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A NEW CALM Look on the bright side, stay cool under pressure & know your life values



Want to know which is best for you?






Make a conscious change to the way you shop

Photography Rowan Chestnut





his month we’ve been thinking about perspective and how we view the world. Glass half full or glass half empty? It’s amazing how much your perception of life can change when you choose to look on the bright side, knowing that when you face challenges, there are always better times to come. Take our quiz on page 24 to see how optimistic you are, then read how to bring more positivity, and with it self-belief and happiness, into your day-to-day. Your optimistic self will embolden you to try new things and step out of your comfort zone with confidence, so this issue is full of ideas to inspire you. From quiet reflection through the simple practice of forest bathing (no swimsuits required!), to the immersive power of sound healing and the life-affirming

joy of making and listening to music – there are many ways to bring harmony and happiness into your life. Like wellbeing practitioner Jo Bisseker Barr, who this issue explores how a regular writing practice can bring calm, I often find sanctuary in my notebook. I take pleasure in jotting down my thoughts – ideas for stories I may one day write, books I may one day read, recipes I may one day cook! As Jo says, writing “encourages us to slow down, to breathe a little more deeply, and to reflect on authentic feelings”. So let’s fill our glasses, and welcome more happy moments into our lives. It doesn’t matter what we write, or play, or cook, or draw, or make – if it comes from the heart it’s all good.


PS: Take A Moment is our extra treat for you. Tap here to find it. WWW.CALMMOMENT.COM






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18 FOREST BATHING Take a wander in the woods and feel the healing power of trees.

54 COFFEE ART WITH HEART Thoughtful ways to pep up your coffee ritual.

22 SHOPPING: WOOD OILS Treat yourself with natural tonics from the forest.

58 MAKE WRITING YOUR SANCTUARY Use your jottings & journals to cultivate inner calm.

24 BE MORE OPTIMISTIC Is your glass halffull or half-empty? Take our quiz to find out.

64 SHOPPING: JOURNALLING Beautiful stationery to enhance your writing practice.

30 MUSIC TO SOOTHE YOUR SOUL Find joy in making music – no experience required!

66 YOUR BOOKMARKS Gift them with a good book or use them to note a favourite quote.

36 SOUND HEALING To relax and reconnect.

68 BOOK CLUB In A Revolution of Feeling, Rachel Hewitt explores how our emotions have been been nutured and evolved.

41 CALM UNDER PRESSURE Learn how to keep cool no matter what life throws your way. 42 WELLBEING COLUMN Knowing your life values will help you stay calm and in control. 4


44 YOGA OR PILATES Which is best for you?

70 CREATING COLUMN Think of a creative practice as the crafty equivalent of yoga!

Change the way yo u shop










74 A FORAGED FEAST Gather a seasonal harvest and turn it into feel-good food.

102 ESCAPING COLUMN Colder days are on the way, but there’s plenty to tempt you outside.

82 RECIPE CARDS Four tear-out recipe cards featuring seasonal treats for you to make mindfully and enjoy.

104 SHOPPING: WINTER WANDERER Your essential kit for wintery walks on blustery days.

84 RELATIONSHIPS Learning how to say no is good for you! 86 RETAIL THERAPY? Make a conscious change to the way you shop. 90 LIVING COLUMN It’s time to bring cosiness to your home style. 94 LOG FIRES The art of building a fire can bring more than just warmth.


pe Y o ur recsi card

106 A NORWEGIAN WINTER Embrace the season in the happiest country in the world. 114 LIFE LESSONS Acknowledging your anger when life doesn’t go to plan.


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letters WRITE TO US

Your thoughts

Photography by @katieemay1


New beginnings I always feel like autumn is the perfect time to start something new and two things I’m currently getting into are mindfulness and the gym. They’re really helping me to get into a better headspace! @katieemay1

Kindred spirits I knew I loved this magazine from the moment I opened it and read the welcome page! The mention of spending time with friends and family

Get in touch InTheMomentMag inthemomentmag inthemomentmag inthemomentmag inthemoment

and how vital it is to our wellbeing really resonated with me – it is one of my most-loved subjects. Something I really admire is how each page made me feel inspired to go out and do new things – the self-care plan in issue three was my favourite. With all the tips, advice, wellbeing and everything in between, including all of the beautiful illustrations, this magazine will continue to have a place in my home every month. Jenna, 31, Nurture Practitioner

A positive journey I have never written to a magazine before but after reading my first issue of In The Moment, I had the urge to tell you how wonderful and helpful it has been to me. Earlier this year I was in what I thought would be my dream job, however my manager was a bully and after eight months I was miserable. Thankfully, I am out of that environment now and in a much better job, but I have never really gotten over the stress of it. One afternoon I was aimlessly looking around for magazines


in the supermarket when your cover page caught my eye. I bought it and it was simply amazing. I used Natalie Lue’s letter-writing tool to craft a letter to my old boss (and then burnt it, as she suggested); I cut out photos for the pull-out frames and put them round my room to remind me of happy moments and I also downloaded the Courage & Spice podcast (www. from the feature. Everything in your magazine has really helped me and made such a difference to my mindfulness and mood. Although my experience will probably take me a while to overcome, your magazine has been the first step towards happiness and positivity, so thank you. Kate, 26, Graphic Designer

BE AN INSIDER We want to know what you think. After all, the more we know about you the better placed we are to bring you the best magazine and website possible. So we would like to invite you to join our online reader panel: ‘Insiders’. Interested? Log on to ÌwÕÌÌiÃÀÌÀi}ÃÌÀ>ÌÃÕÀÛiÞ>`Üi½Li touch from time-to-time to ask for your opinions on the magazine/website and other relevant issues. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


Illustration by Hsiao-Ron Cheng


Meet this issue’s talented writers It takes a lot to make your monthly guide to a mindful life, and it’s all thanks to these people (as well as everyone else working behind the scenes). We hope you are inspired by their features this issue

FAITH DOUGL AS Faith is a forest bathing, mindfulness and Usui Reiki Master practitioner. With a background in nursing, her love of nature inspired her to retrain in horticulture and she now combines forest bathing and horticulture as therapy. Follow Faith at Turn to page 18 to read Faith’s piece.

The team Editorial Editor-in-chief Jules Taylor Editor Kirstie Duhig Art Editor Becki Clark Production Editor Katharine Bennett Digital Editor Sarah Orme Contributors Illustration Hsiao-Ron Cheng, Holly McCulloch, Bett Norris, Becki Clark, Nathalie Ouederni, Mimi & Mae. Photography Phil Sowels Additional design Julian Dace, Benedict Blyth, Nicky Gotobed

Advertising Call: 0117 300 8206 Group Advertising Manager Penny Stokes Account Manager Emelie Arnold

Marketing and Circulation Direct Marketing Manager Penny Clapp Direct Marketing Executive Joe Jones Newstrade Marketing Manager Helen Seymour International Account Manager Juliette Winyard Head of Newstrade Marketing Martin Hoskins Subscriptions Director Jacky Perales-Morris

Production Production Director Sarah Powell Production Manager Louisa Molter / Rose Griffiths

ALI BURRELL Ali Burrell is a Pilates, yoga and Somatics Movement coach from Bath, UK, whose practice focuses on unplugging from the busy-ness of life and reconnecting with your body and breath. Find her at Discover which practice is best for you in Ali’s piece about yoga and Pilates on page 44.

JO BISSEKER BARR Jo is an accredited psychodynamic counsellor and writing for wellbeing practitioner. She runs experiential workshops in writing for wellbeing from her home in the beautiful New Forest, UK. Follow Jo at Turn to page 58 for Jo’s piece on how writing can help you to cultivate inner calm.

JO CARNEGIE Jo is a journalist and author of nine women’s fiction books. She has a certificate in holistic counselling and writes about meaningful living and wellbeing. This issue, Jo shares how she overcame her addiction to retail (therapy) and discovers deep relaxation through sound healing. Read Jo’s features on pages 36 and 86.

Licensing Licensing and Syndication Tim Hudson International Partners Manager Anna Brown

Publishing Publishing Director Catherine Potter Publisher (Digital) Charlotte Morgan

Subscriptions For new orders and back issue sales call 03330 162153 Visit or email

Immediate Media Company Chief Executive Officer Tom Bureau Managing Director, Bristol Andy Marshall Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited (company number 05715415) is registered in England and Wales. The registered office of Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited is at Vineyard House, 44 Brook Green, London W6 7BT. All information contained in this magazine is for information only and is, as far as we are aware, correct at the time of going to press. Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited cannot accept any responsibility for errors or inaccuracies in such information. Readers are advised to contact manufacturers and retailers directly with regard to the price of products/services referred to in this magazine. If you submit unsolicited material to us, you automatically grant Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited a licence to publish your submission in whole or in part in all editions of the magazine, including licensed editions worldwide and in any physical or digital format throughout the world. Any material you submit is sent at your risk. Although every care is taken, neither Immediate Media Company Bristol Limited nor its employees agents or subcontractors shall be liable for loss or damage.

Need support? If you’re feeling low and need to talk to someone, contact: Mind at NHS Direct on 111 Samaritans on 116 123 Befrienders Worldwide at




Uplifting ideas, stories and inspiration from around the world

Lie-in lovers, rejoice! It seems that a lazy morning in bed might just be what the doctored ordered. New research from the Oxford Academic journal, Sleep, found that those who use weekends to catch up on their sleep had a lower body mass index than those who didn’t. Every hour of additional weekend sleep – that’s time spent sleeping beyond your usual weekday amount – lowered the BMI of the participants by approximately 0.12; a small but significant amount. Of course, this isn’t an excuse to burn the candle at both ends during the week – sleep deprivation over just two nights can cause your mood to decline, food cravings to spike and energy levels to plummet. But if you end up not quite getting those eight hours a night, you can rest easy in the knowledge that a Sunday morning lie-in will get your body back to its best.

Photography Get Behind Us

Sleep it off

No ifs... just butts Clothing has long been a way to share your message loud and proud, with political slogans, body image statements and bold symbols emblazoned on t-shirts and jumpers across the high street. But now you don’t need to hit the shops to find your message. The newly-launched ‘Get Behind Us’ campaign is encouraging women to make a statement with a spot of DIY fashion. The premise is simple; grab some old clothes or craft materials, make a patch for a cause that you feel strongly about, then attach it to the back pocket of your jeans for all to see. Share your patch online with #GetBehindUs.

YOU’VE GOT MAIL In a survey of millennials, 43% said that they have never sent a letter, thank you card or parcel (despite wanting to receive them)! Personal post can strengthen our relationships by making the recipient feel more valued. Read more about mindful writing on page 58.



A greener future


“Forests are the lungs City living can be a grey affair, but it of our land, purifying doesn’t have to be this way. Italian the air and giving architect Stefano Boeri is changing fresh strength to the way in which we interact with our people.” urban landscapes, using them to Franklin D. tackle both environmental issues and Roosevelt aesthetics. His latest project, The Nanjing Vertical Forest, will be Asia’s first green skyscraper. The two neighbouring towers will be covered in over 2,500 plants, shrubs and trees which will provide 60kg of oxygen per day and absorb 25kg of carbon-dioxide each year. And that’s not all – this influx of greenery will give local biodiversity a boost, reversing some of the harmful effects pollution can have on native insects and animals. Even if you can’t cover your entire apartment block in trees, you can still recreate Boeri’s vision at home, reaping the health and environmental benefits with just a few small additions. Findings from a research project by NASA, linking poor indoor air quality with a variety of health ailments, show that just adding one potted plant to a room can purify the air we breathe and reduce illness and mental fatigue. If you’re looking to take things a step further, consider creating your own hanging garden for your balcony or patio. I Spy DIY ( has created a simple tutorial, showing you how to make a vertical wooden planter for herbs and shrubs that can be adapted to suit any outdoor space.



Photography Stefano Boeri Architetti

“Change the way we see our cities forever”

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Things to do to live your life well in November...


2-4 Photography Brittney Burnett

NOVEMBER Swap your spooky Halloween activities for a Gaelic tradition that marks the changing of the seasons. Celebrating the spirits of those who have passed and times of change, the festivities of Samhain include making displays of apples, nuts and sage, lighting magical fires and feasting on hearty pumpkin stew with your nearest and dearest.


NOVEMBER It’s World Kindness Day, so take a moment to be kind to yourself and others. It’s inspired by the Small Kindness Movement, born in Japan in 1963, when Tokyo University president Mr Seiji Kaya started a crusade to get everyone to practice a little act of kindness. He hoped that by starting small, it would one day spread and make kindness a norm in society.

ALL MONTH We’re nuts for nut butter, so we’re thrilled that November is Peanut Butter Lover’s month! A great source of healthy fats, protein and potassium, nut-based spreads can be added to porridge, layered on crispbreads or just spooned out of the jar for a nutty indulgence. Go for jars with no added palm oil or sugar to reap the health benefits. * Search #beyondthejar for recipes




NOVEMBER “When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.” Today is the ideal day to get people boogying as it’s Small Business Saturday. Supporting independent shops boosts the economy, plus it’s a great excuse to treat yourself or a friend! * Get involved on social media with #smallbusinesssaturday

NOVEMBER Celebrate Norway’s traditional fish dish at the annual Rakfiskfestival. Fagernes hosts a two-day party for rakfisk (salty, semi-fermented trout), beer and aquavit. Caught in the summer, the trout goes through a 12-week fermentation process, ready for everyone to enjoy in November. * Read more about Norway and its winter traditions on page 106. ALL MONTH Put pen to paper – November is International Novel Writing Month. You can sign up to join the online community of over 500,000 budding writers starting their own novel. If you’ve always wanted to write a book, it’s a fantastic place to find inspiration, share the highs and the lows and meet like-minded people. * Register at


Ancient Egyptians believed that November’s birthstone, topaz , took its golden colour from the sun god Ra. It was said to give strength to its wearer – along with invisibility!

Changing rooms Hey feng shui – there’s a new interior design system in town! Known as ‘the science of architecture’, vastu shastra is based on an ancient Hindu tradition, focusing on the flow of energy around a living space. Said to bring positivity to your mind and home, modern day variations consist of simple rules on direction and placement of objects. Broken down into each room of the house, it’s easy to apply these rules to whatever type of abode you might live in – you don’t need to have bags of space to make these changes. As winter nights draw in and snuggling on the sofa becomes our pastime of choice, there’s no better time to take a look at the space around you and make it more harmonious. Vastu Shastra Guru suggests these tips for your living room area:

* * *

Use white, light yellow, blue or green colours for painted walls. Place your TV in the south-east corner of the room. Keep plants in the north-east corner, as well as a bowl of sea salt, changed regularly.

Breaking bread with strangers Alice Julier, professor of food studies and author of Eating Together, suggests that sharing a meal is an equaliser of race, gender and socioeconomic backgrounds. Which is exactly what new app, VizEat, is all about – bringing together people of all different backgrounds, both locals and tourists, to share the food that makes them happy with each other. From foodie tours to cooking classes in the comfort of the host’s home, it’s a wonderful way to meet new people and swap skills.



Find out more at

ASHWAGANDHA It’s a herb used in ayurvedic medicine that is purported to have a whole host of health benefits. Used in powder form, you can add it to smoothies or sprinkle onto cereal to help your body deal with stress, improve sleep and boost your mood.



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Involving our pets in our mindfulness practice is a big thing right now, and we are fully on board. Without the stresses and strains of the work/life balance or worries of how other people see them, our furry friends can give some serious insight into how to be present and enjoy what is happening around us. Alison Davies, author of Be More Cat, is passionate about how observing and copying our kitten MEOW MEDITATION companions can improve all Meditating with your aspects of our lives. Here’s cat can add new depth one of her fun tips: to your practice. Read “If you’re feeling anxious, or our interview with that events are spiralling out cat meditation teacher of control, press paws! Spend Fenella Powell at five minutes massaging the centre of each palm with the catmindfulness thumb of the other hand, moving in a circular motion. Focus all your attention on how this feels. After a few minutes you’ll feel less stressed, more relaxed and mentally alert.”

Find more tips in Be More Cat by Alison Davies (Quadrille, £7.99), which is out now.

Photography Chinh Le Duc

We’re feeling feline

Memories in wood A wooden spoon is a kitchen mainstay. Despite much utensil innovation, it is often a simple wooden spoon that we reach for when cooking. But why do we love wood so much? For food writer Laura Martinez, it’s a case of tradition: “When I was growing up, my mom always used wooden spoons to make soups, creams and sauces. ‘Metal changes their flavour,’ she used to say with certainty, even though she didn’t have any scientific proof. But to this day, I have never used a metal or plastic utensil to prepare my soups and sauces”. For some, this link to the past goes beyond simply using a wooden spoon for cooking. EJ Osborne, creator of beautiful hand-carved spoons at Hatchet + Bear, speaks of how he first discovered spoon-making out of a desire to minimalise his modern life, going back to basics. He describes the act of choosing fallen wood to turn into a personal and functional object as a “primal thing”, creating a relationship with the wood that will last a lifetime of use. Practicality, too, plays a part. If you’re heading outdoors for winter camping or to cook over a real fire, consider investing in a set of wooden cutlery before you go – wood doesn’t conduct heat or the cold, making it a safe option for high fire cooking temperatures and chilly evenings.

Read Laura’s article on wooden spoons at wooden-spoons-pros-and-cons and find EJ’s spoons at


To help to heal those who need it most. Wonder cream Vaseline has teamed up with Direct Relief to provide medical supplies, doctors and dermatological care to 5 million people who are suffering around the world. You can create a box online that will be sent to affected areas, including locations of recent earthquake and hurricane emergencies.


Photography Larm Rmah




Shifting taboos on tattoos For a long time, tattoos have had a bad rap, with those who were enticed by ink encouraged to place them somewhere private or hide them in the workplace. But things are changing. One in five of us have gone under the needle and it’s becoming clear that tattoos can bring much more to our lives than simply ink. With body positivity such a hot topic, some women are turning to body art to change their perception of their shape. Writer Megan Nolan (@mmegannolan) recently sparked an online outpour of self-love with a single tweet. “Getting fun tattoos is the best thing I ever did to combat body hate”, she posted, explaining that tattoos on body parts that she hated have now made her love them. The replies were a heart-warming read of increased self-esteem and body confidence. Scientific research also backs up the theory: tattoos are good for us. A new study in the American Journal of Human Biology suggests that the tattooing process teaches the body how to recover from stressors, boosting the immune system with every new piece. Ultimately, the choice to ink or not to ink comes down entirely to personal preference, but it’s good to know that the decision to tattoo is no longer quite so taboo.

What I do... KNOWING THAT YOU’RE NOT THE ONLY ONE FEELING THE WAY YOU DO CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE. Lize Meddings is the director and illustrator of the Sad Ghost Club, a creative project that makes comics and apparel to encourage positive mental health awareness. The project began five years ago during a difficult time in her life. “It started kind of by accident,” explains Lize. “I made a comic about this ‘sad ghost club’ and how it felt to be in the club after uni when I was feeling very lost and low. The comic really took off and I figured that maybe I could do it full time.” Five years later, the club is now a team of three who work together to expand the reach of the project, including guides, workshops and merchandise. “This year we’ve set about launching a new project: Sketchbook Club. It’ll be a one-stop resource hub for beginners and professionals seeking inspiration or advice for creative ventures. We’re focusing on the importance of creativity as a form of self-care, so we’re trying to make it as easy as possible.” It’s inspiring to see how something so personal has grown, and the impact it has had on Lize’s life. “If you’d told me five years ago that I would be a director of a business, I would have laughed. I didn’t think I’d ever be suited, or able, to do something like this. I’ve learnt how to manage people, prioritise tasks and look after myself in the process. “Before Sad Ghost Club was a proper full-time job, I really struggled with motivating myself. I honestly can’t believe how much I’m able to do in a day now, all while helping to stamp out the stigma concerning mental health. Knowing that you’re not the only one feeling the way you do can make all the difference. Our main aim is to do just that; to let all the sad ghosts out there know that they’re not alone.”

