Style over Substance

Us women, we put ourselves through a lot in the name of fashion...and vanity...don't we? Along with childbirth, menstrual cycles, and everything else our body goes through, we then add to that with waxing, plucking, squeezing ourselves into skinny jeans and wearing heels.

At the weekend I went to a garden party. I wondered for a while which shoes to wear. Did I really need to wear heels? Or could I get away with flip flops with my pretty blue lace dress. I opted for the heels, and everything was going well until 8 hours later when my feet were aching. I looked around, about an hour or so into the evening there were high heels laying on the ground, and a couple of women walking around with bare feet.
It's almost like standard practise for us now, isn't it? Completely normal for us to take our shoes off and risk cutting our feet on glass, or rocks, or to parade the blisters we have gained from those much desired shoes.

But it's worth it right?
Shoetique created the graphic below, showing how certain celebrities suffer for their art and their dedication for fashion.
And let's face it, they did a good job.



Your Babies

I remember you telling me about a dream you had. Where you woke up in the morning upset because your babies had gone. I don't want to talk too much about the dream, because it's personal of course, but it was almost like you had the realisation that your babies were now grown up.
You always say that although we are adults we are still your children, and that it's hard to accept (if that's the correct word to use) that your children are now grown up. We have responsibilities, our own lives, decisions and choices.

The thing is, we may be adults, but we are still your babies. We still rely on you, we still need you. Sometimes the only person who can fix things is you. You help us in so many ways and we don't know what we would do without you.
You are the most amazing support and not only are you our mother, but you are our best friend.

15 years ago your role became even more important, and you stepped into it perfectly. We became that tight unit of 3 and we proved to ourselves, and everyone else, that we didn't need that person who used to make our unit a 4. We worked so well without that person.
We trusted each other, and we still do. We all fell into these particular roles and it was so hard at times, but knowing we were all there for each other made it easier.

I feel so proud of that unit of 3. Recently we've spent a few days as that unit. The bbq in your garden, the canoeing and roast dinner. I felt so content, and so proud.
Of course I adore my children but being there, just the 3 of us, gave me the best feeling. Simply being Lauren, the daughter and the twin. Sitting with two people who mean so much to me, more than I can ever explain.

We all joke about Dale being grumpy, and we all know that conversations with him are done on his terms. And it's easy to accept that, especially when there are evenings when an hour can pass with us messaging each other non-stop on Whatsapp.
I've always felt so lucky to have him. I couldn't imagine my life without him and I am not only proud that he is my brother, but that he is my twin.
When people ask if we are close I wonder how he responds to that. My immediate response is yes, and then comes a full on speech about how wonderful he is. Because I can't help it.
I have always wanted to please him, for him to be as proud of me as I am of him. I need his acceptance a lot of the time, I think I always have but even more so since dad left.
He became that strong male figure in my life, even at 15, and as the years go on that role feels stronger and stronger.

This year has been the best year when it comes to our relationship. And you know that this is the moment I stop typing because of the tears in my eyes.
June, when I spent those special, unforgettable days with him, that quality time where it was just us. Twin time. I needed that, and my heart still feels so full of love and happiness from those 5 days.
You made that happen.
If it wasn't for you letting me borrow money to pay for the flights and if it wasn't for you taking time off work to look after the boys then I couldn't have gone.
If it wasn't for your support and you knowing how important it would be then I wouldn't have gone.

Those 5 days were the best 5 days of my life. I can say that truthfully and confidently.

