VICTORIA HAYDN ON PHOTOGRAPHING MANCHESTER CITY, MOTHERHOOD AND HER NEW CHAPTER

VICTORIA HAYDN ON PHOTOGRAPHING MANCHESTER CITY, MOTHERHOOD AND HER NEW CHAPTER

© BROOD MAGAZINE. VICTORIA HAYDN AND HER SON, CHARLES

“After photographing Man City for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood

Talented mum of one, Victoria Haydn, has made waves over the last decade as Senior Photographer for Manchester City and one of only a handful of women photographers in the Premier League. After spending the last ten years capturing some of the most incredible moments in both the club and footballing history, now that Victoria has welcomed her adorable son Charles to brood, she has decided to hand over her reigns at Man City, embark on a new venture and step into the world of entrepreneurship.

Victoria’s photos have been published all over the world. From snapping photos of the team on the Great Wall of China to capturing Manchester City Women lift their first ever trophy, Victoria has lived every football-fans’ dream. Victoria even travelled and captured Manchester City in their first ever Champions League final in Portugal in 2021, while five-months pregnant. But since experiencing first-hand, the amazing the transition into motherhood, Victoria has decided to dedicate her craft to empowering women and mothers, by telling their stories through photography.

Victoria is an incredibly warm person, so it’s easy to see how she can get people to shine in front of the camera. We had the pleasure of chatting to Victoria about everything from her decision to step away from a role that she has had so much success and joy from; to how she has found returning to work and Charles starting childcare, to her aspirations for her new business.

Victoria Haydn
© BROOD MAGAZINE. VICTORIA HAYDN AND HER SON, CHARLES

How have you found returning to work and starting Charles at Nursery? 

“I was an emotional wreck when he first started nursery, because up until that point I knew exactly what he did during every second of the day. We didn’t have any babysitters or family looking after him for the first nine months, so I knew everything from every nappy change to every time he sneezed. To suddenly just drop him off at nursery for four days a week was a massive shift! I found it really hard. Although it was difficult for me, it was the best thing for him and he absolutely loves it. He waves me off every day as he joins his friends and teachers. I watch him growing and learning and I know he’s loving this chapter for himself. He’s doing so well, and I’m so proud of him”

Have you felt pressured to make the most of your time whilst he’s nursery because it’s been so hard to leave him?

“Yes, I have felt like there is a huge weight on my shoulders, and a feeling of anxiety. A part of me wanted to drop him off so that I could go out and make an income and get my business off the ground. I felt that for us to have a really good future I needed to start my business right away. So as soon as I would drop him off at nursery, I would be in the head space of ‘work, work, work’. But I would also feel guilty about not being with him. You go through so many mixed emotions. You want to spend time with your child, but you also have a responsibility as mum, a wife, and a homeowner to work too. He’s been in nursery for around three months, and I still have that worry of trying to do everything possible for the business whilst he’s there. There is so much to do when you’re running a business, you’ve got marketing, accounts, creative shoots, editing and there are so many different things going on, so it’s been quite hard to adapt to.”

How have you found stepping away from your role as senior photographer at Manchester City after that has played such a big part in your life and career?

“I absolutely love watching the matches at home in the warmth with Charles, but I’ll miss the nights at the Etihad Stadium soaking up the atmosphere and photographing all the special moments. I’ve had the chance to photograph history unfold for the last ten years, which is genuinely one of my greatest career achievements and I’m so proud of that. On the other hand, I now have the opportunity to photograph on the days and times that work for me and my family. I get to choose whether I work on the weekends and can allow myself time to set up for beautiful shoots with my wonderful clients.

During the summer my husband (who also works for Man City) was in the USA for 10 days during their preseason tour, and I would have been there ordinarily. If I’m completely honest we hadn’t really considered that side of things. So that was a bit of shock when it dawned on us – ‘What would we do with Charles for 10 days?’ So that played a big part in my decision. After photographing ManCity for the last ten years, I’m ready to capture the beautiful journey of motherhood. I’m going to miss the world of football and the fast-paced lifestyle brings, but equally I’m so passionate and excited about my new business which has made my decision easier.”

What are you most looking forward to about your new business? 

“I’m excited about my whole new adventure, but I suppose after photographing men for ten years, I’m looking forward to photographing women. I’m passionate about getting mums in front of the camera and telling their story. I feel like that’s my greater purpose. I have a platform to highlight how amazing mums are. I want to give them photographs to be proud of. They can be photographed at 30 weeks pregnant during this beautiful transition where they are about to become a mother, and then they can come back into the studio with their beautiful babies. I get to capture these precious moments for them, and I love that. Since becoming a mum myself, I know we have a habit of always being behind the camera, taking the photos – I’m on a mission to change this. I have spent 10 years capturing the everyday moments of Premier League heroes I’m now my mission is to capture the heroic moments of everyday super mums. Mums are strong, independent, fierce women and I can’t wait to photograph them every day.

Do have any tips to any other new parents, in particular those who are returning to work?

“Everyone says enjoy your sleep while you can, but it doesn’t really sink in until it happens and then you’re like ‘Oh my god I’ve not slept for nine months!” [We all laugh] “But you just seem to manage somehow. I look at parents in a completely new light now, I just think that they are superheroes! How they just crack on with things is amazing, because now I know what they are going through and how tough it can be.

I have lived and breathed sports photography for over 10 years, so I only know going at 100mph. When Charles came it completely changed everything, it forced me to slow down a bit. Balancing work and being a mum has been a challenge but I’m constantly learning and evolving. Working helps me to remember ‘Oh, I am still me!’ and I think that’s so important.”

If you want to be photographed and step into your power, then you can arrange your own photoshoot with Victoria at www.victoriahaydn.com and see her portfolio on Instagram @victoriahaydnportraits.

Victoria Haydn
VICTORIA HAYDN © WITH MANCHESTER CITY MANAGER PEP GUARDIOLA FOR BROOD MAGAZINE
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER ON CAREERS, PARENTHOOD, AND LIFE ON THE FARM.

KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER ON CAREERS, PARENTHOOD, AND LIFE ON THE FARM.

KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER | IMAGES BY TOM PITFIELD FOR BROOD MAGAZINE ©. | INTERVIEW BY LOLO STUBBS

“I’ve not got a fear of failure, I’ve got a fear of regret.

Parents to four children under six years old, Kelvin and Liz Fletcher, are a humble yet extremely impressive couple, and their incredible appetite to create a full and vibrant life for themselves and their children is truly inspiring! Both Kelvin 38, and Liz are well known for their careers as actors, with Kelvin in particular becoming a household name through his 20 years on one of Britain’s best loved soaps – Emmerdale. But the careers that they are most recognised for are not what defines this enterprising couple as they recently added the role of ‘Farmers’ to their impressive CV’s. In their early years as a couple, Liz enjoyed a successful career as a fashion buyer but then decided to leave behind that career and return to drama school. They had only lived together for a few short months, before Liz was given the exciting opportunity to attend a Drama school in London, and despite the distance this would put between them (as Kelvin was at the peak of his career in Emmerdale at the time) he insisted that Liz go on to pursue her dreams; showing how supportive and encouraging they have always been of each other’s dreams. 

Pre-covid Kelvin and Liz were all set to embark on a new life in America, but when covid put the brakes on that dream they decided to set out to undertake a new adventure in the countryside when they bought a 120-acre farm. At the time they were a family of 4, before quickly becoming a family of six when their gorgeous twin boys, Maximus and Mateusz joined their brood. As if juggling four young children and running a working farm wasn’t enough, both Kelvin and Liz have continued with their acting careers, and they have just released their very own book – ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ a follow-on from their successful TV series. 

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher - Front Cover of Brood Magazine
© BROOD MAGAZINE. KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER
Buy Fletchers on the Farm

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher on Careers, Parenthood and life on the farm.