Photography xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Find the comics and apparel at

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Write your piece and send it out into the world with some Act Now! postcards (www. abramsandchronicle. Illustrated with images from protests, they’re perfect for making a stand.

Tips f rom your mothe r...

“Sleep on it”

Travelling to happy

Photography Lize Meddings

Sparkling azure waters, lush green forests and dusky pink sunsets – the @tinyatlasquarterly Insta feed has been giving us major travel inspo this month. When it’s been raining for a week and you can’t quite warm up, planning your next holiday can give some serious benefits. Having an event to look forward to provides motivation to get through the colder months, and a reminder that warmer climes will return. Tiny Atlas’ curation of images from unique perspectives and secluded locations is perfect for finding your next holiday spot.

Acts of kindness (to say your piece) Although everyone has a right to an opinion, it can be so easy to lose your sense of what you stand for amongst busy work and family schedules. But taking time to express your thoughts on something that you’re passionate about can have an impact on all aspects of your life and wellbeing. Simply verbalising something that has been bothering you can instantly relieve the stress and pressure that has been surrounding it, freeing up your mind to deal with other issues and avoiding time spent worrying with “I wish I had said...” sentiments. What’s more, when other people see you standing up for what you believe in, it can empower them to share. Whether it’s a situation at work you’re not happy about, a cause you want to fight for or even just a feeling that you’d like to share with the group, saying it out loud is a little act of kindness to yourself that can improve your self-esteem and interaction with others.


Photography Tiny Atlas Quarterly

Getting a good night’s sleep may seem arbitrary when faced with an important decision, but studies show that hitting the sheets might be the best thing to do when you’re unsure how to proceed. Research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggests that REM sleep cycles can facilitate changes in underlying emotional and cognitive processes, improving your ability to make a choice in the morning. Time to get an early night!

‘Drinking water combats dry skin’. While H2 0 is amazing for our body function, drinking more of the wet stuff won’t save your skin from the drying effects of winter. Keep on drinking those eight glasses a day, but also invest in a good moisturiser with SPF to protect your skin from environmental damage.







orking from home has its pros and cons. One of the best things is being able to be flexible and mix things up so no one day is exactly the same as the next! I always check on the weather forecast so I can plan when it will be nicest to venture outside for a walk or to do my errands. I am quite strict with myself, though, allowing tea breaks as rewards for ticking things off my list of ‘To Dos’ for the day. So, usually around late morning and mid-afternoon, I move away from my desk, find a comfy spot on a rug or armchair, or prop myself up on a stool at our kitchen breakfast bar, and enjoy a tea break. Sometimes I only need 10 minutes to revive me; other times it takes longer or my mind wanders elsewhere before I bring it back into the moment and enjoy feeling nourished and refreshed.”

ELDERBERRY & ECHINACEA Sanctuary is expecting you. Let yourself fall into a deep bed of ripe wild fruits: purpleblack elderberries, inky blackcurrants – blessed by the fragrant FairWild elderflower and touched by the tingling notes of echinacea. Safe in your fruity refuge, you’ll be ready for anything. Stay warm and well. Good news for comforting and preparing you for life’s ups and downs. All Pukka teas contain the highest quality organic herbs. It’s one of the reasons Pukka teas taste so incredible – for more on why this is important, go to

Photography Sara Rolin





THE HEALING POWER OF TREES Whatever the season, going for a walk in the forest is always a feast for the senses. But there could be more to it than that – forest bathing practitioner Faith Douglas explains how time spent among the trees can have benefits for both mind and body


Photography: Kristopher Roller

ou may have already heard of the Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, otherwise known as forest bathing. If not, you’d certainly be forgiven for thinking that you need to pack your swimwear and a towel to take part. In fact, you don’t even need to know how to swim to enjoy this wonderfully therapeutic activity. Forest bathing is an ancient technique practiced by cultures all over the world, recently growing in popularity across the UK and the US (there’s evidence that our ancestors were also practitioners). Combining mindful breathing with the presence of trees to make a connection to nature, some countries even have designated woodlands and forests that are purely to be used for this purpose. Aside from the obvious positive effects that being in a beautiful woodland can have on our wellbeing, time spent forest bathing has been shown to lower the heart rate and blood pressure, reduce production of the stress hormone cortisol and boost the immune system. Trees naturally give off something called ‘phytoncides’, or wood essential oils, to protect themselves from germs and insects. When inhaled, these oils have a beneficial impact on our nervous systems. This means that simply by being within a wooded area we can help to reduce stress levels, balance our moods and improve our overall quality of life.

FIND A FOREST Looking to discover a spot where you can try out your new forest bathing skills? For UK readers, visit to find woodland in your local area.




“Spending an hour walking my dogs in my local woods is really beneficial to me. I have a big family and taking this time for myself is so important.” Jay from Harrogate, England

“Our forest environments can be viewed as therapeutic landscapes. Forest air doesn’t just feel fresher and better – inhaling phytoncide seems to actually improve immune system function,” concluded a study of forest bathing by researchers from Japan’s Chiba University. Lindsay from Masham, England, practices forest bathing along the banks of her local river. “The river bank is lined with trees. Most days, whatever the weather, I take a walk down there. I love trees and I often find myself sitting underneath them, just simply watching the water. When the weather is good I like to paddle, too. I love the feeling, the sense of freedom – it’s a great way of releasing stress and worries for me.” Forest bathing is firmly embedded in Japanese culture, with some Japanese companies actually insisting that their employees make regular visits to shinrin-yoku forests, recognising the positive effects that being outdoors in nature has on the workplace as staff return to work more focused, more productive and all-round happier people. So what exactly should we do when we visit our nearest woodland? The key to forest bathing is to slow down – leave your mountain bike and orienteering maps at home. Forest bathing is all about being mindful, taking time to inhale deeply, to relax fully and to absorb the sublime, natural environment around you. Kelly from Huddersfield, England, likes to use a technique called ‘earthing’ during her forest bathing sessions. “Taking my shoes and socks off really helps to ground me and makes me aware



Faith Douglas is a Forest Bathing practitioner and leader. Read more at and follow Faith’s forest adventures KRANKJ$=?A>KKG (forestbathinguk)


How to forest bathe Shake it off: set the scene and create intention by shaking off your ‘stuff’. When animals that have been held in captivity are released back into the wild you will often see them ‘shaking off’, as though they are shaking off the modern world. We can do this too – actively shake your arms, legs and body and set the intention of leaving your inner chatter behind, before you head on in to bathe.

Photography: Sara Rolin

of where I am and what I am doing,” explains Kelly. “It’s very easy for my mind to wander to events in the day or work. I feel the most amazing energetic boost afterwards and my feet feel just like I have had a reflexology session!” Forest bathing can soothe our minds and bodies at any time of the year, but as we move through the autumn season, we get to enjoy the added benefits of its rich colours, crisp fresh air and swirls of fallen leaves. Whether you choose to take your boots off, or keep your toes cosy, now really is the perfect time to wrap up in your favourite scarf and head for the healing trees.

Photography: Aaron Burden

Forest bathing is the perfect excuse to explore beyond the >A=PAJPN=?G=J@J@ a woodland area that appeals to your senses.

Listen: try listening to the sounds of nature with your hands cupped behind your ears, or closing your eyes and listening. Observe the sound of your feet crunching through the autumn leaves, or the cracking of twigs underfoot. The more you listen, the more you’ll find you hear! Look: pick a tree and take time to really examine it and get to know it. Sit under it, touch its bark, feel its leaves and notice its scent. If you like, you could create artistic patterns using the natural materials around you. Tune into the weather: use each kind of weather to connect with the environment around you. Ground yourself in the present moment by listening to the sound of the wind blowing through the trees, feeling the rain against your skin or watching how the sunlight plays through leaves and branches.




INTO THE WOODS From cedar and sandalwood, to cypress and birch, essential oils from trees offer a range of benefits for our health and wellbeing. Treat yourself with lotions, incense, tonics and more‌



This gentle herbal toner from Honest Skincare cleverly combines antiseptic Tea Tree oil with steam-distilled fresh lemons and calming Neroli, to purify and nourish the skin the natural way. ÂŁ25


Birch shampoo

Esta Aroma Diffuser

dõTerra oils

For lusciously clean locks, we’re ditching the chemicals for a timeless birch infusion. Used for centuries as a hair treatment, this modern-day revival by KALIflower Organics’ contains an zingy mix of birch-infused spring water with sweet citrus and cedarwood essential oils, creating a natural, daily shampoo that will leave your hair feeling soft and shiny.

Creating a fine aromatherapy-infused mist, this bamboo Esta Aroma Diffuser from Neal’s Yard can be used to help counteract some of the dryness created by modern central heating systems in our homes and workplaces. Just add some water and a few drops of your favourite mood-lifting essential oils or wood-based blends for a natural pick-me-up.

Like other essential oils, wood-based oils can be used for a wide range of applications, including massage, skincare and fragrance. US-based company dõTerra offers a superb range of woody combinations, from cypress and Douglas fir to cedar and sandalwood, plus details on their individual benefits and their suggested usage.

From £15


From US $17

Cedar incense sticks

Sacred Place candle

Rosewood bath melts

Scented with cedar, which is known for its ability to aid relaxation and contemplation, these luxurious incense sticks from Sacred Elephant will fill your home with harmonious fragrance. They’re blended and rolled by hand using traditional methods, incorporating only the best natural essential oils that are always ethically sourced and never tested on animals.

One of the lesser-known essential oils, ho wood has a sweet, woody and slightly floral aroma, which is reminiscent of rosewood and valued for its calming qualities. Ink and Ocean Botanical’s hand-poured Sacred Place candle combines this soothing oil with refreshing ylang ylang, bergamot and clary sage for a meditative and uplifting effect when lit.

Handmade by Brighton-based aromatherapist Corinne Taylor, these organic rosewood and bergamot bath melts are created from a nourishing blend of shea and cocoa butters, and then finished with relaxing and fragrant essential oils for a beautiful, natural aroma. Pop a couple into a warm running bath and soak away the stresses of the day.









ptimism is the ability to see things in a positive light, even if the situation itself is not a positive one. Some people have an innately optimistic view of the world that carries them through tricky times;




“It’s a fluke, I didn’t deserve the grade and I bet I’ll never get a score that high ever again.“ “I’m happy with my grade, now I’ll have to work hard to keep it up.” “Hooray! I’m top of the class! I always do well on tests.”

for others it can be a struggle to see anything but the negatives. While both optimism and pessimism can be useful in making big decisions, a generally optimistic outlook on life can have numerous benefits for your wellbeing.








More often than not. All the time.


Ignore it. You’re convinced that you’re not good enough to get it and you’d only make a fool of yourself if you were to apply. Read the job description thoroughly and imagine working with a new team. You know you have to give it a shot. Immediately hand your resignation to your current boss. This job has your name on it!

“The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.” George Bernard Shaw


Score your answers A = 2 points C = 4 points

B = 3 points

Score between 20-24 points A true optimist, you like to look on the bright side no matter what. Whether life is good or curveballs are flying your way, you manage to remain positive and learn from the experience. People love your upbeat personality! Remember to take a reality check every once in a while to ensure that your head isn’t too high in the clouds. You could ask a trusted friend or family member to share their perspective, and take this into account to keep you grounded when making important life decisions.

Photography Paulette Wooten

Score between 35 and 24 points



A lot. Somewhat. Not at all. B



Complain that it wasn’t a fifty. Feel grateful and decide to treat yourself to a cake with your coffee today. Spend it all immediately on lottery tickets - you’re lady luck after all!


That your life is about to fall apart and you’re to blame. You may as well end the relationship now, what’s the point? That maybe you need to take time to reflect on what you can take ownership of and how you’ll avoid something so trivial blowing up in future. That was silly! That you’ve hit a speed bump, but that it’s normal in any relationship. You will work it out together and no doubt everything will be fine in an hour or two.

Your view of the world is rather rosy, without being unrealistic. You understand what you can and can’t control in most situations, and you do your best to strike a healthy balance between reality and hoping for the best. You can see that setbacks are temporary and you use your creativity to solve the problems that different situations create. This is serving you well and will continue to lead you towards success. Keep on having confidence in your ability to cope with what life brings – you’re doing great!

Score of 13 points or less It’s easier for you to see problems before possibilities and this can hold you back. Don’t force yourself to be happy, but instead use distractions to stop yourself from fixating on negative or worrying thoughts. You could work out, listen to a song or talk to a friend. Challenge your assumptions about how bad a situation could be by taking a step back and seeing it from alternative perspectives. Exaggerate the outcome in your mind until it becomes something to laugh about!





PUT IT INTO PRACTICE A BALANCED ARGUMENT Being a pessimist can be helpful – optimists often take greater risks, especially with finances and health. But if pessimism is the source of unhappiness, it's time to make a change.


* Think silly! If you find that you're taking life too seriously, think about the opposite outcome for a situation that you’ve been making into a catastrophe. See if you can imagine the most absurd possibilities. What if you get a promotion to CEO? Went on a life-changing trip around the world? Met the love of your life? Playing around like this will help you to give you a sense of control over your thoughts and to break the overly-negative cycle you’re battling with. * Move on. When faced with a challenge, look at your problem as a specific event, rather than something that’s connected to all other events or indicative of a pattern present in all areas of your life. Remember that your setbacks are only temporary too.


“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Albert Einstein All you can do is to deal with it as well as you can, then move on! * Do your best. When things go wrong, it’s helpful to recognise that some factors are beyond your control and that there are external forces at play. Don’t let it bog you down. Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t, as you continue to set your sights on achieving your goals.


THE THREE PS The key to understanding how optimistic you are lies in how you think about the cause of events that happen in your lives. Professor Martin Seligman, author of Learned Optimism, calls this your explanatory style. Your style determines how you view the world and how you explain the good and bad things that happen to you. Seligman outlines three key areas where explanatory style differs between optimists and pessimists: * Personalisation. While an optimist doesn’t blame a negative event on themselves, pessimists take it personally. The reverse is true for positive events – optimists are quicker to attribute it to themselves, while pessimists believe that it’s due to something external. * Permanence. Optimists usually view setbacks as temporary roadblocks. Pessimists are more likely to see these barriers as permanent and destiny-defining. * Pervasiveness. Pessimistic people over-generalise failure in one domain to mean failure in all. Optimists don’t. Conversely, optimists allow a positive event to brighten their whole life, rather than compartmentalise it as a pessimist would.

“Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss


Research suggests that optimists are more likely to experience high levels of mental and physical wellbeing. They are more confident, sociable, successful in work and even have a longer life expectancy. While some people inherently expect things to turn out for the best, not everyone possesses a naturally rosy outlook on life. If you’re far more likely to focus on what could (and does) go wrong, it’s likely you’re a more pessimistic person. This might be your defence mechanism – having low expectations means they’re usually met! But researchers have found that a gloomier view of the world can put you at higher risk of experiencing depression and personal setbacks Pessimism doesn’t have to be permanent though – once you know how, you can choose to trigger your inner optimist at any time.


It only takes a few small steps to adjust your attitude. Seligman’s body of work reveals that the optimistic traits of viewing setbacks as external, temporary and specific are all teachable – anyone can learn to become an optimist if they put their mind to it. A balanced perspective combining the best of both worlds can be achieved by cultivating a sense of ‘realistic optimism’. This approach will allow you to expect the best while regularly touching base with reality, keeping your perspective positive and your sights set high, all while supporting yourself to cope by considering what you’ll do if things don’t go according to plan. It’s impossible to control everything that happens to you in life. However, you can control how you react to it. This is an essential skill to cultivate to live your life well. Whether you focus on the cloud or the silver lining will shape the way you see the world.



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Photography Kaela Speicher



Make music to soothe your soul You don’t have to take centre stage to be a musician, nor do you have to study music to be musical – music is inside us all. Learning to play an instrument can lift your spirits and soothe your mind and body Words: Jennifer Phin


o you have an acoustic guitar gathering dust in the corner of your house? Has your teenager moved out and ditched a drum set? Are you starting to regret your 2010 ukulele impulse-buy? Stop right there – go fetch that lonely instrument! Playing music isn’t just a fantastic creative outlet, it can improve your concentration and dexterity, reduce stress-levels, and it’s a brilliant way to socialise too.

INSPIRATION #1: DANIELLE ATE THE SANDWICH Danielle Anderson is a folk-pop singer songwriter who made her name with incredible ukulele performances and calls her admirers ‘fanwiches’. What’s not to love? W W W. DA N I E L L E AT E T H E S A N DW IC H .C O M

Research has shown that learning to play an instrument can change both our brain structure and function for the better, boosting long-term memory and increasing our mental alertness. A study published in February by the University of Montreal in Canada, found that musicians have significantly faster reaction times than non-musicians, suggesting that learning to play a musical instrument can also help to keep our brains sharp as we age. “Music-making is linked to a number of health benefits,” says Suzanne Hanser, chair of the music therapy department at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, USA. “Research shows that making music can lower blood pressure, decrease heart rate, reduce stress, and lessen anxiety and depression. There is also increasing evidence that making music enhances the immunological response, which enables us to fight viruses.”



Clockwise from top: Find a street piano and do your thing; videographer Alis Reid plays piano with her dog; feed your creativity with ukulele practise; share your love of music at the Hoxton Ukulele Hootenanny.


“Music is definitely a great icebreaker – if there happens to be a piano around, whether it’s at a party, or a new job, or just someone’s flat, people love to sing along.” Some of us have been put off playing music by the memory of demoralising (or just plain boring) school lessons, but it can be empowering to pick up those skills again and use them your way; to arrange and play the tunes that you love. Videographer Alis Reid has recently shaken off the shackles of her childhood piano lessons and started to enjoy herself. “I pretty much got kicked out of lessons for teaching myself pop songs by

Photography Hoxton Ukulele Hootenanny

These days, it’s easier than ever to teach yourself to play an instrument, even if you are a complete beginner. YouTube is packed with video tutorials for almost any instrument you can think of, plus a quick search online will turn up tuning guides, advice forums and downloadable music to learn at home, so you can build up your confidence without an audience. If you’d like to learn along with others instead, ask around or log on to to find out about clubs or events in your local area. The recent trend for folksy ukulele has created some great events all over the UK and beyond. We love the Hoxton Ukulele Hootenanny, a weekly play-along night at the Queen of Hoxton bar in London ( The Hootenanny is for “regular ukers, beginners or anyone who is just uke-curious”. If you can’t find anything similar in your town, put the word out and try to convince a musical friend to build a group together – even experienced players love having someone to perform with. As you build your own skills, you can teach others, so your resident expert won’t always have to be on-call.

Photography I Am Be Charlotte

INSPIRATION #2: BE CHARLOTTE With vocal melodies, beatboxing, sampling and looping, there’s not much that teenage songsmith Charlotte Brimner won’t do in the pursuit of what she calls ‘the damn good vibes’. Damn right.



