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  1. I really look forward to Monday evenings at the moment.  It’s the one night of the week me and Ben spend watching The Walking Dead.  I go to aqua and get back just after 8pm.  Ben usually has it ready to hit play on the TV and we are engrossed for one hour.  It’s probably the only evening I put my laptop and phone down and I’m not distracted from the screen!  I’ve always loved zombie films and TV shows and can’t help but wonder if I’d survive a zombie apocalypse.  Do you think you would?

    I’m pretty sure I’d survive.  I like to think I’m a strong minded and determined person.  I’m fit, active and healthy.  I'm willing to muck in and work hard.  I think I’d stand a good chance!

    Having watched so many zombie shows before, I was a bit late to the party with The Walking Dead.  I knew about it, but thought it would be the same as all the others.  How wrong I was.  OK, so the concept is obviously same as the others, but the characters are so strong.  Eight seasons in and I’m still just as hooked as day one.

    My other favourite TV show is Ben Fogle Lives in the Wild, which ties in quite nicely don’t you think?  It’s all about leaving the rat race and surviving in the wild, fending for yourself and all that.  The older I get the more obsessed I get with wanting to live a more remote lifestyle and grow my own veg.  We got our own chickens this year, so we’re a step closer to my dream!

    This is exactly why most of us wouldn’t be able to survive a zombie apocalypse.  We are not prepared for a disaster at all.  It might not be zombies, that is a bit far out, but it could be something else; the breakdown of society, a war, a weather disaster, no more electricity, etc.  It may seem like something that is allocated to Hollywood films only, but what if it did happen?  Could you survive?

    The reason I don’t think we’re prepared is because most of us can’t produce our own food.  This is a major survival skill and yet we’re never taught it.  If it were up to me I’d teach children how to grow their own food in schools.  We all rely on farmers and being able to pop to the local supermarket for everything we need.  We’ve never had to fend for ourselves.  Imagine if the supermarkets disappeared tomorrow?  If there was a major disaster I bet the shelves would be wiped out in a day or so.

    Data Label has produced the infographic below that shows how quickly your food sources will run out compared to some of the most popular disaster TV shows and films.

    How long would you stay alive as a Walking Dead survivor?

    *Infographic provided by Data Label

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  2. My last tightening appointment feels like forever ago now.  I had to change this one so it was around a 2 month wait instead of 6 weeks.  That extra couple of weeks really dragged!

    I can’t believe it’s been 20 months with a brace.  I was telling my good friend it will be 2 years in March and he couldn’t believe it.  It seems clear as day I was telling him I was thinking of getting a brace and now here we are, nearly two years with a brace!

    I was hoping the end was in sight, but not so.­

    My orthodontist guesses another six months with the brace and a further six months full time with the retainer before I can get my false tooth and veneer.

    I think for most people the big exciting day is when the brace is off and the teeth are perfect.  As I’ll need a false tooth at the front (lateral incisor) and a veneer over my peg tooth to make the other lateral incisor (these are both teeth either side of the front teeth), the brace off day isn’t going to be that exciting.

    My exciting day will be once I get the false teeth at the front as this will complete my perfect teeth and smile.

    Fingers crossed this will be by next Christmas!  That will be over two and a half years in total.

    Here’s what they look like at the moment:  (that lateral incisor is a false temporary tooth just attached to the brace to fill the huge gap for now.  It’s where I’ll have a false tooth, bridge style)

    Braces at 30 My 13th tightening appointment update 20 months photo blog

    What happened at my 13th appointment?

    The bottom wire was changed back to the thickest steel wire.  We now need to close all the gaps at the bottom starting from the centre gap between the front teeth, then move backwards and bring all the other teeth in to close all the new gaps that will form as the front teeth are closed.

    The big elastic that was all around my top teeth was removed and three elastics put on instead. One for the front teeth and two for each set of back teeth.  My peg tooth has too much space either side still so we need to close about 2mm so it’s equal to the gap on the other side.  Then my false tooth and veneer can be equal sizes.

    My overbite is now 6mm.  Arg!  It was 5.5mm and we were trying to reduce this.  So I’m back to the horrid top to bottom elastics which clamp my mouth shut and give a constant pressure in my mouth and face.  I really hate them so I hope they work to close this overbite or it’s a waste of a lot of discomfort!  I have to take them out when I eat or brush my teeth and put more in after.  I have to remember as often I forget as I’m so busy with work or the kids.

