Offline Marketing Tips That Won't Break the Bank

In the digital age, digital marketing is taking over. It’s cheap, effective, and easily accessible. It makes sense to use it as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon the older ways of marketing. They are also extremely effective and aren’t as expensive as you’d think.

Plus, you might not be reaching the people you need to. Maybe your business is aimed at a demographic who isn’t on the internet as much, maybe your local community needs reminding you’re there. Whatever the case, your business can only strengthen with a few additional moves that can make sure your business is at the forefront of everyone’s minds.

Vinyl stickers

van

Vinyl sticks are a safe means of displaying your logo in various places. If you have a storefront, a big bold logo can be placed on your window to catch the eyes of shoppers going past. It won’t be a mess to remove but will stay firmly in its place without giving up and falling off one day.

This is also true if you’re thinking of dressing up your office with some vinyl graphics. Make sure visitors never forget when they visit a reception area that has your logo above their heads. Vinyl stickers can also be the more affordable option against bright lights and solid metal logos.

If you work from your vehicle, like a tradesman or a taxi driver, you can get a vinyl wrap. This will allow you to advertise your business wherever you go, or in the case of some taxis, earn money by advertising another company wherever you go. This can be an invaluable marketing strategy since people on their commute will see and remember your name and logo.

Uniform


You don’t have to be running a golf course to allow for your business logo to be worn by your staff. You can instead create some products using the Screen Textiles website, who offer printed or embroidered logos on pieces of clothing ranging from t-shirts and polo shirts to bags and hats.

If you work with food, order aprons embroidered with your logo, or if you work outside amongst nature, you can get parkas and jackets that display your logo. It’s a little touch that will stay in the minds of everyone your staff sees in person. It will also promote loyalty in your business and teamwork amongst your staff members.

Merchandise

Merchandise has taken off thanks to YouTubers and Instagram influencers offering merch to their loyal fans, but that isn’t an exclusive offer. Businesses with customers who enjoy their brand can always pick up something with your logo on it to show their peers just how much they love your products and services.

Clubs like golf clubs and spas can offer bathrobes with your name on it, making customers feel like royalty when they wear it. And of course, the biggest seller of merchandise are bands, but the bars hosting bands can also get in on the merchandise game. Customers can go home with a t-shirt or glass that displays their favourite hangout spot.

Go to events and sell your merchandise or even offer it for free. Job fairs, conventions, street markets, can all be places for you to distribute your merchandise to the public.

How to Plan The Ideal Wedding Proposal

Whether you found your significant other on an app for dating, through mutual acquaintances, or in school, college or work, nothing beats falling in love and spending your life together. However, as you're probably aware, figuring out the best way to propose to your better half can be a colossal undertaking, yet it doesn't always have to be a complicated affair. To ensure that this long-awaited moment goes as intended, I've collected some of the best tips you should know when you go down on a knee and ask your partner for their hand in marriage. Continue reading if you want to learn more.

Make sure both of you are thinking about marriage

proposal

You’ll want to ensure that your partner feels the same way about marriage as you do. So before plotting the proposal, try to talk to him or her about how he or she sees their future with you. If you’re worried about making the conversation appear like a proposal or don’t want to ruin the surprise, start it by discussing a friend’s recent engagement or your parent's or someone's happy marriage that you know. It might not be as easy to drop it into conversation but it will give you a much better idea of what your soulmate might say if you pop the question.

Talk to your partner's parents

These days, not many talk to their partners’ parents before they open the ring box because it’s generally regarded as outdated. However, the reality is that there are benefits to letting them know about your proposal plans. After all, you may learn more about your significant other that you may not have otherwise, such as what types of ring settings she prefers for the engagement ring, where the ideal place to propose is, and many other valuable pieces of information. They may also want to be more involved with the moment and help you set everything up so that everything goes as smoothly as possible.

Get personal

For any wedding proposal to succeed, it needs to be personal. So think about what your partner would love out of your proposal, be it an intimate gesture or a family affair. Regardless of what your budget is, you'll may want to focus on a sentimental, beauty spot, perhaps somewhere that means something special to both of you.  Proposing within a space that has meaning to you both will earn you many points and help you get you the answer you're looking for. 

Have someone who can take photos on standby

It’s a good idea to have someone around who can document this special moment. This is especially true if your partner doesn’t know about it because you’ll want to capture that surprise, the emotion and maybe some funny reaction shots. Whether you choose to go with a professional or have a friend do it for you, having a photographer help capture those wonderful memories.

Conclusion

Proposing to your partner is likely to be one of the most important moments you’ll ever have. Because of this, you must get everything just right. With these tips, you’ll make this wonderful moment even more special.

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How To Choose A Cross Country Moving Company

Moving house takes time to organise, especially when you are moving out of state or cross country. With some careful planning, you can reduce the stress to minimal levels so you can enjoy the experience and focus on the excitement of your new home.

Getting the best price

moving box

You may decide to go it alone and hire a van to move your own possessions. Or if you need some extra help with bulky items or a high volume of boxes, you will need to look at a moving firm.

When you select cross country moving companies, you will need to source online moving quotes to get the best price.

There are lots of options out there, so a moving cost calculator can be a good start to planning your move within your budget.

Put the paperwork in place

When you have settled on the right moving firm to use, there is some core paperwork to get in place. This ensures both parties are on the same page, and you have everything documented in the event of a dispute.

You also need to take care of your budget because the costs can vary. With a non-binding estimate, the moving firm is not under any obligation to stick to that price. In other words, additional fees can be added for extra services provided, or for additional boxes or furniture. Your estimate should clearly state whether it is binding (fixed price) or non-binding (potentially variable).

Packing everything up

packing

You also need to choose who is responsible for packing your items up. This service obviously costs more but can save you a lot of time. If you have children or pets to consider, you may need to look at childcare or pet care to allow you to focus on this important task.