Photography Jenny Phin

W W W. I A M B E C H A R L O T T E .C O M

Photography Alis Reid

Photography Jennifer Phin


ear instead of learning classical PLAY IN PUBLIC pieces,” says Alis. “From the UK artist Luke age of eight, lessons usually Jerram is spreading started with me being literally the musical love with his ‘Play me, I’m yours’ dragged out of the car by my installation. His pretty mother every Thursday. street pianos pop up in I was never particularly skilled public spaces around at the theory side of things the world (www. and I despised playing anything classical, which for some reason seems to be the only genre expected of a child, resulting in my irrational fear of Thursdays. But once I had learned enough technique, I realised I could play things by ear. This opened a whole new world of enjoyment and I found my love of piano. “It’s really satisfying hearing something on the radio then going home to create an arrangement just for the fun of it. If I feel like I’m swamped with work and chores and nothing is getting done, it’s really calming to just sit down and concentrate on completing a piece. “Music is definitely a great icebreaker when you’re meeting new people too – if there happens to be a piano around, whether it’s at a party, or a new job, or just someone’s flat, people love to sing along. I’ve worked at various hostels while travelling, and people love to be taught to play something, and those who already know how to play are usually keen to chat… or show off !” Alis now makes promotional travel films (, but her early forays into filmmaking included YouTube clips of her playing the piano, made to entertain her friends and exorcise exam stress. They include her playing seated backwards, upside-down and even with her dog. But what if you don’t have an instrument to hand, or if your hands are literally full with a new baby? You can always use that unique instrument, your voice. Swedish research has suggested that singing in a choir not only increases oxygen levels in the blood but triggers the release of ‘happy’ hormones such as oxytocin, which is understood to help lower stress levels and blood pressure. “There is just something so unique about the synchronicity of moving and breathing with other people,” says Nick Stewart, from Oxford Brookes University, who led a study into the how singing in a choir boosts our mental health. Previous studies at the University of Gothenburg in



wellbeing Sweden have found that a group of singers actually synchronise Both singing and their heart beats. It is not playing instruments surprising, then, that people can be a good workout who sing in a choir have a for the body, with stronger sense of being part benefits improving lung capacity, of a meaningful group. Nick circulation and Stewart explains: “At the even muscular moment it is speculative, but it strength. could be that singing in a group gives us something that we have lost as a society.” Choreographer Lise Smith joined North London’s Choir Baby group (www.facebook. com/choirbaby) after the birth of her daughter. The choir rehearses and performs with their babies and toddlers on-stage, so there’s no need for members to find childcare or miss out due to naps or feeding. Lise explains: “Drop-in rehearsals are weekly and an hour long – you come when you can and new members are absolutely welcome at any time. I think given that, and the fact that everyone has babies, it’s amazing that our director Naomi gets us sounding as good as she does! “Some of the girls are very experienced singers and sing a lot, but the majority either haven’t sung much at all or maybe not since school. The babies are a range of ages, from newborns all the way to almost school-age. During rehearsals, the little babies sit on their mums’ laps, the older babies will sit on the floor and play with simple instruments and the proper toddlers will run around and scream like banshees in between songs! But then there’s a magical effect when we start singing – all the toddlers immediately FIT AS A FIDDLE

Shake off the shackles of childhood piano lessons and start having fun with a keyboard!




Photography Jennifer Phin

Don’t read music? Don’t worry! Tablature (also known as ‘tab’) is an easy-to-understand form of music notation. Rather than a series of notes corresponding to a pitch, it simply shows you where to put your fingers on the instrument. Search online for ‘copyright-free tablature’ or check your local music shop for books of tablature from your favourite albums, movies or stage shows.

Not got an instrument to hand? A ukulele is a great place to start – they’re small, easy to store and inexpensive.



Photography Jennifer Phin

Photography Choir Baby


quieten down and listen, and some of them will join in. There’s something very magical about it, really. “We have concerts throughout the year, some at events like the Crouch End Festival ( or Oxjam ( We usually find out who’s turning up about five minutes before we go on stage; we’re very flexible like that. “Audiences love to see the babies, especially when we sing at hospitals. True story: we were singing outside the maternity ward once and a woman in the audience went into labour. That’s not something I had on my CV before!” So whether you’re ready to try something new, or rekindle skills long-forgotten, fetch a neglected instrument, get it in tune with an online tuner then let your hands and brain explore. You might find that melodies and rhythms come naturally, or you can search online for free, easy-to-read tablature to help you get started. Enjoy the process, get lost in your music, and let everyday worries fade into the background as you practise, practise, practise... not because it makes perfect, but because it’s life-affirming, joyful and frankly really good fun.

INSPIRATION #3: HAWK Activism, anger and another good hair day for Julie Hawk. She creates sublime grunge-rock that’s steeped in emotion. W W W. H AW KO F F IC I A L .C O M

GUITAR TUNER Get your guitar tuned and ready to rock with this easy-to-use tuning guide from legendary guitar manufacturer Fender.


UKULELE LESSONS Learn the basics and then strum along with gorgeous ukulele covers by jazz uke diva Cynthia Lin. We want her hair. Oh, and her house. cynthialinmusic


BY PIANOTE Dust off that 1980s keyboard and start playing today! Or just skip straight to the ‘Glissando’ lesson so you can impress with flamboyant keyboard slides at parties.


VOCAL COACHING Kimberley Smith is a friendly Australian singing teacher who wants to help you find your voice. You’ll soon discover your inner karaoke queen with her pro tips and technical exercises.


Hand drumming can be so relaxing and meditative, and many families can muster up a bongo, bodhran, or djembe from the corner of the attic – just ask around! Get hooked on rhythm with this gorgeous introduction to Cajon Box beats with Heidi Joubert.




SOUNDING OUT A NEW WAY TO RELAX With a focus on deep relaxation and restoring equilibrium to the mind and body, sound healing workshops and retreats are quickly becoming a wellbeing buzzword. Jo Carnegie is a recent convert


ong baths, Tibetan singing bowls, rattles, African drums; welcome to the world of sound healing. A few years ago it would definitely have been on the ‘far out’ end of the holistic spectrum, but this ancient practice is now sweeping the modern wellbeing scene. Once the domain of South American shamans and the Native American Navajo people, sound baths are now on the timetable at your local yoga studio. Sound healing workshops and retreats are fast becoming the R&R go-to, while people are bringing their own singing bowls to parties across the land. It seems like we can’t get enough – but what is it exactly? The practice itself goes back thousands of years. Its roots are found in every corner of the world, with traditions that use sound to balance the energy flow in the body. A newer branch of the field, known as sound therapy, combines ancient tradition with cutting-edge science, focusing on



how different sounds affect the mind, body and emotions. Whether you want to align your chakras or bring down your blood pressure, the emphasis is on deep relaxation and restoring equilibrium. Converts rave about the benefits. Gone are the days of meditating for hours on a yoga mat trying to quiet a busy mind. In a sound healing session (also known as a sound bath, as you are ‘bathed’ in sound) you still lie on a mat, but the instruments used have an instant calming effect. “The latest research shows our thoughts affect our health and wellbeing,” says Lyz Cooper, founder of the British Academy of Sound Therapy and author of What Is Sound Healing?. “If we can change the thoughts and beliefs that hold us in an unhealthy place, we naturally start to heal ourselves.” Switching off to music is nothing new, but the repetition of rhythmic instruments like rattles and drums helps the brainwaves to drop into an



There is evidence of gongs being used as a healing instrument from 16, 000 B.C. They are believed to have links to the spiritual world and were also a symbol of status and success.




Lyz Cooper: “If we can change the thoughts and beliefs that hold us in an unhealthy place, we naturally start to heal ourselves.”

Photography Gaby Luna

Karolina Wysocka: “I’m just creating the space for the sound to reach the person so they can start healing themselves.”

“Sound bathing gives you the chance to step back from the world.” altered state. Tonal instruments (for example, gongs and singing bowls) produce sounds over a longer period of time, which also ‘trick’ the brain into going into a timeless space – a bit like the long “om” chanted at the start of a yoga class. Lyz has seen a sharp rise in the number of people coming to her workshops. She says that the physical benefits are numerous – relaxed muscle tension, less pain in the body, a better



mood state and less stress. “People get all sorts of insights and ideas about how to change their lives. I say it’s like going on an inner retreat instead of a physical one. It really gives you the chance to step back from the world.” Rebecca Holt is a sound healing practitioner and teacher from Utah (@wordsthatbreathe, She runs sound healing sessions and meditation workshops at retreats in the USA and around the world. Leaving a career in events management, she retrained in sound healing and her work is increasingly in demand – this summer she was booked for a 10-day retreat in France. “In today’s society everything is so fast and busy. We rarely get the time to switch off,” she says. “We walk around with our nervous systems stuck in constant fight or flight mode. Sound healing helps the brain settle and just have time between thoughts. Because sound is about silence too.” Rebecca even has a name for it: the deep low hum. “It’s about going into the body to that place

Photography Peach & Jo


of peace and harmony, where ‘all is well’ and you feel at rest.” Zoe Parks, a journalist from Brighton, England, experienced her first sound bath on a yoga retreat in West Sussex. “It is such a great way to switch off. The sound fills the mind so much that you have no choice but to go with it. It sounds crazy, but you can actually feel the healing happening. The vibrations put you back in your body again and make you feel more solid and connected. I always walk away feeling calmer and clearer.” Zoe is already booked up for her next sound healing retreat and this time is taking a friend with her. “I used to go on spa weekends to relax and I’d always end up drinking too much wine and come back feeling worse. I suffer from anxiety and sound healing is the one thing that has made a big difference.” But what actually happens in a sound healing session? Karolina Wysocka is a sound healing practioner from Bristol, UK (www.soundoflife. She runs individual and group sessions, as well as offering sound healing in schools, hospitals and retirement homes (www.meetup. com/Bristol-Sound-Healing-Sessions). Like the other practitioners, she says that she is not doing the actual healing: “I’m just creating the space for the sound to reach the person so they can start healing themselves”. For my sound bath, Karolina firstly got me to lie down, telling me to close my eyes and take some deep, slow breaths. Over the next 30 minutes she used a variety of instruments (singing bowls, a wooden rattle, called a rain stick, and bells) to take me into a deep, meditative state. Ironically, at the same time there was a drill going outside on a building site, but gradually the vibrations of the bowls took over. According to Karolina, this is something called ‘entrainment’, where a lesser vibration locks with a more powerful one. I found myself going into (or back to?) a deep state of knowing, where I felt really calm and wise. During the session I could feel my stomach gurgling and the tension draining out of my body. Afterwards, I felt so grounded it felt like my feet were physically stuck to the floor. This peaceful yet powerful feeling lasted well into the next day. I, for one, am swiftly becoming a new sound healing fan.

Find a sound healing session near you GOOD VIBRATIONS ARE TO BE FOUND ALL OVER THE WORLD. TRY A SESSION LOCAL TO YOU... CENTRE FOR PURE SOUND A tranquil sound healing centre in the original spiritual mecca of Glastonbury.

THE RETREAT COMPANY This established company runs a variety of retreats in the UK and worldwide.

SECRET YOGA CLUB Bespoke events and luxury retreats featuring sound healing.

SOUND AWAKENING London-based sound bathing classes, events and workshops.

Sound healing apps ENJOY THE EFFECTS OF A SOUND SESSION IN YOUR OWN HOME BY TRYING OUT AN APP... NATURESPACE Immerse yourself in ambient sounds from natural spaces around the world. (iOS/Android, free)

GONG BATH Take your sound bath on the go with 15 different gong sounds for meditation. (iOS/Android, free/in-app purchases)

CRYSTAL BOWLS – THE HEALING SOUND Indulge in pure quartz tones and harmonics that will ease away stress and leave you feeling calm and rested. (iOS only, free/in-app purchases)




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Beth Kerr, 41, is Deputy Headmistress and Head of Pastoral Care, Pupil Progress and Wellbeing at Immanuel College, a co-ed school in Hertfordshire with 700 pupils aged 4-18. Her husband, Matt, is a teacher and they have three children.


MY EARLY MORNING HABIT Fresh air and exercise are essential to my wellbeing. I get up at 5:30am every day and get outside for a walk. The way I see it, I’m still going to be tired if I get up at 6.30am, so I might as well get up an hour earlier. I don’t meditate but just having that hour to myself has the same positive impact as meditation. And no matter how tired I feel when I wake up, I’m know I’m always going to feel better afterwards!

“If you treat people calmly and kindly, it breeds an open and relaxed environment where you can admit your mistakes. Then you can work through them together!”

In my role, lots of people come to me with their problems. Whether it’s a pupil who is upset about not getting invited to a party or parents who are stressed about their child’s exams, I get them to imagine what their worst case scenario would be in this situation. When they follow it through, they realise that it really isn’t the end of the world, and that often there are other options. Going through the scenarios pragmatically helps me – and them – to keep some perspective.

MAKE IT PERSONAL I love a night out with friends – being 41 with kids hasn’t changed that! The buzz from spending time with the people who make you happy is good for your soul in a way that social media and online interaction can never replicate. I always feel more calm and productive afterwards.


I instantly know when I’m getting stressed or feeling uptight with people. Instead of reacting, I’ll take a minute out, or wait five minutes before sending an email. It’s the same for both work and home – if you feel yourself getting stressed, go for a walk, take a coffee break, or even do something as simple as putting some lipstick on. Whatever it is at the time, it won’t seem so bad just a few minutes later.

IT’S OK TO MAKE MISTAKES Everyone fails sometimes, but if you take responsibility for it people will accept your apology and move on. Ruminating about what you could have done differently is no good for anyone – it just cultivates stress.




FOCUS ON YOUR VALUES When faced with fear, knowing your life values can help you to find solutions and take control Words: Ali Binns / Illustration: Bett Norris


ecently, an event I attended got me thinking about my own anxiety – a school meeting about my eldest son’s forthcoming GCSEs. It’s enough just thinking about exams to bring back butterflies, but as the teachers outlined the increased pressures, I noticed my anxiety mounting. I’m not even the one doing the exams! I also noticed, as my anxiety grew, an intense urge to step in and start dishing out advice to my son about how he could best prepare. Anyone who has any knowledge of teenagers will know how well that usually pans out. Situations often cause anxiety when we realise that we, or someone close to us, has something to deal with that is uncertain or beyond our control. Despite our best intentions, anxiety can get the better of our decision-making skills and lead us to manage situations in a less than helpful way. When you notice fear, that’s your fight or flight reflex kicking in – it’s preparing you for ‘all systems go’. You can run away to hide or you can stay and fight. In daily life, it can seem easiest to avoid the things that we fear, as the feeling of anxiety we get is so physically uncomfortable. The downside of ‘running away’ is that we run the risk of shrinking our life to something small and unsatisfying. There are many ways that we might keep our fears at bay which are subtle and commonplace. A friend with social anxiety might always arrive late or leave early, to avoid the stress they feel in social situations by limiting the time that they need to spend there. Dread of public speaking might determine a career choice. Fear of a terror attack could mean no trips into town centres. You can probably think of something you do, or don’t do, to feel safe. But avoidance is rarely the answer – often in avoiding our fears, we miss out on things which could enrich our lives. In these situations, we need to find something that is more important than fear. Fear is easier to deal with when we can do something about it and tackle it head-on. But what can we do with the scary-world stuff where we have little

control? Sure, we can bring in our mindful breathing, but sometimes that doesn’t even touch the sides. The answer could be in mindful awareness, and getting in touch with our values in life. Values are what matter to you and they are freely chosen by you. As a therapist, I find that mindful awareness and values go hand-in-hand in helping people to manage life’s challenges. What’s helpful about values is that they give our life meaningful direction. When life gets tough, they never run out and can function as a guide. If you can imagine a value as the arrow on a compass, you can always continue on your chosen direction. Examples of life values are love, persistence, compassion, courage, acceptance and fun. Values can give us enough of a push to keep on going and do what matters in face of our fear. If you would like to be clearer about your values, there are many ways of discovering and exploring these. One is to find a quiet place to sit, close your eyes and contemplate your own 80th birthday party. Bring to mind three people in your life who will each give an imagined speech about you, talking about what you have brought to their lives and what you mean to them. Spend time seeing what arises as you imagine these scenarios. Have a notebook on hand for noting down the themes that emerge. What you discover can help you to work out what matters to you. You could then list your top three values in key life areas, such as relationships, leisure, work and health. When you’re faced with fear in any of these areas, you’ll have your values to guide you, and to remind you that you have choices. Values give you options, creative solutions and help you to live a life of purpose. So, when faced with your fears, I encourage you to give this a try. What life values can you focus on? What small things can you do, when anxiety looms large, that will help you or others around you? You might not be able to change the world, but you will be able to make a difference that matters.

ALI BINNS is an accredited cognitive behavioural therapist and mindfulness coach with a private therapy practice in Bath, UK. You can read more from Ali on her blog at






one is right for you?

Both have the power to condition your body, enliven your spirit and improve your sense of wellbeing, says teacher and practitioner Ali Burrell. Understanding the similarities and differences will help you to decide which suits you best


he combination of Pilates and yoga has always seemed to me the perfect marriage. Both are transformational methods of mindful movement that can facilitate positive change in the body, mind and spirit. In my opinion, their differences complement one another in the best of ways. Pilates is known as a 'workout', and yoga as a 'practice'. However, the irony here is that in order to improve at anything, we have to practise, and when we practise well, both Pilates and yoga can be exceptional workouts. And as you will see, both are worthy of our time and attention for innumerable reasons. Unless you're very familiar with both it may be difficult to tell how these two methods are different. In truth, there is a lot of overlap between yoga and Pilates. Let’s begin by having a look at each method individually, then we'll break them down into their similarities and differences.



Yoga means to ‘yoke’, or ‘to conjoin’, and so by definition yoga is the practice of uniting the mind, body and spirit through movement (asana), breathing techniques (pranayama) and meditation. This holistic practice is deeply rooted in ancient Indian culture. It was originally used as a means to move energy through the body, leaving the student feeling calm enough to sit in meditation after the practice. Developed as a pragmatic science by ancient seers centuries ago, yoga is a practice that any person, regardless of age, gender, physical ability, race, or religious belief can benefit from and use to realise his or her full potential. The yoga postures, called asanas, represent the second limb of yoga on an eight-limbed path. On a physical level, the postures are designed to tone, strengthen and align the body. They increase both flexibility and balance and they promote blood flow to THE MAGIC OF the organs, glands and tissues, MEDITATION keeping the body’s systems Whether static or healthy and balanced. moving, the focused In yoga philosophy, the breath meditative state that is seen to be the most important both yoga and Pilates facet of health, because it is the encourage can decrease most readily available source stress levels, improve of life force, or prana, that we have available to us. Hatha yoga, mood and boost the the primary influence in modern immune system. yoga, utilises pranayama (the third limb of yoga), which literally means ‘the science and control of breathing’, to help the practitioner quieten the mind, embrace the present moment and manifest good health. Achieving proper alignment in each yoga posture and moving into greater ranges of movement, all while staying connected to one’s breath, challenges our comfort level. It can lead to transformation from the inside out – practitioners of yoga will often see improvement in patience, physical strength, balance, flexibility, energy levels and sleep, as well as a reduction in stress and mental tension. The many different styles of yoga, from the very gentle to the super dynamic, make it accessible to all. My teacher always says, “if you can breathe, you can do yoga”.



“Both yoga and Pilates centre and balance me, making me more aware of myself and my surroundings, so I have greater reserves to share good feeling with others.”



Pilates takes its name from its German inventor Joseph H. Pilates, born in 1883, who spent time living in both England and the US. He began developing his exercise system in Germany in the early 1900s. Plagued by both asthma and rickets as a child, Pilates’ method sprang from his determination to strengthen his own frail and sickly body. He called his method ‘The Art of Contrology’ (the study of control) and believed that it would help people to develop strength and fortitude in body and mind, not only accomplishing daily tasks with ease, but also living life to the fullest. He took inspiration for his method from yoga and Ancient Greek and Roman exercise regimes, as well as dance and callisthenics, and taught his method in his studio in New York until his death in 1967. Often called a ‘moving meditation’, because of the incredible focus of the mind on the body, Pilates is a non-impact exercise system that emphasises alignment and body awareness. Pilates exercises can change people’s bodies, sculpt muscles and improve flexibility and posture. Due to its focus on the stabilising muscles of the torso, which support the spine, Pilates helps practitioners to develop unmatched core strength and an increased efficiency of movement. Pilates can be practiced both on the mat and on specialised machines developed by Joseph Pilates. Known by fancy names such as the Reformer, the Cadillac and the Wunda Chair, they utilise pulleys and springs to offer both support and resistance that will build strength and increase overall flexibility in the spine and the limbs.

Pilates is based on six principles which enable the practitioner to learn to move with maximum efficiency, while minimising stress on the body. They are: Breathing, Concentration, Centering, Control, Precision and Flow. Because Pilates is gentle and challenging at the same time, it is safe and effective for nearly everyone, irrespective of age or fitness ability, from pre- and post-natal mothers to the super-fit. It is a phenomenal cross-training tool, and many professional athletes turn to Pilates to optimise their performance. The medical community also recognises Pilates as a modality that assists with physical therapy, to facilitate healing and protect practitioners from future injury and back pain.


