STFRENCH's SparkPeople Blog STFRENCH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community The allotment on 6 June 2014 The weather hasn't been very good lately so I hadn't been able to go to my allotment for a week <em>27</em> <BR> <BR> But today, sunshine!! <em>67</em> So much so that I got sunburnt... Again! I'm an idiot and I don't learn! <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> Unfortunately, all that rain means that the weeds have had a fantastic time on my plot, overcrowding my herbs and flower corners. Everybody I've spoken to on the site has said that the weeds are more virulant this year. They are a nightma... Fri, 6 Jun 2014 17:02:34 EST Catch up blog 23 May + the allotment so far :) Hi Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> It has been a busy 2 weeks for us. Last week, my son had his SATs (end of Primary School tests) and he did well, even though he found the tests quite tough. <BR> He had to do all the "level 5" tests (as all the kids have to do) and was also put through for the "level 6" tests (for higher abilities.) <BR> <BR> But, he's all done now and all the kids can now concentrate on their end of year production. This year, they are doing "Treasure Island" and my son got give... Fri, 23 May 2014 10:56:11 EST Catch up blog 9 May 2014 <img src=""> <BR> This is how Candy looks at me when she wants to be fed. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> And if I ignore her, she'll just get closer to me and she'll keep staring at me! <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Muddy work on the allotment. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Fri, 9 May 2014 13:14:32 EST Catch up blog 25 April (with pics) <img src=""> <BR> My favourite snack: apple and almond butter. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Chia Chocolate pudding - Original recipe from Oh She Glows: <link><BR>tant-chocolate-chia-pudding/ </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> My son, making friends with the allotment cat <... Fri, 25 Apr 2014 11:02:14 EST Catch up blog 12 April 2014 (with pics) <img src=""> <BR> Home-made almond butter <em>4</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Late Mother's Day celebration, devouring yummy burgers at the Handmade Burger Co. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Starting the day right with my favourite banana and blueberry smoothie <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spark... Sat, 12 Apr 2014 12:28:32 EST Weekly catch-up in pics 30 March 2014 <img src=""> <BR> Green beans bundles wrapped in bacon. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Hailstorm in my garden. <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal by Oh She Glows. Link to the recipe: <link><BR>arrot-cake-baked-oatmeal/ </link> <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src="http:... Sun, 30 Mar 2014 07:01:16 EST Weekly catch-up 22 March 2014 <img src=""> <BR> Sesame Beef and Brocolli Stir-Fry <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Roasted Spicy Carrots and Sweet Potatoes with a serving of pearl barley <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> Best friends <BR> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkp... Sat, 22 Mar 2014 12:12:06 EST Catch up blog, 9 March 2014 (lots of pics!) I know it has been ages since I last blogged, but nothing of interest has been happening. I must have a very boring life but all my blogs would sound the same: <BR> <BR> - Been to the gym and lifted heavy: Love it! <BR> - Been to Zumba and shook it all about: Love it! <BR> - Spent hours in my kitchen, cooking and baking: Love it! <BR> - Been to work: Hate it! <BR> <BR> There you are: a summary of my life in 4 sentences (and I'm not even being facetious!) <BR> <BR> I am busy with my studies... Sun, 9 Mar 2014 14:19:47 EST Merry Christmas and Happy New Year My son and I are off to France later on today so it is my last opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2014! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have been much absent from Sparkpeople of late but it is for an exciting reason: I have been busy putting all the necessary steps in place in order to launch my own Holistic Nutrition business early in the new year! It has been keeping me very busy and I have bee... Sat, 21 Dec 2013 08:40:28 EST Pumpkin Madness (lots of pics!) Last week was Halloween! I love Halloween: it is becoming more and more popular to celebrate it in England and I wish it lasted for more than a day <em>30</em> <em>431</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So, to keep that Halloween feeling going, I went on a pumpkin bender! My son and I nicknamed it the "Pumpkin Madness" week. The aim: bake and cook as many t... Sat, 9 Nov 2013 11:48:27 EST Back to SP finally! (lots of pics) Hi there Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This is my new wireless router and it should, hopefully, mark the end of my Internet woes! <BR> <BR> I wish that after such a long absence from SP, I had a lot of things to tell you, tales of adventure and heroism and epicness... But I don't!! <em>20</em> <BR> Routine is indeed the name of the game in la casa de Sandra. <BR> <BR> On the nutrition front, I am still following m... Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:44:25 EST Quickly touching base... Hi Sparkfriends, <BR> <BR> I have not dropped off the face of the Earth, but at the moment, I do not have Internet access at home (I'm at work now, typing during my lunch-time but as it is one of my 5:2 fast days, I'm not eating, just drinking herbal tea.) I'm awaiting delivery of my new wireless router but so far, they've tried to deliver it at the wrong address. Then, they tried to deliver it on the wrong day (I asked for Thursday pm delivery, they tried to deliver on Monday am... Go figur... Mon, 14 Oct 2013 07:23:46 EST HAPPY NEWS!!! AAAAAAAAH! SQUEEEEE! <BR> <BR> I've just received this email from The School of Natural Health Sciences: <BR> <BR> "Hello Sandra, Many thanks for submitting your final examination in the Holistic Nutrition course. You have achieved a Grade A pass. Congratulations on such a positive result. Grade A is the highest award which we bestow. Your diploma will be prepared and dispatched shortly. Accompanying this will be a letter indicating how you may display the letters after your name." <BR> ... Wed, 25 Sep 2013 05:56:43 EST A happy birthday! Yesterday, my beautiful son celebrated his 11th birthday. <BR> <BR> We went from this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> To this: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Time is flying a little too fast for my liking <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> We had a little party for him at our house on Friday after school. He invited 3 of his classmates (as much as I could fit at the back... Sun, 22 Sep 2013 10:56:14 EST Hungry blog! Today is one of my 5:2 fast days (Next one is Wednesday) but as I have been to Body Pump this morning, I am now STARVING!!!! <BR> So I'm writing this blog to distract myself whilst also drinking a lot of water. I can't tell you how many times I've had to visit the loo already!! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> <BR> I've had another small loss, -400g, putting me at 78.4kgs <BR> <BR> So let's have a look at pictures to compare, picture 1 taken 6 June and picture 2 taken this morning: <BR> <BR> ... Mon, 16 Sep 2013 08:04:55 EST 15.9.13 catch up in pics Bokwa at the Freedom Festival last week: <BR> <BR> It was too windy to Bokwa with my hair down - I couldn't see where I was going! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> We jumped and kicked and said <em>244</em> a lot! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Sat, 14 Sep 2013 19:41:02 EST 5:2 the challenge continues It's due to finish tomorrow but I don't want it to finish. I'm taking it all the way to Christmas Baby!! <em>244</em> <em>446</em> <BR> <BR> I've also registered a small loss again , which is a bit of a miracle considering how badly I've eaten ALL weekend! No excuse, it was bad and that's it! <em>2</em> <BR> <BR> Weight on 15th of August: 79kgs <BR> Weight on 2nd of September: 78.8kgs <BR> <BR> So why do I want to carry on? Because I don't think I've seen the full potential of t... Mon, 2 Sep 2013 08:25:35 EST A few green beans :) I had a very little harvest of green beans today, only a small handful of them: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> But paired with a tuna steak and couscous, it made for a delicious supper. You can't get fresher than that: from garden to plate in a few hours <em>30</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <em>353</em> <BR> <BR> I'm off to Leeds tomorrow for a Bokwa Mastercla... Fri, 30 Aug 2013 18:58:58 EST Remembered flavours - Home Sweet France: Quiche Savoyarde For your consideration, dear Sparkfriends: <BR> <BR> <link> </link> <BR> <BR> Thank you! <em>304</em> <em>30</em> <em>252</em> Sun, 25 Aug 2013 13:02:06 EST A 5:2 loss! Hi Sparkfriends! <em>213</em> <BR> <BR> So I remembered to weigh myself yesterday to assess how the 5:2 is doing (but as I've said in the past, weight loss is not my goal - big, strong muscles and heavier and heavier barbells are! <em>344</em> ) <BR> <BR> However.... <BR> <BR> Weight on 24 July: 80.2kgs <BR> <BR> Weight on 15 August: 79kgs <BR> <BR> So I'm -1.2kg, which doesn't seem like much but consider this: although I have tried to keep my nutrition as clean as possible, there... Fri, 16 Aug 2013 10:38:47 EST catch up 8 August 2013 - 5:2 update Oooops, it has been over a week