Raising Elves

As wild as nature. Myself, parenting and natural remedies blog.


Wowed by Alflorex

I have had IBS my whole life.

Sadly, my youngest little Elf struggles in that department too.

I’ve tried everything and nowadays the emphasis is more on management rather than cure.

My youngest started suffering a few weeks after we weaned her on to solids.

She is very sensitive to certain foods and when she avoids them the (severe) bloating is gone and, thankfully, no pain. Despite this her bowel movements would still be a bit off, or ‘not quite right’.

Until we tried Alflorex.

I didn’t expect huge changes. We’ve both taken different strains of bacteria before. I’ve never noticed much difference in my little one when taking other brands but I still dosed us both based on a recommendation by the doctor. As you can imagine, I had no expectations when taking Alflorex because I have never been ‘wowed’ before. I was more veering toward trusting that they were doing something good on the inside.

Within a few days of taking the pre-filled straws, my little one’s stools started to change. Without the need for vivid descriptions, they went from being ‘not quite right’ to…well, normal. I couldn’t believe that after just a few days taking Alflorex that for the first time in her life (she’s 2.5 years old now) she had a normal looking poo.

This became consistent, the norm, over the last few weeks. It was only until last week where she had been given something from her avoid list, and she had terrible pain and diarrhoea , that I realised just how good things had gotten for her. I can only describe is as having been ‘wowed’.

For myself, I would say I have noticed a significant difference in the bloating and tenderness I get. It gets worse for me at certain times of the month (hormones effect the IBS flare ups) and it really effects my ability to do core or strength types of exercise because my gut is so inflamed. I noticed a huge difference. I found myself without pain during my exercise classes at the stage of the month where I would usually be crippled.

I received eight weeks worth of Alflorex to try in exchange for a review and was so pleased with the results that I’ll be buying it from now on. Yes that’s right. It works so well that I am now a purchasing convert.

I’ve had such great results to share with you that I’ve been offered one of my readers a chance to WIN a three months supply. I just love it when brands are generous to readers too.

For your chance to win tell me which product you’d prefer- the straws or the capsules. You can comment on the Facebook link for this post on my Facebook page.

Mini Elf will randomly draw a name on the 1st of December and I will post a video of it on my Facebook page.


For more information go to http://www.alimentaryhealth.ie/products/Alflorex


Loosen and expunge catarrh and phlegm naturally with this old Irish remedy (suitable for children)

I am sure we are not the only ones to have had an awful dose the last few weeks.

Nothing deadly serious but the catarrh has had the children up during the night and Robotman and I can be found hockeying disgusting pools of phlegm all over the Wicklow mountains.

So in comes the natural remedy.

I have been trialling this well known olde Irish concoction for the last few months and am delighted to bring it the blog as a tried and tested formula.

My Dad lives on Exputex as one of his medications causes alot of phlegm. Not anymore though.

I gave Dad his first bottle a few months ago and he requested another. So I gave him a batch in freezer bags so he could defrost them as needed. He swears by it. He no longer needs the Exputex as this extremely nutritious formula keeps the phlegm at bay. That’s one less chemical and E number laden medication for him to take.

The main active ingredients in this medicine is Carrigeen Moss and home grown Thyme.


Carrigeen Moss is the splendid Irish sea vegetable from the Atlantic coast. It is high in Vitamin B12, magnesium, iodine and iron.


Thyme is a herb well known for it’s phlegm expulsion properties and an all round lung tonic.

The first time I used it on Elf I was extra cautious. As it had worked so well for myself I knew that it was powerful stuff so I didn’t want to over do it on herself. I simply put 1tsp in a bottle of apple juice first thing in the morning. She was ill at the time so she didn’t drink it all but sipped away throughout the day and I took it off her at about 3pm. This is because I didn’t want the medicine to start working in the middle of the night. You want them to cough it up before bedtime, which is why I gave it to her so early. By about 6pm Elf had started coughing looser phlegm. Before bed she actually coughed up a load and then had a little puke and about 1/4 cupful of phlegm came out. The next day I saw a huge difference and by that evening it had cleared.

For myself I found speedy results too. So you don’t need a whole lot of the stuff to see results. It is completely safe to take regularly, like my Dad, if you suffer on a regular basis. It’s food. Healing food.

Of all the natural remedies I have taken this is the most powerful.

So below you will find my recipe:

  • Carrigeen Moss (found in a healthfood store or online)
  • Thyme sprigs (about a handful will do)
  • Lemon
  • Honey, if desired
  • Lemon essence, if desired
  • Pre-sterilised medicinal bottles. I put finished bottles of children’s paracetamol and neurofen into the dishwasher a few times. You could also use a sterilised jam jar.

Pick the thyme in the sunshine, if you can. If you don’t have thyme at home it’s OK to use a shop bought plant. If all you have is shop bought sprigs then use them- they won’t be as potent as fresh thyme but still relatively active.

Pull the sprigs off. Little hands love this job. A handful will do.


Simmer the thyme in about 100mls of water for about 10/15 minutes until there is about 30/40mls left. Pour it through a sieve and squeeze out the excess fluid from the bunched up leaves. Set it aside.


While the thyme is simmering get another pot and put about 1.5 cups of water to a handful of Carrigeen Moss. I add in half a chopped up lemon with the skin on and then set aside the other half. Bring to the boil. When the moss is softened (it will be a gel-like texture) pour some boiled water in until it reaches a syrup-like consistency and let it simmer. I prefer to soften the moss in a little water first as then you can decide the consistency yourself by adding more water at your own pace. It takes about 8 minutes for the moss to soften and then another 10 minutes of simmering should do it. Sieve the mixture and then squeeze in the 1/2 lemon at the end.


After sieving, pour in the thyme syrup and stir. I use about 1tsp of lemon essence if I am not using honey. Pour it in to the sterilised bottle or jar.

This recipes makes a big batch so I usually freeze cupfuls in freezer bags so it means I have some on hand at all times. Also, I gift it to family or friends. If you are not freezing it, it will keep in the fridge in this state for a couple of weeks but I usually add a few drops of citricidal which acts as a preservative and as it’s anti-microbial it keeps it fresher for longer. You need to gauge this one for yourself as I am sure climate and season will determine how long it lasts.

Anyway, let me know if you try it. Believe me, if you have a suffering child it is worth it and I must say, I get a huge sense of pleasure when I see people reaping the benefits from something so simple and natural. Don’t forget to pass it on.

****Important information: Carrigeen contains iodine. I do not recommend using this without consulting your doctor if you are taking medication for an under or over active thyroid. You could use the thyme syrup on it’s own though.****


‘Winter is coming’

Sometimes its hard to translate my internal world into words.

I’m like a whirlwind inside, most of the time. Intense, gianamasauros feelings float around my being- not even attached to any thoughts.

I realised today that this chaos inside me has escalated because I haven’t been able to exercise to my usual intensity the last three weeks.

I’ve been comfort eating rings around myself and now my hernia is acting up and, as if that wasn’t enough, I think I may have an abscess or something horrible starting around my wisdom tooth area.

Something is trying to get me to just STOP.

Comfort eating is always the first sign that something is just not right, for me. Some might even call it destructive eating, because it rarely brings me comfort.

I know exactly what is ‘not right’, right now and I would love to talk about it here but I don’t think you’d be at all interested and sometimes too much information really is too much information, am I right?

I thought thrice about posting this but then I figured what’s the point in only writing when things are good? That’s not life. Life is a mix of good and bad days- even when your bad days are simply ‘first world problems‘.

Aside from the daily positives- fine blue sky, nice warm coat, healthy happy toddler etc- I think the lack of exercise has me dropping slowly into the beginnings of a winter depression.

I haven’t felt this for so long. I have been managing it really well for about three years- even through the stress of infant minding.

When I start feeling this way I always hear this dark looming voice ‘Winter is coming‘, like in Game of Thrones.



For those of you reading this, who have never experienced depression personally I’ll just summarise my experiences for you. It is the most intense dark cloud floating around your inside and you can’t see the wood from the trees. It is the loneliest time of your life, no matter how many good people are around you. Sometimes, just getting out of bed feels like the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do. Your self worth takes a nose dive. Sometimes you might get paranoid and read into everything everyone says, make unnecessary enemies and start creating invisible reasons why someone or some people might not like you. You can’t get the words to express what the feeling is. Sometimes, your motivation is so low you just don’t care anymore. The self-loathing voice gets strong during these times and it’s hard to switch it off once the cloud clears. Often, you just function through the day, like a zombie. There in body but your spirit is… sleeping.

I don’t feel all of the above right now and a lot of my current feelings have to do with a situation out of my control that will soon pass, but whenever I feel like this it reminds me how many other people out there could be feeling some of the above and more. I will never forget the time in my life where all of the above consumed my everyday experience. Thankfully, it has been a long time since then.

I like to write about it so others realise that they aren’t alone. 1 in 10 people in Ireland experience it, according to Aware.ie.

My biggest hope is that a person who knows someone with depression will read this. I can’t say what you can do to help but all I can ask is that you try to respect it for what it is and please don’t undermine or invalidate what the person is going through. Some of the happiest people in the world are hit with depression, me included. Everyone experiences it differently and everyone heals differently. Some people take to the bed while others function normally and it seems from the outside as if it weren’t there. But it is.

So here is my action plan that you might like to look at, if you are feeling a little bit like ‘Winter is coming‘:

  • I have realised now how much the intense exercise has been keeping my chemical balance on track. As soon as my circumstances allow it, I will be diving back in. Until then I will continue with the walking. Exercise is definitely the most important ingredient in managing depression naturally.
  • Positive Mental Attitude- Force it, even when I feel like I can’t.
  • I need to dig out my Valkee.
  • I have been stocking up on my Jan de Vries and Bach flower essences.
  • I have been to my homeopath and stocked up on a lovely remedy.
  • I have to get back into writing again- for sanity’s sake.
  • I need to surround myself with positive people.
  • I have to re-read this post I wrote last year about beating the Winter blues.
  • I also have to re-read this one too about co-operative living and letting go of negativity.

NB: The above action plan is not meant to treat depression nor is it a replacement for medical advice. It is my way of managing mild endogenous depression. If I were to experience it beyond occasional mild bouts I would go straight to my GP. I also have discussed my ‘action plan’ with my GP and always keep her updated on where I am at. Point being, be responsible when treating something naturally.

As always, thanks for reading and I ask you to bear with me! I have lots of posts on the way and just going through the editing- they’ll be ready soon!