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The Best Animal Friendly Practices You Should Adopt


What animals do you love the most? Do you love exotic pets like reptiles, local wildlife such as birds, foxes, hedgehogs, and badgers, or maybe you like the more conventional cats and dogs? There are lots of reasons to love animals, and you can show your love for them with some of the best animal welfare practices. These are outlined in the article below; read on to find out more.

Use Cruelty-Free Products

Many of the products we use for skincare, haircare, and the body are still tested on animals. Although the EU has laws against this, it is still common practice in places like China and officially supported.

Advocates of animal testing will say that animal testing is important to prevent illnesses and diseases in humans. Maybe in the past. These days it is not necessary to test on animals, so why do it? Also, animals aren't the best indicator of human welfare.

Luckily, and thankfully, there are many cruelty-free products and alternatives in the marketplace. A bit like vegan food, cruelty-free products now populate the supermarket shelves and online stores like never before – the choice is yours.

Go Vegan

If there was ever a good time to go vegan, it is nowadays. In the past, veganism was seen as an extreme lifestyle choice and not very healthy. All that has changed in recent years as the world changes and more people see the excellent benefits of veganism.

Firstly, going vegan means that as you are not eating meat you are reducing the carbon emissions as animals such as cows produce methane. Your carbon footprint reduces significantly.

There are many other benefits to going vegan, such as health, wellness, and ethical standards. Going vegan has never been easier. The vegan section might still be small in the supermarket, but it is there – unlike before. It's a modern culture that isn't going away.

Adopt a pet

dog

If you want a new pet in your life, such as a cat, a dog, some cute rodents, or something more exotic like a reptile, it's a much better idea to adopt them rather than buy them from a breeder or, worse, a pet shop. In the case of reptiles, however, you might need a reptile survey.

Breeders and pet shops don't always care for the animal's welfare like an adoption charity will; also, the animals are often bred with the intent to sell, and the animals are kept in horrendous conditions to maximise profits – many don't survive.

If you're an animal lover, this is not the sort of practice you want to support in the world by funding it with your money. Instead, buy a pet from an animal shelter where you take the responsibility of caring for an animal that's been badly treated or has nowhere to live.

Support A Charity

You might be an animal lover but don't want a pet for some reason. Some people don't have time in their lives to properly care for one; for others, it's about their living situation. Others still prefer to simply look at animals and leave the hard work to the keepers.

If you still want to support animals and benefit from their lovely presence, why not support an animal charity?  When you support an animal charity, your money will go to the upkeep and welfare of the animals.

When you support an animal charity, you will receive regular updates about the lives and conditions of the animals. You may even get the chance to go and visit where the animals live. A perfect day out for any animal lover.

Learn About Local Wildlife

kingfisher

You might not realise it, but your local area is teeming with wildlife. Depending on where you live, there will be all kinds of common and uncommon animals in the trees, bushes, gardens, grass and local area. In reality, we live together with these animals.

It's also not easy for these animals to live with us. In many ways, we encroach on their living environment and alter their diets. It's too easy to respond to conventional wisdom and feed bread to the birds, for instance, even though it's not good for them.

Try to think of your life as living alongside the wildlife outside and learn about them so you can live in harmony with them and keep them healthy. Find out what local wildlife you have and what the best things are for them to eat.

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Wheelchair Friendly Activities

It can be hard sometimes for wheelchair users to find things to do and this can be a great source of frustration. Fortunately, there are lots of sports that have been adapted to allow those with a physical disability to participate and this can do much more than give someone a new hobby. These sports could help to improve your physical health, develop new skills, make new friends, develop confidence and much more. Here are a few of the best sports to consider.

Basketball



Basketball is one of the most popular wheelchair sports in the UK and this is because it is a game that can be easily adapted. This also means that there is a large community for wheelchair basketball and it can be a fun, social and active sport to play, so it can bring many benefits to your life.

Hockey

Hockey is another popular team wheelchair sport that can be fantastic fun. There are also different variations, which gives people with different degrees of disability the opportunity to be able to play.

