Advice I’d give my younger self.

Back in April I wrote myself a letter that it seems worth re-visiting as Legal and General are currently running a campaign about advice you’d give your younger self.

If you missed it then, this is what I wrote: advice to my younger self

Dear Lisa,

You’re only just 13 and yet you think you know it all already don’t you?

At least you’ve given up those dreams of being a pop star and settled for something more realistic like a fashion designer but, whatever career path you choose, you are going to have to work hard in these last years at school.

Don’t let the bullies win and make you want to hide at home; don’t kiss the wrong boys because you’re scared the right ones won’t ask; do your homework when you get it, because my dear, daydreaming hours away isn’t going to get you the exam results you need.

It’s important to have other interests and friends but think twice before you choose…knowing all the words off by heart to that Madonna song isn’t going to get you far. She may be a “Lucky Star” but I’m afraid you’re not. If you’re serious about your art then practice practice practice!

Mum & Dad may be too busy to tell you but whatever you succeed at they will be proud. But, it’s a scary world out there when you’re growing up and will be too easy to take the lazy option. You’ll regret it if you do.

Work hard. Choose friends carefully. Don’t feel you need a boyfriend because all the other girls have one. As time goes on you’ll find that not everyone is as honest as you are and you may find yourself getting taken advantage of. Don’t be afraid to be alone. It’s ok, I promise.

Collect photos and stories from Nanna, Grandad & Nannie. They’ll be gone too soon and you’ll be left with a million things you want to remember.

Please don’t push away nice people just because they’re not ‘cool’, you’re going to be one of those uncool nice people one day and feel rejected just like they may be feeling now. Learn to build bridges, and not the ones that awful Mr Hancock talks about in Maths, it’s a useful skill.

Try and save some of your pocket money and not spend it all on records…one day you’re going to want nice clothes and however great you think you look only wearing black, I’m afraid vitamin D isn’t our friend and you will always be pale. Save up for some colour…you’ll come to love it, really you will!

In a few years time Dad may start nagging you to learn to drive…give it a go, don’t be stubborn and not do it in some bizarre cutting off your nose to spite your face act of rebellion. It won’t be easy but you can do it and you will love the independence it brings so much you could save yourself a world of heartache.

Be brave, laugh more, live more, learn more…pay attention more!

One final thing, stop bringing stray cats home, you’ll soon realise dogs are much better.

All my love,

Lisa xox

So, to recap, the best advice I’d give myself is still to learn more, laugh more, take more photos, and, for goodness’ sake, embrace colour! I think the only thing I’d add is don’t get addicted to chocolate but I very much doubt I would’ve listened! take more family photos chocolate


You can check out #youngerself on your social media timelines to see more of us give advice to our younger selves but what would you go back and tell yourself?

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One Photo, No Words; 21 September 2014


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100 Word Challenge: Water Baby

Julia’s prompt for the 100 word challenge, ‘…as the waves gently lapped I…’ this week struck a chord with me as I’m a piscean that can’t swim. I do love the seaside though so I was intrigued enough to try and write a little something!

lisas-life water baby


Summer weekends I’d visit the beach.

Each weekend I’d promised to paddle in the sea.

Each weekend I’d lost my nerve.

I felt uneasy.

The same uneasy I’d felt since school.

I wanted to love the feel of it as much as I loved the sight of it; not be scared.

Not a chlorine-scented, man-made swimming pool.

A God and Mother Nature made, saltwater ocean.

This was the closest I’d got.

Nearing the water’s edge, I removed my shoes, stood silently on warm, soft sand and waited for the tide….


…as the waves gently lapped I smiled. I’d done it. 100 word challenge Julia's Place

Prose for Thought
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Woof Wednesday: Manchester Dogs Home plus Puptector

Before I go on to the original intended subject for today’s Woof Wednesday I must give mention to the tragedy that befell the Manchester Dogs Home last week. My family have been victims of a mindless arson attack (but for the grace of God no-one was injured or worse) so I was utterly appalled at the apparent actions of the child that caused this. Having said that, weren’t we proved to be a nation of dog lovers in the following days and hours with various physical and monetary donations. Well done team GB. I’m also only too aware of various other charities bemoaning the generosity to animals. I reserve the right to donate my hard-earned pennies wherever I choose and just because I made a donation to the Manchester Dogs Home on Thursday night doesn’t mean I won’t make a donation to Children In Need or Cancer Research or whatever, it just meant that due to the imminent scale of the damage and danger, kind people were needed to react quickly. And they did.

As the dogs home manager, Lisa Graham told the Manchester Evening News, a million pounds wont necessarily stretch that far when the home costs £100,000 a week to run.

So, if you haven’t already, please consider helping with monetary donations via the Just Giving page or by texting MDOG57 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070. You may be local and be able to help by providing food and shelter or a temporary home to a needy dog. It may be last week’s news now but the damage won’t be rectified that quickly.

