How to Embark on a Plant-Based Diet - by Andy Tibbs

  • By Cheranne Hack
  • 04 Sep, 2017

Spill the Beans - a weekly blog discussing contemporary food and nutrition topics, by the Owner and Head Chef of Poco Culina, Andy Tibbs.

Photography by Lisa Lavery

A guy we know went vegan last week, he announced to the world (on Facebook of course). Actually that’s not quite true, he has adopted a plant-based diet for a while in order to help him to lose some weight. He’s quite a big guy, he’s also a bit of a bacon butty and burger type character. As a result of his post he’s received many comments essentially sneering at his decision and making jokes about his eating habits pre last week. No doubt that’s been disheartening for him, but he has already shed 5 pounds. Not bad going, hey?

He proudly posted images of his enormous basket of fresh vegetables – a rainbow of colour which he intends to be the basis of his meals this coming week. We have given him some help and support with a few pieces of advice around supplementing his vegetables with other food types to help him feel more full and also to balance his diet a little better.

Now… perhaps this sounds like you. Or, you may already have made a more long-term decision, you could even be thinking about ‘meat-free Mondays’ or perhaps introducing more plant-based days into your weekly meal planning. All power to you, I say. What I want to discuss in this week’s blog are ways in which you can eat satisfactory, healthy and nutritionally balanced meals.

This will sound a little odd at first, but you need to prepare to eat more! I know, great isn’t it? Plant-based food can be extremely filling, but you will require greater volume. To put it in simpler terms – a meal comprising vegetables and pulses, for example, will need to completely fill your stomach. A heavily meat based meal should only half fill it, and a dairy-based meal a bit less again. So fill your plates, people!

I discussed proteins a couple of weeks ago, but as a reminder, those beans or lentils are crucial. Not only will they provide sufficient protein for your body, they will also fill you up more effectively. Vegetables will also make a contribution as will soya based products such as tofu (even processed products like veggie burgers etc. in moderation). Whole grains are good, as are nuts and seeds. Those good old beans are also an extremely effective cholesterol reducer.

Nuts are often demonised as fatty foods. They do contain fats, but the body requires some fats on a daily basis. Clearly a diet of deep fried or heavily oil coated foods is not good – you already know that. Think instead of olive and rapeseed oils, perhaps coconut oil although it’s not to everyone’s taste. Avocados, nuts, seeds and fresh olives are also sources of ‘good’ fats. Flax seeds, walnuts and hemp seeds are particularly good as they contain a type of Omega-3. Dr Michael Greger, in his excellent website also makes a case for flax seeds as beneficial in reducing hypertension (or high blood pressure). So smash those avocados on your wholegrain toast, throw those nuts and seeds on your breakfast and mix flax with water on a ratio of 1 part flax to three parts water and use it as a very effective binder when replacing eggs in your diet.

I have blood pressure that seems naturally on the high side. Don’t now why and neither does my doctor. What I do know is that my cholesterol is now very low since ditching cheese, milk and eggs from my diet two years ago. I also know that using my bicycle, being mindful but not obsessive about what I eat and cutting down on alcohol a little brought my blood pressure down to a level that stopped worrying my doctor and avoided the issue of medication.

It’s probably reasonable to say at this point that nutrients some are used to getting from animals – calcium, B12 and iron being good examples – are not unique to these animals. Where do the animals get them from in the first place? The plants they eat, of course. Cows, once weaned, are vegan don’t forget. So calcium for example may be gained in more than sufficient quantities from dark green vegetables like kale or collards. Fresh orange juice, almonds, figs and our old friends beans are also good. Iron is also easily gained and absorbs even better with Vitamin C. So how does this sound for a few ingredients to include in tonight’s dinner: Beans with tomatoes (probably not canned baked beans in tomato sauce too often though). Fresh spinach or kale with lentils and say broccoli with a few strawberries for dessert. B12 can be more tricky. B12 doesn’t come from meat exclusively, it comes again from what animals eat, as it is a nutrient found in topsoil. However, over-farming has diminished natural nutrients in soil, therefore it’s probable that meat or even vegetables no longer provide B12 in suitable quantities. So look for fortified food products such as Nutritional Yeast (not baking or brewer' yeast) which have added B12, to add a cheesy, nutty flavour to sauces.

I intend this week’s words to be simply a starting point. I don’t claim to be a nutritionist or dietitian, nor is my advice comprehensive. If you have any concerns please consult a trusted professional source. If you have been, or are considering a plant-based diet in the long term, supplementing B12 and iodine is worth considering, as is Vitamin D. Sadly the UK population as a whole is probably short of Vitamin D because the sun simply doesn’t shine enough, we don’t spend enough time outside and air pollution inhibits it. Sunblocks also diminish its absorption (although there are good reasons for using them). Vitamin D has vital health roles to all of us, yet as a nation we are borderline low and in many cases significantly deficient.

I’ll leave it there for this week. As always, the best and simplest advice to everyone is balance your diet and understand what you are eating better. As Hippocrates said 'Let thy food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food'.

Watch what you eat!


By Cheranne Hack 10 Nov, 2017
It had been 25 years since I was last Tamil Nadu, South East India, as a fresh faced, green behind the ears 22 year old yogini completing my diploma in yoga therapy. My days back then were spent on an ashram so I actually saw very little of this once powerful Dravidian nation and since then Tamil Nadu has become more and more accessible with some wonderful properties opening and the infrastructure of this fascinating state improving beyond measure.

A direct flight to Chennai (Madras) is a joy though the 3 am arrival & 2 hours standing at immigration – an unfortunate coincidence that I arrived at the e-visa desks at the same time as a group of 40 Japanese tourists – is less so. After a quick rest and wash at the Taj Fisherman’s Cove about an hour south from the city it was off to Pondicherry on the South East coast for a couple of days.

Pondicherry has a fascinating French history from colonialism to the “soldars” ((dalits – the untouchable caste) who left Pondicherry to settle in France after partition, the majority joining the French Foreign Legion), temples, catholic churches with bling beyond anything Latin America has to offer, the Sri Auribindo Ashram and Auroville. I spent my time with the wonderful Bishuwajit Banik (Bishu) – a knowledgeable, interesting, quirky and, above all, funny guide who took me around on the back of his Royal Enfield motorbike.

While Pondicherry was first settled in 1674 by the French East India Company it was regularly annexed by both the Dutch and the British but was returned to France in 1814. When the British gained control of the whole of India in the late 1850s they allowed the French to retain their settlements in the country and even after partition in 1947 the French remained in power in Pondicherry until 1954 and full ratification didn’t happen until 1962.

