health, Lifestyle

Way’s of coping with a chronic illness

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

Way’s of coping with a chronic illness

Living with a chronic illness can make life very difficult indeed, as those living with one will understand. Yes I have a chronic illness but I am also a mum and wife still wishing to live my life and not let my health get the better of me.

I suffer with Endometriosis and have been living with the condition now for 16 years, resulting in surgeries. I also suffer with Fibromyalgia and depression – both of which recently diagnosed. A cocktail of medication is taken daily for various of reasons. I don’t like taking them but know they are for my own good.

Due to my health deteriorating I am having to sadly reduce my working hours and step down in my position at work. This is reluctantly being done as I love my job and I wish to continue working for as long as I can. I work as a support worker out in the community – currently on light duties and only working three day’s a week.

Daily chores are apart of everyday life and if not managed they soon begin to pile up…..If only the cleaning fairy was real.

The chronic pain really does make my life difficult, but things are still needing to be done at some point. At the moment I am currently under the care of consultants and attending pain management in London. I am trying to live life as comfortable and to the full the best I can, following specialist advice.

Hopefully soon I am due to start a specialist treatment plan but this sadly doesn’t start until October as these plans only run a few times a year and I have been booked on the next plan. In the meantime I am going to do all I can to manage my chronic pain better and make life easier for myself and my family.

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

Below is a list of my way’s of coping to still feel like a mum and wife whilst suffering a chronic condition. I may suffer a chronic condition but I am still a mum and wife with bills to pay and a house that needs cleaning.

Here are a few of my self-help tips

  • Make a list of jobs – Making a list of jobs that I know I can do and making up a weekly jobs planner to help me keep on top of things so they don’t pile up.
  • Post-it-notes – It is probably medication related (well I hope it is) but my memory is awful at the moment and I am easily forgetting things. Leaving myself little notes/reminders are currently helping massively.
  • A little bit each day – I have made a point to try and do a small amount each day. Long gone are the days of rushing around and trying to blitz the house in a day or two. I now have to go day-by-day doing what I can depending on how I am feeling.
  • Make chores more manageable – By using light-weight cleaning tools/aids it helps a great deal. No more big heavy hoovers, mops and buckets. My stomach muscles are not what they used to be due to my Endometriosis and surgeries.
  • Medication reminders – I am always asking myself “have I had my medication” – I purchased a dosset box. This gets filled up on a weekly basis and all I have to do is check the box. If my medication is still there for that day and times of day then it helps to remind myself.
  • Online shop – Online shopping is a godsend. No more having to struggle with heavy bags/trolleys. Ordering online makes my life so much more easier. I order our weekly shop online and pretty much everything else needed to be honest. I am even going to try online healthcare at some point.
  • Ask for help – I have always been a very independent person and to be honest asking for help is something I struggle with and absolutely HATE doing – but is something I have to start learning to now do. Ian is always telling me off where I overdo things and end up in pain.

Working from home will make life so much easier for me

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

  • Work from home – It goes without saying, reducing my working hours with my employer is having a knock-on-effect with our monthly income. I am currently trying to work more from home so I can be resting but also be working and helping pay the bills.
  • Plan ahead – On what I call “a good day” I like to plan ahead, by organising myself more. This can be anything from preparing for any upcoming family events, paying bills, meal prep/batch cook and reply to missed emails from a “bad day” as when I am in pain I tend to let things slip. Things are then easily missed or forgotten so I try my best to catch up with things and try and plan ahead the best I can.
  • Talk – I can sit and talk for hours about a load of gibberish but I must also learn to talk about my feelings more. Recently at one of my hospital appointments I was asked “how I was feeling” – this was done over a few questions in different ways. I ended up breaking down because to be honest I just feel useless now. A few years back I used to be able to do so much, be so organised and I look at myself now and how little I manage to do, I just feel like a complete failure. I have recently joined support groups to try and help me open up about how I am feeling and not hold it all in.
  • Rest/relaxation – Learn to rest would be a huge help to myself. I am always looking round and seeing things that are needing to be done, I just need to learn that it will still be there later/tomorrow and not everything can be done in a day. Or learn to ask for help and see if someone wouldn’t mind helping me. We are currently trying to form a family daily cleaning jobs list. If it works the way we hope then we will all have 1-2 jobs a day each and things shouldn’t get that bad.

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

  • Not stay indoors – Getting out for some fresh air is important. Staying shut away indoors isn’t good and it is good to get out even if just for a little while. I do enjoy walks with Coco, someone always comes with me just in case It gets a bit much. I do have to rest along the way but I do enjoy the fresh air and the walk. It helps to clear my head.
  • Weight loss – Trying to shift some weight is something I would love to do. I managed 3 stone loss a few years back and I would love to do it again plus more. Weight loss will also help my health. I am currently trying to do light exercise at home alongside trying to eat more healthy.
  • Sleep – I seem to have forgotten what sleep is lately. It has been ages since I have had a good full nights sleep. Some day’s I wake feeling more tired than when I had gotten into bed. I am constantly exhausted from the pain but just can’t sleep. I must look into way’s of helping to get a good nights sleep. A good nights sleep makes a huge difference when suffering chronic pain.

Do you suffer with a horrid chronic condition?

***Collaborative post***
beauty.

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Every now and then I have my nieces come to stay for the odd few nights and we love nothing more than lots of girly fun. We enjoy many girly activities such as, painting our nails, baking, watching girly movies and dancing around to musicals. We play salons, do arts-and-crafts and enjoy many more activities together.

