Probiotic Giveaway

You may have heard on various television adverts about ‘good’ or ‘friendly’ bacteria, but do you really know what this is?

Probiotics are this particuar type of bacteria and are essential to our bodies health and well-being. There are over 1000 strains of bacteria in our bodies and each microorganism plays an important role in the regulation and response of our immune system.

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Live good bacteria and yeasts are particularly beneficial to our health and especially our digestive system. They help to suppress the growth of harmful bacteria and work at keeping our gut in tip-top condition. There are different ways our bodies can ingest probiotics, and consumption will increase the bacteria and alter our gut flora accordingly.

There are various foods which you can buy from the supermarkets which contain many valuable probiotic cultures. These live bacteria are found in yoghurts and other dairy products, but also in fermented food such as sauerkraut, kimchi and pickles. You can get similar benefits from drinks like kefir water and kambucha.

There is suggestion that for the ‘pro’biotics efficiency, we should aim to consume ‘pre’biotics too, as the two go hand-in-hand. These are a special form of dietary fibre rich foods and can be found in whole grains, onions and bananas. The prebiotics act as a source of nutrient to the probiotics, enabling them to multiply and thrive in our gut.

Research has shown how probiotics can increase our chances of avoiding illness’ such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Autoimmune complications and allergies. It is also important for anyone who takes antibiotics to ensure that their bodies gets plenty of good bacteria as many medications eradicate this when attacking the harmful bacteria.

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So saving the best bit till last! I am running a giveaway in collaboration with iShopNutrition. I have 3 packs of ‘Microbiome Plus+ GI Probiotic’ capsules to give away to three lucky readers. These are a 1 month supply and are worth ¬£19.99. These capsules are a convenient way to ensure you get your daily fix of probiotics for ultimate digestive and intestinal health.

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All you need to do is click on the following link and follow the instructions to be in with a chance of winning a packet of these probiotics:

Topix and Tales…Giveaway – 3 Packs of Microbiome Plus+ GI Probiotic

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For an entry to be valid, you must follow Topix and Tales by directly subscribing to topixandtales.com or by following me on bloglovin at https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/topix-tales-12942887.
You will also need to follow my twitter account @chantellelewis1 and send a tweet about this giveaway.

This competition will be open from 8pm on 26/01/2015 and will close on 11.59pm on 09/02/2015. 3 winners will be picked at random and notified on twitter, so keep an eye out on your notifications news feed.

Thank you so much for reading and sending you all the best of luck. Feel free to share this competition on social media, to give your friends a chance to win too.

Hope you have a healthy and happy week, Chantelle x

New Month, New Year… Hello 2015!

So this ‘new month, new year’ post is slightly later than intended due to another hiccup in my Lyme Disease fight…My brain and body felt like it had been stamped on by a herd of elephants so I gave in and did the sensible and much needed rest/hibernation thing!

On a positive, today does feels like a brighter and less painful day so I am taking full advantage to jump back on the blogging bandwagon.

I am wishing you all a really Happy New Year… Lets hope that 2015 brings each and everyone of you some magic, adventure, health and tonnes of happiness.

Like many of you reading this, you may see the new year as a perfect opportunity to focus on new goals and achieve something which has been written on that to-do list for a little too long! It may be something out of your comfort zone, but I kind of feel like sometimes thats not a bad thing. I think it is so easy to play it safe in life and we all need to stretch ourself from time to time, take chances and maybe push boundaries too. When thinking about it, we all seem to gather a particular set of habits which we feel are keeping us in that ‘comfort zone’, but maybe those routines and habits are potentially hindering us more than we are aware of.

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I am going to attempt to think outside the box a bit more this year and try and challenge myself too. Although I spend probably 80% of my time in the house due to a chronic illness, I am determined not to let this just be just who I am. Luckily I am living in a world full of opportunity online, so this is where I will focus my energy. Blogging is already a huge positive entity that has come out of the negative side of getting sick, so I will be continuing to do this on a regular basis. It really gives me something to focus on and I will try to make the most of being able to engage with other bloggers and companies online and in person when I can too.

