Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Slimming World Spaghetti Carbonara Recipe

Slimming World for me was a great way to lose weight, mainly as I could eat lots of food, there is no portion control, just ensuring I was eating my superfree third,which is a third of your plate filled with vegetables, salad of fruit, depending on the meal.

I dropped three dress sizes and am now maintaining my size 8 a year and a half later, I eat well and am able to have a takeaway or a splurge, knowing that my eating habits are good for the vast majority of my week.

Once I grasped the concepts of the SW healthy eating, I was able to adapt a few of my favourites, chilli, spag bol, stews to ensure when cravings for favourites took hold, I could satisfy those urges and feast. Further searches for the best Slimming World recipe ideas gave me focus on cooking more than the eating.

Cutting fat off meat and cooking in frylight, using  extra virgin olive oil  as it is a Swimming World Healthy Extra has become routine in the house. Adding lots of extra veg to a stew or curry is the norm now and though recipes may not be the original exact meal, as I now add extra peppers and onions, shun fat and replace cream with fat free yogurt, creme fraiche or light Philadelphia cream cheese.
Some meals were trickier to adapt due to ingredients such as pastry, cream, sugars and fats.
I longed for my homemade quiche, pastry was totally out of the question unless I had saved up my syns,my curry's usually rich with ghee or oil with sides of bhaji, chapattis and naans were taboo.

I now add extra peppers and onions to chilli con carne and serve with a chilli spiced salad, curries too are packed with different veg and I do not fry in oil, bar Extra Virgin oil.

I make Slimming World quiche with cottage cheese to bulk out the egg custard mix and allow it to set and therefore be baked without pastry. 
Now I think I can hear some of you cry out (as Chris did) "But its not the same!" However looking fit and feeling healthy outweighs this and after a few months on a Slimming World regime, my tastes have changed. I no longer crave fat and sugar,  I dislike some of the smells associated with once favorite foods.

Chris was gutted to lose the fat off bacon, he loves it all crispy, but  we still get to eat and savour the flavour, so sulkily he started and now does not miss it as much. Also at target, he eats occasional crispy fat on bacon as we still can have treats.

So onto  my recipe for low fat Spaghetti Carbonara, this was for some reason the meal I got fixated on having, trying to find a Slimming World Carbonara became my challenge. I tried all the SW versions, poring through Slimming World Books, looking at good Slimming World forums, they all seemed to suggest mainly with quark. I am not a fan for this meal, I  found it a tad acrid and nothing like what I wanted it to taste like.

No I needed creamy, cheesy, pasta and it became my search as for the holy grail of pasta dishes for a short while.

Creamy Slimming World Spaghetti Carbonara seemed impossible.

I had been to a Philadelphia event a few months before my weight loss started and pleased that the light version was a healthy extra for Slimming World, so took a look on their site and I found a recipe that was close.

I have adapted a good few Philly recipes, they give that extra creamy taste.
Its hard to see how something that tastes rich and creamy could possibly be anything to do with weight loss, but I ate lots of Philly and the weight came off each week.

Again mine is inspired by a Philly recipe, but I change ingredients and measurements to keep it SW friendly and feed an army.

I tweak and adapt, no parsley, as I dislike it, herbs detract from this carbonara being a close relative of the real thing, so after trying chives finally and it not working I ditched trying herbs, if you like parsley then add it.

I use Frylight or other one cal oil sprays as the bacon fries well in it.
I add mushrooms, firstly to add in some Superfree and secondly to bulk the meal out, thirdly as mushrooms do not detract from the taste.

I have added garlic and onion in the past, it works, but takes a completely different dish flavour.
Bacon is the smoked variety, I rarely eat smoked bacon on its own, but this recipe is all the better for it.

Adding the stock turns the philly into a sauce that clings to the pasta
 I use two packs of bacon, three to four eggs  and if I was not making it for Slimming world I would add way more philly. I do add a little fat free creme fraiche if I have any in. Its a recipe to tweak and get right for your own tastebuds, family needs and dietary requirements. 

I cannot say it is the same as the cream version, but if you are trying to cut out fat, on a low fat diet, Slimming World plan or need a yummy pasta fix with creamy based sauces, this is good, it hits the spot.

