Jeans & tops to put a spring in your step….

The sun is out and I have a spring in my step.  For the SECOND time this week.  If that doesn’t make you want to break out and buy some new clothes, I don’t know what will! Luckily, my fave boutique Woodie & Morris cunningly put together a ‘sunshine’ parcel for me which arrived today full of jeans and tops.  These are the ones that I will be adding to my wardrobe!

Jeans.  I can never have enough.  They are my staple – and I hate buying them because I’m curvy and a lot of jeans look completely ‘MEH’ on my shape…take a look at my previous blog on jeans.  These however, I am really chuffed with.  They have good stretch and what I mean by good stretch is that they keep their shape meaning you won’t be walking round with a baggy bum or baggy knees after wearing them for a day.

Normally I would point you to their lovely website, but these clothes are flying out the shop so quick that if you like what you see, why don’t you call them on 01428 641 771 and you’ll get some great customer service.  If you fancy liking them on Facebook, you can!

 

top Maison Scotch jeans five units

I haven’t got any ripped up jeans so I was so chuffed that these fit me and they were really flattering on my bum.  They are mid rise – so high enough to catch most of any muffin action but not too high.  I’m wearing a size 28.

Jeans - 5 units

The t-shirt, I wouldn’t have picked out at all if I had been in the shop – never in a month of Sundays, but with a bit of colour (or a spray tan), I think this will be really useful.  A ‘smart’ tshirt you can wear day or night.  Maison Scotch – £47.50  Apologies for the dreadful picture with all the gubbins behind….we are about to move house AGAIN so this blog had to be done in a bit of a rush!

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I can’t tell you how super chuffed with this shirt I am.  Its going to be worn a lot.  I will go from Cotswolds to Ibiza and back.  I love the detailing on it. (also available in powder blue) and it looks fresh and you definitely won’t see loads of people wearing the same.  Saint Tropez – £34.99

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This next blue top is really hard to photograph.  Looks like quite a dull blue top hey?  But is NOT!  The detailing is fab – a kind of twist, faux cross over type shape.  It looks great on.  Colour is closer to the top picture (i.e. dark) – I had to play with the light to get the detail to show. Its by St Tropez and retails at £44.99

 

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Last – but NEVER least.  A stripe.  This one is a stripe with more than just a stripe because you get a vest top (shown) and a lovely gold necklace as well.  3 for 1 that’s my top half sorted!   This is Maison Scotch – £69.95

 

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Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Ok, ok I know these don’t sound like the bomb…..but they ARE. Oats, cottage cheese and banana protein pancakes! Quite frankly if I could get off my lazy bum and make these most mornings, I would! Even The Toddler thinks they are ‘amazing’….and they are quick and easy to make.  They are freezable as well – but I never seem to make a big enough batch!

Why are they good (apart from being tasty)? – Because they are full of protein meaning that they will fill you up nicely.  The oats act as a slow release carbohydrate and the banana acts as a sweetener so you don’t need to smother in maple syrup (thats totally your choice though) and the cinnamon can curb sweet cravings later in the day.  If you add a handful of blueberries, you’ll be getting a nice superfood boost of vitamins C as well.

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Ingredients:

1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 medium banana

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 large egg whites (or just 1 large egg)

1/4 cup low fat cottage cheese

Add ins – blueberries, chocolate chips…..

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Method:

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Place all the ingredients in to a blender – I used my Nutribullet.  Blend for 30 seconds until completely smooth.  Lightly coat a large skillet or griddle with Lucy Bee Coconut Oil and heat over a medium/low heat.  Measure each pancake as about 1/4 cup of mixture and drop batter into skillet.  If you are adding blueberries or chocolate chips, add them now.  You want the batter to start bubbling.  Flip them over and cook until they are light brown on both sides.  This will make enough for about 4 biggish pancakes so if you want to make a stack, just double the ingredients!

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

Enjoy your pancake day whilst not worrying about treats!

