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July 2019

The Wizard Of Oz Book Review #28

The Wizard Of Oz is one of my favourite movies. This was a good thing a few years ago when Ella was a toddler because she got fixated on it and we ended up buying three copies of the DVD because she kept wearing them out!

For some reason, I’ve never thought about reading the books until I saw they were free audiobooks on Audio Book Treasury

The Wizard Of Oz

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

When Dorothy and her little dog Toto are caught in a tornado, they and their Kansas farmhouse are suddenly transported to Oz, where Munchkins live, monkeys fly and Wicked Witches rule. Desperate to return home, and with the Wicked Witch of the West on their trail, Dorothy and Toto – together with new friends the Tin Woodsman, Scarecrow and cowardly Lion – embark on a fantastic quest along the Yellow Brick Road in search of the Emerald City. There they hope to meet the legendary, all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who alone may hold the power to grant their every wish.

My Thoughts

This is a lovely book and I enjoyed it. I wish I’d read it when I was younger as it would probably have been one of my favourite stories.

The following part of the story made me laugh and I had to share it with Ella and Ant who both found it hilarious that the tin man thought it was wrong of the wildcat to kill the mouse but it was perfectly fine for him to decapitate the wildcat!

The Tin Woodman was about to reply when he heard a low growl, and turning his head (which worked beautifully on hinges) he saw a strange beast come bounding over the grass toward them. It was, indeed, a great yellow Wildcat, and the Woodman thought it must be chasing something, for its ears were lying close to its head and its mouth was wide open, showing two rows of ugly teeth, while its red eyes glowed like balls of fire. As it came nearer the Tin Woodman saw that running before the beast was a little gray field mouse, and although he had no heart he knew it was wrong for the Wildcat to try to kill such a pretty, harmless creature.
So the Woodman raised his axe, and as the Wildcat ran by he gave it a quick blow that cut the beast’s head clean off from its body, and it rolled over at his feet in two pieces.

There are quite a few books in the series, which I also never knew until now. They’re all available as free audiobooks so I’ll certainly be listening to the others while I’m cleaning and working on my papercrafts 🙂

The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz


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Healthy Eating For Weight Loss

healthy eating for weight loss

Those familiar with the blog will know that I often post updates on my Slimming World results from time to time. Weight loss is a very tricky road to navigate, and like most roads, it will have bumps along the way.

Weight loss is much more than dieting in this day and age, with different avenues out there for everyone. Because we all need to approach weight loss in a healthy manner, I thought it would be a good idea to list some of the options out there that you may not know about.

Remember, losing weight doesn’t have to be a negative experience. From subtle changes to how we eat to seeing the positive in how a change in lifestyle can make us feel better mentally; from this list, there will be something out there for you.

Different weight loss programs to look in to include:

  • Mayo Clinic
  • DDP Yoga
  • Slimming World
  • Alevere
  • Part-Time Vegan
  • Paleo

Mayo Clinic Diet

Not often a bunch of doctors get together to make their own diet, but that’s exactly what the Mayo Clinic did. Much of the literature is out there online for free, and some of it is a bit boilerplate in terms of what they advise (no snacking while watching TV/ swap sweeties for fruit etc.), but if you’re someone who can’t stand calorie counting or points-based systems, it may work for you.

DDP Yoga

This is surprisingly relatively unknown over here in the UK. Created by a former professional wrestler called Diamond Dallas Page, this is a yoga-based workout routine that uses your body and nothing else to work out.

It’s a staged based workout that, if followed strictly, will see you lose weight steadily. There’s a great blog post about how it’s good for men here, but if you were someone who feels like having a massive shift in lifestyle change and is more concerned with being active over what you eat, this is worth reading up on.

Slimming World

You’ll know already I post about Slimming World a good bit (read my Slimming World posts). It is one of the most popular weight loss programs out there and easy to see why when you get used to the ins and outs.

