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It's Monday... The days are getting darker up on this part of the planet... it's getting colder and the big 'C' (I can't even say the word yet!) is ramping up in the shops... ugh... for me its the hardest time of the year to lose weight... I hate the cold and damp... I use every excuse in the book to stay under the duvet instead of going out for a walk... but on days like this, we've got to transport ourselves to  Xmas party time... are we going to walk in head to toe in black? Will we even bother going at all? The decisions we make now, at the hardest part of the journey, is the difference between hiding behind the buffet table and leaving early or sparkling on the dance floor all night long... Ask anyone who has climbed a mountain if it was worth it, and the answer is always yes... Never have I come back from a walk thinking 'I wish I hadn't done that...' 

So lets knuckle down and shine bright like diamonds as the song says! 
Have a great week dolls!
x

The 7 year itch?



Happy birthday Skinny Doll! 

Nope it's not my birthday but the blogs birthday! Some time in September in 2010 I went public with my little blog. I had been posting before then but I didn’t have the balls to show anyone, let alone tell anyone what I was doing. I mean who did I think I was, blogging!?!? Notions much?! Did I have any clue what I was doing? NO… Did I know HOW to blog? NO… yet here I am 7 years later and I’m still at it… Why? Because I love it! I love most things about it… Most things… I have learned there are some things I have to leave to the techie people… Other things I just have to sit down and work out, even though I want to kill someone at the end of it (mostly the creators of blogger to be honest)... I know now, I can do a lot more than I realise. That my opinion (and I have MANY of those!), like it or not, has a place in the world… That I have a voice, I should use it sometimes… singing Proud Mary drunk in a lift is not one of those times, but you get me… So I’ve learned loads, so what? Anyone can learn loads right? True but what I’ve learned is MY experience of blogging and unique to me, crucial words in the land of bloggers… Unique to me! If at any point you feel like having go at me for any of these comments please go straight to point 3! 




1. The best bloggers are passionate 
about what they do…

They really are, you want to go back to their blog time and time again to see what they’ve posted and hear how they tell a story about something they love. You want to follow them on all the social media platforms… They are the people who you see on the street and think, I know what they had for breakfast but I have NO idea what they name is! You love following them as much as they love blogging! Think about your favourite author/director/artist… you engage with them as much as you can because of how they tell their story through whatever medium they use… You know and love how they see the world and you love it enough to keep going back for more, it’s the very same for blogging! Foodies, beauty, travel it’s all in how bloggers tell their story… I follow 4 beauty bloggers, I follow them because they love beauty products SO much and I love beauty stuff, that common ground draws me back to them time and time again… They all LOVE what they do, they are all very different in their approach, they all have full time jobs but the passion they have about beauty products is there to draw me back every single time… I will see if they’ve posted a pic of something new on Instagram, or if there’s a story on snapchat that I might be interested in… They do their research, they don’t fall in love with products once they fall out of the envelope and they all do blog posts on beauty products to steer clear of…  but bottom line, they LOVE what they do… Same with the foodies, they post recipes that are made with love, they rave about lettuce or chilli sauce, they take the time to take beautiful pictures (and I know that food is going cold!) that make me hungry and want to lick the screen… They make recipes that I think could try and with ingredients that mean I don’t have to drive 100 miles to get, but it’s passion and they are themselves, that’s what makes a good blogger. These bloggers show who they and post what they love on their little corner of the internet ... They don’t pretend to be something they’re not, THAT’S why people love them… They are unique, only they can do what they do, in the way they do it, with their flair! These bloggers are even passionate about engaging with their readers… They walk into a room and chat to everyone, chat with you online and engage with everyone who engages with them, they have a loyal following and they know THAT’S so important… Slapping up a blog post and expecting it to change the world without engaging with the people your talking to is just a waste of time… They know this! Engage with the groups on FB, interact with people on twitter who share your passion, follow the hashtags on instagram and find people who share your passion and just watch it grow… 




