Magic Mix!!

Whoop Whoop! My Wonder Woman – Magic Menopause Mix is now being stocked at The Yard on the Rise on Chamberlayne Road NW10. Very excited that the lovely owner Kirsty believed in the product (and me!) and decided to stock a few jars on the shelves of her lovely shop. Well today I found out that they have sold out already and I’m in manic mode to get some more jars together and try and get them on the shelves for the weekend. The response has been amazing, but more importantly it has flagged up the issue of Menopause and how many women feels so unsupported by their health practitioners that they have to go in search of alternatives that will work for them! I’m a massive advocate of there being more information and an open forum where we can talk about our issues and symptoms, explore products and services that have worked for us and share them with women who are going through, or about to go through this massive change in their lives. We are all Wonder Women!!

http://www.gracelandsyard.com

 

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What’s in my smoothie

Every morning this is my ritual: Get out of bed at 6am. I have 25 minutes before my son has to get up. So I usually do a Collagen drink soon after I wake up. I buy the Aeterna Gold Active Marine Collagen from Higher Nature, best to take it on an empty stomach. It’s been doing wonders for my skin! The crepey skin on my hands and neck seems to be smoothing out. I’ve been taking this collagen drink for about 5 weeks now and I can definitely see the difference in my skin tone. I really love this stuff!

After I drop my son then my daughter to the train station, I down one tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar in a glass of water (about 200ml) and then get out the computer and do my 45 minute yoga workout. I do mine online because I am new to yoga and I didn’t want to go into a class and ‘not get it’, it would have put me off and I would probably have avoided yoga all together. At the moment I am doing the ‘Yoga with Adriene ’30 Day Yoga camp’. I’ve already done her ’30 days of Yoga’ and find her videos easy to follow, really inspiring and anyone at any level can do it…..I was not into yoga before, but now I am. I have even mastered downward dog…my ankles can touch the floor!!

After yoga, it’s smoothie time. I am not a breakfast eater. I never like eating solids in the morning, don’t know why, just never have, so a smoothie is perfect breakfast material for me. In my smoothie I have organic spinach, a banana, a handful of blueberries, a chunk of ginger, Coconut and Almond Milk (Rude Health being my favourite brand) and I add a teaspoon of my Wonder Woman – Magic Menopause Mix into my Nutribullet. I love this slightly sweet tasting smoothie in the morning. Sometimes I’ll replace the banana with avocado if I don’t want it too sweet and the avocado gives the smoothie a bit more texture, so you can almost chew it!

I then finish off my morning ritual with Clipper Organic Decaf Tea. I love my tea and since coming off caffeine a few years ago, missed my cuppa in the morning. This is perfect, I have it with a splash of skimmed Goats milk and I am very happy.

 

wonder woman

So for ages I thought I was going bonkers….tbh I always thought I had some madness in me somewhere, but then I found out that the madness was definitely attributed to the Menopause. Read my story here on my friend Meg Mathews fantastic website:

https://megsmenopause.com/2018/03/30/your-stories-janice-vee/

Since my story was published I have had women from all over the country writing to me to ask about my experiences…but also wanting to know more about my ‘Wonder Woman- Magic Menopause Mix’. They’ve all wanted a pot of it’s magical powers (ok, more herbal than magical…but it’s been so amazing for me that I feel I can use that word in all truth)

I started experimenting with different herbs over the last year. I always knew I wanted to treat my menopause with herbal/alternative treatments. I didn’t want to use HRT. I’m not saying that HRT is not a path to go down, all I’m saying is that it wasn’t the right road for me. After lots of trial and error I have come up with a blend that has been my saviour!

It has Ashwagandha in it; this amazing product is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and is used for a wide variety of conditions. It’s usually prescribed as a nerve tonic and adaptogen—an agent which helps the body adapt to various emotional and physical stressors. It’s been used in India for nearly 5,000 years for conditions such as rheumatism, constipation, insomnia, nervous conditions, stress, goiter, joint inflammation, parasites, hormone balance, and more. Ashwagandha helps strengthen the immune system after illness and is a highly effective remedy for anxiety and stress—by lowering cortisol levels. Because of this, it has been an amazing herb for me and my anxiety during the menopause. Not only has it lowered my cortisol levels but it has done wonders to help balance out my hormones..which have been running riot in my body!!

