Category Archives: Health

Bathtimes for sensitive skin…

If your kids have sensitive skin, bathtimes stop being essentially a chance for you to have ten minutes to yourself and become a whole ritual of rubbing in cream and placating ‘Mummy that hurts…’

Because – whether the sensitivity is due to a skin condition, a rash, chicken pox or just generally being new to the world, the right soap is mission critical.

Right now we are loving:

Dandydill Way’s exceptionally gentle Bubble Bath which is made with Hawthorn extract and creates lots of delicately scented, moisturising bubbles. Even better, it comes in a VERY grown up looking bottle, sure to be a hit with your bathing mermaid.


Cuderm’s Gel Wash is soap-free and suitable for 3-months upwards. It is gentle enough to wash faces (or bottoms) and the clear gel feels as pure as cleansing with spring water. Double up with their cream, which uses oat proteins to create a natural barrier between your dainty flower, their Spring layers and the outside world.


And this week Dragon’s Den winning brand Good Bubble announced their collaboration with everyone’s favourite woodland creature, The Gruffalo (available from 19th Feb through Ocado). Made from superfruit prickly pear, with soothing coconut oil, the range is vegan, not tested on animals and no mice were eaten during the manufacturing process.

Suffer from a skin condition? You’re in the majority, say Dermalex

A new survey, conducted by YouGov for skin care experts Dermalex has highlighted the fact that as many as 50% of the GB adult population has suffered from eczema, rosacea or acne their whole life and 64% have lived with these conditions for over a decade.

These health issues can have a devastating effect on some people’s lives, emotions and well-being, with over half (56%) saying they felt self-conscious as a result of it and almost half (47%) felt unattractive. Only 45% of survey respondents said they had never experienced a negative situation, further showing that for millions of adults, the state of their skin is directly linked to happiness.

To launch their #StrongerWithin campaign, Dermalex will be offering up to 20% discount on their treatments when purchased from Amazon (and the products are on Prime too, so no need to suffer more than 24 hours longer!)

For more information about the survey or the #StrongerWithin campaign, follow Dermalex on Facebook @DermalexUK

SM Guide to Winter Running

Editor writes: “Just as a bad craftsman proverbially blames his tools, I have convinced myself that better running kit will help me get from 10K to 16.09K (ie ten miles).

It’s tricky enough to get enough iron on the best of days, let alone finding a supplement that doesn’t give you tummy ache. But Hubner’s chewable iron supplements are gentle, contain vitamin C and promise to reduce fatigue – so that’s a start!

James White’s Zinger Shots are a pick me up alternative if you don’t want to drink coffee before a run. These little bottles are packed with organic ginger – plus variations including cold-preventing turmeric – which definitely give you a kick up the bum to get out the door on a cold morning!


Like most of the running community, I’m addicted to those Pip and Nut squeeze pack sachets, especially the new Almond and Coconut one. A little squishy pouch of natural energy you could even take out with you for a mid-run boost. Don’t leave them next to your keys in your handbag though!

Runderwear merino wool underwear is the running essential you never knew you needed. Merino (in any format) is a magic fibre that keeps skin warm in winter and cool in summer – in the case of merino knickers, it wicks away moisture to keep your lady parts chafe-free. Well worth the investment and (sssh!) pass on the secret!

There’s so much cleverness in a pair of Proskins Slim running leggings, it’s hard to believe they are lighter-than-air to wear. Compression fit, moisture management, antibacterial silver and microcapsules in the fibres that last 100 washes are but a few intelligent features… You see, these leggings are designed to actively slim your legs and reduce cellulite while you run! Amazing, huh? Even more brilliant, because of the fit, Proskins suggest you order a size down from your normal – so starting off as a 10, before I’d even done any exercise I was a size 8!

Zakti’s Lunar Glow running gloves are made from Isocool fabric and have a rainbow flash in the design which makes you more visible to cars – so safer at night or on those foggy mornings. I love the secret key pocket, and the touchscreen fingertips mean that you can hit your power song without needing to take them off.

