Smoothies V juicing

Smoothies versus juicing

We all go through phases of wanting to be more healthy and making a real effort; just before we go on holiday, before a big event like a wedding, after a big event like Christmas.  And we often reach for pieces of kit to help us like a juicer or a smoothie maker

So today’s blog post is about the pros and cons of each and should we be doing it at all


unnamed They are a great way to have a quick and easy snack or meal on the go; the perfect portable food.  But do consider them a meal rather than a drink; with all that fruit, veg, milk and protein they can be calorie dense

Smoothies are a great way to try different fruit and veg combinations.  There’s the classic green smoothie with vitamin bursting vegetable goodness and loads of fibre, take a look at my version ‘Shrek the smoothie’ in a previous blog post green is the new black or a more traditional fruit based smoothie smoothie day


The big advantage of smoothies over juicers is that you get all the soluble fibre.  Adults need 18g of fibre a day, but most of us do not eat enough (the average intake is 12.8g/day for women and 14.8g/day for men).

A low fibre intake is associated with constipation and some gut diseases such as bowel cancer

A high fibre diet can help reduce cholesterol, reduce the risk of diabetes

and can help protect against overweight[1]

Another advantage is that you can buy a bog standard blender, although specific smoothie makers are also available.



juicerWhen you want to boost your intake of fresh vegetables and fruits, juicing is a good way to achieve that goal with minimum fuss and preparation. It requires no peeling or lots of chopping.  But remember this is a very concentrated source of nutrients including sugar, so drink with caution and always brush your teeth or each a small amount of cheese afterwards to neutralise the harmful acids in your mouth.  Beasuse juicing lacks fibre, protein and fat it will not keep you as full as a piece of fruit or vegetable or a smoothie



The main advantage is that a variety of fruits and veg conbos can be achieved; it is therefore a great way to use up ripe or seasonal foods that are at their nutritional best and affordable.

Some research has suggested that the nutrients from juicing is accessed by the body must faster because the fibre has been removed, which can be quite useful for anyone with a sensitive digestive system or has had bowel/colon surgery that means fibre is off then menu

IMG_1833So if you go for a juicer what do you do with all the left over fruit and vegetable pulp?

  • Add it to stewed fruit and turn it into a pie or crumble, with added fibre
  • Enrich a pasta sauce
  • Bulk out a lasagne recipe
  • Add it to vegetable soups
  • And if all else fails compost it!


Only 31% of adults in the UK eat the recommended 5-a-day, so both smoothies and juicing is a great way to meet help that target, however the fruit and veg from juicers will only count as one portion due to the lack of fibre.  This is not the case with smoothies (but only if you don’t peel the skins from apples and pears etc and have at least two 80g portions of whole fruit or veg)


Which is the best  

It is really down to personal choice as to which one you prefer.  The smoothie will keep you fuller for longer and therefore should be considered a meal or snack and the juicer will give you an instant hit of nutrients and energy


But on balance I’d go for the smoothie, that fibre is so important for a healthy digestive system and a simple inexpensive blender will do the trick


This is a review of the top 5 juicers and smoothie makers 


As its Halloween I thought I’d share with you my favourite pumpkin smoothie  and juice recipes.


Halloween smoothie – serves 2

IMG_1906240g vanilla yogurt

100g cooked and chilled pumpkin flesh (either roasted in the oven for 20 minutes or cooked in a pan for 10 minutes)

3-4 ice cubes

80 ml of fresh orange juice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp mixed spice

1 ripe banana, sliced and frozen

0504-banana-pumpkin-smoothie-mCombine all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Garnish with dash of ground cinnamon, if desired. Serve immediately.




