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  1. Whenever you buy health products or services, you might think that the brands have your best interests at heart. They're advertising themselves as good for your health, after all. But it may not be that simple, particularly for health products that don't require a prescription. From multivitamins to alternative health products, you should know a thing or two about the companies that make and sell them.

    For me personally, I try to choose organic brands and all natural brands.  Nature is always better than synthetic when it comes to nourishing your body.  I'm also very aware that many companies, including huge pharmaceutical companies, are just trying to make profits to please their shareholders or make the CEOs richer.  It's sad, but often true.  Do your research and choose brands that seem to care for you, their suppliers and the environment.

    Evidence for Their Claims

    If you're going to use something for your health, it's always a good idea to see if they can back up their claims. One thing to keep in mind is that although they can't claim things that are untrue, they can use words like "helps to" or "is designed to". Resources like the NHS Behind the Headlines page can help you make sense of the science (or lack of it).  I also regularly read Natural News and Authority Nutrition for evidence backed articles.  Don't believe everything you read in the mainstream media.

    Related blog posts:
    7 ways I’ve got healthier in 7 years
    Your ultimate inspirational guide to being truly healthy
    Why you need to reduce your refined sugar intake

    Can You Get It Cheaper?

    An extremely valuable thing to know is that many branded health products contain exactly the same ingredients as their generic/own-brand counterparts. And unlike your favourite crisps, a packet of paracetamol isn't going to taste any different if it's Boots own-brand instead of Panadol. You could end up paying just pence for what you need, instead of pounds.  Nurofen, for example, is ibuprofen, so save a few pounds and buy the supermarket's own.
    As for natural supplements, things might differ.  You may want to pay more to ensure you are getting organic high quality supplements from a reputable source.

    Who Owns Different Brands

    It's important to know what interests a company might have in different areas. Is what appears to be a chirpy, independent company actually owned by a huge, multinational corporation?

    Maybe that company selling stop smoking aids is actually a subsidiary of a tobacco company...

     
    Go Smoke Free Asks Who Owns All The Vaping Brands

    *collaborative post

  2. There’s no doubt about it - having kids is going to change the dynamics of a relationship.  No longer can you devote all your time and attention to your other half.  Late nights and broken sleep can affect mood and stress levels, as well as decrease any expected precious evening time together you may have had planned.  Babies and children are unpredictable. 

    Even with a five year old and two year old, we never know what the day or night will bring.  Illnesses suddenly spring out of nowhere and though they may mostly sleep through the night, we’ll suddenly go through a patch of them refusing to go to bed or waking up with growing pains for nights on end.  Often we plan to spend an evening together with no work or social distractions, once the children are in bed, but by the time they are asleep we’re both practically asleep too or too shattered to interact!

    That being said, I feel like our relationship is still strong and perhaps even stronger since having children.  One friend with older children once told me if we can get through the early years of having kids, we can get through anything!

    Here are three things I think help to keep a relationship strong after having a baby.

    How to keep a relationship strong after having kids

    Stay intimate, when you can

    Women can feel very self-conscious of their new bodies after having a baby as often there are some changes in shape and size.  Reassure her that you still find her attractive.   Finding time for intimacy along with a newfound tiredness are definitely obstacles once you have children.  It can also take time to want to be intimate again after giving birth, so be patient!   

    Just knowing you still find each other attractive and that it’s simply these reasons for why there’s less affection will ensure no one feels insecure.  Communication with each other is important here too.  If you’re not ready, just say.  If you’re too tired, don’t feel pressured.  If there are other reasons for lack of intimacy such as pain, dryness or erectile dysfunction then seek advice.

    Communication is key

    Tying in nicely with both other points is communication.  Clearly discussing how one another is feeling is key to a successful relationship.  Being open, frank and honest is a must.  Playing silly games with one another or playing the silent game is never going to play out well.  Don’t always expect your other half to sense how you’re feeling, just be open and tell them.  Sometimes they have no clue if you’re stressed out or struggling, no matter how obvious you think it is.

    By discussing how you are feeling in an honest and open way means you can communicate clearly with one another and provide support if needed.

    Spend time together, kid free

    Harder said than done, but even one night every couple of months for a meal out together can be enough.  It’s a welcome break from the duties of parenthood and a chance to talk without interruption.

    If you don’t have any childcare or perhaps you’re still breastfeeding, why not set up a date night at home?  Once every week, or two, cook and enjoy a meal together with no TV, mobile phones or distractions (unless of course the kids wake up!).  If you can’t get out for a date night, bring the date night to you.

