Considering a switch from your morning coffee to matcha? Wellness enthusiasts rightfully hail this superfood for its myriad health benefits, ranging from reducing inflammation to boosting the immune system. There’s another compelling reason we’re fully embracing the matcha movement: it perks you up for the day without the jittery aftermath often associated with coffee. Matcha provides a subtle buzz with a lower dose of caffeine. Derived from green tea leaves, this antioxidant-rich powder promotes long-lasting, sustained energy without the crash that coffee can induce. Packed with a potent amino acid called L-theanine, matcha not only enhances mental alertness but also simultaneously reduces stress and anxiety, improving mood and sleep.
Matcha is available in various forms today, catering to every preference! Whether you savour the creamy richness of a latte, gravitate towards a cuppa tea, or prefer refreshing cold beverages, rest assured that there is a matcha product tailored to your taste.
The most popular choice is the matcha latte! Looking to nail your morning brew? The key to successfully transitioning to matcha is to blend it correctly to ensure it tastes good. After all, creating a new habit won’t be successful if you dislike the flavour! Here are our top tips for crafting the perfect matcha latte at home:
Use a small amount: Start with around ½ teaspoon of matcha powder. This ensures that you get the benefits without an overwhelming flavour.
Mix with warm water: Add the matcha powder to a small amount of warm water, making a paste. Avoid using boiling water, as it can affect the taste and quality of the matcha.
Use a bamboo or electric whisk: To achieve a smooth consistency, whisk the matcha paste using either a bamboo matcha whisk or an electric whisk. This helps to avoid clumps and ensures an even blend.
Froth your milk: Froth your milk of choice separately to achieve a creamy consistency. You can use a milk frother or any method that works for you.
Sweeten if necessary: If you find the taste too bitter, add a natural sweetener such as honey, maple syrup, or a flavoured coffee creamer. Adjust the sweetness to your liking.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year… I still revert back to my childlike self as soon as December the 1st hits. London transforms this time of year, the streets are lined with Christmas lights, colossal Christmas trees prime and centre in every square across the city and ice skating rinks dominate historic landmarks, it just makes my heart sing with joy! On my wish list this year, I’m lusting over wellness, travel and beauty bits that will see me into the new year with a spring in my step. Experience gifts are my favourite to receive as they give me something to look forward to, keeping the spirit on Christmas going that little bit longer.
To match my medium, I’d love for Santa Claus to somehow fit the AWAY The Original Bigger Carry-On down the chimney this Christmas. AWAY suitcases strike the perfect balance between functional and aesthetic, in the most luxe muted colour ways that give them a premium finish.
When reading the ingredients list on gourmand fragrance Cåke from the ethically driven brand ‘ånd Fragrance’, I knew I had to try it and put it straight on my Christmas wish list! I’m a sucker for anything sweet and this rich, warming scent is perfect for winter.
The ultimate present in my humble opinion is an experience. In a materialistic world, gifting a memory is the most priceless of all. Boutique Retreats, the curated collection of heavenly hideouts, offers gift vouchers for staycations across the UK. From cosy cottages to off-the-grid cabins, each uniquely picturesque home looks as if it’s been plucked from a fairytale.
Good things come in small packages, and this rings true with any jewellery from Missoma. Over the years, I’ve been building my layered necklace collection, and I’m after a chunky gold chain to complete the look for a décolleté dripping in gold!
I love everything about the new Loewe X On collab! The Cloudtilt trainers have got to be the chicest performance shoe yet, featuring On’s innovative CloudTec® Phase midsole with a Loewe’s anagram subtle embossed onto the panelling.
Oysho do the comfiest undies I’ve ever tried and Christmas is the time I like to stock up on all the essentials! I’m in need of new Sunday/evening pants, any girl will know exactly what I mean by this…nobody wants to be cut up whilst trying to ‘Netflix & Chill’.The stretchy fabric fits like a second skin and this tonal palette is both cute and chic.
I’ve been on a health journey recently, and one change I’ve made is to add more low-impact training into my routine. I’m an adrenaline junkie and get such a kick out of a Barry’s or F45 class so this transition hasn’t come naturally to me, but there is one place that gives me that buzz in a calmer manner, and that is Heartcore. I’d love to receive a class pack so the New Year is filled with lots of wonderful classes at their beautiful studios across London.
