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  • Posted on April 24, 2015

    A Mindful Recipe for the Weekend

    To finish up #MindfulWeek we wanted to share one of our favourite recipes that we enjoyed for our Mindful Eating lunch earlier this week. This Spiced Pumpkin, Spelt and Goat’s Cheese Salad was utterly delicious, and it achieved at least two of the Mindful Eating Principles; namely putting plant-based foods at the centre of a meal, and making sure there is plenty of colour and variety. You can see more of what we ate below the recipe.

    Spiced Pumpkin, Spelt, and Goat's Cheese Salad

    50g whole spelt

    400g peeled and deseeded pumpkin (any squash works well here)

    65 ml olive oil

    ½ teaspoon sea salt

    ½ teaspoon Spanish smoked sweet paprika (pimentón dulce)

    ¼ teaspoon dried chilli flakes

    ¼ teaspoon ground allspice

    50g unsalted cashew nuts

    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

    100g soft goat’s cheese

    4 handfuls of wild arugula/rocket

    freshly ground black pepper

    Serves 4

    Put the spelt in a large saucepan with plenty of boiling water.

    Set over high heat, bring back to the boil, and cook for about 30 minutes, until just tender yet firm to the bite. Drain well and set aside.

    Preheat the over to 350F/180C/Gas 4.

    Cut the pumpkin flesh into large bite-sized chunks and put in a bowl of the oil, salt, paprika, chilli flakes, and allspice. Toss to coat the pumpkin in the spiced oil.

    Tumble the pumpkin onto the prepared baking sheet and pour over any spiced oil from the bowl. Cook in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, scatter over the cashews, and return to the oven for 8 – 10 minutes, until the cashews are golden and the pumpkin tender. Remove from the oven and set aside.

    Combine the remaining oil and vinegar in a small bowl. Put the spelt, spiced pumpkin, cashews, goat’s cheese, and arugula/rocket in a large bowl and gently toss to combine, being careful not to break up the cheese or pumpkin too much. Pour over the dressing and season well with black pepper.

    Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew & Mandy Pearson is available here.

    Have a Mindful Weekend everyone!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK and was tagged with salad, savoury, recipe for the weekend, vegetarian, office lunch, mindfulness, mind body spirit, 2015, healthy, mindful week, mindful eating

  • Posted on April 24, 2015

    Try the 'Sitting Tall' mindfulness exercise!

    We’re feeling pretty stress-free in the office as we reach the end of our #MindfulWeek after trying a range of exercises, from paying attention to the world around us and learning to live in the moment, to a communal lunch (photos later today) following the mindful eating principles, and a mindfulness meditation on our commute. This morning we wanted to turn our attention to the workplace in order to continue our calm and productive mentality throughout the following weeks. Here is a mindfulness exercise for sitting tall at your desk – a great way to release tension and relax the mind at work.

    Desk illustration from Mindfulness@Work

    sitting tall

    My neck and shoulders are the areas that are the first to stiffen. When I pay attention to my posture at work I can see why. My shoulders are scrunched up and my chin is jutting out as I stretch my head towards the computer screen. When I notice how I am sitting, there is an instant softening and letting go. If we can check in with our posture at our desk or in a meeting, we can notice our own habitual patterns. Remember that it is only when we bring something into awareness that we have the capacity to do it differently.

    Sitting Tall Mindfulness Exercise from Mindfulness@Work by Anna Black

     

    Mindfulness@Work by Anna Black

    This exercise is taken from Mindfulness@Work by Anna Black. For more information about the book or to buy a copy, please click here!


    This post was posted in Featured, UK and was tagged with mindfulness, work, mind body spirit, 2015, mindful week, mindful exercise

  • Posted on April 22, 2015

    The Mindful Commute

    So often mindful living can be dismissed with four little words: “I don’t have time…” But mindfulness really can slot into everyone’s daily lives. Whether it’s following these Mindful Eating principles, or taking a daily mindful minute, you can adapt your thinking to live more mindfully. In the exercise we’re sharing today, Stephanie Brookes offers some meditation tips to transform your daily commute from stressful to stress-free.

