teapigs matcha super power green tea drink : elderflower drink review

Hi friends! 

A little while ago I reviewed the entire teapigs matcha super power green tea drink range and made some pretty harsh observations about the elderflower drink I received. I was just as surprised as teapigs HQ at the very sub-standard product so, hoping it was just a faulty one, I was very kindly sent three more to try! 

ThatRedheadSaid : teapigs matcha super power green tea drink : elderflower drink review

I hereby declare those comments null and void. It was absolutely a faulty item and just bad luck. If we put the initial product I reviewed against today's, it is incredibly obvious there was something of a malfunction going on somewhere in manufacture! The 'void' image has vastly too much matcha in it, which is what gave it that very unpleasant taste and texture. The colour of the drink itself is proof! 

ThatRedheadSaid : teapigs elderflower drink comparison

The teapigs elderflower drink is exactly what I initially hoped for. It's perfectly balanced, clean and very refreshing. The elderflower is the most dominant flavour with a little echo of matcha in the background. There is no weird after-taste and the texture is what you'd expect for a spring water-based drink! The elderflower flavour is absolutely beautiful! I have sampled the three drinks chilled out of the carton, chilled in a glass with ice and also blended with ice into a sort-of-slushie. I used a tablespoon to keep mixing it as there is a little bit of separation, but it's nothing too drastic. 

There are 32kcals/100ml which equates to a 105kcals total. The ingredients are: spring water, grape extract concentrate, elderflower extract (0.7%), lemon juice from concentrate (0.6%), matcha tea leaf powder (0.3%) and citric acid. There is no added sugar. 

ThatRedheadSaid : teapigs matcha super power green tea drink : elderflower drink review

I would absolutely, wholeheartedly recommend the elderflower drink. If you're teetotal like me, this would be perfect at a BBQ to keep you refreshed and alert in the sleepy summer evenings. I can't see myself opting for this post-gym like the apple or grapefruit flavours but it would be amazing to have with your healthy lunch to get you through the rest of the day, and you'll feel like you've totally treated yourself too! 

You can buy the elderflower drink, and the other flavours too, via teapigs.co.uk. A single bottle is £1.89, or a pack of 12 is £19.28. As an FYI, I have included this notice from teapigs:

"Just so you know.... this little drink is quite heavy for the postman so we can only send a maximum of three single drinks (one per flavour) out with our standard Royal Mail post. If you order the box of twelve matcha drinks, you will automatically be upgraded to courier service at the cost of £5.50 and this is only available in the UK. If you have any questions, just call us on 0208 141 8495 and we will happily help."

You can also find the teapigs matcha drinks at Harvey Nichols Food Market, Whole Foods Market and Planet Organic. 
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OM Yoga Magazine : Issue 43 Favourite


Hi friends :)

I would like to introduce you to OM Yoga digital magazine. For UK and US readers it is available on Kindle Fire, Google Play and via the App Store. UK residents can also access OM Yoga via Kobo. I don't have an iPad or Kindle - waaaaaah, #firstworldproblems - so I am currently reading via my iPhone 4s. It' my birthday in just over a month - staring 27 in the face, me no likey! - so I may be asking for a Kindle Fire to aid with my readings!

om yoga and lifestyle magazine

I won't lie, reading magazine content from a small screen is a little bit annoying but it isn't impossible or uncomfortable. If anything, I am very impressed that the quality of the magazine isn't compromised at all when you zoom in to read the text! The pictures are incredible and the content of the entire magazine is inspiring, informative and just, amazing. 

