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Are You a Mortgage Prisoner?

Hot off the heels of the Post Office sub-postmasters and postmistresses who were prosecuted after Horizon software made it look like money was missing, comes another scandal yet to be addressed.

Like the post office staff who were treated unfairly, our Government also chose to turn a blind eye to the 200,000 mortgage holders who were in the failed 2006 Nat West mortgage portfolio, and caused major distress to the holders of those mortgages.

During the crash caused by greed, the Government took over the running of the Nat West bank. As part of that, they then sold on those originally high street mortgages to what we now class as vulture funds, ie businesses that no longer supply active mortgages, or investment funds. The Government is said to have made billions from the deal, while the sale removed the financial protections usually in place for those who hole mortgages. During the sale, these businesses who were sold the mortgages, allegedly had a condition to apply and achieve active mortgage status, to reinstate protections of the mortgage holders. They did not do that. The Government took the profit and ran.

The problem with the sale was that mortgage interest rates were no longer able to be regulated. While other mortgage holders interest rates track the Bank of England rate, these investments funds have no need to do so, which has meant that for all those years, the people with the mortgages had hiked interest rates in comparison to the rest of the market.

I hear people asking why those people didn’t just switch to another provider. The problem with that was, that many of those with mortgages were self employed and now getting older, and are not an attractive proposition for mortgage providers. Many were lumped in as bad risk mortgages when they could prove they have never missed a payment for up to 20 years and were managing to get by. Most were being told that with the new affordability criteria, they no longer were classed as being able to afford mortgages at half the interest rates that they have been paying for a decade or two. As their lenders were closed book, the option to switch mortgages within their providers was also closed to them.

The official responses seem to imply that mortgage prisoners were bad debtors and deserve their fate, but given they were approved by high street lenders when they took out their mortgages, it is soul destroying. The Government report that they have taken steps to reduce conditions for normal lenders to reduce affordability criteria for mortgage prisoners, however the banks mainly do not recognise these. Most ignore them, as they are not a legal requirement.

The other problem facing mortgage prisoners is that the last few years, while they have faced nearly two decades of high interest rates, the rates have mushroomed. Some have seen their mortgages increase to 10% interest and more. The mortgage prisoners cannot move lender, they cannot move product, and they cannot change their mortgage as they often do not have enough years left to run on their existing mortgages.

At the moment, the result is that the companies which were sold the mortgages by our Government, have achieved huge profits of the back of the suffering of the people whose mortgages were sold. The mortgage prisoners have overpaid mortgages by many thousands, and are trapped, despite being up to date with their mortgage payments. There has been an incredible amount of suffering for those who were affected, who face not eating and doing without energy at a time when there are very high prices for both energy and consumer goods. There have even been reported losses of life.

For those who think they can just sell and move on, that is also not a realistic proposal for many, who were moved to interest only mortgages and paid high rates for their homes when the market was buoyant. Many are left with negative equity, and are plodding on month after month, to keep the family homes they have spend decades living in. Even handing the keys back does not help them, as for people who have paid extortionate rates for so long, overpaying by many thousands, will still be liable for any financial shortfall in the sale, despite overpaying for so long. For the mortgage companies it is win win win.

If you think you are a mortgage prisoner, what can you do?

Rachael Neale has been fighting on behalf of Mortgage Prisoners for years with a small group of helpful fellow prisoners. For more information, visit:


Martin Lewis has been helping with the situation, however our Government responses seem to constitute a stumbling block.


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How To Buy The Right Car Tyres Near You Before The Christmas Holidays

During the festive period, it isn’t always possible to obtain the things you need. Many shops are shut over the bank holidays and some places that provide services – such as tyre fitting centres, for example – may be closed for longer periods of time.

This can constitute a problem for motorists. Why? Because in midwinter, you are more likely to encounter tougher road conditions with snow and ice. What’s more, potholes and other hazards on the tarmac may be more difficult to spot, resulting in a greater likelihood of tyre damage. Even worse, some motorists will be travelling further than usual to visit family and friends.

Sorting out your tyres before Christmas Eve is usually advisable.

Look For A Suitable Tyre Fitter

This is the case wherever you live but it can be especially important further north in the country. In places like Fife – from Kincardine in the west of the historic county to Crail in the east – you are more likely to drive in sub-zero temperatures. Even if you don’t encounter ice, the lack of daylight hours in mid-winter often means that your tyres could face more unavoidable road debris than would be the case at other times of the year.

To help overcome these issues, book ahead. Look for a tyre centre that not only supplies but fits new tyres. Ideally, you’ll be able to shop online, reserve your chosen set of tyres so they are in stock when you turn up and be able to book an appointment at a time that suits you. For example, you can book car tyres near you from Fife Autocentre – they have been in the automotive industry since 1993.

Look for a local tyre dealer with fitting facilities which is open during the holiday period and reserve your chosen tyres sooner rather than later. Some tyre centres may face problems from the tyre manufacturers and distributors between Christmas and New Year. If they can’t get the tyres you want, then you may have to settle for inferior models.

Opt For Winter Tyres 

Of course, all of this is even more important if you have non-standard tyres. Drivers of cars with larger wheels or wider tyres will need to think in advance or they may not be able to have new tyres fitted at all until January. There again, if you want to drive on winter tyres, mid-December is the best time to have them fitted ahead of any potential cold snaps when they’ll be of most use.

Although people who live in high-ground locations, such as the Scottish Highlands, the Lake District or the Pennines are often most likely to have winter tyres fitted, it can certainly be cost-effective wherever you reside. Winter tyres are widely available from good tyre fitting centres and you can always keep your normal set to have re-fitted once the ground is less frosty in spring.

