Wednesday 28 October 2020

7 Reasons Why Travel Should be a Priority.

{Collaborative Content} They say that "he who does not travel dies slowly " and that traveling revives the mind. It makes us learn about other cultures, get to know ourselves, and be aware of the world around us. Traveling we get out of the routine, out of the known, we leave our problems behind and time seems to slow down. Those who seek an adventure may want to do so for many reasons. 2020 has been difficult and it has left us feeling lost and sometimes isolated. It is good to look at challenges and travel more, to feel alive and to feel fulfilled. There are many reasons why these adventures could benefit your mental and physical health. Here are just some of them.

Photo: Unsplash

1. Break from the old routine

Probably, all our days seem the same lately, and little by little it extinguishes the desire to enjoy. A trip is the best way to end the monotony of day to day routines. There we are the ones who decide the plan, the places to visit and the time to spend in each of them.

2. Lets us reflect

Sometimes all we need to do is solve our problems in a calm environment. A time out will clear the mind and allow us to look at things from another perspective.

3. Discover new places

Whether we decide to hang our backpack on our back or sail the sea on a luxury cruise, traveling will always take us to places to discover. Walk through natural landscapes, visit imposing monuments or sleep in beautiful hotels, whatever we like the most can bring plenty of benefits.

4. Immerse yourself in other cultures

There is nothing more enriching than learning from others. Each culture has its strengths and weaknesses. For this reason, someone who has traveled a lot will make the ones that contribute the most from each place their own and will discover what are the negative points of their own culture that they want to get rid of. We may learn new ways of solving certain problems, showing affection, or living life.


Photo: Unsplash

5. Makes it easy to make new friends

Everyone knows that having a friend is having a treasure. Wherever we go, we have to talk to local people and other tourists, especially when solo. That future new friend may be the one behind the counter of the store where we go to buy food, someone who walks around the same place as us, or that group of friends who stay in the room next to ours. There are so many ways that we find friends on a holiday. We will surely find people who will be delighted to show us their city, their customs, the best places to spend the afternoon or for dinner. In addition, we can establish links that last forever.

6. It's fun

Without a doubt, traveling is one of the most fun things to do in life. In addition, each person can adapt the trip to their tastes, making it a pleasure for everyone.

7. Freedom

When we travel we get rid of the schedules and obligations that normally mark our days. We have the possibility to do what we want at all times. Who doesn't like that?

Get Your Child Ready Secondary School.

{Collaborative content} If there is one time in life that’s pretty scary, it’s when your child heads to secondary school. At Age 11, your child will finish primary school and be moving from a safe zone with the teachers you know and the kids that you know and start something completely different. Secondary school is a new world for children, and when the time comes to go and look at schools and choose the right one, it’s a new chapter beginning.

We worry all the time as parents, and school admissions can be so difficult to get through when you are trying to find the right fit for your child. Children are all different and when you choose to look around certain schools, you will definitely feel emotional about the changes up ahead. You’ll worry about friendships and homework and all of the challenges that come with a new school environment. These are all normal worries, but in the meantime, you need to get your very wide-eyed eleven-year-old ready for secondary school.

Image Source: Pexels

      Talk About Changes That Will Occur

The best way to prepare your child for secondary school is to talk to them about it. You need to communicate the things that they should expect. You should also explain that the changes that they will face will be overwhelming - and that it’s okay to be nervous. As much as this is a huge change for you as a parent, you won’t be the one getting lost in a brand new school! Your little one may be the oldest in their current school, but they’re about to go to the bottom of the classes again.

      Talk About Homework

Children won’t know what homework really means until they go to secondary school. They may have taken work home in primary years, but secondary school invites new challenges such as multiple classes of homework. They may not be used to this level of work before and while that’s not unusual, they will need to learn to balance their time after school.

      Ask About Their Feelings

Your child is likely to feel worried, anxious, overwhelmed and scared with their new start. They are going to meet new people - both children and teachers - and this is going to be brand new. They are going to feel their feelings and that’s going to be just fine. However they feel they shouldn't be dismissed: let them feel them loudly if they need to. Be considerate and patient.

      Go Shopping

It’s time to go shopping for uniforms, stationery and a new bag. This is a big moment as it’s an important rite of passage for a child. They’ll get to choose their new bag and all of their stuff. This can help them to feel more settled about the changes ahead. While you’re out, practice your new journey to school, too.

