Are you ready for GRIT?

Samantha Whitaker takes on the work out of her life when she trials GRIT for Hip & Healthy

LES MILLS fans listen up: you know when you do a class and there’s one track that leaves you feeling like you might collapse? GRIT™ is half an hour of those tracks! But don’t let that put you off. For our time-poor generation, this explosive hit of exercise – which fits snugly into the precious pre-work or lunchtime hour – is exactly what we need.

Following the global trend for High Intensity Interval Training – or HIIT – GRIT seriously pushes you to the next level. It’s incredible how much your body can adapt to even the toughest training: I suddenly felt like I hadn’t worked out since sometime last year – and the shock pushed me to give my absolute all.

I’m not going to lie: there were points when I felt nauseous. But it was at those moments that the instructor was right next to me, counting down the seconds until the end of the rep, so there was no way I could give up. Because that’s what GRIT is all about: high-impact movements to great music, with inspirational trainers who are there doing it with you, harnessing the power of the team. There’s lots of whooping and high-fiving, but I can see why it’s addictive. ‘The workouts are demanding, but they’re over quickly,’ says Marcus Benson, a LES MILLS GRIT Series trainer. ‘Each 30-minute session mixes short bursts of high intensity with recovery periods, which is the best way to increase fitness, tone muscle and lose fat.’

There are three different classes in the GRIT Series. GRIT Strength uses barbells and plates to blast the major muscle groups and stimulate the metabolism to keep burning fat for hours. GRIT Plyo is based on the principles of plyometrics to build an agile, athletic body by transforming muscle fibre and increasing stamina. GRIT Cardio, which I tried, is a fast, fat-burning combination of explosive power moves and body-weight exercises. All three promise non-stop action and big results, fast.

At GRIT Cardio, the small class (of around 15) stood either in a circle or in two groups facing each other. From the start, it was fast and intense: short reps of shuttle runs, ladder climbs, push-ups and burpees. As always with LES MILLS classes (such as BODYPUMP and BODYATTACK), there are lower-impact options – which is good because GRIT™ has been designed to attract those who might not traditionally be into the idea of group workouts (men, in other words). And with three classes, and new routines every three months, there’s no way you’ll get bored.

The GRIT Series is being rolled out into gyms right now, so keep an eye out. And if your workout is in need of a shake-up, this half-hour attack is 100% what you need. For more information, or to find the nearest participating club, visit

Cheeky Chocolate Pudding with Creamy Almond Butter (dairy- and sugar-free)

The sweet potato brownie phenomenon hit the vegan food world by storm and shows no signs of waning. We love to turn these simple orange root vegetables into a gorgeous gooey chocolate mess! With the sweetness of sweet potato, creaminess of almond butter, distinct caramel tone of medjool dates and rich raw cacao, this oh so healthy dessert is to die for! Share with your friends and get them to guess the ingredients, we assure you they never will!

Serves 4


2 Sweet Potatoes

1/4 cup Raw Cacao

3 Tbsp Almond Butter

3 Medjool Dates

2 Tbsp  Honey/ Agave Syrup (can omit in place for 3 more dates)

1 Cup Rude Health Oat milk


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees. Roast the sweet potatoes in there skin for 25-35 minutes (until soft). Peal and place in your blender, pulse until pureed. Add in all the other ingredients and continue to blend until super smooth. You may have to stop the blender and mix with a long spoon if the mixture gets stuck underneath the blade. Pour into your bowl, martini glass, champagne flute or whatever takes your fancy – the more glamourous the better and serve.



