Monthly Archives: August 2011

Oils are nature's oldest beauty secret

Almond blossom

Almond Blossom Flickr

The problem~

that turned into a present!


It was a friend’s birthday, and I wanted to get her something Provencal, as that is her favourite part of France.

I had written about L’Occitane products in the past – so thought a box of their gorgeous ‘goodies’ was the right thing.

But nearly an hour later I was beginning to regret my decision, as their website just wouldn’t accept anything I inputted.  It was just behaving as websites can do – but IT guys swears never happens.

Worried that I might have inadvertently set all sorts of dire things in motion (such as multiple orders) I phoned them next morning.  Got through to Joelle, who was a genuine human being, not a call centre.  She was incredibly efficient, anxiously talked me through the process and assured me that they were very, very sorry.

Two days later, the postman delivered a lovely box of goodies from L’Occitane, with a delightful letter of apology from the ECommerce Manager (not an ‘executive’) Gaelle Debauge.   This was really old-fashioned service, and I only wish some of the other companies that have website problems would copy their kindness and efficiency.

Why can’t doctors help with our hair?

They say women’s hair is our crowning glory – well, after cancer this couldn’t be further from the truth.  Each Dermatologist I meet up with, I ask what can I do about my ‘druggie hair?’  They all look bored.  I even found out this week that some of the drugs we are put on actually leach out our hair colour.  I couldn’t work out why my mousey-blonde hair was colourless;  thought it had gone white, but realised it was just a faded version of my normal colour.

Reading an information sheet included in a Sanofi-Aventis drug, this said that one of side effects was loss of hair colour.  How French !  Of course being a French drug company, where the medical profession cares much more about women, they included this vital piece of information – why do French pharma companies bother about women – yet the British  couldn’t care less? I still smart when I remember the patronising NHS dermatologist who told me, “try a conditioner”;  this was the only suggestion he could make,  as if I might never have thought of this.

Now the good news – Oils can help

L'Occitane Shower Oil

Amongst the goodies L’Occitane sent me was a lovely Almond Shower Oil.  I had to wash my hair, so tried my current trick of rubbing some oil in first before shampooing;  my ‘straw hair’ feels better already.  Although the oil was supposed to be for showering – it did the trick!  Since then I have used the Oil as a a shampoo, and my hair is much softer.

Now I know that worked, I am off to their shop near me to check out their range of oils.

Next time I will rub their oil in before I go to bed (it doesn’t stain my pillow provided I just rub in a little);  then, when I shampoo my hair the next morning, it’s much softer.  If I really want to make it shine, or am going to be out in the sun, I pour a little oil on the palms of my hands, and smooth this over my hair, and it glistens!

The company has several outlets in Britain, or you can order online (Joelle promises it was only a temporary glitch!)

You can order on QVC, or go to





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Free resource could save the NHS millions

Patient Consultations in Iraq Documented via MC4

Patients have time to search the Internet Flickr

Let Patients Help



At every medical consultation there is a free resource available.

  • It has the capacity to reason
  • To offer suggestions without charging for advice
  • Has a vested interest in ensuring that consultation has best outcome available
  • Is available 24 hours a day
  • But often regarded as invisible

This free resource is known as a ‘PATIENT’


For some reason, a Patient is a very under-utilised resource.

It has the capacity to trawl the Internet and often come up with research that is pertinent.

It is long-suffering and puts up with a smile when medical staff make a mistake – the first time.  After that is known to get closer to boiling point with each mistake.

Doesn’t try to score points over colleagues – just wants to ensure the best outcome.

Has a unique ability to ‘think outside the box’

In the upside-down jargon spoken by the medical profession, this resource is often the centre of discussion by the MDT (multi-disciplinary team) – yet never gets involved.


