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Sunday, 23 September 2018
Hello, I just wanted to put a post together like last year to update you on whats coming up over the next few months, some changes I've made / making and to clarify a few things.

To clarify a few things...

Halloween is one of my favourite times of year and I love to recreate different makeup looks but someone asked me why I don't buy the costumes and do full looks so I wanted to talk about that.
Last year I picked 4 different Disney Villains and it cost me just under £50 for all the wigs and accessories I needed. For me to go all out with full costumes it would of cost me around £40-£60 per look and I can't justify spending £160-£240 for costumes that I wear once for photos on a blog post. It also occurred to me that I could for example buy the Maleficent outfit and buy the last one in stock. That could of gone to someone else who would of got more use from it than me.

Calendar Countdown is another segment I have on my blog where I've had Tweets and Instagram messages saying but did you buy this? I love the non traditional Advent Calendars, they are a brilliant idea and there is so much variety.
I started the Calendar Countdown as a way to be an information hub, giving you a list of the contents, comparing the advent to the previous years in terms of design, contents and price and then I breakdown whether it's worth the money based off that information.
It's my opinion, it isn't gospel and I feel I don't need to buy the advent to do that when my goal is to give as much information as I can. I've always said Advent's are a brilliant way to try new products or new brands and I feel that sometimes you don't get your money's worth. Christmas can be an expensive time for people and I don't like the idea of someone being so excited for an advent and being disappointed on opening. Some advents are very expensive and some are very limited, like with Halloween, I am not spending thousands to buy all these advents, half of which I probably won't use, for a blog post. Someone else could of had that advent. 
I'm not saying that those who buy every advent to review shouldn't, it's again just my opinion. It's something that I couldn't justify doing with the amount on the market, the amount of money it would of taken and the amount of people that advent could have gone to. I could just buy certain ones but I don't want people to then think I didn't talk about a certain calendar because I didn't like it or was in some way influenced not to talk about it.
It takes a lot of work to do all these kinds of posts and I do them because I am passionate about the concept and because I love to share my ideas and thoughts. It's one of the reasons I decided to blog publicly. 

Here's what's to come over the next few months...

With Halloween I have another 4 looks for you that are based from one of my all time favourite family movies. I have some more pumpkin carving ideas, some posts about what supermarkets are offering this Halloween and this years Halloween Treat Bags. 

Over November and December I will of course be doing the #CalendarCountdown alongside some Christmas Range Content, Gift Guides, My Operation Christmas Child Boxes and some D.I.Y Ideas. This is going to be the fullest November and December yet, with over 200 posts planned I have been very busy and I am so excited for you to see them. I am sad to say that this year Buddy, my Elf On The Shelf, won't be visiting us this as he's been assigned to another family for the festive period. 

As to the changes I am making, I have had this new blog layout now for over a month and it's working really well for me but I have started to change the way I layout my posts to fit it. This will co-inside to changes I am making across all my social media and how I post. I will try my best to stick to a schedule when posting but as you know things can happen and it won't always be doable. 

I can't wait to share all my ideas with you and I hope you enjoy reading them over the next couple of months. 

As always, thank you for reading...
Thursday, 20 September 2018

My First Journey With Braces

Age 7 - After teeth were removed because of overcrowding
When I was little, I had big teeth. At the age of 6 I had over crowding and my dentist said that for me to have braces in the next few years I needed some teeth pulling in preparation. At the age of 10 I had more teeth pulled and was ready to started my journey with braces.
I started with retainers to pull my front teeth in as they were on a slant. Between the teeth on my bottom jaw and the two at the front I had an 11mm gap and I couldn't close my mouth without my teeth sticking out. 

It was just over a year later that I got my retainer with blocks. These blocks were placed at a specific bite to bring my jaw forward. It transpired that I had no chin when it came to my profile. My jaw was set too far back and contributing more to my overbite issue. I had grown too quickly for the blocks to work and was on a different plan that involved jaw surgery.