How to Stay Hip & Healthy on Holiday

Holiday’s are wonderful but they can also be the ultimate healthy regime disrupter. It can be very tempting to throw caution to the wind and indulge in everything going – this is your well-deserved break after all. But do you want to arrive home looking and feeling even worse than when you got there? Probably not. And although a tan will hide all manor of sins, it will soon fade and then what (wrinkly skin is what!). Why not return feeling rested, relaxed and vibrant? Full of health and vitality? Here are some simple easy-to-implement ways you can stay healthy whilst also indulging in a little of what you fancy…

Despite what you may think, holiday is the perfect time to exercise. You don’t need to set aside much time but do it in the morning and get it over and done with. If running is your thing, make sure you put your running clothes on before anything else and you will find that half the battle is just getting yourself out the door. Prefer yoga, then do an online class or if you are a ballet barre fan then log on to where you can take part in live barre classes. Or why not take full advantage of the pool and get 30 lengths in before breakfast. This does not need to be done every day but if you can manage it 3/4 times over the week you will notice the difference!

Now, I know I have just harped on about exercise but rest is just as important. Get as much sleep as you can and wake up naturally – don’t set an alarm. Leave the curtains open and the light will wake you up if you want to wake up early. Also, spend some time enjoying doing nothing – then you will feel truly rested when you get back. If you’re into it, also try some meditation to relax the mind. Find a quiet space and concentrate on your breathing and try and shut out all other thoughts – really try not to think about the work you have to do when you get back. This is your time to chill and you have earned it.

Holidays present the perfect chance to eat healthily. If you’re by the sea take advantage of the fresh fish on offer. Landlocked? Then visit local markets to grab fresh fruit and vegetables. If you are in a villa it is much easier to eat healthily because you are in charge of what goes into your meals and you can stock up on fruit and nuts for snacks. However, when staying in a hotel, choose the catch of the day and ask for it in oil rather than butter, have fresh salads for lunch, there is normally always Salad Nicoise on the menu and this makes the perfect balance meal – tuna, potatoes and lots of leafy greens. Stay away from anything deep fried or fast food-y and you should be ok.

Less stress, fresh food, resting and, of course, a good dose of vitamin D will see that your skin improves over your holiday. There really is nothing like the sun to give you a healthy glow. Having said that we do also have to be very cautious and treat the sun’s strength with respect. Always wear suncream. Know your skin’s limitations and don’t push it – there is nothing more annoying than having to spend the rest of the holiday indoors because you took it to far on the first day. Be aware of things like pigmentation and moles and make sure that you put a block on them for extra caution. Where a hat. And moisturise well after sun exposure as your skin will be very dehydrated. Take note – your standard moisturiser may not cut it. We love ESPA’s Cellular Hydration Intensive Serum, £38.


If you only do one thing this week… Eat Like a Tennis Pro

If you only do one thing this week…

Eat Like a Tennis Pro

 sweaty betty tennis


Go Gluten Free Like Novak Djokovic
This number one tennis star found that his wheat-intolerance was actually impacting his breathing. Some say that his tennis career was transformed when he went gluten and wheat-free. Not only did his breathing dramatically improve (important when you spend your life darting around a tennis court), but his energy levels and fitness started to show signs of getting much better. Dr. Igor Cetojevic, who worked with Djokovic for a year up until his Wimbledon triumph in 2011 said in an interview with CNN “I knew from my experience that asthma was not the boy’s problem but rather it was reflecting a symptom of something that was going on with his digestion, it was his sensitivity to gluten that was compromising his lungs.”

Eat Vegan & More Raw like Serena Williams
In support of her sister Venus, who adopted a vegan diet after she was diagnosed with an immune disorder known as Sjogren’s syndrome, Serena has cut back on chicken and fish and upped the raw food in her diet. What have the effects been? Well, it seems that this new way of eating has helped Serena slim down and speed up.

Have a Fueling Breakfast like Maria Sharapova
Sharapova puts her energy on the court down to a fantastic breakfast and good hydration. So what does she eat the morning of a big match? Apparently an egg white omelet, some oatmeal, and berries are the order of the day. And if she fancies an extra boost she will slurp back a super-food packed smoothie too.

