Sulston’s Kitchen was built on social media. I started the business as a YouTube channel back in 2014 and it has been able to grow into what it is today because of social media.
Over the last 6 years social media has changed and it has become a strange world for me. For people with certain personality types, social media can take over and become all consuming. This is what has happened to me. In the last 6 years I have only really had 1 week off. This was in June 2019 for a family holiday. I put an out of office on my emails and deleted WhatsApp. The out of office read:
‘I’m on holiday but the kind of holiday like we used to have back in the 90’s when we didn’t answer call, texts or emails.’
The 24-hour availability we have created has its benefits but it can also be hugely detrimental. Obviously this is part of running a business in 2020 but at the same time it is also important to ensure your mental health is looked after as well as your business.
At the end of July this year I deleted all the apps from my phone and installed a brain-training app. When I picked up my phone to go on social media, I went on the app instead. If you have deleted the apps from your phone you will know, there are times in the day that you reach for your phone to look at them for no reason.
The algorithms are clever and the more you understand them, the more entangled you become. If you don’t post you disappear off peoples feeds, so you keep posting. Running a local business with close to 3000 followers I estimate maybe 20% of them are the people purchasing my products. So when people say ‘comment on my post’, it’s because when you comment you are showing interest so future posts will show higher on your feed. I use Instagram for personal posts and fun as well as business but out of all my followers, I estimate less than 5% care if I went for a bike ride or went to the gym. So it ends up being a balancing game.
With this said it is important not to underestimate the power of social media to motivate others. That gym pic or that ride may be just what someone needs to see to get them out of a rut and make more positive choices. Friends I follow have inspired me and I’ve been told I have motivated people that follow me to train. I feel like you end up in this strange place where you need social media and you feel like people need you on social media.
We are in the process of updating the website at the moment and this will be our main platform to communicate through the events, and blog pages. Obviously social media will still be active but I will be allocating specific time in my week to manage it. It will become a functional part of advertising/ marketing for the business from my laptop rather than my phone.
So going forward, if you care what I’m doing on my bike, follow me on Strava. If you want to see what I’m up to at Jiu Jitsu, come train and if you want to talk with me, we can meet for a coffee.
This is just my own personal experience and the changes I am making are a choice I have made for a more positive future.
I’m still in the process of making changes and so for now I am taking a break.
As lockdown was announced local chef and MasterChef winner, Julie Friend saw, like many of us, all of her jobs crash like dominoes from her diary.
“I started to panic after enjoying the first couple of weeks of enforced holiday and realised that I was going to have to either look at a new career or reinvent myself somehow.
A friend came round for a socially distant tea in the garden and remarked ‘this really is a magical spot you have here’. They were right. It was not only magical with views over wildflower meadows and apricot orchards, but the perfect solution for a COVID-safe dining experience which could be reached directly from my drive with no access to the house. Overnight The Tiny Table was born”
Creating bespoke menus with local seasonal produce, Julie cooks from her licensed kitchen, for one group at a time of up to 6 people. Lunches and early evening dinners are both an option and maybe brunch if you ask nicely.
The food reflects the setting with many of the ingredients having been picked straight from the garden a matter of minutes before they end up on a plate. No concerns about food miles here. Julie also takes advantage of being positioned between two fabulous farmshops – Haywards and Farmers Farmshop – and creates dishes with what she finds available in those.
“We are also weather and light dependent, so I’ll only be able to take bookings until mid-September but will try and fit as many requests in as possible”
People can book by emailing me for more details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Firstly what are some of the benefits:
Better Body Composition – if you are looking to change the way you look then strength training is a must, by training for strength you are going to increase your muscle size and strength, this in turn will help you to workout harder which in turn means more calories burned. Muscle also gives you a firm, tight body, the squidgy stuff thats body fat and we want to decrease that.
