My Teeth Straightening Journey – The Big Reveal!

nearly 17 months ago, I sat at my laptop scouring the internet for a dentist in Devon who offered teeth straightening. It was something I’d wanted to do for many years, I’m talking 10 at least, probably more. I’d mentioned it to my NHS dentist a few times who seemed completely disinterested and offered very little advice. I knew it was vanity, but it was also starting to affect the way I smiled and spoke to people, my dentist at the time convinced me that as my teeth were healthy I shouldn’t start messing around with them.

I wasn’t convinced, I could keep them white and clean no problem, I’d not had a filling since my teens but still, I yearned for the perfect smile, and why not. 2016 was a horrible year, I had very little to smile about, so if there was ever a reason to improve my smile and try recoup some of my battered self-esteem it was then. I tentatively picked up the phone to book an assessment and turned up the next day at a private dentist.

This is where I first got a hint that not all private dentists are the same, as I sat in the chair I felt total pressure to go for the most expensive package they offered after a very quick 15 minute look at my mouth, he talked about removing teeth and the whole experience seemed like a sales pitch. I paid my £100 and knowing I couldn’t afford what he was suggesting. Then by chance, I ended up having a Twitter conversation with the Exeter Dental Centre, and realised that they were more about the patient and less about the big bucks.

The assessment here was completely different, much more thorough and photos were taken for a detailed idea of what was needed. Alex, my dentist, talked through the whole procedure (no teeth were going to be removed!) and was totally honest and transparent. I left there elated that I might at last, get the smile I’d always dreamed of.



Ceramic braces were fitted, just the top at 1st, them months later the bottom ( a more detailed post on my first fitting is here and update on them here ) I’m not going to lie, it can hurt at times, I had regular check ups every 5-6 weeks where the wire was changed along with the bands around each bracket. They would get pretty stained and I had to avoid foods which contained turmeric, red wine, beetroot and strong coffee. You soon learn to read ingredient lists and scour any menu at what you can’t eat.

I also avoided chewy foods such as bread and pizza crusts, sweets and toffee was a big no-no too. I didn’t miss them too much to be fair, and it helped me maintain a much healthier lifestyle as a result. Meals out I would check they didn’t have spinach and I felt very conscious of green food lingering in my braces, it’s where you really learn who your friends are. I made sure I always carried a mirror and toothpicks in my handbag too.

The worst times were when the wires at the back would dig into my cheeks, I’d use wax which my dentist provided, to cover the brackets and wires but they wouldn’t always stick. On those days, and it would only ever be a few, I’d stick to soups, yoghurts and smoothies and did end up losing weight because of it. You also learn to chop or cut up all your food. But the positive side is how quickly you start noticing the changes.

People would tell me they hadn’t noticed I was wearing braces until I mentioned it, and I very quickly became used to them, and the last few day before they were due to come off, I started to feel sad at the fact they were going! It’s been 24 hours now and I still haven’t registered that I no longer have to brush my teeth a certain way or put my elastics in.

I’ve had fixed retainers fitted to the backs of my teeth to keep them in place and will be going back next week for a removable retainer which I will have to wear every night for 6 months and a few times a week after that. I guess that saying no pain no gain really applies here, but OMG have I gained!

I haven’t stopped grinning like a Cheshire cat, getting ceramic braces have hands down been the right decision and to say I’m pleased with the result is an understatement! No more covering my mouth when I speak, smiling in photos which my mouth shut and feeling self-conscious when I meet someone with perfectly straight teeth.


3 Easy Ways To Keep Fitness Goals Going

I want to share a secret with you, I’m going to let you in on a little behind the scenes look into how I’ve gone from a sort-of fit / can manage a family bike ride / walk to the shops pushing a buggy mum, to one who’s embracing a holistic healthy lifestyle and reaping the benefits.

You’re welcome.

You see, after several stop-start attempts to get fit, usually on a sunny morning, feeling inspired to start running or waking up on New Years Day and deciding THIS was the year I’d complete that 10K challenged, in 2016 I finally took fitness by the horns and stuck to my plans.

No more excuses.