I now am at target and I do add a bit more milk to give a creamier texture.
Please note that Slimming World change the Healthy Extra quantities quite often due to manufacturers recipe changes, so if reading in the future years, check amounts, it works with less,but nicer with more. At the moment it is 75g of Philly Light for a Healthy Extra A,  so you can use 225g philly and I googled long and hard for how many syns for Parmesan and currently (August 2015) 25g of Parmesan is 5 syns. Between 4 if you use as the topping,makes the Carbonara 2 and 1/2 syns. I adore it as a finishing touch.



500g pack of spaghetti


2 packs of smoked bacon,trimmed of all visible fat, cut into strips

Mushrooms as many as you fancy or none at all, finely sliced.

300g Philadelphia light ( 4 HexA's)

3-4 egg yolks

300ml vegetable stock

Parmesan shavings, to garnish

Cook the spaghetti according to the pack instructions.

While it is bubbling away, fry the bacon pieces in the frylight, using a large frying pan, adding the mushrooms once the bacon has started to crisp. Keep stirring until the mushrooms are cooked.
Beat together the Philly and the egg yolks in a separate bowl.
Once the pasta is cooked, drain it.
Add the stock to the bacon pan, then add the pasta and mix together.
Add the cream cheese and egg mixture, and stir through well to combine everything.
Serve the pasta onto plates, scatter with  a few shavings of parmesan and enjoy!

Click on the Slimming World tags just before the comments to see more recipes!!

Slimming World Fish Pie is not one to miss, another creamy, cheesy sauce, topped with mash. 

Sweet Trees by Riviera Review.

What a cute idea for Easter, a tree of sweets, my latest review for a lovely company called Sweet Trees by Riviera is yummy indeed.They sent me a Malteser Tree.
Sweet Trees are a family run business which started in 2010 by Christina Purnell and Charlee Hutchins – a mother and daughter team. The concept of Sweet Trees started during the preparations for Charlee’s wedding in the summer of 2010, when they were thinking of the ideal centre pieces for the tables that both adults and children would appreciate and enjoy. Since the wedding, Sweet Tree by Rivera has expanded due to a wave of publicity, strong sales and the simple fact that everyone who has seen, heard or tasted a Sweet Tree has simply loved them!
The trees are really cute, the Malteser tree  will be kept for the family to pick chocs from the tree on Easter Sunday. 

The tree came well packaged and very  fast delivery, its so cute to look at, a really great idea.

Even the stem is made from chocolate,the pot however is a little terracotta plant pot,just in case you decide to nibble it! They say money does not grow on trees but I am happy with chocolate doing so!
If you still like the traditional Egg shape, but like something a little different, I spotted this range of Easter Egg, like no other, they are solid and available in many different choices of Sweets and Chocolate. Prices range according to size chosen, £6.00 - £23.00
Marshmallows, sweet fried eggs and one I think little ones will like the Dolly Mixture Eggs
This Easter, why not treat someone special with a unique, hand-made Sweet Tree?
Sweet Trees, covered in your favourite chocolate or sweets, are designed to be
shared, nibbled, devoured and admired and make a fantastic Spring gift.
Sweet Trees are presented in either a delightful glass vase or pretty terracotta pot.

 Disclosure I was given a free product. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Mr Kipling for Easter

Lemon heaven, that's what I am in again, thanks to the lovely folks at Mr Kipling who sent me some treats for Easter. I know I am always rambling on about my love for citrus, give me gin and lemon cake I am a happy Easter bunny!!

Mr Kipling as for many other people makes me think of visits to my Granny as a child,cakes would come out on a fancy plate, great names such as fancies and tarts. Well now I look after Granny and I have had great pleasure doing the same for her, we both love cakes and individual ones always seem a real treat.

I have to mention the Lemon Fancies, perfect for a cake stand at tea time,the sponge is so light and fluffy,the icing soft, lemony and luscious.

Chris loves Kipling Cherry Bakewells and liked trying the lemon variety. The pastry is really short and crumbly, the filling again that lovely citrus sweet tang.

