Love my Skype chats…

with my nieces.  They’re always such fun lengthy chats with oodles of giggling and laughter.

Last night’s chat even included a lesson on the trapeze!

SkypeChatNiecesJust wish they lived closer so I could have my hair done with beads and threads and give them more hugs too!

Super Eleven Shake – Super Green Cleanse

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Early morning on Tuesday I took delivery of this parcel.  I’m trying out the Super Green Cleanse by Super Eleven Shake Ltd

First impressions.  Panic at the small size of the parcel!  Eek is that ALL I’m having for 3 days?

15 well packaged bottles with uber amounts of sellotape around the lid of each are in their own little compartments.  There’s a small amount of bubble wrap around the bottles.  Fortunately as this box is delivered by courier I suspect it hasn’t been out of their fridges for long and each bottle is just below room temperature.

Quickly decanted into the fridge (as per instructions):

IMG_6397There’s a leaflet in the box explaining what is in each bottle, when to drink and what to do for maximum results during the 3-day cleanse.

IMG_6431I’m quite sure ‘newbies’ to juices and cleansing would be horrified by the bland greenness of the juices and the ‘gunk’ at the bottom of each bottle.  However, for me, this lifts my spirits.  I’ve missed green juices and I’ve missed seeds!

Despite it being mid-morning, I’d only had hot water with lemon so far so decide to start the cleanse straight away.  My initial taste of the juices told me it was melon juice!  How odd… but super tasty.  Even with lots of vigorous shaking before opening the juice I’m aware that the seeds are gathered at the bottom of the bottle.  A little water added, another swirl of the bottle and I got them.  Obviously a little to learn about drinking this concoction but by the end of the 3 days I’ve mastered it.

Was I hungry during the cleanse?  Sometimes but I know it’s just in my head.  I managed to keep on top of drinking lots of water as well as the juices which helps.

Did I get congested?  The seeds and ‘gunk’ have helped with the fibre aspect of juicing too (TMI?).

Would I do it again?  Yes but not at full price.  Once again I used a Groupon offer so the 3-day Super Green Cleanse was £59.99 which works out at £4 a bottle.  The full price is £249.99 which works out at £16.66 a bottle.  I don’t see how this cost could be justified for 15 green juices no matter how the juice is extracted.

Does the Super Green Cleanse bottles last in the fridge?  Yes, there doesn’t seem to be any oxidising and the lids are securely taped down with layers of sellotape.

Would I recommend it?  Yes but only at an offer price.

I’ve loved this cleanse.  Probably partially because they were green drinks.  Overall I feel lighter, energised and have dropped several kilos.

Soulmatefood ‘Perfect Cleanse’ – My Results

‘Perfect Cleanse’ for 3-days.   Finished last night with a nighttime tea.  This ‘cleanse’ was only 5 small juices a day with lots of water.  I have completed the cleanse but now are craving sweet foods and breads.  Although some would argue that is due to my stating that I worried with all the fruit content that I would crave ‘bad foods’ and I’ve set myself up.  Maybe so… but I do!

I feel lighter but I don’t feel totally cleansed.  I’m a little surprised that the cost of the package (if I’d paid full price) is so much when in real terms it’s just 15 small juices.  Ok so it claims to be the ‘world’s first hypostatic cleanse’ but what does that really mean to me?

Was I hungry during the 3 days?  Yes.  Not only hungry but craving sweet foods.  I distracted myself with some tennis, pilates and DIY but can’t help but feel by just ‘suggesting’ lots of water that perhaps I needed more specific instructions or, as with the Juice & Cleanse detox, the addition of bicarbonate of soda or lemon juice which made me drink more water.  Simple yet it worked.

Did I get congested?  Yes and bloated.  Once again I took some digestive stimulator capsules but not much movement.

Do the juices last in the fridge? Yes.

Would I do it again? No. The majority of the juices were fruit based and I personally felt that the sweetness of the juices didn’t help me feel lighter, stimulate any detox and also left me craving for bad foods.

