Bad habits. We all have them. Whether that’s watching too much tv, eating unhealthy food, smoking cigarettes, or spending too much money. We get into a cycle that is hard to break, but break it we must. Our lives will suffer if we don’t. In this article, we are going to look at some of the common bad habits we fall into, with some healthy alternatives to replace those things that are damaging us. We hope our suggestions help you.

Bad Habits


Bad Habit #1: Smoking cigarettes

You don’t need us to tell you that smoking is bad for you. There is the risk of cancer and respiratory diseases. There are health risks to those around you as they inhale your smoke. Your skin will suffer, your breath will smell, and you will face social isolation from those who have long since given up this bad habit.

Good Habits

  1. Consider vaping, the healthier alternative to nicotine. Thousands of people have made the leap, so there is a high success rate. You can buy vape kits and e-liquid from Vapeshop, as well as on your local high street.
  2. Practice meditation. Smoking is often attributed to stress and anxiety; the cigarette acting as a temporary relief for frayed nerves. Rather than reach for that cigarette, try some quick meditation techniques to steady your nerves and focus your willpower.

Bad Habit #2: Eating unhealthy food

Junk food isn’t good for us, but for many of us, these foods are often the first thing we reach for when we can’t be bothered/don’t have time to cook something healthy. We are putting our lives at risk, so alternatives need to be found.

Good Habits

  1. Fill your cupboards with healthy foods and snacks, reducing the temptation to reach for that chocolate bar or bacon sandwich. We appreciate a Mars Bar can often be the more appealing choice when you’re snacking, but there are healthier alternatives to satisfy your craving
  2. Grow your own food, eliminating the time you spend in the supermarket mulling over the unhealthier choices. There are other benefits to growing your own food, including the incentive to eat more fruit and vegetables as you have had a hand in nurturing them yourself.

Bad Habit #3: Watching too much tv

Okay, so there are loads of things to watch on the box these days, so this is one bad habit that is easy to fall into. Sitting on the sofa for hours won’t give us square eyes (that was an old wives tale), but there are other ways you are hurting your health if you are binge watching everything in sight.

Good Habits

  1. Make a tv planner. Using your tv guide, make a note of the tv shows you really want to watch, rather than sitting down in front of the tv for hours channel surfing until something takes your interest. Then set your recorder to record the must-see programmes, sitting down to watch them and only them when you want your tv fix.
  2. Do something else. Okay, so this is a bit vague, but our point is this. Rather than coming home and flopping in front of the tv, do something else with your time. Read a book, walk the dog, play with the kids, do some exercise, take up a craft hobby…anything to fill in your time that doesn’t involve your sweaty palms clutching a remote control.


Bad habits can rule our lives and ultimately hurt us. While we haven’t covered all bases, we hope our suggestions have been somewhat helpful to you. If you have experience of these or other bad habits and have found ways to overcome them, please share your tips with us. We can all benefit from each others advice.

The Pramshed

After a disappointing home education day, we watched Suffragettes confident it would be great as it was presented by Lucy Worsley who we have seen on telly before.. We love history and like myself, my 14 year old daughter is vocal on women’s issues. To his credit, my husband watched the programme with us.

My daughter was quick to declare that in her opinion no major changes in history have happened without at least a degree of violence. Before the programme started, I mooted the point that the Suffragettes could be described as terrorists.

This programme was gripping. We loved how the real words of the key players were used and how Lucy appeared to be amongst them during the action. I also loved a certain glint in her eye almost as if she were encouraging viewers to conspire with her in a cause.

There were of course the suffragists who wrote letters and so on to try to get the vote for women. As Lucy explained how Parliament which was of course male-dominated played silly games to ensure things were not even debated fairly, I can absolutely see how frustration would mount leading to more violent lobbying methods. Why did women want the vote anyway? Well, there is the concept of equality and fairness but there is also the issue that they must have felt women’s lot in life needed to change generally. That makes me empathise with them as clearly so much still needs to be done despite recent changes and a spotlight on the abuse of women for example. Not surprising and very sadly, there were reports of women protestors and sexual assault at the hands of police and others.

