Monday, 27 July 2015

When Credit is History

It's a strange thing becoming a stay at home mum. Even stranger when you can plot and spot the energetic changes that go along with it. I was SO finance focused. I was that person who went to University with savings (mine not my parents). I worked in C and A and McDonalds for 3.5 months 7 days a week combined sometimes doing the morning in the latter and the afternoon in the former. They were happy days, the hubby - then a boyfriend - would meet me after work.

I went to Uni with a couple of grand in the bank AND we still got grants back then. It was a given (not means tested) that tuition fees were paid, and thanks to my Step Dad's income not being taken into account I got a subsistence grant (for rent and food) too. Suffice to say I did not get a student loan until my final year (I can't remember why, as by then I had two part-time jobs). Anyway, within a year or so of completing Uni it was paid off.

Fast forward a few years and a gang of us from work were going to Magaluf. I didn't have spending money, so applied for a credit card. God forbid. It didn't come in time for the holiday, so I ran out of money a couple of days before I came home. THAT taught me a lesson as the people I had bought many rounds of drinks for spent what they had left on over the top souvenirs with little thought for me - one of my first lessons in life that some humans are inherently thoughtless and selfish.

Returning home to the lure of a credit card with a balance waiting to be exploited must have been a strong temptation after a few days of austerity - oh THAT word!!!!!

Fast forward and a credit card became that thing you used when you wanted to go to All Bar One for lunch, or when you wanted something new, close to pay day. Funny, but with my store cards I paid them off in full every month (due to a crazy high APR) but with my credit cards - there were more by this stage - I was happy to pay the minimum amount.

They were designed so that was how they expected you to use them.

Then along came the days when some companies offered 0% interest on balance transfers. I think I moved my debt so many times I exploited ALL of them, and shouted about it to anyone in my life who needed to too.

Necessities were never bought on credit cards and they were the way I cushioned the shackles of those early days of low salaries.

The country is built on people spending money they don't have. Or at least it was during that 1990s post recession boom. The one that turned out to be unsustainable. And I know about all the other elements of it too like housing equity withdrawal etc... thanks to a degree in Economics.

Fast forward to 2003 and I told the husband "I will not have a baby until I have cleared all of my debt". I was into yoga by then, quite close to being qualified as a Teacher (in addition to working full time) and clearly had a very clear awareness of my lower 3 chakras, and manifesting/creating a baby in that lower region of the body that is so linked to housing/shelter and security obviously made me wary of my financial situation. After all the first chakra relates to security, stability and being grounded. Often our sense of "security" is closely connected to our finances and our ability to provide. I not only had a day to day reason to want to be able to "provide" in material terms but also felt the heaviness of that responsibility energetically too. The chakra's strengths can be found in the state of our meridians also.

Let me share this extract from Change Your Energy with you which highlights the link between the first chakra (known as the ROOT chakra) and financial security:
Root Chakra represents our basic survival needs. This chakra serves as an energetic doorway to our earthly life and mother nature. Yes. Food, clothing and shelter are our most primal needs, but they all require money to have them. One of the ways chakras become blocked is from a deluge of limiting or negative beliefs entering our energy field. We are often unaware when this is happening. Like a cosmic plumbing system, we think we are pouring positive thinking into our system, only to wake up one day to have the whole emotional kitchen sink backing up in our face. 
If you are in a job that is not meeting your basic needs, if you are often frustrated, under financial stress or feel unsupported in your workplace and community, paying some attention to clearing your Root Chakra may help. 
More brief information in summary form is here, regarding the seven chakras and pregnancy: Balancing Chakras During Pregnancy.

In 2003 I had told the hubby I would clear my debts (loans and credit cards) within 5 years and there must be something about "putting it out there" as I did! Only trouble was, late 2007 we went to Nigeria for a burial and I had to take Malaria tablets which said on the packet you could not conceive within 3 months of taking them. 2008 I then got busy with my career and to be honest was a complete workaholic. Baby was put on the long finger and in reality WORK was my baby. I lost a year there and on purpose too as a Brahmin told me at the Yoga Festival Summer 2008, when he did my full Astrological Chart that if I didn't get pregnant before November that year, I would have to wait a full year. I returned to the UK knowing and believing that but consciously made the decision to wait. 

