Blog Posts by Kim Hookem-Smith

  • 50 Rules For A Happy Marriage

    Tips and advice from couples who're nailing it every day

    With the divorce rate mighty high and marriage the butt of every sitcom joke, it's hard to believe that there are couples out there who are happy, in love and totally enjoying the marriage thing.

    But as wedding season hots up, it's always nice to hear from couples navigating the tricky waters of matrimony and enjoying the trip.Ditch the technology for one evening a week (REX)Ditch the technology for one evening a week (REX)

    So researchers have asked 2,000 happily married Brits (yes it seems there are that many!) what makes their marriages happy - and they've revealed the 50 most important things for marital bliss.

    And as well as the Big Things such as trust, sense of humour and honesty, it seems like it really is the little things too - remembering to say 'I love you' regularly, always kissing goodnight and holding hands when you're out and about.

    And time apart also came through as a vital part of happy relationships. Having some different interests and hobbies and knowing when to give each other space were both in the top 25, and regularly having nights out WITHOUT each other

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  • Wedding Blog: How To Do Natural Make Up Yourself

    Like everything when it comes to weddings, the day's make-up takes on a whole new level of drama - but it doesn't have to be, bride-to-be Kim did some serious research so you don't have to

    There are the obvious two camps wedding make-up falls into. Do it yourself or get a make-up artist to do it for you.

    But choosing isn't all that simple. And if you decide to go it alone, it can be quite nerve-wracking. But don't let that put you off.Make-up fun (Yahoo)Make-up fun (Yahoo)

    I have never liked how I've looked after having my make-up done by someone else, I'm on a limited budget and I'm fairly level headed so not expecting to be having histrionics on the day - which add up to my choosing DIY.

    If you choose this too, follow me, you're in for a crazy beauty ride.

    The first thing you need is self belief. Do not listen to all the friends/magazines telling you that you can't 'risk it'. Even if you're no beauty junkie, never buy any new make-up and have never been interested, you can still do it. It's not a risk. You deal with your face everyday so that is a serious advantage.

    And don't be scared into spending a fortune on a so-called expert who might make you look like someone you don't even recognise.

    Plus, of

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  • Don't Ditch The Grains: A Bowl A Day Keeps Diabetes At Bay

    Low-carb dieters, quinoa dodgers and cave man fans be warned - grains have a vital place in our diets

    With all the anti-carb feeling in the health food camp right now, it's easy to forget how important grains and cereals are in our diets.

    And now experts have found that a bowl of grains a day can help prevent cancer, heart disease and diabetes, among other chronic health complaints.Oats make the perfect breakfast grain (REX)Oats make the perfect breakfast grain (REX)

    But hold your horses, that doesn't mean you can start snaffling down a bowl of Frosties for breakfast every day again under the guise of a healthy bowl of cereal. The 'right' grains are those much-touted wholegrains, such as oats, quinoa and brown wheat-based grains including (brown) bread.

    The new research has shown that good quality, wholegrains keep the body healthy by feeding it essential dietary fibre, minerals and antioxidants.

    Researchers looked at more than 367,000 people across America over a 14 year period, measuring their diet and their general health.

    They found that the risk of premature death decreased by 17 per cent for individuals who ate around 34 grams of whole grains per 1000 calories a

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  • Mad Men Final Series Screening: Christina Hendricks Goes Strawberry Blonde

    Mad Men's Flame-haired Joan goes for a subtler strawberry blonde look, as she joins the rest of the cast the celebrate the screening of the last episodes

    The ladies of Mad Men have come a long way from the early days of the show. And as it comes to its final stages, they've all gone for stunning new looks.

    But the most striking is Christina Hendricks - aka Joan Harris - who's ditched her famous femme fatale red locks for a ligher strawberry blonde look.Hendricks showed off lighter hair (REX)Hendricks showed off lighter hair (REX)

    The stunning actress joined the rest of the cast to watch a screening of the second half of season seven - its final season - which hits our screens in early April.It's quite a change for Mad Men's Christina Hendricks (REX)It's quite a change for Mad Men's Christina Hendricks (REX)

    Hendricks recently dyed her striking red locks to blonde for a Clairol advertising campaign - but it seems she prefers a touch of auburn, warming them up to strawberry blonde for this look.

