July 23, 2016No Comments

Boys body loving – #SkinliciousSaturdays

As a boy, some people think we don’t moisturise our bodies because we are boys and just don’t need to.

That’s rubbish, if anything, boys skin dries out quicker so moisturising should be a daily regime for all of us, especially those that gym or exercise regularly!

I love our Tropic body love as it does exactly what it says on the label. Allows me to love my body, it moisturises, it’s good for me and it smells amazing. Not to mention it has an amazing side effect, it seems to act like a natural insect repellent thanks to the citrus in it.

Have you tried it? It’s amazing!!

Ciao for now x

February 3, 2016No Comments

World Cancer Day – 4th February

Tomorrow, 4th February 2016, is World Cancer Day and today I wanted to post about cancer and how it has affected me personally.

This post is not related to my fitness as much but it does relate to health and keeping healthy and the impact good nutrition can have on your body.

Like most people these days, cancer has made a profound and devastating impact on myself and my family. We have lost a number of people closest to us to various forms of cancer. It can hit anyone at any time, any background, any age, any religion. Cancer does not discriminate.

The strongest memory I have of cancer is something that I find quite hard to talk about but I'm going to try and put into words for you now.

In my late teens, my uncle was diagnosed with cancer. At the time I didn't really understand what that meant. I assumed it meant he was ill and there would be medication, perhaps some tough treatment but that would be it.

It wasn't. For those that haven't been there the entire way through someones falling to cancer, the news that it is terminal and that all they can do is try and ease the suffering until the time comes, there is no way to describe it. The realisation that someone can go from seeming just fine, their normal self to barely being able to be coherent, to moving or to doing much for themselves in an exceptionally fast time is heartbreaking.

I watched this big, manly man who had always been in my life pale in comparison to what he was just weeks, months and years before. It was like watching a movie on fast forward and the knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it but watch.

That's not to even guess what the person going through it is feeling. How they feel being told they have been diagnosed with cancer, how they feel being told it's terminal, how they feel going through endless sessions of chemotherapy and cocktails of medicine to all be told it's for nothing and they are giving an expiry date. A date when the doctors would be surprised if they are still around the day after. Just let that sink in for a minute.

So the news came it was terminal and obviously everyone makes time to try and say their goodbyes. I remember this part so vividly. It was half term the week after, I finished school early on the Friday and was meant to be going to the hospital the Saturday, the day after. I had no idea why but something inside me was telling me I wanted to visit that day. I asked Mum and she wasn't sure, she said she'd moved stuff around so she wasn't sure if she could get there with me and my uncle hadn't been great that morning when she spoke to my aunt so maybe it was worth waiting until the day after. Something inside me kept pushing and in the end we went on Friday.

It was both the most horrible and best experience I can honestly say I've ever had. Horrible because my uncle was there, pale, skinny, barely coherent, hooked up to machines trying to keep him coming. He didn't know who we were. I watched my mum try and talk to her brother and get no response and although she was trying to hold it in for me she couldn't and the tears came. I watched this man who had picked me up and taken me to school just months before, struggle to form words, struggle to recognise his sister.

We stayed. We tried to chat. We tried to make light and joke. Then we came to say goodbye. That was when it became the best experience. I held his hand and kissed him goodbye and for a split second, just one he looked at me with his eyes and knew me. Really knew me. I don't know how to describe it other than he knew and I felt more than heard him say goodbye.

That night we got the call that my uncle had passed away. If I had waited until Saturday I wouldn't have got the chance to say goodbye.

Cancer hits and when it hits it hits hard. There are definitely some positive stories and they should be rejoiced and celebrated but there is also so much we are exposed to day in and day out that helps cancer thrive. Chemicals, plastics, processed foods the list goes on.

What I have taken away from my experience with cancer however, is knowledge. There are so many things we can do every day to reduce our likelihood of cancer and help our bodies to cope with the every day stresses. Eating better, stopping smoking, reducing alcohol intake, using and eating natural whole foods, changing our toiletries and makeups to those containing no chemicals and made only from plants, yoga, meditation just to name a few!