Except, April 2009, I remember it being Good Friday, I was looking at candle holders and saw a radiant pregnant woman in Ikea and had an epiphany that I wanted the same. 

The Brahmin was correct of course and it took till September 2009 for me to conceive. I was a glowing pregnant lady in Summer 2010 somehow taking working long hours in my stride. I don't remember being stressed at all. The rest is history, or at least blogging history ha ha.

The job didn't stop being my baby when I had one either. I worked hard, too hard, until 38 weeks pregnant. They joy of Management Consultants being brought in. Then I ended up working throughout my maternity leave (as I never handed over my BlackBerry and they called me in to let go of my maternity cover *le sigh*). 

But oh the irony. That job that I had made my baby then made me redundant in 2012. Being HR Manager I was there till the bitter end, literally turning the lights off on the way out and it did me no favours. Whatsoever.

The first thing I did was cancel all of my direct debits and credit cards, thanking the Lord for the umpteenth time that I no longer had any credit card debt.

Since then, I guess by and large I have fallen off the financial radar. God only knows what my credit score is, as I don't have any credit.

Financial security was always of paramount importance to me. I can't remember my Mum or Step Dad giving me a penny during Uni. I was and always have been fiercely independent yet now I am happy to be a stay at home Mum. That must have taken a HUGE energetic shift in me, but I have been unaware of it happening as it has been so so gradual. Also, I see it mirrored in other people in my life and in the media, and I know I am part of a cultural shift that is going on globally, where finance is no longer our only priority or focus. Previously I would earn the money and think "how shall I spend it?". Now I think "how shall I spend my time?" and manifest a way to pay for it, which thanks to blogging, doesn't always require money.

There was a time though when I was all caught up in worrying about credit scores.

I was at work, really late one night and lost my monthly travelcard (Londoner). I only realised when I got to the train station so assumed I had lost it on the street. It had a little piece of paper in the sleeve that would be a field day for someone wanting to access my finances. So the next morning I panicked and spent a long time talking to the bank. They set up texts on my phone AND not only got me a full credit score printout, which is like a huge A4 booklet (very interesting by the way) but they also got me credit score alerts, so I could see day by day if something changed.

Weeks later when we were organising a deep clean at work, I found my travelcard trapped behind a desk. Not mine, but the one I had been sitting at late that night.

Your credit score is a reflection of your past and present. That of you and your partner's AND reflects those who are or have lived at your address. If you are about to do anything financial, with your business or property, I really suggest an extensive study of your credit score. You can use Experian CreditExpert credit score. There was nothing alarming in mine but it was a bit of a financial biography. It would be strangely blank now though, now that I have "fallen off the wagon" as it were, financially, which brings me full circle back to the heading off this blog post.

Have you ever checked yours and been glad that you have?

Mrs MoneyPenny has written several blog posts for Experian and gives a great example here as to why you should check your credit score prior to applying for a mortgage. After all why let the bank tell you bad news that you could have found out beforehand. As they say, fail to prepare and you prepare to fail.

If you are thinking/worrying about your finances before starting a family, take a look at Family Finances on the NCT website.

Disclosure: All words, photos and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Sleeping So Much in the First Trimester? Needs to be Good Sleep

Honeymoon in Tunisia
I was lucky enough to receive a welcome bundle of sleep goodies from Hilary's. The timing of it's arrival, at the beginning of my first trimester could not have been better, as the first trimester is the one where I sleep the most. 

Most nights nowadays I am in bed by 21:30, even if not actually asleep. I literally reach the point at about 21:15 every night where I just HAVE to lie down, like it or not. I remember being exactly the same with Aaron, even though prior to getting pregnant, in 2009, I was never in bed before 11, 12 or 1 a.m. Despite having to be up early for work. Effectively now it is the same, except the alarm clock is now set for the school run.