My favourites were the St Clement Slices, individually wrapped in pairs,which so appeals to me, I hate opening a box of cakes and some going dry.

The lemon sponge is topped by a really good orange icing which tastes slightly fizzy and tops the cake perfectly.

Now I have a few baking projects this Easter,but its always handy to have a selection of ready made cakes on hand, only trouble is, they were so good we ate them all!!

Mr. Kipling
         Mr. Kipling Lemon Bakewells, Lemon Fancies and St. Clement Slices are available at all major supermarkets
RRP £1.00

Colgate 360 Review

Time flies and its three months since my first Colgate 360⁰ Club news.
I'm being sent lots of information that is useful to me and hopefully readers also.
Last quarter I learnt that a 3 month old toothbrush is 95% less effective than a new one and I was really surprised and I know from comments readers were also.
This quarter its still about fighting the invisible nasties and one way to do that is by cleaning the whole mouth.
Another fact is that 80 % of the bacteria are not on my teeth.
I must admit to just cleaning my teeth and paying little attention to my whole mouth. This quarter I was sent the Colgate 360⁰ Actiflex, it is a little bit different when using as the head moves, it seems good so far as my teeth are very compact and a few are crossed slightly, so I am able to manoeuvre it in between the teeth more effectively.
It has surround bristles clean both sides of your teeth at once and these Colgate say reach all the way down to the gum line, the whole mouth clean is covered by the Cheek and tongue cleaner comfortably removes odour-causing bacteria.
I will be back in three months with more info and let you know how I am getting on,my dentist has said my gums are much better, so I must be doing something right.


It has been a long and often frosty winter and you have probably spent the last few months trying (and possibly failing) to protect yourself from nasty bugs, but have you thought about protecting your mouth? Germs and bacteria – or what we call Invisible Nasties - can lurk on your toothbrush after you have had a cold, the flu, a mouth infection or a sore throat so you need to replace your brush# once you’re better to prevent re-infection.

Protect your smile with the Colgate 360° manual toothbrush range. With five options, there is something to suit all the family:

  • Colgate 360° Whole Mouth Clean – removes over 96% more overall bacteria than an ordinary flat trim toothbrush
  • Colgate 360° Actiflex - the innovative flexible head adapts to the unique curves and contours of your teeth to clean around and between teeth
  • Colgate 360° Sensitive Pro-Relief™ – 48% softer bristles than an ordinary soft manual toothbrush which are gentler on the sensitive areas of the tooth
  • Colgate 360° Surround – the surround bristles are designed to clean both sides of your teeth at once and reach all the way down to the gum line. The wrap around cleaner adds a whole new dimension of clean and an invigorating feel whilst the cheek and tongue cleaner comfortably removes odour causing bacteria
  • Colgate 360° Max White ONE – with whitening cups that hold toothpaste to help effectively remove stains for a naturally whiter smile and polishing bristles to help whiten teeth by polishing away surface stains and clean hard to reach places.

Find enclosed your new Colgate 360° Surround toothbrush… in time for your three month toothbrush renewal. With the power to remove bacteria in three ways, your new brush will ensure your teeth are not only spring cleaned but your tongue, cheeks and gums are too, giving you a superior# whole mouth clean you can actually feel as you brush.

Have your say and pick which brush suits your mouth best. Simply select the Colgate 360°

 Disclosure I was given a free product. I was under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Friday, 22 March 2013

Guylian Belgian Chocolate for Easter

In keeping with tradition, Guylian, the world’s favourite Belgian chocolatier, has a delectable range of Easter gifts that are sure to delight the taste buds and make this Easter eggstra-special.
I was sent two of the Easter range to try, with a husband who adores Guylian chocolate I wanted to put them away for Easter, but gluttony got the better of me! Happily I did not give up chocolate for Lent!

I can tell you from past experience that Guylian delivers a great taste in all their products,I have bought many times and been privileged to review, most recently for Valentines Day, see here

Each box has the chocolate egg the luxury egg has  lovely big box of chocolates

The Seashell Egg has the above shell collection.
The chocolate is incredibly good, it melts in the mouth, its mooth and  rich in chocolate taste, not a bunny or rabbit in sight, so great for an adult gift.

