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?

*AD

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.

*Collaborative post

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?

*Collaborative post

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.

*Collaborative post

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.

*Collaborative post

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.

*Collaborative post

Why You Must Visit The French Quarter When In New Orleans

New Orleans is a city that tourists can't get enough of. From the classic architecture to the incredible entertainment and food, people arrive and realize they never want to leave. Nowhere is that more true than in the French Quarter of the city. Here are the top reasons why you have to stop in this part of town, and why you'll learn to love it, too.

The History

Jackson Square

The French Quarter in New Orleans has one of the fascinating histories in the country. Although not all of its past is a happy one, with warring between people who lived here during the Civil War and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, there's a lot of life to celebrate here.

You can study up on its past through the Historic New Orleans Collection museum and buildings like The Cabildo where we saw a Mardi Gras exhibit and an exhibition about Hurricane Katrina and how it affected the lives of people in New Orleans and the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. 

The Food

beignets

Muffaletta sandwiches and beignets are just the beginning of what you'll find in the french quarter. Endless restaurants offer delicious foods ranging from Creole to Cajun and even fresh spins on southern comfort foods. Every restaurant has secret recipes that make itself stand apart, and every ingredient is chosen specifically to entice and excite restaurant-goers. 


While you're there, some of the best-known restaurants to try are Brennans and Muriels. These eateries are the classics where even locals still eat and rave about. Also, try the Commander's Palace for 25 cent martinis at lunch. We visited a few years ago and enjoyed the cheap martinis, and the food is half decent too!

The Music

Jazz statue

Music clubs may come and go, but the music played in New Orleans lives forever. Although there are classic clubs like the Balcony Music Club and Conservation Hall, you shouldn't be shy about trying unfamiliar names. Acts range from well-known artists to artists who are just starting their journey as a musician. You can find jazz, blues, and rock, but don't just stick to what you know. The French Quarter is here to thrill regardless of genre, so I recommend for you to be open to music you usually wouldn't listen to while you are here.

The People

musician New Orleans

Because cars aren’t welcome in most of the French Quarter, people are more used to having to greet others and be around strangers on the streets. Locals are friendly, creative, and fun people who have been through more storms than any city should have to weather. Their friendliness isn’t conditional, as long as you’re friendly and respectful back to them. 

If you start to fall in love with New Orleans, check out New Orleans houses for sale when you are there, if you fancy moving to this vibrant city with some amazing food and entertainment options.

The Entertainment

Mardi Gras

Music isn't the only way to enjoy what the city has to offer. Permanent exhibits, burlesque, comedy shows and of course the worlds famous Mardi Gras, are some of the things on offer. You might be excited to see a street performer dancing, and twenty feet away, an unrelated band is playing their heart out. Live theatre is fun and exciting, with the world-known Orpheum Theater putting on classics and recent favourites for sold-out audiences. Although it has a history in vaudeville, it doesn't restrain itself to any one genre anymore.


One thing is for certain, all human life is in the French Quarter and when you visit you will have a fabulous time! Let me know, have you been to New Orleans?

Luxury Italian Wine From Independent Wine

A nice bottle of wine is a little luxury many of us enjoy now and again. If you are looking for some delicious Italian wine for Father's Day or any day, to be honest, then Independent Wine is one such company you should look at. This is an advertorial in conjunction with Independent Wine, but, as always, all thoughts are my one.

Who are Independent Wine? Independent Wine are a company that handpicks the best Italian wine for their customers around the world.  Working directly with the vineyards their wine has excellent flavour notes and they are competitively priced too.


Recently Independent Wine sent me two bottles of wine to review and report back to my readers. Let's have a look at what they are. 


Siddùra Spèra 2019 | Vermentino di Gallura DOCG 


The white wine they sent me was the Siddùra Spèra 2019. This is a fresh bright wine with pale to medium light yellow colour.  This wine is from Northern Sardinia and made with Vermentino, Sardinia's signature white grape. These grapes are hand-picked in a vineyard at the foothills of the mountains in the area, gently crushed and then fermented at a very low temperature to preserve the fresh flavours. 


It's a still white wine with 14% alcohol. We thought it had undernotes of lemon, lychee and pears and some decent flavour - no super light Pinot Grigio here, instead, a lovely rounded wine with a scrumptious flavour.




