FOR HUNGRY SPIRITS
A COOKING POT
FOR HUNGRY SPIRITS

Welcome to SPA.Kitchen. This project is a global collaboration and exploration; it is a quest, for that which energises the soul. From tips on sleeping deeper to the latest in cleansing spa experiences, from Tokyo to Thailand, we are about that which touches and transforms us as human beings. Nourishing recipes and expert health advice sourced from the world’s best healthy holidays (spas, retreats, medi-clinics, fitness breaks, yogi-hangouts, delicious hotels) are showcased here for the first time and provide our spine-line. We also offer a growing compendium of herbal remedies, holistic lifestyle tips, powerful meditations and inspirations. All are delivered from the heart for the heart. Whether you crave a dusty meditation retreat or an island hideaway, you can come to us for holiday inspiration (and we particularly recommend our calendar for date-led retreats), or simply to seek a moment of inner reflection amidst a busy week. We offer both an invitation to come home to yourself, as well as a journey to the edge. Because we believe we all want to feel the best we can be. SPA.Kitchen is about looking after ourselves and each other. It is about travelling to the far corners of the world, as well as deep within, and enjoying all the differing flavours of a rich, full and extremely blessed life. We are a new community, dedicated to your Self care. May we journey together.

DAISY FINER

My name is Daisy Finer and I am an English girl who loves our seasons, a wife who likes porridge for supper, a mother of three small children, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a business woman. I am also a freelance travel journalist who has specialised in transformative health retreats for over fifteen years. For four years I edited Conde Nast Traveller ‘s annual Spa Guide, previous to that I edited Tatler’s spa guide for seven years. Despite all the goodness in my life, like everyone I have sunny days and shady days. This project  stems from my own personal quest for greater serenity and joy, for the little gems in life which light the fire in my belly. SPA.Kitchen is a reflection of some strong predilections in me.  It is about sharing the exoticism, wisdom and excitement of abroad, but it is also about returning to the land which we call home, to the simple comfort of a cup of tea, to a hot and scented bath. It is not solely focused on that which is new or hip, but also on age-old remedies, timeless wisdom, books and ancient poems. Equally it does not promote only one way of eating. Everything from Macrobiotics and Ayurveda to just good, seasonal, authentic food will find a place to rest here. Because I believe the best kitchens, like the best massages, don’t abide by rules, instead they draw on instinct and intuition. I’d like SPA.Kitchen to be what people around the world want their kitchens to be for their families, their friends and not least themselves – a place of lively conversation, a hub of health, a shrine to beauty. It has inspired me. Hopefully it will do the same for you.

CHLOE ROBERTS
Photographer
CHLOE ROBERTS

I am the SPA.Kitchen in-house photographer and food stylist. Daisy and I have been friends literally our whole lives and spent most weekends together as children in the countryside, raiding our parents’ vegetable gardens for midnight feasts which were usually over by 8pm. We were constantly being separated for giggling too much. We still can’t stop laughing, but these days no one can keep us apart. Daisy’s youngest daughter, Constance, is now friends with my eldest daughter Florence – such is the happy circle of life. After working in travel publishing for Rough Guides and Dorling Kindersley for eight years, I became a freelance picture editor finding beautiful images for guidebook covers. I also settled happily behind the camera capturing anything from weddings to charity projects in Rwanda, magazine lifestyle shoots and foodie gigs. My weapon of choice is my digital SLR Canon but my iPhone is swiftly taking precedence. I am a self-confessed Instagram obsessor, regularly feeding into the SPA.kitchen account. When I’m not being blown about by Hampshire’s elements whilst walking my lurcher Tinker, I’ll be hunkered down at home, in our renovation wreck, illustrating woodland creatures, editing pictures (please see my work here), watching movies and cooking whilst my husband makes things. I’m a full-time Mama to two vivacious little girls and love nothing more than a cup of tea and marmite on toast.

Anna Pasternak
Editor-At-Large
ANNA PASTERNAK

A fully fledged member of the chakra cognoscenti, I have been reviewing spas for twenty five years. I know my meridians from my marma points and my chi from my chia seeds. I have written about spa treatments and holistic health for the Sunday Times Style Section, Tatler, Harpers Bazaar, Conde Nast Traveller and Country & Town House. Authenticity is key for me. When I travel, I read. Books about connection nourish and nurture me. Reading them helps me connect with myself and access deep inner truths. Words that soothe your soul like a flannel on a feverish brow and descriptions of human fallibility that resonate on a cellular level save me in dark moments. Tiny, Beautiful, Things by Cheryl Strayed makes me laugh, cry and want to wail in awe. Her compassion and gifted understanding of grief is unrivalled. Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes helps me rediscover with my earthy, feisty, true self. When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron is the perfect pick-me-up when life does just that: falls apart in front of me.  A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman is pure magic. It heals through the beauty of the prose.

