5 Tips for Visiting Las Vegas

Las Vegas is an extremely notorious destination for tourists. The city has a reputation for being wild and unpredictable, so many people don’t know how to prepare for a Vegas trip. It’s easy to get caught up in the vices of the city like gambling and partying, and making the wrong decisions can get you in some serious trouble financially. Thankfully there are some things that you can do to prepare for your Vegas trip that will ensure that your vacation runs smoothly. What exactly are these tricks that you can employ while in Sin City? Here are five tips for visiting Las Vegas.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Travel Out of Season

Vegas has lots of hotels and large gathering places, which makes the city a great place to host various conventions. Many organizations and industries take advantage of this, hosting their conventions within the city. Some of these conventions may attract thousands of people at a time, and there may be more than one convention happening at any given time. As you might expect, when a convention is going on in the city, rooms fill up quickly, and those that still remain get jacked up in price. As a result, if you’re looking to save money on lodging costs, then a quick search to ensure that no large conventions are going on during your travels would be wise. 

Pack Warmer Clothes

Many people assume that since Vegas is in the desert that the area’s climate will always be warm, but that isn’t always the case. Nights in Vegas can get pretty chilly, especially during the later months of the year. While you certainly don’t need to bring a winter coat to be warm, a light jacket or sweater to throw on while you’re cold can certainly suffice. Even during the summer, you may want to even pack a light jacket. Casinos, bars, and hotels will often crank the AC up to avoid the desert heat, often overcompensating and turning the inside temperatures freezing. Having a light jacket or sweater in your bag can be a great way to stay warm if you ever have to deal with something like this. 

Set a Gambling Budget

If you’re visiting Vegas, then chances are you’re going to try your hand at gambling at least once or twice. There are dozens of casinos in the city, and gambling and Vegas are essentially synonymous at this point. Despite how fun and exhilarating gambling can be, it can also be extremely dangerous and addictive. Sure you can win lots of money gambling, but you could also gain absolutely nothing and waste all of your time and money. Many Vegas trips can be absolutely ruined by gambling too much, as those with little self-control could find themselves absolutely cleaned out by Vegas casinos. Before you take your trip, set a hard cap for how much you can spend on gambling. Once you lose that amount of money, it’s time to stop and walk away. You don’t want to regret a great Vegas trip simply due to bad mistakes from gambling, so this is a great way to prevent that from happening. 

Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Choose Meal Times Wisely

Just like how travel times to Vegas have peak times, so too do Vegas meal times. After a long day of partying and gambling, Vegas visitors will want to unwind with some amazing food before finishing off the night at the club. The prime time to grab some dinner in Vegas is usually in the middle of the evening, and during this time period restaurants fill up. Not only is it extremely difficult to find someplace to go without a reservation during this window of time, but most establishments also hike up their prices when it’s time for dinner. Due to this, it’s probably in the best interest for your sanity’s sake and your wallet that you either get dinner really early or really late in order to avoid the long Vegas lines.  

Helicopter Tours

Vegas is an absolutely gorgeous city, which is just one of the many reasons why people love visiting the city. One of the best ways to experience the city is through one of the many helicopter tours that various businesses have to offer. While on one of these tours you can take in all of the glory of Vegas, seeing just about everything that the city has to offer from the air. You can see famous sights around the city as well as the gorgeous skyline. Who knows, you may even want to aerially scout out locations for Las Vegas houses for sale, being so impressed with the city that you want to stay there permanently. Vegas is a beautiful place, and experiencing the city’s view from the air only further adds to the city’s wonder. 

How To Get A Great Night’s Sleep On Holiday

If you do a lot of travelling, it’s fair to say you will be familiar with two things, a stiff neck and shoulders and a lack of sleep. I don’t know about you but I always hate to leave my own bed and no matter how comfortable my travel accommodation is, I am always extremely glad to see my own bed again. So how do you get a great night’s sleep on holiday or when you are travelling?

Tips for a great night’s sleep on holiday

1. Use blackout blinds for the kids.  You can find portable ones that just attach to the window with sucker-pads.

2. Don’t be afraid to nap – use the power of the siesta.  In any case, we should all be staying out of the sun between 12 pm and 3 pm.