Would I recommend Soulmatefoods? At full price, No.  With an offer, maybe but to someone starting out on juicing that isn’t ready (mentally) to do a more vegetable based juicing regime.  I also felt the instructions and care were slightly less than I’d hope from a package that is trying to encourage people to continue with juicing and healthy eating.

I did note however that Soulmatefoods do a range of healthy food plans delivered to your door.  These look great and appear to be balanced menus perfect for a busy lifestyle.  They have a 6-day trial menu for £150 which looks good.  Have you tried them?  Or perhaps if you do, let me know what you think?

Oooh and the all important question….

Did it work and results? As a ‘cleanse’ I’m not feeling it.  I did however lose another 1kg.

3 day ‘Perfect Cleanse’ from Soulmatefood

Late yesterday afternoon the courier arrived with a neatly packaged box from Soutmatefood.

SoulmatefoodBoxInside the insulated box are my juices for the next three days.  There was a icepack in teh centre of the juices however this had already melted.  The inside of the box wasn’t particularly cool – perhaps worthwhile getting the delivery in the morning, if possible – hopefully the juices will remain fresh for the 3-day juice cleanse.

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Instructions read (shake and drink juices every 2.5hrs with plenty of water) and juices were put away in the fridge ready for my start today.

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Once again I’m using a Groupon Offer to try Soulmatefood Perfect Cleanse.  Normal price is a whopping £195 but with the deal it’s £65 for the 3 day cleanse (+ £5 delivery).  Reducing each bottle of goodness from £13 to £4.33 each.

A quick summary of the cleanse:

The Soulmatefood Perfect Cleanse, the world’s first hypostatic cleanse has intense alkalising and anti-oxidising properties, giving your skin a healthy glow and your body packed full of vitamins. Our nutritionist has given us some great, insightful facts for each of our 6 steps!

1 – Carrot, Apple & Ginger
– 24% Vitamin B6 – essential for healthy red blood cell production
– Great source of beta-carotene, essential for healthy skin and immune function
2 – Cucumber, Kale, Broccoli, Celery, Lime, Lemon, Apple/Pear, Spinach and Avocado
– High in folate – essential for cell division and new cell production
– 59% of the RDA in Vitamin C
3 – Lemon, Cinnamon, Chilli and Ginger
– Chillies are a great source of antioxidants
– Ginger also has antibacterial properties which can aid immunity
4 – Blueberry, Blackberry, Raspberry, Beetroot, Lemon, Redcurrant, Kiwi and Orange
– 68% RDA Manganese
– Full of powerful antioxidants known as anthrocyanins
5 – Cucumber, Kale, Broccoli, Celery, Lime, Lemon, Pear, Spinach and Mint
– High in potassium – an essential electrolyte that helps regulate cell fluid and blood pressure
– 50% of the RDA in Vitamin C
6 – Soothing night time detox tea
– help aid digestion
– relaxing, soothing and comforting

PERFECT CLEANSE INSTRUCTIONS
DO refrigerate the juices immediately.
DO sip the five parts of your cleanse in order throughout the day alongside 5 glasses of water.
DO exercise lightly whilst on the cleanse.
DON’T drink coffee or alcohol whilst on the cleanse.
Enjoy your juices every two and a half hours and make sure you shake them well!

Some interesting ingredients and combinations however I’m concerned that the majority of the juicy content is fruit and therefore probably quite sweet.  I know that, for me, sweeter juicing means that I often crave ‘bad’ food types during and after a cleanse.  I’m also concerned that the bottles are 250ml each meaning a total of only 1.25 litres of nutrient based juices each day and a hankering for breads!

We will see.  Watch this space!

Issy’s ‘List for Life’ continues….

