How to ward off a cold this Christmas

Being such a busy time of year and with the cold weather reallly kicking in so many of us and our kids come down with colds, coughs and the flu as our immune systems are lower and our bodies less fit to ward off the illnesses!  Boosting your immune system is key to not only recovering faster but also means you have less chance of catching the cold and sickness bugs in the first place.  So I picked our Scrummy Mummy, Nutritionist’s, Steph Ridley’s brains for her top tips to ward off colds and flu this Christmas so you can enjoy the festivities and not have to spend it in bed with a box of tissues!
Vitamin C and ‘antioxidants’ are key to boosting your immune system. These are found in fruits and vegetables and whilst your diet may include plenty of these the amount of actual vitamin C your getting from your fruit and vegetables may not be as high as you think. Vitamin C is water soluable and heat sensitive so these elements deplete their levels. Any heat processing, which occurs during the manufacturing process of juice, and boiling or cooking vegetables reduces the vitamin C content.   

  •  So, always buy a juice which says ‘NOT from concentrate’. Orange juice from concentrate is more radically heat processed. Better still squeeze your own from pure oranges.  
  • Drink a mug of hot water every morning with lemon and manuka honey will give you a real boost. The lemon contains vitamin C and the manuka honey is a natural antibacterial agent.
  •  Steam your veg – we often think by eating vegetables and fruit we are having vitamin C but if these have been subjected to prolonged heat this destroys the vitamins and nutrients. Steaming and stir-frying your vegetables is the best way to retain vitamins as they are quicker cooking methods.
  • Add a daily handful of berries such as blueberries, blackberries or Strawberries to your breakfast or snack you’ll be taking in more antioxidants to boost your immune systems
  • Eat plenty of green vegetables in particular brussel sprouts – these have high levels of vitamin C.

For a lovely green vegetable recipe which takes just ten minutes to prepare, go to the Beez Kneez recipe binder on the bbc good food website.

How to get glowing skin

What you eat can influence the health of your skin. Eating the right nutrients for healthy skin formation and supporting detoxification pathways naturally, to reduce toxin elimination via the skin, can all help. Steph Ridley, Nutritional Therapist and founder of Nourish to Flourish’s easy essential tips to glowing skin:

        • Keep hydrated – skin cells lose water every day so you need to replace it by drinking fresh, filtered water daily – ideally 1.5 litres/day
        • Include plenty of liver-supporting veggies in your diet to promote natural detoxification pathways – these include onions, leeks, garlic, broccoli, cauliflower, beetroot and artichokes.
        • Essential fatty acids – ‘essential’ being the key word! These are needed to keep skin cell membranes fluid and supple. Make sure you have enough in your diet by including some raw nuts/seeds each day and organic eggs (well cooked) and oily fish, such as salmon or sardines, twice a week. Alternatively, find a good quality omega supplement (suitable for pregnancy/breastfeeding if necessary).
        • Vitamin-C rich foods – a vital ingredient to that all important ‘glow’. Vitamin C supports collagen formation needed for healthy skin – raw tomatoes, freshly squeezed juices, peppers and berries are all good sources.
  • Avocados can be eaten regularly as they are a rich source of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant found in sebaceous gland secretions believed to help protect fats needed to keep the skins surface supple.
  • Five a day – five pieces of a mix of fruit and vegetables means a good intake of fibre that helps clear toxins from the gut that can otherwise work their way back into the body for excretion via the skin.
  • ZZZZZZ – Keep your skin clear of toxins by using suitable beauty products and getting your shut eye!  A good 7 hours of sleep each night if possible – this is when your body does most of its skin regeneration. (or take a nap when your baby naps and do not feel guilty about it).

Delicious Baked Fish

Preheat the oven to 170ºC. Soak a pinch of saffron in 2 tbsp warm water.

Slice 1 medium potato per person into 1cm slices and par-boil for approx 6-8mins. Drain and layer them across the bottom of a roasting pan, big enough to hold a sea bass/ sea bream (for 2) or any white fish.

