Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Life from the padded cell of BBC Somerset

So, I spent the vast majority of yesterday stuck in a cell at the BBC.  Doing a shedload of publicity for my new book, Kind Regards – the Lost Art of Letter Writing (Michael O’Mara Press). This is not a plug, btw, as I don't get any royalties for the book, sadly I don't make any more money whether anyone buys it or not.  :-) On the other hand, if you buy my Kindle books, I do - so please, be my guest.  

Anyhow, I’d fecklessly agreed to doing any radio or TV interviews that came along, in the sure and certain knowledge that nobody whatsoever would be remotely interested.  Wrong.  Seven interviews?  In one day?  Ruddy hell.
So I pitched up at BBC Somerset in Taunton clutching a copy of the book and some hastily scribbled notes and prayed they wouldn't ask anything too demanding. Cos the night before had been pretty late and I'd had about two hours' sleep.

I like Radio Somerset.  A lot.  They’re young and fun and make you feel right at home.  So I camped up in their kitchen for a while and ferreted around the fridge to see if there was anything worth eating (nope) and read Saturday’s papers (yawn) and nearly forgot what I was there for.  Then someone popped up and took me down to my studio and got me set up in. 

Now then. It sounds glamorous, right, 'doing press'?  Wrong.  The studio is tiny – a minuscule cell of a room.  You couldn't even stretch your arms out wide – if, indeed, you wanted to. No window. No air. Just a desk, a shed-load of equipment and monitors and stuff – and you.  And then they stick headphones on your head and poke a mike towards your mouth and …leave you.  It’s surreal.  You just sit there, twiddling your thumbs, staring into space, waiting for the next disembodied voice to come through on the headphones.

Huh?  I carried on tapping into my phone.
‘Liz?  Are you there?’
Oh, come on Liz, whoever you are. 
Then I realized.  I was Liz. Liz was me. Why the hell did I use a pseudonym, for pity’s sake? 

And we were off.  I spoke to people the length and breadth of the country – from Norfolk to Bristol, from Sussex to Lancashire, from Wales to Wiltshire.  It could have been a bit boring, a bit samey, but no.  Each presenter was very different and so I obligingly morphed myself into a different person each time (just to keep it interesting).  So, one interview I was all bantering and blunt, the next I was grave and quasi historical, the next sort of sweet and simpering.  I felt a serious case of multiple personality disorder coming on. 
And somewhere in the middle or thereabouts, somewhere around number four or five, if I recall, I had a really surreal encounter.

There was the telltale crackle that meant someone was on the line and so I sort of woke up a bit, ready for the off.  And there was this long sigh through my headphones.
‘Hello?’ I said.
‘Er, hello?’
‘Er, this is…Liz,’ I said, in a very unconvincing manner.
‘Oh God…’
‘What?  You alright?’
‘I am so so bloody tired.’
‘I know the feeling.’
Long pause.  This was the oddest start to an interview ever.  Was I supposed to interview her?  
‘Umm, how about a coffee?’  Trying to make conversation. 
‘Yeah. Thanks. Thanks a bloody lot.’

Heck, was she ever going to start talking sense?  Then I realized, slowly, that she couldn’t hear a word I was saying.  Was just some woman somewhere, some poor sap in another box in some other radio station maybe, who was just talking out loud to herself. 

Anyhow.  It was all rather good fun really.  But I don’t think I’m cut out for radio.  Reasons being…
1.       I have too much hair.
2.       I forget it’s the BBC and swear.  Pissed off?  Who knew that pissed off was considered ‘foul language’? 
3.       I fling my arms around too much.  Ouch.
4.       I talk too fast.  But, on the other hand, I’m good value – you get a helluva lot of words out of me in ten minutes. Twenty minutes and you’ve got a small book.
5.       I’m too intolerant.  Shouldn’t try to hurry up the presenter when he umms and aaahs.
6.       I can’t help falling into the same intonation as the person to whom I’m talking.  Honestly, I’m not taking the piss (there we go again) but it could be misinterpreted.  To Wales in particular – I’m sorry.  

Monday, 22 October 2012

Free quasi crisps up for grabs...

As you know, I get sent stuff from time to time… with the hope I’ll review it on the blog or in print.  The stuff is often weird, generally wildly random and, to be honest, I don’t inflict most of it on you. 
James has become horribly blasé – he pokes his nose in the parcels and then rolls his eyes.  ‘Jesus. How old do they think I am?’  Okay, so as I pulled out the teeny weeny T-shirt and the yoyo I could see his point.  It takes a lot to impress him these days…unless it’s food. 