     

    THE MINDFUL COMMUTER

    Making our way from A to B may sound simple, however, the daily commute can often take its toll on our well-being. If we are lucky enough not to have to take transportation to our place of work, we can count ourselves fortunate indeed. The issue we all experience with commuting is that it is a tiresome activity, often lengthy in duration, and your personal space is likely to be taken up by your fellow commuters. It’s never going to be a relaxing journey, but it can be given a mindful overhaul so you can integrate a worthwhile activity while getting to your chosen destination.

    On the train, I often notice people reading a book, magazine, or listening to their music, and all these activities have their own meditative benefits. However, if you find yourself without anything to occupy your time, I suggest the following mindful exercise, which is ideal if you are traveling on public transport.

    In your current position, whether you happen to be sitting or standing, try and find that moment of personal calm by focusing on your breath. As it is likely to be noisy on the train, bus, or subway, you may not even be able to detect your breath, so focus on what you can pick up on. Can you feel the air as it touches the tip of your nostrils? Or maybe you are following the rise and fall of your chest? Spend a few moments finding your rhythm in order to help you feel more calm and centered.

    After a few minutes of focusing on your breathing, expand your  awareness to where you currently are in your space and become mindful of how your body is positioned. This exercise is all about becoming more aware of “you.” When we commute, we are often swept along with the other passengers, and sometimes it feels as if we're just following the crowd. But if you can bring your “self” into clearer focus, you will become more mindful of your journey, so you will be kinder to yourself, and equally more conscious and considerate of your fellow commuters.

    To conclude: This exercise can be carried out for the duration of your commute, or you may decide to practice for five minutes and then carry on reading your book or listening to music. You can mix and match this exercise to fit your needs on any given day.

    Meditation Made Easy by Stephanie Brookes is available here.

    Don't forget that we're giving away a #MindfulWeek book bundle. Head over to this post to enter.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK and was tagged with mindfulness, meditation, Stephanie Brookes, mind body spirit, 2015, healthy, mindful week, mindful eating, mindful exercise

  • Posted on April 21, 2015

    The Mindful Eating Principles

    Today, as part of #MindfulWeek, we turn our attention to food (as we often do in this office!) and take a look at the mindful eating principles recommended by Rachel Bartholomew and Mandy Pearson. If you feel like you’ve tried every fad diet under the sun and can’t seem to maintain the diet (or a healthy and happy body weight!) then these principles might inspire you to try a new approach to eating. Not only are they simple, achievable and commonsensical, they offer a way for you to enjoy food again. By putting you in control of what you are eating, encouraging a fascination with food and helping you to discover what constitutes healthy food for you, this mindfulness approach will nourish you from the inside out.

     

    The Mindful Eating Principles

    1. Eat three smaller meals and three snacks daily. Avoid becoming ravenously hungry. Aim to eat every 2-3 hours.

    2. Choose whole, unprocessed foods, which are as close to their natural state as possible.

    3. Make your meals and snacks as complex as possible by simply combining foods from different food groups: carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

    4.Include colour and variety in your daily diet

    5. Make friends with fat by including more beneficial unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in your diet and less saturated fats.

    6. Make plant-based foods the star attraction, rather than the supporting act

    7. Drink plenty of fresh, filtered water.

    8. Eat breakfast as soon as possible after you wake up.

    9. Plan your meals and snacks in advance, so that you can choose your food rather than it choosing you.

    10. Allow yourself the foods you really love, in moderation.

     


     

    These basic principles are a brilliant place to start, but for more information, check out the book – Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew and Mandy Pearson.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK and was tagged with mindfulness, 2015, healthy, mindful eating