We had the pleasure of seeing Liz and Kelvin, their gorgeous baby boys and their adorable cavapoochon Ginger at their wonderful family home and amongst lots of giggles, we delved into what drives them, their plans for the future, and how they manage their daily juggle of having of 4 kids and a farm! Even though managing all that they do is clearly not for the faint hearted, the endearing way they talk about their family life would be enough to tempt anyone who has a sense of adventure to don a pair of wellies and get stuck into life on a farm! 

“If you know you’re capable of it, then go for it!”

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher - Life on the Farm
KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER © BROOD MAGAZINE

So firstly, was life like pre-kids? 

Kelvin – “Happy, wasn’t it?” [he turns to Liz and they both start laughing]

Liz – “Yes, relaxed!” 

Kelvin – “I was in really good shape, I ate really well, did what I wanted, when I wanted! Loads of Holidays..!” 

Liz – “Aww. What-a-life!” [continued laughing]

Kelvin – “We was looking at pictures the other night from before we had the kids and you look different pre kids, young and full faced! 

Liz – “We looked well slept – well rested!”

We can definitely relate to that! So at what point in your relationship did you decide to take the plunge and start a family together?

Liz – “We had been together for nearly ten years, and my dad said Kelvin was ‘freewheeling’” [Liz erupts into laughter!] “I had secretly called him up and said ‘Dad, what do you think about Kelvin?’ and as he’s quite traditional he replied with – ‘I think he’s freewheeling!’. So, I told Kelvin, my dad think’s you’re freewheeling – we’re not married, we’re not engaged, we’ve been together all this time. And I’d started thinking about it because we were coming up to our thirties, I wanted kids – although Kelvin didn’t think I was very maternal!” 

Kelvin – “That was the reason I was freewheeling! I used to think, Liz is great but she’s just not into kids and I want loads of kids – I wanted a big family. So, I just thought I don’t know if she’s going to be my wife because she doesn’t like kids!” [We all laugh]

Liz – “Yet, at the same time I’m thinking I want kids”

Kelvin – “We should have probably talked about it!”  

Well, yes especially after 10 years! [We all laugh again] So, how did you finally broach the subject then? 

Liz – “Well, I just said one day, ‘If you’re thinking of having kids, and you want this to go further, I just need to let you know I’m not going to have kids unless I’m married…so there you go! I’ll give you until the end of the year!” [she laughs] “So, I left him with that information, and this was the beginning of the year and then it took him until November – he left me hanging until NOVEMBER – and then he proposed!”

Kelvin – “Yes, 28th November!”  

Liz – “I had no idea it was going to happen, and he took me away for this amazing weekend in Anglesey. He’d done a full on reccy before he proposed, there was certainly a lot of effort involved. He’d designed the ring and everything!”

Kelvin – “The ring you don’t wear?” 

Liz can’t contain her laughter – “I know! I don’t even wear it! Well, I’m a farmer now I can’t wear it!”

“Yes, she literally keeps in a mug over there! It’s worth more than the kitchen and it’s sat in a mug over there!” [We are all in fits of giggles at this point] 

Liz – “And then from a year to the day later, we got married!”

Kelvin – “And then almost 9 months later, Marnie was born! And then suddenly that’s when things changed, and your life becomes so different.”

In what way did you feel the changes? 

Liz – “Well, a month before I gave birth, you left Emmerdale didn’t you?”

Kelvin – “Yes, I had been working my two-year notice, as I knew I wanted to leave. And I left really happy as I had a job for 20 years that I loved, but I was ready for a new challenge. I was 32 years old, and I wanted to figure out my next move. I did question if I even wanted to act anymore, as from being 6-7 years old it was all I had ever done and I suppose I wanted to know, ‘Could I do anything else?’ So that was a big transition anyway, as well as becoming a father for the first time. But that helped me too. As obviously becoming a parent is amazing, but also because I suppose it’s like when sportsmen retire sometimes, they can lose all sense of who they are. Who am I? What am I? And I think after 20 years of working that could have happened to me, but that void was quickly filled by having our daughter. So, I didn’t have time to start worrying as to whether I had done the right thing or not, so in that way the timing was really good.”

Liz – “I had started doing voiceovers at this point, so it worked well for me too, as I could do the odd job but most of the time I could be at home with the baby. I was also teaching dance at a little school down the road a couple of hours a week too”

Kelvin – “I took six months off from Acting but I was doing other bits in the background, figuring out what to do next so I never really stopped completely.”

Kelvin – “I guess first and foremost we’re actors, that’s what we are. But you’re somewhat at the mercy of other people’s decisions, so to fill that void and take some control back, we did it with a baby, with Marnie, and then we had a few more children and now we’ve become farmers. And that’s our attempt to create some continuity and consistency through family and our work life, and to make this our little world. And I think it’s healthy for us to have that. I’ve seen so many actors when things are not going their way and it’s all they know, it’s all they are, that it then consumes them in such a way that they can become resentful of themselves and the industry, and it’s understandable that people can find themselves in that position, but I will never allow any skill set, any job, any career to define me. To be the whole me. Because there is much more to life. And it’s easier said than done when you’ve got to put food on the table but I’m never going to allow anything like that to take my happiness.”

What’s the biggest positives of having the farm, for your family life? 

Kelvin – “I think one of the positives is the variety it gives us. For me I personally seek variety and I think that is key. I think that’s healthy, it’s not for everyone but it’s certainly right for us. And I’d like to think that’s something we’ll pass onto the kids. And Liz shares those views as well. It gives us new scope; fresh ideas and it expands your imagination. I also think it makes you more accepting of different people and different situations, and I think it makes you more rounded as a person, which is important.” 

Was the farm always a dream of yours? 

Kelvin – “No, I just woke up one morning and thought let’s get a farm!” 

Liz – “Yes, this was typical Kelvin! We were supposed to be in America! We were sorting a visa out to move to America, and we were 18 months into that process but then the pandemic happened, and all visa’s got stopped. But that had been our mission, and Kelvin had said ‘Well, we’ll just wait for covid to go and we’ll start it back up.’ Little did I know that Kelvin being Kelvin, was like ‘Right well that’s done – what’s next?’” [she laughs] “Then the next minute he’s on a train, he’s on right move sees this place and he say’s ‘Right Liz, how do you fancy going looking at a farm tomorrow?’ I was like ‘Whaaattt!’ [she continues laughing] “And because I can’t say no to anything, I just said ‘Ok, go on then!’ (It was kind of through gritted teeth because I was thinking farming?!”)

Kelvin -“But it wasn’t to farm originally, it was just to live here. I just wanted a different set up for us. Whether that was on a beach in California, or we even looked at New York, and central London, but I just wanted to change things up. Going back to that again – yes, as actors we want to act, and I love the hustle, but we’ve got a life together as parents and as individuals and there’s just so much more to life than just your career. So, I was just like lets just have a change of scenery, because I didn’t want to us to find ourselves in our fifties or sixties and think we’ve never had an adventure, so I just thought let’s bloody do it! And we looked at everything from Castles in Scotland, honestly as random as that, and I’m that kind of person where if I want to do something it will happen – it’s as simple as that! It can be scary and it’s not always that easy, but I think making decisions like that can give you a rebirth. It’s a new chapter and you’re creating memories and having new experiences. It could be the wrong decision; you could drop a bollock and think ‘Ah we shouldn’t have done that.’ But you can always go back.”

Liz – “Although it might seem we do things completely off the cuff, everything we thought about we researched, and we made sure it was possible. We didn’t just move to a farm with no thought behind it.” 

Kelvin – “Yes, I’m sucker for detail!”

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Is that something that you want the kids to take on board?

Kelvin – “Yes, for me that sense of adventure. If Marnie is 18 years old and she says ‘Dad, I want to go and live in America for three years’ it would kill me, but I absolutely would encourage that. But I would also encourage anything they want to do. She might want to stay here and work on the farm, but whatever they want to do but I just want them to have that sense that anything is possible. If you fancy it, you only live once go for it!”  