You have a big journey ahead together, so it’s important that you get ready for it and ensure that your child feels ready for the new changes next year.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Six Ways to Improve Your Working from Home Setup.

{Collaborative Content} Whether you’ve been working from home for years or 2020 has seen you set up from your spare room for the first time, it can take a while to get used to beginning your working day without leaving the house. Taking the time to make your home workspace comfy, cosy and calm will mean you can stay productive, and enjoy working from home for however long you need to.

1.    Get your lighting sorted

If possible, your workspace should be somewhere with plenty of natural light. As the days get shorter, this might be more difficult to achieve. Instead, you could consider sitting somewhere with warm-coloured lamps to help you work without hurting your eyes. Going one step further to help your workspace really feel like your own, lighting candles will help create a relaxed environment for you to concentrate in, as well as helping you feel cosy and autumnal as the nights draw in.

2.    Invest in a proper chair 

We’ve all heard how important is to look after our backs with proper office chairs, but it can sometimes be easier said than done. However, proper posture makes all the difference when you’re working from home. Investing in an office chair with a supportive back as well as comfortable armrests means you won’t cause yourself any injuries further down the line.

3.    Keep comfortable and warm

One of the perks about working from home is that you have complete control over your environment. Whether you prefer to be right by the radiator or enjoy a colder climate to concentrate, working from home lets you control the temperature on your own terms. Of course when choosing a boiler it is important to do you research and work to a budget, always compare the combi boiler prices'to get the lowest new boiler cost ' .

It’s impossible to concentrate if you’re too cold, so a central heating system you can rely on is a must when you’re working from home. If your radiators need improving or it’s time for a new boiler installation altogether, keeping warm while you work will see your concentration and your comfort go sky high. BOXT offer you a range of the most popular boilers, alongside next day delivery and monthly pricing plans to make sure you’re never caught out in the cold.

4.    Create your perfect playlist 

One of the biggest adjustments to make when you’re working from home is not having your colleagues around. Even if your office is quiet for the majority of the time, catching up with your colleagues on coffee breaks or lunch is a key part of your working day, and so can be easy to miss when you’re working from home by yourself every day. As well as regular catchups and calls with your team, one way to combat this is to create a playlist of your favourite podcasts and tunes to use as background noise throughout the day. 

Be careful not to fall into the trap of watching TV while you work, though. While background music can help you concentrate, having your favourite show playing in front of your laptop screen will see your productivity drop right down.

5.    Get dressed, but get dressed comfortably 

As well as getting your working from home environment set up just the way you like it, it’s important you dress for your working day too. Your clothes can be casual, but the key factor is that they’re different from your pyjamas. Getting changed at the beginning and end of your working day helps you set boundaries between work and home, something that’s especially important when we’ll be working from home for the foreseeable future. Don’t feel like you have to put your best suit on, though - even something as simple as running your brush through your hair can make all the difference when it comes to feeling motivated and ready for the working day.

6.    Find a permanent workspace if possible

Finally, if your flat or family home allows it, setting up your desk in a permanent place can help you better balance work and home life. As well as giving you the chance to decorate to your preference, creating a home office environment that works perfectly for you keeps your work life separate. There’s a lot to be said for shutting the door on your laptop at the end of your working week. Rather than being tempted to check your emails on a weekend while your laptop’s in plain sight, leaving your work behind closed doors helps you literally switch off as soon as you’re out of the virtual office. 

Friday 16 October 2020

Simple Beauty Tips to Use This Month.

{Collaborative content} Although most of us have been stuck at home for the last six months in lockdown, we are now beginning to see some changes in the guidelines and soon it might be time to get back out in the world once more. 

Image credit pixabay

However, after a long time sitting at home in our pyjamas and without makeup - the idea of being back out in the world can be intimidating. If you feel like you may struggle with your confidence being back out in the world this winter, we have some simple beauty tips for you to make you feel beautiful. 

Use Pinterest for Inspiration 
Pinterest isn’t just a great place to find recipes and ideas for DIY at home; it is also a wonderful place to find fashion inspiration. It is likely that you have forgotten how to put an outfit together after being in the house for so long, and this winter you should take a look through Pinterest and use the photos to put your outfits together! It will not only put you outside of your comfort zone, but it will force you to wear pieces that you may not have worn otherwise. 