3. Make sure you take the kids’ favourite comforters – but don’t lose them.  We once had to trek across what seemed like half of Cornwall because Ieuan left ‘blankie’ in Tescos in Truro.

4 If it’s hot you might find it cooler to stay in cotton pyjamas as the cotton will wick away any sweat.

5. You can find lots of tips to help your kids sleep in hot weather in this post.

6. Avoid alcohol and high sugar / high salt foods.

7. Avoid eating too close to sleeping.  A light supper is fine – a three-course meal, not so much.

8. Stock up on bottled water but get it free at airports. A trick I read recently from money-saving expert Martin Lewis is to take an empty water bottle through to the departure lounge and fill up with free water from one of the airport water fountains.

9. Carry the kids’ pyjamas in your hand luggage so you don’t have to route through suitcases to find their things. If nothing else we make sure we’ve got the kids’ toothbrushes to hand

10. To avoid jet lag you might be better off staying up until the ‘normal’ bedtime in your new location to allow your body clock to reset

11. Earplugs, eye masks and travel pillows are your friends. A decent travel pillow will help support your neck while you travel and add a comforting touch to your hotel bed.

12. Try a travel pillow which gently supports your head and neck, allowing you to sleep more comfortably when travelling.  If you suffer from a bad back, as I do, you can also use a travel pillow for a bit of extra support in the small of the back.

13. Block out the light with a sleep mask. Try one made from silk for extra softness.

In his book “The Fitness Mindset“, health expert and author Brian Keane in his book gives some very helpful advice about improving the quality of our sleep.

If you don’t go to sleep, you’ll get a cortisol (a steroid hormone) driven ‘second wind’ that can keep you awake until 2:00 AM or 3:00 AM. “If you can stick close to your body’s circadian cycle and get to bed before 11:00 PM, you will wake up feeling more rested than if you get the same amount of sleep starting later.

Obviously easier said than done in a different time zone but if you know when you are likely to feel tired you can at least adapt and do something to boost yourself and stave off fatigue.

Secondly, switch off your brain.  Journalling, meditation or even just some deep breathing may help. Perhaps you could carry a little travel journal to record your thoughts or write a list of things you are grateful for (being seated together on an EasyJet flight?  no airport delays?)!

Travelling, whilst exhilarating, is often stressful and with some careful planning and understanding the needs of your body, you can do a lot to improve the quality of your sleep and rest, even when you’re thousands of miles from home.

If you are planning to travel this summer, particularly with the kids, we’d love to hear your tips.

Review: Caroline Hirons Skincare The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide

I’ve had skin for 56 years but the briefest of flick-throughs of Caroline Hirons’ long-awaited skincare bible is all I need to convince me that things have, well, slipped – both literally and metaphorically.

Written in Caroline’s ballsy, take-no-prisoners style there’s everything here you could possibly want to know – whether its routines, skin concerns, product application, the right amount of SPF and how your diet affects your complexion.

You’ll find Caroline’s signature cheat sheets, simple tips and tricks to glow (inside and out!) understanding ingredients lists, and advice on how to choose the products that are right for you.

There’s no doubting that Hirons knows her stuff and it’s not surprising that she made the leap from blogger to bona-fide industry expert in a way that many of her rivals, frankly, have not. It’s hard to argue with over 100 million views of her blog and over 13 million views of her YouTube videos.

A globally qualified advanced aesthetician, Caroline Hirons is trained in (well) over 100 brands and has been in retail for 34 years, working as a consultant to brands in the beauty industry for over ten years, advising brands where they should be selling and why.

Authenticity is a popular ‘buzzword’ in blogging circles and Caroline delivers it in spades – whether expressing her loathing of wipes, her horror of not cleansing in the morning or expecting miracles from an expensive moisturising cream when you haven’t cleansed properly, you are left in no doubt that there is plenty more to be done for glowy skin.

I did wonder how accessible the book would be for those of us with mature skin, but I needn’t have worried.  Caroline offers you a step by step guide to addressing skin concerns at any age, as well as her Holy Grail products.

That said, Hirons is not elitist and understands that many of us can’t afford the stellar prices some of the products command.  Her motto is, to paraphrase, do your best, buy the best you can afford but for God’s sake TRY.

