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Brilliant summer holidays are rolling around again and there are plenty of to-do lists… what to bring to the beach, where to go. But, we wanted a quick reminder of what NOT to DO on your next summer holiday. If we’ve missed any glaringly obvious ones, let us know in the comments below.
1. Don’t fall asleep in the sun wearing your sunglasses to avoid ridiculous tan lines on your face. A little add on to this, don’t get sunstroke on your very first day either!
2. Don’t forget your bug spray, unless you’d like to get a polka-dress look this summer from mozzie bites.
3. Don’t miss out on some local food. Part of the fun of holidays is to let loose and try new things, so don’t forget to try some Spanish paella, Greek moussaka or American hot dogs.
4. Don’t booze ’til you drop. We’re not ruling it out altogether, but you don’t want to come home with a killer hangover.
5. Don’t forget your swimwear! You don’t want to have to splash out on some dodgy bikini from a random tourist shop on arrival.
6. Don’t carry stuff you do not need. One of the oldest pieces of travel advice: pack light!
7. Don’t pick up any dodgy tropical diseases. That stray dog might look cute, but you should probably resist giving him a rub, unless, you actually want to come home with rabies.
8. Don’t drink the tap water. Depending on where you are heading on holidays, tap water can lead to dodgy tummies and in some cases, pretty serious illnesses. Keep a couple of bottles in your bag, it’s usually a pretty cheap option too.
Do you check Facebook before you even get dressed in the morning? Dn’t worry, you can tell us. Do you need to kick your Twitter habit? Or simply relax from Reddit? Are you naked without your smartphone? You need a digital detox!
We’re guessing the thought of going offline for a few days is a little scary, but hear us out. With attention spans dropping and internet addiction on the rise, a tech free holiday is meant to inspire, re-energize and improve your mood. If nothing else, it will at least make you feel popular when you return to a bunch of emails and status updates.
Unplug your computer and head for a little tech free treat, with our top 7 digital detox holidays.
Off the grid weekends in the USA
These Digital Detox guys are spearheading the trend, they think of everything. No watches, computers, phones; devices of any kind are checked from the arrival. This retreat is about recharging your batteries, but not the online kind. Digital Detox offers yoga, meditation, writing workshops (using a pen and paper!) a completely tranquil environment along with healthy simply food. It makes an ideal place to unwind and get inspired.
Distance to wi-fi: it’s not that far, but it’s under lock and key until the retreat ends.
Elephant watching in Kenya
You’re in the middle of the desert, silently watching out for an elephant, a once in a lifetime opportunity, when suddenly a phone interrupts everything and scares Nelly and everything in a 3 mile radius away. If there was a place on earth where phones should be banned, it must be at the Elephant Watch Safari Camp. You don’t want to be *that* person, do you?
Distance to wi-fi: at least a couple of miles. Don’t bother lugging that laptop.
Digital Detox in the Caribbean
The paradise like islands of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean are serious about the digital detox, asking guests to completely surrender all their tech gadgets on arrival. Hotels around the islands have no TVs, while you’ll be frowned on if you whip out your phone on the beach. It even provides pre-holiday advice on how to survive without technology.
Nearest wi-fi: you will find some access, but your neighbours won’t be impressed.
Enjoy the high life in Morocco
High up in the exquisite Atlas Mountains of Morocco, along with simply stunning scenery, you’ll find a haven of computer free activities at the Kasbah Bab Ourika like expert yoga classes, morning hikes through wild lavender fields, and clear mountain air that makes up for being offline. Don’t worry, it’ll all be waiting for you when you get back.
Distance from wi-fi: How often have you gotten good wi-fi signal up the side of a mountain?
Family tech free in Jamaica
Try Jakes Hotel, it has it all, or rather we should say it hasn’t it all. All of the cottages are without wi-fi, TVs or telephones. This place is about getting completely relaxed at the perfect beaches nearby, finding the ideal masseuse at the spa, or simply taking some time to enjoy life at the ‘chicest shacks in the Caribbean.’
Distance to wifi: Ok, if you really need it, you might find signal in the hotel lobby.
Get beached in Phi Phi
If you’ve seen that movie The Beach, you’ll remember the picture perfect cove, where a bunch of travellers decided to live in idyllic surroundings. Completely removed from society, it was the perfect balm for escaping the rat race (until things turned a little sour, but the less said about that the better!) The beaches in Phi Phi may not be as deserted as they once were, but they are definitely about as tech free as you’ll find in Thailand.
