Category Archives: Health

Salt Awareness Week: Children getting a third of their salt before school

DW Fitness Clubs has found that children could be getting a third of their recommended salt allowance before they even get to school.

For children aged 4-6, the NHS recommends no more than 3g of salt per day.

Snap, Crackle, Pop…and Salt!

A serving of 30g of cereal contains:

  • Kelloggs Krave = 12% of your child’s recommended salt intake (6% for adults)
  • Rice Krispies  = 12% of your child’s recommended salt intake (6% for adults)
  • Cheerios = 10% of your child’s recommended salt intake (5% for adults)
  • Coco Krispies = 8% of your recommended salt intake (4% for adults)

Manufacturers list salt content per 30g, but that’s a very modest portion size, for a hungry child (and aren’t they all?) It would be very easy to eat two or three times that.

So if a child had a large bowl of Rice Krispies (100g) that would be 1.13g of salt, over a third of their daily allowance. Scary, huh? has time in the mornings!

We all know that ‘good energy’ basics like porridge, bananas, sugar free peanut butter, Greek yoghurt with berries or dippy eggs would be a better option here, it’s obviously just a case of having ten minutes more in the morning (as with most things…)

But worth flagging this story up if your child gets a bowl of cereal at pre-school Breakfast Club…


Sleep deprived? Us too…

If night feeds, sleepwalking kids or bedwetting toddlers are intruding on your shut eye time, we can’t promise a quick solution. But hopefully some of the below tips might help you maximise the forty winks you do manage to sneak…

Cyberjammies PJ set

Atomik Research conducted a study for Drift Sleep and the findings included scoffing nuts and fish. Salmon, rice, spinach, milk and almonds all promote sleep.  The magnesium found in spinach in particular plays a key role in deactivating adrenaline, whilst typtophan in milk and almonds is an amino acid which converts first into seratonin and then into melatonin which helps regulate sleep.  If you happen to own a cow, try milking it at night as it contains 24% more tryptophan than the day.

They also recommend a decent pair of cotton PJs. We love Cyberjammies, whose range is so pretty you could wear them in the daytime or on the beach too. And don’t forget to upgrade your sheets too – The Secret Linen Store has lots of elegant Egyptian cotton options at a reduced price. Shhh…

There’s so much hype about Vitamin D at the moment, it’s a wonder the human race survived without supplements. And apparently it is essential to a decent kip as well.  If you’re struggling to get out in the sun try Vega Vitamins Everyday-D 10mg (from £5.95, which is available in a tasty orange spray, or as blackcurrant chewable tablets.

And we don’t really need to be told twice that phones and tablets in the bedroom aren’t a great idea. Superfood UK nutritionist Shona Wilkinson explains, “Two hours before your proposed bedtime turn off all electrical gadgets such as computers, notebooks and phones as these emit a blue light which confuses the brain and reduces the release of melatonin, the chemical which induces sleepiness.” Go retro and find yourself a decent book (ie not your child’s reader from school or the Argos catalogue…)

Finally, a little lavender can go a long way when it comes to the transition into slumber. Angela Flanders’ pillow spray has calming chamomile too, to ease the day’s stresses (and doubles up as a daytime perfume, if you feel like your waking hours need some additional ‘inner calm’ too…)

Dr Sally Norton’s guide to Nut Butters…

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

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.


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

Cons: Less protein than other nuts.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Tommy’s launch premature baby app

Today is world prematurity day so fittingly Tommy’s have chosen it to launch their new app, which is free and aimed at parents of premies.

My premature baby is available on all devices (phones, tablets) by going to

The app contains all the prematurity information from the Tommy’s book: Having a premature baby. This book was published in 2011 and has received a Highly Commended Award in the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards (2014).

In addition to providing all our information in an easily-searchable format, the app also has the following features:

  • a development diary – allowing parents to record events, thoughts and milestones
  • a feeding log – allowing parents to record times, type and amount of food given
  • ability to easily share information with family and friends on Facebook
  • ability to track the baby’s weight on a growth chart
  • ability to find other parents going though similar experiences on a map.