And in the last couple of weeks we have been sort of inundated (in a non watery way) with crisp type things.  I say that advisedly because they’re not technically crisps.  First up was Special K’s Cracker Crisps.  Several box loads. I’m not entirely sure why we were given such largesse– and, who knows, more may be on their way.  One parcel had been dispatched to ‘Exmoorjane Blogger, Somerset’ and still got here which was pretty good going. 

‘Say hello to new Special K Cracker Crisps,’ sang the press release. ‘A new savoury snack that, at 95 calories and three percent fat for a serving of 21 crisps, you can enjoy without the worry.’
Which gave me pause. 

First up I wondered who was the poor sod who had to write that press release?  And then I thought…95 kilocalories?  For 21 quasi crisps? That doesn’t sound very many – quasi crisp-wise.  And that sounds like quite a lot - calorie-wise.  How many are there in a normal packet?  So I Googled and found out that, actually, they are pretty low-calorie, well in comparison to other crisps and crisp type things.  Walkers Cheese and Onion crack in at 184 kcals, Wotsits are a hefty 212 kcals and McCoys Flame-grilled are a whopping 252 kcals (with 14.6 % fat). Incidentally they also apparently contain 0% alcohol.  Dontcha love labeling? 

By this point I’d gotten (sorry, I know it’s American now but I like it) a bit obsessed (as I tend to) and started wondering if they really were the lowest calorie crisp type thingies (not that they were claiming to be, but, y’know, you wonder, right)?   So I carried on Googling but "Page Not Found" came up and gave me the answer to ‘How often do pugs come into heat?’ instead.  Dontcha just love the Internet?  And, if you were wondering, the same amount as most other breeds apparently.  Providing the pug in question is a bitch.  Anyhow, eventually I discovered that Walkers Lites come in at 132 kcals.  But my all-time favourite – Quavers (the ones that sort of stick to your tongue and fizz) – are a paltry 87 kcals.  Go Quavers!  

Meanwhile, James was steadily working his way through three large boxes (yes - they also come in boxes ‘ideal for a night in’).  ‘These are yum,’ he said. 
‘Oh really?’
‘Yeah really.’
I’m not sure he’s part of their intended demographic.  Not sure he ever feels ‘racked by guilt’ by food or that he plans on slipping an individual bag ‘in his handbag’ as the press release suggests.  And I do wonder about this;  about whether it’s fostering healthy eating; associating food with guilt.  And how the hell do you turn crisps into diet food?  By packaging them like it, I suppose.  But hey, it’s your choice; it's down to you. We just test ‘em out… To be honest, they didn’t rock my boat but, like I say, James thought they were pretty good.  And, while I winced at the packaging, James didn’t even notice.

Meanwhile KETTLE® (they’re finickity about the way you write their name) Tortilla Chips don’t give a toss about calories, fat and guilt.  Their press release was all about the taste; it positively oozed and unctuosed (yeah, it’s great as a verb, huh?).  And at 466 kcals for the bag (we’re talking a big 160g bag by the way) they aren’t gonna be your best bet if you’re trying to lose weight (but then I don’t think any kind of crispy thing is really).  Great zingy packaging.  Four flavours, the usual suspects – Nacho Cheese, Cool Sour Cream, Sweet Chilli Salsa, Sea Salted.  Are they any different, any better than other tortilla chips?  A bit richer maybe…but I’m not entirely convinced that’s a good thing (I rather like a non-invasive tortilla chip myself).  James “loved them”.  Not sure Adrian even got a look-in. 

Anyhow.   There you go.  A rare product review from me.  If you wanna try the Kellogg’s Special K Cracker Crisps (what a mouthful!) for yourselves, Kellogg’s are offering three readers the chance to test all three flavours (the big(ish) ‘evening in’ boxes, not the diddy ‘slip ‘em in your handbag’ bags).  Just leave a comment and make sure I have some way of my getting touch with you if you wanna give ‘em a go.  If you want to try the others – you know the ones I mean (I can’t be arsed to do the trademark thingy again), they cost around £1.85 a bag from most supermarkets. 

Giveaway closes on Thursday morning so get in quick.

