Oaklands is the ideal setting for a hen weekend

I just wanted to share with you all the incredible, fantastic place that I spent my hen weekend last weekend.

Honest to God, it's one of the most amazing houses I have ever been to/in.

When we arrived we were just blown away. It looks exactly like the pictures, which is always a good thing. Everything was really clean and tidy when we arrived and there was soooo much space - every room is huge. 

It's decorated beautifully, each bedroom (of which there are seven) is decorated in its own unique style and is just beautiful. The bathrooms are all decorated really nicely as well, as are all the rooms downstairs. 

The kitchen is just amazing - with a huge range cooker, loads of cupboard space, and the centrepiece of the room - the large circle table.

There's a little room with a small sofa and fire, which looks directly out onto the gorgeous views of Holmfirth.

As well as a super cosy room right at the bottom with a big TV in and a fire.

At the other end of the house is another seating area with a cocktail bar in the corner. This was great fun.

And right at the end was a smaller room with more seating and another television. There was also a karaoke machine in here (a good distance away from the other end of the house if you want to relax!)

And then, outside, there was a hot tub which was b-e-a-utiful! There was seating and a little terrace but, unfortunately, the weather wasn't kind enough to us to be able to sit outside. The hot tub was under cover, though, which was brilliant and meant we could still enjoy it even in the wet Yorkshire weather.

As well as the house being incredible, the company who we organised it through (Celebration Cottages) were amazing. They run all sorts of different packages which offer a chef to come and cook you a three course meal, afternoon tea, canap├ęs, drink receptions - anything you can think of, they can do.

We had three activities included during our weekend stay, all of which were organised by the amazing staff at Celebration Cottages who took care of everything.

Friday night we started with a cocktail class, Saturday morning we enjoyed beauty treatments, and Saturday evening we were joined by a butler in the buff.

The cocktail class was fab - even if that is where I start to forget parts of the evening - and the beauty treatments were amazing. I had a back massage, which is up there as one of the best back massages I think I have ever had. The girls were amazing!! I was also treated to an extra treatment, as one of my friends couldn't come at the last minute, so they gave me a facial as well. It was so thorough, so relaxing and just incredible.

I felt totally relaxed and wished I could book them in for every hangover!

Then there was the butler in the buff who was just fab! He was so friendly, so funny and just really lovely. He joined us for tea and became an honorary hen for the two hours he was with us.

Everything came to us at the house, which was great as it meant we didn't have to go anywhere!

The whole setting was perfect. It was intimate, but we weren't all on top of each other, and it was so, so relaxing. I wanted somewhere where my friends and family of all ages could go and enjoy the weekend all together. A big night out is all well and good, but I knew my mum, mother-in-law etc. wouldn't enjoy that the same, and I wouldn't enjoy it knowing they weren't there. This place was just ideal, there was something for everyone.

We chose to take all our own food, even though we could have got Celebration Cottages to provide it either as afternoon tea, with a chef, or with a delivery of pizzas. The fridge and freezer was really big, with so much room to store everything, and there were loads of plates/bowls/cutlery etc. There was also a dishwasher - lifesaver when there's 13 of you!

I took loads of plastic glasses and champagne flutes, but there was loads of glasses provided - both glass and plastic - so I didn't need to be so organised.

There was also plenty of cleaning products, dishwasher tablets, kitchen roll, toilet roll and all the other essentials. Bedding and towels were included, but we had to take our own towels for the hot tub (or we could've hired them, if we were tight on space in our bags.)

In the bigger TV room was a selection of DVDs - some proper classics like The Princess Diaries, 13 Going on 30 and Pretty Woman. I had planned to take some DVDs with me, but had totally forgotten, so these were a great addition.

It was easy to feel so relaxed while there because everything beforehand had been so simple and easy. If we had any queries about anything all I had to do was drop Andrew or Faye an email and they responded so promptly. They were both so friendly and made the whole process really easy.

We all had an absolutely amazing time and are already trying to find another event/celebration/excuse to re-visit and return.

Thank you so much to everyone behind Oaklands Spa Retreat at Holmfirth for the most amazing, special setting for the perfect weekend.

To find out more about where we stayed, follow this link.


I seem to have developed a rather embarrassing habit since getting back into the slimming swing of things

I feel like I'm proper back in the slimming swing of things now after losing another two pounds this week, yippee!

I'm now just one pound away from my target weight, which I reached one whole year ago next week, and creeping slowly down my target range ready for a food and booze-filled few days for my hen do next weekend.

This last week I really felt like I had a firm grip on things and was in control, making good choices. Each hurdle I was faced with I overcame with relative ease.