Cut out Alcohol, Sugar and Processed foods like Andy Murray
When Andy followed in Novak’s footsteps and went gluten-free he actually found he lost a lot of weight and strength. So he switched his diet to protein centric meal times and cut out all refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods, instead opting for lots of fresh sushi, pasta and chicken before games, and protein shakes whilst training. Interestingly he also does Bikram Yoga to build up his strength and stamina.

Image: Matchpoint Tennis Dress, £80, Sweaty Betty



For the first time ever, Marylebone’s best kept beauty secret CONTENT opens up their “little green book” (they are an all-natural brand!) and welcomes a series of events to celebrate healthy living. The series of tastings, pop-ups, demos and exclusive previews will take place over two weeks – June 24th until July 6th 2013, closing with an exclusive 2 day Pop-Up RADIANCE JUICE LAB at CONTENT.

June 24th COME CLEAN

Shape Up for Summer with Content Nutritionist Jennifer Derham

Come Clean with a diet and kitchen overhaul to help you shape up for Summer. CONTENT Medical Herbalist and Nutritionist, Jennifer Derham, will analyze your 3-day food diary and help you clean up your diet. A handy take home shopping guide will make cleaner choices at the supermarket easier!   £30 | 30 min



Sponsored by PAI SKINCARE and UNOCO 100% Raw Coconut Water

Learn some life lessons from the glamorous and entertaining author of two inspiring blogs, Chemo Chic and The Good Glamour Guide, Jessica Jones. CONTENT hosts the exclusive UK launch and signing of Jessica’s new book ‘The Elegant Art of Falling Apart’ as she discusses cosmetics, cancer, breaking-up and breakdowns, and shares her tips on how to stay sane when faced with some of life’s biggest trials. Each copy of ‘The Elegant Art of Falling Apart’ comes with a FREE Pai Rosehip Oil valued at £20, when purchased on the night.


de Mamiel Summer Facial Oil Preview 10.30am – 7pm

Designed to capture ‘the freshness of life and the joy of the season’, the de Mamiel Summer Facial Oil has been incorporated into a 45min CONTENT Facial Massage as a luxurious treat for Summer skin. £45 | 45 minutes Booking fee redeemable against de Mamiel products purchased on the day.


Summer Cocktail Lessons and Tasting 7.30pm

Sponsored by The Herball, 1660 London and Jean-Paul Mette

THE HERBALL’S Michael Isted hosts an interactive cocktail making session showcasing dynamic ways in which the plants around us can be integrated into healthier alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Michael will introduce plant distillates, Metté eau de vie, pressed plant juices, herbal tinctures, bitters and herbal infusions for supercharging your drinks. Learn how a variety of English grown herbs can be utilised in your summer cocktails!


Organic Make-Up Event with Louise Dartford  10.30am – 6pm

Sponsored by Aurelia Probiotic Skincare

Renowned Make-Up Artist Louise Dartford has been using organic make-up to paint famous faces and on the pages of international publications for years. Bring along your make-up kit and Louise will use her expertise and insider knowledge to help you switch your kit to the latest cult organic make-up brands. Choose from the new lipstick crayons from ILIA, model’s favourite RMS Beauty, technology focused Vapour Beauty, Parisian chic from Studio 78 Paris and the latest mineral magic from W3LL People… more. Each attendee will leave with a complimentary sample travel kit of the Aurelia Probiotic Skincare.


Give your digestive system a welcome rest and treat your body to skin-friendly vitamins from raw, fresh juices. RADIANCE certified organic, nutritional juice programmes will give you glowing skin and help get your body ready for the beach. A limited edition version of Radiance’s best-selling Signature Cleanse will feature the new ‘Glow & Tell’ juice designed exclusively for CONTENT. Choose the Rest Day as a rapid reset 24 hour juice fast or enjoy the juices as an addition to a healthy diet over 3 days. 1-day Rest Day (6 x 500ml) £90 | 3-day Cleanse (5 x 500ml/day) £215 plus receive a FREE 250ml Content ‘Skin Shot’ with each booking!