The app is web app and it functions on all devices: phones, tablets and desktop computers.

We checked out new pregnancy app

Natural Cycles is a new App which uses an intelligent algorithm that quickly learns your cycle and accurately detects and predicts ovulation, and thus, your fertile window. You take your temperature each morning, input the data and can then view your cycle as – essentially – days on which you can and can’t get pregnant.

They asked us to check it out. We got into the groove.

Editor writes: whilst both my elder children were happy accidents, our baby was most definitely planned. It’s funny the way that – as blithe young women we muddle through our twenties worrying about every late period, split condom or tryst in the heat of the moment and never stop to actually think about how many days into our cycle we actually were. 

When we decided to to try for our third child, I actually did think about it. So did my other half – similarly, who had sailed through a decade of sporadic girlfriend panics too, again without questioning the actual dates. I got the calendar out, did a bit of counting and told my other half that come rain or shine, hell or highwater (or bad backs, headaches or late nights at work) we were damned well having sex on the 14th November. And we did. Nine times. Sure enough – we have another child to show for it. 

In my case, I just guesstimated the date – based on GCSE level Biology knowledge and having had two previous kids. A scan later confirmed that I had guessed 5 days out (but sperm can hang around for a few days) – so essentially, we were lucky.

Obviously there are a lot more mitigating factors that go into conception (gynecological health, sperm count… wine!) but knowing where the right window is would be a useful starting point, right?  

So – Natural Cycles is an app that promises to give you your money back if you don’t fall pregnant within one year of using it. A bold offering? Maybe not, when you think about the science of it all. And if you don’t conceive, the readings provide useful data for a doctor to figure out why. 

So – you pay £49.99 for the App for a year (plus a free thermometer) and take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning. The only downside (if you already have children) I’d envisage would be this one – as hands up which of you were ‘untimely ripped’ from your beds this morning because either a) you overslept and had ten minutes to get the kids to school or b) one of your children poured their tadpole experiment over your duvet?

But – that part aside – once you start telling the App your temperature it can then tell you when you are pre-ovulation, releasing an egg and the few days around this when sperm can still survive. Furthermore, once you are pregnant, knowing your daily temperature means the App can monitor fetal health as well – a comfort I’m sure you’d agree. 

For me, the most interesting benefit of this App means that I am aware of the days on which I am unlikely to get pregnant. The idealistic vision of not needing to worry about contraception at all. In my world, this translates to five days crossed out on our kitchen calendar (next to swimming lessons and PTA meetings) whereby my other half knows he may as well work late, go and see DJs who aren’t on til 2am or finish the rest of the bottle of red wine in the pub with his chums – as the gates to my lady garden will be bolted. But the rest of the time – we can be footloose and fancy free, bereft of ingested hormones or latex (assuming we have a few minutes to ourselves between bedtime stories, night feeds and sleepover midnight feast demands…)

I currently have a few friends who are ‘trying’ and many more who have brought little ones into the world through IVF because of months of repeated disappointment. Natural Cycles is definitely an interesting way of looking at things. I say cliched things (in the office and to my own kids) like ‘knowledge is power’ (I know, I know…) but (just like algebra or sorting out a fashion shoot) conception is easier when you know where to start.

When I shared this with another of my friends she suggested that once her tweenage daughter reaches dating age she might get her using Natural Cycles and then ground her on the fertile days… She was actually only slightly joking 😉

Find out more at or follow #HappyPregnancy @NaturalCyclesNC 

Sponsored post.

SM chats to… Melissa Mead, a Mother Without a Child

We (and most of the internet) were rendered blubbering wrecks when we watched Melissa’s brave, eloquent, moving and incredibly sad video raising awareness of Sepsis following the loss of her son William far too soon.

We were grateful that Melissa shared a few words with us – and hope that our readers will contribute to William’s JustGiving page.

image: itv
image: itv

SM: First of all, how are you feeling? Baby #2 must be pretty close to arriving?

Melissa: Baby number two is arriving on the 27th September so very close now! Due on the 9th October but due to a few complications on my part it’ll be a planned c-section. We are very excited about the baby, however it’s very much tinged with sadness that William isn’t here to share it with us. With our experiences with William it has made us incredibly anxious and fearful that we will lose the baby. We like to think of this baby as a gift from William, our little ray of hope, we can only take one day at a time, and we both accept that sometimes it’s ok to not be ok.
SM: Now that (thanks to your video) we have heard of Sepsis, what would your advice be in terms of how to handle the situation if we suspect any of the signs?
Melissa: If anyone suspects any of the signs and symptoms of sepsis either in themselves, a loved one or child then it is always best to consult a GP / out of hours or A&E, especially if there is history of infection. The one thing that is absolutely key to say is, ‘could this be sepsis’, sometimes all it takes is for two mutual people to suspect it and the golden hour of treatment can begin much earlier than waiting. Suspecting sepsis is half of the journey. Sepsis is so quick so do not delay, and never be afraid to voice your concern or thoughts.
SM: our fight has generated some amazing support and seemingly lots of stories of shared experiences, loss and positive action. Do you feel there is a ‘next step’ now to your campaign?
Melissa: Last Tuesday, I, along with the UK Sepsis Trust and the Government launched a public awareness campaign for sepsis. 1 in three Britons do not know what sepsis is, however, a recent poll from YouGov/UKST shows that this year there has been a 47% increase in sepsis awareness since William’s story was highlighted in the media. I think the way that we have conducted our campaign and worked with the Government means that we all have a shared objective and the campaign can be constructive. I recorded my video just ahead of the campaign launch, but it’s so important to remember that as a charity the UKST do not get any Government funding and is entirely self-funded through people like me fundraising. The campaign so far will consist of resources in the areas your would hope to see them, so local doctors, A&E’s, Out of hours, pharmacies etc. but the next step is to raise enough money to create a television advert to really reach people in their homes. 70% of sepsis cases are acquired in the community, so it shows we really need to be reaching people in their own environment. So, I will continue to try and raise awareness and funds for as long as I live, for me this gives me a purpose, it still allows me to be William’s mum and create a legacy for him. Sadly, there is no vaccine for sepsis, as it is bacterial so it’s really important that we have a campaign in place that runs year on year.
Please donate to: or you can text SEPS77 with an amount to 70070. This always pays into William’s Just Giving page. 
Follow Melissa’s story at

Clever Clogs Products: Nimble Babies Milk Buster

Whether you formula feed or express, if you’re using bottles, one thing is for sure; they get cloudy.

Some might think cloudiness isn’t the worst thing in the world – it’s when milk fat mixes with plastic – but sterilizing alone won’t shift it and the milk residues can hold bacteria. Plus, the bottles just look… let’s politely say unappealing. (‘Boggin!’ said our tester)

You’d have thought a product like this would have come along aeons ago, but it took a chemist called Von and the arrival of his baby niece back in 2012 – plus a few experiments – for this magic potion to be invented.

Simply spray a few squirts into a cloudy bottle (a little more if you’ve left the offending receptacle under the buggy or in the back of the car for a couple of days – hey, we don’t judge!) and then give it a wash to reveal a squeaky clean, cloud free bottle.

For an even lazier approach, add a couple of squirts before you put bottles in the dishwasher…

And the best bit – the product is made from sugar, amino acids and coconuts, so no fear of nasties getting transferred or the bottle ‘taste’ being altered.

Find out more and order yours from Nimble Babies.

Ten Minutes with… Natasha Bowes of Bio-tiful Dairy

Natasha Bowes is a former Russian figure skating champion, who set up Bio-tiful, bringing cultured milk drink Kefir (which she was brought up on) to the UK. Bio-tiful products are made at Organic Riverford Farm in Dorset and sold nationwide, including in Harrods.
Kefir Range shot_OnWhite_HiRes

We tried out the range of drinks and were really impressed – they taste super light and refreshing, not like you’d expect fermented milk products to taste, and can be drunk straight, poured on cereal, blended, made into dip – or even chocolate pots.

