Whether you’ve been driving for decades or you’ve only just passed your test, driving through a new city, town or area can feel pretty overwhelming. New street signs, different peak traffic times, one way systems, a difference in driving attitudes – the list of differences is extensive. Of course, you can’t predict or prepare for everything that might happen out on the road, after all you never know when you will need a car accident lawyer, but luckily, there are some things you can prepare yourself for. Such as driving through a new city!
Simply put, the better prepared you are, the more you’re likely to stay safe on the road, along with your family and passengers, giving you more opportunity to enjoy your time in a new location. Want to know more? Read on for 5 driving tips that will help you navigate a new city.
Know where you are going
Whether you’re just driving through one city to make your way to another destination, or you’re looking for something in particular, it’s important to know where you’re actually going and where you want to end up. Don’t be afraid to check out the location on Google Maps first, to give yourself a little clue about what the area looks like and what the parking scenario is going to be. The more prepared you are the better you’ll feel.
Have all the right equipment with you
Many of us scoff at the idea of an old-style map, but if your satnav dies or if you have a problem with the navigation system in your car, you’ll be glad that you decided to bring one along. Having a bottle of water handy is great for keeping yourself alert and hydrated, or even something to chew or suck on – like chewing gum – will definitely help in those stressful moments. Driving in comfortable footwear is an absolute must. Remember you can always change your footwear when you arrive at your destination.
Do some research
Ok, so when are the busiest times of the day? 8am? 5.30pm? These times sound legitimate but are they relevant to your new destination? Do plenty of research so you can hit the roads when they’re at their quietest. It’ll give you more time to think and recover from mistakes easily. Are there any parking restrictions you should know about? And what about the local street signs?
Keep distractions down to a minimum
Loud music, radio stations fizzing in and out, the kids fighting in the back seat and your passengers talking loudly – all of these distractions can play havoc with your concentration levels. So, try to keep distractions down to a minimum. Turn down the music, ask passengers to quieten down and give the kids a tablet to keep them occupied whilst you get your bearings.
Leave in plenty of time
If you have to be somewhere by a certain time and you have to navigate your way through a new city then it’s advisable to give yourself plenty of time to allow for traffic, mistakes and finding your destination. The more pressed for time you are, the more stressed you’ll be!
No one ever expects to hire the services of a personal injury lawyer. But if you’ve been going about your daily life and you’ve gotten injured, or you’re now unable to work due to the negligence and thoughtlessness of someone else, then you could be making a call sooner than you think.
The idea of hiring a personal injury lawyer can seem a little daunting. With so many to choose from it can be difficult to know where to turn and how do you know if your case is actually worth their time? The best way is to reach out and speak to a lawyer directly – you can find a personal injury lawyer here, just click the link.
If you’re already suffering from a debilitating injury and you can’t work, look after yourself or your family, then you’re already in a precarious financial situation. Therefore, speaking with a personal injury lawyer is imperative. With this in mind, I’ve gathered 3 reasons why you might need a personal injury lawyer.
You’ve been involved in a car accident
Being involved in a car accident can have grave consequences and leave victims with both physical and mental injuries. Car accidents usually occur because one of the drivers involved has made a mistake or has been driving dangerously and not adhering to the rules of the road. If you weren’t at fault yet you’ve been injured by someone’s negligible actions then you could be entitled to a compensation claim. The road to recovery after a vehicle accident is long, so you must receive the compensation you’re entitled to so you can get the best medical treatment, take time off work and not worry about other financial implications.
You could have been driving
You could have been the passenger
You could have been a pedestrian
As if the idea of visiting your doctor isn’t uncomfortable enough, if something goes wrong it can create a whole host of issues. There are many examples of medical malpractice, but the simplest way to define it is that your medical situation is now worse because of the lack of care you received. You should be able to trust your medical team and they should be doing everything they can to improve your health. Examples of medical malpractice include:
Errors during surgery
Infection caused by unsterile equipment
Poor aftercare resulting in deterioration of health
A slip, trip or fall
When you step onto public land or in a public place, the people responsible for that area have a legal obligation to keep it safe and free of danger. So, if you have slipped, tripped or fallen and hurt yourself then they could be liable. Whether you’ve fallen down the stairs because the handrail was broken, you’ve slipped on a wet floor, or stumbled and hurt yourself on a broken floor tile. Speak with a personal injury lawyer now if these are relevant scenarios.
If you believe you’ve been injured as the result of someone else, get in touch with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
A home loan in retirement might be a good idea. You could use that extra money for many different purposes from relaxation to emergencies. The decision you have to make when you are at least 62 years old is whether to get a traditional home loan or a reverse mortgage, the latter of which becomes available to you at that point. Comparing the two is necessary so you can choose.
The Basics of a Traditional Home Loan
A traditional mortgage is a contract you sign that lasts for a period of time established upfront. Three-year and five-year traditional mortgages are common. Though there are exceptions. After you sign such an agreement, you usually receive a lump sum capped at a specific amount, but you also receive mortgage bills. The sizes of your regular payments are set up in such a way that you pay the total with interest by the end of the loan period.
The Basics of a Reverse Home Loan
A reverse home loan is a mortgage with no pre-established loan period and an understanding that it is to last for a long time. That time could be many more years than you would have an active standard loan agreement. It all depends on how long you stay in your house and are able to meet the other terms of the loan contract. One advantage is that, for the duration of that agreement, you never receive scheduled mortgage bills you have to worry about.
Reverse Mortgages Do Come with Some Pitfalls
Borrowing money with no obligation to pay it back for years can sound ideal. However, you need to understand reverse mortgages do have some pitfalls. For example, as you apply for reverse-mortgage assistance, interest might quickly pop up on your radar as a potential problem. Since it can have a decade or longer to accumulate, down the line you may need to pay a lot more than you ever borrowed. That may not be a concern now, but you need to keep thinking about it, especially during the initial loan application process. Looking for the best interest rate can save you a lot later.
