A CUT ABOVE

Nothing adds ten years like bad hair!

It is not fair! Not only does the ageing process affect our skin, but hair suffers too. Where did those grey hairs come from? And that frizz? And don’t even mention thinning hair…well, actually let’s definitely mention thinning hair because that can be the most ageing of all.

The sight of the first grey hair is just the beginning – and don’t forget that this happens in early to mid-30’s for most women, but don’t panic…remember that grey is the new blonde!

Going grey gracefully can look fantastic …Helen Mirren for instance who still looks sexy even when she lets her hair go its natural silvery grey…we bet she has her hairdresser on speed dial! Other grey role models are out there too. Think Kristen McMenamy who went grey in her late 30’s. Or Carmen Dell’ Orefice who at 85 is still gracing front covers! Maye Musk has white, cropped hair….and is more in demand as a model than ever.

So, is there hope for us mere mortals? The answer is a resounding Yes! The first step is to find a REALLY good hairdresser …ideally someone who is at the forefront of any hair and makeup trends, because in order to keep looking younger you need to change it up every now and then. A tweak here and there is enough to make sure that you turn heads when you walk in the room.

Fringes can hide a multitude of sins, such as forehead wrinkles and frown lines, just experiment with the length and style . Feathering works for some, or a side-swept fringe for others. It is so easy get comfortable with a hairstyle and because something worked well when we were younger we think that it will look good all our life. Not true. Just think of Linda Evangelista who has made a very successful career out of changing her hair length and colour all the time. Just when we got used to one look, she changed it…a true chameleon.

HOLLY

And absolutely nothing screams youth and vitality more than super-shiny hair. As we get older hair becomes drier and loses its lustre. Try taking a supplement containing Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids which are great for hair health. And every now and then take a little time and put a deep conditioning mask onto your hair and let it do the hard work. Olaplex is a new conditioner which works wonders and is easily available on line.

  • If you have a grey roots emergency and you’re a brunette, use a little black or brown mascara to cover them up. Don’t overload the brush though and old mascaras that have dried out slightly work best, so don’t throw them out!
  • Try lightening your eyebrows a little. If you feel confident you can gently apply a little facial hair bleach, making sure to keep out of your eyes, but if not then most beauty salons can do this for you.
  • Ageing is part of growing up…not necessarily growing older…and as we are firm believers in only talking to the experts, we asked Cristiano Basciu, Artistic Director, Richard Ward Hair & Metrospa for his tips on holding back time.

Hair texture changes as we get older… it gets drier and frizzier. How can a cut deal with that?

Firstly, accept that your hair is changing with your hormones and embrace it. A good cut can make all the difference – it can make hair easier to manage, easier to style and help it to look its best every day, rather than just after a salon visit.

A good cut takes into account your face shape, lifestyle (i.e. will it require much maintenance?), and hair type. It should make your life easier, not add unnecessary time to your routine in the morning!

If your hair is dry, combat this with the right combination of products. Nourishing, hydrating shampoos and conditioners (I personally love Kerastase Bain Satin shampoo and Lait Vital conditioner), oils (like Moroccanoil) and masques (my favourite is Kerastase Masquintense) will noticeably improve the condition of your hair if used regularly. Masques are especially important – aim to do a masque once a week for at least 20 minutes, to re-hydrate and restore lost moisture.

Hormones affect our hair too??

As our hormones change with age, this has a direct effect on our hair. Follicles receive less blood supply and hair can get thinner; this means it’s more susceptible to damage and dehydration. While I am not a medical professional, I do think it’s advisable to have your hormone levels checked at least once a year to ensure that there is nothing going on health-wise that is affecting your overall appearance.

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LOSING IT! WEEK 14

Well, it has been a whole three months and I am rather proud of myself. My weight is now 10 stone 2lbs so I have lost 2 stone …

I am sleeping better and the hot sweats have stopped.

One of the best things for me was being able to wear a fabulous dress for my son’s wedding and feeling really good. Before I was dreading the thought of clothes shopping.

The inflammation in my big toes has subsided and I can wear higher heels, something I thought I would never do again, I’m not taking the strong anti-inflammatories any more and it’s like being released. I can walk for miles now and wear fashionable shoes again.

