Sadie MacLeod: This issue we talk Christmas, fitness trends and going organic with the editor of online luxury health and wellbeing magazine Hip & Healthy

How will you be celebrating the festive season this year?
I will be at my family home in the countryside where long walks and cosy Christmas films are mandatory. I got married in April, so this will also be the first year that I spend Christmas with my husband as we have always celebrated it separately in the past! I am probably looking forward to that the most!

What does an average Christmas Day look like for you?
I still get up exceptionally early with my sister (the novelty of early Christmas mornings wore off for my brother) and we open our stockings before breakfast. Then I go on a Christmas Day run. The air is always super crisp and on the occasion that you pass another runner (a rare sight but it happens) or dog walker (inevitable) you both tend to call out a very over-enthusiastic “Merry Christmas”. I love those moments. We then sit down to our Christmas lunch, which for my family will be a delicious fish dish with a vegan option for my brother and sister. Then we will walk in the afternoon, and settle into a good film like Elf or The Nightmare Before Christmas with a glass of champagne and usually warmed by some thermal stocks that have been unwrapped in the aforementioned stocking opening. I have just had a wave of excitement...

As editor of Hip & Healthy you're on top of all the health, food and fitness news - any new health trends we can expect in 2014?
I think we can expect to see a lot more fusion classes on gym timetables in 2014 - BoxingYoga, SpinLates, AquaSpin. Gyms are becoming much more open to offering classes that are new and exciting, which is great.

A huge trend we will see is brand new British designers launching stylish fitness brand labels. We will be selling some of these on Hip & Healthy so watch this space...

I also think CrossFit (which is all about mixing your workouts up and doing new circuits each time), which is predominantly popular in the US, will increase in popularity here. It is a very effective way of toning up and is becoming much more mainstream than ever before.

You're a keen proponent of an organic lifestyle, why is that important?
Organic is important to me on many levels. With regards to health, I like to know that what I am putting in and on my body doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, hormones or pesticides. In many cases the body is unable to break down or rid itself of these toxins so they just take up residence and slowly but surely make us sick. Plus, it is not good for the land or the people working with these substances. What could be better than good, healthy, well-balanced soil that produces plants that our full of nutrients, that healthy animals can feed off and that doesn’t pollute the air, land and people!

You're a keen proponent of an organic lifestyle, why is that important?
Organic is important to me on many levels. With regards to health, I like to know that what I am putting in and on my body doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals, hormones or pesticides. In many cases the body is unable to break down or rid itself of these toxins so they just take up residence and slowly but surely make us sick. Plus, it is not good for the land or the people working with these substances. What could be better than good, healthy, well-balanced soil that produces plants that our full of nutrients, that healthy animals can feed off and that doesn’t pollute the air, land and people!

Do you have a favourite Neom scent?
I have fallen in love with the Tranquillity collection. It is so calming and spa-like, which I love! Bath time is the best time.

What healthy food do you cook at Christmas?
We still have our usual green juices but the cold often calls for something a bit more warming though like quinoa porridge or spelt pancakes! My sister, Saskia, is the cook in our family (she is also Hip & Healthy’s Food Editor) and she makes delicious nut roasts and, for pudding, chocolate orange brownies, which I look forward to. And of course vegan, sugar-free mince pies, which taste amazing.

What's your favourite way to stay fit over the winter months?
I am a runner by passion. So I run come wind, rain or shine (or even snow!). I love running - it clears my head and I often find that some of my best business decisions have been born out of a good run! Running in the winter requires kit though so before I get out the door I will put on long running leggings, a vest, long-sleeved top, jacket, running gloves, headband and good pair of proper running socks. It may look a little geeky but geek is the new chic haven’t you heard!

What are your new year's resolutions?
To not check my emails before I have gotten out of bed (terrible habit!).
To do yoga at least twice a week.
To moisturise after every shower!



Healthy Mince Pies

Hip & Healthy Food Editor Saskia Gregson-Williams reveals her recipe for delicious vegan, sugar-free mince pies



INGREDIENTS
For the Mincemeat:

2 gala apples, diced into very small pieces
1 cup (160 grams) raisins
1 cup (160grams) sultanas
1/4 cup (20 grams) blanched almonds
1/4 cup (40 grams) hazelnuts
1 /2 cup (70 grams) dried apricot, diced
1 tbsp ground flaxseed, optional
Juice and zest of 1/2 an orange
Zest of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup water

For the Pastry:

2 cups spelt flour
1/2 cup oat milk (use rice milk for a sweeter taste)
110g vegan margarine (We use Pure, sunflower spread)

METHOD

Combine all the ingredients for the mincemeat in a pan, add 1/2 of the water, cover and leave to simmer for 30-45 minutes. Add more water as necessary to keep the consistency gooey (and lovely). Whilst your mincemeat cooks you can prepare the pastry.

Preheat the oven to 180 celsius. Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl, then add the butter and stir until it forms a breadcrumb-like texture. Slowly stir in the milk until it forms into a dough. Coat the side with flour and roll out half the mixture thinly. Depending on your cookie cutter size (if you don’t have any of these you can use the rim of one of your wine glasses) you should make 12-14 mince pie bases. Place bases in muffin tins (grease beforehand). Once the mincemeat has slightly cooled, place 1-2 tbsp of the mixture in each. Roll out the rest of the dough mixture and make your tops. Use a brush of water to help stick the sides together. Poke two small holes in the top, and place in the oven to cook for 15-20 minutes (or until slightly brown). Serve straight away or reheat later.

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