There is a very obvious European touch to the city’s architecture with some beautiful and elegant examples of Franco-Tamil buildings in the French Quarter but in the Northern Tamil part of town the usual hubbub of stalls, workshops and markets still reigns. Sadly many of the old buildings are in a shocking state of disrepair but still retain much beauty.

The Catholic influence is strong throughout the town and the fabulous Basilica of the Sacred Heart (which was built for low caste Christian worshippers as caste apartheid even in churches existed) is decorated with some wonderfully gaudy murals and icons and even has its own Our Lady of Lourdes miracle corner outside complete with plastic goats and flashing lights. Utterly fantastic.

Not to be outdone on the technicolour interiors the Arulmigu Manakula Vinayagar Devasthanam Temple, dedicated to Ganesh, is a riot of colours and deities and also has Lakshmi – the blessing elephant. I’m always very dubious about animals being used like this but Lakshmi has been at the Temple for 18 years since she was 3 and seemed quite calm and at ease despite the enormous crowds wanting to give her money and guavas in return for a blessing (Laksmi is the goddess of wealth so I need say no more).
By Cheranne Hack 02 Nov, 2017
Are you guilty of uttering the phrase 'I'm not a morning person'? I am. However, that doesn't have to be the case. It's actually all about mindset. To put this theory to the test, I asked some of the iwork4u Tribe members to share their morning routines and give you tips on how to have a better start to each day...

1. The best morning routines actually start before you go to bed so an evening routine is essential to the sustainable success of a morning routine.. No screens at least 30 mins before bed and put your phone on airplane mode so that when you get up you are not tempted to look at the mass of notifications you have waiting for you . Lay everything out that you will need for your morning routine for example put your running shoes by the front door and put your alarm on top of your running kit so you have to get up to switch off your alarm - this one is a little mean but it works :-) Don't get hung up on the time you get up - if you have worked until later allow yourself to get up a little later to ensure you get enough rest. You will be far less productive if you are tired. It's not about when you get up but HOW you get up. Gratitude - if you really can't face getting out from under the duvet allow yourself to lay there and think of 5 things you are grateful for - doesn't have to be anything grand or 'worthy' and may be as simple as i am truly grateful to have this warm bed! :-) After the gratitudes get up.  Heather Angell, Heather Angell Coaching

2. Don't check your phone before 9am, it will give you some headspace and allow you to focus on the now.   Kat Shayler, Sharpfox Social
By Sali Green 18 Oct, 2017
This week I went for my 2nd appointment at Arnica Dental Care , this time to see the hygienist. I'm happy to say I no longer have anxiety about going to the dentist or hygienist, so for anyone who is slightly or severely phobic, I can assure you that the team at Arnica is very understanding and gentle. Before long you won't have even a flutter of fear about going.

Tips I find useful for anxiety about going to the dentist or hygienist:
1) Don't eat for a couple of hours beforehand - this helps you be able to open your mouth more easily without fear of gagging.
2) Have a calm hour before you go. If you're into meditation, this is perfect for balancing and quieting your mind in preparation.
3) Don't have coffee or other forms of caffeine (these can heighten feelings of anxiety).
4) Rinse often during your treatment, it breaks up the amount of time your mouth is being inspected or your teeth being cleaned.
5) Use 'tapping', otherwise known as EFT, on your fingers during your appointment. (I do mine by pressing into the corner of the fingernails rather than actually tapping the fingers. Let me know if you want a video demonstration of this!) Here's a quick YouTube I found on tapping:

Let me know how you get on!
By Cheranne Hack 04 Oct, 2017

There’s a knock at my door, it’s a delivery. I wasn’t aware I had ordered anything, let me think..ah, is it that time again already?! It's the precious, petite box of pure joy I’ve been eagerly waiting for, and it’s not a day too late! I tear into the paper, I can smell the warm, soft sweetness alluding to what’s inside this month. I find the signature note from the crafter of these little creations, then carefully open the box (so not to disturb the contents) to take a peak inside, with as much excitement as if receiving a puppy on Christmas morning! 

Sitting there I see nine individually wrapped chocolates. My very own, personalised smooth chocolate truffles created just for me! ‘Chocolates?’ you may think, ‘All that anticipation for a box of chocolates?!’ Well, I say unapologetically, yes! These aren’t just any high street chocolates, nor were they mindlessly ordered online - popped in the basket and paid for without a second thought. No, these OMmaZing bite-sized pieces of heaven were purposefully chosen by me and thoughtfully made for me.

I must resemble a wild bore snuffling in the undergrowth for a seasonal truffle rummage, eyes rolled back, digging in to these in utter delight! I can’t just stop at one, you see, it’s a problem (but one I’m not willing to change). I’ve heard there are others who suffer the same happy addiction. I think Daniella could create a self-help group for us called 'OMmaZing's Anonymous'? No? Well it sounds as if the amazingly Exclusive VIP Chocolate Club is the only other alternative then!

Chocolate Club is the perfect option for those of us who eat chocolate more regularly than to celebrate our own birthday. Especially if you treat yourself to chocolate at least once a month and consider yourself a healthy eater with a sweet tooth; desiring to know even the ingredients in your ice cream. I love chocolate but I don’t eat it too often, so when I do, I like my choice to be something I can take my sweet time to delight and indulge in. Chocolate Club is clearly the answer!

What I love about Chocolate Club, is that as well as it conveniently saves a trip to the supermarket to stock up on a couple of bars (which I’m not fussed about but eat anyway), I get to choose my own favourite fillings from a vast selection of flavours, right down to the type of chocolate used - from milk to raw cacao. I get the satisfaction of receiving a box just when I’d forgotten all about it, and usually right at a moment when I appreciate them most too. Upon their arrival, it sort of feels like I’m getting a reward or like a present to myself just to say ‘well done you’. I think it’s important to treat yourself sometimes and what better way to do it?

By Cheranne Hack 18 Sep, 2017

Those of you of a certain age may recall that ‘ Don’t Believe The Hype ’ is a half-remembered rap song from some years ago. At that time I was still working in my previous life of advertising and design. It’s a strange industry – obviously it makes its money from clients who have products and services they wish to sell to particular groups of people – and advertising agencies are as much a mainstream business as the clients they work on behalf of. Yet, the creative studios in which I spent many years were populated by very ‘alternative’ people who thought, bought and behaved very differently to the consumers they by and large were employed to influence. I felt quite comfortable there for a long time, but I look back with a certain discomfort on that world now.

