Vaping for Beginners: Tips and Ideas

Vaping is considered a better and much safer alternative to smoking. This is because vaping eliminates exposure to dozens of toxic compounds that come from the combustion of tobacco.

Vaping For Beginners

Only nicotine is delivered to the system hence giving you the satisfaction you need without putting your lungs and the respiratory system at risk. You also have a wide range of flavours at your disposal as well. Although a gratifying experience, many beginners struggle to adapt to vaping. This is mostly attributed to the fact that vaping is a lot different from smoking, and the user’s lack of knowledge on how to approach vaping. This article, however, outlines some of the basic ideas, tips, and tricks on how to start off your journey as a vaper.

Vaping For Beginners

1. Choose the Right Starter Kit: Don’t Go for the Cheapest Ones

The starter kit you opt for will define your experience as a first-time vaper. Although there are both cheap and expensive mods out there, the idea should be to buy the best quality starter kit you can afford. This however doesn’t mean you should break the bank for the starter kit, but instead do some research on the same before picking one.

A good quality starter pack should have a decent atomizer capable of producing a smooth vaping experience. Go for anything cheap, and you will probably find the vaporiser isn’t as efficient nor does it satisfy your needs. It would therefore be wise to invest in a good quality starter kit to make the journey exciting and enjoyable.

2. Consider Sub-ohming

Sub-ohming is very common with experience vapers. Although an enjoyable experience for experienced vapers, it isn’t entirely recommended for beginners. This practice involves massive airflow creating big, dense vapour that delivers a mouth-watering flavour. All this is thanks to organic coils that improve the vapour density.

One of the reasons newbie vapers should be careful with sub-ohming is that the vapour and flavour produced can be so dense causing you to choke in the process. If you’ve never experienced dense vapour before, it would be a wise idea to avoid it or have someone experienced show you how to do it. It only takes some bit of practice and experience to get used to the dense vapour.

3. E-Juice Maintenance

E-liquids are created differently. One therefore needs to consider several factors before going for a e-liquid. For instance, you need to understand the concentration percentage of both VG and PG, as well as nicotine concentration in the e-juice you opt for. It would also be advisable to shake the e-juice well before using it. This ensures the contents mix correctly thus guaranteeing an optimal experience.

E-juice also tends to degrade when exposed to direct sunlight. Consider storing your e-juice in an enclosed cabinet away from direct light. You also should ensure the bottle is tightly closed after use. Doing this helps preserve both the nicotine quality and flavour as well. Leaving the bottle open only causes the e-juice to lose flavour.

4. Manage the Batteries

Batteries are among the most important parts of the mod. Whether you chose the £20 or $250 mod, you need to ensure the cells are in their top condition when using the mod. Every manufacturer provides instructions detailing how the battery should be maintained, and its lifespan. As a rule of thumb, you should never allow the battery to discharge completely before recharging it. Be sure to connect it to its charger each time the low-battery indicator shows up. Be sure to disconnect it from the charger once charged overcharging only damages the battery.

If your mod uses 26650 battery packs, you then should ensure these aren’t overtasked. Overtasking these batteries cause them to become extremely hot. If the mod starts feeling warmer than it should, that is an indicator that something is wrong and should be checked immediately.

5. Always Stock Up

Always have the right e-liquid, a charged battery, and coils ready. You don’t want to run out of e-juice when you desperately need to vape. Having these ready and within reach can, therefore, help avoid a situation in the future. Among other risks, running out of e-juice, for example, can cause/tempt one to go for a cigarette pack just to quench the ‘thirst’.

6. Choosing the Right E-Juice

Determining the right e-juice to fit your needs and preferences can be a little intimidating even for an experienced vaper. Making the wrong choice on these can have a huge impact on your vaping experience. It would, therefore, be best if you try out several of them, or have the vendor help you find just the right one. This entails all elements are in the perfect proportions for an optimal vaping experience. You may have to try 3 or 4 combinations before identifying one that suits your needs.

E-liquids come in a variety of flavours ranging from food, tobacco blend, fruity, and other cocktails. The wide choice gives you the freedom to try different flavours, or even use these for separate occasions. Experts recommend trying out several flavours to determine your most preferred one.

Nicotine strength, or concentration, is another important factor you should consider before picking a starter pack. You can have the e-juice with varying nicotine concentrations depending on your needs. Light smokers can start with 6mg or lower of nicotine, with medium smokers going for 9mg or 16mg concentration of the same. Heavy smokers should, however, go for a much higher concentration, preferably 24mg – 36mg nicotine to ensure they get the satisfaction desired. Making the right pick or decision on nicotine strength and paring it with a preferred flavour holds the key to enjoying every bit of vaping.

Are you a vaping beginner?

Just some of the Ways Life Has been Made Easier


At times, life can be a right old slog, with goals reduced to simply getting by day by day. That’s why when even the most insignificant of tasks is made a little bit easier, it can have a tremendous positive effect.


When times are hard, all it can take to fall down a black hole of despair is for one little thing to go wrong. Anyone who has been there fully understands how little a straw it can take to break the camel’s back. Thankfully, advancement in technology and the considerate nature of others has meant that many tasks have been made easier with time.

