Returning to clean eating with homemade tomato soup

After two weeks of enjoying a lot of delicious food whilst on holiday I need to kick start a return to clean eating. I love making warming and filling soups from fresh veggies, and this basic tomato soup is definitely one of my favourites. The basic recipe is so easy it can be adjusted in so many ways depending on what happens to be in the fridge, or how hot and spicy I want it. If I want super heat I leave the chilli in when the rest of the ingredients are blended together, but usually I take it out and slice it so it is less potent. A dollop of low fat protein like creme fraiche, soured cream or even cream cheese helps with feeling fuller for longer too. Even better news is that it is incredibly simple to prepare, requiring the bare minimum of attention and labour.
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Thoughts from this week

Il Dolce Far Niente

Obviously thoughts this week come from having a lot of time to think whilst away on holiday. Yesterday was the half way point and we started to think about everything we wanted to do with our remaining week....kind of makes you wonder what happened to all that time that was stretching ahead as we left the UK. I also started to get a little anxious and realised that I tend to suffer not so much from FOMO but FOWT. Fear of wasting time.
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7 travel make up essentials to make the most of sunkissed skin

Trying to pack light whilst having products that would make the most of sunkissed skin presented a new challenge for me this year. Instead of packing my whole make up drawer I had a look around for travel friendly products to suit bronzed skin. Using smaller sizes and eyeshadow compacts, and keeping within a rose gold theme, here is what I found to take as my capsule make up collection for whilst I am away and to look awesome when I get back too.
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Thoughts from this week

Notebook love

Staying organised

Getting ready for holidays is a lot of work! It has made me appreciate all the different ways that I use to stay (or try to stay) organised. Our holiday was booked so long ago that I have forgotten most of the details so have been going back through these, finding emails I filed away 'safely' for details that at the end of the day are just better written down. I'm finding that I have to write pretty much everything down now. I have four notebooks on the go (two for work, one for sewing, one for blogging), as well as an Evernote app on my phone.

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How to make life work for you part 1 AKA 5 reasons why I'm happy the tubes were on strike

finding happiness

This year I have really been working on positivity and seeing the good in situations that would normally frustrate me. I have developed this now to such a habit that I was happy that the tubes were on strike last Thursday. It was the best day ever. Last year I would have been annoyed the whole day, but now I've found a way of turning negative situations upside down.

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A Traditional Afternoon Tea at Luton Hoo, with some Spa time

It's Afternoon Tea Week! I love a good afternoon tea, and popped along to Luton Hoo last week to enjoy tea and some spa time with a friend.

Every couple of months or so my friend Rhea and I indulge in some relaxation therapy and a leisurely lunch as we catch up on what has been going on in our daily lives, ask each other's advice and generally recharge our minds and bodies. After a little bit of looking around locally, and on the search to try something different, we found ourselves at Luton Hoo. This had everything we wanted in one place - relaxing spa, delicious food and beautiful grounds to explore if they took our fancy.
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Thoughts from this week

Wow. A really busy week spending quality time with lots of people...and lots of travelling around. I've enjoyed a relaxing spa and afternoon tea, had a busy day in London with parents, and an mystery hen weekend in Bournemouth (mainly because I knew nobody, or what we would be doing).
Really I've been appreciating the art of 'going with the flow'. So much of my life is super organised, and I have to take control (it's my job to!) that I get in the habit of it. Lately I've found my work is so pressured it's actually made me more easy going in my personal life - so long as a decision is made I don't mind what it is. Some one will have chosen it for a reason so I now tend to just go with it, rather than pursue my own agenda. And I've been feeling more content for it. Also people like it when they get what they want to so its helped with creative positive vibes in relationships too! It's also about showing people they matter, and what's important to them matters too. I did manage to make time for some of my own agenda items (like finally putting my feet in the sand on the beach, after four days and two trips there!) and that was okay because I had been enthusiastic and enabling to others already.
Unfortunately all this having a good time has not helped at all with my holiday prep...especially my beach body blitz! The next seven days I am going to be totally on it to get ready for the beach. This means clean eating, cardio and toning, plus some light packing. I'm thinking I'm not the only one who has left everything to the last minute in terms of reaching body goals, so might start some kind of community event to help me stay on track too. Something else I've been learning more about is communities on social networking, like the 30plus blog collective, and I'm eager to get involved more.
I still haven't got the hang of my facebook's not because I'm unfamiliar with facebook, it's because I want to use it as a page not a personal profile now. Android phones don't seem to be compatible with achieving this easily. If you have any advice I will gladly accept it!

