Saturday 28 November 2020

Tips for Remaining Confident as a Teenager with Psoriasis

JJ is a 17-year-old boy with chronic psoriasis. Here, he shares his tips for remaining confident as a teenager with psoriasis, & using Epaderm.

I'm really proud of my 17-year-old son, not only because he is super smart and already has his career with GCHQ mapped out in his mind, but because he is living with a long-term chronic skin condition and he does it with such good humour.  You'd be forgiven for looking at that photo above and thinking he is just a pretty normal teenage lad, perhaps a bit geeky or a nerd, but there doesn't look as if there is anything out of the usual, does there?

However, look a bit deeper and you'd see red or scaly white patches covering most his body. Why? Because he has plaque psoriasis

Living with Psoriasis

Until JJ started to develop psoriasis three years ago it wasn't something I knew much about. I had no idea that it is estimated around 2 - 3% of the UK population are suffering with it (according to the UK Psoriasis Association), and it's only in the last year that I've seen just how bad it can get, both on JJ and by joining some online support groups. 

Psoriasis is a particularly difficult skin condition as there is no cure for it, and it presents differently on each person. I'm also learning that what works to helps relieve it at one point may stop working, and there is a massive range of treatments to choose from. It can be quite overwhelming if I am entirely honest.

JJ's psoriasis started off on his back, behind his ears and a patch above his left eye, then over time it has spread and worsened. Whenever I read about psoriasis there is always a description of it flaring up and being worse for a while and then subsiding again. Sadly, this hasn't been the case for JJ, the psoriasis on his body has been progressively getting worse over the last year or so. The plaques on his face do seem to go down with topical steroid creams but we are really trying to limit the use of those.

You can see the from the zoomed-in photos below the reality of how psoriasis can look when you are up close. JJ's daily reality is a scalp that itches and flakes excessively leaving him with 'dandruff' shoulders, red or scaly white patches on his face and his body, constant moisturising to help take away the tightness, itchiness or even pain of his skin, a floor that needs hoovering almost as soon as you've just done it and bedclothes that end up covered in emollient. 

He doesn't have the luxury of most teenage boys, that of choosing if he has a skincare regime, without looking after his skin he'd be uncomfortable all the time.

Friday 27 November 2020

Dreams for the Future, when I win the Lottery Jackpot

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

I have to admit it's been quite some years since I have actually played the lottery, but when it first launched here in the UK, I did play every week and I had a set of numbers that I always used. I won the odd £10 by matching three numbers and I think I even had four numbers once or twice but never more than that sadly. However, just because I don't play doesn't stop me dreaming of what I'd do with a really big win.

I don't think I'm alone there and I know I've played the 'what I'd do if I had a million pounds' game with friends before. I actually really enjoy spending an hour dreaming about what the future might hold if I have a whole load of money in my bank account. So here are the things I'd like to do if I win the lottery jackpot one day in the future.

Help Others

The first thing I know I want to do is help others. I know that sounds a bit cliche but as a Christian, it is important to me to serve and help others where I can. I'm not a saint, so it will need to be a project or business where I enjoy serving and working, rather than just selflessly giving, but it needs to be worthwhile. I've always had this dream that my husband and I would run a Christian conference centre somewhere in the UK, and he is sort of doing that now.

So I think my dream would now be slightly different. Still working with my husband and offering hospitality, but being more local community based. I could see myself investing in and managing a community centre that is really committed to helping its local people. I'd have a pastor and team on board to run the church side of things, but my husband and I could lead the outreach. We'd have a community cafe where locals can come for food, be that paid or gifted, people to chat and pray with them, a food bank, debt and job counselling, activities for the kids and youth and so much more.

I feel excited just thinking about this. Money is often the thing that holds these kinds of projects back and if I had my lottery win, there would be no need for it to feel limited by its resources. My background is in HR and training, so I'd really enjoy doing the practical parts of coaching people to help them get back into employment and leading training courses for parenting, assertiveness, time management. You name it, I want to give it a go!