Halloween juice – serves 2

IMG_1904300 g of pumpkin – hard outer skin and seeds removed

1 apple

100g fresh or tinned pineapple

½ piece of fresh ginger

½ teaspoon cinnamon

pumpkin juicePut all the ingredients except the cinnamon into a juicer and switch on.  Flavour the juice with the cinnamon


Use the leftover pulp to make my delicious sweet potato, chickpea and spinach curry

Have a look at my other blog posts for more pumpkin recipes

[1] British Nutrition Foundation 2012

Piccolino restaurant review

Review of Piccolino restaurant in the Nottingham Post 29th October 2014

thumbnail_piccolino_nottinghamAs we have now entered autumn I thought this month’s column in the Nottingham Post should be about good tasty comfort food and for me that’s often Italian inspired, so I decided to visit Piccolino at Weekday Cross, in Nottingham’s city centre.  A rather upmarket restaurant that prides itself on using fresh seasonal ingredients; well that’s what the website boasts. I booked a table for early Saturday night and was told we had to be out by 8.00pm, which was fine as the IMG_1969Broadway cinema beckoned!

My online writeup is in Todays (29th October ) Nottingham Post Piccolino review

IMG_1932 Whist perusing the menu we ordered a prosecco, and a complimentary basket of delicious bread with oil and balsamic vinegar was placed on the table. To accompany my glass of fizz I opted for some creamy marinated giant Apulian Cerignola olives. I was pleased to see a number of veggie options on the menu, although some stated they were veggie but included Parmesan; and any good vegetarian knows that picccolino menuParmesan is never suitable for us veggies as it contains animal rennet.  And if you didn’t know you do now!

True to their website they did in deed have lots of seasonal options including a butternut squash ravioli and a creamy mushroom risotto (minus the parmesan crisp)

IMG_1934I decided to have a rustica pizza (Chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables, rocket & ricotta). It was beautifully thin, crispy and satisfyingly large!  The toppings were delicious lots of roasted peppers, aubergines, courgettes, creamy ricotta and peppery rocket.

The size of the pizza was sufficient to mean that pudding was not required.

I really enjoyed everything about Piccolino; the restaurant was beautifully lit and the atmosphere was buzzing.  Most of the staff were Italian and knew the menu inside out; they were also really attentive and professional whilst friendly at the same time.  Particular thanks must go to Giulia our server; she made us feel very welcome. The service was swift without being pushy, which meant we had plenty of time to walk to the Broadway cinema.

IMG_1936The bill came to £38 for two, which I think for an upmarket Italian restaurant is good value.  Would I eat there again, absolutely.  Maybe next time I will mention the ‘P’ word and ask them to use a vegetarian version of this famous Italian hard cheese

If you’ve recently been to Piccolino then please share your thoughts and pictures.

Veggie ocean pie

Veggie ocean pie – 4 generous servings or 5 smaller servings.  300 or 240 calories a serving

IMG_1958It was officially the end of British Summer Time this weekend, so the clocks went back an hour, the nights will be getting darker and the central heating is being switched on.  So that can only mean one thing ‘comfort food’!

And this is one of the best.  Why should fish eaters have all the best recipes so I’ve made a veggie ocean pie with some of the best bits of a classic fish pie; a creamy sauce, lots of filling, heaps of fresh parsley and plenty of crispy potato topping.  But with some lovely nutritious additions like vitamin A & C packed kale, low GI and fibre rich sweet potato and calcium loaded veggie/vegan cheese

IMG_1947120g carrots
 – chopped/sliced

150g leek
 – washed and sliced

1 tsp olive oil

1 garlic
 clove – sliced

1 tbls flour

1 tsp vegetable bouillon powder

Salt and pepper

1 tsp smoked paprika

500ml milk/unsweetened non dairy milk

1- 2 tbls lemon juice

100g chestnut mushrooms

50g of chopped fresh kale or dried seaweed or a mix of the two

2 quorn fillets cut into pieces or 100g quorn pieces or 200g tofu
 (at 15 calories per portion)

50g frozen peas

1 heaped tsp capers

25g parsley
 – chopped

300g potatoes

200g sweet potato

grated nutmeg

60g strong cheese/vegan cheese


IMG_1952Preheat the oven to 180oC.

Boil the potatoes until soft then mash in a ricer or use a potato masher.  Add a small amount of milk, salt and pepper, grated nutmeg and your favourite cheese ( I used some creamy stilton)

Add the chopped carrots and leeks to a heavy bottomed IMG_1948large saucepan or wide deep frying pan fry the vegetables in a little oil on a low/medium heat for 6-8 minutes until they are softened. Add the garlic and kale/seaweed, vegetable powder, seasoning and paprika and give everything a good stir.  Cook for 2 3 minutes to remove the ‘floury’ taste.