This skincare bible is a weighty tome split into colour-coded sections including:-

  • A good skincare routine
  • Skin types and conditions
  • When life happens (acne, hormones, pregnancy, chemo)
  • Your Kit (what to invest in)
  • Here’s the thing (industry insights you need to know)

There is a huge amount of information here, including a comprehensive glossary.

It’s the only skincare guide you need.

Caroline Hirons. Skincare The Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide is published by HarperCollins and is available on Amazon and at all good bookshops.

I am giving away one copy of Caroline Hirons Skincare to one lucky reader (hard copy or Kindle, winner’s choice).  Entry is via the Gleam Widget below and the usual terms and conditions apply which can be found on my giveaways page.  UK entrants only.  No cash alternative.   The giveaway ends at 23:59 pm on Friday 31 July.

Caroline Hirons Skincare Book

 

Good luck!

 

Dangerous Everyday Items That Can Damage Your Eyes

When going about your day to day routine, it’s so easy to become complacent about protecting yourself. Many of us deal with dangerous daily tasks that, if they went wrong, could lead to injuries to our bodies, faces, and even eyes. In fact, are you aware of just how many dangerous everyday items there are that could injure your eyes and leave them damaged?

It’s a good idea to take a look at the items you probably use every day without thinking that could permanently damage your eyes.  As ever, eye education is essential and so, based on research from www.contactlenses.co.uk, these are the things you should be cautious around:

6 everyday things that could damage your eyes

1.      Cleaning products

Ever noticed how many cleaning products you use in the course of your housework?  I have a cupboard full of sprays, creams and cloths. Whilst we all need to keep our homes clean, you need to make sure that none of that cleaning product goes in your eye. Always be mindful about what you are using and ensure that you are using cleaning products in an area that is well-ventilated. If possible, wear something to protect your eyes from physical damage.

Goggles can help to keep cleaning products away from your eyes, ensuring that they aren’t going to become as irritated by the presence of the numerous chemicals lingering in the air today.  Even better, investigate some eco-friendly cleaning products that you can make in your own home  – for example, lemon juice and white vinegar – but even then you still need to be careful.

2.      DIY tools

From hammers and screwdrivers to drills and saws, you need to be very wary when using these everyday items. It’s so easy to send debris flying into your eye so even if you’re just removing a few nails from the wall, you should wear something to protect your eyes and mouth.

The same applies to gardening jobs like hedge trimming and strimming overgrown grass and weeds.

Eye injuries from DIY are commonplace, so make sure you protect as much of your face as you can so that you can work freely without risking an injury.

3.      Kids toys

You should be mindful about the toys that your kids play with too. From Nerf guns to various little toys that come apart, especially if springs are involved, you need to stay alert to the potential risk to your kids’ health. Even basic household items your kids play with every day could pose a potential threat to their eyes.

It’s worth going through the kids’ toy box to see if you can identify any potentially dangerous toys and games. From things like the straws in that game of Kerplunk to the marbles in Hungry Hippo, there are plenty of toys you need to be cautious of letting your kids have without supervision. Do this and you’ll feel much safer – both for yourself and your child!

4.      Deodorant

Many of us use aerosols around the home and also where personal hygiene is concerned – for example, deodorants, body sprays and perfumes. If you tend to be rather liberal with these and use quite a bit when spraying, make sure you look away from the spray and close your eyes when spraying. Many people wind up with eye irritation and annoyance purely because they don’t pay attention to the deodorant and how strong it is.

This is why you should always look to spray deodorant in a well-ventilated room where you have enough room to make sure your eyes won’t be impacted.

5.      Eye drops

While using eye drops can be useful to help keep your eyes moist and comfortable, using them too much could create a problem for you. It’s best to avoid prolonged use of eye drops because your eyes can actually become dependent on them.

Obviously, you want to minimise the risk of any damage to your eyes as much as you can. A bit of vigilance goes a long way to make sure that, while you’re soothing the irritation, your eyes aren’t becoming dependent on drops.

6.      Your phone screen

While you might not like to hear it, excessive screen time on your TV, laptop, tablet and phone will lead to eye damage sooner rather than later – particularly where young eyes are concerned. This is known as ‘digital eye strain’ which can leave your eyes feeling burnt out and damaged. It’s a really debilitating problem and our screens are one of the most dangerous items we use every day without really thinking about this.