2. Cliques are everywhere...


Even in the blogosphere! Yup, just like high school, you will get those lil ‘gangs’ who hang out together and bitch about others, but on the flip side, you’ll meet people who you would never have crossed paths with in the real world if you didn’t have blogging in common but like school not everyone is like this. In fact I found this in most walks of life you’ll get the cliques but you’ll also get those people who can stand alone and be themselves and not follow the crowd, these are the people you need to befriend in Blogland!  It’s OK to stand alone and be you… One of the best things for me has been meeting fellow bloggers and seeing the similarities of how they started their blogging journey compared to mine, there’s so much common ground no matter what topic you blog about and the camaraderie can be fantastic! I started my blog to document my weight loss journey, I have a lot of weight to lose, I was unemployed, depressed and at rock bottom, but I also started it to find other people to share the journey with and I have, thousands of them and they inspire and motivate me everyday to keep going… Sharing recipes, sharing eyeliner, sharing travel tips, it’s what it all boils down to and sharing these things in your unique way… being you is what makes your blog unique and how you carry yourself in the blogging arena speaks volumes… If you stand alone and do the work, your blog will speak for itself! 






3. Remember those 3 little words...

Nope, not those three, although they’re lovely to hear too… these three >>> IN MY OPINION! Opinions are great, we all have them, some of us more than others, and honest open debates are great when you can recognise that you just don’t agree with something but you can respect that someone else does… Your opinion and how you write about them is what makes you unique, that’s exactly what makes you stand out… YOUR opinion! So stick with it, if you think a lipstick/saucepan/hotel is shite, then don’t flog it to your readers, stick to your guns and they’ll respect you for it I promise!





4. Don't be an 'influencer'...

Firstly, I detest the word! It's a made up word for companies to sell to their clients... Anyone has a problem with that opinion see 3. above! Unless my handbag is being robbed, I don’t part with my money easily! Secondly, see 1. above on passion! No one… I repeat NO ONE has ever made me part with my money in Penneys (Primark for the overseas readers), a restaurant or a hotel… As an adult I’m pretty sure I know how to spend my hard earned cash and never has a blogger ‘influenced’ me to part with it! Yes, I’ve learned about new products on the market or new restaurants that have opened but I’m not a ‘jump on the band wagon kinda gal’ … I’m not going to go to a restaurant because all the ‘cool kids’ say so… If you don’t like pizza (and if you don’t, what’s wrong with you?!) would you go to a pizza restaurant because a blogger said so?! Exactly! if you would then just stop reading now, we can't be friends. It’s just like my mum used say “If she jumped off a bridge would you follow her?!” … If you go to the opening of every envelope your readers will just get bored… I blog about the ups and downs of weight loss, the foods I love, plus size clothing, and recipes that are yummy which I don’t have to feel guilty about… If I put up a blog post about a lipstick, it will bomb. Now I love lipstick, I own many, many, MANY lipsticks and I often share the ones I love on instastories or post on instagram or maybe tweet them if someone asks what lippy I’m wearing in a pic, but its not what I blog about and it’s not why people read my posts… If i put up a blog post about ‘zero calorie wine’ it will be shared in groups for days (FYI when this wine exists I will be posting like a mofo!) … Know your audience, you built them with your content, so stay true to it! 

I’ve been invited to some lovely events and other bloggers have questioned why I should be there when they weren’t invited yet they blog about fashion more than I do… You know the ‘well lucky you’ passive aggressive replies… Here’s just one example, I get invited to Penneys events because the majority of my followers are women losing (and gaining!) weight, they don’t want to spend a fortune on new clothes when they’re between sizes, so I share what’s coming down the line…They can aim to be a size smaller when the Christmas dresses come out and know that if they don’t get to that goal exactly what sizes they come in! Dear god, I’m not a fashionista but I know my audience and so do Penneys! If you go to every launch/event/invite that’s sent to you, it will backfire on you, in my opinion (see 3.!) … Yes, it’s lovely to be asked but I’ve found that if I turn down invites that just aren’t relevant to my readers with a email explaining why, I get a much better response from my readers and PR companies!