Add the milk, lemon juice, mushrooms, quorn, peas, capers and chopped parsley. Stir again and lower the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 10 minutes.


IMG_1953Pour the filling into a baking dish and then top with the mashed potato and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the filling is bubbling away.




Serve with a large portion of broccoli or your favourite veg.  100g is about 35 calories

Get your pyjamas and slippers on and enjoy!

The benefits of eating healthily

The benefits of eating healthily

1000x1000As you may know I am now running fortnightly workshops at Maggies, cancer caring centre, based in the grounds of the City Hospital,  Nottingham.  And as it is breast cancer awareness month I thought it would be appropriate to write something about how food can help boost a suppressed immune system, lift your mood and help make you feel less stressed, at what can often be a very stressful time of your life


6389379-largeI advocate a healthy balanced diet to all my clients, including those going through a stressful time.  A healthy balanced diet can, depending on your circumstances can help you to maintain, gain or lose weight. Of course there are instances when you need extra nutritional support, but I believe for the most part food in its natural state is the best nourishment.  And if like me you like cooking that can be a stress buster in itself.


imagesMy previous blog goes into more detail about what can constitute a healthy balanced diet, so lets spend some time looking at stress and the impact it can have on your diet and in turn how food can impact on your stress


If you are under a lot of stress you are more susceptible to feeling unwell both emotionally and physically, one part of the solution is to eat plenty of stress busting foods and drink to boost your immune system.  Try some of these simple steps

  • overnight oatsDon’t skip breakfast; it can help with mood, memory and attention.  Try eating porridge or my overnight oats  (a cold variations), wholegrain cereal like branflakes, Weetabix or shredded wheat.  Brazil nuts are also great as they contain selenium – a great mineral for lifting your mood.
  • IMG_0848Eat a variety fruit and veg – so you get a ‘rainbow’ of colour and a boost of vitamin A, C & E and Zinc.  All of which play a positive role in your immune system
  • During the day drink black or green tea – full of antioxidants
  • Stay hydrated with water – often you can mistake thirst for hunger so always have a drink first; wait about 10 minutes and then have something to eat if you are still hungry
  • Have a warm milky drink at night – the calcium soothes tension as well as eases anxiety and the protein has a calming effect on the body, which could lower blood pressure.
  • imagesRest and relaxation – take time for your self; read a book, have a warm bath, listen to your favourite cd or watch your favourite dvd
  • Limit your alcohol intake.  It is a depressant not a stimulant so drink within safe limits
  • De-stress with some exercise or activity  – brisk walking is great way to burn calories, get some fresh air and absorb some much needed vitamin D


Have a read through some of my additional blogs about stress and the immune system

Nottm post feature photo

don’t worry, be happy

managing stress

Foods to boost the immune system

food to make you feel good


dark chocolateAnd ending on a positive and happy note, eating a few squares of 70% dark chocolate can also make you feel happy by prompting the release of the mood-boosting hormone serotonin

Roasted pumpkin, carrot and lentil soup

Roasted pumpkin, carrot and lentil soup – makes 7 x 250ml servings, 95 calories a portion

IMG_1919A pumpkin that was kindly donated to me has now been transformed into this delicious and hearty soup.  Don’t be afraid to be generous with the spicing  – it can pack quite a punch, which is perfect on a chilly day

Pumpkins are low in fat, calories and cholesterol, and high in fibre, vitamin A, iron and vitamin C.  Like pumpkins carrots are also packed with vitamin A and fibre, which will leave you feeling fuller for longer.  The vitamins are good for eye health, IMG_1901cell regeneration and for boosting the immune system.  Lentils are also rich in fibre and iron and are an excellent low fat low calorie protein source.

A winner all round and a great way to use up the flesh from your hollowed out lanterns!