    Here’s what the horrid top to bottom elastics look like:

    top to bottom brace elastics photo image picture Braces at 30 My 13th tight

    With one full year and maybe even  more left to go, I’m feeling a bit disheartened, but I know it will all be worth it in the end.  It’s just a long time to have your mouth taken over and not feel like you can eat, kiss or smile properly!

    Find my entire journey here: Braces at 30

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    Braces at 30 My 13th tightening appointment update (20 months)

  3. Maybe you’ve hit a slow patch and profits aren't as good as they once were, or perhaps you’re just looking at ways to get ahead. Either way, there are elements of your business that are crucial to its success, so if you want to make more profit or just get the ball rolling again, here are a few places to address.

    Invest in Good Business Software

    To perform tasks quickly and efficiently, and allow your staff to do their best work, you need good business software. Having this allows you to save time and money and means workers can be used to their best potential- instead of being stuck performing tedious manual tasks that a computer can do in an instant. Business software will reduce the risk of human error which could potentially put your business in jeopardy- especially when it comes to things like finances and taxes.

    Don’t Overlook Your Office Space

    Does your office space feel drab and uninspiring? A quick refresh with the decor can make a huge amount of difference and make it feel clean and fresh. A coat of paint, new carpets and living plants will all make the most of the space. Plants are a good way to decorate since they're unfussy and still look professional, but have been shown to boost productivity at work. Switch up the lighting to daylight bulbs, since fluorescents can be harsh or dim causing eye strain and migraines. Update things like office chairs to ensure your workers don't experience back pain.

    Stay Ahead of Your Competitors

    As a business owner, your success is based on you staying a step ahead of your competitors. You need to give your customers a reason to shop with you instead of a rival company. Find out what other companies in your niche are offering, from there you can work out how to be different and better. You will know that you have a good business idea when people are buying whatever it is you're selling and you're turning a profit, but don't get complacent- you need to be outdoing your competitors and staying ahead.

    Pay Attention to Customer Complaints

    One way you can see how well your business is doing is by looking at customer reviews. No business owner likes reading bad reviews but they are an opportunity to improve. Are people complaining your shipping is too slow? It could be worth looking at a site like Shiply to see what your delivery options are. Are they saying that your items are bad quality? If so, changing formulas, materials or manufacturers might be the way to go. Is your site slow and crashing? Invest in an upgrade. Focus on what the problem is and come up with a solution to so it doesn’t happen again.

    Don’t Underestimate Employee Satisfaction

    As well as paying attention to your customers you should make sure your employees are being heard too. Your workers are essential to the success of your business, so you should make sure that everyone is being properly looked after. When workers are happy and feel valued, they are likely to be more productive. Be the kind of boss that employees feel comfortable coming to with any problems, and make sure they are being treated fairly according to the law. Bonuses like the occasional free work lunch will always go down well too.

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  4. We all age. The parents who once seemed so vital and sometimes indestructible in our youth can seem to slowly transform into someone much weaker and more vulnerable when we grow up. If we have kids of our own, the worry that we’re not providing enough for our parents can weigh heavily on the mind. However, there are a few steps we can take to cope with these concerns and even make it that our constant vigilance isn’t always necessary.

    Helping their emotional well being, not just physical

    The majority of your concerns might be regarding their physical health. Helping them stick to a healthier diet and keeping them physically active can improve their chances of a longer, more vital life. But emotional health also becomes a serious concern as we age. Loneliness, in particular, contributes not only to stress and depression but health issues as serious as heart disease and dementia. There is a growing number of social groups for older people out there, helping them connect, make friends, and socialise over a vast variety of interests. Make time to spend the occasional afternoon or evening with them on a social visit, not just to check up on them, too. Close relationships are entirely essential to a healthier life, both mentally and physically.

    Know when you need help

    Have you found yourself stepping in to help them with the many little practicalities of life, such as shopping, cooking, helping them commute and such? Coping with a parents’ declining range of independence is important. However, if you have kids, a job, or other aspects of your life that need your full-time attention, be aware of where your limits are. If you could benefit from using home care services, don’t torture yourself over the decision. In fact, it can be a lot better for both you and your parent(s) if their more practical or private physical needs are taken care of by someone else. It means you can focus more on making sure their emotional well being is in good shape.

    Take care of yourself, too

    If you are caring for them personally or you’re simply finding it difficult to adjust in the physical and mental changes in your parent, then don’t feel like you have to bottle it all in all the time. Treat yourself right. Take a break when you need to. Acknowledge that you’re not failing if you have a day every now and then where the easily justifiable stress hits you. If you continue to just try and keep plugging on, even as stress is frying your brain, you are going to burn out. You might even grow to resent your parent, which clearly isn’t going to help anyone. Keep an eye on your own condition and talk to someone if you feel you need to.

