Tips to Reduce Neck and Back Pain at Work

Neck and back pain isn't a joke. It can be incredibly painful and debilitating and prevent you from doing several things. With so many sick days every year due to musculoskeletal disorders, it really helps to look after your neck and back.  As what we do at work can also contribute to any musculoskeletal problems it helps to look at how we work and our posture at work. Just a few adjustments can reduce the amount of neck and back pain you get.  Let's have a look at some tips to reduce neck and back pain at work. This is an advertorial. 

Posture

back massage

Poor posture can make your back and neck hurt. When you are sitting at a desk, on a  computer or on the phone we often get lazy and don't think of our posture. Slumping in a chair to do our work puts a toll on our neck and back. So the first thing we need to do is look at our posture. Let's have a look at how we do that. 

Sit upright

Sit upright to help prevent any neck and back pain. Sitting upright with your shoulders back can really work.  Your feet should be on the floor and your lower back should be flush with your chair. Look for a good chair with lumbar support as this can help prevent back pain. You can buy a portable lumbar support cushion if a new chair isn't an option. Lumbar supports help keep your spine in a natural position and help prevent strain on your back.

Positioning

monitor

Your computer or monitor needs to be in the correct position as does your body. If you are working from home don't sit on the sofa with the laptop on your lap, I know we all do it but you are asking for trouble if you do this long term. Your computer or monitor should be directly in front of you. You don't want the computer or monitor to be too low, as this will make you angle your head and put stress on your neck and shoulders. It helps if you have a desk with an adjustable height for this. an ergonomic keyboard can help with arm and hand pain too. When you answer your phone be careful of your positioning too, don't bend your head forward. You also want to avoid pinning your phone between your head and neck if you are doing something else. 

Try exercises 

Gently rotate your shoulders back hold and release. Every so often gently stretch up and then down. If you are working in an environment with other people then you may want to do this on your break, but it's important you do some simple exercises to prevent neck and back pain. It may be a good idea to set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Some simple flexibility exercises can help prevent neck pain. Even a simple gentle rotation of your neck, to the left for 5 seconds and to the right for five seconds can help improve your neck mobility and flexibility. 

Take a break

pilates

It's important to take a break on a regular basis to change your position. Get up. walk around, make a cup of tea. Sitting in the same position for hours really puts a strain on your body posture and is no good for your neck and back. On your lunch break, it can help to go for a short walk, which can also help clear your mind.  If you have a green space near you, go for a walk there as walking in nature can really help stress. If you have a long lunch session, you could consider going to a yoga or pilates session. Pilates especially involves strengthening the body's core through stretching exercises and looks at body posture. 

Stand more

If you find it hard to take a break from work try a standing desk. A standing desk like the Yo Yo Desk PRO 2 is great as it has adjustable height. When your computer, monitor, or desk is at the right height, this prevents neck and back pain as I have already mentioned as it puts less strain on your neck and back.  It is also thought that standing at work can make you more productive, become more creative and burn more calories too.   Sit-Stand desks are recommended by the London Spine Clinic. Check out more information on the benefits of Sit-Stand desks by the Posture Group here. 

Conclusion

As you can see there are a number of things you do to help reduce and prevent neck and back pain at work. With some simple exercises, taking a regular break and looking at your positioning I hope this will reduce neck and back pain for my readers. If you are still having pain, always consult a medical specialist. Let me know, have you ever had neck and back pain? If so what helped you?

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Why You Should Charter A Yacht In The Mediterranean

Have you ever thought of renting a boat,  but not any old boat...a beautiful yacht to sail the Mediterranean? It's the sort of luxury experience that is perfect for a special occasion such as a big birthday, wedding anniversary or huge celebration. There are some serious advantages to hiring a yacht to sail the Mediterranean sea. Let's have a look at why you should charter a yacht in the Meditteranean.

You can see visit several destinations in one trip

Portofino

If you charter a yacht in the Meditteranean you can visit several destinations in one trip. If you want to go to Italy,  sail to the beautiful Almafi coast with its picture-perfect harbours and pastel-coloured houses. You could also visit Sardinia, the second-largest island in the Mediterranean with its secluded coves and white sand beaches. Then you have the richly historic Croatia where Game Of Thrones was filmed and stunning Greece, the birthplace of democracy, known for its ancient temples, beautiful azure coastline and year-long sunny weather.  There are so many destinations to see in the Meditteranean and on a yacht charter you can see so many.

It's the perfect luxury trip

Of course, a yacht charter is the perfect luxury trip, in fact, the yacht itself can even be the destination. From infinity pools to underwater observatories, to the state of the art gadgets and wellness centres, the top of the range yachts can make all your dreams come true. The gadgets on some yachts add to the fun, from motorised SUPs to flyboards and inflatable slides, there are gadgets and toys for everyone.  Service is impeccable too, with the highly attentive staff providing for all your needs around the clock. The food is also outstanding with your own personal chef catering to your every need. This is why hiring a yacht is the perfect luxury trip. 

