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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Here's What You Need For Healthier Skin, Hair & Nails

The health of our hair, skin and nails is extremely important as these are a reflection of the natural balance within our bodies - a barometer of our health.

Eating for healthy hair; hair loss; skin health

You can always tell someone who is less than healthy.  Their hair is lank, their skin is dull or spotty and their nails are discoloured, ridged or broken.

For great skin, hair and nails, we need to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B vitamins, water, healthy fats, and naturally low in sugar. These foods will enhance our blood flow, reduce inflammation, and aid in healthy blood sugar levels.

We all know that sugary foods do little for the overall health of our bodies but a diet too full of the sweet stuff can take its toll on our hair, skin and nails.

Did you know for example that too much sugar can affect your collagen -important for my age group and especially so for mine (50+).  Collagen and elastin are the protein fibres that keep skin firm and elastic.  Besides damaging collagen, a high sugar diet affects the type of collagen you have - and how prone you are to wrinkling.

Whilst we should all be trying to retain our natural good looks with a vitamin and nutrient rich diet, life tends to get in the way and we end up indulging in high fat, high salt takeaways or, my particular vices tea and coffee.

So as well as eating a vitamin rich diet, we should make sure that we have sufficient amounts of the following vitamins and minerals which have a particular benefit for glowing skin, strong nails and glossy hair.

These include Riboflavin (vit.B2), Niacin (vit. B3) and biotin which contribute to the maintenance of normal skin, and the minerals selenium and zinc which contribute to the maintenance of normal hair and nails.

Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)

This water-soluble vitamin helps the body to use the other B-vitamins, all of which assist with helping our body use energy from food and may also help protect cells from oxidative damage.

If you are deficient in this vitamin, you may have symptoms such as cracks at the corners of the mouth, sore throat, hypersensitivity to light and migraine headaches.

A deficiency in riboflavin also effects the formation of collagen, needed to maintain healthy skin.

You can find vitamin B2 in meats such as beef and lamb, milk and yoghurt, mushrooms, spinach, almonds and eggs.

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is a water-soluble vitamin that is a part of the coenzymes that assist with energy metabolism.

If you consume a diet of mostly processed and sugary foods, processed grains, white bread, white flour, wheat products and corn syrup you risk becoming deficient in this vitamin.

 A niacin deficiency will lead to symptoms such as diarrhea, dementia, dermatitis, poor concentration, anxiety and depression.

Good sources of Niacin include turkey, chicken breast, peanuts, mushrooms, liver, tuna, sunflower seeds and avocado.

woman's hands on pink flowers showing off white manicure and diamond rings

Biotin

Biotin (or vitamin H) is one of the B complex vitamins that help the body convert food into energy.

B vitamins, and particularly biotin, help keep your skin, hair, eyes, liver, and nervous system healthy and it's also a important nutrient during pregnancy as it aids the growth of your baby.

Generally we can get the biotin we need from eating a healthy diet, but there are now claims that getting more biotin can regulate your blood sugar, promote healthy hair, skin and nails, and help pregnant mums have healthier babies.

Biotin deficiencies are rare but symptoms include hair loss or a scaly red rash, anemia and fungal infections.

Good sources of Biotin include seafood, meat, whole wheat bread, eggs, dairy products and soya.

Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace mineral important for cognitive function, a healthy immune system and fertility for both men and women. 

Selenium works in close conjunction with vitamin E as an antioxidant to prevent the formation of free radicals and in turn, may reduce the risk of skin cancer and prevent sunburn.

Selenium is found in a variety of foods, the richest sources being Brazil nuts, seafood and organ meats.

Zinc

Zinc is another essential trace element and it is needed in small amounts every day to maintain our health.  For example, zinc helps with hormone production, growth and repair, improves immunity and aids digestion.

Although it is actually present within all bodily tissue, if you don't have enough zinc in your diet you may find you are frequently falling ill, feeling constantly tired with poor concentration and wounds that take ages to heal.

Zinc has numerous benefits for your skin, particularly if you are prone to acne or spots which may actually be a sign of a zinc deficiency.

Other signs that you are deficient in this trace element include white spots on your fingernails, dry skin, frequent colds, hair loss, diarrhea and low sex drive.

Good sources of zinc include spinach, beef, kidney beans, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and oysters.

Granola. Yoghurt and Blueberries

But when you're pushed for time, it isn't always easy to make the best food choices and what if you are don't eat meat, dairy or are wheat intolerant?  

