Thursday, 30 January 2014

My mum just sent me this poem from Cape Town...

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
~ Naomi Shihab Nye ~

Monday, 27 January 2014

In my new book I’m writing a chapter on body language: how we feel and talk about our bodies. Here’s my question: What is your favourite body part? If you don’t have a single part – what do you love most about your body?

You may remember the Top Sante piece I mentioned recently - it can be hard, to find something to celebrate and admire in our own bodies!

I don't really approve of dividing our bodies into 'parts' - we should focus on the whole, and not fixate on flaws...  but in the end, I chose my legs: ‘Not because they’re long or in any way perfect, but because they allow me to run and cycle and have adventures. My legs are strong, they look good in jeans, and they carry me to the people I love.’
If you’re happy to include first name and age, that’s great - or choose a pseudonym. It’s anonymous because I won’t use any surnames obviously.

Please keep it short! And email to me:
Coconut & chilli prawns with sweet chilli dipping sauce which I made on a cookery course at L'Atelier des Chefs :-)

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Virginia Woolf's earliest childhood memory, falling asleep in St Ives, listening to the waves...

"...If life has a base that it stands upon, if it is a bowl that one fills and fills and fills - then my bowl without a doubt stands upon this memory. It is of hearing the waves breaking, one, two, one, two, and sending a splash of water over the beach; and then breaking, one, two, one, two, behind a yellow blind. It is of hearing the blind draw its little acorn across the floor as the wind blew the blind out. It is of lying and hearing this splash and seeing this light, and feeling, it is almost impossible that I should be here; of feeling the purest ecstasy I can conceive."

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Having a Mary Chapin Carpenter moment while working on my new book...

If you don't know The Essential album, it's fantastic. I love 'Shut Up and Kiss Me'.

And this truly beautiful song...

Late For Your Life
You've been saying for the longest time that the time has come
You've been talking like you're of a mind to get some changing done
Maybe move out of the city, find some quiet little town
Where you can sit out on your back porch step
And watch the sun go down
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every choice that ends up wrong
Another one's right
A change of scene would sure be great
The thought is nice to contemplate
But the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Now you might never find that perfect town
But the sun still sets on a rooftop where the city
Sounds like a Gershwin clarinet
And you might still be searching every face for one you can't forget
Love is out there in a stranger's clothes
You just haven't met him yet
No one knows where they belong
The search just goes on and on and on
For every day that ends up wrong
Another one's right
Call it chance or call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
Still the question begs why would you wait
And be late for your life

Call it chance baby, call it fate
Either one is cause to celebrate
And the question now is why would you wait
Don't be late for your life


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

My latest column for The Daily Beast

I know this sounds harsh, and I’ll be slammed for saying it. But from my own experience, it’s empowering to take responsibility for one’s own health. I genuinely don’t believe in bullying, blaming or ‘fat-shaming’ anyone. I know the misery that disordered eating can cause. Many people are overweight, and happy, and healthy—and that’s absolutely fine. However, extremes of weight are dangerous at both ends of the spectrum. Under-eating or over-eating is hellish: food can become a source of guilt and shame, eating in public can become a terrible experience.

Like drugs, like smoking, it is our responsibility what we put into our bodies. Our food choices have consequences.

Awareness campaigns, government initiatives, levying fat taxes, blaming commercials, or the food industry, or ‘obesogenic environments’. Why all this nonsense? It’s really not that complicated. Calories in versus calories out. Walk to work. Stop snacking on biscuits. Cancel your online delivery and go grocery shopping. Quit sugary soft drinks and alcohol, or at least have a month off. Run around the block. Lay off the lattes. Get off the bus, get on your bike (regular cyclists have average fitness levels of someone 10 years younger). Don’t pretend it’s your ‘slow metabolism’ or your ‘big bones’.


Monday, 20 January 2014

filming Supersize in sparkly new Kings Cross today - chilly but smiling, with a fabulous team!


Sunday, 19 January 2014

coat by Gap, smile by me #SundaySelfie

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid-flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
With every goodbye you learn.

Veronica A. Shoffstall

Thursday, 16 January 2014

“People ought to know that if they stuff themselves silly with high-calorie, rubbish foods they will get fat.” Discussing the great FAT debate on BBC Nolan radio show this morning!
To clarify: I genuinely don't believe in bullying, blaming or fat-shaming... but from my own experience I know it's empowering to take responsibility for your own health :-)

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Very excited about the new series of Supersize vs Superskinny which starts this evening at 8pm on Channel 4.

Interviewed some fascinating people over the past few months, ranging from MPs campaigning to ban pro-anorexia websites, to those fighting eating disorders with the added challenge of physical disability.

I also filmed with the world's thinnest woman (I kid you not) and a family who tragically lost their daughter to anorexia only a few months ago. On a happier note, I met an Olympic-medal winning triathlete, and the Strictly Wheelchair Dancing superstars.

Had so much filming with the dream team, and can't wait to see what Dr Christian has been up, and to hear what you think of Series 7.

A leopard-print selfie to celebrate!


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

TO HELLWITH SELF-IMPROVEMENT! Instead let's resolve to live and love more in 2014, to make every day count.

My latest column for The Daily Beast

Monday, 6 January 2014

Q. What's your favourite body part?
A. My legs. Not because they're long or in any way perfect (they're not!) but because they allow me to run, cycle, and have adventures. My legs are strong, they look good in jeans, and they carry me to the people I love.

Read more on this, and my article on the new, true confidence in latest issue of Top Sante magazine
...genuine confidence isn’t about being ‘perfect’. It grows from self-knowledge and self-belief, and an ability to cope with life’s ups and downs. We can’t control what happens - things go wrong for all of us at times - but confident women have the resilience to keep going. Confidence gives us a backbone, but flexibility: like a tree in the wind, it’s far stronger to be flexible and bend, than to be rigid and snap.
Most of all, the new confidence is about authenticity. There is something liberating about not hiding: what could be more successful than being who you really are?