Like a lot of people I have always wondered about my ancestry. Over the years I’ve had chats with my parents who were both born in Gujarat in India about our roots and migration throughout time. I was recently offered the opportunity to find out more about my DNA and the ethnic and geographic origins of my ancestors. I took the test offered by Living DNA and my results came through really quickly 5 weeks to be precise from the date I posted my sample (mouth swab) back. This was a lot earlier than the time specified in the kit. I was completely surprised to learn that my ancestry covers 26 countries going back thousands of years.
This knowledge has made me appreciate how we are all so very unique. I love watching programmes like ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ so this is probably the closest I will ever get to learning more about my past. It’s been a fantastic subject of discussion in our household. The test looks at your ancestry in incredible detail by looking at 3 types of DNA (Your Family Ancestry, Motherline Ancestry and, if male, your Fatherline Ancestry) and looking at not only where each piece of your DNA is from but how those pieces are related to each other, through proprietary technology.
Results will show ancestors movements at several points in time between 80,000 to 150,000 years ago from the point modern humans migrated out of Africa to where they moved through several eras spanning thousands of years. Living DNA uses the newest DNA chip and innovative software technology. It does sound so complex but all worth knowing.
How to use the kit:
Online order,through the option offered on the website. The test kit is then sent straight to the provided address.
Kit activation, which is also done online for the purpose of correlating your sample with the results.
Sample collection, with the provided easy-to-operate mouth swab.
Posting the kit back, using the provided free returns bag.
Viewing your results online within 10 to 12 weeks.
Within each of your cells, you have thousands of mitochondria, structures which supply energy to the cell. Your mitochondria has their own DNA, which makes it possible to trace the motherlines of individuals across the world and see how they connect. As our ancestors changed how they were living, from generations to generations, it created changes in the mtDNA which is shown as branches of the mtDNA tree.
My motherline signature belongs to the U2 group. U2 and its subgroups are found across much of Europe the Middle East and Asia, but despite this it is still a very rare lineage. It is widespread, but found in low frequencies. So here we go my ancestry is varied. I haven’t gone into the percentages but there is a full breakdown on the online portal and much more detail which took me an hour or so to process!
Quite fascinating to learn that someone from India and someone from Europe are more closely related genetically than two men from adjoining villages in West Africa. Living DNA presents the fact that we are more alike than different.
WE ARE ALL MADE UP OF US!
You can purchase your own Living DNA kit here for £99.00
Which also makes a fabulous gift idea for the person who has everything!
Thanks for reading
*The kit was kindly sent to me in return for an honest review.
There is one gift I absolutely love to give and receive you’ve guessed it a hamper containing goodies whether they be savoury or sweet! Gift hampers can be given all year round of course but for me Christmas ingredients for an indulgent and delicious festive period packaged up in a box is really special and fun. I was incredibly excited to receive a luxury Christmas hamper recently from Prestige Hampers, an online gift service based in Cheshire that specialise in hampers containing only the finest foods and wines.
I was genuinely impressed the moment I opened the box to reveal the beautifully decorated chest or trunk if you want to call it. I’ve always associated hampers to be wicker baskets so this was certainly different and caught my eye. If you’re looking for a brilliant gift idea for the foodie in your life this Christmas do have a look at the beautiful hampers in the range. There is an incredible amount of choice to spread some Christmas cheer this year. A gift hamper brings people together in my opinion and what better to share food and drink with the people who matter.
I am very tempted to donate this beauty of a gift to our local church for their annual Christmas dinner held for the elderly. Each quality item in the chest did not disappoint!
Gift Hamper £74.99
Included: Water Stop Station Chardonnay 75cl Water Stop station Shiraz 75cl Red Velvet Crunch Biscuits 150g English Breakfast Tea 40g Milk, White and Dark Chocolate Classics 120g Shortbread Festive Shapes 60g Matthew Walker Classic Christmas Pudding 100g Iced Fruit Cake 400g Dark Chocolate Bar 60g Mackays Christmas Marmalade 113g Mackays Christmas Preserve 113g Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Yorkshire Crisps 100g Handmade Smoked Oatcakes 125g
I recently got the chance to ask celebrity mum Gabby Logan some questions about the #TeenTalk campaign with Boots and P&G which provides parents with the tips and tools to have the #TeenTalk with confidence. Gabby has been fronting TV sport for 20 years, covering major tournaments and the annual Sports Personality of the Year awards. I have always admired her interviewing and presenting style and think she is a great ambassador for this campaign. Both of us are mums in our forties except Gabby has teenagers and I have a toddler, can I still call Jay a toddler? Along with her 13-year-old twins Lois and Reuben, she sees the importance of helping parents and their children navigate this new life stage with confidence, and how to tackle the difficulties parents & teens can face.
From my own personal experience I never had the puberty conversation with my Indian parents. This doesn’t upset me as I understand it isn’t the easiest of topics to talk about plus I am from a generation where parents perhaps didn’t feel comfortable talking to their children about the process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body. Being a mum to a four year old who is about to start school I know I still have a few years left before the subject of puberty is discussed. I also feel that both myself and Mark will speak to our son about this and not expect it to be something in Mark’s domain just because we have a son.
How does your own upbringing differ to that of your children?
I didn’t feel as confident approaching the idea of puberty with my parents as my kids! I think times were so different though. We talk about times when if we were naughty we got a smack, but Kenny and I would never dream of doing that to Lois or Reuben. They find our upbringing quite amusing I think, they can’t imagine a childhood without technology! I think generally things weren’t as openly talked about when we were younger. I remember feeling quite nervous and anxious about all the bodily changes that came with puberty but keeping those feelings quite hidden. I’d never want my children to feel they couldn’t talk.
What is your advice to parents who are unsure about starting conversation with their teens on the subject of puberty and sex?
I think every teen is individual, so you have to be the judge of your own child’s existing knowledge and know what they are and aren’t ready for. I think it’s always best to put little hints out there, letting them know you are there for them if they need. I also found putting products that are great for teens like Always, Aussie shampoo and conditioner and Head & Shoulders or a new Gillette razor in the bathroom cabinets is helpful as they might not know how to ask in the first instance.
How have your twins reacted to the #TeenTalk campaign?
Really positively! Last year I was a part of it by myself so having them by my side this year has been alovely experience. They’re not embarrassed about puberty at all and because we’ve kept such an openconversation going, I think they feel talking about it as part of the campaign is very normal! Thecampaign has just extended this conversation more for us, which can only be a good thing.
Do you think there is enough information and support available to parents struggling to connect with their teens?
This is why I think #TheTeenTalk is so great. Having been a part of it for two years now I think it is so good for helping navigate what could potentially be a very tricky time! It’s here to support teenagers and their families and I think the guide that’s available at Boots in-store and online is so supportive of that.
How do you feel about teens spending time on social media and do you encourage a family digital detox?
We actually only allowed Lois and Reuben mobiles a few months ago. Social media is a way for them tocommunicate with their mates. I do keep an eye on them though! I want to make sure their social pages aren’t going to cause any issues and that they understand what they’re putting out there. Again though, I think this is down to open lines of communication. I hope that trusting them with these accounts means they will respect that trust.
Thank you Gabby!
So there you go Teen talk isn’t just for teenagers. Whether your children are still pre-tweening, tweening, teening or twentying, building and maintaining that open and honest ongoing conversation with your child is increasingly deemed by parents as an absolute priority, especially when your kids today face so many external pressures including, of course, social media.
P&G and Boots have teamed up for this campaign and created #TheTeenTalk Guide, which includes tips and advice. Products from P&G brands such as Oral B, Tampax, Braun and Aussie will also be on offer at Boots throughout the campaign as well as Boots’ Tea Tree & Witch Hazel Collection and 48hr Protection deodorants.
As a resident of Greater London, I’m not far from a fantastic choice of eateries that the Big Smoke has to offer. However these days with a toddler in tow I opt for restaurants much closer to home and Saffron Summer fits the bill when it comes to Indian cuisine. Recently my Indian parents were staying over with us and my dad kindly wanted to treat us all to a restaurant of my husband’s choice. (I appear to have slipped down the pecking order on the favourites list). Mr M who would normally choose a Thai restaurant decided to stay with the eastern vibe and suggested a visit to one of his favourite curry houses but this isn’t your ordinary curry house.
This was actually our second visit to a haute cuisine restaurant based in Chessington and rated among the top 3 Indian restaurants in Surrey according to Trip Advisor. The moment we arrived the staff were again friendly, polite and the restaurant was nicely laid out with beautiful decor. The service is also excellent without being invasive.
Executive Chef Awanish Roy trained at the famous Oberoi hotels in India and has spent time working at the legendary Cinnamon Club in Westminster which showed in the quality of the dining experience. Ralph Sousa the restaurant owner has owned restaurants in Portugal and Goa and with this experience has a successful team here who take pride on their work. The restaurant staff are wonderful and special thanks to Nacito who kindly took the time to explain the dishes.
I’m a huge fan of Indian street food and tapas style dishes which were great especially to share and they certainly didn’t disappoint. I think I will be back soon for the special Sunday Indian roast lunch! My parents are vegetarians and were impressed with the choice offered. I have to say I normally don’t bother with starters but they all looked so good! I’d eaten light all day so that I could enjoy three courses.
