KNOW THAT YOU CAN START LATE, LOOK DIFFERENT, BE UNCERTAIN AND STILL SUCCEED

Are you guilty of squashing your hopes & dreams because you believe it’s too late?

This amazing and inspirational list by Drew Forrester, reminds us that this thinking is extremely flawed.

You can and you totally should.

KNOW THAT YOU CAN START LATE LOOK DOFFERENT BE UNCERTAIN AND STILL SUCCED QUOTE FOR WOMEN

 

 

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 30, Harrison Ford was a carpenter.
At age 37, Ang Lee was a stay-at-home-dad working odd jobs.
Julia Child released her first cookbook at age 39, and got her own cooking show at age 51.
Vera Wang failed to make the Olympic figure skating team, didn’t get the Editor-in-Chief position at Vogue, and designed her first dress at age 40.
Stan Lee didn’t release his first big comic book until he was 40.
Alan Rickman gave up his graphic design career and landed his first movie role at age 42.
Samuel L. Jackson didn’t get his first major movie role until he was 46.
Morgan Freeman landed his first major movie role at age 52.

Whatever your dream is, it is not too late to achieve it.
Never tell yourself you’re too old to make it.
Never tell yourself you missed your chance.
Never tell yourself that you aren’t good enough.
You can do it. Whatever it is.

Live life, love life..you only get one shot at it ❤

 

 

THIS KID’S PUZZLE HAS THE INTERNET BAFFLED!

Can you solve it?

KID'S PUZZLE HAS THE ONTERNET BAFFLED/ BRAIN TEASER/ APPLES, COCONUTS, BANANAS PUZZLE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer is below….no peaking.

 

 

 

14

 

 

How?

3 x apples = 30, therefore each apple is worth 10. Yes?

1 apple + 2 bunches of four bananas = 18, therefore the bananas are worth 8, making each banana worth 1. Yes?

4 bananas – 2 coconut halves = 2, therefore the coconut halves are worth 2, making each coconut half worth 1. Yes?

Finally, ONE coconut half + one apple + ONLY 3 BANANAS =  14

 

 

What did you get?

WOULD YOU GET YOUR POOCH’S PAW TATOO?

This seems to be a new trend which may be infiltrating every pet lover’s life pretty soon.

I for one think it’s pretty cute, if you like tattoos of course!

If you have ever loved and lost a pet, there is no need for me to point out the sentimental value in this gesture. Would you consider one?

Let be know ladies, if you already have one we would love to see it.

 

PET PAW TATOOS

PET PAW TATOOS

PET PAW TATOOSPET PAW TATOOS

Source: VT

BEAT THE DREADED BACK TO WORK FEAR

What is it and how do you get rid of it?

Beat the Back To work Blues

If you are lucky enough not to immediately know what this psychological terrorist is, then let me explain….

The dreaded angst that comes the evening before we have to detach ourselves from the glorious confines of a fabulously indulgent weekend/holiday and somehow navigate our slightly altered selves back into the mind-numbingly mundane reality of our lives…

It sucks.

Obviously I am being over dramatic but in all seriousness this is a very real situation for many of us who may have somehow found ourselves in jobs or work situations we find stressful and debilatating to the soul.

So, what can be done about it?

Well, if you do find yourself feeling like this regularly, and not just after a particularly fun bank holiday or summer vacation, then you really do need to look at your day to day slog and start to visualise trying to change it.

Is this  a temporary situation?

Maybe your work situation has changed recently or you are caught in the build of a project that feels like it’s squeezing the life out of you? If this situation is temporary then you need to work out a strategy for maintaining your morale and keeping your spirits up until you are through the tunnel. Visualising the situation as an actual tunnel can be a very helpful meditation exercise (I am not suggesting hours of zoning out surrounded by candles but merely a few moments in your day to close your eyes and imagine). All you have to do is see the sunshine peeking through the end of the tunnel and imagine yourself getting there with your head held high and feeling the fruits of your labour. If you are good at this kind of visualising malarkey then build your daydream however you see fit and add in all the positive scenarios you like!

Is this situation a constant toxicity in your world?

Then you need to take action now. Paying bills is a massive priority in this life of course, but if you are in a job or career that is going against the very grain of you then you need to realise you are doing more harm than good with every bill you check off. So, make yourself a plan. Baby steps are always less destructive than plaster ripping so sit down and come up with some ways you can begin to change your current life into something you dream of. It is possible and people are doing it. Look around you, find those people and watch them. Learn from them. Ask advice. Follow their lead. It’s likely that they were once in exactly the same situation as you are now. They know what it takes to get out.

I am a watcher of such successful souls and here are my top 5 tips on how to make the first moves to a better world.

5 WAYS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Quit Something.

Only you will know what it is that needs to be axed from your world in order for a new dawn to rise… do it.

Start Something.

Whatever it is, make it happen now. Sign up for an online course, join a group or even make a facebook page for your business idea. Everything has to start somewhere.

Stop Thinking.

Start visualising. Change the negative radio station to a positive one and be the type of person whose mind is a veritable tableau of wish-list inspiration.

Give Up.

This may sound counterproductive but it really isn’t. It is a wonderful practice to occasionally throw your hands up in the air and walk away from a problem/job/whatever. Perspective os priceless and you don’t get that if you’re too close to the issue.

Destroy Your Excuses.

You have quite probably convincing yourself for years that things have to be the way they are – they don’t. You are the pilot.

You are not a tree …..

 

WHY YOU SHOULD CALL 999 IF YOU SEE THIS

LADIES! Listen up…. apparently there is a new trend of voyeuristic videos hitting the darker recesses of the internet thanks to these innocent looking coat hooks….

 

The hook has a camera and a microphone and we are told they’re being hidden in hotel rooms, changing rooms and toilets to capture intimate moments to share with the perverts of the world.

So, if you see anything suspicious looking on the back of a door – report it immediately.

The hooks can come in different shapes and sizes from coat hooks to towel hooks, so the key to finding out whether or not you are safe is to look for a little hole. The most popular places seem to be public bathrooms, changing rooms in gyms and hotel rooms. Hard to believe but cases of these hooks being discovered are popping up more and more frequently recently so please spread the word and let your girls know.

 

The cameras can be bought easily on Amazon as a home security device and have a battery life of a few hours then it’s a simple case of popping the memory card into a computer and uploading to the world.

Be vigilant ladies!

HELP THE FAMILY OF MURDERED MUM OF 2 AYSHA FRADE

Just Giving, and crowdfunding in general, is a fairly new concept and one which I really get behind. It is truly wonderful to be able to get involved with something we normally feel so helpless to witness. By simply donating a few pounds we can all join together to somehow ease the suffering of those left behind bereft, grief-stricken and forever changed by circumstance.

The news was barely out last week when crowdfunding pages appeared to raise funds for the families of the stricken. I have been watching this over the weekend and could have predicted before it began that the PC who lost his life in the London Terror Attack last week, would raise a huge amount more than the mum of 2, mown down on the way to collect her children.

As it stands today Aysha’s fund is at just over £20,000 whilst PC Keith Palmer’s is over £730,000.

I can’t even find a confirmed account for the third victim Kurt Cochran.

As honourable as the job of a London Policeman is, and as much as I truly believe his family of course need and very much deserve this amazing support, I would love to see Aysha raise the same. Her husband will now be faced with a life alone as a single parent, the weight of the whole family on his shoulders as well as his own insurmountable grief. I can’t even begin to think about those 2 little girls who won’t see their mum again. Money will not change anything, but it may erase some of his stress as time moves along and allow him to in turn ease the stress and pain of his children. It is all we can do, not much, but at least it is something.

Let’s please get involved and turn this around. For anyone who heard the rumours of a hoax surrounding this page last week, rest assured the control has been taken over by Just Giving themselves.