Unlike many weight loss programs; there’s a sense of community and the support network is fantastic. If you want to take the journey in baby steps that leads to strides, it could work for you.


Some people think that when you want to lose weight, you can just hop on an operating table and banish it. That’s a very dangerous and unrealistic way to achieve weight loss. Thankfully, breakthroughs in non-invasive treatments have made options like Alevere weight loss more popular.

It’s a combined non-invasive treatment and diet plan that aims to create sustained weight loss (i.e.. no yo-yo problems) and can adapt to a daily routine. I haven’t tried it out, but it is worth reading up on.

Part-Time Vegan

This isn’t a soapbox style diet, but rather more of a culinary challenge for some of us. A big part of problem diets is that it’s all too easy to fall into traps with eating habits. By taking on a part-time vegan diet, you can go anywhere from swapping an unhealthy lunch one day a week to complete overhaul in your kitchen.

To get you to try new foods in different ways, you could see yourself actually enjoying the act of pushing your food boundaries. And it doesn’t have to be dear to try it out. Sainsbury’s Love Your Veg range is fantastic right now. They have sausages that actually taste like sausages, as opposed to that bean-y texture, and they do things like katsu style kebabs and pulled pork pizzas that have a good level of flavour while bringing the calorie count right down.


I’ve left a tough option for last. The Paleo diet is very popular right now but requires a lot of dedication to keep it going. The diet stops you from having any cheese, grains, soy (unbelievable how many foodstuff have it as an ingredient) and most processed stuff.

It does seem to have results but is hard to stick too, and I’ve heard about the Paleo Flu most people get a week in when the body doesn’t know what to be at.

Stop thinking of food as restrictive!

Before I go, if you think that weight loss involves having to diet hard and restrict yourself, you’re doing it all wrong. I’ve been using various Slimming World recipes while the weather has been fantastic to eat food with a summer flair. If you’re interested, some of the recipes I’ve written about you should check out include:

You can see all the recipes I’ve tried out right here.

This is a collaborative post

Autumn Travel Inspo For Geneva

We might have just got over that recent heatwave (top tip: pop your pillow covers in the fridge, so you are not sweltered in bed) but that hasn’t put me off researching places to visit in the Autumn, Oh I love a little trip away when the weather is a little more calm, especially if it’s a city trip.

My top picks for a nice early Autumn trip, around September and October, would include Belfast, Edinburgh, Hamburg and Milan. This year there are a few destinations I’ve been keeping my eye on, and one, in particular, is piquing my interest; the lovely city of Geneva.

It might be famous for chocolate, fondue and the Large Hadron Collider, but I’ve been trying to figure out the best way to get there and do it on the cheap. Here are some of my thoughts and tips on how to jet off to Geneva in the Autumn and have a lovely little city break.

How should I get to Geneva?


CHEAP FLIGHTS! I was surprised to see that flights to Geneva were much cheaper than I expected. I am writing this in the middle of July and looking up some example route on Google Flights, I have seen direct flights for the middle of September (12th-15th) at prices like this:

  • EasyJet from London Luton for £59 return
  • EasyJet from London Gatwick for £64 return
  • Swiss Air from Manchester for £134 return
  • EasyJet from Edinburgh for £119 return

I honestly thought it was going to be really dear for flights but was surprised that just two months out return prices were so good.

Where should I stay in Geneva?

The city is quite compact and has a river running through the middle. Because it sits at the bottom of a lake, I’ve found that hotels tend to be dearest the closer to water you get. Rue du Marché and Rue du Rhône are two of the main streets in the city centre and staying on them can be dear, so I’d recommend having a good look at hotels in the surrounding streets to see how cheap they can go.

Airbnb prices vary wildly too. I prefer to look at entire flats when searching on the site, and £100-£120 per night seems to be the average rate for an apartment in the city, so if four people were splitting the bill for the likes of a two-bed apartment, it would be cheaper than a hotel.

