Just a sniff of the bottle was enough to get a wild response! This drink is something else, a perfect blend of Belgian chocolate and Irish whiskey.
Oh My God, just doesn’t sum it up! It’s deadly for anyone on a diet we think. Perhaps a thimbleful at a time would be best! (That’s once a day mind, make it last!) In fact 100 ml adds up to 371 calories (16g of fat, 27g carbs, 3.5g protein) … you can work a daily dose out for yourself!
The result of a three year project this is a chocoholic’s dream. Anthony Wilson is the son of the man who led the team behind Baileys Original Irish Cream some 30 years ago. So you can expect this chocolate offering to be in the same league of lusciousness.
This chocolate indulgence makes it impossible to envisage ice cream without it. We are putting together a list of other luscious items that would take a good dribbling – how about chocolate eclairs, meringues, jam doughnuts, shortbread and strawberries, cooked pears … the list could go on and on. Must stop fantasising, work to be done. Husband has hidden the bottle … but I will soon find it!
There is a video on the Baileys website link
Baileys Chocolat Luxe is available from October with an RRP of £16.99 for 50 cl. More info at www.baileys.com.
Val Reynolds, Editor
Parmigiano Reggiano And Pumpkin Soup
It’s Pumpkin time! We love that wonderful orange flesh in pies, cakes and soups. We found this Parmigiano Reggiano and pumpkin soup recipe – always a great winter warmer and a great starter for a Halloween celebration.
It’s really easy to make – just combine fried onion, pumpkin, vegetable stock and Parmigiano Reggiano rind and cook until tender. Add grated Parmigiano Reggiano to the vegetables, remove the rind and blend the mixture until smooth.
To serve, sprinkle the soup with fresh parsley, top with French bread with melted Parmigiano Reggiano and season.
Full recipe is included below.
Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, known as ‘Parmesan’, is one of the world’s oldest and richest cheeses, still produced today as it was nine centuries ago. Totally natural, it’s the only cheese with a minimum maturation time of 12 months, although its best at 24 months. Did you know it takes 16 litres of milk to produce one kilogram of cheese! It’s easy to digest and is high in calcium.
Parmigiano Reggiano is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product. PDOs are defined and protected by European Union law in order to defend the reputation of regional foods. This mark ensures that Parmigiano Reggiano can only be produced in designated areas of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Bologna to the west of the Reno River and Mantua to the east of the Po River.
For more information on Parmigiano Reggiano at www.parmigianoreggiano.com.
Parmigiano Reggiano and Pumpkin Soup
150g (6oz) Parmigiano Reggiano, with rind
25g (1oz) butter
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium pumpkin (or butternut squash), peeled, deseeded and chopped into chunks
900ml (1½ pt) hot vegetable stock
150ml (¼ pt) milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season
4-6 slices French bread
Fresh parsley or thyme, chopped to garnish
Reserve the rind from the Parmigiano Reggiano and cut it into chunks, then finely grate
Melt the butter in a large saucepan, and gently fry the onion until softened
Add the pumpkin, vegetable stock and Parmigiano Reggiano rind and cook gently for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender
Remove the rind from the saucepan, transferring the soup to a blender and add the grated cheese, reserving 25g (1oz) for garnishing. Blend the soup, until smooth. Return it to the saucepan and add the milk. Stir thoroughly and reheat until piping hot
Toast the slices of French bread, sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano Reggiano on top and grill until melted. Ladle the soup into bowls and top each portion with one piece of French toast
To serve, sprinkle with fresh parsley or thyme and season with black pepper
Penny, our resident cook, says: You could try other cheese of course, low fat cheddar is excellent. We make this soup for six and then freeze a couple of portions ready to reheat. It makes a really comforting snack on a very cold day. We wouldn’t go on a long, bracing walk without a flask of this soup. A welcome, wonderful warmer. Can’t say enough about it!
Information provided by The Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano Reggiano Photography: Steve Lee Recipe and Food Styling: Sue Ashworth
Val Reynolds, Editor
Sometimes a plant comes on the market with a unique universal appeal, one many of us would love in our gardens.
