Wednesday 30 September 2020

How to Host a Socially Distanced Celebration.

{Collaborative content} 2020 has been a tough year for people all over the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought both illness and tragedy to virtually every country on the planet. Not only has this affected people’s physical health, but it has profoundly impacted from a mental health perspective too. From limited social interaction to the loss of jobs and income, a lot of people’s lives have had to be put on hold. 

Although we are still dealing with COVID, it seems that most people are eager to learn how to live with the virus. Without returning to full-blown normality, many are keen to get back to doing some of the things they’ve always enjoyed doing. Whether this involves incorporating a virtual slant to their regular hobbies or it means keeping two metres apart from their friends, a “new normal” seems better than no normal. 

While it’s important that you remain responsible in the current climate, it’s equally crucial that you don’t lose your ability to socialise and enjoy life. People have already lost so much during this pandemic, so why continue to miss out over the coming months?

Something that most people enjoy to do in life is to celebrate important occasions. Traditionally, celebrations take place in the form of social events. Whether they take place in a home or a public setting, celebrations generally involve close human contact. Although parties and celebrations like this are not recommended, there’s no reason why people can’t find alternative ways to enjoy themselves socially. 

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to celebrate and socialise while socially distancing. While government restrictions may change from week-to-week, some of the following ideas are compliant no matter the circumstances. With this in mind, here are some fantastic ways to celebrate while socially distancing. 

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels.

  1. Keep the crowd numbers low

If you do happen to have a gathering of people at your home or a venue, ensure that you keep the numbers low. Involve only the most crucial people for the event. Elderly and vulnerable people are recommended to stay home and avoid gatherings like this. 

In the current climate, people are usually quite understanding when it comes to attending gatherings, so don’t hesitate to reach out to explain the situation. 

You should also respect how people feel about meeting up socially. If someone declines your invitation, don’t take offence. Those in attendance might be a little stand-offish or nervous. 

Keep the numbers low and enjoy the event as best as you can.

  1. Use hand sanitiser

To keep things as sanitary as possible, make sure to leave out ample sanitiser for your guests. Display signage around the room reminding people to use the hand sanitiser. 

A lot of hand sanitiser has a strong alcohol smell. A great way to mask this smell is to light scented candles around the area. Not only does this block out the chemical odour, but it also creates a pleasant mood and can enhance the vibes. 

  1. Hire a professional cleaning service

You or some of your guests might be worried about having adequate cleanliness at the party. Cleaning services are now completely up to speed with what it takes to minimise the potential spread of illness. Whether you hire them to clean before, during, or after the celebration, having a professional cleaning service on-site can put your mind at ease that all the necessary sanitation procedures are taking place. 

  1. Use disposable cups, plates and cutlery

Although single-use and one-off items are often harmful to the environment when they’re not disposed of correctly, they are essential for social events at the moment. Disposable plates and cutlery allow people to eat and drink socially, with minimal contact. 

Wash your hands thoroughly before laying out the equipment and leave a bag or box for used items. Research the recommended way to dispose of your used items. 

  1. Spaced out seating

Ensure that your seating arrangement is compliant with social distancing recommendations. Maximise the room that you have and space out the seating as much as you can. An excellent approach to this is to create a seating plan so that you ensure safety while making it possible to socialise.

  1. Take the party outdoors

While indoor gatherings are permitted currently, the outdoors are likely to be the safest and most comfortable setting for a party or gathering at present. With an outdoor party, you have much more room to work with. Outdoor events are also permitted to hold larger gatherings of people. 

Invest in some weatherproof speakers so that you can entertain the masses without worrying about damaging your sound equipment. Consider setting up a marquee or gazebo for some added cover. As we wave goodbye to the summer months, you’ll need to find outdoor heaters or fire pits to keep guests warm. 

Although an outdoor celebration might be tricky to organise, it could be the best way to host a large celebration. 

  1. Consider using catering services

If you’re worried about preparing food or sharing food with groups of people, a professional catering service could be a great option. As well as supporting a local business, using a catering company brings a professional approach to the cuisine. 

Catering companies have the use of professional kitchens and can create large batches of food in a safe and clean environment. Find a company that specialises in your favourite type of food and make a query about catering your event. 

A food truck or pop-up restaurant could be another quirky option to add some flair to the party.

  1. Organise a virtual party

Sometimes, a physical gathering is completely off the cards. In such scenarios, a virtual celebration is the best option. 

The 2020 lockdown saw the use of video calling and conferencing hit an all-time high. People all over the world have been using Google Hangouts, Zoom, and other technologies to communicate with family and friends. 

Put together a party itinerary and get people to join you on camera for a virtual party. Encourage people to stock up on snacks and drinks, and let the festivities begin. 

There are several great games and activities that you can take part in virtually. Some fun virtual party games to enjoy include trivia quizzes, charades, Pictionary, bingo, and cards against humanity (for the adults). 

Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to celebrate and have fun. Take the necessary safety precautions, adapt, and go the extra mile to make it work. 

Wednesday 23 September 2020

What you want to Know about having an Open Fire.

{Collaborative content} When it comes to what makes a comfy and cosy home, there are many aspects of the fantasy that change from person to person. We all have our own tastes. However, there’s one notion that tends to remain pretty consistent: that of the open fire. However, while the fantasy might be clean and easy, the reality can be a bit of a hassle, so here are some tips to make sure you’re not getting overwhelmed by your open fire.

You need to childproof it
Keeping your home safe isn’t just about securing the entrances and keeping your valuables protected. It’s about making sure that the indoors are safe as well. To that end, if you have any young ones or pets running around the home, then it’s a good idea to childproof the fire. A good fireguard should be big enough to encompass the whole fireplace, and secure enough that it can’t easily be moved out of the way by a child.