THIS IS THE VERIFIED LINK FOR AYSHA FRADE

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/inlovingmemoryofaysha?utm_id=1&utm_term=9qDmK5ZwG

 

EVERY SHARE ON FACEBOOK IS WORTH MONEY TO THIS FAMILY SO PLEASE SHARE AND ENCOURAGE EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO HELP.

 

HOMEMADE MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS YOU NEED!

Too good not to share ladies…have you left it too late or are you simply uninspired by everything in the shops and online this Mother’s Day?

All is not lost…skincare Guru Liz Earle showed us some fabulous, all-natural homemade beauty ideas on This Morning today… I am loving them all but this one is my favourite! Perfect for that gift with a little touch of something extra to show your Mum you care….

ROSE PETAL MILK BATH

By Liz Earle

If it’s good enough for Cleopatra it’s good enough for your Mum! Apparently, according to Liz, bathing in milk has a very softening and soothing effect and combined with some essential oils it can also be relaxing and refreshing as well as downright lovely! You can make this gift look as pretty as you dream with ribbons and tags etc. A lovely personalised product!

Ingredients

  • 300G MILK POWDER
  • 10 TBSP DRIED ROSE PETALS (available online or in some supermarkets/flower shops)
  • 10 DROPS ROSE ESSENTIAL OIL
  • 10 DROPS GERANIUM ESSENTIAL OIL

Method

  1. Place the rose petals into a large bowl or measuring jug and sprinkle with the essential oils. Mix with a spoon so they are well covered.
  2. Add in the milk powder and stir well until the rose petals are evenly distributed – use your hands if easier.
  3. Carefully pour into a clean jar, seal and decorate.
  4. To enjoy your milk bath, simply sprinkle a teacupful once the bath water has run and stir in – the smell is amazing! Soak for 5-10 minutes to enjoy the skin-softening benefits.

Here are a couple more fab variations on the above recipe adding in oatmeal, coconut and lavender. They all look gorgeous and would make such a sweet gift for any Mum. Click on your favourite and head over for the recipe! be sure to leave some love on their page too!

OATMEAL MILK BATH

By POPSUGAR

LAVENDER MILK BATH

By My Frugal Adventures

COCONUT MILK & LAVENDER

By Monica Potter Home

TRY NOT TO LAUGH

Okay everyone, it’s International Day Of Happiness as I have already pointed out in my earlier post, so here is a small round up of my guaranteed smilers… you are destined to leave this post in a few minutes slightly happier than you were before…

CATS


DOGS

AUTOCORRECTS

WARNING. Some of these contain offensive (unintentional of course) language so look away now if you are likely to be offended. Otherwise prepare to laugh out loud….

TRUMP

ALCOHOL


AND FINALLY…

A selection of my favs.


QUIRKY MOTHER’S DAY GIFTS SHE’LL LOVE…

I know how busy we all are so here is a little inspiration for a gift with a difference for the woman who has everything…

FOR THE NEW MUMS

Seriously cute gift for the loved-up new mum or mummy-to-be, husbands, this is your gig so listen up! Shop here and thank me later…

FOR THE BUSY MUM

What mum doesn’t see a bath, alone, as the ultimate me-time!? These Floating Rose Bath Lights would help create that atmosphere for a relaxed soak…don’t forget the wine!

Talking of wine…wine in the bath is no longer a logistical struggle thanks to the invention of the Bubble Buddy! I would LOVE one of these babies…

FOR THE GREEN FINGERED MUM

Still on a tipple-based theme, if your mum loves her G&T and has a green finger or two – this could be the perfect gift from Ginalicious.

This stunning copper plant stand is so fabulously different, it would make a perfect gift for the lady who loves her greenery. Shop it here.

Copper plant stand/ Mother's Day gifts she'll love

FOR THE SWEET-TOOTHED MUM

Tired of buying chocolates for your number one lady year in, year out? A Cake Pop Bouquet from the fabulous Yumbles is a sweet treat with a difference!

5 THINGS WOMEN DO THAT DRIVE MEN MAD

We have been patting ourselves on the back for the last few days in honour of International Women’s Day (because we are awesome) but us girls are nothing if not versatile, so let’s own the annoying stuff we do too…life is better if you can laugh at yourself after all!

5 THINGS WOMEN DO THAT DRIVE MEN MAD/ DOES MY BUM LOOK BIG IN THIS

Here are my husband’s top 5 – the blokes are up next for a roasting…

We don’t order what we really want…I am of course generalising wildly for the fun of it here, but it is a pretty common occurrence for us women to order the healthy option and steal our bloke’s chips/dessert/buttered bread. Seems like no big deal to me – there are always too many fries – but it drives them bonkers!

We wear the wrong shoes…and then moan profusely about it all night long. ‘I can’t walk anymore my feet are killing me in these shoes’ can be heard wailed throughout the city streets on any given Saturday night! Don’t get them started on what we wear for a day out sight-seeing and why our clothes are never warm enough…

We don’t want solutions…most of the time when we sit our other halves down to vent we really aren’t looking for solutions! We are after head nods in the right places, a bit of empathy, understanding and some rallying comments like ‘No she didn’t!’ every now and again. That’s it…

We ask scary questions…the dreaded ‘Do I look big/fat/old/lumpy/bumpy/spotty/wrinkly/stupid in this outfit’ is the number one for striking fear into a man’s heart for there is never, ever a right answer! Almost worse than that but not quite is the ‘Which is better? This one or this one’. I am told that this is less appealing to men than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick…

5 things women do that drive men mad/ does my bum look big in this

We nag…instead of just doing things ourselves we have the audacity to ask for the same things to be done repeatedly – this is called nagging. Mentioning things we think our partner should be doing is also nagging as is asking for him to listen/help/or just anything at all. In my humble opinion however, the word nagging would not even exist if men just did what they were meant to do.. Problem Solved!

LEGS, SHOULDERS, FLOWERS & BOWS

Do you see what I did there?

The high street in a nutshell this Spring; embroidery/ shoulders/ bows and flower power! Here are a few that caught my eye..

Floral

Floral fashion is a big deal this Spring. Great news if you are already a fan as your wardrobe will now be bang on trend and the choice for more is endless. My last style post looked at the embroidered pieces in the shops but I am also loving the romantic, floaty elements all around.

Floaty little tea dresses are so versatile – you can wear them with heels for an evening look, boots for a funky look and flip-flops in the summer. A denim or leather jacket can change the look again adding a dress-down twist and popping on a neat little blazer and bag really styles it up for a wedding or event. I adore this dress from Zara.

Floral fashion/ spring afshion. fashion edit
Shop it

Oasis have such stunning feminine dresses as always…

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Shop it on sale at ASOS right now

BOWS

Bows are popping up here, there and everywhere too. I love these back detail pieces from Warehouse, ZARA, Miss Selfridge and NEXT. Not always for the faint hearted though…

Shop it
Shop it
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SHOULDERS

Cold Shoulder tops are still everywhere right now, a hang back from last year remodelled for Spring. I adore these fresh cotton striped tops from Miss Selfridge and Next.

Shop it
Shop it

ZARA as always have a great range too, I really love the tangerine sweatshirt I bought last week – the colour is everything Spring! Nail two trends in one with this floaty floral one shoulder….

Shop it
Shop it

Are you Romantic?

February is a month full of romance – or at least it is if you are one of the millions of us who buys into Valentines Day and it all it represents! The shops are swathed in red and pink and everything as far as the eye can see is heart shaped and fluffy or covered in chocolate.

