Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Review: The Results are In! Total weight loss with the New You Plan

Well, the husband's week trialling the New You Plan is done, and on Monday morning before he stepped on the scales he had a feeling he had lost weight, as his clothes were definitely fitting him better. His inkling was right and he was amazed to find he had lost 7 POUNDS, or HALF A STONE in a week! His new weight is 11 Stone 2 1b so his BMI is now 24 and he is now within a healthy weight range. This is fantastic news, and it only took a week on this plan to go from being overweight to a healthy weight.

This is the food that my husband chose for the week. He had the choice of 30 meals and snacks for the week. He went for a combination of packet meals, milkshakes, soups, porridge and even a bag of chocolate snacks!

Some of the meals were better than others, but without doubt his favourite item was the Apple and Cinnamon Porridge, He assures me that this was delicious, and filling. He would happily eat this even if he wasn't on a diet. The majority of the other meals such Country Cottage Pie, and Chicken Noodle Curry were also nice, but he wasn't really a fan of the Pasta Carbonara. The first time he cooked it, it was too salty but he added more water the second time than was recommended, and it was much better, The milkshakes were also a nice sweet treat, but as he didn't have a shaker, they could end up quite lumpy. New You do sell shakers so I would definitely recommend investing in one of these if you wish to try the plan.

The meals are smaller than he would have liked but I guess that's going to be the case when you go on a meal replacement diet.

Above image is of the Country Cottage Pie

Above image is of the Pasta Carbonara.

My hubby really liked that you could have tea and coffee on this diet, so didn't have to miss out on his beloved cuppa. This was definitely a big bonus. The chocolate high protein snack was also a big bonus as when he got peckish on a Saturday night. He said these were really tasty and actually quite filling. He couldn't finish the bag in one sitting.

The main pro's with The New You Plan that he found were as follows:

  • Its a super quick way to lose weight
  • It is quick and easy as you just need to add water to the meals, and heat them in the microwave (if applicable)
  • You don't have to spend time preparing meals
  • The packets are really compact so you can take them out with you
  • You can eat four times a day
  • You are allowed an occasional snack in addition to your four meals
  • You can still drink tea and coffee
  • The Porridge option is filling and really tasty
  • The majority of the food is tasty
  • You can have sweet stuff such as chocolate milkshake
  • The price of the plan is reasonable at £41.99 for a weeks worth of food
  • The motivational emails you get from New You really help you remain focussed.
  • The support you get from the Secret Slimmers Facebook group also really helps with your motivation.
The main con's with the diet are:
  • You will eat a lot less than you are used to so you will feel hungry, especially in the first few days until your stomach shrinks. If you drink lots of water (which you need to do with this diet) this will really help but you will need lots of willpower!
  • You need to measure the amount of water you add to your meals so you will need to invest in a measuring jug. This can be awkward when you are out and about.
  • My hubby did not really like the Pasta Carbonara
  • You do miss fresh food such as fruit and veg
  • You need to invest in a milkshake shaker as otherwise your milkshakes will be lumpy. 
As you can see, the positives definitely outweigh the cons, and my hubby was over the moon with the results, He would definitely recommend the diet to anyone who needs to lose a little or a lot of weight. The results are fast, the plan is easy to follow and there is little effort involved. Maybe its time for a New You!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Review- Our 'Free Range' week at Bluestone

The first week of January was a very exciting week for the James family as we were given the fantastic opportunity to take a midweek week in Bluestone to review. We also took our good friend Martha who blogs at and her 2 children. We have previously stayed at Bluestone a few years ago so knew we were in for a treat!

The journey is only about an hour and a half from our home in Bridgend, South Wales which is great when you have 2 kids like mine who cannot usually cope with a distance longer than half an hour before having a meltdown about being bored, or trying to kill each other in the back seat! We arrived on Monday evening-you can check in from three- and proceeded to the drive through check-in. This is quite a novel way to check in but it works really well. You drive up to a window, and are then given your keys, information about your stay at Bluestone, and directions to your lodge. The staff at check-in are really lovely, and that really is a theme throughout the week. Everyone cannot do enough for you, and there is a really lovely atmosphere everywhere you go.