Another pitfall of a reverse mortgage to watch out for is you and your mortgage are both tied to your home. You can go on vacation, of course, but you cannot move away. Usually, there is a period of time established, such as six months. If you leave your home for longer than that amount of time, you are considered to be in violation of the contract.
Violating a Traditional Home Mortgage Agreement Versus a Reverse Mortgage Agreement
The most common way to violate a traditional home mortgage agreement is to fail to make mortgage payments on time. Repeated violations can cause the bank to evict you and your family from your home. A reverse mortgage actually requires you to keep living in the home. It also has no requirement to pay it by a certain day each month. In fact, you do not have to make monthly, or even yearly, payments on it at all. Instead, you violate the loan agreement by moving out or by failing to do what you are required to do as the owner of the home. For example, going bankrupt or missing tax payments is not allowed.
Keep Right on Comparing Your Options
The most important thing to remember when you want to choose between mortgage types is to take your time. Do not make a hasty decision. Make sure you have a full understanding of what is gained and lost with each mortgage type. Then you can determine if a retiree reverse mortgage is actually going to benefit you the most or not.
Whether you’re shopping for a new piece of jewellery for yourself or one that you would like to give as a gift, you should definitely look into engraved bracelets.
These personalised pieces are unique because once you engrave them, they turn into something that’s unlike any other – especially if you are engraving it with a name, date, quote, or any other symbol. It is an expression of love. And love is not only about all things romantic. It can be love for yourself, a friend, a family member, and of course, a significant other.
Bracelets are certainly some of the most popular choices when it comes to jewellery. A lot of men and women of all ages love wearing bracelets because they can complement outfits and make even the simplest of clothes look absolutely amazing. Although engraving a bracelet doesn’t show a design that stands out especially when seen from afar, the person wearing it will surely see it and know that it is made unique and special just for him or her.
Engraved Bracelets as a Gift for All Occasions
No matter the occasion or even without any occasion at all, engraved bracelets would be a great gift for one’s self or for a loved one or friend. When giving a gift, it can be as simple as buying a random item you’ll find in stores. But if you want it to be more special than usual, then it would be nice to find a way to customise. Engraving is a great way to do that. When you request to engrave a piece of jewellery, you can make it as unique as you want it to be. The store will likely give you some limitations such as the length or size, but you can work with your creative skills and still make it a wonderful piece.
Engraved bracelets are also very trendy yet timeless at the same time. They’re fashionable and would look great with any outfit. This is why these bracelets are popular not only among women who are usually the market for fashionable accessories, but also men who are looking for more often looking for simpler ways to accessorise. They’re in the trend for many years now which makes them a classic choice. This only means they won’t go out of fashion and will be great to wear for many more years to come!
When you are looking for engraved bracelets for women or even for men, you first need to choose the design of the bracelet that you want. It’s surely easier when you’re shopping for yourself but when you’re looking for something for a special someone, you might want to take a bit more time to ensure that it is the style that she would love. Personalise it by engraving a special symbol, her name, a date or any other option that they jeweller has available. You can also try researching about engraved jewellery so you know how you can customise the bracelet even further.
The current COVID-19 crisis has seen many more of us working from home, possibly for the first time. If this is you, you may find the following guide helpful. Just remember working from home requires discipline and a different approach so don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t come naturally. For the sake of your future employment, though, it IS important that you get to grips with new ways of working and communicating. Never before will work / life balance be so important, nor setting boundaries with those you love.
Connection is Important: Stay Connected When Working from Home
One of the pitfalls of working from home is how isolating it can be. When you’re used to working in an office setting surrounded by other workers, it can suddenly feel quite lonely when you’re working by yourself. That’s why it is important to keep yourself connected to the outside world.
So, how can you stay connected when working from home? Here, you’ll discover some great tips to follow to ensure you don’t feel too isolated.
Host regular group chats with colleagues
As you won’t be seeing your colleagues face to face, it’s important to keep in touch digitally. Hosting regular group chats with colleagues can really help to keep you connected.
Ideally, you’ll want to set aside specific times to do this. Having a group chat first thing in the morning before you start work is a good idea. That way, you’ll be able to get clarification on any projects you’re working on together too.
Take advantage of social media
While you’ll want to limit social media while you’re working, it can still prove useful for staying in touch. To ensure you don’t waste time on it, a good idea is to set aside specific social media times. This gives you the opportunity to keep in touch with friends, family and colleagues without it negatively impacting your productivity.
Utilize video calls
Technology has come a long way over the past decade. You don’t need to be in the same room as colleagues and clients to keep in touch. Instead, you can utilize video call software.
Whether you use something like Apple’s Facetime, Zoom or Skype, you can feel much more connected to people. Not only do you hear them, but you see them too which can make a big difference in limiting how isolated you feel.
Set reminders for birthdays and events
You can still celebrate special occasions and events such as birthdays, by setting yourself calendar reminders. This will ensure that even when you’re out of the office, you still stay connected with colleagues during these special times.
Respond to communication quickly
If you receive emails from colleagues and clients, make sure you respond quickly. When you’re working in isolation, waiting hours, or even days, just to get a reply can be tough. So, ensure your colleagues and clients don’t feel ignored by responding as quickly as you can to communication.
These are some of the best ways to stay connected when you’re working from home. It isn’t always easy, but if you make the effort, you’ll feel much less isolated. It can be a real shock to the system moving from office to home working. So, allow yourself a period of adjustment to deal with the changes and adopt a more flexible working approach.
How to Be Productive Working at Home
As convenient and beneficial as working from home can be, it can also prove to be damaging to productivity.
The trouble is, up until now, you’ve associated your home as a space for relaxing. So, it can be difficult switching to a more productive mindset when you’re in the comfort of your home.
The good news is, there are ways to boost your productivity when remote working. Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to stay productive when working at home.
De-clutter your workspace
You’re going to find it hard to stay productive if your workspace is cluttered. So, before you start, take time to clean up the area you’re planning on working in.
Get rid of any clutter and organize the space. The cleaner and tidier the space is, the easier you’ll find it to focus on your work.
