weight loss

When the boots fit ... or don't ...

Yesterday I met a friend for a walk around the lovely market near where I live and stopping for a glass of wine and to chat and plot some very exciting ideas for the new year.

But I digress :)

She's also a member of the Thai Diet Movement and was wearing a beautiful pair of Dubarry boots .... that she had bought THREE years ago but was only wearing for the first time as this is the first time they fitted comfortably around the calves.

It's these seemingly small things that chip away at us, that make us uncomfortable in our own bodies and in our skins, that make us feel ... well, feel horrible ... that we can't even wear a great pair of boots.

I completely get this one too - it reminded me of some years ago when I was bought as a present some pink wellies that I'd really wanted ... and when I put them on I couldn't get them over my calves.

I had to cut down the backs to make more room for my legs. It doesn't feel good at all.

But it feels so good when you start getting happy in your skin, pulling those boots on without even thinking or worrying, or pulling them on only SO far before they're tight and uncomfortable ...

We celebrate ALL these 'small' things for the huge things they are in the Thai Diet Movement.

It's all about simple principles and recipes and ideas that change our relationship with food and with our bodies forever as we consciously choose, create and celebrate each individual happy weight.

The Thai Diet opens again with a whole new fresh look and feel and all sorts of new things in January 2018 ... and I'm excited to be working on it ready to share with you in the new year.

If you want to know more just pop your details in the sign-up form below so I can send you all the info as soon as it's ready to share.

And honestly, these simple steps have had and are having big results for so many of us in the group ... it's like something switches off in your head and also ON ... and it becomes not only easy, but fun too.



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Make sure YOU'RE in your dreams

I realised I do this.  Or rather, didn't do it.

Didn't add to my goals, dreams, 'perfect day' journaling ... well, I didn't add ME.

I was missing from it!

Me, physically (and ok emotionally too actually) ME.

I was missing.

How can I create my dreams, achieve my goals, dream into creation that perfect day ... if I'm not in them?

If I'm not also at one with me, with myself, happy in my own skin?

If I don't know how that feels, or how I want it to feel?

How can you live a dream life in a body you don't feel is your home?

And actually, domino effect, small actions, small things creating big ones?

Dream big ... and start with finding peace with your body.

It's easy, and it's necessary.

You cannot live a 'perfect' life without being at one with yourself - and that includes feeling good in your skin - WHATEVER that feels like for you.

I believe it's a powerful and easy way to start - you decide, you choose, you see results, you're inspired and you start to BELIEVE.


I was talking with a friend the other night and realised something so important.

We often FORGET to think about our physical selves - or ourselves at all for that matter - when we're thinking about our lives and goals and ambitions and dreams.

We think about the jobs we want, the relationships we're calling in, the creativity we'll share, the places we'll live ...

All those artists, all those beach houses, all those fulfilled lives and all those dreams written down, made goals, made real.

But you know what's missing?

YOU.

The real, actual, physical YOU.

We so easily disconnect with our bodies ... and almost forget about them.

As IF you can create your dreams without also being totally at ONE in your dream body too.

THAT you, me, us .. in the dream life ....

Don't forget to put YOURSELF into the dream.

Not just into it. Into the HEART of it.

You're happy just as you are? That's brilliant. SAY SO.

Don't let your body, health, wellbeing, how you FEEL in YOU not be a part of the big, big dreams.

It's pivotal.

It's important.

When dreaming, setting goals, writing out those perfect day journaling exercises ... do NOT forget to put yourself in them.

Your perfect day begins with feeling comfortable in your own skin, surely, luxuriating in just being YOU, at one with yourself (WHATEVER that looks like for you).

I think it's too easy to forget this - and I believe that firstly it's powerful to consciously add YOURSELF into your dreams.

I also believe in the domino effect, small changes creating big shifts.

And - no matter what you might be telling yourself - feeling at one again in your skin, losing weight if that's what's going to feel good and right to you, is KEY to then also creating all of the rest of the things.

Yep, and actually easier.

It's a perfect starting point. Start consciously choosing, creating, feeling happy in your skin.

Results happen fast .. both physically and mentally.

Don't dream big ... without YOU being in the dream.



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I see you. I am you. I believe in you.

I see you.

I see you, feeling like maybe it's too late, you're too old ... mourning the body you didn't appreciate when you were younger.

Wondering if actually, maybe you'll never in your life be happy and comfortable in your skin.

As we were as children when we and our bodies were one - when our life was a physical one and we climbed trees and played and ate and ran and slept and did it all so easily.

Wondering if it's now inevitable.

Is it too late? Is this just how it is? 

We've been having good lives, eating good food and yes, over the years, putting on the weight.

And now ... it feels like maybe it's too late. That this will keep happening, and maybe that's just how it is.

It's inevitable ... 

I'm here to say I see you.

I was exactly the same. I was scared, actually, really scared that it was too late and that not only would I not be able to lose the weight and feel happy again in my body, but in fact the weight would now just keep creeping on.

And I'm here to say NO, that's not true.

Not only that, but that when I made the decision to face the facts, get on the scales - and then the decision that I WAS going to lose the weight?

Well, you might not believe me when I said after that it was easy.

But it was. 

The hard bit, the really scary bit, was that decision ... the decision not to keep letting it creep on, not to keep hiding from it but to come out and SAY IT.

I'm unhappy at this size.

I'm uncomfortable.

I don't feel at one in my skin.

I'm scared.

After that ... it was easy.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 22.19.20.png

I felt back in control - and that's a huge thing.

And I saw results fast - tiny results, sure, but results - and that's so motivating.

I didn't want to go on a diet, not me who loves cooking and food.

I realised I could create my own - that all these years of cooking and of reading and studying cooking and nutrition ... I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

And that's how the Tiniest Thai diet (named after my supperclub, The Tiniest Thai in London) - based on easy principles of a Thai-inspired way of eating came about.

It's for us. 

Women probably in their forties or fifties, who love cooking and eating ... who would never want to go on a restrictive, bland, temporary 'diet' (again).

This time, something changed in me - and in those who've joined the Thai Diet Revolution - and I've lost the weight for ever - and somehow, slowly, at last changed my relationship with food and eating forever.

In a way that means I still love both food and eating.

So, I see you.  

And I believe in you and know you can do this too.

If you choose.


PS. We are LIVE again!

Come and join the Thai Diet Revolution - we start another live 8-week program on Monday 11 September!