Bookings: Email [email protected] or call 020 3544 8163 for details. Delivery available for mainland UK on 5th July. Book by 3rd July.


Skin Health Workshop and Kombucha Tasting 7pm

Sponsored by Go Kombucha and Twelve Beauty

Healthy digestion leads to healthy skin – fact!. In The Culture of Beauty Nutritionist and Medical Herbalist Jennifer Derham discusses how healthy digestion is key for maintaining healthy, glowing skin. We also take a look at one of the oldest health tricks in the book, fermentation, with a pop-up Kombucha Tea Tasting Bar. Currently enjoying a worldwide renaissance, fermentation has been used for centuries to maintain general wellbeing and health. The UK’s premier raw Kombucha drinks brand GO KOMBUCHA hosts a tasting evening with their authentic, handmade, real Kombucha tea and discusses how this ‘elixir of life’ has some surprising topical uses. We predict Kombucha will become the must-have beauty accessory for 2013. Attendees will be entered into a draw to win a Summer Essentials Set of ‘Twelve Beauty’ products valued at £120.


Facial and Massage Event 10.30am -7pm

Book a deep cleansing AMALA Detox Facial and shift some stress with a FREE 30min De-stress and Detox Massage. Aimed at alleviating stress and tension held in the back, neck and shoulders this treatment will help relax body and mind. £45 | 1 hour All attendees receive a FREE Unoco 100% Raw Coconut Water to rehydrate after the treatment


Radiance Juices available in-store at Content   10.30am – 7pm

In collaboration with Radiance, CONTENT hosts an exclusive ‘beauty focused’ Juice Lab showcasing three bespoke juices for glowing summer skin. Let the expert team help you choose whether your skin would most benefit from: ‘Vital Greens’, with soothing and cleansing cucumber, apple, spinach, lime and parsley; ‘Glow & Tell’, a vitamin-rich blend of watermelon, cucumber, apple, beetroot, ginger and mint; or the exclusive Content ‘Skin Shot’, a hydrating combination of coconut water and liquid chlorophyll. Or try all three!  The Radiance Juice Lab with be in store at CONTENT for 2 days only, July 5th and 6th.
Organic, cold-pressed juices £4.95 | 250ml and Content Skin Shot £3.00 | 250ml


Oskia Facial Event 10.30am – 6pm

Great British beauty brand OSKIA is renowned for its use of a clever combination of skin loving nutrients including MSM, prebiotics and Hyaluronic Acid. Try the range with the OSKIA Summer Beauty Boost Facial including the cult favourite ‘Get Up and Glow’. £45 | 45 minutes.  Booking fee redeemable against OSKIA products purchased on the day. Includes a take home gift of a deluxe 15ml size OSKIA product

For more info visit


Healthy Sticky “Toffee” Pudding


100g Medjool Dates

100g wholegrain Spelt Flour

375ml Oat Milk (can use other non-dairy milk)

100g Vegan Butter (we use Pure)

2 Eggs (Are you vegan? Use two flax eggs: two tablespoons of flax with two tablespoons of water)

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Medjool Dates tend to be softer than most, so there in normally no need to soak them, however if yours are quite hard boil them for 60 seconds. Add them to the blender with the oat milk , eggs (if using) and blend until smooth. Place the blender aside to use later.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

In a large bowl throw together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and butter then slowly add the wet mixture folding as you go. Once mixed well pour into a greased and lined baking tin and cook for 45 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Toffee Sauce

50g Vegan Butter

100g Medjool Dates

1 cup water

Blend until smooth.

To compile the pudding

Cut into your portion sizes of choice, heat the toffee sauce and generously pour over before serving.



Healthy Recipe for the Weekend: Raw Pad Thai

Healthy Recipe for the Weekend: Raw Pad Thai



Serves 4


6 courgettes

3 carrots

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

5 stalks asparagus, cut thinly

1 cup/ 100g sugar snap peas, cut thinly

Method: Spiralize the courgettes and carrots with a spiralizer if you have one or julienne them with a peeler if you don’t!


