Why You Should Read Become the Best You #ad

New year new you, blah blah blah. It can feel like everywhere we go people are trying to sell us ourselves, can’t it? The thing is, most of us could use a little help. So if you are on the lookout for some easy to digest advice, written in the style of having a chat with a friend in a cafe, then you will love Become the Best You.

The book delves into my dysfunctional childhood and troubled start to adulthood at fifteen. How I dragged myself through years of on/off depression, two mental breakdowns and eventual rock bottom.

become the best you

Why should you read this book?

There are many self-help books out there telling you how to think, what to wear and how to behave. Qualified professionals are desperate to give you their views on any subject matter you require guidance on. What’s so special about me? I’m just a regular person. I don’t have letters after my name or a rags to riches story, so why should you bother reading this book?

After having a dysfunctional childhood, and self-destructive young adulthood, I broke away from my past and created a much brighter future. Rather than just talk about my children never having to experience what I went through myself (like my parents did) I worked damn hard to ensure it was the case. Throughout this book I will share personal stories from my life and insights on how I overcame the many obstacles I have faced over the years.

I’ll tell you how I broke the cycle of dysfunction, and hopefully it will inspire you to go off and do the same. Getting passed my past wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t impossible. I promise not to talk about things that I have no personal experience of, and I won’t pretend to have all the answers. But I might just have the ones you are looking for.

become the best you

If you can identify with this list of demons I had to conquer, this book is for you!

– Raised by parents who had dysfunctional childhoods and subsequently had one myself
– Moved house lots and went to many schools
– Suffered bullying in several schools
– Suffered sexual abuse as a child
– Left home at a very young age after not finishing school
– Struggled with depression
– Got into a lot of debt
– Had very little self-respect
– Used to sleep around
– Abused drugs and alcohol
– Put myself into unnecessary, dangerous situations

What do I hope you will achieve by reading this book?

– The ability to make peace with your past
– The ability to look in the mirror and like what you see
– The ability to find your inner strength and start respecting yourself
– The courage to re-define the rules of relationships that have become toxic
– The courage to cut ties with people who make you miserable
– The courage to break the cycle, keep it broken and become the best you

What this book doesn’t do

– Use overly complicated words or examples that are difficult to understand
– Go into minute detail telling you exactly what to do
– Patronise you and assume that you aren’t capable of turning your life around


On Family Estrangement/In Defence of Meghan Markle

I know more than most that family estrangement never occurs without very good reason. 

In the early days of my own family estrangement back in 2005, I grieved long and hard for what had been and would never be

Cutting ties with mother and the (half) siblings I grew up with had been a long time coming. There was a lot of bad blood. Too many lies had been told. Too much drama brought to my doorstep. Too many situations which had left me broken hearted.

Although highly dysfunctional, my family are not evil people, which made walking away from them hard.

In fact scrap that, what a ridiculous understatement. It was the toughest decision I have made to date. And I sincerely hope I’ll never face a decision as soul destroyingly difficult ever again.

family estrangement

But our relationships had become toxic and unsalvageable

You see, they had always been takers. Ever since leaving home at fifteen, I’d been bailing them out in some way or another. I was the fixer upper. The shoulder to cry on. The ATM. I had tried so hard to help them, and I learned the hardest way that no one can save you but you.

In the end it came down to a heart wrenching choice. Allow these toxic relationships to continue, and sign myself up for all the associated fallout. Or walk away.

So I told my mother she wasn’t welcome anymore, and I never saw her again. My half brother and sister didn’t seem to care too much about my absence.

I was done

I didn’t have the capacity for more drama and heartbreak. It was time I started saving myself. In the year that followed I experienced full mental breakdown and rock bottom. Forced to look at every single aspect of my life and the way I was living it, I massively re-evaluated so I could become a better person.

I firmly believe I would not have been able to go through this process had my family still had as much power over me as they once had.

I am also convinced my experience as a mother would have been better had I had a great mum by my side. Oh how I’ve wept for the fairytale superhero mama I have desperately needed over the years. When autism and sleep deprivation and agonising education decisions have had me on my knees with despair. When childcare might have been the magic bullet, but was as non-existent as unicorn dust.

Fairytales aren’t real, and in the end we have to do what we think is best. 

family estrangement

There is much to be said for this great quote by filmmaker Robert Evans:

“There are always three sides to a story; yours, mine and the truth!”

