Medieval nights, macrobiotic days, and ‘Horrible Bosses’!


Debbie in her medieval fineryDon't worry QVC management, I mean the film 'Horrible Bosses', review below! Plus – what happened when Craigy and co. went with me to the medieval banquet, including his very funny jester dance.

And the lowdown on my hol in Scotland – discovering how food can totally affect your health, along with ginger compresses, seaweed baths and fabulous cookery classes!

Medieval nights
Debbie, Craig, Justine and Lee arrive at the medieval banquet venueLast week I had one of the funniest nights out I've had in a long while – being entertained Henry VIII style at the medieval banquets in St. Catherine's Dock in London – and howling at Craigy's attempts at making some serious moves, dressed as a jester!

We had great food, fun entertainment, including singing and dancing from the wenches, plus acrobats and jugglers, then a fab 'fight' between two knights – ours was Sir Edward – who was the one who lost! Typical!

The gang in their medieval costumesPart of the fun was dressing up – our Living Social voucher had included costume hire (it goes over the top of your own outfit) and the four of us ended up looking like we were part of the court – specially good pal Lee Hohbein (IT guest) and Justine Balmer (Gtech regular guest). Trust Craig to go the whole hog with the hat too – soooo funny even from the outset people were asking him for drinks 'cos they thought he was part of the staff! Lol.

Anyway after the 'do' was over, there was a disco, and that's when Craig came into his own. A good night, and a 'rehearsal' for what I'm doing for my 'big birthday' in May with 30 of my family! They don't know what they're letting themselves in for! Mind you, there won't be a Jester like Craig there I'm sure – or anywhere come to that! He totally totally made my night – haven't laughed so much for ages! So much so, he's…

…This week's blooper!

What more do I need to add!? Every night out should have a Craig attached! Lol.

Debbie does cooking! And Macrobiotic health Magic with Marlene!
Debbie and Marlene with their miso soupThis week's hol has been one of my highlights of the year, and a good contender for this month's TiFFT*.

At Penninghame in Scotland, I learned how to cook delicious macrobiotic food every afternoon, had some fabulous therapies every lunchtime, did lots of yoga and 'chi-ball' every morning, and learned daily about how the food you eat affects your health. Big time. All in some of the most unbelievable grounds and all with some wonderful people – including Marlene Watson-Tara.

Now if you're a regular you'll know how much I've been on about food affecting how you feel, and if you've seen the same videos as me you may well feel the same. But in case you have no idea about all this, here's an interesting fact.

The World Health Organisation and other major scientific-based agencies say that something like 65-70% of the major degenerative diseases amongst our Western world could be PREVENTED with the right diet. That's cutting out the aggravators – specially sugar and much dairy – and adding some of the most amazing foodstuffs we've lost sight of over the last 50 years or so – especially wholegrains and vegetables, including seaweeds etc. Compare the two food pyramids (just click on the pics to see them in a larger window).

                              US diet food pyramid                  Macrobiotic food pyramid

Debbie, Marlene and the group cooking at PenninghameI found out all about it on a week's course in superb surroundings, and met some marvellous people. We had such a laugh along the way and I've got to say Marlene and the gang are some of the most lovely people I've ever met! And some of the best times of the week were in the kitchen, concocting some amazing recipes and dishes – the macrobiotic way! 'Cos guess what – Debbie did cooking!

Debbie does cooking!Now not a lot of people know this (!) but I am not a good cook. I know! Bet that surprised you! (NOT! – if you're a regular to my kitchen shows!) lol. So how proud was I when – yes, believe it or not, Debbie Did Cooking! Marlene was a fantastic teacher, and taught me some confidence I've never had before. So now, instead of being scared of a recipe, I'll tackle it with a bit more gusto. Who knows, I may even stick to it too.

