March 4, 2019




Pull up a chair, let’s have a chat – a food chat. Shall I go first (confession time, if you like)? 


 I’ll admit, that when working – slaving over a hot keyboard and ramping up the word count, my ‘fuelling’ is predominantly reward based. That’s to say the main ingredient is sugar, biscuit shaped sugar, chocolate shaped sugar, slice of cake shaped sugar, you get the idea. The more words, the more sweet stuff and we all know where this is leading, a massive afternoon crash and the need for forty-winks on the nearest comfy couch. 


Sugar is not food for thought.


“Hello, my name’s Helen and I’m addicted to sugar.

I confess to eating the kids Easter eggs

(in the name of saving their teeth)”


So it was lucky that thanks to a spot of serendipity, I found myself, one Friday evening, sitting in on a Performance Nutrition Advice for Athletes Workshop (I know, I didn’t think I really qualified to be there either), run by possibly the most glamorous person ever to utter the words ‘carb loading’, the very gorgeous Victoria Prendivile.


Victoria Prendiville knows her onions, well, her carbs and proteins. I think she could turn any couch potatoe into an Iron Person just by changing what they pop in their mush. For instance, did you know:


  • Caffeine stops you from absorbing iron, so washing my iron tablets down each morning with a sugar loaded, double shot cappuccino, is a bit of a waste of time all round.

  • And, however hard you cycle, a pork pie is not going to get you up St Bride’s Hill, it’s going to sit in your tum, making like a rock, with only two points of exit (up or down).

  • And, gels need hosing down with about a gallon of water (well, not quite a gallon, but quite a bit of water). Gels are best used for hanging wallpaper, or re-gluing broken china (my opinion, not fabulous Victoria’s).

  • And (very last and) You do need carbs, not the chip-shaped, ready salted sort, more the oat cake, carpet square type.


I am reformed, my breakfast looks like this…










  • I don’t fall asleep whilst standing up. 

  • I can spend all afternoon at my computer, putting words on a page without mounting a raid on the larder.

  • Running no longer feels like a 10 mile Tough-Mudder through treacle.


Thank you Victoria Prendiville, Nutrition Fairy. 
(Victoria Prendiville, Sport and Exercise Performance Dietitian vickyprends@gmail.com)


(Although, I did read this from St Mary of the Berry)


“Cakes are healthy too, you just eat a small slice.” 
― Mary Berry


 Just in case you're tempted....




It was her dream, the café, the food, feeding people, so I shared that too. I made cakes, sometimes just ones for lunch but there were special orders as well, towers of icing and tiny little flower buds, sugar sculptures I could spend a lifetime spinning, and then I made the pasties. I used to make them every morning; traditional, curried or vegetarian. They sold out by nine o’clock. “I need two of you,” Willow always chuckled. 


Extract from The House With Old Furniture


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