Category Archives for "Must Read"

BE REALISTIC – Everyday Situations & Healthy Living

I’m very excited to announce my new, upcoming series BE REALISTIC.

It’s gonna be the most in-depth and realistic look at how to live a normal life, whether you’re on a diet or just trying to eat better, and I’m not talking about the standard “Eat plenty of fruit and veg & stay away from fatty junk foods” advice, oh no! There’s hundreds of diets out there that do nothing but bang on about what you can and can’t do; I think I’ll leave that to them.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a time and a place for that advice (like once, at the beginning!), but one area none of them help with is the real life situations that happen to us each and every day; situations that make it difficult, if not near on impossible to diet & eat healthy.

We’re surrounded by them, the birthdays, weddings, christenings, family gatherings, unplanned lunches, working late & grabbing takeaway, clubbing, being ill, being stressed etc. etc.

The list is epic, and 99% of them are inevitable to happen to each, and every one of us; how we deal with these situations is the difference between success and failure.


If you’re anything like me, and your sick and tired of being told “Eat a salad”; hell, what happens if there isn’t a salad available huh, what do ya eat then? Thin air!

That’s where BE REALISTIC comes in to give the information I think we all need to know to make the best possible decision for the situation we’re in; be it at a buffet table, a new restaurant, a family BBQ or even McDonalds, an airport lounge, whatever. What’s the best you can eat right there and then; it maybe a choice between “two evils” but which is the better of the two…that’s the real question.

Keep an eye out for the first installment coming in the next couple of weeks! Continue reading


The Ultimate Guide to Mugshots on Slimming World

Since the first expose article, I wrote on Muller lights went down so well it got me thinking about other foods I'm eating on the slimming world plan that I take for granted as being "good & healthy" to eat because I've been given the green light by slimming world, and because of the weight I've lost; this isn't always the case, and so this article was born!

picture of mugshots and their syn values on slimming world

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I need to warn you, things could get ugly; are you ready for the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? You are! Great, what you waiting for...

Noodle Mugshots; I'm going to share everything you need to know, what they are, what's in them, if there healthy (or not?), how many you should be eating, I'll even share with you the best places to buy them, no more ridiculously high prices; this is the ONLY ultimate guide to Mugshots!

Brief History

Let's start from the beginning shall we? Mugshots are, and I quote, "Dried pasta, noodles and couscous in a range of delicious savoury sauces.", created by a company called Symingtons; their far from the being labelled as the new kid on the block; they've been on our shelves for over 10 years...12 to be exact!

Mugshot Range & Syn Values

As mentioned above there's three arms to the Mugshot tree that come in a number of different flavours and syn values; the syns for each can be found below for all the slimming world plans (extra easy, red and green); in this article I'm only going to cover noodles; I'll be going over pastas and couscous mugshots in a future post.


picture of 6 mugshot flavours

  • Spicy Sweet & Sour, 67g - Free, 12½, Free
  • Chinese Style, 54g - Free, 8, Free
  • Chicken & Sweetcorn, 54g - Free, 12½, Free
  • Thai Style, 55g - ½, 10½, ½
  • BBQ Beef, 56g - Free, 10½, Free
  • Peri-Peri, 56g - Free, 10½, Free

Slimming Worlds Stance on Mugshots

Before we look at mugshots themselves I think it'd be a good idea to point out what slimming worlds take on Mugshots are. It think its safe to say they love them going by the syn values most have been given; this might not be such a bad thing, we'll talk more about that later though.

I know my SW leader and many others that I've seen have said nothing but good things about them, "grab a mugshot on the go" "fill up on mugshots"; reminds me of the old saying "Something that sounds too good to be true usually is", that was the case with the mullers but will it be the same for Mugshots?

Are Mugshots healthy?

Good question, to which there's many answers, and opinions; the best answer I can give you is...

Mugshots on a whole are not that bad, sure they've got a few things in them that isn't the best, but nutritionally, when compared to something like a chocolate bar or some processed crap from the freezer their pretty good.

There's gonna be plenty of people out there that want to scream at me for saying that; I'll have the clean eaters yelling "Their bad, stay away from them, you shouldn't eat them!", and then I'll have the carb' haters giving me both barrels "There packed with carbs (well duh! There pasta & noodles!) and carbs are not good for you, you need paleo!"

You know what I say to them all? "Thanks for your input & opinions, but excuse me when I ignore them!"


Lock & Lock Stackable Airtight Container

You know me, I'm all about being realistic and living a sustainable lifestyle for the long haul, and eating Mugshots is exactly that, so I'm going to ever so kindly ignore their "valid" (see how polite I am!) comments and get on with things the real way.

So, taking everything into consideration (calories, fat, sugar, protein and salt) the best, and worst mugshot in my opinion is, the chinese flavour mugshots for the best, and the spicy sweet & sour for the worst.

If you want to know the full list of ingredients for each of the flavours click here to visit the Symingtons website.

How many Mugshots can you eat a day?

