Low fat, Full fat, Sugared, or Sweetened?? by Cambridge 800 Weight Plan Consultant – Mel Lay

Half the battle with maintaining any weight loss is eating a balanced diet with the level of calories our body needs to remain (thereabouts) at a constant healthy weight range.

Everywhere we look there are foods claiming to be healthy or diet, low fat ,low calorie, sugar free, fat free, but what exactly should we be looking for?

One word….CLEAN

Pure, natural, unprocessed, unsweetened, non sugared, free of trans fats, high in fibre, good fats, good quality proteins and complex carbohydrates…

Lets look in a bit more detail.

Refined white Sugar, an absolute killer, not needed by the human body, a massive contender on the massive rise of Type 2 Diabetes as it is prevalent in sugary drinks, sweets,cakes to name but a few., and also very cunningly refined white sugar is also highly present in rather misleading “diet” and “low fat” foods.

If you need to use a sugar then choose a good quality unrefined pure honey or maple syrups which , although contain natural unrefined sugars, also contain many other vitamins and minerals beneficial to health, unlike refined white sugar.

An absolute bugbear of mine is that we seem to be continuously guided to choose lower fat, chemically ladened, high sugar substitutes, whereas if maybe a much smaller amount of the higher fat but more natural version was taken in moderation e.g. yoghurt, cheeses, mayonnaise, the amount would still be at a much lower level of fat than having a larger portion, and not be full of chemicals and sugars. So choose a full fat natural yoghurt or good quality cheese, but have it less often, rather than choosing a low fat high sugar, high chemical substitute more often! It´s a no brainer!

The body needs fats in small quantities, so to cut fat completely is going to be detrimental on our health.

Lets continue with fats.

Some fats are better for us than others, although some higher but less healthy saturated fats can still be enjoyed in low recommended amounts e.g. dairy products or red meats which also contain proteins and vitamins and minerals, it is recommended to consume more unsaturated “good” fats where possible e.g. olive and other cold pressed oils, avacado, oily fish like sardines, wild salmon and also nuts and seeds.

Hydrogenated or Transfats are the real bad guys, these are artificially created fats which are often found in processed foods such as cakes, biscuits, packaged baked foods, pizzas, pastries,many deep fried products as these harmful fats give a longer shelf life to the product. In short, these fats raise your harmful cholesterol, have no proven benefit to human health and are infact proven to be dangerous.Fact!

Another good reason to embark on more home baking using pure good quality good fats where needed along with clean ingredients and natural sweeteners. With home cooking you have complete control over what is going into your foods.

Sweeteners – again we are guided to choose “sugar free” alternatives of many foods (predominantly fizzy drinks) but are these any better for us than the sugar ladened versions??….I personally have my doubts. I wonder if consuming high levels of these chemically enhanced flavoured and sweetened foods and drinks on a regular basis are actually just as bad for you as the high sugar versions.

I believe that we can easily be guided to think that a sugar free chemical version is better and therefore we could be tempted to consume much more or these chemical substitutes, and surely this can be detrimental to health over time.

I believe we should be looking at more water consumption, flavoured naturally if needed with natural herbal fruit teabags, and keep the diet drinks and the sugary drinks to an absolute minimum, just very occasional if wanted.

So, in summary, I personally believe we should be avoiding as much as possible high sugar, sugar free, sweetened and low fat food and drink sources, and instead choosing natural products.

Consume ,therefore, natural higher full-fat products but in a recommended moderation, choose pure sugars if you need to such as pure unrefined honey and maple syrups again in moderation, choose plenty of good fat products, and a balance of complex carbohydrates and natural unprocessed protein sources, and plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, and keep hydrated with pure water.


Watch this space for more blogs soon! xx


Cambridge 800 Weight Plan Consultant – Mel Lay

So, my new venture started nearly a year ago when I embarked on losing over a stone with the Cambridge 800 Weight Plan here in Spain.

My weight had crept up slightly in recent months and my friend in the UK who is a Consultant urged me to give Cambridge 800 a try.

