Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Blogger's Best Linky!

Welcome back to the Blogger's Bests linky. We can't wait to read your posts and see what you've been sharing this week. Sarah and I took a few weeks off over Summer but are back today and hoping you all join in.

So Sarah from RunJumpScrap and I would like to introduce you to the Blogger's Best linky. A place for any post, whatever the post, the best post of your week or simply a post you are proud of and want to shout about it. This is the place to share it and we can't wait to read them. The linky will open at 05:30 on a Wednesday and remain open until Friday 23:55.

There aren't many rules because lets face it, rules are boring right? However, linkys only work if you share the love and support your fellow bloggers so what we do ask is.....
  • You comment on the host posts and at least a couple of others, of course if you want to comment on more  then please do!
We would also love if you could .....

  • Tweet us over on Twitter (I'm @helsy_1983) and Sarah is (@runjumpscrap) so we know you're joining in ( and please do use #bloggersbest) and we can give you a retweet

  • Join us over on Instagram with the hashtag #bloggersbest and tag us in, we both love a bit of Insta! You can find me here @helsy_1983) and Sarah is @runjumpscrap

  • Add the badge at the bottom of your post so we know which post you've added to the linky
But these are pretty much all the rules. Sarah and I will continue to have featured posts each week and will of course be retweeting your links when you link up. We're really looking forward to hosting a fresh and vibrant new linky and hope you'll enjoy linking up too! Spread the word, Blogger's Best is the place to be!


Run Jump Scrap




    

Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Diversity of Synthetic Diamonds.

We all know diamonds are beautiful. Sparkling, impressive and iconic I don't know anyone who wouldn't love a diamond or two. Have you ever considered synthetic diamonds? One of the most desirable and sought after materials in recent times, extremely durable and can be used in a wide range of different things, perhaps that you aren't even aware of.


So let me tell you a little bit more about this 'ultimate super material'. Being grown in a lab these little nuggets of amazingness have the chemical structures and physical properties of natural diamonds and are actually made of the same material. The major difference between diamonds that have been grown in the lab and natural diamonds is that lab grown can be tailored and optimised for a large range of applications. For more information about these amazing super materials head over to Element Six to have a read.

Synthetic diamond material can be used in aerospace, healthcare, automotive, construction and stone, optics and thermal amongst many more avenue's.


There are huge benefits to choosing a synthetic diamond, this is the way of the future, they could help revolutionise non invasive surgery, they can be used in tools to enable fasting cutting speeds thus improving overall operation. Due to longevity and extreme durability of synthetic diamond technology many industries are favouring this to revolutionise the way they work and offer reliability and functionality. 

Is this the way forward with ultimate super materials?

My Sunday Photo - 19/08/18


You may have seen over on Instagram we have a new addition to the family! A fluffy new addition........this is Bertie our little mini lop, he is gorgeous and I'm very happy to give him a good home. He was the last in the litter, he's quite shy which is why the breeder thinks he may have been picked last but to us he's perfect. Welcome little Bertie! 

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Keeping Happy, Healthy and Focused.

As someone who suffers from anxiety it's important for me that I ensure that I try and feel positive and happy about things. Like everyone I have bad days and good but sometimes my bad days can be self inflicted. For example, too much alcohol, not enough sleep, too much indulging or just simply down to hormones. I can often tell when I am starting with anxiety as I tend to retract into myself, be quieter, become a huge insomniac and dare I say become a snappy mare! When I feel this happening I really try to snap myself out of it as it's not fair on the kids or my husband. There are several things I do that make me feel better about myself and pick my mood up and I thought I'd share these with you, I also asked a few bloggers to share their tips for keeping happy, healthy and focused. 

There are a few things that make me feel better about myself and increase my confidence and make me feel a bit more ready to tackle a day. 

  • Firstly, putting my makeup on. This truly makes me feel more like myself and ready for the day. I enjoy putting makeup on, I find it therapeutic and enjoy it so if I can do this on a morning I'm ready to go!

  • Reading, if I can get to bed at a decent time and chill out, reading a couple of chapters really relaxes me and I can have a few minutes of 'me time' which means alot. 

  • Getting out for a walk. It's easy to cabin fever if you end up stuck in the house so getting some fresh air, even if just a walk around the block can make a huge difference to your health and mental well being.

  • Enjoying some sun. Hanging out the washing, wandering around the garden, sitting in the sun. A blast of vitamin D hugely cheers me up, invigorates me and instantly makes me feel happier, I love it.

