Friday’s tea is totally cleansing

Today’s favourite is Twinings’ Cleanse infusion. This includes Spearmint, Milk Thistle and Nettle, a calming combination which helps restores balance. Nettle as previously mentioned has a number of essential nutrients, which are vital for maintaining good health. It also purifies the blood by driving out toxins by stimulating the kidneys to excrete more water. Milk Thistle similarly is renowned for it’s detoxifying abilities as it encourages the liver to self-cleanse, ridding itself of any toxins. In a time when alcohol, stress, pollution, fast food and our busy hectic lifestyles play havoc with our liver, this is no bad thing. Milk Thistle also has a mild laxative effect, which is beneficial as it increases movement in the intestinal tract thus promoting detoxification of the body by keeping bowel movements regular.

Meanwhile Spearmint has a soothing effect on the stomach as it relaxes the muscles of the intestines, relieving any digestive problems. It also fights nausea, combats heartburn whilst easing morning sickness. The menthol in Spearmint will aid any cold or runny nose as it acts as a decongestant, thinning out the mucus which makes us feel bunged up! This fantastic combo will give anyone a quick pick-me-up if they are feeling slightly below par.

Thursday’s Tea is Beauty Boosting


Words By Bex Fairbrother

If you find green tea too strong and intense, then a lighter more delicate tea is white tea, my all-time favourite. It is a lightly oxidised tea, which is grown and harvested primarily in China, notably in the Fujian province. Its name is derived from fine silvery-white hairs on the unopened buds of the tea plant, Camellia Sinensis. Unlike its herbal counterparts, white tea undergoes little processing and therefore has high levels of antioxidants, essential nutrients which help protect the body from damage by free radicals.  White tea is teeming with these beauty boosting goodies.

Just one cup a day can boost your overall daily liquid intake which is essential for clear skin and good brain function whilst also giving you an extra dose of nutrients which in turn can help slow down the ageing process. My personal favourite is Tea Pigs White Tea. What makes this tea so fantastic is that the whole leaf is individually enveloped in a little fabric pyramid, enabling it to breath and allowing you to get a full taste as well as all the health benefits.

Drinking white tea has a number of health enhancing qualities. It protects against cancer, heart disease, and stroke, all leading causes of death in the industrial world, as well as numerous other conditions. It eases the symptoms of illness and promotes recovery. It also strengthens the circulatory and immune systems as well as our bones and teeth, and builds healthy skin.


Wednesday’s Tea is full of Energy

Words By Bex Fairbrother


A Hip and Healthy favourite is Do Matcha green tea.  It is a great way to include skin and immune-supporting compounds in your daily diet.  As green tea powder is actually a food rather than a supplement, it has the potential to be better absorbed and more efficiently utilised by the body. What gives Do Matcha the ‘edge’ though is its high antioxidant content – particularly when in comparison to ordinary green tea. Do Matcha is said to provide up to 137 times more of the antioxidant ‘EGCG’, than ordinary green tea. Antioxidants may help to support improved immune health and skin health by protecting both from cellular damage. Do Matcha also naturally contains the amino acid theanine, which has been shown in research to encourage alpha waves in the brain. This type of brain wave helps to put us in a calmer, more relaxed state. This in turn may also help to support a healthy immune system, as stress and how your body responds to it can have an effect on how your immune system functions. Promoting positive and relaxing alpha waves in the brain may also support our skin, since it has often been shown that skin suffers when we are tired and stressed.

Drinking tea is not only good for the body, it is also good for the soul and can be a sociable affair which in turn boosts our mood.  Why not enjoy a pot of this remedial tea with a group of friends.