Diptyque created the ultimate centrepiece with this glistening carousel which perches atop the candle and rotates to illuminate the room with interspersed golden slices projected in a wheel. Filling the room with the signature Baies scent, this festive carousel brings mesmerising magic and will serve me for years to come.
Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream has quickly become my go-to body cream, the scent transforms you to an exotic beach and the texture is whipped to perfection, sinking into the skin like a dream. The brand has launched a new ‘Biggie Biggie’ size, 500ml of deliciousness that will keep me going for quite some time.
I am so excited for christmas. Time well spent with the family, long family walks, presents and all the delicious food.
For me Christmas really does come alive with children. The magic in their eyes at the sight of the christmas tree, the excitement at their first taste of a gingerbread man, the anticipation of Santa coming and the presents he will bring. This sense of joy has brought back so many nostalgic memories. We celebrate Christmas in true Swedish style and here are some of my favourite traditions that make our holiday truly special.
One of the things that makes the Scandi countries so compelling is our rich folklore. Throughout Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, you’ll find numerous traditions and unique stories that tell tales of mythical creatures and sprites, ranging from fairies to trolls, but one of the better-known creatures is the gnome. The gnomes are believed to be household spirits ( living under the house) responsible for the care of a farm or family. While their origins play into many different narratives throughout history, they’ve become tied with Christmas and Thetomte figure is definitely my favourite Swedish tradition.
For me it’s the most iconic Christmas decoration and I was excited to build my own collection to share with my son. Asas Tomtebod creates the most gorgeous handmade bearded santa’s with felt clothing, little leather shoes and sheepskin hair. The detail put into each elf is incredible and mirrors the old traditional style my parents have.
At Christmas time in Sweden, it is a custom to leave a bowl of porridge outside your house for the Swedish gnomes to eat on Christmas eve. If the bowl is empty the next morning all will be well for another year.
There is no better way to celebrate Christmas than with a traditional Christmas Julbord (translating to Christmas Table). It is amazing the array of dishes served as part of our Smorgasbord table.
Starting with the fish course with different types of pickled herrings, which is one of the most essential elements, to gravadlax, smoked salmon and prawns. Followed by the cold meats with various elk and reindeer salamis and pates. Then the warm dishes with meatballs, Swedish sausages, ham, red cabbage and potatoes. And finally the cheese and the selection of puddings which in our house has a separate table of its own. Think Swedish Cinnamon or Cardamom Buns and Swedish Ginger Biscuits, known as pepparkakor.
In Sweden the tradition is to wait for Jultomten (Father Christmas) to come on the evening of the 24th, when he leaves a large sack at the door. Every year one member of our family ( who would be missing for far too long in the “bathroom”) would dress up in the most beautiful old Santa suit and drop the presents at the front door. As kids we would rush to the window just in time to catch a glimpse of him as he walked away in the distance holding a lit lantern and waving goodbye.
Outfit Of The Day
In Sweden, we always dress up on the 24th and I love choosing little outfits for Rollo. La Coqueta is always my go-to for the sweetest traditional outfits and perfect for any and every celebration. This is what my son will be wearing at Christmas this year.
This Couscous & Chicken Harissa Broth is a delightful and flavourful dish that brings together the rich and aromatic spices of North African cuisine. This culinary creation combines tender chicken, fluffy couscous, and a robust broth infused with the distinctive heat of harissa—a spicy chilli paste that adds depth and complexity to the dish. The marriage of textures and flavours in this Couscous & Chicken Harissa Broth creates a harmonious and satisfying meal, perfect for those who appreciate the fusion of savoury and spicy notes in their culinary experience.
In this edition of Hip & Healthy’s Beauty School series, we’re shining a spotlight on Mandelic Acid. Arguably the most gentle AHA out there, it’s an amazing exfoliator that doesn’t stress out skin or cause irritation. It also helps with things like hyperpigmentation and acne, making it an all-round super ingredient you definitely need to add to your skincare arsenal. Stat.
But what exactly is it and how should we be using it in our skincare routine? We tapped Arabella Preston, Co-Founder of Votary and Verden, to find out everything you need to know. So, get ready to swot up on this must-have beauty ingredient and bag yourself an A+ when it comes to all things mandelic acid.
So, What Exactly Is Mandelic Acid and What Does It Do?
Mandelic Acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that’s used in medicine as an antibacterial and in skincare as a chemical exfoliant. It gently resurfaces skin to reveal a brighter, more even skin tone. It can be derived from almonds or created synthetically.