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DON'T throw away the scales

Y'know, I'm getting quite angry about this now.

I've seen it for years of course, and I even fallen for it a few times myself (always without result of course).

What is it?

The exhortation to 'throw away the scales'.

To be 'free of the scales'.

Bullshit.

Sorry but it is.

YES, this works for some people - and I'll tell you which people too.

* It's a great move for girls who are or have been underweight, too thin.

* Those who've lived with, battled, eating disorders.

* Young girls just starting out on a 'lifetim'e of dieting - yes, you 'throw away the scales' people, you draw them in.

I definitely see exactly why for these people, ditching the scales (and all the associations) is a good thing.

But I do NOT agree it's good for us all.

Especially not for those of us who find ourselves loving food, hating our bodies, overweight and in denial in our forties.

I see it as incredibly bad advice.

We ALREADY hide from the facts.

We already pretend reality isn't real.

That, actually, we'll even tell anyone we want to lose weight ... AFTER WE'VE LOST SOME WEIGHT.

Why?

Because we can't bear to stand on the scales.

FUCK THAT BULLSHIT.

It's not for us.

What WE need IS that reality check.

First, we need to face facts.

Get on those scales, yes cry if need be (I did) and then it's a fact - it's done.

And get back on them EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Why?

Precisely BECAUSE weight isn't precise!

Yeah you *can* weigh weekly if you want (and play all those tricks every single person who does a weekly weigh in at Weight Watchers does).

But the daily ... what it does is take the emotion out of it.

We DO fluctuate - sometimes a lot - day to day.

And SEEING that every day (but a more gradual overall decrease) helps.

Helps understand that it's just a number.

Understand that it's a fact.

It has no emotional meaning.

AND ... weighing daily stops us from getting so scared again that we put it off ... and put it off ... and get more and more scared ...

It's not scary it's a fact.

You wanna know the truth or not?

To come back to the start ... as a 40-something with weight issues over the years?

It's NOT helpful to be gleefully told to 'throw the scales away'!

It doesn't work for us.

We have several decades of messy relationships with food, with weight, with OURSELVES to talk about first before a GIMMICK that most likely will see us PUT ON WEIGHT.

We're the hiders.

The ones who eat great food (but too much of it).

We don't need to be encouraged to hide any more.

ETC.

You get my drift.

So get the scales back out.

Confront the fear.

Learn to notice each day - oh, three pounds lighter, oh two pounds heavier.

Learn to notice your body - one day heavier, one lighter.

Learn to not be fearful; it's a fact.

And also - for most of us- we can then set a goal, and achieve it.

In tune with our bodies, in tune with what we're eating.

In tune with our goals.

At last.

THEN .. EASY.


Who do you want to be? What's your identity? Who are you?!

You know sometimes, when you realise you've been identifying with something ... and realise you don't have to? That you can change that belief. And that it doesn't define you.

That's how I was with smoking ... I smoked 20+ cigarettes a day from 16 years old until 38. And when I stopped I was worried about WHO I WOULD BE.

It sounds insane, but my identity was as a smoker. I wondered who I would be as a non-smoker.

The answer of course, was me ... the same as I was as a smoker during all the time I didn't smoke. If that makes sense.

It really made me think though - I'm glad I realised it but it felt stupid and I wondered why I wanted that identity, why I was actually worried about who I would be without it.

That was 9 years ago now.

Last year when I decided to lose weight I thought I'd like to get back to a (UK) size 14.

It felt like an achievable goal, and it felt like a size where I would feel 'normal'.

I also identified that it was a size I'd been happy at as an adult and had been kind of default size for me - I loved getting smaller and hated getting bigger but 14 felt 'enough'.

Well, then I became a 12 and THEN decided to reach for more, be braver, bolder, go for what I really want - and hadn't been, hadn't lived in my body at a small size as an adult.

But why should that mean I couldn't? Why shouldn't I choose the big goal?

Why not say it, go for it, commit to it? Just because you haven't done it before, doesn't mean your life has to be lived in where you've been comfortable before.

And ... I've never been very fit, well, since a child/teenager who loved sports and running and ballet.

Not part of my identity.

Not until now. I've been softer, curvier, warmer ... as a child I was lanky, free, needed movement.

So I'm now making that my identity too.

I am going to become the fittest I've ever been in my life.

This is BRAND NEW!

Fit and strong and lean (and still soft).

I don't know why I've been scared of saying it, wanting it, doing it.

But now I do.

We can choose our identities, shrug off those that no longer serve, that in fact hold us back.

What do you really want?

Who do you want to be?



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9 reasons NOW is the right time to start the (Tiniest Thai) diet

ONE

Starting a diet, starting anything.  

All it REALLY needs is a conscious choice and a confident DECISION!

I AM GOING TO DO IT.

Why not make that decision now and get started, rather than having it half hanging over you, with that feeling of you KNOW there's something you want to be doing, but you're kind of pretending it's not there because for whatever reason you don't think you can do it, or you don't want to do it, right now.

You CAN do it.

DECIDE.

It feels so much better when the decision is made!


TWO

It's still (just) June and at the end of 8 weeks, if you got similar results to me, you could have lost 20 pounds.

Other Thai Diet Revolutionaries have had similar results - HERE's some of them.

PLUS during that time you'll be feeling more and more comfortable again in your skin (and your bikini - ok, or summer dress).


THREE

Why wait?

I think there's a correlation between 'wait' and 'weight' - when we put our lives on hold waiting for when we're this or that, when we're thinner, in another job, a different person (ha!) THEN we'll do x, y, z. How about just do it NOW?

HERE's the full post if you want to read more.


FOUR

Because we start the live, group round on Monday 10 July and after that we close until the Fall.

So if you do want to lose a few pounds THIS summer, now's the time to do it.


FIVE

Hmmm, I just remembered there's people for whom it's NOT actually currently summer!

Well, then I guess for you, why not now?!

Why wait a couple of months when you could just START.

And I bet the weather's better than it is here right now anyway!


SIX

There's a discount if you sign up before midnight BST on Sunday - we don't start until the following Monday 10 July.

The $97 off the full $297 price is to say thank you for your decisiveness (in joining early) and patience (as you then have to wait a week!).

Both decisiveness and patience are qualities that are great for achieving your goals! 


SEVEN

OK, this isn't actually time sensitive at all but most of the food on the eating plan is so simple to cook from scratch and really fast to make too.