Distance to wi-fi: You’ll be lucky to find patchy reception in some of the bars, but this isn’t one of the big all-encompassing resorts, so you might even forget you once owned a phone!
Surf the Aegean not the web
The cruising season in the Greek Islands lasts from May to October. It’s a place to switch off – because you don’t have any choice. Helping out on a boat is hard work, even if it’s simply sunbathing on deck, (that’s helping isn’t it?) Typically, you’ll travel around the likes of Rhodes, Mykonos, and Santorini. Wi-fi is at a minimum on board, so why not go to the whole hog and leave your phone back in Britain.
Distance from wi-fi: Of course when you land on the islands you’ll find plenty of places to plug in, but a tech free holiday is just what you make it, so switch off and check your mail when you get home.
Image via here.
Purple 10 signs you need a holiday … If you answer yes to any of these it’s official. You need a holiday. Visit Purple Travel to find out more.
The weather: It’s only been a few months since summer that was summer right? But already the rain is putting a frown on that face of yours. Jet off to some sunshine for a quick fix in Tenerife.
Rainy Day via @ 4Neus
You are always the last one to leave the office: You’re there until eight or later every night and you’re first in. Getting burnt out with work won’t make your career go any better. Take a load off on a sun kissed beach in Majorca.
Getting a lungful: City life, smokey atmospheres and constant commuting can leave your body tired. Take at least 72 hours of fresh air to give your whole lungs a new lease of life. Head for clear air on the island of Mykonos.
Fresh air via @ Jurijus Azanovas
You didn’t get a holiday this year: What? Are you crazy? Nothing but work all year will leave your senses a little duller and you’ll be gasping for air. Take advantage of the prices now for a holiday you can look forward to. How about splashing the cash in Vegas?
No holiday this year via @ danielJordahl
Give the kids a break: Two words: Mickey Mouse. Give your children the holiday of a lifetime with a visit to the Magic Kingdom.
Kids at disney via @ serena_in_va
Too pale: Stop getting tangoed, a little bit of gentle sunshine (please don’t forget the suncream) will leave you with a healthy golden glow, perfect ahead of that Christmas party. Soak up the sun in the Maldives.
Too pale via @ Schatz
Crying at holiday ads: You see an ad for a beautiful beach and it brings a tear to your eye, your friends’ bikini pics on facebook turn you into a simpering wreck. You need a holiday! Head for the sun soaked beaches of Turkey.
Crying via @ WikiCommons
Brain drain: Do you finish each day feeling brain fried? Let your mind wander as you soak up the sights and the sunshine of the awesome city of Dubai.
Brain drain via @ BaileyRaeWeaver
Bags under your eyes: Just like when you’re a bit too pale, bags under your eyes are a dead giveaway that you need a break. Relax on some of the legendary beaches of Gran Canaria, where you’re almost guaranteed sunshine all year around.
Eye bags via @ Derrick T
That look: People in the street have started stopping you to ask you, are you alright? You look rough, you’ve been working/stressing too much. You need a break. Relax to the sound of Caribbean rhythms in Mexico.
Image via @ vauvau
Part four of the series from our guest blogger, Liz Bethell on her decision to live in Australia. This week, she talks about visiting the Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains
On one April morning, we headed off a place called Leura to meet our friends, Shane and Janette. We rented a three-storey house, with beautiful views across the Blue Mountains. I kept watching to see if any wallabies appeared but no joy! We headed out to the Jenolan Caves and went into the Lucas Cave on an hour and half tour. The caves were breathtakingly beautiful and the guide was excellent. Then we headed out to Katoomba (meaning place of shiny water) where we went on a skyride across the mountains and the floor cleared so you could see right below. We saw the Three Sisters and went down in the world’s steepest cog train down the mountain – although we had done that last time we were here in 2007, it was great to do it again.
The sunsets and sunrises are beautiful in the Blue Mountains, but it was pretty nippy- much more like a brisk spring morning in the UK. After a week, we headed back up north to the warmer climate (thankfully!). We picked Rachel up in the morning at Sydney airport- another exchange teacher who is working at Broken Hill, which is pretty isolated so we are going to show her around Byronshire and Ballina area for a week.
