Category Archives: health

Keeping the bugs away plus giveaway

At this time of year, I find that I can be plagued by mosquitos and other biting insects whether walking through the woods, having a picnic near a lake or just in my own garden, so I was pleased to be offered a selection of natural insect repellent or relief products free to review.

Whilst waiting for them to arrive, I heard that familiar whirring buzz of a mosquito whilst trying to go to sleep. Luckily it didn’t bite, but it brought back memories of tropical holidays pre-kids with citronella candles and sleeping under mosquito nets.

Bug fighting essentials

I received the following four products, although I had been expecting Mosquitan patches rather than spray.

Bug Balm
Zap-It
Vie Mosquito Repellent
Mosquitan Spray

So obviously the first ones to try out were the repellents to ward off the bugs before they got in biting distance. I started with the Vie spray. It is all natural, DEET-free and suitable for all ages including babies. Easy to apply and does the job as no bites. This is available in 100 ml size currently at £7.95 from Vie healthcare.

Bug fighting essentials - Vie anti mosquito spray

Then the next day I tried the Mosquitan spray. This was a very similar product to the Vie spray and equally effective at keeping the bugs away. Also simple to apply. Again it is a natural DEET-free product suitable for all the family. This is available in 100 ml size currently at £8.95 also from Vie healthcare.

Bug fighting essentials - Mosquitan

The Zap-It wasn’t required until I was actually bitten, so I had to take a pause from applying the repellents in order to reluctantly get a bite. This is a small handheld device which you press against a bite, then squeeze the button, which causes it to emit a safe electrical discharge. I found about 2-3 clicks were needed. The idea behind this product is that this inhibits histamine release, which means less itching and swelling.  But I found that you therefore do need to use it asap after being bitten to improve how effective it will be. It is available in several different colours from selected health stores, pharmacies, garden centres, Asda, Lloyds Pharmacy, Superdrug and Amazon, and currently retails from £5.95. One Zap-It is sufficient for up to 1000 bites, based on 5 clicks per bite.

Bug fighting essentials - Zap-It

I didn’t need to try the bug balm until I unfortunately succumbed to another bite, which I didn’t then zap in time. The balm  was easy to apply and soothing for the itchiness, which is great as it is important to try to avoid scratching bites. I did need to reapply over the next couple of days until the swelling disappeared. This product came in a small 30g tin, so a nice size for keeping in your bag and it currently retails at £7.95 from Skinshop. And it is 100% natural, containing a concentrated extract of liquorice root. Suitable for adults and children.

Bug Balm

So in summary, I was very happy with all these products, although I would have liked the opportunity to also try the patches, as I don’t need two sprays. They are definitely all travel essentials with peak holiday season upon us. Also I’m glad that my review is now complete, so that I don’t have to deliberately wait to get bitten. I hadn’t realised quite how dedicated I was to my blog! But at least now I’m ready, if I get bitten again.

Zap It mosquito bite relief

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Zap-It to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top tips for avoiding or dealing with insect bites.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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More HelloSkin treats

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I reviewed a trio of products from HelloSkin earlier this year. Well I’ve now received a further selection of goodies free to review.

HelloSkin sensitive skin products

HelloSkin is an online store selling skincare products suitable for those people with psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin conditions. The site has been designed so that you can easily shop by need, type or ingredient. Alternatively there is a product finder which is refinable by age group, body part, symptom, need and when to use.

I chose the following three items.
Oilatum Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo also for itchy, flaking scalps – 150ml
Aveeno Daily Moisturising Bath and Shower Oil for dry and sensitive skin – 300ml
EVY Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30 – 150ml

Plus I also received a couple of surprise gifts. How nice!
Relivio Dry Skin Body Lotion – 500ml
Relivio Dry Skin Body Cream – 200ml

The first product I tried was the Oilatum Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo also for itchy, flaking scalps – 150ml. I frequently get a flare up of flaky scalp. Currently retailing at £9.99 for a 150ml bottle, this was a more expensive brand than the Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner that I tested last time. However I would say it was equally effective, no better or no worse, although it didn’t particularly lather up much. With both, I don’t end up scratching my scalp afterwards causing soreness and flakiness like with some less skin-friendly products. On that basis, I continue to prefer the Neutrogena T/Gel product, both on price and on being a combined shampoo and conditioner, which is always my preference. But equally happy with the quality of this product. It does advise you to leave on for 3-5 minutes for best results.

