Monthly Archives:

January 2019

January Update – Slimming World Results

Here’s my January update for my Slimming World journey. I’m very pleased with my Slimming World results so far this year. It’s the first January in a few years where I’ve continued to be determined to carry on right through the month. I put 1 […]

Read more

Ways to Improve Your Family’s Dental Health

The largest cause of child hospital admissions between the ages of five and nine is tooth decay. Therefore, it is important to ensure that your whole family cares for their teeth and practices an established dental routine.

Such dental practices should start young, and you should encourage your children to start routines and practise the same level of dental care that you do so that they continue these important measures to prevent tooth decay throughout their lives.

child at the dentist

However, oral care is no less important for adults, and you must ensure that you set a good example for your family by taking the time to establish good dental hygiene such as brushing and flossing.

Go to Regular Check-ups

Regular check-ups are the best way to prevent oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Your dentist will be able to find and alert you to any dental problems you may have, as well as potential problems in the future. By catching diseases and inflammations early, this will lessen the likelihood of having to have more invasive surgery.

The best way to encourage children to go to the dentist throughout their lives is by taking them to the dentist from a young age. In fact, you should start to take your child to the dentist as soon as their first teeth appear.

The health of milk teeth is just as important as the health of adult teeth, as the quality of your child’s milk teeth can affect the health of their adult teeth when they grow through. Taking your child to the dentist as soon as possible also lessens the chance of your child being scared of the dentist as they will understand what is going to happen and that it will not be painful or scary.

Nearly a quarter of children have rotting teeth by the time that they start school; your dentist will be able to find dental decay early and teach your child the best ways to brush their teeth and look after their dental hygiene. If tooth decay is a particular problem for your child, you may want to discuss having dental sealants put on your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on your child’s teeth to help prevent decay by keeping harmful bacteria away from their surfaces.

However, regular check-ups are not just important for children. Half of all adults in England do not visit the dentist. You and your family should make a dental appointment annually, and, if you are prone to tooth problems, this may be increased to once every six months.

dental health - toothbrushes and toothpaste

Visit Your Hygienist

Over a third of adults have never been to the hygienist. Many patients avoid the hygienist due to its cost, which is usually around £50 and is not available for free on the NHS. However, going to the hygienist is vital to improve the quality of your teeth and ensure that they remain largely plaque free. You should visit the hygienist every six months.

Hygienists will conduct extra cleaning procedures that are not normally part of your basic dental check-up. These include a:

  • ‘Scale and polish,’ where tartar and plaque are removed from the gaps between your teeth and your gumline with small, manual equipment or a water scaler. This ensures that tartar does not build up in your mouth, which can eventually cause cavities if it is less permanently on the surface of your
  • Check for gum erosion and gum Your hygienist will also perform other checks to ascertain that your oral health is positive.

If you are in search of high-quality dental supplies for your practice, Kent Express offers good value dental products, from small equipment such as water scalers to autoclaves and ultrasonic baths. Kent Express collaborates with practices through their knowledgeable team, who can provide the best equipment for your practice’s individual needs.

The hygienist is not just for adults, though, and regular visits for the whole family are essential for healthy smiles. The most beneficial aspect of the hygienist for children and adults alike, is that your hygienist will take some time to educate and advise you on how to improve your oral care and ways that you can incorporate this into your daily routine. For instance, if you or your child struggles with the correct way to floss, then your hygienist will be able to demonstrate the correct way to achieve this.

Talk to an Orthodontist

Another reason why you should visit your dentist with your child regularly is that they will be able to recommend an orthodontist to you. Your child may need orthodontic treatment for urgent or cosmetic purposes, such as braces or retainers.

Children should visit the orthodontist at the age of 7, when their adult teeth have all emerged, as this will indicate whether their mouth is overcrowded or if they have an overbite. At this time, you will also still be able to get orthodontic treatment on the NHS for non-cosmetic purposes.

Additionally, straightening your child’s teeth is important so that they can care for them more easily throughout their lives, and will be able to reach all their surfaces more easily. Treatment lasts for around 2 years, and you will need to visit the orthodontist every 6 weeks to check if they need tightening and whether the braces are being kept clean enough.

