25 Nov

Staying healthy in winter

I am pretty lucky to have naturally good immunity and it’s practically unheard of for me to go down with a cold but I think as I get inevitably older and increasingly time poor, health is the first tell-tale sign that one is burning the candle at both ends or simply not making time for oneself.


In order to combat this we have to make sure we are giving our body the best chance of staying healthy to resist infection by consuming the best fuel possible. I am a true believer in the word NOURISH, it’s my answer to Hygge the “word of the moment”. I believe in Nourishing Body & Soul when you eat. I don’t do deprivation, I make sure if I am eating a treat – I enjoy it, guilt has no place in my kitchen. This is made easier when what we are eating, whether a meal or an indulgence, is made with wholesome, healthful ingredients. This is also true of drinks.

My all time favourite winter warmer is a hot chocolate, so try this for a really satisfying and nourishing version of the classic:


Raw Cacao Quarmbys

 Serves 1

2 tsp raw cacao powder

¼ tsp cinnamon (optional – but does bring healthful properties)

125ml almond milk

125ml additive free Coconut Milk (such as Biona)

1 tsp Xylitol granulated (or to taste)



Put the cacao powder and cinnamon (if using), in a small heavy pan and add 2 tbs of the almond milk. Stir over a  medium heat until thoroughly combined, then add the remaining almond milk and the coconut milk, then stir frequently until warmed through. Stir through the xylitol and drink immediately. Tastes best when served in your favourite mug!

This also works well with just almond milk – if you use the Rude Health Almond Drink taste before adding the sweetener as it is sufficiently sweet without for me.

Another way to combat the colder weather is to get out in it and enjoy it! Wrap up warm and get outdoors. It might take a good kick to get you out but once you’re breathing the bracing fresh air you will DEFINITELY feel energised and invigorated. Take the dog for a walk, get the children looking for different bugs, birds and animals (whatever ignites their enthusiasm), go climb a hill – it’s all good and your body with thank you for it by firing up your metabolism and allowing you a restful night’s sleep.

5 additional tips on  how to stay healthy in winter

Winter walks







  • Eat well, not too much, mostly green
  • Rest is as important as play – make time to recharge
  • Nourish your body
  • Exercise – getting outside is enough it doesn’t always have to be a slog
  • Listen to your body, respect it, refuel it with thought & care
  • Then you will be best prepared to make it through winter and the holiday season on top form.
27 Apr

The Art of Eating Well

The Art of Eating Well

Courgetti with basil pesto from Hemsley & Hemsley

Low carb, should we carb – is it a phase or is it here to stay? We have been advised for nearly 3 decades to eat a diet low in fat and rich in low fat carbohydrates, yet recently there has been a backlash, an about turn and a general questioning of this theory. I must admit to being an advocate of an holistic approach. I believe that we all have a very individual metabolic blueprint, some of us thrive on a high protein, low carb diet whereas others would feel thoroughly lack lustre if we followed that regime (me being one of those). This has been attributed to our ancestral genetics, for example if one is of Viking origin it would be likely that you would be happier following a protein rich lower carb diet.

Food is my thing, finding new recipes, tasting new foods and flavours “floats my boat”. I have burgeoning bookshelves, groaning under the weight of my cookery books. They sit jostling for space with my exercise and nutrition textbooks (I have a diploma in Nutrition with a specialism in Sports Nutrition) so good food, food that really fuels us is important to me. A perfect recipe would satisfy hunger, refuel the body and nurture the soul. A meal should nourish not only your body but also your mind. Guilt is an evil that sits with so many of us at the table. Guilt diminishes enjoyment and destroys the ability to recognise satiety because we feel we “oughtn’t to” rather than enjoying the meal and eating until one has eaten sufficient. If we focus on eating consciously, free from distractions then naturally we will benefit.

One of my current favourite books is Hemsley & Hemsley’s The Art of Eating Well published by Ebury Press. Hemsley book-coverThe Hemsley girls have managed to produce a book that you can really eat from, not just cook a clutch of recipes leaving the rest redundant which is so often the case. Admittedly some of my now turn to recipes have been
stumbled upon by accident. A case in point for the Whole Roasted Cauliflower (page 108) – this rescued a forgotten cauliflower from my crisper drawer. Cauliflower is fine but not particularly sexy – usually smothered in a cheesy sauce to help it along – but this recipe transforms the humble veg into a delicious feast, with a little help from some pistachios and plenty of herbs and spices – mostly storecupboard.

The next revelation for those trying to reduce their carb intake, or even just trying to squeeze more vegetables onto their plates is courgetti. No longer do we need to have bolognaise with pasta, have it with vegetable spaghetti.HEMSLEY-and-HEMSLEY-Spiralizer Ribbons of vegetable can be fashioned easily and painlessly with a spiralizer. Hemsley & Hemsley have their own branded model which will be in Quarmby’s as of Wednesday, priced at £29.95. One can simply julienne or mandolin the vegetables but if you value your digits the Spiralizer is definitely the easier and safer option! Incidentally we also stock the Hemsley & Hemsley The Art of Eating Well book – we like to share some of our good finds! There is a website too which feature recipes and news www.hemsleyandhemsley.com

To sum up – remember that each meal should nourish both mind and body.

Here are some “Food Rules” shared from Michael Pollan’s Eater’s Manual (Penguin)

1. Avoid food products that contain more than five ingredients
2. Avoid foods that are pretending to be something they are not
3. Eat only foods that will eventually rot
4. Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.
5. If it came from a plant eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t.
and finally…

Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants…and enjoy it.