Oilatum anti-dandruff shampoo

Next up is the EVY Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30 – 150ml. This was a real winner for me, as in a mousse format, it was easy to apply, wasn’t sticky and felt nice on my skin. And best of all, it is long-lasting and I didn’t burn. I’ll certainly be buying this again in the future. Of course, the real test will come when I get an opportunity to try it out in a sand and salt environment, as that is when I usually get very itchy and uncomfortable. It currently retails at £16.95 for 150ml. This is also available in SPF 10, 20 and 50 variants, plus a kids version.

EVY Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30

And finally the Aveeno Daily Moisturising Bath and Shower Oil for dry and sensitive skin – 300ml. This smelt nice and worked excellently in the shower on my very dry skin. However I wasn’t convinced. I think this is because I am a shower creme person through and through. I don’t think I want to swap to an oil. For me, oils are reserved for massage. Perhaps I should have opted to try the Aveeno body wash instead. But it does contain oatmeal, which has a high reputation in skincare, so definitely worth a try for those who have a more serious skin condition than myself. This product currently retails at £7.99 for a 300ml bottle.

Aveeno Daily Moisturising bath & shower oil

I will certainly be visiting the HelloSkin website in the future.

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase at HelloSkin with discount code: “HELLOCLAIRE”. This offer is valid once per customer.

HelloSkin products

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway HelloSkin products to three lucky winners. The first winner drawn will win an EVY Sunscreen Mousse SPF 30 – 150ml. The second winner drawn will win a bottle of Oilatum Scalp Anti-Dandruff Shampoo also for itchy, flaking scalps – 150ml. And the third winner drawn will win a bottle of Aveeno Daily Moisturising Bath and Shower Oil for dry and sensitive skin – 300ml.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top skincare tips.

You can find HelloSkin on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Cheesy Cinnamon Sausage Hotpot plus giveaway

I recently received 7 free cans of Cinnamora, a cinnamon soft drink to review, 6 sparkling and 1 still. I love cinnamon toast, so was very interested in the idea of trying a cinnamon drink. And although there are no established health claims related to cinnamon, there are many studies supporting its beneficial effects on diabetes and cholesterol.

Cinnamora cinnamon soft drink

I was slightly dismayed to see that they arrived in one of those Royal Mail “damaged in transit” wrappers. A few cans were slightly dented, but otherwise okay. I would recommend that they pack them in a box for better protection.

Cinnamora cinnamon soft drink

So onto the taste test. I’m not personally a huge fan of fizzy drinks, so as expected I preferred the still variant. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I would rate the flavour as okay, so not quite as tasty as I was hoping. However on the plus side, there is no sugar, artificial flavouring or colours in these drinks. And it was very refreshing. The rest of the family also tried the sparkling variant. My other half liked it but the kids weren’t that keen.

Cinnamora cinnamon soft drink

Now as regular readers know, I enjoy cooking, so I decided to try it out in a dish. I decided on making a hotpot with it.

Cheesy Cinnamon Sausage Hotpot

Cheesy Cinnamon Sausage Hotpot

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 375g pack of 12 good quality sausages
1 250ml can of Cinnamora sparkling cinnamon soft drink
1 medium onion
1 420g can of baked beans
500g potatoes
50g cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
Choose a lidded casserole dish which is suitable for both oven and hob.
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Add the olive oil to the casserole dish and heat gently on hob.
Add onion and cook for a couple of minutes until softened.
Prick the sausages and add to the dish.
Continue to cook for a further few minutes.
Meanwhile peel and slice the potatoes.
Pour the Cinnamora over the sausages.
Stir in the baked beans.
Cover with the sliced potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper.
Grate the cheese and sprinkle over the top.
Cover with lid and cook in oven for 40 minutes, until potatoes are tender.
Remove lid and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Serve and enjoy.

Cheesy Cinnamon Sausage Hotpot

This time, I got a resounding thumbs up from all the family. So it would be great to see Cinnamora develop a section of recipes on their website.

Cinnamora currently retails at £1 for a 250ml can and is available to purchase online or at selected retailers in London.