It offers you freedom

Luxury yacht

There is nothing like being able to sail a yacht around the Meditteranean and plan your own course or go wherever your want and not be tied to itineraries. The flexibility and freedom to plan a once in a lifetime trip cannot be beaten. Of course, it's a good idea to have a rough plan then discuss it with the captain. Yes, you heard that correctly, you often hire a captain (and a crew) when you charter a yacht, so you don't need sailing skills yourself. This means anyone who has the budget can hire a luxury yacht for the sense of freedom and sail anywhere they want.

It's perfect for foodies


Foodies will be in their element on a yacht charter in the Meditteranean. You will have your own private chef who can cook whatever you want. Of course, it makes sense to have the freshest in season Mediterranean vegetables, freshly caught fish and plump locally caught lobster and prawns, but you can have what your heart desires just let your personal chef know. Those with special dietary needs can also be taken care of, ensure your dietary requirements are known before you travel,  what food needs to be avoided and what food you desire. 

As you can see there are many reasons why you should charter a yacht in the Mediterranean. From the food to the luxury to the destinations you will see and so much more, a charter of a luxury yacht is the ultimate bucket list idea. So check out the Mediterranean yachts for rent and begin planning your luxury sailing holiday in the Mediterranean soon.

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Light Wood Living Room Furniture And Calming Decor Tips In 2022

With all the current chaos in the world, having a calm space to escape to is a 2022 must-have in our house.

If you feel overwhelmed when you come home and cannot place why this post is for you. It may be that your home is subliminally creating a busy and stressful atmosphere through your decor. There are many reputable furniture companies such as Hunter Furnishing that have a Stressless range of comfortable furniture to help you relax.

The following decor tips will help you make a more calming change, instantly changing the mood of your home.

Light Wood Livingroom Furniture



A living room is often used to relax, but it might be where your decor is unintentionally creating stress. It might be that your space needs to be brightened up, and a great way to do so is through light wood living room furniture. This can have a calming effect on your environment, making your living space appear larger.

It may be that your space is filled with dark and black wood furniture and switching colour schemes; this can transform your space without having to make any changes to your wall paint or wallpaper.

There are many light coloured wood options such as White Oak, Maple, Beech and Hickory that are very versatile when pairing them with different decor styles. An example would be to pair Beech wood furniture with white and cream pillows and curtains to create a clean, harmonious living room.

It may also be an idea to re-arrange any furniture you may have in your living room. Your space could feel a little cramped and could do with getting rid of the extra table and chairs that never really get used.

Or your space could do with downsizing the huge sofa that doesn’t quite fit. Have a walk around your living room and see what you could get rid of, as the lack of walking space could be contributing to any feelings of chaos.

Change your wall art

It might be time to change the wall art around your home, particularly if you have put together an eclectic gallery wall. Sometimes the problem is having too many things happening at once, keeping your mind wandering.

Having various prints and patterns clash can be a great way to engage the eye; however, it might not be the best idea in creating a calming atmosphere.

Try options with simple designs with more muted colours instead. Adding a mirror is a great trick to adding more dimension and light to your space instead of relying on wall art.

A great design trick is to curate and print out black and white filtered pictures of your treasured memories into hanging picture frames.

This will add a unique personal touch to your home and remind you of good times.

Muting the colours will help create a connection between each picture through the consistent use of muted shades.

Change the smell of your home

candle


Changing the smell of your home can be a simple step with a big impact on your mood.

Over time your nose stops noticing any candles or diffusers you may have on; therefore, changing anything scented can make a big difference in creating a new ambience in your space. This is often the most cost-effective way, with the many different scent options available to suit any preference.

Adding candles also creates a more relaxing mood lighting option in the evenings, saving any electricity costs.

Candles are a great eco-friendly option when it comes to lighting and can be sourced from excellent local sellers in your area, helping support your local small businesses.

This altering mood option is also discreet to do so should you choose not to make any drastic decor changes as scent wall plugs can be easily hidden. Many different pet safe scent wall plugins can also help calm your pets.

Plants

Taking a walk in nature is always a great suggestion in calming your mind, and a great way to bring the outdoors inside your home is to add plants into your space. There are many different plant options available, which will also change season to season.

It can be a great new relaxing hobby for any aspiring green finger. However, there are easy to care for plant options for those with busier schedules. Fake plants are a great alternative, particularly in spaces with not the best light.

If you don’t have much floor space, you can always hang plants from the ceiling in your windows or in corners of the room.

Many plants can benefit from direct light or prefer those darker corners. Having plants within your home can also help improve your air quality as plants absorb carbon dioxide and create oxygen. So not only can having plants be pleasing to the eye but also healthy for your home.

