Win free clothes for a year with #SeeFashion

The clever peeps at See Fashion have taken the crowdfunding concept and made it much more tangible; essentially, you see an item of clothing or accessory on their website, which showcases the work of loads of up and coming designers and by placing pre-orders, this allows said designers to produce and sell their work.

And if that wasn’t enough to make you want to go check out the site, as a sign up incentive they are offering one winner the chance to win free clothes for a year. All you have to do is give them your email address – click here to enter.

Our pick of Valentine’s Gifts

Aaah, St Valentine, that long haired patron saint of lovers. What a celebration fraught with gift getting trauma now takes over your special day…

Hands up whose husband has sheepishly brandished some half dead supermarket carnations and a packet of Twiglets (because the roses and chocolate had sold out) at 9pm on Valentine’s night? Or who has ended up with porn star underwear because your optimistic other half thought it might spice things up between night feeds..?

In fact, Beaverbrooks conducted a recent survey which concluded that 56% of women were disappointed by what they received on the big day (and if that sounds a tad ungrateful, some of the worst gift examples included a tin of beans, an ironing board cover and a live tarantula!)

We mooned and swooned and came up with a list of slightly more creative gift solutions.

BLOOM gin have created a special eau de nil floral bottle to make Gin O’Clock on V Day that little bit more deserved. BLOOM was inspired by nature with the flowers of chamomile and honeysuckle, and the citrus fruit pomelo making the three main botanicals. It comes complete with a heart gift tag (so no need to buy a card!) which also gives the recipe for two easy cocktails: BLOOM & Tonic and French 75.

CocoRose London – makers of the insanely comfortable folding pumps adored by the likes of Pippa Middleton – have gone all out in favour of kissing with their Farringdon shoes. The cute red and gold lips will bring a smile to the face of the girl who wears her heart on her tootsies! (Go matchy with MAC Lady Bug lipstick.)

 

If an experiential gift is more your style then how about a luxe facial, aesthetic procedure or a massage?

Nick Ede

Stonehealth’s City of London clinic is offering 10% off a selection of their most popular treatments (quote VALENTINE2017 when booking) and you could use the cash you save to book a babysitter. They will throw in a glass of fizz and some detox tea as well. (PS, Stonehealth’s treatments are for men too. Celeb stylist Nick Ede told us he popped in for his pre-wedding Botox!) 

Hippo Inns are running numerous Valentine’s incentives but we especially love the Black Horse in Kingston’s ‘I’m Going to Spend Valentine’s with my True Love – Food!’ event. Dine on three courses, with oysters and pink champagne – book via the website and prepare yourself for some gratuitous scoffing.

Dr Sally Norton’s guide to Nut Butters…

Comment by Dr Sally Norton, NHS weight loss consultant surgeon.  UK health expert.  Founder of www.vavistalife.com 

Not that long ago, the only choice when it came to nut butters was smooth or crunchy peanut butter. Now the preserves shelves in health food shops are offering a choice of almond, cashew and brazil alternatives – but what are the health benefits?

While nuts may contain a seemingly high amount of calories and fat – they can play a role (in the right portions!)  in a well-balanced, healthy diet. Most of the fat in nuts is the healthy unsaturated type, plus they are a fabulously well-rounded source of protein, vitamins  E and B group, minerals including copper, zinc and magnesium and fibre. They are a great on-the-go snack with a low glycaemic index to help you feel fuller for longer and help suppress appetite. You can easily make your own, just by blitzing nuts (pre-roast for a few minutes if you like) in a food processor until the natural oils are released to form a buttery texture. But if you go for shop-bought, check the label to find one that has no hidden nasties like sugar or palm oil.

Here’s our breakdown of the pros and cons of the nut butter aisle:

Peanut (not a true nut, but a legume, we have included it here as it is conventionally grouped with other tree nuts to consumers):

Pros: A good source of protein; highest folic acid content (useful during pregnancy) as well as being high in healthy monounsaturated fats and vitamin E.

Cons: Some brands have a little added sugar but these days many have none added.

Cashew:

Pros: Highest in zinc, copper and iron – naturally sweeter than many other nut butters.

Cons: Less protein than other nuts.

Almonds:
Pros: One of the lowest in calories and the highest in protein, fibre and calcium.

Cons: Relatively few, although some brands can have a bitter aftertaste.

Brazil:

Pros: Good for men, as 1-2 nuts nut delivers your recommended daily intake of the mineral selenium, which may help protect against prostate cancer and heart disease.

Cons: The most expensive option when it comes to nut butters.

 Walnut:

Pros: One of the few vegetarian sources of the omega-3 fatty acid, ALA  some of which can be converted to long chain omega 3 known to be involved in heart health.

Cons: Bitter aftertaste, slightly lower protein and slightly higher in fat than some other nut butters.

Hazelnut:

Pros: One of the lowest percentages of saturated fat (along with pine nuts and almonds); highest proanthocyanidins (PACs) content of all nut butters. The antioxidant capabilities of PACs are likely to be 20 times more potent than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than Vitamin E.

Cons: Often found to be coupled with chocolate spreads so read the label carefully!

TIP: Most nut butters characteristically separate when stored, this doesn’t affect their nutritional value, simply stir to combine before eating.

SM tests… the Cake Maternity Zest Sports Bra

The Zest bra from Cake is a high impact sports bra designed for nursing. 

Editor writes: I’ll say it: this might be the best bra you’ll ever own. Whether you plan to breastfeed, or pound the streets with your trainers on, if childbirth has rendered you larger than a D cup, this bra not only gives great support, but is super comfortable  and incredibly flattering. 

