Monday, 30 June 2014

Foam rolling - cheaper than massage!

It's my theory that everyone has an 'Achilles heel'. For some that may mean back pain that prevents them from  performing sit ups, for others weak knees that rule out running and for me, my right shoulder, which affects my ability to lift decent weights in certain ways. I've brought this weakness on myself through years of slouching about, draping heavy bags on the same side of my body and tippy tapping on keyboards (and now screens) for a living. Since I can't afford a decent massage every week but want to carry on with my Body Pump classes I thought I'd try out a foam roller.


Shoulder pain
Can be used to replace Jason Statham 

A what now? 

A foam roller is a foam cylinder, which basically looks like a rolled up yoga mat! They are designed to provide 'self-myofascial release', which basically means that you can use them to provide self massage to release muscle tightness and 'trigger points' (knots). The pressure from your body weight that the foam roller applies to various parts of your body allows it to resume normal blood flow and function where there is a problem. You probably know which parts of your body could do with a massage, so that is where you could use a foam roller.



Which one?

Foam rollers vary in length, shape and density. Your first decision should be how firm you want your roller based on your experience level. Typically the rollers are colour-coded, white rollers being the softest, then blue or green being medium-density rollers and the black being the firmest. If you are a complete beginner you can also buy rollers which are only a semi-circle, so they won't roll off as you lean on them. I started with this blue roller from PhysioWorld in the 90x15cm size. Different lengths allow you to use the roller just from left to right or to have your whole body supported on the roller, which is ideal for me and my hurty (that's a technical term) shoulders. You can also get rollers that feature sticky out bits (like the 'RumbleRoller'), which are best left to the experts!

How to


Obviously I'm not a doctor - or a physiotherapist - so I can only tell you what I did! If you're lucky enough to know a specialist in this area I'd definitely tap them up for some professional guidance on how to 'foam roll'. Just bear in mind though that the general rule is that you should roll slowly and should never be in proper pain (although it might feel uncomfortable, akin to a stretch). If you have a painful area that is too sensitive to roll on, you should work areas near it first gradually and try those that are connected to it too, which may help to alleviate some of the problem (you know, since the body is all connected anyway the place you're experiencing the pain might not actually be the root cause).

There are also a few 'don'ts' like don’t foam roll joints or injured tissue. Don't go crazy or for too long either - this is a build-it-up-gradually thing. You should also make sure you are not repeating poor posture techniques while you're rolling (maybe video yourself to see your 'form'?). The other big no-no is foam rolling your lower back - stop at the bottom of the rib cage. And some therapists would recommend leaving neck pain to professionals too. In fact there's a whole range of other products for that!

To learn how to use my roller for my shoulders I went online - primarily to YouTube - where there are tons of videos that demonstrate various ways to use a foam roller for specific parts of your body. Check a load out (ideally those recorded by trained professionals!) and then gently try a few yourself.

Did it work?

I'm pleased to say my foam roller does help me with my shoulders. I'd prefer a massage every week natch, but that is not going to happen because of time and money constraints. However I can easily fit in a short sesh on my foam roller if my shoulders are tight, when I come home from the gym or just before bed. The foam roller is also fairly easy to tuck out of the way, either under the bed or up against the wardrobe. Obviously I had to ban the kids from playing about with it, because I don't want to find it covered in mud and upended in the paddling pool one day. In lieu of a live-in masseuse that resembles Jason Statham, my foam roller is a useful addition to my life. And  if you're ever passing by my house and you see my on the floor rolling about by myself you'll know what I'm up to - right??!

Do you have an Achilles heel? Something that holds you back from working out? Could a foam roller help you - or do you have another way of dealing with pain or injuries? Let me know in the comment box below.