I’ve mentioned my friend Issy before and fulfilling her List for Life now also known as her ‘Phuck-it List’.  Whilst we were away in Verona last year we plotted how we would achieve a number of other adventures on her list.  One of the things she said she’d love to do would be to dine at The Square in London’s Mayfair.  How fortuitous that the very talented 2 Michelin star chef is my cousin (well 1st cousin once removed but who’s counting), Phil Howard.

Since our Verona trip we have spoken of this dinner on many occasions but the urgency of organising it was brought to the fore a few months ago when it was decided that Issy’s treatment was to cease.

Rather than being a small intimate dinner for Issy and a couple of friends we asked Phil if Issy could have the private dining room at The Square.  This would enable Issy to invite friends and family to share the magnificent dining experience with her.  During chemo Issy, like so many others in treatment, had found it difficult to taste food properly and certainly to enjoy or savour it.  With no further treatment Issy has been enjoying tasting food once more and at every opportunity in the most glamorous of places, however her appetite is much smaller.  So Issy thought a tasting menu would be perfect!

I cannot express how truly wonderful and kind Phil has been in orchestrating a tremendous and memorable dinner for Issy.  Phil spoke with Issy directly to discover her ingredient/food loves, likes and dislikes.  He then created dishes based on their discussions and sent Issy the menu for approval.  I could almost hear the joyful whooping from her when she shared the menu by email with tonight’s dinner guests.

We met early at The Square in Mayfair.  A glass of bubbles enjoyed whilst the party arrived.  A buzz of excitement from our dining posse.  It was very evident that each of us had put a little bit of sparkle whilst dressing and so honoured to be sharing this experience with Issy (and to dine at The Square!).  We were then shown to our private room where Issy had laid out our name cards.

During the incredible amuse bouche we took turns to introduce ourselves to the table and say how we know Issy.  What a perfect spectrum of guests from her childhood, from school, London, work, partying, cancerland and, of course, her family.  The guests had travelled far and wide to be at this dinner – from Cheshire, America, even one chap from Hong Kong and of course London and surrounding areas.

Issy's Square Dinner peopleI know that chefs hate ‘public’ taking photos of food.  I’m an uber amateur and no ‘food stylist’ so apologies as the next pictures truly don’t do any of it justice.

Issy's Square Dinner foodBelieve me when I tell you each and every mouthful of the entire tasting menu was utterly incredibly deliciously beautifully unique and special.  Phil had also paired each and every dish with wine… spot on with every sip.

I can’t thank Phil enough for creating such a perfect dining experience for us all.  For allowing Issy to share it with her friends and family.  For making it such a special memory laden evening for each and every one of us.

Thank you Issy for inviting me to your exclusive dining experience and allowing me to, once again, be part of your List for Life.

If you’d like to follow Issy’s journey, she’s writing for the Huffington Post.  Follow her progress here.

Bench visitation

A very special evening ahead and with perfect timing there was just enough time to meet up with my friend Kelly for a spot of bubbles at my bench in Berkeley Square.

Kelly at my benchHave you visited my bench?  If so, let me know but please don’t post any photos with teh plaque – only visitors get to see what it says!

and, of course, the obligatory ‘selfie’

Selfie with Kelly in Berkeley Square(my crazy staring eyes!)

Five years has passed….

Hi Mum

I can’t believe it’s been five years since you left.  Sometimes it still feels like yesterday when we watched you close your eyes and go to sleep. Sometimes it feels like forever since I heard your voice.

So often I find myself reaching for the phone to tell you something or just to have a chat – I wonder when I’ll stop doing that?

As I start a new chapter in my life, I’ve been sorting through some more of your things and found some great pictures and cards.  My home phone also broke recently so I plugged in my old one only to discover a whole heap of voicemail messages from you.  How strange to hear our voice after all these years and to know that I won’t hear it again.

Five years since you passed is also significant for me and my health.  I found the lump on the morning of your funeral.  Gosh it’s been a strange five years.  Five years is so significant in cancer terms as most are able to consider it to be the point of ‘all clear’.  As mine was a special/unique/rare/whatever variety, I get to continue the regular checks beyond the five years.  It’s so odd to think you knew nothing of this part of my life, the cancer bit!

