Elemis Competition Prize Review

I was really pleased to get an email earlier in the week informing me that I had won an Elemis goody bag from a competition at the Resident magazine, http://www.theresident.co.uk/

I received the email on Tuesday and was really impressed to find my prize waiting on the doorstep when I got home on Friday. The prize was sponsored by QVC who are offering the set at £62.76, which was a great offer considering that the retail price of the set is £173.60. If you want one of your own you can find it here

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Living with Anxiety

I have suffered from anxiety, low self-esteem and bouts of depression for as long as I can remember. However, the first time I realised what it was that I was suffering from was when No 1 was very small and I had a panic attack which resulted in an emergency visit to the doctors followed by a course of anti-depressants and beta-blockers.

At least I then had a label for the irrational way that I had been feeling but the treatment only succeeded in masking the problem and it has returned repeatedly throughout my adult life. Thankfully though that was the only occasion that I have had a full blown panic attack and I have the deepest sympathy for people that go through this on a regular basis.

Anxiety is a debilitating condition that is poorly understood by people that do not suffer from it. My anxiety usually manifests itself in irrational fears about my health but I also suffer from generalised anxiety and feelings of inadequacy and there is rarely a moment when I feel completely relaxed. It prevents me enjoying myself in a wide variety of situations as I am constantly plagued by irrational thoughts. There is a social stigma surrounding many mental health conditions, anxiety included, and I have always felt ashamed of my condition and do not discuss it with anyone other than to a small extent with my long-suffering DH. I have also experienced stigma when going to the doctor about the condition and have felt patronised on a number of occasions by the people that are supposed to be there to help. This has resulted in a severe reluctance to visit the doctor for any reason.

I have got to the stage now that I do not want this condition to plague my life any more and I want to be modelling a healthy mental attitude to my children. I need to do something to tackle the underlying problems and find better ways to manage the condition. There is much that has been written about living with anxiety but the advice is of very variable quality and has variable effects. I intend to use this section of my blog in a positive way to record the strategies that I am using to help me overcome this condition and to share what is successful for me and what is not.

I appreciate that a lot of my readers will have little interest in this subject and if you don’t then feel free to ignore these posts but I know that I am not the only person out there that suffers from this condition and I hope that my experiences may be of some help to someone else.

Junk Mail Plantpots

A few days ago I received a pack of tomato seeds from Heinz from a competition here: https://www.facebook.com/HeinzKetchupUK/app_300380653443730

I decided to plant them this weekend as the kids love growing their own plants, but when I went to get the seed trays they had all broken over the winter. Not to be deterred we decided to make some pots of our own from stuff that we had lying around the house. The first plan was to make some paper mache pots from a pile of old newspapers. Unfortunately this plan was thwarted as someone had thrown them away! All we could find was a pile of junk mail so we decided to have a go at making some from that instead. First we gathered together some PVA glue, some plastic cups to use as moulds, some vaseline and a bowl. We covered the outside of the cups with the vaseline, watered down the PVA glue and tore the junk mail into small pieces.

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It was then time to get dirty! No 4 had a lovely time dipping her hands into the mixture and plastering it all over the cup (I quite enjoyed it too – there is something quite addictive about peeling dry PVA glue from things)

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When we had coated the cups with a thick layer of paper mache it was time to leave them to dry. It had taken us the best part of an hour and at this stage we only had two pots.

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We decided that we would never have enough pots to plant all of the seeds at this rate so needed a quicker method of making them. I remember seeing small pots made of newspaper and looked up a method for making them. Unfortunately most methods required pieces of equipment that we didn’t have but we did find one method that used a wine bottle. We made one of these but the pot was far too big for our purposes. Having search the crockery cupboard for something smaller that had a big enough hole in the bottom we were almost ready to give up when we thought of trying to make them using the inside of a toilet roll. We were really pleased with the results so I thought I would share how we made them:

Step 1

Cut a thick strip of the junk mail that is long enough to go around the toilet roll middle at least twice. Place the toilet roll middle on the strip, leaving enough paper at the bottom to tuck into the end to make the base.

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Step 2

Roll the paper around the tube and tuck the loose paper into the end.

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Step 3

Turn the pot the correct way up and flatten the paper inside to make a base. (We used the end of a spoon to help with this).

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Step 4

Remove the tube and there you have it!

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We had far more fun than taking a trip to B&Q, we reused some of the junk mail and it didn’t cost us any money.

Hopefully the paper mache pots will be dry tomorrow as we are going to paint them before planting the seeds. I will post some pics of the finished product when they are done.

Furniture Choice Blogger Competition Entry

This is my entry for the Furniture Choice Blogger Competition http://www.furniturechoice.co.uk/Out-With-The-Old.htm

I have a number of items of furniture to choose from when finding something that needs to be  replaced!  A lot of our furniture has been around for at least 10 years and a lot is no longer fit for purpose.

The thing that would make the biggest difference to our family life however is a new dining table and chairs.  We purchased our current one before the youngest two were born and therefore the one we have is not big enough to accommodate everyone, which prevents us all from eating together a lot of the time.  I love dining with the  whole family as it is a special time to catch up with what has been happening during the day and to converse with the kids who I am sure would prefer to be eating in front of the TV.  It is a particular problem if we have guests as no one has enough elbow room to eat anything.  The table and chairs have also suffered over the years.  No 4 is a keen artist and the table looks the worst for its regular encounters with paint, pens, glue and scissors.  Because we purchased the table before the younger two were born we also have odd chairs as we added extras later on.  As you can see from the pics the chairs have also suffered from the attack of paint and glue, plus the older ones are water damaged and extremely ricketty!

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The paint splattered chairs are particularly embarrassing when we have guests, especially when whey wobble  as they sit down.  Christmas is always fun as we have to resort  to putting our particularly attractive camping table on the end of the dining table!

Furniture Choice have a number of lovely dining sets to choose from, all of which would be a significant improvement on ours! http://www.furniturechoice.co.uk/Dining-Room-Furniture/Dining-Tables-and-Chairs.htm

However, my favourite is the Harrison & Newark Extending Dining Set.  It comes with four chairs at £499 which I could purchase if I won the competition.  I would need to add a couple more chairs though but at £69.99 each this is a small price to pay for the ability to sit down together at every meal time.



I am sure that you would agree that this would be a vast improvement to our living space and really improve the quality of our family life.