We have found a best way to spend some time in the kitchen today: baking Pret a Manger’s choc chip cookies! YUMMO!
Farmers keep us fed and our economies stable, but they are retiring faster than they’re being replaced. Take a crash course in agricultural policy with Eric Sannerud to see why this problem can’t be solved by simply buying from your local farmer’s market and learn how you can create a better future for farmers.
Let’s help each other out by shopping locally. Tag your small business, or favourite local store below and let everyone know about some great businesses they can support.
While we are all staying safe and remaining home there are only so many days on the sofa we can have before we start to feel sluggish. So we have rounded up a few of the best exercise books and DVDs that we think will inspire you to get moving. Fear not, we have something for everyone; toned legs, slow movement, buff abs or a toned face!
Yoga, A Manual for Life by Naomi Annand
Be calmer, happier and more creative. In Yoga, A Manual for Life Naomi Annand shows you how to use the ancient practice of yoga to live better in the modern world. Utilising simple, breath-led movement, this beautiful practice companion teaches you how to wake up feeling energised, calm an anxious mind, sleep better, feel inspired. It’s ideal for total beginners and even for more experienced yogis, this manual includes everything you’ll need to live a more balanced, grounded life, from five-minute life hacks to longer sequences with specific goals in mind.
Boundless by Ben Greenfield
What if the ability to look, feel, and perform at peak capacity wasn’t the stuff of lore but instead was within easy reach? Sure, some of us find ways to hit peak performance in one area or another there are professional poker players, computer programmers, and race car drivers hunched over card games, keyboards, and steering wheels with optimised minds; UFC and NFL gladiators fighting for glory on television with optimised bodies; and monks and meditators roaming the planet with optimised spirits. But in a perfect world, you would be able to have it all: complete optimisation of mind, body, and spirit. In Boundless Ben Greenfield offers a first-of-its-kind blueprint for total human optimisation by maximising cognition, mental clarity, and IQ.
Ballet Beautiful Total Body DVD by Mary Helen Bowers
Do not be fooled by the tutu, pretty satin ballet shoes and the floating arm movements. This ballet workout is crazy hard. Take it from this wanna-be ballerina who was looking to tone her arms and legs. After about two minutes the body was quivering at the thought of another set of plies while holding arm weights. I can happily report that this gets easier…it just takes three weeks of daily workouts. This DVD offers a total body workout from Mary Helen Bowers, Natalie Portman’s trainer for her Academy Award-Winning Role in Black Swan! Get a tight, toned and elegant body with this ballet inspired workout. Sculpt sleek and strong legs, arms, butt, abs and upper body. Shape a lean and graceful dancer’s body with targeted mat work and standing exercises that lengthen and tone. Workouts include focused exercise on trouble areas while increasing flexibility and improving posture.
The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler
It may be 20 years old, but this is still a fabulous book. In The Pilates Body author Brooke Siler, owner of one of New York’s top studios for Pilates and personal trainer to supermodels, actors and actresses, provides a complete, easy-to-follow programme of Pilates exercises to give you a whole new body in thirty sessions. Pilates is the ultimate mind-body exercise for those who want to tone, streamline and realign their bodies, without the bulked-up results of more conventional workout methods. Brooke Siler guides you through a complete circuit of mat-based exercises, each clearly illustrated with photographs, line drawings and unique visualisation exercises. With this guide you can streamline your figure, create longer, leaner muscles, improve posture, flexibility and balance, enhance your emotional well being, build self-esteem and confidence, and reduce stress and fatigue.
Bigger, Leaner, Stronger by Michael Matthews
If you want to get muscular, lean, and strong as quickly as possible without steroids, good genetics, extreme dieting, or wasting ridiculous amounts of time in the gym, regardless of your age, you will want to read this book. Imagine enjoying the added benefits of high energy levels, no aches and pains, better spirits, and knowing that you’re getting healthier every day. This book aims to debunk myths that keep people from ever achieving the lean, muscular, strong, and healthy bodies they truly desire.
If all of that running and jumping and weight lifting is just too much we have found the most relaxing exercise book for you to tackle while staying safe at home…and you can do it on the sofa!