We did a road trip – you have to do at least one when you are in Oz – from the Blue Mountains and through Sydney back up home, which took a whopping ten hours. The next day we got up early and went to Shelley’s Beach cafe again. This was in East Ballina and was just a beautiful spot on the beach with water dragons around in the courtyards. Then we went out for the day with Dave and Tiffany, friends from school. They took us around the local area and we really explored. We met Dave’s parents who live on a beautiful 30 acre farm and there were two gorgeous owls in the tree in the garden. We had stopped in Bangalow for a lovely lunch and then headed back home early evening after a wonderful day. A nice way to finish off the last day, my husband Ralph was with us before we had to drop him off at Brisbane airport.
It was Anzac Day on 25th April 2012 I went to the very moving Anzac Dawn Service at 5:30am. There were a lot of people there, including four soldiers and a bugle player, and the service was lovely. At the end everyone sang the Australian National Anthem, which started with God Save the Queen.
Lest We Forget
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
… They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.
Then we had a quiet couple of weeks. I was busy at school and Autumn was coming in. The temperature dropped to 23 degrees which seemed fresh and cool and had everyone reaching for their jumpers! Funny as in England we would be taking the jumpers off, guess we really acclimatised.
It’s also funny how everything we take for granted after being here for five months. The rainforest trees that we had awed at when we first arrived now just seemed normal and everyday. And the views across the hills as I drive to work with the low mist each morning are still beautiful, but it feels like we have always been here so are just used to them.
We went to Beef Week at Casino on 26th May with two of the girls from work. Jan said I needed to experience Beef Week as Casino is the capital of Beef for Australia and was a week long festival. We met Deb George there and her husband Thomas George, the Lismore Councillor. He was presenting a lot of the day. The cattle were amazing – gleaming and so healthy looking. It was a bit sad when they got auctioned off for meat, but it didn’t stop us tucking into steak sandwiches… Afterwards I was going to stay for the rodeo but decided to wait until Ralph comes out, especially as the other thing on offer was a trip to the Thomas’s brother’s local pub Hotel Cecil with Deb, Thomas and their friends.
It’s a totally cool pub. We met some more very friendly Australians, especially one very friendly Aussie man. He said I reminded him of his second wife, but that he has only been married once…. He also said I have a great Pommie accent, which was nice of him.
Actually, if you include the stranger outside the pub who hugged Deb and I and then came back for another hug before vanishing down the street, two very friendly Aussie men!! Could definitely get used to this life.
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal blog.
Part Three of the series from our guest blogger, Liz Bethell on her decision to live in Australia. This week, she talks about summer down under.
January had passed and then we were into February, which is the hottest month. It seemed so strange to have seasons at the opposite ends of the year! I started at my new school and the first week passed quite quickly. I have 22 children in my class and they are certainly a lively bunch! They gave me a good trying out in the beginning but as the weeks went on, I found I was loving them more and more. They have such characters and personalities and the staff are lovely and so friendly. It is a lot more relaxed teaching in Australia than England, in terms of planning and work load, so far anyway, and the curriculum is totally different which takes a bit of getting your head around, but such a fantastic place to be.
After school we have kept up swimming 20 laps, 4 times a week at the Olympic Pool in Alstonville and then on Friday we went for a meal at our local, The Pioneer Tavern, Wollongbar, with Janette and Shane, two lovely friends we have made. On Sunday we had been invited to the welcome party BBQ for the new exchange teachers up at
Brunswick Heads, about 40mins up the coast from us. We all met by the Australian Flag at the Torcini River at noon and then spent the afternoon meeting other teachers who have exchanged from the UK or Canada and also Australian teachers coming back from the UK.
We spent a day up at Sea World too – Fantastic Day. We saw whales, dolphins and sting rays as well as many more sea creatures. What an amazing day! Jack and Shane really enjoyed soaking people in the boat ride and we all ended up pretty wet! Absolutely gorgeous day too! Soo much to do out here, a lifetime is not long enough!
Then in February I had to go to Sydney for the Exchangees Conference. We listened to talks on living in Australia for the year and the police came in and explained that we shouldn’t speed unless we wanted a $280 fine – about 200GBP!! Then went for a meal in a pub where you buy the raw steak and then cook it yourself on a barbi! Following that, we walked around Sydney Harbour – absolutely amazing by night and then equally beautiful this morning. Opera house was impressive as ever. The Aussie’s seem to use planes like we use trains and buses in the UK, just hop on one and get about!!! Did The Rocks market this morning too, was lovely! Sydney is an amazing place and we will head down there for a couple of days before going home. One thing we plan on doing is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb- up and over the top!
