H&H Reviews: Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

Bidding farewell to Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, our seaplane ascends over the azure expanse of the Indian Ocean, leaving behind a truly enchanting island. The memories created and the exceptional people we encountered have rendered our stay unforgettable. While a tinge of sadness lingers, the anticipation for the next chapter at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru soon takes precedence. Nestled in the heart of the Baa Atoll, Landaa Giraavaru, though a bit more secluded than its sister property, stands as an embodiment of luxury, sustainability, and holistic well-being.

The journey to Landaa Giraavaru is an integral part of the adventure. Guests typically embark from Velana International Airport in Malé, the Maldivian capital, on a scenic seaplane transfer that offers a mesmerizing bird’s eye view of the atolls below. For those commencing their holiday at Kuda Huraa, the resort seamlessly facilitates travel between the two havens via seaplane, ensuring a hassle-free transition from one paradise to another.

For those uninitiated to the thrill of a seaplane journey, let me affirm—it’s a must-try at least once in a lifetime. While closer islands often use speedboats, opting for a more remote destination necessitates a seaplane ride to reach island utopia. Having previously stayed at resorts accessible by boat, this marks my inaugural experience of reaching an island by air. Brace yourself for a tight squeeze, zero air conditioning, a lot of noise, barefoot pilots, and an awe-inspiring journey that is nothing short of incredible.

As our new abode materializes in the distance, the anticipation builds. The journey, coupled with the signature Four Seasons welcome on the jetty, serves as a prelude to the enchanting experience that awaits. Escorted by a golf buggy to our Premier Oceanfront Bungalow with Pool, this time situated on land rather than overwater, we discover a haven surrounded by lush vegetation, a spacious pool, and direct beach access. The villa, a masterpiece in itself, takes a backseat to the sheer expanse of outdoor space, offering unparalleled privacy.

After the obligatory leap onto the bed, we set out to explore the island and immerse ourselves in the second leg of our holiday. Here are the highlights and essential insights into this captivating resort.

The spa at Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru demands attention, strategically positioned to capture the breathtaking views and serene atmosphere of the Maldives. Enveloped by crystal-clear waters and verdant greenery, the expansive spa provides a tranquil haven for guests to rejuvenate. Offering wellness programs rooted in traditional Ayurveda, the spa ensures a holistic well-being experience. Guests partake in personalized wellness journeys featuring in-depth health analyses by renowned practitioners, spa treatments restoring dosha tendencies, activities like yoga and sound healing, and nutritional guidance seamlessly integrated across the resort. These programs cater to individual needs, presenting a comprehensive approach to health.

During our stay, we immersed ourselves in the “Wake Up To Wonder” sound healing and yoga journey, a transformative experience designed to reconnect with nature. With a 5 am wake-up call, we commenced our morning with a soul-soothing sound bath amidst the dark stillness, accompanied by the enchanting melody of exotic birds welcoming a new day. Though not typically an early riser, the magical solitude, experiencing a hidden side of the island, made it a truly special moment. The journey concluded with a “jungle walk” to the beach, culminating in a beachfront yoga session as the sun painted the horizon with its first light.

What’s also important to note is the resort’s commitment to the environment. Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru is renowned for its dedicated conservation efforts and commitment to sustainability. The resort actively engages in marine conservation through its Marine Discovery Center, serving as a hub for research and educational initiatives focused on protecting the delicate marine ecosystem. Involved in coral reef restoration, the resort undertakes projects such as coral planting to revive damaged reefs. Additionally, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru contributes to manta ray and sea turtle conservation, conducting research to understand their behaviour and implementing protective measures. Emphasizing sustainable practices, the resort integrates eco-friendly initiatives into its daily operations, from waste reduction to responsible sourcing. Community involvement and environmental awareness programs further showcase the resort’s holistic approach to fostering environmental responsibility among guests and staff, making it a beacon of conservation in this tropical paradise.

Reflecting on my overall experience, I find myself returning to the unparalleled service that defines Four Seasons. Hospitality isn’t just a feature; it’s their forte, acting as the enchanting glue that elevates the resort’s reputation to extraordinary heights. Every facet of their operation is underpinned by authentic, warm, and familial service. Our time at Landaa Giraavaru introduced us to truly exceptional individuals, whose heavenly demeanour left a lasting impression. Months later, we continue to cherish connections forged during our stay. In essence, it’s the genuine and heartfelt interactions that make Four Seasons not just a destination but a memorable journey where the magic of hospitality leaves an indelible mark.

Visit Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru

words by Molly Jennings


READ MORE: H&H Reviews: Four Seasons Maldives Kuda Huraa

Four Seasons Maldives at Kuda Huraa Review

Vegan Christmas Cake

As the holiday season approaches, there’s no better way to spread joy and satisfy your sweet tooth than with a delicious slice of Vegan Christmas Cake. Bursting with festive flavours and adorned with the warmth of seasonal spices, this vegan Christmas dessert is a perfect centrepiece for your holiday celebrations. Whether you’re embracing a plant-based lifestyle or simply looking to add a delightful twist to your traditional Christmas spread, this recipe promises a moist, rich, and utterly scrumptious cake that everyone at the table will love.

