A Healthy 2018 in Winchester

Have you already given up on your New Year's resolutions or did you not bother with them at all? Why not join Emily - The Winchester Insider in starting them now.

Me and my spaniel Ted

Me and my spaniel Ted

This may seem an odd blog post title in March.... normally health kicks are on the forefront of people’s minds in the New Year. But this year I wanted to make resolutions that I can actually stick to and make 2018 the year I keep them up! It’s taken a busy January to compile and explore what Winchester has on offer as a busy 28-year-old non-gymer, but then as I have discovered the opportunities are endless. I wanted to share my plans for a healthy 2018 in Winchester so that others can get involved and also enjoy what is on offer! 

Winchester Insider on a walk

I couldn’t write a Winchester blog post without mentioning walking! I am not a dedicated walking boot and hiking sticks kind of person but my spaniel Ted and I, come rain or shine, spend many hours a week covering a good few miles by foot. Whether it be a short whizz around North Walls Park or a weekend hike deeper into the South Downs, we love to explore new routes. Walking is such great exercise not just for the body but for the mind. 

Winchester Insider on the beach

Winchester and Hampshire’s surrounding areas have so many incredible views and routes on offer and it’s not just rolling hills and river paths but woodlands, marshes, old railway lines, beaches, historic sites, harbors...and well, the list continues!! I couldn’t recommend getting out and about exploring in this area more...it’s the perfect way to get active, clear the mind and take in the fresh air. It isn’t until recently that I realised that walking Ted is probably my method of mindfulness and taking in my surroundings at the end of a busy day at work, is the perfect stress reliever. A few of my favorites include wandering down the River Itchen from Easton, Itchen Abbas or Cheriton (the river comes into its own at sunset), exploring the historic sites around the Winchester Watermeadows and St Catherine’s hill or a brisk stroll at Stockbridge Downs to take in the views. I am always sharing my favorite walks and trying out new ones and so follow @thewinchesterinsider on Instagram for regular walkspiration! I have also downloaded the official OS map which is highly recommended! It shows the footpaths in detail which is my secret to finding the perfect route! 

Beach walks
Sunset on the water

There are so many ways to get in some serious exercise in Winchester but having a busy job and a pooch to walk at the end of the day means that I rarely have the energy to get up and going! However, despite not having started yet, my goals for 2018 are to: 

  • Run the 5k park run at North Walls recreation ground at least once a month! Look at the website for details
  • Start tennis lessons at my local Courts through Osman tennis club - will let you know how it goes!  
  • Join Winchester fit club who offer very reasonable group fitness activities around the city! I have heard nothing but good reports. Every time I see there Instagram of everyone socializing and getting stuck into their running club or circuits class I feel just that little bit more inspired. Just need to take the plunge now.  
Yoga session with Winchester Insider

 However, to slow it down a bit, one activity I did start last year was Pilates. I was never really aware of the benefit, or think that I was a Pilates person. It was only the fact that my body ached after a physical day at work that I looked into starting. I was so fortunate to quickly find Aimee Dibbens who runs Pilates classes in and around Winchester. Monday nights at Rawberry Cafe is my one hour a week to switch off and stretch out all the tension my body is holding! I have noticed a real change in my body and can’t wait to become more advance over the next year. I have also heard very good reports about the Yoga classes at New Energy if that is more your sort of thing! 

Rawberry Winchester

Eating healthy for me doesn’t mean calorie counting but just cutting down on the junk food and maybe a few less glasses of wine than normal! Eating out can be difficult especially with so many places offering amazing cake around Winchester! But this month I tried Rawberry for the first time and really enjoyed my food and smoothie, so highly recommended if you want a nutritious lunch in town. The other place I love to go to for a healthy lunch is Caracoli which is a gorgeous little deli on the high street. We tend to head there and get a takeaway lunch, combine it with a Flat Whites coffee and munch it sitting in front of the gorgeous cathedral! 

Wagamama Winchester

My healthy go to option for a quick dinner is Wagamama, and despite being a chain, I would happily eat there every night. In January I went to the launch of the mind menu in Winchester and had an amazing talk from the mental health charity Mind volunteers, who have worked with Wagamama to produce a menu that is not only healthy, tasty and colourful but encourages you to stop and appreciate what you are eating and to raise awareness of practicing mindfulness. It was such an eye-opening evening for me and would highly recommend the positive juice...not only does it taste great by Wagamama will give 25p from the sale to the charity. 

Chestnut Horse Easton

I am also a big believer that part of eating healthy is eating locally. In the 18 months I have lived here I have learnt that Hampshire is county that produces so many amazing products and there are so many restaurants in Winchester that celebrate this! If you want dinner out tasting what the county has on offer, then look no further than the amazing Chestnut Horse in Easton whose menu is a cut above the rest and one of my absolute favourite pubs in the area.

Club Epicure

I can’t wait to keep up my eating locally resolution as the summer hits and sit outside in the sunshine, munching on delicious food! Last year we tried out Club Epicure, a new supper club in Winchester, run from the home of Hatty and the very talented chef Alex Parker. They try to use as many local products as possible including meat from the local farm shop, Hampshire veggies from the awesome Bellord and Brown and the famous River Itchen Trout from Chalk Stream foods. Their evenings are very personal and a great was to meet new people, I highly recommend giving it a try in 2018! 

 Another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to save a bit of money, which is very difficult in Winchester with endless eating out opportunities. But we love cooking at home and this year I plan on making the most of the local producers who provide the ingredients to make a cracking Sunday roast. 

Winchester produce

Winchester offers some seriously good veg options and the fortnightly Hampshire Farmers market in town and the Good Life Farm shop always have a colourful veg selection on offer. However, this January I ordered my first veg box from Boxxfresh based in Southampton and I am now a convert! Ordering was easy, the service was efficient, there was minimal packaging and the fruit and veg was genuinely some of the best I have tasted! So, I think this vegtastic treat is one way I will definitely keen up this year.

Finally, if you are looking for some healthy recipe inspiration from one of Winchester very own food bloggers then you must follow @fit.foodie.nutter who’s Instagram is full of unbelievably mouthwatering pictures and healthy recipes for you to try at home. I haven’t tried one yet but the vegan Shepard’s pie looks too good to miss. 

Happy healthy 2018 Winchester!