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  1. Egg donation is a highly successful infertility treatment, especially in infertility cases like diminished ovarian reserve or advanced maternal age. However, only a small percentage of patients can benefit from free treatment funded by the NHS. The vast majority of patients have to resort to treatment offered by private clinics. These can be very expensive especially in the UK, USA and Australia. Generally it is considered that egg donation treatment is more affordable in Europe (Spain, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, etc.). Many British patients decide to travel to Europe to undergo an egg donation cycle in one of the affordable clinics there. Egg donors and IVF treatment is cheaper in European clinics though still it can drain your family budget.

    Here is a bunch of ways to save money for your egg donation program. The sooner you start saving money, the sooner you will be able to start the egg donation cycle and become a mother. Do not let your finances stand in your way to your dreamed motherhood. These saving tips will help you when it is time to pay for your egg donation program at your chosen clinic.

    5 Ways to Save Money for Egg Donation Treatment


    1. Do not spend more than you earn. This is the most important rule of saving. Forget about your credit cards. It is estimated that consumers who use plastic to pay for their food spend 30% more on average than customers who pay in cash. Every week withdraw enough cash to spend during the week. Try to avoid using your debit card for small shop purchases. It is easier to keep track of your cash than ‘plastic money.’
    2. Concentrate on your basic needs, not wants. Prioritise. Certainly, bills, food and home utilities belong to your needs, but think twice if you really need another pair of shoes or a new watch? Stay focused on your long-term goal of saving for your egg donation treatment and medicine.
    3. Cut down on eating out and travelling.  Buying ready meals, lunches or even coffee to go can cost you up to £600 every six months. That is £100 extra that you could save each month. Take your own coffee to go, bring your own lunch to work and learn to cook and prepare meals in advance so your fridge is always full and you will not be tempted to order take away a few nights a week. What is more, if you are planning to have egg donation program at one of the European clinics, you can combine your annual holidays with a initial consultation with a doctor in a clinic in Spain, Greece or any other destination. This way you will kill two birds with one stone.
    4. Save money on your utility bills. Find out if you can switch to a cheaper electricity provider or a mobile phone provider. Consider quitting your Netflix or Spotify accounts for a few months until you save enough for your treatment. 
    5. Go teetotal. Avoiding alcohol will not only help you save money but it will be highly beneficial for your health. Being teetotal increases your chances of getting pregnant during the egg donation cycle and having a healthy pregnancy. Iced tea, ice coffee or juice? Pick your favourite drink. Your body will thank you later. 

    These tips should help you save some money which you can use towards your medical bills and donor egg fees. Before you choose a clinic, remember to shop around, compare donor egg programs, and do extensive research, so you can choose a fairly cheap egg donor program tailored to your needs and budget. Good luck! 

    5 Ways to Save Money for Egg Donation Treatment


  2. On our recent holiday to Fuerteventura we decided to do a couple of day trips to break the week up, explore more of the island and of course, have an adventure!  Bella and Reuben were ages five and three, so this limited us quite a lot to the trips we could do.  Most of the excursions are more suited to adults only or older children; however there were two that were very young family friendly, so we booked both.  One trip was to the animal park, which I’ll review in its own blog post soon, but the other was for a pirate cruise! In this blog post I will review the Pirate Tour in Morro Jable, close to Jandia, in Fuerteventura.  So if you’re looking for things to do with kids in the south of Fuerteventura, read on.

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura fa

    We arranged the tour through our holiday tour guide, TUI, at the welcome meeting.  I had been emailed for several months before our arrival with excursion details and it was possible to book in advance, but we wanted to confirm exactly what was suitable for the little ones, particularly Reuben who had only just turned three.  She highly recommended the pirate ship and it sounded perfect for the kids.

    I’m pleased to say, it really was!  The kids and even the adults had a great time.  One of my most enjoyable activities on holiday is to have a boat ride to sea.  I love looking back at the island and the landscape, plus there’s a huge sense of freedom being out on a boat.

    Related read: Is Fuerteventura a family friendly holiday destination?

    bella Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuertevent

    The entire trip was around 5 hours from 10.30am to 3.30pm.  So it’s a good half a day.  We were provided with lunch too and soft drinks and water were included.  There was alcohol for sale if wanted.  We enjoyed potatoes and salad, but for the meat eaters there was a chicken BBQ.  The potatoes were really delicious!

    The ship was amazing.  There’s something so magnificent about pirate ships.  I love all the ropes and sails.  They got some of the adults to help pull the sails up which was fun to watch.  Then it felt like a real pirate ship sailing out to sea!