Cinnamon cinnamon soft drink

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 7 cans of Cinnamora to one lucky winner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your favourite drinks or your idea for a recipe using Cinnamora.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Turning tears into smiles

Britmums have challenged bloggers to participate in the #TearsIntoSmiles Campaign. I received two free packets of Elastoplast plasters and a garden ring toss set. We already have a quoits set and the boys have come up with the idea that they can both play simultaneously now.

Elastoplast challenge

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During that period he had a weekly blood test for which we tried to numb the pain sensation by applying Emla cream an hour in advance. We then had to talk soothingly to him whilst he removed the large sticky dressing holding it in place. He would never let anyone else take it off. So by the time the blood test was completed, he had had enough of anything adhesive and my brave boy would always refuse a plaster.

But at least now son1 has finished chemotherapy and had his portacath removed, we can enjoy outdoor play so much more, without the worry of bumps and tumbles. So he now can join in with his classmates playing rugby and he has done his Bikeability. He’s slowly building his stamina back up again.

Playing Quoits

Meanwhile son2 is usually distracted by a picture on a plaster whenever there is a scrape or a cut. Luckily we didn’t need any first aid on this occasion, but he likes the look of the Star Wars pack. Both my boys are keen Star Wars fans. However he has declared that we can give the Frozen pack to my niece. I wish there had been pictures on plasters when I was a child. What a clever innovative step forwards.

Elastoplast challenge

So my top tip for happy outdoor play in the event of tears, besides remembering to pack the plasters and rest of my mini first aid kit in my bag before we head out for some fun is distraction. This could be pointing out nice things nearby, telling a fun tale, singing a song, promising a treat or finding something your child will want from your bag like a biscuit or toy. Don’t forget to follow through if you make a promise. Hugs and cuddles used to be good too, but sadly the boys are now getting to the stage of rebuffing me, if I try to give them a hug.

I’d love to hear how you turn tears into smiles?

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the Britmums #TearsintoSmiles Challenge, sponsored by Elastoplast http://campaigns.elastoplast.net/plastermoments/uk. This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

HelloSkin skincare plus giveaway

I was very pleased to be offered the chance to choose a selection of 3 products from HelloSkin free to review. The lady at HelloSkin had seen that I have previously blogged about Flexitol footcare products which is a line they stock.

HelloSkin products

HelloSkin is an online store selling skincare products suitable for those people with psoriasis, eczema, acne and dry skin conditions. The site has been designed so that you can easily shop by need, type or ingredient. Alternatively there is a product finder which is refinable by age group, body part, symptom, need and when to use.

I initially chose the following three products
DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet
Moisturising Cotton Sleep Socks
Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner

But as my first choice of socks were out of stock at the time, I swapped to
Jasmine 100% Silk Moisturising Socks for dry and cracked skin

The products were dispatched on a next day service and arrived well-packed. I spotted that they also offer a free standard delivery service, which I always appreciate.

DermaTherapy fitted sheet

So I’ll start with the DermaTherapy Fitted Sheet which is billed as being the first clinically proven Therapeutic Bedding. I chose this in a king size which currently retails for £84.95 but it is also available in single and double sizes. The fabric feels amazingly smooth compared to standard sheets, but to really understand this, you should look at the zoomed in image of the weave. The HelloSkin website focusses on the benefits for those with sensitive skin conditions, but the packaging also indicates that it is ideal for those undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Pity I hadn’t heard about it a few years earlier, as when son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia, I thought I was making the right choice to buy best quality pure Egyptian cotton bedsheets for him.

They also stock duvet covers, pillow case, flat sheets and sleep sacs. I tend to often wake up sweaty in the middle of the night and I found that this sheet is very effective at wicking away heat and moisture. Now I just need the rest of the range, as my ordinary duvet meant I was still sweaty above, although much more comfortable underneath. Significantly more expensive than standard bedding, but definitely worth the investment for those that it helps to a much better night’s sleep in my opinion. It is 50% polyester and 50% polyamide and is so easy to fit on your mattress compared to most sheets. I actually had to double check the packet to make sure I hadn’t accidentally got super-king rather than king size. I washed it on a 60 degree cycle and tumble-dried it on low. It came out almost crease-free, so I didn’t even need to iron. And the packaging indicates that it will withstand washing upto 90 degrees.

