How To Travel With Elderly Relatives

If you are planning a holiday with elderly relatives there are some things you need to take into consideration. Let's have a look at what they are.

Involve Them In The Holiday Plans 



They may want to do specific things, and hey, you never know they may even want to be more adventurous than you and go sky diving - stranger things have happened! The important thing here is to involve them in the holiday plans so you both have activities you want to do. If they like museums and culture or shopping and beach time or even visiting Madame Tussauds and playing the bongos with Bob Marley, as my mother-in-law did in San Diego California, just try and compromise where possible and take their wishes into account.

Ensure You Have Some Time Apart

It doesn’t matter if it's with your mum, gran or even your kids, we all need time apart from travelling companions so if possible, factor in some time apart on a trip. Maybe they want to get an hour by the pool when you go for a walk into town for example. Or you may want to go to a bar when they go to a dinner show. Factor in some time apart if you can and you will both have a great time.


Home Or Away

There is something comforting about staying in your home county on a staycation. You haven't got to worry about understanding different cultures, different food, different languages and different currencies. However, I am of the firm belief that travel to different countries makes you more understanding and tolerant as a person. There is a whole world out there to explore, and this may be one of their last chances to take a big holiday. Obviously, you need to factor in passports, the stress of flying, immigration and the rest so discuss with them if they want to stay in the UK or go abroad on this trip and why. If they want to see a number of countries, then a cruise may be an option or a train trip over a number of countries.

Take Into Consideration Mobility


Many people are fit and active way into there 70s and beyond but some may have problems with mobility. Of course, if they have disabilities such as walking problems or they are in a wheelchair, you have to account for this when booking accommodation or tours. It's also important to think about their stamina. Are they going to want to do a three-hour walking tour of Venice or would they prefer a gondola trip? Would an open-top bus trip of Nice be more appropriate than a segway tour?

The Type Of Accommodation 




Hotel, bed and breakfast, chalet or holiday home accommodation are some of the many options so be sure to discuss the style of accommodation and their expectations. If they have a tight budget then a five-star hotel may not be on the plan, alternatively, they may have a healthy pension and investments and may not want to go cheap and cheerful, so bear this in mind. Also, discuss the board option, it may be easier to go full board or would they prefer to have meals out for the diversity? Do they have any dietary needs that can be catered for there?

Style Of Accommodation


When picking a hotel, a modern newly built hotel would be more wheelchair friendly than a traditional historic hotel so check our brochures and websites thoroughly before booking. Also, check out if there are lifts and accessible bathrooms and showers. Perhaps they would prefer a smaller more intimate style hotel or bed and breakfast where everyone knows each other. Another alternative could be a trip to their favourite holiday park. If they have been before they may have thought about buying a holiday home there. Park Holidays has many types of holiday homes for sale and could be a fun investment for them. 

Packing

So the holiday is booked then it's time to think about the packing. Check if they need to take medication and medical supplies on holiday and if they do ensure they have enough for the whole holiday and they have ordered enough for their return. They may need to take a copy of their prescription with them if they are going abroad and of course their passport. Ensure they have a phone with them and emergency numbers and that your phone number is programmed in as well.  Lastly, make sure they have enough changes of clothes for different weathers and if they are staying in the UK, it always rains so pack an umbrella!

So here are some things to consider when travelling with elderly relatives. Do you have any tips?


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How To Buy A Luxury Watch

A luxury watch is a big investment for most people and If you are considering buying a luxury watch you may not know where to start. You may have an idea of a brand or style of watch you like, or you may have a price in mind if you are looking to make an investment. There are however many things to take into consideration. Let's have a look what some of these are. Here is a post on how to buy a luxury watch.

Why are you buying a luxury watch?

Before you start researching which watch to buy you need to examine your reasons for buying a luxury watch.  Your reasons can affect which watch you buy.

Brand awareness


You may identify with the brand due to its values and craftsmanship,  its history, its advertising and its brand ambassadors. If you are buying a watch because you like the brand then you may have a fixed idea of what you want but it's still worth researching the designs.  There are a number of design features you may not have thought of and by looking around luxury watch stores in person and online you can get an idea of features and price before you finally decide.

Design features



If you are buying a watch because of the classic design or range of features there are some cool luxury watches available. The Omega Seamaster is water-resistant up to 1000 feet, more than some nuclear submarines and has added status being worn by James Bond. The Breitling Navitimer has features aimed at pilots and wannabe pilots with its flight-specific slide rule bezel which allows pilots to calculate things like average speed, fuel consumption and climbing speeds. While Patek Phillipe watches are super high-end made with the highest level of expertise in Geneva. The Nautilus by Patek Philippe was one of the first high-end sports watches with a steel strap and is a mechanical masterpiece. 

Heirloom or investment




If you are buying the watch as an heirloom, to leave to a child or an investment, it's worth researching watches that hold their value. Rolex and Patek Phillipe are a good bet as they are always in demand but you also need to remember what is desirable can change over time and you can never guarantee how much a luxury watch will be worth in the future. 


Workmanship



Luxury watches are renowned for their workmanship and crafting a luxury watch is a skill, with artisan watchmakers spending years honing their craft. Many of the best watchmakers in the world traditionally come from Switzerland and a Swiss-made watch has a certain prestige around the world. So if you are looking for a luxury watch crafted by the experts look at Swiss-made watches including Breitling, Longines, Omega and Patek Phillipe.


How to purchase a luxury watch 


You've done your research now you want to buy a luxury watch. There is nothing like trying on the watch in store to get a feel for the watch and see how it looks on your wrist. You can also ask questions of the staff. Check the warranty, the aftercare package and how to look after the watch. Of course, you don't have to buy the watch then and there as a big purchase may need you to consider it carefully. 