Do not just burn any old wood
If you’re buying or acquiring wood to burn in the fireplace, then make sure that you’re using the right wood. Good firewood is dried and cured, making it burn more efficiently. There’s nothing wrong with chopping your own firewood if you can acquire it. However, furniture wood, lumber, and construction scraps should not be going anywhere near your fireplace. A lot of these woods are treated in some way and may release chemicals in the home when burned that could end up doing real damage to your health.

Keep your wood dry and secure
You’re likely going to be keeping up with your supply of wood to keep the fire going through the colder months. Do not make the mistake that a lot of new fireplace owners make. Don’t leave your wood outside. If you don’t have a storage space for it, it might be time to look at installing a log store in the garden,. Damp fire is not going to burn well and might end up wasting your money.

Know how to control the damper
The damper is the slot in the door at the front of the fireplace that effectively controls how much airflow gets into the fire. You want to open it enough to get rid of smoke when the fire is on. However, if you open it too much, then cold air will rush in, carrying the heat up the chimney instead. Furthermore, you shouldn’t close the damper too early as this can result in smoke building up from the smouldering embers.

Know when to call for help
If there’s a lot of smoke building up, even if the damper is open, then it might be time to have your chimney swept. Otherwise, it’s recommended that you do this at least once a year, usually before winter when you’re more likely to need those services.

An open fire can be every bit the luxurious home comfort as you might imagine. However, it also demands taking some responsibility for it, too. There is snothing better than a roaring fire on a cold and dreary evening. 

Monday 7 September 2020

Booking a Secure Post Covid Holiday.

{Collaboratie Content} You love to travel and want to take advantage of the restrictions. Nobody can blame you for this because everybody deserves a break this year! As you know, this blog is still posting travel content during the pandemic, so there's no judgement here!

Figuring out how to secure your holiday financially in a post-Covid world isn't straightforward. Let's face it - anything can happen by the time you book it and get around to boarding the plane. You don't want the industry's unpredictable nature to get in the way, but you're desperate to travel. It's such a horrible predicament!

Thankfully, there are ways to limit the damage.

Book With A Safe Airline 

"Safe" depends on your definition! Firstly, you want to choose an airline that doesn't appear as if it's about to go bust any time soon. For example, flying with Delta or Virgin after a multimillion-pound bailout is a gamble. Cancelling your flight is one thing, but you won't get anything back if they go bust. Also, you should factor in which companies have treated their customers well during the pandemic. Ryanair has yet to pay back the fees for cancelling, and some of them backdate to March. Therefore, it may be better to pick another airline if you need the money returned quickly.

Opt For A Package Deal

While package deals are usually not as cheap, they offer a higher level of protection. This is because you have two options regarding cancellations. Imagine the scene. You only book a plane ticket and the airline refuses to cancel, even though the Coronavirus R number is increasing. Sadly, you don't have much protection if the flight goes ahead as planned. Thankfully, with a package deal, the company has to come through with the accommodation too. Therefore, if the hotel cancels, you're entitled to a refund within two weeks.

Go Late

If you prefer not to take the chance with a more expensive holiday, a flight-only trip is the best option. You run the risk of not receiving a refund, yet there are lots of risks involved anyway. The trick is to draw a line in the sand regarding what you're willing to spend. Nobody likes to lose money, but if it's an amount you're happy to forfeit, you won't lose sleep. Always book late deals. Post-Covid, the latter you pull the trigger, the better since the situation will be clearer than if you do it weeks in advance. 

Delay It

Alternatively, you may not want a refund. Before you dismiss the crazy notion, you can accept vouchers instead, or the airline could offer to honour your booking in the future. For lots of people, this isn't suitable; however, you may find it ideal if the deal is affordable and you want something to look forward to in the future. It's been a long year, and it's not over yet, so a holiday when the pandemic has calmed down could get you through the hard times!

Here's to hoping your trip goes ahead and is as incredible as you imagined!

Sunday 6 September 2020

Capturing the Newborn Days.

{Collaborative content} Having a baby is such a wonderful experience, when that squishy, little squeaky newborn is thrust in your arms it can both be overwhelming and mind blowing at the same time, especially if your first born. There are many things you can do or might want to consider to enable you to look back on these memories. Here is a little list of things to consider to capture those wonderful baby days!

- Capturing those special moments by using a newborn photographer is definitely top of my list. We had a photo shoot done with Alfie and the photos are just such a wonderful and special memento, I look back on them with such fondness. Of course you will need to research your local photographers to make sure you get someone you can trust with taking some beautiful images. Ask the photographer for their advice, ask them to play around with different effects and backgrounds, sometimes having plain backgrounds can be super effective, or you may want something a bit more quirky, or you may want a bold background such as solid wood flooring, the options are endless but you will be so pleased that you have captured moments. 

- Get a memory bear made. Using old sleepsuits or similar, memory bears can be such a lovely and effective way of having a keepsake. These look so cute and can have the babies name, date of birth and weight stitched onto the paws, or whatever you want really to make them personal. They look lovely and can passed down through generations. 

- Fill in your red book. You know those books that you get given at birth well fill them in! They are a wonderful memento and are a great reminder of immunisations and lost teeth! 

- Buy a memory book. Now I admit I was good with keeping the memory book up to date with my first but not so much with my second, however I am pleased I did make the effort more or less as I have some great memories written down and to look back over the years.

- Use some milestone cards or a milestone mat to capture all those wonderful firsts! I can't tell you how lovely it is to look back over the pictures of these! Such nice memories.

Of course there are so many things you can do and these tips really are just a small selection. There are many ways you can capture the newborn days to ensure you have lots of memories but of course the best thing about newborn babies is being able to care for them, nuture them and make them feel loved.