Jasmine Silk Socks

Next the socks, which fit size 3-7. I’ve been planning to get a pair of moisturising socks for ages, but had never got round to it. The idea behind moisturising socks is to apply your usual footcare product and then the socks will help the absorption whilst you sleep. I’m loving these. I can definitely say they work. I’ve blogged before about how dry and cracked my feet are, as per image on left. Well I’ve seen a marked improvement in the mornings since I started wearing the socks, as per image on right. At £7.99 for a pair, they are great value in my opinion. Wish I’d got some sooner. Although the socks are silk, they can still be machine washed on a low 30 degree setting, but I chose to hand-wash them.

Neutrogena T/Gel Dandruff Shampoo

And finally the shampoo. I frequently get a flare up of flaky scalp and have tried many different brands of anti-dandruff shampoo, but this is the first time, I’ve tried this brand. At the time of testing, I only had a very mild case of dandruff (as per top left image), which I’m happy to say it treated. I do prefer using combined shampoo and conditioner like this rather than two separate products. This shampoo lathered up well and also had a nice fragrance and my hair felt soft and tangle-free afterwards. This was the 125ml size which currently retails for £3.99 and it is also available in a 250ml size. More expensive than most shampoo at the supermarket but competitive with salon brands.

So in summary, I was very happy with all three products and will certainly be using this site in the future.

Also I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase at HelloSkin with discount code: “HELLOCLAIRE”. This offer is valid once per customer.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway HelloSkin products to three lucky winners. The first winner drawn will win a DermaTherapy fitted sheet in their preferred choice of size. The second winner drawn will win a pair of Jasmine Silk Moisturising Socks. And the third winner drawn will win a bottle of  Neutrogena T/Gel 2-in-1 Dandruff Shampoo Plus Conditioner.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your top skincare tips.

You can find HelloSkin on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

How to relieve sleep disturbances, plus giveaway

Regular readers of my blog may have heard me mention previously that I am a shiftworker. This means that I have to adjust my body clock whenever I work nights. I usually find it okay adapting from day to night, but very hard adjusting back to days afterwards, feeling tired and irritable. So I was delighted to be given a chance to try out some sleep goodies for free.

Sleep goodies including wake-up light

I received the following products.
Lumie Bodyclock
Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate
Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam
Pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals

First up is the Lumie Bodyclock, a wake-up light. My other half used to use something similar by another brand, but it broke about a year ago. He really misses it, so we were both very keen to try this one out. It was well packed and all I needed to do was install the light bulb, plug in, set the time and alarm.

Lumie Bodyclock Wake-up light

It does both a gradual 30 minute sunrise and sunset, with an optional audible alarm. The sunrise and sunset features were great but I didn’t like the alarm sound. It was too harsh for me with no choice to change to a gentler sound. Although I’m sure some people appreciate a loud alarm in the morning. Our previous wake-up light had a range of natural sounds like bird song. However on the positive side, the Lumie Bodyclock was a lot simpler to operate than our old one.

Then the Hot Chocolate. This is a malted variant including Barley malt extract on the ingredients. You just need to add hot milk. We all found it to be a very yummy drink. Malted drinks are ideal at bedtime. For a good night’s sleep, you certainly want to avoid stimulants like caffeine. I try to only drink decaffeinated tea and coffee anyhow.

Whittard Hot Chocolate

Next the bath foam. It felt so lovely relaxing in a bath with this and smelt divine. I was very chilled and ready for bed after my bath. I’ve always known that lavender is reputed to have calming and relaxing properties. Years ago I used to make lavender bags, primarily aimed at putting in my clothes drawers, but I used to scatter them round the bedroom too.

And lastly the mini journals. At just 6.5 x 10.5cm, there is plenty of space on my bedside table for one of these to jot down any thoughts or worries I may have whilst trying to go to sleep. A great idea that I’ve never thought of previously.


One in three people suffer from poor sleep and it’s often identified by feelings of tiredness, low energy and irritability. However, worryingly, it can also lead to impaired judgement, reduced memory, and even a reduction in life expectancy.
It’s no surprise that sleep deprivation can have a considerable negative impact on quality of life and a good night’s sleep is essential to allow us to feel refreshed and ready to perform at our best every day. See here for why lack of sleep is bad for your health.