Finally – after pounding the streets – I’ve been drinking Tenzing Natural Energy drink, which is made from Himalayan rock salt and green tea. At only 57 calories per can, I won’t be undoing my hard work – and unlike taurine based drinks it doesn’t leave me feeling like I want to bite my nails all day…”

Love or Hate Marmite? It’s genetic…

In a landmark scientific study, Marmite has discovered the reason why we love it or hate it – proving that the answer is in our genes. Over the past 12 months, Marmite has worked with one of the UK’s leading genetic testing centres – DNAFit – to conduct a clinical trial to determine whether there is a biological link to people’s taste preference for loving or hating Marmite.

Coined ‘The Marmite Gene Project’, the ground-breaking study has scientifically shown that people are born genetically more likely to be lovers or more likely to be haters of Marmite and conclusively shows that there is a genetic foundation to Marmite taste preference.

Cementing its reputation as the most loved and hated product of our generation, the genetic study recruited more than 260 healthy adults, with an equal split of men and women taking part across the UK.

Study participants were first asked to taste a 2g serving of Marmite on their tongue for 10 seconds, filling out a questionnaire to identify their assumed ‘love or hate’ Marmite taste preference and their reaction to Marmite once tasted.

Saliva cheek swabs were then taken from each participant to obtain DNA samples that were sent for genetic analysis to identify SNPs (single-nucleotide polymorphisms) associated with Marmite taste preference. More commonly known as ‘snips’, SNPs are single DNA building blocks that have an impact on specific traits.

A whopping 8,760 hours were spent swabbing, analysing and interpreting results. The Marmite Gene Project has identified 15 candidate SNPs that are linked to Marmite taste preference.

Thomas Roos (MSc Biology & MSc Clinical Research, Stanford University), Principal Investigator of The Marmite Gene Project at DNAFit, said: “Our research indicates that Marmite taste preference can in large parts be attributed to our genetic blueprint, which shows that each of us is born with a tendency to be either a ‘lover’ or a ‘hater’. Our data reveals that there are multiple genes that contribute towards this, and it is a really exciting discovery.”

However, Roos also offers hope for all Marmite lovers hoping to convert friends and families to the ‘love’ side of the spectrum.

 “Like anything in genetics, taste preference is dictated by both nature and nurture. Our environment can impact our taste preference as much as the genes we are born with.”

A scientific White Paper is available from today detailing the full findings. Gene Test Kits will be available to buy from so people can discover for themselves whether they were born Marmite lovers or haters.

Philippa Atkinson, Marmite Brand Manager, said: “For over a century we too have been questioning why the nation is so clearly divided between love or hate for Marmite. Finally, we have the answers. The DNA data provides a glimpse into our taste preferences. While it’s fascinating looking at the data on this scale, the fun really starts when you test your own DNA and begin to delve into your own genetic make-up and see if you were born a lover or hater of Marmite.”

Avi Lasarow, CEO of DNAFit, said: “Advancing technology means we live in a world of increased appetite for highly personalised food and fitness information. These fascinating findings show again how each day we are understanding more and more about the role that genetics play in our daily lives. The mystery around Marmite is one of the great British food debates, and we are proud to have led this exciting research project.”

Join the conversation using #MarmiteGene.


GP and TV presenter Dr Dawn Harper has launched a new campaign to educate parents on the benefits of giving kids nuts as a snack.

A new survey has identified that only 1 in 10 (14%) of parents are aware of the high nutritional value of nuts. This may explain why three-quarters of parents (74%) say they don’t regularly give them to their kids as a snack; instead choosing to give their child crisps at least once a week (92%).

The study of 1,000 parents with children aged 5-12 found that one of the biggest reasons parents say they don’t give their children nuts is that they think they’re too salty (30%) – this is despite a 20g bag of plain almonds containing 64% less salt than a portion of ready salted crisps at the same weight.

