Tuesday 23 August 2016

My Post-Second-Baby Body & a Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake from English Cheesecake Company *REVIEW*

My Post-Second-Baby Body

Recent picture of moi - post Connie's arrival

Since a few weeks after Connie's arrival I've been making a conscious effort to eat well and exercise more in a bid to get back to my pre-Connie weight as soon as possible. I knew that this time round I would find putting on 'baby-weight' especially hard, having worked my socks off for two years previously to shift over 6 stone. 

During my pregnancy with Connie I was definitely far more sensible with my food and exercise than I was first time round with Bert, so although I allowed myself a few more calories than normal, and cut myself a little slack in those final weeks when I was feeling generally beach-whale like and fed up, I don't feel like I "ate for two" or lazed around the whole time. 

So, I was hopeful that my weight gain would be far less than my pregnancy with Bert (3 stone 11 lbs). As it turned out it wasn't actually that much better this time round and I gained a total of 2 stone 12 lbs. Still much more than I'd hoped for. I've only gone up one dress size, and I *think* I'm carrying it fairly well - people always seem genuinely surprised at how "heavy" I am...just shows you that weight can be deceiving. Maybe that's the way my body is predisposed to be, perhaps I put on weight far more easily than some, or maybe that's just an excuse, and I over-ate and under-execised even just a little bit, for 9 months - and that all adds up. 

I knew dealing with the weight gain was never going to be easy: I'd tried hard to mentally prepare myself for getting bigger, my shape changing, being unable to fit into my new wardrobe of size 12 clothes, but despite the mental preparation I'm finding it tougher than expected. I'm so eager to shift the pounds, but I'm also exhausted: trying to look after a three year old, 10 week old, run my freelance social media management business and cook, clean, shop and do the washing - as well as attempt to be a wife to Liam too (I fear I may be failing epic-ly on that front!) With all that in mind it's been hard at times not to let convenience win when it comes to food, and to swap a long walk for a few more hours in the office to get through my mountainous to-do list. 

That said, so far I've shifted 15lbs, and I am feeling better, closer to "me". I'm trying not to feel pressured (the pressure is coming 100% from me) - but I would be lying if I said that the extra weight I'm carrying is not stressing me out. It's making me feel a bit glum. 

Connie is of course absolutely worth every single pound of weight gain, and I wouldn't have it any other way - nethertheless, I'm sat here wishing I was able to wear my full-to-bursting size 12 wardrobe, rather than my makeshift size 14 capsule wardrobe (1 jeans, 1 chinos, a few tops and a sweatshirt!) 

Considerably rounder, but still loving life with my little brood! 

Despite the longing to reach my pre-preggo weight I'm still approaching my food, exercise and weight loss in general with balance and moderation, as I know this is the key to steady and most importantly, long-term weight loss. I'm focussing on controlling portion sizes, eating as much natural, un-processed food as possible, and counting calories (although all calories are not equal, so I'm trying not to get too het-up about an exact amount, more a round-about figure). I'm not cutting out any foods in particular (until next month when I'm challenging myself to attempt Sugar Free September *more on that in another post*) and I'm enjoying higher-calorie/sugary/fatty foods just in moderation - one slice of cake won't make you fat, just like one workout won't make you thin. 

Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake from English Cheesecake Company

With this in mind, I wanted to share with you an epic cheesecake I was kindly sent recently to review from The English Cheesecake Company

Still in the throws of life with a newborn, I still haven't quite got my baking mojo back - there genuinely aren't enough hours in the day for the most basic of things, so baking is a luxury that's had to fall by the wayside for now. I'm still regularly hosting/entertaining though, and our guests need to be fed, so when the offer of a Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake to feed 12 came pinging into my inbox, who was I to refuse?

If you've not discovered the wondrous joy that is Lotus Biscoff biscuits and biscuit spread then A) where have you been over the past few years and B) I demand you stop reading this post and go straight to the supermarket to buy some pronto - you won't regret it. These sweet, caramelised biscuits are a joy, and using them to make a cheesecake is a move of pure genius! 

I first discovered Lotus Spread (crunchy and smooth - think peanut butter in texture but made from biscuits!) back in Nov 2012 (read the post where I discovered it here) and it's had pretty much a permanent place in my kitchen cupboard since then. Hubby and Bert especially adore it, so this cheesecake was a treat with them in mind. 

If you've not discovered The English Cheesecake Company before, then let me introduce you. These guys produce top quality artisan cheesecakes, and deliver them frozen to your door - 8 hours in the fridge and these monsters are ready to devour. They are perfect for weddings, parties, large dinner parties, or even for taking into the office to feed your colleagues on special occasions - cheesecake says 'I love you guys' far more than a tray of ring doughnuts, trust me. 

English Cheesecake Company packaging
Delivered frozen in a polystyrene box

English Cheesecake Company box
So well packaged - with a label full of all the need-to-know info (ingredients, nutritional info, portion size, allergy info etc). 

English Cheesecake Company wrapped cheesecake
The frozen cheesecake is wrapped in branded tissue paper, and looks high-end and luxurious even when wrapped! 
Frozen Lotus Biscoff cheesecake from English Cheesecake Company
The frozen cheesecake, in the box ready for the fridge - 8 hours is a hard amount of time to wait to devour this beauty! Luckily for us, our was delivered at 11am, meaning it was ready just in time for dessert! 

Each cheesecake serves a suggested 12 people (I must admit we made ours serve 8... we like a lot of cheesecake, what can I say?) and they do a huge array of flavours from cinnamon bun streusel or pina colada flavour to cookies and cream or hazelnut praline. There are so many delectable flavours to choose from! Checkout their website for their full range of cakes, cheesecakes and mini cheesecakes. 

A Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake from English Cheesecake Company
The Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake from English Cheesecake Company in all it's glory! 

The Lotus Biscoff Cheesecake is priced at £25.00, so yes, it's definitely on the pricier side for a ready-to-serve dessert. But, I can promise you the quality of the cheesecake is incredible - it was easily the best cheesecake I've ever eaten and all my taste-testers agreed too! It was absolutely restaurant standard, and if you think about the price tag of a decent dessert in a high-end restaurant, then even if you make the cheesecake serve 8 like we did, it still only works out at £3.12p per portion and £2.08p per portion if you make it serve the recommended 12, which seems reasonable to me.  

It's not necessarily something you'd buy for just a regular-day (unless your stinking rich, in which case, go for it!) but instead I see it as a luxurious treat food reserved for uber-special occasions.

slice of Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake
A very generous slice of Lotus cheesecake - it was worth every single calorie, trust me! 

The cheesecake is made up of a buttery biscuit-crumb base, topped with a thick, creamy, super-dense and cloying cream cheese mixture flavoured with the smooth Lotus spread, topped with a generous layer of crumbed Lotus biscuits. It really is just as good as it sounds. 

Lotus Caramelised Biscoff Cheesecake review
^^ Why not pin this for later ^^

It was so good that we all went back for a second slice the following day - what was that I was saying about one slice of cake won't make you fat - will two? ;-) 

Huge thanks to English Cheesecake Company for sending us the Lotus cheesecake in exchange for this review. 

Bye for now

Mrs B