First Live Class

Our first live class back from lockdown has begun at Sotheby Mews Day Centre every Tuesday from 11.00am-12.00 noon called “Equipped for Life ” run by Gee Dudley who also does an online class for Healthy Generations on Fridays called “Cardio, Core and More”. It’s a workout for the whole body using lots of equipment provided by Gee including Swift Balls, Weights, Step Rebounder, Waist Twister and a Suspension Trainer but you don’t have to bring anything except yourself. It’s a great welcome back from lockdown and guaranteed to get those lockdown muscles working again. If you’d like further information email


Music Appreciation

Music Appreciation summer season with Mary Tyler

A new season of music appreciation begins on Friday 23rd April. Mary Tyler takes us on a trip through various musical styles. In partnership with Age UK Islington. It is a musical journey through time.

Join us in this online musical get together where Mary will perform and talk about different pieces of music. Themes include folk, opera, ballet, jazz and much more! Participants will also be welcome to join in the discussion.

Friday April 23rd Music Through the Ages: From Purcell to Stravinsky, a musical timeline through history.

Friday April 30th Music & Nature: Music, the natural world and the animal kingdom. A concert featuring music from the Planets, Carnival of the Animals and The Blue Planet.

Friday May 7th Music & Place: From London to Cape Town, music inspired by different locations.

Friday May 14th Desert Island Discs: An afternoon of your favourite pieces featuring Mahler, Louis Armstrong and Van Morrison.

Friday May 21st Folk Music: From Greensleeves to Bob Dylan, folk music through the ages.

Friday May 28th Musical Journeys: Travels through music including Schubert, Ellington and the Beatles.

Friday June 4th Music Through the Day: From morning till midnight, musical soundtracks to accompany your day.

Friday June 11th Summertime: Songs for the season with music by Vivaldi, Gershwin and The Beach Boys.

Friday June 18th Musical Stories: From Romeo and Juliet to Sleeping Beauty, music inspired by literature.

Friday June 25th Songs from the Shows: West End hits including tunes from Oliver, Fiddler on the Roof and Mary Poppins.

To book send an email to Sam


NHS Hospital Beds

NHS Hospital Beds

In the last 30 years the number of beds in the NHS has been reduced from approximately 300,000 in 1987 to 148,000 now. The population has increased from 56.8 million to 66.2 million. So hospital beds have reduced by a half, and population increased by 17%. This information comes from a recent Iain Dale book “Why Can’t We All Just Get Along…”.

In general and acute beds, the biggest category, the figures are:

  • 1987/8 – 180,889
  • 1997/8 – 138,047
  • 2010/11 – 108,958
  • 2016/17 – 102,369

For mental health beds:

  • 1987/8 – 67,122
  • 1997/8 – 36,601
  • 2010/11 – 23,448
  • 2016/17 – 18,730

This is not party political. This has been happening with New Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments. The average decline under Blair/Brown was 1,315 beds per year. During the coalition and Conservative years it was 783 per year. The figures must demonstrate that hospital bed cuts are part of a long-term strategy.


Courgette pea and mint soup

Fanny Sprocket’s Courgette, Pea and Mint Soup

I had this soup in a posh restaurant and loved it. I like it even more because it is so easy to prepare.

Serves: 4
• 1 onion, diced
• 1 teaspoon butter
• 3 medium courgettes, grated
• 300g frozen garden peas
• 1.5L water or vegetable stock
• 10g fresh mint leaves
• 6 tablespoons crème fraîche

In a saucepan, soften the onion in butter. Add the grated courgettes and peas and stir to coat in the butter. Add the stock and bring to the boil until peas are tender. Add mint to the pan together with the crème fraîche. Heat through then blend with a hand held liquidiser.


I don’t bother too much whether liquid is water or vegetable stock. It tastes great either way. Also if I don’t have crème fraîche or sour cream – who cares!


Cheapest PAYG

Cheapest PAYG Mobile Deal

The Three network stopped their 123 pay-as-you-go deal so we’ve been looking around at alternatives. The best one out there appears to be 1p Mobile. They offer 1p per call, 1p per text and 1p per mb of data; it’s all 1p.

There are two basic deals: you either buy £10 of credit when you order the sim card and then have to top up £10 every 120 days; or you can buy £30 of credit which lasts you a year and afterwards you have to buy £10 every 120 days. Any unused credit rolls over.