Here’s a list of 10 Things to Relieve Sleep Disturbances.

Try these lifestyle changes and you might find a good night’s sleep a lot less elusive. For some people it could be enough to fully address their sleeping problems. There’s certainly quite a few that I ought to address myself, particularly the no smart phone in the bedroom.

  • Always get up at the same time – even at the weekend.
    It might seem like you need a lie in to make up for the sleep you haven’t got, but to break a cycle of sleeping problems you need to train your body into a good sleeping pattern.
  • Avoid catnaps during the day.
    It’ll only make it harder to get into good sleeping habits.
  • Replace caffeine and alcohol with hot milky drinks.
    Alcohol won’t help you sleep properly. If you are having trouble cutting out caffeine, set yourself a time in the day past which you don’t have it.
  • Unwind with a hot bath and lavender bubbles.
    Both will aid sleep by helping you feel more relaxed.
  • Exercise during the day.
    Exercising at night will actually make you more awake and you’ll find it harder to get to sleep.
  • Get to bed at the same time every night.
    It’ll help your body prepare itself for sleep.
  • Make your bedroom a shrine to sleep.
    No TV, no smart phones!
  • Alleviate your worries.
    Try writing them down before you go to bed.
  • Don’t lie there frustrated.
    If you can’t sleep, get up and do something (non-strenuous) for a while.

Kalms Night and Kalms Night One-A-Night are traditional herbal medicinal products used for the temporary relief of sleep disturbances, exclusively based on long standing use as a traditional herbal remedy – Contains Valerian Root. Always read the leaflet.

To offer assurance that Kalms Night meets the Traditional Herbal registration (THR) requirements, the Certification Mark can be found on the product packaging.

Kalms Night tablets
Kalms Night tablets are available to purchase online at www.kalmsrange.com and supermarkets and pharmacies nationwide.
Kalms Night RRP: £4.89 for 50 tablets, Kalms One-A-Night RRP £5.19 for 21 tablets.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a hamper of sleep goodies to one lucky winner.  The prize comprises a Lumie Bodyclock, Whittard Dreamtime Hot Chocolate, Baylis & Harding french lavender relaxing bath foam and a pack of 2 Moleskine ruled journals. What a great prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

The prize is one hamper as detailed above to be sent to the winner directly from the prize sponsor. Available to UK residents over 18. The winner will be chosen wthin 5 days of the competition ending and has 28 days to acknowledge their win. Please allow 28 days for delivery. Should any issues arise I will do my utmost to help resolve this. the competition will run until the 08/04/17. Please make sure to enter options carefully and fully, any incorrect entries will be void, I do check.

I’d love to hear your sleep tips.

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Disclosure. I am working in collaboration with Kalms and I was provided with the #wakeupready sleep hamper to assist with writing this post and hosting the giveaway. All opinions are my own.

Combogesic pain relief

I recently received a free £5 Boots gift card to purchase Combogesic, a new type of pain relief product. These tablets are a little different to your usual painkiller, in that they contain both paracetamol and ibuprofen. Unfortunately I am currently not supposed to take ibuprofen, following discovery of duodenal ulcers last year, so this review is mainly based on my other half’s opinions of Combogesic.

I have to mention that the packet was very clear in mentioning that the product should not be taken with my recent duodenal ulcer history.

Combogesic pain relief

The combined dose in one tablet is so much simpler than interspersing separate doses of paracetamol and ibuprofen, which could involve taking medication every 2 hours resulting in a lot of tablets. In comparison you may take 1-2 Combogesic tablets every 6 hours, upto a maximum of 6 tablets in a day, which equates to 30% more pain relief.

My other half first took one tablet on a day he was suffering from both a headache and bad pain in his foot. He said that just the one pill cleared the headache. It did also ease his foot pain somewhat, but did not cure it. The foot pain is still ongoing, so he has continued to take one or two Combogesic tablets each day. He would happily buy this product in the future.

Each tablet contains 500mg paracetamol and 150mg ibuprofen.

The current price for a packet of 16 Combogesic tablets is £3.99 and it is available at Boots, Rowlands or Lloyds Pharmacy. No prescription necessary. Not recommended for children.

