Category Archives: Health/Fitness/Sport

Interview: Food Addiction Coach, Dr Bunmi Aboaba

There is strong medical research and evidence that certain foods, along with other factors, can trigger Food Addiction. My guest, Dr Bunmi Aboaba is a Food Addiction coach and her work covers a full spectrum of food addictions including overeating, compulsive eating and emotional eating. I caught up with the lovely doctor recently to find out more about food addiction and how she helps people to build a healthy relationship with food. Hi Bunmi!

Hello! My name is Dr Bunmi Aboaba. I help men and women overhaul their unhealthy relationship with food, reach their goal weight and improve their mental wellbeing through a compassionate, holistic and non-diet approach

  • What made you decide to launch your career as a food addiction coach?

I had my own struggles with food; bulimia when I was in my teens, then I switched to alcohol and then, in recovery from alcohol addiction, straight back to food. My eating was out of control and particularly with foods that were unhealthy: pizza, cake, fried chicken that kind of thing. It was ferocious and, in many ways, worse than the alcohol addiction. It came with a lot of guilt and shame and feelings of failure. I knew it was an addiction because I had the same feelings of obsession around food as I had with alcohol. Cravings, denial, compulsion and withdrawal were all the same.  

  • What sort of food problems do people come to you for help? 

There is a lot of stress eating at the moment. Food has become a primary coping mechanism for many, meaning binge eating and food addiction. People are experiencing feelings of unmanageability around food, feeling anxious if they don’t binge and guilty when the binge has finished. This all can impact daily life, relationships and mental health, where many report lower self-esteem and self-worth and poor body image. The list goes on.

  • For helping clients achieve a healthy relationship with food, what approach(es) do you tend to use?

The R4 method is a simple and effective road map that will steer the client in the direction of healthy eating, that is not a diet and doesn’t need willpower.

The steps taken along the way looks at the root cause of our food issues –  which is R1. R2 is reframing a person’s beliefs and attitudes around themselves and also the food. R3 is building the resilience needed to diminish cravings and R4 is pulling it all together with a nutritious food plan which is not restrictive but nutritious and filling; along with lots of kindness, compassion and support along the way.

It is not a linear process, its constantly in flow but it a framework that allows the person to feel a sense of safety in the process.

  • As you have had many years experience in this field, what is it about your job do you enjoy or gives you the most satisfaction? The downside?

I love the wide eyes when I explain what they are struggling with and the realisation that they are not lazy or greedy or lacking in willpower. They have a disease and it’s called food addiction. Once the client gets this it’s like an epiphany or them and they are ready and willing to start the process. 

Also, I love how they start to find themselves and get to know who they are, what makes them tick, what they want and don’t want in their lives. I suppose that’s empowerment at work.  Seeing them blossom, increase in confidence, and every aspect of their lives starting to improve.

The weight loss is kind of a by-product of the process, That we get to realise it’s a “Me” problem and not a weight problem.

© LindaHobden
  • Do you offer one to one coaching or do you operate online?

I offer one-to-one, as well as group coaching and it’s all online which suits many.

  • Growing up, did you always want a medical career, or did you want to pursue a completely different direction?

I wanted to be a criminal lawyer but my Father said no. Back in the day there weren’t really any black lawyers and my Dad wanted me to do medicine, where I stood a better chance of gaining positions. I grumbled at the time but looking back he was right and I am deeply grateful for his guidance. It stood me in good stead.

  • You are creator of the The R4 Method – a Food Addiction Certification. Who would benefit from the certification and what does the R4 Method cover? 

It benefits any health and wellness professional wanting to help any of their clients with issues around the relationship with food. It’s also good for people who may want to help family members or friends.

  • As you are based in the UK, are your services available just for UK or is it also available worldwide?

I am based in London but work worldwide.

  • Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Oh Goodness! Since the pandemic, my style has gone to pot. I need a stylist to revamp/resurrect me!

To go out, jeans, boho shirts, leather /suede jackets – I usually shop in Selfridges. I used to be a converse fan until my knee operation and now I’m into Fitflop, which are stylish and great for comfort walking.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes, Fitflop, Selfridges, Asos, ME+EM, Om & Ah, AllSaints , Sweaty Betty, Moncler.

  • What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Khaki leather biker jacket; Misty lounge set

Boots or Shoes?

BOOTS BOOTS BOOTS – all the way

For Pinning Later .

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Web: www.thefoodaddictioncoach.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/bunmiaboaba/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thefoodaddictioncoach/

Twitter: @FoodAddicti2  

Instagram @thefoodaddictioncoach

Great to talk to you Bunmi and I am so pleased that you love a leather biker jacket and boots! You rock!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Dr Bunmi Aboaba (apart from the header pic, pin photo & the cheese platter photo – © LindaHobden)

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An Interview With Adio

Adio is a new health and wellness portal that is the brainchild of my guests this week – Jess Braid and Xandra Middleton. These lovely ladies are sisters and both are doctors – Xandra is a doctor of chiropractic and Jess is a trained NHS doctor who specialises in treating patients using alternative health approaches including nutrition, Chinese medicine, etc. I caught up with the busy sisters to find out more about their venture! Hi ladies ….

[Jess} Hi, we’re Drs Jess Braid and Xandra Middleton. We’re sisters, best friends and the founders of Adio! Xandra is a doctor of chiropractic and I’m a former NHS doctor, now IFM (Institute of Functional Medicine) practitioner, qualified Chinese and Western herbalist, acupuncturist, kinesiologist and homeopath.

What inspired you to set up your new health & wellness portal “Adio”?

[Xandra] We own a busy chiropractic and natural health clinic in Cheshire and have treated thousands of patients for well over a decade. But there are only two of us and so many people who we would love to be able to benefit from our approach to wellness. So we set up Adio to empower everyone to take control of their health and to create a community where our members can connect, grow, share and learn together.

What are the benefits of becoming a member of Adio?

[Jess] Through an affordable monthly subscription, our members have unlimited access to a vast resource library of content tailored to 8 zones of health. Whether you’re browsing the Gut Health & Digestion zone for ways to improve your IBS, the Family & Pet Health zone for tips on how to get your kids to eat more vegetables or heading to the Immune System & Infection zone for ways to boost your immunity, you’ll find a wealth of articles, courses, quizzes and webinars. You can participate in yoga or mindfulness classes, learn how to get better sleep or look after your gut heath. You can even enrol for free in Adio’s ground-breaking programmes – Refresh, my revolutionary 30 day “food as medicine” reset and Xandra’s posture transformation programme, Realign.
As a valued member of our community, you can post status updates, ask for recommendations, offer advice and join specific forums where members can support each other. Our members also benefit from exclusive discounts on Adio’s own powerful multivitamin and Plant+ adaptogen supplements that are pure, eco-friendly and perfectly balanced.
[Xandra} A big part of Adio is about giving back. As we grow, we will give more and more of our profits to good causes and establish Adio as a not-for-profit trust. In the shorter term, we are donating 10% of membership profits to ten charities that are close to our hearts and we encourage our members to get involved too – their participation in our community earns them coins, which generate donations. We also partner with Ecologi so member interactions also convert to more trees being planted!

Monte, Madeira © Linda Hobden

Jess, as you are a trained NHS doctor who specialises in treating people using alternative health approaches including nutrition, Chinese medicine etc what common health conditions have had new approaches which incorporate alternative medicine?