The majority of hotels on are £170+ per night, so if you were factoring in self-catering over a bit of hotel luxury, I’d veer towards having your own place or go for serviced accommodation; at least that way you’ll be dining out all the time. There are cheap hotel options, but Geneva is a bit of a luxury city.

What should I eat in Geneva?

The amount of chocolate photos I’ve been drooling over on Instagram is practically shameful. The city has some of the best chocolate shops in the world, and you can even take a chocolate walking tour that will perfectly balance eating chocolate with burning calories.

And cheese lovers, there’s something even more magical than fondue you have to seek out. Malakoff is like a cheesy puffy ball that is fried (if you’ve ever had a beignet it’s quite similar) so the cheese gets all gooey inside. Café du Soleil is regarded as the spot to get them – it’s a 400-year-old café that serves them in small portions as a snack.

What should I see in Geneva?

I am a big fan of doing a lot of research for things to see in cities, especially if you’re travelling at a certain time of year. For example, in this handy September event guide, I found from Fraser Suites Geneva, there’s a Saturday morning market in a neighbourhood south of the city called Carouge Market.

I find that local markets are where you’ll always get the best sense of local cuisine rather than humming and harring over every café in town before panicking and settling on McDonald’s. Although, if you do end up at the golden arches, the Big Mac Index points out that Switzerland has the dearest McDonalds in the world.

Science nerds should know that you can go and visit CERN, but it is outside of the city and takes about half an hour. If high-end shopping is more your thing, Place du Bourg-de-Four is the place to go.

Are you planning a trip across the pond soon?

For anyone going to America soon, get savvy when travelling. Read my recent post on the top Travel apps out there to make going through American airports much easier.

This is a collaborative post

How Does CBD Oil Helps Weight Loss?

CBD oil

CBD oil is one of the best weight loss products in the world, but a lot of people will completely forget about it because they do not think that it was meant for this purpose.  Some people even see CBD oil as something that will give you a buzz.  This is not the case at all.  The CBD oil is going to help you make sure that your weight loss journey is working, and it can be used in a variety of ways to support your goal to lose as much weight as possible.  Plus, you might use CBD oil in everything as a bit of a common thread that can help you with your workouts, overall health, anxiety, and even depression.

1.  Energy

CBD oil is a good thing to use in the morning with your coffee or morning tea, and it could it be something that you add into a shake or smoothie.  When you would like to get more energy for the workouts that you plan to do, this is a good thing to take as a tincture.  CBD oil is very powerful, and you will feel much more focused on your workouts because the oil was designed to make you feel as though you can do anything. 

2.  Recovery

You can use CBD oil for recovery, and you need to make sure that you have used it every day so that you can keep your body as strong as possible.  There are a lot of people who have soreness because they are working out so much, and it is very hard for these people to get back to the gym the next day.  It is very simple for you to use the lotions and oils that are laced with CBD oil to rub on your skin, and you will find that you can change your recovery massively because you do not need to go for medicated lotions or simply get in an ice bath. 

3.  Weight Loss

You can lose weight more easily using these products because your metabolism will get an instant boost.  It is so easy to boost your metabolism that you do not even need to worry about trying to do other things that might force your body to burn fat.  When you are using a CBD oil product every day, your body will automatically respond to the feeling that it gets from the oil.  This is a very good thing for you, and it can help you make sure that you have gotten the exact amount in your body.  If you want to feel a little bit stronger or want to lose more weight, you can raise your dosage just a bit until you plateau.

4.  Anxiety

A lot of people who are working out and trying to lose weight will be anxious or jittery because they are working so hard to lose weight.  The best way to solve these problems is to make sure that you can get results that allow you to get through a long day.  You could use tiny tinctures of CBD to manage your anxiety, or you could take the tinctures any time you start to feel lost of anxious.  This is a simple remedy that is not a traditional medication.

This is a collaborative post

I Let You Go – Book Review #27

I Let You Go is the second Claire Mackintosh book that I’ve read and I’m looking forward to reading more.