Get yours from

Tuesday’s Tea is full of Grace…

If you are still feeling a little jaded from the weekend, try Dr. Stuart’s Skin Purify tea. This health-boosting herbal infusion does exactly what it says on the tin…or packet! It is an invigorating blend of red clover, nettle leaves and dandelion root which all help to purify and soothe your skin. Dr. Stuart creates his teas using herbs of the highest quality medicinal grade. Red clover is used to treat hot flushes and PMS whilst also lowering cholesterol, improving urine production and circulation of the blood. It is also used to help prevent osteoporosis and reduce the possibility of blood clots. Red clover is also rich in calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and vitamin C, while Nettle and dandelion are known for their cleansing properties. Nettle, a native British herb, is excellent as a pick-me-up when feeling run down. This is because of it is rich in minerals such as iron, calcium and silica. Iron produces red blood cells and is essential for keeping our energy levels up, whilst calcium and silica are important for building bones and maintaining healthy hair and teeth. Dr. Stuart has extensive experience and a wealth of knowledge on the properties and health benefits of herbs. He uses essential oils and active botanicals and that’s why his range of teas is full of health-boosting and healing properties, leading him to be dubbed the Father of Modern Herbalism. Why not unwind after a long day with a cup of this skin purifying tea? It has subtle flavours and can be drunk throughout the year to give your complexion that much-needed boost and your mood a little lift.

For an extra beauty boost, used tea bags can be laid on the eyes to rest them and smooth out wrinkles. Some believe that is also an effective treatment for removing styles and other eye infections.

If you do one thing this week… drink tea!

WORDS BY Bex Fairbrother

This week we will be posting a new ‘it’ tea each day that we suggest you try to get you through the working week. I hope you are thirsty because its time to drink to your health!

For thousands of years people from all over the world, particularly in the East, have been drinking tea of all different varieties. In modern-day society, tea has become a tonic to help boost our health and sense of well-being. Supplemented with a healthy, balanced diet, herbal teas can give your body an extra health-kick. With such a large number of herbal teas available on the market, there is one for every day and mood. Here are 5 of Hip and Healthy’s favourites:


Why not start your week with a cup of Clipper’s Rise and Shine? This carefully crafted mood enhancer, infused with Organic yerba mate, lemongrass and lemon verbena will have you set up for the day in no time – perfect for those sleepy mornings! The unique blend is full to the brim with health benefits. Yerba mate, the main ingredient, is a species of Holly that is native to subtropical South America. It was first used and cultivated by the Guarani people and has been to said to help aid weight loss, as it is both an appetite suppressant and thermogenic; meaning it increases the rate at which fat is burned. Yerba mate also contains caffeine, which helps stimulate the mind and body. Many people who drink it on a regular basis said they did not suffer the negative side effects that are normally associated with caffeinated drinks. In conjunction with the refreshing fragrance of lemon verbena, this invigorating blend increases energy and wards off the blues. This winning combination is the perfect choice to help lift your mood on overcast, dull days and can help counteract symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.

Yerba mate also contains theophylline. This has medically been used to stimulate the heart muscle, which is essential for strong cardiovascular health. It also contains immune-boosting saponins, whilst also stimulating increased bile flow and therefore acts as a digestive aid. In addition to refreshing the body, lemon verbena’s essential oil helps us to focus and stimulates brain function. Lemon Verbena is also very relaxing and has a number of therapeutic qualities. It is well known for its abilities to strengthen the nervous system and calm digestive tract cramping, alleviating any colon and stomach spasms. Margaret Roberts, author of Herbal Teas for Healthy Living, says that lemon verbena promotes overall nervous system health and in tea form combats both depression and the ill effects of stress.

So if you want a quick pick-me-up grab a cup of this invigorating infusion.

Jubiliciously Hip and Healthy

Embrace the British Buzz this Summer...

Well-loved British brands such as Liberty and Sweaty Betty have.


We have fallen head over heels for the fab British design that is flooding the market at the moment. There has never been a better time to embrace sport in all its red, whit and blue glory. These trainers (and hoodie), that are a collaboration between Nike and Liberty are totally beautiful but if you want them, you better be quick as Liberty have already sold out in size 5, except online where you can choose from three different colours (visit

Sweaty Betty are another golden English brand that are embracing all things British this season. We are sold on their fantastic Jubilee Collection. And they don’t compromise on luxury or technicality. (Make sure you take a look at

Health Speak: Wellbeing Escapes’ Stella Photi talks health, fitness and relaxing


Stella Photi is founder of healthy holiday company Wellbeing Escapes. 