INGREDIENTS – Serves 10–12

250 g (8 oz) vegan butter or coconut oil, plus extra for greasing

175 g (6 oz) soft light brown sugar

finely grated zest of 2 oranges and juice of 1

finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon (reserve 1 tablespoon juice for the icing)

150 ml (1/4 pint) rum or brandy, plus extra (optional) for feeding

875 g (13/4 lb) mixed dried fruit of your choice, such as sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries and chopped figs and apricots

100 g (31/2 oz) chopped candied peel

175 g (6 oz) plain flour

125 g (4 oz) ground almonds

1 teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

¾ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground mace

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

225 g (71/2 oz) apple purée

Icing

625 g (11/4 lb) icing sugar,

plus extra for dusting

75 ml (3 fl oz) aquafaba

1 tablespoon lemon juice

4 tablespoons apricot jam

500 g (1 lb) vegan marzipan

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F), Gas Mark 3.

Grease a deep 20 cm (8 inch) round cake tin and line with nonstick baking paper.

Melt the vegan butter or coconut oil in a saucepan along with the brown sugar, citrus zest and juice and rum or brandy (if using). Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Add the dried fruit and candied peel to a large bowl, pour over the vegan butter/coconut oil mixture and stir well.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt and spices.

Mix the apple purée into the dried fruit mixture, then fold in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour the cake batter into the lined tin, smooth the surface with a spatula and bake for 11/2 hours.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely in the tin. Once cooled, pierce holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer, drizzle over 2 tablespoons rum or brandy and let it soak in. Make sure the surface is fully dry before decorating.

When you are ready to decorate, whisk together the icing sugar, aquafaba and lemon juice in a large bowl until you have a stiff and glossy icing. Cover the bowl with clingfilm until needed.

Heat the apricot jam in a small saucepan, then brush over the top and sides of the cake.

On a work surface lightly dusted with icing sugar, roll out the marzipan into a rough circle until about 2.5 mm (1/8 inch) thick.

Lay carefully over the cake and gently smooth it on to the top and down around the sides so that there is no air trapped inside. Neaten by smoothing over with the flat of your palm or the rolling pin and trim away any excess.

Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, spread over the icing in swoops and flicks to look like snow, or you can make it completely smooth. Let the icing set completely for at least a few hours before cutting.

A Very Vegan Christmas by Sam Dixon. Published by Hamlyn. Photography: Charlotte Nott-Macaire


The Best Immunity Supplements For Kids

In the quest for ensuring optimal health for our children, navigating the sea of nutritional supplements can be both challenging and crucial. This article delves into 6 of the best immunity supplements for kids designed to bolster children’s well-being, ranging from immune-boosting oral sprays to omega-3 supplements tailored for little ones.

BetterYou Kids’ Immune Oral Spray, £9.95

BetterYou Kids’ Immune Oral Spray is a convenient and effective way to support children’s immune health. Packed with essential vitamins and minerals, this oral spray is designed to be easily absorbed by the body. The £9.95 price tag makes it an affordable option for parents seeking a quick and fuss-free solution to boost their children’s immune system.

Bimuno Kids’ Immunity, £14.99

Bimuno Kids’ Immunity is a £14.99 supplement aimed at supporting children’s immune systems. This product likely contains a blend of prebiotics and other immune-boosting ingredients to promote a healthy gut, a key component of overall immune function. The price point positions it as a mid-range option, offering parents a balanced investment in their children’s well-being. 

Tonic Health Kids Multivitamin Combo Pack, £64

The Tonic Health Kids Multivitamin Combo Pack, priced at £64, is a comprehensive solution for children’s nutritional needs. This combo likely includes a range of vitamins and minerals essential for growth and development. While it falls on the higher end of the price spectrum, the pack’s completeness may appeal to parents looking for a one-stop solution for their kids’ health. 

Hifas da Terra, Dr Immune Five Syrup, £26

 Hifas da Terra’s Dr Immune Five Syrup, priced at £26, is likely formulated to provide immune support for children. This product may contain a blend of natural ingredients known for their immune-boosting properties. The mid-range price suggests a balance between quality and affordability, making it a potentially attractive option for health-conscious parents. 

Bare Biology Omega-3 for Children, Action Heroes, £32.95

Bare Biology’s Omega-3 for Children, Action Heroes, priced at £32.95, is likely a premium omega-3 supplement tailored for kids. Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for brain development and overall health. The “Action Heroes” branding suggests a child-friendly approach, and the higher price reflects the quality and purity of the omega-3 sourced. 

WelleCo Kids Superfood Protein Powder, £35

WelleCo Kids Superfood Protein Powder, priced at £35, is likely a nutritional supplement designed to provide a range of essential nutrients. The inclusion of protein suggests a focus on supporting growth and energy levels. The slightly higher price may be justified by the product’s unique formulation and potential benefits for children’s overall health and vitality.


The Tracking App That Connects The Dots To Your Health

Content & Creative Designer and Level 3 PT, Isabelle Shury delves into how MyFitnessPal it is much more than just a calorie counter.

You can’t out-train a bad diet. No matter how fiercely you exercise or how many steps you rack up on your step count. Nutrition is the key to health and every element of how we move, how we feel, how we look and how we sleep stems from what we choose to nourish our bodies with. 

Calorie counting can often get a bad rap for provoking restrictive eating habits but tracking your food delves into a plethora of insights that will help educate you and leave you better informed to make healthier choices when it comes to meal times. The app that has dominated the food tracking world since 2005 is MyFitnessPal, rated the #1 global nutrition and food tracking app. 

What I’ve come to learn about the app recently is that it’s so much more than just a food tracker. MyFitnessPal ultimately joins the dots to each element of your well-being, and the brand-new sleep feature is the cherry on top. MyFitnessPal seamlessly integrates with all major fitness trackers and Apple Health to log all your health and fitness data in one place that is easy to navigate and simple to digest. Delving deep into your nutrition, MyFitnessPal allows you to set customised goals, unique to your body and personal nutrition.