One of our recent girly activities was to make a homemade face mask. We often chat about pretty dresses, hair styles and jewellery. They also ask if they can put some of my perfume and make up on. I am all for girly days but I don’t want to be encouraging them to start putting make-up on.

With my sisters permission we decided to make a homemade cumber face mask

We had a girly spa evening and chatted about looking after our skin and the many ways we can protect our skin by staying hydrated, protecting ourselves from the sun, enjoying a nice soak in a bubble bath etc. We also chatted about the many different face mask we can make to try.

How we made our cucumber face mask:

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Ingredients needed:

  • One cucumber
  • 3 table spoons of natural yogurt

Equipment used:

  • Table spoon
  • Plastic knife for Lexi
  • Bowl
  • Tray
  • Blender
  • Make-up sponge

How we made our mask:

  • Lexi made a start on chopping the cumber into small slices and placing them into a dish. It ended up being one slice for the dish and one for Lexi – putting some aside to place over our eyes once we had applied our facemask.
  • The cucumber was then mixed with a blender.
  • We then added 3 big tablespoons of natural yogurt, then mixed with a spoon.
  • Faces then washed to free our faces from any sweat or grime.
  • Using a small make-up sponge we then applied each others face masks.
  • The cucumber slices was then placed over our eyes and we sat back and relaxed, leaving it on for about 15 minutes.
  • Once finished we then rinsed it off with water.

I’d say her face say’s it all.

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Whilst we was preparing our face masks, and also whilst having our treatment I was explaining the importance of looking after our skin and staying hydrated which also helps.

A cucumber mask helps to remove many impurities from the skin that clog the pores and can also lead to unwanted problems. A cucumber mask leaves your skin feeling cool, refreshed and hydrated with a nice healthy glow. It can also soften and sooth your skin and make a very welcoming mask for anyone after a hard day at school or work. Also very refreshing if you have been out in the sun to hydrate your skin as the sun dries our skin.

Making homemade face masks make a good activity for a sleepover or if you are hosting a party for a teenager or pre-teen. It made a fun way for Lexi to feel like what Lexi would say a “big girl” all whilst learning about the importance of skin hygiene/care. With the weather being so warm at the moment this mask was so welcoming and very much enjoyed.

It didn’t take long before she had the teens in the chair having a mask on.

Homemade Cucumber Mask

Do you have a face mask that you would recommend ?

Top tips

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flooding is an ever-present threat. Without being vigilant about the risk it poses, it can very easily catch you off-guard. Before you have even entertained the possibility of water entering your home, it can already be too late. All it takes is a single overlooked vulnerability for the weather to ruthlessly take advantage and leave your home submerged in water. Armed with the right advice however, you can create a capable flood-ready defence with a minimum of effort in no time at all. From the most advanced flood-resistant technology to the simplest practical measures, you’ll find everything you need to know about protecting your home from flooding here.

Keep groundwater at bay with a sump pump

Submersible drainage pumps are a prime example of advances in technology drastically improving our ability to deal with the consequences of tumultuous weather. Placed in an at risk area – typically a basement, cellar or sump pit where excess water is likely to accumulate – drainage pumps will rapidly remove any excess water that accumulates there. The best thing about this? It does so automatically. Equipped with a pressure sensor or something similar, submersible TT pumps, which are available to buy online, are able to autonomously detect rising water levels and react accordingly – perfect for repelling the weather’s attacks, even in the event it catches you unawares.

Protect doors and windows with the latest in anti-flood technology

Doors and windows – as the primary access points by which water can penetrate the home – have to be suitably protected. The strength of the preventative measures that are worth instituting are largely defined by the area in which you live. Zones of particular susceptibility demand that homeowners take especially strong defensive measures – and flood barriers for example, would certainly fall into that category. While they give the impression of being something that could only be forged at great expense and effort to the homeowner, worthy alternatives can be cobbled together in a DIY fashion at little to no cost at all. Technological advances have rendered traditional sandbags and other similarly ineffectual fortifications a relic of the past. Time consuming to fill, difficult to handle, and prone to water seepage, sandbags have been almost unanimously dubbed ineffective for groundwater flooding. Instead, flood boards, constructed from plywood and silicone, have been championed as a far sturdier yet similarly priced substitute. Positioned to block vulnerable areas like doorways and windows, such boards are more than capable of adequately protecting your home from flooding.

Revisit brickwork to ensure it is watertight

Just as significant as the major points of entry for water (doors and windows) are the less obvious routes into your home. Brickwork, both intentionally and unintentionally, can provide water with access. Air bricks for example, which are installed to allow air to circulate beneath the ground floor – preventing condensation from wreaking havoc in the process – inadvertently allow water to infiltrate the home. Air brick covers are easily obtained and can neutralise this potential threat in no time at all. While air bricks are overt in their weakness, brickwork as a whole can be more inconspicuously yet unintentionally challenging. Narrow gaps and cracks in brickwork are equally dangerous. Re-pointing can be an arduous but nevertheless necessary endeavor to guarantee your home’s walls remain resolute against rain.

These tips are designed to help you establish a substantial and sustainable flood defence for your own home, and we hope you leave this post feeling better informed and better prepared to face whatever challenges the weather can throw at you head-on.