Since moving to the farm you have gone from having two children to four with the arrival of the twins, how have you found that transition?

Kelvin – “Hard work! It’s hard for me but it’s even harder for Liz!” 

Liz – “Well, every time I have a baby Kelvin gets a job working away! So, I’m not having anymore babies now then he might not get a job away again!” [They start laughing]

Kelvin – “I’ve only had three jobs! Three pregnancies, three jobs!” [He declares, laughing]

Liz – “Just being told we were having twins was an absolute shock. I was filled with worry. I just kept thinking ‘Oh my god two babies, how am I going to do it with the other two?’ because two weeks after they came along Kelvin had to go working away in London. So, I had two new-borns, it was the school holidays, Kelvin was working away – it just all came at once! But do you know what, we got through it, and I always just think – I’m here, we’re in it, I can’t sit here and moan about it, I’ve got to get through it. Obviously, there are days where it was horrendous, I felt like I didn’t know what was happening – I even fell asleep stood up once! But we got through it and now it’s not that bad, plus now Kelvins home again it can only get easier!”

Kelvin – “It is mad, but it’s a good crack, isn’t it? We’ll look back at this and think God we were crazy. 9 out of ten people will think I wouldn’t be doing that – they’re mad.”

Liz – “Yeah, I’ve got friends who say to me. I’m having a breakdown just listening to this story Liz! Because we live in the moment and if someone said, ‘Can you be in London tomorrow?’, we’d be like ‘Ok, yes no problem!’. We’d make it happen, whereas some of my mates are like ‘Nooo, I’d need a full two weeks of organising everything!’

You recently recorded ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ how did that come about?

Kelvin – “I was developing shows with the BBC, and this was just an off-topic conversation, and I told them what we had been up to, (moving to the farm) and I said, ‘I’ve got an idea for a TV show’ and then suddenly that process started. So that in turn gave us more of an appetite to live off the land, to grow our own food and get an understanding of animals and where your food comes from and the more, we delved into that, the more we just found it fascinating. Then we started to look at how we could commercialise it and look at the farming industry in detail. And it is an industry that everyone tells you not to get into, as there isn’t any money in it, but after looking at it we wanted to take on that challenge, because we thought it was something we could do.”

Liz – “Oh if you tell Kelvin he can’t do something, then instantly he’s going to find a way to do it!” 

Kelvin – “We want to build something here and we’re 18 months into that, and although we’re on a long journey, the aim is to make this an enterprise; something for our children, and for their future. We’re mainly a livestock farm so we’ve got sheep, pigs, chickens, we’ve got horses in the stables. We’re looking at going into cattle but as anyone in farming will tell you, livestock farming can only pay you so much really and that’s dictated on the ground you’ve got. We’ve got a 120-acre site so there’s instant limitations there, but you can diversify.”

Liz – “It’s given us a lot of purpose really, because now we’ll do the school run and then we come back, and we get stuck into all the jobs that need doing on the farm. And even at weekends, Marnie and Milo are coming to that age where they really understand it and they want to get involved too, especially Marnie. And Milo isn’t as dangerous now, as when we first moved here, he was only two, so we had to run round trying to stop him licking everything!” [she laughs] “It’s been amazing really; they’ve seen lambing season recently and I get a lot of joy seeing them get involved in it. Also no day is the same which is great.”

Kelvin – “It is full on, and it can be stressful but it’s good fun too. And whether it ends up just being a chapter of our lives or something long term, who knows, but while we’re in it we’re putting everything we can into it, and we’re excited to see where it goes. But I feel it’s the happiest and most settled we’ve ever been.”

What tips would you give to other parents who are looking to change course and take the leap into something new?

Kelvin – “If you think you can do it and if you know you are capable of it, then go for it! For me that’s what I do and if I come up short, then I come up short and I can live with that, but you’ve got to give things a go. I’m used to no one else believing in me. We can come up with a plan, and there might only be me and Liz that believe in it and that’s it – maybe our parents or our agent too, whoever it might be, but you’ve got to have that mentality where you have to think ‘Well if I think it can work, then that’s all the validation I need and if that’s different to other people and what they’re doing then so be it!’ However, you do have to put the work in, some people might have the dream, but they’re not prepared to put the work in, so you’ve got to have a good understanding of yourself and having a frank chat with yourself. You need to ask yourself, ‘What are my skills? What am I really prepared to do? That’s what I do, and I know my limitations so I don’t take on tasks where I don’t think I can do it”

Do you have a structured process to achieve your goals? 

Kelvin – “Yes, I always have a clear list of goals which I want to achieve. For example there are three/four things that I want to achieve by the end of this year and I’d say 50% are completely on our terms, and the other 50% need things to happen elsewhere to, so there’s a little bit of jeopardy there. For those goals I will do everything I can to get it as far as I can and that last part has got to come from somewhere else in order for it to succeed. Whereas the things that are 100% on us we will get them done. We have some longer-term goals too, so we have 3–6-month plans and then we have a 2–3-year plan too and we just work towards it.”

Liz – “Me and Kelvin work well together because if you’ve got a plan and it doesn’t go right that can really throw Kelvin, whereas I can help us to adapt. It’s great to have the goals and you need them, but there are always hiccups along the way and you have to find a way to adjust.”

Kelvin – “Yes, and sometimes those things can be out of your control, like market change in a business etc and you’ve failed. You take a knock, but I’ve not got a fear of failure, I’ve got a fear of regret.”  

If you want to read more about Kelvin and Liz’s incredible journey, then you can buy their new book ‘Fletchers on the Farm’ at all high street bookstores or click here to purchase  

Kelvin and Liz Fletcher
KELVIN AND LIZ FLETCHER © BROOD MAGAZINE
Simon Wood
Written by
Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

Rob Stubbs

WEBSITE & DESIGN BY ROB STUBBS

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HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

HEALTHY HALLOWEEN PLATTER AND OCTOBER WELLNESS BY KATE DEVINE

Healthy Halloween platter and October Wellness 

October, the month of spookiness and seasonal changes.

I can’t tell you how many time I’ve discussed the weather with clients over the past month. A strange sentence to begin with, I know, but bear with…

There’s been a definite shift in temperature and autumnal days are getting more and more. Thankfully, these include crisp, sunny days but so far, there’s been more rainy and dull days. This is the reason why I wanted to quickly discuss something that has been cropping up a lot in my clinic recently…Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD.

SAD is a hormonal imbalance between melatonin and serotonin; due to the reduced amount of time we spend outside during the colder months. It affects approximately 2 million people just in the UK alone and is predominantly more common in women than men.

As the days begin dark and draw to a close earlier and earlier, you may find yourself feeling a bit ‘meh’ more than usual. Here’s the sciencey bit – a small gland in the brain called the pineal gland, produces more of the hormone melatonin during the winter months, which regulates glandular function and makes us feel more sleepy. Serotonin, Melatonin’s counterpart, is known as the ‘happy hormone’ and is secreted during daylight exposure. Therefore, the less daylight, the less serotonin and the more out of balance the two become.

Symptoms may include:

  • Low mood
  • Appetite increase/food cravings – when there is insufficient daylight available, the body will try and boost its serotonin levels by craving sugary, starchy carbohydrates and fatty foods
  • Low energy
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low libido
  • Depression
  • PMS-type symptoms
  • Increased desire to sleep – sleepy during the day but unable to sleep at night
  • Increased feeling of ‘feeling useless’

I always recommend to my clients to try to get outside as much as possible; for a walk/exercise, enjoy your down time by sitting reading a book outside/drinking a mug of something warm, gardening, walking your dog/cat (that’s a thing, right?). It doesn’t have to be anything too overwhelming, but getting that exposure to natural daylight will help to keep a balance between the sleepy and happy hormones!