[Jess] We appreciate many different approaches to health, from ancient traditional Chinese medicine practised for several thousand years to the latest scientific research and credible thinking. All our articles are backed by citations, references and other sources. We also share our own remedies, taken from home life and our clinical experience. Published research on the gut microbiome exploded in 2012 and turned our understanding of health on its head. Now thousands of clinical studies all point to the same conclusion, that nearly all long-term health problems will have a root cause in gut health – a truly mind-blowing fact.

Xandra, as a doctor of chiropractic, what ways can Adio membership be of benefit to your patients?

 [Xandra] Looking after our joints, muscles and spine is as crucial to our physical and mental health as diet and exercise. My Structure & Movement toolkit in Adio highlights the importance of good posture, mobility and balance and teaches our members how to use movement, fitness and nutrition to heal themselves. My Realign programme shows you how to take control of joint or muscle problems and how, from dedicating just a few minutes a day, you can transform your posture and eliminate those aches and pains for good.

© Linda Hobden

How is Adio funded?

[Jess] Adio is funded entirely by the affordable monthly subscription fee. We do not take payments, sponsorships or incentives for promotion. Anything we recommend is because we have genuinely used it and loved it, not because we were paid to say so!

Adio members are encouraged to take part in conversations and courses on Adio – what health areas seem to be most discussed at the moment?

[Jess] Immunity is definitely a hot topic at the moment and due to the pandemic, more and more people are looking for answers on how to stay well and how to look after their physical and mental wellbeing. So our Immune System & Infection zone is a fantastic starting place for members to dive in and learn more. Plus our popular yoga and mindfulness classes provide the perfect environment for people to feel safe, calm and grounded. 

As you are based in UK, is Adio available to subscribers overseas?

[Xandra] Yes absolutely, Adio is a global brand! The desire for optimal health is universal and the vast number of ways we can all take control of our own wellbeing translate to every corner of the world.

© Linda Hobden

Growing up, did you have career aspirations in the medical field or something entirely different?

[Jess] We grew up surrounded by alternative medicines and therapies. Grandad taught us about plants and herbs, Grandma taught us homeopathy, Mum showed us all about massage and essential oils and Dad was a chiropractor. So it was inevitable really!Our careers have seen us venture off to explore different healthcare paths and travel different routes in our personal lives, but we have always stayed close. These days, we work together virtually every day, live nearby and we both share a vision for what we hope Adio can become. Our shared values and beliefs about what make effective healthcare and the things that can make for a better planet have become central to what we do.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

[Xandra] We’re always keen to support sustainable and ethical brands like Sezane and Giesswein. Jess and I have just got two gorgeous black labrador puppies so at the moment, it’s hoodies and wellies for us a lot of the time! I love Emblazed, a local screen-printing company that embroider all our clinic and Adio sweatshirts that are 100% organic. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

We love Naturisimo’s range of natural, organic beauty products and skincare

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

[Jess] Xandra has actually just bought me some Muck boots for Christmas after years of telling me how good hers were…..and she wasn’t wrong! They’ve got a memory foam sole so they’re super comfortable and warm and the neoprene means they’re really easy to get on and off. Now I’ve got my eye on a colourful spring shirt from Baukjen.

Boots or Shoes?

[Xandra] You’ll find us both in Veja trainers in the summer for the comfort and support. And at the clinic, Jess lives in her Rothys pumps, made from recycled materials. In the winter, my go-to boots are Timberland and Jess loves her Danish Duckfeet!

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Adio.

www.adio.orgwww.instagram.com/adio_health

https://www.facebook.com/Adiofamily/

Great to talk to you both about your exciting plans for this informative health portal!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Adio , apart from the photographs marked in the article which are by Linda Hobden.

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Being Lean

”Lean” is a well known and scientifically proven idea that has transformed businesses for decades – a methodology for focusing on what is really important. According to my guest this week – Lean business expert Michelle Leong – Being Lean means living efficiently and not wasting time, energy and money on the unimportant. I caught up with Michelle recently to find out more about Being Lean. Hi Michelle!

Hello! I’m Michelle. I’m a self-confessed Lean fanatic & dedicated Lean practitioner with almost 20 years’ experience in changing people’s lives and businesses for the better. I am a very health-conscious keen traveller, a monumental food & drinks fan and it may be a midlife crisis thing but I make every effort to look good for myself all the time.  My quest for perfection in living life to the fullest makes my staunch advocacy and adoption of Lean in everyday life inevitable & necessary. 

Your book, “Being Lean”, is truly inspirational. What made you decide to write your book in the first place?

Actually, Being Lean is the result of my laziness and impatience about doing things twice or taking the long way around. It is basically all about how I increase productivity of my fun time. I hate housework, I hate exercising, I like, but don’t love work. This book is 20 years of how I managed to do lesser of what I don’t enjoy AND still get the same if not better results. 

I was already naturally organised, I’m a keen planner, I’m a fantastic time manager but it was only when I started using Lean as a methodology & a structured approach, that I realised that all this time, I’ve been so effective in wasting my time & effort. I was basically just tidying up clutter, when clutter is clutter no matter how neat they are.

I’m a terrible person. I remember secretly judging my colleagues & peers, all those years, for not being truly Lean. I felt they only do it at work, like switching the lights on & off. Outside of work, I remember thinking “what process slobs” they are 😜! I’ve been collecting scribbles & thoughts along the way, knowing I had to put it on paper in a structured manner…to boast about my processes if anything! I only actually sat down to write this book at lockdown.

Lean  is a well known and scientifically proven idea  – a methodology for focusing on what is really important, and being lean means living efficiently, using time and energy and money effectively … when did you first realise this empowerment that being lean can have over businesses and life in general? 

Lean has been around & popularised here in the West by the car manufacturing industry since the very early 90s. Thanks to discovering Lean 10 years later for my work in construction that I’ve been living Lean for almost 20 years. I started consciously applying the methodology “Doing Lean” for work mainly but once I got my Lean glasses on, it felt applicable to all processes including outside of work. Gradually, I evolved to doing Lean outside of work and since then evolved again to “Being Lean” i.e. naturally rather than contrived.

Your book is jammed pack with hints and situations which will help to apply the lean approach in all aspects of life – workplace, wardrobe, home life, travel food and health- even down to sorting your laundry! I was quite pleased to see that my method of sorting out washing  being endorsed!  Were there any aspects of writing “Being Lean” that surprised you, either by being harder or easier to write about than you expected? 

I realised that applying Lean to work is SO much easier. There are many relevant examples and much expertise out there for us to learn from and even duplicate. At the same time, we are held accountable for our productivity and quality of work so we do it more consistently as it is necessary for our livelihood. We push ourselves more and we try harder. Whereas, privately, we only have to account to ourselves. There are no immediate consequences, or if there are, we deem them to be of less magnitude as time loss is less apparent than the loss of cold hard cash from a paycheque. Hence, application of Lean outside of work is so much less consistent. I am actually surprised after-the-fact that I have enough to structure this book in a coherent and hopefully, easy to follow way. When I finished it, I felt incredibly lucky that I had been doing Lean for such a long time and so consistently that I was able to follow through, fill out that many chapters and achieve the flow. 

You have been advising businesses on lean practices for 20 years and you were part of the team that introduced lean to the construction industry in a government funded Construction  Lean Improvement Programme (CLIP).  What sort of lean recommendations were introduced?