Higher Metabolism – This is paired with the above as its not actually very important to think about how many calories you burn during a workout as in the grand scheme of life its not that many, maybe 500 if you’re fit. But by having a higher metabolism you will burn more calories all day long, this is a must if you are looking to change the shape of your body and nothing increases metabolism better than having more muscles, which are a result of strength training.
Injury prevention – Being strong will not only protect you from picking up injuries but we can fix long standing pain. A bad back as an example is a result of muscles in the body being too tight and too weak. If we fix this balance with correct strength training then the problem will go away and will not come back.
Now there are many more benefits but I just don’t have the capacity to explain all of them here, what is strength training?? It’s the ability of your muscles to work harder. Now why do most people that go to the gym not actually get this right? It’s because we need to look at the body in the way it moves firstly, not buy each individual muscle so think how do we move, we squat, hinge, push, pull, rotate and move. We need to simulate these patterns in the gym and when we do we need to be using a weight that is challenging with perfect form, the correct tempo (speed of the rep) and the correct amount of reps. Doing anything above 10 reps is not strength training. Now I know what you are thinking, you are thinking well I want to “tone”. Unfortunately the term tone is not a scientific possibility, the body is only capable of gaining muscle and losing fat but it’s the combination of these two things that will give you the “toned” look. So we need to stop training to be toned we need to start training to gain muscle and lose fat.
If this has been of interest to you and you would like to learn more, Register for my free talk on “Debunking fitness and diet myths to gain your best body ever” by emailing email@example.com to register for our newsletter.
Director of training
Where does the name Lost Sheep come from?
When we decided to get lost ourselves, leave our day jobs, go backpacking around the world. Which is how we discovered Aussie style coffee and the name was literally a light bulb moment.
Why did you start roasting coffee?
We really wanted to create and source amazing coffees and have full creative control of the coffee itself.
What does single origin mean?
There’s different types actually. You can have single origin when something comes from one town or area, or straight from a farm. Many of our coffees are single origin and straight from the farm.
How do you choose which country to buy beans from?
We’re very fortunate to have amazing contacts and known in the speciality coffee industry. This means we receive a high volume of green samples from around the world, and we simple cup each one and choose through taste and not price.
Do you buy direct from the growers?
Yes! We’re proud to say that we have great close relationships with our green suppliers and will always buy directly.
What’s your favourite way to brew coffee?
We’ve been playing around with Clever Drippers lately and we’re really enjoying the results we’re getting!
What’s the best coffee you have ever drank?
Lost Sheep of course!
Any tips for people getting in to speciality coffee?
Enjoy it, but remember to stay grounded. There are some great blogs our there and even YouTube channels that focus of Speciality Coffee, so it’s super easy to learn nowadays.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the coffee industry?
Now that would be telling…. we think variations of fermentation and processing methods
What’s your view on cafes charging for takeaway cups?
Obviously we encourage people to be as environmentally friendly as possible and will always actively encourage people to take their own cups to our shops and other coffee shops. We’re probably as a nation not fully there yet with the need to take a cup everywhere as most coffees we feel are bought as impulse purchases. Hopefully this will change in the future.
What an amazing time of year! I may be jumping the gun but I’m calling it Spring! The weather is warming and the flowers are coming out. The produce we start to get in the lead up to summer is beautiful, and its beauty is definitely a welcome change from the dullness of the winter months.
As soon as the first harvest of forced rhubarb came through in early January I was already getting excited for the start of spring. It’s not long now till we see the first of the English asparagus, followed shortly after by the Jersey royals and then broad beans, peas and so much more.
We have a few seasonal changes coming soon on the menu at TOFS so watch this space. Plus I will be uploading a new recipe to the Eat the Season’s section of the website so please check that out. One thing is for certain there will be lots of asparagus on the specials as soon as it is available! I will also post a delicious recipe on here too.
Check out our events page to book for our pop ups and events in March and beyond including our Mother’s Day Lunch here at TOFS on Sunday 22nd.