I have also added Maca Root Powder in the mix. This amazing Peruvian plant can also reduce anxiety and depression in peri menopausal and menopausal women, but not only that….it can also help improve memory, increases libido and incredibly reduces hot flashes and disrupted sleep at night! I love this stuff. It tastes slightly sweet and nutty in my smoothie.

Turmeric! Oh how I love this also. Not to everyone’s taste, but when mixed with the other herbs you don’t really taste it in the blend I’ve made. Not only is it anti-inflammatory (which has been great for my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis also) it’s the curcumin in the Turmeric that gives it it’s anti inflammatory and anti oxidant powers. The curcumin helps with anxiety and depression, but it’s amazing benefit is it’s ability to restore brain function…and after a few years of feeling like I have had brain fog and can’t remember where I parked or what the names of my kids are…Turmeric root has been a lifesaver to me! But because the active ingredient curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream however, I have added black pepper to the mix which helps to enhance the absorption by up to 2000%…incredible.

So there you have it: My ‘Wonder Woman – Magic Menopause Mix’. Stay tuned because you will be able to get a pot of your own very soon. I will let you know when. But if you want to know more email me at: janicevee@gmail.com

 

 

Scratch, scratch….itch itch

Over the last 15 years I have been afflicted with psoriasis. After years of doing my own research I’ve been led down many paths to try and cure the mad itch! Ok, so there is no cure, but there are many remedies that help. After years of slapping some coal tar on my flaky plaques of skin (and smelling like a newly tarmacked road!) I realised that the psoriasis had more to do with what I was putting in my body and less with what I put on the outside! It started me on the journey of really finding out why I had this in the first place. It was part hereditary (my dad has it, as well as psoriatic arthritis) and I discovered that I had autoimmune disease; basically my immune system was attacking itself. I went to numerous hospital appointments and after a meeting with a Dermatology consultant I was told that I would have to go on Methotrexate (which is a chemotherapy drug) so I decided that I really had to take matters into my own hands!

Here is a comprehensive list of what helped my psoriasis.

  1. Alkaline Body. What is this? Basically it’s eating more fruit and veg and staying clear of the processed foods. I start my day with either warm lemon water or Apple Cider Vinegar which are both great at alkalining your body. Alkaline means no dairy, sugar and alcohol! Tough diet, and I don’t stick to it 100%, but my theory is that if I try and stick to it most of the time then I am still winning!!
  2. Steer clear of nightshade foods. This is a list of most of my favourite food, so was gutted when I learnt that I should stay away from them. But it does help. Nightshades are: Tomatoes, potatoes, aubergines, peppers and a whole list of others.
  3. Read the book: Healing Psoriasis: The Natural Alternative by John Pagano. There is a step by step regimen in the book about how to heal your psoriasis and also how to do a cleanse along with helpful recipes. Every psoriasis sufferer should buy this book, even if you don’t plan on following it step by step….one day you will!!
  4. The Apple Cider Vinegar and Hemp Oil Wonder! As a topical treatment I have been using Hemp oil (has to be, virgin, organic and cold pressed) and leaving it on for 8 hours. Best to do this at night and wrap some clingfilm around it so it won’t stain your sheets. Then in the morning I shower the hemp oil off ( I use Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap) and apply Apple Cider Vinegar to the patches of scales. The ACV has to be the one with the ‘mother’ otherwise it won’t be as effective. I use Bragg Organic, raw and unfiltered. I also leave the ACV on my skin for as long as I want (the smell wears off after a while) I usually leave it on for about 4-5 hours, but I have only left it on for 45 mins while I get ready to go to work. Since using this treatment, my psoriasis flakes have gone down. My itching has completely disappeared and I can see new skin forming in the centre of the plaques!! Hurray.
  5. Avicenna Centre for Chinese Medicine. This clinic is based in Brighton, so a long way for me to travel, but it was worth it to go and see Mazin Al-Khafaji, who is the leader in the Chinese Herb world for all skin problems. The herbs he gave me pretty much cleared up my psoriasis within a few months. I only had a ‘hard-to-shift’ patch left after the treatment and unfortunately this started to spread again once the itching started. Going to see Mazin is expensive, so you have to factor in about £500 per month on herbs. BUT, they do come already vacuum packed for you to take day and night ( you never get used to the taste, but it’s not unpleasant….just weird!) and the results are incredible. For me it was worth it to know that there is a cure out there and the Chinese herbs are amazing if you have the money and the time to go to the clinic to see him. http://www.avicenna,co.uk
  6. CUT OUT SUGAR! It is the enemy, and your psoriasis will not get better unless you can do this. It’s bloody hard I know! I am a die hard sweet tooth person. This has been a tricky one for me. I can do it in stages. Swap sugar for other treats; my favourite being Bounce balls. Instead of reaching for chocolate I go for a Bounce ball and a cup of Pukka Three Tulsi Tea. It works, I promise. It’s hard….but you can do it…if I can!