Can All Skin Types Benefit from It?
Yes. Mandelic acid is recognised as an AHA that even sensitive skin types can use. It penetrates the skin slowly thanks to its larger molecular size (it is a much higher weight than glycolic and even lactic acid) and is more oil soluble than other AHAs, which means it can benefit oily, congested skin too. What is more, its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties can be really beneficial for breakout-prone skin.
What’s the Best Way to Incorporate It into a Skincare Routine?
A weekly or twice weekly mask in the evening after cleansing is a great way to benefit from its radiance-boosting properties. Always cleanse your skin first, then apply your mandelic acid product. Follow with a nourishing oil or moisturiser.
Start with once a week, increasing to twice if your skin is tolerating it well. Any sign of prolonged redness or sensitivity should be a sign to slow down and ensure your skin barrier isn’t compromised. As with any AHA use, don’t combine high percentage mandelic acid products with retinol or physical exfoliants.
Make sure you don’t skip SPF the next day as any AHA use can increase sensitivity to the sun.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Using It?
There is always a risk of irritation with any AHA, so formula is key. A deeply nourishing mask, like the Votary Radiance Reveal Mask, is a great way to soften the impact of the mandelic acid whilst still benefiting from the exfoliation.
Mandelic acid is a great way to combat dull, uneven skin. There is even some evidence that mandelic acid helps to increase collagen production, making it a true age-defying hero!
Are There Any Misconceptions about Mandelic Acid You Want to Clear Up?
The higher molecular weight doesn’t necessarily make it less effective than other AHAs. I like to think of it as the more considered and thoughtful cousin to the showier glycolic acid. Yes, it is a little slower to act, but is potentially more of a long-term friend to your skin.
Unlike other AHAs, mandelic acid won’t increase the risk of discolouration in darker skin tones. Instead, it works to reduce hyperpigmentation and scarring in a really gentle, yet effective way.
As we embrace the festive spirit of the holiday season, supermarkets are adorned with an array of delightful treats to elevate your celebrations. From exquisite vegan chocolates that make for perfect gifts to wholesome cheeses that add a touch of richness to your spreads, and Christmas puddings ready to take centre stage at the grand celebration itself—our shelves are a treasure trove of festive delights. Amidst this holiday indulgence, we also bring you a selection of health-conscious options, including convenient meals packed with nutrition, catering to the demands of this busy season. Explore our on-the-go snacks designed to keep you energized during hectic days. Additionally, discover quick and nourishing breakfast ideas for a healthy start, alongside a newfound appreciation for a delightful new sourdough loaf that has captured our hearts!
As always, it was a fun task to pull together my Christmas wish list this year! Much like Sadie, I am hoping a few beady eyes will be reading this so maybe I’ll be lucky enough to find some of these under the Christmas tree! I’ve got a lovely mix of goodies… a few old favourites with a new twist, some cosy winter wear, some home accessories I’ve been lusting over and a couple of experience gifts which, in my opinion, often make the best presents of all!
For years I’ve worn English Pear & Fresia from Jo Malone so when I heard they were bringing out English Pear & Sweet Pea I knew, even before I smelt it, I’d love it! Sweet peas are my favourite flower for scent so this is a bit of me!
A girl can dream of a bit of sparkle under the tree right? I love the simplicity of this necklace… it feels understated in design and so wearable everyday which suits me considering I never take off my jewellery.
I don’t need to say much more about my love for Berioli’s Water Meadow wash because it was recently in one of my editor’s columns but it’s safe to say I’d be delighted to restock for my kitchen and bathroom… the scent is just so unique and wonderful.
I’m really up for the current fashion trend of browns and chocolates, I think this is a trend that suits everyone. I’m a casual dresser by nature but I do like to elevate that from time to time and I think this sherpa puffa just adds a bit of difference and style to what is a basic winter jacket.
My dog Rosie loves to stare out into the garden from our back doors to make sure no squirrels or foxes step on her turf but to do this, I have to pop her bed on a dining chair so she can see out! I think I’ve finally found her the perfect bed that’s elevated enough for her to see out the window without using a chair. I just need a cosy insert to place in it and I think it’s perfect!
Hubby are you reading this? I’d like a weekend at Lime Wood please… with you of course! Lime Wood really is the OG of luxury country hotels and I can’t believe I still haven’t been. I’ve wanted to go for years so maybe this is my lucky moment?!