Lost weekends and the Hedgerows Heaped with May

Weird old weekend, spent mainly in the past.  As anyone who knows me on Facebook will have realized, I finally got a scanner and indulged in a totally over-the-top nostalgia fest.  Pictures spanning a century (no, I’m not quite that old – I found some of my mother’s old photo albums too). 
Living in a box, living in a cardboard box.
It was bittersweet, the way looking at the past often is.  I compounded it by reading through old diaries.  And then, just to cap it all, I decided to tackle my box files and weeded through a decade of accounts and cuttings and clippings and other detritus.   Dear god, I was another person entirely – earning a packet (THAT much?  SHIT!) and spending a packet (mainly, has to be said, on doing up the derelict money pit otherwise known as the Rectory).  I didn’t have time to think – one year I think I wrote six books (quite apart from doing a shedload of journalism and TV and radio).  Funny old world, huh? 
Shoulda spent more on hairdressing, huh?  
Anyhow, the passed is past and I had a big bonfire (of my vanities) and there you go. 
And then lovely Zoe and her lovely husband came over to visit and I was going to be all Nigella-ish and make them pukka tea with scones and wotnot but they came early so the poor sods ended up taking me out to lunch (at lovely Woods, of course) and then I spent a bit of time dragging Zoe round the estate agents in town and pointing out the delights of Dulverton in the hope she would decide it really was time to ship out and come on down to Exmoor. 

And then, the post came.  A thick parcel from Aurum Press.  Huh?  I opened it up and there were two fat hardbacks sitting inside.  The Hedgerows Heaped with May.  Huh?  The Telegraph Book of the Countryside, edited by Stephen Moss. Huh?

And then I remembered.  That piece I’d written for the Telegraph, years back, about Liz Jones being such an arsey cow when she moved to Exmoor.  22 August 2009, to be precise.  Time flies, huh?  Based on that blog post. 

Anyhow, it was being included in a compilation of ‘the best writing’ on the countryside from the Telegraph.  Well, well.  Even better they were asking me to invoice – for fifty quid.  Not quite a fifteen grand royalty cheque but hey…every little helps right? 

The book is quite nice actually.  It’s got contributions from people like Clive James, James May (hey, how come he gets his name in the title??), Max Hastings (The Hedgerows Heaped with Hastings?), Joanna Trollope (umm, better not) and Boris Johnson. And,  

Friday, 12 October 2012

Shyman saves the world...

Jakey (aka Si Jakeman, aka Shyman) is another great guy I met on Twitter.  Probably via Hen, if I recall.  We don’t chat a lot but we have the odd exchange on shamanism, on dreams, on the earth, on deep ecology, on the concept of the 100th monkey. J I love his open heart and mind, his enthusiasm, his huge desire for understanding, his respect for the world and everything in it, his total lack of ego.  I also share his frustration that people just don’t open their eyes and see what we’re doing to this beautiful world of ours. 
Anyhow, the other day it popped into my head that I’d ask him to do a guest post for the blog. And he said, sure, what do you want me to write about?  And I said, how about How to Save the World? And he said, Crikey, is that all?  And he laughed and said he’d go away (probably to his allotment) and think about it.  And this is what he said…


Sounds like something you would ask Flash Gordon, James Bond, Superman or Wonderwoman to 
help out with. Arctic melting, floods, Trees being cut down in the Amazon; Animals and Birds facing
extinction, overfishing and bees dying. You know the drill.
You’ve been preached to and teached to over the years. We’re all aware of the problems the world
faces. The trouble is, it all seems so separated from our everyday thoughts. We are all on an
increasing speeding treadmill trying to keep plates spinning as we juggle our busy lives.

There is so much information coming from different directions, the little voices in the wilderness are 
often drowned out by views from others with more power and greed-biased agendas.

We are in strange times at the moment. Economic and social collapse seem to be heading towards 
us like a huge tidal wave, which our politicians are obsessed with controlling, like King Canute (even 
though he was actually showing that even a King couldn't control nature.) - it always seems like we 
are on the verge of impending doom, a new fear factor. The trouble is, it makes us hide away our 

A few years ago, on a spring morning, I was pondering all this mess. In a split second of clarity I 
realised none of this really mattered. Just out of the blue, I noticed I was not outside but in and 
amongst nature. Bees buzzing, Birds singing, Trees about to burst back into leaf and clouds racing 
across the sky.
I just realised it was all Interconnected and I was part of it all too… not in a tree hugging or a
religious way…more of a smelling the coffee kind of way. As a child of the 70’s/80’s, a scout, 
a cross-country runner, I grew up outside. My dad always taught us names of Butterflies, Birds
and Trees; looking at the Stars etc. My grandad grew fruit and veg and my godfather’s family 
even owned a farm… It all just flew into place. As kids, my generation was always outside, 
the kids that stayed in were the strange ones. I started thinking about how could we expect 
the next generation to protect nature, if they didn’t know it?

