Monday, November 26, 2012
There's so much noise in our lives. Not just in the world we inhabit and in the media we consume but inside our own heads. Wouldn't it be interesting if we could just stop all that noise? What might happen? What might be revealed to us?
The things I am pursuing at the moment and the direction my life is going in is actually something I've been working towards since I was 16 years old. I've known for half my life what I wanted to do. It took me almost as long to start doing it! Lao Tzu was right on the money - deep down inside us, we already have the answers. We just look for the answers everywhere but inside ourselves sometimes.
I mentioned on Facebook a little while ago that I was going to give hypnotherapy a try and was amazed at the response. Lots of people have tried it and highly recommended it. I had a phone call with my therapist a few nights ago, as a pre cursor to the appointment a few weeks from now, and he said something very similar to what I've quoted above. Most people (myself included, which is why I posted the question on Facebook!) think hypnotherapy is scary, that you get put to sleep and don't know what you're doing. On the contrary, he explained, all hypnotherapy does is quiet the noise in your head so you can tap into the unconscious and wake up things, far more helpful and empowering things, that are lying dormant.
The answers are already there. You do know who you are and what you want. Just stop the noise and start listening!
(and I'll let you know how hypnotherapy goes, I'm actually really looking forward to it!)
Have a happy Monday :)
Friday, November 23, 2012
It's been an interesting but incredibly fun journey and while at times I've questioned my sanity, running has been a wonderful way of improving my confidence - I went from running 5k in a triathlon, to a half marathon, back to 10ks, and then to a full marathon! Running remains my favourite way to stay fit but also the best way to chase those mental cobwebs away. If I'm ever feeling out of sorts, going for a run - even a very short one - is the best way to feel normal again.
I've been blogging for seven years so I've built up a bit of an archive in that time (!) so if you're a new reader you may have missed some of my favourite SLSB posts about running....so I thought I'd do a little round-up! Enjoy :)
the grumpy run (April 2010)
A log of the thoughts that went through my brain during a run that began quite badly with a wardrobe malfunction! This is one of my favourite posts, ever :)
dial M for marathon (April 2011)
My Virgin London Marathon race report. Get comfy, get a drink and put your phone on silent because this is an epic post and in true Phil style no detail is spared!
making my own magic (August 2009)
Race report for my first ever half marathon. What a fun day that was. I still get a bit emotional thinking about it!
what's a race plan? (March 2012)
My tips for creating a great race plan to keep you calm and focused on race day and enjoy the rewards of all your hard work in training.
helly hansen beauty and the beast half marathon race report (September 2012)
This was the toughest race I have ever done. It really reminded me that just finishing a race is an achievement in itself and if you stay strong mentally you can do anything!
why I didn't run a half marathon today (November 2011)
Sometimes your heart just isn't in it and that's okay!
up and running, the podcast! (August 2012)
The lovely ladies behind Up and Running, online running courses for women, Shauna Reid and Julia Jones were my guests on this podcast where we chatted about everything from setting up an online business to running with prams to outrunning zombies!
These two podcasts (Vicky and Anna running 8 marathons in 8 days and Martin Yelling's inspiring motivational tips ) are also among my very favourites.
how to break out of a running routine rut (September 2011)
Bored with your running? Sick of listening to the same music or running the same stretch of pavement? Unsure how to breathe some life back into your routine? Here's some of my top tips for getting out of a running rut!
no meat, no problem: endurance training and vegetarianism (February 2012)
A few people asked me whether I've found training for long distance races more of a challenge because of my vegetarian diet. Here are my thoughts on being a plant based athlete.
retro friday: where it all began (January 2012)
My reflections on my first ever run back in October 2005!
do you remember the first time? or, how I hated running at first and then quite enjoyed it (May 2011)
A guest post from my husband Tom after he ran his first ever 10k, with me!
Have a happy weekend....hopefully I've inspired you to go for a run? :)
Thursday, November 22, 2012
Today I've got two wonderful chickpea recipes to share with you, both of which are cheaper than chips. Living on a tight budget means you learn to love legumes and lentils ;) But, fed up to the back teeth with lentils of late, I've turned my attention to the humble chickpea.
Chickpeas, as you probably know, are one of my very favourite things and one of my top 5 satisfying foods. Not only do they form the foundation of my most beloved dip of all time, hummus, but they are a wonderful base for salads, soups, stews, curries and casseroles.