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Why You Should Cruise The Caribbean

Have you ever thought of cruising the Caribbean? It's been something my husband and I have been looking into recently. As there are so many places to see and reasons to go on a Caribbean cruise, we have decided to take the plunge and book. Caribbean cruises have a lot to offer everyone, so this post is about why you should cruise the Caribbean and the advantages of going on a Caribbean cruise. 

You get to visit some great destinations 

Grenada

Going on a Caribbean cruise is a great way of seeing several destinations on one trip. Sure it's not an in-depth introduction to the many different islands you can visit but it is a great taster.  You can find out which Caribbean islands you may want to explore more without committing to a specific island trip. Although there may be similarities with some of the islands, there are also lots of differences in culture,  food and landscape too as each country is beautiful and unique. For example, Grenada is a very green Caribbean island whilst Aruba is arid and dry. 

It's a relaxing way to travel

pool on ship
Cruising is a relaxing way to travel. You don't have the stress of flying between ports and the limited luggage you can take. Cruises generally have a generous luggage allowance  You don't have the stress of choosing from hundreds of places to eat every night but you have a lot of choices to fit most diets from buffets to A La Carte restaurants onboard. You have amazing amenities that can help you relax too on the ship, like hot tubs, swimming pools and spas. You have entertainment onboard that will keep you entertained. Many have kids clubs too so you can relax without worrying about the kids. 

It has some amazing landscapes

Jamaica
You get to see some of the amazing landscapes and variety of flora and fauna when you cruise the Caribbean. As mentioned before each island is different and unique. Islands like Grenada and Dominica are very green but of course, they do get rain, whilst islands like Aruba and Bonaire are less green but get less rain, perfect for all year sun.  Hikers and nature lovers will enjoy St Lucia with the Pitons mountains, and the Vermont Nature Trail in St Vincent.  Whilst Guadaloupe and Jamacia are known for their waterfalls. These Caribbean islands do have one thing in common though - the stunning sunrises and sunsets.  

You have some exciting shore excursions

snorkelling
On a Caribbean cruise, you have some exciting shore excursions. You can go trekking in the rainforest in the Dominican Republic, you can snorkel with stingrays in Grand Cayman, you can go parasailing in CocoCay in the Bahamas, and you can go on one of the longest ziplines in the world in Belize. If you prefer a slower pace of life you can also explore the local culture and go on a food or distillery tour where you try the local food and drink. I mean who can resist Jamaican rum?

It's surprisingly cost-effective 

cocktails

Going on a Caribbean cruise is surprisingly cost-effective. When you compare how much it would be to visit each destination then a Caribbean cruise can be a real bargain. This is often because of the inclusive nature of most cruises. You usually get all your food included, some, if not all drinks including cocktails, entertainment and tips. You don't need to pay for a hotel every night as your ship is your hotel, you don't need to pay for transportation to different airports or a rental car.  When you add up how much it would cost you to stay on each island and the associated costs you realise a Caribbean cruise can be surprisingly cost-effective.

As you can see Caribbean cruises are amazing fun. Let me know, have you been on a Caribbean cruise? Which are your favourite Caribbean islands? 

The Quick-Step Style For Your Home

If you have an urge to revamp or redesign your home, you are probably finding yourself considering many different options. Everything from comfort to practicality and tone is swirling around your head at once and trying to find a solution that ticks all boxes.

For those with a busy home lifestyle, you tend to aim for a practical approach to be productive with the limited timeframe you find yourself accustomed to. If you lead a busy hectic lifestyle, you can still find the right design options around it to make your home that much more special.

Easy Flooring


When we run a busy household, it is hard to constantly clean our home as much as we feel we should. It's that difficult life balance that is hard to get right, especially if all parties work or have commitments outside of the home that requires their time.

This is a consideration in the type of flooring you should implement within your home. Having something easy to look after during whatever time you have to commit to it is a safe option and does not have to be an expensive one. Luxury vinyl flooring is incredibly popular for those with limited time on their hands, and it protects against scratches and stains to ensure you won’t require extra time in fixing sections from pet or child incidents.

Quick-Step vinyl flooring tiles are a very easy product to clean also - with a quick sweep or brush from a mop or broom taking it back to its original look and feel. Also, vinyl's waterproof design features make it perfect flooring throughout any room and the vast number of styles available provide a connective feel throughout the house.

Storage


To reduce your time tidying up during your busy day, ensuring that everything has its own space helps you to keep track of things when in a rush.

By having great storage solutions throughout your home, you can easily tidy up quickly and also be able to find things a lot quicker if they have designated places. Having a storage box in the room for any kids' toys that can be easily moved around to a corner of the room and reducing the risk of trips, slips, and falls over them is a huge advantage.

You can also reduce the number of magazine build-ups by replacing a coffee table with something that does not have an underneath shelving section and making sure those table feet have felt pads on them to eliminate the risk of scratches to your vinyl floor.

