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29 October 2013

Fast Diet - Week 2 - #LoseDayTuesday

Week two of the 5:2 Fast Diet!! To find out more about it, read my original post here.

Last week I went to Jersey to spend 5 days with my Brother and his family. We went out to some gorgeous places to eat, ate French prawns fresh off the boat, had a few drinks, made some yummy cakes and generally enjoyed ourselves for 5 days straight. So where does the diet come into this plan? I fasted on the Monday, and started fasting midway through Tuesday, until Wednesday night. Then I could just enjoy. It may technically not have been a full 36 hour fast day for my second attempt, but it was the best I could do!! 

After indulging for so many days straight I was actually kind of excited to start my next fasting day, just to let my body have a bit of a break. But it turned out to be a really tough day of fasting. Around 4pm I started getting a cold. I declined rapidly into what could only be known as Man-Flu. I knew the body aches and pains were just cold symptoms, but they hit so hard and fast that it knocked me for a sixer! I wasn't all that hungry, and yet, knew I was weaker because I had no fuel in my system. I stuck to the fast day though, and had some spare calories in the evening, so had a giant bowl of porridge to take some medications with, and have woken up 1000 times better today!! 

I generally spend the day leading up to a fast day planning what I am going to eat, and then pop to the shops early before the hunger pangs set in for the day. I had a busy morning which helps me a lot, get through some hours without thinking about food. I would also highly recommend a calorie counting App, I use My Fitness Pal and have found it to be incredible, it lists EVERYTHING!!!

Breakfast - Blueberry & Kiwi Smoothie

I made a really delicious breakfast smoothie, made with 1 kiwi fruit, 50g of blueberries and 25g of no-fat greek yoghurt. I also crushed a whole heap of ice into it, so it was more bulky without any additional calories. I split the serving into two champagne glasses, just because it felt more fun that way, and had one serve before I went out in the morning, and the other one at lunch time. 


The second serving of blueberry smoothie!


10 pitted green olives.  It doesn't sound like much, but I was craving something salty, and it sent my salivary glands into overdrive and was exactly what I needed to keep going. 

As my body-aches settled in later in the afternoon I felt utterly miserable. I needed something warm and something flu-busting. I added 5 blueberries and some grated ginger to a cup of boiling water and sipped this slowly. 

FULL disclosure time - - My naughty and empty-calorie brain-lapse, was two Allen's Lollies. I was feeling weak and saw them in the kitchen so had two. They are just candy from Australia that I love, and even though it was a waste of 28 calories, they did make me feel a little less miserable!!! 

Dinner - Leafy Fish Taco's

I thought about doing this meal ahead of time because I have made it recently and loved it. I thought it would make more sense to eat a meal that was already low calorie, rather than trying to adapt a high calorie meal into a slightly less-satisfying version (yes cauliflower pizza, I'm talking about you). 

I marinated the fish in lime and fresh coriander for a few hours, just because I wasn't going to be adding any other sauces to tenderise the fish. It simply cooked in the pan for about 5 minutes, until just cooked through and tender. 

I would normally use Butter Lettuce but my local store didn't have any, so I used Baby Gem Lettuce instead, and it worked perfectly well. I accompanied the fish with fresh tomatoes, red onion, sliced peppers and a drop of greek yoghurt on top. They were delicious, filling and very satisfying. I think I'll just keep doing this meal once a week for a fast day dinner!!!

Ingredients and amounts
100g Cod or other white fish
1/2 cup fresh peppers
2 T lime juice
50g Lettuce
1/5 cup onion
5 cherry tomatoes
30g 0% fat Greek yoghurt
3 T coriander


I was feeling pretty rubbish after dinner still, and checked my calorie count for the day and saw that I had heaps to spare, so made a big bowl of porridge (50g GF oats) which I ate in bed (at 9pm) watching some fairly trashy shows on Netflix! I found that just adding 50ml of milk, one teaspoon of Agave nectar and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon made for perfectly sweet and creamy oats, which kept me full throughout the night. 


Other than my ginger and blueberry water, I stuck to plain water all day. I have a Bobble which makes being out with water easy. I also find it easier to drink more water when it is in a bottle, for whatever reason, so keep it with me all the time to make sure I am staying hydrated. Total water intake 2L. 

Total calories = 456


Pretty low on the exercise front this past week. I only did one 30 minute workout, due to being away, and so will work on increasing that this week. 

Weight loss?