1 cup coconut milk

1/3 cup almond butter

3 medjool dates

juice 1 lime

2 garlic bulbs

1cm cube ginger

2 tbsp tamari

Method: Blend all ingredients together until smooth.

Teriyaki Almonds

1/3 cup almonds

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp water

Method: Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Combine water and tamari and coat the almonds well. Roast in the oven for 2-3 minutes, until liquid has dissolved.

And to finish: Finally place all prepared vegetables and almonds in a large mixing bowl, pour sauce in and toss well.



Health Speak: We chat to author and Nutrition and Health Consultant, Liz Tucker, about foods that lift her mood and calorie counting

Health Speak: We chat to Nutrition and Health Consultant, Liz Tucker, about foods that lift her mood and calorie counting

interview conducted by Kate Prince

liz tucker

Liz Tucker is a Nutrition and Health Consultant and author, who has appeared on television and written for well known magazines. She promotes better health by encouraging healthier lifestyle and diet options; working closely with the food industry on specific markets such as Sports Nutrition.

What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

I am definitely a morning person so I am usually up by about six. I always exercise early as once the day starts it’s easy to let other things get in the way so once I am out of bed and have fed the cats I go for a run.

What do eat for breakfast? 

Once I am back from my run, I usually have a rice cake with organic peanut butter. It is nutritious… but really it’s just because I love it!

What is your work place like?  

I work all over the country in some great places; in fact I recently got back from the Lake District and next week I have a meeting on the set of TV drama Hollyoaks. I live on a farm so I have to go across fields to get to my office, which is very inspiring and a very short commute!

What do you eat for lunch?

At the farm, we grow all of our own fruit and vegetables and have been totally self-sufficient in these for some years now. I love vegetable gardening and have four massive freezers to keep it all in. I also make masses of soup which I have for lunch; I am not a great cook but it’s so easy and is the ultimate convenience food. Pea and courgette is the soup I have gallons of and love it but my roasted tomato is the definite favourite.

Are there any foods that lift your mood?  

I love home grown-foods. It tastes so much better than shop bought and it’s such a thrill to pull up your first crop of potatoes or eat a raspberry off of the bush. On a warm summer day I love to graze round the veg plot!

Is there any food you eat every day and why?  

I try and vary my diet and eat seasonally but I do generally eat a banana most days as it just suits my early morning get started routine. I have been lactose intolerant since a teenager so I do try and eat almonds daily as they have a good level of calcium

What do you think about calorie counting?  

It is funny how obesity problems started about the same time we got obsessive about calorie counting. The science shows it’s about what you eat and eating natural foods are much more likely to be nutritionally rich and calorie balanced. We have so much processed food that contain “empty” calories – lots of fat or sugar but little nutritional content and I think that is the key issue.

Do you avoid any food allergies?

I have a chronic auto-immune condition called Sjogrens Disease. Because of that I am also Celiac, lactose intolerant and spicy foods, caffeine and sugar including natural fruit sugars can make my symptoms worse. My health was why I got into science, especially nutrition as for many years they didn’t know what was wrong with me. If I look after my health it keeps me well.

Do you snack? 

I am a nibbler (nuts and seeds mainly) but do try to stick to three good meals a day.

What are the healthiest snacks in your opinion?  

Nuts and seeds are packed with nutrition but high in calories, but no more so than chocolate, cake, biscuits. I don’t tend to eat those things as it makes me feels so rubbish and actually I wouldn’t chose to eat them if I could as I don’t really find them that tasty and I am probably not the only one to say that!

What do you have for supper?  

I do eat meat but I buy local so I know the animals have been looked after. We always have lots of veg; my hubby does the most amazing roast potatoes, parsnips and squash mix. Roast veg freezes really well so I par cook it, freeze and it only takes a few minutes to heat up … instant food. I even make my own oven chips. It’s so easy to do and delicious.

