Life's Easy

Life is hard enough as it is, we are often overworked and underpaid so this is where you will find some things to make like a little easier.


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Posted on 11th November, 2020
Times are tough as it is, but 2020 has changed how tough things can really get, from being in isolation to worrying about catching something invisible that could kill you.
For many, the fact we could not be ourselves in what we once considered to be normal to now being told how we must interact with friends, family and the world, this alone is enough to take away anyone's self-confidence, change their state of mind and even make them anxious.
I have been hit badly with anxiety and panic attacks and not even being able to set foot outside my front door due to being forced into isolation for health reasons.
Being cut off from the world does not have to change our mental state but when it does, what do we turn to calm our thoughts and our inner self?
I discovered the app 'Calm' that made me take a few minutes each day to be grateful for what I had and then to train me with breathing techniques to calm the chatter of what was around me. I have gained focus and tranquillity and I even have a movie star read me a bedtime story and lull me off to the land of nod each night. It has become my saviour.
Some cultures have embraced, over centuries, the healing properties of meditation and there are even medical bodies now that have growing evidence to show that practising mindfulness can promote peace of mind, just taking a look at tech giant Apple with its watch 'Breath' app is evident alone that such tech giants are putting billions of dollars into such practices goes to show it is nothing to be sniffed at. Yet many have not tried meditation for fear of it being intimidating, seen as being some kind of hippy belief or too foreign for them to understand.
The 'Calm' app takes away all of the complicated elements of meditation and simply puts it in an app that has a plethora of masterclasses to suit everyone's needs from taking a five-minute breathing break at work, giving you focused thoughts before a meeting, helping you to be more confident before an interview to specially curated bedtime stories or soundtracks to listen to by stars of film, TV or music legends.
Before you ask, yes it even integrates with your health tracking apps so you can see its benefits.
There is plenty of free content and also some of the masterclasses allowing the first module for free, also the option to subscribe for more content to be unlocked and if you are undecided if this is the app for you then they also offer a free seven-day trial and you simply cancel before the end of the trial if you do not wish to continue your subscription. 
Calm has a multi-platform policy so you just need to make one account that can be used on all devices, platforms, web-based content and even smart TV's. Simply sign in with the same email address on your chosen device and sit back and enjoy.
I used the app for only a few days to notice the benefits it was making to my life and wellbeing. It even calmed my tinnitus so for me it was a no brainer to opt for the subscription and I even got a 40% off voucher to entice me to take out the subscription.  I did not subscribe through the app store but instead directly through its web-based portal as ongoing recurring subscriptions were a lot cheaper, this did not affect the content on my other devices as you are only using one account and one sign-in across all your devices.
The library of content now available for me is staggering and constantly updating every few days.  I have unlocked more breathing exercises, Breath Bubble, calming background sounds, full calm masterclasses, meditation for every emotion or focus, The Spark (these are speakers with inspirational, motivating and self-improvement classes), Calm exercise classes for your body and mind, daily check-ins to let you track your habits and feelings with a glance at your progression, music for your mood and my favourite, Sleep Stories.
Of course, you can favourite all of the content that appeals the most so it is all in one easy place and this is available in both free and subscribers.
I have listened to the most calming music as I write this review which for me is unheard of since normally I require silence when I blog.  So would I recommend this app? Hell, yes!

