Just four short weeks ago, I told you about my plans for 2018, and more specifically my plans for January. Over this month, using the super useful Drinkaware app, I’ve set goals, logged every glass of wine (and every gin), noted every unit and every calorie, every drink-free day and lot of other associated stuff. And now, as we’re finally saying goodbye to January (or should I say good riddance?), there’s time to reflect upon how it’s gone, the lessons I’ve learned, the bits I’ll take with me into the rest of the year, and the bits I’ll leave behind. And so, in no particular order, here are my thoughts:
Yes, I know I usually do a weekend wishlist, but I’ve got a lovely bit of baking for you this weekend, so I thought I’d mix things up a bit and bring you a weekday wishlist instead. If you’ve read my last couple of posts about my plans for 2018, you’ll know that I’m trying hard to look after and nourish my body, cut down on alcohol, eat healthily and get back into my running. On Monday, I deleted my Couch to 5k app details and then started it again from the beginning. I quickly realised, though, that I had actually made some progress and didn’t need to stop and walk. I ended up running the whole week 1 run 1 and although I ached the next day, I felt a huge sense of achievement. I’m going to carry it on, but one thing I really need is some decent new running gear. Happily, there’s a great selection of gorgeous M&S activewear, so I’m going to treat myself to some lovely new stuff. Here are a few bits that caught my eye:
It’s that time of year when we all seem to be more susceptible to colds and sniffles. Of course, there are obvious things we should do to avoid catching other people’s colds, like washing our hands, keeping surfaces clean (especially if you have kids who seem bring everything back from school (remember those door handles!) and avoiding touching our faces. If the worst comes to the worst, though, and you find yourself battling the common cold, what should you do? Here are my top tips, shared in partnership with family favourite decongestant oil brand, Olbas:
How’s your relationship with alcohol? I’d say that mine’s… complicated. When we were younger, I was always the one who would volunteer to drive. I’m naturally quite chatty and happy, and it didn’t occur to me that I needed to drink alcohol to have a good time, therefore I was generally the designated driver, and happy enough with it. Now, we don’t tend to go out much, so our drinking is done at home, and this has increased steadily over time. Add to this the fact that we really love our wine, to the point that I write about it and we even invest in it, and you’ll see why our alcohol consumption has steadily grown. Next week, 13th to 19th November is Alcohol Awareness Week, and I’ve been thinking a little bit about how (and why) I drink. It’s been an interesting time…
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and just to make it extra special, this year is the 25th anniversary of the pink ribbon. Breast cancer will affect one in eight women in their lifetimes, and at the moment, one person is being diagnosed every 10 minutes, so it’s really important that we all come together and raise as much money as we can. Loads of brilliant brands have teamed up with breast cancer charities to provide opportunities for you to donate while you shop, and with Christmas coming up (67 days, folks!), it’s a really good time to get a start on your Christmas shopping, and do something brilliant for a great cause. Here’s my Breast Cancer Awareness Month roundup. Read more
First of all, I’d just like to point out the glaringly obvious, that I’m not a scientist, so my thoughts on these collagen supplements are literally just my own views – however, I must say that before I was offered the absolute collagen protein rich marine collagen oral liquid supplements for review, I’d actually read quite a lot about collagen supplements and was quite keen to give them a go. Here’s how I got on.
WHAT a weekend. We had our amazing summer sparklers party on Friday night. I am absolutely rubbish and took NO pictures, but we had such a fun time and – apart from the fact that I was an idiot and bought single cream, so my pavlova ended up being ‘deconstructed’ – it all went really well. More of this very soon! I had a complete day off anything to do with health and fitness on Friday: I scoffed pavlova and cheese and all those good things, but now I’m back on it: exercising regularly (I WILL be toned and fit by our holiday in September), drinking loads of water and looking after my body and my skin, which brings me neatly on to my EXCLUSIVE offer: 20% off REN Skincare exclusively for you guys!
