• Review: Kyrobak

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  • Review: Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream

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  • Review: Dreamies #Cat Treats

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  • Review: Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Cleanser #skincare

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Review: Kyrobak

I’ve had back pain on and off since the age of 16. It was very hard for me to find relief. Going to GPs yielded very little help. In the absence of serious back-related symptoms, such as pain spreading into the legs or pins and needles in the legs, I was quickly dismissed. They did give advice, which was to go swimming. Thanks, but that doesn’t help with my pain in the short term.

At some point in 2009 I was advised to go and see an osteopath about my back pain. I went to see a student osteopath at the British School of Osteopathy and received a number of treatments as a reduced price (I was a full time student at the time).

The help I got involved hands-on therapy and resulted in significant pain reduction – in fact it was nothing short of a miracle. I was sold, and in 2010 I joined the course in order to study osteopathy myself. Now, 5 years later I’m a couple of months away from graduating.

What I’ve learned in the 5 years so far is that back pain is not simple – there are many different diagnoses and causes for back pain. Not to mention, the same diagnosis can affect different patients in different ways. Some patients need frequent treatment, others fare better with treatments that are spaced out so that they can recover and get a chance to incorporate advice given.

Concurrently with choosing the appropriate treatment for the patient during the consultation, as a student osteopath I would also advise patients to do something at home to help with their recovery. This can take the form of stretches, strengthening exercises or articulatory movements. As such I am always interested in finding out about devices or adjuncts which can help with recovery.

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The Kyrobak* is an interesting device described as using a combination of “Continuous Passive Motion” (CPM) and “Oscillation” therapy. It is non-invasive and is a relaxing method to help relieve back pain. The potential benefits of CPM technology are described as follows: helps increase the mobility of joints, it offers a soothing rocking mention to help provide lasting relief and the oscillation draws more blood (and therefore oxygen) to the targeted area promoting relaxation in tight muscles.

I was given the opportunity to try it out and I took the chance, deciding that I had nothing to lose. Certainly the therapy modality that the Kyrobak offers is safe. It offers a gentle articulatory movement at 3 different speeds for 10 minutes at a time. The Kyrobak literature reports that it is suitable for the treatment of non-specific low back pain.

Certainly the type of movement that the Kyrobak induces is similar to some of the therapeutic articulatory movement that I would induce in patients using my hands. That said, the Kyrobak essentially replicates one technique that a therapist would use during treatment. In order to promote healing, movement is very important, as it results in fluid exchange in the injured tissues, which serves to exchange metabolic by-products, inflammatory chemicals, and so on. The muscles in the back are often involved in guarding the back and will hurt when used. This means that often it is helpful if movement is induced in a passive manner from an outside source.

This is where the Kyrobak comes in, and it is capable of inducing passive movement in the lumbar spine. This is beneficial, as described above, and furthermore I think investing in the Kyrobak would encourage regular use.

From my perspective, the pros of the Kyrobak:

  • it promotes passive movement in the low back for a 10 minute interval.
  • the movement is very gentle and therefore safe.
  • owning the device could promote its regular use.
  • it is reported to work on non-specific low back pain only.

On the other hand, however, the cons are:

  • the Kyrobak emulates only one of many techniques that a therapist is capable of.
  • a therapist or doctor still needs to be visited in order to come up with the correct diagnosis/cause for the low back pain.
  • the technique being emulated is not targeted to the patient’s needs at that particular moment in time.
  • there is such a thing as too safe – the Kyrobak is very gentle and this means that the therapeutic effect is limited.

To summarise, the Kyrobak helps with recovery, could help to promote healing and encourage a low back pain sufferer to regularly do something for the rehabilitation of their back pain, as they’ll already be invested with the cost of the device. At the same time, a therapist or doctor would be needed to make the diagnosis of the pain, whether it is non-specific low back pain or due to another cause.