I’d love a new set of salt and pepper shakers… I currently have little pots that you can take a pinch with your fingers but it can get a bit messy so I figured some chic-looking grinders would look very pleasing on my worktops. And bonus, this set comes with a cute recipe notebook!
I think I’ve dreamt of owning a Kitchen Aid stand mixer since I was about 14! I envisage myself making lemon drizzle cake on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my beautiful stand mixer… my ancient hand-held one isn’t cutting the mustard in terms of aesthetics!
The super luxe nail bar, Townhouse, now has two locations very close to me and while my wallet may be quivering, I’m very excited indeed! I think vouchers like this make such a perfect gift when you’re short on time and they give the receiver a lovely experience to look forward to.
There’s nothing quite like a fresh pair of trainers for some workout motivation. These MAY not be the most practical for outdoor runners given their bright shade of white but I do a lot of workouts from home so I don’t need to worry so much about them getting grumpy after a couple of wears.
Continuing on the chocolate fashion theme, I tried on this cashmere cardigan from Reformation and I felt like a main character from a Nancy Myers film… for a brief moment I was wafting around my home in the Hamptons wearing only neutrals and baking late-night pancakes… if you know you know.
I want to commit to regular Gua Sha facial massages as I keep seeing people’s incredible before and after pictures and it’s truly outstanding what it can do to your face. Joining the 30s club a few months ago, I want my skin to look its best for many years to come without needing to turn to invasive procedures so I’m going to give this a go and report back on how I’m getting on!
Welcome to a cheerful array of festive experiences that promise to ignite the spirit of the season! Whether you’re eager to unleash your creativity, indulge in culinary delights, or immerse yourself in enchanting performances, there’s something for everyone in this winter wonderland of activities.
Build your own delicious selection of handmade treats on this fun, hands-on course. If you fancy making your own Christmas gift this year, Daylesford’s tutors will help you get in the festive spirit as you learn how to make an array of preserves, decorative biscuits, sweet treats and much more.
Get festive and create your very own Christmas ceramic decorations at Birch. In this taster session for beginners, you’ll get hands-on and make a collection of six handmade decorations, using our stamps, textures and patterns to personalise. These pieces will be dried, fired, glazed, and posted to you after the session with a little ribbon on the side.
Experience the magic of Winter at Beaverbrook with enchanting ice skating and delectable food. Nestled in picturesque surroundings, the rink offers seasonal joy for all. Glide through the winter wonderland surrounded by twinkling lights, and afterwards, indulge in a culinary delight at Beaverbrook. Whether a novice or seasoned skater, the experience promises magical moments on the ice, followed by a feast for the senses with delicious food in this idyllic setting.
Embrace the holiday spirit at Yougi Botanicals’ In-Person Christmas Candle Making Workshop. Dive into the art of crafting festive candles in a hands-on session. Held in a welcoming atmosphere, this workshop offers a unique opportunity to create personalized, aromatic candles, making it a perfect festive activity to share with friends and family.
“Christmas, Actually” at Southbank Centre is a heartwarming dance performance that encapsulates the holiday magic. Inspired by the beloved film, Love Actually, this enchanting show weaves together dance, music, and romance. Immerse yourself in the festive spirit as the performers bring to life the timeless tales that make Christmas truly special.
Wreath Making Workshop
Join creative designer and florist, Emma Ellison for Wreath Making across South West London throughout November and December. Blending her artistic design flair with expert floristry skills, Emma will guide you through 2-hours of festive fun to create a masterpiece that will hang beautifully on your door this Christmas. Using seasonal foliage and blooms, layer up your bespoke naturally adorned wreath that will rival any you’ll find in shops, made with love! During the workshop enjoy mulled wine and mince pies to get you in the spirit. Wreath-making classes will be taking place at The Weir in Brentford (30th Nov & 2nd Dec), The Abercorn Arms (3rd Dec) and The Kings Head (4th Dec) in Teddington.
Shakespeare’s Globe presents “Hansel and Gretel” in 2023, a captivating twist on the classic fairy tale. Set against the iconic backdrop of the Globe Theatre, this production promises a magical journey for audiences of all ages. Immerse yourself in the enchanting world of Hansel and Gretel, brought to life in a unique theatrical experience.
“The Big London Bake” is an exciting culinary adventure that invites participants to unleash their inner bakers. Located in London, this hands-on baking experience challenges teams to create delectable treats under the clock’s ticking pressure. A blend of fun and competition, it’s the perfect activity for baking enthusiasts and novices alike.