What do eat for breakfast?
On waking I have a glass of warm water with half a lemon squeezed in. After returning from walking the dog, I will have some porridge with berries and walnuts in winter and replace the oats with greek yoghurt in the summer.  If I have time, I will have a boiled egg with a slice of wholemeal toast. As a treat at weekends I sometimes make muffins using spelt flour and a small amount of xylobit (a completely natural sugar substitute that has 40% less calories) with blueberries or mashed bananas.

How do you keep fit?
I get bored quite easily with the same routine so I try and vary different forms of exercise. I power walk with the dog for an hour each day, try and get one session of personal training each week, at least one zumba class (my latest obsession) and maybe a yoga or pilates session, on a good week.

What motto/advice do you try and live by?  
I try very hard to find some happiness and laughter in my life every day whether it is laughing with colleagues at work or singing loudly and badly to music on the radio. Over the last few years I have learned not to be too hard on myself. I know so many A type personalities who drive themselves to be perfect in every aspect of their lives and forget to enjoy the small day to day pleasures. That used to me and now I am  very mindful of living a more balanced lifestyle. Curiously with this approach, I have achieved more…

How is your diet?
I have very strong feelings about food and I believe that a varied and healthy diet is the single best thing you can do for your health. I love all types of food, as long as it is fresh and made with quality ingredients. I only buy organic meat, poultry and dairy and try very hard for my fruit and veg to be seasonal and local. I detest what I call “fake food”, processed and readymade meals. I’m not a big fan on fad diets and am really against diets like the Dukan and Atkins diet as I think they are unhealthy. Any diet that bans fruit completely and promotes diet coke just doesn’t seem right to me. My downfall is chocolate. I have friends who can get by on one small square a week of dark chocolate, for me it’s more like one big bar a week and in the winter when I crave comfort foods it can increase to three bars a week.

What is your skincare routine?
Consistent but not brilliant. My Mediterranean genes have blessed me with fairly good skin so up to now I haven’t paid it that much attention apart from regular cleansing, toning and moisturising. I currently use Decleor products as I love their aromatherapy skin oils and balms and  have recently splashed out on Crème de la Mer eye cream.  Now I am into my 40s I have started thinking about having more regular facials in my free time, but still prioritise a massage or private yoga class over this.

What song do you listen to when you work out?
I see ya baby by Groove Armada.

What do you love to snack on?
Nuts and Nakd raw food bars – good alternatives when the chocolate cravings come on.

How do you relax?
I meditate – it’s amazing, I actually feel my limbs softening when I am doing it.

What three things can you not live without?
My dog, my son and my husband.

Favourite healthy holiday?
Como Shambhala Estate in Bali for sheer holistic bliss and luxury spa holiday and Ti Sana in Italy for a fantastic Detox holiday

Favourite place in the world?
My parents summer home in Cyprus – it’s a three minute walk to the crystal clear sea where I swim every morning, many times without seeing a soul.

What three things do you take everywhere with you?
My blackberry, my kindle and hand cream.

Top flying tip?
Holistic silk slippers with magnetic insoles – very comfortable and great for circulation. Just make sure you walk up and down the aisles every couple of hours and drink lots of water.


Beach Ready and Beautiful!

JUST BOOKED A HOLIDAY? Here’s what to do next… It’s time for the Pre-Holiday Pamper.

Getting yourself prepared for a holiday is one of life’s most exciting things, it is also one of the only times in life (bar a wedding, big date and party at which an ex may be at) in which you can pamper and buff yourself within an inch of your life… totally guilt free. It’s not about vanity, this is all about maintaining holiday sanity. No one wants to see an unkempt bikini line, ugly toe-nails or unruly eyebrows. Here are our pre-holiday suggestions on how to look good at the beach:

The Brazillian Bikini Wax: Aveda
Ask for their hot, no-strip wax and you wont be disappointed with the results. The wax is applied and then left to dry until it goes hard (a bit like rubber). The therapist then whips it off. Less pain, more gain. Great for those with sensitive skin. £25.