    You won’t be able to stop worrying completely about your parents when they’re getting much older. You can, however, help to guarantee them a happier, healthier life if you make sure you take care of all the needs involved, both yours and theirs.

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  5. It’s that time of year again where most children, and even adults, are likely to catch an illness that is doing the rounds.  Children are more susceptible to illnesses as their immune systems are weaker.  Often this is not a bad thing as catching and fighting illness will allow their immune systems to build resistance and mature, making it stronger as they grow.

    While many parents may feel the need to go to the doctors for every ailment, this isn’t always necessary.  Many childhood illnesses can be treated at home with the assistance of a local chemist or an online pharmacy.

    Here are three common childhood illnesses we have recently experienced that can be treated at home:

    (Of course if you have any major concerns or symptoms worsen, it’s always best to consult a medical professional)

    Common Childhood Illnesses Colds, Chicken Pox and Conjunctivitis


    Earlier this year I had a phone call from Reuben’s nursery asking me to collect him.  He’d had a nap, but had woken up with his eyes stuck together and full of goo.  He had conjunctivitis and it had sprung out of nowhere.  There was no build up, just bam! – loads of goo at once.  Poor thing.  Conjunctivitis is highly contagious so I was to pick him up immediately and not return him until it had cleared.  I’ve experienced it myself as both an adult and child, so knew exactly what it was.  It certainly makes you feel groggy having goo all round your eyes and it crusting up and sticking your eyes together when you sleep!
    Treatment isn’t usually needed as it can clear itself up in a couple of weeks, however in severe cases, antibiotic eye drops like these from Chemist4U can be used to clear up the infection.  We were lucky to not need treatment for Reuben and just kept the eyes clear and clean with cooled down boiled water and cotton pads.  

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

    Chicken pox

    We are currently experiencing chicken pox for the first time with Bella, age 5.  It did the rounds for her cousins and friends when she was a toddler, but she never caught it.  Now it’s going through the infants at her school so it was only a matter of time before she caught this common childhood illness.
    I remember having chicken pox as a child and being covered in camomile lotion!  I had them so bad I still have three scars in the middle of my forehead that are clear to see.
    Bella started with one spot in the morning on her belly which I thought may be a bite.  She went to school and when she came home she had around 10 spots on her belly!  I then knew it was chicken pox.  By the evening they were on her face, neck,, back, arms and legs.  We could do dot to dot on her there were so many!
    Bella felt pretty miserable for two days when the spots first appeared and spent most of her time sleeping.  On day two the spots were blistering and one even began to scab over.  Once they are all scabbed over she can return to school.  The first couple of nights were awful as the spots were irritating her so much she barely slept and kept me awake all night.  She tossed and turned and kicked about as they were bothering her.  I purchased Virasoothe to try and calm the irritation and soothe any itchiness.  When she was feeling really grotty, moany and hot to touch we gave paracetamol.  It’s not recommended to give any ibuprofen for chicken pox as it can make the person even worse.
    It’s now day four and half of them have scabs.  I guess one or two more days and she can return to school.  She’s now playing normally and seems like her usual self, so it’s just a case of waiting for all the spots to scab which means she’s no longer contagious.
    It’s good to get chicken pox as a child as once you’ve had it once you are usually immune for life.


    From my internet research, many articles suggest it’s common for children to have between five and eight colds per year, wow!  That seems like an awful lot, but I’m sure we do experience that with both children.  Symptoms include a runny nose, sneezing, high temperature and feeling grotty.  We’ll use paracetamol to bring any temperature down, but otherwise we just let the cold play out and ensure they have plenty of rest if they’re not their usual self.
    The best thing is prevention rather than cure.  Plenty of fresh fruit and veg each day and minimal added refined sugar.  The children share my homemade fruit and vegetable morning smoothie with natural superfood green powder to top up their vitamin and mineral intake every day.  This means even if they catch a cold, their bodies are well equipped to fight it off quickly and stop it lingering for weeks.

    Childhood illnesses are not pleasant for the children or parents, but luckily most of them can be treated at home and clear up quickly.  Hopefully they’ll build strong immune systems for a better chance of fighting off and avoiding illness as they grow older.

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    Common Childhood Illnesses- Colds, Chicken Pox and Conjunctivitis

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