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Keeping a Healthy Immune System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

So we cannot get away from talk about COVID-19. Let’s keep it simple though and talk about our IMMUNE SYSTEM. Having a healthy and happy immune system will help us to fight off the virus should we need to so let’s discuss! I have been chatting with Sophie Beddard (DipCNM) is a qualified nutritional therapist after studying with the College of Naturopathic Medicine.

Sophie’s Advice:

  1. Step up the veggies 

The most obvious but most important. Aim to eat a variety of different coloured foods with every meal. Yellow, orange, red fruits and veggies including leafy greens (spinach kale, collard greens) are rich in immune boosting nutrients and antioxidants including Vitamin C, Beta carotene and Zinc. These nutrients regulate and balance the immune system and can reduce symptoms of respiratory infection, whilst being effective in blocking viruses from multiplying. Be adventurous and throw some veggies into a smoothie!  Here is a great Green Energy Smoothie recipe for you!

Cooking with the kids

2. Stay away from the cookie jar 

Bored and stressed? I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but consuming too much sugar weakens the immune system cells we need to defend against bad bacteria. Try to curb your sweet tooth by embracing berries, apples, citrus fruits and red grapes. There are lots of online recipes online on how to make healthy sweet treats which can be a fun activity with the kids. 

Try these Rasberry and Banana Cookies. You only need 4 ingredients and they taste amazing!

3Introduce probiotic-rich foods 

70-80% of our immune system is located in our gut! This means it is so important to keep the gut as healthy as possible. One way to do this is by consuming probiotic-rich foods such as sauerkraut, cultured live yoghurt, kefir, kombucha. Other important and every day foods include garlic, onions, leeks, asparagus to create a rainbow diet which will help feed that beneficial bacteria to grow. When ingested, the beneficial bacteria populate the intestinal tract and begin to interact with the body in a positive way by training the immune system, manufacturing vitamins and keeping unfavourable bacteria at bay. 

Supplementing your diet with a probiotic is also extremely beneficial. Sophie’s recommended brands are Udos and Biocare.  

There’s a great programme on Diet and Gut Bacteria that was recently aired on Channel 4! Definitely worth a watch. Fascinating stuff!

3. Keep Hydrated 

We need to stay properly hydrated for our body to function optimally and this goes for our immune system too. Regular water intake can even help to wash any lingering pathogens in the throat down into digestive tract. Once there the stomach acid will kill these off. If you become under the weather, fluid keeps the mucous loose and the membranes moist, allowing you to expel excess mucous and phlegm. Bear in mind that alcohol, coffee, tea and caffeine-containing beverages don’t count as water. Limit your caffeine intake. Caffeine acts to remove water from your body, while also leaching water-soluble vitamins and minerals at the same time. Start to introduce immune boosting herbal teas such as ginger, peppermint and echinacea.  

4Address the stress 

Easier said than done, I know!  It’s impossible to lead a completely stress free life, now more than ever we need to prioritise our daily self-care and relaxation. Stress activates our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response), and increases the production of cortisol and adrenaline. While we need this sometimes to run away from the ‘lion’, prolonged stress can supress protective immune responses and increase inflammation within the body. We want to spend more time in the parasympathetic nervous system state (rest and digest). While it’s unrealistic to say goodbye to stress completely, it can be managed through deep breathing exercise and moderate exercise.  

Don’t be overwhelmed and try and fit too many things into one day. Make a list of 5 things to focus on whilst you’re staying at home and try to focus on just these. Keep things simple.

4. Exercise, but not too much 

Daily exercise relieves stress and assists the body in the elimination of toxins, including viruses and bacteria. Make an effort to take breaks from whatever you’re doing indoors to do a set of push-ups or run up and down the stairs. Here’s an interesting fact for you, studies suggest that if we exercise in nature, we tend to exercise for longer. People who exercise in the outdoors on a regular basis have higher levels of a hormone called serotonin. This reduces tiredness and helps keep us in a happier mood. Here is the part you will really like though….Be mindful of the amount of exercise you are doing. Too much can reduce immunity especially if you aren’t feeling too well to start with.  So in theory, too much exercise is not good for your immunity!

Daily exercise during COVID-19 pandemic

5. Focus on improving your sleep routine 

For our body to rest, repair, heal and function optimally, we need sleep. This can be easier said than done with little ones of course. Take this time to slow down and focus on implementing a bed time routine. Regulating our natural circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) is imperative when it comes to immune health. Limit exposure to blue light from devices such as phones, T.V. and computers in the evening. These reduce melatonin production (our sleep hormone) which can then significantly affect sleep quality.  Turn off the WIFI in your home when you’re sleeping and leave your phone in another room. EMF’s (electromagnetic fields) from these devices may disturb the immune system.  