Try one, some or all of these remedies. I bought loads of books, spent so much money and these are the things that have worked for me. With my lifestyle, I can never really stick to anything for any length of time and that is my downfall. I really tried the alkaline diet for three months where I cut out sugar, dairy and processed foods and this is the one time in my life where I was 100% psoriasis free. It was incredible and there were loads of other health benefits as well. Unfortunately I couldn’t be this person all of the time. I love takeaways every now and again, I love some Green and Blacks chocolate and I really love crisps!! So I’ve allowed myself my treats and I live my life in conscious awareness of my psoriasis and what I SHOULD be putting in my body. Some days good, some days not so good. Try the Hemp oil and ACV treatment to relieve the itching skin because that is amazing. Here’s a picture of the brands I use. The Hemp oil is from Holland and Barratt. The ACV is from Planet Organic, but I think Holland and Barratt sell it also.

IMG_7435

Shine bright like a……Lumiere London!

Lumiere London 2018…..a feast for all the senses; at every turn we ventured with map in hand in search of the light. And we found it, in all it’s glistening glory dotted around London showcasing artists’ light shows that were not just for the tourists, but for Londoners….for all of us who haven’t walked down the road less travelled recently, this was an opportunity to see another facet of our city. A march along the streets we know so well, yet transformed into blobs and splashes of architectural colour and neon glitz.

We started at Trafalgar Square where we witnessed the mesmerising cloud of balloons by ‘Collectif Coin’ from France, a mix of haunting soundtrack and lighted balloons which flickered on and off in unison with the music. We couldn’t take our eyes off this installation as the balloons swayed in the freezing cold wind. After about 20 minutes we had to keep moving (our toes were falling off!) so we headed west to Westminster Abbey and there we were hit in the face by digital artist Patrice Warreners magnificent ‘The Light of the Spirit’ who brought the Abbey to life by projecting the most vivid colours onto the Great West Gate…it was like Gothic England meets Bollywood/Technicolour! The best thing my eyes have seen in a while. From there we paid homage to ‘My light is your light’, a tribute from artist Alaa Minawi to Syrian refugees as they migrate across the world and the installation of this haloed family as they walked with their heads down was incredibly powerful….there was a stillness around St Jame’s Churchyard to reflect the power behind the lit sculptures. We walked past Chris Plant’s ‘Harmonic Portal’ and then onto the Matisse inspired animation at the Royal Academy of Arts before ending up to Oxford Circus to see Miguel Chevalier’s ‘Origin of the World Bubble 2018’ (a massive globe in the middle of Oxford Street) It definitely was a colour saturated visual experience. I am kicking myself for going to Lumiere for one night only….it’s impossible! With installations dotted around Mayfair, Fitzrovia, Kings Cross, West End and Victoria it has to be done in stages, savoured and admired for the sheer brilliance and madness of what can be done to our sometimes age old structures in London. Next year there will be more indepth planning. I will download the map and make sure I give Lumiere the space and time it deserves. Commissioned by the Major of London, it really did shine a light on our magnificent city and incredible artists from around the world.

