Wednesday, 25 January 2017

London: Tube Delays

Have you ever been stuck on a tube delay in London? I know I have. It's usually when you are in a real hurry to get to where you need to be, you may already be running late, when it happens. The train slows down and then it stops all together. It's not ideal, especially when you have a meeting that requires your immediate attention, and it has the potential to put you in the worst of moods.

GoToMeeting have put together this insightful info-graphic which might just be of interest if you have ever been caught up in a tube delay..

Thursday, 19 January 2017

A Helping Hand

It's true what they say, anything that can go wrong, will absolutely without a shadow of a doubt go wrong. It will happen in Three's as these things all tend to do, and it will happen when you can least afford it. The run up to Christmas has been incredibly tight for me, the new house cripple me financially and there were times I wondered how I was going to put petrol in the car to take Leo to school.

Of course with money already tight, the last thing I needed was for my laptop to suddenly die. I work from home, I'm self employed and without a laptop and a working internet connection (which just so happens to be point number 3!) I cannot work. Of course the laptop did die and our internet cut out for two weeks as the engineer had seemingly crossed our line with another house. I ended up looking at Quick Loans so I could at least start trying to replace my computer and get back up and running. 

I decided to opt for a desk top as that seemed like the best option moving forward. Both of  the laptops I have had in recent years were not built to last and I wanted something reliable and fast. I opted for a all in one computer to save space, which meant that I didn't need a computer tower. It's worked out perfectly and it has allowed me to get back to work and catch up on my work load, which has in turn helped me turn my financial situation back around again.

For the first time since the Summer, I can finally say that I have it all under control. There is no feeling worse in the world of having the preverbal rug pulled from under your feet, not only knocking you to the floor, but taking out everything around you like a plague in a bad dream. It always happens in slow motion too, you can see it all happening around you, but you still cannot do anything about it. 

You can only watch.

I am so relieved that the pressure has been taken off my shoulders, I am lucky to have such a supportive family around me who would go above and beyond to help me keep my head above water. My Mum invited us over for dinner so that we didn't need to worry about food costs, and there was that one time she put a full tank of petrol in my car. I don't think she will ever really know how thankful I was to her that day, even though I pleaded with her not to do it. 

Leo of course has no idea about how tight money was towards the end of last year, and that is exactly how it should be. This is one of those things that I am so pleased to have protected him from, shielded him from. Leo never went without because that was my goal. I made sure we had the money for the school trip, for his new pair of shoes, because Leo is my priority in life, if he's happy and healthy then I know that I am doing something right.

Now things are back to how they should have been all along, I am making sure that I have money for a rainy day so that we are never in that position again, and now everything is OK, I have treated myself for the first time in a long while, and bought an iWatch for myself.

Here's hoping that 2017 is an easier ride than the end of 2016.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Tips for Keeping a Happy and Healthy Family

A healthy family is a happy one. As we head into 2017, it’s a good time to think about a plan to promote your family’s health and wellbeing following the indulgent Christmas period.
But, with modern life giving us so much more to juggle, are there any stress-free ways to incorporate your family’s health in your busy everyday routine? Here are four easy tips for living a healthier and happier life with your family.

1.      Eat Breakfast
It’s often said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Make sure you start the day right - it can make a big difference to your concentration levels, improve memory and lower your stress levels for the rest of the day.  Plus, research suggests that children who have a healthy breakfast each day are better behaved and have improved grades.

2.      Eat Healthy Meals Together
Studies have shown that families who eat their meals together at a table are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. It’s tempting to have dinner on the go if your day is filled with piano lessons, football games and other scheduling conflicts, but reserve some time for catching up with your family over mealtimes.

Prepare your meals at home so that you know exactly what you are putting in your bodies. It may take a little longer, but it will help you decrease the amount of salt, sugar and fatty foods that you eat. Also, it means you can limit portion sizes – children eating portions that are too large is one of the main reasons contributing to them becoming overweight.

3.      A Well-Stocked Handbag
Parents are familiar to the unpredictable and often chaotic life that comes with having children, so they must always be prepared to handle any situation. Mums should keep their handbags well-stocked with medicines, plasters, vitamins, first-aid kits to avoid any stress.