Who doesn't want to get some time back each day to do what they love or spend with those they love, whilst eating delicious food AND losing weight?!

Win, win, win.

EIGHT

Because you want to lose some weight and you're kind of excited about actually doing it and kind of nervous and I want you to know that you can do it, it won't be difficult and you'll have our community of other Thai Diet Revolutionaries on your side and cheering you on?

THAT's a good reason!


NINE

Talking of support from the group, I am also always available ALL the time there, or for a chat on messenger, or a quick call or skype to help with ideas, general support, to talk something through, just to catch up and hear how you're doing. 

I really want you to know that you're supported and welcomed into this way of eating.

This is NOT some PDF course, or self study thing, we're a group of real live people, and I love those conversations and connections.

And I want to start as I do go on and extend that kind of individual personal conversation even BEFORE you join.

If you've any niggling concerns about joining, or questions, or just wondering if this is right for you - let's talk. Let's talk and then you can decide if it's a great big YES or a definite NO for you.

Zero pressure from me to join - I am just as keen as you to make sure this is something that's right for you before you join.

So if you want to book in and discuss ahead of joining, here's the link to find a time in my calendar that's good for you.

And even if it's not right for you and you don't join, there's nothing lost and we're sure to still have a great chinwag about food and eating and life! 


The connection between 'weight' + 'wait'

Wait + weight.  

They've definitely got some connection over and above having the same sound.

You know those times you realise you've kind of put your life on hold, waiting to live it when ... when you've lost weight, when you've done something else, when you feel 'ready' or good enough or whatever it is and certainly for me I put on weight during those times of waiting.  

When I look back those times were when I was 'waiting' in other areas of my live - so in a relationship that wasn't right or good but that I was kind of frozen in, not seemingly able or willing to make a change, or in a job with a bullying culture that I'd sort of started thinking was normal and ok ... and the weight crept on.

It's also been times where the weight WAS the cause of the wait itself ... me avoiding the weight gain, pretending I was happy, ignoring what was happening.


And actually you can change the WHOLE THING, the whole domino effect in your life ... by changing one thing. 

You don't have to really DO anything but DECIDE and then, then it's easy ... but making that decision feels ridiculously hard!

Until you've done it of course and then you look back and think what took me so long, why did I WAIT like that?

I literally had to get to the point where I was SCARED that I wouldn't be able to do anything about my weight and that it was just going to keep going on and on and on, slowly, as it had done for years.


I also hid from it.  I love food and cooking and sort of hid behind that as a reason (excuse) why I couldn't, wouldn't, be able to lose weight.

And I lied too - I was eating much more alone than I did when with others - not what I've always imagined 'binge eating' to be, like bags and bags of crisps or sweets or cakes ...

I just ate probably enough for two or three people and would eat - very good - food but to excess.

I knew I was doing it but it felt as thought I couldn't stop - it's kind of difficult to understand now I look back but in some way I was hiding behind it and I suppose keeping myself stuck but keeping in that mindset and in that body.


Sometimes it can be comfortable in a way just keeping on doing what you're doing - even at the same time as you wish you could jump straight to the outcome and result, without taking action or making it happen yourself.

Honestly though that day I just looked at myself and thought NO MORE, it's starts NOW was the hardest day and then also the easiest.

It was GOOD finally feeling that I'd made the decision, no more hiding, no more pretending - to be happy with my weight, in my body, that I wasn't eating as much as I was - just one foot in front of the other and keep going, make the small changes I KNEW would work if I just did them.


For the first time in years I stood on the scales and confronted the fact that I was the heaviest I'd ever been. The weight itself doesn't matter - it's all about how you feel and if I'd GENUINELY felt good and happy at that weight, well that's great .... but I didn't.

I was unhappy in my skin and when I stood on the scales that day I felt real fear - ridiculous though it sounds - because I hadn't looked at the facts for so long and had hidden from the facts and the scales. I weighed myself, and cried a bit, and then DETERMINED that that day was Day 1 of just starting to take responsibility and make changes.


After that, the wait was over, and the difference in how I felt changed pretty much straight away.

The wait was over and the weight started to come off.



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You CAN lose the weight you want easily; just DECIDE

You know what I really really really want to say?

Well, it's THIS.

You CAN do it. You can do it.

You can lose the weight you want to lose and feel like YOU, the you inside.

I put on weight fairly slowly but for years, and I kept hiding from it because I didn't want to confront it.

I didn't want to go on a 'diet' because I love good food and I love cooking.

And then I became more than a little uncomfortable.

I actually found it difficult to bend down to put my shoes on.

I definitely wasn't happy in my body.

I wore clothes that fitted rather than choosing what I liked - and by fitted I mean they were loose and hid me as much as possible.

I didn't know how to stop putting on weight.

I really, really, really didn't want to go on a 'diet'.

So I created my own and it's the best thing I ever did - and now I just want to share it with those of you who like me, love cooking and food and socialisng .... but HATE the idea of a restrictive diet - plus we're plenty clever enough to know that if you go on a temporary diet, you'll only put the weight on (and likely more) when you go back to your normal way of eating).

And we'd HATE those weeks of being on the 'diet' too!

You know, the one biggest factor wasn't actually my eating programme, or changing how I eat. Any 'diet' could help with that.

THE singular most important thing was that I made a decision.

I stood there, crying, looking in the mirror sideways on ... and then I kind of gave myself a big shake.

STOP CRYING.

And START getting on with it.

So I made the decision. And after that, it was so much easier than I'd been thinking that I don't know now quite what the fear was in admitting I felt uncomfortable, that I wasn't happy and that I wanted to lose weight.

You can make the decision - please DO make the decision, because after that it's so much easier.

And if you want my principles for weight loss, based on a Thai-inspired way of eating, and tons of support and friendship - and a great group to cheer you on and share recipes ...

Then do join the Thai Diet Revolution.

In May there's only FIVE places, so if you want one HERE's the info on how to join.

If you want to hear more what those already in the group have to say, click HERE.

I honestly feel I've changed my life so much, and in such a good way and I know now from what I've learned, that I won't be putting the weight back on again.

I just want to share it with everyone!

So, if you want to join now, then do! (HERE).

We're waiting to welcome you xx

Ps. It's ALL about you making that decision. You CAN lose the weight you want to. Whether you join my group/programme or another or do it alone - please DO!

You CAN more easily than you might think lose the weight, when you just DECIDE.



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Celebrating 1 year on ... it's about choice, not rules or restrictions

Today is one year since I made a decision.