With people spending more time than ever looking at digital screens, it’s essential you remember to take 10-20 minute breaks regularly to protect your eyes.

Which of these common household products and issues might you be most used to dealing with?

Tips For Travelling By Car Safely This Summer

Now that the summer holidays are approaching and many of us are about to hit the UK roads and motorways, it’s worth thinking about how we can keep ourselves, and our children, safe whilst we drive.  Travelling by car safely this summer is easier if you follow these tips.

Photo by Ben Shanks on Unsplash

Travelling by car safely this summer

Make sure your vehicle is legally roadworthy

We all know that our cars must have a current MOT and be adequately insured.  Even though we no longer need to display a tax disc, the police are able to track untaxed vehicles on the road.

Top up your fluids

Fuel, oil and water levels need to be topped up before we set off and our tyres checked and inflated to the correct pressure. It’s best to top your fuel up before you hit the motorway to avoid any price hikes on fuel which frequently seem to hit the unorganised driver.

Carry a safety kit

It is a good idea to carry a well-stocked first aid kit in the boot, as well as some bottled water and some (non-meltable) snacks.

Check your breakdown cover is valid

Is your breakdown cover up to date and do you have the relevant contact numbers already entered in your phone in case you get stranded on the M25?

Secure your little ones

Travelling with little ones means we need to make sure we are up to speed with the rules and regulations about child car seats and ensure everyone is wearing their seat-belt.

Prepare for car sickness

If your kids suffer from car sickness, it’s also worth taking a bowl, cloths and some soapy water, plus a change (or two!) of clothes for them.  You can bet that the day you don’t have these things is the day you’ll need them.

Charge your SatNav or Phone

Before you go, check your SatNav is in good working order and is charged.  We recently found that ours wouldn’t charge in-car and the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry cut out at a critical moment going around a roundabout.  Taking a good old-fashioned OS Map is a good back-up.

Stick to the speed limit

Make sure that you drive within the National Speed Limit for the road you are on – not only with this keep your licence point free but it will help you keep your petrol consumption down.

Don’t drink and drive – and watch your meds

If you have had a lot to drink the night before, remember that you may still be over the limit the next morning.  Some prescription medications may also leave you drowsy and nowhere near as alert as you need to be.

Take a break to deal with tiredness

Tiredness kills so make sure that you have regular, scheduled breaks, particularly when travelling with little ones, for toilet breaks, food and, in my case, coffee!  You might want to pack sandwiches though because the cost of feeding a family at the UK motorway service stations is often high.

Keep your little ones amused

It’s also useful to carry a picnic rug or blanket to sit on, or for the kids to snooze under.

You’ll want to take a selection of CDs for the kids.  Some kids are able to play on iPads and read in the back of the car but we’ve found this increases the risk of travel sickness.  Luckily we’ve finally outgrown the CBeebies classics so we don’t sail down to Devon to the dulcet tones of Mr Tumble any more.

Nervous driver?  Learn to deal with your nerves

If you find driving a bit of a nerve-wracking experience, Kwik-fit has an excellent guide entitled “Keep Calm And Drive On” to help you feel more confident on the road.

Chris Gilbert, a former Metropolitan Police driving inspector who taught Princes William and Harry to drive advises us to “drive more consciously” so that we anticipate situations rather than react.

I don’t know about you but it can be tricky to drive consciously when you have two kids arguing in the back, the SatNav cuts out and the Husband is trying to give you conflicting directions.

But we should be as alert as we can to what is going on around us, rather than faffing about changing radio stations or trying to unearth the last Werther’s Original from the glove compartment because Ieuan hates mints.

Another excellent piece of advice is to make sure there is an adequate gap between you and the car in front.

The advice is that you should keep at least a two-second gap between yourself and the car in front. You can count it from a road sign as the car ahead passes it.

Don’t be a nuisance on the road

Tailgating is probably one of the biggest annoyances experienced by drivers and I have found that women driving their kids seem to attract more than their fair share of tailgaters for some reason.