Writing


As the owner of a blog, one of the most notable tasks that have been made easier is writing. Without technology, I wouldn’t have written this blog – and neither would you be reading it. This means that many who live with degenerative diseases that simply cannot handwrite for a prolonged period of time (or at all) can now express themselves in written form.

Life has been made easier


It has also given a voice to those who cannot otherwise communicate. Perhaps Professor Stephen Hawking was the best example of this, having suffered from motor neurone disease, meaning that he eventually lost the ability to walk and talk. Hawking was provided with a computer that allowed the scientist to type words which were then turned into spoken words.

Giving to Charity


Technology has certainly made the act of giving that little bit easier. Whereas before donations could only be made by physically giving money and/or unwanted items, now we can give any amount of money with just a couple of clicks of a mouse. For example, when we settle down to watch telethons such as Children in Need and Sport Relief, we can give money just by texting on our mobile device.


In many cultures, giving to charity is as much of an obligation as simply being nice to one and other. For example, charity makes up one of the five pillars of Islam and it is customary for Muslims to make a donation based on their expendable income, called zakat. This can be difficult to work out for some, which is why many websites incorporate a zakat calculator to help Muslims donate the correct amount.

Paying the Bills


Do you remember having to make the trip to the post office in order to pay your bills? Waiting in line behind someone who seems to take longer than seems necessary every single time was an absolute pain and waste of time. We did it, though, because we had to.


Step forward technology, meaning that we can make sure all of the bills are paid without having to actually do a thing. Direct debits and standing orders ensure that bills are taken care of automatically. Those nasty reminders through the post are a thing of the past when you have forgotten to pay your bills.

Ordering In

Finally, and arguably most importantly, it has been made so much easier to order in your Saturday night Chinese! Having to go out to the takeaway is a thing of the past thanks websites such as Just Eat and Hungry House that compile all of your favourite local takeaways, allowing you to make your order for delivery and pay online, meaning that all you have to do is answer the door!



Thankfully, it isn’t just unhealthy restaurants that have signed up to such initiatives with healthier alternatives also available, meaning you can enjoy having a salad, healthy sandwich and light bites delivered to your door.
There are, of course, many other things that have also been made easier over the years, but if we were to list them all this would be more of a book than a blog post.

A Beginner’s Guide to E-Cigarettes

All about E-Cigarettes

At the most simplistic level, the electronic cigarette is an alternative delivery system for nicotine intake. According to research by the CDC, smoking traditional tobacco is responsible for approximately one of every five deaths in the UK. Unfortunately, the irony of the situation is that ingredients causing smoking-related conditions are not significant components in the cigarette. Smokers inhale, carbon monoxide, tar, formaldehyde, arsenic, and large quantities of carcinogens all with the aim of gaining access to nicotine. This is why electronic cigarettes exist – to avoid placing yourself in danger to access nicotine.

E-Cigarettes

What Is The Electronic Cigarette Or Smokeless Cigarette?

Rather than combusting tobacco leaves with the aim of producing thick, pungent smoke from traditional cigarettes, the electronic cigarette (also known as an e-cigarette or e-cig) utilizes pharmaceutical-grade nicotine heated to produce a type of vapour. This is not the same as smoking as you do not have smoke rising from the boiling liquid – nothing is burning, it is only heated. The e-cigarette performs the function with a nicotine-infused liquid, and because the ingredients in the liquid are controlled by the number of chemicals being consumed are reduced dramatically.

Electronic cigarettes are created to appear as cigarettes, but the majority of them a slightly thicker in size. On the majority of models, a person will find the ‘butt’ end screws onto a long part of the fake cigarette to create a realistic appearance. Some e-cigarette manufacturers place speckled effects on the ends of the item to make them appear like a traditional tobacco e-liquid flavour, as well as allowing the tip to light up when being inhaled similar to the ember of a standard cigarette.

How Do Electronic Cigarettes Operate?

There are three separate components to an electronic cigarette. The batter is typically a lithium ion and this is the longer portion of the electronic cigarette. There are two pieces involved in the screw-on cartridge known as the e-liquid and the atomizer. The atomizer may seem complicated, but it is purely a miniscule heater utilized to heat the nicotine-containing liquid into a consumable vapour. The procedure is relatively straightforward as the concentrated heat supplies energy to the e-liquid allowing atoms to bond and form a smoke-like vapour. The battery drives the atomizer and will be activated when the consumer inhales via the e-cigarette’s mouthpiece.

The e-liquid utilized is typically a combination of different ingredients. The first ingredient is nicotine which is considered a safe drug by London’s Royal College of Physicians, the propylene which is utilized in asthma inhalers.

What Are The Different Advantages Of Electronic Cigarettes?

From the electronic cigarette user’s perspective, they can screw the cartridge into the battery inhaling on the end of the item similar to a traditional cigarette. The only difference between a standard and electronic cigarette is that there is no smoke, which means there will be no burning, smell or ash. Nothing other than the nicotine and flavourings to make the e-cigarette to make it taste pleasant are similar. Tar, carcinogens, infirmity, and disease are no longer concerns when consuming nicotine via an electronic cigarette.

The electronic cigarette has been developed to reduce the harm caused by traditional cigarettes. Evidence has shown that tobacco is responsible for many deaths and by switching to electronic cigarettes the smokers could still receive the sensation of nicotine without any of the risks. The benefits of electronic cigarettes can be seen here.