As part of her new campaign, Dr Dawn Harper wants to help change these perceptions and educate parents on why nuts should be considered as a healthy part of a child’s diet. Nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts and cashews are a natural source of protein and many other nutrients for muscle and bone development, aiding energy release and helping build a healthy immune system.

Dr Dawn Harper said: “Despite the fact almost a quarter of parents say they give their children a snack as a way of getting extra nutrients into their diet, they also reveal that they prefer to give their child sugary and salty snacks like crisps and cereal bars than nuts as a snack. We want to change that. Nuts are a great, tasty way of getting good fats, and key vitamins and minerals into the diet which can help children’s growth, development, and cognitive function.”

The survey (conducted by Censuswide) also shows that allergies are a concern – with a fifth (19%) of parents giving it as a key reason to not give nuts to their children.

While nut allergies can be very serious, they are not common affecting just 2% of children, with most allergic to peanuts specifically, which means for the majority of kids they are a great option. For safety, if you are giving your child nuts to eat outside of the home always check that they will not be in the company of anyone with a nut allergy.

we love Pip and Nut butters

A spokesperson for the BDA said: “Obesity and salt intake are really important issues we are facing as a society, so it’s alarming to see that many healthy foods such as nuts aren’t getting the airtime they need to ensure parents are aware of the benefits they can have for their children. While it’s absolutely important to ensure nuts are unsalted and are small, or halved to avoid choking, primary aged children would benefit massively from adding more unsalted nuts, and fewer crisps, sweets, and chocolate to their diets.”

Advice from the NHS advises that as long as there’s no diagnosed nut or other allergy or history of nut or other allergies in the immediate family, you can give babies nuts once they’re six months old, as long as they’re crushed or ground into nut butter and children over the age of five are able to eat whole nuts.

Highland Spring’s #BraveByNature project encourages us to stay hydrated

image: The Grocer

Highland Spring have worked with the National Hydration Council to raise awareness of the fact that optimum hydration helps families boost attention and generally achieve more.

Sound like common sense, sure… But how many of us just forget to take a sip of water because we are rushing around packing swimming kit or tying shoelaces for our kids. How many times have you reminded your children to sip water today? Probably none because you’ve been too busy going bananas that they’ve emptied the LEGO box out for the millionth time.

Seemingly though, you don’t have to consume Gwyneth-like quantities of water to boost concentration but start by popping a bottle of two in your changing bag and see if you notice the difference.

Here are the National Hydration Council’s findings:

  • A recent study carried out by psychologists at the University of East London and the University of Westminster shows that drinking just 300ml of water (slightly over half a small bottle of water) can boost attention by almost 25%.
  • After drinking 300ml, thirst was satisfied and reports of “good mood” increased by almost 20%.
  • A similar study in 2012 found that University foundation year students who took a bottle of water into an exam scored an average of 5% higher than those who did not have water. Only 25% of students in the study entered the exam hall with a bottle of water.
  • Kids need more water in relation to their body size than bigger people.
  • Kids don’t always recognise when they’re thirsty, so it’s best to encourage good drinking habits early.
  • Sipping throughout the day is the best way to ensure hydration needs are met.
  • It can be harder for kids to concentrate when they’re dehydrated.
  • Studies have shown that kids who drink a litre of water over the course of a school day have better short-term memory and generally perform better than those who don’t.
  • And apparently… Water at mealtimes can help children tolerate vegetables!

Lovely Little Things: Rubis Elephant Pouch Swiss Scissors

Who would have thought that novelty scissors would suddenly be on our ‘must have’ list? These children’s nail scissors – made by Swiss brand Rubis – are not only delightfully quirky (in a sort of ‘Fantasia meets the inside of Bjork’s head kinda way) but also cut with samurai precision. The rounded tips mean there’s no fear of ouchies and TBH your child will just play with the pouch for the 30 seconds (yes, really!) it will now take to trim their nails.

Available from Fenwicks and Harvey Nicks RRP £30.50

The best sun protection for babies and toddlers

The general advice is to keep pre-6-monthers out of the sun. But of course that’s not always possible so a good sun cream is a must, even in the British Summer (although the NHS recommends children wear sunscreen from March thru October, which might be a little optimistic!)