One of the most popular questions I got about Muller Light yoghurts and it's no different with these. Out of the whole range there's only one Mugshot flavour that is particularly (shockingly) high in sugars, the culprit...spicy sweet and sour! That's bloody typical isn't it, that's my favourite flavour! There is one other thing their exceptionally high in...carbohydrates, but that's obvious right?

Honestly there's no real easy answer to this question, and I don't want to recommend anything to you that I wouldn't do myself. I think eating two Mugshots would be ok to eat a day, I personally wouldn’t go above this unless they were being eaten as a main meal with meat & veg.

Just to show you what eating two mugshots look like, here's a couple of scenario to illustrate it better.

If you were to eat two spicy sweet and sour noodles you'd be consuming,

the worst noodle mugshot is spicy sweet & sour

  • 3.4g fat
  • 27.6g sugar
  • 107.8g carbohydrates
  • 11.6g protein
  • 1.16g salt
  • 522 calories

On the other hand if you were to eat two Chinese style noodles you'd be consuming,

the best noodle mugshot is chinese flavour

  • 1.2g fat
  • 1.6g sugar
  • 64.4g carbohydrates
  • 13.2g protein
  • 1.26g salt
  • 322 calories

You can clearly see from that example there's a noticeable difference between eating two different flavours, the main being sugar…26 grams worth, that’s a huge chunk of the daily recommended amount.

Ultimately it's down to you how many you eat a day, just be realistic about it, I've just given you the all the information in it the simplest form to help you make a decision that's right for you and your goals.

Mugshot Recipes

Mugshots don't have to be eaten just the way they are, oh no far from it! I love adding stuff to mine like cooked meat, and vegetables; the easiest way I do this is to cook a small joint of meat at the weekend and then just cut little bits up and pop them in my lunch box. I also do the same with veg, I boil some peas & carrots on a Sunday, drain them (super dry) and leave in the fridge; chuck a few spoonful into a small tub (I use this one, and I love it!), and chuck it in my lunch box.

picture of different mugshot recipes you can make
I love adding goodies to my mugshots!

Adding ingredients is simple, just throw them in! It's that simple, do it at the same time as you add the water, and they'll warm through nicely.

BONUS TIP! If you're on the go and, want something filling to eat, grab a couple of Mugshots, and a pack of cooked meat (or veg for the veggie lovers out there) and throw them all together, hey presto you've got a pretty decent, filling meal in under 10 minutes.

My personal favourites to add are, smoked gammon, chicken, turkey, diced onions, peas, carrots and broccoli...not all at once, but that would be pretty cool!

Best Way to Cook Mugshots

Cooking the perfect Mugshot is easy, all you need is a mug and hot water, right? Well yeah, but there is a better way, at least I think so anyway…you bet the judge, try it out and let me know in the comments below.

I use a lock and lock airtight food storage container, I empty a pack into the tub and then fill with boiling water BUT not too much, I just cover the noodles by a few millimetres (this bits important!) and that gives me prefect, saucy mugshot each, and every time.


Thermos Thermocafe Multi Purpose Steel Flask

I love using the storage tubs for a few reasons, first their airtight locking all the heat in and preventing any possible spillages (you don’t know how many times I've spilt them in my work van). The second is all the extra room you’ve got to put make two at the same time and add some extra goodies like meat and veggies without it overflowing, check out the entire Lock & Lock range Amazon has to offer here.

So what about me?

I love Mugshots, I drive for a living and keep them in my work bag all the time, really, I don't leave home without them. I often eat them for brunch/late lunch. My favourite is the spicy sweet and sour flavour (yeah the worst one) they're the best!

Cheapest place to buy Mugshots

Mugshots usually cost about 99p in most supermarkets, but every now and then they have promotions and that is the best (and only) time to buy bulk!

Popular mugshot deals are 4 for £2.00, 5 for £3.00 but the best I've ever found is in Morrison's 3 for £1, yeah 33p each! That’s fantastic value; the one downside to Morrison's is their lack of variety, I've never seen Thai style, BBQ or Peri-Peri, that could just be my area, I'd be grateful if you could let me know in the comments?

To keep up with the latest deals on Mugshots, check out this supermarket price comparison website.

UPDATE: I've found mugshots being sold on Amazon, of all places! Pretty cool if you ask me, delivered right to your door, and they have some pretty good deals every now, and then.

Fake Mugshots

This is messy! There's sooooo much confusion out there with "fake mugshots" being sold in the cheaper discount stores like B&M, Aldi & Lidl. I've done a lot of research into them and what to explain what's going on once and for all so here goes.

All the mugshot found in the cheap stores, and the normal ones are made by Symingtons, just check the logo on the back of the packets; the difference between them is the market the aimed at.

real and fake mugshots are made by the same company - symingtons

The ones that are found in all major supermarkets are the most common mugshots out there, these are made with high(er) quality ingredients, and follow a different recipe from the cheaper ones.

The "fake mugshots" are aimed at the cheaper market, and that’s the reason they are sold in stores like B&M, Aldi and Lidl. They come in slightly different flavours and follow a different (cheaper) recipe compared to the others, the packaging is also slightly different although the back is relatively the same.