They are much cheaper to buy dried and then cook them yourself. More labour intensive, yes, and you do feel like a bit of a hippie breathing in the wet straw smell as they cook and then skimming the scum off (it's like something out of a horror film)...but one 500g bag for 72p makes heaps and heaps. And once they're cooked you can freeze them and just add to dishes as you want.
However, I could not resist when I saw 4 cans for £1 at my local Tesco last week and zapped them up. Canned chickpeas are a wonderful healthy standby for your pantry - you can have a meal ready in literally seconds. I like to make a salad of seasonal raw vegetables and then add some drained chickpeas and a dressing. But of course it's not salad weather any more over here, so I've used my bargain chickpeas in two comforting winter warmer meals that are delicious, frugal and filling!
Garlic chickpea spaghetti with chilli and spinach
Makes 3 satisfying servings, 4 servings for smaller appetites
Approx 500g spaghetti
1 x 420g can chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large clove garlic, crushed or chopped finely
1/2 - 2 teaspoons chilli flakes, depending how hot you like it
Handful of baby spinach (or rocket or other greens)
Freshly ground black pepper and extra olive oil (if desired), to serve
Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. When al dente, drain but reserve a little of the cooking water. Set aside but keep warm.
In the same pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat and add the garlic, chickpeas and chilli and cook, stirring regularly, until fragrant and the chickpeas are warmed through. Don't let the garlic or chilli burn. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Add the pasta and stir everything through until warm and thoroughly combined. Add cooking water if it looks dry.
Serve and season with pepper and a little extra olive oil, if you like.
If you eat fish you could also add a can of tuna in - the flavours go very well with the chickpeas and chilli. I think this combination is absolutely stunning though - the chickpeas are so nutty and "meaty". I love the bite from the chilli too. I would be happy to add more chilli but have to be mindful of Tom's lower chilli threshold :)
This recipe cost, by my rough calculations, including the ancillary stuff like garlic and chilli, something ridiculous like 50p a serve? Tops? It certainly doesn't taste like a frugal meal. Try it and see :)
And then there's this vegetable and chickpea stew, which is so easy to prepare. Just open up a few cans and packets, stir, cook and eat! We came in about 8pm a few weeks ago, freezing and starving, so I pulled this together and we were eating it about 20 minutes later.
You can use any frozen or pre-prepared vegetables you want - I just particularly love this mixture of chargrilled vegetables you can get in the freezer section. I think most UK supermarkets have their own version. I normally don't go in for pre-prepared things but they truly can be a lifesaver if you want to make a healthy meal quickly. And, if you've got your budget blinkers on, they can sometimes be picked up for an absolute steal.
Mediterranean vegetable and chickpea stew
Serves 4, with rice
1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped finely
1 x 420g can chickpeas, drained
Approx 1/2 x 750g bag frozen Mediterranean chargrilled vegetables (or any other pre-prepared vegetables you like)
1 x 420g can crushed tomatoes
Pinch of oregano
Fresh basil, if you have it
Salt and pepper
Steamed rice, to serve
Coat a saucepan or saute pan with cooking spray - or add a dash of olive oil - and add the garlic. Saute until soft and fragrant, then add the chickpeas and vegetables. Cook, stirring regularly, until the vegetables have softened. Add a can of tomatoes, oregano and some salt and pepper. Add a little water if you think it might need it. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice and some fresh basil if you have it. It's a very simple but satisfying meal for a chilly night!
What are your favourite chickpea recipes?
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
When I was asked if I'd like to try out the new range of Remington Keratin Therapy Pro hair styling tools I wasn't sure whether to say yes because, much as I love getting glammed up, I have a confession to make...I pretty much suck at doing my own hair! I initially thought that people would rather read about hair styling by someone who actually knows how to wield curling tongs with confidence, but then I thought "if someone as clueless and low maintenance as me can use them, that's a great advertisement!" So, here we are :)
I was sent the full line up in Remington's new Keratin Therapy Pro range - the Pro Dryer, the Pro Volume Hot Brush, the Pro Curl and the Pro Straightener. The tools all contain Advanced Ceramic coatings infused with Keratin Micro Conditioners which are transferred to hair during styling to protect it from overheating. The curling iron and straighteners also have a heat protection sensor in them to detect moisture levels in the hair and regulate the temperature to avoid damage.
I tried all the four styling tools in the one hair do, as you're about to see, and here's what I thought of them:
Keratin Therapy Pro Dryer
A wonderful hair dryer, it gave such a smooth and silky result. Having such fine hair I find it hard to blow dry it myself and get my hair smooth like they do in a salon, but I was amazed at what a good job this one did. You can alternate between the different concentrators depending on how smooth you want the finish - I like the 11m one, which dries your hair faster.