Once you've decided on the watch, check out the prices online. Shops may be tied to the recommended retail price but it's always worth asking if there is a discount available. Watch designs do change and older designs may be discounted. You could also check out buying a second-hand luxury watch and you may get a bargain here.

As you can see there is a lot to consider when buying a luxury watch. Let me know which luxury watch you would buy.

Are You And Your Significant Other Ready To Move In Together?

Thinking of moving in with your significant other but unsure if you’re ready? Well, to see if you are ready to move in together, and for some tips to get it right, read on… This is an ad.

Moving in together too soon can put a complete stopper on some budding relationships. You don’t want to be resorting to cohabitation agreements, or even a separation or divorce, in later life.

So, for some moving in together advice, including some ideas on what to expect, and some tips to get it right, you came to the right place. Are you ready to take the plunge? Find out, here…

What You Should Know Before You Move in Together



Before you make your mind up to move in with your significant other, it’s important that you know what to expect. After all, there are both good and bad factors that make up this big life step. Some of these include:

The Good Stuff

  • It’s so great to be able to come home to your favourite person every day.
  • Having someone to share practical, financial, and emotional burdens with will be great.
  • You’ll be able to sleep next to your best friend every night.
  • Once you make it through this, you can make it through anything.
  • This may be the perfect time to get a pet.

The Bad Stuff

  • It’s likely that you may notice quirks of your significant other that you never noticed before.
  • Now, you’ll have to put up with your SO’s clutter and bad habits.
  • You may start to miss your own space.
  • There will be times when you’ll want to get out of the house to take a break.
  • Your ideas of “clean” will probably be very different from each other.
  • You may argue a lot at first.
  • It’s likely that your lifestyles will have to change to fit around one another.


Signs You’re Ready To Move In With Your Significant Other



So, now you know the good, the bad, and the ugly, you’re prepared for the worst. That said, how can you tell that this is the next step for you and your partner? After all, this is a huge step, and may not be for everybody.

Here is a ready to move in together checklist, providing some ways you’ll know that this is your next step. Usually, you’ll feel it in your bones, but here are some key indicators to put your mind at ease:

  • You discuss your future together often
  • Your relationships is based on open communication and honesty
  • You don’t expect to change one another
  • You aren’t in a toxic relationship
  • You’ve been together for a good period of time
  • You’ve already had “the big argument” and gotten through it
  • You can discuss each other’s finances together
  • You have no secrets from one another
  • You like a lot of the same things, most importantly, TV programmes
  • It’s becoming inconvenient not to live together
  • You spend most of your time at one of your houses anyway
  • You have your independent, separate lives from each other
  • You work best together, as a team
  • You actually enjoy spending time with each other
  • You are dating exclusively
  • You both agree to moving in together without persuasion
  • You know each other’s boundaries
  • You get on with each other’s friends and family
  • You have a clear vision of where you’ll be together in the next few years
  • You are both willing to compromise for one another

10 Top Tips for Moving in Together



If you’re already spending a lot of time with your significant other, moving in together may seem like the obvious next step. In most cases, you’re probably right, but to avoid any unprecedented mishaps, here are some tips to make the transition as smooth as possible


Spend a Lot of Time Together Beforehand

When you finally move in together, it’ll be strange; you’ll likely have never spent this much time together before, and it’ll be the true test of your compatibility. So, one of the key tests to make sure you’re ready is to spend an extended period of time together beforehand.

A great way to test this is to go on holiday with one another; being stranded in a country, with just each other, for at least a week or so is the ultimate test. Alternatively, and a much cheaper option at that, is to spend a fair bit of time at each other’s’ homes. This way, you can get in those all-important “practice runs” before you take the plunge.

Have a Joint Clear Out Together

Before you move in together, you need to take stock of all your belongings as an individual. Spend a weekend going through your things and making an inventory of everything you own. This way, you can be sure to get a place big enough for everything.

Or, if you really have too much stuff, you can work together to have a clear out. By making a list of everything you have, you can get rid of anything you have two or more of, and can decide what you really need as a pair. This should help to avoid any arguments on moving in day when you’re trying to get everything in its place.

Discuss Money Beforehand

Before moving in together, it’s very important that you have an honest conversation about money. Neither of you want to be picking up the slack for one another, so it’s really smart to get this chat out of the way in advance. Some areas you might want to discuss include:

Are you good with saving?
What’s your monthly income, and how much do you usually have leftover each month?
Will we be splitting rent evenly (this will probably be gauged off of the previous answer)?
Who will be responsible for managing the house finances?
What are our future financial plans, and will you require any monthly savings to be put aside?

Set Up a Joint Bank Account

One really great tip, which should be discussed during your conversation in question three, is setting up a joint bank account. This may seem like a crazy step, but it could actually lead to less arguments in the long run.

This card can be used for all the outgoing payments you share, including bills, rent, WiFi, mortgage repayments, food, and the like. Once you both have access to the account, you should agree on a monthly contribution for each of you. Whether this is an equal amount or not should be based on how much money your house requires to run properly, and your income.

Once you’ve decided on a number, you and your partner can each deposit the agreed amount of money each month, after getting paid. Then, if you set up all your monthly outgoings from this account, you can then keep your leftover money for yourselves! This should minimise arguments and allow each person to spend their leftover money as they please.

It’s Important to Keep Your Own Space

In an ideal world, it’d be good to have a room each to spend some time alone, and keep some of your belongings. That said, this is a luxury that many of us can’t afford, so it’s important to designate space for each of your belongings.

This could be as simple as some drawer space in one of the rooms; discuss whose area is whose and stick to it. This will help to avoid any arguments, prevent you from losing things, and give you that space to spread out a bit.