As a PT and somebody who has experienced the benefits of tracking my food, I’d say it’s the one change that will surprise you the most when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes. I don’t doubt that many of my clients or any H&H readers are eating ‘unhealthily’ per se, but the macro breakdown that MyFitnessPal gives you insight into will fundamentally change the food choices you make to align with your goals. Yes, calories will be one of the readings shown when you track your daily food intake but what I’m more concerned about is the macros and nutrients breakdown. Now if this is foreign to you, your macros consist of your carbs, proteins and fats. MyFitnessPal will work out your personalised maintenance calories depending on whether you’re looking to lose, gain or maintain weight, or build muscle and lose fat. The app will set you a personalised macro breakdown that will determine how many grams as a percentage you need to hit of each. From there, you’ll be able to keep a food diary that is super easy to log, with a handy barcode scanner and a meal scanner that uses AI to detect what is in your meal (this is not 100% accurate but gives a rough idea and is useful when you’re not sure what’s in your meal). The other original way works perfectly fine too, you simply search for the food type and then enter the amount.

Aside from macros, MyFitnessPal also gives a full breakdown of your full nutrition, displaying insight into details you’d properly not have the foggiest idea of judging over the course of an entire day. I keep a close eye on making sure I don’t exceed on sugar, saturated fats and sodium, plus I’ve become so diligent in making sure I hit my daily goal of 30g of fibre, keeping my gut health in check (top tip: beans are the BEST for fibre and help me hit my protein goal). The score on your vitamins and minerals is also a key indicator to show you what you may need to supplement if you’re lacking it in your diet. 

All this information may sound overwhelming but honestly, knowledge is power when it comes to nutrition. There may be some simple changes you can make to hit those all-important nutrition goals; a little sprinkle of nuts and seeds into your salad to increase your healthy fats and protein, swapping an apple for a pear to help increase your fibre intake, ditching bog standard bread for rye bread to reduce sugar and also add fibre or wilting spinach to your morning scrambled eggs to increase your iron intake. Notedly, once you have an understanding, eating this way will become more intuitive. I actually find it interesting that food tracking can be associated with restrictive eating, what I’ve learned is that it is more conducive to adding foods (albeit health-focused) into your diet to get as much variation as possible and MyFitnessPal helps you navigate what key nutrients you’re lacking to make those necessary changes. 

I track my health data using a plethora of devices to feedback on all the stats and data to gain as accurate insight as possible. First up, the mecca of all devices is the iPhone 15 Pro, which houses all my data and allows me to navigate my way through. Then, I wear the Apple Watch Series 9 which I find most useful for tracking my fitness, especially when it comes to running. Finally, I’ve recently started wearing a WHOOP Band which gives a detailed account of sleep and relays a ‘Strain’ score to optimise performance. Together, using MyFitnessPal too, I can gain a complete 360-degree view into my wellbeing, delving into fitness, nutrition and sleep.

In recent years, we’ve become fixated on our sleep, and it makes sense with a hefty 43% of Brits admitting they never get enough sleep. The new sleep integration on MyFitnessPal refines tracking your sleep one step further to assess what foods may be impacting how well or not your slumber score reads. You’ll need a tracking wearable, such as a Whoop (my personal favourite for tracking sleep), Apple Watch, Google Pixel watch, Oura, Sleep Cycle, Pillow, Withings, Sleep++, Auto Sleep, Garmin or Fitbit, to get the most out of this function. Relaying in-depth, reliable stats about your night’s rest, trackers are essential to correctly analyse how much of that all-important REM sleep you racked up. This data is then compared against your diet choices to measure how food patterns are affecting sleep.

The knock-on effect of a bad night’s sleep leads to a lack of energy, which impacts exercise, mood and productivity. Sleep deprivation can often encourage poor food choices the following day too, with sugar cravings heightened due to increased ghrelin levels. Tackling the problem from the root, MyFitnessPal’s new sleep function shines a light on the connection between nutrition and sleep, to guide you to make better choices to promote quality rest. 

Alongside the new sleep function, the Eat Right Sleep Tight plan aids users in breaking the cycle of doomed sleep with a 5-day programme that addresses meal timing, hydration and a bedtime routine for a restful, restorative night’s sleep. Curated alongside Neurologist and Sleep Specialist, Dr. Chris Winter. 

We asked Dr. Chris Winter his top tips for better sleep…here are his do’s and don’t’s for nailing your sleep routine:

  1. Find a cut-off for caffeine consumption that works for you and stick to it.
  2. Don’t go to bed hungry.
  3. Try to stick to consistent meal times.
  4. Heavy, spicy and fatty foods late at night don’t usually provide the best night’s sleep
  5. Create circadian triggers for yourself. For example, if you drink a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed, that will send a trigger to your brain that it’s nearing sleep time.
  6. Find a sleep ritual that works for you – even if it involves watching a bit of TV before bed. There’s no one-size-fits-all all.

Changing the narrative on the negative connotations around food tracking, this invaluable tool could be the missing piece to what has prevented you from reaching your health goals in the past. Connecting all aspects of your health and wellbeing, MyFitnessPal is an all-encompassing platform that gives you personalised insights into how you fuel your body correctly to ultimately help you feel the best version of yourself. 

THE WEARABLE EDIT

Words by Isabelle Shury

To learn more about MyFitnessPal click here


6 Cooking Gadgets That Will Elevate Your Winter Cooking Game

There’s nothing quite like the warmth and comfort of a home-cooked meal to combat the chill. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen novice, having the right gadgets can make all the difference in creating delicious and hearty dishes. Here are six cooking gadgets that will elevate your winter cooking game, making it a season to savour.