Advertising is extremely influential in the highly lucrative and extremely competitive food and drinks industry (although I have never worked on campaigns in those sectors). Think how we have been persuaded to ‘ go to work on an egg ’, or that British Beef, New Zealand (and more recently Welsh) lamb and Danish bacon are somehow better than other counterparts. More recently, food and especially snack food, advertising aimed at children has become a hotly debated political issue. Jamie Oliver is a vociferous campaigner for a 9pm watershed for such advertising as are former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former Health Secretary Alan Johnson. Yet little has changed. Major food brands have continued to target children with junk food products that dazzle young eyes and create a sense that such products are a normal part of everyday diet.

By Cheranne Hack 14 Sep, 2017
By Cheranne Hack 11 Sep, 2017

It was my birthday over the weekend. I played the game of reversing the numbers of my age as I often do, so for example, two years ago I was 15, last year 25 and this year I reached the ripe old age of 35! The game also involves recall and reflection too. Shortly after my 19th birthday in 1983 I left home to go and study in Wiltshire, leaving behind my South Devon comfort zone. I had been vegetarian for a relatively short time at that point, and I was excited about taking complete control of my own food. I regularly visited a health food shop called Swindon Pulse, which was an Aladdin’s Cave of open sacks of beans, grains and cereals with shelves piled high with meat replacement products that required rehydration, tins of exotic Eastern foods unfamiliar to me and also soya milk. At that time it was completely unavailable anywhere other than health food shops. I loved that shop – such shops had yet to re-imagine themselves as ‘pharmacies’ selling mainly supplements and bodybuilding potions, as they seem to now. I also liked one of the girls who worked in the shop, but that’s another story altogether.

Also I remembered being at primary school in the 1970s, at which point the full horror of school milk came flooding back to me. Miniature milk bottles holding, I think, 1/3 of a pint that arrived in the classroom first thing in the morning and were then stored on the radiator and in full sunlight. Needless to say, by the time my teacher had brutally stabbed the lids of each bottle with a knitting needle and inserted a straw later in the day, this full-fat bottle of misery was warm and thoroughly sour. I will forever be grateful to the late Margaret Thatcher for scrapping school milk (although there is little else in her legacy I am grateful for). I hated that school milk with a passion and as a result I’ve had a strong dislike for milk ever since.

Milk was no loss to me whatsoever when I shifted my diet to a fully vegan one a couple of years ago. To many, however, it is a default in the household fridge. Why? How did it come to be that humans became the only animal group to never become fully weaned?

By Cheranne Hack 04 Sep, 2017

Photography by Lisa Lavery

A guy we know went vegan last week, he announced to the world (on Facebook of course). Actually that’s not quite true, he has adopted a plant-based diet for a while in order to help him to lose some weight. He’s quite a big guy, he’s also a bit of a bacon butty and burger type character. As a result of his post he’s received many comments essentially sneering at his decision and making jokes about his eating habits pre last week. No doubt that’s been disheartening for him, but he has already shed 5 pounds. Not bad going, hey?

He proudly posted images of his enormous basket of fresh vegetables – a rainbow of colour which he intends to be the basis of his meals this coming week. We have given him some help and support with a few pieces of advice around supplementing his vegetables with other food types to help him feel more full and also to balance his diet a little better.

Now… perhaps this sounds like you. Or, you may already have made a more long-term decision, you could even be thinking about ‘meat-free Mondays’ or perhaps introducing more plant-based days into your weekly meal planning. All power to you, I say. What I want to discuss in this week’s blog are ways in which you can eat satisfactory, healthy and nutritionally balanced meals.

This will sound a little odd at first, but you need to prepare to eat more! I know, great isn’t it? Plant-based food can be extremely filling, but you will require greater volume. To put it in simpler terms – a meal comprising vegetables and pulses, for example, will need to completely fill your stomach. A heavily meat based meal should only half fill it, and a dairy-based meal a bit less again. So fill your plates, people!

By Sali Green 30 Aug, 2017
Coffee is one of those things - you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It's a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you're used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine, but it still contains some.

Let's look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are 'slow' metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel 'wired' for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is 'fast' metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much - because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):
⦁ Stimulates the brain
⦁ Boosts metabolism
⦁ Boosts energy and exercise performance
⦁ Increases your stress hormone cortisol
⦁ Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

Coffee and health risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:
⦁ Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
⦁ Increased sleep disruption
⦁ Lower risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
⦁ Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
⦁ Lower risk of certain liver diseases
⦁ Lower risk of death ('all-cause mortality')
⦁ Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

NOTE: What’s super important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.
By Cheranne Hack 28 Aug, 2017

The day the world went vegan. Well, for a few hours it seemed that way. Amidst a Bank Holiday weekend blessed with welcome but long awaited sunshine, Saturday became Cheltenham Vegan Fair day. Something approaching 100 stall holders, charities and talk/workshop ‘deliverers’ descended on the Town Hall to be joined by in the order of 2000 visitors throughout the day – many of whom waited patiently in a queue snaking far into Imperial Square and beyond, to get in.

Food and nutrition were high on the list of offers inside the Town Hall – some amazing caterers performing miracles with plant-based ingredients. Independent cake and savoury bakers working wonders with pastry or whipped dairy-free frostings. Artisan cheese-makers, dairy-free mayonnaise and coleslaw producers, raw food specialists and nutritionists added an incredible diversity to the products on offer. Visitors were also treated to a long list of excellent talks and workshops which approached food and nutrition in a variety of unique ways.

Let’s not forget either the organisations who are dedicated to changing our lifestyles. Shoe-makers doing incredible things with faux-leather goods, ethical clothing makers and sellers, cruelty-free cosmetics and powerful change-makers such as Friends of the Earth, Sea Shepherds, several animal sanctuaries and many inspirational speakers. I’m sure I’ve missed other contributors too, if that’s you, I’m sorry, my memory isn’t what it was!

By Cheranne Hack 24 Aug, 2017
My friend Jane told me that August is the month when they start coming out in force, which is not ideal if you are not keen on them. The good news is that they apparently hate cinnamon, lemon and peppermint oils. The even better news is that you can buy these oils. Waft the aromas around by putting them in your diffuser. Put a few drops of the oil in a water spray bottle and spray a mist of your concoction along the skirting boards or anywhere else you think they may be lurking nearby. You'll have them running for cover on their nasty little hairy spider legs in no time.


Read about spiders here:
By Sali Green 21 Aug, 2017
Once again, the mainstream food manufacturers have hit the headlines, with public health organisations demanding that the efforts to reduce sugar in mass-produced food should be further supplemented by calorie reductions in popular foods such as pizza, burgers, ready-meals and crisps. This applies to organisations like Pizza Hut, McDonalds and Starbucks as well as manufacturers of supermarket products.

