Thursday, 08 November 2012 12:09

Build brain power by bonding with your kids

With an ever-increasing number of mothers trying to balance demanding careers and family life, it sometimes seems difficult to find time to spend with our kids.

The truth is, while your son would welcome an hour playing ball, this “all or nothing” approach is adding unnecessary pressure on parents. Kids don’t expect much; a little time out with you goes a long way in their lives. Even a few minutes to connect each day will do wonders.

Below are a few games you can play with your kids. They’re brain boosting games that help kids learn through repetition and they also develop problem solving skills. Play them in the car on the way to school, when you’re trapped inside thanks to rain or when you’re waiting for a waiter to bring your food at the restaurant.

License plate mathematics

Ask your child to add up the numbers in the license plate of the car in front of you. For older kids, try subtracting, multiplying, dividing. If your child struggles with number or is still young, keep an abacus in the car to help him with sums.

Spelling bee

Ask your child to spell words of things you see around you. Teach younger children to learn letter sounds by getting them to concentrate on the first letter. E.g., “Sky starts with a ssssss. Can you hear that? Sssssssky.” Get the child to repeat after you until she learns the letters herself.

Eye spy

This old favourite is always a hit. For younger kids, vary the game slightly so they can take part. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that is green” or “I spy with my little eye, something that is furry with four legs”.

What am I thinking of?

Give your child clues so they can guess what you’re thinking of. E.g. “I am thinking of a fruit, it’s red and it starts with an ‘a’”. Make the game slightly harder for older kids.

20 questions

Think of a person and tell your child to try figure out who you’re thinking about by asking 20 questions. Guide your child to learn what questions to start off with, such as, “Is it a boy or a girl? Is it someone in our family? Is it a child or a grown up?”

Carry a set of dice in your handbag, this will come in handy when you’re sitting in a restaurant. Throw the dice on the table and ask your older child to add, multiply, subtract or divide the numbers on each dice. Ask your younger child to simply count all the dots on the dice.

Tell a story

This fun story telling games encourages your child to think creatively. One person starts the story with one sentence, the second person tells the next sentence, the third person adds a sentence, and so on. If you have a child who is learning to write, consider writing a short story with your child. Take turns writing a sentence, to create an illustration for the story. This can be an ongoing project, something that could become a family treasure.

Try this approach for a week or so, and we’re sure you’ll see positive results. Calmer, more connected children mean calmer, more collected parents.

We suggest these products for helping your children boost their brain power

Ultimate Omegas for Bright Sparks

Wednesday, 17 October 2012 08:18

Boost your brain for the end of year chaos

It’s downhill to December, to end of year holidays and some much-needed down time. The trick is, you have four major projects to wrap up before then, you have to help your kids through final exams and you have countless social functions to attend between now and then.

So how do you cope? How do you remain focused on the task at hand without being distracted by all the… well… all the distractions? Below are a few tips to help you remain focused at work.

Give up multi-tasking

Women are supposedly genius multi-taskers. The truth is, none of us are. Our brains simply cannot focus on too many things at once, and when you try to do it, you’re working harder not smarter.  Business consultant and life coach Peter Bregman’s book, 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction And Get The Right Things Done, challenges readers to spend five minutes in the morning to plan the day ahead, five in the afternoon to review and a minute every hour to check in on progress.

The message is clear - stop trying to do so many things at once, focus on one task (big or small) and stick to it. You will feel calmer and be more productive.

Electronic interruptions

We’re inundated with messages throughout the day, whether it’s an sms, an email, a Facebook status update, a tweet. If you’re serious about giving up multi-tasking, the first thing you should do is close your emails, log off all social networks and turn off your phone. Better yet, disconnect from all these electronic interruptions.