Men the land over groan at the prospect of having to come up with a suitable gift/ gesture or trinket to ensure the smooth passageway of love throughout the year, whilst women happily peruse the aisles of cards and affectionate tokens searching for just the right message…true story? Or stereotypical perhaps?

romance do heart love/ ladies pass it on blog

Whether you are married, single or dating, let’s take a look at what exactly romance is and whether or you not you just ‘are’ romantic or is it something we all can (and should?) be doing more of…

romance meaning/ ladiespassiton/ blog

I think it’s fair to say that women are more romantic than men naturally, forgive me for categorising but from where I am stood in this life, it seems to me that the fairer sex do just run to the romantic a little more easily. It’s in the small things we do everyday like choosing a favourite food for dinner, picking out an item of clothing we know our partner really needs but can’t be bothered to shop for, choosing a gift based on a few tiny things we have lovingly observed (rather than a catalogue laid out open at the page with a big ink circle around ‘that handbag’!)

Romance funny quote, lady punching man, ladies pass it on blog

On saying that when a man IS romantic it really does have some impact! Not only on the lucky lady but on the couples around them too. Some men may accuse that romantic chap of ‘ruining it for the rest of us’ You know who you are….

For example, I have a very dear friend whose hubby is outrageously thoughtful and knows exactly the right words to say and the perfect gestures to make. It’s a joy to behold! Never cheesy, always adorable. My husband feels the pressure more and more with every passing year yet whilst he should be learning from the master, he just doesn’t seem to be able to translate it into our lives. Bless him. Luckily for us I am easily pleased (cue snorts of derision from him indoors).

Which brings me back to the point above…is romance something we can all turn our hand to or is it a natural gift? As always I spoke to a few of you lovely ladies to hear your thoughts on the matter…

Laura told me “I think everyone is capable of romance, it’s how you display it that differs and that will depend on your personality. Some of us will be more elaborate than others but the intention will be the same. I think my husband’s proposal was pretty romantic – on Christmas Day he took me to the seaside where I used to spend the summer as a child and got down on one knee in front of the lighthouse. When we arrived back home, the family had been busily decorating the house with banners and balloons and the fizz was waiting on ice. It was unusual for my hubby to involve others which made it somehow even more special. I loved it and still do. ”

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Karen said “I think romance is relative – what is romantic to one person will not be at all to someone else, it’s hard therefore to say who is and who isn’t. As long as the gesture is from the heart and done with love then it’s romantic!”

 

Katie recalled “My husband proposed to me whilst in New Zealand. He was forever taking photos and it drove me mad but unbeknownst to me he had set the camera up to capture the moment he asked me – which really was very romantic because we have that photo forever.”

One thing I have noticed whilst chatting to you all about this, is that most of us fall back on our proposal story when talking of romantic gestures from our partners, which leads me to think that maybe our everyday lives are lacking a bit of this sparkle! Perhaps it’s something we all should look into a bit more and try to pepper our partnerships with a bit of spice…

One truly romantic thing my other half has done for me recently was to leave me some notes around the house when he went away for a few days. I kept finding another one in the middle of a mundane chore and it really did bring a smile to my face and a rush of affection towards him. No money spent and no grand gesture but a lovely thoughtful thing to do and I loved it! Why it has taken him 12 years to do it again (he did this for me once back in the early days of our relationship) I will never know! The last romantic thing I did was probably putting together a video of my favourite photos of him and our boys. Took me AGES but as I perused our albums I remembered all the special moments so it really was filled with love and meaning by the time it was complete.

romance dog/ ladies pass it on blog

Catherine’s story is possibly one of my favourites “We had been together only a few weeks and he had noticed I had no shelves in my fridge. One night he arrived with a huge present beautifully wrapped – he had sourced the shelves using the serial number and ordered them for me. I knew then he was a keeper!”

 

Starr told me “I think we are all capable of romance but I think it’s a real gift to have a sense of TRUE romance. I’ve seen responsive romance on so many occasions and it just doesn’t measure up to the small gestures that come from the heart. A random kiss on my forehead tops a dozen roses. The most romantic thing my partner has done for me was to take me for a walk in the countryside so we could hold hands and talk – away from anyone else. He helped me through the puddles, the mud and over the rocks. We explored and explored before sitting down and chatting in the cold and the wind, all snuggled up. He’s a man of few words and even fewer gestures so I knew that this was his version of romance. I loved it for that reason.”

Then there is my lovely friend Elena who blew me away with the revelation that her husband learned to play Duran Duran on the piano because she is their number one fan!

So, to sum up… I think romance is in the details and the emotion behind any gesture rather than the gesture itself. Each of us has a different idea of what is romantic and most of that will be preconditioning or social influence. Perhaps if we scratch beneath the surface of all of that we will find our own version of romance and that will be the one that has the most effect?  It does seem though that anything done from the heart is worth doing and if you receive something that is well intentioned you should try your hardest to see the romance in it, even if it doesn’t immediately fit the tableau of hearts, flowers and fluff!

Ladies, as always I would LOVE to hear your opinions and your tales of romance! Please cooment below or join the discussion on our social media pages.

Donna

xdon't forget1

 

Why you NEED a Memory Jar.

ladies pass it on blog

Life is busy…this I know.

And with the soaring popularity of Pinterest and other social media it’s very easy to feel like there are a MILLION things we should be doing to enhance our lives but aren’t. This new tradition however, is the one you actually do need. Why? Simply because of the above statement – life is busy. Life is so busy that it’s very easy to remember only the big happy/sad/stressful/amazing moments and forget the minutiae that came in-between. It’s in these small details that life really exists. The little every day heart-warming or proud moments that keep us trundling along.

Last year my beloved friend Jennie and I decided to keep a Memory Jar and read it out together on NYE the following year. This seemed like a great way to stick at it – a buddy! Everything is easier with a buddy spurring you along and sure enough, after a suspiciously bald patch during the summer, I picked it back up again in Autumn when I saw how full Jennie’s jar was!

ladies pass it on blog
A standard entry from mine…

Throughout the year I wrote down the funny things my kids said, the lovely moments when life was sweet and those little achievements that made us proud. I encouraged the whole family to put notes in; since I live with 3 boys that was never ever going to happen but there was the odd cry of “Oh, that’s one for the jar?” from them. And in the jar it went.

There were times of course, when I really wanted to pop something in the jar but couldn’t find the pad/pen/strength, but on the whole it was easy to do and on the 31st December, when we all sat down together to read….it was truly BRILLIANT.

ladies pass it on blog
Our jars nestled lovingly on NYE

If you are prone to the sentimental, or want to soften someone who isn’t, I truly recommend that you take this tradition up. We laughed, we cried, we reminisced and what better thing to be doing on the cusp of a New Year than to really treasure and savour the best of what went before…

So, I urge you all to go forth, grab a jar (keep it near a pen and pad) and start recording those moments – you won’t regret it!

ladies pass it on blog

THE BUSINESS OF BEAUTY: Mrs Gloss & The Goss

ladies pass it on blog I recently stumbled upon a Facebook group called Mrs Gloss & The Goss… The group seemed, at first glance, to be simply a good place to pick up beauty-related tips and tricks. So, I requested to join and I have to say – possibly veering on the dramatic – it has changed my life just a little bit for the better! For example, I no longer flush twenty pound notes down the toilet every time I fall for the latest mascara marketing campaign…No more being lured by the latest “amazing wonder product’ lip-plumper/eyelash-grower/miracle-primer/magic pixie-dust face powder! No!

Now, I can follow a post on said topic from a real person and read hundreds of positive or negative reviews from other real people before I make my decision! Not only that but I can ask ALL MY QUESTIONS! AND, I can safely indulge my inner girly-girl watching the other members experiment with make-up and hair and be inundated with the latest online discounts available amongst a myriad other fantastically useful things!

EVEN BETTER, I plucked up the courage to post a pic of my own make-up effort and was FLOODED with lovely comments telling me I was gorgeous and didn’t look 41 at all!! Ha! Who doesn’t need that in their life?

When I happened to discover the group had over 40,000 members I was instantly fascinated and HAD to find out more. The smart-thinking lady behind the group is Julia Langton – Julia kindly agreed to let us inside her world for a nosey!

ladies pass it on blog
Julia, aka Mrs Gloss

Julia, HOW and when did this group come about and how did it become so big?

Hello! Well, I started Gloss back in June/July 2015 and I set it up mainly to stop boring all my friends with my constant status updates about my beauty addiction! I’ve always been passionate about all things beauty and skin care and I love nothing more than a new gadget or fad : ) We had a membership of two to begin with and then things slowly began to pick up.

As to how it’s grown so big .. lots of hard work initially and always staying true to my own beliefs about what I think makes for a successful beauty group. I feel that staying ‘on topic’ is crucial and I adopt a friendly and professional tone in the group – it’s helped foster a positive and welcoming environment for (mainly) women aged between 13-81. In my opinion, peer to peer recommendations are the way forward in the beauty industry and Gloss has this in abundance!

Having been a member for a short time I am amazed at how quickly the group moves, there are loads of posts every day and so many comments on each they mostly have to be switched off! What is it like for you and the admin on a daily basis?

We have new threads every couple of minutes, and on busy days, it’s not unusual to have 400 new threads in a 24 hour period. We have had to resort to turning off commenting on some very popular threads, purely to give all our members who’ve posted a chance to be seen! So, on a thread in which a member asks ‘which lipstick suits me best, the red or the pink,?’ once this thread has received a hundred or so comments from members says that, overwhelmingly, they prefer the pink, we don’t see much value in allowing the thread to remain active. We adopt the same tactics once a query has been well and truly answered. Everything we do in Gloss is to try and make Glossers life’s a little bit easier when they pop in for a visit : )

It’s BUSY for us on a daily basis. I do lots behind the scenes in relation to marketing and PR and I also join the fabulous and hard-working Admin team (couldn’t do it without them!) to manage and assist in the group. We are all committed to ensuring everyone loves Gloss and this means effectively and meticulously monitoring the threads around the clock where we can.

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Admin Member Cassie
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Admin member Bee

Did you ever consider the group would become so huge and how has it impacted your life?

I didn’t really give much thought to how large the group would grow but I always felt it had potential and I’ve been as consistent as I can be since day one. Consistency is the key! People then know what to expect. I do still work outside of Gloss but as the group grows my other work will decrease. I’ve got big plans for 2017 so watch this space!

What is it about the group you feel makes it so very popular?

Definitely the warm and friendly welcoming to all of our members, irrespective of their age, sex or look. There is something for everyone in Gloss and the peer to peer recommendations and honest reviews means a member can guarantee they’re getting the best and most genuine advice. Glossers also love our regular giveaways and discount codes! We are the biggest beauty group of its kind in the UK for these reasons : )

Ladies pass it on blog
Gorgeous Glosser Bonnie who regularly hosts video blogs on how to achieve her fabulous face!
ladies pass it on blog
The lovely Glosser Lauren, part of the much revered Sunday Supplement Tutorial Team

What are the downsides and best bits of running this kind of project?

The best bit is seeing how much our members love Gloss and reading the many messages I receive each day where members tell me how much it’s helped boost their confidence. The downside is the time it takes me to run it…I love Gloss though so I’ve had to think hard to come up with that downside!

Do you have any plans for the group’s future or is it business as usual?

Lots and lots of plans which I can’t wait to share with Glossers as and when they happen 🙂

Join Mrs Gloss & The Goss here..

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ladies pass it on blog

The Guilt Factor – have you got it?

BLOGGER

Not quite as rewarding as having the X Factor but definitely as all-encompassing. Guilt. I have a problem. It’s bad! It’s so bad that I feel incredibly guilty about how guilty I am always feeling. Not to mention how guilty I feel when I realise I am not feeling guilty. It’s no way to live!

I rarely make New Year Resolutions (or at least the kind that are visible to the outside eye – I also hate failure and being judged!) but this year I am totally all over this NO MORE GUILT revolution.

This revolution (I am starting), is totally aimed at us women – why? Because we feel guilt like 50 times more than our male companions – and that’s fact! According to me…and all my female friends/family. Those statistics therefore stand!

First Question…So what am I going to do about it?

I am going to WATCH for the critical little guilt voice and when I hear it I am going to say NO. I choose not to listen to you – you are passive-agressive, negative and downright mean. Not to mention NO FUN AT ALL WHATSOEVER.

Now I am no psychologist but I reckon this is going to work.

However, firstly we must consider whether or not some guilt is necessary to live a morally upright life. Is guilt the same thing as conscience? Or are they two separate things?

If they are separate entities, and I believe they are, then we certainly don’t need guilt. Let’s just keep our conscience on the payroll and sack the other one off. Done and dusted. My conscience works just fine and will surely keep me on the straight and narrow with it’s ‘do unto others what you would have done to yourself’ narrative.

Next question….Is it going to be that easy?

Well, no probably not, but surely after a certain amount of time this is going to become part of my psyche and as easy as breathing? That’s the rule of thumb with these things – say it over and over until your subconscious accepts it as fact and therefore makes it a reality. This is a tried and tested method used by people in the spiritual know (it comes under the heading of affirmation – look it up it’s awesome).

Lastly – ARE YOU WITH ME?

Everything is easier with a buddy to spur you on so who is with me in saying NO TO GUILT?

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Here are some random examples of how the guilt will most likely catch you…

Scenario number one: You have been invited to join the PTA, you know you don’t have time or energy to do it but you feel GUILTY because there are other mums just as busy as you doing it already. Do you want to do it? Will it bring you or your loved ones anything positive? If the answer is yes then great, stretch yourself and get on with it. If the answer is no, say NO. Don’t offer reasons or excuses – you already know why you’re not doing it. Just say no and be ready for the little voice of guilt and give it a flick on the nose.

Scenario  number two: You know you should be eating healthy and drinking less because it’s January and THE WHOLE WORLD IS DOING IT but you know what, you have a busy week, limited time and grabbing food on the run is just convenient for now in order to get through your day. Not to mention how dull January is without a glass or two to cheer you up. You feel guilty because all around you everyone else is being healthy, juicing, abstaining and generally morphing into goddesses – but it’s just not your moment! So, stamp on the guilt and say NO – it’s not for me this week! Maybe next week, let’s see…. (doubtful in my case).

Scenario Number Three: You haven’t seen enough of your family/friends, answered every text message/email and crossed out all your to-do list so here comes the wave of guilt to wash over you and tell you you’re rubbish, useless and horrible! Well guess what – you are none of those things, you are normal! None of us are getting it all done every day! Fact. Sit down, take a moment to chill, guilt-free and own it like a BOSS!

Come on ladies, I know we can do it. Keep me posted on your progress.

Donna

x

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To Detox or Not?

In a week where social media is completely awash with images of healthy, fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free meals, diet plans, fitness regimes and very little else – are you one of the many who decide to undo the festive damage with a detox?

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Like most things in life, where there is up there must be down, and looking around me today it seems that nothing reflects this more than the images of partying and festive fun that bombard us for the month of December followed by the stark contrast of ‘new year, new me’ January brings. One of my favourite memes is the ‘It’s all fun and games till your jeans don’t fit’ and for me this hits it on the head. We go through the festive season accepting every treat and saying ‘sod it, it’s Christmas’ and so come January – we all must pay!

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I have zero willpower – like actually zero and so I choose not to set myself up for failure by announcing ‘I am doing dry January!” and then spending the entire month in a sober and miserable state (unlike the husband who actually quite enjoys the go hard or go home cycle of binging then abstaining), but I definitely make a conscious effort to move more, eat less and drink much, much less… I am however totally fascinated, in a voyeur-like fashion, by all those around me and what they are doing to reverse the damage.

