Monday, 30 September 2013

The Joy of Music and Dance for Your Little Ones

It’s my belief that music is food for the Soul.

It’s always been important to me. Every since I was a child and particularly as a teenager I used music to escape from the difficult times life often deals us. I was a bit of a loner and music was my solace. I used different types of music for different moods and it helped me to cope in an often confusing world. I've always loved to dance and wish that I’d pursued this further when I was younger. 

So when I had Sophia I wanted to encourage her to embrace music in all its forms. She was a shy toddler who lacked confidence and through Sing and Sign and Jo Jingles classes her confidence grew and she looked forward to our weekly music and dance classes.

For Jess, my youngest we again attended Sing and Sign classes but this time we tried out Kindermusik with Magdelena Atkinson whose passion for music and dance was evident from the moment I met her. 

So rather than me share with you what we thought of Kindermusik and Magdelena’s music classes, I thought it would be nice for Magdelena to ‘Guest Post’ on Sophia’s Choice and share with you herself the positive effects music and dance have on our babies and children. Enjoy x


"Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful.” – Plato

Since 2005 as a qualified music teacher I've offered music and movement classes for children in the Dorchester area. Until now I have been supporting myself and my families with the programme called KINDERMUSIK. It gave me and my families’ wings to enjoy music, create new songs, make friends, move more freely and have amazing fun! The benefits are endless.

So when to start and why?

Baby Class

Research shows that singing and swaying during pregnancy has already had an impact on the musicality of a baby. She will recognize voices around her, especially the mother’s voice. So as soon as the baby is born and the mum feels happy to be out and about, then it is good to consider starting classes. I started to bring each of my 3 children one by one at the age of 3 months. In a baby class you strengthen those early parent-child bonds, and heavily focus on child development and communication with your baby, using sign language and reading the clues from each other’s faces. You and your baby will enjoy instrument play, dance, exploration time, and together time - and you’ll get expert advice and parenting resources based on the most recent research in baby development.

Toddler Class

When the child gets older, his needs change slightly, the urge to move gets stronger, so the whole dynamics of the class change from a more mellow baby class to a more active toddler class. With more movement and action songs, I pay strong attention to the needs of relaxation at the end, teaching children to enjoy quieter time and letting go of stimulations. At that age children start to interact more with each other, they are ready for a more complex approach to learning. We sing, dance, play instruments, read stories, create sounds, share and deal with our emotions in the most safe and friendly environment.


The next age group enjoys more independence, play with language, deepening of the imagination in so many lovely and surprising ways. Here we go for music adventure to search for sounds, clues, and movements reflecting our topics.

The Structure

The classes take 45 minutes; babies and toddlers are accompanied by their caregivers. Often siblings are welcome so the experience can be for the whole family! Monthly or half termly topics give us the tools and ideas to enjoy the songs and activities around different subjects, from the world outside, to feelings and daily routines. As a musician and a singer, I also compose the songs and bring different instruments to the session, my guitar, a ukulele, a dulcimer or a variety of shakers, bells, drums, sticks, etc. Each session is different but connected to the previous and the next one.

If you have a baby or a young child, I hope that you will consider joining our sessions or invite a friend for a free trial!


 “The first time I saw Magdalena talking about her work with children and music she spoke with such fun and yet so much passion I was really keen to experience her classes with my son. My goodness she did not disappoint! Her creative spin coupled with her obvious talent and great connection with children means my son and I really enjoy our Kindermusik sessions and cherish them as special time together. I love that he comes home singing her songs. If you ever get the chance to meet Magdalena make sure you do. She is a wonderful lady with a great deal to offer”.

Lucy, mother of Ru

“We have been coming to Kindermusik sessions with Magdalena for nearly 3 years and our time there has been fantastic. We have enjoyed the Babies and now the Toddler sessions and have found them both engaging, friendly and fun!! It has been a great opportunity to explore the world of music and movement with the children and Magdalena has been an enthusiastic and supportive guide! My children love Kindermusik!” 

Catherine, James (3 years old) & Elizabeth (2 Years old - nearly!)


If you would like to find out more about Magdelena’s music classes for babies and toddlers in the Dorchester and Charlton Down area of Dorset, you can connect with her on her website or on Facebook

If you are not in the Dorset area but are interested in finding out more about Kindermusik and their classes for babies and toddlers then you can find out more here and on Facebook.



Monday, 23 September 2013

Naturya Power Foods – Helping you stay healthy from the inside out

I've always had a keen interest in health and nutrition and this interest grew when I trained to become a Holistic Therapist. Nutrition was certainly covered in part on these courses but my interest for this subject has never really waned, so I recently decided to enroll onto a Nutrition diploma course and will begin this exciting new journey from October. It will give me the opportunity to really learn in depth how what we eat affects our health both in body and mind.

When I gave birth to my eldest daughter, I never anticipated that I would suffer with PND. I was very against taking anti-depressants and in the end a large part of my recovery came when I looked very closely at my diet and competed a 12 week alkaline course (with Energise for Life) followed by a 7 day juice detox (with Jason Vale Juice Master). If you’re interested you can read my journey here. I also wrote about my most recent Jason Vale Juice Detox too which you can read here.