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

 

Oats, Cottage Cheese & Banana Protein Pancakes

I’m drooling just thinking about these!  Guess whats for breakfast tomorrow!

The one where I learn how to snack!

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This blog is aptly named ‘the one where I learn how to snack’.  Someone once said to me ‘I don’t really understand why mini Mars bars are called fun size, when there really is nothing fun about having a small Mars bar’.  Snacks to me are things that people squirrel away when no one is looking, naughty treats and the reason why we get fat.  With this in mind ‘fun size’ anything is going to be easier to shove in your gob than a ‘king size’.  I think that probably goes for anything in this world.  But – Fun isn’t King.

So, imagine my surprise when Mark (my personal trainer) told me that I needed to ‘snack’ and that would help with my sugar dips and ultimately help with my weight loss.  Ooooooooh kaaaaaaaay.  Super bag of FUN everything going in my mental shopping trolley…..I kind of lost him at that part of the conversation only to be rudely bought back to reality when I heard him utter those hideous words.  Carrot.sticks.and.hummus.  Urgh.  Look, I like hummus, its great.  It has a place in the world and thats fine – but WHY do I want to be ‘snacking’ on that every day?  There is nothing fun or Fun Size about that at all!  I probably need to clarify – Mark didn’t use the words ‘snack’ but it was sort of what he meant.

So, why do we need to be fuelling up frequently?  In a nutshell, eating the right foods and snacks at regular intervals is going to keep energy levels constant so that you can function well without cravings – or dips when your blood sugar drops – that lead you to eating something sugary for the ‘high’ that is associated with it.

Based on a normal day if you were eating breakfast at 8am, you would introduce a ‘snack’ or mini meal or whatever you want to call it between 10-11am.  After eating a lunch which combines protein, complex carbohydrates and vegetables, you would then top up at 4pm – (unfortunately a cup of sugary tea and a large slice of cake are not what’s recommended) – and that will take you through until your supper at 7pm ish.  Sounds so easy doesn’t it – and yet I have really struggled with it!

For me, food seems to be produced all the time in this house, leaving me little interest in feeding myself.  I have a 2.5 year old who needs feeding a lot (he seems to have the snack thing totally sorted as well!).  A husband that hovers in the kitchen at specific times of the day, a 6 month old that is being weened – an endless stream of hungry tummies waiting a bit like baby birds with their mouths open for me to fly in to the nest and drop nice worms and bugs into their mouths (yes, husband would probably say some of my cooking resembled bugs and worms). Then once the carnage of each meal time is cleared away….I simply can’t be arsed to feed myself…….then my blood sugar drops……then I get tired…..yada yada yada.

I have found with eating a sensible breakfast (so not a handful of dry shreddies as I walk the dogs and push the pushchair) – the only thing that works for me is PREPARATION.  Thats making things the night before or a couple of days before.  Then all I have to do is grab it out of the fridge and eat it.  No prep, no excuses, no going hungry. To see whether this really works, I am going to prepare and photograph some snacks for my next blog post and let you know how I got on.  I feel exhausted thinking about it, but once the kids are in bed I will be able to focus – and as my first ever manager at work used to say EVERY day (yes he was a prat!) …. Prior Preparation and Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

Mars Funsize 252g or 14pcs

Post Pregnancy Diet & Fitness – Part 2

Finally I have got round to taking more photos of myself (its not the kind of thing I wake up thinking….yippee, lets pop on a bikini and take selfies!) but I needed to to be able to show you my Post Pregnancy Diet & Fitness – Part 2.  I know I promised pictures before Christmas, but I just ran out of steam.  I kind of regret it now as well as I was doing really well – then Christmas got in the way and although I didn’t eat too badly, I didn’t get to the gym as much as I wanted to.  Anyway, without further ado……here I am 5 months post pregnancy.  I’ve lost inches which is good 3.5 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my waist and 1.5 inches off my boobs so things are going in the right direction and as Mark my personal trainer keeps reminding me, I’m not on a diet.  This is a lifestyle change so dramatic weight loss isn’t the goal although ultimately I will lost the weight that I have put on.