However, if you believe that your teeth are protruding or crooked as an adult, you can still have orthodontic treatment. Although treatment is not on the NHS, 1 in 100 orthodontic patients are adults, and having braces fitted can help you to have a healthy smile if you struggle with certain aspects of your dental care.

Establish Dental Routines

Dental routines are important to establish from a young age. The younger your child starts to care for their teeth, the more likely that they will continue to care for their teeth throughout their lives. You should supervise your children’s brushing routines up until the age of 7.

Children should brush twice daily with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled brush. You should particularly look out for children brushing too hard or not covering all the surfaces of their teeth. Some children will also brush their teeth backwards and forwards, rather than in circular motions.

If children are reluctant to take part in routines, you should brush your teeth with them. This will encourage them to brush their teeth thoroughly, allow them to copy your technique, and allow you to check whether they are brushing correctly. Another good way to encourage a dental routine is to make their routine fun, by playing games such as brushing to music and rewarding them for a good brushing routine.

Adults should also brush twice daily with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes a day. You should brush gently and ensure that you do not hit your gumline, as this can damage your gums and lead to gum erosion.

dentist chair

However, simply brushing only covers 60% of your teeth’s surfaces. Therefore, adults should also floss between their teeth as this ensures that bacteria is removed from the narrow gaps between your teeth right up to your gumline. You should ensure that you floss the edges of each tooth, with the floss turned at a 45-degree angle towards your gumline. Flossing should be done in a soft, rocking motion as this will ensure that you can floss without damaging your gums. If you floss too hard, you can potentially help increase the pace of gum erosion and allow bacteria to infect your gums.

Adults should also consider using mouthwash. Although this is not necessary for your dental routine, it can improve your dental hygiene by improving halitosis and protecting your teeth from plaque. However, mouthwashes should only be used over half an hour apart from the rest of your dental hygiene routine, as they can potentially wash the lasting fluoride off your teeth.

You should look for mouthwashes that contain fluoride, as this will prevent a build-up of plaque and active anti-bacterial ingredients which can kill potential, plaque-forming bacteria, for instance. You should speak to your dentist when considering mouthwash, as they will be able to guide you to the best mouthwashes for your use.

Eating Less Sugary Foods

Sugar can contribute greatly towards tooth decay as this erodes the enamel on your teeth. This leaves your mouth vulnerable to harmful bacteria which can infect your gums or cause a build up of plaque. However, the minerals in your saliva and that of fluoride in toothpaste reproduces the minerals that enamel contains, allowing your teeth to re-strengthen.

sugary sweets

However, reducing the amount of sugar that your family consumes is vital to a healthy smile. Every time you consume sugar, the acids found in sugar attack your teeth for 20 minutes after each bite. This means that sugary drinks are especially bad for you and your children, as sugars will attack their teeth for 20 minutes after each sip. Over time, this can cause cavities, especially in children, whose teeth are more susceptible to decay.

Therefore, you should reduce your family’s intake of fizzy drinks and sugary snacks, or only consume sugary substances around meal times, as this will help to reduce acidity. You should also limit the time that you spend consuming sugary substances. For instance, you should consume a snack or drink all at once so that the acid attack lasts for a shorter length of time. You should also wait half an hour after sugary snacks to brush your teeth as this allows the enamel to reharden, and drink plenty of water after you eat a snack, as this will help to dilute the acids in your mouth and stabilise your pH levels.

Drink More Water

Drinking a lot of water around meal times or when consuming sugary drinks can be a simple protection against sugary drinks. Water washes away debris and left-over food that can potentially cause bacteria, as well as diluting the acids created in your mouth when you eat sugary substances.

drinking water

Water also replenishes your saliva, which is important as saliva contains minerals such as calcium which help to protect your teeth. Drinking water can help to reduce the risk of dry mouth, which can aid tooth decay through the lack of minerals that your mouth will come into contact with. Additionally, drinking water rather than sugary drinks is not only good for your family’s health and weight. Drinking water as a replacement for flavoured drinks means that your mouth will be coming into contact with less acidic and sugary substances which can cause tooth decay.

