Thursday, 2 July 2015

Demand for seaweed surges as 2 in 3 UK women revealed to have low iodine levels

FileStore:Artwork:Other:Press Release Templates:itsu grocery:Background-01.jpgUK Iodine Deficiency At An All Time Low
Did you know that three quarters of pregnant women do not get enough iodine in their diet, while 84% are unaware that it is vital for the healthy development of their unborn baby.

I received this information on email from Itsu (above and below). It stopped me in my tracks for 3 reasons:
  1. I have known about iodine for years and years because firstly my Aunt used to have her own Health Food Shop in Ireland and secondly, my Mum regularly monitors her Iodine levels as they often go LOW. She does this by putting liquid Iodine on her thigh at night. If it has soaked up in the morning her body needs it and is therefore low and if it hasn't - her leg is stained - then she is not low. I tried to do the test myself about 8 months ago but could not find a shop here selling liquid Iodine whereas in Ireland my Mum gets it from Health Food Shops very easily. So I self-diagnosed myself and took Sea Kelp in tablet form for a while.
  2. Because I am pregnant myself and was in the very early days when the email hopped into my inbox and finally;
  3. Because when I was working I had lunch in Itsu nearly every day, and it was one of my absolute favourite places to eat, so I really appreciated getting an email from THEM!
Of course I replied rather quickly, and got 4 packets of Seaweed Thins sent for review. 

I munched 3 packs within days, and have been sitting on the 4th pack (perhaps I am topped up enough now), when spookily my Mum rung me yesterday and said she's gone low again (having done the self home-test) so I have promised to post my remaining 4th packet to her.

They are salty and melt on the tongue - simply delicious!

"Researchers say more advice is needed to ensure expectant mothers and breastfeeding mums know the importance of iodine and how to get it in the diet.  At present a diet of sea fish and dairy foods is the best way to improve iodine intake and research last July, published by Glasgow University, suggested eating seaweed could help tackle iodine deficiencies. A shortage of iodine affects 1.9 billion people globally and is the most preventable cause of intellectual disability, and the UK is ranked 8th in a list of iodine-deficient countries in the world.
Seaweed Thins are becoming an increasingly popular health swap for consumers with 1.5 million packs sold in 2014, a 178% year on year increase.
Iodine has long been considered a vital mineral for wellbeing and the secret to unlocking effective metabolism. However recent studies show that a shocking two in three British girls and women are now thought to have low iodine levels.[1] Health professionals[2] predict this ratio is getting worse and are recommending consumers try eating seaweed in a special effort to revert this.

Iodine has been linked to low IQ, fatigue, miscarriages and problems with the thyroid - the gland in the neck that regulates metabolism and early development. Doctors are now calling on the government to have iodine added to salt in the UK[3] and to educate consumers in how they can up their daily amounts.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) says iodine deficiency is the biggest international cause of mental impairment and have urged worldwide governments to add it to salt as a prerequisite requirement. The Morton Salt Company was the first to add iodine to their salt back in 1924 at the request of the US government. Since then many countries, including Canada, Denmark, Switzerland and more recently India have followed suit.

DrVanderpump of the Royal Free Hospital in London said: As soon as you even mention salt in Britain, people start talking about high blood pressure and strokes. Awareness is getting better but thats why I think the Government doesnt want to intervene, because its always easier to leave the status quo. Its ironic that we fund programmes to iodise the salt of Third World countries, yet we dont bother about our own.”

Trace amounts of iodine are found in dairy products but richly abundant in some seafoods such as cod and scallops. However with sustainable fishing being such a hot current topic; consumers are being urged to seek out other food sources to meet their quota; such as seaweed.

Iodine boasts an impressive array of health benefits including:

Maintaining healthy skin and hair
Removes free-radicals from cells & is therefore good for anti-ageing.

Helping regulate metabolism
Vital for normal functioning of the thyroid gland, which plays an important role in metabolism.

Maintaining energy levels
Ensure efficient utilisation of calories to maintain energy & prevent calories being deposited as excess fat.

Stimulates and increases activity of antioxidants to provide defence against various diseases.