When I got on the plane, as I walked through to board one of the ground crew asked me if I was prepared to assist them in the event of an emergency! Thought I must have looked ultra efficient until I got on the plane and realised I was on the front row next to the emergency exit, which basically means you have to open it if things go wrong……. Wonder if they knew what they were doing giving me that kind of responsibility…….
February was pretty hot although there had been a lot of rain. It seemed to stick around 30 degrees. Then there would probably be a storm later to break it up and go a bit cooler. We often think about how lucky we are to be living here. We walk Boomer to the magnificent scenery of hills and stunning rainforest trees around Wollongbar and then I drive to work through beautiful surroundings of rolling hills and lush green scenery. So beautiful, no stress, everything is totally chilled. Australia is certainly the lucky country.
We went and spent a weekend in Yamba, further down the coast. Yamba is supposed to be the most beautiful place in Australia apparently so should be good to see. Although it rained a lot we still had a good time and met some friends. In March we went to the Channon Market at Lismore. The markets are a big thing in the country life
with stalls set out in a very pictoresque fashion. There are clothes stalls, jewellery, massage cubicles, live bands playing, foods from all over the world and so on. So cool. Met a strange man who was dressed in a white wedding dress. Apparently he usually dresses up as a fairy or a baby. He told us he’s the most normal one there and there are some strange ones!! We had a nice coffee and mooch about with friends, Kathleen, Mark and Terese. The market was really lovely.
My birthday approached and we all descended on Fish Heads Restaurant at Byron Bay. Awesome seafood! I had bugs, mussels, prawns and spaghetti. The seafood is really good out here. Janette and Shane said we had to watch a movie called Castle which apparently is almost an initiation to Australia! It was very funny!
The next morning we were off to Lennox Head for breakfast with more friends- Deb and her
husband Thomas. The clock went back in the morning but nobody told the kookaburras, who sing beautifully and very distinctively so instead of waking up at 6am I woke up at 5am! Don’t mind though as the mornings are beautiful.
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal Blog.
Part One of our new weekly series from guest blogger, Liz Bethell about going to live in Australia.
Everyday in life we are offered opportunities. Whether we choose to recognise or act upon those opportunities or just ignore them, is up to us as individuals. I believe that when an opportunity presents itself, we must not ignore it – if it is possible to take it, we should. It’s like learning to dance in the rain instead of waiting for the rain to stop. And God forbid those opportunities we could have done end up on the bucket list, and we later think “Why didn’t I try that?”, but it’s suddenly too late.
This happened to me in 2006. We came to Australia on a 4 month extended holiday with the idea of seeing if we liked it and possibly moving out here at a later date. We met some amazing people back then who have stayed quality, genuine friends as the years have gone by. One friend was an American girl, Kristen, over in Australia doing a teaching placement and through her we met a Canadian teacher doing a Teacher Exchange- actually swapping lives with an Australian counterpart for a year- house, job, car- only keeping the same partner and children! When I heard that I thought how awesome it was- what an amazing experience.
I went home to life as I knew it. I asked about the Exchange at work, but as I was then working in the Reception class and the exchange to Australia started mid-year for the British participants, it was felt that there would be too much upheaval for the little ones and would be better when I had an older class. So a few years later, when I had been teaching in Year 3 for a few years, I approached my head teacher and put forward an application through the Commonwealth Scheme to swap and move Down Under for a year.
It wasn’t as straight forward as usual. The tough year with the government meant that they withdrew a lot of funding for the organisation and there was doubt as to whether it would continue running- a shame as this has run now for 100 years. Then finally CYEC Commonwealth Youth Exchange Committee took it over and everything started moving fast in the last few months. My Australian Exchange Teacher, Fiona had her application sent to my school where it was considered by the head and the governing body and likewise mine was being done by the Principal in Australia. Fiona and I spoke a lot on the phone and got to know each other and emailed and set up networks of people to help us both settle in on either side of the world! We researched the area and I couldn’t believe it- if I could have chosen the area I would have loved to go to it would have been Byron Bay- the place where we met Kristen- our American friend and through her, Bob and Chris and other friends. People who now live 15 minutes from where we are living this year. Pretty amazing when you consider that you can’t choose where you want to go- and the size of Australia! I knew it was meant to be. Visas had to be sorted and police checks and housing had to be sorted out. People usually swap the houses they are living in but as my partner, Ralph works offshore in the diving industry I knew he wouldn’t be able to give up his job for the year and so would need to go home for some of the time. So I decided to rent a house for Fee, Eric and her girls, Ellen and Adi. This worked out well as it was near school for them.