Know A Local Tyre Fitter At Your Destination

Finally, bear in mind that if you are travelling somewhere away from home for the holidays, then it is always a good idea to know of a local tyre fitter in the place where you’ll be staying. If you end up needing roadside assistance to change a tyre or to replace your limited-mileage spare tyre, then you could end up paying a pretty penny.

By planning ahead and knowing where to turn on your trip away from home, it is often possible to buy superior quality tyres for less than standard ones, even at Christmas. Whether you will be visiting family in Fife or passing through on your way to a location further north or south in the country, always do a little research beforehand so you’ll know where to turn in an emergency even if there is no mobile phone reception.

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Wild and Game British Pie Week Recipe

I’m a bit late for this one, but it’s not to late to make this at home for yourself.

Enjoy a game pie, with the recipe developed for British pie week

To celebrate British Pie Week (March 6-12), game specialist Wild and Game released a simple recipe for home-cooked game pie.

By specialising in frozen products, Wild and Game is making British game available all year round. The company champions game as a lean, high protein alternative to farmed meats. Wild game is also good for the environment, with some meats, such as venison, produced by necessary culling to protect ecosystems.

Wild and Game’s award-winning pies are made to traditional recipes and run from cold pies with hot water crust pastry through to luxury hot pies such as pheasant, steak and ale or venison, beef, red wine and cranberry.

Wild and Game co-founder Steven Frampton said:

“One of the most satisfying ways to enjoy game is cooked in a traditional pie. At Wild and Game we focus on making it easy to try game for the first time – and a pie is a perfect way to start.”

Game Pie

Feeds 4


  • 1 pack Wild and Game game mix
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 200g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • A big knob of butter
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 1 egg


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 160C/150Cfan/gas mark 3.
  2. In a lidded, oven proof pot, fry the onion in the butter and a glug of olive oil until soft.
  3. Toss the game mix in the flour and season.
  4. Add the game mix to the pan and brown.
  5. Add the mushrooms and cook until softening.
  6. Add the stock and heat until bubbling.
  7. Put the lid on the pot and cook for 2 hours.
  8. Remove the pot from the oven and transfer the pie filling into a pie dish.
  9. Top with the pastry.
  10. Brush the top with egg.
  11. Turn the oven up to 220C/200fan/gas mark 6.
  12. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the pastry has browned and risen.
  13. Serve with vegetables of your choice.

Founded in 2017, Wild and Game sells a wide range of ready to cook game, pies, pasties, charcuterie and ready meals from its website and from selected independent food shops and supermarkets in the UK.

Wild and Game started life in Bristol and recently moved to its own distribution centre in Somerset.

The Wild and Game website is at

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The First Million Dollar Facials in Kingswells, Aberdeen

I’ve loved the Million Dollar Facial products for a while. There are just so many lovely ones to choose from. In Kingswells, Aberdeen, there is a little cabin providing Million Dollar Facials for anyone looking to increase the health and appearance of their skin.

My favourite products are the Nourishing Balm and the SPF50 from the Brand, with the i-tx coming a close third. Treatment wise, I really like the Miracle Mask and finishing with the ice globes is a lovely ending to a treatment.

Visit The Therapy Cabin to find out more about what they offer and what is provided. The wee garden salon has been offering these facials for a few months, and will open more appointments at time goes on.

Some details are below.

  • Million Dollar Mini Facial – A taster session of facials for those who are new to the brand.
  • Million Dollar Superfacial – The Glow or Hydrate facials, which are full luxury options with gorgeous masks and wonderful ice globes to finish.
  • Million Dollar Facial – This is the top of the pack. A full facial, with dermaplaning, microneedling of the face, and finishing with a soothing mask, and of course the SPF 50 that everyone needs everyday.
  • Dermaplaning – Removal of peach fuzz and the dead top layer of skin cells.
  • Microneedling and Mesotherapy with the new and gorgeous Empire pen from Million Dollar Facial, making sure the treatment is perfect and allows the therapist to get into little nooks and crannies on the face.
  • Microneedling for the Body, for scarring and stretch marks, helping you to feel better in your skin.
  • Microneedling for the Hand, for rejuvenation and scar removal.
  • Microneedling for Hair Rejuvenation. A specialist treatment for those with hair loss, which is run over an 11 week programme with home care.
  • Back Facial (Bacial) helping to get the area under control for an all important night out or holiday.
  • Miracle Mask – Lifting, firming and tightening with this specialist mask for the face.

There are also other treatments, which you can find at the online booking link here on Fresha.

FREE GIFT for every Microneedling booking for July 2023.

I’ll be showing the results of the menopause bootcamp after eleven weeks of the programme.

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How to use Lemons to Clean your Home

*This post contains affiliate links to Amazon in images and links. If you click on these and make a purchase, my blog may earn a few pennies.*

My mother was a whizz with the vinegar and the lemon. I keep meaning to write them up on the blog, and have forgotten over and over again to actually do it. These are not my tips, but simply the ones I saw her use over the years. I can’t say I copied them all, but if you have lemons going spare, these are some great uses to put them to.

Lemons smell absolutely amazing. It’s no accident they are in so many cleaning products, toilet cleaners and air fresheners. Lemon scented diffusers also kick the pants off any of its closest competitors for fresh and clean smelling scents around the house. My mum had an old lemon juicer, and while I tend not to use it often, there are now some much more effective lemon squeezers and citrus juicers out there.

Traditional Juicer

Modern Citrus Juicer

Deluxe Squeezer

Fresh or Bottled Lemon Juice

This can be an individual preference. Some forms of cleaning will benefit from direct rubbing of the lemon to help break down the dirt by using direct enzyme action, and others will be fine with the juice of fresh lemons, or even bottled lemon juice that you might use for preserves and cooking.