Slow Cooker:

Best For: Maximum Flavor, Minimal Effort

The slow cooker, often hailed as the unsung hero of the kitchen, takes the top spot on our list. Perfect for the busy winter months, this gadget allows you to create flavorful, tender dishes with minimal effort. From hearty stews to savoury roasts, the slow cooker lets you set it and forget it, allowing you to return home to a house filled with the comforting aroma of a home-cooked meal.
H&H recommends: GreenPan Slow Cooker

Casserole Dish

Best For: One Pot Wonders

Winter cooking calls for warmth and simplicity, and a casserole dish delivers just that. The beauty of this kitchen essential lies in its versatility. Create one-pot wonders by combining your favorite ingredients, layering them in the dish, and letting the oven work its magic. Whether it’s a bubbling lasagna or a hearty shepherd’s pie, the casserole dish ensures that your winter meals are not only delicious but also easy to clean up.
H&H recommends: Le Creuset

Hand Blender:

Best For: Warming Speedy Soups

Nothing beats the winter chill like a steaming bowl of soup, and a hand blender is the key to achieving the perfect texture. With its convenience and efficiency, a hand blender allows you to transform a pot of vegetables into a silky smooth soup in a matter of minutes. From classic tomato bisque to hearty butternut squash, this gadget ensures that your winter soups are not only delicious but also prepared in record time.
H&H recommends: Cuisinart Cordless Hand Blender

Pie Dish:

Best For: Winter Crumbles and Pies

Winter is the season for indulgence, and what better way to treat yourself than with a warm, homemade pie? A pie dish is a must-have for crafting sweet and savoury delights. Whether you’re in the mood for a comforting apple crumble or a rich chicken pot pie, this versatile gadget makes it easy to bake up winter classics that will have your family and friends coming back for seconds.
H&H recommends: The White Company Portobello Ceramic Pie Dish

Thermomix:

Best For: Your Personal Chef

If you’re looking to take your winter cooking to the next level, consider investing in a Thermomix. This all-in-one kitchen gadget acts as your personal chef, combining the functions of multiple appliances in one sleek device. From chopping and sautéing to blending and cooking, the Thermomix streamlines the cooking process, allowing you to experiment with new recipes and techniques with ease.
H&H recommends: Vorwerk Thermomix TM6 Cookidoo

Sage Risotto +

Best For: Stir-Free Risottos and Curries

Winter evenings call for comforting dishes like risottos and curries, and the Sage Risotto + is here to make the preparation a breeze. With its stir-free technology, this gadget takes the laborious task of constant stirring out of the equation, leaving you with perfectly creamy risottos and flavorful curries. Spend less time at the stove and more time enjoying the company of loved ones as this innovative appliance takes care of the cooking for you.
H&H recommends: Sage The Risotto Plus Multi Cooker


Set The Tone For A Successful Dry January & A Transformative 2024

Hip & Healthy has joined forces with renowned Sobriety Coach and Founder of Love Life Sober, Christy Osborne, to bring you a Sober Curious Day Retreat to help you kickstart your new year in the best way possible.

Transform your drinking habits with the expertise of renowned Sobriety Coach, and Founder of Love Life Sober, Christy Osborne, a double-certified life coach specially trained to transform your relationship with alcohol. During this urban retreat, you will discover why mere willpower isn’t enough for cutting back on booze. Engage in multiple comprehensive coaching sessions where Christy crafts an actionable roadmap tailored to your personal aspirations—whether you aim to moderate your drinking or achieve complete sobriety in 2024. 

You will leave the retreat with a robust framework for continuous support and community engagement, ensuring your newfound insights lead to lasting change. Walk away invigorated, enlightened, and empowered to reclaim control over your life.  Make this the year you master your relationship with alcohol.

If you have an interest in drinking less or quitting alcohol altogether then you’ll learn the tools to do just that with Christy at wellness-focused hotel, Inhabit, Queen’s Gardens in London.

Date: 24th January 2024 (with option of overnight stay and one-on-one coaching on the 25th January)

Time: 8.45am – 4pm

Location: Inhabit, Queen’s Gardens, London

BOOK NOW

A Bit About Christy

Christy Osborne, armed with dual life coaching certifications, stands at the forefront of a movement empowering women to reclaim control over their lives and their relationship with alcohol.

In the tumultuous year of 2020, amidst the chaos of a global pandemic and her own soul-searching journey, Christy embarked on a profound quest for knowledge and self-discovery. She immersed herself in a world of research, unearthing the extraordinary benefits of a life free from nightly wine. This transformative awakening fueled her drive to become a certified coach, leading to the birth of her popular coaching practice, “Love Life Sober with Christy.”

Through her transformative work, Christy witnessed the impact of merging scientific insight with compassionate coaching tools to support women in their quest to drink less. Her coaching style uses grace and empathy, creating a safe place for women to find support. 

Christy’s forthcoming book, scheduled for publication by Penguin Random House in September 2024, promises to be a seminal work, a guiding light for those seeking liberation from the chains of alcohol. Having once been entangled in the allure of “mummy wine culture,” where wine masqueraded as the ultimate reward and refuge after the demands of motherhood, she intimately comprehends the pull of such escapism. 

With an impressive track record of helping women in the US and UK rewrite their stories, Christy continues to inspire and uplift others through her transformative work, offering hope and empowerment for sober, curious women across the UK and USA. 