Finally the end of December came. I hung back so I could actually meet the Aussies as we had got on so well on the phone. They arrived Christmas Day. We had a big Welcome/Leaving Party on December 28th in Liverpool and then on 29th December my son Jack and I hopped on a plane bound for Sydney, Australia. We would be met by Nicolette and Ross, some more fantastic friends we had made back in 2006 and were going to spend New Year with them before heading up to our new home and life up on the East Coast of Australia. I didn’t know it then but this was going to be the start of an experience that was more awesome than even I could have imagined! And I haven’t finished it yet!
Read more from Liz Bethell on her personal Blog.
Read part two of Going to live in Australia here.
Welcome to the the Bikini Files Part One: The Ultimate Bikini Diet Plan. With just two weeks to go, there’s no putting it off any longer; nutritionalist, Stephanie Preston has whipped up a meal plan to help you lose those extra pounds in no time. Find out more in the ultimate bikini diet plan.
You’ve booked your holiday, you’ve bought a bikini, maybe you’ve even started to pack your suitcase, but still you’re dreading hitting the beach. Sounds familiar? Don’t panic! It’s never too late to get into shape, particularly if you have the thought of stripping off on the beach to motivate you.
We’ve teamed up with top nutritionist Stephanie Preston to bring you a bikini diet plan that will make sure you look and feeling amazing.
1. Drink more water. Drinking plenty of water helps to keep skin well hydrated in the sun, flush out toxins, reduce the appearance of cellulite, and even helps the body burn its calories more efficiently.
2. Three meals a day, no snacks. There’s no flexibility on this.
3. No grains – that means no rice, pasta, oats, rye, couscous, wheat, quinoa, bread, pizza, pastries, biscuits or cakes.
4. No beans – so forget lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, baked beans, hummus and dhal.
5. Restrict fruit. Your maximum is one portion of berries per day.
6. No alcohol. None. Not even on weekends. And no caffeine either. Unless you want to keep that cellulite.
7. 50-100g lean protein at every meal, such as white fish, oily fish, skinless chicken or turkey, lean beef and lamb, eggs, cheese, tofu or Quorn. Try to add nuts,seeds etc into meals to ensure you get your trace elements.
8. Vegetables are unlimited, except for root vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and parsnips and those which are high in sugar, such as beetroot, sweetcorn and sweet potato, which are all banned. Increasing the amount of vegetables eaten overall will ensure you get essential vitamins and minerals as well as aiding weight loss. and try to have a wider variety of foods to ensure getting all the trace elements e.g. nuts,seeds etc
While this may seem quite difficult at a glance, we’ve come up with this meal plan to help you along your way. And remember, if you have more than two weeks, you can loosen up on the rules slightly (include some healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, carrots with dip etc) and include some exercise to keep you toned and fit. But if you’ve left it to the last minute – check yourself into our bikini bootcamp:
Breakfast | Pick one one the following each day:
Mushroom Omelette Thinly slice 100g mushrooms and fry in a non-stick pan with a little olive oil. When the mushrooms are browned, remove and keep warm. Then mix together 1 whole egg and 2 egg whites and cook in the pan. Top half with mushrooms and 25g crumbled feta. Fold.
Yoghurt and fruit Stir 50g fresh fruit – either a combination of berries or melon (no banana) into a pot of live natural yoghurt. Add a squeeze of agave nectar to flavour.
No-grain pancakes with blueberries Mix 50g low-fat cream cheese with 1 egg, then add ½ tbsp vanilla whey protein powder and ¼ tsp baking powder. Pour the batter into a pan and brown underneath, flip, then top with blueberries.
Scrambled tofu with tomato Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to a heated pan, and saute garlic and onions for about a minute until the onions start to get wet looking. Toss in some cubed tomato and mix everything together for about another minute so the tomato can get soft. Crumble some extra firm tofu into the pan and mix. Continue to cook until the tofu begins to look reddish from the tomato. Season with black pepper and serve.
Lunch | Pick one of the following each day:
Greek salad Unlimited cubed cucumber, tomato, red onion, black olives and green peppers. Add 50g feta and mix, before serving on a plate. Splash with olive oil and black pepper to taste.