The next wine I was sent was the Feud di Guagnano Pietrafinita. This is a rich red wine with big bold flavours. This wine is only produced in the best years of the winery and comes from the vineyards with vines that have been established 55 to 60 years ago. 

red wine

The grapes are again harvested by hand so as not to crush the grapes and then they are dried in wooden crates for almost a month, which intensifies the flavours. After drying the grapes are carefully pressed and fermented for two weeks, then it is aged in oak for twelve months and allowed to settle for 6 months to develop the flavour.

red wine in glass

This wine has really rich deep red fruit flavours with hints of blackcurrant, blackberries and dates and an alcohol level of 14.5%. This full-bodied wine has a dry mouthfeel, with the flavours of blackberries lingering long after you have finished the glass. A really delicious wine.


If you are thinking of what to get your dad for Father's Day, a bottle of Italian wine from Independent Wine would make a great gift. They are experts in wine and have a great online wine knowledge base, if you are not sure what to buy too. Why don't you check out Independent Wine for that really good quality bottle and treat yourself or your loved one! 

Let me know, which wine is your favourite?

*AD

How To Raise An Optimistic Child

Optimism is a vital attribute for any well-adjusted adult and when it comes to it, any well-adjusted child too. Pessimism isn’t received well in society. It’s something people are suspicious of because they don’t want to be affected negatively by it.

Teaching optimism is something many parents don’t even consider but it can be done and in such a way that your child can carry those positive attributes with them all through their life.

It begins early

woman with children

As early as possible and with positive phrases and affirmations. Here are some examples of simple but positive affirmations you can use daily with your child.

What a lovely day! (no matter what the weather)
I feel very happy today!
Isn’t this a nice lunch, aren’t we lucky!
Playing with you is one of my favourite things!

These are all very simple phrases and affirmations but they’re also incredibly powerful. They all help your child to appreciate the small things in life. The weather, a good mood, a nice sandwich – whatever! If you like something, then speak up about it! People love positivity. It’s human nature to be drawn to positive people so help your child to become one of those people.

Dealing with negativity

child and mum hug

By negativity we mean, negative feelings or situations. Sadness, frustration, anger, jealousy and so on. All people experience these feelings, but small children don’t always understand what these powerful feelings are. This can be overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to name the feelings so your child understands them more. Then teach your child simple acts of self-care to help them combat them. For example. If your child feels sadness for any reason, ask them about things they can do for themselves which might help them feel better.

It could be something simple like picking some flowers, having a hug, or a hot drink. If they are not at home and experience a negative feeling, arm them with some ideas of how they can look after themselves and feel better. Being emotionally strong is a great start to being a positive person.

The ethos at this prep school in Surrey is one that fosters independent, strong-minded and free-thinking children who understand how to work towards goals. Help your child to become the best student and later, the best adult, they can possibly be by teaching them positive thinking techniques.

*Collaborative post

Top Tips For Helping Your Child Learn A New Language

Small children are natural learners. They have no fear of making a mistake and it’s, for this reason, that beginning to learn a new language is best done young. Having said that, there’s absolutely no reason to think that older children won’t learn quickly. If there is an interest, then it should always be encouraged

Using play as a learning tool

playing

Play is of course one of the best ways in which young children learn. Begin with basic word games such as counting and singing. Incorporate the second language that you want your child to learn into your child’s daily life.

As you go up or down the stairs, count them in the new language. Sing nursery rhymes in both languages. This is fascinating to children and they love to feel the thrill of understanding as they grasp the meaning behind the new words.

Board games such as snakes and ladders can be played in other languages and again, if the game is simple and familiar, children will love to feel that they are managing a game in another language.

Using television, film and animation

Films, television and cartoons can be great teaching aids. Try to find some foreign language shows which your children will really enjoy and they will grow even more comfortable with the language. Here are some extra tips to help your child on the road to their new language:

  • Hire a tutor
  • Online learning
  • Hire a bilingual nanny
  • Learn the language yourself and converse with your child

Children who speak more than one language find it much easier to learn more – the brain is proven to grow in size when exposed to more than one language. As this prep school in Hertfordshire believes, the more cultural activities a child is exposed to, the better!

