Daily Archives

February 13, 2018


The cost of dogs: how much the UK spends on man’s best friend

February 13, 2018

There are nearly nine million dogs in the UK today and almost a quarter of UK households keep a dog as a beloved pet.

But just how much are we, as a dog-loving nation, willing to spend on our pooches? Here, we’ll look at how much dog ownership costs us in the UK, as well as the growing range of dog-friendly products, venues and services available throughout the country.

A dog’s life in the UK

It’s not news that the average Brit likes dogs — we’re well known for our affinity for animal causes and pet ownership. Typically, UK dog owners will spend in excess of £18,000 on their pooch throughout their pet’s lifetime, according to a study of 2,000 dog owners. This figure includes expenses relating to vet bills, dog food, treats, toys and accessories — just one year of which will amount to approximately £1,384!

About three quarters of pets receive Christmas presents, with the average price of each gift hitting the £19.98 mark, according to a survey carried out by Animal Friends Pet Insurance. What’s more, this is around £5 more than the total amount we spend on our friends!

“The UK is undoubtedly a nation of animal lovers and pet owners are prepared to go to great lengths — and costs — to ensure their companions enjoy a happy and healthy life,” said the chief executive of SPANA, a charity that helps to improve the lives of working animals.

Interestingly, approximately two-fifths of people also claim that they let their pooch sleep on their bed and a quarter admitted to letting them under the covers. As for the typical dog-owning costs per year, these can be broken down as the following:

  • Food: £373
  • Vet costs: £285
  • Insurance: £188
  • Grooming: £150
  • Treats/presents: £146
  • Kennels: £134
  • Accessories: £107

Doggy services

Brits have owned dogs for centuries. However, we’re seeing an interesting shift in how we look after canines in 2018. Today, you can get everything from facials and pedicures to massages and aromatherapy shampoo treatments for your dog. Even in China, dog owners are taking their animals to luxury pet hotels where they can receive stress-busting acupuncture treatments!

Billions of pounds are forked out by owners so that their dogs are groomed, insured and medically sound (i.e. vet bills), according to Pets At Home. But, which pamper sessions do we already treat our dogs to and what can we expect to have available in the future?

How about whisking your pooch off to a special getaway where they can relax and recharge their batteries? In the US, pet resorts are growing in popularity. However, they are pricey — one place in Virginia costs around £750 for an eight-day stay! But, for some owners, offering your dog indoor swimming pools, agility fields, mud bath treatments, indoor walking tracks, and ‘pawicures’ (which can include nail varnish) might be worth the investment. Even in the UK, you can often find plenty of countryside homes, coastal holiday cottages and other vacation venues that are designed for families with pets.

Clearly, there’s a trend for spoiling your dog to the kind of special treatments that humans are able to indulge in. Analysts of the global pet grooming market predict that the industry will grow approximately 4.19% between the years of 2016 and 2020.

Pet products

Amazingly, not even a tenth of those surveyed resented how much they spent on their dog. Today, owners admit to buying their canine best friend a wide range of indulgent products — from gourmet treats (20%) to designer clothing (10%). Many of us will even have bought our dogs bottles of ‘pawsecco’ to let them celebrate the new year with us, while others might have even treated them to a bottle of doggy cologne for Christmas.

But the above is just a short list of the bizarre products available for your dog. Dog treadmills are ideal if you have a small, lazy pooch that doesn’t cope well in damp, cold weather. FitBarks work like FitBits by capturing your pet’s activity and sleeping habits, while dog doorbells make a perfect solution to standing in the chilly doorway as your dog wanders in the back garden. Or why not invest in a smart camera so you can check on your dog when you’re at work?

However, there might be a very simple reason as to why we’re more than happy to spend freely on our dogs. Over four-fifths of dog owners claim that they treat their pets like family — and what better recipient of your loving cash than family?  

Canine venues

So, evidently, most dogs enjoy a brilliant, loved life in the UK with their owners. But, is there anything that they do for us in return? Apparently so. A study into 3.4 million people showed that dog owners had a 33% reduced risk of dying due to cardiovascular disease and an 11% minimised chance of a heart attack.

But why? The answer is most likely increased physical activity and better social contact. Since previous studies have shown that people who reside alone typically are at a higher risk of cardiovascular death, letting our dogs help us socialise is a potential contributor to our appreciation of them.

On that note, how do we make the most of the health advantages our dogs offer? From dog-friendly pubs to pooch-appropriate restaurants; more Brits are choosing to take their dogs with them when they head out to a public place and this should work to make us more active and sociable. DoggiePubs, a non-commercial guide of places where you can dine with your dog, features more than 5,000 places that you can enjoy with your pet, while Scotland recently opened its first residential dog café.

Despite the expense involved with owning a dog, it’s clear that they bring us great joy — and even health benefits. So, perhaps the cost is worth it!















Simple Ways To Transform Your Home Into A Relaxing Haven

February 13, 2018

With a majority of workers feeling stressed on any given day, finding ways to manage stress has become more important than ever for one’s physical and mental health. While there are many positive ways to cope with stress, another way to feel at peace is to create a space where you can feel relaxed and rejuvenated. Your home is more than a place to store your belongings—it should also be a place where you can relax after a hard day at work. Some spaces, such as bedrooms, are easy to turn into a serene oasis. Other parts of the home such as the living room, kitchen, and bathroom may be a bit more challenging to work with if you’re aiming for a tranquil feel. The good news is that there are simple ways to transform these areas into a relaxing haven, so follow these tips to give your space a stress-free vibe and stay happy and calm in your own home.