Light therapy is another good way of balancing those hormones for those times when you can’t get outside. A light therapy box or lamp mimics outdoor light. It is composed of fluorescent lights on a metal reflective base with a plastic screen on top to diffuse the light and filter out harmful UV rays. All you have to do is sit in front of it, close enough so that your eyes and skin can absorb the light (follow the manufacturers instructions as they all differ slightly). The machine gives off a bright light that simulates outdoor sunshine, therefore boosting serotonin, melatonin and vitamin D, as well as other beneficial effects. You can find them at www.lumie.com or Amazon but make sure it has no less than 10,000 lux.

Supplementation of Vitamin D (especially D3) is a must as well, for the same reason as above – lack of sunlight exposure on the skin. Vitamin D is responsible for the absorption of calcium and phosphorus; both are critical for building bone and maintaining teeth and muscle health. It can also help reduce cancer cell growth, help control infections and reduce inflammation. It is naturally present in only a few foods like the flesh of fatty fish and in smaller amounts in egg yolk and beef liver; but added to some foods like fortified cereals, orange juice, dairy & non-dairy milks.

I would recommend to supplement during the months of October to March as these are the months we are likely to spend less time outdoors. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D supplementation for adults is between 800IU-1000IU per day and babies and children between 400IU-600IU per day, with the Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL) for adults and children age 9 and over is 4000IU per day.

Avoiding/reducing intake of certain foods and drinks can help alleviate SAD symptoms, such as:

  • Caffeine – coffee, black tea, fizzy drinks/energy drinks
  • Sugary and starchy carbohydrates – chocolate/sweets/processed foods
  • Alcohol – it lowers brain levels of serotonin (happy hormone) so reduce and limit

Friendly foods to incorporate into your daily diet to help alleviate SAD symptoms would be:

  • Serotonin-boosting foods – poultry (chicken/turkey,) cottage cheese, eggs, spinach, soy, bananas
  • Omega 3 brain-boosting foods – oily fish (salmon/sardines), nuts, seeds, avocado
  • Fibre-rich foods – beans (canellini/kidney), lentils, broccoli, sweet potatoes, bright colour fruits and vegetables
  • B Vitamin foods – liver, poultry, seafood, dairy products (milk, cheese), leafy greens, eggs, legumes (beans/peas/lentils/chickpeas)

Oh a slightly brighter note (kind of), it’s Halloween month! I’m already stocking up on decorations and costumes for the younger boys (the oldest is too cool for school these days and would definitely not wear a halloween costume) and thinking about what food to prepare, of course!  

I’ve been working on some healthy, scary, fun ideas and the winner, with my kids, was a Halloween sharing platter. It’s basically lots of snacks all placed creatively on a platter and decorated for the occasion. Here’s a few ideas, should you wish to create your own!

Things you’ll need:

  • Halloween cookie cutters – I got mine from Amazon or I have noticed them in the baking isles at supermarkets at the moment
  • Edible eyes – as above
  • White cooking chocolate
  • Small marshmallows like what you’d have in hot chocolate
  • Drinking straws – two sizes
  • The rest of the things are basic cupboard/fridge staples
  • Pesky Pumpkins – made from whole, peeled tangerine with a small piece of celery for the stem
  • Strawberry Yummy Mummies – whole strawberries including stem, with melted white chocolate drizzled using a fork to create the bandages and an edible eye in the centre – keep in the fridge until ready to use
  • Monstrous Mouths – using an apple, cut into four equal quarters, remove the core and slice evenly to create ‘lips’, spread with soft nut butter on one side of each slice and put in pairs to use as top and bottom lips. Add small white marshmallows to one piece using the nut butter to stick to and place the other on top. Put out last as they tend to brown quickly
  • Boo Bananas – use 2 bananas, cut in half and slice down the centre to make 4 banana ghosts. Using a knife, cut out small triangle shape around the straight edge to make the bottom of the ghost. Add two chocolate chips for eyes on each piece. Put out last as they tend to brown quickly
  • Creaking Coffin Pittas – using the coffin cutter, cut out as many coffin shapes as required and lightly toast – I paired with hummus/guacamole to dip and placed the edible eye on top
  • Creepy Cucumber Skulls – cut the cucumber into discs, using the bigger of the straws poke out the eye holes and use the smaller for the nostril holes. Using a knife, cut a small semi circle from the sides on the nostrils to the chin to create a skull shape
  • Crustless Spooky Sandwiches – Make a sandwich with a filling of your choice, cut out different shapes using the cookie cutters to make different Halloween themed creations
  • Boiled Bat Cheese – Using the bat cutter, press into hard cheese slices
  • Edible Evil Eggs – Hard boil as many eggs as necessary, wait to cool and remove the shell. Cut in half, lengthways and use black olives, sliced into small triangular pieces as the eyes.

I hope you have fun creating Halloween goodies with your families and don’t forget to tag @the.devine.life and @broodmagazine if you post any pics on social media. We love seeing all your creations!

Happy Halloween!!

      Halloween Foods by Kate Devine
      Kate Devine's Kids tucking into a healthy halloween platter
      written BY KATE DEVINE

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      REMIND YOURSELF WHAT MATTERS BY ASHLEIGH GUTHRIE

      REMIND YOURSELF WHAT MATTERS BY ASHLEIGH GUTHRIE

      © BROOD MAGAZINE

      Remind Yourself of What Matters

       As I sit here and breathe deeply, sipping my tea, eating a morning pastry, I am reminded of the importance of taking time to pause.

      Questions swirling through my mind, “Who are you beneath the fast paced ‘doingness’ of life?” Chopping and changing, constantly moving.

      Oceanic waves of emotions rise to the surface before crashing to the shores of my active mind. I ask myself “what would happen if you just stopped for a moment, closed your eyes and took a long deep breath?”

      “What would happen If you slowed down long enough to FEEL what was bubbling beneath the surface, to be with the swirling sensations lingering in the pit of my stomach.”

      Who are you beneath the surface level responses to “How are you?”

      If lock down taught us anything it is that we as human ‘beings’ are not meant to be living life at a million miles an hour. Savour every moment, take time to rest and recalibrate, allow yourself the space to regularly reflect in order to see how far you’ve come.

      Remember to celebrate the beauty of who you are, in both the shadow and the light.

      Release Rituals

      To honour the change in season, we can begin by exploring if there is anything in your life that you feel it is time for you to let go of and forgive or if there is anyone you wish to apologize to. You can ritualise this by lighting a candle and incense.

      A great practice to accompany this is the ritual of Ho’oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. You can listen to a version of this practice on one of my playlists here.

      Taking time to pause and go within can help you to remember that you have the power to bring awareness to all that has been holding you back. Walks in nature could be ideal at this time for helping you to become grounded in your body as you connect with where you are storing dense energy, people or situations that are ready to be released.

       Self-Care

      We are continuously reminded that our world is facing many challenges and that caring for ourselves is more important than ever. You can bring awareness to this by making time to be intentional in your self-care routine daily. 

      My invitation is to take a moment before you start your day to look in the mirror and ask yourself, what you need in order to cultivate peace from within your own mental health.

      When I wake up, I like to ask myself these 3 questions.

      “How am I feeling today?”

      “What do I need today?”

      “How can I best show up in the world today?”

      When we practice genuine self-care, we get the opportunity to understand ourselves better, recharge our batteries before they’re empty, and maintain the ability to make a difference for our loved ones and communities.

      “It’s okay to take time for yourself. We give so much of ourselves to others, and we need to be fuelled both physically and mentally. If we are in balance, it helps us in all our interactions.”
      — Faith Hill

      An Act of Love

      Take time this month to express love in all its beautiful ways throughout all your relations. Love is the most powerful force we can experience as humans. It helps us to call upon strength to transmute all suffering on earth. I recommend taking time to pause and tune in to the love you cherish in your life and offer gratitude. Write out a list of all the people you love, how they have impacted you, and how you have felt loved throughout your life so far.

      Wishing you a magical October!

