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Lifestyle

Ideas For Making Your Next Housewarming Party Hassle-Free

February 22, 2018

Moving into a new home is a very exciting time in your life. You’re in a different location and are ready to make new memories with your family. One way to start doing this is to throw a housewarming party.

You may be hesitating because of all the work that goes into these events, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a difficult process for this type of occasion. Find ways to make it easy on yourself by using methods that are simple yet attractive to guests. Focus on the main elements and don’t sweat the small details.

Hire A Cleaning Lady

It’s only natural that you’ll be freaking out about getting all of your items in order before everyone arrives. While it’s good to have a tidy home, you need to remember that you just moved in and people will understand this fact. Get rid of the dirt and dust by hiring a cleaner to come in and wipe down the place for you right before the party. It is also a great way to give yourself a break and still get your house looking the way you want it.

Communicate the Details Online

Make this event easy on yourself by sending out invitations electronically. This way you don’t have to waste money or time printing and mailing individual invitations. Know that it’s also likely guests will be asking and inquiring about bringing gifts. Luckily it’s easy with an online solution like ourwishingwell.com. It’s a convenient process that reduces stress, saves time and is easy to access. This way you’ll also get what you want and not a bunch of random house gifts.

Host in the Summertime & Grill

Time of year makes a big difference in everyone’s moods and ease of throwing a party. Do so in the summer, and you’ll enjoy the event a lot more. This way people can be outside on the patio, playing yard games and mingling in their favorite shorts and sundresses. It also gives you and your spouse the opportunity to have a BBQ and grill up a variety of meat outdoors and feed your guests seamlessly. The meal will be easy once you throw together or buy a couple of sides to go with the main course.

Ask Guests to Bring A Drink to Share

Offer to feed your guests, but ask that they bring drinks to share. It will be hassle-free for you because you won’t be guessing what everyone likes to drink. It’ll also save you money because you’ll be spending a lot already as the host. People shouldn’t mind chipping in this way because it’s such a small detail and then they know their favorite beverage will be present at the party.

Conclusion

Don’t think housewarming and immediately assume “stressful.” Consider it a fun event that can be simple and sophisticated when you mindfully plan. Enjoy the hassle-free outcome and being with your friends and family during this very special time in your life.

Travel

Tips for preparing your home for travel

February 22, 2018

No matter how long you’re planning to travel for, it’s more important than ever that you plan some fundamental preparations to ensure that your property is in the best state when you return home. Whether it’s a week away in Europe or the backpacking adventure of a lifetime in Asia, you’re going to feel much more able to enjoy yourself if you know that your home is safe and secure. You might think you have enough to plan for already between passports and itinerary, but nothing will put a dampener on your memories faster than returning home to theft, mess or unnecessary expenses.

Don’t overshare on social media

Obviously, you’re going to want to keep friends and family updated on your plans, and sharing that perfect photo from the sun-drenched beach is awesome. Never forget, however, that thieves use social media as much as everyone else, so it’s vital that you don’t overshare and give criminals information about the fact that your home is empty and unprotected. The best way to do this is obviously by not sharing anything on social media, but that needn’t be the only solution. Instead, check your privacy settings and make sure that only those people that need to see your posts are able to.

Store the important things

If you’re going away for an extended period, then it’s a good idea to store your valuables and some of the larger items in your home. Find a trusted storage company online that accepts personal items and 24/7 security coverage, and you can relax on vacation, safe in the knowledge that your prized possessions are in safe hands. Nothing will ruin your holiday more than coming home to a burglary, so protecting your possessions is vital if you want a stress-free jaunt around the world. Keep that peace of mind and leave your property in the hands of professionals.

Be security aware

It’s all too easy to fall into bad security habit in the day to day drama of our lives. The problems start when you leave your home empty for an extended period of time and neglect the security basics. Leaving yourself vulnerable to criminal activity can be avoided by following some of the basic security tips provided by experts. Little actions such as removing that emergency key from under the plant pot, making sure that you’ve locked the windows and disabled the auto-open on your garage door, can all help make sure that you return home to find your home the same that you left it.

If you’re planning on spending a relaxing few weeks on the beach or exploring ancient ruins, the last thing that you need is to be worrying about home. Taking some simple precautions before you leave can make all the difference and increase the chances of that holiday being the best part of the year. So cancel the newspaper delivery and do the washing up before you leave, and you can walk back through the front door and start your holiday recovery time stress-free.