While our politicians were banging on about Economics and Society…I was thinking that the 
environment was the keystone that held them together. I wanted to play my small part in 
changing attitudes towards it. As a frontline Firefighter for nearly 20 years, I’ve been one of 
the bods in the boat evacuating people from flooded houses; I’ve chased wildfires through the 
woods and picked up the pieces of storm damage. I’ve stared natural disasters in the eye. 
It all seems a bit personal. I wanted to do my little bit in slowing this, but how?

An idea of growing a bit of locally grown fruit and veg with family friends and neighbours was the
start, a way of getting everyone back outside, meeting the odd Bird, Bee, and Bug along the way
and reconnecting with nature. I even started growing a small amount of food at work on the 
fire station roof, and eventually became a green champion. Turning the odd light off, recycling, 
getting a cycle rack installed etc., etc. - all little actions slowly adding up to make a change. Even 
by putting recycling bins and a few signs in the right place has made a difference.

I’m now studying for an Environment Studies degree so I can get more informed. I’ve never 
preached to anyone, just tried to set a quiet example. It’s amazing how many people have come
on board in their own time…

It’s been about planting little seeds so people change without knowing.

People hate being told what to do, especially about how to save the world. But if everyone could
just be mindful that everything is Interconnected… things will change. Even if it’s not taking a 
plastic bag to carry bread and milk in, on the way home from work. If you think about it they’re 
already in containers.

Every little action counts: a marathon starts with one small step.

So… How do you save the world? Well I’m not sure… but I know there are heroes with 
thousands of different faces..

Thanks for listening…….laters.”

Huge thanks, Jakey! 
Check out Jakey’s website here – and then, well…it’s up to you. J
Also check out these sites he recommends…

Take a look at what Todmorden is doing...

Thursday, 11 October 2012

"At any one time there are only seven great dogs"

‘Have you got Game of Thrones on DVD?’ I asked Rachel.  
She shook her head. ‘Can’t you watch it on Sky?’
‘We haven’t got Sky.’ 
She shook her head again, this time in wonderment. ‘Everyone’s got Sky. You’ve got to have Sky.’ 
I shrugged.  ‘Nope.  No Sky. But I do need Game of Thrones.
‘Cos I feel the need for some deep fantasy and I can’t watch Lord of the Rings any more, cos it’s getting crazy – I can say all the lines along with the people.’
‘Even the Elvish?’
‘Especially the Elvish.’
‘Hmm, what about Rome?’
‘Seen it.’
‘Liked it?’  We exchanged a glance which said it all.  I mean, what is there about half-naked tough guys with swords that is not to like?

I perused the shelves and came up empty-handed.  Rachel lowered her voice. Even though the house was empty aside from us.  ‘You could always try R’s room.’  R is her daughter, the erstwhile Mistress of All Evil.  ‘She’d kill me,’ Rachel continued. ‘But she wouldn’t mind you looking.’  And that was probably true – the MoAE and I have always had an entente. But, alas, no.  Just Twilight.

And then, just as I was about to go, Rachel thrust a DVD at me and said. ‘Hey, have you seen this?’ 
Dean Spanley.
‘Never heard of it.’
‘It’s good. Weird but good.  Your kind of weird.’

And last night, I sat by the fire, with a candle burning on the other side, all alone in the house, and watched it.  And it was good.  Cos you know a film is probably going to be good when one of the first lines is ‘Only the closed mind is certain.’
And Young Fisk, the narrator, says: ‘I had supposed certainty to be a good thing – like money in the bank.’  But he comes to realize that there are indeed more things in heaven and earth…  And there are dogs. 

