Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mind the gap (tooth smile) - with free printable tooth fairy receipt

This is a C2 post. There was no payment for this post.
For full details please see my disclosure policy
I'm worried. Really worried.

Tricky is getting to a certain age. It's happening to all his friends, and will soon be happening to him.

No, we're not talking puberty, he'll be LOSING TEETH!

Which means... GAP TOOTH SMILES.

Insert screaming and hysterical crying here. No, not his. Mine.

OK so maybe I exaggerate slightly, but while I can handle wobbly teeth (and remember terrorizing my own family by wiggling them around all over the place), I am not a fan of the resultant gap tooth smile.

There I said it.

I don't think it's cute. I think it's completely and utterly gross.

I can only assume this extreme dislike for lost teeth comes from my own journey to gapdom which started when I was a wee babe. My parents put me to bed every night with a bottle of juice or cordial or crystal meth or something like that, and I developed cavities which led to abscesses. Serious stuff. Stuff you should avoid at all costs by taking your kids to a great kids dentist in Perth (or your own city, duh).

So at the ripe old age of two, my two front teeth were surgically removed and thus started the singing of "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth". Again and again and again. The tune can be cute once or twice. But let me tell you, the novelty wears off when it is sung to you for FIVE FREAKING YEARS.

Somewhat related: I actually talk differently to most people because I learned most of my words with my teeth missing, meaning I didn't get the temporary lisp that a lot of kids get when their two front teeth come out and leave a massive gap for their tongue to poke through. Mad skills.

Anyhow, back to what I was talking about. GAPS. I'll put on my best happy face, suck it up and be ready with my pom poms when Tricky gets his first wobbly tooth, and start figuring out exactly how he's going to lose those suckers that wobble for weeks but just don't wanna go.

According to Dr David Beecham, principal dentist at Aim Dental (also known as the dude that gave MapGuy his smile back - more on that another day), the old methods that you and I might have used to remove our wobbly teeth are now considered terribly naff by today's average five to seven year olds. And he would know, because his miniature clients tell him every day.

Here's what is in and what is out:

Three of those are just moving with the times, really. Tooth to string to door explodes in to the 21st century with tooth to string to something with three packets of batteries. But I'm not sure about the Nerf technique. Are we tying the tooth to the bullet or knocking it by firing bullets at kid's faces? Because NOTHING COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG THERE!

Tricks got a drone for Christmas (OMG who gives their five year old a drone? We do. These idiots over here) so I think we're going to have to go with the top ranking quad copter method. Keep an eye on YouTube, OK?

Despite my fear, I created two free printable tooth fairy receipts for you. Because I'm so giving, obvs. If you click the image below, you can download a sheet of three that you can print at home on an A4 page then cut up.

(Note to self: don't close editing program between versions or they'll end up slightly different sizes and annoy you SO MUCH).

I'm going to keep the filled out receipts in a scrap book that I'll probably never look through again, and throw out the teeth or donate them to the spray can factory... because that's not a myth, right? Or apparently you can also pay a shed load of money to have them cryogenically frozen for their stem cells. Nifty, but a little out of my price range.

If you use these I'd love it if you'd put a pic online and tag me :) I'm @glowless on Instagram 

You can also check 5 ways to avoid costly dental treatments for your kids over at Aim Dental.

Tell me your tooth stories - do you love the gap smile? Or do you hate it and want your child to wear a flipper like the kids on Tantrums and Tiaras? 

Monday, February 22, 2016

10 Fitness and Diet Trends that are Bullshit

Handing the blog over to my friend Zoey from Operation Move today! She's tops. You should listen to her because she knows her stuff (she runs marathons - freakin' MARATHONS, people!) and isn't afraid to call bullshit.

Over at Operation Move we are all about fitness. I love being a part of bringing it into people's lives and I love helping people get started. What I don't love so much is all the fitness and diet myths that tend to be pretty persistent. Most of the time, those myths just set people back and erode their self confidence. So before you start (or continue) on your path of finding your awesomeness in your fitness, here are some myths that are total bullshit.

1) The Cleanse and/or Detox
Actually your kidneys and liver do a pretty good job of this. You can't cleanse or detox your body with a combination of stimulants, laxatives and diuretics. What you can do is lose a bunch of water weight that you will put back on as soon as you start eating like a normal human.

2) Superior Diets
There is no magic bullet. It doesn't matter whether you go low fat, low carb, paleo, macro, low calorie, atkins or 5:2 - the comparative success of diets is about the same. So you are best off picking something that you like and are going to enjoy sticking to. Make it part of your lifestyle, rather than a diet and your long term results are going to make you much happier.

3) Toning
Toning is a word that's pretty much exclusively applied to women because apparently women don't like muscle. But that's exactly what toning is, it's building muscle. And rather than challenging female stereotypes, people who use the word 'tonging' pander to it.