Because I have rebuilt my Adrenal system I don’t feel anxious all the time….I’m relaxed and happy.

Best of all is the way I have completely changed what I eat, as well as my approach to food. As I have mentioned before, I do/did have a very sweet tooth and this addiction to refined carbohydrates was a big part of my health and weight problems. By cutting them out as much as possible, or looking for alternatives before simply reaching for the same old treats has made a huge difference …both inside and out.

I trained myself to think of the foods that I can’t digest well as poison and by reminding myself of this each time it makes me stop and think……and choose something else.

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THE RISE OF THE SUPER FACIALS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Now this is going to be a long post because the power of a good facial often gets overlooked in the age of Botox and injectables, or is seen as an indulgent treat, but booking in for one of the latest innovative procedures, can be seriously good for your skin’s health so if you are interested in improving the quality of your skin and increasing luminosity then read on!

An experienced facialist will be able to address a particular skin problem, like acne or rosacea as well as educate a patient about the condition of their skin and the products suitable for home use.
But forget any thoughts of pampering. Thanks to revolutionary developments, the latest ‘super facials’ are all about delivering results and use a high-tech approach to sort out even the most troublesome of complexions -think LED lights, micro-needling, glycolic peels and oxygen therapy- to improve blood flow and muscle tone, reduce puffiness and miraculously reveal cheekbones. The results can often mimic a facelift and with the right care and regular treatments your complexion can reach levels of radiance you never thought possible.

But with an overwhelming choice, booking a facial can be a daunting process. How do you know which facial is right for you? If you want your next facial to do more than leave a dent in your bank balance here’s what you need to know, along with details of some of the latest transforming facials available from clinics around the country.

FACIAL FIRSTS

*Regular facials can help prevent serious skin conditions. Think of having one like a trip to your dental hygienist, in that it helps to keep your skin healthy and toxin-free.

*Never go through a facial menu list, picking the one you like the sound of. Do your research and before you book a treatment ask the therapist what the procedure involves, the ingredients she will be using, what the benefits will be and whether the treatment is right for your skin type.

*No two faces are the same. A good facialist will always identify your skin’s concerns and what it needs and will adjust the treatment and products to suit your skin type.

*Skin loves routine. You will see more benefits from facials if you stick to regular treatments every four weeks to six weeks to help train your skin and identify any problems.

*It’s important to maintain the benefits of a good facial with a home care routine. Cleanse twice a day. Exfoliate at least once a week and gently steam your skin in the shower or over a bowl of hot water. When you open the pores, it allows for skin product to be absorbed deeper into the skin.

*A sign of a good treatment is good skin. Unless you’ve opted for something like a Vampire facial or a Dermaroller, which can cause redness for a few days, most facials should leave your skin glowing and plump.

THE PICK OF THE FACIALS
Using everything from hi tech ingredients through to electric currents and light therapy these facials will deliver serious results lasting longer than a few days. I have tried them all so I speak from experience!

Microdermabrasion Facial
Best for: all skin types, particularly oily/prone to breakouts
Results: Helps clear clogged pores to restore radiance
The fastest way to get a healthy, youthful glow is to buff away the layers of dead skin that have accumulated from age and sun exposure. In microdermabrasion, a pressurized jet scours the skin with micronised crystals (usually aluminium oxide) and then vacuums the dead cells away. Always make sure the facialist uses a device that is appropriate for your skin type and allow a day for downtime as your cheeks may be a little rosy. From £60.

HydraFacial
Best for: all skin types, especially dull dehydrated skin
Results: Restores moisture for dewy, plumped up skin
This award-winning facial, is loved by A-listers like Beyoncé and Kate Winslet and for good reason as it uses every trick in the book to deliver an immediate radiance boost . Combining cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration, light therapy and antioxidant protection all in one session Post treatment, you’ll notice a dramatic improvement in hydration as well as lessened hyperpigmentation, oil and congestion around your trouble spots.
From £120 – to find details of your nearest clinic go to www.hydrafacial.co.uk