Brocolli with soy and Brazil nuts Break the broccoli into florets and steam for 4-5 minutes. Toss with raw baby spinach leaves once cooked. Crush garlic and whisk with sesame oil and soy sauce. Drizzle over warm broccoli and add 5 crushed Brazil nuts.
Raw vegetable crudites with chickpea-free hummus Put 1 medium courgette (peeled and chopped), ½ cup tahini, two cloves garlic, 1 tbsp lemon juice and ¼ tbsp cumin powder in a blender and whiz until smooth. Serve with capsicum, celery and carrot sticks.
Bread-free goats cheese open sandwich Toast a slice of bread-free bread (mix 150g ground almonds, 1 tsp baking powder, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 eggs; microwave on high, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until firm to touch). Top with 50g slice of goat’s cheese and melt under a grill. Serve with spinach and baby tomatoes.
Chicken and avocado salad Shred a cooked chicken breast (or 50g cheese if you’re vegetarian) on top of ½ bag of mixed leaves. Serve with half a sliced avocado, a generous sprinkling of celery, chopped black olives and balsamic vinaigrette.
Salad nicoise with tofu mayo Cook 100g tuna steak for 3 minutes on each side in a hot pan. Or, if you’re vegetarian, cook 50g of halloumi. Serve on top of ½ small bag of mixed salad leaves, 6 quartered cherry tomatoes and a 3cm chunk of cucumber (sliced). Tofu mayo: in a blender, put 250g tofu, 1 tbsp Dijon mustard, juice of ½ lemon and ½ tsp cayenne pepper; whiz until smooth. Serve 1 large tbsp.
Carrot and Cabbage soya salad Grate one large carrot and ½ large Japanese radish into a bowl. Add shredded cabbage and toss thoroughly. For the dressing, whisk 1 tbsp mustard, ½ clove garlic, 2 tbsp red wine vinegar and 3 tbsp soya milk together. Pour over the salad and serve.
Dinner | Pick one of the following each day:
Moroccan lamb with fennel Trim the fat from 200g lamb fillet (or use a Quorn fillet if you’re vegetarian) and marinate in dressing (¼ tsp cumin, ¼ tsp thyme, small bunch mint, juice of ½ lemon, ½ tsp agave nectar and 1 tbsp olive oil – save a little for later). Cut 2 fennel bulbs into chunks and boil for 2 minutes. Drain, coat with remaining dressing and roast at 160°C for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, coat lamb with cooking spray and fry for 10 minutes. Serve with wilted spinach.
Green chicken curry Blend cauliflower to rice texture then cook in bamboo steamer. Fry ½ chopped onion. Add clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tsp grated ginger, ¼ tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp curry powder and ½ tbsp fish sauce. Add chicken breast cubes (or Quorn), brown, add 200g coconut milk and broccoli. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Fillet steak with cauliflower mash Cut a cauliflower into florets and cook in boiling water until tender, then mash. Add pepper and 1 tbsp natural yogurt. Set aside. Heat a griddle pan, spray 100g fillet steak on both sides (vegetarian option: large portobello mushroom) and cook for 3 minutes each side (or to suit). Onions optional.
Chilli and lime squid with zucchini ‘noodles’ Use a vegetable peeler to make long ribbons from two medium zucchinis. Wilt in a pan of boiling water, drain and set aside. Fry 100g squid rings (or tofu) in a non-stick pan until tender and opaque. Squeeze the juice of 1 lime on top and stir in zucchini noodles with ¼ deseeded and chopped red chilli. Serve with parsley.
Prawn and vegetable spring rolls Mix ½ clove garlic (crushed), ½ red chilli (chopped), 2 tsp agave nectar, juice ½ lime, small carrot (grated), ½ cup beansprouts, 100g prawns (or tofu) and 1 bunch each mint and coriander. Take a sushi wrapper, add 2 tsp prawn mixture and roll. Seal with hot water. Repeat. Serve with dipping sauce.
Tandoori chicken kebabs with sides Cut a skinless chicken breast (or tofu) into chunks, smear with a low-fat marinade and chill for 1 hour. Serve with cauliflower ground to couscous texture with 1 bunch each parsley and coriander, juice of 1 lemon, pepper and 1 tsp cayenne pepper. Grill the chicken on skewers and serve with a dollop of raita.