Harriet Compston
Editor-At-Large
HARRIET COMPSTON

I am SPA.Kitchen’s Editor-at-Large. Daisy and I met years ago when we were both working at Conde Nast. I am a freelance travel writer who has lived in South Africa, Berlin, Rwanda and India. I initially trained as a chef and cooking is my great escape from life. I am a hardcore veggie – Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem, The New Vegetarian by Alice Hart, The Nordic Kitchen by Claus Meyer and Salmagundi by Sally Butcher of Persepolis (an incredible Persian deli in Peckham) are my go-to cookbooks. When it comes to travel, I like to learn and be challenged even though that has sometimes led me to unstable destinations – El Salvador, Kashmir, Lebanon and recently the border of Somalia. I am a voracious reader so I am thrilled to be writing the book pages for SPA.Kitchen, covering healthy cook books, spiritual tomes and inspirational writings of all kinds. I have too many favourite books to count but to name a few: Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark by Jane Fletcher Geniesse, Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader and any work by Colm Tóibín. My first book is being published in winter 2017.

Anna Pia di Conza
Nutritionist
ANNA PIA DI CONZA

Ciao! I am the (Italian) voice responsible for writing the ‘Nutritional Value’ of the SPA.Kitchen recipes, so that you can glean how and why eating healthy food can help you feel fantastico. Originally I am a Southern Italian from the rolling hills of Puglia. My passion for travel and nutrition brought me to London where I have lived for the last 15 years. I am married to one of Daisy’s oldest friends. We are both still trying to convert him to green juices. I qualified at the College of Naturopathic Medicine in London and before I had children I had a clinic on Harley Street. I am a nutritionist who loves food and who preaches to indulge but refine. As a child, growing up in Italy, I was apt to eat senseless portions of pasta on a daily basis without ever worrying about weight issues. Over the past few years, and particularly after three pregnancies, I have had to start paying attention to my waistline more and more. In my pantry, you will always find a packet of kamut pasta, and a vacuum sealed packet of pre-cooked spelt or quinoa (I always embrace a shortcut if too busy with the kids or work) which I often combine with some roast vegetables, green rocket and a handful of seeds or pine nuts. I am also a raw chocolate fan and have a secret homemade stash. Cardamon with mint is top of my list.

Clover Stroud
Life Observer
CLOVER STROUD

I love travel for the perspective it gives me on my normal life as a journalist, writer and mother of five living in rural Oxfordshire, however what I really crave is the strong emotion it makes me feel in my heart and my head. My best travel has layered memory with desire in that extraordinary place where dimensions collide. Sometimes I need to travel far from home to find that: meeting a 21-year-old Buddhist monk on a snow-covered peak in Bhutan just moments before he stepped into a wooden hut to start three years, three months, three days of silent, solitary meditation reminded me in the starkest way of the existential angst of simply being a human. At other times, the “travel” is inside me, a brief flash of feeling that overlaps the past, the moment, and a glimpse of the future, such as those quiet moments between dawn and daybreak, wood pigeons outside my bedroom window, when I’m perfectly still and quiet. I am honoured to be a columnist for SPA.Kitchen where I will be writing around themes touching on desire, memory, being a mother, daughter and sister, the poignancy of the passing of time and the redemptive power of love. As a journalist I write regularly for The Times, Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Spectator, Red, Conde Nast Traveller and National Geographic Traveller, among others. My book, The Wild Other, a memoir, will be published by Hodder in February 2017.

 

Abi Carver
Yoga Bunny!
ABI CARVER

I am a Yoga Alliance certified yoga instructor and a National Academy of Sports Medicine qualified personal trainer. Daisy and I met in Mallorca years ago and kept in touch through our mutual love of travel and writing. I have just launched a yoga app for the iPhone and iPad with 100+ videos to get you fit, strong and supple in 15 minutes a day. You can watch more of my videos here . I try to teach my clients how to eat and exercise in a way that gives them inexhaustible energy to spend on themselves and others. I know how hard it can be and have terrible willpower when it comes to yummy foods, so I keep my fridge squeaky clean and save treats for eating out with friends. My motto is buy fresh, organic and unprocessed. I also keep to a super simple meal structure – vegetables + ethically-raised animal protein + healthy fats + flavourings. My staples are butter, coconut oil, olive oil, local cheese, natural yogurt, eggs (goose are my favourite), sardines, vinegars, mustards, spices, dried herbs, olives, nut butters, water and coconut water. I stock the freezer with lamb, beef, chicken, fish and liver. Then every day I buy fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs of every colour in the rainbow, whatever is in season. I find being in nature, knee deep in soil, nibbling on herbs and edible flowers deeply therapeutic and meditative. And one thing I always have in my fridge is my avocado and jasmine moisturiser. It smells good enough to eat!

Sole Satya
Healer
SOLE SATYA
Aloha, my name is Sole Satya. I am a Transformational Therapist and Writer specialising in Obsidian and Crystal Medicine, Sacred Cacao and Vibrational Essences. I teach Yoga and Dance and practice Lomi Lomi Nui and Ayurvedic Massage Therapy in my Healing Centre in the Cotswolds, UK. My group work with Sacred Cacao, Dance and Journeying is one of my passions. My Ceremonies and Retreats are exquisitely held, powerful, deep and transforming. Dostoyevsky said once: “beauty will save the world” and for women is a must to claim back a timeless sense of beauty that goes beyond the aesthetic rules given by the regulating structures of a patriarchal system. This is my dharma, Beauty and Ancient Wisdom as medicine. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and hisA thousand years of solitude or Love in the time of Cholera are masterpieces that live in my heart ever since I read them.  The depth of Lorca’s poetry always takes me to other realms.  Through Paramahansa Yogananda’s autobiography I discovered the mysticism of Yoga and India. “The Bhagavad Gita”, Saint Thomas Gnostic Gospel and Rumi’s ecstatic poetry are guides I always come back to.