  • Posted on April 20, 2015

    Living in the Moment

    All this week on the blog we are celebrating Mindfulness practices with #MindfulWeek. You can enter our competition to win a Mindfulness Book Bundle, and all week we’re sharing simple tips and exercises on Instagram and Twitter, so you can see what we’re up to! We’ll be sharing some longer exercises, as well as recipes over here on the blog. Here’s the first of these, taken from Living in the Moment by Anna Black. This activity is all about looking at things, really seeing and making a connection with the world around you. It’s the perfect introduction to mindful being. Relax into it, and simply be…

    I love drawing portraits and when you draw someone’s face you have to really look at them and see them. You are not judging the length of a nose or the size of an ear, but noticing how a certain line aligns with this one, or a particular angle comes down from another, and so on. When you draw someone you need to get up close to them and you feel a connection.

    The following practice does not involve any drawing, but it does require looking. Your subject could be another person, a pet, or an inanimate object, such as a flower or a stone, or even a view from a window.

     

    Take a position where you can see your subject clearly, and settle into your seat.

    Connect first to the breath and then the body.

    Begin looking ahead at the subject. Just open your eyes to whatever comes into your field of vision.

    Notice any urge to turn your head in search of something more interesting… but if you do, just bring your head back in the same way that you escort the attention back when the mind wanders. Notice any thoughts arising and let them go or label them as “judging,” “planning,” “past,” or whatever is appropriate.

    Rest your eyes on the subject, perhaps letting them roam without turning your head… from time to time, becoming aware of the breath like a radio playing in the background… moving the attention backward and forward in a way that feels right for you. Finish by focusing on the breath.

     

    Living in the Moment by Anna Black is available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with wellbeing, mindfulness, meditation, mind body spirit, Anna Black, 2015, mindful week, mindful exercise

  • Posted on April 20, 2015

    Win a Mindfulness Book Bundle!

    This week we're holding a Mindful Week in the office; we are trying some mindful eating recipes and techniques at lunch, practising some simple meditations and exercises during the day, and generally trying to be aware of the present moment. If you'd like to join in with us then keep an eye on the #MindfulWeek hashtag on Instagram, Twitter and follow us on Facebook for daily mindfulness tips, activities, and to see what we're up to!

    For this week's activities, we are following the advice and ideas in a number of great mindfulness books and we wanted to give you the opportunity to try them too! So we've got a fantastic book bundle to give away on Friday, including four of the books that we will be using; Living in the Moment and Mindfulness@Work, both by Anna Black, Mindful Eating by Rachel Bartholomew and Mandy Pearson, and Meditation Made Easy by Stephanie Brookes.

    For your chance to win the bundle, simply enter via Twitter and Facebook below:

     

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Good luck everyone and have a wonderful mindful week!


    This post was posted in Competitions, Featured, News, UK and was tagged with mindfulness, meditation, Stephanie Brookes, Anna Black, 2015, mindful week, mindful eating

  • Posted on April 17, 2015

    Recipe for the Weekend

    The lovely sunshine may have inspired a few spontaneous family trips to the seaside, but if you want to taste the sea without leaving your kitchen this weekend, then we’ve got a great recipe for you to try today! We’ve been hearing a lot from Mat Follas of late - he had a catch up with Liza Tarbuck on BBC Radio 2 last week and appeared on BBC Radio Devon yesterday! - so we couldn’t help but share one of his favourite dishes. Taken from his stunning new book, Fish, this crab thermidor recipe won him the Masterchef title in 2009 and is a firm favourite in his restaurant. Enjoy!

    Mat Follas, photo by Steve Painter

    Mat's Crab Thermidor 

    Prepare: 15 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Serves: 2

    This is a variation of the Spider Crab Thermidor I cooked as my MasterChef winning main dish. This is not a true thermidor recipe, as we make the sauce using cream, rather than a flour-based roux. However, this is the one I prefer and that I serve in my restaurant because of it’s wonderful flavour and because it can be eaten by people with a gluten intolerance. The flavour of crab changes throughout the season and so accordingly, the seasoning for this dish must be adjusted (tailor the mustard, Tabasco etc.). Use the method below as a guide but trust your taste buds, this is not a dish of exact measurements.

