Diet chef – reviews.


Well, I have taken the plunge and found a whole month’s supply of Diet Chef food on Ebay for £99. it arrived in a huge box, seems well planned and pretty tasty so far. You get a breakfast, lunch, a microwave meal and, a snack. The breakfasts are porridge, muesli or a cereal bar, lunch is soup, a shake or protein bar, an evening meal which is curry, pasta, macaroni cheese or lasagne. You also have a snack which is popcorn, biscuits or crisps. Admittedly, the portions are small but the food is tasty.

I reckon that it was a good way to buy an introductory month’s worth of the stuff and I hope to substitute similar items to create my own diet chef stuff at the end of the month.

Anyone done anything similar?

Any suggestions? I hope I have nothing to lose but my flab!



Review of Eat,Guilt, Repent, Repeat by Brenda Bentley


Rating *****

I bought this book as I wanted to explore my own attitudes to eating and not go for the knee jerk New Year diet option, after an indulgent Christmas and New Year.  The book is well structured and goes through why diets fail which is because they rely on the conscious brain and external rules to work. It explains that everyone as a child ate in order to assuage hunger.  A baby cries and is fed as a result. A child is so absorbed in the world about them and only thinks about food when they are hungry. It used to be so easy until we started dieting!

Diets are doomed because eating is scheduled according to external rules. The book teaches you to reconnect with your body, identify hunger and eat what and how much you want in order to satisfy yourself. Simple. Except that is is so much moe complicated than that to unlearn lots of diet rules. The author is a therapist and there’s chapters on mindfulness, CBT and even a chapter about  the law of attraction too. A thought provoking book that makes so much sense, it is  worth reading and rereading several times over. Whilst all my colleagues are counting calories, joining Slimming World and Weight Watchers, I’m going to give this a go in the hope that this will produce long lasting results.  Definitely worth a read!

New Year’s Resolutions with a difference!


Now the festivities are over and it’s almost time to go back to work, it’s a good time to reflect on the forthcoming year.  But instead of the usual  boring aspirations, here are some good ideas for New Year’s Resolutions!

1. Turn off your phone for a while! Especially useful for the younger generation!

2. Learn a party trick! How about juggling or reciting the alphabet backwards. You never know when it might some in handy.

3. Go to the theatre! There are some great local amateur dramatic societies with plenty of plays to suit everyone.

4. Find a new recipe to cook. Add to your repertoire.

5. Stop buying material goods. I have recently had a clear out and it made me realise just how much stuff, not to mention money, is wasted.

6. Get gardening and grow something you can eat!

7. Visit an elderly relative or neighbour. The elderly have so much to offer.

8. Smile more. You never know where it might lead!

Hope you have a great New Year! All the best!


Review of Pulse by Felix Francis- my guilty pleasure!


Verdict ***** A cracking read, well paced with a great hero!

I have a confession to make! I always used to buy my father a Dick Francis novel as a part of his Christmas present and read it before I gave it to him! I know, I know, it’s a terrible habit.( I mean reading someone’s Christmas present not reading the novels!)

I used to love Dick Francis’s tales of racing intrigue and upstanding and incredibly brave heros, usually ex jockeys applying ice packs or getting out of awful situations in order to vanquish their foe. I was very sad when Dick died, as he seemed like a very decent chap, but relieved that his son, Felix, has picked up where he left off. But would he live up to the Francis name? I can tell you that he doesn’t disappoint.

Chris Rankin is an A and E doctor working in Cheltenham, who becomes obsessed with a man who died. He was found in the toilet at Cheltenham racecourse, with no ID and his death was suspicious. Dr Rankin is an interesting character who becomes obsessed with the dead man. The Doctor also works as a medic at Cheltenham racecourse and begins to realise that several jockeys appear to know more than they are letting on about the man’s death. Dr Rankin is a fascinating character for many reasons, some that I won’t divulge here, and the author has used immense skill in portraying someone in a highly stressful job, who is very close to the edge.

I  stayed up late to read this book and got up early to finish it. A good sign. My verdict is that it’s a  dead cert!

Now what else can I read! I will have a browse through my pile of Christmas presents before I wrap them and dive in ! Lemn Sissay beckons…

Diets don’t work! Review of ‘Thin Side Out. How to have your cake and skinny jeans too’ by Josie Spinardi

I liked the premise of this book. Diets don’t work, so it’s not your fault after all if you  don’t lose weight! The relief!

I have tried every diet going, probably lost a few pounds then become stuck, and given up and moved on to the next big fad. I am not very overweight but like most women I always want to be thinner! I have tried recently the 5.2 diet, Weight Watchers, Slimming World and various apps on my phone which help me regulate my food intake. So I was interested in this book and its premise.

It explains in a straightforward way how diets can never be the solution to losing weight as by making you stick to a set of rules about eating, this just feeds the diet, binge, beat yourself up, never ending cycle. Instead it explains how the key to maintaining and even losing weight is copying your skinny friends. You know, the ones who eat what they like, never seem stressed about food and more importantly trust their own bodies and eat what they like, when they are hungry. This is the really important bit, when they are hungry!

It explains that dieting is not the solution but is a part of the problem and gives examples of research which reveals that over time  most dieters just end up heavier than they were before they started dieting! Depressing but apparently true!

I give this a Thin Side Out  by Josie Spinardi  5*’s for writing in a comprehensive clear

Thin side out

way, being intelligent  and making us aware how we are being conned by the diet industry and the media. Of course, I cannot vouch for the results as I have only had this book for two days and have just finished it. It makes compulsive reading and it is making me rethink how I approach food and eating. It is well researched, well written and certainly worth reading! For anyone who has dieted and is unhappy with their weight and thinking of embarking on the next big diet fad, DON’T, read this first!

Book is available on amazon in paperback or on kindle.

Gingerbread Syrup



This is a simple recipe for gingerbread syrup. It can be given as a present to flavour coffees, prosecco or simply pour onto ice cream for a delicious treat!  It’s really easy to make and delicious too!


  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • edible gold glitter (optional)

To decorate

  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ribbon


  1. Put the golden caster sugar, 200ml water and ground ginger into a saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for 5 mins until the sugar has dissolved, then stir in a little edible gold glitter, if you like. Pour into a 500ml sterilised bottle (see tip below).

  2. To decorate, tie a cinnamon stick around the neck with a pretty ribbon, if you like. Will keep for up to 1 year.

Why not give it a try?

Christmas at the Contraband Cafe is free 8/12 and 11/12! Don’t miss out!


This is a sparkling romance that I wrote with Scarlett Brodie. It is about Chloe Charlesworth, a wannabe fashion journalist, who about to land her dream job, finds herself rushing to her aunt’s aid. Her aunt runs a cafe and trekking centre in a remote area, Rum Cove, in North Yorkshire. Chloe plans to make sure everything is in place for her aunt before hotfooting it back down to London to spend Christmas with her boyfriend. Little does she know that fate has other plans for her. A witty, heart warming book with a great cast of lively characters!

Free on Amazon on 8/12 and 11/12 !