The similarities Both yoga and Pilates are mindful movement practices that cultivate greater body awareness and help to deliver us from our busy minds back into our bodies. They encourage a focus on the present moment and the journey of the movement itself, rather than the outcome or the end goal, which may be anything from a stronger, well-toned body to peace of mind. In both practices, learning to become aware of the breath, to breathe both properly and deeply, and build respiratory stamina are of paramount importance. Another similarity is that many of the exercises/poses look alike. This is because Joseph Pilates studied yoga and borrowed many poses from yoga, gymnastics and dance when he was developing his method. Also, modern day yoga took inspiration from gymnastics when adding to its repertoire of poses, so the two practices share many of the same exercises/poses and aren’t actually that different from the outside.



wellbeing The differences Philosophy Probably the most significant difference between these two disciplines lies in their intent. Pilates is a relatively modern and logical system of exercise specifically designed to enhance and balance physical and mental wellbeing. Yoga is an ancient spiritual teaching, where the posture practice is only one aspect of a whole system. Yoga philosophy presents the means of waking us up from our spiritual amnesia so that we can remember all that we already know. Whilst both are a good workout, yoga can be more of a ‘work-in’, helping us to peel away the layers of stress and tension so we can feel more connected and in harmony

the other hand, is working to down-regulate the nervous system to prepare you for meditation, and for this the breath is key. There is also not the same emphasis on core support in yoga. Since these breathing styles are so different, you may get a more intense abdominal workout from Pilates than from yoga. You may also find Pilates to be more energising and invigorating, while yoga may have more of a calming effect on you.

Machines Pilates workouts can take place both on the mat and on machines, while yoga is solely


with ourselves and the world around us. For these reasons, yoga is seen as the go-to method for people seeking greater understanding of themselves and deeper spiritual connection.

Breathing Yoga and Pilates are both breath-based disciplines, but the breathing focus and techniques are quite different. In yoga, the primary goal is to stay connected to the breath, providing a focus for the mind. In Pilates, the first order of business is the precision of movement, and then the coordination of that movement with the breath. For the bulk of the yoga asana practice, the breath is taken in and out through the nose, which helps to calm the nervous system. Pilates instead teaches you to breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. This style of breathing is known as diaphragmatic, whereas yoga often emphasises abdominal, or belly breathing. Why are the two breathing styles different? One reason is that Pilates is preparing you for active movement, emphasising an abdominal contraction on the exhale, which provides support in your core muscles. Yoga, on



mat-based and uses props such as blocks, bricks, straps, bolsters, blankets and chairs to facilitate and support poses. The Pilates machines use springs that provide resistance to increase strength challenge, as well as offering support. This makes them a great tool for developing balanced strength and flexibility and also makes Pilates accessible for those recovering from injury, or with insufficient strength to support their limbs. If you have a sportsspecific training goal too, the machines can be a great addition to your exercise regime.


Class structure Y oga poses, such as Gate Pose, are heldr statically fo s several breat h

Yoga classes usually begin with the Sun Salutation series, including push-ups, while Pilates mat classes are meant to end with the 34th exercise, the Push-Up (chaturanga). Yoga warms up with standing postures and ends lying down in relaxation (savasana), but Pilates begins lying down and ends standing up. Yoga’s relaxation pose at the end of yoga class is meant to help the body consolidate the postures, while Pilates’ purpose for ending in standing is to prepare the body for re-integration into functional daily activities. So, if you like the idea of finishing by floating into a deep relaxation, yoga is the way to go. If you prefer to bound off the mat feeling energised, try Pilates.

Flexibility vs stability One of the main differences between Pilates and yoga is that Pilates begins with small ranges of motion and then progresses towards end-range joint movement while yoga tends to hold postures at end-range of joint motion and muscle length. In yoga, one generally holds each pose for several breaths, whereas Pilates is about movement, flowing through exercises at a slightly faster pace. This contributes to yoga's reputation as being flexibility-focused and taking the body ‘to your edge’, whereas Pilates’ emphasis is on stability, strength and control PERSONAL throughout the body’s full ranges of EXPERIENCE movement. For Ali, both practices Although both practices have improved overall succeed in dramatically increasing wellbeing . “I continue to flexibility of the spine and limbs, be delighted at just how certain body types are better simple yet powerfully suited to either one or the other. transformative yoga For example, a hyper-mobile and Pilates are.” individual would likely be better suited to Pilates. Yoga's deep stretches may destabilise their joints further and lead to pain and injury, whereas the focus in Pilates would be to increase stability around the joints and develop greater control of their ranges of movement.

Ali Burrell is a Pilates, Yoga & Somatics Movement Coach in Bath, UK at Read more from Ali at

So, beyond this, what’s the best way to learn which one is for you? Go out and try them for yourself! You might find that one speaks to you more than the other, but I've found that together, they are the perfect combination.



“Alison helps me to cope with my back problem” Helen, West Sussex Alison is a complementary therapist. Alongside standard medical care, she provides ongoing comfort and support to Helen, to help her live life to the full.

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wellbeing HAVE YOU TRIED



y applying specialised massage techniques to the ‘reflex points’ on the soles, tops and sides of the feet, the aim of a reflexology treatment is to help restore the body’s natural balance and improve general wellbeing. It is a treatment that can benefit people of all ages, and therapists will usually work the various reflex points using their thumbs, fingers and knuckles, though some may incorporate crystals or special tools to enhance treatment. Before you have your first treatment, your therapist will ask you a range of questions about your health, diet and lifestyle. This will help them to decide if reflexology is right for you, or whether any adaptations to the treatment will be necessary. In some instances you may be asked to speak to your doctor or midwife before treatment, for example, if you have a long-term medical condition or you are pregnant. For the treatment itself, you’ll remain clothed, removing just your footwear. Once you are comfortably positioned on a therapy couch or chair, the therapist will gently cleanse your feet before applying a fine powder, cream or oil, to help provide a free-flowing treatment. As the session gets under way, the therapist may ask you to focus on gently breathing in and out, in line with their own breathing, to encourage a deeper level of relaxation. The therapist will then massage and stretch your feet and ankles, before using a variety of techniques to ‘work’ the different reflex points on each foot. The areas treated and pressure applied will be adapted to suit your individual needs.

Heal your body through your feet.

5 benefits of reflexology Studies show that reflexology can help to reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as lowering anxiety, improving sleep and mood, and relieving tension. Reflexology may help to reduce pain perception in those affected by lower back pain, multiple sclerosis and menstrual pain.

On the whole, you should find the treatment very relaxing, though some areas of your feet may feel ‘crunchy’ or tender when pressure is applied. This can indicate an imbalance in the body, which your therapist will aim to address by paying extra attention to that area of the foot. In the hours immediately following treatment, you may find that you are feeling more tired than usual, that you need to urinate more frequently, or have a mild headache, but this isn’t always the case. Your therapist will give you relevant aftercare advice, including drinking plenty of water and avoiding alcohol. Appointments typically last from 30 minutes to an hour and can cost anything between £25-£65 per session. The Federation of Holistic Therapists ( is the UK and Ireland’s largest professional association for complementary, holistic beauty and sports therapists.

Many women, and their partners, find reflexology beneficial when trying to conceive. This is believed to be due to the balancing and relaxing effects of treatment. Research shows that many people affected by cancer find complementary therapies BEFORE YOU GO such as reflexology hugely Reflexology should supportive through their be used alongside journey, helping them to standard medical care, cope with their diagnosis, and not as an alternative. treatments, symptoms Always consult with your and rehabilitation.

GP, midwife or other health professional for medical attention and advice.

As well as balancing the body as a whole, reflexology treatments involve a range of techniques designed to mobilise the toes, feet and ankles. If you suffer from stiff or tired feet and ankles, regular treatments may make a difference to your strength and flexibility.




Follow the shows on Twitter @thecraftshows or on Facebook @StitchingSewing HobbycraftsShows




e’ve teamed up with the organisers of Simply Christmas and Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts to offer you a 2 for 1 ticket offer to these inspiring shows at the NEC, Birmingham on 2nd–5th November and ExCel, London on 16–18th November 2017. Simply Christmas is the number one shopping destination for artisan, handcrafted gifts – a great opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done early and wow friends and family. Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts returns this year with their inspiring show for craft lovers. Whatever craft you’re in to, the show has tools, kits and inspiration aplenty and features more than 100 exhibitors. Think product launches, free workshops and demonstrations from the industry’s top names. There are some fantastic

installations to spark the imagination too – you’ll leave feeling inspired to get creative for Christmas. HOW TO CLAIM YOUR SPECIAL OFFER: To claim your 2 for 1 offer visit and use code OV50 at the checkout for either of the following shows*: Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts / Simply Christmas / Art Materials Live & Cake International at the NEC, Birmingham. Advance tickets cost: Adults £12, Seniors £11. Stitching, Sewing & Hobbycrafts / Simply Christmas at ExCeL, London. Advance tickets cost: Adults £10, Seniors £9. Buy 2 tickets for the price of 1 and save at least £9 For more info visit

*Terms and Conditions : This offer must be booked online in advance. For Birmingham, 2nd – 5th November 2017, offer closes at 5pm on 30th October 2017. For London, 16th–18th November 2017, closes at 5pm on 13th November 2017. Opening times 10am – 5pm (4:30pm Sunday)






HEALTH IN EVERY CUP More and more studies are finding that drinking coffee is good for you. A cup of joe is said to boost your memory, kickstart your metabolism and fight off disease.




COFFEE ART WITH HEART What is it about a beautifully decorated latte that makes it oh-so-appealing? It’s all about the thoughtfulness and care that went into making it, says barista and coffee lover Ryan Soeder


Photography – main image from Shutterstock

offee is a ritual. We treat it reverently on quiet early mornings and use it as a reason to gather with friends. It gives us fuel in the middle of the day when we need an extra edge, comfort when we need soothing, and, frankly, is just plain delicious. Coffee art is not only fun to practice, but is a promise to the person receiving it that their drink was made with the utmost care. It is also a lesson in humility, because it will almost never turn out the way you want it to. And even when it does, it’s a thing of momentary beauty – a few sips and it’s gone! The easiest and (arguably) most delicious way to get creative with your coffee at home is using a stencil and flavoured powders. Cut out your own stencil, or buy one ready-made, then try mixing the perfect flavour combinations to complement your drink.




Making your own coffee stencils PUT A SMILE IN YOUR CUP WITH A PERSONAL DESIGN, ALL YOU NEED IS PAPER AND A PAIR OF SCISSORS Paper is great for one-off stencil designs. Remember those snowflakes you made as a child? Fold your paper in half or quarters and cut designs into it for a super-simple stencil! If you want longer-lasting stencils, you can use a sturdier material, such as a thin sheet of plastic. Use scissors to cut a circle slightly larger than your cup, then use a craft knife to cut the design in the circle. When designing the stencil, try not to include too many large holes in your design, to make sure that you don’t end up using too much flavoured powder. For instance, cutting a large, solid heart out of the middle of your stencil would cover most of the surface of the drink with gritty bits. Instead, try cutting just an outline, or using intersecting, layered patterns, to suggest the shape.

How to use your stencils Achieving flavour balance, as well as a beautiful design, is what you are aiming for when using stencils. You want to use enough powder to make the design stand out, but you don’t want the flavour of the powder to take over the drink. Plus, too much powder will leave the surface gritty. The trick is to get the stencil as close to the surface of the drink as possible without dipping it into the foam. Gently tap out the powder from about 6in (15cm) above the stencil. Keeping the stencil close to the drink ensures crisp edges and good definition of the design, while tapping out the powder from as high over the drink as possible allows the air between the shaker and the stencil to break up any clumps of powder as it falls. The easiest way to do this is to slightly underfill the cup, so you can rest the stencil directly on the lip of your mug. Make sure to place a mat or saucer under the cup, to avoid any potential powder stains on your countertop.

We’ve created a set of simple stencil designs to inspire you. Visit to get arty with your lattes! 56


This is an edited extract from Love Coffee by Ryan Soeder (Quarto Press, £10).


Caramel latte Give your latte a salted caramel twist with this combination of sea salt, burnt sugar and cocoa.

Chai latte SEA SALT






Hot chocolate/ mocha Top hot chocolate or mocha with an Aztecinspired blend of citrus, bitter cocoa and cayenne.

Ground cloves, cinnamon and cardamom combine to create the flavours of spiced Indian tea.

Earl Grey latte CITRUS PEEL

Blend citrus and cocoa to top your latte with the bergamot-orange aroma of classic Earl Grey tea.




Classic flavours to get you started Choose a powder mix that enhances, but doesn’t overpower, the flavour of your drink. You can experiment with the quantities of each powder until you find a mix that you like. Most powders and spices can be bought ready-made, such as ground cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cocoa and cayenne (although use the latter with caution!).

To add a citrus zing, finely grate the zest from an orange or lemon, then leave it to dry before adding it to your mix. Burnt sugar is another classic coffee flavour. Buy the ready-made powder from www.natural or make your own ‘toasted sugar’, which has a delicious caramel flavour; you’ll find various simple recipes online.




Write your way to a calmer, happier you Make writing your sanctuary and you’ll find that your jottings and journals can help you to cultivate inner calm and wellbeing, says Jo Bisseker Barr


riting expressively captures things in black and white. It encourages us to slow down, to breathe a little more deeply, and to reflect on authentic feelings. The poet William Wordsworth certainly understood something of the restorative power of expressive writing when he said: “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Lots of people have already discovered how reflective writing can help to calm the mind and increase feelings of wellbeing, particularly at times when life’s challenges, such as loss or change, can threaten to throw us off-kilter. With regular practice, the act of writing can be both a surprising and illuminating route towards our self-development, helping us to explore and clarify personal issues, what we think and feel, how we understand ourselves, and how we can move towards healthy growth. I have worked creatively with words all my life, and I try to write every day. I first discovered the pleasure of escaping into fiction as a child. When my dad got up to go to work each morning, my younger sister would climb into bed with my mum, while I burrowed back into my blankets with a book. Although they developed a closeness that persists today, I was perhaps experiencing a different kind of emotional connection through the written word, escaping into the fictional world of its characters. I soon began writing myself, producing little handmade books with drawings to illustrate them, and moving on to write a diary for many years. In reading back my diaries now, I’m able to chart how, as I grew older, the content shifted.

Photography Dustin Lee




Making a ritual of your writing practice can help you to integrate it into your daily routine. It could be a meal time habit, something you do on a tea break (even at work!) or at bedtime just before you go to sleep. Try different times to see what suits you.


“Writing encourages us to carve out a calm space where we quieten our busy minds for just a while.” Mainly factual entries (“went to school again, had sausages for dinner”) soon evolved into something more akin to those “breathings of the heart” that Wordsworth talked about. As a teenager, many of us can recall how getting things down in black and white had a soothing effect, pouring out painful feelings into a secret journal kept under lock and key, only to be read by another on pain of death. There was something about that process of learning how to both feel and express what I was feeling, within a safe space, that felt cathartic – a little bit of self-therapy. Working as a talking therapist today, I always encourage my clients to keep a journal. It’s another way of unburdening, sorting and making meaning of what goes on in the therapy room. But we don’t need to have a mental health problem to benefit from reflective writing. It’s a healthy habit to identify and track everything we are feeling and going through, just as a way of

processing stuff that happens in everyday life. I also kept a dream diary for a while. Reading it back now, later in life, allows for fascinating connections to be made. At the time, much of it seemed laugh-out-loud, a crazy mixture of reality and fantasy, such as surfing the Severn-bore tidal wave past my house with my family. But delve a little bit deeper and, as many of my clients have found, over time it can be eye-opening. It’s a way of tapping into an unconscious world that sits just below the surface, of charting psychological growth through the years towards the present day. Getting into the habit of writing our dreams down can feel therapeutic in itself, but it can also be an invaluable tool for reflective thinking, shedding light on old, unhelpful patterns and revealing something new about ourselves. Then there are my book reviews. I’ve written a review of every single book I’ve read since I was 13. I recall the thrill of being given a large, burgundy, leather-effect writing book from an uncle – the first book I reviewed in its pages was Flambards by KM Peyton. At the back there is a page where I recorded those few books which were lucky enough to receive the accolade of ‘Best Reads’ – those truly knock-out works that you constantly want to return to, yet also can’t bear to finish because you will miss them. So what is it all about, this desire to chart and

“The more we can retrain our brain in rituals like writing, the better-equiped we will be for life’s dips and knocks. Time set aside for writing, just like time given to mindfulness practice, yoga, cycling or even baking, can become another tool in our self-care kit.” JO BISSEKER BARR



Photography Alvaro Serrano


Photography Andrew Welch

map these details of my life in written form? It has persisted in one way or another through the years, like a seam of metal running through different layers of rock. Expressive writing, for me, seems to be a means to cultivating regular, attentive space and time towards the self. It acts as punctuation in my ever-busy life; a safe, grounding place that I can take myself to. It can tick all the boxes that other self-care rituals such as yoga, running or PEN BENEFITS mindful meditation practice Studies have shown provide, encouraging me to that writing by hand can carve out a calm space where boost productivity levels, I can quieten my busy minds increase your ability to for just a while, slowing retain information and down and tuning into my improve comprehension inner world. of new ideas. There’s no Expressive writing, then, can better excuse to pick up be seen as a form of mindfulness. a pen and get writing! It takes us away from angsting over the “what ifs” of what might happen, and blocks out our regretful “if onlys” from the past, disengaging us from dwelling on our stresses and anxieties. Take advantage of this mindful activity by investing in a beautiful notebook, picking up your pen and writing a little reflective space into your day. The more we can retrain our brain in rituals like this, the betterequipped we will be for life’s dips and knocks.




Bring more writing into your life Start free-writing Set aside five quiet minutes each day, and write non-stop. Write whatever’s in your head, trying not to plan, or censor yourself. Don’t worry about structure, spelling or sentences. Give yourself permission to write anything – it’s impossible to get it wrong! This is a bit like warming up before a workout.

Write down your dreams Research shows that the more we try to recall our dreams, the more dreams we remember. Create a heading in your journal to remind you to do it, and keep it by your bed for easy access as you awaken. DEAR DIARY “I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train,” wrote Oscar Wilde. Diaries are great for keeping track of your feelings – and for a good read!

Invest in some beautiful stationery Accumulate gorgeous notelets, thank-you cards or good old-fashioned writing paper. Connect with some of the people you love by sending heart-felt written messages – receiving something like this in the post feels so special!

Write letters that will never be sent Next time someone hurts you, sit down and write everything you think and feel in a letter to them. This can be cathartic, helping to sort out what you really think and feel, because you know it’s for your eyes only.

Keep a talisman Find a small object that’s meaningful to you – I have a tiny pig given by a friend that sits in a coat pocket. Think of it being a bit like a guardian angel. Respond to things you write in your journal with a paragraph in the voice of your talisman. What might it say? This can help bring perspective and shift entrenched thinking.

Write lists Lists are not only for groceries! Start ones up that are personal to you; what makes you happy, a bucket list, friends, ambitions – your choice!

Read more The more you read, the more you will be inspired to write. Read travelogues, then write your own. Include tickets, mementos and photos. Read biographies – in your journal, you are writing your own! Join a book group, and talk about others’ writing that you love.


TRY THE HAND-STITCHED JOURNAL TREND We love discovering new, creative things to do with our journal covers, and this simple hand-stitched look has caught our eye. Created by Anna Alicia (www.aalicia.bigcartel. com), these simple graphic patterns are perfect for making a statement journal cover. If you’d like to have a go at creating them yourself, we have made some free downloadable templates and a video how-to just for you. They’re so simple, no previous stitching experience is required! Go to make-your-own-stitched-journal/

FREE TEMPLATES + VIDEO HOW-TO! creating/makeyour-own-stitchedjournal/


A PAGE A DAY Whether you prefer to document your day in a classic diary, set yourself goals in a bullet journal or remember your happy times in a scrapbook, investing in beautiful stationery can help you to find a regular journalling practice

A simple, spiral-bound scrapbook, like this square design from Paperchase, can be filled with anecdotes, photos and mementos for a handcrafted family album. From ÂŁ8.50

Photography Claire Cater


Mindful activities

Leather journal

Iconic pens

Developed in partnership with mental health charity, Mind, The Wellbeing Journal is designed to encourage creativity and reflection in your everyday life. It includes a variety of activities and colouring pages to do, as well as drawing prompts and contemplative quotes to provide inspiration, plus lots of space to write about your own thoughts.