***Collaborative post***
Learning, Photography

Sharp shots photo club

Sharp shots photo club

Sharp shots photo club

Myself and Bradley was very kindly invited along to take part in a photography class, called ‘Sharp Shots Photo Club’. It is a class that provides children and teens with a creative and fun retreat to explore photography and gain fantastic new skills. The courses run throughout the year, In Surrey and the South East.

Love of photography

Myself and Bradley both have a love of photography. It is an interest that we both enjoy and both enjoy learning together. Bradley is much quicker at learning than me, he tends to have to show me over and over again…….Good job he has the patience!

We have been blogging a few years now and photos goes without saying are a big part of our blog. Taking good quality photos are a must, so improving our knowledge is at the top of our to-do list. Bradley likes to take charge of our camera on family days out and becomes our family photographer. He does keep asking for a camera of his own but he isn’t sure yet on what one he would like.

Sharp shots photo club

Our camera

A while back Ian bought me a Canon EOS 700D for a Christmas gift, but to be honest I hadn’t a clue what setting was what. Until now I just played about with the settings until I got the photo I wanted/liked. When we was invited along to better our skills at Sharp Shots Photo Club, you see why we jumped at the chance.

Learning how to use our camera

Bradley has a love of gadgets and technology – what better gadget to play about with and learn than a camera, capturing moments to turn into a lovely memory to look back on one day. All whilst learning a new skill. Bradley enjoys playing with the settings and creating different effects.

On the day of the class we travelled to Archbishops park, not far from Waterloo station in London. The course was led by the lovely Lillian Spibey – founder of Sharp Shots Photo Club.

Sharp shots photo club

Sharp Shots Photo Club has amazing courses on offer for children aged 7-15 years old. Myself and Bradley had a lovely chat with Lillian about our current camera and about the help we are needing. Lillian took the time to listen to us and show us in more detailed step-by-step easy to follow instructions.

Lillian is passionate about her work, very calm and patient. We both found her approachable, she was always open to questions and was happy to answer – no question at all felt silly or judged. As a learner that didn’t really know much about cameras this was a worry I had, but the class was so welcoming and friendly I soon felt relaxed and we both felt very welcomed.

Lillian chatted with everyone within the class, asking and remembering ALL names (wow) and points that people had said they was hoping to gain from the class – Lillian regularly was making points relevant to that person which was awesome. The person-centered approach was lovely!

What we learnt in class

The class was focused on understanding cameras and how they work to learning how to creatively take a photo using different settings. The class started off with some theory, talking about camera mechanics. We was all chatting and learning our way through;

  • Shutter speeds
  • Aperture,
  • Menu settings
  • Focus.
  • Filters
  • Themes

Bradley took it all in no problems and I wasn’t to far behind with making sure I was on the right setting for the task given. We did take my camera with us as I was keen to learn using my own camera – there was cameras there to use for those that didn’t have a camera. We done classroom theory and some classroom tasks before heading off outside with our cameras.

This was Brad jumping and myself trying to capture a clear shot without any blurriness. I put the theory to the test and captured this amazing shot.

Sharp shots photo club

We then went off with our cameras in and just outside of the lovely setting of Archbishops Park with the task set by Lillian and putting our theory lesson into practice. Myself and Bradley found this great fun and we both got excited and felt really pleased with the photos we was now producing. It was lovely to just stand back and watch Bradley getting creative with a camera. He was at one stage laying on the ground in order to get a shot he desperately wanted. Bradley does have a creative side to him and he does love his gadgets so this is a perfect way to mix both together.

One of Bradley’s photos – Bradley’s photo of a busy London.

Sharp shots photo club

Chatting with Bradley after the course he said he found it to be a great course and he had learnt a lot from it. His favorite setting at the moment being the TV setting. Before the class photos that he was taking was coming out blurry – since chatting with Lillian and this being chatted about in class in more detail he now has a better understanding and is now capturing the shots he is more than pleased with.

I have been working more closely with the IOS setting since class as I was finding my photos previously to be very dark when not in the correct lighting. Learning this has helped me massively with this problem.

Sharp Shots Photo Club has helped us massively to have a much better understanding of our camera. All thanks goes to the lovely Lillian Spibey for taking the time to teach us.

For more details about locations and prices, pop over to Sharp Shots Photo Club website for more details.

***Disclaimer*** We was invited along to Sharp Shots Photography class in exchange for this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Interior Design

Canvas Champ review

Canvas Champ review

Canvas Champ review

I am sure I’m not alone when I say “as a parent I like to take lots of photos of my children to capture as many moments as possible”. Moments pass and our children grow so quickly. Having photos to look back on and remember special moments with our children is priceless, those moments with our children are precious. Being a mum of teenage boys, I love nothing more than an evening with my boys looking back and reminiscing over our fun, adventures and funny captured moments.

If I am honest I take thousands and thousands of photos which I am always being nagged for. Unlike a few years back when the boys were young, we find that we don’t really store our photos in albums anymore, they are stored away in a folder somewhere within our computer or on social network sites to share with friends and family.

When Canvas champ got in touch to ask us if we would like to review a canvas I thought it was about time to have an up-to-date photo proudly displayed up on the wall. Lee had been wanting to go and tour Barcelona football stadium for ages so we chose to have the photo of him at the stadium made into canvas for him to have that happy memory proudly displayed.

About Canvas champ

Canvas Champ are the leading canvas prints; custom canvas prints, personalised photo canvas prints, metal & framed prints retailer and distributor in the United Kingdom. Canvas Champ are a London-based company. All of their frames are handcrafted with passion and their state-of-the-art technology allows them to match the color depth and tone of uploaded images. Canvas Champ also offer a lightning fast delivery service and money back guarantee. They also have masses of positive feedback from happy customers.

