Thursday, 12 October 2017

Shopping for the man who has EVERYTHING

In recent months I have discovered a wonderful website, Uncommon Goods, you may be familiar with it? If you're not then it is something that I highly recommend having a look at (especially with the run up to Christmas coming around so quickly!). For some reason this year, I am feeling a little more organised about the impending festive season, I am yet to make a start in the Christmas shopping, but I have started making lists, and putting aside some funds to make a dent in the shopping lists. 

I have definitely been taking inspiration from the UncommonGoods gift selection, everything is just so unique. This was of course the aim when it was founded back in 1999, they wanted to bring us unique and one of a kind pieces. 

The gifts such as the jewelry, d├ęcor, tabletop items and handcrafted presents have all been created in harmony with our environment and without causing any harm to animals or our fellow human race. They are proud to be a founding B Corp. B Corporations use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems around the world, this means that they meet a rigorous standard on a wide range of issues, including wage levels, environmental impact, and giving back to the community.

This work ethic just makes me more inclined to put my business with them, I love that they are helping put back into the world and make a difference. 

I have added a few gifts to my basket over the last few days, and I thought it would be nice to share those with you here, in the hope that it might give you some inspiration for Christmas. Especially if you have someone particularly tricky to purchase for.

My other half is one of those people who I always find it impossible to purchase for. If he ever wants something, he just goes right out and purchases it, so when Christmas or Birthdays roll around, it always feels like there is nothing left to gift him. It does mean that I do have to really look outside the box, and that is why I fell in love with this Deep Sea Sand Art - a rather unique gift idea if there ever was one. 

Uncommon Goods


Luke has always loved things like this, something that little bit different, and I could already see this sitting in his flat beside the big world wide map that is mounted on the wall. The beautiful thing about this piece is that it is forever changing, it always looks slightly different. You can watch as the golden sand shifts into deserts, mountains, clouds, rain, oceans and smoke, as they all flow and drift into one another. 

Uncommon Goods placed their first order with Klaus Bosch's Sand Art back in January 2008, and it's been so popular over the years it has become a firm favourite. It is handmade in Austria, which in itself is pretty amazing, because it is quite simply not something you come across everyday. 

If you are looking for something different for your other half, you can see more gifts for men here.

Christmas may be creeping up on me AGAIN, but I vow that I will not be rushing around in December. I am going to make sure that my Christmas shopping is all wrapped up by the end of November, and then the festive fun can really begin!


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Caffeine: The Health Benefits of Tea

The Health Benefits of Tea

Caffeine. The reason I can physically get out of bed in the morning. 

I can't be alone in opening my eyes and not really feeling awake (or with it for that matter) until the caffeine has got into my system, it's almost as though it has magic properties that can not only hold your eyelids open long enough to get the kids ready and out of the door (in time for school! Win!), but it also paints a smile on your face. It should almost have a warning on the packet saying 'WARNING - May cause good mood'.

Tea is the second most commonly consumed beverage in the world, only losing out to water and it's many natural, health and wellbeing benefits. A new report generated by the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP) has collected some rather interesting details, there have always been fears about 'drinking too much caffeine' (is there really such a thing as too much?), turns out that it's been overhyped, and actually “Drinking four cups of tea daily is associated with heart health benefits, in particular reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.” says Lynne Garton, dietitian and member of the Tea Advisory Panel (TAP).

“Tea contains polyphenols, caffeine, fluoride and L-theanine, and remains an important source of hydration,” she adds. “Tea’s heart health benefits are related to its polyphenol content. Tea polyphenols help to relax the blood vessels so leading to control of blood pressure, and they protect ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol from being oxidized, which makes it less harmful.

Caffeine has always seemed to have a bad reputation in one way or another, but I personally think that if you are sourcing your intake from natural solutions such as tea, is it really a bad thing? There was a point for me where I used to drink a well known caffeinated fizzy drink like it was water, empty calories that really were not doing me any good at all, but now that I have bid a fond farewell to that habit, I won't punish myself for enjoying a well deserved cup of tea.

Dr Carrie Ruxton, independent dietitian and member of TAP says that “Despite being found in 60 different types of plants, caffeine often gets a bad rap, and our latest report which we are just about to publish, CAFFEINE: THE HEALTH ASPECTS OF TEA INVESTIGATED, provides a review of the latest data with findings that may be surprising."

“It shows that caffeine improves mood, increases alertness, and reduces the sense of tiredness and pain. The weight of evidence is so strong that the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) thinks that certain levels of caffeine in healthy drinks and foods should be able to make a series of health claims.”

Dr Tim Bond (member of TAP) continues: “All too often caffeine is linked in people’s minds with increased urine output yet research has shown that healthy adults would need to drink 5-8 cups of tea at once to experience bladder effects, such as more frequent toilet trips. In addition, EFSA has concluded that caffeine intakes from all sources up to 400 mg per day do not give rise to safety concerns for healthy adults in the general population.

“EFSA’s advice clearly shows that caffeinated drinks can be enjoyed by a wide range of age groups. That means that children aged 4 years and over can safely drink 1-2 mugs of milky unsweetened tea daily, while pregnant and lactating women can have up to 4 mugs of tea daily. Intakes of up to 400mg of caffeine daily are safe for adults enabling a maximum of 8 servings of tea to be consumed. This suggests that worries about moderate caffeine intakes from tea, particularly in pregnant women, new mothers or children, are unfounded.”

Dr Tim Bond adds: “Unlike many other sources of caffeine, tea only contains 40-50mg of caffeine per serving if using a tea bag. At this level of caffeine, a mild improvement in cognitive function would be expected without any risk of negative effects, such as sleep latency or anxiety which have been noted at higher intakes of more than 100mg per serving near to bedtime. Tea is also naturally sugar-free and is typically served with milk, making a small, but vital contribution to mineral intakes over time.”

Lynne Garton adds: “The health benefits of tea and its ingredients are increasingly well established. So, next time you put on the kettle for a brew, consider the amazing blend of natural plant compounds that you are about to drink, and the many benefits that science has unraveled for us.”

So next time you feel that you shouldn't have that one last cup of tea for the day, just have it, because if it makes you feel better why not?