Review -Bee Rested Sleep Support

It’s no secret that I suffer from insomnia. I’ve suffered for years and in comes in peaks and troughs.

Currently it’s hit a peak, I attribute this to the current Covid pandemic, uncertainty for my business and keeping my family safe. Talking to a lot of my friends there’s a lot of us feeling the same. And dreams… is it just me but dreams are really vivid at the moment? I suspect another side- effect of the current situation.

Long story short the lovely people over at Unbeelievable Health contacted me and asked if I wanted to try their sleep support capsules. Now I’ve tried meditation ( I’m just not there yet), hypnotherapy ( I laughed as it didn’t work) and I’ve upped my exercise so I thought “ Why not” and decided to give them a go.

On their website Unbeelievable describe these supplements as : “Bee rested sleep support blends 9 effective ingredients which have a soothing effect, helping to decrease tension and to promote good sleep including Griffonia seed extract (5-HTP), Chamomile extract, bee propolis, royal jelly, lavender, hops extract, Montmorency cherry, saffron and more.”

They are suitable for vegetarians and are gluten, nut and soy free. Incidentally I’d had a call from my GP ( about something else) I’d mentioned them to try for insomnia and the gp agreed. As with all supplements if you are unsure then do check suitability with a health professional first.

I love these little guys

Anyway they are easy to take capsules that are coated and I found do not leave a funny aftertaste ( always a bonus). I started to take them 1 hour before I wanted to go to sleep. The first night I didn’t notice much- still lots of over thinking for me, but by night 3 I admit I got 5 hours. That might sound like a dismal night for most but usually 3-4 is average for me.

After a week I was getting 6+ hours. Now this could be coincidence, but I do think they are definitely helping. I’ve noticed my skin incidentally has improved as well ( no break outs ) which I think is an added bonus. Anyway I’m that impressed I’ve purchased some more and will continue on them for the time being.

You can purchase these from Boots, Holland and Barrett , Amazon and Planet Organic amongst other places.

Disclaimer: This Post is a review of gifted items. All views are my own and truthful.

Goodbyes Are The Hardest.

It all starts with a hello, and ends with a good bye. I promise I’ve got some great recipes and reviews coming up, but for now, you lucky readers are getting an insight of my inner thoughts.

Hellos are fabulous aren’t they? That first hug of a newborn, that locked gaze across a room to a potential lover, that first kiss is amazing ( if it’s not then they probably aren’t for you but I’m digressing). Friends reuniting, with this pandemic in mind that first hug for families being reunited will be truly magical. Yes hellos can be the thing that memories and dreams are made of. Goodbyes….. well they are a whole different ball game.

There’s a general good bye … not too bad but often disappointing. Departures at airports waving goodbye to loved ones often causes those tears to well up.

The end of a relationship is hard and heartbreaking ( or a happy release In some cases) but for me the death of a loved one is the hardest goodbye of all.

Now today Matt Hancock has tweeted this 👇🏼

This is not a political post but the ONLY 36 has really hit a nerve. The use on only tells me he has not lost a loved one during this pandemic… well sadly I have, and my goodness the pain runs deep and the anger is building.

The coronavirus pandemic has bought many challenges the worst for me was the death of my grandad. Mum called me 3.5 weeks ago- the paramedics were with them. I made their house in 5 minutes. The ambulance still there lights glaring- heroes inside doing their thing. I’m eternally grateful to those two men “ you can come and have a minute but we really must go”

I held grandad’s hand and I said “ Don’t worry you’re in great hands we’ll come and get you soon” That was the last I saw and heard from him. He had an emergency procedure, it had gone well and doctors were talking about him coming home. Yet on day 4 at 8.30 am I got a phone call from mum. The doctor had just called her to say grandad had passed away. Both of us told over a phone..and I was numb. I couldn’t hug my mum or dad… they couldn’t hug me. I could hear the pain and sorrow in their voices. Let me tell you, it is heartbreaking and the grief engulfs you like a wave.