Take breaks to get out in the yard or garden
Suddenly being cooped up in the house all day can be detrimental to productivity. It can cause issues with low mood and leave you feeling less motivated to get through your workload.
By taking regular breaks and making time to get out into the yard, it can really boost those productivity levels. Spend just 10-15 minutes gardening or reading a book outdoors to help refresh productivity levels.
Always prepare for the day ahead
When you go out to work, you know there are things you need to do to get ready for the day. You have a routine which prepares you for work. However, when you start working from home you don’t really have that.
Rather than thinking you can now work in your pyjamas all day, make the effort to get dressed. Create a morning routine which sets you up for work. That way, you’ll find it much easier to stay productive if your mindset is geared towards work.
Utilize the power of nature
Did you know that plants and flowers can help you to feel more motivated? Adding them into your workspace can help to brighten up the working environment. Numerous studies have shown how effective greenery can be within an office environment. So, if you want an easy way to stay productive, add a few houseplants and flowers to your home office.
You can also utilize the power of scent too. In some countries, workplaces spray citrus scents to boost employee productivity. Try experimenting with different scents to see which ones make you work more efficiently.
Staying productive when working at home isn’t easy but it is doable. The above are some of the best methods you can try to increase those productivity levels. Taking regular breaks away from your computer is important, not just for productivity but for your health too.
How to Deal with Distractions
One thing you’re going to have to master when you work from home is minimizing distractions.
There are a lot of distractions you need to contend with such as household chores, the TV, social media and kids. So, how exactly should you deal with these distractions to ensure you can work more efficiently?
Below, you’ll discover some great tips to help you deal with distractions when working from home.
Use the distractions as a reward
Distractions don’t have to be a bad thing. They can be used to reward yourself after completing work tasks.
For example, if you love nothing more than to curl up in front of the TV watching your favourite shows, allow yourself the opportunity to watch something after completing a project.
Similarly, you could use social media in the same way. Once you’ve completed a task off your to-do list, reward yourself with a short period of time on your social media channels.
Using distractions as a reward can help to keep you focused and boost your motivation to get your work done.
Consider working in various parts of the home
It’s common to set aside just one place to work from. However, did you know you may find it more productive to work in various areas of the home?
It’s all about adding variety into your new working environment. Some days, the spare room may be the best place to get work done. Other times, you may find it more beneficial to work on the dining room table or in the back yard. Don’t limit yourself to where you can work, mix it up and watch your productivity levels increase.
Add a little background music
This tip might not be useful to everyone, but many professionals claim that working with background music on can limit their distractions. You’ll want to focus on calming music, rather than something that makes you want to sing along.
Alternatively, listening to podcasts and audiobooks in the background can also work well. So, if you struggle with productivity, try adding a little background noise and see if that helps.
Resolve to check emails sparingly
Checking emails is important when you work from home. However, it can also take up a lot of time. So, you’ll want to limit how many times you check them during the day.
Ideally, you’ll want to check them first thing in the morning, then after you’ve completed each task you’re working on.
Turn off notifications
Finally, a great tip is to turn off those notifications. Social media, news and app notifications can all prove really distracting when you’re working from home. So, turn them off until after work to boost productivity.
It’s not always easy limiting distractions when you work from home. However, the above are some of the most effective tips you can follow to deal with the distractions that may crop up.
Parenting, Working and Teaching: Steps to Help You Do All Three
The recent coronavirus outbreak has meant that millions of parents across the globe are now facing the impossible task of being a parent, worker and teacher.
Getting through your day is difficult enough when you’re trying to work from home with the kids. However, when you also have to home school them at the same time, it can prove to be a real nightmare.
If you’re trying to find the right balance in this unprecedented situation, there are some tips you can follow. Here, we’ll look at some of the steps you can take to accomplish your new role without losing your mind.
Create and work from a schedule
The one thing that’s going to prove invaluable during this time, is creating and maintaining a schedule. The kids need a schedule and you need one to help you keep up with your increased duties.
Start with making a schedule for the kids. You can include educational activities, playtime and mealtimes. When they know what they are working on and have a schedule to follow, it makes it so much easier for both them and you. Kids need a routine and they’ll be a lot happier when they’re following one.
Make time for physical activity
It can be tough trying to work when the kids have bundles of energy. So, why not help them burn off that energy so you can work in peace?
Getting them to partake in physical activity helps to wear them out as well as keep them healthy. So, encourage time running around in the back yard. You could create a mini assault course or look online for physical games you could play.
Once they’ve finished their physical activity, they will be more likely to play quietly for a period of time.
Don’t try and become a teacher
Now that the kids are off school, you may feel like you have to become a teacher. You really don’t. It’s not your job to research and familiarize yourself with the topics they cover at school.
Instead, focus on educational activities they can do such as reading. You can also set up things such as sensory buckets and let them use educational apps.
If the school provided digital work they can follow, don’t forget to utilize that too. If you look online, you might also find free workbooks they can use.
Talk through any issues with your employer
If you are having issues juggling everything, don’t be afraid to talk to your employer. They may give you additional days off so you can get used to the new arrangement.
Remember, there are a lot of people going through the same situation as you right now. It’s not easy but remind yourself that it is only temporary. The above tips will help you to better juggle your new responsibilities in the time being.
Setting Up a Work at Home Office
If you want to boost your productivity levels when working from home, it helps to set up an office. Having an area purely dedicated to working will help you to separate work from leisure.
The question is, how can you set up an effective home office environment? Here, you’ll discover some of the best ways to set up a work at home office and the key things to consider.
Consider how long you’ll be working from home
The first thing you need to think about is how long you’ll be working from home. If it’s only a very short period of time, it would be pointless investing in an entire home office set up. In this situation, it would be better to invest in just the essentials.
However, if you have the budget it could be worth setting up a permanent home office. That way, you’ll always have somewhere set up to work at home if needed.
Making sure you have the right equipment
You’re going to need some level of equipment to work from home. At the very least, you’re going to need a laptop or desktop computer and a desk.
If you aren’t setting up a permanent home office, you can use things such as the dining room table or a makeshift bedroom office. Some people are even getting creative and using an ironing board as a stand-up desk option.
