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IN THIS ISSUE... Chill out Healthy recipes Slugs and Snails and babyhood tales – musings from a new mum Coffee with NEOM Get pampered in the comfort of your own home




& all things nice

Spring forward!


ell, we have certainly had our fair share of cold this winter, so I will be particularly pleased to see the spring sun return, with the promise of warmth ahead (if it ever arrives!). Although it is hard to believe that our clocks will spring forward soon, and yet the country is still in the full grip of winter! This issue is all about keeping calm, whether it’s with a yoga session, sublimely scented candles or a heavenly massage, you will find something for you, or for your little one. Personally, I will have a mix of all suggestions on offer, thank you! Last year we had the Queen’s jubilee and the Olympics to celebrate. This year is also quite monumentous, on a personal level at least! I celebrate (or not, depending on your viewpoint!) my 50th in March, my son turns 21 in May, and my husband and I celebrate our 25th Wedding Anniversary in May also! I am looking forward to an abundance of cake during the festivities (but I will

of course be eating healthily the rest of the time to compensate!). As always, we have had great support for the magazine and we would like to thank everyone for their help, in particular, Nicola from Neom Organics, Lucy, their lovely PR assistant and our regular columnist Kathryn and her little man, William (who is getting so big now!). Don’t forget, if you want to book a Nanny or Maternity Nurse, then please get in touch, we would love to help you find that special person for your family and we have some fantastic candidates to choose from. For a limited time, we are also pleased to offer a special 10% discount off any of our bespoke childcare packages featured on our website, if booked before the end of April 2013. Just quote SPR01 when registering online, or when calling to speak with us. Finally, we have an update on a feature we ran in our Winter issue, with Alex Hibbert, about the Dark Ice Project. Sadly, his expedition partner fell ill early

in the project, and they had to abandon this, to enable Justin to get essential medical help. They are still committed to the project though, and you can keep up to date with the changes at Whatever you embark on during the Spring days, enjoy!

if you have a sweet tooth, but want

a little more healthily, what better way than to indulge in some healthier snacks?

Grease the inside of a loaf tin and scoop mixture into this and bake in the oven for an hour.

BANANA BREAD You will need 125g low fat spread 3 ripe bananas (and soft brown sugar to make weight up to 225g) 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 eggs 175g wholemeal self raising flour

Once cooked, leave the bread to cool in the tin, before serving sliced.

to eat

Banana cookies Or perhaps you would prefer a cookie. You will need 225g porridge oats 2 ripe bananas (peel and weigh these and make up the weight to 225g with some dark brown sugar or soft brown sugar if necessary) 1 tsp baking powder 40g wholemeal plain flour 1 beaten egg Method Mix oats, baking powder and flour together

Preheat oven to 170°C Mash the bananas and mix in with any extra sugar if used Mix the spread and sugar together until it pales. Mash the bananas and add this to mixture with the vanilla extract and mix well. Add half the flour and mix well. Then add the eggs and whisk thoroughly. Add remaining flour and whisk until everything is combined well.

Mix the dry ingredients together with the banana and add the beaten egg. If at this stage the mix is too runny, then add some extra porridge oats. Use a teaspoon to drop walnut size blobs onto a greased baking tray, allowing space for cookies to run. Bake in middle of a preheated oven (180ÂşC) for 15-25 minutes until golden brown. Depending on your preference for soft/ hard cookies you may need to adjust the cooking times.