Organising a funeral over social distancing is hard as well. Only 8 people allowed, from a maximum of 4 households, all at least 2 meters apart. I still cannot sit by or hug my mum due to being in a different household- my husband cannot be with me. Can you imagine how difficult that is going to be?

The positive is grandad will get the send off he wanted ( we’d talked about this). He will get his favourite songs played – The chain by Fleetwood Mac and The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face by Roberta Flack ( obviously I’ll lose it at this point). We will then have tea and cake ( his favourite) in the garden all 2 meters apart but with comfort we are together to celebrate his colourful life ( come on I’ve got to have got it from somewhere).

To anyone going through the same I’m so sorry. Time is apparently a healer- I’m yet to find that route but it will come. It’s a difficult time, and I’m sure for us all things will get easier.

But for now, from me one final time. Goodbye grandad. I will miss you

Love you so much

Gem x l

Guest blog post

New post today and featuring a brilliant guest blog post from Allergy Abroad and a guide to travelling to India. Have a read and enjoy. Stay safe everyone x

How to travel In India with Food Allergies

India is one of those special countries everyone has to visit once in their lifetime. Home to the world’s oldest civilization, it is known for its exceptional architecture, diverse culture, and spiritual methods. Its magnificent forts, mesmerizing hospitality, amazing handicrafts, and relaxing spirituality is sure to take your heart away.

Many people who have food allergies would see India as a high risk country and it’s true. Many local Indian places are still unfamiliar with allergies, with it being an uncommon condition. It’s even more important to do some prep beforehand so, here are a few tips that can help you manage food allergies in India.

Important Things to Consider regarding Food Allergies in India

Prepare Your Allergy Kit Beforehand

This wouldn’t be an allergy prep list if we didn’t start with the essentials. It goes without saying when packing your case, layout all your medicines anti-allergen kits – like Benadryl, Epi-pens, inhalers etc.. and always take more than you need. I always resort to Totstotravel which has an extensive list on what to carry, it might be more than you need, but they have thought of everything you could need.

Food Research

If you have anaphylactic reactions to any of your food allergies, then you know eating out is high risk. For nut allergy sufferers, Indians use a lot of nuts in their food and coupled with a lack of awareness amongst locals, it can be a recipe for disaster. If you decide to limit yourself to established restaurants, I highly recommend contacting front offices (hotels too) in advance to find out whether they can cater for your allergy. If you want to explore and learn more on Indian cuisine then you can try a cooking class with a local Indian family. That way you can see what’s being cooked in front of you and ask questions if you’re unsure about anything. Airbnb experiences has a great range of cooking classes to try.

Dive Deep Into Your Allergy Triggers

If you already know your allergies really well, then it’s a no brainer that you should be carrying a translation of your allergy. Although the national language of India is Hindi, there are over 22 languages spoken across the Indian states. Pre written translations have made communicating my allergy a whole lot easier. You can find your allergy translated in various phrases for free online, otherwise get in touch with a indian reddit community and kindly ask someone for help.

Be Alert On The Go

Don’t forget to always carry your EpiPen. Keep it with you and not in the overhead bin while you travel. Try to go for one that has slots for other medicines and can be labeled with your name and medical information.

If you’re travelling with anyone, make it a point that they know how to use an EpiPen. You can get ‘trainer’ pens and practice so that in times of need, they can be of help.

After you Reach India

A smartphone has been an essential piece of kit for travellers. If you are carrying one you should label a contact as ‘ICE.’ ICE stands for “In Case of Emergency.” As the name suggests, this person would be the contact point if something happens to you.

You can even include any info as notes or memos that you feel a medical practitioner needs to know. This might include “Asthmatic” or “Allergic to …..” Many countries are making it a practice to check this entry on patients’ phones.

In restaurants, don’t rely on the servers to ask you about your allergies, always try to speak to the manager. If you don’t feel comfortable, remember you always have the option to walk away.

What I noticed in India was nuts were too expensive to be used for everyday cooking. So, the majority of the restaurants only garnish the delicacies with the nuts at the top, but this is of course no guarantee.