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A – Z of 'miracle foods'


Try mixing the colours for more health benefits Wikipedia

NHS Choices :

If you are serious about what you eat, a scholarly report has just come out from NHS Choices:


Miracle Foods

myths and the media



Basically, it shows that so-called ‘miracle foods’ are

no better for us, what we need for better health is to

follow sensible dietary advice – this can be ~

  • eat local produce if possible
  • ‘food miles’ when food is transported a long way are NOT good
  • eat organic food if possible
  • vary your diet as much as possible
  • eat seasonal food
  • eat sensibly
  • when eating vegetables and fruit incorporate as many different colours as possible

and it talks of the science behind dietary advice, as well as enabling us all to challenge the headlines we get bombarding us, such as ‘Miracle foods prolong life’;  Eating xxxxxxx cuts cancer risk, etc.

I am not going to go on.  We have all seen these;  look at them to see what ‘they’ are up to, and very often find the ‘research’ has been funded by the Association of XXXX growers, or the manufacturers of XXX.

But it is sensible to revise your diet occasionally, as there may be new research out that tells us an everyday food has certain properties that could have benefits, although these will only be slight.

So here is an A – Z of general advice about everyday foods.  Bon Appetit!

APPLES  One of our favourite foods, but make sure they are home-grown: look for the little Union flag sticker.  They are easy to transport, so are often taken thousands of miles around the world.

BANANAS  These could almost be called a miracle food, and if you watch sportsmen (particularly at Wimbledon) you often see them take a bite during a match.

CHICKEN  Beware labels that call chicken ‘Fresh’  or ‘British’.  These can still be battery-reared in horrible conditions.  Look for labels saying ‘Free-range.

EGGS  Thanks to campaigners, the majority of eggs sold today in Britain are free-range.  But if the label or writing doesn’t say this, don’t buy.

FISH  Try and buy line-caught fish – which means it is caught ‘individually’, rather than scooped up in a giant net.  Oily fish is best, such as mackerel, herring, anchovies and especially salmon.  What about reviving the British Breakfast kipper?  It’s good for you.  When buying salmon, watch fish counters to see when Wild salmon is available.  Or go for Organic Salmon – far better than ordinary farmed salmon, both for the fish and you.

FRUIT  especially local, home grown fruit.  We have an incredible variety wherever we live around the world, but if you live in Britain look for seasonal stars such the red Leveller gooseberries, very sweet and delicious; plums,  etc.  Then if you live in India you know when is the Mango season – and enjoy!  Fruit contains antioxidants and phytochemicals which are good for the heart, plus vitamins  etc.

GAME This usually has less calories than ordinary meat, and by law can only be sold during its season:  August – February.

MEAT eat red meat in moderation.Chicken and Turkey has less calories.  Liver is helpful in preventing aneamia

NUTS  eat a small handful a day if you can;  brazil nuts are a good source of selenium – but avoid salted varieties of nuts.

SHELLFISH   If you can tolerate these, they’re good for you – oysters especially contain zinc.

SPINACH  Popeye knew a thing or two;  a tablespoon of steamed spinach contain s more Vitamin C and folic acid that the ‘miracle’ shot of wheatgrass (and tastes nicer).

SMOOTHIES   If possible, make your own.  Commercial ones can contain salt, sugar, preservative and other ‘fillers’.

VEGETABLES  Yes, yes, yes – whatever diet you follow will tell you to eat these. Try and eat a variety each day:  green, yellow, red, white, purple, etc.

But if you are fed up with all the advice flung at you, from me and others, take heart from Independent dietician Ursula Arens, who is spokeswoman for the British Dietetic Association, “I do have great sympathy for the average person who gives up and says they’ll eat what they want”.

And that could mean CHOCOLATE – a square of DARK chocolate at mealtime is becoming popular.

Celebrities who endorse foods

We have all read stories about the Celebs who promote a ‘miracle diet’, and then watched as the pounds climb back on once they are away from the cameras.

Martina Navratilova has endorsed a very strict eating regime – and not very appetising if one looks at her website.  But she got the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with cancer, calling it “my personal 9/11”.  She said she ate healthily, with a diet  that was based on plants – and raw at that.  Yet she gets cancer.