 

Vicki Edgson
Nutritionist
VICKI EDGSON

I have been a nutritional therapist for the last 20 years. Food and the kitchen have always been my passion. I love to nurture, discuss, stir the pot, taste new flavours. And to write. I have written and co-authored no less than 10 titles on health and nutrition, as well as being a regular contributor to many national newspapers and women’s magazines. I have also run my own retreats, everywhere from Ibiza and Andalucia to Sri Lanka. Following a challenging year health-wise in 2015 I decided to retire from consulting, and now devote my time to studying mindfulness, meditation and Life Meaning. Writing for SPA.Kitchen is a means to share the knowledge I have gleaned over the past two decades, which I hope to do from a position of compassion. I truly understand the challenges facing all of us in modern living. It is important that we don’t loose our connection to food and the kitchen table. And that, like me, we all of us strive to better balance life’s work, and ‘doing’ with the essential concept of simply ‘being’. Food can be a true source of solace and comfort. I hope to lend gentle suggestions which guide and confirm the daily choice we all have about what we put in our stomachs. Conscious eating is a concept I would love to spread.

Alice Cowen And Dana Verbytska
Trainers
ALICE COWEN AND DANA VERBYTSKA
We are both personal trainers and mothers of two children. We met at a gym in London 15 years ago and have been close friends ever since.  Sport and fitness have always played a central part in our lives. Alice was a rising young horse eventer and has played competitive tennis and hockey for many years. Dana spent her childhood in Eastern Europe where she became 100m hurdles junior champion of Ukraine. We both have built  successful careers in the fitness industry specialising in pre- and post-natal training, structural integration, yoga, Pilates and athletic training. Our aim is to help our clients achieve their goals and bring a positive change in their lifestyle. We are motivated to motivate and believe that everyone needs to learn to love and appreciate their bodies.
Xochi Balfour
Naturalista
XOCHI BALFOUR

I am a wellness and holistic living author and trainee Naturopathic Nutritional Therapist. I write extensively on natural living  (for the likes of Psychologies Magazine and Huffington Post) and my website, The Naturalista, covers what, for me, are the three pillars of vitality: a balanced wholefood diet, natural skincare and living more mindfully. I believe that tending to our inner landscape is just as important for our health as well as our outer wellness, and I am a passionate explorer of all areas of spirituality and self inquiry. Together with my husband, I hold intimate wellness workshops and retreats and travel extensively within the UK and abroad to learn with teachers from a variety of traditions. I incorporate many elements in my work with clients, from sound healing and breath work to motivational coaching and steps toward cultivating a more holistic approach to living. I live in Walthamstow village where I enjoy meditating by the fire, cooking local produce and hearing the geese fly overhead. I like to read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and will travel almost anywhere to hear the crystal singing bowls. My first book, The Naturalista: nourishing recipes to live well, is out now.

Debbie Frank
Astrologer
DEBBIE FRANK

Astrologer, mentor, homeopath – I help clients free their energy from old patterns, lend guidance and support, confirm that which you probably already know, and reveal that which needs attention. The birth chart is a map of your journey so I guess you could say that I am a map-reader offering both spiritual and physical advice. My monthly audio sessions for SPA.Kitchen are aimed at helping people align themselves with the universe so doors open and life is synchronous and flowing. I’ve worked with many celebrities and 30 years of helping clients and training in astrology, counselling, homeopathy, self-development and energetics is my signature blend. I know how to turn mumbo-jumbo into meaningful advice hewn from years of working as a media astrologer. At the moment I am also excited about making homeopathic remedies for each Full Moon this year, they are wonderful for settling the emotions, and I am planning my astrology, herbal and homeopathic workshops in London. For details, or private readings and consultations email me on debbiefrank@aol.com or call me on 07803 043486. You can also read your stars on my own website here.

 

Sahar Hashemi
Hot Columnist
SAHAR HASHEMI

Like many people, I chose the wrong career for myself – I started my working life as a lawyer but soon realised that who I was didn’t suit what I did. I stumbled on entrepreneurship when I couldn’t get in London the skinny lattes I had enjoyed on a trip to New York. Together with my brother we founded Coffee Republic based solely on my need to drink a skinny latte every morning. But my switch from lawyer to entrepreneur was only the start of my journey. Entrepreneurship taught me many things – that anyone can do it (the title of my first book): that we are all at our best when we combine our passion and our work: and that true fulfillment comes when what we do reflects who we really are. And that entrepreneurship especially suits women as a career path and, more importantly, a life path. It enables you to align who you are, what your passions are, what your life commitments are, with what you do. What’s on my mind? There is always a story behind a product. Almost always that story is the journey of a person – with a passion, an idea or an un-met need. And that journey of transforming that idea or passion into something real is never straightforward – it’s almost always packed with both highs and lows, towering triumphs and huge frustrations. But so often we don’t get to hear these stories. We just get to see the finished product and assume that it was a straight path from moment of inspiration to success. So, in my SPA.Kitchen column, Product Stories, I want to get the complete, unvarnished truth about these journeys, tell the real stories – the breakthroughs as well as the breakdowns – to inspire, encourage and educate others to perhaps start their own journeys.

