Reasons to Quit Smoking Today

Smoking is a nasty habit. You might think that it’s not as bad they say it is, or that you haven’t been affected, but this isn’t the case. Smoking just a couple of cigarettes occasionally can take years off your life and as a parent it was the reason why I quit back in 2010. Don't get me wrong quitting was hard especially as I went cold turkey - the prescription tablets that are offered to patients on the NHS made me horrible sick so cold turkey was the only viable option. Nothing worthwhile ever came easy definitely applies in that situation. 

My kids are so happy that I quit and seeing their faces happy and healthy was worth it so, here are some reasons for you to quit smoking today:

Reduce Your Chance of Horrible Diseases
It’s no secret that smoking increases your chances of getting horrible diseases. You can get things like cancer, heart disease, and all kinds of other nasty illnesses just from smoking. These are painful, expensive, and usually end in death. Why would you want to put yourself and your family through that?

Live a Fuller Life
When you quit smoking, you’ll be able to live a much fuller life. You’ll be healthier and more able to do things than you would if you were hooked on cigarettes. People who smoke sometimes end up with an oxygen tank and have to take that with them everywhere they go. Let that sink in for a while. 

Live Longer
Avoiding smoke can help you to live longer. Smoking has been scientifically proven to shave years off your life, so you could die as much as 20 years earlier than you would normally. If you want to live to see your family grow up, you should quit smoking.

Spend More Time With Family
Stopping smoking will allow you to spend more quality time with your family. You’ll be able to watch your grandchildren grow up, and not one member will be encouraged to try this dirty habit because of you. 

Feel Better in General
You’ll feel so much better in general when you stop smoking. Your smell, eyesight, hearing, and breathing all improve when you quit. Smoking can permanently damage these things in the long term! 

Lots of Resources to Help
You have no excuse to continue smoking when there are so many resources to help. You have all kinds of programs you can sign up to, and you won’t be going through any of it alone. Hardcore smokers are quitting every day and feeling amazing for it. By simply purchasing an e-liquid from Flavour Factory you can make such a difference to your life. 

Save a Lot of Money
Smoking is getting more and more expensive as the years go by. You can save a hell of a lot of money if you just quit! You’ll quickly notice the pounds start to add up when you’re not spending so much money on cigarettes. 

Look Younger
You’ll look younger when you stop smoking too. Smoking dehydrates the skin and causes premature wrinkles, so when you stop you can stop this from happening. You can also take the steps to try to reverse the process a little. You don’t want all of those horrible little lines around your mouth, do you?

Hopefully, this post has convinced you to stop smoking for good. There are far too many benefits to quit, and absolutely none to continue. Be smart and stop right now!

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Calorie Free Girl Scout Cookies || Yankee Candle's Limited Edition Goodies


The Girl Scouts are a major organisation in the US who are known for selling 'Girl Scout Cookies'. Everyone knows this due to the inclusion of little kids selling these cookies on almost every American TV sitcom and comedy film but, I've never really paid any more attention to the organisation passed what's shown on the TV.

So I did a little research on them because I'm a little bit of a weirdo and really wanted to find out what the hell I was going to write about - The org was started by Juliette Gordon Low who was known as Daisy (so random, I know). Apparently Juliette believed in 'the power of every girl' now that to me seems a little like a throw away statement but oh well, I'm all for empowerment and boosting the confidence and skills of the younger generations.

Girl Scouts work to build character and confidence of the girls who attend the club, let's face it selling hundreds if not thousands of cookies to random strangers for barely anything in return is sure to build confidence and character - hells most people in the UK can't even stick out Avon or other MLM programmes, but these little kids can - part of me is in awe - part of me is kinda disgusted at the self-entitlement on the org's part, but I'll not go into that right now.

Long story short the Girl Scouts and Yankee Candles collaborated on a limited edition collection Girl Scout Cookies Collection back in January which was inspired by the cookies. There are four scents and a varied product range which included Car Jars, Sleek Tumblers, Signature Apothecary Jars and the standard jars in this collection, but it's a US Limited Edition range which is completely poop because it wasn't being offered to the UK market. I have however noticed some candles have started to trickle their way into the UK market via Amazon, Candle websites and Ebay so yay to those people but nay to some of the ridiculous prices.
It's a given that these are more suited to the foody scent lover, they're also excellent pick-ups for the Yankee collectors who like to keep rather than burn. These were limited to the Girl Scout Cookie season and US only so if you can pick them up, you will make pennies (lots of pennies possibly) back if you decide to sell in the future.

Thin Mints // So mouthwateringly real... The delicious scent of rich chocolate and cool, tingly mint.

Coconut Caramel Stripes // Almost good enough to eat. A tantalising fragrance of sugary caramel, warm chocolate and fresh coconut.

Trefoils // Absolutely nothing compares to the irresistible aroma of buttery, just baked cookies.

Chocolate Peanut Butter // Everyone's favourite... A creamy combination of sweet chocolate and roasted peanuts tickles the nose.

So what do you think? Will this collection become a huntable addition to your Yankee Collection?

