Should You Get A Portable Air Conditioner This Summer?

According to a Which? survey conducted in 2019, only 8% of responders owned an air conditioner of some form in the UK. There are many UK residents that struggle to see the value in a Portable Air Conditioner given the UK climate only really has a handful of hot summer days compared to our continental neighbours. These days though, a Portable Air Conditioner can provide further use beyond just keeping you cool in the summer. Here are some things you might not know.

Portable Air Conditioners keep you cool

air conditioner



This is obvious really. Portable ACs draw in warm moist air in the room, move that air around a condenser inside the unit and then pushes dry, cool air out through a high powered fan back into the room whilst pushing the hot air out the window through a hose. On those hot, uncomfortable summer nights when the temperature increases leaving the home feeling muggy, you could really benefit from a Portable Air Conditioner to cool down your room.

Some units also provide heating!

Many UK households have an oil-filled radiator or space heater to warm the home when it gets cold in the winter but these are often underpowered for larger rooms and rather unsightly. If you could repurpose a stylish looking Portable Air Conditioner, such as this 10,000 BTU unit from Devola (https://www.airconcentre.co.uk/products/devola-10000-btu-portable-air-conditioning-unit-cooling-heating-dvac10chw), in the winter to warm even the largest rooms in your home and take advantage of their high powered fans you would see an instant benefit.

They can also help dry your washing and help reduce damp

The majority of portable ac units on the market are called “3-in-1”. This means you can run the unit in one of three modes: Cooling, Fan only or Dehumidifier mode. As I mentioned, portable air conditioners take warm, moist air in and push out cool & dry air when in cooling mode. When in standard dehumidification mode, the returned air is just not cooled. If you were to take your washing out of the washing machine and put it on a clothes horse you can point your AC at the washing, put it in dehumidify or dry mode to effectively dry your washing all year round. This is a clear benefit to those of you who don’t want to run a loud, energy-hungry tumble dryer in the colder & wetter months whilst still being able to quickly and effectively dry your laundry.

Dehumidifiers are also amazing products for removing damp from the home. Mould forms in humid climates so reducing the moisture level in the air stops the spread of mould effectively. This is beneficial to people who want to protect their homes from damp and also benefits people who suffer from damp related asthma.

Can I really use one all year round?

Yes, you can! Selected portable air conditioners can keep you cool in the summer, warm in the winter and help to reduce damp and dry your laundry all year round!

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Tips To Help You Select The Best Engagement Ring

An engagement is an exciting and important event however buying the ring and preparing for the proposal can be nerve-wracking. The ring can be a considerable expense therefore it is vital you get it right for your loved one.

engagement ring


The following are some tips to help you select an engagement ring and make it a perfect proposal:

Figure out the ring size

It is important that the ring fits properly. It should slide on easily and must also possess a little resistance making it certain that it does not come off at the time it is worn. When couples shop together then it is not tough to get the right size. However, if you want the proposal to be a surprise then you need to be a little more secretive.

A ring size chart is helpful here. You will have to measure the finger of the person you want to give it to and get the one that is the correct size. An idea is to find a ring in her jewellery box that she wears on the same figure on her other hand.  There may be a slight difference in the size though. Or buy a ring with a plain shank on the back so it can be resized later. 

According to where you want to buy the ring there are many engagement ring London stores and as well as stores nationwide where you can pop in and have her ring size measured.

Select the ring setting style

A ring’s setting is the surround of the precious stone . It is part of a ring's personality. The setting must reflect her personal style. Would she prefer something chic and simple in style or does she like sparkle? A simple solitaire in a plain shank would be good for the former and a diamond set band for the latter could work well. Does she like antique rings or a vintage style? All these considerations will help you when you choose an engagement ring.

Choose the ring’s precious metals

The setting can be composed of different metal types as well as colours. The ring’s metal adds to the personality of its design. It can also enhance the appearance of the gems that it is supporting. The following are popular choices when it comes to engagement rings:

  • Platinum- This is the sturdiest jewellery metal and will hold a diamond securely. It is rarer than gold so is more costly also. It is hypoallergenic as well. 
  • 18 carat gold - Gold tends to the most popular precious metal for engagement rings. Pure 24 carat is too soft for daily wear, 18 carat is better for an engagement ring. It is softer in comparison to platinum but more affordable too.
  • 14 carat gold- This is cheaper than 18 carat and popular in the US.
  • 9 carat gold- This is often used in the UK and is the cheapest precious metal to buy, although if you are on a tight budget you can get silver engagement rings.

Different alloy mixes create various colours of gold. The most popular precious metal colours for engagement rings tend to be yellow, white and rose gold.

It is important to choose the best engagement ring UK as this is a precious ring and the memories of it will stay forever. Look at the options available and do your research before choosing one.

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Is Smart Lighting Worth It?

Smart lighting has come a long way in recent years. It’s now easier than ever to get your home lighting set up and customisable without the need for an electrician or difficult to set up home hubs. Smart Lighting brands such as 4Lite Wiz Connected (https://www.ledbulbs.co.uk/collections/4lite) have all of the “smart” technology contained within the lamp itself making them as close to plug-and-play as smart lighting can get.

Why 4Lite?


If you’re looking to add smart lighting to any or every room of your home then you can manage them all from your existing devices without the need for a hub. They’re all retrofit, meaning they can be added to your existing light fittings. Put them into pairing mode (you’ll need to read the documentation that comes with the lamp to find out what to do with the specific lamp you purchase) and they’ll appear in Google Home or SmartLife apps instantly.

From there, you can set lighting modes for specific lamps or add them into groups to light entire rooms with the click of a button.

Once they’re added to your smart home app of choice you’ll be able to link them up to your voice assistant. Whether it’s Google Assistant or your Amazon Alexa, the set-up is simple and allows for intuitive control without the need for your phone.

Is it expensive?

LED Lighting in general used to mean a large price tag. As technology has improved and competition within the market has flourished, prices are becoming lower and lower all the time. Whilst the initial cost of the LED bulb is larger than traditional halogen or CFL bulbs, the price over the lifetime of the bulb is much lower. LED bulbs are thousands of times longer lasting than their antiquated contemporaries meaning you’ll need to replace them less often.