Glycolic Acid Peel
Best for: all skin types and tired stressed skin
Results: Brighter, more even tone
One of the most popular facial treatments as it delivers a serious brightening complexion boost before a special event. Using a natural substance derived from sugar cane, this peel comes in a variety of strengths and once applied to the skin, helps peel away a layer of damaged skin to reveal a brighter, healthier layer. When the skin begins to heal, increased cell growth produces new healthier skin layers, softening lines and restoring radiance. A course of six, once a week is usually recommended for maximum results. There may be some light redness for few days while the dead skin peels away From £80 0207 436 4441

H20 Glow using Oxygen Therapy
Best for: all skin types in need of a rosy glow
Results: Softens lines and wrinkles, revives dull, damaged skinThis 60-minute treatment delivers a concentrated boost of freezing cold oxygen to the skin through a special hand piece. At the same time, the micro roller creates hundreds of tiny channels in the skin to allow a hyaluronic acid based skin infusion to reach deep down into the epidermis, encouraging the production of collagen and elastin.
Together the intensity of the freezing oxygen pressure and the cocktail of essential ingredients will improve elasticity and firmness of the skin, visibly plumping out lines and wrinkles , leaving your skin glowing.
From £75 go to crystalclear.co.uk for your nearest salon

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP)
Best for: all skin types and to improve dullness
Results :Revitalises skin seen after six weeks
Forget pampering , this facial – also known as a Vampire Facial – is more hard-core and is uncomfortable, rather than painful. It uses your own blood, which is taken from your arm, then spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the plasma . A microneedling device is then used to create microscopic holes all over the skin before applying the blood solution. This helps boost cellular regeneration and collagen production using the body’s natural healing system. But, you won’t see results immediately and your face will look red for a few days later. Around six weeks later you’ll see smoother, firmer and revitalised skin. Expect to pay from £600. 0207 436 4441

Caci Synergy Purifying Facial
Best for: Ageing, dull skin
Results: Lifted and tighter contours
CACI has been around for more than 20 years, but now they’ve added LED light therapy to the mix to help deliver faster, better results. The Synergy Purifying facial targets blemishes, age spots and pigmentation. It combines anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory red and blue LED light therapy to help heal the skin and trigger tissue repair. Tiny electrical impulses are applied to the facial muscles to strengthen and tighten, providing a boost to flagging, sagging tissue. The addition of LED light further stimulates the production of collagen. From £75 caci-interntional.co.uk

Laser Facial
Best for: Improving skin texture and reducing pigmentation
Results: Brighter, luminous skin
No need to find a clinic or salon for this laser facial – simply use Tria’s Age Defying Laser and achieve salon style results at home. This clever gadget is one of the most effective home-use anti ageing tools and is backed by leading dermatologists. It uses non-ablative, fractional laser, the same laser technology available in clinics and salons. Simply place the tool on one cheek, and glide it over the skin. Targeted beams of light work beneath the skin’s surface to help boost collagen and elastin and reduce the signs of ageing. Use for four to ten minutes every night for eight weeks. £450 triabeauty.co.uk

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LOSING IT! WEEK 13

Weight down to 10 stone 6lbs.

So, just a couple of pounds down, which I am rather irritated about, but as my husband points out, I have done really well so far, and it is far better to lose weight slowly as it has a much better chance of staying off.

I think I have managed to cure my sugar cravings too…mind you that bit was incredibly hard as the temptation to take just one biscuit, or a small teaspoon of sugar in my coffee took a lot of resisting. I did have help though because my husband usually makes me a cup of coffee in the mornings …just to kickstart me…and he sneakily kept reducing the amount of sugar, until one morning, he asked how the coffee was. “Lovely”…I replied vaguely…..”Good” he crowed…”there was NO sugar in that!”. I didn’t know whether to swat him or kiss him…think I did both.

It doesn’t mean that I completely go without a sugary treat though as long it is just a small one, and just occasionally. “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” is my mantra.

Exercise is going well too as Despina is as despotic as ever, but it is working. My arms are more toned, and I can Plank for longer than I ever thought possible so my core stability has vastly improved and this shows in my much-flatter tum.

In fact, I think I am in love with the Plank…if you only do one thing then it should be the Plank…all of us should do a few every day then posture in general, and the core would be strong.