Make Sure to Maintain a Life Outside the House

Now that you and your partner live together, it’s likely that you’ll be tempted to stay in most nights. That said, it’s important that your whole life isn’t consumed by spending time together. So, making time with your friends outside of your house is crucial.

Meet your friends for brunch at the weekend, or stay after work for a cup of coffee or a beer. Whatever you and your friends enjoy doing, make sure to make time for them, rather than heading straight home every night.

Divide Up House Chores

One of the most recurring problems you’ll probably face is who does the chores and when. To save the hassle of these arguments, one of the best solutions is to set up a rota. This way, you can make sure each of you is doing your bit.

Maintain a Channel of Open and Honest Communication

Honesty is absolutely the best policy for any healthy relationship. Making sure to be honest about work, finances, friends, and events is super important, especially when you live in each other’s pockets.

Even when it comes to knowing one another’s plans for each week could come in handy. So, set up a calendar somewhere in the house, be it a paper calendar or a virtual one, so you can make sure you are both in-the-know about when you’ll be in the house together.

Keep Going on Dates

Although the courting and honeymoon phases are well and truly over, that doesn’t mean you should stop treating one another! So, make time for date nights every so often, and surprise each other to keep the sparks flying.

Be Prepared to Compromise

Finally, you need to be prepared to compromise. Now, you can’t have everything your way, and you’ll need to learn that it’s best to decide on everything as a team, rather than as an individual. If you can get this right, then you’ll be on the path to success.

Have You Made Your Decision?


Still unsure about whether you and your partner should move in together? Well, the main indicator is whether you’ve been thinking about it together for a while, and still want to. As long as you have no burning doubts in your mind that this is the next step for you, then go for it!

Have you had an experience moving in with a significant other? Whether it was a good or a bad experience, we’d love to hear your story in the comments below!


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How to Make Smart Jewellery Investments

Jewellery (or jewelry as they spell it in the US) can be a great addition to your everyday wardrobe, but, before making an expensive purchase, most people want to be assured that they’re making a good investment. If you’re willing to dish out hundreds or even thousands of pounds or dollars on a gold chain, you should feel confident that not only will this be a piece you rock for years, but it’s also a good investment. That means you need to understand how to buy high-quality jewellery and how to care for it in order to get any kind of return on your investment in the future. This is an ad.

Some people purchase expensive jewellery as an heirloom to pass down in their family; others want a new piece that they can wear for a while and eventually sell to help fund their next addition to the collection. Here’s everything you need to know about how to make a wise jewellery investment.

Research before buying


Research is the first and most important step before investing in an expensive jewellery purchase. You should feel confident in your knowledge of the outlet that you’re looking to buy from, the quality of gold, and the resale value of the piece.

If you’re not familiar with standard jewellery terms like solid versus hollow or different karats, you should definitely spend some time learning more. You want to feel as though you know everything you possibly can about gold chains before investing. Then, create a list of places that you are considering purchasing from and try to source reviews from other buyers to hear about their experience with the company and the products.

Buy from a reliable source

Part of your research has to do with learning more about the companies that are selling the type of jewellery you’re interested in. Word of mouth is a great way to learn about jewellers that are reliable, so ask around to see if you know anyone who has purchased gold chains recently. Feel free to reach out to the company you’re thinking of buying from and ask specific questions about the jewellery making process and the other questions on the quality of the gold chains.

If you can’t find a way to contact the company, this is usually a red flag that their products might not be legit. Any credible business will make it easy and convenient for their customers to get in touch with them. Check their returns policy, their warranty, and if they are a member of any jewellery bodies like the National Association Of Jewellers in the UK.

Pay attention to quality and karat size



When looking at men’s gold chain necklaces and bracelets to purchase as an investment, you’ll want to know a lot about what karat sizes mean and the quality of gold. The carat (karat in the US) system is used to identify the pureness of precious metals, meaning how much pure gold is in the piece. You should have a clear understanding of this before making a major investment.

Any piece that is stamped with 24K is 100 per cent pure gold, which is both rare, impractical, and extremely expensive. More often, you’ll find that gold chains are either 10K or 14K, which means that they are 10 (or 14) parts gold, 14 (or 10) parts other metals in the US 
 This is the most common type of jewelry and can create beautiful, long-lasting pieces—but, of course, 14K tends to be slightly more expensive because it contains more gold. 

In the UK jewellery is usually 9 carat or 18 carats.  Jewellery made in the UK is stamped with a hallmark that shows the minimum amount of gold in an item of jewellery.

When it comes to gem and diamond sizes, they are still measured in carats, though when referring to gems, the word is spelt with a C. Much of this has to do with the fact that we are not labelling pureness but rather weight. A single carat is equal to 0.2 grams, and the larger the carat, the more expensive the gem. Of course, other factors must be taken into consideration like overall quality, cloudiness, and potential inclusions. When purchasing an iced out men’s gold chain necklace, you should have some idea of what carat size of gems you’re looking for.

Ask about finishes

Having a good-quality finish on your gold chains is important, as this will help preserve the quality, making your investment worthwhile. Even if your gold chain was handcrafted with fine gold and gorgeous diamonds, if it hasn’t been finished, you’ll notice the piece losing lustre (and potentially diamonds) over time. Any piece that looks beat up or used isn’t going to be a good investment in the long run. If you can’t find any information about a piece’s finish, be sure to ask the company or a salesperson about it specifically, to guarantee that your gold chain is a worthwhile purchase.

Get your jewellery appraised


Once you’ve selected a piece and made your purchase, you should take the time to get your jewelry appraised by a professional. This will help validate the authenticity of the jewellery and give it a concrete value. Many people get their most expensive pieces appraised in order to take out insurance on the jewellery. If your piece every gets stolen or damaged (under specific conditions) you’ll be entitled to the money, preventing you from making a poor investment.