As you go, label each box with the room it will be going to. This will mean your movers know where to put things and you will not be trying to reorganize everything once it is in your new home.

The moving company will also check your packing to ensure the boxes are securely and safely packed and will not bring any danger to the shipment. This could mean lighter items at the bottom of a box with heavier items on top, which could lead to the box becoming unstable in transit. Poor packing is legally classified as an ‘act of omission’. This means for any comeback on the shipping firm, the damage must be caused due to their responsibility.

How to find the best cross country moving company

Carry out a comprehensive online search to find the best cross country moving companies to fit your needs. Spending a little time on this could potentially save you a lot of money.

It also means your possessions will be in the best possible hands if you choose a mover with the best reputation. Look for positive customer reviews on third-party review sites and social media networks. This way there is nowhere to hide for the moving firms, and you are almost certain to find the best one for the job.

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Major Roadblocks That Are Getting In The Way Of Your Blogging Success (& How To Overcome Them)

Blogging success is measured by many metrics including the number of readers, followers, commenters, and even subscribers. Of course, getting to the point where you can maximise these metrics isn't always easy. Indeed, there often seems as if there are many hurdles in between you and blogging success. The good news is that you can find out about the most troublesome ones below, as well as how to overcome them and achieve the success your blog deserves.

Ideas

wordpress blog

If a lack of ideas is preventing you from writing amazing content for your blog, you may have things confused. This is because you don't have to come up with the ideas yourself. Instead, you should let the demographic that you are looking to appeal to define the type of topics you write and publish about. After all, the product that you are providing your audience is entertainment and information on things that are of value to them, so you need to make sure that anything you write matches this brief.


Now, having said that you may well have to come up with an angle. That is a way of approaching the topic that doesn't just repeat everything that is already being said online, and that will especially appeal to your audience, However, once again, by doing some research into your demographic and understanding what makes them tick, you can put yourself in their shoes and determine the right approach for your content from that.

Confidence

So you didn't go to uni to study journalism? You've never had any of your work published in a national newspaper or magazine? Don't worry! None of these things is an issue or should be a roadblock to you writing or releasing your content. Indeed, for the most part, what readers are looking for in blogs is someone they can relate to and put across a sense of their personality in their writing, not the next Booker Prize-winning author.


Often confidence is something that comes from building one small success on the top of another, over and over again until we have evidence and faith in ourselves that we can do what is required of us. To that end, why not start with shorter posts at 250 or 500 words to test the waters and build to more extension ones later?

Of course, there is absolutely no harm in taking some classes or doing some research into the way other bloggers write, plan and organise their content. After all, there is no need to reinvent the wheel when many people have trodden the road before you! Instead, just make sure that you take any inspiration and information and adapt it for your blog.  

Equipment

Once you have the skills you need to create successful and profitable content, you are almost ready to dive into the world of blogging. Except, you won't be able to get very far unless you have the right kind of equipment.

The good news is that for most people this means a laptop or Macbook and a fast internet connection. However, the bad news is that many people regularly experience frustration or some issues with their Mac or laptop slowing down, something that can at best be very annoying when you need to meet your blogging deadline, and at worst begin to chip away at your morale and productivity.

Fortunately, there are some actions you can take to make sure that your computer equipment works effectively, and as fast as possible. Delete any programmes or apps you do not need, close down any programmes that you are not using that are running in your background and store any large videos or photos on the cloud or backup drive. Indeed, taking such steps as well as regularly updating and maintaining your system is the best way to avoid such issues altogether.

Time


We don’t do things because we haven't got time! What I mean here is that if something is important enough we will make time for it, and prioritize it in our day. With that in mind, setting aside a portion of time like 30 minutes every morning to work on your blog content can be a very useful exercise. Be strict with yourself too, add it into your calendar, and daily planner, and set a timer so you don't end up wandering off to make a cuppa during your writing time.

Indeed, as you become more practised you will be able to write, and edit around 500 words in this time. You can always put it in draft and come back to it later if you are not sure it's perfect. I like to do this myself as you don't always see any mistakes straight away. 

Let me know, have you started a blog?

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Top Tips For A Happy Relationship

Being in a relationship is hard work. For it to work out both of you have to put the effort in. Of course, some things are worth it and if you have found the right person for you then working on your relationship is something you should do. 

Here are some top tips to keep your relationship healthy and happy from someone who's been married twice and intends to stay married!

Go on regular dates

couple
Whether you spend every second together or have very busy lives where you don't see each other as often as you like you still need to have regular dates. By this I mean spend time together on your own and make an effort. Dress up and go out to a restaurant, or do another activity on your own without the kids.  We used to love going to comedy nights once every couple of months, or the theatre a few times a year and these nights with definitely date nights. These are times to reconnect, enjoy spending time together and to talk. 

Make time for talking 

Talking is very important in a relationship, and not just talking - listening too. If you have any problems talking about it to your partner is very important in my humble opinion. If he or she won't listen to you when you are feeling sad, confused, angry or vulnerable and also when you are happy as well, do you really want to be in a relationship with them? You need to tell them that it is important for them to listen to you and if they won't then you really need to think is this the best it will ever be? Relationship counselling may be an option if you can't work out the issues between you. 

Get down to intimacy

Being intimate is an important part of a relationship. People's sex drives do vary however and this needs to be taken into consideration. An intimate relationship doesn't have to be just penetrative sex, there are other things you can do including mutual masturbation and oral sex. It's good to know what is pleasurable to yourself too, so you can tell your partner. Check out this website for further ideas to add some spice to your love life including the best vibrators and male masturbators. You can also be intimate without having sex too by cuddling and kissing, massaging each other and talking about sexual fantasies.  

Know where you stand on the big issues

couple having dinner

It's important in a relationship to know where you stand on the big issues such as if you want children or not, who pays for what and how money is divided. It can be easier and more straightforward to have separate bank accounts and I always feel people should have a bank account that isn't in joint names so it's money that they can do with what they please. If the relationship broke down for any reason then they would have their own finances. 