Friday night we ended up having an impromptu Chinese takeaway at Tom's mum and dad's. We never really have Chinese, unless we make it ourselves, so I had no clue what to order. I also didn't know what was good/bad syns wise and didn't want to write my week off on just the second day in. I put a quick shout-out on our Slimming World group Facebook page and within minutes I had loads of responses advising me on the best low-syn dishes. I went with chicken in black bean in the end, which has always been a firm favourite when my dad has made it.

Saturday I had my wedding dress fitting (more about that later!) and when I got home Tom decided he wanted to go to Kitchen for lunch. For those not from round here, or not privy with Kitchen, it's basically like food heaven. Imagine the best, nicest cakes and sandwiches, deli foods, sausage rolls, quiches, flatbreads, and pork pies then double it - and you're somewhere near Kitchen. I've only ever been once and not gone all out with a huge sandwich and a cake, so I wasn't sure how it would go.

I managed to restrain myself, though, and had a piri-piri chicken skewer salad bowl. It was so, so tasty. It had some dressing (forgot to ask for it without) and obviously the piri-piri will have had syns in, but I have no clue how many. I imagine it won't have been too bad, but I did keep in mind for the rest of the week my uncertainty surrounding those syns.

Saturday night I was at an engagement party so had set myself the plan of just drinking vodka and Diet Coke - easy peasy. That is, until, my best friend, bless her, went and bought me a couple of drinks. Only when I was ordering my last drink of the night did she realise that I'd been drinking Diet Coke, and not full-fat coke, and that she'd ordered me full fat. By this point, I was fairly tipsy so didn't really care! Two full-fat cokes isn't going to kill me and, as the scales showed this week, didn't impact at all on my weight loss.

The rest of the week was pretty plain sailing. I haven't really been too adventurous with my meals, although I have developed a new obsession with the butternut squash crinkle cut chips from Sainsbury's - they're beaut! I just spray them with Frylight, sprinkle on some garlic salt and paprika, and whack them in the Actifry for 30 mins and they taste just like 'normal' chips.

They featured in two of my teas this week...

Homemade chilli burgers with the SW burger relish, butternut squash chips and spinach

Pizza-topped chicken with butternut squash chips and salad
I tried a new fakeaway recipe this week, too, from a recipe I had seen on Instagram. It was salt and chilli chicken Chinese and ooooh it was beaut. Just thinking about it now is making me want to eat it all over again. It was really simple... Just 120g Smash/instant mash, one teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of pepper, one teaspoon of chilli powder, one teaspoon of garlic powder and one teaspoon of garlic salt. Mix it altogether in a bowl then beat two eggs in a separate bowl. Dip your chicken pieces in the egg, then in the mixture, then back in the egg, then in the mixture again. Pop them on a baking tray and bake at 180 for 20 to 25 mins. I served it with the SW egg-fried rice (first time I've done it and it was beaut) with some peppers and onion for added speed. Absolutely beaut.

The salt and chilli chicken Chinese fakeaway
I'm feeling really, really good at the moment. I seem to have developed a rather embarrassing habit of stopping at every mirror I pass at home and lifting my top up to look at my stomach. Even when I got to target last year I don't remember feeling this confident and happy in my skin. Today I am in a fitted size 8 dress that I haven't worn since about this time last year. And, as I mentioned above, I had my wedding dress fitting last weekend.

I was a bit nervous, although I knew I shouldn't have been, after I tried it on last. I went the week before Christmas and it was so, so tight. It barely went over my bum and was a struggle to fasten. I didn't dare move in it incase it ripped! This time, however, it went straight over my bum no problem and fastened easily. It felt amazing! It's now just eight weeks until the wedding, and four weeks until my final dress fitting. But, before all that, my hen party next weekend.

I certainly have lots and lots of things to keep in my mind as a goal whenever I feel like throwing in the towel and eating a whole pizza and all the chocolate!