Each month I will select one article to talk about; making a decision is so hard! In the end, it had to be this very brave article: "Fighting back" by Abbie Saunders. In this piece, on pages 108 to 109, Abbie talks about how yoga is aiding the recovery of victims of domestic violence and emotional abuse. These are both experiences that contribute to my PTSD and dissociative disorder.

om yoga fighting back

The article starts off by making a very important point: "Healing, however - both physical and emotional - can be an extensive and prolonged process, with elevated stress and crisis taking their toll on the bodies immune system, undermining energy levels and general wellness over time." What I would like to make very clear is I have no doubt that the impact of abuse of any description is not addressed enough within the public domain. It's a delicate matter and for fairly obvious reasons it is very hard to get victims on camera talking about their experience and recovery. That's why I think blogs and the written word in general are absolutely priceless. Everyone is glued to their iPhone, iPad, Kindle etc so it makes complete sense to utilize this to draw this issue into a wider audience and get a conversation going.

Abuse changes everything about who you are. Abuse changes how you think. Abuse changes how you see the world and your belief system is shattered. Abuse changes how you view your body and soul. Forever. 

I want to make this point now because it is incredibly important: It was not your fault. I know it is very hard to accept this and it will take a long time, hell, I'm still struggling with it after 5 years of freedom from my abusers. There isn't a day that passes where I'm not reminded of it and thrown back into those darker times - thank you PTSD - but there are days when I can understand this logic and work on being nice to myself and help my body and mind recover. This is the biggest middle finger you can give to your abuser and I'm all for that.

Yoga is the perfect method to reconnect with your body. It's oh so gentle and you can go at your own pace. If hyper-vigilance and/or hyper-sensitivity are issues for you, yoga will help you combat this in a safe and controlled manner.



Enter the Boulevard Zen Foundation by film-maker and yoga-fan Rich Tola. He was inspired to create the Boulevard Zen Foundation following the completion of a 2009 documentary, Boulevard Zen; he visited a local domestic violence shelter to donate clothes given by the cast. Within a month of this initial meeting and the administrator of the shelter admitting they did not have the funds to run yoga classes for the women and children living there at the time, Boulevard Zen Foundation was born! 

"When I started the foundation, it wasn't about replacing existing emotional trauma therapies with something more successful. It was about teaching families living in domestic violence shelters the benefits of yoga and giving them the tools to embrace a daily fitness programme (based on yoga) without having to pay for a gym membership."

This makes a very clear argument for the benefits of yoga and for such a broad range of circumstances and conditions. I remember when I was first admitted to hospital way back in 2006 and the doctor suggesting yoga to me as a method of managing my symptoms. I really wish I listened and wasn't so focused on medication being my only way out. Please try yoga before launching into medications. They are so over-prescribed and I think we have forgotten our brains don't always need an artificial boost of serotonin.

Warrior Pose Namaste Yoga
image via Namaste Yoga (http://www.namaste.tv/)
Exercise produces endorphins and these are a much more potent neurotransmitter than serotonin, so yoga will work faster than your run-of-the-mill citalopram or fluoxetine prescription. By the time you've got through the initial month of feeling like death from the side-effects of the medication, you could be head over heels in love with the effects of yoga. Of course, sometimes you will have to take medication but there's nothing to stop you from practicing yoga at the same time. You're not weak or a failure if your brain really does need that little extra help. It's a failure in biochemistry!

"Yoga can help anyone deal with adversity in their lives, not to mention save our society millions of dollars a year in healthcare costs. It would be awesome if all children could start learning yoga at a very young age, like in kindergarten."

The article closes with a book recommendation; "Escaping the boy: My life with a Sociopath." by Paula Reeves-Carrasquilo and a company recommendation called "Safe Girl Security", created by Andrea Clark. 




Escaping the boy is a fiction based on real-life experience by Paula (paulareneereeves.com). She found herself in an abusive relationship at the age of 38. The abuse was verbal and emotional and she was controlled by this person. "She says her experiences penetrated body, mind and spirit until she was convinced she was the evil one." This is the hallmark of an abuser and this level of psychological damage takes a very long time to recover from. I will absolutely be reading this book and will report back with my thoughts!








Safe Girl Security
www.safe-girl.co.uk
Safe Girl Security is the brain-child of Andrea Clark. Following her escape from an abusive relationship, taking her four daughters with her, she wanted to warn others about the nature of domestic violence. She blogged and created fashion-conscious personal alarms to help women feel safer on the streets. "My goal now is to empower women to stand up for themselves and to be more aware of the dangers they face both on the streets and behind closed doors."



