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I adore it when its my birthday or anyone within my family's birthday. We go all out in our household to celebrate every minute of the day or have birthday weekends.
Each year we try and go to a good restaurant for a start and go to a show or event, but the most precious moments are having a birthday cake and tea with champagne at home and opening presents with a cup of tea in the morning.
There should be a ritual to every birthday in each household, and always give out birthday cards and greetings to people as what you give out you receive back and to have even someone say happy birthday to you is lovely and means they have remembered. This means more and more the older you get in life.
Some people dont bother with sending cards or having cake etc on their birthday but I happen to see these as essentials for any birthday and to eat cake with freinds and family is a tradition and creates wishes and memories for that year ahead. Celebrating childrens birthdays is especially lovely and as a mother I always try and make my own childrens cakes as its part of the fun of the prep work and go all out to find the specific cartoon or film character they like that year. Buying presents is always an exciting part of creating a childs birthday and seeing them open their presents. To also organise a party is lovely and watch all the childrens faces when they have fun, dance and watch magicians or similar. The party bags are of course the best bit of a childs party and always were when I was a child myself.
Always celebrate your birthday as however old you feel on that particular year you will be younger than the year ahead and so on and so forth. Celebrating birthdays is part of life and whilst we may all be a little down about getting older it is indeed a scientific fact of us all and hence we cant change it and therefore we should always celebrate the fact we have gotton another year older and wiser and can enjoy life. Always be grateful to be able to celebrate your birthday as many people in the world cannot.
Overall always make a big deal of it whether it be cheaply with freinds round and afternoon tea with some cake, tea and presents or go all out and go to lavish restaurants and parties, whatever is your style do it in the company of people who love you and care for you and always return the favour.
I absolutely despise this programme and this is why.
I am a meat eater, however I am also a huge advocate of animal welfare and standards and hence will only buy meat when it is free range and from reputable sources and butchers with high welfare standards. If I cant afford meat one week I wont buy it, and will eat fish or vegetarian meals, this therefore should never be an excuse for people to state they cant afford free range and high welfare standard meat.
This programme shows how meat is produced but only through the highest of welfare standards, obviously so, in the cleanest and best care as possible and hence people watching this believe that all meat is produced in this way therefore increasing the purchase of meat and increasing bad standards and bad welfare.
If you believe all meat is produced in this way please visit animal right sites such as peta, animal rights org, greenpeace etc. you may be shocked that only a minority of slaughterhouses and these are tiny ones at that will be acutely careful with their animals and will treat their animals with the highest of respect.
The majority of mass produced meat comes from mass production lines in huge slaughterhouses and the atrocities that take place in many of them are abhorrent. Many animals are not stunned properly and are simply tortured through the cutting and slitting of their throats to bleed out and writhe in agony. Chickens will regularly not be stunned properly and have their beaks chopped off before a razor slits their throat.
Atrocities happen in slaughterhouses daily and its abhorrent and this programme sadly only focuses on an acute minority of slaughterhouses and mostly represents on site slaughter yards such as on farms.
Pigs are boiled alive to have all of their fur stripped before having their throat slit and many animals are abused by staff with punches, kicks, and even have a beating with tools. It is abhorrent what takes place in slaughterhouses and until cctv is placed into every single slaughter house in the UK this behaviour wont stop.
Dont believe that the meat you eat is produced well and to a high welfare standard because only a minority is and nearly all supermarket meat is mass produced meaning it has low welfare standards and is full of anitbiotics and chemicals.
If you cant afford good meat then dont eat it.
I do feel that the decision in having children should also be the decision to look after your children yourself, each circumstance is different however. Having always worked for myself I took very little time off when I was pregnant and when I had my children, however I think if someone makes the decision to have children, a couple rather then at least one of those parents should be around at least 70 per cent of time. Im afraid Im very old fashioned when it comes to working parents as whilst I work, I have always, since my children have been born allowed my work to not interfere with my children as it is so vital for mothers especially to be with their children for the first 4 years of their life.