Plus buying from Guylian supports a favourite creature of mine , the beautiful seahorse. Project Seahorse is dedicated to conserving seahorses and other marine life across the world. Project Seahorse was established in 1996 in response to the growing danger to seahorses from overfishing, incidental catch and the destruction of coastal marine habitats. More than 25 million seahorses - both dead and alive - are traded globally each year. The vast majority are used in traditional medicines, however aquariums and the souvenir trade have put heavy pressure on the species.

Below is the new Guylian 2013 Easter range which is perfect for sharing or treating yourself! 

Sea Shell Egg 

This premium chocolate egg comes accompanied by a box of Guylian’s iconic praline Sea Shells in a compact yet premium box. You might just be tempted to keep this delicious Guylian classic to yourself! 

RRP £5.99.

Luxury Egg 

The Luxury Guylian chocolate egg is perfectly complimented by the accompanying box of Guylian’s Luxury Belgian Collection; a mixture of classic Sea Shells, Opus, Perlines and Trufflina chocolates, in a premium box.  Go on, make a special someone’s day this Easter. 
RRP £10.99.

Guylian Mini Filled Eggs

Each Mini Filled Guylian chocolate
egg is individually wrapped, in a choice of three delectable flavours;
milk chocolate truffle, milk chocolate
praline and dark chocolate praline. They’re ideal
for the Easter egg hunt but don’t be surprised if the grown-ups get to them first! 

RRP £3.49.
Guylian’s Easter range is available at all good supermarkets and selected independent retailers nationwide.

To find out more about the story behind the Guylian brand, and to explore the full range see www.guylian.co.uk.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Surcare Super Concentrated Gel Wash

Surcare promise not to irritate the skin. I have been trying it out,while I do not suffer with any skin conditions, Chris and Conor do, so I have to be careful with their clothes, but I still want a washing product that works on those stains and cleaning all our clothes well.

I was sent a bottle of the new Surcare Super Concentrated Gel Wash and have been using for a week on all my loads. With teens, my grandmother, a husband who can be in shirt and tie one day and in a quarry the next, I get to do a lot of washing.

The Surcare has no acids, enzymes, dyes or even perfumes, they say ' nothing smells as good as the ‘just-off-the-line’ smell of fresh air.'


It has a handy lid that is used to does and pops into the machine with the clothes.

I kind of miss the perfume after washing, but the clothes smell fresh. I cannot fault the cleaning power, my washing was clear of stains such as tea, tomato based sauce, grease spots, quarry dirt and sweat. All usual stains were gone.

I tried at 30 degrees for some of the loads and the wash still came out clean, so for sheets and my men's clothes I will certainly buy again.

Skin can be a sensitive thing and sometimes it needs a little TLC. Some laundry and cleaning products are filled with all sorts of chemicals that might rub your skin up the wrong way, or just don’t do the business when it comes to getting those clothes clean.

Championing sensitive skin, Surcare promises not to put anything unnecessary into its products that will irritate your skin.

All Surcare products have been dermatologically tested and approved, so they can stop all those stains in their tracks without compromising on your skin. What’s more, they provide outstanding cleaning at 30°C, so you can be kinder to the environment too.

New for 2013, Surcare has launched Super concentrated Gel Wash. The new gel format makes washing even easier with a lid you can pop straight into the washing machine. Just pour and go!

Available in Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda, Morrisons and Waitrose, the Surcare range includes:

Surcare Superconcentrated Gel Wash 630ml, RRP £3.99

Surcare Powder 2.4kg (30 washes)/800g (10 washes), RRP £6.99/£3.00

Surcare Fabric Conditioner 1L (28 washes), RRP £1.65

Surcare Super concentrated Liquid Wash 630ml, RRP £2.79

Surcare Washing Up Liquid 450ml, RRP £1.00

Disclosure I was given a  free product. I was under no obligation to receive the samples or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Win Cadbury Hamper