The decision to lose weight.

The most surprising thing to me then was how EASY I found it - the only hard part was being honest with myself, stopping hiding from myself and make that decision.

I didn't expect it to be so easy, or enjoyable or what a wonderful process it is to become happy again in your own body.

Or that it would change my mindset around food and eating forever in the most beautiful and easy way - still eating food I love and with no hard-and-fast rules - it becoming all about CHOICE.

That was a big turnaround in my thinking to move from it being not about restriction but about choice.

So today ... I journal and track and note things down - my weight, good things I've made to eat, how I'm feeling ...

And such a change from my note and what I wrote a year ago.

Hello YEAR 2, WEEK 1 ... 



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Exercise .... sounds hard. Moving every day ... is so good

Yoga and regular movement is changing my life.

When I was in my early teens I ran. A lot. I ran and ran. I ran miles when I got home from school. I ran in the dry, I ran in the rain, I ran in the snow. I kind of hated it .. and halfway through the hour or so that I ran .. I LOVED it.

I was also, in my head, training for the next Olympics. Yep me, a lanky 13-year-old in the Norfolk countryside.

And I did ballet. From age 4 - 16. A LOT of ballet.

I loved trampolining, netball, racing around outdoors with my sisters, horse riding. As WELL as being the total 100% bookworm.

I was a skinny, tall, lanky kid ... and then around 14-15 I developed.

NOT HAPPY.

No more Royal Ballet School.

Hello sports bra.

And then I started going out and more into music and travel and writing and studying ... and I went to Uni in London in the year of the new summer of love :)

Partying, playing, experimenting, learning, being.

I never found my love of movement again.

I joined gyms, went through phases. Bought the kit - for a new hobby of sailing, or riding, or whatever.

Planned to BE THAT PERSON.

But I just wasn't.

You know, I think it also has a lot to do with weight.

It's HARD to move - let alone feel confident - when you're overweight. If you struggle to breathe when you bend over to put on a shoe ... well ...

And lugging an extra 10, 20, 30, 40 pounds along with you?

It's HARD WORK.

I increased my walking a lot last year. I started scooting home and sometimes walking the hour home from work.

And now something's shifted.

I now LOVE and WANT to move every day.

I feel my body was MADE to move.

I walk home, I swim, I walk the dog, I do 30-minute wonderful online sessions of yoga.

The yoga in particular is changing my life.

The moving everyday - and more importantly - the LOVING and WANTING to move every day .. is changing my life.

And my core muscles, and my balance and my strength ... and my peace.

Don't give up.

I'm 47 years old and I only just found how it works for me.

Don't give up.

Try things, go easy on yourself, lose some weight first, whatever works for you.

But I honestly NEVER thought I would find my love of exercise and movement again.

35 years later ... I have.

Keep going, keep trying things.

It's SO worth it to feel at one with your body again.



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There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to lose weight

It seems to me that the whole self-acceptance thing has gone too far.

It now actually feels that you're WRONG in some way and that you'll be judged for wanting to lose some weight.

You are in charge of you: you don't have to sign up to the 'love yourself at any size' brigade.

You CAN say you'd feel happier in your own skin by losing some weight.

You don't have to dress it up as wanting to be 'healthier', or 'more empowered' - although those are great things to want too.

There is NOTHING wrong with wanting to lose weight.

To wanting to feel happy again in your own skin.

With wanting to get back to your own personal happy weight.

But some days it feels like all I see are messages that you don't have to change yourself to be happy - you ' just have to learn to love yourself the way you are'.

Well, I disagree.

Totally disagree.

If that's for you, then hey go for it.

I genuinely want each and every one of us to feel happy in our own skin.

But for me, I know ... I was NEVER going to feel happy in my skin, overweight, uncomfortable when I bent over to put my shoes on, out of breath ... feeling NOT LIKE ME.

It's all gone too far I think.

The solution is NOT for everyone to 'learn to love yourself' or 'be happy at any weight, you're still the same person'.

Because ... actually for many of us?

We're NOT.

We're not the person we are when we can move easily, walk and run up the stairs freely. When we're feeling good in our skin. When we start enjoying clothes again.

When we feel more OURSELVES, our real selves again.

Yes, I think it's gone too far.

There is NOTHING wrong in saying, declaring ...

'You know what? I'd feel happier if I lost some weight'.

You don't have to couch it in other language, dress it up as something more spiritual or whatever is is.

You ARE allowed to just want to lose some freaking weight and feel happy in your skin.

We were not born overweight and we weren't designed to be overweight.

Do NOT feel that in this current climate of acceptance - which is great of course, acceptance of everyone as they are and as they are happy to be, YES .. but you?

If you're NOT HAPPY being overweight, there's nothing wrong with saying so, declaring your mission to lose the weight - there's nothing to hide.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH WANTING TO LOSE WEIGHT WHEN YOU'RE NOT HAPPY THE WEIGHT YOU ARE.

Oops, lots of shouty caps there!

It actually makes me really angry that people are basically being told to change their mindset - to be happy being unhappy in their own skin!

F-that! You can be, do and have whatever you want!

And if you're unhappy in your skin, at your current weight? You know what?

YOU DECIDE ... YOU get to decide to change that.

Set your goals, and commit.

Then choose to take the actions needed to get the results you want.

And keep going.

I'm with you all the way :) 



On the shopping list / in the cupboard (when eating Thai-style for weight loss)

Come and have a nosy round my cupboards!

I've just done my monthly online grocery and household goods shop but then I shop regularly - daily - for fresh items.

I have a small London apartment and a little under-worktop- fridge with a tiny box freezer (that HAS to have ice cubes and vodka in it) so I don't have a lot of food storage space.

And I prefer it like that - I don't have cupboards full of unopened tins, or a huge freezer stuffed with food. It means I can decide daily what I want to cook and eat and then get anything needed to add to what is in stock. And I hate food waste and just prefer to have in what's needed.

IN THE FREEZER

But I do have some items I like to make sure I have - and that includes having frozen squid and prawns in that little freezer as then there's always something to make for dinner. I also fitted in some sea bass and some minced pork.

And there's currently a packet of dried shrimps and one of lime leaves / both bought from the Thai supermarket and easy to defrost as needed (although lime leaves are much better fresh and now available at lots of supermarkets - in the UK at least).

By the way I've never had or needed a microwave! Defrosting in cold water works for me. 