Im afraid I tend to get rather angry when so many couples both work full time and put their children into childcare or palm them off to their grandparents to allow both of the parents to work, as a parent they miss out on vital developmental time, precious time with their kids they will never get back and vital emotional support. Its only for a few years, there are always other ways to gain an income.
Regarding keeping childcare within the family, this is a good idea to a degree as long as it is only for 1- 2 days a week , 3 at a push but after this it is again not spending enough time with the child an also not allowing the grandparents to have their own life however much they state they love having the grandchildren.
It is of course much cheaper to keep children with grandparents if not free but parents shouldnt take advantage of this. Looking after children is hard work.
Overall whilst it is cheaper and is ok for children to be looked after for a minimal amount of time to allow for working of both parents to take place this should only be done on a minimal basis as nothing can give the best chance and best support to children but the parents themselves in these first few vital years, these years afterall set up the child for life.
Being married myself I am evidently one to agree with it, however!
Marriage has changed dramatically over decades and many people dont understand that marriage was initially brought in as an insurance policy for wealthy couples and families to protect their wealth, and marriage was used on a 5 year basis then to either be stopped or renewed. It was purely down to insurance until the church got hold of it and used marriage under the 'name of god' to actually initially make money for the church! Many people dont understand this, they also dont understand that marriage is not set for us biologically. We are not a monogamous species and only two species in the world are one being the swan. We are not made to be with one person for the rest of our life and this is why so many people suffer within marriages and relationships long term. There are of course always exceptions with marriage where the feeling of being in love will last forever and always and remaining sexually attracted to one another will always remain.
I am married however I live within an open marriage which allows us both to be sexually involved with other people and hence be open and honest regarding this. This is most certainly not everyones idea of a marriage however honesty and trust is and without these two ingredients no marriage can survive long term. Trust and being honest with one another is what builds a freindship to start with and a best freindship is what allows a marriage to live and thrive. I adore my husband, and I love him and will do always and this is because we are best freinds, we would remain to be best freinds under all circumstances because this is what marriage becomes a member of the family and a freindship. The spark does not stay forever and so many people forget this.
I feel many people outgrow one another which again is a natural part of life, we all change and have 7 year cycles spiritually of changing however how we allow that change to dominate our lives is up to us and down to how honest we are. It is this honesty that can adapt within a relationship and how it can keep a relationship afloat. The amount of people I know who have been and are in long term relationships and continually cheat and lie and to their partners is astronomical and many of their spouses have no idea, this angers me and infuriates me as it only takes honesty and trust and betrayal wouldnt happen.
Allow one another to be free within a relationship and that certainly doesnt necessarilly mean allow each other to see other people as this would only suit a small percentage of people but generally always discuss your feelings, fears, worries, angers, lusts and desires for it is only through conversation and understanding one another one hundred per cent that a marriage can survive for the long term.
Personally I do think degrees are most certainly worth the paper they are written on and I will always encourage my own children to aim for university and gain a degree, however I do feel that there are some degrees out there now which are pointless and simply can add more educational time to ones life so they dont have to go to work and also more money into the educational system. These I feel though are few and far between.
I always however think that whilst there are excellent apprenticeships and work schemes for young people when leaving school to get a degree under your belt is always the best option as its a qualification that will always be with you, a training that is next to none and also life experience as university years are some of the best in your life. A new array of freinds is a great aspect of university life as well as learning to live away from home.
Overall a degree will always give you the training for a specific subject which you cant get anywhere else, it educates to a great depth and I do feel the majority of employers worth their weight look closely at educational qualifications and of course for an array of jobs it is only a degree that will allow you to enter the work such as medicine, scientific subjects, geographical subjects, nursing, midwifery even many of the arts with fashion, art, design etc these go further with degrees.
The downside of university nowadays is most certainly the living costs and loan costs which are astronomical and can start a young persons life with a huge debt. The average debt nowadays is well over 20,000 which is ridiculous when people simply want to better themselves. The costs should be much lower for students to be able to do degrees. However I always think it is very possible to go to university with loans, grants and also working. I knew many students who worked their way through university to pay for it and they came out with lower debts and a degree to gain a highly paid job.
