13 C
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
    Home Blog

    Ray McVinnie Recipes LIVE with Monique Bradley episodes

    Ray McVinnie LIVE Recipes with Monique Bradley hosting 30 minute broadcasts from Ray’s home kitchen.

    Join Ray McVinnie and Monique Bradley in Ray’s kitchen over a series of weeks where Ray provides an opportunity for you to cook along with him in real time in each 30 minute episode. These videos were filmed in real time, livestreamed onto social channels such as Youtube and Facebook.

    The series was shot exclusively by Pete Ward and streamed from 2016 – 2018.

    Most of the recipes are available on Ray’s website:


    For example, the slow cooked pork recipe from the first video is here:


    And a link to Green Mountain Grills is here:


    Ultrasonic 3 In 1 Handheld Cavitation Device Availability

    Ultrasonic 3 In 1 Handheld Cavitation Device is no longer available for purchase.


    Previously, we have – through our partner website Guide To Better Shopping – sold the 3 in 1 Ultrasonic handheld slimming device demonstrated and reviewed by our editor, Monique Bradley along with various other products.

    We have made the decision to shutter the Guide To Better Shopping website and amalgamate the brands under the single banner of Guide To Better Living, the website you are currently viewing.

    As part of that amalgamation, we have decided that an ecommerce strategy is no longer suitable and have therefore discontinued any and all of the previous products we used to stock.

    Our decision to cease ecommerce in no way insinuates that the Ultrasonic device is anything but the highest of quality and all of our former sales with less than 0.5% return rate reflect this.

    There may be other sites that still stock the products we have discontinued however we cannot recommend any specific site to you.

    Guide To Better Shopping now redirects to our shopping section within this website, Guide To Better Living where we may in the future feature particular products for sale however that decision will be made in the future.

    Wishing you all the best – The Guide To Better Living Team.

    Go Green Expo Hawkes Bay 2024 Tickets


    Thinking of heading to the Go Green Hawkes Bay 2024 and looking for tickets?

    Go Green Expo Hawkes Bay 2024 Tickets available now.

    Grab your tickets for the Go Green Expo in Hawkes Bay 2024 being held at the Pettigrew Green Arena, 10th – 11th August , 10am – 5pm Saturday & 10am – 4pm Sunday.

    From the Go Green Expo Event Listing:

    “New Zealand’s Largest Green Living & Sustainable Lifestyle Show is back again in the sunny Hawke’s Bay! This is your one stop shop for everything you need to live a sustainable life.

    Eco home/building, food and beverages, advisory services, supplements, organic products, health and wellness, beauty and personal care, household products, pet products, gardening, grocery and many more categories are showcased at this fantastic event that is not to be missed!

    A large, diverse range of companies and brands cannot wait to transform your way of life, in favour of the environment and you!

    This show is dedicated to promoting a healthy, environmentally friendly, sustainable lifestyle for New Zealanders.”

    Support Focus In Your Life With Bader Brand Supplements


    Ready to add a little more focus to your life? Perhaps you’re craving a better night’s sleep! If so, you need to check out the amazing story behind Bader Brand – game changers in the wellness and supplement space. Their products are NEXT LEVEL and their stories and presence are truly amazing. Check it out!

    Shout out to lovely Vanessa from Panic PR.NZ for introducing us! Ka mau te wehi!!!

    Basalaj Beauty Interview With Monique Bradley and Amber Basalaj


    Calling all makeup lovers! @basalajbeauty is proudly a Kiwi product and the story behind it’s creation is truly amazing! Have a look at this amazing interview with owner, creator and inspiring entrepreneur, Amber Basalaj.

    Thanks to Eye Magazine and @panicpr.nz for connecting us!

    Yogi 3 in 1 Ceramic Hair Curling Wand


    Introducing the Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Curling Wand

    Is the Yogi Ceramic 3 in 1 hair curling want the best hair curler in New Zealand?

    UPDATE: This product has sold out and is no longer available through us

    We think so, after using it in the Guide To Better Living studio for ourselves and guests, we love it so much that we have started selling it online in Guide To Better Shopping – our sister ecommerce platform.

    Watch The Yogi 3 in 1 Curling Wand Video

    It comes with 3 interchangeable wand heads to achieve the perfect amount of curl as well as a glove for protection.

    yogi 3 in 1 curling wand box

    Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Styling Wand

    Back by popular demand, introducing the Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand – Your Ultimate Styling Companion!

    Are you tired of spending hours on your hair only to watch your curls fall flat within minutes? Say goodbye to those styling woes because Guide to Better Shopping proudly presents the Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand! This revolutionary hair tool is designed to give you long-lasting curls and waves while leaving your hair in the ultimate condition.

    yogi 3 in 1 curling wand box back

    Why Choose the Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand?

