Tag Archives: health

An energy boost

I have just started a new job and there is lots to learn during the training period, which I find can be quite exhausting. Especially as I have to juggle it with family commitments.  Plus it is a shift role, so a mixture of early starts, late finishes plus night shifts again, which I’ve recently had a few months break from. So I was very pleased to be offered a free energy boosting goody pack from Pharmaton.

Energy boosting goodies

I received the following products.
75ml thisworks deep sleep pillow spray
Neom Energy Burst On the Go Mist
50g Nutriseed raw Maca powder
Boots £10 gift card (to purchase Pharmaton Vitality Capsules)

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules

So on my next shopping trip, I popped into Boots to buy a bottle of the Pharmaton Vitality Capsules. This contained 30 capsules, currently at an RRP of £9.49, for which the recommended dose is one tablet daily. I decided to take the full packet before telling you what I thought of them. The packet indicates that they are clinically proven against tiredness and lack of energy. Would I find that so?

The first 2 days didn’t go too well with me getting a bad headache overnight. The packet does warn that headaches may be a common side effect. But after that, things improved and although it is difficult to say with any certainty, I feel that overall I was probably more energised. During week 4, I did my first night shifts in several months, and I felt that my body adjusted back better afterwards.

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules

Pharmaton Vitality Capsules contain a special blend of vitamins and minerals, including the unique G115 ginseng extract. The idea is that they work with your body’s natural metabolism to relieve fatigue and restore vitality, and also help keep you stay mentally and physically alert. They can be taken every day for up to 12 weeks. (For the relief of temporary periods of fatigue. Always read the label).

And of course I tried out the other goodies too.

thisworks deep sleep pillow spray

The pillow spray is great. You just spray it on your pillow and the top end of your duvet. Then smell the delightful fragrance of lavender, vetivert and wild camomile as you drift off. Lavender is one of my favourite scents so this was perfect for me.

Neom Energy Burst On the Go Mist

The Neom mist has a lovely fragrance too and is 100% natural, but it comes in a very tiny bottle. I can’t see the size details on the packaging, but I’m guessing 5ml, so it won’t last me long. I’ve already used over half of it. Basically you spritz it above you or on your wrists, then supposedly breathe in through your nose for a count of 7 and out through your mouth for a count of 11. However I found that I couldn’t breathe for anything like this length, so I’m just doing it as slow as I can manage.

And finally the organic maca powder. I had never heard of maca, so I had to do some research. I found that the Incas have been cultivating it for 1000s of years in the high Peruvian Andes, boosting their energy at such a high altitude. More details on Wikipedia. The packet says to add 1-2 teaspoons to your smoothies, shakes, juices and healthy bakes. Well I decided to use it in my not quite so healthy chocolate cookie recipe.

Double choc chip cookies with maca

Double Choc Chip Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 13)

200g butter
200g plain flour
50g cocoa
1 heaped teasp maca powder
120g soft brown sugar
1 egg
few drops vanilla essence
1 tbsp milk
100g chocolate chips

Method

Preheat fan oven to 170 degree C.
Grease 2 baking trays.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Beat in the egg.
Add the vanilla essence.
Sieve in the cocoa.
Add the maca powder.
Sieve in the flour.
Mix together.
Mix in the chocolate chips.
Mix in milk if mixture is too stiff.
Spoon balls of mixture onto the baking trays.
Bake in pre-heated oven for about 12 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack.
Serve and enjoy.

Double choc chip cookies with maca

Delicious. Everyone gave these the thumbs up.


And here are some more simple tips to help you make the most of your day and get your energy levels back.

  1. Stay Hydrated

It seems obvious but make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. According to the Natural Hydration Council, dehydration can reduce the ability to concentrate and impact cognitive and physical performance. NHS choices recommend that you drink at least 1.2 litres of fluid a day which is roughly 6-8 glasses of water. The best way to remind yourself is to keep a glass or bottle on your desk and set yourself a target amount to drink by the end of the day.

  1. Eat right

Make sure that you eat the right foods at the right time. It is tempting to reach for high fat, high sugar products when you are tired but these will leave your energy levels crashing, making you feel irritable and still hungry. Keep a pot of nuts such as almonds or cashews at your desk for when you need an energy boost.