Be Minimal

vinyl flooring


If you feel like the room is cluttered, then you may have a fondness for having things minimal to keep things looking more spacious and tidier.

The desire to declutter your home may be the driving force behind your desire to change, with the urge to prioritise what you want in the room and what you feel is something that can be excised. By creating space and finding a natural colour for the room, along with the luxury vinyl flooring, you can complement your overall design and create a calmer environment for your personality.

It all comes down to how you choose to spend what time you have within your home and what makes you feel relaxed. With small to medium changes, the Quick-Step is not just in the flooring design, but also how quickly you can achieve this new level of comfort.

3 Advantages of Living in a Caravan

Living in a caravan brings in a lot of questions, but first of all, let me ask – are you fed up with the rental payments or eye-watering mortgage payments? If yes, caravan living is for you! 

The sheer joy that comes out of getting to see the world without being tied down to any one particular place is amazing; caravan living comes with a lot of benefits!

While there are many adjustments and practical things that you need to take care of - for instance, where to empty the portaloo, problems that come with compressor noises, where to park and so on, there’s a lot more to this style of living. Keeping that aside, I'm here to tell you some of the amazing advantages of living in a caravan. A caravan can be a static caravan or one which you drive around.

So let’s get started!

1. A Cheaper Option Compared To Renting Or Buying Your Own Home


caravan


When it comes to private rentals or buying your own home, you will realise prices are through the roof. In today’s world, there is a shortage of social housing and with interest rates on the rise more than ever, you dare not think of a mortgage.

On the other hand, if you compare the price of a modest property in the UK to the cost of a caravan you will realise that a caravan is much cheaper. Buying second-hand reduced the cost even more. 

Additionally, there is no stamp duty to be paid either on the purchase of a caravan, just 5% VAT on the purchase price. If you have a static caravan on site you will pay an annual fee but it will still be a lot cheaper than renting or buying a property, or you can buy a caravan or motorhome you can drive around.

2. Cheaper Cost Of Living

caravan

Not only are caravans cheaper to buy, but living in one reduces the cost of living by a lot.

You don’t have to pay council tax, instead, the site owners are charged based on the number of vans they have – this is then passed on to you as a nightly or monthly combined fee. You don't have to pay for buildings insurance and maintenance costs either. 

Additionally, you will also save money on utility bills. Generally, the caravans will be powered by an electrical hook-up on-site, the cost of which will be included in the nightly fee. This is probably one of the most amazing benefits, so much so that if there is ever a power cut, you can use a backup generator for power.

Then follows the benefit of using saved money on something important. You can find ways to minimise your problems such as noise coming out of your sewage treatment, for a better standard of living.

3. Flexibility Of Location

caravan by the stars

Probably one of the most attractive benefits of living in a caravan is the ease of location. You are not tied down to one place,  with a caravan or motorhome you drive around, you have the liberty to roam around and live wherever you want within reason. 

If you opt for a static caravan you won't be able to move but if you wish to live a life of a traveller, a mobile caravan should be your choice. Then you can live in any part of the country you see fit, perhaps the countryside of Scotland in the Summer, before taking advantage of Cornwall in the Winter or even drive farther afield and enjoy the warm weather of southern Europe when it's cold in the UK.

You will have to make sure that your vehicle has an MOT, and is fully road legal. There will be some restrictions on how long you stay in a country so look into this if you are coming from the UK to Europe. It's also advisable to always book ahead for a caravan pitch in the summer.

Conclusion

Caravan living 
offers a cheaper way of living and with the flexibility of location you get in a mobile caravan, it can feel like you are on a permanent holiday. Caravan living is like living your life as one big holiday, and you have the advantage of the fact that most sites are set in nature, surrounded by tourist attractions.

If you choose to live in the countryside, you will witness lush green picturesque views right out your window, and if you choose to live in a more urban area just outside one of the U.K.’s major cities, you will have a lot of attractions close by.

All in all, this style of living might sound unusual but believe me, a lot of people are choosing to live this way. Let me know, have you ever considered living in a caravan?

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Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Designer For The Perfect Day

Your wedding is a day that you want to remember for the rest of your life, but what happens when you have trouble bringing your dream wedding to life? Well, thanks to Supernova Wedding Design you won’t have to worry about that. With their wedding designer services, they will help you bring your dream wedding to life.


wedding couple


To help you decide why you should hire a wedding designer, read on, and find out exactly what they do and how they can help experience your dream wedding.

What is a Wedding Designer?

A wedding designer is an artist who brings your wedding dreams to life. Wedding designers are responsible for creating the wedding design concept by considering what the couple has asked for. The wedding designer will focus on all the aesthetics of your special day from your colour palette, table settings, flowers even to the hiring of wedding decor.

