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Tag Archives: New Year
  • Posted on December 22, 2016

    Festive Drinks For The Weekend...Cheers!

    It’s almost Friday, which means…almost time to start the full on Christmas celebrations! Hurray!

    If you’re throwing a party or hosting a house-full of family this weekend, we’ve got some great ideas for different and easy to make drinks to serve…from cocktails, to Christmas beer and even something for the drivers, we’ve got everyone covered with these fab festive recipes.

    Spiced Pomegranate Apple Cider

    16 cups (3.8 liters) pasteurized apple cider (juice)

    2 cups (500ml) pomegranate juice

    4 tbsp maple syrup

    2 cinnamon sticks

    6 whole cloves, plus extra for garnishing (optional)

    ó vanilla bean (pod)

    3 star anise

    4 oranges, peeled, zest reserved

    2 sliced oranges, for garnishing (optional)

    Serves 16

    In a large pan combine the cider, pomegranate juice, and maple syrup.

    Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla bean, star anise, and orange zest. You can either discard the four oranges that are needed for the zest, or juice them and add the juice to the apple cider and pomegranate juice.

    Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Strain to remove all solids.

    Serve warm, garnished with clove-studded orange slices if desired.

    Sherry Cobbler

    50 ml/2 oz dry sherry, such as Fino or Amontillado

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed orange juice

    10 ml/2 teaspoons sugar syrup

    15 ml/ ½ oz pineapple juice or purée

    thin lemon and orange slices, to garnish

    Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes, add all the ingredients except the citrus slices and shake well. Strain into a chilled tumbler or highball glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with slices of lemon and orange and serve with a straw.

    Williams Bros Nollaig

    Alloa, Scotland • ABV: 7.0% • Hops: Centennial, Bobek, Southern Cross

    Ingredients: Christmas trees

    As well as modern styles, Williams Bros make a range of traditional-style Scottish brews with Old World brewing ingredients found locally. Fraoch is a hopless Heather Ale, one of Scotland’s original beer styles, which contains bog myrtle and is a resinous yet fragrantly floral beer. Kelpie puts seaweed into the mash tun for a fresh, sea-air feel—harking back to the time when Scottish coastal brewers fertilized their fields with seaweed. Nollaig is the most fun of these beers: it’s made with Christmas trees and is Santa-approved. Sappy with pine but somehow as bright as the lights above the presents, there’s a fresh floral flavor, dried herbs, and some zesty citrus with a jammy kind of marmalade sweetness. No novelty value in the Williams Bros beers—they’re all excellent.

    You can buy this beer direct from Williams Bros Brewing here.

    These recipes are taken from (in order):

    Mocktails, cordials, infusions, syrups and more, available here.

    Parisian Cocktails by Laura Gladwin, available here.

    The Pocket Book of Craft Beer by Mark Dredge, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK and was tagged with New Year, christmas, drinks, craft beer, recipe for the weekend, cocktail

  • Posted on December 20, 2016

    7 Recipes You Need To Cook This Christmas!

    To finish up our Christmas round-ups, we’re thinking Christmas Food today on the blog. From food for the main event to Boxing Day leftovers to New Year’s Eve nibbles, we’ve got recipes to take you right through the festive season. And if you’re still in need of some present inspiration, check out our Homemade Gifts Round-Up here.

    For the main event we obviously turn to Miranda Ballard and her Modern Meat Kitchen. Click here for her Roast Turkey recipe, and here for what you HAVE to do with your leftovers on Boxing Day.

    Just the words salmon caviar and canapé are enough to get us drooling! You can find the recipe here.

    Or how about Christmas dinner in a mouthful? Click here for the recipe.

    Tiny pizza anyone? You’ll find the recipe here.

    Brontë Aurell’s Ginger Biscuits & Glögg are so quick to make, they’re perfect to have a batch on hand for any unexpected guests this festive season. Click here for the video tutorial and recipe.

    And last, but very much not least, don’t forget Team TWISTED’s Camembert Hedgehog Bread for the ultimate in cheesey goodness – perfect for any party this festive season! Head here for the recipe.