Tank you for reading
Vanessa.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Mummy swims the Channel

No not this one silly, I'm the slow breastroke kind of girl who doesn't even own a pair of googles! I mean Hannah Young from Wargrave, mummy to girls (aged five and seven) and an amazingly accomplished open water swimmer who will take on this marathon of a challenge in early August - and in doing so, kick start an awesome fundraising effort to get the Robert Piggot Primary Schools a new lido-style swimming pool that will inspire the community to enjoy swimming for many years to come.

Hannah Young training for channel swim
Hannah Young support swimming for another Channel swimmer

First up what does the swimming the channel entail exactly? Well for a start you can't wear a wetsuit (brrrr!) and you can't touch your support boat at any time (so no clinging on for a quick rest). The swim is likely to take between 14 to 16 hours (depending on the tide) and Hannah will leave from a beach in Dover and try to follow the shortest route of 21 miles (again the tide could be working against her here) to land on Cap Gris Nez beach in France (and then she has to swim back out to her support boat and go straight back!). She'll be assisted by her boat's pilot, four crew members and four
supporters. While the crew will help her deal with the tide and chart her route, her friends and family will throw her food on a string, help encourage her and ward off loneliness as she swims through the day and night. Crikey.

So how does a mummy end up being this mighty? Well, Hannah wasn't always into open water swimming challenges and wasn't a club swimmer in her youth either. But in 2009 she decided she'd had enough of standing on the sidelines watching her sporty hubby compete and entered the Henley Classic Swim. And from there she's gone on to swim regularly in the Thames and complete 'ultra' swim challenges such as the 10 and half mile swim across Lake Windermere. With her Channel swim slot booked (two years ago actually!), when it was announced that the school her children attend would be moving to a new site, fundraising for a decent accompanying pool seemed like an opportunity too appropriate to miss.

Lake swimming
Ready for some open water swimming - whatever the weather

As you can imagine, Hannah's training regime is pretty intense. She currently swims up to three times a day - in both the River Thames and at the pool of the local Castle Royle gym - and she also cross trains with weights and spin classes to improve her endurance and cardio fitness (so she can swim faster for longer). At the weekends she drives down to Bournemouth or Brighton to train in the sea - meeting up with many other keen and accomplished open water swimmers that support and inspire her. She's also been acclimatising herself to colder water temperatures over the winter, has attended a swim training course in Mallorca and is trying to put on weight to further prevent chilly water getting the better of her.

I think you'll agree that swimming the Channel is a pretty phenomenal challenge - not just because of the distance and conditions but because it requires such commitment, determination and ability. In fact, more people have climbed Everest than have successfully swum the Channel. The swimming pool project that Hannah is fundraising for is likely to cost around £200,000 to complete - and she hopes to both raise awareness of the scheme and raise £4 to £5k herself (she's already passed the £1k mark). If you'd like to support Hannah in this epic exploit, you can donate via her fund-raising page here.

Channel swim training
Training in Mallorca

In the meantime, can we get a collective high-five for Hannah as she continues her rigorous training schedule and cross our fingers for a 'neap' tide (when the difference between high and low tide is least, basically the best swim conditions you can hope for) on the big day. Feel fee to leave any comment of support for Hannah in the space below too. She's one impressive mum - so let her know!

Thank you for reading
Vanessa. x
wild swimming
Try open water swimming yourself - click here for info 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The Britmums Live recovery plan

Now I'm not saying that the attendees of a certain two-day national blogging event spend their time eating, drinking and socialising to excess, but chances are by Sunday there'll be some bleary-eyed bloggers heading home from EC1. And waiting at home for them will be...a tired-looking partner ready to hand over the parenting reins. The questions is will us bloggers be able to offset the late nights, traveling, alcohol and rich food and take over our normal duties when the party's over? Follow these recovery tips and you can hit the floor running (alright, you'll just about cope).