    Mat Follas' Crab Thermidor

    600 ml unreduced Shellfish Stock (recipe below)

    a few drops of Tabasco sauce

    1 teaspoon English mustard powder

    60 g grated Gruyère cheese

    salt and freshly ground black pepper, to season

    100 ml double cream

    200 g white crab meat

    200 g brown crab meat

    4 crab shells (you should be able to buy these from a fishmonger)

    100 g spinach

    100 g. samphire, woody bits discarded

    1 lemon, cut into wedges

     

    Put the stock in a saucepan set over a medium heat and simmer until it has reduced by about two-thirds.

    Add the Tabasco, English mustard, half of the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary – it should be a spicy, slightly salty, seafood liquor.

    Turn the heat down and add the double cream, then the crab meat and gently stir together. You should now have a thick stew. Take care not to overcook or overstir it as the crab meat is quite delicate.

    Fill each crab shell about a quarter of the way up with spinach leaves, then spoon over the mixture so that the shells are full.

    Scatter with the remaining cheese and place the filled shells under a hot grill/broiler for a few minutes until the cheese has melted.

    Make a small pile of samphire on each serving plate and place the hot crab shell on top of it. Just before serving, sprinkle the crab with pepper and squeeze fresh lemon juice over the samphire.

    Note: Crab meat needs to be handled with care. It should either be kept fridge-cold, or above 70°C (160°F). It’s very important not to leave it sitting out of the fridge for any longer than is necessary.

    Crab photograph by Steve Painter, taken from Fish by Mat Follas

    SHELLFISH STOCK

    Prepare: 10 minutes | Cook: 1 hour | Makes: 2 litres/3½ pints

    4 brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped

    8 carrots, thinly sliced

    8 celery stalks, thinly sliced

    2 tomatoes, cut into quarters

    the peel of 1 lemon

    2 litres/3½pints cold water

    300 ml/1¼ cups shellfish juices (or 200 g/7 oz. scallop frills)

    200 g/3 cups uncooked prawns/shrimp, shells on

    Put all of the ingredients in a large pan set over a gentle–medium heat, bring to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat and continue to cook for a further 45 minutes.

    Blend the mixture using a handheld electric blender, then pour the liquid through a fine mesh sieve/strainer into a jug/pitcher. Discard the pulp.

     

    Fish by Mat Follas

    Fish by Mat Follas, with photography by Steve Painter - check out the book page for more information or to buy the book.

    Have a lovely weekend everyone and happy cooking!


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with fish, savoury, recipe for the weekend, 2015, crab, Mat Follas

  • Posted on April 16, 2015

    London Book Fair 2015

    This week has been one of the big trade events for us in the book industry - the London Book Fair - held at the Olympia, West London, with lots of lovely stands (and even lovelier books!). Our sales and rights teams have been busy for weeks in preparation for the fair and have created such a beautiful display with our books that we wanted to share a few photos with you...

    Our new lifestyle titles took centre stage with everything from creative interiors to delectable recipe books, while the kids activity books looked bright and colourful on a stand next to the pretty craft titles...

    The back wall had a stunning collection of practical and inspiring interiors books, a stylish centre poster, and a tasty looking bunch of food books...

    We were particularly pleased with our handmade macramé plant pot holders that decorated the stand, giving a nod to the ever popular bohemian modern style and inspired by author Emily Henson, who taught us how to make them!

    Drinks books from beer writer, Mark Dredge, and master mixologist, Tristan Stephenson (otherwise known as the Curious Bartender), make a statement of their own...

    ...and the Seasalt stationery range (and sunny weather!) made us all want to visit the seaside!