    Happy eating!

    Save


    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, salmon, drinks, canapes, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, sweet, 2016, turkey

  • Posted on December 15, 2016

    Camembert Hedgehog Bread

    Obviously at this time of year, party food, or food to feed a large group of people is often at the forefront of our menu planning. Fortunately, our new book from the team behind Twisted’s viral videos over on Facebook, Twisted: The Cookbook, is on hand to ensure that your guests don’t go hungry! The camembert hedgehog is one of their most popular videos to date (check it out here) so we thought you might like the recipe! Perfect for festive games nights, New Year’s Eve, or for that awkward period after the 26th but before the 31st where you’re just not sure if you’ve had enough cheese yet. You know the one. Enjoy!

    CAMEMBERT HEDGEHOG BREAD

    Ahh, the Camembert Hedgehog Bread—a stalwart of Twisted’s funk-cheese repertoire. Trust us, this will be your next dinner party show-stopper. Even the most amateur (and possibly drunk) chef should feel right at home with this dish, but its ease is only half the appeal. All it takes is six ingredients, ten minutes to make and twenty to bake, and boom, food heaven (and lots of weird dreams to boot).

    1 large, whole camembert for baking, all packaging removed

    1 large sourdough loaf (or any other large loaf of bread)

    2 tablespoons finely chopped rosemary, plus a few small sprigs

    3 fat garlic cloves, finely chopped, plus a few slivers

    6 tablespoons olive oil

    sea salt flakes

    SERVES 4

    HOW EASY? WITH EYES CLOSED

    1 Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas 4.

    2 Using the bottom of your camembert box as a stencil, cut a hole in the middle of the loaf. Tear away the bread to make the hole as deep as the camembert.

    3 Working around this central cavity, carefully cut your loaf in both directions almost all the way down to the bottom of the loaf (it’s important not to cut through the bottom crust). You want to have 1-inch (2.5-cm) squared individual segments (the perfect size for dunking).

    4 Score the one side of the camembert and cut away the rind. Pop the cheese, cut side up, in the bread hole.

    5 Mix the chopped rosemary and chopped garlic into the olive oil and spoon all over the loaf, encouraging the flavored oil into all the slits. Cover the loaf liberally with sea salt flakes. Pop a few mini sprigs of rosemary and a few garlic slivers in the middle of the cheese, along with a little drizzle of olive oil.

    6 Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes and get your mates round.

    Twisted: The Cookbook is available here.

    Save

    Save

    Save


    This post was posted in Featured, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, bread, savoury, recipe for the weekend, cheese, vegetarian, quick, 2016

  • Posted on December 12, 2016

    Sherlock Returns!

    I don't know about you, but we're very excited to greet the new year with the return of our favourite detective and the long awaited series 4 of Sherlock Holmes! Thank you BBC and Mr. Cumberbatch, you have saved us from the January blues! So to get ready for the big day we wanted to share with you an extract from our book, Sherlock Holmes’s London by Rose Shepherd, in which she introduces the city Sherlock would have known. Over to Rose...

    The London of Sherlock Holmes is a city of the imagination. Arthur Conan Doyle did not extend himself in describing it. With a few deft pen strokes he gave us fog and gas lamps, hansom cabs, gentlemen’s clubs and opera, pawnbrokers and gin palaces, wily street urchins and dull-witted “Scotland Yarders”—which, for us, the avid readers, is enough. We know that London of the 1890s, capital of Great Britain, of Empire and Commonwealth, in the last gasp of the Victorian era. We can see the teeming thoroughfares, the horses drawing carts, landaus, roughams, the diffused glow from shop windows, the swirling “pea-soupers.” We can hear the ring of iron horseshoes, the clatter of wheels on cobbles, the music of an organ-grinder, the cries of hawkers selling nostrums, matches, posies, whelks. It’s a little bit edgy, dirty, smelly, but always exciting.

    Nor has it all vanished. On the contrary, it is astonishing how much of today’s London would be recognizable to Holmes and Watson. Here and there are survivors from the Middle Ages—remnants even of Roman times. Tudor black-and-white abuts Jacobean grace and Georgian elegance, alongside 1960s Brutalism.