Hydrate your skin
Winter is a harsh season, and your skin will soon suffer under the dry, cold conditions. This is why it is always so important to hydrate your skin throughout the day and keep it looking glowing and young. Make sure you don’t forget to put sunscreen on too because even in cold temperatures the sun can cause damage to the skin.

Show off those pearly whites 
Our teeth are a part of our bodies that we can often forget about taking care of, especially once we are adults and our mom is no longer booking dentist appointments! There are a lot of different things we can do for our teeth such as whitening, cosmetic bonding and veneers- however most of the time good hygiene should be enough to keep our teeth happy and healthy for years to come. It is important for us to take the time every day to brush our teeth properly, and floss at least every few days. Good dental hygiene can make a world of difference to our look, and you won’t feel embarrassed to smile brightly for every photograph! 

Dare to wear heels 
Although most of your year has probably consisted of wearing slippers or socks - fall and winter are the perfect times to be daring and wear stunning heels. Heels come in many shapes and sizes from cute little ankle boots to over the knee showstoppers. Do your outfits a favour this season and pair them with a stunning pair of heels and you won’t be disappointed! 

Go easy on bronzer 
Bronzer is an accessory we tend to use a lot of during the summer months, but now that the seasons have changed it is time to say goodbye to those glowing bronze hues. Instead, keep your makeup routine simple and go with a matte contour, pink blush, and a touch of highlighter to finish. This fresh and simple look will compliment the more daring eye looks you can try this season. 

Monday 12 October 2020

Holidaying in a Pandemic *France 2020*

A month and a bit ago we were in the South of France. Smack bang in the middle of a world wide pandemic. Some might think crazy, some might think mildy stupid - for us neither of us thought we were being idiotic but instead a chance to get away and have some well desrved r&r to a place that we love and is dear to us and is away from everything. The Dordogne is a place we stay and have stayed for many years, a place that we know well, felt quite safe , we were prepared and happy to go. We book, usually a year in advance usually as we leave so we know that we have a reservation, hence why we decided to continue with our holiday this year despite the risk of quarantine - which became very much a possiblility as you will read! I can't say we didn't consider cancelling as we did, but mostly because we bought a puppy and we weren't sure about leaving him in kennels (but we did and he was fine). In a change to our usual ferry journey we chose to travel by the Euro Tunnel, it was a good decision we could stay in our own car and avoid having to be near people and it's alot quicker! It was a great decision and one we would defintely use again. 

There was not a moment while we were away that I felt unsafe, at risk or that we had made the wrong decision. France actually felt safer at times than where we are in the UK. Where we stay is in the middle of nowhere with large grounds and a private pool, there are very few people near, it's fantastic and a real get away from it all place. We could choose to do as little or as much than we wanted and seeing as we have previously done a lot of the touristy things we decided to do less of this and spend more time by the pool, utilising the large grounds and choosing to do more outdoor activities such as visiting gardens and little towns. 

There did seem to be a little less social distancing, but shops like large super markets seemed much quieter with less hustle and bustle so it wasn't an issue. The wearing of masks/face coverings while we were away were defintely more stringent but while we were away UK then followed similar restrictions which I guess was to be expected. 

We had some nice meals out, we even managed an adults only meal out thanks to my parents who joined us on our 2nd week! What a treat that was and it was lovely to have them with us for the week. We also had the most glorious weather while away hitting over 40 degrees on a couple of days and on the others mostly high 30's so it was just lovely to be able to relax by the pool, catch up on some reading and let the kids be wild and free....literally! 

The 2 weeks weren't without its drama however. We had ear infections from the husband and the kids.....that was a fun trip to the French pharmacy. We found a snake in the pool filter, that was arghhh! Alfie thought it was great, me....not so much, luckily we the husband managed to safely remove it and let him go into the woods. My Dad also reversed his car into a large rock as soon as he arrived - oops. Then later in the week Alfie got a particularly nasty wasp sting to just under his eye, the poor boy is terrified of wasps as it is due to a past history of stings and he really did react very badly to it as the next morning half his face was totally swollen and he couldn't open his eye so that resulted in yet another trip to the the pharmacy. I swear Google translate has never been used as much as this year! We then had the final straw of the UK announcing quarantine on arrival back in the UK from the Saturday. We were due to return on the Saturday which was incredibly frustrating as the announcement came at 11pm French time, it left us very little time to think about heading home early and trying to get home to avoid the quarantine which was going to kick in 4am Saturday morning. Very annoying and thankfully we did manage to head home a day early and managed to book a ferry crossing - all be it I booked the wrong way (Dover to Calais) like a fool, then we manged to book another one the right direction but in the end we mananged to book a Euro Tunnel at last minute which was how we were originally returning so ended up getting that and getting home 11pm Friday night. It was a very long journey home, incredibly stressful but glad we made it home in time. 