I remember being on the back of his bike, and wanting you to be able to see us. Not only for you to see me sitting upright on the bike, hands gripped onto that back bar, looking around at the scenery rather than clinging onto his waist as tight as I could with my head down and eyes closed as I did back in April, but for you to see your babies.
I wanted you to see what you created. Those two adults, those two siblings, who can go on holiday together and spend time together despite other people saying "You brought your sister?! You're sharing a tent?!" We shared a womb, a tent is nothing!
I wanted you to see the smiles on our faces, the way he made sure I had the best experience I could have. The way he thought carefully every morning about where we should watch the races from so we could have the best view. He made sure I was comfortable, and that I could see.
The first time a bike came past, his excitement was contagious. Mum, I've never seen him smile like that. And I understood it. As my eyes filled with tears so fast that it shocked me, as I heard the bikes over the tanoy system and as the atmosphere filled with adrenaline and excitement, as my heart pounded and as that panic attack started. He put his arm around me, he squeezed me, and at that moment I wanted the whole world to know how special he is.
He would point out the riders to me as they went past, making sure I knew when William and Michael had gone past because he knew how much I love the Dunlops. He would tell me all about the riders, their history and about the bikes.
He shared his passion and made it mine too.
On the last day when I knew it was almost time to go to the airport, when I practically jumped from the wall and almost collapsed next to him, resting my head on his shoulder as I sobbed and sobbed at that time being over, I didn't just cry because of the experience ending. But because that time with him was up.

The tears that fell as we rode to the airport were ridiculous. The inside of your helmet looked like there had been a full on rain storm. I didn't want to take the helmet off when I got to the airport because it was so obvious how much I had been crying.
Saying goodbye to him at the airport was one of the hardest moments ever.

Your babies, are the people they are today, because of you.
We may have two parents but you are the one who made us who we are.
You are the one who is always there, the support, the one we turn to, the one we can talk to and trust.

Without you, who knows what we would be like today. Who knows which memories we would have instead, and how different our lives would be.

It might feel like your babies are gone, but we are still here. Still needing you as much as we always did.

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Opening up about female health and wellbeing

Preventative nutrition and dietary supplements expert Pharma Nord knows women can keep their cards close to their chest when it comes to health and wellbeing. The company's latest project looked to create an honest picture of female health in the UK, collecting responses from over 200 women across the country.
Women aged 16 and over were asked to answer questions about their general and physical health, wellbeing and mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and childbirth and pregnancy.  

The data gathered presents a clearer picture of what is impacting female wellbeing in the UK, with the aim of opening the channels of conversation.

The Mental Health Foundation reports that a quarter of Brits will have first-hand experience of a mental health illness in a typical year. As such, it is likely that we will come into contact with a mental health challenge during our lifetimes.
The survey showed that depression is the most common condition for women. Out of the women who had been diagnosed with a mental health condition, almost two thirds cited depression. Women between 45 and 54 are the most affected. This age group is more susceptible to panic and/or anxiety attacks too.
Women in the 18 to 25 age group are also at risk, making up over 23 per cent of women who have been affected by depression and anxiety issues.
The survey’s findings reflect previous studies which show that depression is more common in females. According to a study carried out by the National Institute For Clinical Excellence, one in four women will require treatment for depression at some point in their life, compared to one in 10 men.
As well as opening up about mental health issues, we may need to pay more attention to our daily nutrition. According to the Mental Health Foundation, recent research has suggested that our diets can impact on our mental health. With this in mind, maintaining a balanced diet and selecting the right dietary supplements is crucial to our overall wellbeing.