Don't sweat the small stuff

Sometimes in a relationship, and especially the longer you have been together you realise not to sweat the small stuff. This means you need to know when to complain and stand your ground and when to let things go over your head without resentment. Sometimes it's not worth worrying about the small things, think - would this issue still matter a year from now.

It's the little things that matter 

Making a cup of tea for the other person without being asked, buying them a little present now and again, walking the dog when it's not your turn or making them breakfast in bed, these are the things that matter as they show that you are thinking of them and that you care. They help the day to day drudgery of life be that more bearable. 

Don't forget to apologise 

We don't always see eye to eye with our partners and may disagree and this could lead to an argument. If you do have a full-blown argument, get it off your chest so to speak and then when you've both calmed down apologise if any hurt was caused. It's never worth holding a grudge. Apologise or accept an apology if it's meant well and move on. 

So these are my top tips for a happy relationship. Do you have any tips for my readers?

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Win A Lindt Milk Chocolate Advent Calendar and Box Ends - 07/11

As we are now truly into autumn and before just over two months to Christmas I have a little treat for my readers today. Today on the blog I am giving you a chance to win two delicious milk chocolate prizes from Lindt. A Lindt Milk Chocolate advent calendar and a box of Lindt milk chocolate truffles. 

I love a good advent calendar, it always feels like a treat opening the one in December and this Lindt one is of great quality and has lots of delicious chocolates.




In my experience, both kids and grown-ups love this advent calendar. The little bunnies are so sweet and the artwork gets you in the Christmas spirit. 


You will also win a Lindt milk chocolate truffle box. These chocolates are truly delicious with a smooth rich truffle centre. 

Entry is via the Gleam app,  just let me know what your favourite chocolate is and entry is easy with a click of a button.  If for some reason the chocolate is unavailable I will send you good quality chocolate to a similar value e.g. Other Lindt chocolate or a Hotel Chocolat box. Good luck!


Win Lindt Chocolate

Amazing Places To Put On Your Bucket List Now

Travelling is a great way to not only explore the world but also get to know yourself and your travel companions even better. It’s an experience unlike anything else, and with so many incredible places around the world, it is easy to keep expanding upon an ever-growing bucket list. 

Now travel restrictions are being lifted, here are some wonderful places to put on your bucket list now, if they’re not already there.

The Blue Lagoon

Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon Iceland is an amazing place to go if you want to spend some time in nature and indulge in relaxation. The healing sulphurous waters offer a luxurious and peaceful experience, and you can even stay at the hotel attached and have a quick swim in the water whenever you please. Located close to Reykjavík, it also does not require much further travel beyond the airport. However, if you want to explore Iceland and U highly recommend you do, Iceland has beautiful nature all around including geysers, waterfalls and if you are lucky to see them the phenomena of the Northern Lights.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a popular destination on the bucket list of many people, and for good reason. It is a historical place, an Inca citadel located in the Andes Mountains in Peru and it is unlike anywhere else in the world. The technical skill that went into its creation is amazing. Now as an important heritage site, Machu Picchu is set in a tropical forest and is a site to visit if you want to go trekking and enjoy spectacular flora and fauna.

The Grand Canyon

Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is, I personally feel, one of the natural wonders of the world. This vast canyon, over 18 miles across, a mile deep and 277 miles in length is a must-see for its layers of red rock and astonishing viewpoints all around. You can hike throughout the Grand Canyon or explore along the main walkway at the top to take in the views. You can also camp or lodge near the south or north rim if you want to explore further.

The Pyramids of Giza

Pyramids of Giza

Found in Egypt, the Pyramids of Giza is a place that many people have on their bucket list from childhood because it is such a unique and iconic place and many would have studied it in school. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, having been built 4,500 years ago. How they were built is an amazing engineering feat and even today scientists cannot be sure how they were built. To go here would be a dream come true for many people. 

The Taj Mahal


There are millions of visitors that come to see the Taj Mahal every year, and this monument built of white marble and beautiful stone is a sight to see. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal and it also houses the tomb of Shah Jahan himself. You can easily spend a full day here, so plan accordingly so you can take it all in. It's a beautiful building and architectural masterpiece and a UNESCO world heritage site. 

The Great Barrier Reef

Located off the coast of Queensland, the Great Barrier Reef is a must-see place especially if you appreciate natural beauty and the underwater world. This reef covers over 1430 miles of a coral reef ecosystem and as it has been impacted in size in recent years, it is worth seeing before it faces more devastation. You can swim, snorkel and sail in the amazingly clear waters which is a tropical paradise for all sea creatures. 

Cappadocia

Cappadocia

A place to visit that you should put on your bucket list is Cappadocia in Turkey. It is known for its distinctive fairy chimneys, which are tall, cone-shaped rock formations clustered in the Monks Valley. There is a popular travel image of hot air balloons floating across a landscape with dramatic and unique rock sites, and chances are this is at Cappadocia, in the Anatolian plains. Travel in a hot air balloon at sunrise for a bucket list experience you will never forget!

Have you ever seen any of these places? If not, where would you like to go first?

Great Habits: Picking Up Your Child From School On Their Bike

Rather than just picking up and dropping off your kids from school in your car, why not kit everybody in the family out with bicycles and turn the event into one that builds better habits for everyone? Your kids are sure to love showing off their bikes at school, and you’ll be building stronger bonds in the process. Here’s why commuting to their classes on bikes can be a terrific choice for your children.

Creating a Lifetime Of Healthy Exercise Habits


Encouraging your kids to ride a bike to and from school may help them build habits that can keep them from developing couch potato lifestyles as they grow older. Daily exercise is recommended for most children, yet many schools offer limited physical education opportunities. Riding each day can have a strong influence over how much activity and exercise your kids will engage in for the rest of their lives. Bike riding is so much fun that children may not even realize that they’re doing something good for themselves, but you’ll know that they’re learning a great deal about how good it can feel to be active.