Doctors say that no food will prevent cancer, but research findings suggest that those who eat healthily have a better recovery rate.  Also, eating healthily brings  benefits for our skin;  and clearer, brighter skin is something not easily quantifiable by research, but we all know the boost it gives to morale, and therefore overall health.

So keep up the ‘five a day’ habit – it can only do you good.

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"Paved paradise to put up a parking lot"

Rugby - Barby Rd. Rugby School Playing Field

Greedy Councils would love to sell off this type of school playing field Wikipedia

Joni Mitchell‘s

famous song 

lamented loss of green fields


And Government plans mean we are about to lose even more of our open spaces.  Open spaces were we could play and run around, kick a football, play around – and generally work off steam.  We were kept busy playing around, didn’t have time to get bored, and worked off the doughnuts and Chelsea buns that were our fast food.

Today, there are far fewer open spaces for kids.

So, bored kids go rioting

The Government howls about obesity

– is anyone surprised?

When we take away playing fields and areas where kids can let off steam (and incidentally get healthy exercise to prevent obesity) and the inevitable is fat, bored, lazy kids.

Not so much fun, is it?

Greedy Councils are taking away our birthright

If we don’t fight Councils and developers, we will soon end up with not a blade of grass to be seen.  Grass could even be on the ‘endangered’ list if we don’t watch out.

In our little area of Chelsea there was a ‘kick-about’ area where local teenagers used to play football of an evening – except during two weeks of Wimbledon when hitting a ball against a wall with an old tennis racket took over.  There were always a large group of kids there every evening.

But our Council decided to be PC, close this down and build a mega-expensive tiny tots playground, with state-of-the-art all-weather equipment, and covered in rubberised flooring.  This left just half a tennic court area for a totally inadequate kick-about area for teenagers.  The irony is that 90% of the time the playground is now empty;  there are often none or at most two kids playing when I go past.

Result?  Bored teenagers only have streets to wander in, so trash car mirrors for something to do.

Near by, Westfield Park was created to satisfy the law that says we have to have more open spaces.  Bulldozers moved in, and created an open, grassed-over area with a domed effect, so making it difficult for kids to play football.  How nasty is that?

Where can we exercise?

The NHS was founded on the principle that if people could get free healthcare, their illnesses would soon be cured, leaving fewer cases to treat.  Huh!

Preventative medicine is something that is totally alien to today’s NHS hierachial thinking.

  • How many hospitals have well-equipped gyms?  Just about every major hospital will have one in the Physio Dept.
  • And how many have programmes to encourage patient and ex-patients to take exercise, and use the gym equipment?  Not ours – and I doubt if many others do either.

It is the most incredible waste of a valuable asset to see hospital gyms lying idle after 5 pm, and all over the weekend.  Yet St. Thomas’ Hospital in London paid thousands for a large metal sign to go up on the wall:  Serving the Community.  Well, if providing exercise facilities isn’t serving – I don’t know what is.

With private gyms and health clubs costing upwards of £50 a month for membership, hospitals could offer exercise classes as a service to the community, and do their bit to prevent obesity.

  • Charge for these
  • Pay Physios overtime to run them
  • And let patients benefit from them

If we follow European hospital practice, we could offer exercise for

  1. weight loss
  2. bikini bodies
  3. osteoporosis
  4. post cardiac treatment
  5. joint aches and pains
  6. maintaining mobility
  7. Get fit for football
  8. OAP fit and healthy ‘club’.

etc. etc.


Fired up with enthusiasm after a trip to Italy to see how medical centres there treat osteoporosis with exercise, I ask Chelsea and Westminster Hospital if I could join exercise classes to help reverse osteoporosis?  No – we don’t do this.

So I ask why not, since exercise will strengthen bones etc. and help prevent fractures.  Ah!  No problem.  The hospital is fully geared up to deal with fractures (cost?  possibly around £12,000 per case?)