I would certainly warn against purchasing the Kyrobak and using it without the advice of a qualified back pain specialist (such as a doctor, physiotherapist or osteopath) in the hope that the pain is non-specific low back pain and that the Kyrobak will help. All that taken into consideration I award the Kyrobak 3 out of 5 stars.

3stars

Review: Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream

When the temperature starts to rise as summer arrives one thing which I think almost everyone reaches for is ice cream! And why not? You’re allowed a treat from time to time. On my latest trip to Sainsburys in the amidst of the UK’s heatwave I realised that it was lucky I arrived when I did, as almost all the ice cream had been bought during the day! Luckily I spotted a few tubs of  Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream and grabbed 2 before someone else could steal them away.

Founded by Reuben Mattus in 1961, Haagen Dazs has been dedicated to producing a range of ice cream with a silky, smooth and creamy texture with flavours which would appeal to an adult audience and believes that everyone deserves to experience fulfilling pleasure. Amazingly it took Mattus 6 years to come up with a formula for strawberry ice cream which satisfied his high standards! Now that’s dedication.

My husband (when I let him sneak a spoonful) and I are very glad that Mattus took the time required to create a quality product. The Pralines & Cream flavour has a base of smooth and creamy vanilla ice cream (made with real bourbon vanilla bean extract) swirled with a luxurious buttery caramel and completed by pecan nut praline pieces which add a great crunch which contrasts nicely with the rich ice cream.

I have to admit that I will usually go for a cheaper ice cream which ultimately can be a bit of a disappointment, especially with vanilla which can taste very chemical-y when done on the cheap. The Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream is a little more expensive but I think it is worth the extra if you’re looking for a quality product which really delivers on flavour.

We are awarding the Haagen Dazs Pralines & Cream 5 out of 5 stars for offering top notch flavour and delivering that treat we need to help us survive the summer! In fact, my husband finds it almost addictive and I expect to see the odd tub sneaked into our shopping trolley from now on!

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5stars

Review: Dreamies #Cat Treats

If you didn’t already know my husband and I are animal lovers and have several pets including three black pigs cats who would happily eat us out of house and home if they had the chance. We feed them Whiskers which they love, but they do enjoy the occasional treat – and when it comes to treats there is one brand they can’t get enough of: Dreamies.

Dreamies offer a range of cat treats which have crunchy outer shells with soft fillings in a number of different flavours: tuna, chicken, salmon, beef, cheese and duck. At the recent London Pet Expo I was able to pick up this selection for £1 per pack and when I brought them home my cats were certainly happy about it!

Treats are a great way to train cats, or just to treat them for good behaviour, or a great excuse to show them a little extra love and affection. For me, it’s a great way to round them all up – one thing you can always guarantee is that when you shake a packet of Dreamies is that my cats will come running no matter where they are or what they were doing,

Moderation is key when it comes to cat treats, it’s important not to over-feed a cat, so be sure to only offer 6-8 treat pieces and make sure water is always available. 90% of your cat’s calories should come from a good quality cat food, so don’t be too enthusiastic with the treats!

Our cats simply can’t get enough of the treats and will do almost anything to get their paws on some! I award Dreamies 5 out of 5 stars as they obviously bring joy to my feline friends.

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Our boy, Darcy

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Charlie, she’s the youngest, and the most pig-like when it comes to food

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This is Georgia, Darcy’s sister and the quiet one in the bunch.

5stars

Review: Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Cleanser #skincare

Recently I have enjoyed trying and testing out a number of the cleansers available on the market from oils to foaming products. I was given a bottle of the Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser* alongside my Magnitone cleansing and toning brush (as it works best with a foaming cleanser) and wanted to share my thoughts with you.

The African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser is described as a luxurious product which is enriched with anti-ageing botanical extracts including vitamin C and antioxidants from the Arican red tea which combine to offer a soothing non-drying formula – handy for anyone with dry skin like myself.