We were talking the other day about the last time we deliberately bought something labelled ‘low fat’ or ‘low sugar’. For us, it’s been a really long time. I think we’ve deliberately moved away from things with bits and bobs taken out, to more natural, healthy products: proper wholesome, whole milk yoghurts; proper bread from the bakery (yes, I love to make my own, but I don’t always have time and who wants to live on squishy plastic bread?), and mature cheddar. We’re never going to be a hard-core healthy family that lives on quinoa and chia seeds and gives up sugar, salt and dairy – that’s not my style at all. I’m an ‘everything in moderation’ person when it comes to food, and as a family we embrace everything, even treats in small amounts. But even with treats, I’d rather the boys were scoffing homemade cake than handfuls of sweets packed with artificial goodness-knows-what.
I think I’ve talked before about the Bel Group Advisory Board. You know Bel, right? They make great cheese, like Mini Babybel and Boursin and they’re a lovely and very well meaning company. They get together every so often to have this meeting and talk about health issues surrounding their products. My role is really to represent the consumer, and let them know what parents are talking and thinking about when it comes to food (this time it was the worrying trend of the ‘wellbeing expert’, and our worries over cutting down on the amount of sugar we consume).
Every time I go on holiday, I just bung my whole make-up bag in my suitcase, but honestly, once I’m there, I only use a tiny amount of it. This time, I decided that I was going to carry on the good work I’ve done with my capsule holiday wardrobe, by applying the same theory to my make-up bag.
We’ve been having a little try of a very clever new toothbrush. The Nano-b toothbrush is very different to ordinary toothbrushes, and we’re all quite addicted to the lovely feeling they give you after brushing.
So last Friday I headed up to Covent Garden for a meeting with Kellogg’s to hear all about their new campaign. We met at the incredibly gorgeous Covent Garden Hotel – it’s like a fabulous underground rabbit warren – all dark, cosy and warm – our meeting room had ornate flock wallpaper, comfy sofas and faux window/mirrors. I’m now on a mission to stay there.
All-Bran’s been going for absolutely donkeys’ years – we watched that advert with the ‘they’re tasty tasty very very tasty’ theme tune – remember that?
Basically All-Bran’s moved on a lot from those days. Yes, you can still buy the hard-core slightly twig-like All Bran, and Bran Flakes, but now there are all sorts of scrummy new varieties including chocolatey and fruity, plus our favourite, Golden Crunch (the box I got in my goody bag lasted ONE DAY after I got back) that will up your intake of healthy wheat bran fibre.
We had a good giggle about the amount of poo talk there was, but honestly, none of us eat enough fibre and it’s so important – not only does it ‘keep you regular’ (insert snigger here) but it helps keep you feeling fuller for longer (handy if you’re trying to lose weight) and can impact positively on your general health too.
The recommended GDA for fibre is 25g a day, but very few of us actually eat that much. The Kellogg’s girls had challenged one of the girls in their office to take up the 5 Day Challenge (basically one portion of one of the cereals from the All-Bran range for five days, plus health tips and support during that time) and she honestly said she felt better – with more energy and, I have to say, she really did look great – bright eyed and glowing. If you eat more fibre, Kellogg’s recommend that you also drink more water (2 litres a day) which all goes to making you feel healthier.
After our meeting, we made the short walk to our pampering afternoon. The Sanctuary Spa in Covent Garden is absolutely amazing. There’s no way you can get a sense of the sheer scale of the place from the unassuming exterior. We had a delicious lunch lolling around on cushions in the HUGE relaxation lounge – it reminded me a bit of a Bond film – there’s a pool WITH A SWING (which I didn’t end up trying, darnit) and acres of room where women in various states of undress were lolling around sipping champagne. There are also a mesmerising set of interconnect pools containing Koi Carp. Sadly there’s a no camera rule so I can’t show you – you’ll just have to go and experience it yourself!
I decided to have a facial and it was probably one of the best ones I’ve ever had. My therapist, Hannah, talked to me about my skin concerns and then gave me the most heavenly treatment, including a very firm head, neck, shoulder and arm massage. I’m not a fan of pummelly massages normally, but afterwards I floated out with all the tension from my neck and back completely gone, and my skin glowing.
NB: I’m going to have a go at the 5 day challenge and report back. You can find the 5 Day Challenge here.
- Weekend wishlist: the perfect holiday capsule wardrobe with M&S May 19, 2018
- Breaded baked barbecue cauliflower May 17, 2018
- Why I’m pondering becoming a pescatarian May 15, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: 10 ways to live a more sustainable life May 12, 2018
- Step by step: easy chocolate cake recipe May 10, 2018