Next week I am looking forward to:

  • Finishing my work 'to do' list
  • Packing for holiday: I will be using the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 packing guide from a pair & a spare blog to help be prepared for this. Stay tuned to see how it turns out!
  • Feeling fit and toned again
  • Cutting a new pattern ready to be sewn
  • Tidying up the garden - mainly painting the fences
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Seven days left towards strong and toned...getting on it

Seeing as I didn't quite stick to my dieting last week I am upping my exercise to get ready for my holiday in one week. Here's what I have used in a last ditch attempt to tone up a little more!


HIIT it. 30 minutes of running (for me, cycling and swimming work well too), running at intervals of 1 minute as fast as possible, then 1 minute slow walk. I up this over the work out to 2 minutes fast with 1 minute rest.
Then a quick abs work out to cool down and tone a bit more. I like this video from Beachbody's Slim in 6 as I think you can really feel it after!



Tabata training. This one is a new discovery but I'll be giving it a go as it looks like it works a good variety of muscle groups.


Giving the muscles a little rest today and sticking with just an abs work out and some press ups. This is also partly in preparation for tomorrow's park run so I have a better chance of beating my personal best time!


5k Park Run in the local park.
I'm a fairly new park runner but I love it. All you have to do is register and print out a bar code, then find the nearest event. They are on every Saturday morning, and you can run with others in lovely surroundings. Handing in your bar code to be scanned ensures your time is recorded, and your results are emailed to you later in the day. It's my most anticipated email all week; I set my PB in week 2 so I'm keen to see if I have managed to improve.


My muscles are usually wrecked after a park run so just abs today. If I can find a good yoga or plates video online I'll use that for a bit of stretching.


Tabata training





Circuit, then abs, then holiday!
Obviously this is all in partnership with a low calorie, low fat and low carbohydrate diet. I'm also cutting out all alcohol to help things along.
What about you? Do you have any tips? Are you trying this out? And how is it going?
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Eating out...San Carlo Cicchetti in Piccadilly

Classically Italian in the heart of Piccadilly.

Though perilously close to the tourist throng of Leicester Square, San Carlo Cicchetti is an Italian restaurant that is definitely worth visiting if you are looking for a relaxed and authentic eating experience. The window display invites you in by showcasing the produce that makes up the menu; huge hams hanging above fresh fish, shellfish, fruit and vegetables. We dropped by for a drink on an evening in London and ended up returning for a meal having been tempted by the dishes we saw being served up around us. Coming from an Italian family we enjoy revisiting traditional specialities that aren't usually seen on the menus of larger chains. We weren’t disappointed!

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Sunday Sewing ... Easy Summer Maxi Dress

No pattern empire line maxi dress. 

In anticipation of some sun this summer I attempted to sew a maxi dress without a pattern from fabric I had left over from an earlier make. Though I had found this viscose tricky to manage when sewing it felt so nice on I had to find a way of using it for the hot weather. After toying around with some skirt draping I decided to take the opportunity to make a maxi dress as I have never found one in the shops that fits me (all far too long). Now I have ended up with a comfortable, summery dress perfect for my upcoming holiday.

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Hi, I'm Laura. Welcome to my journeys with modern, feminine dressmaking and delicious food.

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