Have an evening bath with relaxing essential oils and magnesium salts. The magnesium found in the salts are absorbed through the skin and help promote a feeling of calm and relaxation. Magnesium can aid sleep quality by regulating melatonin (our sleep hormone) and GABA production (our calming hormone).  

Little girls fast asleep

6. Be in Nature 

Making the most of being at home and look for opportunities to get back into nature. Trees emit certain chemicals (phytoncides) that have been shown to have a positive effect on immunity. Have your morning cup of tea in the garden. Go outside if you need to make a phone call. Natural daylight exposure is great for your body clock, helping you feel more awake and helping your sleep better.  

Supplementation can also be a helpful tool to support the immune system. Visit AMARANTH for more information or if you are in need of any supplements during this lockdown period. Amaranth are also making local home deliveries. 

Hope this has been helpful! I am going to be bringing you some great and easy family meal recipes later on this week so keep your eyes peeled!

How to Look After Ourselves Emotionally During Lockdown

We are all aware that this period of social distancing and isolating is going to be really difficult on all of us and our mental health. So how do we look after ourselves emotionally during lockdown in an attempt to stay sane?

Many of my friends who are mothers are messaging on a daily basis sharing their frustrations. This video sums up one of the main topics of conversation…..

My reaction is somewhat similar to this!

There is also the very real issue of HOW IS IT POSSIBLE TO WORK AND LOOK AFTER KIDS AT THE SAME TIME??? This is virtually impossible! I have no answers.

It may appear from social-media that other parents are completely winning at all of this parenting-lark! Don’t be fooled….we are all struggling. We are all losing our minds and temper. Most of us have done no school work/crafts etc etc at all. Yes our homes are also a tip, the washing basket is overflowing and there is no end in sight. But more pertinent is the fact that with ‘routine’ being completely out of the window the kids and their behaviour are completely up the blumming wall!

So….

How to Look After Ourselves Emotionally During Lockdown

Here are a few ideas. I do not protest to be an expert. I’m as lost as you are. But some things here have helped me and others I know.

  • A quiet walk, perhaps to pick up some essentials from a local shop…take the dog if you have one! Some fresh air and a change of scenery will be the perfect medicine.
  • Exercise! This is more important than anything right now to help with both physical and mental well being. The endorphins released will boost your mood and help you to better cope with the stresses at home. There are lots of free online classes to join in with at the moment including the Joe Wicks workouts. Do this alone or with the kids.
  • A bath at the end of the day with a book to read. It’s tempting to want to take your phone in with you but at times like these some head space away from all the buzz and constant news updates will do you the world of good. A good trashy novel to lighten the mood will be the perfect medicine!
  • Dance….yes the house is a tip and there is cleaning to be done. Turn those tunes on, open the windows and doors and dance as you go! You will feel so much better for it.
  • Drawing/Colouring. There is something so calming about colouring or drawing. An activity that helps you to zone out and channel your inner calm.
  • Watch a film. Again keep it light. Nothing too heavy or depressing. We need positivity and joy right now.
  • Practice some Mindfulness. I have linked some free apps and websites for you. The health benefits of doing something like this everyday, even if only for 1o minutes are massive. Mindfulnesscan help relieve stress and improve sleep and mental health. There are so many other amazing benefits too. At such anxious times this can only be a positive.
  • Talk to friends or your partner about how you are feeling. WhatsApp is a little crazy at the moment. Everyone is at home and online more than usual which has many benefits but also drawbacks. Try to FaceTime one friend or family member a day to catch up. You will feel much better for seeing their face.
  • Wine. Drink it….it tastes good and it really will help!

I haven’t got many tips on how you are able to do any of the above with children running around your feet, short of tieing them up!! Some activites can be done with them. They need down time too. So if they are old enough try and encourage them to have some quiet time alone. If this means giving them a screen to watch then so be it! Be realsitic in what you expect of yourself and your children. Maintaining routine where possible will help. If you have a bedtime routine, stick to it. If you haven’t got one try to establish one where you can.

Painting a rainbow

We Need To Stay Sane

We all need some time to ourselves, even if only for 10 minutes. I appreciate many of you will need the evenings to catch up with work. Try and prioritise some time to yourself too ‘if’ you can. It will help you cope with the tasks ahead. To those single parents out there on their own, extra love to you. I hope you are getting the support you need emotionally to help you cope. xxxx

Exercising during Lockdown

Ideas on How to Keep the Kids busy during LOCKDOWN

So Boris has given his direction that we are all to stay at home unless we absolutely need to go out. Shopping for necessities is permitted. Also permitted is one run/cycle/walk a day with a member of your household.