So no glimmer of even looking at what our cousins get in Europe, even though Cameron and La La Lansley constantly say how much better care is there.

And the irony is, my mother was on the Friends’ committee that raised money for the expensive TechnoGym equipment for this hospital, that lies idle for much of the time.

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Fund raising 'season' is here, and Afternoon Tea is inexpensive way to raise cash

Afternoon Tea - English Style

Image via Wikipedia

It’s a cheap and easy way to entertain friends- and raise funds


With most people back from holidays, and winter stretching ahead, inviting friends around for an ‘English Tea’ – or Scottish or Welsh or Irish one (they all have different local recipes) is an easy way to entertain.

Because you aren’t expected to provide alcohol – it’s cheap.  And if you are thinking of joining in with the Macmillan coffee parties – historically people tend to be more relaxed (and open the purse strings more readily) in the afternoon!

With Downtown Abbey about to start up again, remember how the family were constantly sitting around sipping tea?

This started a fad, and now Breast Cancer Care are asking you to copy the cast and hold a Tea Party to raise money.

This year, John Lewis has teamed up with Breast Cancer Care to get baking queens across the country to host a Strawberry Tea party to raise money for charity.

The idea’s simple – invite your friends, family or colleagues to a tea party or picnic where they’ll enjoy delicious treats, and in return make a donation to Breast Cancer Care.

It can be as simple or grand as you like. Pop a packet of fancy biscuits on a plate at work or open your home for an afternoon party of home baked cakes, fun games and a raffle. It’s all for a good cause and it would be helping the 50,000 people who are diagnosed with breast cancer every year.

What to serve

If you want to serve the ‘correct’ food, there are certain things that are essential.

Much as I love Waitrose (the food store side of John Lewis) – don’t copy the latest advice in their newspaper if you want to be authentic – and anyway what they were talking about is too much trouble.

A recent story talked about Afternoon Tea called this ‘High Tea’.  There is a difference, and The Dowager Lady Grantham would have been horrified to be served High Tea – that was only eaten by farmers and servants.

Afternoon tea has

  • sandwiches
  • scones
  • cakes

High Tea was more substantial, with almost certainly a meat dish  included.

The only time the Crawleys might have eaten High Tea was when they returned from hunting, and having been in the saddle all day, would have asked for a boiled egg with their tea to stave off hunger pangs until dinner.

Sandwiches would definitely include Cucumber – using ‘proper’ bread cut thinly.  Usually in fingers, but you could have had triangles, but always with crusts cut off!  Egg and Cress would have been another filling, and if men were present, wafer thin ham in some of the sandwiches.

Scones – these could have been plain or with currants, and really very easy to make.  If you want them to be light don’t kneed too much.  Then cut them in half, with thick cream or clotted cream plonked on top and a spoonful of strawberry jam.   I come from the West Country, where kids called these ‘cut-throats’ because of the dash of crimson on top of the pale cream.

CakesVictoria sponge, seed cake, chocolate cake, fruit cake, ginger cake, Swiss Roll, etc.  – all these  recipes are to be found online.  You can cheat and buy cake mixes at Waitrose, or have fun with an afternoon cake baking;  kids love this.

Lady Grantham’s cook would have wanted to show off by adding tiny chocolate exclairs, or perhaps some biscuits.  Not essential, but I have been trying out Heston Blumenthal‘s home baked frozen biscuits, which you just take out of the package and pop in the oven.  Simples.

Then – strawberries.  Unlike Lady Grantham we can serve these all year round, but sadly they won’t have the flavour those picked in the Downton Abbey kitchen garden would have had.  However, take a tip from the Ritz Hotel, Paris, and sprinkle them with Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur before arranging (you can often buy miniatures, which contain enough to douse a lot of strawberries).

Portmeirion Secret Garden teapot (see photo above)

And to help support Strawberry Tea, in June, July and August, John Lewis will donate 10 per cent of every sale of their Portmeirion Secret Garden teapot directly to Breast Cancer Care.

