Put soup on the menu this winter


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If someone convince you that one little pill taken three times a day throughout the ‘darker’ months would prevent you from falling prey to colds or flu would you take it? Of course you would. A really bad cold or, even worse the ‘flu’ is guaranteed to make you feel totally miserable, be forced to take time off work and see friends and family giving you a very wide berth while you suffer!

Studies continue to show that a deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals reduce our immune response and render us more prone to catching something but as cold and ‘flu’ viruses that sweep the globe each year are rarely the same as the previous year or the year before, there is unlikely to ever be one pill or vaccine that offers all-round protection so we are pretty much on our own on this one, I’m afraid!

However, there’s a lot we can do to up the ante and this is where soup can be our saviour!

Soup is so much more than just a warm and comforting bowl of deliciousness – a good soup is like a medicinal tonic, offering a whole host of natural, anti-viral goodies rich in immune-boosting micronutrients like folic acid, vitamins A, B6, C and E plus zinc, copper, iron and selenium. Not any old soup will do, however. It’s all about the ingredients and perhaps more importantly, the cooking method – the secret is in the simmering.

A great soup base makes for a great soup and a slow sauté over a very low heat until the vegetables used are soft (onions, leeks, garlic, celery, carrots and other roots) not only forms the basis of a really tasty soup but also helps the vegetables retain their disease-fighting nutrients. The addition of herbs and spices at this stage and another spell of slow simmering adds yet more immune-boosters. Thereafter, it’s simply a matter of slinging in all the other ingredients according to the cooking times required (e.g. beans, lentils, rice and other grains first, meat, poultry and game next and leafy greens and seafood last) until you have a pot of goodness you can’t wait to get your spoon into! The same goes for broths that involve meat, poultry or fish bones – keep it low and keep it slow for maximum protection!

Top foods with anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties to include in your soups:

  • the onion family (red and white onions, leeks, shallots, garlic, spring onions, chives)
  • roots (turnip, carrot, parsnip, celeriac, sweet potato, beets)
  • mushrooms (whatever is in season but particularly shitake)
  • greens (everything from lettuce to spinach – the darker green the better!)
  • the citrus family (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit)
  • herbs and spices (everything from A to Z but particularly ginger and turmeric)
  • bones (meat, poultry, game and fish)
  • probiotics (yoghurt, kefir, buttermilk, fermented soya products)

For some excellent recipes take a look at Fiona Kirk’s website and be totally inspired and super-healthy this winter.

Beauty Icons Over 40


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So often, younger stars such as Rihanna and Emma Watson are held up as examples of great beauty, and while there’s absolutely no doubt that these girls are blessed in the face department, it is difficult for those amongst us who are over 40 to relate to them. Unless you’re lucky enough to have seriously good genes, there’s a decent chance that your face will have started to soften a little and some of the early signs of ageing are starting to creep in. Anti-aging products can help, but we thought we’d share with you our favourite beauty icons over 40; women who are ageing beautifully and with oh-so-much grace…

Dame Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren

Ever since those shots of Dame Helen rocking her bright red bikini, there’s been no doubt that this lady has embraced the ageing process and made it her bitch. She wears her hair soft around her face to highlight her incredible features and knows exactly how to dress to accentuate all of her assets! We think Dame Helen rocks and we hope to look half as good as her by the time we’re 70 (yes, really, she’s actually 70!)

Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci is an unfathomable FIFTY ONE years of age and shows barely any signs of getting older. Still considered one of the sexiest women in film, Monica proves that age really is nothing but a number whilst staying sultry and seductive as ever.

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams

Vanessa Williams seems to have been on our tellies for ages, with roles in shows such as Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives, and there’s a good reason for that – the star is now 52 years old and has been on our screens for over 30 years with her acting and singing careers! Having said that, she’s barely aged a day in that time and her daughter Melanie knows why, saying “My [Mum] has such a natural approach to beauty. Sure, she’s game for a glam session when it’s appropriate but within our family, we’ve always been taught that less is more.”