How I get Inspiration for my Home Decor Projects

I like home decor projects. It is an interest of mine and is something that I enjoy helping my friends and family with. At the moment I am wanting to redecorate a few rooms in my house and I am still at the research stage.
Local show homes and home staging websites
One of my best sources of inspiration is local show homes and as it turns out, by association, the work of home staging firms. Home staging by Emblem Furniture is not a service I can ever see myself using, but it turns out that I have come across their work and am using it for decorating ideas.
I like visiting show homes in my area. Show homes are a great way for me to visit rooms decorated in the latest styles without nosing around other people’s homes. I am not into visiting houses that people have for sale out of curiosity I don’t like getting people’s hopes up or wasting their time.
Show homes are great for me and it turns out that Emblem Furniture sets up a lot of the ones I have been visiting recently. Now I know this I have been able to find their website and bookmark some of the pictures of my favourite show home rooms.
The homes of my friends
Many of my friends live in houses that are very similar to mine, so when they redecorate I am always very interested. Most of my friends like to show me what they have done and it is a great way to see how the latest styles look in a home that is similar to mine. I may like the way the Beckhams decorate their home, but more often than not, that style simply will not work in my house.
DIY TV shows
Some of the best ideas come from DIY and home building TV shows. They are a great way to get me thinking outside the box. Using the web, it is easy to track down the paints, material and furniture used in the show and use them in my own home.
DIY stores and fabric shops
I also like wondering around DIY and decorating stores. Flicking through wallpaper books is something I still love to do although that is getting harder to do because many of the traditional small hardware shops that carry them have closed down.
Fabric swatches also get me thinking and inspire me. I may not be planning to buy any fabric, but I get colour combination ideas when going through fabric swatches.
Shop windows

My last source of inspiration is shop windows. If something catches my eye, I will stop and take a photo of the whole thing and zoom in to take a few photos of any items I particularly like.


Common Pitfalls that Should Be Avoided When Planning a Toronto Corporate Event

Keeping a small business running efficiently can be a very hard thing to do. There are a variety of things that a small business owner can do when trying to boost morale around the office. Finding the right method will take some time and research. Among the best ways to get everyone on the same page is by throwing a corporate party. Putting on Toronto corporate events is no easy task and will usually require the help of some professionals. Here are a few of the mistakes to avoid when trying to make an event like this a success.
Choosing the Right Date
The first thing to consider when trying to throw an event like this is the time and date you will have. The last thing you want to do is schedule an event on a day with other bigger events going on. By taking the time to research the dates available, you will be able to figure out when the best time is to put on your party. The professionals you hire will be able to help you figure out when and where the event needs to be.
Getting All Visitors There On Time
When trying to choose the right venue, you need to consider where it is and how easy it is to find. Choosing a venue that is far out of the way can produce a lot of problems for you and your guests. Make sure you give good directions on the invitations so you can get your guests there in a timely manner. If it is too hard for a person to find the venue, then you will run the risk of not getting them there at all.
Not Covering All of the Bases
Most people fail to realize just how hard it is to get all of the proverbial ducks in a row when it comes to event planning. The time that goes into lining up all of the particulars of an event will be worth it when everything falls into place. Making sure that the venue is ready and the food is delivered is a big part of getting the right results from a corporate event. Using a professional to get this process done will reduce a lot of the stress and worry that you encounter. The money paid to the professionals for their services will be well worth it in the end.
The team at Pop Events has been in the party planning business for a number of years. They can use their experience to ensure that the event goes off without any problems.


JD Harris Deluxe Water Distiller | Review

Tap water is one of those things that we regularly hear horror stories from. The list of impurities and chemicals can make you wonder how on earth water is a healthy drink...right?

Even bottled water is revealed as having some impurities and currently in some areas people are being told not to drink water straight from the tap and to make sure it is boiled first.
Boiling water is time consuming, so water distillers are the ideal way of getting pure, clean water without the hassle.
With the Megahome Deluxe water distiller from JD Harris you get drinking water that is purer and cleaner than you have ever tasted.  

How the Deluxe Water Distiller works
You simply fill the Distiller with ordinary tap water and press the button turn it on…(it turns itself off automatically)
First the Distiller boils the water.  This kills viruses & bacteria and converts the water to steam. 
Converting the water to steam leaves the majority of the unwanted pollutants behind as a residue. The steam is then captured in a special stainless steel coil where it cools back to liquid water.
This now travels through an activated charcoal filter which removes volatile organic compounds like solvents and pesticides. 
Your tap water is now 99.99% pure.
It takes around five to six hours for the distiller to produce four litres of ready-to-use pure water. 
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Having a water distiller wasn't anything I had really considered until this review opportunity came up. It didn't seem that important and I didn't think I would notice the difference in the quality of the water. 
However, the difference is really obvious and the water does taste a lot cleaner, and softer.
This isn't a negative at all, but it is worth noting that the water distiller is quite large so if you are short on worktop space make sure you have made room for it before you purchase.

