When I was a child I remember reading magazines and salivating at the designer kitchens  with fancy kitchen worktops showed in them. They always seemed very expensive and out of the range of ordinary people. My cousin was a kitchen fitter and made a fortune. Our kitchen produced brilliant food as my mum was a cook by trade. She did not particularly care about the look of the kitchen so long as she could cook in it. I still have huge plans to renovate my kitchen when time allows so look at sites like Silestone UK to inspire me.

Kitchens  are very much the heart of the home where families come together to eat and to spend quality times together. Memories are built here so why not invest in something that expresses who you are as an individual and as a family.

Kitchen worktop looks

What do you find pleasing to the eye? Have you considered how potential kitchen worktop looks fit in with your cabinets and appliances? Perhaps you want to make a feature of your worktops and go for something that really stands out.

Kitchen worktop choices

There are diverse choices out there for kitchen worktops these days. You can go for solid wood which gives a homely and perhaps slightly farmhouse feel. Oak is popular but shop around as you may want to be that little bit different using a different wood. I like wooden worktops as they are strong and durable. I would probably go for a walnut one if I renovated my kitchen because of the colours in the grain.

Easy to clean kitchen worktops

If you are a busy mum perhaps juggling work, community work and parenting, a kitchen worktop that is easy to clean may be your priority. Laminate may be a good choice for you and is cheaper than wooden alternatives. You could have a wood-look laminate or go for black which tends to look cleaner unless you are a domestic goddess in which case you can go for white. Also you may want to be more funky and the world really is your oyster with the colour choices out there. If you are looking for long-lasting solutions, check out solid laminate.

Be that little bit different

If you are looking for real strength, check out stone and quartz options perhaps from somewhere like Silestone worktops online. It’s really about working out what matters most to you whether that is affordability, strength or qualities such as being waterproof.

What kitchen worktops to you have currently and would you like to change them?

How To Choose Your Kitchen Worktop



















Confessions of a New Mummy

For many people who have found themselves dependent on alcohol, learning to live without it is a difficult process. At first, there is the acute withdrawal stage to deal with while you detox. This can be scary, and even dangerous without either using a tapering off method or having medical supervision. However, most people are able to get through the initial detox phase in a safe and healthy way when they are ready to particularly if they talk to a therapist in person or online. They are then faced with life in recovery.

There are various different medical schools of thought on how a recovering alcoholic should approach the rest of their life, with some groups like Alcoholics Anonymous thinking that permanent abstinence is the best way to stay dry, and others like HARM believing that it is possible for someone who has had an alcohol dependency to go back to a healthier social drinking behavior eventually. Whichever route you subscribe to, you do need to ensure that should you ever drink again, it is not as a result of the cravings spurred on by your previous habits.

Here, we take a look at methods people in recovery from alcohol addiction have successfully used to stop themselves responding to cravings and ending up back in a cycle of alcoholism. You can also find some helpful advice on this at Life Transformation Recovery.


One of the main things that cause relapses in alcoholics is boredom. At first, overcoming the addiction is a challenge, and then, experiencing life sober is an interesting time. You feel healthier, you look better, and you have more control over every aspect of your life. However, over time the novelty of sobriety tends to wear off, and this is where the original source of your drinking habit can start to rear its head again. You may feel bored or frustrated, and the solution you previously sought – drinking – can become appealing again.

In order to beat the boredom factor, you need to have something that captures your attention and gives you something new to look forward to each day. Short term, you may find that reading or watching a movie can distract you from immediate cravings, or perhaps playing a video game. As a longer-term strategy, though, it can be good to do something productive, for example, taking up a new sport or hobby, or going back to something you used to like doing before, such as maybe drawing, music or writing.