Fiona Arigo
Wise Owl
FIONA ARIGO

I am the founder of the Arrigo Program, a trained psyschotherapist, a healer and a spiritual teacher with a passionate belief in the need to nurture 21st Century Woman. I believe Woman has very different needs and ways to Man. It seems so obvious but actually it is so subtle. I am intent on finding new ways to nourish, support and authentically embody women’s deep emotions and body wisdom. I see women working so hard and often we are more exhausted then we know – juggling many roles; holding life together for ourselves and loved ones. Often we carry feelings for our greater world. Too many of us are on the brink of burn out, or suffering from depression or anxiety. So, there is a need, as women, to express emotion but not get stuck by it. We need to express power through our feminine nature, our sensuality, as well as our depth through wisdom. What Woman does not yearn for time for herself, without having to be something for another? To rest and restore; to settle and process all the thoughts that fly in and out in the day – and to sort out her own feelings from the tangle of everyone else’s and get back to her essence. I hope my talking meditations for SPA.Kitchen will help Woman return to Self, I hope they will provide a space to stop, breathe and receive, so that you can reconnect with your inner world and your inner energy. I hope that listening to my talks will prompt transformation. The sort of transformation that means you can settle life as you walk through it, so that the world no longer spins around you, it moves with you.

Annie McIntyre
Herbalist
ANNIE MCINTYRE

I am an Ayurvedic herbalist based in Gloucestershire and am passionate about Nature’s power to heal. Officially I am a Fellow of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists and a Member of the Ayurvedic Practitioners Association, but I have also trained in massage, aromatherapy, counselling and homeopathy and have been in practice for over 30 years. I am the author of several books on herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine including: The Herbal Treatment of Children: Western and Ayurvedic Perspectives, The Complete Woman’s Herbal, Healing Drinks, The Complete Floral Healer and Drugs in Pots. How Does my Garden Grow?  I am also pretty green-fingered and my Artemis’ Garden is a herbal Eden representing the journey through a woman’s life expressed through herbs, with about 150 different species. You‘ll find raspberry leaves to make for a trouble-free birth, herbs for babies and small children to settle their digestions and aid sleep, a moon garden with herbs for menstrual cycles and herbs such as ashwagandha, wild yam and lady’s mantle to promote fertility. Then there are crone’s/wise women’s herbs to promote wisdom and spiritual connection such as holy basil, Daura, hyssop, vervain and sage. The garden is a glimpse into the world of herbs and you can come and walk around the spiral on summer evenings. I also use the garden for teaching in many of the courses. You can find more information here.

Ithaka Roddam
Photographer
ITHAKA RODDAM

I am a London-based photographer and cook. If I’m not taking photos I am usually found cooking for private dinners, fashion shoots and yoga retreats (find out more here). My photography is primarily portrait and music-based, although fashion and nature are an integral part of my work. Having assisted fashion photographs Frederike Helwig and Juergen Teller among others, I have spent the last year and a half travelling extensively in California, Mexico and South America whilst also concentrating on my music portfolio, recently working with Sony and Universal in London shooting press shots and album work. Ever since I can remember I have always seen everything as a photo frame. I am constantly looking for an image in everything, it’s completely automatic. I am always looking to see something beautiful and apply this sensibility to every image I snap. In this way I have control over every aspect of the scene I am capturing and know that I am creating my own story from what I see in front of me. Mostly working with 35mm film, Polaroid and natural light, my images often create untold narratives where the viewer becomes lost in the ambiguity of the photographs. The basis of my work is to create images rather than take them.

Jen Speirs
Pilates Queen!
JEN SPEIRS

My name is Jen Speirs.  Ten years ago I had a quote on my fridge that said “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you’ve imagined“, by Henry D. Thoreau. So I did, and now I live in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica in a small two-bedroom home, within walking distance from the beach, with my two young children and husband. I have a dreamy ocean view Pilates studio on the roof of a luxury hotel called Florblanca.  There is a one-lane dirt road that parallels the ocean between my house and  my studio that I take to work on my scooter.  Most days I have at least one moment where I laugh to myself and feel like I am dreaming… because it’s the life I had imagined. I used to have quotes on my fridge, now I have finger-painting masterpieces by my four-year-old son.  And in my fridge I have locally handmade, organic, pineapple yogurt and watermelon, papaya, pineapple, strawberries, grapes, swiss chard, pumpkin, carrots, celery, basil, parsley, broccoli, zucchini, chocolate chips, champagne, pipas, blackberry jelly, almond butter, Bragg amino acids, tahini, raw butter, eggs, walnuts, pecans, almonds and macadamias.  I’m not a vegetarian, just don’t have meat in the fridge right now.