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Awesome Ideas For A Fun Night In With Your Man



Most couples find it hard to spend nights in together, but it's important to dedicate some time to date night or to celebrate special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.

These were some of the ideas that I came up with when planning a date night with my partner.

An Evening of Poker

You don’t have to be huge gamblers to enjoy an evening of poker together. Just pick up some beginner poker accessories from a reputable seller. You’ll find lots of them online and in your local town. Presuming you don’t know how to play the game, you can also get books and instruction guides online. It’s not complicated to learn, but it could be a great way of spicing up your relationship. If you must play for clothing, so be it. You’re guaranteed to have a great time, and he’ll enjoy trying to beat you.

A Movie Night

We all enjoy watching movies, and so downloading some new ones for your night together could be perfect. Just make sure you get at least one film he’s going to like. Most men will watch dramas and chick flicks to keep you happy. However, they still want to view a new action movie from time to time. It’s all about compromise. We've recently watched Avengers Age of Ultron, The Duff and Pitch Perfect 2 and fully recommend them as unromantic date night alternatives. Don’t sit there complaining all the way through his film. Try to enjoy it like he does with yours. 

A Meal For Two 

A wise woman once said the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. That couldn’t be more accurate. You shouldn’t just cook his favorite meal on his birthday you know. You can do it at any time you want to be together and enjoy each other’s company. He is sure to know how much you love him when you surprise him in the kitchen. Just make sure he returns the favour at another date.

A Good Chat

Believe it or not, women are not the only people who like a good chat. Presuming you don’t get to spend that much time together, your man will probably. Try turning the TV off and sitting with each other for a few hours. Discuss your day. Let him know if you have any worries. Listen to his concerns. Put his mind at ease and remember why you love each other.

Now you’ve read our awesome ideas; we hope you will have lots of fun with your partner. As you can see, it’s often the simplest things in life that matter most. Just being in each other’s company can help your relationship to grow and survive. That is especially the case if you have children. You need to make an extra effort to love each other and let the other person know they are the most important thing in your world.

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23andMe || Going Down The Genetic Rabbit Hole


If you've ever had a relative that's had a soul sucking health condition then chances are you've considered how it would affect you personally if that condition were, say, genetic. Conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Cystic Fibrosis or Cardiomyopathy all wreck havoc with many people's lives and the lives of their families and for the most part, are terrifying.

The BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene's had major media miles lately thanks to Angelina Jolie, the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene are both strong genetic candidates for causing breast cancer. Private genetic testing for these two genes can run into the thousands and the NHS simply doesn't have the capabilities to test everyone unless there's a known genetic history (even then you're not guaranteed to be tested). On the same note, you'd also run into financial issues if you were planning to start a family and wanted to know about your risk of passing on conditions again.  People who are on minimum wage simply couldn't afford that. Even autoimmune conditions such as fibromyalgia and M.E, lupus, MS or thyroiditis are hard to live with so imagine if you could find out if you were at risk of those conditions before they happened.

Would you go through with the test?

For me personally I came from a family who were affected by a variety of conditions, on one side all of the females suffered from a range of autoimmune and debilitating conditions as well as thyroid issues and Alzheimer's. On the other side, there was mental health issues, digestive issues and addiction. It was too pattern like to be anything other than genetic, I was sure of it and my presumption was, sort of, proven when I too fell into a similar run of poor health issues that snowballed (even though I lived a very healthy lifestyle) just like my female relatives.

Growing up private genetic testing wasn't something that I could afford and I never believed I would ever manage to afford. Many of my friends didn't understand why I wanted to get it done so badly, for them it was a novelty but for me it felt like I could finally find the last piece of the health jigsaw puzzle.

Late last year I found out about 23andMe which is run by Google. They're a pretty major company in the US and had finally made their way to the UK after approval from the government. The test itself covered both ancestry and genetics and only cost £125. Don't get me wrong £125 isn't pocket money but when you consider the savings that would be made from getting individual tests such as the Alzheimer's or BRCA1 and BRCA2 testing done privately it's a drop in the ocean. I took the leap and purchased the test. I was sent a box about a fortnight later which included a tube to spit into, once you've done the deed you simply send it back and wait for your results to track on the 23andMe website - this does take around six weeks because the test is sent abroad, the wait time feels like a lifetime and it can be frustrating, it's a great time to take up yoga or meditation that's for sure.

So what can this particular test tell you?

Ancestry

Ancestral composition / Are you 100% British or do you have a surprising admixture of countries that make up ''you''? It's very unusual to find someone who's 100% of anything so finding out your composition is very exciting.

✓ Haplogroup / Haplogroups are basically genetic groups where your line originated from, it shows where your ancestors traveled from to get to where you are today, if you're a history buff then you may be surprised to find you are in fact related to the Vikings, fighters, farmers, Romans or other historically important groups of people.

Have you heard of the Seven Sisters? Apparently we all came from a sister and progressed from there - basically a haplogroup is equivalent to the 'sister' you came from. If your male you will find out haplogroups for both maternal and paternal sides of your genetics. If you're female you'll only find out the maternal side - I am haplogroup I2 on my mums side (I know I'm haplogroup C3 on my paternal side, but that was outside of this test).