Clean the fish and slash it several times each side and then season.

Lay the fish on the potato slices and scatter 2 red peppers, 1 courgette and 2 large handfuls of cherry tomatoes either side of the fish and pour over the saffron water, a glug of stock and cover with several sprigs of thyme and/or parsley. Drizzle over 4tsp regular olive oil and season.

Cover with foil and bake for approx 1hr or until the fish is cooked through. Serve with a handful of leaves and some olives.

Recipe courtesy of Stephanie Ridley, Nutritional Therapist. or

Stretch for back ache

This stretch releases muscle tightness in the back, a common complaint during pregnancy and after the baby. The extra weight from carrying your baby around (both prior to him being born and afterwards) means a lot of pressure is placed on all the muscles around the spine. The stretch also improves flexibility in the back.


  • Kneel on all fours, hands under shoulders and knees under hips.
  • Spread your fingers with palms flat and draw your belly button up towards your spine to bring your head, neck and back in alignment and straight.
  • Breathe in and tip your bottom up towards the ceiling, looking up and drawing your shoulders away from ears and slightly together.
  • Breathe out, tuck the chin and look down and pull your belly button up towards your spine. Round up your back and feel a stretch down your spine.
  • Repeat for four to six breaths, moving slowly and smoothly between each one.


Don’t brush off the Brussels

Adults can be as bad as children when it comes to pulling funny faces at the sheer mention of ‘Brussels Sprouts’ (you know who you are). But did you know these little green gems could help to boost your immune system, stave off fatigue and give your skin a glow? Read more..

This is because Brussels sprouts are a great source of vitamin C – just one sprout can contain over 16mg, so you pregnant ladies need only eat 3 sprouts per day, and breast-feeding Mums only 4 ½, to get your reference nutrient intake (RNI) for vitamin C.

Vitamin C is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, helping to prevent damage caused by excess free radicals in the body (e.g. from pollution, toxins, oxidised fats).

But it doesn’t stop there ….vitamin C also increases the absorption of non-haem iron in the gut (i.e. iron from non-animal sources such as lentils and spinach) and is needed for the production of collagen, which supports healthy joints and skin.

Brussels sprouts also have a low glycaemic index, meaning they help to stabilise blood sugar levels, which is key when fatigue is a problem.

If you don’t fancy them steamed, then why not try steaming then lightly frying in some olive oil with garlic, chilli, ginger and a dash of soy sauce – delicious! And they are in season right now. Quick! Scribble them down on that shopping list!

Juices for Better Abs and Skin: Day Two: Five Star Skin Juice

beetroot_juiceFive Star Juice.
Highly recommended for Pregnancy!
Containing: Orange, Beetroot, Carrot & Ginger

This makes enough for 4 people

x 6 Medium Oranges (Peeled)
x 1 RAW Beetroot (Peel and half – wear gloves!)
4 Medium Carrots
(Peel and cut in half)
½ inch of Ginger

Pop all ingredients into the Juicer and Juice.

Add crushed ice or ice cubes if you like.


Why it’s TheBeezKneez..

Oranges. Improve appearance of your skin. Oranges are a well known source of Vitamin C required to boost immune system to fight infections and disease. Plus it helps increase iron absorption to improve energy. Oranges also help improve your complexion!

Beetroot. Perfect if you feel fatigued. Much better than a bottle of pills! A powerful blood cleanser and tonic. It really helps boost immune resistance and is often used in treating anemia, iron deficiency.   Make sure to use and eat RAW beetroot as the properties are more powerful as the nutrients have not been depleted in the cooking process, like the vacumn packed beetroot. Also has a long history of use in the treatment of cancer. Some studies have shown specific anti-carcinogenic substances in beetroot.

Ginger. Helpful in providing morning sickness relief and aids digestion. Good as you can’t take many medications during pregnancy.


Carrots. A single carrot will give your body your daily Vitamin A requirement. Near the top of the list of vegetables that help protect against cancer. If you want to stay looking young (yep) and wrinkle free eat plently of carrots. Extremley high in Vitamin A, C and E for your skin, eyesight and circulation.