At The Ned in London, immerse yourself in festive joy with enchanting carol performances. Amidst the grandeur of this iconic venue, experience the magic of the season as talented musicians and singers fill the air with timeless melodies. The Ned’s festive carols promise an unforgettable holiday ambience in the heart of London.
Indulge in a plant-based feast at Farmacy with their enticing Festive Lunch menu. Featuring a delightful array of seasonal dishes, this menu promises a unique and flavorful celebration. From festive starters to delectable mains and tempting desserts, Farmacy’s offerings blend culinary excellence with a healthy, plant-powered twist for a truly joyous dining experience.
Embark on a whimsical journey with The Petersham Covent Garden’s Nutcracker Afternoon Tea. Indulge in a festive culinary experience featuring an array of sweet and savoury delights inspired by the classic tale. Set in the enchanting ambience of Petersham Covent Garden, this tea promises a magical and delectable celebration.
Ice at Kensington Palace transforms the historic setting into a winter wonderland. Skating enthusiasts revel in the joy of gliding on the ice amidst the iconic palace backdrop. Lit by the glow of seasonal lights, the rink provides a magical experience for all ages, making it a cherished annual tradition in the heart of London.
The Christmas Feast at The Lost Estate is a magical blend of festive cheer and culinary excellence. Set in enchanting surroundings, the event offers a unique gastronomic journey featuring artisanal delights, from delectable roasts to exquisite desserts. The venue transforms into a winter wonderland, creating an immersive atmosphere with lights and seasonal decor. The Lost Estate’s Christmas Feast invites guests to celebrate the season in style, making it a must-attend affair for those seeking an extraordinary yuletide experience.
We are excited to team up with Chelseé Lewis to offer two lucky readers the chance to try her supercharged anti-ageing face oil worth £85. The Chelseé Face Oil blend is an amalgamation of 27 years of experience and observation of knowing what works, to give an all-in-one face oil you will love.
Named as one of Tatler’s best London facialists, Chelseé Lewis is the go-to skin connoisseur offering the very finest in facials and skin therapies.
Driving to keep skin looking healthy, young and beautifully fresh, Chelseé has blessed the skin of some of the most renowned individuals in the industry including beauty editors through to A-list celebrities.
Containing a powerhouse of skin conditioning and rejuvenating oils that are rich in essential fatty acids, minerals and vitamins, the CHELSEÉ Face Oil has been formulated to help maintain the health of your skin naturally. This anti-ageing, brightening, rejuvenating powerhouse of goodness will become your must-have facial oil.
Enriched with Vitamin A Cacay oil together with Tunisian date seed and vitamin, this oil is perfect for pigmentation and scarring. The squalane delivers a concentrated dose of skin nourishment and the blend of frankincense, chamomile and sandalwood promotes a state of deep relaxation and a restful night’s sleep.
2 entrants (picked at random) will receive:
1 full-sized sample of The Chelsee Face Oil worth £85
As winter descends, bringing with it the crisp chill and enchanting beauty of frost-covered landscapes, it also heralds the arrival of a common woe – dry and cracked hands. The cold, harsh weather can leave our skin longing for extra care and attention, and one area that often bears the brunt of winter’s bite is our hands. Fear not, for in the realm of skincare, a saviour exists in the form of hand creams. These nourishing elixirs are designed to rescue your hands from the clutches of winter’s dryness, providing a soothing balm for parched skin. In this article, we embark on a quest for the ultimate solution to chapped hands, exploring a curated selection of the best hand creams for dry skin. These emollient wonders promise not only relief but a touch of indulgence for your skin, ensuring that your hands remain a haven of softness and vitality throughout the winter.
Nursem Hand Cream is a salvation for overworked hands, especially for those on the frontline of care. This reparative elixir is more than a moisturizer; it’s a testament to compassion. Developed by nurses for nurses, it’s a blend of soothing, plant-based ingredients, free from parabens and cruelty. Loaded with active ingredients like glycerin and chamomile, it offers intensive hydration without the greasy residue. Nursem goes beyond skincare; it’s a social mission, with each product purchased contributing to hand care for a nurse.
