The Teenage Girls’ Survival Bible has a title that grabs your attention. It is true that teenage girls are facing more pressures than every before. The social  media networks drives them to tweak themselves into something they may not be. News and campaigns let them know that there are bad people in the world who really are out to abuse them. So I was keen to review The Teenage Girl’s Survival Bible.

Teenage Girls' Survival Bible

The Teenage Girls’ Survival Bible

Make-up artist to the stars, Jane Bradley has written  an illustrated guide for girls navigating their tricky teenage years. It is full of tips, tricks and cautions from make-up and looking good to big issues like sex, drugs and booze.

What my teenage daughter thought

My daughter was keen to look at the book and spent good hour or more reading it immediately. From time to time, she  would giggle and quote from the advice given. It wasn’t long before she was taking it to her bedroom for further reading. It certainly got her reading and took her away from her screens and her artwork.

What is covered in the book

The author writes about  boys and break-ups, friendships and love, bullying and panic attacks, depression and self-esteem. There’s tonnes of advice about your body too; from bad breath to B.O., periods, contraception and pregnancy. Going out? You’ll need to be ‘Streetwise’. Considering a tattoo or body piercing? Experimenting with drugs? Online dating? I smiled a little as I thought some older women including myself could learn from some of the tips given.

As a make-up artist to the stars, author Jane Bradley also shares her years of insider knowledge on make-up, skincare, hair care and style.

What I thought about the book

I liked the informal and conversational style. It was easy to read and get through quickly or to dip in and out of from time to time. Readers could just go to the sections that interested them most at the time. However, in the end for me it was heavily focused on image and seemed to send a bit of a mixed message. On the one hand, it was encouraging girls to be themselves but then spent a lot of time telling them how to make themselves different and attractive to boys. It did seem this book was aimed at heterosexual girls. I also thought there was not a firm enough message about the sense in not taking drugs or using alcohol only in very good moderation. Probably the bits I liked most as a mum were the quite random parts on washing label instructions and on quick fix meals.


If you have a teenage girl who wants to know how to put on make-up and make herself acceptable to boys, this is the book for you. My daughter was brought up by a mum who rarely if ever wears make-up and believes every woman is beautiful in her own right. So my daughter says she does not think she is gorgeous, she knows she is! Having said that, she enjoyed the book so perhaps buy it and make up your own mind.

ISBN: 9781789014464 Price: £15.99

The Teenage Girls' Survival Guide





My Random Musings

How are you sleeping? Is your bedroom your sanctuary? Perhaps like me you do not sleep as well as you could? I want to introduce you to something that has helped improve my comfort and my night’s sleep. I am delighted to share my review of the Reflex Pillow with you.

The Reflex Pillow

All too often I don’t buy pillows often enough or I compromise to save money. This results in pillows that  are no comfy and don’t last for long. I am learning that it is important to invest in myself as well as my husband and children. I am also working out that good sleep really is vital for our health and wellbeing.

The Reflex Pillow is something that lives up to its claims in my experience. It is just right as it is firm but also moulds to your head so it feels soft and squishy but also supportive. That’s exactly the right  balance.

Reflex Pillow

The story of the Reflex Pillow

A Cork inventor and back specialist achieved phenomenal success in 2016 on crowdfunding with The Reflex Pillow which currently sits in the top 10 most successfully funded Irish Kickstarter campaigns, having raised over €80,000 from backers.

Less than two years later, Reflex Pillow introduces a brand new pillow to its range doubling its target on Kickstarter this time round. The Perfection Pillow is now available online together with a range of accessories.

With over thirty years experience as a specialist in the treatment of neck and back pain, Noel O’Connor noticed a pattern in his patients finding that the pillow used was the biggest culprit in neck conditions. Having treated more than 30,000 patients during his career, Noel then spent fifteen years conducting various pressure sensitivity tests on feather, memory foam, and polyester-stuffed pillows before creating the ‘magic’ formulated blend of materials for the optimal pillow which would come to be known as ‘Reflex Foam’.

Reflex Pillow

How the Reflex Pillow works

With a head dip that is designed to keep the spine aligned and a dedicated shoulder slot, the pillow ensures the optimal positioning for your head, neck and shoulders. By supporting the upper body, neck and shoulder muscles are spared any stress and strain as you sleep which improves blood circulation and redistributes your body weight to help prevent stiffness. The stability of the head dip,ensures that you’re less likely to toss and turn during the night, whether lying on your back or sides.By ensuring the optimum positioning for your head, neck and back the Reflex Pillow can also reduce or eradicate snoring and sleep apnoea by improving the uptake of oxygen while sleeping.

“Inappropriate pillows do not support the anatomy of the human body so it’s not surprising that sleep science has turned to pillows as a major focus” says Noel O’Connor “While your mattress may support your lower spine, the soft tissue of your upper spine and neck requires even more support. ”

Reflex Pillow

The Perfection Pillow

Fifteen months after the introduction of the original Reflex Pillow, Noel launched Perfection Pillow on Kickstarter which doubled its backing target. Perfection has an enhanced the formulation to further reduce stress on the upper neck while sleeping by allowing the position of the head tro be held in extension for the duration on contact. The new Perfection Pillow has all the benefits of the original, complemented by improved cushioning and support. The pillow is patented and medically certified and protected with a luxurious zippered pillowcase. Also in the range are silk pillowcases and a handy travel bag into which the pillow can be rolled and taken away if required.