    The main entertainer was brilliant.  He spoke English, French and German, so said everything in all three languages and then pretended to wipe the sweat from his brow comically exclaiming ‘phew’ each time!  He totally made the excursion so brilliant.  He entertained the children by playing a couple of games which ended up involving the adults and was quite amusing!  I won’t spoil what happens in case you ever go!

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura De

    The seas surrounding Fuerteventura have lots of dolphins and whales and we were lucky enough to spot some dolphins!  One came right to the side of the boat and poked its head up.  It was an amazing moment which luckily Bella and I got to experience.  Unfortunately Ben and Reuben were below deck so they missed it.  The captain was great and every time he spotted dolphins in the distance, he headed that way and slowed down so we could all spot them too.

    After dolphin spotting, games and lunch, they anchored the boat and gave everyone a chance to swim.  The ship had a kind of trapeze swing to the side so the adults were allowed to swing into the sea.  It looked so much fun.  We hadn’t planned to swim, so didn’t go in the sea, but everyone who did looked like they had a blast.  If you didn’t want to swim or sunbathe on deck, then you could also fish off the front of the boat.  There was plenty to do for everyone, but personally I was just content being out at sea in the warm sunshine looking out for dolphins!

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura

    I’d highly recommend this trip for any age.  There were a lot of families on board, as it is pirate themed with activities aimed at children, but there were some adults by themselves too.  I’d have had a great time even without the kids as the boat trip itself was great.  It’s a perfect way to catch some rays other than laying by a pool!  The kids loved it and I’m still so happy we saw dolphins in the water, in their natural habitat.  There’s nothing more amazing than that.

    To see some great photos of the boat and find out more, simply visit their website here:

    Family Travel Review_ Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable,

    More great family travel articles:
    Where to get affordable family travel insurance for a pre-existing medical condition
    Staying in the UK for a Family Holiday: 5 Potential Destinations
    The ONLY two things you’ll need when flying with children
    My 2018 family travel plans and bucket list
    5 Things You MUST Do Before A Family Holiday
    7 things to pack in hand luggage when flying with young children
    Use Your Home To Finance Your Family Holidays


  3. Last Wednesday I had my top brace off and on Thursday I picked up a clear plastic retainer which I currently have to wear full time.  My bottom brace is still on to close two more gaps and hopefully it will be removed in June.  Now I’ve had my top brace off I wanted to get the ball rolling with the next steps of my ‘braces at 30’ journey – the false teeth. 

    I decided to enquire about dental implants and had a consultation at a private dentist on Saturday.  My orthodontist’s surgery is just that – that is, they only do orthodontics, nothing else.  If I could start over I would probably choose somewhere that does that whole lot – braces, false teeth, the lot.  That way I think the whole experience would be smoother and they can easily consult with each other.  My experience has been a bit broken up as I go to the dentist for one thing and the orthodontist in another town for another!  It’s not very streamlined.

    I never knew this though and at the start I asked my dentist and they referred me.  I never thought about searching for somewhere that did the entire experience from start to finish in one place.  If you are thinking of getting a brace and will also need false teeth, then I’d recommend looking for somewhere that can do the lot.  If it’s just to straighten teeth then a standalone orthodontist is just fine.

    Braces at 30 | Dental Implants Consultation | 26 Months

    Welcome to my latest Braces at 30 blog post where I share my experience of wearing a brace as an adult with updates from each appointment.  I had my braces fitted when I was 30 years old.  I’m now 32 and have had braces on for over two years!  Below I share what happened at my latest appointment.

    Here’s my last update if you missed it:

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos

    Braces at 30 - What happened at my private dental implants consultation


    My original plan was to have a veneer over the peg tooth and a bridge with false tooth on the other side.  I need false teeth for both my lateral incisors.  But when my brace was removed, my peg tooth was wobbly!  This got me thinking that perhaps implants would be the better option on both sides.  I should just have the peg tooth removed.

    Implants are a lifetime option.  If I have a veneer and bridge they will need replacing every 7-10 years, whereas an implant should last forever.  It would just be like having my own teeth!

    The other positive is I can then have a permanent retainer bonded to the back of the teeth.  Something I can’t have with a veneer and bridge.  This means I can have the implants and bonded retainers and be done with the whole experience!  I’d have my mouth back and wouldn’t need to even use the removable retainer again.  It’s the ideal option.