It’s always better to familiarise yourself with the local versions of the foods that you would need. Even the same dish can have variance in its recipe around India, so don’t get complacent and not check for your allergy. If the long bus or train trips are a part of your travel plan, pack a lunch with you. Otherwise, you can also get packed food at the roadside dhabas selling different eateries. These can sometimes be good spots, if you can see what and how they are preparing the food.

If you’re staying at a hotel where english is well spoken, you can discuss things with the hotel staff, and they may help ends meet. Or you it’s also very easy to make friends with a cook at any local dhaba. Just buy him the ingredients, offer some money as a token of gratitude, and you should be good to enjoy your favorite food in India also – that too, without any fear of allergy!

In the end, it all sums up to the phrase that one should eat to live, not live to eat. Read the labels of every food item very carefully and take the utmost caution while eating out in India. With these tips in mind, you’re sure to rock your trip to India. Don’t forget to share your experience with us in the comment box!

How We Are Coping With Lockdown

Hello to you all, it’s a slightly different post from me today but quite frankly I’m a bit bored, and I find writing therapeutic so I thought I’d pen my thoughts on how we are fairing in the current UK Covid-19 lockdown.

Unprecedented- this is a phrase that’s used a lot at the moment, and the truth is it is. It’s huge, we are in the middle of history books of the future right now, and I for one have a million and 1 thoughts and feelings on the whole situation. I think ( from what I can make out) we are all having good and bad days. For the record it’s ok to have those bad days. I kid you not the other day I cried…. a lot. I was overwhelmed by boredom and constant bombardment of covid-19 info from all angle- it was just too much, and break down I lost certainly did.

I joked a few weeks ago that divorce lawyers would be clapping their hands after lockdown- I still stand by this. All of a sudden you are thrust together ( and not in a good way) and the pressure builds. For the record I won’t be getting a divorce but we’ve had words over things that have never bothered us before. It’s so intense and suddenly you find loud chewing or not picking up a plate really winding you up. – This is all normal, take some time out- go for your hours exercise together and things look brighter on your return ( well hopefully anyway).

Other things I’m learning from lockdown- you will put weight on. Food and eating are one thing you can still control. It’s ok, enjoy a treat, or. Are that banana bread – the gyms will open at some point and you can get back to it. I’ll also add here I’m yet to make sourdough bread…. give me a week or two and I’m sure I’ll start.

The imaginative amongst you may have also discovered that you can socially distance in a queue to the supermarket but your friend might just be the person in front or behind you. It helps honestly, the mundane task suddenly becomes your day’s highlight and gives you a lift.

Home education – the thing that sparks fear in parents everywhere. Relax it’s fine – you’ve all got this. You don’t need to recreate school, do what’s right for you as a family. Remember a hour of one to one with a child is equivalent to a couple of lessons as it’s more focused learning. Don’t worry they’ll catch back up on any missed bits when school starts back. Enjoy the extra family time.

So there we go…. we’ve not yet gone insane and living each day one at a time. How are you all coping? Let me know in the comments below.

Virtue Drinks Review

So how are we all doing? Staying at home and keeping safe I hope. If I’m honest I’m finding the current Coronavirus lockdown physically and mentally challenging, I’m missing my family and friends, I’m missing my patients and a lot of the normality that goes with everyday life that we take for granted. Hang in there troops the good days will return.

Now I document fairly often about my awful sleep patterns. I’ve been an insomniac for years and some weeks are worse than others. I find myself often turning to caffeine to help with that afternoon slump. I tend to avoid the high sugar energy drinks…. because of the sugar content, and usually opt for a beanies flavoured coffee or similar. The lovely people over at Virtue Drinks offered to send me some new drinks to try that were high if caffeine but zero sugar. So here they are, and here are my thoughts.

