You don’t need alcohol to have fun…… really!

Like most people in the UK, I have been drinking since my early teenage years whether in Europe on school trips, raiding spirit cupboards and making some serious cocktails that Dale DeGroff would have been proud of, hanging around a shop until someone would buy us a case of stella. The list goes on.

I talk openly about this with numerous friends and the social culture in this country that revolves around the pub and drinking.

To be honest I like the feeling of being drunk, on numerous levels, I like that first pint in the sun. I like the first pint after a long day at work. I like the pint in the airport at 5am. I like the glass of wine with a nice meal; the champagne to celebrate an achievement, the glass of whiskey with a friend, the mojitos on holiday in the pool. You get the picture.

So after an extremely heavy 2019/20, on Monday 3rd August I decided to take a break from alcohol. I’ve done it before and managed a year around 2013. Presumably not by chance, this was when I was training at my peak and competing at high-level jiu jitsu competitions. At the time I also ranked in the top 20 for my age bracket in sprint distance triathlons and I was completing a Foundation Degree in Culinary Arts. All whilst I was working full time as Executive Chef.

In theory, to break most habits you disconnect with people you associate with the thing you want to stop. But it seems everyone drinks alcohol so unless I want to stay in on my own this isn’t going to work. It’s hard though and I get tired of explaining why I’m not drinking. Especially when the person asking you is drunk. Tbh, when it’s round the other way, I’m no better.

I stopped drinking on a Monday and of course I had already arranged to meet a friend that week for a drink, so the first hurdle was telling my friend I’m not drinking. He said he was actually looking to have a break for a bit so I sighed with relief and we met up for a non-alcoholic drink. I thought for a moment this would be the answer. I could be everyone’s excuse not to drink; maybe everyone was looking for a reason to have a night off?!

Last time I stopped drinking I remember wanting to feel different in the mornings. To be honest I didn’t feel much difference, but that’s ok.

From experience, when making big life changes like this it is important to have goals and a focus. Create a reason not to drink. I have signed up for the Tour de Cambridgshire in June next year, which is a 100 mile fast paced race around Cambridgshire and I am looking to head to Denmark in spring 2020 to cycle 820 kilometers in 7 days around the Baltic Sea.

There will always be excuses and reasons to drink and for me it is important not to feel bad if I do, it is a marathon not a sprint. If I have a drink I will just reset the next day and start again. If by this time next year I have drunk 10 times, it is better than to have drunk 365 times. The following year I can hopefully get it down to 5 times and so on. Who knows I may be able to just stop completely.

I will post a blog in 6 months time for anyone that is interested to see how it’s going.





Social Media

Social Media

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.



The Tiny Table

The Tiny Table

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 julie@juliefriend.co.uk

Instagram: the_tinytable

The Benefits of strength training – Why you’re doing it all wrong!

The Benefits of strength training – Why you’re doing it all wrong!

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 anatomy37@outlook.com to register for our newsletter.


Director of training

Anatomy 37

Q & A with Lost sheep

Q & A with Lost sheep

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.