For ideas and tips on how to host a Strawberry Tea party, Breast Cancer Care have put together a handy guide  to help you. To sign up, visit the Breast Cancer Care website

And to save time, you can make cakes beforehand, and freeze them.

Or if you have made them fresh, and there are left-overs, freeze these for further parties or to serve at a special dinner with lots of whipped cream.

P.S.  Does anyone know a manufacturer that still makes Strawberry JAM?  Usually what we buy now is a PRESERVE  – JAM has individual berries in the contents, and is much more fun to eat!  I’ll just have to make my own!




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Breast cancer in men?

Men get breast cancer too





Breast Cancer Care’s annual fashion show always has a male model who has had breast cancer.


It’s not only women who suffer from insensitive medics – men suffer too.  When naming diseases, can you imagine what it’s like being a man and the doctor saying “you’ve got breast cancer”.

How would you feel going down to the pub and telling your mates “I’ve got breast cancer”. 

In Britain

Breast Cancer Care always has a male model in it’s annual fashion show (see middle photo above), and this model is always a man who has had breast cancer.   There are about 300 men a year diagnosed with this disease in Britain.

But now,  a male breast cancer patient is making news in the States;  Raymond Johnson has been refused insurance for his breast cancer treatment – because he is a man.

Refused insurance

Turning the tables on the usual gender stories, Johnson is 26 and has male breast cancer.

He works for a small construction company that does its best for him, but it doesn’t provide health insurance.  When he turned to Medicaid for help covering the cost of treatments, he was turned down.

Medicaid rules vary by state and Johnson lives in South Carolina, where coverage for treatment of breast cancer is offered only to women.

Johnson and his mother had to absorb the shock of his cancer diagnosis and then the jolt of covering expenses with no assistance from their state.  He hoped the lump in his breast was a cyst, but when it became large and painful, he sought help.  A biopsy confirmed his breast cancer.  He went to the Charleston Cancer Center for surgery and it was there that he learned that he was on his own to cover the cost.

Patient Advocate

Fortunately, he met a patient advocate, Susan Appelbaum, experienced in working with state bureaucracy.

Appelbaum remarked, “Breast cancer is not exclusive to women, I know there’s not near as many cases [in men] but it’s certainly an issue to think about,” she said. “What this 26-year-old man is going to endure, with chemo, radiation and surgery, we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars. This boy is never going to recover financially.”

Currently, Johnson is having neo-adjuvant chemotherapy before surgery.  When chemo is given on this schedule, doctors hope to shrink the tumor and stop the possible spread of cancer.  A small tumor means less surgical trauma for the patient – male or female.  But the chemotherapy drugs are making it impossible for Johnson to continue working, as the side effects are debilitating.  His medical bills are already over $4000, just in the early stages of his treatment.  Medicaid has turned him down twice, but his patient advocate and the hospital remains positive about helping him with finances.

Appelbaum has appealed to Johnson’s congressman and to local organizations that may be able to help change the laws and provide help with medical costs.  “It’s always one day at a time,” said Appelbaum. “We will continue to try our best because we want to help people, it’s our job.”  Meanwhile, the doctor bills and hospital bills continue to come in the mail.  Johnson now goes to Roper Saint Francis Hospital, a not-for-profit organization, for treatments.  He will not be denied treatment, and no collection agencies will be sent to dog him for money.  Johnson’s patient advocate will help work out a payment plan that is adjusted to his current financial situation.

Enhanced by ZemantaThis is a turn-up for the books, and in the States of all places – but we hope that Johnson gets things sorted out – it’s bad enough being diagnosed, without having other problems too.
Isn’t it time the doctors thought up another name – perhaps Chest Cancer?

Livening up a campaign

Well done The Brompton Hospital                                          




Faced with imminent closure of childrens’ facilities, which will have a knock-on effect for all its other superb services,

the Royal Brompton Hospital has come up with a catchy campaign song.


And this song could show other ‘amateur’ fund-raising groups how to go about making a similar impact.