Take time out

Don’t always be that person who works late into the night, showing up at work with bloodshot eyes and a Red Bull in your hand. Take time out to hang out with friends (this is good exercise for your brain – see more brain exercises below), get involved with even moderate physical activity, sleep! Researchers from UCLA recently discovered that two different parts of the brain talks to each other while we are sleeping, which assists in memory formation. The study proves that sleep deprivation has a detrimental effect on health, including learning and memory. (

So relax a little, you need to “fill your cup up” so you can keep going because you’ll only crash if you run on empty.

Eat well

Start your day off with a healthy breakfast (must include protein, healthy carbohydrates, dairy and fruit); eat more fruit and vegetables, less sugar and saturated fats and more fatty acids (found in fish). You can also get these Omega-3 acids from fish oil supplements.

How to boost brainpower?

There are a number of online brain booster exercises and apps available but here are a few simple ‘real world’ tricks you can try right now:

  • If you’re left handed, try using your right hand to do every day things
  • Learn the words to a new song
  • Walk into a room, memorise five different items in the room, walk out and try remember those things, including where they were. Try again two hours later.

Source for brain exercises:

Published in Mind & Mood
Friday, 19 March 2010 08:07

Take the Stress Test

Stress Tip: Get your mind and body connected. Take some me-time regularly and nurture your sense of wellbeing. Don’t neglect your soul for this is your true essence, get to know what makes you really “tick”. Don’t be afraid of your emotions and learn how to deal with them and manage them.

Take our stress test...

Here are some of the classic signs of stress... Be honest with yourself and answer yes or no to these questions;

  • Do you have difficulty relaxing?
  • Do you find yourself feeling irritable?
  • Do you worry about little events of the day and are unable to shut your mind off?
  • Do you smoke or drink excessively (especially by others’ standards)?
  • Are you competitive and aggressive in the things you do?
  • Do you find it hard to relate to people?
  • Do you find you are impatient with others?
  • Do you eat quickly?
  • Do you take on too much?
  • Do you have difficulty delegating?
  • Do you have aching limbs or recurrent headaches?
  • Do you have digestive problems?
  • Do you have allergies and sinus problems?
  • Do you have a dry mouth and sweaty palms?
  • Do you feel a lack of interest in sex?
  • Are your muscles tense?
  • Do you have problems sleeping?

Your Score

If you answered “YES” to:

  • Below 5: You’re in fine shape, able to take life in your stride.
  • 5 to 10: You are quite stressed; pay attention to these warning signs. This is the only body you have: treat it well
  • More than 10: You are very stressed: it’s time to make some positive changes before your stress has serious consequences.

The more you tick, the more stressed you are and the more you could benefit from a combination of the right foods, the right breathing and positive thoughts.

Published in Mind & Mood
Wednesday, 10 October 2012 12:11

Real women tell us their menopause stories

Google "menopause" and you’ll find thousands of results with information and advice on how to deal with it.

Recent studies show that fewer women are using HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy) because of it's link to strokes and heart disease1.  However, a separate study shows that low dose hormones early on in menopause has made women feel better and did not raise the risk of heart disease2.

With so much conflicting advice it’s hard to know exactly what’s right. We went straight to the source, chatting to four menopausal women who were willing to share their stories with us. We spoke to Mary and Viv, both in their late fifties and Linda and Liz, both in their early fifties.

This is what they had to say:

Thursday, 04 October 2012 08:45

Good nutrition essential to school success

Most moms are familiar with that sinking feeling when you open your child’s lunchbox at the end of the day, only to discover your kids hardly touched the lunch you made. So how do you avoid this? An easy solution: Offer them a little of everything, also known as a “Bento Box Lunch”.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:25

Day One – Groote Schuur

Having been told that my operation was being done on Monday, 29 November, I thought it best to check whether or not I should follow a “nil-per-mouth” regime on the Sunday night. 

Published in Hair Today, Gone...
Monday, 14 February 2011 08:42

How healthy are you?

If you smoke, drink alcohol and take chronic medication, don’t exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet or get enough sleep, you may not be as healthy as you think.

Published in Bioharmony Blog