  • There are lots of other things which make me feel happy and relaxed but my final bullet point would have to be having a weekend free. Sometimes we cram so much in a month that having a weekend free to have family time does the world of good.
So these are a few things that keep me happy, healthy and focused, what do other bloggers find helps them with this? 

Victoria from Healthy Vix finds a plant based diet with no wheat or dairy has done wonders for her skin.

Love this one from Charlie: Singing. In the bar, in the shower, in the car. Channel your inner BeyoncĂ©. Anywhere. Loud! www.ouralteredlife.com

Claire from This Mummy Rocks swears by coconut oil, it has a ton of uses and she finds using it to take off her makeup and use it as a night moisturiser fabulous.



Cleanse, tone and moisturise and brush your teeth twice a day without fail says Gail from Yammy Mommy and surround yourself with people and things that make you happy.

Nikki from Glam and Geeky Mum suggests taking 5 minutes before bed to journal all the things that have happened during the day that have made you happy and made you smile. 

Exercise! Sarah from RunJumpScrap says that exercising makes you feel fitter, stronger and plays a big part in mental wellbeing, hitting the gym and walking really help with her health and happiness.

Sophie from Soph Obsessed suggests meditation, even for just 15 minutes a day she says it really helps her feel refreshed. 

Emma Reed says get a hobby that is just for you. We spend such alot of time doing things for everyone else it's easy to forget about yourself. 

As you can see, there are some fantastic suggestions to ensure you keep at the top of your health, happiness and focus. I would also like to add to ensure you look after your sexual health, get your smears, seek medical help if you feel things aren't right down below or you find any usual lumps or bumps. Sexually transmitted infections can be really quite common but you will be relieved to know that you can purchase certain medications, such as aciclovir tablets to help with this. Of course it is best to seek professional medical advice if you are unsure. Here's to being more healthy, happy and focused.

* Collaborative content.



Sunday, 12 August 2018

Puppy Dog Pals *Review*

If you haven't heard of Puppy Dog Pals tune into Disney Jnr where you can follow the adventures of Bingo and Rolly, 2 adorable Pug puppies who when their owner Bob leaves home they travel around their neighbourhood and the world having a ton of fun. Accompanied by their cat sister, Hissy and a robot dog named Automatic Robotic Doggy Friend or ARF for short, they certainly have lots of fun.

We were kindly sent some items to review recently, a plush pet and talk pal, a surprise action toy and pup on a mission toy.


We were sent the Bingo version of the toys but there is also a Rolly Version available as well as Hissy and ARF to choose from. They look fab, we couldn't wait to give them a go!


The pet and talk plush pal (RRP £9.99) is adorable, cuddly and really soft. This was my favourite out of the collection I think purely as he's so sweet and he fits in the palm of your hand, the kids enjoyed playing with him. You can press his back and he bobs his head and says 10 phrases from the TV show. 


Light up Pals on a Mission figure and accessory set (RRP £9.99), featuring poseable legs, arms and head this little toy is great for children ages 3+. Bingo comes with a removable visor and functioning propeller also and if you press the little button his collar lights up. Collect all four to complete the character list.


Finally, surprise action figure Bingo (RRP £14.99), he really walks and talks! My kids loved this, I think because he is pretty interactive they really enjoyed playing with him. Press the button on his back and he walks across the floor and says 10 phrases from the show. He is a bit clunky when walking but think it depends on the surface he is on. A great little toy!


Overall a great collection of toys and a must for any child that loves the show, affordable in price and will provide hours of fun. Available from many reputable high street and online retailers such as Smyths ToysThe Entertainer and Amazon. Head over and check them out, a must for any Puppy Dog Pals fan.

* Please note we were kindly sent the items free of charge in exchange for an honest and unbiased review, all thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

When Breast Wasn't Best......

It's the age old debate isn't it, breast vs. bottle. It never seems to go away and I can't see it happening anytime soon. I see that it's 'National Breastfeeding week', how lovely to celebrate being able to do something that is supposed to come naturally to a women but what about a 'National Formula Feeding week' we never see women simply feeding their babies regardless whether bottle or boob, after all fed is best surely? Why are we not cheering the women on that are feeding their babies regardless of how and raising happy and healthy children through maternal well being and love. 