Vitamin E

Posted on 27th April, 2020
There are a number of home remedies and natural products marketed to prevent the formation of scars and to minimise the appearance of old scars.
The kind of scars that people are often interested in preventing is stretch marks. They are red and sometimes raised and are caused by the skin stretching quickly to produce a baggy look to the surface of the skin. They are not damaging in any way, it is more down to a cosmetic look that does not bode well with most people. The most common effect of stretch marks is from a pregnant woman or those who have put on excessive weight due to a medication regime.
Vitamin E, or tocopherol, is a fat-soluble antioxidant. It is found in capsule or liquid form at drugstores, grocery stores, health food stores, and online. The oil is typically applied to the affected area.
vit e
Vitamin E has been shown to penetrate layers of the skin and reduce the formation of free radicals which can interfere with healing. Vitamin E also influences the production of collagen, a structural protein partially responsible for the strength and elasticity of the skin. 
Many people apply vitamin E oil to their skin to minimise scars and it is sometimes recommended by physicians after skin surgery.
Well, it works, however you will not see any signs of it working for about 6 to 9 weeks. After about a 6 month period this is were will see significant signs of it working.
Do not rush out and go and buy those fancy Bio oils that claim to do the same job, they do not work as well and are so expensive, they only contain a very small amount of the actual active ingredient ‘Vitamin E’ then topped up with fancy smells. Buy a stand-alone Vitamin E oil, I found that ‘Superdrug’s” own brand of Vitamin E oil did the job perfectly and for just under £4, the 30ml bottle lasts well over a month.

Foods That Keep You Awake

Posted on 26th April, 2020

If you are having trouble falling or staying asleep at night, your diet could be to blame. Steer clear of these top sleep saboteurs and you should be getting a good nights rest in no time.


You know that caffeine will keep you wide-awake, but what you may not realise? Coffee and soda are not the only culprits. Some over the counter medicines contain caffeine too, as do many teas. If you are caffeine sensitive, start opting for decaf and checking the labels of any meds you are planning to take about eight hours before bedtime.
A glass of wine might sound like it will help you relax and fall asleep, but studies have actually found that alcohol causes frequent waking at night. See, while booze may help you drift off, it also reduces REM sleep and without it, you will not feel like you have logged any shuteye at all. So stick to just one glass no more than one to two hours before bed to avoid a rocky night.
Water is great for weight loss and staying healthy but can have the unfortunate side effect of waking you up for a middle of the night bathroom breaks and not only at 2am, toilet runs interrupt your sleep cycle, but they can also cut into your REM sleep. Try to avoid drinking fluids 60-90 minutes before your usual bedtime to make sure you actually spend all night in bed.
Aged and Fermented Foods
Tyramine, an amino acid found in aged and fermented foods, stimulates the brain and could keep you up at night as a result. Aged cheese, smoked fish, and cured meats all contain it, so if you must have a cheesy snack before bedtime, stick to the fresh stuff, like mozzarella.
Tomato-Based Products
Anything with a lot of acids can cause heartburn and discomfort during the night and that includes tomato-based foods and spicy dishes. To prevent tossing and turning, stay away from these types of foods at least three hours before you hit the sack.

Change How You Eat

Posted on 14th April, 2020

Inhaling the aroma of freshly baked cinnamon buns while walking through the shopping centre can collapse the best of weight-loss intentions. I know this to be true as a coffee shop I used to run I would roast coffee beans near the entrance and use a fan to blow the smell into the walkway of oncoming passers-by, so many would come in and buy coffee. On the other hand, watching a violent movie likely puts the kibosh on your appetite. In addition to these obvious appetite deterrents and stimulants, other more stealth issues can also play a role in your weight-management efforts. Be aware of the ones that trick you into overeating and use those that work for you.

scented candles

Scented candles: Your favourite scent may help you lose weight, according to Alan Hirsch, MD, neurological director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago. Sniffing vanilla, banana, green apple or peppermint-scented candle may trick your brain into thinking you’ve already eaten it, says Hirsch. “Smell is 90 percent of taste.” Spritz one of these fragrances on a tissue if a candle isn’t available to cut cravings.

food music

Listening to music: If you find yourself overeating at your favourite lively restaurant, it may have more to do with the background music than the homemade blue cheese dip, according to a 2012 study published in Psychological Reports. Researchers found that softening the music in fast food restaurants resulted in an 18 percent drop in calories consumed. “When it comes to music, it so much depends on how much you like or dislike a certain piece,” says Joseph Cardillo PhD, research psychologist and author of Your Playlist Can Change Your Life. “What calms one person could repulse another,” Cardillo recommends experimenting to find what works best for you. “Use songs that send the message you need to hear to channel your willpower.”

coloured plate

Eating off coloured plates: While the colour blue is widely known as an appetite-suppressing colour, red may work even better. A 2012 study published in the journal Appetite showed that participants drank less from the red-labelled cup than from the blue-labelled cup and ate fewer snack food from the red plate than from the blue or white plates. Researchers believe the red colour works as a subtle, subconscious “stop” signal.