Do you sit and eat at a proper table to eat your main meal? Do you feel that is important?  

I work away lots and I hate that stuffy restaurant thing so sometimes I have a picnic in the room. At home we have a big dining table and love having friends and family around it but when it’s the two of us we love the cosiness of TV dinners.

What is the healthiest thing you do every day?  

Make the most out of life and appreciate it!

Is there anything you do every day without fail?  

Generally I don’t like routine and my work and life doesn’t fit it anyway but I do like to be prepared, so I make a realistic schedule for the next day so that everything gets its own priority time. I make sure I have everything I need ready to go … I find it reduces the chances of things going wrong.

What do you do for exercise?  

I run most days. I have a four mile circuit across the fields and tracks. I find it a great way to get ideas together and resolve problems. We have a small farm so our spare time is full of fresh air and hard labour and I love it! If I get the chance I surf or water ski.

Which three celebrities (dead or alive) would you invite to have dinner with you?

I am a huge fan of Chris Packham and we would bore anyone else at the table to death talking about birds; so I think I would have Rachmaninov playing the piano in the back ground. Perhaps Mary Berry could cook?!

What is your biggest luxury in life?  

The older you get the less materialistic you feel. I have never been into designer labels, make up and that sort of stuff and now I have hit 50 it doesn’t like me much anyway. Most things are really a luxury so I don’t like this indulgent labelling thing. Most of life is difficult or mundane so enjoyment, I see as a necessity as its gets you through the tough times.

What are the three things can’t you live without?  

My husband, my car and an en-suite bathroom.

What do you go to bed thinking about?  

I hate taking troubles to bed, which is why I like to have the next day prepared. Its the only chance I really get to read so an early night with the electric blanket is a joy.

What is your motto in life? 

Because of my condition I have had bouts of debilitating illness and the positive thing that comes out of that is you learn to appreciate everything that’s ordinary. But my own personal motto is “if at first you don’t succeed, try it another way.”

Liz is the author of the Good Health GuideUnderstanding Food IntolerancesWhy No Weight Loss and When You Want to Say Yes but Your Body Says No. Her latest book, Calorie Counter came out in February.

Summer Snacks: Food we love when it’s HOT HOT HOT


Divine Divino, £12,

We love these little sorbet-filled fruits. Not only do they look super cute but they are all natural, gluten-free, vegetarian, completely free of additives, colorants, and preservatives and most of the flavours are dairy-free too. These Italian founded frozen desert connoisseurs were the official supplier of frozen desserts to the Olympic athletes at Nike VIP House during London 2012. If it’s good enough for them… you know the rest. They do contain sugar though so don’t go over the top. One box contains five to six fruits. It also comes with insulated packaging that keeps the product frozen for 60 minutes outside of the freezer. Picnic anyone?


Cooling Coyo, £1.99,

Being huge fans of Coyo – we’d find any excuse to put away this sweet treat. Completely sugar free, vegan and al natural – there is literally nothing guilty about these little pots of heaven. Eat it straight from the fridge for a refreshing alternative to yoghurt. In this hot weather we like to top us with frozen berries and banana slices to make it even more chilled.


Breezy Banana Smoothie

Not feeling too flushed with funds? Then why not make your own sexy summer snack. Try our recipe for this energy fuelling banana smoothie to see you through the  four pm slump:

1 frozen banana

1/2 cup ice

1/2 cup rice milk

1/2 cup blueberries


Watermelon Wonder 

One of Summer’s most popular fruits, Watermelon, is the perfect cool down and thirst quencher. Not only has t got a seriously high water content (92% to be exact) but it also contains a large amount of lycopene (a potent cancer fighter) and is very high in vitamin A. Studies have shown that those who eat food that has high water contents will eat less in the long run and lose weight as water is incredibly filling, and we often mistake thirst for hunger. Watermelon, therefore, tackles both.