Yikes!

This means so many different things for so many families. Each and every situation alone a challenge to say the least. We are all worrying about finances, our health and the health of others’, our sanity. More than anything we are worrying for our children.

PE with Joe Wicks

Good Intentions

As a family we started the week with all good intentions. PE with Joe Wicks at 9am, followed by designing a timetable for my big kid that would aim to keep him busy. 2 hours into the day it was all tits up and we promised to start again properly the next day….

…it’s now Wednesday and we haven’t yet got back on track. Tomorrow is another day though. We will get back there.

I haven’t got a million answers on how we should all be coping during this time, nor have I got any idea on what things will look like on the other side. What I am certain of though is that there are simple things that we can all do to look after our mental and emotional well-being during this time.

Keeping the kids entertained during lockdown

Two Helpful Tips

Exercise is key! Even if just for 20 minutes a day. This will help both you and your family mentally and physically.

Another tip….turn your phone off!

It is great to stay in touch and we are obviously so blessed to have the technology that will allow us to talk with family instantly no matter where in the world they may be. However, if like me the constant WhatsApp pinging and social media updates are literally ‘doing your head in’ then the simple action of switching your device off will give you peace of mind. Don’t get me wrong….my friends have kept me sane in recent days. Funny videos and messages of support have been a lifeline but my children are here and need me to be present with them…and being on my mobile device is having negative impact on us all.

Back to the purpose of this blog…How to Keep the Kids entertained during LOCKDOWN????!!!

How to Keep the Kids entertained during LOCKDOWN

There have been so many wonderful things going on online. Lots of celebrities and local businesses have really upped their game and have gone above and beyond to help give those of us at home a boost and a purpose to our day. There are some ideas and links below to lots of things going on. This list is by no means exhaustive so please feel free to comment below with other useful resources to help another parent in their hour of need!

9am-PE with Joe Wicks https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1

10am-Maths with Carol Vorderman https://www.themathsfactor.com

11am- English with David Williams https://www.worldofdavidwalliams.com/elevenses/

12pm- Lunch (cooking with Jamie Oliver) https://www.jamieoliver.com/features/category/get-kids-cooking/

1pm- Music with Mylene Klass https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQh2wgJ5tOrixYBn6jFXsXQ

1.30pm-Dance with Darcey Bussell https://twitter.com/diversedancemix/status/1241098264373592065

2pm-History with Dan Snow (free for 30 days) https://tv.historyhit.com/signup/package

4pm-Home Economics with Theo Michaels (Mon/Wed/Fri) https://www.instagram.com/theocooks/

Non-daily Events:

Science with Professor Brian Cox, Robin Ince&Guests https://cosmicshambles.com/stayathome/upcoming-schedule

For Older Kids 50 FREE Revision resources for 11+, GCSE’s and A-Levels: http://www.eparenting.co.uk/education/50_free_revision_resources_for_gcse_a_level_11_plus_and_sats.php

Try not to worry about making sure your child is getting an education during this time. Think about normal household activities that are important not only for the smooth running of your home, but also a life-skill for our little ones to learn.

Boy cooking dinner

And when you are done will all that…..It’s time to grab yourself a well deserves WINE!!!!!

For more ideas on how to keep the kids busy during lockdown please feel free to share in the comments or message me directly.

Nikki x

BABY SENSORY BUNNIES OLDHAM

Baby Bunny Photos at Baby Sensory Classes Oldham

If you have made it to this page, then hopefully you are as excited as I am that I will be bringing Photo Sensory in to your Baby Sensory Oldham classes again in the coming weeks!

Let’s start with an introduction! My name is Nikki. I am a specialist Baby and Family Photographer based in Stockport. Some of you may remember me from the Christmas specials that we ran in December. It was a pleasure to meet you then and I am looking forward to seeing all your faces again! I can’t wait to see how much the babies have grown!

These Photo Sensory classes will be running as follows:

-30th March at Springhead Congregational Church

-31st March at North Chadderton Social and Bowling Club

-1st April at Holy Trinity Church, Shaw

-27th March at Uppermill Methodist Church

y Photography Manchester

What is Photo Sensory?

Having a new baby is such an exciting time. Many mums say to me how they wished they had had professional photographs of their little ones in their first 12 months. However, in the whirlwind of it all had never quite got around to it. As a mum myself I completely understand this. There really aren’t enough hours in the day! That’s why Photo Sensory is so fantastic, as it is bringing this amazing service to you. Offering you the opportunity to have beautiful baby photos taken during your class.