Placing our order

Placing our order couldn’t have been any more simple. You simply select your product and size.

Canvas Champ review

Very reasonable prices. Starting at as little as £3.89

Canvas Champ review

There was plenty of choice on the design of the canvas. You can either have a nice wall display, photo collage, hexagon prints, split canvas or even a photo mosaic. We went for a canvas print as we was just wanting the one photo of Lee’s memory at the stadium.

We then went on to uploading our chosen photo which was so easy, quick and offered lots of different ways to upload.

Canvas Champ review

Lee’s photo was within a folder on our computer so we just needed to click on that option and then upload. We was then given an optional choice of color. There was a choice of Original, Sepia and GreyScale that was free of charge. Then there was the option of Pixel Painting at additional cost.

This was Lee’s chosen photo:

Canvas Champ review

This is our finished canvas:

Canvas Champ review

12 x 8 canvas

Lee can’t wait to get this up on his wall and hang it with pride. It is a very happy memory of his from his 16th birthday.

Overall experience 

We are very happy customers. The ordering process was very quick and easy to do using the very detailed and simple step-by-step process. The delivery of our item was very quick, our canvas was here within a matter of days.

For further information about Canvas Champ or to make an order visit www.canvaschamp.co.uk

Have you >>>met our family?

Disclaimer: We received a canvas in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. 
Garden

Hosting a Garden Party In ‘The Great British Summer’

Hosting a Garden Party In 'The Great British Summer'

Hosting a Garden Party In ‘The Great British Summer’

I think we’re all a bit paranoid when it comes to the summer garden parties, after all, British weather has a habit of being glorious the entirety of your working week and as soon as the weekend comes to visit the rain starts to pour down – sod’s law.

If you’ve been planning a garden party all week and you come to the weekend to find that you’ve been once again let down by the weather it can put a real dampener on things. That’s why we think you should plan for the worst eventuality, that way, if it rains you’ll be totally covered and if it doesn’t you’ll be laughing!

Here are some of our top tips for making your garden party the best it can be – no matter the weather!

BBQ’s aren’t the be-all-and-end-all

You may have pitched the party to your friends as a BBQ, but as long as they’ve got a burger in one hand and a beer in the other I doubt they’re going to care too much about how it’s cooked.

Making your food over hot coals may be a fun little novelty, but if the weather is dire, you’re going to need a back up plan. Cooking on an indoor grill and pre-preparing some food may be a good plan B to fall back on.

Hosting a Garden Party In 'The Great British Summer'

Get some shelter to retreat to

It’s not really much of a garden party if everyone is sat indoors, so why not get yourself a solution that means you can still sit outside while getting protected from the impromptu showers that may occur. A party tent from Garden Camping would be ideal in this case – there are plenty of options to suit every size of garden and you won’t have to worry about soggy burgers!

Waterproof speakers are a godsend

There are plenty of waterproof wireless speakers on the market and in having some at your party you won’t have to worry about writing off some expensive equipment when the rain comes flooding down.

What’s a party without good music to follow? Create yourself a playlist full of all-time party favorites (or, steal one of Spotify’s many playlists if you’re pressed for time) and your guests won’t care how many clouds are in the air. Make sure nobody is doing a rain dance, though!  

Prepare some indoor games

It may not be the weather you wanted – but that shouldn’t stop you from having fun! Getting some indoor party games sorted and your guests will be too busy having a ball to even take a look out the window. Beer pong is always a hit and probably one of the easiest games to set up.

Remember that just because it may look a little bleak outside doesn’t mean that you have to let it spoil your fun. As they say, a positive mindset is key to feeling happy, so don’t let a little rain drown your spirits – just play a little Singin’ in the Rain and have a ball like you were always going to!

***Collaborative post***
Disney

Disney Princess Teepee

Disney Princess Teepee

Disney Princess Teepee

As some of our regular readers may know, we often have our nieces Lexi & Demi come and sleepover at our house. Being a household of mainly men I really look forward to having some girly fun for a change. We was kindly sent a princess teepee to review on their next sleepover.

Disney Princess Beauty And The Beast Teepee Play Tent

Disney Princess Teepee

With our nieces only being young they instantly wanted it set up as-to-be expected. Luckily enough it assembled rather easily and quickly (less than 5 minutes). With them both being fans of anything princess they loved the design on the Teepee which features images of Mrs Potts, Chip and Belle’s silhouette and rose on a pink background.

Disney Princess Teepee

You simply pop the sturdy coated steel rods inside the dedicated sections of the Teepee cover. Feed the Teepee tie through the hole and tie a knot to hold the Teepee more secure. Once the Teepee is assembled it is 140 cm high and 130 cm wide so is of a good size and both girls could easily stand up inside. The Teepee cover is 100% microfiber and is machine washable.

Disney Princess Teepee

This Teepee makes a great den and is great for indoor and outdoor play. Us girls had hours of imaginative play with this Teepee. In the space of the weekend the girls was with us it was a hairdressing salon, nail shop, fashion stage (even Coco our dog ended up dressed as a princess) to a shop and then a beauty room where we done pretend makeup.

Disney Princess Teepee

In the evenings the girls insisted on having dinner in the Teepee and they loved to play restaurants, then sat reading before we put a movie on and camped out. We added lanterns for mood lighting. The girls have said next time they stay they would like to add a nice pink fluffy rug and pink cushions to make it even more girly. Sounds like they have a shopping trip planned for next time they stay.

Disney Princess Teepee

We did have a Teepee picnic planned over the park but sadly the weather was against us so we opted for an indoor one instead. Once this Teepee was set up it offered us hours on end of imaginative play. This Teepee is suitable for ages 3+ from Character World. Lexi and Demi really enjoyed their sleepover and playing with the Teepee. It gave us all hours of endless fun indoors – it was a no boys allowed Teepee. We do hope to get outdoors with it on their next sleepover very soon.

Other designs currently available are:

Disney Princess Teepee

When not in use it simply stores away back in the storage bag provided or simply stands folded away for quicker use next time. This tent has been great fun for our nieces sleepover.

Disney Princess Teepee

RRP currently on Amazon at £33.80

Do you know of a girl who would love her very own Disney Beauty And The Beast Teepee Tent? if so you have the chance to win her one via our competition below. Ends midnight 9th July 2018.

UK ENTRIES ONLY PLEASE.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck to all entering 

Disclaimer: we was gifted this Teepee for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Education

Ways to help your child through their exams

Ways to help your child through their exams

Ways to help your child through their exams

As a parent of three boys, two of which have already experienced GCSE stress and worry and our youngest currently sitting his. We know all too well how demanding they are. We also know how much stress they can cause – both parent and child.

Naturally as a parent we want to help our children through in any way we can.

Here are a few tips on how we as parents can help our child:

  • It is very important to keep an eye out for any symptoms of stress or worry. Stress can affect people in many ways. Keep a close eye on your child’s behavior. If you notice any signs of stress or worry then try and get them to open up to you about what is worrying them so you can deal with it together.
  • Help them to be organised, they have a lot going on at this important time that things can easily be forgotten.
  • Make sure they are getting enough sleep. A good nights sleep works wonders. They will then be ready to tackle those dreaded exams with a clearer head.
  • Encourage time-out. This will help them to switch off for a little while. It will help reduce the stress levels. You could have some quality time together. Go for a meal out somewhere, enjoy some fresh air together for a while. Anything for time-out and a break away from it all for a bit. Let them have a friend sleep over to have a night off from worrying and studying. They can then re-visit the studying feeling refreshed.
  • Try and encourage them to drink plenty of water and cut down on the fizzy drinks.
  • Stress and worry can play havoc with your appetite. Make sure they are eating, even if little and often. Make them up a plate of finger foods to pick at whilst studying.

Ways to help your child through their exams

  • Make sure they have the space, peace and quiet to study. Having loads of noise and distractions can be hard when trying to study.
  • Offer to help, perhaps you can do some printing, photocopying, run some questions past them or even let them question you on a few things. We did that and it lifted the mood when we couldn’t answer the question – well at least it made them laugh!
  • Give them a break – their bedroom might be a mess but they have more important things going on at the moment.
  • Make sure they have all the essentials needed. Revision notes, resources, books, stationary etc.
  • Make sure that when they say they are studying they actually are. Some kids can be crafty and will actually be in their room on their phone. Perhaps try and encourage them to leave their phone with you to save any distractions, or do regular checks on them to see how they are getting on.
  • If study leave is given try and be home to offer support and to make sure they are taking regular breaks.
  • Work together with your child, perhaps draw up a revision timetable together that both agree on.

Ways to help your child through their exams

  • Try and motivate your child, get them talking about their goals in life and how they hope to achieve them.
  • Talk to them about their feelings and explain being nervous about the exams is normal. Perhaps ask the teacher to see if your child can look at past papers so they can see what they look like.
  • A reward at the end of it all can also help a great deal. If they sit every exam and try their best in each then an allowance set for a treat of their choice can help keep them motivated.
  • Give them plenty of hugs and reassurance. A hug can work wonders when we are all feeling stressed and worried.

Studying is important but it is also important not to overload our children with it all.  All we can really do is encourage, listen and support them the best we can. Let them know we are here to help in whatever way they need us to be.

Sending you all lots of luck

X

Pet care.

Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Grain-free food: the benefits for your pet

Owners have a huge range of dog foods and cat foods today, however, choosing which is the best for your pet is sometimes tricky. A type of pet food that has a lot of people talking is ‘grain-free’ — but do you know why this kind of nutrition is proving popular?

Many pet nutritionists advocate feeding pets grain-free food to help them live better and healthier lives. Not only are there typically increased levels of protein in grain-free options, but this source is also supposedly good for animals that suffer from allergies and digestive issues.

Keen to know more? Check out our guide to grain-free food…

Grains aren’t great for pets

As carnivores, cats’ and dogs’ bodies aren’t meant to digest grain. Research shows that these creatures don’t have enough ‘amylase’ — an enzyme — in their saliva to break down grain sufficiently. Herbivores and omnivores have plenty of amylase to break down starch into simple sugars, which happens before food reaches the gut. However, dogs and cats produce amylase in their small intestines. Of course, many cats and dogs don’t get ill from eating grain, however, it’s worth noting that their bodies cannot break it down as effectively as other animals, which means they are less able to gain nutritional value from it.

Overall, your pet gets little benefit from grain, while feeding them it may cause digestive problems.

Fur

Healthy skin and a glossy coat are tell-tale signs of a healthy pet — but grain isn’t a great option to achieve this. Often, grain-free food is high in protein — so your pet gets a better dose of omega-3 fatty acids, which gives pets’ fur a thick and shiny look. Also, omega-3 strengthens hair, which means less moulting!