Lady Marmalade, a rose, falls into this category. Soft, sweet scent, beautiful colour, classic flower shape, with modern disease resistance and repeat flowering throughout the summer. What’s not to like! To cap it all it has just received the RHS award of Rose of the Year 2014.
We’re pretty sure it’s going to be a real winner and if you love the look of it as much as we do we really think you should order it straight away!
Here’s a link to the Thompson and Morgan web page giving full details
Just so you know, we do not receive any kind of remuneration for any of the products we recommend in our magazine. Every product reference is made purely based on what appeals to us and in almost all cases, from our own experience.
We are very attracted to this rose and thought our gardening readers would like to know about it as soon as possible and before supplies sell out!
We notice The Telegraph is selling the same plant in a 4 litre pot for £17.99 whereas Thompson & Morgan are offering a bare root plant for £14.99. Full details for planting and aftercare are on their web page.
This beautiful floribunda rose would be an ideal plant as a gift … Especially to a rose lover – what a lovely surprise!
Elizabeth Gunn, Gardening journalist
With two weeks to go why not choose food? There’s time enough to order and receive a pie or two from Adams & Harlow.
An interesting variety of pies with unusual ingredients to choose from we rather liked the sound of the pie with seasoned pork and a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions. It looks very tasty. We were rather taken with the named pies with pastry lettering.
You might even be interested in the hamper entitled The Way To A Man’s Heart… £35.00, consisting of the following;
- 2 x 1lb Traditional Pork Pies (Serves 2-3) The most extraordinary of all pork pies.
- 1 x 1lb Huntsman Pork Pie (Serves 2-3) A jellyless pie, layered seasoned pork meat and tender chicken breast topped with a classic sage & onion stuffing.
- 1 x 1lb Poachers Pork Pie Seasoned pork with a layer of Lincolnshire Poacher cheese through the middle, topped with sweet roasted baby onions.
- Sloe Gin Chutney (220g)
- 2008 Berrys’ Good Ordinary Claret (75cl)
Another suggestion: Take your dad to a Fyne’s restaurant for some super fish dishes. We’ve eaten twice here and both times loved the menu offering interesting and tasty dishes. The presentation is always excellent.
Their menu is seasonal and for Father’s Day a Specials Menu has been carefully put together. Could be brunch, lunch or dinner. Dining after 6? Then you will receive a complimentary glass of prosecco or a bottle of Old Golden Hen beer.
The specials on offer include the Fisherman’s Plate starter, a feasty combination of potted and peppered Scottish mackerel, classic Loch Fyne smoked salmon with capers, Brandan Rost fillet, Kinglas fillet sashimi style, rollmop and Madeira-marinated North Sea herrings with crusty brown bread.
Mains include a half lobster tail with chargrilled octopus and clams and, for those unable to decide between the delicious meat and fish dishes, there is a Father’s Day Surf & Turf option, tender sirloin steak with a half Canadian lobster tail served with bernaise sauce and french fries.
There are some mouthwatering desserts, or a luxurious cheese choice served with a dram of Glenfiddich whisky.
If your dad isn’t a fish lover there is an a la carte menu that includes a large selection of meat, poultry and vegetarian dishes.
To find out more information or to make your reservation visit:http://www.lochfyne-restaurants.com/
However if pies and restaurants are not your thing, why not make him a really luscious strawberry dessert.
Sweet Eve is a new variety promising a sweet full flavoured berry. This impressive Strawberry Victoria Sponge is easy to make, so great for kids to prepare ahead for Father’s Day, with a little help from Mum. Serve Dad up a mighty, manly slice.
There are more recipes to choose from, have a look at http://www.sweetevestrawberry.co.uk/recipes/serving-ideas.html We were impressed!
Whatever you choose for your dad I’ll bet he’ll love it! It’s good for you both to make him feel special.
Lucy Trengar Guest Food writer
I am often invited to press events featuring new food lines. The most recent was the M&S Delicious and Nutritious introduction.
Persian Duck with Basmati Rice, roasted butternut, spinach with pomegranate dressing. £4.49 (350g). One of a range of eleven to choose from, this is the one that hit my tastebuds. Stunning!