Don’t worry if you don’t have the time to pop to the chemist – everything can be ordered online, such as with Chemist Direct, and delivered right to your door.

4.      Step Away from Screens
It’s important to incorporate some activity into your schedule. Plan regular short walks with your dog, or a family day out at a weekend including swimming, cycling or a day at the park. The exercise and fresh air will help promote the wellbeing of your entire family, as well as encouraging time away from screens.

Use our four tips to make your family’s wellbeing a priority in all of your busy daily schedules. That way, you can have a happy and healthy family for 2017, and beyond.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Grow Your Blog by Renting Your Own Space

grow your blog

It’s clear that the influence of bloggers is steadily growing and with the internet enabling a more accessible and connected world, blogging is becoming a full-time job for the lucky few. However, remaining inspired and focused may be the next hurdle you face. How can you continue coming up with creative and original content for your followers to enjoy? Well, renting your own space may be the answer. Here’s why:

Free from Distractions
People often say that you shouldn’t mix work with pleasure and this may ring true for people who prefer to keep their work and home separate.

It can often be hard to stay motivated when working from home. Even if you have your own home office, the temptation to tidy up, or cook, or enjoy a bit of a lie-in is always there. Having a specific place of work from can give you a sense of routine, whilst ultimately still enjoying the flexibility of being your own boss.

Creating Room to Grow
If you have outgrown your home office, moving to your own space can give you the freedom to be creative and store all your items of inspiration. Free your home of work-clutter and look for your own workspace.

Maybe you prefer to work in privacy? An office away from home can give you a few hours away from partners, kids or pets so you can focus entirely on making new entries for your blog. It can also give you a professional work space if you wanted to work on a collaboration or project with another blogger. Having your own premises may help you grow your blog.

Selling Your Brand
If the recent high street/blogger collaborations are anything to go by, there are definite opportunities for bloggers to capitalise on their success. H&M have recently collaborated with the blogger behind “Style by Kling” and Zoe Sugg of the “Zoella” vlog has created her own beauty range, including make-up, skincare and perfume.

By having your own premises, you’ll have more space to create your products. Plus, having your own shop with help you make your brand more visible to passers-by and grow your audience, as well as making money. With properties available to rent on main shopping streets, you can find your perfect shop space with an experienced agent, such as L.C.P. Properties.

If you have aspirations to continue growing your blog, then renting your own space could help. Not only will you have your own space to make your own and fill with everything that provides you with inspiration, it can also give you the opportunity to promote your brand, collaborate with others or sell your own products.

Planning Ahead for Christmas 2017

Planning Ahead for Christmas 2017

We might have only just taken the Christmas Tree and decorations down, but is it really ever too early to start thinking about next Christmas? It is always such and expensive time of year, so surely we should start thinking about what we want to buy people in advance so that we can spread the cost throughout the year and help you survive Christmas and the bleak month of January?

I have friends who are already kitted out for Christmas 2017, and I keep thinking that I should start preparing myself, no I am not crazy, I am just being realistic because I don't want to have the stress of December on my back, and I definitely don't want to be feeling the burden in January. 

Online voucher code and money saving website My Voucher Codes  have shared their top money saving tips, to ensure that Christmas 2017 is the most affordable Christmas you will ever have. 

They have created the below video which offers money saving tips, advice on how to plan, budget and offered guidance on when to purchase. If you have over spent this Christmas it will still be fresh in your mind (and on your credit card statement), or not been as organised as you could be  then this could really help you.

You can find more tips from My Voucher Codes right here.

I still cannot fathom how Christmas has been and gone already and I am still trying to work out how we are already a month into 2017. The festive season was truly amazing and all of the hard work was completely worth it when it came to seeing Leo's little face on Christmas Day.

It is because of Leo that I think that I will be most certainly starting to plan ahead for Christmas 2017 right now, because he deserves to have the most magical time, and I will make sure that happens. 

The Papa’s Sushiria Review

Leo and I always enjoy sitting down together and having a try of a new game, and this week we decided to play Papa’s Sushiria by Poki and Flipline Studios.

As you load up the game, players can decide if they want to be Matt, Clover, or if you want to create your own character. The player customisation screen allows for practically any character variation you could possibly want. There are more than 100 hairstyles, countless facial expressions, and all sorts of additional design tweaks that we can make, which of course can take you a while if you want to make your character perfect like we did!