I buy smoked bacon from the butcher and separate it into single rashers wrapped and kept in the freezer as I'll only use a rasher or two at a time - usually with fish or seafood.

IN THE FRIDGE

I like to shop fresh as much as possible but these I usually have these in the fridge so I can make a stir fry or salad at any time: courgettes; carrots; spring onions; red, green and yellow peppers; fresh coriander, mint and parsley; tomatoes - both normal ones and cherry tomatoes; bird eye chillies and milder red chillies; radishes - a favourite snack; mushrooms.

I've currently also got a couple of rump steaks and piece of salmon. And those mussels in packs are good - sometimes I add garlic and chillies and coriander to the plainest white wine one I can find. 

Oh and almond milk of course for my favourite morning iced coffee blended with almond milk and ice cubes.

IN THE STORE CUPBOARD

Basmati rice (never brown rice for me - too hard to digest - and this is an Asian-inspired way of eating and they all eat white rice!), and both ribbon and vermicelli rice noodles.

Dark soy sauce I use rarely so isn't often on the shopping list (but is in the cupboard) but I always have light soy sauce, fish sauce and oyster sauce on the list. And chicken Knorr stock cubes. Oh, and a 1-2 calorie cooking spray oil.

It's good to have another cooking oil too (rapeseed is my fave cooking oil as cooks at a high temperature and has little taste) and some toasted sesame oil - needed for this pork meatballs dish (often what the pork mince in the freezer is for).

I must have flaked almonds too to toast instead of using peanuts (they're not a nut, they're a legume and are much more calorific) in my salads. Oh and sesame seeds, great toasted and sprinkled on yogurt and fruit, or in this lovely chicken stir-fry.

Tins of tuna are good for when there's no fresh protein and I love to have packets of miso soups.

And I keep both white and Demerara sugars.

AND IN BOWLS AT ROOM TEMPERATURE - 1 EACH FOR FRUIT, VEG + EGGS

Limes - lots of them! And a couple of lemons. Kiwi fruit (so much vitamin C!). No bananas - too high in carbs for this diet.

I tend to buy fruit fresh daily too to eat during the day - an orange or a couple of satsumas, an apple or some berries.

Ginger and garlic and tomatoes.

And in a separate bowl but also at room temperature - EGGS. From happy healthy hens, of course.

That's about it! Everything I need ...



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That conversation in my own head about food ...

Sometimes I just talk and talk and argue with myself.

What to do, what do you want to do - no, what do you really want to do?

Really, you want to do that even though you won't feel great and it won't nourish you?

Yes, I'm going to really love it and enjoy it!

Well, choose it then! Those are excellent reasons.

Ummm, but ...

Oh you want me to convince you?!

I don't have to do that, you KNOW what will feel best - what the results are - feeling really good and knowing you made a choice that did that.

But why's it so hard! I think I DO need rice with the chicken stir fry not just veg....

Ok. If that's what you decide. But decide consciously- then have it and LOVE it. So you're sure?

No!! I KNOW I'll feel better having the chicken and vegetables for lunch.

AND THATS HOW LUNCH CAME ABOUT.

Conscious decisions. Decide. It gets easier once you really know and BELIEVE in how much better you feel.

And my experience is I argue harder with myself when I know I don't really want it.

When I absolutely KNOW I want those chips, or whatever it is, I'm pretty certain straight away ... and I have them and love it!

It's annoying to be always arguing with yourself but it just takes practice ...

Do it; try it. It's interesting to see what comes out with this inner tussle (some of it hilarious).

Let the you you want to be all the time win 💛

Rachel Redlaw


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The photo of me that made me FINALLY decide to lose weight

I think this photo is actually harder to share than my 'before' bikini pics were.

Probably because I'm not normally in a bikini, but I am normally in a tee and jeans, and often cooking.

So I must have looked like this.

I'd been hiding away - I honestly now don't know why - from thinking about, confronting my weight gain for so long.

I'd known for a while, for months (ok, years), that it was only a matter of time until I 'did' something about it. But it was as if I were waiting for something really bad to happen before I did it.

I suppose luckily, it wasn't a health scare that was that bad thing. It was an image scare. 

I'd thought I'd kind of looked ok. I only looked in the mirror at certain angles and I took carefully-angled selfies (face only) - time to be really honest now. You never really see unexpected sides or angles, or what you actually look like unless you try.

And then one day - doing what I love, cooking, at a friend's - she took this photo of me.

April 2016

April 2016

October 2016

October 2016

And that was the really bad thing that had to happen.

This was the moment, this was the picture that finally made me take action.

And you know the weirdest thing? Like any fear, it's always worse thinking about it. When you DO IT and take action, the fear's kind of gone.

This photo made me cry. A couple of days later when I stood on the scales and confronted the reality that made me cry too. 

Enough was enough - time to take action.

But that was in April, and I haven't felt that awful out-of-control feeling about my body, my eating or my weight since.

We all have a trigger, or a moment that's the one that makes us act.

This was mine.

What I know is - get brave, make a decision, take responsibility and also ENJOY getting results and being happy with your body again.

27 weeks later and 38 pounds lighter, I am.


There's another round starting MONDAY 9 JANUARY of my 8-week Tiniest Thai eating programme - where I'm sharing what I've changed about my diet and way of eating that's seen my lose the pounds, get happy again in my skin, feeling great - all while eating delicious, healthy Thai-inspired food. 

Want to join us? Find out more here.


Becoming lioness: losing weight + being happy

It's been 26 and a half weeks now.

(On my Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet.)

Which makes me start singing this (of course).  

 
 

And HOW beautiful?   (And yes, back in 1988 - I think it was - I had the Sinead haircut too).

It took me ten years to put on three stone - that's 42 pounds.

And during that whole time, that whole ten years, I therefore wasn't being my best self. I just wasn't.

It was there in the back of my mind all the time in the earlier stages. A bit uncomfortable. A bit thinking the 'right dress' would fix it. 

By the end, I was only wearing clothes that 'fitted' because - to me - nothing looked good.

I was actually struggling to breathe easily while bent over doing my shoes up. 

I was unhappy with my body and my weight.

For TEN years. For a decade.

And for the record, this body did nothing wrong. It was strong. It never got ill. I abused it, not it me - and that was nagging at me too.

Yeah, constitution of an ox here - but now making my poor body work so hard to work well (and it did) with all this extra weight? I felt guilty too.