Virtue describes the drinks as :
“Yerba mate is a magical energising ingredient from South America. It’s the traditional uplifting drink of choice in many countries in the region; the yerba mate drinking ritual represents unity as it brings people together. Yerba mate is an antioxidant powerhouse, with essential vitamins & minerals and amino acids. Yerba mate is naturally high in caffeine, one can = one cup of coffee (80mg natural caffeine).”

Brilliant I thought… and try it I have. There are 2 flavours Peach and Strawberry & Lime. Both have very subtle flavours- I like this as they are definitely not sweet and overpowering. Both flavours are pleasant although peach probably takes my favourite crown. They remind me a bit like Purdys just without the sugar and calories. The big bonus is that if any of you are following either weight watchers or SlimmingWorld etc then these drinks are acceptable on both diets.

The caffeine hit worked as well, perking me no end. This is another bonus for those of you who don’t actually like coffee. ( if these people exist?)

So would I recommend these drinks? Yes I would, delicate flavour, caffeine hit and zero calories. Really what’s not to like?

Have you tried these drinks yet? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Note- I was sent these products to try, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and truthful.

Home Schooling…. You Can Do This

As we are fast hurtling into a Coronavirus lock down here in the UK, the inevitable is happening families are in 14 day isolation and I think we are on the brink of school closures. These closures aren’t going to be like your typical snow drama, oh no, these are for potentially longer periods of time… and I can sense the dread of parents all over the country.

STOP THERE. Don’t worry you are all going to do a great job. This is a slightly different post from me but some of you may know I have partly home educated kiddo for 3 years. ( we flexi school but I won’t confuse you with that). I thought I’d try and offer some advice in helping you impart wisdom to your little poppets.

Your school’s will call it home schooling – I’ll quash that first myth for you. You don’t need time tables and plans ( do a loose one if you can be arsed but they’re very dull to do). You don’t need to sit your kids down and shout at them to work for the 6 hrs a day… you’ll get nowhere only into an argument and everything counterproductive.

When you are one to one with a child there’s no distractions, no hustle and bustle of class rooms, no “ Sit Still, stop talking “ it’s just you and your kids and 20-30 minute chunks are fine. Then have a break, get outside ( gardens are ok in isolation) go on a nature walk or bike ride if you all feel ok ( PE and science covered).

Try not to give endless work sheets, I find kids find these dull, quite frankly I find them dull. Do some experiments you can find some fab ones Here these are engaging and fun and gets children thinking and coming up with questions.

Play games like scrabble ( good for English and spelling) or monopoly. For those of you with Minecraft mad kids get the education version and do some coding etc.

Sites I find Useful

Corbett Maths

If you are after GCSE maths help this is a must visit. All the videos and work sheets are free and the kids seem to respond well to it. There are worked answers as well- great for those of you who waved goodbye to algebra years ago. Have a look Here

Twinkl

I love this site it’s handouts and lesson plans are fabulous, they’re fun and colourful and kiddo enjoys them ( no moaning = less likely for you to need wine). Even better to help with the current situation the generous people on the site are offering free membership for a month to parents who are finding themselves at home and teaching their children. I’m overly excited about this, can you tell?

Sign up Here and put the code UKTWINKLHELPS in to access the offer.

Beanstalk


Beanstalk
has your little ones covered and offers interactive learning material for children aged 1 to 6.
During the COVID-19 threat, they are offering full access for FREE. They offer live classes and ‘on demand’ classes.All you need to do is sign up Here

BBC Bitesize

This is a great site that is free, has good content and things like quizzes etc that makes learning a little bit more fun. It also covers all ages- including 16+

Teach my Monster

This is an app you can download. It’s usually £4.99 but currently free. It’s brilliant for those of you with younger children who are learning to read. It’s a colourful game format that gets them reading without then struggle.

Scholastic

https://www.scholastic.co.uk/

Click on the link above for free resource packs for KS1 and KS2

Some of my last pearls of wisdom are that remember not all learning needs to be done in a class room- kids are incredible and have the ability to learn outside the hours of 9-3pm. Use the opportunity to teach life skills, how to cook, how to change oil in their car, plant some seeds and how to appreciate the world around them. Use your time not as a chore, but as an opportunity to learn and bond together.