Showing Off Their Bike To Their Friends

family riding bikes

In the same way that many adults can’t wait to show off their new cars, kids often get excited about flaunting their new rides as well. For kids, owning a bicycle gives them the freedom to go places and do things they otherwise couldn’t do, and it also offers a cool way for them to express themselves. By adding an eye-catching paint job, decals, and accessories like wheel lights, horns, and handlebar streamers, your kids can customize their bikes to make them uniquely theirs. Riding their tricked-out beach cruisers into the parking lot at school is sure to have them beaming with pride.

Spending Time Together As A Family


Picking up your kids from school isn’t a task reserved only for those children who would otherwise walk home. If your kids bike to their classes, meeting them and riding home together can make for a safer journey while providing a good way to forge closer family bonds.

Connecting with kids right after school may make it easier for them to talk about what they learned and experienced throughout the day. By meeting them on a bike yourself, you’ll be reinforcing that cycling is a healthy habit at any age. As an added bonus, riding a hybrid trike with an ample rear basket can make it easy to combine your after-school meetup with other errands like going to the market or grabbing your dry cleaning.

Encouraging your kids to bike to and from school can lay the groundwork for healthy habits, provide them with a source of pride, and strengthen family bonds. To find the perfect ride for accompanying your kids, check out a Sixthreezero around the block review to learn about one great cruiser option for adults to ride. Then everyone can peddle home from school in style!

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How To Choose A Bangle

Choosing a bangle isn't as easy as picking a design you like, there are other things you need to consider. Of course, the design is important, but you also need to factor in the material the bangle is made of, your budget, the craftsmanship, and the size and fit of the bangle. 

So if you are looking to buy a bangle soon, let's look at how to choose a bangle in more detail and what you should be looking out for. 

Design and craftmanship

gold bangle

Firstly most people when looking for a bangle will be drawn to the design, whether it's a classic simple look or a more fashion-led design. A bangle is simply a rigid bracelet worn on the wrist. Of course, a design like a simple classic cuff bangle in platinum, white gold, yellow gold or silver never dates and you will get a lot of use out of it.  Most fashion-led designs however will come in and out of fashion over time and can only be worn with certain clothes, or as an accessory with a certain look. Fashion-led bangles are often costume jewellery and made of materials such as wood, glass, plastic or metal.  If you are looking for costume jewellery, check out small designers in your locality that make their bangles carved from reclaimed wood, recycled glass, or plastic retrieved from the ocean for a unique piece of jewellery that is eco-friendly too.

Craftmanship is also a consideration, and a bespoke design from a master jeweller will often come with a sizeable price tag, as well as being beautifully made and unique to you.  If a designer is well known or if the jewellery is from a known and coveted brand such as Tiffany,  this can make the item more expensive as well. 

Metal and price

Indian bangle
Of course, if you are wealthy you can buy what you want. Platinum is the most expensive precious metal and a bangle made from platinum can cost the buyer thousands of pounds. Adorning the bangle with precious stones, such as diamonds, sapphires and rubies will also add to the cost significantly as well. 

However, if you have a budget then you may want to stick to buying fashionable items in a cheaper precious metal like silver or palladium or instead consider buying costume jewellery as mentioned above.

If you are on a tight budget source your jewellery from countries known for their jewellery making especially their bangles, such as India. The competition will often mean that the bangles will be well made. In Europe, Portugal is known for its silver filigree designs and a bangle made here will be stunningly beautiful and well crafted.

Size and fit

bangles

If you already have a bangle that fits you then you are lucky as you can use this to work out the size of bangle you need. Get a ruler, then measure the internal diameter of the bangle to work out your size. Measuring your wrist will give you a false reading as the bangle has to go over your hand and knuckles.  If you don't have a bangle that fits then you may be able to try on bangles in a shop, and ask the nice shop assistant if they know the size or take a measuring tape to work it out. You could also borrow a few bangles from family or friends and measure one that fits. You want a bangle to fit over your hand and sit on your wrist comfortably without it falling off when your hand is lowered. If you don't have a bangle to try on, tuck your thumb in and then measure your hand across your knuckles with a measuring tape. 

The style of the bangle can affect how it fits, with irregular designs fitting differently than regular circular bangles. Some people like the fit of the bangle to be tight while others prefer a looser fit so you need to take this preference into account. A big cuff bangle will feel different to a thinner bangle and you may want it to be a bigger size. Some bangles are hinged which means they open up and then close with a clasp. This style of the bangle will be easier to fit a wide range of wrist sizes and may come with a safety chain to prevent it from falling off your hand. 

As you can see there is a surprising amount of things to take into consideration when choosing a bangle. Let me know, do you wear bangles? 

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5 Home Improvement Projects That Add Value To Your Home

If you are looking to add some value to your home, whether you are buying a property to resell or doing up a family home, there are certain home improvements you should focus on.  These are home improvement projects that can really add value to your home, whether you are selling it now or in the long term. So let's look at what they are.

1. Bathroom Remodel

bathroom

A bathroom remodel will add some luxury to a home and also adds value. It's always a selling point if you have a new bathroom or a new kitchen in a home. Consider adding a bath and a shower to gain the widest appeal. A new power shower with decent water pressure is always a plus point. Think about adding underfloor heating if you have the money as well. Whether you are planning a bathroom remodel in Houston or Harrogate it's well worth doing to add value to your home. 

2. Adding a conservatory

Adding a conservatory to your home is worth doing especially if you need the space, and of course, an extra room is always a selling point. There is nothing nicer than sitting in a conservatory and watching the wildlife in your garden with a cup of tea, I do that all the time at my mum's home.  Many simple conservatories do not need planning permission either but always check before you go ahead. 