JUST CHILLING... Imagine the scene; it’s a warm spring day, you’re enjoying a coffee at a pavement café, enjoying the sun and stillness around you, when suddenly the calm is punctured by piercing screams. You would be forgiven in thinking that there had been some catastrophic event which led to the screams, but nothing quite so dramatic, simply another overwraught child refusing to do what the parents ask, and lets face it, we’ve all been there! As parents, we instinctively understand the need to teach children to walk and talk, eat well, learn to read and write….but we somehow expect them to be able to manage their emotions without support and guidance, which strikes me as a little lopsided. When you actually stop and think about it, we do have things pretty skewed in favour of the ‘grown ups’. After all, as adults, if we are feeling

angry, stressed, exhausted or confused, we can talk it over with friends and loved ones (or a professional!). We deal with the stresses that life throws at us by adopting various coping mechanisms; exercise, dance, yoga, watching a comedy, going out with friends, are just some of the tactics we employ to help us adjust and deal with a stressful situation. What about our children though, how do they deal with things when, in the moment, life just becomes all too much for them? They have a tantrum, they may lash out at siblings or friends (or parents!), they get overtired, they refuse to sleep, they refuse to eat......and a lot of the time, instead of acknowledging the fact that they are having a bad day, and helping them deal with it, we ‘punish’ them with time outs, or similar. Perhaps we ought to be helping children be more aware of their feelings in the first instance and learn to recognise for themselves when they are feeling out of sorts. This is where yoga or a form of meditation for children can really come

into it’s own. If you can get your child doing yoga or meditation on a regular basis they will really begin to feel the benefits that comes with the slowed breathing and stillness. My children started with yoga when they were very young (6 months) and it stayed with them right through to teenage years, so much so that sometimes they would come home from school after having a particularly bad day, and instantly adopt yoga positions without even realising it! Children should be able to enjoy just as much quality rest and relaxation time as adults, and I am a great believer in encouraging this in children, after all, if they learn how to relax when they are young it will stay with them for life. We used to play very soothing classical music to our children at bedtime (very quietly, so they’d almost have to strain to hear it!), along with diffusing some soothing lavender oil in the room and it was a very rare night when they didn’t go to sleep quickly and stay happily asleep for the night. Even now, my youngest daughter still finds it helpful

introducing ‘mindfulness’ to children, (if you’d like to make your own jar, you can find instructions later in the magazine). All of these techniques are very simple, cost very little indeed but will empower your children in a positive way and help them deal with their emotions in their own way. Sowing the seeds now can only help them develop into much more stable teens/young adults.

For me, I find that running a business and a busy home can bring challenges, and I try to do daily meditation to help me cope with this in a positive way. Sometimes though, problems crop up throughout the day, so a calming jar is never far from my own desk (along with my very own NEOM candle!) for the times that life throws an unexpected curveball at me, or an impossible deadline!


to listen to music before she goes to sleep, although the classical music has mainly been replaced by Beyonce! When I owned the nursery, we used to adopt the same principle; calming music and diffused essential oils at rest times, yoga for the children (from 6 months), and reflective baskets for the older children. These were baskets, which housed some soft, comforting, tactile things to hold, books with a calm theme, etc....One thing we found was particularly popular with the children were the ‘calming’ jars - these were simply jars (plastic of course!) which held water, a little food colouring, glitter and glitter glue. The idea was that if a child was feeling angry, agitated, sad, or simply wanted some quiet time, they would take one of the jars, shake it and stare at the glitter as it floated to the bottom. On average, it used to take about 5 minutes for the glitter to settle, by which time, the child in question had either calmed down, or recharged their batteries ready to join in again with the group. This is such a simple idea, and a brilliant way of

Slugs and snails and babyhood tales Musings from a new mum by Kathryn Pople


ith the milestone of his first birthday over, William fully graduated into toddlerdom and our lives were beginning to get back on track. We entered a delightful phase of a little one with regular sleep patterns, a hearty appetite for anything we put in front of him and lots of energy for exploring the world. So what did we decide to do? Move house, of course! Our ideal home just happened to be one that needed EVERYTHING doing to it. And our moving date was the week before Christmas. Perfect. Moving day loomed closer but I lived on in denial. “I’ll just sort Christmas out first,” I thought, “then I can set about the task of packing up the house with the little one around my heels.” I’ve never been more organised for Christmas before, or more disorganised the day before we moved! Luckily grandparents came to the rescue; William was shipped

work will get done, but I can only tackle one thing at a time (usually in the hour and a half naptime slot). After all, William has taught me that there is so much fun to be had each day, and so much to be glad about as we straighten out our new dwelling.