In many areas, unfiltered water contains additional fluoride which can strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay, like a more natural toothpaste. This extra fluoride will help to add to the minerals that your teeth come into contact with through using toothpaste.

Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is also a great way to improve your family’s teeth. Smoking can not only discolour your teeth, but it can lead to a great chance of periodontal disease and gum infections. This is because smoking encourages buildups of plaque and tartar which can cause cavities., eventually lead to tooth loss and further dental problems. It can also lead to an increased chance of getting oral cancer and other illnesses such as infections, as smoking greatly lowers your immune system’s effectiveness.

However, quitting smoking as soon as possible allows your teeth to strengthen and can greatly increase your chance of repairing your teeth as you grow older.

Dental care is important for all the family, whatever age you are. By instilling proper brushing techniques and dental routines into your children’s lifestyle, they will be able to continue good dental care throughout their lives. However, even as an adult, it is not too late to improve your dental hygiene through regular check-ups, a healthy lifestyle, and a good dental routine.

 This is a collaborative post

Dinner’s On! 11 Easy-To-Use Kitchen Gadgets Perfect for Busy Parents

woman using kitchen gadgets

Source: Freepik


If you are a parent with a demanding schedule, cooking a healthy and delicious meal for your family can be tedious. I assure you there is no need to worry. There is a way to make cooking faster, easier, healthier and even more enjoyable for you and your family. Nifty kitchen gadgets are the answer to cutting down your meal prep time.


Investing in high-quality, useful kitchen gear is important, but it should not break the bank. It is hard enough with trying to keep your fridge stocked with high-quality, healthy groceries, but with free delivery code you can get great discounts on some cool kitchen gear.


We have compiled a list of 11 small, useful and time-saving kitchen gadgets that are perfect buys for a busy family kitchen.

1.      Mandoline

A mandoline is a great alternative to the conventional knife that can guarantee consistently cut vegetables and fruit. It utilizes two parallel flat surfaces that are separated by a thin cutting blade. Simply adjusting one side to be slightly lower than the other surface allows whatever vegetable or fruit that slides along the surface to come into contact with the blade and is a slide. The repeated motion of sliding along the surface results in thinly sliced vegetables and fruit that are also uniform in shape and thickness.


2.     Spiral Vegetable Slicer

Pasta can be a great staple food in any household, but you might consider upgrading your pasta with a vegetable spiralizer. A vegetable spiral slicer or spiralizer easily turns your veggies into a trendy alternative noodle. Most models of spiralizer functions like a giant pencil sharpener. A vegetable is clamped onto a grinder while a hand crank or an automatic crank pushes the vegetable into the grinder resulting in beautiful ribbons of vegetable pasta. Vegetable noodles are a healthier choice for your kids and can be dressed up in just as many ways as normal pasta.

3.     Immersion Blender

An immersion blender is the light, hand-held, and easy-to-manoeuvre brother to a food processor. As the name suggests, you simply immerse the end of the blender into any pot or bowl, turn it on, and watch it blend any mixture into a smooth consistency. It is a great investment for a busy household because of its ease of use. An immersion blender makes sure you do not have to haul out your heavy blender or processor for every mixture, especially if it is a small batch.

4.     Salad Spinner

This gadget washes and removes excess water from your salad greens so that your salad dressing stays undiluted. With a few presses of a pump spinner, the salad spinner uses centrifugal force to separate water from the salad leaves. This is a helpful addition a buys family’s kitchen because the spinner is multi-use. The spinner has a colander that will drain your washed greens and an elegant, clear bowl to serve your salad in.

5.     3-in-1 Avocado Slicer

Avocados are a delicious fruit that provides a good amount of healthy fats to your body but cutting one open with just a sharp knife can easily go wrong. A plastic blade effortlessly cuts through the avocado flesh and skin. A half-spherical hollow at the centre of the slicer quickly and safely removes the pit while a fan blade slices out the beautiful wedges and scoops them out.