    So I had a consultation with an implant specialist to see if I am suitable.  I’m glad I went as he did an x-ray of my teeth and discovered why my peg tooth is wobbly.  It’s actually eating itself from the inside out, also known as internal resorption.  My body is basically eating the minerals from the tooth and now it’s wobbly.  It will definitely need to come out.

    The peg tooth side (left side) is absolutely suitable for an implant.  That’s great news.  But he’s not sure about the right side where I already have the entire tooth sized gap.  Though the gap we can see for the tooth is the right size, the roots in the gums are not in line.  They actually both bend towards each other leaving a much smaller gap for an artificial root to be placed.  The implant is around 3.5mm and my gap is approx. 3.7-3.8mm.  Eek!

    If the implant touches the surrounding teeth then they can become damaged and have to come out too!  Not ideal!

    It’s very close so to get a better idea he took a CT scan (nice questionable dose of radiation there for me) and he’s going to properly investigate my images to see if it’s a possibility or not.

    I’ll find out what he thinks today or tomorrow so I have all fingers crossed that he can do an implant for both teeth.  Otherwise I’ll still have to have a bridge on one side and the removable retainer which isn’t the most perfect option.

    Braces at 30 - What happened at my private dental implants consultation_

  4. Everybody knows the typical 2.5 or 3.5 bedroom house in the UK. You get a couple of standard size bedrooms and then, there’s the botched cupboard room that the real estate agent introduced as a child’s bedroom. You didn’t think much of it at the time, you know you had all the bedrooms you needed with the other rooms, but still, you can’t help wondering about it. What are you going to do with this tiny room? More importantly, how can you turn the standard half a room into a cosy and welcoming bedroom for a child or an adult? There is the assumption that small bedrooms are suitable for children as they can feel comfortable in the tiniest space. It’s time to prove that you can create big feelings in a tiny bedroom.

    From 'oh no it's too small' to 'oh yes I love it'

    It doesn’t have to feel cramped

    For a start, you can furnish your room with the same furniture you’ve got in bigger bedrooms. It’s fair to say that it’s not the right place for a king size bed or a bedside commode. You need instead to invest in space-spacing furniture to make the most of what you’ve got. For instance, space that isn’t used should gain a new function, such as keeping under-bed storage or getting a floor to ceiling wardrobe unit. It’s about being creative with your furniture so that each unit is multifunctional.

    Light light light

    There’s no denying it, a dark room feels small and unwelcoming, while everybody loves a bright room. Admittedly, in a small bedroom, you want to ensure that your privacy is protected, so it’s a good idea to check Venetian blinds cost for your window. Indeed, you should be avoiding curtains that can block too much light. The brighter the room, the less claustrophobic it’ll feel.

    Choose colours that make the room feel bigger

    The problem with a small bedroom is that you need to be careful when choosing colours. Of course, you probably want to avoid the traditional white or Magnolia shade as it can be a little dull. But similarly, you need to pick a colour palette that makes the room feel bigger. Grey is an excellent choice because it is a neutral colour with an elegant twist, which can make transform a small bedroom into adult heaven. Light greens and blues create a sensation of space and airiness which immediately changes the room. Finally, pastel shades, from soft pink to lavender, can bring personality to a tiny area. As a rule of the thumb, you should avoid dark colours, such as red or maroon.

    Avoid red for small rooms

    A room of pure air

    Last, but not least, small rooms tend to rapidly develop a stuffy smell, as it can be tricky to renew the air regularly. By keeping a houseplant on the window sill or the desk, you can ensure that the air in the bedroom remains fresh and clean. Houseplants are not only fantastic to add a touch of green: they can also clear the air of toxins, making the room feel clean, airy and refreshing.

    There is no such thing as a room too small to use. You need to be smart about room decoration to transform your 0.5 bedroom into a welcoming and much-loved space. From space-saving furniture to bringing more light in, it’s time to make the most of every room in your house!

    What to read next…
    Here's How I Would Create My Ultimate Cosy Bedroom 
    Inside My Home:  Reuben’s Second Bedroom
    Baby Home Decor: Reuben's First Bedroom
    Looking at the most popular ways to decorate the bedroom 
    Top tips for the perfect cosy TV night in (when the kids are in bed) 
    A sneak peek at my daughter's white and pink girly bedroom decor




  5. After the shock of having my brace removed on Wednesday and seeing my huge missing teeth gaps for the first time in almost two years, I was pretty down to say the least.  I felt embarrassed and vulnerable without my brace and false teeth hiding them.  My teeth looked weird and I felt so ugly. 