I Let You Go

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

A tragic accident. It all happened so quickly. She couldn’t have prevented it. Could she?

In a split second, Jenna Gray’s world descends into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to walk away from everything she knows to start afresh. Desperate to escape, Jenna moves to a remote cottage on the Welsh coast, but she is haunted by her fears, her grief and her memories of a cruel November night that changed her life forever.

Slowly, Jenna begins to glimpse the potential for happiness in her future. But her past is about to catch up with her, and the consequences will be devastating 

My Thoughts

I put this book on my TBR list after I saw a review on MumOfThree World. That review was nearly 2 years ago so you can see how long my TBR list is seeing as it’s taken me so long to get round to reading it!

I read, I See You, a couple of weeks ago by the same author and I will certainly be on the lookout for more of her books.
I think the sign of a good book for me is when you’re hit with a twist that you totally didn’t see coming and this book had two of them.


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Strengthening your relationship

Relationships change. The “honeymoon” period does not last forever, which can leave couples floundering as they become unsure of how to maintain and strengthen their emotional bonds. Here are simple steps you can take to help strengthen your relationship with the person you love.

Be kind, always

Try to be kind to each other, even if you are feeling grumpy about something. Remember that you are responsible for your behaviour and your mood, so do not expect your partner to “fix” you. Every once in a while, write down all the lovely things your partner has done for you. This could be taking on one of your chores when you were feeling unwell, bringing you flowers “just because” or buying you a favourite treat whilst out shopping for something else. Showing your written list to your partner shows them that you do appreciate all they do for you.

You can strengthen your relationship by marking special days in the year. From birthdays to your anniversary to public holidays, making an effort to find Valentine’s day gifts, for example, will show that you understand the importance of these days and the chance it offers for you to create a special treat for your partner and yourself.

Image by pixel2013 from Pixabay

Agree to disagree

Find ways to express yourself and your needs without criticism or blame towards your loved one. There will be disagreements between you, but arguments can escalate rapidly with a critical or contemptuous remark. Disagreements should not always mean conflict.

Learn to stop before an argument gets completely out of control. Back down if the argument is going nowhere and is not important in the larger scheme of things. If there is something difficult you want to discuss, go for a walk together. Being outside and moving together in the same direction minimises the chance of confrontation since you are walking side by side, heading in the same direction.

An appreciation of your partner’s feelings will help resolve any issue, and if an argument becomes too heated, take a break for 20 minutes and try writing down the details from a neutral standpoint. This may highlight something you missed in the heat of the moment.

It is not all about you!

Being flexible within a relationship, making sacrifices for your partner without fuss, are what makes a relationship happy and long-lasting. If your partner asks you to change your plans for a particular reason, do so. Your support will show that you consider your relationship to be a true partnership.  If you have an important decision to make about work or home, first ask yourself if it is good for your relationship. If you don’t want to mention something you have planned, it is not good for your marriage.

Be positive

A happy relationship has five times as many positive experiences as negative ones. Nurture this positivity, by having fun together, laughing, going on adventures or a romantic getaway. Positivity comes from security as a couple. Create intimate moments without expectation of long lovemaking sessions. Extend your hugs and kisses longer than you normally would. When going out for a meal, sit next to each other rather than across from each other. This is a much friendlier position and allows for more intimacy, from a whispered comment to a hand on the knee. These actions will all maintain a feeling of a strong connection.

Image by Pana Kutlumpasis from Pixabay

Get help

Make your relationship your top priority, accept that your expectations will not always match your partners, but this need not lead to disappointment, but rather an opportunity for you to strengthen the foundations of your relationship for years to come. 

If you are experiencing relationship problems, seek help early on. Find someone you can talk with honestly as soon as problems arise.  Many people will wait a long time before seeking help, but this may make difficulties mount up, building resentment which left unchecked will inevitably lead to further problems. 