The deluxe water distiller is available to purchase from JD Harris for £124.00. As with a lot of the top kitchen appliances it is a little pricey, but of course you are paying for quality and for the job it does, which in this case is totally worth the investment.


Five Things | Coffee Quotes

Before I was pregnant with Harry I didn't really drink coffee much. I was more of a tea person. Then when pregnant with Harry I was completely put off tea. The taste of it made me sick, the smell of it made me feel sick, and so I turned to coffee as my alternative. And never looked back!
Last year I switched from having a white coffee to having black coffee and like it so much more! I never really understood people who had black coffee. I always thought they were just showing off, or pretending to be all "la-de-dah. Look at me appreciating coffee without any additional liquids (other than water)"...but actually it does taste so much better.

I think it would be fair of me to say that I do have a caffeine addition. Despite being told it could affect my anxiety and it being suggested that cutting down on caffeine could improve it, I actually find the opposite.

I'd love to have a blank wall in my kitchen to decorate with a variety of coffee quotes, most of which are on my coffee quotes Pinterest board.

I do actually own this top. I love it, and at £8 it is a complete bargain!


Lost With Broken Fingers

This has always been my outlet. My therapy. My place to go when I need to go somewhere.

It's always felt quite natural, quite simple.
Open laptop. Look at screen. Type.

Some posts I sit and focus on what I'm reading, and others I just let myself type. And then post. And read afterwards. Those are the therapy type posts.
But recently, it all seems a bit hard. Like there is a blockage in the way.
In my head, they are all there, the posts are just queueing up. All ready written, just needed to be typed up. But my fingers aren't working. The information isn't getting all the way to them, and I don't know why.

It makes me angry. With myself. Because it's like a vicious circle. I write these posts to empty my mind and release whatever is there, but as those posts are not being released they are being clogged up, and I am beating myself up about it, because I am confused and angry, which is then creating more that needs to be released.

This isn't me. It's not me to not be able to write anything.

I had a post in draft. I've been wanting to write it for a year and had the perfect day to write it. Perfect in the sense that there was something on that day that was relevant to the topic of the post and the reason I wanted to write the post.
So for a year I had been wanting to write it. In my head, it was there. All perfect. No longer in draft. I knew it would be one of the ones where I just stare, type, post and then read.
So I sat at the laptop, a week before that date, wanting to type it so I could schedule it. But nothing came out.
A title. That was all.
I wrote a paragraph and sat there and knew it wasn't right. Because it wasn't me writing it. It was too forced. I was having to think about it too much.
And then I felt I had let myself down.
Every day I sat and tried to write that post. I even sat with a notebook and a pen to see if writing it down in that way would be better, but the words were there, I could hear them, I could see them, but my hands wouldn't write them or type them.

I keep thinking "if you're stuck just write about Isle of Man" because I still have SO MUCH I want to share from there but nothing will work.

It's like my fingers are broken. I am lost and my fingers are broken.

I can't accept that this is "just a blog". It's not. It might be to others, and that is understandable.
But to me, this is more.
It's MY place.
I can't just take a break from it. It wouldn't help.
It is too much of a part of me to leave behind, even if for a week or two.

It feels like I am being punished, and I'm not sure what for.
Why am I punishing myself?

I'm trying to find a positive in all of this. And I'm struggling to find any positive at all, other than the fact that it confirms to me how important this is to me.
I need this. I rely on this.
I just need to write.