3. Attic conversion 

An attic conversion can be a costly undertaking however research by Right Move suggests that an attic or loft conversion can add at least 20% to the value of your home. That's one big reason to get one, in my opinion, don't you think? You do need some serious money though, and attic conversions start at around £10,000 or around $13,500, going upwards to £30,000 or roughly $40,000 or more. 

4. Fitting a new kitchen

kitchen
 
A modern kitchen is always a great selling point in a home. New buyers are looking for modern units, with up-to-date appliances and a fresh lick of paint. A kitchen that looks fresh and inviting. You can have a bespoke kitchen made for you or make some adjustments to a kitchen yourself if you are on a budget. Replacing the kitchen doors, having new flooring fitted or having new built-in appliances can all make a big difference to a kitchen if you can't afford a total makeover.

5. Improving energy efficiency

Improving energy efficiency in a home can definitely add value to it. As well as keeping your energy bills down you are also helping to save the planet by conserving energy. This is a big plus point if you are selling your home or are looking to sell it in the future.  Ways in which you can improve energy efficiency in your home include having a new energy efficient boiler fitted, getting solar panels fitted, or having loft insulation installed to the correct thickness.  Check if you can get a grant to help with improving energy efficiency. 

As you can see there are several ways in which you can add value to your home. Let me know if you have done any of these.

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What Type Of Jewellery Was On Display During The Medieval Period?

From Pandora to Georg Jensen, jewellery is a much-loved fashion accessory for both men and women today. Of course, jewellery has been worn since ancient times and has always had an influence on fashion even in the Dark Ages.

During this period in history and medieval times, suffering and deprivation had a devastating effect on the vast majority of Western Europe’s population. The result of famine, wars and the plague, in particular, eventually led to a decline in the production of jewellery, although the British Isles managed to show off some superb pieces despite the undoubted difficulties which engulfed much of the population.

The types of products on offer were far beyond the usual necklaces and brooches featured in medieval-themed movies or the Avalon slot game by Microgaming, which is based on Arthurian legend. Belt buckles, buttons, hat badges, arm rings, ankle rings, and a whole host of other designs were regularly snapped up by the wealthiest people.

Gold was a popular material in particular and paired beautifully with a variety of decorating techniques, such as enamelling and soldering. Gemstones were also extremely desirable in the medieval period, with the likes of freshwater pearls and coral being high on many peoples’ lists. Gems were eventually altered too, perhaps by being cut and polished into something else.

Jewellery worn during the Byzantine Empire



As I’ve touched on already, Western Europe’s lack of jewellery production certainly hindered the overall growth and production of jewellery in Europe as a whole, but the eastern side of the continent was very much still in production and continued to make a variety of stunningly beautiful pieces thanks to the stability the Byzantine Empire gave the population.


Most of the jewellery produced was influenced by religion, more specifically Christianity, and featured depictions of the afterlife and a whole host of other religious images which influenced the all-round culture and way of life of that particular empire. Earrings were particularly favoured by people also and represented an excellent gift for various rulers. They weren’t just any old earrings either, instead, being filled with coloured gems and enabling whoever wore them to make a real statement of power and style.

What about Barbarian jewellery?


Wikipedia Creative Commons Pair of showy fibulae James Steakley

Brooches and pins were particularly popular during the Migration Period, a time when the Barbarian invasion began. Germanic fibulae, which were worn as both brooches and pins, were especially popular and formed a vital part of Barbarian fashion, enabling people to fasten their clothing and illustrate some additional style in the process.

Barbarian jewellery was worn by both men and women, too, although it was mainly only accessible to the wealthy and the well known. The craftsmanship which went into an array of pieces from that time was quite remarkable also, with a wide-ranging selection of products being regularly donned. From shoulder clasps to single fibula brooches that many of the women wore, the technique on display and the quality of products were quite remarkable.

Viking jewellery




Silver was the go-to option for the Vikings, with many of it lacking the extravagance and detail of some of the aforementioned styles being worn by others. It did evolve somewhat, though, as Vikings adapted the commonly worn silver jewellery to include animals, geometric patterns, and everything else in between. The Vikings had a range of clever techniques to elevate certain pieces too, perhaps by carrying out filigree work or sprucing a piece up through repoussè (hammered into relief work). 

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The Difference Between Cotton And Linen Dresses

If you are looking to buy a new dress, you will need to choose a suitable fabric.

While women’s dresses are available in more than a dozen fabrics, cotton and linen are two of the most popular materials. They are both comfortable and stylish, making them the favourite choices for women all around the world.

However, there are distinctive features that differentiate cotton and linen dresses and that are useful to know.

TOP 7 Differences Between Cotton and Linen Dresses

1. Origin or source of the material

material

Although cotton and linen dress appears to look visually similar, they are made of two unique materials. Cotton is made from fibrous organic material around the seeds of the cotton plant, while linen is a material weaved from fibers of the flax plant.

2. Strength and softness

Have a minute to compare the fluffiness and strength of cotton and linen material in your wardrobe. You will probably notice that both fabrics are very soft and fluffy. Some people will claim that linen feels slightly softer, especially after being washed and worn many times. An interesting fact you should know is that linen gets to be softer over time. So, if you feel your favorite linen dress is soft right now, it may feel even smoother up to 30 more years.

Cotton and linen fabric appears to be durable, but the difference lies in their fibre’s physical composition. Thanks to the cellulose fibres present in your linen dress, that makes it more durable than cotton. These fibres appear to be longer and wrapped tighter, providing strength and versatility to the linen fabric.

3. Absorption, quick-drying and temperature-regulating capabilities

Others speculate that linen fabric absorbs more water than cotton, but this speculation is not necessarily true. In fact, a linen dress will absorb up to 20% of its water in weight until it feels wet. Neither the cotton nor linen are water-resistant, but both have the quick-drying ability. Linen fabric stands to be more superior to wick the moisture instantly than cotton. So, the most appropriate fashion apparel during the hot season is in linen material since linen draws the sweat out of your skin, and it dries more quickly. Also, linen table napkins and table covers are more practical because they promptly dry all kinds of liquids.