Lifestyle

5 Unusual Leisure Activities to Take Up This Year

February 19, 2018

They say the key to fulfillment in life is to keep learning and trying new things. So, if you’re struggling to stick with your New Year’s fitness resolutions, perhaps it’s time for a change. Instead of dragging yourself to the gym three times a week, why not try a more unusual leisure activity like rock climbing or Tai Chi? Not only could you discover a passion you never knew you had, but you’ll also make new friends and improve your health and fitness in the process. With this in mind, here are five new leisure activities to try this year.

Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom dancing is beautiful to watch and even more beautiful to learn. The costumes are stunning, the moves are graceful, and it’s not too tricky once you get into the swing of things. In short, you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale while burning some serious calories and learning a fun new skill. Dancing with a friend or spouse is a great way to bond, but don’t be afraid to go alone: you’ll make some great new friends in your dance partners, as it’s not hard to break the ice with strangers when you’re all learning together. Visit hulahub.com to find ballroom dance classes in your area.  

Rock Climbing

If you’re searching for a fun way to get fit that will get your adrenaline pumping, rock climbing could be the hobby for you! Don’t be fooled though – rock climbing is a full body workout, but it doesn’t feel like work. So, if you’re someone who hates getting hot and sweaty in the gym, but you still want to tone up or lose weight, it’s time to get yourself to a rock climbing gym or an outdoor climbing wall.

Traditional Woodwork

Got the crafting bug? Traditional woodwork is both active and meditative, making it the perfect exercise for creative types. There’s just something so satisfying about making something with your bare hands, whether it’s a piece of furniture or a wooden toy. Join a woodwork class, and with any luck, you’ll end up with some beautiful homemade items to display in your home.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a slow, meditative exercise and a controlled martial arts practice. It requires strength, flexibility and endurance while promoting concentration, and focus. Don’t let that put you off though; anyone can start Tai Chi at a beginner’s level, but the key is to find the right class with an instructor who you connect with. Once you get started, Tai Chi is similar to yoga, in that it improves your balance, diminishes anxiety and supports overall psychological and physical wellness. In fact, both yoga and Tai Chi are widely adopted for rehabilitation and physical therapy. You can visit hulahub.com to find classes close to you.

Stone Skipping

If you’re short on time, why not head down to the water and try stone skipping? The art of stone skipping involves finding a big oval stone and making it bounce on the water as many times as possible – the current record is 51 bounces. You might not beat that, but you’ll undoubtedly feel calmer for trying.

Lifestyle

5 Ways to Spring Clean and Enhance Your Wellbeing

February 18, 2018

It’s that time of year when the seemingly natural urge to spring clean starts to develop. In times gone by, spring cleaning meant deep cleaning your home to rid it from the stale and stagnant detritus of winter to improve our environment. Now we live in homes that don’t require such a rigorous clean, but we can still use these cleansing urges to improve our lives. Here are 5 ways to improve your sense of wellbeing this spring.

1. Clothes

With spring comes the potential for warmer weather, and that means waving goodbye to the over-sized sweaters and warm winter coats. You need firm boundaries to adhere to when attempting to spring clean your wardrobe, otherwise you are likely to end up keeping the clothes that you really ought not to. Make three piles: keep, donate and bin. If you can recruit a friend to help you, even better; as long as your relationship will survive them saying that favoured garments don’t suit you after all.

2. Friends

While you may have lots of friends, the truth is that there are some that do not positively impact on your life. It can be a painful realisation that an old friendship has come to a natural end, but it is life. You do not have to let them know that you have decided not to pursue their friendship, but rather just be aware of how precious time is, and how you are better investing it in relationships that help you grow and promote the best version of you.

3. Finances

Review your personal finances. You need to spend time to identify where your money is going, and where you can make changes to ensure that you have more. Use online price comparison websites to get the best tariff for your utilities and be prepared to shop around to get the best price for products that you buy to make savings. You may have this habit already for one-off purchases or big-ticket items but apply your savviness to the everyday items. You can save money on most items; find discount toiletries, a cheaper MOT for your car, or even cheaper rail tickets.

4. Diet

Spring brings with it a host of new seasonal fruit and vegetables, and as such, it is the perfect time of year to clean up your diet. Take advantage of the seasonal produce that is available in local farm shops to get the maximum nutritional benefit of what spring offers – asparagus, new potatoes, spinach, greens and peas. Update your diet to include healthy snacks and swap fizzy drinks for water. Any changes you make to your diet should not make you feel deprived but should merely be swapped for healthier alternatives – this will ensure that your dietary aims are realistic and achievable.