Spurned on by the realisation that as a single mum, my health was more important than ever and that there was a possibility, at some point some lucky fella would see me naked! So I let out my battle cry to sort mum-tum – the pressure was on, I needed to tone up, and fast.

I’d not had the courage to wear a bikini in years, although I’ve stayed a consistent size 8 – 10 between pregnancies, there was still the telltale signs of 3 babies and it was time to change that. I didn’t want to just accept that at 40 I should hang up my 2-piece forever, toning up and fitness became my priority and above all, it made me FEEL good.

and here’s how I did it;

Never underestimate the power of planking

Starting small, I began planking for 2 minutes every morning building up to a 5 minute morning-kick starter workout – 1 minute full plank (pushed up on your hands), a 30 second elbow plank, 30 second right side and a left side one, same again for leg planks, one left one right another 30 second elbow plank and a final 1 minute one. The results kicked in pretty quick luckily.

how to sneak fitness goals into everyday routines Set a steps goals

Next was to set 10,000 steps per day goal. My job can mean I’m sat down for long periods of time, yet it’s amazing how quickly you can notch up those steps in a day without trying, and I could make up for less active days as I knew how much I’d slacked out on. I started just using a step counter on my phone as I always had it on me, then bought a fitness tracker.

Moving on to a FitBit more recently meant I could add friends who also had one and we could challenge each other. My Charge2 also has a gentle nagging approach to getting me off my butt and doing a few extra steps when I’ve been sat still too long! It also makes you consider if a car journey is really necessary when you can walk it and notch up those numbers.

Retrain your brain – Exercise as headspace

I’m a huge believer in balancing your emotions and clearing out your thoughts ready for any unexpected upheaval. A healthy body and healthy mind go hand in hand and no matter how busy your life is, you need some time in the week away from social media, emails, TV, chores and any stresses in your life. Just some time to steady your thoughts, process your week and step away from the norm.

As well as using a guided meditation app (I use Headspace, it’s ace and more recently, my Amazon Echo.) I also find swimming is a perfect escape and I don’t get distracted. Even when I’m running or at the gym, I’m guilty of checking messages and emails. But armed in my Speedo swimsuit and I’m in the zone; right tools for the right job and all that, top tip – it always helps if you’re wearing the right clobber to mentally think you can do it. I now have a very healthy collection of sportswear! Think of it as a double work out for the mind and the body if you need extra motivation.

So there’s my secret, nothing too heinous, these are the bare bones of my fitness routine.

I top off all the above with a few classes at my local gym, but on stupidly busy weeks, where work deadlines take preference over BodyPump. Just doing the few things I mentioned means I don’t get that fit-guilt as I’m still sneaking little goals with minimum effort and still reaping the rewards.

how to sneak fitness goals into everyday routines


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Should we only expect the very basic of patient care?

I’m going to open a whole can of worms here, but that’s what blogging’s about, being honest and sharing your thoughts, so here goes…..

Here in the UK, we’re lucky enough to receive free health care from the NHS. When I say free, obviously I don’t mean ‘free’- free. We pay our taxes in return for this care. But does that mean you should expect only the basic of care? Does the very fact we don’t have much say in where our taxes end up mean we should shut up and be grateful that we get any NHS treatment?

I don’t think it should.

The professionals who care for you when you require of any type of medical attention have trained long and hard, so it would make perfect sense that they are appreciated for what they do to make you better, and I am grateful for that. I’m grateful that they have entered into a profession and studied to ensure they deliver the best possible care. There is a flip side to being grateful however, and that is when things go wrong. I’m not grateful when you have trust in a service, which you have paid for, and receive only the minimum of care in return.

Because that care can go wrong, for a number of reasons.

Take the birth of my 1st child for instance; A long gruelling labour that was scary and very nearly had a bad ending because of bad judgements. My poor little baby had an awful journey into the world and I have no doubt spent most of his first few weeks in pain. Then there was the aftercare from that labour;  a night spent on a ward with minimum staff unable to answer by calls for help or being able to care for a new mum meant my care was none existent.

