Have you heard about the Mediterranean Pyramid?

I wanted to write about the Diet we follow at Sant Elia, The Mediterranean Pyramid.  

Research from the Mayo Clinic has shown that the traditional Mediterranean Diet reduces the risk of heart disease. In an analysis of 1.5 million healthy adults, it was found that there was a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease by those who followed this regime. In addition, the Diet was also linked with a reduced incidence of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

All sounding good so far. The actual Diet has an emphasis on:

  • Eating primarily plant based foods, fruit, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
  • Eating good fats, avocados and olive oil.
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavour food.
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week.
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month.
  • Drinking red wine in moderation.
  • Drinking plenty of water.

A key feature of the Diet is eating fresh and homegrown food; but there are other vital elements too. The first being daily exercise, secondly, sharing meal times with friends and family, and finally having a deep appreciation of the pleasures of eating healthy delicious food.

I find it truly heart warming in Italy, when I see large families eating together. There is no age barrier when eating out, it’s not uncommon to see generations from newborn babies to great-grandparents eating, drinking and laughing together, everyone feeling wanted and having a purpose.

The streets in Italy, as I’m sure many of you know, come alive in the early evening, it’s passeggiata time, which just means “to stroll” or a “little walk”. A time to unwind after work or just to take in the evening air.

Another heart warming moment for me is when I see a very old lady on the arm of, probably her great grandson – generations apart, but both looking equally as smart and coiffed, participating in the passeggiata, her daily exercise.
I’d like to think that when I’m no longer able to do my heavy gym sessions and my body ages and slows down…just a little! I will have a grandson who will offer me his arm and take me out for my daily passeggiata.

How to combat those bingo wings

The majority of women I know complain about flabby upper arms!

There’s only one way forward, those arms will have to do some work.

With summer coming, let’s make a start with Tricep Dips. This is an exercise that can be done almost anywhere, at home, out walking, you may come across a bench! or even in your hotel room if you’re travelling…so really no excuse for not doing a couple of sets a day.

It’s a straight hit to the tricep, which will help along the road to “no more bingo wings”.

  • Find a bench, chair or step, that is stable and will support your body weight.
  • Hands should be shoulder width apart and fingers pointing forward.
  • Extend legs out in front of you with a slight bed in the knee (slightly more than a 90 degree angle)
  • Keep your derriere close to the bench and with your tummy tight, slowly lower for the count of two as you bend your elbows.
  • Reverse the movement, and do two sets of fifteen reps. (15 reps. give your arms a shake followed by another 15 reps). Remembering always to focus and stay in control throughout.

To make the dip more difficult, stretch both legs out in front with only a slight bend in the knee, or more difficult still, single leg dips. Which will not only hit your triceps, but also your quads, glutes and core.

Let me know how you get on!

Metallic neutrals

I am like a magpie, I love a bit of sparkle.  Anything glitzy and glam is quite frankly, right up my street.  Vintage statement necklaces, shiny pink disco trousers, sequins galore – if it sparkles, I have probably worn it.

Over the years I have reigned it in, but still today metallics are a staple in my wardrobe.

When worn in the right way I firmly believe that metallic accessories are a neutral – an easy go to piece to pull an outfit together, or simply just to add a bit of interest or grown up sparkle!

Silver, gold, bronze, rose gold – you name it, there are shoes, belts, bags in every shiney hue imaginable in the shops as the spring and summer collections continue to flood the high street.  Are they are all easy colours to wear? Well yes, sort of.  As with anything, it really helps to have an awareness of the colours that work for you.

If you roughly break metallics down into either cool or warm tones, one of them is guaranteed to work with your skin tone and consequently with your wardrobe better than the other.  So either silver or gold will be more flattering.  

Does this really matter if we are talking about shoes?  When it comes to buying truly versatile pieces, I believe it does.  Silver works for me, I have cool undertones to my complexion and hence wear cool colours.  Gold shoes look too yellow and almost garish next to my clothes.  Silver on the other hand is my neutral.

Metallic trainers, slides, heels, clutches, handbags– not surprisingly I love them all.  If you are still unsure about the right shade for you, opt for rose gold, it flatters every skin tone – a universal neutral!

Some of my favourites for spring –

  1. Jigsaw Tania soft flat shoe

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2. Office Maddy block mid heel shoe in copper

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3. KG by Kurt Geiger Mojave cut out sandals, gold

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4. Mint Velvet Mia block heeled sandals

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5. Jigsaw Stevie zip backpack

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6. Liebeskind Aloe F7 leather clutch bag, rose gold

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*Post by Chloe Brasier, Sant Elia Style Consultant. 