_DSC8076We grabbed ten mins with Natasha to find out more about her brand, which despite not winning over the Dragon’s Den has won her numerous awards and critical acclaim.

SM: Where do we feature in your busy day today?

Natasha Bowes: In the afternoon, between a raw vegetable lunch and a sales meeting!

SM:  From skater to finance to dairy, you’ve certainly had a varied career! What is it that motivates you?

Natasha Bowes: Learning and experiencing new things, grasping the essence of a business / job and excelling at it – that’s what I really enjoy.

SM: Your drinks can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, which do you prefer and how do you drink them?

Natasha Bowes: My favourite is the original Kefir and I love it first thing in the morning – on its own or in a green smoothie. If I am peckish, the best mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack for me is definitely Baked Milk Kefir – it fills me up with goodness and leaves me feeling light, just perfect!

SM: What would your advice be on getting children to drink them?

Natasha Bowes: Start out with the Kefir Smoothies – we had kids in mind when we created them, as they are a little naturally sweeter due to the fruit, yet have all the goodness that Kefir gives your digestion and immunity. I lived on Kefir in my childhood, as I was mildly lactose intolerant and Kefir is naturally low in lactose and the easiest food to digest.

SM: What are the benefits over – for example – Yakult? Or bio yoghurt?

Natasha Bowes: Kefir is as natural and light as a dairy product gets, and its authentic, 2,000-year-old culture has about 40 different types of beneficial bacteria plus beneficial yeasts (for comparison a typical yoghurt would have only a couple of different bacteria strains). It is the most probiotic of all the natural foods, and naturally packed with a number of essential vitamins and minerals, with an exceptional list of health benefits resulting from that.

 SM: What has been your biggest challenge, running the business?

Natasha Bowes: Sensibly balancing work and personal life.

SM: And your proudest moment?

Natasha Bowes: Every award and stockist win is a very positive and proud moment – for the whole team!

SM: What’s next for the brand?

Natasha Bowes: Our Kefir being easily available to everybody in any part of the country!

SM: And finally (we had to ask) do you still ice skate?

Natasha Bowes: Occasionally, and with pleasure!

Find out more at:

Bump Shaming: it’s a thing…

Thanks to ChannelMum for bringing this debate to light…

  • 94% of mums-to-be verbally abused over their pregnant body shape
  • Average mum ‘bump shamed’ ten times during pregnancy – but one in 20 report over 50 attacks
  • 45% of women think bump shaming should be made illegal, rising to 53% of young mums under 30
  • Strangers are the biggest source of negative comments, followed by friends and work colleagues
  • But one in 10 criticised by her own mother and five per cent by mother-in-law
  • 17% of mums considered dieting while pregnant to battle their body shape, and 7% went ahead against medical advice

Mums-to-be are facing a barrage of abuse with 94 per cent verbally attacked for their body shape while pregnant, a worrying new report reveals.
The study from video parenting site found the average mum suffers ten verbal slurs while pregnant – known as ‘bump shaming’. But a quarter report a far higher number of negative comments, with one in 20 shamed for her shape more than 50 times.

While the majority of mums (62%) were attacked as ‘too fat’, a third (32%) were told their bump was ‘too small’, leading to fears for their baby’s health.

Shockingly, strangers are the biggest source of the verbal smears with 53 per cent of mums suffering cruel criticism from people they don’t know.

A further 43 per cent are bump shamed by friends, 40 per cent by work colleagues and 30 per cent by family members.

One in 10 was even criticised by her own mother and five per cent by her mother-in-law – along with one in 20 put down by her own partner.

The problem has become so bad that 17 per cent of mums considered dieting while pregnant to control their burgeoning body, while seven per cent went ahead and started slimming against medical advice.