    Effortless Styling: This hair wand is lightweight, quick, and easy to use, making styling your hair a breeze. No more arm fatigue or complicated styling routines.

    Versatile Styling: With the Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand, you can create a variety of styles, from big bouncy waves to tight, defined curls. The possibilities are endless, and you can switch up your look whenever you please.

    Ultimate Hair Care: Our unique tourmaline and ceramic barrel not only locks in your curls but also leaves your hair feeling silky smooth. You’ll have curls that hold all day without compromising the health of your hair.

    Key Benefits:

    Instant Smooth Long-Lasting Curls and Waves: Enjoy curls and waves that stay put all day, so you can confidently rock your hairstyle from morning to night.

    Quick and Easy to Use: The Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand heats up rapidly, saving you precious styling time.

    Ultimate Shine Finish: The tourmaline and ceramic-infused barrel ensures your hair shines brilliantly, adding that extra touch of glamour to your look.

    Easy Maintenance: Our specialised coating makes cleaning a breeze, so you can keep your hair wand in pristine condition.

    Convenient Design: The extra-long 360-degree swivel cable gives you flexibility and freedom of movement while styling.

    Three Barrels for Endless Possibilities:

    Large Barrel: Create big, bouncy, loose, and soft waves that exude effortless elegance.

    Medium Barrel: Achieve a comprehensive range of curls, varying from soft waves to medium curls. The size of your curl depends on the section of hair you choose.

    Small Barrel: For tighter curls with a charming ringlet effect, opt for the small barrel.

    Are you ready to transform your hairstyling game? The Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand is here to make it happen! Say hello to long-lasting curls, incredible shine, and effortless styling. Upgrade your hair routine with Yogi and experience the difference today.

    Don’t miss out on this hair styling revolution. Grab your Yogi 3 in 1 Hair Wand now and start creating stunning hairstyles with ease!

    EVENT: Craigs Investment Partners Women To Watch 2023

    Craigs Investment Partners Women To Watch 2023

    We are super excited to announce that our editor Monique Bradley is appearing as MC of the Eye Magazine new long lunch event to be held at the Park Hyatt Auckland on the 17th November brought you by Craigs Investment Partners and in conjunction with the Heart Foundation NZ.

    Tickets are now on sale!

    Event details:

    11am arrival with French champagne to peruse the luxury pop up stores including a Gucci, Jewellery pop up by Orsinis, a delicious 3 course lunch listening to 5 incredibly inspirational women, some WOW entertainment, a few surprises, a charity auction and a luxury goody bag to take home.

    There is a limit of 200 tickets so please click the link to confirm your table or seat and we will look forward to welcoming you to this NEW luxurious fun event!

    The Science of Relaxation: How Stress Impacts Your Wellbeing


    The Science of Relaxation: How Stress Impacts Your Wellbeing

    Check out this video on dealing with stress.

    Kia ora!  I’m TV presenter, speaker and voice artist Monique Bradley. I’m a business owner, I’m a busy stepmum, science fanatic and foodie, and at the age of 50 have just started my Masters in Creative Practice! I like to keep busy, but recently I’ve noticed I’m struggling with my energy, stress and keeping on top of things. This in turn affects my mood, my productivity and overstimulates my already busy mind. 

    Just recently my friend Monica messaged me and said: ‘Monique – you just look tired.’ 

    She was right. 

    I’m naturally a bright bubbly personality so to hear this comment was shocking, but timely!  I’ve always been an ‘I can do it all’ kind of person but it seems like my mask was starting to slip. 

    Monica often says ‘Go and have a meeting with yourself to work it out’…….so I did. I realised that while I’m a highly productive person, the lack of scheduled relaxation time was really starting to impact my energy and work outputs as well. And to be honest, being stressed is just not fun!

    In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become an unwelcome companion for many of us. From demanding work schedules to personal responsibilities, stress can take a toll on our overall well being. But have you ever wondered what exactly happens to your body when stress takes over? I could certainly feel the effects, but being a science fanatic, I wanted to know WHY it was happening and what I can do to take control of the situation.

    The Physiology of Stress:

    According to the research I found, stress is more than just a mental state; it’s a complex physiological response triggered by the body’s “fight or flight” mechanism. When stress hits, the brain releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, preparing the body for action. While this response was designed to keep us safe in threatening situations, modern stressors often lead to prolonged activation of these hormones, causing a cascade of effects on various bodily systems. And if you’re a midlife woman like I am, science also shows us that high levels of cortisol and adrenaline lead to weight gain around the middle!  Isn’t life hard enough already? 

    hands grasping belly fat through shirt
    Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Pexels.com

    Effects on the Nervous System:

    The sympathetic nervous system goes into overdrive during stress, increasing your heart rate, constricting blood vessels, and diverting blood away from non-essential functions like your digestion, as an example. This can lead to elevated blood pressure and a heightened risk of cardiovascular issues over time. Additionally, chronic stress can disrupt the balance of neurotransmitters, potentially contributing to mood disorders like anxiety and depression. 

