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Lifestyle

How are retail stores encouraging everyone to shop?

June 26, 2018

It’s no secret that fashion retailers have taken action to encourage more people to get involved with their brand. From adding a maternity section to their collections, to tall and petite clothing ranges becoming more common, brands appear to be accommodating for all sizes and shapes.

The latest demand

There’s a reason behind retailers becoming more inclusive — the growing demand for non-standard sizes.

PwC’s UK Plus Size Clothing Market Review 2017 showed that the plus size market is worth around £6.6bn in 2017 (of which women and men make up £4.7bn and £1.9bn respectively). In fact, the market has been outperforming the overall womenswear and menswear clothing market in the UK — demonstrating the increase in industry interest.

This growth isn’t expected to slow either. In their report, PwC forecast growth of the plus size segment to be around 5-6% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) from 2017 to 2022. What is leading this growth?

Brands are encouraging a body confidence movement too among consumers. This is driven by brands and plus size influencers engaging with customers and encouraging them to embrace their curves and love their body. Online shopping is driving the market too. PwC identified that plus size consumers have a greater preference for purchasing clothes over the internet and the rise of ecommerce has caused this market to thrive further.

Other customers who do not fit into the standard sizes are being encouraged to go clothes shopping. This has paved the way for ranges such as; wide-fit shoes, tall, petite and maternity. Although it’s predominantly in the womenswear market at the minute, some retailers have released male plus size and tall ranges too.

Changes in high fashion

In terms of who set the trends, its usually high-fashion designers who start the trends. But, when it comes to plus size and diversity, it’s the high street brands that are taking the lead.

We have seen change on the catwalk too though. In fact, at SS18 shows, there was a record of 93 plus-size/curve model appearances and 45 transgender castings. There was more inclusion when it came to age too, as 27 models over the age of 50 walked the runways.

The effect of social media

Social media is also having an impact on inclusive shopping too.

It’s now easier than ever for dissatisfied customers to get their voice heard. This is especially if they feel that they’re being under- or unrepresented by a company — this is then often supported by internet users who feel the same way.

Comments made by unhappy customers on a company’s website or social media page can be damaging. Arguably, the way a business deals with an online complaint is more important than how they deal with one in-store, as it’s on a public platform for all to see. To avoid this destructive cycle, brands must be considerate of all their users.

Brands and influencers on Instagram are also leading to the growth of plus-size through encouraging user-generated content. In the fashion world, a consumer simply needs to look through ‘tags’ of a brand or search for images that have been hashtagged with a retailer’s name to see pictures of people wearing their clothes. This allows buyers to see the products on ‘real’ people rather than models from the adverts. This again encourages people who are not a ‘standard’ size to purchase new clothes — motivated perhaps by a photograph of someone who is a similar size to them in the same garment. Many fashion retailers encourage their customers to do this by offering them the chance to feature on the page if they use their hashtag.

Brands are changing the way that they market themselves too through the promotion of body confidence campaigns. Some brands have avoided photoshopping stretch marks, cellulite and other ‘imperfections’ that are usually edited out of marketing images in fashion. This again encourages people to get involved and purchase clothing from that brands, resonating more with real models.

Bringing all of this together, we can see that the retail industry has come a long way when it comes to being more inclusive, encouraging everyone to get involved in shopping and the fashion world.

Research for this article was carried out by QUIZ UK, retailers of plus-size tops.

Sources

https://www.pwc.co.uk/transaction-services/assets/pdf/pwc-plus-size-market-review.pdf  

https://www.economist.com/business/2017/07/13/the-fashion-industry-pays-attention-to-plus-size-women  

Lifestyle

Quick Tips on Improving Your Finances and Saving Money

June 21, 2018

If you want to improve your finances, it’s imperative that you first learn how to save money. This is usually a daunting as well as challenging task for most people as it tends to require a lifestyle change. Financial habits are something you form over time, so reversing them and adopting positive ones are a tricky process as well. However, if you’re patient with yourself and ready to practice a little self-discipline, you should be able to get in control of your finances. This article aims to help you out by suggesting a few tips regarding how you can improve your finances and save money.

Stop Impulse Spending

One of the greatest oppositions when it comes to getting your finances in order can be impulse spending. This usually is a result of not being able to resist the need for instant gratification in terms of getting what you want when you want it. However, to achieve anything tangible in regards to your goals, it is imperative that you learn how to deny yourself the thing you simply don’t need. Some tips to help you stop impulse spending are analyzing your spending habits, making decisions before you start shopping, taking cash as opposed to cards out, setting a budget, only buying what you need and waiting at least 24 hours before making a purchasing decision.