I'm certainly, almost at the end of the hol, feeling so much more healthy than before. I wasn't terrible before – you may know I exercise and eat quite well. But my gut had definitely got sluggish, and they diagnosed some kidney and adrenal issues in the making whilst I was there. So I had some excellent advice to take away with me, and the prospect of minimising my chances of ill health going forward.

It's not even new science. Although some of the latest studies make me wish every ill person I know – 'specially those with diabetes or arthritis or heart issues or tummy problems – could just open their minds to find out more. Marlene kindly had a little chat with me all about it one evening.

Now I know it's each to their own – and we all have to choose what's right for us. But if you don't know the facts, sometimes it's hard to know why some things are better than others. Marlene's book is very enlightening and packed full of recipes and fun ideas – plus it's not about being rigid and perfect. The 80/20 rule will probably be what I stick to!

Marlene and her lovely hubby Bill Tara, one of the pioneers of macrobiotic living, (more info on his site), even have the occasional glass of wine or champagne, so maybe I'll be able to sneak in the odd square of something tasty! But in the meantime, I'm aiming to keep going. Mainly 'cos after May 10th I'll be in my 50s. EEK!

So I'm gonna go check out Marlene's recipe and fitness videos on YouTube (search 'the recommendation station') with tons of case stories about the illnesses she's helped tackle. And in a few weeks' time, when I do my proper full-on three week cleansing intensive, I'll feature her again – with a comp to win one of her books! And it was certainly one of the best weeks I've ever spent, and highly recommended if you'd like to go on the next one too, in the autumn (

Seaweed bathMarlene recommends some fascinating therapies, and considering how depleted we all are of minerals nowadays, and how bad some soil can be and therefore the food that's grown in it is not great, she gave us some seaweed (proper stuff from the Isle of Bute) to bathe in – very smelly but packed full of minerals and very relaxing!

Marlene taught us home remedies every lunchtime, and one of the days, Debbie after her ginger compressI received a ginger compress on my back to help detox the kidney area – sooo therapeutic it was! And did the job of bringing the circulation to the skin – as this pic shows! (P.S. no, the tattoos do NOT say 'quality, value and convenience!' Hehe.)

One of the most amazing aspects of the course was face reading' – or Bo-Shin (the art of seeing), whereby recognising features on the face may indicate future health issues within the body. Bill Tara has written his own book on the general topic, and if you're looking for the quick lowdown on what dark circles under the eyes mean, for instance, maybe go read 'Your Face Never Lies' by Michio Kushi – utterly fascinating skill for a dinner party! Lol!

Debbie gets stuck in the windowAnd finally, I ended up with so much energy, that when we got locked out one day I tried to climb in through a window – and got stuck! Now this followed two days of being absolutely pooped as I started to 'discharge' – unable to keep my eyes open, (and being such a numpty in the unaccustomed early mornings, I even put my scarf too near a candle and singed it!).

But days later, here I was trying to squeeze through a window as my two 'roomies' killed themselves laughing and took pics of me! Found a bigger window to climb in soon after though! Hehe! P.S. footnote to Mr Back Of My Tandem – I did NOT appreciate being asked 'wasn't there someone younger around who could have done it?'!! The failure of the first attempt was more to do with size of backside and the small dimensions of that particular window. Not my age. So ner! Lol.

Debbie and her miso soup'Solo Cougar's Survival Kit' tip #19 of 20. OK, it's an obvious one if you know about macrobiotic food, but ladies this week I'm recommending you get a daily dose of miso soup into your routine! We had it every day for breakfast! I even made my own on one of the days.

Sooo delicious, and it's the fermented bean curd enzymes that are so good for our digestion, therefore considering the vast majority of our immune system is affected by the gut, it's an obvious one to get yourself date-ready and healthy enough to enjoy a new relationship when it comes along! (along with sensible diet, blah blah!) Final tip next week!

Facebook and Tweet talk
By request of those on my Facebook page this week, who'd been following my progress all week and asking to know more, here's that link to a video doing the rounds on AOL etc. that summarises why sugar in particular is so bad. It's only 14 minutes long, and what's more, it's the high profile 'Sixty Minutes' programme in America, not a privately made or niche video at all.