So take some time today to make a small change. Maybe it's change one product you have at home to a chemical free one, eat less processed foods, start exercising. It doesn't matter but do something. We can stop cancer but it takes all of us being more aware and using the knowledge that is out there.

Ciao for now x

January 28, 2016No Comments

Day 28 – Skincare unboxing!

Today I thought I'd make a video with a difference...the unboxing of my Tropic Skincare products and the welcome pack! I hope you enjoy it, I'm still learning to be natural in front of the camera ha!

Ciao for now x

January 23, 2016No Comments

Day 23 – Tropic Skincare

Today I have taken the brave decision to jump head first into a new product and become an ambassador for Tropic Skincare.

You may ask yourself why I would do this? The reason is because I genuinely love the concept and the ethos of Tropic and I'm looking forward to trying and enjoying their products.

Story
The story of Tropic is fascinating and heart wrenching. Susie Ma is the founder and was born in China but grew up in Australia. At the age of 13 her and her mum moved to the UK where her mum was working multiple jobs so she could continue to pay the bills and give Susie a better life.

Susie was making home made body scrubs from every day kitchen ingredients and was sharing them with friends who convinced her at the age of 15 to go out and sell the home made scrub.

Her first attempt was putting the scrub in jam jars and selling them for £20 each at the Greenwich market.  She sold 49 jars on her first day and made £980!! The extra jar was her tester pot and once people tried it on their skin they were sold on the product.

She kept selling and within 6 months had made a huge £50,000 which she used as a deposit for her mum to buy their first house.

She then applied to the apprentice along with 75,000 others and got down to the last 3! Lord Sugar loved her products so much he offered to invest and in year 1, Tropic had turned over £2.2million and £8million by year two.

Why?
The reason I like this range of products so much is simple. It's vegan. It's completely animal cruelty free. It's gluten free. It's made by hand in a kitchen. It has all the ingredients written on the back in English. Most importantly it's Parabens free. Parabens have been linked to cancer and 99% of all Breast Cancer tumours have been proven to contain Parabens and Parabens are found in almost 98% of our every day toiletries! Plus, did you know it takes just 26 seconds for products to get into your pores and into your blood stream?

So for me, it's ethical, it matches my concept about caring for my entire body, inside and out and it's safer than the every day products I have been using for years.

I will be using these products and probably filming my unboxing to share with you all as well as my journey with Tropic. If you are interested and want to buy your own products to try out you can do so and get them delivered direct to your door via this link:  https://www.tropicskincare.co.uk/shop/melbennardo

Welcome to my Tropic journey!

Ciao for now x

December 17, 2015No Comments

Choco Balls

This recipe always makes me chuckle as it's well known by my friends that I don't like chocolate, milk, dark, nuts, none of it! Yet I seem to be pretty good at whipping up chocolate substitutes with healthy vegan and gluten free chocolate options. This recipe is a variation on my Energy Balls recipe so give both a go and let me know what you think!

Ingredients:

100g medjool dates
25g goji berries
25g cashew nuts
50g almonds
100g shredded/dessicated coconut
3 tablespoons of cacao powder
1.5 tablespoons of coconut oil
1.5 tablespoons of maple syrup
1.5 tablespoons of coconut milk

Put the goji berries, cashews, almonds, coconut and cacao powder in a blender and whizz them up until they are as fine as you want them. If you prefer them chunkier leave them in less time.

Add the dates, coconut oil, coconut milk and maple syrup to the blender and blend again until you get a big doughy sticky mix.

This is where you can tailor the recipe. Taste it and see what you think! If you want them smoother then add small amounts of water until it's as smooth as you want. If you prefer it with a stronger chocolate flavour, add a touch more cacao powder. If you prefer it sweeter add a little more maple syrup. Make sure when you add extra into the recipe you add in tiny amounts, blend and taste again as you can always add more but you can take any out!

Once you're happy with the mix, line a baking tray with baking paper and roll the mix into small balls onto the baking tray. Should make you about 15 choco balls with the quantities above. Put them in the freezer for an hour or so then just store in a container in the fridge until you want to eat them. The best time to eat them seems to be if you take them out of the fridge about 20 minutes before you want to enjoy so they begin to slightly soften.

Ciao for now x

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