To gym or not to gym? That is the question

I’m having a couple of days, in fact, probably more like four, off training and the gym.

Why, because my body says so, it needs time to recover following the virus I’ve had over the past week.

After all these years I have enough experience to know that I’m not going to lose any strength or muscle tone during my ‘time out’.  Within a week I’ll be back in the gym without noticing I’ve had any time off.

We all have friends who complain about how ill and tired they feel, but still insist on going to the gym, some almost crawling there, I know, I’ve done it myself….but why?

Should we work out if we have a cough and cold?


There are some guidelines out there, and that’s whether symptoms are above or below the neck.

For example, a runny nose (not streaming!) and stuffy sinuses, Light-Moderate exercise, again that’s not a High Intensity Spin, Heavy Weight training or hard Circuit session!!

Symptoms from the neck down…sore throat, chesty/dry cough, high temperature, aching limbs or anything gastric, exercise is NOT recommended.

A study sponsored by the American college of Sports Medicine, says we have to listen to what our body really wants, and sometimes accept that it might not be exercise.

Doing high intensity exercise, during a cold or respiratory infection, has been shown to have a negative impact on the immune system, therefore making things worse and slowing down our recovery from the virus.

If you make the decision to work out and you can’t complete the session, just stop, it’s not a time for any record breaking.

But let’s end on a positive!

The common cold affects us all, but a study in the American Journal of Medicine, showed that those taking regular exercise actually had half the number of colds as those who didn’t exercise.

And, in another study, researchers found that in 65 year olds who did regular exercise, their T-cells were as high as those in their 30’s.

So as soon as you feel better, get back out there, it’s worth it.



Feeding myself whilst feeling rubbish

I have a pretty healthy diet, eating lots of fresh fruit,vegetables, protein and good fats. So, what’s happened over the last five days? The worst cold I’ve had in years!

What appetite I’ve had I’ve just craved junk foods and carbs.

Apparently, there are several reasons why we turn to junk food when feeling poorly. The body needs fast and easy forms of energy to start healing itself, and carbs. give our immune system the additional glucose to help fight off infection.

That’s OK then, I obviously needed all that junk, or did I?

I think probably not, especially when I read a comment by Nutrition Coach Joe Selby.

“You crave junk food when you feel under the weather for the same reason I want to watch the original Star Wars – because we feel crappy and want to feel better”

So enough, I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and get back on track, although I really didn’t feel like cooking.

What could be easier than a stir fry? As I needed some fruit I decided to go to my local Marks and Spencer’s store, where I’ve taken clients when they’ve needed quick meal ideas.

I bought the stir fry meal deal, wild salmon, rice noodles, and aromatic vegetables, I gave the sauce that came with the ‘deal’ a miss as I prefer just a dash of Tamari.

Adding extra red pepper, and lots of ginger, garlic and chilli would give my immune system an extra boost.

I only cooked half the amount, as my appetite isn’t great, so I’ve some left for tomorrow.

Within ten minutes my healthy meal was ready to eat, I snuggled down in front of the fire and instead of Star Wars it was Bridget Jones’s Baby for me.


How to wear red

As Audrey Hepburn once said, “There is a shade of red for every woman”.

I have styled women of all ages – and I completely agree!
Red is a powerful colour and it can often be seen as tricky to get right.  Believe it or not, it’s actually a much easier colour for most people to wear than either black or white!
I firmly believe that red looks stunning on everyone, the key is finding the right shade.
When you know which reds work for you, it is easy to bring it in to your everyday wardrobe.  Perhaps as a pop of colour with neutrals – belts, bags or shoes, or confidently wear that perfect shade of red lipstick.
There are lots of beautiful red dresses in the shops, yet many people lack confidence in wearing such a vibrant colour. Inspired by Valentines Day, I have picked 4 different shades of red – one of these colours will work for everyone.  Admittedly these are not dresses that you would wear if you want to fade into the background, but then, who really wants to do that?!
Here are some of my key picks:

Guest post by Chloe Brasier. 

The Sirt Diet

I became aware of The Sirt Diet (Aidan Goggins & Glen Matten)  when I read an article in The Times Magazine last year.

I’m not a great supporter of diets as such, for me it’s all about healthy eating, portion size and a good fitness regime.

Yes, we can all lose weight by drastically cutting our calorie intake, but crash and yo-yo dieting doesn’t work long term. Joseph Proietto, Professor of Medicine at Melbourne University, found that participants in one of his studies lost weight over an eight week period, only to regain it over the following year.

Dieting this way, isn’t fun, having lists of foods we can’t eat, hours of the day feeling hungry, that’s not for me.

To lose weight successfully, enabling us to have a healthy body and active lifestyle, we really have to change both the way we think and our behaviour.

When I read about The Sirt Diet it made complete sense to me. Yes, you can lose weight if you follow ‘Lose 7lbs in 7 days’ set out by Goggins and Matten, but I was more interested in “what are Sirt Foods”, and would eating ‘Sirts’ be good for me.