Anyhow, I won’t spoil it. If you haven’t seen it, it’s really rather lovely…even though it's absolutely nothing like Game of Thrones. :-)

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Back off, pushy sport parents

On the news this morning they were talking about how parents have been banned from children’s school football matches. And, you know what?  I’m not surprised.  When James used to play football (not at school but at the local club) I was often appalled, nay disgusted, at the behaviour of parents on the touchline.  These were children of…what?  Seven? Eight?  And parents were bawling and screaming; yelling at their own kids to be more aggressive; taunting other kids when they lost the ball or missed a goal; bawling out the ref for ‘lousy decisions.’  

It was revolting.  It wasn’t supporting; it was mean…like bear baiting. 

And it’s not just me being a wussy woman who doesn't understand sport - Adrian was horrified too. In fact, both of us were mightily relieved when James decided football wasn’t for him and he took himself off to play rugby instead.

Not saying, of course, that rugby parents are all saints but there is usually a bit more of a sense of ‘fair play’.  People still yell and jump around and get overexcited.  But generally you clap and nod (albeit with a pursed lip) when there’s an amazing run or an awesome tackle from the opposing side.

The other day at school I watched my boy taken down in a quite spectacular fashion (which will have hurt his pride, as he’s usually the one who does the taking down) and muttered ‘Oh bloody good tackle’.  
The woman walking past stopped and smiled. ‘That’s my son,’ she said proudly. 
‘And that’s mine, underneath him, eating mud,’ I said with a smile.  
‘Oh god, I’m sorry,’ she said.
‘Nah,’ I demurred. ‘That was one awesome tackle.’  
She smiled again. ‘Well, he’ll be pleased.  Last time he played your side, he broke his arm, so it’s always going to be a bit of a grudge match.’  
And we chatted a bit and watched the game, and applauded good work on both sides.

But then, as Adrian often says, I don’t *get* sport.  Sure I support my son’s side; sure I want them to win but nah, I don’t get the screaming and yelling. Apart from anything else, the boys simply can’t hear.  I went through a phase of trying to make an effort, to enter in the spirit of it.  Taking my hint from the people around me, I’d yell out, randomly, ‘Legs! LEGS!’ or ‘Heave!’ or ‘Ruck over!’  But James said, pityingly, after the match. ‘Mum, just stop it, huh?  We can’t hear you. We don’t need your advice. And, frankly, you look a bit nuts when you jump around.’
Fair enough. 

So really, parents.  Stop it already. Get a grip. Think of your children and put them before your pride.  I think the main problem is that parents (particularly the men) live vicariously through their children. Listening to Adrian talk, you’d think he had had an illustrious career as an All Black.  He verges on the obsessive when it comes to rugby, picking apart the team, each match, the opposition.  It’s great, to a point – it shows he’s interested, that he cares. But it can become too much and sometimes I see James' head go down. ‘Sometimes I just want to play, to enjoy playing,’ he says with a resigned sigh.

And that’s the bottom line, isn’t it?  Yes, sport is competitive but it’s also supposed to be fun, to be enjoyable. When parents push and yell and degrade, that’s not fun any more.  Is it?    

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


So I’m browsing through Facebook and see a plaintive cry from the lovely Fiona.

Nice brogues...
‘What's going on?’ she asked. ‘I usually throw the Boden catalogue straight into recycling but in today's there are at least 20 things am salivating over. Has Boden got better, or... have I 'gone Boden'?
And I thought, yeah, good point well made.  In fact, I said, 'Yeah me too. WTF?'  Cos I’ve been feeling exactly the same.  I even stuck a Boden picture on Pinterest the other day with a rather pathetic note saying, ‘I find myself craving a dress and coloured tights. Why?’

Since I don’t go shopping, I do actually cast an eye over the catalogues that find their way to my door. Though, it has to be said, the catalogue people are obviously cutting back.  I haven’t seen a Toast catalogue in a very long time, so they have clearly given me up as a lost cause. Or that weird Peruvian one.  And, thank heavens, the tacky silver jewelry people have sidled off too.  But good old Boden stays faithful, despite my not having bought anything since James got too big for cute t-shirt and camouflage shorts (so, yeah, we’re talking seven years or so).  And even then I used to wait for the sale.

