Thursday, 27 March 2014

Eating for energy

Today, I am SO tired, I just might cry. As I write this I'm sitting, in my pj's, having just cleared up breakfast. I haven't showered yet. My right eye is slightly swollen and dry and I have no idea why (and can't get to the doctors to find out). I'm feeling slightly guilty that my 4-year-old is in front of CBeebies whilst my baby is sleeping and also irritated about all the things I need to sort out and just don't have the time to. I'm already thinking of making coffee number two to get through the morning. It's very likely I'll have another few of those to get through the day. And a few sweet treats or so. And crisps later. And wine.
I know this caffeine/sugar/snacking diet isn't doing me any favours. But either is the fact that I haven't had a whole night's sleep for about nine months or rarely had more than two hours to myself since my baby was born. (In fact, I had two solid hours once because an old neighbour booked me a hair appointment as a surprise (BEST surprise ever) and I get the odd hour every now and again when  my lovely mum-in-law whisks both kids off to the library so I can sleep/tidy-up/do some work). Sometimes it is SO hard. And I'll admit, I'm feeling it.
So what to do? Well, aside from trying to get out of the house at every given opportunity (just a walk in the fresh air with the kiddies in tow is massively uplifting) I'm trying to re-think my diet. I really think that switching sugary snacks for healthier ones, ditching the huge rounds of toast at breakfast and constant caffeine hits has to help with my energy levels. And actually, if it even makes a minute difference, that will be something! So I enlisted the help of a proper nutritional therapist, Eve Kalinik (read more about her here to give me some tips I can really use. (I've already started switching afternoon coffees for smoothies - and Pret have some fab new green smoothies). If there's something that works for you, let me know too.

1. Start the day with a balanced and nutrient dense breakfast. It needn't be laborious; a smoothie is super quick for busy mums and kids love them. Just make sure that they're not heavily fruit based. And one cup of good quality fresh coffee in the morning is fine - just make sure you're having organic beans to avoid high levels of pesticides and not processed instant versions.
2. Swap mid morning or afternoon coffees for a green juice. We often reach for quick fire stimulants like coffee because they give a rapid boost in energy. The problem is that this spike in cortisol is followed by a sudden crash leaving us feeling even more depleted. This spiking also affects insulin levels and can in turn promote fat storage particularly around the middle abdominal area.  The best and easy swap is to have a green juice instead. I love PLENISH sweet sexy greens ( as it has all of the plant based goodness from greens including a wealth of nutrients such as magnesium, folate and iron.
3. Make an energy packed lunch.
Simple things like a quinoa salad is great and if you make double the amount it's extra time saving. Quinoa takes 10 minutes to prepare and has all of the nine essential amino acids so is considered an excellent plant based protein source.  Mix with some sliced avocado, a handful of rocket, a tablespoon of pumpkin seeds and dress with some lemon juice and olive oil for a nutrient dense, energy boosting and most importantly deliciously easy quick option. Fast food super-food style!
4. Opt for healthier snacks when you're out and about.
Lots of coffee shops are starting to have natural nuts which is always a good option. And raw chocolate that is high in its cacao content is a better choice than the usual cakes and cookies. The point is though that if you are following a healthy diet most of the time then the odd treat isn’t going to hurt, just don’t make it a regular thing. 
5. Eat three meals a day.
Constant cups of coffee and that glass of bedtime wine are often a result of grabbing quick fix options on the go and/or skipping meals so its important to make sure to have three balanced meals a day. Making sure to combine protein and carbohydrate with each meal is fundamental to this, which for example means salmon with broccoli or as above a quinoa salad with some delicious veggies. This helps to balance blood sugar levels and leaves you less susceptible to the willy charms of the Italian Roast and Pinot Grigio.

Friday, 21 March 2014

A must-buy, multi-tasking moisturiser

It's at this time of the year that I completely re-think my skincare. Post-winter and pre-summer (fingers crossed) my skin just doesn't seem to know what to do with itself; it's a bit patchy, a little dry and a touch greasy in the T-zone and my usual moisturiser just doesn't cut it anymore. It's too rich, creamy textured and feels like it's smothering my skin with hydration when, now Spring is here and the weather's a little bit warmer, it's not needed so much.
So hurray for Clinique Superdefense SPF20 Daily Defense Moisturiser, £39. Hang on, I hear you say, that's been around for aaaagggeees, surely she, being a beauty editor and all, should know that!? Well actually, this is the reformulated and improved version of the original moisturiser (which I also loved) and really, it's quite brilliant. This is why:
1. It provides full spectrum UVA/UVB protection, as well as an SPF20. I've used an SPF on my skin for years.  I'm sure my complexion is relatively line and pigmentation-free because of it.
2. It minimises the appearance of UV damage (that's age spots, fine lines and irritation) you've already got with enzymes called photosomes.
3. It's more moisturising than its predecessor due to a blend of barley and wheat germ, barrier-building ingredients that hydrate and strengthen but not overwhelmingly so.
4. It feels amazing. Anti-irritants like sea whip extract (taken from a coral renowned for it's anti-inflammatory properties) and caffeine instantly soothe and the whipped-up texture is just right; not too heavy or too light.
5. The original is an award winner. You know all those beauty awards magazines spend months putting together and testing products for? The original version of this has won a ton of them. Expect this improved version to do the same.
6. It's so easy. So usually, I use a moisturiser, then a tinted one with SPF over the top or a bit of foundation. And I might have to spend a few minutes applying a bit more on drier areas or massaging it in a little. This isn't easy when you have an eight month old and a four year old waiting for milk/trains/Ben 10 dvd's. With this, I simply apply it and go. See.