Keratin Therapy Pro Volume Hot Brush
Ideal for creating soft waves, or to give your hair more bounce and volume at the roots. I did this prior to using the Pro Curl, which I think primed the hair well. I would have been quite happy to leave my hair at this point, it was smooth and bouncy!
Keratin Therapy Pro Curl
I have to admit I have a bit of a phobia of curling tongs. I have burned my hands and fingers on them more times than I'll ever admit in public and so whenever I want curly hair I just get someone else to do it! But after a shaky start, I managed to do the look you see in the video! I was so proud! And my hair didn't feel like it was under a grill, like my old curling tongs did. Everything felt bouncy and shiny.
Keratin Therapy Pro Straightener
The best straighteners I have ever owned, hands down. I only did the fringe, granted, but it took all of 15 seconds for them to heat up and be ready to use, and that part of the hair was instantly smooth and didn't feel dry or brittle at all.
So, here's my little whiz-bang demonstration of the four tools:
I'll certainly be putting a bit more effort in to my hair styling, especially when it involves being seen by other humans (which will be happening a bit more often than it has!). And with Christmas party season just around the corner, there's never been a better time to get more confident with that curling iron :)
Thank you Remington for letting me try the Keratin Therapy Pro range. You can find the range at Boots, John Lewis, Argos and many other places. And thank you to my camera man and ever patient husband Tom, who also composed the dance music you can hear in the video!
What are your tips for creating a salon look at home?
This post is in partnership with Remington.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Charlotte Wood is a wonderful Australian writer and I found this little gem in the transcript of a speech she gave a few weeks ago. It really got me thinking. I think it applies not just to confidence in writing or in your career, but to life in general.
Confidence can be a tricky old thing. I don't know about you guys but the way I keep my confidence high is by setting goals and achieving them. It's why I like running so much!! But there is a danger in this, isn't there? The desire to achieve, achieve, achieve; to keep proving yourself all the time. The key, I've found, is being confident in myself no matter what. I have to be happy with myself and confident that I'm ok even if no one is coming up to tell me so, or whether I'm training for a marathon or not. It's easier said than done though, I have to say!
The life I have chosen, and the life I have lived full time this year, is a life where I constantly have to battle with the voice, and occasionally a bit of evidence, that says I'm not good enough. But it comes back to what my mate Nigel said in this podcast - when we're externally motivated and allow the opinions of others to be paramount in our wellbeing, then our confidence will still be shaky and short lived, no matter what we achieve. If we are internally motivated, and create change from the inside, it's more likely to be permanent.
We all like to feel like we're going somewhere in life but awards, accolades and highs that come from achieving things will only take us so far. It's great to have things to aim for but we have to be happy with ourselves, right here, right now, no matter how far we might have to travel to get to where we want to be. The confidence you get from achieving goals and getting validation from your peers or your industry will go a long way, but the confidence to get started in the first place, and to keep going when the going gets tough, has to come from somewhere else - you. And only you can decide to kick that into gear!
What are your confidence tips?
Sunday, November 18, 2012
This time of year, as the days get colder and shorter, and my skin puckers in protest whenever I step outside, I begin to wonder how on earth I'll keep fit over the next few months! I've never really been a gym person but I have been looking into affordable options for exercising indoors for the winter, more for the safety aspect than anything else. It's so easy to slip over on those icy pavements!
So when Fitspace invited me to come and check out their new premises in North London I eagerly popped over for a workout.
The idea behind Fitspace is that they provide a basic, low-cost gym experience that cuts out all the expensive elements of a health club that most members never end up using, therefore giving great value gym memberships at a fraction of what you would pay elsewhere. If you want any extras - classes, personal training, etc - you can add those to your membership. It can be as basic or as inclusive as you like. A monthly membership starts at just £12! If you went three times a week, that's something crazy like...gets calculator...£1 a visit?! Considering the range of equipment they have, I think that's incredible value for money.