Always remember to read the packet fully before taking any medication.

I’d be interested to hear your top tips for pain relief.

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Disclosure. This post includes a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

Trying out daily contact lenses

I’m shortsighted and about this time last year, I swapped my monthly contact lenses for a pair of varifocal glasses. I had previously worn contact lenses since my teens, so it was a very odd experience to adjust to the glasses. But my near vision had started deteriorating and this seemed the best plan.

However there are still occasions when I would prefer to be wearing lenses rather than glasses so I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to try Crystal Hydro daily contact lenses for free.

Crystal Hydro Daily Contact Lenses

The package was delivered very promptly after I provided my prescription details. The lenses were safely packed in a jiffy envelope which fitted through my letterbox and the parcel tape clearly indicated that the package contained contact lenses.

The lenses are individually sealed in a saline solution in boxes of 30. I am very familiar with how to insert a lens into the eye, but if you did wish to read the instructions, you would have to remove all the lenses from the box, as they are written inside.

Crystal Hydro Daily Contact Lenses

I have now trialled the lenses for over a week and have been very happy with them. They are comfortable to wear all day long, no problems with dry eyes and I love how when you take them out, you just throw them away. No more bother with cleaning and storing overnight. And the photos below show them in my eyes. You wouldn’t know I was wearing them if I hadn’t told you.

Crystal Hydro Daily Contact Lenses

Due to my eyesight, I did have to wear reading glasses whilst using the computer, but this is just me. However it was fantastic to be able to go out for a run in the rain again without wearing glasses which I would have had to continually attempt to wipe dry. Daily lenses are definitely the way forward for me, in conjunction with glasses.

These lenses have a diameter of 14.2mm and a base curve of 8.5mm. They also have UVA and UVB protection.

The current RRP is £9.25 for a box of 30 Crystal Hydro daily contact lenses. An amazing price in my opinion, especially as you don’t need to purchase any solution either. I’ve never found lenses at this price ever and I’ve been wearing them since my teens.

I’d be interested to hear your views regarding contact lenses.

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Disclosure. This post includes a review of a product I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

VicksTricks for coughs and colds

Britmums have challenged bloggers to take part in the #VicksTricks Campaign. I received a free goody pack comprising a bedtime book, finger puppets, magic tricks videos and Vicks First Defence nasal spray.

#VicksTricks goody pack

Regular readers of my blog will know that son1 was diagnosed with leukaemia back in 2013 and was on chemotherapy for over 3 years which he completed last summer. During this period, the chemotherapy drugs suppressed his immune system, so he was much more prone to catching the bugs going round school. We had to follow a protocol of checking his temperature several times every day and if it spiked above 38 degrees, he was admitted to hospital for a course of intravenous antibiotics for at least 48 hours. He was always confined to an individual cubicle and not permitted to leave it for risk of catching infections from other children, so he never got to see the fantastic playroom in the ward.

in hospital

Instead my number one tip distraction was down to Mum and Dad. Short bursts of tv, games, WiiU, iPad, reading to keep him entertained but not overtire him between resting.

Secondly regular trips by Mum or Dad to Costa to fetch him smoothies and a panini, as needless to say, he didn’t like the hospital food.

Favourite cuddly toys must be there.

And finally making sure I didn’t succumb to any bugs myself. In particular, I remember son1 getting admitted to hospital on Boxing Day 2015. I was the only member of the household who avoided the vomitting bug, which I put down to zealous hand washing. And I’ve always been a big fan of Vicks First Defence even before son1 got cancer, using it whenever I feel the slightest tickle in my throat.

#VicksTricks finger puppets

Nobody is ill at the moment, but we’ve been having fun, reading the book, playing with the puppets and watching the magic tricks videos. Son1 has a magic set which he enjoys. And as a child myself, I went through a phase of telling everyone that I was going to be a magician when I grew up. Never materialised along with other equally bizarre planned occupations of farmer or spy. I used to put on magic shows for the babysitter, poor lady.

I’ve attempted the sliced banana trick, but I need to practise it more, as I hadn’t sliced it that well.

