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Things To Do Before I Turn 50

  (also known as my "TA-DA" list as opposed to a "to do" list) It was my 49th birthday a few days ago and this got me thinking. Any birthday that ends with a zero always feels a bit like milestone or a landmark and, when I hit the big "five-o" in 2022, I don't want huge parties or celebrations but I would like to have ticked a few things off my low-effort bucket list.   I see these things as a way to improve my mental and physical health, plus a few slightly off-the-wall experiences that would make for great memories.  Start running again and include the following: Lead a C25K group again  Participate in parkrun EVERY week where possible  < ongoing (now parkrun Run Director too) Visit local landmarks whilst running  Train for a long race - building up from 5k > 10k > 10 miles > half marathon, with a couple of longer trail races mixed in  Lose a lot bit of weight Post more on Instagram or give the blog a bit of a reboot < ongoing Look at

[RECIPE] Slimming World Minestrone Soup

I found a hint of a recipe for minestrone soup on the Slimming World website which sounded really easy to pull together. I gave it a shot, tweaked a few of the ingredients and it makes a great lunch or a perfect accompaniment to a salad.

recipe, minestrone soup, slimming world

Preparation Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 30 minutes
Serves : 6 large servings
Cost Per Serving : 60 pence


  • 2 medium sized onions
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 sticks of celery
  • 2 cloves of garlic (crushed) or 2 teaspoons of garlic granules  
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes dissolved in 1.5 pints of boiling water
  • 2 tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 handfuls of pasta (conchiglie or fusilli works best)
  • 2 tins of cannellini beans (drained)
  • 10 slices of chopped cooked ham (leave this out if you want a totally vegetarian version) 


  1. Slice the onions, dice the carrots and chop the celery.  Place them in a large pan with the garlic, vegetable stock and chopped tomatoes
  2. Bring to the boil and then simmer with a lid on the pan for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally
  3. Add the drained cannellini beans, pasta and ham
  4. Bring back to the boil and then simmer again for about 10 minutes, again with a lid on the pan, stirring occasionally, until the pasta is tender
  5. Serve and enjoy

Let me know if you try this and if you'd suggest any changes.

Tweet: Try this #slimmingworld Minestrone Soup recipe from @nickieohara - 6 large portions at 60p each

Note:  If you are following the Slimming World Extra Easy plan then this falls completely in the Super Free and Free food section.  Onions, carrots and celery are super-free foods.  Chopped tomatoes (tinned), cannellini beans (tinned and drained), ham and pasta are all free foods.

Costing: Almost all of these ingredients are fridge or store cupboard staples however the costing was worked out (using store's own brands and fresh produce) as follows:

recipe, minestrone soup, slimming world
IngredientsCost (£)
Onion x 20.15
Carrots (300g)0.23
Garlic (2 cloves)0.08
Stock Cubes x 20.07
Chopped Tomatoes x 2 tins0.62
Cannellini Beans x 2 tins1.24
Pasta (1/3 of a bag)0.40
Cooked Ham0.40
Total Per Serving0.60