Food diary

Thursday: (SP)
Breakfast - Bacon, poached eggs, beans and spinach
Dinner - Chicken sandwich in a wholemeal roll (HEB) and an apple
Tea - Pizza - base made with the Aldi crusty wholemeal bread mix (HEB) - topped with tomato puree/passata, chicken, peppers, onion and 45g 50% reduced fat Morrisons cheddar (HEA) and served with a huge side salad.
Syns for the day: 0

Breakfast - Choco-nut malt wheats (40g HBE) with semi skimmed milk (HEA)
Dinner - Tomato and spinach tomato packed with cherry tomatoes, spinach and passata
Tea - Chicken in black bean sauce (7.5 syns) with plain steamed rice.
Syns for the day: 7.5

Breakfast - Choco-nut malt wheats (40g HBE) with semi-skimmed milk (HEA)
Dinner - Piri-piri chicken with salad and dressing (syns unknown)
Tea - Cajun chicken pasta with a side of spinach
Drinks - Three vodka and diet cokes (9 syns) and two vodka and cokes (15 syns)
Syns for the day: 24

Sunday: (SP)
Brunch - Sausage sandwich using Morrisons Eat Smart Cumberland sausages (1 syn for 2 sausages) in wholemeal bread (HEB) with poached eggs, beans, spinach and cherry tomatoes.
Tea - Homemade chilli burgers with butternut squash chips, spinach and the SW burger relish
Snack - Two Hi-Fi lights (HEB) and a chocolate brownie Fibre One  (4 syns)
Snack - Strawberries and two pears chopped and mixed with chocolate-y fat free quark (made using one teaspoon of Choc Shot for 0.5 syns)
Syns for the day: 5.5

Breakfast - Strawberries with chocolate-y fat free quark (two teaspoons for 1 syn)
Dinner - Homemade tomato and chilli soup
Tea - Chinese chilli salt chicken fakeaway with SW egg-fried rice, peppers and onions with 2 tbsp of sweet chilli to dip (3 syns)
Snacks - Two mint choc Hi-Fi bars (HEB) and a caramel Fibre one (4 syns)
Syns for the day: 8

Tuesday: (SP)
Breakfast - Two dippy eggs with soldiers (HEB)
Snack - Fat free quark with strawberries, blackberries and raspberries
Dinner - Homemade tomato and chilli soup
Snacks - Clementine, pear, apple
Tea - Pizza-topped chicken (topped with 45g of 50% reduced fat mature Morrisons cheddar as my HEA, peppers and onion) served with butternut squash chips, spinach, peppers and onion.
Snack - Two Hi-Fi lights (HEB)
Syns for the day: 0

Breakfast - Fresh strawberries with fat free quark
Dinner - Homemade tomato and chilli soup
Snack - Two clementines and a pear
*I have tea after I'm weighed*
Syns for the day: 0


Let me share with you my female role models this International Women's Day

Every woman is another's role model.

When I was younger, my older cousin was mine. I was obsessed with her - my older, cooler cousin. I wanted blonde, straight hair like hers, I wanted to be clever and go to university like her, I wanted to drink Smirnoff Black Ice like her - I basically just wanted to be her. (In a completely non-stalker-ish way, honest!)

Other young girls idolise celebrities, family members, friends. But every female is a role model to another.
Whether a businesswoman, police officer, teacher, or just a friend, we all have people we idolise and look up to, or even aspire to be like. Sometimes it's people we don't even know.

There are so many amazing, inspirational women in my life who I admire, who I want to be more like, and who are my role models today - some I know, some I don't. My family and friends inspire me every day. My work colleagues and my bosses show me that anything is possible if you persevere, work hard and are driven.

If we all look around us, we will see we are surrounded my inspirational women who are the best kinds of role models we could wish for. Today, and everyday, it is important we celebrate successes and achievements of the phenomenal females around us.

I'm going to use today - International Women's Day - to tell you a bit about the role models and inspirational women in my life, and why I look up to each of them for completely different reasons.
My mum

Me and my mumma.
My mum is an absolutely incredible lady. I know everyone says that about their mum, and so they should, but mine really is.  She always puts other people before herself, even when things haven't been all too easy for her.

She's always pushed me to be my best, encouraged me to follow my dreams, and never stood in my way. We've laughed together, cried together and screamed at each other over the years, but I couldn't live without her. She's incredibly brave, will always speak her mind, and is always there for her family and friends. She's full of the best advice, even if I've not always thought so at the time, and she is always at the end of the phone (literally, it's never out of her hand!)

If I can be half as good of a mum as she is, then I will be incredibly happy with myself.

Love you mumma x

My best friend

My beautiful best friend.
Soph and I have been best friends since school and have been through every exciting life event together. We've grown up together - sharing every part of each other's journey.

Soph is a little pocket rocket. She may only be small, but she is feisty, strong-willed, honest and loyal. She will always speak out for what she believes in and stand up for her loved ones without hesitation. She's incredibly forgiving, trustworthy and one of the nicest, genuine girls to exist. She handles everything thrown at her with such grace and is a great person to have around in a crisis (I should know, I've had plenty!) She always makes time to be there for her family and friends, even if things are difficult.