This was when I was first introduced to super or power foods. I’d never really come across them before and this new world of how to get nutrient dense foods into my body was fascinating. I fell in love with juices and smoothies of the green variety and my body actually began to crave them after several months. They tended to include wheatgrass, spirulina, and maca amongst others. So when the opportunity to try out some great power foods from Naturya became available whilst I was looking for brands to stock in my Online Retail Shop, I jumped at the chance.

Naturya was founded in 2009 and evolved quickly as a result of two close friends who came together, pooled their skills and qualities to develop an honest, dynamic and professionally run company that is both ethical and respectful to the environment and mindful of their carbon footprint. Their range of power foods include 10 products; Chia Seeds, Wheatgrass Powder, Spirulina Powder, Hemp Protein Powder, Lucuma Powder, Maca Powder, Acai Powder, Barleygrass powder, Chlorella Powder, and Cocoa Nibs. All their products are high quality at fair prices and they also have Soil Association accreditation. They donate a portion of their profits to third world charitable organisations that focus on providing nourishment for those who are less fortunate that us.

Kate from Naturya kindly sent me a pack of Chia Seeds, Wheatgrass and Spirulina powders to try out and my first impression was how big the bags were. I was expecting small pouch bags but they are a good size reinforcing their value for money. The bags are re-sealable and stand up nicely in the cupboard.

When I first started juicing and having green smoothies I used a range of different brands of wheatgrass and spirulina and it’s fair to say that not all brands are made equal. Naturya pride themselves on the purity of their power foods and both the spirulina and wheatgrass taste lovely (the wheatgrass having a subtle sweetness to it) and are not in any way gritty as I’ve experienced with other some brands.

So let’s look at each one individually:

Chia Seeds

Naturya’s Chia Seeds are cultivated on the sierras of South America where they have been grown for thousands of years and once formed an integral part of the Aztec and Mayan diets. Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help to protect the body against heart disease and improve the body’s cholesterol levels. Chia Seeds are high in fibre, antioxidants, calcium and protein. They are also a good source of vitamins and minerals; vitamin A, B3, iron and magnesium.

If you Google the internet you will find a whole range of recipes using Chia seeds from Chia gel to their use in porridge and smoothies. They can also be used in bread products like loaves, tortillas and dough balls. Naturya’s website has a “Recipes” page where you can experiment using all the power foods they produce.


Spirulina is an ancient blue-green algae and Naturya’s is sustainably cultivated in outdoor ponds. It is rich in a natural form of protein, vitamins and minerals including B2, vitamin E and high levels of iron.

Spirulina can be mixed into water although I prefer it as a great addition to juices, smoothies and it can also be mixed into dips, salsa or with pasta.


Naturya’s wheatgrass is grown organically outdoors, where the combination of natural sunlight and rich, fertile soil promote the assimilation of nutrients in the developing shoots. It is packed with vitamins and chlorophyll and is a vibrant green once dried onto a powder.

Many people take wheatgrass by juicing the grass itself but for the majority the ease of using a powder along with its more affordable cost means this is a great way to add this power food to your diet. Wheatgrass is rich in vitamin A, C, E and K along with the B vitamins. These help to strengthen the immune system. Wheatgrass is also a good source of iron and magnesium.

Like spirulina you can mix wheatgrass neat into water and drink but I prefer it in my juices and smoothies. It can also be included in soups, jams, energy bars, salad dressings and dip. I think with many of these power foods it’s only your imagination which will stop you coming up with great ideas for their use.

There are a range of different branded super or power foods on the market these days but I feel that Naturya are one well worth considering. Their power foods have been confirmed by the Vegan Society as suitable for vegans, they are gluten free, have no additives, fillers or binders and their Chia Seeds, Hemp Protein powder, Lucuma powder and Maca powder are all raw (where the temperature involved in the processing must not go above 45 degrees C). The other 6 products are only briefly heated during processing.

If you’d like further information on the power foods Naturya produce then they have a good website with full product information, recipes, & FAQs. You can also link up with them on Facebook and Twitter.

Have any of you used power foods in your daily routine? And have you used Naturya before. I’d love you to share your experience of how power foods have worked for you. They've certainly helped me in getting my health back on track again.


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Disclaimer: I was sent a 300g bag of Chia Seeds, and 200g bags of Wheatgrass and Spirulina Powder as part of my research for brands to stock in my online retail shop. It also gave me the opportunity to try them out for review on Sophia’s Choice. The thoughts and opinions expressed are my own, honest feelings no one else’s.


Monday, 16 September 2013

Pinks Boutique Celebrate Organic September with their Organic Beauty Festival

For those of you who aren't aware, this month is Organic September and we are half way through this great celebration of all things organic from the Soil Association. This initiative is about asking people to make small changes in their lives which in turn will make a big difference.