Can't I just sleep here?
(Photo credit: Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


The preparation


As sure as day follows night, Monday morning is out to get you - and if you're not up to the fight the start of the week will bring you to your parenting knees. Since the best form of defence is attack, prep for Monday before you even pack your suitcase for Britmums Live. Make sure the washing basket is clear, the fridge is well-stocked and that you have something healthy and nutritious ready to eat when you return home (freeze it if necessary - or hide it at the back of the fridge). Make sure there's milk, breakfast goods and anything your kids need for school (packed lunch, swimming kit, filled-in forms, recorder, homework - anything). Have it ready by the front door (and leave a note threatening to kill anyone that moves it or covers it up with something else).

Take two tablets and keep away from children - just like the packet says
(Photo credit: Michal Marcol, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)



During the event


With great weather, a lot of bodies in one place, talking, alcohol and the sheer excitement of it all - it's easy to get very dehydrated at a major event, but lack of fluids can cause major fatigue and headaches. Don't drink too much coffee or tea (I'm not even going to mention gin) and drink water throughout the day. Likewise, even when you are busy making new friends and networking, don't skip breakfast or other meals (again, alcohol does not count as a meal!) - go for slow-release carbs (like nuts, oats and non-starchy veg such as tomatoes and cucumber) and protein, which will keep your energy levels high and keep you feeling fuller for longer - making junk food less tempting.

Oh Monday, nobody likes you 
(Photo credit: Stuart Miles, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)


The aftermath


You're home and you're tired. First up, eat plenty of fresh fruit and veg to keep your vitamins topped up (you'll have them in your fridge remember, because you read the first piece of advice...). The Vitamin C in peppers and oranges in particular will help reduce cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress and energy slumps. And if your digestive system is suffering from the change in diet, it's time to get some friendly bacteria in your tummy with probiotic yogurt. Again, resist the urge to turn to caffeine in your time of need - it will dehydrate you further so green tea or water would be better. Try not to ruin your normal sleep patterns any further by risking a long daytime nap that prevents you from getting the early night you'll need. And to ensure you do sleep soundly take a little gentle exercise, try a cup of warm milk and honey just before bed and raise your pillow to drain those puffy (but very happy!) eyes.

Did you have a good Britmums Live? How did you feel afterwards? Elated, exhausted, inspired - or a combo of all three? Let me know in the comment box below!

Thanks for reading
Vanessa.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Don't Wash Raw Chicken - 4 Top Food Safety Tips

'Tis the season of BBQs and perhaps the inevitable Monday morning jokes about running to the loo after having some dodgy chicken. But I'm willing to bet you haven't even heard of the media-shy Campylobacter - the biggest known cause of food poisoning in the UK. Forget Salmonella or the Winter Vomiting virus that we regularly see hogging the headlines - 'Campy' can cause nightmarish symptoms that could land you in hospital - and maybe even cause paralysis or kill you.

About one in five cases of Campylobacter poisoning in the UK come from contaminated poultry - which can result in abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea and vomiting. It can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome, reactive arthritis and a serious condition of the nervous system called Guillain-Barré. And under-fives are one of the groups at the highest-risk of these severe symptoms.

Don't spend summer in the loo (image from winnond, FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
But that's not to say you should be afraid of using raw chicken - just that you need to be careful in the way you store, handle and cook it. Thorough cooking can kill Campylobacter completely - the problems usually arise in the preparation stage. And since this week is Food Safety Week, the Food Standards Agency has released a set of guidelines to help you and your loved ones avoid Campylobacter altogether.

1. Dont Wash Raw Chicken

Ever. Washing meat with water cannot get rid of germs - they are killed off by the high temperatures we cook with. In fact if you do pop your chicken under the tap you are far more likely to be splashing and spraying bugs across your surfaces, yourself, other nearby food (maybe your veg) and any utensils. Since Campylobacter bugs are invisible to us - you'll never know where the germs have landed.

2. Cover and chill raw chicken

When you bring chicken home from the butcher's or the supermarket it should be packaged to avoid any juices spilling out. Do not open this packaging until you need to. Raw chicken should be placed at the very bottom of your fridge - where it is coolest and where any stray juices cannot drip onto other foods. If necessary (your raw chicken is not wrapped, the packaging is inadequate) you should put the chicken on a plate/dish and cover it completely.