Now that I have concentrated on my core fitness, its time to start upping the pressure and I am going to be running a couple of times a week.  I am not a ‘natural’ runner, so this should be interesting – I hold my breath when I run for the bus…….- but I’d definitely attempt a run over doing a Zumba class which fills me with fear! I am going to do 10km ‘fun’ run with obstacles and wotnot in March.  I must be bonkers!  Anyone want to join, the details are here.

 

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Kick Start Juicing January

My personal trainer has ‘suggested’ (which means I have to do it!) that I do a 5 day juice restart.  Luckily we both sing of the same page when it comes to “detox”.  I think its a word that has been overhyped.  Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are definite merits in redressing the balance and helping your body – but I wouldn’t call it detoxing. I found this article regarding detoxing and thought it was very sensible – take a peek.

I’m not in to starving or drinking just juices.  With a 5 month old who doesn’t sleep a whole lot, I need my food.  I am also going to the gym 3 x a week and I couldn’t even contemplate that on no food!

So who is with me?  This is a 5 day kick start to get rid of the bad habits you’ve probably got over Christmas *hides the chocolate orange*.

Green curly kale

Kick Start Juicing January

Day 1-3

3 x juices

2 pieces of fruit

3 servings of raw or steamed vegetables

2-3 servings of protein (fish, chicken, eggs, pulses)

Herbal tea or hot water with lemon.

 

Days 4-5

2 juices

2 pieces of fruit

3 servings of raw or steamed vegetables

2-3 servings of protein (fish, chicken, eggs, pulses)

Dairy – only milk or natural yoghurt

 

What is on the NO GO list for the 5 days unless stated is

Bread

Red Meat

Grains

Sugar

Caffeine

Dairy

Any processed food

Starchy carbs like potato, rice and pasta

No ham, bacon or processed meats

Once you get to day 5, start to reintroduce the NO GO list back in to your diet, 1 at a time.  Avoid processed food.  Drink 1-2 juices a day varying the combination of vegetable and fruit.  Always have a ratio of 80% vegetable 20% fruit.  There are literally HUNDREDS of juice ideas on Pinterest but take a look at my Pinterest Board for some ideas on Veggie Juices.

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How to make the juices (you will need a juicer!)

1 x apple or pear

2 x large carrots

1 slice lemon with rind on

1/4 yellow pepper

3 inches of cucumber

1 celery stick

2 inches broccoli stem

2 inches of beetroot

1 inch of ginger root

1 x large handful or spinach or kale

These juices will keep in the fridge for 12 hours with a little ice thrown in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clean Eating Chicken, red rice & roast tomatoes

I love love love love love this!  Its pretty easy to make and tastes really good. Chicken, red rice and tomatoes then add some herbs, cook slowly and you get a wonderful dish which is balanced and delicious as well.

If you haven’t tried red rice then give it a whirl.  Its lovely and nutty and takes less time to cook than brown rice.  It also has a low GI rating.

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Ingredients

75g (2 1/2oz) red rice

juice 1 lemon

4 small chicken thigh fillets

1-2 tablespoons dried oregano

Freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons of Lucy Bee’s coconut oil (or if you don’t have, use olive oil)

1 small onion

2 garlic cloves

4 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

1 glug of white wine (for the dish, not for you!)

300ml (1/2 pint) chicken or vegetable stock cube

4 medium size tomatoes cut into 1/4′s or a packet of cherry tomatoes on the vine.

Fresh sprigs of marjoram or coriander

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Method

Put the red rice in a saucepan and cover with cold water to soak whilst you prepare the chicken.

Lay the chicken thighs out flat and make some superficial criss crosses on the meat (like a lattice) – then rub 1/2 the lemon juice in, sprinkle 1/2 the oregano and season with pepper

Turn the thighs over and repeat on the other side with the criss cross, lemon and oregano.  Now leave them to marinade for at least 15 minutes but a couple of hours would be better.