Thank you for reading! If you'd like to grab yourself a subscription to OM Yoga Magazine then click the link! An annual subscription is £24.50, or you can try out 5 issues for £19.75. I just know you'll love this magazine as much as I do!!

What are your experiences with yoga? Do you have a preferred method such as Ashtanga or Bikram? Let me know!

Namaste.
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The University Diaries : FAILED


*** Trigger Warning ***

I don't know what happened. I thought everything was ok. I don't know what to do and I have never felt so scared. 


I failed ALL THREE of my exams. I found out while at Malaga Airport yesterday. If I had even a slight suspicion that things went badly then I'd have waited until I got home. I tried not to cry but couldn't fight it after a while so just to make things even worse I was now in floods of tears in a Spanish airport looking like a complete freak with people looking at me and saying words I didn't understand. 

The boyfriend just made me even more angry because he really doesn't understand how I feel about exams and this whole degree. I have never failed anything in my entire life. Yes there are re-takes and re-submissions and I'm not the only one and all of that crap but that doesn't exactly help with how humiliated I feel and how I have absolutely no idea how to handle this situation. 

While we were waiting to board our plane back to Gatwick, all I could think about was the sheer volume of cheap alcohol around me and how I was going to be alone for the whole weekend. The boyfriend is in Prague on a stag-do. I could hear laughing. I could feel people talking about how much of an embarrassment I am and how I'm going to be told to leave Sussex because I'm too stupid to be there. I saw myself drinking alone with my arms and legs covered in blood. I felt something taking control of me and it was absolutely terrifying. 

I didn't plan for this. I didn't expect this. I've only told one friend from university that I failed, but not how bad I feel right now. Only that I have serious doubts that I'll be returning in September. 

I think the vast majority of people have other things in their lives besides university. I don't. This is everything to me. "Well if it meant that much to you then you wouldn't have failed...." I've said from the very beginning that if this doesn't work then I will lose everything, without exaggeration. Everything I have worked for has led up to this point and it's so far been for nothing. There is no benefit to us living under such financial strain if I'm not doing what I set out to do. 

If I lose my degree, I will be no better than the rest of my family and that is something I cannot even bare to think about. I need to be different to them or I can't live with myself. It's that simple. 

I've told my mentor and she is going to see what my options are and see me next week alongside my mental health support contact at the university. I need to talk to my CPN and wave a giant red flag because this is bad. Really bad. 

Yesterday I managed because I was so exhausted from the flight and dealing with Lily and the sheer emotion of everything. Today I am still exhausted but adrenaline is starting to take over and I really don't feel safe. Tomorrow the boyfriend returns at what I think will be around midnight. He doesn't get to Gatwick until about 11pm. 

I need to go out but I don't trust myself. I don't trust the monster that lives inside me. He's very close to breaking open his cage and ruining absolutely everything, just to punish me. I know I can call out of hours and go to the hospital if I feel at immediate risk, but I very much doubt that I would. Lily needs me here right now. Yes, I am well aware that she doesn't need to see me so distressed and I try very hard to not expose her to any of my self-destruction. 

That's something else I've managed to screw up. She boarded with a new cattery that is run by a veterinary nurse who has done extra training in feline behaviour. She thinks that Lily is showing behaviour of a cat that was hand-reared from birth. She is that bonded/attached to me and that is why she is so scared and aggressive in the cattery. She is showing classic fight-or-flight reactions. She can't run very far in her cattery 'house' so she has to lash out. We have lived a very sheltered life and she is not ready for the outside world. She hasn't met many new people and it's always been in her house. So, basically, catteries aren't really an option for Lily and now I need to start finding someone who can come and look after Lily at home the next time we have to go away - mid August I think. 

So.... yeah. In a nutshell, things are bad. I'm trying to use what limited skills I have and not let the 'dark side' win but.... everyone has their limit. 

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