Be mindful who you ask for help, as you do not want to be the latest source of gossip.  There are several professional counselling services for couples where you can speak in confidence as a couple, or you can speak with someone as an individual.

This is a collaborative post

Questions For KayCee At The End Of Year 9

I started asking Kaycee and Ella some questions at the end of the school year in 2012. I love being able to look back at the changes 
These are KayCee’s answers at the end of year 9.



KayCee hasn’t sailed through the year as she has done in previous years, she’s had a lot to deal with, but she’s come through it stronger and more confident.

I can’t believe she only has 2 more years left at secondary school (unless she decides to stay on for the sixth form, of course), she’s growing so fast and is turning into a wonderful young lady.

As always, we’re very proud of her. 🙂

I am really good atFood tech
I like to go to friend’s houses after school
My favourite thing to learn at school:Food tech
1 person who makes me laugh:Sophie and Maddison, I can’t pick just one!
One word that describes me:Unique
I am really happy when:When I’m with my mum
I am really sad when:When I fall out with friends
My favourite book: Love Aubrey
My favourite TV show:Jane The Virgin
My favourite vacation: Greece
I like school when:Everyone is friends and there’s no drama
I don’t like school when:I have geography
My favourite season: Summer
My favourite toy: I don’t play with toys anymore
My worst nightmare fearCotton wool/spiders/the mole on my neck
Things that make me mad: Ella
Favourite sport: Netball
I like my Dad becausehe’s funny and makes my lunch
I like my Mum because:she’s nice and supportive and we have good talks
I like my family because It’s big

Questions For Ella At The End Of Year 7

I started asking the girls some questions at the end of the school year in 2012. It’s lovely being able to look back at the changes  Well, our little Ella isn’t so little anymore! She’s come through her first year of secondary school with a […]

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3 Ways To Revamp Your Home This Summer

lilac house with yellow door - revamp your home
Photo by Mike Bird from Pexels

Summer makes anything seem possible! These months are the most exciting time of year. It’s no surprise that many of us are ready to make improvements to our homes during this time. If you’ve been meaning to revamp your home, but you’re not sure where to start, here are a few hints and tips. 

Lighten up 

Summer is the time for light, bright, and beautiful! It’s all about sunshine, so why not bring the sun inside by making your rooms brighter? If you want to make the most of the natural light in your home, there are a few ways to go about it. Cleaning the windows is a great start! We often don’t realise how grubby they are until we give them a quick clean. It can lighten up your whole room and also make the house seem fresher and brighter. Give it a go and see what happens! You don’t even need chemicals, many people swear by white vinegar to clean windows

Once the windows are shining, from them with some light coloured curtains. A great way to let in maximum natural light is to choose curtain poles that are much wider than the windows. That way, you can open the curtains as wide as possible and let in the most light. 

Other ways to brighten up the interior of your home include painting the walls light colours and adding light, neutral throws to sofas and beds. This not only reflects the light and makes the room sunnier; it also makes it appear larger! 

Improve the garden

In these warm months, most of us want to be outdoors as much as possible! Household DIY can largely late for the colder months. Why not work on improving the garden? You could set yourself a special project to complete over the summer since the long evenings give you more time to get things done. How about turning a corner of your garden into a vegetable patch? Or setting up a delightful patio area? 

A seating area can be an enjoyable project if you don’t like getting too dirty. Once you’ve got the decking or slabs laid, you can have plenty of fun decorating and choosing furniture. Composite wood benches are comfortable and attractive, while vintage wrought iron chairs look stylish. You can finish off with some outdoor candles, or some solar-powered fairy lights for some added sparkle to your patio. Don’t forget a barbeque so that you can entertain guests! 

Paint your exteriors 

Why not make the most of the drier weather by painting the outside of your home? This could be the doors and window frames, the fencing, or even the entire house. Choose light shades that reflect the sun, since painting your exteriors in a dark tone can cause it to absorb heat, which can damage your property. If you don’t want to take on a whole painting project, there are other ways to add a splash of colour to your home. Why not plant some vibrant flowers in your front garden, or arrange some beautiful hanging baskets around the front door? 