    In the shadow of great towers of glass and steel are important public buildings of bygone ages, ancient churches, impressive monuments, venerable hotels, restaurants, and stores. If we raise our eyes above plate glass and fluorescence, above nail bar and tanning salon, burger joint and mobile phone emporium, we see how handsomely historic London has accommodated the 21st century. The very lack of unity makes for endless fascination.

    In this book we set out upon a tour of the London of the world’s first consulting detective. We visit his haunts and walk the streets in his footsteps, admire stupendous edifices, poke into nooks and corners and back alleys. We can shop, as he would have done, for snuff, shooting sticks, game birds for the table, fine wine, top hats, swords, and country tweeds. We can venture into his favorite restaurant and onto his crime scenes, and find out where justice was dispensed and where the villains whom Holmes brought to book would have languished.

    But a city is more than just a built environment, it is a milieu, it is its people—or, rather, its people are its lifeblood. London in the late 1800s was home to four and a quarter million souls. It was a city of extremes of rich and poor: carriage folk in their Regency mansions, the poor in workhouses and slums, the destitute in rags, under arches, and an emerging middle class colonizing the Victorian pattern-book redbrick terrace homes (row houses) that are such a large part of current housing stock. Masters, servants, wharfingers and wherrymen, shopkeepers, laundresses, flower girls, pen-pushers, publicans, costermongers, cabbies, stable boys, actors, loafers, beggars, harlots, hucksters… All human life was here, giving voice to what Tennyson called “the central roar,” and Robert Louis Stevenson “the low growl” of London.

    Here too, of course, were the criminals whose vile pursuits furnished Doyle with such rich material. Most infamous of all was “Jack the Ripper,” the fiend who stalked the squalid streets of Whitechapel. While he still exercises the minds of investigators who speculate as to his true identity, he remains a faceless figure, almost a figment.

    By contrast, Sherlock Holmes, a character of fiction, is entirely real and present. Let us now get on his case.

    This is extracted from Sherlock Holmes's London by Rose Shepherd which is available here. AND don't forget to tune into BBC One at 9pm on January 1st to see Sherlock's next adventure!


    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, christmas, 2015, Rose Shepherd

  • Posted on January 25, 2016

    Motivation Monday: looking forward to Spring cleaning

    As January draws to a close we’re taking a moment to look forward to Spring in today’s #MotivationMonday post and specifically Spring Cleaning. Wait! Come back! We know it’s a scary phrase but honestly, it helps, and our new book Lillian Too’s 168 Ways to Declutter Your Home and Re-Energize Your Life is on hand to guide you through every step of the way! With today’s post we’re starting small, focusing on just one room and following Lillian’s tips to de-clutter our bedrooms.

    Treat bedrooms as sacred spaces

    Keep your bedroom free of clutter for peaceful, restful sleep. Treat this area as if it is a sacred space, since this is where you spend all of your sleeping, subconscious time. It is where you leave the conscious world, and go into another dimension. Here is where you dream dreams, and let yourself go. Here is where you rest, cocooned from the world. So keep this space sacred and special.

    Keep the energy of the bedroom free from energy that is negative, harmful, stale, or hostile–so throw out things that make the energy turn sour. Instead, place only things you love in your bedroom, things that make you feel pampered and beautiful.

    Practical Tips

    1. Don’t store clothes high on elevated shelves in your bedroom. This is a bad idea because they create heaviness above the sleeping level. Store your winter wardrobe in a storeroom and keep all of your suitcases in another room.

    2. Keep all exercise equipment, bikes, and wall mirrors out of the bedroom. Your place of rest is not your gym.

    3. Make sure that all work-related junk is kept away from the bedroom. Do not have a work desk here, so that you eliminate the danger of work-junk piling up inside the bedroom. Keep computers and telephones out. Let children have a special study room, rather than a desk in their bedroom. If there are insufficient rooms in your house for this, try to place the desk a little away from the bed so that junk that builds up on the desk does not affect the sleeping child.