90g leek chopped

300g pumpkin, cut into wedges (no need to peel)

400g chopped or grated carrot

1 tsp olive oil

1 ½  tsp cumin, coriander

IMG_19141 tsp chilli flakes

100 g dried red lentils

1.25 ltrs hot water

1 tsp vegetable powder or 1 stock cube

1 tsp cumin and coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

black pepper and salt


  • Pre heat the oven 185oC
  • IMG_1904Wash and slice the pumpkin into wedges place in a large baking tray drizzle over 1 tsp olive/vegetable oil.  Sprinkle over the spices (1 ½ tsp cumin and 1 tsp chilli flakes).  Toss in the oil and place in the pre heated oven.  Cook until soft – about 30-40 minutes.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and place the wedges on to a plate and scrape the oil and seasoning in to a large pan
  • IMG_1906Slice the washed leek and add to the pan, don’t add any additional oil.   Cook until they soften – about 10 minutes, add the sliced or grated carrot and again cook until they soften. Chop up the pumpkin (no need to remove the skin unless you don’t like it) and add to the pan
  • Add 1.25 litres of boiling water and 1 heaped tsp vegetable bouillon, 1 tsp cumin, coriander and ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • IMG_1917Cook until the lentils and carrots are soft – about 20 minutes
  • Taste and season with salt and pepper
  • Blend until smooth either in a blender or using a stick blender.  Add more water if it is too thick
  • Serve 250g/250ml in warmed bowls


If you want to make a smaller batch, just reduce the individual ingredients, but still keep the same proportions.  if however, you make a big batch simply put portions in to a freezer bags; it freezers for up to three months

Why not share your best recipe that utilises this great and versatile vegetable

Get that vegetable vibe

Get that vegetable vibe – all hail the kale!!

IMG_1368We are all told that when it comes to vegetables 5-a-day doesn’t cut it any more and we should be eating 7 a day and more.

How is it possible to consume more veg and even if we could why should we?

logo160wFor an answer to those questions and a few more check out my new article on the Health Sciences Academy website

6389379-largeMy article goes on to explain that vegetables (and fruit) should form a large part of a healthy diet in order to reduce the risk of suffering from some major illness like strokes, type 2 diabetes’s and some forms of cancer

One of the easiest ways to add more veg to your diet is to buy an inexpensive stick blender and blend lots of cooked imagesvegetables into a thick tomato sauce.  This can be used to make a healthy lasagna, vegetable and lentil soup, spaghetti Bolognese or shepherds pie.

Another tip is to turn your veggies and fruit into smoothies.  Try my green smoothie described in a previous blog about imagesthe beauty of veggies

If you have children and are struggling to get them to eat these nutritious little gems then have a look at my previous imagesblog


1060158_f520And if you are unsure how much veg and fruit you eat then take my veg and fruit quiz quiz and find out!

Why not share with me your tips for adding veg to your diet – what worked best?

Veggie sausage casserole

Veggie sausage casserole, serves 4 

IMG_1894I think of casseroles as the ultimate comfort food. This is a great veggie/vegan version and is perfect for autumn, when it is just starting to get cold and dark.

Pumpkin works just as well as butternut squash, so make this with all the left over flesh from the hollowed out pumpkins on Halloween!




8 quorn or vegan sausages (get spicy ones if possible)

1 butternut squash (about 1kg in weight), peeled, deseeded and chopped

1 small chilli or 1 tsp dried chilli,IMG_1885

1 clove of garlic crushed

2 teaspoons of cumin,

1½  teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon marjoram or oregano,

1 large red onion or 100g of chopped leek,

1 tin of chopped tomatoes or 1 small punnet of baby toms

1 tin of beans – like butter beans, chickpeas, borlotti etc

½ tin water

salt and pepper

1 100g packet of spinach (or frozen or tinned) or 100g kale


  • Pre heat the oven 180oC
  • In a large casserole dish put in the chopped squash, sausages, chilli, onion/leek, seasoning, salt, pepper, tinned tomatoes and ½ tin of water.
  • Roast in the oven for 40 minutes until nearly done, then add the drained beans and spinach leaves (or kale).  Cook for another 15 minutes without a lid to brown the sausages.
  • When the squash is soft, remove the dish from the oven and serve in warmed bowls

Be breast aware in October

Be breast aware in October (and beyond)

breast-stats-doughnutOctober is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

In the UK in 2011 around 49,900 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, that’s more than 130 women every day.

