31 January 2017

Written by Ashleigh Hitter
for Daily Focal

Anyone else feeing cold, sad, miserable, fat and bleughhh this Winter? Yep, uh huh, me too. It feels like spring isn't even close to being within our reach and therefore I think we all need a bit of a pick me up, to get us through these long old months.

Here's a round up of my favourite quotes and I can guarantee you, if they don't either make you think or make you feel motivated, they will at least put a smile on your face. This list includes quotes from Roald Dahl and Rupi Khur who really do have that special way with words.

If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely - Roald Dahl

and here you are living, despite it all - Rupi Khur

You will never have this day again so make it count - Anon

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are - Marilyn Munroe

Because when you stop and look around life is pretty amazing - Anon

We'd love to know...
Are there any quotes you like to remind your self of on a regular basis?
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30 January 2017


29 January 2017

Written by Charlie Pallett
for Daily Focal

Nothing says love like a bit of homemade craft.
Create the wedding of your dreams with these simple and special handmade decoration ideas for your big day.

Crochet Doily Bunting
Why not collect old doilies or pick some up from your local charity shop and sew a quick and simple handmade crocheted bunting. If you want them in other colours simply dye the doilies whatever colour to fit your theme. A lovely way to recycle those vintage treasures.

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Lavender Decorations
A bit of ribbon and a few sprigs of lavender has never looked so stunning.
This simple idea can be used for church pew decorations, plate arrangements or adorable favours.

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Personalised Wedding Cake Topper
Just with twine and 5 minutes you can create your own cake topper to say anything with just a few twists and turns. How about your new surname, 'Just Married' or 'Love'?

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Place Name Cards
These adorable rustic name cards are so quick a easy. All you need is a set of alphabet letter stamps, card, glue and brown string to create this cute table accessory.

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Centrepiece Decorations
Save some jars, wine and beer bottles and accessorise with sting and lace to make the cutest centre table arrangement and complete with your favourite flowers. You can always use wood cuttings to write table numbers on or use as a tray arrangement.

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Personal Wedding Program
Take a trip to your local pound shop and grab some paper doilies, lolypop sticks and a roll of brown paper to create these handy wedding programs for your ushers to give to quests on arrival.

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Ladder Set Table Board
This cost effective and very adorable way to show the table arrangements is simple to make with just an old ladder and some large tags. Love it!

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Cute Cork Favours
Keep your corks and fashion these sweet wedding favour keyring! You could even use some spray glue and glitter or spray paint to add a bit of block colour.

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Crafty Confetti
Recycle old books, newspaper, coloured paper or tissue paper to make your own confetti.
A simple cutter in your favourite shade will give your guest the cutest confetti they've ever seen. Make paper or doilies to make cones and fill with confetti and arrangement them in a basket for when you guests walk out of the church, ready to shower you in cute handmade confetti!

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Sweet Keepsakes
Get a large jar or vase and collect some large stones and pebbles for your guests to write note and congratulations on for you to keep as an alternative to a guest book.

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Affordable Photo Booth!
Nothing more simple (and cost effective) that a large piece of card cut in the shape of a polaroid and some fancy handwriting to create your own handmade photo booth! Fill a basket with fancy dress and props and guests can take photographs enjoying your big day. Create a Hashtag like '#MrandMrsGant2016' so you can find all the hilarious pictures on social media to look back on, save and print!

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Ceiling Lanterns
A good idea for those retro ceiling lanterns everyone used to have is to use them as ceiling decorations at your reception, you can even cut paper butterflies and collect fake flowers and stick them on the lanterns to create unique and beautiful ceiling decorations for your venue.

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Photo Hoop
Recycling your child's old hoola-hoop and spray paint in a colour of your wedding theme. Use ribbon, greenery and flowers to display photos of the bride and groom to be and a lovely photo wall decoration for you guests to enjoy.

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Outdoor Seating
If you're stuck for some outdoor seating then it's nothing a few bails, fabric and flowers wont fix. Cover bails in fabric and cover with table clothes to make outdoor table sets!

