10 Ways to Naturally De-stress: Guest Post – Vanessa Bermudez

Stress is more dangerous than you may think. While stress comes in many different forms (and can even push you to do better in the workplace), it is one of the biggest threats to the healthy lifestyle you deserve to lead. The American Psychological Association states that those who face chronic stress in their daily lives are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases, arrhythmias, and even sudden death. When you start to feel a heavy weight on your shoulders, it may be time to step back, take a deep breath, and contemplate some natural ways to destress.

“Incorporating stress management activities into your daily routine, along with a healthy diet, will help your body heal much faster. Personally, I find this to be one of the most challenging aspects of good health. It’s easy to get caught up in your daily life and forget to take break. However, it is necessary if you want to experience true healing,” says Jen Broyles, certified Holistic Health and Nutrition Coach. If you’re feeling stressed and aren’t sure how to tackle it, consider these natural ways to find some peace of mind.

10 Ways to Naturally De-stress: Guest Post - Vanessa Bermudez

1. Take a yoga class
Yoga is an enriching, mindful practice that can help you manage the source of your anxieties. The physical poses, deep breathing, and meditation found in yoga promotes a sense of awareness of your mind, soul and body. This natural state of relaxation has the potential to relieve your mind of its stress and focus on the present moment. If you’re feeling overloaded, consider joining a local yoga class or practicing a new routine at home.

2. Make a cup of warm tea
Set the coffee aside and pick up a cup of warm tea instead. Studies have shown that your mom is right – tea really can lower your stress levels, in part to its chemical properties and benefits that tell your brain to take it easy. The study also notes, interestingly enough, that even the act of putting a kettle on the stove can reduce your stress.

3. Go on a quick stroll outside
One of the simplest, cost-effective ways to get a grip on your stress is by taking a walk outside. Walking can boost endorphins and reorganize brain neurons, allowing you to reconnect to the nature that surrounds you. With all the hustle and bustle in the digital age, it can be easy to forget what matters most, but taking a leisurely stroll around the park can remind you of the world’s natural beauty.

Woman walking along the beach

4. Take a salt bath
When you’re feeling the stress, consider an epsom salt bath. Stress reduces our body’s level of magnesium, so the magnesium in epsom salt does wonders when absorbed through the skin in a nice, warm bath. It promotes a peaceful sense of relaxation that can also help us focus better, sleep better, and feel more energized in the morning. The benefits of an epsom salt bath don’t stop at reducing your stress, but well into your daily life.

5. Visualize peaceful surroundings
The power of the mind is stronger than you think – even the National Institutes for Health “recognizes the power of guided imagery to elicit relaxation response,” according to the Huffington Post. You can practice visualization anywhere you are, at any time. Simply closing your eyes, taking deep breaths, and picturing peaceful surroundings (like a hot sandy beach in the Bahamas) can help lower your feelings of stress.

Woman meditating next to lake

6. Watch a good comedy
“Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain,” explains the Mayo Clinic. It costs nothing to laugh, but it means everything to your health! When faced with a great deal of stress, it may help to watch a comedy film – or crack a few jokes with a friend – to get some endorphins rushing.

7. Incorporate CBD oil into your routine
Cannabidiol, or CBD oil, is a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-pain remedy for many looking for alternative treatment. It’s known for its natural cannabis-derived properties that lets you enjoy all the relaxation from the plant, without the psychoactive THC. In other words, CBD oil helps you feel calm and collected without getting a high. “For many with a lifetime of experimenting with different products, CBD oil can be a new solution. We would encourage anyone trying something new to speak to a professional they trust,” says Marc Lewis, editor at Remedy Review.

8. Turn off your phone
No, seriously – turn off your phone! It can be difficult in today’s age, when the average workday extends far past 9 to 5, to turn away from the screen and call it a day. However, it’s more important than ever to disconnect from the screens before it starts to take a big toll on your stress. Consider turning off your electronics for an hour every day to feel your stress melt away.

A switched off mobile phone

9. Do some deep breathing
Your breathing can be a powerful tool when it comes to managing your own stress, so take advantage of it. Practicing some deep breathing techniques sends a message to your brain that allows for it to calm down and think about the bigger picture. There are a variety of different methods out there to try, but a personal favorite is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise recommended by Dr. Weil, M.D.

10. Write down what you’re thankful for
We have so much to be thankful for that it can be easy to forget. In order to manage your anxieties better, try making a list of everything you are appreciative for. This practice of mindfulness can help you feel more equipped to handle life’s next big obstacle by reminding yourself of what’s truly important: your health, happiness, and ability to lead a stress-free life.

Author Bio

Vanessa Bermudez - author bio photo

Vanessa Bermudez is a contributing writer for Remedy Review and is based in Brooklyn, New York. She is the co-founder and editor of Modern Girls, a collaborative digital space featured in Girl Gaze Project and Teen Vogue.

10K… Our Way! Raising Money for Young Minds

Young Minds is a fantastic charity that means alot to me personally; they work hard to provide information and support for children and adolescents with mental health concerns, as well as their families. They also campaign to improve mental health services for young people, which is currently lacking in many areas of the country. Their work is vital for the wellbeing of our young generations.

However, I have delayed posting about my Young Minds 10k charity ‘run’ (I use that term loosely!) despite signing up weeks ago, because I had absolutely no plan as to how I would actually complete it! I am not fit enough to run 10k (yet!) and as a full-time carer, it isn’t always easy to find time to go to the gym.