Dal makhani with lotus seeds crisps.
You can expect a lovely twists on classic dishes which work brilliantly and I can’t wait to return. I only wish I had the cooking skills to match Chef Awanish!
Gol Gappa a ‘street food’ spicy shot accompanied with stuffed puri.
Hakka Chilli Paneer, fiery Indo-Chinese paneer from the popular China town of Kolkata.
Okra do Pyaza Stir fried bhindi with onions.
Calamari Banjara Gosht.
Elwy Valley lamb simmered and cooked in a specially grounded Rajasthani recipe.
Butter Chicken a household dish also known as Murg Makhni. Tandoori chicken thighs, tomato and fenugreek sauce, truffle malai.
Sticky toffee pudding with an infusion of ginger caramel & served with vanilla ice cream.
Coconut ice cream.
I can genuinely say we left the restaurant with happy and full tummies. There is a good variety of fish, seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes in a relaxed informal setting. The food has incredible flavour and I love the modern twists to traditional dishes. It may sound very silly but my favourite part of the meal was the herby naan bread which alone I would have been very happy with!
Saffron Summer has a lovely neighbourhood feel about it and I highly recommend a visit here. This isn’t your typical indian restaurant and I thought the prices reflected the high standard and quality of the food. The meal worked out to £40 per head including drinks. If you live near or in Surrey and like indian food make sure you visit.
I realise I haven’t written a personal post for a while so here I am giving a little life update because in the blogging world it’s good to be consistent and of course write from the heart about the things that matter to you. Writing as I’ve come to realise is not only an art form, it can also be a form of therapy. This blog has always been a creative outlet for expression. I have been inspired by three lovely friends of mine to get tapping away at the keyboard. Vicki, Lucie and Jess.
Motherhood is a lot harder than I thought it would be I still haven’t worked out whether that’s because I am a little older or whether it’s just that I over complicate things. My life in the past 4 years has drastically changed and I am a resilient woman who has tackled a lot during this time. I think more parents in particular are turning to blogging and video blogging (vlogging) as a way of connecting with like minded people record memories as well as share the good and the not so good. This guy is the main reason I started writing my blog on the 5th July 2014.
I love having a YouTube channel to run alongside the writing although it is quite challenging managing both at times. Yes it can seem like over sharing but in my opinion a great way to help others and inspire. Becoming a sponsored vlogger for Channel Mum continues to be one of my favourite things ever.
I genuinely work with a wonderful team and I can really appreciate the power of YouTube working to influence and entertain many people. My advice to anyone thinking about starting a channel is to “just start”. If you’re not sure or don’t feel confident then you can always record videos on your phone use insta stories get used to filming yourself, little steps which might just be the start of something amazing in your life!
For those that already know me I am devoted to my family. I have been a stay at home (working mum) for a few years and Jay starts Reception Class at Primary school next week. I am already beginning to get the butterflies, you know this thing called separation anxiety, I have it really bad. He is my shadow pretty much always by my side and September heralds big changes for us all.
We have had a busy active summer and Jay starts school next week. Some of you may know how much we love going to National Trust locations I genuinely recommend becoming members, it almost forces you to head out and take notice of the many incredible places that you have on your doorstep. Also good for your mindset and we all know how important that is to maintain.
As I also approach my 42nd birthday very very soon, I am preparing for a lot of change at home. We have a house extension taking place now which is to go on for a few more weeks yet. My intuition tells me it’s going to be tough and I trust my intuition a lot. I might be a little quiet on social media while I get used to the dust around me. I must keep thinking of the end result, a brand spanking new kitchen with a utility room, a study and a downstairs toilet. See I don’t ask for much. Mark and I celebrated 8 years of marriage last month and totally forgot to write the cards we had bought for one another. That’s how busy things are.
Last May we went to the beautiful island of Menorca our very first holiday abroad other than the time we visited my brother in California. Contrary to what I thought we did relax with a few tantrums thrown in which was expected. I came home wanting us to travel and experience more together.
I have absolutely no regrets in staying at home raising Jay, after all we waited so long to become parents this is definitely what I wanted. I have the upmost respect for the women and men who go to work and use childcare. I know for some women this is their choice and for others it’s not how they would like things to be but have no choice. We all need to do what we need to do and there mustn’t be any shaming in that.
Jay attended the loveliest Pre-school locally and this has been a wonderful experience. From the moment I held him to this very day I have flashbacks to milestones and accept that time appears to move very fast. Motherhood was something I was frightened of to be honest and now I take it day by day, trying my best to enjoy the present which inevitably brings it’s highs and lows. Exhausting as it is, there is something so magical about it that I feel very grateful for even when he is making me answer 100 questions in 10 seconds.