  1. Get a good sleep

According to the national Sleep Council, your bedroom should not be an extension of the house. So don’t use the bedroom to eat, watch TV, work or talk in – the bedroom should be used for sleeping. Plan a consistent sleeping schedule by trying to get the same amount of sleep every night and at similar times. Move all screens out of the bedroom and try to avoid staring a bright screen an hour before bed, as the light keeps your brain awake leaving you struggling to drift off.

  1. Move it

If you feel your concentration failing, don’t reach for another coffee or sugary snack – get moving! Even low intensity exercise like a brisk walk around the block at lunch can help reduce the feeling of fatigue.

I’d be interested to hear your top energy boosting tips.

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

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Guest post: Benefits of Portion Control

Overeating is a common habit these days. People don’t realize that they are overeating. Larger portions have more calories obviously and make you eat more. It causes problems like obesity, diabetes, etc. So, if you are looking for a healthy lifestyle, portion control should be a priority for you.

Practicing portion control can help you to be satisfied by eating less food, which is beneficial for you, both physically and financially.

Here are a few benefits of portions control that can encourage you.

  1. Digestion Improvement:
    Portion Control can help you improve your digestion and metabolism by not overeating with lots of food in every meal. It will assist in weight-loss as well because your portions will be smaller and the ingestion will be able to take place smoothly.
  2. Helps in Managing Calorie Intake:
    To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume. When you are practicing portion control, you would want to eat something that would keep you full for some time since the portions are small.
    Bulking your meals with vegetables, oats, and fruits is one of the easiest ways to manage portion control because they fill you up and are calorie free!
    A proper amount of healthy food will supply your body with essential elements without eating extra.
    Practicing portion control will help in managing calorie intake and it also helps in maintaining blood glucose control. It is well-noted fact that increase in our waist size is directly proportional to insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is closely related to diabetes.
  3. Money Saving:
    It’s pretty evident that when you eat smaller portions, you tend to spend less money. You also save money that you spend on junk food because when you practice portion control, you plan to eat healthy food to keep you full instead of junk food, that makes you crave for more and adds to binge-eating.
  4. Increase in Your Satiety:
    It might sound strange but it is a fact, eating less makes you feel full. When you eat less, your stomach shrinks with time, and the feeling of satiety comes quick. Thus you prevent overeating.
  5. Increased Energy:
    Research says that eating smaller portions boosts people’s energy and productivity. Eating irregular meals can lead to problematic issues like a feeling of depleted energy and irregular eating habits. Having increased strength will also help you engage in physical activity, which is essential for good health.
  6. Helps Fight Illness:
    Smaller meals that are taken throughout the day help fight certain illnesses. Eating smaller portions with healthy ingredients give a better regulation of blood glucose levels and is linked to reducing cholesterol and chances of diabetes.

AUTHOR BIO:
Michelle Hannan is a nutritionist, and she’s on a mission to give you all the information you need to lose weight successfully. She also blogs regularly at https://www.hcgdietinfo.net/

Michelle Hannan

Guest post by Michelle Hannon

Guest post: How Yoga, Meditation benefit the Mind and Body

We as humans have come a long way and if you will ask me that whether we are happy about it or not, I will have a mixed answer. The modernity has brought us ease and comfort, but it has also brought the fierce competition with it that do not let us relax entirely. The thought of what will come next is almost destroying the inner peace of one’s self.

To say that a car ride is not what we want would be absolutely wrong but a small walk to the nearby mart or the bar with the company you like or even alone can do wonders to you internally and externally both. But somehow, in all the luxuries and races we have forced ourselves in; we are forgetting that the inner peace is more than you need for a better life.

One of the most significant and brightest person that ever lived once said that.
A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the constant pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness. – Albert Einstein

For many of us the comfort lies in the luxuries, that the future will bring with the efforts we will put today, but what will happen to the peace we need today, ever thought about that? I have so many things that can be a suitable answer to this question, but yoga or meditation has been proven to be the best solution up till now.

