It has been said that bad supplements are like a bad diet and I have to say I agree. Every day I get bombarded by supplement companies with products that promise to be the true elixir for a better life and increased health. The truth is that a good supplement should be supporting a busy lifestyle where someone already has a great diet and way of living.


The landscape of supplements is also changing and food supplements are becoming more important. This is because we are calorie laden and nutrient poor. The soil our crops are grown in can be deficient in essential minerals and nutrients and fast food has become a fast way to poor health.


Convenience is not convenient if it’s costing you your energy, vitality and essential lifeforce. As we now know nature provides us with everything we need the world of plant based food supplements becomes an area of interest and intrigue. The question is how do we harness the best that nature can provide?


For thousands of years mushrooms have been used in healing and medicines and they are being increasingly researched today to assess their importance and health benefits. There are edible, inedible, magic and poisonous mushrooms. Currently there are over 10,000 known types of mushrooms and scientists reckon about 2,000 of these are edible. Although that may seem like a lot, mycologists suspect that this is only a fraction of what’s out there!

For a long time now I have been using mushrooms for medicinal teas and supplementing with good quality supplements that I have found like shitake and reishi in my smoothies. Mushrooms have long been known to boost immunity and overall health. Some of the other benefits that you can expect include increased energy, improved muscle recovery, heart health, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, and concentration or cognition. In trials many mushrooms also contain powerful ingredients that have been found to neutralize free radicals.

A new product that I am a proud Brand Ambassador for, Phytality, which means for ‘plants for life’ has a new product called Super Six. It contains six different active extracts from six different types of mushrooms. Each “vegan friendly” capsule contains 300mg of concentrated extracts from the mushrooms, God’s Mushroom (Agaricus brasiliensis), Maitake (Grifola frondosa), Cordyceps militaris, Shiitake (Lentinus edodes), Turkey tail (Trametes Versicolor) and Reishi- “Mushroom of Immortality” (Ganoderma lucidum).


All six of these mushrooms and their extracts have been used for 1000’s of years all over the world by traditional herbalists to promote and support good overall health and wellness. Also, within the past several years, these mushrooms have also been of great interest to many research scientists.


For example, in a 1995 study,* Reishi showed ‘the greatest antihepatotoxic activity and the greatest free radical scavenging activity.’ In other words it helps to reduce free radical activity. At high levels, free radicals damage various structures in your body’s cells. This cellular damage contributes to an increase in your risk for developing many health problems, including those related to aging. This is why decreasing or inactivating free radicals can lead to huge benefits for your health.Reishi is Known in China as the “spirit plant,” as it is believed to relax and fortify both mind and body.


In a 2012 study (2), Cordyceps have been shown to “improve the antioxidation activity in immunosuppressed mice (and to) significantly increase… total antioxidant capacity.”

The great news is that Cordyceps not only helps to neutralize harmful free radicals, it also enhances the activity of your body’s innate antioxidant systems.

Compounds from Cordyceps have been shown to help support balanced blood sugar levels. For example, a study (4) in the journal Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin found that a Cordyceps polysaccharide showed “potent hypoglycemic (blood sugar lowering) activity in genetic diabetic mice,” while “plasma glucose level was quickly reduced in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice.” The study also found that this same Cordyceps-sourced polysaccharide contributed to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels.




Shiitake is probably one of the best-studied mushrooms in the world today. These mushrooms contain a polysaccharide known as Lentinan, (3) which Cancer Detection and Prevention Journal has described as “a unique class of immunopotentiator” that helps to improve the quality of life and extend survival.




Turkey tail contains a wide variety of phenol and flavonoid antioxidants which help promote your immune system health by reducing inflammation and stimulating the release of protective compounds. In fact, one study (5) detected over 35 different phenolic compounds in a sample of turkey tail mushroom extract, along with the flavonoid antioxidants quercetin and baicalein. Reducing stress and inflammation is so important in today’s world. Let’s face it most of us are stressed even when we don’t even feel it.

The busyness epidemic means that our bodies need better support backed by science and research. We need to understand our needs better and a lot of plants have the intelligence to work synergistically with our bodies to help us navigate the modern world with greater ease and pleasure.


We don’t always have to fight life and battle with our health. Knowledge truly is power and when you begin to educate yourself about food and the plant world, you can begin to make smarter choices for yourself.


PHYTALITY Super Six stockists

  • Boots Ireland
  • Duggan’s Pharmacy , Renmore , Galway
  • Salthill Pharmacy , Salthill
  • Matt O Flaherty , William Street , Galway
  • Matt O Flaherty , Barna , Galway
  • Matt O Flaherty , Moycullen , Galway
  • Matt O Flaherty , Eyre Square , Galway
  • Matt O Flaherty , NUIG , Galway
  • Matt O Flaherty , Terryland , Galway



Post sponsored by Phytality 









Money, every choice you make, every activity you do, every change you contemplate, are in some way connected to your wealth. Yet most people rarely take the time that their financial situation deserves, to plan it effectively. You have income and you have expenditure.