Gluten Free London

I have been gluten free for the last five years. I am not a coeliac, I just do it for health reasons and have found that being gluten free is a good option for me and my ailments!!!

It’s often been difficult to find good places to go and eat out. I don’t want to turn into the one person at the table that looks at the menu and says ‘I can’t eat anything on here’. I shudder at the thought of being that person. So therefore I want to be able to go somewhere that is easy, quibble-free, no questions asked!

Here is my list of my favourite restaurants to eat out that cater for a wheat and gluten free diet.

1. Leon. Leon website. If I’m in town for a voice over and need a quick bite to eat I always head to Leon. They are a chain of ‘fast food’ restaurants….with a difference. Most of the menu will give you gluten, dairy and egg free options. They now have milkshakes made with almond milk and it’s my new favourite drink. They also have a bunless burger; chargrilled chicken salad and as a treat I will go for the Moroccan meatballs hotbox! Most of the sweet treats are gluten free, so when ever I go there I always buy my Cranberry Bakewell and Better Brownie by the box load. There is so much option for gluten freers. They have restaurants all over London so they are always on hand when everyone else is popping out for a sandwich.

2. Farm Girl – 59a Portobello Road. Everything from my favourite Charcoal latte made with cashew milk and date syrup to an Acai bowl full of organic frozen Amazonian berries with almond milk and coconut shavings, oh and they do a mean baked eggs in a tomato and parsley sauce served with or without greek yoghurt and freekeh! A must if you are in the area….or just make a special trip to go there anyway.

3. Nopi. 21- 22 Warwick Street, London W1B 5NE. The absolute crispness and fresh flavours is what I love about Nopi. Part of the Ottelenghi empire, it’s fine dining with a twist. The twist is that these delectable morsels come in tapas style. You order a whole selection and then get a taste of everything on the menu to share. Twice cooked baby chicken with lemon myrtle salt and chilli sauce is fall off the bone delicious and crushed beetroot with pistachio and goats cheese is divine. Ottelenghi has a way of flinging ingredients together and making it work; like scallops and pork belly with apple and yuzu sauce….who’d have thought!?

4. Farmacy – 74 Westbourne Grove. I had to put this on the list even though I’m in two minds about it and it’s philosophy. It’s everything we hate about alternative restaurants! It’s does have an air of pretension about it, what with it’s ‘Farmaceutical Syringe Shots’ (I had the Firestarter which is made with turmeric, ginger, cayenne and lemon!! Whoo hoo) that actually come in a syringe and you can choose to put it in a shot glass or squirt it in your mouth….I chose the later. I enjoyed the Mexican Earth bowl with it’s coriander sprouted rice and purple potato mash; but there is something about this place that seems to be trying way to hard. It’s a shame because it does have some great menu choices if you are gluten, dairy and wheat free but it just doesn’t hit the mark with me…oh and it will  burn a hole in your pocket….tres expensive!

 

Please post any good gluten free restaurants that you come across as well, want to check all of them out and make sure I have a comprehensive list going

Breakfast Club

Sorry I haven’t posted for a long time. I was far too busy going out for breakfast!!

It’s no secret that I do love eating and treating myself to a breakfast; after all it is the most important meal of the day!

I call my collective ‘The breakfast Club’ (original) and it’s usually a band of other breakfast-loving individuals who I’m joined by. Sometimes it’s spur of the moment and other times we have to plan in advance. It’s usually on a morning where I don’t have a job, but to enjoy it thoroughly it has to be midweek and it has to be child-free; just so that we get maximum gossip and chat time while the kids are in school.

Here is a list of my favourite breakfast joints. I’ll keep adding to it because the list is long, so check back to see where I’ve been. Okay, they are mostly in North West London (which is where I live) very reluctant to venture into town and would rather go no further than 10 minutes away from home…..but watch this space….I may go breakfast trekking in other parts of London…just to surprise you.