      Want to get in touch with Ashleigh? She is available weekdays at courage.freedom.joy@gmail.com or chat with her directly on Instagram @ashleighguthrie01

      Ashleigh Guthrie is a spiritual mentor, women’s circle facilitator, sound healer and trauma informed child hypnotherapist – trained by teachers from different traditions all over the world. Ashleigh is BROOD Magazine’s bonus mum and earth angel. 

      Written by

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      HOME ORGANISATION WITH KIM MINCHIN

      HOME ORGANISATION WITH KIM MINCHIN

      Kim Minchin Dunn © BROODMAGAZINE

      KIM MINCHIN DUNN ON HOME ORGANISATION

      After a hectic Summer and a house of chaos, finally we are back into some sort of routine, the kids are back to school and it’s time we got the house in shipshape ready for winter.
      There’s no better feeling than having an organised house. Making life just generally easier on the whole with an organised system,
      so, here’s my top tips on how to make the house tidy and organised.

      1. Be realistic; this needs to fit around your family and lifestyle. Don’t start buying matching colour foods or multiples of things you don’t actually eat or use just because social media made you do it or it looks aesthetically please. Fit it around things you use all the time or regularly. One thing I’ve learnt is trying to make it look like Pinterest isn’t realistic because you end up buying foods/products that look aesthetically pleasing that you don’t actually use and is a waste of money, time and space.

      2. Firstly, start each room the same. I.E kitchen – check for out of date food. Kids room- toys that haven’t been touched in months, wardrobe – clothes you haven’t worn in the last year. You may have to be a little ruthless here but take them to the local charity shop or donate them as they will no doubt bring joy to someone else’s life like you once had from them. Any expensive items can be added to Facebook Marketplace or Depop and you can reinvest this cash into your new storage solutions.

      3. Measure your space. Before buying any storage items measure your shelves and space so you know they fit. Buy Clear storage boxes or ‘bins’ as the lovely ladies in the US from “home edit” call them, these are the way forward. Don’t be distracted by other boxes, my rule is – think clear, buy clear. Clear boxes mean you can see everything and grab what you need quickly on the go. For the lounge, toys or things you want to hide I find baskets are perfect for this. Drape over a lovely throw to hide the contents. I love the John Lewis home edit range, Amazon, b and m bargains or Homesense for all these items.

      4. Labels. Goes without saying, its just joyful for your OCD but they also help the rest of the household to find things quickly which in turn makes your life easier. I also find that it helps with your shopping list as you can quickly check what’s looking kind of Empty and fill it up. Get yourself a DYMO, you’ll be labelling everything in sight, even your husband.

      5. Remember…Things won’t stay perfect forever so this is something you need to do every few weeks to keep on top of it, but now you have a system that is super quick and easy to do you’ll be able to keep on top of it much easier.

      6. Most importantly…enjoy the process 🤍

      One key thing to remember is it’s not going to look like the Pinterest image you’ve saved, it may for an hour or so but get it out of your head now.
      You must also remember most of these Pinterest images are in America, where they are blessed with large pantries and the container store on tap. However, we can certainly try our best and bring some Home Edit joy to our lives 🤍

      Home Organisation
      Kim Minchin Dunn
      Kim Minchin Dunn © BROOD MAGAZINE
      Written by

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      AUNTIE CATH’S SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

      AUNTIE CATH’S SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

      SWEET POTATO SHEPHERD’S PIE

      Our #HenchShepherdsPie

      1 ½ lbs minced beef
      1-2 tablespoons butter
      1 onion, chopped
      2 carrots, chopped
      2 leeks
      6 oz mushrooms, sliced
      2 teaspoons minced garlic
      3 tablespoons low sugar ketchup
      3 tablespoons natural B Worcestershire sauce
      2 cups chicken stock or broth
      2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (instead of corn starch )
      heaping ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
      salt and pepper
      3 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
      1 tsp additional minced garlic
      3 tablespoons butter
      ¼ teaspoon additional smoked paprika
      sea salt and pepper
      Soooo.
      .
      .
      .

      Place your sweet potato chunks into a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until soft. Drain and place back into the pot. Add butter, garlic, smoked paprika, and salt and pepper. Mash like it’s 1999. Set aside.
      Brown meat in a skillet over medium high heat .Once browned, remove the beef from pan, leave any fat in there. Sauté onion for about a minute. Add in leeks , carrots, and garlic for 8-10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Add in salt and pepper, smoked paprika, ketchup, worcestershire and beef and stir.
      Mix the arrowroot powder and chicken stock . Pour the chicken stock into the pan with the beef and vegetables. Cook for 10 more minutes.

      Pour the meat mixture into a baking pan. Spread the sweet pot mash over the meat mixture until meat is fully covered. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving. We love this with peas or cabbage! Enjoy! .

      Sweet Potato Shepherds Pie
      Catherine Tyldesley

      Catherine Tyldesley

      Auntie Cath Cooks

      Cath Tyldesley is one of the UKs favourite actresses. Making in her mark in the likes of BBC Ones ‘Lilies’ , sitcom ‘Scarborough’, ITVs ‘View Point’ and Ofcourse- the nation’s favourite ‘Coronation Street’.
      Catherine has recently finished filming another drama for ITV and was crowned Winner of All Star Musicals 2021. Cath’s other huge passion in life is Food! After study nutrition on maternity leave with her first child- Caths enthusiasm for food grew. Especially nutritious, budget friendly, tasty family meals. We’re thrilled to bits to have Cath join us and share her knowledge and passion! You’re in for a treat with Auntie Caths recipes!

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      why it’s still important to wear an spf

      why it’s still important to wear an spf

      How important is it to still wear an SPF?

      There goes the sun! But does that mean your SPFs are discarded till the sunshine reappears next year? Or you get chance of that winter vacation in the sunshine?

      If you’re not wearing an spf everyday on your face, even when cloudy or you’re indoors then it’s time to start!

      Wearing sunscreen is one of the best and easiest ways to protect your skin from harsh effects UVA and UVB rays.

      But how does it go beyond benefitting your skin other than protecting from the sun and why it should not be reserved only for the summer months.

      Here’s why…..

      – [ ] Helps prevent premature aging

      We all want to look younger right? Sun exposure is damaging and can cause visible wrinkles and fine lines and over exposure can even change skin texture. Try and keep your face and neck out of the direct sun.
      Even those winter days those pesky rays can still come through clouds, rain, glass or snow so wearing an spf is an important preventative to be worn daily all year round.

      – [ ] Reduces the appearance of sun spots

      Sun damage causes hyperpigmentation which can look like large freckles. Wearing an spf is clinically proven to reduce photoaging by 24% so therefore I recommend wearing a high protection 50 spf. Apply regularly throughout the day. This will promote even skin tone.

      – [ ] Prevents skin cancer

      SPF’s play an important role in blocking UVB rays. Therefore It’s clear the best way to protect ourselves is wearing sunscreen, it reduces the risk of Melanoma by 50%. So slather it on. Prevention is better than cure! !

      So Avoid peak sun
      Seek shade, wear that hat! Cover up and wear your favourite SPF!!

      I recommend my favourite go to for that all year protection:

      https://www.ultrasun.co.uk/products/ultrasun-face-tinted-spf50-honey

      Sally x

       

      Sally Rowe MUA

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      DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

      DO YOU NEED TO INCREASE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM AND CONFIDENCE, OR ARE YOU PERFECTLY IMPERFECT?

      Need to increase your self esteem and confidence, or are you perfectly imperfect?

      Confidence and self esteem are talked about so much, and thats usually because we are looking for an answer on how to improve ours! If you look up what these actually mean you will find there are many different explanations and variations depending on who you follow or read about. I like to take everything back to as simple an explanation as I can see with my own understanding and experience. For me these words could be substituted for many things like, self belief, self love, self image and so on, but it all ultimately leads to the same thing for me, which I want to share with you below.