    4. Keep all dirty clothes inside a laundry basket. Nothing is more yin than dirty clothes, and the energy permeates any room pretty fast.

    5. Do not place junk under, over, or beside a bed. Keep beds clean at all times.

    6. Keep all doors clear of junk so that they open and close smoothly.

    7. Never hang questionable art on the walls of your bedroom.

    8. Keep windows clear of clutter. Curtains can be left open or closed at night, but it is advisable to let the light flow in once the sun shines. Nothing brings in better yang energy than morning sunlight.

    Lillian Too’s 168 Ways to Declutter Your Home and Re-Energize Your Life is available here.

    Don’t forget to check out all our #MotivationMonday posts.


    This post was posted in Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with january, New Year, detox, interiors, mindfulness, mind body spirit, home, 2016

  • Posted on January 22, 2016

    Great chieftain o' the puddin'-race

    Happy Friday! Burns’ Night is literally just around the corner (25th January for those not in the know…that’s Monday) and we're quite excited. So, you could just buy a Macsweens Haggis, followed by Cranachan and a wee dram of something delicious. OR you could do it the Muddy Boots way and make your own haggis this weekend. Go on, be Brave(heart)!

    Homemade Haggis

    This is such a delicious, good-value and nutritious meal. I love the full tradition with the offal and stomach casing, but they’re not always easy to source, so this has an alternative version to achieve an equally delicious flavour and texture.

    75 g/2½ oz. lamb’s liver

    100 g/3½ oz. each of lamb’s heart and lamb’s lungs or 200 g/7 oz. lamb mince/ground lamb

    100 g/3½ oz. beef suet or vegetable shortening

    A big pinch of allspice

    A pinch of cayenne pepper

    1 small red onion, finely chopped

    1 garlic clove, finely chopped

    A big pinch of freshly chopped parsley, plus extra to garnish

    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar

    30 g/2 tablespoons tomato purée/paste

    120 g/¾ cup old-fashioned rolled oats

    salt, to season

    1 sheep’s stomach (alternatively, use baking parchment)

    ‘NEEPS AND TATTIES’

    1 swede/rutabaga

    2 baking potatoes

    A large knob/pat of butter

    Black pepper, to taste

    Butcher’s string/twine

    SERVES 2

    Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (325°F) Gas 3.

    Finely chop the liver, heart and lights/lungs, if using, or chop the liver and mix it into the lamb mince/ground lamb. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the chopped suet/vegetable shortening, allspice, salt, cayenne pepper, onion, garlic, parsley, white wine vinegar, tomato purée/paste and oats.

    Then either stuff into the stomach and seal the end with butcher’s string/twine or squeeze into a tight ball. Place into the centre of a square of baking parchment and twist or tie the ends to lock it in.

    Wrap in a layer of foil and place into 1 cm/ inch of water in the bottom of an ovenproof pan. Set a lid on top and cook in the preheated oven for 2 hours. Remove the haggis from the casing, season with salt and slice it to serve.

    ‘Neeps and Tatties’

    While your haggis is cooking, you can make your ‘neeps and tatties’, the accompaniments for this famous Scottish meal. Peel and chop the swede/rutabaga and potatoes into small dice. Boil separately (or together, if you prefer), drain and mash with the butter and freshly ground black pepper.

    This recipe is taken from Modern Meat Kitchen by Miranda Ballard. For more cooktchery tips and tutorials, why not check out our videos with Miranda on The Pantry YouTube channel.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, savoury, Miranda Ballard, recipe for the weekend, tomato, Burns Night, Scotland, 2015, meat, Modern Meat Kitchen

  • Posted on January 18, 2016

    Motivation Monday: Stretching with Ease

    Did you decide to take up running in 2016? Perhaps you’ve got a specific goal distance in mind? Maybe you’re starting from the absolute beginning with a Couch to 5k running programme? (We know a good one…) Or even just want to get running for 20 minutes a couple of times a week? Whatever your ultimate goal, you need to make sure you’re stretching properly before and after your run, which is where today’s #MotivationMonday comes in. Taken from our new book, Stretching With Ease by Linda Minarik, these stretches are designed to help ensure that “your gait becomes fluid and easy; you move with efficiency and confidence”.