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Are you having a DIY Wedding?
Let us know what crafty bits you're making for your big day!
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28 January 2017

Written by Marc Lamberts
for Daily Focal

Blogging can mean so much to people in so many different ways. I started blogging as a way to cope with my mental health problems, but one of the things I never thought would happen, was that I would become a better person. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always striving to be a better person, but I had no idea blogging would contribute to that. But it did!

 People warned me about the blogging world being vicious and mean, but I have never experienced this. On the contrary, I think I’ve experienced so much support and help. It really started to take off when I started to blog about mental health and if I look back, that’s the time when I also became a better person.

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 I don’t think I was a horrible person, but the fact that I saw people struggling with self confidence or self worth make me think about what I could do. I may be a stranger or someone you don’t really know, but I thought I could make people smile for a few seconds. And I did. As soon as people told me I had a positive impact on their day or lives, I started to think more about me as a person.

It was then that I was beginning to invest more in relationships online, making more friends on the way. It made me a better person to talk to different people – both male and female – from different countries, with different cultures and values. It made me more accepting and educated about the concept of friendship. Everything that was taught me, made me a better person.

 It has made me a better person by spreading love to people. Letting them know they are appreciated and loved. I make sure they are admired and connected with each other, my first aim is to be positive and supportive. I know there’s quite some negativity on twitter or the blogging world going at the moment, but I choose positivity. I made the decision to corrupt hate with love and I made the decision to better myself. Get rid of those negative feelings, emotions or comments. I think becoming a blogger has helped me do that. 

It’s easy to be negative, but I can honestly say that by helping others, cheering on their success, I’ve become a better person and a good friend. Choose positivity and become better person. It has brought me great things, like working together with great bloggers on this platform.

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What did blogging bring you?
Do you feel that you have become a better person because of it?
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27 January 2017

Written by Kirsty Hanson
for Daily Focal

Now that Christmas, Boxing Day and New Years is out of the way, people have got Valentine's Day to look forward to. It's a day where couples celebrate their love for each other by showering the other with gifts, saying 'I love you' way too many times and it's a day that sickens me.

I know that I sound like an idiot, but I really do not see the point of it - and no, it's not because I'm single and grumpy. Even when I was in a two-year relationship, I told my ex that I didn't want to celebrate Valentine's day because I thought it was a waste of money and a waste of time. He agreed, so it was all good. See? I was grumpy about the 'holiday' when I was in a relationship as well!

I feel like the 'special' day shouldn't be special at all. You should treat your significant other with love and respect every single day of the year, not just Valentine's Day and anyway, buying gifts for someone doesn't mean that you love them. V.D is just another day where the shops can make money out of couples; materialistic ways and can brainwash you into thinking that if you don't buy your partner/husband/wife this gift, then you're a rubbish.

I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

I would much rather just spend the day doing what I would usually do on a day-to-day basis if I was with anyone: study, spend a few hours with each other and binge watch TV. I don't want roses (or any other type of flowers), I don't want some big dramatic show, I just want my future boyfriend to love me, to treat me with respect and to not cheat on me. It's not a lot to ask for really, is it?

We'd love to know...
Do you (or don't you) celebrate Valentine's Day? Why? 
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26 January 2017

Written by Kirsty Hanson
for Daily Focal

with Original Photography by Kirsty Hanson

In the summer of 2016, I went with my family to Berlin. It was a place that had never really crossed my mind as a 'holiday destination' before my Dad suggested it to me. After a week of being there and absolutely loving everything about it, I genuinely cried when I had to leave the hotel. It's such a historic and breathtakingly beautiful place that I want to keep going back to.

Because I loved Berlin so much and because now is the time to start booking your holiday destinations, I decided to compile a list of the top five things to see/do in Berlin! Think of this as a kind of travel guide…
Brandenburg Gate
So many historically moments have happened in front of this monument and it's amazing to get to walk underneath it as you are overwhelmed with how famous the building is.

© Kirsty Hanson
Topography of Terror Museum
This museum is based both inside and outside and gives you a detailed history of World War II. It shows you the horrors that occurred during the time and outside, you get to see a massive part of the Berlin Wall.