Then Mini Macaroons – six flavours: pistachio, lemon, raspberry, vanilla, strawberry and passion fruit. 12 in a packet £1.50 144g – really great flavours, very very moreish!
And this, the Summer Fruit Tart, that really ticked all the boxes. The most delicious tart I have ever come across. Crisp all butter pastry, filled with lemon and vanilla custard, topped with a summer fruit compote. A really piquant fruit mix, I detected cherry, raspberry … at £4.99, 530g. It deserves a drum roll! I will be looking for this every visit to my local M&S!
I was specially impressed with one of their ales, Citra IPA Ale. It was light, flavoursome and satisfyingly alcoholic without being heavy.
As you can imagine there was a lot more to try – you can see more on their website. Some are ideal as picnic food, or sitting out in the sun in the garden. Do give them a try … we can’t rate them highly enough!
Val Reynolds, Editor
I really like to add fresh ready made sauces to my cooking but making my own is sometimes difficult to make small enough quantities for a meal for two. As I look for as many organic ingredients for our meals as possible discovering some new additions to Tideford organic soups, sauces and a pudding were welcome finds especial for anyone wanting products that are gluten-free, low in salt, low fat, with mainly vegetarian & vegan products and no additives or preservatives.
Of this new summer range the Westcountry Cheddar Cheese Sauce went very well with ham steaks, and the Carbonara with Bacon and Nutmeg was excellent with chicken breasts, new potatoes and broccoli. Both sauces are made with organic, vegetarian Westcountry cheese.
Others to choose from include:
Jalapeno Salsa Mediterranean Vegetable Sauce Tomato & Basil Sauce
They all retail at £2.59 with the Ragu a la Bolognese £2.99 and Basil Pesto at £3.75.
Of the two new soups our favourite was the Pea & Mint Soup. There was some left over so next day we added a few frozen peas, grated cheese and more mint and hey, we had a light starter for lunch. The other soup, Minestroni with gluten-free Pasta went down well with the men, can’t imagine why! Must be the chilli!
The tasty soup range includes
Farmhouse Chicken with Lemon & Thyme Italian Tomato with Lentil & Red Pepper Beetroot with Crème Fraiche & Dill Spicy Butternut Squash with Sweet Potato All retailing at £2.79.
We absolutely loved the new Chocolate Rice Pudding, suffice it to say we have tracked it down and it seems to regularly appear on the shopping list! It’s delish hot or cold. We love the Classic and Butterscotch Rice Puddings which are also gluten and wheat-free and oh so creamy.
All these super products can all be found at Ocado, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Abel & Cole, Wholefoods, Booths and independent retailers.
It’s possible to follow Tideford on Facebook Tideford Organics Ltd and Twitter @TidefordOrganic.
Have a look at their very informative website. You will get a good look at their products and an insight into their ethos.
Charlotte Singer Guest Cookery Journalist
10 February 2013
I have now dropped 38 lbs since I started my weight loss programme. There have been some periods when my weight has levelled off and it has taken real determination to get it dropping again. Four more pounds to go and I will have lost 3 stones.
The effect is really noticeable – I can get into my size 12 clothes – that is the biggest bonus and I noticed yesterday I can cross my legs. Another thing, I can kneel on the floor, something I haven’t been able to do for years! I can get into my sheepskin coat that has been languishing in a cupboard for more years than I can remember. I have been buying cashmere jumpers on eBay at an alarming rate! I go for the auctions of used items. There is a knack to getting what you want, at least I have devised a method where I receive items that are clean and ready to wear. I send an email to the seller asking them to confirm the item has been cleaned and ready to wear. If I don’t hear from them, and that does happen, then I don’t bid for it. I also ask for confirmation the label shows it is what the seller says, for instance one item was described as silk, but turned out to be polyester. Look out for ‘style’ or ‘type’. For instance cashmere type, or silk type, or couture style. I have found it means whatever the item is it is not 100% silk, or cashmere. That’s what I have learned so far – check out detail before you buy. I have made mistakes, mostly with measurements. I get carried away with the photo and forget to actually check the measurements given … this entails returning the garment and that is tedious, especially as return postage is seldom refunded.