Money Euro Bill Clip Clothes Peg Clothes Line

The basic premise is that your income exceeds your expenditure, leaving you with disposable income. So if you keep your spending below your income, you’ll always have plenty of money left over and you’ll never have to worry about money, never have a row about money, never have money be the root cause of concern or anxiety and never need to feel guilty or otherwise about having too much or too little money. Simple right?

Not exactly. Unless you’re extremely lucky, for most of us, it just doesn’t fall conveniently into place like that. The subject of money does, in fact, get cited in a host of situations from relationship issues, employment choices, lifestyle quality and in numerous ways, your health. Anything that can lead to anxiety, depression, guilt or restrict how well you look after yourself, can be detrimental to your health. And the condition of your finances can most definitely be a major contributor in these areas.

Having too much money, it may surprise you, can also bring its share of negativity. It can be guilt when those around you are short of money. Concern that relationships may not be for the right reasons. The uncomfortable feeling that some may begrudge your wealth or success.


So what can you do differently and what can you be more aware of?

The first step in managing and planning your finances with more efficiency, is to establish where you currently are. Most people know what their income presently is, but (as 26 years of reviewing people’s finances has shown me) they are not so sure about their expenditure. They’ll know the main items, the mortgage/rent, the weekly trip to the supermarket, the mobile phone or TV subscription, but there is so much more that never gets included. Think of the last time you took €50 out of an ATM to pay €15 for something. What did the other €35 get spent on? I see people listing things like a car loan but not petrol, tax, insurance, NCT etc. I also see them list “Food” but only total the supermarket. Further questioning may reveal more spent in the butchers, smaller purchases during the week, takeaways etc. To get an accurate picture, an exercise where you keep a detailed list of spending for a month. Every single cent, noted when spent and written or keyed in that evening so it’s not forgotten.

Tips. A few basic actions that most people can do, to improve (or create!) the gap between income and expenditure:


  • Examine 3 months’ banks statements and make sure you can account for every single transaction.
  • Compare utility service providers to make sure you are currently getting the best value.
  • Plan your shopping. Make a list and don’t shop while hungry.
  • Don’t wait until the last minute to compare before you renew things like car or home insurance.
  • Review premiums being paid on things like mortgage protection and life cover. You DO NOT have to only take them out with your own bank.
  • Know your rights when an item is faulty and do not be fobbed off with “it’s out of warranty” (especially true with large kitchen appliances that break down after 18 months!)


Planning. Once you have a better idea of actual income and expenditure, you can plan a little more accurately. Financial planning is primarily aimed at ensuring your current, future and unexpected income remains at least sufficient for you to live on. Everybody’s circumstances are different, so it is important to consider the financial loss that would be suffered in certain eventualities.

One person may not be paid at all if out of work due to illness or injury while another may be paid for a length of time by their employer. Some may have nobody financially dependent on them while others provide for a whole family. In my own case of being diagnosed with cancer quite suddenly, having serious illness cover in place made a massive difference to our financial wellbeing. (Thankfully, I’m over 13 years clear.) Protecting your income against such eventualities and making sure that you will have sufficient income in retirement, deserves relevant attention.

In the same way that your health and wellbeing require planning, consideration and a degree of effort, so too does your wealth require planning, consideration and a degree of effort. Your health and wealth are inextricably linked. Giving each the attention they deserve, will greatly enhance your chances of being a better, all round (dare I say 360 degree!) happy and contented person.

If you would like to contact Dave his website is:

A few years ago, I was at a party and was being introduced to a well-known Irish celebrity. He shook my hand, said, “Nice to meet you Bernie, and by the way I love your bright blue colour”.


I thanked him and we continued chatting for a while. This was much to the amusement of some of the people standing near me. When he went off to get a drink, one of his friends turned around and asked me what was all that about the bright blue colour? I explained that he had seen the colour in my Aura.

Every living person, animal, plant etc. on this earth is surrounded by what is known as an Aura. It is an electromagnetic energy field that surrounds us all. It is part of our life force. Mystics have known for thousands of years about these subtle bodies of energy and in recent years a special type of photography known as “Kirlian” has proven the existence of these energy radiations.

When you learn how to read someone, at first glance most people will see a soft white light surrounding the other person, and at a deeper level, various colours which usually radiate, vibrate or shimmer, will become evident. According to Aura experts, each colour in the Aura represents different aspects of our emotions, physicality and personalities etc.  These colours will be interpreted differently in each person and a reading will be unique to that individual.