We've had countless numbers of ups, and a few downs, but they've made us the friends we are today. She's not scared to tell me if I'm being an idiot, to point out if something I'm doing isn't right, or to make suggestions different to mine. I admire her honesty and her good heart every single day. 

I cannot wait for all our future adventures - you're going to make the best wife and, one day, the best mum ever, Soph. Love you x

My uni girls

Liz, Gina, me and Han - #GirlPower
I couldn't have got through three of the most difficult years of my life without these ladies. University was an absolute ball, don't get me wrong, but it was also hard, hard work and super stressful.

We've all kept really close since uni and I could not be more proud of what they have all achieved and where they are now.

Throughout uni they all worked so, so hard - juggling jobs, hobbies, societies and relationships. Nothing was ever too much or too difficult for them, they handled everything thrown at them. Now, they're each pursuing their dream career, continuing their hard work every single day. Their determination to get where they are now, and to succeed, is admirable, and completely deserved after all the hard work they have put in. Each of them is pursuing a completely different career path but all are experiencing huge successes.

They are strong, independent women who I am immensely proud to call my friends. 

My Slimming World consultant

Beautiful Beth pictured in a snap from her Facebook.
Beth first contacted me through work, asking me to do a story about her new Slimming World group launching at the leisure centre. She told me her story about how she became a consultant after following Slimming World herself. Her bravery, to tell a complete stranger about the reasons she struggled with her weight, struck a chord with me straight away. 

When I realised I needed to do something about my own expanding waist line, Beth was the first person I got in touch with. When I went to her group she made me feel so welcome and at ease, despite how terrified and nervous I was.

Every week Beth inspires me and all the other members of her Slimming World group. She talks us through difficult times, celebrates good times with us, and shares every step of our battle with the bulge with us. I swear, she's more like a therapist than a weight loss consultant.

I owe so much to Beth and her motivational words. She's helped me regain my confidence, made me feel better about myself and encouraged me when I hit hurdles. I so admire her for giving up so much of time to help others feel good about themselves and boost people's confidence. 

Beth epitomises one of the many quotes I have seen on Instagram today about International Women's Day - "real queens help fix each other's crowns" - and that's Beth to a T.

Sarah Tremble

Sarah celebrating the launch of her female-only gym.
Again, I met Sarah through work. I got in touch with her about two years ago after learning she was opening her own female-only gym in town. This, in itself, is an amazing thing to celebrate on International Women's Day.

But how Sarah has made her business flourish is amazing. She works insane hours - I literally don't know how she does it. She hardly ever has a day off, and when she does she usually ends up going into work or doing something to do with work.

Not only is she an amazing businesswoman, who has created her own little empire, but she is a fabulous role model. She encourages women to support each other, rather than compete with each other. Her gym is such a friendly environment where no judgement is passed. She builds up her client's confidence, helps them flourish and empowers women to feel comfortable in their own skin. Empowering women every single day is such an achievement.

Christina Gabbitas

Christina at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement awards last year.
Another lady I met through work! Christina is a children's author, businesswoman, poet, voiceover, publishing extraordinaire. She has so many strings to her bow I am convinced she has an extra day in her week to everyone else.

Christina works incredibly hard in every aspect of her career to change lives, to discuss topics usually tabooed and to make a difference. She has won so many awards, accolades and recognitions for her work to encourage children to speak out about abuse. Her safeguarding book has been praised by children's charities, parents and schools alike who have commended her for tackling a tricky subject with sensitivity.

She's also organising a huge reading festival for later this month in Selby, which will see thousands of schoolchildren enjoy storytelling sessions with authors. Christina dedicates so much of her time to helping others, improving reading standards, and ensuring children fall in love with reading again. Her success is all down to her own hard work and determination, which is an incredible thing to celebrate.

Yorkshire Rows

The inspirational Yorkshire Rows when they arrived in Antigua.
These four ladies are just inspirational. There are so many other words that could be used to describe them, but that's the best fit in my book.

They sailed into the record books last year after becoming the oldest all-female crew to row across any ocean. They took part in the Tallisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge which saw them row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic. A challenge that's so tough, more people have been into space than taken part.

All of them are mums, all of them have full-time jobs, and none of them let any of this stop them. And why should it? Just became women are mums, and hold down homes and full-time jobs, why should they not be able to go on adventures?

If they're not the best advert for age being no barrier to pursue your dreams, I don't know what is. Their support and love for each other saw them complete one of the toughest physical challenges out there. They have inspired so many other ladies - and men - to do things that they maybe would've thought they couldn't. Whether it be to run in a 10k, or a half marathon, or just to take up a new sport or hobby.

They're incredible women who deserve all the recognition they are receiving, and more.

Part-Time Working Mummy

Photo from Part-Time Working Mummy on Facebook.
I stumbled across Rachaele Hambleton's hilariously honest Facebook blog after some of my friends liked and shared her post. She blogs about the highs and lows of parenthood - not something I can actually relate to at the moment - as well as sharing insights into her fabulous family life.

Rachaele is a mum of three girls and step-mummy to two boys. She supports so many incredible causes, primarily domestic violence charities, having raised tens of thousands of pounds to help women who flee violent relationships. She is a voice for so many who feel like they don't have one.

Most recently she has spoken out about bullying, appearing on This Morning with her teenage daughter Betsy to talk about the latest social media bullying craze that's sweeping the country.

Rachaele makes mums everywhere feel like they're not failing. She's the realistic voice who tells it how it is. She makes mums realise it's normal and natural to struggle, and it's ok to be glad when the "mini turds" (as she affectionately calls them) have gone to bed and you can have some me-time. She reassures women all over that how we feel is normal. 

I am now obsessed with her page, always looking to see if there's an update I've missed. Whether it be tales of her and 'bird boy' going to Sainsbury's or a gorgeous photo of one of her brood, she tells it how it is. Her honesty, her compassion and her support will help so many mums who, no doubt, feel like they are failing to realise that, actually, they are doing pretty well. 

She's definitely someone I look up to and aspire to be like when I have my own mini brood.

Stephanie Hirst

The gorgeous Stephanie Hirst and myself at the Yorkshire Women of Achievement Awards.
I absolutely blood love this woman. She is inspirational to everyone - no matter what gender.

I used to listen to Hirsty every single morning on my way to school - I grew up with her. She's one of those people that you feel like you know, even before you've even met them.

When Stephanie announced in October 2014 that she was going through gender reassignment therapy I felt a huge pang of pride. Pride for a 'friend' who I didn't even know. She became an icon to trans people everywhere, speaking out about the issues and being someone that millions of people could look up to.

Stephanie continues her amazing work to speak out her experiences growing up and the battles she has faced in her personal and professional life. She is hugely talented, exceptionally brave and a totally gorgeous person inside and out. 

Happy International Women's Day!


Forget the Porky Lights sausage scandal, this little porky pig is getting lighter!

I've done it - I lost two pounds this week which is what I needed to get myself back in my target range. Yippee! 

I've felt in control this week. Tuesday evening I went to the cinema with my best friend so made sure I kept my HEB so I could have two of the salted caramel Hi-Fi bars in the cinema. When I bought them in group I was told they taste like toffee popcorn - but they're soooo much nicer than that.

I had the two of those with a 30g bag of Proper Corn sweet and salty popcorn, which was six syns, and that kept me going until tea.

We went to Pizza Express for tea. Usually, I'd order a big pizza without even thinking twice. I don't want to be a really boring person who goes out for a meal and has a salad which costs an insane amount of money and could have been made for a fraction of the price at home. But, at the same time, I was conscious that weigh-in was just 24 hours away and didn't want to undo my hard work.

I opted for the pizza with the hole in the middle filled with salad. I quickly worked a couple of bits out on my app and this came out at 22 syns, which I was happy with. It was nice, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't a proper pizza. 

I absolutely love eating out, and when I'm back comfortably in my target range I won't be so anal about my choices, but I really wanted to try be sensible last night.

Similarly, when we took my mum out for tea on Friday. Usually I'd go all out and have pie or curry or something with chips and onion rings, but I was still feeling so focused from Wednesday night. I decided on poached salmon with rice, vegetables and a big bowl of salad from the salad bar. I did indulge in a couple of glasses of wine, but stayed within my syns for the day - win!

Some of my days at work have been crazy busy this week, so crazy that I've missed lunch. You know shit's serious when I miss a meal. Thursday I was in court, and I had such a rubbish day, I ate my tuna sandwich and that was all I had time for. I had a haul of fruit with me which didn't even get touched.

Monday was similar. I'd taken soup to work to have for my dinner but was so busy it was 3.30pm by the time I realised I'd not had it. Instead I just grazed on fruit through the day, but was starving when I got home. I decided that, as I was so hungry, I'd do pasta and chips (SW friendly, I must add) to have with tea that night. I did eat almost an entire broccoli as well, and carrots, but I just needed the carbs - my poor stomach thought my throat had been cut!

I have also finally managed to get my hands on the elusive Fibre One bars. I've seen so much hype about them I basically just wanted to try them to see what the fuss was about.