Cashmere disasters

You know the feeling, you pull out one of your favourite cashmere jumpers, and low and behold, there is a hole in it.  It happened to me over the weekend and I have since been on a mission to get the culprits out of my wardrobe.  Why is it that moths pick your favourite jumper and the hole is always in an obvious spot?

After doing a bit of research, it seems that it is not in fact the adult moth that causes the damage – it is their larvae.  Apparently these little caterpillars can spend their 10 day life cycle destroying our favourite winter woolies, urghh.

So how can we prevent damage to our clothes?

Clean everything – according to Cheryl Ann Farr, Professor of textiles and clothing at Oklahoma State University, dirty clothes are often what attract moths in the first place.

Hot washes or dry cleaning will kill moth eggs, larvae and adult moths.  I will now always be washing my jumpers before putting them away, but am somewhat reluctant with the hot wash – I’m hoping that cold water and a gentle detergent will do the trick.

On that note, if you buy vintage, wash it before you store it.  You could be bringing an unwelcome visitor to your apparel!

Vacuum your wardrobe to remove any moth eggs or larvae – not a pleasant thought, but definitely worth doing every once in a while.

Storing your cashmere (or anything made of wool and natural fibres) in plastic clothing bags.  As long as there is nothing on your clothes when you seal the bags, the moths won’t get in.  I use these from Pure Collection: 

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Cedar balls are also widely available, I throw some into my sweater bags or drawers.  However, according to the experts, cedar fumes are only toxic to moths if they are in very high concentrations.  This means that we have to use a lot of cedar and replace it regularly to be effective.

Another great product is Natural Anti-moth Linen Spray – Vetivert Blend from Total Wardrobe Care.  Spray it in drawers and wardrobes to help keep moths at bay.

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Freezing clothing! Yes, putting your favourite cashmere scarf in the freezer for at least 12 hours will kill off any unwanted pests.  I may put mine in a ziplock bag first…

Lavender sachets, moth traps, clothing sprays – there are so many on the market.  Which do you think works best?  Help me out, I am on a mission and will try anything – except maybe mothballs – despite my recent cashmere trauma, those lingering toxic fumes still hold little appeal.

*Post by Chloe Brasier, Sant Elia stylist and image consultant 

The Leg Press vs The Squat

If I’m short of time in the gym, and don’t want to do an interval training session, which I know would also be quick, I’ll go for a whole body workout, using compound exercises.

Part of this workout would be a Leg Press, I may not do a squat within the session as they both use similar muscles, although the ‘press’ does generally place a greater emphasis on the quadriceps.

After two sets of fifteen reps. for me on a higher weight, is enough to make my quads ‘sing’. Depending on how I feel I may alter my foot position on the plate, the higher my feet, the more focus on my glutes and hamstrings. Having my feet lower, the focus would be more on my quads.

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The leg press is a good exercise for beginners, providing good instruction is given prior to use, or those recovering from injury, as there’s no excess load on the spinal column.

I like using the ‘press’ as part of a resistance programme, but in my opinion, it is no substitute for the Squat. During the Squat it is essential to focus, correct your position for balance and engage your core muscles for stability, giving you even more benefit from a compound exercise. 

Therefore I use both!

How to do a 15 minute meal

We’ve all heard this one “I don’t have time to cook”, or more often “I can’t think what to have for dinner tonight”  Actually I’ve said both on many an occasion.  

But with a little bit of planning mealtimes can become less of a chore.

I try to keep my store cupboard well topped up, and within my weekly shop I always make sure I have a pack each of, mixed lettuce, rocket, spinach and kale. These I use during the week for convenience, all other vegetables I buy lose.

This is my take on one of my favourite SIRT Food diet meals.

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Baked salmon with buckwheat, kale, broccoli, turmeric, onion, garlic and ginger.

  • Heat oven 200 deg.
  • Finely chop onion, ginger and garlic.
  • Start to steam kale and broccoli.
  • Place some slices of lemon on the salmon and bake in the hot oven for 7 to10 mins.
  • Whilst salmon is cooking, cook the buckwheat in boiling water, to which you have added a quarter to half a teaspoon (depending on taste) of turmeric, cooking time can be anything from  between 4 and 6 minutes.
  • Add a teaspoon of oil to a deep frying pan, gently fry, onion, garlic and ginger to a pale golden colour.
  • Remove any water from kale and broccoli and add to the onion mix, stir gently and keep warm over low heat.
  • Strain buckwheat, remove salmon from oven and serve.

Within 15 minutes you’ll have a delicious, well balanced healthy meal.