4) Lean Muscle
There aren't two kinds of muscle (bulky muscle or lean muscle) there is just muscle and there is fat that covers it.

5) Spot Training
This is a persistent myth because everyone wants it to be true. But you can't crunch your way to flat abs. Although spot training will strengthen and build muscle in the area that you are training, it won't necessarily burn fat from that particular area covering it as fuel.

6) 1,200 Calories
I'm not sure where the idea of 1,200 calories came from but it is the quickest way to slow down your metabolism and make weight loss or really any other activity nearly impossible. Your metabolism will think you are starving and it will horde your fat like no one's business.

7) Bulking Up
You really don't have to worry about bulking up in terms of exercise as a woman. It is really hard work for women to gain muscle because of hormone levels, so if you happen to see women who are muscular and bulky - believe me it's on purpose.

8) Coconut Water
Yes coconut water has minerals that aid in re-hydration but they are in pretty trace amounts. By all means continue to drink coconut water if you enjoy it but it doesn't really have any major benefits in terms of rehydration.

9) War on Carbs
Carbohydrates are not your enemy. They fuel most of your activities, they help manage stress levels and boost your mood. And they have a range of other benefits including heart health, memory and blood sugar stabilisation. What can benefit you is switching from refined carbohydrates to whole grains and vegetables.

10) More is Better
It can be hard to wrap your head around but more exercise isn't always a good thing. That's because all of the fitness adaptation happens during rest and recovery and often short bursts of high intensity activities have a whole range of benefits that longer endurance sessions don't. So instead of thinking in terms of more, think in terms of a variety of things that you are going to enjoy with plenty of recovery time in between.

So instead of worrying about all of that, think about what kind of life you want and go from there. I love to run, but I refuse to accept a life that doesn't involve Friday drinks, pizza nights or pie. Because what's the point if you aren't having fun?

Special Offer for Readers: 20% off Learn to Run which starts on the 7th March. Learn to Run is a 12 week online coaching program that supports you every step of the way with accredited coaches, a supportive team and a private facebook group. Just use the code glow if you are paying upfront or glowplan if you want to use the weekly option.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Top 5 Dos and Do Nots of Your Child's First Dentist Visit

This is a C2 post. There was no payment for this post.
For full details please see my disclosure policy

I've now seen two children through their first dental visits, which in blogger terms means I'm now qualified to tell you how to attempt it with your own children. HA! But rather than just take my quasi-tips as gospel, I've actually teamed up with a Perth Kids Dentist, Aim Dental, to let you guys in on some of the insider info from a dentist and a mum perspective on everything from first visits, losing baby teeth and more.

The aim (see what I did there?) is that a first dentist visit for kids should be a predominantly positive experience and there are a few things you can do to help that:

  1. Show them that dentist scene in Willy Wonka. You know the one? Where Willy has gigantic braces on, isn't allowed to eat lollies and is abandoned by his dentist father. That one. Yeah, maybe skip that.
  2. Show your fear. Are you afraid of the dentist? I can relate, I wouldn't say I'm scared, but I'm definitely not waving any pom poms. Hide it. Bottle it up. In the words of Elsa, "conceal, don't feel, don't let them know". Kids are like dogs, they can smell your fear, try not to transfer your fear to them.
  3. Give your kids sugary fizzy drinks and sugary food. You'd think that was a given, but it's not. 41.8% of 5-6 year olds in WA have dental decay in their baby teeth, and 39.6% of 12 year olds have decay in their adult teeth, mostly due to a combination of fizzy drinks, sugary treats and not brushing properly. 
  4. Let your kids brush their own teeth. Little kids can't brush properly by themselves, so you'll have to do it for them. Research shows that some kids will need help up until they are ten.
  5. Freak out if they cry, scream, refuse to get on the chair, or refuse to open their mouth! A great kids dentist will have a longer appointment booked for a first go, and will work with you and your child to get the job done, but the calmer you stay, the better.
Tricky's been before, but Bobbin's first dental visit went better than anyone hoped
  1. Brush their teeth twice a day! Try your hand over theirs if they want to do it at the same time. Tricky and Bobbin take turns with us - Mum or Dad do it first, then they get to have a go. 
  2. Read some books about first dentist visits. My two loved Peppa Pig's trip to the dentist where George is scared. You can also hit up YouTube for some first dentist vids but pre-watch them because some are just weird. The image above shows the titles we read in the weeks and days leading up to Bobbin's first visit last month.
  3. Find a Perth dentist who is great with kids - Aim Dental is really focussed on making kids feel relaxed. From the toy box in the waiting room while they fill out their own super cute client forms (OMG it's adorable), to the funky glasses and cool cartoons on the screen while they are in the chair (never bloody had that when I first went!), and a goodie bag with a new toothbrush at the end of their first visit, it makes for a pleasant and tear-free experience. Just look at my two! They even had a professional clean - all for the grand price of NOTHING with no gap kids dental with our health fund.
  4. Brush and floss your own teeth in front of the kids - it might mean brushing well before your own bedtime and having to do it again, but seeing that you do it too and aren't just forcing them to do it can be really beneficial. 
  5. Reward their first trip to the dentist with something that isn't food! A trip to the park, a picnic, bowling, half an hour on the iPad, whatever they like! 
Just look at those pearly whites!