They're currently on offer at Morrisons at £1 per box - they're usually £2.80! As soon as I caught wind of the offer I added a box of each flavour to my online shop. By the time I went back to it that evening, to add some more for my best friend, they'd all gone.

I had visions of mine not turning up, and me getting real brownies as a substitute, but thankfully all three boxes were present and correct when my shopping came.

I've seen everyone say how small they are, and they're not wrong, but they were tasty. I wouldn't pay £2.80 for them, but would definitely buy them again (if I can find them) when they're on offer.

Ive tended to crumble them up and mix them with a Muller Light and Hi-Fi bars, it makes for a really sweet, low-syn treat, rather than me inhaling the square in one mouthful.

I have tried a few new things this week. I made the nacho-style feast from the Slimming World website on Saturday night.

When I dished it up (literally just put the dish I cooked it in on a plate and on the table) I thought I should've maybe served something else with it. It didn't look a lot.

But it was so filling and really, really tasty.

My pudding afterwards was the below - 7 syns of heaven.

I managed to save my HEB (which is something I always struggled with) so crumbled two rocky road Hi-Fi bars in the bottom of the glass. I then mixed a vanilla Muller Light with a Cadbury Highlights sachet (2 syns) and a teaspoon of Choc Shot (0.5 syn) and put that on top, added some raspberries and a crumbled Fibre One chocolate brownie (4 syns) and another teaspoon of Choc Shot to drizzle over the top (0.5 syn) and voila!

It was so, so nice. So chocolatey and felt so indulgent.

Sunday morning's breakfast was similar. I made the same pancakes as last week but tweaked them and added Choc Shot to the mixture for a more chocolatey hit.

They worked out as one syn for the above for a teaspoon of Choc Shot in the mixture and a teaspoon of it drizzled over the top.

To make the pancakes I mixed 40g porridge oats with one egg, 50ml milk, a teaspoon of sweetener, a teaspoon of Choc Shot, and a teaspoon of vanilla extract. I served them with raspberries, strawberries and fat free Quark, with a teaspoon of Choc Shot drizzled over the top. One syn for the lot - beaut!

Choc Shot seems to feature heavily in my blog this week. If you're following Slimming World, and you haven't yet checked it out, I really would recommend doing so. It's so, so good and is just 0.5 syns per teaspoon! And a teaspoon goes a long way, it's so chocolatey.

It can be quite pricey, but it's often on offer in a lot of places so I try snap it up then. As well as normal chocolate they do a chocolate and coconut and a chocolate orange flavour. So, so good!

A reward for my fab food pics this week came on Tuesday when, out of the blue, Slimming World messaged me on Twitter to tell me I'd won one of the #FreeFoodFeb competitions.
I'm so excited for my package to arrive so I can see what I have won! The picture that won it was my homemade pizza using the Aldi wholemeal crusty bread mix as my HEB which I had the other weekend.

All in all, this week has been a good one. I am feeling better, I am looking better, and my confidence is back up to where it was. Tom even said to me one night this week he could tell I'd lost a lot of weight again, which is always nice to hear.

I have my first dress fitting this weekend which is super exciting! I can't wait to see how my dress fits me now, compared to when I tried it on at Christmas. It was a bit too tight around my hips then, but now I'm confident it'll fit me perfectly. Eeeek!

Food diary:

Breakfast - Three clementines
Dinner - Tuna mayo sandwich (2 syns for light mayo) on a wholemeal roll (HEB)
Tea - Pasta with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onion and a side of spinach
Syns for the day - 2

Breakfast - Choco nut malt wheats from Tesco (HEB) with semi-skimmed milk (HEA)
Dinner - Thursday night's leftover chicken and veg pasta
Snacks - Two clementines and a pear
Tea - Poached salmon with rice, peppers and onions and a side salad
Drinks - Two 125ml glasses of red wine (13 syns)
Syns for the day - 13

Breakfast - Bacon, poached eggs, beans and spinach
Dinner - Homemade carrot and swede soup
Tea - SW nacho-style feast
Snack - Two rocky road Hi-Fi bars (HEB) with a vanilla Muller Light mixed with Cadbury Highlights sachet (2 syns) and a teaspoon of Choc Shot (0.5 syns) topped with raspberries, a crumbled Fibre One (4 syns) and a teaspoon of Choc Shot (0.5 syns).
Syns for the day - 7