How Do You Begin Using Electronic Cigarettes?

If you are prepared to utilize electronic cigarettes and move away from traditional tobacco options, then review the latest expert e-cigarette reviews available. By perusing these reviews you will be able to locate the most suitable electronic cigarette brand on the market. If you are unsure whether e-cigarettes are suitable for you, then it may be best, to begin with, a disposable electronic cigarette option. These options do not cost much more than standard starter kits and would be good starting options.

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek – Opening Up

#WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek

It’s that time of the year again, #WorldMentalHealthAwarenessWeek!

I decided to join in by opening up a bit more & sharing some resources too. My mental health is far from fantastic and I suffer from Anxiety & Depression. I recently started CBT to help me with this. In doing so I have discovered my problems are much more than Anxiety and depression. I panic over the smallest things, I have nightmares and flashbacks, constantly feel guilty for EVERYTHING and after my most recent CBT session I’m pretty sure I have PTSD too. I’ve highlighted a few issues and things I can do to help my mental health which may helps others too. *May contain triggers

Guilt

Along with chronic pain having a big effect on my mental health it turns out my childhood has had more of an effect than I realised. Discussing my issues with my therapist has made me realise so much that went on when I was growing up was wrong. I always tried to protect my ‘mother’ growing up. Knowing she’d had a rough childhood herself and moved down south to get away from it all, knowing my ‘father’ had beaten her, knowing she fought regularly with my brother’s dad and knowing she had mental health issues herself I always tried to defend her.

I always felt guilty somehow, my brother being in care felt like my fault, her struggling felt like my fault, her losing her temper felt like my fault. Surely I must have done something wrong to deserve it all? I’m starting to realise it wasn’t my fault how I was treated but I know it’s going to take a long time to get out of this way of thinking.

Shame

Explaining to other’s what that went on can be difficult, most of the time I’m convinced I won’t be believed. I mean come on! Seriously, who in their right mind lets their children know they are into BDSM. Who show’s off their ‘toy’s’ (whips, canes etc.) to their kid’s? I grew up thinking it was normal, at 14 I was learning to crack 6ft bullwhips. I won’t lie I thought it was cool, that part I still do! Trying to understand that lifestyle as a teen though obviously had some major effects.

Chatting to a few people about it this week has really helped me look at my childhood in a different way. I’ve felt ashamed opening up about my past but I’m beginning to see it isn’t me who should be ashamed! I didn’t ask to be brought up that way, I was a child who had no choice in what went on around me.

 

Loneliness

With my brother going into care & my ‘mother’ out most of the time at clubs of events, I spent a lot of time alone. I watched her go through so many relationships some ‘vanilla’ some very much not so. It’s only recently I have realised this had such an impact on my relationships.

I found it hard to trust, or feel and most of the time just became obsessed with an excuse to be out the house. Of course this meant I was selfish, didn’t care about her or the fact my brother was in care. I broke up with people simply because I couldn’t deal with the stress and moaning at home. It was easier to be lonely.. less stressful. I was always told no man would ever love me & they only wanted one thing. I couldn’t put my trust into anyone fully.

When a close family friend died the day before my 18th birthday my world literally fell apart. That man had stood by us through so many problems, he stood up for me on more than one occasion and I knew without him there things would spiral out of control at home. After this I tried to overdose several times. Luckily I failed, after the first 50 odd tablets I tried I kept throwing up and eventually I slept it off.

 

Friendships Growing Up

I struggled to make friends growing up always being the weirdo’s kid but I did at least make a few over the years. Some were disgusted by what my ‘mother’ got up to but chose to ignore it, other’s were slightly interested and thought it was ‘cool’. The kids in our street all knew quite young what she got up to and I can imagine their parents were horrified.

By the time I hit my teen years only one other parent would talk to her & I think that was more for us, she covered for me a few times saying I was sleeping over or having dinner with them so I could get out for a night. I remember one huge argument between my ‘mother’ and her boyfriend, freshly laid patio being smashed up, plants & pots flying everywhere, me & my brother were so upset and confused. I grabbed my bear ‘Bestie’ (The girls now have him!) and my brother and stood in the street crying, this friends mum took us in for a few hours to get us away from it.

Leaving Home

As a teen people thought my ‘mother’ was cool for a while but then they started to encourage me to leave home. Bit by bit people were seeing what she was like when we were home alone. The majority of people I knew all felt I needed to get out as soon as possible, part of me wishes I listened sooner but it’s difficult to believe you aren’t just an awful teen causing problems!

I guess I’m glad I stayed so long as I might not have got back with the Mr and have our gorgeous girls. The day I did get brave enough to leave we had an argument, I was pinned to the bed and when she raised her fist I got brave. ‘Go on fucking hit me!’ This made her back off physically and instead she started screaming at me how I was such a horrible person, how I hated her & my brother, I’d ruined their lives because I was so selfish. She got ready to leave for work screaming how she was going to go jump in front of the train and kill herself because that’s what I wanted.

Panicking I sat in my room sobbing until the front door shut. I couldn’t do it anymore, whether it was her or me causing these problems I just couldn’t carry on living that way. I called the council explained everything & was told I needed to head to Women’s aid as what had just gone on was classed as domestic abuse. Because of my age social services couldn’t help.