One incentive to keep to the weight loss programme I have devised is to aim for couture clothing in size 10! I have to decide whether the investment will be worth it, whether in fact my willpower will ensure I succeed in further weightloss. It is so easy to slip back into old, negative ways. I still have a tendency to overeat when I feel a bit blue, or feeling stressed. I have no trick to get over this. I can foresee getting into size 10 clothes may well be a size too far. Or shall I just keep trying? Probably! I love being able to wear my ebay bargains!
17 November 2012
Most of us who seriously need to reduce our weight, and I’m thinking here of anyone with more than 3 stones to lose, need to spend a long period concentrating on food. Which may seem a contradiction in terms.
One of the biggest challenges during that long period is maintaining motivation.
Sometimes serious health conditions help focus that effort, and most long term dieters are aware of the possibility and danger of developing diabetes, heart disease, cancer – just a few of the serious health problems associated with serious over weight.
If assured we would definitely be dead within two weeks through eating more than 1200 calories a day I’m pretty sure we would all make certain we kept under that target, indefinitely.
To begin with controlling our appetite is hard. The trick is to maintain that control – we have to be creative with food, keep meals interesting, colourful, tasty, satisfying and recorded. This in turn can work to prevent a sense of deprivation developing. Deprivation can include resentment, isolation and the downward spiral of eating more than we need to survive.
Sooner or later those of us on the Sainsbury Diet find food becomes less important. Why this is is not clear, but I think it might be a consequence of a smaller stomach that no longer demands food so often. Also the taste of highly sweetened, or salty food is not as attractive as before. It would seem our tastebuds become more sensitive. However fat in food doesn’t seem to lose its attraction, it’s so high in satisfaction. Alarm bells should ring if you start eating more than 20% of your total daily food intake. This is all monitored on the diet so you can quickly see if you are close to making a mistake.
However, like recovering alcoholics, we are vulnerable and have to be vigilant. That’s the reality … food can never be what it was before we took our health seriously.
The importance of exercising can’t be emphasised enough. The making and maintaining new muscle which is heavier than fat can in turn lead to what is referred to as a plateau. No one likes this to happen but it seems an inevitable feature of serious weight loss. The body seems to need time to rearrange itself – well that’s how we see it!
Exercise can become addictive! It stimulates endorphins and adrenaline and although to begin with might be painful it really is worth it to feel more alive, move around more and feel more energetic. What’s not to like?
The Sainsbury Diet Forum is littered with references to hunger. Many of the long term dieters are able to provide sound advice. Onesuch is: If you feel hungry try waiting for 5 minutes – still hungry? Then eat. It’s more likely you no longer feel hungry. Or it could be your body needs fluid. Try a glass of water.
The Forum is a positive self moderating organism – providing support, empathy and down to earth feedback.
I have at last reached a two stone loss after a three week plateau. What a relief … On now to my next stone to lose … I can do it! Yes, I know I can!
Why not join us? If you are serious about weight loss this could be the site for you.
November 5 2012
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, as dispiriting as, when following a diet, any diet, reaching a plateau for whatever reason. What is hard to bear is when no matter how hard you try, the weight will not budge. How long will it go on? Can you avoid succumbing to temptation because you feel so low. Jam, bread and butter, cheese, chocolate, crisps, peanuts all raise their profile and the mouth waters.
Recently, on the 8th day of a plateau, I went for a bike ride, 8 miles in an hour. Not as fast as I used to be two years ago, but acceptable.
I returned home absolutely ravenous.
I ate jam on Ryvita, two little tubs of chocolate mousse, biscuits, bits of cheese, two glasses of wine, a biscuit, leftover meat. All eaten out of hunger – the thought of possible weight gain the next day didn’t stop my guzzling.
Next morning: My weight had dropped by a pound!
Ah! But the following week my weight rose by 2 lbs and stayed the same for the next two weeks and no amount of ‘being good’ had any effect. Very, very frustrating but perhaps understandable. I simply couldn’t get back into the swing of restraint and although I kept to my 1200 calories a day I did slip from time to time, especially in the evening with the odd biscuit.