I went along to the Islington club, which was very clean, spacious, well laid out and not too crowded. There was a massive selection of cardio activities - treadmills, stair climbers, bikes, ellipticals, rowing machines - and then an impressive row of weights machines, and an area with medicine balls and mats to stretch. There was also a room that had lots of Rocky types pumping iron in it. I dubbed it "the hard core room" :)
I did a 20 minute run on the treadmill - but made the mistake of not securing my hair properly and bobby pins went a'flying! There were so many treadmills and cardio machines, I can imagine even at peak times there would be very little, if any, waiting. Then I did a circuit of all the weights machines. My upper body strength needs a lot of work but I worked hard and was pleased, though unsurprised, to see how strong my thighs were on the hip abductor! I finished with the medicine ball. I love ab burn!
The changing rooms were very clean and well maintained, with lockers to hold everything securely. You just have to bring a pound coin to work them, and you get that returned at the end.
If I lived a bit closer I think this Fitspace gym would fit the bill perfectly. It's fabulously good value for money and a great option if you're an experienced gym user and just want to be able to workout independently. There is always a staff member on hand if you need any help though. Russell at Islington was very friendly :) I've always felt a bit self conscious in gyms but what I liked about this one was that everyone was just there to do their own thing. Even with my hair pin incident and taking a while to figure out how to position myself on the bicep machine, I don't think anyone noticed! Fitspace is just perfect if you want to hit the ground running, literally!
Are you a gym member? Do you find you go more often in the winter?
This post is in partnership with Fitspace Gyms.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
It's getting to that time of year when you start thinking about Christmas. Not just gifts but also the little rituals we indulge in around the holidays. The smell of croissants has always reminded me of Christmas morning....but of course they were just being reheated from wherever my Mum had bought them! I have always wanted to make my own croissants but fearing my inept pastry skills coming to haunt me once more I have always chickened out. But I was trying to think of a nice accompaniment to a Christmas gift for a friend who loves hot chocolate, well hot drinks in general....and while there's no shortage of ideas out there for Christmas gifts for tea and coffee lovers, I thought what a nice idea it might be to present a batch of homemade croissants with a luxury hot chocolate. After all, apart from a latte, I don't think anything goes better with hot chocolate than a croissant!
They actually are not that hard to make, it's just a somewhat protracted process! If you wanted these baking on Christmas morning, you'd have to start them on Sunday December 23rd :)
I was so proud of these little babies, there's something so satisfying about making these yourself. It's definitely worth it! And they were absolutely delicious.
But do not be tempted to make these dairy free. Using soy milk will make the dough a bit heavy. The key is to make croissants that are light and flaky!
Based on Mireille Guiliano's recipe in French Women Don't Get Fat
Sunday Night (or Friday night if you want to eat them on a Sunday morning - but I'll give instructions for Christmas morning!)
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 ¼ cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm milk. Measure out 2 ¼ cups flour and add 2 tablespoons of this flour to the milk and yeast. Whisk until smooth, and then cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for about 20 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Meanwhile, mix the sugar and salt with the remaining flour. Prepare your mixer by putting on the dough hook attachments. I did this in a food processor with a flat paddle blade which seemed to work fine.
Next, transfer the raised dough of milk, yeast and flour to the mixing bowl. Warm the remaining ¾ cup of milk and add it to the bowl. Turn the mixer to high (or just pulse the food processor) and gradually add in dry ingredients of flour, sugar and salt. Reduce the speed to low and allow it to mix until the dough is sticky and soft. Cover the bowl with cling film and refrigerate overnight.
Monday (Christmas Eve) Morning
12 tablespoons (roughly 250g) unsalted butter at room temperature
3 tablespoons flour
Cover your work table with flour. Remove the dough from the fridge and begin to shape it into a 6 inch x 15 inch rectangle. It's handy having a tape measure for this! Spread the butter on the top 2/3 of the rectangle of dough leaving a ½ inch border around the outside.
Fold the dough like a letter, folding the bottom 1/3 up first and then the top 1/3 down. Turn it counter clockwise so the open flap is to the right.
Roll it out again to a 6 inch x 15 inch rectangle and fold again. Transfer to a baking pan, cover tightly with cling film and put back in the fridge for about 6 hours.
Monday (Christmas Eve) Afternoon
Remove the dough from the fridge, place on a floured work surface. Roll out the dough and fold just like during the morning. It's quite fun seeing the dough splashed with yellow butter in places! Do this two times, wrap it again and refrigerate it overnight.
Christmas Morning (almost done!)
2 tablespoons milk for brushing
1 egg yolk + 1 tablespoon milk for glaze
Plan to start this process about 2 hours before you want to eat the croissants. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Roll it out to a 16 inch circle. Cut the dough into quarters and each quarter into 3 triangles.