Drive an Affordable Car

One of the easiest ways to spend money you don’t have is by driving a high-maintenance car. If you have one, you may want to consider trading it in for something cheaper if you truly want to save money. Why not take a trip to Honda dealership Edinburgh to find a reliable, affordable model? There is also the option of opting to buy a used car instead as it may prove to be far cheaper and help you stay within your budget. When buying a used car, don’t forget to get one with low mileage and that’s in good working condition.

Stop Missing Payments

Improving your finances requires that you manage the ones you have effectively. It means that you should remember to pay your bills on time and not miss payments. You can do this by setting reminders and using to-do-list apps like Google Keep, Wunderlist, Remember the Milk, Habitica or Clear. Doing so should help you stay on top of your bills, but it’s key you manage your money so that you actually have enough to pay them when they come around each month. You should also remember that missed payments make you lose out on money as you usually get charged late payment fees by the company you’re owing.

If you are serious about improving your finances and saving money, it’s important that you accept that it isn’t something that will happen overnight. However, it is something that you can achieve if you’re determined and focused. In addition to the tips mentioned above, it’s also about finding methods that work for you and help you achieve your financial goals.

Lifestyle

How to express yourself in writing

June 20, 2018

Today’s focus on social media and the rise of visuals and video tends to eclipse the enduring power of writing as a form not only of communication but also of self-expression. All creative outlets take a little bit of skill to really enjoy, so here’s a few different ways to get started.

Freewriting is simple, expressive, and often revealing, but tends to be more oriented toward the writer’s experience. You simply sit down with a journal or keyboard, pull up a blank sheet or screen, and let the words flow.

Often, writers find just a few parameters can help them overcome the glaring whiteness of the blank screen or page. Try setting a timeline or “writing sprint” where you get as many words down as you can in an accessible amount of time without worrying about grammar, spelling, punctuation, or sense. You may find a topic, theme, or image helpful as a prompt, or simply opt for whatever presents itself in the moment.

You can use this approach to reduce stress, explore your subconscious, or generate raw content, but the unedited stream-of-consciousness output of freewriting tends to need a lot of trimming and rewriting to make it presentable for outside audiences. It’s well suited to journaling, or maybe even certain types of blogs.

At least a little bit of structure tends to help most writers get started and to keep going. When it comes to writing for an audience, it’s important to learn the conventions of your chosen creative form like any other. Readers of short stories or genre novels have specific expectations, for instance, while different types of poetry offer sometimes extremely rigid structures.

Creative writing guides, techniques and advice are a great help, and it’s worthwhile doing some research on your chosen format (genre novel vs. poetry, for instance) and trying out a few different techniques and approaches to see what works best for you.

In fiction writing, there is much controversy between “plotters” and “pantsers”–those who sketch out the story elements in advance, versus those who write to find out what happens. Nonfiction writing has a similar divide between intuitive writers and those who sit down with a plan of what they want to cover.

Neither approach is wrong, but if you want your creative writing to be read by others, you should spend some time learning about the expectations of your form, since readers tend to react strongly against writing that doesn’t conform to genre and format conventions. If your motivation to write is more about “free” creative expression and you’re not bothered about finding readers or making money off of your hobby, you can afford to be more experimental.

Feedback can be crushing or helpful–and usually offers a little bit of both at once. You can find many resources online, but if you enjoy a more social, interactive learning and creative experience, you could join a class or critique group to exchange pieces with other writers for feedback and creative stimulation.

There are surprisingly few hard and fast rules when it comes to creative writing. You learn by doing. But if you want to reach a specific outcome, such as finding readers, being understood, or selling your work, you do need to learn the genre or format conventions and either conform or subvert them in creative and intelligent ways to please the audience.

Lifestyle

How To Get Beach Body Ready Fast

June 3, 2018

With summer approaching many people will be looking to get their beach body ready. During the winter months, a lot of people often put on weight. When it is cold and dark outside it is much more tempting to enjoy a night on the sofa in front of the TV. Now that summer is creeping up fast, you will want to get your body ready for the beach. You will want to feel confident wearing a bikini; I know how important it is to feel self-confident when sunbathing on the beach. There are plenty of methods to help give you fast and effective results so that you can become beach body ready.

Fitness

As a frequent runner, I know just how much exercise helps to tone the body. Keeping fit is very good for the body and helps to maintain good levels of physical and mental health. By exercising frequently in the lead up to a holiday, you can tone your body to feel confident in your bikini on the beach. You don’t need to start running marathons or attend army boot camps but simply take 20-30 minutes out of your day to do easy (and sometimes fun) exercises. Mix up your exercise by changing the focus each day alternating from cardio to strength to ensure you don’t get bored. Planning your exercise program for the following week is the best way to stick to a schedule and see fast results. A combination of cardio and strength exercise will help to sculpt your arms, help to define your abs and tone your legs.