Amazing new developments and incredible groundbreaking info. Fascinating stuff eh! What do you think of all this? Let me know! This week's Facebook funny

And to end the piece, here's a funny circulating online – an alternative way to looking younger – just to end on a smile!

The lounge at PenninghameWATCH – three of us stayed in the most amazing lodge on the grounds – bit like those Swedish lodges you see, with lovely underfloor heating, and our own entertainment centre.

So this week's WATCH is a DVD we saw together one night – 'Horrible Bosses'! Pat didn't like it much, but Maria and I thought it was quite fun! Three stories intertwine, of mates who hate their bosses, and the way they plan to get rid of them. I am, as you may know, a Kevin Spacey and Jennifer Aniston fan, so with both of them in it, it was a must-watch! It was a bit silly in parts, but if you like 'The Hangover' and Steve Carrell-type slapstick, this is a good way of spending some time in front of the TV! Overall, it got 8 for me, mainly for the fab performances rather than the plot.

Debbie's top Penninghame dish - veggie fusilli with panfried tofuEAT – where to start! Such amazing food this week – all week. My favourite dish served at dinner by the Penninghame chef Jack was this one – wholewheat fusilli with veggies, including sweet potato wedges, with veggie mayo and smoked panfried tofu with maize coating. Yummmm!

Then two other pics of just some of the amaaaazingly tasty food I made myself. Loved it. The shape of things to come hopefully!
                              Bean burgers                  Tofu and tarts

QVC – am back on air on Saturday afternoon, including two Ojon hours (I really missed my Rub Out Cleanser this week!) and this week I are mostly been chopping up stuff! So I would have been using the Ninja Food Processor from QVC had I had one there! Looking forward to putting it all into practise at home.

What do you think of it all? How does food adversely affect your body? Let me know!

Big hugs

*TiFFT – Try it For the First Time club – for April, it had to be the lambing didn't it!


  1. Mary Langstaff April 27, 2012 at 1:22 pm -  Reply

    Sounds brilliant Debbie will look up and have a go.

  2. Cynthia Martin April 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm -  Reply

    Well Debs it looks like you really enjoyed yourself and feel better for cleansing your body, see meat is not necessary for us to eat, there is plenty of tasty ways to get your protein. When I saw your tofu meal it really made my mouth water it looked so tasty. Hope you give us the recipe for the miso soup, I don’t know about for breakfast though but it’s worth a try.

  3. Mavis Hamilton April 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm -  Reply

    Dear Debbie
    You are so entertaining.I cannot wait to read your blog each week.I really admire how much you manage to fit into your life. Wish I could be like you! Then when you appear on q.v.c you really show the products to their utmost.
    Have a great 5oth–mine is 2days later.(more than 50!!)
    love from Mavis

  4. Michelle Roberts April 29, 2012 at 2:20 pm -  Reply

    Good afternoon Debbie from a very wet and windy Wales!Wow don’t you look good in your medieval out fit.
    I have really enjoyed reading all about your Macrobiotic break in Scotland.Just watching Marlene’s little clip has made me think seriously about my diet, this year I have found my arthritis is slowly going down hill again and I’m not sure which route to take the thought of more stronger medication does not make feel easy.I’ve decided after my operation in May I’m going re think a few things regarding this horrible disease. I want Marlene’s book something to read while I recover.
    I don’t have much of a appetite at the moment what will pain and I think the start of hot flushes my whole body feels like it’s permanently hot!!! The only good thing is I’ve managed to lose half of stone so back to a nice 10 stone for me
    I watched that film Horrible Bosses on my way to Australia last year I’m with Pat thought it was rubbish but at least it passed a few hours for me.
    Nice to see you back on our screen, I can’t believe you are going to be 50 next month, well I think like many others you look fantastic !!!
    Take care
    Big hugs to you and the pogs.
    Michelle x x x

  5. Pauline Johnson April 30, 2012 at 6:38 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs what date is your birthday mine is the 30th,are you a gemimini?
    Pauline XXXX

  6. Jill May 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm -  Reply

    Great blog Debbie!
    Your medieval night out looks like a scream – you looked fab though!
    What an amazing break you took! I hope the effects and learning are carried forward into your new, healthier lifestyle! Well done on sharing all your new prowess in the kitchen!
    Food adversely affects my body – by making it fat! I really enjoy my food and whilst I try to eat healthy 80% of the time, that 20% remainder is costing me! I am diabetic, so most of the time I stick to the amounts and types of food I should have so I don’t upset my blood glucose levels too much!
    I cannot do without my Ojon Rub Out Cleanser, otherwise I have to wash my hair every day if I don’t want to look ‘stringy’. Being disabled it takes lots of effort to wash, condition, dry and style my hair – so the Rub Out is a quick and easy MUST HAVE!!!
    I went to see the Disney movie “African Cats”! Cuteness factor 10/10! Great for taking little kids to see as there is little violence and no sex, though miraculously, new cubs appeared at the end of the movie!!!

  7. Lisa May 1, 2012 at 11:02 pm -  Reply

    Hi Debs – did I hear you mention a new boyfriend when you were chatting with Ralph on tonight’s ‘Honora Pearl’ show?! Oooh do tell us more, don’t keep us all in suspenders! Hope you have found a lovely guy, I am still looking for husband number two (!) and hoping you will inspire me! Lotsalove, Lisa. X

  8. Anita Anderson May 1, 2012 at 11:17 pm -  Reply

    TiFFT for April: invited my work mates round mine for lunch cooked by a friend, as my kitchen just came with the house! (That’s why I’ve never invited anyone for food before!!)

  9. Debs f May 4, 2012 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    Mary good luck! Let me know how you gat on hon! X

  10. Debs f May 4, 2012 at 9:22 pm -  Reply

    Cynthia – its so tasty! And simple.
    Marlene says
    1 onion, 1 stalk celery, 1 carrot, spring onion for garnish
    Plus 1tsp miso paste per cup of soup. 2 dried shiitake mushrooms, soaked 10 mins then diced. And a 5 inch piece of Korbu or wakame seaweed, also soaked and diced. Spring or filtered water – 6 cups .
    Bring everything to the boil except the miso paste, simmer for ten mins. Whisk miso with a little of the broth then add to soup and simmer for 3 mins. Serve hot with spring onion garnish.
    Let me know how u get on!

  11. Debs f May 4, 2012 at 9:24 pm -  Reply

    Mavis – so nice of unto write! Have heard a few people had problems posting their comments recently, eg on Julia’s blog. Glad u like my weekly musings! Any particular bits u like best?
    Have a fab birthday too! Shame about weather, but we’ve been spoilt the last few Mays eh!?

  12. Debs f May 4, 2012 at 9:26 pm -  Reply

    Michelle – as ever, lovely to hear from ya!
    Got to say Marlene’s got a whole section about arthritis, I can email u it when you’re ready for it. Really makes sense when u listen to some of the examples. And it’s worth a try eh!
    Keep in touch.

  13. debs f May 10, 2012 at 9:20 pm -  Reply

    Lisa –
    bless you! Yes it did slip out, but I promised myself I wouldn’t go publlic with it till the time is right – and it’ll definitely not be just a few months like it was with Rocker Nigel – which was too soon cos it didn’t last much longer than that! lol!
    I have an idea for a product concept which I’d love to market for finding a man, but it’s a long way off yet! If it develops I’ll let you know! And if you get anything develop too, you let me know! lol!

  14. debs f May 10, 2012 at 9:21 pm -  Reply

    Anita – how funny you are with your TiFFT for April! But to be honest, anything counts for a ‘try if for the first time!’ There are no rules hon!
    good luck with your kitchen! lol

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