5. Don't worry about numbers...

‘Followers’… ‘fans’ … ‘stats’ … whatever you call them, the numbers don’t matter unless you’re in it to make a fortune… Liking other blogs for them to like back is fruitless, in my opinion (see 3!), you’ll never engage with them nor they with you, you’ll have a number to show a PR agency but zero engagement on your posts and the PR kids want to see engagement too… I’ve never asked anyone to follow me on social media, it’s been totally organic and that’s just how I like it, I spend so much time on FB & instagram interacting with people and THAT’S what makes it for me, the engagement… I’ve had bloggers tell me it’s easy for me to get numbers because what I blog about is niche… breaking news, it’s not! Have you seen how many weight loss blogs are out there!?!? But with over 1.2k live posts containing thousands of images, all taken by me, edited, considered, reconsidered, deleted, posted again and pained over, doesn’t make me lucky with the topic I chose to blog about, just means I work hard at it! The first night I realised there was someone on the blog 24/7 I completely freaked out… Firstly about grammar and spellings, then I lay there trying to sleep knowing there were WW groups in Australia liking & sharing my posts and wondering if they were getting my Irish sense of humour… freaking out I tell ya! I still freak out sometimes, I have full on panic attacks before blogging events, many times just not going because I don’t feel I’ve a right to be there but the confidence has grown slowly over the years. I even went to the blog awards alone last year, a HUGE deal for me and I loved it! I’ve learned to stand over what I write, what I share and how I feel about topics, and that was a big learning curve… The amount of followers I have has had nothing to do with any of this, and that won't change, it's just a number and it doesn't make you a better blogger or a better writer or a better person... If you have 100 loyal followers who love what you do and engage with you, you’re doing much better than someone with 100k followers who is getting a couple of likes on a picture! 


6. Don't feed the trolls

Not even the cute ones! We've heard it a million times and its SO hard not to engage with the feckers, but trolls need air and attention! If you give it to them they’re winning. Trust me I’ve had some beauties over the years, the fat shaming trolls are out there in their droves but my strategy with them is passive aggressive. I might as well enjoy getting the hits on the posts since they’ve nothing else better to do, I mean don’t these people have laundry?! So a simple ‘thumbs up’ emoji or a ‘thanks for visiting the page today’ seems to kill them dead… Yes, it’s hard to read horrible things about you but that’s what they want and for every gobshite who is jealous or annoyed with you because they think you have ‘notions’, (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said ‘who do you think you are?!” to myself!) you have 100 readers who want to hear more and THAT’S who you need to focus on… They will come back for more, the trolls won’t!  





7. It's hard work!

If you're a blogger you already know this... but once you commit to it, and you don’t have to, it’s your corner of the internet, what you do it there is up to you. Don’t want to blog about beauty any more? Then don’t and follow your passion, be a bricklayer, but if you really love it, it can be incredibly rewarding… I’ve interacted with people all over the world on the same journey as me, I’ve had the privilege of seeing people reach their weight loss goals and I’ve been able to understand people when they feel like giving up… I’ve been in Weight Watchers classes around the world, I’ve done 10ks and 5ks that I never thought I’d ever do… I’ve met some of my blogging heroes and I’ve learned that maybe I’m alright at this writing lark (something I always wanted to do in school but I’m an only child with very controlling parents)… I’m 8 stone lighter, I still have a lot left to lose and the many times I’ve thought about giving up (MANY MANY TIMES!) I’m glad I didn’t! (Please refer me to this post when I’m wearing my doubting Thomas knickers next time!) … but even when I’m tired after work, I’ll still come home and think what can I do on the blog today, when I’m out in the supermarkets I’ll be taking pics for a blog post, when I’m in a restaurant I’ll be asking if they do brunch so I can do a post for brunch club, it’s more than a hobby for me now, and when I win the euromillions, I’ll be able to do it all the time... I can spend hours agonising over images, editing paragraphs with my pool boy to bring me gin… People think it’s just a simple case of taking a picture and writing a few words, but it’s so much more…  it’s time consuming and hard work but worth it if you’re passionate! (see 1. above!)