Weight loss to date 0.5kg (1.1lbs). 

This was astounding to me, considering my lack of exercise and fairly high intake of unhealthy foods. I'm kind of excited thinking if I can still lose/maintain on such an unhealthy week, I wonder what may happen on a regular week!

I've loved hearing from so many people who are starting this diet too. It seems to be a tough one right now, but all reports seem to indicate that it's going to work, so worth getting through these early weeks of adjustment. If you are on this diet and have any good food ideas and tips, please share them, I'd love to hear some other ideas!!!!!  

Happy Tuesday!!

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28 October 2013

My Best Friends' Wedding....Cake

Last month we went to Australia to catch up with family and to be part of my best friends' wedding. Saraid is Baby M's Godmother and I love her like a sister (without the fighting!). To stand by her (beautiful) side on the most important day of her life is a memory I will always cherish.

It was a whirlwind trip but I wouldn't have it any other way. We got to the Hunter Valley on the Tuesday, ahead of the Friday wedding, as we needed some time to bake the Wedding Cake. Saraid wanted for us to make the cake together, and I was really looking forward to spending that time baking together, creating the cake for her special day. She wanted a simple and home-made looking cake, so we knew we could do that! Plus, we operate on the same crazy time efficiencies so it just works! 

The bottom tier of the cake was two white chocolate mud cakes. The top tier was Saraids favourite cake, Hummingbird. A Hummingbird cake is similar to a banana cake, but also has mango, pineapple and coconut. I was hesitant about the Hummingbird cake as I had tried one in London before coming, and it failed miserably! But, it was a case of sometimes fresh isn't best. As soon as we made a practice one with tinned fruit, it was perfect, and not a big sloppy mess like my first attempt. 

On the Wednesday Saraid and I made the two white chocolate mud cakes. 

On the Thursday during the day we made the two Hummingbird cakes. I wanted the Gluten-Intolerant guests to have something to eat too, so made 6 gluten free cupcakes to match the main cake. Also on Thursday was the big family dinner before the wedding, and so I wanted to help Saraid's mum out and so made 40 mini pavlova's with chantilly cream and fresh berries. 

That night I also did the crumb coating on all 4 cakes. This is the first layer of buttercream icing that sets on the cakes to make the second layer smooth and crumb-free, and means when you do the second layer, you won't see the cake through it!

The morning of the wedding I got up and started icing the cakes. Nervously. I started getting RSI two hours later, I just wanted it to look exactly how Saraid had envisioned. 

Here are the little cupcakes that I made for the gluten intolerant guests (including moi of course!). Saraid gave me free reign to jazz these up a little, so I wanted to tie in the gorgeous pearl detail of her wedding dress. They were a little over the top, but when they were plated up, they looked gorgeous!

On the morning of the wedding people kept asking us over and over again why on earth we wanted to bake this cake ourselves. I just LOVED Saraids answer:

"Because we are F****n good bakers"

On the night of the wedding we (I) nervously awaited the cutting of the cake and the first taste, because of course I couldn't taste the cakes along the way! But, all reports were positive and it looked awesome (if I may say so myself?!). 

The photographer took some lovely shots of our masterpiece, thanks for these James Day!

The next morning was the recovery, Australia vs the Rest of The World in cricket! Mr M and I have been away so long we were traded and had to play AGAINST Australia (aka they were short on players), but, that point aside, it was such an enjoyable way to see everyone again and have some fun on the oval. 

I had some stickers made up which matched the invites, and so prior to the cricket match, I cake bagged the remaining pieces, to help with the morning after sore heads! 

I could go on all day long about how much it meant to be there for Saraid, about the feeling like I just gained a brother-in-law in Tom, and how making this cake will always be the most delicious and best tasting cake I never ate. 

To my best friend and her new husband, I look forward to a lifetime of making and sharing "f'n good cakes" together and can't wait to celebrate the next big milestone in your lives together, whenever that may be!

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NB: recipes to come!

24 October 2013

meg-made it to Customs House Brisbane (review)

Last month when we were in Australia we had a lot to do in a short amount of time. So we wanted to be sure we didn't waste any time going to a sub-par restaurant. Custom's House was definitely not sub-par!

I was so excited when my oldest friend (in terms of we've been friends since we were 5, she's not 98 or anything) contacted me to let me know she'd be in Brisbane the weekend that we were there I was so excited! I hadn't seen Kate since our wedding a few years back, so was so excited that our paths had crossed brilliantly one glorious morning on the banks of the Brisbane River. 