    photo of man leaning on wooden table
    Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

    Impact on Digestion:

    As mentioned, stress can throw our digestion off balance by slowing down or even halting certain processes. This can lead to digestive discomfort, bloating, and nutrient absorption issues. Long-term stress may also worsen conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and contribute to unhealthy eating habits. As someone who has struggled with these symptoms most of my adult life, when I read about this it made a lot of sense and really highlighted the fact that for at least 25 years I’ve probably been living in a continual state of stress. Time to make a change!

    woman suffering from a stomach pain
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

    Muscular Tension and Pain:

    According to the research I found, stress often leads to the tightening of muscles, which can result in tension headaches, neck pain, and muscle soreness. Persistent muscle tension can hinder blood flow and lead to chronic pain conditions. Again – this was shocking because most of my adult life I’ve struggled with aches, pains and the cramp.  Once again, this makes sense. 

    While knowledge is power, success happens when you take action. I don’t have a lot of time, but I need to do something and prioritise my wellness or ‘me-time’ for at least 30 minutes a day.  I’m sure I can achieve that right? 

    Over my career I’ve tried many different products and programs but one thing I have always loved is massage. I even worked as a PA in a massage therapy clinic while I was going through my own treatment for RSI / OOS. It’s the one time where you don’t have to give out to anyone else.  It’s all about you and there is nothing BETTER than the feeling you experience after a treatment.

    woman wrapping man s leg with bandage
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

    How does Massage work for stress relief?

    Massage therapy is not merely a luxury; it’s a scientifically-backed approach to reducing the physical and psychological effects of stress. When pressure is applied to specific points on the body, several remarkable changes take place:

    Cortisol Regulation: Massage has been shown to reduce cortisol levels, promoting a sense of relaxation and reducing the body’s stress response.

    Muscle Relaxation: Through targeted techniques, massage helps release tension in muscles, promoting better blood flow, reducing pain, and enhancing overall comfort.

    Enhanced Mood: Massage triggers the release of endorphins—natural mood enhancers that promote feelings of happiness and relaxation.

    Improved Sleep: Regular massage sessions have been linked to better sleep quality, allowing the body to recover and recharge.

    Balanced Nervous System: Massage has a calming effect on the sympathetic nervous system, helping to restore balance and counteract the fight-or-flight response.

    And even better, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of trying to book in with a massage therapist anymore as there’s such amazing technology available in the form of Massage Chairs and hand held devices that are designed for you to get the best results anywhere, anytime! Thanks to the development of the AI technology in these chairs and devices, the delivery and quality is always consistent and you don’t have all the extra hassle of booking a time, driving there, feeling all sticky or greasy after a treatment or feeling annoyed after receiving an average quality massage. Massage lounges like iRelax and Good Massage are also starting to pop up all over the country, indicating a growing need for this type of stress support.

    Well, the science is clear: chronic stress can have a significant impact on your physical and mental wellbeing. However, the good news is that you have the power to counteract these effects through relaxation techniques like massage. 

    By incorporating regular massage sessions into your self-care routine, you are honouring yourself by putting yourself first, reducing the production of those nasty stress hormones, and nurturing a better state of overall wellness. Taking care of yourself should never be a luxury—it’s an investment in your health and happiness. 

    So from this moment on, I’m personally committing to scheduling in time for relaxation. It seems like an odd concept to me because in my head relaxation should just ‘happen’, but I must admit that I’ve caught myself many times doing work on my laptop, in bed, before going to sleep! After reading the research, I’m convinced. No more laptop after work and more time for massage.  I’m excited to see the results!






    iRelax Massage Chairs and Good Massage LIVE Shopping

    LIVE STREAM – Massage Chairs

    Guide To Better Living in association with Good Massage and iRelax – both leaders in massage chairs and massage device technology across NZ and Australia are going LIVE with unbeatable show special offers, PLUS gift with purchase PLUS an AWESOME giveaway!! You need to be on the stream to get access to these amazing deals and be in the draw to win so click INTERESTED or GOING on the event to receive and alert for when we go LIVE! Hosted by TV presenter Monique Bradley, this show will be fun and loaded with unbeatable offers! If you’ve been thinking about investing in a massage chair, YOU NEED TO JOIN US TO FIND OUT MORE!

    IRELAX Website

    Watch On Youtube

    Watch On Facebook

    What you need to know about probiotics

    Probiotics and why your bowel needs them: Naturopath and Kombucha City founder Gail Matthew looks at how to increase good bacteria in our bowel and whether we should get our probiotics in a pill or on our plate.