The most popular souvenir from Hungary

When most of us travel to new places, we are often search out the perfect souvenir to bring home from the trip.  What’s the attraction to souvenirs?  They are a tangible reminder of the places we've been and the memories we've made along the way.  For those visiting the Netherlands, wooden shoes are a popular keepsake.  All manner of things emblazoned with dragons are popular take-aways from China.  Everything from t-shirts to rugs emblazoned with the Union flag ubiquitous in the return luggage of travellers coming home from the UK.  What do people bring back from the beautiful country of Hungary?  Hungarian porcelain.
The famous Herend porcelain factory was founded in 1826.  Since then, it has become a world leader in creating some of the most beautiful true porcelain pieces.  Today, the factory and its beautiful porcelain piece are famous the world over.  A visit to Hungary wouldn't be complete without a visit to the factory and taking home a piece of this famous artwork.
Once you own a piece of Hungarian porcelain, you are among good company.  Pieces were created for the Vienna Exhibition in 1845, the Exposition Univerelle in Paris in 1855, the Great Exhibition in London in 1851 and others, turning the world’s attention to Herend and the company’s stunning works.  Royals and other upper-crust people placed orders for the piece around the world.  The company was even a supplier to the members of the Habsburg Dynasty.
Even today, the company continues to be a leader in high-end, meticulously hand-painted porcelain from its factory in Herend.  In addition to visiting the factory and purchasing a piece or two of porcelain to take home, visitors to the factory can also visit the on site museum.  There, visitors can see first had one of the largest collections of porcelain in the world and learn how the art of porcelain making has both changed (thanks largely to advances in technology) and stayed the same over the past 150 years.
If you are planning a trip to Hungary and have your heart set on bringing back a special souvenir that is distinctly Hungarian, consider purchasing a piece of Hungarian porcelain.  Although these delicate pieces will require a degree of care when transporting them back home on the plane (it’s always best to wrap your breakables carefully and pack them in your carry on luggage rather than your checked luggage to avoid any mishaps) it’s definitely worth the hassle to own a piece of this beautiful form of decorative art.

Souvenirs don’t have to be postcards and tacky coffee mugs.  Instead of purchasing the same run of the mill souvenirs on your next trip to Hungary, bring back a piece of beautiful porcelain that will make your home beautiful and be a stunning statement-making reminder of your trip.  Each piece is hand painted and one-of-a-kind, making them a beautiful gift either for yourself or for a loved one back home.


#littleloves 14/08/15


Ok so, I tend to go through random obsessions with blogs. I binge read them, and then leave them, and then go back and binge read again. Not in a rude way. But more in a "One post is not enough, I need to read more because this is SO GOOD" way. Superlatively Rude is one of those blogs and, excited face, she has written a book! 

Because I am a loser I bought the book, downloaded it and then printed it off. Hello there low ink warning icon! But it was so worth it. I haven't had the chance to sit and read it properly yet, but as I was putting the pages into the plastic file things in my ring binder, trying not to read any pages so I didn't have spoilers, one page just sat there for a while and I felt like maybe it was kept there like that for a reason. So I had a quick read, and tears filled my eyes. It was like that whole page was written FOR ME. It was everything I am going through and feeling this year.

Laura is such a great writer and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who gets this urge to want to be her friend. You must MUST must buy her book, The Book of Brave. You won't regret it. 

This is a hundred pages reflecting on my version of brave. How it’s brave to say no, and brave to sit in silence with yourself and brave to tell somebody when they’ve upset you. It’s brave to say sorry and brave to do the thing you say you’re going to do and brave to eat lunch alone and change direction and tell them I love you and it is NOT being fearless but feeling fear and going balls-to-the-motherlovin’-wall on the adventure of your own life anyway.


My twin is back again! Yay! On Tuesday I took the boys over to Snetterton where my brother was doing a track day on his bike. 
I love watching him, I know how much he enjoys it and after going on the back of his bike I can only imagine how amazing it is to be able to ride it around a track.
As I sat there at one point I couldn't help but laugh at all of the safety barriers, fences, and so on protecting the public. I kind of felt like saying "Hey, I went to the TT. Safety who?!" This is my brothers video, the moment when Bruce Anstey almost took the phone out of my brothers hand! (17 seconds in) It's so crazy how close you can get there, and the lack of barriers!