Anyhow. Said catalogues (the game survivors or those who can’t be arsed to figure out who’s actually still ordering their stuff) go to the loo where they are perused in lieu of magazines (another cutback). And usually I play the game of ‘Okay so which thing on this page would you wear if you Absolutely Had To Pick One Thing’ (at this point, let me point out that I don’t get very nice catalogues in the main – we’re talking Cotton Traders and the ilk).  This has taken over from the old pastime of ‘which house would you buy?’ which I used to play when my pal passed on her old copies of Country Life. I would add that I don’t spend a lot of time on this…  Unlike the males in this house who spend…HOURS on the bog. Aside: why DO men do that? Are they all constipated?  Just wondering. J  

But Boden. Hmm. Yeah.  They’ve suddenly upped their game. A lot.  As Fiona put it rather well:  ‘Yes – the coats, the little sixties-style dresses, the tweedy A-line skirts, sweaters and tops…want it ALL! Oh – and the boots.’  And then she mused, ‘Perhaps this improvement has been gradual, and I’ve missed the interim stages? There are none of the hideous mumsie dresses in terrible prints, or the ‘fun’ skirts.’

Oh hell yes, the ‘fun skirts’.  I used to spot a fair few of those at the school gate, along with the ‘witty’ cardigans.  And let me now just offer a swift prayer to the god of bad parenting for the TOTAL BLISS of no longer having to do the school gate thing. 

And I used to think, ‘Jesus, if I ever EVER buy a fun skirt from Boden, just shoot me.’  But now?  Nice things actually.  Things that, if I had an income, I might actually buy.  Whether I’d wear them, of course, is another matter.  J

Fiona writes great books by the way – check her out here 

I would wear those!
By the way, Boden know nothing of this post and there has been no bribery involved whatsoever. In these days of sponsored blog posts and wotnot I felt this was worth mentioning.  

Monday, 8 October 2012

DIY detox

So. Since I’m no longer going on detox at Anamchara I figured I’d just do it myself at home.  Because, really, it’s not as if there’s any great mystique behind the process and, now I come to think of it, I’ve written two darn books on detoxing sooo…

I pondered a juice detox but then decided against it. Not because I don’t like juicing (cos I really do – as evidenced here) but because it’s bloody cold, for pity’s sake, and I don’t know about you but I’m feeling the need for some warmth.  And it’s also because, while juice is great for a short detox (up to three days), you really need some protein going on for a longer-term detox (I plan on doing three weeks or more but, fundamentally, this is really just a healthy eating plan, so you could keep on and on...and become positively squeaky clean.)

It’s become fashionable lately to ridicule detoxing – and yes, there is a lot of garbage spoken about it.  Remember those detox foot patches?  Say no more.

And yes, the liver (and the lungs, skin, kidneys, lymphatic and digestive system etc.) can detox by themselves quite merrily.  But then again, sometimes they can do with a helping hand. If you’ve been overdoing the booze, fat, sugar and so on – your body could probably do with a break.  And that’s really all a detox or cleanse is – just giving your body the space to get on with what it’s supposed to be doing. Nothing particularly weird or arcane...

So, what will I be doing?  Well, keeping up what I started at Ti Sana really.  So, no booze, no caffeine, no sugar (other than naturally occurring in fruit and veg).  A pretty solid, sensible vegan diet – predominantly vegetables, pulses, legumes, some grains, some fruit, nuts, seeds.  Some olive oil (if I had the dosh it would argan oil too but hey)…

A few anomalies. No grapefruit, which saddens me as I adore grapefruit. But it isn’t so hot on detox as it puts the brakes on some aspects of the liver detox process.  And no rhubarb or oranges as they are quite acid-forming. 

Keep everything organic as far as you can – you don’t want to be putting pesticides into your body, do you?  And I guess it goes without saying that you should be aiming for seasonal food cooked without dollops of saturated fat (so think raw, steaming, roasting, boiling – not deep-frying).  And no, no fast food or crisps. And yes, a Bloody Mary does count as alcohol rather than fruit.

Drink plenty of water. This is the major good habit I picked up at Ti Sana cos, although I know I should drink plenty of water, I’m really crap at remembering.  But your body really does love it when you hydrate it.  Instead of tea (my addiction) I’m drinking herbal teas (hey, Pukka now do a mint and licorice one, and it’s slightly sweeter and nicer than the Yogi tea one – but no inspiring messages).  No, it isn’t quite the same but my adrenals will thank me.