    1. Back: Spiral

    The Setup: Lie on your back on the floor, using a carpet or mat for comfort. Place your arms by your side, palms down, forming an “A” shape (fingers reaching away from you at 45 degrees to your torso).

    The Stretch: Bring both your knees as far in to your chest as you can. Drop both knees over to the left side and let them rest where they fall. Keep your right shoulder down on the floor. The stretch here is produced by your knees pulling away from your shoulder, causing your spine to form its characteristic spiral shape. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

    2. Side hip: lying on side

    The Setup: Lie on your right side with your legs stretched out, one on top of the other. Place a rolled-up towel under your right hip. The placement of the towel is important: it goes between your pelvic bone (iliac crest) and your thigh bone (greater trochanter). Get familiar with both these bony landmarks on your side before you place the towel. You don’t need to know anatomy: just feel the bones that come to the surface at your hip and thigh.

    The Stretch: The stretch appears in the side of your hip facing the ceiling. In other words, the towel lifts your bottom hip so you can experience greater range in the top hip. Gently brace yourself with the open palm of your left hand. You can rest your head either in your hand (elbow bent) or on your straight right arm. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

    3. Hip Flexors: kneeling lunge

    The Setup: Kneel with your right leg forward and left leg behind you. Adjust the width of your stance for balance: for more stability, move your forward leg a little farther to the right. Your right toes should line up in front of your heel—make sure they are not rotated outside your heel. Your front knee can be a little behind the ankle—just not in front of it. This protects your knee from strain. For more support, kneel between two chairs, and place your hands on them if needed. Otherwise, place your hands lightly on your front thigh. Hold your neck in a comfortable position—neither too lifted at the chin nor too bowed toward your chest. Just comfortable, without strain. Looking straight ahead helps to accomplish this.

    The Stretch: Gently tuck your pelvis. The stretch will appear in the left leg—the back leg—at the hip-flexor level in front. When you experience the stretch in the right spot, you can intensify it by moving your front leg a little more forward. Ultimately, and with practice, your back hip will be much lower to the ground. On your way there, you will have moved your front foot forward in many small increments. Now comes an important point, which cannot be stressed enough. The hip-flexor stretch contains the beginning of a lovely back extension—also called an arch. Whenever we practice developing the back extension, we always encourage length: spine goes up as well as forward, to avoid scrunching the lower spinal vertebrae together. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

    4. Thighs: hamstrings

    The Setup: Stand with your feet about shoulder width apart and shoulders relaxed. With your knees bent, roll your spine slowly downward, beginning at the top of your head, tucking your chin, and slowly rolling down through all your spinal vertebrae. When you pass your waist with your head, pull in your belly button to support your lower back as you continue to descend toward the floor. Stop when you are at the full extent of your present hip flexion range. Your head and neck remain relaxed. Your view is of your own legs. You may already be feeling a stretch. Note how far your fingers are from the floor, so that you can compare their distance after you execute the stretch.

    The Stretch: Slowly straighten your legs. Take all the time you need. If you can straighten your legs without lifting your back up at the same time, you will achieve a deeper stretch. Here we emphasize stretch in the hamstrings. But keep in mind that, if your back is more in need of stretching, that is what you will feel. Any stretch that addresses the hamstrings will also lengthen the back. What you feel is determined by the area you most need to stretch.

    5. Calves: floor, leg straight

    The Setup: Stand facing a wall with your left foot forward and right foot back.

    Your left knee is bent; your back leg is straight. Place your hands on the wall for support at about shoulder height. Make sure your hip bones are even, that is, our pelvis is not rotated sideways in either direction. Place the heel of your right foot directly behind the toes: make sure the toes are not “winging” outside the heel.

    The Stretch: Move your right foot gradually back, until it is as far back as you can move it without lifting your heel from the floor. You will feel this stretch in the “fat” part of your calf, below your knee. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

    5b. Calves: support, knee bent

    The Setup: Stand on a step with your hand on a support, e.g. a stair railing. Your feet are about shoulder width apart. Your left heel hangs off the step, with your weight on your right foot. Find a secure spot on the ball of your left foot where your foot feels stable as you hang your heel comfortably off the step. At this point your left leg is straight.