Still Apologising

Even after that call I still felt like everything was my fault. I thought I was causing her to have this temper and ruining everything for her. If I wasn’t there that solved the problem for her. I wrote a letter apologising for being such an awful daughter. Writing how I hoped me leaving would mean we could build a better relationship, not being on top of each other. I left my keys with the letter packed a bag with a few essentials & my birth certificate & headed to women’s aid.

As I got to the women’s aid centre I got a call which I was told to ignore as she would have just discovered I’d left and be angry. They were right and I quickly got a text saying if I couldn’t ‘be bothered’ to answer the phone not to bother her again. I didn’t contact her again after that and it took another 3 months before she discovered a diary of mine and called me. She had read a paragraph loosely mentioning I had been abused and she wanted to know what had gone on. I still felt guilty and told her nothing, I made out it was me being scared after we had been burgled.

Trying Again

I felt so guilty after that call that I agreed to meet up with her in London. We met and things were ok for almost a year, I fell pregnant with Eva and she showed interest & helped me out where she could. At this point my brother was in Northampton after several suicide attempts. It was difficult to visit him especially after a C-section with a new born to look. I had a chat with his social worker and we agreed on a home visit at our flat. We would have to be checked out by Social services and have the flat looked over for escape routes etc. I figured this would be better for him anyway, in a more comfortable setting.

Our ‘mother’ wasn’t allowed home visits, looking back it’s not surprising! I talked to the social worker and managed to get her to agree to our ‘mother’ being there too since it was supervised contact. We had a great day and took loads of pictures for us all to look back on. I had high hopes that this family setting would help us all be a little closer.

Giving Up For Good

I was asked to email over the photo’s to our ‘mother’ so I did. The next morning I got a rather aggressive text demanding I sent the photo’s. I replied to say I had sent them but would try again. She refused to believe I had sent them as she hadn’t received them. I sent screenshots of the sent messages & she blew up at me saying she had told me it needed to go to her work email not her personal one as she could only access her work one.

By this point I was in tear but sent the pictures to the correct account whilst still receiving abusive messages. I’d apparently not sent her the pictures because I hated her. Apparently I thought she was a shit mum and didn’t deserve pictures of her family. No matter how much I tried to explain I had sent them, I was wrong. Even when I realised she wanted them sent to her work email and did that it still wasn’t good enough.

The argument quickly took to Facebook where she tried to embarrass me which she seemed to enjoy doing. The Mr had had enough at this point. He’d seen what she was like when I was living with her. He had also seen how it affected me and how hard I tried to please her. He stepped in and told her to stay away from his family from now on. I haven’t spoken to her since and never want to again. I gave up for good on that day.

Relationships

The Mr has been absolutely amazing and helped me through a lot of issues. He has had to put up with so much because of my dysfunctional upbringing. When things started to get worse with chronic pain on top of everything else it caused a lot of problems. I reverted back to being extremely defensive and told him to leave far too many times. He shared this article with me the other day and I have to say it explains anxiety in relationships so well! I actually felt less guilty for reading it. He doesn’t deserve to go through it & it’s difficult for him just as it is for me but it can’t be helped. I can honestly say the Mr has had a great impact on my life though and has stuck by me through some of my biggest crashes. I have a lot of issues to continue working through which will take time. The Mr has already helped me massively, but it definitely hasn’t been the easiest ride.

Self care

Whilst CBT and the Mr are helping me I need to help myself too. Self care is majorly important for our mental health. Growing up to believe I was selfish means I struggle badly with self care. Usually I have to find ways to justify doing something for me. It has to somehow help someone else too or do some good. I’m slowly working on this though and trying not to feel guilty doing something for myself or something I enjoy. I’ve been conditioned to think nothing but negative thought’s about myself. I hope eventually I can kick these negative thoughts. I’m looking into mindfulness and ways to look after myself & have some me time to help.

Talk about it

Blogging has been a big help, somewhere to rant and ramble when I need to. Uplifting comments & people understanding what I’m going through has helped a lot. I’ve overcome a lot of the years and have a lot more to work through. I still have nightmares that wake the Mr, violently hitting out & screaming in my sleep. Explaining a lot of this and reading up on guilt, shame, anxiety has pointed me in the direction of PTSD. Due to my nightmares & flashbacks the Mr also seems to think I have PTSD.

I’m slowly beginning to realise none of it was my fault. I was a child and not in control at all. I’m beginning to realise it’s not normal for a child to find out about BDSM so young. Seeing people walk around dressed up (or not so dressed up!) and hearing/seeing people being beaten messes your head up. Regardless of the fact it was 2 consenting adults, a child shouldn’t be seeing that.

Positive’s

Growing up in a dysfunctional family  leaves it’s mark for the rest of your life. You are probably wondering how I’ve managed to find positives. I know it’s affected me negatively. I also like to think it’s made me a better person in some ways too though. I’m more open minded than a lot of people I know. I’m the first to admit when I mess something up. I love my girls to the moon & back and make sure I hug and kiss them always. Affection was something we lacked growing up. Cuddles were extremely awkward. We were told it made her feel ‘dirty’. I think I remember being hugged maybe 5 times growing up. I hate how that felt even now and I promised both my girls the day they were born I would smother them in love, hugs & kisses for the rest of their lives!