    I know it was only 24 hours before I got to pick up my retainer, but it still meant the embarrassment of two school runs.  I just prayed no one spoke to me and tried to get in and out as quickly as possible, but typically as does always happen in situations like this, another mum did speak to me!  I had to text her afterwards to say sorry if I was awkward and explained I have missing teeth temporarily so felt too awkward to talk!

    Luckily I returned to the orthodontist yesterday, exactly 24 hours after, to pick up my retainer.  In this blog post I’m going to share my first impressions of the clear plastic Essix retainer.

    Braces at 30 | Essix Retainer Fitting Appointment | 26 Months

    Welcome to my latest Braces at 30 blog post where I share my experience of wearing a brace as an adult with updates from each appointment.  I had my braces fitted when I was 30 years old.  I’m now 32 and have had braces on for over two years!  Below I share what happened at my latest appointment.

    My not-so-joyous experience of getting my braces removed

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos with False Tooth Peg Tooth

    I wonder whether it is slightly good that my bottom brace wasn’t ready to come off yesterday.  It means I can gradually get used to the retainer.  By the time I need the bottom one I’ll know what to expect.  Though I am also considering a permanent retainer for the bottom, but need to discuss with my orthodontist.

    The appointment was a five minute job, if that. I sat in the chair and was shown the retainer.  It was pushed on by the orthodontist and removed as she explained how she was pulling it out. Then she handed it to me and asked me to do it without looking in a mirror.  I did it just fine, so that was that.

    I did want to ask a couple of questions, but as soon as I started I couldn’t speak very well!  So I think I flushed a little, asked only one question and left.  She did say it will take around 48 hours to get used to the retainer.

    Here are the things I’ve noticed in the first 22 hours of wearing the retainer:

    • I have a lisp!  It’s really hard to pronounce Ts and Ss, but even since yesterday I think my speech has improved, so hopefully it’s only temporary.
    • It feels really bulky.  It’s like a plastic guard over the teeth, so it feels hard and bulky.  Again, this feeling might go away as I get used to it.
    • My tongue is swollen.  I ate my dinner fine last night, then I had a smoothie for breakfast today and I’ve just sat down to eat lunch which was really tricky!  I realise the sides of my tongue are quite sore and feel swollen.  It must be where they are rubbing on sides of the retainer, especially the top edge where it’s quite sharp.
    • It’s disgusting to take out to eat.  I have to take it out to eat or drink anything other than water.  When I pull it out it’s covered in saliva which strings from my mouth.  Nice huh?!  So I rinse it and leave it in a pot.  Then I obviously have to eat with gaps galore.
    • Eating out is going to be a pain or impossible.  After eating I have to clean my teeth.  It will damage my teeth if there is any residue of food left on them and I put the casing on top.  Obviously without the retainer the food will wash off, move and be swallowed throughout the day after a meal.  By putting the retainer over the teeth it keeps any food and acid there, causing damage.  So after every meal I need to brush my teeth and make sure they are thoroughly clean before putting the retainer back on.
    • It’s simple to fit and remove.  It simply slides over the teeth.  It felt tight the first time, but already it doesn’t feel tight.  To take it off I clasp it and slide two fingernails underneath the top opening and pull straight down.  It’s really easy to do.
    • I won’t snack as much.  As it’s such a pain to have to brush my teeth every time I eat, I will not snack as much.  I’ll just stick to my three meals a day to save the effort of having to constantly brush my teeth.
    • My teeth look much better.  They don’t look perfect and close up you can see the false tooth in the retainer isn’t the best fit, but that’s only temporary.  I also have the gap next to the peg tooth, but it’s a bit less noticeable with the retainer on.  From a short distance it even looks like my normal teeth and I can begin to see how my teeth will look once the retainer is off and I have two false teeth.

    So far the retainer experience is OK.  Eating is a bit of a hassle and there’s some discomfort, but the pain and awkwardness should disappear as the brace settles in to my mouth.  I feel a lot more positive today and moving forward with the next steps.  I have two appointments booked to find out about dental implants and I hope I can get the ball rolling with this.

    Fingers crossed I’m about six months away from the whole experience being over.  It’s been 26 months this month and I’m ready for it to be over now.  I’d like my mouth back!


    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos 4

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos 3

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos with False Tooth Peg Tooth

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos with False Tooth

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos 1

    My Adult Essix Retainer Fitting and Photos 2

    22 months brace timeline before and after photos adult experience wire trai