He’s at a fun age when he wants to know so much. Our bright boy who is ready for the next chapter in his life amazes us with his speech and observations and I can’t wait to see how school education will take it to another level. He is 4 years old and often acts like a teenager which is funny and scary at the same time. His latest interest is learning the Highway code signs which he has been viewing on various youtube videos. I have been driving for just over 24 years now and he seems to know more signs than I do! I reckon he’ll be ready for his theory long before his 17th.
There has of course been heartache in my recurrent miscarriage which I have written about here. I know we all experience some form of loss or grief at some point in our lives but it is devastating when the plan doesn’t go to plan. We also recognise how incredibly lucky we are to have our son here to love and nurture. I accept that life is full of surprises and joy and pain all part of this existence here on Earth. I recently read that something won’t go away until it teaches us what it needs us to know. I view life very differently now because things can be taken away from you in an instant. I believe in turning negative situations into positive ones somehow something good can come out of it.
Working on media campaigns for Tommy’s the Baby loss charity and helping a recurrent miscarriage study at St Mary’s hospital makes these loses bearable. I advocate for more research on this subject to help prevent loss and suffering to people. Baby loss is one of life’s cruel events. Despite the emotional battlefield I enter from time to time I am choosing hope over darkness. Life though will never be the same.
Society now is much more open to people talking about mental health breaking down stigma and working through issues seeking help because its okay not to be okay. A positive mindset is essential to moving forward but also working on the things we perhaps might not want to face. Despite my many losses I vowed I’d never let it take me into a place I could not get out of because I have a very special mummy role to fulfill. In fact I feel stronger than ever before in my intentions to work hard and enjoy the free golden 24 hours we are all given each day. I am currently reading a fantastic ebook by Turia Pitt about mindset. I set aside 15 minutes a day and work through the book. If you don’t know who Turia is please take a moment to read up about her story I can tell you it’s definitely influenced me and pretty sure it might just get you thinking about your own life.
Recurrent Miscarriage recovery meant that I took the decision to sort my head and body out and began personal training in March 2017 3 weeks after I had surgery following the loss of my sixth pregnancy. I just went straight into it to help me focus through what was a really hard time. I totally surprised myself by training hard each week for months. I saw results I felt better lost body fat in the areas I needed to, and it has done wonders for my mind. Then in November I stopped personal training which was a mistake as I noticed I wasn’t feeling as positive and motivated. I kickstarted my sessions with new personal trainers Jacob Paul (400M Hurdler) and James Daly . I have said this before but Personal training has been one of the best investments ever. I have noticed a huge change in my physical and mental health. I’m not going to say this will be the best thing for everyone but movement is vital for us to feel good. Walking is hands down my favourite exercise. Jacob and James are brilliant people and I highly recommend them if you are seeking personal training.
Through my work on social media I have been fortunate to work with small and big brands and use Instagram daily as it’s also a source of inspiration to me. Ever since I started posting 4 years ago I’ve seen more and more people engage with me and it’s been really wonderful having this platform to share content. I have received lots of kind comments over the years and have formed wonderful friendships which significantly out ways any negatives from people who have unkind vibes. For those of you who read my blog and instagram posts and take time out of their day to watch my videos I thank you. I think back to the time when I started using social media mainly Facebook and I was 32 years old. These days it’s all very different. The younger generation are exposed to so much. I do realise I am starting to sound very old but I do worry about the pressure young people face theses days all due to social media.
When I stopped working full time at 35 weeks pregnant in 2014 I had no idea what would happen to my career. My first priority was always going to be Jay no matter what but I also knew how much I loved working and I genuinely still feel very lucky to have had the oportunities that I have had since I became a parent. I will be focusing on my YouTube channel and business more once Jay starts school and be around to make sure I drop him off to school and pick him up after school.
I started an online beauty business in April with an American Company as a distributor for their products and it’s been an exciting venture as I have an interest in beauty and helping others while at the same time learning and making income from home. I do have a Facebook group Belle de Beauté if you ever want to stop by to browse my posts and please feel free to contact me if there is anything I can help you with. I hope to build this business and help others build a business from home to work around existing commitments, so please do send me an email if you’d like to find out more.
Despite me wanting time and financial freedom. Ultimately health and my family’s health is paramount. I am currently in a good place working hard and celebrating achievements. They are usually little milestones but that’s fine by me, I’m not in a race. I am working on a law of attraction planner which is something I purchased after reading The Secret. For me a woman in my 40s self awareness and discovery is becoming a huge theme as well as waking up each day with a grateful heart.So that’s really where things are at the moment with me and mine. Thank you for your kind words and friendship and to everyone who engages with me on social media platforms I am truly grateful you take the time to do so.