Pow-Cow!

Just because it's winter doesn't mean the ice cream cravings end! This is a fab Irish product called POW-COW! I spotted these in my local SuperValu but if you google their website there's a list of stockists and they also deliver!!! I KNOW!!! There's 3 flavours in this range of high protein greek style frozen yoghurt, gluten free too for the less tolerant amongst us! I can recommend the passionfruit & mango one to put you back in the holiday mood! Anyone else tried them out?

x


POW-COW - Heavenly Chocolate
per 100ml - 2SP
per 125ml serving suggestion - 2SP
(up to 130ml is 2SP! What? Get your moneys worth people!)
per 500ml tub - 9SP


POW-COW - Cool Coconut
per 100ml - 2SP
per 125ml serving suggestion - 3SP
per 500ml tub - 10SP


POW-COW - Passionfruit & Mango
per 100ml - 2SP
per 125ml serving suggestion - 2SP
(up to 130ml is 2SP!)
per 500ml tub - 9SP

Kinsale Bay Soups!

Back to school and into the autumn routine means soup time... Now not everyone likes making soup, no matter how easy you say it is, it's just not for them... These ready made soups from Kinsale Bay Food company are 400g pots of fresh ingredients. All the more reason to stay away from the packet soups! Half a tub with a wrap is lunchtime sorted, so I've worked out the SmartPoints for both a full and half tubs! There's nothing like proper soup when you get home, when its wet and miserable outside. There are very handy to have in the fridge. I've frozen two of them and they were perfect when defrosted! Definitely worth a try! x


Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Vegetable soup
per 200g half tub - 2SP
per 400g tub - 5SP



Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Potato & Leek soup
per 200g half tub - 3SP
per 400g tub - 6SP



Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Tomato & Basil soup
per 200g half tub - 3SP
per 400g tub - 5SP
This one is SO good!



Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Carrot & Coriander soup
per 200g half tub - 6SP
per 400g tub - 12SP
Higher because it's made with fresh coconut milk.



Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Seafood chowder
per 200g half tub - 5SP
per 400g tub - 10SP
Proper fishy bits in this too! Very filling! 



Kinsale Bay Food Co. - Mushroom soup
per 200g half tub - 3SP
per 400g tub - 5SP

Take their breath away...





So here's my theory... the world is split in two, stick with me on this... This divide isn't men against women, it's not old versus young ... nor brains versus brawn... It's positive people fighting the force of negative people... and believe me team negative is out there in force... 

Now I know it's hard to be happy every day, this time of year is especially difficult for some people... SAD is settling in comfortably in my house right now and the signs of tinsel in the stores just makes me miserable for all kinds of reasons... So I choose to be positive, if I don't work at that, then I fall into the dark hole for 3 months and do more damage than good to myself, both physically and mentally... I bought myself a 'sunrise' alarm clock this year to help me produce more cortisol and give two fingers to the dark mornings... I'm booking a couple more sessions with my counsellor, just in case I do let things get on top of me, I have someone to vent to... I'm looking at cheapy breaks away in November to break up the month, anyone needs a bag carrier somewhere hot?!? Once the 26th of December comes it's like a switch is flicked in my head and I can see the daffodils waving at me in the garden and I'm on the way back up again but between now and then it's up to me to plan and organise enough  positive things to keep me on the up... 

It's the same with your weight loss journey, you have to prepare for those people who are negative all the time... 


If they're on social media, say hello to the block button, honestly it's one of the best inventions ever... Once they're not on your timeline life is much brighter... These are normally people you don't even know and certainly wouldn't be friends with in real life, so don't give them your time when you're online doing good things for yourself... no one has enough time for that nonsense! 


Giving negativity attention just fuels the fire in it's belly... Trolls seek attention, if you react to it, no matter how hurtful they've been they've won... they've got the reaction they wanted and they know they've hurt you... Delete their comments... Without a reaction they will just go away... I've learned this lesson the hard way, I interacted with them... I thought I could teach them that what they were saying was just cruel, mean and they didn't know anything about me so why would they do that?! But these are people who just don't have anything else to do with their time, so don't waste yours on them! 