Purchase a style that will hold its value

Trends come and go, especially in the world of fashion, which is why you want to select a style that is going to hold value. When it comes to men’s gold chain necklaces, it’s always a smart idea to opt for classic styles that have been around for decades, like the Figaro or Cuban link style. Jesus piece pendants have also seemed to retain value over the years, as well as cross pendant designs. Again, do your research before investing in any kind of new or trending style, as this may not be as desirable in the future. Any pieces inset with diamonds are always a great investment, as diamonds pretty steadily maintain their value.

Have a plan for selling your jewellery


Whether you’re planning to pass your jewellery down within the family or sell it in the future, you should be aware of the jewellery-selling process. You don’t want to end up having to walk into a pawnshop only to receive a significantly lower amount of money than you’re entitled to. Learn which outlets sell the type of jewellery you’re hoping to invest in and find out more about the process, so when the time comes, you’ll know exactly how to cash in.

Even if you’re not planning to sell your jewellery, it’s important to take all of these factors into consideration before dropping a lot of money on a piece. You want to make sure your money is well spent on a dope gold chain that’s going to last.


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My Routine For Working From Home

Everything is just that little bit strange at the moment, isn’t it? Many of us are at home, in a different routine to normal. Having to get used to the kids being there on a 24-hour basis and homeschooling as well as the husband being around is enough to test most of us! Of course, I am joking. Well sort of. Living with someone all the time can be quite stressful and when we can only leave the house for exercise, medicine and food then we can feel a little trapped. Of course, this is all for the good of society and to help prevent a strain on NHS resources.

Now let's look at the importance of routine. I think it's important to get into a routine as routine can make you feel safe and secure. We all need routine in our lives to some extent and when the world feels unsettled we all love and need routine even more. Routine also helps reduce stress and makes us focused.

Here is my routine for working from home.

First thing



Every morning I have a shower or bath to get ready for the day and I wash my hair. My hair is long and I don't feel great if I don't wash and style it every morning. I generally use a shampoo and conditioner that is formulated for shiny hair and I then put my contact lenses in and apply my makeup. Some of my favourite products include Dove Soap, John Frieda Frizz Ease smoothing creme, and Carex handwash.

Breakfast



Breakfast is usually something as simple as toast or cereal. I always have a cup of tea with soya milk too. If I have planned it in advance I have overnight oats with some fruit. Oats are great for your heart and since my dad had heart problems I try and eat them on a regular basis. I then wake my son up, check what he is doing for the day and get down to work.

Work



As I work from home writing as a full-time blogger I check emails and reply to any before I look at what I have to do today. Blogging isn't all about writing. You also have to search and pitch for work, take and edit photos and promote yourself on social media. The writing is a small part of the work believe it or not! I have two blogs, this one and www.flydriveexplore.com that I write with my husband and we also create videos for our YouTube channel too. Occasionally I write posts for another site of my husband's as well. I must admit, I write on my Macbook Air on the sofa in the lounge which isn't always the best work environment but is comfy!

Exercise


Due to the pandemic, everyone is advised to exercise once a day. I live in a small seaside town in South Wales and I am incredibly lucky that at the end of my street is the sea. So, late morning I go for a walk for at least an hour with my husband and usually end up in Rest Bay, a blue flag beach walking distance to my home. We have been averaging 4 miles a day at the moment. I think exercise is incredibly important especially exercising in nature as there are a host of health benefits, including stress relief, cardiovascular fitness and more. I always wear a pair of my trusty Skechers trainers if I walk as they are super comfy.

Food shopping



When I come home I check what we are having for dinner that night and see if I need to buy anything. I try to do one large shop a week and I am avoiding shops unless I need to get more than a few items. At the moment I find planning meals in advance for the whole week is the best thing to do so I can ensure I have everything I need. Getting an online delivery slot is near impossible at the moment so I try and go to Tescos once a week, where I buy anything for my mum too. I take wipes to clean the trolley and hand sanitiser too and when I return I wash my hands.

Cleaning



A couple of times a week I clean the bathroom and kitchen. I also vacuum the house twice a week too. Every time we go out we clean the door handles as we live in a flat with a shared hall. We also take hand sanitiser with us. I have been looking at new bathrooms recently and I like the designs of the Water Baths brand, based in the Peak District, so when we have enough money will be looking at a bathroom redesign.

So more writing, checking emails, pitching for work and a bit of sneaky TV, like Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares or Undercover Boss.

This is my routine for working from home. Let me know if you work from home and what your routine is.

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Tips for Choosing The Perfect Summer Dress

Summer is officially on its way! One of the best parts of this season is the fashion… being able to just throw on a cute dress, a couple of accessories and be done. With so many options out there, narrowing down your search for your perfect summer dress will make the selection process a lot easier.

Here are 5 tips on how to choose the perfect dress for summer:

Length


You can hone your search in depending on the length of the dress you want, whether for personal preference, height, or occasion. For a more formal occasion, for example, you can opt for a maxi dress. There are also midi dresses and short dresses at varying lengths. For a very cute and trendy short dress, you can check out collections like Twinset for example, and find the perfect summer dress you’ll be comfortable and fashionable in!

Fit



When you think about your current wardrobe, what fit do you prefer? Many people are particular about the fit of dress they like depending on their height and body type, and this can make your summer dress shopping a lot more streamlined when you have this idea. Some different fits to consider are: form fitting, wrap style to accentuate a certain part of your figure, loose and flowy, and a classic A-line cut dress.

If you’re unsure, here is a general dress guide depending on body shape:

Apple-shaped bodies: shift styles
Straight bodies: ‘illusion of curve’ dresses, with a wrap detail or pattern
Hourglass: dresses with defined waists
Pear-shaped: bodies sleeveless styles that emphasize the waist

Fabric

Think light and breezy, quick-drying, wrinkle-friendly. What is a priority for you for your perfect summer dress? A cotton dress, for example, will let you ‘breathe’ in the hot summer weather. Linen will also let you ‘breathe’, but it is also more prone to wrinkles. Other popular fabrics for summer dresses are: chambray, rayon, and blended fabrics.