It's a simple game to get your head around and basically you are Papa Louie’s main employee,  it's up to you to take the orders, cook the food, and serve it to customers. Of course with any job in the food industry it all comes down to the detail, the very first day of the job walks you through your training. We (the players) learn about each of the four stations, order, cook, build and tea. 

 The first step is the easiest, and the last one is the hardest. At the order station, we simply listen to what the customer wants to eat and drink. The order ticket will show every ingredient necessary, from rice type to tea bubbles. Then, we’ll put on a chef outfit and walk into the kitchen.

The cook station is where things start to get a little bit harder. We pour white or brown rice into the rice cooker, and wait for the meter to reach the halfway point. This teaches patience and timing, because letting the rice cook too long (or not long enough) will result in a lower score. (this sounds just like real life to me! After all these years I always end up cooking too much or not enough!) After adding sushi vinegar and spreading rice on nori, we’re ready for the build station....
Building the sushi is really pretty cool, because every order is different in some way, shape or form. We must follow the ticket precisely to add the correct fillings and toppings in the correct order. There might be several meats, vegetables, and/or seasonings on any one sushi roll. Top it off with General Tso’s sauce, and it's good to go!
The tea station is the last part of the process, and this was the toughest one for Leo and I, especially since Leo kept trying to take over the controls. In order to prepare the perfect tea, you must have precise timing (which is always harder with a 5 year old trying to take over!). But as we all know, practice makes perfect. 
Papa’s Sushiria is also filled with fun extras, like after-work mini-games and a restaurant decoration mode. The best way to discover it all is by walking into Papa Louie’s restaurant and putting on your new sushi apron!

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Benefits of Working from Home

Benefits of Working from Home

It's been 16 months now since I became self employed and I traded in my office job to work from home, the choice was far from my own, and after being used by my then boss to aid his social media and blogger outreach, I was cast aside despite being offered a full contract for the company. I wish I had the opportunity to thank him now, because he really did do me a massive favour. 

Working from home has been the most incredible blessing, of course it means I get out of it what I put into it, if I don't source the work, then I don't get paid, and I wouldn't be able to pay the bills, but it just means that I need to be organised, and for the most part I would like to believe that I am, of course there are always days that the balance is hard to obtain, but today I want to talk about the benefits of working from home.

When I was working I relied heavily on my Mum to look after Leo while I was away at work, I felt so insanely guilty leaving him day in and day out. I would need a babysitter Monday through to Friday when I was full time and sometimes had to rely on local babysitters for hire if my family were away, I couldn't help feeling like I was missing out on so many precious moments in Leo's life. 

Being self employed and working from home means that I am here all of the time. I can be incredibly flexible and if the school call and tell me that Leo's poorly and needs collecting, I can hop straight in the car, bring him home and nurse my little boy back to health. I don't need permission from a superior, because I am the superior. Summer holiday's? Not a problem. I can take weeks off or work around Leo and still incorporate fun into the time that he has off. 

I do feel so incredibly lucky to be in a position where this can actually work. I might not be a Millionaire, but having this flexibility is priceless, and with hours that start after the school run, and end before the pick up... It really cannot be beaten.

There is no Uniform
Want to get back in your PJ's when you get back from the school run? GO FOR IT! As I type this I am sat in my dressing gown and slippers with a puppy sleeping on the floor next to me. Ideal right!?

I make the rules
The only rules I set myself can only be really defined as goals. I make sure I earn a minimum each month and then up that minimum to something realistic. I allow myself days off in the week if the occasion calls for it, but I do try and make sure that while Leo is at school I am using that time productively. 

Being there
This has to be the best bit about it for me. Yes it gets covered in my first point, but it's the most important factor for me. I don't rely on people to get Leo to and from school, and I get to be there for all of it. The school assemblies, the parent/teacher meetings, the sick days and everything in between. 