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Keep Focused, have goals and don’t be afraid to dream big. Stay positive, focus on progression not perfection, work hard and more importantly don’t forget to keep smiling.

Thanks so much for reading and the best of wishes for 2015.

Chantelle x

Winter Survival Kit!

I have put together a list of some winter essentials, all of which I won’t be without!

1.Invisible Gel Cushions
It is most likely that those feet of yours are going to get a tough time during December. This festive holiday brings extra events to your social calendar and that can mean night after night in those heeled shoes.
Scholl do some great cushions called Party feet. I have previously tried and tested these and they really do enable you to shop all day and part all night! These insert like an insole and help to prevent the burning of the soles of the feet. They cushions are also designed to stop the feet from slipping forward in the shoes which normally makes the toes scrunch up and can lead to painful blisters.

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2.Dry Shampoo
This is one of those products I just wouldn’t be without. Wether you are rushing from work to a night out or just want to have an extra 5 mins snooze time on your morning alarm then this is a must-have. The spray works by soaking up any excess oils in the hair, as well as adding texture and volume. Spray from underneath the hair and at a distance to avoid a build up of any white powder and work into the hair using your fingertips or brush. By not over washing the hair, it can help to eliminate, dry, frizzy and static hair, something we could all do without. So, say yes to skipping conventional hair washing once in a while and try out a can of dry shampoo. There are plenty of brands on the high-street, here are a few; Batiste, V05, Bed Head, and Colab one of the new additions to the shop shelves. My current favourite is the Batiste brand.

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3.Milk Thistle
There is plenty of rich food and alcohol all around us at Christmas time, and our bodies may be working extra hard to filter all those not so healthy cocktails an mulled wine you may guzzle! Milk Thistle is a natural supplement which helps to detoxify and protect the liver and the way it functions. Reach for this plant based extract and give you body a helping hand in keeping it healthy and detoxed.

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4.Lip Balm
With all that singing to xmas tunes, munching on mince pies and kissing under the mistletoe you need to keep those lips free from cracking and perfectly puckered! There are so many lip balms on the market, but no matter which I try, I still seem to return to the trusty Carmex in a tube. I love this not only because its really hydrating, but it also contains an SPF 15. Carmex has a unique formula which soothes and relieves, which ensures soft and healthy lips.

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5.Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
Antibacterial hand cleansing gel or wipes are always close by. With my weakened immune system already fighting Lyme Disease, I could do without the added winter germs that seem to be lurking all around. When I’m out-and-about the gels, sprays and wipes are really handy, no water is needed and they can visibly reduce the number of germs. I will always recommend washing hands thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water whenever possible.

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6.Touchscreen Gloves
Buying touch-screen-friendly gloves feels like a sort of mini revelation! How have I not had a pair of these before now?! There is nothing more annoying than needing to remove your gloves constanltly before missing yet another call you already heard too late as its buried in your handbag amongst half your life! Let this no longer be a problem. Don’t let the cold get in the way of your, tweeting, texting or taking pictures of all your festive fun times. Grab yourself a pair of touch screen gloves. I bought a simple navy pair from Muji, but there are all sorts of fun, finger-friendly designs to choose from. Maybe this year without having to take my gloves of every 5 minutes I may actually manage not to loose a pair!

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7.Vitamins
Its essential that you keep topped up with all those vitamins and minerals which are needed to keep your body happy and healthy now and in the future. There are a number of effective vitamin tablets that contribute to the normal function and support of the immune system. I would recommend going for a multi-vitamin and a time-released supplement of Vitamin C. The slow release function is designed to release the nutrients over a longer period of time, which is going to be more effective in the long run and ensure better absorption.

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8.Hand Cream
Last but not least, we can’t forget this winter essential. Our hands and face get affected by the cold weather the most, so use frequently for silky soft hands. I would advise putting one in your handbag and one on your bedside table. By putting them in easy to reach places, its a constant reminder and you are more likely to use them. I am currently using L’Occitane Shea Butter hand cream. This smells amazing and is really nourishing.

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Thanks for reading. I would love to know what your winter essentials are…Let me know in the comments.

Festive wishes being sent your way.

