Quitting smoking – A personal story

As someone who has never smoked a single cigarette it is quite easy to stand in judgement, telling other people, from those who chain smoke, to those who just enjoy an occasional social drag, why it is that they should quit. But I feel that would be both sanctimonious and pious, and frankly, I am neither. I do however, have a personal story of someone who used vaping as a way to give up smoking after a 30 year addiction that had seen him smoke more than 30 a day, every single day, and that it the story of my husband Peter. I’m really proud of him,and believe that his story shows that anyone can give up, with a combination of determination and sheer willpower. Did you try doing something similar, but you like to share it on an anonymous platform? Then use Doe for that to stay anonymous when writing and sharing your intriguing life stories safely.

Pete’s story

Pete started smoking as a teenager, when James Dean with a cigarette was still the absolute epitome of cool. Cigarettes were cheaper then, and you could always easily buy a single cigarette at school from someone behind the bike sheds. Pete often His intake steadily increased, and neither breathing problems due to asthma, or the smoking ban that led to smokers being made to take the habit outside led to any thoughts of quitting.

In 2008, Pete’s mother, Rita, was diagnosed with Lung cancer. It was terminal, stage 4, and she died just four months later. Rita had also been a life long smoker, and still smoked crafty cigarettes as she was dying, not able to give up the very thing that was to end her life so prematurely. Pete adored his mom, and was by far a heavier smoker than Rita ever had been, but still he did not quit, despite my growing fears for his health. Our son Joe was just four months old when his grandmother died at 55, but her stolen life did not even tempt Pete to cut down.

But sometimes something has to give, and, finally in January 2014, something did happen that finally prompted Peter to finally try to quit. Joe was now five and idolised his dad. Pete had never smoked in our home and had tried to keep his habit away from Joe, but that hadn’t stopped Joe picking up a pen and telling us he was ‘smoking a nasty’ like dad. Pete was horrified. He had been doing some research into vaping and felt that this could be a way of quitting that might just work for him. (You can find some similar research here.)

Pete and Joe

Pete and Joe

Pete quit for his boy

Pete quit for his boy

He started with a vaping kit and alternated this with actual cigarettes, which cut his intake down to less than a pack of 20 per day, for the first time in 20 years. He then further reduced, so that actual cigarettes were limited to a pack of 10 per day, which had a great impact financially as the cost of cigarettes continued to soar with every new Budget. Eventually the cigarettes were gone – this took less than a month, which was pretty incredible, and habits like getting up in the night for a quick drag, or leaving a restaurant between courses all disappeared – for good as it turned out.

Really proud of my man.

Really proud of my man.

With cigarettes gone, Pete packed up the vaping kit and went cold turkey. It was not easy, but the introduction of vaping had made the process slightly more painless, and within another month, Pete was a non smoker. That was March 2014, and he has remained that way. It is sometimes hard for me to now remember that he had ever smoked, let alone been someone who had a really heavy habit.


If you are struggling to quit, or have been considering it, I would definitely recommend vaping as a way to cut down both your cigarette intake and costs, and as an effective way to quit. You can find a range of information about vaping, health benefits, research and e-cigarettes at https://www.vapemate.co.uk/ which may give you a little more food for thought.



Final Garden tips now Summer is here.

Now that summer is finally here, my garden project is almost completed. This year was the year that my garden had an overhaul, down to the fact that Joe had grown out of his playhouse and most of his garden toys, so these could be disposed of (given to a neighbour with young grandchildren in actual fact), and that has given us more room for planters, flower beds and (Joe’s new obsession) goalposts. You can read all about the previous changes here, but now that we are firmly ensconced in a thoroughly British Summer I can share the final stages of garden development.

The Lawn

We have a rather large lawn, hence it’s use as a mini football stadium, but it has looked tired in places, and due to a large number of trees at the back of the house, we do get strange patches of plants that pop up due to seed dispersal by birds.  This summer we have added some new sections of grass, and have also landscaped the garden using lawn edging. Lawn edging, such as that offered by The Plastic People, keeps lawns looking neat and tidy, and can also be used to separate grass areas from borders, giving your garden clear definition.

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A paddling Pool (yes really)

Every single year we buy a new paddling pool. Because, without fail, we leave our current one outside and allow it to fill with rain water, insects and mildew, and are then forced to throw it away. This year I would love to invest in a new, larger pool so that I could also get in it, providing those hot days com back of course. Argos and Wilkinsons are a couple of places that have a good stock of pools, and Home and BM bargains are also worth a look too.



Keeping on top of the plants

We’ve been so pleased that many of the plants that we planted in Spring have grown and are making the garden a brighter place, but we are now waiting for some of the plants that were due to sprout in June. One of these was our strawberry plant, which was due in June. I’m currently writing this from my hotel balcony in Portugal, so I’m really hoping that when I get home, there will be at least a few lovely strawberries to enjoy.If not…well…it will be time to hit the fruit farm again!


Flower Power at Phase Eight

When it comes to floral prints and fashion, there is always a bit of a love/hate relationship. The print is undoubtedly popular, particularly when Summer comes around, a natural choice for weddings, race days and ladies days. But it also has the reputation for being a safe and staid choice – let’s face it, if we are talking about sexy or sophisticated, flowers may not be the first print that comes to mind.

Yet this would be a shame, because floral prints can be so much more than the print your grandma would love to see you wearing. Beautiful, hot red carpet looks have taken the deepest of red flower power prints and added full skirts and sweetheart necklines to give a real Sophia Loren look that says more va va voom than Chelsea Flower show. Sophia Bush (top image) has forties style waves, vampish red lips and a firecracker print that shows just how delectable a print made up of booms can be.

Phase Eight is always a good place to look for a real variety of floral prints, with plenty of dresses each season in a range of shapes. They have just launched a flower power collection and have asked me to put together a favourite look. I have used the hot red prints and forties and fifties shapes of the ladies below to plot a favourite look that should be perfect for anything from a wedding to summer party season.

fabulous celebrity red floral styles



House Of Fraser British Academy Television Awards (TV BAFTA) 2015 - Arrivals Featuring: Guest Where: London, United Kingdom When: 10 May 2015 Credit: Lia Toby/WENN.com


My Flower Power style

POPPY BURNOUT DRESS Sale £42.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

POPPY BURNOUT DRESS £42.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

PENELOPE FLORAL DRESS Sale £59.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

PENELOPE FLORAL DRESS £59.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

NANCY FLORAL DRESS £65.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

NANCY FLORAL DRESS £65.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

Wear with…

ELENA SUEDE PEEP TOE SHOES £99.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

ELENA SUEDE PEEP TOE SHOES £99.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

ANITA SUEDE SANDALS £69.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

ANITA SUEDE SANDALS £69.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

BOBBI SUEDE CLUTCH BAG Sale £39.00 Click to visit Phase Eight

£39.00 Click to visit Phase Eight