Here are the key findings from Vicks consumer research:

  • Over half (52%) of parents said that rest was the most important thing for making children feel better
  • This was followed by ‘medicine’, which 40% of parents rely on
  • More than a third of parents (36%) believe in the power of TLC

And when it comes to keeping children entertained:

  • Three out of four (75%) British parents put on the TV or a DVD
  • Over a quarter (27%) read to their children
  • 1 in 10 parents get really creative; either telling jokes (8%) or even do magic tricks (2%)

I’d love to hear what tricks you have up your sleeve, to make your children feel better when they are unwell.

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Disclosure. This post is an entry for the #VicksTricks campaign.  This post mentions products I received for free. All opinions are my own.

Time for an Essential Teatox Detox plus giveaway

It’s that time of year when coughs and colds abound as the weather starts to get colder. Plus there is the knowledge of the impending excesses of Christmas looming. So for the last two weeks, I’ve been doing a detox with Essential Teatox. For this, I received a free 14 day supply of Essential Teatox teabags to review.

Essential Teatox detox programme

The Essential Teatox 14 day programme consists of 14 detox teabags to take daily soon after you wake up, plus 7 cleanse teabags to take on alternate days, a few hours before bedtime.

I started my Teatox programme to coincide with my night shifts, as this is when I most need a pick me up to give me extra energy.

Essential Teatox is branded as supporting weight loss, helping to detox the body and increase energy. It also recommends that it is at it’s most effective when combined with regular exercise, eating the correct food and looking after your body.

By starting it to coincide with night shifts, certainly meant I didn’t give it the best chance of hitting it’s most effective potential as exercise and healthy eating both went out the window. It was mainly toast and ready meals, and I only managed to fit in a couple of 10-minute runs between my pm cleanse tea and bed. I was much more disciplined on the second week with both food and exercise.

Teatox detox tea

However even those short bedtime runs show how it had increased my energy. Normally I’m barely back in the house after a nightshift before I’m straight into bed. And I lost the extra kg of weight that I had put on during half term without any effort, back to my usual weight with no feeling of bloatedness. I found I was sleeping better and less headaches too. So thumbs up for Teatox on night shifts.

I let the tea brew for 2 minutes and found the flavour of both am and pm tea to be very pleasant. Slightly sweeter than I expected which I assume was down to the Stevia Leaf, a zero calorie sweetener. I’ve never sweetened my tea, but I’m sure that is a big plus for those of you who do. And I loved the hint of mint.

Here is a list of the Teatox ingredients and their benefits. They are all 100% natural ingredients.

– Lemon peel – Helps to decrease cholesterol, improve bone health and detoxify the liver!
– Fenugreek – Helps to reduce inflammation within the body.
– Ginger – Helps to soothe the digestive tract and helps to relieve conditions that cause bloating.
– Gymnema – Is known to lessen the cravings for sweet foods and help to regulate an excessive appetite. It also helps to reduce sugar absorption during digestion to promote normal blood sugar levels.
– Juniper Berry – Aids in digestion and relieves symptoms of bloating and water retention. Juniper is also a diuretic, which helps to flush out toxins.
– Oolong Tea – Can help to reduce inflammatory disorders, high cholesterol and stress. It has been known to help maintain healthy skin and bones as well as aiding in weight management.
– Peppermint – Has a refreshing flavour and helps to relax the intestinal muscles.
– Red Raspberry – Includes vitamins and minerals to burn fat.
– Sarsaparilla – Contains antioxidant properties and plant sterols beneficial to good health. Flavonoids are also present and help to treat autoimmune conditions and inflammation.
– Liquorice – Is known for reducing stress. It also helps to fight against tooth decay, as it has antibacterial properties.
– Stevia Leaf – Is a 100% natural, zero calorie sweetener which also helps to lower blood pressure.
– Dandelion Leaf – Contains potassium and is also a diuretic which helps to support kidney health.
– Burdock Root – Is good for protecting the liver and detoxifying blood.
– Triphala Powder – Assists natural internal cleansing. It helps to nourish and rejuvenate the tissues and supports healthy digestion and absorption.
– Red Clover – Is a natural blood purifier.

A 14 day supply of Essential Teatox currently retails at £19.99 which is less than £1 per cup for the 21 teabags.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 14 day supply of Essential Teatox to one lucky winner.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear your favourite tea.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.