So if you want to indulge in some good sleep and self-care, I highly recommend the Reflex Pillow because it is working for me and my husband reports teeth grinding is not as bad as it was either so all good for marital harmony too.

The Reflex Pillow - A Review




div align=”center”>Family Fever

I was challenged to do the 20 mins challenge by the lovely Kelly who wrote about Doctor Who.

The rules:

1. In 20 minutes you are to create your post, including writing, checking, proofreading, editing and adding any images.

2. Mention the person who gave you the challenge and include a link to their website.

3. After 20 minutes you must publish what you have created.

4. You are free to write about any topic you choose.

5. Once you have done, you must choose three of your blogging friends to do the challenge, include links to their website.

6. Let your challenge nominees know via Twitter.

I nominate some truly amazing bloggers that you should definitely check out if you have not already done so.

You might think the title of this post is a reference to a Katy Perry song but let me tell you right now, I am actually a firework. I know this because my mum told me so. The entire fireworks in the sky on Bonfire Night are nothing to do with Guy Fawkes and actually all about me. Because I am so special and today is my day and there’s a particular thing called a Catherine Wheel that is named just for me.

You see, I am adopted and I came to my Mum and Dad on Bonfire Night collected from the Catholic Children’s Home in Leeds having made a journey up North with my birth mum that day by train from London because there was a social worker strike so nobody else could bring me.

I have written about all this many times on my blog so apologies to regular readers but actually baby I don’t care as it is my special day and I am claiming it. My parents whilst still alive made a big fuss about it with cards, flowers and often chocolate eclairs or similar. It’s harder now they are no longer here. My children try but can’t really feel its significance. My husband is bad at special days generally so I feel pressured as the day is on the horizon.

Today, I woke up feeling warm and snuggly under my duvet. The song that I know is somehow a gift from my Dad came into my head for no apparent reason. It’s the Light Up song from Snow Patrol that says “even if you cannot hear my voice”. Dad sent this for the first time as I travelled to give his eulogy at his funeral and he popped back again to sing it again when my voice wobbled as I delivered it.

I was soon downstairs sitting in the lounge when a robin fluttered in a dramatic way outside the window. Mum always thought robins were a visit from her mum so I do the same now. Hello Mum!

I tried to talk about the day with my husband. He does try but perhaps only those involved in the adoption can really get it. I went for a walk and we might go for a drink tonight to mark the day. I will see how I feel later.

Then I opened my emails and there was one from my remaining brother.

“Dear Kate

49 years ago today a light came into our lives.  Keep on shining.

Lots of love as always
Chris xxx”

I can tell you I shed a tear or two. I was not expecting the message and it was so right a bit like when Alice tastes that porridge in the fairy tale.

So the day started with light in that song, a robin came to say hello and then light came from my brother too just when I needed it. Who knows? Maybe I will find more light tonight?

I have never thought about it before but today it makes sense to me why I struggle when people who I think should (close to home) don’t find me special. I was told so many times as a child that I was that I grew to believe it.

I am special because I am an individual just like you are. I am special because I was chosen. I am special because I was loved and nurtured by am amazingly bright, fun and characterful family.

So today of all days, I will take on board what my brother said and keep shining! If anything I will resolve here and now to shine way more than I have done for many years because ultimately my dear, as my mum always told me, I am a firework!


My Random Musings
Shank You Very Much
The Ordinary Moments

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Confessions of a New Mummy

Cuddle Fairy
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Musings Of A Tired Mummy
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I have not written a Reasons to be Cheerful post. The reason is quite silly. I like to get these posts right as it is still the most meaningful linky I take part in. This may because is was the first or quite possibly because it got me on the road to counting my blessings and changing my life for the better. So when the day for it rolls around, I like to write a post that  matters. I have now worked out along with a lot of soul-searching recently that this is me all over. I am constantly striving to be perfect and then beating myself up emotionally when I don’t meet my own standards. So as part of my self-awareness and willingness to let go a little bit, doing a Reasons to Be Cheerful post this week is a positive in its own right.

Birthday boy

13 years ago I had a C-section and out popped my youngest son. He weighed in at 11 pounds and 8 ounces! He looked like a cute pirate and he shook our family up in the most marvellous way. He is my extrovert, the one with  charisma and comedy timing. He is amazing because he is also kind, a wise counsellor and has grown to look after me in the most lovely ways too. I suspect he will go far and quite possibly change the world as he is super-bright, does most things well and has great people skills. When I question my parenting, he tells me I can’t have done that bad as he is still here. As I said before, he is wise beyond  his years.