How good does my brother look on his bike?!


So. Late. To. The. Ed. Sheeran. Party. We are obsessed with Lego House at the moment. And I am obsessed with 'You Need Me, I Don't Need You'...although swear words mean I am unable to play it when the boys are in the car.
I've also been listening to a lot of Spotify. Silly not to when I pay £10 for it every month!
Current Favourites:
David Zowie: House Every Weekend
Jack Ü feat Justin Bieber: Where Are Ü Now
Major Lazer: Lean On
OMI: Cheerleader
Lost Frequencies: Are You With Me
Kygo: Firestone
Hozier: Take Me To Church
Years & Years: King


On Sunday I had a sneaky trip to Matalan. I ended up getting 3 things in their sale.
I got a maxi dress for £8. A short sleeved, floaty cardigan for £3 and these jeans for £7.
I've wanted some ripped jeans for a while, I do already have a pair but they are now far too big and look ridiculous. I wasn't quite up for buying those Topshop ones everyone else has, the ££s put me off and I'm not sure I am slim enough.
I've also been wearing these Joules Leopard sandals. Oh, I love them so much! They are so so SO comfy. And yes, JOULES + LEOPARD PRINT = MADE FOR ME.
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I've been trying to make videos as for so long I have really admired the ones other bloggers make (Katie and Charlotte in particular). I'm not sure I'll ever be brave enough to talk to the camera. But I'm quite proud of these videos I've made so far.

And lastly....
As Swimologists, Konfidence have given me a special code to give my readers 15% off anything on their website.
To take advantage of this offer simply use the code swim15-3L75C.



Speed Clean Your Home in 5 Easy Ways

Are guests suddenly on their way to your home with no prior notice? Or are you too busy to clean your house thoroughly even on weekends? Well, you may now stop worrying thanks to these 5 very easy and quick ways on how you can clean your messy and dusty house.

Clean Your Home in 5 Easy Ways

1. De-clutter and stack things.

The first thing that most people often see or check are the items that can be found in the house like the interior, furniture, appliances, and the other things you keep.

Given this fact, the first thing to make sure is that you clear and put back your things to their proper places. De-clutter by throwing all the trash in the bin or your used clothes in the laundry. If you have books, magazines, CDs, or pillows, stack them in an ordered position to make your house instantly appear tidy. You may also hide them in the drawers and cabinets, but don’t forget to sincerely position them when you already have the time.

2. Sweep the dust.

When visitors have finished scanning your house, another aspect you should consider is the cleanliness of the floor. Although they may still be wearing shoes or slippers inside your house, you should still make certain that your floor is clean because it is the section that gets stepped, polluted, and dirtied the most. So sweep the floor or use a vacuum, and even wipe or mop it for a more sparkly floor.

Ensuring the cleanliness of your carpet or rug is, likewise, as important as the state of your floor. This is especially because no one would want to experience bugs crawling from their feet up. To make it easier on you, you may hire some experts that offer carpet cleaning services like those in Melbourne where your carpet can totally be taken care of.

3. Clean as you go.

If you don’t really like cleaning or can’t find time to do so, practice the clean-as-you-go habit at all times. This is where you clean the place you’ve stayed at before moving to another section of the house or before leaving the house. Take out all the things you have used or eaten and arrange them neatly to their original location.

By practicing this, you don’t need to take extra time just to clean your stuff or room as you will be sorting them already immediately as they come messy.

4. Multitask cleaning with your actual daily tasks.

Another laid-back method of cleaning is by incorporating the house chores with your actual daily activities.

One strategy you could try is before or while taking a bath, you may clean your shower area and the toilet as well. Or while you are choosing what to wear for the day, organize your cabinet by folding your clothes in a spick-and-span manner and through this method, you would also be able to review the garments you have and decide on them.