..our moving date was the week before Christmas...... off for a bit of pampering for two days whilst we threw ourselves at the bubble wrap. And we did it. Two exhausting, long days of packing, lugging and unpacking, but we were in. Two months on we find ourselves settled (granted, in a rather higgledypiggledy way) and enjoying the space we have gained, despite the old-fashioned, dilapidated setting! Once, I would have been desperately impatient to get everything just how I wanted it to be; beautiful and immaculate. However, having a child forces you to be rather more philosophical. I know that gradually the building and decorating


ith our exclusive links with two of London’s premium mobile SPAs, you can experience the benefit of some ultimate pampering beauty, lifestyle and massage services in the privacy and comfort of your own home, wherever you live in London. Whether you are a mum to be who wants to be spoilt before the arrival of your baby, or an existing mum (or dad) who is just too busy to make it to the spa, you can book one of our unique pamper packages direct. Prices start as low as £65 for pregnancy massage (or general massage), facials, or individual yoga sessions. For more information, please call us on 020 8906 4383 or email us directly at info@sugarandspiceagency. com quoting ‘bespoke spa services’



COFFEE WITH NICOLA ELLIOTT minded but glamorous sister, and thought it was pretty mad I had to buy her a) a synthetic body lotion full of chemicals she wouldn’t want to use or b) go to the health food shop and buy something that smelt foul in a brown paper bag. And so Neom was born, a result of a wish to create products that are genuinely different and as close to perfect as possible.

NEOM Organics create the most incredible luxury range of bath, body & home fragrance products. Loved by top beauty editors (they are featured regularly in Vogue, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire.....) and celebrities alike (Kate Moss uses Real Luxury and Gwyneth loves all of the scents!). We caught up with founder of the brand, Nicola Elliott to find out the inspiration behind the sublime scents... What inspired you to create NEOM? When I wanted to buy some organic pampering gifts for my very green-

What makes your product so unique? Everything, and I don’t mean that smugly at all. In our body care range we combine 70% or above organic ingredients with a unique blend of essential oils – not only successfully making them modern, but the products also offer you a treatment too, to comfort, relax or revive. For example our Complete Bliss fragrance uses Moroccan Blush rose (rose can sometimes smell quite old-fashioned) but we modernise the scent with adding some lime and black pepper – a perfect scent for lifting your mood.

Our award-winning candles are all hand poured in the UK and made with a blend of vegetable waxes and pure essential oils. No paraffin wax, no synthetic scents and absolutely no chemicals or binding agents. We’re also at the forefront of being able to create fragrances that have never been done before. Getting a blackcurrant scent, for example, isn’t possible unless it’s made synthetically. However in our new spring 2013 home fragrance, we discovered that the oils from a South African plant (the buchu plant) smell incredibly similar to blackcurrant and have launched a scent called Contentment with a blend of buchu, nutmeg & ginger. In short, I am super proud the Neom team and I are able to offer organic products that are just as glamorous and effective as the next. What were you doing before you launched NEOM? Before Neom launched in 2005, I worked for magazines for seven years, including InStyle and Glamour as a celebrity editor.

What are your favourite things to do as a family? Since leaving London and moving back to Yorkshire, I have never been more grateful for having the countryside at my door step, and honestly my favourite thing to do is go for long walks with my family (husband David, and two children, Alexa (2) and Charlie (4)). Or pop down to the farm to see the ponies, which my daughter Alexa is obsessed with. Do you have a hidden talent? When we’re really busy at work – I seem to be able to talk in double-speed, simply to get things done. 4 favourite things in life. Spending time with my family – it’s very important to have a home life. Being creative and running my business. Reading. And of course my Neom Organics body oil. A real super-hero product especially for new mums or mums to be too!

