Category Archives: Life

Slimming World Friendly Chilli Con Carne

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

Its the start of the Autumn Internationals, with Wales about to take on the Aussies later on today. Match day means only one thing – chilli at half time (its the law!!). My Slimming World friendly Chilli is one of my all time favourite meals. I just can’t get enough of it, which really helps on a match day as having a good meal diverts my attention away form snacks during the game. Here’s the recipe that I use, which I’ve modified from the a couple of other chilli recipes from Slimming World, but tweaked to our own taste and heat that we like (although I must admit I’ve toned down the heat from my preferred level a bit so that the rest of the family can enjoy it too!!).

The Chilli will be washed down with Sainsbury’s Low Alcohol Czech Lager, which drunk ice cold, is a lovely refreshing and low syn alternative to normal lager. It tastes pretty close to the real thing and fools me into thinking I’m having a proper drink. At 1 syn per 500ml bottle, its ideal to enjoying the rugby with a drink and not destroying all the good done during the week. If I were drinking 500ml of Stella, that would be 10 syns per 500ml, so I am saving myself 9 syns for every drink I have.

Chilli Con Carne:


500g extra lean beef mince

1 x Large onion – chopped

1 x large carrot

3 x peppers – deseeded and chopped

Loads of sliced mushrooms!!

2 x cans of chopped tomatoes

1 x can of kidney beans (drained)

1 x tablespoon tomato puree

2 x beef oxo cubes

3 x teaspoons of ground garlic powder ( or 3 fresh cloves)

1 x tablespoon of cumin

1 x tablespoon of chilli power

1 x teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 x teaspoons paprika ground sea salt ground pepper


  • Brown mince in a large deep saucepan (sprayed with frylight) with the chopped onions, cumin, chilli powder, garlic, paprika, and cinnamon.
  • Grate carrot into pan and mix.
  • Add all other ingredients mixing well after adding each one.
  • Add tomatoes last along with the tomatoes puree and crumble in the oxo cubes. Stir well and season.
  • Bring to the boil and then turn down low. I usually then cook it for a minimum of 40 minutes, however, I will leave it simmer sometimes for hours until it is half time. The slower it is cooked – the better!!!!
  • Serve with steamed or boiled rice.

Although you are probably not supposed to eat Thai Jasmine Rice with this dish, I have really fallen for this rice. Its slightly sticky andtastes gorgeous with any dish, in my opinion!!!

Syns in Chilli – 0   (on extra easy)

Syns in Lager – 1 per 500ml Bottle,  Czech Low Alcohol Lager, available in Sainsburys for £1.20 a bottle.

Photos to follow 🙂


Back in class. Back on Track

As I wrote yesterday, I re-joined my Slimming World class tonight. I am now where I feared – 17 stone 13lb. I’ve put on 1 stone and 1/2 lb since my last visit approximately 10 weeks ago and I have a net loss of 5 stone 9 1/2 . Considering I got down to 15 stone,  and a net loss of 8.5 stone, this is awful. But I know what I have to do.

FullSizeRender (1)

I’ve had a final blow out today in the form of a full on Subway binge. I have it all out of my system and ready to go again.

I may give it a few days to get my head back into the eating before I hit the gym again, but will definitely start again soon. After all the Silverstone Half Marathon in March is fast approaching!!!!

Wish me luck (I need it) !!!


The Order of Star Wars

Today I thought about the new Star War Episode VII film. When Disney bought the franchise and then announced new films, I was a bit skeptical . Now, I am actually starting to look forward to it. Particularly due to original cast being involved and JJ Abrams, who’s films etc I love.  I’m not a Star Trek fan, but I love his re-boot of that franchise, so the new Star Wars film seems to be getting tastier!

Every so often I will watch all six films. However, I have to watch it in the order of release rather than continuity of story – it just wouldn’t be right the start on the Phantom Menace.  So I watch IV, V, VI then I, II, III.

Does anyone else stick to this rule? I couldn’t watch it in any other sequence!!

Wii Fit Board Scales Hack

My home weighing scales are my worst enemy. For starters, I tend to get on them too much. Secondly, they were only cheap scales, bought a few years ago and have always been temperamental and vary in difference to the scales at Slimming World all the time. This makes them difficult to believe.

I know I shouldn’t weigh at home, but it is tempting to jump on the scales, just to see how I am getting on during the week.

So, i’ve thought about getting new scales that would hopefully be more reliable and accurate. In typical gadget minded style, I’ve considered buying the Withings Body Analyzer. It hooks up to your ipad / ipod / iphone etc and measures several things such as weight, fat %, heart rate even CO2 levels in the room. However, at £129, I think that is rather excessive for a scale. So, I got thinking.

I have a Wii Fit board, which like many others’, is gathering dust. I also have the Wii, but don’t want the effort of connecting it back up to the TV and having to wait for it to boot etc every time I want to use it to weigh (I am hoping it would be more reliable than my scales).

A brief bit of searching online brought up a great piece of software for Mac called WiiScale . I haven’t found anything for PC yet.

Its a great little app, easy to set up. Pairs effortlessly with the Wii Board and looks like the weight measurement is fairly accurate. You can set up multiple users, and based on weight, it will automatically detect which user is standing on the scale. You can tap in additional details such as height so that it calculates BMI.

It saves your weight in a spreadsheet and you can also set it up to tweet the result (if you want to do that!!)


Cab technology

As some one who is immersed in how technology can enhance learning, working in the FE sector and it’s focus on vocational educational and sector skills, I am always interested in the technology used by people in their work.

Today i took a cab from home to the railway station in Bridgend and was intrigued by a great looking piece of kit called Autocab, which the driver was more than happy to explain how it helps.

It looks like a chunky SatNav – but this is much more. What sparked my interest was a screen that showed all the major areas of Bridgend and the number of cabs in each area. So, the driver can see there was one other cab already at Bridgend station and two waiting near the shops in Cefn Glas. He knows that if he stays at Bridgend station, he will be second in line for pick ups, so the drivers use this to spread themselves out and pick up more work .They also get a bookings list that they can then allocate. Even live train and flight times are accessible. I was really impressed, particularly when told they can hook their phone up and get live job updates if they leave the cab for some reason.

The Great TV Swindle

Well after several months of getting cheesed off with Sky, I decided to take Talk Talk up on their TV offer. I had no plans to move my internet and phone for the foreseeable future so the fact that they were offering me a free YouView TV box and service for agreeing to a minimum term contract seemed like a no brainer. I also had some free power socket networking adapters and £100 cash back paid into my bank account.  I used that to get a new aerial installed.

Anyway, just 4 weeks after our Sky service stopped I had a phone call from them offering me 75% off their usual subscription. So, for just over £20 per month we are getting the full Sky service (usually around £67 per month). This is for 12 months, no minimum contract, cancel at any time, downgrade at anytime  – SWEET. Just in time for the Formula 1 season – and we still have the You View TV box, which will make its way into another room 🙂