Chantelle x

Detoxing… Methods & Benefits

Hi everyone, so today’s post is all about TOXINS. This is something we are all exposed to and have in our bodies. You may even have these in your liver if you love a cheeky beverage or two after a hard days work! We become toxic from the food we eat, the air we breathe and maybe even some medication we take. The body has the ability to detox to a certain extent but every now and then we all need a little helping hand. There are many ways in which your body responds to toxins. You may find you feel sluggish, with un-explained fatigue, experience bloating and constipation, have allergies, suffer from menstrual problems or even mental confusion. Cigarette smoke, household cleaners, dry cleaned clothes, new carpets, beauty products, and even car fumes can all add to our level of toxin exposure. Here are some¬†ideas of ways you can make a change to you and your environment and help create a happy, healthy and toxic free body.

Lemon Water –¬†I am always drinking a mug of hot water with a generous squeeze of lemon in it. This is a natural and effective way to cleanse your liver. By drinking this you will increase your Vitamin C intake, which in turn will help stave off those nasty germs which are lurking this time of year. I find lemon water can really help ease symptoms of nausea, and helps keep bowel movements more regular too! I know no one likes toilet talk, but it’s a fact we have all got to go at some point! Lemons are very acidic so long term use may mean this can effect tooth enamel, so prevent this by sipping through a straw and rinsing your mouth before brushing your teeth. Try starting your day with a fresh lemon brew, and see how this can help your mind and body. image Helpful hack! Buy a bag of lemons and squeeze them all at once. Pour them into an ice-cube tray and freeze. These are then ready to go as and when you need them. image Epsom Salts –¬†Having a detox bath is really easy and an excellent detoxifier for the body. It will also help to keep skin smooth and looking radiant. Epsom Salts are a great and inexpensive way of making a difference. These salts are rich in Magnesium which will help the lymphatic system to detox, help to reduce inflammation and will aid the bodies muscle and nerve functions. For general use, run a bath as usual and add approximately 100-200 grams of salts. Relax and soak for around 20 minutes. Ensure your bath is not too hot and be careful not to stand up too quickly after laying down in the heat. I have seen stars from rushing out the tub too fast and given myself a beautiful bruised bottom! Um no, sorry pictures of this are not to follow! In addition to the salts if you wanted to take this a step further you could add 1-2 cups of baking soda from your pantry and tip this into the bath. This is a deep cleanser for the body and will help neutralise the chemicals in our water if it is not filtered. Baking soda has anti fungal properties and will help increase the mineral absorption. image Chlorella –¬†This plant based superfood is known for its significant antioxidant properties as well as its natural source of Vitamin B. It is a powerful and potent supplement that comes from a fresh water algae plant. Studies have shown health benefits from this nutritionally dense source to the entire body. We all try and eat our leafy greens but sometimes it is difficult to eat enough to make a difference. There are now also many health studies showing that even in the recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, we are still not receiving the amount of healthy nutrients that we need. Chlorella can help to regulate hormones, detox heavy metals and toxins, and support the immune system. It also contains a high nutritional content of Iron and Zinc. Chlorella can be taken any time of the day but is best taken in small doses throughout your day to allow your body to use this most affectively. image Glutathione –¬†This is something that is produced naturally in our body, and much of this can be found in our liver and kidneys. Once our bodies organs are under pressure from toxins, the stored levels of glutathione in our body get to work at ridding the nasties and protecting the cells from future invasion. Extra Glutathione can be taken daily/weekly to support the body in liquid and capsule form. For someone who is chronically ill, you may have experience with this in a more potent form either through a nebulizer or intravenously. For those who are fit and healthy this is unlikely to be needed so don’t panic! If you think you need extra detoxification or extra immune support your local health/drug store on the high street will stock a suitable supplement. Another alternative supplement is Milk thistle. As well as the above products, there are also many other really simple and effective ways to assist your body in being the best it can be. Remember, you only have one body…take care of it, it’s the only place you have to live in.