6.     Pineapple Corer

Pineapples are a fantastic snacking fruit for the whole family, especially if it is fresh. However, the tough, prickly outer layer and hard inner core can make buying fresh pineapple undesirable. A pineapple corer simplifies the cutting process. This amazing tool simultaneously removes the core

7.     Citrus Squeezer

Continuing on the topic of getting the most out of your fruits and vegetables, a citrus squeezer ensures you get the most out of your lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus fruits. Using your bare hands to squeeze lemons and limes to make a healthy juice your kids takes a bit of arm strength and patience, and even then, you might not get all of the juice out of your citrus fruits. Not to mention, your hands might not catch the seeds or pulp. A citrus squeezer inverts the peel and firmly extracts the citrus juice while leaving any pulp and seeds inside the squeezer.

8.     Garlic Press

Peeling garlic and chopping it up into a fine mince is a time-consuming process. You are free to try the various hacks like microwaving your garlic or put all your garlic cloves in a Tupperware and shake it around, but a garlic press might be a better choice. This handheld gadget easily crushes garlic cloves to a fine mince by forcing cloves through a grid of small holes using a sturdy press.

9.     Sandwich Sealer and De-cruster

A sandwich seal and de-cruster is like an upgraded cookie cutter. You simply fit it over your sandwich of choice and firmly press down to clean cut off your sandwich crusts. An added bonus is that it also seals your sandwich so you can put a lot of healthy ingredients and there is less chance of them spilling. This is a useful tool if you have a picky eater in the house or if you have a crust aversion. A sandwich sealer and de-cruster saves you a few more minutes of cutting of sandwich crusts by hand and makes eating your sandwiches a little bit cleaner.

10.  Non-Stick Silicone Mats

Baking delicious cookies for your kids sounds like a lot of fun, right? Well, non-stick silicone mats are heaven sent for all your baking needs. Not only is the silicone mat non-stick but it is also easily transferrable from counter to oven. That means you can roll your dough, whether it be bread dough, cookie dough or pastry dough, onto the mat, take it straight to the oven and never worry about it sticking. Silicone mats are a good investment for busy households because they are versatile enough that you do not need to break out any more mats or boards just to move whatever you are baking around the kitchen.

11.  Kitchen Shears

Last, but definitely not least, we have what seems to be an easily overlooked, but very useful kitchen tool: kitchen shears. While they seem like glorified scissors, kitchen shears can do more than just snip and clip. Kitchen shears are equipped to butcher poultry, cut open food packaging and easily snip herbs. That is not all. Some kitchen shears can be used as a screw cap and jar lid opener through a small opening between the handles of the shears.

Get Cooking!

Cooking for your family and for yourself should not be a chore. The list above is only some of the most useful kitchen utensils available to make your life a lot easier, and you can find even more tasty recipes using those gadgets.

This is a collaborative post

The Blackhouse by Peter May – Book Review #3

I received this Peter May trilogy for Christmas from the children. The Blackhouse is the first book in the series and I’ve decided not to read them one after the other. I’ve learnt my lesson from last year when I read a series of Harlen Coben books and ended up having to take a break in the middle. I started to lose the enjoyment because I think I overloaded my brain, reading about the same characters for weeks!

The Blackhouse

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

A brutal killing takes place on the Isle of Lewis, Scotland: a land of harsh beauty and inhabitants of deep-rooted faith.

Detective Inspector Fin Macleod is sent from Edinburgh to investigate. For Lewis-born Macleod, the case represents a journey both home and into his past.

Something lurks within the close-knit island community. Something sinister.

As Fin investigates, old skeletons begin to surface, and soon he, the hunter, becomes the hunted.

My Thoughts

It took me a really long time to get into this book. It wasn’t what I was expecting, which was a regular murder investigation.
Instead of just reading about the investigation and how the detective, Fin McLeod catches the killer, we are learning everything about the detective, from his childhood to present day.

At the start of the book, I kept wondering why I needed to know all this about Fin, and it was the reason I was struggling to connect with the story.
I’m not sure what changed, but just before halfway through I started to want to know more about Fin and all the people he grew up with.

I didn’t see the ending coming at all and now I can’t wait to read the next book so I can get back to the island and read more about Fin!

The Blackhouse by Peter May book cover

The Blackhouse by Peter May book cover


For more book-related posts, click here

Beef & Aubergine Bake – Slimming World Recipe

Someone in our group made this beef & aubergine bake and said it was lovely so I thought we’d give it a go. It’s from the Take 5 Slimming World recipe book which is available from group shops.