Given we spend alot of time outdoors anyway, it initially seemed logical that I should be doing this outside too. But the fact is, there is a big difference between everyday walking outdoors and wandering around exploring vs actually finding time to ‘train’ for a run. Plus I find it harder to run outside longer distances, due to different surfaces; I am guessing this is pretty typical.

But that is what I love so much about Young Minds 10k Your Way. There is no ‘should’ and no restrictions; it can be carried out anytime, anywhere. It makes it far more accessible for people like myself to participate. Plus there is no set schedule and no waiting around, no crowds and no pressure. You don’t even have to tell anyone where or when you will complete it beforehand, if you don’t want to. This makes it really inclusive and accessible for anyone to take part, regardless of any challenges and potential barriers, which I really admire; it is a brilliant concept! Just run the 10k and raise some funds for a worthy cause. No frills, no fuss. Simple.

Kind of…

I still need to actually cover the 10k distance somehow though! So I have decided doing it on a treadmill at home will be most achievable. Now, I don’t actually have a treadmill at home yet. But, erm, minor details…

I’ll make it to the moon if I have to crawl…”

By this point, a third of the way through September already, I have those lyrics above from Scar Tissue by Red Hot Chili Peppers playing on a loop in my head. Granted, I am not aiming for the moon, but the crawling part seems apt about now lol! I realise 10k really might not seem like much to a seasoned runner, but I am far from any such thing…

But I don’t care. Whether I run, walk or crawl, I will (attempt to) do this! I don’t mind if it takes me an hour, 3 hours or all day. I won’t be going for speed or checking my time. My aim is simply to complete it. Eventually! 😉 If you would like to sponsor me, I would really appreciate it. I have set my target at £500, so dig deep please! Thank you.

justgiving.com/fundraising/livinglifeourway

You can join me in taking part too – it’s not too late! Sign up here throughout September.

Wish me luck – I’m going to need it!

How to Start Eating Healthier and Stick to It: 3 Simple Changes You Can Make Right Now

If you want to start eating healthier but you are finding it hard, or if you know that you need to make some changes but you don’t know where to start, here are 3 simple changes you can make right now to get you on your way…

How to Start Eating Healthier and Stick to It: 3 Simple Changes You Can Make Right Now

Drink Black Coffee

I am not a coffee drinker myself, but I was surprised to discover it does have some health benefits. Did you know that coffee is great for burning calories? It can actually increase your metabolism and it can also help you to curb your appetite as well. of course, it’s important to know that when you do drink coffee, that you need to have it black. Milk adds loads of calories to the drink and absorbs some of the benefits. Plus no sugar or sweeteners either!

When you drink black coffee, you will soon be able to see a difference in the quality of coffee as well and this can open up a brand new hobby for you. Don’t forget to choose sustainable brands if possible though! Of course, if you have never tried black coffee before then you may find that it takes some getting used to, but it will be worth it!

Cup of coffee. Smily face in coffee

Eat Your Greens! But don’t forget other superfoods too…

Eat plenty of vegetables for nutrition and to fill up on healthy snacks rather than turning to junk. Get in the habit of nibbling a carrot for example, rather than munching on something with more empty calories! Try eating vegetables that you have picked right from your garden, as this will give you a huge sense of accomplishment and you will soon see how the products you have grown yourself differ when compared to the ones that you have purchased in the store.

Also choose nutritious grains to fill your belly. Quinoa is a popular choice of course but less known options such as sorghum are also worth considering too. It is easier on the digestive system, and rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and protein. Plus, it’s eco-friendly. Assuming you cannot forage sorghum seeds locally, which is unlikely, see if you can source any in stores.

Bowl of fruit and grains. Healthy breakfast

Healthy Substitutes

It is more than possible for you to have great meals without having to compromise too much. You can easily switch items for similar, yet healthier, alternatives. As time goes on you will likely find that you are able to become more creative as well. If you want to get started, try swapping mashed potatoes with some cauliflower. Cauliflower is nice and creamy, and it tastes like mashed potato as well; it’s soft and delicious. The best thing about this substitution is that you won’t be overloading your body with starch and it is a great way for you to lower the calorie intake. Another simple swap is to opt for sweet potato fries instead of chips. For snacks, if you struggle to give up the crisps, try switching from potato crisps to vegetable crisps.

Sweet potato fries

It is the simple changes that start you on the path to healthy eating without it seeming too overwhelming. And remember, every small positive change is a step in the right direction!

*This is a collaborative post.

B.A.B Courses: Workshops and Courses For Parents Where Your Children Are Welcome (Bring A Baby/ Child Courses)

BAB courses (Bring A Baby courses) are workshops and courses for parents but without the childcare hassle and cost! Bring your baby or child with you where they will be looked after in the same room. Perfect for parents of young children and home educators. Develop your skills or pursue your own interests without worrying about childcare. Tutors focus on parents, skilled playworkers focus on children. Support not separation. Based in Harrow. North London. Discount code available – 5% off all bookings!

*Disclosure: The following post is not a sponsored post. I have not been on any of these courses or workshops myself but I love the concept behind them and genuinely believe they will be of interest to my readers who live in the London area. I know Maxine, Business Manager, personally and have no doubt that these are excellent – hence I am helping to promote them!

