Friday, 19 January 2018

Flu season with Asthma

I do not think I have spoken to anyone yet this year who has not been affected by some strain of cold or flu over the Christmas period, it really does seem to be hitting hard and wiping so many people off their feet for a good week or more in some cases.
Luckily we have a pro-active GP surgery who Pre-warned patients of the forecasted flu bug which was forecast to be a nasty one! Therefore many patients got them selves that flu jab and prevented what could have been a much more serious illness, as we have seen across the country hospitals have been inundated by admissions due to serious health conditions following the flu bug. 

One thing that always worries me is how colds and flu affect my Asthma, on top of feeling lousy with a cold or flu it can be a case of feeling much worse because of breathlessness, wheezing, and coughing and of course this all restricts the quality of sleep I get so it really is a complete wipe out!
I try to keep on top of my Asthma in these winter months by ensuring I take my inhalers as and when I should, always having an adequate supply and if I do get struck down with a cold/ flu I find steam helps shift any unwanted congestion to keep airways as clear as possible, taking a daily vitamin helps give your immune system that extra boost too, every little helps. One handy tip is to wear a scarf over your mouth and nose during the cold winter months, this warms up the air you breathe in as the cold air often can set off symptoms or possibly even an asthma attack. It is important that I recognize when nothing is going to help and get in to the doctors as soon as possible to prevent further complications and illness. 

I still think Asthma is a very underestimated illness and can take you by surprise if you do not keep on top of it, proving deadly in some cases sadly.
With a little more awareness of what can cause asthma and good self care when diagnosed it is in no way restrictive of you leading a full and active lifestyle, so take on board what the doctors tell you, attend your check ups at the asthma clinic and try to make those healthy lifestyle changes that give us that boost and wellness.
My Top Tips for managing Asthma in the winter months
  • get your Flu Jab
  • take your preventor inhaler as prescribed
  • keep your reliever inhaler to hand all the time
  • identify triggers such as cold air (use a scarf)
  • keep immunity boosted with daily vitamins to prevent illness that could worsen asthma symptoms
  • seek medical advice if symptoms persist or worsen quickly

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

New Year, New You? Why not just make some small changes to make a big difference!

So how many of us have fallen off the diet wagon already? New year always seems like the perfect time to start that new diet, that new exercise regime, but realistically we very rarely succeed. Is it because the Months of January and February are quite a come down after the Xmas and New year celebrations and we simply want to hibernate and eat comfort foods!

So this year i decided no mad diets, no new exercise regime just a few small changes to look after myself a little better, and lets see what happens from there and hope for some positive changes, no pressure, no stress!
I have been looking around for a few ideas and have been sent some products to try to help make these changes, here are a few things that may help to make those small changes to make a happier, healthier you!

First up dare i say it...Alcohol!! Now i would never give up the wine completely but for many trying to stick to dry January then an alcohol free alternative that still gives the feel and taste of drinking wine then why not try out this range from Belvoir

Belvoir makes an exciting range of natural, lightly sparkling Pressés and Cordials that contain no artificial colourings, flavourings, preservatives or sweeteners and are delicious enough on their own to inspire sobriety, while also making perfect mocktails. However, for anyone struggling without their customary glass of wine, Belvoir’s ‘Wines without the Hangover’ range is for you. Be it the full-bodied Shiraz with its heady currant notes and hint of black pepper, the sweet, scented and crisp Chardonnay or the lively Rosé with a nose of raspberry and a floral hint, you can enjoy the taste, aroma and look of a glass of Bacchus’ best but still keep to your Dry January pledge. Belvoir’s Wine Without the Hangover range is different from other alcohol-free wines on the market. Many are made from wine which has had the alcohol physically removed, or tend to be overly sweet with little to differentiate or recommend them as a genuine wine alternative. In contrast, with their expertise in blending fruit juices, flowers and spices, Belvoir has created a drink with a more wine-like profile that actively mimics the complexity and sophistication of a wine, replicating the taste as closely as possible, but without the alcohol. A perfect alternative without feeling like compromising too much.