So often us feminists are told we are daft and the battles are won. Yet I find it fascinating how little the Suffragette movement was covered in the schools of myself or my daughter. I remember a fancy dress celebration of 100 years of history and only one teacher and my daughter dressed up as Suffragettes.

To my absolute shame, I did not know the Suffragette movement spread across social classes always associating it with rich women. I also thought it began in London and not Manchester. I had no idea so many areas of the UK had Suffragette action.

I also did not know about the build-up of tools of the trade as time went on including bombs and riots.

I loved how skilled and instinctive the Suffragettes were at using marketing methods to present their case from photography to stunts like chaining themselves to railings. In a way they reminded me of how women bloggers have used PR and marketing methods to have their say and to campaign on some pretty vital issues. These are the bloggers I like – the ones who tell it like it is and don’t just keep touting out picture perfect images adding to the mental distress of others.

How the state dealt with these women was appalling and hard to watch particularly the force feeding when they went on hunger strike. The sending in of law enforcement from other areas reminded me so much of seeing those types of buses during the Miners’ Strike in the Eighties. As ever where there are two different viewpoints, the State started getting their message across with their own PR efforts.

My daughter enjoyed the programme but was saddened by the methods employed to try to silence women. She was clearly of the view that Winston Churchill should not longer be viewed as a hero. Her comments included: “There was no need for the Suffragettes if the Government had listened. If asking nicely does not work, you have to resort to more extreme methods for the greater good”

It made me reflect on my work as a blogger and writer. Words, so many words. Perhaps they don’t have a real impact. Perhaps deeds would be better.

So the film made us feel, think and quite possibly change. That makes it a huge success.

The film was written and directed by Emma Frank so I will be looking out for her work again. In fact with the written words by Emma and the delivery of words by Lucy, perhaps I should conclude by saying both words and deeds can make a difference.

So let’s resolve to always ask nicely and then kick ass if and when required.

Forget Love Island and watch on iPlayer If you are outside the UK but want to catch BBC iPlayer programmes, you can do so with by first connecting to a BBC iPlayer VPN.

The Pramshed
Mum Muddling Through


Mummy in a Tutu


Twin Mummy and Daddy

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

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Pink Pear Bear

Cuddle Fairy

Best Boot Forward | Indigo Wilderness


I love to feature inspirational women on my blog. I am a big fan of the Granny Butterfly books for children. So I was delighted when children’s author Jean agreed to share her personal story with me.

Children's Author

Early life

I was born on the 14th January 1943 and lived in a small cottage in Stanhill, Lancashire. Most of my father’s wages went into the local Working Men’s Club so my Mother had several jobs to “Make ends Meet”. One of them was to take in sewing, and I used to help her. When I was about 10 years old I made dresses for a little old lady that was as wide as she was tall. She gave me 10 shillings a dress, so that helped the housekeeping. At this time we got a new Headmistress at the village school and the first thing she did was segregate the children in her class so that only the children from rich parents were educated and the ones that she classed as poor were put behind a fire guard. If we tried to escape she stuck pins in us to stop us from getting out. Eventually she was sacked but already the damaged was done. I never caught up to the level I should have been, having missed a year of education.

Teenage years

As a teenager I didn’t have much money so I made all my own clothes. I always stayed in fashion from tight skirts made in black and white gingham to dresses with lots of net underskirts. The best part of being a teenager in the 50’s and 60’s was the music. Rock and Roll, and of course Elvis. I have wonderful memories!

For my first job I worked in a cotton mill. It wasn’t what I wanted to do as I had been offered a apprenticeship to become a tailor. I was told that I would only get married and have kids so it would be better to start to earn some money.


I moved to the Isle of Wight when my first husband who was a Prison Officer was posted to Parkhurst Prison. It took me two years to settle because in those days there weren’t any supermarkets and the corner shops were expensive. I had to go to the mainland to buy the school uniforms for the children.

