and so many things crop up, I'm not unrealistic!)

One of the main points though is that I'm choosing to change things to try to be happier.  I've decided that to be happy, I need to let go and accept that certain people just don't want to be a part of my life.  It's difficult moving so far away from my home and friends at a time when so much in life changed, trying to make a new life from scratch with two babies in tow.  I need to focus my efforts on my family, making new local friends and myself.  One of the big changes I am making is sorting out my body now that I've (mostly) claimed it back from the twins!  I am so bored of wearing the same old big baggy things and miss my old clothes.  I need to get back in shape with the added bonus of hopefully getting fitter and being less tired!  Especially now we're coming into summer, it would be nice to feel good about myself again and to have more energy for playing and running around with the twins!

I've been thinking about signing up to the Body Coach 90 day Shift, Shape and Sustain plan for a few months since I saw someone I know on instagram start it and discovered Joe's page.  The transformations are really inspirational and although I know it'll be hard work, especially with the time I'll need to dedicate to prepping food and fitting in workouts (although they are shorter intense ones luckily) around the twins, I feel like I'm ready to work hard and make the changes.  I took the plunge and signed up because I get it.  The plan makes sense to me and isn't a diet, there is plenty of food involved and all the sorts of food I like to eat so I hope I find it easy enough to stick to.

I have read a few reviews of the plan online and found mixed opinions.  The negative ones I found were both from people with good levels of fitness already who wanted to tone more.  They didn't notice any dramatic results and missed their usual exercise (running, etc) and food.  As I currently have a terrible level of fitness with next to no exercise for 18 months, fairly healthy eating but with too many naughty treats and hardly any water and have no energy, I think (and hope) I will notice a big difference.  There's not quite as much explanation of the theory behind the plan as I hoped (enabling me to learn more about what foods to eat when and sustain it after) but I guess this might come in cycle 3.  I suppose he doesn't want to give too much away either since first and foremost, this is his business and he doesn't want everyone copying his principles.  I'd read about how much reading is involved when you get the plan but to be honest, I didn't find it to be that much, nor too taxing.  The majority of my 99 page Cycle 1 PDF is recipes.  I've chosen my favourites and printed them off as well as my list of supplements and when to take them.

I have been getting organised behind the scenes, deciding which recipes I want to eat and when, cooking them, making and portioning out my snacks for the week and sorting out my supplements.  One of the things I wondered about before signing up was how much extra it was going to cost on top of the cost of the plan itself.  The additional supplements (protein shakes and vitamins, etc) are optional but I figure if I'm committing to this plan, I may as well do it as fully as possible and again, the theory behind it makes sense to me.  I spent £72 on the tablets and powders I was recommended to buy (and that was with 40% off!) and I've spent more on food of course as the protein content (i.e. met and fish) is much higher than before.  I can't give you a direct comparison as we never regularly bought the same foods from the same places anyway so I don't know how much higher it is.  Oh, and I also got a discount code by signing up for Joe's free 14 days of tips!

I started today, wish me luck!  I'll share more soon regarding my starting weight, measurements and my first thoughts on the food and exercise.  I'll let you know how I get on!!

Friday, 22 April 2016

The best bits - part 5

I can't believe the twins are now 17 months!  Almost 1 and a half!!!  Time is passing so quickly and there are changes ALL the time at the moment.  They are learning so many things daily and I'm constantly in awe of them.

Here's my latest list of favourite moments:

The cuddles - these are different now - not just given by me but given to me as well.  I just love it when they coorie in to me.

The way they walk - I love listening to their little footsteps and watching them plod plod plod super fast now.

Holding hands, Priya's little fingers wrapped round my finger, god I love it!

Birds and horses - they both love to stand on the windowsill (with me right behind them of course, and there's the sideboard to catch them if they both fell at once!) and look at the horses and birds - constantly pointing in wonder at the world.

Priya is obsessed with bird spotting, she frequently shouts "Bou" (bird) while pointing at birds, in the sky, on the power lines, in the trees, in the field...

Kalyan still loves balloons.  As ever, he is delighted whenever there is a balloon nearby.  Granny and Grampy bought him a new foil helium monkey one recently (the rainbow one from his birthday is STILL going strong, although has finally sunk!) and he loves it.

Words!  Actual words (if you know the context anyway)!

Priya - Bird, Ta Ta Ta (she doesn't say it just once!), Bubbles, Mama, Dada, Yaya (Kalyan).  She started off with the most words but K has fast overtaken!