The Parlour – 5 Regent Street, NW10 5LG. Loving this place. It used to be the Aston, then the Regent and then something else and now the Parlour. It’s a cool bar, fabulous decor; I love a bit of bizarre vintage, and this excites on all levels, aesthetically and intestinally (is that a word?) When I go there I order homemade hash browns with scrambled eggs on the side and as much gluten free bread that I can cram down my gullet. I love the ‘all-you-can-eat’ bread, and it’s very rare to be offered gluten free options in most restaurants, let alone a bar. So I love them because they have thought of this, but I also love the fact that everything is freshly prepared and the quirky menu consisting of ‘back door smoked salmon’ (yes smoked out the back door) and the ‘no-subs’ full parlour breakfast and smashed avocado on lazy soda bread has just the right amount of humour! The lunch menu is just as exciting, but it’s the breakfast that I go there for and the fact that it’s always quiet and calm….just enough time to get back to work and squeeze in another slice of gluten free bread!

Daylesford Organic 208-212 Westbourne Grove W11 2RH. Umm Daylesford. Love to eat here. It’s a decadent treat; you sense that from the moment you walk in. And when I say ‘decadent’ I’m not talking five star service and dressing up in shirt and tie kind of decadence….I’m talking about the pure joy of the fabulous shop as you enter with it’s organic produce on display and the little nuggets of gorgeous things to buy that are way beyond your price range, but you buy them anyway (did I really spend £5.50 on a small jar of organic strawberry jam) This is luxury on a very holistic scale! The cafe opens for breakfast at 8am, a decent breakfast hour (as opposed to The Parlour which doesn’t open until 10am) On the breakfast menu is homemade toasted granola with cold pressed almond milk or a full Daylesford English breakfast with all the trimmings. I always opt for scrambled eggs and streaky bacon….in my humble opinion the best breakfast combination there is. There aren’t too many gluten free choices (bread in particular) but that’s okay…..it’s the general ambience and airiness that I get attracted to when I eat here. Tables are somewhat cramped together though and the lack of space adds to the general vibe of hustle and bustle. But as it’s grown popular the lack of tables is obvious. I do love that you can buy what you’ve just eaten and I also love that it’s right opposite ‘Aesop’ which is where I buy my favourite hand balm! Oh the decadence of Westbourne Grove….how I love you x

The Electric Portobello Road W11. I like eating here for breakfast because of three things, it’s good, it’s fast and it’s cheap! Especially if I’m eating here with my friend who has an exclusive Diner Card which gives her 50% off food if you eat before midday! Love that! I always order the same thing; full breakfast with gorgeous maple bacon and homemade hash browns and a small pot of baked beans on the side and washed down with either a green juice or a decaf flat white. Simple and easy going in here and the staff are always attentive .

Jacks 101 Salusbury Road NW6 6NH. I always wanted to eat here. Kept seeing it’s black and white chequered decor and somehow never got around to eating there until last week. As you step into Jacks, you step into a greasy, chip pan smelling world of bustle and confusion. The floor staff have no idea what’s going on. We waited ages to get asked what we wanted and there didn’t seem to be any urgency in sending our order to the kitchen either. Ordered my usual tea, which is bottomless, I love that!! And then went off piste and ordered omelette with ham and cheese (again the same amount of rubbyness on the omelette) My omelette (which took ages to arrive) was flat and pancake like and lacking in any moistness or fluffyness. The ham and cheese was hardly detectable and the hash browns which I ordered on the side were….well…..cooked from frozen!!!! WTF. This is supposed to be a good decent cafe. My formed and well pressed hash browns did not please me I want to go back to the Parlour for some home style hash browns that have been lovingly made by chef’s hands, not bunged in the fryer straight out of the freezer. And this is another sticking point, the whole place really does smell of frying and greasiness. My friend said we would walk out of there smelling like we’d danced with a chip fat fryer….and we did. Whoever Jack is…he should hit the road!