I married my second husband Roger in May 1982. He already had two daughters and as I had two sons and a daughter we became one big family. Roger also had his own tree felling and fencing business, So I taught myself to type and became his secretary. When the Island was devastated in the 1987 storms we worked all night for weeks to clear all the damage that had been done and I used to take food and drink out to the gangs that were working during the night.

After all the hard work during the storms of 1987 and 1991 Roger developed a heart problem. He was advised by a Cardiologist to sell the business and retire. We already had a villa in Denia, Costa Blanca, so in 1993 we sold our business and retired to Spain. After living there for 18 wonderful years, we thought it was time to come home to be with all the family, which we did in 2011.


The one thing I loved most about Spain was not only how friendly the people are, but the food is so good and fresh. There is nothing like buying fresh fruit and vegetables from the local market in the street or having a cafe con Leche in the village square.


I have always loved poetry but never written a book before. A couple of years ago when we were on the beach in Sandown I suddenly said to Roger “I want to write a children’s book”. I think he thought I’d gone crazy, but when I said that I wasn’t sure what animal to use, he straight away said butterflies. Thinking of my Mother, I said “Of course, Granny Butterfly”. That was how I started to write children’s books and my first book I wrote in a week.

Granny Butterfly

I have self published my books using Grosvenor House Publishers, which have helped very much and of course my illustrator Brian has been wonderful and is very talented with the beautiful illustrations he has done.

First and foremost I want children to get off their phones and iPads and see all the wonderful things that nature has to offer them. One of the most wonderful creatures to see are beautiful butterflies fluttering by. As a child I spent most of my time out in the countryside collecting wild flowers and herbs with my Grandmother. There is nothing better for children to do than to get outdoors.

Apart from having my lovely family, the most magical thing that happened was sailing into the wonderful Island of Bora Bora, French Polynesia with the turquoise sea below and after lunch on the beach seeing the leftovers being fed to the stingrays swimming close by.

The one book that I would recommend is The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I have read it several times and each time I have learned something new about life and it has helped me so much.

The one message I would like to share is that everyone deserves a chance in life whatever their colour, creed or backgrounds. Even though my level of education was very poor, I have still managed to do something that I am very proud of.

Cuddle Fairy
My Random Musings

Forest School was a totally new concept to me when we started our home education journey. It bears no real relation to anything I remember learning in school apart from perhaps nature walks which may have happened once a year or so.

Forest School

What is Forest School?

Forest School is about getting outside and learning in a hands-on way in natural and woodland surroundings. In typical fashion, I decided if we were to do Forest School we needed a forest. So we have moved to a rural spot with our own small forest and a larger one at the front of the house. I know this sounds like absolute madness but it probably tells you everything you need to know about me along with the fact that months into our forest life, we have done very few Forest School activities.

However, with a new positive approach to our home education journey. I have resolved this is going to change.

Treasure Hunt

Today we started by listing the equipment that is needed for various projects. This shows how much I have learned whilst home educating as too often I set off with enthusiasm and then realise I have not got the kit or did not read the instructions correctly if at all. My 12 year old son is very vocal about the important of reading instructions – he is so like his Dad! My daughter and I are a bit more free-thinking or chaotic – call it what you will!

My list of equipment included nearly 50 items which looked very daunting. My husband read off the items so we could make it a bit like a treasure hunt with the children identifying where we could find the resources along with the gaps if we did not have them. The children were talking over each other so we decided that we would be a better team if my husband allocated different items to each child in turn. This worked much better.

Resources and tools

Some of the items were basic things easily found in the house such as bags, soap, water, bowls, chopping boards and scissors. My husband made me smile inwardly when he used this little adventure as an excuse to say we need more chopping boards. He does like plenty of chopping boards for some reason.