Thursday 26 November 2020

Save Money on Your Mobile Phone Bill, with Airtime Rewards, for UK Networks

All you need to know about Airtime Rewards, an easy way to get your mobile bill pad for you, without any hassle or fuss.
Image Credit: Airtime Rewards

About six months ago I received an email from EE introducing me to Airtime Rewards. It's an app you can download, add your credit and debit card details to and it sits in the background and logs your spend with the participating retailers. You then earn rewards for every eligible purchase and those rewards become money that you can use as money-off your mobile bill. I've received £30 off my mobile phone bill in the last few months and considering I only spend £10 a month, that has been three months of free service for me!

I love getting things for free and I'm sure you do too, and Airtime Rewards comes without any hassle or risks so I knew I had to spread the word and let others know about it too. So here is my lowdown -

Which Networks are Eligible?

The easy answer is all the big ones.  Three, EE, O2, Vodafone, giffgaff, Virgin Mobile, Tesco Mobile, ASDA Mobile, Lebara mobile, Lycamobile and Now PAYG. You can also use the reward for money off your pay monthly or pay-as-you-go contract.

How do I use Airtime Rewards?

1.  Download the app for Android or iOS. Complete the registration with your details including your mobile number, network and card details (you can register multiple cards and it takes around 24 hours to activate the card to start earning). Use my referral code Y7A844HB and we both make some money from it (see further down for more information). 

2.  Spend as normal and allow Airtime Rewards to do the work in the background. You can keep track of your spending if you want to and if anything is missed you can fill in the form within the app to log a missing transaction if it hasn't logged after 14 days. I don't bother, I literally sit back and wait for the cash to roll in!

3.   Keep an eye on what rewards you are earning. Then when you hit the minimum threshold for your network so can redeem the reward, or store them up for another day.

It really is super simple and feels like money for nothing. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Take The Stress Out Of Finding The Perfect Gifts

Photo by Erica Marsland Huynh on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

No matter what time of year it is, gifts are something that just about everyone can get excited about. Everyone loves giving and receiving presents. The issue that a lot of us end up facing is that it can often be a struggle to figure out what to get for each person. Even if you've known someone your entire life, you feel like you know everything about them, and you love them dearly, finding the perfect present can be tough. You don't just want to give them something they'll never use (or worse, throw away!) But at the same time, you don't want to spend massive amounts of money. Besides, it's not about the cost! The key is to think about who they are and what they might want! But if you're really struggling, here are a few things to consider when trying to find that perfect present.

Make it useful

Is the person you're buying for particularly practical? Do they do a lot of things themselves, whether it's cooking, crafting, or handiwork? Well then think about getting something that will actually be useful to them. If they love to make things themselves then getting them something that they can't use or do anything with could well mean it ends up at the back of a closet.

A gift that someone uses every day is not only going to be far more useful to them but it means that they have the chance to think about you as often as possible. It's the kind of gift that not only makes someone happy, but that also strengthens your connection to one another. Think about what interests they have and try to come up with something that can fit in with that interest, or even make enjoying it easier. 

Saturday 21 November 2020

Amazing Gifts for a Young Woman - Christmas Gift Guide

A selection of gift ideas to suit a teen girl or young woman for Christmas 2020, all under £40

{This post contains samples given to me for review and also affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchase, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

Echor End of Day Aromatherapy Candle - £24.99

Echor is all about improving your wellbeing by helping you to get the best, most rested sleep experience that you can. They say their science-backed products will help you to have the kind of sleep you deserve, by creating a positive end-of-day experience. We spend around a third of our lives sleeping and it's important to have a good end-of-day routine to set you up well for the next day. 

I adore the look of this candle as it is very streamlined and I think stands out from the masses on the High Street. The wooden lid is a particularly nice touch.  The candle is a blend of Ylang Ylang, Lavender, Geranium & Sweet Orange essential oils, which have been shown to reduce stress hormones and lower blood pressure. As you'd imagine, it smells divine too.

The vegan soy wax is 100% natural for a clean burn and will last around 60 hours. So if you use it each night for an hour, it will last about two months, which is great. 