Creative Director of itsu [grocery] Julian Metcalfe said: Health is at the heart of our business. Our itsu seaweed thins are packed with vitamins and minerals from the sea that sometimes arent easy to find in our everyday diets. We have spent hours in product development creating a delicious and convenient snack to make nutritious eating beautiful and easy. itsu were the first to bring seaweed thins to UK supermarket shelves back in 2012 and today they are our top selling product. We envisage that sales will continue to increase as more consumers become aware of the necessity to up their iodine levels.

itsu [grocery] seaweed thins are widely available to the British public from:
  • Sainsburys
  • Waitrose
  • Ocado
  • Tesco and 
  • Amazon

·  Crispy Seaweed Thins are full of nutrients, low in saturated fat and have only 24 calories per pack. Harvested from crystal clear seas around South Korea, itsu seaweed is rolled, roasted then seasoned to perfection. Seaweed is an excellent source of healthy nutrients, minerals and dietary fibre.

·  Formats: x3 multipack, 15g  (RRP: £1.95/unit). 
   Single pack, 5g (RRP: £1)

·  Available in two delicious flavours: Original and Wasabi
  For more information on the rest of the itsu [grocery] range please visit:

About itsu
itsu restaurants and shops were created by the founders of Pret a Manger. itsu is a rapidly growing, healthy food on-the-go brand with 54 shops in and around London. itsu is dedicated to butterfly light, Asian- inspired, low-fat nutritious food. The itsu brand mission is to help people to eat beautiful.
Chefs prepare the fresh dishes every hour within store and is almost entirely dairy, wheat, fat & mayonnaise free. Even the drinks are low sugar. The seasonal menu is designed around protein packed & low carbohydrate salads, hearty & low fat chicken noodle soups, delicious hot brown rice potsu&on a beds.

About itsu [grocery]
itsu [grocery] was created to take the much loved itsu products far and wide into delicatessens, health food shops & supermarkets. The eat beautifulitsu [grocery] range celebrates the amazing flavours of the Far East; high in nutrients yet refreshingly low in calories and saturated fat.  Products include miso soups, chocolate edamame, rice cakes, seaweed thins, crystal noodle [cups]...with plenty more on the way.
To learn more about the range of itsu grocery products please visit: or visit our Facebook page at
About Metcalfes Food Company
Metcalfes Food Company is the innovative food company founded by Julian Metcalfe (as in Pret A Manger and itsu). We make delicious, light food and drink under the itsu and Metcalfes skinny brands.
For more information please visit

[1] Study carried out by Bristol and Surrey Universities
[2]The UK Iodine Group believes we should prioritise efforts to boost the iodine intake of teenage girls"

They day that my 4 packets arrived I was so anxious to get them in my tummy, I took the worst photo I have ever taken, below, to record their arrival and then sat posting them into my mouth

The majority of the content in this post was provided to me by Itsu apart from my 3 bullet points in the outset. It is a subject I am passionate about though, so was only to willing to share (the words not the food.......... apart from perhaps the 4th pack with me Mammy :-)  )


Monday, 29 June 2015

Sunshine, Sunny D and Keeping Hydrated

I'm always on the look out for fruit juice drinks that Aaron will love. Yes he does like and drink water, and for 5 years has drunk milk (dairy free) everyday, but like most children, enjoys something "juicy" especially when it's hot and sunny! I have never allowed Aaron to drink fizzy drinks and thank God he hates them anyway. Personally, I think fizzy drinks are linked with obesity and tooth decay.

We recently went on a mission to find Sunny D. Aaron looked high
and low:
We eventually found it in Tesco, (clever Daddy thought of looking in Tesco Express so that our journey time was halved) and being that Aaron's always thirsty after school it went down very well.
I was anxious to see if Aaron would actually like it, as he rejects things within one taste if they are not up to scratch. I'd read up on the product and felt optimistic he'd love it and he did.

All he wanted to do after that was play Frustration in the garden, so I poured us both a glass and enjoyed the opportunity to sit down for a while in the sun and fresh air.

It's a game I also owned and played as a child, but they've modernised it quite a lot. The "game" is still the same though. Thank God I enjoy it as he is insisting on playing it every day at the moment. Aaron being an only child (for now) means it's me that becomes the playmate!