I lost my pedometer down the loo – now this may seem insignificant but it really put me off making sure I covered 2,500 steps a day. It took me 6 days to replace it, during which time I was fairly inactive.
I then restarted using my stationary bike, 5 minutes the first time, then 10 the next day and that did the trick! Phew at last weight loss – miniscule but significant.
With the target of 15 minutes on the bike every day. I have also been keeping a note of the number of steps with my new pedometer. So that and the bike riding should beat it! Onwards and downwards at last!
October 15 2012 – 92nd day
Today the weighing machine shows I have now dropped from 14 stone to 13 stone and .8 of a pound. So close to two stones lost! My BMI is now 31.9, a drop from 37 since 9 July 2012.
The key to this steady weight loss has been achieved through following the Sainsbury Diet. Using their website I now plan up to 7 days’ meals ahead and make sure I have the food available, so accurate shopping lists are very important. Everything is recorded as it is eaten on the Food Diary. This calculates the calorific value of any food from the weight entered. It’s a very flexible system and works well if I decide to eat less, or sometimes, more, or change my choice of bread to potato. Whatever, the flexibility suits me down to the ground.
Another use of planning is a way I thought up to cope with anticipated social events and others that crop up before the big festive season. I have begun to ‘save’ a few calories each day from my 1200 daily allowance. Difficult to begin with, but I keep a note and watch the total grow, it’s a bit like saving money in a bank account! The plan is to use this accumulation of calories to cover those inevitable, irresistible goodies. Using the saved calories will eliminate that feeling of deprivation when everyone is having what they want and I can’t. Whoopee!
Over the 14 weeks spent on this diet I have identified a sense feeling of deprivation as being key to much of my past indulging and overeating behaviour. I intend eliminating that sensation at every possible opportunity, it feels that important.
My current target is 11 stones 2 lbs … planned to be reached by 1 December 2012. Just over a 2 lb weekly drop, my weekly average has been between 1.5 and 1.75 lbs a week so far, but I’m travelling hopefully … Onwards and downwards is a familiar cry on the Sainsbury Diet Forum! A huge support that reinforces achievement and helps those who lapse from time to time, and that includes me!
September 25 2012 – 78th day
Although it has not been a steady drop of 2 lbs a week, overall 22 lbs have gone now in 11 weeks. I am very happy with this result and really amazed how effective the regime is that I’m following.
I’ve had a lot of emails asking which diet I am using. Well, I’m trying out, with what I think the best possible results, the Sainsbury’s Diet. Essentially you weigh and record every single thing you eat during the day. All the hassle is taken out of the recording if you use the Food Diary: enter a food, add the weight and hey presto the result is recorded on your screen diary as carbs and fat in grams and totalled by meal and day. Or you can use a Meal Plan at any time, for any day. This is where everything is planned for you to follow, including a shopping list. When you join the Sainsbury Diet you are given a daily food allowance and every gram is counted down until you reach your target for the day.
The flexibility really suits me. I like to plan the day ahead, depending on what’s in the cupboard/fridge. If I change my mind later about a food, or the amount I want to eat, that’s endlessly adaptable.
If you wish you can request an Exercise Plan. It’s emphasised that reducing your food intake together with exercise – as gentle or strenuous as you want to make it – gives you the opportunity to lose weight faster. It seems to work for me. Over the 11 weeks I have gradually increased the amount of exercise and I have maintained the weight loss.
My current target is to reach a 28 lb loss – due in about 3 weeks. I am experiencing a bit of a plateau but with a bit more table tennis I should manage to get there!
There is a forum where you can vent your feelings, congratulate other participants on their loss and commiserate when things don’t go the way they want.
So far, this diet has worked remarkably well for me … I’m hoping to reach my final target of a 4.5 stones loss by the end of March 2013.
I’ll keep you posted!
August 11 2012 – 34th day
11 lbs gone – and am feeling pleased with myself. Have ‘discovered’ Weightwatchers Chocolate Biscuits! At 89 calories and 4.3 fat and individually wrapped I have to keep them in a box at the top of a cupboard that I can only get to using the steps. To get at them I have to make a real effort and that strategy, together with being out of sight, has meant I have managed to eat just one every other day.