Friday 20 November 2020

Dating in Hertfordshire - Finding Love during a Pandemic

Suggestions of places to enjoy a date in Hertfordshire, UK during a pandemic
Photo by Tibor Pápai on Unsplash

{This is a collaborative post}

What an odd time we are living through right now. If you're not attached and finding love is on the agenda it really isn't the easiest time but you know what they say in life, "nothing worth having comes easy" so don't despair you can still find someone to have fun with, devote your life to or even marry, depending on your desire. 

Dating in your Local Area

Being responsible at the moment means staying close to home and therefore dating within your home county is a great idea, as it means you won't be travelling long distances to meet up with new people. It also means that you'll be familiar with the areas where you'll go to meet your date/s and this will help you to feel safe. 

I lived in Herts for 15 years and lots of my friends dated and found love within our local area. You often find that by searching locally you find someone with the same kind of aspirations in life and someone who enjoys living in the same area as you do and therefore if you decide to commit long term you shouldn't have to make a big upheaval and move away to a new area. You'll retain all your friends, maybe make some new ones and can stay with your job and local clubs. 

Of course, you won't go on to marry every person you date and therefore if you'll continue to live in the same area once you have broken up, you need to make sure you break off any relationships well, so you can ensure there are not any awkward moments in the future. And on the flip side, you might meet people who you know you are not romantically suited to but actually, you get on wonderfully as friends and you end up with some new friendships from your experience. That is surely a win.

Hertfordshire Dating can be a delight and I thought I'd share some great places to meet your new date or to take an existing date across this beautiful county. For more ideas take a look on Trip Advisor too.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Reasons to be Cheerful - Sharing a Little Lockdown Cheer

It's been a while since I shared one of my happy posts and of course, I know that remembering to be grateful makes a massive difference in my life. So here is my long-overdue update of many of the things in my life that are making me cheerful and thankful right now.

An easy one to start us off. I've been enjoying doing some baking during this lockdown and I'm very pleased to say that my bakes have been turning out really well. Here we have choc chip banana bread, chocolate brownies and lemon cake. 

I'm working through a series with my church at the moment called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality and I'm finding it very useful as I realised a few months ago that I have been stifling my emotions for about the last decade and it is time for me to start feeling again and acknowledging the joys and hurts of life. 

I've been spending time in one of our prayer rooms that is filled with an art installation called 1000 bottles of tears. I've been using the bottles to try and help me release some of my repressed emotions. I've managed tears in my eyes twice now, which feels like progress! (Not everyone's kind of reason to be cheerful I realise, but I'm pleased!)

Monday 16 November 2020

Christmas Gift Guide for Food Lovers

A selection of gifts for Christmas 2020 for people who love food, drink, cooking and eating

{This post contains samples given to me for review and also affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchase, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

With just 39 days to go until Christmas, I think it is prudent to start thinking about the gifts for those loved ones in your life. We all know someone who counts themselves as a foodie and the good news is that you don't have to spend hundreds on a superb meal experience for them, you can get them a present they'll love for a reasonable amount.

Check out my ideas below, I hope you'll find a good variety of fo things to suit people of all ages.

AnySharp Pro Knife Sharpener - £16.50

There is nothing worse than having blunt knives when you are preparing foods and it can get expensive to keep buying new knives but the AnySharp Pro knife sharpener is an excellent idea, as it will almost instantly sharpen any knife (including serrated ones). It is super safe as it has a strong suction cup at the bottom to ensure it stays in one place as you sharpen. It is also small and compact making it easy to store in even the most compact of kitchens. It comes in a variety of colours to suit your kitchen, or is tiny enough to store in a drawer and it has a 10-year warranty too.

Tuesday 10 November 2020

Great Advent Calendar Suggestions for Teens in 2020

Check out these 10 ideas for advent calendars, and not a chocolate in sight. All priced under £31.

{This post contains samples given to me for review and also affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchase, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}

Advent has always been a favourite time for me and my family, and as Christians, we try to make it special with a proper count-down to Christmas day. When the children were younger it was all about taking part in our Christmas family traditions like attending a Christingle service, making festive biscuits and reading the story of Jesus' birth.

Nowadays, the kids are more interested in having an exciting advent calendar and writing a list of the goodies they'd like for Christmas gifts. So this year I've been putting some ideas together for Advent calendars they might like but ones that won't break the bank. I'd love to buy them gorgeous branded beauty or perfume calendars but I don't have hundreds of pounds spare, so here are some good options and they all come in under £31.