The Eyebrow Thread: Blink Eyebrow Bar, Fenwicks
Although not everyone likes the idea of having their eyebrows done in a department store in front of tons of shoppers, Blink discreetly occupies the corner of the ground floor and there is one treatment room available for those really adverse to feeling on display. There really is no better place to get your eyebrows done. It lasts longer than waxing and the shape is undeniably better then any other forms of eyebrow shaping techniques. £17

The Pedicure: New York Pedi at The Chelsea Day Spa
Tucked away on the Kings Road is one of London’s top places to grab a quick but brilliant pedicure. The routine is simple; soak, cut, file and shape all performed by an expert Nail Technician, but the service is unrivaled and you get to watch some of the best chick flick’s ever made during the treatment (Failure to Launch never gets old). And because I was happy watching one of my (admittedly) favourite films, I wasn’t in a rush to leave allowing the nail vanish to dry thoroughly and the pedicure lasted the entire two week holiday. Result. £20

The All-Over Scrub (essential for pre-tanning bods): Total Face and Body Scrub at Elemis Day Spa
When we dare to bare, we want to do it with as much confidence as possible. To achieve an all-over even skin tone (one that will not only tan better but also look better on the beach to begin with) then this is the treatment for you. It is also a pre-holiday pamper that tops the chart in the relaxation factor. After an initial consultation about your skin with the Spa Therapist, she then tailors the treatment to meet your needs. After a full body exfoliation, hot oil massage and complexion boosting facial, you can be rest assured that your whole body will beach ready from the moment you leave the salon. £85


Our Top Three DIY Tans


Words by Harriet Chubb

After my rigorous investigation of the London spray tan market, it’s difficult to remain satisfied with my English rose complexion, so I took to trying a few at home products as well, here are my top three:

WinnerSt Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse. Hands down the best at home fake tan I have ever used. Applied with a mitt, this light mousse glides over your body and brilliantly shows up on your skin so you can see instantly where you are applying it and if you need more coverage. This method pretty much guarantees no streaks once dry, which only takes 4 hours, before showering off. It looks as natural, if not more, than their spray tans and is so easy, quick and fuss free to apply. I am a convert.

Runner Up – L’Oreal Body Expertise Nutrisummer in Medium. This has been my old faithful for many years now and never fails to get an even, natural tan, with, most importantly, no trace of that tell-tale biscuit smell. In a moisturiser format, you can’t see where this is going when you apply it, however, I have not yet had a streak from it. It takes a while to apply as you need to make sure you have really rubbed in the cream to each part of your body, but the moisturising effect is delicious and worth the extra time. Apply a couple of hours before you go to bed to avoid staining your sheets and wake up happily bronzed with no need to wash off.

Runner Up –  Rimmel Sunshimmer Instant Tan in Matte. This is the perfect antidote to pale legs that need a quick fix just before a night out, applied with a mitt, it smoothes on with no developing time – you can put this on instantly and walk out of the door feeling sun kissed. I would recommend the matte version over the shimmer, as the blinding sheen can me a bit much picked up in the light.


Image: Seafolly – Happy Hour Kaftan and Amelia Sunglasses

…Follow our top 10 tips to get a bikini body


by Personal Trainer, Sabi Phagura

Spring has finally sprung! But after months of being under wraps, we may feel a bit daunted at shedding the layers. And if you’ve booked a summer holiday or are thinking of booking one, chances are you’re in a panic about how you’ll look in your bikini body. The good news if you start now, you’ll definitely start seeing results in a matter of weeks.

Here are my top 10 tips to getting that bikini body this summer:

1. Eat Clean – this means eating foods as close to nature as possible like fish, meat, nuts, seeds, good fats, fruit and vegetables at least 80 per cent of the time.