We started from scratch with Construction. Everyone was strongly sceptical. CLIP offered the industry free consultancy & lean projects hoping to get wide uptake of the thinking & practice. We went out touting companies to apply Lean to their construction projects. Construction teams are dynamic & they change with each project so you can imagine how difficult it is to achieve sustainable organisational results. You keep starting from scratch with each new project, teaching them the theory & methodology then applying it practically on site – learning by doing. We persevered & slowly noticed the difference when project percentages slowly evolved from 90% on building sites & 10% in boardrooms to 50%-50%. This meant the industry was starting to adopt the Lean approach of looking at the bigger picture, doing a diagnostic i.e., identifying waste in the process & doing the business case of prioritising where best to invest in improvement efforts. It’s always leaner eliminating waste further upfront the process when they aren’t as big, before they snowball & become more expensive problems down the line i.e., manifests when you are actually constructing the building. 

What aspects of Being Lean did you personally find hardest to adopt and adapt into your own lifestyle?  What aspects did you find easiest to incorporate?

As human beings, we rotate towards the easiest to do. For me, with Lean, it was a gradual process. It started out with huge concerted effort to learn & then to do. But with each effort, like everything one does, it got easier & the interest grew because the benefits prevailed & I wanted to know more. It became a challenge to be better at it & a lifestyle and quest to make as much of my processes leaner. Suddenly, I’ve become anal retentive, which I take as a compliment. I have to say it is a creep process & still creeping! Unlike weight creeping up with age, this is a positive creep from flexing & using the Lean muscle. I just transitioned from consciously Doing Lean to Being Lean. I ended up getting flow in my processes without thinking about it. I see waste & combat them bit by bit, it’s no effort for me but might be a crazy effortful to a beginner. Whatever my processes are now, it’s taken 20 years of Being Lean. I’ve even process mapped my relationship, doing risk analysis to look for issues & their impacts. I use root cause analysis to manage my “flare-ups” to maintain that precious relationship. I’ve just celebrated my 31st year anniversary with my husband 🥰😎.

Growing up, what career aspirations did you have?

I was born in Singapore & became a “Singapore Girl” (flight stewardess) very young at 18 so never “had time” to aspire to be anything else. I regretted not going into higher education then as there was no such thing as mature student in Singapore in those days. Once the opportunity passed you by, it’s gone! Thankfully I met my husband & got a second chance when I moved to Sweden in the very early 90s. I learnt the language & took the university entrance exam & never looked back. It is thanks to this, that life led me to Lean. 

Is “Being Lean”  available to purchase worldwide?

The book is available for sale on Amazon & many bookshops like Waterstones online. On the Being Lean website, the hardcopy is available worldwide, IF one is willing to pay postage at cost. The e-book is available on the website for download wherever you are in the world & the audiobook is underway and will be available on the website soon.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

When applying Lean Thinking to our Health. Lean states that ill-health & bad lifestyle are defects in a System, our System. Whether it is self-inflicted or due to circumstances or environment, the point here is not to blame but to find out why. What are the wastes & what are the root causes? If we apply the methodology & use the Waste Glasses, we will get a diagnostic of the causes of these defects so we can work on preventing or managing them. I’ve worked really hard on my health & fitness. As an outcome of Being Lean, I’ve been fasting & lifting heavy weights for the past 10 years. I am at my tippest-toppest condition having just turned 50 this year and planning to keep it that way.

I adopt the Lean visual management tool to maintain status. My wardrobe has been designed to induce my correct behaviour. I no longer have baggy clothes that allow me to hide the consequences of long-term unhealthy living or bad choices, whether this is food, fitness or the mental confidence to rock an outfit. I only wear snug clothes to restrict the amount I can indulge in. Snug clothing visually displays quickly and obviously when I over indulge in one meal but also when I have been lax over a longer period. This triggers me to rein things back. My reward for the consistency is looking & feeling strong & powerful.

I have been wearing a LBD (little black dress), benchmarking (a Lean tool) for my 40th, 45th & 50th birthday. We’ll see if it fits on my 55th!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I used to shop quantity above quality & have loads of unused clothes that I’m still going through. Nowadays, I only shop online and for specific style/design that I know flatters me and I never follow trends. I’ve taken on board the Lean concept of modular dressing i.e., having a few different basic accessories & layers of clothing, mixing/matching & getting triple the look from them to suit all occasion & seasons. I’ve got a few websites bookmarked including The Outnet, Joli Closet, TK Maxx, Selfridges (when on sale), occasionally ASOS etc. and charities like Sea Shepherd, which don’t have much of what I want to wear but I buy for presents periodically to give them support. 

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’ve got more clothes & shoes enough to wear a different outfit every day of the week! But I’m also a huge accessories person so I’ve got a couple of items on my wish list currently including a Gucci Lionhead gold-toned brass and bead ring & Maje’s Precious Day of the Week ring.

Boots or Shoes?

I’m a wedge (ankle & knee) boots for autumn/winter & wedge sandals for summer, kind of gal. Wedge being key because it started with me having plantar fasciitis from training too much and not being able to wear flat shoes. Now I can’t be without them because they are very Being Lean! It allows me to not compromise on “quality” as they are comfortable, looks good (feminine the way I like it) & gives me the height to make me look tall & slender. I can walk on wedges for hours on a glorious fun London shopping day out! I’ve got 3 colours of the same Hush Puppies wedge sandals that are very comfortable.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

Personal Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100011056549136

Being Lean Website: https://beinglean.net

Being Lean Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/beinglean.net

LeanPac Website: https://www.leanpac.co.uk

LeanPac Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/LeanPaccouk-1614091645336481

LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-leong-94837918/

My thanks to Michelle for agreeing to be interviewed and to Ben Cameron of Cameron Publicity for a copy of Michelle’s book “Being Lean”. All photographs have been published with kind permission of Michelle Leong (apart from the Pinterest & header pics which are by Linda Hobden)

Linda x

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Spotlight On IDD Therapy

IDD Therapy – “Intervertebral Differential Dynamics” is the fastest growing non-surgical spinal treatment with over 1000 clinics worldwide – 34 of them in the UK alone. I talk to Michael Furlong, an osteopath for over 20 years and Clinic Director at Balance Health Centre in Liverpool. Michael is passionate about spine care and so is the perfect person to answer my questions about IDD Therapy and back pain in general. Hi Michael and welcome! 😊

Hello 😊 My name is Michael Furlong. I am 55 years old and have been a registered osteopath since 1999. I have two sons and the younger is also training as an osteopath, and two cockapoos: Bobby and Dexter.

What are the common causes of back pain?

The most common causes of back pain I see regularly are predominately muscular skeletal lower lumbar sacro-iliac with related disc problems. This then causes symptoms throughout the body causing knock-on compensatory symptoms. 

Why is it important to get treatment as soon as possible for back pain, neck pain & sciatica? 

It is important to seek help immediately once you are in pain. If you leave it too long, the problem becomes chronic. Chronic pain basically means the problem has been there for 6 months and longer. 

That means you have been living with pain for a long time, this becomes harder to treat and takes more time to improve due to compensatory changes in the body.

There does seem to be an order for back pain. The patient will try medication, then their GP, who will refer to a physiotherapist, then the client will try acupuncture and / or sports massage. Then they end up at the last chance saloon, which is me. This pattern only changes once the person has attended my clinic.

One of the treatments you offer is IDD Therapy – what is this treatment?

IDD is a non-invasive spinal disc treatment. Basically, it means non-surgical spinal decompression! In other words, it’s a very specific scientific traction that works on a particular segment of the spine and not just general traction. This allows the discs to heal naturally in a controlled, safe way.

IDD has been a revelation for me personally. I discovered IDD after I had a disc problem causing complete numbness from my knee down into my whole foot. I attended the Buxton clinic where Phil sat with me, explained everything and recommended two sessions a week, with a minimum of 10.

Every session there was an improvement until I had feeling back. Amazingly, I had so much more movement in my spine that I actually started laughing in my yoga session at the increase.

Who are the typical candidates that you would recommend for IDD Therapy?

Typically, a candidate for IDD needs an up-to-date MRI scan. This will show up people with trapped nerves, bulging discs and arthritic changes in the lumbar spine causing bony growths known as spurs which pinch the nerves. Age is not a factor. I have had 20-year-olds up to 90-year-olds. As long as it’s safe to do so, you can treat anyone.

Although you are based in England, is IDD therapy available to use throughout the UK and worldwide?

IDD is becoming a worldwide phenomenon. In the UK it is becoming widely available, with more clinics adding this amazing treatment to their new and established clinics.

 You have been an osteopath for over 20 years – have you always wanted to be an osteopath or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?

When I was younger I was a youth player with a professional football club. I received an injury that effectively stopped me from playing. Quite simply, it was an injury that wasn’t diagnosed properly. After 3 years of incredible pain I ended up at the door of an incredible osteopath, who not only diagnosed my problem but eventually relieved the suffering.

That was it! I wanted to be an osteopath. There was no internet or mobile phones to research courses but, after a few years, I eventually got accepted into Oxford Brookes. I have never looked back. I love my job and I am learning new things constantly. 

Apart from IDD, what other treatments do you recommend for back pain?

Apart from IDD I truly believe that any therapy that helps you personally has a place in treatment. Obviously, I am an osteopath but physiotherapists and chiropractors all do incredible work. Massage and acupuncture both work. I am a firm believer of prevention, so yoga, Pilates and tai chi are also high on my recommended to do list.

For Pinning Later

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I am from Liverpool, so there seems to be a uniform ethic with clothes. The influx of students brings an amazing, eclectic style.

During the week, for getting to work and dog walking, I am a North Face Berghaus style; comfortable weather proof. I love North Face reaction t-shirts.

At weekends, its more jeans or chinos, but definitely Hugo Boss. I love their fit and the quality is very good.

I am a bit off a coat freak. I have way, way too many coats but I love to layer my coats when I can.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I am always amused, every year how a fashion brand can update the good old polo t shirt. I have tried so many styles, but Hugo Boss fits me perfectly. Ralph Lauren and Sunspot do nice polos.

When it comes to sunglasses, Oliver Peoples does amazing designs and Persol always look classy.

Online, I use a site called Thread. They give you a personal shopper and tend to style for age, I have bought from them a few items.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have just ordered a nice Harrington jacket from, again for layering and am getting into new balance trainers. They do some nice designs for the older person.

Boots or shoes?

Boots all day. I love Ben Sherman desert boots and have 4 pairs in all colours. They look amazing and feel amazing. I like the lightweight Timberland boot for everyday wear.

Links:

www.balancehealthcentre.co.uk

www.iddtherapy.co.uk

Web: http://iddtherapy.co.uk/

Facebook: IDD Therapy Europe

Twitter: https://twitter.com/IDDTherapyDisc

Thank you for explaining all about IDD Therapy, Michael, and it is really a privilege to meet a coat freak !!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission from Michael Furlong / IDD Therapy UK

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Spotlight On Glamorous Gifts – Football Memorabilia

Football season has started in the UK – soccer for my US friends – and if you are or you have a football fan or two in your life, football memorabilia such as a mug, print, book, is an ideal solution for birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries or “Just Because”. Official football merchandiser, Glamorous Gifts, have a fabulous range of gifts from all the teams in all the Leagues … and I’m chatting to David, founder of Glamorous Gifts, about his business and his love of football. Hi David!

Hi, I’m David and I live in Leyland, Lancashire (unfortunately) with my wife and my two sons, aged 11 and 8.

What inspired the founding of your company, Glamorous Gifts?

I was inspired into setting up Glamorous Gifts as I really wanted to run my own business. I also felt that I hadn’t really used my knowledge in computing that I’d gained at university so it was a chance to put those skills to use in building and maintaining a website. It’s also nice to be self-employed, though I do miss a regular salary and I hardly ever get a day off!

Although you sell a variety of gifts, you are also an approved retailer of Official Licenced Football Club memorabilia.  What is currently the most popular type of football memorabilia and/or, dare I ask, the most popular football team?

We do sell a variety of gifts, but our speciality is that we are an approved retailer for Official Licenced Football Club memorabilia.  This means that we are one of only a small number of retailers that have products featuring the official club badges and photos. Our mugs are the most popular product and there are many different designs. But we also see that our framed prints are popular as they make such unique presents for the recipient. We have all the top football clubs, though of course the big names such as Manchester United, Liverpool etc are the most sought after.

I’m a Tottenham Hotspur fan, my husband & youngest sons support Ipswich. What’s your favourite football team?

I’m a Liverpool fan, so I’m used to suffering and pain! It was a difficult slog for the most part of the last 30 years until things got much better last year with several trophies. Sadly, this season has seen a return to a more familiar pattern. 

Can the football products be customised like your other gifts?

All our personalised football products can be customised. Most can have a name added of course, but we also have many products where the recipient’s name and a chosen number appears on the teams’ shirt alongside the other real players in the dressing room or being held up by the teams’ manager. We also have a large range of non-personalised official merchandise.

Do you cover other sporting memorabilia apart from football?

We have a small range of rugby league clubs merchandise but we are hoping to expand this and other sports in the future.

When deciding gifts to add to your  collections, do you select by what has proved popular with other gift outlets, current trends, customer requests, personal preferences or all of those things?

We occasionally add new product designs, based on trends and events, such as when a team has just won a trophy (so no new Liverpool FC products recently sadly!)

As Glamorous Gifts is based in the UK, are your products on the website available to purchase & ship worldwide? 

Glamorous Gifts is based in the UK, where all the products are shipped from. At the current time we are not shipping abroad due to brexit uncertainties and delays caused by the current global situation. We will be looking to do this again once things have settled down.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

For me personally, I find I’m starting to settle into a typical middle aged fashion sense where I basically live in jeans the whole time and wear something as comfy as possible. No skin-tight clothing for me thank you!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I typically shop at the likes of Next, Topman, Burton etc

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

The next thing on my clothes wish list, is probably yet another pair of jeans!

Boots or Shoes?

I wear my trusty brown or black shoes pretty much everywhere, though summer gives me a chance to break out the Converse’s !

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Glamorous Gifts

The range of products I’ve mentioned can be seen at: https://glamorous-gifts.co.uk/collections/personalised-football . 

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Glamorous Gifts – apart from the Pinterest/Featured Photo which is by Linda Hobden ©

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Spotlight On GO2 Essential Oil Sticks

The benefits of essential oils and their ability to support mental health and well being has been known for over 6000 years. After the last couple of years, enduring the pandemic, essential oil products have definitely been needed and appreciated. I think the essential oil sticks are the bees knees! There is one for every situation – to calm, to boost energy, to support sleep quality, and to aid concentration. I caught up with Marc Shipman, MD of GO2, to find out more about his well being business. Hi Marc…

Hi, my name is Marc Shipman and I am the Co-founder of The GO2 Brand. We produce on the GO common sense wellness products resulting in a better you!

What inspired you to set up “GO2”?

The idea came to me in my time of need, due to a very hectic lifestyle in running various businesses, 3 small children and at the time Free Style Wrestling for Wales, I guess like so many others life just caught up with me despite not wanting to accept the doctor telling me after 4 visits that I was suffering from anxiety.

Looking back, it now explains the terrible chest pressure I was experiencing. Having had tests it was confirmed – Gastritis that was brought on by stress.  I found myself at a crossroad and had to decide whether to take the medication that for me had longer lasting adverse effects or look for an alternative.  After all, stress starts with the information we process in our minds and if I could control my state of mind, slow it and calm it down, then I knew the rest will follow.

After many months of trial and error I found essential oils and so the journey began.  Bottles of essential oil blends in my pocket or bag was not ideal and I remember my light bulb moment when I thought, surely essential oil blends in a device like an inhaler stick made more sense!

Having more Energy, Focus, Calm etc on the GO in the most convenient and practical way is what I needed and that is quite simply when the brand was born! We worked with a very experienced and knowledgeable aromatherapy consultant to produce what we have today, 4 amazing 100% natural blends that are now helping people all over the world. 

What are the benefits of essential oils?

We have used essential oils for the last 6500 years for all their benefits. When inhaling the GO2 stick the odour molecules are released. The olfactory receptors in our nose are activated and send electrical signals to the higher region of our brain, the neocortex and limbic system which is the part of the brain involved in our behavioural and emotional responses. 

The limbic system then sends messages to our hypothalamus, the area of the brain which through the pituitary gland sends messages to the other parts of our body, different odour molecules will result in different messages being sent. 

Out of the 4 essential oil sticks (Calm, Energy, Sleep, Focus), which sticks are the most popular at the moment?

I would have to say B.Calm and Sleep which under the current COVID situation and mood of the nation, we are not surprised. 

What are the ingredients in each of the 4 essential oil sticks? 

We have used tried and tested but most importantly much researched essential oils. 

ENERGY – Eucalyptus – Peppermint – Lemongrass

FOCUS – Rosemary – Peppermint – Lime 

B.CALM – Cardamom – Lavender – Bergamot – Sweet Orange 

SLEEP – Lavender – Red Mandarin – Frankincense 

When I have been anxious in the past I have used the B.CALM stick & it did help.  What is your favourite stick to use?

That’s an easy one, I love them all but B.Calm is my baby and the one that started our wonderful journey. 

Have you any other new products to add to your range in the pipeline for 2021?

We have a few new amazing products coming in the second half of 2021 so watch this space!

Have you always been interested in aromatherapy? 

Before being told that it was anxiety causing my issues, no. I had not used essential oils prior to this and now I we want to tell the whole world about the amazing benefits of essential oils.

As you are based in UK, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

We pride ourselves that we are “Made in the UK” this was so important to us that we sourced and produced from UK supply. 

Growing up, did you have career aspirations in the medical field or something entirely different?

Definitely something entirely, as a kid I was always fascinated by the Wild West and thought one day I’d become a rancher and you know what, I made that dream come true…For a while, anyways, I lived in Montana USA where each day I rode the vast wild plains, herding cattle and chasing down wild horses.  I always had a deep connection towards the wilderness and the great outdoors. However, I fell in love with a wonderful woman and moved back to the UK. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Oh no, OK, as my wife always tells me, sometimes it’s OK to look a little less comfortable!!!!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I do like Next and ASOS

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Sorry, not the answer you really want to hear, but a good pair of dog walking boots

Boots or Shoes?

Dog Walking Boots!

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about GO2.

www.thego2brand.com 

@thego2brand

Thanks for the chat Marc – is has been fascinating learning about your essential oil sticks ….. and your life as a rancher in Montana!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Marc Shipman

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Spotlight On FYX

FYX is a delicious new collagen infused spring water drink – one designed for giving a beauty boost ; the other a general body boost. A healthy way to be healthy and hydrated! I was fortunate to interview founders Theresa and Andy about their products and how they managed to get hydrolysed fish collagen to taste good. Also intrigued? Then read on….

Hello, we’re Theresa, Founder & Managing Director FYX, and


Andy – Operations & Marketing Director FYX

What inspired you to develop your new collagen drink, FYX? 

T: I have always been interested in health and beauty, and there are many brands of collagen products that I’ve tried over the years. Unfortunately, I never found one that I would enjoy and stick to, whether it came in a powder, tablet or gel form. It either smelled and / or tasted unpleasant or the texture wasn’t great. It was also time-consuming, especially when having to mix the powder that sometimes became lumpy. After many years of research and looking what was currently available on the market, I wanted to create a healthy, feel-good drink for men and women which would have collagen and added functional benefits. A drink which required no mixing or measuring, that tasted great and had the consistency of water,which could be consumed anytime during the day or night. The most important thing what l wanted to achieve was to bring a premium collagen drink to the market that everyone would enjoy and could actually feel the benefits of at an affordable price. With Andy’s wealth of experience, knowledge and expertise in marketing and brand development we are both very excited to share FYX with the world.

FYX comes in two varieties – BODY and BEAUTY. Which variety is the most popular?

They are both equally popular.

What is collagen? What are the main benefits to drinking FYX? 

Collagen is known as the glue that holds your body together.  Collagen is one of the main structural proteins that forms the connective tissue throughout your system, making up 30% of your body and 70% of your skin’s natural protein. Collagen is found in your muscles, ligaments and tendons, as well as skin, hair and nails.

There are many benefits to drinking FYX but here a few key ones: • Hydrating as mixed with spring water, plus it has the consistency of water.• FYX BEAUTY has 2500mg of Marine Collagen and a blend of antioxidant ingredients to replenish your body from the inside out and enhance your skin, hair and nails.• FYX BODY has 2500mg of Marine Collagen and is designed to help replenish your body’s recovery pre and post exercise, as well as helping to repair any damaged ligaments, plus improve joint health.• Sugar free to prevent sugar crashes.• Less than 31 calories per bottle.

Was it a challenge to put together suitable recipes for your both FYX varieties that lived up to your standards? 

Yes, very much so. Anything is a challenge if you want to do something different. There is so much competition and there are so many brands to choose from in today’s market. You have to think outside the box and create something that will have an impact and stand out from the rest, whilst considering what consumers would like. For many years l had the vision and l knew what l wanted to create. Trying to get the recipe and ingredients, flavours, taste and texture spot on takes a lot of time and patience.

As you are currently based in the UK, is “FYX” available to purchase worldwide?

FYX is available to purchase at www.fyxme.co.uk and from the 10th of May we will be shipping globally.

Is FYX suitable for everyone ( eg vegan, gluten free, sugar content etc) or are there any exceptions/recommendation

FYX is gluten and sugar free and is suitable for men and woman of all ages and for young adults. It isn’t suitable for vegans as it contains fish (marine collagen). 

Have you always wanted a career in the health food/beverage sector or were your career aspirations elsewhere?

Andy and I have been close friends for over 20 years and we’ve always been interested in food and health. We both love to cook and lead a healthy lifestyle. During one of our many conversations we discussed several opportunities and we have spoken about opening a spa or restaurant overseas one day. 

Personal now – – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Theresa – l prefer casual clothes whether it’s a pair of jeans and boots or sports loungewear with a good pair of trainers. 

Andy – I prefer casual and colourful clothes generally. You need to feel comfortable in everything you do.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Theresa – Las Vegas is like my second home. l love shopping there. You are spoilt for choice – there’s too many to mention!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I haven’t really thought about it! 

Boots or Shoes? ( & Why?)

Boots – I go for comfort these days.

For Pinning Later

 Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about FYX

https://www.facebook.com/fyxhealth/

https://www.instagram.com/fyxhealth/

Thank you Theresa (and Andy) for the chat about FYX . The drink looks good, tastes good and does you good – so it is a win win! I will point out though, that if you are pregnant or breast feeding then consult your doctor for advice before taking marine collagen. Recommendations change regularly so always best to check! During each of my 7 pregnancies, there was always a different new food or drink or practice to avoid!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of FYX.

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Create Your Own Calm

2020 has been quite a year, to say the least! All the more reason why my guest’s latest book, “Create Your Own Calm” is creating quite a stir. Author Becky Goddard-Hill has written this book that is simply bursting at the seams with simple, practical ideas and fun activities to stave off boredom and, more importantly, to manage feelings of stress, anger and anxiety. Although it is aimed at children aged 7 – 12, adults would still benefit from Becky’s words of wisdom. I caught up with Becky to find out more… Hi Becky!

Hi! I am Becky Goddard-Hill,  a children’s therapist and a wellbeing author. I blog at Emotionally Healthy Kids  and Simple Parenting and my podcast Emotionally Healthy Kids can be found on ITunes. I have 2 teenage kids and I live in Nottingham. My background is in  Social Work. My latest book, Create Your Own Calm is published by Harper Collins and came out in September 2020.

As a former social worker & child development trainer, what inspired you to write “Create Your Own Calm”  and the other books you have written?  

I strongly believe emotional health and wellbeing to be as important to life as physical health and intellectual pursuits. If not more important. But how often do we actually focus on teaching them the kinds of skills they need to manage their mental health? Rarely. I wanted to give kids a tool kit of coping skills to help them be robust and resilient and I wanted to introduce these in fun and light hearted ways  and that’s the focus and purpose of my books. They each contain loads of activities that teach kids great emotional health skills whilst having fun. 

I admire the fact that you run 6 blogs, all highly ranked within the UK, predominantly focused on family life, emotional well-being & being active/creative. How do you find writing books compared to writing blogposts?

Because my books are activity books I find each activity a big like a blog post to write. I love, love, love that my books are illustrated though and interactive.

What do you like most about blogging?

My blogging community is awesome and my various blogs are diverse and interesting. I  have to do quite a lot of social media to promote my blog – I don’t love that quite so much.

copyright © Linda Hobden

“Create Your Own Calm” is aimed at children aged 7 – 12, and yet looking through the book, I think the tips and activities to create calmness in these stressful times could also help adults. Learning the science behind emotions was especially good. Do you have a “favourite” tip to help when you are particularly stressed?

Yes. My favourite tip is to do something mindful, eg colour a mandala, bake bread, gardening. When you are focused you cannot worry about the past or the future and your brain clears making problems much easier to solve. 

The activities suggested in the book are really fun & quite innovative – such as growing a pizza garden & cloud watching (my favourite). What inspired the thoughtful activities? Any favourites? Any activities that you tried that didn’t quite work out?

Oh, I tried to make a lava lamp to show how people  are like oil and water – that they could coexist even though they could be very different. I ended up with about 20 lava lamp attempts all sitting round my house, none of which had worked!  My favourite activity in my teen book, Be Happy Be You, is that they have to befriend an apple for the day, name it, really get to know it and spend time with it. It’s to show them that whilst you might just think all apples are the same they aren’t at all, they are all individuals and deserving of your time in getting to know them. Appreciating diversity and inclusion are so important to instil.

copyright © LindaHobden

I noticed a lot of reviews for the book (and I am in agreement) commented that the language you used got the point across to young people without talking down to them or being patronising. That is a great skill to have. Is it a lot harder to write a book/ article aimed at a young person?

I don’t think so. My language is never formal when I write and I have teens myself. The publisher has a reader to check the language is just right too.

Your career background has been in the field of social work/child development; was that the career you aspired to have as a youngster or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

I want to save the world! I don’t know how to, but that was my grand plan. I’ve since realised that might be a tad ambitious but I do still desperately want to help people and make a difference. 

Being an author of 7 books already, are you a bookworm yourself?  If so, what genre(s) do you usually read?

 I am a huge sucker for a gorgeous romance and I love David Nicholls.

copyright © Adam Hobden


Looking towards the future – have you got other books in the pipeline?

Yes,  Create Your Own Kindness will be published in Feb 2021. It teaches kids to be kind to themselves, other people and, in fact, to the whole world! 

As you are based in England, is “Create Your Own Calm” available overseas?

Yes, on Amazon – pretty much everywhere.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Ah, I’m a very comfy dresser. At the moment, it’s oversized cosy jumpers and jeans/joggers with my trusty silver Superga. I also love a pair of dunagrees.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I like FatFace and Hush.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I am desperate for a cosy coat and some new tall boots as mine are battered!

Boots or Shoes?

Neither. I have about 15 pairs of converse and rather a lot of other lace up pumps too. They are my go to.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about You & “Create Your Own Calm”

 I blog at Emotionally Healthy Kids  and Simple Parenting and my podcast Emotionally Healthy Kids can be found on ITunes.

Create Your Own Calm is published by Harper Collins and is available on Amazon and in all good book shops 

I have also co-written a  happiness boosting book for teens Be Happy Be You which was published earlier this year 

You can find me on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/beckygoddardhill

Thank you so much for the chat, Becky. I love the idea of befriending an apple! Highly original!

Linda x

The author & book photographs were published with kind permission of Becky Goddard-Hill. Other photographs are by Linda Hobden & Adam Hobden.

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An Interview With Janelle Soong

What do pharmacists really do? Some people view them as people who just dish out pills; but there is a lot more to the pharmacy world than that. Pharmacy graduate Janelle Soong has just written a book that explains what working in a pharmacy is really about as well as true anecdotes from pharmacy school. It really is a well written eye opener of a book and reading the book, I discovered the amount of work that the pharmacist does, their expertise is second to none, and I cringed at some of the stories too! I invited Janelle to join us on my blog to chat about her life as a pharmacy graduate, her likes & loves, and whether she has taken the title of author in her stride! Hi Janelle!

Hello readers, I’m Janelle and it’s such a pleasure to be featured on Linda’s blog. I’m a Pharmacy (MPharm) graduate from King’s College London and the author of “Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie”. Frankly, I’m still trying to get over the bit where I get to call myself an author – I don’t think it’ll ever lose its novelty! “Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie” is my first book and I am so excited to share it with you. The short author bio on the back cover of the paperback will tell youthat I am an aspiring puppy parent and cake fiend. Both of those things are absolutely true.

Who or what inspired you to write your collection of funny yet true anecdotes from your Pharmacy School and from working in the healthcare sector itself? 

Sometimes, pharmacy can be a field where public perceptions don’t always do the profession justice. This is something that became more and more apparent to me as I progressed through my degree and gained a better understanding of the industry. Personally, I think this is simply a case of misinformation and a lack of awareness that has festered over the years – both easily curable. This book is me doing my bit to help elevate the profile of pharmacists in the media. I believe the world needs to know what pharmacists are truly capable of before we can get anywhere near changing these misconceptions.

The World of Pharmacy has always had its misconceptions – unfortunately a lot of people do think pharmacists are just there to “count the pills”.  Your book highlighted the diversity of pharmacy as a career too, especially when you described your degree course programme.  I found the book interesting as well as entertaining.  Do you have a “favourite” misconception?

Oh, I have so many personal favourites – the chapter titled “How to Annoy Your Pharmacist” probably sums them all up in one little package. Generally speaking, I think there tends to be an opinion that pharmacists (and many other healthcare disciplines) take their instructions from doctors without offering any clinical input of their own. This could not be further from the truth in the context of modern healthcare. Doctors and pharmacists are trained very differently to one another, as I came to realise at university. Sure, there may have been some overlap when covering the fundamentals like basic physiology and chemistry – but otherwise, my course material was worlds apart from what the medics were studying. I didn’t realise it at the time, but this is something that is very much reflected in the nature of the jobs where different skillsets are paramount to performing them well. 

Were there any aspects of writing your book that surprised you, pleasantly or otherwise?  

Writing (and publishing) my first book opened a whole new world of learning to me, specifically around the process of self-publishing. This was all very new to me, as self-publication was not something I had explored on any level prior to this. If anything, it made me realise how much the publishing industry has progressed in barely any time at all. On the writing front, I discovered that I can be a bit neurotic when it comes to editing. Naturally, I owe this to my perfectionist nature, so this hardly came as a surprise. I’m sure you know the feeling well, being a blogger yourself – “Maybe I’ll just tweak it once more!” Of course, “once more” is never really once. Make it about three or five more times if I’m feeling extra paranoid that day.

I had also heard from the Twitter writing community that it is dangerously easy to become blind to your own material. Having spent so much time on it, creating and polishing it within an inch of its life, I definitely found my eyes glazing over when I went through it for what must have been the hundredth time. Putting it aside (and on a dusty shelf in the back of my mind)  for a week did me a world of good – coming back to it with fresh eyes helped me instantly spot errors that I had simply failed to see before. The Twitter folk were right on that one.

What did you enjoy most about Pharmacy School, your degree course and working a pharmacy dealing with customers? What were the downsides? 

I was always a bit of a chemistry nerd at school, so I loved that it was very much a core element of Pharmacy. We had modules around drug design, formulation and drug delivery – I fell in love with this unique blend of physics and chemistry that make all sorts of clinical breakthroughs possible. It was these pharmaceutical science modules that made me curious about the pharmaceutical industry, and more importantly, the way it influences clinical prescribing. I think that this is one of the highlights of being a pharmacist – having the expertise to understand the situation from both the patient and the drug development/supply angles, whether it’s a clinical problem or a manufacturing problem. I enjoyed my course very much indeed, and I would recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the profession. I only wish there could have been more clinical placement opportunities for pharmacy students. In comparison to other healthcare degrees, these were far and few between but they were valuable learning opportunities – some of my favourite memories from my Pharmacy degree are from my time spent on clinical placements.

Have you always wanted to have a career in pharmacy or did you have other aspirations? 

Quite honestly, Pharmacy was something I fell into. I had aspirations to attend conservatoire and become a professional classical violinist, as I had grown up attending a music specialist school. The kind of school where no questions were asked if students had to skip academic lessons to attend music rehearsals, and the level of music training required made academics look like a very optional hobby. I had always had it in mind that I would go on to pursue a musical career full-time, but ultimately decided against it due to a combination of reasons.  I was a fairly academic student and I knew I enjoyed science, particularly chemistry. I was also curious about the applications of science in drug development, so pharmacy seemed like a very natural choice at the time. It’s funny how you wind up on certain paths in life that were never in the cards not too long ago.

Are you a bookworm? What is your favourite genre and/or authors? Kindle or actual book? 

Absolutely, though I am one of those people who partake in the whole “I wish I had more time to read!” I have always loved to read, but I have spent more time reading textbooks than any other kind of publication in the past few years – I guess I have university to thank for that. If I had to pick a genre, I’d say that non-fiction psychology fascinates me the most. I thoroughly enjoyed “Quiet” by Susan Cain, and recently read “The Cinderella Complex” by Colette Dowling, which I found extremely eye-opening. I enjoy a bit of humour from time to time too – I’m currently reading “This is Going to Hurt” by Adam Kay and I think he has a wonderful writing voice. I’d recommend it to anyone.

Is “Let Sleeping Pharmacists Lie” available to purchase worldwide?

Yup, it is available on Amazon marketplaces worldwide as a Kindle ebook or as a paperback – if you’re like me and prefer to curl up with a physical book whose pages I can fiddle with as I read.

You have a blog called TheNellyBean – what is the origins of the title? What do you enjoy most about blogging? 

My blog has turned into a bit of a hot mess – in the sense that I now write about anything that takes my fancy; I like to think of it as an online diary where I get to be unabashedly myself. I wanted the title to reflect this, so I brainstormed words that came to mind when I thought of the things I enjoy in life. I’m a big fan of sweets and desserts, so I decided to combine “jellybean” and “Nelly” (a mildly embarrassing childhood nickname). “Thenellybean” was born. Thankfully, the domain name was available. 

I love that blogging allows me to reach all sorts of people who find themselves able to relate to my content in one way or another. The community can be so kind and supportive too, so that’s a big plus in my eyes.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m a big fan of skinny jeans and ankle boots. I’ve found that as I prioritise comfort so much more now, so a good pair of trainers are always a winner in my books. On the other hand, I do enjoy a preppy look (blame the private school upbringing), so I’ll pair a floaty button down with my favourite tan leather loafers or some brogues from time to time.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I adore Primark. I love that it’s a one-stop shop for all my wardrobe needs and I’ve never had trouble with the quality or fit of their clothes. Though I think investing in some decent trainers is a must, as I run fairly regularly. Skechers have never failed me.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I’m keeping an eye out for a nice pair of sleek black riding boots. I just think there’s something so elegant about them.

Boots or Shoes?

This is like asking me to choose between chocolate and fruit-based desserts. I’m indecisive and love my boots as well as shoes, so I’ll have to say both!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

For Pinning Later

Blog: https://thenellybean.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/janelle_thenellybean/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thenellybean

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/j_thenellybean/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thenellybean/

Book link on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08BZQVF4C

Thanks for chatting with me today Janelle. Your “Boots Or Shoes?” answer was spot on. It is difficult to pick, and if the choice had been chocolate or fruit based dessert, then I would also have said , “ A bit of both, please”. Dare I say, what about cake??? ! Thank you also Janelle for the copy of your book. I enjoyed it immensely.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Janelle Soong.

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AN Interview With Marlene Watson-Tara

Continuing on my healthy living theme this month, this week I’m chatting to Marlene Watson-Tara – author of “Go Vegan”, co-founder of the “Human Ecology Project”, Health councillor, teacher and expert in the field of plant-based nutrition. So, it is with great excitement that I welcome Marlene onto my blog….hi Marlene!

Hi! I’m Marlene, a long-time vegan, activist, lover of animals, nature and life and passionate about human ecology. As an eternal optimist, increasing the number of people worldwide to switch to a wholefood plant-based diet and vegan life is my mission. Together with my husband Bill Tara, we have created The Human Ecology Project. 

As a high profiled and dedicated health counsellor and teacher with over 40 years’ experience in the health industry, my dietary advice draws from the fields of Macrobiotic Nutrition, my studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine and my certification in Plant- Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.

My clients range from the movies and arts to members of royal families. In the last 10 years I have been teaching chefs the art and skill of wholefood plant-based cooking and nutrition. As a regular columnist for many health magazines and websites I share my knowledge on living healthily. My vast experience informs a body of knowledge that I eagerly share with the world.

As the international author of Macrobiotics for all Seasons and my latest book Go Vegan  I share information that is simple, direct and effective, along with delicious recipes and medicinal teas. I teach alongside my husband Bill Tara. We have graduates from our “Macrobiotic Vegan Health Coach Programme” in 27 countries. I’m a driving force for health and fitness to all who cross her path. Our “Ultimate Health Experience” workshops have been offered in Europe, America, and Australia

My favourite saying – “If you don’t look after your body, then where are you going to live?”

Being a long time vegan, what inspired you to embrace the vegan lifestyle?

On school holidays my family would go to the countryside and it always seemed such a sad time when all the lambs were taken from the fields and loaded onto trucks.  As I grew into my teens, I had health issues with skin, digestion and menstrual pain. As I wouldn’t eat meat, I ate mostly dairy.  When I changed my diet to completely plant-based all these health issues disappeared.  When you connect the dots with diet and the development of disease, there is no turning back. When you look behind the curtain to the scale of what happens globally to our animal kingdom you cannot pretend to not know what is there. 


As you are an author of “Macrobiotic For All Seasons” and “Go Vegan”, surely you must have a favourite tried and tested recipe?  Do you prefer cooking “main meals”, desserts or are you a baker?

I find it exciting to create new recipes and train chefs and home cooks utilizing my seasonal menus and cooking skills, using the five tastes. My favourite creations are soups, I live and love them daily. From my delicious creamy decadence soups to the bean comforting cozy stews, soup is a daily staple in our home.

Food historians tell us the history of soup is probably as old as the history of cooking. The act of combining various ingredients in a pot to create a nutritious, filling, simple to make meal was inevitable. Healthy and healing soups are part of the cooking traditions in every country.

I always try and prepare my soup from fresh, organic, in season, and ideally local ingredients. Whether your ingredients are coming freshly grown from your own garden or you’ve bought them directly from the farmers’ market, making the connection between the food you eat, and your local environment is important. The food we eat is part of our cultural identity. Eating local foods helps produce a more resilient and sustainable future, both for yourself and for future generations.

Recently in my local supermarket there has been a promotional “push” towards plant-based meals. As you are an expert in the field of plant-based nutrition, what do you feel are the main benefits to follow a vegan/plant-based diet?

Thankfully, the popularity of plant-based diets has grown, which makes this an easier era than ever to start. Can I Get Enough Nutrients on a Plant-Based Diet? This is always the number one question that I am asked. Yes, and it’s easier than you’d think to consume these essential nutrients. You just need to know where to get them. For example, Omega-3 fatty acids often come from animal-based sources like fish. However, you can also get an ample supply from hemp seeds, flax, chia, and walnuts. It’s merely about understanding the alternative ways to get the nutrition you need.

Plant-based/vegan diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline. Plus, transitioning to a more plant-based diet is an excellent choice for the planet and will end the death and suffering of our animal kingdom. Two billion animals are slaughtered daily for food. There is no need, we receive all the nutrients we require from plants. At the end of the day, the largest and strongest animals in the world are vegan, giraffes, elephants etc., they get their nutrients from the same source we as vegans do… from the plants.

Having received a copy of “Go Vegan”, I was impressed by the range of recipes – the ingredients were not too daunting or difficult to obtain; the cooking instructions were easy to follow; and the glossary was a godsend especially when I came across an ingredient I had never heard of. Was it difficult to put together suitable recipes that lived up to your ethos?  

Eating from my ethos is simple and doable for everyone. 95% of what constitutes my approach is obtainable from most supermarkets. Grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. Foods like miso, tofu, and even some dried sea vegetables are now available in supermarkets. This makes my heart sing to see this growth year on year. One or two of the condiments I use are available from natural food stores or online. My teaching of plant-based/vegan nutrition is based on my teachings of Macrobiotics, a wonderful philosophy that teaches us that everything is connected, animal, plant, human, environment.  When I create and cook all of these considerations are always there. 


As you are currently based in the UK, is “Go Vegan” available to purchase worldwide? 

Yes, Go Vegan is available world-wide on amazon. U.K. and US 

You currently teach alongside your husband, Bill Tara, your MACROVegan Health Coach Programme.  Sounds intriguing. In a nutshell, what does that involve? 

We now have students who have travelled from 27 countries to study and graduate as a MACROVegan Health Coach. We see this as switching on lighthouses around the world. We now have students studying with us online which is fantastic. Our students leave as proficient and amazing cooks as well as wonderful health coaches. It makes our heart sing as more and more graduate and teach this work.

MACROVegan Health Coach Course

The dramatic rise in degenerative disease attributed to diet and lifestyle has created a demand for solutions to disease prevention and personal health maintenance. What is called for is a new generation of men and women who are capable of offering practical advice on how to live a healthy life in modern society. 

During the two weeks of study you will have the opportunity to learn the techniques of effective Health Coaching and experience the power of healthy living. You will leave prepared to be a more effective promoter of natural health care and set up practice as a Professional Macrobiotic Health Coach.    

The Macrobiotic Vegan Health Coach curriculum has been designed by Bill Tara, co-founder of the Kushi Institute, creator of the International Macrobiotic Institute (Kiental, Switzerland) curriculum and designer of the American and European Kushi Institute Teacher Certification Programmes along with his wife Marlene Watson-Tara who is certified in Plant Based Nutrition. 

This is a rare opportunity to study with teachers who are expert consultants and draw on decades of practical experience. Macrobiotic philosophy serves as the foundation of these studies and provides the link between the disciplines and life skills we will explore together.  This course also offers additional tools to enhance professional or Para-professional skills in both the orthodox or complimentary health and healing arts.

The Modules

Health, Healing and Human Ecology

Health and Emotion / East and West

Traditions of Nutrition

Wholefoods Plant Based Cooking & Home Remedies

Health Assessment

Principles and Practice of Health Coaching

When you are not working, what activities do you enjoy, to relax and unwind? 

I adore growing my own vegetables, and love being in nature. I am an avid and longtime yogi, (my daily practice keeps me in check) and miss teaching yoga, one day, I will have my own studio again. I adore cycling with Bill and of course, reading and writing, and I am currently working on my next book.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I live in yoga gear… always cycling, doing yoga, or working at my desk here so casual and comfort works for me. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?  

Yes, I love https://bambooclothing.co.uk

I always purchase clothing using cotton, hemp, linen, etc., More and more companies offer these wonderful alternatives for vegan and ethical clothing. I love Matt & Nat for more dress shoes and bags and Wills London for my backpack and casual shoes and have boots from both of them. 

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new Ciao Bella – I adore feminine frilly dresses on the search. My next pair of yoga toe sandals from Supplefeet are on the list. They are fantastic, I have worn them for years and they keep your fee in great shape. 

Boots or Shoes? 

I love my chunky rubber sole sneakers, they look great with jeans, yoga gear, shorts and casual dresses. They are my first choice daily for comfort.

My Chelsea boots are my second choice…they are so versatile and can be worn in all seasons.

For pinning later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter/ instagram etc so that readers can find out more about you and Go Vegan.

Website, Instagram, facebook, you tube, linked In, twitter, 

www.macrovegan.org

https://www.instagram.com/macroveganinternational/

https://facebook.com/marlenewatsontaragovegan/

https://www.youtube.com/user/Molly19571/videos?view=0&sort=p&flow=grid&disable_polymer=true

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/

Thanks Marlene for an interesting chat and you have given me and my readers “food for thought”.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Marlene Watson-Tara

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