I know I had a good go, did you?! Pop on the blogzine to read our detox article, its that time of year and I love a bandwagon!  #detox #newyear #newyearnewme #diet #ladiespassiton #ladies #fitness #wellbeing #
I know I had a good go, did you?

So let’s have look at what detoxing actually is and how good it really is for undoing the Christmas ‘fear’.

WHAT IS DETOXING?

Basically, it’s any regime which encourages or allows your body to flush out toxins – toxins being all the nasties we consume which we shouldn’t, such as alcohol, sugar, caffeine, processed food and chemicals.

WHAT MAKES US DETOX?

Fasting…in a word. abstaining from all of the above and in some cases all food and drinks except a very limited few so that the body goes into a completely different state of being. some detox plans allow foods and some are liquid only. Hardcore stuff!

DOES IT WORK?

If you are looking for a quick result on the scales and a ‘clean up’ of your system then yes- detoxing will do that – as well as perhaps re-laying your psychological pathways so that you no longer feel the dreaded ‘fear’ and ‘guilt’ Christmas brings! Nothing makes you feel more saintly (I imagine) than a few days of refusing EVERYTHING!

WILL IT HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?

From what I have researched today my answer is no. It will give you an instant result on the scales and possibly in your jeans but long-term it’s not going to get you down a few dress sizes and stay there. For that you need a change of lifestyle, sustainable plan. It would seem however that a detox is a great way to eradicate the bad habits and is a great bridge to a more sensible way of life.

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WHICH DETOX IS BEST FOR ME?

If you have limited time then perhaps go for something fairly easy to negotiate like a juice plan. Once you have your blender and a massive fruit and veg shop under your belt you’re good to go! The internet is awash with recipes to tantalise your tastebuds (not really but you know what I mean). If you need more guidance and support there are lots of offers on a wide range of detox diet plans online and no doubt your social media is full to the brim with them too.

IS IT SAFE?

Many experts are quick to warn us that changing our habits to such an extreme can put the body into shock and only last week a woman in Milton Keynes suffered a seizure which doctors put down to a lack of sodium in her body (hyponatraemia). It was concluded that her detox diet and plethora of vitamins she consumed daily was the cause – so do your research first ladies – natural products also have side effects, especially in conjuction with other supplements you may be taking alongside.

 

Let me know what your favourite methods of undoing all the wrongs Christmas brings – I would love to know – and look out for some more health-based articles from Ladies Pass it On as we jump on the New Year, New Me bandwagon! Got to be done!

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Be like Jason this Christmas!

Now it’s no secret that I’m a big lover of Christmas,  huge infact!

Over the years I’ve acquired a few new traditions to add to my already vast childhood repertoire  – perhaps you have already read my Elf on the Shelf shenanigans on here? This newbie of a tradition however is one I already hold very dear – because it’s just so very lovely and so very very Christmassy.

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Image via Native Monster

Inspired by comedian Jason Manford a few years ago, I now buy as many advent calendars as I can afford (there are always offers on somewhere!) and donate them to my local food bank. After all, every single child surely deserves to enjoy the magical build up to Christmas along with every other child in their class. It breaks my heart to think of anyone missing out and feeling different.8855834755102

So, if you are a regular giver to food banks then perhaps you’ll consider adding a few calendars to your next shop and dropping them in the boxes on display in most supermarkets. Or, to really feel the festive feels, drop them off yourself. In my experience the lovely people working there will greet you very warmly indeed.

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Likewise no need to stop there: food banks also cater for families over the festive period so any donations of mince pies, Christmas puddings or really any element of a traditional Christmas meal would quite possibly be the icing on someone’s cake this year! It’s so easy and most supermarkets make it really affordable to help with their basic Christmas ranges.

So my lovelies, help me – and lovely Jason – spread the love this year and keep this tradition going until it sticks.

May your days be Merry and Bright and may you feel all the festive feels!

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Like Mother Like Daughter

A new fashion concept to suit us ALL!

You may have read the inspiration behind this site by now (How it all Began) and will know that the generational bond between women is something we value very dearly! No better advice and guidance than from those women who paved the way before us. This is why we got very excited upon discovering this new fashion concept from TV’s much-loved Sherrie Hewson and her daughter Keeley Fairhurst.

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In a nutshell the idea is that all the clothes in KeeKee Boutique are completely adaptable whatever your age and size – and you know what – it actually works! After all, a good look is a good look and even though fashion changes constantly there comes a time when we stop following the crowd and dress to suit our selves instead. On saying that, a little bit of inspo here and there works wonders and so the pair decided to go one step further and create some You-Tube videos to really hammer home the point.

The videos are interactive and subscribers can ask either Keeley or Sherrie to try on any outfit or look before they decide to buy. The one size stylish soft knits for example, are classy and elegant on both mum and daughter, and likewise the accessories can be adapted to suit any style or age group. Very clever indeed! I could totally envisage my mum and I both ordering from here and just love the inclusive aspect of the whole thing – bravo ladies!

We caught up briefly with the lovely Keeley who told us that after spying a definite gap in the market she saw an opportunity to bridge it by simply showing how the right clothes can be completely adaptable and still follow trends, regardless of age or size. Literally a one stop shop!

I hope this sets off a trend for more of the same and wish the ladies every success with their venture.

Have a watch and hop on over to subscribe for more… follow KeeKee boutique on facebook for the latest arrivals.

https://www.facebook.com/KeeKee-Boutique-386296184851316/

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Creative Christmas Trees You NEED!

It’s fast approaching time to decorate our homes in prep for the most festive time of the year, so I’ve been researching some fantastic ideas for us all to try. Starting off with some alternative Christmas Tree ideas that all your friends and family will be in awe of…

Have an old ladder hanging around in the shed? Make it a centrepiece guaranteed to get everyone talking with a few baubles and fairy lights! It’s just wow!
Spare rolls from last year? Glue to a board and Hey Presto you have a fantastic and unique-to-you tree!
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There’s really not much you can’t make from pallets these days! This idea is genius and can be painted and matched to any decor – love love love!
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This one requires slightly more of a crafty hand but with some fishing string and a few twigs you could have the coolest tree in town!
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This is just a stunning example of what a little imagination (and some wire bending) can do – wire, baubles and a frame are all you need to make this beauty!
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If the last idea was a touch too tricky then have a little look at tree wall sticker trees online – try Not On The High Street for some very cool creations.
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Simple and refreshing, this bunch of twigs hung from the ceiling and decorated is a beautiful way to spread the cheer in your home if space is an issue!
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A chalk outline, some imaginatively hung lights, tinsel and baubles = WOW! This could be created in so many different colour schemes and varieties, I will be trying it out this year!

 

Friends For life?


Friendship is a wonderful thing, after all, where would we be without our girl pals to make us giggle till we want to wee and let us moan and vent when our other halves could only offer ‘solutions’.

Imagine a world where you couldn’t fire off a cryptic ‘in joke ‘text message and receive the answer you were expecting…

ME: “I’m so sick of this rain!”

BF: “So, you go to Acapulco, it’ll be fine!”

Consider, if you will, a life without drunken ‘I love you’ slurry cuddles outside a club where the music was too loud and everyone was too young but none of that matters because your girls are there and you’ve laughed like hyenas at basically, well, everything!

three smiling fingers that are very happy to be friends, family concept

Yes it’s true to say our friends are a blessing and completely integral to our happiness but as we get older friendships, like everything else, change.

Marriage and kids bring the biggest changes in my opinion – whether it’s you or your friend doing the marrying and procreating.