Depending on what is going on in our Life at any given moment in time, different shades /hues/ colours will be visible to those who can read Auras. This is something that some people can do naturally, others can, if they wish, learn how to read Auras. This can be a useful tool in all walks of Life, whether used in business or pleasure, as it can often help us to tune into our loved ones or work colleagues and gauge how they are feeling. It could be described as part of our integral instinct. It can also be useful in warning us against mean or unscrupulous people, or on the other hand it may be useful for you to see how well other people are responding to you.

Auras can also give us signals when we meet someone new, or begin a relationship. What is often described as “Chemistry” between two people can be just a case of whether our Auras react well or indifferently to each other. If we feel at ease with another person, our Auras will gel and can begin to completely merge together as we begin to fall in love with the other person. This is often why, when we lose a loved one or split from someone we loved, we are left with an empty void, that can often be seen, felt or described as a hole in our Aura.

As a healer, tuning into a person’s Aura can often show significant important information as to the state of a person’s well-being, and can occasionally display minor physical ailments. This in turn may enable the healer or therapist to help clear and balance any negativity in the Etheric Aura, the one closest to the physical body.

Copyright © Bernie Hickey Spiritual Journey

Qualified therapists use their extensive knowledge of Anatomy and Physiology to carry out Massage treatments. The massage is the manipulation of the soft body tissue that is used to enhance a person’s health and well- being.

Massage Beach Lady

Most of you will remember when you were younger and perhaps fell or hurt yourself, having your Mother or Father hold you, or rub the injured part of the body, “to make it feel better”. Touch is a huge part of healing in general and Massage is one form of healing as well as being a relaxation and stress relieving treatment.

There are many different types of Massage and each one works in its own unique way. For example:

Aromatherapy: The therapist uses essential oils and it is the oil as well as the massage technique that’s work with the individual to relieve stress, provide relaxation etc.
Sports Massage: Will usually be concentrated on a particular part of the body that is causing a problem.

Holistic Massage: Your therapist will first sit down with you and discuss your Lifestyle in detail, then they will run through a questionnaire to determine if a Massage is suitable for you or not. They will discuss your Lifestyle with you and suggest numerous ways that you can improve or change things to make your Life better, this combined with the Massage will have a more effective outcome.

Massage is suitable for most people but there are certain contraindications when a person should not have a Massage. It is advisable, particularly if you have a Medical condition to first get advice or written permission from your Doctor or discuss this with your Therapist before booking an appointment.

Some Contraindications:

  • Fever.
  • Cardio Vascular conditions.
  • High blood pressure.
  • Contagious diseases.
  • Recent surgery.

Some people are unsure how the treatment is carried out and often have some undue concerns. Before the Massage begins the therapist will leave you to undress in private then you will lay down on a plinth or massage table. During the Massage you will be discreetly covered by towels or a cover and only the part of the body that is being massaged will be exposed as the therapist begins to oil your body and begin the treatment.

The Massage relaxes muscle tissue, which diminishes tightness or tension in the muscle. It improves circulation pushing oxygen into cells and helps to eliminates any toxins or waste from the body. There are several benefits to be gained from having regular Massage treatments. Massage can help to relieve chronic pain and having a therapeutic Massage can enhance your overall sense of wellness.

Massage Towel

Some of the many Benefits:

  • Improves lymphatic drainage.
  • It enhances your joint mobility.
  • Relieves muscle tension and stiffness.
  • By helping you to relax, and unwind.
  • Relieves headaches.
  • Reduces anxiety.
  • Insomnia.
  • Back, and neck pain.
  • And much more.

When Massage relieves stress, it helps the body, as a whole. It will also increase your self-esteem, help you to relax and bring clarity to a troubled mind. It has so many benefits on an emotional and physical level. It is appropriate for adults and children alike and is also suitable for pregnant women. (unless otherwise advised by a doctor)
It is so much more than “Just a massage”, it is a whole life change with wide spread benefits.

Working with and learning about firstly natural skincare products; secondly discovering professional and natural makeup, it was only natural to complete the triangle with natural fragrances.

Over the past few years, I have lost interest in dousing myself in the usual front runners of perfumes and opted for more natural and subtle fragrances. I suppose the main reasons for my change of heart would be:

  1. The amount of synthetic ingredients perfumes can contain.
  1. They can be so over powering to the senses (ever been knocked sideways by a stranger passing you who has most obviously bathed in a bottle of Eau de Parfum?).
  1. Photosensitivity: I have met far too many women with strong pigmentation on their necks where they have sprayed perfume for years for it to have only reacted to UV and damaged the skin.

Shopping for and discovering natural perfumes has awakened my senses in the best way possible and has me enjoying spritzing liberally once again. Natural perfumes simply use organic plant alcohols with 2 or 3 essential oils. Essential oils are classified as base, middle or top notes which classifies the staying power of a scent: base notes linger, top notes will disappear more quickly. Many citrus notes are top; some floral and herbs middle; base notes can be more woody, pungent. Oils have synergy so there is usually a mix of notes in a perfume.