According to several types of research, taking out some time for yourself and shutting down the world has proven to be effective for you not just mentally but physically too.

  • BENEFITS TO THE BODY

Yoga has been in practice since a human cannot imagine but with every passing time, the popularity of this method of relaxation and reducing weight is being known to everyone. Celebrities around the world are going crazy over yoga as it does so much in so little time.

Following are the benefits that yoga, meditation holds for our body.

  1. Better health
  2. Flexibility
  3. Better diet
  4. Reduces back pain
  5. Cures the hangover
  6. Better cardiovascular health
  7. Improves digestion
  • BENEFITS TO THE MIND

According to a research conducted by Dr. Cahn, if people allow themselves a session of yoga on a daily basis, they can rid of the anxiety and depression they are going through, and for better results, a vegetarian diet can be opted.

Many psychiatrists even ask their patients to meditate every day even if it is in the comfort of their bedroom and not with a professional.

Meditation is considered as a religious act in some religions. Like, in Christianity, the practice is not common in every school of thought but the tradition of desert fathers from the early times who use to isolate themselves individually or in groups, used to pray (spoken or sung) in synchronized breathing, is now a practice of some schools. In Islam, Muslims consider their daily prayer as a form of meditation as they spend that time alone with their God. In Hinduism and Buddhism, the pundits and Buddhists meditate for years for spirituality.

Following are the benefits that yoga, meditation holds for the mind.

  1. Stress management
  2. Emotional health
  3. Better sleep
  4. Mood booster
  5. Clears your mind

Author bio: Michelle Hannan is a nutritionist, and she’s on a mission to give you all the information you need to lose weight successfully. She also blogs regularly at https://www.hcgdietinfo.net/

Michelle Hannan

Guest post by Michelle Hannon

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Self care for pain relief plus giveaway

Between work and family, I have a busy lifestyle with not much “me” time squeezed in, so I was pleased to be offered a free self-care package from Combogesic.

The package included the following goodies aimed at helping me to relax, unwind, and relieve stress – the perfect combination for a much needed self-care routine from my hectic schedule.

Spa at Home Candle (cedarwood & vetivert)
Bath Bomb
Tea Tree moisturising Korean face mask
Boots £10 gift card

Self care from Combogesic

Whether you struggle to overcome back pain, headaches, period pain or muscular pain, here is some expert advice from GP Dr Dawn Harper on effective pain relief and self-care techniques to help ease the symptoms:

BACK PAIN:It might seem obvious but poor posture is one of the most common causes of back pain. That said, most of us don’t know what good posture is or how to correct bad posture. Over time bad posture generates an increasing amount of pressure on your back which can lead to persistent aches and pains. The trick is to try and not stay in the same position for too long.  Whether you’re sat in a chair at home or at your desk in the office, it’s important to keep re-positioning yourself, taking frequent breaks and moving around to prevent your back becoming stiff.”

HEADACHES:Dehydration is a common trigger for migraines.  With busy lives, it can be difficult to remember to keep drinking fluids, so try drinking a glass after every bathroom break as a regular prompt.  Drinking between two and two and half litres a day might help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of your migraine attacks.

PERIOD PAIN:A light, circular massage around your lower abdomen can help reduce pain.  Alternatively, try some stretches aimed at easing the pain.  For instance, lie on your back with your legs straight out, bend one knee and pull it up to your chin. Hug your knee with both hands and hold the position, then repeat on the other side.”

MUSCULAR PAIN:Use a foam roller, you often see these at the gym, but they can easily be used at home and are very affordable. A foam roller is what can only be described as a padded log. You use it by laying the roller underneath the sore or tender muscle and you simply roll on top of it, allowing the pad to press against the sore or tender muscle. The rolling movement is good for local blood circulation and applies pressure, helping reduce muscle stiffness.

I do always try to drink plenty of water, but I don’t think I manage as much as 2 litres. I had better try harder, as I’ve always suffered from lots of headaches. And I know I’m guilty as regards posture, since after a day at work mainly on screens, my favourite form of relaxation is sitting with my laptop, writing a blog post.

But a foam roller is something I must get myself. I’ve been having physio recently, due to tearing a muscle in my foot and it is something that my physiotherapist has particularly recommended. Pity there wasn’t one included in my self care package along with the other goodies.