3. Wash used utensils

As you prepare raw chicken, bear in mind anything you have used could be contaminated. That includes chopping boards, knives, basting brush, rubber gloves and any surfaces it has come into contact with. This also includes your hands (so don't be wiping them on your apron either!). Wash your hands and everything else with warm, soapy water to avoid what the experts call 'cross contamination'.

4. Cook chicken thoroughly

Chicken must be cooked properly all the way through before it is eaten, this means no pink meat and clear juices only (not pink, i.e. bloody). To check you need to find the thickest part of the meat (often between the drumstick and the thigh on a whole chicken) and either pull apart with a knife or stick a skewer in. You should be able to see cooked meat and see the clear juices coming out. If your chicken is not cooked the utensil you used to check now needs to be washed before it can be used again.

So people, spread the word - not the germs! 


Do you wash chicken - or did you until you read this? How about correct storage and prep? Are you following all the food safety rules? Let me know any other food hygiene tips in the comment box below.

Thanks for reading
Vanessa.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Chicken in milk

Well, it's the last day of my week of milk-based dishes and I've learnt a whole new set of recipes that allow me to combine great nutrition and to use a good-value food item I always have to hand. The post-workout shake was the reader's favourite choice (in terms of page views!) - with the milk lollies a close second. I'm pretty keen on today's idea though - as cooking chicken in milk negates any need for basting with oil or other fat that might be more traditionally used.

The basis for my recipe was this one from everyone's favourite mockney Jamie Oliver.  But while Jamie fries his bird first to obtain a sticky base for the sauce, I just don't have the time, inclination or range of cookware needed to complete that task! I simply skipped the first stage and went straight to the pre-heated oven. I also used thyme instead of sage because I had some in the fridge. Sadly, I didn't have a bunch of trendy friends (or models) turn up as I got the chicken out of the oven and Toploader wasn't even playing in the background...

Ingredients:
Small supermarket chicken
1/2 cinnamon stick
A handful of fresh herbs
Zest of 2 lemons
A large teaspoon of chopped garlic
500ml of a2 Milk








Method:
Preheat the oven to 190℃.
Place all of the ingredients into a deep roasting dish/bowl that is just big enough for the chicken to sit in.
Pop the chicken in on top and place in the oven.
Baste occasionally and cook until the juices run clear (about an hour/hour and half). 


Saturday, 14 June 2014

Potato gratin

Day six and there's loads of milk-based recipes left to choose from! This dish works as a side for a larger meal - or even as a lighter option served with a green salad or plenty of veg. Alongside the nutrition milk has to offer, there's even more calcium and protein from the other dairy products used. In retrospect I missed an opportunity to sneak in some of the everlasting (although I call it never-ever-ending) spinach that grows in my garden like a weed. Best of all the gratin keeps in the fridge for a good few days, and you don't need a lot of it to feel full.

Potato Gratin


Ingredients:
1 onion
Coconut oil to cook with
100ml a2 milk
100ml double cream
2 large potatoes
Butter for oven dish
Salt/pepper
Grated cheese (parmesan, cheddar or a mix of both)















Method:
Preheat the oven to 180℃.
Finely slice the onion and gently fry in coconut oil until soft.
Wash the potatoes and finely slice (I didn't peel them).
Butter the gratin dish.
Layer the potatoes and onions in the dish.
Mix the cream and milk together and pour over the layered veg (it should cover them so if this hasn't happened just top up with some milk).
Season and cover with foil.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour so that the potatoes are cooked through.
Increase the oven temperature to 200℃.
Remove the foil and sprinkle cheese over the top according to your taste, and bake for a further 15 mins.