The good news is survival rates are improving, more than 85% of women diagnosed survive more than 5 years. This is probably because of more targeted treatments, earlier detection and better breast awareness.


maggies_nottinghamThis is also the month I start my healthy eating workshop at Maggies in the City Hospital grounds, Nottingham.  Maggie’s is one of a number of regional cancer caring drop-in centres in Great Britain, which aim to help anyone who has been affected by cancer.

Every other Thursday from 10.30 I will be at Maggies running a free 2 hour healthy eating workshop.  I will be explaining what is a healthy balanced diet and how to make small but permanent changes to your diet.  We will be discussing good and bad fats, why sugar should be limited, as well as making some healthy snacks like hummus, quinoa salad and overnight oats.  All of which are low calorie, high in fibre and most importantly delicious!

maggies logoThe next session is Thursday 23rd October, so if you or a family member have been affected by cancer please come along and join me.  Contact Maggies for more information and to book for place 0115 924 6210

nottm post salmonThe Nottingham Post have published elements of this blog in their paper dated Thursday 16 October, including the salmon recipe below

Having a healthy diet is no guarantee that you will not succumb to this disease but the NHS have said “there are benefits for women who maintain a healthy weight, do regular exercise and who have a low intake of saturated fat and alcohol.’

How can you do your bit for Breast cancer awareness month?

wear pinkYou could simply buy a badge from shops and supermarkets, make a donation, if you are a woman be breast aware, wear pink on a Friday during October, do a fun run in aid of this great cause, or why not make some of these beautiful and healthy ‘pinky’ recipes and sell them to your friends, family and work colleagues

Beetroot and horseradish hummus – serves 4, 89 calories per serving

100g cooked beetroot (not the pickled version!) – grated or finely chopped, 3 tsp ground horseradish, 1 tin of chickpeas – drained (save some of the liquid as you might need it), 1 garlic clove – crushed, 1 tsp of lemon juice, Salt and pepper


Place all the ingredients in to a large bowl and using a hand blender make into a smooth dip. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary

Serve with Ryvitas, vegetable sticks or wholemeal pitta bread


Teriyaki salmon with courgettes-  serves 2, 430 calories per portion

3 tsp rapeseed oil4 tbsp dark soy sauce1 lime, zest and juice

1 small chilli

2 tbsp honey

1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped

1 chunk of ginger,finely chopped2 x 170g salmon filletsI

tsp Sesame seeds

2 small courgettes, thinly sliced

4 spring onions chopped


teriyaki-salmonTo make the Teriyaki sauce heat 1 tsp rapeseed oil in a pan and fry the ginger, garlic and chopped chilli. Add the zest and juice of the lime and pour in the soy sauce. Add the honey and cook for 1 minute or until reduced

Toast the sesame seeds in a large nonstick pan over medium heat, and set aside.

In the same pan add 1 tsp of oil and heat then add the fish (skin side down), and cook for 2 minutes. Turn and cook for 3 more minutes over medium-low heat. Remove from the pan and keep warm.

Add the courgettes, spring onions, and 1 tsp oil to the pan. Sauté  for 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Stir in 2 tbls teriyaki sauce. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, and serve with salmon and drizzle over the remaining sauce.


Overnight oats with raspberries serves 2, 190 calories per portion

60g porridge oats

40 ml coconut water

120 ml of skimmed milk or milk alternative (coconut, soya or almond milk)

120g of fresh or frozen raspberries

1 tbls sesame seeds

1 tsp chia seeds


Mix all the ingredients together in a container with a lid.  Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning stir all the ingredients again and add more milk or water if it is too thick and serve in two bowls


overnight oatsThe ingredients can be increased to make more than one serving and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days



If you would like more information or have been affected by breast cancer please click on any of these websites for helpful information and support

Overnight oats

Overnight oats, serves two,  202 calories per serving

overnight oatsThis really is a great way to enjoy fibre rich oats.  When they are soaked overnight they become soft and creamy, and with the addition of some fresh fruit they are also naturally sweet.  So there is no need to add extra sugar, honey, or maple syrup.  The oats are low GI and will give you a slow release of energy until lunchtime.  The fruit and the oats will also give you a big burst of fibre also great for keeping you fuller for longer and for improving your digestive health.  The chia seeds (pronounced chee- ah)  not only make the dish more firm but add extra protein and calcium

And here no no reason why this dish has to be limited to just breakfast.  It make a great dessert or afternoon treat.  The variations below will keep it interesting.