My daughter

My daughter will have new glasses very soon. Her eyesight has hardly deteriorated which is such good news. She entertains me with her strong opinions – very much the mini-me so if I failed miserably, she will be my torch bearer moving forwards perhaps. She is quite political hating racism, sexism and injustice in all its forms. She is so focussed in what she does working most of the day on art, design and stories. Better still, she is confident in her own skin and believes she is gorgeous but not in an arrogant way just in a way that it is a given. How I envy her getting to this realisation so early in life!

My almost 18 year old

My other son turns 18 in exactly 2 weeks time. I have a son who is bright but lacks confidence currently. He is happier now he has some plans in place for his future.. He is likely to do something around history and/or politics. He is also excited about various gaming things which seem to be nicely time-tabled around his birthday. He was out with us on Halloween night insisting on dishing out sweets to customers in the bar and on the street. He spoke at length about his views on Trump and so on. He knows so much about world politics and puts me to shame on that score. He also really impressed me by saying he always looks for both right and left wing media outlets before coming to his own view. He is as a bright as a button and his challenge now is to feel that way. He has also started to shave at last!

My husband

Shock! Horror! My husband turned up in a scary mask to the bar the other night. He appears to have found a little bit of a fun factor. He also did me a really big favour stepping up as a parent in a huge way leading to him having good quality time with our youngest children including a visit to an aquarium amongst other things. Finally, he has just negotiated a good price on a car repair – hurray! I think he is trying to understand me. He never will I fear but he is at least trying.


I am a little all over the place at the moment. I have hit a period in life when I am not sure what I want moving forwards on so many fronts. Where do I want to live? What do I want to do work and/or volunteering wise? Why am I here? Perhaps what used to be called The Change makes us want one.  I guess it is a time when a lot of our hopes and dreams have inevitably not panned out as we imagined when we were teenagers. In fact, I think this is a time when a lot of emotions we have as teenagers are present again in full force.

On the positive front, I have people who like me here. That’s quite a revelation. I feel I have missed out on friends in the real world for so many years. It has been lonely for a long time. I like to laugh and talk and I can do that here. I have learned that I need to curb my drinking but have realised I can indeed go out and have a good time without drinking to excess. Plus my health needs me to take better care of myself so I am eating more healthily too and seen 5 pounds slip off in a week. These days I worry less about the numbers on scales and more about how I feel and whether I am in pain or discomfort.

Another great thing is that I workbooks in place now which is helping me structure home education which I prefer even if so many home educators don’t. I may be over-schooled but I need some structure to prevent me wobbling about our lifestyle choice of educating at home.. I feel we are moving on in mathematics particularly well. We are now getting things going earlier in the morning which an education  consultant told me years ago is the way forward.

So yes I have plenty of reasons to be cheerful and perhaps can convince myself that over the decades I did get some things right. There is work to do and a whole lot of self-care and mindfulness needs to be put on my agenda methinks.




How alcohol affects your bowels and bladder may not be uppermost in your mind when you are on a boozy night out. I was brought up in a family of drinkers. Much of my social life from teen years until the present day has involved a tipple or two. As I reach a milestone birthday, I am questioning the way I live my life and one thing I am reflecting on is my consumption of alcohol. I was interested to read some recent findings on how alcohol affects your bowels and bladder.

What we already know

I think most of us these days are aware that drinking alcohol can have an adverse impact on our liver function an heart health. My own father died of liver disease and was whilst not a huge drinker a regular one. I have struggled with my mental health over the years as I believe most of us do. There is no doubt that whilst alcohol is fun in the short-term it is a depressant by nature. Most of us would probably be better off facing our demons rather than self-medicating them away for a little while.

Bladder function

What colour is your pee? Did you know it should be clear? Alcohol can often mean dark yellow or even brown pee. Alcohol dehydrates you so please do ensure you restrict the levels you take in and also drink the suggested levels of water to combat the ill effects of boozing.

If you have ever had a urinary tract infection, you know how thoroughly miserable they can be. As well as that feeling of constantly needing to pee, you have the burning sensation when you do. My last UTI was awful and laid me low for about a week or so.  Headaches, pain and fever can all come with cystitis meaning you don’t want to have sex, socialise or do anything much except lie under a duvet somewhere need a loo feeling sorry for yourself.

Finally, incontinence can be brought on by booze whether that is leakage or wetting the bed.

Bowel function

Most of us will have had constipation or diarrhoea at some stage of our lives perhaps due to another illness. I am hear to tell you abuse of alcohol can only make these worse. If you want to know the details of what is happening to your body parts when you drink,  what the worst drinks might be for you and why you are worse off if you have not eaten before drinking, visit Hartmann Direct for a detailed guide.

Get real

Perhaps a lot of us need to stop putting our heads in the sands about the dangers of drinking alcohol. Too many parents talk of wine time. Booze is glorified regularly on daytime television whilst it also hosts interviews with people who have suffered the impact of alcohol perhaps losing a child in a crash where a drink driver was the cause or by getting bowel cancer. I am by no means perfect but I hope like me you will look at your own alcohol consumption and ask yourself whether your lifestyle choices are serving you and your wellbeing..

How Alcohol Affects Your Bowels and Bladder


My Random Musings