Nutritionist Amelia Freer’s reputation precedes her. As the author of three bestselling cookbooks, she boasts a mighty social media following and an array of famous clients that includes Victoria Beckham, Sam Smith and James Corden, whom she famously helped trim down. The only snag to such success, is that she’s now closed her books to new clients. Clever Lime Wood then, to invite her to be their in-house ‘wellness expert’. Her holistic approach means she’s sprinkled her magic everywhere from tweaking the menus delivered by chefs Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder, to the bedrooms which now come with a Bamford sleep spray by the pillow. She also runs a series of sell-out nutrition workshops at the hotel, with two new dates just released for 2020: Simply Good for You (29 Jan) and Healthy Cooking for Kids (18 March).
We attended one this October and, as total novices in the world of nutrition, felt a little trepidation. Would we need to know our chia seeds from our flax? Would we be shamed for preferring dairy to oat milk, and opting for a breakfast of croissants with jam? Not at all, as it turned out. The hotel was so warm and welcoming, lighting a fire in the Scullery for the small group of 15-20 people on the workshop – in our case all women – with everyone chatting and settling in for the day around the table together.
The workshop began with a series of talks from Amelia where we soon realised why she’s so popular with her clients. Not only is she completely charming and approachable but she’s also vehemently against fad diets and calorie counting. In fact, she seemed more interested in adding things in rather than cutting things out, stressing the need to maintain a balanced blood sugar level by eating three proper meals a day. The talks were eye-opening but not righteous, and the ideas felt genuinely do-able thanks to Amelia’s useful triangle tool for ticking off the nutrition needed per day – including a whopping six portions of vegetables and three pieces of fresh fruit.
Easy when a delicious and nutritious lunch is provided for you (as it was here for us lucky workshoppers) but potentially more difficult to manage at home. That’s why the afternoon session in the hotel’s state-of-the-art Cookery School with demo’s and recipe suggestions was especially helpful. Healthy meals were whipped up before our eyes, including a speedy chicken curry (thickened with a secret ingredient – a big dollop of almond butter) and an easy fish parcel where you wrap up the pak choi and other veggies alongside the fish so supper is literally all cooked together in one washing-up-free bundle. We also gleaned plenty of smaller tips – like adding strips of lemon zest to a bottle of olive oil for an instant dressing – and came away with a shopping list of healthy things to stock in the larder (Brindisa jars of beans and artichokes etc.) that have made it so much easier to eat well since.
Finally, the day was rounded off with a walk through the trees that surround the hotel. Nestled in the New Forest, we spotted foragers hunting for mushrooms and hotel guests stomping through the leaves in colourful wellies you can pull on in the boot room. At tea time we left armed with meal plans and a goodie bag filled with treats. Amelia’s informal approach throughout the day made it so easy to ask questions – ‘after all – it’s a workshop not a lecture’ as she put it, and we came away feeling refreshed, inspired and full of good intentions, surprisingly enough ones that we’ve been able to keep to.
The workshops can be booked for non-guests, but by the time you’ve got to Lime Wood you’ll be dying to stay the night. Book a room and you’ll not only get to enjoy the super spoiling hotel but you’ll also be granted access to the Herb House spa. Here you can book a Sarah Chapman facial or Bamford treatment, or just lie in the hydro pool gazing out of floor-to-ceiling windows at the changing leaves of the woods beyond.
Upcoming Amelia Freer workshops:
Simply Good for You, 29 January 2020, £175 per person, find out more here.
Healthy Cooking for Kids, 18 March 2020, £175 per person, find out more here.
Add a 1 night stay with complimentary breakfast either the night before or the night after your Cookery Class or Workshop by booking here. Choose from the best available room (Eaves, Cosy, Spacious or Generous) for £295 with a complimentary breakfast or best available Suite (Forest Suite or Forest Hideaway Suite) for £395 with a complimentary breakfast. A 10% discount on Herb House treatments will be extended to be taken at any point during your stay and this includes access to the spa. (Rates apply for single or double occupancy).