    Going blonde for ClaiolGoing blonde for Claiol

    She looked every inch the femme fatale in a glittering red, sequinned gown, and paired her light locks with defined eyes and peach toned lip and blush pigments.Christina went for a stunning red sequinned gown (REX)Christina went for a stunning red sequinned gown (REX)

    Christina has been colouring her hair since she was just 10 years old. She revealed several years ago that she wasn't a natural redhead, but actually a blonde.

    "I’m naturally a

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  • Brooklyn Beckham Shows Off Grown Up New Modelling Pics

    David and Victoria's eldest son shares snaps from the latest Reserved campaign

    With two fashion-focused parents and (so far) one model brother it was only a matter of time before Brooklyn Beckham got in front of the camera again.

    The genetically-blessed teen has posed for several photoshoots in the past, but is now posing as the star of a fashion campaign. He shared snaps from his most recent shoot - for fashion brand Reserved - with his fans on Instagram.(Brooklyn Beckham/Instagram)(Brooklyn Beckham/Instagram)

    The Polish clothing brand chose the 16-year-old to be the face of its SS15 collection, Volcano Explosion, which has been inspired by extreme sports. To relay this, in the shots Brooklyn poses with a skateboard and BMX, though we don't see him trying out any tricks.(Brooklyn Beckham/Instagram)(Brooklyn Beckham/Instagram)

    Brooklyn was shot by Polish photographer Kacper Kasprzyk in London, and unspurprisingly seems to be totally comfortable with a flashbulb in his face.

    Flashing a shy smile for the camera, he's a chip off the old block, emulating his dad's camera-piercing stare.(REX)(REX)

    The prints, hoodies and laid-back feel of the clothes mirror Brooklyn's own sense of style,

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  • Tea Time! The Humble Cuppa And Its Health Benefits

    Tea has been drunk for taste, comfort and health for thousands of years - but do you know what each type of tea does for you, when to drink them and how to make the perfect cuppa? We asked the experts

    Tea has been used as a health elixir for centuries, from calming and energising to soothing digestive problems and even aiding weight loss.

    As Brits of course we love our tea, and many of us have branched out over the years - green, white, oolong - there's no stopping our habit. But do we really know what we're drinking? And is that cup we're supping before bed instead of a coffee actually keeping us up?We love a cuppa (REX)We love a cuppa (REX)

    With teas increasingly touted as health-givers, we spoke to nutritional therapist and yoga teacher Charlotte Watts, author of The De-Stress Effect, to find out which to drink for our health complaints, to give us energy or help us sleep, and when to drink them.

    What do we mean when we say tea?

    For starters, is tea just any hot drink that isn't coffee? Well not exactly. Tea is any infused beverage. As 'opposed to brewed or ground' explains Charlotte.

    And it's not just the rather misnamed 'builder's brew' that counts as a proper cuppa. You can have tumeric tea, ginger tea, liquorice tea

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  • WEDDING BLOG: Even The Best Grooms Do WAY Less Than The Bride. Truth

    More than half of grooms 'pay no part' in the organising of their wedding. And it's true, brides are the ultimate event planners

    There's three and a half weeks to go and the countdown is really on.

    There's an incredibly huge amount to do because I've been all 'laid back and relaxed and not freaking out' about it all when really I should have been 'totally on it and sorting s*** out' for months. I mean HOW long have I been engaged*? (*18 months).

    It turns out mirrorballs don't buy themselves. You can have that little nuggest of wedding advice for free.We have two glitter mirror disco balls. It's ON (REX)We have two glitter mirror disco balls. It's ON (REX)

    Apologies in advance for bemoaning being the bride in this situation and resorting to utter cliche, but when it comes to weddings, the blokes have it easy.

    And I'm one of the lucky ones. My groom is completely engaged (haha) in the wedding process and keen to help. And yet I'm still swamped with 90 per cent of the to-do list.