You see my breastfeeding journey wasn't a great one. I would have loved to be one of the women who it came to naturally, who enjoyed it and embraced it but sadly I didn't. Throughout my first pregnancy with Alfie I uhhmed and ahhed about breastfeeding, my husband was very enthusiastic about it also, I knew I wanted to try and give it a go but I had reservations, I absolutely hated the thought of getting my boobs out in public and this stems from years of hate of my breasts and low self esteem, natural it may be to whip them out and feed from them, but for me it cut deeper than this and trying to get my brain in the right frame of mind for breastfeeding this was hard for me, plus I really didn't like the thought of my nipples being used as a feeding source, it made me shudder. Of course, all of the parenting workshops we attended reminded us that 'breast is best', there was never any mention of formula feeding and how to prepare bottles, sterilise etc which surely should be touched upon? It wasn't however, instead we were sent away with stacks of breastfeeding info and numbers and websites to access if we needed but not once was bottle feeding discussed. 



Fast forward to May 26th 2012 and my baby boy was born after a long, drawn out and traumatic labour. I spent 2 1/2 hours in surgery afterwards and had minimal skin to skin with him initially due to blood loss and having a tear that needed to fixed fairly urgently. At the time it's not something I felt impacted on my bonding and breastfeeding journey but perhaps in hind sight it did slightly. After returning from surgery it was time to start breastfeeding I remember a midwife putting him to the breast and he didn't latch easily at all and when he did my god it hurt. This was pretty much how it went from this day, numerous midwives, health visitors and my husband trying to latch him on and each time it killed, absolutely killed but I was advised a little pain was normal to begin with. We did have a couple of times when he'd latch ok but then he would be on the breast for 45 minutes at a time and sometimes I'd have a 20 minute rest before he then wanted more milk, he was a hungry baby and the constant need to be fed was exhausting. I ended up with sore, bleeding nipples and having to rely on nipple shields to ease the pain as well as combi feeding but this made me feel like a cow, constant expressing and the more I expressed the more milk I was producing so my boobs constantly felt full or were leaking. I was in tears many times, I felt broken with lack of sleep and wondering how long to endure the pain and soreness for. I remember breaking down and sobbing on my husband one day, I felt useless, my body felt broken and I really just felt like I'd lost my identity and felt like a failure as a woman not being able to do something that was supposed to be natural. 

We called the breastfeeding helpline as a last resort and they connected me to a lovely lady who did support me through feeding and I managed to latch him for a good feed but I knew deep down couldn't continue and honestly I didn't want to, I was miserable and was starting to resent my baby boy, my son, blaming him for my body feeling wrecked and for me feeling useless and miserable. At 8 weeks I decided to stop my breastfeeding journey and it was the best decision I made. Instantly I felt like a weight had been lifted, I felt happier and I got more sleep. Alfie took to drinking formula milk from the bottle with ease, we all seemed to be so much happier and although Alfie was a fairly sicky baby thanks to colic and reflux the route of formula feeding worked much better for us. My mental well being also hugely improved. I knew it was the right decision I had made, I look back now and I wish I'd stopped before 8 weeks, I wonder if stopping earlier would have made even more of a difference. 


We then go on to 2015 and my little lady was born a long labour still but with less complications (thankfully). I had once again decided to try breast feeding but knew this time it was going to be with much less pressure on myself. I even took pre-prepared formula bottles with me should I decide not to commence with breastfeeding. After birth she latched on much better than Alfie, it seemed to be more natural and it hurt less, I guess I was a bit more experienced so knew what to expect we managed a few times in hospital so I knew she'd got some colostrum. We were discharged home later in the evening, couldn't wait to get back home to see my little man in the morning. Elarna, as we named her needed a feed before we went to bed, it was about midnight and I put her to the breast but she did not want to latch on properly. I tried and tried to get her to latch by changing positions, wetting my nipple with a bit of milk and trying to encourage her but no use, she just wasn't latching properly. I could feel my stress levels rise and began to get upset and this was when I decided that I would not continue like this, I was not going to put myself through a torturous time to the detriment of my mental health, happiness and bonding with my newborn. 

Remarkably, although we were then formula feeding on demand Elarna definitely set her own little routines, she was a happy and healthy baby and thrived on formula. I was so much happier like this, I can't even tell you how much choosing to go down the formula route made me feel like I had made the right decision and I look back now and I know that it was the correct choice to make for us. That is important to mention, this was MY decision and one I chose for ME and my baby, my family and my mental health. I needed to not make the mistake I felt I did with Alfie and pressure myself and force myself to breastfeed to think that this was the right thing to do. Of course I don't deny that breast milk is miraculous and amazing full of the correct nutrients and properties that a growing baby needs, it is free of course and your body can produce as much or as little as required however there is alot to be said about making mothers feel like a failure for not choosing to or being able to breastfeed their baby.