Before you brand Meghan Markle a “social climber” who has “forgotten her roots”, take it from me; she would have agonised over her own family estrangement before walking away.

Share Printed Photos with Your Loved Ones with Neveo #ad

Disclaimer: “Share printed photos with your loved ones” is a collaborative article written in paid partnership with Neveo. For my full disclosure policy, please click here

Do you share printed photos with the older members of your family? If the answer is no, but you would like to start doing so, then I can highly recommend checking out Neveo. This unique site allows you to upload photos from your devices, add comments if you wish, and create a monthly newspaper which is then posted to your nominated family member(s).

share printed photos

Digital photos are great, but printed ones are so much better

I love printed photos. I’ve painstakingly printed out our family pics over the years, and diligently put them into albums. I honestly think keepsakes like this are slowly disappearing, and one day my stack of albums will be a proper family heirloom (or relic of the past!) They’re precious though, and would never leave the house.

When my husband’s grandparents were alive, I’d print a selection of recent photos and post them in cards, or take them when we visited. Had Neveo been around back then, it would have been so much more convenient.

You might be wondering how Neveo works?

The first step is to quickly set up a Neveo account, and choose whether you’ll be uploading 50 or 100 photos per month. You’ll also need to nominate the loved one(s) who will be on the receiving end of the monthly paper.

You can upload your photos as and when you please, and each month you’ll get a new allocation of uploads. At the end of each month Neveo will take care of the editing and put your newspaper together, then send it off for you. It’s literally as simple as that. Your photos are 100% safe, and worldwide delivery is included in the price.

50 photos will set you back £9.99 a month, and 100 is £14.99. You can cancel your membership at any time, and if you sign up using this link you’ll get the first month for just 99p! The ability to share printed photos with our loved ones has never been easier. Check out this video which explains the concept in detail.

Some wise words from Neveo CEO Simon Desbarax

1. Is there an inspirational story behind Neveo?
We started when we were finding solutions to help our own grandparents to stay in touch. We wanted to launch the easiest / easy to use communication solution on the market. We didn’t want them having to learn something new or complicated.

2. How did you choose the name?
Neve (snow that lasts on the mountains)
Neo (new)
Neveo = new generation of “elderly” at the top of the mountain

3. What is most important to you about being a business owner?
Freedom.

4. Do you have any funny anecdotes from the earliest days?
We were laying them out one by one with our own hands (before the automated process). It took us nights to do the first 100!

5. Where do you see the business going in five years time?
Our aim is to reconnect all the families that have difficulties staying in touch with their loved ones. We will expand to other countries (86 for the moment).

6. Do you have any words of wisdom for would-be entrepreneurs?
Everything starts with a first step. Act!

Follow Neveo on social media:
Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

Polly Tries: Best Fluffy Slime Ever Made by The Davis Kids (Step by Step Instructions and Real Time YouTube Video)

Hello everyone, Polly here. I absolutely love slime and have been making the best fluffy slime lately, so I thought I would write a blog about the recipe. You can see my other blogs by clicking here. If you want to know I am 9 years old so it is not a surprise that I absolutely love slime. Plus I am autistic so it is a great fiddle toy and so squishy, and so nice.  So if you are autistic or you have a child that is autistic they will or you will love it.

Slime can get a bit messy but I don’t really care, because it is such a good activity and this is a lovely soft slime. I have to warn you though it is a bit sticky, but so nice to play with. The easiest way to resolve it is to give your hands a good scrub under the sink with soap. Normally I make butter slime but my mum bought me some other ingredients to make fluffy slime cause I wanted to try it out because, my mum knows how much I love slime.

To me slime is a great fiddle toy and lovely to play and make stuff. This recipe makes a decent amount of slime. It’s good for kids aged from 4 to probably about 14, but if their obsession is slime then even longer. This is my favourite slime ever! Let’s get slimy! (Normally I would say let’s get started but because it is a slime video I said let’s get slimy.)

best fluffy slime

Ingredients

  • White PVA Glue
  • Contact Lens Solution
  • Shaving Foam 
  • Food Colouring 

Method

  • Mix together 200ml of glue
  • Add a couple of drops of food colour
  • Add shaving cream bit by bit and mix
  • Add contact solution bit by bit as well
  • Mix well
  • Mix until it’s not sticky anymore
  • There you go enjoy the feeling! 