Chowing down on potatoes: Potatoes get a bad rap. They’re banned from many diets because of their high carb content, yet they possess one attribute that makes them a dieter’s dream: resistant starch, an appetite suppressant. Resistant starch is known as the “third type” of dietary fibre, says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, board-certified specialist in sports dietetics and the Dallas Cowboys sports dietitian. “Resistant starch is found in beans, legumes, starch fruits and vegetables (like bananas), whole grains and some types of cooked-then-cooled food like potatoes and rice.” Note that the longer and hotter the starch is cooked, the less resistant starch it contains, so cold potatoes provide more resistant starch than hot. Potato salad (no mayo), anyone?


Spiking meals with vinegar: Not just for salad dressing anymore, vinegar (acetic acid) helps lower the glycemic index (reduces the blood sugar spike) after eating carbohydrate-rich foods. “Many studies show that vinegar lowers the glycemic index up to 20 to 35 percent,” says Goodson. “A stable blood sugar means you feel satisfied after a meal and don’t get hungry quickly.” If a meal such as a salad lends itself to a dash of vinegar, go for it, says Goodson, but eating acetic acid containing fermented and pickled foods have the same effect. Or combine the resistant starch of cold potatoes with a vinegar dressing for double benefits.


Nibbling dark chocolate: Yes, chocolate, a major downfall of many dieters, may actually help you lose weight. The catch: it must be dark, not milk chocolate. And sorry, but you’ll have to skip the caramel filling and nuts, too. Nonetheless, it’s still chocolate. A 2011 study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes showed that participates felt more satisfied and less hungry after eating dark chocolate, rather than milk chocolate. It also lowered the desire to eat something sweet or fatty. Melt an ounce of dark chocolate and use it as a dip for fresh fruit for a healthy, appetite-suppressing snack.

dim lights

Dimming the lights: Along with listening to soothing music, dimming the lights in a restaurant also resulted in people eating fewer calories, according to a study out of Cornell University Food and Brand Lab. The researchers divided half of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant into a fine dining environment, complete with soft lighting. Researchers expected the relaxing environment to entice people to eat more. Instead, although it took diners longer to eat, they ate less food than people who eat in a fast-food environment. They also rated the food more enjoyable. So take your time, dim the lights and lose more weight.


Posted on 4th April, 2020

On my last birthday, I was bought an array or Lush products and amongst the smells and bright colours were something I had not come across before, shampoo bars.

lush bars

The majority of liquid shampoos available on the market are mostly made up of water, surfactants and other chemicals, fragrance, preservatives and plastic bottle and a lid. The obvious reason why traditional shampoo needs to come bottled in plastic in because it is liquid!
Because Lush shampoo bars contain no water, they are highly concentrated. You can get between well over a hundred hair washes out of one bar, thus making it the equivalent of about three liquid shampoo bottles and at a fraction of the cost at approximately £5 a bar. So, when you buy a shampoo bar, you're preventing about 75 grams of plastic from being introduced into the environment. Since Lush sells nearly 1,800,000 bars all over the world, they are collectively saving around 135 tonnes of plastic every year!
lush soap
I hate to admit to my slight OCD but what I find refreshing with Lush shops are the neat and yet nakedness of the shop, its bars and blocks neatly stacked and all cosmetics and washes readily available to try, reminds me that if Apple were to sell cosmetics and soap then this would be the way they would do it.