Is it any wonder I suffered anxiety and put off having another baby for a while?

I fully appreciate that the people who are paid to treat and care for us are only human and there’s always the argument for human error. No one’s perfect. But when that treatment is poor and patchy it verges into neglect. Blame overworked staff, managers expecting too much out of people, the list can go on, but there’s no denying that when you’re suffering and patient safety is compromised, it’s the long-term damage to the patient that the focus should shift on. It’s the compromise to the healing process, PTSD, anxiety, loss of earnings and overall safety which should be taken into consideration.

It was nearly 24 hours until I was offered something to eat after the birth of my 1st baby, I was unable to walk to the restaurant thanks to stitches, catheters and an epidural, when I was finally able to make it out of bed, I had no idea where the restaurant (or bathroom!) was. It was that basic care of food and water which was missing. So should I have claimed compensation? I have no doubt that websites such as Your Legal Friend would’ve helped answer a few of those questions. I’m pretty sure they would for a family member who will be giving up work very soon thanks to a monumental medical cock up!

Who’s to say that my career path in life would’ve been different if I’d not been so traumatised by the birth of my first child? If I’d relaxed a little more and enjoyed parenthood and made sure I’d made time for me and my husband?

Anyway, like I said, a whole can of worms there to gather up and throw back in. And dollop of ‘what ifs.’



The Fitness & Health Benefits of 4 Popular Extreme Sports

Extreme sports, such as skateboarding and paintball, provide an alternative to conventional or everyday activities. As well as being the perfect fix for adrenaline junkies, they are a brilliant way to stay in shape. They also happen to be 2 of the most favourite activities my teenage boys love, ironically, I don’t think they’d even consider them to be a sport.

Both adventure activities and extreme sports  have gone from strength to strength since the late-1990s in regards to exposure and popularity. During that same time, healthy living and fitness have become two of the most popular trends on a worldwide scale. Whether you’re a fitness freak looking for a more exciting way to burn some calories, or an extreme sports enthusiast in need of some exercise, here are four alternative activities that can seriously benefit your own health.


Skateboarding has been around since the 1950’s going through many different changes, trends and levels of popularity. Some people skate on a daily basis, performing various tricks in both street and vert-style skating. Others use it as a mode of transport and nothing more. Either way, the effort and movement involved is a great workout for your body. My eldest is renowned for waking our quiet little village each morning skateboarding to catch his school bus. And when anyone dared grumble to me about it, I defended him explaining it was simply the best way to kick-start his day with a burst of activity

It requires a lot of pushing power from your legs to gather speed, as well as flexibility and stretching while doing tricks — both of which will burn off calories with ease. To become proficient and consistently land tricks, you need to practice a lot, meaning that skateboarding will become a daily workout that’s a lot more fun than the gym. 

health & fitness benefits of extreme sports

BMX/Mountain Biking


Most people have ridden a bike at some point in their life and many still do on a daily basis, as a hobby or primary form of transport. Two adaptations of cycling that definitely fit into the extreme sports category are BMX and mountain biking. Both up the ante in regards to excitement and provide the ultimate pedal-powered workout.

A BMX (short for Bicycle Motorcross if you’re wondering,  comes in two styles. Firstly, there’s racing, which requires intense bursts of pedalling (cardio) and arm strength to manoeuvre the bike around corners and over jumps. This sport has increased in popularity since it became an official Olympic sport. The second is stunt BMX: although the premise is the same, this style of riding requires more strength and balance to perform tricks, spins and flips.



Although paintball is very different in just about every way when compared to the sports mentioned above, there’s no denying that it’s one of the most unique and engaging adventure activities out there. As you explore expertly designed battlefields and dodge oncoming fire from enemies, it’s safe to say your body will be getting quite the workout.

Paintballing for kids and adults are both a possibility (separately or together), meaning it’s the ideal activity to get out of the house for a whole day of exercise with friends or family. Rapid movement to avoid the paintballs, climbing obstacles, crouching behind cover; it all adds up over the course of a day and creates the ultimate workout. But due to the adrenaline rush and distractions of battle, you’ll barely notice how much exercise you’re doing.