Even for bigger ones, a gentle, mineral based option is preferable; here are our protection picks for holiday packing (or backyard paddling-pooling)
Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children 100% Mineral Screen UVA/UVB 50+, 150 ml

Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children is 100% mineral and active ingredients include aloe vera, kiwi and olive. It comes in a spray dispenser, so easy to apply – although it is quite thick consistency – and the waterproof formula is factor 50.

Banana Boat Mini Kids Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50, 60ml

Ultra water resistant and sand repellent, this one is fab for junior surfers and little beach bunnies. A cheaper option than some, but the UVA/B protection is highly photostable (ie it won’t break down in the sun).


Badger Balm SPF 30 Baby Sunscreen
Badger’s SPF30 Baby Sunscreen Cream contains non-nano Zinc Oxide, plus organic Sunflower Oil, Beeswax & Vitamin E – making it a great choice for sensitive skins (plus there’s a cute badger on the tube!)


Green People Organic Children Sun Lotion SPF 25 ‘no scent’ (150ml)
Green People support the Marine Conservation Society, so each purchase helps to protect the oceans, as well as delicate skin. Scent free (if you find some of them a bit potent) and a good option if your child suffers from prickly heat too.



Childs Farm Sunny day SPF50+ Suncream
Dermatologist approved for sensitive and eczema prone skin, this one is suitable for over 6 month old babies. It’s a non-sting formula (handy if your kids are in and out of the pool with goggles on) which moisturises whilst it protects.


Need a fab sun hat that also shields from the rays? Try Little Hotdog Watson’s Children’s Bucket Sunhat with UV Protection

Stay Sun Safe.

Tommy’s launch their #AlwaysAsk campaign

Each day in the UK, 10 babies are stillborn and 152 babies are born preterm, causing untold heartache to parents and extended families.

Tommy’s, with King’s College London and BabyCentre, has launched a safer pregnancy campaign to empower pregnant women to overcome fears about speaking to professionals about health concerns.

The aim of the campaign is to reduce the number of women who end up with serious pregnancy complications or loss. A body of research from King’s College London has shown that women’s knowledge about their own changing body is invaluable in contributing to safer pregnancies but that they often struggle to voice their instincts and concerns.

‘Always Ask’ challenges the fears that prevent women from seeking information on how to recognise potential problems and gives them tips on how to manage the appointment, get listened to and taken seriously by healthcare professionals.

Find out more here.

SM reviews… Vitamin Injections Vitamin B Complex Patches

Headed by experienced IV/IM practitioner and skin specialist Bianca Estelle, the Vitamin Injections London clinic provides IV doses that do everything from burning fat to curing hangovers.

Their Vitamin Skin Patches can be used on the go and provide 12 hour continual doses of essential vits – apparently a much better way to absorb them than in tablet form.

We tested the Vitamin B complex 30 day supply, RRP £45

SM Tester writes: “Vitamin B boosts brain and metabolism; ie it is the one that helps you remember where you left the car keys and stops you falling asleep face down in a bowl of yoghurt. So the more the merrier, right? Well, apparently it’s all about getting a constant dose, rather than one big hit washed down with your morning OJ. 

These patches are little brown plasters you stick on your skin. You’ll start off putting them somewhere obvious and channeling your ‘inner Britney’ – but after a few cries of ‘Mum, it’s not fair, I wanna plaster tooooo…’ you’ll start sticking them in less visible spots. Suffice to say it is that simple; they stay on in the shower if you are careful and if you stuck one on your bum you will get funny looks in the gym )

Personally, I go weeks forgetting to take vitamin pills, so this format works well as I can keep them in my handbag (30 days’ supply is roughly the size of a travel card) and stick them on between meetings or on those rare occasions I’m ten mins early at the school gates (although on these occasions I might stick them on my arm not my derriere..)”

 Order online at Vitamin Injections London