It was a struggle to believe for a long time the Mr loved me, I didn’t see how he could. Now I know that I’m extremely lucky. He DOES loves me & would do anything for me which he’s proven time after time over the last 8 years. He’s stuck by me and supported me through some rough times even when I’ve been a complete bitch.

Whilst I don’t have a lot of friends those I do have I would do ANYTHING for! I understand when friends are down and need to just be around people even if we don’t talk. I know sometimes people need to rant essays at me and don’t want a real response just something to let them know you are there, you are listening, you do understand they are struggling & they have somewhere to vent.

Getting Help

It’s taken a long time for me to finally reach out properly and get professional help. Always believing I’d be wasting their time! Now I realise just how messed up my head is and how important getting help is. Get a referral if you can. It may take a while but do what you can in the meantime to get help, take time out for you, there are online sites & telephone lines to help anyone struggling too.

If you need someone to talk to DM me on twitter (@lentlesslypurpl) or email me (Relentlesslypurple@gmail.com), I’m usually around somewhere and more than happy to chat. I’ve provided a few sites & numbers below for those in need of help.

If you or someone you know need a little help the numbers & sites below may be useful:

Womens Aid – 0808 2000 247 – Available 24/7

NSPCC – 0808 8005 000 – Available 24/7

Mind0300 123 3393 – Available 9am-6pm Mon-Fri

Heads Together Support – Contains A list of different services available

Sane – 0300 304 7000 – Available 4.30pm – 10.30pm daily

Find Mental Health Services in Your area using NHS Service search

It has taken me the entire week to write & rewrite this post. My anxiety made me worry for so many reasons, I wasn’t sure I was going to post this. Tmore we talk about these things though the easier it is for others to open up and get help too. I’m not hiding anymore.
This is my story in support of #worldmentalhealthawarenessweek

​How To Get Cheap & Free Baby Stuff

It is never cheap to prepare for the arrival of your newborn but if you know where to look you can easily get the help you need. I recommend browsing through reviews of baby monitors, pushchairs, baby and child car seats, and more before making any large purchases. 

You will discover that the differences between the low-scorers and the highly recommended products is huge and that products priced higher are not necessarily the best. Reading through reviews before making a purchase means that you will be investing in the best products possible for both you and your newborn. 

Freegle and Freecycle are two free-to-use websites for cheap and free baby equipment. They comprise of networks of local groups that people use to give away things as opposed to simply throwing them away. The amount of baby stuff available on the groups varies but you can find some amazing stuff. You can even post a ‘wanted’ request if you are in search of something specific.

Even if it is not free, you can consider hiring baby equipment. For example, you can hire pushchairs and other items from NCT, the Parents’ charity. However, check out reviews of different pushchairs before you choose a particular model to hire. It is also important to undertake safety checks before you start using. You can even use an expert guide to find the best pushchair or you can simply check it out in a store then hire it from a different provider.

If you would like to save money, you should consider buying used baby equipment. The link below contains a guide to second-hand baby products should help you learn about all you need to know.
If you have had a baby in the last 12 months or are pregnant, you can get free dental care and prescriptions for mums. 

New or expectant mothers are exempt from paying for NHS dental treatment as well as prescriptions

You will have to apply for a maternity exemption certificate by requesting the midwife or doctor for application form FW8 that they should sign. The certificate covers you for 12 months after the due date. In case the baby is born late, you can still apply for an extension that covers the baby’s first 12 months.

Free vouchers, coupons, and products samples.



Many brands have baby clubs that you can register with and enjoy free stuff along with advice and tips. 
Here are some of the most popular baby clubs along with a summary of what you will receive in each:

  • Boots Parenting Club: For every £1 you spend on baby products you will receive 10 Advantage Card points, special offers, gifts, and free magazines.
  • Beaming Baby: Free baby bath sachets and organic baby wipes, advice on disposable vs washable nappies, and free eco nappies.
  • Bebevita: Money off vouchers, free weaning spoon
  • Babies R Us Mother & Baby Club: Personal shopping advice, money-off vouchers, special offers from partners, and exclusive offers that cater to the baby’s stage of development.
  • Aptaclub: Checklists, how-to guides, offers, personalized emails that cater to each stage of the pregnancy, and 24/7 nutritional advice from experts.
  • Free Stuff Baby: Offers free stuff and free samples including nappies, baby wipes, creams and more. 

If you wish to stay in the know about competitions and special offers, you should follow brands on social media.

I hope that enjoy the tips provided on the best way to get free or cheap baby stuff. Please share with any savings tips not listed here.

ESA & PIP Assessments

Any #Spoonie will tell you ESA & PIP assessments are extremely stressful. Whilst I understand these assessments are in place to stop people abusing the system, it’s tough for someone who genuinely struggles day to day and needs that support to apply in the first place without going through an assessment too.

For example my ESA assessment, it was booked well in advance which left me worrying constantly about how it would go, what I would have to do and the outcome. I am grateful for the outcome as it has meant I have started to focus on my physical and mental health more.

