Maxoak Bluetti EB150 Portable Power Station Review

If you live somewhere remote or love travelling then you may have had the odd sticky situation with power now and again. Your laptop may be flat, you need to charge your drone or you need power for your fridge for example. If you are camping, hiking, love the camper van life, road tripping or living off-grid it's always a good idea to have a backup power charger and this is where something like the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 portable power station comes in handy. This is an advertorial in conjunction with Maxoak. 

charger

The Maxoak Bluetti EB150 portable power station has a maximum output of 1000 watts and weighs approximately 38 pounds. That's a huge charge from a powerful charger! It's the sort of charger you can keep in the back of your car or van and then it's easy to whip it out if you need power. It has a sturdy handle so you can transport it easily too.  
 

As stated before, this charger is really powerful. This is no small stick charger. It's 14.6 inches (37cm) by 6.5 inches (16.5cm) by 14.4 inches (36.5cm) in size.

charger

To charge your items there is a cigarette lighter 12v adapter as well as 4 USB ports too and a USBc port. This means you can charge your USB enabled laptops such as your Macbook Pro, the latest Dell or your Microsoft surface laptop.  It also has 2 AC outlets so that you can charge most of your small appliances up to a max of 1000 watts. Useful when you need to power your hairdryer, camera, drone and so on.

Obviously, always check the instructions to ensure your appliance is suitable. It can even charge a small fridge, which is great for camper van life.

I liked the fact that there is an LCD display panel that lights up, great for low lighting conditions and that it was straight forward to use. Charging time for the unit itself is 
8-8.5hrs to be fully charged from an AC wall outlet. 

Eb150 charger

One of the things that can be especially useful is the ability to charge it from solar power. I mean how cool is that? As well as being eco-friendly this is an incredibly useful feature when you have no sockets to charge it. The MC4 solar charging cable is included, although you will have to buy a solar panel. 

You can buy the Maxoak Bluetti EB150 from the following.

Amazon UK  Use code: powereb51 for £100 off
Amazon USA Use codes: bluetti1500  for $65 off + code coupon for $130 off  in total $195 off
Amazon Germany  Use codepowereb51 for 100 off

Priced at £1499.99 it isn't super cheap but I firmly believe you get what you pay for. With the Maxoak Bluetti EB150, you get a powerful portable power station that thas the ability to charge from a variety of power sources. You also have various coupon codes as above to get some extra money off. When you’re buying from MAXOAK you know that you’re guaranteed quality too and it comes with a 24-month replacement or maintenance warranty. 



Conclusion

The Maxoak Bluetti is a portable power charging station that really packs a punch. If you love travelling, live off-grid or need extra power in an emergency I think you can do no wrong in investing in this. Recommended.

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Why You Should Ride A Tricycle In Winter Instead Of A Bike

When it turns frosty and cold outside, people automatically think this means packing away the trike or bike for the year. Whilst this might be the correct thinking for a bike, a tricycle is the perfect travelling companion for the winter months, and you are sure to be safe on the three-wheeler on a wide variety of terrain.  This is an ad.

Tricycles are well known to be sturdy and safe modes of transport, and this applies, even more so when it comes to riding a tricycle in the colder months.

But why is riding a tricycle safer than riding a bike in the winter? Well, here is a list of all the reasons tricycles are perfect for riding in the winter, and why they are much safer than riding a normal bike.

Tricycles work well on all terrain



Tricycles have three large wheels that have extremely effective grip, which paired with being lower to the ground than a bicycle, makes riding on all terrains extremely safe. So, this winter, when the roads get icy, you can be safe in the knowledge that riding a tricycle is still a safe option.

Also, as a tricycle is lower to the ground this means whilst climbing hills in the wind, rain and snow riders do not need to keep the same forward-leaning motion to gather momentum. Instead, trike cyclists can just lower the gear and climb with ease.

Jorvik tricycles offer various different tricycles, but one of their best trikes for winter weather is their Jorvik electric mountain trike. This tricycle has large tyres and a front suspension which will give you the confidence to conquer mud, ice or snow with ease.

Tricycles are more visible than bikes

Tricycles are much more noticeable than a normal bike, as they are bigger and have three wheels instead of two. This is extremely beneficial when riding in the winter, as the weather in the colder months can produce poor visibility on the roads, which can be dangerous for those on bicycles. For tricycle riders, there is also the added security that they are more likely to be seen due to the stature of the tricycle compared to a standard bike.

Tricycles are easy to ride

Having three wheels, tricycles are very easy to ride as they provide the rider with more balance and support. This means riders are not worrying about their balance at the same time as trying to concentrate on the road in front of them, this makes the riding experience a much more pleasurable one. Jorvik Tricycles also have a range of different seating options, one of the most popular options being the Jorvik adults tricycle seat with back rest.

Tricycles can carry all your bags

One of the worst things in winter when riding a bike is having to try and carry all of your things in a heavy backpack, it just makes the cold journey a tiresome one. But with a tricycle, you can pack all of your things away into safe cargo bag or a Jorvik mountain trike trailer that attaches to the tricycle itself. This is great if you have been shopping and have lots of carrier bags to take home with you.

Things to keep in mind when riding a tricycle this winter: 


Be seen

It’s important to ensure you are visible on the roads, especially when weather is poor and natural daylight is limited. So, equipping your tricycle with sufficient lights is necessary to reduce any possible collisions or accidents. Ideally, you will have a light on the front, back and on a wheel of your tricycle. Be sure to check your lights on a regular basis to ensure that they work.

Be bright

To ensure you are seen on the roads, purchasing reflective wear is essential, especially for when the weather is gloomy and dark. Some wearable reflective options for this include bright reflective gloves, reflective slap wraps and hi visibility vests.