When your day needs at least another three hours added into it in order to complete the list of tasks expected of you and you are moving through things so swiftly that you fear you’ll break the sound barrier whether at work or at home, it can be really hard to prioritise the friendships that were once the most important part of your day. Major issues arise if your friend doesn’t have the same time demands and keeps inviting you to join in with her off-the-cuff social life when you are literally dreaming of pyjamas and staring vacantly at the TV for five minutes before passing out.

Have you found that your friendships have waned over the years due to the lack of time and attention you can spare? Some may say that this not a life or death situation but actually, research has shown that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%!

Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses’ Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that if we have more friends as we get older we are less likely to suffer ill health and far more likely to be ‘happy’. The conclusion was that NOT having enough friends could be as bad for you as smoking or obesity!

Serious stuff ladies and we need YOU!

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I would love to feature some of you girls and your friends over the next few weeks to really take a look at how friendships work (or perhaps don’t) as we travel through life.

Are you a great example of friends who have surfed the waves and stayed afloat? Have you found your friendships transferring to those who somehow fit in more conveniently with your altered lifestyle?

Have you always considered yourself a brilliant friend to have or do you constantly worry you’re underachieving?

We would love to hear from you and write about your friendships, what makes them special and how they have changed over the years.

email [email protected] with your thoughts and some lovely snaps of you and your girls or find us on facebook to take part.

https://www.facebook.com/ladiespassiton/

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Trumped!

It was going to be a great day for women everywhere…

We envisaged our own Theresa May in the British Driving Seat shaking hands with Hilary, the leader of the Free World and first ever US female President (not to mention the oldest!)

This would have been a shining green light and true example to our younger female generation… WOMEN CAN DO WHATEVER THEY DARE TO DREAM.

Des Moines, Iowa, USA - June 14, 2015: Democratic candidate for President Hillary Clinton speaks to a group of over 700 supporters at the Iowa State Fair Elwell Family Food center in Des Moines, Iowa on Sunday, June 14, 2015.

Alas, Hilary was Trumped and a dream was dissolved in front of our eyes. So, what went wrong? We all seemed to agree that Trump is exactly the kind of man us women fear in the workplace and in life– bigoted, bullying, self-centred, money-grabbing and sexist. I am pretty sure we can all think of such a character in our own lives who has caused us offence or worse, held us back at some point! And yet, the population of America voted, women included, and he was their guy.

A quick scan over statistics tells me that yes, more women voted for Hilary than Trump; a Survey Monkey Poll released last week showed that if only women had voted then Hilary would have thrashed Trump with 438 electoral votes to a measly 62! I think one thing we can all agree on though, after Brexit and now this, is that polls are NOT TO BE RELIED UPON. The silent voters speak volumes at the right time.

It’s not surprising to anyone that many women didn’t want Trump in power, mostly due to the multitude of allegations made against him in regard to sexual misconduct and even assault. Women colleagues have come forward and branded him misogynistic and Trump himself has not done much to disprove that with his ‘locker room talk.’

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So, why is it then that some women (and seemingly more than we anticipated) have voted for Trump?

American Donna Cumella, 56, for example has been a registered independent all her adult life only switching her affiliation the moment Hilary ran for the White House.

“Listen, as a woman, I would like nothing more than for a woman to be president,” Cumella said. “But she’s the wrong woman.”

Did those women perhaps choose Trump over Hilary because they know better what they are dealing with? Do they perhaps know only too well that male character who literally speaks everything that comes into his mind and is openly flawed and small-minded but has the drive and bullishness to get stuff done? Is that the lesser of two evils in this situation?

It has been said that many women simply ‘don’t trust Hilary’. It’s no secret that she was being investigated for her use of a private server, causing widespread murmurs about secretive deals and behaviour. Perhaps the fear of the unknown is simply what has brought about today’s turn of events? Or is it a revolt against the political elite in general?

Who knows. It’s been a big day for America, we know that.

I would be so interested to hear from our readers exactly what they think has happened here on this historic day, and what it means going forward.

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Melissa Porter

Mum, TV Presenter, Life Coach and self confessed ‘People Junkie’ Melissa Porter on marriage and forgiving infidelity…

 

gallery_image_189All men are idiots.

Really? Did you interview all 3 ½ billion?! I reply mentally.

I flash my thinking over to my son and wonder if he may have this inbuilt ‘doosh bag’ DNA spoken about. Are all men biologically incapable of ‘keeping it in their pants’? What really are these ‘imbeciles’ getting up to all day and night? Potentially, all perfect points, that are prime for pondering over at my next neuroscience convention. Or not.

Discovering an infidelity can be devastating for all parties involved. It ignites shame and blame. Emotions are heightened, opinions aired and tempers can flare. Affairs can divide families, they can break trust unions to a point they become irreparable. They can also be the start of something truly amazing. Boom.

I’ve been cheated on and when my then neighbour called me to reveal what she’d witnessed I was heartbroken and cried for days. Now, I’ve the benefit of years gone by and with the wound healed, feel a single urge; to thank my ex partner for having the courage to cheat on me which inspired me to end our unhealthy relationship. Back then, I would have never been so bold to behave so, knowing that a hot mess would ensue in the short term but with the eventual longer-term happiness goal in sight. My partner cheated on me because he was unhappy in our unhappy relationship. I challenge anyone to call him an idiot for honouring himself and seeking happiness. What beliefs are we buying into that see us being committed to unhappiness in our relationships year after year? Is this the relationship model we want to share with our kids and ourselves?

Yes, my ex was untruthful and a chicken for having me find out, instead of confronting me – BUT –I was also untruthful with him. No, I wasn’t having an affair, but I was very very unhappy in our relationship. I had expressed my sadness to him – BUT – I was too chicken to leave him. Mirror mirror..We had the house, the car, the holidays, the family, the wawawawa, you know the BS script..Tick tick TOCK.

Man Hand writing Love Yourself with marker on transparent wipe board, inside heart shape. Isolated on office. Business, internet, technology concept. Stock Photo

I hold a belief that life, experiences and relationships are our mirror. What we truly feel (and sometimes aren’t even aware of) is always reflected back to us in the form of a lesson. My ex was my mirror and lesson and I’m so grateful to him. He reminded me, a relationship isn’t about security; it’s about soul style, heart enriching, blood pumping loving. So for me to spend my time branding him a liar and responsible for ruining my life, says way more about what’s going on for me than it does about him.

Love for self and others. This is the answer to the original statement.

http://melissaportercoach.com

https://melissaporter.wordpress.com

http://melissaportercoach.com/happy-pills/

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ELF ON THE SHELF…What You Need To Know

If you haven’t seen this American inspired Christmas craze that has recently swept the nation in the last few years, then goodness me – where have you been? I jumped on the bandwagon several years ago being an avid Christmas lover (you get to start with this festive cheer a whole month early, what is not to love?) I am however extremely aware that like Marmite, you either love this shizzle or well…bah humbug!

Now, don’t get me wrong, my fervour occasionally wanes halfway through December and I have often hit the pillow after a few scoops only to suddenly go cold with the dreaded realisation that I haven’t moved the elves- but all in all- it’s just great fun and the kids LOVE it.

So how does it work? let me talk you through the basics…

WHAT IS ELF ON THE SHELF?

The tradition stems from a book written by Carol Aebersold as far as I am aware but it’s totally your call how you play it out. For example, my elves can be touched (original premise says they lose their magic if touched).

The story tells of an elf sent by Santa to watch over children during the advent and report back on naughty or nice behaviour. Whilst I have been told many find this whole thing super creepy – it is a fantastic way to keep the monsters behaving nicely!

SANTA CAM

Last year I came up with a genius idea of installing SantaCam cctv..first sign of naughty behaviour and a bell was rung which immediately switched on the Santa Cam from our living room to the North Pole on a direct link to Santa’s office.