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7 Surprising Beauty Benefits for Apple Cider Vinegar

apple cider vinegar
Image by Mike Goad from Pixabay

Apple cider vinegar or ACV for short is one of the most potent natural products and offers both health and beauty benefits. Most people may not know this, but the use of this increasingly popular ingredient dates back to 400 BC when it was used by Hippocrates to treat most of his patients.

Apple cider vinegar contains vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, mineral salts as well as malic, citric, and acetic acids. It is an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral agent that helps alleviate muscle pain, arthritis pain and treats diabetes, common cold, and weight issues. Read more about this amazing product in this article; 17 Surprising Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Health, Skin and Weight Loss.

It is also an all-purpose kitchen staple, but what many people don’t know is that is can be useful as a beauty ingredient. In this read, we are going to take a look at several surprising beauty benefits of ACV.

Treat Acne

There is no denying that acne is one of the most annoying and dreading skin problems that women have to deal with. However, when something unforeseen pops up in your mirror before a special event, ACV will do the trick.

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for treating acne. It not only helps kill the bacteria, but it minimizes inflammation, prevents future breakouts, and also calm the current ones. Keep in mind that ACV smells and so it’s advisable to dilute it with some water before applying it directly to the face.

Remove Product Build-up

We all know that product build-up makes the hair look dull, lacklustre, and weighs it down. Of course, you could opt for a store-bought clarifying shampoo, but it’s also nice to try a DIY remedy. All you have to do is mix two tablespoons of ACV with a cup of distilled water. After applying shampoo, pour the mixture over the hair strands and rinse thoroughly. The acetic acid found in ACV is what helps remove any build-up and restore that shine you once had.

Soothe Your Skin

We all desire and deserve a smooth, silky skin. ACV makes this possible as it is rich in alpha-hydroxy acids that exfoliate dead skin build-up, thus creating an opportunity for new skin cells to grow. The regular application of diluted AVC to your skin will restore ideal pH levels to your skin and also help prevent future skin damage.

Whiten Your Teeth

You want a set of bright white teeth, don’t you? ACV might be the answer you are looking for. The acetic acid present in apple cider vinegar helps scrape off plaque from your teeth and cure the stains caused by drinking coffee or smoking. Keep in mind that you should use it sparingly and in a diluted form to avoid burning your gums.

Soothe Sunburn

If your skin has been sun-ravaged, ACV can deliver that much-needed relief. The product is not just a potent anti-inflammatory agent, it contains potassium, which helps accelerate recovery. Mix a half-cup ACV and four cups of distilled water and apply it on the affected region using a washcloth. This mixture will minimize redness, swelling, and prevent peeling or blisters.

Fight Dandruff

Your body, including the scalp, has a pH level of 4.5 to 5.5, which is relatively acidic. Conditions like bacteria, fungus, and dandruff occur when the scalp pH becomes too alkaline. One of the best ways to fight this is by mixing one cup of ACV with one cup of distilled water. Massage the mixture throughout the scalp and rinse thoroughly. Do this once a week, and the dandruff issue should wear off after a while. The acidic properties of ACV restore your pH levels, and the antifungal properties help combat dandruff.

Remedy Razor Burns

No matter how hard you try, razor burns are inevitable sometimes. So, the next time you find yourself with those pesky rashes and bumps, avoid the expensive store-bought formulas and go for an affordable DIY remedy. Dip a cotton ball in ACV and pat it over the affected region. Apply the ACV soaked cotton ball to alleviate irritation, minimize the redness, and protect the skin against bacteria, which can lead to an infection.

As you can see, there are many benefits that ACV has to offer for beauty. Apple Cider Vinegar is undoubtedly a product that you should always have on hand.

This is a collaborative post

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