Stay dry

This winter there is bound to be some rainy weather, so, investing in some protection for yourself and your phone could be worthwhile. A traditional cycling cape is the perfect accessory to take with you on your ride and can be worn over all clothing. Also, this weatherproof phone mount is the ultimate universal waterproof phone mount for all tricycles, and you can be comfortable in the knowledge that your phone isn’t getting wet in your pocket.

So, does a tricycle sound like the right mode of transport one for you? With all the safety benefits riding a tricycle brings, swapping to a tricycle and packing away the bike will be one of the best decisions you make this winter!

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Win A £50 Gift Voucher With Boho Homes Ends 22/11

I like supporting small businesses and today on my blog I am working with Boho Homes to bring you a great competition. So read on to find out more about this eco-friendly company and how you can enter for a great prize. This is an ad.

Boho Homes is a small social enterprise with a big heart. Working with artisans and fair trade suppliers around the world, this ethical company is run by Tullika and sells handcrafted products with a strong eco-friendly focus. Products sold are made from sustainable materials such as mango wood, organic cotton and recycled card and each product comes from a traceable production line. With each order, you also get a note that tells you the story of your purchase - what a lovely touch!

A certified member of the British Assciation of Fair Trade Suppliers you know that they pay a fair price to their workers, and that's always good to know. Let's have a look at some of my favourite items.

coasters


One of their bestsellers, I really love these gorgeous brass layered coasters. These 6 coasters have been individually layered with a brass sheet and embossed with blocks by hand. Sold in a gorgeous embossed box, the best thing about these glamourous coasters is that you know that they are made with Fairtrade conditions and the artisans in India get a fair price. Priced at £20 I think these are beautiful. 

elephant bowl


Made from discarded coconut shells, these gorgeous bowls are just stunning. Artisans in Vietnam have hollowed out and shaped the coconuts, then smoothed and treated the shells with coloured lacquer. The final touch is painted on - an elephant in all its splendour. The craftsmanship is unreal with these lovely bowls available in a range of colours.



My next choice from Boho Homes is this elephant circle cushion cover. In a lovely quality soft cotton, what really stands out is the lovely symmetrical design of elephants. Perfect for your lounge or conservatory sofa, I think any home would be cheered up with these beautiful cushion covers.

large tray

Made from mango wood, this beautiful tray is the perfect addition to any home, With gorgeous handpainted tiles in ceramic, the vibrant colours with brighten any home. Each tray is unique as all the tiles are different but if you make a note of any colour scheme when you order Boho Homes will do their best to find a try for you. 

duvet


My last choice is one of these cosy cotton quilts, perfect for an extra layer on the bed in autumn. Made from block printed cotton, these blanket are filled with natural cotton too and not polyester fibres or down meaning that the quilt is lightweight and breathable. Called Jaipuri Raza you can also use these quilts on the sofa when watching TV. 

So here are my favourite items from Boho Homes. Today on my blog you can win a £50 voucher to spend on the Boho Homes website. So go and visit their website, have a look around and then come back and answer the question below to enter. You can also follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Someone has to win! Good luck!

Win a £50 voucher to spend at Boho Homes

How to Raise a Confident Child

Confident people have a better chance of success than those who are not. This is because they believe in their abilities and they are not afraid to take risks. They face challenges with optimism rather than shying away from them and thrive in social situations. With that said, it comes as no surprise that most parents hope to raise a confident child. Sometimes, though, that is easier said than done, which is why I have teamed up with an international school in London, to offer some advice. This is an ad. 


child playing guitar

One of the key ways to help your child with their confidence is to encourage them to experience new things and take on new challenges as regularly as possible, so that they can learn to have faith in their abilities to do anything they set their mind to. Start small, by giving your child some basic responsibilities around your home, promoting their independence and allowing them to accomplish small goals. Praise them when they complete these tasks successfully so that they know you are proud of them.

You could also encourage your child to join some sort of extra-curricular activity, where they will develop lots of important, transferrable skills and build strong relationships with likeminded people. Even if they just have a one-to-one session once a week with a music teacher, for example, they will have another respectable adult to look up to and feel supported by.

Support is actually hugely important for young people, as without it they can feel quite alone. With this in mind, try and provide the most supportive environment as possible by helping your child with their homework, providing them with the necessary tools they need to succeed and reminding them often how much you love them. Spend plenty of time with them and use this time as an opportunity to teach them new things and answer their questions about the world. Attend parents’ evenings and other events at the school so that they know you have a strong interest in their academic achievements.

*Collaborative post

The Benefits of Outdoor Learning for Children

When we think of our child’s education, most of us picture a classroom environment or their head in a book. However, learning comes in lots of shapes and sizes and sometimes getting out of the classroom and into a new environment can really enrich a child’s academic experience. That’s why lots of schools provide outdoor learning opportunities for students, to make use of all of the resources available to them and help engage kinaesthetic learners. A primary school in Hillingdon explores the benefits of outdoor learning in more detail below.



One of the more obvious advantages to outdoor learning is the physical and mental health benefits it provides. Children who are able to run around outdoors, receive fresh air and hear the sounds of nature will be both physically fitter and less stressed. This is due to the endorphins that are released in the brain when engaging in these kinds of activities. Since lots of children don’t have access to a safe outdoor environment at home, having that chance at school is of the utmost importance.

Outdoor learning also demonstrates to children that there are opportunities to learn all around us, not just in the classroom. The experience helps bring to life some of the things they have been learning about in books, which often allows them to retain the information to a greater degree. When schools have a nature reserve the benefits of seeing plants and animals in their natural environment cannot be emphasised more. Seeing the beauty of bees, butterflies, dragonflies, frogs and pond life as well as trees, bushes and flowers can all help to learn about science, nature and geography. With that said, outdoor learning can improve overall academic performance for children across the board.

