Burn FAT all day

Research into fat-burning suggests making a few strategic tweaks to your day could get you torching more fat with less effort  Healthista reports

6.45am: GET YOUR D Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in people who work long hours and see little light and research is now showing that adequate levels are essential to weight management.   Ten minutes in direct sunlight or 30 minutes overcast without sunscreen to boost your levels. Vitamin D is also found in fatty fish such as mackerel .

7.30am: POWER-UP YOUR BREKKIE Most of us know that skipping breakfast is a recipe for weight gain and studies show that women who forego this meal are four and a half times more likely to be obese than their breakfast eating counterparts.  Having protein in the morning requires more energy from your body to break down so can keep you fuller for longer. In one study, overweight women who had two eggs a day for eight weeks lost 65 per cent more weight and had an 83 per cent drop in their waist measurements than those that ate plain bagels.

7.45am: SIP THE BURN  You’ve probably heard enough about the health benefits of green tea to write a book.  Here’s more: recent research from Lipton tea found that drinking four cups of green or white tea throughout the day increased metabolic rate by 100 calories a day.  That equates to a loss of up to one and a half kilos over three months. Result.

8.00am: SPRITZ An icy shower could help burn fat during the day.  Studies in the New England Journal of Medicine found making yourself cold activates ‘brown fat’, a good type of fat in the body that increases metabolism and burns off white fat, the kind that makes you flabby and old.  Brown fat is present in babies researchers have found, but adults can help re-activate theirs by lowering their temperature.

10.30am Take the stairs – five times   Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that women who ran up and down the stairs at work for two minutes at a time, five times a day boosted their fitness over an eight week period.

1pm FIRE-STOKING LUNCH Opt for legumes such as lentil, kidney, pinto or white beans and chickpeas at lunch. These all contain magnesium which your body needs to burn fat.  It’s essential to muscle and nerve reaction as well as energy production and is also abundant in pumpkin seeds, mackerel and spinach.

3pm GET NEAT  It might annoy your co-workers but tapping your foot, playing with your pen and generally fidgeting about are examples of ‘non-exercise activity thermogenesis’ or NEAT.  A study at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that one of the strongest factors differentiating fat people from skinny ones was the amount of NEAT they packed into their day.  Examples of NEAT also include wiggling, finger-tapping, pottering; all those daily hints of inadvertent activity most of us do without realising it.

4.30pm SOUP IT UP  A protein snack about now will stop you over-consuming at dinner.  Between three and five hours after we eat our stomachs empty and release appetite stimulating hormones such as cholestylkonin.  If you don’t eat something in response to this release and ignore it, you could end up wanting to eat everything in sight come dinnertime.  A cup of hearty chicken soup is a good choice – US researchers found it helped dieters lose an extra kilogram a week due to its low fat and high protein content.   If you can’t face chicken soup, other protein choices include a whey protein smoothie, some Brazil nuts or a small piece of cheese.

5.30pm GYM QUICKIE  Twice weekly light weight training in the gym is one of the best ways of increasing your muscle tone. But you needn’t slog away for the whole hour.  Research at the University of New South Wales has found that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week – that’s where you do eight to 12, 60 second bouts of exercise with one minute in between in 25 minutes – has effects on the muscles that are comparable to those you’d get if you were working out for an hour, he says. Studies have shown that people who do such shorter, high-intensity exercise lose more weight and fat than people doing traditional aerobic exercise.

Healthista TV link: Everyone’s talking about HIIT.  Click here for a HTV video fitness tutorial from super-trainer Jane Wake on exactly how to do HIIT (and burn twice the fat in half the time).

7.30pm  SLIMMING SUPER-MEAL It doesn’t get healthier – or more metabolism-pumping – than  steamed chilli salmon, roasted peppers and tomatoes and one cup brown rice.  Steamed salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.  Add a dressing made with lime juice, soy sauce and chopped red chillis.   In one study on Thai women, chillies were found to immediately increase metabolic rate by 20 per cent and sustain it for up to thirty minutes.  The fat-burning effect is due to a phytonutrient in chillis called capsaicin. But it’s not just chilli and cayenne pepper that can pump up your metabolism after eating.  More recently cinnamon, ginger, mustard, horseradish and turmeric have all been found to have a similar ‘thermogenic’ effect.  That means they switch on your body’s heat-production systems, boosting your metabolism as you eat them and afterwards.  Lastly, brown rice is a powerhouse of B-vitamins, a group of nutrients essential to energy metabolism and the function of the nervous system.

10.00pm  WEIGHT LOSS BATH  ‘Lots of my model clients take an Epsom salts bath the night before a shoot when their bodies need to look great’ says James Duigan, author of Flat Tummy Fast (Kyle £12.99) and both Elle Macpherson and Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely’s fitness trainer.  ‘Add one or two mugs of Epsom salts (which you can buy from most pharmacies) to a hot bath,’ says Duigan.  ‘Epsom salts are an ancient remedy for drawing out toxins.  Taking one or two of these a week can speed up your weight loss.’

10.30pm  SLEEP As summer comes and the days get longer, some black out blinds could be the best investment into sleep you ever make.  What’s that got to do with weight loss?  Everything.  Studies have shown that too little sleep decreases levels of the hormone leptin in your body, which is essential to fat-burning and appetite regulation.   Lack of sleep also causes a spike in the stress hormone cortisol which disturbs blood sugar and is proven to lead to fat gain around the tummy.

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7 questions to ask your dentist

Choosing a Dentist can be confusing and a bit daunting, so having the right dentist can help calm any fears you have about impending dental work and can make the trip to the chair less stressful. So we have put together this handy list of must-ask questions to help you narrow it down.

1. Are you listening?  Don’t literally ask this, but ask yourself if they’re listening to you.  This may be a gut-instinct but do you feel they are giving you bespoke advice related to your mouth and habits or rattling off a speech. You only have one set of teeth so be careful who you entrust them to.

2. How long has the practice been going?  Experience and continuity of care can be very valuable. Will they be there next time you have your check-up? It takes time to build a relationship on both sides. They will get to know your mouth, what materials work best in your mouth and how often to review you.

3. Do you have a dental hygienist?  With recent changes to the law you will probably see your dental hygienist more often than your dentist.  Does the hygienist clean your mouth thoroughly? Do they guide you in what are the best oral hygiene aids for your mouth and encourage you in between appointments?

4. What training and further education have you had?  Most dentists will have the basic qualification (BDS) but do they keep up to date with the latest techniques and materials?  This is especially important if you are considering any extensive treatments such as veneers or dental implants. Membership to a recognizable institution such as the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is an added advantage.  Go online and research dental practices in your area. Dentist websites should list the dentist’s credentials, experience, a picture of them and increasingly videos.

5. What guarantees do you offer?  Make a list of questions like this to ask before your appointment as you may forget. Good questions can be: How long will this last before it needs replacing? This will all depend on your diet and how regularly you get it checked. Veneers can last over 10 years and crowns even longer – so importantly, question what guarantees they offer treatments like this.  It’s also important to know in advance how you can access care outside office hours if there is an emergency.

6. Do you have experience with similar types of treatment?  A proven track record speaks volumes about a dentist. Do not be afraid to ask to see examples of similar treatments carried out by that dentist and you can even ask to speak to previous patients. Make sure they’re not showing you pictures out of a catalogue.

7. If you are considering crowns, bridge, veneers or implants ask – Can I meet the laboratory technician that will be making my work and see their credentials? Cosmetic dentistry requires a true artist and for an artist to work they need to see their subject. They will want to see you to get the colour shade for your teeth and make sure your new smile matches your face, skin tone and age.

FINAL TIP: Get referrals from as many sources as possible. Ask some of your relatives, colleagues or friends (with good teeth) if they can recommend reliable dentists. Do your research on the internet for reviews once you get a list of candidates and call them for more information. Remember this is a relationship for life; if you do not feel comfortable, find someone else.

Expert dentist and best selling health author James Goolnik.

Expert dentist and best selling health author James Goolnik.

James Goolnik is the founder of the award winning Bow Lane Dental group in the city of London. James is past president of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He qualified from Kings’ College Dental School and went to study his Master’s degree in Conservative Dentistry at the Eastman Dental Institute. He is the author of ‘Brush’ about innovation in Dentistry. He was voted by his peers as the most influential person in Dentistry in 2011 & 2012. He recently founded the charity “Heart Your Smile” aimed at getting people to visit the dentist.


Follow James on Twitter @jamesgoolnik




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7 things THIN WOMEN do

It’s a myth that thin people can eat what they want and stay that way.  Sure a tiny minority might, most of them stay that way because they practice healthy ways of eating, living and thinking everyday

1. They move more than most

A study at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota found that one of the strongest factors differentiating fat people from skinny ones was the amount of ‘Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis’ they packed into their day.  NEAT is a fancy way of saying fidgeting, wriggling in their seats, finger or foot-tapping, pottering.  Turns out, thin people do loads.  Just standing while you’re on hold or opting out of a seat on the bus can help.  An Iowa State University study found heavy women spent half as much time on their feet as lean ones and just by moving more like this burned an extra 300 calories daily (that’s a 30 pound weight loss in a year).  Read a Healthista feature about the day we tried NEAT and how to get more into your life

 2.  They don’t mind  a bit of fat

‘Studies on people who lose weight and keep it off show those who are successful get 30 per cent of their daily calories from fat’, says Professor Alexander Miras, an obesity researcher at University College London. That’s because fat in foods means you satisfy your appetite with less food.  A low fat yoghurt will probably make you want to eat more because it isn’t satisfying and if it’s marketed as low fat will have modified starches and other sweeteners added to it to make it palatable.  These mess with your blood sugar and lead to cravings for more food.

3.  They have breakfast 

Pundits love a breakfast lecture don’t they?  That’s because  thin people eat it and people that avoid it off are four times more likely to be overweight. Missing breakfast means blood sugar drops mid-morning which make you more compulsive around food so you’re less likely to resist something sweet or junky mid-morning.  Plus people who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to binge at night as their bodies play catch-up on calories they have missed making them more likely to store the calories as fat. Eggs are good – research at Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Louisiana found those who started their day with two boiled eggs felt less hungry and ate less come lunchtime. Find out what slim women eat for breakfast

4. They say I ‘don’t’ not ‘I can’t’

A study at the University of Buffalo found thin women say ‘I don’t eat that’.   ‘Can’t is a word that conjures up self-denial and deprivation where saying ‘I don’t’ is a choice which empowers you.

5.  They wait 

People who yo-yo diet have felt a lot of extreme hunger in the past and get their signals mixed up so much that they’re often terrified of feeling hungry.  That means at the slightest whiff of food they want to chomp something down and may also over eat so they can avoid feeling hungry later.  Slim women don’t fear feeling hungry.  They wait for real hunger to come on and listen to their body’s signals for it.  Real hunger is felt in the stomach, develops slowly over time with physical sensations such as tummy rumbling. Experts talk about a Hunger Scale from 1-10 where one is starving and 10 is stuffed.  You should be eating when you’re about a three.  Practice waiting by having a glass of water or tea or going  for a walk until you’re about a 3-4 before eating.  But don’t wait longer because your blood sugar will drop and you may make more compulsive choices around food. Think, the Danish and double caramel latte instead of trail mix and an Americano.