Age 14 - Before fixed braces
At 14 my fixed braces were put on and after tightening's, elastics and changes of tracks at 18 I had my hooks added ready for the surgery. 

Jaw Surgery

Age 18 - A few hours after the surgery and the day after
I could of had the surgery at 16 but my parents wanted it to be my decision and I wasn't legally able to consent to the procedure until I was 18. The plan was to move my top and bottom jaw into place of a natural bite, give me more of a chin and ultimately fix the overbite. 
On the day of surgery the plan changed, only my lower jaw would be broken and re-positioned. I ended up with four plates two that pushed my chin forward a little more and two at the hinges. It was decided that there wasn't as much of a necessity to move my top jaw and the surgeon could elongate my lip by cutting a V shape under the top lip and sewing it into a Y. At that point my overbite wasn't as prominent and elongating the lip would cover the fact my smile was just a little gummier than others. 
This meant my surgery was shorter, recovery time was quicker and I achieved the same results. I was ecstatic with how my teeth turned out but as I was only 18 the growth of my wisdom teeth effected those results later on which is why I've decided to go back for more dental treatment. 
Age 18 - After braces were taken off & before my wisdom teeth came through

The Changes I Noticed

When my wisdom teeth started to come through, 2 years after the surgery, my retainers started to bend and crack. My teeth were being pushed forward but because it wasn't a huge push forward as they were coming through I didn't think anything of immediate action. After a few months I went to get my retainer replaced with my wisdom teeth through fully and straight. I was quoted £750 for a new one. I wasn't long finished with university and in the middle of getting my health under control as I had been diagnosed with having Ulcerative Colitis, I didn't have the funds for that.
Over the next 4 years I had tried my best to save for a new retainer but at dentist check ups I was told there wasn't really much need for me to have one which was conflicting as I was told after surgery that my orthodontic work needed to be maintained with one.
Just before I turned 25 I noticed my front teeth started to slant forward and my bite had started to change. My teeth were moving across the top and bottom and I had started to grind my teeth in my sleep. I knew then I was going to need more dental work than a new retainer and researched many different dentists / orthodontists before deciding that Invisalign would be the best option. I rung a few paces to get a ballpark figure when it came to cost and saved the funds to do it. 
Last month I had a consultation and I was so impressed that I said yes to start the treatment.

Why Invisalign?

I had knowledge of the different types of braces from the various plans discussed between the age of 10 to 18 but this time round I was more drawn to Invisalign as they are what they say, invisible aligners. Invisalign is an expensive treatment but in my opinion is well worth the price. 
In comparison to fixed braces, with the retainers I can keep my teeth cleaner; with fixed braces you hear of people who end up with staining in the shape of the brace as they cannot get close enough with a brush. I'll be able to floss easier; when I tried to floss with fixed braces I'd end up snapping the floss more times than I can count trying to get it between the brace and teeth. I won't need to limit the types of foods I eat; with fixed braces you have to be careful with chewy foods, sticky foods, hard / crunchy foods or high sugar and citrus foods. I will not have to take time off to visit the dentist as much; most orthodontists work certain days whereas with dentists who offer Invisalign, they are normal dentists trained to do the treatment. I would also be swapping trays at home to keep everything tight; when I had fixed braces, tightening the wire was painful, awkward and happened every 2 weeks.

The Simulation

There is a machine with a wand that scans your teeth and creates a simulation of before and after which I've shared below. It's very accurate but can be a little uncomfortable when trying to scan the back teeth.
Before Simulation
After Simulation
I know this may not seem like a massive change to the pictures you see of others online or in the adverts but to me it makes a huge difference. My bite will change back to where it needs to be, the top front teeth will be tucked back in with the rest and I get to do this whilst keeping my wisdom teeth, bonus! Obviously these are just simulations and the after depends on how much movement I can get out of my teeth and changes can be made to the plan if my dentist thinks I can get more towards the results I want. 