I am a wine geek. I am totally fascinated by the fermented, fortified and distilled. I’ve been studying wine in various guises through travel, gastronomy, tastings, vineyard visits, books and courses for over ten years now and the bug has not abated.
Apart from the fact that I really enjoy drinking and talking about wine, I got completely hooked the subject when I realised how broad a topic it really is. To have a rounded knowledge of viniculture and vinification (the processes of growing grapes and making wine) you find yourself studying history, culture, geography, agriculture, politics, business, marketing, anthropology…the list goes on.
Two weeks ago I graduated from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust in London with a WSET Diploma in Wine and Spirits. It was a long and nerve wracking wait for results, having passed my final exam in January 2019. The Diploma is a globally recognised qualification, infamous for the amount of self-study needed to pass…only the brave need apply!
My partner Rob and I moved to Tonbridge from London just over three years ago. We decided to move after a trip to see Ben and Kirsty Sulston whom Rob has known for over 20 years, having cooked with Ben as young chefs starting out in Cambridge.
At the time we moved I had just started studying for the diploma as a night school student. I have a demanding day job in the city and lots of personal commitments, so it is with gruelling first-hand experience that I admit to my naivete in starting this journey part time. The learning scope for this course was beyond anything I had ever encountered with a recommended minimum of 600 hours of study outside of class and excluding your written assignment. The course touches on every aspect of the wine and spirits world and you will sit 11 hours of examination by the time you’re done…that’s if you pass everything first time (I did not and had to subject my friends and family to copious amounts of sparkling wine to prepare for a resit. They suffered graciously). This is not for the faint hearted and I admire and respect anyone who embarks on this journey.
I am incredibly fortunate to share my life with an equally obsessed and dedicated Chef who has encouraged me to push myself that bit further further at every step, in the same way he has approached his career and learning in the culinary world.
Rob and I have worked on many collaborations over the years and towards the end of 2019, after hosting a number of events together, we decided to start a supper club in Tonbridge as an outlet for our creativity andthat focused as much on the drinks parings as it did on the development of the food.
We held our first Super Natural Supper Club event in TOFS development kitchen last November. Inspired by the fantastic produce and Game available in Kent, we developed a menu to showcase the best of the season. Reaching out to local producers we were able to source some beautiful duck, pigeon and venison from Chart Farm in Sevenoaks and work with local fresh fruit and vegetable wholesaler Seasons by Nature. Having such a innovative and varied menu to work with gave me the opportunity to get creative with the drinks pairing, finding wines that would not necessarily be an obvious choice but would would compliment the menu at each stage.
We kicked off the evening with a venison tartar dish served with a Kentish sparkling cider made by Charringtons, a fantastic cider producer based 10 minutes away in Matfield. Being able to visit the orchards and get in depth information on the growing and production of their cider and apple juice has definitely been a highlight of starting a local supper club.
We paired a feinherb Riesling from Germany, which had just the faintest amount of residual sugar, with a Duck and Beetroot dish. A dry Madiera wine was served with Pigeon and turnip and an elegant, full bodied Cabernet Savignon, Malbec and Cabernet franc blend from Medoza, Argentina, paired with venison and celeriac. The herbal notes in this wine worked amazingly well with pickled blackberries on the dish. We finished the menu serving a Reserve Tawny Port with both the cheese course and the following dessert of chocolate and pears and ended the evening with coffee and brown butter madeleines.
We had such lovely feedback from our guests and so much fun preparing and hosting the Game event that we held our second supper club in December. This was a great success, serving a menu and drinks pairing inspired by our extensive travels in Spain.
Our Supper Clubs are a labour of love and we aim to give the absolute best value for money and service possible while delivering innovative food and wine that is unique and exciting. Our next supper club will be held on February the 7th and 8th at TOFS development kitchen and is inspired by the forefathers of gastronomy, french cuisine.
When Ben invited me to write a post for this website I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself and the Super Natural Supper club that Rob and I have started but also to share a little wine info. I had so many geeky wine ideas to write about that I didn’t know where to begin.