Allergies

The same as humans, pets are just as able to have food allergies and issues. Concerned that your cat or dog has a food allergy? Follow advice from some pet nutritionists and feed them a diet that copies what their ancestors used to eat.

Dr. Ian Billinghurst, a pet nutritionist, states that dogs should consume 60% meat and 40% vegetables/other foods — also known as the BARF diet (biologically appropriate raw food). This includes eating food like peas, carrots and apples (digestible fibre). Luckily, good grain-free pet food already contains nutrients contained in these foods — perfect if you want to save cooking time. If you have a cat go for roughage, like veg, to boost their immune systems and lower ageing!

A pet with a grain allergy may exhibit the following signs:

  • Diarrhoea.
  • Skin irritation (itchy or dry).
  • Ear infection.
  • Fur loss.
  • Rashes.
  • Inflamed paws.

Weight

Similar to humans, the UK dog population is also suffering from an obesity problem. According to an information guide by The Kennel Club, between 30% and 60% of dogs are overweight. And it seems that felines have are susceptible to this problem too. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals found that there will be more overweight cats and dogs then healthy-weight pets by 2019. Obesity causes issues with the heart and joints, as well as contributes to breathing complications. Therefore, it’s key that you offer them a healthy diet today.

Lack of exercise and an overload of carbs can make pets gain weight. Grains often contain more carbohydrates than other foods — like meat. So, could this be another reason to make a nutritional change? Instead of grain, grain-free food features more meat, fish and vegetables, so they’re typically more nutritionally useful and help boost fullness.

A dog or cat that is carrying too much weight may show these signs:

  • Issues walking
  • Loses breath quickly.
  • Round face.
  • Ribs not easily felt.
  • Fat neck.
  • Reluctance to walk.

Liveliness

Are you walking your dog enough? Do you spare enough time to play with your cat in the evening? The government states that our dogs get a 30-minute walk every day, according to The Kennel Club, while PetMD suggests that you should engage your cat in activity for around half of that time. So, pets with energy to spare will help them get the exercise they require.

Protein is a pet’s main source of energy, and so, since grain-free food typically features a large dose of protein, it makes sense to consider feeding your cat or dog it regularly to help them stay fit. You could also offer your pet new toys to help get them more active when you’re not around.  

If you’re worried about your pet’s diet, exercise levels and general well-being, why not try grain-freed food? It could be the answer to a longer and happier life! Just remember to check with their vet prior to changing their diets.

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Summer

5 Things You Might be Doing in June

5 Things You Might be Doing in June

5 Things You Might be Doing in June

Can you believe that we are so very close to summer? It really doesn’t feel like five minutes since the Beast from the East covered the roads in snow and wreaked havoc across the nation. Now, though, we are thoroughly enjoying the sunshine and the long days, meaning that June should be a month to savour.

School isn’t quite out yet, but the children are on the final straight heading towards the long summer holiday. As exam season will be over, this is when most schools start to wind down and look ahead to the next academic year. With so much happening in June, we have compiled a list of five things that you might well be doing this coming month.

Watching the World Cup

Yes! The biggest thing happening in June is of course the FIFA World Cup kicking off in Russia. On 14 June, the hosts end the four-year-long wait as they open the tournament against Saudi Arabia in Moscow.

England and newly-appointed captain Harry Kane kick off the Three Lions’ bid to end 52 years of hurt on 18 June against Tunisia. Hopefully we will still have a keen interest come the final on 15 July. Come on England!

5 Things You Might be Doing in June

Going to the Cinema to See The Incredibles 2

You read that right, the long-awaited sequel to The Incredibles is hitting the big screen on 15 June and we know the kids (and adults) are super excited to see what Disney presents. It’s hard to believe that it has been 14 years since the first film came out, meaning that it is perfectly acceptable for those aged 25+ to get their hands on tickets.

Disney has a canny knack of producing films that adults grew up with, all the while keeping the magic and interest alive amongst what many would perceive to be their target audience. It’ll be the same story when Toy Story 4 comes out comes out next June.

Ramadan

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan started in May and comes to an end in June, at which time Muslim will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. It is traditional for Muslims to fast during the lunar month, the ninth in the Islamic calendar, as a mark of reflection.

Another tradition that many Muslims follow is making a charitable donation during Ramadan. Although zakat can be donated at any point of the year, many feel that Ramadan is the perfect time to make their donation.

Father’s Day

Sunday 17 June is Father’s Day in the United Kingdom, so the chances of finding the man of the house resting in his favourite chair with the remote in one hand and a drink in the other greatly increase. For some, this might just sound like any other day, but on Father’s Day it’s allowed.

Children young and old will be showing their appreciation for their old man with gifts and love. Perhaps breakfast in bed is on the cards? That’s if you trust the little ones in the kitchen, of course!

The Longest Day

Summer Solstice is on 21 June, which means that the nights begin to draw in once again (sad face) but don’t worry too much because we still have plenty of long summer nights to make the most of (happy face).

With sunset not due to take place until 9:28pm in the UK, families can make the most of the first official day of summer. Kick-arounds in the park and bike rides can go into extra time!

These are just some of the events taking place in June and we are sure that you and your family will have plenty more reason to celebrate. Whatever you find yourself doing this month, make it a fun one!