1.  Get your local TV station on board. This shouldn’t be too difficult – Eidtors always like a medical cause to interest their viewers.

2.  Commission someone to write words and music for a catchy ditty.  This might mean using up some of your funds, but if you send out an appeal – there is usually someone who knows someone who is prepared to help.

3.  Then watch the video:

4.  Notice how it seems

a) as if it is staff that are speaking, proving you don’t need celebrities or actors to put over a powerful message

b)  the backing group is doing all the singing, but the staff are cleverly miming to make it seem they are singing

c)  the video is filmed on-site.  Most hospitals would let a TV crew in, they would be stupid not to.

5.  Don’t take NO for an answer.  The Brompton are going about their campaign in superb fashion, making sure Andrew Lansley can’t forget them.


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Lymphoedema survivors can now ditch the grunge

LympheDivas rolls out



fashion sleeves

Sleeves come in matching colours for clothes


Two American breast cancer survivors took one look at ‘grunge’ coloured elastic sleeves – and said ‘No’.

Thanks to their persistence, women can now buy compression sleeves in different colours, patterns, stripes and anything else the company can think up.

There are even specially-themed sleeves to wear when Dragon Boat racing!

Each sleeve is made to measure, and they cost $90.

If you are fed up with ‘granny grunge’ sleeves, look them up on

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Keep up the holiday feeling when you shop for food

Market - DSC 1102 ep

Image by Eric.Parker via Flickr




Holiday Food?


Now you have returned home, remember how good food tasted on holiday?

It was probably organic – local  – and seasonal

So it helps if you keep an eye on what you buy, make sure you are getting same benefits and keep up the ‘holiday feeling’.


During cancer treatment you probably had an interview with a dietician, who told you all sorts of things about what you should or should not eat – but didn’t have much time to tell you why.

But now, almost every day there is something in the paper about food – or on TV – telling you what to eat, and making you feel guilty.

So I asked Clio Turton, press office manager at the Soil Association,

to give the lowdown on  organic food and farming, and how to eat healthily

“For many years the UK’s organic food market enjoyed extraordinary double digit growth, moving from niche to mainstream and becoming ever more accessible.

However, the first negative growth (-12.9%) was experienced in 2009 against the backdrop of massive economic turmoil and in line with many other sectors. Last year this slowed to -5.9% but value food items still came up trumps with the majority of cash-strapped shoppers, as people reprioritised budgets and changed their purchasing habits.

The dip can also be attributed to supermarkets reducing shelf space for organic products. 72% of organic food is bought through multiple retailers, so even if shoppers wanted to make more ethical purchases the choice was not available.

But organic food is much more then a passing trend or diet fad. Organic farming techniques are recognised worldwide as being part of the solution to future proofing our food supplies, improving the environmental impact of agriculture and helping to grow healthy crops in the context of dwindling natural resources and the rising cost of farm inputs such as fossil fuel based artificial fertilisers and phosphates.

Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said earlier this year: “Organic farmers are the pioneers of sustainable farming and have valuable lessons to pass on to the rest of the sector.” Agriculture Minister, Jim Paice echoed this when he said that organic principles lead the way on sustainable farming and organic farming should be fostered for this reason.

Since 2001 the increasingly urgent issues of food security, climate change, resource depletion, a move to increasingly industrialised farming systems, and a heightened awareness of the need to protect our environment and biodiversity, have strengthened the argument in favour of more sustainable food and farming, such as organic. In short organic food is produced from farming systems which work with nature, which are kind to animals, avoid the use of pesticides and prohibit synthetic fertilisers and Genetic Modification (GM). In processed food, hydrogenated fats, GM ingredients and controversial additives are banned including aspartame, tartrazine, and MSG.

Why this is good for you

As well as being better for you and your family, there are compelling environmental reasons to support organic food and farming –

  • organic farms have 50% more wildlife
  • cause less pollution
  • and generally release less greenhouse gases than non-organic farming.