Anyway, thought it was time to post some more pictures of you…

Mum TennisSherborne School House Cup Winning Team of 1956

MumGlamI wonder why this photograph was taken?  Looking v glam

21and18Mum at our birthday party celebrating my brother’s 21st and my 18th

BarbadosHolsMum and I chilling in Barbados

MumPartyingBrilliant!  Love that I’ve found a pic of a squiffy Mum with a ciggy!

Miss you Mum

x

My Prom 23 – Mozart Requiem

IMG_6059Conductor – Donald Runnicles with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Choir of Scotland.

Tonight’s promenade began with a piece by Scottish composer John McLeod.  “The Sun Dances is a glowing, iridescent work inspired by an Easter folk legend from the West of Scotland”.  An interesting piece, bright, upbeat and colourful.

At the centre of the programme is Beethoven’s Fourth Symphony in B flat major.  Seriously love this Symphony.  It’s robust but elegant.  It’s fast but captures you with every note played.  If you don’t ‘do’ classical music but want to start… here‘s a great piece!  Listen and I’ll be seeing you at next year’s Proms!

Our final selection for this evening’s performance was Mozart’s ever-popular Requiem in D minor.  Mozart’s poignant and prescient anticipation of his own death.  Such an incredible piece that tells such a story about Mozart’s life.  The choristers were the National Youth Choir of Scotland – incredible performance and despite the youth present, the performance given was so experienced.

IMG_6060BBC’s Listen Again to this Prom click here McLeod and Beethoven and here for Mozart.

IMG_6058The obligatory ‘selfie’ with Helen.

My Prom 22 – War Horse

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Albert Hall War Horsep01xw0y7A Prom inspired by the National Theatre’s play based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel, featuring a new suite created by Adrian Sutton from his score for the original production, as well as other music from the period with performers including the Proms Military Wives Choir & Gareth Malone.

Life-Size War Horse Puppets by the Handspring Puppet Company, Proms debut artist.

Cambiata North West
BBC Concert Orchestra
David Charles Abell conductor

Without gushing too much, it’d be very hard to truly tell you about tonight’s performance.  So I will.  The performance was spell-binding, emotional, beautiful, visually incredible and audibly amazing.

Never have I believed a puppet to be real as I did tonight.  The War Horse, foal and goose – all puppets worked by humans but to an extent that every movement and mannerism reflected the animal it purported to be.  It wasn’t long before you forgot entirely that there were skilled puppeteers and believed the animals were truly there.

I’ve not yet seen the play The War Horse nor the cinematic version.  I don’t feel I need to now either as tonight’s performance must surely top them both.

The inclusion of the Gareth Malone and the Military Wives Choir was inspirational.  They became part of the story and, on the eve of centenary of the First World War made it all the more present and poignant for doing so.

Clever staging allowed for part of the floor of the auditorium to open up and bring up a canon which was fired during the performance, for soldiers to appear through a field of corn.  There was snow to illustrate the length of the war through the seasons and the writer Michael Morpurgo on stage as a witness and then to hand out the ears of corn.

WarHorseCollage

Truly an utterly brilliant performance on stage accompanied by the most incredible choices of music and song.  I’m quite sure that I wasn’t the only person with a tear in my eye and a little choked at the emotive performance.

Reviews:
The Times
WhatsOnStage
Telegraph
Guardian

 

Happy Birthday Pops

Dad BirthdayCelebrating Dad’s birthday!

What you can’t see in the bottom left picture is that Dad is trying hard to suppress his own giggles as he watches his Grandson Joe have a very infectious giggle-fit…. below is a selection of pics of ‘the other party’!

JoeGiggles

(***Sorry Joe, you told me I wasn’t allowed to post it on Instagram but you didn’t mention my website!  Love you oodles x)