    The Stretch: Slowly sink your left heel down off the step. Now gently bend your left knee, while still sinking your left heel down as far as you can. The stretch is still in your calf, but it now shifts to the lower part, nearer to the ankle and Achilles tendon. Repeat the stretch on the other side.

    Stretching With Ease by Linda Minarik is available here, and don't forget to check out our other #MotivationMonday posts. Happy stretching!


    This post was posted in Featured, UK, What's new and was tagged with january, New Year, mind body spirit, 2015, healthy, Motivation Monday, exercise, Stretching With Ease

  • Posted on January 6, 2016

    Wordless Wednesday: Cosy Corners

    Picture Credits: 1. Debi Treloar 2. Katya de Grunwald 3. Pia Ulin 4. Ben Robertson 5. Katya de Grunwald

    6. Christopher Drake 7. Christopher Drake 8. Debi Treloar

    The images for this post are taken from:

    Selina Lake Winter Living by Selina Lake, available here.

    Monochrome Home by Hilary Robertson, available here.

    Bohemian Modern by Emily Henson, available here.

    Annie Sloan's Room Recipes for Style and Colour by Annie and Felix Sloan, available here.

    Creative Children's Spaces by Ashlyn Gibson, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, interiors, Selina Lake, annie sloan, Emily Henson, photos, 2015, home, Wordless Wednesday, winter living, winter

  • Posted on January 4, 2016

    Challenge Yourself in 2016

    January is the perfect time of year to set yourself goals. Whether it's eating that little bit healthier, taking up a new craft, or a new fitness goal, we're here to help! All this month, we'll be sharing #MotivationMonday posts to inspire and encourage you so make sure you keep an eye out!

    So, is your resolution to see the world, push yourself further than ever before and achieve something truly great? Ever thought about an ultramarathon? How about swimming to France?  (She says, ever so casually.) Well, Up For the Challenge? by Dominic Bliss is packed full of ideas to push you to your limits! Here, he tells us all about the Channel swim.

    The English Channel Swim from Up for the Challenge?

    DISCIPLINE: OCEAN SWIMMING

    LOCATION: THE ENGLISH CHANNEL, BETWEEN ENGLAND AND FRANCE

    TOUGHNESS FACTOR: ✖✖✖✖✖✖✖✖✖✖

    POTENTIAL HAZARDS: HYPOTHERMIA, JELLYFISH STINGS, DROWNING

    WWW.CHANNELSWIMMINGASSOCIATION.COM

    The English Channel may be just 21 miles (34 km) wide at its narrowest point (on a clear day you can see all the way across), yet it has proved far too mighty a challenge for many an unwary swimmer. The lion’s share of swim-powered crossings are attempted northwest to southeast, from Shakespeare’s Cliff or Samphire Hoe (in between Folkestone and Dover on the English side) to Cap Gris Nez (in between Boulogne and Calais on the French side)—a stretch of water known as the Strait of Dover.

    As well as the 21 miles (34 km) of sea to plow through, there are added hazards. First off, swimmers must take into account the very strong currents, often pushing them well over the official distance by the time they reach the French shore. The water can be cold, even in summer, with waves sometimes reaching more than 6 ft (2 m) high. The Channel Swimming Association (the official body that governs this rather eccentric sporting feat) also warns that “jellyfish, seaweed, and the occasional plank of wood” can put you off your stroke.

    If you want your effort to be recorded as an official crossing, then wetsuits aren't permitted. Instead, swimmers smear their bodies with grease. And grease offers little protection from either stinging tentacles or planks of wood. Bear in mind, too, that the English Channel is one of the busiest shipping channels in the world, with more than 600 tankers and 200 ferries negotiating its waters every single day. For safety reasons, all swimmers need to be accompanied by a pilot boat. It’s that or risk being swamped by a passing 500,000-tonne supertanker.