Cycling

Manual bicycles and hand bikes allow wheelchair users the excitement and thrill of cycling and this can be a superb form of exercise. Not only this, but this can be a sport enjoyed independently or competitively so it can be social but also something that someone can enjoy on their own too.

Dancing

Adapted dance can be a terrific way for a wheelchair user to exercise, socialise and express themselves so it can certainly be an excellent activity to try. There are many different dance styles to learn and a growing and welcoming community.

Sailing

Those that like water and the great outdoors might want to try adapted sailing, which can be a good form of exercise, provide a great sense of freedom and develop new skills and knowledge. Transport will be key with a hobby like this, so you may want to look into wheelchair accessible vehicles so that it is easy to get around.

Tennis

Tennis might sound like an impossible game for a wheelchair user, but it is a sport that is growing in popularity in the disabled community. The rules are changed slightly (such as allowing two bounces) and there are even adapted wheelchairs available to make it much easier to play.

Swimming

Swimming is another popular sport in the disabled community and those with a wide range of disabilities can participate. It is also a terrific form of exercise as it is a full-body workout and can help many people to overcome some physical limitations.

wheelchair user Marathon

As you can see, there are all kinds of sports that a wheelchair user can participate in. These can be life-changing activities because they can improve physical and mental health, provide a fun new hobby, develop confidence and self-esteem, provide a social life and much, much more.


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Holidays In The UK Tips For Travellers In 2021

I think I can categorically say it's been a stressful year. Many of us who love to travel realise that this year restrictions on how and when we can travel mean a holiday in the UK is looking like a sensible option shortly. However, travelling with the Coronavirus around means that some things have changed too. Let's have a look at some top tips on travelling in the UK for travellers in 2021. These tips are based on the UK government advice which can and does change. This is an advertorial. 

Hygiene

child mask

Of course, whether you have had a COVID vaccine or not, hygiene should still be a number one concern. You could in theory get COVID more than once and you could pass it on even if you have had the vaccine.

I would advise making a pack of hygiene purposes for each member of your family. This should include a couple of masks, hand sanitiser and surface wipes.  You may want your children to wear one so look for fun masks and check out the recommended age for wearing a mask. 

I find surface wipes are useful if you are going to a restaurant or cashpoint to wipe the surface and provide an extra layer of sanitation. Of course, you should continue to wash your hands thoroughly with hot water and soap numerous times a day, especially before and after eating and when in contact with surfaces other people could have touched. Hand sanitiser is a stand by option when you cannot use soap and hot water.

Transport



The transport and travel advice is continually changing. Firstly I would go to the Government advice page for your country for the most up to date advice. As I am in Wales it is different to England.

At the moment the advice is generally to avoid sharing a car with anyone outside of your bubble or household. If you are taking the car anywhere there are some things you need to check. The car may have been standing for a while so check it starts before a big trip, and take it for a drive. Check the oil, water levels, and tyre pressures. If you are concerned it's always a good idea to book it into a garage for some safety checks. If you are borrowing a car for the journey or in between annual policies then you can get daily car insurance. Organising cheap temp cover like this is a good idea when you don't need an annual policy.

If you are going to take public transport you will currently need a mask that covers your nose and mouth. This will need to be worn in covered areas too like bus terminals, airports and railway stations. Plan ahead and avoid busy times where possible and maintain the 2 meters apart rule from people that live with you. Current advice is also to avoid consuming food and drink on public transport where possible.

Accommodation


When booking accommodation it's a good idea to check that they have a COVID guarantee that you can cancel if there is any problems related to COVID and you can move your date without losing your money. You may be only able to share the accommodation with your household, you would need to check this on the local government website as this rule is changing.

I would also look for information on their website that tells you what precautions they are taking regarding cleaning. Big hotel chains like Hilton will definitely have this information with more stringent cleaning in place, with smaller places, a simple email to them can check what extra cleaning they are taking.

For reassurance, it's worth taking a cleaning pack with you to wipe down high touch surfaces like remote controls and door handles, when you enter your room or apartment. Some people take their own pillows and bedding, and you may want to consider this especially in self-catering accommodation. You may also want to take antibacterial handwash or your own soap and towel.