They did warn me it would be unusually packed and so it was:

A photo posted by Liska (@newmumonline) on

#HillarysWeekOfSleep is a promotion that they have done to highlight their sleep tips, in partnership with Dr Lauren Kita.

I'll take Dr Lauren Kita's good sleep tips one at a time.

Routine
She explains that having a set bedtime helps to set your internal body clock. Well I can say, my first trimester experience really testifies to this. Aiming for being in bed by 21:30 every night has really got my body into a rhythm and it means my lie-ins at the weekend seem to be a thing of the past. I like it and may well keep it up even when the tiredness lessens. Sleeping in Sunday just means a late night Sunday night and the inevitable Monday grump as a result!

Get morning daylight
I didn't know this was an issue for me, but the school run proved it was. The minute we got to Autumn (I can't remember which month) it was nearly impossible to get up for the school run on time. I really really really struggle with getting up in the dark. Thankfully with the onset of Spring that struggle was over, but thank God that Hilary's sent me a daylight alarm clock. I have always wanted one, and it's Lumie, who I had the pleasure of meeting at BritMums Live :-) Dr Lauren Kita states that "morning light switches off melatonin production". I am really sensitive to this which is why, when Aaron wants to sleep with the corridor light on, it HAS to be the downstairs one, as the upstairs one seems to pour onto my third eye and keep me WIDE AWAKE.

She further states that a wake up lamp can be a great tool to set circadian rhythms. I hadn't heard this phrase before but can't wait to try my lamp.

She reminds me too that getting enough daylight exposure is also directly related to the production of serotonin (feel good hormone). Thankfully I get a lot of this with Aaron being SUCH an outdoorsie boy.

Avoid bright light in the evening
I am conscious of this, although I do use my phone in bed. Luckily it seems to have run out of charge most nights and the socket on my side is not near the bed, so insomnia and late night tweeting seems to be a thing of the past. Once upon a time I used to tweet until 1,2 or 3 a.m. every night, meaning my blog used to be read 24 hours a day, as much in the USA as in the UK. Not so much a night owl now, and I hate automated tweets so do not do them.

Make your bedroom a sleep nest
Investing in a comfortable bed is something I did years ago and I've never looked back. We have a sprung mattress but with a memory foam topper. It's like the ones that two hotels went on to design, after advice from sleep experts and I looked on with pride thinking "I've already got one just like that". I blogged about it years ago in a reasons to be cheerful post. I do ensure that the bedroom is only used for sleep. We do have a radio (I cannot sleep without my LBC in the background) but would never have a TV in the bedroom. Reading the sleep tips reminds me I need to use the lavender that they sent me.

Find healthy ways of winding down
The good Dr's legs up the wall tip sounds like a good one, but I always do unwind before sleep and very much get Aaron to do the same. A long time ago he'd insist on watching You Tube on the phone every night. When I insisted on stories instead I found that even after 5 stories he'd still be awake (unless it was a rare day that he was VERY tired and would sleep on second book) and still insist on then seeing the phone. After fine tuning over time, I now have a method that 100% works for us. (1) He has stories., he then goes on (2) to have one/two episodes of Horrid Henry on You Tube and then (3) I sing to him. Yep you read right ha ha! Watching the same thing every night keeps an element of routine and things he watched before were too stimulating. As for the songs, I do the same ones EVERY night, so at a cellular level, it's like he starts to get relaxed, and he starts to fade, as he consciously makes the decision to switch off. After 5 long years as a Mum, I've realised that with little boys, they can actually DECIDE to sleep or decide to be awake. It's hitting that switch that says "time to sleep" where they give their body permission to be STILL and sleepy. The songs, for us, are THAT trigger point. It's been working for a very long time now. I'm thrilled. Not a Mummy fail for once.

Practice mindfulness
I don't really have anything to add to what the good Dr says here.

Journal before bed
Hilary's have sent me a beautiful notepad for just this purpose. I used to find that blogging got thoughts out of my head and was great for easing a racing mind. Unfortunately morning sickness in recent weeks did not tolerate Wifi levels at all and I could not BARE to sit in front of a laptop. My bump posture wouldn't tolerate it either. But some magic switch seems to mean I have moved out of this phase and can now tolerate the computer. So my thoughts on Bounty for example will no longer keep me awake as thanks to being able to blog again, I just had the cathartic process in the post before this one, of journalling what exactly went on there. It gets it out of my head, flags the issue to the brand and hopefully draws attention to other people who feel the same, people who only have forums (and not blogs or Twitter) to vent it on.