      As a human being we will always fall into the trap of judgement, particularly about ourselves and when we are criticising and judging ourselves we are by default getting further and further away from showing ourselves love and compassion. Despite what we tell ourselves at times, it is not about looking for the perfect finished article of a confident person, (which doesn’t exist, or does it?) But more about realising that we always have the gift of perspective and therefore constant change is possible for each and every single one of us. If you were to question your level of self esteem or confidence in any given moment I would probably ask you to reflect by asking yourself the following;

      How much do you like yourself right now?

      How much do you value yourself right now?

      How do you see yourself right now?

      What are your beliefs about yourself right now?

      I am sure you get the picture, and the reason I add ‘right now’ onto each question, is because this will always change, it’s never static. This is why I would never describe a person as having, or not having low self esteem or confidence, as I accept and see human nature as one momentary experience after the other, no two moments the same. This is actually good news as this means that by default, there is always opportunity for a new experience, in other words a new way to see ourselves and a different way to treat ourselves – hopefully with more compassion! Instead of how do we become more confident or increase our self esteem, reflect on how compassionate and loving you are towards yourself.

      If we all gave ourselves a daily dose of compassion as a general rule, the difference in our experience of life would instantly be uplifted, and filled with so much more contentment and peace of mind. Often people don’t see the value in this and the power it has to show ourselves compassion, and yet when it comes to others we often instantly see the value in it? In fact we will talk about it as though it’s a necessity for us to support others, see the good in them, reach out to them and be a shining light, and yet it somehow seems alien, unnecessary or maybe even too indulgent to do it for ourselves?

      We were not born this way! If this is something you find challenging, you have ‘learnt’ or ‘thought’ your way out of naturally seeing your core nature of love and compassion. The reason I said above does the perfect finished article exist, is because in my eyes it does, but maybe not in the way you initially think of perfection! We are all perfectly imperfect. Part of my own experience of showing myself a tonne more love, compassion and understanding was that I could accept that I was not and did not need to be perfect, and in actual fact it is all of me that makes me perfect just the way I am. Instead of always thinking I need to be better and do better, I am much more able to lower my expectations and the pressure on myself so that it is much easier to see myself as good enough just as I am, I change the goalposts, not myself.

      One more thing to mention is that I know some people will read this and say there are some things people do need to change and there are habits that I have that I don’t want to continue with, they are not good for me or my life. Thats OK so do I. These are my habits and they can change without me having to be a super human and in fact the irony is, if I lower my expectations, the pressure I put on myself and accept myself as I am. A large part of getting a quieter mind and there for feeling better in ourselves starts with that daily dose of compassion, so you can start NOW, right this very second!

      Self Esteem

      Ashleigh Guthrie

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      THE POWER OF MANIFESTATION BY OLI DUNN

      THE POWER OF MANIFESTATION BY OLI DUNN

      Oli Dunn for BROOD MAGAZINE © TOM Pitfield Photography 

      “You can do whatever you want to!”

      The Power Of Manifestation…. ✏️

      This is a topic I get VERY excited when talking about, I LOVE talking about manifestation, especially when I’m feeling aligned and in full attraction mode. If this all sounds a bit strange to you, stick with it, it should make sense by the end.

      So many things have happened “for” me in my life that I now have a section in the notes on my phone lovingly called “coincidences” with a hint of friendly sarcasm or irony that is.
      I believe there’s no such thing as a coincidence, by the way maybe there is but I believe there’s another type which we might sometimes mistake as a coincidence when in actual fact we talked such a circumstance, thing or event into our reality, willed it into our existence, made it happen, tuned into its frequency and sucked it right in, like a tractor beam (if your a Dumb and Dumber fan you’ll know the sound!).😜

      Before I go any further I just want to be clear about something, what I write about in my Brood magazine column is purely my perspective, the way I see it, my take and I appreciate that these things are all subjective. I would never claim that my version is the correct or exact way, it’s just my way, based on my learnings and experiences and it’s a pleasure to share my thoughts with you. I hope it provides an interesting read and perhaps even conjures up some new and exciting thoughts and ideas for you which may be interesting for you too, if it does I would love to hear from you!

      Oliver Dunn
      Oliver Dunn for BROOD MAGAZINE © TOM Pitfield Photography 

      On we go…

      It might seem unusual to have a note section in my phone called “Coincidences” which cheekily means Manifestations. The reason I have this is mainly to remind myself that through my life I’m proving this theory to be not just working but worthy of sharing with others as part of my narrative. As I’ve said before, what actually matters to me in life more than anything else, (the bigger picture) is that I want to show others that anything is possible in life, one little or big, or plain crazy manifestation at a time.

      You can do whatever you want to. 💭

      Fun little task, finish this sentence, “if I could do or be whoever I wanted to be, it would be this (blank) and my life would look like this (blank).

      Back to my point;

      I know what you’re thinking, come on then give us an example of a manifestation. 🤷🏼‍♀️

      Well okay here’s a couple from most recent memory.

      Manifestations for me are anything from life long ambitions to the most random small ‘wants’.

      I will give you an example of each.

      I think the random small ones are more fun, playful and manifest quicker because there’s absolutely no resistance to them and for me it’s the universe confirming to me that I’m aligned and everything is working out, not happening to me but for me.

      About a year ago I said to Kim, “I really wish McDonalds did clothing, it would just be so cool”, I don’t know how this came to mind but I was fixated on it and getting excited about it, imagining it and how it would look, but no matter how hard I Googled I couldn’t find it, because it didn’t exist. FFWD a year and it was my birthday (13th August if you want to add to your calendar 😜) a great friend of ours gave me a birthday present, it was a bright blue McDonalds shirt, designed with their signature red packet French Fries all over it.
      The point of this is that our friend was able to get this shirt after doing some work with McDonalds and this exclusive merch wasn’t available for sale to the public, coincidence?

      This leads me on to a very different but equally exciting manifestation in my life which has come around in the last 18 months.

      Some manifestations do require action or more specifically inspired action (I’ll save that for another time) but I believe the importance of the action is as key to showing the world you are worthy of what you want to attract (and are ready to receive) as the actual work itself.

      If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up when I was 10 years old I would have probably told you I wanted to be a radio or TV presenter, a more confident version of myself who could entertain and have fun, be myself and meet interesting people out in the big wide world. There was a notion or a feeling that this wasn’t “realistic” that I should probably focus on a trade, a career, something more achievable or within reach, I got into the family business, I have no regrets doing that, I loved it and still do now. Curiously though I firmly believe I planted a seed deep within myself that I was on a journey to become a presenter. FFWD to 38 year old me (this one took a little longer to manifest) and I’m hosting live shows for Disney on TikTok with Zavvi at THG Studios, a place which I’ve regularly driven past and thought to myself “I would love to look around in there, or better still do some presenting in there one day.”
      There’s a longer story as to how I got this opportunity but I’ll share that with you another time, perhaps through a video on my YT channel.
      I’ve been on a journey in the last 18 months into presenting live shopping shows, that journey has been complex, satisfying and interesting to me in how its played out. More importantly doing these shows really fulfils my childhood ambition to be a presenter.
      It’s powerful for me that I’m able to present live shows outside of my chocolate world (which I love and will always be a part of me).
      I’m excited to grow as both Oli The Choc and as Oli The Presenter too with more live shows in the pipeline, I’m feeling very grateful for these opportunities.

      A little gratitude in the last paragraph there, never goes a miss and goes a long way.
      I believe gratitude to be a powerful element of manifesting what you want in life.

      If I could give you some advise on manifestation, here it is, set your intentions when you are aligned, when your heart is beating faster, you are buzzing, excited, feeling like the best version of yourself.
      Have fun with it, be unrealistic, your manifestations don’t have to make sense to you or others but follow whatever the inspiration is from within and don’t be afraid to dream big or dream silly. Often for me it’s the funny, silly things that manifest, because there’s no resistance to it, almost no expectation either.