I really must focus more on taking time to look after myself, from the inside, out!

Combogesic pain relief

And if you do need some pain relief, then Combogesic is an innovative pain relief product that combines paracetamol and ibuprofen into one convenient tablet, to deliver over 30% more pain relief than taking either ingredient on their own.

Furthermore, its double action formula works faster than the maximum dose of over the counter ibuprofen alone. Combogesic has a much simpler dosing routine, requiring consumers to take 1-2 tablets up to 3 times a day. Visit www.combogesic.co.uk to find out more.

Combogesic comes in packs of 16s (RRP £3.99) and is available to purchase at the pharmacy counter in Boots.

You may see a review here from my other half, when he tried Combogesic last year.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a self care goody bundle to one lucky winner. It will be fairly similar to the goodies that I received, although the face mask and candle may possibly be different brands. What a nice pampering prize.

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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

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Disclosure. This post mentions products I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: Top Tips to Help Your Kids to Sleep Through the Night

Getting kids to sleep at sensible times can be a right chore, my nieces and nephews constantly protest with ‘Oh but one more episode pleeaassee!’ and whilst they do eventually do what they’re told, mornings are another story. How on earth kids can be alert at silly o’clock, I will never know! Although some parents dread bedtime…routine needs to be encouraged to help reduce odd sleeping patterns, so their bodies get the proper rest they need. So, as we enter the time of year where it gets lighter earlier, here are some useful tips to get your little ones sleeping sound at and to a suitable time!

Reduce Activity Before Bed

Let's play

Photo Credit: Unsplash

It’s common for children to wind down during the evening by watching TV on the sofa or playing on the computer, however this could be what is preventing them from getting some quality shut eye. Melatonin is a hormone which makes you sleepy and less alert, however the blue and white light that gadget screens emit tricks the brain into thinking its day time. Therefore, it is recommended that screens are avoided at least an hour before bedtime. Instead, why not encourage reading? This is a fabulous way to destress little ones and calm them before bed and ensuring they sleep for longer. Yet Another Blogging Mummy has reviewed some great books with her children here if you need inspiration.

Furthermore, if they lay awake at night there are also some things you could be doing to help them become sleepy. For example, place glow in the dark stars on the ceiling for them to count when laying in bed. Much like counting sheep, this should have them sleepy in no time!

Create the Right Sleeping Environment

sleeping child

Photo Credit: Unsplash

If there are too many distractions in a child’s room, this could be another reason why they aren’t able to go back to sleep when they wake in the morning or even get to sleep in the first place. Try to limit the number of things in your little one’s room and take out all technology! This way they will be discouraged from getting out of bed and playing with their toys at night or in the morning.

Routines can also be ‘tweaked’ to help your child adjust to an earlier bedtime, especially when we will be getting lighter evenings with daylight saving happening on 25th March.  I read a great tip from fellow blogger Vic Welton recently advising you to bring your child’s bedtime routine forward by 10 minutes each day. It’s not a huge difference but will help to gradually get them used to a bedtime where it’s perhaps lighter than they have been used to.

Also, consider comfort. Little ones might not be able to tell you if they are too hot, their room is too bright, or their mattress is uncomfortable. 100% Cotton bedsheets are the best option for keeping cool in summer and when choosing a mattress it is important that children sleep with their spine and bones aligned to reduce fidgeting. Ensure the space is properly dark with appropriate blinds or black out curtains so the sunshine, if we ever get it in England, doesn’t encourage an early riser!

There are many great nightlights which can help to teach your child when it is OK to get up. For example, the Gro Clock has a light up sun emblem which only shows at a pre-set time.

Increase Daytime Activities

sun light

Photo Credit: Unsplash

The more daylight your child can take in during the day the better as this will help produce more melatonin throughout the night. Much like cutting screen-time an hour before bedtime, it is recommended that energy drinks and other forms of caffeine should be avoided during the afternoon and evening time. This way your little one might be able to sleep easier and deeper.

Encourage outdoor activities to get them exercising too, maybe a trip to the park or how about a bicycle ride? In Brighton, we have an undercliff where you can walk from the Marina to Ovingdean where you can have a nice cup of tea or an ice cream on a sunny day… definitely an incentive for the little ones! Plus, the sea air has so many health benefits which is great for the whole family.

Sleep is super important for growth and general health for those of all ages, so ensure your little ones are getting that quality shut eye after long day! Do you have any other tips and tricks that could help encourage a good night sleep for kids? Please share in the comments!

Guest post by Nathalie Martin – blogger at http://www.helpimgettingmarried.com

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Guest post: Useful food eye-opener on healthy eating by Colin Campbell

Can one and the same nutrient budget be allowed for everyone? Why can even the best vitamin supplements not replace apples and spinach? What oxidation is and how animal albumen and foods of plant origin influence on it? What is the problem of modern researching? Colin Campbell answers these and many more questions in his The China Study bestseller.

Perfect ration

Those products, which are useful for some reason, are considered to be not tasty and not interesting. People think it to be boring but it is not like that. Evolution programmed us to enjoy food, which strengthens our health. A perfect ration is like this: vegetable food, as whole as possible. Eat different vegetable, fruits, nuts and seeds, beans and whole grains. Avoid strongly processed and foods of animal origin. Stay away from salt, fats, and sugar. Strive for getting 80% of calories from carbohydrates, 10% from fats and 10% from proteins.

This is it. This is what whole plant-based diet is, sometimes a lifestyle.

Be more specific, more actions

Look at such words as medicine and health in a different way. Health means more than a few superficial expressions like eat healthily, do not binge drink, do not use an elevator but use the stairs. It is all good but they do not include a possibility of actual changes. Those are ethical expressions with no specific and content.

It is important not just to follow a diet during a certain period of time but to change eating habits and stick to these changes during the lifetime. Those people who changed their eating habits and started eating healthy noticed that wrong product they consumed daily caused all the problems they have had before. Odd uncontrolled oxidation is an enemy of health and longevity just like overmuch oxidation makes it to where a new car turns into the junk heap, and a piece of an apple into a compost. Free radicals appear in the process and they are responsible for getting old, cause cancer and atherosclerotic plaque leading to heart attacks and cerebral accidents.

About modern research studies

There is a story about 6 blind men who were describing an elephant. Needless to say, that each of them describes it in their own way. They argue upon which of the descriptions is right. This is the best metaphor for the modern research studies problem. The only difference is that there are 60 000 researchers instead of 6 and each of them look at a problem through the lens of their own.

Medicine with no side effects

What you eat has more influence on your health than DNA and the major amount of harmful substances. Food can get you healthy faster and more effective than the major number of expensive medicine and most serious surgical operations. At that, side effects are going to be pleasant. Eating healthy, many diseases are easy to avoid, cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes mellitus type II, macular dystrophy, blind headache, erectile dysfunction and arthritis and this list is far from full. It is never too late to stop eating healthy. The healthy diet may help to avoid all these diseases.

An apple instead of a pill

We got used to taking food in the context of separate necessary elements. We eat carrot in order to get vitamin A, oranges for vitamin C, drink milk because there is calcium and vitamin D. If we like a product, we will get digestible nutrients with pleasure but if we do not like something, spinach, brussels sprouts, or sweet potato, we think that we can live without it, if to find some other product with the similar substance content to replace. But, for example, an apple gives more than just a sum of elements it contains. Nevertheless, due to the reductive worldview, we cannot believe that food is important in general and not only its substance content.

One approach for all

Medical community repeats oftentimes that one approach does not work for all. Nature organized our biological functions way better than we would most like to think but it is very important in terms of holistic nutrition.

No magic

Magic solutions are advertised as fast, easy and troublefree, which is why they are more realistic, requiring time, affords, and difficult for understanding. Notice that when it comes to advertisement, much is given preference to magic, from extra weight and financial services to cleaning and cosmetics. The more magical a product is, the easier it is to sell it and all the more so it feels like buying it. Magical solutions work with symptoms but not with causes. Symptoms are easy to clear; work with causes take more time. Fast clearance of isolated symptoms is the easy thing. Causes are more difficult and require more affords and responsibility on the part of a human. So, the holistic solution is for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and extra weight. It removes the source: attempts of our body to cope with reworked and animal products. In spite of the fact that it may give more than a pill, an injection or operation, they should be followed all the time.