Friday, 13 June 2014

Strawberry milk lollies

Welcome to Day Five of my week-long post highlighting some great ways to bring the nutrition milk offers into the everyday diet of you and your loved ones. The series has been an eye-opener for me - discovering the many ways in which to cook with milk (which I virtually always have in the fridge) in a variety of sweet and savoury recipes. I'm not sure exactly when milk went out of fashion in the kitchen, but it's time for it to make a comeback!

This recipe in particular was shockingly simple. It has made me think twice about buying store-made milk lollies again, since by making my own I can guarantee the quality of the ingredients - and I can spell them all too (there's only three for a start, which can only be a good thing). I absolutely hate reading the 'nutrition' labels on products that list items that sound like they should be in a science lab rather than on a plate! Even if you didn't want to make lollies, the mixture makes a lovely milkshake too (you could probably leave out the condensed milk for a shake, since lots of lolly recipes add this or yoghurt to help 'set' the mixture). You can also use this recipe as a basis for ice-cream, maybe even adding some sliced strawberries into the mix.

Strawberry Milk Lollies



Ingredients:
100g of ripe strawberries
50ml of a2 Milk
100g of condensed milk (you can use a 'light' version if you're worried about fat content


















Method:
  1. Hull the strawberries and blend (ideally in a jug, so you can pour the finished mix straight into your moulds).
  2. Pour in the milk and the condensed milk and mix it all together.
  3. Pour the final product directly into your lolly moulds and place in the freezer until set.
  4. Accept your Domestic Godess Award.



Thursday, 12 June 2014

Milk pudding topped with sticky fruit

It's Day Four of my week of nutritious milk-based recipes - and this was actually the first recipe I found and trialled. I was amazed at how easy it was to create something that could pass as both a posh pudding and a (relatively, it does have sugar!) healthy alternative to jelly and ice cream (the desert of choice for my kids). The ingredient list is also short - and made up of items you're likely to have to hand.

The original recipe was twice the size, but I found the quantities I used filled four ramekins nicely. Instead of using caramel sauce for the topping, I made a topping from fresh fruit - which increases the vitamin count, gets in one of your 'five-a-day' and enables you to use any fruit you have that might of seem better days! I also used 20g of gelatin as that's the size packet I had - it set VERY quickly!

Milk Pudding With Blueberries


Ingredients:

For the pud:
250ml a2 Milk
75g sugar
15/20g of gelatin
1 large egg, or 1 small & 1 medium
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the topping:
Tbsp of water (or more as needed)
Handful of blueberries or other soft fruit
Tsp of sugar
A few spare berries to garnish (optional)




Method:
  1. Put the milk in a saucepan and add the beaten egg/eggs - then heat - stirring continuously.
  2. When the mixture boils, reduce the heat and allow to cook for two more minutes. 
  3. Prepare the gelatine according to the pack instructions, making sure it is all dissolved and add it to the boiling mixture.
  4. Stir the gelatin through the milk and egg mix, to ensure no lumps later.
  5. Turn off the heat and add the sugar and vanilla and stir until completely dissolved.
  6. Pour into four ramekins, and transfer to the fridge.
  7. When the pudding is set and you are ready to eat, make the sauce by placing the berries, sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat until the fruit begin to break down and the sugar is dissolved - leaving a sticky topping.
  8. Slip the puddings out of their ramekins and onto a plate, pour over the sauce, add a few spare berries or a slice of strawberry and serve!




Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Asparagus & goat's cheese quiche

Let's face it, by Wednesday the contents of your kitchen cupboards may have been seriously depleted by a hungry family, leaving you scratching your head for ideas come tea time. But check out your fridge - there's the milk - cheap and cheerful - and bursting with nutrition! So for Day Three of my week of showcasing recipes that use more of the white stuff, I offer up this quick and easy quiche recipe - perfect for hump day (and suitable for vegetarians too).

This recipe can also be made to suit whatever you have in your fridge - grated cheddar, broccoli or tomatoes for example. Just stick to the same egg/milk ratio and the world is your oyster.