      I’m very intentional about my thoughts, words and actions. This year I’ve become more aligned and more in tune with who I am and who I want to be, more worthy and ready to receive the life I want. I’m very responsible for my own energy and for the energy I attract, for what I listen to and am influenced by. Becoming a Dad has been the making of me in respect of knowing myself and loving myself more.

      Some advise to myself on this which you can take from if you wish, when you are feeling aligned make your intentions clear to yourself, write them down, visualise and get excited about what you are going to manifest. Be excited about the future because you can create the life you want, your own reality, your version of life. For me time writing in solitude early morning, when on a train or a plane, by the ocean or simply talking to myself in the car are all powerful spaces for me to practice the above.

      Now walk tall, remind yourself of your strengths, step into your power and go manifest yourself the life you want! 💥

      Written by
      Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris
      Photography by Tom Pitfield
      Rob Stubbs
      Digital Editor: Rob Stubbs

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      Helen Skelton on her career, motherhood and changing the narrative

      Helen Skelton on her career, motherhood and changing the narrative

      © BROOD MAGAZINE. HELEN SKELTON AND TWO OF HER CHILDREN

      “…things happen in life and then you get put on a different path

      Inspirational Mum of three, Helen Skelton, is one of Britain’s best-loved Television presenters. Helen started her presenting career at Newsround before landing a dream role at Blue Peter, where she completed numerous extreme challenges for charity. Incredibly Helen has kayaked over 2,000 miles along the Amazon River, and cycled 500 miles to the South Pole, both for Sport Relief. Her amazing career has included many highlights including meeting the iconic late Queen Elizabeth II. Not one to shy away from a challenge, this year she is taking on what will probably be her hardest yet, as she joins BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing Class of 2022; whilst juggling life as a single mum, looking after her 3 young children, Ernie, Louis and Elsie.

      The stunning Countryfile presenter kindly took time out from her summer holiday in the Lake District to chat to us about her career, motherhood, and changing the narrative as she embraces the new journey she has found herself on, since announcing her sadness at her marriage ending, only a few months after her youngest child Elsie was born.

      Helen Skelton Interview with Brood Magazine
      © BROOD MAGAZINE. HELEN SKELTON AND TWO OF HER THREE CHILDREN

      “…I’m on a journey right now!

      What was your career like before kids?

      I was working as a journalist; I was originally working in PR, but I hated it and knew that I wanted to be a journalist… so I ended up at Newsround which was great – I loved it! Then I got offered Blue Peter, but I actually said no to Blue Peter at first because I was enjoying Newsround so much. But my boss at Newsround said to me ‘you can’t not do Blue Peter’. So, I took it, and it was the best gig of my life! It was so amazing, one week you would be going to Malta to ballroom dance, the week after you would be flying with the red arrows and the week after going to meet the queen! We would go away for 7 weeks for the summer going from one country to the next… it was just incredible! After doing so many amazing things, that I didn’t think I could top, such as going to the south pole, north pole and the amazon doing the expeditions, I decided it was time to leave. So, I then went back into sport and started working at BT Sport.

      How do you find managing your career alongside motherhood?

      I had Ernie in 2015, and since then, it’s always been about taking on work that fits around the kids. I still worked after I had Ernie, like the sport presenting – which was good because it was an intense week and then you’d be off again. That’s why I do less Countryfile, as much as I love Countryfile and I’m really good friends with everyone at the show, but the reason I don’t do it as often is because you have to be away Wednesday and Thursday nights, it’s the other end of the country and it just doesn’t fit with me having little kids. But the other farming show [Channel 5’s On the Farm] that I do is live, so you’re on at 8 o clock at night and you’re off at 10. So I go, get my tea made for me, have my face painted, do my work and then I’m back home.

      I think because I’m freelance and self-employed, I feel lucky in that it can be intense at work so you’re ticking your career box and doing your thing there, but then the week after, you can potentially be off for three weeks so then you’re being a full-time mummy again. So, I feel lucky that I get my foot in both camps. I’d like to think that I’ve got a bit more empathy for my friends who work full time and for those who don’t work.

      What is your experience with Mum Guilt?

      Every mum I know at some point or another feels ‘Mum guilt.’ They feel guilty if they work too much, or they feel guilty that they don’t work enough, the whole thing is a juggle. My mum was lucky, we grew up on this farm, so she didn’t work and that’s the dream for some, but life’s different now. And I don’t think anyone should look at other people’s situations and make assumptions, because I’ve done it myself where I’ve thought ‘gosh she work’s a lot! She must hardly ever see her kids?’ But then I stop myself because I think, you know what, we’ve all got to buy food! That whole thing of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes is so true. I don’t think you can ever say which is the right way to do it, because everyone’s kids and everyone’s situation is different, you can only do what’s right for you and not compare yourself. But it can be hard not to do that because of social media.

      You have to remember social media is a superficial top layer of people’s lives, although it’s hard to remember that at times, is important to remind yourself of that. But no one is made of metal but equally every situation is different.

      Mine are terrible sleepers, they both like to sleep in my bed which isn’t good, but then other people will be like ‘well that isn’t good?’ Rather than ‘oh that’s nice because they’ll be 18 soon!’ [she laughs] – but it’s survival! I got my eldest to sleep in his own bed the other night and he was negotiating a deal and said he would for £20! I was like – ‘I can’t give you £20 a night!’ – No wonder I’ve had to go back to work! [she jokes.]

      Helen Skelton
      Helen Skelton © BROOD MAGAZINE

      “…it’s always been about taking on work that fits around the kids.”

      What was the biggest adaptations that you have made to your life since your children have come along.

      Work and travel, I think. I took Louis with me to the world diving championships in Budapest when he was 6 weeks old, I say to him now, you actully saw Tom Daly win his second world title and it just goes [gestures] straight over his head so I don’t even think the biggest adaptations came in when they were babies. I think the bigger adaptions come in when they start school, as obviously they’ve got be somewhere 9-3 so you’re on their schedule then. I notice a lot of my friends who have toddlers will say ‘shall we meet for brunch on Saturday’ [for example], and I’m like, ‘No, sorry I can’t, I’ve got a 15-minute gap between swimming and play dates and it does not include any kind of brunch situation!’ [laughing] I think when you’ve got little kids they will go where you want, you can pop them in the pushchair and bring them along with you, but bigger kids don’t always want to.

      Having more than one kid is big change, because you can only split yourself so many ways. Having Elsie though has actually made the boys nicer! They are so sweet with her. I do say to them, ‘you’re so nice with Elsie can you just be a little bit nicer to each other!’ (Because they do fight as siblings close in age do.) So, I love seeing that kindness in them, it melts my heart.

      Your next challenge is Strictly Come Dancing! How are you feeling about tackling that alongside your life as a mum?

      Part of me thinks it’s bad timing and the other part of me thinks it is good timing. Elsie is only little so she’s not crawling around yet, so she’s little enough to be quite placid and sleep a lot. I think sometimes it’s easy to overthink these things, but when I was asked, it was like ‘You know what, yes! Let’s do it!’ – I’m excited too because I think it looks fun! I love taking on new challenges and putting myself under pressure and having my mind consumed in that way, so that’s another reason I wanted to do it. It’s weird because I have been asked to do things like this before and I’ve always said no because of the kids, but now I’m doing it when I’ve got a nine-month-old as well, but the kids are in school, so in my head I’m thinking that I’m going to train while they’re in school and Elsie is young enough for it to not be on her radar or affect her. But then again, this could well turn out to be the most stupid decision I’ve made in my entire life – but let’s hope it’s not! [she laughs]

      I think sometimes, especially in this career you can overthink things and try and plan but sometimes you’ve just got to go with what comes along. Very few people are in the position that they don’t have to work, and this is a job that will be fun and a distraction and all consuming and something positive for me, the kids, my parents, and my friends. That was another reason that I wanted to do it. To do something positive and change the narrative, I guess.

      Also, you spend your life telling your kids, ‘Do what makes you happy’, ‘Go after whatever you want’ ‘Dream Big’ so you have to lead by example.