I've always journalled things out of my head and into the blog. Less so in the past year. But I've never had a blogging vanilla voice, because how I see it is how I state it. I'm a bit of a call a spade a spade person and respect that in others too.

As for noting things you have to do tomorrow, I tend to use the notes section of my phone for this, which is great as it means you are not looking for a lost scrap of paper. We always know where our phone is right?

I love her tip of writing 3 things you are grateful for, every night. I may use the book they sent me, just for this purpose, especially given that it has such a sunny cover.

Don't nap in the daytime
I like her technical sounding advice here. I must have intuitively somehow known this, as no matter HOW bad my first trimester tiredness has got, I have avoided having any afternoon naps.

Reduce stimulants such as caffeine and sugar
Automatically in pregnancy, my body tells me to ease off on the caffeine, so I am already on point with this one, and thanks to a very recent trip to the Foodies Festival I have a GREAT 99% caffeine free solution for my hot drink addiction. Drink Me Chai is just DIVINE! I just had to take a picture of my Aaron as he went up to the stand and made those 5 towers you see behind him. The team were so thrilled (and accommodating) that they gave him the apron you see below, to model for a photo, and made him the complimentary drink he is holding. Ahhhhh my boy:
Do read what the good Dr says on this point though as she is dead right.

Do things that energise you
Being active in a healthy way, does aid sleep, as does making sure that you get a daily dose of fresh air. We haven't cycled to school since December but we do have a very brisk walk there and back, which we get SO many benefits from. At my midwife appointment on Monday she did a CO2 breath test and I am very proud to say that I scored a "1" which is the lowest score which means I am not smoking, passive smoking, nor am I breathing in polluted air. Thrilled with that as it will be good for my placenta and baby and good for oxygenating the extra blood that pregnancy entails.

Oh dear she mentions yoga here, and I haven't done much yoga since Aaron was born, despite having been a teacher for 6 years beforehand (in addition to working full time as a HR Manager). I'm even qualified in Pregnancy Yoga I really need to sort my life out LOL!

About Dr Lauren Kita
Dr Lauren Kita is a psychologist and yoga therapist with a PhD focused on sleep and wellbeing. She specialises in helping busy, stressed out people to find ways of reducing anxiety and improving their sleep, integrating scientific and holistic approaches.

For more inspiration, you can download the free Ultimate Wind-down Guide for the Best Night’s Sleep on her website www.wakingwithwellness.com.

See more at: 
http://www.hillarys.co.uk/inspiration/iyl2015/expert-sleep-tips/#sthash.fHqT4twF.dpuf

Disclosure: I was sent a sleep parcel, so that I could experience a good night's sleep. As stated the timing was perfect being the start of my first trimester.

How do you sleep? Right, I am off to find that notebook and lavender.
Having this alarm clock will be GREAT as it will mean I don't have to have my phone as an alarm clock right by my bed or head. I am very conscious of the rays/signal it gives off possibly being harmful. So actually regardless of the fact that the mornings are bright, I am setting up my Lumie Bodyclock today.

Bounty Mum To Be Pack Not Worth 15 pounds. An Open Letter

Dear Bounty,

You were part of the tapestry of my new life as a Mum. 

I carried my Yellow Book everywhere with me everyday and what kept it clean and tidy, in my rucksack, was your Pregnancy Notes Folder, with lots of exciting literature. Marketing literature yes, but very exciting to read as a first time new mum. Here you created the first yellow square on my Bounty patchwork quilt.

I had a traumatic C section at 21:24 and all my husband was allowed to do was join me in the recovery room, accompany me upstairs and then alas, visiting hours meant I was then all too soon alone, despite being numb from the breast down, due to a full and effective spinal block.