Moving on, the temperature-regulating capabilities of linen is more substantial than cotton thermoregulatory abilities.

Linen fabrics are referred to as “natural air conditioners,” just like your favourite linen bedsheet will keep you cool and cosy even on the warmest nights. And thanks to its innate ability to keep moisture away from your body, you won’t wake up sweaty and feeling hot at all. But during winter, it is advisable to layer linen to keep your body warmer.

4. Breathability

dress

Here is where the linen dress really shines and why many preferred linen fabrics to cotton entirely. Linen fabric is one of the more breathable textiles on the planet. Thanks to the flax fibres' hollow structure, making linen highly breathable by helping the air and water circulate with ease and allowing heat to escape away from your body. Would you agree if I say that wearing a linen dress or sleeping in with your linen bedding feels more comfortable? That is why a linen dress is the ultimate clothing choice for the summer season.

5. Wrinkle-proof and smooth quality

A wrinkle-proof fabric does not entirely exist even cotton and linen clothing will eventually develop wrinkles. A linen dress will naturally generate more wrinkles than a cotton dress because of the breathability of linen fabric.

There are ways to get wrinkles out of linen clothes. For instance, removing your linen dress from the dryer and immediately putting it up on a hanger will help hinder wrinkles from forming. Also, if your linen dress instructions state “dry clean only,” you should not wash it in the washing machine; instead, have your local dry cleaner professionally cleaned it.

Another clear distinction between cotton and linen is their texture in correlation with their smoothness through visual and physical examination. Compare your cotton and linen dresses using your sense of touch. You will notice that cotton feels a little smoother compared to your linen dress. Then, look closely; you will see a more visible lined pattern in the weave of a linen garment, while a cotton piece appears to be smoother and more uniform.

6. Hypoallergenic and longevity capabilities.

Both materials came from natural fibres that support hypoallergenic properties. As mentioned earlier, linen can get rid of moisture instantly; that is why it has the innate ability to control and prevent bacterial growth. Therefore, linen is more suitable for people suffering from allergies and skin problems because of the lower thread count and loose weave formation of flax fibres keeping the small particles such as dust at bay.

Cotton clothes are comfortable to wear, but they can lose their beautiful form after repeated washing, unlike linen clothing that gets better with every wash. At the same time, linen has moth-resistant and anti-microbial properties keeping your linen clothes fresher and looks great for years to come. Take note that your favourite linen dress will get better with age.

7. All in All

In summary, both cotton and linen fabric has many excellent features that’s why they deserve to be the preferred fabric apparel for everyone. See the table below to have a recap and better understanding of the differences between linen and cotton.

Linen Vs. Cotton

linen and cotton

Once you have superior linen attributes and feel the necessity to change your wardrobe or use it all around your home. You can buy linen clothing and other linen home essentials online; we strongly suggest purchasing pure linen.


*Collaborative post

Voice-over: Its Importance In Creating Content

A voice-over is important in creating content. Although it is a kind of oral speech, a voice-over is first written in text to be read later in a recording studio. This text usually has no self-existent literary value but captures the visuals. If isolated from the images and other sounds that make up the environment, a good speech may sound strange, and not sufficiently understood or misinterpreted. This is why the script of documentaries guided by oral narration often takes the form of a two-column text, where one column contains the text of the speech, while the other describes the images that accompany it at all times.

Depending on the type and methodology preferred, voice-over parts can be written in every production phase, from development to the end of editing. In many cases, the speech is written by enriching the meaning of the images, while other times, its writing precedes and the images are collected based on it. Most of the time, however, the final text of the speech is not finalised until after successive writings and tests in the editing. The question of who writes the highlight is just as complex. In practice, it can be the researcher, the director, an outside copywriter, or any above combination.

The writer of the speech, however, is not only familiar with the subject or the story of the film, but also needs to understand to some extent the cinematic language in order to calculate the synergy of sounds and of images in the creation of meaning.

Simplicity of speech

voiceover

It is crucial when voice acting to go for a simpler tone and speech. The orality and ease with which they are understood and received is very important for the audience. This is the case in all "traditional" means of media such as television and cinema. It should not be necessary for someone to go back and re-watch something in order to understand what has been said.

If the viewer finds it difficult to watch the narrative at one or two points, they will probably give up after a while. The sentences, then, are usually short to be comprehensible and use simple, everyday language. Difficult expressions, specialised terminology or complicated syntax should be avoided. Although already written, the speech of the speaker usually tries to hide this side of his words. The simplest way to check the orality of the voice lines is to pronounce them, to interpret them as you see them.

Voice casting



In a film that uses voice casting, the viewers perceive the narrator's voice as the voice of the film itself. Even if the editing is more or less completed with a rough recording of your own speech, the film's identity is still pending in the hands of the narrator, usually an actor who will recite the voice lines. An unfortunate choice of voice can undermine your work, while a successful one can add immediacy and character to any scene where it is heard.

The film's voice should come from its narrative core and be organic and natural. The casting of the voice finally leads us to answer the crucial question: "who is the personality that leads the cinematic narrative, who tells this story?"

Beyond any attempt to rationalise the process, the choice of voice ultimately remains a crucial part of any voice over project. Each voice has its own tone and reflects its owner’s personality, and experience in life, giving an interpretation to the narrative from the beginning, without the need for "acting". There are voices with depth and warmth, voices with a rich, charming tone, which can make the viewers "feel" the words and not just understand their meanings. You can look for candidate voices in actors, more or less specialized in this, or even amateurs whose "profile" matches the image of the narrator you have in mind or whose voice seems appropriate to you. Ultimately the choice of voice can be safely obtained only through tests of alternative voices (auditions). You can find pro voices of different types at voquent.com, which fit perfectly with your content and can engage the audience.

