Review: The Walled Garden Restaurant, Nags Head

Hello my lovelies,

Yesterday afternoon, we visited the Walled Garden restaurant at Knights Garden Centre Nags Hall for lunch. We’d been there before and had a gorgeous meal so decided to return since were were in the vicinity.  I can’t say that our visit was as successful this time as our first visit!

The place was tastefully kitted out for Halloween and the staff were dressed as various gouls to match.

The layout of the Walled Garden and the Potting Shed (it’s coffee shop) is quite strange.  We waited to be seated and were then asked where we wanted to sit.  Missy asked if she could sit at a table by the fish tank but was told that these tables were part of the seating for the Potting Shed coffee shop and as such we couldn’t be served a hot meal there.  We found this strange since we had walked through the Potting Shed into the Walled Garden and the tables and chairs were different in both places.  The table we wanted had the same furniture as the Walled Garden and the section wasn’t marked off.  But ho hum!

Our waitress seated us at a table near the window with some menues and disappeared for 15 minutes and only came to take our order when we flagged her down.  She admitted she’d forgotten about us.

The menu was once again strange. We were given a small menu which appeared to be the lunch menu which had a 2 or 3 course option where you could choose from 3 starters, some main courses and a series of puddings.  We had to ask for a children’s menu which was from a different menu which appeared to be their main menu.  Mr R and Granny R decided to have a 3 course option.  Missy upon looking at the children’s menu asked if she could look at the lunch menu and decided she wanted a scotch egg but didn’t like the coleslaw and endive salad.  I said I’d ask for a substitute of chips.  I opted for the burger on a dough bread roll with coleslaw and sweet potato chips.   I would have had a starter to share with Missy but the lunch menu had no other starter options besides those within the 2/3 course option.  To be honest, none of these appealed to me in the slightest as they either had blue cheese, smoked salmon or Gnocchi with pesto (I think!).  It was strange to have a 2 or 3 course menu for lunch anyway!  For drinks, Mr R and Granny R asked for tea while I asked for a milkshake and Missy asked for cloudy lemonade. Our waitress took our order and we all forgot to ask for Missy’s meal to be brought when Mr R and Granny R had their starter.  Most restaurants bring a child’s main meal with the adult’s starters as a default anyway but we did call the waitress back to ask. She said that she’d already put the order through and the kids meal couldn’t be brought with the starters as she hadn’t put it into the computer that way. I’m not quite sure why a pre-made scotch eggs and some chips couldn’t be quickly rustled up to be served with the starters.

Our drinks arrived and the milk for the tea was served in an adorable mini milk can. My milkshake arrived and I was very confused.  It wasn’t thick like you’d expect a normal milkshake to be, instead it was the consistency of Nesquick and had a large handful of ice floating around in it.  For £3 I found this very expensive for Nesquick with ice.

We had a long wait for the starters despite the restaurant being only a quarter full.  In this time, we couldn’t help but notice the loud music which seemed to have a theme that clearly did not suit the rather elegant surroundings.  Songs ranged from Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell to Alice Cooper’s Frankenstein. I really enjoy a bit of hard rock but the music was far too loud to enjoy lunch over.  Alice cooper gave way to Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries, the Adam’s family and then oddly enough, the sound track to Psycho.

The starters arrived and they were truly a work of art.  By this point, Missy and I had finished our drinks (I’d fished the ice blocks out of my Nesquick) and the waitress hurried off before I could ask for another round of drinks.  Mr R and Granny R enjoyed their starters and we waited another 10 minutes before our mains were brought out.

The mains were gorgeous! Mr R and Granny R had the lamb rump with potatoes dauphinois which were perfectly cooked.  Missy’s scotch egg was huge and the egg inside was clearly a free range egg which she thoroughly enjoyed.  My meal was received at this point with much enthusiasm since we’d waited so long for it.  The sour dough bun was really hard and was quickly discarded but the patty was homemade and delicious, the salad fresh, the sweet potato fries were the best I’d ever tasted and then coleslaw was homemade and very tasty.