Another benefit of outdoor learning is that it helps children develop a sense of empathy towards the environment. It is crucial to help young people become respectful global citizens and protect the world where possible, which isn’t something they can truly grasp from a textbook. For more information on the benefits of outdoor learning and how your child’s school incorporates it into their curriculum, don’t hesitate to contact their teachers.

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Inexpensive Ways to Give Your Home a Makeover

When your home is looking a little drab, or you're just bored of the current look, you might start thinking about giving it a makeover. But redesigning your home interiors can cost you, especially if you want to make a lot of changes. Fortunately, there are options available if you want to make a difference and avoid spending too much. If you want to makeover your home with only a small budget, you could easily have a big impact with just a few hundred pounds or even less. By choosing the things that will have the largest effect, you can practically create a new home.

Update Hardware


One of the quick and inexpensive changes that you can make is updating any hardware in different rooms. You can get new door furniture, replacing things like handles and hinges, and even get a new knocker for your front door. In the kitchen and bathroom, you can replace taps and other metal features that might need refreshing. These kinds of changes will barely cost you anything. You can replace a door handle for around £10 if you're looking for the cheapest options, although fancier choices are also available if your budget is a little higher.

Bring in Some New Textiles

bed

In the bedroom and living room, one of the fastest ways to make a big impact is to get some new textiles. Replace your bedding, get a new cover for your sofa, or buy a new rug. These kinds of things can add colour and texture to your home for a fast and easy transformation. You could also reupholster some furniture, although this can take a little more time and money, especially if you want to get a professional to do it. Consider adding throws and pillows to your seating areas too, or perhaps some padded seats to your dining chairs.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

painting wall

Decorating can be a bit more effort, especially as you might need to move furniture around. But a lick of paint can do wonders if you want to give your home a makeover. It doesn't cost much to buy paint, and you can do the painting yourself if you're up to it, which saves you money on labour. If you're really on a budget, there's no harm in painting one room at a time. In fact, it can be less disruptive to your life, as well as being easier on your bank balance.

Add Some Art and Plants

lounge

When your home needs spicing up, sometimes you just need to add some accessories and ornaments. Bringing some art, interesting objects, and maybe some house plants into your home is a great way to add some more personality to a house that looks a little dull. You can hang art on the walls, whether you like movie posters, photography, or classic prints, and you can display things on various surfaces too.

Give your home a makeover without spending too much, and you can feel like you're in a brand new home.


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Helping Your Child with their Education Through the Pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic is undoubtedly the biggest crisis the nation has faced for many years, causing problems for the economy as well as our children’s education. With that said, it’s important for parents to try and find ways to help support their child’s academic endeavours so that they can overcome the challenges they’ve faced over the last few months. I have teamed up with a senior school in Hampshire to offer you the following advice. This is an ad.



First of all, try not to be too hard on your child if they appear to be struggling a little with their schoolwork. After several months of school closures, it’s not surprising that some children have fallen behind and have found the transition back into a structured environment quite challenging. They will need to know that they have your full support, which will involve patience and sympathy, as well as some extra guidance.

Do some research into age-appropriate learning resources, including interactive games that your child could play to boost their understanding of certain subjects in an enjoyable way. If you’re struggling to find educational activities for your child, don’t hesitate to contact their teachers for some suggestions. Perhaps these are things you can do together so that your child doesn’t feel alone in their pursuit to improve their grades. It may also be worth looking into hiring a private tutor. If this is too expensive, perhaps having your child study with an older student, like a friend or relative, to help keep them focussed and on the right track. This can even be done remotely on Zoom or Skype.

Sometimes, poor performance in school stems from a lack of confidence. If you think this might be the case for your child, try and find ways to help rebuild their self-esteem. This doesn’t mean complimenting and praising them all the time, although in small doses this can be beneficial. Give your child some responsibilities about the house so that they feel like you trust and have faith in their abilities. If you help them regain some of the independence they lost when they were trapped indoors for months, their school subjects will feel less intimidating.

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Recovering From Domestic Abuse: Moving On With Your Life

After leaving an abusive relationship or family situation, it can take a long time to start feeling like you’re back in control of your life. So, how exactly can you do this?

It’s practically unheard of for someone to come out the other side of an abusive situation without experiencing any negative feelings. There are so many mixed emotions involved in domestic abuse recovery, from anger and betrayal to relief, to sadness.

It’s also completely normal to feel grief from the loss of the relationship and you may struggle with your self-esteem, find it hard to trust again, or experience anxiety at the thought of attending social events. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be feeling like this for the rest of your life.

In this post, I am going to set out some tips for moving on with your life after experiencing domestic abuse. My past experience in working as a mental health nurse has brought me into contact with many victims of domestic abuse so it's important to help address the many issues victims can have.  Ultimately, once you’ve dealt with the practical side of things, including sorting out housing, childcare, and legal aid for domestic abuse, it’s all about doing what’s best for you. So, for 10 top tips on the healing process behind it all, read on…

What is Domestic Abuse?


sad woman

Domestic abuse takes many forms and can happen to any person of any gender as well as age, background, sexuality, religion or ethnicity. More specifically, Refuge, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline, describes it as ‘a pattern of behaviour on the part of the abuser designed to control his/her partner’.

Domestic abuse isn’t just restricted to relationships, and can also occur within family homes. Some of the types of abuse you 
may come across include:

  • Emotional and psychological abuse: such as threats, manipulation, verbal abuse and ‘gas lighting’.
  • Physical abuse: such as hitting, kicking, spitting, slapping, restraining, pinching and throwing objects.
  • Sexual abuse: this does not have to involve physical force (although it can). It is also sexual abuse if someone manipulates, guilts or coerces you into doing something you don’t want to do.
  • Financial abuse: controlling your access to money, for example, taking your wages, forcing or pressuring you to get into debt, making you stop work or only allowing you a small ‘pocket money’ or an ‘allowance’.
  • Tech abuse: such as looking through your phone, sending you abusive messages, tracking your devices or sharing images of you online without your consent.
  • Cultural abuse: this can include forced marriage or Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), and usually occurs in households where there is a strong cultural urge to control based on gender. 

Abusive behaviours, such as assault, battery, sexual assault or revenge porn, are considered criminal offences in the UK. Now, coercive control is also listed amongst these crimes; when an abuser uses a pattern of behaviour over a period of time to control the victim. These actions may include many of the examples we’ve listed above, as well as depriving a person of food, water, sleep and hospital care, amongst other things.

Whatever behaviours your abuser used, remember that domestic abuse is never the victim’s fault.

Life After Domestic Abuse: What are the Lasting Effects?

  • Domestic abuse can have a wide range of consequences for the survivor, including mental, emotional, physical, social and financial effects. If you have left an abusive situation, it is completely normal to be experiencing any of the following (this is not an exhaustive list, everyone experiences domestic abuse differently):
  • Feelings of fear for your personal safety and the safety of your children.
  • Emotional trauma, such as loss of confidence, embarrassment, shame and guilt.
  • A limited social circle from becoming isolated from friends and family.
  • Long term social challenges, for example, if you fell out with friends or family.
  • Difficulties at work, such as problems with performance, time keeping, organisation and concentration.
  • Mental health problems, such as anxiety, panic attacks, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, self-harm and suicidal feelings.
  • Financial issues, such as a reduced income and earning capacity, depleted savings, debt, difficulties finding work or coping with a job, and difficulties managing your own finances.
  • Substance abuse, including alcohol and drug misuse and addiction.
  • Physical health problems, such as chronic illness, stress and sexually transmitted diseases.

10 Top Tips for Moving on with Your Life After Domestic Abuse


domestic abuse

With all this in mind, it’s important that a survivor of domestic abuse takes care of their mental health to help them move on. Some tips to do just that include:

1. Seek Professional Help

First and foremost, if you are experiencing mental health issues such as low moods, panic attacks and feelings of worthlessness, it is important to seek professional advice. Your GP can provide advice about whether counselling or therapy might be right for you and refer you to a counsellor or give you the information you need to self-refer. They can also prescribe medication for conditions such as depression and anxiety.

If you’re in touch with any charities or domestic abuse organisations, they may also be able to advise you or provide you with counselling. If you would prefer, paying for private counselling is also effective and can be faster than waiting for counselling on the NHS; however, going private can be very expensive.

2. Celebrate Your Strength

Gathering the courage and strength to leave an abusive relationship is an incredible thing to do, and something to be extremely proud of. Although you may not feel particularly strong at the moment, there’ll be many more successes to celebrate down the line as you retake your independence.

Try keeping a journal to write down your thoughts, feelings and steps you’ve taken that you’re particularly proud of. This way, you can look back on them in the future and see how far you’ve come.

3. Give it Time

Everyone responds to challenging situations differently, and it can take a long time to recover from trauma. The saying ‘time heals all wounds’ is completely true when it comes to domestic abuse recovery.

The important thing to remember is not to push yourself. There is no ‘right’ way to recover and if you don’t feel okay at the moment, that is fine; just remember to take care of yourself and time will take care of the rest.

4. Practice Making Choices

One of the lasting effects for many people who have gone through domestic abuse is difficulty making decisions. Domestic abusers tend to control their victims by taking away their independence and stopping them from making their own decisions. Often, they will combine this with gaslighting to convince the abused person that they make bad choices and cannot be trusted or allowed to think independently.

Once you have left that abusive relationship, it can be very difficult to shake that mindset and feel confident about your own choices. You may feel paralysed, panicky or uncertain when faced with more than one option. You may also rely heavily on family or friends to help you make decisions.

However, one part of recovery is learning to make your own choices again so you can retake control of your life. Start by making small conscious choices, such as deciding what you want to wear, watch on tv, or eat for dinner. Move on to bigger decisions – decide where you and your family go out for dinner, go shopping alone and splash out on a new outfit, or choose your children’s birthday presents by yourself. Eventually, you can work up to the biggest decisions, such as managing your own finances or renting or buying a new home.

5. Rebuild your Support Network

friends



Some people who experience abuse are often forced or coerced into isolating themselves from their friends and family. Now you’re out of the abusive situation, your support network is more vital than ever to provide emotional support and help you get back on your feet.

Although it’s normal to feel anxious about reaching out, it’s highly unlikely that your loved ones will be angry or disappointed with you, as you might think. They are more likely to be relieved and thrilled that you have returned to them.

Making new acquaintances and friends is also a great way to help you become more confident in social situations. Chat to your neighbours or join a class. You don’t have to open up too much or get too close to new people if it makes you uncomfortable; just some casual socialisation could do wonders for your mental health.

6. Take Part in your Community

This is a great tip if you’re not ready to return to work. When you feel up to it, think about involving yourself in your local community, for example, you could:

  • Volunteer in a charity shop
  • Volunteer for a local charity, such as working at a community centre or being a friend to an elderly person
  • Join a community garden club

Not only are these great social activities, taking part in your community can help build your confidence, and give you the chance to help others. It’ll also look great on your CV for when you do decide to return to the workplace.

7. Explore New Hobbies

When you’re in an abusive relationship, it’s very common to lose touch with your hobbies and interests. This is because the abuser often forbids certain activities, or they will belittle their partner’s interests and make them feel like they’re not worth doing. It is also common for people in abusive relationships to have mental health issues such as depression, which can cause them to lose interest in things they previously enjoyed.

Whatever reason you have for losing touch with your hobbies, now is the perfect time to start them back up and explore some new ones. Whether you want to try knitting, running, reading or gaming, choosing to do things that interest you is a great way to take back control of your life and reconnect with yourself.

8. Build Healthy Habits

Concentrating on eating healthily and exercising is great for building routine and encouraging your body and mind’s recovery. Practising mindfulness and relaxation techniques can also be helpful at relieving stress and helping you cope with the aftereffects of escaping an abusive situation.

9. Let Yourself Have Bad Days

Some days, you’ll probably feel like you have all the motivation in the world to socialise, work and take part in your hobbies. Other days, you may want to do nothing but stay at home and not see anyone. This will no doubt be a highly emotional time, so this is all completely normal.

The important thing to remember is to try not to feel guilty or bad about yourself for feeling this way. Just take some self-care time to wherever possible and remember that tomorrow is another day.

10. Make Sure You Get Help

When you are ready to leave an abusive person, it is absolutely vital to take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your children. If you’re worried about the abusive person approaching you or threatening your safety, you should contact a domestic violence organisation for help. Some free helplines for confidential advice include:

The National Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Galop, for LGBTQ people – 0800 999 5428
Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327
In an emergency, call 999

A domestic violence solicitor should also be contacted to take out an injunction or non-molestation order to stop the abuser from coming near you. They can also provide advice about getting an occupation order, which can force the abuser to leave your home even if you live there together. If the abuser breaches either type of order, you can call the police to get them arrested.

Are you Currently Experiencing Domestic Abuse?

As I’ve covered, recovering from domestic abuse and moving on with your life takes time. So, more than anything, remember to take care of yourself and try not to rush anything.

Ensure your protections are in place, seek professional help, dive into your hobbies, build healthy habits, and reconnect with your friends and family. Eventually, you’ll look back on this time from a place of peace and contentment, and marvel out how far you’ve come.

White Wine Review - Malvirà Treuve 2015 Langhe DOC From Independent Wine

Recently Independent Wine got in touch with me and asked if I wanted to review some of their premium Italian Wine. I mean who could resist a request like that, so of course, I said yes. This is an ad in conjunction with Independent Wine but as ever all words and opinions are my own.

Who are Independent Wine? Independent Wine are a company that live and breathe premium Italian Wine. They handpick the best wine from Italy taking into account superior flavour and quality and bring these to their valued customers in the UK. Working directly with the vineyards and wineries means their wines are competitively priced for the exceptionally high standard.

Being experts in wine, they also have a great online wine knowledge base, so if you don't know your Chianti from your Barbaresco or your Chardonnay from your Pinot Noir, then all the information is there. Great when you want to try something different or if you are not sure which wine to choose to go with dinner. 

Malvirà Treuve 2015 Langhe DOC, Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Arneis

bianco

The white wine they sent to me was the Malvirà Treuve 2015 Langhe DOC. This wine is a blend of Chardonnay, Sauvignon, and Arneis grapes. Each variety of grape is fermented separately in oak, then blended and matured in oak for another 12 months. 

wine label

Finally, the wine is aged for 12 months in the bottle. 

Marcus with a glass of wine

So I roped in Mr W for the wine tasting. On smelling the wine we smelt freshness from lemon aromas and some richness from honey. The wine smelt refreshing and citrusy. 

white wine

The colour of the wine was a light straw colour. On tasting the wine I picked up the acidity on the front of the tongue, and yet although medium in strength (12.5 %) it was not strong and distinctive on flavour like Chardonnay wines can be.  Personally, we both thought it was a wine that would go well with seafood and white meat without overpowering the food. A good wine to have with roast chicken perhaps. 

All about the producer Malvirà

Malvirà is a very influential producer in Roero in the Piemonte area of Italy. They are very innovative in their outlook as their
winery is organic certified and carbon-neutral, constructed deep underground with geothermal heating and cooling systems.

Malvira bianco

Conclusion

We liked the wine, it was pleasant in flavour with a medium to high acidity. Priced at £19.95 it is at a pretty high-end price point for a white wine. Would I buy it? If it was on special offer yes, however, we preferred the Gagliole Valletta red wine from Independent Wine we tried previously. Of course, we all like different wine and prefer different wine on certain occasions. I definitely think that Independent Wine is a great site to browse if you are looking for Italian premium wines that you can't get on your high street. 

Let me know, would you drink this wine? What is your favourite style of white wine?

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Top Tips for Helping Your Child With Maths

Maths is a crucial element of the school curriculum and a subject your child has no choice but to study until the end of the GCSEs. Unfortunately, this doesn’t come as good news to many children, as it can be quite a tricky subject to grasp, especially for those who are more artistic or literary inclined. With that said, you might have to find ways to help your child see maths in a more positive light and become more familiar with basic equations. Here are some tips from an independent school in London. This is an ad




Helping your child with maths does not mean you need to be a maths genius yourself. In fact, taking over It’s more about helping them to become more confident and equipped to deal with problem solving. Set your child achievable goals on a regular basis and praise them when these goals are reached, to allow them to feel that they can do anything they set their mind to.

When it comes to maths homework, it might help your child if they have a study buddy to sit with so that they can help each other with the more challenging questions. You could also contact your child’s teachers and ask for some recommendations on age-appropriate learning resources, like online games, that can help them with their overall comprehension.



It’s also important to help your child feel more comfortable with numbers and simple sums. If your child is young, there are lots of nursery rhymes that can help them with their counting skills, such as “Ten Green Bottles”. For older children, you could take them along next time you go grocery shopping and ask them to calculate how much the cost will be when you reach the till. You could also ask them to help you with the cooking, as this will involve measuring ingredients and calculating oven times.

There are also lots of board games that involve addition, subtraction and multiplication, such as Monopoly for example. These sorts of activities will show your child how prevalent maths is in everyday life and that it can actually be quite fun. This will help them feel less intimidated by maths in their lessons.

These are some tips, do you have any ideas how to help children with maths?

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Why Opals Are Supremely Beautiful And Cherished

Gemstones are great for fine jewellery because of how their beauty and their uniqueness, and giving jewellery with a birthstone is a special gift, but what is a birthstone? A birthstone is basically a gemstone that represents one of the 12 months, specifically the birth month of the wearer.

The Opal birthstone is one of the most cherished stones signifying the month of October. Opal is meant to bring its wearer confidence and hope, making it the perfect gift to those born in this month.

The opal stone is the perfect stone to capture the desires and wants of the wearer and reminds them of the future they want to aspire towards. These stones come in a vast range of colours and have intricately subtle patterns that make each piece unique to its wearer.

The stone is a mineral that is formed by the process of natural, gradual heating of silica gel found in the cracks between rocks. It is commonly found in two varieties, common opal, and precious opal, based on its ability to produce a colour play effect under white light.

History of opals



The word ‘opal’ has origins that are unknown. Many argue that the word originates from the Latin word, ‘Opalus” which was recorded in 250BC. Others say that it’s roots stem from Ancient Greek compounds called Opallios, which loosely translates to “a change in colour”. Some suggest that Upala, the Sanskrit word for precious stone, is the original root of the word Opal.

Opal birthstones often display captivating varieties of colours for which it is called the Queen of Gems.  

The stone signifies loyalty, faithfulness, hope, confidence, braveness, and purity. It is said to be blessed with many beneficial properties that help with vision, both of the eyes and for internal visualization like your dreams and imaginations.

The stone was a rarity in European empires, which made it a highly prized stone. Many claimed that it was a very precious and magical stone that was capable of bringing good fortune to the wearer and earlier legends say it could make the wearer invisible if used right.

Range of colour



The opal is very appealing and popular because of its multicoloured appearance. What really sets this stone apart, however, is the interaction of all its colours and the illuminating flashes it presents under white light.

The presence of these interactions and flashes is what is called 'colour play effect' and is the demarcating factor that sets opals apart from other stones and each other. When the stone presents a rainbow-coloured iridescence while held under light, it is a precious opal and if it doesn’t, it is a common one.

Most opals have one base colour, without regard to them being translucent or opaque. These colours range from yellow to turquoise-like nuances and all the way to milky white. Owing to the specific way it is formed, it’s not uncommon to encounter opals that are completely unique to a single location or region in the world.

One of the most popular examples is the black opal, which comes from the town of Lightning Ridge in Australia. These stones have a dark background, ranging from black to dark blue, and are somewhat opaque, with broad, rainbow-coloured patterns on the surface.

Some common opals became admired for their absence of play-of-colour, typical for precious stones. The mixture of different colours makes these stones subtly attractive, even with the absence of the iridescent glow.

How to maintain Your opal jewellery





The effect created by opals depends majorly on the vivid interplay of colours created by refractions. This is why even minor scratches or grazes can impair the beauty of the stone drastically. When buying an opal piece, you should know that routine maintenance is a must to keep this stone preserved.

Opals have a high concentration of water and are more susceptible to heat and sudden temperature changes. Keeping the stone in a cool and slightly humid environment is the best way to avoid scratches and cracks.

Since they are porous in nature, they shouldn’t be cleaned with detergent or cleaners and instead with water and mild soap for a very short period.

Opal birthstones are beautiful stones that will become a cherished present to anyone born in October. Even common opals are so beautiful that anyone can afford a splendid and unique piece of fine jewellery and adorn themselves with its splendour.

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Win An Edifier MP200 Portable Speaker Ends 1/11

As a traveller, I love portable speakers. They are so useful if you want to play music from your phone, as they connect with Bluetooth and thus you can access your music. Today on my blog I am giving you a chance to win an Edifier MP200 portable speaker, but before that let's look at how great this speaker is.

The Edifier MP200 portable speaker is a compact cubic speaker that you can fit in your hand. The small stature of this speaker makes it easy to add to a backpack or a carry on suitcase without taking up much space.
speaker

This cubic speaker, although small in size is powerful and has great output, brilliant if you just want to move to different rooms in your house, to take in your bag to work or to take with you on your travels. It has no wires and is easy to set up, making it brilliant for any technophobe. It makes a great gift for someone you love or a present for yourself. 

edifier speakers

This cool design comes in a variety of colours from light blue and green to yellow and black. It's also splash-proof, has a microSD card input and USB charging, so easy to charge from a phone or laptop.  It has a three-button control on the top to let you control the sound, and you can quickly change your portable speaker into a speakerphone with the call button. Genius!

It comes with a handy string so you can hang it on a door, or a car rearview mirror. Total portability. 


You can buy the Edifier MP200 from Amazon in the UK and it comes with a two-year warranty for peace of mind. 

With a Bluetooth range of up to 10 metres for wireless connectivity, the Edifier MP200 portable speaker is a great little speaker that packs a punch.

Today on the blog I am giving you a chance to win a light blue Edifier MP200 portable speaker. Entry is easy via the Gleam app below, and once you are registered all it takes is a click on a button to enter. You can enter daily too so bookmark this page to come back every day. 

Good luck!

Win an Edifier MP200 Portable Speaker

From Lacklustre To Luxury: 6 Ways To Transform Your Garden

Your garden and outdoor space could either be an elegant paradise or a pile of incomplete jobs. If your case is that latter, then why not try to create a delightful luxurious feel instead. Nothing is as disappointing as an overgrown garden hedge, or a garden fence looking anything but elegant because of worn-out paint. At that point, breathing new life into your garden is no longer a luxury but a necessity. Fortunately, there are countless ways to improve your outdoor space without a professional gardener or breaking the bank. Is your garden looking lacklustre and in need of a facelift? Take a look at these six ways that are sure to transform your outdoor space.

Dress your garden with indoor accessories

sofa garden

What if you could avoid doubling the cost of buying new outdoor home accessories? Instead, dress your deck with alluring textural indoor accessories that can easily be moved in case of bad weather. Doubling up on accessories makes the outside of your home an extension of your chic indoor space. This has been the trend in recent times with reports that 74% of Brits with a garden have opted to double down on accessories since the COVID-19 lockdown as they look to cut down on spending.

Put up solar lights for ambience 

solar lights

Adding fairy lights to your garden will create a pleasurable ambience to your outside space. Garden lights can be put together with a set of solar-powered lights, Kilner jar, and other kitchen staples. Fuelled the entire day by the sun, these little lights will project a pretty gleam over the garden after dark. This is an extraordinary technique that does not cost a great deal by any means. Are you planning a dinner BBQ for friends and family? Or a garden-themed wedding? Then solar garden lights will add that oomph to your ambience.


Install a hot tub

hot tub


Installing a hot tub in your garden can be an exciting idea. While giving your garden that luxurious feel, it provides numerous health benefits such as decreased inflammation, relief from joint pressure, weight loss and much more. H2O Hot Tubs have an easy and convenient plug and play installation that gets your tub up and running with minimal effort. Easy payment options are also available to help you spread costs and ease the financial commitment. Hot tubs are sure to transform any garden at any time of the year.

Get colourful with bedding plants

pansies

A pot of bedding plants like pelargoniums, petunias, nicotiana, and pansies will add colour to your front garden and sprout all through the late spring. These plants are straightforward to grow and maintain. The important thing is to choose the right spot, feed them regularly with the correct plant food, and keep them all watered in the warmth. Clip off any dead blossom heads to keep them looking awesome while preventing them from wasting energy to produce seeds. Do this with the right care and consideration, and they would be stuffed with blossoms until early fall.

Hang baskets filled with flowers

hanging baskets

Hanging containers are anything but difficult to make, plus they look magnificent. However, for them to survive, you must use dual-purpose manure and feed them consistently with tomato food. For a bright spot, use sun cherishing Surfinias and Bacopa, and for a more obscure corner, you should try Lobelia and Fuchsia. The amount of space available doesn’t matter as hanging these baskets is a practical and straightforward approach to light up your outdoor area. They also work great in welcoming guests to your home when hanging in front of your garden or from a reasonable structure.

Enhance your wall with plants in picture frames

This is straightforward yet immensely compelling; it costs only a couple of pounds yet is a smart method to bring colour to a grey wall. You will require a few frames, paint, chicken wire, succulents and greenery to round them out. A quick scroll on Instagram will reveal various patterns, colours, and design ideas to flaunt your walls. While research has proven that flowers do have a positive impact on your moods, not everyone has the green thumb to preserve them. In case you cannot deal with watering plants every day, go for a simple plant frame picture and hang on your walls. 

You simply can’t go wrong when transforming your garden. From colourful plants to perfect lighting and a swanky hot tub, these tips are sure to add a touch of class and luxury to your space.

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Red Wine Review - Gagliole Valetta 2017 Organic Super Tuscan from Independent Wine

It's funny how your tastes change over time. Years ago I wasn't a wine drinker. In my 20's I preferred a Malibu and pineapple, a peach schnapps, in fact, any alcoholic drinks that aren't particularly sophisticated and were definitely sweet. I still like a cocktail today, but wine is my go-to drink if I am in a bar or restaurant, although I prefer dry white wines and smooth reds these days.  So when Independent Wine got in touch to ask if I wanted to review Italian wine, it was an easy yes. This is an ad in conjunction with Independent Wine.

Who are Independent Wine?

Independent Wine are a company passionate about premium Italian Wine. Working directly with Italian wineries they handpick the best wine for their customers at competitive prices, taking into account, high quality, superior taste and industry awards. They also have an excellent wine knowledge base online, so if you don't know your Chianti from your Barolo, your Barbaresco from your Chardonnay all the information is there helping you choose the perfect wine to go with your flavour palette and your food choices.


Gagliole Valetta 2017 organic wine


The wine they sent me was the Gagliole Valetta 2017 organic wine. This 'Super Tuscan' wine is a blend of Merlot and Sangiovese from an ancient terraced vineyard in Panzano, Chianti Classico. People have been producing wine here since the medieval era. In this centuries-old terraced vineyard, the Sangiovese vines and olive trees are planted according to ancient tradition. 
This Gagliole Valetta organic wine is made of 50% Merlot and 50% Sangiovese – Tuscany’s signature red grape. 

Organic wines are created without pesticides in the growing process of the grapes making a naturally produced wine which is kinder for the environment. 

wine lable

So what does the term 'Super Tuscan' mean. If you haven't heard the term 'Super Tuscan' before, it describes some of Tuscany's top wines based on quality, using non-indigenous grapes. These blended wines are now better than ever and can be pricey but are worth it. 

Colour and smell
 
red wine

The colour of the wine is a rich purple and ruby colour and the notes I picked up when smelling the wine were the smell of cherries, blackberries and plums.

Flavour

drinking red wine

The flavour of the wine reminded me of Autumn, with robust berry flavours. The wine is smooth to drink without too much tannin, so you don't have that bitterness in your mouth after. The wine is 14 per cent in strength and I think would be good to serve with red meat and rich casseroles. My husband and I both enjoyed the wine as it was very flavourful and delicious to drink with a soft mouthfeel. 

Why red wine?




Anecdotal evidence suggests organic wine can be easier on your liver and there is a wealth of research that suggests a small amount of red wine every day (under 150 ml) can be good for your heart due to the level of antioxidants. Obviously I am no doctor so don't take that as a health recommendation though! The wine is priced at £28.48 which is quite pricey, partly due to the organic nature of the wine, but if you love red wine I think you will really enjoy it. James Suckling, the internationally renowned wine critic has given the wine 92 points out of 100 which is high praise indeed.

If you want to check out some of the best Italian wines, that you won't get elsewhere, then check out Independent Wine for a wine delivered to your door next day.  Let me know, do you like drinking Italian wine? Is red or white wine your favorite or are you more or a rose wine person?

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The Cost Of Asbestos Removal And Is It Worth It

Asbestos came into use as a building material in the 1930s, but, the health risks were not identified early. By 1999, this substance was outlawed because of the dangers and health risks involved.

Asbestos was and is used primarily for


  • Piping

  • Roofing

  • Cavity wall, boards, and attic insulation

  • Flooring

  • Cement walls

  • Gutters 


This material need not panic anyone as long as it is suitable in condition. The risks arise with damaged, broken, and deteriorated asbestos material. This is because of the fibres that become airborne by releasing into the atmosphere. Through care, proper identification, and proper attention, the risk can be prevented.


Dangers of Asbestos Deposits


asbestos caution

Asbestos fibres are harmful when swallowed or inhaled. The fibres get embedded in tissues and linings. These fibres result in cancers and respiratory illnesses, primarily.

Some of the health risks associated with asbestos are mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer, colon cancer, and breast cancer. Whilst diseases associated with asbestos include pleural plaques and pleural thickening. Also, exposure in any amount to asbestos fibres, short or long term, is risky to health.

Should Asbestos be removed?

Several homes have considerable asbestos amounts within their building. You do not need to bring down the whole house to remove it as long as the asbestos is in a suitable condition. It should not be damaged accidentally as it can pose a health risk. Any damage to asbestos can release harmful dust and result in risking your health. This is why asbestos removal has to be considered, and it's worth your health. You shouldn't wait for any deterioration signs to do so.

Can I do Asbestos removal myself?

It is best to understand that asbestos removal is no DIY program. It is not only against the law but very risky to your health. This is because the fibres are released to the environment instantly, and this can pose a risk not only to you but almost anyone around the region.

A professional only can handle total security by donning safety gear. By hiring a professional, you and your area will be safe and the job is done right.

Costs of Asbestos Removal

Asbestos quantity is the primary aspect when the costs of asbestos removal are calculated. Asbestos removal is measurable per square meter. Job complexity drives the costs involved.

Some primary factors taken under cost consideration are:


  • Amount of removal of asbestos

  • Access difficulty, for instance, asbestos roofing removal costs comparatively more than other jobs.

  • Asbestos condition, for instance, damaged asbestos tends to price more than others.

  • Time is taken for travel also is included in the costs.


A professional can assess the quantity, presence, and dangers associated with the removal process. This phase is a must and the average cost is around 50 pounds plus for a basic material appraisal and 200 pounds plus for an extensive survey.

Asbestos sample removal kits are available with the best companies which offer high-quality kits to deal with asbestos removal.

In the kit is the following


  • Filtered Mask- FFP3: To test and develop against dust and fibres from asbestos. This will shield you from breathing any fibres during sampling.

  • P3-filtered respirator

  • Waste Bag for RED Asbestos- Waste bags are standard and for disposing of the PPE post sampling. The red bag is for waste disposal, and this has to be kept in a clear bag.

  • Antibacterial Wipes- Wipes are meant to dampen the PPE before disposal and to avoid any release of fibre from the device.

  • Waste Bag- CLEAR Asbestos

  • Gloves free of Nitrile Powder- Meant for sampling and avoided any asbestos contamination.

  • 24-hr Lab Test 

  • CAT 5/6 - Coveralls- Coveralls to shield against fibres during asbestos sampling.

  • Instruction manual- Steps to follow for the sampling process.

  • Sampling request form

  • Sampling kit


You can choose any of the options below to get extensive survey information:

room in house


Asbestos Encapsulation

In this step, the protective adhesive is applied to all the asbestos material. It avoids the release of dangerous asbestos fibres and dust. It is estimated to be about 8 (plus) pounds per square meter.

Asbestos Removal

This option is best when encapsulation is not viable. For total asbestos removal, this step is considered and carried out by licensed professionals. Get price quotes. It is estimated to be around 50 (plus) pounds per square meter.

Asbestos removal costs are higher than Asbestos encapsulation. Removal will eliminate the threat-totally and will help you to live in a safer environment. It also raises the home value in the future.

Variables

The costs are affected by different variables such as required resources, location, and project scale.

Re-boarding

Post asbestos material removal, re-boarding may be needed. Finishing the re-boarding and decorating costs may also be considered, but it is optional for each. The estimated costs for basis re-boarding can be around 400 (plus) pounds.

Keeping all the above aspects, the average asbestos removal prices can be evaluated.

Average costs


  • Small areas will be lower than 1000 pounds overall.

  • For more significant areas, the price can go up to over 2500 pounds.


Costs involved in eliminating asbestos in garage sections


asbestos sign

The garage asbestos removal costs shall be seen by breaking it down by sections and size. The price quoted below is the starting price.


  • The cost of asbestos removal of the garage roof is about 380 pounds and with sides is about 680 pounds.

  • The cost of asbestos removal of double garage roofing is about 750 pounds, and with sides, it is about 1800 pounds.

  • The cost of asbestos removal of garage insulation boards for a ceiling is about 1350 pounds.


Is it worth it?

Though the costs may be appearing alarming to you, it is essential to remember that health is wealth. The investment is worth it when compared to the long-term risks involved to you and your family.

Conclusion

Owing to the health hazards associated with asbestos, its removal becomes necessary in the construction. Asbestos removal has to be done correctly to ensure there's no release of its fibres into the environment. An asbestos sampling kit will help you to detect the presence of asbestos in the construction. A professional can do this job appropriately without any harm done to the people in and around the area.


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