Many natural skincare brands are taking part in this fabulous initiative and you can find out more about what is happening for the rest of the month by visiting their website.

Pinks Boutique, the natural luxury spa brand are one of those who are making the most of this and they've launched their Organic Beauty Festival throughout September with 20% off all luxury organic products. Many spas and salons around the country who use Pinks Boutique in their spa treatments will be joining in providing a range of offerings including information on the science and benefits of organic skincare for the skin, organic spa treatment packages and offers on treatments, organic tea and cake tasting, organic skincare consultations and organic advice and much more. 

Kirstie from Pinks Boutique kindly sent me one of their gorgeous Hand Balms and a pot of their Rose Crystal Bath Soak to try out. I returned from my holiday in Cornwall to find the most beautiful box with gorgeous brown glass jars in surrounded by little pink rose buds. The smell escaping from the box was divine and I couldn't wait to try out the hand balm straight away.

You only need a pea sized amount of the hand balm, so a little goes a very long way indeed with this 50g pot. The balm works into the skin well and is luxuriously rich. For me it is too rich to use as a daily hand balm but for someone who has dry to very dry hands this is a must have item. I used this at night when the balm could do its work whilst I slept. I then awoke to beautifully smooth, soft hands ready for the day. The smell of this balm is almost intoxicating. It’s one of those products that you keep smelling and re-smelling because it enlivens all your senses. The balm is made with rich organic shea butter, sweet orange, neroli and vitamin E to promote cell regeneration and is very moisturising.


86.5% Organic Ingredients. Shea butter (butyrospermum parki) - organic sunflower oil (helianthus annus) - organic apricot kernel (prunus armeniaca) - vegetable wax (cetyl alcohol) - organic jojoba oil (buxus chinensis) - vegetable glycerine - natural vitamen E (tocopherol) - essential oils of sweet orange ( citrus sinensis) - patchouli (pogostemon cablin) - ylang ylang (cananga odorata) - neroli ( citrus aurantium) - corn starch (zea mays). NATURALLY OCCURING; linalool - limonene - benzyl benzoate - benzyl salicylate - eugenol - farneso.

I was also given a pot of Pinks Boutiques Rose Crystal Bath Soak with beautiful pink rose buds included. The attention to detail with this range is wonderful. It creates a real experience rather than just a skin and bodycare range.

Made with Himalayan crystal rock salt which contains 84 of the 92 trace minerals known to man, more than any other natural or man-made salt, this soak is infused with rose essential oils and smells delicious. For this Mum it made having a long, quiet soak in the bath (which might I add rarely happens these days!) a fabulously relaxing experience. I’ll have to hide the pot from the girls or they’ll be sure to add some to their bath time ritual at bedtime!

As Pinks Boutique explain on their website:

“Along with Dead Sea Salts, Epsom salts and our relaxing Rose blend of essential oils the soak will:

• A Help relax and promote sound sleep
• Assist with skin healing and softening
• Help prevent muscle cramps
• Assists the skin and body to detoxify and the skin to store moisture
• Help to balance the pH of our skin and entire body
• 100% Natural, kind to sensitive skins, SLS free.
• No petrochemicals, chemical preservatives, artificial fragrances, colour or parabens”


100% natural ingredients. Ingredients: Sodium chloride (Himalayan mineral crystal), maris sal (Dead Sea salt), magnesium sulphate (Epsom salt), pelargonium graveolens flower oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) flower oil*, cymbopogon martinii flower oil*, cananga odorata flower oil*, rosa centifloia (rose) flower oil*, geraniol**, citronellol**, limonene**, linalool**, farnesol**, citral**, benzyl benzoate**, benzyl salicylate** (**Natural constituents of essential oils.) (*Certified organic. **Natural constituents of essential oils.)

Kirstie also very kindly popped a small sample pot of their Ocha & Rosehip moisturiser into the box for me to try. This smells lovely and sinks well into the skin. It is ideal for normal to dry skin with Rosehip being renowned for its ability to reduce wrinkles, photo-ageing sun damage and scar tissue. What I like about Pinks Boutique is that they do “Try Me” kits for both their skincare ranges so you can really get an idea of the products before investing in full size jars.

I’m very impressed with what I've seen of Pinks Boutique so far and would definitely love to try out more of their range particularly their face care range. They have an informative website with some great videos for you to watch too. It’s a shame that I don’t have a participating spa just down the road from me taking part in their Organic Beauty Festival or I’d be escaping from the chaos of being Mum to relax and recharge my batteries.

Have any of you experienced Pink Boutiques spa treatments or range of natural, organic skincare? I’d love to know if you have and what products you’ve tried or recommend. Enjoy the rest of Organic September and don’t forget that small changes make a big difference xx


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Disclaimer: I was given a 50g pot of Hand Balm, a 50g pot of Rose Crystal Bath Soak and a sample pot of Ocha & Rosehip moisturiser to try out for this review. All opinions, thoughts and feelings on these products are my own and no one else’s. I am genuinely impressed with this lovely range of natural, organic products.

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