You may be wondering how your social calendar will alter if you decide to stop smoking but deem yourself as a socialite — with Nicotinell’s smoker profile quiz perfect for discovering if you are indeed a social smoker.
Fortunately, help is at hand. The following guide will set out how you can remain to be a socialite without having to smoke:

Are there links between alcohol and smoking?

Before we delve into how you can socialise while enjoying a smoke-free lifestyle, first we will explain the close link that is seen between drinking alcohol and smoking.
This is because government data has established that up to 90 per cent of people who find themselves addicted to alcohol also smoke. Furthermore, smokers have been found to be more likely to drink and have a 2.7 times greater risk of becoming dependent on alcohol than non-smokers do.
There’s also scientific links, in that alcohol and nicotine both act on common mechanisms found in the human brain. When it comes to nicotine, the chemical compound will enter the bloodstream as soon as you smoke a cigarette and rapidly get transported to your brain. Once there, the nicotine will stimulate the brain by creating receptors which release chemicals that give a feeling of pressure. These receptors will increase in number as smoking becomes prolonged and your brain will become reliant on nicotine in order to release these feel-good chemicals.
Within 72 hours of deciding to stop smoking, the nicotine supply found in your bloodstream will drop. Those receptors won’t disappear that quickly though, so your brain’s chemistry will react to cause powerful cravings and strong emotional reactions. Persistence is key, as nicotine receptors will go away with time and your brain chemistry should be back to normal within three months of a quit.
Researchers believe that alcohol fosters the feeling of pleasure as well. If true, this reinforces the effects of nicotine on the brain. There are suggestions that nicotine and alcohol will moderate each other’s effects on the brain due to the fact that nicotine stimulates while alcohol sedates.

How to socialise during your quit-smoking journey

Early on in your quit-smoking journey, you’re likely to be faced with a situation where you will be invited to socialise in a scenario where you would have previously had a cigarette. Here’s how to stick to your goals and still have a good time:

Choose a social get-together where there’s no smoking

Invite friends to your house instead of heading to a place where people are likely to be smoking. You can celebrate your smoke-free success with them. You’ll be able to control what is served too, which can help stop those triggers and completely avoid cigarettes in your smoke-free home.

Bring a quit buddy along to your social events

No matter if it’s a friend or family member, a quit buddy will be a great person to have join you at whatever social event you’re heading along to. A quit buddy is someone who supports your quit. Should you encounter old smoking friends who ask you to join them, make sure they are aware of your situation so they can be respectful. Not only that, you’ll also have your quit buddy to hang out with.

Hang out with non-smokers

You’ll receive plenty of help from non-smokers and friends who are keen to support your decision to quit smoking. Who you choose to hang out with can help support your ex-smoking status. Slip-ups can occur when quitters are in the company of other smokers who may not be aware of how to support their quit attempt.

Give yourself a pep talk

Smoking cravings may be trigged as you head out for a drink. Before leaving the house or in the car, be mentally prepared by saying aloud, “I’m a former smoker.” Or try, “I don’t smoke. I’m healthier and happier without cigarettes.” The main point is to remind yourself that you’re a former smoker and that you don’t need to light up anymore.

Don’t delay socialising

Just because you’re having doubts, that shouldn’t give you the excuse to cancel social plans. Everything you did as a smoker, you can do as a former smoker. Holding off too long from social drinking after quitting can create a sense of intimidation. Plus, socialising with friends is an important part of your life. The sooner you teach yourself how to enjoy a drink or two without a cigarette, the sooner you’ll feel like your life is back to normal.

Using electronic screens is now part of everyday life for both work and leisure purposes. Smartphones and tablets are now seen as essential rather than luxury items. They help us gather information quickly and learn new things. However, they also can bring health risks for both children and adults.

It is pretty common to experience some degree of neck or shoulder pain when we use electronic devices a lot. Wrist and hand pain also occur. We often remain in a static position when on our electronic devices and an obsession with them means we are leading more and more sedentary lifestyles.

As parents we need to show good healthy habits to our children and this includes around the new technologies of the 21st century. We need to be looking out for bad posture in our children and teenagers. We need to be encouraging more time outdoors and providing good opportunities for exercise to ensure the healthy development of bones and joints.

As incredible as it might seem, studies have shown that excessive texting can lead to inflamed tendons and degeneration of the thumb joint.

Now let’s consider eye health. We know this is important. We take ourselves off to the optician’s regularly and even if we leave our own appointments a little too long, we tend to be on point at ensuring our children have frequent eye checks. Are electronic screens adversely affecting the health of our eyes?

Should we be considering a computer screen cover for eyes or is that being overly cautious?

In our increasingly busy world, we need our sleep as adults and of course want to ensure our children and teenager get a good night’s sleep. Blue light from smartphones and tablets causes strain to the eyes and can prevent you dropping off to sleep.

Although the amount of HEV light emitted by smartphones and other digital devices is much less than that emitted by the sun, the time people are spending on such devices and how close they keep their faces to the screen with bowed heads mean there are major concerns from eye experts about the possible long term impact of blue light on wellbeing.

Did you know that virtually all visible blue light passes through the cornea and lens and reaches the retina which is the inner lining at the back of the eye?