*Collaborative post

Looking to Start Renovating? Why Not Work On Your Garden First?

Home renovation can be a complex and expensive project, especially if you haven't done it before.  In most cases, people will typically just get in touch with a company like a contractor and ask them for help. They’ll give some design ideas, pay for the materials and labour costs, and then sit back and wait for the results. 

However, this can get really expensive and depending on how much information and how many ideas you offer, you might not get the results that you’re looking for. As such, you may want to consider performing your own renovations, especially if you’re interested in the long-term value of learning important DIY skills. If you’re looking to get started with your own renovation projects, then the garden is a perfect place to start for a number of reasons and here’s why.

Outdoor renovations can be tackled one at a time

garden decking




One of the problems with indoor renovations is that the projects you carry out will typically affect everything around them. For example, if you want to repaint the walls of a room, then you’ll need to move everything out and you may be tempted to combine this with replacing the floors or getting rid of some furniture.

With a garden, things are different. If you’re thinking of choosing the perfect outdoor tiles or adding new furniture, then it can be a single project. If you want to replace the tiles, you can just do that without interfering with other elements of your garden. It’s straightforward, easy, and surprisingly quick and painless.

If you make a mistake, you can usually reverse it

Unless indoor renovations, you can typically fix or reverse a mistake when you work on your garden. If you mess up some kind of indoor renovation, then it may involve patching up a wall or trying to fix irreversible damage. With garden renovations, you have a much easier time covering up the damage and fixing things up so that they don’t affect the overall appearance of your backyard. This can help put your mind at ease when trying new things.

You still get to learn important DIY skills


Garden renovations can still teach you a lot of important DIY skills without risking your home. For instance, you can learn a lot about managing your budget for home renovations, you can learn about where to buy materials for a good price, and you can get an idea of how much effort it takes to perform a certain kind of renovation.

Of all the reasons to renovate your garden, you may find that learning new skills is definitely one of the more enticing ones. It’s a fantastic project to learn skills such as laying decking, paving and design and you’d be even surprised at just how much you can learn from a single afternoon working on your garden.

*Collaborative post

5 Ways to Save Money When Moving Home

The cost of buying a new home doesn’t begin and end with the purchase price. There are a number of fees to pay too. You’ve got solicitor’s fees and if it's not your first home purchase, estate agent fees as well. Then there’s the stamp duty to pay unless you’re a first time buyer (who are exempt from paying stamp duty on properties up to £300k). 

If you are a first-time buyer too, perhaps on a shared ownership or help to buy scheme, you’ll also need money to furnish your home from top to bottom. I know places like Ikea are cheap for furnishings but furnishing every room does add up. Even if you already own or rent a property you may still need to buy things like new curtains or blinds. 

All these costs and you haven’t even moved in yet, phew! Speaking of moving in, have you thought about removal costs? You’d probably love someone to pack all your stuff up, move it to your new home and unpack it all while you’re skipping off happily to the estate agent to pick up the keys to your new home.

While yes, this is entirely possible and there are companies who will manage the actual move from start to finish for you, this doesn’t come without a hefty price tag.

You probably have other things you’d rather spend your money on such as that sofa you were coveting online the other day, so here are five ways to save money when moving home.

Do it yourself

New home sign
It’s entirely possible for you to move home yourself. Hire a van and do it yourself, alternatively, to save even more money, borrow a van and do it yourself. You can perhaps rope a friend in to drive for you too, taking some of the stress off you, and you never know they may help you pack too!

Find free boxes

If you are thinking of buying expensive packing boxes - don't. Shops and supermarkets will give you boxes freely. These boxes might be a bit smaller than your average packing box, but smaller boxes are perfect for heavier items such as books. Fill a big packing box with books and you’ll never be able to lift it.

Local Facebook groups, forums and websites such as Freecycle are a great way to find free packing boxes. People who have just moved will be more than happy to let you have their boxes as it gets rid of some clutter in their new home and means they’re doing their bit for the environment by not sending the boxes off to the tip for recycling.

Use newspapers to wrap fragile items

There’s no need to buy expensive, un-environmentally friendly plastic bubble wrap to wrap your fragile items such as glassware. Newspapers will do just as good a job to protect your breakables and newspapers don’t literally cost the earth.

I'm not actually suggesting you go out and buy newspapers to wrap stuff in but if you don’t have any newspapers in your current home, I’m sure you can find people who will be happy to let you have some. Again, ask in local Facebook groups, on Freecycle, or ask around with family and friends. 

Sell your belongings


Not actually having anything to move would certainly save you money, and I don't expect people to not have any possessions but have a declutter and sell your unwanted belongings before you move. This will save you money by having less to move in the first place, therefore incurring fewer trips in the van and you’ll have the added bonus of starting afresh in your new home.  You don't want lots of boxes that will remain unpacked for the next eight years do you? 

So dust off and clean your old jewellery, get rid of the unwanted kids' books and sort out the clothes that no longer fit and sell them for some funds to help you move or give them to charity.

Do some if you can't do all

If you really can’t face the thought of doing all the moving yourself, do some of it instead.  While there are removal companies that will do all the packing and dismantling of furniture for you, then unpacking and reassembling the furniture in the new house, you can save money by doing this yourself. So arm yourself with an electric screwdriver, and some bags for the screws and you are away.

Moving house is undoubtedly a stressful, expensive business, but with a bit of thought and organisation beforehand, there are many ways to save money when moving home.

*Guest post

5 Jewellery Trends Making a Statement in 2021


Trends come and go, but jewellery trends are a fun way you can be bold, update and elevate an outfit with seemingly small yet impactful purchases. In 2021 jewellery trends are all about being bold and making statements, so whether you are a long time jewellery lover or you are looking for jewellery pieces that will make an impact, adding some jewellery accessories is a great way to update your wardrobe.