I have two healthy, happy and thriving children, I do not feel that making the decision to not breastfeed my children has been at all detrimental to them in the slightest. I commend anyone who has been able to breastfeed and continues to do so, it is an amazing achievement however not everyone is able to or wants to and should not be made to feel bad about this or in the wrong. At the end of the day a fed baby is a happy baby regardless of how. We should be encouraging mothers to breastfeed however they want to, we should be helping women out either to breastfeed or formula feed, we should not chastise women who want to formula feed at all, it makes me sad to think that people may have looked down on me for my choice to provide my children with a bottle containing formula. 

If I were to have a third child I don't even think I would bother trying to breastfeed. I feel that it isn't for me, I didn't enjoy it, I hated every minute of it, I didn't bond with my babies while attempting to and my mental health suffered so I definitely would bottle feed from the beginning and not have an ounce of regret.

Did you bottle feed or breastfeed? I am interested to know your thoughts on this age old debate, please do leave me a comment or get in touch.

* A FED BABY IS A HAPPY BABY*

Home Improvements for Small Dog Families

3 Home-Improvement Requirements for Small Dog Families
You need not have a small house to harbour a small breed dog. Even the Queen of England has her heart set on a highly popular small breed. Being a proud small-dog parent comes with some work.
Once you bring a small-breed home you are bound to realise that they have some not-so-everyday needs. Even if you are flirting with the idea of getting a small breed dog, you need to consider some home improvement requirements.
No, you do not need to install a mega-sized doggy door like you would for a Great Dane. No, you do not need to raise the height of your table to keep your lovable Labrador dog out of your plate. Yes, you do need to make some small adjustments for your small family member.

Lower Your Furniture
There are many small dog owners who want their dogs to sleep in their own beds or crates. But cuddling with small dogs is a blissful experience. To enable such cuddles your furniture has to be small-dog accessible. If you have high furniture then you might end up recording a ton of fail videos.
Getting a laugh out of those fails are harmful to your dogs in the long run. Breeds like Dachshunds can end up with irreversible back and leg problems by having to jump too high. Your pet might seem fine but with age, the problems are sure to show up. All pet health advice and tips recommend small dogs remain as grounded as possible. You may either adjust your furniture or buy small-dog accessible furniture.

Give Them a Boost
Try to follow pet health advice and tips by giving your small-dog a boost. With a small dog, you have the option of choosing which furniture is accessible. Making your pre-existing furniture shorter is out of the question? There is still hope to get your pet a regular and safe passage to your furniture. Get a sturdy footstool. A nice big footstool can be propped up against any furniture to help your dog climb.
When getting a footstool, keep a few things in mind-
•           You may need to get your dog used to the footstool to access your furniture.
•           Always keep the footstool firmly supported against a heavy furniture.
•           If the footstool has a smooth surface then put a mat or towel on it to give your dog some grip.
•           The footstool should not be too high for the dog to climb.
If a footstool does not cut it then going for a small and sturdy step ladder may do the job.
Throw in a Sandbox and Manicure the Lawn
The biggest common threat to all dogs is ticks and fleas. Small-dogs are more at risk when they encounter thick foliage. Letting your lawn run wild is not an option. So, you have to keep your yard well-trimmed.
Setting up a sandbox also helps small dogs get more exercise. Given a sandbox your dog is less likely to go rummaging in your garden. Maintain a garden and a small dog with a simple home improvement move.

Sunday, 5 August 2018

My Sunday Photo - 05/08/18


Sharing this beautiful sunset view from Domme in the Dordogne, a Bastide village in the South of France with the most spectacular views. 

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Keeping the Kids safe during Summer Holidays!

With Summer holidays well under way now it's so important that we not only enjoy ourselves and give our children the best memories but to remain vigilant and safe. This article below looks at how we can help keep our kids safe during the Summer holidays.
Keeping your kids safe during the summer holidays.
At the start of the summer holidays parents have a lot to think about, childcare arrangements, keeping children entertained but also safety is at the forefront. It’s a time when kids are out doing activities, on holiday and generally doing things that kids do.  
Keeping children safe is not always easy and as a law firm who deals with personal injury, we unfortunately tend to see an uplift of accidents which are occurring during this period.  If you are going abroad make sure that you have adequate insurance as it is invaluable when you need it.
To help improve safety, London based solicitors Hodge Jones & Allen personal injury team, have come up with some top tips to help keep your children safe:
Doing Activities:

- If you are cycling or doing any activity which requires a helmet with your children make sure that they wear the helmet and that it is fitted correctly as this can help if they have an accident.  

- Make sure that if your children are going somewhere that they have your contact details with them including the address for the accommodation and an emergency contact number.