A supplement such as Perfectil Original for Skin, Hair & Nails by Vitabiotics may be the answer as will swopping some of your usual food choices for the foods listed above. For example, swopping your sugary breakfast cereal for a healthy oaty porridge, adding extra green veggies, particularly broccoli and eating more fish such as salmon and mackerel.

If, though, you are finding you have problems with your hair, skins and nails you should see your GP to get a medical check up. For example, problems with the thyroid gland may lead to hair thinning or hair loss and dry skin.

You should also look at your lifestyle in general and make sure you are taking adequate steps to manage your stress and get enough sleep.

Meditation and the practice of Mindfulness are two easy, free ways to take control of unruly thoughts and to stay calm and centered.

*pr collaboration
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Monday, 22 May 2017

How Has Your Kitchen Changed Through The Decades? Prestige know.


I always think that the kitchen is the heart of the home and, if you're lucky, you have enough room in yours for a table to eat at.

Ieuan Hobbis about to tuck into some curry
The Husband's curry night - unheard of when I was growing up
It seems, however, that fewer families are eating together or even sitting down to three regular meals a day.  We are becoming a nation of grazers - and that's a shame because if we don't sit down to eat together we lose more than just the chance of a decent meal.

We miss conversation, sharing and the chance to bond and grow together as a family.

Back in April 2015, a study commissioned by Highland Spring into family life discovered that 25% of parents spent just 34 minutes with their kids each day. Six in ten parents said they struggled to get the whole family together and just four meals a week were eaten as a group.  And usually, the kids can't wait to get back to their gadgets these days, can they?

Caitlin Hobbis whisking eggs in a bowl at home in the kitchen
Caitlin helping me bake a cake earlier this year

Not only that, but despite the huge numbers of TV cookery shows, we are cooking less too.  It's all too easy to rely on the popty ping (microwave) as we call it here in Wales.

A study by market research institute GFK in the same year asked more than 27,000 people between the ages of 15 and 60 (from 22 countries) about their home cooking habits. Whilst India was the nation creating the most meals from scratch spending over 13 hours per week cooking, we Brits managed a below average 5.9 hours a week in the kitchen.

Cooking certainly seemed to play a much more important role in family life in previous decades. Our kitchen has always been my mother's domain and as a child of the 60's I grew up on casseroles, pilafs, kedgerees and desserts like Symington's Table Creams, Creme Caramel, Angel Delight, Instant Whip and Dream Topping (all healthy stuff!).

Cheesecakes used to be made with a McVities Digestive Biscuit base, about a foot of Philadelphia Cream Cheese and a tin of black cherries poured on top.

Kitchens very much reflect the trends in cooking don't they?  Nobody had heard of a spiraliser back in the 70's and courgettes were strange relatives of the cucumber to be sliced, covered in salt and olive oil and fried.  The same with tagines or those enormous Parmesan graters - unknown in the majority of British households.  And, as Peter Kay once said "Garlic bread? It's the future.  I've tasted it!"

Prestige have prepared their own homage to the changing face of the nation's kitchens with a fun interactive timeline which revisits the kitchens of decades gone by. You'll see when key innovations such as the microwave or pressure cooker made their first appearance. The timeline can be viewed here http://kitchensthroughthedecades.prestige.co.uk/.

Take a look and take yourself back down memory lane (even my favourite Pot Noodles make an appearance).

Then, why not commit to a family midweek dinner.  Get your Prestige cookware or bakeware out and relive some of your past food favourites.

Kitchens Through The Decades A look back at Kitchen Design by Decade has been produced by Prestige.
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Sunday, 21 May 2017

Win A Pair Of Eyejusters - Reading Glasses With Adjustable Strength

Being both a glasses and a contact lens wearer brings a unique set of challenges when you need a varifocal lens.

To date, there seem to be no varifocal toric lenses to meet my prescription on the market which means that if I wear my contact lenses I still need reading glasses for close work.

Olive and cream multilayer eyejusters
Olive & Cream Multilayer Eyejusters


Which rather negates the point of having contact lenses in the first place.

Still, despite this bugbear, I am assured that a varifocal lens to meet my needs is coming so I just have to soldier on with my cheap pair of shop bought readers which will allow me to do useful things like read labels on the back of tins and menus in restaurants.

Each pair of these has a fixed strength which means that I may still occasionally struggle to read things in small print and, of course, if my prescription changes, I have to buy a new pair of reading glasses.