Learning about spirituality should not purely be focused upon the reading of a book by no means however the amount of books out there based on spirituality and new age religions and cultures in general is astronomical and can offer you insights, detailed accounts, personal experiences and historical revelations regarding spirituality as a whole.
If you are new to spirituality in general and working with the mind as well as the body one of the easiest books to read and enjoy is 'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elisabeth Gilbert. It is a novel but talks of a womans search for everything regarding her spiritual mind and love and eventually finds it but novels based on spirituality are far easier to read rather than getting into the nitty gritty of spiritual books such as conversations with god by Neale Donald Walsh and books by Gerald Gardner based on the modern religion of Wicca. There are many informative books but be sure to know what you want to learn about before anything else.
The Celestine Prophecy is a superb book by James Redfield, based on manuscripts that people go to find and discusses the soul of coincidences and how there is really no such thing but all that happens happens for good reason and is part of your jigsaw and how energies between people are real. Again a novel but a perfect spiritual book and based on alot of fact.
Always start with basic spiritual books and dont get drowned by all that they can entail. You may find that some put you off straight away. Don't read spiritual bibles such as the wicca black book or guidelines for religions before you know about religions and spiritual cults etc.
Paul Coelho again is a wonderful spiritual writer and all his books are novels but have the basis of spiritual law and how you should approach it. All of his books are well worth reading and some can be quite light reading which makes them more so enjoyable.
Twelve Lessons by Kate Spencer is a superb spiritually based novel which alot can be learnt from.
One of the best spiritual factual books is the path of the christian witch by Adelina St Claire, which discusses her discussions with herself about how she was brought up a christian but has always been drawn to witchcraft and how the two can very much be amalgamated.
Overall spirituality books can be bought on every aspect of this genre but buy novels before factual and instructional books.
This book is absolutely superb and this woman as an author is superb also.
When I had my daughter I had an extremely traumatic birth and I discussed this with Sheila Kitzinger, the author of this book, and the book will take you back to the natural process of birth, why it should be natural and why intervention in any shape or form can be incredibly traumatising for the mother and child. This book focuses also on the western culture of giving birth and how it has changed over the years and also how many cultures go through the birthing process very differently.
Within the western culture especially women have a one dimensional view of birth and how it should be and where it should take place etc but the western world can sometimes divert completly away from the natural process of giving birth and so many times this is why women suffer especially after giving birth with so much intervention offered or given and many times given unnecessarilly.
Shiela Kitzinger discusses emotional journeys and ideologies within the book, baring in mind that giving birth is the most intense and earth shattering experience a woman will have in her lifetime. Whilst it can bring joy to hundreds of thousands of women it can also bring much pain and suffering. This book can put different cultural perspectives into light and allow the woman to make more informed choices about what they want.
The book goes through the process of pregnancy and birth and delves into each cultures guiding within it, it truely is a fascinating book whether you are pregnant and about to give birth or not, its historically interesting and also goes back to ancient recordings of birth and pregnancy. Reading historical accounts allows the woman to delve even deeper into how they wish to give birth and to try to gain the most natural route as possible as whilst there is acute pain when giving birth the most natural route will allow both the mother and child to recover much much quicker and in many cases quite immediately.
Kitzinger is very much agaisnt the extreme intervention medically that takes place during childbirth nowadays and whilst in some cases medical procedures are needed in the majority of cases they are not and intervention has been deemed a process for medical staff to speed up the process of birth!
Kitzinger is very extreme in her views but overall she is a superb writer and her cultural history of events within birth are accurate and experienced.
Having a baby is the singular most important thing you can ever do in your life. As a woman it takes all you have both emotionally and physically to have a child from the moment of conception to the moment of birth and then for the rest of your life. Its hard and there is no doubt about it, but a child will be the love of your life and this is the most perfect love that you can experience.
Parenting in general is hard but incredibly rewarding. It takes away your own life though to a huge degree, and so it should to a degree if you are prepared to have a child then be prepared to do all you can for that child to thrive in all aspects of life. It will not only reward the child but reward you in each step of parenting throughout each step of bringing that child up until adulthood.