So I reached out to friends and asked … what would you want to read about in wine blog? They responded enthusiastically and here are a few of their questions…
Is there a wine that goes with anything?
For me, the wine that can be pared with practically anything would be a good quality sparkling white wine. Whether this is champagne, Cava (my personal favourite for taste and value for money) or English sparkling wine you will find this doesn’t offend the vast majority of dishes. It can be drunk alone or with sweet dishes. It can be paired with bar snacks, cheese, fish or meat. It stands up to spicy food and strong flavours and works beautifully with vegetarian dishes. If in doubt, choose a sparkling white wine.
Can you really get a decent bottle of wine at a super market for less than £10?
Yes. It is definitely possible although I always encourage people to think about what can actually make a wine a little more expensive (outside of Burgundy which has set the price level astronomically high). Fair labour costs, hand harvesting, natural and ethical farming methods and distribution will all add to the cost of your wine. In much the same way that it effects other consumable products that we buy. However, there are some gems out there. I am particularly fond of Toro Loco organic tempranillo from Aldi at £4.99 a bottle (we came across this wine for the first time in Spain) and Waitrose Classic Cotes du Rhône at £6.99 is a decent bottle from a spectacular wine producing region that is home to some of the most expensive wines in the world.
Is Aldi wine really as good as the media makes out?
Some of it is really pretty good. Particularly wines from smaller producers. I mentioned Toro Loco earlier at a very reasonable price, there is also a nice range of organic sparking Italian wines from Castellone Organico. At a little higher price range you can find Amarone Della Valpolicella DOCG £12.99 and Jean-Paul Seguin Sancerre £15.99 that are both very nice wines. Its a good place to start trying different styles of wine to see what you like without spending a fortune.
What grapes should I look for if I want light red wines?
We are big fans of light red wine at home and although the wine making accounts for a lot in the style of wine there are some general guides – Pinot Noir is the queen of light red wines – the cooler the climate the grapes are grown in will usually give a lighter wine but I would also recommend looking for the Gamay grape if you like light and fruity wines. Beaujolais are the most famous Gamay wine and readily available. Saniovese which is the grape used for Chiante also fits the category and try to seek out natural wine producers making young wines for something interesting. There are some great suppliers on line. Check out pullthecork.co.uk
Does an older wine mean it’s a better wine?
This is a huge topic to cover and depends very much on the specific wine as ageing wine will definitely change it but not necessarily for the better. Some varieties are generally considered more age worthy that others – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Nebbiolo to name a few. This has a lot to do with the tannic structure of the wines that breaks down slowly over time and make the wines more approachable. That said many wines are not meant to be laid down for decades and will be most enjoyable drunk young.
Wines labels grand reserva will most likely be subject to minimum ageing requirements, for a red Rioja wine this is two years in barrel and 3 years in bottle minimum. These will be more complex and refined than younger wines from the same region but not necessarily better depending on your taste.
If you intend to spend a large amount of money on a very old bottle or case of wine this should come with certification of how it has been stored – even the most age worthy wine can be ruined by light, temperature and humidity
What’s the best way to store wine at home?
The key things to remember when storing wine at home is light and temperature. Wine hates fluctuations in both! A cool constant temperature and protection from sun light will keep wines happier for longer.
What makes a wine vegan?
Traditionally, some fining agents used to remove particles in wine that are too small to be removed by filtration can make a wine unsuitable for vegans as they can contain egg and certain proteins derived from animals, however, contemporary vegetable based products are becoming far more popular. It is more likely that a wine is vegan friendly than not and while producers are starting to add this information to wine labels, especially as vegans diets become more popular, there is currently very little legislation globally that requires this information to be noted on the bottle.
The answers above are my opinion and are brief, there is always more to say and I will be discussing these subjects along with a bunch of other food and wine related topics on the Super.Natural.Supper.Club website when we launch later this year.