Eyejusters, on the other hand, are British invented and manufactured adjustable reading glasses that allow you to change the focal strength of your reading glasses by adjusting two little black dials either side of the lenses.

Discretely placed, by simply twiddling them together you slide back a kind of inner lens which alters the strength of your lenses with a certain tolerance - this is known as Slidelens Tech.

Because your vision in each eye varies, Eyejusters can be adjusted to suit each eye separately.  And you can't see the little black dials from most angles either.

They are great for people who need to see the small stuff, for example when doing DIY or computing, hobbies like jewellery making and sewing or reading your mobile device. They would make a great Father's Day present too as you don't need to know the wearer's prescription.

I was surprised to find that I could alter mine to not only see my PC screen close up but I could almost adjust them to my distance prescription - that is to say matching the prescription of the contact lenses I wear.

Linda Hobbis wearing Eyejusters adjustable reading glasses


They are not, it must be said, a substitute for a proper optical examination and properly prescribed lenses, particularly for driving but they are a definite step up from the cheap and cheeful reading glasses you can buy over the counter in a number of shops these days.

Available on line, Eyejusters are unisex and there's 17 different styles and colours to choose from. They are priced at either £69 or £79 but they should last a lot longer than my over the counter readers because they will last through more than one or two minor prescription changes.  They are suitable for someone who requires a positive prescription up to 3 dioptres.

They also come with a money back guarantee.  Try them at home for 30 days and if you don't love them simply send them back. There's free delivery and free returns.

The frames are sturdy and pleasantly coloured (mine are olive and cream) and they come in a a strong grey case with a cleaning cloth.  I was impressed to discover that the lenses have an anti-scratch coating which often attracts an additional charge from an optician.

The only downside is that because there is a kind of double lens, I did look a little 'Joe 90' (retro reference there) but if it means I can choose my own restaurant food without having to hiss 'I can't read this' at the husband then I really don't mind.

The frame, being plastic, is heavier to wear than the cheaper readers but still quite comfortable. 

If you would like to try a pair for yourself. I have one pair of your choice to give away.

Entry is via the Rafflecopter widget below and the giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 18th June. Terms and conditions apply which are to be found on my competitions page. UK entrants only.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!
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Friday, 19 May 2017

Review: Zookiez & Wobbleez - Soft & Cute Play Pets With A Twist

Lots of Caitlin's and Ieuan's friends have pets and, loving mother that I am, I have discovered a fuss free solution that involves no vets bills.

Zookiez and Wobbleez from Sinco Toys are two ranges of plush, cuddly toy animals which will delight anyone from age 3 to 103.



Zookiez are toy pets which can be slapped on to your wrist and they will hold on tight with their furry paws.  Because their paws will grip, they can be carried about on your arm or even attached to a backpack or school bag.

There are 6 Zookiez to collect, 2 cats, 2 dogs, a bear and, Ieuan's new friend, a panda.

Collage of Ieuan Hobbis demonstrating the Zookiez Panda
Panda is lovely and soft and retails around the £10 mark.

Wobbleez is a range of pets who magically walk when you pull their lead - all without batteries. There's 3 to collect, a Golden Retriever, a Dalmation and a Shepherd Dog.



They have specially adapted paws which rock gently when you pull the toy along giving the illusion that your pet is walking.  You do have to pull gently though - if you pull too hard, your wobbleez will fall over.

We have not taken our Wobbleez dog outside as he is clearly designed for indoor use.

video


Again, this was a good quality toy with a very plush feel and Caitlin has named hers Apricot.  Ieuan being Ieuan has named his panda, Panda.  Wobbleez retail around the £20 mark.

Caitlin Hobbis with her Wobbleez Shepherd Dog toy
The dog's lead comes in three parts which you simply clip together and attach to a loop already round the neck of the toy.  It clips on quite securely and even with quite some tugging didn't come off when we got the dog walking.

Wobbleez are recommended for the 3's and over up to about 10 although I found them pretty cute myself.

Here's the last word from Caitlin.

video


You can find Zookiez and Wobbleez at major toy stockists including Smyths.

*PR samples were sent for the purpose of this post.
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New Releases, Free & Bargain Books Link-up Week 21 2017

New Releases Free & Bargain Books Link-up Badge

How are you all this week?  We're off on our hols in just one week and the year seems to be flying by. Luckily the weather is perking up, although that means an added 10 minutes every morning to slather the kids in sun cream.