Food and farming have a vital role to play when it comes to our impact on climate. Farming is responsible for 30 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 30% of our individual carbon footprint is down to our food choices making food the single most important, everyday way to reduce our impact on the planet.

Scientific evidence proves that low input farming systems, such as organic, can provide sustainable solutions to food security. A report by the IAASTD (International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development),, the largest scientific farming study ever conducted, involving 400 scientists, and approved by over 60 countries, found no clear role for GM crops in feeding the world, and backed organic farming and similar ‘agro-ecological’ approaches as part of a ‘radical change’ in the way the world needs to produce food.

Organic September

Next month brings us the Soil Association’s Organic September, the UK’s biggest celebration of all things organic. Watch out for events up and down the country on organic farms, in schools, cafes, restaurants and on a high street near you. Look out also for special offers on organic products in supermarkets and independent food stores.

Kicking off events will be the ever popular Organic Food Festival taking place on 3 & 4 September at Bristol Harbourside. Now in its eleventh year the festival celebrates the full spectrum of organic fare with hundreds of stalls selling delicious food and drink, organic clothes and beauty products.

To coincide with the month and to inspire people to cook with seasonal organic ingredients the Soil Association has collected a mouth-watering array of recipes from renowned chefs and food writers including Allegra McEvedy, Darina Allen, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jane Baxter, Raymond Blanc, Sophie Grigson, Valentine Warner, and Xanthe Clay – all available on our website. The delicious recipes are based on ingredients which are seasonal to September and include Caponata, Green Bean Sabzi, Sweetcorn and Pepper Relish, and Lemony Courgettes on Toast. For those with a sweet tooth, desserts include Apple Granita, Blackberry and Apple Muffins, Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies, and Raspberry Millefeuille.

The Big Organic Eat-In

The Soil Association is encouraging supporters to organise an organic food fundraiser to raise money for the Soil Association and help our work toward a more sustainable food and farming future. Whether it’s a dinner, a breakfast, a bake sale, or a pot-lunch at work, our resources and recipes can be adapted to make your event a great success.


Find out more about the Soil Association, Organic September and the Big Organic Eat-In – free recipes available to inspire cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients:


Organic Box schemes

Organic Box schemes deliver organic produce straight to your door or your office. There are lots of box schemes available, check the Soil Association website for your nearest supplier. The two biggest, nationwide suppliers are:

 Abel & Cole Ltd –

08452 626262 /

Riverford Organic Vegetables –

0845 600 2311 /

Farmers’ Markets

You can search for your nearest certified Farmers Market at the National Farmers’ Retail & Markets Association website –

Community Supported Agriculture

Community supported agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between farmers and the local community, providing mutual benefits and reconnecting people to the land where their food is grown. Find out more about CSAs and if there is one near you –


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A lament for one's body

Flowers 1


In the Style of Pam Ayres

Readers may remember she wrote a hilarious poem on

“I wished I’d looked after me teeth”

Someone has copied this, and come up with:



I wish I´d looked after me tits

Oh, I wish I’d looked after me dear old knockers,
Not flashed them to boys behind the school lockers,
Or let them get fondled by randy old dockers,
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

‘Cos now I’m much older and gravity’s winning.
It’s Nature’s revenge for all that sinning,
And those dirty memories are rapidly dimming,
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

‘Cos tits can be such troublesome things
When they no longer bounce, but dangle and swing.
And although they go well with my Bingo wings,
I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

When they’re both long enough to tie up in a bow,
When it’s not the sweet chariot that swings low,
When they’re less of a friend and more of a foe,
Then I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

When I was young I got whistles and hoots,
From the men on the site to the men in the suits,
Now me nipples get stuck in the zips on me boots,
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

When I was younger I rode bikes and scooters,
Cruising around with my favourite suitors.
Now the wheels get entangled with my dangling hooters,
I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

When they follow behind and get trapped in the door,
When they’re less in the air and more near the floor,
When people see less of them rather than more,
Oh, I wish I’d looked after me tits.   

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