Go on pimp up your oats!!

Serves two,  202 calories per serving

IMG_184860g porridge oats

40 ml coconut water

120 ml of skimmed milk or milk alternative (coconut, soya or almond milk)

1 apple – grated

1 tbls sunflower seeds

1 tsp chia seeds



In the morning stir all the ingredients again and add more milk or water if it too thick and serve in a bowl


The ingredients can be increased to make more than one serving and can be kept in the fridge for up to three days


Additions to the basic recipe

1 tbls sultanas – 44 calories

7 (10g) cashew nuts chopped- 60 calories

1 tsp (5g) flaked almonds- 30 calories

2  (10g) apricots, chopped- 18 calories

2 (6g) brazil nuts chopped- 40 calories

1 tsp pumpkin seeds – 28 calories

1 pear, grated – 60 calories

1 tsp (15g) wholenut peanut butter – 96 calories

Allergy and intolerance

Allergy and intolerance – what you should know about the new

labelling guidelines

EUFIC_baseline_RGBDid you know there is a new piece of European legislation coming into force on 13th December this year, called the Food Information for Consumers Regulation (EU FIC) that will change the way allergen information appears on labels and on food that is pre‑packed, sold loose or served when you are eating out.  This will affect not only consumers but food retailers and suppliers

Wondering what an allergen is?!

food allergiesFood allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by your body’s immune system. Allergic reactions to food can sometimes cause serious illness and death; you may have come across the phrase anaphylactic shock. The foods that most often trigger allergic reactions are therefore called allergens

14 Allergens PosterUnder the new regulation, the main 14 allergens will have to be highlighted on the ingredients list label if they are contained in any foods.  They are:-

  • cereals containing gluten
  • crustaceans, for example prawns, crabs, lobster and crayfish
  • eggs
  • fish
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • milk
  • nuts, such as almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecan nuts, Brazil nuts, pistachio, cashew and macadamia (Queensland) nuts
  • celery (and celeriac)
  • mustard
  • sesame
  • sulphur dioxide, which is a preservative found in some dried fruit
  • lupin
  • molluscs, for example clams, mussels, whelks, oysters, snails and  squid




chalkboardThese new rules will also apply to food sold loose or in restaurants.  Details of allergens can be provided in writing, on a chalk board or delivered by a member of staff

Are you a food supplier, restaurant or café?




If you need additional help with the new guidelines then please Presentation 09.09.14carry on reading I may have the solution.  I’d like to introduce you to Nicky Gray, Director of Food Freedom a new company set up to help and deliver training on this specialist subject.




Food Freedom is a company with a social mission which offers real commercial benefit. We draw on personal experience and expertise to provide specially-tailored education and training on food allergies, intolerance and coeliac disease.

We’re working to create a world where people can live a normal life, even if their sensitivity to certain foods is a danger to their health – where they are free to choose where they eat, where they feel free from risk and free from stigma.

Through completing one of our training packages we will provide you with the knowledge to ensure compliance of the forthcoming legislation and therefore avoid enforcement action, we can offer a real marketing opportunity to help attract more customers and help you provide great customer service – and so create a real competitive advantage.

If you would like to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact us: 07902 759853,

food freedom left aligned





Are you allergic to any or some of the foods above?

In theory it will be easier for you to know if a product contains allergens, but are you struggling to know what to buy or make that is still tasty and nutritious and the whole family can enjoy?

me and food NPThat is where I come in.  As a trained chef and nutrition coach I can offer you adapted recipes for most of your favourite meals.  Have a look at my one to one sessions and how I could help you.  In the meantime try my delicious wheat, dairy and egg free quinoa and broad bean salad

Nicky and I can also work with you to make your food outlet compliant by providing training and support and healthy tasty recipes to suit people with specialist diets.  Just contact us and let us help you; phone Susan on 07946 301338 or Nicky on 07902 759853

Further information and advice

Food Standards Agency – Allergy leaflet

Allergy UK

Coeliac UK