  • Take Vitamin C, this helps with your bodies natural production of Glutathione.
  • Drink at least 2 litres of water daily.
  • Reduce or eliminate your intake of refined sugars and saturated fats.
  • Increase your fruit and vegetable intake.
  • Replace olive oil with Coconut Oil.
  • Drink a spoon of apple cider vinegar daily
  • Try to drink 1-2 cups of green tea daily.
  • Take a sauna and sweat out the unwanted waste.
  • Minimise the use of chemical based household cleaners and beauty products.
  • Get enough sleep. We all benefit from a good snooze, it allows the body to heal.
  • Increase your exercise. Walk the dog, practice yoga, run around the garden with the kids or dance around the kitchen! As long as your moving it is all going to help.

Thanks so much for reading. Keep smiling and remember to always try to do that little extra to stay healthy and live longer.

Chantelle Xx

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Disclaimer: Please note I am not a Doctor and if you are pregnant or suffer from a medical condition it is always best to seek advice from a GP or other health professional.

Minvita Review – Superfood Powders & Body Oil

On Saturday morning I woke up to a box of goodies from Minvita, an established company which sells 100% natural health products. I came across their superfoods online and I loved the idea of powders which you can simply add to food. Although I am sure you may feel you have seen similar products before, I think that these stand out as some of the most nutritional I have come across, let alone completely natural and organic.

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We strongly believe that nature provides us with fruit, vegetables and herbs that contain all the vitamins, minerals and nutrients that our bodies require. Why resort to artificially manufactured products when a natural, organic alternative is available. (Minvita)

My package form Minvita contained the ‘Baobab Superfruit Powder’¬†and the ‘Mulberry Superfood Powder’… I really couldn’t wait to get taste testing.

imageYesterday I tried out the ‘Baobab Superfruit Powder’ and added it to my smoothie. I was genuinely shocked when I read about its unique properties. It contains high levels of iron, calcium and vitamin C, which is a great way of ensuring you manage your recommended daily allowance of these important vitamins and minerals. If I am honest I would much rather add this to my breakfast routine rather than taking a multi-vitamin pill.

Baobab Superfruit tub

I added this powder to my smoothie and it was really delicious. I felt it gave it a refreshing taste and helped to quench my thirst. I am a huge fan of smoothies, but sometimes I can’t afford to add exotic fruits or those that are high in antioxidants, such as blueberries and acai. I often buy frozen fruits when doing my weekly supermarket shop. I find these perfect for smoothies, convenient and often great value for money. I take out what I need the night before and by the morning its defrosted and ready to blitz up.

This Baobab powder is a perfect addition to any smoothie or juice. With just 1 desert spoonful, you instantly add a multitude of beneficial vitamins, multivitamins and antioxidants. Perfect for any health conscious individual and this comes at an affordable price of £14.69 for a 250 gram tub.

This morning I tried the ‘Mulberry Superfood Powder’. I decided to add this to my bowl of gluten free porridge oats, which I cooked up with some almond milk and a little water.

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When I opened the sachet I was faced with a forest green coloured powder so once I mixed this into my oats you can imagine it wasn’t necessarily the most appealing bowl of food! Maybe you could do this for Halloween and sneak some of this goodness into your kids breakfast.

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I mixed in a small squeeze of honey, and topped with chia seeds and mixed berries and this definitely looked more appealing. I am not sure I would add this to my breakfast again and maybe stick to Minvita’s recommendations of adding to smoothies, juices or tea! I did however feel like I had eaten a really healthy breakfast, with the added benefit of the powders ability to control my blood sugar and the added calcium in it. This powder is also high in iron and due to my current medical condition I have developed low iron levels so this was definitely a breakfast bowl bonus! This is priced at ¬£19.99 for a 250 gram tub.

The company also sent me some sachets of their ‘Baobab Body Oil’ which is great for this cold weather when I feel like all my skin does is dehydrate, itch and look a bit scaly! That’s all fine if your a reptile but not so great for any human. I have added this oil to my skin after my shower twice a day for the past 3 days and I already notice a difference. There is a increase in the smoothness of my skin texture and a reduction in the irritation from the cold weather and central heating.

Photo Source - Minvita.co.uk

Photo Source – Minvita.co.uk

  • This 100% natural and organic body oil is suitable for all skin types has many benefits.
  • The ability to improves skins elasticity, softness and appearance.
  • It nourishes ageing skin and intensively moisturises.
  • Can alleviate scaring and bruising.
  • Rich in Vitamins B1, B2, A, D, E and F.
  • Contains Phosphorous, Iron and Protein.