Other regularly mentioned annoyances from other motorists include:-

– leaving rear fog lights on when there’s no fog and it’s just raining

– driving everywhere with their lights on full beam and dazzling approaching drivers at night

– drivers who don’t put their lights on when it’s dark and tipping down with rain

– drivers who abruptly change lanes at the last possible moment at motorway exits – sometimes leaving it too late and crossing the hatched area

– drivers who drive while using a hand-held mobile phone – incredibly this is still a frequent sight, as is drivers trying to text with one hand on the wheel.

Wherever you’re off this year, make travelling by car safely easier by following these tips.

5 Things People With Tinnitus Want You To Know

My ears are buzzing. My tinnitus is back and it’s so ridiculous.  The trigger for this latest tinnitus spike? A hand-drier in a toilet yesterday lunchtime.  Whether or not it affected the volume of my tinnitus cannot be proved;  what it did do was focus my attention on sounds I try hard to ignore on a daily basis.

Solitary man high up on rock

5 Things People With Tinnitus Want You To Know

I put my hearing aids in today (I have a mild hearing loss).  I have been told that I need to wear them so that my brain gets used to full-on sound again, with the bonus that the increase in background noise may drown out the tinnitus – or at least change my focus. And, honestly?  It did make a difference.

Depressingly though, I take them out and wheeeee it’s back.  Yes I know I will need to wear them for months.  To retrain my ears but it’s the emotional impact that is often hard to deal with.

In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, tinnitus can be described as sounds a person can hear from inside their body rather than from an outside source.

Although it is often described as ‘ringing in the ears’, sounds can take the form of buzzing, humming, grinding, hissing, whistling or sizzling. Some people describe it as sounding like chirping crickets. Sometimes, the noise associated with tinnitus beats in time with a person’s pulse. This is known as pulsatile tinnitus.

Tinnitus can often have a significant impact on day-to-day life, such as affecting concentration and cause sleeping problems and depression.

If you think tinnitus is some airy-fairy, minor physical niggle, take a look at the tinnitus groups on Facebook and you will be staggered by both the degree of suffering endured and the immense spirit that some sufferers manage to find.

Here’s what I suspect many of them would like to say to you.

These sounds are not ‘in our imagination’

Focusing on something else is a skill that has to be learned.  We cannot just “do something to take our mind off it”.

We may not sleep well

This will make us tired, grumpy and irritable.  Some of us love to sleep because it’s the only break we get.  For others, the quiet of a bedroom makes things infinitely worse.

We miss silence

Oh boy, do we miss silence.  Sometimes sufferers report that their tinnitus may vanish for random periods of time (although it generally returns) and they get a glimpse of the silent bliss now denied them.

We don’t care if it sounds like quackery

We will try anything to get some peace. Obviously, this makes us a ripe old target for scammers and snake-oil merchants but it’s known that the placebo effect is immensely strong.  If we think Gingko Biloba, acupuncture, magnesium baths, vitamin B6, Homeopathy or anything else might help, support us.

Don’t tell us “it’s just stress”

No, it isn’t. We’re stressed because we have tinnitus, not necessarily the other way round.

Thankfully we have organisations like the British Tinnitus Association to offer support and guidance but the feedback I generally glean from the various forums is that tinnitus is rarely understood and frequently treated with a complete lack of sympathy from ENT Departments and GPs alike.

It is even harder for the loved ones of sufferers to understand and deal with.  The Husband is as sympathetic as he can be but his approach is to focus on something else – so, so difficult.

I guess sufferers feel like I do, that tinnitus is a curse.  Why me?  must be the silent (ah the irony) refrain of many.  We search to understand what caused it and any sniff of a cure, however flaky, makes us light up like beacons with long-suppressed hope.

There are so many people suffering from this now, not least those returning from military service, those who have had car accidents, those who have had industrial injuries and those who suffer from hearing loss.

Yes.  Tinnitus is not fatal but the misery it causes sometimes is.  On that basis alone, tinnitus sufferers need to band together and demand more research and push for solutions that are clinically tried and have proven efficacy.

I understand that such studies are underway, however, I hope the results and any cure follow swiftly behind.

Read more about my battle with Tinnitus in the posts below:-

The Misery Of Tinnitus – Ring Any Bells?

I’m Buzzing – My Tinnitus Is Back!