There will be updates of how you can help and the ongoing situation on the dogs home website.

Thank you.

OK…on a little bit of a lighter note… woof wednesday puptectors

Dropcam the home security people sent me the above illustration as they were interested to find out what sort of puptector Stella is. Having studied all 5 examples I have to say she most resembles The Barking Buzzer but I’m in no doubt that if her boundaries were less secure she’d be a Fence Hopper too! Woof Wednesday puptector

I don’t know whether it’s because I rehomed her that, even after 10 years, she’s never fully confident that nothing bad will happen but she is always on high alert. Even if she looks fast asleep and you’d swear she’s snoring, footsteps on gravel next-door can cause her to leap up ready for action and a car door slamming on the next road has a similar effect.

Strangely though, the things that disturb me, for instance a faulty house alarm on a show home near us, she’s not fussed about…maybe it’s too obvious?! It’s the more stealth-like intruders that irritate her the most…postmen, window cleaners, parcel deliveries, grocery deliveries, neighbours, neighbours children in their own garden, people at the bus stop, people walking by, people walking by on the other side of the road…you get the picture I’m sure!

Bless her though, she only has our safety in mind.

I remember several years ago when I was living with my ex-partner we popped out for an hour for a drink and to get something to eat. As we approached the house, we could loudly hear Stella barking and my ex said: “I like that, she sounds like a proper guard dog!” I was just concerned she was doing it the whole time we ever went anywhere without her but nobody ever complained if she did! If only we knew about wi-fi cameras back then!

Lisas-Life Woof Wednesday Puptector Stella

Just last week one of the other doggy photographers at Blipfoto shared a great poem that I thought would fit well with this subject too. Don’t know who wrote it but I’d love to give them credit!

This is just part of it :)

I lie belly-up
In the sunshine, happier than
You will ever be.

Today I sniffed
Many dog butts – I celebrate
By kissing your face.

I sound the alarm!
Paper boy — come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Mailman Fiend — come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Meter reader-come to kill all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Garbage man — come to kill us all
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

I sound the alarm!
Neighbor’s cat-come to kill us all!
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!

Dig under the fence–why?
Because it is there. Because it’s
There. Because it’s there.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

Good eh?!

Lisas-Life Woof Wednesday Sunny Stella

What’s the style of your puptector?

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Diet Trends Throughout History

I’m sure I’m not the only blogger on the block concerned with diet, health, and fitness issues. Certainly since I turned 40 it’s noticeably harder to keep the weight off. In my teens and twenties I couldn’t keep it on! It doesn’t help that my migraine medications cause weight gain and the migraines themselves inhibit weight loss!

We’re already fast approaching the ‘getting as fat as Santa’ season if the local supermarket is anything to go by! Oh dear.

lisas-life diet trends christmas biscuits

I’ve never been one for faddy diets though and just presume my ‘eat less, move more’ mantra will see me right eventually! 

Diet trends have been more popular than you may think though and XLS Medical have provided me with the following piece of interesting reading:

Dieting Trends Throughout History

Staying fit and leading a healthy lifestyle aren’t just modern trends: they’re ideals that have been around for centuries. Undeniably, vanity has played a significant role in our history, while the obsession with keeping fit can be found no matter how far back into history you go, largely due to the inception of various diets and work-out routines.

It’s no secret: a combination of eating well and working out regularly is the key to maintaining a good lifestyle, but looking to our predecessors for tips and advice on how to do this is not always the best idea. Indeed, if we look back, we find hundreds of ‘fad’ diets – just take 11th Century William the Conquerer and his ‘Liquid (alcohol) Diet’ as an example! Yet looking forward there are positive signs for the future of dieting, with an emphasis being put on nutrition, scientifically proven weight loss methods and exercise.

However, while good work is being done to eradicate bogus weight-loss programmes and ‘fads’, people will always want to find that quick-fix. In this article we’ll have a look at various different dieting trends throughout history, and see how the more outlandish fads have been slowly but surely replaced by more sustainable, healthy weight loss methods.

Talking of outlandish fads, The Victorian Age seems a great place to start. This is because the Victorians, with their corsets and ideal hourglass figures, first made body consciousness (and vanity) a real issue. It was thought that women needed to be seen as ‘frail’ to find themselves a husband, and thus began ‘Victorian Starvation’[i], where women literally starved themselves to live up to the image of being delicate and feminine.

This was followed by poet Lord Byron who, in 1820, launched the ‘Vinegar and Water Diet’ – the aim was to take a few spoonfuls of this before a meal to make you feel full up.