MAD Beauty - 24 Day Beauty Calendar - £19.99

I think this calendar looks stylish and the design will appeal to a teen. It is also good that it has 24 little goodies inside (instead fot he 12 that many are doing now) and actually for the money it costs the majority of them are pretty good. I liked the little eye shadows, lip glosses and nail polishes in particular. The brushes were a bit rubbish what then at under £1 for each item, what do I expect? 

Overall I think this is a winner with small items to take in your tiny handbag for a night out and I think it would work for tweens too, as an introduction to make-up. In fact the Christmas nail stickers do make me think of it being most suitable for a younger girl. 

You can buy this (#ad) MAD Beauty calendar on Amazon for £20.95 including delivery

Check out these 10 ideas for advent calendars, and not a chocolate in sight. All priced under £31.

Sunday 8 November 2020

Binge-worthy Boxsets for Lockdown 2:0 on Netflix UK

I absolutely love to escape into a great boxset and I'm always happy to receive recommendations for new ones that I might enjoy. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some boxsets that I've been enjoying over the last couple of years.

This first post will focus on those series available on Netflix and then I'll share for NOW TV and Amazon Prime too.  I do find Netflix great value, as you get films, documentaries, box-sets, kids TV - the whole works for the one price of £8.99 for 2 devices at a time or £11.99 per month for up to 4 devices at a time. 

Emily in Paris - 1 season

It feels like everyone has been talking about this series recently and after watching it last week I can see why. It is light-hearted fun and who wouldn't want Emily as a mate? Emily heads to Paris to work in a marketing firm but there is one small problem, she doesn't speak French!

Virgin River - 1 season

I watched this one during the last lockdown and it made me want to move to a small town in America in the middle of nowhere! It's a sweet romance about Mel, a medical practitioner who moves away for a new start and doesn't expect such a warm welcome from her new community. 

Friday 6 November 2020

Gifts for Travel Loving Mums

Photo by Persnickety Prints on Unsplash

{This post is written in collaboration with Emily Jones}

Finding the ideal gift for a travel fanatic can be tricky. When a plane ticket is too costly, you need to find a thoughtful and practical gift idea that they will love. With Black Friday coming up, here are some inspirations to help you find your mum or friend the perfect gift for the holiday season!


A Stunning Travel Bag

A versatile travel bag can make the perfect gift for someone who loves globetrotting. Carry-on sized travel bags are a stylish and durable gift, that will fit a few travel essentials and hopefully express the traveller’s personality too. You can browse a lovely selection of beautiful handmade travel bags from sites like Mirta, an Italian online marketplace that sources products from artisans from all across Italy, who are using only the best leathers. What’s more desirable and gorgeous than Italian bags?  Not a lot, that is for sure. They are made of water-resistant materials, have quality zippers to withstand harsh outdoor conditions and the luxurious leather sets them apart. You can choose from duffle bags or backpacks.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

5 Outdoor Play Equipment to Encourage Kids to Stay Active

Image Credit: Vuly Play

{This is a collaborative post.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, any affiliate links will be marked with #ad}}

Staying active is an important part of keeping your kids happy and healthy, and ensuring they live vital lifestyles in the future.

Encouraging your children to engage in regular physical activity also helps to regulate their energy, improve their concentration and offers higher sleep quality. Physical play also helps children to become more confident learners as they engage with the world around them.

If you’re looking for clever ways to get your kids active, we recommend starting with outdoor activities that are fun for the whole family! Here are 5 family-friendly toys that encourage kids to get outdoors and stay active:


Teaching kids to ride bicycles can help them to develop a healthy, active lifestyle from a young age. Not only does cycling increase muscle strength and stamina, but also encourages children to get to know their local community in a fun and interactive way.

Another great benefit of bikes is that it’s a very social activity. Children riding their bikes in a group of friends is a wonderful way to keep busy on the weekend. Riding bikes as a family can also be an excellent opportunity to spend time together. Even younger kids can be involved by using scooters to race alongside older bike riding siblings. Find out more about bikes for kids from Vuly Play.