The processes of bringing up a child start from caring for them as a baby, to the toddler years and then the beginning of school. throughout the schooling years through primary, junior and secondary then onto career choices. Each step of this is huge leaps in life and can put you through trauma but each step is magical and wonderful and then of course there are relationships also. These will bring you tears and joy as parents but whilst parenting is incredibly hard and indeed the hardest job you will ever do in life, it is the most rewarding and you will laugh, smile and cry more than you ever have before.
The love for a child is the deepest love you will ever have and the most intense worry and it is a bitter sweet relationship.
An essential part of maintaining parenting to the best of your ability is to make time for yourself as a individual and a couple. This will make sure your batteries are always recharged and you wont become bogged down by parenthood as trust me it can feel like that alot of the time.
Have date nights, make time for one another as a couple and don't loose your freinds over having a baby because you make that baby consume your life. You will need your freinds more than ever with a new baby and throughout parenthood so make sure you do as you always did with your freinds. This is very important.
Overall its the best most intense experience of your life and each day see the beauty in your child and for every no you shout shout an even louder yes. Children are amazing.
I am a seasoned camper and the best tips are listed below -
- Air tents - Yes they are expensive but they are worth it especially if you go away for weekends and want to get away and set up quickly, The majority of them take 10 minutes at the most to put up and all can be sorted within an hour.
- Cobb BBQ - A unique bbq that uses coals and you can cook almost anything within it which is great.
- Remember if you have anything electrical you need a hook up which means bigger campsites and more money!
- LED torches, much brighter and economical.
- Onesies - Always keep you warm
- Solar Panel bags or pads which allow you to charge your phone
- Cooking facilities and bbqs which allow you to charge your phone also such as bio lite camping stoves.
- Camping mats as well as camping beds. The mats stop cold air from getting into the air bed and have cold air circulating.
- Camping table, these are perfect to keep camp stoves and kitchen equipment off of the ground, they can bought lightweight and small.
-Go outdoors - go to this store for cheap but quality goods and you get a discount card which costs £5 for the year.
- Buy a small tin opener blade rather than use up more space with a normal tin opener. They work just as well.
- If you go trekking have a bag liner or a plastic bag inside your rucksack to hold you items as then it is waterproof should it rain.
- Dont buy camping meals which they sell in camping stores. They are truely only for trekking and desperate measures when trekking also! All food can be cooked when camping especially with the right equipment.
- Buy a camping cookbook, then you have an array of ideas to eat without having the same old noodles and cup a soups!
- Tent carpet. Have a tent carpet for cosy areas and a mat for the dirty area to place shoes onto.
- Get camping saucepans and colanders and a camping kettle. These are much smaller to carry and fold away also. They are worth investing money in.
- Always ask for camping gadgets for birthdays and christmas. You will get items that you wouldnt necessarilly buy yourself.
- Have a electrical charger that can hook up to your car. this will allow an electrical hook up for small electrical items and of course a phone charger. Always check wattage though!!! Also some cars wont allow you to run a electrical lead as they will simply cut out.
- If you intend to go trekking especially in mountains and out of reach areas get a life straw. it could indeed save your life as it is a straw that works as a water filter when you run out of water and need to gain it from a stream or river.
Camping beds are worth getting but overall they take up space in the car which can be much needed space for something else and something more needed.
Camping beds are beds that flatpack down by folding and some can be folded quite tightly so they fit in the boot of the car easily however some are much larger and so always test them out in store before you purchase, this is actually vital and is dependant upon which car you have etc. They come in both single, double and childs sizes.
They do however come in various standards, double beds can be much heftier to carry and travel with obviously, but some are very lightweight and some heavier. The lightweight ones can be good if you just requite a few nights away but they can also feel to flimsy and you may feel like they are going to break any moment. The best beds I have found are the fishing beds and the more expensive army beds. They have alot more padding which makes them overall more comfortable and feel sturdy.