There is no reason why these mugshots can't be eaten on slimming world just like anything else, it just comes down to the syns.

fake mugshots infographic for the slimming world diet including syns, they can be eaten

Mugshot Questions

This guide has been pretty intense, and hopefully it's answered a lot of the questions you may have had, but there's always a couple more lingering in the back of your mind, and that's where you come in! I want you to use the comments below to ask any questions you've got, and I'll find you an answer, one way or another 🙂

I will add a Q&A section to this post with all the questions I get to help everyone out there, and together we can make this truly an ultimate guide to mugshots.

Share The Love

I hope you enjoyed that article and thank you for reading it all the way to the end 🙂 I would love you to do something for me really quickly, I want you to share this article on your twitter (tweet below), facebook, pinterest if you know someone that could benefit from reading it, you must know someone, right?

Tweet this - "I've just finished reading the Only Ultimate Guide to Mugshots on Slimming World by @darranmansfield"

Weight Loss Plateau’s – Changing Their Meaning Once And For All

Weight loss plateau's - A new way to think of them that's much more positive

A couple of weeks back I finally broke through a long, 10 week weight loss plateau. This was my second plateau in a year; the last one was horrible. It was the worst.

It sucked, to say the least, and that’s because I didn’t know how I should have been looking at plateaus. With this new way of thinking, I almost relish the thought them. I’m imagining the look on you face right now (cute!), but stay with me I’ll explain everything, it’s life changing!

How it came about…

It was Monday, about 7:30 in the evening; I got to my slimming world class like normal, and I can remember thinking…no wait, it was more like I was praying for some progress on the scales.

It was my tenth weigh-in. I got on the scales, looked down and that when I felt the willpower and determination racing to leave my body like a greyhound out of the traps. Stepping off the scales I felt as though I was running my heart out but not getting anywhere. You’ve felt like that before, haven’t you?

Continue reading


1 Year On – My Top 10 Dieting Lessons Learned

before and after picture of darran mansfield realistic weight loss

If only I’d known what was possible…

I’ve done it! I’ve stuck to my slimming world diet for a whole year!

You can’t imagine how happy I am for finally sticking to something let alone it be a diet, although you know how much I dislike the word diet. I prefer to think of it as an ever changing, realistic, sustainable lifestyle.

Ok so I’m going to be cliche’ but bear with me because it’s all true. This is by far the best thing I’ve ever done, for my health, my confidence and my future.

I’m not gonna sugar coat it; it’s been hard work, its taken conscious thinking, planning and above all else its take a crap load of will power & determination.

You maybe thinking of starting a diet healthy lifestyle, or you may have recently started one, either way I’m sure you could benefit for the things I’ve learnt over the last year including my mistakes. All of them can be applied to any diet plan, not just slimming world that I’ve been following.

So here are my 10 hints, tips and lessons, in no particular order; Continue reading

The Ultimate Guide To Bulk Preparing Slimming World Friendly Sandwiches

quick & easy egg and bacon sandwich filling advertLiving a healthy lifestyle is far from easy, and in order to succeed things need to be simple, realistic and sustainable. Today I want to share the system I use to bulk prepare my entire weeks sandwiches. Not only does this save bundles of time, endless thinking (“what should I have?, what should I have?”), excellent value, slimming world friendly and most importantly their simple and realistic to make. Most of the preparation can be done in under 20 minutes on a Sunday (that’s when I do most of my weeks prep).

Like I said, I personally feel the key to living a healthy lifestyle has to be a realistic system, which boils down to preparation. I don’t need to tell you how time consuming cooking from scratch is, and no matter much I love cooking, I just haven’t got enough time in the day to stand over a stove preparing beautifully cooked meals. It’s not gonna happen.

Almost every diet out there bangs on about eating fresh, home cooked meals because their so good for us compare to preprepared foods, I fully agree, but what they fail to help us with is how to fit all this extra work into our regular lives.

So what’s the answer? Continue reading


Warning: Muller Light’s Worse Than We First Thought

how many muller lights can we safely eat?

Maybe you've been a member of slimming world for a while now, and you want to know a little more about things, or you may have just joined, and you want to learn more about the syn free & free foods you're allowed to eat, in particular Muller Light yoghurts, and how many you can eat safely. Well you've come to the right place! I'm going to strip mullers down to the bare bones and expose them for what they really are, are you ready?

Slimming world’s going great I really can't fault it. I’ve currently lost just over 4 stone (58lbs/26kgs), and I’m really getting into things; in particular, learning about the foods that i'm eating, and what's in them. At first it was simply curiosity, but now it's more of a need, I need to know what I’m putting in to my body, and what's its doing to me.

Your body needs the right fuel

I don’t know if it's a good thing, but I'm thinking of my body more as a machine, a machine that needs certain “fuels” to keep it running well, especially if I expect it to do things I've never done before. I want to be fitter, leaner and strong than ever, and for that to happen I need to make sure I’m giving my body what it needs.

Continue reading