Some items were tools such as a palm drill, a hammer and a hand-held folding saw. The children and myself were not at all familiar with the names of some of the tools so my husband could really help on this score. It was decided my son and husband would do the treasure hunt for tools outside in the garage and the shed later. I was surprised that my children did not know what secateurs were. I guess part of home education is working out what they already know and what is totally new to them. Tea strainer was another item they were not familiar with but it was good to hear my daughter coming up with other ways we could strain the nettle tea we hope to make soon.

We need a stick as thick as a forearm which may be challenging but perhaps not considering where we live. We wondered whose forearm we should use as the measure. Pine cones are not a problem here as we have hundreds on the ground and hanging from trees.

Crafty ideas

Pipe cleaners caused some debate with my son wondering why pipes needed cleaning in the first place whereas my daughter has used them for crafting purposes for years. Pencils, papers, felt tip pens, permanent markers and wool are always easy to find in our house. With an artistic daughter, I have probably bought way too many such resources over the years but it does mean we have plentiful supplies. We do need to get some tracing paper, craft beads and some coloured cardboard.

We giggled when toothpicks appeared on the list as my husband always has loads of these. Mind you, the same could be said of me and blankets also on the list.

We all agreed a new flask would be worth purchasing in any event.

Sharp thinking

My daughter was nervous about the idea of using a pen knife and was shocked that Swiss Army knives are legal. My son was very keen to use such items. Funnily enough, I have always wanted a Swiss Army knife.

There was debate on where we would find clay and I guess this depends on the activity we choose to do next.

I love it when we absolutely throw ourselves into home education projects as a team. With more heads on the case we all learn more and there are so many laughs along the way too.

We are using this book to get us started.

Wish us luck as we embark on our Forest School journey with gusto!

The Ordinary Moments

Run Jump Scrap

Not everyone approves of using dating sites but even as an old-fashioned romantic, even I have to admit that they can have advantages when looking for love.

People lead increasingly busy lives with long commutes and work. Finding the time and  money to keep going out on the off-chance of meeting someone compatible becomes more challenging as the years go by. That’s also the case for busy single parents.

Where is love?

Imagine you keep going out in  your town but your soul mate lives elsewhere? Online dating enables  you to communicate with people from different areas without initially laying out huge travel costs. Not  only that but by the use of effective filters, it helps you narrow down potential matches to people looking for similar things to the ones you are.

Shy guy

If you are like me, you will be shy about dating anyway. As with any social interaction these days, it is sometimes to take those baby steps on the Internet first. By  the time you work up to a telephone conversation and then a meeting, you will already feel you have a friend even if Cupid does not strike on this particular occasion. That friend might have a friend who turns out to be your soul mate. Life and love work in mysterious ways. Another thing to note is that if you have issues that you find tricky to discuss from having children to health issues, it is so much easier to share those online. The same goes for the discussion  of interest, beliefs and priorities in life. It’s very important to work out if you and the person you are chatting with are looking for a committed relationship or just some casual fun available on sex sites on the web.


Lives are not always traditional with  9-5 working hours and the evenings and weekends reserved for leisure. Online dating  allows you to start the process of finding love whenever the mood takes you so if that is 3am that’s OK. You can set up your dating profile and start reviewing potential matches.

Variety is the spice of love!

Before we know it in life most of us are mixing in quite small social circles with like-minded people with similar backgrounds and lifestyles to our own. That’s very comfortable but also perhaps a little boring. Through online dating, the world really is your love oyster as you come across people with jobs you have never heard of, from places you have never visited and with opinions that might challenge your own thinking. Variety is the spice of life and also the spice of love!


Recent news stories have highlighted how vital it is to stay safe whilst looking for love and how easily we can put ourselves in potential danger. Online dating offers a degree of protection as you don’t need to meet a person immediately or indeed quickly.

Finally, with  so many people struggling financially these days. online dating offers a cost-effective way to find that special someone. Dates are pricey with transport costs, dining and entertainment expenses. Is it really worth making that investment of money and time if you are not going to hit it off?