Working from home, being my own boss is the most amazing opportunity and I am thankful everyday for being able to do it.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

How to Keep Your Teeth Strong and Healthy As You Age

How to Keep Your Teeth Strong and Healthy As You Age

Ageing can introduce many changes to the body; and the most affected and easily noticeable part is usually the teeth. Some of the common dental problems that are likely to occur due to ageing are discolorations, excessive teeth nerve sensitivity, weakening gums, falling off of some teeth, and bad smell which may exceed the reasonable terms. Meanwhile, keeping the teeth strong and healthy is a necessity that applies to all our lives regardless of the age category we may belong. At old age, dental problems do occur in disproportionate terms, and the best way to keep a healthy dental program is by adhering to any practice that can be applied to guarantee strong and healthy smiles. Much of the tips provided here only need common sense and the urge to commit to them. 


The diet we are accustomed to most of the times does influence whether we get to enjoy happy dental smiles or not. Excessive consumption of sugary foodstuff (especially artificially processed foods) does lead to rapid tooth decay issues, and that means that their consumption should be reduced as we advance in age. Instead, it is preferred that any diet we consume should be from natural sources such as vegetables. That will ensure that the teeth only receive the right nutrients that nurture strong dental formula. It is also preferred if foods such as raw carrots are consumed on a regular basis - they make the teeth strong since their surfaces are proportionally hard to human’s biting requirements. 

Regular brushing

Regular brushing is a practice that shouldn’t be dropped at any growth phase as we are ageing. Brushing aims at removing some of the solid food particles that may be stuck on the teeth especially after eating. If most of these food particles are not removed, they will decay and release acids which can then attack tooth gums and multiply any existing dental problems. Besides, dental brushing helps the teeth to retain much of their natural colourations, and this ensures that confident smiles are still manageable even at advanced ages. Fresh smell is a desirable attribute anytime dental health is up for discussion. As long as regular teeth brushing is done, it is possible to keep a strong dental formula and throw away the perception that confident smile is a thing that should be left only for people in their younger years. 

Dental Check-ups

There are certain dental problems which we cannot notice on our own; and as a result, we can develop the false impression that our dental health is all fine even though that may not be the case. At old age, a person can experience some dental problems that can only be solved through a qualified dentist Brisbane CBD residents are visiting. Therefore, dental check-ups are a commitment that should not stop even as we are advancing through different age categories. At an old age, consumption of certain foodstuffs may bring a lot of harm to the teeth.

By consulting a dentist for regular dental check-up sessions, ageing people can benefit from dental implants that make eating comfortable, and also keep off any undesirable effects that may be observed in a dental formula.

Creating the Right Environment for a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be, sometimes it can take a bit of persuading, even for adults. You want to create an ideal environment within your bedroom to make it a place that is perfect for a good night’s sleep. The experts in the field of sleep, Childrens Bed Shop have put together a list of things to consider when it comes to bedtime.

Environment for a Good Night’s Sleep

Stay in the dark
You want to be able to differentiate between night and day, when it gets dark you go to sleep. This is a natural process, as when it becomes dark the body releases the hormone melatonin, which is responsible for sleep. Light can prevent this hormone from being released.

Blackout curtains are perfect for creating that darkness that naturally aids sleep. While some children may be afraid of the dark, don’t be tempted to leave on the overhead lights in their bedroom. Instead why don’t you opt for a night light? Night lights are dim keeping the room dark to make it clear that it’s night time.

Relax yourselves
Relaxation is key to sleep. Practise techniques that can put you at ease when it comes to nodding off, such as reading a bedtime story. Or, listen to some calm and relaxing music.

Children can also benefit from bedtime stories making them comfortable. Stay away from sending your child to bed as a punishment. This is counterproductive to your child seeing bed as a stress-free and relaxing environment.

Keep it cool
Research suggests that 18 degrees Celsius is the perfect temperature for sleep and we don’t need a scientific study to tell us if we feel too hot, it’s extremely difficult to get to sleep.

While it may be tempting to tuck in extra tight and pile duvets to keep from catching a cold in the night, this is probably detrimental to actually getting to sleep. Adjusting the temperature of the thermostat in your house can help keep your room at the best temperature for a snooze.

Put away the clutter

Having a clear space can help you clear your mind and relax for the evening. Research has shown that a clean, empty space can promote a calming sensation in children at bedtime, as seeing their toys triggers an excitatory sensory input within their brains and can be detrimental to getting them relaxed.

When you are nodding off, if you can see something exciting, you’ll get distracted.
If you make sure you tidy away of a night, you’re also taking away the distraction you’re likely to feel.