If you're related to them and you can't escape, PLAN, plan a limited time with them... 'I can only stay for a couple of hours I'm meeting someone for a movie/coffee etc...' ... Plan answers to the questions they always ask that get to you... 

'are you STILL in Weight Watchers? STILL?' ... 
'yes I am and I love it, I love my friends in class, I love the groups online and I love trying out their recipes, you should try it sometime!' Then just change the subject... 

'WW isn't really working for you is it?' 'well yes it is, I was kind of stuck for a couple of weeks but I've had some great support and I'm back on track now, thanks for asking...' Then just change the subject...

'That dress looks like it's too tight on you, are you putting on all the weight again?' .. 
'No I'm still on plan, I love this dress & it fits fine thanks'... Then just change the subject... 



You are in charge of your mindset, you are in control of how you feel and who you allow to make you feel that way... Surround yourself with positive people, people who will understand that you have tough days, that you're doing your best and they will be cheerleading you all the way to goal... 

Have a great week dolls x





Jammin'

Now before you all shout 'but you can make the Weight Watchers jam for 0SP just hang on... some people don't want to make jam, so this little post is just for them! These are some of the sugar free jams & marmalades on the shelves in my local supermarket and I thought I'd see just how SP friendly they really are...  Interesting no? 



Free'ist No added Sugars - Orange Marmalade
per 15g - 1SP
per 30g - 3SP



Free'ist No added Sugars - Strawberry Jam
per 15g - 1SP
per 30g - 1SP



Folláin - No added Sugar Orange Marmalade
per 15g - 1SP
per 30g - 3SP



Fruitfield - Reduced Sugar Orange Marmalade
per 15g - 2SP
per 30g - 3SP


Fruitfield - No Added Sugar 'Diabetic' Orange Marmalade
per 15g - 1SP
per 30g - 2SP



Chivers - Reduced Sugar Orange Marmalade
per 15g - 1SP
per 30g - 3SP



September - #wwphotoaday!




It's Back To School time... back to the routines, back to the scarves, gloves and losing brollies on a weekly basis! Honestly I love routine, I do SO much better when I'm not gallivanting around and blaming holidays on me losing the plot! I'm not an autumn/winter fan.. I suffer from SAD so I'm already on the countdown to the 21st of Dec so the days can start getting brighter, I'm not a big fan of Santas' holiday, and the misery of the weather really gets me down... The only thing I do love about this time of year is Halloween! But for the month of September, I'm getting back into my groove and and have become a planning queen! I'm committing to doing every day this month of the #wwphotoaday tag over on instagram! No messing! Join in every day or just pick the days you fancy and don't forget to add the hashtag #wwphotoaday so we can all have good nosy at your tips and tricks! Can you believe we're already in September?!? Where did the year go? Lets make the last few months of 2017 AWESOME! x


Skinny Slaw from M&S

Anyone else hanging onto the summer with all of their might?! I hate autumn and winter... like full on proper hate so I'm wearing my flip flops in the house and keeping the summer going for as long as I can! 'Skinny Slaws' spotted in M&S the other day and I thought I'd share... I hope we get an indian summer!!! x


M&S Skinny Slaw - Coconut, butternut & broccoli with cranberries
per 70g portion - 3SP 
per 210g tub - 10SP



M&S Skinny Slaw - Beetroot, apple & pink cabbage with horseradish
per 70g portion - 3SP
per 210g tub - 8SP



M&S Skinny Slaw - Lightly pickled cucumber carrots & spring onion
with Korean chilli
per 70g portion - 3SP 
per 210g tub - 8SP




Posh Bits!