When hiring a wedding designer it is important to keep in mind that they are different from wedding planners. A wedding designer’s main focus is to help make your dream wedding a reality while a wedding planner helps you manage planning your wedding by scheduling meetings with wedding vendors, overseeing the wedding day, and even helping you with sticking to your budget.

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Wedding Designer


A wedding designer will bring your vision to life

Wedding designers are masters at bringing peoples wedding visions to life. All you need to do is give your wedding designer an idea of the type of colour, flour, and decor aesthetics that you have in mind. Then your wedding designer can help create a few different wedding design ideas that you can choose from to help you create your perfect day.

A wedding designer will offer professional advice and expertise

Wedding designers have created many different weddings which means that they can offer sage advice on different aspects of the wedding. With their expertise in creating different weddings, they can help you make all the right choices to make sure that you have a wonderful and memorable day.

A wedding designer will save you time


Once you hire a wedding designer you no longer have to spend time worrying about figuring out which flowers you will choose for your wedding, how the tables will look, or even the colour palette. A wedding designer can help figure this out for you and present you with the best options that you can choose from. This will not only save you time but also make planning your wedding a less stressful and more enjoyable experience.

Wedding designers usually have connections with wedding vendors

When it comes to finding wedding vendors and even wedding decors this can be extremely frustrating for someone who has no experience in the wedding planning industry. Luckily, a wedding designer can help you connect with their recommended wedding vendors who you will be able to rely on to provide everything you need to bring your dream wedding to life.

Wedding designers will create a unique wedding experience suited to you

One of the main reasons why couples choose to hire a wedding designer is because of the unique wedding experience they create. Wedding designers truly value the couple's input and thoughts, after all, it is their special day. A good wedding designer will make sure that your wedding suits you.

Where Should You Look for a Wedding Designer?

Supernova Wedding Design can help you create your special day, with years of experience in the wedding design and planning industry. The Scottish, award-winning wedding design company knows how to turn a couples dream wedding into a reality that they will remember for the rest of their lives together.

Final Thoughts


Wedding designers help turn a couple's dream wedding into a reality. From the tiniest of details like the colour palette to the flower arrangements, a wedding designer has the eye to create an unforgettable day. So whether you are having trouble figuring out what you want your wedding to look like or just need some help bringing your vision to life, get in touch with Supernova Wedding Design.

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5 Things You Shouldn't Do On A Plane

With travel coming back to normal many of us may be thinking of where to go on our next holiday. If you are travelling abroad then you are probably travelling by plane. Now, I don't know about you but I find the whole process of flying stressful. There is a lot that we need to do to be prepared to fly and then there is a lot we shouldn't do. More so now than ever. 

boarding pass


Let's have a look at some of the things you shouldn't do on a plane, for your health and safety and other people's comfort.

Get seriously drunk

It's not a good idea to get seriously drunk on a plane. Firstly if you are inebriated then you won't be able to react quickly if there is an emergency. Secondly, no one wants someone seriously drunk on a plane as there is a chance they could become aggressive, vomit or pass out. Due to changes in the pressure in the cabin, alcohol can affect you more when you are on a plane too. So be careful how much you drink. If you are drunk getting onto a plane then the staff have the right to refuse your boarding. If you bought alcohol in duty-free you aren't allowed to consume it on the plane either but you can buy it on board. Staff have a right to refuse to sell you alcohol though if they think you have had too much.

Smoke

Besides the smell of smoking which is not pleasant to non-smokers and is potentially cancer forming, smoking on a plane is a fire hazard. Also, you cannot take electronic cigarettes/vapes on a plane either. Many of these emit a smoke-like substance and the batteries can be a fire hazard. If the thought of a long flight without smoking is difficult for you, you could possibly take a nicotine patch or a nicotine substance like nicotine pouches sold by snusdirect. Nicotine punches contain a substance that you put under your top lip where it releases the flavour and nicotine. Check with the legalities of the country first. 

Take forbidden food

You can take food on a plane but there are certain restrictions if you are going internationally and these can vary according to the country. Certain foods like fresh fruit may have to be eaten on the plane and not brought into the country. If it's liquid-based it would need to go in a checked bag unless it is under 100 MLS and can go in a clear plastic bag of a certain size in your hand luggage. Check with your airline first. Prohibited agricultural items including certain fruits and seeds can harbour plant pests and foreign animal diseases that could seriously damage the crops of the country and the environment. Also, don't take smelly food on a plane as it's not good etiquette so leave the egg and tuna sandwiches at home. 

Ignore hygiene

plane
Something you shouldn't do on a plane is to ignore hygiene, especially in these COVID times. I usually wipe everything over like the tray table and armrests if they are plastic with an antibacterial wipe. When you go to the bathroom be sure to wash and dry your hand properly, and don't touch what you don't need to. Also, don't walk barefoot in the bathroom. Wipe your hands with an antibacterial wipe after too. There are lots of germs on a plane and with the staff having to turn around a plane in less than 30 minutes sometimes you can't be sure it's all cleaned properly. It goes without saying that be sure to attend to your hygiene needs too, so shower and use deodorant as no one wants someone smelly sitting next to them. 