Today I went and had my aligners attached and picked up the first few sets of trays. I will be getting the before pictures from my dentist and I'll be posting my progress in sections, after check ups. I get a couple of sets of trays each time so I will be showing the changes to my teeth as I swap them out.

I hope this post interested you or helped you if you were thinking of getting Invisalign done. If you are I'd definitely say go for a consultation, it may not be the route for everybody but after all the different braces and treatments I've had this already has many more benefits. 

As always, thanks for reading...
Sunday, 16 September 2018
A couple of weeks ago I finally received my results from 23andme! Before we delve into the results I just wanted to talk a little about the process after you've sent off your sample and my experience with it.

Waiting For The Results

The samples can take anywhere between 6-8 weeks to come back and as I mentioned in my previous post (Click here to read) my dad did his ancestry DNA too. 
In the space of 8 weeks I had to send two emails to 23andme about the status of my sample. You can track your sample online once it's reached the lab and see all the process's it goes through. My dad received his sample after 3 weeks and at 4 weeks I emailed because we had sent both off together and I was concerned with where mine was. At 5 weeks the tracker said mine had been signed for at the lab but by week 7 there had been no progress so I emailed again. Both times I emailed the response was a generic email about the process and they said shipments from the UK take around 2-4 weeks to reach the lab and will be diverted through the distribution centre in the Netherlands before reaching the US. It will then be a further 2-4 weeks for the lab to process them.
It wasn't until I emailed the second time my results went through the whole process in the space of a few days, then I had an email confirming my results.

My Thoughts

I wouldn't say I was wholly disappointed with the service but I didn't appreciate the generic emails or the fact my tracker updated after the second email I'd sent. I think my sample was probably was being sorted but my tracker wasn't updated. It isn't ideal but I can understand it can happen as they more than likely received a bigger influx due to the Father's Day special. 

The Results

In my last post I said "If I was to give percentages and go with what my family have said I would lay it out that I was around 80% British and Irish, around 10% Broadly North Western European and then the last 10% would be Eastern and/or Southern European." 
As you can see I was way off the mark! 

One thing to note, when I originally opened my results they were different to this. I had a higher percentage in the broadly sections and I did have Iberian DNA in my results. After I was able to link my dad's results to mine and after a study by 23andme which was able to add new information to the database it updated my results to be more accurate. Once my mum does her 23andme my results will more than likely change again. If you want to know anymore about how phasing and inheritance affects your results click here.

I am so happy I was able to get specific lines of ancestry out of my results. Some people get larger percentages under the broadly sections and I did the 23andme DNA kit in the hopes it will help my ancestry journey. The amazing thing 23andme provides is a timeline of when each DNA line came into your history for example as you can see below I had a Great Grandparent, Second-Great Grandparent or Third-Great Grandparent that 100% French & German. It tells you in a little box when you hover over each line and also gives you an indication of when they were born. So my ancestor who had 100% French & German DNA was born between 1840 and 1900. 
It's information like this that is helping me with my ancestry journey.

Other results from the kit also determine which maternal and paternal haplogroup you belong to, your neanderthal variants and most importantly to me you can opt into DNA Relatives.
I haven't screenshot the opening page in order to keep other's privacy but you can see the profiles of those who have also opted in and how they are related to you. For example I can see my dad's profile and he is obviously listed as being my father, I can see distant cousins profiles and they list which side of the family they are and how much of a distant cousin they are. 
When you click the profile you can see a timeline of the relatives you share. Here is a screenshot of a third cousin I have and it shows we share the same 2nd Great Grandparents. 
You can also message these family members which leads to more knowledge of your family history and ancestry. 

Overall I would say this is an amazing service if you are; tracing your ancestry, curious about where you come from or in cases where you have been adopted and may not know your biological family. I'd recommend everyone do this and although there were issues with generic emails from the company they regularly update and add new studies to your results which speaks to me as accuracy being a priority to them.

Are you curious about your ancestry? Would you try 23andme? 

As always, thank for reading...

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