Gracelands 118 College Road NW10 5HD. It’s my ‘go-to’ place when I am meeting up with mum’s after school drop off at the last minute and it’s somewhere to go and have tea, but not necessarily go for a breakfast treat. I love the atmosphere in here and when I’m in the right mood it’s a great place for seeing ‘everyone’ in the neighbourhood. If you’re having a heart to heart or a quiet tete a tete then this isn’t the place for me just because I know too many people who come here; which is fabulous some days and sometimes just annoying! The breakfast is okay, the tea and coffee is okay (hard to get tea wrong) but all my coffee drinker friends prefer to go to L’Angolo next door for a proper Italian coffee. The thing that I do love about Gracelands is the fact that it’s there. I know that’s vague but when it comes down to it, that’s all that I can say. I love the people there, I love the atmosphere and friends that I see. The menu always has different specials on it and in my opinion it needs to step up a gear and maybe it needs to be quirkier like the Parlour to turn it from okay into fabulous. Anyway for a tea and a chat….it’s perfect….and local.

 

Carnival…bonkers!

Yesterday was children’s day at the carnival. So as with most years we always choose Sunday to go down, get the kids to check out the madness of people dancing in the streets and eat jerk chicken and drink a bit of rum punch (me, not kids!!)

This year they witnessed the Panorama steel band competition on Kensal Road on Saturday to see all the majesty of carnival without enduring the crowds.

I’ve always loved going to carnival and the kids enjoyed it up until we got caught up in the gridlock on Portobello Road at around 4.30pm yesterday. Usually by this time we would have been in and out of the carnival; but it took us a good half an hour just to walk from Powis Square to Goldborne Road yesterday. The resulting crush was frightening, especially for my nine year old daughter who became hysterical because she couldn’t get out and people were crushing her on all sides. I tried to make light of it, but even I was feeling a bit scared. What’s happened with the cordoning off of certain roads means it creates unfortunate bottle necks…. and with thousands on people all wanting to walk down the same street and a sound system at the other end, there is no let out!

The gridlock didn’t last long, however I’m hoping that my daughter’s experience doesn’t stay with her forever. I love carnival, but I feel the police need to gauge when and where to let people down the cordoned off streets to stop these gridlocks….in this case we were lucky but it could have been disastrous. There are mobile and static cctv cameras everywhere. The police have to co-ordinate the security and know when there is a real cause of danger and therefore let people move freely down some side streets. This would make the carnival experience more enjoyable, especially on kids Sunday which is supposed to attract families as well as seasoned carnival goers.

However even after all that I still love the fact that we can party in the streets, some residents can charge £2 for toilets in their homes and random people try to sell you those bloody annoying whistles everywhere! I did however buy my daughter a whistle on the way back home, just to cheer her up….well it was made out of ‘loom bands’!

Mad Hatter

I love hats! My whole family wear hats. My mother wears one, my father loves a flat one, my brother loves a trilby and I just love any hat for any occasion. 

Hats cover up a bad hair day. enhance a good one and mostly I’ve found them to be a good talking point to start a conversation with complete strangers. Random people in the street comment on my hats, weirdly I feel more approachable with a hat on….I have more to say for myself. It’s become part of my identity, friends even comment if I’m not wearing a hat; somehow it makes me feel exposed and naked without one. 

Hats can be fun, flirty and sometimes necessary (especially on a bad hair day) 

There is nothing quite like buying a hat that fits perfectly; it has to match your style as well as your head. My favourite milliner in London has to be Jess Collett and her now iconic shop on the All Saints Road W10. You can see glimpses of her fabulous creations from the outside but it’s not until you step inside her studio that her true mastery is unveiled. Jess Collett hats make me smile and when I see one I like….I must have it!

This summer I’ll be mostly wearing a Jess Collett hat with a pink neon strip around the brim; and I’m wearing it not to get noticed, but because it’s in my blood!!!

neon hat

Umm Neon!!