Now I’m sitting here stressing about my PIP assessment which is tomorrow. I was told to apply once my ESA was in place but I was so worried about having to go through another assessment I held off for a while. With things getting worse over the last few months, especially my anxiety and struggling to go out, interact with other’s etc… I decided it was time to apply.

If I pass the assessment it will make things a little easier for us, where we have no car I have to walk or rely on public transport which is honestly both painful and stressful for me. I can do the bus to my brother’s as I know the route, times, costs etc but anywhere else and I panic and stress.

I know the PIP assessments are a lot stricter and it’s making me worry so much, it’s bad enough I will have to sit and tell yet another stranger my weakest points. Knowing I’ll then be judged by that is terrifying. It makes me wonder how many people just like me are sat panicking? How many people who need that extra help are refused? It also makes me worry what kind of impact that will have on someone’s mental health, my own included.

Assessments are draining, my ESA one left me a mess for days & I’m worried I’ll feel the same again after tomorrow. The last week or so has been a struggle anyway which is why I referred myself for CBT. Being discharged from the Pain clinic to Psychology and pain management sessions and going onto Tramadol this week has added to me feeling crappy too. Being told there’s not much more that can be done other than upping medications even more and going through therapy & pain management sessions was terrifying. I am only 26 and it feels like I’ve just been given up on. They may as well have said ‘Nope sorry Ember your just going to have to tough this one out and hope for the best for the rest of your life’.

I know I will learn a lot from CBT and pain management that will help me cope better but it still won’t stop the pain, it won’t mean I’ll cope perfectly 24/7. So it really is just a case of hoping for the best, going through these assessments and hoping I’ll get a little extra help to make day to day living more bearable. If I can even afford Taxi’s to and from my appointments it will help with my anxiety massively knowing I can get straight there and back with little hassle, without trying to drag someone with me when I don’t really have someone who can. The Mr has to do school runs and my appointments are always at awkward times & don’t allow children in so the Mr can rarely come as he has Izzy to look after too. This leaves me feeling very alone, I struggle to remember what I need to do or say so I worry about that too.

Assessment’s really are quite stressful but as I realised with ESA it is worth it if you truly need the help. My ESA decision has meant I’ve focused more on my health this year, I’ve pushed myself to ask for extra help instead of worrying how I’ll fit it in around everything. It’s meant the Mr could stay at home & do the physical jobs I’ve struggled with as well as support me when I’m feeling low and anxious.

If you feel you need the help then don’t let your worries stop you, yes it is stressful but just do it. Take someone with you for support if you can and just be completely honest. You can find ESA Contact numbers here.

 

Survey Sites That Pay 2017

Here’s an updated list of Survey sites that pay.

I have been using survey sites for years to help us out with birthday’s and Christmas presents and my last post about it Survey Sites, Do They Really Pay? went down really well so I thought it was time to do an update! I’ve been a bit lazy with the surveys this year but I’m still keeping up with the best ones so check these out for a little extra. Surveys are a great way of sharing your thoughts on a range of topics & products.

My top 10 for 2017

  1. Valued Opinions – It’s the survey site that got me hooked. It’s easy to earn a £10 voucher at least 4/5 times a year. With a range of vouchers including Amazon  and Argos this site has helped me through plenty of gift buying! I didn’t mention this site last time as it had been quiet for a while but I get at least one email a day again now!
  2. I-Say – This site regularly has surveys and if kept on top of you can easily earn the 690 (£5 amazon) or 1380 points (£10) every 2-3months. This site pays out via vouchers such as Compliments, Amazon, John Lewis & recently added £10 Virtual Prepaid MasterCard for 1200 points! Amazon vouchers are received via email & paper vouchers are posted out. This site gives from 5-25 points even if you don’t qualify for a survey. Takes up-to 4 weeks to receive vouchers.
  3. SurveyBods – I only discovered this one in the last year and it pays out at 1500 points/£15. You can either redeem your points for an Amazon voucher or the money can be paid straight into your bank account. Amazon voucher’s can take up to 5 days to be emailed to you. Bank payments generally take between 2-3 weeks.
  4. YourSayPays – Another good site to check daily! This site is the simplest one out of them all. You are paid anywhere from 5p per survey and can redeem once you reach £20 via PayPal or Amazon vouchers. I rarely receive emails from this site but log when I remember and usually have at least 1/2 surveys a day to fill out. I average a £20 pay out every 6 months. Up to 30 days to receive pay outs.
  5. Mintvine – This site can build up pretty quick if you check the site regularly across the day. You can also earn 5 points per day on the daily poll. You can easily cash out $10/1000 points via PayPal every 2-3 months.[ They also offer a range of e-vouchers for places like Amazon, Debenhams, House of Fraser & more! It takes 3-5 business days to receive your payment.
  6. YouGov – This site is always sending out emails, I currently earn the £50 about once a year. If you were to check regularly you could probably get 2 pay outs a year. They pay out straight into your bank account. 50,000 points are needed and you can earn from 25 points upwards per survey.
  7. OnePoll – Another high pay out threshold but with so many surveys it’s easy enough to earn £40 every 4/5 months. Payment is made via BACS into your bank account. This takes 28 days to process but worth the wait! Earn from 10p upwards per survey.
  8. Swagbucks – I’ve been using Swagbucks since about 2012 but stopped for a while as it was quite quiet. It does seem to have picked up pace and become a favourite again and I’ve started popping by to earn a few SB here and there. With so many ways to earn and pay out options it’s a great site to earn from regularly! You can get a £5 PayPal payment for just 800SB!
  9. Maximiles – This site is similar to Swagbucks paying out in thousands of ways with products and  gift cards. I just ordered myself a Bitmore Juucee Portable Battery Backup Charger for 2,100 points! Products arrive via post within 10 working days. Minimum redemption level is 2000 points which is so easy to collect. I earned my points for the portable charger just through clicking the emails in 2/3 months.
  10. GlobalTestMarket – This site always has surveys available I still get through on very few yet still manage to get a pay-out once every 3-4 months. This site is great however the minimum requirement to redeem your points is 1000. This site pays out in a huge variety of ways including PayPal, Amazon, Nectar, ITunes, Boots, and more! I tend to go for PayPal (544 points x 2 to redeem = £30!). Physical merchandise and paper vouchers will generally be delivered to winners’ doors within 4-6 weeks from order date, unless otherwise specified in the Rewards Zone. Truck-shipped and speciality items are generally delivered within 6-8 weeks from order date, unless otherwise specified in the Rewards Zone.