My husband really likes another Weightwatchers biscuit – Fruit Crumble 89 calories and 2.4g fat. He likes them so much they’re on the shopping list already! He’s lucky, he doesn’t need to watch his weight, nor does he have the same food cravings I have. Explains why we are like Jack Sprat and his wife!
Onto the next goal to make it 14 lbs lost. Then I will be able to make a new target. This breaking down the whole amount to be lost is a really positive feature of the programme. Bit like eating an elephant, one bite at a time!
August 3 2012 – 26th day
8lbs down, just don’t ask how many more to go! But this is progress and I’m delighted. Been shopping in the charity shops and was pleased to find a pair of slacks size 18 that fitted me! Have gone through all my clothes and put them in size order. Some size 22′s have gone into a big bag in the attic to be used for painting jobs. Others I returned to the shops for recycling.
Had a sneaky look at size 10 clothes and there were some lovely dresses. Was so tempted to buy one but resisted … can look forward to that treat sometime next year … in the meantime size 16 is my next target but haven’t found anything in the trouser line yet. It will be my daily walk about the town to get those 5,000 steps in.
I have a pedometer and can note every day’s total in the record ‘book’. So far it is a bit erratic but is gradually improving.
A new George Foreman fat reducing grill arrived today. I’ve had one for about 8 years and it is still going strong. This new one is slimmer and will stand on its back to give space on the worktop when not in use. It’s really sleek.
I interviewed George Forman on one of his promotional visits about 9 years ago and he is a sweetie pie. The rumble in the jungle was a distant memory even then but he was just as lean and lithe as ever. He still oozed raw energy though and made me jump when he suddenly laughed and thumped the table!
He delighted in showing us how the grill worked and how much fat it removes. I’m looking forward to using this new one especially for its space saving feature. What I like is that it saves having to put on the oven grill, or use the oven thereby saving such a lot of time and costly energy. The grill makes the most delicious toasted sandwiches and cooking vegetables is a breeze. It comes with a recipe book and a tray for the fat that runs out. It’s easy to clean – to finish off I use a damp sheet of kitchen tissue that removes any residual bits and pieces. The grill is available in stores and on the web. This the one gadget my husband actually uses! He just loves toasted sandwiches.
July 25 2012 – 17th day
Nothing in the wardrobe was suitable for the heat so I went out and bought 3 cotton tops for all of £7.49 from the local Help the Aged shop.
The good news is they are size 20, down from 22 … Although they are just a little tight, I feel I’m on way to success … keeping a tight grip on my appetite, lots of exercise and lots of glasses of water and strict weighing and recording food.
Looking forward to donating the tops back and getting ‘new’ ones size 18 … until I get back to size 12!!! What a prospect!
July 24 2012 – 16th day
5.5 lbs lost so far in 16 days.
Am loving this diet, I’m in control and am choosing all kinds of food, safe in the knowledge that every gram is calorie counted. With a target of 1200 calories a day and exercise built in, I’m feeling confident and optimistic that at last I will be able to reach and maintain a sensible weight for my age and build. If you would like to know the programme I’m following just send an email email@example.com. There is absolutely no catch, it’s just that I don’t want to publicise a weight loss programme that I might just not complete or fail at totally. If I do lose the 5 stone I want to shed then I’ll announce it to the world! Plus pictures of before (ugh) and after!
July 15 2012 – End of First week
When I want to eat I have to eat, I don’t want to hang around. So you can see why/how I have always had a weight problem! Monitoring exactly what I eat has been the key to successful weight loss in the past and today, after a week of keeping a very accurate diary, I have dropped 4 lbs in week , a huge boost to my confidence.
Yesterday, feeling very hungry at lunchtime I luckily had ingredients in the fridge ready prepared when it was crucial to eat a sensible meal.
Here are the ingredients of the open sandwich I put together. It added up to 323 calories, well within my lunch target.
Generous covering of Sweet Harissa Houmous 58 g
Teaspoonfuls of Philadelphia Extra Light Cheese 28 g
Small tomatoes sliced 37 g
Grated carrot 24 g
Sultanas cut in half 11 g
Sprinkled with squeezed lemon juice 4 g*
This was sufficiently large enough to need a knife and fork to eat it – very tasty and filling too.