Public Health England chief nutritionist, Dr Alison Tedstone, said "we have a serious problem - one in three children leave primary school either obese or overweight; if we want to tackle this we have to look at calories. There are a number of ways it can be done – we can reduce the size of the products or change the ingredients."  NHS Choice suggests that on average people in the UK consume between 200 and 300 calories more than they should on a daily basis. Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has also said that whilst these initiatives are voluntary among manufacturers, the Government will be prepared to legislate if there is no satisfactory progress.

For me, it's a sad indictment of the UK we currently live in that improving the nation’s diet is based around making cheap, fat-filled foodstuffs healthier. The Americanisation of our high streets, our supermarket shelves and our food choices are the real enemy here. It's no accident that the cheapest, easiest foods for us to consume are also the unhealthiest. How could it be any other way? Cheap processed meat products are virtually glued together with heavily salted, congealed fat and water to make them appear larger. Ever wondered why frying cheap bacon leaves a pool of salty, fatty water in the pan? The cheap, greasy cheeses that melt all over these foods is highly addictive, leaving us craving more. The low nutritional values of mass-produced food are unsatisfying, leaving us feeling the need to eat more. Goodness me, when I was a child the humble British chip was perceived as the enemy. It’s positively saintly nowadays, when compared to other horrors inflicted on us.

Demanding that food producers make the cheap products we now take for granted healthier is not the solution, in my opinion. For as long as we demand them, the industry will continue to explore cheaper, even more ethically and environmentally unsustainable ingredients and processes in order to sell us our addictive fix more cheaply. A 20% reduction in the calorific content of a pizza or a reduction in its size will not save the nation’s health or more worryingly that of its children. We simply have to wise up and take a long hard look at what we eat and how we eat it. This applies to everyone, irrespective of their dietary choices – meat-eaters, vegetarians and vegans alike are guilty of eating unhealthy, unsustainable junk foods on an epic scale.
By Cheranne Hack 16 Aug, 2017
8.30am - Partner's alarm goes off. Wakes me from a strange dream where I'm working in an office in a city, and keep doing things wrong, like unplugging a hard drive and losing lots of information, meeting Cliff Richard and we are all showing off attempts at gymnastics but none of us are very good apart from Cliff who can jump really high onto bannisters.

8.45am - Get in the bath. Check social media replies and emails for work. Discover that a friend has been scammed for 2 grand by a villa website. Share it on Facebook (and here) to make others aware of this nasty affair. 'Holiday makers looking at Italy beware. I have been scammed by a very professional villa website on the Amalfi coast called I am £2k poorer now due to being so stupid as are a lot of people. Thankfully I was alerted about it from someone who'd already been out there to discover their holiday villa didn't exist, nor did the company. I have time to sort something else out but a lot of very unhappy people cannot afford to. Its so disgusting and sickening. Apparently the Italian police are uninterested and I suspect this is a mafia run organisation on a grand scale from what I can gather. The website is still up and running. I have reported it but please share to stop this happening to anyone else. Feeling really crap right now.' - Helen from Tewkesbury

Apply eczema remedy to various parts of my skin. I think I might be intolerant of eggs, because I cut them out for a while and then I had some for a weekend breakfast and got big red itchy marks on my chin.

9.15am - Eat granola with cashew milk (topped with fresh banana and honey) that I bought from posh supermarket (which will remain nameless) even though I live nearer to a cost effective one. Like many other people I know, we get most of our shopping from the no-frills one and then pop over to the expensive one for a few bits and bobs that we love. Talking of food and shopping - I have a tip for you. For a few months I had discomfort in my stomach and it was big and bloated to proportions I'd not experienced before apart from when 'with child'. I didn't get round to visiting a nutritionist; the doctor couldn't find anything wrong, and I still haven't taken the York test that I ordered online. So I gave up gluten. Not absolutely and strictly, but mainly. Anyway my stomach went back to its old size and lost the bloatiness and discomfort within about 3 weeks. Much as I love bread and wheat products, it seems to have done the trick. So if you're struggling with similar, obviously see a doctor in the first instance, but you can also help yourself by cutting out certain food items. A couple of weeks later, re-introduce them and see if you notice any effects. I'm not qualified to give this advice, of course, but I'm speaking from experience and my own results. When I crave bread I either have oat cakes or rice cakes instead, or get some gluten free bread. There are plenty of alternatives when you start looking in to it. It may not be wheat you are intolerant of, so see what works and doesn't work for you. It's worth it when you eventually feel much better for doing it.

9.30am - Squeeze in an hour's work and some admin. Have just moved house and mostly still haven't unpacked from that (as well as the holiday), or changed my address over on paperwork and bank accounts. This must happen soon, but doesn't time fly?

10.30am - Meet lovely client at quiet venue in town that allows dogs. Interview client for social media and catch up on each other's lives.

11am - Back to the office for full focus on work.

1.30am - Drop aunt to hospital appointment about one of her eyes. She's seriously injured it in a rusty washing line incident and currently has no sight in it. It's extremely painful and they are doing everything they can to save her sight. Thank you Cheltenham & Gloucester Hospitals for your wonderful care of her. She has an operation coming up soon.

3.30pm - Fit in more work

6pm - Partner returns from work and we cook a curry, drink red wine, play Bananagrams and then watch some mutually agreed series on TV. I fall asleep on the sofa; he watches a couple more episodes. Since moving in together we've been trying new recipes from my collection of cookery books that I had never used. We've done fish pie, Thai curries and Melanzane alla Parmigiana so far, as well as a Greek salad I copied from when I went to Zante. Folks treated my sister and me, our children and themselves to a chilled out, memorable holiday this summer where we lazed around, explored a bit and ate and drank loads. As you do in these scenarios. I am so grateful as I came back feeling refreshed and soaked in sun. I travelled light, and while I was away I read 'The Peaceful Warrior' - a good read if you are interested in self development.

Tomorrow night I'm going out for chips and wine with some girlfriends. We want to get together and not spend much money doing so. Chips and wine seems like the perfect solution. What is your favourite place to go in Cheltenham when you meet up with friends?

This has been a different kind of column than I normally write, but I needed to do one that can be written in 30 minutes and here it is. Wishing you a great month and hope to catch you again next time! x

By Cheranne Hack 14 Aug, 2017

A weekly blog discussing contemporary food and nutrition topics, by the Owner and Head Chef of Poco Culina, Andy Tibbs.