The ingredients of this product have many benefits. The tea itself offers anti-ageing properties alongside soothing the calming of the skin. Borage seed oil acts as an astringent which shrinks pores as does the grapefruit, orange and tangerine extracts which also add a lovely aromatic quality to the cleanser. The product does not have any parabens, sulfates and phthalates.

I usually use the Ole Henriksen African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser in conjunction with my Magnitone device, but you can simply massage one or two pumps worth of the cleanser onto a damp face if you do not have a skin brush, then rinse. Follow up with your preferred moisturiser.

I find the product works well to remove make up (except my particularly tough Lancome mascara) and after use my skin feels soft and clean. My favourite thing about the Red Tea cleanser is the fragrance which is exotic and calming with a citrus zing making something as ordinary as removing make up a little bit special.

I award the African Red Tea Foaming Cleanser from Ole Henriksen 4 out of 5 stars.

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4stars

Review: Jojoba Oil from Art Naturals

Jojoba Oil has really become a bit of a trend recently. As a natural product which has benefits for both skin and hair it has grown in popularity in all manner of cosmetics including lotions, moisturisers, hair shampoos and conditioners. On its own the oil can be used on skin, hair, or cuticles.

Art Naturals recently got in touch to offer me the chance to review their multi purpose Jojoba Oil* I decided to give it a go and see what this trendy ingredient would do for my skin and hair.

Jojoba Oil is unlike water-based moisturisers in that it does not evaporate quickly when applied to the skin offering longer lasting hydration. It mixes well with other products for use on the scalp, skin and hair so you can add it to your other creams and lotions for an added boost. I recommend adding a few drops to your regular conditioner.

As it has been refined, the Art Naturals Jojoba Oil is a clear golden liquid with no real scent. It is 100% cold-pressed organic oil which is lightweight and easy to apply. Simply pipette some oil onto the palm of your hands and massage into your skin or hair as desired.

As someone who suffers from both dry skin and dry hair this product has come in handy. It has helped to soothe my irritated skin and offered my hair some extra hydration. The oil also works well as a facial cleanser useful for removing make up and dirt. Additionally it is both non-irritating and non-allergenic which is perfect if you have both dry and sensitive skin – as I do.

If you are looking for a natural way to moisturise your skin and hair I recommend this product. I find it to be both gentle and soothing whilst hydrating and leaving my skin and hair feeling healthier and feeling great.

I award the Jojoba Oil from Art Naturals 4 out of 5 stars.

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Review: Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour #Foundation

Something that is a staple in any girl’s cosmetics kit is a foundation which can be relied on to even out skin tone and create a surface on which to build a great make up look.

My product of choice this time around was the ‘Lasting Finish 25 Hour’ Foundation from Rimmel in the shade Ivory which is described as a long wearing product which can survive heat, sweat, humidity and resists transfer onto clothing etc all day long. I bought it on Amazon.

The formula is enriched with a mineral complex said to be revitalising as well as an aqua primer for added hydration. The Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour foundation comes in 7 shades and is a lightweight product which is easily applied to the skin via brush or fingers.

I have found that one pump of the product is enough, giving good coverage but I wouldn’t say it’s a solid full coverage, which I like as I try to avoid a ‘cakey’ look. I often mix the foundation with the kind to skin plus illuminating radiance cream for an extra bit of sparkle.

I really like the overall look and feel of this foundation, it is easy to apply and blends easily with other products. It lasts well and offers SPF 25 which is a great added benefit to any cosmetic.

I award the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Foundation 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to using this product moving forward.

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4stars

Review: InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner

Toner is an important part of any skincare routine as it cleanses the skin and shrinks the appearance of pores. I have tried and tested many different toners in my time, so when InstaNatural offered me the chance to review their Vitamin C Facial Toner* I agreed.

The toner is 100% natural and organic and is described as a hydrator with anti-aging ingredients leaving skin feeling fresh and clean. Key ingredients include, of course, Vitamin C which is an antioxidant, and helps the body to produce collagen. It also renews the skin and helps protect it from UV damage, making skin appear more youthful.