You also don’t get the same feature set with halogen or CFL that is available on LED bulbs. When you add their longer lifespan, the ability to change the colour with a touch of a button & smart control together, they end up being incredibly well priced.

Find the perfect range of smart LED Lighting from 4Lite now at LEDBulbs.co.uk.

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Do You Wish To Save Money And Still Make Wiser Choices? Here Are Some Smart Ways To Do So

 




With every New Year's resolution, many of us aim to cut our spendings. However, every year we often end up giving up this resolution. Being able to filter out your needs and wants and applying the smart ways to shop is actually a skill that could help many of us.

Here are some simple steps that can single-handedly help us curb spending and make wiser choices with money.

Make a list and check it twice


Not jotting down what you need beforehand is the biggest mistake to make. Whether you are out for groceries or shopping for some clothes, it's always sensible to make a list of what you need. This will help you save time, save energy and save money! The rule here is to follow a checklist you've made before your shop, ticking off what you get as you go. This shopping list technique always works as it will discourage you from window shopping, and help you stay focused. .For example, if you want to buy trainers, you will only visit the Nike outlet , collect the specific one and leave the store, saving you from moving from aisle to aisle and stopping you from picking up things at random, which ultimately leads to impulsive buying.

Keep an eye out for sales and promotions
sales

Sales and discount offers are a great way to spend your money wisely. This will not only save you money but will let you buy quality branded clothes at a bargain price. Therefore, always buy all brands on Supersales. Many chain stores with genuine products arrange annual or occasional sales. Sales on Black Friday, Boxing Day, and New Year sales are all worth checking out. are worth. Why not make a note in your calendar for when the sales are likely to be on. By doing this you will be able to save in advance for the sales too. Additionally, promotional deals on grocery items can also save you some money. All you need to do is to be aware of these deals, either by SMS alerts, email subscriptions, or online notifications. The supermarket apps are good for highlighting deals like 2 for 1s or round pound deals.


Collect and use coupons 
Another money-saving move is to use discount coupons. Signing up for loyalty cards is a good idea to earn discounts. Moreover, you can get discounts on grocery products by collecting coupons from magazines or print them from online websites. You can even get your shop for free!

Only take the cash you need
This is another important way to prevent yourself from impulsive shopping. Using a contactless card is super convenient but leads to impulse buys. So only take the amount of money you need when you go shopping. Who can spend money which you don't have with you?

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How To Buy The Right Glasses Frames

If you need some new spectacles or are buying glasses for the first time there are many things you need to take into consideration.  In this post, I will be looking at how to buy the right glasses for you, and what to take into account.  This post is an advertorial, all opinions are however my own.

Strength

glasses
Before you buy a pair of glasses it's important to know about the strength of your lenses. If you are very short-sighted for example your lenses may be quite thick. This will have an impact on the frames you buy. A thin metal frame may not be able to hold a thick lens or the thickness will show more. You could pay for extra thin lenses if this is the case, but it’s something you have to bear in mind and is an added cost.

If you need reading glasses you may go for a varifocal pair too.

Face shape

Your face shape can affect which glasses you buy. A frame shape can flatter your face shape, and here are some suggestions below, obviously these are just suggestions, so go with what you like! 

Oval shape - suits many shapes of glasses, square or round are good.

Square shape - round and oval shapes can soften your look.

Round shape - rectangular frames and wayfarer frames are a great look.

Heart shape - wraparound frames or rounded frames. 

Many websites allow you to upload a photo and try on your glasses virtually. This can be a huge help if you have bad eyesight and won't be able to see well with clear lenses in store. Buying glasses online like this is convenient too.

Material 

There are many materials you can choose from. The more traditional materials are plastic, metal and acetate. A new breed of glasses is around and today glasses frames can be made of carbon fibre, titanium and aluminium too. Titanium and aluminium are both very strong and corrosive resistant so a good choice if you work outdoors or are rough on your frames. These new materials will have a higher price tag so it's something to think about but there are still plenty of cheap glasses around if your budget is smaller. You may also want to consider rimless frames especially if your lenses are thin.

If you want to find out more about the materials that glasses are made of check out this article here.

Colour and design

Of course, the colour and design play a big part in why you choose a glasses frame. You may want to consider your skin tone and how this suits the colour or the glasses frame. I like warm browns as this suits my skin colouring. 

Some frames have a subtle or more obvious design, such as tortoiseshell colouring, brand logo e.g. Gucci,  Swarvoski crystals, or a very obviously bright colour. The frame choice can be harmonious or make more of a statement. 

As you can see there are a number of things to consider when buying the right glasses frames. Although this is a simple guide I think at the end of the day choose what you like, and what you can afford as that's the most important thing.

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How Much Data Do Companies Really Hold On You?

Do you know what data companies hold on you? Do you know how much, and do you care? Data protection is something we should all care about, but it is something many people turn a blind eye to.

So many of us will visit a new website or app and click accept on a pop-up, often without actually reading it, but do you know exactly what you are granting access to?

Rightly have launched a campaign, helping people to identify exactly what data certain companies may or do hold on us all. This post is an advertorial conjunction with them, all opinions are my own.

What Data Do Some Brands Hold?

social media

Would you believe that ASOS hold many different details on you? As well as the usual name and email that you would probably expect, they also hold information on your gender, age, addresses, phone numbers, social profiles and marketing preferences. Amazon and eBay on the other hand do not hold quite as much but still hold a handful of these details.

We all know that online retailers use basic data to help them with their advertising, but I am sure you didn’t know that they will sometimes harvest data from other sources such as your social media profiles to help them get a better picture of the person you are and your interests?

Following on from that, social media platforms tend to hold the most data on you and it would actually probably be easier to list the data they do not hold on you. Another type of site that holds a lot of data on its users are gambling sites – it's expected they will collect a little more personal data during the onboarding process due to gambling laws and age restrictions, but it is quite shocking just how much data they do hold on you.