Finally, I think I can see a waist now…who would have thought that when I started this new programme??

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LOSING IT! WEEK 12

My son’s wedding is looming so I have finally bitten the bullet and gone shopping. There are some terrific clothes out there, particularly when you have dropped a couple of dress sizes and everything fits!

I wasn’t particularly happy with my arms though so I have doubled my efforts with exercise

Floor Press – Upper body exercise that strengthens the chest, shoulders and arms. The use of the floor eliminates the risk of potential strain of the shoulder joint. Grab two dumbbells and lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on floor. Have your elbows bent in a 90-degree position with the back of your arms (triceps) resting on the floor, dumbbells above your chest. Whilst exhaling and bracing your core, press the dumbbell upwards. Pause and squeeze or a second and then in a controlled motion, bring them back down to the staring position.

My weight is now down to 10 stone 8 lbs which feels rather good. Am v pleased with myself…as Bridget Jones would say!

I am feeling rather pale though and would like to get a bit of my glow back. The best way is a light suntan as it does cover a multitude of sins, but because I know how bad the sun is for the skin that is clearly out of the question, so I take the Faking It option.

Mind you, fake tans are so darned good these days that it really is difficult to tell fake from real. I did a bit of research and tested out a new one… TanCream tancream.co.uk which is not just a fake tan, but one with an SPF too, which, as all my regular readers will know is something I recommend everyone wears 24/7. In this instance, the SPF is 50 so it more than does the trick. The colour is pretty good too and I get a lot of compliments about how well I look. Job done I think.

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Ask Lesley – How do I get rid of my double chin?

I am often asked about the best way of getting rid of a double chin, or loose skin on the neck, and up to now the answer has been a surgical lift.  Why couldn’t someone come up with a non-invasive way of doing this I have said before…after all technology is advancing all the time so surely there has to be a way?
Well, it seems that someone was listening because I have now tested a new treatment which is pain free, non-invasive with no downtime.  It is called the Instalift and it combines laser and ultrasound to dissolve and tighten the chin and neck area.  The claim was that results could be seen after one treatment…so I tried it out and was astounded at the result.  There was a definite difference…in fact I liked it so much that we are now offering the treatment in Clinic.  Each session takes 30 minute and a course of 4 are recommended for even more impressive results.  Book yours on 020 7436 4441
The science bit?  A specially designed ‘cup’ which encases the entire chin area is held in place and the laser starts to get to work.  It very gently begins to warm up and as it does, fat cells absorb energy from the lasers and heat up, then they release their contents – water, glycerol and free fatty acids.  The released fat is naturally excreted from the body through lymphatic drainage, giving results that get better over time.  Then ultrasound  delivers waves into the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating collagen and elastin production, to reduce wrinkles, smoothing the jawline and neck, and banishing jowls.
Before (Left) –  After (Right)
That’s it.  I love it so much that I have booked another 3 sessions.  No double chin for me!
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BINGO!

Do you want to get rid of your bingo wings?  Of course you do…all us ladies do…so here are some tips.

1. Exercise works.  Yes I know everyone says that but it is true.  Swimming is brilliant so keep that going.   And tricep dips definitely do the trick..the science bit here is that the biceps provide a third of muscle mass whilst the triceps have massive two thirds…so it is worth persevering.  You can build back a lot of lost muscle and arm volume.
2. Exercise cannot help with skin laxity though, so you will need a cosmetic treatment for that.    For instance I have had brilliant results from Reaction which tightens ‘crepy’ skin  www.harleystreetskinclinic.com
3 Buy a thighmaster.  Yes, you heard it correctly.  The fitness gadget promoted heavily in the 80’s is back, but now it is not just for thighs because it can be used to enhance (by that they mean add torture) to your general exercise routine.  For instance it is good for a Glute Bridge, as well as a Squat Hold, and obviously it is terrific for the notoriously difficult inner thigh…
…but you can also use it for the triceps.
Sit on a firm chair or bench and rest the gadget on the top of your thigh and hold in place with one hand.  Use the other hand to press down, keeping your elbow close to your body.  Do lots of repetitions and goodbye bingo wings.  That’s it.  And you are sitting down.  Now that is my kind of exercise.
I bought the Body Sculpture Thigh and Arm Toner    www.bodysculpture.co.uk  RRP £9.99
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Losing It! Week 11

All back to normal, still calmer and thank goodness my weight loss has resumed!