I know that I’ve bought lemons in the past, made some lemonade or curd, and decided they are too sour for me to do anything much with. These are perfect for squeezing and making our own products from. When I make juice for cleaning, I keep it in the fridge, and although I’ve heard of people keeping theirs in the freezer, I’ve never gone that far. My mum would have, however.

Where is Lemon Juice Unsuitable for Use?

Lemon acid is antibacterial, and makes a great natural alternative to cleaning chemicals. Remember that lemon is not a disinfectant and will not totally replace your cleaning routine.

Always test the areas where you plan to clean with lemon, as some fabrics and surfaces will not be compatible. Rinse after cleaning and dry thoroughly.

Lemon is not suitable for cleaning anything that contains brass, hard wood or natural stone, such as granite worktops, sandstone surfaces or tiles and wooden floors.

Here are just a few places in your kitchen you can clean with lemons—and how to do it.

1. Laminated Worktops and Surfaces

Lemon juice is perfect for cleaning laminated surface. Use juice directly or put it into a spray bottle to spray directly on the surface. Spray or rub on, then leave for a few minutes before wiping off with a clean damp sponge or cloth, then drying. The emzymes from the lemon juice will help remove stubborn stains.

2. Chopping Boards

Clean these the exact same way that you clean your laminated surfaces, being sure to leave the juice for a few minutes on stubborn stains. Where your chopping board has been used for products such as poultry, the chopping board will need additional cleaning prior to using your lemon juice, as it is not a disinfectant.

The main use on chopping boards, apart from removing stubborn stains, is the ability to help remove stubborn smells from the boards, especially wooden ones, which can suffer from lingering onion breath.

3. Window Cleaning

Like vinegar, lemon juice excels at window cleaning, but leaves a much nicer scent in the room. I remember trailing after my mother and the dreaded scent of vinegar, and I remember how pleased I was when she swapped that to lemons.

Use the lemon juice in a spray bottle again, using two to three tablespoons of the lemon juice and diluting it with some warm water.

4. Degreaser

Lemon is a perfect degreaser. I’ve had some success with it on my hob burners that I sometimes take off and pop into a bowl of hot water. I do struggle to keep those clean, and steeping them in a mix of lemon juice with a teaspoon of salt and scrubbing them with a pad helps. I let the mixture seep into the burners and leave them for half an hour before rinsing and popping them back onto the gas hob.

I haven’t used lemons for pans, but I imagine they would be good for degreasing frying pans and burnt on grease.

5. Blitz the Microwave

This one is as easy as pie. I really detest the grease and build up that settles on the inside of my microwave. To use it properly, just mix some lemon juice to a micro safe bowl, with 500ml water and blitz for up to 5 minutes. Leave to let the steam from the water/lemon juice do it’s work for another five minutes, then simply open the microwave and wipe down the surfaces.

6. Fridge Deodoriser

This is even easier than cleaning the microwave. Simply slice a lemon and pop it into a small dish, adding it to the door, or the back of the fridge. Simply swap out weekly for a fresh and clean smelling fridge.

*Note, please test an area before using lemon juice on your surfaces. Some surfaces are totally unsuitable and may be damaged with incorrect use.

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10 Energy Saving Cooking Tips

Wee Notice: This blog post contains affiliate links to Amazon UK, which may earn me a few pennies if you click on them and make a purchase.

Many people are in fuel poverty this winter, likely reaching into the millions, of whom, many have never struggled for their energy bills in the past. I’ve been a member of a wee group for a while now, and it’s one that helps people who are struggling with their bills, and gives advice to help them bridge the current gap.

The biggest problem is that there are literally unending amounts of people who have never faced debt before, but energy costs are fast putting them into situations where they might never have been. I’m not going to get drawn into the political rant, no matter how much I’d like to, but instead, I am going to focus on ways to help us save money on our daily life.

People everywhere seem to be speaking about getting dehumidifiers as they might be cheaper than tumble dryers, but we all have to make our own choices.

10 Ways To Save Energy in the Kitchen

1 – Preparation of Cooking Methods

Take the time to look at how you prepare and cook your food. There’s no point having loads of gadgets and small appliances languishing on your counters unused, or shoved in a cupboard and out of sight. Our ovens use a lot of energy, and some of your small gadgets could easily save you money if you look at the wattage used to run them and compare it with your oven.

2 – Work Out How Much Money Your Appliances Cost to Run

As an example, my slow cooker is 300w. That means it uses 300 watts of electrical energy per hour to run. My slow cooker is also a 6 litre large capacity one, and yours might use half of the energy that my cooker does per hour.

My oven is rated at around 2 kw per hour, for each oven. I have two. That means each oven uses approximately 2000 watts per hour. Ovens can use up to 5000 watts per hour, so make sure you check your own appliance ratings and do your own calculations.

At the moment, electricity is about 34p per unit of electric Jan 2023.
I tend to use my slow cooker on high for 4 hours = 1200 watts, or 1.2 kwh of electric, which is 1.2 units.
– Slow Cooker 4 Hours 300w = 1.2 Units at 34p = 41p
– Single Oven 4 Hours 2000w = 8 Units at 34p = £2.72

This comparison isn’t comparing apples with apples however, as using an oven is unlikely to take 4 hours, unless slow cooking on low heat.

My Calculation For Chips in the Air Fryer or Oven
34p/60 mins = 0.0057p per minute = 1000 watts

Air Fryer (Large) = 1500 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (1.50 x 0.0057p) = 21.4p
– Oven (2000w) = 2000 watts for 25 minutes = 25 mins x (2 x 0.0057p) = 28.5p

For me, using the Airfryer is 7p cheaper than my oven, to cook a batch of chips. Given my teenagers sometimes cook 3 or 4 times a day, with a pie here or a portion of chips there, the airfryer is cheaper.