Sultanas came from a tub of reduced mix from a supermarket deli section
The tomatoes gave the moisture I like
The houmous gave body and flavour
The carrot was left over from the previous evening which gave crunch and the sultanas sweetness
The Philadelphia extra light cheese gave it creaminess
The bread gave it a satisfying chewiness
*The weight of each ingredient was of course my choice and is endlessly adaptable to suit any appetite
Of course the next few days’ lunches will have similar ingredients but with a bit luck I’ll be able to add different bits and pieces to make them interesting to look at and great to taste.
We have a supermarket just across the road from us and tend to buy most of our food there. Occasionally I nip over about 7 pm to see if there are any ‘Reduced’ items – there generally are. It’s true to say all the ingredients for today’s lunch, apart from the Philadelphia Extra Light and the soya and linseed bread, were at a reduced price. This access to low cost food could make for overeating, in fact it did until recently. I buy all kinds of unusual things to try, like the harissa houmous. I found some salmon loin and some fillet steak at half price last night. Kept in the freezer with other bits and pieces bought over the last couple of weeks they will give me the opportunity to produce some interesting, low cost and carefully weighed meals.
I have sometimes bought a really high calorific item, like treacle tart which goes in the freezer. This week I found some at the back of the freezer and cut off a very slender slice, weighed it, made a note of the calories* and ate it with a feeling of righteousness! There is some cheesecake in there too … Yummy outlook!
The food weighing machine is the key to success for me. I really enjoy entering an allocation of grams in the diary and then comparing later how the quantity I want matches up with what I have planned. This makes for a really flexible recording system and eliminates any feelings of deprivation. Everything is my choice, including any drop offs from my schedule.
The systematic weighing of food is the most important aspect of the diet for me. I write down everything I weigh as I go along. The weighing machine is zeroed between each item weighed as it is all too easy to forget the number of grams and I want to keep as accurate record as possible.
There are many calorie recording schemes for dieters on the web. I have used several in the past, especially those provided by pedometers.
This time I’m using a calorie recording diary on the web provided by a supermarket, it requires joining as a member with a very affordable monthly charge. We’ll see how it goes. There are forums to read other members’ experiences, very useful as I’m a bit sceptical as to the extent of my determination, I have not been hugely successful in the past. Mark Twain’s ironic remark: Giving up smoking is easy, I do it all the time, is all too true of my dieting behaviour!
Right now I’m travelling hopefully – I feel quite good too!
*A little wire bound notebook to write down everything is kept with the weighing machine.
Val Reynolds Brown, Editor
Val Reynolds, Editor
It’s so important to be warmly dressed when out in the bitter cold especially if out for more than half an hour. It’s essential to have the right clothing.
Sheepskin – gloves, hats, boots – all help to keep out the cold and keep us active. We have never really found man made material to be as warm as natural fibres. Expensive, but really easy to pick up a bargain on eBay. We will be writing about our experiences soon.
And a hat, woollen, silk, sheepskin, whatever, essential to keep the heat in and your scalp warm.
Finally a real silk scarf wound round the neck, even covering the ears, is a must – warm, colourful and snug.
Sniffles, especially when going into a warm building from a cold outside, seem to happen all the time and a sore throat sometimes follows. We carry around with us little honey and menthol sweeties. They are very comforting and certainly clear a blocked nose – the menthol has anti-bacterial properties, naturally killing of micro-organisms that might lead to a throat infection. Jakemans original Throat and Chest Sweets are delicious, reminiscent of those we sucked on our way to school on cold and frosty mornings. Recently launched in bags of ten sweets, handy for keeping in coat pockets, they are available in most supermarkets and pharmacies.
And, what about aches and pains? We found Deep Heat Patches, activated when you strip off the sleeve, placed in strategic spots worked really well – they are self adhesive and easy to apply. This worked especially well for Jane who had hip pain and found real relief within 20 minutes – the heat lasted for more than eight hours! These were so good we are keeping some in the medicine cupboard. Deep Heat is available as a Rub and a Spray.