What I love about the simple formulas is people’s reaction on smelling a scent: it stirs an emotion and takes them back to a memory of something or someone. The obvious benefit of natural perfume is the organic agriculture behind the ingredients and the non- use or need of any synthetics. Our skin absorbs so much of what we apply to it (and how many products do we apply a day?), and one must take into account what we also breathe in when we spray perfumes.

The staying power of a natural fragrance will never be as strong or as long lasting as the synthetics, but then again, spraying onto the pulses and hair and enjoying the scent won’t be so damaging to our health or the environment so I’m quite happy about a little re-spray half way through my day!

There have been controversial ingredients used by perfumeries in the past, and still possibly today, such as musks which are derived barbarically from deer and civet cats. The argument here is obviously that that is a natural derivative but I think the earth offers us enough notes in plants to leave the animals out of it. With synthetic perfumes, you just don’t always know what exactly is in them so isn’t it easier to read a label of transparency, understand it and know what you’re wearing is good for you… body and mind!

When it comes to ingredients I just can’t deny how lovely it is to read such a simple and short list:

  • Alcohol (plant)
  • Cornflower Water
  • Labdanum
  • Patchouli
  • Clary Sage (Pure Patchouli perfume Acorelle)
  • All ingredients from organic farming made from organic ingredients

Just this 2017, V.Claire Natural Cosmetics introduced natural perfumes, Acorelle.


There are 9 perfumes divided in effects of Energizing, Balancing and Soothing… Let your senses guide you to your favourite!

This week I’m delighted to be talking to Roz Purcell about her lifestyle and wellness tips. I find Roz hugely inspirational and her brand Natural Born Feeder is growing from strength to strength. She is a really bright light for her generation and a great role model.

Read more

This week I’m talking to Sile Seoige who is a breath of fresh air. Her energy is infectious and last night I spent a wonderful evening at her fundraiser in Ananda restaurant in Dundrum for her upcoming trip to Calcutta with The Hope Foundation

Read more

Essential Health Lemon

Sometimes the pursuit of a healthier lifestyle can feel overwhelming. When we feel unwell it’s hard to know where to begin or to find the motivation to make big changes. When I first discovered essential oils, I loved how simple they were to use and how easy it was to add them to my daily routine. Small changes can make a big difference. Did you know there is an essential oil that can give you beautiful skin, boost your mood AND clean your house?

It takes approximately 45 lemons to produce a 15ml bottle of lemon essential oil. Essential oils are natural extracts from the seeds, stems, flowers, roots and bark of plants. Choosing certified pure essential oils that are natural and therapeutic grade; will provide you with the safest and most effective health benefits. Essential oils can be used aromatically to affect mood and open airways; topically for quick absorption into the body through the skin, and internally for immune & digestive support.

Is lemon water part of your daily routine? Instead of chopping up lemon wedges first thing in the morning, I now add a drop of lemon essential oil to my water – much simpler and far more effective! Adding lemon to water aids digestion, helps to rid the body of toxins, boosts immunity and helps you feel energised.

Some of the key therapeutic benefits of Lemon Essential oil:

  • Cleanses and Purifies
  • Supports healthy respiratory function
  • Promotes a positive mood
  • Aids in digestion and metabolism

Here are some ways you can incorporate lemon in your daily life

  1. Energising

Massage over your shoulders & feet for an energising boost. Feels wonderful right after your morning shower plus you’ll smell amazing

  1. Sore Throat

Add to your hot water & honey mixture. The lemon will fight both bacteria and viruses & help you recover quickly

  1. Anxiety

Anxiety is something we all feel from time to time. Rub 2-3 drops of lemon oil in your cupped hands then inhale deeply. The scent will lift your mood and help clear your mind.

  1. Cold sores

When you feel run down and the familiar tingle begins, douse it with a few drops of lemon oil

  1. Beautiful skin

Create your own homemade exfoliant by adding 4-5 drops of lemon oil to oatmeal & water

  1. Detox

Add to drinking water or rub on ears & ankles to cleanse and balance pH. Make some refreshing homemade lemonade by adding lemon to sparkling water.

  1. Cleaning

Avoid harsh chemicals and create your own stain remover for clothes by combining ½ cup white vinegar with 20 drops of lemon essential oil.

Lemon essential oil is a wonderful oil to have to hand at all times. It can uplift your mood and improve your health in a natural and practical way! Essential oils are a great way to improve your health easily and quickly. Drop me a line if you’d like to learn more about getting started with essential oils…


Honest about Health

I really enjoyed this interview with Izabela Chudzicka for her new chat show APT 115. We had a great chat about living a healthy lifestyle, eating better and the effect food has on our mental health. We also talk about being a parent and trying to find that elusive work life balance.

I hope you enjoy watching it

Ali xxxx