Asparagus & goat's cheese quiche


Ingredients:

Pre-baked pastry case (bought or made by your own fair hands)
2 medium-sized eggs
150ml of a2 milk
Asparagus
100g round of British goat's cheese














Okay, so I cheated a bit here - I went and bought a pastry case. It's a great store cupboard emergency item though - and using a pre-cooked pastry case is a surefire way to avoid your quiche getting a soggy bottom (I think we all know how socially embarrassing that can be...). Delia Smith says the case should always be baked in a metal tray for the best results by the way.

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180℃.
  2. Beat the eggs and add in the milk (apparently the desired ratio is one part egg to two parts milk, but I used less than that and stuck to the suggestion that you start off with the eggs and add milk until you judge the liquid is ready) - and set aside.
  3. Grill or boil your asparagus (this will save cooking time later) and place in the pastry case.
  4. Slice the round of goat's cheese into 4 (by slicing horizontally) and place in the pastry case.
  5. Pour the milk/egg mixture over the veg and cheese (not too much it will rise a tiny bit and spilling it over the side is easily done - opps!).
  6. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20-25 mins - or until the filling is just cooked.
  7. Eat, and maybe (just maybe) share with your greedy family!



Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Fish chowder

So it's Day Two of my one-milky-recipe-a-day-for-a-week challenge! This time I've combined all the goodness of milk with the added nutrition that fish and seafood offers. Alongside the calcium, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals milk affords, the prawns, scallops, haddock and cod included in this satisfying soup will also bring heart-healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, iron and zinc to the table (and bump up still further the protein and calcium content). That's a lot of goodness for something that tastes fab and fills you up!

I used a BBC Food recipe as the basis for my soup, but obviously I BOUGHT the soda bread, because cooking the chowder was my main focus this time round. I didn't use clams as the recipes suggests - and had to switch cod for pollock as I couldn't find any in the shops. And instead of a shallot in the first stage I used half an onion! Although cooking the dish isn't hard, it is time-consuming - and not one to be tackled if you have kids around that are likely to need attention every five minutes (although I soldiered on!!). The results were certainly worth it!

Fish chowder


Ingredients:

1 large potato
250g smoked haddock
1 bay leaf
1/2 white onion
650ml a2 milk
30g of butter
1 white onion, chopped
1 tsp chopped garlic
150g tinned sweetcorn
A handful of runner beans or similar green veg
6 scallops, sliced in half horizontally
200g cod
150g uncooked prawns
Fresh flat leaf parsely
Black pepper to garnish


Method:
  1. Boil the potato until it is cooked but still firm, when it is cool, cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Poach the haddock in the milk, skin side up with the bay leaf and half onion. Set aside.
  3. In a pan large enough to hold all of the ingredients, fry the onions in the butter. Stir in the garlic, potato, sweetcorn and green veg.
  4. Remove the haddock from the milk (but keep the milk!), pop it onto a plate and tear into pieces.
  5. Strain the milk and add that to the onion, potatoes and veg pan.
  6. Simmer gently for 20 minutes and then add the haddock, scallops, prawns and cod. Heat gently until all the fish and seafood is cooked.
  7. Toss in the fresh parsley, then ladle the soup into bowls and grind over some pepper.
  8. Enjoy!



Monday, 9 June 2014

Peanut butter post-workout shake

All this week, I'm showcasing milk-based recipes for every occasion. Milk is an essential part of our diet, rich in calcium and contains more than nine other essential nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. It's essential for the growth and development of bones and teeth, helps reduce blood pressure and may significantly reduce the risk of certain cancers - and has also been associated with a reduced risk of suffering a heart attack and developing type 2 diabetes.