Press Here! Face Work Outs for Beginners by Nadira Persaud
Press Here Face Workouts for Beginners offers age-defying results through a series of easy-to-follow pressure and massage techniques, which can be used as part of your daily skincare regime. Benefits of facial workouts are more than aesthetics; a daily workout can have remarkable results in the way you feel. You’ll be encouraged to focus on the feeling of each movement to identify problem areas or muscle tension in the face which can display deep lines, sagging skin, and an overall tired appearance. Through the power of touch and focused breathing, these simple routines will help you feel more energised, de-stress, and maintain a toned and firm facial structure without the use of specialised equipment, whether you want to see a transformation immediately or over time.
What’s the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki says it’s exercise. Watch this Ted Talk to get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory — and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Happy Friday Everyone! We’ve made it through yet another week. It’s time to take it easy and be kind to yourself…and maybe have a little time to relax with a book. Stay safe.
Tonight’s dinner inspo book, A Basket By The Door, is full of thoughtful gifts of food to pack up, drop off and bring joy to someone else. Maybe it’s as simple as cooking an extra serving for a neighbour.
What are you cooking tonight?
Full disclosure, we’ve had about eight goes at writing this introduction. We are living in a crazy time at the moment with many people unwell, everyone in isolation and unable to see extended families or friends. We try as much as we can to look on the bright side and have been heartened to see that our local community is full of kindness where people are helping each other as much as they can. We’re aiming to offer a silver lining too with daily dinner inspiration (there are so many cookbooks on the market that are seriously turning this ‘non cook’ into a wannabe chef! – be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram and share your dinner ideas too).
This week we are all about helping you fill the spare time you have on your hands while we all sit this virus out at home. There are so many things you can learn to do.
We’ve had a little dig around and have found six great new books that will help you broaden your skill sets. What is it you would like to learn?
From Clay to Kiln by Stuart Carey
This one is for these of you that have always wanted to have a go at pottery but perhaps haven’t worked with clay since kindergarten. From Clay to Kiln is a must-have guide for anyone working with ceramics, from absolute beginners, weekend crafters and students, through to practising ceramicists. In this book, Stuart Carey invigorates and encourages you through all stages of the pottery process. Covering all the information you need about tools and materials, he takes you through preparation and hand building, throwing and finishing your vessel, to glazing and firing. You will gain an in-depth knowledge of how clay works and how to apply your skills to the wheel and beyond. With simple step-by-step tutorials, clear visuals and Stuart’s helpful hints and tips, you can jump straight in with confidence and create a piece of pottery that marries beauty, form and function. Including stunningly beautiful photography throughout, this is a book to inspire.
Mend and Patch by Kerstin Neumuller
These are skills that are sadly lacking in our generation but with the times we are in, perhaps will make a resurgence as we all take the pace of life down a little.
Throwing away holey, yet beloved, clothes can sometimes be one of the saddest things, but what if you were able to fix those holes and extend their life? With Mend and Patch, you can learn to take care of your clothes, mending, patching and repairing so you can cherish all your garments. In the furthest corner of Kerstin and Douglas’s store, Second Sunrise in Stockholm, Kerstin has set up a mending studio and so when it’s quiet in the shop she can sit there by the sewing machine and give a new lease of life to people’s favourite jeans. Some prefer discreet and invisible mendings, others want them to be highly visible and so, with time, mending becomes a part of the history of the clothes and the people who wear them. Mend and Patch arms you with the skills and ideas you need to mend your own clothes, truly making and keeping them your own, whatever the wear and tear. Find out emergency tips for mending in a hurry, enhance your clothes with decorative ‘mends’ and learn to mend for and with different materials, including leather, cotton, wool, silk and of course, denim.
Clean Code by Robert C Martin
Okay, this is something many of us put off. Coding. Sounds tricky. Isn’t really. Well…that’s what we are hoping. Many of our community run their own businesses and websites are (and even more so) going to become an increasingly important component of those. Knowing a little coding will surely be of benefit. Also, this isn’t the newest book (it was published in 2008) but it is an extremely pragmatic method for writing better code from the start, and ultimately producing more robust applications.