© Kirsty Hanson 
© Kirsty Hanson
The Holocaust Memorial - Memorial to the Murdered Jews
Now in my opinion, this isn't the greatest looking memorial ever, but it's still very very important. You can walk through the rows and columns of the memorial and for me, whilst walking through them, I felt the horror of what had happened. The stones tower over you and you feel closed in. It's something that you have to do when you get to Berlin. In the park opposite this memorial is also a statue commemorating the homosexuals that were killed during the war.

© Kirsty Hanson 
© Kirsty Hanson
The Victory Column
This column is in the middle of the Tiergarten and you can climb to the very top of it and overlook the beauty which is Berlin. It’s very very tiring to get to the top, but it's worth it!

Potsdamer Platz
This is an amazing, cultural area that is full of things to do such as shopping, restaurants, cafes and museums. When I went there, I went to the film museum and then stopped off at Starbucks. It's a beautiful area that has great architectural buildings.

Checkpoint Charlie
It may only be a sign in the middle of the road, but it holds such great historical significance that it would be stupid not to go there. It symbolises where the Berlin wall used to be.

© Kirsty Hanson
Berlin Story Bunker
This is going to be one of the things that I will remember for the rest of my life. This museum, like the Topography of Terror, goes into great depth of the history of Berlin. I learnt so much whilst walking round there as each room is decorated with historical artefacts. I recommend using the audioguide as w`ell, as it gives you a lot more information than what’s on the boards. Now… one of the brilliant things about the Berlin Story Bunker is that there is also a chamber of horrors. This is a whole floor that is pitch black, has creepy things in each room and there's a man that pretty much follows you around and scares you. The chamber of horrors has nothing to do with World War II, it's just a touristy thing to do. But let me tell you, I squeezed my Dad's hand so hard whilst walking round the chambers that I thought I was going to break his hand. I genuinely nearly wet myself. I was petrified. I came out and my throat was so sore from screaming and I was shaking for about ten minutes. But, it was absolutely amazing!

There are so many more places that I could suggest that you go. Berlin is an absolutely amazing place and I really couldn't recommend it enough. It's a place that is so important, it's so beautiful and there is so much to do. There are loads of bookshops, museums, coffee shops, restaurants and cities.
Take me back there please? 

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Have you been to Berlin?
What is your favourite place to visit whilst visiting?
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Don't Fear the Smear: Cervical Cancer Prevention Week

25 January 2017

Written by Lauren Francis
for Daily Focal

This week marks Jo’s Trust #SmearforSmear campaign in line with Cervical Cancer Prevention Week. Recent figures show that the number of women attending their smear appointments has fallen to an all-time low, but what is the reason behind this drop?

Let’s face it any woman over the age of 25 and who has had a smear will agree it is not the most pleasant of experiences. If it is your first there is a lot of unknown and probable horror stories that you may have heard. If it’s not your first and you haven’t had the best experience beforehand, there is quite a bit of apprehension on whether it will be a repeat performance. Throw in the added factor of our hectic lifestyles, ’I’m too busy I’ll book it next week’ or ‘I’ll be fine to miss it’, time soon ticks on.

We do have the choice, after all it is an invite you receive in the post, and you may think that because it is not forced upon us you don't need to go. However for five minutes of un-comfortability I think it is completely worth it. At the end of the day, early detection of abnormalities is key and this simple free test can save your life.

As it is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week here are some top tips.

  • Read up on it. Half the battle is the unknown so find out exactly what to expect. Look at Jo’s Trust and NHS Choices. 

  • Ask Questions. If you have any questions whatsoever just ask. You won’t sound silly and it will give you the reassurance you need.

  • Talk about it. Even if you are okay with having the smear test done, if your friend or loved one is scared, unsure or doesn’t want to go then chat about it and encourage them to attend. 

  • If you don't feel comfortable with having the test done by your usual health professional then it is perfectly okay to request someone else. 

  • They’ve seen it all before. Whomever your health professional carrying out the smear is they have seen it all before and are not going to judge. 

  • Try to relax. This is a difficult one, it is pretty hard to relax whilst it is happening and you will want to shout how the hell am I supposed to relax whilst you are doing that? However try and focus on something in the room, talk to the nurse / GP about anything you like, or take someone with you for support.

We'd love to know...
Do you attend your smear?
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