Now that January is over and done with, I thought I would share with you how I am getting on so far.
Firstly, I have not drunk a drop of alcohol for over 4 weeks. I was determined to finish Dry January and lo and behold I did! Honestly, I have found it easy. This brings me to explain to you the initial thought process behind the renovation programme.
I was lying on a Cuban beach drinking my body weight in Mojitos just after Christmas and reading all the lovely magazines with articles about the best spas full of gorgeous photos and high price tags and I was tempted, as I so often am, to give the responsibility of organising my health to someone else. To a pricey spa that will make me feel good briefly.
I started to think – hang on here, I can do my own spa at home. I know the right people to ask and the right things to do so I did exactly that. Here are my top DIY spa tips and treatments:
1. Give up the booze, and if you are going out for an occasion, talk to yourself and work out what you’re going to drink once you arrive. You are in the right mindset then and it really does work. Also, tell people straight away you are not drinking.
2. Think of someone you can discuss your aims with. To get started I went to my yoga teacher who worked out a plan and gave me valuable contacts. She recommended various supplements and top of my list was Vitamin B as that was lacking in my cupboards at home. Buy the best you can afford from a health shop and ask for advice. Remember to look at the labels.
3. I was given the number of a brilliant chiropractitioner who also does Thermal Imaging, so now I have been imaged and no vital organs need replacing (!) but other things were picked up which we are working on. I am on a chiro-programme to get my back in shape.
4. I had spiritual healing with reiki – it’s so relaxing and calming I can’t recommend it enough. I was advised to get some crystals so next week I am off to the Crystal Warehouse with my yoga teacher to get them.
5. I have started visiting our local leisure centre using the sauna and steam rooms – both brilliant and cheap. I did make the mistake of drinking some epsom salts in warm water – WOW that was one big purge and I would not advise this unless you are hardcore!
6. I have been doing Pilates once a week which has really helped to clear my mind and help maintain my flexibility!
7. I have embraced healthy eating and have only eaten red meat once in a month. I’ve really loved making some great veggie dishes, even impressing my daughter with a vegan energy bar!
8. I made an appointment with an excellent vascular surgeon to sort my thread veins out. I know Maggie so therefore this was straightforward and my legs are now looking great.
9. I am off to the chiropodist tomorrow for a check up to make sure there are no nasty verrucas!
If you really want to do it you can, and it does not cost a fortune either. Your health and well being is the most important thing to maintain so there really is no excuse.
Oh, and I forgot to say I have lost loads of weight too……!
I was lucky enough to stay in this gorgeous Georgian house last Friday night, 20th November. It was the eve of the first Disappearing Dining Cluband Alix was understandably quite nervous. I have known Alix for approx 4 years now after meeting through our mutual friend Sara Abbott, who paints the most gorgeous portraits of pets. Alix then wrote a feature about Ashburton which was duely published.
Anyway, I digress Alix is a very clever bunny – alongside her journalism career she runs a B&B and now hosts this brilliant Disappearing Dining Club, hopefully once a month. I urge you to go and stay at Glebe House; it is absolutely beautiful and the bed is very comfortable!
P.s. Time Out listed the event on Saturday as one of the coolest things to do in London at the weekend….well done Alix!
It isn’t until you visit Saint Martin de Ré, a small harbour village on the island of Ile de Re that you realise what you’ve been missing. The Ile de Re is to the Parisians what The Hamptons is to New Yorkers, only with more charm and better value for money.
We’re currently spending two weeks in our gorgeous home away from home that has been packed out with clients this summer. We booked ourselves in this September, as the season winds down and there are less tourists to navigate round the cobbled streets and picturesque harbour.
So far this holiday, we have read books, shopped at the local market which sells the most delicious garlic anchovies and huge, plump squid, cycled around the salt pans and marshes, eaten out in many of the local establishments, bought far too many beers at the fantastic beer shop, had drinks with our lovely neighbours and bought ice creams and macarons from La Martinière. I made a new friend on a boat ride called Dylan, a gorgeous English Springer Spaniel, and we crossed the bridge from the island and wandered around La Rochelle, having lunch at the harbour’s edge. We’ve got the pugs and Fred with us, so we’re having fun exploring the island with them in tow, though it’s quite hot for them at the moment!
If you plan on visiting this gorgeous harbour village, which is only a short 1 hour flight from London, then these are the things you musn’t miss:
Ordering the huge, delicious côte de boeuf from Le Bistro du Marin. This is one of our favourite restaurants on the island and serves incredible food at great value and is full of lively locals.
Visit the Biere shop and pick up all manner of weird and wonderful beers from around the world. So far we’ve tried a coconut beer, raspberry beers and good old fashioned blonde Belgian beers. Some are questionable, some are delicious and it’s fun going in and choosing which ones you’re going to try out next!
Dine beach side and order the island’s famous oysters or, if you’re not such a fan, a delicious pan of Moules. Cabanajam is one of the best places to stop off during a cycle ride and enjoy a light lunch of mussels and white wine.
Pick up a box of macarons from the gorgeous little shop, La Martinière, who also serve ice cream on the quay side. One of their specialities is macarons with an ice cream filling – we hadn’t tried these before coming to St Martin and they are absolutely delicious.
Climb the church tower and get a stunning view across the island and out to sea.
Have the best tuna you’ve ever tasted at Côté Jardin, which serves exquisite food and has a lovely atmosphere.
Go the to local marché and shop for dinner to make at home (if you’re self-catered) that evening. Fresh fruit, an array of seafood, fresh bread and pastries, saucisson and scrumptious salads are on offer.