Avène Cicalfate Restorative Hand Cream is a soothing elixir for distressed hands, offering unparalleled care for dry, cracked skin. Enriched with Avène Thermal Spring Water, this dermatologist-recommended formula provides intense hydration while promoting skin healing. The unique blend of sucralfate and copper-zinc complex accelerates recovery, calming irritation and fortifying the skin’s natural barrier. Fast-absorbing and non-greasy, it leaves hands silky-smooth.
Indulge in the luxurious embrace of Rhug Estate Hand & Nail Cream, a skincare gem enriched with the invigorating essence of Orange Peel Oil and the healing properties of Yarrow. This meticulously crafted formula is a sensory delight, offering a burst of citrus freshness alongside Yarrow’s soothing touch. The cream is a symphony of hydration and nourishment, absorbing swiftly to rejuvenate tired hands and fortify brittle nails.
Indulge in tranquillity with Rituals’ “The Ritual of Jing” Hand Mask, a serene escape for tired hands. Infused with the calming essence of Sacred Lotus and Jujube, this mask is a pampering ritual that transforms a mundane moment into a spa-like experience. The dual-layered gloves, enriched with shea butter and nourishing botanicals, cocoon your hands in a hydrating sanctuary.
Kiehl’s Ultimate Strength Hand Salve is a robust shield against the elements, offering unparalleled care for weather-beaten hands. Infused with a potent blend of botanical oils, including avocado and sesame seed, this salve provides a surge of hydration, tackling even the driest skin. Its thick, rich texture forms a protective barrier, sealing in moisture and preventing further damage. A true multitasker, it soothes and restores with a non-greasy finish.
Indulge in luxury with Irene Forte Skincare Pomegranate Hand Cream, a luxurious elixir for hands that crave pampering. Imbued with the nourishing properties of organic Pomegranate extract, this cream revitalizes and deeply hydrates, leaving hands soft and supple. Enriched with a blend of Sicilian Orange, Rosemary, and Bergamot essential oils, it bestows a fragrant embrace. The antioxidant-rich formula not only moisturizes but also safeguards against environmental stressors. Irene Forte’s commitment to natural ingredients and sustainability shines through, making this hand cream not just a beauty ritual but an indulgence that harmonizes with nature, elevating your hands to a realm of sublime care.
La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Hands is a lifeline for overworked hands, especially those facing the brunt of daily stressors. Enriched with shea butter and glycerin, this reparative cream delivers instant relief to dry, damaged skin. The innovative formula, infused with the brand’s proprietary Thermal Spring Water, soothes irritation and accelerates the healing process. Cicaplast Hands absorbs quickly, leaving no greasy residue, making it an ideal companion for on-the-go care. Dermatologically tested and free from parabens, it’s a gentle yet powerful solution for hands in distress.
Oskia Renaissance Hand Cream is a luxurious retreat for your hands, embodying the brand’s commitment to radiant, healthy skin. Infused with Oskia’s signature blend of bio-available nutrients, vitamins, and Swiss Apple Stem Cells, this cream delivers a transformative experience. The exquisite texture absorbs effortlessly, leaving hands velvety-soft and rejuvenated. A symphony of fragrant rose and chamomile engages the senses while antioxidants combat environmental stress.
You may have heard of Hasselback potatoes but have you ever tried Hasselback squash? This recipe from California Walnuts would make the perfect centrepiece on your Christmas table this year. This show-stopping side dish will be ideal for those who fancy a veggie Christmas affair… but fear not, non-veggies will be going back for seconds too!
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
1 butternut squash, peeled, halved and deseeded (1.3kg)
½ x 25g pack fresh coriander, chopped, plus extra to serve
2 tbsp chopped chives
150g edamame beans
Preheat the oven to 200oC, gas mark 6.
Place 1 squash half, flat side down on a chopping board between 2 wooden spoons (to stop the knife cutting all the way through). Made cuts, 0.5cm apart all the way along the squash. Repeat with the other squash half and place both in a roasting tin, push the garlic slices randomly into the cuts.
Mix 2 tbsp oil with the spices and drizzle over the squash, bake for 40 minutes.
Mix the 75g walnuts, herbs, lemon zest and remaining oil together and sprinkle over the squash, bake for a further 20 minutes until golden and tender.
Meanwhile, stir fry the beans and remaining 25g walnuts in a drizzle of oil for 1-2 minutes, stirring in the juice of half the lemon at the end. Serve with the squash.
Cooks tip Add harissa paste to the walnut crumb for extra heat.