I upped my exercise regime which help to kick the endorphins in so I feel a whole lot better.

 

Single Leg, Leg Raises – Targeting to strengthen abdominals and mobilize hip flexors and hamstrings. Perform lying flat on floor, one knee to be flexed with foot flat on floor. Other leg lying flat ready to be raised as high as you can, feel stretch in the back of the leg (hamstrings) and slowly lower back to the floor.

 

Chair Squat – Good way to start to learn the movement pattern of an actual squat. Working mainly the muscles within your legs (Hamstrings, Quadriceps, and Glutes). The chair brings an element of safety to the exercise, so you do not fall over to begin with. Start with your feet slightly wider than hip width with your toes pointing slightly outwards (this should avoid knees caving inwards). Engage your abdominals, look straight ahead throughout the movement, inhale, push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat until touching the chair. Keep your body weight on your heels, when ready exhale, push through heels and come back up to starting position.

 

Plus I have been eating a lot more salad…particularly Angela’s Rainbow Salad

 

Superfood rainbow salad

 

At least 5 different coloured ingredients such as beetroot, lettuce, spring onion, cucumber or any raw vegetables.

 

Add sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, sprouting seeds, for added nutrients and dress with a little Walnut, Avocado or Toasted Sesame Seed oil to taste.

 

And to avoid the mid-afternoon sugar dip I have been trying out a mini-snack washed down with a green juice…

 

Mid afternoon juice – Green Herbal Cleanser

Large handful of parsley 2 green apples
2 sticks of celery
1/2 cucumber

Juice and drink immediately.

 

Mid afternoon mini snack – nut butter on a gluten-free oatcake or hummus and beetroot on a corn or quinoa cracker.

 

My weight is now 11 stone!

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ARE YOU DYING FOR A SUNTAN?

Are you dying for a Suntan?


We are all living longer, eating healthier and know the mantra Moisturise, Moisturise, Moisturise to make sure that we look as good as we feel, but do you know what that two weeks in the sun is actually doing to your skin? 

Lesley discusses all things solar with Dr Iñigo de Felipe

It all began with Coco Chanel back in the 1920’s when she accidentally got sunburned and liked the tan which had previously only been seen on outdoor workers…suddenly upper-class, milk-white skins didn’t look so chic. And we have followed her lead ever since with a multi-billion dollar industry growing around our desire to change our natural skin colour to a healthy-looking, sun-kissed bronze.

But it is definitely not a healthy thing to do…nor does the sun gently ‘kiss’ our skin because tanning shows that your skin is being attacked and is trying to defend itself from UV damage, and it is this damage which causes wrinkles, pigmentation…and cancer. Thus we take to the Factor 30 with a vengence, thinking that we are covering all bases…literally.


So, does sun protection protect against skin cancer?
In truth, it is difficult to answer definitively because there are so many variables. How much cream is used. Which SPF…is 50 the new 30? And over how long was it used and reapplied?

Research has shown that whilst factor 50 reduces the number of melanomas and delays their onset, it can’t prevent them. Melanomas, which develop from uncontrolled melanocyte cells (these make melanin, the pigment that darkens skin) are the most aggressive skin cancers. Other skin cancers, such as the squamous type (the flat outer layer of skin cells) are increasingly likely with long-term exposure.


What is becoming more and more clear is that the sun in the early years of life determines most of the problems we face in later years, such as skin cancer and melanoma.


Sun exposure dramatically accelerates the ageing of the skin with the development of more numerous wrinkles, spots and ugly red scaly patches. One day of sun exposure increases the destruction of collagen by around 60%, almost as much as smoking. Interestingly, this seems to be a Western phenomenon because Eastern cultures actively shield themselves from the sun, so they have less wrinkles, less skin laxity and less sun damage than us. Smart.

And if you undergo Laser treatments or Peels then your skin’s protective barrier has been weakened and you need to wear a good SPF at all times.