3 Cook Efficiently

One way to help save money at home is to look at our cooking choices. As a house, we’ve used air fryers for years, so it’s nice to see them get so much publicity at the moment, allowing us to make some savings. Choose your gadgets wisely.

Do the calculations for each of your appliances, and then choose the most efficient appliance for you. I have family who don’t use a microwave to reheat leftovers, and the oven is regularly on for long periods of time. I don’t have the luxury of wasting energy, and over the years, I’ve build up a good stock of countertop appliances that I can use.

Oven v My Appliances
– I use my oven when I am cooking large batches or big dishes.
– The microwave is mainly used for reheating.
Slow cooker for cooking cheaper cuts of meat and casserole type dishes.
Pressure cooker for making baked potatoes.
– Pan on the gas hob for large pans of soup.
Soupmaker for small batch of soup, up to 4 people.

4 Clean Appliances & Change Pan Usage

Dirt can build up around a gas burner or an electric hob. As well as wasting heat if you are using the wrong size pan for a dish you are making, the dirt build up can also make the cooking less efficient. If you are using a smaller pan, use a smaller burner if possible on gas, and you will be less likely to have inefficient cooking and food/heat wastage through spillage or heat distribution to the room.

Using lids while cooking on the hob or stove, helps to keep heat in, and uses less energy to cook food.

5 Use Timers For Cooking

This one might be a little like the old saying ‘trying to teach your granny to suck eggs.’ That might no mean much to you as a saying, in the way it does for me, but it simply means ‘stating the obvious.’ No matter which appliance we use, many of us are guilty of cooking for too long. My kids always made fun of me for how I can cook a full meal perfectly, but stick oven chips or pizza in the oven, and I forget about them and burn the food, as well as waste energy.

I’ve been making use of the timer function on my phone, and I no longer burn the junk food. I’m sure the boys will be happy with that, but they have now also learned to set their phone timers too, so we also no longer waste cooking energy.

6 Food Preparation & Meal Planning

Keeping cooking time down is quite important now, as cooking from frozen can use up a lot of unnecessary energy, that we could be better spent on heat in the cold weather. Defrosting food before use might save a few pence, as will planning your meals and knowing which ingredients you will need, and how you will use them. Many frozen items can be defrosted in the fridge overnight, just read the instructions to find out which ones are usable.

7 Batch Cooking

Batch cooking is sensible if you have the budget for buying larger quantities of ingredients than usual, as making meals this way means that a simple reheat is all that is needed for many items. If buying ingredients more in bulk, but if full batch cooking isn’t an option, you can take the time to work this differently. When I make meals nowadays, even soup, I make enough to also pop a couple of portions into the freezer for the boys to eat later. It’s just one or two extra portions with each cooking session, but it quickly adds up to food for later.

8 Leftovers

I have family and friends who won’t eat second day food. I think they’ve lost their minds, and one or two are on benefits and still won’t eat refrigerated leftovers. To me, that’s nuts. Bonkers. I can understand it if someone does not have a fridge, but throwing away perfectly good food that can eaten later makes my brain fry.

Simply reheat the leftovers in your microwave, ensuring they are nice and hot to eat

9 Storage, Best Before and Use By

There is easily accessible information on the internet, to know what is safe and what is not safe to eat. Almost everyone has a mini computer in their pocket, and can look up the fridge temperatures to be economical and keep food safe, while also not wasting energy.

Personally, I increased my fridge from 4C to 5C, and reduced my freezer from -20C to -18C. I am not recommending you change your settings to match mine, so research it for yourself and check you are not throwing money away when you don’t need to.

Know the difference between best before and use by, to ensure you get the best out of the products you buy for food and drinks.

10 Mindset Changes

Many of the ways to reduce energy usage while cooking needs a change of attitude and approach to making meals and being kitchen efficient.

One pot meals are easy and simple to make, saving cooking and heating times. For me, my baked tatties done in my pressure cooker are far cheaper than cooking them in the oven.

Planning ahead can mean you have the correct ingredients for when you need them. Even if I only save 7p on each air fryer cook session, it could easily save me about £50 a year. I know it doesn’t sound much, but that is just one single gadget saving. We do have to offset that against how much the gadget costs to buy, so don’t forget to factor that into your calculations.

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Hot Day Food

Whew, it’s hot out there. Even up here in Scotland, the weather is unusual and I for one, don’t want to stand over a stove for hours, or even more than a few minutes. It’s perfect weather for salads, sold soups, smoothies and lots more.

Always remember to drink plenty water when it’s hot outside, wear sunscreen, and if the heat is too much, wear a hat, shade, or stay indoors to avoid sunstroke.

A lovely raw strawberry and banana ice cream to start you off. To view the recipe, click here. I’ve added a few other suggestions below, which could help keep you slightly cooler. For me, reducing the carb content helps me to cope with the heat on very hot days. For you, it might simply be upping the amount of fluid you drink.

Take care out there these hot days. We might be used to it on holiday, where we can cool off at the beach or in a pool, but at home it’s humid, we tend to sweat more, and I feel more uncomfortable as there is nowhere to get inside to air conditioning.

Nutribullet Recipe: Frozen Summer Berries Smoothie
Check out this recipe
Nutribullet/Blender Recipe: Mango, Blueberry, Strawberry and Pecan Half Smoothie
Check out this recipe
Soup Maker: Cream of Aubergine and Butter Bean Soup (Egg Plant)
Check out this recipe
Roasted Stuffed Peppers – Onion, Mushroom and Cheddar Cheese, Served with Quails Eggs and Salad
Check out this recipe
Whole Baked Rainbow Trout with Lemon and Parsley
Check out this recipe
Prawn Cocktail With Apple & Cucumber
Check out this recipe
Fresh Limeade Recipe
Check out this recipe
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Diabetic Friendly Sushi!!