Noteworthy observations merit a superior notepad and Bound by Hand’s lovingly made leather journals really are the crème de la crème of stationery. Pages are stitched by hand, using traditional methods, to make a strong yet flexible jotter. Vibrant leather covers give a distinctive and tactile finish, and there’s also a mini version for on-the-go notes.

Doodle and colour to your heart’s content with this Two Way pen set by Iconic. Each pen has a thick and thin nib at each end for underlining, highlighting, colour coding and more, making them a great choice for bullet journals. This particular set features gorgeous retro hues, including pale vermilion, brownie pink, mustard yellow, cloudy blue and warm grey.


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From writing captions on your journal pages to penning envelopes to friends, the ability to write in a straight line is a valued skill, but one that not all of us possess! Cue The Lettermate Edition 2. This transparent, pocketsized guide features die-cut windows, which you write directly inside for evenly spaced lines every time. So simple, yet so effective.

We all need a boost now and again and sometimes something as simple as a sticker can do the trick. Designed by London-based luxury stationery brand, Katie Leamon, these upbeat Hello You labels feature six different designs that can be used for wrapping gifts, sealing envelopes, decorating notebook pages or just making your workspace that little bit lovelier.

Originating from Japan, these little rolls of decorative tape, also known as washi tape, are used in papercraft to adhere and embellish. They are available to buy in a huge assortment of colours, designs and widths, including these rather lovely Liberty print patterned rolls stocked by Berylune. Cut, tear, stick or wrap them – the possibilities are endless.






Gifting a book to a friend? Make it personal by writing your favourite quote on the back of one of our bookmarks, and popping it inside for them to find as they read. Use one in your own book to note down passages or words that have made you pause and think.

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‘‘We lose ourselves in books, we there too.’’





or such a simple, everyday question, “How do you feel?” has a complex history that most of us have probably never considered. Why you have the feelings you have and describe them in the way that you do is actually a complicated matter, argues Rachel Hewitt in this rich and revelatory book, one that can only be answered by looking to our history and understanding the times and people who shaped what Hewitt calls our “feeling about feeling”. That means going back to the 1790s – a period of hope, genius, failure and loss. At the start of the era, radicals like poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge or philosopher Mary Wollstonecraft could look to the revolution in France and take inspiration for their own utopian projects. What happened in France was not just a whole new system of government, but a whole new way of living. The reforms they sought were as much emotional as political, and they were fed by scientific discoveries that transformed popular beliefs about human behaviour and experience. But by the decade’s end, the collapse of the French Revolution into terror had served a bitter reproach to idealism, and many personal schemes had foundered. The reaction for some was a shift into conservatism, while others diverted their energies into apolitical aestheticism, giving us the Romantic understanding of emotion that holds so much sway today: we see emotion as a purely organic, individualistic thing. Hewitt’s book puts society back in the story of feelings, drawing acute links to the present at every turn. The lives she relates are sometimes funny (Coleridge’s hapless commune plan), often momentous, and frequently moving (she describes a sad, unconsummated love affair, which is a tearjerker worthy of its own book). Once you’ve read them, “How do you feel?” will never sound so simple again.

Q The idea that the emotions I have are shaped by culture was something I found quite alienating when I started reading. Was that something you felt while writing it? A It was an incredibly startling, surprising and unsettling concept, that idea of emotion as something culturally constructed. Different countries at different historical periods have had very different ways of thinking about the emotions. It’s not to say that every aspect of how we experience an emotion is culturally determined, but the way in which we think of emotions operating, the way we conceive of emotions having a point, the expressions that go with certain emotions, and a lot of the emotions that we allow ourselves to recognise and to feel; those are culturally determined to a large degree.

Q Is it all about the language that we use to describe our feelings? A Language is a huge part of it. It’s to do with recognising what’s going on in our bodies, and obviously you can’t do that if you don’t have a word for it. Quite a few philosophers have written about this very eloquently, that certain cultures provide us with rich vocabularies for some emotions but then a very impoverished vocabulary for others. And a large part of it is that the emotions that have very rich vocabulary are the ones that are praised within any given culture for contributing towards creating a certain type of human being.

Q What kind of human being is constructed by the sort of emotional vocabulary that we have today? A Thinking about the particular types of emotions that we hear most about is a really interesting way into that question. The emotions that are written about with a greater richness of vocabulary and thought today are concepts such as happiness, anger, hatred and fear. Now that’s not to say that these are necessarily emotions that are praised, but they are the ones that we are most aware of. The concept of happiness as a social goal is interesting to me, because there are other types of positive emotion that we might want to sanction instead. What does it mean to praise something like happiness instead of contentment or ecstasy?


Q Is everyone in our society given permission to feel the same kind of feelings? A I think the consequences of frustrating the male desire are seen as far, far more dangerous than the consequences of frustrating the female desire. Women are used to living in a state of continual non-satisfaction, whether it’s sexual, or in terms of economic desires, or in terms of other material wants.

Rachel Hewitt is an author and academic who lives in London with her partner, three children and cat. A Revolution of Feeling is out now (Granta Books, £25).

Photography Jay Varner

Q Is it important to think about emotion as something social rather than purely personal? A The way [18th century economist] Adam Smith saw it, society is constituted by exchanges that happen between individuals. They can take place economically, but really what drives the economy is desire. And desire is a form of emotion; emotions are in the service of our desires. If you hate something, it’s because you have a desire SHARING IS to be away from it. If you love CARING something, it’s because you Realising that someone have a desire for it. else is feeling the same I think for Smith, the as you can help you to fundamental economy accept and process the that underlaid the financial emotion. Explain your economy was an emotional feelings to others one, and that is regulated by to see how different things then seem. similar laws to the financial economy. It’s so anathema to how we see emotion now, which I think is a really post-Romantic way of seeing emotion that got revived in the sixties. We really are in thrall to this sense of emotion as naturalistic, spontaneous, organic; one that creates the individual as a genius, and that is a mark of sensitivity to the world.

Q It seems as though we’re in constant flight from the complexity and embeddedness of human existence… A I can’t really understand the desire to see oneself as a completely unique individual. It seems isolating and lonely to me. I like the idea that if I feel a certain way and behave in a certain way, there’s going to be millions of other people feeling and behaving in that way too. The thing I really like about that 18th century philosophy is that it emphasises the use of emotion to cement society together.


WHY DO WE CREATE? What drives our creative passion and how can we incorporate it into our everyday lives? Words: Cath Dean / Illustration: Bett Norris


he earliest cave paintings date back more than 35,000 years – which goes to show exactly how long human beings have been compelled to stamp their creativity onto their surroundings. The dictionary defines ‘to create’ as “to bring into existence”. By exercising our creativity and generating something handmade, we’re tapping into an almost primal part of the human psyche that gives us an innate desire to make – but why? By making something, be it a piece of art, a craft project, or even a beautifully-composed shot on Instagram, we’re creating something completely unique. The imperfections and quirks make it one-of-a-kind, and that’s a powerful tool in a modern world of mass production. Part of the popularity of craft among a new generation of makers is a reaction to the instant nature of the world around us, driven by the internet and social media. When everything you could possibly want is available at the click of a button, there’s a definite appeal in slowing down, taking the longer route and pouring love into a creative project. When we create, we’re also learning about ourselves. Each time we pick up a paintbrush, crochet hook or needle and thread, we’re externalising something within us, which is an important opportunity for self-discovery. Whether it’s trying to get to grips with a new craft, or even finding out something as simple as understanding which mediums inspire you, the opportunity to learn something new has a powerful ability to make you feel good about yourself. Making is fundamentally meditative, too – crafters have been saying so for years! There is so much guidance out there about how to tap into mindfulness or to learn to meditate, but simple acts of concentrating on a row of tiny stitches or counting a crochet pattern can help achieve a similar mindset with far less effort. Working on creative projects gives us the opportunity to switch off from the day-to-day. It allows us to channel our energy into

something requiring that kind of relaxed concentration that allows your thoughts to come and go, in a way that sitting on the sofa and watching TV simply can’t. There are proven mental health benefits to participating in arts and crafts, and while that’s not to say they’re a cure-all, they can be a fantastic way to lift your mood. So, if making is something that is so important to our wellbeing and sense of self, and has such obvious benefits, why aren’t we doing more of it? If you’re anything like me, finding time to start that next make or to pick up an ongoing project can be a constant struggle. There always seems to be more pressing things to take care of – be that running the hoover around, meeting up with friends or even just catching up on the latest boxset. Maybe the key is to start thinking about our making in the same way we would regular exercise or mindfulness practice – a sort of a crafty take on yoga. By setting aside as little as 15 minutes a day to add a few more rows to a yarn project, draw a page of doodles in a sketchbook or practise brush lettering, taking time to do something that’s just for you can be incredibly rewarding. It’s all too easy to feel guilty about taking time away from family or friends to focus on ourselves, but by doing so, it’s often the case that we have so much more energy to give back to others. A good way to make sure you hit these daily goals is to find a way to record them. Set yourself a challenge of working on a creative project every day for a month – even if just for 10 minutes. If you can’t commit daily, consider signing up to a local craft group – a weekly set day and time is a great way to carve out some time to focus on making. Developing something that we’ve created is as much about nurturing something inside ourselves as it is about the act of creating itself. Set aside some time, sit down with a cuppa and get started on your own crafty take on meditation – your mind will thank you for it!

CATH DEAN is editor of Mollie Makes ( She describes herself as a crafting magpie, as she’s always looking for new ways to express her creativity. Follow her crafting adventures on Instagram @cathdean85.





RAW NOT ROASTED We’ve heard that some chocolate can be good for us, but the important thing to know is that it’s raw cacao that holds these health benefits. As it hasn’t been roasted, raw cacao is full to bursting with minerals essential to healthy body function, antioxidant flavanols linked to heart and brain health, and phenylethylamine – a mood-boosting brain chemical. So that’s exactly why Ombar keep their cacao raw.

ADDED BONUS If the health benefits alone of raw cacao weren’t enough, Ombar make their bars even better with some careful additions – and omissions! They only use whole fruits and powders (no flavourings here) and some flavours include gut-friendly live cultures for an extra health boost. Plus their bars are organic, vegan, ethically-sourced and free of both dairy and refined sugar.

TASTING NOTES Ombar’s small but perfectly-formed team have been creating chocolate for over 10 years, so they know how to make it taste good. Their recipe has been perfected to ensure delicious indulgence in every bite, and with their flavoured options including luxurious creamy coconut and vanilla centres and zingy blueberry and acai combos, there’s a sweet sensation to suit all tastebuds.

Get your fix * Find Ombar in-store in Planet Organic, Whole Foods Market and Waitrose * Order online at * Find your local health food store stockist at

Photography Jim Hensley and Nina Dreyer Hensley





Foraging is a wonderful way to embrace the season. Whether you step out to gather wild mushrooms, rose hips and nettles, or simply delve into a seasonal veg box, with a little inspiration you can prepare an autumnal foodie treat Words: Sarah Orme






hen food photographer Erin Gleeson first set eyes on the cabin in the woods she fell in love with it instantly. “The road to get there is not long, but it is quite windy, and on the way I thought there was no chance we’d move there. But when we arrived and saw the view from the deck and smelled the redwood trees, we were sold,” she says. Previously a long-term city dweller, Erin’s move to the woods was thanks to her husband’s new job in Northern California, USA, which provided the couple with an excuse to make the change. “We moved from New York City and just stumbled upon an ad for the cabin. We loved the setting, perched up in the trees, and thought it would be a fun contrast.”

Photography Annie Spratt

Photography Nathaniel Kohfield

If you're unsure where you're allowed to forage, or what's in your local area, the Woodland Trust (www.thewoodland has lots of tips available in their online guides.

After years working as a food photographer in New York, shooting for cookbooks, top chefs, restaurants, magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times dining section, it was this move to the trees that inspired Erin to create her blog ( and her first cookbook The Forest Feast. Embracing a new way of life, with the philosophy of “few ingredients, lots of vegetables and simple preparation”, Erin started to create mouth-watering recipes based on local produce. She held enviable gatherings at her cabin home, featuring delicious menus. Her terrace became the stage for these outdoor feasts, softly lit by strings of fairy lights, with candles and natural decorations placed on long, convivial tables.




Erin might well be onto something with her colourful cooking. Each different colour of food contains a unique set of nutrients which are beneficial to our body function.

Photography Erin Gleeson


Za’atar roasted carrots SWEET, SPICY AND COLOURFUL METHOD Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF. Wash the carrots, leaving them whole with the green tops on. Lay the carrots out on a baking sheet and drizzle generously with 3 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tbsp of Za’atar. Roll the carrots with your fingers to coat them well. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, then bake for 20 minutes, or until tender. Serve the carrots whole (warm or at room temperature). Erin recommends placing them on a platter garnished with Greek yogurt, fresh coriander and sesame seeds.

Erin Gleeson


Erin’s rustic recipes range from Za’atar roasted carrots (using a delicious Middle Eastern spice blend) to refreshing berry iced tea. She loves to include colour in her cooking, such as watermelon, radishes, yellow beets or purple bell peppers. “I think eating colourful food makes things a little more fun,” she explains. While Erin loves to be outdoors, she does admit that foraging isn’t really her thing. “I do like to pick blackberries, but I leave foraging to the experts!” For those who do love to forage, autumn is a time of plenty, with bright berry crops and trees laden with apples and nuts. From early blackberries and dark sloes to creamy cobnuts, there's lots to be gathered on your autumn walks – if you know where to look.




* 2lbs (approx 1kg) medium-sized carrots, green tops on * 3 tbsp olive oil * 1 tbsp Za’atar spice blend * sea salt & pepper * chilli flakes/red pepper flakes * greek yogurt, to serve * handful of fresh coriander/cilantro, to serve * sesame seeds (optional), to serve Recipe notes Za’atar is a Middle Eastern spice blend that typically includes salt, sumac, sesame seeds and thyme. Find it at most grocery stores and online.


Pear-thyme galette

This galette is perfect for an autumnal feast. Make some ahead of time and wow your CQAOPOSEPD=RKQN

COMFORTING WITH FRESH FLAVOURS METHOD Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Lay the puff pastry sheets onto two baking sheets and snip off the corners (discard the corner dough). Spread a thin layer of fig jam over each one, leaving a small border. Lay the pears out in a circular pattern over the jam, overlapping a bit. Sprinkle the walnuts, Gorgonzola, thyme and honey-butter mixture over the pears. Fold up the edges of the dough to form a round tart, then bake for 20 minutes. Allow the galette to cool and use a spoon to remove any excess juices. Serve with vanilla ice cream. This makes two large galettes, which cut into eight generous servings or 12 smaller ones.

Ingredients SERVES 8-12 * 2 x 8in/20cm square puff pastry sheets * Ÿ cup fig jam * 2-3 pears, thinly sliced (no need to peel) * 3 tbsp chopped raw walnuts * 2 tbsp crumbled Gorgonzola cheese * 2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves * 2 tbsp honey mixed with 2 tbsp melted butter Recipe notes If you don’t like blue cheese,

Photography Erin Gleeson

simply omit the Gorgonzola. The galettes can be made ahead and served at room temperature, or prepared ahead and baked during dinner.




Anne's favourite way to eat mushrooms is to fry them in butter and parsley until crispy, golden brown, then serve on rustic bread with salt and black pepper.

Mushroom tart SAVOURY AND SATISFYING METHOD Put the flour, salt and butter in a bowl and crumble together. Add the cold water and mix until the dough comes together. Cover in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Roll out the dough and place it over a tart pan. Use a fork to poke holes in the pastry and fill it with uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the rice and bake for 10 minutes more.

Anne Mæhlum Norwegian forager, food stylist and cookbook writer Anne Mæhlum (follow Anne on Instagram loves to head out into the countryside at this time of year. “We are fortunate to have a great, clean environment in Norway – most Norwegians go out walking on Sundays, whether that's in the forest, in the mountains or by the sea.” Anne began foraging at a young age. Fishing, picking berries and mushrooming were all part of her family's Sunday routine. “To me, picking berries was a tiresome affair, so I wanted to learn more about other wild, edible plants,” says Anne. “I was a curious little girl and liked to run into the forest to find new specimens. My mother taught me a lot and I started to read books and put my botanical findings in a herbarium.” Today, Anne searches for edible flowers in the autumn, such as red clover and rosebay willowherb. Foraging has become more and more popular in Norway – in October Norwegians seek vivid orange clusters of the romantically-named cloudberries. “They are the most exclusive berries, so people keep their cloudberry spots secret,” says Anne. “It’s the same with mushrooms!” Anne encourages everyone to try foraging, but she also warns that some poisonous mushrooms and berries can look similar to edible varieties – never eat anything unless you are sure that it’s safe.



Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms, the spring onions and most of the parsley. Sauté until the mushrooms are crispy, golden brown. Add the mushrooms into the piecrust, keeping a few aside. Beat the eggs, the crème fraîche and half of the cheese together and pour over the top. Sprinkle with grated cheese and garnish with the remaining mushrooms and chopped parsley. Bake at 180°C/350°F for 30 minutes, until the centre is set and the top is golden.

Ingredients SERVES 4 For the pie crust: * 200g plain flour * 150g butter, cubed * 2 tbsp cold water * pinch of salt For the filling: * 500g mixed mushrooms * 2 spring onions * 4 eggs * 200ml crème fraîche * 200ml grated cheese * knob of butter * sprig of fresh parsley, chopped * freshly ground salt and pepper

Mix and match your favourite mushrooms in this seasonal tart recipe, such as cep, chanterelle or yellowfoot.

Photography Jim Hensley and Nina Dreyer Hensley (

Rosehip jam A SWEET AND TANGY TREAT METHOD If you are using fresh rosehips, de-seed and prepare them (see the recipe notes below), then place them in a jam pan and add water until half of the rosehips are covered. Cover with a lid and simmer for 30-40 minutes until soft. Purée with a hand blender until smooth. Add the sugar and lemon juice (this preserves the colour) then cook the jam on a rolling boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon, for 15-30 minutes, or until set. To test, after 15 minutes spoon a little onto a chilled plate – when cool it should wrinkle and have a slight movement. Once set, pour into a sterilised jar, place a waxed or cellophane disc onto the jam and seal with a lid. Store for up to a year in a cool, dry place, and consume within 3 months once opened. If using dried rosehips – prep then place the pulp in a jam pan with a cup of water. Follow step 2 to finish the jam.


Photography Oivind Haug

MAKES 1 LITRE OF JAM * 500g foraged or dried rosehips (see recipe notes) * 200g sugar * ½ lemon, juiced * water Recipe notes Rosehip seeds have a covering of very fine hairs, which can cause serious irritation to the throat if eaten. To remove them from fresh rosehips, cut or snip them in half and then freeze them

– it's easier to pick out the seeds with a spoon when they're frozen. Once you’ve done this, cut away the green ends, wash them and drain well. To de-seed dried rose hips (available from health food stores and online), pour boiling water over them and steep for at least 15 minutes, then press the pulp through a food mill, which will sieve out the seeds.




Photography Ali Allen

SAVE SOME FOR LATER Many fresh herbs can be frozen or dried. If you find an abundance of them, pick a little extra to store at home and flavour your food for months to come.