In a week that has once again seen contaminated eggs become headline news, it’s an opportunity for everyone to reflect on just exactly what they are eating. Like many people, you may well be very particular about your eggs, ensuring that you buy only free-range eggs from UK farms or even purchasing eggs from local producers at Farmers’ Markets or Farm Shops. Also, many supermarkets highlight the fact that they sell only fresh eggs bearing the British Red Lion stamp of quality. Here comes the BUT though…

Supermarkets including Asda, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose have been hastily removing products containing contaminated eggs from the Netherlands from their shelves. These are mostly fresh sandwiches and salads, filled with cheap, non free-range eggs mass produced outside of the UK. And let’s not get started on the sheer volume of eggs incorporated into a huge range of mass produced products on the same supermarkets’ shelves. It is simply not possible for you, the shopper, to make any value judgement on the integrity of those products. Double standards? Hypocrisy?

Well, here’s what Ian Jones, chairman of British Lion Egg Processors, said: “We believe shoppers are growing increasingly concerned about the ingredients used in manufactured food and now more than ever want and deserve transparency on food packaging. The British Egg Industry Council believes that this is a great opportunity for retailers to listen to the concerns of their customers and reassure them by specifying the use of British eggs and using the ‘Made with British Lion eggs’ logo on packs.”

My catering business, Poco Culina , is entirely plant-based. Whilst I have no intention of this blog being just a platform to advocate veganism, it is however my belief that we all need to consider more deeply what we are eating, where it comes from and how it was made. The damage being to done to health and the environment by irresponsible food producers cannot continue unabated. We all need to take far more care in what is being sold to us, irrespective of our individual dietary choices.

My approach, as a Chef, is to research ingredients and cooking techniques that use fresh, single origin ingredients cooked to traditional, mainly Eastern methods. Indian cooking is particularly exciting to me. Take fairly familiar Indian foods such as onion bhaji or vegetable pakora, they are bound together with seasoned batters made very simply with gram (chickpea) flour and water – no eggs or butter required. Similarly, dosa – Indian pancakes – are made from batters made with soaked pulses – urad dal, moong dal, chana dal, red dal and so on, all of which are split peas or varieties of lentil. The ever popular Middle Eastern falafel too is made from soaked and puréed chickpeas. Made properly, there should never be any need for eggs to bind them together. Not only are these products deeply nutritious but they taste amazing too. But then you know that, you will all no doubt have eaten and enjoyed them.

That’s all for this week, see you next time.

Watch what you eat!


By Cheranne Hack 20 Jul, 2017
I've been going to my therapist for over a year now - maybe 2. At first we did a course of about 6 or 8 sessions. It was during session 2 when I had the light-bulb moment that I could learn to be in control of my thoughts, to a greater extent than I had ever been, rather than letting my thoughts be in control of me. I won't bore you with the details of the years of problems I had, all stemming from anxiety and a precarious mindset. Anyway now I see Lorna for a top-up session about twice a year and she also provides support over email when needed. I have to say, I've never been in such a good place mentally, and I'm not sure I would have reached that place without her help.

Today I went to Lorna The Mindset Coach for hypnotherapy for the first time - normally our consultations have involved psychotherapy but for one particular issue we decided that hypno would be best. It was a great session; I reclined on the comfortable couch while she talked me into a deeper and deeper state of relaxation and then put strong positive suggestions into my subconscious mind to replace the negative, fearful ones. She's helped several of my friends too. So I can recommend Lorna's method of therapy from a personal perspective and also from seeing the progress those friends have made / are making.

Lorna specialises in managing anxiety, panic, depression, low self-confidence and phobias.

As Eckhart Tolle says in The Power of Now, 'To recognise one's own insanity is, of course, the arising of sanity, the beginning of healing and transcendence.' He believes we are all part of a collective insanity. We can't change anyone else's behaviour but we can start to improve things by taking responsibility and changing our own.
By Cheranne Hack 18 Jul, 2017

“Stop showing off Frances!”.   The words hit me like a brick.   I jolt to a stop, hang my head in shame and back towards the door.   Once outside, huge tears roll down my reddened cheeks, whilst I try to work out which feeling is the strongest – humiliation, shame, or anger.   Humiliation takes first place with shame coming in a close second. There is no room for anger so that is shut out – rejected.   Sibling rivalry encourages me to believe that certain siblings, who were privy to the exchange, are smirking at my abasing. Probably fantasy on my part but it feels real enough at the time.

Leaving home for boarding school at 7 was almost a relief. Maybe this was to be a place for me to shine? A place where I could 'show off' without being reduced to a mere morsel of myself by the lashing of a tongue, from a mother who would mow us all down with her words, time after time.

Boarding school was different. I was no longer a show off. I advanced from show off to simply not being good enough. As the youngest boarder, my confident, wanting to shine self, was soon hushed. My dorm mates poked and jibed me. They pushed me to undertake the most inexcusable dares. All of which I undertook with a unsuspecting smile, desperately wanting to gain their approval.   My efforts were futile however, as they had already decided that I would never match them, in worldliness, wealth, possessions or influence. Or was that what I had decided?

Nonetheless, my now 8 year old courage endured, as I endeavoured to make them laugh, offered to make their beds, pretended I liked what they liked, danced and sang along with them all.

Then came the words from the most officious matron – “Stop showing off Frances!”. Bang! There I go, back to the abyss of misery and unsureness. Humility, shame, embarrassment oozing through my every pore, whilst the other girls laugh and jeer. I dive into my bed like a rabbit down a rabbit hole, as far down the bed as I can - and I cry. The humility and shame are colossal. The message is clear. Never put my head over that parapet of doom again. Stay low girl. Stay thwarted – the life of shine is not for you!

Wind forward 30 years and I see myself having developed a hard wired belief that repeats pattern like - over and over again, but now I don’t need the trigger of another – I can shame and humiliate myself single handily.  

Clever eh? How does it work? This is it… stay low. Somehow, someone sees some talent in me and helps me onto the stage. Happy days for a bit, with me hanging about in the wings. Then after a while, I bravely take a step forward towards the light. But I have barely put my toe into the circle of the spotlight before I withdraw, moving myself back to where I belong, in the shadows. Fearful that those words will be expressed again. They probably already have, but they were out of earshot.  

Only by now, all these years later, the anger is rising. I am no longer able to reject it.   “I DESERVE TO SHINE!” - my unconscious shouts. “I know I have much to offer. I can help people.” But unconscious whispers back “don’t be foolish, child, you will just look stupid – as you will be showing off. Stay back, stay safe. Stay in the shadows.”