Heather Elton
Om Photographer
HEATHER ELTON

I am a yoga teacher and photographer. Clint Eastwood’s cinematographer, Bruce Surtees, taught me how to use my Nikon while I was working on a film set back in the 80s. I studied film at Concordia University and, after a few years working in the industry, I developed a passion for still photography that has continued to the present moment. These days, my main work is yoga and I’m very blessed to get to travel to India and teach in magical places. What can I see through my lens? I try to make time to go on a photographic and spiritual sadhana wherever I go. For me, photography is a physical and spiritual act that uses Dristi (gaze) to ‘see’ through the veils of Maya (delusion), filtering my conditioned ‘view’ towards the emptiness of Self, or the pure essence of what exists. Photography is a spiritual journey that involves substantial physical effort, in a similar way that I put effort into my yoga practice. Ultimately, my intention with photography is to reveal the spirit of ‘the place,’ whether that is found in the Himalayas or the intrinsic devotion of a stone carving. I try to see the essence of the subject in front of me. The great cinematographer, Vilmos Zsigmond, once said, “Photography is writing with light.” For me, the light is the Guru and photography is a spiritual journey to merge with the divine light within. My photography is represented by Designpics/Axiom Photographic Agency in London.

Denise Leicester
Wise Owl
DENISE LEICESTER

I am a qualified nurse, aromatherapist, yoga teacher and founder of spa and beauty brand ILA. Daisy and I both live in the Cotswolds where we often meet at our local organic farm shop to drink chai and set the world to rights. I have put together some video meditations using my own chantings for SPA.Kitchen which we really hope will help to transport you back to yourself. I am passionate about the connection between mind, body and spirit and I am becoming more and more conscious about the effects of what I put in my stomach. I have to share responsibility with my husband John on the contents of our fridge. I think we may be remedy addicts. You’ll find Vitamin C Aerobic 07, stabilised oxygen, double helix water, raw apple cider vinegar, Alpro organic soya milk, Waitrose organic houmous (bit old), Taifun smoked tofu, gluten-free multi-seed bread, some organic mushrooms, asparagus, fennel, an aubergine half, courgettes, baby tomatoes, some spinach (needs throwing out), spring onions and some goat’s butter. For snacking, we have Pulsin protein bars, Bounce bars and loads of Naked veggie bars (John’s favourite). Beyond the fridge I also have three full drawers of amazing remedies: one for me, one for John and one that we share. John has just found some boswellia in the utility room.

Rosalyn Dexter
Design Expert
ROSALYN DEXTER

Beginning with my studies as a young student, I have been involved  in architecture and design for over 30 years. Early on I developed a successful design company creating luxury lifestyle buildings. After many years in the field I found design, however beautiful, if only for the sake of itself, it was not fulfilling. I had always had a  passion  for creating environments that nurtured and had previously  studied psychology of design, ergonomics and  colour theory, along with some esoteric arenas. To enhance my knowledge and  step further into empirical evidence, I took a mature person’s extended gap year. This was to investigate how our brain ticks in relation to our environment, during this time I found evidence of a profound route to life enhancing design. Though at the time I didn’t recognise how long the research would ultimately take, I  ended up spending  near on 20 years on this path of discovery. Once I grew an understanding of how  deliberate  design could trigger deliberate neurological change, there was no going back to a traditional approach to design, not when we could have so much more. Having  spent years weaving the evidence together, I  created a process we could apply to our own environment and wrote  four books, most recently, Design is a Mind-Field.

Catherine Turner
Yogic Angel
CATHERINE TURNER

My career as a journalist and editor on women’s glossies such as Easy Living and Marie Claire has allowed me to combine my love of writing with my passion for beauty and health. I turned to yoga as a way to balance my busy schedule and I have been practising for 14 years. In 2012, I headed for a remote ashram in the Himalayas to deepen my studies. Since then, I’ve been back to India three times and completed my yoga teacher training at London’s Triyoga. I now teach, travel and write for titles such as Tatler, Conde Nast Traveller, Psychologies and Porter.  Constantly trying to find balance, I love to get the most out of life – to be out socialising, knowing what’s going on in fashion, music, film, food, books and art – that’s the external. But it’s equally important to explore our inner world through silence, solitude, spending time in nature. Living a yogic life helps – each day is a new start, to meditate first thing and make the most of each and every moment. Find me @Catherineyogi

Charlie Anderson
Fashion Goddess
CHARLIE ANDERSON

My career background is in the glossy world of fashion; I currently work as a freelance stylist and I am privileged to have followed the calling of my heart to become a yoga teacher. I am a proud wife and a mother to two little girls, a truth-seeker striving to live as authentically as possible, striking the right balance in life so that it may be full of contentment, joy and an abundance of love. What’s in my wardrobe? A huge amount of beautiful shoes I never get around to wearing! I live in jeans and I am not loyal to any brand; I wear from MiH to J Brand, Whistles to ASOS and Topshop. My winter uniform is denim, boots (my faves being my vintage Vivienne Westwood pirate boots that I sourced from Gumtree) and knitwear (I love the new cashmere range at Zara). Summer is not dissimilar – I just switch to t-shirts from J Crew and Ancient Greek sandals. I have made a pact with myself to wear a skirt or dress at least once a week and I loath cheap hosiery. I love leopard print, gold hoop earrings and rarely leave the house without a scarf (even in summer). When I teach I wear Teeki yoga leggings because the colours and patterns make my heart sing. I love to get dressed up and for shoot days I will flit between my Stewart Parvin couture cigarette trousers or a Whistles skirt. I adore flat shoes; pointy, brogues, skater but never trainers. I think a good coat is essential but on those rare crisp dry cold days I’d rather just wear layered up knitwear (chunky beige Prada sweater under a grey alpaca Nicole Farhi cardigan is a winning combo).