    Spending enough time together as a couple, remaining affectionate and clearly communicating is all so important for a strong relationship.

    Related blog posts:

    The secrets to a long term relationship
    A Sneak Peek at our Garden 'Wedfest' Wedding
    5 Annoying Things My Husband Does

    Please pin me:

    How to keep a relationship strong after having kids

    *collaborative post

  3. Welcome to my Money Making Mums guest series all about how to earn a decent living from home, even as a busy parent.  As well as guest posts from awesome bloggers sharing their tips and tricks, I am now also interviewing relevant bloggers to discover how exactly they make money from home.

    Other bloggers and money making mums will feature in this series sharing all the ways they make money from home and why it’s suitable for mums.  If you’d like to feature in this series with a guest post or you’d like to be interviewed, please do get in touch.

    This week I’m interviewing Clare from My Money Cottage:

    my money cottage new logo

    1.     Hello, welcome to my Money Making Mums Interview.  Please tell me a little about who you are, where you’re from and where you blog.

    I’m Clare, I live in the North West in a small town with my husband and three children aged 11, 8 and 2. My blog is http://mymoneycottage.com.

    2.     This series is all about mums being able to make money from home.  Can you tell me what you do from home to make money?

    I’ve worked from home for about 8 years now. After my second child was born, we realised we couldn’t sustain nursery fees, we had no family that could help us out and we couldn’t afford for me to just be a stay-at-home mum and not have an income.

    Initially, I worked as a childminder and looked after other people’s children along with my own. This worked really well for us for quite a few years. When we decided to have our third child though, I knew I wouldn’t be able to cope with a new born and childminding too!

    I was very fortunate at the time that I landed another job that meant I could continue to work from home. Whilst I was on maternity leave, I took up matched betting to help make ends meet. The company I used were advertising for a proof reader working from home and after failing to get the job initially, I was offered 16 hours a week! It has been perfect for me. I really enjoy the job and I’ve since increased my hours to 25 a week which is great.

    3.      What makes it suitable for mums?

    For me, the job means I’m home when my children need me to be. I work two hours every morning and two hours every evening. Since we moved house, we’re nearer to my Mum and Dad and they help out between them, so usually I have the mornings child-free. School holidays are a challenge though I’ll admit! The evenings, I’ll usually wait for my husband to get home at 6:30 and then I’ll disappear to start work. The mornings are set hours but the evenings are flexible which means I can fit it in around the family.

    4.     What do you love about working from home?

    I love that I’m here for the children if they’re poorly. I also enjoy being at home! I’m not a massive social butterfly so I do enjoy just being in my own company. I like not having to commute and not having to rush around every morning. I also suffer from migraines which mean I’d struggle some days to drive to an office or sit in an office all day. Being at home means I have my own comforts and can be more comfortable.

    5.     What are your top three negatives to working from home?

    It can get lonely occasionally.

    No work nights out!

    Sometimes I think I could do with some adult company.

    6.     If you could only pick one, either working from home or working in an office for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

    Working from home – no contest!

    7.     Lots of people say they’d find it hard to stay motivated if working alone at home.  What keeps you motivated?

    If I want to finish my work on time then I need to crack on! That’s enough to keep me motivated.

    8.     Do you have a favourite quote to keep you inspired?

    Never compare your beginning to somebody else’s middle.

    9.     Do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share with mums wanting to make their own income from home?

    If you want something badly enough, you’ll achieve it. Working from home isn’t the easy option by any means but it is the dream for many mums. Never give up!

    Thanks so much to Clare for taking part in my Money Making series.  Would you like to take part?  Contact me above^

    Check out the rest of the series here: Money Making Mums

    Please pin me:

     Money Making Mums Blogger Interview Clare from My Money Cottage

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  4. Having a first aid box wherever you are, whether at work, home or camping, is an essential. You never know when an injury may occur or when you may need to give first aid to yourself, your family or even a stranger. You may make your own first aid kit or buy one from many pharmacies and drug stores or online.  Here are some items you should include:

    The 5 Most Important Things to Have in Your First Aid Box

    Bandages and Dressings

    These are essential for any cuts and scrapes or a serious bleed. They are sterile and highly absorbent, and can be wrapped and tied around the area, meaning they stay on better than Elastoplast’s. If you ever need to assist someone who is having a serious bleed, a bandage can be used as a tourniquet tied above the bleed to reduce blood flow to the injured area and stop blood loss rapidly. Having this simple piece of equipment could be the difference between life and death with a large cut incident.