Carry something hazardous

When you check in you will be shown a list of hazardous substances. Don't have any of these or lie that you don't have them as this can get you into serious trouble and could be dangerous.  These are things like explosive substances, including party poppers and fireworks, poisons including weedkillers, and flammable substances like lighter fuel and paints. Also, hand luggage restrictions are different to hold restrictions so be sure to check these out too. These substances can vary slightly from country to country but generally are the same, however always read the list carefully to avoid being caught out. 

So these are 5 things you shouldn't do, when you travel on a plane, from the mild to the serious. Have you ever seen someone drunk on a plane? Do you wipe down the seat tray?

Handy Tips For Attending An Event At The O2 Arena

The O2 Arena in London is one of the most iconic venues for live music in the world. The dome was originally built to house The Millennium Experience – an incredibly popular exhibit created to mark the beginning of the third millennium.

Nowadays, it plays host to some of the biggest global superstars in the music world today, such as The Rolling Stones, The Spice Girls, Beyonce, and many more.

Alongside this, it has since been adapted further, with experts innovatively turning this global arena into an incredible adventure experience. Up at the O2 is a popular ticketed activity where you can climb the O2 by day – or night! – and experience the wondrous 360 views across London.

In this article, I share some top tips for attending an event at the O2 Arena.

Consider booking accommodation


While the gig alone that you’re attending will no doubt be phenomenal (if it’s an artist or band big enough to front the mighty O2!) why not go one step further and make a night or a weekend of it by booking accommodation? There’s nothing worse than experiencing an electrifying night of live music only to be hit full force with the anti-climatic train or taxi journey home afterwards. Make it memorable by booking accommodation to extend the experience further. There are stunning serviced apartments available in nearby Canary Wharf, only a short tube ride to the O2.

Plan ahead

If you’ve ever been to a much-anticipated gig, you’ll know how hectic the crowds can be. This doubles in London, with roads and tube stations alike, becoming absolutely
 gridlocked. Always plan ahead, ensuring you set off with plenty of time to spare so that any delays won’t prevent you from getting to the venue on time.

Pack wisely

Be sure to review The O2’s prohibited items list before setting off, so that you know exactly what you can and can’t bring along. The last thing you want is to be stopped at the security barriers for carrying an item you shouldn’t be. This can include items such as sharp objects, food, and drinks. Even sealed bottles of water can be confiscated so don’t waste any time packing supplies that may be discarded. Review the list so you know exactly what not to pack.

Prepare your COVID pass

In this post-pandemic age, NHS COVID passes are now required at selected large-scale events, such as concerts and festivals. Prepare your documentation in advance so that you have everything to hand ahead of the gig. You can access this by downloading the NHS app onto your mobile phone, where you can apply for a digital copy – alternatively, you can bring along a printed copy if you’d like to be on the safe side. Your COVID pass will contain a page dedicated to each vaccination that you’ve received.


So here are some handy tips for attending an event at the O2 Arena. Have you visited?

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What Can Podcasts Teach Us?

By 2023, 1 billion people will be listening to them at least once a month. What you may wonder they are listening to?  Podcasts. Podcasts, a loose combination of the words “iPod” and “broadcasting”,  are carving out an increasingly important space in our daily routine.

podcast

They are ideal to listen to when out walking, on the bus or train to work, in the car or at home and they offer a range of topics. 

One of the areas that are growing in podcast topics is edutainment. Edutainment is a combination of education and entertainment, and these podcasts are becoming more and more popular. That's why Babbel – the world's first language-learning app have created the infographic "What can a Podcast Teach You?", to explain this global phenomenon through lots of fun facts and data, while also offering a series of useful tips for learning languages... by listening to podcasts.


As the infographic explains, in 2021, Brits listened to almost 60 million hours of podcasts every week. This was up by over 50% compared to 2019. In 2022, even more growth is expected with just under 3 million listeners from the UK. That's a lot of people!  From Stephen Fry 'Inside your Mind' to 'Today in Focus', a podcast by The Guardian that covers a crucial fact in 20 minutes, to 'Eat Sleep Work Repeat' by Bruce Daisley, the Vice President of Twitter, there are many podcasts loved by the British.

Podcasts are great at teaching you about subjects too, from science to marketing, from history to writing, podcasts are a great way of teaching and educating. 

Babbel has also launched numerous podcasts to help language learning. In fact, there are many educational benefits to listening to Babbel’s podcasts: They present and introduce relevant cultural elements, they help improve pronunciation and conversation and they also explain new linguistic forms of speech.

Let me know, do you listen to podcasts? What are your favourite shows? 