Rachel de Thample Foraging isn't just for the countryside – you can forage in the city, too. London-based cook and author, Rachel de Thample, runs urban foraging classes at Made in Hackney ( to show people what they can find on their doorstep. Rachel’s interest in wild food developed after writing her cookbook Less Meat More Veg, when she realised that she wanted to get closer to the source of her food. She had always tried to find ingredients as locally as possible, so it was a natural step in her cooking. Her first wild food project was to try to grow all of the ingredients needed for one meal – Christmas dinner. “Christmas dinner is the biggest meal of the year, so it’s a nice project because you can start in January and go straight through to December,” she explains. “I ended up doing a lot of foraging, because I was looking at spices and trying to make everything 100 percent grown or gathered.” And it’s amazing what you can forage, even in a busy city. On one outing Rachel’s class met outside Abney Park, just off Stoke Newington High Street. “It’s really crowded and polluted and urban in that area,” Rachel says. “But outside the gates, just coming through cracks in the pavements, we identified at least a dozen things growing. London is actually one of the greenest cities in the world, so it’s a perfect place to forage.”



Elderberry syrup with echinacea A HERBAL REMEDY TO KEEP COLDS AWAY METHOD Both elderberries and echinacea are powerful immune system boosters and have been used to prevent and treat colds and flus for many years. Ginger is also added for its antimicrobial, antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties. Mix all of these immune powerhouses together to give your nasty cold or flu a good beating! Put the elderberries and water into a saucepan along with the echinacea (if using the root), ginger, cinnamon, cloves and orange zest and juice. Bring to a rolling boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the consistency of maple syrup. Leave to cool, then strain everything through a fine sieve lined with a muslin cloth (one you don’t mind being stained purple!). Whisk in the honey, and the echinacea (if using tincture). Pour into sterilised bottles and store in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Ingredients MAKES 10 X 50ML SERVINGS * 50g dried or 100g fresh elderberries * 500ml filtered or mineral water * ¼ cup dried echinacea root or 1 tsp echinacea tincture * 3cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

* 1 cinnamon stick * 6 cloves * 1 orange, zest and juice * 125g raw honey Recipe reproduced with permission from Tonics & Teas by Rachel de Thample.


Nettle and mint tea


CLEANSING AND REFRESHING METHOD Nettles are a great kidney cleanser and can reduce kidney inflammation (nephritis), as well as acting as a mild diuretic. If you can, forage fresh nettles for this energising tea. If you are using fresh nettles, rinse them to remove any soil or grit. Place the fresh or dried leaves in a teapot, along with the mint. Pour over the boiling water, followed by 100ml cold water. Steep for 10 minutes then strain into mugs. Drink warm or refrigerate and drink cold.

Ingredients MAKES 1 X 300ML SERVING * 15 nettle leaves or 1 tsp dried nettle leaves * 2 sprigs of peppermint or 1 tsp dried mint * 200ml freshly boiled water Recipe reproduced with permission from Tonics & Teas by Rachel de Thample.

Photography Ali Allen

Rachel (@dethample) is always on the lookout for wild food. Her latest book, Tonics & Teas (Kyle Books, ÂŁ9.99), is a collection of ancient drinks and traditional remedies, created from healthboosting natural ingredients.



Photography Philip Sowels

Take time out to enjoy the season’s harvest, with our delicious autumnal recipes prepared mindfully in a warm, cosy kitchen. Gather your ingredients and enjoy the rich aromas of mushrooms, sweet chestnuts, spiced apples and treacle toffee.

Download your recipe cards

Photography: Philip Sowels





icture this: you’re chilling at home after a long day, when a text comes through. For a split second, you plan to ignore it. But then you start to fear that it might be something really important, so you grab your phone, only to discover that it’s you-know-who: that certain someone that we all have, or have had, in our lives who only gets in touch or starts being super-nice when they want something. It might be an ex, pretending that they’re not after a little late night liaison. It might be that friend or family member wanting money, or for you to babysit for the umpteenth time, or to push their latest problems onto you. Maybe it’s that one co-worker who likes to dump their work on you at the last second, all while complimenting you on how helpful you are.



You want to say no, knowing that what’s being asked isn’t fair, nor reasonable, and that it will, quite simply, result in you feeling pretty icky about yourself and life in general. But, almost as if hypnotised, you comply. You silence your inner voice and suppress a flood of unpleasant feelings, possibly assuming that they’re there because you dared to contemplate saying no. And this is exactly what saying yes for the wrong reasons feels like. It’s going along with things and playing ‘nicey-nicey’, so that you look a certain way to others. It’s guilting and obliging yourself into doing something. It’s worrying about hurting feelings, or fearing that maybe you’ve misinterpreted their intentions and behaviour in the past – you simply have to give them another chance. Basically, you’re doing your best to ‘be good’, except you wind up feeling bad.


You do imagine saying no, but end up picturing death by a thousand bullets. The truth is, this grossly exaggerates the negative consequences of a ‘no’, while at the same time minimises the very real toll of self-neglect. Saying yes for the wrong reasons means that your outside doesn’t match your inside. It’s a gradual crushing of your soul that steals your joy, while also doing a number on your self-esteem. It takes away time, energy, effort and emotion from the people and things that you care about. When I recently wrestled with myself about declining an invitation from a loved one, I knew it would be wrong to oblige myself into committing to this family occasion, just to keep up appearances. But I worried about disappointing him, about how I’d look, and I basically imagined everyone talking about me. Tuning into my feelings was a revelation – there was dread and anxiety about saying no, but also resentment and anxiety about saying yes. I would have ended up criticising myself, feeling angry because of how I’d obliged myself. Plus, the stress of my indecision was impacting me, as well as my children and husband. As a recovering people-pleaser – that’s someone who will attempt to please others, taking care of their feelings and behaviour at the expense of their own needs, expectations, desires, feelings or opinions – I realised a couple of fundamental truths about life: if you don’t know how to say no, you don’t how to say yes, and doing things for the wrong reasons is both wrong for you and your relationships. Saying yes out of a misguided sense of obligation feels entirely different to saying yes because you actually want to. If you’re saying yes because you’re scared of saying no and you’re trying to cup the ocean in your hands to make everyone see you in a certain way, then halt. That’s not an authentic yes; Jedi mind tricks just aren’t possible and you are guaranteed to feel bad about yourself. You’re not obliged to give up your time and energy when you can’t fit it in, nor to listen to others dumping on you when you don’t want to, nor do you have to go along with other people’s decisions when doing so is to

your detriment and exacerbates feelings of low self-worth. These aren’t in your job description and you can say no to them – you’re a grown-up with both autonomy and power. People will survive if you say no – they might even have to ask someone else or, heaven forbid, think, feel and act for themselves! No one is entitled to your ‘yes’ and if they’re acting up because you said no, it’s a surefire sign that one was very overdue. If you’ve always complied, how will they know that you’re not cool with something? If they don’t think that you have a limit, how will they know where that limit lies in their requests? If they’re not used to you saying no sometimes, how will they know not to push it when you finally do? This leads to one more fundamental truth: we are responsible for where we invest our energies – it’s up to us to manage our boundaries. Saying yes for the wrong reasons also means that the other party is receiving yes for the wrong reasons, damaging the integrity of the relationship and, quite frankly, sheltering them from their responsibilities. Who’s worrying about your feelings when you’re worrying about theirs? It’s time to look after you, so that you can take care of your relationships in a healthier way. When we stop breaking the commitments that we’ve made to ourselves, including our need for self-care, there’s far less room for our inner critic to wreak havoc in our lives. A friend once gave me some great advice: sometimes all that someone needs out of a transaction is to be told no. Basically, yes isn’t always the answer. We don’t overcome our fear of conflict and criticism if we never exercise our ability to consciously choose what we say ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘maybe’ to. It can sometimes feel uncomfortable to acknowledge that a relationship is imbalanced or that a certain someone tends to have an ulterior motive, but it can also be freeing. In choosing the right boundaries for this person, things will not only feel healthier for you, but will also allow you to invest yourself in the people and activities that raise you up, rather than drag you down.

“If you don’t know how to say no, then you don’t know how to say yes! Doing things for the wrong reasons is wrong for you and your relationships.”

NATALIE LUE has been writing her blog for 12 years and is the author of five books aimed at helping people pleasers and overachievers to break unhealthy relationship patterns and harmful habits. Follow her on Insta @natlue




Whether or not you like an item of clothing can depend on how well the colour suits you. Search online for seasonal colour analysis to find the shades that will make you shine.

Hello, is it me you’re shopping for?

For years, Jo Carnegie chose retail as her preferred therapy until she realised that a new look wasn’t really what she was shopping for


hen in doubt, shop. That was always my mantra. For years I was a serial offender of the ‘Mindless Lunchtime Shop’ (I worked in Central London – there was no hope). I would pop out at lunch to Pret and by the time I got back to my desk, a few bags with a couple of low-level purchases would have miraculously joined me. With the arrival of online shopping, I was, quite literally, entering a whole new world. A fabulous neverending fashion forest to wander through, free of changing room judgment and with the benefit of a ridiculously easy returns policy. What was not to love? For years, I worshipped almost exclusively at the altar of ASOS. By that time I was working freelance, so I was free to go online whenever I wanted. And I went on a lot; if I was bored, or feeling a bit down, or stressing about not having something to wear for a social occasion. Sometimes I did go on to buy something that I genuinely needed or wanted, but rarely did I come away with just that one thing. The selection was always too good, or



too vast, and there were always so many helpful suggestions. “Buy The Look!” – ASOS knew their stuff, and I listened to them. They had my back covered (and my front and feet and legs and sides). Retail therapy. It’s called that for a reason. Shopping had always been escapism; my relaxation go-to, but something started to change. The more I scrolled, the more anxious and dissatisfied I started to feel. Once I’d bought something, I’d be happy with my new look (and new life) for about five minutes, and then I’d be back online again. The sleek silver packages began to pile up, sometimes unopened. Rather than a post-purchase high, I’d get a mildly nauseous feeling. It was the same sort of feeling I used to get after a fast food binge, only this time I was binging on fast fashion. Looking back now, a big problem for me was the curated element of the online experience. There was always an occasion to dress for, things I hadn’t even thought of. I’d end up buying a whole new outfit just to go to a BBQ. I would shop the latest ‘festival look’,

even though I don’t really like festivals and would take a garden centre over Glastonbury any day. Instead of thinking about my real, everyday self, the one who liked wearing trainers and popping out for coffee or a beer in a pair of boyfriend jeans, I ended up shopping for a future version of me who didn’t even exist. “It [online shopping] creates a need that wasn’t previously there,” says Suzy Reading (, psychologist and author of The Self-Care Revolution. “It’s the same as reaching for that glass of wine, or that cigarette, or that piece of cake. Are you shopping because you need or want something, or is it because of an underlying emotional reason? For example, not feeling loved or worthy, or having anxiety about something. Or maybe you’re just bored! Try looking at what is going on and identifying it. What is it that’s underneath your impulse to buy something – can it be met in a more life-giving way?” Yikes, that sounds a bit scary. Practicing ‘retail’ therapy is far easier than taking ourselves to the real thing


“Shopping had always been escapism, my relaxation go-to, but something started to change. The more I scrolled, the more anxious and dissatisfied I started to feel.”




“Sometimes a little aimless wander through the shops is a nice shared experience. You don’t have to buy anything. It’s just nice to have the time to relax and chat.”




(although not necessarily cheaper). But according to Suzy, it’s more about the ‘life-giving’, rather than the ‘lifechanging’, element: “It’s about doing something simple just for you, that feels good and doesn’t have to involve spending money. Connect with a friend, or do something nurturing for yourself. Even if it’s just reading a book or doing 10 minutes of stretching or yoga.” OK, that sounds doable. Without sounding like I’ve grandly risen above the consumerist conveyor belt, since I made a conscious decision to come offline (and cut down on going into actual shops), I’ve had more time to look at my own underlying issues – namely a long-term bad body image. As obvious as it sounds, I’ve realised that until you address any negative beliefs or attitudes you might hold about yourself, you’re never going to feel happy on a truly deep and lasting level. And it’s still a process I’m working on, by the way. But look, we’re not preaching selfdenial here. Shopping is one of life’s pleasures. Good clothes empower us: they make us feel good and look good. As much as I hate to admit it, I miss that seductive scroll through ASOS, dammit. But how can I stay in control of my online experience, rather than it controlling me? Rather than going on and switching off, how can I shop and still stay conscious? According to Bronagh Meere, top stylist and author of fashion blog While Dolly Sleeps (, it’s just about one word. Filters. “If you’re looking for a red dress, set the filters to ‘red dress’,” she says. “Go on knowing exactly what you are looking for and don’t allow yourself to look at other stuff.” Even if you bypass the filters, be honest with yourself about why you’re on there. Suzy again: “Are you on there to buy a particular item or are you just filling time?” One of the major draws of online shopping is cutting the hell of crowds out of the equation. The downside is that it’s something else we do by

ourselves these days. When I was a teenager, my Saturday afternoon shopping sessions with my friends were the highlight of my week. A lot of the time we didn’t actually end up buying anything, save for a Rimmel lipstick or two. It was far more about the female bonding experience. “Nowadays we get together with friends over dinner or a glass of wine, or meet for a quick coffee,” says Suzy. “It’s all quite time-focused. Sometimes a little aimless wander through the shops is a nice shared experience. You don’t have to buy anything. We live with so much pressure to always be striving and driving. It’s just nice to have the time to relax and chat.” The appeal of a lazy afternoon wandering with a friend is great. And another honest opinion will probably make me buy less, rather than more. But I know me. As soon as I step foot into a shop, regardless of who I am with, my eyes are off like a pair of magpie’s wings, flitting from one shiny thing to the next. Again, how can you enjoy the experience but still stay in the moment? “Plan ahead,” says Bronagh. “Go through your wardrobe beforehand and take pictures of things you’d like to get more wear out of. Even better, take those items with you and try them on with different things. We only ever do that when we’re shopping for a big occasion like a wedding, but we should do it with the rest of our wardrobe. It’s about working with what we’ve got already.” Or getting rid of what we’ve got already. Over the past 18 months I’ve been steadily minimalising my wardrobe. Rather than blindly following fashion I’ve (finally!) worked out my own style and what suits me. When I do buy stuff, I try to apply the old Marie Kondo philosophy: does it spark joy? I’ve also taken inspiration from my teenage self and rediscovered the punch of a small power purchase: a bright red lipstick from Mac has sartorially carried me through an entire summer. What started as a personal quest has


now become part of MINIMALISM? a bigger conscious UK women bought an change. I’m more average of 37 items in mindful about 2016, compared to 51 in 1996. Try creating a the effect of my capsule wardrobe, where purchase, both on each item can be mixed the people who make and matched into it and the planet. Stella multiple outfits. McCartney was one of the first ‘green is the new black’ pioneers, but now there are more affordable ethical brands: H&M has launched a sustainable Conscious Exclusive range and ASOS has its own environmentally-friendly Eco Edit and Africa ranges. Aah ASOS, my old four-lettered friend. All this talk has started to make me feel nostalgic. I can almost hear my future fabulous self calling to me: “You deserve a treat...what if this time, you DO find the item that will change your life?” But before I jump back online with gleeful abandon, I’m going to sit with myself – my actual, real-time self – and do an inner scroll, rather than an outer one. Buy myself a present or stay in the present? That is the question… Jo is still currently offline. Head to Instagram for more advice and ideas from Suzy Reading (@suzyreading) and Bronagh Meere (@whiledollysleeps).

Fashion facts DISCOVER THE NUMBERS BEHIND THE CLOTHES Use it or lose it A recent survey showed that the average British woman owns £2,400 worth of unused clothes and doesn’t wear 60% of her wardrobe. Wear it again 3 out of 10 millennials have shopped second-hand in the last year, while 50% would consider the resale value before they purchase an item of clothing.




EMBRACING THE SEASON Winter doesn’t have to mean woes. Find happiness in making small seasonal changes to your home Words: Caroline Rowland / Illustration: Bett Norris


hether you’re a homebody or a social butterfly, the winter months encourage an element of hibernation in all of us. Cold, dark evenings seem to naturally call out for pyjamas and a warming cup of hot chocolate by the fire. But many of us continue to pine for those lazy, hazy days of summer and it can be easy to want to wish the winter months away, eagerly awaiting the first signs of spring. I’ll admit, I am one of those people. I hate being cold, I dislike the rain and I’m more inspired by light and colour, than darkness and mist. However, I find that by embracing the seasonal shift, and really making the most of our little nest, I end up adopting the concept of slow living more readily which, in turn, means that I enjoy winter more. Simply taking time to consider how to transition your space into one of added warmth and comfort gives you the opportunity to freshen things up. Enjoy the process of getting out winter blankets, washing them and perhaps getting rid of any that are no longer fit for purpose (or mend them if possible – the perfect project for fireside crafting). Change up the bedrooms by adding eiderdowns or sheepskins to the beds and pop a scented candle on the bedside table for those evenings when you retreat early. Just be sure to extinguish it safely before you nod off ! The additional time spent at home doesn’t have to feel unproductive or lazy either – it’s a chance to indulge in activities that often the summer months just don’t allow time for. I find that my crafting frequency increases during winter and cosy evenings are often spent knitting, perhaps making gifts for Christmas. While many see the new year as the time to take up a new hobby, maybe the slide from summer to winter is when it’s best to put your mind to a new skill – with the upcoming present season adding an incentive to crack your craft in time for gifting.

It’s also a great time to enjoy being in the kitchen. Dust off those recipe books that are languishing on the bookshelf or check out Pinterest to find some new winter-warmer recipes. Rather than spend the evening slumped in front of the TV, cook up a storm in the kitchen, making batches of soup or a hotpot. If you’ve been feeling chilly, standing over a hot stove will also help to alleviate that! I like to listen to podcasts while cooking, and again lighting a few candles always creates a cosy environment to work in. Getting out for a brisk walk with the family can not only benefit you, but your home too. Round the kids up, don your wellies and go and forage for natural elements to add to your décor. It may seem like everything is dead and decaying outdoors, but there’s lots you can do. Keep the children busy gathering pinecones, for example, then pile them high in a bowl at home and intertwine with battery powered fairy lights for a winter centrepiece. If your foraging attempts are unsuccessful or you are city-based, then you can also check out your local florists for wintery foliage like pussy-willow and berry branches. And if you find that you miss summer’s greenery, simply stock up on houseplants – they will continue to bring life, texture and colour to your home and they generally need less attention in the winter months. It’s a win/win! While it’s true that the Danish word hygge has been overused in the past year, behind the hype lies a steadfast theory on embracing the simple things in life. Delight in the luxury of being at home and become mindful in how you create a comforting cocoon to encircle your family. Embrace the tasks involved in preparing your space for the winter months. Revel in the days when you close the curtains on the world at 4pm – ‘pulling up the drawbridge’ as my husband would say – and learn to take pleasure in the little things that truly make a house a home.

CAROLINE ROWLAND is the founding editor of interiors and lifestyle publication 91 Magazine ( Turn the page to discover Caroline’s tips for a cosy winter home.





Enjoy taking time to make small changes to each room in your home, adding warming touches and cosy elements. Reap the benefits once the cool weather kicks in.


Make it cosy ADDING A FEW WINTER WARMERS TO YOUR HOME CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE, SAYS CAROLINE ROWLAND Draping a blanket over a chair or sofa in the living room will instantly inject texture and comfort. Add a basket to store them in so they’re always to hand on chilly evenings. Foraging is the perfect excuse to try a new recipe (be inspired on page 74). Berries bake perfectly into pies, and will freeze for making comforting treats well into winter.



There’s something about candlelight that evokes cosy evenings in. A three-wick candle, like this one from Neom Organics, gives off more light and scent than a single-wick, filling your room with warming sensations. Collect autumn leaves, spray them gold and string them into a garland. You could also press them or turn them into a rustic wreath.

Manufactured at More Works, Bishops Castle, Shropshire

Comfort & Contentment

STOCKISTS THROUGHOUT THE UK Brochure Line: 01588 650 123


A MINDFUL RITUAL The slow building of a log fire, be it in a hearth, a burner or outdoors, is a process that can't be rushed. It centres us in the moment as we nurture it, then comforts us as we feel its warmth.