    Whenever I write about fermented foods or gut health, I talk about the benefits of probiotics. Let’s take a closer look at why these are an excellent source of the good bacteria we need to support our gut and bowel, and the best way to increase our intake.

    What are probiotics?

    Probiotics are a combination of live beneficial bacteria that naturally live in our bodies. We host two kinds of bacteria — good bacteria and bad bacteria. Probiotics are made up of good bacteria that help keep our bodies healthy and working well. The largest number of beneficial probiotics live in our bowel.

    Keeping the right balance of good and bad bacteria helps keep your gut healthy. This is essential because digestion is one of the body’s most important processes – food is our body’s fuel and we can only keep going if our digestion system can extract the nutrients we need for energy, growth and cell repair. Digestion impacts almost every organ and system in our bodies as it breaks down carbohydrates, protein and fats, removes toxins and extracts nutrients, then eliminates waste.

    In fact, 80 per cent of our immune system lies within the gut and our digestive health can even impact our mood and mental health.

    Why do we need them?

    Probiotics are thought to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your bowel when it’s been disrupted by an illness or treatment.

    When you lose good bacteria in your body, for example after you take antibiotics, probiotics can help replace them.

    Good and bad bacteria live in symbiotic harmony in your bowel and if the bad bacteria begin to outnumber the good, health issues can occur. It’s important to have more good than bad bacteria.

    Probiotics can also treat illnesses such as irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and infections such as diarrhoea or gastric upset.

    Even if you are not unwell, probiotics are working hard to help your body digest food and to create vitamins.

    What’s the best way to consume probiotics?

    The two common ways we increase our intake of probiotics are by eating foods that contain good bacteria or by taking a probiotic supplement.

    Some of the probiotic-rich foods you can add to your diet include:

    • Yogurt with live cultures
    • Kombucha
    • Sourdough bread
    • Buttermilk
    • Tempeh
    • Fermented pickles
    • Kimchi
    • Miso soup

    If you have just finished a course of antibiotics, if you have been very unwell or if you are suffering from a gastric upset such as food poisoning, vomiting or diarrhoea, a supplement is a quick way to restore some normality to your gut.

    Ideally, though, probiotic supplements shouldn’t be taken long-term. It’s better (and cheaper) to use them for a short time to boost your health, then return to relying mainly on food as a source of good bacteria for your bowel.

    I took probiotic supplements for a time but when I changed my diet to include more fermented foods, I felt so much better.

    If you can’t get fermented foods in your diet for some reason, and you do take a probiotic supplement long-term, change it regularly to ensure you are getting a bigger variety of bacteria.

    What should you look for in a probiotic supplement?

    If you do need a probiotic supplement, a general recommendation is to choose probiotic products with at least one billion colony-forming units. You might like to look out for one containing the genus Lactobacillus, Bifidobacterium, Bacillus or Saccharomyces boulardii, which are some of the most researched probiotics.

    To be effective, a probiotic supplement needs to contain live and active bacterial cultures, and some types of probiotics need to be stored in the fridge. Do your research and talk to a qualified naturopath to get a probiotic that is right for you and will give you a good bang for your buck.

    Supporting our digestive system and maintaining good gut health has long-term payoffs for our wellbeing so it’s worth investing some time and energy into increasing our probiotic intake.

    Check out the range of Kombucha City products

    Inflammation gets a bad rap – sorting the facts from the fiction


    Naturopath and Kombucha City founder Gail Matthew looks at who is at most risk of chronic inflammation, common symptoms and how we can stop it harming our health.

    What is inflammation?

    Sometimes you hear inflammation described as the body’s response to an injury, allergy, or infection, causing redness, warmth, pain, swelling, and limitation of function. But this acute inflammation is only one type of inflammation, and although it doesn’t sound pleasant, it is actually a good thing. Its role is to fend off foreign invaders and deal to injuries, bringing an army of white blood cells to fight infection and help you heal. Acute inflammation comes on suddenly, lasts a few days or weeks and settles down once the injury or infection is under control.

    The inflammation that you need to worry about is chronic inflammation. It can develop without injury or illness, last a lifetime, and causes harm rather than healing.

    Some of the factors that put us more at risk for chronic inflammation include:

    • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, where your body attacks healthy tissue
    • Exposure to toxins, such as pollution or industrial chemicals.
    • Experiencing chronic stress
    • Eating a diet high in added sugars, refined carbohydrates, processed or fried foods and unhealthy fats.
    • Drinking alcohol to excess
    • Smoking
    • Being overweight
    • Ageing – this puts us at risk of increased chronic inflammation, possibly due to a lifetime’s exposure to pollutants and toxins, or an increase in visceral (belly) fat
    • Having irregular sleep patterns
    • An inactive lifestyle

    Why is chronic inflammation so bad?

    When you’re living with chronic inflammation, your body’s inflammatory response can eventually start damaging healthy cells, tissues, and organs. Over time, this can lead to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.