If you are actually a gym bunny and looking to squeeze in a quick workout between feeds then even just putting this bra on will make you feel like a streamlined professional athlete – it has awesome hold and supports at the back to help your posture plus the straps don’t ride down whilst you are moving your arms. There is almost no bounce (even jogging) and the mesh paneled boob-divider bit in the middle means no sweaty cleavage (yes, I know, sorry…)

If you just want a day to day nursing bra, obviously Cake have a huge range (including their new Sugar Candy plus sized collection) but the Zest bra will double up as an everyday option. Despite the sporty colourways (grey/turquoise/yellow or black/orange) it gives you great shape under a tshirt or jersey dress (I’m a big fan of those Baukjen throw on dresses and they work wonderfully with this bra)

The nursing clips are really solid – they don’t ping off like some do when you have a lot of milk – and they’re very easy to snap on and off. Because this bra gives a lot of support, if you do find yourself walking around between feeds/expression having forgotten to do them up, your breasts won’t notice at all. 

As a brand, Cake is loved by the super-perky likes of Pink and Miranda Kerr… as well as hundreds of mums

The Zest bra is available online or in stores, RRP £46.90

#GinFriday: Blackberry Smash with Oliver Cromwell Dry Gin

 

Our latest Gin Friday cocktail – The Blackberry Smash – comes courtesy of Aldi’s Oliver Cromwell Dry Gin.

Not only does it contain lovely antioxidant rich blackberries, but it’s the perfect accompaniment to smashing up your actual BlackBerry, if like mine it stopped running all the useful functions on Dec 31st…

Aldi’s gin beat lots of leading brands in a taste test a few years ago and they still haven’t put the price up by much…

Ingredients

50 ml Oliver Cromwell London Dry Gin

½ a cup of white sugar

½ a cup hot water

10-12 blackberries

25ml fresh lemon juice

6 mint leaves

Sparkling water to top

  • Fill a tall glass and a cocktail shaker with cubed ice
  • To make blackberry syrup dissolve the white sugar in the hot water. Once dissolved add in 10/12 blackberries and allow to cool down to room temperature before straining and chilling in the fridge
  • Add 25ml of blackberry syrup and all ingredients (except the sparkling water) to the cocktail shaker
  • Shake hard for ten seconds and then strain through a tea strainer into the ice-filled tall glass
  • Slowly top with sparkling water

Garnish with a lemon wedge, blackberry and large mint sprig. Finely dust with castor sugar to give a frosted look.

Keep your kids warm and help refugees with Smalls’ National Woolly Vest Week

If you haven’t yet discovered the miracle of merino base layers, then chances are you haven’t discovered the miracle of being able to send your kids out in all weathers without complaint.

Merino wool is not only lightweight and gentle on the skin, but it regulates body temperature and allows skin to breathe – meaning toasty warm kids in the Winter, but as they don’t sweat, you don’t need to wash merino items as frequently.

Smalls – makers of wonderful merino base layers for little ones – have teamed up with High Wycombe Helping Others to create National Woolly Vest Week (23-29th Jan) encouraging parents to wrap up kids and help others.

For every two vests purchased from Smalls, they will donate a free one to refugees in Syria, Lebanon and Greece.

Emma-Jane Adam, Co-Founder of Smalls explains, This is one of the coldest times of the year in the UK and we believe that it’s really important to wrap our kids up warm so they can focus on important things like having fun. As we all know, there are unfortunately millions of children around the world, particularly refugees, who simply don’t have the same luxuries that we take for granted everyday. We therefore really wanted to support High Wycombe Helping Others this National Woolly Vest Week because of the amazing, valuable work that they’re doing to help refugees around the world”.

Find out more at Love My Smalls.

Super Yummies add to their breadstick range…

Super Yummies, the toddler range from Cow & Gate have added a new flavour to their mini-bite-sized breadsticks. Pumpkin and Rosemary now joins the existing Spinach and Tomato and Herb varieties.

Our office little ones couldn’t keep their mitts of them – they scoffed a whole packet in one go – but as they are high in fibre and were created by nutritionists, we could hardly tell them off…

Available now from Asda, Superdrug, Boots, Tescos and Sainsbury’s. More info online. 

Cooking with Kids: Valentine’s Biscuits by Piccolo

Need to feel some love in the kitchen? Get the little ones baking up hearts with this recipe, created  by Alice Fotheringham, the Infant Nutrition Expert at organic baby food brand Piccolo

Ingredients

125g unsalted butter
60g (3oz) caster sugar
60g (3oz) soft light brown sugar
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla essence
200g plain flour
pinch of salt
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
80g dried cranberries, chopped
60g white chocolate chips plus 60g white chocolate for drizzling

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas mark 3.
  2. Cream together the butter and both types of sugar, then break in the egg, add the vanilla essence and mix well together.
  3. Sift together the flour, salt, cinnamon and bicarbonate of soda, then add to the creamed mixture until a dough forms. Lastly stir in the cranberries and chocolate into the dough.
  4. Wrap in cling film and put in the fridge for half an hour to an hour. Flour a surface and roll out the dough until it is around 1 ½ cm thick (if the dough is too wet, sprinkle flour over the surface of the dough). Using cookie cutters, make shapes out of the dough and place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cookies are a light golden on top. Leave on the sheets for about 10 minutes to cool and set before transferring to a wire rack.
  6. Melt the white chocolate for drizzling, and once the cookies are cool, drizzle over with a spoon.

Makes: 8 cookies Cooking: 10 minutes Preparation: 20 minutes

Read our interview with Cat from Piccolo in the current issue of Slick Mummy Magazine too…

 

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