How to exercise safely during pregnancy

If you’ve exercised before your pregnancy, there are no complications with your pregnancy and your GP or health practitioner has given their agreement for you to exercise you can continue. If you are new to exercise always consult with your GP or midwife before starting an exercise programme.

Here are some essential tips to take on board when exercising during pregnancy.

This is the must to any exercise as it prepares your muscles and avoids injury and decreases post work-out aches and pains.

Shorter, regular workouts are better and will keep you motivated than longer sessions that are less frequent.

Regulate your body temperature
Wear loose fitting clothes that do not soak up sweat or add layers that you remove easily. Exercise in a well ventilated room and not in high heat. Drink water before, during and after exercise.

Prevent and reduce the risk of hypoglycemia or fainting
Consume adequate calories and keep exercise sessions to less than 45 minutes.

If you have gestational diabetes
Take particular precautions with exercise: monitor blood glucose levels, regulate meal times, incorporate rest periods and monitor baby movements and uterine contractions.

Keep an eye on your posture and correct!
The added weight from the abdomen and breasts can cause the upper back and shoulders to round forward, your lower back to arch and hips to tilt forward (so the bottom sticks out). Performing pelvic tilts, standing or sitting help re-align your pelvis, correct the arch of the lower back and reduce lower back ache.

Hormonal changes with the production of ‘relaxin’ lead to increased joint suppleness and hyper-mobility. Stretching too far means you can tear delicate tissue and cause injuries. Stretch only the muscles that feel tight. This is individual and over the cause of life, some of your muscles get tighter than others, depending on which you use or overuse more. If you do not feel the stretch, it feels too easy or if you feel any real pain – the stretch would not be for you. Hold the appropriate, desired stretch for 10-20 seconds and take deep breathes throughout.

A healthcare professional or qualified coach should oversee weight-bearing exercise in women affected by joint suppleness changes.

Train with Friends and get into Shape for Summer

Our Train with friends programme is a unique and alternative way to getting fitter and improving your body shape, post baby or children. The programme is for 2-6 people and tailored especially for Mums.  This is no bog standard programme or class! Our aim is to get you results, show you what to do and how to do it effectively. It’s also convenient as the programme is delivered to your front door, home or venue of your choice.  The small group friends environment means motivation,  consistency and camaraderie!  The specifically qualified post natal trainer provides you with personal attention and specific exercises like the prestigious-ness of personal training with less of the cost.  

A six or twelve week group training plan is a combination of a post natal specific exercise and nutrition programme addressed to meet each individual client in the group, their pregnancy, type of birth and fitness requirements. You may wish to shed those post baby pounds, improve your general energy and fitness to meet the demands of being a Mummy or simply get to work on re-discovering, flattening and strengthening your stomach muscles and core post pregnancy.

The Initial Consultation session:

  • You and your friends meet with one of our trainers to discover how we’ll get
    you fit after having a baby
  • Groups of 2 to 6 friends
  • Held at a venue of your choice*
  • Cost £20 per person
  • Includes all equipment & materials required to demonstrate what we would use for your full programme

TheBeezKneez “Train with Friends” Programme:

  • Six week fitness programme for between 2 to 6 friends
  • Weekly group training sessions with your Personal Trainer for six weeks (approx. 45-60 minute sessions)
  • A six week personalised fitness programme provided to every client
  • A weekly nutritional check provided to every client, for the 6 weeks worth £99*
  • Cost from £150 to £250 per person dependant on group size

The programme will include:

  • Discreet weekly weigh-in & measurement of each participant
  • Targets & monitoring
  • Two meal plans, quick, easy nutritious recipes,  portion control advice & guidance*
  • Exercise technique, education and guidance
  • Movement, mobility, posture and stretching evaluations
  • Weekly progress and programme adaptations (where required)

Prices for six week programme: (off peak times)

  • Two clients £245 per client
  • Three clients £225 per client
  • Four clients £205 per client
  • Five clients £190 per client
  • Six clients £180 per client

Off peak times are Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm.