Yes, it can be done. When the PR agent for the fast 800, got in touch, I didn’t instantly have a look at the content, however, I spotted obesity and type 2 diabetes as I was hitting the delete button, so went back for another look, and felt this was shareable.

I’ve posted the recipe that was shared further down the post, as I do think there are many things which I already follow included in this approach by Dr Michael Mosley, who founded The Fast 800. I’m not a great one for hype, so I do play some of the fluff down, and with brands, there is always a lot of fluff, which makes it hard to see through to the reality sometimes.

Yes, the fast 800 website is more focused on diet and weight loss, however the diabetic angle and metabolism effects are what interest me most, as the sales approach is based on ‘how to flip the metabolic switch on your favourite fast foods.’ This is a far more powerful and useful than the weight loss one for me. I want ways of keeping blood sugar level, at any weight. This is about eyesight, limb loss and far more than simply extra pounds on the hips.

At the end of this post, I’ll share Dr Mosley’s words, but simply, it’s about replacing high glycemic index foods, which increase blood sugar, with low glycemic index foods, which help to keep blood sugar at an optimum level for the body. It’s about reducing the carbohydrate content in our daily food intake, which is simply the amount of glucose (sugar) we eat and drink, and replacing that with other forms of energy to live on, such as protein and fat, which help keep blood sugar lower.

Salmon Sushi

Dr Michael Mosley
Conventional sushi is made from rice which is carbohydrate loaded, whilst this alternative version is protein rich, sustains for much longer and enables the body to burn it as a fat fuel source.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Lunch, Main
Servings 1 person
Calories 381 kcal


  • 150 g Cauliflower
  • 50 g Cream Cheese softened
  • 0.5 tbsp Rice Wine Vinegar
  • 0.5 tbsp Tamari
  • 1-2 sheets Nori Paper
  • 0.5 Cucumber sliced lengthways into thin strips
  • 0.25 Avocado sliced thinly
  • 40 g Smoked Salmon
  • 0.25 Lemon juice of
  • Pickled Ginger for serving


  • In a pan over medium-high heat, fry cauliflower rice with tamari – cook until it dries out (about 5-10 minutes).
  • Allow cauliflower to cool a bit and add to a bowl with cream cheese and rice wine vinegar. Mix together well and place in the fridge until cool.
  • Once the rice mixture is cooled, you can start making your sushi.
  • Place a nori sheet down on a board, rough side up (or bamboo rolling sheet if you have one. Spread some of the cauliflower rice mixture in a thin layer over the nori sheet, leaving about 2cm/¾  inch of empty space at the top.
  • Place all of the filling items along the sushi roll, don’t over fill.
  • Roll sushi tightly (using a bamboo sheet if you have one as this will give a tighter roll).
  • Repeat if you have ingredients left over.
  • Cut sushi into 2cm/½ inch portions and serve with lemon squeezed over the top and pickled ginger.


  • If following a gluten free diet, please check the label of the tamari to ensure there are no sources of gluten.
  • Swap the salmon and avocado for your favourite sushi fillings!

How to‘flip the metabolic switch’ on your favourite fast foods

Dr Michael Mosley, founder of The Fast 800, is a big fan of the term ‘flipping your metabolic switch’ and he firmly believes the concept can help treat obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as improving brain health, blood pressure and inflammation.“Your body is like a hybrid car”, Dr Mosley explains. “It runs on two main energy sources, sugar and fat. The body will burn glucose (sugar) if it is available, which comes from carbohydrate rich foods like bread, potatoes and pasta. However, fat is a far more efficient source of energy, and switching from using glucose to using fat as your fuel source can lead to a host of benefits.

So, what does ‘flipping the metabolic switch’ actually mean when it comes to food choices and preparation?

Fast 800 Salmon Sushi is a GREAT example of how to carry out this simple but impactful food flip.  Conventional sushi is made from rice which is carbohydrate loaded, whilst this alternative version is protein rich, sustains for much longer and enables the body to burn it as a fat fuel source.

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What is Simple Candle Meditation?

Hope you are all well.

I do my own version of simple meditation if there are a few minutes to spare.  With the Coronavirus restrictions around, and so few opportunities to socialise or even work properly, I’ve been doing a little dabbling and learning, to help ease how I cope with the world.  With work being very different due to the restrictions, and life so altered, finding ways to push on through, is top of the priorities for many of us.  We cannot care for others, if we do not care for ourselves first.  Here in Scotland, things like facials are still banned, as we cannot remove face coverings, so my one and only little luxury to myself is not allowed to happen.

With meditation, I used to have a picture in my head of someone sat on a mat, legs in the lotus position, chanting ‘ummm,’ and arms out front, with thumb and middle finger touching and other fingers up in the air.  I find that a bit cringy, though each to their own, however, I’ve found that there’s nothing wrong with meditating by lying on the floor, waiting in the car, lying on the couch or even the bed.  We can do it anywhere we are comfortable and relaxed.

Disclaimer: Always ensure you are safe to meditate.  If you have any doubts, please contact a medical professional before trying meditation of any form.

This gorgeous wee cat could be meditating.  Don’t rule out meditation because we can’t do the lotus.