If you are interested in finding out what data different companies hold on you, then you can check out Rightly’s campaign, which explains all about your personal data and what companies hold on you.

Should You Consider a Data Detox?

data


Much like a spring clean, you should be clearing out your data regularly too. With the strengthened GDPR rules in place since 2017, we possess the power and can ask companies what personal data they hold on us and what they use it for. If we are unhappy with what they are using it for or even if we simply no longer want them to hold it, we can ask them to delete it.

A data detox is definitely a positive thing. With a data detox, we can ensure you aren’t constantly bombarded with unsuitable advertising or contact from companies. Rightly can help you by communicating with over 10,000 companies on your behalf for free to see which brands have information on you and they can then help you to update it or delete it once it has been obtained.

Let them know what you think about data protection right now and if you’d consider a data detox of your own, using the hashtag #MappingMyData on social media.

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Don’t Go On Holiday This Summer Without Packing These Essentials

We have been through a particularly hard year and more, and we have also been through a particularly cold and rainy spring, but summer is finally nearly here with rolled back restrictions and (we’re hoping) some glorious sunshine.

If you are packing up your suitcases and heading for a holiday this summer, then you are going to want to make sure that you have all your bases covered so that it all goes as smoothly as possible. Here are a few essentials that everyone planning a summer break in the UK shouldn’t be without.

Don’t Forget Your Reusable Water Containers

water bottle


Even though restrictions are lifting, it is important to remember that we should all be doing our best to minimise unnecessary contact and that means that we should all try to avoid going in and out of shops where we can. Reusable water containers are a great way to save on money, they’re a great way to keep you from going in and out of newsagents and supermarkets every hour or two, and they are a much better choice for the environment.

Don’t Forget Your Masks And Hand Sanitiser

As mentioned, some things have changed but we still need to make sure we are wearing our facemasks when we go indoors, and that we are washing our hands regularly. Packing extra supplies of masks and hand gel doesn’t exactly scream “summer holiday”, but it’s so important and it will give you that extra peace of mind for you and your family.

Don’t Forget To Take A Good Book

One of the most appealing things about taking a holiday is, perhaps surprisingly, the idea of spending a few days away from our screens. Whether it’s peering at the laptop as you work from home or feeling your eyes glaze over as the next episode cues up on Netflix, we’ve all had more than our fair share of blue light in the last year or so.

A holiday is a great opportunity to dive into a good book. Whether you’re finally getting round to starting a classic, diving into a brand new thriller, or reading a children’s book with your little one, we all love a good read. Check out these book deals to find great bargains on an amazing range of titles. Fresh Deals works with WH Smith, Amazon and other sites to find the best offers for you.

Don’t Forget To Prepare For The British Weather

rain

Even though we are all hoping for a bit of sunshine, most of us know that if you book a holiday in the UK, you need to pack for all four seasons. May has definitely reminded us of that important lesson. So, be sure to take your sunglasses and suncream, but you should also make room for that big jumper and your waterproof coat.  Remember, if you take the cold weather clothes with you, then you probably won’t need them!

Finally, Don’t Forget Your Phone Charger

How many times have you gone on holiday without your phone charger? Seriously, double-check it now and save yourself the hassle of buying a new one when you’re trying to relax!

So these are my packing essentials for a summer holiday. Do you have any packing essentials especially for a holiday in the UK?

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Why It Is Not Too Late To Get Clear Aligners

During the past year, many of us spent a significant portion of our time communicating with loved ones and work colleagues on video calls. Whilst the pandemic certainly had an impact on many industries, one sector that had an unlikely boom was cosmetic dentistry.

The cosmetic dentistry industry saw an increase in the number of individuals interested in undergoing some form of dental treatment. Having spent hours on video calls, many began to notice aspects from themselves from the shoulders that they would like to alter. The most common change was their teeth. Although many would assume that as an adult it is too late to have your teeth straightened. This is not the case, as many adults are eligible for treatments such as clear aligners. In undergoing the treatment, you can help to increase your confidence and achieve a perfect smile.

If you are on the fence about whether to have clear aligners, here are just some benefits and things to consider that may help with your decision.

Speak With Your Dentist

smile


The best way to check that you are eligible for clear aligners is by speaking with your dentist. Dental clinics, such as Argo Dental, will go into great detail about whether having a clear aligner will work for you and if your teeth are healthy enough to undergo the treatment. In addition to this, if you are eligible, then they can walk you through what to expect if you decide to go ahead and have clear aligners.

Benefits Of Clear Aligners For Adults

After deciding to have clear aligners, you have opened the door to welcome any of the benefits that can be included. The main benefit of clear aligners is that they are practically invisible. As the name suggests, clear aligners are incredibly difficult to notice when you are wearing them. It is this discreet nature why many adults choose them over traditional braces. Since wearing braces can have an impact on a person’s self-confidence, clear aligners help to combat the issue of being self-conscious.

Improve Your Overall Oral Healthcare

When wearing braces or clear aligners, how you brush your teeth and maintain the changes. You become more conscious about ensuring that you have properly brushed your teeth, even increasing the total of times to three instead of two. As such, how you care for your teeth whilst wearing a clear aligner significantly improves.

Potentially Save You Money

Although the cost of having clear aligners may seem like an investment, having straight teeth could potentially save you money in the long run. This is because, various benefits come with having straight teeth, which include reducing the need for fillings or toot wear treatments in the future.

See What’s Available

One of the main reasons why clear aligners are the most popular alternative brace choice is their invisibility. Additional benefits of having clear aligners are that they are less obtrusive and painful compared to other traditional forms of braces.

However, there are other ways to achieve straighter teeth such as braces or Invisalign. The only issue is that clear aligners are often the most affordable choice that also requires less maintenance than traditional braces.