Now that it's over... book in the next visit for six months time.

For more details from actual professional people, check out Aim Dental's 5 things to do to get your child ready for their first dental visit.

Friday, February 12, 2016

In defence of Blogger blogs

An article was shared in a blogging forum I belong to today, called "36 Reasons Why Having a 'Free Website' is a bad idea". It was shared with the hope of putting the idea of free blogging platforms to rest once and for all. Thing is, I disagree with almost every point and would argue that it doesn't have anything to do with blogging on Blogger. Some of it would be an issue if you're creating a website... but we're talking blogging as it was raised in a blogging forum.

I don't understand the whole "my platform is better than your platform" malarkey that goes on day in and day out. It would seem that some people can't appreciate that what is important to them is not important to others, perhaps?

I remember back when I first started my blog and I had no idea if this little hobby would be something I stuck with for a month or even a week, there was so much pressure to move to WordPress. The person who did the most pressuring ended up having his WordPress sites hacked to the point where he could not retrieve any of the data and had to start again. Yet here I was on my free platform, plodding along nicely.

Turns out I did stick to it and my blog turns seven this year. Woah. So I have six years of experience with Blogger being NOT TERRIBLE. Sure, way back in the beginning there was less functionality, so perhaps people are writing these articles from how it used to be?

But I'm going to come out in defence of Blogger for no other reason than I'm tired of people assuming I'm stupid for choosing it. It suits my needs. I'm not saying it suits yours. So here is my point by point rebuttal:

1. Extremely slow websites

In my experience the slowest websites are those who have massive images, and it has very little if any to do with the platform those massive images are held on.

2. Unprofessional web addresses

Um, heard of buying domain names? Mine costs $10 per year.

3. Trial service is not really free

Doesn't apply to Blogger.

4. Hidden charges for free website

Doesn't apply to Blogger - unless you want to buy your own domain, but you have to pay for that no matter which platform you choose.

5. They can lock down your data

Migration services are not a problem if you've been backing up your blog. See that? I'm all for migrating platforms if your needs change!

6. Irrelevant advertisements on your website

You can choose to have Adsense running on your Blogger blog or not. If you choose to have it, it uses magic sparkle power to figure out which one will work best - i.e. an algorithm to find key words and put up an ad that it thinks will match. You don't have control over the specific ad shown but you can say no to all ads if you wish. This is for any site that uses Adsense though, not just Blogger.

7. They can shut down your website

Technically yes! They can come along and boom! All gone. If you've been backing up, this shouldn't be an issue. But I'd like to point out that your hosting company can also do this. If your content promotes horrible nasty things like killing kittens or listening to Nickelback, or breaks the law they can remove it. I personally know a case where a small hosting company didn't like a review they got from one woman and held her content to ransom if you will. Unless the server is in your own house, someone else has an element of control.

8. These companies can disappear at any time

As can your host. I'd like to think that a company as big as Google would give me a little notice when it shut down a service. They've shut down things before, usually with six to twelve months notice. So I can scurry along and find another service then if I need to.

9. You will lose your site address

Again, heard of buying your own domain?

10. They can sell your information

I absolutely agree that if you're not paying for something, you are the product. And that's fair, because companies need to make money. But free services are not the only ones that sell off their mailing lists to other companies.

11. No site building tools

Sigh. There's plenty. And look, we're talking about blogs here, I'm not trying to convince Myer to move their website to a Blogger blog.

12. No WordPress

Yeah, that was actually part of the appeal of Blogger for me back when I had zero skills. If you aren't capable of maintaining plug ins and backups, then WordPress might not be for you. SHOCK! HORROR! If you can't run the back end, then you're leaving yourself open to security holes and hackers. Not everyone wants to control the back end. Add euphemism here if you wish.

13. Limited WordPress

See above.

14. Malware distribution

Again, not for Blogger. You have the power of Google behind you. You know what is notorious for malware? Plug ins! Third party apps and widgets and whatnots. There are some fabulous, well respected, awesome plug ins, no question. Keep them updated and it usually isn't an issue. Usually.

15. You may become part of a link farm

Do they grow baby links?

16. Limited bandwidth

Again, we're talking blogs here, not companies with big websites that also have a blog to show you how hip and relatable they are. How much bandwidth do you need?