Honeymoon from Heaven

Como’s Parrot Cay is a wellbeing-lover and sybarite’s dream come true

Romance, yoga, vegan food and luxury, luxury and more luxury – Parrot Cay is a Hip and Healthy’s ideal holiday, says Editor, Sadie MacLeod

I have probably been dreaming about my honeymoon since I was about 14-years old. It was always that – and not actually the wedding – that I had fantasised about. A holiday where no expense is spared, where everybody bends over backwards for you because you are on honeymoon, where upgrades are actually a possibility! It wasn’t until I started my job at a travel magazine (well, not just any travel magazine, the travel magazine – Condé Nast Traveller) that I saw my ideal honeymoon hideaway. It ticked all the boxes – it was remote, yet luxurious, wellness orientated, guaranteed to be sunny and had a spa menu to die for. It was Parrot Cay in the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos. And it was everything I had ever dreamed of.

I had never booked with a tour operator before – I am not sure why. I think I always assumed that I could find a better deal. I assumed they were going to rip me off. But I very quickly realised how wrong I was after handing my honeymoon over to the clever people at Turquoise Holidays. Having one less thing to worry about when you plan a wedding is not to go underestimated. And they got me deal that makes look positively expensive.

Getting to Parrot Cay is no mean feat. We flew from New York where we had spent a few days soaking up the city. But if you choose to fly from the UK you’ll have to go via the Bahamas with BA and the journey takes 12 hours in total. But it’s worth it. As soon as you step off the plane you’re whisked off to Parrot Cay’s own little jetty where you are immediately submersed into the luxury and comfort that the Como Hotel & Resort brand is renowned for. No sooner had we got there than we were led to a speed boat – for the last leg of the journey.

I defy anyone who arrives at Parrot Cay not to have to pick up their jaw from off the ground. It is truly the most beautiful island I have ever come across. Long swathes of white beaches stretch as far as the eye can see, walk-ways through lush tropical greenery, crystal clear and decadently warm sea and verdant greenery. And the best bit… there is absolutely no one else there. You have this entire paradise island to yourself.

parrot cay bedroom

Our room, if you can call it that, which on reflection, you really cant. So let me start that again. Our palatial villa was ah-mazing. We had two bathrooms, a spacious bedroom, two outdoor showers, small kitchenette, private beach, plunge pool and, of course,all the mod cons including massive flat screen TV that was barely turned on apart from in the evenings to cosy up and watch a film together (the hotel has its own extensive DVD library).

Besides from its utter gorgeousness as a unique holiday haven, Parrot Cay is also a playground for health and fitness fanatics like my husband and I. We spent our days doing the complimentary yoga classes, booked in to see the resident Ayurvedic Expert, Dr Pradeep – who became a great inspiration to us both (more on that later), going to the gym, running along the trails, swimming in the sea, as well as the pool, and eating the most delicious vegan fare I have ever tasted.

It will forever remain one of the most special places we have ever been and we cannot wait to book our anniversary return trip…

parrot cay spa

Parrot Cay Perks



Resident Ayurvedic expert, Dr Pradeep is an amazing man. We went to a couple of his classes on Pranayama – breathing – and were hooked by his philosophies and his knowledge. Having always been interested in Ayurveda I was keen to take this opportunity to learn more. Developed in India over 5,000 years ago, it is believed that Ayurveda is one of the oldest medical systems in the world. The aim of Ayurevda is to integrate and balance body, mind and soul. It divides us into three constitutional types depending on a persons physical traits and characteristics, known as dohas: vatta, pitta and kapha. Prior to joining COMO, Dr Pradeep was a Senior Naturopath with the world-renowned Jindal Institute of Naturopathy and Yogic Sciences in Bangalore, India, as well as the Yoga and Cultural Ambassador to the Ministry of External Affairs for the High Commission of India in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Both Nick and I booked a one-on-one class with Dr Pradeep who taught us which Dosha we were (I am the epitome of vatta) and his lessons have changed our lifestyles for the better as he educated us on meditation, our breathing and food. If you want to know more about Ayurveda read our article here.