Alternative Methods
If you have struggled to get into shape and lose enough weight to feel comfortable at the beach through diets and exercise plans, there are alternative methods that you can choose. These methods help you get into shape and be beach body ready fast. They include liposuction, tummy tucks, body lifts and breast lifts. These are all methods of plastic and cosmetic surgery that removes extra, unwanted skin giving your body a more defined and firmer shape. Body contouring is often known as a body lift and is the most common weight loss surgery method. The surgery removes excess skin from the body helping to tighten and shape the rest of the body.

If you want to focus on a particular part of the body, you can choose surgery methods such as breast lifts or breast augmentations. This will help get your breasts in better shape and improve your beach body. It is important to fully understand the procedure for plastic or cosmetic surgery and give yourself enough time to recover from your holiday. The recovery time can often depend on the surgeon and surgery performed but will definitely be a minimum of 10 to 14 days before you can return to work or normal activities. Read more about the procedures available and the important information regarding recovery from Dr Ellis Choy online to see if this method is best to help you get beach body ready fast.

Diet
Dieting is one of the best methods to lose weight and help get beach body ready fast. If you want an amazing beach body you will have to give up takeaway fast food and trade it for healthier options. Healthy diets should be combined with exercise for the most effective weight loss and to get into the best shape. Following a strictly planned diet helps to shed those pounds and get into shape. Don’t worry, you won’t have to live off lettuce and spinach though! In fact, there are plenty of delicious ways to enjoy low-calorie food that will leave you satisfied whilst giving you the results you want fast. Following a 2-week meal plan, you can successfully lose weight and shape the body ready for the beach. Find recipes online and in books that will help you make delicious healthy dishes that are low in calories but will fill you up so you won’t snack. I personally love making fruit smoothies and chicken stir-fry. You can still enjoy dishes that are packed full of flavour giving you plenty of energy and low calories.

Lifestyle

Why You Should Listen To People You Disagree With

May 31, 2018

Everyone has a different background and therefore different outlook on life at least to some degree. This therefore naturally leads to different opinions on a myriad of subjects or issues. This means you are bound to disagree with those of a different view or school of thought but doesn’t mean you should be enemies or avoid interacting with them. As a matter of fact, you should more than grant them an audience, we should engage them.

By engaging in opposing views opinions and stands, you can certainly find common ground. Even if not with the speakers themselves, then you can interrogate the thoughts they hold, the principles they stand for and the people they may attract with the said opinions.

Good listening skills

This calls for primary engagement skills like being a good listener, having good temperament when coming in contact with infuriating sentiments and giving the other party enough time to finish what they want to say.

This in essence does a couple of things; shows the other person that you value their opinion. It also shows them that you treat them as an equal and that they are worth your time. You connect with the person on a deeper level. Empathetic listening almost always does half the work as far as connecting goes.

Open your mind

Go to any conversations with an open-mind. You will learn a lot from the conversations if you have an open mind and you are willing to learn from the other party, as Momcrib.Com suggests.

It calls for maximizing the value of exchange between the individual willing to engage in an honest conversation. By doing so, you both get to question your premises and how you got to where you are in terms of belief, religion and even behavior. When you truly start listening to people, you get to put yourself in their shoes and start to understand where they are coming from.

Empathy

You start to empathize with what they are saying. If the person begins to get emotional while articulating his or her point, it is always inherent that you use methods to deescalate the situation to maintain sanity and rationality to the argument.

After granting the other person a hearing, you will too be granted your time, as people will feel the need to reciprocate after feeling that they were respected in the first place. This also gives you time to explain your principles from a point of understanding to a willing listener who also in turn will empathize as you had set the platform earlier and in so doing “dictating” the terms of engagement.  You also speak from a point of strength having listened to the issues being presented by the other individual.

Empathetic engagement

This kind of engagement will be of mutual respect with and makes it easier to connect on a human level without the “noise” of imposed religion, economic and social standards set by the environment in which we are born into individually.

By doing so, we will have an empathetic engagement in all our spheres of life, as not all disagreements have to end up with each one of us having bad blood.

In the event that you end up not agreeing at all, it need not end up being in bad faith, as you can always agree to disagree but with empathy and understanding.