Sometimes cravings come about as a result of habit. If you usually got over a stressful day at work by hitting a bar or treated yourself to wine after completing something difficult, then it can feel like you are missing out on that when you have given up alcohol. You may also have been in a social group where drinking was a key part of your life together. Avoiding social situations where you will want to drink is an important way to keep yourself sober and temptation-free when you don’t feel you yet have the willpower to go out and not drink. Of course, this can mean some changes in your social life. You may find that you need to see certain friends who are still drinking a lot less often. Alternatively, rather than meeting up with them in the usual spots, you could arrange to see them for morning coffee in a place that doesn’t serve alcohol and spend time with them that way without it becoming an issue when they want to drink and you do not.

Naturally, there will be some events or occasions you cannot avoid, such as weddings or holidays, where other people will be drinking. Have a strategy for these in advance, and if you can, tell other people who will be there that you won’t be drinking and to hold you accountable for that. If you don’t want to discuss the fact you are recovering from alcoholism, it is always an option to simply say you aren’t drinking because you are on a diet or fitness plan and it would interfere with that.

Talk To Someone

People who follow group rehab approaches like Alcoholics Anonymous are allocated sponsors who they can talk to when they feel the urge to drink. Even if you are not using that kind of program, you should have someone in mind you can call or chat to online when you are experiencing cravings. It could be someone who knows about your addiction and who can talk you down from wanting to go and drink alcohol, or if you don’t have anybody you are comfortable talking about that with, just someone you can have a chat with to distract yourself. Feeling lonely is a big trigger for a lot of recovering alcoholics to drink, and so you need to have plans in place for what you will do and who you will talk to if that happens. It may be a friend or family member you can simply call up to feel less alone or even an online friend who has gone through a similar thing who you can chat to by instant message. Reading forums and websites where other recovering alcoholics talk about their experiences can also be a good source of comfort and remind you that you are not alone.


A lot of medical experts believe that exercise is key to recovery from a lot of mental health problems, including the depression and anxiety that can come when an alcoholic or addict is in the early stages of recovery. Getting outside and taking a walk can be a big mood lifter, and if nothing else, it will occupy your body and mind while the craving passes. If you feel up to it, running or cycling can also be great choices.

Cravings do pass, and often within a short time frame. Have plans in mind that you can use when you begin to experience them, and always remind yourself just why you need to stay sober. Good luck on your own recovery journey!


Tips For Avoiding Alcohol Cravings


I wanted to introduce you to an amazing book called “From daughter to woman – parenting girls safely through their teens” by Kim McCabe. I am getting so much from reading it that is helping me not only parent my daughter but also my teen oldest son and my almost teen youngest son.

From  daughters to women

Kim McCabe’s mission is to make the adolescent girl’s journey just that bit safer, kinder and better supported. Her book is very easy to understand and some of the concepts are so simple and yet powerful too. One big one that features in the book is the idea of taking time out with your child and making sure special time and treats are scheduled in so that those moments do not get neglected in our increasingly full and busy lives.

Carving out special moments

I am one of those mums who is a bit chaotic. I am always saying I will take my daughter away regularly for the weekend for some female-only time but then find it never happens. That will change and soon with the reminder from this great book on mother-daughter relationships.

I have read the book in two ways. I have read it in chronological order but also had it at my side to dip into when the mood takes me.

For every mum and daughter

As someone who experienced post-natal depression I always feel my daughter missed out on the mothering she could/should have had in earlier life. I have read it is possible to heal some of those wrongs or wounds in her teen years. This book is effectively a toolkit to show me just how to do that to the benefit of not only her but me too.

My daughter currently is home-educated and not facing a lot of the peer pressure that many teenagers her age might be. She feels safe and happy which was not the case just before we took her out of school. This book is suitable for girls and mums who have very different circumstances to ours. Indeed, I think every mum and daughter could take positives from the book.

From Daughter To Woman

Celebrating milestones

It covers that milestone of periods and made me as a 49 year old woman realise how dopey I have been in not looking after myself at the time of the month. This book shows it is OK and sensible to take time out or pamper ourselves in our own individual ways when we are perhaps in physical or emotional pain. That’s so obvious but I know many women and girls like me drive themselves way too hard only for life to catch up with them weeks or years down the line,

The book will help any woman of a girl who has not started her periods start a conversation about that issue. It celebrates that puberty is a good thing and part of life’s journey.