When I was at the Taste of Dublin this year I came across these new choccie 'Posh Bits' from Nakd! Dark flavoured choccie bits, so a little is a lot! A lot of people who are on here rave about their bars... A 35g portion is one of your five a day! Suitable for vegans... Anyone tried these out?! x



Nakd Posh Bits Cocoa Mandarin flavour 
per 35g portion - 6SP
per 130g bag - 21SP


Nakd Posh Bits Cocoa Raspberry flavour 
per 35g portion - 6SP
per 130g bag - 22SP



Nakd Posh Bits Cocoa Sea Salt flavour 
per 35g portion - 6SP
per 130g bag - 22SP





Why it's OK to 'start again' ...



We see it all the time from the weight loss purists 'oh she's starting again... EVERY Monday she's starting again...' Getting healthy for some people is a 24/7 job and they can kinda look down on those of us who 'go mad' at the weekend... they tut at our loss of self control, they give knowing nods when we're tweeting pics of our G&Ts on a Saturday night and are never shocked when we're up at the scales... they're right of course in one respect, giving yourself permission to go mad all the time isn't healthy but I love people who live their life to the full and the definition of that is different for everyone. Some people have a fancy cream cake on a Saturday with a full fat latte, some people live for their Chinese every week, for some it's a bottle of wine on a Saturday watching telly, while others just want cocktails with their friends. 'Starting again' just means you're living your life and still not giving up on your goals! How many times have you had disastrous weekend and let it slide for the whole week? Before you know it a month has passed and you're in a worse place that if you had just enjoyed that treat and got back in the game straight away! I'm not a purist, I love living my life to the full... like most people I learned from a young age that life is short and in 50 years time no one is going to care if I had a gin and tonic at the weekend but I know if I keep chipping away at my weight loss I'll still feel a bit better about me every day! So, draw the lines in the sand, start afresh and wipe a slate clean it's Monday and we have the whole week ahead of us! x 


Don't lose yourself!


So your mum thinks those jeans are lovely but would be a bit 'nicer' if you weren't a bit chubby... Your auntie thinks you should give up the diet lark, you look dreadful when your TOO skinny! You're the 'cuddly' one in the family and sure aren't you grand the way you are! Your friends LOVE that you're always up for junk food after shopping, I mean they love you just the way you are too... bigger than them! Himself likes something to hold onto, loves you regardless but your refusing to turn on the lights, in case he gets a look at what you really look like under that duvet and he'll leave you! 

If you made a list of what everyone thought about you and your body, and tried to keep them all happy, you would look like some kind of frankenstein concoction! I mean, I would love to have brown eyes, no amount of weight is going to make that happen... No one is going to be taller when they get to goal... but trying to make everyone else happy means you won't be! You want to lose weight to get into those jeans, tune out the mothers voice! Your auntie thinks your five, and 5 year olds should not be skinny in her mind... You 'friends' want you to be the one always trying to lose weight, always up for chips and pizza, and you seem happy enough so what's the problem... you make them feel better about them and their bodies! Most of these might not be true or you can understand every single on of them! The only person you need to keep happy is you! If you're happy, every one around you will be happy for you and you'll be a lot more fun to be hang out with!  


All of the pies!

Back in the land of the living and these were in the freezer to save the day on the first day back! 
These were send to me from the Kinsale Bay Food company as they have rebranded their range and I've kept these in the freezer for just such a post holiday emergency! The fish pie is EPIC! Just sayin' 
All Irish made & gluten free... You can pick these up in SuperValu ... x


Kinsale Bay Food Company - Fish Pie
per 400g tub - 13SP


Kinsale Bay Food Company - Cottage Pie
per 400g portion - 12SP


Kinsale Bay Food Company - Shepards Pie
per 400g portion - 12SP


Do it for you!






We've all done it... a bridesmaid dress, a communion, holiday, wedding... we've all lost weight for other things... remember photos last a lifetime! But sometimes you've got to think about what got you to the scales... high blood pressure? Feeling tired all the time? The misery of clothes shopping? The ultimate goal is to make you happy... if you're happy, it filters through to everyone you love and everything you do... You can play with your kids now... YAY! Doctor gives you a clean bill of health? YAY! You're no longer a misery to be around because you're happy in your own skin and everyone can see that! So when you run out of reasons to do it... just remember to do it for you! 


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