Christopher Johnson
Artist
CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON

I was born and raised in Africa before arriving in England where I subsequently made my home in Gloucestershire. Travelling widely for my work I have exhibited  in Britain, Europe, America, South Africa and Australia. My paintings sit at a table where I like to feast sumptuously on the colour of life, the touch of it where that rubs into the equivalent of paint at its most tactile and the immediacy of the subject that most moves me at the time. This can vary from a landscape which I will travel to, to wholly absorb the skin of the place, its temperature and the accident and incident of the unintended as the painting jostles to a finish, or within the cushion of this background, a nude figure cast in the massage of light in a landscape, or the stillness of the studio. All of this activity is fashioned through the prism of a medium using beeswax and linseed oil, handed down from the time of Rubens. My influences breathe as much through the tendrils of art history as they do from apparently arbitrary experience, for what is more vital than a conversation with another painter over a glass of wine, the sound of cicadas in an olive grove or leaves dry-brushing against branches through autumn.

Amanda Cross
Healthy Cook
AMANDA CROSS

I have been many things in my life – beauty therapist, make-up artist, television presenter, journalist, author and fitted in a whole host of other jobs in-between. But however varied the career path, the one constant has always been an interest in good food. There is nothing more therapeutic than making a steaming vat of chicken soup, nothing more healing than cooking a gorgeous hearty dinner for friends and nothing more vital than nurturing oneself with nutritious and healthy fuel. The day I cease to do the above will be the day I give up cooking professionally as the most important ingredient will be gone – love. Sound a bit hippy-dippy? Well, I suppose I am a tad. My favourite pastime is to combine a long hot bath with watching a TED talk on my iPad. Relaxing the body whilst being inspired by some of the greatest minds on the planet is my idea of heaven. If you were to explore my pantry you would find an eclectic selection of my essential ingredients – truffle oil, chilli flakes, Marmite, pomegranate molasses, porcini stock cubes, tamari, dried herbs and more spices than you can poke a wooden spoon at. The list is endless. The key to eating seasonal is the seasoning, that’s how you keep it rich and varied.  A bit like my life really…

Emily Walker
Photographer
EMILY WALKER

I am a film photographer based in Surrey and for as long as I can remember I have loved photographs. As a child I would endlessly pore over our family albums, smiling at the memories captured in the beautiful grain of the 35mm film. I still love to use the camera my Dad passed down to me. My early career then led me into make-up artistry where I worked on a number of successful campaigns and learnt a lot in the process. Over time as my three gorgeous babies arrived, I rediscovered my passion for photography and after experimenting with film again I knew I had found what I was meant to do. To me there is an essence to film that captures emotions perfectly, a depth that is more real and beautiful somehow. There is something magical about the whole process of film, to this day I still get ridiculously excited to receive my photographs back from development, just as I did when I was young when they would be posted back from Kodak.  I specialise in natural light portrait photography, photographing sweet newborns, giggly children, families and a limited number of niche weddings (see  www.emilywphotography.com). But my most important job remains being a mother of three growing children.

SUSAN CHALOM
Adventurer
SUSAN CHALOM

I have been many things: a successful financier, interior designer, entrepreneur and modern artist – but after shaking free my Wall Street roots, I decided to direct my creative energies and business prowess towards a new career in design and photography.  I love the constant activity of Manhattan life and exploring new finds, especially the evolving health scene. But whilst I love good food, I have to admit I don’t really cook. I’m that typical New Yorker – champagne and chocolate in the fridge and not much else!  I am always yearning for new and diverse experiences. I love exploration – Africa , India, China, South America, New Zealand and Scandinavia – pretty much anywhere and everywhere. I love to keep moving. It is utterly thrilling to leave the monotony of the corporate work-week behind and I have redesigned my home nearly 10 times over the past two decades with new paintings, photographs and artifacts from my travels. I hope I never stop.

MIRA MANEK
Travelling Foodie
MIRA MANEK

I love words and travel and I love healthy food – the first two translated into a career in a travel writing, visiting lots of delicious spas and describing all that I felt and saw, and the latter has formulated itself into an exciting chef life, creating a new concept of light Indian-inspired cuisine, doing supper clubs and feasts, working with hotels and restaurants and publishing a book. Wellness and food hand-in-hand, and therefore wellness destinations where food (and, of course, yoga) are an integral part of the programme are just my thing! I also love yoga retreats abroad, doing yoga in the sun, meeting others on their own enlightening journeys and eating the most simple and scrumptious food. Yoga, for me, is meditation – the flow, the rhythm, the way each asana leads to the next and the focus on this moment, on now. And so I bring together all my different loves of writing, cooking, dreaming, creating and yoga-ing into my artistic food career, dabbling in a few retreats here and there – where I’ll be sure to get into the kitchen – and writing the odd review!  www.miramanek.com@miramanek