Even bad code can function. But if code isn’t clean, it can bring a development organisation to its knees. Every year, countless hours and significant resources are lost because of poorly written code. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Noted software expert Robert C. Martin presents a revolutionary paradigm with Clean Code. Martin has teamed up with his colleagues from Object Mentor to distill their best agile practice of cleaning code “on the fly” into a book that will instil within you the values of a software craftsman and make you a better programmer – but only if you work at it.
Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen
Yep, another coding book. It’s an important skill so we thought we’d give you another option. Ruby is the language powering sites including Booko, AirBNB, Shopify and Zendesk. The developer community around Ruby is famously welcoming and inclusive with the community motto derived from demeanor of the language’s chief designer Matz: “Matz is nice and so we are nice”. The language has a focus on developer happiness making it a great place to begin your journey into writing software.
It’s easy to write correct Ruby code, but to gain the fluency needed to write great Ruby code, you must go beyond syntax and absorb the “Ruby way” of thinking and problem solving. In Eloquent Ruby, Russ Olsen helps you write Ruby like true Rubyists do-so you can leverage its immense, surprising power. Olsen draws on years of experience internalizing the Ruby culture and teaching Ruby to other programmers. He guides you to the “Ah Ha!” moments when it suddenly becomes clear why Ruby works the way it does, and how you can take advantage of this language’s elegance and expressiveness. Eloquent Ruby starts small, answering tactical questions focused on a single statement, method, test, or bug. You’ll learn how to write code that actually looks like Ruby (not Java or C#); why Ruby has so many control structures; how to use strings, expressions, and symbols; and what dynamic typing is really good for. Next, the book addresses bigger questions related to building methods and classes. You’ll discover why Ruby classes contain so many tiny methods, when to use operator overloading, and when to avoid it. Olsen explains how to write Ruby code that writes its own code-and why you’ll want to.He concludes with powerful project-level features and techniques ranging from gems to Domain Specific Languages. A part of the renowned Addison-Wesley Professional Ruby Series, Eloquent Ruby will help you “put on your Ruby-colored glasses” and get results that make you a true believer.
They say home is where the heart is and this little book will help you learn a few skills to make sure that home reflects the personality of the people who live with you. Beautiful and practical DIY projects, styling hacks and design tips for both owners and renters from the founder of one of the world’s most popular lifestyle websites. Add style and individuality to your home with DIY, even when you’re renting. Home Is Where You Make It channels the simplicity and beauty of modern living. This is your room-by-room guide to making and DIY-ing your own place, with hundreds of clever styling hacks, repurposing and up-styling ideas, and easy weekend projects to create the home of your dreams.
Mad About The House: 101 Interior Design Answers by Kate Watson-Smyth
This is Kate’s second book and it is a gold mine of insights and tips from this fabulous writer.
This is a companion to the best-selling book by the founder of the UK’s number 1 interiors blog, this easy-to-use dictionary of interior design answers all those questions you wanted to solve but were afraid to ask. The book begins with the most important questions of all: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? And When? The aim is to answer these before you start any decorating scheme and you will avoid the most common mistakes, save money and, most importantly, create a home that works for you and the people who live there. It is the super-practical guide that allows you to dip in and out so you can solve all your decorating dilemmas.The chapters focus on Walls, Floors, Ceilings, Windows, Doors, Skirtings, Furniture Layout, Lighting, before finally a round-up of Fixtures and Fittings. In addition to the no-nonsense practical answers, there are checklists and step-by-step guides to key decorating challenges – everything from How to Hang Wallpaper, to Arranging a Gallery Wall, and Removing Stains from Carpets and Soft Furnishings. You’ll love Kate’s writing style and if you want to hear more from her you can also check out her podcast with Sophie Robinson here.
Stay Safe and Enjoy!
While staying safe at home at the moment it seems like a great time to learn a new skill. There are so many to choose from; a new language, macrame, pottery, coding or even yoga. What would you like to learn?
Now is the prefect time to learn a new skill or even practice one that you have been working on – especially while we’re all keeping safe at home. Later this week on the blog we’ll share a few titles to help you with just that.