Scientific studies have shown that too much exposure to blue light can damage light sensitive cells in the retina. This damage resembles those of macular degeneration which can lead to the permanent loss of sight. Although more research is needed in this area, any parent would want to protect themselves and their children from any risk of sight loss.

So if you are using your phone all the time and so many of us do these days for texting, emailing and browsing the worldwide web, it is time to look at ways of protecting your eye health. A convenient way to reduce your blue light exposure is to use a blue light filter.

These filters are available for computer screens, tablets and smartphones. They prevent large amounts of blue light coming from your various electronic screens from reaching your eyes without affecting the visibility of the display on the screen.

When you sit down and think what it would be like to lose your sight or worse still see your child lose theirs, you realise how vital it is to consider the impact on eye health of any overexposure to electronic screens.

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I thought I would share the reasons I would like to visit Lanzarote with you.

When my Mum passed away, the first thing my Dad did was book a holiday. He asked if it was OK with me and I thought it was such a great idea after a year of caring for my Mum. He chose Lanzarote and my brother accompanied him. They returned time and time again so I reckon the place must have lots to offer.

Beautiful beaches

I have picked up my Dad’s love of the seaside and he told me about the amazing beaches in Lanzarote. When I go I will be heading straight for the resorts of Puerto del Carmen, Playa de los Pocillos, Costa Teguise and Playa Blanca. I will be looking for strolls on lovely beaches and my youngest son will definitely want to check out the water sports on offer.

Volcanoes

Another huge appeal for my son is that UNESCO has given the island World Biosphere Reserve status due to its amazing lunar-like landscapes with black rock formations and silvery mountain peaks. My son has a thing about volcanoes after a trip to the Natural History Museum so we will head for the Timanfaya National Park which has craters of more than a hundred volcanoes, the Fire Mountains.

Art

For my 13 year old daughter it will be the art that appeals. Lanzarote showcases unique creations from Cesar Manrique. He even created caves on the north coast that offer a chic bar and concert hall. How fancy is that?

Playa Blanca

My brother tells me there are many villas in Playa Blanca on developments spreading westwards from the port. To the east of the port is the town itself, building mainly restricted to two stories and the colours of white walls and green painted doors and shutters. Along the sea front are a number of bars and restaurants perfect places to watch the sunset whilst having a drink or a meal.

Apparently, fresh fruit and vegetable shops are in plentiful supply on the island and some shops even have cafes where you can enjoy coffee and cake. Although a small and relatively quiet town, Playa Blanca has plenty to offer including a water park for kids and the Pappagayo Beach  which is left largely as nature intended, cars not allowed too close.

Visit Lanzarote

So yes I think I will visit Lanzarote with Holiday Gems and try out the Canary Islands for the very first time.

Lanzarote is a welcoming friendly calm place to spend a holiday in the sun. It is around four hours flying time from the UK.

 

 

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

We moved into a lovely new home about 5 weeks ago. It is so wonderful that we have spent the last few weeks just thanking our lucky stars for finding the perfect home for us.

Of course, now I have got to the point where I want to make the most of what we have got here but also make it our own with personal touches.

Blinds

We have curtains on the bottoms two floors but the third floor has lots of windows with no coverings. I have spoken with the boys who reside up there and they have both said they would like some funky VELUX blinds to give their rooms the wow factor.

My younger son has a rug already but I think my teenager has his eye on one from IKEA as the catalogue keeps turning up on my sofa every time I leave the room.

We have given up on our original futon idea for his room as we had a spare bed so just moved it to his room.

I am enjoying getting to the point with the children where they no longer make the sort of mess that used to happen when they were younger. They no longer take food upstairs which is a big win and they have less stuff here too as they have really outgrown the toys stage. I thought we would never get to this point! So we are in a lovely chapter where I can channel my interior designer although let me tell you they have their own strong ideas too and quite right too.

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School-Home Support (SHS) is the charity I have selected to partner with for the next 12 months.

School Home Support

Did you know?

Over 4 million children in the UK are growing up in poverty – 30% of the total number of children – and don’t always have food in the house

1.6 million children in the UK live in housing that is overcrowded, temporary, or dilapidated

These children who have done nothing wrong need champions and to access good education effectively so their lives can improve now and in the future.

SHS has been going for over 30 years and helps disadvantaged children and young people overcome barriers to education, such as poverty, housing issues and mental health issues by working closely with families. I agree with their philosophy that a child will never achieve their best in school if they’re hungry or worried about something going on at home.

SHS helps families with things like self-care, nutrition, money saving and parenting all of which are topics I cover on this blog so it seemed a great charity to get involved with on a longer-term basis.

As a former charity worker, I am delighted to promote a charity that takes such a holistic approach to supporting families and children. Often problems can seem to come all at once and as mere humans we can struggle to cope emotionally and practically when this happens. I was moved by Wendy’s story and it resonated with me as I suspect a lot of the people I counselled who were in debt back in my Citizens Advice Bureau days were also incredibly worried about the impact of their troubles on their children.

It is good to know SHS can get involved on so many different levels to help families move forward positively one baby step at a time. I hope you find ways to support the charity and I am delighted that they will be offering expertise from their practitioners via my blog.

I am really excited about this partnership with School-Home Support and look forward to sharing more about this wonderful charity over the coming months.

#ablogginggoodtime

Mum Muddling Through
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