If You Have Tinnitus, You Need To Make Friends With Spike

Let The Bells Ring Out For Christmas – Except If You Have Tinnitus

Tinnitus Sufferers Long To Hear The Sound Of Silence

Tinnitus Sufferers Are You Struggling To Get A Diagnosis?

So Now I’m Choosing Restaurants By Noise Level

Are you kept awake at night by the hum?

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How to Make Your Water Safe for Your Family

When it comes to our family, there is nothing we wouldn’t do to ensure that they are kept safe. Whether we are in the home or out and about, it’s always going to be our priority to ensure that our family is OK. When it comes to the food we all eat, many of you will be trying to cook healthy, nutritious meals for everyone in the household because that’s what they need to survive.

But what if the food isn’t the only thing we should be thinking of when it comes to safety? The water we drink is something we should also pay close attention to, as it’s not always the best when it comes out the tap.

If this is something you have never heard of, fear not, let us take a look at how you can make water safer for your family.

Built-In RO Water Filter

Let’s start with something every home is recommended to have – a built-in water filter. The benefits of having one of these are amazing and it’s not just for your health. Whilst tap water can be safe to drink and most of the time won’t cause us any problems, there have been studies that show it can contain up to 140 contaminants that don’t have any enforceable safety limits to them.

This is only bad news when it comes to drinking it directly from the tap. Installing a reverse osmosis filter will not only remove unknown contaminants but will do a great job of removing chlorine and other chemicals we don’t want to be ingesting. Whilst chlorine is a great tool when used in moderation for things like our swimming pools, it’s something we do not want to have in our bodies. It can have drastic effects like changing our pH balance, lowering our blood pressure and can damage our skin. Not only this but it can cause severe burning, vomiting, and awful stomach pain. Why would we want this in the water we let our children drink? Reverse osmosis filters will take every chemical out of the water. It will then reintroduce the lovely stuff that will help out overall health.

UV Water Filter

Whilst the reverse osmosis filter will take out all the nasty chemicals that are contained in water, it doesn’t do the best job of removing any pathogens that might be living in there. According to the centres for disease control and prevention, our drinking water contains giardia, E. coli, some varieties of hepatitis, and even salmonella. This is, obviously, not what we want to be ingesting, so installing a UV filter that will attack microorganisms is key to a healthy glass.

The way they work is at the point of entry, which means you can install them! They purify all the water entering your home so every tap will have clean and safe water. It’s obviously best if you use them in conjunction with another type of water filter, like the RO system, and have gained approval from the F.D.A. That’s how you really know it’s safe.

Portable Filters

You might not always be at home when you fancy a glass of water and if you’re someone that is heavily into making sure you only drink the purest water then this can be quite difficult. What happens when you get caught away from home where you’ve installed a RO system, a UV system, and a water softener? You could always buy a bottle of water, but even then you can guarantee what you’re getting so the best thing to do is buy a portable filter. You can even buy water bottles with filters directly in the lid so when you’re drinking you have access to freshly filtered, clean, and safe water. I would suggest getting these for your kids anyway, as they look cool and it encourages them to drink more throughout the day.

Test Your Water

If you’re wondering or not whether to invest or purchase one of these filters then it’s best to give your water a quick test before investing heavily into something you don’t need. The majority of homes will need some sort of filter but you might find there is no need for a softener or a faucet filter. There are many home kits available for your every need but if you feel you’d prefer a professional to come in and check everything then there are plenty of services that will come to your house and perform a thorough check.

Water is important, there is no getting around it. So why do we replace it with such sugary substitutes? Flavour is the answer. But have you ever had properly filtered water? It tastes amazing, much better than what comes out the tap! If you are at all worried about anything raised in this article then do your research and install a filter in your home, they’re relatively inexpensive considering the product and service you receive.

How Does Sleep Affect A Child’s Growth?

As parents, we make every effort to our children engaged with loads of activities during the day to use their energy, prevent boredom, and make them happy, but how much attention do we pay to the quality of their sleep? If your child doesn’t have sufficient healthy sleep, they will be subject to sleep deprivation, which may affect their growth and development. Healthy children are those who regularly get sufficient deep sleep and here’s why you should pay attention to the quality of both their sleep at night and their daily naps.