If you're more an e-book than a printed book type of person then I have a fabulous giveaway currently running to win an adult and a child's Amazon Fire Tablet HD.  You can enter here.

Hopefully you've caught up with my review of In Doubt by the incomparable John W. Mefford. This is an Ivy Nash thriller, a new detective for me and in this one, Ivy must protect a little girl from a wealthy egomaniac hell-bent on revenge. You can read my review here.

As usual, there are plenty more great books on the linky - and don't forget you can always add your own to spread a bit of the book love.

Don't forget that I still have plenty to be won on my competitions page and don't forget my problem page here.

Happy bargain and freebie book hunting on this link.

Have a great week!

Sharing the Love of Books
Enjoy our selection of New Releases / Free & Bargain Books this week

Authors please feel free to add your own books
Readers please free to add your own finds
(any genre except erotica welcome)

This weekly link up is hosted by Beck Valley Books & these awesome book loving blogs...
Monday
 Life as Leels | IrishdaisylovesRomance | Book Babble | All Romance Reader
Tuesday
It's My Side of Life | Celticlady's Reviews | First Time Mommy Adventures 
Wednesday
Beck Valley BooksCinnamon Hollow Reviews
Thursday
Miki's Hope | Nicki's Nook
Friday
Ebook Addicts | I Love Romance | Colorimetry | The Ultimate Fan Blog Mother Distracted
Saturday
Totally Addicted to Reading | 3 Partners in Shopping | Angie's Angle I Create Purty Thangs | Wishful Endings
Sunday
Lynchburg Mama | LibriAmoriMieiAli - The Dragon Slayer | Wondermom WannabeDeal Sharing Aunt | Rambling Reviews 


For Pre-orders post - PRE-ORDER / genre / title /author
For New Releases post - NEW / genre / title / author
For Free Books post - FREE / genre / title / author / end date 
For Bargain Books post - SALE / price / genre / title / author / end date
(Strictly no Erotica please.  Steamy romance is fine but watch those covers people, incase any underage child is viewing it!)

Click here for this weeks awesome selection!

*this post contains an affiliate link
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Thursday, 18 May 2017

FREE - The Ultimate Guide To Revision From Tutora.co.uk

No matter what age you are, or at what stage in your academic career, exams are a fact of life - and can be one of the most stressful times to get through.

The word STUDY spelt out on dice

Everyone has their own way of dealing with revision and the accompanying pressure but sometimes it's all too easy to succumb to panic or to leave your exam preparation to the very last minute.

Tutora.co.uk, the online platform which allows students and parents to connect directly with talented and trusted tutors, has published The Ultimate Guide To Revision.

Free to download or read online, the Guide contains 9 chapters containing a wealth of expert advice, tips and how-to's.

The chapters are:-

1. How to start revision
2. How to create a revision timetable
3. How to create the perfect study space
4. Revision techniques
5. How to be productive during revision
6. How to make the most of your study leave
7. Exam tuition
8. How to deal with exam stress
9. Exam day

Hand writing an examination paper

As a mum of two school-aged kids and having been an English Tutor myself, I am proud to have contributed some of the advice readers of my blog have already discovered when it comes to the joys of studying and exam-taking!

The Guide contains a wealth of expert advice from contributors such as:-

*Bradley Busch, Psychologist and Director at InnerDrive.
*Scott Woodley, Co-founder of Tutora.
*Dan Lever, Managing Director at StudentHut.
*Lucy Parsons, Academic Coach at Life More Extraordinary
*Keith Clifford, Marketing and Content Director, Revision World Networks Ltd.
*Eleni Cashell, editor of Whatuni.com.
*Matt Jones, Education Officer at Tutora.
*Sophie Coulthard, Associate Director of Judgement Index.
*Giorgio Cassella, Marketing Manager at Tutora.

In short, it's a fabulous free resource I suggest you check out as soon as possible now that we are well and truly in exam season.

You can find the guide on this link:-  https://tutora.co.uk/guides/the-ultimate-revision-guide.

Please share with anyone you know who is studying and parents will find this a useful guide to coach and encourage their kids.

Tutora.co.uk logo


If you have any questions either relating to the Guide or about revision in general, pop a comment below and I'll make sure the relevant expert answers your question.

And if you found the guide useful, be sure to let me know.