Your newborn bountiful pack, was an exciting thing to have next to my bed at this lonely time. It provided me with a sample of the non bio washing detergent, which I later discovered was the only thing I could use with Aaron's eczema (which he's since grown out of thank to vigilant care and attention). You also provided try before you buy samples of bath products which were the first products used on him after the initial water only baths. I think there were wipes and Sudocrem etc... too. The pack was indeed bountiful therefore living up to your brand name. 

So here you provided the next square on my patchwork quilt, a pink one.

When Aaron was only two days old, your Bounty photographer, with a sunny disposition bounded into our open ward, and took great care and attention in taking a beautiful photo of my son. A photo I still treasure to this day. I was so grateful I got the biggest package and multiples of it too. Such is how another yellow square was created on the patchwork quilt you wove into the tapestry of my new life as a Mum.

There was a red mark on his eye. On the order form the photographer promised to edit it out pre-printing. She was very thoughtful and said it was no problem. I was impressed with her loving nature and trusted this would be done. A pink square sprung up on my new quilt.

When my order came, alas the pink mark on his eye was still present. It was an issue due to the money I'd spent, the fact that the image was to be on his birth announcements and a broken promise. I rung and a no-quibble re-print was agreed with me being allowed to keep the wrong ones. With a huge extended family in Ireland and the red mark barely being visible on the small keyring photos it meant I had a few spares to play with. Yet again I felt loving feelings towards Bounty and a blue square for my blue bundle of joy sprung up on my growing Bounty patchwork quilt.

The reprints arrived very soon. I'd ordered a CD so I would have a digital image to upload to photobox for the birth announcements. You can see the birth announcements in my PhotoBox testimonial video here:
Such it was, that a purple square was created for my Bounty quilt. The love and joy of his arrival was now posted far and wide across England and Ireland, with Aaron's smiling face, courtesy of Bounty adorning many sideboards. This pic was testimony to how alert, big and full of life my two day old son was. Nobody could ever doubt my memory as to how young he was. It was taken at "days old" even though he LOOKED weeks or months old. The Bounty photographer captured the very essence of him, which given I could hardly move, post C-section, was not otherwise a possibility for me.

Fast forward, and Bounty was at the brunt of a social media storm, where people were demanding they be banned from hospital wards. It gathered a lot of support particularly on Mumsnet and MANY blog posts and tweets were posted on the back of it. My friend Claire decided to say NO to the mutiny and I sided with her. She blogged about it too. 

By now my completed Bounty Patchwork Quilt was firmly part of the tapestry of my life and there was no way I was going to see Bounty getting this abuse, which I deemed undeserved (purely on personal experience) and ignore it.

Unfortunately, people didn't just debate the issue on Twitter, but fell out. Being MrsC blogged about it.

Fast forward 6 years and I am pregnant again. All I was concerned with was finally meeting my Midwife for the first time, and getting her assurance that my 1st scan would be imminent.

I met her this Monday and it was amazing as as she spent nearly 2 hours with me.

In addition to my yellow book (which incidentally is now orange) I got my bounty folder which is to provide a plastic wallet for the book.

I was shocked that there were only a few samples in there (mistakenly I think I must have been subconsciously comparing it to the newborn hospital one). Anyhow I Instagrammed my pic and got some VERY interesting feedback on there. The samples were Bepanthen (which is amazing stuff by the way), Pregnacare (which I take every day) and decaf teabags.





I sat on the sofa and went through every single leaflet. I was thrilled to find a form stating that if I completed it and handed it in instore at Asda, Boots or Superdrug I would get a Mum To Be pack with contents worth "at least" 15 pounds.

Such was my excitement at reading this, I insisted Daddy drive to Boots after the school run. It wasn't at all convenient but I was in a "I'VE SEEN MY MIDWIFE" excitement bubble and I wanted to ride that rollercoaster.

I completed the form, thus giving Bounty ALL of my details (which they are well known for selling on allegedly), and gave it to the lovely lady in Boots who handed me my pack.

I got it home, only to find that the only try before you buy sample was a 10g TINY pot of Sudocrem.