To make each croissant, roll the wide base of the triangle towards the top corner. It's very easy and fun! You can also add a filling at this stage too. I decided to put a square of sea salt chocolate in two of the croissants which Tom and I both agreed was a stroke of genius ;)
Transfer each one to a baking sheet. Brush with milk and then let them stand for about 45 minutes. They should double in size. Tip: don't let them stand too long otherwise the butter will start melting! I went for a run while waiting. I figured I probably should!!
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees C. Brush each croissant with the egg and milk glaze. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. If they brown too quickly lay a piece of foil over the top during baking. Let them cool 20 minutes before serving.
Seriously, you will be so impressed with yourself that you made these! And they made the perfect accompaniment to a hot chocolate, just as I suspected :D
Have you ever made croissants before? What are your tried-and-true gifts for tea and coffee lovers?
This post contains some sponsored links.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
This is my current running regime to keep my fitness up while I decide on my next challenge. I've been reading some spring marathon training plans, and have particularly liked the advice of Liz Yelling, who suggests at this stage to just build up time on your feet gradually. So this is my current plan:
Monday: 30 minute run
Wednesday: 30 minute run
Friday: 60 minute run
Sunday: 90 minute run
It seems very simple and indeed it is! I figured it's a nice mix of short and long (although when training for the Big M a long run was about 3 hours!) to keep my fitness at a reasonable level. I still do some strides and some hill work, and it's mostly road but I try to do Friday's run on the trails. But overall I'm focusing on just running, and on enjoying it. I hope I haven't lost too much fitness since October - I had a week off after the Royal Parks and then planned to get back to it the week after, but then was sick! My body physically feels fine, no aches or pains, but I've been having trouble with my breathing and find myself wheezing a lot after a run, so I need to keep an eye on that.
I'm making the effort to go running first thing, mostly because it's getting dark so early these days (!), but also because there's really nothing like a run on a clear, sunny but frosty late autumn morning, hearing the crunch of your feet moving through piles of leaves, feeling the cold air on your face. Sometimes (well, often!) it's an effort to get out the door but once I'm out there I wonder why on earth I didn't get out there sooner :)
What's your training regime at the moment?
Monday, November 12, 2012
I came home from my few days in London last week to find the lovely folk at Baker Days had sent me a cake to commemorate my three half marathons in three weeks challenge from last month...what a treat!
Baker Days specialise in sending personalised special occasion cakes by mail - the smallest size comes in a flat pack designed to go right through the letterbox. They also do large party cakes and cupcake orders.
You can literally have anything you want written on your cake, along with photos and logos, or you can pick from a range of different designs depending on the category you choose (Christmas, Birthday, Graduation, Thank You, etc). They even have a "Keep Calm and Carry On" category! What better slogan to have on my three half marathons cake than Keep Calm and Keep Running? :D Baker Days also offered to put the SLSB logo on the cake. I was so impressed by how they removed the white background on the image I sent and imposed it on to the cake - it looked fantastic!
The cake was also packaged with great care. It came in a reusable tin with some party paraphernalia (candles, balloons) and a card. Love the little touches!
But best of all?
Baker Days offer a gluten free and wheat free cake - as well as madeira, fruit, carrot and chocolate - and all the ingredients for each flavour of cake are listed clearly on their website so you won't get any surprises. The cakes are designed to be kept at optimum freshness for up to 2 weeks, but obviously the fruit cake will last for a couple of months.
I had the GF option, out of curiosity more than anything, and it was just divine. The crumb wasn't as dense as I was expecting, it was surprisingly fluffy. Ever since I did the gluten free challenge a few months ago I have the GF radar on and it's amazing how many places do accommodate it these days.
The cake made enough for four decent size pieces, so Tom and I happily shared it for afternoon tea. Luckily we got a few pictures before it all disappeared!
If you're looking for a meaningful gift for someone that's easy to arrange and something they'd be sure to remember (!), check out the letterbox cakes from Baker Days. Delivery is also free in the UK (except if you require next day delivery). They can also ship internationally.
Thank you Baker Days for my delicious gluten free Keep Calm and Keep Running cake!
Have you ever had a cake delivered through the letterbox before? :)
This post is in partnership with Baker Days.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
|Me and fellow Healthy Hero Laura!|
|Photo courtesy of Laura|
There were racks and racks of clothes, shoes and accessories; a room for hair and make up (which I think had every blusher known to man!); a kitchen which had a fridge filled with drinks and snacks we could help ourselves to....I was pinching myself, really! For some reason I thought the shoot was just going to be a group one, but it turned out we were all styled and photographed for individual stories. But there was one group "action" shot for the editor's letter....in which I was wearing no make up and curlers in my hair!