*Collaborative post

Exploring Mindfulness With Your Child

Mindfulness or the art of being present is an incredibly powerful tool that children can learn from a very young age. In fact, most toddlers have the ability to be completely present already in their skillset. Recognising and tapping into it can be a wonderful experience for both child and adult.

What is mindfulness?

child looking at puddle


Have you ever seen a small child staring into the world within a puddle? Or at a drop of rain as it makes its way down a windowpane? These are really, mindful moments. We gradually lose our ability to lose ourselves in a moment as we grow up – and losing ourselves to simply being is of great help when it comes to stress and anxiety.

Why use mindfulness?

As anxiety and depression are at record numbers in our children and young people, it’s vital that as parents and caregivers, we seek to provide them with the tools they need to manage. An increasingly tech-driven lifestyle has removed many children from their ability to ‘be with themselves’ which is what mindfulness is in essence.

How to begin

Start by creating a lovely, cosy space within your home. Tell your child that this is a special place. A place where there is no need to talk, no need to sing, no need to move or even to think. It’s a place they can come to any time they want to feel more comfortable. Let them know that the only rules are that if they want to do something – they must leave the space. This teaches them physically that mindfulness is a special state of being. A way of being in a moment that does not include anything other than being still.

Using mindfulness every day

The great thing about mindfulness is that it can be used in almost any situation and environment. Teaching your child about this is like letting them in on a superpower. Explain to them that using Mindfulness can help them to relax in situations where they might otherwise be upset or worried.

This college in Hampshire places a strong emphasis on teaching young people to stand on their own two feet and Mindfulness can allow children of all ages to do exactly that. Once your child understands how to use it, Mindfulness can be carried with them throughout their life.

*Collaborative post

JQ Jewels - Preowned And New Jewellery From A Birmingham Jeweller

Beautiful jewellery at great prices is hard to come by. You need to find a reputable business that sells quality jewellery at a decent price. JQ Jewels are one such jeweller. This is a collaborative post in conjunction with JQ Jewels but as ever all opinions are my own.  

JQ Jewels is an online jeweller based in Birmingham in the world-famous jewellery quarter. Committed to bringing the best jewellery and luxury watches to their customers, they sell a range of new and pre-owned jewellery for that special gift. Everything is offered at competitive prices and they also offer finance through Klarna if you need that too. I know with the pandemic around some people may need to spread their payments and Klarna lets you do that if you need to.

JQ Jewels also offers alternations if needed and personalisation with their quality engraving services. They can also buy your old gold too which is useful if you want to raise some cash.  Let's have a look at my favourite pieces from JQ Jewels. 


18ct rose gold and diamond Bvlgari chain necklace was £1,600.00 now £1,215.00

The first necklace that stood out to me from the JQ Jewels website was the 18ct rose gold and diamond Bvlgari chain. A beautiful designer chain, the curb chain had two small round adjustments and four rings with small diamonds adorning it. At a bargain price of £1215, this 17 inch pre-owned necklace would make a great gift


9ct white gold and diamond fancy bracelet was £1000 now £700

This 9ct diamond set bracelet is my next choice. With 0.4ct of diamonds set in a tennis style bracelet, this 7 inch bracelet is sure to catch the light and admiring glances. You are getting a bargain with this bracelet as it is preowned and new bracelets like this cost much more. A gorgeous bracelet and a great gift for the one you love.


9ct white gold and diamond fancy bangle Was £2600 now £2000

My next choice from JQ Jewels is this beautiful white gold bangle above. Lovingly preowned this bangle weighs 31.6 g in weight and has 0.62 ct of diamond in a pave setting. A stunning bangle that is a classic design that any self-respecting diamond lover would have in their jewellery box.


9ct yellow gold and diamond fancy heart chain necklace Was £1200 now £870

Another preowned delight from JQ Jewels is this yellow gold and diamond fancy heart chain necklace. Resembling a Tiffany-style necklace the open link chain meets at the end with a T-bar and diamond-set heart. A necklace to be treasured for the love of your life at a bargain price too. 


9ct white gold fancy chain necklace - 17". Was £180 now £115

My last pick from the JQ Jewels website is this 9ct white gold fancy chain necklace which is preowned. I just love the simplicity of this white gold necklace, with a twist design. It's a good looking necklace that can add a touch of class to a little black dress or worn with a casual outfit. A very pretty white gold necklace at a good price.