✓ Neanderthal / How caveman like are you? genetically speaking of course.

Health

✓ Major health risks / Alzheimer's, cardiomyopathy, BRCA genes, parkinsons, cystic fibrosis, cancers and plenty of the big scary health conditions that we all fear. These results can help you take action now or rest assured that you don't have the mutations.

✓ Minor health risk / If you are protected from certain strains of norovirus, methylation mutations, IGG and IGE mutations, autoimmune mutations and many more.

✓ Fun genetics / Are you sensitive to sounds, are you more of a sweet or salty person and is your earwax wet or dry (seriously). It also covers hair colour, eye colour, if you're prone to freckles and lots of other fun mutations that make us unique.

For many people, the fear of finding out negative results can be overwhelming. 23andMe actually hide these results under lock and virtual key for you to open only if and when you decide to, I hope that helps you rest assured that you won't see any major health results by mistake. There's also a fantastic forum on the website which offers a great deal of help with results, answering questions or simply just for fun. There is no bitchiness over on the websites forum unlike many others across the interwebs - and - everyone has something in common - the need to know more about themselves.

I do have my results, but there's so much information that I want to cover it in a second post and possibly third. I've also since had my husband tested which was very interesting because it allowed us to put together our mutations (kind of) to see where our sons may be affected - we plan to get all three of our sons tested once they can spit proficiently.

What I will say is that the test, or more importantly the results have shown me that my initial thoughts of my families health issues being genetic were correct. Every single one of them. It's also allowed me to see how my own health may be impacted as I age and I've now come to understand the processes that genetically cause those conditions to take effect, having this information and this new knowledge has also allowed me to make changes medically and in my lifestyle that hopefully will slow the progression of both major and minor genetic mutations. My husband, on the other hand, had no major health mutations, but some of his minor ones and his fun genetics made me go 'ahh now that makes sense' on more than one occasion.

You can find out more about the test and the company here. Personally I can't recommend it enough, it's like having all of the pieces to your own jigsaw puzzle right there in front of you.

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10 Facebook Pages You'll Love || Part 1

Part one of my 'Facebook pages you're going to love' series. These are all pages that I've followed [sometimes for years] and have found their pages offer inspiration, honesty and lots of fun. I love the visual aspect of Instagram, I love the informative aspect of blogging and I love the social (well duh haha) aspect of Twitter and Facebook. These pages are a great mix of all 3, some of these pages I actually find far better than their actual blogs. 

There's a real mish-mash of pages from homemade creators, artists and bloggers. Each of them bringing a little bit of sunshine to a slow-moving social site. 

Here goes:


Moon to Moon || If you love bohemian inspired home decor or rustic lifestyles then this is a page you'll love. Even if you're not entirely boho-loving you're still going to feel inspired with the colourful photography and lifestyle friendly topics of interests. 

Alexis Southam Jewellery || Alexis makes really pretty silver jewellery that's miles apart from what other creators make. There's a definite nature feel with her designs with pieces including leaves, birds and animals. Honestly take a look you're going to fall in love with her designs especially as she posts works in progress posts which allows you to get a sense of the person behind the page.

Ana Bagayan || Aliens, UFO's and the otherworldly are the inspiration behind this page. Ana's art is out-of-this-world (excuse the bad pun). 




The Filigree || There's a fine line between utterly cute and fantasy like and weirdly-weird and The Filigree are miles away from the weird line. This page is run by a husband and wife team of creators, there are shots showing how they create these fantastical creatures and, if you happen to fall in love with one of these figurines expect to have to slog out the wait because these sell so fast (like eerily fast) due to their mahoosive following. 

Ban. Do || I've only recently found this brand and I'm in love. Cute stationery, organisers and product shots.

For Strange Women || I've been a long time fan of this gothic inspired scent brand (since the creation of Etsy near enough) and even to this day I can't help but be drawn in with her amazing product shots, her perfume concoctions and her product descriptions. I can't recommend her lip balms and her perfumes enough - and - if you're not into scents and balms then pour yourself over her gorgeous images.

Liberty London Girl || LLG is a blogger and like most bloggers her she likes to post about lifestyle and fashion. The difference here is that her Facebook is so pristine and pretty. Her FB is as equally gorgeous as her IG and that's saying something because FB pages have a tendency to become jumbled and mish-mashed don't they.




Free People || Free People is my go-to on Facebook and as a blog site. Yes,  I love their clothing (who doesn't) but I also love that they post incredibly helpful information, DIY and creatables and generally all round bohemian-themed posts that inspire me to no end. 

Skunkboy Blog || Back to school, new hairstyles, gorgeous clothing that makes me jealous because I'd look like an old hipster if I tried to pull them off and a splash of vintage. Lifestyle posts that will keep you on your toes - and - it's all so damn pretty.

Sugarlaws || Sugarlaws is the parenting version of Liberty London Girl. Nice posts showing their lives, some gorgeous product shots and thought out posts. 


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