Other things you’re going to need include a good internet connection and online security.
Ensure the space has plenty of natural sunlight
When you’re stuck indoors, you won’t be getting as much natural sunlight as you usually would. This can have an impact on how productive and motivated you are. Numerous studies have revealed the damaging impact limited natural daylight can have on worker’s in an office setting and the same applies at home.
So, make sure you’re going to be working in a part of the home which benefits from a lot of daylight. If there isn’t a space available, you might want to consider investing in a daylight bulb. These are designed to replicate natural daylight.
Focus on comfort
Your home office should be a comfortable place you can work too. This means, providing plenty of support for your back if you’re working at a desk for example.
If you aren’t comfortable, you’re not going to get much work completed. You’ll also find it beneficial to surround yourself with things that make you happiest, such as photos of the family and plants or flowers.
These are some of the basics you should consider when setting up a home office. Whether you’re setting up a permanent or temporary office space, you need to ensure it has everything you need and it’s quiet and comfortable to work in.
Tech That Can Help When You’re Working from Home
When you’re working from home, there are a lot of challenges you need to contend with. Reduced productivity, time management and motivation can all be problematic when you’re trying to get work done. However, the good news is there are things available out there which can help.
You can invest in a lot of different technology these days. When implemented correctly, the right tech can make working from home a breeze. Here, we’ll look at some of the top tech you’ll want to invest in when working from home.
A decent router
As you’ll be relying upon the internet to work from home, it’s important to make sure you have a good router. If you’ve had your existing router for a while now, you might want to consider upgrading.
The more reliable and modern your router is, the less likely it’s going to cause issues when you’re working from home. So, if your router is pretty old, consider asking your provider to send a newer one. Or, you can invest in one yourself if need be.
Another thing you’re going to need is network security. This is especially true if you work within a data-sensitive industry. At the very least, you’ll want to get a VPN set up so you can work privately away from the prying eyes of hackers.
You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got good virus protection in place. The latest internet security will help to keep you safer while working from home.
Noise can be a real problem when you’re trying to work at home. So, to block it out you might want to consider investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. This will help you to better focus on your workload and drown out any distractions such as the TV.
Obviously, it’s going to be hard to use noise-cancelling headphones if you have kids to look after. However, you could always use them while the kids are busy watching a film or having a nap.
Did you know there are some great online tools you can use when you’re working from home? Task management software is especially useful, and you can use a lot of it absolutely free.
You have a number of options when it comes to task management software such as Asana, Basecamp and Trello. Make sure you compare the different tools available before choosing the best one for your needs.
These are some of the top pieces of tech you’ll need to work from home more effectively. You don’t need a huge budget, although it’s best not to opt for the cheapest security software for example. Know where to spend and where you can cut back, such as with free online tools.
Time Management Hacks When You Work at Home
Out of all of the issues that home working presents, time management is one of the most problematic. How can you get everything you need to get done completed when there are increased distractions to contend with?
Below, you’ll discover some great time management hacks you can implement when you work at home.
Avoid trying to multi-task
It’s common to try and multitask when you’re working at home. Whether it’s trying to work on two different projects at the same time or trying to work and take care of the kids, multi-tasking can prove detrimental to your productivity.
Instead, you’ll need to focus on just one task at a time. When you focus on just one thing, it makes you far more productive. Similarly, grouping similar tasks together can help you to complete them much quicker.
Set yourself realistic deadlines
A good time management tip when you’re working from home is to set realistic deadlines. You’ll want to compile a list of the most important tasks you need to complete that day. Then, work on them in order.
Set yourself a specific amount of time for each task. You’ll find this really helps to keep you focused on the job at hand. When you work to deadlines, it helps you to get more work done in a shorter timescale.
This is because you’re much less likely to check things such as social media when you know you only have a set amount of time to complete what you’re working on.
Take advantage of productivity tools
If you take a look online, you’ll find a lot of productivity tools available. Many of these are free to use and they help to boost productivity when working remotely.
Task management tools are especially great for productivity. They enable you to keep in touch with the team, organize tasks and see exactly what needs to be completed.
You can even find time management tools online. These enable you to better utilize your time, ensuring you get the most important tasks done first.
One of the biggest challenges you’re going to face in terms of time management is distractions. There are a lot of distractions when you’re working from home. Whether it’s the phone ringing, the temptation to check social media, or the television; it’s easy to procrastinate with so many distractions around you.
This is why it’s really important to work in a quiet space away from distractions. Again, you could also purchase noise-cancelling headphones to ensure you don’t get distracted by surrounding noise while you’re trying to work.
Time management can be difficult when you’re working from home. However, the tips above can really help you to minimize the challenges it presents.
Transitioning to Work at Home
If you are forced to work from home due to the global coronavirus crisis, the initial joy of being able to work from home can be quickly replaced by worry, a lack of motivation and never-ending distractions.
How on earth do you get things done when there are so many distractions? While home working can deliver a lot of benefits, there are a lot of challenges it presents too.
Here, you’ll discover some useful tips you can follow when it comes to transitioning to working from home.
Set up a quiet working space
With all of the distractions at home, it can be really hard to concentrate on work. This is especially true if you have kids at home. So, if you want to ensure you can get things done in peace, it’s worth setting up a quiet working space.
Try and use a room that isn’t frequently used during the day. Place a sign on the door when you’re trying to work to let others know not to disturb you. Make sure the workspace is comfortable too as you won’t get a lot done if you aren’t comfortable.
Start as early as possible
One of the main challenges that can come from working from home is delaying the time you usually start. It’s tempting to have a lie-in and take longer to relax in the morning before starting. However, this only zaps your productivity.
If you want to ensure you stay productive, you’ll want to start as early as possible. The positive side to this is that the earlier you start, the earlier you’ll get to finish.
Set social media limits
You’ll have a lot more time to check in on social media when you haven’t got the boss breathing down your neck. However, it’s easy to waste hours using social media accounts if you aren’t careful.