This oil is easy to use, you simply massage it into the skin and it is absorbed quickly. I have used many types of body oil before but I always get put off by the greasy residue left on my skin, but this was different. I also like the fact it can help in the reduction of scars and bruising as I am particularly clumsy since becoming ill, and am always walking into things!

If there was one thing I could change about this, I would love for the oil to have a nice scent, I know super girly right?! At the same time though, I understand that this probably isn’t always possible if you want to keep the product completely natural. I really would like to continue to use this product over the next few months and hopefully have a better set of pins by next summer!

When I run out of Baobab powder, I am sure I will be purchasing another and I am keen to try the ‘Cocoa Superfood Nibs’ that are also made by Minvita. These little chocolate flavoured nibbles also contain magnesium, which is great to help combat tiredness and fatigue.

If you want to get your hands on any of these products I have reviewed, be sure to visit the Minvita online site at http://www.minvita.co.uk

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This company stock a range of super-foods and beauty products which you can buy online and have delivered worldwide. You can also follow Minvita on populate social media networks; Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Thanks so much for reading, I really hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these products and if you have any recipe ideas using them.

Chantelle x

*Disclaimer – The products reviewed in this blog post were gifted to me from Minvita.

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World Mental Health Day 2014

Today is ‘World Mental Health Day’, and for many of you reading this it may strike a chord on a personal level. It is also very possible that amongst all of the friends and family in your life, you may not think that you know anyone who is affected by this type of illness. One reason for this is down to the fact that many of these demons are an internal battle and many choose to suffer in silence rather than allowing these to be visible to others, for risk of being judged.

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How many times have you been asked ‘how are you?’ and your reply has been ‘I’m fine’.
Were you really fine, or were you holding back the tears and smiling through the sadness?

Do you often feel anxious to the point in overwhelms you both physically and mentally? Does Your heart race, your body tremble and you develop a huge sense of fear in social situations?

Have you looked in the mirror day after day and despise the person staring back at you. Do you feel not good enough, not thin enough, not pretty enough? You continually strive for perfection, but no matter how hard you try it always feels out of your reach.

Anxiety, Depression and Eating disorders are just some of the mental health illness’ which can affect any person at any time in their life. These are not gender or age specific, and for some reason as a society we feel these problems are something that shouldn’t be talked about. All of these illness’ are treatable but through lack of understanding and awareness, people and their struggles are going un-noticed.

World Mental Health Day is about raising awareness, challenging the stigma and realising it is OK to not feel OK…it’s time to talk.

Photo sourced - Pinterest

Photo sourced – Pinterest

My Story
At the age of 16, I started to develop disordered eating patterns which consequently led to many years of my life battling both Anorexia and Bulimia. Looking back I can see how this happened and it wasn’t because I was overweight. In fact without realising it, food had become my coping mechanism. It was one part of me which I felt I could control, unlike other areas of my life. Unfortunately with eating disorders, they quickly become out of control, and can destroy both a body and mind. I have had both positive and negative experiences with accessing the required treatment to beat this illness but luckily with a supportive family they ensured I never gave up. I can’t ever imagine not being somewhat critical of myself, but what treatment has taught me is to be able to recognise the un-healthy thought patterns and deal with these before they become destructive.

Where can you go for help?
If you are struggling with any type of mental battle…please don’t be ashamed to ask for help. However much it may feel like it at the time, you are not alone and there are so many people and therapies which can help. Your GP will be able to advise you and point you in the right directed for help and support. There are also many charities and organisations which can be accessed online and by telephone…Remember, you are not alone.

mind.org.uk / 0300 123 3393 / Text 86463 (9am-6pm Monday to Friday, except Bank Holidays)

b-eat.co.uk / 0845 6341414 (1.30pm-4.30pm Monday to Friday, 5.30pm-8.30pm Monday and Wednesday)

samaritans.org / 08457 909090 (Operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year)

Remember you are much stronger than you think…

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says I’m Possible” Audrey Hepburn

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