6.  They eat loads

…of fruit and vegetables, that is.  Skinny women on average have an extra serve of fruit and eat more fibre than their fatter sisters, found a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. By getting inventive with vegetables you can learn to love them, says Amy Cotta, celebrity nutritionist. She suggests the following healthy dressing combinations: 1. Mediterranean – Lemon, garlic, olive oil, basil, thyme 2. Oriental – Soy sauce, ginger, chilli paste, sesame oil, lime juice  3. Indian – Yoghurt, curry powder, garlic, lemon and ground red pepper. Watch a video of More 4’s presenter Emma Grazette cooking up a spicy roast veg salad for Healthista TV

7.  They do it over and over

Slim women have core habits that keep them that way, says Professor Craig Jackson, head of psychology at Birmingham City University.  ‘To develop those habits they apply certain strategies to their lives over and over again until those habits have become second nature.  It’s only when a lifestyle choice becomes a habit that you really see the results.’  For example, take eating smaller portions.  One way to develop that habit is to use a smaller plate (plates of eight and a half to nine and half inch diameters are associated with healthiest portions) over and over again until using a smaller plate becomes the norm for you and even when you use a larger plate, you only serve yourself the smaller amount, he explains.   But give it time to become a habit.  We’re often told it takes 21 days to make a habit but researchers at University College London found it could take anything from 18 to 200 days while on average, habit-forming took 66 days.  So keep at it.

scales original


Experts love telling us that 90 per cent of people who go on diets regain the weight they lost in a year.  But the 10 per cent who keep it off aren’t just lucky.  The National Weight Control Registry in the US studied the habits of women who kept anything from 30-300 pounds off for five years or more.  They found:

  • 78 per cent ate breakfast every day
  • 75 per cent weighed themselves at least once a week
  • 62 per cent watched less than ten hours of telly a week
  • 90 per cent exercised moderately, not hard for an hour a day



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The ZERO-TO-HERO Fitness App

Prime mover 6The brand new Prime Mover app takes you through a progressive workout programme, can be done anywhere with no equipment and tracks your progress, like having a trainer in your pocket.  Anna Magee tried it for Day 29 of her 30 workouts in 30 days – nearly there (thank God!)

I’ve done my fair share of complaining and moaning about how app makers are too busy being tech geeks to create apps that people who actually exercise might actually want to use.  Too much fuss, too many things to sign up to, too few workout options, too complicated and too simple have been my pet gripes.  This is not a princess and the pea thing, it’s just that fitness app makers needed to lift their game. Rant over.

prime mover 4

I think perhaps they’re starting to – the new Prime Mover App, launched last Thursday ticks many, though not all, of my Good Fitness App boxes:

  • It starts from a basic level so it’s fantastic for beginners with little or no fitness
  • You can see exercises from different camera angles without having to touch the screen
  • The trainer in the videos is sexy (important)
  • It’s do-able
  • It’s clear and there are both visual and verbal cues so you can play the app on your iPad while still having your music playing on headphones from your phone or nano as you don’t need to rely on the verbal cues (logistics of fitness…also important)
  • It’s based on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  You work through levels 1-3 and start with 30 seconds hard work, 30 seconds rest, progressing to 40:20 and 50:10 ratios in Levels 2 and 3
  • It competes with you by asking you to fill in how many of each exercise you did after each set, for example 15 squats or 20 push-ups and then, rather endearingly it sends little messages to rate your performance such as ‘Great work! next stop the Olympics!’ or ‘Are you sure you’re awake?’ That’s a bit like having a trainer on your back pushing you

prime mover 3

  • It has a proper warm up and cool down section so it feels like a complete session
  • You need no equipment for any exercises

And what doesn’t work for me

  • All workouts are 21 minutes long – you have no control over this so if you want to workout for a longer or shorter period you can’t
  • You can’t shut off the music and only have the instruction (say if the kids are in bed)
  • Only one workout is free, then you have to pay £3.99 to unlock the other nine workouts of different levels.
  • Apparently you can take a before and after picture of yourself to track your progress but I couldn’t get this feature to work on the iPad

prime mover 7

  • On iPads it only works in portrait mode so mine kept falling over

I did the level one workout, a five exercise circuit that we worked through five times in 21 minutes with 30 seconds of exercise and 30 seconds of rest.  The moves were straightforward and each shot from different angles for good instruction:


Alternating lunges

4-point burpees



By the time I had worked through to the third of the five rounds, I was a bit bored with the same exercises, but I imagine the moves might get more interesting the higher up the levels you go.  Plus, I know it was only Level One, but the non-rest bits – that is, the bits where you’re actually exercising – didn’t feel anywhere near high intensity enough to be called High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), but I think this is a good thing for beginners because it means you start at a level that’s not intimidating.

It also tracks results without you doing anything which is brilliant for motivation.

prime mover 1

The Prime Mover app does’t trump my favourite app ever Sworkit, I think perhaps nothing ever will for functionality and varied workouts.  But for video quality, instruction and motivation and as a progressive programme you can work through, it’s better.  Especially if you’re starting from a place of never having exercised before the Prime Mover app is the biz.

Pros and Cons – see above

Where: Anywhere

How much: The first workout is free, then is costs £3.99 to unlock the remaining nine workouts

Did I pay? Yes

Get it: From iTunes

Calories burned: 75 calories in the 21 minute app workout (382 with my 45 minute run before) Calories calculated using the Ki Fit Body Monitor 


anna sofa

Why take the challenge? 

SandBells class at Fitness First

Day 28 The Sandbell workout

Orangetheory pic

Day #27 The Orangetheory Workout

zumba 3

Day #26 Fitness Club Night

barre core classes online

Day #25 The Ballet Barre Workout


Day #24 The 5-minute workout


Day #23 Cuban Cardio

bmf group sit ups

Day #22 British Military Fitness


#Day 21 The Sworkit Circuit App

pole dancing original

Day #21 Pole Dancing


crossfit original


yogaglo screen

Day #18 Best of Online Yoga

hiit app settings

Day #17 The HIIT app

woman escalator

Day #16 How to exercise WITHOUT working out

frame floor kick

Day #15 Frankencise


Day #15 GRIT FIT

altitude button

Day #14 High Altitude Cardio

barry's bootcamp 3

Day #13 Barry’s Bootcamp

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Day #11 Physique 57

pocket yoga

Day #10 Pocket Yoga


Day #9 The Water Rower


Day #8 Splitz


Day #7 Muay Thai 

boom body

Day #6 Total Body Spin


Day #5 Speedflex

Yung woman doing yoga

Day #4 Extreme Yin Yoga

SELF Magazine And Jennifer Aniston Celebrate Mandy Ingber's New Book "Yogalosophy: 28 Days To The Ultimate Mind-Body Makeover" At The Soho House West Hollywood

Day #3 Jennifer Aniston’s Yoga Workout

Library interior chill

Day #2 The Library


Day #1 Krav Maga


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Playlists of the fit and famous: Victoria Pendleton’s features Foo Fighters and The Prodigy

This week’s Playlists of the Fit and Famous features Victoria Pendleton, the former track cyclist and winner of nine world titles who reveals why she’s a fan of rap and rock in the gym

‘A typical day for me used to be in the gym, doing resistance weights, for two and a half hours in the morning, then on the track for three hours in the afternoon. I’d do that six days a week. Now I’ve retired, if I could do stuff five days a week I’d be pretty happy. Realistically it’s not that easy though. I’d like to get more into kettlebell training and I also tried hot yoga for the first time last week and loved it. It was an hour long but felt like two minutes.

Victoria Pendleton has designed a range of bikes for Halfords

Victoria Pendleton has designed a range of bikes for Halfords

‘I love lifting weights. Power cleans, squats, dead lifts – it’s the most rewarding part of training because it’s so black and white: you either lift it or you don’t. It’s easy to plot your progress. In the run up to the Olympics, we’d have the whole sprint squad in the gym together and we’d take it in turns to pick music. We listened to a lot of rap. One of my favourite tunes is The Prodigy, Breathe – or anything off Fat of the Land – I love that album. I love the Foo Fighters and Kanye West too.

‘I go running in the mornings, off road on the bridleways and footpaths near my house. It’s nice to go at 7:30am when it’s light enough. I take my dogs, Stella and Mr Jonty. They’re Dobermans so they love to run. I’ll do 5km but I don’t listen to music – I like to enjoy being outside. It’s peaceful and quiet. It’s getting boring though – I need to mix it up.

‘In Beijing (where Victoria won a Gold medal in 2008), my playlist consisted of a lot of Jay Z and Linkin Park, Collision Course. It’s only five or six songs on an EP but they’re awesome. Especially 99 Problems and Points of Authority. I really love that album: it’s kind of rocky with a punchy side to it. I like high-energy music.

‘At the London World Cup, my partner Jess Varnish and I broke the team sprint world record. It was a great performance and one of the first times we’d had success as a team sprint, so it was something to share between us. DJ Fresh, Gold Dust was playing in the Velodrome and it really reminds me of that moment. We had it on in our room when we were getting ready to go out to the track – and it was on the radio a lot at the time.

‘I really want to get back into Pilates – I want to get a reformer because I’ve finally got room in my new house. I used it in my last couple of years training to manage a back pain problem. I was skeptical at first. I’d had so much physio, I was like, ‘yeah right’! But I was pain free within six months. I’m a convert! I’m loving chilled out music at the moment – Katy B, 5AM is something I’d listen to for this kind of thing.’

Victoria’s Playlist:

  1. The Prodigy, Breathe
  2. Jay Z, 99 Problems
  3. Linkin Park, Points of Authority
  4. DJ Fresh, Gold Dust
  5. Katy B, 5AM

Pendleton bikes and accessories exclusively available from Halfords.com

Interview by Eva Caiden

Eva Caiden

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Caroline Flack reveals beauty products behind her glowing London Fashion Week face

If you’ve seen Caroline Flack lately, most notably at London Fashion Week, then you’ve seen her radiant, bronzed complexion. Yesterday, she sat front row at LFW’s Antipodium show. Find out what beauty staples Caroline loves so we can steal her sultry daytime look

"The X Factor" UK Season 10 Press Launch at the Mayfair Hotel in London on August 29, 2013


Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Radiance Serum: £25
Caroline says that this radiance serum ‘is a great highlighter for my cheekbones.’ Her tip? Apply the Radiance Serum before you apply foundation to make your skin glow like Caroline’s.


MAC face and body: £21.50
Caroline loves this product because she says, ‘It is light and you can layer it for an evening look.’



They’re Real Benefit Mascara: £19.50
Women don’t love this mascara for nothing. Caroline says that this is the only mascara that she finds works for her. As the leading mascara in the UK, we think she might be right.

theyre real



HD brow Wet n’ Wild Kohl Kajal Eyebrow/Eyeliner Pencil: £1.79
This is Caroline’s secret to a tidy smokey eye. Put this on your upper eyeline, which is tricky, but it works. She says this is, ‘Perfect for keeping brows and eyes defined during fashion week.’



Manuka Doctor ApiRefine Lip Enhancer: £16.03
Caroline says, ‘I wear this during the day as it instantly plumps and hydrates my lips.’

lip enhancer

Check out Caroline’s London Fashion Week look!


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WINTER OLYMPICS How Team GB’s super cool sporting women rocked Sochi 2014

As the curtain falls in Sochi Team GB can reflect with pride – Adele Norris rounds up the most successful Winter Olympic games in history for the UK

The Olympians beat UK Sport’s target of at least three medals at the Winter Games.

A historic four medals ensured Sochi 2014 equalled the most successful Winter Olympic Games in history for us.

Gold medallist Lizzy Yarnold was chosen to carry the Union Flag and lead Team GB into the Closing Ceremony.

The Russians were in high spirits after sweeping the medal board, finishing with a total of 33 medals, 13 of them gold.