Lifestyle

Becoming a Pilates Teacher

May 31, 2018

Do you love Pilates? How would you like to be able to live and breathe Pilates, and get paid to do it? You can, if you choose to become a Pilates teacher. Pilates is a fitness trend that is not likely to fade away any time in the near future, and there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to take their passion to the next level and share their knowledge with others. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits of being a Pilates teacher, and how to go about becoming one.

Benefits of Being a Pilates Teacher

If you love the Pilates, as well as the idea of being your own boss, you really should seriously consider becoming a Pilates teacher. When you do this, you don’t have that strict, nine-to-five workday, and you have a lot of flexibility with your schedule. You won’t be chained to a desk for several hours a day, because you will be working at different gyms and fitness centers. And, you get to meet all kinds of new people every day. Other benefits of being a Pilates teacher include:

  • Helping Others – You will be able to help others achieve their fitness goals. Pilates works, and there are plenty of before and after photos to prove this.
  • Understand Pilates – As you train to become a Pilates teacher here, you not only learn how to teach others how to do the exercises, but also about the actual philosophy and teachings of Pilates.
  • Enjoy a Decent Salary – You can make some pretty decent money as a Pilates instructor. If you only want to work part-time, you can expect to earn around $12,000 or more annually. Many full-time Pilates instructors make as much as $48,000 annually.
  • Medical Benefits – While it is not the norm for Pilates instructors to receive health benefits, there are many companies that do offer them. In fact, approximately 43 percent of full-time employers of Pilates instructors and personal trainers offer medical benefits.

Getting Started

If you are serious about training, you can get inspiration here from other dads who have become Pilates teachers or personal trainers. Then, it is a good idea to read about the certifications basics required in order to become a Pilates instructor. You may even want to talk to instructors who live and work in your area, both to see if there is going to be a need for the services you want to offer and to learn from their experiences.

The final step of the process is to check out a variety of instructor training programs to see which is going to be the best for you. There are different types of instructor education programs available, so you have plenty of options to consider. Visit this website, where you can sign on to learn the Michael King method of Pilates. You can study part time with one of their top tutors, and upon completion of the program, you will receive a YMCA Awards certificate and be entered into the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs) as a Level 3 Pilates instructor.

Lifestyle

Fit for a King: designing the ultimate mancave

May 29, 2018

The best thing about moving into your own home is having the advantage of designing your own mancave. You need to ensure that this room lives up to the expectations of the lads – it’s your duty to impress. Ever since you were a child you’ve dreamt of this opportunity and now that it’s finally here, there’s no chance that you’re missing out on creating a space just for the boys.

Whether you’re designing the mancave for yourself, or you’re the partner who is sick and tired of having to miss out on the latest episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians because the footy is on — we’ve teamed up with Oldrids & Downtown to help you deck out the pad and to tell you our top tips to make it nothing but spectacular.

The design process

You probably already have a vision in your head of how you want your mancave to look — but you need to be realistic and work with what you have. It’s important to factor in room width and length as well as the ceiling height to ensure that everything you want can fit in the space and not look out-of-place. Not only will this be beneficial when deciding on flooring, wallpapers and colours, but it will help you determine what type of gear you can kit your room out with.

To achieve the best results for any mancave, we recommend that you create a mood board to bring your visions to life. Whether you decide to go traditional and purchase a physical cork board where you can print off images and stick them on or are looking to be more social savvy and use a platform like Pinterest that allows you to ‘pin’ ideas that you see online — the opportunities when it comes to finding inspiration and designing are endless.

However, there are some must-have essentials that all mancaves should have in order to make a lasting impression on all of your friends and for those who aren’t too sure where to begin, here is our guide:

Walls & flooring

You want to make sure that your room feels exclusive — where only the finest lads in town have been granted membership. This element of class can be accomplished by using a mixture of dark and rich colours and textures for both your walls and flooring. We recommend using dark hues such as blacks and greys, creating a more intimate vibe for those who are welcome to the club.

Not only that, using dark walls and flooring can help make your lighting pop — as well as enhance the illumination of your TV screen. However, when it comes to your walls it’s all down to personal preference and there are only two viable options. If you go for paint, choose matte as this will give you a sharp finish. If you choose wallpaper, take the chance to be a little more creative with chrome — bringing hints of silver, greys and other shades of black to the room.

Pick a flooring that is easiest to clean up after a big night in the den or one that can disguise any spillage. To give your mancave that edgy look, why not go for a dark yet distressed solid oak that can be maintained with wood preserver? This will happily compliment your chosen look for the wall. If you’re more for comfort, pick a dark grey or black carpet that will be sure to make your cave cosier.

Of course, kitting out your walls and flooring doesn’t stop there. Why not add some posters to your favourite movies on the wall or some humorous rugs that will most definitely be snapped on Instagram?