I had my hair set first, then there was a discussion and trying on session with the stylist to pick my outfit. I really wasn't sure about the outfit when I saw it on the hanger....but once I had it on I was gob-smacked! I'm so used to seeing myself in running gear or the same old dresses and this was quite a transformation. I showed a pic I took on my phone to a friend the next day and he said I looked like "the editor of a glossy magazine". Brownie points there ;)
After we'd decided on my outfit there was a break for lunch, which was a lovely buffet with lots of yummy veggie things:
Immediately after lunch I had my make up and hair done, and then I was dressed - with lots of sleeve adjustment by the stylist - and then finally, after about three hours of beautifying, I teetered on to the set in some gorgeous platform heels (that they had somehow managed to find in my size!) to be photographed. It was very precise, I had to have my head, body, feet, arms, legs at certain angles....even had to hold a variation of tree pose at one point, which is not easy in high heels! But it was so, so much fun. I couldn't get the grin off my face.
I can't show you any pictures of the final look as we were asked not to reveal any outfit pictures before the issue of the mag is out (!) but Laura and I decided to make the most of being glammed up by posing for a few pics in our normal clothes and then heading out for a night on the town!
We went to the London Gin Club, which Lady Loves Cake had put me on to, and weren't disappointed - the array of gins on offer is breathtaking and I love how each gin has a special garnish to bring out the particular flavours. There's everything from Deaths Door with pear and celery to Tanqueray with basil and lime peel. If you like gin, get yourself there pronto, you won't be disappointed. There's a great selection of bar snacks as well, which all looked very reasonable, which we would have indulged in if we weren't anticipating a vegan feast in West Kensington shortly afterwards.....
I had heard great things about 222 Veggie Vegan and when we arrived the place was very full which made me very confident we were in for a treat. It reminded me a little of Yong's Green Food in Melbourne. We managed to get a table for two and then started the meal with a trio of dips and pita bread:
There was avocado, hummus and red pepper. My favourite was the red pepper, it was the perfect blend of sweet and savoury, but all three of them were excellent. So smooth too!
After a bit of deliberation - the menu is seriously amazing, everything sounded delicious, and there are plenty of gluten free, wheat free and raw options too - Laura and I both ordered the seitan stroganoff for main. Once I read the description I was sold - "deliciously creamy with seitan strips, caramelised onions, fresh herbs and pepper cubes in cashew cream served with organic brown basmati rice".....drool.
I'm going to try and recreate this dish, it was absolutely heavenly. Washed down with a glass of organic red wine, it was the perfect chilly evening comfort fare. I had to keep reminding myself it was a vegan meal, it was so creamy! We all but picked up the empty plates to lick them clean of that delicious sauce. I'd forgotten how much I love brown rice too, I've been having mostly white basmati lately.
We barely had room for dessert but when our server recommended the raw chocolate torte we thought stuff it.....
This was one of the best meals I've had in London, veggie or otherwise....in my opinion it's really worth the trek out to West Kensington! My phone battery had died so Laura very kindly let me use the photos she took :)
I really enjoyed finally meeting Laura in person - we've known each other through our web sites for a few years and it was hardly a surprise to discover she's as lovely in person as she is online :) I felt very sad when we said goodbye at the tube station. If she lived down here I think we'd see each other all the time. It's so nice to meet people who you have a real connection and a lot in common with. I hope she comes down again soon!
Meeting some of the other Healthy Heroes at the shoot was really inspiring too. I hadn't appreciated the diversity in our stories - some of the Heroes are like Laura and I, who have transformed their well-being through a significant weight loss, but others have had health issues of completely different kinds that they have battled through. One girl told me the story of managing her debilitating and painful eczema, another woman was a breast cancer survivor. It really put a lot in perspective and made me feel very humble to be included in such a group of inspiring and courageous people.
All up, it was a fabulous day that made me grateful for a lot of things in my life. It was also such a nice break in the routine and lovely to be made up and fussed over. I had such a great time! Thank you to the Healthy team for making it possible, especially Orouj, Justine, Jane, Sarah and Annabel, and of course to Laura for being my date on our London night out :)
The special Healthy Hero shoot will be featured in the March 2013 issue of Holland and Barrett's Healthy magazine, which happens to be their 100th issue too....I'll remind you a bit closer to the time!