Tips for making the best fluffy slime EVER

  • If it is sticky then carry on working it and it should get less sticky
  • Do not put too much contact solution in your slime
  • Don’t put too much shaving cream in your slime either
  • I prefer not to choose a dark colour for my slime (I like sky blue)

Guest Post: Will You Give a Life Changing Gift? #DontWasteXmas

#DontWasteXmas

The UK are set to waste a whopping 60 million presents this Christmas. International development charity Send a Cow are encouraging shoppers to buy life-changing, meaningful gifts instead of pointless ones.

A new survey from YouGov* has found that over half (57%) of Brits who celebrate Christmas receive at least one unwanted gift on average at this time of year, with 37% claiming they would be happy to receive a charitable donation as a present.

#DontWasteXmasIf the money spent on the 60 million unwanted gifts received each year* was redirected to charities like Send a Cow, it could support millions of families living in the poorest parts of Africa.

The survey revealed that at least £380 million is spent on unwanted Christmas presents for friends, which could support 11 million African families by providing them each with a goat*. Priced at £33 each, a dairy goat provides families with nutritious milk to drink and sell – providing a vital income – and manure to improve crop yields. Nearly half (48%) of those surveyed admitted they struggle to find good presents for family and friends, and bath products topped the given list of the nation’s least loved presents.

Top unwanted Christmas gifts

1. Bath products (38%)
2. Film / box set (18%)
3. Candles (16%)
4. Chocolate (16%)
5. Socks (14%)

Send a Cow ambassador, actor and star of ‘Our Girl’, Ben Aldridge said:

“I was lucky enough to visit a Send a Cow project earlier this year and was amazed by the life-changing work they are doing in rural Africa. This Christmas, we are calling on people everywhere to donate to charities like Send a Cow instead of spending their money on unwanted Christmas presents. My family is abolishing present giving between the adults in favour of redirecting that money towards causes that really need it. I don’t need any more novelty socks or cheap stocking fillers! The money wasted on those things could actually make a huge impact elsewhere.”

#DontWasteXmasInstead of resorting to festive bath bombs or Christmas candles, shoppers can purchase life-changing virtual gifts ranging from goats and tools to allotments and beehives on the Send a Cow online shop where prices start from just £5.

You simply select your chosen gift, such as a chicken or a goat, and your loved one will receive a Christmas gift pack telling them all about the item you’ve bought in their name and the impact it will have on families in Africa.

Send a Cow, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, gives African farming families the tools, training and livestock to thrive. The charity has worked with over two million people and wants to keep on growing so more African families can lift themselves out of poverty for good.

CEO of Send a Cow, Paul Stuart, commented:

“Buying a Send a Cow virtual gift for a loved one has a double impact and goes far beyond your typical gift of socks or smellies which often end up in the bin. The person receiving the gift feels good knowing that a donation has been made with them in mind and a struggling family in Africa receives vital support to help them transform their lives. It’s a gift which feels good and does good; what could be better than that?’’

The average person spends between £10 – £20 on unwanted Christmas presents for friends and loved ones. Instead they could buy:

  • Two chickens that can provide malnourished families with eggs to eat and sell (£16)
  • Garden tools for two families so they can grow their own vegetables (£14)
  • Fruit trees to help people establish their own orchards (£20)

#DontWasteXmasWith nearly half of shoppers admitting they struggle to find good presents for loved ones, charity gifts could be the way forward for a less wasteful and more meaningful Christmas this year.

Spread the word and visit #DontWasteXmas on the Send a Cow website.

*1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,182 adults, of which 1,965 celebrate Christmas. Fieldwork was undertaken between 1 st – 2 nd November 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
2. Based on findings of YouGov survey when extrapolated to the GB population of 50,644,094 million people, 90% of which celebrate Christmas and 94% of whom gave an opinion. The survey found that, on average, Brits who celebrate Christmas received 1.4 unwanted presents in an average Christmas – 59,982,864 overall.
3. Based on findings of YouGov survey when extrapolated to the GB population of 50,644,094 million people, 90% of which celebrate Christmas and 97% of whom gave an opinion. The survey found that, on average, Brits who celebrate Christmas and give Christmas presents to friends spent £18.31 – £380,477,739 on a Christmas present for a friend. Calculations by Greenhouse PR.

**Disclaimer: this is a guest post from Greenhouse PR, I have not been incentivised.

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