Hello and welcome to The Compost Bin. I'm Compostwoman and I live with my family in rural Herefordshire. We have nearly four acres of garden and woodland, all managed organically and to Permaculture principles, which we share with Chickens, Cats and assorted wildlife. We also grow a lot of our own food, run courses in all sorts of things and make a lot of compost!

I am a Master Composter and have spent more than a decade as a volunteer Community Compost adviser with Garden Organic and my local Council.
I'm a self employed Environmental Educator so I run workshops and events where I talk about compost, veg growing, chicken keeping, cooking, preserving and sustainable living. I also run crafts workshops and Forest School/outdoor play sessions in our wood.

We try to live a more self sufficient lifestyle here, as best we can, while still having a comfortable life and lots of fun.

To learn more about us click on the About Compostwoman tab and remember to click on the photos to make them full size!

Tuesday 30 September 2014

The Harcombe Diet Conference Birmingham

After our adventures in Wales I spent Friday collecting the chickens and guinea pig from various places where they had been staying, buying a new car (!) and generally catching up with life here at Compost Mansions.

However I did have another outing planned as on 27th September I went off to Birmingham to attend The Harcombe Diet Conference. The Harcombe Diet  is a way of eating which has, so far, helped me to lose more than 4 stone in less than three months.  It has a very friendly and supportive online community and I was excited to be going to meet Zoe and Andy Harcombe at the Conference.

I got on the 7.50 train from Ledbury and after a trouble free journey arrived at Birmingham New Street . The conference was being held at the Hotel du Vin so I had a very pleasant short walk across by the Cathedral to the Hotel.

Lots of forum members were already there and I settled down to chat and drink decaff black coffee.

Then we got started.

Zoe spoke first and introduced some of the research she has been conducting recently about food myths and the wrong advice we are all given about fats and carbs. Her grasp of how statistics can be used by main stream medical and food vested interests to tell a story is stunning :) A very interesting presentation and she is a lovely person as well.

Next up was Kevin Downey - a Learning and Development Specialist who was inspirational and motivating. He took us though the ideas behind "The Chimp Paradox" an excellent book written by Prof. Steve Peters which aims to help us be the best we can be, in every area of life. Some of the ideas are difficult to grasp at first but then it all becomes very clear indeed :) 
"The Chimp Model is a Model for understanding and managing the functioning of the mind. The Model is not a hypothesis nor strict scientific fact but based on the neuroscience of the brain. The model is fun but meant to be taken seriously when it comes to applying it"

At lunchtime we had the delight of  "Harcombe friendly" food in large quantities and all absolutely delicious :) We had lots of time to chat to each other, I heard some inspirational stories from other members and Zoe came and chatted to pretty well all of us during the break.

Then we went back for the afternoon session, with Dr John Briffa.

Dr Briffa is a practising doctor, author and international speaker and is a leading authority on the impact of nutrition and other lifestyle factors on health and illness. He is dedicated to providing individuals with information and advice they can use to take control of their health and optimise their energy and vitality.

Dr Briffa is apparently a bit controversial (google to see what I mean) but I found his views to be honest and consistent with the facts presented. His presentation was fascinating and for me there were a couple of "penny dropped" moments during it where I realised just why my weight gain started about 13 years ago, coinciding with gall stones/antibiotic use/major illness/low fat eating and inflammatory illness.

We ended with a session from Kevin Downey which was entertaining and thought provoking and certainly set me up with a positive mental attitude :)

I went home on the train full of energy and ideas - not even dampened by a 2 hour delay at Worcester. I got home and immediately downloaded "The Chimp Paradox" and "Escape the diet trap"  onto my tablet. Loads of food for thought there :)

So a great day out with lots of interesting food for thought, new friends made' an excellent goody bag with free books in,  and a positive reinforcement that I am doing the right thing for me :)


  1. Hi there, I saw on Twitter you had been to this thing! I found Harcombe a couple of year back & am a huge fan, I don't stick to it religiously and didn't do it for weight loss, more for overall health but the weight does drop off, I have never put back on a single lb since deciding to treat my body better crikey I think it was back in 2007/2008 when I started cycling then running, I think the 'traditional idea of a 'diet' is one of the biggest lies people have ever fallen for and it makes me really clamber up on my soapbox!
    Am also a huge fan of TCP! My Chimpy is well and truly tamed, I would also recommend Ruby Wax Sane New World for another inspirational read on mindfulness & understanding what makes us act the way we do sometimes x x ps its GTM, its not letting me sign in under my wordpress sign on for some reason?!

    1. *waves at GTM* Hello there :) I remember you writing about THD - I was on it at the same time but did not stick to it :( Ah well I have now :)


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