What to Expect from The Sober Curious Day Retreat 

Come and spend a wonderful day with leading Sobriety Coach, Christy, learning how to empower yourself and cut back on alcohol. Starting in the morning with a delicious, healthy welcome breakfast at Yeotown at Inhabit (think nourishing smoothies and buckwheat granola bowls served with coconut yogurt and of course… coffee!). Followed by a one-hour Pilates session with expert (and one of our favourite human beings of all time) Chloe Hodgson (@ChloesPilates). There will then be the opportunity to join one of two small coaching sessions with Christy herself before sitting down to an assortment of vegan dishes for lunch. Whilst you’re munching away, Leading Burnout Coach, Wendy McCallum will explain about the links between hormones, stress and alcohol and give you a few practical strategies to manage them all better so you can live your best, healthiest life, and stay out of burnout. The afternoon will have you whipping up unique mocktails, that you’ll love recreating at home.

Cost: £397

BOOK NOW

What You’ll Get:

Day 2 (for those who want it) 

Experience a level of bespoke guidance designed to enact lasting change

Elevate your experience by opting for an exclusive VIP day, specially curated for women who seek a more personalised approach to sobriety. Enjoy a one-night stay at Inhabit, Queen’s Gardens complete with a nourishing breakfast to kickstart your day, and a one-hour, bespoke coaching session with Christy. This one-on-one time allows for a deep-dive into your unique drinking challenges and aspirations, providing the space to focus on individualized strategies and insights. If your goal is to set a foundation for a lifetime of empowered choices, this VIP day is for you. Seize this unparalleled opportunity to intimately align your lifestyle with your goals and transform your relationship with alcohol once and for all.

Email [email protected] to book the VIP Package.

Price of Day 1+2 Option: £657

T&Cs

Booking cancellations made within 30 days prior to this event are eligible for a 50% refund, however, we are unable to refund any cancellations made within 10 working days prior the event date.


What’s On Lou’s Christmas Wish List

I love Christmas and am really getting into the festive spirit already. This year I really want to embrace it and share all the festive traditions with my little one. I have already booked Anya Hindmarch’s Christmas Grotto and I am getting excited about his gorgeous Christmas Calendar which I am going to fill with little Matchbox cars and Thomas The Tank Engine trains (he is totally transport mad). Now back to me…These are a few things I have on my Christmas wish list and I definitely think I have been a very good girl this year santa.

Olverum bath oil 

I love nothing more than a long bath to unwind and this bath oil is perfect to ease stress and unwind. The scent of the essential oils is incredible and will make every bath a luxurious at-home spa experience.

Sukun Bedding 

There is nothing better than crawling into bed in fresh crisp sheets and Sukun is my new favourite brand. I am totally obsessed with the simplicity of the Amalfi Bundle with the most stunning light ladder stitch border and the quality of the cotton is just pure heaven.

Purnima Candle 

Who doesn’t love a scented candle for Christmas? My passion for smelly candles has been passed down from my mother who always has one lit in the kitchen. I love discovering new candle brands and Purnima is a brand I was recently introduced to and immediately fell in love with.

MD London Hairdryer 

I never feel I have enough time to dry my hair during the week and this is something I want to try and prioritise next year. With its compact design, this hair dryer is designed to make hair styling quick and easy. It packs a lot of power and looks super cute! It would also be the perfect travel companion so it’s a win-win.

Our Place Cast Iron Always Pan

I love cooking with Our Place pots and pans, they are honestly revolutionary. I have a few of their Always pans and use them every single day. They are the best non-stick pans I have ever used and really are so easy to clean and look after. Next on my list is this Cast Iron one which will be perfect for winter slow cooks.

The Luxe Blending Experience 

I was so excited when I saw this new exclusive 1-2-1 session at Experimental Perfume Club. I am obsessed with perfume and scented candles so this is perfect for me. Guided by their in-house experts you can create a new signature blend with a  glass of prosecco to mark a special moment. 

Asket White Shirt 

I am always on the lookout for a new white shirt as I find them so versatile and this one by Swedish brand Asket is next on my list. Cut from a crisp cotton poplin with a slightly oversized silhouette this shirt will look perfect with a pair of jeans to elevate any look.

Currentbody Radio Frequency Device 

I am a big fan of skincare tools and this one is next on my list to try. Currentbody are the experts when it comes to all things beauty tech. This device is not only perfect for tightening and lifting your skin to give you a little face lift at home but it also stimulates collagen and reduces wrinkles.

Vuori Activewear 

My morning workouts have become one of my non-negotiables and I am desperate for some new activewear to get me feeling more motivated. I have had my eye on Vouri for a while. This brand pays homage to its Californian heritage with elevated everyday apparel essentials that are both performance-led and adaptable to your lifestyle.

de Mamiel Altitude Duo

My all-time favourite brand! This gorgeous duo would make the perfect gift. The bath salts are perfect for soaking away aching muscles and the altitude oil is one of my favourite things to use when you are feeling a little coldy and congested. 

Sarah Chapman 3D Moisture Infusion Mask

Sheet masks are perfect for any occasion when your skin needs a little TLC, during a flight, or when you want your skin to look its very best before a big occasion. I love a lot of Sarah Chapman products but this one is probably top of the list.

Miu Miu Sunglasses

I have always been a bit of a sunglasses addict. I think it elevates an everyday look and is something I wear on almost a daily basis. I suffer easily from migraines so I get a lot of use out of my sunglasses. These are top of my wish list with the cool shape and bold logo.