Sofia Vergara

Sofia Vergara

Best known for playing Jay Pritchett’s young, glamorous wife ‘Gloria’ in Modern Family, Sofia Vergara is actually now 43 years old herself! The Colombian beauty doesn’t eat red meat and has never smoked, both of which have probably contributed greatly to her lack of aging – she also says that Sofia Loren is her beauty icon and she’d never leave the house without make up!


Ming Na

Ming-Na, best known for her role in ER and being the voice of Disney’s Mulan, is perhaps the most remarkable of all the ladies we’ve listed here. The Macau-born Chinese actress looks barely a day over 21, but is actually FIFTY ONE! Her make-up at events is always neutral and beautifully subtle, so we know she’s not hiding a whole load of wrinkles anywhere, so we can only assume that excellent genes and an amazing beauty routine have kept her looking so fresh!

Be hangover free this festive season


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Halloween is over, the fireworks have fizzled out and with the adverts now playing during every commercial break, Christmas is well and truly on the way.

As well as presents and cards, stockings and turkeys, it’s also a time for parties to start and those dreaded hangovers to kick in.

What is a hangover?
Although the symptoms of hangovers such as headaches, nausea and tiredness are well known, the causes are not. In the past, dehydration was thought to be the main cause of alcohol hangover symptoms. Scientists now also believe that alcohol withdrawal and chemicals formed in the body when our liver breaks down alcohol contribute to those unpleasant symptoms.

Can a hangover be prevented?
As the saying goes prevention is better than the cure so here are a few simple changes you could make to try and reduce the hangover pain. Of course, it is important to bear in mind that there is no better way to avoid a hangover than not drinking alcohol…!

Professor Tom Sanders, Professor emeritus of Nutrition and Dietetics, King’s College London and advisor to the Natural Hydration Council:

“Excess alcohol intake causes dehydration, which can result in headaches the next day. Headaches are also caused by acute increases of blood pressure following the withdrawal of alcohol. Drinking plenty of water is the best remedy and it is sensible to have a glass of water by your bed when you go to sleep after drinking. Paracetamol can also help if you wake up with a headache.

“A glass of orange juice in the morning can pick up blood sugar levels, which are often low after excess alcohol. Despite what people think, you should avoid eating greasy foods such as fry ups in the morning as these can make you feel worse. Instead, opt for carbohydrate rich foods such as breakfast cereals or toast and marmalade and continue to drink water throughout the day.

“The darker the alcohol, the more likely it is to cause a hangover. This is because of the phenolic antioxidant compounds found in darker alcoholic liquids, which are thought to cause dilation of blood vessels in the brain. Swapping red wine for white and brandy for vodka can help reduce hangover symptoms.”

Top hydration tips from the Natural Hydration Council for the festive season:

  • Don’t drink alcohol when you feel thirsty! Quench your thirst with a refreshing glass of water.
  • If you’re hosting a party provide plenty of healthy and interesting soft drink options for guests including bottles of sparkling mineral or spring water and jugs of still water.
  • To encourage your guests to drink water include ice cubes with festive berries frozen inside.
  • Avoid drinking from large wine glasses, as this may lead you to underestimate how much alcohol you have consumed.
  • Our hydration status is constantly fluctuating. Drinking alcohol can lead to dehydration, so you should try to alternate any alcoholic drinks with a glass of water.
  • Following a night of indulgence, keep a bottle or glass of water by your bedside to drink whenever you feel thirsty.

So, we aren’t saying don’t have fun when you party this Christmas, but if do drink try to stay safe and healthy and avoid that dreaded hangover the next day.

This Season’s Hottest Hair Dye Trends


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Natural and neutral are well and truly OUT this season when it comes to hair and there are a whole load of new and interestingly-named trends on the scene. If you don’t know your bronde from your balayage, then you definitely need our quick guide to this season’s hottest hair dye trends:


Ombre hair is a gradual change of colour, often going from dark to light, providing a not-so-subtle two-tone effect but without the definite line of dip-dying. A favourite of everyone from Beyonce to Blake Lively, ombre is a great way to even-out hair if you’re growing out bleach or just for adding a bit of variety to your hair without going too out-there.



Balayage is a technical method of adding highlights or colour to the hair which is done totally freehand without the use of foils or a cap. It’s often done my splaying the hair on a flat surface and gently sweeping colour through with a brush and is said to give a similar look to the sunkissed hair on a child who’s spend a lot of time playing in the sun!