Whilst I poured the drinks and put the school bags down, he rested on our swing seat in the garden - he copies my ability to relax ha ha! He also has the ability to sleep-in in the mornings - another thing I think he gets from Mamma. Maybe that's how he is able to keep going at the pace he does because he knows when and how to relax.

He takes the game really seriously and woe betide me if I win, as all it means is we have  to play AGAIN.........
There was a Summer Party at Aaron's school this weekend and I took part in Crowd Zumba despite being pregnant........

I'm only 9 weeks but look like 20, so it wasn't easy BUT I can't listen to that music without moving so I headed straight for the stage and did the whole 30 minutes. Well actually Aaron was so worried about me, he pulled me to sit on the grass for the last song. I've always thought he and me are telepathic but that REALLY confirmed it, as I was just inwardly thinking "I am flagging" and within SECONDS of that felt him pulling me. Bless his cotton socks.

Upon sitting on the grass I reached immediately for the thirst quenching Sunny D, exhausted after the Zumba:
I didn't get to drink all that much before it was snatched off me, further proof that he loves it as there were plenty of drinks in my bag:
We had a very hectic busy weekend and I was very proud of Aaron. He kept pace with me, and somehow, despite having terrible 1st trimester tiredness, I also kept pace with him.

At the event we went to Sunday he kept wanting to go upper deck on the bus, which was actually a great thing, as it meant I got to put my feet up - phew!
But back to Sunny D. The flavour we have tried is Tangy Florida but I can't wait to try the others. Tangy Florida tastes tart rather than sweet but Aaron loved it - he doesn't eat that many sweets so thankfully he still has a normal unspoilt palette. It's a similar taste to freshly squeezed orange juice but without the "bits" which Aaron would hate anyhow. I bought him a smoothie at the festival yesterday and he rejected it as he could taste the pips/seeds from the berries.

Reading the ingredients, Sunny D does actually contain sugar, and I am glad about that as I always avoid "no added sugar" drinks; one, because they TASTE artificial and two, because I have really strong feelings on things like aspartame (which thankfully Sunny D does not use).

The other flavours are Smooth California and Juicy Orange Passion.

To buy Sunny D, and try it's new recipe you can go to
One Stop

Tesco sells Sunny D online: Smooth California£1.27 for 1 litre.
They also sell it in cartons: Sunny D Florida 3 x 200ml

Sunny D has regular competitions on its website here: Sunny D competitions and has a very active Facebook page.

There are lots of tips and tricks like How to Scoot to School on their website.

Sunny D's history
Sunny Delight became Sunny D in 2012 and now contains 15% juice and added vitamins A, C, D & E. There are no artificial colours or preservatives added to our juice drinks.
Sunny D has now been part of Orangina Schweppes since 2011. The group has a rich history over several continents, and goes back as early as the 18th century! Europe remains at the heart of the business but products are enjoyed in over 60 countries, reaching Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
Sunny D was created in 1963 in Florida by Howard Dick and Phil Grinnell. They made the liquid sunshine that is Sunny D!

Disclosure: This post was a collaboration with Sunny D. However, all words and opinions are my own (apart from the "history" text above). Both myself and Aaron genuinely loved the product and will be purchasing it again so that we can taste all of the flavours!

Adding my post to #TriedTested over at My Family Fever:

Family Fever

Five Signs That Your Child Has a Hearing Issue

Photo credit: by  Travis Isaacs
Those of us who have healthy children are very lucky. But it's important to remember that some health issues are only discovered once a child reaches school age and begins to interact with the wider world. 

Hearing issues are one such problem that can easily go undetected if we don't pay close attention to our children's behaviour. Here are some signs to watch out for in your child as they reach school age.

Your child turns the volume up too high
Does your child tend to turn up the volume of the TV or radio far too high? If the answer is yes, it could be because they simply can't hear it well enough. Instead of just turning down the volume next time, be sure to ask them why they have turned it up so loud. Pay attention to their behaviour and see if you can spot any other symptoms and, if so, you should book your child a hearing test. Getting hearing issues diagnosed early can make a huge difference to children's lives and it's vital to identify hearing issues before they impact your child's learning at school.