Kalyan - More, Mama, Dada, Balloon (this is really just Buh), Bebe Bebe (while pointing at the TV = Cbeebies please), Ball, Bowl, Ta, Bird, Yes, Cake, Dirty.
His best and most common word is "More".  Mor Mor Mor, he reminds me of the seagulls from Finding Nemo with their Mine Mine Mine!

Priya showing off her belly!  Ask her where her belly is and she will find the edge of her top, pull it up and reveal her beautiful round belly while patting it proudly!  She loves it if this then turns into a tickle monster escapade!  Major giggles :)  She also loves to search for other people's bellies, particularly Kalyan's or Grampy's.

Spinning - they both love to spin round and round, either standing and then falling down or being picked up and swung.  Again, lots of giggles and so much fun!

There are lots of giggles these days.  I absolutely LOVE it!

Bouncing on the bed - again, they love this and there are again lots of giggles.

Bathtime!  Still a favourite!

Since we bought them their own little table and chairs, they love to sit there for colouring, eating or watching CBeebies.  I love how Priya sits there with her ankles crossed.  They also love playing with their new tea set.

Priya nods her head complete with mouth action.  Her mouth opens and shuts in time with the nodding like she's saying yes, yes, yes but no sound comes out.

Eating yoghurt.  They still love yoghurt and when feeding themselves this becomes quite messy but they clearly love it, licking the spoons and getting it all over their faces.  (Also, feeding each other!)

K running and shrieking when excited.  He also has a happy dance where he jiggles on his feet, little happy stamps with arms to match and a wobbly happy head.  He does this particularly when asking for something and we confirm we've understood him.

P tidying, she loves to pick things up and put them away, into boxes, containers or hand them to me.  They both love to help emptying the dishwasher too, passing up the cutlery one by one.  She'll also take shoes and put them on the door mat if she finds them out of place.

P following instructions - she's so clever and understands SO much, I'm often amazed at what she's picking up already.

K's gobbledegook - constant in evenings

Emptying the dishwasher - still a favourite thing to do!

Generally being funny!


Still loving books, they both love to choose books for anyone to read to them.

Roly poly twins.  This usually happens after dinner in the evenings.  They both lay on the floor and we say roly poly, they'll roll about, usually crashing into each other which they find hilarious and often end up cuddling.  Heart melting!!

K sweeping - so much joy!  He is absolutely OBSESSED with sweeping, inside and out.  I'll never forget the look on his face when I presented him with his very own mini sweeping brush and mop.  I was far too excited to give it to him after a rare lone shopping trip out while the twins stayed home with Granny and Grampy so I didn't get a photo but I took a few just after.

When you understand Kalyan - he gets so frustrated if you don't understand what he's after but when you do you get happy little dances and shrieks of happiness!

Priya's big grins (particularly when you greet her).

Kalyan's cheesy grins when he's just really really happy.


Priya waving from her cot when Daddy puts her to bed.  Nik left the room recently and said goodnight and she just raised her arm up over the side and waved.  They're very good at lying down when Daddy asks them to "lie down and go to sleep", usually before standing up again after and "chatting" to each other while we listen on the monitor!

Priya strolling with her hands behind her back.  This is a funny one, she looks like an old style copper on the beat, strolling around holding her hands at her lower back.  I've yet to capture this on video or photo sadly!

When they go on tip toes.

I know there's food up there!

Priya waves at the TV when a program on CBeebies starts or finishes.  I don't say anything, she just hears the music and waves hello or goodbye!  So cute.

She also has a hand gesture for when something is finished or "all gone", no idea where she picked it up from but she twists her hand round and round.  She also does something similar when we ask her where Kalyan is if she can't see him.  She just holds her hands up shrugging.

Their bond.  This is developing more and more as they get older.  It's so sweet when one of them is crying and the other is all concerned, often going over to offer something or just pat the other.  This is usually Priya offering consolation to Kalyan.  It is also usually her who upsets him in the first place by taking something but if he cries she usually gives it back (or offers an alternative, i.e. a smaller piece of whatever food they have, sneaky girl that she is!)

They also now hold hands if I ask them to and they're all happy about it before Kalyan quickly gets fed up of being tethered to his sister and breaks free!

Their cheeky looks and funny faces.

It was a sour orange!

And just how beautiful they are!

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