There are many different techniques to meditation, including guided and encouraging awareness, through to transcendal using our own mantra, sound, syllable or words repetitively to relax the mind.  Zen meditation is a form of Buddhist meditation and focuses on clearing the mind and many others, which also include movement, and/or prayer.  Personally, I like to chill out, relax and listen to soothing voices and focus on my breathing to help reduce stress of modern day life.  Raising challenging adopted children is fairly fraught on a day to day level, and finding a way to feel peaceful for at least a few minutes when I am stressed, helps me to concentrate and make better decisions in life.

Group meditation can be so relaxing, but isn’t the easiest thing to find at the moment with the covid restrictions, so here’s an easy one to do for yourself.

Simple Candle Meditation

Clear the Room of Negative Energy
This can be as simple as lighting your candle, or waving about a sage smudge stick, but not everyone needs to do this.  Clapping your hands before starting is enough.  If you can, reduce the lighting in the room you plan to mediate in.


A little low music can help us relax when new to meditating.  Soothing and calm, with no vocals.  I have a smart speaker and tend to ask it to play a meditation mantra, which usually gives me some lovely options.

Take Your Position

Stretch your arms up high and if you can, then touch the floor.  Choose where you will sit, lie down, or use cushions to prop you in a comfortable seating position with feet on the floor.  If lying down, bend your knees to allow this and perhaps use a rolled up towel or bolster under your knees if needed.  Try and keep your spine straight while you focus on around 10-15 minutes at the beginning, to learn how to get your head into the mindset of relaxing.  I prefer to sit on the floor for this, with cushions at my back and under my knees, with a small table in front of me with my chosen candle.

We can bring in colour therapy with candle choice, for example:

  • Rainbow colours to signify hope, happiness, confidence.
  • Black to whoosh away negative energy and allow contemplation and respect.
  • White to signify new life, new beginnings.
  • Red for passion, action, love and courage.
  • Blue for healing, wisdom and strength.


For simple unguided meditation, begin to focus on your breathing patterns, and how shallow your breaths are.  Concentrate to take slower, deeper breaths, concentrate on your breathing, breathe in and count to three, holding your breath and then slowly exhale, fully releasing that breath, pushing it out until you feel your abdomen contract.

Candle Flames

Try to have your candle at a comfortable level for your eyes to gaze into.  As you do your breathing exercises, begin to look into the flames, trying to keep your eyes on the flame at all times.

Look for:

  • Shapes of the flames as they flicker and move, dancing.
  • Look at the candle flames, think about the different colours you see.
  • Consider the thoughts come to the forefront of your mind, what are the images you see?
  • Try to let go of your problems and concentrate just on the flame.

Ground Yourself

Try to medicate for 10 minutes.  Don’t worry, as it takes a little practice to get right.   Before you are finished, it’s important to bring yourself back to reality and connecting with the physical life once again.

An easy way would be to:

  • Close your eyes.
  • Take a few deep breaths, imagining the breath travelling to the tips of your fingers and toes.
  • Raise your knees and place your feet flat on the floor, imagine them connecting with the earth, like the roots of a tree, solid, steady and secure.
  • Bring your knees towards your chest if you can, keeping your feet on the floor, and wrap your arms around your legs.  If you can’t do this, simply place your hands on your knees, feel the gentle peace surrounding you as you bring yourself slowly back to reality, imagining yourself strong, alive and aware.
  • When you’re ready, count down from 5,4,3,2,1, and open your eyes, and back to the room.
  • Take your time getting up, possibly have a pre planned glass of water for drinking before you stand up.


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7 Things to Consider Before Getting Your Child a Puppy

Collaborative Post

This was my lovely dog, Holly, a gorgeous yellow lab that shared our family for 14 years.  She went blind at the age of 7, and still lived a full life with lots of exercise.  She loved swimming, and lived for her lead coming out of the cupboard.  With the long lazy shut down for so many people, attention has turned to animals, but we need to be realistic.

Most kids have dreamed of opening that gift on their birthday or Christmas morning and finding a cute puppy snuggled inside. But what many don’t consider is the years that will follow. Unfortunately, people tend to search for puppies to get for their kids around the holiday season or when a birthday is coming up, but once they face the reality of dog ownership, the dog ends up in a shelter or re-homed. If your little one has been asking you for a puppy for a while and you want to surprise her with a pet of her own, it’s important that you are clear on what dog ownership for your family will involve. Make sure that your household is the right fit for a dog. Here are some of the main things to consider before you get a dog for your kids. 

Dogs are for Life:

Thirteen years is the average lifespan for a dog, so before you get a dog for your children, it’s important to make sure that you are ready for this long, dedicated commitment. This means that you’ll need to be ready to continue loving and caring for your pet even after the cute and cuddly puppy stage is over, as they get into their energetic and boisterous teen years and then finally, the golden years of their life. When you research dog breeds, don’t just think about what each breed is like as a puppy but consider every stage of their life too. 

Finding the Right Breed of Dog:

Before you go out and choose an adorable puppy to bring home, it’s important to do some breed research and make sure that you are choosing a breed of dog that’s suitable for your family, home, and lifestyle. You don’t have to go and spend a huge ton of money on a pedigree puppy from a breeder; in fact, many crossbreed dogs can make perfect family pets as they have a lot of qualities combined from different breeds that they are mixed with. Consider the size of the dog breed; they might be small and cuddly as a puppy but they might not be ideal for you if they’re going to grow up massive and you live in a small house. And, think about how much energy the breed has and how much time you can dedicate to exercising them every day. 

Do You Have the Time?

Before you decide to bring a puppy home, be ready to sacrifice your time. Having a puppy in your home can be similar to having a small child. You will need to take the responsibility of looking after a living creature and putting their needs first. You will also need to be ready for the fact that you might need to sacrifice more time and energy into looking after your pet than you first thought or are used to, so be ready to make arrangements for them if you’re taking a family holiday, or if you and your kids are out all days at work or school and the dog will be left alone. 