As you take advantage of your time more and become productive at every minute, cleaning will turn into a hassle and stress-free task that you don’t have to avoid.

5. Place an air purifier.

Cleaning your home does not only mean washing and disinfecting the dirt you see around your house, but the air you breathe should also always be cleansed.

Extremely a no-brainer to accomplish this, you just have to light a nice scented candle or mix sliced fruits to act as your natural home deodorizer. In this way, the air in your house will not only be healthy to take in, but your house will also look more presentable with the nice smell and beautiful design of your own and improvised air purifier.  


With these piece of cake cleaning tips, we can say that even shortcuts and tricks like these can also be effective. Although there is no doubt that to clean your house more comprehensively will always be much better, to clear and fix your stuff little by little regularly can greatly help you trouble less than doing everything all at once.

Author Bio

Stephen Juarez one of the Marketing guys of Electrodry Carpet Cleaning who is also currently studying as an Interior Design Major based in Iloilo City, Philippines. Originally based in Sampaloc (Manila), he moved in Panay before high school. Being indoctrinated early in writing activities after he migrated there, reading literature and writing instantly became his hobby. When he's not busy, he writes articles about health, home and life, and spends quality time with his family and friends during the rest of his time.



Win 4 Luxury Yogi Teas | Giveaway

Yogi Tea have been specialising in organic herbal tea since 1960! And are experts in creating flavoured healthy tea.
I have 4 boxes of their luxury tea to giveaway. The flavours include
  1. Yogi Positive Energy Tea Cranberry Hibiscus: An uplifting and invigorating tea infused with Green Mate, Guarana & Assam Black
  2. Yogi Detox Tea with Lemon; a tangy detox tea infused with the flavours of Bitter Dandelion, Sweet Liquorice & Spicy Ginger
  3. Yogi Women’s Tea; a balancing tea with a blend of Ginger, Orange Peel, Angelica Root & Ayurvedic Spices
  4. Yogi Bedtime Tea; a calming and organic tea infused with Chamomile, Lavender, Nutmeg & Valerian Root
Each box contains 17 teabags and the winner gets a complete set!

Prize supplied by Discount Supplements, specialists in Online Sports Supplements

a Rafflecopter giveaway


TT2015 Diary: The Mountain

As she sat on the back of the bike she couldn't help but to feel a bit scared. There's already an overwhelming vulnerable feeling being on a motorbike. No seat belt, nothing holding you on.
Her hands were gripped, tight, to the bar behind her. She couldn't hold on any tighter.

Her brother was in control of the bike. Up until this point she didn't think very highly of motorbikes. It was a case of motorbike = speed = death, and in a couple of events those few days were proof of that. But when she got on the back, although her heart was beating, she felt sick and couldn't help but to be anxious.
She felt tense and hoped it would be a quick ride but, soon enough, she loved it.
Soon enough she couldn't wait to be stood putting the helmet and gloves on and to hold onto her brothers back as she did her three bounce leg up and over manoeuvre, push down the visor, make sure her underwear wasn't in full view of everyone else and then to grip onto the bar behind her and to then hear the sound of the engine as she gave her brother the nod that she was ready to go.

She looked around everywhere they went, she soon realised that being tense was not only making it harder for her brother to control the bike, but was also ruining her experience. So she relaxed, she looked around and took in where she was. A beautiful island where everything is perfect. Looking around helped her to take in the very thing she had gone to experience, and to understand, a tiny bit, what the racers are capable of. She thought that if those racers can go along the roads at the speeds they do then she could easily sit on the back, holding on tight, not having to use any skill, and enjoy herself.

She at first found it intimidating when they stopped at lights surrounded by other bikes. And she felt like she shouldn't be there. But soon enough, she loved those moments. She loved being in amongst that adrenaline, surrounded by loud engines and the anticipation of the speed as they would all move away from the lights.