It means you can have a payg phone for more or less £30 a year which if you don’t use your phone much has to be the best deal on the market. The cheapest monthly bundle is around £5 a month or £60 a year which is great if you are on the phone a lot – unlimited minutes. But if you are using less than 500 minutes a month regularly you are better off with a good value payg and 1p mobile seems to be the only one left. If you do use a lot of data looking at Youtube videos etc they have some pretty good data add-on deals. It’s all on their website

I should point out we do not receive any benefit or payment for recommending 1p Mobile although I’d be quite happy if we did and had to tell you. Something the charity may work on in the future! Maybe we could get a couple of pre-paid sim cards and run a competition or give away prizes for something…..a quiz?

Anyways……..check them out. And if you do need help come to one of our digital classes


Online classes will stay

Online Classes to continue after lockdown

We have just received confirmation of two new funding streams from the National Lottery and local charity Richard Cloudesley which will help ensure our online classes keep running.

Our long-term aim is to provide online and live classes when things go back to normal.


Mediterranean Cabbage Soup

Rachel’s Mediterranean Cabbage Soup

Eat Right With Rachel 

Hope you all keeping well in this lockdown times!

Here is a simple tasty soup that is very easy to make & smells wonderful !

Serves 3/4


1/2 white cabbage ( 20cm width approx )

1 medium white onion

3 garlic cloves

1/2 cup tomato purée

1 can ( 400gr)chopped tomatoes

1 can/ cannelloni beans

1 tsp aniseed seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 bay leaf

*1tsp brown sugar (I always add to take the acidity of the tomatoes)

*Salt and pepper

*Lemon juice

*1.5 ltr Chicken or veg stock


Rinse the canned beans in a colander set aside.

Slice the cabbage into thin long stripes set aside

Chop the garlic to thin slices

Set aside


Chop the onions into small cubes and fry with olive oil in a deep

soup pot on low heat.

When softened but not browned add the bay leaf, cumin & aniseed seeds.

Stir until you smell the aroma-add the sliced garlic & fry further 20 seconds, add the cabbage, cover stirring at times until cabbage softened a little.

Add the tomato purée & stir until mixed well. Add the chopped tomatoes and gradually pour in the stock to the level of liquid you want.

I like the soup with less liquids. I measure the stock about 3cm approx above the cabbage.

Cover and simmer for 5 min on low heat. Add the can of beans, cover and simmer further 2/3 min.

Adjust seasonings salt pepper sugar & lemon juice as you like.

Serve hot on its own or with Brown bread. I like to serve this soup with side dishes like Humous & warm pitta.


The Anti Cancer Diet

The Anti Cancer diet

David Servan-Schreiber is a psychiatrist who, diagnosed with a brain tumour, was shocked at how little information there was on how to help yourself when faced with a cancer diagnosis.

The book is the story of his search for the science behind the effect of exercise, meditation, support groups, addressing the possible reasons for developing cancer and the best anti-inflammatory foods to eat and the worst foods to avoid.

It also explains how cancer develops and the fact that we all have cancerous cells that most of the time either don’t develop or get wiped out.

It is very well written and a good read beyond the invaluable information. Below are his recommendations for what foods to eat. For brevity I’ve left out why although in the book he explains the science and reasons. 

One thing I will say is this is not ‘woo-woo science hope this helps’. Everything suggested below has been researched and proven to make a difference.  

Green Tea

You can use decaf. Drink 6 cups a day

Olive Oil

Has to be cold pressed extra virgin. Have between half to one tablespoon a day used in cooking, salad dressing or added to vegetables.


Must be mixed with black pepper to be assimilated in the body. Ideally dissolve in olive oil. Mix a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric powder with half a tablespoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups and salad dressings.


Add grated ginger to a vegetable or meat mix while cooking in wok or pan. Or marinate fruits in lime juice and grated ginger. Or cut into slices and steep in boiling water for 10-15 minutes and drink as a tea.

Cruciform Vegetables

Brussels sprouts, bok choi, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc. Only steam cabbage and broccoli to preserve necessary chemicals.

Garlic, Onions, Leeks, Shallots, Chives

Eat all cooked or raw every day. (Garlic molecules are released when clove is crushed and dissolved in a little olive oil).

Vegetables and fruit

Carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, squash, pumpkin, certain varieties of potimarron squash (Hokkaido squash), tomatoes, persimmons, apricots, beetroot, and all bright coloured fruits and vegetables.