      I think no matter what you do and what you plan, things happen in life and then you get put on a different path, so sometimes there is no point putting down a roadmap.

      What tips would you give other working parents?

      Oh, I’ve got loads of tips – I’m on a journey at the moment. Firstly, lower the standards! I think unfollow people who don’t have a similar life to you. For example, if you’re a working mum, don’t follow a mum who doesn’t work, follow someone who is doing the juggle. Or if you don’t work, follow someone who doesn’t work, because I think you if you compare apples to pears yours will never be as good. I’ve been given lots of tips myself lately, including find companies that will deliver healthy meals – like meals on wheels but for parents. Then that takes the pressure off grabbing something naff for yourself, you can get them pre ordered just a couple of times a week and the whole family has got a healthy home cooked meal. Just make life easier for yourself. Another one is, have a notepad by the bed because every has them things where they wake up in the night where they are like ‘oh s&*t they need a yellow t-shirt for tomorrow’. I also think delegate stuff in your life that you don’t need to do yourself. Like I hate cleaning, so I got a cleaner. I felt really bad about it at first, I felt really middle-class, and I would tidy up before they came, but then the lady said to me ‘why are you doing that, you are paying me to do this?’ Oh, and don’t buy clothes that you need to iron! Again, why are you doing that to yourself. And finally, I have a present cupboard because there is always a party that you have forgotten, or you haven’t got time to go to B&M before you go. And a distraction box is always good too when you’ve got multiple children.

      What do you mean by a distraction box?

      Well, I would always keep a little box on the side, I’ve done this from Louis being born. I will put a couple of snacks in that he would like, a couple of books, or some little cheap toys in there. So then if you’re feeding or changing the baby and your older one wants you too and you can say ‘Go and get something from your box!’ I think that’s it!

      Simon Wood
      Written by
      Tom Pitfield and his daughter Iris

      PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM PITFIELD

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      Dining Table Date Night – Ox Cheek Tagliatelle with Simon Wood

      Dining Table Date Night – Ox Cheek Tagliatelle with Simon Wood

      SIMON WOOD COOKS Ox Cheek Tagliatelle
      | SIMON WOOD OF WOOD MANCHESTER AND WoodKraft Cheltenham. IMAGES © BROOD MAGAZINE

      “POUR YOURSELF A GLASS OF SOMETHING YOU ENJOY, POP ON YOUR FAVOURITE MUSIC TO UNWIND TO AND START TO COOK…”

      Welcome back to Brood food, Last time around I spoke about food and families which are two topics in which everyone claims some expertise, and rightly so. Families are made up of people who eat food. Both families and food contribute to a person’s physical and social well-being throughout life and are the foundation of many memories, both good and sometime not.

      Tonight I’m going to focus on a Date night dinner, a tasty, easy to prepare dinner that you and yours can enjoy at a time that suits you. I’m a firm believer in a bowl of wine and a glass of pasta and this dish is as simple as that. There’s some time and love put in to some delicious meaty Ox Cheeks which slowly sit and fall apart in a splendid tomato sauce. This produces a sensational Ragu fit for any table

      Here is how it is done, first things first, pour yourself a glass of something you enjoy, pop on your favourite music to unwind to and start to cook. You will need a frying pan, two large saucepans a chopping board, grater and a sharp knife.

      Ox Cheek Tagliatelle

      Ingredients:

      • ½ Tube of Tomato Purée 
      • 8 balls of Dried Tagliatelle 
      • 2 Large Ox Cheeks
      • 4 Cloves of Fresh Garlic, Grated
      • 1 Large onion, diced 
      • 1 Teaspoon of dried oregano
      • 1 table spoon Aleppo Chilli
      • 2 bottles of passata
      • 8 really fresh large tomatoes 
      • A small bunch of basil 
      • Grated parmesan to taste
      • Olive oil
      • Salt & Pepper

       

      Method 

      • Turn a medium size frying pan on to a high heat, coat your ox cheeks oil and season with salt and pepper, Place the Ox Cheeks in the frying pan, and cook until golden brown. Set them aside and let them rest, take care to retain any juices.
      • Next Peel, and then dice your onion, add it in to one of your large sauce pans, on a low heat, and stir frequently
      • Now peel two cloves of garlic and grate finely. Add to the saucepan and stir before adding in the tomato purée and cooking for 5 minutes or so. 
      • Chop your tomatoes, the riper they are the better the sauce, add them to the saucepan and cook before adding in the passata and the cheeks along with any juices
      • Add a little Salt, Pepper, oregano and the Aleppo Chilli and cook for 4/5 hours on a ow heat (You can use a slow cooker if you like)
      • Once the meat is softened use two forks or the back of a large spoon to flake it into the rich red sauce.
      • Now it’s time to cook the pasta, in another large saucepan bring some water to the boil and add the pasta, cook until al dente before removing and adding into the pasta ragu sauce, finish the cooking of the pasta in here to allow the pasta to absorb the flavour of the sauce
      • Serve in a bowl, top with a some fresh basil and some freshly grated Parmesan 

       

      We mentioned earlier about the bowl of wine and glass of pasta and today I am going to go for this delight a lovely Red wine Gaja Sito Moresco*

       

      As an Italian wine producer, there is possibly no one more iconic than Gaja.

      Established back in 1859 by Giovanni Gaja, the Gaja family had moved from Spain to Italy towards the end of the 17th century.

       

      They first started making wines to be sold from their family tavern, by the end of the 19th Century they were supplying their wines to the Italian army.

       

      As their name grew, so to did their wines. Angelo Gaja took over the business in 1970 and today Gaja has 101 hectares of vineyards divided into 32 separate plots and produces around 30,000 cases of wine a year. Gaja produces world-class wines that sell for world-class prices.

       

      Sito Moresco is a blend of Nebbiolo, barbera, merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. 12 months in oak creating a pale ruby hue with otes of red and black berries, sour cherries a Smokey finish with a hint of green pepper spice.

       

      All that said to simply put it. It is delicious and works incredibly with this dish.

       

      If you like the idea of having 55 wines by the glass to choose from then why not call in to WOOD Manchester to try them, or you can even pair them with Cheese and enjoy 5 glasses of wine and 5 cheeses in Homage at WOOD Manchester. Drink only is available from 8pm Wednesday to Saturday and pared with Cheese Wednesday to Saturday evenings or lunches Friday and Saturday.

       

      As always, thanks for reading and if you have any recipe suggestions or questions please do send them to me at @SimonJWoodUK or simon@woodmanchester.com

       

       

       

      Thanks, Simon

       

      Simon is Chef Patron or WOOD Manchester on First Street Manchester and WOODKRAFT ‘The Artisan Eatery’ on Regent Street in Cheltenham.

       

      Ox Cheek Tagliatelle
      Ox Cheek Tagliatelle | SIMON WOOD © FOR BROOD MAGAZINE
      WoodKraft Cheltenham
      Ox Cheek Tagliatelle | SIMON WOOD © FOR BROOD MAGAZINE
      Simon Wood
      Written by

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      QUEEN ELIZABETH II Most inspiring quotes

      QUEEN ELIZABETH II Most inspiring quotes

      QUEEN ELIZABETH MOST INSPIRING QUOTES

       

      Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, Brood look back at some of her most inspiring quotes:

      “I know of no single formula for success. But over the years I have observed that some attributes of leadership are universal and are often about finding ways of encouraging people to combine their efforts, their talents, their insights, their enthusiasm and their inspiration to work together.”

      “When life seems hard, the courageous do not lie down and accept defeat; instead, they are all the more determined to struggle for a better future.”

      “It has always been easy to hate and destroy. To build and to cherish is much more difficult.”

       

      “We all need to get the balance right between action and reflection. With so many distractions, it is easy to forget to pause and take stock.”

      “Giant leaps often start with small steps.”

      Queen-elizabeth-with-baby-ann-and-king-charles

      “Each day is a new beginning, I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God.”

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