— Ellie Broughton



This year I was lucky enough to join the BBC Springwatch team to write the live blog.

For three weeks, I wrote live updates from 8am to 9pm from the Sherborne Park Estate in Gloucestershire, in the heart of the Cotswolds.

You can see the archived updates here, and if you’d like to know anything else about how the live blog worked, please get in touch by email.

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05xejnbRAn Elle article about the daily diet of a so-called health expert had foaming at the mouth, so I wrote about it for Independent Voices, the comment site for The Independent. 

It was the irony that first caught everybody’s eye.

“Bacon,” one person tweeted – enough to catch anyone’s attention. “Her name is Bacon.”

Amanda Bacon runs a juice bar in LA and was just featured on the website for US Elle. It was a ‘day in the life’ feature about what she eats – or, to be more accurate, what she doesn’t eat.

Because Amanda Bacon’s ‘diet’ consists of only a handful of solid food every 24 hours. She consumes (spoiler alert): tea, a warm drink, veggie ‘shots’, juice, bee pollen, cashews, another juice ‘shot’, raw courgette and olives, more tea, coconut yoghurt, fresh and dried fruit, hemp milk, seaweed and mushroom broth, and almond milk. At bedtime, she eats chocolate made from raw cacao, mushrooms, and rice protein.

At one point she literally eats dust. ‘Brain dust’, to be exact: it’s hard to tell from the website what’s in this supplement for nut milk. My guess is, not brains.

Click here to keep reading. You might also want to read other rants, raves and disclosures:

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 Thanks to you, women of AIBU: I found my feminist icons the last place anyone would expect to.We’ve all got a guilty pleasure online and while for some of you it will be DIY porn projects or the ASOS flatform section, mine is totally naff: Mumsnet’s Am I Being Unreasonable forum.

I wrote all about it on the Vagenda.

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Is soup good for you? Maybe not, according to the blog that my gym runs.

Normally, when people ask if something’s good for you, the question’s usually something a little more pressing. Is revenge good for you? Is treating thrush with fruit yoghurt good for you? Is going on an OKCupid date with a man who calls Run For Your Wife his favourite film good for you?

But no. The blog asked what turns out to be an incredibly easy question. Yes, soup is good for you. Eating stuff is good for you – pretty much essential, I’d say – but eating stuff gets a bit more difficult the more stupid questions you ask about foodstuffs that have been around for thousands (if not millions) of years.

I was surprised by the sudden flare of fury that the blog inspired. After all, its authors have pulled stunts like this before: a post that claims you should drop hormonal contraception, because it’s ruining your diet? Check. An author who claims that ‘there is plenty of evidence to show that you are better off being overweight or obese instead of being thin’? Recipes for stuffed courgette to kill your pizza cravings? Check.

But claiming that tinned soup is an unhealthy lunch? I’m sorry, but if that post makes the grade then I dread to think what kind of screwed-up self-hating articles got rejected by the people running the blog. Plus, I’m seriously running out of things to eat!

Click here to read the rest on the Vagenda’s own site.

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The Little Stranger cover, Virago UK, Sarah WatersTo celebrate the 40th anniversary of Virago, I wrote about my favourite book of theirs from the last ten years and its tribute to the NHS: Sarah Waters’ ghost story, The Little Stranger.

Although I had already of heard of Sarah Waters (thanks to her infamous bodice-rippers) The Little Stranger was my introduction to her work. But the novel I got was far from the one I expected. Instead of a worldly-wise lesbian or a chain-smoking Wren, the novel’s protagonist was a male doctor – likeable at first, but gradually unpeeled to reveal a cold and controlling character.

As a ghost story it utterly succeeds, but the beauty of the novel for me was that it also reflected perfectly the inequality, war trauma and grief that shaped British society in the 1930s. Virago published The Little Stranger  in 2009, the same year that Sir David Nicholson announced that the NHS needed to make cuts of £15-20 billion by 2012. Waters’ novel – though far from political – showed the suffering that Dr Faraday’s poorer patients faced when they couldn’t pay for the doctor. It chimed perfectly with the moment I read it because the NHS that the novel so longed for is now being quietly dismantled. The Little Stranger gave me a new appreciation for the role of the doctor in contemporary life, as well as excitement to dive into Waters’ backlist.

Click here to find out more about Virago’s three other key books from the last forty years.

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