Olivia Tanner
Beauty Bee
OLIVIA TANNER

I first met Daisy in the Tatler beauty cupboard (yes, it was possibly the world’s smallest office). I was Tatler’s Health and Beauty Director for 10 years, a job that took me literally all over the world and we instantly bonded over our love of travel and spas. My current favourite? It’s probably Schloss Elmau, a fairytale-like castle hotel tucked away in the Bavarian Alps. It’s a place you can down dog with some of the world’s best yoga teachers, ski, have a watsu floating massage in a rooftop pool and you can bring your kids. A self-confessed beauty addict, my husband nearly divorced me recently, when I arrived home with an extra suitcase of new products I found on a trend-hunting trip to Seoul.  I’m all about shifting through the science, the PR jargon and the snake oil to find out what really, really works. From the life-changing foundations that take 10 years off your face to the body cream that helps you feel better on a hangover. I want results.  Right now, I juggle my time looking after my two daughters and writing regularly on health and beauty for Conde Nast Traveller, Brides,  Boat InternationalThe EditPorter magazine and You magazine. I also consult for a number of big beauty brands. I’m thrilled to be part of the SPA.Kitchen team and look forward to sharing my latest beauty discoveries with you.

 

Lydia Bell
Travel Junkie
LYDIA BELL

I am a writer and traveller by nature and also by trade, thankful to be paid for getting under the skin of foreign places, something I’ve been instinctively trying to do from an early age. On the spa front, over the years I’m grateful to have written for Daisy at Tatler and Condé Nast Traveller, as well as in my roles editing travel supplements for magazines including Harper’s Bazaar and House & Garden. The word ‘spa’ for me does not conjure up visions of no-end, no-point, pampering (although now and again, there’s definitely a place for it!). Instead, I have a corner of my heart reserved for medicalised gut cleansing institutions, and I love the ‘punishment’ of a bootcamp. But, most of all, I am drawn to healing, holistic havens that ignite deep, transformative change, places which gently teach you to hum to the rhythm of who you really are – the endgame of us all. Travelling above all is about connecting with other people who can show you a different way, and that might include healers, therapists and guides. In order to experience this, it is not always necessary to leave your front door. Which is why I am thrilled to be associated with Daisy Finer, a woman who understands all this more than me – and to be allowed to perch on the welcoming hearth of SPA.Kitchen, a touchstone for anyone who is a conscious work in progress, who wishes to be healthier and more free in mind, body and spirit.

Paul Rushton
Explorer
PAUL RUSHTON

I am a freelance travel, food and family writer and co-founder of the Balance Plan, where we share sweetest, simplest pleasures and celebrate the richness sprung from humility and an open spirit. I am driven by dedicated and oft-neglected process; seasonal, culinary, natural and human; by growing and making from scratch rather than buying, and by the symbiosis we may enjoy with nature and people the world over if we are humble, kind and instinctive. As a traveller and travel writer I like the path grown-over and the journey that does not dirty. I am happiest with the sparse and the simple, where subtle, elemental pleasures can be sensed and I can truly be in a place, minimally encumbered by human luggage. My love of travel which transports, cultural immersion and good, honest, fragrant food are inextricable; both are tantalising and medicinal. I am a hungry reader and writer, patient allotment tender and an intuitive cook, passionate about intelligent spicing and reclaiming our learning from salespeople and vested interest. Most of all I am a husband and a father to two wild and wonderful girls and janitor to our 200-year-old Kentish cottage, each of which ensures that every memorable journey is balanced by a joyful return.

Nicole Correia
Social Media Guru
NICOLE CORREIA

My name is Nicole Correia and I am a perpetually hungry soul. My stomach rumbles when I think of adventures, endurance sport, journeys, experiences, pampering beauty treats and, of course, delicious food. I am big on self-discovery and intuition; my recipe for this is challenge mixed in with equal measures of escape and relaxation. I am a millennial that always follows that gut feeling, adores escaping the city for the countryside and is inspired by physical movement, conversations and the idea of nourishing the soul. I came knocking on SPA.Kitchen’s doors to deliver compliments to the chef and, within a few minutes, I had grabbed an apron to begin gathering ingredients, ideas, images and captions. I source, create and share everything on SPA.Kitchen’s social media accounts helping to connect our sisterhood here with the rest of the world. I also write for SPA.Kitchen on my favourite little comforts or discoveries. Small plates and wine may be the one route to my heart but beautiful jewellery, satisfyingly muddy trainers and that ‘spa smell’ also make me very, very happy. I am a yogi, a diary-keeper, bon viveur, morning person, writer, lover and I am thrilled to be here.

JANE ALEXANDER
Zen Tourist
JANE ALEXANDER

I was born tangled in lotus pose to a family of karate-kickers, mantra-wailers and herb-botherers.  I tried very hard to arm-wrestle my DNA and spent several years as a music journalist (Evening Standard) and sex correspondent (ELLE) before fate gave me a stern rap across the knuckles.  I’ve been writing about holistic health, wellbeing and spiritual shenanigans ever since, scribbling the Daily Mail’s Self pages alongside features for everything from i-D to Psychologies, the Telegraph to Top Santé.  Somehow along the way I wrote over 20 books, including the bestselling Spirit of the Home , The Natural Year, The Detox Plan  and Wellbeing & Mindfulness. My remit to myself has always been to cut out the bullshit and give honest reports on what really works. Ten page spa menus or fluffy ‘rituals’ make me twitch – I like my retreats really real, my ‘journeys’ epic and my bodywork verging on the surgical. If I don’t sob cathartically into my kale smoothie I come away faintly disappointed. I’m a keen but lacklustre yogini, a slapdash meditator and a vegan who occasionally loses the plot and snuffles bacon rind.  I’m in love with deep baths, wild-floating, fire-gazing, belly-laughs, my dog’s ears, my son’s smile, kindness, honesty and those amazing moments of synchronicity and serendipity that make life so magical.   Find me at www.exmoorjane.com or flailing wildly around Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.