Brunch - Chocolate oat pancakes (HEB and 1 syn) with strawberries, raspberries and fat free quark.
Tea - Pork meatloaf (approx 3.5 syns per serving) with carrots, broccoli and linguine
Snack - Toffee Muller Light with a caramel Fibre One (4 syns) and a salted caramel Hi-Fi bar (3 syns) and some strawberries.
Syns for the day - 11.5

Breakfast - Strawberry and raspberry baked oats (HEB) with fat free quark, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
Dinner - Three clementines and a pear
Tea - Leftover meatloaf (approx 3.5 syns per serving) with carrots, broccoli, pasta and SW chips
Snack - Salted caramel Hi-Fi bar (3 syns) with a caramel Fibre One (4 syns)
Syns for the day - 10.5

Breakfast - Fat free Quark with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and red currants.
Dinner - Homemade carrot and swede soup
Snack - Two clementines and a pear
Snack - Proper corn sweet and salty popcorn 30g back (6.5 syns) and two salted caramel Hi-Fi bars (HEB)
Tea - Pizza Express Leggera American Hot with salad (22 syns)
Syns for the day - 28.5

Breakfast - Fat free Quark with strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and red currants.
Snack - An apple
Dinner - Beans on toast
Snack - Two clementines and two pears
Weigh-in before tea.

Bridezilla is scuttling back into her cave - for now

I've gone from cool, calm and collected bride-to-be, to being on the brink of a nervous breakdown, to borderline bridezilla, and right back out the other side.

I've had late night panics - most recently about whether or not Tom ordered a tie with his suit or whether I was supposed to get one made to match the bridesmaid dresses - and heart-stopping moments where I feel I've forgotten something.

But, all the stress aside, I think I'm finally over the bulk of the panicking/psychotic-ness. Give me a week, I'm sure I'll be right back there.

We have our final details meeting booked with our venue in 10 days which made me feel ever so slightly sick when I got the email. It can't be time to sort out all those little things just yet, can it?!

Reading the list of things we had to sort through and decide, I did want to screw it into a tiny ball and set it on fire. But, once I realised we actually knew the majority of the stuff they were asking, I felt ok. It was just a false alarm.

When I have my mild panics I usually fire off a quick email to the company/venue/whoever it is I need to triple check it with. I always try and sound carefree and breezy, like I am just taking a second out of my day to ponder/wonder, rather than letting on I'm actually sat at home chewing my finger nails off in a blind panic that I've forgotten something massively important.

My attempts at a breezy message end up sounding panicked, frantic and borderline insane. When I get the response back, that everything is fine, I then have to profusely apologise for seeming so worried about something so minor.


I would hope they get it all the time, though, and are used to dealing with panicking brides. Someone please tell me I'm not the only one who has to frantically flick through her wedding planning book to check - for the fiftieth time - that she has actually booked/paid for something?

Everything is now slowly starting to fall into place, though. It feels so good to start paying things off and making all our final choices.

My bridesmaid dresses should be arriving into the shop any day now, the boys are all measured up for their suits, the girls' shoes have arrived, I've finally finished putting together their gift boxes (I think Tom is going to glue them shut to stop me buying more little bits just to add in), and my first dress fitting is this weekend.

I've got hair and make-up trials booked in, my hen party is just over two weeks away, and finally Tom has managed to organise something that will resemble a stag do.

We've also put the favours together which ended up being a mammoth, painful task that neither Tom, me or my mum expected. My mum, bless her, volunteered to help thinking, like us, it would be a quick 20 minute job.

90 excruciating minutes later, with hands that resembled claws and us left semi-high on superglue, they were done. I don't want to give too much away, as I want there to be some elements of surprise for our guests, but a lot of cutting/hacking and sticking was involved.

When we realised we needed glue, and that we only had a bit of an old Pritt Stick, I had the bright idea to use my teeny tiny pot of nail glue from Boots. Absolutely blinding decision until it got so empty I almost dislocated my thumb trying to squeeze some more out. Tom ended up being sent to Morrisons to get some superglue, which he returned with promptly. The only problem? This stuff didn't need squeezing hard at all, but I was so used to going for force, I had used the whole tube on just a handful of favours.

I stuck my fingers together three times, mum nearly lost a finger to a kitchen knife, and we now have traces of super glue on our kitchen table (but don't ever point them out if you come round because I am pretending they aren't there.)

Eventually, though, we got them done. One more thing ticked off the list!

We're rapidly approaching the two month countdown now which is insane. I am starting to get so, so excited now. My friends have started choosing their outfits and sending me photos of what they're going to be wearing which makes me even more giddy.

I'm so desperate to talk about my dress and share photos of it, while wanting to keep it top secret at the same time, so hearing their outfit choices makes me all happy and excited.