While we were eating trying to talk over more Meatloaf a waitress started sweeping noisily around us.  We found this highly surprising since it’s not usual to sweep dust in the air while diners are eating.  Granny R was not impressed.

We once again waited quite a while for our plates to be cleared and the menus to be brought back for desserts to be chosen. While we waited Missy began to grow bored. Knowing it was difficult to keep her occupied for the long wait that seemed to the norm at The Walled Garden I took her to look at the cakes at The Potting shed.  There they had a fantastic array of cakes half of which were Halloween themed and looked fantastically gruesome.  Knowing we’d be having desserts I scoped out the selection for anything dairy free and found one of the pre-packaged gluten free brownies was dairy free and Missy loves a brownie!

Granny R didn’t fancy anything on the set menu and asked instead for the lemon meringue pie that we’d seen a nearby table enjoying. I copied her and Mr R asked for the baked cheesecake with stewed rhubarb. I must point out at this stage that the table across from us which was part of the Potting Shed seating, was occupied by a woman who was eating a burger.  Can you tell I’m still confused by the seating situation and lack of demarcation?

Our desserts arrived and they were utterly delicious!   The lemon meringue pie was the best I’ve ever had.

We discussed our experience at The Walled Garden while we waited for the bill to arrive and all agreed that we could not fault the food but the service, confusion about the seating arrangements and loud music left much to be desired.

We give the food an 8/10

The service 5/10

The general experience 5/10

It’s a shame because our first experience at The Walled Garden was very positive.  The food is so tasty that we’d probably go back however, their service needs a shake up!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

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Easy Focaccia

Hello my lovelies,

I must apologize for not blogging much recently, I am working on rectifying this and hope to bring you some great blog posts, recipes and ideas every week starting today.

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It’s half-term for us and as such I try to do some baking or cooking with Missy (DD has now been renamed to Missy since she’s 7 going on 15!). She was really craving pizza but as a dairy free kid she can’t have shop bought pizza.  I know I can buy frozen pizza bases but I find they expensive when we can whip up a batch of pizza dough for mere pennies.  Plus, I get the added bonus of teaching Missy about weights and measures and help her to learn the life skill of cooking.

We made her pizza and used Marchego cheese which is a hard goats cheese. While I know this isn’t dairy free it doesn’t contain the cows milk protein that affects her, however, she only has it occasionally.

After we made her pizza, there was a lot of dough left and I really didn’t fancy pizza because I was having chicken soup for lunch.  Then I had an inspired thought… I could make focaccia!

 

This pizza dough is really versatile and can be used to make pizzas, focaccia, calzones, dough balls and much more.  Check out Kitchn’s post for some great ideas.

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Here’s the pizza dough recipe I use.  It’s easy enough for kids to help but best made in the morning so that it has time to prove if you want to use it to make lunch. If you’re using it to make dinner, make it in the early afternoon.

Easy Pizza dough

500g plain flour

1 sachet of dried yeast

1 tsp each of sugar and salt

250ml of warm water mixed with 2 tsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl until the dough is soft and well combined.  Knead well in the bowl for about 5 minutes to break down the gluten.

Place the dough in a warm place covered with a tea towel for about an hour until it’s doubled in size. Probably about an hour or so.

Knead the dough again  (also called knocking it back) for another 5 minutes. Cover with the tea towel and allow to rise in warm place.  About 1-2 hours.  It should be nicely risen.

This should make one small pizza and one swiss roll pan sized focaccia.

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To make the focaccia,  simply grease a swiss roll pan with a little olive oil and press the remaining pizza dough into the pan.  Make little dents in the dough with your fingers pressing all the way into the bottom of the pan.  Add some fresh sprigs of rosemary and brush with more olive oil all over the surface. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake at 220 degrees Celsius until it’s golden brown.

Simples!

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe and as always, if you try the recipe please leave me a comment and let me know how you enjoyed it.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

 

Basic Pikelets

Hello my lovelies,

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Today I wanted to share one of my family’s favourite breakfasts.   We’re creatures of habit and usually have things like over easy eggs with toast fingers, cereal or toast with some sort of spread – all of which are super easy to make in the morning.  When I am not too tired, I’ll make up a batch of pikelets the night before and freeze half the batch.  If any pikelets aren’t used for the next day’s breakfast I’ll simply pop them in the fridge for snacks or for breakfast over the next few days.  This recipe is super quick and easily doubled for the freezer.