I am so grateful for my 50s mid life crisis. For it was then that the anger reached its summit. It surfaced not as rage however, but as a hunger for The Why? A quest to find out why those feelings would show up every time a flash of opportunity came my way, spoiling… well, everything. For the last couple of years I have read, I have listened, I have learned and I have expressed. And wow! Have I accomplished a lot and no, I am not 'showing off'.

The knowledge I have gained now helps me to help other people. It helps me understand how I can move forward with a clear conscious. I have forgiven my darling Mum, that matron, and my smirking siblings (even if they weren’t guilty!).

I can now see that the problem was mine, not theirs. I am in control of how my feelings show up and what they are attached to.

So now things can change. I have decided that being a show-off is what I need to be. That singing and dancing is not just for the films, it is for me too. I will step into the circle of the spotlight and lift my chin and smile. For if I can sing, and if I can dance then I can shine. If I allow myself to shine, then who can I be? I am not sure. But I am very much looking forward to finding out.

There are a bunch of amazing people in my life, who, probably without knowing it, have led me to understand that I no longer need to worry about 'showing off'. Today was the first day that I found the phrase “I want to show off”.   I will say it daily. These are the people I would like to thank for helping me get to where I am today…


Tricia Sterry

Di – Dickenson, a beautiful human being who will be the best Block Clearance Therapist very soon.

Neil Snaith, my husband and so much more.

Connie and Wren Snaith, my children.

Deborah Price

Sarah Dena -

Maxine Smith -

Robin Waite -

Cindy Davis –

Carie Lyndene -

Martin Croft –

Sali Green -


I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

By Cheranne Hack 22 May, 2017

How is your memory? Do you find that it's become increasingly worse over the years, both long and short term? In this article I'm going to tell you what happened when I went for SOUND THERAPY the other day. 

Holistic therapist  Rebecca McCorquerdale  asked if I'd go along as one of her final case studies for sound therapy qualification. It sounded interesting and soothing, and I'm not one to turn down the opportunity of anything holistic, so we booked a date and before I knew it the day had arrived. I was uptight and a bit stressed. I'd had a furniture-related minor head injury the night before and still had a pounding headache, not to mention the 3 glasses of red wine I'd consumed the same evening. Rebecca welcomed me in to the haven of peace and calm she's created at her home, where the aroma of essential oils wafted around in the atmosphere. She seemed so relaxed and serene it was like she floated towards the kitchen to get me a glass of water, whilst I trailed behind feeling rushed, heavy and drained. Of course, the next thing was that I offloaded all my pent up feelings and related the story of the computer sliding off a chest of drawers and hitting me in the head. I was in anxiety mode, worrying that the head injury was never going to heal and would continue to get worse. I tend to get these thoughts that spiral out of control if I let them. Rebecca took it all in her stride. It didn't bring her down to my level. She knew that by the time she'd finished with me, she'd be sending me off in floaty mode just like her. 

Back in the purple holistic haven, I sat on her chaise longue while she leaned on the treatment couch, explaining to me a brief history of sound therapy and how it's used and what it does. She said she'd be drawing on the natural energy from the earth and using the wonderful vibrations of sound from the tuning forks to rebalance my mind, body and spirit. There was also mention of dowsing and chakras. 

Well - not only did Rebecca do all of what was mentioned, but also with these hypnotic sounds she also conjured up something quite unexpected in me. What started to unfold in my mind, once a state of relaxation and calm had been reached, was an unfolding of distant memories. 

My anxious mind started to fight this at first, worrying that when your life's events flash before you, something's up! I reassured myself that this wasn't a 'life flashing before me' scenario. In fact it was all at a leisurely pace. 

I used mindfulness just to bring things 'back in the room' for a while - feeling Rebecca's calm presence at my side, and picturing my bag in the corner of the room. I was still very much here, and we hadn't moved on to another world. So gradually I allowed those memories to flow back in. They weren't in order; they were jumping to different parts of my life - mostly early childhood. The thing that astounds me here is that these are things I have not recollected for a very long time, if at all. In the title of this article I've used the word 'vivid'. It's not an exaggeration. We're talking right down to the fabric, texture and pattern of the pale blue silky embroidered bedspread in my grandmother's spare room in Birmingham; her shoe rack in the wardrobe, filled with shoes that had molded to the shape of her bunions; the geraniums in her conservatory; feeding the fish in her pond, and going to Cannon Hill Park, feeding ducks and seeing red squirrels. Right down to the whole family playing ping pong, and the stale Weetabix she kept in the larder. She died decades ago. I also visited memories of my other grandparents - even the day we left their old home near Tewkesbury and moved to Cheltenham - down to the exact feeling of looking out of the window across the garden and saying goodbye to it. I would have been under 5 years old then. I remembered sitting at the dining table at the flat in Pittville, eating curried mince with potatoes and peas with my grandparents and cousin. We were still so little. I remembered exactly what Nanna said to us when we mashed our potatoes into the sauce: "You're making a right pussy's dinner out of that!" (and she hadn't heard of Hip Hop). 

This trip down memory lane came to the point where tears began to flow. I could feel them rising up in me and this brought me back to being 'in the moment' again, because I suddenly felt conscious of my tears welling up and the slight embarrassment of that. I said this to Rebecca who opened the curtains slightly and said we would 'hold the space' for a while. The tears came and some snivelling too. I didn't feel embarrassed any more. I just felt what a big thing this was to me... all these memories that I didn't think I could ever have accessed again. They were precious. Next came Rebecca's turn for some emotion. When this happened I felt so privileged. It was like time stood still. Everything in our lives leading up to that point had brought us there, and we appreciated it and its depth. Rebecca felt a couple of messages for me that she had to say out loud - something that had cropped into her mind that she felt she had to pass on to me. Something about me being a warrior, and to stand my ground. 

Along with memory-gate, there was also a physical reaction during the tuning forks therapy. A heightened sensitivity in one place, which apparently then gets attuned and balanced by the sound therapy. 

I've certainly felt a lot better ever since. 

I wonder what sound therapy will hold for you?

To discover more about sound therapy you can connect with Rebecca on Facebook:

By Sali Green 12 May, 2017

1)     The Default Diary

The default diary is such a simple but useful way to organise your business and home life. Choose a colour that represents each type of way you spend your time. To give you an example, I use purple for meetings, orange for my Top Dog clients / consultations, green for down time and fun stuff, and blue for admin and my directory clients. When I look at my diary I see at a glance how the day or month is looking. And I make sure there is consistency. So every Wednesday and Friday morning I’m in meetings. Every Monday and Tuesday I’m in the office doing admin and promoting my clients. Thursday I go to appointments, see my mum, etc. I can recommend this if you fancy giving it a try – it works! Let me know how you get on. Thank you Robin Waite for this idea. 

By Sali Green 24 Apr, 2017
How did I stumble across Robin  Waite?

I met Robin briefly when he came along to a business lunch I was organising. Later I connected with him properly when Kat from Sharpfox recommended that he joined our directory. (Thanks Kat!)
I was curious about how he had transitioned from the owner of a branding and web design business to a full-on business coach, so I joined his closed Facebook group ' Online Business Startup ' to get more acquainted, seeing as I was going to be promoting him on social media. I wanted to know what to say about him. One day I had a Facebook notification telling me that Robin Waite was streaming live to the group. I tuned in, listened to a couple of stories he was telling and realised there and then that a business coach isn't just something for other people -this was relevant to me as well. Obviously several other people felt the same because they were commenting on the video as it went along. From then on I was interested to work with Robin more closely, to find out if his tips and guidance would translate well to my own business. It turned out they really could. 

What do we do in the coaching sessions?

My first session was an eye-opener. Robin turned up in his casual look of jeans and t-shirt. I found this more relaxing and friendly than someone in a suit. He was quiet at first, allowing me to waffle on about everything I wanted to talk about, before he steered the conversation around to beneficial questions and issues. He was listening intently to figure me out and find out about me and my business. I was surprised at how long the session was - I had expected one hour but he told me it was going to be 2 hours. This time flew by once we got going. He correctly worked out that I'm a very visual person and used diagrams for illustrating his ideas for me. I realised I had been plodding along with no direction, constantly going up all sorts of dead end paths, procrastinating and being easily distracted. Robin made me realise that it was time to focus, fine-tune my offering and manage my working hours. 

In the monthly sessions that followed we covered all sorts of things - turnover, packages, subscriptions, co-workers, clients, enquiries, 'default diary', time management, social media scheduling, processes, strategy, ideas, branding, passion for what I'm doing, business growth, capacity - to name but a few. These were things that I used to just leave to chance. Now I was beginning to understand them and use them for the benefit of my clients and myself. Lightbulb moments were coming thick and fast. Sometimes they can be fun; sometimes they are harder work because Robin has to listen to me repeating the same old routine and moany things, and detect what I need, turn things around, and send me away feeling positive and excited about the next phase in my work. Robin has the ability to wade through the information overload which washes over him like water off a duck's back, and get to the important points, thinking outside the box, and translating his thoughts and suggestions into something I can easily understand. 

To summarise what we do for the sessions: we meet for a coffee, talk, listen, brainstorm, discuss, decide, and Robin will send me away with a small list of instructions to implement. I am then armed with ideas and improvements to make and I try to do these as soon as possible so that they don't get overlooked. 

What happens as a result?

As a result of a business coaching session with Robin I have plenty of advice from him which needs to sink in. This generally leads to a breakthrough in my thinking and how I go about running my business. Some of the instructions are so simple that I wonder why I didn't think of them myself. Once I put them into place, I see immediate results. This is no exaggeration. These are some of the very solid results that have happened directly from our sessions:

1) My turnover has doubled.
2) I have more enquiries and more clients. (Some of whom are referrals from Robin.)
3) I am more organised and professional.
4) I work towards goals that we have set and see them come to fruition. 
5) I have grown in confidence. 

How can you work with Robin Waite?

You can work with Robin in several ways. His one-to-one coaching sessions are booked up at least a month in advance so you can apply for a breakthrough session and arrange a meeting. You can attend one of Robin's seminars to gain business advice, join his group and read his book ' Online Business Startup '. You can enroll on his e-learning programme .
I have seen the demand for working with Robin steadily grow, so I do suggest making contact to begin your journey to doubling your turnover in 6 months, which will be his aim for you too!

Here's Robin's website so that you can get started:
By Sali Green 20 Apr, 2017

Experiencing a career setback - such as reduncancy, being passed over for a promotion, or dealing with changes in your job description - can feel overwhelming. You may feel a little lost at times, and your self-esteem may have taken a hit. Depending on the situation, you may either feel undervalued or completely expendable, both of which can take a toll on your mood and even your physical health.

The good news is that there are some things you can do to take control of your career and, by extension, your life. It’s important to remember that you are valuable, and if you’re ready to change things up and strike out on your own, there are some simple ways to get started. Here are some of the best.

Take some time

One of the first things you should do after your experience is to take some time away from things. Whether it’s for a weekend getaway or just a day off, carve some time out of your schedule to focus on yourself and your needs and take a breath. This is especially important if you’re feeling low; getting away from things for a bit will allow you to calm down, reset, and potentially start a plan for the next move.

Figure out your goals

Your goals may have changed since your setback, or maybe you’re not even sure what they are at the moment. That’s okay! It’s normal to feel as though you’re floundering for a moment after an upheaval of your professional life. The key is to sit down and think about what you want to do next, and be honest with yourself. Do you really want to start sending out resumes to similar companies or confront your boss about why your co-worker received a big promotion over you, or would you rather strike out on your own and start a business? Think about what it would take to make you happy.

Make a plan

Mapping out a plan for your next career move can feel overwhelming, but remember, you’re just in the planning stages. This is the fun part! You can really get creative here. Do you have a skill or a service you can provide? Are you arty or good with cake decorating? There are plenty of online outlets for your business; the key is narrowing down what you want to do. Once you have a few ideas, do some research to find out what similar businesses might exist in your area and think about how your business would differ. Standing out in the crowd is a big part of starting your own company.

This is a good time to start thinking about whether you want to go into business alone or with a partner . This can be a good friend or a loved one, but it should be someone you trust and have a good rapport with. Starting a business can be a stressful undertaking, and you’ll need someone there who will have your back and can pick up the slack when you need a break.

Think about your online presence

Whether you’re going to have a bricks-and-mortar store or an online-only presence, it’s important to think about how you’re going to attract customers and what you want the design of your business to be, both inside and out. If you plan on opening an online shop, it’s essential to have an effective website for your business . You will also want to maintain a good social media presence, which means opening and keeping up with accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at the very least to keep customers engaged and to attract new fans. The same is true if you plan on being an online-only business.

Talk to someone who’s done it

It will be extremely helpful if you can speak to someone who has experience in opening up their own business, whether it’s a local business owner or an individual who has started their own company online. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request some advice on getting started; you never know where the great ideas will come from!