    The first recorded cross-channel swim was all the way back in 1875 by a certain Captain Matthew Webb. On August 25, on his second attempt, he swam from Admiralty Pier, in Dover, to Calais in 21 hours and 45 minutes. Despite being helped by three support boats and a generous all-over smearing of porpoise oil, Webb was forced by sea currents to zigzag his way across the channel. He swam 40 miles (64 km) in all, and picked up a fair few jellyfish stings for his troubles, but ended up one of the most famous sports celebrities of his era. A Victorian Michael Phelps, you might say. After his sporting feat he was in constant demand for swimming exhibitions and galas. And all sorts of Captain Matthew Webb official memorabilia—books, pottery, matches, dinner sets—were made available for his adoring fans.

    Webb’s last ever stunt, and arguably his most audacious, was an attempt in 1883 to traverse the treacherous rapids of the Niagara River below Niagara Falls. Shortly after embarking on his swim he was pulled under. His drowned corpse was found four days later downstream. A memorial in his home village of Dawley, in the English county of Shropshire, simply says: “Nothing great is easy.”

    Ever since those initial Victorian toes in the water, hundreds of different swimmers have successfully crossed the English Channel. At the time of writing (according to the Channel Swimming Association) there have been more than 1,900 solo crossings made by over 1,400 people. The record time is held by Australia’s Trent Grimsey (six hours, 55 minutes), while the record number— a staggering 43 crossings—is held by Dover resident Alison Streeter, aka Queen of the Channel. “It has a unique fascination,” she says of the watery gap between England and France. “It is a living thing. You never know what sort of conditions you are going to meet out there.”

    Up for the Challenge by Dominic Bliss

    Photo courtesy of Channel Swimming Association, Steve Hadfield and Michael Read.

    Find out more about Up for the Challenge? by Dominic Bliss here.


    This post was posted in Featured, Interviews, News, UK, What's new and was tagged with New Year, Dominic Bliss, Motivation Monday, sport, 2016, challenge

  • Posted on January 2, 2016

    Winter Warming Porridge

    Have you over-indulged this holiday but still need that warming winter comfort? This healthy, superfood-packed porridge recipe from Sarah Wilkinson's The Chakra Kitchen will not only help you cleanse and detox but will also keep you comforted and full all the way through 'til lunch. No need to open another sugar-packed selection box!

    Wake Me Up Porridge

    Wake-me-up Porridge

    This porridge is a favorite, with warming, stimulating ginger and nutrient-packed superfoods maca and chia. It really does feed and balance the solar plexus chakra, with the slow-release carbohydrates from the oats keeping you satisfied throughout the morning. I have included a cooked and a raw version of this recipe.

    SERVES 2

    90g/1 cup gluten-free oats (sprouted if possible)

    600ml/2½ cups unsweetened plant-based milk

    2 tablespoons chia seeds

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons maca powder

    2 tablespoons desiccated coconut

    2 tablespoons shelled hemp seeds

    2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs

    Place the oats and the milk into a small saucepan and heat gently for 3–4 minutes, stirring until you have a loose, milky porridge—do not allow it to reach boiling point.

    Turn off the heat and add the chia seeds, stir well, then leave swell and cool for 2 minutes. Add the ginger and maca and half the coconut, hemp, and cacao nibs and mix well. It is important not to add the maca at a high temperature as it would lose some of its nutrients.

    Spoon into two bowls and sprinkle the remaining coconut, hemp seeds, and cacao nibs on top before serving.

    Note: For a raw version of this porridge, soak 170g/1 cup raw gluten-free oat groats overnight in 500ml/2 cups of water. The following morning, blend the groats and water with the chia, ginger, maca, and coconut. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then serve with the hemp and cacao nibs scattered on top.

    The Chakra Kitchen

    For more healthy New Year recipes and more information about working with your Chakras, see The Chakra Kitchen by Sarah Wilkinson, available here.


    This post was posted in Featured, News, Recipes, UK, What's new and was tagged with january, New Year, vegan, vegetarian, mind body spirit, 2015, healthy, chakra, recipe

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