Then for those days we were hanging around the football pitch waiting for the young ‘uns to finish their game we used little Hotties, put them in your footwear and warm feet are guaranteed. You can get similar pads for gloves. Look for them in pharmacies, sports shops, some supermarkets.
A strong cold wind can really dry out your skin – we swear by Lotil Cream for our face and hands, it’s so rich. It will give relief for the pain of cracked or fissured skin on feet as well.
We always have a little tube of lip balm in all our coat pockets, handbags, sports bags and this year we have been using Lotil Lip Care SPF30. It has kept our lips moist and free of chapping and splitting that often comes from exposure to bitter winds.
And socks … We have tried about six different types of sock in the past six weeks and can honestly say the only ones we found that really kept our feet warm in the bitter weather we have had lately have been natural fibre, more particularly goat wool. This is what our reviewer said: These impressed as soon as I saw them! Well, it WAS a cold day! Full calf length, but not too grippy. That is, no powerful elastic to give those horrible rings round your calves (ie good for those with circulation problems). They stay fresh for a long time too. They have a good cushioned sole, perhaps the only downside, might be if you wear tight shoes or boots, you may need to up your size a little! They make wonderful house socks, toasty, with a fully cushioned sole! There are four sizes available; they may seem dear, but boy, they are warm! Nice colours too! Available from the Wiggly Wigglers website.
And, of course, thermal underwear – we find silk or merino wool the best – having used and loved Icebreaker for the past five years. Their garments are warm, can be worn for ages and never pick up body odours – long distance sailors swear by them! This Icebreaker sleeveless top is five years old and shows no signs of wear and is just as warm as it was originally. Great value for money.
So keep as warm as you can and if you come home really chilled through have a bath. Why not try an Olbas Bath? Absolutely fab! The mix of clove, juniper and eucalyptus really made us feel we were in a hot tub with vapours all around to help with our breathing. Available in supermarkets, pharmacies and health food shops.
Keeping warm reaps benefits, it makes you more resistant to germs of all kinds.
Yours in health,
Val Reynolds, Editor
One of my most enduring memories of a year long stay in France, as an au pair, was a hot drink made from verveine, a plant we refer to as lemon verbena. It was wonderfully comforting, had a familiar lemony aroma and sugar really enhanced its flavour. So when I heard about a hand cream with that wonderful scent I just had to try it out.
Winter time is one when my cuticles have a tendency to crack, resulting in that really long period of pain. The lemon verbena hand cream has a 20% shea butter base. It’s creamy texture is easily absorbed, leaving hands soft and supple and I find especially effective when rubbed round the fingernail.
On my desk at the moment are the final contestants in my Strictly Skincare hand cream choice. I started with about 20 different products. The five are, in no particular order of preference – they are all used regularly:
Energizing Verbena Hand Cream – Panier des Sens, en Provence that comes with very pretty packaging
Morrisons Unscented Hand Cream, Concentrated – a glycerine based cream it is useful when you don’t want to wear a second scent that might conflict. It is very creamy, softening dry skin and useful to add before you start to work in the garden.
Q10 by Pharma Nord is another hand cream that conditions and protects at the same time. It contains ginkgo Biloba, Pycnogenol and Vitamin E. All ingredients considered highly beneficial by skincare aficionados.
Lotil Original is specifically designed for cold weather and I always check there is a small tube in my handbag at this time of year.
On a recent visit to The Dales I took my tube of English Weather Cream. I always use this in cold weather because my face dries out in cold windy weather and this cream works absolutely fantastically. However, it has been recently discontinued … Made by Lotil it is no longer available – such a shame. I’m looking for a replacement product and will let you know if I find one.
Wearing silk lined gloves helps to keep my hands warm and in conjunction with any one of these handcreams I’m able to keep them in good condition, safe from damaging cold weather.
All are available online but of course in store is always a good place to try them out!
Kate Campbell, Health Editor
Kate has worked with editor Val Reynolds since 1996 and they are constantly looking for top quality, effective skincare products. Do you have a favourite? Do let us know and we will pass on your recommendations.