Meals


At present cafes and restaurants are only open for takeaway in Wales. In England and Wales, you should be hopefully allowed to eat outdoors soon and then by the middle to the end of May restaurants should be open indoors, but this can still change. When cafes and restaurants do open again there may be limited numbers so if it's a weekend or an important meal, like a birthday I would book ahead to ensure your reservation.

You will most likely need to wear a mask indoors when they do open again, you would need to check with the establishment and the local rules. If you are sitting down and eating then you can remove your mask but moving to the toilet or bar would mean your mask would need to be worn.

General



Activities may be open in the foreseeable future, like cinemas, gyms, amusement parks, and the like. A general rule of thumb is masks would need to be worn indoors and social distancing should be carried out. Shops and other businesses may look to limit numbers and masks may need to be worn still indoors. You can get an exemption from wearing a mask for physical and mental issues and it may be sensible to have some proof of this with you when asked why you are not wearing a mask. Check out the Government face coverings page for current advice.

For holiday accommodation and meals indoors you will probably need to give a contact number for contact tracing or to download the NHS Covid-19 app.

Conclusion

Holidays in the UK can now go ahead, but COVID has changed how things will happen this year. Hopefully, with more people having the vaccine every day these restrictions may change as we get herd immunity in the UK.

Let me know, are you planning a UK holiday? 
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    5 Reasons To Study GCSEs At A College

    Choosing to study GCSEs at a college rather than in a traditional school setting may seem like an unorthodox and potentially risky path to take. Staying where you are and completing your GCSEs just seems like the most sensible and safe route for many.

    However, as we learn more and more about the multiplicity of learning styles, often traditional schools have a
     one size fits all approach, and you may want to go elsewhere to continue your learning.

    This is where independent colleges can play a crucial role. Many students across the country will choose to attend institutions like these to study A-Levels, however,  independent colleges also offer intensive and comprehensive GCSE courses as well. These are great for students who do not feel like they fit into a traditional school setting.

    When researching this article I came across a host of benefits to studying GCSEs at an independent college. I discussed with a leading independent college in London, Ashbourne College, some of the factors that can make for a highly enjoyable, and most importantly impactful, educational experience at independent colleges. Here are the results. 

    1. Fresh Environment


    Many students remain at secondary school all the way from Year 7 (11 years old) to Year 11 (16 years old) or even Year 13 (18 years old!). Five years is an extremely long time to be in the same place every day, often being taught by the same teachers. Students are an entirely different person at 16 than they were when they started school. I am sure many parents have had the experience of their child missing a deadline or performing poorly early on in their secondary school tenure, for which they are then profiled and pigeonholed for the rest of their studies.

    This situation does not help students develop. Moving to a college for GCSEs allows students to make a fresh start, leaving behind any silly mistakes they made whilst adjusting to secondary school life, with teachers who truly want them to succeed in the most important stage of their education.

    2. Small Class Size

    We have all had experiences of secondary school classes that are at absolute maximum capacity with 30 students crammed into one room. It can be hard to see the board, difficult to get the teacher’s attention and is simply an ineffective learning environment.

    At a private college, class sizes are kept small, often not more than 10 students in a class. This means that students can become more engaged in the lesson and no one is left behind. The individual attention that teachers are able to provide students means that many can gain the very top grades in their examinations. If your student is not one to pick concepts up instantly without support this kind of setting is absolutely key.

    3. Focused Teaching


    The fact that colleges are entirely focused on success in GCSE and A-Level examinations means that teachers’ time and knowledge is dedicated entirely to the specifications for these exams. Their knowledge of the courses will be more in-depth than teachers who are stretched to teach Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9 as well as GCSEs.

    In colleges, students are taught to the exam from day one, which is the most effective method for students who are coasting at a ‘B’ grade, who want to access the very top A and A* grades. Overall, this can mean better lessons, more focussed advice and greater success in exams.

    4. Mature Cohort

    When studying GCSEs at college, students go from being one of the oldest students in the setting to being one of the youngest. Whilst this can be daunting at first, having older students around them means they have many to look up to. There will always be a student in Year 13 who is interested in the same subjects as them who can provide advice on tricky things like university applications and revision techniques.

    Colleges also often have an extensive mentoring programme, in which Year 13 students are paired with younger students for homework support. An older cohort also means better student behaviour and fewer disturbances. Students can remain focused and get things done. Overall, a cohort of students ranging from 15 to 18 or 19 simply creates an environment that is more conducive to learning and achievement, particularly for students who struggle with distractions in a larger school environment.

    5. Guaranteed Entry Into The Sixth Form

    Colleges such as Ashbourne, who offer GCSE and A-Level courses will often offer guaranteed entry from GCSEs into A-Levels. Many larger private secondary schools have very strict entry requirements for students looking to stay on for A-Levels.

    Ashbourne’s statistics for grade improvement are some of the best in the country and, as a result, they are able to commit to students and guarantee them a place in their sixth form for A-Levels. On average, students studying there will improve their grades by 1.5 levels, meaning if a student does not achieve their desired grades right away, they will very likely improve by the time they leave. The attitude is, therefore, the earlier they join, the more they will improve.

    So these are 5 reasons to study GCSEs at a college. Let me know if your children are considering studying at college.  

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    Completing a Spring Clean? A Guide To Places That Are Often Missed In Our Homes

    With Spring well upon us, even if the recent cold weather says otherwise, I am confident that there will be some people reading this who are contemplating their upcoming Spring clean.

    While I am confident that those reading this are just as house proud as I am and regularly ensure their homes are cleaned, there are often areas of our houses that remain untouched for vast periods. This is entirely normal! Let’s be honest here, who has the time to juggle regular deep cleans of their houses, along with everything else that life throws at us?

    Enough of my rambling, and onto the main event! Detailed below is a list of some of the areas in our houses that often get missed when completing a deep clean, which should undoubtedly be included in your upcoming Spring clean.

    Houses big and small, I am confident there is something here that relates to you.

    Baseboards



    We have all been guilty of skirting over these in our homes from time to time. The baseboard, also known as a skirting board, are in most of the rooms in our homes and are certainly a magnet for dust and other specks of dirt. Ensure that you give these little nooks and crannies some attention when going about your deep clean, will make sure that you do not need to do it again for some time. Easy to clean, this particular job should not take too much time to complete.

    Underneath Your Furniture

    It does seem somewhat obvious, but it is another place in our homes that often get missed when completing a deep clean. The saying ‘out of sight, out of mind’ pops into our heads when imagining this! Setting aside a day or two to clean your home does not go without shifting and heaving – safely, of course – items of furniture that have not been moved in some time. There is sure to be a collection of crumbs underneath your kitchen appliances, so what better time to get them swept away than during your in-depth Spring clean?!

    This is not just restricted to the larger appliances in the home either. When was the last time the toaster and microwave were pulled out and given a clean underneath? Making a mental note to remember these will ensure that those once untouched areas will be sparkling clean again in no time.

    Curtains And Blinds



    Something that we are guilty of forgetting, it doesn’t seem like something that needs cleaning all that often but is sure to be attracting specks of dust and dirt like anything. Particularly if you have vertical blinds in your home for practical or aesthetic reasons – they are said to collect less dust than their counterparts but of course, they still need cleaning, so how best do you go about tackling the task to hand?

    Make My Blinds have compiled a helpful guide on their site on how to clean vertical blinds effectively and easily. If you are someone who has vertical blinds in their home and wants to know how best to clean them without the risk of damaging them in any way, then head to their website to find out more.

    Bins And Waste Disposal

    It goes without saying, but no one really likes to go near the rubbish bin when it is full or smelling foul. That's pretty normal, right? With this in mind, it is easy to imagine that the rubbish bin itself often gets overlooked when the rest of the home is given a clean. It is worth adding to the growing to-do list for your upcoming Spring clean.