Dip Dye


Dip-dying is brilliant if you want to add a striking touch of colour to your hair without committing to a full head of garishness! Often combined with super-light platinum blonde or a contasting darker colour, dip dying is a precise process and needs to be done by someone with a very steady hand to achieve a proper straight line.



Not completely brown and not completely blonde, ‘Bronde’ is a portmanteau of the two and is pretty self-explanatory! Bronde hair is absolutely massive at the moment and is the perfect compromise if you want to be somewhere exactly between the two colours, allowing you to achieve a natural look whilst remaining glam and totally on-trend.



Last season was all about the super-bright rainbow colours but it’s been toned down for autumn with ‘opal’ colours, pastel shades which wouldn’t look out of place on an octogenarian with a rinse! You’ll need to be brave and bold to wear opal colours and they take an awful lot of maintenance, but if done right they can look absolutely stunning.

Care for all of these styles with Dermalogica Shine Therapy Shampoo and Dermalogica Silk Finish Conditioner

Zumba Anyone?


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Club Dance Holidays

Long gone are the days when exercise was considered to be boring and mundane and done in oversized t-shirts and jogging bottoms.

Since Zumba hit gyms, village halls and studios, it has become a fitness phenomenon that has captured the heart of millions. The brilliant thing is, it isn’t only tremendously effective but it is really, really good fun and totally inclusive. Whether you are a teenager, new mum or pensioner, there is a Zumba workout that is right for you.

Zumba combines many different dances styles including hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue and mambo whilst also incorporating squats and lunges. In one hour a female weighing between 135lbs & 155lbs can expect to burn off approximately 400 calories and really start to get in shape. As you can also have fun, go along with your friends and start to see a whole new level in your fitness, it is easy to see why over 15 million people take weekly Zumba classes in over 200,000 places across 180 countries.

We asked a few people why the are hooked on Zumba:

“I go to Zumba with my mum and sister every week and as well as getting a great workout we have fun together and catch up”.

“Zumba doesn’t even feel like exercise as you are so busy having fun and trying to work out where your feet go next”.

“I will be 56 next month and I LOVE Zumba”.


Thanks to Club Dance Holiday you can now go on a holiday with a twist and combine travel with Zumba – genius.

Hosted by the one and only George Martini, a fully accredited Zumba instructor, with a cult following, holiday makers will be able to get fit, lose weight and tone up whilst having the time of their lives practicing this addictive Latin Dance and aerobic workout.

To make sure there are options for everyone, there’s a weekender in Bournemouth and a week in Calpe, Spain.

Zumba in Bournemouth (from only £159.00pp) is open to all fitness levels and as it is on home soil it is the perfect way to get started if you are a newbie. You’ll enjoy a high-energy daily schedule of Zumba® lessons with some of the UK’s best teachers, evening entertainment and time to enjoy the local sights and dance the night away in a social group of like-minded people – a weekend by the sea with a difference! Staying half board in the comfort of the 3*Hotel Piccadilly, situated in the exclusive East Cliff area of Bournemouth and with an unrivalled dance floor space, you will enjoy at least six hours of high energy Zumba® classes, evening entertainment and the opportunity to explore the delights of Bournemouth.

If you fancy a little sunshine with your Zumba why not head to in Calpe, Spain? Spend a revitalising week immersed in a full programme of fitness and well-being including Zumba® in the Spanish sunshine. You’ll enjoy a high-energy daily schedule of classes with George Martini and friends, including Zumba®, Aqua Zumba and more. It doesn’t end there, you’ll also get time to enjoy the local beaches, sample the cuisine and dance the night away in a social group of like-minded people with a lot of fun! George’s enthusiasm, charisma, fun and inclusive teaching method will ensure that you experience a memorable week with as much Zumba as you can handle as well as some great nights out. Your holiday, including all dance and fitness classes, takes place in the 4* Hotel AR Diamante Beach, situated on Levante Beach and with three swimming pools, fitness centre, spa and a choice of restaurants and bars.

So whether you fancy a short UK break or a really great Zumba fitness fiesta in Spain there’s something for everyone and all you need to decide on are your dancing shoes.


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