since I last blogged: the summer holidays are keeping me busy! <BR> <BR> So the 5:2 is still going strong. I had a good fast day yesterday and last Saturday. <BR> <BR> However a week ago, on Wednesday, the fast day was horrible. I was hungry all day, tired, listless and by the end of the day, I had an absolutely rotten headache <em>39</em> <BR> <BR> Maybe, I would still have been feeling unwell even if this had been a non-fast day but I'm pretty sure the... Thu, 8 Aug 2013 12:23:22 EST 1st week of 5:2: How it went... Last week was my first week of the 5:2 diet. The concept of the 5:2 is easy: it is a fasting diet when you eat normally for 5 days of the week and fast to a quarter of your calories for 2 days. So say, 2000 calories for 5 days and 500 calories on 2 non-consecutive days. <BR> <BR> <BR> This is what I ate: <BR> <BR> 1st fast day - Wednesday: <BR> <BR> Breakfast: Cottage cheese (100g) + 1 pear + 1 clementine <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> ... Tue, 30 Jul 2013 07:09:53 EST The Paleo/Primal challenge is over. Now what? I realised that my Paleo/Primal challenge has been over for a week and I never actually blogged about my experience (I’m now adding Primal as I used cheese in some dishes which is not Paleo approved but it is Primal approved. Primal seems to be a more “relaxed” version of Paleo, still respecting the main rules of it: no grains or legumes, but with the occasional treat of good quality wine, cheese or chocolate.) <BR> <BR> <em>22</em> <em>493</em> <BR> <BR> And also, what comes next? <... Sun, 21 Jul 2013 15:09:52 EST Light Chocolate Cake from Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood. I've had such great feedback from the photo of the Light Chocolate Cake from yesterday's blog, that I decided to share the recipe. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> As Harry says herself in the introduction of the book: "The most important aspect of the cakes in this book is their gorgeous taste and texture, but I have also made a real effort to reduce the amount of fat and sugar.... It is commonly believed that so-called 'healthy food' ... Sat, 20 Jul 2013 16:15:16 EST Catch up blog with pics, 19 July 2013 As some of you know, I've had a very difficult week at work with, unfortunately, no foreseeable resolution. <BR> <BR> So, when you can't muster the strength to roll with the punches, chocolate is the only possible way to cope and emerge with your sanity still intact! When the going gets tough, the tough bakes a chocolate cake!! <BR> <BR> This Light Chocolate Cake has been taken from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache. <BR> Secret ingredient in this cake? Butternut squash!... Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:33:14 EST Ella Street Festival July 2013... ... Zumba and Bokwa in the sunshine! <em>67</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Some of the Zumba gang, ready to dance in the street at the drop of a hat: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> DANCING!!! <em>355</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> ... Sun, 14 Jul 2013 06:38:01 EST Surprise! I went for a check-up today with the nurse at my doctor's surgery. It's just a twice yearly check to make sure everything is ok with my blood pressure as I'm on the pill and she also weighs me for good measure. <BR> <BR> It turns out that, since the last check-up 6 months ago, I have lost 11lbs <em>30</em> <BR> <BR> Although weight loss is not even my goal right now (I'm focusing on building big, strong muscles with BodyPump and big, heavy barbells!), it came as a pleasant surprise. <BR... Thu, 11 Jul 2013 17:35:11 EST Graduation Ceremonies July 2013 This is just a flying visit to post a few photos from the Graduation Ceremonies during which I was a Steward. 5 ceremonies in 3 days: it was hot, it was tiring and, as usual, it was happy <em>30</em> <BR> <BR> The City Hall where the ceremonies take place: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> Me on the balcony of the City Hall: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> The vi... Wed, 10 Jul 2013 17:49:40 EST A sunshiny weekend. 2 sunny days in a row? It's practically unheard of here! <em>334</em> <em>67</em> <BR> <BR> So we made the most of it. Picnic at the Park on Saturday for the Pearson Park Festival and today, a couple of hours taking care of my allotment, battling as usual against the weeds that are trying to take over my vegetables. <BR> My shoulders and back have caught the sun today and are on the lobster side of red! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> I'm going to have a busy start to my week as I'm going... Sun, 7 Jul 2013 16:52:50 EST Never give up, never surrender! If life hands you lemons, make lemonade! <BR> If it hands you gooey fudge that won't set, make fudge brownies! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> Mon, 1 Jul 2013 16:40:17 EST Mediterranean feast for a Girls Night-In Hello, <BR> <BR> Just a flying visit to post a few photos of the Mediterranean feast I prepared for the Girls Night-In I hosted yesterday as an early birthday celebration. <BR> <BR> Most of the recipes were new ones for me and taken from my new cookbook, BBC Good Food 101 Mediterranean Dishes (a birthday present, from me to me , with love <em>334</em> ) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It was not a Paleo buffet at all and the dess... Sat, 29 Jun 2013 18:55:13 EST How to get children to eat their greens.... .... (and yellows and reds and oranges) <BR> <BR> <link><BR>.uk/2013/06/how-to-get-children-to-eat<BR>-their-greens.html </link> <BR> <BR> For your consideration <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> <em>253</em> <em>252</em> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 20:02:46 EST My son's food choice of the week! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> From River Cottage Veg Every Day: Roast New Potatoes with 2 Mojo Sauces. <BR> <BR> The green sauce is a Mojo Cilantro made with coriander and the red sauce is a Mojo Picon made with red chilli and roasted red pepper. <BR> <BR> For my portion, I used sweet potatoes rather than new potatoes (Paleo oblige!) and added, for both of us, some sliced cucumber and yellow pepper to dip in the sauce. <BR> <BR> It was very ... Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:34:37 EST How to do cheese burgers.... .... When you are cutting out grains and therefore, bread: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Use 2 grilled Portobello mushrooms as your burger buns. Add lettuce and sliced tomato as you would in a traditional burger and serve with roasted sweet potato chips. <BR> <BR> <BR> I have also started a separate blog from Sparkpeople that I want to use as I get certified as a nutritionist to track my "journey into Holistic Nutrition." I'm hopi... Tue, 25 Jun 2013 15:24:24 EST Now there’s a sad fridge :( Have you ever seen a sadder sight? <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It’s Sunday evening and I’m going food shopping after work tomorrow, so my poor fridge is looking sad and empty. <BR> <BR> But I have a few leftovers, so what to do with them? <BR> <BR> <BR> 1) Home-made Korma paste: I’ll put what’s left in a small container and stick it in the freezer for use at a later date. <BR> <BR> <BR> 2) Celery: I have quite a bit left, but... Sun, 23 Jun 2013 14:49:39 EST A foodie blog with pictures. Oh, and there's a toad too! 1) It's a busy day: you only have 5 minutes to make and eat (hoover up!) your meal or you've been food shopping whilst hungry, you're going home and if you don't get any food NOW, you're going to take a bite out of the cat! <BR> For such times, when you have nothing prepared in advance and there is NO WAY you can spend 1 hour prepping your veggies, etc and cooking your meal, here are a couple of ideas that save the day when time is in short supply. <BR> <BR> - Slice an avocado + open a tin o... Tue, 18 Jun 2013 10:32:10 EST Change to my Paleo challenge... No, no, I'm not giving up on it. Au contraire! I'm extending it until the 13th of July. <BR> I know it seems like a random date but it isn't. My Zumba/Bokwa teacher has asked a few of us to do a Zumba/Bokwa demonstration during a street festival on the 13th of July. We've done it before. It usually lasts about 20 minutes and although, at first, you're thinking "Oh no! What have I left myself in for?", once the music starts you just forget about the people watching you and you just have fun! <... Sat, 15 Jun 2013 19:53:26 EST Oh no! Broken sunshine yellow cup! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Damaged heel! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Nothing is safe around me today... Stay away!! <em>24</em> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 03:51:26 EST Can't find an appropriate title... 1) Before photos (taken in the gym's loo, sorry about that! <em>211</em> ) <BR> My weight as of Sunday 9 June is 79.8kgs. My measurements are... No idea! I've forgotten to measure myself again! <BR> I don't want to go by weight alone as I do a lot of weight training and my barbells during Bodypump have become quite heavy. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> 2) Laz... Tue, 11 Jun 2013 08:05:07 EST 2 days in the life of my Paleo challenge in pictures Thursday - <BR> <BR> Breakfast - Grated sweet potatoes, pork mince, egg and grilled mushrooms: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Lunch - (leftovers) Cauliflower rice, chicken and peppers in tomato sauce, grated sweet potatoes: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Supper: Baked salmon with courgette (zucchini) ribbons: <BR> <BR> <img src=" Sun, 9 Jun 2013 17:07:18 EST More Library pigeon! I love him! <BR> <BR> <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 5 Jun 2013 05:27:01 EST Paleo breakfast, pretty lipstick and pigeon (?) This is day 5 of my Paleo challenge and this was my breakfast this morning - Chia Seed Breakfast Bowl (recipe courtesy of Oh She Glows: <link><BR>breakfast-bowl/ </link> ) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I've said it before and I'll say it again: try this recipe - it is awesome! Even my 10-year-old son loves it. <BR> Our topping on it this morning: Chopped walnuts and almonds, chopped dried apric... Wed, 5 Jun 2013 04:32:24 EST My new kitchenware! Some women want shoes... Some women want flowers... Some women want diamonds.... <BR> <BR> Well, I want shoes, flowers and diamonds (I also like clothes and make-up... Hand bags are great too! <em>211</em> ) but I'm equally excited by my new kitchenware: <BR> <BR> 2 new Tefal pans and 3 Pyrex casserole dishes - it was an overdue treat: one of my old pans was over 10 years old! <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Now, ... Tue, 4 Jun 2013 07:42:01 EST Beginning my Paleo challenge... .... Despite myself. <BR> <BR> I hadn't planned to start my challenge until the 1st of June, but a nasty stomach bug last week took care of that for me. <BR> I was poorly for pretty much all of last week, which kind of spoilt my week of holiday with my son <em>24</em> <BR> He had been feeling unwell the week before, so I think I got the stomach bug from him. <BR> I wasn't able to eat for 3 days and when I started eating again on Thursday, all I could cope with was very small portions of ... Mon, 3 Jun 2013 08:50:59 EST paleo fajitas! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> The quickest and easiest recipe as my chicken was already cooked so all I had to do was cut my red peppers into thin strips and cook them along with the chicken in 1tbsp of olive oil (for about 10 minutes until the chicken is warmed through and the peppers are tender.) <BR> <BR> I then added 1tsp cumin, 1tsp smoked paprika, 1/2tsp cayenne pepper and 1.5tsp sage + salt and pepper and cook for a further 2-3 mi... Tue, 21 May 2013 17:17:18 EST Last week recap! Not much has happened last week... <BR> <BR> It was one of our busiest week at work (exam time) and, as every year, it is the week I was severely short-staffed <em>39</em> <BR> The work gets done in the end, but it causes me stress every single time. <BR> <BR> I'm still trialling some Paleo recipes in preparation for my home-made challenge next month. This one was an absolute hit with my son! <BR> <BR> Chicken with tomatoes and wilted spinach served with cauliflower rice: <BR> <BR> <... Tue, 21 May 2013 08:28:43 EST Quick catch up in pictures! My son and I went to the park on Sunday to play Frisbee and for a little walk, then had a lot of fun watching the ducklings: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src=""> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> New recipe: Sausage and Aubergine Penne Bake <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photo... Wed, 15 May 2013 06:48:51 EST Breakfast and lunch of champions! Breakfast and lunch of champions: Spelt pancakes tower with bananas and strawberries for breakfast, and for lunch, bite-size veggie burgers with my home-made, "blow-your-head-off" sweet chili sauce. <BR> (It is ok, actually, because your mouth goes numb after a few seconds of eating it so you can have more! However, it will leave your lips tingling for hours afterwards :D) <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <img src=" Tue, 30 Apr 2013 08:17:32 EST 22 April 2013 - quick catch up with pics My son and I tried this new recipe: Sweetcorn and Coriander Pancakes <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The recipe says it serves 4/6.... 4/6 what? Small armies?! <BR> The amount of batter was crazy and it took me ages to cook them all. However, they are yummy and they freeze well, so we have a stash in the freezer for future quick lunches. They are delicious with a green salad. <BR> <BR> Finally, we've had some good weather here in Nort... Mon, 22 Apr 2013 07:56:56 EST Sandra's Bodypump weights: numbers to remember This is accountability - I'm hoping to look back on these numbers in a few weeks time and realise that my weights have gone UP! <BR> <BR> <em>344</em> <em>23</em> <em>362</em> <BR> <BR> Warm-up track: 5kgs (11lbs) <BR> <BR> Squats track: 15kgs (33lbs) <BR> <BR> Chest track: 10kgs (22lbs) The track used for this is 6 minutes long! Great song, by Muse, but 6 minutes!! It’s a whole lot of reps! <em>40</em> <BR> <BR> Back track: 15kgs (33lbs) This really hurts my hands, deep ... Mon, 15 Apr 2013 07:50:15 EST