2. Take up exercise whether that’s walking briskly for half an hour or joining a gym class. Aim for 30 minutes at least 3-5 times a week.

3. Add some weight training to your exercise. Strength training gives you great muscle tone and burns more calories overall.

4. Drink plenty of water. Sometimes we can confuse hunger with water so it’s good to keep you water levels topped up. Try swapping tea and coffee for herbal teas.

5. Proteins help to build muscle after a grueling workout and you will need plenty if you want to get that lean bikini body ready to go according to sport nutritionist Matt Lovell. Some good sources of protein include chicken, fish, lean beef, turkey, lentils, and beans.

6. Keep your metabolism revved up by eating small meals more regularly. Your body doesn’t respond well to starvation and it wants to hold on to as much fat as it can because it kicks into survival mode.

7. Move as much as you can in your day to day life such as parking your car as far away from the supermarket, take the stairs and get off the bus a stop or two earlier.

8. Cut down on alcohol or give it up altogether as it has empty calories. If you must have a drink have a small red wine or a vodka and low calorie mixer.

9. Start cooking your own meals wherever possible. By doing this you will be cutting out processed foods naturally.

10. If you fancy a treat it’s ok to have one. Just make sure you keep an eye on the portion size and really enjoy it. This will ensure that you won’t fall off the bandwagon.

Getting a great looking bikini body does take time so don’t be one of those women who waits to the last minute to get started. But you will start to see results in a matter of weeks. Following these tips, planning, sticking to it, and giving yourself plenty of time and leeway to correct mistakes will get you the beach body you so desire this summer.

Image: SAFARI BUSTIER MAILLOT, 10441-450; AMELIA SUNGLASSES, 70497; DIP IT SARONG, S51299; All from Seafolly: 

London’s Best Spray Tans

A Hip and Healthy round-up of some of London’s best Spray Tan’s to get you through the rainy days…

Vita Liberata at The Chelsea Day Spa
Where: The Chelsea Day Spa
How: King’s Road, Chelsea (Nearest tube: Sloane Square)
What: The A list Sunless Spray Tan which uses Vita Liberata an odourless, orgainc and paraben-free tanning product
Tester: Sadie Macleod, Editor of Hip and Healthy
Talk us through it: Seemingly small yet spread over two floors, The Chelsea Day Spa is a spacious sanctuary from the madness of the King’s Road. After being led up to a small shower room on the top floor I stripped off and popped on a pair of those charming paper knickers. I also removed my entire make up and was told to apply moisturiser to elbows, knees and ankles, and Vaseline to the palm of my hands – to avoid the orange hands; a tell tale sign. With three shades to choose from, I went for light as I wanted to achieve a look that resembled a sun-kissed Jennifer Anniston rather than looking like I belonged on My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Once suitably sprayed (note to reader: try not to breathe in when the therapist sprays your face) I waited for 15 minutes before putting on loose (this is key to remaining seam-line free) clothing.
Result: A great even glow, which made me look healthy and like I had spent a week in the English sun. It lasted about 6 days.Details: £35 (reduced from £55).

BeauBronz Spray Tan at The Browns Hotel
Where: The Brown’s Hotel
How: Albermarle Street, London (Nearest tube: Green Park)
What: BeauBronz Spray Tan – ‘Healthy and Natural Tanning’
Tester: Harriet Chubb, Features Editor of Hip and Healthy
Talk us through it: Having a spray tan amidst the beautiful surroundings of the Brown’s Hotel was a fake tanning experience like no other. The ambience of the spa immediately puts you at ease and the spacious room that you have to strip down in is so luxurious that you forget about the embarrassment of the cumbersome, infamous paper pants. I was very intrigued about this particular spray tan, having never heard of the company before, after a lot of research it seemed to be the Hip and Healthy readers dream: organic, paraben free, over 95% natural and free from alcohol and harsh chemicals, I was so impressed with these credentials, yet slightly nervous at what level of results this would produce. I needn’t have worried. The knowledgeable therapist took me through their holistic approach to tanning, which includes a pre-tan exfoliating spray and a post-tan moisture lock spray, this 360 approach was something I didn’t experience with any other product and it made a huge difference to both the tan and my overall experience of the service. The best part; unlike other spray tans, you don’t stand there with a scrunched up face trying desperately not to breathe in the toxic smelling chemicals, as the smell it produced was akin to that of flowers. Heaven. After going for the lightest shade I was looking forward to seeing the results in 8-12 hours…
Result: The best spray tan I have ever had by far. I left the salon wearing my work clothes, which after the moisture lock treatment wasn’t a problem and as promised by my therapist it didn’t rub off. I also didn’t go steadily more orange as the day progressed like most tans, I remained a pleasant, and lightly sun kissed shade. After showering the next morning I was so pleased with the results, it lasted for a week and again, unlike other tans, it didn’t go patchy or flaky when it faded.
Details: £50 (expensive, but worth it!);

St Tropez Spray Tan
Where: St Tropez, Debenhams
How: Oxford Street, London (Nearest tube: Oxford Circus)
What: St Tropez Spray Tan
Tester: Harriet Chubb, Features Editor of Hip and Healthy
Talk us through it: In case you hadn’t guessed already, I have very pale skin that doesn’t ever tan with the exception of freckles, hence my obsession with fake tan. However, I had always been too nervous/intimidated to try the original and famous founders of fake tan; St Tropez. Images of the 80’s tantastic orange haunting me, I had always thought that St Tropez was really only for the naturally bestowed bronzed, giving them a few shades darker than their already caramel skin. However, St Tropez, as ever, is at the forefront of the tanning industry and as the wonderful therapist explained to me; they only spray with one shade and this shade will adapt naturally to the melanin in your skin giving you the most natural tan possible for your skin type. She even said that she had sprayed people paler than me, which immediately put me at ease. After moisturising my hands, knees and wrists (the all important areas) we proceeded with the spray which only took 15 mins and was dry in no time, allowing me to out on my work clothes, even tights, and stroll back to the office; not an orange ‘tantastic’ shade in sight.
Result: After showering the next morning (I was impressed as hardly any of it came off on my white sheets) I then moisturised with St Tropez Tan Optimiser Body Lotion which left me with an even more enhanced result. It lasted a good 7 days without flaking or going patchy and using the moisturiser really helped to maintain that just stepped off the plane glow. I would highly recommend the salon as the therapist was expertly trained; even knowing all the latest catwalk trends and looks to help me get the best out of my tan.
Details: RRP from £20, St. Tropez Debenhams Oxford Street (02074957445)

Fake Bake Spray Tan at Benefit Boutique
Where: Benefit Boutique
How: 19, Shorts Garden, London (Nearest tube: Covent Garden)
What: Fake Bake Spray Tan
Tester: Harriet Chubb, Features Editor of Hip and Healthy
Talk us through it: Religiously going back month after month to have my eyebrows done at this particular boutique, I wasn’t worried about putting my pasty skin into the therapists experienced hands at this salon. I had always heard of the Fake Bake experience and had been keen to give it a try for ages as they promised that the tan would not turn you orange, you could only go the colour you would naturally go from sunbathing, I was also pleased to hear that Fake bake is paraben free. After dressing down in a massage room I speedily jumped across the corridor with a towel covering my profanities into the tiny spray booth room. With not really enough room for two people I manoeuvred myself into the inflatable booth, sticky shoes and pants included. After a very quick application (10 mins) I was then given the end of the spray applicator (minus applicator) and told to dry myself with the nozzle that was spouting lukewarm air – a strange method but I suppose it sped up the drying process. Luckily on this occasion I was heading home, not back to work, and so had the obligatory loose clothing, as even my dark loose clothing was covered in the orange matter when I got home. I also decided not to go to the pub to meet friends as my face had gone a significant shade darker than my mahogany coffee table…
Result: After washing it off the next morning I had a beautiful colour that lasted for a good 5 days. I would recommend this tan as an express pick me up for the weekend, as it is cheap and cheerful and gives a great result the next day. Perfect preparation for a Saturday night party.
Details: Full body, £25 (0207379 0316)