The force of superstition

There are many superstitions. Firstly, concerning proteins. Society believes that milk and meat are valuable and it is difficult to imagine that these products may cause harm. It is far from what we were taught for years to be true and it does not matter how much is true about it. Secondly, a paradigm of reductionism due to which we are focused on parts separate and excising the whole thing. A body is a holistic system with many inner connections but we got accustomed to thinking it to be a set of separate parts and systems where chemical substances make transformations apart from each other. Through the paradigm of reductionism, we see a nutrition as a sum of separate nutrients actions but not a universal process and consider dietology an isolated discipline and not the most influential factor of our health in general. Thirdly, profit-oriented system, which condemns to  reductionism. Unlike holism, it gives simple, fast and merchantable solutions aimed to one out of thousand potential problems. The industry remains the force determining what scientific tasks to pose, what studies to finance, and what results to publish and put a status of official politics to what has been published.

melisa marzett

About the author: Melisa Marzett is the author of many articles available for viewing on her Google Plus profile and other social networks. Currently working for bigpaperwriter.com, she keeps writing more and more pieces on different topics. She enjoys reading and communicating with other people quite often of different nationalities exchanging cultural background, customs and traditions let alone experience.

Guest post by Melisa Marzett

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Naipo Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager review and giveaway

Christmas has come early here as Naipo have sent me one of their Shiatsu 3D Rotating Neck and Shoulder Massagers free to review. Regular readers of my blog may have seen this product on my Christmas wish list last month.

Naipo neck and shoulder massager

I was really looking forward to trying this out as I get a lot of tightness, tension and aches in my body, particularly the neck, shoulders and back.

It has a heat feature which you can choose to turn off, if you don’t wish for heat. I tried both settings and liked it best with heat, although the heat seems very minimal. It glows red when the heat is on. You can also switch the direction of the rotation of the massaging. It is designed so you can use it on yourself. You don’t need a second person, but of course you can ask someone else to use it on you, if you prefer. You would certainly feel more pampered that way as you could relax your arms.

Naipo neck and shoulder massager

Although it is called a Neck and Shoulder Massager, when I read the instructions, I found it also showed how it could be used for back, waist, abdomen, thigh and foot too. Naturally I gave these all a try and found it particularly nice on my feet which are always sore due to bunions, callouses and blisters.

Naipo neck and shoulder massager

It also comes with a dust guard cloth, but as this is only big enough to cover the node area of the massager, I found it rather superfluous.

This massager is available on Amazon currently retailing at £39.99. Great value for an excellent product in my opinion.

Plus I have a couple of special offers to share with my readers. 15% off a Naipo Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager when you use the code 4ITL89V5 at checkout.
And 20% off a Naipo Back Massager Pillow when you use the code P28WJ9Z at checkout. Codes expires 31/12/17.

You can take a look at the full product range on Naipo website here: https://www.naipocare.com/

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Naipo Shiatsu Neck and Shoulder Massager to one lucky winner. Please note that this prize is an ex-demonstration model and not brand-new.

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

And you may see my other giveaways here.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need another massage.

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

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My Naipo Christmas wishlist

I dream of being able to indulge in a regular weekly massage at a spa, but such treats are few and far between. More like once a year than once a week. So I often notice the tightness, tension and aches in my body, particularly the neck, shoulders and back. Also many years ago I had a whiplash injury from a car accident, which has always resulted in extra tightness and tension in my left shoulder. Therefore it is great to come across massage products you can use yourself at home. I’ve been browsing the product range from Naipo on Amazon and come up with the following wishlist.

Three Shiatsu massage products to focus on back, neck, shoulders and feet – my most achy areas. Plus a couple of cushions, one for everyday use targeting the lumbar region whilst sitting using my laptop and the other for travel.

My Naipo Wishlist

 

 

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Disclosure. I will shortly be receiving a free product from this company to review. All opinions are my own.

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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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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.

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.