And then this year, April this year - well, I decided to stop whispering around about pretending I was ok with it, pretending I might start some dull bland diet I was NEVER really going to start .. and ROAR. 

Quietly and elegantly if possible.

But take back control for sure.

With the powerful ease of a lioness.

I am a lioness.

lioness.jpg

Strong, sociable, powerful and protective and I WILL FIGHT when needed.

So I stood up and fought.

To get my body back.

More than that - to get my control back. Control of my own body and life. Control of my strength and flexibility.

And of my happiness.

It took ten years to put it on, sad pound by heavy, reducing, quieting sad pound.

It's taken six months to release most of that weight back into the wild and stride into being the lioness I am.

I have more to go. I have more to learn.

But putting my lioness on .. that's good. I don't want to take her off again.

Oh and I won't again this time.

This time I'm tracking and keeping aware and doing all the things i've done following my Tiniest Thai Diet

The lioness is now me. Or I am now she.

We.

We are stronger, lither, lighter.

More hunter and yet also more protective. Able to move more freely.

More us. More me.

I am so happy to have become feeling ME again from losing weight that I can't stop sharing and talking about it. And others have been joining the Thai Diet Revolution now too - which makes me even happier!



Don't save clothes for 'best' - wear them for everyday + love them!

Years ago I bought a skirt.

About 7 or 8 (or 9) years ago.

It wasn't a specially special kind of skirt to anyone but me - but to me, this was (and probably still is) my perfect skirt.

I saw it (randomly; clearly we weren't out clothes shopping) in a supermarket in Truro, when down in Cornwall, visiting one of my sisters).

It's a sort of flannel-y grey.

It's just above knee length.

It has good fastenings.

And it has a lovely drapey ruche-y front.

I totally adored it on sight. This is my love-at-first-sight sort of a skirt - I love grey, I love draping,

I just loved it.

I'd also just about started to put on some weight round about then.

I bought it in a size 16 without trying it on, convinced it would be perfect. (It wasn't expensive - but I WAS excited about finding my perfect skirt there).

Disappointingly, back at my sister's house when I tried it on, it was the teensiest bit tight ... just an inch or so that made me not comfortable in it. But of course I kept it. It was just an inch.

And in my wardrobe it stayed.

Over the last ten years I put on three stone (that's 3 x 14 pounds maths people - I can't do it in my head).

And the skirt stayed. Every time I tried it it was tighter.

But I still loved it.

Finally, this year, in April, I decided to start losing the weight - and now I've lost all but 7 pounds of it ...

What I didn't do earlier was check in with my favourite ever - yet unworn - skirt.

When I put it on today, thinking, 'oh well, if it's a little loose I'll still wear it' ... well ... it comes on and off without need of the fastenings.

Rachel Redlaw skirt weight loss

So, goodbye perfect, favourite, unworn skirt - and I hope you fare better in your next home. (And I'll be continuing the search for one just like you - only a little smaller).

AND ... MORAL OF THE STORY!

Do not SAVE your favourite / perfect / ideal clothes for 'one day'.

WEAR THEM.

Love them.

Enjoy them.

I do kinda wish I'd tried this on earlier and worn it a few times.

(BUT .. I'd still rather have lost the weight! )

 

Portion sizes / Choose consciously / Keep going (Week 4 of 12 on The Tiniest Thai diet)

A third of the way into my 12 weeks - and three main takeouts (not the curry or Chinese kind!) this week:

1. Portion sizes

I'm greedy. Or rather, I was greedy. And I hate waste (especially food waste) so I'll tend to eat pretty much what's there. 

Best example is probably rice.  As it's non-wheat and it's gluten-free, I tend to think of rice as just 'healthy'. Which it is of course, but ... I was eating way too much of it.  For me, it's a little like pasta, where you just don't trust that the measured amount is going to be enough so you throw in more (and it's too much but you just eat it all). 

So I've been measuring what looks like a TINY portion of uncooked rice at around 20g ... but cooked it gives me my own decided portion size of two tablespoons (and a little leftover that I throw away or keep for another time). 

And ... it's ENOUGH. Learning ENOUGH has been brilliant for me.

(This sounds really bad to admit, but I will admit that, since measuring and following my Thai-style diet, I've actually noticed how much I'm saving on shopping and how much longer things are lasting).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet rice portion sizes

2. Choosing consciously.

Oh this is a big one.  I've been working on it and it's finally sort of clicking into gear for me.

Ok, so the other morning, I was off on the train to a client meeting early and wandering around looking for something for breakfast ... I really wanted a bacon sandwich.  But, I spent five minutes thinking it through.  

And my reasoning was, 'yes, of course have one ... IF you're really going to enjoy it'.  

And, honestly, I couldn't say that would be true.  It would be a bit of a rubbish one from a train station outlet and I'd eat it quickly whilst standing and ... I knew that - today at least - I'd regret having it. 

Another day, when I'm going to love and enjoy it, sure! But today, I went and got a black coffee and a 'protein pot' from M&S and some mango too. And felt good.

3. Keep going.

In the past, I know I've done this.  So there's a dinner out with friends, or a family lunch, or a client do ... or something ... and you have incredible, delicious choices in front of you. 

You can do what I used to do - and what I suspect a lot of us do - and just throw total caution to the winds!

'Well, what can I do? I might as well have everything that's here!' And not just that, but afterwards, 'oh well, I've 'ruined' today now - might as well keep eating!'.

But .... it's life.  And it's also good food and a great time having a social happy time.

I'm proud of myself that I'm learning to do two things - firstly, choose kind of wisely. I say kind of because no, I can't resist chips. But I can resist dessert, and I can choose food that's going to nurture me as well as delight my taste buds. 

And secondly, so what? It was good, it was fun, it's life. But get straight back on with choosing consciously what's good for your body and - if you're trying to lose weight - what's going to help achieve that. Straight away, that same day/evening - just make a good choice. 

Enjoy what you've had (mindful conscious choosing - and then get right back on with choosing what's going to get results).

Some favourites from Week 4

Iced coffee made with almond milk

So good.  Make an espresso or small, strong coffee.  Tip into the blender along with a handful of ice cubes, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, a mug of almond milk and blend. One of my favourites!

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet iced coffee almond milk
 

On-the-go breakfast / brunch / lunch

These 'protein pots' from M&S are delicious - and surprisingly filling.  My favourite is this salmon one with edamame and a wasabi dressing.