What to expect during Photo Sensory classes

Your Baby Sensory class will run as normal.  The only difference is that in a corner of the room will be my little pop-up studio ready to take beautiful baby photos of your little one! The theme this time will be ‘Baby Bunnies’. With Easter and Mother’s Day on the horizon, these photographs will make the perfect gifts.

At the start of your class you will be asked to fill out a registration form if you would like some baby photos. There is of course no obligation for you to have your baby photographed.

Once you have filled in your form you will be allocated with a number. We will run on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Baby Sensory Oldham

During your Photo Sensory slot

When it is your turn to come for your photos, you will be given the chance to get your baby changed. Each Photo Sensory session will last no longer than 5 minutes. This is to ensure that there is enough time for everyone to have the opportunity of a photograph before the next Baby Sensory class starts.

Your baby will be sat on my backdrop or lay down if they are not yet able to sit up unsupported. Then I will snap away!

After we have taken a few photographs I will then show you the unedited versions. At this point you can select the ones you would like to buy.

You will receive an email prior to the class with the pricing structure on so that you know in advance what your options are.

Card and cash payments are acceptable on the day. Orders must be made there and then so please come prepared.

What happens next…

I will then go home and edit your baby photos from all the Baby Sensory classes. Digital images will be emailed to you within 7-10 days and mounted prints will be delivered back to your group 1-2 weeks later. All in plenty of time for Mother’s Day and Easter!

Does my baby have to have a ‘Bunny’ themed photo?

The ‘bunny’ theme is just an option. I have these outfits in pale blue, white and pink. I also have a little white bear outfit too. However, if you would just like your child photographed in what they are wearing to their class then this is of course fine too.

Recommendations on clothes that photograph well include anything pastel in colour, white, denim or neutral.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon,

Nikki x

BABY’S FIRST CHRISTMAS PHOTOS

1st Christmas Baby Photos at Baby Sensory Classes in East Cheshire. If you have made it to this page, then hopefully you are as excited as I am that I will be bringing Photo Sensory in to your Baby Sensory East Cheshire classes in the coming weeks!

Let’s start with an introduction, although I know so many of you I have already met! My name is Nikki. I am a specialist Baby and Family Photographer based in Cheadle Hulme, Stockport. Every baby’s first Christmas is a very special one. So I will be capturing some gorgeous memories for you and your family.

Baby Christmas Photos East Cheshire

These Photo Sensory classes will be running on the following days:

  • 2nd December at Hatherlow Sunday School
  • 3rd December at St John’s Church, Wilmslow
  • 4th December at Poynton Sports Club
  • 5th December at Adlington Church Hall

What to expect during Photo Sensory classes

Your Baby Sensory class will run as normal.  The only difference is that in a corner of the room will be my little pop-up studio! It is here I will be waiting to take beautiful baby photos of your little one! A Christmas themed backdrop will be set-up which will make the most perfect Christmas gifts and cover for your Christmas cards!

If you would like photographs of your baby taking you will need to fill out a registration form on arrival to class. There is no obligation for you to have your baby photographed. It is purely optional.

I will allocate you each a number after you have filled in your form. We will run on a first-come, first-serve basis. I will have my lovely assistant Maxine with me who will invite you over for your baby photos as soon as it is your turn.

My Baby's 1st Christmas Photos Cheshire

When it is your turn to come for your photos, you will be given the chance to get your baby changed. Each Photo Sensory session will last no longer than 5 minutes. This is to ensure that there is enough time for everyone to have the opportunity of a photograph before the next Baby Sensory class starts.

Your baby will be sat on my backdrop or lay down if they are not yet able to sit up unsupported. Then I will snap away!

After we have taken a few photographs I will then show you the unedited versions. At this point you can select the ones you would like to buy.

You will receive an email prior to the class with the pricing structure on so that you know in advance what your options are.

Card and cash payments are acceptable on the day. Orders must be made there and then so please come prepared.

Baby Sensory East Cheshire Christmas Photos

What to wear?

I will bring a variety of outfits and props that you are more than welcome to use. If you want to bring your own outfit however then anything white, cream or pale in colour will look lovely! Festive attire is of course welcomed too…Christmas jumpers or party dresses!

What happens next…

I will then go home and edit your baby photos from all the Baby Sensory classes. Digital images will be emailed to you within 7-10 days. Mounted prints will be delivered back to your group 2 weeks later. All in plenty of time for Christmas!

I cannot wait to see you all!

Nikki x