Pharmaceutical companies devised sun protection creams and ointments to protect us from sun damage. These are specially designed to filter UVB light rather than UVA because UVB is more powerful, more aggressive and causes more cancers than UVA. UVA on the other hand, though less aggressive and cancer-forming, can penetrate further into the skin – inducing allergic reactions, destroying collagen and your beautiful good looks.


Since the Renaissance, when a porcelain-pale skin was the height of fashion, women would dust a semi-lethal blend of lead and carbonate onto their skin. Many died.
We’ve come a long way baby.

The more sun we receive, the worse our skin will look when we get older and the more prone we are to developing skin cancer. Therefore, why bother getting a tan? It will only fade in a few weeks, but will leave you with lasting skin damage.

There are some cases where it IS recommended to have a small amount of sun exposure….Vitamin D deficiency for instance, although this is rare these days. Or certain skin diseases like psoriasis, atopic eczema or dry skin. The rest of us need to cover up.

All scary stuff, but the answer is simple. Do everything you can to avoid sun damage, after all, the pharmaceutical companies have spent a lot of money developing brilliant fake tans which can give a tan worthy of two weeks on a yacht in the Med. But remember that most of these offer no protection whatsoever, so if you go into the sun you will need to wear a sunscreen. Which is what all the experts have been telling us to do anyway…make sun protection a part of our daily routine. Every single day of the year.

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Losing It! Week 10

Well, what goes up, normally has to come down so it serves me right in gloating that I felt so well last week.  

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel bad, but I feel like I have plateau-ed. I know that this is normal in any diet but it is frustrating because I have been incredibly good in keeping to my new regime. So good in fact that even my husband is impressed…he didn’t think I would stick to it for this long…but I told you I was determined this time.

I am supposed to be shopping for a fabulous outfit to wear to my son’s wedding but put that on ice as I feel rather menopausal…mini hot flushes for instance. I checked the situation with Angela who said:

 

“Hot flushes and many of the menopausal symptoms are caused by high Cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, because, after the age of approximately 45 your Adrenal Glands slowly take over the job of the ovaries to produce the three sex hormones Oestrogen, Progesterone and Testosterone.

 

If you are stressed and produce too much Cortisol you create what we call a “Cortisol steal” so your Adrenals struggle to produce all the sex hormones which your body needs.   Cortisol also steals DHEA too and this normally provides the building blocks for all the sex hormones.   A double whammy!

 

Oestrogen is dominant, followed by Progesterone ….so high Cortisol often equates to low Progesterone and this can lead to the usual unpleasant menopausal symptoms.   Low Testosterone leads to a reduced libido.

 

Reducing your Cortisol levels is important which is why I suggested that Lesley eats a little protein every 3 hours, meditating for just 15 mins a day. I also recommended that she restores the health of her Adrenals by taking a personalised supplement “

 

So I did as Angela suggested although it’s difficult to introduce meditation when your work load is so full but as it’s all about my health I was determined to restore my fledging Adrenals and achieve my goals. Angela quoted the Dali Lama “the busier you are the longer you need to meditate”

 

Your Adrenals have huge need for Vitamin C so something as simple as taking 500mg morning and evening can support their function, the Adrenal glands are also responsible for balancing blood sugar levels so to allow them to rest and restore eating a small amount of protein every three hours allows them to reduce Cortisol production, B Vitamins and Chromium also help to balance blood sugar levels.

 

So I implemented the changes, tried to meditate and stay calm, endeavoured to avoid my “energy robbers” took the Adrenal support supplements prescribed by Angela and was surprised by my new found calmness.

 

She also suggested I try this soup as it is soothing as well as so easy to make and you can literally drink as much of it as you like. I tend to make this and keep it in a flask so that it is to hand when I feel the need for something warm and comforting. Beats chocolate!

 

Alkaline Detox Broth

3 stalks of celery

2 carrots

2 teaspoons of cashew nut butter (protein)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic

2 small potatoes

Handful of fresh spinach

Bunch of parsley
1 litre of water
2 bay leaves

Kallo vegetable stock cube

 

Chop all vegetables, cover with water, add the bay leaves simmer for 20 mins, strain and drink throughout the day or blend the soup and sip throughout the day.

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