Yeah…so much for the ‘monthly’…the last one of these was in January. Oops is not the word.

Food labelling

Lots of talk about this recently: allegedly a better fat fighter than tax (according to Canadian researchers), labels carrying extra nutritional information and/or health warnings are being considered across the western world. The FDA (America’s Food and Drug Administration) is just one organisation talking about providing calorie information by law on menus from restaurant chains that have more than 20 outlets. However, venues such as bowling alleys and cinemas would be excluded from the new regulations as their main business is not to sell food. The calories in alcoholic drinks would also not be labelled anywhere, for reasons that are unclear. I’m all for this, but it seems to me that more consistency would be nice before this new policy was rolled out.

In other food labelling news, members of the EU have refused to obey the call for labels to identify meat that has come from cloned animals.

All About Weight

With summer coming, it’s understandable that various outlets begin to prey on people’s insecurities about their bodies as the sun begins to peek out from behind the clouds. (Don’t get me wrong – for better or for worse I’ve been following Weight Watchers lately, to ensure that I will squeeze into my wedding dress at the end of this month.) One of these is All About Weight, which focuses on promoting the right attitudes towards food and lifestyle, not only through efficient weight loss but also through long term weight management strategies. Offering a range of products and programmes to suit clients’ needs, it surely poses a legitimate challenge to providers such as Slimming World, Weight Watchers, and Lighter Life.

Other ‘diet’ options could include Debenhams’ “slimsuit” (a shapewear/swimwear innovation which goes from sizes 10-20 and up to an F cup), following the advice to graze less and eat more protein (according to a researcher at the University of Missouri, an English breakfast and two other high-protein meals ought to do it), taking one of Cawston Manor’s non-surgical weight-loss treatments (the Rugby-based clinic offers treatments using radio frequency based technology which brings about various skin-toning, toning, anti-ageing and anti-cellulite results), The Organic Pharmacy’s Ultimate Slimming Duo (around £130 for the complete system) and reading Alex Buckley’s Ssh! Lose Weight in 20 Minutes, which is out now.

Health risks

As usual, the press is full of news of what product or lifestyle is going to kill us this week. Veganism constitutes an unlikely target – according to one Chinese researcher, vegans may have an increased risk of developing blood clots. However, this is based on them lacking essential nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and omega-3, which if they are eating properly, they should not lack (these nutrients can be found aplenty in nuts, beans, dark green leafy vegetables, grains, bread, Marmite, soy milk, and seeds).

Perhaps to be taken more seriously is the idea that excessive alcohol consumption (in which “excessive” is deemed to be more than 1 pint of beer per day) contributes significantly to an increased risk of cancer. The study, published in the BMJ and with more than 360,000 subjects across Europe, concludes that current or past alcohol intake accounts for 1 in 10 cancers in men and 1 in 33 cancers in women – particularly cancers of the oesophagus, liver, breast, and bowel.

On the up side, freeze-dried strawberries are said to inhibit oesophagal cancer in particular, thanks to a research team from China and Ohio. And, just for fun, asparagus is allegedly an aphrodisiac. Hooray for fruit and veg!

Spoilt for choice

There are plenty of new restaurants opening in London over the next couple of months, so if you keep your eyes peeled you should always find something to tickle your fancy. Pollen Street Social will open on April 18th near Hanover Square (modern British with international influences), Kerbisher & Malt will open in Hammersmith on May 4th (for ‘proper fish and chips’), CUT at 45 Park Lane (the first Wolfgang Puck restaurant in Europe) will bring steakhouse cuisine to London in the summer, and Black & Blue’s newest site will soon be open on Mortimer Street.

Black garlic?!

Yes, you heard me. Tesco have recently started stocking black garlic, which is high in anti-oxidants, low in fat, and rich in natural sugars and amino acids. Its unique colour, taste and texture are all natural and have not been influenced by any additives. Try it for yourself as of May 27th.

Another way to spice up your summer could lie in Dominos’ latest innovation – a pizza featuring the legendary Levi Roots’ Reggae Reggae Sauce, which is out today.

All in your genes?

Caffeine addict? It might not be your fault – a study of 47,000 Americans indicates that it could be your DNA that makes you reach for the coffee, chocolate, fizzy drinks and tea. Two gene variations apparently influence how caffeine is metabolised in the body and therefore how much we consume; those with the highest-consumption gene variant consume the equivalent of one can of pop more than those with the lowest-consumption variant. The researchers are cautious, however, stating that more research into caffeine, these genes and how they work is still required.

As a caffeine-free and alcohol-free alternative…

…you could put down the espresso and try Shloer’s new limited edition Summer Fruit Punch, which contains no alcohol, no artificial colours, flavourings or preservatives, and no caffeine.

And should you spill any down your new summer outfit..

Fear not! Another summer saviour, the Elias Superwipes, is bound to come to the rescue. These food and drink stain removal wipes are good to keep you looking cool no matter what happens, and at £2.49 for a pack of 5, they shouldn’t break the bank either. See for stockists.

Speaking of tightening the purse strings…

We are all always looking for ways to save money, and the good news is that food prices have declined modestly over the past eight months, with the price index for cereals down 2.6%, says the UN’s food organisation from Rome. However, food prices as a whole still remain historically high, remaining 37% higher overall than in March 2010. Boo hiss 😦

Since caffeine and alcohol are still allowed in moderation…

(I don’t do denial, sorry.)

Available from

JING Tea’s Jasmine Explorer set would be the perfect gift for your life’s resident tea buff. In exchange for twenty-four of your English pounds you will be vested with five types of jasmine tea and a glass théière.

To promote well-being and digestion, rising star Havana swears by mixing lemon, nettle and cranberry together. I plan to try this soon and let you know how it goes…

For all you coffee lovers, the Italian Coffee Shop brand of coffee from Best Coffee Beans, which is intended to support and supply independent outlets, could be for you, with its new espresso being a blend from three different continents.

Tesco has also announced that sales figures for its beer- and wine-making kits are soaring: another sign of consumers trying to save money by doing the job at home perhaps? In Russia, however, it is the popularity of Scotch whiskey which seems to be on the rise, while sales of gin, tequila and cognac are all either static or on their way down.

Him indoors will be here shortly with all the latest wine news.



(Moderation, I tells ya.)

I think of cake and naturally I think wedding cake. My wedding cake has been made by my second cousin from my great-grandmother’s recipe, and I am looking forward to tasting it 😀

However, this does not mean that the world of other types of cake is closed. Dunkin’ Donuts, for instance, have come over all weddingy themselves and are making a royal wedding themed heart-shaped donut which will go on sale one week before the royal wedding date of April 29 (incidentally also my own wedding date – what fun!). Baskin-Robbins will also be producing an ice cream cake in honour of the occasion, decorated with an English garden design.

And just in case that wasn’t quite enough cake for me to get my head around, my sister also bought me the Hummingbird Bakery’s latest book for my birthday! YAY!

Thanks sis 😀