Caring for a Dog:

Many parents get a dog for their children in order to teach them about responsibility, and there’s no denying that having a family dog growing up can teach kids a huge amount of things along with boosting their self-esteem and simply providing them with a friend that they’ll always be able to rely on. However, it’s important to bear in mind that as a parent, you need to be prepared to care for the dog rather than leaving it solely down to your kids. Of course, you can show your children how to feed and walk the dog and make sure that they do it daily, but ultimately it’s down to you as the adult to make sure that this gets done and that when your kids do it, they’re doing it correctly. 

Lifetime Costs:

Are you ready for the lifetime costs of looking after a pet dog? Dogs can be expensive, so make sure that you are going to have the funds available to care for them right through from puppyhood to when they are old. The expenses don’t end after you buy a puppy or pay an adoption fee to a shelter. You will need to factor in the cost of regular vet fees, plenty of food and water, a bed, collar, lead, toys, flea and worm treatments and anything else that your dog needs to make sure that they are happy and safe. On average, dog owners pay around £17,000 to care for their dog over their lifetime but this could vary depending on your dog’s breed, size, and health. 


Making sure that your dog has a healthy and balanced diet is just as important as eating the right foods yourself, and the food that you give your dog can have a significant impact on their health and wellbeing. It’s important to research your options to ensure that once your puppy is home, they are getting all the nutrients that they need to be a healthy and happy pooch. 

Raw feeding is an increasingly more popular option amongst dog owners since it is similar to what dogs in the past would have eaten and doesn’t contain all the fillers and junk in kibble and processed dog food. A good raw diet will include protein, vegetables, fruit, vitamins, and minerals to make sure that your dog is getting everything that they need for optimal health and energy. 

If you want to give your puppy the best start with a raw food diet, Bella and Duke have plenty of useful information that you might find helpful. Check out for pre-packaged raw food trays that are tailored to your puppy’s dietary needs based on their breed, size, age, and condition. 

Healthcare and Insurance:

Finally, there’s nothing more important than your dog’s health and happiness. So, be sure to factor in the cost of insurance and veterinary fees when getting a dog for your family. Dog insurance costs can vary depending on factors such as breed, current health condition, and any pre-existing conditions or risk factors. However, it’s important to have because if your dog falls suddenly ill or injures themselves, a good pet insurance policy will help you cover the vet costs involved in getting them back to full health. In addition, make sure that you know a good vet nearby and register your puppy with them as soon as you bring him home. 

If you’re getting a puppy, you’ll need to make an appointment for a health check and to get their initial vaccinations; don’t let your puppy go out for a walk until this is done as the risk of contracting diseases like canine parvovirus is quite high. Vaccinations will usually have already been given if you adopt a dog from a shelter, but it’s still a good idea to take them to your vet to register them, get a health check, and help them get used to the environment. 

Getting a puppy for your kids is a great idea, but before you bring your cuddly new friend home, be sure that you are ready for the commitment and work that being responsible for a dog will bring.

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A Beautiful Birthday Gift During Lockdown From Eternity Rose

I don’t know about all of you, but I’ve rarely been out of joggers for the last three weeks, which isn’t always good for the midsection and doesn’t bode well for getting my clothes fastened when the lockdown is eased.  My birthday passed recently, and since celebrations are all at home for the moment, there was no cake, which is not a bad thing when I think about my favourite jeans.  There was no flour in our shops, which also made making one a little bit on the tricky side, so I didn’t bother.  If truth be told, I was feeling a bit cheerless on the celebration front anyway.

My gift haul stuck firmly to chocolate and flowers.  ‘Hellooo, remember those jeans!!!!!!’

Seriously, every time one of my family goes out for essentials, they come back with chocolate…  For once, I’m almost at the point of never wanting to eat the stuff again.  Anyway, my cut price birthday flowers were beginning to wilt the day after I’d got them and soon ended up on the compost heap.  Disappointing to say the least, and I don’t want to fall out with the kids for the current chocolate bonanza, because at least they’re thinking about me for more than picking up dirty clothes and making endless pots of pasta..

Fast forward a day, and I had the opportunity to be gifted an item from Eternity Rose.   I was delighted, as it involved flowers and shiny things.  I don’t know why I didn’t realise at first, as I thought from the pictures, that I was looking at a flower mould which was dipped in silver, gold or platinum.  When I read further, I realised that it was far far more than I expected.

The lovely items include genuine roses, hand picked and dipped.  There are several options to choose from, including glazed roses with colourful petals, and several jewellery items, which is what I first went to look at.  From looking through the options, I realised I’d appreciate a silver item to match my lounge decor of pale grey walls, beige seats, wood floor and black units.  My lamp and clock are all silver in colour.

I chose the eternity rose silver dipped real rose and silver dipped vase, and happy I did.  Delivery in the UK was swift and wrapped beautifully.

The Eternity Rose Silver Dipped Rose and Vase Set, with Window Box

  • It’s gorgeous.  It really has a high shine finish, due to the rose and vase being dipped in fine silver.  My pictures really don’t do lovely rose the justice it deserves.
  • This is a geniune, real rose, one that the Eternity Rose team has grown in their own nursery, then picked to begin a three month process of preserving, sealing, electroplating and finally the silver plating which consists of dozens of thin layers built up over the space of a few weeks.
  • My rose came in a lovely display box with a glass lid, which gives me the option to store it securely for decades and definitely a lovely gift to pass onto future generations.
  • Comes with a certificate of authenticity.
  • Fabulous option for birthdays and anniversary gifts.