Guilty pleasure? Sleep. Green & Blacks chocolate. Eating out. Favourite book? I love reading so it’s really hard to choose. I recently read and loved A Visit From The Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, I Loved Sister and anything from Jonathan Tropper. Fail safe dinner party dish? Herby organic lemon chicken with lots of root vegetables & saute potatoes, very hearty and healthy, and always goes down well. Favourite NEOM scent? That is such a tricky question but the one I would say I have the most emotional ties to our Real Luxury fragrance. We call it the ‘cashmere blanket’ in our collection and it always takes me back to childhood summer holidays in Provence with my family.

Any tips for working parents? From my own experience my best advice would be, don’t try and do it all! I had Charlie when I had just started Neom and it was like being pulled in every which direction. At the worst of times I felt like I was constantly failing as I couldn’t give all of myself to just one project, I was simply spreading myself too thin across them all. And although I pray for it nearly everyday, there still is no way of being in two places at once, so I suggest prioritising, knowing what comes first for you. But I do thoroughly believe we can have it all, just maybe not all at once.


However I think I always knew I would run a business one day.


If you like the sound of the calming jar and would like to make your own, they are really simple to do. You will need Jar (baby food, jam jar etc) Glitter Glue -Lazer gems, sequins, etc (not compulsory, but it helps to create another image to watch in the jar) Food Colouring Warm Water (see notes)

Directions Mix about 2 tablespoons of glitter glue with 1 - 2 cups of warm water (varies, depending on the size of your jar). Depending on the colour of glitter glue used, you need to add a little food colouring of the same colour at this stage. Once it has all cooled down, you can remove the lid and add glue to this, before sealing it, to make it safer for young children if you prefer and to avoid any uneccessary spills of glitter on the floor!

Notes The warm water is to help dissolve the glue. I found, after experimenting, that it was a good idea to have previously boiled the kettle and allow the water to cool for approx 5 mins, this seemed to be the perfect temperature to help dissolve the glitter glue quickly. While the water is warm...the glitter will fall quickly, so don’t panic. If, once it’s cooled down you feel it still falls too quickly, then you can repeat the process of heating up the water and add some more glitter glue. It’s good to play around with ratios of glitter glue to water, depending on how long you want the ‘calming’ experience to last - my first attempt (with far too much glue) lasted well over an hour!! One important point to note, don’t cheat by trying to use other glue and then add glitter, pva glue does not turn transparent when it is melted, so you just get a very cloudy jar of liquid!

Nightlights by David Fontana, Joyce Dunbar and Anne Civardi This book is an absolute gem, full of self contained little ‘meditation stories’, which cleverly and gently weave the child into the story The stories are the perfect length for young children and take the child (and the reader) into interesting, magical lands, which simutaneously gently explore and resolve little worries that can often weigh on a child’s mind, sometimes without them even knowing it. There is a very helpful index which is arranged into issues, such as sibling being born, bullying and other childhood problems. It’s a book suitable for boys or girls, but what I like most about it is the fact that it not only assists in calming anxieties in children, but in doing so, it enhances the powerful bond between parent and child....just beautiful!

Sleepy Little Yoga by Rebecca Whitford and Martina Selway This lovely little book has beautifully illustrated yoga poses by Yoga baby, just right for your little one to copy as a wind down to nap time or bedtime. All the poses have been given animal names, so it is really fun for the little ones to follow. It has helpful notes to parents and useful explanations of all the poses, along with photographs too. It is a really nice way of introducing yoga to children, and if you do the poses together, you both emerge wonderfully relaxed afterward! The book is child friendly enough that even the youngest can follow the poses themselves without needing an adult to direct them.


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& all things nice Spring 2013  

Magazine from Sugar & Spice Agency

& all things nice Spring 2013  

Magazine from Sugar & Spice Agency