Your child doesn't come when called
If you're constantly calling your child's name at home and you seldom get a response, it might be a sign that they aren't hearing you as well as they should. Ask your son or daughter whether they heard you calling them, and see what they say. Maybe you think they're being disobedient when in reality, they just don't hear their names being called. If they hear more when making eye contact, it may be that they are relying on lip reading rather than fully utilising their ears.

Your child complains of ear aches, pain or strange noises
Any symptoms like these in young children should be given close attention. Your child might be suffering from one of the many health problems that can cause temporary hearing impairment, such as ear infections or grommets (glue ear).

Your child talks very loudly, or has problems with speech
Listen carefully to the way your child speaks. Do they speak with a very loud voice, even when people are very close by? 

Or do they sound different to other children their age? 

Perhaps they have a slight speech delay? 
Any issues with vocalisation need to be reported to your doctor so that your child can be referred to a hearing specialist, or someone who deals with speech therapy.

Your child always asks you to repeat yourself
It seems obvious, but if you're very used to your child doing something like asking you to repeat yourself, you might not notice that it's anything unusual. Some children seem to always look to others for answers to questions, because they have not heard them properly. Others seem to always give strange answers to people's questions, simply because they have not heard the question properly.

These are just some of the symptoms of hearing loss in children that are school age. Even if you have not spotted any of these issues, you can always turn to the experts and book your child in for a hearing test to reassure yourself. It is always better to get these issues sorted before your child starts school, rather than afterwards, so that they are not struggling with an undetected disability in the classroom.

End of article.

I can share with you Aaron's story. His hearing had always been impeccable but Christmas 2014 he had a flu and headcold that seemed to go on for 4 months. I discovered he was having dairy milk at school, with his morning snack. Even though he is dairy free at home. Once I asked school to eliminate it, the runny nose stopped with 24-36 hours. Once school saw this within 10 days, without my permission, they reintroduced milk. The runny nose immediately returned, so I quizzed them about the milk and true enough he was consuming milk again. They eliminated it once again and again the runny nose ceased immediately. They now believed me there was a link. Sadly that flu had included a sinus infection which seemed to impact his hearing. So for most of Winter he was doing the things above, like increasing the volume on the TV. 

Once the flu was behind him, his hearing seemed to recover. The recovery began with him saying upon blowing his nose "my ears are popping" or "everything sounds so loud now". The popping went on for a few weeks and then his hearing was totally restored.

However he is now having a Summer cold, and we seem to be encountering the same problem again. His ears seem to have more wax than normal and the TV is about 10 points up on volume. So we are currently awaiting an appointment with the Audiology department from the hospital, which is due to a referral from school. UPDATE: I now have the appointment and it's in July so I will be able to let you know the outcome.

When the nurse came into school he also failed the sight test. They then ask you to see an Optician and we did this. The Optician spent a long time with Aaron but confirmed via a detailed analysis that his eyesight is above average for his age and that he therefore does not require glasses. So we are reassured regarding sight, but do need to get the ears sorted. I hope it becomes as stress free as the eyes, and that the excess wax will clear easily or naturally.  I'll keep you informed.

Friday, 26 June 2015

BritMums Live 2015 I was Not Alone

Where is everyone? Well, I arrived to a calm and tranquil Brewery as I was a Butterfly so required to be there an hour early. 

However, you knew it was BritMums Live, as on the walk from Moorgate station to the venue I already bumped into lots of people I knew. First of all the very smiley Aly and Marissa as they were on the way to early check-in at their hotel and then later down the road I met Julie, whose hair was looking amazing and very purple!

When I bumped into everyone I'd already bought a Boots' meal deal, as being a veteran of BritMums Live I know lunch is not provided on day 01, but I'd forgotten to buy jewellery for my naked neck and ears, but saying it out loud to Julie resolved my intentions and I headed to Marks and Spencers (there's a HUGE one in Moorgate). So glad I did as it would have effected my confidence otherwise (yes sometimes it is the little things that get us putting one foot in front of the other).

I've hesitated with writing my BritMums Live post as I have been shattered beyond measure. I only uploaded the pics to my computer Tuesday 23rd June despite the conference being Friday and Saturday. I'm on my last legs and so is my laptop, so it just was not possible before now.