Colour 



While it is tempting to go bold with summer dresses, you still want to think about what color dress you will realistically wear. If you find your perfect dress in a color you love but wouldn’t usually wear, but the other categories are spot on, you may be more inclined to wear a bold color. Otherwise, neutral colors are classic… and for good reason! A neutral-colored summer dress is something you can wear many different ways just by switching up your hairstyle, lip color, accessories or shoes. You may just want a couple perfect summer dresses in different colors.

Prints


Prints are a way you can make your summer dress pop. Just like when choosing the colour of your dress, consider what print you would realistically wear. Are you already comfortable wearing prints or is this a ‘just for this dress’ occasion?

Ultimately, the “perfect dress” is the one you feel most confident in!

What To Consider When Having A Hair Transplant

If hair loss has been bothering you for some time, you may have been looking into remedies or solutions to your problem. Some people decide to just let it happen, others decide on a temporary solution such as a wig or a toupee but there are other more permanent solutions.



One such solution is to have a hair transplant. You have probably heard about them before because of certain celebrities such as Wayne Rooney and George Sampson. As with all processes such as this, there are plenty of things you need to consider before committing to something so big.

What is a hair transplant?


A hair transplant is a procedure to move hair to an area of your head which is bald or the hair is extremely thin.

Who can have one?

Not everyone will be suitable for one so it is important to know whether you are beforehand. Such cosmetic surgery is suitable for people with permanent baldness which is the type that runs in families. Other hair loss causes such as alopecia are not suitable for this type of surgery/

Can you afford it?

The surgery isn’t available on the NHS as it is cosmetic surgery so it is vital you work out if you can afford it before you commit to the process - you don’t want to end up in debt! A hair transplant can cost anywhere from £1,000 all the way up to £30,000. It all depends on the type of hair loss and the clinic you are using.

What should you be thinking about?

Once you know you want the surgery, you must check that your clinic is registered with the Care Quality Commission and avoid any that aren’t listed. You will also want to ensure you are having your surgery done by a surgeon who is not only qualified but experienced in carrying out such a surgery. It is pretty obvious that they should be registered with the GMC but when people are desperate for a solution, it can be tempting to bypass certain things.

What does it involve?

You will usually have the surgery under local anaesthetic and sedation and they usually take a day but you don’t tend to stay in overnight. You will be told how to care for it and have to be very careful for 2 weeks after. However, you should be able to return to work within a matter of days.

If you have ever considered a hair transplant then I hope this post has been helpful for you. Who knew there was so much to think about?

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5 Things That Are Making Lockdown Living Harder (And What You Can Do About Them)

Over 3 weeks into nationwide lockdown and with at least 3 more weeks to look forward to, it’s safe to say that we’re developing a bit of a morale problem. Not since the blitz have we had to make such huge lifestyle sacrifices for the benefit of the greater good. While we’re thankfully spared from rationing and the horrors of war, our woes, of course, pale in comparison to those of our grandparents and their parents, lockdown living is starting to take a toll on our physical and mental health.



What’s more, there are some things in and around the home which could be making your lockdown life harder. It’s time to identify them and prevent them from doing damage to your wellbeing.

Get rid of the clutter


We’re all spending a lot more time between four walls, and in this context, it’s only a matter of time before cabin fever sets in. The home can start to feel smaller, and more cluttered raising our stress levels every time we take a look around. Clutter can have an adverse effect on us at the best of times, but in a time when we’re all rather highly-strung anyway, it can make it much harder to relax and even make us annoyed or irritable. So declutter your home.

The items which you thought were lending personality and character to your home can instead make it feel smaller and more cramped. If this is the case, it may be worth investing in personal storage, even if it’s just for the duration of the lockdown. You can think a little harder about what you want to keep and what you want to sell or donate later. So organise your surroundings and delcutter you will so glad you did.

Get rid of the mess

Clutter isn’t the only thing that can get you down every time you look around your home. When mess is allowed to accumulate it can start to take a toll on your wellbeing, making it harder to enjoy your free time at home, or to concentrate when you’re trying to work. However, with the whole household sharing a roof it can be incredibly difficult to stay on top of mess, from spilled crumbs to piles of dishes and the sheen of dust that seems to accumulate far more quickly on your surfaces these days.

Instead of taking on the responsibility for keeping the home clean and tidy all by yourself, make sure that your whole family shares the load. The last thing you need is to invite extra stress or resentment into your life.

Coming together for a deep clean is a great way to make your home sparkle and help you to feel calmer and safer at home.

Limit artificial light


Natural light is a gift. It helps you to remain positive and optimistic while also easing concentration and focus when working from home. There’s a reason it’s referred to as the number one office perk! However, if you and your family spend all day and most of the night under artificial lighting this can actually take a toll on your wellbeing. Make sure you swap out heavy drapes for blinds and remove obstacles from around and in front of windows to maximise your home’s intake of natural light.  If you can go out for exercise, do so as there are a host of benefits to your physical and mental health.  if you are self-isolating try to use any outside space you have to get some sunlight as this can help your mood.

Repair and maintenance issues

The steady drip, drip, drip from a leaky tap. The way you seem to sink a little deeper into the sofa every time you sit on it. The patch of mould on the bathroom ceiling. The longer you leave them unaddressed, the more chance they have of damaging your wellbeing and making you annoyed and irritable.