ALICE SHEPPARD FIDLER
Artist
ALICE SHEPPARD FIDLER

My first love is paint. The colours, the smell, the texture of it. Its versatility. It appears in everything I do. My still life paintings at the moment combine beautiful objects I have collected over the years with elements from the natural world. Both the act of painting and that of growing vegetables and flowers are a form of meditation for me. I have time by myself, to just be. Moving the family out of London to the Cotswolds has given us all the space and time we greatly needed. London is for work, the countryside is for living. I am inspired by the landscape, its ever changing tones and patterns. I love feeling the weather on my skin and being guided by the seasons.  I am working on a large scale series of landscape paintings. My creative journey from art college days has lead me through textile design, interior design, painting large scale murals to production design for TV and film. Currently I work as a set designer for fashion photographers. Who knows what will happen next? My other loves are my family, I am passionate and proud of them, and yoga which is like a thread that leads me through life. Daisy and I met at our local yoga class. She is an inspiration.

Olivia Brown
DJ in the House!!
OLIVIA BROWN

I am the SPA.Kitchen DJ. I have created a selection of music playlists which you can follow on Spotify (you can join this brilliant music streaming service for free, just head here), ranging from the perfect sound tracks for exercising or cooking, to my favourite weekly tune. Each month I’ll be adding new lists as well as one featured album – so, if, like Daisy(!), you find it hard to keep up with what’s going on in the music world, or love to listen to old classics and discover new gems then join us. Daisy and I are cousins and have bonded over a mutual love of yoga, healthy food, chocolate and afternoons spent lolling about watching foreign films. Meanwhile I am a contemporary dancer and yoga teacher and dabble in a multitude of various artistic projects – always searching for new ways of expression. I run the risk of being glutinous on music. It completely satisfies my need to ‘switch off’; a mediative state. Coming from a dance background, I have been fortunate enough to meet so many musicians who have influenced my music taste. At the moment I am listening to Rufus Wainwright, FKA Twigs, The Black Keys and The National. Other staples within my music diet include Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush, Nick Drake and, of course, TLC.

CAROLINE MEADE
Life Coach
CAROLINE MEADE

Hi, I’m Caroline. I’ll be writing articles to help you delve into your emotions, heal aspects of yourself and your life, give you tips and techniques on how to make significant changes and bring you regular guided meditations to help you on your path to live a wonderful life.  I am a Life Coach and Intuitive Reader and have worked for the past eight years helping people to understand and get to know their true self, uncover their potential and live a fulfilled and purposeful life. Through my work I aim to encourage and support this process for great change. I also help people create their own Success Path through my Mindful Motivating Membership Club, where I hope to bring people on a monthly journey of self-discovery while being fully supported. I am blessed to be able to intuitively feel other’s emotions and have always had an ability to almost know what someone needed to clear within themselves. Throughout my work I wanted to blend the spiritual side of life by connecting to my higher self and follow my deep intuition while taking practical steps to make changes.  This hasn’t always been easy but completely worth the journey. I love Meditation, having time with my husband and our two beautiful dogs.  I love to have fun and I laugh so often, which I feel is one of life’s greatest feelings. My work has allowed me to have been a columnist for an Irish Magazine – Woman’s Way – for 5 years, to work 1-2-1 with people, record beautiful Guided Meditations, write for people’s websites and teach. I look forward to connecting with you all and bringing you as much guidance and support as I can. You can read more about my work at: www.carolinemariameade.com

 

SAM BURKEY
Yogic Guru
SAM BURKEY

I was thrilled when Daisy asked me to contribute to SPA.Kitchen. As a yoga teacher and wellness coach I meet so many people looking to make more space in their lives… space for the tension in their bodies to dissolve, space to quieten the chatter of the mind, space to contemplate desires and to attune to the whisperings of their deeper self calling them inwards. The yoga style I offer has grown from the fertile soil of 25 years of yoga and movement practice, mind-body enquiry, personal development and extensive training. I integrate elements from many schools of yoga with a broad understanding of anatomy, a fascination with neuro-science and a tenacious curiosity about life.  I meet my real self on the mat… my strength and vulnerability, my joy and pain, my frustration and patience, my rage and compassion, my drive and procrastination, my thinking/feeling patterns and the silent stillness. I ‘m a seeker of joy and wonderment and of how to find contentment when the going gets tough – its an ongoing work in progress!  I’m a lifelong student, curious, thirsty, determined and passionate.  I honour my yoga practice deeply and respectfully for being my lifeline,  keeping me afloat when I’ve felt like i’m sinking and for being my wings when I’ve felt like flying.