You are raised off of the ground which is the best part of a camp bed as with air beds the cold air from the ground can get trapped inside of the bed and hence make you alot colder, whereas the the mats placed on the floor can be much warmer as albeit they are closer to the ground no cold air can get trapped. With camp beds the air is still flowing so they can be quite warm also, but make sure you have a liner or sheet and also a good sleeping bag. Its always cold sleeping at night when camping!
The more legs the bed has the sturdier it will be, may take up more room but youll have a more comfortable sleep.
They range in price from £15 right up to over £100 depending on what quality and comfort you desire. Always look around however as what you get for one price in one shop you are bound to find cheaper somewhere else. Go outdoors are generally the best for all ranges of camp beds, they also do the discount cards.
Overall always test before you buy because what bed will suit one person wont suit another.
I was incredibly against camping having camped at festivals when I was younger and hence only desired 5 star, then I experienced real camping and now I am hooked, but its certainly an experience that people either love or hate, I happen to love it.
If you truely love camping then you may be an outdoors person who likes to get back to nature and hence wild camping may entice you. A tent, a bbq, the stars and mountains, personally this is heaven for me with good company and a glass of wine, but to others this would be horrendous!
There is then wild camping which leads you back to basic living and even washing in lakes and streams, basic cooking on bbqs and fires, drying your clothes on string on the outside of your tent and keeping warm by clothing and sleeping bags alone.
There are hundreds of campsites with facilities however which the majority of people go for. These include large fields and areas of land where toilets and showers are provided and some have cooking facilities also. These are the best to go to especially if they are large enough for you to have a decent pitch and also with fire pits as this is part of the camping experience but many campsites don't provide pits.
One tip go for campsites with ano music policy as they will still probably allow singing with guitars but no electrical music form steros etc. Music can destroy the whole essence of camping.
There is also commercial camping which are campsites on holiday resorts, I personally hate these, they can be tiny pitches and allow music and they are very cheap so entice some undesirables! Be wary of these sites if you are a true camper however these can be good if you just want cheap camping with the family to explore an area. They are noisy though.
The best places for wild campers are in the depths of forest and mountainous areas, this is truely a unique and magical experience, even within caves is amazing.
If you want small campsites which are only for small groups of people then join the camping and caravanning club, these are unique locations with desirable views however you do have to be referred to be able to join.
Overall camping is not for everyone but for those that love it then explore the country deeply and wildly. Its cheap, children love it ad its back to basics which switches the mind off completly.
An easy and lightweight table for camping with a some mesh storage underneath.
A lightweight table is a must for any camping trip and I spent many summers thinking I didn't need a table but when I eventually got one I couldn't live without it.
A table can hold all of your food items which should be kept off of the ground anyway and glasses and bottles of drink. Its also a good idea to have a table to keep your cooker and a stand for your camping kettle on as its more stable than working and cooking on the uneven ground.
Camping tables in general can be bought from the majority of camping shops including -
Go outdoors - This is actually the best camping shop I find as you can buy a discount card for £5 which lasts the year and is a discount for everything within the store but I find it pretty cheap generally anyway even without the card.
Mountain warehouse - You can get tables here however dont always bank on them having them as generally these stores seem to be smaller outlets and dont always hold larger camping items and equipment.
Argos - This sells quite a lot of larger camping items
Supermarkets will stock some camping items at the start and during the summer but be careful not to rely on buying a table here as they only stock so much.
Obviously you can also order camping gear online at amazon, ebay and through online stores. If you go through amazon always check the other outlets selling as you may find some are cheaper than others.
Overall this particular table is good with the extra storage but any camping table overall is worth getting as it helps with storage and food.
Personally I would not say the cinema experience is going down hill, I adore going to the cinema and simply switching off from the world, reality and everyday life.
Going to cinema is something you can do alone, with your partner or with friends and family and your kids. It is suited for everyone as there are so many different genres of films out nowadays that it caters for everyone and every age. Something that can be done at anytime of day also, the morning, afternoon and especially the evening to wind down and chill out.
The decline of cinema is down to a few factors, price is now a huge factor as it is so incredibly expensive however you can get around this by going on certain days especially tuesdays in the majority of cinemas where tickets can be around £5 but overall tickets are ridiculously priced now and hence this puts a lot of people off going to the cinema. Films can be bought easily online also and through sky etc so many people decide to stay at home rather than head to the cinema albeit they are watching older films.