My discount code is LLOW18 for 5% off any booking. This is an affiliate code, which means I receive a small commission if you use it.

Bring A Baby Course - B.A.B courses for adults

Is every fun activity in your schedule for your kids?

Have you forgotten the last time you were able to do something for yourself?

It happens to every parent, and perhaps even more so for some home educating families. Between shuttling children around to meets far and wide, finding enriching activities, supporting their latest interests and providing their education, as well as all the other usual parenting stuff, time for anything else is often somewhat limited.

What if there was a way for you to carve out time for your own interests and you were able to take your kids along too?

A fantastic new business in Harrow, North West London, is providing our community with just that.

Bring a Baby Courses have developed an exciting range of courses and workshops for adults focused on teaching new skills from photography to cake decorating, embroidery to rock climbing! And the best bit? All students bring their children with them!

BaB Courses are fully home ed friendly and welcome children between the ages of 0-13 yrs. Business manager Maxine Taylor home educated her own daughter and is very aware of the unique set of circumstances that home educators face.

“Home educating families are so so welcome on a BaB Course. I know how hard it is to divide yourself so many ways when home educating and to have no time to put into your own self development. We have highly trained play workers to support the children in class while their parents learn. We plan and plan and plan our activities based on the ages of the children coming – so each course has a different approach for the children. Older children might like to learn alongside the parent too. Of course, children are children and some weeks a child may not want to leave their parent’s side. It’s normal and we don’t force anything. That’s why classes are an hour and a half rather than your typical one hour class. ”

Bring A Baby Courses for adults. Support not separation.

How does it work?

Classes are small – usually no more than 8 parents and their children. Tutors focus on the parents and specialist play workers focus 100% on the children. Everyone is in the same room and all students have their children with them, creating a wonderful relaxed atmosphere of support.

What may sound crazy is in reality a breath of fresh air receiving 5* reviews from London parents.

The BAB team have something unique and wonderful – being able to take children along and have them entertained and cared for without having to worry about leaving them was really refreshing. The children were always welcome to approach us if they needed to but generally didn’t as they were having so much fun and we got to focus on the course. Crystal Miles 2018

I cannot recommend this course enough! Being able to do something for me whilst not feeling guilty about it because my 2 year old was having just as much fun! The staff were amazing and I learnt a new skill which I will be able to continue at home. Rachel Moncur 2017

It was really good to be able to concentrate on the course knowing that my child was happily engaged but able to come to me if he needed me. We both had a fab time and my son enjoyed it so much he wants me to do more! Julie Grace Cunningham

Location

All courses are currently run in central Harrow, with easy access to public transport and free parking available.

September Classes

These are the courses and workshops available this September…

B.A.B Bring A Baby Course - creative family photography course

Creative Family Photography Course £235

This is a unique 6 week photography course for parents. You will learn how to get the most out of your digital camera and get the best shots of your family and the best bit is your favourite subject is there too!

Cake decorating workshop by B.A.B (Bring A Baby courses)

Cake Decorating Workshop £65

The Enchanted Teddy Bear Picnic cupcake class is a great way to get to grips with a range of skills. You will be working with both fondant and buttercream and the course will introduce you to various techniques to create a set of 6 beautifully decorated cupcakes to take home for you and your family.

Climbing workshop B.A.B courses Bring A Baby courses for adults

Climbing Workshop £45

B.A.B courses have teamed up with Harrowall to bring you an exciting climbing experience. This hour and a half session will take you through the basics but also to breathtaking heights.

Bring A Baby introduction to knitting course

Introduction to Knitting Course £200

This unique 5 week course has been created for parents to learn the basics of knitting and you’ll be creating two fantastic pieces to take home and show off.

Personalised jewellery workshop B.A.B courses

Personalised Jewellery Workshop £195

This unique Jewellery workshop teaches students how to create incredible replicas of their children’s drawings, handprints or handwriting as beautiful silver charms that can be kept forever and turned into a pendant, bracelet or cufflinks as an end product for students to take away with them.

Hand embroidery course Bring A Baby course for adults

Hand Embroidery Course £200

This beautiful course will help you take one of your child’s drawings or a drawing of your child’s handprint and using embroidery and scraps of your favourite children’s clothes turn it into a special personalised cushion to treasure forever.

DISCOUNT ON ALL BOOKINGS!

To get a 5% discount of any booking please quote the following code: LLOW18

For more information, or to book a workshop/ course, see the website or drop them an email.

Website: www.bab-courses.co.uk
Email: contact@bab-courses.co.uk

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Review

Did you know that roughly a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure? The good news is that it can often be addressed by making simple lifestyle changes. Through regular monitoring, triggers can be identified and simple measures taken to improve heart health and overall wellbeing.

Yet people are far more likely to track daily steps and weight, rather than blood pressure. Only 15% use health tracking devices to keep a regular check on their blood pressure, according to recent research by Braun, compared to almost 50% of UK adults who weigh themselves and count their daily steps. In fact, two thirds of adults surveyed only get their blood pressure checked occasionally during routine GP appointments, while 7% never get it checked at all.