They even managed to laugh at the opening ceremony’s mishap: a giant hydraulic snowflake failed to open two weeks ago.

At the closing party a host of sparkling dancers humoured the error; swaying into the formation of the Olympic rings only to mirror the problematic fifth ring by belatedly opening.

Twenty five year old Yarnold said: ‘It’s been an indescribable experience here in Sochi.  I came to these Games with the goal of competing to the best of my ability, doing my country proud, and supporting my teammates across all of Team GB.

‘To have been selected (to carry the flag) for this honour is so far beyond anything I could have ever imagined.  It makes what has already been an incredible experience just that much more special, and I am extremely grateful.’

Here are some highlights from the UK’s Winter Olympics women.

BRONZE For Jenny Jones in snowboarding – read our coverage here

Around the Games: Day 3 - 2014 Winter Olympic Games

GOLD for Lizzy Yarnold in Skeleton – read our coverage here

yarnold slider

BRONZE for Team GB women’s curlers

The youngest curlers in Sochi prove to be one of the strongest and bag another GB medal.

The ladies beat Russia 9-6 in their penultimate round robin match and secured a place in the semi finals after a 8-7 extra end defeat to Denmark.

It means we ended the round-robin stages with a won five, lost four record.

The toughest match was to come when they faced the unbeaten Canadian women.

Ahead of the game skip Eve Muirhead said: ‘We play Jennifer a lot on tour and it’s always a close game against her. I know the whole of Britain is behind us and hopefully we can do them proud.

Eve Muirhead Picture: Twitter @evemuirhead

Eve Muirhead Picture: Twitter @evemuirhead

‘It’s my first Olympic semi-final and Jennifer has never been to an Olympic Games. There is a lot riding on it but we’ll relax and enjoy it and try to not get too up tight.  It doesn’t matter who we play at this stage of the tournament.’

Jennifer was certainly hungry for it. Team GB were defeated 6-4 facing. Debris on ice resulted in a first end ‘pick’ gave Canada an early advantage

‘The curling Gods were not with us. That pick up in the first end was brutal and losing a two off the bat from something you can’t control against Canada, it was going to be tough. There is nothing you can do when you get debris on the ice.’

Fighting for bronze Team GB faced Switzerland.

In a close 6-5 win GB watched with baited breathe as we secured Team GB’s fourth medal of the Games.

It was a proud moment that also marked equallising the previous best performance at the 1924 Games in Chamonix.

Eve said it wass a dream come true and this was the medal they’d been missing:

‘To win it with four of my best friends feels so special.

‘That shows what great athletes we are, you have to learn to lose before you can win and get back up from a defeat. To lose a semi-final at the Olympics and then come back and play for bronze is extra tough. We regrouped and came out fighting.

With an average age of 23 the women are the youngest curlers in Sochi and they praised their skip for making them one of the strongest.

Team Muirhead Sochi 2014 Picture: Twitter @Team_Muirhead

Team Muirhead Sochi 2014 Picture: Twitter @Team_Muirhead

Anna Sloan (Curling, women’s third) said: ‘I never had any doubt when Eve was over that last stone. We played a great last end and it was such good team effort.

‘We were devastated yesterday and it shows our team spirit that we could rebound from that loss. There was no way we were leaving here without a medal. We wanted the gold but it shows the spirit of our team to pick ourselves up and a bronze medal feels amazing right now.’

Vicki Adams (Curling, women’s second) said: ‘We knew that if we could play our shots to the best of our ability and leave Eve with a relatively simple shot she would be pretty happy and we were pretty happy to sweep it as well. It was under control.

‘Eve is pretty good and there were no doubts. We were having to get a little bit ahead of ourselves and think about what was going on but we had it under control, we knew that she would do it.”’

It wasn’t third time lucky for Christie as the curse of Sochi strikes again.

It almost felt like her skating blade had stepped off the ice and stabbed her in the heart as yet another penalty ended Christie’s Olympic nightmare.

After missing out on the 1,500m and 500m last week Christie was skating safe in 1,000m heats.

She appeared to hold meters between her and her competitors, sitting in 4th place for the majority of the race.

Elise Christie (front) Picture: Michael Poole

Elise Christie (front) Picture: Michael Poole

In the final laps a burst of power saw Elise take all three of her opponents charging around the outside of the rink, keeping wide was safe but used immense energy and power.

It just proved the skill this young lady has, taking first position to progress to the quarter-finals.

Ready to prove her worth again Christie held a strong race in the semi-final. Then in a tragic turn of events she clashed with China’s Jianrou Li in the final lap.

Commentators expected an ‘advance’ to be called but gasped when Christie was in fact disqualified.

‘Never in 100 years did I expect to get a penalty for that. I’m confused really. That is the problem with this sport – it’s different referees each time and you have to deal with it.

‘There is no consistency because every referee has a different opinion. I am going to say again, I will always respect the referee’s final decision. I have to accept that anyway as that’s short track but I don’t agree with it.’

Ice dancers Nick Buckland and Penny Coomes enjoyed their final skate of Sochi. 

They rank 11th after their figure skating short programme with a score of 59.33.

It’s an improvement on the 52.93 they posted in the team event – but were again docked a point for holding a lift too long.

Penny and Nick European bronze 2014.

Nick said: ‘It’s frustrating but we still got a lot of points for the lift, we gain more points from it than we lost but you still don’t want to lose a point.

‘We love that lift and nobody has ever done it before but we need to keep working on it so it doesn’t happen again. We train to be perfectionists, so it’s a bit disappointing.’

Going into the Ice Dance their coach told them to just skate their hearts out.

Croomes said that’s exactly what she did: ‘I gave it everything, the crowd really enjoyed it and they were with us and that really gave us a boost.

The pair placed tenth, an improvement of ten places on their Olympic debut at Vancouver 2010.

They scored 91.78 for their free dance, which gave them an overall combined total of 151.11 for tenth place.

‘I gave it everything. I couldn’t feel my legs when I got off. I couldn’t feel my feet, I just wanted to take my skates off.’

Jenna McCorkell ranked 25th in the short programme

Only the top 24 skaters advancing to perform a free skate on Thursday.

Jenna McCorkell

She said: ‘I skated the best I could and I’m not disappointed. I’m pretty pleased, I didn’t land my triple toe loop as perfectly as it could have but all the elements were there and I did my best. I’m happy with how I’ve done here.’

Paula Walker and Rebekah Wilson disappointed in Bobsleigh mistakes

After the opening two runs of the women’s bobsleigh competition at the Sanki Sliding Centre this week Great ranked 12th.

Pushed by debutant Rebekah Wilson, pilot Walker clocked third and fourth runs of 58.88 and 58.60 seconds.

The overall time of 3:54.24 minutes.

Paula Walker

Walker placed 11th on her Olympic debut in Vancouver four years ago.

She sais: ‘No athlete comes in wanting to come 12th at the Olympics but to put it into perspective both Rebekah and I have had a long, long journey in different ways but we have made it to the Olympics and I think we have done ourselves proud.’

She said the track characteristics played a part and took full responsibility as pilot:

‘(They) are such that if you make a mistake before corner six it is game over and I made a monumental mistake between corners two to three.

‘It was only to do with me, nothing to do with Rebekah, and we lost about half a second. On the fourth run we just had to come back and I had to make sure I drove it as best as possible.’

Emma Lonsdale: ‘I’m retiring, that’s it.’

She placed 18th in the women’s halfpipe event.

Lonsdale scored 53.80 from her first run and 53.20 from her second at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park.

Emma Lonsdale

Emma Lonsdale

Despite the excitement she admitted she didn’t do her best:

‘I missed a few grabs, which isn’t ideal, but I tried my hardest under quite a lot of pressure out there.

‘I am happy with my skiing. I have been going kind of insane, skipping around the Olympic village and waving flags for two weeks but it has all been worth it in the end.”

Now Lonsdale, 29, is hanging up the skis: ‘I was going to retire a few years ago and then halfpipe became an Olympic discipline.’

A crash in training left Halfpipe skier Rowan Cheshire with concussion and a night in hospital.

Cheshire had to miss out her competition after she suffered a concussion as a result of a fall in training.

Rowan Cheshire

Rowan Cheshire

She spent Sunday night in hospital under observation.

Team GB medical staff said Cheshire should be allowed more time to fully recover from the injury before returning to competition

Team GB Chief Medical Officer Niall said: ‘With a concussion injury there needs to be a rest period followed by a graduated return to play phase. The time scale is unfortunately too tight for Rowan.’

Ski Halfpipe and Slopestyle Head Coach Pat Sharples said: ‘We are relieved that Rowan is on the mend but naturally upset for her that she won’t be able to compete in Sochi. She is only 18 years old, however, and has a bright future ahead of her. I have no doubt she will back in four years time more determined than ever.’

Cheshire was hugely disappointed and said she felt she was in her best form of the season and had her tricks nailed.

‘After experiencing what it is like to be at an Olympic Games I am determined to be back in four years time and be up there competing for an Olympic medal.’

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HEALTHISTA EATS The best grass-fed steak in London

Our Healthista Eats blogger tried out the best paleo-perfect grass fed steak in London at Restaurant 34 

When it comes to eating out, Mayfair in London is not only one of the most magnificent looking areas to visit (or live if you are lucky enough), but is a rather good destination to dine out in style.

This weekend, as I had been away all of the last one chilling out at a meditation retreat in Sussex, I had barely spent any time with my fiancé, so as he enjoys his food as much as I do, I thought it was about time we went out for rather fabulous dinner.

He is a big fan of a good steak and a few glasses of red, so I did my research and found somewhere that fit the bill and booked us a table at 34 – a sexy, sophisticated grill restaurant founded by Richard Caring of Caprice Holdings, one of London’s most high profile restaurateurs who has made a roaring success of a number of my favorite places to eat, including The Ivy, J Sheekey and Scott’s to name a few. 34, although not brand new, is the most recent addition to his rather tasty collection.

34 - Exterior 1

When it comes to eating steak, as far as I am concerned there is only one way to do it, and that is to do it well.  Although there are now quite a few swanky restaurants around town to tempt you, my main concern is the huge variation in quality of meat that they serve. When it comes to eating beef eating organic and free-range is a far better option.

If any of you have been following, or looked into the Primal/Paleo/Caveman diet, you will know only too well that these guys are into us getting our grass-fed meats. They have certainly done their research and have proven that grass-fed (and ideally organic) meat is naturally reared and will provide us with far superior nutritional value including naturally occurring omega-3 fatty acids for brain and heart health – rather than eating beef from cattle that has been grain-fed a mixture of grass, grain and soy meal to fatten it up fast and/or given growth hormones to accelerate that even more.

It seems the addition of these grains to the cow’s diet can mean that the beef will contain much higher levels of omega 6 fatty acids, (which are already too dominant in our modern diet) and too much omega 6 is not good.  We really need much more of omega 3 fat, which is produced when the cows are fed with grass.

34 Rib eye on grill

Every once in a while I do enjoy arriving somewhere and being greeted by two charming, smart-suited door attendants who happily take your bags, open the door for you and welcome you with a ‘good evening madam’. It’s flattering, I like it a lot and I could just tell from first glance inside that this place meant business.

After coats were whisked away by the cloakroom attendant, I glided behind the maître de, passed the elegant piano bar, through the restaurant to be seated at my immaculately presented table.  Feeling very settled, I just had that wonderful reassuring feeling you get when you know you are being looked after by people that know exactly what they are doing.