150g self-raising flour

55g caster sugar

1/4t bicarbonate of soda

1 egg

3/4 cup milk (I use almond milk to make these dairy free for DD)

1t white vinegar

15g melted butter (or dairy free spread)

Place the flour, sugar and bicarb in a bowl and mix together well.  Make a well in centre into which you will crack the egg.  Add the milk, vinegar and melted butter and combine until smooth.  I like to use my hand mixer to do this but it’s easily done with a good old fashioned wooden spoon.

Heat your frying pan, and lightly grease it with a little oil that you spread around with a piece of kitchen towel.  The pan should not be dripping in oil. You need surprisingly little oil and probably won’t need to re-grease the pan again unless you have doubled the recipe.

Drop tablespoonfuls of batter into the pan from the tip of the spoon to make nice round pikelets.  Allow room in the pan for spreading.

When bubbles start to form, but just before they burst turn the pikelets with a spatula and cook on the other side until golden brown.  Slide the cooked pikelets onto a plate, cover with a clean tea towel and repeat with the rest of the batter.

We serve our pikelets with different spreads depending on our mood.  Sometimes we’ll have them with some butter /dairy free spread and strawberry jam or with syrup and blueberries.  DD’s favourite combo is dairy free chocolate spread and sliced strawberries. Don’t know it until you’ve tried it. Pure heaven!

As always, if you try my recipe, please let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear from you.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

 

 

DIY Harry Potter Christmas tree decorations

Hello my lovelies,

I’ve ditched the housework today and decided instead, to do some crafting.  You see, while browsing youtube a few weeks ago my daughter saw a tutorial for Harry Potter Christmas tree baubles and has asked if we can have a Harry Potter Christmas tree this year.  I’ve of course, said yes but she has no ideas I’m taking it a few steps further. More on that in my next post. So today, DD and I created our first tree decorations.

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hp christmas baubles

Before we go any further, I just want to point out that I also don’t like the bakers twine hanging the baubles to the tree. These will be replaced with bauble hangers at Christmas. I really didn’t fancy going up to the loft to get the Christmas decorations down to retrieve the hooks.

So, these baubles are actually really clever little shot baubles that my BFF picked up for me from a car boot sale for 20p.  When I saw them, I knew they’d be perfect for a potion baubles one day.  Didn’t realise I’d be doing a HP themed tree so soon but it’s all good.

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The potion baubles were really easy to make.  I just designed some tiny labels on my computer, printed them off and stuck them onto the front of the baubles.  I covered the bauble with one coat of glitter mod podge and allowed them to dry.  Et voila!

I’m so pleased with how they came out.  It’s a pity that you can’t really see the glitter mod podge but it’s there. The glitter is subtle and I think it will add a lovely dimension on the tree.

The signs in the background are more of an upcycle than a from scratch project. I got them from Primark for £5 and while I liked the signs they were attached with black ribbon like you can see in the picture.

SONY DSCThe way it was wouldn’t work on the tree because it would be too long.  We simply removed the ribbon and the staples and glued on butchers twin. The twine is cut quite short so that it doesn’t hang too long on the tree and get in the way of other ornaments.

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I love projects like this. Not much to do for big impact.

I hope you enjoyed the post and if you did, please leave me a message.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Harry Potter Filofax Planner

Hello my lovelies,

I’m am soooooooooo excited to share my baby with you.  As you all know, I’m a die hard Harry Potter fan and with the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, my love for the wizarding world of Harry Potter has grown. I’ve had a planner of sorts most of my adult life but this is the first time I’ve had planner peace because my planner now is a complete reflection of me. Introducing, my Harry Po

I found this Finsbury real leather filofax at a charity shop for £2! I know, it was a real bargain. Over the past two months, my planner has really blossomed and come together beautifully. I’m so proud of it.