You can buy this online at

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Childs Farm: your new bathcare essential

When my first baby, Max, was born (four years ago - eek!) I was a real stickler for using only natural, super mild products on his skin. It seemed weird to start adding coloured bubbles to his bath and fragranced body washes to his flannel when his skin was so delicate and well, new. Maybe it was the beauty editor in me  - after all, I read so much about the sorts of ingredients brands use to make things foam/smell/feel that it influenced the choices I made on my own body care - so why should it be any different for my baby?
And that's when things got tricky. If you're after natural, mild, bath and body care products (that won't leave your skin feeling like sandpaper the second you step out of the bath please) for you, then you are completely spoilt for choice. Okay, so you might have to dig a little deep to find the more affordable stuff - I love Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Bath and Shower Oil but at £37, my purse doesn't - but Organic Surge Shower Gels, are just £4.35 and lovely. However, when it comes to the kids, the variety just doesn't exist. Trust me. I have looked and looked.  
So I whooped a little and did a little finger dance on my laptop when the adorable kiddies bath and bodycare range,  Childs Farm, popped into my inbox. Seriously, where has this stuff been hiding? It ticks every single box on my wishlist; firstly, at £4.69 it's brilliantly affordable, it contains over 98% natural ingredients, no SLS's (the drying stuff that makes the bubbles in your bubble bath), no artificial colours and is dermatologically tested too. Oh and I love that it all smells and looks so good; the strawberry, organic mint and sweet orange essential oils are gorgeous and check out the super cute imagery on the bottles; all taken from the real Childs Farm which is based in Hampshire.
As an added note, it may be worth mentioning that the range is created by Joanna Jensen, a mum of two who, after searching for natural, fun products for her own girls fine hair (and drawing a blank) came up with her own. How great is that?

(You can buy Childs Farm here at and at Ocado, John Lewis and pharmacies).

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Beauty Editor's with Babies: Sarah Cooper-White

Sarah with Poppy, aged 3
Lately I've found myself on Twitter or Facebook almost every few days asking beauty editor friends who also have little ones what they might use for boosting lank hair, revving up dull skin or simply for the odd energy boost. Though I'm a beauty editor myself, I'm always fascinated to know what works for other people and like to know if I'm missing out on something! And to be honest, I'm a bit nosy too. Anyway, I thought you might want to know what some of the girls swear by and a few of their insider tricks too. So here is the first of my 'Beauty Editor's with Babies' series. Enjoy.

The lovely Sarah Cooper-White, 35, writes for (amongst others), Boots Health & Beauty and Dare and just happens to be an amazing floral designer too - just check out her website Sarah also has a gorgeous three year old little girl, Poppy, so, as you can imagine, she has her hands just a little bit full. So who better to give us the lowdown on her favourite beauty buys right?

1. Creme de La Mer Eye Concentrate, £130 (
'I have a toddler that has never slept well so hiding my perpetual tiredness has become something of an art form. This is the best eye cream I have ever used. Yes, it's pricey but it really does the job.'

2. BareMinerals Stroke of Light Eye Brightener, £22 (
'Hides my eye bags perfectly and isn't too thick so doesn't sit in the lines around my eyes - which have got so much worse since having a baby!'

3. Maybelline New York Le Colossol Mascara, £7.99 (
'Even if I don't have time to apply a full face of make-up, I always wear mascara just because it never fails to make me look 'awake.' Maybelline are good quality and brilliantly affordable.'

4. Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax Bath and Shower Oil, £39 (
'As much as I love my little one, running around after her all day can be exhausting. A soak in this amazing camomile and sandalwood based oil (and a glass of wine) is almost as good as a spa treatment.'

5. Lanolips Lovely Lanolin Golden Ointment, £17.99 (
'I recommend this to all my mum friends. It's amazing as a lip balm and super nourishing body cream and because it contains medical grade lanolin, you can use it on sore nipples when you're breast feeding too.'