Good food is essential, but good service just makes your evening so much better and can make or break a restaurant.  As I anticipated, when my waiter arrived and I asked him in more detail about the menu, he didn’t need to dash off to the kitchen to check with the chef about the ingredients in the dish, or state he would have to get back to me after speaking to the manager – no, this man knew his stuff and delivered the information with total confidence – a true professional.

34 oozed sophistication. Like the others made so famous in Caring’s collection, it has style without having to try too hard.  The interior of the restaurant is not lavish, just pleasant to be in. Light piano music can be heard from the bar and the good acoustics in the restaurant allow you to enjoy your conversation and not be distracted by unwanted noise, or others chatting on the next table.

34 - Table top

One of the things that excited me so much about this restaurant was the parilla grill that they have installed to cook the meat.  The bespoke charcoal grill, also known as a parrilla, is custom-made and imported from Argentina (Argentinians are pretty famous for their steaks, so that is a good start).  The parilla grill is fuelled only with natural charcoal (this is quite unique compared to other restaurants grilling methods), so the flavour of the food cooked is exceptional and also healthy way to cook your meat. The chefs use the grill not only to cook the beef, but also for seasonal game, fish and shellfish.

Oliver (my fiancé) arrived and his face was lit up with a huge smile, he seemed most impressed with this evening’s plan.  After a quick chitchat about our day we discussed the menu and made a mutual decision to both go for the Argentinian steak, sprouted broccoli and spinach sides and a bottle of organic Spanish wine to complete it.

There are a few choices of steak, but the Argentinian beef is from 100 per cent free-range, organic, grass-fed pasture-raised cows.  No antibiotics or hormones are used and the quality is exceptional.

We chose to have our spinach and broccoli steamed and had a side order of olive oil with chili and a little garlic to drizzle over it – yum.

34 - spinach 1

I had ordered steak frites (swapped the frites for broccoli), which came with a béarnaise sauce – which I swapped for the lighter option of the horseradish.

Oliver had the sirloin, which comes sliced up and cooked as requested.  He chose the spicy-smoked BBQ sauce on the side, which was recommended by his healthy eating expert (me) as better than ketchup, which unfortunately he adores.  All sauces (as you should imagine) are homemade with fresh ingredients.

The food arrived and looked incredible. Our steaks were served on beautiful china plates and all sauces and sides in little silver dishes with matching silver cutlery.

The spinach and broccoli were delightful.  I know it does not sound the most exciting of sides, but when cooked well, these two vegetable dishes are so good for you and certainly some of my favorites.

The steak, I must say, was the best I have ever had before in London.  The flavour from the grill was something really special and the taste of the meat was really different from steaks I have had before.  The chefs had cooked it perfectly and each mouthful was even more delicious.

34 - Head Chef Paul Brown

We don’t eat steak out too often, but this was exceptional and we both agreed after the final mouthful that we would certainly be coming back again to try this and other dishes on the menu.

We finished our meal with a sweet treat and chose mango, blackcurrant and winter fruit sorbets.  One is enough to share and is refreshingly good as it contains lots of fruit and not too much sugar to make it too sweet.

Overall, the service, food and whole experience at 34 was perfect.  If you enjoy steak, try the Argentinian. I could not imagine you would not be anything less than seriously impressed as I was if you do.

34 Daphne's Ice Cream - close up

Steaks start from £21.00 and sides around £4.95.  Wine starts from a very reasonable £20.00, and dessert around £7.50.

Address: 34 Grosvenor Square (entrance on South Audley Street)
London W1K 2HD. 
34-restaurant.co.uk 0203 350 34 34


HEALTHISTA EATS At the new Hot Pink Grill where you get healthy versions of naughty foods



HEALTHISTA EATS Designer vegan


HEALTHISTA EATS The 5 best gluten free afternoon teas

HEALTHISTA EATS Quick hot lunch  


charlotteheadshotCHARLOTTE DORMON is our Healthista Eats blogger.  She’s not a chef, or even that much of a cook.  If it’s recipes you’re looking for – you’re in the wrong place.  But whether it’s Sunday lunch or Friday night cocktails, she’s the one friends and family turn to when they want to know how to eat out and be relatively healthy.  Each week she’ll now be bringing you the same insider knowledge.  We’ll drink – and eat – to that. Follow Charlotte on Twitter @lottielurvsu

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Spinach extract reduces sugar cravings and could help you lose weight, new Swedish study finds

New research shows that spinach extract helps curb appetite and sugar cravings, possibly leading to weight loss.

A study by researchers at Lund University in Sweden looked at 30 and 40 overweight people. Half the subjects were given spinach leaf extract and half given a placebo. Professor Charlotte Erlanson-Albertsson, lead researcher of the study, found that after a shot of spinach extract in the morning, subjects felt less hungry and had fewer cravings throughout the day.

The researchers also found that when consumed, spinach extract triggered a release of satiety hormones in the intestines.  Spinach leaf extract, Erlanson-Albertsson said, contains a compound called thylakoid, which can help slow down food digestion making us feel fuller. Unlike modern processed foods which don’t trigger satiety hormones as directly, thylakoids use the entire intestine to break down the food making us feel fuller.

Taking spinach extract is different to consuming regular spinach though. The spinach has to be crushed, filtrated and centrifuged so the thylakoids can be released from the plant’s cells, since our bodies can’t break it down directly from the spinach leaf.

The study subjects found it easier to stick to three meals a day compared to the control group that was given a shot without the substance. The thylakoid group had higher levels of satiety hormones in their blood and more stable glucose levels.

Spinach leaves in a wooden plateDespite this research, she thinks that the powerful effect that thylakoids have can’t be traced to just one of the many ingredients that it contains.

‘It contains hundreds of substances – galactolipids, proteins, vitamin A, E, K, antioxidants, beta-carotene, lutein, and so on,’ Erlanson-Albertsson said.

Another study was conducted in 2013 by the Swedish firm, Greenleaf Medical. They recently released the results from five new human studies that confirm the appetite suppressing and weight loss effects of spinach leaf extract. After patenting the technology from Lund University, they created their own product of spinach extract, called Appethyl, which are still in the stages of research. Fortunately, the product has deemed successful in multiple case studies.

The findings from Greenleaf Medical’s Appethyl case study showed that appetite was significantly reduced four to six hours after ingesting 3.7g to 7.4g of the substance. Hunger and thoughts about food were greatly reduced. Weight loss and fat loss were also increased in another 12 week study using 2.5g twice daily.

Another interesting result that researchers found was that subjects tended to feel better when they took the product, which could be due to the 100 proteins found in the thylakoids. Cravings also were reduced just after the very first dosage.

Watch for spinach extract on the market if you want to kick your sugar cravings to the curb – and possibly shed some unwanted pounds. In Healthista’s humble opinion, taking a shot of

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30-Minute Cook: SUPER SALMON

Exhausted by dinner-time but still want a healthy meal? Our new blogger, Carole Beck, will be sharing her favourite healthy 30-minute meals every fortnight. This week’s culinary adventure: fuss-free but speedy ways with salmon fillets. 

After getting home from work, and once I’ve put the kids in bed, I often whack on some salmon for a mid-week dinner. It’s tasty, filling and I love the way it cooks quickly with minimal faffing about with bones or fishy odours. Midweek, I really don’t want to deal with the lingering smells of sardines or mackerel.

Then there’s the health aspect. Like many people, I’m keen to hit my oily fish quota every week. Oily fish is a good source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which aid in brain development in children and protect the heart. The UK’s Food Standards Agency currently recommends that we eat two portions of fish a week, at least one of which should be oily, for example, salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines, pilchards or fresh tuna.

Some weeks I eat trout or fish pie, but mainly I stick to salmon as it’s so easy to prepare when you’re so tired and hungry after a long day battling with work and your commute, reading bedtime stories and cajoling small kids into bed.

But the trouble is that anything you eat regularly can get boring.

So with this in mind, I’ve been testing out different recipes to make a fillet of salmon a tad more exciting, while still making sure that it’ll be on your plate within 30 minutes. And with minimal fuss too.

Harissa and yoghurt salmon

Harissa and yoghurt salmon

This is based on a recipe I found in the Waitrose Kitchen magazine. I like this served with couscous, plus natural yoghurt on the side, as the marinade can be quite spicy.

Serves 2

Preparation time 24 minutes (including marinating time)

Cooking time 4 to 6 minutes

1 tbsp harissa paste
Juice of half a lemon
100g Greek-style natural yoghurt
2 salmon fillets

Mix the harissa, lemon juice and yoghurt in a large dish. Season. Add the salmon fillets to the mix, and leave to marinate for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, use this time to boil a kettle to make stock and prepare couscous according to packet instructions, plus some veg.

Once the 20 minutes is up, heat half tablespoon oil over a medium heat in a frying pan. Scrape off the excess marinade from the fish. Lay the fillets flesh-side down and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.


Chilli, lemon and pepper salmon

chilli, pepper and lemon salmon

This one has been inspired by Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Crispy Salmon from his book Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals: A Revolutionary Approach to Cooking Good Food Fast
My version works well for those nights when you are too exhausted to do his extra twiddly bits. (That’s most week nights as far as I’m concerned.)

Serves 2

Preparation time 10 mins
Cooking time 20 minutes

2 salmon fillets
1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and sliced
2 fresh red chillies, sliced
1 lemon, zest finely grated
Salt and pepper to season
Olive oil
Turn on the oven to 175 °C. Pour a drizzle of olive oil into a roasting pan, and lay the salmon in the pan. Pour another drizzle of olive oil on to the salmon and sprinkle the lemon zest and chilli on top. Make sure you rub the flavours in to the fish as well. Season. Turn the fish so that it’s skin side up and arrange the roasted red peppers around it in the pan.

Pop it in the oven for 20 minutes, or you can alternatively grill it for that length of time too. While it’s cooking, you can prepare some salad or veg and rice or quinoa.


Salmon wrapped in Parma ham

Salmon fillet wrapped in Parma ham

With the fastest preparation time, this is my go-to dish if we want a super-fast salmon dish. And it’s perfect for meat-eaters who are reluctant to give up their carnivorous fix.

Serves 2

Preparation time 2 minutes
Cooking time 20 minutes

2 salmon fillets
4 to 6 slices of Parma ham

Turn on the oven to 175 °C. While it’s heating up, wrap two to three slices of Parma ham around each fillet, so that it’s nearly covered.

Put it in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes. (Check with a skewer that it’s done first.) That’s it. This one goes well served with puy lentils or new potatoes, and salad.


Carole BeckCarole is a health and parenting journalist, and has three children, aged seven, five and two. She lives in London, and writes a blog at Healthier Mummy about trying to lead a healthier family life. Follow her at @healthiermummy.


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No sugar for 90 days blog – Day 2

The jackhammer in her head continues while friends gasp at the mere idea of giving up sugar and she discovers balsamic vinegar is sugary. Anna Magee’s second day sugar-free still hurts

’90 days?!! Are you serious? I couldn’t last 90 minutes?’ commented my friend Cliff on Facebook yesterday when  I posted about this experiment which I grant him, is fairly idiotic.  The day was filled with comments and emails of this ilk. ‘Wow, 90 days. I salute you but I ain’t joining you, I’ve been eating cakes all day at the Natural Products Show – they’re organic so it doesn’t matter,’ said another friend.

I did wonder why I was doing this, as the jackhammer in my temple got worse and seemed to move into my third eye, drilling away all day.  Then I remembered how much I want even energy and moods, better sleep and skin – the things the sugar-free fascists say I will gain if I do this. Even now – up since 4.15am unable to sleep through again (I am an early riser waking at 5.30 most days but this is ridiculous) – as I sit here writing this my head is aching. But I don’t want to replace a sugar addiction with Panadol dependency so am not taking anything.

Along with being headachy, I am confused about what I can and can’t eat. On hand I have the purists advising me to go 100 per cent clean and not replace or eat any sugar for the first ten days. They’re talking about any kind, even the kind that is natural found not only in fruits but in milk or balsamic vinegar. I mean really, no alcohol, cigarettes, sugar or balsamic vinegar? Why live? I kind of know these people are right: if the experiment is to be real I need a real methodology so the results aren’t skewed.

Balsamic Vinegar

Is life without balsamic vinegar worth living?

On the other hand I have the moderates, who suggest that while I am weaning myself off I have the odd bit of fruit and not worry about sugars in milk etc. For example, yesterday  I crowdsourced answers from that great oracle of truth – Twitter -about what to eat  before the gym. Up to now I have been having USN Watermelon BCAA Power Punch, a powder that mixes with water into an intensely sweet drink which is sweetened with sucralose. That’s Splenda , an artificial sweetener seen as if-fy by experts and I suspect not exactly on the no-sugar menu. It’s one of those powders body builders take pre-training (I know, I am hard core, right) but super-trainer Matt Hodges suggested I take it pre-workout to help my muscles recover. It really works but now I can’t have it, apparently. I used to have half a banana, but now was thinking: sugar! Then, leading dietician Rick Miller tweeted me saying a banana pre-gym is fine if I am training and doing mixture of cardio and resistance (which I am) because it will be quickly burnt off.

So here I am, drinking tea with milk after eating half a banana pre-gym. Oddly, after my tea and banana, the headache is not gone but a little better.

Oh and BIG observation from yesterday. I didn’t get anywhere near as hungry between breakfast and lunch. I waited until 2pm for to eat! In the office, intern Alexa Tucker and I tried some armchair dietetics on working out why and decided it might be something to do with not eating any fruit with breakfast?


Yesterday’s eating (don’t judge me!):

AM: Whole porridge made with almond milk, sea salt, mixed seeds and a teaspoon of butter.

Lunch: Two cups of raw veggies with about 150 grams chicken breast, five olives and five Brazil nuts.

6pm: Two boiled eggs (they said eat more protein instead of sugar, I was working back and I wanted Maltesers!)

9pm: Small apple and whole porridge made with almond milk, sea salt, mixed seeds and a teaspoon of butter (don’t even ask, it was late).

Plus, About five cups of tea with skimmed milk.

Ah, skimmed milk. Karrine, a reader commented  yesterday that I should have whole milk instead as the fats keep you satisfied. Then another said milk is full of sugar anyway.

So – here’s the plan. I am going to freestyle my way through the no-sugar thing in this first week and then on Saturday sit down and make a few decisions about the rules. So if you have suggestions, send them this week!

As a journalist I always feel the need to bring the reader answers – a happy ending of sorts – with the pieces I write. But this blog is throwing up so many questions I am scared we’re all going to get super-confused and run for the nearest Yorkie bar. So each day, I will write a list (ooh, we love a list) about what I learned the day before.

What I learned yesterday about giving up sugar:

1. Sugar is in everything, even mayonnaise and Balsamic vinegar and milk (weep)

2. Protein really does curb your appetite so eating chicken breast, eggs, nuts etc at meals or as snacks helps stop cravings.

3. If you give up sugar you will have a headache. I still can’t tell you when this will end.

4. As an idea, giving up sugar makes people freak out. I am hearing them. I now have no way of quickly self-medicating my emotions. This is terrifying.

Any more tips? PLEASE! I clearly need them…

More in the No sugar for 90 days blog series

Day 1: Sugar addict’s methodone

 Why would you give up sugar for 90 days?



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5 BEST Red lips for red-phobics

As summer draws near, we’re buffing our bodies and prepping our faces.  One of our favorite trends? The red lip. We’ve tried and tested spring’s hottest red lipsticks for this upcoming season

Winter has us all run down. We’re tired, bored, drab. What better way to spice up any day than with a hot red lip? If you’re feeling post winter pasty and/or red-lip phobic, we have rounded up some of the best red lipsticks on the market that look great with any complexion. Whether on a date night or out with the girls, we have handpicked the best reds.

Best for STATEMENT LIPS (with moisture)

Oriflame Colour Drop in Liquid Red, £7.95


Oriflame’s latest collection, Colour Drop Lipstick, comes in eight shades and promises perfectly glossy, intensely colorful and moisturizing lips that last throughout the day or night. This is the world’s first lipstick to imitate the contours of a woman’s lips for perfectly even coverage. The tube is slimmer and has a pointed tip for perfect application.

Tester says:
‘This lipstick is to die for! The Oriflame Colour Drop Lip in Liquid Red is perfect for a night out on the town. It goes on easy, with no drag, almost like a moisturizing chapstick or lip gloss and stays throughout the night, even while drinking, eating and chatting. The liquid red color is incredibly bright and doesn’t smudge at all. We loved this lipstick because it was light and moisturizing and didn’t feel like a heavy lipstick… and it didn’t dry out after an hour. The lipstick is also super creamy and provides coverage. Not to mention, the tube does actually follow the contours of your lips for perfect coverage that you don’t have to clean up after. For the summer months this is perfect because it acts as both a moisturizing balm AND a lipstick.’


Bobbi Brown Creamy Matte Lip Color in Scarlet, £19.00

bobbi brown matte

Inspired by looks she was creating for Fashion Week, Bobbi Brown’s Creamy Matte Lip Color in Scarlet is the perfect pop of color for any event. This revolutionary lipstick combines a sophisticated look with impressive wearability. The lipstick promises an eight hour staying power and glides on comfortably with a light-as-air feel. The creamy, matte texture allows natural beauty to shine right through.

Tester says:
‘This lipstick is incredibly creamy and light. The matte look is super trendy right now, making this the perfect, high-end summer lipstick. I trust Bobbi Brown because of her high quality make-up and this is no different. Wearing this lipstick provided a sophisticated look and is even more perfect for a medium-skin tone. I loved this because it goes on incredibly smooth and acts almost as a stain.’


Susan Posnick ColorEssential Lipstick in Milan, £18.50

susan posnick milan

Susan Posnick’s new ColorEssential Lipstick is a unique formula that adapts to your own lip color, making it your own personal shade. It promises a deep, moisturizing color that complements every woman’s skin tone, and has the texture of a lip balm. It has olive oil for a moisture and is infused with Paracress, a South African plant with antioxidant properties that continually rehydrate lips throughout your wear. There are three amazing red colors: Milan, London and Tokyo – all slightly different variations of a hot red lip to wear out and about. Milan is a rich, red color that mimics the sophistication of Italy’s fashion capital.

Tester says:
‘I’ve always thought red lipsticks weren’t for me but the texture of this lipstick is divine, it doesn’t dry or flake. The colour is a sophisticated ‘screen goddess’ kind of red that I thought I could never wear but applied with a lip pencil I could control and layer the colour so it was gentle on my olive complexion. I wore it to meetings and felt more confident’.


Lavera Beautiful Lips Lipstick in Wild Cherry, £11.15


The deep cherry red tones of Lavera’s organic lipstick will keep your lips satisfied with long lasting results. This intense red lip is made with organic ingredients and natural essential oils to keep your lips hydrated all day long. The lipstick includes Organic Cocoa Butter and Shea Butter that provide nourishment to your lips by creating moisturized, soft and smooth lips.

Tester says:
‘I love how natural this lipstick is. It was super moisturizing to the touch and my lips felt like I was wearing a lip balm all night. I did have to reapply the lipstick every one or two hours to intensify the color, but it did have a fairly long lasting wear – especially during dinner, chatting with friends and having drinks. The Wild Cherry color was absolutely beautiful and perfect for a date night or night out with friends.’


Dior Addict Lipstick in Red Catwalk, £22.90

dior addict

Dior Addict Lipstick is the ultimate fashion accessory between Dior and its addicts. This lipstick embodies all things couture. The lipstick is easy to wear and comes in a multitude of exciting, fashionable shades. The lipstick is incredibly high-shine and consists of 25% less wax than a classic lipstick, but instead contains a reflecting gel. This new lipstick also provides intense plumping hydration to plump the lips, while intensifying shine and enhancing color.

Tester says:
‘I love this product, it comes with tonnes of colour but with the texture of a lip balm so you never feel like you’re wearing lipstick. The shade is a light clay red making it perfect for long days spent at the markets or at brunch with friends’.

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Brit crowned European Taekwondo Champion and first ever Brit pro women’s cycling race kicks off

First ever British professional women’s cycling race kicks off this week and a Brit crowned European Taekwondo Champion,  Adele Norris reports on the week in women’s sport


British Cycling confirms riders to represent the Great Britain Cycling Team in the 2014 Friends Life Women’s Tour which takes place from 7-11 May.

Two-time junior road world champion Lucy Garner will be joined by current team pursuit world champion Katie Archibald and supported by a young group of riders mostly made up from British Cycling’s Olympic Academy Programme.

Lucy Garner said: ‘I can’t wait to race in the UK, particularly around roads so close to my home. The route looks like it could suit me and it would be great to win a stage on home ground. I’m looking forward to wearing the Great Britain colours in front of a home crowd too – I think that will feel pretty special.’

Lucy Garner, pic: Twitter: @Lucygarner94

The Women’s Tour is Britain’s first ever professional women’s stage race. It will take place over five stages and has attracted a field of the world’s top women cyclists.

It comes as women’s domestic cycling is on the increase in the UK, one of the targets of British Cycling’s strategy to get one more million women cycling by 2020.

According to British Cycling the number of female British Cycling licence holders has increased by 23% in the last year with a 44% increase in the number of women-only road races and a 66% increase in the number of circuit races between 2012 and 2013.

Team manager Darren Tudor said: ‘I think the Friends Life Women’s Tour will be an interesting race for the Great Britain team that we’re entering. Lucy Garner is making a real impact on the professional women’s road scene and I think she could be in with a chance here, given the nature of the course.

‘She will be supported by Katie Archibald who has enjoyed recent success on the track and in national road races, so I think she will be a great help to Lucy.

‘In addition, we have selected four young riders who will benefit greatly from the experience of working for Lucy and I think they will learn a lot from racing against world-class riders such as Lizzie Armitstead, Marianne Vos and Emma Johansson. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to gain this experience in the UK.’

Katie Archibald, part of the team. pic: Twitter: @babbyarchie

The Friends Life Women’s Tour takes place from 7th to 11th May 2014, starting from Oundle in Northamptonshire and finishing in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. The race will also pass through Leicestershire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Essex during the five stages, with highlights on ITV4 at 9pm each evening.

Great Britain Cycling Team for The Women’s Tour:

Katie Archibald
Lucy Garner
Emily Kay
Amy Hill
Ciara Horne
Hayley Jones

The current World Cup leader, Lizzie Armistead has several targets for 2014, including the Friends for Life Tour.

Lizzie secured Team GB’s London 2012 silver medal in the road race but endured a frustrating and injury-plagued 2013.

Now the reigning British champion sits atop the World Cup standings on 160 points after a first and three second-place finishes in the first four events.

But Armistead told Team GB that other events will take precedence over the World Cup this year.

PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM - Cycling - 2013 British Cycling National Road Race Championships - Glasgow, Scotland - 23/06/13 - Lizzie Armitstead of Boels Dolmans CT wins the Women's Race.

PICTURE BY VAUGHN RIDLEY/SWPIX.COM – Cycling – 2013 British Cycling National Road Race Championships – Glasgow, Scotland – 23/06/13 – Lizzie Armitstead of Boels Dolmans CT wins the Women’s Race.

The 25-year-old is missing out the Chinese round to concentrate on the Friends Life Women’s Tour.

She will also miss round six in Germany to focus on the Commonwealth Games.

‘It’s funny how it goes but the World Cup itself wasn’t really a target at all, although we had our eyes on one of two of the races in particular, and yet it has gone very well so far,’ Armistead told TheTour.co.uk.

‘The Commonwealth Games and the World Championships  are strong personal goals this season, the Women’s Tour and the La Course one day race on the last day of the Tour de France, which finishes on the Champs Elysees, are going to be very big and high profile events for my team Boels Dolmans.

‘The fact is that 2012 was a huge year for me, mentally and physically, and I probably paid the price a bit in 2013 when there was a lot of accumulated fatigue and I picked up a few injury niggles.

‘There was no panic though, I knew what was happening so come the winter I took the chance to relax and really rest first before starting to quietly work away though the winter.

‘I started the season very fresh but what I probably couldn’t anticipate so much was that I would be in such good form.

‘There are no plans yet to change my programme so I will race an abbreviated World Cup schedule and if that is enough to win the title, all well and good.

‘I certainly won’t be going to China, which starts just a couple of days after the Women’s Tour which became a big priority for me as soon as it was announced and then I will definitely miss another round when the Commonwealth Games are on. The Road race in Glasgow is a big target although racing in La Course will rule out any track racing.’


Former world champion Mhairi Spence made her comeback from injury at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Hungary this week.

Spence, the 2012 world champion and London Olympian, hasn’t competed internationally since the 2013 World Championships in Chinese Taipei in August.

It was after an ankle injury.

Mhairi Spence pic: Twitter: @MhairiSpence

She returned among the five-strong Great Britain team heading to Kecskemét for the event that started on May 1.

‘It’s great to be back competing after injury,’ Spence said. ‘I wouldn’t be back here now without the help and support of Lottery Funding and those who play the Lottery.’

Joining Spence was Alice Fitton, the 19-year-old set to make her Modern Pentathlon World Cup debut.

Spence was a member of Britain’s gold medal winning women’s team relay trio and finishing ninth in the individual competition at last year’s World Junior Championships at Székesfehérvár.

Kate French completes the trio of British women in Kecskemét while the young GB pairing.


London 2012 Olympians Rebecca Tunney and Hannah Whelan to lead Britain’s women’s team at next month’s European Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Sofia.

Tunney and Whelan won double European bronze in 2012.

They head up a five-strong team that also includes world finalist Ruby Harrold and Rebecca Downie.

Twitter: @Rebecca_Tunney

Claudia Fragapane completes the squad of five making her major senior championship debut.


Claire Hamilton to leave Eve Muirhead’s Olympic bronze medallist curling team.

Hamilton was part of  skip Muirhead’s team at the recent Winter Games with Anna Sloan and Vicki Adams.

The 25-year-old helped the rink secure European gold in 2011 before taking the world title two years later.

In Sochi they became the youngest rink ever to take home an Olympic medal when they defeated Switzlerland 6-5 with the final stone of the bronze medal match.

Claire Hamilton pic: Twitter: @claire_hammy

That bronze was Britain’s first curling medal since Rhona Martin led her rink to the Olympic title in 2002.

Now Hamilton has made the decision to step away from the team to pursue other interests.

‘I’m hugely proud that as a curler I realised my ambition of being world champion and an Olympic medallist,’ she said.

‘Before the new Olympic cycle starts I feel that it is the right time for me to move on and explore some other ideas.

‘The Olympics inspired a real passion in me for the world of sport and I want to investigate what other options are out there.

‘I have loved being part of Team Muirhead and would like to thank the girls for the fantastic opportunities and experiences that being part of the team has brought me.’

Meanwhile, curler Rhona Howie is said to be absolutely devastated by the theft of her Olympic curling gold medal from a museum in Dumfries.

Howie skipped Team GB to gold at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and coached Eve Muirhead’s rink to the bronze in Sochi.

Around £34,000 of sports memorabilia was stolen from the museum.

She said: ‘So many youngsters have got to touch and see the medal and this has inspired them to go on to take up curling or aspire to do well in sport or life in some way.’

‘The medal is not only mine, it is all of Scotland’s and was on display in the Dumfries museum so that everyone can share it.

‘After such a fantastic year for the sport and with the Commonwealth Games rapidly approaching, this is an ice cold bitter blow for me, my country and the traditional 500 year old Scottish sport I have loved my whole life.

‘What is even worse is the theft of the historic 1924 curling medal and other items also.

‘I would directly appeal to those who have taken this to return it. It is very sentimental to me personally and I have had the pleasure of sharing the medal with so many Scottish and English people since I won it with the Stone of Destiny in Salt Lake City in 2002.’


Bianca Walkden has been crowned European champion at the European Taekwondo Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan

The 22-year-old Brit claimed her first ever European Championship gold in style, beating world title holder Olga Ivanova in the +73kg final to be crowned champion.

Walkden beat Russian Ivanova 6-2 in the showpiece.

Bianca Walkden pic: Twitter: @BiancaW_tkd

‘It’s amazing to be European champion,’ she said. ‘I could always win Open events. I reckon it’s 16 and counting. However, I could never do it at a major until now.

‘And because I’ve beaten the world number one in the final, comfortably, I am buzzing.

‘I had a really good Polish girl (Aleksandra Kowalczuk) in the quarter-final but was losing 2-1 going into the last 20 seconds.

‘But I just thought ‘I’m not losing this’ and I attacked and won 8-2. I was comfortable in my semi-final as I was in the final.

‘Hopefully, I can get a lot more gold medals at a major but it’s step-by-step.

‘I want to take all this in and then start collecting enough ranking points to get to Rio 2016. I want to have another gold medal around my neck in two years time.’

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5 BEST fitness gear on a budget

Strapped for cash? Healthista’s Kit Diva brings you the inside track where to shop for fit kit when you’re on a budget and handpicks star pieces under £50

Retailers now realise that that your gym kit needn’t cost the earth to make a fashion statement. Let me tell you there are lots of gems out there that won’t leave a massive hole in your pocket but will still have you looking fitness fashion ready. Check out my five best beautiful bits of kit under £50 and where to shop for fitness gear that won’t squeeze your overdraft.


kit 6Primark, that Mecca of throw away fashion, the place where you can go to with £20 and get a couple of on-trend pieces and still leave with change, has now branched out into sportswear and it aint half bad.  I’ve bought a few pieces from their core workout range and they have all passed my check list with flying colours: fashionable, affordable, and wash well.  In fact, when I wore their grey marl slouchy yoga tee to training the other day somebody asked me if it was from Sweat Betty it looked that good!  I also have the pilates/yoga grip socks which are a snip at a couple of quid I’ve seen these sell for £20 in some places, just for socks with rubber on them.

What I am currently crushing on though is their new fashion leopard print range which just dropped in stores to complement the workout range that runs through the season.  I can particularly see myself in the leopard print leggings with matching crop top.  Ladies you’ve got to admit they are pretty stylish and lovely on the pocket.  Now before you all start to make a beeline for your nearest store you need to know that these pieces don’t have any major performance in them, probably a bit of anti wicking in them and that it and to be honest at that price point you can’t really grumble.

Leopard Print Leggings £8, Leopard print crop top £4 Primark stockist number 01189606300


kit 7I’ve been a fan of Canadian label LIJA since they dropped their first collection on these shores last year.   It’s one of the few labels that have really managed to strike the perfect balance between fashion, function and affordability, and their eye for adding little bits of stylish details to their pieces is second to none.  They stand out from the hum drum of other fitwear labels that either skimp on fashion for the sake of function or vice versa – us ladies need both and done in a stylish way thank you!

I have several pieces from LIJA and have noticed that most come with little features like I-pod pocket, reflective panels and/or adjustable waist bands as standard and because it looks so good (often mirroring key catwalk trends) and their use of great fabrics it’s a wonder that they still manage to have so many great pieces that come in under £50 like this gorgeous tee.

Get your LIJA Raspberry Breathe Tee (£40) here.


kit 8H&M Sport has been quietl and slowly building up its sportswear range over the years and was probably one of the first of the high street chains (along with Gap, see below) to delve into the sportswear market.  I always found H&M a good place to get your workout wardrobe basics – cover ups, long tees and on the odd occasion I have bought a nice low impact sports bra from their range.  The thing is, I think that the secret is now out about this range, which used to be a little secret amongst instructors, because when I always go into the shop I can’t seem to find any stock.  I’ve taken to going online these days and have unearthed some new fashion treasures such as this Outdoor Jacket, which is an online exclusive – perfect for ladies like me that train or teach outside.  It is windproof with a hood, elastic drawstring cord at the waist and hem, and comes with ventilation holes under the arms and at the back too.  I think it’s pretty stylish too.

Get your H&M Outdoor Jacket (£39.99) here.

Mango Sport

kit 9Mango do sportswear? I hear you ask. Yes, and I was just as shocked as you to find this out on a stroll down Regent Street, but like I said before, this trend is big news and everybody wants a piece of the pie.  The Mango Sport collection dropped in A/W 2013 as a capsule collection alongside its Intimates range encompassing pieces for fitness, running and yoga.  I have only seen a few bits from this collection but what I have seen looks lovely and really takes on board Mango’s philosophy to offer quality fashion at an affordable price. All garments, like this zip up bra, are flattering, feminine and high quality.  When the word gets out about this range fitness fashionistas will be all over it and with plans to expand the existing collection of gillets, leggings, tees and tanks I think it might time to head down to your local store.

Get your Mango Bra Top (£19.99) here.

Gap Sport

kit 10I’ve been loving Gap Sport from when I first trained as personal trainer over five years ago. In my humble opinion Gap offers the best on the high street for function at a decent price and they truly get the fact ladies that train come in all shapes and sizes too. Check these gFast leggings for example; the amount of tech in them is crazy at their price point.  Four-way stretch  fabric (ladies you haven’t lived until you try this fabric) for ease of movement and keeping shape retention, contoured seams, smooth waist band with interior ties and hidden locker key pocket.  The cut (see they have even thought about a woman’s body shape) is designed to hug your curves, amen, and the high rise means there is no danger of your muffin top, if you have one, ever spilling out mid sit-up.  They are designed to survive the toughest of workouts including TRX and spinning. All of which is part of their ‘new fit, fabric and feel’ that they have included in all their performance pants.  Every woman that trains should go check out their range trust me you won’t be disappointed

Get your GapFit gFast Logo Leggings (£19.99 in sale) here.


Kit Diva also blogs at kicksandkit.com. Find out about her training at after9fitness.com.

Kit Diva also blogs at kicksandkit.com. Find out about her training at after9fitness.com.


– See more at: http://www.healthista.com/body/5-best-spring-running-picks/#sthash.XC5uajKw.dpuf

Kit Diva also blogs at kicksandkit.com. Find out about her training at after9fitness.com.