Within no time she had fallen in love with the sport and the machines. She got it. She understood the passion. She felt that excitement, adrenaline and need to hear the bikes scream past at incredible speeds.

Then there was that mountain run. The races had been called off because of strong winds, but they needed to go over the mountain to get back to their campsite. The alternative route was long and faffy. As they started up the mountain she questioned whether or not her hands could ever hold on tight enough to stop her from flying off.
She was scared.
She tried to focus her mind on other things, but this was just too much. It felt like they were never going to get to a safe point. She didn't feel in control of how she should be sitting, the wind was hitting her and pushing her. She waited until the moment came when she would be laying on the road. She wondered what the pain would feel like, or if she would feel any pain at all.

And then she remembered who she was riding with, and what he would say if he knew what she was thinking.
She knew she had to put her trust in him. He would never do anything to put their lives in danger.

As they pulled over at the Creg-ny-Baa pub she was able to loosen her grip...and to breathe. A sigh of relief, and to realise that as scary as it was on that mountain, it was an experience.
Another one she will never forget.


Buying a Watch Can Really Be Fun

Guest Post
Yes, there are plenty of us who absolutely loathe shopping. We live in your neighbourhood, work where you work, and holiday at the same destinations you find appealing. We just do not like to shop. So imagine my surprise when I recently had to shop for new watches for my partner and me. It was actually pleasant, if not downright fun.

What necessitated this online shopping trip? An accident on the water. We were enjoying a lovely afternoon of canoeing when, due to an inadvisable change of position on my part, we ended up tipping over and falling headfirst into the water. Because I ditched the canoe, I was responsible for fixing the damage – including replacing both of our cheap watches that didn't stand up to the sudden exposure to moisture.

I begrudgingly sat down in front of the computer that evening to begin my search. I was determined that this time, we were not going to settle for cheap just for the sake of doing so. I made myself a promise to shop until I found watches I actually wanted to purchase rather than just two I could settle on. It turned out to be a very good experience.

No Shortage of Style

One of the first things I learned on my shopping journey was the fact that there is no shortage of style when it comes to watches. I still remember the old days when there were not a lot of choices in our budget range. But that has changed. Now there's a lot we can afford that doesn't make us look like we're ready for retirement.

One example is a watch I found at Tic Watches. It is a rainbow coloured watch from Swatch – listed on the website as the GP140 Astible Gloss. Yes, it is plastic and relatively inexpensive, but it just looks cool. It's even water resistant up to 30m. It would have survived our little accident!

I also found this great Diesel men's watch at WatchShop; it's also known as the Double Down DZ1437. Talk about sleek and stylish; it's all black except for the steel winding button and grey accents on the hands. And yes, it would have withstood the water. It is water resistant to 50m.

A Function Bonanza

If style isn't all that important to you, I also discovered that watch making has come a long way in terms of function. The cheap watches we lost did nothing more than tell the time and date. What I found online blows those old watches out of the water, so to speak. Take the Accurist MB946BO sold by Tic Watches as an example. It is probably not out of your budget, and you get a lot for your money.

The MB946BO is the classic chronograph with the date display, glowing markers and hands, 24-hour sub-dial, stopwatch, and more. As for the looks, it appears more expensive than it really is.

Just Plain Fun

I think the most surprising thing I learned on my shopping journey is that watches nowadays can be just plain fun. They don't have to be all about just telling the time.

For example, the Olivia Burton Humming Bird watch at Watch Shop would be an ideal choice for a birdwatcher. It is elegant and well made with just enough whimsy to make it fun to wear. Imagine the conversations you could start with strangers seeing it for the first time. What a great way to tell them about birds.

I won't tell you what I decided on for my first purchases because I don't want to taint your shopping experience. However, I will tell you that I discovered buying a watch was more fun than I imagined. I think that maybe I am now ready to try shopping for other things as well. Perhaps it's time to also replace the camera we lost in the water.

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