Paintball offers a unique take on what an adventure activity should be, using authentic combat as fuel for the fire. It doesn’t matter if it’s paintballing birthday parties, stag dos, or just a day trip with the family; the excitement and diversity involved make paintball the perfect activity for a variety of occasions.



Much like other extreme sports, surfing is an activity that, over the years, has gained a massive following. The UK has an abundance of beach locations that provide the necessary swells and waves that a surfer’s dreams are made of. But aside from being a fantastic way to spend a few hours, surfing requires a fair amount of effort and determination.

Paddling is an essential part of surfing, therefore giving you an effective core and upper-body workout. Maintaining your balance against the resistance of waves will require strength, while swimming back to your board after taking a tumble is fantastic for cardio. The average person burns around 400 calories an hour while surfing, so even if you only have time to surf for a few hours, you’ll still be doing your body plenty of good.

Although many of these sports have been around for decades, it’s only been in the last ten years of so that they’ve been recognised and embraced for their fitness benefits. A skateboard or bike can be just as effective as a few hours in the gym — and a day spent paintballing? Well, it’s difficult to compare that to anything in the gym. All of the activities above are extremely good for you in a number ways. Whether you’re looking for a way to lose weight, build strength, or just get off the sofa for a few hours, extreme sports offer something to suit the needs of everyone.

health & fitness benefits of extreme sports


This is a collaborative post








Supporting the Early Years Nutrition Partnership

Having worked in early years for 15 years, the issues surrounding the best outcomes for this most precious age group has been forefront in my mind. It went part of the parcel with being a mum, so you could say I had a very close and vested interest. Which is why I am supporting the launch of the Early Years Nutrition Partnership C.I.C; an independent social enterprise created in partnership with the Pre-school Learning Alliance, British Nutrition Foundation and Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition, that will provide ‘hands-on’ support for early years settings aiming to improve their whole approach to nutrition practice, to help support improvements across the sector that will contribute to positive health outcomes for the current pre-school generation.

The Early Years Nutrition Partnership (EYN Partnership) has brought together a unique network of self- employed, registered nutritionists and dietitians, each with extensive experience in the early years. They will work alongside and within early years settings, to help them achieve accreditation with a new EYN Partnership Quality Mark. The support provided by the nutrition professionals will be tailored to meet the individual needs of each particular setting and community in which it operates.

Early years settings that sign-up to the EYN Partnership will also be able to upskill their team with opportunities for professional development. The EYN Partnership will provide study places for a Level 3 CACHE award in nutrition and hydration in the early years, and early years setting chefs and cooks will be able to study for a Level 2 CACHE award in the preparation of meals to meet relevant nutritional standards in an early years setting.

If early years settings choose to do so, they can also access additional services from their EYN Partnership nutrition professional, such as the delivery of bespoke classes for parents, children or practitioners.

Integral to the EYN Partnership model is a commitment to support settings with the highest social deprivation needs, with an ambition that in the first year of the programme at least 10% of the settings registered with the EYN Partnership will benefit from subsidised access. A measurement framework and evaluation strategy has been developed to analyse the success of the programme in delivering demonstrable and sustainable social change.

tackling childhood obesity with the early years nutrition partnership


According to the National Child Measurement Programme, one in every five children starting reception in England is either overweight or obese.1 Obese children and young people are more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood.2 Amongst other issues associated with poor nutrition in childhood, twenty five per cent of five year olds are reported to experience some tooth decay.

Neil Leitch, Chief Executive Officer of the Pre-school Learning Alliance and Chair of the EYN Partnership Board, says: ‘Childhood obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time, and we know that eating a healthy diet during the early years has a significant impact on health outcomes later in life. Early years settings have an essential role to play in helping to establish good eating habits and positive learning about healthy eating. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership model, with its frontline help for practitioners from registered nutritionists and dietitians, offers a more collaborative approach to change at the local level. The Early Years Nutrition Partnership will bring about significant change that will have an impact on the future health of a generation.’

Please share this post with anyone who works in the early years sector as well as parents and carers of children under 5