    So a survey that found more than half of grooms play no part in their wedding didn't exactly surprise me.

    In my case, it's partly because Adam can't go and get my hair cut for me, or make a decision on whether I should have a fake tan or not,

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  • Kate Middleton Glows At Last Public Appearance Before Birth For St Patrick's Day Parade In Aldershot

    The heavily pregnant Duchess of Cambridge showed off a stylish plaited look as she enjoyed the St Paddy's Day celebrations at the Aldershot barracks

    On St Patrick's Day, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge made what's expected to be her last public appearance before the birth of her second baby, due in April.

    Despite Kate Middleton being heavily pregnant, she's made a number of public appearances of late, gearing up to a well deserved rest in the weeks before Prince George gains a little brother or sister.Catherine and William enjoyed the day's celebrations (REX)Catherine and William enjoyed the day's celebrations (REX)

    The Duchess joined husband Prince William for the St Patrick's Day Parade at Aldershot Barracks, where the royal couple presented traditional shamrocks to the Irish Guards.

    The duchess looked classic in a smart, brown baby-bump-covering Catherine Walker coat and brown suede shoes by Emmy London - with not a sign of swollen ankles despite rather high heels.

    But when it came to her hair, the 33-year-old went for quite a different look to her traditional tousled blow-dry. Under her matching brown Lock & Co hat, Catherine showed off a pretty, low plaited style on the nape of her neck.Kate styled her near neatly off her shoulders (Getty)Kate styled her near neatly off her shoulders (Getty)

    Earlier this week the Duchess, along with Prince

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  • Meet The First iBaby: Born Thanks To FaceTime

    Woman gives birth using doctor's instructions over the video call programme

    Going into labour with your doctor nowhere near is every pregnant woman's worst nightmare.

    But thanks to modern technology, when it happened to a mum-to-be in New Jersey, US, help was at hand - well, at finger.Raphael and Rivera are doing well (NBC)Raphael and Rivera are doing well (NBC)

    Pregnant Rivera's waters broke early, while she was attending a routine checkup at her doctor's office, but though she was in medical care her OBGYN was stuck at the hospital, unable to get to her in time.

    And with labour progressing so fast, there was only a medical assistant who'd never delivered a baby there to help.

    So quick-thinking doc Meena Devalla decided to FaceTime her assistants and talk them through the birth, while dad-to-be held up his phone to give the medics hands-free.Dr Meena Devalla jumped on Facetime to talk her assistants through the birth (NBC)Dr Meena Devalla jumped on Facetime to talk her assistants through the birth (NBC)

    Aside from the lack of a doc, Rivera had a dream birth. Just 20 minutes after arriving at the doctor's office, she gave birth to health baby boy Raphael.

    "Everything happened so fast," she told local reporters. "I think we got there at 11:30 - and he was out by 11:50.

    "His head was just hanging

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  • Cat Hotel: Send Your Kitty On A Five Star Holiday

    Just when you thought pet pampering couldn't get any more OTT, the humble cattery gets a makeover

    Our pets are increasingly members of the family, so if you're going on holiday, why wouldn't your cat get a proper break too?

    Instead of packing mog off to your friend's, or locking her out of the house all weekend, next time you might want to consider sending your kitty not just to a cattery - but to a cat hotel - where she can be pampurred until you return.Cast iron cat beds await your kitty (Longcroft Cat Hotel)Cast iron cat beds await your kitty (Longcroft Cat Hotel)

    As OTT as it sounds, it already exists! The first five-star, boutique cat hotel popped up in Welwyn Garden City, and now there are a few around London and the South East, and the latest - Longcroft Luxury Cat Hotel - is opening in Southport at the end of the month.

    Services on hand for the lucky felines include grooming, a safe play area, thermostatically controlled bedrooms, designer cat-beds, music and fine dining served on bone china.Dinner will be served on fine bone china (Longcroft Cat Hotel)Dinner will be served on fine bone china (Longcroft Cat Hotel)

    Which all starts to make your self-catered break in the Cotswolds seem a little less special.

    It might seem the height of extravagance but for cats who get nervous and agitated at the prospect of

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