First of all, my family bought me a Harry Potter themed pandora-knock off bracelet and while I loved it, it kept getting in the way and caught on things so I recycled it into a planner charm for my filofax. I added Gryffindor colour beads and love the way it turned out.

From the top you can see the washi tape paper clips I made to mark some pages. I have tabs running along the top and right hand side of my planner.

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My chocolate frog and Deathly Hallows charms decorate the bottom.

This is the inside cover and the first things you see are some bits I’ve collected. The dashboard was made using some scrapbook paper and an image I found online. I added the little baby hedwig pic I found online as a type of tab to help me turn the page.  Of course, no journey into the world of Harry Potter would begin at any other place other than platform 9 3/4.

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Tiny Hedwig owl by  Cryptid-creations

 

I made the paperclip behind the Godric Gryffindor chocolate frog card using a large wooden button I found at The Works.  The Knight Bus licence was made for me by Woozelmom in a swap. Woozelmom makes the most A-mazing themed craft projects.   Check out my previous swap post about the wonderful things she sent me.

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On the other side of my filofax cover is a tag from a pair of Harry Potter pyjamas that I got for Christmas which was addressed to Harry. I kept it because I thought it was cute.  I then have some washi tape samples that I use in my planner to decorate pages.  Above that is my miniature Marauder’s map.  I love it!  It was a printable from Britta Blvd and you can find the link to the printable here.  The snitch card is one I got from a RAK from Storm in a tea cup gifts. They do lovely themed subscription boxes. 18033070_10154959681305659_7050404997375769262_n18033343_10154959575120659_1429067500139513524_n

From this view, you can see the tabs are planning, lists and occasions as well as a little peep of Pigwidgeon.18033407_10154959575125659_8659674820507246476_n

Through platform 9 3/4 the first thing you see is of course a Hogwarts Express ticket and my personal information that I’ve blanked out.  I figured that if my planner got lost I’d be distraught and would hope that someone would contact me to give it back.

I’ve also added mine and my daughter’s vital information such as allergies and medication that we take.  God forbid, we are ever in an accident, our information, along with my husband’s contact details are printed there as an emergency contact. Inked17992330_10154959575250659_211426713908378420_n_LI

Then comes the Hogwarts express which naturally follows on if you go through the barrier at Platform 9 3/4. I love the Hogwarts silhouette tab on the right of the page.

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On the back of the Hogwarts Express poster, I keep my owl sticky notes and tabs and my main goals for the year.

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The next first actual section is my planning section. This seems like a subject Hermione Granger would be adept at which is why I place a picture of her here. Again, I found this online through searching Google images here .

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Turning the page, there’s a quote from Ron Weasley, who was talking about Hermione at the time and then my lunar calendar. Most people think I’m crazy logging the lunar cycle but I find that the cycle of the moon really has an affect on my moods.

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The pages that follow include dates for the academic year, weekly prompts for when I’m planning my week, yearly calendar, my future log page where I write down all events and dates to remember as I find out about them, my perpetual calendar and my Yearly planner calendar pictured below.

The Knight Bus ticket was another gift from Woozelmom and I’ve laminated it to keep it nice.

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This Dumbledore quote is on the other side of my weekly prompts list and next to my future log pages.

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My favourite picture of Newt Scamander graces the list section divider.

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And one of my favourite moments of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them is on the other side of Newt along with my to do list pages.  Link here.18010873_10154959576245659_966801931237913801_n

My brain dump pages follow on from the To Do List pages. Don’t you love my pencil wand? I made it using a pencil, hog glue and paint. 18010264_10154959576395659_5625836229883820987_n

The occasions divider where I can plan any entertaining we are doing, birthday parties etc.

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Another Dumbledore quote and some birthday plans for my daughter’s birthday party.

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The next section is dedicated to my pen pals and contains their addresses and a log of letters written and received.  I love the little tab topper of Pigwidgeon. Hogsmeade poster here.

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One of my favourite characters and quotes from the series along with my pen pal letters sent and received log. Picture here18033369_10154959576955659_6019791198061277798_n

The next section is a where my daily planner pages start. The photograph was taken when my daughter and I visited Platform 9 3/4

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A map of Hogwarts follows and then it’s my monthly goals.  I like to set out my monthly goals along with my weekly intentions. More on those pages to follow.