 

Do you use survey sites already? Do you know of any others that pay out regularly too? Remember Answering questions honestly and to the best of your ability enables you to access more surveys more regularly.

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealthDay

 

Today is of course #WorldMentalHealthDay. I wanted to join in and share a few things with you all to help raise awareness and help those struggling to see that they are not alone, such a huge percentage of the population struggle & feel so, so alone & that really needs to change. We need to reach out to one another & share our stories!

Mental Health is something I heard a lot about as a child as a lot of the adults I grew up knowing had depression, anxiety, bipolar & schizophrenia, so it is something I’ve learnt a fair bit about different issues over the years. I was going to look into statistics and figures but honestly I don’t feel there is any need, so many of us don’t say a word which leads me to believe the statistic’s are unrealistic.

I myself struggle with depression & anxiety and for quite some time I struggled massively with ED’s which I’ve slowly discovered has contributed to my Chronic pain which of course has caused me to feel quite depressed, I also struggle with how my Scoliosis makes my ribs stick out but sharing my stories in my blog has meant I’ve had a lot of support and encouragement from other people and that has made such a difference!

I talk openly on my blog about all these things, NOT for sympathy but to connect with other’s who feel the same, it can be very lonely and stressful when you feel worthless & too scared to ask for a little help and I truly hope that the blogging community sharing their stories helps anyone struggling.

My brother has Aspergers & PTSD amongst other things & yes he can be difficult to be around at times but that ISN’T his fault. He had very little support growing up and felt very alone, being pushed from one foster home or care home to another as a child and being sectioned as a teen and then suddenly being all alone in a tiny bedsit has been very stressful and hard for him.

He spiralled out of control turning to alcohol and drugs to numb the pain, he was EXTREMELY difficult to be around during that time BUT the Mr and I made it our mission to help him turn himself round. And you know what? With a bit of persistence, love and a little bit of a kick up the bum he has become a totally different person over the past year.

Now he is dealing with his issues and facing them in counselling he is coping much better. Knowing he IS part of our family & our home is his home has helped him relax and realise he is loved and cared for. He still has bad days especially because of his past but now instead of trying to numb the pain & destroy himself he picks up the phone and calls me or jumps on a train and distracts himself or talks his problems through and bit by bit he has turned his life round completely.

Talking about our problems can help us more than most things especially if we feel someone is actually listening, we know people may not fully understand but it’s nice to be heard and it makes us feel less alone.

What’s your story? What are you struggling with? What do you do to cope?

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If you need to talk please do, my DM, email etc is always open to ANYONE that needs to talk, day or night! If you prefer there are plenty of charities to help, whether its over the phone, by email or on-line chat, whatever method you prefer there is ALWAYS someone waiting to help you and talk through your problems, PLEASE DON’T SUFFER IN SILENCE!

If you do need to talk to someone here is a small list of contacts:

The Samaritans are a well known organisation who are always there for a chat whether your just having a low day or you feel thing’s are much worse, get in touch!

Whatever you’re going through, call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.

We’re here round the clock, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call us on the phone. This number is FREE to call. You don’t have to be suicidal to call us.

Another brilliant organisation is Togetheruk.org although I have no personal experience myself they offer a range of services around the country .

Together is a national   charity working alongside people with mental health issues on their journey towards independent and fulfilling lives.

MIND is an amazing organisation that offers counselling & they have helped both my and my brother. My brother still currently has counselling with them and I can honestly say that has played a HUGE part in his recovery. They offer a range of services and support too.

Contact us

Our lines are open 9am to 6pm, Monday to Friday (except for bank holidays).

0300 123 3393

info@mind.org.uk
Text: 86463

Even if you find ways to cope and manage and feel you have recovered well there may still be days you need a little chat to help you keep on top, please do ask for help if you feel thing’s are slipping again.

If you know someone struggling, make them a cuppa & share some cake & just be there to listen when you know they are feeling low. Sometimes just being there can mean so much, we don’t need to be told what to do or to just cope we just need a little love & understanding to help us through the bad days so we can fully enjoy the good days.