When you are considering what type of pieces you want to add to your collection, think about your lifestyle and what look you want.  Jewellery is the easiest way to completely transform an outfit: adding a pair of unusual earrings, a silver chain necklace, or a statement ring, can really make your outfit stand out. 

Two major trends in terms of colour for this year are neon and rainbow colours. This is the time to play with colour and lots of it! You can still opt for a neutral outfit but play with fun pops of colour via jewellery.

Here are some of the jewellery trends that are popular for 2021.

Statement rings


statement rings

Statement rings are bold pieces that truly stand out when you wear them, especially when you wear an otherwise understate or classic outfit.  You can find gorgeous statement rings, like the ones from Palmiero Gioielli for example, in the Flagship store of Pisa Orologeria, an excellent place to buy new pieces to add to your collection.

Fringe earrings

Fringe earrings are a way you can make a statement and add a boho element to your outfits. Tassels are everywhere this year, and these statement earrings are a way you can add a little fringe to your outfits. Fringe details come in all different details, such as chain details, crystals, pearls and more. So if you like the detail but want to make sure it suits your personal style, this is a way you can play with this trend but make it your own.

Chain detailing

chain

We have seen chain detailing all throughout 2021, and jewellery is a way you can add this trend to your look easily. You can find plenty of pieces with chain details, from necklaces, earrings, bracelets and rings to add to your collection. Right now, the chunky chain detail is particularly popular and will stand out against those autumn layers.

Flower brooches

While we’re coming into the autumn, we may think of shifting away from floral fashion but winter florals are still on all the runways. With a floral accessory like a brooch, you can add a special and delicate detail that elevates your outfits and gives them something special. Autumn colours are warm colours so think of a brooch in gold or a rose gold colour.

Zodiac-inspired pieces


Zodiac inspired pieces are a fun way you can make a statement and express your unique personality (and star sign) through jewellery. Some of the most popular pieces are pendant necklaces and charm bracelets with a zodiac sign.

So these are 5 jewellery trends making a statement in 2021. What do you think of these trends?

* Written in collaboration with Emily Jones

Ultimate Bucket List: World’s ‘Oldest’ Edition

Most people travel to get away from life’s responsibilities. With limited time and finances, many choose to head for the beach. It’s a solid plan that involves a familiar itinerary: sun, sand, repeat.

However, many also choose to incorporate cultural activities when the opportunity presents itself. Europe, with many centuries-old locations, is popular for history buffs around the world. South, Southeast, and East Asia are also popular destinations for those interested in the artistic and spiritual traditions that stretch back centuries.

In some cases, travellers flock to locations because of ancient history. For example, archaeologists and ethnographers still aren’t sure why ancient humans erected Stonehenge. Regardless, many people travel across continents for a chance to stand near the monolithic stones.

Clearly, there’s an air of wonder that surrounds historic locations. They inspire awe in visitors and ignite the imagination. However, for those looking to create a tour of the world’s oldest locations, there’s bound to be quite a bit of plane-hopping.

Ready for the ultimate bucket list of the world’s oldest locations? Keep reading for destinations related to the arts, entertainment, architecture, and education that are still open to visitors today.

Oldest in Entertainment

Venezia

Casino di Venezia, 1638 (Venice, Italy)

The Casino di Venezia isn’t just the oldest running casino in the world but is also one of the city’s best-preserved palazzos. When the location was established in 1638, it was part of an aristocratic family’s estate or ‘palazzo’. The modern casino has since moved to a new location, but local groups have worked hard to preserve the architecture and design of the original.

Teatro Olimpico, 1585 (Vicenza, Italy)

Though there are remnants of theatres around the world (with the earliest found in Indian caves dating back to around 200BC), the oldest theatre on record is located in Vicenza, Italy. During the start of the Renaissance, the local Vicenza Olympic Academy sponsored the theatre’s stunning design. In 1585, the theatre put on Oedipus the King.

Oldest in the Arts


Capitoline Museums, 1734 (Rome, Italy)

As an early centre for European culture, Italy isn’t short on historical feats. The Capitoline Museums are a series of exhibits that date back to the late 1400s. The museums were used to store bronze statues before opening the halls to the public. Older than the Capitoline Museums is the hillside they’re situated on top, which has been consistently occupied since Etruscan settlers arrived around 500 BC.

Honke Owariya, 1465 (Kyoto, Japan)

Travellers to Kyoto won’t have any trouble locating this famous staple. The Honke Owariya Sobu Shop has been open for half a millennium and has fed emperors and shoguns alike. As a supplier to the Imperial Household, Honke Owariya noodles aren’t just delicious—they’re fit for royalty.

Oldest in Architecture


Iran

Persepolis, 550-330 BC (Shiraz, Iran)

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, this vast ruin is often forgotten alongside the Egyptian Pyramids and sites like Petra in Jordan. Persepolis is a remnant of the powerful Achaemenid Empire and its architectural style, which is defined by grand entrances, massive walls, and towering columns. Alexander the Great even paid a visit in 330 BC.

Göbekli Tepe, 10,000-7,500 BC (Urfa, Turkey)

From the outside, this modest archaeological site might now look like much. However, it’s the world’s oldest standing piece of architecture. Today, scholars believe the early structure was used as a temple.

Oldest in Education

Al-Qarawiyyin Library & University, 859 AD (Fez, Morocco)

Today, Al-Qarawiyyin is part of Morocco’s modern state university system. However, it was founded as a religious learning institution over 1,000 years ago. Some still debate whether Al-Qarawiyyin counts as the oldest university in the world, as its original purpose was as a madrasa rather than a college. However, it’s undisputed that its library is the longest-running in the world. Even more interesting, the establishment was founded by a woman. Today, Al-Qarawiyyin are still taught in traditional methods, such as learning while seated in a half-circle.