Read more

Ella Cooked Dinner – My Sunday Photo

KayCee’s loved cooking and baking for a few years. Ella likes baking, but she’s never been as keen as KayCee to cook meals. This week she asked if she could make dinner so I found her a Slimming World recipe and apart from a little […]

Read more

What A Week – Trip To A&E

This has been a week I won’t forget in a hurry. It’s the week where I felt the most agonising pain I’ve ever felt in my life.
I don’t think it was the most fearful I’ve ever felt, however, that award goes to the time I had a pulmonary embolism and had to spend 10 days in the hospital.
I’ll admit, I truly did think I was going to die that time, but a good thing came from it; I’ve not had a cigarette since the day I was rushed in :o)

This time my trip to A&E was on Monday night, a night which we expected to be quite quiet at A&E. Turns out Monday nights are usually the busiest time for them, which of course was just my luck!

teddy with a plaster on - what a week - trip to A&E


Advice from 111

It was around 6.30 pm, just after I’d finished dinner when I started to get a pain in the area of my hernia. I’d had pain in the area a few times and I usually just have to lie down and it goes away.

I had my feet up and was half lying on the sofa, but the pain got worse, not better, so I decided to go and lie on the bed so I could lie flat.
After about 20 minutes, the pain had started to get really bad, not better. I made way downstairs to tell Ant that I thought we should go to the hospital because I feared I had a strangulated hernia, (I’d been scaring myself by Googling the symptoms!).

Ant phoned 111 and to cut the story short, they advised that I went to A&E so we did.
It was totally packed and after getting booked in I was told to take a seat.
We managed to find 1 free seat and poor Ant spent the majority of our time in A&E standing up. This wouldn’t have been so bad if we hadn’t had to wait there for around 6 hours, but we did and it was absolutely awful.

Too Much Walking & No Cannula

During the 6 hours waiting, I was seen by a triage nurse, another nurse took some blood, but didn’t want to try putting a cannula in because she had trouble finding a vein for the blood.
I also had very high blood pressure which wasn’t normal for me.
Another nurse came and gave me some oral morphine after a few hours and Ant asking at the desk if there was anything they could do.

The pain was getting worse and I was about out of energy.

The oral morphine didn’t work and after another hour or so they gave me another dose and said I’d be going for a scan shortly.
Not long after, they called me for my scan and I had to walk, very slowly and bent over because it felt like my insides were going to drop out, down a very long corridor.

When I got to the end the nurse asked where my cannula was.

I didn’t have one and I just wanted to cry when she said I’d have to go back down the very long corridor and wait in A&E again until I got a cannula. Come to think of it, I think I did cry at one point!
I made my way back to A&E and thankfully didn’t have to wait long before a lovely doctor came and a put a cannula in with no problems at all!

Finally, Pain Relief

I was taken to a bed and felt myself relax just a little because all the pressure was taken off my stomach.
Another nurse came and injected me with some magic! I’ve had morphine injected before, but it was when I was having an emergency c-section and I was out of it for most of the time so I didn’t really feel the effects.

I totally felt the effects this time and I can only describe it as magic!

After the first injection, she asked how the pain was and I told her that it was the best it had been all night. She gave me another and asked again, I said the pain was gone, I could just feel a bit of tenderness. She gave me another and my whole body relaxed. I felt totally normal again and had to fight to stay awake.
The pain for all those hours had totally taken it out of me, I had no energy at all.

Scan Time

I didn’t have to wait long for my scan and when it was done, they said they didn’t think it was my hernia at all, they said I have huge gallstones. They did say that I’d have to wait for the doctor, though, for a proper diagnosis.

I was taken to the ward after the scan and booked in by a really lovely nurse.

A doctor came to see me a while later and said it was my hernia causing the trouble. Some of my bowel had been trapped, but it seemed to have all gone back to normal.

Home Time

Ant left me on the ward just after 6 am. I managed to get about half an hours sleep before the ward lights were switched on at 7 am!
I can’t remember ever being so tired.