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the onion and cook over a low heat.  Add the ginger and heat gently for a few seconds.  Add the chicken pieces (and more coconut oil if you need) and gently brown the chicken on both sides.  Pour in the white wine and let it bubble, then add the stock, the drained rice and the coriander seeds.  Bring to the boil and turn the heat down and cover.  Simmer gently for 30-35 minutes until the rice is plump and soft.

About 15 minutes before the end of the cooking time, put your tomatoes into a preheated oven 180degrees/350 farenheit/gas mark 4 in a small baking dish.  Drizzle with coconut oil and season with black pepper.  Roast for 10-15 minutes.

Serve the chicken with the tomatoes placed on the top.

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YUM.

 

Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator….

Oh yes….a sex toy to review.  Who knew!  This blogging world is full of surprises.

Now, when I think of a vibrator…..I guess something like this springs to mind….well sort of…uur kind of!

$(KGrHqUOKp!E4jMOrEzcBOUWI!tZpg~~48_35I was asked to review the Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator which prides itself in being not only a vibrator a sonic one at that (think toothbrushes), but a personal massager and guess what…….it’s WATERPROOF! I wonder what would have gone through my mind pre children….YAY, I can have uncomfortable ‘standing up sex’ in the shower and we can use the WATERPROOF Revel Body Sol Sonic Vibrator….Nowdays two babies down I was just relieved as I saw The Toddler trying to drown it in the dog water bowl that he wasn’t going to get a nasty shock with it being waterproof.

Its the toothbrush thing that gets me.  Have I been living in a bubble?  Never, not once have I looked at my electric toothbrush and thought of using it as a sex toy!  I mean, I thought I was pretty liberal, I lived in a flatshare in Sydney where one of the guys had a weekly Wednesday shag.  We all knew to steer clear of any vegetables in the chiller part of the fridge as he confessed whilst drunk that she couldn’t get her ‘ooommmmm’ unless there was a carrot, cucumber, courgette, sweet potato – well you get the picture…

Anyway, back to my sex toy review (I tell you its easier reviewing a cookery book!) – I’m going to be honest, having had a baby 3 months ago – there ain’t a whole load of shenanigans going on in our household and if there is, its with my husband…not a vibrator!  Quite apart from that, the instructions say “not for internal use” (this is the size of a small tennis ball)…..and its a fair bit smaller that the head of the most recent child I birthed – my imagination got the better of me and took me down an avenue of headlines in the local rag.  “recently birthed local womans’ noo nee swallows sonic vibrator!” – urggghhh.  So instead of a “review” and I am pretty sure that none of you want to here about the oohs and ahh’s of my relationship.  Here is a photo review of the Revel Body SOL Sonic Vibrator.

The packaging is amazing.  Think iPhone style and quality and for the price tag, I would expect that.  Its pretty lumpy at £99 – I mean thats got to be a hell of a good orgasm to shell out that kind of cash.

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It comes with various attachments.  These are for massaging muscles and then ones for massaging your bits……they attach using a magnet – pretty cool really and if anything, attaching and un attaching them kept me amused for a while just putting the various attachments on!

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Its pretty discreet and in all my urr ‘experience’ I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sex toy that looks like a camera for a computer!

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This is the attachment that apparently with the help of the sonic vibrator will have you singing your head off!  Or if you turn it the other way (and it has a handy torch light) it has a dip in it which if you are submerged in water creates suction and gives you the sensations of passionate kisses and flicking of the tongue!

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Here is the official Revel Body Sol video.  God, I’m pleased I don’t have her job….I couldn’t keep a straight face!

So there you have it.  If you have a present list for Christmas that you want to spice up – add this.  If you have a friend or partner that you are lost at what to buy. Add this.  Its got Gadget Status and if you want a more intimate review then google it – there are plenty out there!

Christmas Present Ideas

I’m being asked the dreaded question “what do you want for Christmas” at the moment. Christmas Present Ideas – I never can remember anything that I like or want and just mutter ‘oh you choose’.  I thought if I jotted down my faves I would remember them and maybe you can tell me what you want (just in case I am really missing something off my list!)

There are oodles of clothes that I would love to have, but practicality with a newborn is taking over this year (and because I’ve got weight to loose) so here are just a sprinkling of things that I like.

No idea why, but I LOVE this sweatshirt – £40 from Sea Soul and Snow.

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This jumper from Woodie & Morris – St Tropez Heart Sweater £59.99 perfect for daytime or a chilled evening out.  I love a bit of sparkle!

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Thanks to fellow blogger Does My Bum Look 40 writing about them……I’m loving giving and hopefully receiving any of these (take a look lots of colour ways) and a total bargain at £10 from Alices Wonders

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And these little lovelies…..I am totally in love with.  Dr Denim Plenty Flocked Denim – £45 This is a denim which I have written about before – and I am the proud owner of several pairs already.  These look great dressed up or down.  I may not be able to resist these until Christmas!

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Anthropologie has pretty much my dream wardrobe!  But this would be awesome under the Christmas tree! Cashmere V Back Jumper – £208

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Next post will be more accessories, bags, headphones and other ESSENTIAL bits!

 

 

Clean Eating and Fitness Week 2

images-3I’m 2 weeks in to my new clean eating and fitness and I have to admit – its been tough! The first week was hard core. I gave up sugar. That REALLY hurt. Headaches, grumpy, lack of energy. Around day 7 I felt like I turned a corner and things got a great deal easier.  My energy levels seemed more consistent and I wasn’t having big energy slumps throughout the day.

Exercise wise. I’m not going to lie. Working out when you have small children is a logistical minefield – whether you do it at home or go to the gym. The only way I have been able to make it work is to book it in to my diary a week ahead that way the commitment is made and I do it – otherwise I know I would think of a hundred other things to do instead. Two weeks on, I’m really enjoying it, I feel energised, stronger and am starting to feel like I might be changing shape a bit.

My biggest motivation has to be taking before photographs – if you want a kick up the arse (or just a terrible photo of your arse) then take pictures – mine are here.

I train at Stone Barn Fitness in the Cotwolds.  Its a gym, no classes.  I like that.  I can go in train and leave, I don’t have to stress about fitting in to a class timetable.  I also don’t spend ages on the treadmill (can’t bear it!) or static bike (booooring!).  I do weights and keep my heart rate up by doing cardio (stepping onto step) or kettle bells.  I am on a programme of personal training for 6 weeks to get me back in to the swing of things and to get myself in to the habit of going to the gym again.

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Here are my top reasons/tips for joining a gym or exercising regularly.

1.You will feel better about yourself – by sticking to an exercise routine and healthy eating, psychologically you will start to feel better about yourself. And as per the quote above, its such a small proportion of your day.  When you look at it like that, it is a great motivator!

2.Its a great stress reliever – Whether you are climbing the corporate ladder or herding unruly children. An hour in the gym is a great stress reliever!

3. If you work hard, you will get a nice body – no really, you will!

4. It makes you happy – those post workout endorphins will make your day a good one.

5. It makes eating healthier easier – there is something about exercising that makes you want to step away from the cookie jar. Clean eating becomes easier.

6. It teaches you to appreciate your body – when you start to see the progress, whether thats increased fitness, looser clothes or more sit ups.  Your body is responding to you.  Thats a great thing!

7. Your confidence will soar – committing to something and sticking to it is great for your confidence.

8. Be realistic about how often you can go to the gym.  I have committed to 3 days a week and potentially a 4th as a bonus.  Don’t start off going 7 times a week, you’ll get bored of it and will give up.  Better to be realistic and make it a lifestyle choice than a schlep.