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health

5 Ways to Help Out Your Grandparents In Their Old Age

5 Ways to Help Out Your Grandparents In Their Old Age

5 Ways to Help Out Your Grandparents In Their Old Age

I’m sure I speak for most of us when I say that our grandparents are some of the most treasured people in our lives. It’s always difficult seeing them get older because it’s a constant reminder that they’re not going to be around forever, but they are indeed getting older and as a result of that we should really do our best to help them out when they need it!

If you’re interested in ways you can help your grandparents then read on – after all, they’d do it for you!

Ask your parents how you can help

If your grandparents aren’t as spry as they used to be, there’s a good chance your parents will already be caring for them in some way – so they’ll have a better handle on the situation than you. It’s best you ask them how you can help before you just blinding go do chores around their house – otherwise the same job will be getting done twice!

Pitch in with the cleaning

As people get older their joints start to ache and they become a lot less mobile than before – so therefore their house may fall into disrepair. It’s always a good idea to offer to do their cleaning once a week. It doesn’t have to be anything drastic, give the place a quick dust, hoover up any debris and maybe even mow their grass – nobody wants to live in a dump!

Help them get around

As I mentioned previously, their mobility can become a real issue when they reach a certain age. Offering to give them lifts in your car (or even just accompanying them on the bus) can be a huge support to them when they need to get out the house.

If they value their independence (and don’t we all) it might be a good idea to get them a mobility aid. A mobility scooter is the perfect gift for anyone who suffers with getting from A to B but absolutely refuses to let anything stop them from doing just that!

Cook up a storm

It’s probably a safe bet that they’ve cooked you plenty of lovely meals of the years. So don’t you think that it’s about time you repaid the favour? Don’t go serving them up any old rubbish though, give them some proper nourishment. Oily fish and green vegetables are a tasty and healthy way to keep your body in tip-top shape – they also do a great job in improving your mental functions!

Engage in a good old chin wag

They say the youth have lost the art of conversation, well, prove ‘them’ wrong! The elderly absolutely love it when you dedicate time to listen to their stories, after all, it can get really lonely sometimes when nobody wants to devote attention to you. Who knows, you might even learn a thing or two from all that sagely wisdom!

So there we have it, 5 things you can do to brighten up your grandparents day just that little bit more. Feel free to comment below if you come with any more!

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Finance, Lifestyle

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Being a parent and trying to save money can sometimes prove very difficult. Even more so for summer activities and a family summer holiday. I don’t know about you but it often feels as if money evaporates before our eyes. As the saying goes “every little helps”. A few small changes to spending habits can help a great deal and make quite a difference to the savings pot.

Saving doesn’t have to be boring, you can still have fun and save at the same time.

Here are a few saving ideas that may help you save a few pennies for summer:

  • Are you one for going off of lunch dates with friends? Try and cut out on the expensive coffee shops or pub lunches, try and meet for a picnic or even play host and take turns to lunch at each others house. That way you could save a few pounds but your still meeting and having fun.
  • Do you meal plan? Meal planning we find also helps watch the pennies. If meals are planned out in advance for the week it helps with budgeting the funds, it helps to cut out on the impulse buying and also food waste. I am guilty of always impulse buying and buying the “I may need this” item. I am always buying food products and forgetting that they are there and before I know it the food has gone out-of-date. Having a list to stick to and a budget in mind has helped massively. I now try and do online shopping to save the risk of temptation.
  • Voucher codes are always worth looking out for to help keep the costs down. A quick look online could help reduce your bill.
  • Having a sort out of unused items could bring in a few pounds to your saving pot. I think we are all guilty of having a junk area and unused things shoved to the back of the cupboard.  It may be worth having a sort out and advertising the products for sale, someone could grab a bargain and you make a few pounds.
  • Have a closer look at your usage to see what you truly need/use. We recently reduced our TV and internet package as half the channels we didn’t even watch. We are also going more energy-efficient around the home. In the long run the savings here will help keep costs down.
  • Comparison sites is always worth a browse. We never just auto-renew our insurances/contracts we always take a look at the end of every contract. This helps to keep the bills down each month.
  • Walking where possible saves us money and keeps us fit. Being a two car family due to both working and needing a car this means double the car bill. Where possible we leave the car at home and walk. This saves on wear-and-tear on the car, petrol and also parking fees.
  • Grow your own is something we done last year and really enjoyed. Have you ever tried growing your own fruit and veg? this saved us money last year and we hope to do it again this year. Home grown tastes so much better.
  • Try out cheaper brands in store, you never know you may be surprised and even like the cheaper brand. If you can change just a few items to a cheaper brand that could save you a few pounds to add to your savings pot.

These are just a few ideas that may help with saving a few pounds to put towards something for the summer. We are off on a few family holidays over the next few weeks, making a few changes will save on having to apply for a loan. Some may say short term loans can be a good solution but we would rather avoid loans as much as possible.

Do you have any good money-saving ideas?

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Travel

Reasons to visit Toronto

Reasons to visit Toronto

Reasons to visit Toronto

Toronto, the provincial capital of Ontario, is an attractive, cosmopolitan city located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. It is also known as the largest city in Canada with a major cultural and economical center of English-speaking Canada.

We have not visited Toronto yet but it is somewhere we would love to visit.