Choose a soothing color palette

Colors can influence mood and emotion. To promote relaxation in living rooms or kitchens, consider using pale or neutral shades. Watery, pale blues can also work to give a room a serene feel. Try having a neutral color scheme such as sand, beige, and white in your living room and incorporating touches of blue in your décor.

Add the right accessories

Too many decorative elements can make a room feel cluttered or messy, which is not what you want when you’re going for a soothing vibe. Oftentimes, just one accessory or design element can work to tie the look of a room together while giving it a peaceful feel. Try installing a recessed or tabletop ethanol fireplace in your living room. This type of fireplace can give your living space an elegant feel and looking at the flickering flames can be very relaxing on a cold night. A tabletop water feature in your home office can also work to make your workspace more pleasant and inviting.

Play with texture

The right combination of textures can make your home a comfy and cozy place to be. Wooden flooring is more comfortable underfoot than ceramic tiles or marble, but if you have marble flooring, you can lay down wool or pure cotton carpets or area rugs to make it more comfortable. Consider placing throw pillows and throw blankets in the living room to add softness. Go for natural textiles such as linen or cotton for curtains to give your home a Zen feel.

Enhance your space with the right scents

Beeswax candles, a linen spray, or an oil diffuser can all work to give your home a lovely scent. However, not all scents can promote relaxation—when used improperly, scented products can actually trigger headaches and affect your mood in a negative way. To help you relax and unwind, try citrus scents, lavender, peppermint, or jasmine.

Try these tips to transform your home into a relaxing space. You’ll surely enjoy spending time in a soothing environment and the changes that you make will benefit your overall wellbeing.


A Guide To The Perfect Honeymoon in 2018

February 13, 2018

One study revealed that, amongst couples who opted for a traditional wedding, 99% go on a honeymoon. In the UK, the average honeymoon costs just over £3,500. Considering that the average cost of a summer holiday for a family of four costs close to £1,000, its clear to see that couples certainly splash out for their after-wedding vacation.

If you’re just starting the honeymoon planning process, begin by looking at what your friends and family have been up to. An outstanding 80% of honeymooners in the last five years used social media to research their ideal destinations.

Once you’ve decided on where you might like to go, there’s a lot to consider in order to narrow it down. To ease the stress, we’re here to tell you the top luxury honeymoon locations of 2018 and how to perfectly plan your romantic trip there (down to the pound).

Popular destinations for 2018

Kuoni, a luxury travel operator, revealed its top honeymoon destinations based on popularity.

1. Maldives

The Maldives is a dream destination for many of us. It’s made up of more than 1,000 coral islands and is famous for its sugar-white sand beaches, private islands and luxurious resorts. It oozes magnificence and romance, no wonder it was revealed to be the top honeymoon destination of 2018.

Cost of flight: £474*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £110 – £290
Mid-range: £220+
Top-end: £545+

A must-do:

Take a romantic trip down to the Piano Deck at Baros. This is a platform built in the heart of the ocean that can be hired for a few hours for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or spa treatments. Why not treat yourselves to a sunrise breakfast for £235?

2. Sri Lanka

Famous for its countless ancient sites and beautiful beaches, Sri Lanka is a destination like no other. It has so much to offer, with eight UNESCO sites and many opportunities to have memorable experiences.

Cost of flight: £346*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £10 – £17
Mid-range: £17 – £42
Top-end: £42+

A must-do:

Take a once in a lifetime trip to World’s End — a sheer cliff situated in Horton Plains National Park which overlooks tiny villages and tea plantations. The round trip is around 7.5km by foot, and many say that you won’t regret it (and it costs under £20).

3. Mauritius

Sitting in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius is a luxury haven. There’s plenty to do in the way of activities but, of course, you can lie on the beautiful beaches all day if you’d prefer — take your pick…

Cost of flight: £369*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £35 – £66
Mid-range: £70 – £133
Top-end: £133+

A must-do:

Take a trip down to the Chamarel Waterfall. Surround yourself with luscious vegetation instead of the sandy beaches you may have become accustomed to and explore the southern side of the island.

4. Thailand

According to Kuoni, Thailand is the second most popular destination for LGBT couples after the Maldives. It’s become popular with backpackers over the past decade but that doesn’t mean it’s not full of hidden gems and romantic spots.

Cost of flight: £279*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: £13 – £23
Mid-range: £23 – £91
Top-end: £91+

A must-do:

Don’t forget to visit the Phi Phi islands. Considered to be some of the most beautiful islands in Southeast Asia, you can reach them by a short speedboat journey from Phuket or Krabi. Discover true paradise and turquoise-blue waters with your partner.

5. Indonesia (Bali)

It’s a destination you’ve probably heard of. In Bali, you’ll experience the locals’ unforgettable culture combined with beautiful landscapes. The people are friendly and the beaches are one-of-a-kind — we’re not surprised it made it into the top five.

Cost of flight: £345*

Accommodation cost per night:

Budget: less than £36
Mid-range: £36 – £109
Top-end: £109+

A must-do:

Visit the Gili Islands by sea. Take the fast boat over from Bali to the islands and sit on the famous Datu Swing at Hotel Ombak Sunset with your loved one as the sun goes down.

When you’ve decided on your dream destination, you just need to pack! Make sure you budget for the following — according to one survey on wedding couples, these are the items most likely to be bought before honeymoon travel:

  • New wardrobe (70.1%)
  • Swimsuit (69.9%)
  • Sunglasses (69.9%)

*At time of research. Based on cheapest month to fly and cheapest return.  

This research was gathered by Angelic Diamonds, retailers of diamond shoulder engagement rings.