So. Anyone gonna join me?  I’ll kick you off with a couple of recipes from Ti Sana (I haven’t tried them yet so, if you do, let me know)

…and I might just chart my progress on Twitter with the hashtag #DIYdetox – you could too. J 

I’ll try to add some more bits and pieces of detox ‘perceived wisdom’ on the blog.  Of course, if you’re mega keen you could follow the plans in my books, The Detox Plan or The Detox Kit (though not sure that one’s still in print).
btw, The Detox Plan (in Kindle form) is only a couple of quid or dollars...I detoxed the price! :-) 

Recipes from Ti Sana

Chickpea soup with lemon and cinnamon
400grams cooked chickpeas
100grams white cabbage, finely sliced
50grams daikon, finely sliced
1 sundried tomato
1 litre vegetable broth
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 teaspoon chilli
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sea salt to taste
A little olive oil

Heat the oil in a saucepan and then add garlic and onion and sauté for a few minutes until soft. Add the spices, chickpeas, cabbage and daikon. Cover with the broth (or boiling water if you prefer) and bring to the boil. Boil for around ten minutes.  Add the parsley and lemon juice and serve. 

Black rice and carrots with lime
240grams black rice
33grams finely sliced carrots
2 tablespoons lime zest
60grams sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon sesame oil
Sea salt to taste
Boil the black rice for around 30 minutes.  Cook the carrots in a pan with a little salt and oil. Toss for 3-4 minutes then add the lime zest. Cook for around ten minutes.  Chop the sunflower seeds and add to the carrots.  Mix in the rice and mix together over a medium heat for a minute or two. 

Craving something sweet? 

Raw truffles
100grams cashews
100grams dates (or half dates, half apricots)
1 tablespoon dried coconut
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Sesame seeds (for decoration)
Take out the stones from the dates and then blend the lot in a high speed blender. Form the truffles into balls and roll in sesame seeds.  Put in fridge for around an hour. 

Friday, 5 October 2012

No more shit...

Life really does delight in biting you in the bum sometimes. So be careful. Don’t tempt fate. J

You know how the other day I was saying that you really should never ever ever share a bathroom when you’re detoxing?  Well.  I was due to head off to check out another detox in a few days’ time – this time not so far from home, in Somerset even. And it looked great.  A week of juice fasting – you know, just my game. Lots of yoga and Pilates and meditation. Yum.  Conveniently forgetting the twice-daily colonics bit.

And then, I get back and the PR gives me a call. It's kinda hard to concentrate cos Asbo is barking in my ear and wafting foul breath over me so I'm twisting in some kind of yogic contortion to get away from his sphere of influence.
But eventually I made out this:
‘Umm, we’ve been having feedback from journalists about this and, I should warn you…’ 
Er, yes? 
‘Well, you’ll have your own room of course…;
Er, yes?  Oh what?  WHAT? No! You know what’s coming, right?
‘But, see, you’ll be sharing a cottage.’
‘So, cutting to the chase, I’ll be sharing a bathroom with a stranger?’
‘Er, yes, basically.’
‘And this is the place where you’re supposed to do colonics on yourself twice a day, right?’ 
See, I can’t get away from the shit.
‘Oh, don’t worry about that; you’ll have your own board.’ 
Er, right. Just like I had my own rectal nozzle. Life is generous.
‘You’ll make a schedule. It’ll be fine.’

Well, I fear, to my shame, that I had a bit of a prima donna moment.  I mean, it’s one thing sharing a bathroom if you’re going to a budget b&b or camping or wotnot. But at a place that charges around a grand for a week?  Er, I don’t think so.  And, when you’re supposed to be toddling off every morning and afternoon to crap?  Great.

So I came off the phone and fired off an email to the organizers saying basically WTF?  And, hey ho, they got back to me and said… ‘Well, we were hoping to upgrade you but, as it happens, it’s all off now anyhow as the owners of the property have decided they don’t want any more journalists coming.’

So, that’s that. No more shit.  And at first I thought, there you go Jane – all your own fault for being such a fecking spoilt bitch.  For putting on airs and acting the big I Am.  Cos really, I never do that assertion stuff.  Ever.  Usually I’m just bloody grateful for whatever I get given.

But then again, who knows, maybe it’s a good thing. Maybe it’s for the best. The idea of twice-daily colonics was doing my, er, head in.  But I can’t help but feel a little disappointed.  Cos, no matter how much you tell yourself you can do the juicing at home, and the yoga and Pilates and meditation too, no problem – when it comes to it, you don’t, do you?  Not properly.  The dog barks, the phone rings, you have to work and clean the house and wash the clothes and so on, and then you fart around on the Internet and before you know it, your child’s home from school and priorities shift all over.  Then again, maybe that’s the challenge, huh?