– See more at: http://www.healthista.com/body/5-best-spring-running-picks/#sthash.XC5uajKw.dpuf

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6 healthy kitchen shortcuts

Exhausted by dinner-time but still wanting a healthy meal, our 30-Minute Cook blogger Carole Beck tried time-saving kitchen shortcuts to shave vital minutes off prep time without compromising on nutritional punch

This week, I’ve been trialling handy food helpers, for when you’re too ravenous to make a healthy meal completely from scratch.  There are lots of different kitchen shortcut options. Here are some of my discoveries:

1. Very Lazy Crushed Garlic With Oil 

5012818192360_T1No need to get out your knife or garlic crusher with this one: just open the jar. It does feel like cheating when you scoop out a helping of chopped garlic – one teaspoon equals one clove of garlic – but you soon get over it. I thought the garlic had a rounded, aromatic flavour, and, to be honest, I couldn’t tell that it wasn’t freshly chopped. £1.80, available in Tesco and Waitrose

2. McCain Microwave Ready Baked Jackets

McCain JacketsIf you love jacket potatoes with crispy skin, but hate cooking them in a microwave because of the soggy results, try these. Five minutes in the microwave and you get a dark jacket potato with a great bite.They were a little lighter on potato on the inside than I would have liked, but they’re healthy and salt-free – baked with a touch of sunflower oil. They’re frozen so a brilliant standby meal or quick kids’ tea. Packs of two, £1.65, pack of four, £2.50. Available from stockists nationwide.

3. Uncle Ben’s Classic Wholegrain Rice

250g RTH Wholegrain rice

This is a great emergency fix when you really can’t wait the 27 minutes or so that it takes to cook proper brown rice from scratch, but prefer whole grains. This pack is zapped in the microwave in just two minutes, and I enjoyed the taste with my curry. It does contain a smidge of salt and sunflower oil, and was slightly less nutty than my normal wholegrain rice, but it’s really useful for work lunches or to keep on hand in the cupboard. £1.69, available from stores nationwide

4. Vini & Bal’s Rustic Indian Curry Sauce in Jeera

Jeera Front Shot

The ingredients list on this cook-in sauce reads as though you’ve just cooked it up yourself – a long list of spices, tomato and onion, with not a sniff of an E-number, preservative or salt. I followed the pack instructions to create a chicken curry, which cooked in 20 minutes, with minimal effort from me. And the taste? I loved it. It creates a really fresh-tasting authentic curry. £2.79, from the chilled meat and poultry section in Sainsburys, Ocado and Booths.

5. Merchant Gourmet Mixed Grains

mixed grainsYou know those days when you’re fed up of rice or pasta, but still want something delicious and filling on the side of your plate? This Mixed Grains pouch will fit the bill – it contains a blend of wholewheat, toasted soy flakes, lentils and red quinoa, giving it a nutty, satisfying flavour which went perfectly with my butternut squash stew. It’s also low in salt, and I like its speed – just one minute in the microwave. £1.99, available from stockists nationwide.

6. Any frozen veg

Frozen Tomato, Asparagus, Peas And CauliflowerI didn’t want to make this list without a shout-out to frozen vegetables, without which we would be tied to the chopping board much more. From chopped onion and butternut squash to peas, runner beans and broad beans, they are a saviour.

Disclosure: Carole was sent some of these products to trial.

Read more from the 30-Minute Cook:

Baked sea bass, filleted and cooked in a paper packet

5-minute meals from dietitians


Vegetarian Indian thali

Carole BeckCarole is a health, parenting and food journalist, and has three children, aged eight, five and two. She lives in London, and writes a blog at Healthier Mummy about trying to lead a healthier family life. Follow her at @healthiermummy.


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10 BEST Medical websites

A fifth of Brits turn to Google for a diagnosis more than their doctors, according to a report from The Medical Accident group in March this year.  But how can you tell if the information you’re connected to is reliable and factual? After much deliberation with medics and consultant specialists, Anna Magee has handpicked Dr Google’s finest


NHS Choices

nhs choices

Contains up to date and reliable information on a vast range of conditions that can be searched alphabetically and a useful ‘Find a GP’ service.  It’s also particularly good for heart disease information, which is still the biggest killer of men and women in the UK.

What it’s best for:

Advice for prevention.  It’s useful for all conditions but particularly again for heart disease, for clear and detailed information on alcohol for example where it spells out what a unit is, the kinds of exercise and diet pointers for prevention or if you already have a heart condition.  It also lists the right kinds of tests for blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes you need.


web MD

Although its basis is American where it’s produced, it offers the full range of treatments available for conditions that’s technical and scientific but also readable.  You can log onto the UK version at webmd.boots.com and this is overseen by UK doctors and lists treatment options available on the NHS – it’s sponsored by Boots but the information is independently produced and reviewed by a medical team.  It doesn’t entertain any pet health theories that have no evidence to back them up which is why doctors rate it.

What it’s best for:

The facts. WebMD is like a medical student textbook explained to a non-medical audience.  That means it’s great for lists of symptoms and treatments options for just about every condition you could think of.  It also reports on health news with a balanced approach, referencing where studies appeared and seeking different opinions on them.  Likewise, it takes a practical approach to health issues, for example by suggesting questions to ask your doctor on certain common conditions such as cholesterol or diabetes.

The Mayo Clinic

mayo clinic

It’s always bang up to date with all the latest treatment information for patients and if you want it – and some patients want more detail than others – it lists all the references used in each story so you’re reassured the information is not only current but scientifically valid.  It’s American, but most health information translates well to the UK patient.  To check what treatments are available on the NHS cross-reference with a site such as patient.co.uk or webmd.boots.com.

What it’s best for:

The wide range of treatments from medical to lifestyle.  It doesn’t skimp on explaining medical conditions and procedures often using animations and videos to explain tougher concepts for example, LASIK eye surgery.  But it also provides useful lifestyle information for mind and body from how to adopt a well rounded fitness routine to recognizing Empty Nest Syndrome in yourself and what to do about it.  It also has a great Symptoms Checker in which you pick your key symptom for example, wheezing, and then you are asked to check your secondary symptoms.  It goes on to point out possible causes and associated factors to look for to help you get an idea of what it might be.  It’s not a replacement for your doctor by any means but it is comprehensive.


British Heart Foundation


Centred around the heart disease patient and their families, it provides services to help them understand their conditions as well as help with fund-raising and a community where people can connect and swap with others that are going through similar situations. There’s also good stuff on prevention on there (it’s still the biggest killer of women in the UK by far).

What it’s best for:

Explaining heart conditions.  Heart disease comes in many different forms and these can be confusing.  Whether you have an abnormal heart rhythm, angina, atrial  fibrillation or heart failure, the BHF website is great for explaining them in layman’s terms without compromising on the medical details you need to know.  They make a series of downloadable booklets on conditions that are also given out in clinics.  Furthermore, they also clearly explain tests and procedures from a pacemaker, to surgery or an angiogram.


The IBS Network

ibs network

IBS affects one in ten people and even if they don’t have it many people have symptoms and wonder if they do.  It gives a user-friendly approach to the factors to look for in yourself that can help your doctor diagnose it as many medics don’t always spot it (or have much idea about its treatment).

What it’s best for:

Tracking symptoms. It provides useful symptoms diaries that require you to list symptoms symptoms in objective ways that can not only help identify the sorts of lifestyle issues, foods or practices that might cause your symptoms to flare up but also provide an objective tool to show your doctor.  It also explains typical reactions to treatment options,  plus which particular types of IBS symptoms – there are many – respond best to which treatments.


The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists’ website for patients

royal college

All the information is written by gynaecologists and then reviewed by the RCOG’s Women’s Network, a team of women who proof read it to ensure it’s user-friendly and makes sense to ordinary women.

What it’s best for:

How to recover from surgery and gynaecological conditions.  Not only does the site provide the medical evidence for treatments for conditions such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome and prolapse it was created to provide information on the conditions and to help them to recover well from them.   It can be a difficult to navigate though.  If you want comprehensive information leaflets and booklets for recovering well from a procedure, you may need to search for it in the search bar after which your many information options will come up.

The Menopause Society’s information site

womens health concern

Although it provides independent information on all aspects of women’s health conditions, it’s particularly good for providing a wide breadth of information and options about menopause, its symptoms and the variety of medical and alternative therapies that may help.

What it’s best for:

Independent and unbiased information. It’s overseen by a medical advisory panel of highly respected specialist doctors and nurses who work everyday in the women’s health arena and it offers in-depth fact sheets that give the whole story on confusing issues such as the health risks of HRT.  It also has an email or phone advice service where, for a £10 donation, you can receive unbiased advice and have your own questions answered on anything related to gynaecological, reproductive or sexual health.


The New Zealand Dermatological Society

derm net

It probably seems odd to recommend a site from New Zealand but this one is incredible (and skin is skin, right?).  The information is clearly laid out and accurate plus most treatments they mention are available in the UK making it relevant to a UK audience and more comprehensive than anything of its kind in Britain (any british derms reading this, could be an opening for you?).

What it’s best for:

Seeing what a skin condition looks like.  The images it includes of dermatological conditions can be upsetting. Conversely, it means you get an image of a condition and can compare it to what is happening to you.



neuro symptoms

About a third of people that neurologists see have physical symptoms as a result of psychological problems and this explains why you get physical symptoms when what you may have is a psychological condition. It’s written by John Stone, a highly respected neurologist in Edinburgh and comes with real medical authority – it’s been translated to nine languages and is used by neurologists all over the world.

What it’s best for:

Clearly explaining psychosomatic symptoms, that is, those physical symptoms that may look like a severe neurological disorder but are psychological.  This can be anything from blackouts and tremors to tingling down one side but could also be someone who may think they have epileptic fits.  What they’re having may look like epileptic fits but they are in fact physical manifestations of psychological distress called various things such as ‘non-epileptic attacks’ or ‘dissociative convulsions’.  This site makes the distinction clear and easy to understand.  Plus, you can better understand what’s happening to you not only by reading about the condition but also hearing the other people’s experiences featured on the site.

Parkinson’s Disease Society


High quality, up-to-date and well maintained this site is a brilliant resource about a relatively common condition (one person in 500 has it) and contains a wealth of medical information that is reliable.

What it’s best for:

Information for anyone who has just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease along with clear guidelines and emotional help for carers.  One of their mottos is ‘No one should have to face Parkinson’s alone’ and the support that you can access through the site is one of its key strengths.  There is also an online community with forums and question and answer sessions in which doctors answer queries on topics such as sleep problems and pain management for people with Parkinson’s.



health talk

An unusual site that gives you the facts about a vast range of conditions but also video interviews with people who have suffered with everything from chronic pain to cancer and each condition has links to websites and organisations that can help. It’s founded by Dr Ann McPherson who had breast cancer and couldn’t find the resources and real stories she wanted online.

NHS Behind the Headlines

NHS headlines

Health scares happen and this part of the NHS site is run by medically qualified writers who explore the science behind the stories making news.  They look closely at the studies and research that led to them and help allay fears.  For example, in one scare the headline shouted: Food Poisoning Warning Over Fruit and Veg on a popular newspaper website.  The site explained the study in question referred to fruits and vegetables that were stored incorrectly (not the poor fruit and veg themselves) as having a higher risk of germs such as e.coli and provided useful links to how-to stories explaining good food hygiene. Really useful for hypochondriacs like me.



Created by two GPs and endorsed by the British Medical Association, this is a one stop shop for comprehensive medical information.  For example, if you want to know the exact side effects of the medication you’ve just been prescribed, this site leaves no stone unturned. It’s also great for finding a support group of people with a particular condition and has a useful forum where you can chat and exchange stories with people going through a vast range of health conditions and post questions, tips and experiences.


health express

Some people are going to be too embarrassed or busy or lazy to see their GP and while online consultations are not ideal, if you’re going to have them, make sure it’s with a fully legal and accredited British website.  At Healthexpress.co.uk you can fill in your medical information an symptoms and be diagnosed online with such issues as sexually transmitted infections and erectile dysfunction that you may feel uncomfortable seeing your doctor about. Then  you receive a diagnosis and if needed, a prescription that can be dispensed from a registered pharmacy for the next working day. Use it sparingly though as it can feel impersonal and it is pricey.  You don’t pay for the consultation but the cost for medicine is private – to give you an idea of medicine cost,  three months supply of the contraceptive Pill, Dianette would cost £30-35.