    The fair has been as busy as ever, visitors to our stand admired the stylish rustic look (and our handmade macramé plant holders!) and I enjoyed some of the great talks while visiting yesterday. When leaving the fair last night, however, a piece of advice from an old publishing professor came to mind (an oh, I should have listened!)... if you only remember one thing when you go to LBF, make sure it's comfy shoes!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with event, photos, 2015

  • Posted on April 14, 2015

    Upcycled Chic Book Launch

    Yesterday evening we celebrated the launch of the wonderful new book by Liz Bauwens and Alexandra Campbell. Another great interiors book from the stylist and writer duo, Upcycled Chic & Modern Hacks will inspire you to look at your home in a new way and transform something mundane into something fabulous, whatever your style. Gathered into the lovely conservatory in our office were friends, family, home owners from the book, and bloggers, and we all had a super time chatting about the upcycling ideas and raising a glass to Liz and Alexandra. Here are a few photos from the evening for you to browse...

    Cindy, the publisher, gave a lovely speech to congratulate Liz and Alexandra, and showed everybody one of her favourite ideas in the book - the gorgeous blue/green kitchen cupboards made out of old palettes - on the front cover!

    The books took centre stage and guest were keen to get their copies signed...

    With a full room of friendly faces, some fizz and lots of chatter, it was a great way to celebrate this super book!

    Head over to the book page for more information about Upcycled Chic & Modern Hacks or to buy a copy.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, event, Book Launch, 2015

  • Posted on April 13, 2015

    Maker Spaces blog tour

    Emily Quinton’s family motto 'Create something every day', along with her interest in how creative lives are lived in the home and in the studio, has provided the inspiration for Maker Spaces. She explores the important link between makers and their home and work spaces, looking at homes and studios inhabited by creators around the world, all illustrated beautifully by Helen Cathcart's gorgeous photography. We celebrated the publication of this beautiful and fascinating book with a blog tour visiting a range of interior and craft bloggers, all of whom relished the insider peek into the secret worlds of designers and makers. Look at all the fab bloggers we had taking part!

    Some of the bloggers felt inspired to share their own ‘maker spaces’ and we’ve created a pinterest board here to show you all!

    We started things off on Lobster & Swan, who observed ‘a calming place to retreat to is also essential to most makers’ process…and Emily’s book captures this perfectly. So if you’re looking for ideas of how to incorporate some home comforts into your own studio or workshop, this is the perfect book for you’.

    Next we headed over to Happy Interior Blog where the book was perfectly matched to the crockery!

    This was followed by an interview with Emily over on The Lifestyle Editor, who said ‘If you have ever been curious about how other creative style their homes, or what their studio and work space look like, then this book is a must-have…to satisfy the curiosity in all of us!’ We couldn’t agree more!

    Stops on Modern Craft Workshop, My Scandinavian Home and MadePeachy shared some of their favourite images from the book, and My Scandinavian Home summed up our feelings perfectly with “Whenever I hear the words 'illustrator', 'artist', 'set designer' I pretty much know their home is going to be fab’.

    Yvestown loved that each maker was given their own pages within the book, and shared some photos of her own ‘maker space’ with her review, including some gorgeous shot of her basement studio. Such beautiful light!

    Next we visited Such Pretty Things who loved seeing how different makers had designed their spaces to meet their needs, and the value placed on the importance of ‘surrounding oneself with the things that inspire them and feed their creativity – the things that give them joy’ – such a lovely way to put it!

    Last but by no means least, we finished up with Décor Art UK, whose favourite chapter of the book was the last – Making a Living, noting ‘creativity takes courage… and it starts right where you are. Meet some of the most exciting modern makers and adopt the wonderful author’s motto – create something every day – Maker Spaces will inspire you in more ways than you can think of!’

    What a fab way to finish! We’ve loved this blog tour journey and if you’re feeling inspired, make sure you head along to the book launch and makers' pop-up shop at West Elm! You can see all the details of the event over here.

    Maker Spaces by Emily Quinton is available here.


    This post was posted in Book Reviews, Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with interiors, decorating, Book Launch, photos, 2015, creative, events, Maker Spaces, makers

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