Well, Sirtfoods are foods that activate our sirtuin genes (also known as skinny genes) helping us, not only to increase our sense of well-being and increase our resistance to disease, but also to burn significant amounts of fat.

The Sirtfood diet is what I’d call a ‘Mediterranean diet with an extra kick’, it’s made up of,

PLANTS, PROTEIN & FATS.  No problem if you’re a plant only vegan, it’s for you too.

The Sirt Food Diet Recipe Book, lists the top 20 Sirtfoods, which include red wine and cocoa….yipee, together with an additional 40 foods which have Sirtfood properties.


The Old Coastguard, Cornwall

I remember a lecturer once saying that every 4-6 weeks he would book into a hotel for 24 hours and work.

The reason for this was to remove himself from the outside world, to totally focus on, and reassess, his business plan and also to re-motivate himself.

I wouldn’t be able to escape as often as he did, but I have just spent 48hrs chilling out at The Old Coastguard in Mousehole Cornwall.

It is one of three properties owned by brothers Charles and Edmund Inkin. Another, here in Cornwall, and the third, The Felin Fach Griffin, in Powys, which I’ve also stayed at, and again is highly recommended.

The Old Coastguard is an elegant, chic ‘hotel’ overlooking the Atlantic. I’m loathed to call it a hotel, it’s far more intimate. The staff are young and extremely helpful without being intrusive, there’s a general underlying buzz about the place which I love.

Bedrooms are so so comfortable. Large beds, woollen blankets and comfy chairs, together with a tray of local tea, coffee, fresh milk and shortbread biscuits, UHT has no place here. There are no televisions in the rooms, just a radio and books… sheer bliss.

The bathroom, large with natural toiletries and good quality towels, again another plus.

Downstairs is almost shabby-chic, with an open fire, fresh flowers and large sofas and chairs.


You can curl up, relax, read the papers, or work on your computer, if you so wish, as wifi is excellent throughout, as is the artwork of Cornish artists that adorn the walls.

During the summer, breakfast eaten in the garden, which leads to the shore, I imagine would be idyllic with the sound of birdsong and lapping waves.

Mmm.. the kitchen! Food is excellent, with everything sourced locally, I had delicious fish and vegetarian dishes, breakfast was equally as good, with fresh ‘everything’.

The wine list is really interesting, a considerable amount of thought has obviously gone into the choice on offer. Good local beers too.

My only slight negative!  As there was no shower, I expected a bath tap with shower attachment, which I could use for washing my hair, but there wasn’t one.

There was a large jug which I could use, and I guess, if it was good enough for Poldark, it’s good enough for me!!

Only one more to go, The Gurnard’s Head, and I know I won’t be disappointed.
Oh, and before I forget, “Thank-you Lauren, for letting Q Bear help with this morning’s checkout, he was so excited and will tell everyone about it when he returns to Bermuda”

How do you wear your pleats?

Pleated midi skirts are surprising easy to wear, and are classically chic. Softly falling pleats are flattering to many body shapes and are an easy day to night style. Pair with boots, heels or flats – a pointed flat will create the illusion of longer legs!
My favourite way to style these skirts is with a soft cashmere jumper and statement necklace, but the options are endless.
These new styles will take you from winter to spring –


4. Baum und Pferdgarten Saxona pleated midi skirt – available at Loved & Found at John Lewis.  Couldn’t resist this one, although admittedly we may need the weather to warm up a little first!
Guest blog by Chloe Brasier, Sant Elia in-house personal stylist and colour analyst, 
*This post is not sponsored or endorsed by any brand.

How to make your own chocolate

Fortunately I haven’t got a sweet tooth, but sometimes after dinner I just want that  Chocolate hit! Two little squares, high in cacao is all I need.

There are so many delicious chocolate bars out there, with a huge variety of flavours. I love ginger, but haven’t found a bar yet with enough ginger to satisfy me.

So, I thought I’d try making my own, surely it can’t be that difficult?


I found this recipe which is Vegan, gluten free and with no added cane sugar.

80g Raw cacao powder
29g Lacuma powder
100g Cacao Butter
Approximately 40ml of Agave, according to taste.

I went with 80% cacao, as I find 100% for me is less palatable.

It’s so easy, here’s the instructions:

  • Melt the butter over a bowl of hot water.
  • Mix the sifted powders into the melted butter.
  • Stir gently until the mixture is smooth and silky.
  • Sweeten to taste, with the syrup.

I lined a tray with baking parchment, poured in the chocolate, sprinkled with dried cranberries and put it in the fridge to set.

The chocolate could be poured into ice cube trays, you’d then have individual chocolates, which could look very pretty depending on how you decorate them.

I think children would love making this, it’s easy, quick and as chocolate goes, reasonably healthy.

My next batch will be ginger!