​As you can see JQ Jewels boasts a lovely range of preowned jewellery and it has an interesting range of gold rings, gold earrings, gold chains, gold bracelets and watches amongst other things. Why don't you check out the JQ Jewels site and let me know which items of jewellery are your favourite? 

*AD

The Benefits Of Music Lessons In Schools

Music is relaxing, stimulating, and creative. It can inspire and uplift as well as improve brain development. Many studies have indicated that music increases the learning capacity of children, but it also improves mental health and neural processing.

Students who regularly engage in music lessons have more developed neural processing skills than those who don’t. Reading comprehension and writing skills are both improved by the study of music.

These are obviously important factors to consider when you begin looking at a school for your child. Choose a school with a dedicated and well-developed music department, a choir, a band and as many opportunities for musical development as possible.

Even if your child is not especially musical, it’s vital that they are exposed to it as much as possible. The talented musicians aren’t the only ones who can benefit from all that music brings!

What if my child doesn’t like the lessons?

piano lessons

Learning a musical instrument takes obvious commitment – this is why many parents are somewhat wary about investing in regular private lessons. It’s not uncommon for children to lose interest and become reluctant to practice but the important thing is that you help them to keep at it.

Explain that the practice is important and if they can reach the next grade, then you will consider letting them change instruments. This can be a good carrot to dangle before a child has lost interest. Even ten minutes per day is good for most children – younger ones particularly as it is often tricky for them to concentrate for longer periods. Ensure your child has a quiet and suitable place in which to practice.

Music enriches a child’s life in multiple ways, reducing stress and anxiety and opening up social opportunities. If your child is particularly interested in music, then you could consider choosing a music preparatory school which is a wonderful way of ensuring their education is enmeshed with the many benefits that music brings.

*Collaborative post

What Are The Main Causes Of Depression In Young Adults?

We all feel low sometimes and if you live with a young adult, it can often feel as though their moods are taking over your home. The truth is, consistent, negative emotions are more than just your teen “feeling blue” or going through a “hormonal phase”, your teen could, in fact, be struggling with depression.

Depression makes it feel impossible for this dark mood to lift. Your teen might be expressing this mental health issue through all kinds of symptoms, including feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating, physical discomfort, social withdrawal and even changes in their eating habits. Your teen might be experiencing a mixture of behavioural or emotional changes due to their depressive state, or they could be hiding it with other destructive behaviours such as drinking, drugs or even excessive gaming.



If you’re worried about your teen’s struggle with their mental health, Yes We Can Youth Clinics provides help for depression that may help them overcome this mood disorder, giving them the tools they need to improve their quality of life and live and function positively. In the meantime, understanding the main causes of depression in young adults can help you comprehend what they might be going through, and increase your ability to support them through this difficult period. While there is no black and white answer, there are numerous factors that could be at play. Read on to find out more.

Family difficulties

When their family is experiencing difficulties, such as their parents divorcing or separating, or a feud is threatening the harmony of the family home, it’s not uncommon for anxiety and depression to take hold.

The death of a loved one

A traumatic event such as the death of a loved one can have all kinds of consequences on the mental health of the young adults in your life. A sense of loss that is difficult to shake can lead to a change in behavioural patterns and negative thinking, which in turn can develop into depression.

Brain imbalances

Sometimes, the cause may be attributed to a physical cause. When the neurotransmitters in the brain are imbalanced or compromised, it can affect the nerve cells, which in turn can lead to depression. Chemical imbalances are associated with the following neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

Childhood trauma

Often, depression can have its roots all the way back to early childhood. Often caused by traumatic events such as physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. Living through these events can leave survivors more susceptible to depression.

Family history

Studies have shown that young adults with a family history of depression, for example in a parent or grandparent are much more likely to be susceptible to depression themselves.

Self-esteem issues

If your teen is in a constant battle with their self-esteem due to chronic bullying, peer pressure, obesity, or even problems with academia, then they’re more likely to develop certain personality traits such as being pessimistic, become overly dependent on others and overly self-critical, which in turn can develop into depression.

Final thoughts…

If you believe your teen is suffering from depression, it’s important that you support them and seek help as soon as possible.

*Collaborative post