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet M&S protein pot
 

Omelettes

Two eggs, beaten in a bowl for each omelette.  One an Arabic omelette with herbs and one a Thai omelette with a little soy sauce, cooked chicken and served with fish sauce and sliced chillies.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet omelette
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet omelette

A super-simple-supper of steamed fish

Steamed in a parcel or cooked in a remoska with chillies, garlic, lime juice a little sugar and spring onions.  Delicious.

Here's the recipe.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet steamed chilli fish
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet steamed chilli fish

Simple squid or chicken stir fry

Again, very simple and utterly delish!

I love to keep a packet of frozen squid (and other seafood actually) in the freezer and it defrosts so fast and you can make all sorts of good things. 

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid stir fry
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid stir fry

I'll be back to share Week 5 soon!

PS. I lost 1 lb this week. That's fine. I also ate well, and ate out a couple of times. Sometimes it'll be faster and sometimes slower - and I was all about a gentle mindset this week and not pushing myself.



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4 Pounds Lost + Doubt Overcome: The Tiniest Thai Weight-loss Diet Week 3 of 12

Week 3 (of a planned 12) was a harder one than the previous two have been. Harder than I was expecting - at the start anyway.

Doubt crept in.

It tested me a bit but then ... my big takeaway (not a curry one either - ha!) from this week was to ... JUST KEEP GOING 

When you're not seeing results, when you start wondering what the point is, when you feel like 'giving up' (although going back to how you were eating before was clearly not the best for your health). 

I'm learning to focus on the outcome I want, the result I want and - even when it feels like it's not happening - to TRUST and BELIEVE and to KEEP GOING.

So, I started the week having put on a pound.

And I knew that was going to happen at some point, as I'm weighing daily, and I KNOW it's just a number, just a fact and that my tracking that is helping me but still ... I did feel disappointed.

And then ...

BEING GIVEN SANDWICHES FOR LUNCH

It wasn't helped by the fact I had a lunch meeting the next day with sandwiches provided - and I'm not eating sandwiches on my Thai-style diet. 

But what can you do?

LIFE is still going to be there and throwing things at you - so what I've decided to do is NOT do what I've done previously, and just think 'oh well, if I can't do it then! I might as well have ALL the sandwiches, AND the cakes while I'm at it!'.

I'm just trying to do what I can, the best I can, and not give myself a hard time about it.

So I had three little quarter sandwiches and chose chicken and salad (the mayo was out of my control) rather than cheese or ham. And I said no to the pastries and the sausage rolls. I did have a handful of crisps (because crisps are my total downfall and because I love them) but I said no to the cake and ate grapes instead. I did ok.

I can't beat myself up about this - this is a huge one for me to learn a middle ground rather than being so all or nothing.

And then - on Thursday, I weighed myself first thing and ... I was 2 pounds lighter! 

YES!

 So, so happy. Feel vindicated that what's important is to keep going, just keep going and make conscious choices whenever you can.

DINNER PARTY FOOD

And on Friday I had friends for dinner, to my monthly Tiniest Thai Salon where we talked about creativity and poetry and all sorts of good things. I was worrying about what to cook (well, what I would eat really) but then made a menu that no-one would even know was 'diet' food.

We had a tom yum goong hot sour soup with prawns to start. Tom yum probably USES more calories to eat it than it contains!

Just don't even worry about this one - it's a goodie.

Then a Thai-style roast chicken served with rice (I had only a spoon or two of this) and a Thai-inspired salad (which doesn't have any oil at all in the dressing - and I skimped on the sugar that my own recipe includes).

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet roast chicken and som tam

I also put out a home-made sweet chilli sauce (which looks impressive but is super-easy) as it goes perfectly with the chicken - but I was careful to only have a teaspoon myself.

But you know what? That teaspoon was actually the perfect amount now I'm being mindful and not sloshing it in without thinking.

For dessert I made a fruit salad with mango, melon, kiwi and apple - served with a sugar/salt/chilli dip

MY FAVOURITE THINGS TO EAT THIS WEEK

Breakfasts ...

Usually fruit and/or eggs. 

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet eggs
 

Papaya with squeezed fresh lime is so delicious - and two hard boiled eggs with some salt and pepper or a drop of soy sauce are packed with protein and keep me full until lunch.

Lunchtime ...

I made a really easy salad at lunch at work by taking in some chicken I'd cooked at home on the griddle the night before - with salt and pepper and ground cumin plus just ONE teaspoon of oil.

I mixed the diced cooked chicken with cucumber and spring onions and a little sliced red chilli and lots of lime juice - then spooned this mixture into little gem lettuce leaves.

It makes such a difference to me spending a little time making my food look really appetising!

 Sunshine coloured fruit for pud - mango and melon.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet

Dinnertime ...

This was a good dinner. And the preparation time is really quick - I soaked a few dried porcini mushrooms in water whilst pottering around getting the other ingredients together - they probably soaked for 10-15 minutes. 

Then I just put fillets of sea bass in the remoska (I absolutely LOVE my little remoska oven - it does the best roast chicken - but you could make foil parcels and put them in a conventional oven to steam and bake inside the foil) and added:

- the porcini mushrooms, taken from the water (keep the water!) and sliced (removing any tough stalks)

- 3 tablespoons light soy sauce mixed with the mushroom water and 1 teaspoon sugar

- 1 rasher of bacon, diced

- 2 spring onions, sliced

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai steamed seabass
 

Cook for about 20 minutes or until done.  I served it with a little rice (2 tablespoons of cooked rice is my own diet portion) and some stir fried green vegetables with chilli, garlic and a little soy sauce.

And this was a good dinner too. 

I had sausages in the freezer and I hate waste so diet or no diet I was going to use them!

So I made a little cut in the sausage and squeezed the meat out of the casing. Two per person.

I mixed the meat with a splash of soy sauce, a little garam masala and some flour and rolled them into little meatball shapes.

I browned them in the pan (using the spray oil) then added diced celery and garlic and stock.  When cooked I added a splash of red wine vinegar and a good pinch of dried chilli flakes and we had them with rice noodles (and a veg stir fry as I had some vegetables that needed using!).

 
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet sausage meatballs
 

Yes, it was a harder week at the start but I kept going - and started seeing results!



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2 lbs lost / 4 things learnt: Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet wk 2 of 12

Wow, what a difference a week makes!

This Monday morning was almost tears of happiness - and feeling just pretty euphoric actually.

Not just that the number on the scales is going down, but that I'm feeling in control and that feeling of having taken action on something. 