Tomatoes and tomato sauce

Tomatoes must be cooked to release necessary nutrients. Use canned tomato sauce with olive oil and no added sugar. Or make your own: cook tomatoes in olive oil. Add onions, garlic, tofu or eggs rich in omega 3 along with cumin, turmeric, pepper and seasonings. Avoid cans with plastic linings inside or choose brand in glass jar. Olive oil helps assimilation of nutrients.


Replace conventional milk with soy milk and yoghurt. Soy beans and mung beans can be cooked or sprouted. Also use tofu, tempeh, miso. Tofu can be cooked or eaten raw.


Shiitake, maitake, cremini, portobello, oyster and thistle oyster mushrooms all good. Good for supporting immune system during chemotherapy.

Herbs and spices

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil and mint.  Also parsley and celery.


Nori,  kombu, wakame, arame and dulse are main seaweeds although there are more – they are all brown seaweeds.


Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cranberries.


Rachel’s Lasagnetta

Rachel’s Lasagnetta

Eat right with Rachel

Hi everyone!

I thought to share my unique Italian lasagnetta with you. Serve as a starter or main course. For vegetarian option don’t add bacon use veg stock.

Serves 2/3


3 large Leeks

4 streaky smoked bacon/ or pancetta

6 medium button mushrooms

1 clove of garlic

2 handful of fresh spinach leaves 

or 3 cubes of frozen spinach, defrosted

250gr Ricotta cheese

2 medium potato

Pinch of oregano

Black pepper & salt to taste

250ml of veg or chicken stock

6 sheets of lasagna

Parmesan cheese

Olive oil

To prepare the leeks I make a small length cut in the middle. Rrinse any mud from the green leaves and the top of the white stem.

Slice thinly approx 1/2 cm width, put aside.


In a large deep pan fry with a little olive oil the sliced mushrooms on high flame – when coloured set aside.

In the same pan add thinly sliced bacon (or pancetta) and cook slowly on lower heat until bacon is crispy brown. Put aside with the mushrooms keeping as much bacon fat in the pan as you can.

Add the sliced leeks to the bacon fat stir and cook slowly on low heat until leeks soften a little.

Add the mushrooms, bacon, chopped garlic, spinach leaves, 250gr ricotta cheese & oregano. Stir well. 

Add  the warm stock slowly as needed until the mixture becomes creamy but not too watery! 

When done turn off the gas.

Adjust seasoning. Salt pepper.

Turn oven on gas mark 7

Slice the potatoes thinly approx 2mm thickness, put in a bowl with cold water to prevent from browning.

Put each lasagna sheet in warm water for few seconds to soften when layering.

Prepare lasagna oven dish  

I use bread loaf size baking dish but you can use smaller personal size dishes also.

Start layering with the leek mix first/ grated parmesan then lasagna sheet. Repeat the layers until you have used all 6 pasta sheets. Make sure the top layer is the leek mix.

Layer the cut potato thinly.

Drizzle 2/3 tbs of stock on the sliced potato, grate more parmesan or cheddar cheese – put on the potato.

Cover with tin foil & bake for 45 min gas mark 7 middle oven. when done uncover and put under grill for the cheese to brown.

Serve hot with the rocket and sun-dried tomato salad topped with balsamic vinegar and capers.

Bonapetito !


The Diet Myth

The Diet Myth

Nutrition is not a simple science. 

Tim Spector, Professor of Epidemiology at Kings College London, explains the proven science of diet and good eating.

There are some excerpts below but the message is the health of our bowel flora is a good indicator of our overall health. Improve your bowel flora and you improve your health. The Mediterranean diet, unpasteurised cheese and natural unsweetened yoghurt, eating a greater variety of foods, particularly fruits, olive oil, nuts, vegetables and pulses, and intermittent fasting are all good. Sugar, processed foods, including pre-prepared meals, snacks, crisps, cakes, biscuits and sweetened drinks are bad.

In the UK in 1980 only 7% of men and women were obese – now it is 24%.

15,000 years ago it seems our ancestors regularly ate around 150 different ingredients in a week. Now, we often eat less than 20. Keep a diary and find out how many you eat in the next week.

Most things we eat now are artificially refined and come from four main ingredients: corn, soy, wheat and meat. 

Most of us do not lose weight exercising. (However there are many good reasons to exercise – bone density, muscle mass, respiration, heart health, flexibility, reduces risk of chronic disease, the list is endless but we have to spend more time exercising than most of us would want to lose weight and too much exercise can be bad for us).

Approximately 270 hours of exercise per year adds around three years to a lifespan. That’s just under 45 minutes a day and walking does count.

Our brains use 20-25% of our daily energy resources.