Threads

You can’t complete your mancave without having threads here and there — and this is where your rich colouring comes into play. Every lad pad must have curtains, because those sun glares on the TV screen are something that you just don’t want to deal with when competing against your pals on a game of FIFA. Go for draped curtains that rest swiftly on the floor, be unique and opt for bold mustards or enticing burgundies that will be sure to set the scene for your off-limit lad land.  

Throws and cushions are another element that should be introduced to your lair, and they should come in all shapes and sizes to enhance the comfort for all scenarios — movie nights, game nights and more. Don’t be afraid to opt for more decorative pieces, such as themed Star Wars cushions or an Avengers blanket!

Technology

You want to make your mancave more technologically advanced than Wakanda in Black Panther, so it’s important to decide on the best gadgets for your mancave. First of all, if you want to kill two birds with one stone you must purchase a smart television such as the LG ULTRA HD 4K TV — not only will this allow you to play your games in the highest quality, but will allow you to surf web-apps like Netflix, YouTube and iPlayer’s to watch your favourite movies and TV shows at any time.

If you’re into Blu-ray DVDs, you of course need a blue-ray DVD player which will allow you to play high-res movies on your smart television.

To accompany your new-found love, you need a soundbar to match. This will ensure that you’re delivering a cinema-esque experience for anyone who dares to enter your mancave and will be useful to create that surround-sound feeling that will be incredible for any parties that you throw with the lads.

Why not invest in an Amazon Alexa who will become your virtual assistant? It’s always a talking point when you have guests around and can be the perfect way to get the party started: “Alexa, play Eminem!”.

Before digital

You can’t have a mancave without taking a trip down memory lane — and by this, we been purchasing some of our favourite board games to play when you’re in the mood for a throwback. To reminisce in full swing, some board games to put on your shelf are:

  • Monopoly (original or themed)
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Battleship
  • Cluedo
  • Connect Four

There you have it — a fully decked out mancave. What other items will you be adding to your room? Remember, your mancave needs a name and you should even get a plaque to place on the door to celebrate its opening.

Lifestyle

How To Look After Yourself With A Busy Schedule

May 27, 2018

Whether you lead a hectic life or you’re just going through a bad period, it can feel impossible to step back and take it easy. However, taking the time to look after yourself is not just a caprice, but an essential element for good health. No matter how busy your schedule is, you can definitely still find a few moments to unwind. You need to learn how to take advantage of every single break that you get during the day.

Moreover, you should also focus on the quality of your sleep. Even though your busy schedule does not agree with the fact that you need to sleep, your body will immediately feel that something is not quite right. As you can see, looking after yourself with a busy schedule is not as hard as it seems. If you need more proof, check out the following options.  

Eat Proper Food

When you spend most of the day at work, it might be tempting to consume food from the vending machine. Though, by fueling the body with real foods, the whole system becomes a lot healthier. Although eating healthy seems like a real challenge for some, it does not have to be that way. Cooking healthy food in advance can be fun if you are careful when picking the ingredients. There are so many tasty recipes that you can find online and prepare in advance. Take them to work, and you won’t have to worry about eating fatty foods anymore.

Schedule in a Few Breaks

Breaks are important. Although everyone knows that, not a lot of people are totally aware of their health benefits. Everyone takes a few breaks at work, but not many people make a habit of taking breaks once they are at home. Daily routines can generate just as much stress and problems over time. By scheduling in a few breaks, you can pamper yourself and forget about little frustrations. Book in a spa appointment, go for a ride in your car or consider improving your appearance. A hectic lifestyle can lead to premature aging. If you’re concerned about wrinkles and fine lines, you might want to check out Grieshaber Dermatology.

Take a Break From Technology

When you’re busy, you don’t realize how important it is to have a few moments of peace and quiet. Although technology is everywhere these days, you need to take a break from it, at least for a little while. Put your phone down and try to practice having a few moments of total silence. This is a good way to eliminate distractions from your life. Over time, you will see a difference in both your health and wealth. Keep in mind that even five minutes spent with yourself will change your perspective on things.

Make Sure Your Routine is Easy

A crazy routine does not compliment a busy schedule at all. During a busy week, you need to reduce the number of unnecessary activities. You won’t be able to learn how to bake a sophisticated cake when you barely have enough to look after yourself. If you want to stay sane, you could try getting into simple but effective routines. Take advantage of the weekend and plan a few batches of food. Plan your outfits in advance and avoid hairstyles that are too complicated.

When you’re busy, you need to do whatever it takes to look after yourself. Otherwise, your health and well-being might be at risk.