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5 Ways To Create A Beautiful Boho Bedroom

Boho style may be all over Instagram these days, but it’s more than just a fashion trend – it’s a culture with its own history and way of life. Effortless, laid-back fashion mixes with creative, artistic elements to shape a much-loved style that influences people all around the world. And what better place than your bedroom to introduce this relaxed approach into your life? Let’s look at how you can bring a bit of boho into your home. It’s easy if you know how.

What is “Boho”?

Firstly, it’s helpful to be clued up on the history of this diverse culture. Bohemian design originated in early nineteenth century Paris after the French Revolution when many artists and creatives were driven into poverty and forced to wear old, worn out clothing. The pursuit of wealth was put to the side in favour of leading a creative life with alternative ideals of beauty and fashion.

Today, eclectic and diverse style is at the heart of bohemian design, incorporating many different philosophies and ways of life. By introducing this into your bedroom, you’ll create a welcoming, characterful, calming space.

Start neutral


When designing your boho bedroom, start neutral. Keep your walls and bedding muted and go for a similarly subtle vibe with your wardrobes. You can build on these with a host of beautiful, eclectic, interesting accessories and soft furnishings.

Add statement pieces


A few statement pieces will add interest to your space. Wooden furniture is a must, so think carefully about your bed – rope and rattan headboards are a perfect addition to a boho bedroom. Consider investing in a standout chair, bench seat or footstool for added character and depth. Importantly, look for vintage or second-hand pieces for an authentic boho feel.

Display your knick-knacks

Bohemian design is all about embracing different cultures, so if you’re lucky enough to have travelled, put your souvenirs on display. Textiles, sculptures, paintings – anything from Moroccan lanterns to Indian tribal prints – will all help to foster individuality and achieve a global aesthetic.

Consider your colour scheme


Be brave with colour and pattern. The boho palette is all about earthy tones and jewel tones – think browns and greens, jewel colours and metallics. Mix these colours with a range of patterns. Consider florals, paisleys, tribal prints and geometric patterns. Don’t be afraid to go bold and don’t consider whether things “go” together. Think outside the box – boho style is devoid of structure and order.

Accessorise, Accessorise, Accessorise

Finally, accessories will really help bring life to your bedroom. Choose ones that use natural materials such as hemp, wood and rattan. Wall hangings, rugs, cushions, decorative ladders – they’ll all look at home in a boho boudoir. Natural elements are really key. Why not go wild with plants? They’ll help make your home feel colourful and full of life.

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Getting Straighter Teeth: Practical Solutions

Teeth misalignment, unwanted gap and irregular shape is quite common and may seem to be a menace in some cases. However, with the technological advancements in the field of dentistry, you can fix the problem and get a lovely, confident smile.

There's a whole spectrum of inexpensive and efficient teeth straightening methods available for correcting aesthetic concerns as well as fixing biting issues, the gap between your teeth and preventing tooth decay. If you are looking for a few practical solutions for getting straighter teeth, scroll down to learn the different options for the same.

Metal Braces

One of the most popular options to getting straighter teeth is metal braces. They attach separately on each of the teeth and are a budget-friendly yet effective solutions to teeth straightening. While they are mostly used for children, adults are also choosing metal braces for their cost-effectiveness. Recently, they have been made smaller and more comfortable in terms of their framework than ever before. For the treatment, small metal brackets are fixed to the teeth, further connecting them with a thin wire. The wire is changed or adjusted at regular intervals to bring out a gradual alignment of the teeth.

Ceramic Braces

Treating many of the same problems as traditional braces, ceramic braces are also known as 'clear braces'. The fact that they have transparent or tooth-coloured brackets make them less noticeable than traditional braces. In fact, they can also have optional tooth-coloured wires.

Ceramic braces not only work faster than regular ones but are also associated with less discomfort. They are surely a more discreet choice for young adults and cost more than regular braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are custom-made braces that are fixed to the insides of your jaw, instead of the front. The chief purpose of these braces is to straighten your teeth without even getting noticed. In order to make them comfortable and effective, these braces are personalized to suit the specific contours of your teeth. However, getting used to lingual braces can take some time as they are located near the tongue, and may affect your speech and eating more than traditional braces.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are crafted with a special type of plastic and are customized to fit your teeth. Invisalign leads the industry when it comes to clear aligner systems that are removable, small, and plastic. You need to get new aligners every 2-3 weeks and need the help of a dentist to get that done. Each aligner pushes the teeth slightly closer to the perfect shape. Invisalign comes with an easy-to-clean option that makes them very convenient even when you are on the go. Have a look around for an Invisalign Dentist and learn more about how you improve your teeth. You are required to wear the aligners for 22 hours daily, only removing them when you need to eat or drink something other than water. The whole treatment calls for a year to 18 months.

Veneers

Veneers are a great option for those who don't want to go for metal braces due to their unattractive appearance. They are constructed using porcelain shells and the dentist applies them to the surface of your teeth. Veneers conceal the flaws in your teeth while hiding any gaps and holes, as well as improving your smile. They can surely fix minor misalignment but don't work for correcting bite problems and severe misalignment of the teeth.

Whatever option you choose to go for, make sure you consult your dentist first. They will guide you through what teeth-straightening solution suits you best after performing an examination of your teeth.

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Things You Want To Avoid When Selling And Moving Home

Selling your home and moving can be very stressful. You have to get your house ready to sell, sort out a valuation and put it on the market. Then there is the decluttering, the packing and the actual moving. There are so many mistakes you can make. So here are some mistakes you don't want to make when selling and moving home. 

Asking too much

house and key


It's important that your home is realistically priced and there are a number of things you can do to ensure your house is priced correctly for the market. Firstly, check how much similar houses in your street have sold for on sites like Right Move. You can get an idea of how much your home could get and also track house price trends nationally. If you are using an estate agent to put your home on the market, they can help and advise you on the price, taking into account their experience in the area. It's important to price your house realistically to sell your house fast.

Neglecting repairs



People want to pay the lowest price when they are looking for a home to buy. Ensuring your home is looked after and safe is important to get the best price possible price, so don't neglect repairs. Broken tiles, misted double glazing or even peeling wallpaper can give your home a neglected look. If you are on a limited budget get the repairs done that affects safety first. It's never good to neglect any problems with your property anyway.