Moving away from a career you’ve worked hard to build is never an easy decision; however, it comes down to your desire to create a future that is both sustainable and can make you happy, and that’s never a bad thing. With a good plan and a little time, you can build something new that you can be proud of.

About Jason

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer in Delaware. In 2002 he became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. He realised, as he helped her with her recovery, there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors in our communities. Jason worked with his mother’s doctor, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65.  

For a personal training in Cheltenham we recommend Sam at Hands On Wellbeing Centre

By Sali Green 13 Apr, 2017

People who inspire

Our emergency services are sometimes described as angels. Following the fatal accident in Cheltenham, it was reported that passers-by have praised the emergency services who attended the scene and tried so hard to help Anna Rys. Also recently at the Houses of Parliament attack, doctors bravely ran towards the scene, knowing how dangerous it might be for them. We are so lucky to have these people serving the community every day, putting the lives of others before their own.

Someone else who has been an inspiring person in his own individual, eccentric way is Dancing Ken. If you have been in Cheltenham a while you are bound to have seen him. Ken created his own style and stuck to it - a bright, quirky, friendly and much loved man who over the years is believed to have raised close to a million pounds for charity. He was a great supporter of Cheltenham's animal shelter and a lover of live music who also got involved in politics, standing for parliament in the 2005 general election. I have a feeling that wasn't such a silly idea and he'd have been a more considerate politician than some of the people we see being voted in to power. Ken died in April, aged 81 - may he rest in peace, and we send love to his family.

By Alexis Kaliszewski 17 Mar, 2017
GlosFund  is relaunching soon and iwork4uglos is helping them collect a list of local businesses and projects that want to raise money for all sorts of projects.

For example we have on the list so far:

1)  Lu Farrelle, a local businesswoman who has designed her own ' botaniclean ' eco cleaning products and needs funds to have the product scientifically tested (not on animals) for safety and then bringing them to market.
By Alexis Kaliszewski 17 Mar, 2017
I'm inspired by people who have a positive energy, are kind and know how to listen and be calm. With friends I've been watching The Kindness Diaries where an ex London stockbroker rides his yellow bike (with sidecar) called Kindness One around the world, searching for the good in humanity. He takes no money with him (although he has a camera crew) and relies on people's kindness for his food and a place to stay. In some cases he and the crew decide to give something special back, such as toys, books, medicine and a water filter to an orphanage. It's a good watch, and so heartwarming to see the pure kindness in action. Who inspires you?
By Alexis Kaliszewski 22 Feb, 2017

Have you ever felt like your life is just, not where you’d like it to be? You’re making ‘to do’ lists, investing your energy into nurturing your ideas and plans but you have not seen a single sign of growth or return? It can often feel like that for all of us – this time of year especially, regardless of your career or ambition.

It’s a new year, which means we’ve (most likely) broken our unrealistic resolutions, and still haven’t been back to the gym. Our intentions are good, but good intentions don’t bring results. We then find ourselves at a cross roads, but it’s up to us to take action on opportunity, and get motivated to move! To find fulfilment in doing whatever it is we enjoy, while hopefully improving the lives of others is a good place to start.

That’s where I was three years ago. Having left my job in car sales in 2007 to work for myself in car trading, I still felt yet to find my purpose. I assumed that I would be happy by continuing to work within the motor industry, and I was on the right road, but buying and selling still just wasn’t for me – and the term ‘salesman’ certainly didn’t ring true in my case.

Car Helpers   was still a mere idea while I continued to drift along in sales, although I was happy to not be working for someone else, on someone else’s dream. I used to be that grey-faced man in a suit and tie wishing it was five past five on a Friday evening. I had everything I needed but I knew something needed to change. Ironically, it was while living in those shallow waters I felt like I was drowning. I was over my head in sales targets, when all I wanted to do was talk about cars and offer my advice without an agenda.

I wanted to do something more meaningful with my life, whilst making a positive impact on the lives of others. But I questioned my options, ‘how could I help? What could I do?’ Well, I knew about two things – cars and counselling! I have, after all, always possessed an insatiable obsession with cars, and my knowledge of automobiles is hard pressed to beat. When I tell you my favourite car is the Porsche 911, I hope that resonates with my fellow car enthusiasts – isn’t she a beauty?!

By Alexis Kaliszewski 16 Dec, 2016

I’ve recently had an epiphany about the way I run   Carhelpers , and I feel it’s important to share my revelation with you. Perhaps it’s due to my admittedly heartfelt approach to work, or that I’ve gained some fresh perspective on life and what matters most to me. Either way, things are changing for the better here at   Carhelpers   and I want to tell you why; you simply decide what my service is worth to you.

Let me explain…

As many of you know, my interest in cars is more of an obsession and from a young age I knew I would work in the industry. Being a car adviser has been the perfect career choice for me. I am able to combine my love for cars whilst striving to provide reliable and impartial advice. Working in the motor trade is the ideal opportunity for me to help people find the right car for them, whilst also saving them from being sold the wrong car.

The majority of sales people are genuine, caring individuals who only have your best interest at heart. I don’t believe there is anything wrong in selling if you are transparent and honest about what you are selling, although sadly there are those that see pound signs as soon as you enter their office. A customer often approaches buying a car from a very defensive standpoint, being wary that they are going to be miss-sold a motor that could be a drain on their resources; both financially and emotionally.

Honest, personable salesmen like Jim Rohn and Brian Tracy are examples to us all, often preaching the belief that you should never sell anything that you wouldn’t sell to your own mother. Some people even like to by cars with faults and fix them to sell on – which I totally stand by!

By Alexis Kaliszewski 30 Nov, 2016
iwork4uglos  is a busy directory which lists and promotes lovely local businesses for a monthly fee. If you don’t have an advertising budget but would like to take advantage of our trusted, friendly community, then read our list of tips on how to market your business free of charge.

1. Take part in groups

Cheltenham Noticeboardiwork4u Community  and  Local Business Network  are examples of Facebook groups you can join and post about your business, but remember to READ THE RULES of each group before posting.

2.Add your event to our calendar . Remember to include a featured image to draw attention to your event. Allow 1-2 days while we proof, approve and share your event.

3.  Go along to a networking event Face to face is one of the best ways to grow relationships, gain trust and meet potential customers.

4.  Like or follow local businesses on social media They will often like and follow back, and this grows your audience.

5.  Share people’s posts If you like something – share it! Tag the person and/or their business and this could start a conversation, engagement or interaction.

6.  Donate a raffle prize or goodie bag freebies

If you give a prize you will usually be mentioned or thanked by the event organisers and they will allow you to put your leaflet or brochure with the prize or freebies.

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