Max La Manna’s Go-To Vegan Christmas Recipes

Embrace the spirit of the season with a delectable twist! Join Max La Manna, the maestro of plant-based delights, as he unveils a collection of vegan Christmas recipes that will redefine your Christmas table. From savoury mains to delightful sides, Max’s culinary creations promise a celebration of flavour and the joy of a cruelty-free feast.

Nut Roast Cake with All the Trimmings

I first made this nut roast when we were visiting family at Christmas. My wife and I were the only vegans in the house, but there wasn’t enough for us to have seconds as the plate was wiped clean! Now I always make three so we can finally enjoy leftovers on Boxing Day. It’s definitely a crowd-pleaser for vegans and non-vegans alike.

INGREDIENTS

500g carrots, preferably heritage, halved lengthways and cut into 5–7cm batons
2 sweet potatoes
3 tbsp olive oil
30g butter
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground cumin
a few sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp flaxseed or chia seeds 100g mixed nuts, toasted
200g packet of quick-cook mixed grains
1 x 400g tin brown lentils, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Marmite
3 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped 3 tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
100g breadcrumbs
salt and black pepper

METHOD

1  Preheat the oven to 220 ̊C/200 ̊C fan/gas mark 7.

2  On a baking tray, rub the carrots and sweet potatoes with a little of the olive oil and some salt. Cook in the oven for 35–40 minutes, or until very soft.

3 Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil and butter in a large frying pan over a high heat. Once hot, add the sliced mushrooms and a big pinch of salt and a crack of black pepper. Fry for 5–7 minutes until all the liquid has been released from the mushrooms and they’re soft and golden. Add the garlic and spices, cook for 1 minute, stir in the thyme, then tip into a large bowl.

4 In a small bowl, mix the flaxseed with 3 tablespoons of water and set aside until it turns into a jelly-like consistency.

5 Put half the toasted nuts in a food processor or blender along with half of the mixed grains, half of the lentils, a splash of water and the Marmite, and blitz into a paste. Roughly chop the remaining nuts and add them to the mushrooms, along with the remaining grains and lentils.

6 When the sweet potato is cooked, add 11⁄2 potatoes to the blender and blitz again. Roughly chop the remaining half a potato, and add to the mushrooms. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4.

7 Grab a large springform cake tin, about 23cm diameter. Line the base with a circle of baking parchment. Lay the carrots, cut- side down, on the base of the tin (I like to lie them in alternating directions to ensure as few gaps as possible).

8 Combine the flaxseed mixture and the chopped herbs with the mushrooms, then add the blender mixture, along with the nutritional yeast and breadcrumbs. Stir everything together; the mixture should be thick. Tip into the cake tin, being careful not to move the carrots too much. Tap the base of the tin on a flat surface to make sure everything is pressed into the tin.

9 Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and cook for a further 20–25 minutes, until evenly golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little, then turn out onto a plate. Peel back the baking parchment to reveal the amazing carrot surface. Slice and serve with all the roast dinner trimmings.

Roast Dinner Tart

This incredible tart has all your favourite elements of a roast dinner. It’s the perfect alternative Sunday lunch or festive meal – just don’t forget the gravy!

INGREDIENTS

200g beetroot
1⁄2 butternut squash
250g carrots
200g parsnips
1 tbsp olive oil
1 x quantity of roast potatoes
1 x quantity of Buttery Herb Stuffing, page 74
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 sheet gluten-free puff pastry oat milk, for brushing
120g Brussels sprouts, halved 6 tbsp cranberry sauce
salt and black pepper
gravy, to serve

METHOD

1 Preheat the oven to 240 ̊C/220 ̊C fan/gas 9.

2 Wrap the beetroot in foil and put on one side of a baking tray. Place the squash next to them, cut-side down. Roast for up to 1 hour (depending on their size), until the beetroot are totally soft. If the squash cooks more quickly, remove it from the oven and let the beetroot keep cooking.

3 Slice the carrots and parsnips in half lengthways and put in a roasting tray. Drizzle with olive oil, add a pinch of salt and roast for 30 minutes, until soft and charred.

4 Cook the roast potatoes

5 Make the stuffing (according to page 74).

6 Scoop the seeds from the cooked squash and set aside (you can rinse them and toast them for a snack). In a blender, blitz the squash with the nutritional yeast, cinnamon and nutmeg. Season well and blitz to a purée.

7 Squeeze the beets from their skins and slice into wedges.

8 Cut the sheet of puff pastry into 4 rectangles. Lightly score a border, 2cm from the edge. Brush with oat milk, then bake for 20–30 minutes until golden and risen; use a spoon to push the middle down.

9 Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat, add the sprouts with a pinch of salt and fry for
5 minutes. Add a big splash of water (the steam helps them to cook through) and cook for a further 5 minutes, until tender. Set aside.

10 Make the crispy sage. Heat the oil in a small frying pan over high heat. Once hot, fry the sage for 2 minutes until crispy. Set aside to drain on kitchen paper

11 Spoon the butternut squash purée onto each pastry rectangle, then crumble over the stuffing. Top with the carrots, parsnips, beetroot and roast potatoes. Scatter over the sprouts, then spoon over a little cranberry sauce. Finish with the crispy sage leaves and serve with lots of gravy.

Leftover Stuffing Stuffed Mushrooms

The holidays are one of the most wasteful times of the year, and so this is a great way to use up any of the super delicious leftover stuffing from page 74. These stuffed mushrooms make the ideal fun appetiser or finger food to carry on the festivities.

INGREDIENTS

20 small chestnut mushrooms zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 tbsp butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1⁄4 tsp dried thyme
small bunch of fresh parsley, leaves and stems chopped separately, plus more leaves to garnish
150g leftover Buttery Herb Stuffing (page 74)
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil salt and black pepper

METHOD

1 Wipe the mushrooms clean with kitchen paper. Remove the stems, leaving the mushrooms with a hollow centre. Roughly chop the stems and set aside.

2  Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/gas 6.

3  In a frying pan over medium heat, dry fry half of the mushroom caps, gills-side up, for 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and a generous pinch of black pepper and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring often but gently, so you don’t break the caps. Transfer the caps to a plate and repeat with the second batch of mushrooms, also adding them to the plate.

4 Melt the butter in the frying pan and fry the shallot, garlic, dried thyme and 2 tablespoons of chopped parsley stems for about 4 minutes, until soft. Add the chopped mushroom stems and the juice of half the lemon and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

5 Put the mushroom stem mixture into a food processor, add the parsley leaves and blitz to a purée. Tip the mixture to a bowl and combine with the leftover stuffing. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

6 Stuff the mushroom caps with the filling and smooth over the tops. Arrange the mushroom caps close together in a baking dish. Drizzle over the extra-virgin olive oil and bake for 10–15 minutes.

7 Best served hot. To serve, garnish each mushroom with a little lemon zest and a parsley leaf.

Tips

Fry the mushrooms for just a few minutes to reduce moisture and prevent them from going soggy.

Defrost, then reheat in the oven at 150°C/130°C fan/gas 2 for 10–15 minutes.

Extracted from You Can Cook This! by Max La Manna (Ebury Press, £22), Photography by Lizzy Mayson.


Festive Mocktail: Grapefruit & Thyme Fizz

Inspired by a traditional fizz, this typically acidic drink gets a smooth makeover. ZEN’s lemongrass meets the citrussy grapefruit notes halfway, perfectly balancing out the tangier tones. The light mix is softly grounded with a hint of thyme and makes the perfect mocktail recipe for your festive gatherings and will see you right through to dry January too!

INGREDIENTS 

1x waterdrop® ZEN (Starfruit – Lemongrass – White Tea)

250ml sparkling water

Thyme sprigs

Juice of ½ grapefruit

Juice of ½ lime

Ice cubes

Garnish: Thyme sprigs

Equipment needed

Muddler

Strainer

METHOD

Dissolve a waterdrop® ZEN into 250ml sparkling water and put aside.

Muddle 2 sprigs of thyme with the grapefruit and lime juices, then strain into a glass filled with ice cubes.

Add your dissolved ZEN and garnish with a few thyme sprigs.


READ MORE: 3 Great Gut-Friendly Recipes To Try This Week

3 Great Gut-Friendly Recipes To Try This Week

The Seasonal Winter Foods You Should Be Eating For Optimum Nutrition

Winter brings with it a unique array of seasonal foods that not only add warmth and flavour to our meals but also offer a host of nutritional benefits. As the temperature drops, our bodies often crave heartier, nutrient-dense foods to keep us energised and healthy. Below, we will explore the seasonal winter foods that you should be incorporating into your diet for optimum nutrition, focusing on the essential vitamins and minerals they provide. 

Root Vegetables: Winter is the season for an abundance of root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, and beets. These vegetables are rich in vitamins A and C, essential for immune function and skin health. They also provide a good source of minerals such as potassium and manganese, supporting heart health and overall well-being. 

Cruciferous Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower thrive in the colder months. Packed with vitamin C, an antioxidant that aids in immune system support, these veggies also provide a significant amount of vitamin K, promoting bone health. Additionally, they contain folate, a B-vitamin important for DNA synthesis. 

Citrus Fruits: While citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines are available year-round, they are particularly abundant in the winter. These fruits are renowned for their high vitamin C content, a powerful antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage and supports the immune system. 

Winter Squash: Varieties of winter squash, such as butternut squash and acorn squash, are excellent sources of beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and immune function. These squashes also provide vitamin C and potassium. 

Nuts and Seeds: Winter is a great time to incorporate more nuts and seeds into your diet. Almonds and walnuts are rich in vitamin E, an antioxidant that plays a role in immune function and skin health. Chia seeds and flaxseeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, promoting heart health and reducing inflammation. 

Dark Leafy Greens: Winter-friendly greens like kale, Swiss chard, and collard greens are packed with vitamins A, C, and K. These leafy greens also provide minerals such as calcium and magnesium, supporting bone health and overall vitality. 

Oats and Whole Grains: Warm and comforting, oats and whole grains are ideal choices for winter breakfasts. They offer a good source of B-vitamins, including B6 and folate, important for energy metabolism and the formation of red blood cells. Whole grains also contain essential minerals like iron and zinc. 

RECIPES TO TRY

Dr Rupy’s “Jewish Penicillin” Recipe

RECIPE HERE

Easy Vegan Overnight Oats (3 Ways!)

RECIPE HERE

Gut-Loving Kitchari

RECIPE HERE

“Cheesy” Broccoli Waffles

RECIPE HERE


Nourishing The Soul: Reflections On An Autumn Wellness Weekend

Sometimes, you don’t know what you’ve been missing until you get it –  that was the case with Weleda’s Autumn Wellness Weekend for me. Weleda’s weekend retreats are themed around the seasons – exploring how we can tune into the seasonal shifts and what we can gain by taking some mindful time to reconnect with nature. As such, a lot of our Autumn retreat was centred around the idea of “letting go” – much like the trees shedding their leaves, we were invited to consider what we might also want to release. 

I’d never been to a wellness retreat before. Whilst I lead a healthy lifestyle (I eat well, I exercise regularly, I do my best to limit my screen time and prioritise sleep) I rarely, if ever, make any kind of tranquillity a priority in my life. I do practise regular yoga, but it’s for pragmatic purposes: I find it helps to support all of the other physical training I do on a regular basis. Similarly, I often have sports massages or a bath to aid recovery, but otherwise the idea of slowing down, especially for a whole weekend, was an alien concept to me. I hesitated initially in case I wasn’t the right “type” of person suited to a retreat like this. Nonetheless, I turned up with an open mind and I’m delighted to have been proved completely wrong – I loved it. I’ve since realised that there wasn’t really any one type of person at our retreat at all. We were a mix of ages and backgrounds. We all had varied reasons for being there – to heal, to recharge, to rest, to reconnect – but we each undeniably benefited from the space and opportunity to unplug. 

Lapwing Barns was our home for the weekend. It’s a peaceful and secluded rural setting in Buxton, nestled amongst the stunning countryside of the Peak District National Park. The property itself is also beautiful, with period features such as exposed stone walls, spacious yet cosy bedrooms, a large and inviting dining room and vibrant communal areas that let in plenty of natural light. Our group regularly huddled together around the fire in the lounge but there are also plenty of comfortable nooks to settle into with a blanket should you want some quiet time by yourself. Both the yoga and many of the evening group sessions were held in the adjacent barn conversion which has been transformed into a welcoming cocoon full of blankets, pillows, flowers, wonderful-smelling essential oils and soft lighting. It’s so easy to dismiss beauty as unnecessary but each carefully considered detail genuinely did enhance our sense of feeling welcomed, cared for, and appreciated. The space felt sacred and as such it fostered a deep sense of authentic connection and nourishment for everyone throughout the weekend.

Modern life isn’t especially conducive to carving out time for ourselves and many of us are perhaps more accustomed to looking after others. It’s a theme that came up repeatedly throughout the retreat as we were reminded to allow ourselves to receive the care, rather than feeling selfish. 

Friday set the tone for the weekend; after briefly being slowed down en route to the cottage by a very Derbyshire sort of traffic jam (cows crossing the road), I was warmly greeted like a dear friend by our friendly and down-to-earth hosts. Later, when everyone had unpacked and settled into their rooms, we gathered for the first of our informal connection sessions, where we were invited to set our intentions for the weekend. After a delicious dinner, we were treated to a calming foot spa using the gorgeously scented Weleda Lavender bath milk, followed by Weleda’s luxurious Lavender body oil. This simple but beautiful evening ritual was a reminder that even small actions can have a profound effect on wellbeing – we all peacefully drifted up to bed soon after. 

Saturday and Sunday mornings both started with yoga, and after a nourishing breakfast there were various wellness workshops hosted by one of the many experts present throughout the weekend. These included an Awakening Skin Workshop, an interactive session to learn more about your unique body and personality type (fascinating!), followed by an immersive Nature Connection session where we were guided to really connect with our surroundings on a much deeper level, taking a stroll through quiet country lanes to a nearby river. These activities served as the perfect antidote to the usual rush and multitasking that is so embedded in twenty-first-century living. Lunch was usually around 1pm and in the late afternoon there was the chance to have a Weleda Signature Treatment or a private 30-minute wellness consultation, should you wish. Otherwise, the time was free for whatever you wanted most; some curled up with a book or their journal, some sat chatting by the fire, some retreated into their rooms for a nap and others ventured out for a walk to explore our idyllic surroundings. 

I experienced Weleda’s Signature Treatment on Sunday afternoon; to call it a facial doesn’t do it justice – it was more of a 90-minute sensory delight that left me feeling completely rejuvenated. Another lovely foot bath signalled the start of the treatment, this time with Weleda’s Arnica bath soak which I use regularly myself (great for aching sporty muscles!), as my esthetician chatted through my current skin care regime and any issues I might have. After a relaxing back rub, I was wrapped up under a blanket to begin the main event. The process is very gentle, yet thorough. There are waves of incredible scents throughout (Weleda’s fabulous bath milks making a reappearance here), accompanied by soothing hot towels and a revitalising foot rub to finish. My skin was glowing by the time I left, with my personalised skin care recommendations noted down, and I had been pampered from head to toe. 

So much of the weekend was about not only letting things go but also letting things in; the latter has especially stayed with me since coming home. With a tendency to value self-sufficiency and discipline, I’ve set a personal intention to allow more room for luxury in my life going forward. On Sunday morning, I wrapped up warm and headed outside with a hot mug of tea, where I stood for a few minutes quietly soaking up the gorgeous sunrise over the sweeping Derbyshire hills. I have never regretted watching a sunrise (or a sunset) and it’s the small, accessible pockets of beauty and contentment like this that I’m planning to weave back into my busy days going forward. After all, a happy life should be filled with so much more than just what is necessary, shouldn’t it? 

——————— 

Laura Kennington is a British adventure athlete, author and speaker with a passion for the endurance capability of the human body. A strong believer in the positive impact that adventure and sport can have, Laura uses her human-powered journeys as a platform to inspire and encourage others to get outside.


Weleda’s Wellness Retreats are available to book here from £950 per person (twin occupancy) or £1,250 single occupancy in a double room. Dates for Weleda’s Spring retreat are 23-26 February 2024, and Autumn 11-14 October 2024.


Matcha Is Having A Moment: These Are The Products We Rate

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.

OUR TOP MATCHA PICKS:

Pairs great with…