Staying with the drinks how about some adult soft drinks from Crafted, the perfect mixer for any Mocktail. The drinks are created using Crafted® by Cracker Drinks Co, which is a new brand of fruit juice drinks: Made in small batches in the UK, its distinctive flavour profiles are created using unique fruit juice blends to craft a delicious range of drinks available in major supermarkets. The drinks are widely available in supermarkets for £1.90 RRP for a litre. The drinks are ideal ‘grown-up’ soft drinks for the festive season and Dry January. For cocktail lovers, they’re a great ready-made take on a Mojito (try Apple, Mint & Lime) or Pina Colada (Pineapple, Coconut & Lime). Also available are Still, Cloudy Lemonade and Mango & Passionfruit versions.

These are really great for a different soft drink especially if you want to create something to take the place of your Saturday night cocktails! or even if you are getting a bit bored of the same old soft drinks. You do not have to feel you are missing out by going dry in January. 

Foe those that want a drink that is more of a healthy alternative to soft drinks then what about these from Little Miracles

Little Miracles are a beautiful blend of organic tea and superfruit juice. With carefully selected Panax ginseng in its purest form and açaí, it is the perfect pick-me-up morning, noon and afternoon. The brand has recently gone through a complete rebrand fresh for summer 2017. Developed with consumer health and well-being in mind, all blends are sweetened with organic agave and are less than 70 calories. Free from artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners. RRP: £1.59 - available at Asda, Tesco, Ocado, W H Smith Travel, WholeFoods among other retailers. A great tasting healthy alternative to soft drinks, it is great that products that are healthier are still as tasty as the sweeter, sugar filled alternatives!

How about making up your own smoothie in any flavour you want?
Then you may just need one of these blenders fromVonShef, get creative and blitz your way into a healthier new year! It is fast, easy to use and has the benefit of coming with two cups and lids to simply  blitz and go! The possibilities for different shakes and juices are endless.

Blitz Fruit & Veg
Powerful 1000W motor combined with 25,000 RPM speed and razor-sharp 301 stainless steel pro extractor blades makes lightning fast work of blitzing fruit and veg, pulverising seeds, stems and skins to extract and lock in those all-important nutrients. The result? Smooth, pulp-free drinks filled to the brim with goodness.
Quick & Easy Prep
Sports drinks, protein shakes, fresh juices, smoothies; this highly efficient blender can help you along the road to a healthier lifestyle - the quick and convenient way. Perfect for those leading action-packed lives or struggling to fit in five-a-day
Easily Blends Ice
When it comes to blending ice, the UltraBlend is more than up to the task too, effortlessly crushing through cubes for refreshing chilled drinks.
Comes complete with 1 x large 800ml and 1 x medium 500ml cup - both blending cups are BPA-free. Also includes 1 x spill-proof lid and 1 x sip & seal lid - great for taking to the office, college, gym or on the go. Lids and cups are BPA-free, dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, lightweight and easy to carry. For more info and to see the full range of VonShef blenders and juicers head to

How about some tasty treats to go with our healthy alternative drinks?
Who doesn't miss ice cream when you are dieting, well now you don't have to we bring you Oppo

If you didn't already know Oppo is a healthy ice cream made with virgin coconut oil, stevia leaf & fresh milk. At 60% less sugar & calories than regular ice cream, this deliciously healthy ice cream is available in four flavours: Madagascan Vanilla, Mint Choc Swirl, Salted Caramel, and the most recent addition to the range Columbian Chocolate and Hazelnut. Health and indulgence have always been opposites, but Oppo have made it their mission to find a new way. So they've made a decadent ice cream, but without loads of sugar and calories. It’s proof that being healthy doesn’t mean eating a compromise – that’s their ‘sweet spot’. RRP: £4.99 (500ml) - available at Sainsbury's, Asda, Waitrose, Wholefoods, Budens, Holland & Barrett & online at Ocado. So what are you waiting for?

What about snacking on the go? then try these Wonderballs from Missfits

Missfits make nutritional protein based products specifically designed for females. Missfits are on a mission to change the way women view fitness products and challenge the stigma attached to them. Their products are made with the very best ingredients which aim to replenish and develop your body if you lead an active lifestyle - you won't find any sugar or nasties. The Misfits Protein Wonderballs are brand new to the market, they're gluten free and contain all natural ingredients, oh and they taste absolutely delicious. They are available to buy in a box of 12 for £18.00 at

The snack we all love and miss when we are on a healthy eating plan is a packet of crisps, well i bring you these healthy baked crisps from food should taste good!

If you’re looking for the ultimate snack made from quality ingredients, look no further than the new range of Tortilla Chips from Food Should Taste Good™. Having already tantalised US tastebuds, they are sure to satisfy cravings of the savviest of snackers this side of the Atlantic too. The Food Should Taste Good™ range is free from preservatives, artificial flavours and colouring and each tortilla chip has ingredients baked in for a well rounded taste. They are also baked in a high oleic sunflower oil which contains healthier unsaturated fats.1 Better still, they’re gluten-free, and suitable for vegetarians – an inclusive snack bound to bring all foodies together! So, whether you’re hoping to pack a punch at a dinner party or simply looking to jazz up a night in with your partner, food tastes better when shared with those you love.
The range comes in three tasty variants for your snacking pleasure which makes for some great pairings: 
Blue Corn Traditionally used in Mexican cooking, blue corn’s subtle and delicately sweet flavour creates a fantastic snack. Blue Corn is perfectly paired with your favourite Guacamole or alongside a fiery plate of chilli. Why not liven things up with a citrus flavoured craft beer or cider? 
Multigrain Flax, sunflower, quinoa and sesame seeds add to the distinctively nutty flavour of this crisp, making it a snack that can be enjoyed on its own or with your favourite dip. Try with hummus or even top the tortilla chips with sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil for a take on the classic Bruschetta which pairs nicely with a glass of dry white wine. 
Sweet Potato A craveable crisp with sweet and salty crunch, these Sweet Potato tortilla chips are delightfully crisp and baked with sophistication. For something a little different, try these with a fresh fruit salsa made with pineapple or a creamy caramelised onion and garlic dip. Best paired with a sweet Reisling or, for those colder months, a bold Merlot. The fruity flavours are a great match for the crisps’ sweet and salty taste! 

If you are looking to make some changes at meal times, or simply have dietary requirements then how about checking out this pasta selection from Explore cuisine, boasting gluten free pasta or spaghetti which is high protein and high fibre. Made from only organic beans, lentils and chickpeas it is also suitable for Vegans! It is great to have the choice for making everyday meals that meet peoples dietary requirements and do not compromise on taste or versatility. We are becoming more aware of the need to provide and meet different dietary requirements or the option to make healthier choices so it is good to see such a great range to meet these needs.

The pastas in the range include spaghetti, lasagne, penne and fettucine and can be used to create a range of pasta dishes; from a quick pesto pasta salad, to lasagne or macaroni cheese. All retail at around £3 from, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsburys, Tesco, Ocado and Holland and Barrett.

Winter months can leave us a bit low and in need of a bit of a boost so is the ideal time to look at some extra vitamins and supplements. 

ProVen Adult Acidophilus & Bifidus – 25 Billion

ProVen Probiotics Adult Acidophilus and Bifidus – 25 billion is a high-strength friendly bacteria supplement for adults containing Lab4 – the most studied group of friendly bacteria in the UK.
It has been shown to help with bloating, IBS and supports the gut following a course of antibiotics. It also contains calcium, vitamins C and D, zinc and selenium to help support digestion and immunity.

· High-strength for adults - 25 billion friendly bacteria per two capsules

· Proven to colonise the human intestine

· Supported by a unique body of UK-based clinical research

· Take two capsules per day with food for a period of 1-4 months depending on personal need

Available from Boots and Holland & Barrett stores nationwide (RRP £13.95 for 30 capsules)

Wiley's finest fish oil

Wiley’s Finest Wild Alaskan Fish Oils, are from a fully sustainable source and the highest quality, purest fish oils available. They are fully loaded with natural Omega-3’s EPA & DHA which are recommended for maintaining normal cardiac function; blood pressure and circulation; eye and brain function and blood concentrations of cholesterol and triglycerides. Pure, simple, guilt free and highly effective, Wiley’s Finest are the NEW go-to supplement range – adding well-being to every health & beauty requirement.

So we have had alternative drinks, foods, supplements and i think we need a bit of a beauty boost too!!

We all love to have nice nails but the winter can take its toll so how about Renunail nail treatment

The Renunail range has been expertly created to banish brittle nails helping them to grow healthily and rapidly. The award­winning range has three hero products that work to strengthen weak nails that are prone to chipping, flaking, breaking and slow growing. The Renunail Nail Strengthener delivers an intense treatment that works to help achieve longer and stronger nails in just four weeks. The formula is enriched with calcium to strengthen damaged nails and camphor to soothe sensitivity as the nail grows. The Renunail Strengthener programme takes 28 days, allowing nails to grow at an effective, yet quicker pace. 
How to use: 
Day 1: Apply two coats of Renunail Nail Strengthener onto clean nails, avoiding the cuticle area 
Day 2-­6: Continue to apply one coat of the Nail Strengthener daily for the next five days 
Day 7: Remove all product from the nails with nail polish remover Repeat this process for another 3 weeks (with the whole programme lasting 28 days) 
At the end of the 28 day programme, stop using the Renunail Nail Strengthener and move onto the Renunail Sensitive Nude Strengthener. The rest inbetween the programme is essential to prevent the protein in the formula having a negative effect on nail growth. The Renunail Sensitive Nude Strengthener is also a great alternative to long­standing gel and acrylic nail users as the formula is gentle for those with increased sensitivity. Whilst following the 28 day programme, Renunail Nourishing Oil should be massaged into the cuticles daily, as the Sweet Almond Oil and Jojoba Seed Oil work to soften the cuticles whilst promoting good nail health.

For a truly pampering experience you must try this amazing skin care range from Angela Langford
2014 Masterchef Finalist, Angela Langford has taken her love & passion for cooking, to create an organic skincare range that uses the very best ingredients nature have to offer, whilst offering the highest levels in personalised service.
We are all different, which is why Angela will help you select products from her range that best suits you & your skin, thanks to her innovative Skincare Sample Service - three samples from her range, personally selected by Angela.
I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of 'Bloom and Glow' to review. 

Bloom and Glow - Chia seed & sea buckthorn are blended together to deliver high levels of essential fatty acids, vitamins & antioxidants - it improves skin’s elasticity, calms inflammation & restores radiance. January and February always are the worst months for my skin, the summer glow is long gone, the stress and exhaustion of Christmas is showing, and the weather plays havoc with your skin. so to find something that actually made me look like i was alive was amazing, the smell is divine and it makes your skin feel fabulous, definitely something you have to try for yourself to really believe it, i am going to be taking a look at the rest of the range as it really is brilliant value for money when compared to high end products that will not give these results in my opinion. 

So there we have it, a few simple changes or additions to your routine, diet or beauty regime can lead to some positive changes in your life.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Winter days are made for family time

We all have a good old moan about the great British weather and how cold it is, and not so long back how hot it was, we simply cannot be happy with what we have. One thing i love about the wet, cold and wintry days though is it gives us the perfect excuse to lock the door, put on our PJs and have some quality family time. That may be snuggled up watching family movies or board games are a favourite in our house too, although that can lead to some tense moments of rivalry!( and not always from the kids). Another favourite of ours is baking, both kids love it especially when they can get involved and get messy! So i was more than happy to work on a campaign with Worktop Express to share one of our favourite recipes

One of our favourite things to make is chocolate brownies, and for an added fruity treat i throw in  a pack of raspberries

The recipe i use is:

185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
50g milk chocolate
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar
1 pack raspberries

The kid love to help break up the dark chocolate ready to melt while i cut the butter into small chunks ready for melting in a bowl over a simmering pot of boiling water, obviously this part i tend to do myself although the eldest is getting more able to be help with close supervision. The mixture then gets left to cool to room temperature, whilst doing this we sieve the cocoa powder and flour into a bowl (potential for mess but that's what baking is all about) after this the eggs and sugar get whisked (preferably with an electric whisk) until light and fluffy and doubled in volume, i tend to do this as it can be time consuming, the kids make as start on breaking up some milk chocolate to add after. Once the egg mixture is ready i fold in the melted chocolate from earlier and then sieve in the flour mix and gently fold in, and lastly the chocolate (what's left) and the raspberries.
The mixture is poured into a pre-greased and lined tin (20cm square), spread evenly and baked on the middle shelf of a pre heated oven (180/ gas 4 or 160 for fan oven) for 25 minutes (if still looks a little wobbly leave for another 5 minutes)
Once fully cooled remove from tin and baking paper and cut into whatever shapes you want all whilst the kids enjoy licking the bowl!

Of course there is no sign of help when it comes to the washing up, but plenty of volunteers for testing once cooled and cut. Days like these are precious and really those wet, wintry days are not so bad after all.