Bluestone has an eco friendly ethos, and everything is designed to be as kind to the environment as possible. In line with this, they operate a no car policy on site, although you are able to go down when you arrive to unload your cars, and also to load up your cars when you are leaving. You do have the option of hiring golf buggies to get around the site during your stay, and these were on offer at £40 for the Monday to Friday which is really good value. We opted not to hire one, as we really enjoy walking around the site (although it is steep in places) taking in the beautiful scenery and getting a bit fit at the same time. When the weather took a bit of a turn for the worse, we used the free bus/train contraption (not really sure what you call it!) which goes around the site every half an hour through the day. It can get quite dark when walking around the site at night as there is limited lighting, again in line with eco ethos. My advice would be to take a torch, and try and arrive during daylight to unload your car.

We were allocated the ideal lodge for our needs as it was a Caldey Connect, which sleeps 8 people, but has an interconnecting door which can be shut between the 2 lodges to give privacy when needed. Martha had one side of the lodge with her 2 children, and we had the other side with our 2 children.

The lodge was deceptively large, and very luxurious. The kitchen area, dining area and living area is open plan so you have loads of space. The beds and sofas are super comfy and everything was really clean. The children really enjoyed going between the lodges and playing with each other. The lodges have wet rooms but no bath which was no problem for us but didn't really suit Martha who had a young baby. When she mentioned this at check in, she was provided with a baby bath at no extra expense which was brilliant and solved the problem.

The only minor quibbles about the lodge were that Martha's baby put his fingers in one of the hot heaters as soon as we got there and got blisters on his hand. The lodges do not have radiators in line with the eco friendly ethos of Bluestone but the electric heaters do get very hot, and do not have covers on them to stop young children touching them. We turned the heaters off in the living area after this when he was around to stop any further injuries. Martha also would have liked a rug on the floor so she could put her baby down on it. The wooden floors are very nice and practical but not so comfortable for a baby! We only had one chopping board and not enough mugs between the 2 lodges which was also a bit of a pain at times if we were both cooking/drinking at the same time.  The dishwashers were a big bonus though!

The lodges are self catering so you do not need to spend a fortune when staying here. We bought lots of food with us and cooked every evening, and took picnics with us in the day so it was really affordable, If you do want to splash out, there are a number of eating places in the village and at other locations which serve really tasty, locally sourced food.  There are lots of activities for both children and adults on offer. Some are really reasonable, some are a bit more pricey. We have paid for activities on previous stays which were really good but on this stay we opted for the free kids club in the early evening which suited our plans. The club met at a room in the Granary (which is a restaurant) in the village and had 2 entertainers who played games with the kids. Us adults treated ourselves to an alcoholic beverage whilst we were there so everyone was happy!

In the day, we spent our time between the Blue Lagoon Water Park, and the large indoor play area called the adventure centre which are both free to use for Bluestone guests. We went to both these places on each of the three days and the kids were still not bored of them.

The Blue Lagoon, really is awesome. It is heated in a eco friendly way using Bio Mass, and has so much on offer for everyone. It has a lazy river that goes outside, which may not appeal to everyone when it's raining in January, but its really good. The cold air and warm water mean that its really exhilarating! There is also a toddler play pool with rock pools, bubbles and a slide. On previous occasions when we have stayed here, there was a beach in the toddler area, and sand in the water but this has now been removed. I was never really a fan of this as I don't really like sand getting everywhere so was glad this was now gone although it was a novelty for the kids!. There is another pirate area with lots of water being sprayed about which is also suitable for the kids. The slides are awesome and definately pushed me to my thrill seeking limits. The kids weren't tall enough for them yet, but my 5 year old daughter Iola was only about an inch off so I'm sure she will get to go on them next time.  The changing rooms are warm with a family changing area, although the large cubicles are in demand so you may have to wait. 

The only minor quibbles I have about the pool were, that on grey days the water can be quite cool, as the building is like a bit of a green house. It definitely benefits from the sun. Bluestone also insist that all children up to the age of four wear swimming nappies. My three year old son has been toilet trained for about a year now and would find it very confusing to have to wear a nappy again.

The Indoor Adventure Centre is also awesome. It has loads on offer for everyone with soft play, wooden play frames, bouncy castle, Lego play area, ball pool, Crazy Golf, film room, internet cafe, climbing wall  and the 'Big Four' for older kids which consists of high rope activities. You do have to pay for the 'Big Four' and the Climbing wall but my kids were far too young to be interested. The price for each activities can be a bit pricey if you are on a budget but everyone who was doing them seemed like they were having great fun and they do a deal if you book multiple activities to make it cheaper. 

The kids absolutely loved the adventure centre and could have spent all day in here. They even had me going up the wooden play frame and coming down the slides. It has a picnic area inside which was great for us with our packed lunches but the number of tables does seem to have reduced from previous years so means you are not always guaranteed a table. The hot drinks from the woodland cafe are really nice and again the staff are very friendly. We also bought a few lovely toys from the shop in the Adventure centre which were really quite reasonable!