Elf on the shelk

The kids’ little faces when I rang the bell and they stopped mid-tantrum, casually sauntering around the room throwing out polite little smiles and waves, will stay with me forever more I am sure! Parenting and discipline was pretty much a breeze from that point onwards.

GET CREATIVE

If you don’t have any other girls in the house like me then this really is your chance to play with dolls! You can even buy cute little t-shirts and coats and if you join your local elf facebook group (oh yes this really is happening!) then you’ll find many small businesses making pyjamas and the such like…knock yourself out!

Elf on the shelf

A particular favourite of my attempts from last year were the Minecraft heads – my seven year old really did nearly explode with excitement, talk about lighting up a little face!

Elf on the shelf

You can find these free printable templates on Pinterest of course – every Elfer’s Motherland….

Another of my favourite scenarios is the down-the-stairs slalom! Cute and easy… no really it’s easy! A roll of cotton wool (comes out every year for various elf uses) and a wooden sled decoration I picked up many years back from a garden centre.

Elf on the shelf

PLAN AHEAD

Now I am a ‘winger’ when it comes to Elf fun but lots of my friends find it easier to write out a little timetable plotting their adventures in advance…whatever works best for you. After all, anyone likely embarking upon this tradition is not exactly sitting around all day with free time are they? No…this little time-consuming hobby will be squeezed into an already bursting to the brim family life. Once again Pinterest is the place to be…

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Don’t Panic

When life gets in the way – which it inevitably will – don’t panic! Of all the amazing stunts my elves have pulled, my boys still recall with delight “That night when the elves slept in your bed Mummy!” Yes I had come home from a night out and passed merrily into a drunken sleep, waking only five minutes before the kids. With no time to spare I grabbed the little so and so’s and stuffed them in my bed. My kids were thrilled.

So, assuming you are onboard and ready to get involved – here are a few ideas from my back catalogue.

Enjoy the Elfing!

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Marshmallow bubble bath
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Candy Cane Zip Wire
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Photo booth, free printable on Pinterest
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The Arrival!
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Frozen Fun
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A cardboard cupcake stand sleigh!
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Nice way to bring the Christmas pyjamas!
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Message on the mirror
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Tealight (fake) Marshmallow toasting
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Showering with balloons – noisy and fun way to start the day!
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Bringing back treats
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Nice easy one for busier times

Do share your elf ideas below or on our Facebook page please, click here for more ideas from us 

PASS IT ON!

 

Croatia

Julia Periac takes us on a guided tour of her much-loved Croatia:

kornati-island-hideaway-kornati-tour-2011Northern Dalmatia, a blissful, Adriatic haven for holiday makers and my home away from home.

My Dad was born in the small village of Polaca in Dalmatia, the southern coastal region of Croatia.  A decade ago when I mentioned my Croatian heritage people would often look at me blankly. One person did in fact ask me “Is that somewhere in Asia?” Some would ask about the war and the break-up of Yugoslavia. Others would question whether it was safe to go there now.

How times have changed…For the last few years I’ve received countless emails and texts asking for travel tips and recommendations. It seems that Croatia is having a moment with the British holiday maker. Everyone has heard of Dubrovnik and Split and many will know someone who’s been there recently and returned raving about the spectacular islands, fantastic weather, crystal clear waters, the cool, relaxed Mediterranean vibe and the relatively inexpensive cost of high quality food and wine. Europe has discovered a hidden gem of a destination for holiday makers of all types – island hoppers and beach lovers, those with wanderlust, culture vultures, families and sailing enthusiasts.

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In this two part blog (there’s simply too much to squeeze in to one), I’m going to share with you some of my highlights and recommendations in Northern Dalmatia, my father’s homeland and my very favourite place on earth. In part one I’ll pass on my favourite things to do in Northern Dalmatia’s largest city, Zadar. Voted European Best Destination for 2016, this beautiful city by the sea is a perfect long-weekend getaway or a day trip whilst visiting Croatia. In part two, I’ll branch out to the highlights of all this region has to offer, from beautiful beach towns, to spectacular island tours, breath-taking national parks, fantastic gastronomy, uber-cool music festivals and an abundance of world heritage sites.

So as the nights draw in and the temperatures begin to dip, let me whisk you away to unspoiled, sun drenched shores, where the air hangs heavy with the scent of fresh pine. The Mediterranean as it once was…

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Zadar is Croatia’s oldest inhabited city. Dating back over 3000 years, the city has many times over been built, destroyed and rebuilt. It has been conquered by the Romans, Venetians, Turks and Austrian Empire, and was badly damaged by the allies in World War II and the Serbian armies in the 1990s.

And yet, from the ashes this city has managed to rise up and retain features of immense historical interest such as the Roman Forum and St Donatus church and rebuild itself to embrace a bright new era with phenomenal modern instillations like the famous Sea Organ and the Sun Salutation.

Zadar is less well known to British tourists than its famous siblings – Dubrovnik and Split. But don’t be fooled in to thinking this is a back water town or an after-thought on a travel itinerary. Zadar is a destination to be savoured. Alfred Hitchcock famously declared the sunset here to be ‘the most beautiful he had seen in the world’ and only this summer non-other than Brad Pitt was spotted taking in the sights and enjoying the magical, timeless atmosphere found in this small but splendid city.

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The basics:

Zadar is easily accessible from the UK, with direct flights operated by Ryan Air running from April to November, flying in to the city’s airport from Manchester, East- Midlands and London Stansted. Flight times are approximately two and a half hours.

Alternatively, Zadar can be reached by car, the drive taking an hour and half from Split, three hours from Zagreb and approximately five hours from Dubrovnik. 

The weather here is typically Mediterranean, the most pleasant time to visit being late spring (May-June) or late summer (September-October) when you can pretty much guarantee sunshine, warm water for swimming and day time temperatures on average in the mid to high 20’s. At this time of year you can savour the city and avoid the heat and crowds typical of July and August. However, recently, owing to our family ties to school holidays, we tend to visit in the peak season and embrace the buzz and vibrancy of the city in the full swing of tourist season.

Things to see & do:

For us, a day in Zadar typically starts in the mid-afternoon after the heat of the midday sun has started to wane a little. You’d be hard pushed to experience the best this city has to offer in one day, though it is small enough to do a circuit on foot. If it’s a one off visit I’d recommend you allot at least a couple of days here so that you can experience the city fully.

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We arrive entering the city via the spectacular 500 year old, Venetian built Fosa Land Gate and wander through the beautiful, narrow marble streets, polished by tens of millions of feet that have passed over them for centuries. The streets are lined with charming boutiques, the odd hidden fashion haven and high end sunglasses shop, little restaurants known as ‘konobas’ and markets where local traders sell exquisite, artisan products – olive oil, cheeses, bread, wine, cured meats and essential oils. Above the shops and konobas are romantic, Venetian style apartments with rustic, paint flaked shutters. The old town is lived in and adored by its residents who are immensely proud of what their city has to offer.

11893966_10154168373984867_7564601695064924140_oThe main square in the city, Narodni Trg (Peoples Square) is a fantastic place for a coffee, ask for the local favourite Bijela Kava (the Croatian’s love their coffee as much as their Italian neighbours) and enjoy a spot of people watching before wandering through one of the city’s nearby art galleries, or the archeology museum.From here it’s a short walk through the pretty, bustling Street – Kalelarga, to the Roman Forum where you can walk amongst ruins dating back to 1st Century BC.The stunning St Donatus Church, an amazing example of Byzantine architecture, sits along-side the Roman Forum and during the peak summer month’s street entertainers often gather around this part of the city.  We’ve stopped frequently in this area to watch trapeze artists, mimes and street dance acts, who come to entertain the tourists wandering around these historic landmarks.  zadar-main-square

Stroll on from here to St Anastacia’s Cathedral, built in the 12th Century. Climb the bell tower and take in astonishing views of the city and the spectacular landscape surrounding it, including the imposing Velebit Mountains. Located on the square at the back of St Anastacia’s church is one of my favourite Zadar finds. Slasticarnica Donat – makers of the best ice cream I have ever tasted by a country mile! I cannot visit Zadar without making a stop here. Expect to queue for your cone, this place has earned itself quite a reputation, but it’s worth the wait and at only 8 Kuna (approximately £1) for an ice cream, you won’t be disappointed.