In fact, it's a bit of a wonder product - and it's also likely that you have plenty in your fridge right now ready to whip up a healthy snack or meal. But my BritMums Live sponsor, a2 Milk, realises that one in five Brits struggle to digest cows' milk, so produces milk naturally rich in only A2 protein. Over the years, A1 protein has become the dominant one in European and UK herds, but unfortunately, A1 protein (which digests differently) has been linked to discomfort after drinking milk. So, a2 Milk can help even more people incorporate this dairy superstar into their diets. 

The post-workout smoothie


Milk is an ideal post-workout drink as it aids muscle recovery and rehydration. Combines 'slow' and 'fast' protein, milk helps to repair muscle and encourage lean body mass gain. It also contains water and electrolytes that replace the fluids lost during exercise (but without any of the empty sugar calories of carefully-marketed 'sports drinks').



Ingredients:
1 small banana 
125ml a2 milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey
140g Greek yoghurt

This couldn't be simpler - place all the ingredients into a jug and blend. But I'll warn you now, this is seriously addictive!!






Thursday, 5 June 2014

Battling the 'A' word


No wrinkles for AHappyHealthyMummy.com
And that's a big no thank you!
Photo credit: Ambro, FreeDigitalPhotos.net 


It's not rocket science. Eat well, work out, go to bed early and don't do things that are bad for you (like smoking and lying in the sun - you know who you are...!!). But hey, life is for living right, so every now and again we might just need to invest in some damage limitation - say on a Monday morning in particular? 

And as you get older and wiser (ha ha!!!) the damage limitation you are mostly looking for (okay, that I'm looking for...) takes the form of anti-ageing products that can reverse (or just mask!) the tell-tale signs (like wrinkles, thinning hair and saggy skin) that you've had one too many birthdays as well as one too many glasses of wine! Even better if those products can help prevent any further damage.






Anti-aging supplement
£12.99 from Superdrug
So first up, collagen - the protein that gives skin its elasticity and strength. As we age the total collagen in our skin decreases at a rate of about 1% per year. This means wrinkles set in and skin takes longer to repair itself. So I was more than happy to test out the Super Collagen +C product from AHS, not least because it's made from 100% pure pharmaceutical collagen and is combined with an antioxidant vit C hit that is key to collagen production. Collagen has been scientifically shown to improve nail and hair health and might even help to reduce those frown lines, crow’s feet and laughter lines I've been perfecting for 40 odd years too. I'm currently swallowing three pills a day to find out if the supplement can pump up my hair and plump up my face...and have had one comment that my hair looks thicker so just maybe I've stumbled across a miracle!




And I've also found my way back to the Estee Lauder range, partly because I read in a Sunday supplement that its Advanced Night Repair product actually works (not surprisingly it's one of the range's best sellers then). As well as a few drops of this every night, I'm using the DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15 during the day to protect against the sun and try and repair the damage that's already been done by me just, well you know, living my life. Now I've visited the web site I'm also fancying some Resilience Lift Overnight Creme to top it all off. Turns out, this could be an expensive blog post!





And finally one easy way we can all eek out our youth that bit longer is by eating! Yay! But by eating, I mean harnessing the power of super foods (not ordering anything that comes served in  a bucket...). Take berries for example, they are rich in vitamin C (which helps build collagen remember!) but also contain flavonoids, polyphenols, probiotics and antioxidants (just a heads up oxidation is a normal chemical process that takes place in the body every day but triggers the formation of free radicals, which can cause damage to cells in the body). Darker berries (and in fact all purple fruit and veg) offer anti-ageing benefits (think less wrinkles) because they have the highest concentration of antioxidants. Likewise think about including foods rich in omega-3 in your diet (salmon, tuna and some nuts and seeds) as it is thought omega-3 fatty acids affect how healthy the skin looks and feels. And pop tomatoes onto your anti-aging plate too - as well as vitamin C, they contain lycopene, which helps protect against UV damage.

Do you have any anti-ageing tips you can share? Do you have a favourite beauty product that could be the secret to eternal youth? Let me know by using the comment box below - I need all the help I can get!

For more info on this even click here