17. Low disk storage

My storage is always telling me I've used 0%. Six years of blogging and it's still not enough data to even register. I remember it went up to 1% once, and not long after all the storage allocations were increased.

18. Vulnerable to hacking attempts

Anyone with third party widgets is open to hacking if they aren't kept up to date. Blogger only allows pre approved widgets meaning they're going through Google security first. You can add your own at your own risk if you wish.

19. HTML only sites with limited number of pages

How many pages do you need for a blog? Big website, sure, go for pages and sub categories it's important. But, um, there is no limit to the number of pages on Blogger blogs.

20. Low credibility among your users

I'd argue that any poorly maintained blog (or website) lowers credibility. I've been trying to convince Tricky's school to fix their website for two years now - their expensive, self hosted, ticks all the right boxes website. Because it stands there with "under construction" on most of the pages, and images that are twelve megapixels big creating massive load times. That looks extremely unprofessional despite it being a you beaut, self hosted website. Spelling mistakes, broken links, poor font choice, missing data and being unable to correctly number list items are things that make a site look unprofessional.

21. Limited design choices

Not really. There are so many templates within Blogger and literally thousands of combinations to choose from. If you don't like those there are a stack of free templates you can install or you can pay for a custom template if you want. I've never paid for a custom template (yes, we can tell I hear you say), I've always just tweaked bits here and there and figured out what to do with tutorials.

22. No help or customer service

There is less Blogger customer service representatives, yes, but that doesn't mean that there is no help. Because it is such a widely used platform there are thousands (yes, thousands!) of websites offering tutorials - written and video, so you can choose one based on how you learn best.

23. You can't run advertisements or make money

Um, yes you can. The article states you can't add Adsense... It's a Google product, of course you can put it on your other Google product.

24. There are no backups

Yes there is. You are responsible for your own backups. But wait, you say, I'm not responsible for my backups with my host! Well, the standard backups for most hosts are not guaranteed, you have to pay extra for a full guarantee backup. Which is great if you want that security, but there are backups in Blogger.

25. Difficult to get rid of

There's a button that says delete blog. It doesn't get much simpler than that. Or you could just hide your Blogger blog if you wanted to. Or make it accessible to only a few, invite only VIPs.

26. No statistics or decent analytics.

The article states you get free statistics about your site's visitors and can even install Google Analytics if you go self hosted. Newsflash. Blogger has always had this.

27. You will be targeted with email offers

The only targeted offers I get are for Adsense dollars, which anyone who signs up for it will get, regardless of their platform.

28. No support for mobile phones

I can update my blog from my phone or tablet if I want to. There's an official app for that. And a few third party apps, too.

29. No responsive designs

I click a button that says "enable mobile site" and by magical fairy powers it transfers my theme to a mobile one - yes, even my completely self modified template. Totes hard.

30. No branded email.

I've had a branded email from the moment I bought my own domain. It's called Google Apps. It's also free.

31. No contact forms or email forwards

There is a contact form within Blogger, you can choose to add it on your blog as a widget if you wish. With Google Apps, the emails come straight from Google to me.

32. Limited file upload features

To be honest I've not tried to upload more than six images at a time. But that is more than the one image at a time that the article states.


The original article has skipped number 33. My favourite bloody number, too. Bastards. See number 20 for details.

34. No way to setup redirects

OH LOOK! One that is actually true!

35. Investing time on a free website is unwise

It depends on what your intent is! I think it is unwise to pay a lot of money for hosting when you are just starting up and have no idea whether you're going to be blogging for more than a week. I think it is unwise to pressure people in to choosing a more technically advanced platform that they might not be comfortable with. I think it is unwise to recommend a site to a beginner because your own website needs more functionality. It's like recommending I get a 21 seat coaster bus because YOU have a big family that uses one and finds it fabulous. My little family does not need it.

36. Not even for practice

This isn't a reason. But I still disagree with it. Ha! f you've got a website and aren't 100% sure on your coding, a free platform to play on that doesn't screw up your other one is a great idea if you're unfamiliar with HTML checkers.

There is nothing wrong with using a free platform if it suits your needs.

I'm not saying that one platform is better than the other - they are DIFFERENT and will suit DIFFERENT people for their DIFFERENT needs. But if you're going to come out and say one is better, then maybe do your research, because out of the 36 reasons above (35 if you realise one is missing - 34 if you realise the last one isn't a reason), only one is really a downside to Blogger, and that's redirects. Which for me personally, is not an issue.

My Blogger blog is perfect for what I want it to do. I am not after world domination, I am not trying to have a business, and I'm not trying to use it to sell products. I just want to vent the crap in my head and maybe get some pocket money every now and then. If I change those plans at some point, which is highly unlikely, then I might find the platform doesn't suit my needs any more. But as it is, it looks like I'll hit the seventh birthday still on Blogger. Still suiting me great.

If you wish to read the original article you can find it here.


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