Madeleine Shaw wears many hats - she's an Instagram star, bestselling author, yoga instructor and health coach, but her main focus is on creating a healthy lifestyle for her fans and followers that is realistic. While the new health craze can often promote a diet that is impossible to maintain, Madeleine strives to create an approach that can work for everyone - no need to avoid socialising, going to dinners or drinking.
With everything from her supper clubs to yoga brunches, she's reimagining the way we think about health food. We sat down with Madeleine at Brown's Hotel, where she's launched a new menu, to talk about health, fitness, travel and what's next on the horizon. Her new book, Ready Steady Glow, is on sale now and offers recipes with varying prep and cooking times for practical meal preparation throughout the week.
Have you always lead such a healthy lifestyle or was there a point in your life that you made a change?
I moved to Australia when I was 18 and when I was living out there I had really bad digestive problems. I was getting bloated all the time, and then I really started to look at what I was eating. I went to an organic café in Sydney and started eating there and learning more about nutrition and food. I ended up working there. I loved it. I was like "this is what I want to do".
At what point did you realise your passion for nutrition and food could become a career?
I never really thought I'd write books or do anything like that. I kind of thought I'd set up my website and just see clients one-on-one. That was my plan, but then things evolved and I do loads of different things now, from supper clubs to events and collaborations.
How do you think the internet and social media have affected your business?
It wouldn't exist for me without social media. That's how I've created a platform and gotten my message out to people and gotten them interested in what I'm doing. Absolutely, it's one of those things where the internet puts you out there, which is amazing. I don't think this would work at all without the internet.
What are your top tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling?
I think preparation is key. Taking snacks with you so that you're not tempted by the airplane food. If you're staying for a long time finding a local supermarket so you know you can get a few fresh fruits and foods like that. If you're on holiday though you don't need to worry. It's your time to relax and enjoy stuff. It's time to chill out, so you don't have to worry too much about being perfect.
Where are your favourite healthy restaurants in London?
Obviously Brown's. Other restaurants in London... I love Boma Green, which is in Parson's Green. In the evening, I love Ceviche and I love 10 Greek Street as well. I love Spring, in Somerset House, Petersham Nurseries - the chef from there moved to Spring.
Where is the best market to get fresh produce in London?
I really love Venn street market in Clapham Common. It's about ease, and I don't like really busy markets when there's too much going on. Parson's Green has a good market as well. They've got everything you need like fish, meat and vegetables. Those two, or anywhere that's close by.
Before moving back to London, where were your favourite spots in Sydney?
I love Porch & Parlour for breakfast. It's an amazing café that overlooks the ocean. The coolest people go there and you just sort of stare at everyone they're so cool. I like MissChu, which is in King's Cross. King's Cross is a very weird area, it's where all the clubs are. But it's an Asian fusion restaurant, really delicious. I mean the food there is spectacular. It really is so different.
Summer's just around the corner. What ingredient are you most excited about coming back into season?
All the berries: strawberries, raspberries. I'm excited for asparagus, which is kind of coming up now. I love asparagus. It's so good. All the stone fruits, like peaches, nectarines. I love the smell of summer fruit.
What do you do to stay fit?
I'm a big yoga person. That's more the way I like to exercise. I don't like being screamed at at the gym. I do yoga about four times a week. I like walking as well, walking along the river. I did sign up for the gym recently though. Just going to do a bit of weights and resistance as well. I try and move, even if it's just a walk, everyday.
Okay, so no one can be perfect all of the time...What's your guilty pleasure?
I like croissants and French patisserie. I wouldn't go for a burger or things like that.
What else can we expect from you in the future?
My second book is out, Ready Steady Glow, which is basically divided into fast weeks and slow weekends. So the fast week meals are 30 minutes and under. It's a practical guide to healthy living so when you get home and you just want a dinner in ten minutes it's your guide to that. That's our next big thing, promoting it, doing a book tour. I'll be selling it worldwide. Then I'm going over to Germany to launch menus in Frankfurt and Berlin for Brown's.
Can you tell us a bit about your collaboration with Brown's?
Obviously, I love eating out and I travel quite a lot. I think it is basically to create some really delicious healthy menus in Brown's, and their two hotels in Germany, so that when you're travelling you can still eat well. But also so that you have a place in London where you can come.