While getting a tradesman to address these issues may be a no-go right now, you’d be amazed what you can accomplish with a little know how and a can-do attitude. Thanks to YouTube tutorials, repairing a leaky tap, repairing sofa springs and banishing mould can be accomplished yourself, giving you a great sense of fulfilment and self reliance.

Outside stress


Finally, there’s a great deal of stress in most households at the moment. Think twice before you bring more in from outside. By all means keep abreast of the latest news, but stick with trusted outlets and ignore inflammatory, clickbaity editorials designed to inflame outrage to drive clicks. The same goes for social media. Unfollow, block or mute people whom you see using the pandemic as an excuse to be toxic.

Instead, focus on the things that you’re grateful for, keep your home clean, neat and tidy and remind yourself that you’re doing your best under difficult circumstances… and that’s all anyone can reasonably ask of you!

*Collaborative post

Home Decor Done The Right Way

Your home is your sanctuary, from the busy work life to the hustle and bustle of the outside world. The home is somewhere we all go back to so we can recharge and just relax and take in a positive atmosphere. However, when the inside of the house becomes a bit worn and tired it can really get you down. So, in this article, I show you some of the best tips on how to revamp your home, in the right way.

Declutter your home, and declutter your mind


Wear and tear, life and day to day events can often lead to the house looking a little worse for wear. The paint looked a little duller than it was the day before, the furniture looked well used and scruffy through many nights of sitting on it and pictures hanging a little out of place. Not only does cleaning out the house, and giving it a little revamp now and then is good for the home, but it is good for your mental wellbeing too. That is how the saying goes, a tidy home is a tidy mind, or a clean home is a clean mind.

With the activity of doing up the home, why not get everyone involved? The children can help with decluttering, cleaning and even painting as deep down all they really want is to help mummy and daddy tidy the home. Then, afterwards, you can all sit down on the sofa together, look around and witness the hard work you all have put into the house, and then reward will be so worth the sweat!

Revamp the tech in your house

More and more people are embracing the ‘automated home’ in which you can control multiple parts of your home using your phone or tablet and a network connection. Automated home appliances are also sold in most places now, such as Ikea and more and more are becoming affordable.

Alexa is one such gadget that can help you see alarms, do shopping lists, play podcasts and more.

Patterns and wallpaper



There are many different ways you can revamp your house and wallpaper can make a huge difference. 
Utilise wallpaper to your advantage by making feature walls or setting a scene with what theme you want the room and the overall house to follow. This could be a chic stylish design or even a beach view to bring back holiday memories. 

If you are a lover of floral prints, one single floral wall paired with neutral colours and minimal decor, then to top it off floral cushions and fabrics, this can make a room feel so warm and connected.

Wall panels and vinyls

Things like wall panels and vinyls can really add some texture and decoration to the wall, and it can be done in an affordable way. Wall art stickers (https://www.aspectwallart.com/) and wall decorations are a great way to break up empty walls and bring some uniqueness to the room. Other things like adding a bookshelf or painting can also break up big sections of empty walls.

The main factor you need to think about when it comes to decor is that less is more. Do not try and fit too much into one single room. You can quickly make a big room feel very cluttered and enclosing, which is not the ideal way to feel about your home. 

That is the main feeling you want from your house, to make a house into a home. When you get home from a busy day at work you want a place to relax in.  
From the paints as mentioned in this article, or to the different decor around the house, revamping your house can be such a fun experience.

So, go out, revamp your home and be as creative as you can!

*Collaborative post

Senior Graduation Cards and Invitations From Basic Invite

Celebrations of life events are so important in modern life. We all love to celebrate our milestones - weddings, graduations, birthdays, retirement and more.  If you organising a party for these events you want everything to be perfect, from the invite to the food. This is where a truly customisable invitation from Basic Invite comes in. Whether its graduation invitations, wedding invitations, baby shower invitations or more, Basic Invite has that invitation for you. This is an ad.

Why is Basic Invite special?



Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers infinite colour combinations, with instant online previews. You can change the colour of each element on a card, with over 180 different colours to pair. The card can be precisely how you want it, down to even the smallest detail and this is what sets them apart from any other online stationery company.


If you want to see how it looks, Basic Invite allows the ability to order a pointed sample fo the invitation. You can, therefore, see exactly how it looks before you place your final order. That's perfect so you can see a proof in case you don't like the design, the colour or in case you make a mistake, so it's virtually risk-free. 

Once you've chosen your design then you can choose from over 40 different coloured envelopes, so whether you want to match or contrast there is an option for you, and your invite can really make an impact before the envelope is even opened.

Graduations

Basic Invite has a range of graduation invitations. From senior graduation cards to high school graduation party invitations. Here are some of my favourite designs below.



This Stately Monogrammed Graduation Announcement is a classic and stylish design, perfect for when style and simplicity really does matter. I think this design is great for men and is available in a monochrome palette of grey, white and navy. 



This Tasselled Gold Graduation Invitation exudes class and luxury. Another simple but stylish design I like the gold and black colour scheme, and the gold is real foil. Another design that would be great for a man especially, it's fully customisable in a range of colours.





These Teachers Chalkboard Graduation Announcements are really lovely. Again super customisable with photos, text and colour, this fun design will surely appeal to many soon to be graduates. 



Of course, your little ones can graduate too, from kindergarten! These Kindergarten Apple Graduation Announcement cards are really cute. Again these truly customisable invites can be ordered in a range of colours suitable for both boys and girls. A lovely kindergarten graduation announcement card.

Most of these invitations comes with thank you cards too. so be sure to send the perfect thank you note back. Of course, they also sell a range of other invitations too so if you are looking for wedding invitations, birthday invitations and more the site is worth a look. 

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Trade Effectively From Home - A Beginner’s Guide To Starting A Website

Setting up a business is a big undertaking and sometimes not having the knowledge of how to set up a company website gets left until much later in the process. In fact, managing a sustainable website for your business is really about understanding the stages of generating one and the options available. 