The first official ‘fad’ was introduced later that century, by Horace Fletcher, and was known as ‘Fletcherism’[ii]. The diet involved chewing your food… a lot – 32 times to be exact – after which you would spit it out. This was supposed to allow you to take in all the nutrients from food, but none of the calorie or fat intake. It was a popular diet on both sides of the Atlantic and, as such, truly started the Western world’s obsession with bizarre diets.

The 20th Century saw a stronger focus towards various diets that disappeared as quickly as they came. This began in the 1920s, where an increase in cigarette sales was caused by manufacturers professing their weight loss properties. This was before the dangers of cigarettes were known, of course, with tobacco companies merely stating they suppressed one’s appetite, as is evident from the once popular “pick up a cigarette instead of a sweet” advertising campaign.

The 50s saw a strong rise in celebrity culture and, consequently, all the unrealistic body expectations that went with it. This brought with it a lot of weird and wacky ways of keeping trim: fads such as the ‘Tapeworm Diet’ (where people took pills with parasites that ate up all your fat) and the ‘Sleeping Beauty Diet’ (so-called because you can’t eat if you’re sleeping) became increasingly popular, despite the harms associated with them. One positive to come out of this era, however, was the ‘Grapefruit Diet’. Eating half a grapefruit with every meal not only gives you one of your five a day, but actively helps to reduce fat. This diet has been a stalwart in households ever since the 1930s, so clearly longevity lies in the healthy alternative!

lisas-life are you getting your 5 a day poster

The following decades saw the rise of more substantial and well thought out ways of staying and keeping fit, with people encouraged to make smarter decisions. The creation of specifically formulated weight loss foods and milkshakes saw another rise in the dieting curve. However, for the first time, this was partnered with people who were far more aware of the necessity of leading a healthy lifestyle. This led to the fitness crazes of the 80s and the rise of a gym culture which saw more people taking up the likes of aerobics and yoga. 

More recent times have seen a rise of scientifically proven dieting trends such as The Atkins Diet. This sees users on a low carb/high protein diet and, although there are debates over the safety of such a diet, the effects on weight loss are undeniable. More modern-day ways of keeping fit include cleanses and detoxes – mainly used by celebrities and then followed by fans. At the same time, more and more people are turning to diet supplements such as fat burners which work with the natural workings of your body to help you lose those extra pounds. At the same time, the food wheel (red for bad, orange for ok, green for good) which can be found on most supermarket products these days, as well as the aforementioned ‘five a day’ concept has seen a big increase in the trend for healthy eating.

In summary, the past few decades (and centuries for that matter) have seen the development of a number of interesting dieting trends, some more dubious than others. While the older of these certainly raise health suspicions, we can be confident that the more recent are backed up by scientific research and tend to be clinically proven. Looking forward, more gravitas is being placed on keeping fit and maintaining a healthy lifestyle in conjunction with any weight loss programme. While there are a number of gimmicky diet fads hitting bookshelves and TV screens every year, it’s becoming easier and easier to see the wheat from the chaff – simply ensure that they follow these key concepts to healthy living.




What’s the faddiest diet you’ve tried? Or, are you one of those lucky people to whom health and fitness comes naturally?

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One Photo No Words 14 September 2014 one photo no words

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Shine: The Prompt

‘Shine’ was the word that Sara from Mum Turned Mom gave us as our prompt this week and I know it’s all about the writing but I can’t hear the word anymore without thinking about an advertising campaign for a certain supermarket, and, more importantly, the awesome manband that wrote the song :)

Mark Owen wrote this about Robbie Williams back in the day but it can be just an uplifting happy song :)

With song lyrics ringing in my ears I felt it was only right to try and make my writing for this week poetic…

Shoe polish, on patent leather,
Sunlight, reflecting on water:
Moistened eyes from tears of joy,
Children’s eyes, playtime laughter.

Talented schoolkids, top of the class.
Glimmers of hope, a future that’s bright;
Just like diamonds in the rough,
They can become leading lights.

Twinkling jewels, a royal crown,
Razzle dazzle, stardust, glitter;
Radiance, sunrays, starlight, spotlight,
Precious sparkles make things prettier.

Gleaming chrome, clean glass mirrors,
Night’s full moon, sparks among ashes;
Christmas baubles, fairy lights, candles,
Paparazzi’s camera flashes.

Longing to see the sun,
Waiting to see the stars;
Precious metals, diamonds, pearls,
Gems, crystals, bridal tiaras.

Sequins sewn on ballgowns,
Swirl beneath a glitterball;
Keep us safe in stormy seas,
Oh lighthouse standing tall.
Shine. the prompt: shine

What things do you think of when you hear the word shine? Is it more of a thing or a feeling? We may own jewellery that shines but we may also have a talent that shines. Some things just shine for fashion, some things shine for an important purpose. You can find more shiny interpretations at the Mum Turned Mom blog today :)

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