Now I class this as:

  • misleading
  • an infringement of advertising standards
  • a breach of their own statements on their own site
  • a trading standards issue due to the mislabelling of the pack.
I tried my hardest to find a way of making the contents add up to the stated 15 pounds but:
  • The Baby Product Guide states "worth 3 pounds" on its cover (but is an excuse to print money as it is effectively full of product adverts that the manufacturers/brands have paid to have featured)
  • There's a free Pregnacare pen but I would not personally put a value on that as much as I swear by the brand.
  • There's a "graze" voucher but it even states "try a box for free usually 3.99 pounds". Now this would be beneficial as I am grazing nonstop since pregnant, but I have received about 5 of these vouchers in the past year (and am yet to use them) so do not class it as of value, personally.
  • There is a 10g tub of Sudocrem, but it is so tiny I would class it as the equivalent of those free perfume samples you get from the beauty counter - they don't have a value do they?
People on Twitter, including Nickie have asked me if there are money off vouchers that add up to the equivalent of 15 pounds, but no, there are not. Yes there are a couple on the back of the Sudocrem, but nothing of great significance.

I have read up on the issue on lots of forums and people have stated there USED TO BE a 20 pound voucher for Ocado. THAT would tip the contents of the bag into meeting Bounty's claims of "contents worth at least 15 pounds" but people online expressed that it wasn't really of value as you had to spend 80 to redeem it.

To prove that Bounty was once doing a Mum-To-Be Pack of value, you only have to look at this video:

This video, along with comments online, give a big-up to Asda as they add their own gift to the pack, when you hand over your data on the required Bounty form. I don't think this is currently fair on Boots, as people not only feel disappointed on redeeming it there, to find that they've missed out on the Asda gift, but with the current below-par Bounty Pack, they are more likely to Google this and discover this fact. So Boots, who I am quite loyal to, are doing Bounty a favour by stocking and issuing the packs, only to disappoint lots of Mums to Be like me.

Anyway, I think the video makes clear that there USED to be some nice bits in there, which there should be as Bounty clearly states on their site: "Your Mum-to-be Pack is stuffed with try-before-you-buy samples"

I do not think it is ethical or right of them to state this when it is (currently) far from true!

Having been a HR Manager for years who specialised in Employment Law, I tend to believe and hold great stock in the written word. If a form tells me, exchange this at Asda, Boots or Superdrug for a pack with contents worth at least 15 pounds I tend to believe it. If the pack then states the same on its bag, it's further reinforced and so the disappointment ensues.

It doesn't help that I managed our Customer Service Team, so again, hold great stock in the written word, having spent hours pouring over trading standards and the sale of goods act literature. I know this pack isn't sold as such, but allegedly they sell our contact details, and my price for that is for them to live up to what they've promised me.

So, with my first baby, Bounty piece by piece made me a patchwork quilt, lovingly made of squares that they embroidered with great service and value added to my life.

This time they have annoyed me beyond measure and thus far have not replied to a single one of my MANY tweets.



A blogger who takes this Bounty Mum to Be subject on eloquently discusses it in this post here: Bounty Mum To Be Pack. So as you can read, she got the catalogue, pen and graze voucher like me, but ALSO received the Ocado voucher, so clearly over time, the contents get less and less.

What gets my goat about this is their byline is

GIVING MUMS MORE.

When clearly their actions are

Giving MUMS LESS.

If the brands who supplied the plentiful try before you buy samples gave them in limited quantities which are now out of stock then Bounty need to either:
  1. admit that the Mum to Be Packs are out of stock, or
  2. do away with them, and focus on the pregnancy folder and the lovely bountiful pack in hospital (or is even that now lacking)? or
  3. make a NEW sealed bag and NEW data collection forms, that do NOT promise that the contents will be worth at least 15 pounds.........!!!!!!!!!
Bounty THIS is how you make a decent pack of value: onegirlandacampervan.com/2015/06/19/emmas-diary-bump-to-baby-selections-pack/

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: http://itsugrocery.com/collections


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: www.itsugrocery.com or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/itsulondon
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 http://www.metcalfesfood.com



[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 :-)  )

xxx
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