Hire bicycles from one of the bike shops in Saint Martin and cycle as far as you like around the island. There are lots of different routes you can take, either round the shoreline or from harbour village to harbour village.
A donkey you may come across as you cycle round the island!
Our lovely friends Michelle and Tracey got married on 27th July 2015 at Brighton Town Hall. It didn’t rain but it was very windy and there was a chill in the air, however this did not stop our favourite Irish lasses having the best day of their lives! After the wedding ceremony they came to our beach hut and had afternoon tea and wedding cake with close family. I think you will agree that the smiles on both girls faces shows what a great time they had despite the wind.
It has been a funny old week. I started on Monday by clearing the church after the wedding on Saturday and then sat in the “tree of life” corner and had a very spiritual 10 minutes thinking about life and pinned two cards on the tree.
I felt really calm on leaving the church and went home to read the email that I had been shortlisted for the best beach hut in the UK! Wow….! Very exciting and for a very good cause: Macmillan Cancer Support. I am well and fit (if you ignore the dodgy knee!) and I enjoy my life but not all of us are in this lucky place. So I urge you to take some time out and just think about others who may not be here anymore or those fighting a very tough battle to survive. Live life to the full and be thankful.
On my birthday eve I was lucky enough to visit new Brighton seafront restaurant, The Salt Room, which is making waves with their fishy menu of dishes such as silver mullet, potato, spring cabbage and brown shrimp (which my husband had) and lobster, Salt Room fries, garlic & parsley butter (which I had).
Being just a few months old, the restaurant is done up very smartly and the staff were extremely attentive from the moment we stepped through the door. We were led to a table by the window and I excitedly perused the menu for cocktails, settling for the Gin Bouquet. I wasn’t disappointed. A mixture of citrus flavours and orange blossom, it was the perfect balance of sweet and zingy and slipped down a little too easily!
For starters, we chose salt cod fritters with smoked cod’s roe and as mentioned above, our mains were mullet and lobster. To be quite honest, remembering exactly what worked about each meal escapes me because it was all so delicious and the atmosphere of the restaurant was so relaxed and enjoyable that the evening has blurred into one merry, hazy memory of laughter and ooo-ing and aahh-ing as we had the first bite of each course. All I will say is that what we chose was scrumptious and I can highly recommend everything we had. The garlic-lemon butter we were given to drizzle over the lobster was divine.
For dessert we ordered the ‘pebbles’. These were chocolates cased in a hard shell, made of what exactly I’m not certain but those too were delicious! For this course, we were quite full so wanted something light to go with a coffee and these were perfect.
All in all I urge you to go and visit The Salt Room if you’re looking for somewhere a little bit special to dine at, with exquisite seafood to boot. The staff were lovely and helped to make our evening memorable, full of knowledge and recommendations about the menu and everything was done with a big smile. I will definitely be back!
How many friends do you have? Are they really friends/Facebook friends or old acquaintancesbest forgotten? Interesting when you come to do the guest list for the wedding invites. It is probably one of the biggest causes of rows between the happy couple and close family members and there’s no easy way to avoid it.
It often helps when the reception venue has limited numbers because then you are forced to choose those who you really want to come. It is the same for any party: be selective, invite who you want more does not always = better!
Last Friday we rescued 3 battery hens as sadly our gorgeous Mrs Snowball and Betty were taken by the fox. It is always a risk having hens but the risks outweigh the brilliant payback you get from these intelligent, loving creatures. We have had lots of hens over the last 7 years, originally initiated by my eldest daughter. We have had mixed rare breed hens with battery and even reared our own. We also had a rooster at one point, but he was rehomed as my neighbour wanted to kill me!
When you get battery hens they are really rather manky! Often bald, smelly and very dirty. But very quickly they regain their mojo and their health begins to return. We always name them as they are our pets and this time they have rather funny names: Fiesty, Sweety and Blonde. Fiesty has escaped twice and is very hard to catch. We have clipped their wings to stop them flying out of the run, but somehow she managed to leap frog her way out. This is a lovely picture of two of our hens making friends with our rather posh rare breed hen. I am giving you a link to resuce some hens if the mood takes you. Go for it – freshly laid eggs are absolutely wonderful and giving a home to a poor, bedraggled creature and watching it blossom is brilliant.
This is a great word and looks good written but it is sometimes quite hard to keep it up!
The sun comes out and there are better things to be doing than the paperwork/scheduling/sourcing, you name it we can all lose the momentum. How do we keep it up?
Well, taking natural breaks is good for the brain and the soul. We are not machines and do need to remember that taking a break is not slacking it is “refilling”. Perhaps go off and do something completely different – a new perspective often helps. I know that sometimes I go off track and then feel guilty that I am not doing what I should be.
Today is Saturday, a busy day for events but step back and reboot and the momentum will come back again.
It is May Day today! Celebrate with the Morris Dancers and put a garland of flowers in your hair!
May Day has been a traditional day of festivities throughout the centuries. May Day is most associated with towns and villages celebrating springtime fertility (of the soil, livestock, and people) and revelry with village fetes and community gatherings. Since the reform of the Catholic calendar, May 1 is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, the patron saint of workers. Seeding has been completed by this date and it was convenient to give farm labourers a day off. Perhaps the most significant of the traditions is the maypole, around which traditional dancers circle with ribbons.
The May Day run that takes place every year involves thousands of motorbikes taking a 55-mile (89 km) trip from London to the Hastings seafront.