Cadbury have a great new competition on their site, to be an Honorary Cadbury Taster, I can imagine it would be a heavenly job! See details below and to celebrate further they have teamed up with Given To Distracting Others to give one lucky reader a chance to win a choctastic prize!!
You may need to do a little digging to uncover this question!!
WIN the chance to be the Honorary Cadbury Taster - have you got what it tastes?
Cadbury is on the hunt to find the word that perfectly describes the deliciously creamy taste of Cadbury Dairy Milk.  The most scrumptious description will go down in chocolate history – and the person who comes up with it will be named Honorary Cadbury Taster.
The Taster role has a sweet benefits package; an exclusive first taste of all new Cadbury chocolate before it hits the shelves, the opportunity to design your own truly unique Cadbury Dairy Milk bar,  and plenty of delicious Cadbury Dairy Milk!  What more could a person want?  Submit your tasty word to www.cadburydairymilk.co.uk by 1st April 2013 to be in with a chance. (See the Notice Board on the site for details!
Exclusive to fans of Given To Distracting Others, Cadbury is also offering one lucky winner an overflowing Cadbury hamper and one of only ten limited edition books with a secret space inside to store your Cadbury Dairy Milk bar!  Simply answer the question below to be in with a chance of winning:
What word-related famous face is the Cadbury Joyville Worker reading his ‘Definition of Great Tasting Chocolate’ book in front of ?
Hint: Which King has a collection of over 85,000 books in the British Library?
Answer on the Rafflecopter not the blog!!!!
Add your answer to the rafflecopter and comment you have found it by Monday 25th March for your chance to win!
For full terms and conditions of the Honorary Cadbury Taster competition please go to www.cadburydairymilk.co.uk

Friday, 15 March 2013

Asda Easter Review

Asda are getting ready for Easter 2013 and sent me a taste of what they are offering, from bakery goodies, chocolates and crafts they seem to have the season sorted out and for great prices too.

Leading up to the holiday there are some lovely crafty products on sale. Starting at a £1  including the ones I have picked to show you. it really does not have to break the bank. 

There are stickers, ribbon, even the bonnet to decorate and the children can make cards with Easter themes. 

Now I love a good hot cross bun and was sent some to try, but a little different are these  raspberry and white chocolate buns, really tasty and if you have somebody in the house who is not keen on raisins and sultanas these make a great treat for them.

Notice the plate mine are served on, Asda are selling them for £1 for 12 and these are great for Sunday teatime.

Finally for a real aww from the little ones (erm  that would be me) Charlie The Chick cake, a light vanilla sponge sandwiched with two layers of strawberry jam and covered in yellow and orange icing. 

He is priced £10 and I want one!!


Have a cracking Easter with Asda
These cute bunny ears are the perfect egg-ccessory for any little egg hunters.
Bunny Ears, £1.00
Eggs do grow on trees with this fabulous pre-decorated tree ornament.
Pre-decorated tree, £5.00
A set of these chick-shaped plates will make a great addition to any Easter buffet.
Easter Chick Plate, £5.00
Give your little ones a cracking surprise during their egg hunt by filling these gorgeous bright eggs with mini chocolate treats. Bright Eggs, £1.00

Show your love for the festive season with these gorgeous fabric letters.

Easter Ornament, £2.00
Put all of your eggs in one basket with this chick-shaped carrier for Easter treats.

Egg Hunt Basket, £2.00
Turn an average egg hunt into an eggs- citing adventure with this Easter egg hunt kit.

Easter Egg Hunt Kit, £2.00 

Celebrate in Egg-celent style this Easter

Get crazy and create some cracking Easter cards for family and friends with this make your own kit.

Make your own Easter card set, £3.00

Get your kids active with the Make Your Own Easter Basket. It’s quick, fun and will keep your lttle ones treasure hun=ng all day.

Make Your Own Easter Basket, £1.00
Get creative this Easter and make some egg-cellent decorations for your home with this crazy pack. Easter Cra7 Pack, £1.00
Once the egg hunt is over and the chocolate’s gone, let the Easter fun continue with this colour-in puzzle Colour-in Easter Puzzle, £1.00

Decorate the house with this adorable Easter buntng to get everyone in the spirit this Spring.

Make your Own Easter Buntng, £1.00 

 Disclosure I was given  free products. I was under no obligation to receive the samples or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.