Overall my experience was positive; I'd even go as far as to say it was the best one yet of the 5 in a row I have been to. I said as much to the founders as I hugged and thanked them goodbye. I stand by that.

There was a bit of silliness but I am not going to go there, apart from to say, the snigger you made, as I moved out of someone's way, was unnecessary (you know who you are). If me and her can be at the same event and be civil, so too should her followers be able to - grow up! Despite us spending two days #TalkingPants and reminiscing about the period (time of the month) leaks that Diary Doll now prevent, we have (I think) left our school days behind us, other than to visit the place at 08:45 and 15:15.

The conference got off to a flying start with my being early, as, like I said, I was a Butterfly. So I got to see the beautiful venue before the masses. Fair play to Jen and Susanna - for Aaron's birthday party I was still setting up the hall when everyone arrived but they are true professionals so everything was in place and looking grand already, apart from a refuse truck outside collecting all the trash before the glamorous Mums arrived. I only mention it as the smell of it ramped up my morning sickness but I ploughed on and made a smiley entrance regardless.
My collage reminds me that I bumped into Hannah and Helen outside All Bar One as I whizzed passed. It was full of bloggers in there but no time to stop. I'd seen Hannah's outfit in a "What I'm Wearing" post on Facebook and commented to her how great she looked.

When I arrived at the venue, the first person I met was Seasider in the City Clare who I've known for years. She looks 15 years younger than when I first met her though (in 2011), thanks to a health kick. She was sad at the start of the event as her URL was down, but the fact that I can link to it here means I think it's fixed - well done Mrs!!!!

Before I forget I must mention the rhubarb and custard cones featured in the collage above - I confess to eating about 6 of them, and when I discovered later that they hadn't been devoured I had about 6 more - hey I am eating for two (or three................).

Hats off to Jen and Susanna they were relaxed enough to meet and greet - I don't know HOW they do it. This year for the first ever time there was a Craft Room, mainly hosted by Lady Sew and Sew- they gave Susanna a fascinator to wear (see it in my collage above) and it was the bomb! Ascot-ready despite being miles away. Alice (who shall from here on in be known as Alice the Hat) was accused by fellow London Transport travellers of going in the wrong direction for Ascot whilst travelling to BritMums Live.

I had to sit and enjoy my Boots' Meal Deal in order to be able to function so I sneaked into the craft room (they thought I was an impostor) and took a seat. Was a great place to dine as I saw the vintage ladies rehearse.

A video posted by Liska (@newmumonline) on

I patrolled the hub (where we have tea and coffee and meet brands) and got some footage which I am yet to edit/upload but all too soon it was time for the event itself to begin. The only brand I talked to in depth during this precious pre-event time was My Friend Freddy Bear who are at a pre-launch stage.

Begin really means people registering and entering for tea/coffee and mingling but as a Butterfly it meant my going on duty to meet and greet. It's an odd one though as confident people don't need hugs and shy people resist them, but I did what I could.

As usual, some Butterflies are more natural than others. Monika was radiant (see below) and judging by the orange bag on her wrist had already cleverly grabbed her Merci Maman complimentary bracelet. Ours are engraved with: "BritMums Live 2015" and are the best ever memento of the event. I am gulping at that link I have just posted as they retail at 27 pounds and we all got one free - wow!
I then went on to work the room in the hub and didn't meet nearly as many people as I should have but was very happy to meet Swazi again (old Mumsnet Blogfest and Danceathon buddy) and Mummy Constant for the first ever time after all these years:
Everyone has commented on what a relaxed affair it was this year. Everyone was so friendly and smiley. There was no snootiness and no cliques. Seemed like a level playing field with a complete absence of egos. Beautiful atmosphere it has to be said!

This was my FIFTH BRITMUMS LIVE and I felt quite small!!!!!!!!! Look how amazonian everyone was compared to me, despite me being 5'7''
Jane from +Practically Perfect Mums 

Me and +Mum In A Hurry 

Me and +Julie 
So off to the main hall we went, for the opening welcome from Jen and Susanna, who then welcomed Deliciously Ella on stage.
Cutting out sugar is something I did in 2001, and lost 3.5 stone as a result. Thanks to that I looked amazing for my wedding and also beat PCOS, IBS and lots of other things as a result. Cutting out wheat, sugar and dairy wasn't trendy back then but I strode my own stride with no books  to help and saw the benefits GPs did not bother to tell me would result. I detest how limited the medical community's knowledge of nutrition is. Sadly I haven't had the self discipline or focus to do it since, which is such a shame. It was moving to listen to her story as she's never been on my radar, so I listened intently and was sat right up front.