As temperatures cool, the ski season heats up…where better to head than the Italian Dolomites. Rich in style, sophistication and snow, the Dolomites is home to the largest network of skiing in the world. Intertwining 1200km of slopes and 450 lifts, Dolomiti Superski has several resorts scattered within its hemisphere, one of the favoured being Alta Badia, adequate for beginners through to seasoned skiers. At the bottom of the valley, on the tip of Corvara is where Sassongher Hotel has stood proud for almost a century. Backdropped by the dramatic undulating landscape that’s dusted in snow, this traditional hotel imbues Italian hospitality at its best and is a true alpine wellness mecca.
Laced in decades of lineage, Sassongher Hotel has been passed down through generations in the same family since 1933. The 65-room hotelier follows classic rifugio wooden architecture bedecked with heritage alpine interiors. Keeping the hotel business in the family has meant Sassongher Hotel retains a level of impeccable cordiality that earns the 5 stars above the door. There’s a homely, comforting presence from the moment you step foot in the lobby, inviting you in like an extended member of the family.
The restaurant echoes tradition, with dishes which have been served in the grand dining hall for decades, presented with an elevated upgrade to edge them into the gastronomic standard this region has become accustomed to. Lavish Italian dining will take you on a culinary journey; Antipasti, Primi, Secondi and (if you have space) an indulgent Dolce! Pick out a table in the hotel’s classic ‘Stube’, native to the region of South Tyrol, the rustic nook is the quintessential alpine dining experience.
Rolling back the clocks, the hotel bar oozes with charm, you can envision elegant Italian women back in the 50s sipping on an aperitivo, soundtracked by the piano. Theatrical mixologist ‘Saro’ mans the bar, tempting you in with his exquisite spin on classic cocktails and mocktails for a nightcap or two!
The wellness facilities have been given a luxe-modern makeover, offering the perfect post-skiing chill-out space to spend lazy afternoons soothing achy muscles. Perched on the rooftop is the open-air whirlpool hot tub, with panoramic views of the peaks. The sauna boasts a similar picturesque outlook of the scenery housed on the top floor, and in true European style, you may see a little nudity! Downstairs the spa continues with a gym, heated pool, infra-red cabin and relaxation area to cosy up by the fire on the floating rattan loungers and completely zen out. The alpine wellness treatments cover beauty, massage and facials to regenerate the body throughout your stay. The full-body massage will come as a tonic after a day on the slopes, minimising DOMs the following day.
Ditching après ski for fine dining, the Dolomites region is spurred on by a renewed food and drink scene. An example of a ‘Rifugio’ Restaurant’ fuelling this movement is Ütia de Bioch, a typical fairytale-esque mountain hut that you’ll stumble across in amongst the piste. Fusing Ladin, Tyrolean and Mediterranean cuisine, the menu takes inspiration from the various Italian styles to create gourmet dishes for memorable lunches in the most divine setting. Passionate about organic and local wines, resturanteur and sommelier Markus Valentini has renovated the basement into an impressive wine cellar, hosting high-altitude tasting sessions to flaunt his noteworthy knowledge. The Scotoni Hütte should also be on your hit list, coveted for its open-grill kitchen that stages a spectacular for diners. If there’s ever a time to eat meat, its here. The BBQ sharing platter is the speciality, partnering with a local butcher to deliver the highest quality meat. In fact, all the ingredients are sourced sustainably and locally, from the potatoes grown in the Puster Valley to the South Tyrolean cheese.
Crowned as the top gourmet destination in the Alps, Alta Badia has curated an avant-garde initiative to flex their culinary skill one step further. ‘Gourmet Valley’ pairs a sequence of restaurants with talented Michlean-starred chefs to present a collaborative dish at the mountain hut’s, accompanied by a local wine that complements the meal superbly.
If mapping out a length day of skiing fills you with joy, the Dolomiti UNESCO World Heritage Site is a playground of routes and loops to keep you occupied for days, if not weeks. Monikered as the ‘Ski Safari, the Superski multi-terrain swath is a winter sport enthusiasts dream, featuring the Sellaronda circuit one of the world’s greatest ski routes.
Just 2 hours transfer from Innsbruck, arguably the most straightforward airport in Europe, Sassongher Hotel eloquently synergises ‘La Dolce Vita’. Adopting the alpine Ladin lifestyle, their warm-hearted attributes are unparalleled, making you feel at home. Throw in the ski safari at your fingertips, on top of the sensational culinary scene and let the the magic of the Dolomites whisk you away this winter season.