As well as tickets being expensive refreshments are again ridiculously priced with popcorn, drinks and hotdogs. Even a bottle of water can be up to £2. Many cinemas will not allow you to take food and drink in however this can always be rectified by taking food and drink in a bag.
I also feel may people dont respect the cinema as they used to and people feel it is acceptable to talk throughout and disturb others. This is simply not cinema etiquette and this should be clamped down onto more so.
Overall however to go to the cinema is something that is a closure from the reality of everyday life bringing with it a magic and a switch off to reality and hence it is worth the money but it has got to expensive.
The soundtrack is not what I expected for this film! Firstly when you listen to some of the tracks especially Ellie Goulding's 'Love me like you do' on the radio you expect the whole film to be full of sensual and erotic love songs, it doesnt quite cater for this overall I feel.
The song list is as follows -
I put a spell on you - Annie Lennox
Undiscovered - Laura Welsh
Earned it - The Weekend
Meet me in the middle - Jessie Ware
Love me like you do - Ellie Goulding
Haunted - Beyonce
Salted wound - Sia
Beast of Burden - The rolling stones
Im on fire - AWOLNATION
Crazy in Love - Beyonce
Witchcraft - Frank Sinatra
One last night - The Vaults
Where you belong - The Wekkend
I know you - Skylar Grey
Ana and Christian - Danny Elfman
Did that hurt? - Danny Elfman
The soundtracks can be bought from various outlets however Amazon and itunes is the easiest as it can be downloaded straight away to your iphone and pod. The cost is £9.99, this will of course vary slightly from each outlet but only slightly.
All of the songs can of course be bought seperately on itunes and amazon.
The songs which fit the film the best are Ellie Goulding 'Love me like you do', and Beyonces 'haunted'. Both are exquisitely sensual and desirable and fit the sex scenes of the film. However within the film I feel Ellie Goulding's song is in completely the wrong place.
There is a mixture of love songs, sensuality and piano tracks as Mr Grey plays well. Frank sinatra is a classic love song but overall I was dissappointed there were not more very deep sensual songs which I feel would have turned the whole film into a much more classic love story with an erotic twist.
Listen to the soundtrack fully before you buy it, you wont be dissappointed but you may only wish to choose certain songs from it.
Spas are an incredible way to relax, spend time with freinds or a loved one or partner and simply indulge, relax and unwind. Usually located within hotels there are good spas, ok spas and health suites which claim they are spas because they have a sauna and hot tub but trust me there are huge differences.
There are some exquisite spas in England but do your research and go for spas which hold the most amount of rooms, areas, facilities and treatments. Also specialist spas such as thai infused spas are beautiful and have treatments which many do not offer. A day or evening in a spa will rejuvenate the body and soul and reboost your batteries.
Facilities should include -
- a hydrotherapy pool which is perfect for aches, pains and for loosening the muscles
- Aromatherapy room holding crystals and scents with steam which soak into the skin leaving it feeling refreshed
- Saunas which are basic heat rooms allowing the body to sweat out toxins
- Hot tubs, it is especially lovely to be in a hot tub outside in the winter looking out onto an area of beauty, so the location of a spa can sometimes make a huge difference
- Relaxation room, these should include loungers and chairs with fruit juices, water and herbal tea options with an array of magazines to be able to relax and chill out to.
- Experience showers with ice rooms, these are only in top spas but are wonderful with refreshing temperatures of water and degrees of water pressure with scents
- Treatment rooms to experience an array of massages, mud baths, facials, exfoliations and reflexology.
All of the above makes for a good spa and albeit you may not always be able to afford to have a treatment when going on a spa day it does make all the difference to have a massage especially as it adds to the whole relaxation of the body. Whilst spas are expensive you can get many deals now which offer spa days for half price and deals on sites such as groupon and lastminute.
Spas offer light but healthy lunches and to have a whole spa day is well worth it for the whole body. Always an indulgence but always worth the price.