    This does not just mean giving it a wipe down on the outside, although that is important. By providing the inside of the bin a deep clean and even pouring some cleaning products that are packed full of good scents into the bin itself, you can rest assured that your nostrils will be pleased the next time the bin is opened.

    While these are but a minimal list of some of the home's commonly missed areas when completing a deep clean, we hope that it has left you inspired and that you have a better idea of what areas in your house you need to focus on in the coming weeks.

    Whether you decide to tackle the jobs in a single weekend or over the space of a few days, you can go forth into the summer months feeling house proud, knowing that it is clean and tidy for when we can once again have visitors.

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    The Better Planet Plastic Petition

    I think I can say that most of us want a better world for future generations to come.  I know as I get older, I am increasingly more concerned about the environment. With so much information out there it can be hard to know what to do to really make a difference, but you certainly can and you don't have to be an 'eco-warrior' either! 

    What I am doing to becoming more eco-friendly

    rubbish

    Of course, it's a big and sometimes complicated subject. Personally, I am consciously buying less especially new, upcycling, and recycling. By doing these three things I feel I am helping to minimise my impact on the world and to be more environmentally aware and more eco-conscious.  I've even joined a group that picks up rubbish from the beaches and surrounding area. 

    Buying less reduces the need for the consumption of energy whilst making the product and the packaging. Upcycling, especially if you have the skills in crafting can be fun and productive by making something new and different out of old products you no longer want.  Whilst recycling is especially important so that our waste can be manufactured and used again, and not burnt to produce greenhouse gases or sent to landfill. 

    Let's focus on plastic recycling, what you can do to minimise plastics and the Better Planet Project by BetterYou.

    Living in a seaside town


    Living in a seaside town in South Wales, I see my fair share of rubbish. Yes, there are bins around but the amount of people we have had through here over lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic has been much more than usual. I can't blame people for coming here, it's a beautiful little town with some amazing beaches, however, the litter is getting unreal. Increased bins and litter collection has helped clean it up a little but also people need to realise that they need to take their litter with them if bins are full. It's a windy place, as many coastal destinations are, and before you know it the litter is everywhere including on the beaches and washed into the sea, causing harm to humans, animals and marine life. There is nothing worse than children playing on the beach and coming across broken glass. 

    Better recycling

    recycling bins

    Recycling here in South Wales is not perfect but Wales generally has a decent recycling system for household waste. In fact, Wales is fast becoming a world leader in recycling with the mantra of Reuse, Repair and Recycle coming across strongly, whilst England seems to have a few problems in this area. For example, there is no national unified programme of household and industrial waste collection. This is where the company BetterYou wants to see change. 

    BetterYou is a health care company that has a commitment to becoming a more sustainable brand through the Better Planet Project.  They are looking to transform their product range so that any plastics they use are ocean recycled or plant-based and 100 per cent recyclable. They are also removing all palm oil and palm oil derivates from all their products and reducing CO2 emissions. 

    BetterYou are campaigning for local authorities to create a unified waste plastic collection and recycling programme in the UK. 

    They feel that there needs to be a national programme that is 
    1. independently monitored
    2. standardised
    3. reviewed annually. 

    Please sign the petition 


    They've even set up a BetterYou petition which I think is worth signing, and I urge you to as well so that recycling becomes easier for the average person, the whole process is unified countrywide, and that the government monitors the progress made by the country as a whole. The UK should also strive to be self-sufficient and in control of its plastic recycling, rather than allowing materials to be sent overseas and to landfill.

    People want to recycle but it's easy to get confused. To make recycling simpler is a worthy task, but a task I feel needs to be carried out to ensure people, know what can be recycled and know what recycling bag to put it in. Many people are confused about this and this needs to be evaluated, changes made and implemented to become more productive. 

    It is time to end the confusing, differing recycling policies across English authorities so that we can all do our part in working towards a greener future. Signing the BetterYou petition by the 19th of April will mean that if they reach their goal of 10,000 signatures the government will respond to the petition and at 100,000 signatures it will be debated in parliament.

    At the end of the day, we all want a better planet for future generations. 

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