Another doctor came and examined me. He confirmed everything had gone back in place because I would have been in terrible pain when he touched me if it hadn’t.
He said I’d need to wait to see the consultant to see if he would want to repair it anyway or whether he would be happy for me to leave and lose more weight before having the operation.

The consultant said he was happy for me to go home and I said I was happy to be going!

Tough Week

I was tired and falling asleep for the rest of the day on Tuesday, but I expected to be back to normal the next day after a full nights sleep.
I was wrong, I was nowhere near normal, I still felt totally drained of all energy and it’s taken me the best part of the week to start feeling normal again.

The super wonderful husband has been even more super and even more wonderful this week! I don’t know what I’d do without him and I hope I never have to find out.



Turn Your Craft into a Career

person doing a craft

Earning money doing something you love- it’s pretty much the dream. If you already have a crafty hobby that you enjoy, chances are you’ve considered what it would take to bump things up to the next level and start earning money. While it can be a bit of a faff getting started, once you’re all up and running it can be plain sailing from there. Here’s what you need to do!


Setting up your business- the digital side of things

Regardless of the type of business you intend on running, there are a few things you’ll need to do first. Decide on your name and check that you can get the matching domain name and social media accounts. This can be a big job within itself and can take a number of days of pondering over different choices and researching to check you can get the name you want across all platforms. You’ll then need to have a website designed, there are lots of professionals online so it’s easy to find someone to do a great job for you. From there, find out the kind of software you’ll need. It could be verification or compliance software such as Most businesses will need some kind of accounting and financial software. If you deal with lots of customers, a helpdesk or ticketing service could be useful. You’ll more than likely need certain insurances too depending on what you do, so don’t overlook this. Go online and let HMRC know that you’re starting up, it’s a few forms to register and they’ll contact you and let you know if there’s any more information you need to send.


Setting up the physical elements of your business

Once all of the paperwork side of things has been sorted, you can get to work on setting up the equipment and materials you need. As you’re turning your hobby into a business, chances are you already have a few things to get started, but to start selling you might need to invest in more. For example, if you’re starting a baking business you’ll need a fridge that’s separate to your home’s fridge- this is a legal hygiene requirement. You might also need to make changes to bring your kitchen up to scratch so that it meets guidelines. If you’re doing any kind of art or physical craft, you could turn a bedroom into a studio. Good lighting, floors that are easy to clean and all of the right materials will be needed. If your business will be done on the computer, such as writing or design then you may need to upgrade your tech.


Promote in the right way

For some creative businesses, you’ll promote what you do in the same way as any other online business. If what you make can be shipped and sold across the country (or even the world!) then you need to ensure you’re reaching all of these markets. However, in some cases, your creative business will be much more local. Take florists, caterers and bakers for example. In most cases, your customers will only be coming from your immediate area. So you wouldn’t waste money promoting far and wide across the internet. If you’re stuck, you could always hire a marketing manager to help.


This is a collaborative post

Cheesy Colcannon Potato Skins – Slimming World Recipe

What can be better than a jacket potato on a cold January evening? A cheesy colcannon stuffed jacket potato, that’s what! We had baked beans and gammon with our potatoes, I just didn’t fancy speed foods, I needed some comfort foods!

Read more

A Stranger In The House – Book Review #2

I enjoyed another of Shari Lapena’s books last year and I’ve been waiting for A Stranger In The House to come into the charity shop for ages.
It was worth the wait 🙂

A Stranger In The House

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Why would you run scared from a happy home?

You’re waiting for your beloved husband to get home from work. You’re making dinner, looking forward to hearing about his day.

That’s the last thing you remember.

You wake up in hospital, with no idea how you got there. They tell you that you were in an accident; you lost control of your car whilst driving in a dangerous part of town.

The police suspect you were up to no good. But your husband refuses to believe it. Your best friend isn’t so sure. And even you don’t know what to believe . . .

My Thoughts

This book wasn’t as good as her first book, but I still enjoyed it and I didn’t see the twist coming at the end. I thought I’d worked out what was coming, but I was wrong!

I’ll be keeping an eye out for another of her books, An Unwanted Guest.

a stranger in the house by Shari Lapena

Goodreads 2019 reading challenge 2 books read


For more book-related posts, click here

%d bloggers like this: