Office Romance 101: The Rules of Dating a Work Colleague

Office romance has been a staple of British society for a long time, but how many people actually date a work colleague and what are the rules?

Most of you will have either dated a work colleague or know someone who has. Some of these office romances turn into lifelong relationships, and others end in misery and resignation. With this in mind and the power relations that can sometimes come into play, it can be a tricky tightrope to navigate.

Due to the boundaries that must be put in place with these sorts of situations, speaking to an employment solicitor is probably a good place to begin. They can help you to resolve any queries you may have, and any issues you may face with your employer.

Starting with rules we’ve laid out here, however, might be a quicker port of call. Today, I'm going to share some office romance statistics, and give you our rules around dating a work colleague. Then, I’ll offer some brief insights on whether office romances will die off in the COVID-19 era.

How Many People Get into Office Romances with a Work Colleague?

Work place people

Office romances are much more prolific than you might think and, up until recently, they were one of the main ways people got into relationships.

In a survey by the job search engine Adzuna.co.uk, it was discovered that 66 percent of workers in the UK had been in a romantic relationship with a work colleague. What’s more, 28 per cent of them found their current partner at work.

Where the boundaries are a little stiffer is getting involved with someone above or below you in the rankings, but this hasn’t stopped some. In fact, 22 percent of these romantic relationships in the workplace were between a subordinate and their boss. This is a difficult position to be in if you don’t want to risk losing your job.

The other side of that coin are employees who choose to date their boss on purpose because they believe it will progress them in their career. In the survey, 48 percent of Londoners who dated their boss admitted the romance helped their career.

Unsurprisingly, for all the office romances that work out, there are a huge number that force employees to resign:

  • 59 percent of people who date a work colleague resign from their jobs.
  • 33 percent of these employees resigned to avoid a partner post-break-up.
  • 26 percent of them resigned to give their relationship the best chance to succeed.

Given these statistics, it’s unsurprising that 18 percent of employers have completely banned dating in the workplace, and an untold number of others have strict rules around office romances.

What Are the Rules on Dating a Work Colleague?

work colleagues

To make sure you don’t end up resigning from your job, or violate any rules your employer has on office romances, we’re going to share our personal list of rules on dating a work colleague.

1. Check the Company Rules

The first port of call if you’re thinking of getting into a relationship with a work colleague is to check what the company rules are. According to the same survey we mentioned in the last section, 17 percent of employees don’t actually know what their company’s dating policy is.

You could check the company handbook or your contract, if you have access to it, to see if there are any clear rules on office romance. If there isn’t anything there, it might be worth speaking to a fellow work colleague or your manager to see if they know what the rules are.

Once you know what they are, or you find out that there aren’t any, you can move onto the next step.

2. Don’t Break the Law

This might sound like a dodgy title, but if you’re going to approach a work colleague to go on a date you have to make sure you don’t end up with sexual harassment charges against you.

Most of us have common sense and know the difference between harassment and asking someone out on a date. However, the rules around sexual harassment in the workplace tend to be stricter than dating policies.

This is especially true if you’re a manager and the person you’re asking out is your subordinate. If you don’t make it absolutely clear that if they turn you down it won’t have any repercussions for them at work, it could be interpreted that way and you might face harassment charges.

If you want to be extremely safe when you ask out a work colleague, you could use the Google rule. Google and Facebook recently introduced rules around office romance, which included the fact that employees are only allowed to ask a co-worker out once.

If the co-worker says no, then you don’t get to ask again, and if they are ambiguous about it, for example: ‘I’m not available that night’ it still counts as a no.

3. Don’t Date Your Boss

It’s a little too risky to be dating your boss, and vice versa for a boss to be dating their colleague, as we alluded to above. You don’t want to be in an office romance with someone who has power over you and your career, and you also don’t want to be in one with someone whose career path is dependent on you.

It creates an uneven power dynamic that will likely bleed into your personal relationship, and it more often than not ends badly.

Also, work colleagues are likely to talk about you behind your back, claiming it’s all for personal gain. They might assume that the whole relationship is because one of you wants a promotion and one of you is using your power to get what they want. Best to avoid this tarnishing all together.

4. Don’t Let the Relationship Get in the Way of Your Job

people at work

Once you get into an office romance with a work colleague, it’s important to make sure you don’t let it interfere with your job. Your behaviour might go one of two ways:

You try to be overly-cordial with your partner, so it doesn’t look like your relationship is getting in the way of your work. If you were friendly with the person before, and that behaviour contributed to how well you worked together, then losing this might obstruct your work. 

You try and keep the romance going in the office and end up grossing out all of your work colleagues. If you’re busy working on your relationship you won’t get a lot of your actual work done.

If you’ve opted for a manager/subordinate relationship, the relationship could have an even more detrimental effect on your work.

For example, it might be difficult for your partner to critique your work because they want the relationship to go well. Or, you might find it hard to take criticism from the person you’re dating. Ultimately, having to answer to a partner who is higher up in the organization's chain of command may become a problem.

This can also make other work colleagues sour, as they feel you are being given special treatment over them because of your relationship.

5. Make Sure You’re Both on the Same Page

Not all office romances are between people looking to make a lifelong commitment. So, it’s a good idea to make sure that you’re both on the same page.

You might even want to make a love contract, which sounds silly and made up but is an actual legitimate contract some employers require employees to sign. Even if your employer doesn’t require it, a love contract is worth making so you can talk about how you want to conduct your relationship both in and out of the office. Think about:

How open you want to be with your work colleagues or your boss;
How you’re going to interact with each other at work, for example whether you’ll have lunch together or talk about non-work things at work;
What you’ll do if one of you gets promoted and you get stuck in an awkward employer-employee scenario.

Will The Office Romance Die Off in the COVID-19 Era? 

Home working

Now that we’ve gone over our general rules for office romance, we’re going to take a quick look at whether they will survive the coronavirus pandemic. As we mentioned earlier in this post, office romance is one of the main ways people get into relationships. With COVID-19 forcing office workers to do their jobs from their homes, it might spell the end of these relationships.

In fact, 49 percent of working adults in the UK are currently working from home, meaning that half the workforce are unable to speak to each other face-to-face.

In an interview with Business News Wales, a spokesperson for Protecting.co.uk said: “COVID-19 has really thrown a spanner in the works when it comes to dating at work. Budding romances have come to an abrupt end, and no one wants to flirt with a co-worker over a company zoom meeting. Working from home means there is no office banter, which means gone are the days of easily flirting with your co-workers and asking them out.”

Dating experts at eHarmony believe that at least 50 percent of couples will meet online by 2031, and almost completely replace dating in the workplace.

The Future of Office Romance

In this post, we’ve managed to cover the statistics on people who have dated a work colleague and shared our rules on office romance. We’ve then given a brief insight into how workplace dating might be replaced by online dating post-COVID.

It’s not set in stone how the future of the world will look, never mind the dating scene. If we make it through this pandemic and decide to return to things as they were, workplace romance will have its second term. That said, if we settle into a ‘new normal’ where most people work from home, it’s likely that relationships will start online instead of in the workplace.

What do you think? Are office romances dead? Let me know, in the comments down below!

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A Tome For Your Home - Creating A Reading Room

Something that isn't spoken of enough these days is the benefit of reading. Arguably, most of us don't have time to read or we don't have the space. Many people might think they need to create a space in their home to read, and others may be lucky enough to have a spare room but don't know what to do with it. 

bookcase and lamp

Creating a reading room or reading space is something that can benefit so many of us. It's not just about the act of reading itself but it's a space for us to switch off, away from our phones or tablets, and get back to something simple. But how can you create a reading area or room in your home?

The Right Furnishings

Firstly, we need to make sure our area is decorated appropriately. It depends on if you plan to read on a quiet Sunday afternoon or early in the morning before everyone else gets up. This means that you need a few components to incorporate the right atmosphere. A small table is ideal so you can put your cup of coffee on there, but you also might want to think about something that brings you into a more relaxing state of mind. There is something quite satisfying about a ticking clock that can bring you back to a time before mobile phones or tablets. You may want to think about getting a Grandfather or Grandmother clock. It's a statement piece if you have the room, but of course, many people feel that Grandfather clocks are too big. But the differences between Grandfather and Grandmother Clocks are worth considering at this point especially as Grandmother clocks are smaller in stature.

Sectioning off a Space

Whether you are extending your home or making do as it is, there are certain things you can do to tell yourself this is a different part of the home. We assume you don't have a private library, but you can still separate the reading space from the rest of your home. You can very easily incorporate an accent wall or a rug. And while the right flooring can make it appear different in your mind, you'll also need to think about the right lighting. It will help you to get into the right frame of mind to read, but you also need to make sure that it's not too dark. Find some ambient lighting for the space, but also use a single task light to ensure you can focus on the page.

A Reading Chair

The most important thing of all. A reading chair will communicate so much to you. It needs to be relaxing, but not overly so. And it also needs to be something that's unique but not too different from the rest of your furnishings. Choosing something like a vintage armchair can be very effective and it can be a focal point to certain aspects of a room. But you also need to make sure that this chair is away from high traffic areas of the home so you can actually get down to the fine art of reading.

Reading is a wonderful thing and we can achieve so much with the right knowledge. But if you are someone that doesn't have the opportunity to read much, you need to make time, but you also need to make the space.


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Top Benefits Of Travel For A Childs Development

Travel can mean different things for different people. New parents may wince at the idea of bringing the little ones away for the first time as there is so much to plan and so much to prepare, but, this is actually not the case at all. Not only is travel a good time for the family to bond, but it can also monumentally benefit the child!

Change of scenery, change of mind



It’s no secret that you experience new things when you travel, so to learn and see new cultures first hand while you are young will stand the child in good stead for the future. Children are taught about the wonders and workings of the world at school, but this will always be within four walls. Why not bring their learning to life? Travel is the ultimate hands-on and immersive classroom, just being in a new place with new customs will help the children experience diversity. and different cultures.

This exposure to new and different things will broaden their minds. Kids are often more tolerant and curious post-travel. This will benefit them as they can develop a ‘hunger’ for knowledge, so when they do end up back in the classroom they can apply their new findings straight to the textbook. Kids love doing and playing – so using all five senses to experience the world is a more enjoyable experience and beneficial for education for sen children. Often, they naturally adapt and use their newfound knowledge and link it straight to the reception class curriculum. This directly affects understanding, as it is harder to grasp concepts from just reading.

Boost their confidence whilst on the road

We all want our children to have the happiest lives possible, especially when it comes to social lives and friends. Playdates are so important, however, how do you get them to be confident enough to reach out to others? What happens when they’re in a situation where they have to step up and do things alone? They may be too young now, but skills like these are important to learn from early on. The introverts amongst us know how it feels when you’re in a situation when you don’t know anyone else – it’s not great. It’s often suggested that when on the road, children become better at meeting new people just from the experience of trying new things. The ‘unknown’ becomes less of a thing to fear, and more to be excited about. This is a valuable life skill that can be transferred onto any situation later in life, whether it is the classroom or even a job interview!

Patience, Patience

Another life skill learned while travelling is patience. Sadly, no matter how much we try, things can go wrong. Maybe there are delays, maybe you lose the suitcase – who knows? We wouldn’t wish for these situations, but when going on vacation they’re often unavoidable. If children are around to see these mishaps, they can learn one of life’s best lessons: be patient.

Learning to adapt to unforeseen circumstances and being able to ‘go with the flow’ are key to living a happier life. For kids to pick this up at a young age is very important. Returning to the classroom and being able to navigate education with patience will optimize their learning and improve grades. This teaches them that if things go wrong, it is okay – nothing is the end of the world. Adopting this mentality from travel to learning will make them more receptive to teachers and the process of studying. No one gets A’s first time.



Culture Vultures

Kids love anything new, so if you do make the decision to travel, mix up the destinations. From nature to a city break, the different experiences are so valuable. Visit landmarks, theme parks, even to new AI based vacations. The impact of AI on holidays will blow their minds – and possibly yours too! Technology knows no bounds, these up and coming holidays are not something to be dismissed. Learning together is great, we love our kids, but why don’t we nourish our own minds too.

Letting kids have an opinion on what they want to visit is also important. You may have a great idea for a vacation, but maybe they do too. Culture and self-expression go hand in hand, and seeing the world is an exciting experience. Try methods like having an open conversation about what you’ve experienced together. Did you like it? Why was that? Would you like to see it again? Their little brains will be whirring with amazement, building healthy pathways about the world and it’s beauty. 

Time to bond

I could reel on for hours about how much travelling benefits children’s learning, but another important and sometimes overlooked aspect is how much it benefits the family as a unit. Imagine going on a camping trip with your kids, seems like a lot of planning I know, but once you’re there and out with nature you can just… relax. Being in nature and present in the moment will have nothing but positive effects on your family relationships. As a society we are so busy these days, from meeting to meeting we go, often without even glancing around and taking a break. Having even just a weekend unplugged from work life builds stronger family foundations and promotes a positive environment to raise the young ones in.

Think of all the memories you can build together, one day you’ll all be looking back and smiling about the time you were away. No one knows how fast time goes more than parents, they really do grow up so fast – so take that time you’ve been thinking about taking and go for it! It will benefit everyone involved. 

Looking to the future

Building a family and raising children is never an easy task, especially when we care so much about them. Take that vacation you’ve been daydreaming about in the office and go see the world together. Try all these new and exciting experiences while they’re still young. Know that going away will only benefit them and their development. The vacation may last a week, but the memories will last a lifetime.


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Which Type Of Flooring Is Best For You Home?

There are many choices of floor covering you can have in your home. If you are looking for the advantages and disadvantages of each type of floor covering from wood flooring, to vinyl to carpet and more then you've come to the right place. 

Firstly choosing a floor covering isn't simple. There are a number of things you need to consider when choosing the floor covering for your home, including the look, the ease of cleaning, the cost, and more. Let's have a look at which type of floor covering is best for each room in your home.

Carpet

carpet bedroom

A plush carpet is soft and cosy. There is nothing like feeling carpet underfoot and therefore it is a good choice for a lounge or bedroom. Carpet can also muffle noise so is perfect if you live in a flat. That's another reason to choose carpet for the stairs as the noise will be limited. I would avoid using carpet in a bathroom or kitchen where it could get damp and would be harder to clean. Carpet is available in a variety of prices depending on the quality and materials used. Carpet does gather dust and dirt, so think twice if you have pets, young children or allergies.

Wood flooring

wood flooring
Wood flooring has a luxurious look that is hard to beat and is often used for hallways and lounges. Solid wood flooring especially is hard-wearing. It can fit into a traditionally styled home or a modern minimalist look with ease, depending on the wood chosen and the finish. Wood flooring is generally a mid to high price point but the original outlay can be balanced with the longevity. Wood flooring lasts longer than carpet if looked after well and is easy to clean with a brush or dry mop. It can be a little noisy if you have a wood floor in a flat or an upstairs room.

Vinyl 

vinyl flooring

Vinyl is a good choice for a cost-effective flooring when you are on a tight budget. It can resemble other types of flooring including wood, tiles and slate, so it's very versatile. Modern vinyl flooring does last a while however it can get damaged easily, so may need to be replaced every ten years or so. It is easy to keep clean, easier than carpet and is good if you have children around and pets, a light mop is all it needs. This means it is good if you have allergies. 

Natural stone flooring

stone floor

Natural stone flooring is hard-wearing and tough as well as upmarket and luxurious and is a popular choice for kitchens. It can also be used for bathrooms as it's moisture resistant but can be cold underfoot. Natural stone flooring comes in a variety of materials from marble to slate, limestone to granite and has longevity although the initial cost can be high. Some stones need to be sealed but then they are impervious to moisture and are easy to keep clean. 

Laminate flooring

laminate flooring

Laminate flooring is a multi-layer type of flooring fused together often with a wood finish. It replicates the look of real wood as a much cheaper cost. Laminate flooring is not the best flooring for areas which can get wet or moist like kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms. It's easy to install and relatively durable.  

So here is a description of flooring that is suitable for your home. What flooring do you have in your home?

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Fresh Smoked Salmon Online From Scotland

Smoked salmon is a luxury that has become surprisingly affordable in recent years. With a rich deep flavour, it has become a popular ingredient in a variety of appetisers as well as a food eaten in its own right. With a variety of health benefits too, smoked salmon is one luxury that could be even good for you! So let's have a look at the reasons why you should eat smoked salmon and also the benefits of buying it online.

What is smoked salmon?



Smoked salmon is made by taking fresh salmon through the smoking process which helps keep the fresh fish longer. It is done through a cold or hot smoke which affects the taste and texture of the salmon making it a distinctive food product and coveted for its taste and richness as well as preserving it.

Health benefits of smoked salmon

sushi with salmon

Smoked salmon is rich in omega 3 oils. Omega 3 oils have a variety of benefits to health, including helping to prevent heart disease. Oily fish like salmon is also rich in Vitamin D which helps make healthy bones and teeth. The evidence for the health benefits of oily fish is so strong that the NHS recommends the majority of people to have a healthy balanced diet to incorporate two portions of fish a week and one of those oily fish. Check the recommendations if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as they may be different.

How to use smoked salmon



Smoked salmon is often eaten simply in the UK, with some brown bread and butter, and a squeeze of lemon juice, but there are a variety of ways it is eaten around the world. It is eaten with scrambled eggs as a popular brunch dish around Western Europe. Another way to eat it, popular in Jewish cuisine, is on a bagel with cream cheese. Smoked salmon can also be used as an ingredient in quiches, salads, and pasta sauces as well as used in sushi too.

Buying smoked salmon online

bagel and smoked salmon

Buying smoked salmon online is a convenient way of getting the best salmon to your doorstep from Scotland. Why Scotland? Scotland has a reputation for some of the best smoked salmon in the world with the freshest salmon coming from the award-winning producers around Scotland, and with many artisan smokers with years of experience in smoking this fine fish. Ordering Scottish smoked salmon online from a RSPCA accredited farm is a quick and convenient of getting the best to you without having to hunt it down in your local area.

Let me know, do you enjoy smoked salmon? What's your favourite smoked salmon dish?

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Choosing Wood Flooring - What Should You Look For?

Wood flooring can be a gorgeous style statement in your home and it also has lots of added benefits too. 

wood flooring in bedroom

Cost

Although the initial outlay is more than carpet, wood flooring can last much longer. Typically carpets are changed every 5 to 7 years but wood flooring can last decades. It, therefore, has the durability that carpet does not. Today's modern production processes also mean that engineered wood flooring is cheaper than it used to be, making it more accessible to those that could not afford it before.

Hygiene

Wood flooring is hygienic and easy to clean. With carpet, smells and dirt can get trapped in the fibres. If you have young children who spend time on the floor this is an obvious consideration. Cat and dog owners too will appreciate the ability to keep the floors hygienically clean. If you have allergies, wood flooring is also an obvious choice as solid wood flooring is easier to keep clean than carpet and doesn't trap dust and mites like carpet can.

Maintenance

wood flooring in kitchen

Wood flooring is minimal maintenance. Most floors can be cleaned by a dry brush to collect the dust and then washed with a simple mop and wood floor cleaner, being careful not to saturate the wood, and always following manufacturers instructions. Use floor protectors under furniture to prevent marks. Scratches and damage can occur, but because the wood has a uniqueness, each piece with its only markings and knots, minor scratches and damage are easy to overlook.  Greater damage can be repaired with sanding and refinishing, and this is cheaper than a new carpet that's for sure.

Ecological 

Wood is a natural renewable and recyclable resource. Many floors are made from reclaimed wood and recycled from barns, churches, railway sleepers, warehouses and ships. It's can be a sustainable option if you choose wisely, look for the FSC certificate. 

Adding Value

Wood floors in a house can add value to your home. When buying a new house many people replace carpets but hardwood flooring is almost always kept due to its timeless appeal, durability and classic good looks. It can make your home more saleable and desirable.

Lower Utility Bills

Solid wood floors have insulating properties as they trap warm air. This means a warmer environment and lower heating bills. We all want lower energy bills, don't we!

Style 

wood floor

Wood flooring never really goes out of fashion like carpets and lino can.  If you are having a new wood floor fitted there is a good choice of wood available to fit in with the look and style of your house including oak, maple, walnut and Scottish elm. If you get tired of the finish you can also sand and refinish the wood to get a different look.

As you can see there are many reasons why you need wood flooring in your home, including great looks, easy maintenance and lower bills. An initial investment in wood flooring will mean long-term benefits for the future for the home-owner.

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Important Things To Consider When Choosing A Shower

Have you been thinking of updating your bathroom recently? If you have, have you decided whether you want a shower or a bath? In this busy day and age, more people are opting for showers over baths and it is easy to see why. Showers are quick, showers are efficient and showers take up less space. 

So where to start when choosing a shower?  You want to ensure you are buying the best shower for your needs so it is important to do your research.

Not only have you got to work out the measurements but you’ve got to think about all of the different elements of the shower such as the shower basin, the showerhead, the shower filter, the shower controls and the different spray options. 

Here are just a few things you should be looking for when choosing a shower.

What water system do you have?


This is important to know as the type of water system you have in your house could affect the selection of models you can choose from. An electric shower will work with any water system but others such as mixer systems will not - a mixer shower would be well suited to a high pressure water system whereas a low pressure water system would be better suited to a power shower.

If you choose an electric, shower you need to consider the kW rating - the higher it is, the more powerful your shower will be.

What features do you want?

A shower may seem pretty simple but there are actually a few different things to consider when it comes to the features available. Do you want a thermostat which keeps the temperature steady to stop that horrible feeling when it hits a scalding hot temperature followed by ice-cold? What about a maximum temperature or a variety of spray options? 

These are all things you will want to think about before choosing a shower. A shower head with one of the top shower filters purifies your water and prevents limescale build-up and is another thing you may want to consider.

What look do you want it to have?

shower

Another consideration is the design of the shower itself. You are going to want one that not only has the relevant features but also fits in with the design of the rest of the room. Whether you go for super modern and minimalist, or chic and luxurious, or Victorian and traditional there is a style for you. 

When giving your bathroom a new look you will want the shower to fit in seamlessly. That is why it is important to think about how it should look.

What budget do you have?

Finally, and perhaps some would say, most importantly, you need to think about the budget you have available. It is all well and good choosing a shower with a specific look and specific features but if you can’t afford it, then there’s just no point. Work out what funds you have readily available and find the best value for money you can with the features and design you want. You may be surprised to see what is out there that you'll love!

I hope this guide helps you to choose the perfect shower now you know what you want!


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Top Fashion Trends for the Rest of 2020

As the strange summer of 2020 winds down to a close, 2020’s overall weirdness has become a matter of course for most of us. We’re left wondering if this is the new normal or if things will return to how they were.

Update

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease with even those shielding able to get out now, sweatpants and all-day pyjamas have finally been banished to the back of the cupboard. Even if nightclubs aren't opening anytime soon and the office Christmas party shows no sign of happening, we still need to update to appropriate clothing. Hush Style can help you update the wardrobe without breaking the bank especially if you are looking for designer brands.

Avoid

Avoid being arrested by the fashion police. That means don’t try to squeeze into last year’s autumn and winter wear. I mean who hasn't put on a few pounds extra? Being out of style is bad enough, but being out of fashion in clothes two sizes too tight is even worse. It isn’t very good for your health either. Tight clothing cuts off circulation.

Don’t try to find something that fits in the High Street sales either. Brick and mortar retailers were ordered to shut their shops in March, only being allowed to reopen in summer. It may be tempting to grab a bargain leftover from last winter, but times have changed. 

Bargain boxes of clothing aren't always a good choice. If you are going to order one, be sure it's an ethical choice and supports workers in poorer countries. However, there’s no way of knowing what brands or styles you’ll be getting. Each brand runs their women’s sizes differently. Clothes could be too small or too big by a large margin. Also, it's often better to buy one item that lasts longer than 10 that won't.

Pockets

Women’s clothing is well known for not having appropriate pockets. Global pandemic or not, this hasn’t changed. Without pockets to carry around the basic phone, wallet and keys plus the new essentials of masks (with a few to spare), gloves and hand gels, women need a good sized handbag. It needs to be large enough to fit at least all of that and possibly more. Cross body bags leave you hands-free while keeping your bag close. If you’re walking to the office to avoid the virus on public transport, a rucksack can carry everything plus your office shoes.

Face Coverings

Face coverings are a must if you plan on entering any shop, building or are in close proximity to others. Only a handful of exceptions exist. That doesn’t mean your face covering needs to be ugly. A scarf can meets regulations while protecting others. It is a stylish way to cover your nose and mouth. Better still look to get one of the three-layer face coverings you can buy and wash after use.

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Say It With Champers - Personalised Champagne And Prosecco For All Occasions

I love to support small businesses and today I am interviewing Didier Penine who owns the company Say It With Champers. Didier has a passion for his personalised champagne business, so let's find out more about the Say It With Champers brand.

How did you get the idea for your business? 

champagne

About 12 years ago when I married my wife, my father brought some bottles of personalised Champagne themed around the wedding over. I had never heard of personalised Champagne and the idea captivated at that moment. I kept thinking about it and wanting to do it but never dared take the plunge. Circumstances a couple of years ago meant the timing was right and then the business was finally set up! We are an online-only business that caters for both the general public and also businesses. 

Can you tell my readers more about what you sell, please.


For the general public, we have a range of designs covering all the popular occasions like anniversary, birthday, wedding and so on. All the designs are unique to ourselves and make a great gift to make the special occasion. For businesses, we design a label from scratch around the company branding - they will then typically use them as gifts to staff, gifts to key clients, or to toast corporate anniversaries for example. This side of the business has taken off massively since June, previously companies would wine and dine for staff for an occasion but with social distancing, they are now opting to send gifts to those concerned,

What's your best selling item? 

personalised champagne

The bespoke label design for businesses account for about 90% of my turnover and is proving increasingly popular as business look for gifts that are different but also ones that people will enjoy. For the general public, our birthday range is the most popular which makes sense due to the number of birthday gifts we all give and receive on a yearly basis.

What makes your company unique? 

special occasion champagne

Presently, we are the only personalised Champagne company that has a family produced Champagne. The Champagne producing side of my family are based in Festigny, and they are a 7th generation grower/producer. their yearly production is around 30,000 bottles or so which is fairly moderate but at the same time quite typical for many smaller Champagne producers.

Who or what inspires you? 

Champagne

People who are self-employed have always inspired me, whether they are a decorator, musician or owner of a large corporation. Until I started my business I was always unhappy working for others and knew being self-employed was a path I wanted to go down myself. It can be tricky however and needs careful thought before taking the plunge.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business? 

Vegan champagne

Be prepared to go without an income for a good few months, and even worse be prepared for some loss-making months, I think the majority of businesses that fold are due to lack of cash flow, and if that business had been able to stay afloat for a few more months may well have succeeded. It takes time to get things up and running, much more than people think and longer than I certainly anticipated. It also takes a lot of work and late nights, but if you can take some leans months and are prepared to put the work in to set it up then it will be worthwhile in the long run.

Thanks, Didier for answering my questions. You have a great business that's perfect for the big celebrations in life. Don't forget to check out the Say It With Champers website if you are looking for a bottle of personalised champagne or prosecco. They also do vegan champagne too!

Some Ideas For Your Neglected Garden

If your garden has been neglected for a while and you’re finally looking to do something about it, you may not know where to start.  It can be a little overwhelming with so many options out there. So here is a post to give you some garden inspiration. Enjoy!

Split the Garden Into Distinct Sections

garden patio

First of all, you should think about splitting the garden up into a series of distinct sections, each with its own purpose. For example, one area might be dedicated to flowers and flower beds, while another might be more about relaxing and dining outdoors with family. Creating zones in your garden in this way is definitely a good idea and can make your garden multi-functional.

Pick a New Theme

butterfly in garden

Every garden should have some sort of theme or stylistic approach if you want it to all come together. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. It could be as simple as sticking to a particular colour combination or you could take things a little further than that, such as a wild garden, a butterfly garden or an edible garden, it’s entirely up to you. Once you have a theme, make it your aim to stick to it for a cohesive approach.

Invest in a New Shed

shed

If you’re looking to make gardening an activity that you do regularly, it’s a good idea to invest in some tools and a shed where you can store them. You can find garden sheds for sale very easily and once you have one, it’ll make it easier to stick to your plans of gardening regularly and staying on top of essential garden maintenance. It could be just what your space needs.

Weed and Prune

weed and prune

If you want to first of all tackle the situation that your garden is currently in, you’ll need to tame it and get it back under your control. Doing that is often easier said than done, but it all starts with the process of weeding and pruning the garden. That allows you to cut out the dead parts of the bushes, plants and shrubs while making space for healthier regrowth going forward.

Start Planting

flowers

For your garden to really feel full of life and vibrancy, you need to add some plants and flowers to it. It really is as simple as that. So eventually the time will come when you simply need to start planning out your flower beds and get planting. It can be a little daunting at first if you’re not much of a gardener, but there are plenty of guides out there that make the steps clear.

If you’re not sure where to take your neglected garden, starting with the ideas I've discussed here is definitely a good place to start. You’re not going to fix it overnight, but with the right approach you’ll eventually be able to create a garden that offers all the things you want it to.


*Collaborative post

How To Save Money When Working From Home


Working from home can save money, and many companies and individuals are now realising this.

A recent working from home survey published in The Independent newspaper found that in a poll of 1000 employees, 7 in 10 were impressed with how employees have managed to work from home due to Covd19 and many are now looking to incorporate home working. One of the main reasons is, of course, working from home can save money for companies and also self-employed individuals.

Of course, the original outlay of setting up a home office can be expensive, but it is possible to be cost-effective when working from home. Let's have a look at how to save money when working from home.

Technology



Always start with the most simple technology set up and upgrade as necessary. If you are working for a company maybe they can loan you a laptop to work from home and other essential equipment like a printer. Refurbished or second-hand laptops may give you a big saving if you are buying the equipment yourself or you may have a computer suitable already, so don't buy what you don't need. You can get tax relief on things for work though, so bear that in mind.

Stationary

Places like Poundland and supermarkets like Tesco can be surprisingly good for stationery, like printer paper, pens and poly pockets. For ink cartridges try compatible ones which will save you money on the big branded ones, or refillable cartridges that are good for the environment too. Also don't print what you don't need.

Cost-effective furniture


Check out Facebook pages, eBay or Gumtree for second-hand items. I managed to buy an office chair for £15 on a local Facebook selling page. Some charity shops specialise in furniture as well. Freecycle may be worth a look, it's a site where items such as furniture are given away. For the best prices in new furniture, Ikea has made office stuff super affordable, like desks and chairs.

Buy what you need

Buy what you need. Don't buy what you don't need. It's a simple thing but will save you cash and the environment by preventing items from going into landfill. Do you really need the 'all singing all dancing' laptop, instead check out the features that you need and see if you can buy a simpler model. Would a Chromebook do instead of an Apple Mac, thus saving you money?

Check out grants 

There are a number of grants available if you self-employed. The Princes Trust helps young entrepreneurs under the age of 30 and if you are unemployed the New Enterprise Allowance can give you a grant of up to £2000. It's always worth searching online for grants available as you may be surprised at what you can access nationally and locally.

Save energy

making a cup of tea

Working from home will mean you have higher energy costs, so doing small things can help. Only boil enough water in a kettle for the one cup of tea, stop leaving the TV on standby, wear an extra jumper if its cold in the house rather than put on the heater and so on. Small things that can save you pounds across the year.

Shop in the sales

Shopping in the January, Spring or Black Friday sales can really save you money. If you need something expensive it's always worth shopping in the sales. An older model of computer will be cheaper in the sales, so will a coffee machine for your home office (We all need a little luxury in our working day after all),

Negotiate and compare

woman on computer
If you are looking for a cheaper phone, internet service or other utilities it's worth comparing online on sites like Moneysupermarket or ringing up and speaking to the companies direct. Even if you don't move providers, ringing the company and threatening to move often means you will be offered a better deal.

So this is how to save money when working from home. Let me know, do you work from home? Do you have any ideas on how to save money?