Our top five to-visit places are:

  1. CN Tower – The CN Tower is said to be a must-see attraction in Toronto.  The CN Tower is the place to go if you would like to take in spectacular views of over 100 miles away. These views can be enjoyed from the top of the tower, via the glass fronted and glass floor paneled elevators which will take you to the top of the tower in around 58 seconds.
  2. Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada.–  We would love to go and immerse ourselves with over 20,000 aquatic animals and enjoy an underwater experience. There are so many awesome programs to enjoy. Such as, sleeping with the sharks, discovery dive and dive shows and many more that caught our eye. Located in the heart of downtown Toronto.
  3. Toronto Islands – There is something for everybody to do of all ages, from swimming beaches, sports facilities, playgrounds, a boating marina, nature paths, picnic areas. There is even a light house to visit and a choice of restaurants. A perfect spot for anyone to enjoy!
  4. Enjoy a day trip to the Niagara falls – Niagara falls is somewhere we have wanted to visit for many years now. We would most definitely want to go on a full-day trip from Toronto to see the beauty of Niagara Falls. Niagara falls lie just south of Toronto and can easily be visited on a day-trip so we would be mad not to visit whilst in Toronto.
  5. Scarborough Bluffs – Somewhere to enjoy lovely views of Lake Ontario from 100-meter cliffs. Enjoy lovely walks in the meadows and along the trails bordering the Bluffs. I have also heard that it is a beautiful place to enjoy sunset.

With all the beauty that Toronto has to offer I can’t see us wanting to come home. It’s a shame we can’t move beautiful places closer to home isn’t it? as moving Toronto closer is one we would most likely want to do.

Where about’s would you love to visit?

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health, Lifestyle

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Our kid’s are no longer babies and are in fact growing into handsome young men. We are often being told how polite and helpful they are. They are growing up too quickly for our liking. Two out of our three boy’s now have girlfriends and are in full-time jobs making plans for their futures. Lee has only just left college and within days has got himself a job where his brother is currently working. Bradley our youngest is just about to sit his GCSE exams and is due to leave school in the next few weeks…..Yikes, how do we stop time?

Recently we dusted off our old photo albums from the loft and we all sat and had a lovely evening reminiscing, it was lovely. We was laughing at funny moments we had captured of our boys with dinner on their head from when they was learning to feed themselves, also funny potty training moments. The boys were laughing at each others outfits before they then started laughing at photos of us. Yes the comments was coming at us of “crikey dad you had hair”, and “mum look this was before you started going grey”. It was funny and sadly yes the comments were true. Age really is starting to catch up with us.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian in 2001 (as the boy’s say “with hair”)

As working parents we spend our time worrying about our kids that we hardly take time-out for ourselves do we?

Well after seeing those photographs I fastly contacted my hairdresser and booked her to come and hide my grey, but poor Ian he really is going thin on top. Everyone tends to laugh at him for it and I do feel sorry for him, but he takes it in his stride and laughs it off but I know it does bother him. We have in the past bought him shampoos that have been recommended but sadly they didn’t work. I have taken to looking online and reading up on men who have suffered the same problem, most are saying that the they opted for hair treatmentsI had been browsing the internet looking up on the treatments as I was curious and asked myself “how does a hair transplant work“? I came across Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant results, wow what a difference.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian now 2018

When chatting with Ian about going thin on top he seems to think it is a receding hair-line problem. He is fully aware that there is help out there for him should he wish to get help, but for now he said he enjoys winding the boys up and blaming them for him going bald, as he say’s he had hair before they was born and they made him pull it out. Cheeky bugger, he is a wind-up merchant.

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health, Top tips

Quit smoking – self-help tips

Quit smoking - self-help tips

quit smoking – self-help tips

Quitting smoking is something we always nag Ian about. He say’s he will give up smoking when we give up chocolate – yeah that’s no time soon then!

I will give it to Ian he has tried on many of occasions to give up but then he slowly starts up again. He says “there are too many things that make him start again”, like:

  • His social circle
  • Habit
  • Routine
  • Lack of will power
  • Work stress
  • It’s his way of chilling out and relaxing

I must admit that smoking has never really bothered me. I never have smoked and probably never will. I’d sooner a nice glass of wine.

Here are a few tips that may help with giving up smoking

  • Think positive – Having the right frame of mind will go a long way when wanting to quit. You have got to want to give up yourself to have the best chances of quitting. If you’re wanting to quit then tell yourself “you can do this” and get the right support in place.
  • Make a plan of action – Get a date set that you’re wanting to start a new non-smoking you. Get that date set and make yourself a promise and give it all you’ve got and go kick that butt!
  • Make a list of your reasons to quit – Make yourself a list of reasons that you want to quit smoking. Keep it close by and keep reminding yourself of your reason to quit. You made find it a huge support if/when you’re struggling.
  • Identify when you smoke – Take note before you gave up on when your cravings are. This will help to put things in place to help work around them, such as avoiding going outside with the smokers in the smokers area, not allowing smoking in your house, pre-warn friends and ask for support so they are aware not to offer you a fag etc.
  • Get support in place – Make friends and family aware of your decision to quit. Chat with your GP to see what support is out there in your local area. See if anyone would like to join you by quitting too and support each other.
  • Take up a hobby – Finding something else to occupy your mind may help you to stop thinking about having a cigarette.

A lot of people say the thing they found the hardest about giving up smoking was not having a cigarette to hold. Some people like a cigarette with their coffee, watching TV, or even whilst having a soak in the bath. For that reason a lot of people make a switch from cigarettes to Vape kits just for that cigarette feel of keeping their hands busy still. Whilst some are happy to switch to nicotine patches or gum.

Do you have any tips to help quit smoking?

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