    All of these are linked to the development of several diseases, including:

    • Cancer
    • Heart disease
    • Rheumatoid arthritis
    • Type 2 diabetes
    • Obesity
    • Asthma
    • Cognitive decline and dementia (in older adults)

    How will I know if I have chronic inflammation?

    There are many symptoms that can be a sign your body is struggling with chronic inflammation. But these can also indicate other health issues so talk to your doctor or a health professional to rule out other causes.

    • Ongoing fatigue
    • Body pain
    • Depression or anxiety
    • Gastrointestinal issues (diarrhoea or constipation)
    • Weight gain
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Persistent or reoccurring infections
    • Insulin resistance
    • Skin issues

    How can I prevent chronic inflammation?

    1. Address your stress levels. You could try yoga, mindfulness meditation or journaling. Make sure you take regular holidays and time out to do things you enjoy.

    2. Drink kombucha. Because kombucha is fermented, it contains a large number of probiotics. Probiotics improve your gut-health by supporting healthy bacteria. These bacteria can help with digestion, inflammation and weight loss. Kombucha can also help control your blood sugar, which can be a factor in inflammation, and it’s high in antioxidants (we know exposure to toxins can cause inflammation). Kc Kombucha is made with green tea which contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) – studies have shown that this prevents cellular damage and protects the body from anti-inflammatory responses.

    3. Get a massage or acupuncture treatment. Research suggests that both massage and acupuncture can help reduce inflammation. They can also act as pain relief which is a bonus.

    4. Avoid smoking and drink alcohol in moderation. The Ministry of Health advice is no more than two standard drinks a day for women and no more than 10 standard drinks a week, and no more than three standard drinks a day for men and no more than 15 standard drinks a week. Everyone should aim for at least two alcohol-free days every week.

    5. Move it! Regular exercise (at least three to five times a week) not only helps keep you strong and fit – studies show it also reduces inflammation.

    6. Opt for anti-inflammatory foods. The Mediterranean diet includes many foods with anti-inflammatory properties, including oily fish (salmon, sardines), colourful produce (including plenty of green vegetables), whole grains and healthy fats. Reduce the amount of red meat you eat.

    7. Maintain a healthy stable weight. If you are overweight, losing weight is the single most effective method of reducing chronic inflammation, but it’s also important you don’t yo yo diet, constantly losing weight, then putting it back on.

    8. Supplements. Some supplements may help reduce inflammation. Fish oil, lipoic acid, and curcumin have all been linked to decreased inflammation — although more studies need to be done, especially around fish oil, to say for sure. Spices that may help include ginger, garlic, and cayenne, but again, more research needs to be done.

    Anything you can do to reduce levels of inflammation in your body will leave you feeling better and ready to tackle what a new year will bring.

    How to deal with the ‘back to work’ blues

    How to deal with the ‘back to work’ blues

    Getting back into work after a holiday or a long weekend can be a challenging experience for most people. The relaxed pace of vacation time and the freedom from work-related stress can make the return to work feel overwhelming and difficult.

    There are several reasons why it can be so hard to get back into work after time off.

    We all love the rest.

    happy young multiracial couple taking on sofa at home
    Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com

    First, vacation time is often associated with rest and relaxation, which can make the transition back to work feel jarring. When you return to work, you are faced with an increased workload and the pressure to catch up on missed tasks. This can lead to feelings of stress and burnout.

    What day is it?

    person lying on black and red hammock beside mountain under white cloudy sky during daytime
    Photo by Leonie Fahjen on Pexels.com

    Second, time off can disrupt your sleep and eating patterns. This can result in feelings of fatigue and decreased energy levels, making it difficult to focus and be productive when you return to work.

    I can’t brain today.

    photo of woman leaning on wooden table while looking upset
    Photo by Yan Krukau on Pexels.com

    Third, the mental break that comes with time off can make it challenging to switch back into work mode. Your mind may still be in vacation mode, and it can take some time to refocus and adjust to the demands of work.

    I just really like not working.

    a group of friends celebrating at the beach
    Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

    Lastly, the sense of anticipation and excitement that comes with a holiday or long weekend can be hard to shake. The return to work can feel like a letdown, and the lack of excitement can make it hard to get motivated.

    So, to help you get back into the groove of the workday grind, here’s some tips on how to make your daily life a little more…….tolerable.