This simply doesn’t add up; heart health is the number one measure of overall wellbeing, and people fear that high blood pressure increases the risk of stroke or heart attack – yet most people do not think to monitor it. As medical expert Dr. Achim Max Brenske points out:

“There are many health measures that we are already consistently tracking, yet blood pressure is a metric that is often not thought about but could be one of the most important. Making blood pressure monitoring part of your at-home health checks, with an easy to use wrist or arm monitor, can help to identify triggers and allow you to immediately make simple adjustments to significantly improve your health and wellbeing. It’s such a small change that really can make a big difference, and ultimately save your life.”

Both Squiggle and Andy need to be particularly aware of their blood pressure; Squiggle due to her anxiety and the meds she is on, and Andy because he has thyroid issues. Both of them therefore need close monitoring for existing health reasons. My own blood pressure and health is fine, but it is also equally important to ensure it stays that way!

Since as a family we already understand the importance of keeping tabs, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to review the brand new iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor by Braun..

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor Review

Using the Monitor

The Braun iCheck 7 wrist blood pressure monitor comes with a quick start guide and more detailed manual. However, as the device is so intuitive, apart from double-checking which app I needed to download on my iPhone (Healthy Heart), within two minutes I had the batteries in, was connected to my phone, had the device on my wrist and had taken my first measurement.

With its one button operation and clever positioning tool – a ‘ball in the hole’ system that helps guide you to the correct position for taking an accurate reading – the device is simply fool proof and incredibly comfortable.

Healthy Heart App

The iCheck 7 syncs with the free Healthy Heart app on your phone or tablet, which then displays data using charts and graphs. The Healthy Heart app follows the simplicity of the device and, in addition to showing your recording history in various formats, it includes information on blood pressure, tips for recording the most accurate measurements and lifestyle recommendations for a healthier blood pressure.

Screenshot of Healthy Heart app

To get the most of the app you can add detail on diet, exercise, mood, medications and sleep. This helps you to analyse how your lifestyle impacts your blood pressure. Blood pressure readings can also be shared with your doctor to discuss your health further.

Reading the Results

Results are colour coded both on the device and in the app; green (normal), yellow (mild hypotension), orange (moderate hypotension) and red (severe hypotension). This makes it really clear at a glance. In addition to blood pressure, the device records heart rate and alerts you to any irregularity.

Braun blood pressure chart

Andy’s Analysis

Andy used the monitor to record his blood pressure regularly over the course of several days at various intervals. He discovered that most of the time his blood pressure was normal but he did have mild hypotension a few times and moderate hypotension once.

He will use this information to think about any positive lifestyle changes he can make to impact his blood pressure. One idea is using relaxation techniques before and after meetings. He will also discuss the results with his GP too. He will continue to monitor results closely as well of course.

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor on arm

Our Verdict

We are impressed with the monitor and its ease of use. The only thing that could improve it, is maybe if it came with a carry case. Aside from that, it is absolutely brilliant! If you’re looking for a quick and simple compact blood pressure monitor, this device is for you. If you’re not looking for one, why not?

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor box

Cost: RRP £99.99. The monitor is available to purchase from Boots.

Experts Tips for a Healthy Heart

Understand the factors that affect blood pressure…

Dr. Max Brenske, German GP and medical expert, explains that factors can vary: “your genetic disposition, age, sex, obesity, physical fitness, lifestyle factors, the time of day and medication can all play a role in your blood pressure and heart health. Explore the effect of these factors on your blood pressure by taking readings regularly.”

Mood Matters

Meik Wiking, CEO of the Research Institute of Happiness, has plenty of tips for improving mood and blood pressure. He points out that our daily lives can be made healthier by making simple choices such as cycling or walking to work. Studies show that people who have active commutes not only enjoy their journey more but also have lower mortality and obesity rates. He also has these words of advice: “Learn to say no – We often try and pack too much into our daily or weekly schedule. Be realistic when you are making your to do lists.”

Lastly, he suggests investing in relationships: “One of the best predictors of whether people are happy or not is whether they are satisfied with their social relationships. We all need to be heard, seen and understood and have someone we can share worries and dreams with.”

Sleep

With almost half of Brits revealing that they don’t regularly get a good night’s sleep, what are the reasons we are tossing and turning throughout the night? According to the research, financial worries (49%), relationships (47%) and health concerns (35%) top the list as the main contributors. Stressing about these factors impacts on sleep patterns, which in turn can raise blood pressure.

Nick Littlehales, Elite Sport Sleep Coach offers the following strategies to help improve sleep:

•Educate yourself on circadian rhythms so you’ll know when your body naturally has higher blood pressure, releases hormones and is optimised for either activity or sleep.

• Resting at multiple times during the day, rather than just at night, encourages your body to be in harmony with the circadian rhythms of the day.

• Manage your intake of stimulants, such as caffeine, to allow your body to recover and sleep more efficiently.

• Adopt good bedtime routines. Strenuous activity before bed will mean cortisol is heightened, keeping you awake. Take time to relax before bed; deep breathing, stretching or yoga for exanple. Also, reducing your exposure to blue light and encouraging the release of melatonin, your body becomes suppressed and ready for sleep.

• Your body has a natural drop in temperature before sleep, so moving from warm to cool will help you get quality, uninterrupted sleep. Having a warm shower and then moving into a cooler bedroom environment will help this process.