And of course (shameless plug alert) healthista.com 

Why? Because although we cover workouts, body, and diets which might sound like like flimsy topics we take the reporting of them very seriously and fact check everything.  We also pride ourselves on the real women’s stories and health journeys we include in our features and blogs and our honesty in reviews about products and treatments. Crucially, when we’re reporting a medical feature, we speak to the most respected experts we can find in the field (and make them get practical as well as informative) and seek peer-reviewed evidence that has been published in medical journals to ensure you reliable, useful information that applies to your life.


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8 Fitness gadgets you didn’t know you needed

Attention tech-lovers: journalist Suzanne Baum has found eight fitness gadgets to make your fitness easier and more fun

Fitness gadgets can help make exercise more fun. However, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to deciding what suits our needs best as there are so many on the market. I have taken a look at some of the best sellers and tested them for usability and functionality.

1. THE HEADPHONES THAT DON’T FALL OUT Yurbuds INSPIRE TALK For Women Performance Fit Earphones, £50


Having recently taken up running seriously, I have been struggling to find a pair of earphones that did not need to be readjusted or replaced constantly whilst I pound the streets. That is until I found these miracle workers. They stay put firmly in my ears as they are specifically designed for women to fit smaller ears. The sound quality is great too.



TomTom Multi-Sport range colours midres

The high price of this watch may put some people off but for serious athletes it is appealing as it can monitor running, cycling and swimming. My brother-in-law, who regularly takes part in triathlons, swears by its accuracy in tracking events and ease of use.

Even for non-techy people, it was easy to download the software and set the watch up. It sits comfortably on the wrist and provides a well presented review of everything you could possibly want to know, including a highly accurate route map, distance travelled, duration, pace per km, heart rate and calories burned (worked out by your age, height and weight).


3. THE SKIPPING ROPE WITH A BRAIN Tanita Calorie Jump, £10.60

Tanita Calorie Jump 2 (1)

Skipping is one of the cheapest, most effective, fat burning workouts you can do and this gadget is brilliant. According to the British Rope Skipping Association, 10 minutes of skipping can have the same health benefits as a 45 minute run and so I was eager to try this skipping rope out.

It was easy to use and set up and the fact it has a counter that can track your jumps and calories made it very appealing to push myself. The rope length can be adjusted according to your height so was also given a thumbs up by my husband who took it to the gym as part of his work out.


4. THE PEDOMETER THAT MEASURES FAT BURNED 3 Axes Pocket Pedometer, £24.85

Tanita Perdometer 2

I have always found problems with pedometers in the past; be it the fact they measure wrongly, are too bulky or easily breakable but this one had none of these issues. It remained accurate, convenient and discreet as unlike others that have to be hung around the neck or clipped to a waistband this worked just as well in my pocket or even in my handbag.

The pedometer records distance, steps, calorie count and activity time and includes a seven-day memory facility so that you can monitor and review your daily and weekly totals.

It also features a ‘fat burned’ measurement and allows you to enter your own targets for increased motivation.

Other features include a large two-line display for easy viewing on-the-go and a safety alarm.



Up until recently the only way you could measure your swimming was by counting lengths but this gadget is a superb accessory for monitoring your fitness in the water.

As well as working out how far you have swum, (a bonus for someone like myself who forgets to tally up my lengths correctly) this watch includes average speed (how many seconds it takes to swim 100m) and stroke count – how many strokes it takes to get from one side of the pool to the other (basically the lower the better). You can also measure individual ‘sets’ within each of the sessions.

And here’s the techy stuff: it works by a new technology which uses algorithms to sense a break in the stroke pattern every time you turn around in the water. You can use all four strokes (front crawl, breaststroke, backstroke and butterfly) and with standard turns as well as tumble turns though it won’t work if you change your stroke half way through a length.




The best thing about this music player is that it is so light I forgot it was attached to me. Although it is a very tiny MP3 player, I found it easy to navigate through my music programmes as the LED screen has great visibility. With other devices I have got fed up trying to tune into the radio but this had a perfect FM reception too. I was also impressed with the battery life and was able to use the gadget at the gym throughout the week without charging it so a thumbs up to that too!


7. THE SMART FITNESS PARTNER FitBit One Wireless Activity, £70.65

fitbit one

This is a great fitness partner; lightweight, effective and laden with excellent features.

You can keep an eye easily on your progress on the device but it really comes alive when run in conjunction with a smartphone app. It can be used as a pedometer measuring steps, stairs climbed and calories lost. It will also act as your buddy, helping you to count calories and reach any fitness and weightless goals. My husband nabbed this and is refusing to give it back!


8. THE BAND THAT COULD HELP PAIN Trion:Z Dual Loop Bracelet, £19.99

trion z


Although not a fitness ‘gadget’ as such this magnetic band, which is medically approved and supported by clinical trials, is great for anyone hoping to improve mobility, performance and flexibility whilst reducing the risk of pain and injury during exercise.

A friend and long-term sufferer of RSI has had to give up competitive table tennis due to pain but I persuaded him to use this band when he next played. Despite it being a bit tight on his wrist, he was pleasantly surprised by how the pain lessened during his performance. He was slightly concerned it may have been the psychological effect of wearing the bracelet that led him to believe this but either way he has continued to wear it and has noticed huge improvement in his performance.

RELATED: 4 top activity monitors rated and tested

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7 new body trends hot right now

Healthista’s Bodyologist blogger Helen Foster brings you the new trend of smart clothing and the wonders of alpaca meat to this month’s body trends blog

1. LOVE IT: The new Run Commute Club


I’m loving the new Home Run club from Fitness First. The idea is simple – you turn up at one of four of their London gyms after work in your running gear; throw your work bag in the back of their kit van then run to a second club nearer your house. Don’t worry if you’re not super fast, it’s a ‘no man left behind’ situation – someone stayed with me as pootled along at my normal, erm, ‘steady’ pace behind 30 other people. It’s open to Fitness First members for free, non-members can join for £15 a season. See more now at homerunlondon.com.


2. SNACK ALERT: Fibre + Chocolate – what’s not to love?


Okay, so Kellogg’s new All Bran Chocolate Wheats, £2.69 are supposed to be a breakfast dish – but I don’t like sweet food in the morning. I do however like sweet food about 8pm while on a Netflix binge and found that nibbling five of the small wheaty parcels with their little nugget of chocolate inside satisfied this quite nicely thank you. And, if my scales are right said nibble only totted up to about 50 calories (and 0.5g fat, 1.9g sugar) too.



3. HOT IN THE US: Spiderbands


Created by NYC based trainer Franci Cohen this twist on suspension training sees you pushing, pulling and hanging from the bands to do toning moves – but unlike TRX which is a lonely fitness mission, Cohen has incorporated it into a class environment using bikes, Bosu Balls and more. Right now they’re only available in her Brooklyn gym but she’s hoping to take them nationwide soon – and what goes nationwide in the US eventually ends up here. I already want to play; the boxing class which sees you doing moves like hanging off the ropes and kicking a punchbag with your feet looks like serious fun! Check it out at francicohen.com.

4. REALLY? Alpaca….Would you Try It?


I was recently in the US and read an article about a rise there in people eating alpaca meat. Apparently, it’s lower in fat, cholesterol and calories than beef and even venison but it hasn’t really been eaten much outside of South America – until now. You don’t have to be in the US to buy it though. UK based exotic meat supplier keziefoods.co.uk sell alpaca steaks, burgers and meatballs. As I type, some is making its way down the motorway for me to try. I’m nervous. Will I enjoy it or will a vision of my friend’s alpaca Snowy hit me as I grill? Check out what happened at healthehelen.wordpress.com.


5. WATCH THIS SPACE: Calorie Capping

Dark Chocolate

The Government are on a mission to cut sugar in our foods – which is no bad thing. They’re suggesting all sorts of ways to do it – taxing sugary drinks, setting per gram levels in processed foods, blah de blah – but the companies have taken at least one matter into their own hands. As of Spring 2016 they’re proposing reworking portion sizes so you won’t be able to buy a single serve chocolate bar with more than 250 calories in it! Personally I’d prefer that to be 100 calories – and I’m pretty sure the prices won’t shrink with the bars – but it’s a start.

6. NEW IN STORE: Tesco My Fit Lifestyle


Yes, eating fresh is best – but after I found myself chopping vegetables at 10.45pm one night last week I figured having the odd ready meal in the house can come in handy so I picked up a few when I was shopping this weekend. One (a Roasted Mushroom Cannelloni) came from the new My Fit Lifestyle range at Tesco – and I was pretty impressed with it. There were a LOT of mushrooms. If you count calories it’s even more useful for you. Each of the coloured packets corresponds to a set number of calories (purple is under 500, pink is under 400 and so on) and you just choose which suits your limits. Add veg though – ready meals always need veg.


7. COMING SOON: Clever Clothing


There’s about to be a fitness revolution – the first pieces of intelligent workout clothing are coming. The idea of the ranges is that the clothing is embedded with sensors that actually tell you how you’re working out. Mbody shorts launching this month (mbody.fi) for example measure exactly which leg muscles you use as you run or cycle (admittedly for a whopping 770 euros), IPunch boxing gloves (trying to raise funds on Indiegogo now) tell you how hard and fast you’re punching or check out US brand Athos whose shirts will measure muscle activity, heart rate and breathing patterns (taking preorders now at liveathos.com).

helen full lengthHealthista’s Bodyologist Helen Foster blogs daily at healthehelen.wordpress.com on all things health, fitness and diet related. Follow her @healthehelen.

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Fighting again? New study suggests Twitter could be to blame

A recent study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, has revealed that high amounts of Twitter usage can be bad for relationships.

High amounts of Twitter use can cause friction within a couple, according to findings from an online survey of 581 Twitter users. In turn, that friction can lead to cheating and breakups, the researchers concluded.

To measure Twitter’s effect on relationships, researchers created a 20-question online survey and then tweeted it out to more than 3.4 million users. The study, published recently in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, ended up with 581 participants.


The survey asked questions about amount of Twitter use, and whether it had caused conflict in their relationship.

On average, participants said they used Twitter about 52 minutes a day, five days a week.

Researchers found that increased Twitter use was associated with high amounts of conflict over that use, which in turn led to cheating or the failure of the relationship. Conflict occurred regardless of how long the people had been in the relationship.

‘There’s been growing literature that these social networking sites may directly impair communications between partners, and that can lead to increasing jealousy,’ said Dr. Scott Krakower, assistant unit chief of psychiatry at Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, N.Y. ‘You’re spending a lot of time on the Internet, and that’s taking away from time with your partner.’

This is not the first time social networking has caused relationship problems. According to another study in the journal, Facebook can cause feelings of jealousy while in a relationship. Russel Clayton who led that study, said ‘Previous research has shown that the more a person in a romantic relationship uses Facebook, the more likely they are to monitor their partner’s Facebook activity more stringently.

‘Facebook-induced jealousy may lead to arguments concerning past partners,’ Clayton explained. ‘Also, our study found that excessive Facebook users are more likely to connect or reconnect with other Facebook users, including previous partners, which may lead to emotional and physical cheating.’ 

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