    • Plan ahead: Make a to-do list and prioritize tasks to help you hit the ground running when you return to work.
    • Take care of yourself: Get enough sleep, exercise, and healthy food to boost your energy levels and increase your productivity.
    • Gradually ease into work: Start with smaller tasks and work your way up to bigger projects to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
    • Set realistic expectations: Don’t expect to catch up on everything immediately. Give yourself time to adjust and refocus.
    • Stay organised: Keep your workspace organised and tidy to help reduce stress and increase focus.
    • Get back into a routine: Establish a routine for your workday, including set times for breaks and lunch.
    • Minimise distractions: Turn off notifications on your phone or limit social media usage during work hours.
    • Focus on the positive: Reframe your perspective and focus on the opportunities and challenges that work can bring.
    • Reward yourself: Set achievable goals and reward yourself when you reach them to keep yourself motivated.
    • Take care of your mental health: Make time for self-care activities and engage in activities that bring you joy and happiness.

    Remember, getting back into work after a break can be a challenge, but with the right mindset and approach, it can also be an opportunity for growth and development, so with some preparation and self-care, it is possible to make the transition smoother. Taking steps to manage stress, getting enough sleep and exercise, and setting realistic expectations for your workload can help you ease back into work and feel more productive and motivated. Best of luck!

    Need a little extra support? Why not download a copy of our life planner!

    How to deal with the symptoms of menopause, naturally.


    How to deal with the symptoms of menopause, naturally.

    Menopause is a natural biological process that marks the end of a woman’s reproductive years. It typically occurs between the ages of 45 and 55, but can happen earlier or later. Menopause is characterized by the permanent end of menstruation and the decline of estrogen and progesterone production in the body.

    Symptoms of Menopause

    woman in blue dress touching her head
    Photo by Mikael Blomkvist on Pexels.com

    The most common symptom of menopause is the cessation of menstrual periods. Other symptoms may include hot flashes, night sweats, sleep disturbances, vaginal dryness, and mood changes. Some women may also experience joint and muscle pain, headaches, and weight gain.

    The top 35 symptoms of menopause include:

    Hot flashes: a sudden feeling of warmth or heat, often accompanied by sweating and a rapid heartbeat.

    Night sweats: excessive sweating that occurs during the night, often causing sleep disturbances.

    Vaginal dryness: a decrease in the amount of natural lubrication in the vagina, causing discomfort or pain during intercourse.

    Mood changes: feelings of irritability, depression, and anxiety.

    Sleep disturbances: difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or waking up feeling unrested.

    Memory problems: difficulty concentrating or remembering things.

    Weight gain: an increase in body weight, often due to changes in metabolism and hormone levels.

    Fatigue: a feeling of being constantly tired or lacking energy.

    Headaches: recurrent headaches or migraines.

    Joint and muscle pain: aches and pains in the joints and muscles.

    Breast tenderness: soreness or discomfort in the breasts.

    Bloating: feeling of fullness or swelling in the stomach.

    Constipation: difficulty having bowel movements or passing stools.

    Diarrhea: frequent loose or watery stools.

    Urinary symptoms: frequent urination, urgency, or incontinence.

    Skin changes: dryness, wrinkles, or age spots.

    Hair loss: thinning or loss of hair on the scalp.

    Nail changes: brittle or weak nails.

    Dizziness or lightheadedness: feeling unsteady or faint.

    Palpitations: feeling of a fast or irregular heartbeat.

    Chest pain: discomfort or pain in the chest.

    Breathing difficulties: shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

    Loss of libido: decreased interest in sex or sexual activity.

    Difficulty achieving orgasm: difficulty reaching orgasm during sexual activity.

    Vaginal itching or burning: discomfort or pain in the vagina.

    Vaginal discharge: an increase in vaginal discharge or a change in its consistency.

    Genital itching or burning: discomfort or pain in the genitals.

    Genital discharge: an increase in genital discharge or a change in its consistency.

    Uterine cramping: discomfort or pain in the uterus.

    Ovarian cysts: small fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries.

    Endometriosis: a condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of it.

    Ovarian cancer: cancer that develops in the ovaries.

    Uterine cancer: cancer that develops in the uterus.

    Cervical cancer: cancer that develops in the cervix.

    Breast cancer: cancer that develops in the breast.

    How to Know if You’re Experiencing Menopause

    woman wearing a long sleeve shirt
    Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

    If you have gone 12 months without a menstrual period, you are considered to be in menopause. Additionally, if you are experiencing the symptoms of menopause and have a blood test that shows low levels of estrogen and progesterone, you may also be considered to be in menopause.

    What Are The 3 Stages of Menopause?

    a woman in white blouse looking at her own reflection on the mirror
    Photo by Los Muertos Crew on Pexels.com

    Menopause is a gradual process that typically occurs in three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause.

    Perimenopause: This stage usually begins several years before menopause, when the body starts to produce less estrogen. During this time, women may experience irregular periods and symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances.

    Menopause: This stage occurs when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 consecutive months. Estrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest, and symptoms such as hot flashes and sleep disturbances may be more severe.