Jess Collett Hats 

Jess_Collett_Trilby_Front_View_FINAL

Down the market

 

Antique markets are my thing. I have to admit I do love the old musty smell of something second hand and used. The fact that it’s a one off. You never know where it’s come from but all you know is you must have it.

I have many favourite markets to go Vintage and food shopping in and around London and here are some of my favourites:

1) Camden Passage, Camden Passage N1. Filled with the best of everything in a tiny strip behind Islington Upper Street, you can find everything from vintage clothes to tea cups (insert drool here) Teacups are my guilty pleasure. I have them everywhere in my house. They fill every cupboard, shelf and mantlepiece. I have made them into candles, candelabras and up lighters. There is nothing quite as decadent as drinking a cocktail out of a teacup….so therefore I have collected many. Amongst all the vintage paraphenalia at Camden Passage there is a lovely shop that is full to the brim of tea cups, tea pots, plates and all things china, porcelain and ceramic. It’s my dream cove….the woman who owns it all is so knowledgable in her passion and she can tell you whether a cup is circa 1890 or 1990. Defenetely worth venturing into this market on Wednesday afternoons.

2) Sunbury Antique Market – Kempton Racecourse. Just doing the hour drive to Kempton on a Tuesday morning gets my heart racing. Not knowing what you’ll find, a complete and utter treasure trove of goodies. I have a wondering eye, so I always go there with one item in mind and end up buying lots of other things that I don’t need and so never quite find the item I’m looking for; which means I always have to make sure I go to the next one! Many of the Kempton regulars (many stylists and set designers) will tell you that you need to get there at the crack of dawn for a bargain and to grab the item you want. But if like me you just want to go for a bit of browsing and you are not restricted to having to find something for a photo shoot then going at around 9.30 gives you plenty of time to take it all in. We always end up finishing off our morning at Kempton with a cup of tea and a toastie from the toastie truck….oh and struggling back to the car with an armful of stools….that I don’t need!

3) Portobello Market – Portobello Road. Okay so this market is not so off the beaten track….in fact quite the opposite; mostly full of tourists buying a London bag than actual bargain hunters. In fact I don’t think you can get a bargain from Portobello anymore. But on a Friday Morning when the tourists are still figuring out which tube line to take to Ladbroke Grove, there is the wonderful mixture of hotch potch stalls and shops along the whole of Goldborne Road. There’s a bloke that just has cardboard boxes of shit (mainly tea cups and plates) and if you have the time and the inclination you can grab some bargains from about 50p. I love the idea of bartering but it’s a muscle that needs to be used everyday and I’m still a novice at it. I’m not sure I’ve got brilliant bargains in the past, but I do know that sometimes a bit of flattery will get you everywhere! So my suggestion for going to Portobello is to only go on a Friday, not a Saturday unless you have a death wish, and to start at the Goldborne Road end and work your way up that end down the Portobello Road…and pick up a large ‘open’ lunch box from ‘The Grain Shop’ for your journey.

4) Queens Park Farmers Market – Salusbury Road NW10. Sundays only. This is part of my manor (well a hop and skip away) I resented spending £4 for a slice of gluten free raspberry cake when I first went there, but now they have the indoor clothes and crafts section it has suddenly made this market a bit more appealing to me. Selling everything from cushions to linen to childrens clothes QP market has something for everyone. My favourite thing to do there is to buy a bit of organic meat and veg for Sunday lunch and then browse the indoor section for something I really don’t need but must have!

5) Brixton Village Market housed in the old Granville Arcade. This market takes me back to my youth. Having been born and brought up in South London I remember going with my mum to this market when it just stank of fish (I think mum would buy her bombay duck from here) and had nothing more exciting than a packet of Spangles. But since 2009 the Brixton market of old has all but disappeared albeit a few of the old stalls still there; it has well and truly been injected with a whole new lease of market life. From new vintage shops to yummy deli’s. My only hope is that it doesn’t lose the vibe it had when I was younger. I haven’t been there in years and what I loved about it was that it truly was a market that served the whole community; and even though it smelt of dried fish there was something very lovely about that. I’m going to investigate the improved market and will report back with photo evidence.