Health and Fitness

Simple activities, such as power walking can really make a difference Faya Nilsson (@FitnessOnToast) explains. However, she also suggests you need to put in the effort to train regularly to ensure optimal blood pressure levels.“Workout for 30 mins a day, four times a week; that’s the regularity you’ll need to help keep blood pressure at normal levels. If you have high blood pressure you should gradually and slowly increase training. I would advise training for shorter periods of time but more often. If you are struggling to find the time to train try body weight exercises to do at home like push-ups, pull-ups and lunges. You can do them anywhere.”

Food and Water

Faya also emphasises how crucial it is to drink plenty of water. “Dehydration absolutely impacts the blood pressure, leaving behind more sodium in the blood, so drinking two litres a day, throughout the day, will keep your blood pressure better regulated.”

Last but not least, she reminds us to eat well. Leafy greens, oily fish and berries are good choices, especially if you have high blood pressure. She recommends a healthy Low-GI diet with complex carbohydrates, reducing the amount of sodium in the diet.

Remember; small changes really can make a big difference. Knowing what triggers blood pressure spikes, through regular monitoring, is the first step to making long-lasting changes that will improve your heart and overall health.

Braun iCheck 7 Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor boxed

*Disclosure: I was sent a Braun iCheck 7 wrist blood pressure monitor for the purpose of review and was compensated for my time. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Keep Your Skin Looking Healthy

Are you prone to dry skin? Or maybe you are trying to defy the signs of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles? (Although I do like to remember that getting older is a normal process and there is nothing wrong with looking our age! However much we might wish, we can’t stay youthful forever!) If you want to keep your skin looking healthy, here are some top tips…

How to keep your skin looking healthy

Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for healthy looking for skin. When we are sleep deprived, not only do we get bags under our eyes, but we become more likely to suffer from spots or other skin ailments. Even just generally speaking, the difference between the appearance of a well rested person compared to when they lack sleep is noticeable!

Skin, healthy skin, look younger

Nutrition

Your skin needs essential vitamins and nutrition to stay healthy. So eat your fruit and veg! Dark skin berries are especially good for your skin. Anthocyanidins are the blue and red plant pigments found in fruit, seeds and berries and are known to protect and preserve the body’s natural collagen.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated. Remember, this is not taken care of by moisturing; dehydrated skin and dry skin are not the same thing! Moisturing your skin stops it from becoming dry, but hydrating your skin by drinking water ensures the skin cells are full and therefore improves your complexion.

Drink Green Tea

Green tea is becoming well known for it’s antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are known to neutralise the damaging effect of free radicals generated by sun damage to skin. So pour yourself a cuppa and relax!

Let Your Skin Breathe

Leave your face make-up free sometimes to allow your skin to breathe, and generally try not to clog up your pores with too many products. Wash your face regularly – but not too often – with plain warm water.

Healthy skin, face, protect skin

Protect Your Skin

Protect your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays using suncream and also try to cover up. And avoid staying out in the sun too long! It is recommended that when the sun is strongest (11am – 3pm UK) that you stick to the shade. Remember that this includes cloudy weather too! Vitamin D is essential, just be sure to balance it with protecting your skin.

Colladeen

Colladeen by Nature’s Best is a natural supplement that works to promote natural collagen production. This increases elasticity in the skin, and also protects it from sun damage. It contains essential vitamins, such as vitamin C, lutein, biotin and niacin, and also green tea. Studies suggest these may play a protective role against the damaging effects of sunlight on skin.

Colladeen studies suggest that after 24 weeks, there will be less lines and wrinkles, firmer skin and visibly 50% reduction in spider veins. It also states that a natural SPF of 15 will build up internally too. I have been trying out Colladeen for a few weeks and will let you know how I get on!

Colladeen, collagen, skin care, healthy skin

Colladeen Visage costs £18.95 for 60 tablets (one month supply).

*Disclosure: I was sent Colladeen for the purpose of review and was compensated for my time.

Top 10 Nutritional Foods to Eat During Pregnancy: Guest Post by Veronica – My Parenting Journey

Pregnancy is a time of strange cravings and increased appetite. While a pan of brownies sounds amazing, a pregnant woman needs vital nutrients to grow her unborn baby. It is ok to reach for snacks sometimes, but you have to make sure you are eating healthy, nutritional foods during pregnancy.

Poor diet leads to problems during pregnancy. Lack of nutrients can cause premature birth because a well-balanced diet gives your body the nutrients required for fetal development. If you want a healthy, smooth pregnancy, include these top ten nutritional foods to eat during pregnancy.

Top 10 Nutritional Foods to Eat During Pregnancy title with image of egg and avacado with grains

Eggs

Everyone knows that eggs are great for your body. Eggs are a low calorie, high protein food that contains omega-3 fatty acids. DHA is very important during pregnancy because it aids the brain development and formation of eyes in the unborn baby.

Salmon

Another source of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon. Omega-3 is vital for your baby’s development, and one of the best sources is salmon. Unlike other fishes, salmon contains low levels of mercury. Doctors encourage pregnant women to eat 8 to 12 ounces of salmon each week!

Beans

Pregnant women need a lot of protein during pregnancy, and beans are a fantastic way to get extra protein into your diet. Beans are also a source of iron, folic acid, potassium and magnesium. Another reason to eat beans is because they are a source of fiber, which relieves constipation and prevents hemorrhoids.

Avocados

Avocados are full of amazing vitamins for you and your growing baby. Most importantly, avocados offer a large amount of folic acid which ensures proper neural tube development. Avocados also have vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Plus, pregnant women need healthy fats, so add some avocados to your salads and sandwiches.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes, just like carrots, get their orange color from carotenoids. This plant pigment converts to vitamin A when it enters our bodies. Sweet potatoes are also a source of vitamin C, folic acid, and fiber.

If you’re apprehensive about trying sweet potatoes, make baked sweet potato fries sprinkled with cinnamon. Kids generally love them, and they make a great side dish for dinner.

Greek Yogurt

Protein is the all-star during pregnancy, and Greek yogurt offers twice the amount of protein when compared to regular yogurt. Along with protein, Greek yogurt is a source of calcium and probiotics. To grow a healthy baby, a pregnant woman needs calcium to keep bones strong, for the baby and mom!

Dark, Leafy Greens

You have to make sure you include dark, leafy greens in your diet. Options include spinach, kale, swiss chard, collard greens and other dark greens. These foods are loaded down with vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins A, C, and K. Plus, leafy greens are a source for folic acid.

Leafy greens are easy to include in your diet. Add spinach to your salads. Put them into your soups, omelets or stir fry recipes. The options are endless.

Another reason you want to consume leafy greens is that they are a source of iron. For all mothers, anemia is a concern for pregnancy and right after birth. At the same time, your baby’s red blood cells must form and require iron to do so. It is a great reason to toss more spinach into your diet.

Carrots

Carrots are a source of vitamin A, which is an important part of your pregnancy diet. Vitamin A is responsible for the proper formation of skin, eyes, teeth, and bones. Carrots also supply vitamin C and vitamin in your diet. Also, the high fiber content in carrots will keep your bowels moving regularly. When you are pregnant, that is essential to prevent constipation, which can cause hemorrhoids.

A bunch of freshly picked carrots

Whole Grains

Another nutritional food for your pregnancy is whole grains, which are high in fiber and nutrients. Whole grains contain vitamin E, which is an antioxidant, and mineral selenium, as well as phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are plant compounds that protect your cells. There are a variety of whole grains to pick from, such as oats, spelt and barley.

Oats are one of the easiest to include in your diet. They are full of minerals that increase your heart’s health.

Nuts

All nuts are extremely healthy and belong in your pregnancy diet. Nuts are the perfect snack, and we know pregnant women love (and need) to snack often. You can put a variety of nuts in a bag for the perfect on-the-go snack. Nuts contain dozens of minerals, such as magnesium, iron, copper, and zinc. Together, these nutrients help your baby grow!

Believe it or not, walnuts, almonds, and pistachios contain omega-3 fatty acids. We know that these are crucial for the baby’s brain development. So, feel free to include these in your diet often!

Eat Well During Pregnancy

Don’t worry – you don’t have to include all of these in your diet each day. Spread them out throughout the week! Have eggs for breakfast a few days with a cup of Greek yogurt. Make a salad with carrots and spinach. Toss a bag of nuts into your purse before work. Eating well during pregnancy benefits you and your new baby.

Veronica at My Parenting Journey

About the Author

Hi! My name is Veronica Mitchell. I am a mother to two adorable little girls and a handsome little boy. I spend my days caring from my children, packing lunches, reading aloud, kissing boo-boos, and working as the Editor of myparentingjourney.com.

Looking After Your Health

We only have one body (and one brain), so it is vital to take good care of it! As obvious as some of the basic ways to help stay healthy are, they can easily get forgotten about within busy everyday lives. Sometimes a quick reminder prompts us to re-evaluate our current habits and make positive changes. So let’s start with simple daily practices that support good health…

Looking After Your Health text, image of lady running

Daily Habits

Get enough sleep – a good night sleep has numerous benefits; it improves memory, attention and concentration, helps regulate mood, helps you to maintain a healthy weight, fights off inflammation, lowers stress and inspires creativity too!

Be active – move around as much as possible throughout the day, try to avoid sitting for long periods, and exercise regularly. Some practical ways to do this in daily life might include simply taking the stairs instead of the lift, ditching the car and walking or cycling to work, taking a lunchtime walk, joining a gym, taking a fitness class or jogging/ park run. You could also consider a standing desk if you work in an office. These are just a few examples.

Eat healthily – make sure you eat a balanced diet with plenty of nutritional value. Ensure foods rich in protein, fibre and essential vitamins. Remember your 5 a day! Avoid excess salt, sugar and saturated fats. Drink plenty of water too. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation.

Take time to relax – taking time to enjoy a hobby, reading a book, taking a bath or watching TV; whatever helps you to unwind. Other relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga are also beneficial, or indulge in some art therapy.

Stay connected – whether it is a quick chat with a colleague, catching up with a friend, a phone call to family or sharing your feelings, it is important to talk and stay connected.

Track Your Health At Home

Whilst monitoring your own health at home should not replace consulting with professionals, it is very useful to track your own health at home. The information can be used to motivate yourself to improve your health and pick up any danger signs early. Often the reports from apps and devices can be sent straight to your GP too so that they can monitor results too; which means you can work together more closely with your healthcare provider.

Medical image - stethoscope, pen and notes

Health Concerns – Visiting Your GP

If you are concerned about your health, in the first instance go see your GP. Of course, common illness and ailments can be treated at home, and you can also pop into a pharmacy for advice. But if you have any doubts or niggles about symptoms then do make an appointment asap. There is no need to feel embarrassed or fear you are wasting their time; it is far better to air on the side of caution if you are worried.

Complaints

If you feel you have been fobbed off, be assertive and ensure you are satisfied with the care you receive. You can ask for a second opinion if necessary, or even request to be referred to a specialist. You should also be able to find formal complaints procedures online if needed.

Of course, most of the time professionals do their job extremely well and offer excellent care. Cases of medical negligence are thankfully relatively rare in comparison to the number of people cared for effectively. However, if your care falls below acceptable standards and this directly causes an injury to your health, then you may consider pursuing action.

However, most of the time significant errors do not happen. For the vast majority of people, such mistakes are hopefully not something you will need to think about!

Health Conditions and Treatment

It can be daunting to find out you have a health condition. Remember though that getting a correct diagnosis means that the condition can be treated, or at least managed, in the best way possible, and as soon as possible. Ask questions of professionals and seek support from local groups and networks. Talk to friends and family too. Also try to focus on any positive changes that can be made to potentially improve outcomes, if possible.

Remember: if you have a health condition, good daily habits are just as important (if not more so) to promote staying healthy!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Beginners Guide To Mountain Biking with Halfords

When it comes to mountain biking, are you more likely to go shredding, or end up OTB? (Hint: if you don’t know what these terms are, check out the guide below!) If you are a novice, or are yet to try it out but are keen to have a go, then this is the post for you!

Mountain biking is an excellent way to get outside and enjoy spending time outdoors. It is an excellent way to keep fit; fantastic for health and wellbeing. Not only that, with so many tracks to choose from throughout the UK, it can also inspire and motivate people to see more of the country too. Plus it is a lovely clean, eco- friendly hobby (or is it a sport?!) as well. So basically, it is pretty much perfect!

Whilst I am somewhat of a beginner myself, I do have some excellent expert tips to get you started, thanks to this very handy Halfords Beginner’s Guide to Mountain Biking, and also with the help of some very experienced fellow bloggers too…

Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking

Choose The Correct Bike

There are several factors to consider when choosing a mountain bike; style of frame, wheel size, type of tyre and what type of mountain bike itself. The Beginner’s guide talks you through these considerations, so check that out for further details. Halfords stock a great range of mountain bikes, so you’re bound to find the ideal one for you!

With regard to the type of bike; there is front suspension, full suspension and electric. I have noticed that electric mountain bikes can sometimes get negative press, as they are seen as ‘cheating’ or somehow missing the point. However, there are also benefits to them, as this article explains. I particularly wanted to give them a quick mention though, because I believe they might potentially make mountain biking more accessible for some SEND people, so that is certainly worth noting.

Get the Gear

Any experienced mountain biker will tell you, having the right equipment is absolute key! Safety gear – helmet, elbow and knee pads, and gloves – are essential. Welsh Mum also suggests mudguards so your legs don’t get covered, waterproof gear, a comfortable backpack, and the right shoes and socks all make a big difference. Check out the gear list in the Halfords guide.

Chronicles of Theo mountain biking

Image: Chronicles of Theo mountain biking.

Bike Trails

There are trails all over the UK and they are helpfully colour coded to a standard grading system, so you can pick the right level of difficulty. Green is the beginners route, if you are just starting out. You can find out more about locations in the Halfords guide. (Told you, it’s super useful!)

Expert Advice

Miss LJ Beauty spends a huge part of her life mountain biking, and has been lucky enough to travel the world. Here is her advice:

Why not join a local mountain biking group? To find like minded people of all ability’s The key to learning is have fun! Mountain biking is progressive sport there are always new things to learn. No matter what level you are. Also don’t be afraid to ask someone on a trail! We are a friendly bunch And are more than happy to help!

Get on your bike and come shredding!

Miss LJ Beauty Fort William down hill

Image: Miss LJ Beauty on Fort William down hill.

Have you been mountain biking? Why do you love it? Where is your favourite trail? Tell me in comments!

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Halfords.

Forest Holidays: Our Winter Retreat to Forest of Dean

Back in January we decided to book a last second escape to the Forest of Dean for a winter retreat at Forest Holidays. This was our first time visiting but it came recommended from friends who have stayed at a different location on one of their other sites. Squiggle’s anxiety was high, so we figured some extra time relaxing outdoors might be just what we all needed. It didn’t work miracles in that regard (but then again, I am pretty sure they don’t claim to either though!) but it was still a lovely holiday! Here is our review…

Title written on image of Forest Holidays cabin.

The Cabin

There are three main styles of cabin; golden oak, silver birch and copper beech. The main differences between them are that silver birch has a hot tub, and golden oak has both a log burner and a hot tub. We intentionally wanted to avoid having a log burner for personal reasons, and silver birch was fully booked, so that made it pretty easy to choose!

Despite copper beech being their cheapest (and most basic) option, we were absolutely amazed by the size of the cabin! The whole place had a wonderful air of luxury about it, whilst also feeling very homely. I loved how beautifully in keeping the decor is; very natural. I was very impressed! And everything is eco- friendly wherever possible too, which we were really glad to see.