    Postmenopause: This stage occurs after menopause and is characterized by the permanent cessation of menstrual periods. Symptoms may continue, but they typically become less severe over time.


    dancing group
    Photo by Wellness Gallery Catalyst Foundation on Pexels.com

    Treatment for menopause symptoms varies depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. Some women may find relief with natural remedies such as exercise, diet changes, herbal supplements, acupuncture, and mind-body practices. Others may opt for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to help relieve symptoms. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.

    There are several natural ways to alleviate symptoms of menopause, including:

    Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce hot flashes and improve sleep.

    Diet: Eating a healthy diet that includes soy products and phytoestrogens (found in flaxseeds, sesame seeds, and chickpeas, among others) can help reduce hot flashes and improve overall health.

    Herbs: Some herbs, such as black cohosh and red clover, have been found to be effective in reducing hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause.

    Acupuncture: This traditional Chinese medicine practice has been found to be effective in reducing hot flashes and improving sleep.

    Mind-body practices: Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing can help reduce stress and improve overall well-being, which can help alleviate menopause symptoms.

    It is important to consult a healthcare professional before taking any natural supplements or beginning any new exercise or diet regimen.

    Remember: Menopause is a natural process and a part of life for every woman. It is characterized by the permanent end of menstruation and the decline of estrogen and progesterone production in the body. Symptoms do vary and if you are experiencing symptoms of menopause, it may be worth consulting with a healthcare professional to determine the best course of treatment for you.

    Please note: This article contains affiliate links and we may earn revenue from qualifying purchases.

    Kombucha that’s good for body and soul

    Naturopath and Kombucha City founder Gail Matthew shares her latest passion project designed to provide you with a healthy drink and help war-ravaged Ukraine.

    If you have been reading my column each month, you will already have a good understanding of the health benefits of kombucha.

    Because it’s fermented, kombucha is considered a good source of probiotics, which help promote digestive health, increased energy and a healthy metabolism.

    It can also improve your mood, keep you cool this summer and boost your immune system.

    But do you know when kombucha is even better? When drinking a bottle is contributing to a great cause.

    Our Passion for Ukraine project

    Meet Kc Kombucha’s new flavour, KcU Passion for Ukraine.

    Not only does it boast a vibrant purple hue and an exquisite tropical zing that tantalises the tastebuds, but sales of this product will also help people living in war-torn Ukraine.

    Like most Kiwis, our family has been incredibly saddened by the events in Ukraine. And because we have a personal connection – we have a friend living through the war – we really wanted to do something to help.

    So, we decided that a dollar from every bottle of the new flavour sold will be used to support our friend to get access to the basics he and his family need to survive, and further profits will be donated to the Red Cross Ukraine Appeal.

    KcU Passion for Ukraine contains real passionfruit, organic butterfly pea flower, blue cornflowers, purified water, organic sugar, organic green tea and kombucha culture.

    It’s the fourth flavour in the range, joining Kc2 Japanese Lime, Kc3 Springtime and Kc4 Boysenberry Burst on the shelves. All Kc Kombucha drinks are traditionally brewed, naturally fermented low-sugar kombuchas, made with wholefoods, free from preservatives, additives and artificial flavours.

    KcU Passion for Ukraine is perfect for summer

    You can enjoy it straight out of the bottle, over ice in your favourite wine or beer glass, or use it as a base for this yummy summer drink that’s a refreshing twist on a cocktail classic. If you want to be super healthy, omit the rum and opt for a non-alcohol version.

    Beat the heat this summer


    Naturopath and Kombucha City founder Gail Matthew looks at how you can stay cool, calm and collected to beat the heat as the weather hots up.

    Statistics from NIWA show 2021 was New Zealand’s hottest year on record and NIWA scientists are predicting the next few months will be warmer than average in most parts of the country.

    Most of us will be looking forward to some warm weather after a wet, cold start to spring but sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. We’ve got some tips on how to lower your body temperature and cool your environment so that you can chill out this summer.

    Drink kombucha

    Naturally we are big advocates for the wellbeing properties of kombucha and research has shown it can help keep you cool as well as quench your thirst.

    Kombucha contains antioxidants which fight the free radicals that damage our cells and support organs such as our liver. Liver toxicity creates heat in the body so when you help your liver to get rid of toxins, it doesn’t have to work as hard and it won’t create as much heat.

    Kc Kombucha

    The antioxidants that are found in food and beverages are better for you than taking supplements. Kombucha made with green tea, like Kc Kombucha drinks, is higher in antioxidants than kombucha made with black tea. Green tea has been shown in a number of studies to have an antioxidant effect on the liver.

    In fact, studies on rats have shown that drinking kombucha can reduce liver toxicity by up to 70 per cent. Although no human studies exist, this seems like a promising area of research. We’ll leave that up to the scientists and just keep enjoying a daily glass of Kc Kombucha to keep our livers working well.