Out-Smarting A 2 Year Old With SmartMotion

The Samsung SmartThings SmartMotion!

I reviewed the Samsung SmartThings Starter pack and won it last year. I still use the SmartPlug’s to control the Pump & Light on our fish tank (Can you Phone the Fish?)which is an absolute life saver especially if we aren’t home & forgot to turn on their pump!

I also use the  Multi-purpose sensor to send me a notification on my phone if something comes through the letterbox. 

 

The SmartMotion Sensor however I hadn’t really managed to come SmartMotionup with a good use for yet.

Izzy has recently started getting out of bed and coming in to the living room at night. She plays a bit of a game with it making sure to cover the monitor with a blanket or teddy so we can’t hear her sneaking out of bed.

She rarely wants something, she just wants to know what we are up to and with Eva making sure to keep her awake after we have put Izzy back to bed, we become yo-yo’s trying to get her to stay in bed. If we manage to catch her at her door she will generally go back to bed and go to sleep. If she gets any further though she thinks she’s winning and keeps trying.

Secret weapon: SmartMotion

Now it’s set up in the girls room so when they pass their chest of drawers (the range is pretty good too!) I get a notification on my phone. So as Izzy gets out of bed we can race her to their door and get her back into bed quickly and stop her little game. We’ve been using it for the last week now and she has learnt rather quickly WE KNOW and she cant (yet) find away to open that bedroom door without setting off the sensor Muahahah!

 

Now she will actually call through the monitor ‘poo bum!’ or ‘Melp pweeeeaaaaase’ when she wants something and doesn’t get up and down just because she can.

This could also be useful for potty training too as I will be woken up if she leaves her room to head for the toilet/potty. Samsung SmartThing’s Motion Sensor finally has a purpose. It also let’s me know the room temperature which means as the colder months draw in closer we can make sure there room is kept at a good temperature too!

How do you outsmart your kids when they are playing around at bedtime? Do you have a sensor? A video baby monitor? Do you have a SmartHub at home? Which one? Let me know 

🙂 Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday


CatchMyPain

I came across this amazing app called CatchMyPain thanks to a member from a facebook group I am on. It is available on both the Google Play Store and the Itunes store by searching ‘CatchMyPain’.The app allows anyone with Chronic pain to track and log your pain and even lets you send it via email making it really easy to share with Dr’s etc!

Screenshot of CatchMyPain App Homepage

When you use create a pain entry there are 7 pages to complete. On the first page you are presented with a picture of the body and 5 colours to use. Mild pain – Yellow going all the way up to Dark red – Unbearable.

Using these colours you can colour in the area’s which are painful and how intense the pain is in that specific area. I love this as I find it hard to explain why I am in so much pain and this way I can show people where and how much it hurts so they can get a better idea.

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Pain Intensity options

The body rotates allowing you to colour wherever on the body you need to and theres an eraser if you want to start again.

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On the following page are you are given the option to edit the time frame of your entry so you can log exactly when the pain started and for how long it lasted.

I find this handy if you have a particularly bad day and dont feel up to making an entry until you are feeling better but still want to track your pain accurately as you can enter earlier dates and times too!

Next up is the overall ‘Pain Intensity’ which you are given a slider to move from No pain up to Worst pain imaginable.

On the fourth screen you are given a list of ‘Descriptions’ you can select that describe the types of pain and you can even add your own if you cant find the right description in the list. You can add as many as you like.

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‘Condition’ is the 5th screen where you are asked how you felt during the time frame selected on the second screen by choosing a face to represent ‘Happiness’, from a crying sad face to a smiley face.

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As I have found this app so useful I chose to add on the Stress and Fatigue sliders too for only £0.65!

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The sixth page is the weather here you can adjust time or date and sync it with your location or enter it manually and it will log the temperature which you can adjust if needed.

As you can see on the sixth page there is also the option to buy the full weather feature for £1.96 which I am still earning Google Play Store credit using the Google Opinion Rewards app! (Thank me later 😉 haha!)

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On the final screen you have the options to add in any comments you wish.

Having filled out several Pain entries I visited the Pain Chart to see what it showed. I was impressed that it had literally logged everything including the percentage of the body affected by pain!

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I like how it shows Happiness, Stress and Fatigue on here as it also gives people an idea of how the pain affects me. Using this chart I can also work out what actually helps me calm down and relax too, blogging and Knitting are definately helping me this week!

Another part of this app is ‘My Meds’ where it enables you to add any medications you take and you can edit the details of the drug as seen below and you can set the frequency rhey are taken too.

Again I decided to pay £1.14 so I could add on the Drug intake reminder as I am absolutely awful with remembering to take my tablets at the right time!

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There is also a built in community so you can chat with others, when you do this you are asked to set up a username and your display picture becomes the body from your last pain entry showing where and how intense the pain was/is.

Having had a look around the Google Play Store for a similar app several times before I was really happy and impressed when I tried this one out.

What more could you want? It helps you track everything, its an easier way to show friends, family and Dr’s if like me you are very forgetful and forget how to ‘word’ at times and all the data can be saved and emailed to anyone you want! This is a great app for a lot of #spoonies and I just had to share for those that hadn’t come across something like this before.

 

*This post is in no way affiliated with, sponsored or endorsed by any of the companies mentioned in this post.