Here I take a look at how to get you started.

Who is the website for?


Before we start discussing the options available let's ask a question which may sound simple, but is actually deeper than you think - Who is it for?

Obviously, the website is to showcase your brand and what you provide, but it's important to think about your target audience. Take time to research how to communicate your service to them if they don’t understand any jargon you know naturally.

Take a look at brand leaders - websites that are linked to your industry and also websites that aren't.  What do they do well? If you are selling a product online, look at the navigation, the 'About Us page', how easy it is to order and the returns policy. Can you replicate the best parts of these websites in your own website?

Ensure your planned domain is available

Nothing can put a bigger dampener on your business than discovering another company has your planned URL, therefore it is imperative that you use facilities like Wix or GoDaddy to ensure that your planned website name does clash with another business.

You can choose a variety of ways to display a URL. As an example you could choose to have it as melsbarbershop or mels-barbershop or a myriad of other ways. Check also which suffix is available such as .com, .co.uk or .net. If you are shipping internationally a .com is advisable.

If they are all available, it would be recommended to register them all to avoid anyone else coming along and registering a similar domain.

Choosing the right hosting

You are going to need to store a lot of data over time, so searching for a reliable web hosting provider is very important. Providers such as Bluehost, GreenGeeks and many others are available to review online and you need to look into how speedy, how secure and how responsive they are for your websites needs.

Don’t always go straight for the cheapest option to save some pennies. Look into reviews and what you get for your money. If it's worth paying a bit more for a top service then it will save you in the long run, should anything bad happen.

Build yourself vs. an external developer

You may want the challenge of building your own website, however, if you don’t know how to do this effectively,  it will show and you could even lose sales.  Challenges such as making it mobile-friendly or integrating a shopping cart could be embarrassing if you get it wrong.

Whilst there are plenty of free website building options on the internet, many business owners delegate their website to web development professionals for a setup fee and monthly charge which comes with the added benefits of having professional programmers, designers and web hosting.

Maintaining the website can also be a time-consuming practice so this may also be handed to the developers. If you do this you will be safe in the knowledge that if any problems occur, then the best people will be here to handle it for you.

Selling? Shopping cart or eCommerce

Selling your products on your website may be a focus for you, so it is important to understand your options.

If your focus is a website solely for selling on the internet then an eCommerce solution like Shopify is the best way to go.

There are plenty of options available, again it is best to research and review each one to see what feedback is suitable for your needs.

Happy with the result?

Ensure that you are happy with the way the website runs and the content before publishing it to the web. Get as many second opinions and allow someone to give the site a test run for functionality before introducing it to the world.

To make it look professional you need to ensure it is all running correctly and has no small spelling mistakes, you have clear photos of the products you are selling and that your branding is clear.

Link to Media

Ensure your new website URL is promoted on all your materials like your business cards and social media sites to bring traffic to your website. The site alone will not promote itself.

Enquire about SEO to help boost your presence on search results for your business within your industry sector online. Stockport website design firms have extensive knowledge for not just responsive web design but also Search Engine Optimization to help you trade more effectively on the internet.

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Travel Plans Disruptions As A Result Of The Pandemic

With the alarming rate at which the current pandemic of COVID-19 is spreading, it is of little wonder that governments all over the world have advised against all forms of non-essential travel. This development has affected so many travel plans that have had to be either cancelled or postponed. This article will apply to those in Ireland.

For those of us that are affected by this advisory and are in the process of either postponing or cancelling the trips we have planned, we can take advantage of the generous offers the various airlines, hotels, and travel agencies have put up to alleviate the discomfort for the meantime. These companies have gone to great lengths to relax their laws on change and cancellations, appearing to sympathise with affected travellers. However, it is unknown just how long they will do this.

It is important to note however that unless your trip was cancelled by the airline or tour company (and it isn’t even guaranteed), you shouldn’t expect a full refund. The most probable solution you are likely to get is a future travel credit to be used for a later flight or trip.

All these being said, it is more important to know how this COVID-19 outbreak is truly affecting your travel and what you can do to make it easier.

What Are My Travel Rights?



Generally, insurers and airlines are following in the footsteps of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFA) if you are in Ireland, and the Foreign Office Travel Advice if you are in the UK. You need to follow their advice which can be done using either the DFA Travelwise app or by calling their dedicated phone line. Failure to provide a specific DFA warning to back your need to cancel your trip might end up with you not getting a refund and being charged the normal cancellation charges.

You should get in touch with your travel agent, airline, or tour operator to know if you can reschedule your flight for another time or you need to wait to see if the DFA travel advice will be extended. As with the airlines and travel companies, it is also unknown how long the DFA travel advisories will last but you can always check their website for updates.

Where Should You Avoid?

The DFA advisories are being regularly updated with all but very essential travels around the world. If your flight ends up being cancelled, do not fret as your airline is expected to offer a refund.

They also must return stranded travellers home. The only time this doesn’t apply is if the said traveller has received a refund for the return trip. Also, flights are being arranged to bring home those who are struggling to get back from certain places.

Apart from the DFA, other agencies in other countries also have their restrictions which must be adhered to. For example, the EU currently has very strict travel restrictions in place also.

Is Rebooking An Option?


In the event of cancelling your trip, a variety of flights will offer you the chance to rebook your flight for free. However, often only hotels in places that have been locked down are offering either refunds or the chance to rebook. In a situation where the hotel is open and bookings are non-refundable, you may not be getting anything back.

Insurance companies will advise you to first contact your airline or tour company to confirm if you are eligible for a refund or rebooking. Although, even if your tickets are refunded, other costs need to be considered and may be covered by your travel insurance. It is for this reason that the safekeeping of all invoices and receipts cannot be overemphasized to have your claims process go as smoothly as possible.