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Here are my page per day pages.  I created them in powerpoint where all my pages are created.  I love how my page marker turned out. It has my morning and evening routines printed on it.

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My weekly intentions page is for things that I intend to get done during the week. I like the term intentions better than to do list.

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My finance section comes next. The snitch picture can be found on etsy here.

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Another Dumbledore quote found here.

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I haven’t shown my budget which is personal but I have shown some blank expenses pages and online purchase log pages.  I’m not sure about you but I sometimes forget what I’ve ordered especially if the items will take weeks to arrive such as some items ordered from China.  My purchase log keeps me updates of what is still to arrive.

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My personal section comes next.

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My transfiguration (weight loss measurements) come next and there are a few of these pages to help keep me on track. I adore Luna. I can’t find where I got this picture from but if you come across it please message me and I’ll give all due credit.

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Then there’s my cosmic ordering pages come next – they’re basically manifestation pages by another name.  If you are unfamiliar with the concept, check out the book The Cosmic Ordering Service or the website on the link above.

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Because my work can take me all over the area, I like to keep a log of where I’ve worked that isn’t my usual base and I have titled these pages Muggle Business.  Then there are pages for the Books I’ve read, books I’ve got on order at the library and books I want to read.17992308_10154959578085659_6157492901752482001_n

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Next comes The Burrow which is Swish cottage or our home.

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I keep things pertaining to our home here such a cleaning schedules, family schedules, details on family members such as clothing sizes and needs, wish lists etc.  Gryffindor poster can be found here17991900_10154959578405659_518650383477173535_n18010260_10154959578550659_4662343018696252841_n

Then there’s menu planning.  This adorable owl pic can be found here.

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I plan my weekly menu here along with any shopping that needs to be done. Again, I can’t remember where I got this picture from but if you know the source please let me know.

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Next comes my freezer, fridge and freezer inventories17952922_10154959583705659_2815238831386430107_n18033342_10154959584160659_3932955183703183554_n

There is also a page for writing down items I need to stock up on.

The last section is for writing where I keep blog post ideas along with my book ideas and notes. I love Vincent van Gogh paintings and this Hogwarts image done in the van Gogh style is just phenomenal.

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At the very back, I have a little pocket folder that I made to keep stickers, a couple of birthday cards and my Morrisons savers stamp folder. What would Hermione do image can be found here.

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I could go into so much more detail about the way I use my planner but I’ve run out of time!  This has been a lengthy post!

I hope you love my planner as much as I do.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Low carb lifestyle: The rest of the week

Hello my lovelies,

I was completely knackered on day 3 and forgot to blog. Then the rest of the week kind of ran away from me.

Day 3 wasn’t as bad as day 1 and 2.  I was in ketosis although I did feel tired and a bit grumpy.  It was a long day at work and to be honest, I had a hot bath and got into bed before 8 pm.

On Thursday, I ate cheesy scrambled egg for breakfast with Waitrose aromatic pork and herb chipolatas, salami and cheese roll ups (here I used Maasdam cheese slices) and for dinner since I was so tired, I had grilled bratwurst with cherry tomatoes and some homemade chilli mayonnaise.  For the chilli mayonnaise I just used mayo, a dollop of tomato puree and some chilli spice.

I woke up on Friday feeling like I had slept so well!  As a rule, I am not a great sleeper but can honestly say that I’ve slept incredibly well this week. I felt great all day and guzzled water like it was going out of fashion.  Not because I had to because I was on a diet but because I wanted it!  That’s a first for me!

I ate some of the keto quiche lorraine I had made on Wednesday morning and did a kind of mezze packed lunchbox for work.

Before work I needed to run some errands. When I stopped for a break, I had thought that I could no longer have coffee out.  You see, my poison of choice is a caramel or gingerbread latte. Both of which are high in sugar.  For those who don’t know, milk is naturally high in sugar. I didn’t think that coffee shops did pouring cream in their coffee but upon asking at Costa, I learned I was able to have a black coffee with sugar free caramel syrup with pouring cream! It was so good.