Illustration Mimi and Mae

Head outdoors to gather branches and chop logs, then build a bonfire or stoke your hearth and warm yourself as you enjoy the sweet smell of woodsmoke‌ not everything worth having can come at the push of a button, says Sally Coulthard


Illustration Elizabeth Newsham



but the best moments were the ones when we found ourselves around a campfire, or cooking outdoors. From rough French campsites to back-garden sleepovers with friends, evenings were always sweeter with an open fire and convivial conversation. We’d spend summers with an Italian family, making campfires in Alpine forests and cooking polenta in a huge copper pan over the embers – the careful preparation that went into making and tending the fire adding to the sense of occasion. As an adult, my relationship with fire has mutated into something different, but no less intense. Fire has come to mean other things – romantic evenings huddled under a blanket,

I LEARNED TO LIGHT A FIRE BY OSMOSIS, ABSORBING THE CAREFUL RITUAL. or the irresistible draw of a pub after a wet Sunday walk. Nowadays, I live on a farm with my young family. Fire, again, is everywhere. Bonfires are a regular event, a useful tool for clearing away the cuttings and branches that inevitably pile up. The kids have campfires in their little stretch of woodland – many a saucepan has been ruined by their attempts at hot chocolate, or failing that, they crack open a packet of marshmallows and perfect their toasting technique, which is something akin to a rotisserie. Indoors, the farmhouse is warmed by a woodfired biomass boiler – a temperamental affair but one that, when it works, puffs out gentle wafts of scented smoke, and leaves me feeling slightly less guilty about having the heating on. When the cold weather really sets in, however, no evening is complete without lighting up one of the wood burners or open fires. Wood-burning stoves are a completely different beast from traditional hearth fires, and it’s taken a while to master the differences. What you miss in the friendly pops and crackles of an open flame, you more than get back in heat output and efficiency. I’ve discovered there’s a place for both, and each has its charm. Open fires and wood burners have made a glittering comeback in the past few years. There

Illustrations Elizabeth Newsham


y oldest memories are touched by fire. The sweet smell of woodsmoke takes me straight back to my childhood home, a tall Victorian townhouse blessed with open fires on every floor. I’d help Dad make and light the fire in the front room – a treat, because it was a space reserved for special occasions, and a great excuse to have him to myself. I learned by osmosis, slowly watching and absorbing the careful ritual of scrunching newspaper and arranging bone-dry twigs on a bed of ash. I especially liked it when he would hold a large sheet of newspaper over the mouth of the chimney to draw air up the flue. This adroit trick would transform a few infant flames into a roaring FIRE SAFETY inferno in seconds – a feat both Take steps to prevent thrilling and the right side of accidents and keep deliciously dangerous. everyone safe. Visit Fire also takes me back to messing about outdoors as a keeping-safe/open-firechild. My brother and I would stove-and-chimney-safety sneak down to the bottom of the for practical advice garden, having smuggled out a and information. box of matches, and while away dry afternoons building small campfires and setting fire to anything that came to hand. I equate fire with childhood holidays too. Family expeditions weren’t always stress-free,


are lots of reasons why, both economic and environmental, but perhaps it’s also true that central heating is, well, just a bit soulless, and not everything worth having can come at the push of a button. The very act of collecting branches and chopping logs, scrunching up newspaper, building stacks and watching them burn, triggers deeply buried memories. It all feels just so familiar.

Is it ok to burn wood? The debate about timber as an eco-fuel smoulders on, and it can be tricky to know if you are doing the right thing in turning back to wood. It’s complex, but in essence, as a tree grows, it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air. When that same tree burns or rots, it releases the same amount of CO2 back into the atmosphere. So, whether you leave a tree to decompose on the forest floor or set fire to it, the same amount of carbon is released back into the air. In other words wood is carbon-neutral. If we cut down trees, we can plant more. Coal and gas are finite. The problem comes with the processing and transporting of timber to your doorstep. Industrial logging, lorries and petrol-fuelled chainsaws all push up timber’s carbon footprint. Additionally, when wood burns at a low temperature it releases smoke that contains small amounts of harmful pollutants, called particulates. Unfortunately, wood fires aren’t always as ecologically friendly as we would hope. However, if you follow a 'Buy right, burn right' philosophy, there are few fuels that can match timber for eco-credentials, especially when we combine our ancient knowledge of seasoning with new, efficient wood-burning stoves: *Gather your own wood or buy your wood from a local supplier. *Dry wood burns hotter and cleaner than wet wood – only use seasoned timber. *An open fire burns four logs for every one in a wood burner. Use wood burners for everyday heat and open fires for special occasions. This is an edited extract from The Little Book of Building Fires by Sally Coulthard (Anima, £10).

How to make a scented fire Citrus peel and spices add a heady mulled-wine note to a fragrant fire. As the components are small and fiddly, you need to wrap them in newspaper, Christmas-cracker style. Whole spices can be quite expensive, so this is a good way to recycle aromatics that have already had one round in a recipe. Vanilla pods scraped of their seeds have lots of sweet-smelling potential, as do pre-simmered cinnamon sticks, cloves from a ham, or bay leaves from a stock pot. Just dry them off and add to the mix. Similarly, bought citrus peel is too expensive to burn, but you can easily dry your own in any place that’s warm and airy. Lay on a plate and the peel will be dry in days. Tangerine, satsuma, clementine, orange and lemon peels are brilliant oily fire starters and really give you bundle some oomph. Take a double-spread sheet of broadsheet newspaper and fold along the crease. Use black-and-white pages only (coloured ink or glossy pages can release noxious fumes). At one end of the sheet, place a handful of dried citrus peel and whole spices. You can use cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, coriander seeds, cumin, used vanilla pods, spent coffee grounds and fennel seeds to create your blend, but include plenty of peel as that’s the tinder that will catch. Roll up the newspaper and twist both ends to make a cracker shape. Use in place of other tinder.




A cold-busting drink recipe for you to make inside

Relax wit h a crossword a fun inspiring stnod an ry

Tap here to read Take a Moment




Find a cosy nook and enjoy a quiet moment with us It can be hard to make time for you, that’s why we’ve created this 8-page mini magazine, to help you to pause and Take a Moment for yourself. Each issue we’ll include: A soothing drink recipe – hot or cold – for you to make fresh and mindfully. A great read. A story that presents an alternative view on life, to open your mind to a different way of thinking. A fun crossword to stimulate your brain cells and keep everyday distractions at bay for a few moments. So, settle down to soothe both your body and mind and enjoy a little you time.









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GATHER AN AUTUMN HARVEST Head outside to see what seasonal treats are there for the finding Words: Sian Lewis / Illustration: Bett Norris


ome gather ye blackberries while ye may – the advent of autumn is the perfect time to try your hand at foraging. The art of gathering wild food to eat is thrifty and fascinating, as well as a brilliant excuse for a mindful ramble. And making tasty salads, potent liquors and fresh puddings from your findings is just as calming and fulfilling as hunting them out in the first place. There are very few places on earth where nature won’t provide the patient seeker with something good to eat. In Finland, the woods are carpeted with dusky blueberries and gleaming yellow cloudberries – local children love to collect them to eat with thick yoghurt. In Spain, the little daughter of the family I was staying with confidently took me into the forest to pick chanterelle mushrooms, and then we ate our bounty for lunch, fried up with cream and garlic. I usually pick mushrooms with someone who knows what they’re doing, but if I’m travelling solo I tend to search for wild herbs on my own – they’re one of the easiest things to forage for because they’re so easy to identify. In Tuscany I found huge fistfuls of wild rosemary that scented my fingers and went well with Sunday lunch, and I came home from a hike high in the mountains on the Greek island of Chios with a rucksack full of delicately scented wild thyme. The valleys, forests and coastline of Britain are my favourite places to go hunting, perhaps because, on our little island, wild food is so intrinsically aligned with the changing seasons. Spring brings the delicate white blooms of elderflower for cordials and champagne and the waxy green leaves of wild garlic for salads and pesto. In summer, ripe plums and apples hang heavy from branches, begging to be transformed into jams and chutneys, and edible flowers like borage and rose scent the air. Even in the depths of winter, when the landscape seems bare, the trusty nettle makes a lovely soup and there’s nutritious

seaweed to harvest on the beach. But autumn is the best and the most bountiful season for the forager. As the leaves turn russet and gold, chestnuts ripen on trees and mushrooms sprout in woodland clearings. I find the food of the forest irresistible at this time of year, and just listing the goodies that are ripe for the picking sounds like writing poetry – rowan, damson, crab apple, rosehip, sweet chestnut. There’s plenty of sustenance out of the woods, too – go beachcombing for seaweed such as dulse and bladderwrack, for sea cabbage (a kale-like plant that is delicious when cooked) and for sea buckthorn – a sharp and acidic berry that makes a Vitamin C-packed cordial. I have long argued that foraging is a form of mindfulness. It takes you outdoors, into remote forests and along wild coastal paths. It allows you to set a slow pace, to engage with your surroundings and to focus on the little details. There’s just something so simple and pleasing in picking wild food – it reminds me of the happy, heady summer days as a little one, face sticky with the juice of stolen berries. Inspired to find food for free? Be aware that foraging is legal in England, but only if you’re collecting for your own personal use. In America, what’s okay to pick varies by state and even by city, but information is usually easily found online. If the apples you’ve taken a fancy to are on private land, it’s always best to ask permission to pick them. Take only what you can eat and leave plenty behind for wildlife (and other pickers!). Don’t forage near roads, to avoid polluted plants. And if you’ve never foraged before, stick to easily identifiable crops, such as blackberries or nettles. See if there’s a local wild food course you can take – it’s easier to recognise plants if someone shows you their characteristics, plus you’ll learn secret hotspots to forage at. Once you start, you may find yourself as addicted as I am to foraging – it’s the ideal way to enjoy the seasons.

Sian Lewis is a freelance travel writer and the editor of The Girl Outdoors (, a blog for anyone in search of a little adventure.



WOODLAND WANDERER Celebrate the advent of crisper, colder weather by heading to the woods for a winter walk. Prepare for all your nature adventures with our pick of the best kit for foraging, hiking and cooking on the campfire


All-weather rucksack

Handy knife

Warming cookbook

They may grace the backs of all the cool city kids but Fjallraven rucksacks are more than just a pretty face. These canvas rucksacks, designed and made in Scandinavia, are waxed against the weather and as tough as they come. They’re available in three sizes – we think that the medium is perfect for long days in the forest and overnight camping trips.

A sharp knife is a big help on foraging forays, for when you’re cooking outdoors or simply practising your whittling round the campfire. Opinel’s carbon knives are a cult favourite, first designed in the 1800s in the French Alps and now crafted with tactile beech wood handles and long-lasting carbon blades. We like Number 6, a pocket-friendly size to take on the go.

Escape to a Scandinavian forest with Swedish outdoor cookbook, Food from the Fire (Pavilion), which is as delightful to leaf through as it is to cook from. Author Niklas Ekstedt promises “the crackling of birch, the sizzle of the pot and the scent of woodsmoke in the air” in his beautifully photographed recipes, which include blackened herring and fire-cooked bread.




Light it up

Berry basket

Snuggle-up jacket

One of the ironies of outdoor life is that the conditions in which you need a fire the most are the hardest to get a flame to stay alight in. Waterproof matches to the rescue! These matches from Lifesystems come in a handy jar with a striker top – pop some in your backpack and you’ll feel like a super-prepared girl scout if things get a little damp.

We love the charming shape of this little basket, crafted by the makers at Norfolk Baskets and designed with sloe and blackberry pickers in mind. Each creation is unique and handmade with home-grown willow using traditional techniques. Norfolk also design foraging baskets with long leather straps, ideal if you want something you can sling on your back.

Changeable weather calls for a versatile, wear-anywhere outer layer, and BERG’s Kaziranga jacket ticks all our boxes. It’s breathable, water-resistant and lined with an insulated layer to keep you cosy when there’s a nip in the air. Nifty design features include a well-fitting hood, handy inside pockets and a patterned lining bright enough to cheer up the rainiest day.






Explore the wider region of Tromsø by boat, using the Hurtigruten ferries to travel up and down the coast all year round (


Learning to love winter the Norwegian way

If winter sends you into hibernation, a trip to the happiest country in the world might just change how you feel about those cold, dark days Words: Sarah Orme


rom November to January, in the Norwegian island city of Tromsø, the sun barely rises. Located within the Arctic Circle, the polar night lasts for three whole months, ranging from pitch black to moments of deep cobalt blue, known as the 'polar twilight'. From time to time, the sky is lit up with the magical displays of the Northern Lights. As someone who struggles with the cold, short days of a British winter, and spends the season swathed in jumpers and multiple pairs of socks, I didn’t envy my sister, Lisa – a doctor of geography – when she relocated to Tromsø to work for the Norwegian Polar Institute, studying climate patterns in sea ice. “How are you going to cope with the winter?” was one of my first questions, as I imagined the gloominess of living in a place where the sun actually never shines. Yet, according the United Nations’ 2017 World Happiness Report, Norway is the happiest country in the world, this year tipping its Nordic neighbour, Denmark, off the top spot. So what is the secret to Norway’s deep sense of wellbeing? Norwegians have a saying: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!” So is it,

perhaps, this pleasantly stoic attitude to life, that helps our Scandinavian neighbours stay cheerful, even on the darkest of days? Lisa quickly discovered that combined with this hardy attitude is a love of the great outdoors. Hibernating was not an option. She was going to have to be active to fit in with her outdoorsy Norwegian colleagues. It’s March when I visit (I’m not quite brave enough to tackle the darkest winter months). In the UK, March usually signals spring. But in Tromsø the landscape is still snowy, the temperature brisk. Surprisingly it’s not nearly as cold as I was expecting – especially when you’re layered up with thermals, winter coats and snowboots. It’s a beautiful city, surrounded by islands and fjords. By this time of year, there are already nine hours of daylight, as the days lengthen rapidly towards June and July, when the sun never sets. With the island deep in snow for many months of the year, being active in Tromsø means skiing. There are cross-country tracks all over the island and the locals like to do what’s called a ‘Top Tour’ – they climb up the mountains with their skis on (no mean feat) and then ski down.


escaping They don’t even let the dark bother them. Many locals go skiing after work, even in the depths of the polar winter; they simply pop on a head torch and off they go. Lisa has fully immersed herself in the active Norwegian lifestyle: “I’d have a very lonely social life if I didn’t,” she explains. She has taken up skiing, recently investing in her first sets of skis – both downhill and cross-country. Having never skied before, I was keen to give it a go. It turns out, I’m not a natural. A Norwegian man watches me for a while as I struggle to clip my ski boots onto my skis, before coming over to offer advice. “No, no, no,” he says, shaking his head. “You’ll be here all day if you do it like that. You need to stamp down hard, like you’re stamping on the face of your enemy!” I spluttered with laughter at this surprisingly Viking-sounding advice, but he’s right. Stamping works, though I try not to picture anybody’s face as I’m doing it. Another Norwegian calls out kindly as I fall over to avoid ploughing into a fence: “To stop you need to turn like a dancer!” While I spend much of my time picking myself out of the snow, I can understand why Norwegians love the sport so much. It’s a great way to make the most of the natural environment, and, in the beauty of my surroundings, I find myself warming to this land of ice and snow.


Scientist Lisa Orme has embraced the Norwegian's love of the outdoors since moving to Tromsø.

In Tromsø, there are many ways to embrace the outdoors in the colder months. Some intrepid families go camping: “I’ve been out skiing and seen families camping with small children on a frozen lake,” Lisa assures me. In January, Lisa took part in the Polar Light Marathon, which takes place in the daytime – although you wouldn’t know it. “It’s pitch black and freezing cold, but people come from all over the world to participate.” Some runners wear running shoes with spikes but Lisa chose to run without them. “As long as you’re sure on your feet and looking where you’re going you can run with normal trainers,” she says. Unlike preparing for most marathons, runners have to bundle up against the weather: “On my body I was wearing thermal layers, two pairs of trousers and a windproof jacket because it was very windy on the day – and a hat and gloves. It was hard-going and I was very tired by the time I got to the end!”



Take a cable car up to Fløya for fantastic views across Tromsø OPKLKBBBKNS=BAO while you're there).

When people think of Scandinavian jumpers they are mostly thinking of the Norwegian lusekofte, literally meaning ‘lice jumper’. Lice (lus) refers to the tiny pattern in the knit – ‘little lice’, if you will. These jumpers are also known as Setesdalgenser (Setesdal sweaters), from the Setesdal valley where they originated over a century ago as traditional farmers’ formal wear. Any reference to Danes wearing these types of jumpers is purely for fashion – it is simply not cold enough in Denmark to warrant them. Swedes also tend not to wear them and most attempts should not be taken too seriously. A few years ago, Nordic jumpers became high fashion across the world, due the Danish TV series The Killing, in which detective Sarah Lund only ever wore woolly jumpers of a particular pattern. Some now refer to Nordic jumpers as ‘Sarah Lund’ jumpers. Her sweater was actually made by Faroese fashion house Gudrun & Gudrun. Norwegian lusekofte are knitted from

lambswool. The thick, coarse, untreated wool acts as a barrier to the outside elements. If it keeps sheep warm in -20˚C, it’s going to keep you warm, too. Sheep have the advantage of a thick layer between their wool and skin – you do not, so unless you wear a base layer, you will be itching all over. The proper jumpers are all handknitted and can take 80–90 hours to complete. So, they are not cheap. A Norwegian jumper made from untreated lambswool doesn’t need washing. It just needs to be dug down into the snow for a while. If you live in a place with a lack of snow, use your freezer. Move the peas and leave it in there for 24 hours to kill all bacteria. If you absolutely must wash it, READ MORE... do so by hand in cool water and This is an edited extract from North – How to Live dry by rolling flat in a towel. Scandinavian by Brontë Change the towel as often as Aurell (Aurum Press, £20); needed. Never, ever hang the a beautiful book full of wit, jumper up and never machine inspiration, how-tos wash – and, for the love of and recipes from our Norway, don’t even parade it Scandi neighbours. past the tumble dryer.


escaping The city is home to an international film festival, too, which also takes place in January. Outdoor screens pop up around the city, and people watch the films while sipping a hot chocolate. “It’s cold, but when you’re wrapped up warm with a hot drink you don’t mind,” Lisa says. “It’s lovely to just sit and enjoy a film with your friends.” The Norwegians’ love of the outdoors, is matched by their love of all things cosy. In fact, some Norwegians even claim the cosy concept of hygge as their own. Inger Kenobi is a Norwegian author ( who now lives in England, but was born and raised in Stavanger, Norway’s fourth largest city. “I think they [the Danish] stole hygge from us! It’s even the same word in Norwegian. You go inside and you make everything cosy. In the winter you gather with your family and spend more time on making your house just-so – because of the weather. You light the candles and you have your cosy blanket your reading nook and the light that is just perfect. It’s almost like a hibernation state.” As a long-time lover of hygge and all things Scandi, I couldn’t help being drawn to Tromsø’s snug cafes. It’s incredible how tired and hungry you get when you’re out in the fresh, cold air. After a trip to the Polar Museum to learn about some truly intrepid Norwegian explorers, we nip into Smørtorget – a former butter market close to the waterfront. It’s half café, half quirky vintage shop with an old piano, fairy lights, white painted tables and wide windows at the front to watch the world go by. Sitting and sipping a hot chocolate and tucking into a skoleboller (a coconut-topped bun filled with custard – yum) it’s easy to see why Norwegians love winter so much.

Clockwise: The Polar Museum; Sarah stands on Tromsø's shoreline; reindeer from a Sami herd; a skoleboller and a traditional meringue tart with raspberry jam.

