Nourish your body for a healthier you

Hi, I’m Jenni from Nettle & Rose Nutrition. I help women who are fed up with dieting; women who aren’t loving their bodies, and women who want to reignite their spark. I am fascinated by the power of food [read more]

Broccoli, spinach and stilton soup

In an attempt to improve my culinary repertoire, I’m trying to cook more and experiment with new recipes. My latest effort was broccoli, spinach and stilton soup, which I thought was tasty enough to be worthy [read more]

YOUR WORDS

Is it OK for women to be successful?

A few months ago I wrote a blog post for Women Aloud called ‘Can you have it all’…and in the editing of it I kept typing and then deleting ‘I’m sorry I have accomplished my version of all’, ‘I apologise for sounding smug’, ‘excuse me for saying this’…I didn’t feel comfortable talking about success; to [read more]

Can you have it all?

One thing I’ve learnt is you can’t really ‘have it all’ but you can create a realistic version of ‘all’ which you can live with. It’s taken me a long time to come to that conclusion, and a lot of trying to have more than I can…which left me feeling exhausted, stressed and a failure. On [read more]

Dear Mum who’s trying to do it all…

I am a huge fan of motivational and inspirational quotes. I use them in my teaching regularly. However, there are many I have come across since becoming a Mum that are far from inspiring; instead I find them limiting and patronising. Take this example. “Dear Mum who’s trying to do it all: STOP. You’re only [read more]

After a year of maternity leave I was ready to get back to work

In the blink of an eye my helpless newborn had grown into a cheeky and curious – almost walking – little monster. Who knew that a year of maternity leave could fly by so quickly? I’d really enjoyed it but as it came to an end I felt ready to return to work. Being a Mum is a funny old job. My little boy [read more]

When cows go boe – raising a bilingual baby

When people ask me about being a bilingual family, I often find that what I’m really answering questions about is biculturalism. In the ten years that I have known my husband, our different languages and culture have been one of the cornerstones of our relationship. So it was natural that we thought our child should also enjoy [read more]

BOOK CLUB

  • Our 2018 book club shortlist

    A couple of times a year we put together a shortlist of books and our (Women Aloud St Albans) members vote on the ones they’d like to read for our monthly book club. The list includes books suggested by our members and those that have been bestsellers, up for literary awards, recommended by other book clubs or popular picks on sites like goodreads. If you’re local to St Albans and want to come along to our monthly book club you can reserve your place on meetup. If you can’t join us in person; we’ll post each time we’re reading a new book….and you’re very welcome to get involved by commenting on the blog post to let us [read more]
  • Book review | The Darkest Secret by Alex Marwood

    The novel we discussed at September’s book club was ‘The Darkest Secret’ – written by Alex Marwood; the author of bestseller ‘The Wicked Girls’ and ‘The Killer Next Door’ (which is being adapted for film.) On a quick digression, Alex Marwood is actually not a real person. The author’s real name is Serena Mackesy and she first became known with novels The Temp (1999) which went into the Sunday Times Top Ten on publication – Virtue (2000), Simply Heaven (2002) and Hold My Hand (2008). Soon branded under the label of ‘chick-lit’ Mackesy found herself boxed in a genre she didn’t particularly like [read more]
  • Book review | Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

    For our February book club, we met at The Hare & Hounds pub and the book we discussed was Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon. The book is a bestselling psychological thriller that tells the story of two women whose lives unexpectedly become intertwined around an unsolved crime… “Alex is sinking. Slowly but surely, she’s cut herself off from everything but her one true love – drink. Until she’s forced to write a piece about a coma ward, where she meets Amy. Amy is lost. When she was fifteen, she was attacked and left for dead in a park. [read more]

HEALTH & WELLBEING

  • Are you running on empty?

    How much time do you dedicate to self-care – to showing yourself some love and compassion? Not enough I’m betting. You’re busy; your to-do list is overflowing; you give your care and attention to others. But your own self-care goes out the window. It’s easily done. When we’re juggling our hectic lives the things that fall by the wayside are often the ones that are good for us. Our wellbeing takes a backseat…we tell ourselves we’ll prioritise it when life is less chaotic. But that day doesn’t always  come. Until today. Yes, today we’re going to start on a self-care mission! Let’s get clear on what self-care is…  [read more]
  • Read this (then put your phone away!)

    Since having my daughter I’ve stepped away from the corporate rat race and had time for a spot of self-reflection and life assessment. The result of which was the recognition that there’s some room for improvement. Hence I’ve decided to go on a journey of little changes to make me a bit happier and healthier; more organised; less of a procrastinator; a better person etc. So you’re now wondering, what does this have to do with getting off your phone? Good question. And in answer – one of those little life change areas is to be more focused, more productive, [read more]
  • Take 10 to calm your mind

    Mindfulness isn’t new. Everyone seems to be banging on about it these days. But just in case you haven’t heard. Mindfulness is finding ways to pay more attention; learning to be present in the moment; to be aware of and focused on the here and now. It helps you to develop a mental place of wellbeing where you’ll be better able to just accept your feelings and your thoughts without trying to change or over-analyse them. The origins of mindfulness go back thousands of years, and you may well think it’s only for those hipster types who sit crossed-legged humming their [read more]
  • Nature helps us lead happier and healthier lives

    Mindfulness books and stress-reduction studies cite the power of nature for helping us lead happier and healthier lives – as does UK charity MIND who spent 5 years compiling evidence to show that Ecotherapy works. [Ecotherapy = the name given to all the ways in which you can improve your mental and physical wellbeing through doing outdoor activities in nature *MIND.org.uk]  In its truest form, ecotherapy involves attending a formal programme where a trained therapist leads you through a series of activities to help use nature to improve your wellbeing. But for most of us, the health benefits of nature can [read more]

LIFESTYLE

No card. Again. It’s time for a card subscription.

I’m completely disorganised. I try not to be but I’m a work in progress. I remember a few weeks in advance that it’s someone’s birthday. This time I tell myself I WILL get that card sent on time, no, make that early. I’ll get that card bought, written and in the post way before it [read more]

Letterbox flowers | Bloom & Wild

I love having flowers in my house. It’s one of those little things in life that puts a smile on my face. So I was thrilled when a friend surprised me with some gorgeous flowers from Bloom & Wild. Delivered through my letterbox; the flowers arrived in pretty yet protective packaging with suggestions to keep my blooms looking [read more]

Feel good songs | What’s on your playlist?

Monday mornings; humdrum housework; dull drizzly days – they are all made infinitely better by music – well I think so.  I’m in a much happier mood after listening to some of my favourite feel good songs. My grumpiness lifts, things don’t seem so bad, I get an energy burst and feel more upbeat. So every [read more]

Why didn’t I know about freezing food – flat – in bags?

I’ve always loved my freezer but having a toddler has brought new meaning to the words ‘frozen ready meals’. Move over oven fish and chips (the husband’s meal of choice when he’s ‘cooking’ for himself) I need room for all that home-made Bolognese that I’ve cooked in bulk. Don’t applaud my domestic goddess-ness, it’s only [read more]

OUT & ABOUT

Swingers Crazy Golf Club

I recently put my lack of hand/eye coordination to the test at Swingers Crazy Golf Club. And despite my usual dislike of any activity that puts my (quite frankly, crap) sporting abilities in the spotlight, I actually had a really good time. Swingers is an over-18s venue with two nine-hole crazy golf courses, a couple of bars, street [read more]

Kings Cross eating and drinking

After 150 years of industrial use, Kings Cross has undergone a huge redevelopment which has brought arts, culture, sporting facilities and big brand names to the area. There’s also now a plethora of places to eat and drink; making it a destination of choice for the foodie fanatic and cocktail connoisseur. So for this week’s Word of Mouth feature [read more]

Chappell & Caldwell Supper Club

Mother’s Day this year was going to be a quiet affair [given I’m 32 weeks pregnant and have a chickenpox ridden toddler] but I did have something extra special to look forward to – I was going to a supper club run by Chappell & Caldwell. Founded by St Albans resident, Ali Young, Chappell & Caldwell offers bespoke cookery lessons and private chef services [read more]

Gin tasting with Tomoka Spirits Boutique

Confession…I don’t really like gin but when an invite to a gin tasting appeared in my inbox, I thought let’s do this. The tasting was organised by the team at Tomoka Spirits Boutique. If you haven’t heard of them they specialise in fine spirits and champagne, which they sell from their St Albans shop in [read more]

A little bit of luxury at Pennyhill Park

Having turned the grand old age of 33, my husband finally listened to my hints and bought me a birthday present of a weekend at my favourite spa – Pennyhill Park. Swimming pool and hot tub? Tick! Quality time with the husband? Tick! No small child hanging onto my legs begging for my “bone” (phone in toddler [read more]

RECIPES

Broccoli, spinach and stilton soup

In an attempt to improve my culinary repertoire, I’m trying to cook more and experiment with new recipes. My latest effort was broccoli, spinach and stilton soup, which I thought was tasty enough to be worthy of a mention. Meal planning in advance is not something I’m great at. It’s more a case of what can [read more]

Butternut squash curry

Once again I was looking for some food inspiration so I reached for Madeline Shaw’s Get the Glow book – and with a chill in the air I decided it was a night for a warming curry. The recipe of choice this time was Madeline’s vegetarian squash curry, although I have to admit I did [read more]

Red lentil, sweet potato and coconut soup

Today was a day that called for a comforting bowl of soup. I could’ve made use of my soup stash from the freezer but I had some sweet potatoes that needed using up and Jamie Oliver’s red lentil, sweet potato and coconut soup took my fancy. To make this soup you’ll need… Sweet potatoes Red [read more]

Breakfast, brunch or lunch eggs

It was one of those days where I had to be in for deliveries and visits from tradesmen so I thought I might as well make use of my self-inflicted curfew and try a few new recipes from The Art of Eating Well (by Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley). First up breakfast; when I had a [read more]

Squash, red onion and butter bean roast

As part of my mission to reduce my food shopping spend (which too often ends up in the bin) I’m trying to use up what’s already in the cupboard. Cue the find from today’s cupboard trawl – butter beans. Throw into the mix some fridge odds and ends – an overlooked butternut squash and some tired looking [read more]

TRAVEL

A rural retreat in Crete

Last month I blogged about our Crete holiday part 1 – which was a one week stay at the 5* Domes of Elounda resort. [If you missed it you can read part 1 here.] Today, in part 2, we’re moving to inland Crete, just outside the small village of Zaros, to stay at Eleonas Country Village. It took us about 2½ hours to drive from the coast of Elounda to [read more]

Family-friendly holiday in Crete

Looking for some inspiration for your next family getaway? I’ve just returned from a lovely holiday to Crete and I’d thoroughly recommend it. Crete is a 4-hour flight from the UK. Once there you’ll find beaches, quaint little towns, good food and a warm welcome. In May the weather is a bit more unpredictable than the Summer months but you pay considerably less and it’s not as crowded – we had two days where it was [read more]

JUST IN CASE YOU MISSED THESE…

It was time for some hair care…

I’d avoided the hairdressers for over a year. I’d become hairstyle-less. My hair was unwashed more than it was clean; some days it wouldn’t even get a brush. At the most my hair efforts involved a blast of the hairdryer; at the least…well, nothing! Enough was enough; my hair deserved some care so this week I visited Trinder Hair for a [read more]

Are you really going to eat that?

As a food blogger who writes about healthier food choices, it’s a bit weird to say but I really dislike it when people judge what I eat. It’s a bit like Hermione judging the Weasley twins for only knowing the “flashy useless magic” they use to create their joke shop. Sometimes it’s useful to know [read more]

Home hairdressing with Babytrim

One of the many milestones on the long path through parenthood is a baby’s first haircut. There are many salons out there who can help you mark the occasion with a deluxe salon experience but I couldn’t justify the cost for snipping a few locks off. In the search for alternatives I came across the Babytrim. Designed by [read more]

Me and my mooncup

You know when you realise that over ten years after discovering a new product, you’re still ahead of the curve? That was me when discussing Mooncups at our recent Women Aloud book club. One impromptu speech extolling their virtues later, I had some converts, a few maybes and kudos for my eco and purse-friendly love of the [read more]

Donate your bras to women in need

Decluttering is another ongoing project in the K-household. I’ve tasked the husband with the target of one thing must go a day (he’ll be going commando soon if he continues with his mission of each day discarding a pair of pants  – confusion between the washing basket and the textile recycling bag perhaps?!) Anyhow, his pant clear-out inspired [read more]