Lattissima Pro

Posted on 8th March, 2020

Capsulated coffee machines have been hitting the high street shops of late, but what if you want the best of the best of the best? DeLonghi and Nespresso have teamed up to show just what is possible with a new Lattissima Pro, built for people who really love a cup but also want a machine that has quality and style set as its for-front.

A new machine designed for the Nespresso range of pods, the Lattissima Pro is the new model and the most premium machine in the Nespresso range of coffee pod machines.
Lattissimo pro 1
The water tank in the Lattissima Pro holds more water than the previous generation, which potentially translates into more cups of coffee.  Something that is different, however, is the connection port for the milk frothing system, which not only allows for the milk frother to be plugged in but when unplugged, can also support an included hot water spout, which will dispense hot water instead of textured milk.
Lattissimo pro 2
Controls for the machine are handled through a light-up tactile button panel, which includes three espresso varieties: ristretto, espresso, and lungo, as well as two milk-based coffee styles, letting you make cappuccino and a latte macchiato.  A hot milk option is also available, as is one for hot water when the water spout is plugged in.
Nespresso has really gone to town on making this your kitchen centrepiece as the white light that is built into the Nespresso unit, lighting up the glass or cup, and the foldable drip tray
If the tech behind this gadget wasn’t enough then the look will add to that wow factor as it is encased in a brushed aluminium casing, and sporting a big water tank capable of making several cups of coffee, the machine is pretty much geared at the Nespresso lover who is going for the most convenient cup they possibly can have, with an automatic milk preparation system capable of creating a cappuccino or latte macchiato with only one button pressed.
To me is like having my very own Barista but without the £3.25 a cup price tag you would expect to pay in places like Starbucks, Costa Coffee or Caffe Nero.
Overall this is a quality, stylish machine built to last and yet will deliver the most professional cup of coffee in your home with only a push of a button.
Lattissimo pro 3
Okay, it may not be one of the cheapest machines on the retail market, but if like me, you love your coffee then only after a few cups this machine would have paid for itself compared to high street coffee house prices that I loth to pay.


Posted on 23rd February, 2020
I was checking out some headphones which I can use for my iMac, iPad and my iPod and possible my iPhone, I guess looking for an all-round comfortable and stylish set of headphones.
It is apparent that the Beats range do not have to work especially hard to win on style, the glossy headband and shiny Beats logo are a stylish proposition, while comfortability is high on the agenda. I love the soft ear pads and padded headband that gives a secure fit, and the earpads give a good seal and a mean job of cutting out outside noise.
When you are listening to songs with lots of base I found that they are in a league of their own, as the sound delivered was deep and rich and overall you will find the sound quality far superior to other headsets that boast similar qualities. For the range that is not noise cancelling, they sure do a job better than some noise-cancelling headphones I have tried out.
Beats SoloThe Solo HD headset comes in the standard beats box and inside you will find an instruction manual, a pouch with the headphone’s in them, 2 detachable 3.5mm cables (one with control talk and one without) and a cleaning cloth. As ever with the Beats range, care in the product packaging is just as important as the product itself, style from the get-go.
Beats Boxed
I initially set out to buy a headset for use for my iPod and iPad but soon found out that this headset offers a wider scope of use with its ControlTalk feature (for any device with a 3.5mm jack). The ControlTalk feature gives you on-cable playback control of your iPod or iPhone, including pause, next track and volume and also only on iDevices can you use your voice to control other features, just as you would use your iPhones voice commands. ControlTalk's built-in mic lets you talk hands-free on your older iPhone and works with online voice or video chats.
Beats Wireless
For those who want to be wire-free, Beats have an option for that too but expect the price to be equally as jacked up as the product you are going to be buying.
The headphones fold conveniently to fit in the small pouch, perfect for travel.
Beats Range So Far
Overall you are paying for what you get and that is a great deal more than what other headsets offer. This headset will not disappoint you as it is sturdy, lightweight and all with the built-in ControlTalk feature either inline or from a simple button press or Siri command gives you far more than just headset functionality.