THE NORWEGIANS' LOVE OF THE OUTDOORS IS MATCHED BY THEIR LOVE OF ALL THINGS COSY... SOME NORWEGIANS EVEN CLAIM HYGGE AS THEIR OWN. Gathering for food is an important part of Norwegian life and many Norwegians enjoy ice fishing in this part of the country. Although Norway’s cuisine has become more international, fresh fish and seafood still top the menu. Fiskeboller (fish balls), fiskepudding (fish pudding) and romg (a kind of fried caviar) are staple dishes. Eating out can be expensive, but getting hold of beautiful, fresh fish is easy. I’m also pleased to discover that, like the Danes, Norwegians have a sweet tooth and that means lots of cake and pastries. In a wooden cabin café at the top of Fløya Mountain (a spectacular cable



Cabin fever ESCAPE THE RUSH OF THE CITY NORWEGIAN STYLE, IN A RUSTIC CABIN GETAWAY In summer, Norwegians love to retreat to a cabin in the mountains or fjords. Some have running water, some not. They don’t have WiFi, as the idea is to connect with nature. Many Norwegians own cabins but the Norwegian Trekking Association (DNT) also manages over 500. They work on a ‘take something, leave something’ system. (Drank coffee? Leave tea!) Relying on trust, visitors sign their names in the guest book so they can be charged for their stay afterwards. Find out more at

car ride), Lisa introduces me to waffles topped with cream, brunost (a brown cheese) and jam – a popular dessert. The 'cheese' tastes like caramel and it’s delicious. Before I leave Norway, I'm keen to meet the Sami people. From Tromsø, there are trips offering a sledge ride pulled by reindeer, and the chance to learn about the Sami from a local guide. The Sami are traditional reindeer herders who live across the north of Norway, Sweden and parts of Russia; many of them still follow the old ways. They faced persecution after World War II and many people hid their Sami heritage, but thanks to the reindeer herders their ancient traditions and language were preserved and are now enjoying something of a revival. Our Sami guide tells us that every Sami has their own song or joik (pronounced 'yoik') which has no words, but describes the person’s character. He says he often sings his friends’ joiks when driving and finds that he is smiling as they bring back happy memories; an idea that I love. Leaving snowy Tromsø, I long to see how summer transforms its forests and fjords. "The midnight sun means even more time outdoors," Lisa says. "It’s a time for kayaking, hiking or going to a cabin with your family or friends." Despite their long, warm days of summer, many Norwegians say that winter is still their favourite time of year, and I have to admire the way they embrace the season. It’s not something to be endured, it’s something to make the most of. Back home, it’s changed the way I look at winter. If it’s chucking it down outside I just shrug and grab my wellies. After all, it’s not bad weather if you have the right clothes.



Brighten up your winter table with fresh salsa verde.

COOK’S TIP For a low-carb option, swap potato mash with parsley cauli rice. Trim a cauliflower head, blitz in a food processor and steam in the microwave until tender. Stir through the chopped parsley to serve.


Ingredients SERVES 4 4 x 120g Norwegian haddock fillets 600g floury potatoes, peeled and chopped * 40g butter * 15g parsley, chopped * 1 tbsp seasoned flour (optional) * splash of olive oil for the salsa verde * large handful of parsley, chopped * small handful of mint, chopped * a few chives, snipped * 4 anchovies, chopped * 2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped * 2 tsp Dijon mustard * 75ml extra virgin olive oil

* *

This recipe was provided by Seafood From Norway. For more recipes and information on Norwegian fish, visit


Is there anything better than salty fish served on a bed of creamy, buttery mash? Finish with a fresh, green salsa verde, lightly spiced with Dijon mustard for a warming winter dish full of flavour. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F. Bring a pan of water to the boil, add the potatoes and cook for around 15 minutes until soft. Drain well and mash. Stir in the butter and parsley, season with salt and pepper and cover to keep warm. Dust the haddock fillets with a little flour. Heat a splash of oil in a large non-stick frying pan until hot. Add the haddock, skin side down, and cook for 2 minutes until crispy. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish cooking in the oven for 5-6 minutes. Combine all the salsa verde ingredients except the olive oil in a bowl. Gradually stir in the oil to make a thick dressing. Season as desired. Serve the haddock sat on top of the mash with a good dollop of salsa verde dripping down the fish.

Photography Sebastien Gabriel

Photography Alexandra Beatrice Palmay





y elderly neighbour called me when I was on holiday in Cornwall. She was absolutely distraught. The woman in the flat above her had left the bath running and consequently water was pouring down her walls and ceiling – she was concerned that my flat would be affected too. This was a real opportunity to practice something I like to call, ‘things not being as I would like’. Every time my thoughts turned to ‘what if…’, I noticed my anxiety rising. It manifested itself physically with tension in my shoulders and neck and a sick feeling in the pit of the stomach. Was I annoyed with my neighbour? Yes! It wasn’t the first time she had done this and was typical of her disregard for others. At first I felt quite guilty about being angry, but I remembered that mindfulness is not about

avoiding negative emotions – it’s about noticing when we do have them and what they feel like. If we begin to observe our experience as soon as a situation arises, we have immediately taken a step back. Rather than being overwhelmed by it, we can take a wider perspective. We can’t stop the unexpected from happening, but we can choose how we respond. Getting stuck in a cycle of blame and recrimination would only hurt me – my careless neighbour wouldn’t know or care – and there was no point in judging myself for how I was feeling either. I had to remind myself that there was nothing I could do. The flooding had already happened and I couldn’t take steps to fix the problem until I returned home. So instead, I acknowledged the anxiety, then gently brought my attention back to whatever I was doing at the time.

ANNA BLACK is a mindfulness and meditation teacher based in London. Her new book, Mindfulness on the Go (CICO books, £14.99) is out now.



Get comfy, feel your body relax then savour a warming drink for a few mindful moments. You’ll find your recipe, short story and puzzle inside




As a primary school teacher, I know how to distract a child. She punches the air. Her pigtail flies in my face as she twirls and skips ahead down the slope towards the beach, where the surf laps over caramel sand. As we clamber up the driftwood steps to Rani’s beach café, Erin’s hand searches for mine again. Something hard is held tight within her palm. Inside the beach shack, all thoughts of sleepovers are soon banished by curly fries and teeth-numbing milkshake. Rani chatters as Erin dashes to the bathroom. “How about I cook you both Sunday lunch? My afternoon is free as Pita’s covering here.” Rani had been Sean’s best mate and hound-dog. Whenever Sean and I were together Rani always tagged along like a lovesick pup. I’m glad he’s asking while Erin’s absent, as she loves Rani and his cooking. “We’ve got plans this weekend.” I give an apologetic shrug. I don’t need male company; I just want to be with Erin. At six months into my pregnancy Sean proposed: “Let’s get married after the baby’s born,” he had announced one morning. “After Jack’s born,” I corrected him, instinctively knowing my baby was a boy. I considered Sean’s words a binding

hen you live on the coast, you live with the sea. Swiftly flitting from sleeping babe to petulant child, ghost grey, it mocks the brazen, rubber-clad swimmers with icy undercurrents. Today, the Pacific Ocean winks to us, placid turquoise waves doze in the late afternoon sun, as we walk home from school along the cliff. Erin tugs her hand from mine. “Why can’t Molly sleep over? You never let my friends stay over.” “I have a ton of marking to finish off this weekend.” I try to keep my voice adult. “And it’s difficult – being on my own.” “So can I stay at Molly’s instead?” My daughter barters well for her nine years. It would be easy to acquiesce, but I want to spend time with her. Before she’s grown. Before she leaves this place, like her father. A pod of pilot whales skims the horizon, like a flotilla of ebony pebbles. A large family group, over thirty adults, is cruising outside the bay. Shark-like dorsal fins probe the sky, as the whales duck and dive at the edge of the world. I pray they keep on cruising. The sand basin rises quickly in the bay, where deep water shockingly turns shallow. The town couldn’t handle another stranding. “How about tea at Rani’s?”


TAKE A MOMENT With that fin it could be a pilot whale.” He squeezes my hand. I smell his breath against my cheek, ginger and lemon. “Please, Allie, put it back in the sea.” By noon the next day half the town is on the beach. The sand is obscured. It’s as if Poseidon has tossed his toys out of the bath in a tantrum. The pod of pilot whales has strayed into the bay and now lie dead or dying in the swelling sun. Erin and I gallop down the dunes to join the rescue party. The beach café’s staff are scattered amongst the sagging bodies. Rani is bare-chested, wetsuit pulled down to his waist and I think of the Indian god with the dancing arms. We all know the drill: the animals still breathing must be kept upright and wet. The tide is retreating, too far gone to reclaim the beached family, and our only hope of saving the living is the mobile cranes and their stretcher hoists. The pilot whale resembles a bottlenose dolphin, a bulbous head with a gentle face and the serene smile of a cetacean Buddha. Erin and I straddle a young calf, no more than a year old, its skin quickly drying from slippery black to deathly grey. Its mother must be somewhere on the beach with the rest of the pod. I push the calf upwards, leaning all my bodyweight against the animal. One of Rani’s waitresses, I forget her name, brings a bucket of seawater and Erin begins to sponge the whale. I check the calf’s blowhole is clear so that it can breathe. Rani is now at my side, curly hair stuck flat against his head. The salt-spray is drying on my face, I’m burning without sunscreen and I taste grit between my teeth.

contract, but he had other dreams. At seven months, Sean got a job offer to work back in the UK. I’d been born on New Zealand’s South Island; I didn’t want to leave. In the end I didn’t have to – Sean left, quietly, without us. At eight months, Rani proposed. Offered to become Jack and Erin’s new daddy. Offered to make us happy… Erin returns to corral the chocolate trickle escaping from her shake and licks the dark liquid from her finger. The treasure she’s been clasping falls to the table. The smooth, white pebble rolls towards Rani. “Hey girl, what’ve you brought me?” He stands close; I feel his arm hairs bristle against my skin. Rani catches up Erin’s pebble before she can snatch it back. “I found it on the beach,” sings Erin. Rani hands the circular stone to me. His voice drops low. “Take it back. Before the tide turns you must put it back – this belongs to Tangaroa.” Black lines mark the tide-worn pebble. The outline of a simple fish has been carved into the stone, embedded, almost integral to its being. A fat, round fish, like a pre-school child would draw, but with a triangular top fin. Rani’s family came here from Mumbai and now he’s spouting Mãori myths like a local. Erin’s eyes are about to pop. “Don’t scare her, Rani.” Pinching one of Erin’s fries I continue, slipping into classroom tone. “Tangaroa is the Mãori god of the sea. And I don’t know why Rani is scaring us with his superstitious nonsense.” “Allie.” His hand cups mine along with the pebble. “This is ika moana: fish of the sea.” “A whale?” Twisting the image I nod my head. “Okay, yeah I can believe it’s a whale.


SHORT STORY the duty-nurse. The tea was mud brown, tepid and tasteless, but it soothed those of us on the night vigil. So many of them try to grow wings, the nurse confided, but your Jack is a fighter. Except she missed the tiny buds sprouting above his shoulder blades, didn’t feel them swelling beneath creamy skin, while his colour faded. Pneumonia fledged his wings before the week had ended and Jack left us. Erin never saw her baby brother again and I never mentioned his name. I buried him deep. And I assumed he’d evaporated from her memory, along with all those pre-school experiences that we all forget. I join Erin and together we sponge the calf, my hand on hers. “I don’t believe God wants any babies to die,” I whisper, “but sometimes they’re too little, too weak, they get ill.” I don’t want to tell her this, but neither can I ignore the question. “What was his name?” Erin asks. Rani delivers me, pointing towards the road at the top of the beach. “The cranes are here! We’ll try and get this little one in first.” Twelve surviving adults and the calf are carefully hoisted back into the sea. The townsfolk in wetsuits follow them, slapping the water like impatient penguins, ushering the whales towards the edge of the bay, scolding them out of the shallows into deeper water. The calf sticks close to one of the adult whales. A long chance, but I hope this is its mother. Where is Tangaroa? The diminished pod remains in the bay, they’re not leaving. The pilot whales are heading back towards the beach. Erin is running to the sea. The shallows

“There’s about forty adults and three calves,” says Rani. “We’ve already lost twenty individuals. This is the last remaining calf.” Half the pod is already dead. Something creaks inside me, a long-buried ache. An adult whale behind us is thrashing wildly against the sand, its eyes closed, as it sinks into respiratory distress. Our calf lays limp but its breathing is regular, eyes still open. Its dorsal fin flops to one side, half-mast, flaccid without the buoyancy of the sea. Erin clutches the dripping sponge. She stares at Rani, eyes wet and blinking too fast. “Why did God let the baby die?” Rani is puzzled. He glances to me, but my heart has frozen. “She still has a chance Erin,” he replies, “we can lift her back into the sea. She’s not dead yet.” Erin doesn’t mean the calf; she’s reliving something I thought she was too young to remember. She’s remembering her baby brother. I look out to the curve of the ocean, gunk dribbles from my nose mingling with tears, and beg Tangaroa to summon home his brethren. Jack came three weeks early, underweight, but with pink skin and a hearty cry. Rani brought Erin into the special baby-care unit to meet her brother. She was three years old and Rani had to pick her up so she could peer into Jack’s cot. It was just a precaution, they told me, to keep Jack in the unit where they could monitor his weight gain. I couldn’t sleep on the ward without him, and spent my nights by his Perspex bubble bed drinking tea with


SHORT STORY I hear the tease in his voice. “Nothing I can’t put off.” “Okay.” He’s too tired to smile. Despite the warm sun Erin is shivering from her dip in the water. I need to get her back to the café and rustle up hot chocolate. “Shall I call Molly’s mum, ask if Molly wants to sleepover?” “Not tonight,” she says. “Mummy could I sleep in your bed – like we used to when I was little?” I pull Erin close and hug my daughter. Scooping the sun-bleached fringe away, I kiss her forehead. “His name was Jack. Would you like me to tell you all about him, your baby brother?” Erin nods against my t-shirt. We live with the sea and all its moods, good and bad. Now I feel lighter, like waking and realising the dreaded headache has gone. Its banishment may only be temporary, but for now I’m swimming, gloriously naked, beneath the sparkling waves. Tangaroa has scattered diamonds across his sea. The spikes of the pod’s dorsal fins dance where the world ends and then disappear in the dazzling glare.

are now a danger filled with the thrashing whales and I scream her name, calling her back. She wades in up to her waist; her arm windmills through the air, her bowling skills honed by silly games of beach cricket. “Ika moana,” pants Erin returning to my side, “I threw him back.” She has put the white pebble back in the sea. Rani, his rubbery spare arms flailing behind him, turns in the surf to face me. He points to the horizon where the powder-blue sky bows to kiss the ocean. He’s waving and shrieking like a mad man. The family of pilot whales are swimming out of the bay. Somehow they’ve found their way home. “Did you see it?” Rani cries as he jogs back to us. He’s grinning like the teenage puppy again, Sean’s shadow. Salt-water trickles down his smooth, brown chest. “An albino whale piloted the pod back out to sea. Amazing!” “A white whale?” “I’ve never seen an albino pilot whale before.” He’s excited, yet almost crying too. “It just appeared in the bay.” Erin whispers, “Will the baby be alright now?” “Yes, she’s with the rest of the pod – they’ll take care of her,” Rani answers. My eyes lock with his, we both know this time she’s talking about the calf. The day has turned and the sun is tracking the pilot whales. Sadly, we all must focus on removing the carcasses from the beach, before the stench becomes unbearable. I touch his arm. “Rani, why don’t you come round tomorrow and I’ll do lunch.” “Thought you had plans?”

TRACY FELLS Tracy lives in glorious West Sussex in the UK. Her prize-winning short stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, and online at Litro New York and Short Story Sunday. Tracy tweets at @theliterarypig.



Focus on a fun quiz! ACROSS 1 Italian island, popular with hikers (8) 6 Feathery, uncut effect on the sides of paper (6,4) 13 Cake frosting (5) 14 The other way round (4,5) 15 Ground wheat (5) 16 Sponge paint pens (7) 18 Cascade (9) 19 Female sheep (3) 20 Stiff (5) 22 Panache (5) 24 Father (3) 26 Royal example of 61 across (5) 28 Process of creating raised designs in paper (9) 30 Snooker rod (3) 31 Fragrant, tubular flower (7) 32 Badger’s den (4) 33 Climbing, woody-stemmed plant (4) 34 --- of Wight, south coast resort (4) 36 Weaving apparatus (4) 41 Template used to produce the cut design below (7) 42 Huge Brazilian seaside city, --- de Janeiro (3) 43 London district, revamped for the 2012 Olympics (9) 45 Related to the kidneys (5) 46 The alphabet (1,1,1) 47 --- Designs, television homebuilding show (5) 49 Political labour camp (5)

50 Variety of lettuce (3) 52 Mark a surface with numerous dots or specks (7) 55 Hundreds and ---, cakedecorating sprinkles (9) 58 --- Ashley, textile design company (5) 59 Spear-shaped, vitaminpacked vegetable (9) 60 Back-bending yoga pose (5) 61 Equestrian venue (10) 62 Mixed, varied (8)

DOWN 2 Farewell! (5) 3 Downward-facing ---, yoga pose (3) 4 Ben ---, highest mountain in Britain (5) 5 Curved structure forming an entrance (7) 6 Piece of turf cut out of the ground (5) 7 Ink capsule (9) 8 Camel-like animal with a woollen coat (5) 9 Scrubbed skin to remove dead cells (10) 10 Hand covering (5) 11 Oxfordshire festival celebrating the outdoors (10) 12 Beverage widely used in Chinese medicine (5,3) 17 Most senior (6) 21 Negotiator (2-7)


22 Travel on snow (3) 23 Carve (4) 25 Daniel ---, Robinson Crusoe author (5) 27 Unpleasant-tasting vegetable extract with health and beauty benefits (6,3) 29 Spirit made with juniper berries (3) 33 Holiday house (5) 35 DIY ---, BBC home makeover show (1,1,1) 37 East African island nation, home to the lemur (10) 38 Baked treat named after a North West town (6,4) 39 --- Island Iced Tea, cocktail (4) 40 Sections cycled in the Tour de France (6) 41 --- Come Dancing, Saturday night TV favourite (8) 42 Sheet of edible wafer used in baking (4,5) 44 --- Stewart, Maggie May crooner (3) 48 Caribbean island where Nelson made his base (7) 51 Steam room (5) 53 Mountainous north-western US state (5) 54 Spooky (5) 56 Fertile spot in the desert (5) 57 Honourable (5) 60 Automobile (3)

7 Across: 1 Sardinia, 6 Deckle edge, 13 Icing, 14 Vice versa, 15 Flour, 16 Daubers, 18 Waterfall, 19 Ewe, 20 Rigid, 22 Style, 24 Dad, 26 Ascot, 28 Embossing, 30 Cue, 31 Freesia, 32 Sett, 33 Vine, 34 Isle, 36 Loom, 41 Stencil, 42 Rio, 43 Stratford, 45 Renal, 46 ABC, 47 Grand, 49 Gulag, 50 Cos, 52 Stipple, 55 Thousands, 58 Laura, 59 Asparagus, 60 Cobra, 61 Racecourse, 62 Assorted.

Down: 2 Adieu, 3 Dog, 4 Nevis, 5 Archway, 6 Divot, 7 Cartridge, 8 Llama, 9 Exfoliated, 10 Glove, 11 Wilderness, 12 Green tea, 17 Eldest, 21 Go-between, 22 Ski, 23 Etch, 25 Defoe, 27 Castor oil, 29 Gin, 33 Villa, 35 SOS, 37 Madagascar, 38 Eccles cake, 39 Long, 40 Stages, 41 Strictly, 42 Rice paper, 44 Rod, 48 Antigua, 51 Sauna, 53 Idaho, 54 Eerie, 56 Oasis, 57 Noble, 60 Car.


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Cold and flu buster


njoy a soothing citrus infusion that is as nutritious as it is delicious. With antimicrobial and antibacterial ingredients that will boost your immune system, it’s the perfect winter warmer.


ughs Chase away cito h a and colds w pa! warming cup


* 1 orange * 1 lemon * 1 tsp apple

cider vinegar 1 * tbsp honey * 200ml freshly boiled water, cooled to warm

METHOD Juice the orange and the lemon and pour into a cup. Stir in the apple cider vinegar, then add the warm water. Stir in the honey until dissolved. For an extra kick, sprinkle cayenne pepper or chilli powder on top.

Recipe from Starting Out Somewhere (