Witch Hazel has an astringent property which tightens pores and reduces oil, whilst the sulfur boosts the skin’s elasticity. The InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner is also designed to balance the skin’s pH levels and prepares pores for the absorption of serums and moisturisers. This formula is gentle and suitable for all skin types.

So, how did I get on? The The InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner is easy to use, simply cleanse the skin first (I tend to use a basic cleansing wipe or Simple Micellar Water) and apply the toner either via cotton pad or simply spray directly onto the skin. Be sure to let the skin dry before applying a serum or moisturiser of your choice.

I like using the toner before applying makeup as it helps create a smooth surface on which the makeup sits nicely. It has a pleasant scent and texture and leaves my skin feeling zingy and fresh which is really nice as I often feel my skin is clogged with pollution.

I have to admit that my skin does feel a little tight after use, but I do have dry skin which loves a good drink, so this must be taken into consideration. At any rate a good dose of moisturiser does the trick!

I am happy with the results from using the InstaNatural Vitamin C Facial Toner, my skin feels cleansed and refreshed after use and I award the toner 4 out of 5 stars.

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4stars

Review: Coconut Collaborative Frozen Yoghurt

Recently I have been trying to cut down on my consumption of grains and dairy in support of my husband who is unable to eat these due to his condition hidradenitis suppurativa. I have to admit that the idea of slowly becoming dairy and grain-free is slightly terrifying, so I am always looking for products which will help me along the way.

The Coconut Collaborative is on a mission to spread their passion for coconuts by bringing together like-minded companies and sharing delicious and surprising treats made from coconut as well as giving something back to the planter and its people, such as planting coconut trees, helping farmers and supporting charities.

The clever people at The Coconut Collaborative have created a dairy-free range of products including frozen yoghurt made from coconut, free from dairy, soya, and gluten with life-giving nutrients and yummy flavours including mango, raspberry, chocolate and vanilla.

Whilst looking for a sneaky treat on my latest Sainsburys shopping trip I spotted the frozen yoghurt and decided to give it a go. I loved the packaging which was the first thing to catch my eye – it’s super cute and has a boho style rather than other typical ice cream brands which tend to try a luxury or bold colour look.

I have to admit I was a little trepidasious when it came to trying the frozen yoghurt – I am not a big fan of the texture of coconut, but I do enjoy the flavour, so not knowing what the product was going to be like I was a little worried.

However, my concerns were unfounded as there is no odd texture, in fact it is very smooth, only a very subtle coconut flavour which combines with a really lovely vanilla. I will say that I was a little disconcerted spotting the black blobs running through the frozen yoghurt (I had the french windows open and wondered if a few flies had ended up in it), but soon realised that they were vanilla seeds!

Other than the flavour I particularly like that it is a soft-scoop product, so when you take it out of the freezer it is very easy to scoop it out of the tub straight away and you don’t have to wait for it to warm up.

Overall I really like the Coconut Collaborative frozen yoghurt for it’s flavour, texture and offering a dairy-free alternative to regular ice cream. I award it 4 out of 5 stars and look forward to trying more flavours in the future!

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4stars

Habitat A/W 15 Press Day

I am getting more and more into interiors since my husband and I moved into our new home in Kent which was basically a blank canvas. I have looked into all manner of interior items including furniture (of course), lighting, rugs and wall coverings. I am still debating a living wall (!) Habitat is a brand you can count on for exciting designs and bold trends, so I had high expectations when I went along to the A/W 15 Press Day held at the lovely Kings Road Store.

This season is described as Habitat’s most radical with inspirations ranging from 1980’s pop culture, modern day Africa, tailored curves and mid-century America. This is a collection which is a snapshot of global culture and trends including accessible, but edgy design from big statement pieces through to conceptual lighting and everyday ceramics, soft furnishings and even gold cutlery! One of the first things that hit me when entering the show room was the amazing range of colours and textures. We’re so used to seeing darker colours and ‘warmer’ textures for Autumn and Winter that I was surprised to see some very colourful and cheerful textiles including many different fabrics and patterns.