This week I lost 2 lbs.

And I learnt 4 main things:

 1. Accountability is HUGE!

I mentioned this last week, but it's so true.  Because I've announced and told everyone I want to lose weight AND because I'm blogging my results, it's definitely given me a bit more resolve than I might have otherwise had.  

2. The small things matter.

I've made a few small changes that are making a big difference.  

* No milk in my coffee or tea - I'm having a couple of black coffees a day (with a teaspoon of sugar in each) and maybe one green tea with mint. But no milk.

* No peanuts!

Peanuts are delish of course, and very very more-ish and I can't stop picking at them if there's a packet in the cupboard. But they're incredibly full of fat and not good, nut-fat, healthy-heart-fat either, being a vegetable not a nut.

So for that crunch in my salads and stir fries, I'm toasting a few flaked almonds instead.

* I'm also using an oil spray for cooking rather than sloshing the oil in without thinking. I have to turn the garlic and chillies quickly and often before even 30 seconds is up I have to add a little slosh of water, but this seemingly tiny change is having a big impact.

3. I feel a little lighter and that makes exercise seem easier.  

I'm feeling really motivated about measuring my steps daily and aiming for 12k.  

To be honest I often struggle to reach 10k, which I know is what we're all supposed to achieve daily for just good health rather than weight loss, but it's the difference in my mindset I'm proud of - and I'm really interested in and looking for ways to naturally increase my steps.

4. Decluttering.

Woo-hoo! Didn't expect this! I love a bit of decluttering and the drive kicked in this week - firstly, to declutter my food cupboards and get those out of date herbs out of there and the ancient baking bits and pieces I've never ever used.  Time to clear that stale energy from the kitchen!

And having done that ... well, I moved on to my bathroom cupboard and wardrobe ... I can't WAIT 'til I can declutter all my 'fat' clothes and be building up a gorgeous capsule wardrobe of happy weight clothes.

This week's favourite recipes:

Lunches ...

* 2 poppadums cooked in the microwave at work (literally seconds) or brought in ready cooked.  

Topped with a little cottage cheese, a little mango chutney, chopped cucumber, spring onion, red chilli and coriander leaves.

* a great green salad with mixed salad leaves and avocado + a dressing of lime juice.

Spending a little time making my food look pretty also makes me appreciate and savour it more.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet lunch
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai avocado salad

Dinners ...  

I'm more likely to add a little carbohydrate to dinner - some rice noodles or a couple of tablespoons of plain boiled basmati rice.

I've made a version of a seafood pad krapow stir fry (using spray oil) and had some really good salads using the salad base of this steak salad but topped with griddled chicken or seafood.

Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai diet squid krapow
Rachel Redlaw The Tiniest Thai dinners

I have to confess there were some treats around this week at work too - but one of the BIG things for me is just learning not to be 'all or nothing'. 

So - yes, I did have a very small slice to taste the delicious cake that my colleague and friend (and baker extraordinaire) Jackie brought in for someone's birthday (deconstructed Snickers cake - you think I could refuse, even with my zero-sweet-tooth?!).

But I didn't have a huge slice, and that's one of the things I'm learning - I'm not trying to deprive myself here, but I am wanting to lose weight - so i'm always looking to the result, to the outcome, but in a way that's going to work for me.



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10 things making me happy right now

1. The sun's shining and that always makes this sun-worshipper a little bit lighter, brighter, happier, more energised.  Soaking up some rays feels like re-charging my batteries with goodness. 

The sun is shining and ... this song's therefore in my head.

2. I'm also feeling actually lighter through losing weight on the Tiniest Thai weight-loss diet.  Week 4 of 12 starts tomorrow, I'm 8lbs lighter and looking forward to sharing the eating plan when I've finished working through it myself.

In the meantime, here's what I learnt during Week 1.

3. Iced coffee.  I love it.  Black with one sugar, lots of ice clinking in the glass. I don't know why but it makes me feel a little bit French and a little bit chic. And I'm not going to question that, just enjoy it! 

4. Poetry.  The first Tiniest Thai Salon was held on Friday evening and it was so much fun getting to talk about favourite poems and hear other people's.  We had a lot of love for Michael Rosen as a huge formative influence for a few of us and our love of language.  He might be a children's poet - but that doesn't mean adults can't enjoy his stuff too.  

My friend Rhys had 'Keith's Cupboard' as his favourite Michael Rosen poem - it's a few poems down on this.  

Next Salon date to be announced soon - the next one we'll be chatting about creativity and how you find, channel, enjoy yours.

5. Som tam.  I LOVE som tam.  Addicted to it. Hot, crunchy, sour, refreshing - my favourite salad.  And it doesn't matter if you can't get green papaya or green mango - it's (almost) as good using courgette, carrots, and green pepper - all sliced very thin.  

Here's my version. I'm using a few toasted hazelnuts instead of peanuts (which are a vegetable and therefore not heathy good nut fats) while on my diet and having it with some griddled chicken.

6. Being outdoors.  This time of year is just so spectacularly beautiful and I'm so lucky to have a very beautiful park nearby.  I was there this morning early and just noticing the conkers appearing on the trees, the lushness of the different greens everywhere, the white flowers, the birdsong. 

Really do feel very lucky to be outdoors walking the dog and noticing the seasons changing and nature doing it's thing. 

7. I'm still really happy about having been accepted as a Huffington Post blogger! Even though I've only had one piece published so far (there's another currently with them awaiting publication) it makes me smile every time I think about it.  

8. Adventures ahead. Travel is one of the things that makes me feel most alive. If I had to choose I'd pick experiences over 'things' any day and I have so many memories of incredible experiences.

This year I've planned lots of mini-adventures so there's never too long in between them.  

The next is a few days in Spain in a few weeks and I'm already excited - especially to be going back to the exact village I went to when I was 18 (it was my first flight too!).  I'm going back with the same friend I went with that first time, so we're going to be revisiting some old memories as well as making new ones.

Can't wait.

9. Family, friends, love. Of course. Goes without saying, but then not to say it doesn't feel right either! Just had a long chat on the phone with one of my sisters and that ALWAYS makes me happy.

10. Ooh, so the last one is this.  A tom yum soup. Hadn't made it for ages but it's a great one for the Tiniest Thai diet and I'd forgotten how incredibly easy it is to make and how incredibly delicious.

Here's my recipe - do try it!

What's making you happy right now?