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Ice cream in hand, our next stop is always the highlight of my visit to Zadar. Heading back past the Forum to the edge of the city, where land meets sea, follow the pilgrims heading along the promenade toward the sun and you will eventually reach the Sea Organ.

The Sea Organ is without doubt my favourite place to watch the magnificent and world famous Zadar sunset. Arrive 30-45 minutes ahead of the main event, park up and simply feel, hear and see an orchestra of nature. The installation was designed by architect Nikola Basic, a series of chambers built in to the harbour wall produce sound reminiscent of whale song, driven by the waves. It is a spectacle that for me is quite spiritual and no words can do justice here. You simply must go and experience it for yourself. A few years ago, we watched a bunch of young men, dive off the harbour wall by the Sea Organ, and view the sunset from the best seats in the house.

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The next year we came back intent on doing the same ourselves. For those bold enough to take the plunge, I’d highly recommend you take your swimming cozy and a towel, and enjoy the sunset from the sea with an entirely unobstructed view whilst you bob around in the calm of the warm Adriatic waters. Be warned, this is not suitable for young children or weak swimmers as the port is incredibly deep and it’s a bit slippery when climbing the steps to get out. Children are much better positioned on the giant steps that tumble down in to the sea, where they can watch the sunset safely. Again, street entertainers flock here in the peak season, so there’s plenty to keep young visitors 11896377_10154168376059867_6973874238713782075_oengaged. My kids adore this place.

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Next to the Sea Organ is the Salutation to the Sun. Once the sun goes down and dusk descends a fantastic light show starts up, powered b y the rays soaked up all day long. The kids love jumping up and down on the multi-coloured square panels. Once again Basic creates an installation that embraces the forces of nature in this beautiful city.

Finally, our evenings in Zadar draw to a close with a bite to eat, followed by a cocktail at one of the multitude of restaurants and bars on offer. The cost of dining out in Zadar is relatively inexpensive compared to the UK. An evening meal with drinks will on average work out at about £12- 15pp (assume about half for children). The cuisine is generally Mediterranean in style, with some wonderful Dalmatian specialties mixed in. Make sure you sample the Dalmatian dish ‘blitva’ – a delicious chard and potato side dish, dressed with the regions fine olive oil. Cheese from the near-by island of Pag is another mouth-watering, Dalmatian delicacy. If you’re there in August do what I do and order tomatoes with everything. The Croatian word for tomoato is ‘rajcica’ which literally translates to ‘little heaven’ and for good reason, ripened by the strong Dalmatian sun they are simply divine.

In terms of restaurant selection you are spoilt for choice but I’ll share a few of my favourites with you. For a fine dining delight try Restoran Kornat, with beautiful views looking out over the harbour this place can boast amazing service and the best tuna I have ever tasted. Restoran Fosa, located just outside the city walls by the Fosa land gate, is a spectacular seafood restaurant and Bruschetta which sits in close proximity to the Sea Organ is contemporary and chic. In peak season I would advise calling ahead and reserving a table as all three restaurants are in high demand.

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For a more laid back and casual dinner with a lower price tag I’d recommend Groppo, Calzone or Konoba Stomorica. It’s not usually necessary to book ahead at these restaurants, unless you are a large group.

Finally, after dinner we wander back through the vibrant streets to our favourite cocktail bar which is perched on top of the city walls. The Garden is a cool and contemporary out door lounge, owned by two former members of UB40. The bar is decked out like a secret garden with an amazing drinks menu, cool DJs, a totally chilled out eclectic crowd and a fantastic view overlooking the harbour. We perch here, under the stars and drink a Blackberry Press and a Cuba Libre whilst we await our taxi which comes to take us back to the beach town where we stay about 20 minutes down the coast, Biograd Na Moru… But I’ll tell you all about that next time.

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Reiki Rocks!

Suzanne Elizabeth Prince shares her love of Reiki with us….

I’ve lost count how many phenomenal experiences I have witnessed through Reiki, It’s so incredibly gentle yet powerful beyond measure. Hands on healing has been around since the beginning of time, Reiki is a form of energy healing that supports a person on so many levels. As a practitioner it teaches us patience, gratitude, to trust in the process and so much more than I could put into words. As a client it nurtures you, bringing about shifts and changes so that your whole world feels harmonious instead of the crazy, anxious illusions that are constantly building around us. When I felt Reiki for myself, that warm caring flow of love, I knew in my heart it was something special. When I see the difference in people who are sleeping better, with less pain and no stressy outbursts I think to myself Reiki really does rock !!

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It’s like an awesome dose of unconditional love gently pushing light into every layer of your auric field, right down to a cellular level. You feel floaty, enlightened and peaceful after a session. Gosh do I wish I’d known about it when my children were babies. I’d of been booking in every week haha !! Oh what fun we had back in the days of teething with no sleep and just about surviving on plenty of coffee. These days I can’t imagine life without Reiki, It really does bring an overwhelming sense of peace and calm to a very busy world.

My advice is no matter where you are on your path, keep shining and spreading your light, the world needs you to drop into your heart as that is where the magic happens.

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Love and sparkle,

Suzanne Elizabeth

Holistic Coach and Reiki Master

http://www.SuzanneElizabethHolisticCoach.co.uk

 

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Cushion Crazy!

So, it’s common knowledge amongst my friends and family that if I need some retail therapy I don’t head for the shoe department – I don’t dive into designer handbag heaven… for me it’s all about cushions. And coats. We will come to the coats later!

So, it’s common knowledge amongst my friends and family that if I need some retail therapy I don’t head for the shoe department – I don’t dive into designer handbag heaven… for me it’s all about cushions. And coats. We will come to the coats later!

I believe very much in changing my soft furnishing fashion as often as the seasons and you will find me whipping off covers and replacing at least 4 times a year. Oh yes – told you I had a problem!

So here is my round up of seasonal favourites (think sparkly winter rather than full-blown Christmas. For now!) – prepare to feel very cosy indeed!

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 Star cushion cover H&M home £6.99

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Ted Baker Flight of the Orient cushion £28.00 available at John Lewis

 

 

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Voyage Elixir cushion £60, available at John Lewis

 

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For the little ones or the lover of all things cute! Penguin cushion £15 from Marks & Spencers

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JELLY FOR BEAUTY?

 

 

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A CUBE OF JELLY FOR NEW SKIN?

Something which is very current is the use of collagen to restore the youth in our skin – experts say that collagen must be ingested rather than applied as the molecule is too big to pass through the skin layer and in fact Boots have recently begun to stock several collagen tablets and liquid shots – but at a very costly fee!

This brings us back to an old stalwart of advice passed down from the generations above that eating a cube of jelly every day will reinforce your skin! Ever heard of this?

Well in actual fact there is truth and science behind this advice from granny as jelly is made from gelatine – an animal based product that is basically collagen!

According to Liz Earle on ITV today – another way to get collagen is by slow boiling bones at home for 9 hours and making a broth which can be drunk alone or added to meals as a sauce. Cell renewal in every bite!

So…. If you don’t wish to splash the cash or while away the hours boiling bones – ladies, a little bit of jelly cube may go a along way!

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If you have any beauty advice to share email [email protected]