Hip and Healthy’s Five Fake Tan Tips:

  1. Exfoliate before.
  2. Shave or wax your legs before, as shaving also removes the colour.
  3. Always wear loose clothing afterwards.
  4. When having your first shower after a fake tan, wash of the excess product before washing your hair as the soap can affect how much is washed off.
  5. Try to avoid sleeping in the hand under face on pillow position.

CFS: How can you manage it?

Managing Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 

Words by a wonderful woman who suffers with CFS herself

I’ve always packed as much into my life as is humanly possible. I would be running from one rehearsal to the next at school as I insisted on being in two plays at the same time. Not to mention choir practice, jazz band, sports; you name it, I was involved in it. You can imagine how unsettled I became at University when my body seemed determined to stop me doing everything I wanted, as I suffered from severe tiredness and joint pain. After a year of blood tests and Doctors appointments in 2008 I was finally diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). It is estimated that around 150,000 people in the UK have CFS and diagnosis is not simple. This attack on the nervous system causes extreme exhaustion, muscle/joint aches and does not go away with rest. In severe cases of CFS, it can be completely debilitating. It often targets those with hectic lives and may be related to viral infections from your youth (I had glandular fever at school). With the way I had been feeling, I was glad to know it wasn’t something more serious but I was deflated when I heard from my GP that technically there was ‘no cure’. I was told I had to take a step back and do less of everything, which I found incomprehensible. The good news was I did not have CFS in its most severe form and I was comforted to hear about people who had learnt to manage with the condition and had eventually fully recovered.

Now, four years on and after a lot of lifestyle trial and error, I want to share some tips that have helped me. By making some changes and learning how to manage and pace my lifestyle, I am now even able to run my own online business and feel as healthy and happy as ever.

Exercise – the worst assumption I made was that exercise should be avoided – it is in fact the complete opposite, introducing moderate exercise has been a huge benefit. I was advised to undertake graded exercise, a couple of years ago my body would not have accepted this but now I walk for 30 minutes a day no matter how I feel. I go first thing every morning, which I find is also a great way to gather your thoughts and plan the day. For me the consistency of this slow burning exercise helps keep the aches in joints and muscles at bay. If I don’t go for a walk one morning, I’ll feel worse the next. I also do pilates. Pilates is a great way of strengthening muscles without over doing it and (having saved my pennies) I am joining a gym with a swimming pool so I can do lengths in the mornings before work.

Energy food – It’s tempting to reach for sugary foods thinking that they will boost your energy levels but for me this was the worst thing I could do – it would give me a short burst of energy followed by a come down. Blueberries and grapes are my new sweet treat along with dark chocolate (70% cocoa or over). It gets rid of those sweet tooth cravings whilst being a lot better for you and is proven to actively help chronic fatigue sufferers. Another tip is to replace sugar with nature’s sweetener where possible – Honey (Manuka is best as it is naturally antibacterial). I try to be wheat and dairy free, which takes a lot of will power, but in doing so I have been introduced to a whole new range of foods that I would never have tried before. These not only help sustain my energy levels but also give me the nutrients my body needs.  Eating little meals often also helps ensure a constant energy supply. Wheat free pasta by Doves Farm is a lifesaver as are their wheat and gluten free flours for baking! I’ve never enjoyed cooking and baking as much as I do now even though I (normally) stick to the dietary requirements.

Water! I, like many other people, find drinking the recommended 8 glasses of water a day quite a challenge and yet I could overdose on tea very easily! I’ve replaced half my daily tea intake with hot water and a slice of lemon. I find sipping hot/warm water much easier and it doesn’t feel like such a conscious effort!