Good luck with your exams!
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Problem Page Edition 20 2017

This week - whether it's a good sign if they text straight after your date, what to do when your affair goes toxic, and whether older women are ignored.

Woman in an art gallery nursing a cup of coffee

If you would like any advice, feel free to treat me as your agony aunt. Just message me or pop a comment in the comment box at the end of this post. I promise to be gentle.

Here are this week's questions.

Q: As a 22-year-old female, how do I attract a 30-year-old single male?

A guy I work with stares at me a lot but when I catch him staring he quickly looks away. He hasn't made a move, although he knows that recently broke up with my boyfriend. He teases me to see if I've got back with him and when I say no he grins! Other times he completely ignores me.

A: All you can do is test him out by asking if he fancies a coffee or a drink and gauge his reaction.
Either he wants to ask you out and hasn’t got the nerve, or he just enjoys teasing you.
Putting him on the spot and asking him for a date will sort this one way or another.
I have to say it doesn’t sound as if he’s particularly interested in a relationship - does he have a girlfriend or partner?
Make sure you know the answer to that one before you ask him out!

Q: I like this girl and we dated, but she is 300 km away and is obsessed with another guy. Plus for some reason she now dislikes me. What can I do?

A: I really can’t see the point in you pursuing this girl. She lives miles away and is interested in another man.

Also, when you say ‘because of something’ she dislikes you, are you sure you don’t know what you’ve done to annoy her? I suspect you do.
I would stop pursuing her because she clearly isn’t interested and, if she changes her mind and you dated, she’ll know where to find you.
Sometimes absence makes the heart grow fonder but I wouldn’t bank on it in this case.

Q: Are women attracted to guys who feel sorry for themselves and cry "poor me, life's unfair"?

A: Not really. Women are more attracted to men who focus on them rather than themselves and their own issues.
That’s not to say you won’t find a partner but if you are permanently miserable I suspect your partner will struggle.
If, though, you are suffering from depression then you need to talk to your doctor and seek advice and support so that you can get well and be better placed to find a supportive, loving relationship.

Q: How do you win your wife’s trust back when she comes to know that you were talking to someone behind her back for a month?

Things started at our office and she fell in love with me. Now is the time that we both want to move on. Things got so bad that the girl at my office wanted to commit suicide if her husband gets to know about this?

A: Oh dear. You have got yourself into a right mess, haven’t you?
Firstly I think you need to take a little responsibility. Things didn’t just start - you both flirted with one another and started a relationship. And it sounds like you have got the guilts and want to end it whilst she is using emotional blackmail to ensure that you don’t.
Why, I am wondering, will her husband get to know about this? You’re surely not going to tell him if you are concentrating on winning your wife’s trust back are you?
Which can only mean she is threatening to tell her husband if you don’t continue the relationship to force your relationship out into the open - and therefore making sure your wife knows about it.
All you can do is be completely honest with your wife and recommit to her - if you mean it.
You will just have to stand firm with this other girl. I doubt that she will do anything silly but it may be worth you having a private chat with your HR department.
If things are really difficult, unfortunately, you may have to look for another job.

Q: If a guy texts you immediately after the date is over does that mean he liked me?

A: He texted me to drive safe and thank you. Right before I left he said we should do this again. Are all of these signs that he likes me? Sorry it has been so long since I dated?

It certainly looks that way. There is a possibility that he is just being a gentleman though so try not to read too much into it at this stage.
Try not to spend the next few days attached to your phone and since it’s been a while, keep your options open too.
I would give it a week and if you haven’t heard anything perhaps text him asking him if he wants to go out again.
That will be the acid test.
I hope things work out for you.

Q: Why are older women ignored?

A: They aren’t, in my experience unless they are determined to be. Some of the most powerful women in politics are ‘older’, Theresa May, Angela Merkel, Hilary Clinton or in celeb land, Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Charlotte Rampling, etc.
I doubt any of these women would give a fig if they were ignored and would just carry on doing their own thing.
A brilliant example of such an older women is Iris Apfel (look her up on Instagram) -she’s 90 and a fashionista.
The problem is not with women. It’s with the now vastly outdated attitude some people still have to ageing.

How would you have responded to these questions? I'd love to know. You can find more advice on my problem page 

Disclaimer: All materials included in this post are intended for informational purposes only. This post/information is not intended to and should not be used to replace medical or psychiatric advice offered by physicians or other health care providers. The author will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary or other damages arising therefrom. 


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