Many home workers find it useful to set limits on their social media use during working hours. It could be simply committing to using it during a specific time for example. Having limits in place makes you more aware of how much you’re using it.
Maintain your usual “get ready” routine
It’s really important to try and maintain your usual routine. This means, getting ready for work in the same way you usually do. So, wake up at the same time, have your usual cup of coffee and get dressed in your work clothes. It’s amazing how much of a difference this can make to your productivity.
These are just a few tips you can follow when transitioning to working from home. It can be a big adjustment, but there are lots of tools and tips out there to help. Trying to maintain your usual routine is one of the best things you can do during these changing times.
Ways to Work with Kids in the House
If you’re stuck working from home with the kids, there’s no doubt it’s going to be challenging! Any parent knows that getting anything done with their kids around can be almost impossible sometimes.
However, there are some great tips you can follow to make working from home with the kids much easier. It’s all about finding the right balance. Here, you’ll learn some of the best ways you can effectively work from home even with kids in the house.
Plan engaging activities
When you need to get on with an important project, it can help to get the kids immersed in an engaging activity. Craft projects tend to be a popular option. They are fun for the kids, and they take a while to complete.
You’ll find hundreds of craft project ideas online. Try and find something which utilizes supplies you already have in the home. Then, they can be getting on with their crafts while you complete your important work tasks.
Create a routine early on
Working from home and having the kids home all day is a new experience for both you and them. Therefore, it’s going to help if you create a routine as early as you can.
Kids thrive with a routine so make sure you all have set wake up, meal and bedtimes. Try and schedule time you can spend together on your breaks too. That way, they are still getting one to one attention from you, reducing the likelihood they’ll pester you when you need to get on with work.
Take advantage of nap times
If your kids are still quite young, make sure you take advantage of nap times. These are the perfect opportunity for you to get a bulk of your work done without having to worry about the kids.
Ensure you have a quiet workspace
One thing you’re going to need when you’re working from home with the kids is a quiet workspace. It should be away from all distractions and ideally, you shouldn’t be disturbed while you’re there.
Of course, this can be tricky, but if you explain to the kids that you can’t be disturbed and why it’s important, you’ll find they are typically willing to listen.
In usual times, you try to limit your child’s exposure to technology. However, when you’re trying to work from home, you’ll find technology can be a real help.
When you don’t want to be disturbed, let the kids watch a movie or play on a smartphone or tablet device. This will keep them occupied for a longer period of time, allowing you to take that conference call for example.
It’s not easy working from home with the kids, but it isn’t impossible either. Follow the above tips to make it that little bit easier during these difficult times.
What to Do When You Don’t Have Supportive Employers or Managers
Working from home can be a real struggle when you aren’t used to it. However, it can be made wore when you don’t have supportive employers or managers.
During difficult times, it is crucial employers are transparent and supportive with their employees. So, what can you do if yours isn’t?
Here, you’ll discover some of the key steps you can take if you feel you aren’t being fully supported.
Let them know how you feel
The first step you should take if you feel your employer or manager isn’t being supportive is to talk to them. This can be intimidating, but your employer may not even realize how you feel.
It’s a good idea to write down what you want to say. Try and think of ways you feel they could be more supportive too. They may ask you what you’d like them to do or how they could help so having a list available will be useful.
Team up with other coworkers
If you don’t get anywhere after talking to your employer, it’s worth teaming up with your coworkers. Chances are, they are being treated in the same manner.
There is a lot of power in numbers. So, if your coworkers are also experiencing the same issues, you’ll stand a better chance of changing how you are being treated if you stand together.
Again, try and talk to your employer together, or if that fails try and speak to someone higher up in the company.
Talk to HR if you need to
While your manager is usually the person you talk to when you experience problems, you can also speak to HR. If you are experiencing an issue with your employer, they are the people you should turn to first.
There will be policies which need to be followed and it’s the HR teams’ job to make sure they are implemented. So, any issues need to be reported to them as quickly as possible.
Search for a new job
If all else fails and your employer still isn’t being supportive, it could be worth seeking new employment. In the current economic situation that may sound impossible. However, if you’re at home it’s never been a better time to search for alternative employment.
The pandemic won’t last forever. When it’s over, do you really want to continue to work for a company that doesn’t support you? Consider taking online courses too if you need to top up your skills. This will make you more employable once you’re ready to make the switch.
Nobody should have to deal with an unsupportive manager or employer. Remember, the current situation is temporary and there is lots of support available online. Follow the advice above and if you feel your employer is breaking the law or putting you at risk, don’t hesitate to take your complaint further.
Working Through Stress and Uncertainty
Are you struggling to focus on work with everything going on in the world right now? If so, you’re certainly not alone.
Working through uncertain and stressful times isn’t easy. In fact, it can feel almost impossible when your mind is so taken up by fear and anxiety.
If you’re struggling right now, there are some tips you can follow which may help. Here, we’ll look at some of the most effective ways to work through stress and uncertainty.
Did you know that practising gratitude can make a big difference in how you feel? Studies have shown that writing a list of the things you are grateful for, can drastically improve your mood.
By focusing on the things you’re grateful for, it trains the brain to think more positively. You’ll switch your focus from the bad things going on right now, to the good. For example, working from home may be challenging, but at least you’re safe and have a home to work from.
Try to establish a routine
Now that you’ve found yourself working at home, it can feel really strange. You don’t know how to navigate your working day when you’re not in the office. So, by creating a routine, it’s going to help to ease some of that uncertainty.
Have a set time that you wake up and start work. Make sure you schedule in breaks throughout the day and have a set finish time too. Just implementing a routine can erase so much of the uncertainty you feel right now.
Utilize support that’s available
One of the good things about this uncertain time is that it is impacting everyone. This means there is a lot of support available out there.
It could be you need to spend more time connecting with friends and family. Or, you may find it useful to share your concerns with others in online support forums.
You can also find more practical support too. If you’re struggling with your finances or worried about how the current situation will play out, don’t hesitate to seek emotional support from a trained therapist for example.
Focus on self-care
Finally, try and focus on self-care during these uncertain and stressful times. This will really help to reduce the stress you feel.
Exercising regularly is a great way to deal with stress. You should also focus on doing things that relax you each day, such as meditation, reading or listening to music. The more you practice self-care, the less stressed you’ll be throughout this time.
Overall, it’s hard not to stress and fear what might happen during a pandemic. However, the tips above can really help you to manage those feelings. Remember to be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much from yourself, particularly when you first transition to working from home.
Semi-detached properties are one of the most common sights on the streets of Britain. In fact, some research suggests that approximately a third of the country’s population lives in semi-detached homes, and in 2011 approximately 7 million properties were classified as semi-detached. So when and why did they become the main property type in Britain?
The origins of semi-detached homes in London
In London, the first semi-detached homes seem to have appeared in the mid to late 18th century. Based on some accounts, this was the result of economic pressures on the city’s construction sector and so it became more cost-effective to build pairs of properties that shared a common wall. It’s not clear where the first-ever London semis were built. Some sources say they appeared towards the last decade of the 1800s, near Westminster Heath. These constructions are believed to have served as an inspiration to Greenwich architect Michael Searle, who built similar properties in Kennington Park Road, Southwark, and soon after in other parts of east and south London like Blackheath and Greenwich. However, other sources say the first London semis were built Moor Lane, Fleet Bridge, and Tottenham High Road.
A brief history of semi-detached homes outside London
Outside of London, some of the earliest examples are found in Coventry and Suffolk, although some of the original structures date to medieval times. Large-scale construction of semis in other parts of England took place in the 18th century as a result of housing shortages caused by a rapidly expanding population, especially in the cities due to a mass exodus from rural areas. The solution was to build “double cottages” that entailed lower costs and could be built faster than individual detached homes. Initially, these were earmarked for labourers who moved from the countryside to the cities. In addition to the new builds, some farms and barns were also converted into semis.
All over the 18th and 19th centuries, associations were created to promote new dwelling types that improved the living conditions of the working class. Semi-detached properties were hailed as the most suitable option. Some of these organisations, like The Metropolitan Association for Improving the Dwellings of the Industrious Classes, had a second objective, which involved stimulating the construction sector by promoting building types able to generate high returns on investment.
Towards the turn of the 19th century, urban planners began to realise the success of semi-detached houses and designed “model villages” where semis were the main building type. These appeared primarily in industrial areas, such as West Yorkshire and Lancashire.
Factors that contributed to the popularity of semi-detached properties
Later on, the building boom of the mid 19th century led to the mass construction of semis that for the first time targeted middle classes as potential occupiers. To avoid any association with low-income housing, these were renamed as cottages or suburban villas. Entire neighbourhoods were built in this style and some were called “cottage states”.
In London, zoning regulations implemented during the first decade of 20th century contributed to further spread the popularity of the semi-detached home. The construction of semis sped up during the decades following WWII, again due to housing shortages, this time due to war damage. It is estimated that between 1945 and 1964 more than 40% of all UK’s new builds consisted of semi-detached properties.
This trend dwindled towards the end of the 1980s. Nowadays, most new builds, maisonettes, and detached homes.
Whilst many of us are staying home and pondering what to do with all this newfound spare time, why not invest in yourself and your future success by getting better organised?
Read on for 3 actionable steps you can take right away and a list of suggested reading for anyone looking for even more information.
Top Tips To Be More Organised
When our lives are unorganized, we are constantly shuffling to find what we are looking for. This is wasted time, and it causes people a tremendous amount of stress. This is not a good way to be at work, either. If your managers see you constantly wasting time by looking for your misplaced items, you are not going to get very far with your company. Here are some ways to improve your organization.
Take back control of your life
When you take on organizing your space, you will regain control of your life. You won’t be a slave to constantly searching for items or fumbling through papers within your desk. When you have control of your life, you reduce your stress as a result.
Get your important tasks completed
While this may not seem like an organizational tip per se, if you have important tasks that you need to complete constantly weighing on you, it’s going to be hard to concentrate on anything else. It will stress and consume you. By getting your important tasks completed first, you can free yourself up towards tasks related to organization.
Have a system and stick with it
Take some time to learn about what organization systems could work for you. Plenty of these exist on the web, and it’s simply a matter of trying it out and seeing what works. However, you have to give it a fair chance. You can’t just try something for a couple of days and then throw in the towel. Give it a month and work the system. Also, find colleagues and friends who are organized and ask how they do it.
Tidy up once per week
Whether at work or home or both, dedicate an hour or two each week towards finding a home for all of your belongings. This prevents building up clutter to the point where it’s completely unmanageable. By keeping to a weekly schedule, you will find that the clutter will not pile up that much.
Declutter your email
If you are getting hundreds of emails per day, it’s time to do something about this. Unless you plan on spending all of your time on emails, you’ll never get through them. Even if you had the luxury of only spending time on going through your emails, you still wouldn’t get through hundreds of them. Take some time to evaluate the senders and what they are sending. Determine what is worth keeping and ask to be removed from any email lists that you don’t interact with. You can always sign up again later if you miss it.
Consider hiring professional organizers
A professional can help you come up with the right system based on your needs. They will ask questions about how you use your items and come up with an appropriate plan for you to keep organized. Only do this if you are going to keep on top of your organization. Otherwise, you will spend money for nothing.
Back up all important documents and files. This includes both digital and hard copies. Try to find a place where you can keep a set of backups in case of emergencies. Those backups will be useless if they are destroyed. Consider using a service that will store your backups offsite. The investment will be worth it.
Take a course or attend a seminar on organization. There are companies that are requiring their employees to do this as they know it increases productivity. This is great for the employees as they won’t have to pay for it themselves. If your company does not do this, try to convince them about the benefits of doing so. Increased productivity is always good for the bottom line. This is always something managers understand.
Pick up a copy of the book The Life Changing Art of Tidying up. This single book will change the way you look at your surroundings.
When the clocks go forward (this year on Sunday 29 March), it’s clearly bad news for the sleep-deprived and if you have very young children you will probably find you’ll be up as soon as they open their eyes. That’s without factoring in the utter chaos which has probably ensured to domestic routines during the current Covid-19 lockdown. I don’t know about you but our sleep schedules have all gone to pot with later bedtimes and variable rising times.
Luckily, Caitlin and Ieuan are now at the age where we can negotiate with them (i.e. bribe them) to stay into their rooms till a vaguely decent hour (anything past 7 am). It does get easier I promise you.
How to cope with little ones when the clocks go forward
I remember though how tough it was when they were younger.
Whilst it is easier for us adults to adapt to the effect of the change to our body clocks, it’s less simple for our kids.
I say easier for adults, although I once had a friend who would spend the entire day following a clock change asking “but what time is it really”?
Are there ways to make it easier on yourself?
Here are some things you could try.
Prepare yourself a few days before
You may find you cope better if you adjust your own sleep routine, starting a couple of days before. It might be a good time to check your bed is as comfortable as it should be and that your mattress is still up to the job.
You could try going to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night and waking up 10-15 minutes earlier each morning. When Sunday arrives, you will already be adjusted and when the kids bound into your room at 5 am it won’t be so much of a shock (hopefully!).
You could also try the same approach with the children’s bedtime/wake-up time.
Watch what they eat close to bedtime
We know that certain foods help us to feel sleepy. For example, milk contains tryptophan which increases the amount of serotonin – a natural sedative. Eating a banana with milk also provides vitamin B6 which helps convert the tryptophan to serotonin. Needless to say, high sugar foods close to bedtime are a no-no!
If your children haven’t eaten much that day you could always try a small portion of porridge (not a high sugar cereal) to help settle little tums or even a couple of cubes of cheese.
Reduce nap times
If your children are still napping, consider reducing their nap time by a quarter of an hour or so the day before to ensure that they are a little more tired at bedtime. If you’re extra brave, do away with the nap altogether, although this isn’t a good long-term strategy because you may find their sleep patterns are disrupted because they get too tired. A one-off won’t hurt.
Get busy the day before
Plan a few activities the day before so that you are out and about in the fresh air. It’s hard to feel naturally tired if you are indoors all day. We are spoiled for places to visit near Cardiff and can be in the open countryside in about half an hour but at the moment the advice is to exercise once a day close to your home (no driving to other locations) and maintain social distancing rules at the same time. A brisk walk is the most we’re going to get I think but there are plenty of YouTube exercise videos and, of course, Joe Wicks’ daily PE session at 9 am.
Stick to your usual bedtime routine
Make sure you stick to your usual bedtime routine so that the children are able to go to sleep easily. A warm bath, milk and a cosy story – all the usual weapons in your sleep armoury should be used!
Block out the sun
When the sunlight comes streaming through the curtains it’s hard for anyone to sleep. Good blackout blinds or a blackout lining added to the curtains in your children’s bedrooms will really help, as will something simple like a Venetian or roller blind.
Change the clocks the night before
Get it over with I say! If you don’t change them till you wake up there’s a risk you might forget the time has changed and be late for football/church/the pub (kidding!). Even if you can’t go anywhere, maintaining some sort of routine will help you to stay on an even keel.
Don’t forget to alter the clocks on anything that doesn’t automatically update.
Make the most of the extra hour
If you’re pretty sure you’re going to be up extra early, why not prepare a special breakfast with one or two treats like some pastries and fresh orange juice.
You could even go for an early walk or cycle. It will be a while before we can all go swimming again though.
Yes, I know most of us will be slumped in an armchair clutching a mug of coffee but the thought is there …
Go to bed a bit earlier on Sunday
If all else fails, you can all have a slightly earlier night on Sunday, safe in the knowledge that at least you won’t have to do the school run. I don’t know about you though, but I’m quite missing it!
Here’s hoping you all have a restful Saturday night. Have you got any tips for coping when the clocks go forward?
As spring turns to summer and the temperature starts to rise, it can be uncomfortable working indoors and, since many of us are now required to do exactly that, it is a great time to spring clean your office or workspace and get it prepared for the warmer weather. You really don’t want to be rooting through endless paperwork to find vital statistics when you’re close to a meltdown!
How to spring clean your office
Here are some simple steps you can take which will make you more organised and a little healthier too!
1. Clear out old paperwork and shred confidential documents.
But don’t forget that some documents need to be kept for tax purposes. HMRC says that records must be kept for at least 5 years after the 31 January submission deadline of the relevant tax year and they may also check your records to make sure you are paying the right amount of tax. I like to keep a hard copy print out of my records to be on the safe side.
2. Invest in some new files.
Even though many documents can be stored on your Google drive or in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets on your desktop, you may still need to keep hard copy documentation of items such as invoices and statements (see 1. above!).
You may as well have pretty files that you enjoy using – or at least ones strong enough to withstand regular use.
Not only will decent blinds help keep you cool, but removing the glare of sunlight from your workstation will stop you squinting at the screen and getting a headache.
Giving your windows a thorough clean both inside and out will help too.
In addition, you can get an anti-glare screen for your computer which will help make reading easier.
5. Keep hydrated
Make sure you have a good supply of fresh water to hand and if you are fuelled by coffee perhaps invest in a one cup coffee maker. Try to incorporate water-rich foods into your snacks and lunches – salad, fruits and vegetables.
If you are a visual person, why not include a noticeboard for planning or a whiteboard for scribbling down your flashes of inspiration.
Some like to have their vision board in front of them – a wishlist of their hopes, dreams, ambitions and goals. The theory is that by having these things in front of you, you are more likely to manifest them in real life.
8. Reduce, re-use, recycle
Make sure you have an adequate sized bin. We have 2, the second being for recyclable material (all the Amazon packaging!) and don’t forget you can recycle the shredded paper from your shredder too (great as bedding for mice and hamsters!).
Gradually the aim should be to move to a completely paperless office but most of us aren’t quite there yet.
9. Protect your health
You could also think about wrist and ankle supports if you are going to be spending a lot of time typing to avoid conditions such as Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI).
Most importantly, make sure you get regular screen breaks to rest your eyes and get up and walk about every 45 minutes or so.
My physio says he would not dream of sitting down for longer than this at a stretch if he could possibly help it.
Make sure your workspace meets your needs and is a pleasant place to work. After all, you will be spending the bulk of your time there and, for most of us, far longer than we spend with our families unless you are lucky enough to work from home.
Some employers frown upon personal items such as family photos so you may have to restrict your self-expression to funky stationery and a cactus that reminds you of your boss!
Sometimes we’re so busy cleaning that we forget our appliances could do with a good clean themselves. Actually, for most busy parents, cleaning the oven, washing machine or dishwasher is a very low priority, unless you’ve got Mrs Hinch coming around for tea. In current times though, when many of us find ourselves at home, it’s a great opportunity to catch up on the chores which always seem to be postponed. And, never before has keeping things clean seemed so important.
Luckily, Beko has come up with some handy hints to turn your kitchen from minging to pristine using natural ingredients that won’t perm your hair as soon as you take the lid off the bottle. Great news for allergy sufferers and for all of us doing our bit to preserve the environment.
Take a look below and see which of your appliances could do with a spruce up. Here at Hobbis Towers I’m afraid that answer is “all of them”.
Now all I’ve got to worry about is get the kids to stay clean and tidy.
Last year, readers may remember a lovely giveaway of a beautiful Zodiac & Birthstone Pendant gifted to me by Hersey & Son Silversmiths in London and now I have the matching earrings to show you. I always try to find my readers the best prizes and choose things that I would wear or use myself. Well, read on because I have a second giveaway of a generous £60 to spend on any of the gorgeous silver jewellery you’ll find on their website.
One of the few remaining traditional silversmiths in the UK, Hersey & Son is are a father and son business who have been making jewellery in the UK since 1955. They are also members of the National Association of Jewellers so you know you are purchasing from a genuine company.
Did you know that birthstones are thought to offer protection to the wearer and are believed to promote happiness and vitality? They are an excellent gift for a birthday present or a special occasion.
The sterling silver hoop measures 15m and the silver birthstone measures 5mm so they are a decent size – important for those of us with long hair!
My earrings were delivered in the signature Hersey & Son Silversmiths gift box along with a complimentary cleaning cloth and care card.
And, since Hersey & Son pieces are hallmarked by the London Assay Office, you can be confident that you have high-quality solid sterling silver.
If you are buying as a gift, there is the added reassurance of Hersey & Son’s 100% Guaranteed replacement service if the piece is returned within 28-days of dispatch in its original condition/packaging. And there’s free delivery on all UK orders.
The birthstones used include cabochon-cut sapphires, rubies, emeralds, tanzanite and moonstone and, of course, all 12 horoscope signs are featured:- Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces and Aries.
I am a Gemini, so I chose the birthstone for May – Emerald.
Purchasing is easy. Just select the birthstone you would like for your earrings using the clickable form on the webpage.
My earrings arrived beautifully packaged in a little grey presentation box and, as a particularly nice touch, there was a silver cleaning cloth included so that you can take care of your jewellery.
As with Zodiac Pendant, they are beautifully made and polished to perfection. These earrings feel solid with a decent sized earring back that is easy to grasp and put on. I hate those little earring backs that you can’t find if you drop them or that are so insubstantial you worry about them falling off when you are out!
These would truly make a lovely gift but there are plenty of other fabulous pieces to choose from. Take a look online and why not enter my giveaway?
Hersey & Sons are giving a generous £60 to one lucky winner to spend on anything that takes their fancy on the website.
Entry is via the GLEAM widget below and is open to UK residents only. The giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on Sunday 5th April. The usual terms and conditions apply which you will find on my giveaways page. Mandatory entries must be completed in order for your entry to qualify.
We all know that self-care is important, no matter how you find it. As a mother, it’s even more important to have some time for yourself to unwind, do something you enjoy, and feel good about yourself.
Self-care means different things to different people, but doing things that boost your confidence or give you moments of peace and happiness can make a big difference in your overall demeanour and stress levels.
For some people, there’s simply nothing like shopping! If we’re being honest, we’ve probably all taken advantage of a little “retail therapy” from time to time. As of 2017, women in Britain spent 29.4 billion pounds on clothing!
While your happiness shouldn’t depend on the clothes you buy, feeling confident and comfortable in what you wear can have a big impact on your attitude. Since Spring is just around the corner, it makes sense to offer a few tips on how you can upgrade your wardrobe and feel confident and beautiful without having to break your budget!
Photo by James Hollingworth on Unsplash
Spring is a great time to get away from darker tones and colours that may have been staples for you all winter. Picking out clothes that are lighter shades, especially pastels, can improve your mood and allow you to showcase your personality.
Pairing a pastel top with a darker pair of pants (or vice versa) is a great way to make a statement while embracing the beauty of the new season.
Add Touches of Floral
You don’t have to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe in order to embrace the overall feel of Spring. But, try to add floral accents wherever you can. Updating your basic outfits with a floral scarf, for example, is a great way to completely change the look of something you might wear all the time. Don’t be afraid to go bold with your accent pieces. Remember, Spring is all about colour, so embrace it as much as possible!
Choose Accessories Wisely
Yes, you can still wear accessories in the Spring – including jewellery! One good rule of thumb is to choose necklaces that are longer, rather than choker-style pieces.
Long necklaces will draw vertical attention to your frame, which can make you look taller and slimmer. Loose bangles on your wrist can also create a more slimming effect, as opposed to tighter tennis bracelets. You don’t have to invest in expensive jewellery in order to get this effect. In fact, even fun costume jewellery can make a statement. Or, you can check out discount sites or try an I Saw It First Voucher for deals on items you might be interested in.
Again, it’s important not to let your wardrobe define your happiness. But, if a few simple changes can give you a boost of confidence and make you feel good about yourself, don’t be afraid to include a little extra shopping in your self-care routine this Spring. Every mother deserves that kind of confidence, whether you’re chasing a toddler around the house, or heading to the office every morning.