Not staging your home


Staging your home is a skill that can earn you money. At the very least you should ensure it is spotlessly clean, decluttered and tidy. A lick of paint can make everything look fresh as well, and if you are doing this neutral colours work best. Why not try the well known but clever idea of baking some bread or brewing some coffee, to make your home smell inviting? The trick to staging your home is making it look the very best whilst still making it looked lived in. You can even pay someone to stage your home for you if you have the money.

Moving everything yourself

man with a van

Moving as I said is incredibly stressful and even if you are trying to save money, one thing I would highly recommend is to hire a removal service or even just, as they say, the man and a van. Some of these removal services will help you pack, whilst all will transport your boxes safely to your new home. You don't want to be moving your possessions in the back of a small car that's for sure. The amount of petrol for starters will not make it economical and your nerves will be in shreds by the time you've fully moved!

Not saving enough


When you sell your home you hope it will make you money but selling your home costs money too, so ensure you have a pot of money set aside to sell your home before the process starts. Repairs to your home, paint and wallpaper cost, as well as paying someone to stage your home.  Estate agents fees can be anything from 1 to 3 per cent for example. This is before moving costs. So be sure to have a pot of money saved before you sell your home.

So these are my things you want to avoid when selling and moving your home. Do you have any tips?

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CBD Oil And It's Potential Benefits

In recent years there has been an interest in wellness products to enhance physical and mental health. CBD oil is one such product, but what is CBD oil, is it legal and what are the potential benefits? In this post, I will be examining all of this, and how it could help you.

What is CBD?


CBD stands for cannabidiol, a product made from the hemp plant (or marijuana plant). CBD oil is an oil made from this plant and is one way of consuming CBD. There are other ways of taking CBD including gummies, and soft gel capsules. The best CBD is grown naturally and is free from pesticides, artificial additives and GMOs. CBD oil is taken as drops and a recommended way of taking it is under your tongue.

Is CBD legal?

CBD and CBD oil is legal in the UK however there are license controls in place, and it must be lawfully available for human consumption. This ensures that quality controls are met. Medicinal uses are as prescribed by the doctor for conditions such as epilepsy and you can also take it as a food supplement where you can buy it over the counter, online or in a pharmacy or health store.  

If you are buying CBD oil in the UK it must not contain more than 0.2% THC to be legally sold. Rules will differ in Europe and other countries. It is suitable for most people but CBD products are not recommended for children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

What effect can it have on me?

CBD cannot get you high, it does not have this psychoactive effect although there is evidence that it can relax the mind and body and help pain relief. 
There is ongoing research into this and some of these papers are mentioned below. 

You should look at the concentration of CBD in the product when buying it, most start at 3% and get stronger. If you are new to taking CBD oil then it is advised that you start at the lowest concentration.

Potential benefits of CBD oil

CBD and CBD oil has been shown to help with epilepsy when prescribed at the correct strength by a doctor but there are also a number of conditions that CBD could potentially help. 

CBD oil has had much anecdotal evidence to suggest that i
t helps with anxiety, depression and sleep disorders. A small scale research study in 2019 concluded that CBD can help with anxiety-based disorders and also some effect on sleep. This is one of a number of research articles on anxiety and CBD. If you do have problems sleeping then it's worth trying an over the counter remedy for this.

CBD products could help with pain relief. A 2015 review of 25 studies in chronic pain with over 2400 participants found that 30 per cent found a reduction in pain with cannabinoids. It could therefore help pain relief that is long term and chronic

CBD products could also help with arthritis. There is much anecdotal evidence from the Arthritis Foundation to suggest that it helps with pain due to arthritis and inflammation and research with animals suggests that this is the case but more research is needed in humans to back up the claims.

Research on depression and panic disorder is potentially promising but more is needed. Other research into CBD and its effects on PTSD, acne, dementia and cancer are underway.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a way to manage anxiety, sleep and pain relief then CBD products and CBD oil could be beneficial to you.

This article does not constitute medical advice and is for information only. 
You should talk to your doctor before taking CBD products. 

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Cool Gadgets And Gifts From Wicked Uncle

Buying presents can be hard work. Firstly you have to think, will they like it? Then you have to think, will they have it? When you are looking for gifts that are a bit different it can be really difficult to source something unique especially if you are looking for some cool gadgets and gifts that not everyone has, then welcome to Wicked Uncle. This is a collaboration with Wicked Uncle however all opinions and thoughts are my own. 

Who Are Wicked Uncle?

Wicked Uncle is an online company that have sourced a wide range of fun, unusual and different presents for young ones and those young at heart. Yes, you mum, dad, grandad and grandma and those at the back!

Gifts are organised into categories. You can shop for gifts by age (from birth to 105!) and by categories such as Engineer, Educational, and Brainiac. They seem to pick their games and gadgets well as they have an interesting choice that will appeal to both boys and girls, men and women and they all sound a lot of fun. Let's have a look at my choice of cool gadgets and gifts from Wicked Uncle.

Great for dad



Hydraulic Cyborg Hand DIY Kit £29.95

For the dad who has everything, what about a cyborg's hand? If his favourite film is The Terminator or Blade Runner and he's into building and engineering this cool cyborg hand will be very appreciated. He can have fun using the hydraulic system to pick up objects, shake hands, even giving a thumbs up or down. 
Certainly, it will be a unique Father's Day gift he won't forget in a hurry that's for sure.

For family fun



The House of Riddles Exit Game £13.95

When you think of games you can play as a family you may think of the old classics like Monopoly, Cluedo or even the strategy game Risk but there is a range of new games in town and they are based on escape room games. If you have played an escape room game you may be familiar with the format. You are locked in a themed room with a group of people and you solve the riddles to get out. Of course with a home version like this, no one is locked in but you get an immersive game that the family or a group of friends can complete together. Great for parties I would say!

For cool adventurers

night goggles

Spy X - Night Mission Goggles £19.95

For small kids and big kids too, these Spy X night mission Goggles are great for nighttime adventures. The super cool blue-tinted lenses will enhance the night vision and you can even have directional blue lights on full mode. Easy to fit with stretchy elastic straps these night mission googles are great for a nighttime visit to the fridge that's for sure. With a retractable scope and magnifying lenses too these goggles make a super cool present I think you will agree!

For creative kids

rock painting kit


Rock Painting - Hide & Seek Fun to Share £12.99

If you have creative kids, then check out the Rock Painting kit. Rock Painting has become very popular in lockdown and this kit will give you everything you need to start up this pastime. Containing 6 smooth river rocks, 6 acrylic paints, 2 paintbrushes and a 48 page book of hints and tips to be creative with the rocks. This kit is also well priced and would make a good pocket money treat or gift for others.


As you can see Wicked Uncle has some super cool gadgets and gifts that you won't get anywhere. To buy some brilliant presents check out the fabulous range from Wicked Uncle now. Let me know what you think of the gadgets and gifts on the Wicked Uncle website! Do you have a favourite item?

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How Sleep Is Good For Your Mind, Body nd Soul

Sleep is essential for so many reasons. Not only is it good for our mind, body and soul, but did you know we actually need sleep to survive too?

Let’s face it, we all love to sleep, especially as you get older! But, in today’s busy and hectic world, how many of us can say that we actually get a good 8 hours of quality sleep each night? I imagine it’s not many! We often underestimate the power of a good night's sleep and how essential it is for us to be able to function properly.

Why do we need sleep?

sleeping child

Sleep is still such an anomaly and continues to baffle those who study it. There’s still no one explanation for why we need sleep, but there are a number of theories out there.

Emotional and physical wellbeing

When we head off to sleep we allow our emotional and physical state to begin to recover. Our emotions can reset, just like our body. Rest is one of the best things we can give ourselves, especially if we have demanding or challenging jobs.

Reduces stress

if you’ve ever felt like doing nothing and just sleeping when you’re stressed, there’s a good reason why. When your head hits the pillow and you drift off, your brain calms down and this can help to reduce stress.

What happens while we sleep?


So many important biological processes happen when we sleep, which is one of the reasons why it’s so important. When we doze off our brain stores new information and gets rid of any toxic waste. Not only that but our nerve cells communicate and reorganise ready for the next day, helping to support healthy brain functions.

While we’re busy dreaming away, our body is keeping busy repairing cells, restoring energy and releasing those all-important hormones and proteins. So, it’s safe to say that sleep is pretty darn important! All of these processes are vital for our health and without them, our bodies simply won’t function properly.

The next time you’re thinking of pulling an all-nighter, remember all of this!

How to improve your sleep

If you’re struggling to sleep, there are a number of ways you can give yourself the best chance for a good night. Why not give meditation a try before bed. There are a number of apps out there with guided meditation available, so if you’re unsure how to go about it, there’s help available.

You could also try exercising during the day too as this will use up your energy stores to help you sleep better through the night. Alternatively, if exercise isn’t for you, why not try settling down to a good book? Reading can help to make your brain tired and therefore help you to drift off soundly.

One final tip is to get yourself some good quality ladies nightwear. Having the appropriate styles for summer, winter and the transitional seasons will really help you to sleep much easier.

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How To Give Your Car Some TLC –All From Your Driveway

Take a look out your front window. Your car – how does it look? Is it a gleaming specimen, with a just-waxed sheen and spotless interior or is it covered in mud and dust, and home to old Macdonald’s bags, parking tickets, and other assorted trash?

According to research from Webuyanycar, we spend four years of our lives behind the wheel, so we think it’s worth spending such a huge stretch of time in a clean and well-ordered motor – not one that’ll put our mood (or even safety) at risk. With this in mind, here are some tips on how you can give your car some TLC – from your driveway, in a way that won’t break the bank.

Give it a thorough spring clean

wax car

Start out by grabbing your hoover and leather or fabric cleaner, and giving the car’s interior a good clean and clear-out. Make sure to check all the nooks and crannies and give all the surfaces a good wipe-down so they are sparkling and free of dust.

Once the inside is looking beautiful, time to tackle the exterior. This is important to do. According to research from Comparethemarket reported by Auto Trader, 2 million UK motorists have never washed their car – despite risking a £1,000 fine if the dirt restricts the driver’s view or number plate. Get hold of a hose and thoroughly blast away mud and dust from the exterior, then use a sponge and soapy water to give the car a sparkling wash.

Once that’s complete, wax the bodywork. You can either apply proper car wax or get specialist wax wet wipes that do the same job but require less elbow grease.

Check if your car needs any maintenance


Especially after winter, it’s important to take a little look at your car’s engine, body, and wheels to make sure they’re all looking in fine working order. For the engine, this means consulting your dashboard, then topping up or replacing fluids and oils like engine oil, transmission fluid, and brake fluid.

Next, check if you need to replace your tyres. If they fail the 20p test, then you should get a new set installed stat. If you want to do that yourself, the process isn’t too difficult, however, you’ll need to get a set of axle stands to secure the load of your car after you have used a hydraulic jack to raise it up.

Refurbish the exterior


While we’re starting to enter professional territory now, there are a few things you can do to repair any cosmetic flaws on the exterior of your car. Matching and touching up the paintwork is relatively simple if there are any tiny marks in less obvious areas of the body.

If there are any serious gaps in the paintwork, then it might be a good idea to go to a professional, and the same goes for reupholstering – if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s a task best left to the experts, as a poor DIY job will really show.

Have you recently given your car a much-needed dose of DIY TLC?

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5 Ideas To Make Your Photographs Look Unique

Whether you’re a keen amateur or an experienced professional, as a photographer you’ll undoubtedly want to capture images that are stunning and unique, and also worthy of showing off in high quality photo enlargements.

If you usually snap family and friends and are looking for some inspiration to give your photography style an upgrade, here are 5 excellent ideas to make your photos really stand out…

1. Try A New Photography Genre



One of the easiest ways to give your photo skills a style makeover is to try your hand at a brand new photography genre.

If you’re in the habit of taking portrait shots of friends and family members, step out of your comfort zone and give landscape or wildlife photography a go. Pack up your gear and go and explore the beauty of nature and wildlife in the great outdoors. If you’re a confident photographer of breathtaking panoramas, hone your photography skills by capturing candid moments at weddings and social events.

You can also further explore your favourite photography genre by updating your techniques. As a seasoned portrait photographer, you can upgrade your skill by taking snaps of people who are strangers, or by focusing on babies or elderly individuals. Improve your style by creating unique photos that display attractive images that are full of character.

Challenging how you view the world through your camera lens is a way to create unique images. You can use a new shooting angle to give your favourite photography genre subject matter a fresh visual perspective. Once you’ve taken a selection of snaps, you can also be creative about your cropping and presentation.

2. Recreate Iconic Images



As a photography fan, you probably have an array of iconic images that have made you wonder about how they were captured on film. By trying to recreate a favourite photo, you can learn a great deal about the art of photography and which techniques enhance your own style.

Choose an iconic image or subject, and set up the scenery or props to enable you to recreate the photo. Add your own visual modifications and twists, to ensure that the captured image is totally unique, and doesn’t infringe copyright laws. While you’re learning the same skills that the original photographer used, you’ll also be capturing an image that is uniquely yours.

If you’re proud of the results of your iconic recreation, print photo enlargements of your version of the famous photo, with additional shots taken at the shoot. Frame and display the photos on an accent wall, and enjoy the complimentary comments from your family and friends.

3. Make The Most Of The Changing Seasons



The changing of the seasons offers unlimited opportunities for an avid photographer to try their hand at capturing breathtaking and unique photos. Don’t restrict yourself to taking snaps on sunny days. If you want to build an impressive photography portfolio, take advantage of the opportunity to photograph landscapes and scenery in different weather conditions, and from angles that deliver a refreshingly new point of view.

Each season has its own unique palette of glorious colours that you can show off in stunning photo enlargements. Season themed shoots are also good for developing your favourite photography genre. If you love to capture wildlife in natural habitats, you can explore the migration and behaviours of animals throughout the changing seasons.

4. Create A Photo Series



An alternative way of making your photos look unique can be inspired by the method in which you choose to display your work. Instead of taking tons of snaps and filling up the pages of a photo book in a random fashion, you can create a unique photo series arrangement that tells a story.

You can start a photo-per-day project, to highlight a person, place or object that is visually striking and appealing to you, every day. If you want to challenge yourself, and develop your photographer’s eye, commit to creating a photo series that boasts a single underlying theme. Pick a colour or subject matter, and photograph it in a variety of different ways, and at different times of the days. Focusing on a single colour creates shots that are visually consistent and aesthetically pleasing.

Tell a story through a sequence of images that document growth or destruction. Use your imagination to explore the background of a particular image, so that your collection of photos reveals a story when presented in a personalised photo album.

5. Go Poster Size



There are unlimited photo opportunities available for you to practice your skills, and to capture unique images. Think about your personal interests, passions and hobbies, if you need inspiration for something to photograph.

Use new techniques, different lens and lighting to get out of a photography rut, and to produce uniquely creative, striking and eye-catching images that you’re proud of. Play around with reflections to add depth and structure to your cityscape street life photos. Look out for shadows that add an air of mystery and drama to your portraits. Try out different apertures to enhance subject matter or background focus.

Study the composition of the different elements that you can see through the lens. You may spot a detail that is worth enhancing with photo enlargements. Super-sizing your favourite image to poster dimensions is a great way to ensure that your photography gets noticed.

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Unsure How To Create A Successful Retirement Plan? Follow These 5 Basic Steps

Retirement is one of those things that always seems a long way off, but it gets closer each day. Therefore, the sooner you start planning for your retirement, the better position you’ll be in when you come to retire.

retired woman on bike


However, developing a plan for your post-working life can feel daunting, meaning that many people put off doing it. To help you create a successful retirement plan, follow these five basic steps.

Step 1. Get a Grip of Your Finances

If you are concerned that money could be tight when you retire, you should start immediately to assess your current spending and get a grip on your finances. Cutting back on non-essential expenditure will free up some money to save into your retirement fund. If you need help, try using a budgeting app or other money management tool.

Step 2. Consider Where Your Retirement Income Will Come From

Workplace pension schemes are a common source of retirement income, and you may have more of these than you think. If you’ve moved jobs over your working life, chances are you could have as many pensions as you’ve had employers. Old or misplaced pensions could add up to a significant amount, so you should make every endeavour to locate these. You can identify them yourself using the government’s Pension Tracing Service. Alternatively, you can use a third party to trace them for you, but this service will come at a cost.

While you are on the government website, you should also look at how much State Pension you are likely to receive. Even a full State Pension is unlikely to be sufficient to keep you in the lifestyle you desire for your retirement. However, it is a good top-up for your other sources of retirement income.

You might have other sources of income that you can use in retirement, such as rental property, investments, or other personal pensions. Equity release is another common means of raising capital for retirement, but you may want to seek financial advice before going down this path. Always consider the tax implications of whatever income sources you have for retirement.

Step 3. Be a Bit More Selfish

Supporting your family financially is an admirable quality, and you should congratulate yourself for it. However, saying no sometimes is also not bad, significantly if you are sacrificing your retirement funds to help someone else out. Talk to your family about your retirement plans, and if need be, let them know that financial support might be a little less. Having such conversations early will avoid any disappointment or embarrassment later on.

Step 4. Visualise Your Retirement

Try to create a mental picture of the lifestyle you want in retirement. It is challenging to know exactly how much you’ll need when you retire, so visualising your retirement years will help.

One thing is for sure; you’ll want as much money as possible in your pension pot. However, you cannot be entirely sure how the money invested in your pension scheme will grow. That’s why it’s essential to regularly review your pensions and top them up if needs be.