- You should make the activity organisers aware if your children have any allergies or medical information that they need to know.

- If you are going somewhere outside the EU there may be different safety standards so just be aware of this and ensure you are comfortable with these  
By the pool:
If you are on holiday and there is a pool make sure that you do not leave younger children unattended. Children also love to dive and bomb in a pool but check that it is deep enough for them to do this as it can cause serious injuries.  
Make sure that you pack buoyancy aids for children who need them. Sometimes these aren’t available from the resorts and they can save a child’s life.  
Look out for trip hazards which can lead to an injury. Make sure kids stay safe and don’t run.  
In the sea:
It seems obvious but the sea can pose a great danger with rip tides and currents. If you are with your children check that the beach is safe and if in doubt stay very close to the shore.
Check if there is a life guard on duty in case there is an emergency. It can also be beneficial to position yourself and your family in their eyesight.  
Make sure you can see your children at all times and that you understand the flag system on beaches:



In the Sun:
With the recent hot weather, make sure that you are applying sun screen regularly and after swimming. It should be a high factor such as factor 50 to decrease the risk to your child.   

At the hotel
If you’re staying at an all-inclusive holiday resort make sure you check that the food is fresh to reduce the risk of getting food poisoning. If in doubt it’s probably best to leave it.  
If you have a balcony with the room make sure that it is safe and there is no way that smaller children could fall.  
If you are going further afield make sure that you know the risks and have the necessary immunisations.  
Clearly, these tips do not cover all of the risks associated with potential accidents that can happen to children during your trip overseas. These are the basic level things you need to think about for child safety and should bear in mind when taking the children on summer holidays this year.

Local Customs in Saudi Arabia

Local Customs to Know Before You Go To Saudi Arabia

Half of the worry with travelling is accidentally upsetting the locals. Especially when you're planning to areas that have a recent history of violence in the media. But, a bit of knowledge on local customs and some of their laws can help you know that your actions are safe and respectful.


Dress Code

That's right; you might have heard of the religious dress required throughout Saudi Arabia. For tourists, it isn't as strict as the media portrays it, and it doesn't only affect women.
The best rule of thumb when it comes to the Islamic codes of dress is to dress as if you were going to a church, temple or another religious establishment. Loose-fitting clothing is best, and plan to cover as much of your body as possible.
Many travelling women find that they feel more comfortable in an abaya which is a full cloak, as well as a headscarf. The conservative dress is a sign of respect and a law.



Men should avoid wearing shorts at all costs, even if they cut at the knee. The overall conservative dress is essential, but it also serves a purpose in managing your body temperature. Loose-fitting clothes that cover more of your skin will protect you from the sun, and help prevent dehydration as they keep you cooler.


Everyday Acts

For many other countries, a bit of public affection towards your significant other isn't a problem. In Saudi Arabia, it's disrespectful and must be avoided. This is common throughout many countries in the area.
It's best to avoid handholding, and other forms of canoodling while on your vacation to Saudi Arabia. For everyone to enjoy themselves, Saudi Arabia travel, or a trip on holiday shouldn't be a plan for a romantic vacation.  
In addition to physical interaction, public acts observing any religion other than Islam are illegal. For many people, this is not a problem, as you can take a Bible with you when you travel to Saudi Arabia. However, attempting to interact with the public on these topics may result in some trouble.

Culture Norms and Customs

In Saudi Arabia, the focus of the culture is on the family. Because of this families are usually large and very inclusive of the extended family as well. However, the family setting is the only time you'll see men and women together.

Customs revolving around food are different regarding the time of day you'll eat. Expect to eat dinner around 10 pm, rather than earlier in the evening. Eating is also a slow and social engagement. When on vacation in Saudi Arabia be sure to enjoy your food and company when dining.
Finally, communication customs are far different in Saudi Arabia than throughout most westernized cultures. Don't expect to be shaking many hands, unless on a business trip, and don't plan to short greetings. Many greetings open up dialogue for full conversations rather than a simple "I'm okay, how are you?" response.


Saving Face

When you're planning to visit, Saudi Arabia enjoy the planning as much as the trip. There is a lot to learn and enjoy in Saudi Arabian culture. Many locals understand that foreigners can have difficulty communicating. Expect to see a laid-back approach to conversations. Avoid being rude, and if you see that your statement or question was interpreted rudely, apologize to save face.
Saving face is the act of smiling and offering an apology for the rude action or statement right away. You can apologize for your actions or the actions of someone else.
If in doubt, save face. Many locals are happy to help foreigners understand what qualifies as "rude" if they see that the visitor is attempting to be respectful.