I had never been to Customs House before, but always admired the building (and location!). When looking at online menu's I realised that it was potentially $1-2 more expensive than other run-of-the-mill restaurants and so I thought the view alone was worth the extra, let alone the menu options!!!!! Plus I wanted to take my friend somewhere a little bit more special.

Customs House for Sunday brunch is my Brisbane gem, mostly overlooked, but definitely worth a visit.

The menu is delightful. 

They serve Chai Lattes - yes, I had two. 

Mr M had the crab omelette, which was out of this world. I was put off by the accompaniments but had some serious order-envy when it arrived. 

My Eggs Royale was perfection though. I even enjoyed the spinach, it tasted buttery! 

It was such a thoroughly lovely morning sitting by the river on a gorgeous Spring morning, sharing delicious food with such wonderful company. Happy 30th for yesterday too Kate, I hope you had a wonderful day!!!

I HIGHLY recommend going to Customs House if you are looking for a slightly more upscale dining experience without the upscale price-tag. 

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22 October 2013

Fast Diet - Week 1 - #LoseDayTuesday

What the?! I know but let me explain!

I am not sure how to write this post without it digressing very quickly into a tale of a lifetime of body-image insecurities and bullying about my weight. I've never been huge (apart from when I was pregnant!) but I've also always been just a little bit uncomfortable with my "jiggly bits". As a teenager I didn't want to be any thinner, because I was healthy and didn't want to become a girl obsessed with her looks, despite my family's immense pressure for me to lose weight. 

As an adult I have been fluctuating between a comfortable weight, but, as the months tick on in the "post baby" phase, I've realised that I have to try a lot harder to shift some unwanted bulge. It dawned on me the other day, that I how I feel about the way I look is starting to hold me back and I really want to change that. I want to teach my daughter to be confident and to have a strong sense of self image. I can't be doing that if she hears my little jabs about my looks all the time! 

I don't usually "diet" so much as eat healthier and exercise more, but, seeing my "no-nonsense" cousin the other day convinced me that it's definitely worth a go. She and her husband are uber fit and healthy, so when I saw how much weight they had even lost, I was astounded! With a toddler and no babysitters it is quite difficult to up my exercise regime, so I knew I had to look at my food intake instead. 

About the 5:2 Fast Diet

The 5:2 Diet is very simple. For 2 days of the week you "fast" and restrict your food intake to 500 calories, which is 1/4 of your standard dietary intake. These days of intermittant fasting are ideally spread out during the week amongst the five other regular days. On the 5 other days you don't need to be counting calories, you just go about your normal life (unless your normal life sees you eating cake 3 times a day, which may need to be altered). All of this of course, with being gluten free as well! 

I always found my most successful form of exercising was doing interval training, and I feel like this is interval training but for food! The two days of fasting are those high-paced sprints that you do amongst a brisk walk.

So yesterday was day 1 and I kicked off with a fast day. I am going to report in every Tuesday about how it's going, add some meal suggestions to survive the fast, and hopefully, hopefully, report on any weight I lose each Tuesday! Hence Lose-Day Tuesday. 

So, for my first fasting day, I was a little adventurous, and went over the calorie allowance by 20. Not a huge crime, but will definitely stick under it next time. Here is what I ate yesterday...

Breakfast - Porridge

5:2 Diet meg-made breakfast

Oats made on water, with a sprinkle of cinnamon, served with 20 blueberries and 4 raspberries. 

Lunch - Baked asparagus and tomato with a poached egg

5:2 Diet lunch ideas meg-made

I taught myself how to poach an egg yesterday so that I can make this yummy lunch! Simply bake asparagus tips and tomatoes in the oven for about half an hour, or until softened and starting to get some colour. Poach an egg and place it on top and enjoy as the gooey sunshine spills out over the veggies. 

Afternoon snack - Tzatziki with carrots

meg-made: Tzatziki for the 5:2 Diet

I made up a quick tzatziki using no fat greek yoghurt, fresh mint, grated (and water squeezed out of) cucumber, dried dill, garlic salt and a crack of pepper. It was delicious with the carrots and kept me going until dinner time! 