Step 5. Get Regulated Financial Advice About Your Pension Options

When you reach fifty-five, you now have much more freedom with accessing your pension funds than before. You can now take a 25% tax-free lump sum and various options with what you do with the remainder. You must make the right decisions over your pension, and a regulated financial advisor can guide you through the most suitable options for your situation.

Conclusion

Planning for your retirement is crucial if you are to enjoy your post-working life. Hopefully, these five steps will help guide you along the path to successful retirement planning.

If you are looking at options for your pension or retirement, get in touch with a regulated pensions specialist like Portafina or, view the information at Pension Wise.


Questions To Ask If You’re House Hunting

Before you can make an offer on the house, you need to be absolutely sure it is the home for you. You need to know the property’s renovation and tenancy history and what is included in the price. Figure out your budget and remember to consider the additional costs, such as smaller renovations and tax. Finding the perfect home requires a lot of research and a knack for asking the right questions. Make sure your dream home aligns with your long-term needs too.

Here are a few things you should ask the letting agent and seller before signing the contract.

Why is the seller leaving?



You are well within your rights to ask the seller or letting agent why the home is being vacated. There may be a problem with planning permission, noisy neighbours or a hidden structural issue. Any issues with the property should be disclosed to you so you can find out as much information as possible. Asking this question can also determine whether there is any room for the price to come down a little.

What’s included in the price?

Ask whether the kitchen cabinets, furniture, curtains and blinds come with the house price. The seller might be open to leaving some furniture behind if it doesn’t go with their new home. Remember your initial budget and evaluate whether you can afford to raise it a little for your perfect home. If the home comes with some items, you may be able to save money on buying new ones.

When was the house last renovated?

painting house

It’s important to find out the age of the roof, boiler system and overall property. Ask if you can run a tap to check there is hot water on the property. Property records and listing descriptions offer have small disparities – which can cause you problems further down the line.

Some houses are renovation projects. If you are renovating, you still need to consider the major repairs and structural renovations that you will need to complete. A home’s improvement history can help you avoid mistakes and consider what worked for previous owners.

You should also look into the lifespan of essential appliances included in the property, like air conditioning and water heaters. If you need to replace the property’s gas boiler, see if you can negotiate the price down on the property for the inconvenience.

What are the neighbours like?

Try to find out if there are any ongoing disputes with neighbours on the road. Maybe you can clear the air if you move in or avoid them altogether. It’s always good to have a bit of history on the social layout of the area.

Moving to a new house can be a daunting and exciting time. Remember to research everything thoroughly and watch out for hidden costs.

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How To Cope With Lockdown Easing

It's been a tough time for many of us recently. With the Coronavirus affecting many people's lives, whether you know someone who has had it, have suffered yourself or have worried about getting it, the restrictions on our lives and anxiety around the virus have affected us all.  This is an article in partnership with Age UK. Age UK feels that everyone needs to take things at their own pace with lockdown easing and I strongly agree with them. Let's discuss this further.

Everyone is different 

Firstly I feel that it's important to note that the way lockdown and Coronavirus have affected everyone is different. Working from home has different challenges to working in a public-facing role. If you are retired that has certain challenges too, and if you have health problems or have loved ones with health problems that will affect you differently too. Not everyone is, as they say, in the same boat.  You may feel angry that others are not doing what is advised. People's personal situation and experiences will affect how they see restrictions. Try to see things from others point of view, a little empathy can go a long way. 

Go at your own pace

elderly couple walking

Although lockdown restrictions are easing, go at your own pace. Try not to let anyone pressurise you into moving too fast. If you don't feel ready to meet up indoors with your friends straight away then that's ok. Here I think it's a good idea to work out what exactly you are worried about and look at ways to deal with this. Maybe you are happy to meet up with friends outdoors first or happy to meet up indoors but don't want to hug. Tell your friends and family how your feel, they can't read your mind, and then they will understand. 

Work out your own coping strategies

shopping supermarket

If there are certain situations you know will stress you out work out how to cope with them. Exposing yourself slowly to situations in a step by step approach can help your anxiety. If you are going to the shops and that stresses you out, try and go at quiet times of the day and at quiet days of the week. Make a list and stick to it. Go well prepared with hand sanitiser or sanitising wipes and a mask. If you have to do a big shop use online shopping until you feel more comfortable going out. 

Learn anxiety tips and tricks

dog and owner

Learn some simple breathing techniques to deal with anxiety and help prevent you from panicking. NHS inform gives advice on panic attacks and advises for you to breathe in slowly and deeply for 5 and breath out slowly for 5. Also, it can be helpful to find something to distract you when you feel anxious, this can be anything from playing with pets, adult colouring books, doing crosswords, watching a favourite show, listening to soothing music or playing video games for example. Learning meditation could also help long term.

Exercise

couple walking

There is much research to show that exercise has been shown to help anxiety and depression. The release of feel-good endorphins can really boost your mood. It doesn't have to be an hour in the gym either, walking outdoors in nature has been shown to help anxiety, depression and lethargy. If you are worried about crowds at a local beauty spot, try and find somewhere more remote or go at a quiet time. I can guarantee you will feel better after a walk. Be prepared though, pop a mask in your pocket in case it gets busy.

Work 

work with mask

If you do have to go back to work and especially have to work in a public-facing role, be prepared. Plan how you are going to get there in a way that is least stressful to you. Take a mask, take a hand sanitiser. If you are travelling to work, take your iPod and your favourite relaxing music, or pop on your favourite music in the car. If you can go in one or two days a week at first that may help you slowly getting used to being back at work again. The government has provided guidance on how to keep the workplace safe and you may wish to have a chat with your company to see what measures they are taking to make it safe. 

Talk

A worry shared is a worry halved as they say. Talk to your friends and family about how they feel. Or if you find this difficult maybe you can find a supportive group online with common interests that will listen to your worries. It's also good to keep up to date with the facts about how many people have had the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 and how many people get Coronavirus as there are many untruths out there. Check out these mythbusters on Covid-19 by the World Health Organisation.

I hope these tips will help you cope with lockdown easing.  Be prepared, be informed and take things at your own pace.

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