Peak times are Monday to Friday 6.30am to 10am and 4pm to 8.30pm. Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 3pm. Please add £30 per client to the total cost of the six week programme if you wish to train during on peak times.

*Please note this does not include:
- venue hire costs if you are training in a studio or hall
- additional nutritional follow-ups or meal plans provided
- programme times are subject to ‘marrying up’ clients preferred training time with availability of the personal trainer

Nutritional Consultations are provided by Skype or telephone.

Childcare can be provided during the programmes at an additional cost. Please call for details.

Limited spaces available. London only.  Call 020 8 354 1583 to book.

Anti-ageing food secret for mums

Contrary to what the fat phobics believe, the right kind of fat is essential to not only keep skin looking young but also to help prevent the dreaded belly fat.
Actually eating too much sugar and refined carbohydrate is more likely to put on the extra pounds and make your skin look tired and spotty. The right kind of fat can help flatten your stomach and seriously improve your health!

So which foods contain the fats you should be eating?
Since looking closely at many of my client’s food diaries and researching more into nutrition, I now take two dessertspoons of Flaxseed daily and stir fry vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle Brazil nut oil on salads. Just two to three tablespoons of Olive Oil a day can protect you against Heart Disease, improve your skin, boost your mood, improve your immune system, and boosts brain function (ah – mummy brain!)

Flaxseed, olive oil and nut oil fall under the umbrella term ‘essential fatty acids’ with the key word being ‘essential’. Your body needs them – this kind of fat is actually your friend! These fats help you absorb Vitamins A, D and E, vital for your nervous system, lower cholesterol levels and also help prevent stubborn abdominal fat!

There are two kinds of the Essential Fats to include in your diet:

These are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled.

Mono-unsaturated: You’ll find them in:
Olive Oil
Canola Oil
Peanut Butter
Nut oil Butter (check out your Health food shop, or Nature Intended)
Sesame Seeds

These contain omega 6 and omega 3′s that your body needs but doesn’t produce itself so you have to get these essential fats from foods containing them.
Omega-6 and omega-3 play a crucial role in brain function, memory and in the normal growth and development of your body. They are also essential to the healthy development of your baby’s brain!
Vegetable oils, nuts and seeds are good sources of omega 6 fatty acids. Fish is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. However – government research shows that we are not eating enough omega 3 fish oils obtained from eating oily fish required for anti-ageing and great health. This is because many of us can’t stomach oily fish (or the smell!) or are concerned about the levels of toxins, PCB’s and other pollutants in fresh fish. Plus during pregnancy some fish are to be avoided due to the risk of high mercury levels. If you are not pregnant you can eat these fish but it’s worth enquiring about where they have come from. Also go for a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury such as canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, sea bass.
A supplement of Omega 3 is key, especially if you do not like oily fish. Healthspan has a good Omega 3 supplement.

Get fitter outdoors

Did you know you can actually get fitter in the fresh air? Here’s how:

  • You can burn 30% more calories with the extra challenge of the grassy uneven surfaces and the wind
  • Improves your lungs – fresh air and oxygen delivery is more appealing than a sweaty, or germ ridden air-conditioned gym.
  • Challenges and improves your core and stomach muscles – uneven surfaces means your body learns to balance with your core during a class.
  • Provides you with much needed Vitamin D to absorb calcium to maintain strong and healthy bones
  • Provides your body with natural light – essential to biorhythms and cell processes – especially good for SAD sufferers!
  • Therapeutic and Improves your mood – exercise releases endorphin hormones which are responsible for lifting your spirits, energy and mood.

The BeezKneez have just launched their Outdoors Fitness Fix (which is NOT a generic bootcamp)! Training in a group boosts mood and self-esteem and we provide exclusive groups for Mums only with the right exercises, confidence and community support to improve their body shape and help transform their lifestyles. Each class is personally crafted by a Master Personal Trainer with one goal in mind: Preparing you, the Mum to exceed your own fitness goals and expectations.