I lost my stone quicker than I ever expected, and what made it so attractive was that is was a safe nutritionally balanced way to lose weight whilst getting 100% recommended daily amount of your vitamins and minerals, plus a balance of protein,carbohydrates and fats through the specially made products to achieve maximum safe weightloss and with the one to one confidential support of a Cambridge Consultant.

Unfortunately due to the lack of consultants in my area it meant travelling around an hour and a half to see my Consultant, so once I achieved my weight loss , and having a lifelong interest in health, diet and nutrition I decided to apply to be trained and accredited as a Cambridge 800 Consultant for the Murcia area, specifically Mazarrón and Camposol areas.

I achieved an outstanding 99% in my accreditation, and also went on to complete the Cambridge Module in Diabetes, so I am able to help Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics lose weight safely.

My business went live on 1st September 2014, and now almost 6 months later I have many clients on my books, including many successful maintainers.

Follow my blogs for motivation, real life stories of my clients, recipes and tips for all steps of Cambridge 800!

Bye for now Cambridgers!



Me and my Canon Powershot…

I have loved photography and photographs for as long as I can remember, from being the annoying one with a camera in my handbag “just incase” and subsequently making friends pose for thousands of photos on thousands of occasions , to taking at least 50 photos on vacation of the same view in 50 different lights for creative effect!

Sadly, long gone are those days of not knowing what the photos consisted of until going to collect them from the local shop after having been developed! Now we have the most amazing technology at our hands with the ability to edit instantly, but somehow that element of surprise during the waiting for your photos to be developed was part of the nostalgia of the 80´s and 90´s amature photography!

I have recently purchased a Canon Powershot SX30, it’s the largest attached zoom lens on the market, its great for amateur creations but with a professional feel! the zoom is amazing, when looking at the moon it seems that you are looking through a telescope and not a digital camera. The quality of the photos are amazing without even having to be photoshopped, the colours and shadows which are caught are magazine like sometimes, although I am hoping that is more down to my “skill” than the camera….I can dream eh!? 🙂

Anyway, I have to practice a lot more, but I am pleased with my very amateur results so far!

Here´s a few of my latest and fave photos taken with the Canon Powershot:





















GUCCI 1995

A quick but superstylish blog today..one word GUCCI!

This look HAS to be one of my all time favourites EVER, it’s just after Tom Ford joined the house in 1994, Tom and his team created the most amazing collections which led to sales to rise by around 90% and subsequently dragging Gucci out of bankruptcy!  When Tom left in 2004, Gucci group was valued at 10 billion dollars! Job done!

The collection which has to be one  of my all time faves is the hipster velvet jeans, tight low-cut satin shirts, Electric blue Mo Hair coat and the most beautiful patent leather boots, slightly square toes, with the obligatory Gucci buckle. I still have today my own patent croc skin version (replicas sadly) sourced from a small shop in Kensington back in 1996.

Madonna famously sported the WHOLE ensemble at the MTV awards, but I have to say personally I prefer the original advertisements with supermodel Amber Valletta! The collection brought back with a punch glamour and sex appeal for the AW 95!

Liberty London..Arthur´s Legacy

Liberty…..more than just an emporium

I wonder how Arthur Liberty would have felt if he had lived to know that not only had he created an amazing emporium, but an emporium which would soon become an iconic feature of London and England.

Liberty today is regarded as one of the most prestigious English emporiums, with it´s originality not only stemming from it´s world famous fabrics, but also to the beautiful iconic Tudor revival building in Great Marlborough street, which unknown to many was the third acquirement of property under the Liberty name.

It’s so saddening to know that Arthur died years before the iconic building was finished.

Arthur Liberty commenced trading in 1875   in its original store when Artur opened it doors selling fine exotic objects including art, ornaments, decorative furniture and fabrics from the east, particularly and most famously exquisite Silk from India which would later be printed in England and France with the hand drawn patterns of Liberty which have become as famous as the emporium itself. The store later opened a costume department, which made way for great relationships to be developed in later years with many English designers.

IN 1924  the iconic Great Marlborough Street store opened its doors, having been constructed from the timbers of an old ship, the  designers Edwin T Hall and sons created this masterpiece emporium the main focus being the three light wells,where banisters would be,and still are, used to drape rugs and carpets.Wooden panelling, beams and flooring are the main feature throughout the whole building including the most impressive stairwells. The design at Arthur’s request was of individual rooms, to give a homely, more intimate feel, some still today have the original fireplaces in place. The lighting throughout is also as key to keeping the feel of the original design.

As you walk around Liberty, today a Grade II listed building, you can feel the nostalgia of Arthur’s legacy, it feels as if you are stepping back into time, the smell and feel of the wooden structure, the way tradition mixes with the glamour of the present, the way the exotic handicrafts mix with the contemporary brands.

The style and elegance of Liberty has always been focussed on traditional artisan products, but also leading the way with fashionable contemporary designers always being supported, particularly those with the same passion for handicraft and art as the original Liberty design classics.

One of the most famous Liberty products is of course its fabrics. For decades these fabrics have been in the forefront of many designs from clothing to home decoration. A recent campaign has meant that some of the original most popular designed have been revived, albeit  reworked and updated.Florence Welch has been hugely involved in the most recent collection “Liberty Rocks” where original hand drawn patterns have been reworked to bring forward these amazing original designs into 2011.

Liberty is by far my most favourite shop probably ever, everything about it captures you from the moment you enter, and knowing the history and legacy behind it all creates an authentic atmosphere never to felt anywhere else.

Visit it…not even to shop, but to wander the floors capturing the feel of old England and its opulence at its best. You may fall in love with it like I did the day I discovered it in a school History project


A Few of My Favourite Things…….

For my next blog, I thought I would keep it simple, but also give you an insight into me and some of my favourite things,

things that I love,

that make me smile,

things which intrigue me

things which just taste good!

So apart from friends and family and in no particular order:

  • Shoes:  particularly the highest,most unpractical, most uncomfortable but most beautiful!
  • Pebbles: beautiful, tactile,each one completely individual
  • Georgian Buildings: Particularly those in Belgravia and Fitzroy Sq in Central London,symmetry of the building, dormer windows, ornate and elaborate plasters, pillars and mouldings, high ceilings to mention a few features.
  • Cheese: Strong matured festered pasteurized and unpasteurized, hard , soft, with the delicate thin crunch of a cracker….heaven
  • And what better to go with a plate of cheese and crackers but an icy cold crisp glass of Spanish Cava, less bubbly but richer tasting  than Champagne in my opinion, but I´m biased as I live in Spain! Their most famous and expensive brand is Gramona.
  • Marbles: Again like pebbles, pretty and tactile pieces of glass…my next favourite thing: Glass and mirrored glass, the light reflections from mirrors and glass mirrored ornament and furniture bring a room to life!






  • Lipgloss: particularly Juicy Tubes, in my house, my bags, my car, everywhere,every colour, every flavour!
  • Thistles: the most prettiest of flowers, how can they be classed as a weed, who decided to class it as a weed, they are beautiful!
  • Bridges: A great love and intrigue of mine, I once wanted to become a Bridge Civil Engineer, but instead became an Accountant for a team of them! Amazing pieces of civil engineering.  The longest is the Donghai, plus one I crossed many times in Eythrope in Buckinghamshire, complete extremes of amazing engineering.








  • The colour pink: I know it’s girly and feminine, even sometimes linked to tack and childishness, but I can´t help but love pink…like pink tulips…beautiful!
  • Cats: my own 17-year-old cat Arnie, does what he wants when HE wants, however HE wants! I love him to bits!
  • Wind Turbine Farms: Beautiful, graceful, elegant, almost silent, and a generator of energy!







  • Retro Wine Glasses: I love drinking wine from mismatched retro wineglasses, like the glasses my Nan drank from. My parents own very similar to these pictured, and drinking wine from these brings nostalgia from Christmases past.
  • Hoopoes: My favourite bird, commonly seen where I live, beautiful, but their erratic flapping when flying always makes me smile. When standing they show off a beautiful crest. Their colours remind me of  the original Burberry Check!
  • Mountains: I´m lucky to be surrounded by beautiful mountains….giants standing, they look different in every light and in every hour
  • Beads and Pearls: I love all beads, from covered to pearls, large or small, coloured or neutral….there seems to be a pattern forming with my love of circular objects…..
  • Which takes me to another love of mine: spectrums! the beautiful colours have fascinated me since my first days in Physics learning about light refraction through glass and water!
  • Hot bubble baths: especially in the winter evenings after a long walk!
Watch this space for more of my favourite things in the future!

My ULTIMATE Style Icons

I’ve had a passion for style and fashion  for as long as I can remember, even when I was very young I knew Farah Fawcett was amazing, and my first proper style icon was the edgy Debbie Harry when she became famous with Blondie! I still remember her wearing a gorgeous one shouldered dress in the video for Heart of Glass. She in my opinion was an amazing icon for the 70s and 80s, and actually is still as amazing today!

So, here I will go through my person style icons who have made an impression on me, they range from the 50s through to the present.


Probably THE style icon of the last century has to be the beautiful Elizbeth Taylor, she mainly wore creations by Valentino and Halston. The natural photos with her and Richard Burton have to be some of my favourites of her.She had a love for jewellery,valued at millions!

Ali Mcgraw actress less known for her early modelling for vogue, also worked early on as a photography assistant for Harper’s Bazaar. Her style is preppy come boho, original at its time and still today influences fashion.

Jackie O, I prefered her less high profile style of loose trouser suits,jeans, scarves and bug sunnies which she adopted more after her years in the Whitehouse. She was regularly seen in Chanel,Givenchy and Dior. The term looking a million dollars was made for her, as she literally spent that on her clothing and jewellery and accessories












Jean Shrimpton, from my neck of the woods in Buckinghamshire, graduated from modelling school and is classed with Twiggy as probably one of the first ever Supermodels. Appearing in Harper’s, Vanity Fair and Vogue in a regular basis, she was a huge icon in swinging London.


Jerry Hall in the 70s was to me an amazing icon. She was discovered on a beach on St Tropez by an agent, and the rest is history.

Farrah Fawcett…well she has to be probably my all time favourite, the hair, flared jeans, waist tied shirts, she was what every woman in the 1970s and into the 80s wanted to be!  Every girl wanted to be one of Charlie’s Angels!! She posed at the age of 50 for Playboy and looked just as amazing.

Debbie Harry, one of my first conscious icons, cool and streetwise,she was a big part musically and fashion wise of my childhood throughout both the 70s and 80s, and as I said in my intro, she is still an amazing style icon today! She can carry off anything.

As we head on into the 80s Madonna again stands out as one of my influences, which girl in that era did not possess a pair of lace finger less gloves, or off the shoulder top resembling either Madonna or Jennifer Beals from Flashdance!

I think THE most prominent fashion icon of the 80s has to be Diana,Princess of Wales. Such beauty grace and elegance, she possessed that rare star quality…STYLE which influenced a generation of women around the world.

And onto the 90s Kate Moss is my favourite, and she continues through to the noughties too.She was found by Storm Agency, and has since gone on to be the face of Gucci, Dolce and Gabbana, Calvin Klein and Chanel. This girl can wear a bin bag and look amazing while bringing her own style to it!

As well as Kate, I also loved the style of two other supermodels..Cindy Crawford and Christy Turlington, both had almost permanent residence on the runways and Cindy had a recordbreaking 500 covers throughout the 90s.

“Hello Boys” brought Wonderbra into the limelight with the amazing style of model  Eva Herzigova. Everyone, men and women, will remember that advert!

Continuing from the 90s and into the noughties, for me has to be Victoria Beckham. Always been a carrier of style and fashion, and particularly after leaving the Spice Girls and forming Brand “DVB” her style has gone from strength to strength so much so that she is now showing regularly at New York Fashion week, and everyone is wearing her designs. She is renowned particularly for wearing über high heels to do anything and everything!

I have saved the best till last…SJP, aka Carrie Bradshaw…what more can I say!










I’m sure there’s a hundred other icons I have missed or forgotten, but for now, for me these are there the ones who I love the most!

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog as much as I did writing it.