Now that we're into March I'm starting to shift focus from the wedding onto my upcoming hen weekend. That will most certainly help me de-stress and forget about any wedding worries I may have (and probably everything we get up to that weekend as well!)

You may also like: 9 insane wedding worries that keep me awake at night

What more can be done to stop people using their phone whilst driving?

From today the penalties for using your phone whilst driving have been doubled - and about time.

It is one of my biggest hates seeing people driving around with their phone pressed to their ear, or seeing someone texting while driving. Even worse, when you get Snapchats of people singing, dancing and playing around in the car - all while driving. It makes me feel sick, thinking of the potential consequences of what seems like such a fun and split-second action.

I don't want to sound boring, or like a fun sponge, but can people honestly say it's worth the risk? If you're reading this thinking I sound like an uptight moaning Myrtle, just think for a second - how would you feel if you were involved in an accident because you took your eyes off the road, just for a second, to read a text? How would you feel if, in that car, was a mum and her newborn baby? Or an elderly couple with their grandchildren in the car? What if someone you knew was in it? What if a passenger in your car was injured? What if you got injured?

Imagine if you took your eyes off the road for a second to send a Snapchat, and missed the traffic lights turn to red. Imagine you don't stop, don't see the people crossing the road, and you knock someone down.

Even worse, how would you feel if someone close to you was seriously injured, or worse killed, in an accident because another driver was on their phone and not giving the road their full attention?

You might think "it's only a second" but a second is a long time when driving a car. A second can change everything.

I'm sure most people who use their phones while driving do so in complete innocence, probably not even thinking about what they're doing. Whether they're changing a song, looking at their phone for its map or looking to see if anyone has messaged. It's that innocent mindset that people need to undo and realise the dangers.

The glove box should be renamed the phone box. When we get in the car we shouldn't put our phones where we can see them, 'just so we can keep an eye on them', they should go out of sight.

I don't even like fiddling trying to find the right nob to alter the temperature in the car, let alone faffing with my phone. As soon as I get in my car it goes face down in the cup holder. I can't see it then if it flashes up with a text or notification, and it's always on silent so it never makes a noise.

If you're caught with your phone while you're behind the wheel from today, you'll be slapped with six points and a £200 fine. Despite previously getting three points and £100 fine if caught with your phone behind the wheel, so many people still did it.

I really, really hope this is enough to stop people from doing it in the first place. I've watched horrific, graphic videos of staged accidents caused by someone making a split-second decision to use their phone, or take a Snapchat while driving. I've read harrowing interviews with the family of people who have died in accidents because someone wasn't paying attention to the road because they were on their phone.

Yet, despite everything out there telling people not to do it, people still do. I drive along every day and see at least one motorist on my way to and from places using their phone. I just want to scream at them, tell them they're idiots and are putting not only their own life at risk, but the lives of everyone else on that stretch of road.

I don't understand why people still do it.

People driving their kids around, people ferrying family to and from places, courier drivers, van drivers, lorry drivers - I've seen it all. I have been tempted many a time, when someone is using their phone while driving a van with a company name/number on it, to ring the company and report them. It's just so, so stupid.

If I ring or text someone and they reply, but I know they are driving, I hang up/stop replying straight away. The guilt I would feel if something happened to them because they were replying to my message or answering my call would be unbearable.

I really, truly hope these changes brought into force today make people think twice about using their phones while driving. If not to save their life, and others on the road, but to save themselves the points and a fine.

No call, no text and no Snapchat is worth risking lives for. The problem with society today is we are so used to always being able to reach people. You can send a tweet to someone and them instantly get a notification to their phone notifying them. The same with Facebook, Instagram, email, text... People are so used to being able to reply at any time, that they don't even think of the dangers of being on their phone.

THINK! the road safety charity have summed up the law in three concise bullet points, for those who are unclear.

1. It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text, or check social media. This applies even if you're stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.
2. You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked and the engine is switched off, or if you need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it's unsafe or impractical to stop.
3. Using hands free is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted.

I'm not going to lie, I didn't know it was illegal to use your phone while stopped in queuing traffic. I've been known to check mine quickly while sat at a level crossing, or when I'm in a super long queue at roadworks. No more of that, though.

I remember a friend saying once he was stuck in rush hour traffic, hadn't moved for 10 minutes, so picked up his phone to message his friend and say he'd be late. A police car pulled up alongside, also in traffic, and spotted him on his phone. Apparently the officer just shook her head and waved her finger at him.

I would urge you to watch the video below and I am sure that 99% of people will never want to use their phones while driving ever again.