Eternity Rose say

During the history of man, there has been one iconic symbol of passion, beauty and love – the rose. As silver and roses have been lovingly represented in literature and art for generations, The Eternity Rose has now artistically combined these enduring symbols into a stylish and magnificent gift that lasts forever.

The lady in your life will love to receive a stunning Eternity Rose for any occasion. Whether she is celebrating a birthday, wedding anniversary or Valentine’s Day, you can show your loved one how much you care by presenting her with this gorgeous and thoughtful token of appreciation. Mom may even love an Eternity Rose for Mother’s Day. For any lady celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary, a silver-dipped rose & vase set makes a particularly appropriate and impressive present. Any woman is sure to be amazed by such a uniquely artistic gift that is a perfect combination of floral beauty with the lavish majesty of an ornament.

There is no stronger symbol of love than the single rose blossom. The Eternity Rose’s aim is to develop this love symbol into a meaningful art piece that can be displayed in pride of place for a lifetime as an eternal testament to love.

Each rose undergoes a three-month long, 60-step process in order to produce the final product. We use our very own processes and formulae, beginning with several layers of copper to produce a texture-sensitive base layer that provides the best surface to receive the precious metal coating. After being sealed and layered with copper, we then electroplate it with nickel to give the rose’s structure the necessary integrity to withstand plating with certified silver. During each step of the process, every rose is carefully inspected to ensure that it remains flawless, and that its plating quality and form are absolutely perfect. It is only once our rigorous quality control tests have been carried out that the rose finally moves onto the silver-dipping stage, which consists of dozens of very thin layers built up over the course of several weeks. The final result is a flower with a lustrous mirror finish and a brilliant appearance that can never corrode, but will retain its stunning elegance for literally thousands of years.

Amaze the love of your life with the gift of an Eternity Rose, and give them the luxurious token of esteem they deserve.

Find Eternity Rose on Social Media below:









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How are you all in the loo roll crisis?

I just wanted to put up a post due to all the messages, e-mails and news around the dreaded Coronavirus, or COVID-19.  I know with my teens that information can be too much, and at other times, just not enough to keep them sensible.  I’m not going to go into any depth on the things we’ve all seen a million times already, round hand washing, coughs and isolation.  We all know what’s being advised, but the messages can be conflicting too.  My special needs lad can’t process what’s going on at all, and my youngest plans on going on a session after it’s all over.  I’ve seen my shopping bills decimated as I don’t have huge groups of teen pals descending on me for food and juices, and I’m worried about finding loo roll when the time comes, like everyone else.

I’ve worked more or less alone for years now, and although I’ve closed my physical business for a few weeks, I still have so much I could be doing, that being at home more often as my husband is a serious asthmatic, doesn’t feel like a break from the daily grind.  Instead, I’ve decided to do some online courses I’ve been planning to do for ages, and never got around to.  I think being told I ‘can’t’ leave the house, would be far worse that choosing to stay at home.  It’d be a bit like me telling the teens to be home by midnight and them ignoring phone calls till 1am, by which time, I’m in a panic cloud.

What is the Scottish Mum house doing?

1 – Not Panicking Yet

At the potential scarcity of loo rolls, although I do have a sharp intake of breath as I see my regular loo roll pile diminishing.  Special needs boy seems to use a whole roll every time he goes to the loo, so might have to ration him as there’s no more to be had easily, and I can’t be bothered trailing to a dozen shops and mixing with more and more people to find them when we’re out….  They’re more precious than porcelain ornaments at the moment.

2 – Looking Out Microfibre Cloths and Face Cloths

Yup, has to be done.  I’ve got plenty old buckets in the garage that hub uses for washing or fixing the car, so if we have to go to using those as loo roll alternatives, I can stick them in bleach, like babies nappies, until they’re ready to be washed.  Don’t people ever wonder what our previous generations did in the war?  I remember the stories from my mum, so although it’d be a huge hassle, I’m happy to do what I have to, so those with hundreds of rolls, and a bedroom stacked from floor to roof, can happily wipe their behinds and spend so much money, they’ll never have to buy loo roll, ever again.

3 – Watching The News Less Often

Seriously, it’s damaging to public health.  A few days ago, I caught myself madly refreshing my sky news app, in case I missed some nugget of information that might be relevant.  Boris Johnson and his updates are enough for me now.  I know it’s serious, and I’m trying to educate my boys without terrifying them.  The young are often disinterested in anything that might not affect them much.   Kids on the whole, are insular and self serving.  We shouldn’t be shocked that older teens and young adults are still out whooping, because they either don’t care about what they see as a virus that is more dangerous to the elderly or those with underlying health problems, or can’t understand it.  Even most of their parents have never lived through a crisis.   I’ve never lived through a major crisis event.

4 – Shopping As Little As I Can

For people who are meant to be doing social distancing, the queues for shops are mental.  Seriously nuts.  There are no online shopping slots available at my usual store, for the whole time slots are open for.  No slot available for home shopping or click and collect.  How are people self isolating or with the virus meant to get their shopping when they can’t get any slots?  Today, stores seem to have added milk to their difficult to get items.  My kids may not get the food they’d prefer, but they won’t go hungry.   There is food.  Just not anything fresh at my regular store, though that might change as limits to amounts of purchases are started.   I have an online shop due, that I booked weeks ago, but doubting that much of what I ordered will actually appear.   I couldn’t get any fresh meat this week, so we have none at the moment, and there were no potatoes either.  I still have a few potatoes, but not worrying about that either.  We’ll manage with what we’ve got.  If we get ill, we’ll manage that too, somehow.  The major stockpilers must be about due to stop emptying the shelves soon.  I hope people don’t buy the mega expensively marked up necessities appearing online, as that would just enforce more panic buying, but panic does strange things to people.  I can’t blame them either.   The news isn’t helping.