5:2 diet cauliflower pizza recipa meg-made

I followed a recipe from Lavender & Lovage for a Cauliflower Crusted Pizza. It was pretty good, although as she says, don't expect a pizza crust, it is just a vehicle for carrying a topping!!! My husband actually really enjoyed it, but I was still hungry and stupidly watching a cooking show at the time, so craving all kinds of wonderful calorific meals!!!! But still, if you are paleo or gluten intolerant, this would be worth a try. I put less mozzarella in the actual "dough" and so had more veggies on top! 


A bit part of the fast days is staying hydrated and getting through the hunger pangs with liquids! I don't usually drink much other than water and milk anyway, but to get through the day I had 3 chamomile teas and 10 glasses of water. To say I was peeing for all of England would be an understatement (and TMI?!).

It doesn't all look like a bad day of eating does it?! And a grand total of 520 calories isn't too shabby! 

I will repot in each Tuesday and let you know what other meal ideas I am coming up with as I go!!!

Have you heard about or tried the 5:2 Diet? Are you loving it and have lost a gazillion kilos in the first month alone?? These are the stories I would LOVE to hear about!!!!! 

Have a great Tuesday! 

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21 October 2013

Viewtorial: How to poach an egg

Do you know how to poach an egg? I didn't until today!! When I go out for brunch I always order a meal that comes with a poached egg, because it's just something I've never been able to master. 

But then I thought, how hard could it be really?! And the answer is, not all the hard, you just have to break through the fear factor!!!

Whenever I tried in the past, I would see my egg white going everywhere in the pot and then just toss the lot out, without allowing it the time to reform. There's always going to be some little bits of whites that flake off, but after watching Gordon Ramsay poach an egg and seeing that his does this too, I thought maybe it might be time to try again!! I was finally inspired by my friends' boyfriend who proclaimed how easy it was to do, but I didn't have apple cider vinegar so I had to use regular white wine vinegar instead! But, he was right, it wasn't as hard as I had worked it up to be.

Look what I created on my first attempt! One-handed!!

I had planned on filming this while Baby M slept, but she had other plans, and they did not align! We had one of those days today. For about two hours all she wanted was to be cuddled. 

Straight after I finished, it was all smiles again! 

We then had a lovely afternoon walking in the brisk afternoon air, reading books and having a massive nap (her, not I)! 

I just chose the wrong time of the day to attempt this venture. Never mind, she add's a certain extra pazazz to my video!! 

I hope you like the viewtorial and if you aren't a confident egg poached, give it a go again, if I can do it one-handed imagine what you can achieve with two!!! The quality seems to have been compromised a little, but I hope it is clear enough to make sense of.

meg-made viewtorial: How to poach an egg

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16 October 2013

meg-made it to A Salt & Battery, St Lucia, (review)

I bet you don't think I'm serious when I say that I have a list of places to eat in Australia when we're short on time, but I do! And much like Grill'd, A Salt & Battery is pretty high up on that list of places not to miss while we are home. 

I went to the University of Queensland to get my undergrad degrees, which is in a beautiful suburb of St Lucia in Brisbane. My husband (then boyfriend) lived on campus, without a car for the most part, so we were a little restricted as to where he would wine and dine me!!! Restricted in location, not taste!

Luckily, there were a gazillion others in the same boat, so the clever people of St Lucia started trading off such folk, and a range of great (some not so) restaurants/pubs/cafes ran a roaring trade throughout term time. One that has stood the test of time, is our much favoured A Salt & Battery. 

So many happy memories of getting some beer from the bottlo next door and sitting down to an immense meal of freshly cooked seafood! And nothing has changed!! I took all these photos on my iPhone sorry, so they aren't the best!!

Living in the UK has really made me appreciate what an Australian fish and chippery has to offer! The range of options is just awesome!!

And even the salads are a bit creative too. I always ALWAYS order the pumpkin salad (top right) and it is just divine. The sweetest of the roasted pumpkin goes perfectly with the salty seafood too.

And for the gluten intolerant out there.... check out my plate of amazingness....and it's ALL GF!!! They make Sweet Potato Chips and they are GF, you can have your fish grilled (and not dusted in flour), the scallop sticks are grilled, and the pumpkin salad is GF too! Hooray!!

( NB: The quality of these photos was soo bad I had to mess badly with the exposure settings to make them look halfway decent!! Any iPhone photo-taking tips at night would be greatly appreciated!!)

It was kind of early on a Tuesday night, which is why this place isn't heaving, but as we had a tired little traveller to tuck into bed it suited us perfectly for a quick and easy dinner out.  So so so good. Thanks for never changing ASB, you rock!!

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