My eye was caught in particular by the Nancy black and white cushion (it will go well in my very monochrome home), and the Crofton block colour cushion featuring my beloved grey alongside lovely calming pastels. Speaking of colourful – I couldn’t help but be captivated by the colourful and fun graphic print of the Adeline Bedding. And the ceramic elephant from Rubie was just darling! I instantly fell in love with the gorgeous geometric monochrome kitchenware with their simple but striking patterns in black and white. I am a monochome girl at heart and I can imagine sitting on my lovely grey sofa in the Autumn sipping a warming soup from one of these lovely generously sized Magda mugs.

Playing to my love of black/white and graphic patterns are the range of hand crafted ceramic vases which take inspiration from a number of styles including tribal hand-print through to 1980’s patterns with a nod to the iconic Memphis movement. Textured glass is also on the cards to be a big A/W trend for 2015, and Habitat didn’t disappoint with a range of beautiful vases and decorative pieces using various patterns and colours.

Of course Autumn/Winter isn’t complete without Christmas! There are two looks this year: a traditional palette of  golds, coppers, reds and greens but with a warming, contemporary edge and the second a nod to the 1980’s, with striped monochrome patterns, layered with bold colour and playful decorations. Although I am a child of the 80s and I love the striking contrast of black/white I have to admit that when it comes to Christmas I am a traditional girl at heart. I was particularly pleased to see an exciting range of traditional toys as I believe that children shouldn’t be stuck to an iPad 24/7 but enjoy the benefits of ‘real’ toys.

Altogether I came away from the Habitat Autumn/Winter 2015 press day inspired and excited and can’t wait to fill my home with fabulous prints and patterns next season.

 

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Review: Dominican Hair Care Alter Ego Coconut Mask

I love a good hair mask. You might have noticed that I have tried and tested a few here on my blog alongside my skincare products. So when  Dominican Hair  offered me the chance to review the Alter Ego Coconut Mask* I was happy to try something new!

Dominican Haircare are the specialists when it comes to exciting, innovative high quality  hair care for all different hair types to help craete glossy, lustrous and undeniably healthy hair.

The Alter Ego Maschera Ristrutturante Al Cocco Coconut Conditioning Mask is an Italian product widely used in Dominican hair salons. It comes in a very practical, generously sized tub which I feel would be at home in the bathroom poised and ready to go. The amazing Coconut fragrance is so strong that it actually comes through the tub!

The Coconut Conditioning Mask is recommended for hair which has been damaged via colouring or other chemical processes and has nourishing ingredients designed to soften and detangle hair, leaving it supple, pliable and strong. I really love the smell and texture of this hair mask, it feels very much like an aqueous cream which is liquidy and wet to the touch but not greasy and easily applies to hair.

I have to admit I was quite generous taking a couple of scoops and applying on my hair. I liberally covered my hair all over, from root to tip, and left it to soak in for 10 minutes – the tub simply says leave it for ‘a few minutes’ so I suggest either using it for a few minutes on a regular basis, or leaving it for longer for a bigger pampering session. I then washed my hair in my usual way.

So, the results? I can’t stop running my fingers through my hair! It certainly feels softer, silkier and healthier and looks much better than before. My hair is often dry but after using the Coconut Conditioning Mask it feels better hydrated and happy.

I will say that my hair was a bit frizzier than usual, but I expect a few minutes with  straighteners would sort that out no problem. This could also be due to my blow drying my hair, rather than waiting for it to dry naturally.

Would I recommend this product? The overwhelming answer is yes. My hair looks, feels and smells great and I even managed to convince my husband to try it! I award the Dominican Hair Care Alter Ego Coconut Mask 5 out of 5 stars and will be using it on a regular basis from now on.

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5stars

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