If you wish you'd been there to hear her speak, then +Nadine Hill  has uploaded to YouTube not only her keynote but also her talk in a secret room with a limited audience. See it here: Deliciously Ella at BritMums Live.

After Deliciously Ella and before the Ice Breaker we heard a very moving talk from Victoria:
It was really exciting to discover what the Ice Breaker was, that has been a tightly held secret. We were to wrap Mummies in toilet roll to beat a Guinness World Record:
It was all very official, with coaches and adjudicators and everything. The record held was 50 mummies and we only did 51. We had a massive 18 disqualified as they were SO STRICT so thank God we made it by the one! I wrapped the bottom half of the very warm hearted Suzanne and was quite bossy (telling her when to raise and lower each foot and widen her legs) so as to get it done, which thank God I was, as I was wrapping up (quite literally when they made the "10 seconds to go" announcement).

It was only upon arriving home and looking in my goody bag that I discovered we all got a medal for our Guinness World Record attempt. So that and the Merci Maman made this the BritMums Live with THE best souvenirs yet.

*** Writing this post is taking too long - I need a lunch break - excuse me...... Friday 26th June 13:09 (hungry pregnant woman).....***

The next highlight of the day was the Costa Brava session where +Practically Perfect Mums and I got blissed out in a massage

The massage was to give us a first hand experience of Gerunda Fuga and THAT it DID!!!

The massage oils went in my hair - such is the cost of bliss - that my fringe looks quite greasy from here on in, so do excuse me. My radiant (pregnant) smile makes up for it though, and speaking of pregnant, the BEST reaction I got was when I told these two: Domestic Goddesque and Maris World. Mari your enthusiasm bowled me over:
Actually this post is a little upside down as I wore the pink dress (in pics above) on day two and the Joe Brown dress you see above on day 1. Both were bought in a charity shop the day before the conference - yep, I have always done things by the skin of my teeth, flying on the seat of my pants. The Joe Brown was 6.99 and the pink one 4.99. Bargainous. Sorry my pound sign does not work!

Friday evening, after the Bibs Party and before the Bibs Awards we were notified that we did indeed break a Guinness World record - hoo ha!
I love taking a pic of a photographer taking a pic - dunno is it geeky or just a strange fetish of mine!

I have lots of footage from the Bibs so I must upload it all.

I can't move on until I express how DELICIOUS the steak and chips were at the Awards Party - wow:
I ate a lot as I seemed to be stood in the right place and eating was a necessity as my morning sickness is beyond horrid if I don't. I am thrilled that they had Cranberry Juice so that it looked as if I was drinking red wine and didn't stand out too much amongst the festivities.

For a lot of the party I chatted with the lovely Laura. She's also been on a health kick of mammoth proportions. Not that she had a lot to lose but she's been redefining and attracting a large following whilst doing so.

It was also great to catch up with Clare, my mate of old who kindly took the photo of me and Laura (actually I am holding my pretend red wine there).

I chatted to lots of people during drinks and my baby brain won't let me list them all, sorry.

During drinks Susanna asked me to find Hayley from Downs Side Up and I had no idea the guy trailing her was a Sun reporter who was about to interview Hayley and Alice. An interview that meant Hayley wasn't in the room when her Inspire Bibs Award was announced, hence there was a "we seek her here, we seek her there" moment, ha ha:
Carol Smilie's furrowed brow above makes me chuckle for some reason. I think she made some witty remarks too if I remember, and I may well have recorded them!

She did eventually slip into the hall, only to discover that she was no longer a "serial finalist" and now a WINNER:
I will upload all of my Bibs Awards 2015 footage:


Then a large group of us headed off to Wagamamas for dinner, but first of all me and Sara checked into our plastic box. Cheap and cheerful but no TV and no kettle. Literally a bed for the night.

TO BE CONTINUED............

I actu
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