* Written in collaboration with Emily Jones

Interesting Design Features To Add To A Home

Do any of us have the perfect home? Unless you have a millionaire's budget there is likely to be things that you want to change. Maybe your house is too small, your rooms too dark or you need some extra space to relax in.  Here are some interesting design features to add to your home to make it lighter, brighter, bigger and more interesting. 

Feature Wall

bedroom mural

If you haven't got the budget for major changes then a feature wall makes a good compromise. Adding bespoke bedroom wall murals can make a bedroom more interesting, especially if the rest of it is in a neutral colour. Providing maximum impact you can buy wallpaper UK online or from a home store and there is a range of budgets to suit all prices. 

Skylights


Adding skylights to a dark room can really brighten it up and make it feel lighter whilst giving us the added benefit of vitamin D from the sun. Modern UPVC skylights are self-cleaning and thermally efficient too so keep the heat in whilst saving your money on your energy bills.

Conservatory

conservatory

A conservatory is an excellent way to add extra space to your home and is not just for hotels and cafes. A conservatory made of glass panels is very light and airy and can be a lovely place to sit in the Summer or Winter especially. It is also one of the ways to add extra value to your home according to property expert Phil Spencer and we all want that don't we?

Loft Conversion

loft conversion

If you need more space in your home but can't afford to move consider a loft conversion. A loft conversion is another way of increasing the value in your home whilst creating extra space. A loft conversion can be used for another bedroom, a cinema room or a music room for example and is a great design feature that all the family can enjoy.

Garage


Adding a garage to your home can be really worthwhile to help protect your car and lower your car insurance but if you don't have a car or need the space consider converting the garage into another room. Adding extra rooms to your home can really add value as well giving you that chill-out space. You could even rent the space out.

Wine Cellar


If you are a connoisseur of wine, why not make a wine cellar in your basement?  There are many websites out there that can help you with the conversion and can suggest the materials you need such as an air conditioning unit to keep the wine at the correct temperature, moisture-resistant flooring and paint. When it's done you can sit and relax with a glass of wine enjoying your new cellar.

Tell me would do you have any of these design features in your home or would any of these appeal to you?

*Collaborative post

Perfect Gifts For Girls From Wicked Uncle

Buying a present for a child can be really difficult these days. I mean most kids have a lot compared to when I was young.  If you are buying for a girl it can be even more awkward to know whether or not to buy them a gift that is typically girlie or not. Of course, you don't want to presume they love unicorns and cuddly toy kittens these days, even though many girls do! So here is a gift guide from Wicked Uncle for the perfect gifts for girls, whether they are studious, whether they are sporty or whether they are creative. This is an advertorial. 

For the adventurous gardener

Hungry bug eating plants

Hungry Bug Eating Plants - Grow Your Own £10.95

For the child that is showing an interest in gardening, this box has everything you need to grow your own Venus Flytrap and Pitcher Plant. It's straightforward to plant the seeds, the compost discs are provided and the pots, all the child has to do is water the plants. Comes with a little gardening puzzle box too. Plants are covered in year one of the National Curriculum for Science so this is a great STEM gift.

For the thoughtful child
diary


Secret Diary Set
- Pens, Stickers & Padlock £19.95

If you are buying for a child who loves to write then this secret diary set is a super choice. This A5 lockable diary is the perfect size to pop in a bag or keep in a desk at home. It has 200 pages and a variety of activity pages too with puzzles, stickers and more so you can personalise the diary.   It also has a magic pen so she can write invisible messages, I mean how cool is that? It comes with a butterfly padlock to ensure it's secure. 

For the promising engineer

Robot pets


Robot Pet Shop - Build 8 Motorised Animals £29.95

Now, this would make a fantastic present for those promising engineers out there. Build 8 motorised animals, from chameleons to a hopping bunny, and put them all together with the help of the 32 page step-by-step book. The models are specially made for little hands. What I love about the Robot pet shop is that it is fun and educational. 

For the sporty girl

football

Smart Ball - Counts Keepy Uppys for you! £21.99

If you know a girl who loves her football or you want to find a gift for a sporty girl then this smart ball would make the perfect gift. It's a really cool gift as the technology in the ball counts how many times you keep the ball off the ground, whether you are kicking it, or kneeing it. The ball lights up with every touch and the speaker calls out your score. A gift that makes exercise fun too.

For the budding doctor

human body game

The Human Body - Under X-Ray £17.95

For the budding doctors, nurses and paramedics, then this is a fun learning aid all about the human body. It's a jigsaw puzzle with 84 pieces. Children can study the jigsaw and work out what part goes where and the cards that go with the puzzle help in identifying the human body. There is a clever UV torchlight to locate and reveal what cannot be seen with the naked eye. The perfect gift for any child that wants to work in the health service.

As you can see, Wicked Uncle have some of the most perfect gifts for girls that are that bit different and the most amazing gifts for girls with enquiring minds. They also have brilliant gifts for boys too. Let me know, do you have a favourite of these gifts featured? Have you heard of Wicked Uncle? 