The study of 1,321 mums found just a third (36%) were comfortable with their pregnant bodies,while 64 per cent described themselves as ‘embarrassed or ashamed or uncomfortable’

More than three quarters of mums-to-be (77%) admitted constantly comparing their bodies to other mothers – including friends, family and mums on social media – while pregnant. And two thirds (65%) carry on the body comparisons for up to five years after giving birth.

One in nine even revealed they compared their bumps to slim pregnant celebs to see if they could stay thinner, along with one in 11 (9%) who tried to lose weight faster than star mothers after giving birth.

The pressure is so bad that 45 per cent of women now think bump shaming should be made illegal, rising to 53 per cent of young mums under 30.

And the shaming isn’t restricted to pregnant women, as the study showed 60% of mums get negative comments on their post baby body too.

Once again, the biggest source of nasty slurs were from strangers, with 40 per cent of mums attacked. A further third (34%) were abused by their family, 30 per cent by friends and 14 per cent by work colleagues. One in nine suffered cruel comments from her partner, 13 per cent from her mother in law and seven per cent from her mother.

On average, new mums get four nasty comments on their post baby body, with five per cent criticised ten times or more.

The body perfection pressure means 20 per cent of mums never feel comfortable with their post baby body, even five years after giving birth. And for mums who do accept their post baby body, it takes an average of 18 months to get their shape back or accept the changes motherhood makes.

The study also showed the celebrities which make mums feel best about their bump and post baby body are Giovanna Fletcher, voted for by 37 per cent of mums, followed by Holly Willoughby (25%) and Adele (11%). But the star mums which make normal mothers feel most inadequate is the Duchess of Cambridge (21%) followed by Victoria Beckham (18%) and Kim Kardashian (16%).

Siobhan Freegard, founder of said: “Pregnant women’s bodies are not public property. Most of us would never dream of commenting on a stranger’s body – so why do it when a woman is pregnant and at her most vulnerable?

For more information visit:

‘Forget the cradle, put the baby in a box,’ say the Finns…

Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, will be passing on some Finnish-wisdom to mothers who have babies in their care – sending them home with Baby Boxes for their newborn to sleep in as part of the first ever UK trial.

The Baby Box tradition, which originates from Finland, has been credited with reducing the infant mortality rate in the country from 65 infant deaths per 1,000 births in 1938 to 2.26 per 1,000 births in 2015. The UK has some of highest rates of infant mortality in Europe, ranking 22nd out of the 50 European countries with 4.19 deaths per 1,000 births.

The boxes, which are made from a very thick cardboard, are traditionally used in Finland as a baby’s bed for up to the first eight months of their life. Replacing need for the traditional Moses basket or cot, it is thought the small size of the Baby Box prevents babies from rolling onto their tummies which experts think can contribute to sudden infant death syndrome.

The Trust will distribute 800 Baby Boxes, which also come with a firm foam mattress, waterproof mattress cover, cotton sheet and education materials, to new mums who have their baby at Queen Charlotte and Chelsea Hospital, on a first come first serve basis. As part of the trial the babies who received the boxes will be monitored by the Trust until they are eight months old and their parents asked to fill out a questionnaire about their use of the Baby Box.

Dr Karen Joash, consultant obstetrician at the Trust who is leading the Baby Box trial said:“For too many years the UK has fallen behind its European counterparts when it comes to reducing infant mortality. These boxes have been proven to help reduce the infant mortality rate in Finland and we hope that these results could be replicated in the UK.”

Jennifer Clary, the CEO from The Baby Box Co., which is supplying the Trust with the Baby Boxes and Baby Box University memberships for participating parents said, “We are delighted to provide the Baby Boxes to the Trust for UK parents and look forward to the results of the trial.”

The Baby Box co’s boxes retail at around $69 including mattress, and they come in a variety of cute Scandi-chic designs. Ideally, they should be positioned next to the parents’ bed when the baby is sleeping and – if they survive eight months of vomit, projectile peeing and the many other thrills and spills of those early months – then they could be re-purposed as a nifty toy box.

Interesting reading? Find out more at