While going through your claims processing, you will come to realize that different insurance companies have different policies as to when you can file for a claim. Some will accept it as early as 28 days before departure while some might wait till just 2 days before should the advisories be changed.

Changing Your Mind about Traveling Even Though Your Flight Was Not Cancelled

Even if your flight is not cancelled but you have decided against travelling for reasons of safety or some other thing, you could be entitled to a refund or rebooking at a later date. However, it is more probable that you will be offered an alternative like a voucher to be used again.

Effects on Insurance Companies



Most of the insurance companies have halted the sales of new policies since the beginning of the outbreak. Normally, having a disruption cover should protect you from costs like unused hotels or rental cars. You should bear in mind that this doesn’t come as standard in many policies.

Some of these insurers have changed covers for claims resulting from the pandemic. This just means that a previously booked trip might not be covered even if you have a valid policy. Some have completely stopped selling travel insurance policies.

It can be explained that travel insurance is a cover against unforeseen circumstances and this pandemic can no longer be classified as one. However, if you had a policy with ‘disruption cover’ before the DFA advice came into play, you should be entitled to your claim.

You should check The AA travel insurance to know more details about what is covered by the insurance and what is not in detail.

Will My Policy Cover Me In The Event Of Missing My Return Flight Due To Quarantine?

This depends entirely on the holiday and also the policy you have. Most companies advise their customers to make sure they know what is covered by their policies. Having a ‘delay coverage’ should cover all additional expenses like hotels and meals to a certain amount if you do not leave on the scheduled day.

When in doubt always check your travel insurance policy and seek advice from the company.

*Collaborative post

Why A Little Daily Exercise Is So Important

This is a guest post by Phil Ashforth. Phil is a staff writer for Mobility Smart, an online retailer of health, wellbeing and mobility equipment to help you recover from injury, recuperation and protection of joints and muscles when exercising or just helping you in normal daily life, you’ll find their website here. This is an ad.

In these times of lockdown, we’ve all had to adjust to the many new ways of doing things and the huge restrictions on our normal activities and freedoms.
Whilst we’re all doing our bit to halt the spread of COVID-19, it’s important that we don’t completely give in to lethargy and inactivity, and one of the major ways we can look after our sanity in these very trying times is in the form of a little daily light exercise.




I’m not coming at this from the perspective of being a personal trainer or online exercise guru, I’m just a person who’s realised there’s only so many box-sets and boxed wines before you get that stir-crazy feeling making its presence felt!

If there’s one saving grace at the moment, with all of this grim stuff going on, it’s that we’re in Spring and at least the weather, so far, has been nice so the view outside isn’t as black as the whole situation we find ourselves in.

Daily exercise can come in many forms, but what if you’ve really let yourself go over the last few weeks? What if your motivation levels are as low as your ankle socks?

A good way to motivate for more exercise, (even just a little of), is to get your WHY in place. For me personally, this is easy, its simply because I feel better after I’ve exercised, I feel more mentally alert, less lethargic and as though I have greater energy to cope with whatever comes along.

The link between physical exercise and mental wellbeing is well documented, so I won’t go too much into that here, but I personally think what puts most people (myself included in the past) off doing any exercise, is that they think it has to be something hard and long-lasting to get any tangible benefit.


Research from Harvard University suggests that people could avoid weight gain by burning just 100 more calories a day - just an extra 15 minutes of walking in a day would do the trick. These smaller sessions of exercise are important as they can benefit health and mental wellbeing in many ways.

Firstly, the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals in the brain, staves off low mood and loss of libido. Check out this article by Healthline. Even moderate exercise can strengthen muscles needed to do simple things like reaching, bending to pick things up, getting up off the chair - but the reverse is true, no exercise at all can weaken muscles and make every-day tasks that little bit more difficult than they should be.

So, if your WHY needs any more encouragement, think that for a very paltry investment of walking a few steps on the spot with a couple of cans of beans, you’ll also be giving your circulatory system a huge boost. Increasing efficiency of how oxygen, nutrients and hormones are delivered around your body will reduce greatly, the risk of strokes, angina and heart problems. This in turn, leads to a healthier all-round glow, stronger hair, teeth and nails as the body is doing what it is meant to do, simply getting a bit of movement in. Your immune system will also be strengthened, less chance of both bacterial and viral infections, (whether the current very serious one or common-or-garden variety) getting a hold as your natural resilience is strengthened.

If you really struggle to get things going, even when you recognise why you should, just try doing ‘five’ of anything, to get you going, then stop.

Then, same again tomorrow, on onwards… don’t feel that It’s totally pointless taking only five steps on the spot, or doing five heel lifts, honestly, this is how I’ve personally conquered a total loss of motivation towards exercise and built things up to reasonable levels from scratch.

If you’re currently not taking exercise as you may have mobility issues, or you’re still recovering from an injury, illness or surgery, then there are many low-cost mobility aids to help support your body while you build your strength and regain your confidence.

The current lockdown situation is challenging for all of us at the moment, regardless of our bank balance or postcode, and as we are given that one opportunity to get out of the house to exercise a day, why not take it and get out and feel the sun, (assuming it’s still shining)! 


Don’t overthink it, just grab your trainers or shoes and go, just a few minutes is good, and the vitamin D will do you good. If you have a dog… he or she will never refuse a short walk, if you don’t, just take yourself out!

In summary, you probably already knew that a little exercise is generally good for you, but you may have been putting it off as this horrible lethargy grabs a hold.

The main message is that just doing very little of something, is better than doing absolutely nothing, and once you’ve done that exercise it’s yours, nobody can ever take it away from you. A real investment in you and as good as money in the bank, yet with so many additional benefits.

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