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Cosmo Necklace Review From Jewellery Company Carat* London

If you are looking for some beautiful jewellery for a special occasion or to treat yourself you may think of diamond inset jewellery or sparkling gemstones like sapphire or emerald. The problem with most precious stones is the fact that the majority of them are mined causing damage to the environment. However, did you know there are alternatives to minded gemstones?  Let's have a look at some of these alternatives and some of the jewellery Carat* London sell. This is an advertorial. Carat* London has sent me a necklace in exchange for an honest review. 

Who are Carat * London?

Carat* London are a jewellery brand that was established almost 20 years ago. Their mission is to work exclusively with the finest alternatives to mined gemstones. They believe beautiful jewellery doesn't have to damage the environment.  Carat* London now sell in over 100 places around the world and have a strong celebrity following including Lady GaGa, Ellie Goulding and  Courtney Love. They are a big supporter of British performing arts and sponsor BAFTA, the British Academy Of Film and television arts in the UK. 

What type of jewellery does Carat* London sell?

Carat* London sell a range of jewellery made with alternatives to mined gemstones. From necklaces to earrings, to rings to bracelets, everything is made with diamonds and gemstones that are made in a lab and not mined from the ground. They say that they believe all gemstones should have gentle beginnings and I love this ethos. Sustainable lab-created diamonds are so much better for the planet than traditionally mined diamonds and you are also reassured that these are not conflict diamonds as well. 


Carat* London sent me a necklace to review for the purpose of this post. The necklace was delivered in a white branded Carat* London box with a grey branded ribbon. The box looked very smart and would make a great gift.

necklace

The Cosmo necklace is a very beautiful two layered chain necklace. On the shorter chain (25cm) is a star shaped Stella pendant. On the longer chain (46cm) is a small Marquis shaped drop pendant. The longer chain has small stones dotted along the chain. 

necklace on jewellery stand

The chain is sterling silver with a white gold finish. What I love about this necklace is that it sparkles in the light.

The detailing at the back adds to the beauty of the necklace. It has two sliders that allow you to adjust the length of the chains. This makes it perfect if you have a low cut dress or want to wear it higher. It's easy to adjust the length of the chains with the slider. 

necklace

The stunning Cosmo necklace retails at £249 and has earrings to match. I think for the quality of the necklace this is a reasonable price. This necklace is perfect to wear with a black dress for a glamorous occasion.

Check out the other jewellery they sell from the Carat* London website. Let me know, have you heard of lab created gemstones? What do you think of the Cosmo necklace? 

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How Live Entertainment Can Enhance Your Party

Have you ever thrown a party, and just felt like something was missing? Or maybe you attended a wedding or birthday party that just felt boring. When planning a party like an anniversary party or holiday party, you may spend a lot of time and energy picking out the perfect food and drinks, buying or making decorations, or even creating invitations.

However, a lot of the time, entertainment may be an afterthought. You may throw together a playlist at the last minute or hastily search for some party games online. But you can really bring your party to the next level with live entertainment. Here is how live entertainment can enhance any party you may throw:

Upgraded Entertainment

guitarist

Entertainment like a playlist is something that can easily blend into the background and go ignored at almost any party. But live entertainment like a band, comedian or other performers (juggler for a kid’s birthday party, anyone?) will definitely ensure that your chosen entertainment is anything but background noise.

Guests will not be able to ignore live musicians or live performers. Your guests can’t help but enjoy themselves with live entertainment, and the compliments will roll in. Not to mention, any booked talent at an event will be professionals who have experience at the type of party you are throwing, and that experience comes with professional equipment as well as enhanced entertainment for you and your guests.

Interactive and Personalised

comedy stand up

Live entertainment like a band, DJ, or performer also has the bonus of being able to get to know you, the person you are throwing the party for, or the guests at the party and respond to what you or they specifically want. Professional DJs or live bands take requests at weddings, making the experience enjoyable and interactive for you and your guests and making the music very personal for you.

Comedians performing at a birthday party may take the time to get to know you and your friends and tailor their set for maximum laughs. Professional performers for kids’ parties will be able to learn the name and interests of the birthday boy or girl and incorporate that into their act. These small enhancements will really bring your party to the next level, and make it all the more fun for your guests.

Memorable

balloon artist

The combination of the previous two elements, upgrading your entertainment and making it more personal, will also make your party memorable. It will be hard for your guests to forget the great cover band you had at your anniversary party or the balloon artist you had at your child’s party who made a giraffe balloon animal per their child’s request and to their child’s utter delight for the rest of the week.

A memorable party is a boon for everyone from the host to the guests and will provide memories that you can revisit for years to come.

Live entertainment really takes the next step and brings your party to a higher level. If you want your party to be memorable and personal for both you and your guests, consider booking a professional for live entertainment.