    Mint and ice

    A mint solution

    Mint or peppermint is one of nature’s coolants thanks to the menthol it contains. It’s great added to a cool foot bath. Put cold water and some ice cubes in a bucket, add a few drops of peppermint essential oil and soak your feet for 20 minutes. You can also use peppermint essential oil in a diffuser in your house to take advantage of its cooling effects.

    Water with lemon and cucumber

    Stay hydrated

    Staying hydrated is important because the body can’t produce sweat if you are dehydrated. Sweat is a natural cooling agent for the body. Man (or woman) can’t live by kombucha alone, so you need to increase your water intake. Try putting citrus, cucumber or melon in your water to improve the flavour. The better it tastes, the more likely you are to drink it. Aim to eat more foods high in water content – this includes fruits such as strawberries or watermelon and vegetables such as celery and cucumber.

    Be fussy about fibres

    Wear loose, lightly coloured clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton, linen, or silk – and if you are out in the sun, wear a wide-brimmed hat. Make sure you have natural fibres on your bed as well – cotton, linen or bamboo works best. Man-made fibres are like wearing plastic bags and no one wants to wear a plastic bag in the middle of summer!

    Sea vew

    See the sea

    Cool down with a swim in the ocean – it’s so much better for you than a chlorinated pool because salt water is full of minerals that promote healing in the body. If you don’t live near an ocean, a lake or river is the next best option for chilling out and enjoying the benefits of being at one with nature. But wherever you swim, remember to stay safe. Wear appropriate swimwear, check for warning signs, currents or rips, swim with others or where lifeguards are on duty, don’t swim after consuming alcohol, watch children carefully and know your limits.

    Lighten up

    When it comes to summer eating, ditch those carb-heavy comfort foods and stodgy stews. Options such as salads, which are less dense and higher in water content, will make you feel lighter and cooler. Lighter foods are easier to digest and digestion is another function that creates heat in the body.

    Cold shower

    Dial down the hot water

    Keep your showers cooler in summer – it will keep your core temperature down and having a lukewarm shower also means you will use less hot water. Energy saving is good for our planet.


    Bring back the barbecue

    When the weather is good, consider cooking outdoors on the barbecue as much as possible. It will prevent indoor cooking appliances heating up the house, leaving it feeling hot and stuffy. Everything tastes better on the barbecue. The other option is to opt for meals that don’t need heating – cold meats or smoked salmon combined with salads are simple, healthy, cool options.

    Say hello to aloe

    Aloe vera gel can help to lower body temperature. You can apply it in the dip behind your ears or on your wrists where it will have the desired cooling affect straight into the blood vessels. Use either the gel found in a fresh plant or a pure aloe vera gel from the pharmacy or health store.

    Aloe vera gel

    However you choose to stay cool this year, the team at Kombucha City hopes you have a relaxing, safe summer.

    The Cosmetic Clinic Queen Street for Laser, Skin, & Injectables


    Interested in Cosmetic Injectables? Laser Hair Removal? Clear Skin?

    The Cosmetic Clinic Queen Street can fulfil your heart’s desires!

    Specialist Claire Waterworth manages the Cosmetic Clinic on vibrant Queen Street in the heart of the city. With over 10 years of experience in the industry, The Cosmetic Clinic Queen Street provides a range of services to suit your needs! Specialising in Injectables, Laser, and Skin Treatments, the team at Queen Street will ensure that your experience is smooth and enjoyable.

    If you’re concerned about smile lines, dark under-eyes, fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage, thinning or uneven lips, or fat reduction, The Cosmetic Clinic offers:

    • Anti-Wrinkle Injections
    • Dermal Filler
    • Skin Hydrators
    • Skin Renew Skin Rejuvenation
    • Microneedling
    • LED Light Therapy
    • Laser Hair Removal

    And so much more!


    Check out The Cosmetic Clinic Queen Street here, or give them a call at 09 220 4366.

    Getting A Smarter Mortgage With Rachael Thompson


    Rachael Thompson is The Smarter Mortgage Lady, based in Auckland, New Zealand.

    Rachael Thompson’s story is amazing, as a single mother the bank said NO to her attempts to get a mortgage. Working with a mortgage broker who specialised in 1st home buyers with little deposit, Rachael was not only able to secure her own home together with her sister – with a bit of help from the bank of Mum and Dad – Rachael decided that becoming a mortgage broker was her calling.

    New Zealand currently has some interesting rules around bank and mortgage lending so it pays to listen to an expert like Rachael.

    Check out these videos to find out how you can:

    • Work to secure a mortgage with less than 20% deposit
    • Getting a mortgage with 20% or more
    • Getting a mortgage with the help of the bank of Mum & Dad.

    Find Out More

    To find out more about Rachael Thompson The Smarter Mortgage Lady visit her website: