Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 – A Great Cinema Experience At Home

When I worked in marketing for the law firm many moons ago, one of the things I least liked was hiking across various cities encumbered with display equipment.

I can still hear the clack clack of my heels across pavements or through bleak and deserted shopping malls in the early morning, as I lugged trolleys stuffed with brochures or sweated buckets pulling along exhibition stands and, of course, laptops and projectors.

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650

Glamorous it was not. And it was certainly stressful wondering if everything would connect, switch on and if Powerpoint would behave.

How different things would have been had I had this rather nifty and compact home projector from Epson.  It’s light, portable, easy to use, comes with a remote and is a breeze to set up.  And I speak as someone who is not tech-savvy in the slightest.

Epson Home Printer EH-TW650

In fact, the kids have given up asking me to switch on the Xbox or even Netflix because we seem to have 72 different passwords and everything is connected to everything else in a way that only my techie husband could configure.  (And yes, he has uttered the words “switch it off and switch it back on again).

The Epson EH-TW650 Home Projector

Epson sent us the the Epson TW-650 home cinema projector, the ideal projector for creating a cinema experience from the comfort of your own home.

We have previously reviewed the Epson ET-2500 Ecotank Printer so were expecting good things from the TW650 from both a design and a technological standpoint.

Given that it is rugby Six Nations time, the husband was only too happy to watch Wales v Italy last Saturday in glorious technicolour on our white lounge wall.

The husband uses the exact same model in his London office but whilst it’s great for presentations, it’s also great for supersizing your family’s TV and gaming if you have a plain wall to project on to or, of course a screen.

Instead of casting a dark shadow over your living room in the way that a giant plasma inevitably will, this projected display will disappear at the mere touch of a button, so you have more space and less clutter.

It has 3LCD technology that can create a 300-inch display, and a long lamp life providing up to 11 years’ worth of entertainment.

Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 features

Focusing the projector is simple and is done by a sliding mechanism on the front of the machine. You’ll also find an easy to navigate control panel in addition to the remote which is clearly marked.

Epson’s 3LCD technology delivers a clear image that doesn’t have the ‘rainbow effect’ you get with some 1-chip DLP projectors. It produces a high White and Colour Light Output of 3,100 lumens and the full HD 1080p projector delivers exceptionally bright yet colourful images with clear details even in bright rooms.

The sound quality from the projector’s own speakers is acceptable (it’s what you can hear on the video) but of course you can plug it in to your TV or other tech equipment to boost the sound for the full cinematic experience.

The projector also has built in Wi-Fi and features such as:-

  • AV mute slide
  • Automatic keystone correction
  • Built-in speaker
  • Horizontal and vertical keystone correction
  • MHL audio/video interface
  • Quick Corner, Split-Screen-Function

It also comes with a handy remote with the battery supplied.

The Epson Home Projector is a great buy for a home cinema experience

Rather than everyone hunched around the TV struggling to see, we were able to stretch out in comfort whilst the husband shouted “knock-on” and “numbers” and other rugby terminology I haven’t got to grips with.  (Apparently knock on is to illegally drive the ball with the hand or arm towards the opponents’ goal line).

Caitlin and Ieuan loved playing Minecraft on the ‘big screen’ – they play multi-player and sit side by side arguing. Sadly the Epson projector is unable to quell tween-ager bickering!

If, like us, you struggle to find babysitters, the TW-650 is a decent substitute for a date night and great for a family movie or gaming night. Since it costs us around £50 for a cinema trip with the kids you can see how the savings from a home cinema will add up!

You can also buy accessories such as a soft carry case and a ceiling mount on the Epson website.

The Epson Home Projector EH-TW650 retails at £599.99 inc. VAT and it’s compactness, ease of use and crisp projection make it a great addition to your home entertainment equipment.  To find your nearest dealer visit the Epson website.

If I find this projector easy to use, trust me, anyone else will!

 

*We were sent an Epson Home Projector for the purpose of this review.  

Ideal World 18th Birthday Celebrations – Join The Show For Bargains!

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of the shopping channel Ideal World (also online www.idealworld.tv), who offer great deals on big brands you might not have come across in the UK before. This year, it’s the Ideal World 18th birthday celebrations on Wednesday 14th March and they are inviting everyone to join the show as they are dropping the prices of their biggest brands and offering free P&P across the whole website.

They sent me a beautiful box of beauty products featuring some of their biggest sellers to try.  Here’s what was in the box.

A gorgeous box of Ideal World 18th birthday surprises

Zhuzh! – The Tan Accelerator (RRP £15.99 – special offer 2 bottles for £18 + Free P&P during birthday)

This is a quick and easy way of speeding up your tan.  Zhuzh! is formulated to work with the melanin in your skin whenever you are exposed to the sun – and it certainly helps those of us who are slow to tan.

A lightweight, spray on formula, Zhuzh! is easy to rub in and leaves your skin moisturized, not oily with it shea butter, glycerine and panthenol formula.

You’ll still need to use your sun protection though.

Ideal World 18th birthday Fabulift Fabulous Eyes

Fabulift Fabulous Eyes – Advanced Formula Eye Lifting Serum (RRP £20 – special offer 1 for £18, 2 for £30 and free P&P during birthday.

This advanced formula serum gives instant lifting and tightening around the eye area and its ingredients also smooth and plump the skin. It contains Argireline and Syn-ake to soften expression lines around the eye area and Hyaluronic Acid to plump the skin and reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles – of which I have many!

Ideal World 18th birthday Skinn Neck Amour Leave-on Mask

Skinn Neck Amour Leave-on Mask (RRP £29.99)

They say a woman’s hands and neck tend to give the game away age wise and it’s great to see a product specifically formulated for the neck.  I must admit I don’t always remember to moisturise much below my chin! You can use it on the chest area as well and you simply apply an even layer every night and then rinse it off in the morning.  You can apply it after your night-time serum too.

It contains rice protein, 100% jicama juice to improve radiance, white truffle extract to help tone the look of uneven skin and French blackcurrant bud extract which promotes your skin’s energising and oxygenating properties.

Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection (combined RRP £249.96 – special offer £39.99 + free P&P during birthday)

Whilst the Elizabeth Grant range may be new to you, the company is hugely successful in Canada and focuses on producing highly advanced luxury skincare products using the company’s exclusive anti-ageing compound called Torricelumn™.  You can read my review of Elizabeth Grant Hydra Cell Active range here.

This is a blend of vitamins, proteins, botanicals and anti-oxidants designed to penetrate into the skin to make it firmer, smoother and younger looking.

The advanced formulation of the Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection was developed using a rare blue-green algae and contains vitamins and essential minerals to nourish skin that has lost nutrients with ageing.

The Supreme Collection contains the following products from Elizabeth Grant

  • Supreme Active 35 Face Cream
  • Supreme Cell Vitality Revitalising Day Serum
  • Supreme Cell Vitality Renewal Night Serum
  • Supreme Triple Effect Essence of Torricelumn
Ideal World 18th birthday - Elizabeth Grant Super Active 35 Face Cream and Moisture Sticks

*Elizabeth Grant Moisture Sticks sold separately.

Supreme Active 35 Face Cream

Elizabeth Grant Supreme Active 35 Face Cream is so called because it has 35 skin conditioning ingredients, including collagen and Torricelumn.  You’ll also find Vitamin E and Coenzyme10 to target skin repair.

Supreme Cell Vitality Serums

The Revitalising Day Serum is a multi-tasking day serum which protects and nourishes skin suffering from dullness, whilst the Renewal Night Serum penetrates the skin whilst you sleep.  Simply apply 1-2 drops every night on clean skin.

Supreme Triple Effect Essence of Torricelumn

This product combines hydrators and botanical extracts to help lock in moisture and improve the overall appearance of your skin.

It contains some pretty impressive ingredients such as plant stem cells to renew your skin’s appearance and Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate collagen and repair skin.

Not included in the Elizabeth Grant Supreme Collection are the Elizabeth Grant Moisture Sticks (RRP £9.99 for 4) – a creamy lipbalm which makes the perfect base for lipsticks and contains Torricelumn, honey, chamomile, algae extract and avocado oil. I’ll be popping these in my handbag.

What I love about these products is that they have impressive ingredients at a fraction of the price some of the other high end brands charge.  The packaging is lovely too.

The Ideal World birthday celebrations will run until midnight on Monday 19th March so any offers will be available till then – including free postage and packing.

I can’t wait to try these lovely products – a real pampering treat.

You can stay connected with the home of shopping TV, Ideal World, on Sky 654, Freeview 22, Virgin 747, Freesat 812 and online at www.idealworld.tv.

*PR samples were received for the writing of this post.

Never Events: Was Your Medical Mishap One Of These?

It’s always distressing when you suffer an accident or injury through the course of a medical procedure. We trust that doctors, nurses and surgeons will do their best to treat us and, of course, in most cases they do. That said, sometimes things do go wrong and, when it comes to medical negligence, there is a special category called Never Events.

Never Events: hospital bed in private hospital room

Photo by Martha Dominguez on Unsplash

Most people will have never of heard of Never Events, so you may be wondering what they are.  They are basically medical mistakes that would never happen if procedures are correctly followed.

What Are Never Events?

The NHS defines Never Events as ‘serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if the available preventative measures have been implemented.’

They publish a list of NHS Never Events periodically, which includes:

Wrong site surgery

This is when a surgical procedure is carried out in the wrong place. It could be the wrong knee, the wrong arm, or even the wrong patient. It can be detected any time after the start of the operation and may mean the patient having to undergo additional surgery in the correct place.

Retained instrument postoperative

This is when instruments or swabs that should have been removed are left in a patient after an operation. The patient can suffer complications and might need more invasive surgery to remove what has been left.

Wrong route administration of chemotherapy

This is exactly what it says, chemotherapy administered through the wrong route.

Wrong implant/prosthesis

This is where the wrong knee implant is used, or the wrong lens in the eyes, for example. This can cause discomfort for the patient and mean they have to have the procedure repeated.

There are several more items on the list that is overseen and any changes made by a body known as NHS Improvement. They publish data on Never Events, the numbers of which appear to be reducing. There were 442 reported in 2015/2016 and 380 in 2016/2017.

More safety guidelines are being established regularly, and more procedures added to the NHS list of Never Events. Different areas are being added, and as mistakes are made, they are investigated to see if they need to be part of this group of incidents that medical negligence claims can be made for.

Making Medical Negligence Claims UK for Never Events

Never Events would not happen if the guidelines and procedures laid down by the NHS were followed at all times. The scalding of patients, falls from poorly restricted windows, and chest or neck entrapment in bed rails are all preventable. These are incidents that should not have taken place, and the patients concerned should not have been injured through no fault of their own. Their suffering from any injuries sustained can be worse than the original reason for having treatment.

If you have been the victim of a Never Event, you may be looking for the best medical negligence solicitors to help you with your compensation claim. They will need to understand the rules for making a Never Event claim for medical malpractice, as they are as complicated as the process of claiming. Firms such as The Medical Negligence Experts deal with these types of medical negligence claims on a no win no fee basis, and are often able to help you to claim any compensation you are due. The Medical Negligence Experts also offer a free advice line for potential customers who want to find out if their claim is worth pursuing.

Never Events: surgeons operating in theatre

Not All Never Events Cause An Injury

Not all Never Events will result in an injury, and with no injury, there is no medical negligence claim to make.  The NHS complaints procedure will listen to the problem, and try to make sure that any issues are corrected, as the next patient might not be as fortunate as you. Medical negligence solicitors will try to establish who was at fault, as knowing this is an important part of any claim and this information will be needed to move forward. It could be the fault of the surgeon that operated or the nurses that should have been more vigilant. It could be the anaesthetist that made a mistake, but whoever it is, they need to be employed by the NHS for a claim to be made for an NHS Never Event.

As soon as you are aware that the Never Event is causing you a problem, you should get in touch with medical negligence lawyers, as there is a three-year time limit on making your claim for medical negligence UK. This is only different if the injured party is mentally incapacitated or a child at the time of the incident. In the case of a child, they have three years from their 18th birthday to start legal proceedings, as long as no one made a claim on their behalf at the time.

Medical negligence claims can be complex, confusing, and time-consuming, which is why you want experts on your side. They will know how to deal with the NHS, and how to best present your claim to give it the best chance of success.

From the NHS point of view, they are hoping that by publishing guidelines on how to prevent Never Events, the numbers will continue to decline. The hope is that each year when they show their data, although the list is getting longer, the number of patients injured will be lower.

Free And Bargain Books Linky – Grab Yourself A Great Read!

If you’re an avid reader on a budget, you’ll find loads of free and bargain books on this linky, plus all the new releases from Beck Valley Books.  Yes the weekly book linky returns to Mother Distracted.

free and bargain books on this linky - selection of books on a shelf

Photo by Karim Ghantous on Unsplash

It’s been a funny old second half of term so far, what with inset days and school closures due to the snow.  We seem to be hurtling towards Easter without having done very much at all!

Thanks to the Beast From The East, we managed to miss St. David’s Day, although the kids did dress up for a rescheduled one last week, and their school will be celebrating World Book Day this week instead.

The kids are excited about our trip to Butlins in Minehead at the end of the month. We’re hoping to see Diversity so I can hone my dance moves.  Hmm.

How are your plans for the rest of the year shaping up?  I hope you’re finding time to keep up with your reading, even if it’s only a few snatched minutes at bedtime.

As usual, there are some great books on the linky – and don’t forget you can always add your own to spread a bit of book love.

Don’t forget that I still have plenty to be won on my giveaways page and don’t forget my weekly problem page here.

Happy hunting for your free and bargain books on this link.

Have a great week!

free and bargain books

Problem Page Edition 10 – 2018

In problem page edition 10 of 2018 from your online relationship coach – how to find out if your ex has a new girlfriend if he hasn’t announced it on social media, whether your ex will come back if he blocks you on social media and what’s the difference between a narcissist and a mid life crisis?

Problem page edition 10 - pink flowers and macaroons

If you would like any advice, just message me or add a comment at the end of this post and I will answer selected questions on this problem page.

Here are the questions for problem page edition 10.

Q Is karma really true for cheating ex-boyfriends? I found out from someone that my long distance boyfriend got someone pregnant and she is about to give birth while we are still together.

A: This all sounds a bit of a mess, doesn’t it? Your long distance boyfriend is about to become a father whilst with you.

Forgive me but that suggests that although you consider yourself to be in a long distance relationship, he has been playing away with someone at home?

That, I’m afraid, is the general risk of a long-distance relationship.

I hope you have seen sense enough to tell him it is over. In any case, I suspect his interest may well lie with his partner and the new baby.

It is not a question of karma. It is a question of you making better choices in your next relationship and finding someone to love, who truly loves you back, at home.

Time to let this one go.

Q: A girl I was dating got jealous, angry, and was rude and short with me. Why couldn’t she just say sorry after she knew she was wrong?

A: Some people just can’t admit they’re wrong. But it sounds like she didn’t believe your explanation and doesn’t believe she’s wrong.

It’s normal for couples to row you know. If you want to last the distance you will have to learn to sit down and talk about your disagreements, to compromise and to understand that there are some behaviours that the other one won’t be happy with.

If you have been flirting openly with other girls then it’s entirely understandable that she will feel jealous.

And what she really wrong? Your question sounds rather defensive you know.

Either way I think there is a clear red flag here which suggest to me that you two aren’t really compatible -nor do you sound particularly interested.

I would part company and not waste any more time on childish disputes.

Q: How can you tell your ex boyfriend has a new girlfriend but he doesn’t post it on social media?

A: Stalking his social media to try to find evidence that he has a new girlfriend is not going to make you happy.

Why should he announce it to all and sundry? Harsh though it may seem, it is nobody’s business but his and his new partner.

I can tell you are hurting but this isn’t going to help you to move on. Chances are he will have someone new at some point but rather than waste time trying to find out who she is, look after yourself and think about who you would like to date next.

If it helps unfollow, block etc all his social media accounts. Delete his number from your phone.

Think about your next boyfriend.

Q: What is the difference between a midlife crisis and being a narcissist?

A: One is a phase of life and the other is a psychological illness that needs to be properly diagnosed by a qualified psychologist or doctor.

People are not ‘narcissists’ because they do things we don’t like. Midlife is a time of revisiting who we are, what we want out of the second half of our life and who we want to spend it with.

It can be very tough for the person themselves and those around them.

Narcissists love only themselves. People going through midlife crisis are often desperate for love and reassurance that they are still attractive, desirable and wanted.

The two are completely different.

Q: When your ex blocks you after a fight, is he going to come back? I miss him a lot and he always stalks my social media and then blocks me again.

A: This is either incredibly childish behaviour, or passive-aggressive behaviour which, frankly, I would not want in my life. It’s a form of control. Do what I say. Think what I think or I will cut you out of my life.

I’m assuming he’s older than 13 in which case he has some serious issues which, if I were you, I’d make sure I left behind as quickly as possible.

Stop stalking his social media and giving him the satisfaction of knowing you are desperate for his ‘approval’.

In your shoes I’D block, unfollow, delete and change my phone number because I can’t see a happy relationship coming out of this.

Surely you want a man as a partner, and not a child?

Q:  Is it a good idea to be in a friends with benefits relationship with your ex after a year of breakup? (A bit of feelings are there from both sides.)

A: Of course it isn’t. You had a relationship which didn’t work and now, rather than find someone who is right for you, you have each settled for friendship with the convenience of no strings sex.

This will work right until one of you falls in love again and leaves, leaving the other to go through the break-up all over again.

A ‘bit of feelings’ is probably due to the fact that you are comfortable with each other and know what to expect.

But what a waste when romance, passion, friends and adventure could be right outside your door.

If HE instigated this arrangement, frankly I’d get busy with your own life and get back on the dating scene.

Who wants to be anybody’s second best?

I hope you enjoyed Problem Page Edition 10. You can find more dating advice from your online relationship coach in these posts:-

Dating:  11 Ways To Tell They’re Really Into You

 6 Signs Your Dating Buddy Isn’t On Your Side

32 Ways To Tell They’re Just Not That Into You

Problem Page 10 - pink flowers and macaroons

Deciding Whether To Leave A Relationship: Stay Or Go?

Deciding whether to leave a relationship has to rate as one of the most difficult decisions adults have to make – particularly when there are children involved.  As a parent, your children will always be a large factor in most of the decisions you make – from small things, like the food you eat in the evenings, to the bigger ones, like the sort of house you choose to live in. Of course, in most cases, the choices you make will be to benefit the little ones.

This can make things get very complicated when the choice you have to make is one of staying or going. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring this sensitive area, while also going through some of the work you can do to make a big decision which will affect everyone’s life.

deciding whether to leave a relationship - boxing gloves

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Before you can start thinking about the impact it might have, though, it’s a good idea to consider exactly why you would want to leave your family. In almost every case, this will be the result of a breakdown of your relationship with your partner and your children will simply be involved by proxy.

Deciding whether to leave a relationship

Living in a relationship which you don’t like is never a good thing. But, at the same time, it can be hard to willfully cause disruption in your little one’s lives. Having this sort of dilemma in place can make life very hard, forcing a lot of people to endure things they hate and making the decision whether to leave incredibly difficult.

Choosing To Stay

In reality, most people will end up sticking out their relationship until their children are at an age when they will be able to reasonably cope with it. This sort of approach won’t take any additional work, but will also come with some negative factors.

Below, you can find some examples of both the pros and cons of this side of the argument. Of course, though, you also have to think about how this will be applied to your children, as they will all react differently.

The key benefit of this sort of approach is the lack of turmoil it will bring to your children. Being unable to understand certain issues, children will often assume that they are the problem, and this can make them feel very bad. By staying together, you will avoid this issue, while also making things like school much easier for them. You will have to work hard to make this sort of arrangement work out.

Along with the benefits which come with this, a lot of parents will fail to consider the negative side of it, and this can have a lot of damage on your children’s future. By staying together, you will increase the chances that arguments are had in your home. While they won’t be directed at your child, this sort of conflict can be very bad for them, and it will impact their social development for the rest of their life. Of course, you will also be unhappy if you stay, and this is a very important factor to consider, too.

Making a situation like this work out properly will take a lot of work. To begin, it will be worth making sure that both sides of the partnership know what is going on. It is unfair to plan something like this behind someone’s back, and it will be very hurtful to them if they find out later down the line. As part of your agreement, you will both have to work hard to avoid showing signs of your dismay. This can often be achieved without any trouble.

Deciding whether to leave a relationship - You Got This chalked on tarmac

Photo by sydney Rae on Unsplash

Choosing To Leave

For some people, the idea of staying with their partner will be too much to bear, and leaving will feel like the only option available. Like staying, there will be a good and a bad side to this, and you will need to think about them both before you get started. The process of leaving itself could be one of the trickiest parts of this. So, to make sure you have everything you need, it could be worth making arrangements before letting your partner know.

One of the main benefits of this sort of option is the escape you will get from it. By not living with someone you struggle with, you will be in better moods, and this will be felt by your children. As a side effect of this, conflict will be a thing of the past for your kids, and they will be able to visit you without the fear of an argument brewing. A lot of children find that having their parents split up can be good for their education, if it happens at the right time.

With the good in something like this, you will always find a negative side. When it comes to divorce, going through legal proceedings, splitting assets, and carrying out the other work involved with this process could be very time consuming. Along with this, as mentioned earlier, this sort of process can have a very negative impact on young children, as they will assume that they have caused the rift. Your newfound freedom will also come at a cost, as you will get a lot less time with your children than you are used to.

Handling a divorce correctly will almost always require some outside help. Companies like Austin Kemp divorce solicitors have a wide range of skills and experience in this sort of field. This can make it much easier for them to win the battles you will have to face, almost always resulting in a settlement which falls in your favour. Along with this, you may also need help when it comes to deciding where the kids will live. It’s always best avoiding court with this choice, as this will help to keep the children out of the whole thing.

Hopefully, with all of this in mind, it will start to get a lot easier to choose the best course of action for your relationship. In reality, it’s usually best to follow you instincts with something like this. Of course, though, if someone breaks your trust or hurts you, it’s important that you’re able to break away and look for a fresh start; you just have to think about the kids in the process.

Deciding whether to leave a relationship is never easy but by putting some of these ideas into practice, you can go some way to minimise the disruption and keep those vital channels of communication open,with both your partner and your kids.

How To Use Lighting To Make Your Garden More Child-Friendly

Kids love gardens. They are a safe place to play, let off steam and get a bit of fresh air. Naturally, parents love them too. It is always good to have somewhere that your children can play without you having to worry about whether they are going to be safe. But have you considered how garden lights can add extra reassurance to both parents and kids?

garden lights - boy playing football in the garden at dusk

Promotional feature

In the summer, most families use their garden every day. But, in the winter, the nights draw in and it is too dark for the kids to play out much, after school. Fortunately, with a little time and money, you can soon remedy this problem. You can easily buy some simple garden lights from this website or a similar lighting supplier in your area.

How garden lights can extend the use of your outdoor space

How you decide to light up your garden depends to some extent on the outdoor activities your children enjoy. There is rarely a need to light up the entire garden.

Lighting up a trampoline

Sometimes all you will need to do is to light up a trampoline, swing or slide. You can do this in several different ways. In many cases simply installing a spotlight that has a built-in sensor is all that is needed.

Lighting up a ball game area

If your children like to play ballgames lighting up a small area of your garden makes sense. There are several ways you can do this. A couple of floodlights attached to a fence post either side of the area is a simple approach that works really well.

Somewhere to eat and drink

Provided you are happy to wear your hat and a coat, there is no reason why you cannot continue to cook and eat outside during the winter months. All you need to do is to install some sort of lighting in the eating and cooking areas. For this task, street-style lamps are a really good option. They cast their light wide and look quite decorative. It is wise to have them wired up so that they can be turned on and off independently of each other.

In some climates, it is may be worth investing in some kind of patio heater. Just be careful to buy one that is not likely to be tipped over. Accidents happen and a child can sustain quite nasty burns from a collision with a patio heater.

Keeping the costs down

When choosing the outdoor lighting to use you need to bear in mind how much it will cost to run. You do not want to have to tell the kids they cannot play out because you cannot afford to have the lights you have installed on.

It is not enough to simply think about the cost of buying the actual lighting fixtures. You also need to consider how often the bulbs will need to be changed, how much power they will consume per hour and how easy it is to control when you have them on.

As you can see, garden lights can be used in all sorts of ways to extend the use of your outdoor space throughout the year – and at a very reasonable cost.

Review: Beautiful Mother’s Day Jewellery From Thomas Sabo

As you know it is Mother’s Day this Sunday and if you are looking for a beautiful gift for your mum or nan, I have the perfect piece of Mothers Day jewellery for you from Thomas Sabo.

Mothers Day jewellery - Thomas Sabo Together Forever Heart Link Necklace

Thomas Sabo Together Forever Heart Link Necklace – £99

My mum doesn’t wear much jewellery but she does treasure the pieces she has been given as gifts over the years from my father, sister and I so we try to give her something a little bit special and which is made to last.

Thomas Sabo has been making beautiful high-end silver jewellery since 1984 and the brand has developed an international reputation for its hand-finished creations.  Personally, I prefer silver over gold because I think it accessorizes better with the darker colours I like to wear.

Mothers Day jewellery - Thomas Sabo Together Forever Heart Link Necklace

I was sent the Thomas Sabo Cubic Zirconia Together Forever Heart Link Necklace which features a simple white zirconia heart intertwined into a ring engraved with the words “Together Forever”, a lovely sentiment which would work for mums or as any romantic gift.

The Together Forever range includes rings, earrings and bracelets too with some of the more expensive pieces containing real diamonds.

Made in silver and fastened with a lobster claw clasp, Thomas Sabo says this heart link necklace is designed to represent an eternal bond between you and your loved one.

I found it be well made, easy to fasten and delicate, feminine design.  It also comes in a chic black Thomas Sabo presentation box.

You’ll also find a gorgeous range of Thomas Sabo charms and charm bracelets which is a great idea for a gift that can grow over time.  Once you have your bracelet, your family and friends could give you a new charm on special occasions that means something special to both them and you.

Mothers Day Jewellery - Thomas Sabo Heart Link necklace in presentation box

 

Mothers Day jewellery - Linda wearing the Thomas Sabo Together Forever Heart Link Necklace

You can find more Mothers Day jewellery gifts in the Thomas Sabo brand store.

Does your mum have a special piece of jewellery she always wears?

*I was gifted a Thomas Sabo necklace for the purpose of this review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Mother’s Day Gifts On A Budget From Home Bargains

If you caught my post on No or Low Cost Mother’s Day Gifts, you’ll know I’m a firm believer in “it’s the thought that counts”. And it’s perfectly possible to find some lovely Mother’s Day gifts on a budget.

When I was growing up, my mum would receive the wonder that was bath cubes (usually took a week to dissolve one), scented talcum powder (now generally avoided due to health risks) or the kind of practical thing only my mother could get enjoyment from when receiving them as a gift – Marigold rubber gloves.

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Love frame.

Love frame £1.99

I think this was largely as result of  being a child in the war years (mum was born in 1939) when glamour was silk stockings sold by the GIs in an American camp near mum’s house in Cattedown, Plymouth or, when these weren’t to be had, a line drawn down the back of the leg using an eye pencil.

She would be pleased to receive any of these though, from a selection available in store at your nearest Home Bargains.

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Scrumptious Sweets Delicious Milk Choc Hearts

Scrumptious Sweets Delicious Milk Choc Hearts – 79p

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Bloom Flower Vase

Bloom Flower Vase – £3.99

If it wasn’t the wonder of bath cubes, we would occasionally treat mum to tea in bed, with the tea being brewed in a teapot and served in a china cup.  (You’ll find a fabulous giveaway for gourmet teas here).

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Diamond Compact Mirror

Diamond Compact Mirror – £1.99

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Diamond Compact Mirror

Diamond Compact Mirror – £1.99

As well as the pretty compact mirror there is a cute little necklace and a key ring specially for grans and nans. Mum still loves an old fashioned compact or a lipstick in a shiny or sparkly case.

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Summer Meadows necklace

Summer Meadows Necklace – £1.99

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Nan Keyring

Nan Keyring – £1.29

And of course you can never go far wrong with some yummy chocolate truffles.

Mother's Day gifts on a budget - Home Bargains Yummy Chocolate Truffles

Yummy Chocolate Truffles – 99p

I can confirm that we have tested the chocolate for you and it’s lovely!  I’m sure you’ll agree there is a lovely selection to choose for and for more Mother’s Day gifts on a budget, head down to your local Home Bargains store.

Which gift is your favourite?

Tips To Help With Allergies In The Home

Warmer weather is on the way, bringing with it the misery of hay fever. But what if you are not a hay fever sufferer, yet find yourself constantly suffering from colds and sniffles, watery eyes and headaches? It may be your house that’s the culprit and you need ways to deal with allergies in the home.

allergies in the home - herbal tea in a pot

Getting a proper diagnosis of these conditions seems to be a rather hit and miss affair with the general recommendation, at least from our local GP, being to invest in antihistamines such as Piriton or nasal sprays like Beconeze and do what you can to minimise the symptoms.

But there are steps you can take around the house which might help to minimise your suffering – and making your home cleaner and fresher at the same time.

Coping with allergies in the home

I asked some fellow allergy sufferers what steps they take to minimise their allergies in the home.

Lianne at Anklebiters Adventures won’t have aerosol sprays in the house because she says they make her nasal allergies worse.

Katie Mai-Lyn of Ever After With Kids suggests investing in a really powerful dehumidifier with an ioniser.  “It has done wonders for my whole family,” she says “it essentially removes dust and allergens from the air, absolute must have item for us now!”

Hayley of Very Mummy has had to take steps to help her daughter cope with terrible eczema.  “We have no carpets (tiles throughout) and we hoover twice a day. My daughter has anti-allergy bedding, bottles of antihistamine, her own laundry detergent and softener and we use a humidifier to keep the air moist as dry cold air makes her chest bad. She has food allergies as well so we have created a section in the kitchen for her safe foods and preparation area.”

Emma of The Money Whisperer trusts in her Himalayan Salt Lamps which she has in all her bedrooms.  “I have them on from around 6pm until we go to bed”, she says.

Sophie of Sophie And Lily says that she and her husband have noticed their allergies have increased massively since moving to a busy city full of dockyards and cruise ship terminals. Says Sophe: “Apart from leaving which isn’t an option, we no longer have any form of fresh cut flowers in the house and none in our garden. House plants are fine though so we get to appreciate the greenery. We have removed old carpet and vacuum regularly. I also dash past any daffodils because I end up with a rash and swollen throat. Not much I can do about them either!”

Here are some other suggestions which might help.  Most of then center around keeping your accommodation as dust free as possible because dust, and dust mites, can be a major cause of allergies.

Invest in anti-allergy bedding

Anti-allergy bedding generally means pillows, duvets and bed protectors that are resistant to dust mites. Bedding may have been treated with anti-dust mite and anti-fungal coatings as a deterrent, or made from tightly woven materials so that they are impenetrable to dust mites.

allergies in the home - wood flooring can help alleviate triggers

Swop carpet for wood flooring

Wood flooring can not only look nicer I think, but it’s also easier to clean and more durable – particularly when you have kids.  You can also cover a wood floor with rugs – again easier to clean than carpet.

Replace curtains with blinds

Window blinds can be an easier option than curtains which will collect dust and need washing or dry cleaning. I would suggest roller blinds rather than venetian blinds which tend to be dust traps in my experience.

Minimise soft furnishings

If like me, you love throws and cushions, you may find you have to ration them, or at least make sure you regularly launder their covers.  You may also have to forego fabric lampshades in favour of metal / glass fittings.

Get an anti allergy vacuum cleaner

In the average draught proofed, warm home, there are likely to be plenty of dust mites living in carpets, beds and upholstery.

You may have been advised to vacuum and dust daily but if you use an ordinary vacuum cleaner and a dry duster, you may be breathing in more allergens as they are churned out by the machine and made airborne by the dusting.

In fact, doctors regularly note an increase in patients’ symptoms after recommending frequent vacuuming cleaning!

To avoid this, look for a vacuum cleaner which has HEPA air filtration which will help eliminate allergens which can cause allergies, asthma and eczema to flare up. If you have pets, you want one that is powerful enough to pick up pet hair.

And on the subject of our furry friends, if you are an allergy sufferer you should take that into consideration when choosing a pet.

Avoid fresh flowers

We know that avoiding pollen is sensible if we are an allergy sufferer but you don’t have to avoid house plants altogether.  Peace Lilies and Gerbera Daisies are just to to consider.

Choose allergy friendly cleaning products

There are plenty of allergy friendly cleaning products on the market such as Breathease.  Also look out for those approved by Allergy UK.

The symptoms allergies bring can make you very miserable indeed but by taking active steps to identify the possible triggers within your home and removing them one by one, you can make small improvements which may make things slightly more bearable.

 

Simple tips to banish allergies in the home - white kitchen

Parents – Stress Free Revision Tips For Your Child

It’s that time of year again when exams loom and schools start to circulate exam timetables and remind parents about the importance of getting our kids revising as early as possible. The whole time can be very stressful so here are some stress free revision tips for your kids you may find useful to implement now.

girl revising from a book - stress free revision tips

Should you take your child out of school?

You may recall from recent years, there has been a great deal of press coverage about parents protesting about the stress some of their children were feeling when faced with Year 6 SATS.  In fact, some parents were so incensed they pulled their children out of school on the day of the test.

Here in Wales we have the National Reading and Numeracy Tests which Caitlin (now 10 and in Year 5) and Ieuan, (aged 8 and in Year 3) will be sitting in the second week of May.  These tests enable recording of a child’s academic performance on a database so that this can be compared to the national average.

I can see no point in pulling your child out of school in protest.  It will not change the system and nor will it help the child to cope with the stresses Academia places on all of us for as long as we are students. The most sensible approach, I think, is to view these examinations as a ‘learning curve’.

What early testing can do

These tests offer a chance for our children to begin to learn how to deal with examination stress and to make the vital psychological link between effort and results. These tests are also a chance to learn other skills, such as revision, planning and even self-care in the face of times of worry and pressure.

If our children learn these skills early on then, arguably, GCSEs, and A Levels may be slightly easier to cope with.

What is important, I think, is how we as parents explain all this and how we help our children to understand what the results mean.

Whilst an exam result is an indication of intelligence and effort, it is a marker in the sand.  Because the results are calculated taking into account the performance of your child’s peers.

There are other variables such as how the child felt on the day. For example, are we really saying hay fever sufferers who gave a poor performance on the day of the test due to summertime sniffles are less intelligent? And what about those children whose teachers have been absent and replaced with a totally disinterested supply teacher?

We need to explain to our kids that the result of their test will be an indication of their current ability and no more. With the proviso, of course, that they need to give their best effort. Once that is done they can do no more.

We must also be careful not to communicate our own stress about their performance to our youngsters. After all, exams can be retaken.

We need to instill the importance of competition

As a nation we are not the economic powerhouse we once were, largely because we are not as competitive as, say China.

I am not saying we should hot-house our children as is the way in some parts of Asia but we do need to teach our kids that competing is a vital skill if you want to move up the career ladder.

Our children will need to compete for university and college places.  They will need to compete for jobs.  We do them no favours if we don’t at least begin to explain how the world works in this regard.

In classes of mixed ability which we now have, the pace seems to move to accommodate the slowest child and, although this makes sense from the point of view of developing a strong social community where each individual is valued, the trade off is an environment where those who could benefit from extra attention don’t get it and teaching staff have to struggle to cope with behaviour that is often driven by far more than just occasional naughtiness.

Some parents think that if a child is not particularly academic it is not fair to subject them to tests which may dent their self-confidence.

But surely with the right attention and tuition, overcoming learning challenges may actually boost the confidence of these children.

There are, after all, enough hugely successful entrepreneurs whose own academic performance was dismal.  Richard Branson, and Steve Jobs to name but two.

My stress free revision tips

So how can parents help their kids?

I wrote a practical guide to revision which you and your children may find helpful.  “Revision Tips To Show Those GCSEs Who’s Boss”. You can read it here.

But here are some stress free revision tips that will help children and their parents.

Don’t over-react

If you make these exams / tests the be-all and end-all you will add undue pressure on your child. Hence, Ieuan’s school is very wisely calling the Year 3 testing a ‘Quiz’.

Make sure you familiarise yourself with your child’s curriculum and study topics

Our school sends out regular term updates so we know what our kids are studying and what their learning outcomes are.  If you have been working with your child throughout the academic year, you will be better placed to help them with their revision.

You will also feel a bit calmer because you will know what needs to be covered.

Invest in some study guides

There is a lot of age-appropriate / Key Stage learning material you can buy or download.  In Wales, past tests can be downloaded free of charge from the Learning Wales website.

There are also websites such as Twinkl which, for a nominal monthly subscription offer a great range of educational resources.

Set a regular study timetable

Design a timetable which has study ‘periods’ of about 45 minutes and help your child work through his topic book or a past paper.

All gadgets stay off until the homework is done (even if it means changing the WiFi password!).

Add an incentive

Whether this is extra family time – such as a trip to the cinema or to a favourite local attraction, make sure you prioritise down time too.

Ban Late Nights

For you and your children.  You’ll need your sleep to cope with an emotional, antsy child and to keep your patience in the face of the inevitable “I don’t want / need to revise” rebellion.

Improve your diet

Mainlining on take-aways and high sugar foods will make you all feel low and under par.  Now is the time for some proper home cooked meals.

Buddy up

Why not form a little study group with your child’s best buddies and their parents.  You may find it more effective to get the kids studying in a more relaxed atmosphere.  They can then do a fun activity once the work has been done, football, swimming or some other form of stress relieving exercise.

Work with the school

If your child is really struggling, don’t be afraid to talk to your child’s teacher to see if there is the possibility of any extra tuition or support.

It may be there is a gap in your child’s knowledge (perhaps something that was covered when your child was off sick) that can be easily filled by a fact sheet or online resource.

Exams, tests, whatever blood-pressure-inducing terminology we apply to them, are designed to put us under pressure to see how we perform.

Watch for signs of extreme anxiety / depression

If you feel that your child is really suffering physically or mentally through exam stress, you need to get your child to open up and talk about their fears.  It may be worth taking them to see your GP if their anxiety symptoms are becoming unmanageable.

If they won’t talk to you, perhaps they will talk to another trusted adult or perhaps an older sibling who has gone through the pressures they are facing.

As parents there is a lot we can do to help our child and, in doing so, help ourselves to feel a little more confident too.

We just need to remember that exam results do not define who we are and certainly don’t dictate who we will become.

Do you have any stress free revision tips to add?

Problem Page Edition 9 2018

In problem page edition 9 of 2018 from your online relationship coach – when your mother-in-law doesn’t bother to knock before she enters your room, when you’ve been listening to music too loudly and are worried you’ve damaged your ears, and when his ex was the ‘outdoorsy’ type and he’s now obsessed with the great outdoors.

problem page edition 9 - couple's boots in the snow

If you would like any advice, just message me or add a comment at the end of this post and I will answer selected questions on this problem page.

Here are the questions for problem page edition 9.

Q Why doesn’t my mother-in-law ask or knock before entering our bedroom, and how do I make her understand that I don’t like it?

A: If you’re living in her house then, unfortunately, it’s her house and she can go where she pleases. This is, by the sound of it, a not too subtle power play to let you know she’s still the boss.

If it’s YOUR house then you have every right to ask her to respect your privacy. Get a lock put on the door!

Your first step here is to talk to your partner to see if they can find out what’s behind this pretty tactless behaviour.

Even if you are married, some people are uncomfortable about sex under their roof.

If you are in her house, I’m afraid the best solution is to find somewhere of your own as soon as you can afford it.

Q: I was listening to music pretty loud, and after I was done, my ear felt really weird and clogged. I couldn’t hear as well out of it as I could with my other ear. This is the first time it has ever happened. I’m 15 and my mum says it’s just wax, but I’m becoming worried. What could it be?

A: If you listen to music at a loud volume consistently there is a chance you will damage your hearing – particularly if you are wearing headphones.

You also risk giving yourself tinnitus.

If you do wear headphones and don’t clean the earbuds, it is possible you have given yourself an ear infection or that it is indeed wax.

Ask your mum to take you to the doctor for him to examine your ears to reassure yourself.

But for heaven’s sake, protect your ears and turn the volume down. If, when the music stops, your ears are buzzing, ringing or whistling this is a clear warning.

You’re young enough for your ears to recover but constant abuse will catch up with you sooner or later.

Q: What’s the best way to restart a text conversation with a girl after having no reply in 2 days (we are on holidays)?

A: Stop faffing about with texts and CALL her. That’s the only way you’ll find out if she’s really interested. Ask her for a date. If she says no then at least you’ll know and won’t waste any more time on texting – which tells you absolutely nothing.

Will you’re wondering what to do, some braver guy may well have got in before you and asked her out.

Q: If I write my ex-boyfriend a letter, would he come back?

A: Why would he? What do you hope to achieve by writing a letter?

In general, I think if men are truly interested they will do the chasing. If he has made no attempt to come back, to stay in touch, to contact you, then there is little hope that writing a letter will make any difference.

A better strategy would be a phone call to see if he would meet for a coffee. That way if he says no you have your answer.

If he IS interested, he won’t hesitate to say yes.

I can tell you are desperate to win him back but please don’t do so at a cost to your dignity and self esteem.

You would stand a better chance of winning him back with the attitude of “well it’s your loss sunshine” than you would with “my life is over unless you come back to me”.

I think you need to talk to a good friend or family member too for a bit of support and care.

Q: My boyfriend’s ex was very outdoorsy. Lately, he has become obssesed with outdoor activities. I think he’s doing these things because they remind him of her. Should I be worried?

A: I don’t think so. This may be his way of working things through in his own mind. Perhaps he now genuinely likes outdoor pursuits.

If you want to change things from ‘things he did with HER’ then these activities need to become things he does with YOU – don’t they?

You might need to put your boots on and join him.

But I certainly wouldn’t make an issue of it.

And when you say obsessed do you mean everyday? It’s not really an obsession if what you actually mean is he spends his time doing things you don’t enjoy, say, at the weekends.

Doing things together is the solution here.

Q:  If a parent narcissist projects transference into you as a physical object, how could I stop this assault on my perception?

A: I’m not sure I understand your question.

If you mean why does my parent ask me to do something I don’t want to do or why does my parent assume I am going to behave in a certain way then – it’s because they’re your parent.

Rather than wrap yourself up in psychobabble and assigning psychological syndromes to someone who probably just wants to talk to you and understand you, then the simplest thing is to tell them you’re unhappy and why.

If you are a grown adult and no longer living at home then, if the relationship makes you that unhappy, you have the choice not to continue it.

Talking to each other here is key.

I hope you enjoyed Problem Page Edition 9. You can find more dating advice from your online relationship coach in these posts:-

Dating:  11 Ways To Tell They’re Really Into You

 6 Signs Your Dating Buddy Isn’t On Your Side

32 Ways To Tell They’re Just Not That Into You