These are really weird and unprecedented times and we need to embrace the positives. Yes there’ll be tension ( get your wine in now) yes you’ll be frustrated at not being able to go places but we’ve all got each other, and like the age old parenting mantra states “ This is a phase- this too will pass”

I hope this has been useful is you need any more advise or pointers please free free to message me. Keep checking this post- I’ll update with extra links when a few more pop into my head.

Easy Banana Pancakes

It’s the weekend, it’s still grey and a bit gloomy and here in the UK we are in the grips of corona virus restrictions and self- isolations.

What better excuse do you need to have pancakes ( if only to cheer ourselves up). The fantastic thing about these pancakes is that they are sort or healthier as well, and only 3 ingredients so super easy to make. And yes you did hear that correctly.

The added bonus of these pancakes is that they are dairy free, nut free, gluten free and only uses sugar from the banana to sweeten then….seriously what’s not to love right??

Ingredients

  • 1 banana mashed up
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 tablespoons of gluten free self raising flour

To makes these little beauties mash the banana, whisk the egg and add to the banana mixture. Stir in the flour.

Heat a pan on a medium heat, I use some Fry light in it as well, then place in spoonfuls of the mixture. They are very much like traditional Scotch pancakes so when bubbles appear it’s time to flip them and cook the other side.

Voila you’ve made them, this will make about 4-5 small pancakes. Load them up with your favourite toppings and enjoy.

Pancake Day

Well it’s pancake day, pancake day ( those of you of a certain age will recognise the program I’m sure). Anyway I digress it’s a short post today to let you know my super easy 3 ( yes 3) ingredient pancake recipe

It’s sooo easy and makes a lovely fluffy pancake just perfect for the toppings of your choice. I personally think traditional lemon and sugar is the bees knees, kiddo loves chocolate sauce ( we use so free).

So how do I do it. Well all you need is

  • 1 banana mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 table spoons of gluten free self raising flour

Mix it all together to make a batter. Heat some fry light in your pancake pan.

Put spoonfuls in and cook one side until you see bubbles then flip over. Voila it’s that simple and makes a delicious American style pancake. They are gluten, dairy and nut free.

Top with whatever you fancy and enjoy.

Review- The Box Bakery

Having survived all 732 days of January, we are now in the midst of days on end of soggy, breezy weather ( Thank you Ciara for the tree that came down) . It’s cold, wet and a bit dismal- so what better excuse did I need to stay in the warm and do some baking.

Now I’m ok at baking, apart from bread. Even before my Coeliac diagnosis bread was never my strong point ( one loaf even the birds refused to eat). It has always been my nemesis, and I’m determined to sort this issue out. The lovely people over at The Box Bakery got in contact with me and sent some products to try. I was very optimistic…. surely this is one loaf that I couldn’t mess up?

Anyway this clever product it called so because you bake the bread ( or cake) in the box the mix is packaged in. No mess either, this is surely a good thing.

You peel back the top cover, that says “Lift here” to reveal a stopper. Remove this and pour water in to the box, add the stopper and give it all a good shake. Next remove the top layer completely and give everything a good mix with a fork, this will stop any dry bits of bread mix which will alter the appearance and texture of your loaf. Brush oil over the surface of the bread mixture and place it in the oven. ( follow the instructions on the pack).

Fast forward a couple of hours for cooking and cooling and look what I baked. It’s crusty, and smells divine and cuts like a dream.

It was no good, I had to try it. It doesn’t disappoint. Unlike some gluten free breads, this loaf doesn’t have a dense cardboard like texture, and unlike my usual attempts, this loaf is very much edible. I like the seeds it gives a lovely taste and slight crunch to the loaf. It also lends itself well to both toast and as a sandwich etc.

I can honestly say I’m so impressed with this bread. It’s the first time I’ve successfully accomplished and edible loaf or bread. With these results it won’t be the last loaf either.

I was sent these products as a gift to review, however all opinions are my own and honest.