Turks & Caicos offers some of the best snorkeling in the world. Its shallow waters and reef offer a whole host of flora and fauna beneath the ocean’s surface making it great for kids as there is no need to scuba dive to se the best stuff. Parrot Cay has some wonderful excursions available – we recommend the Sand Dollar Island tour!

The Spa

The spa really is the heart of the resort. We indulged in every treatment going – it was our honeymoon after all – but even on days when we didn’t have a treatment we still found ourselves here doing yoga, meditation or just even popping in for some of the Como ginger tea – on which I became a bit hooked!

Green Juice

Daily green juice on tap – need we say more.

The People

It is worth mentioning the absolutely astounding service at the hotel. Many of the staff are Balinese and they have to be the most wonderfully attentive, kind and gentle people in the world. Not a moment went by when I needed something that was not offered even before I had thought of it. The poolside ice lollies were a massive hit!

For more info go to  and if you want to book your trip to Parrot Cay visit




Running the trails

Running the trails

Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding

Green Juice

Green Juice






Healthy Supper Idea: Kale Salad with Figgy Dressing Recipe

6 cups/ large handfuls Kale
1 red pepper, chopped
Seeds 1/2 pomegranate
1 avocado, cubed
Handful of your favourite nuts, raw or lightly toasted (we love pine nuts)

1/4 cup dried figs
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice 1/2 lemon
Salt & Pepper to taste

If the figs are to hard to blend, soak them or boil them for 60 seconds until they become soft and juicy. Add them to the blender with all other ingredients for the dressing. Blend until smooth. Now for the super simple salad part. Place the kale in a large mixing bowl. Add the dressing and with your hands slowly massage it into the kale for 2-3 minutes.This allows the kale to wilt. Add in all other salad ingredients. Toss it all together and dig in!


Totally Blissful: The Tripple Oxygen Facial by Bliss Reviewed

Editor, Sadie, tries a new facial just three days before her wedding day

I am always a little nervous when trying out a new facial. What if my skin flares up? What if I have a reaction to the products? What if I end up looking like Samantha from Sex and The City after her skin peel? So, you can times this paranoia by ten when you try a new facial three days before your wedding day. But this wasn’t just any facial – this was the facial. Bliss Spa’s famous Tripple Oxygen Facial.

Now, it is unlike me to be so bold but it had been recommended to me by a friend who promised I would come out looking ten years younger and wedding-ready. After reading a bit more about it I also discovered that it could lighten pigmentation (of which I have lots – damn that blasted Hawaiian Tropic tanning lotion). I was sold.

I tried to hide my anxiety from my therapist. No such luck. I had hardly stepped in the door before telling her that my wedding was in three days time so I am more than a little apprehensive. I am quickly put at ease as the therapist tells me that the treatment is completely tailored to my skin’s needs so that it can reap the best results possible. I am also told that despite a few breakouts, probably caused by stress, my skin is actually quite dry (note to self – drink more water and actually do it this time!). I also have a few blocked pores on my tea-zone, which is very common for people my age (28 if you must know) and who work and live in London. And, as for the pigmentation, this actually looks hormonal and not due to sun damage (I inwardly breath a sigh of relief that my sunbathing habits are not to blame) but that I should get to the root of the problem as to why this has appeared.

She then got to work on my face. A heavenly facial massage was followed by gentle extractions and a cooling oxygen mask that feels as though it is doing a world of good. Once the mask is removed, my face is then pumped full of vitamins with an enzyme mask and vitamin spray and my skin absorbed them faster than you could say ‘skin saviour’. At the end of the treatment I felt like a different person – I was relaxed, calmer and, quite literally, glowing. Not the most intrepid thing I have ever done (honest) – but I was glad that the courage of trying something new paid off.

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