9. When you exercise, you need to drink more water.  I’ve been trying hard to keep hydrated, my skin is loving it.

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Apple & Bears Natural Body Products – Giveaway

As some of you may (or may not!) remember, I reviewed Apple & Bears natural body products earlier this year.  I love them, the smell (beautiful, clean and pure), the textures of the products, the packaging, the NEW and very very smart gift boxes and I also love that they donate 5% of every sale (inc VAT) to Breast Cancer Care.  Any preggers readers?  I could stomach the Honey & Hemp whilst suffering from dreadful nausea – such a gentle and natural smell!

With Christmas (I can say it now as we are only a month or so away!) coming up these are really cool gifts to give.  The Apple & Bears natural body products are stocked in Fenwicks and also online at Lovelula.com which is a delicious website stuffed full of stylish natural products.

Here is what they are all about:

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APPLE & BEARS is:

  •  ECOCERT accredited
  •  Contains extracts of real fruit and flower
  •  Paraben and SLS free
  •  Free from animal testing
  •  Safe and recyclable
  •  Socially responsible and ethically bound
  •  Suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians unless stated
APPLE & BEARS invite you to discover the power and purity of nature with our exclusive Luxury Body Care Collection – created for today’s ethical man and woman. Made in the United Kingdom, our environmentally friendly collection promotes a healthy skin and planet by using the finest sustainably sourced and Eco-certified natural and organic ingredients that harness the healing powers of nature, whilst remaining true and gentle to your skin. Pure, natural extracts and gentle aromas cleanse, nurture and nourish your skin for an indulging and renewing body care experience. Our natural and organic ingredients produce a pure blend that cleanses impurities gently and effectively, nourishes the skin delicately and naturally, whilst revitalising the senses with a full and luxurious foam and cream. Welcome to APPLE & BEARS and our truly pure and luxurious body care collection.
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Our Beginning:

APPLE & BEARS started with a strikingly simple question, “Why don’t we make a truly good product, which helps make a difference to people’s lives?”

Before founding the company in 2011, Kay dedicated herself to volunteering for Breast Cancer Care and other charities, while Dean was helping an overseas company import their line of beauty products into Europe. Dismayed to discover that the “all-natural” promises on their labels didn’t live up to what was actually in the bottles, Dean had a crisis of conscience and left the position.

As they debated what to do next, Kay asked the fateful question “Why don’t we make a truly good product, which helps make a difference to people’s lives?”

APPLE & BEARS was their answer – a line of luxury cosmetics, made from natural and organic ingredients, which donates a portion of profits to worthy causes.

We believe the results are very good indeed.

Our Charity Pledge:

We are proud to support Breast Cancer Care, a registered charity in England and Wales (number 1017658) and Scotland (number SCO38104) by donating 5% of profits including VAT from the sale of our products as we continue to dedicate ourselves and support this cause by pledging to help those in need. This shows our strong commitment to this very worthy cause that affects so many men and women in the UK and around the world.

Our bottles and packaging proudly display the Breast Cancer Ribbon and affirms our continued commitment to support the Breast Cancer Care charity.
Our donation is not a seasonal contribution, but a long standing pledge for the lifespan of our Luxury Body Care Collection.

Mermaid And Koi Logo:

Our logo draws inspiration from the many men and women diagnosed with breast cancer in celebration of life, hope, courage and the promise of new beginnings. The Mermaids represent a graceful, loving and carefree being, true of heart and free to a life of adventure. The Koi fish is revered for courage and perseverance – the ability to express levels of strength and determination and a symbolism for those who have made it through tough times.

For those who have and are bravely fighting cancer, the Mermaid and Koi logo is a personal symbol of coming out on top, no matter how hard the fight to survive.

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I am hosting an Apple & Bears Natural Products Giveaway (3 individual winners will receive 1 box each which will be randomly selected i.e. you cannot chose the fragrance rrp £34.95) to enter see the box below…..

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway