Choosing Health and Fitness

There is no easy option when you wake up to bad habits, indulgence and modern day rewarding. The bad habits, indulgence and reward culture are the crux of a malaise. Eating processed food, having a cake because ‘you deserve it’ and general snacking is something we probably do without a second thought. Yet we conversely know this is also our undoing. We google endlessly for weight loss solutions, super foods and short cuts when it comes to exercise. When the lightbulb moment arrives you have a choice – to do or not to do!

I choose do. Do something about my middle age spread, my ridiculous faddy approach to food and the knowledge that something was wrong. In my case the something wrong is my autoimmune disease predilection resulting in being thought to be coeliac. It’s ok I don’t think it, well I do now after being to the doctors, but my GP thinks the indicators are highly likely. Hence I am being put through blood tests and an endoscopy. Meanwhile I’m hell bent on #katedoesfitness – a mix of exercise and a gluten free diet. I will have to have a six week period where I eat the equivalent of 4 slices of bread a day before the endoscopy but in the meantime I’m staying away from the stuff. And I actually feel 150% better. Without going into details, my symptoms are going or gone and I can’t believe how different I feel.

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So here is middle age spread person on Day 1 of fitness and diet – I’ve used Jeannette Hyde’s The Gut Makeover as my tool/prop.  It has been a fantastic source of information and recipe inspiration. My fitness is all done outdoors or at home as have no time or inclination to go to the gym. One, I don’t really want to pay for one and two, I don’t want to have to drive to one when I can walk or run instead. I do some yoga (following apps) and resistance training with weights and my own body. My goal is to be able to chin ups and press ups properly by the end of the year. Ideally before then but that is my goal

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The Bible!

On my Instagram feed there is a lot of images of toil and endeavour and food!

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I will master this chin up business!

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Blitzing greens

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Banana Nut Breakfast loaf – my favourite and you can also add blueberries to it for variety

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The Gut Makeover Bread – a moderation choice as it is packed full of nuts and seeds but I find it perfect to take for lunch on a busy working day as keeps me fuelled up and full. In a few weeks I will be posting the horrendous before photo I took, which will hopefully be accompanied by an improvement photo. We will see! However, if nothing else it is enough to be making progress and sharing it all.

Let me know about your health choices and goals.

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Deck The Hall

If interiors excite you then Christmas provides the perfect backdrop to dress up your house and add to the bauble collection. This year I decided to select white, gold, green and wood as my theme for the tree. In a departure from tradition I also went and bought a fake one, tree that is not Christmas.

Yet my small contribution to festive cheer was ‘nowt’ compared to the beautifully decorated show home of Antler Homes at Claygate in Surrey. The house was decorated for This Morning when a section of the show was shot here. The Christmas decorations were fantastic.

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The Christmas Wreath

Of course I wished I could make off with the wreath given it fitted it with my chosen theme for the festive season. As splendid as the door looked dressed with the wreath, the hallway and the two tress in the living room and kitchen were beautiful.

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Perfectly positioned!

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Not only perfectly wrapped presents but the most delightful present guard!

If the splendour of the decorations weren’t enough, I was also able to admire a superior interior styling of a show home. As a stylist I was impressed with the attention to detail and how each room was completed. The overall sense of styling was calm, neutrals with either stark graphic emphasis or blended patterns and injections of colour.

However I was pleased to spy a light shade that looked expensive and dramatic and realised if was from Next!

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The hallway needed an extravagant shade and this would translate to a living room or master bedroom when opulence is called for.

My favourite element of detail in respect of the design of the rooms, was the master bedroom’s walk in wardrobe.

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In my dreams!

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The quality of the house built by Antler Homes is clearly a cut above given that its value is £2.1m. The layout, use of space and finishes are excellent. Even down to detail such as a sun hole in a windowless en-suite.

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Being the sort of person who prefers plain over patterns: (except when it comes to stripes) the wallpaper selections were bold and dramatic, but used minimally on only one wall, which gave the right injection of flourish to the room without overpowering.

img_7395The context of this wallpaper was a single room suggested for a young girl. The style was dreamy and enchanted.

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Next to stripes are stars in my wardrobe indulgences and now  I have this wallpaper to covert!

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The New York wallpaper was another one added to the interior wish list.

Even though I’ve not got the budget for a £2.1m house I could really appreciate the fact of how one could scale the effort into your own home. Of course Pinterest affords us lots of living space oggling and this was a step up from the gaze to the actual reality of what a company like Antler Homes delivers. It was a splendid way to spend an afternoon appreciating quality.

Kate Battrick was invited to a community event in the Antler Home show home. The community event is undertaken as a thank you to the local community for tolerating a new build within brown belt land. 

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Olive Oil Tasting

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Cold pressed olive oil. Remember when you hunted it down? Looked frantically to get it for that recipe! Smugly nodded, yes it is cold pressed. Well …it seems we were all sold a pup. Apparently, according to good authority, it was a method last used by the then Arabs in 711. Yes that’s right the Gregorian 8th century.

My good authority is the owner, David Gallarado of D.Olivia, a beautiful specialist olive oil shop in Marbella town. As I perch on a stool with an array of dishes with oil in front of me, I feel slightly cheated. It isn’t wine! Mind you given it was 11am on a Saturday morning this was probably a good thing. My fellow olive oil tasters probably thought the same.

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Not knowing what to expect, David cleverly asked questions to engage us in his talk on olive oil. The most surprising piece of information is the fact Spain is the biggest producer of olive oil. A staggering 55% of production compared to the 9% produced by Italy. Interestingly Italy is the major purchaser of Spain’s olive oil. Suddenly, it dawned on me, like the cold press scam, the marketing of olive oil is more dynamic than our real understanding or appreciation of it.

The next known fact to be firmly dispelled is the notion that there is any issue when cooking with olive oil. A view supported by this article here from the Huffington Post. As David explained, olive oil is juice extracted from the olive. It is very stable, has good properties and can be used 4 to 5 times when cooking with it. No need to pour excess down the sink instead put it in to a jar or container to reuse. By now, I’m feeling fully equipped to be an olive oil expert, an excellent recycler and a champion supporter of the water companies.

Then we really get down to the business of grading detail and taste. Whilst the grading of olive oil is straightforward; there are three qualities of olive oil: extra virgin, virgin and olive oil. Extra virgin is the best grade due to an acidity level under 0.8 degrees. This means there is the minimum level of fruitiness in this grade of oil. Virgin falls in between 0.8 to 2 degrees implying it is not so bad in taste that it require refining; but plain old olive oil is the stuff that is over 2 degrees and is not allowed for consumption, unless it is refined. It then gets about 15% of virgin olive oil combined with it to give it some colour and smell.

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Back to the tasting of the oils in front of us.  In this respect our novice approach is obvious, ‘fruity’ is our best offering on anything when asked to describe the taste. Which fruit? Um, pretty stumped. However, the nose and the palate begins to improve and before you know it we are tasting some olive oils to die for and can tell which vegetables and fruit might have influence the taste or our nose. After the hard core method of sipping and slurping, the mood is relaxed with bread. The olive oil and bread combination hits the divine button!

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Tasting olive oil is a wonderful way to engage with something probably taken for granted, and I can now make wiser choices, in my selection of oils, when food shopping. Afterwards we enjoyed browsing the shop which has so many delightful little touches and great products to buy. D.Olivia is an incredible find in Marbella and well worth a visit. It was thanks to good local knowledge that it was discovered and it is a reminder to always get recommendations when staying at a good hotel.

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Kate Battrick was travelling with Olivia Posca and Ben Burgess, Travel Counsellors and were guests at Puente Romano Beach Resort & Spa Marbella. The olive oil tasting at D.Olivia was organised by the now retired Sales Director Manuel Jimenez.

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