5. Exercise

With the longer days and warmer temperatures, spring is a great time of year to get physical. Rather than dedicating to time in the gym, get outside and feel the full benefit of the great outdoors. After months of winter hibernation, you will be reinvigorated by spending time in a natural environment. Whether you enjoy urban parks or prefer somewhere a bit more off the beaten track, whether you run or prefer to walk, you will be energised by increasing your outdoor exercise.

Lifestyle

How to Lead a Happier Life

February 14, 2018

There are many companies out there that promise you a happier life if you decide to invest with them. People promote books, products, and getaways that come with the allure of attaining a perfect life. However, you cannot buy true happiness, and it certainly doesn’t revolve around material possessions. It is not a guarantee, and there will be times when life gets tough, where the light at the end of the tunnel seems impossible to see. Luckily, there are a few small tips that you can follow, which will help you find a genuine smile in even the darkest of days.

Find what makes you tick

Laughter is often seen as the greatest medicine in the world and can help soothe bad emotions when they become overwhelming. This is why it’s wise to find out what makes you laugh more than anything else, so that you know you can rely on it to keep you feeling on top of the world. If you’re unable to muster up the energy, you can make use of free online resources like lolhit.com for images and funny jokes to keep you topped up as you go about your day. There are also your trusted friends give you old and new memories to laugh over.

Help others

Though it’s healthy to be selfish occasionally, there is no better feeling than knowing you have done your bit to make someone else’s life a little better. From smiling at a stranger in the street to helping an old lady with her bags in the store, small acts of kindness will help remind you of your importance in the world and will do immeasurable good to someone who might be having an even worse day than you are.

Do a job you love

Many people are in jobs that they hate, and when this takes up most of your day, and sometimes your evenings, it can be hard to avoid the negative emotions you associate with it. Finding a job you are passionate about can be difficult, but if you are willing to put in the work for the short term, you will reap the benefits when you come home from work with a smile on your face, rather than a shoulder load of stress.

Cut out toxic people

There will be people in your life that have the potential to make it a lot harder for you. In high school especially, it’s almost impossible to avoid the school bully. However, once you’re out, you have the power to pick and choose who you surround yourself with. Anyone who puts you down, makes you feel unloved, or is downright nasty shouldn’t be a part of your life. Loving friends, family, and strangers are the only people you should make room for, and you can always count on them to be honest and caring with you, especially during hard times.

Learn to slow down

Life can move fast, and sometimes you can blink and feel like it’s rushed past you. Taking a moment to stop, breathe, and take in your surroundings will help you gather yourself and appreciate the small things in life. Relaxing in a hot bath, or letting your hair down with friends on a night out are two ways of many where you can live and be happy in the moment.

Lifestyle

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!

Sources:

https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/how-pampered-will-your-pet-be-this-christmas/

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/11151275/How-we-spent-6bn-on-our-pets-this-year.html?frame=2387165

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/dog-ownership-owners-live-longer-pets-cardiovascular-health-active-walking-research-study-finds-a8059976.html

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42009932

http://www.doggiepubs.org.uk/

https://inews.co.uk/light-relief/offbeat/move-moggies-dog-cafes-next-big-thing-uk-animal-lovers/

https://www.marketreportsworld.com/global-pet-grooming-market-2016-2020-10279408

https://qz.com/1064439/pet-owners-in-china-are-splurging-on-luxury-hotels-acupuncture-treatments-and-fancy-funerals/

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/21/your-money/pet-resorts-spas-massages.html

http://www.pawculture.com/lifestyle/pet-technology/14-crazy-pet-products-you-wont-believe-exist/

https://www.pfma.org.uk/pet-population-2017

https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/4569869/dog-owners-18000-pets/

Lifestyle

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.

Travel

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.

Sources

https://www.skyscanner.net

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maldives/a/nar-gr/money-and-costs/357011

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/sri-lanka/a/nar-gr/money-and-costs/357442

http://www.dive-the-world.com/reefs-and-parks-maldives-hanifaru.php

http://www.baros.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Piano-Dinners.pdf

https://www.undiscoveredguide.com/sri-lanka/nuwara-eliya/worlds-end

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4596054/Could-slash-cost-summer-holiday.html

http://www.phiphi.phuket.com/#

http://www.kuoni.co.uk/upload/misc/pdf/honeymoon%20trends%202017.pdf

https://www.tripsavvy.com/wedding-statistics-and-honeymoon-facts-1860546

https://www.hitched.co.uk/wedding-planning/organising-and-planning/wedding-survey-2016_1193.htm