Wise words

For me, I found it very helpful to be let off the hook a bit. I always feel so guilty when my children think I am not a great parent or just show any form of unhappiness. This book reminds us that this is normal at this age and encourages us to look back at our own experiences of teen years. It emphasises how crucial mums are at this time and that keeping on keeping on is pretty marvellous in its own right. We can get better at parenting day by day and there are great clues in this book as to how to do just that.

I also love how the book says that a daughter needs more than her mum. She needs a tribe of girls and women in her corner. Your daughter may already have these but if not, there are tools that can help you build her tribe of strong women all of whom will play their part in supporting her along the way.

There are clever bits to the book like Girl Talk sections making it easy to discuss puberty, periods, relationships and vitally how to lift our spirits.

Case-studies are used to illustrate key points but do not take over the book which I like.

If you are interested in pursuing the ideas in the book further you can tap into information on Girls Journeying Together, Rites for Girls Facilitator Training and coaching on creating your daughter’s own rite of passage.


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Cuddle Fairy

Building societies are now a common sight on the high street, while we always hear about shifts in the stock market on the news. So many of us have personal savings accounts and pension pots set up now too. But have you ever thought about where these came from, or how each savings initiative has changed over the years? In the following infographic, personal pension specialist True Potential Investor has taken a step through time with this question in mind.

Did you know that the first known building society formed for groups of individuals who were looking to help each other to buy property? Or that the Bank of England was founded towards the end of the 17th century to fund the war effort against France? How about that the Amsterdam Stock Exchange was believed to be the world’s first stock market?

Discover even more fascinating facts by browsing through the full infographic below…



You neglect the benefits of car servicing at your peril. My dad always insisted on regular services and his cars always served him well for many years. Unlike an MOT you are not legally obliged to have a service so in challenging financial times, it can be tempting to skip regular services.. Do not cut corners and for brakes replacement in Basildon, visit Jet Wheel Tyre for a quotation.

How often should I have a service?

My Dad had services every 6 months. Others suggest once a year or every 10 000 miles is about right. In a busy world, ensure you diarise and plan for regular services. This should mean your car makes the best use of the fuel you put in it and your risk of breakdown is less. Should you decide to sell your car, potential buyers will be reassured by evidence of regular servicing.

Is an MOT as good as a service?

It is vital to note that although an MOT is compulsory, it is only a very basic check on your car. Services are essential too as they look at wear and tear on the vehicle, ensure your fluids are at the correct levels and show what repairs are needed for your car to perform at its best.

Is it worth the money to get your car serviced?

I would argue that not getting your car serviced is false economy. Services point out things that need sorting out and usually repairs are cheaper the earlier a problem presents itself. Problems with one part of the car can lead to problems with other parts of the car if left unrepaired leading to huge repair costs and perhaps when you can least afford them. Remember that cars that are well-maintained use fuel more efficiently too.

You don’t want to breakdown

A car breaking down is always stressful. You may need to be somewhere on a certain date or at a specific time. Breakdowns mean these appointments are missed with potentially devastating results. If you have your family members with you particularly children and elderly relatives a car breakdown is a nightmare. It’s not fun being stuck at the side of the road.

Responsible car ownership includes brakes maintenance

If you have stamps in your log book, this is great evidence that you are a responsible car owner. This is what you should be aiming for anyway as a unserviced car is a potential killer. Also, when you sell your car a potential buyer will pay more for a vehicle that is properly maintained, Do remember that your car’s braking system is arguably the most important safety item. This means you should never neglect your brakes and potential owners will want to see evidence that you have looked after your brakes as well as other aspects of the car.

How often do you get your car serviced?









My Random Musings