Saturated fat in products like cheese and yoghurt is not unhealthy but likely to be beneficial provided the food is real and contains living microbes, meaning not over-processed and full of chemicals and sweeteners.

Exercise can reduce blood pressure.

For many people salt reduction only has a minor effect on blood pressure.

Extra virgin olive oil and nuts taken regularly on top of a basic Mediterranean diet reduces the incidence of disease and early death.

Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits contain polyphenols. Polyphenols and considered good. They are impoirtant in helping the body clear and regulate.

Extra virgin olive oil is definitely good which means eating saturated fat is not bad. Also natural yoghurt and unpasturised cheese is also good for a healthy gut.

There is no doubt  that diverse, real, fresh foods from the Mediterranean are what we should be eating more of.

Trans fats are seriously bad and have been banned by many countries. They are chemically manufactured vegetable substitutes that increase the shelf life of packaged foods. Margarine is a trans fat and was sold as a healthy alternative to dairy fats.

The dogma we should reduce total fat intake has no scientific basis.

Fats in processed foods with lots of salt and sugar are bad for us.

Artificially created trans fats are even worse.

Many fats such as the saturated varieties are good for us.

The Mediterranean diet is high-fat but heathy – the key is diversity, colour and freshness.


Creme of Mushroom Soup

Rachel’s Creme of Mushroom Soup

Eat Right With Rachel

This is the first recipe from guest blogger Rachel Kashi who specialises in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food; often quoted as being the healthiest in the world. Here’s Rachel:

“Hi my name is Rachel I grew up in the Mediterranean I just love the different cuisines: Algerian salads, Moroccan lemon chicken, to french Qoq au vin. Healthy eating is tasty eating! I love herbs and I use many spices. I hope my food will Inspire you to cook and try new dishes. My first dish today is heart-warming soup which will be great on a cold winter day for lunch or dinner.”


Two packs or 15 medium chestnut mushrooms white or brown

2 Shallots

3 medium potatoes

50ml Single cream or 1/2 cup of milk for less calories

4 ltr Chicken or veg stock

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Boiled Egg for each person

2 tbs All purpose flour

5 Allspice

2 Bay Leaves

1/2 Pinch fresh or dried Taragon

Salt and black pepper to taste

Fresh parsley to garnish


Slice mushrooms thinly keep aside

Slice potato into small cubes (1 square cm )and keep in cold water so not to brown. Slice shallots.

Put olive oil and one table spoon of butter to the deep soup pot

Fry shallots on low heat and cover with lid for half a minute. Add the cubed potatoes, chopped or sliced garlic,herbs & sliced mushrooms, toss and simmer on low heat until mushrooms cook a little 2 min or so.

Add the stock cover and cook for further 8-10 min until potato cubes done. Boil the eggs until hard keep in the warm water.

Add flour easiest is to put flour into a cup add cold water, mix until no lamps showing and pit into the soup stirring faster until flour dissolved. to thickness you like.

Half a cup of single cream or the milk stir add salt and pepper to tase

Serve hot

add the egg last to each bowl.

Garnish with fresh chopped parsley

Cut large rustic bread of any kind


Serves 4

Preparation time: 15min

Cooking time: 15 min

Suitable for vegetarians

Serve with rustic bread


Fegato Alla Inglese

Fanny Sprocket’s English Style Italian Liver


  • 200gm liver of choice
  • 3 pork & bramley apple sausages. If regular sausages cut up half a small apple into small squares (the fruitiness really helps)
  • 5 medium to large onions
  • Splash of available wine


  • Dice onions into strips
  • Fry initially high temperature until sizzling then down to lowest possible temperature
  • Put a lid on and leave at least half an hour and even better one hour
  • Cut liver into bite size strips
  • Cut sausages into small chunks
  • Add flour if you want juice thicker
  • Empty pot of onions and then add liver and sausages
  • Fry high temperature for 2 minutes until done
  • Empty into same container as onions
  • Add splash or three of available wine to absorb residue from frying. Some scrapping may be necessary. If no wine carry on – it’s still good.
  • Put onions and meat back into pot and simmer for at least 10 minutes
  • Add flour if you want juice thicker
  • Salt, pepper and whatever else you fancy to taste

Dish Philosophy

This is a version of popular Italian dish: fegato alla veneziana which is often served with sauteed potatoes. The apple (you can try other fruits) balances the taste of the liver. I serve with mashed potato and lots of vegetables al dente. It works with just about everything though: rice, pasta, couscous, cold vegetables, salad, etc, etc.