Probiotics for Christmas


Rich Christmas food is notorious for triggering indigestion in anyone with a sensitive tummy. I am stocking up on probiotics to help balance gut bacteria.

  • I take Mega Probiotic-ND, £18.50 for 60 capsules, every morning on an empty stomach.
  • Anyone with irritable bowel syndrome may like to invest in Symprove, £21.95 for 500ml, in Mango and Passionfruit flavour or Original, which has shown success in independent research.
  • As there may be little ones running around snaffling pud, I am including Bio-Kult Infantis, £11.95 for 16 sachets, which is suitable for babies, toddlers and young children.
  • Order all three products from Victoria Health ( now for delivery before Christmas.
  • If you are running out of time, try Pukka organic herbal teas, which are widely available. Best for digestion are Three MintThree Fennel or Three Ginger, around £2.30 each for 20 tea bags, stockists on


I love Christmas for the pleasure of seeing family and friends, fun, singing carols, playing games, eating lots, winter walks – and of course presents. But at the risk of sounding like Pollyanna, the best present we can give ourselves and everyone else is the means to feel happy and joyful – as much of the time as possible. Life coach and counsellor Carrie Rose suggests that ‘we already have everything we need to be happy but that awareness is often buried under all the “stuff” life throws at us.’

Carrie’s recent book – How to Get From Here to There Without Going Anywhere – gives simple, practical advice. As psychotherapist Phillip Hodson says, ‘Money can’t buy you love, but this happiness guide could actually make you happy.’ Here are Carrie’s tips for everyday happiness:

  • Start the day with gratitude. There’s always something to be thankful for – from your child’s smile to knowing water will come out of your tap. Saying a mental thank you helps you get out of bed happy.
  • Use your imagination. As early as possible – in the shower, over breakfast – decide how you want your day to be. Imagine the events of your day and picture yourself in them, with everything going well – if not always to plan.
  • Take pleasure in small things. There’s joy in noticing the beauty of a spider’s web or the checkout girl’s warm smile.
  • If you make a mistake, be kind to yourself. Remember you were doing the best you could at the time. Learn from the experience and put it behind you.
  • Listen to your loved ones – everyone actually. Conversations are more rewarding if you really listen to the other person, rather than thinking about 101 things.
  • When something bad happens, put a full stop after it. It’s easy to dwell on things that don’t go your way. Choose to move on and continue your day feeling positive.
  • Adults need to play as much as children do. So sing, dance, scrunch leaves and take up something creative, from knitting or crochet to painting and cooking.
  • Take some time to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’. Give yourself a few minutes daily – more if you have time – to daydream, listen to music, meditate, walk with the sun on your face – without feeling you need to have a goal.
  • End the day thinking of three lovely things that have happened. Some people like to write them down so they can look back on dark days.
  • A final thought to make this Christmas the best it can be: look beyond the tinsel and turkey and make it about giving and receiving love. And be loving to yourself – it really doesn’t matter if you burn the turkey!

How to Get From Here to There Without Going Anywhere, £9.95 plus £1.95 p&p, from


The St John Ambulance website has good first aid videos and advice for all sorts of problems, from heart attack and stroke to fractures, breathing issues, severe allergic reactions and other medical emergencies – plus information for children and infants. Useful for the holiday season.

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