Fresh Up & Look Forward
Zingy and limey with not a tinch of rum in sight
I’ve started this blog entry around five times. Let’s finally settle and call this the sixth and final version (more for my sanity rather than yours). In the madness of December, a whole array of things ‘got in my way’ that prevented me from finishing it and moreover, I, and only I allowed the slip I promise wouldn’t happen, to happen. How familiar. The blog’s content has gone through so many incarnations - pre-Christmas it was on the ascent, it was festive, party filled and alcohol soaked but now in the cold stark reality of January I’m on the bandwagon awash with clean, fresh, zing and hope. If you are re-toxing like there’s no tomorrow, please, enjoy, I will join you again on that front in February. But in the meantime and to kick off on this cold January day, HIYOS is back with a committed vengeance to the weekly blog insertions. And, in keeping with the spirit of positivity and my 2018 theme of ‘looking forward,’ let’s not worry ourselves with what or what hasn’t gone prior and instead look with anticipation to the wondrous pathways in front of us that will be carved out by you and I. We now sit on the other side of the winter solstice and so henceforth with longer days (albeit by minutes) we look as time passes to ever more light and energy.
Un-decorate and re-fresh
Christmas decorations! So wonderful, so festive, so warming and cosy, so everything you WANT in the lead up to Christmas. The minute January gets here it’s more of a case of get the hell out of my sight and my house! It’s one of the more psychotic home decor relationships because you spend so much time waiting excitedly to put them up along with all the twinkly lights and then once the main event is done, you can’t wait to have the home space back and have a good hoover. Your house looks instantly bigger because you’ve seasonally packed so much into it and now when it’s all out and put away you feel reinvigorated with the apparent extra room and shelves you can actually see. Although guiltily, I have left up some twinkly lights that looked way too nice to take down and because they’re so tiny shouldn’t gather too much dust over the year. Roll on the spring clean!
totally 'decoration-less' - breathe deep and inhale those clean, uncluttered surfaces
Avoid of the week/month - SALES
When I hear the word ‘sale,’ I immediately conjure up a mental picture of the shop floor of a dour, suburban Next branch with very average clothes all over it, gathering hair and dust clumps. Also in this mental orbit, the clothes that have managed to stay on the hangers after vigorous rummaging have inherited a flimsy ‘reduced’ card screaming that the item is 2 quid cheaper than it was when you were buying Christmas presents- wa-hey! Of course, most of the clothes are too shiny, short or small to contemplate you pulling them off at all but still, in the far reaches of your mind, delirious from the blue LED’s on the static shop floor, you envisage a hot balmy day on a beach with said top/sarong/backless vest and ker-ching, you’re at the till slightly wondering why you’re there. Then said garment goes complete with flimsy tag into the wardrobe, gets forgotten and gets packed off to the charity shop when you have finally had enough of of ‘having nothing to wear.’ This repeated mental flashback of mine is nothing personal against Next it’s just that when I was growing up everyone used to harp on about Next having an ‘amaaazing sale.’ But their stuff was totally rubbish in the first instance so despite trying I couldn’t ever seem to figure it out. It’s more about a power play between the retailer hiking up the prices on the label to then drastically ‘slash’ them and make you feel like you are winning because you’re getting a ‘bargain.’ Mostly, you’re not. Do yourself a favour and wait for the much fresher (and tidier) Spring collections appearing not on the shop floor and of course, not from Next.
AVOID, AVOID, AVOID
Restoration place of the week
If your sofa’s not quite cutting it and you have a few pounds lying around your pocket and belly (the first unlikely the second very likely, in January). Not so much to lose weight but to totally recalibrate, check out the amazing restorative powers of the very famous Vivamayr now in its second major incarnation at Altaussee in Austria. Set within the mineral rich waters this place is famous for its salt mines and the programme they offer is one of detoxification developed over 100 years ago. After a stint here you are guaranteed weight loss, a good cleanse and a more robust immune system. If Austria is a schlep too far, they’ve handily installed the first ever location outside of Austria on London’s Harley Street. If you’re stressed or enduring ‘burn out’ after the excesses of 2017, look forward to the healing hands and therapies of the experts very close to you indeed. vivamayr.com
JANUARY SHAKE UP HERE? YES PLEASE!
Look after the skin you’re in
What’s the largest organ in the body? Wrong! It’s the skin. I bet many of you said the heart or the lungs? So with that knowledge, this year think about what you’re putting on your skin. I think one of the best names I’ve ever come across for a cleanser is Clinique’s ‘Take the Day Off.’ It’s so appropriate and I sometimes utter it out loud ‘I AM TAKING MY DAY OFF!’ as my cleansing oil melts away all the dirt, emotion and stress under the hot cloth. I’m not a Clinique fan but I love their holistic approach to this product name. It’s best to choose natural where you can to stop the chemicals in creams and lotions building up on your skin causing allergies and sensitivity. Two of the most common nasties to avoid are sodium laureth sulphate (a detergent) and parabens (preservatives) so check your label before you buy and also look out for certifications of naturalness such as the soil association logos. Two good brands recommended to me is Bamford & elemental herbology. bamford.co.uk/ elementalherbology.com
You may need professionals to look this dewy but you can start with natural skin products
EAT - cleansing THAI broth
Hot and sour soup is one of my favourite soups (or indeed any Thai or Vietnamese broth); the rich aromas of lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, chilli and garlic set off so major mouth watering. A complete and utter palate and nasal cleanser right there in a bowl. I’ve resolved to make a huge pot of the limey, spicy stock and then dip into it during the week. It’s so easy to add in some protein and veg to make it into a lunch or a light dinner that is healthy and low fat. I made 5L of the stuff yesterday and this is how I made it - try this recipe (for ease the below makes 2L - for larger quantities just use more ingredients). Delicious.
2L of chicken or turkey or veg stock (I used the Christmas Turkey left over stock). If you don’t have the time or inclination to make fresh stock then two bought chicken or veg stock will easily suffice.
2 sticks of lemongrass
8 Kaffir lime leaves
2 cloves garlic
fresh chilli (I used half a scotch bonnet without the seeds but easier to add less and then spice up once you’ve tasted).
*Juice of two limes
*1tbs fish sauce
*2tbs soy or tamarin
*2tbs brown sugar
*you can adjust the amount depending on your preferred taste
Cooked shredded chicken or fresh cooked prawns
Vermicelli noodles pre-soaked in boiling water to soften (optional) Fresh coriander, fresh chilli and finely sliced red onion to garnish
Combine the stock and the lemon grass (chop it as fine as you can or use an electric chopper with a blade) and leave to boil for 5 minutes and then turn it down to a low simmer. Add the garlic and chilli and simmer for another 10 mins to allow all of the flavours to infuse.
Add your lime juice, fish sauce, soy and sugar (best to do this gradually so that you can get the balance of flavour that suits you). Leave to a low simmer for around 10 more minutes.
Add your chicken or prawns and allow to warm up in the soup for around 5 minutes and also add your noodles if you’re having them. If you don’t fancy any of the above fill the bowl with loads of veggies!
Pour the broth into a bowl, sprinkle with lots of fresh coriander, sliced red onion, fresh chilli and crushed up roasted peanuts if the whim takes you!
A waist and a crowd pleaser
I might see you in less than a week if I can keep my zing together! X