    Scissors

    These can be used to cut bandages, cut clothes, rope, seatbelts and many more. First aid box scissors are usually just used for simple things such as cutting dressings to the correct length, but can be used in more serious events to cut away clothes to reveal the site of injury if needed.

    Tweezers

    This is a simple one that many people may forget, but how many times as a child did you get a splinter? Splinters not only hurt, but left untreated can cause infection, so the sooner a splinter is removed, the better. If you go camping a lot, this is definitely an essential when learning how to make a first aid box based on what activities you are doing.

    Gloves

    Gloves protect you from bodily fluids or anything else you may come into contact with. There is no use in cleaning a wound with your hands that may be harboring thousands of germs. When administering first aid, we must ensure we protect ourselves, as well as the person we are administering first aid to. If you have a cut on your hand you may be endangering yourself to blood-borne viruses, making two casualties from the situation.

    Pain Relieving Medication

    No matter where we are or what we are doing, chances are someone has asked you at some point for some aspirin, and you haven’t been able to help. Having this in your first aid box means always having pain relief to hand if needed, as aspirin and ibuprofen are one of the highest selling over the counter medications, bringing in just over $4.1 billion in sales in 2016.

    These are just some of the essential things that you may need in your first aid box, but this is not a comprehensive list. There are many more items that may come in useful for you depending on whether you use a first aid box in a clinical setting or a family setting. Remember, even simple first aid can help save a life, always be prepared. 

    Related blog posts:

    Cardiac Arrest: How you can save someone’s life with a defibrillator
    Residues of 123 pesticides found in children’s school fruit! Yuck!
    Your ultimate inspirational guide to being truly healthy
    Physical education is no longer physical!

    Please pin me:

    The 5 Most Important Things to Have in Your First Aid Box

    *collaborative post

  5. Welcome to today’s #winitwednesday giveaway (I know, I know, I'm a day late, oops!). 

    Today I’m giving away this beautiful BIRD Print Large Zip Purse to one lucky entrant!

    Women's Cream & Brown Large Bird Print Purse

    A fabulous ladies purse with plenty of room for your cards, coins and notes.  Large bird print design with a secure zip fastening and easy to clean surface.  Organise your cards and change by treating yourself or give to a friend as it makes an ideal women's gift.

    Size: 19 x 2.2 x 9.5cm
    Material: PU
    Fastening: Top zip
    Packaging: Polybag
    Care: Wipe clean with a damp cloth

    Purses are no longer a plain item that needs to be thrown deep into the depths of your handbag, oh no!  They are a fashion statement in their own right.  Use oversized purses as a clutch on a night out to save taking a whole host of belongings with you.  An oversized purse may fit your cards, mobile phone and house key, saving the hassle of taking an entire handbag out.  If it is thrown into the depths of your bags, pick a cool printed pattern to perk you up every time you dig it out to pay!

    Not only are purses crucial for organising your cards and change, but they also make welcome gifts for friends, mums, sisters, you name it!  We use purses for a long time, so it’s a great idea to invest in one you’re going to love for a long time.  Lylia Rose has a fantastic selection of women’s printed purses to suit all styles.  They are all highly affordable too, so if your purse is on its last legs, take a look today and organise your change in style!

    If you love fashion accessories, do pop over to my online fashion accessories boutique for a good browse!  The minimum spend is only £5 per order and 2nd class UK delivery is free!  Find more than fashion accessories in my store too.  There's a great choice of earrings, ear cuffs, headbands, printed fashion scarves, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, iPad cases, purses and even some clothes!

    Win this in my blog giveaway:

    Blog Giveaway: Win a BIRD Print Purse #winitwednesday

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.

    Good luck!

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    ENTER HERE:

    a Rafflecopter giveaway  

     
    For a chance to win a scarf of your choice every month, simply subscribe here:
     

    PLEASE PIN ME:

    Blog Giveaway- Win a BIRD Print Purse #winitwednesday

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the item pictured above
    • The prize must be claimed within 28 days of the first winner's notification email being sent.
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only
    • The winner's name and county is available upon request
    • Entrants will be signed up to the Lylia Rose newsletter to receive blog posts and giveaways.  Subscribers are also entered into a monthly giveaway to win a scarf of your choice in my online fashion boutique. You can unsubscribe at any time, but it's a great idea to stay signed up to receive giveaways to your inbox and to stay entered in the monthly prize draw.