Do you know what the best thing was about finally getting home? The feeling of coming home to my own bed and climibing in it absolutely exhausted. There is simply nothing better than returning home and getting under my own duvet - which incidently is always a fresh set so when I return it is all clean. I had recently been sent a couple of gorgeous sets of bed linen before we went away from Terry's Fabrics (kindly gifted). This is a wonderful company with such a huge choice of bed linen, blinds, curtains and more with a budget to suit all. 

What is to love about the duvets and company?

- They are the most amazing quality and if anyone knows my love of flamingos I was delighted to be able to find a king size duvet with a fun flamingo design. The palm tree one is beautifully elegant and simple which is lovely and in contrast to the bright and bold flamingo one.

- Super quick delivery and arrived in perfect condition.

- Fantastic choice of sizes and, there are some particularly lovely childrens bed sets and yes I have already been eyeing up the Christmas range!

- They wash well and stay nice and crisp which is a bonus, I hate duvet covers that quicky look and feel worn, this is not the case with this company.

- A variety of brands to choose from and prices to suit any budget, I promise you will be spoiled for choice.

Overall I had a wonderful sleep after a rather tiring and stressful journey home.

My poor boy with a very swollen eye!

Overall we had a fantastic break away, I am so pleased we were able to get away and had no regrets about going to France I only wish I knew what was going to happen in the next few months so we can book somewhere for next year. Roll on our next break away. Would you holiday in a pandemic?

Wednesday 7 October 2020

What to Expect when Procuring a Reverse Mortgage.

* Isn't it importanon to talk about money. Most retirees run out money during retirement, which can be challenging and very scary times for people. For some, the ideal choice is to take a loan, probably remortgage their homes. Unluckily for them, such moves come with dire consequences, one of which includes the high cost of monthly repayments which is something you naturally want to avoid when retired.

I do not recommend this option for any retiree, as it is detrimental to their finances and wellbeing. There is a better and safer option that guarantees financial security for anyone with a minimum age of 62 years. What am I talking about? It is not rocket science, but a reverse home loan. This unique mortgage differs from other types of home loans.

Don’t Get Too Excited; There is a slight Catch!

One of the upsides of a reverse mortgage is its long-term duration, which gives you enough time to achieve your financial goals and make repayments. However, this feature can also become a nightmare for some homeowners, as it comes with significant accrued interests. But thinking of the benefits, you do not have to make payments under pressure, and your lender can not evict you from your home, provided that you comply with the loan agreements.

This option gives retirees a breather. I will discuss the conditions for procuring this reverse home loan in the later section of this guide. Please stick with me.

What You Should Know About the Application Process

Applying for a reverse mortgage is simpler than you think, as long as you are 62 years of age and above, and you have a home that serves as your primary place of residence – this is a property you reside in permanently, which is the collateral. A private lender will determine your eligibility using a reverse mortgage calculator and taking into consideration the value of your home in terms of its age, condition, and location.

The lender also evaluates your creditworthiness and ability to meet up with the property taxes, insurance, and cost of maintaining the home. Also, if your home is tied to a current mortgage, you have to pay it off first. Once you meet these requirements, you can access your loan.

How to Access Your Funds

There are three ways to receive payments; they include:

Setting up a line of credit.

Receiving a lump-sum payment into your account.

Creating a monthly payment plan.


With a reverse mortgage, it is difficult for retirees and homeowners to default on a payment, as they have no deadline until they decide to sell their homes or in a situation where they breach the agreement, which includes the failure to pay property taxes and insurance, filing for bankruptcy, and lack of home maintenance.

However, compared to traditional home loans, reverse mortgages have less stringent conditions. If the homeowner cannot meet the payment, such an individual can decide to foreclose the home and use its proceeds to pay off the loan. Whereby the money is not enough to meet the total amount, the lender will forgive the remaining balance.

If you have several homes that sit on a property, you have to declare one of them as your permanent place of residence; this is a house with enough value to pay off your loan.