Eco friendy kitchen kit

I was quite worried that it might be chilly in winter but the underfloor heating took care of that! If anything, it was actually abit too warm when we arrived but the thermastat was easy to use and had separate settings for each room too, so that was soon remedied. I don’t know how hot the cabins might get in a heatwave with all that glass though! But given that they seem very well designed overall, I am assuming there are measures in place to maintain optimum temperatures. We were certainly able to do that during our winter stay anyway, despite having both sunny days and snow in the time we were there! They are really cosy and it is easy to feel right at home there.

Here is my video tour of the cabin…

The Setting

The cabin we had was in the meadow so it was very open, whereas some of them are tucked away amongst the trees. Honestly, in my opinion, regardless of where your cabin is situated, you can’t go wrong.

Our view from the cabin. A meadow with cabins spread out.

The site is in a beautiful location, in the Forest of Dean, with stunning scenic walks all around. Regardless of the time of year we visited, even in Winter, we couldn’t fail to be in awe of the forest setting. Here are just a few of my pictures taken, the first onsite and the others literally a few moments walk off the main site…

Stunning forest setting of the Forest Holidays site.

Beautiful views at the Forest of Dean

Winter scenes at Forest of Dean

Forest of Dean

By the way, the sheer drop on the above photos is less breathtaking and more heartstopping when your autistic child suddenly bolts!!!! Especially if you happen to suffer from vertigo as well, like I do! So I recommend if you explore this area with a young child, or one with SEND, that you not only have nerves of steel, but a very tight grip of their hand!

We don’t have a dog personally, but the site is very dog- friendly and it would be the ideal holiday to take a dog if you are an owner. This is probably also worth noting though if you are nervous around dogs though I guess! Squiggle loved seeing all the dogs about going for walks, she was delighted!

Facilities

Forest Retreat

The Forest Retreat is the main hub where you check in and book activities, and is home to the shop and restaurant. It also has pottery activities for children.

The shop sells a lovely range of gifts, books and activities that are carefully chosen to be perfectly on theme for the nature of the holiday. It also sells a wonderful selection of food and drink; including an extensive range of cider, wine and beer, fresh produce and a range of Cook meals for easy self- catering dining options.

Forest Retreat photo strip showing selection in store.

Food

The menu has plenty to choose from, to either eat in the restaurant or take away. The food was consistently good and service was prompt.

Bike Hire

Bike hire is available onsite from £28 per break per adult or from £25 per child. It is recommended you book these in advance. We didn’t hire bikes on this occasion but Squiggle did ask about it (towards the end of the holiday!) so we would definitely consider it next time.

Cycle Hire building from the outside.

Play Area

The play area was sectioned off during our visit as they were carrying out work on it. It looked more suitable for younger children, but Squiggle would have had a quick go if it were available no doubt!

Bug Hotel

Granted not really one of the facilities per se (at least not for humans!) but I wanted to mention the bug hotel anyway. We have seen these in many places but this one is particularly well made!

Large bug hotel with information sign. Squiggle is stood next to it.

Activities

There are a range of forest ranger led activities available for various ages. Some are shorter at 90 minutes in duration, whilst one survival course is half a day. As well as daytime activities, there is also a night-time ranger adventure so you can spy on the nocturnal forest inhabitants after dark! Dogs are allowed on some of the activities but not all courses, and some have a minimum age for children, so do check details before booking. There are also a selection of activities off- site that can be booked through Forest Holidays as well.

Squiggle on the winter trail.

Squiggle wasn’t up for any of these due to her anxiety, so we opted to do their self- guided seasonal trail instead. This cost £6.95 and she got a prize at the end for completing it. This was a really engaging activity. She started off reluctant to join in but as soon as we got to the first few stops and solved the clues she was hooked! We really enjoyed it and it was definitely one of the highlights of our holiday.

Seasonal trail clue

Local Places To Visit

There are numerous walks nearby surrounded by beauty and tranquility. Aside from that, there are several local places to visit that might be of interest. Forest Holidays have some suggestions of what’s nearby. I would really love to visit Clearwell Caves and also Puzzlewood sometime in future.

We did go to Beechenhurst, mainly to go on the sculpture trail. However, Squiggle was very near tired and nearing meltdown, so we didn’t actually find any sculptures and ended up just having a quick wander instead. I would love to return when it is better timing for her though; it looked like a lovely place to spend a day and I really want to see the sculptures – from the photos they look brilliant!

One thing I will remember from our trip though was that, as we drove up into the carpark, something moving in the forest caught my eye. As I turned to look I thought at first it was dozens of rabbits scurrying into the bushes. But then I realised, whatever they were, they weren’t hopping – they were running. It was a huge group of baby wild boar!

Now I know they are very common to the area and especially at that time of year, but I had never actually seen any before. I was so excited! They were gone in a flash; no time to grab a camera or even point them out to Squiggle, but that was a personal highlight that I will always remember.

We also visited Symonds Yat briefly, on the bank of River Wye. I took a few photos, but I could have taken many more of these stunning scenic views…

River Wye

Stunning scenic view of river Wye

Symonds Yat

In Summary

We really enjoyed our stay at Forest Holidays and loved exploring Forest of Dean. We are very keen to return here sometime in the future, and also would like to try other Forest Holidays locations too. We would definitely recommend it – at any time of year!

Last but not least…

Here is a video clip I put together summarising the highlights of our holiday:

*Disclosure: I was given a discount when booking this holiday in exchange for a review post. However, as always, I have expressed my honest opinion and all thoughts are my own.