Stress – Stress and Anxiety naturally peer their nasty head round the corner when dealing with CFS and ironically they play a major role in further zapping energy and triggering aches in muscles and joints, headaches etc. I found writing things down when they were worrying me was a great way of being able to put my mind at rest. My GP also recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which I found incredibly helpful. CBT teaches you to put situations into their true context – ‘What’s the worst that can happen?’ Simple changes to the way you deal with stressful situations make a huge difference – I found this technique especially helpful when setting up my business.

It definitely took me time to realize that just ‘plowing on’ as I was, would not make the fatigue disappear. I have made lifestyle changes and have also been lucky in that my symptoms have slowly reduced and allowed me to move forward. I live as busy a lifestyle now as ever, I just do so in a controlled manner – keeping an eye on my diet, getting enough exercise and rest and dealing with obstacles in a positive way. Although these tips are things that I have found helpful in coping with CFS, I like to think that they are all things which would help anyone lead a more hip and healthy lifestyle!

Hip and Healthy –  Suggested Alternative Treatment:

The Lightning Process – A therapeutic treatment for auto-immune diseases that has been proven to be a very effective; particularly for sufferers of ME and CFS. We asked a recent participant of the programme what they thought about this supposedly life changing course…

Caroline W has been suffering with CFS for over 30 years. Just like our lovely anonymous writer, Caroline has always been an extremely physically active person and so this has been a particularly debilitating time for her. She heard about the Lightning Process through a fellow CFS sufferer and took the course in December 2011:

1.What is the Lightning Process?

The Lightning Process (LP) is a training course, it is not a therapy. It is based on a combination of approaches from osteopathy, NLP, and life coaching.

2.Which course/practitioner did you choose and why? 

All LP practitioners are accredited by the creator of the process, Phil Parker. I chose a local practitioner, whose website gave me confidence, as the practitioner herself had suffered from severe CFS, and had recovered through LP, which gave me a great deal of confidence, and convinced me that the LP was worth a try.

3.What is the success rate of LP?

The practitioner I saw claimed a record of 100% success, but the LP website suggests approx. 82% of participants have successful outcomes from LP.

4.How long is the course? Are you supposed to keep up the approach once you have finished?

The training is an intensive 3-day course available as an individual or as part of a group. The purpose of the training is to provide you with powerful techniques to practice on a daily basis.

5.Does this mean that you are given ongoing support after the course has ended? What form does this take?

Practitioners will usually offer a 30-minute follow-up, plus some telephone support within the cost of the initial training.

6.What makes it different from ordinary life coaching? 

Life coaching is normally about motivation and decisions; LP is a set of techniques designed to teach you how to adjust your unconscious thought patterns, which can have a profound effect on your physical well-being.

7.Do you feel that it has worked for you?

In some ways, perhaps, but certainly there are no guarantees, and it is not a cure-all. It requires constant practice and rehearsal of the techniques, which takes time, and requires a degree of energy (usually lacking in CFS sufferers!).

8.Would you recommend it to other people? If not/so why?

I know from my own situation that CFS makes you feel desperate and therefore sufferers are generally willing to try anything that may help them. Personally, I felt too self-conscious to be continually rehearsing the techniques, which require a private space (not easy in a family home!).

I decided, because of a complicated personal history, that it would be more beneficial for me to undergo this training on a one-to-one basis, which was exceedingly expensive, and really too intensive for me.

From a cost point of view, (unless you have a spare £1,000) I would not recommend it. Also, I selected my practitioner on the basis of the training taking place in London, but the follow-up has been offered in Devon (not very practical!).

9.What is the most important thing that a sufferer should know before considering to take the course?

LP is a training course, it is not a therapy. Read the book (by Phil Parker – available on Amazon) and decide if the training looks right for you. You need to find a practitioner you can fully engage with.

10.What advice would you give to people who are carers, long term partners or family members of someone with CFS or ME?

Unless you have suffered from CFS, it is almost impossible to understand the limitations it  places on those who suffer from it.

Patience, love, and support are the best things to offer, and a belief that the sufferer can get better in the long term.