We had a fantastic 'Free Range' Experience at Bluestone and really enjoyed the outdoor play area when the weather allowed.

There  was one area of Bluestone that we didn't make it too, and that was Camp Smokey which is a restaurant in the woods and the Steep Ravine which is a ravine full of zip wires. As our children were all so young, and the weather wasn't great we didn't make it down there but it sounds like great fun!

Overall we had a wonderful time at Bluestone and would highly recommend it! I think we will definitely be returning as we just love the place, and also its Eco-Friendly, Free Range ethos.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Bryns First Day

I can't quite believe that today is the day that my youngest child Bryn has started school. It has been a roller coaster three years,as Bryn was an unexpected surprise when I found out that I was expecting. I didn't quite know how we were going to manage as money was tight and I wasn't coping that well being a mother of one, let alone two.....
Three years later, and I love Bryn dearly. He is such a character and although times have been tough, I wouldn't take him back for the world. He loved his first day in school and his particular highlights were having a wee standing up in school, and playing with a train track. He confirmed he wanted to go back so that's good news!
Love you Bryn!

Sunday, 11 January 2015

2015- A year for the hubby to sparkle with New You

2014 has been a roller-coaster of a year for me. I have started a new job as an Equality and Diversity officer which I love, but has been a real challenge at times, whilst also supporting my husband in his battle with depression. There have been many other positive changes this year including an improvement in the family finances,a better work/life balance, finally getting some work done on the house (and giving my daughter the bedroom she so desperately needed!) and finally I have managed to adopt a healthy eating lifestyle and lose a stone in weight, which so far I have managed to keep off so my BMI is now a healthly 22 whereas I was slightly overweight.

I was contacted by New You late last year as they had read about my earlier struggles with my weight and they offered me a weeks trial of their New You Plan. The New You Plan is the fastest growing diet meal replacement company in the UK and Ireland. As my BMI is now healthy I would not be a suitable candidate as my BMI is below 25 but my hubby Matt is keen to lose some weight as he is slightly overweight with a BMI of 26. I spoke to Matt and he is over the moon at the prospect of trying out this new Diet Meal Replacement Plan.

Excuse the finger in the photo, my 5 year old daughter took this! He has been sent a weeks worth of Diet meal replacements. First impressions are great as the Tasha who took the order was extremely helpful, and ensured the order was sent out the same day. We were contacted by a courier and told the exact hour and date it would arrive, and it arrived bang on time a day later despite coming from Ireland! Everything was well packaged, and comprehensive information has been included with the food. The hubby will be able to have four meal replacements a day ranging from Milkshakes, Porridge, soups, and meals. He was really impressed with the choice of meals on offer, and this plan seems a lot less extreme and more manageable than the plan I tried earlier last year where I was only allowed 3 meals a day consisting of just milkshakes and soups. 

Matt chose the following options:
7 x Apple and Cinnamon Porridges for Breakfast each day
A selection of Milkshakes including Creamy Chocolate, Beautiful Banana, Sensational Strawberry and Heavenly Hazlenut.
Chicken Soup
Meals including Country Cottage Pie, Vegetable Chilli, Pasta Carbonara, Chicken Noodle Curry, Spicy Noodle Nosh and Broccoli Pasta.

Every meal is mixed with water, and seems really simple to do. Matt will also need to drink plenty of water to maximise the diet and its effects, as well as ensuring he is hydrated enough. The information pack includes a handy BMI guide which also confirms he is slightly overweight as he is 11 stone 9 and his height is 5ft 7 inches. This diet is a Total Food Replacement (TFR) Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) for Safe, Rapid Weight-Loss without hunger via Ketosis. The diet promises to help my hubby lose up to 2 jeans sizes in a month. As he has just a weeks plan, he will be really pleased if he drops a jeans size by the end of the week but that would be a bonus if he does. He is currently a 32 inch waist so we will see!

We have also been given details of the Secret Slimmers Facebook Group, which is a secret group on Facebook where New You Plan customers can get help, support and inspiration from fellow New You Plan dieters. The seven day plan can been purchased for a very reasonable £41.99 at the moment here and there is also a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with what you receive. The 4 TFR products a day will ensure he is getting 100% Recommend Daily Allowances of all vitamins and minerals as well as the correct balance of calories, carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Matt tells me that he is really looking forward to trying out the plan, and starting off the year feeling healthier! I will be posting the results at the end of the week so wish him luck!