For dinner, I made a chicken fajita salad (I made the mix myself using a recipe online) and served it with avocado.

I was so excited by dessert!  It’s a quark and sugar free concoction that came out so yummy!

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Strawberry keto pudding: Makes 4 portions.

Mix 1 sachet of strawberry sugar free jelly with 200ml of boiling water and 85ml cream. Mix to dissolve the jelly crystals.

Mix in 1 scoop Vanilla or strawberry whey powder and a tub of quark. Beat to mix with an electric mixer.

Pour into four glasses and allow to set in the fridge. Top with a dollop of cream and a berry.

I would not suggest blackberry as in the picture as they were too sour to eat!

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Saturday’s breakfast was more quiche Lorraine with a spoon of leftover chicken fajita mixture. Nothing special there but tasty.

I had to go food shopping over lunch time and landed up eating 4 hot pepperoni sticks as I was shopping.  Nothing fancy but it was lunch.

For dinner, we had a bbq with friends and my diner was bbq food at it’s best. Salad with feta cheese, pork belly and a spiced chicken thigh. Oh and a dollop of garlic allioli. Total heaven! Again, I felt great yesterday and got so much done.  I spring cleaned and washed windows. Inside and out. Now, if you know me, you’ll know that I do not wash windows.  But, I had so much energy and felt like washing windows.

I’m not sure if this is cause for concern…. not the energy part but the washing of windows?  Definite cause for concern.

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Today was mothers day and hubby made breakfast for me:

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I weighed in this morning and I was down 4 lbs!  As I explained in the beginning, I had been playing at low carb since January and had dropped and gained the same half stone about 4 times.  Today, that half stone is gone and this time for good!

Since we were spending the day at Legoland I made myself a packed lunch because I didn’t know what would be on offer that I could eat.

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I had half a bag of pork scratchings (the other half I ate last night at the bbq in lieu of crisps), cheese wrapped bacon slices, some leftover feta from the bbq and some salami slices. Simple and yummy.

Dinner, was a mish mash of leftovers.  There were burger patties from the bbq, some creamed spinach and courgettes that was leftover from earlier in the week. I also roasted some radishes, having seen these on a youtube channel. Not impressed.  They weren’t good.

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I made a new quiche for the week and it’s an asparagus, mozzarella and feta cheese quiche. I’ll  post the recipe later in the week.

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My verdict for going on a  keto way of eating?  It’s incredible.  You can eat food with flavour that’s so satisfying. It’s tough at the beginning but if you stick with it you can expect a MASSIVE reduction in cravings, loads of energy and an incredible clarity of thought.

Yes, you read all that correctly.  I am not craving the foods I used to enjoy. I’ll see wine or sweets and go, ‘oh, I love those! But do I want them? No thanks.’  I haven’t missed the things I used to eat and I don’t feel deprived at all.

Win-win I think.

Bright blessings,

Mrs R

x

Low Carb lifestyle- Day 2: pushing through

Hello my lovelies,

Day 2 has been a bit better. I found I was able to get up earlier than normal because strangely, I felt like I could. So I got up and made breakfast for the family and whipped up a crust less quiche Lorraine. I added onions too. It was incredibly tasty.

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At work, around 11:30 I was really hungry and landed up eating my packed lunch but not the nuts. I couldn’t believe I was craving food despite the fact that I had drunk so much water.

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When it was my actual lunch time, I ate a chicken breast with some coleslaw and cucumber slices. I was actually hungry…again!

After lunch I got the same slump as yesterday but I pushed through on loads more water (I got through 3 litres today!) and when I got home I had a coffee with cream and the nuts. I felt better after I had rested for a while.

I tested for ketosis with my ketostix and I’m happy to report I’m finally there. I’m hoping the keto flu won’t last much longer and I’ll be full of energy in the next few days.

Dinners was roast chicken with cauliflower rice fried in butter and garlic. Super tasty! I had thought the cauliflower rice would be gross but I was pleasantly surprised.

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Fingers crossed tomorrow goes well!

Bright blessings,

Mrs R
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