In this article, we will show you how important sleep is, and how it can affect your child’s growth.

The Importance of Sleep

Did you know that your kids grow while they’re asleep? The growth hormone is usually released during sleep, that’s why it’s important to ensure that your child sleeps well during the night, and takes all their naps during the day.

Lack of sleep tends to affect the balance of some hormones in your child’s body and other things like their mood, physical activity, and attention span.

You should always help your kids get a better nights sleep by making them go to bed at the same time to create a biological sleep routine, which will help them stay alert, attentive, and energetic during the day.

Studies show that children who don’t get sufficient sleep at night are subject to high blood pressure, obesity, attention issues, and mood swings.

A Good Night’s Sleep

To guarantee that your offspring are having healthy sleep, you should make sure that the following conditions are met. Your child should have an adequate amount of sleep; 8-10 hours is ideal. Those 8-10 hours should be uninterrupted though so make sure to cut down any noise and dim the lights to ensure your child has the best chance of drifting off to sleep. Also, according to your child’s age, make sure they get day naps which are equally important to their healthy development.

How Sleep Helps Children Grow

Storing Information

Children tend to learn loads of things during the day, that’s why they need to sleep to process all of this new information. Research explains that babies need multiple naps to be able to process what they encounter during the day since everything is new to them. They will surprise you when they wake with the knowledge they attained during sleep. Good quality sleep at night also helps them form long-term memories. If your child is a guru in math and languages, you have good nights’ sleep to thank for it.

Growing Taller

You might wonder how your son’s pyjamas look shorter all of a sudden when they wake up. The answer to your question is that he’s getting taller while asleep. Doctors explain that the limbs grow while children are lying down more than while they’re moving or standing. In the morning, your child might tell you that their legs hurt as a result of their growth. Of course, if the pain continues, you should consult their doctor.

Emotional Bonding

In sleep, children live in a world of their own; no one is allowed in it but them. They tend to have a lot of dreams, which are usually about their family members and friends. Such dreams are likely to make them have better emotional interactions with their families, as doctors say. Also, dreams help kids to obtain knowledge, mental health, and emotional growth.

Heart and Immune System Strengthening

Sleep is proven to protect children from high blood pressure and heart disease. Also, during sleep, your child’s brain releases certain hormones responsible for strengthening the immune system. That’s why when it’s time for your child’s vaccinations, make sure they get enough sleep before and after taking their shot to allow the immune system to be activated so they get well soon.

Anxiety and Depression Fighter

A child who is well-rested is likely to be calm during the day and cause less trouble than a child who’s exhausted from lack of sleep. The latter may show signs of violence, disturbance, and sometimes depression.

If a child doesn’t get enough sleep for two consecutive nights, it can trigger negative emotions and overall tiredness. The best thing to do for your children is to ensure that they get enough undisturbed sleep during the night.

We always want the best for our children but sometimes, however, we forget what their little bodies need. Sleep is as important as food, drinks, and hygiene; it helps them grow and blossom before our eyes. If you were not paying close attention to your children’s sleep, why not start tonight by committing to a sleep routine that will help them to have long hours of healthy sleep. This will give them an energetic and refreshed start the next day.

7 Tips for You and Your Family to Stay Protected from Viral Infections

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’m sure that keeping your family safe from viral infections is at the forefront of many people’s minds, especially when it comes to caring for the elderly, the infirm and anyone who has had to shield themselves away from a disease which could be fatal.

Keeping everyone safe, however, is easier said than done when you are not a trained medical or health care worker and you don’t understand how viral illnesses can spread. In this post, you’ll find some basic, yet crucial tips, to help protect your family against viral infections. 

1. Observe proper respiratory hygiene

If you do not have a tissue, use your elbow to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. If you use your hands for cover, do not forget to wash them thoroughly using soap and water.

Wear your face mask all the time especially when you’re in a public place. You do not need to wear N-95 masks especially if you are not a health or medical worker. You can use cloth masks that you made on your own or you can view masks online and see which one will best suit your needs. However, keep in mind that a face mask does not serve as a substitute for physical distancing. 

2. Get everyone informed

As yet, while there is still no approved vaccine against Coronavirus, everyone is at risk.  It is important that everyone in the family understands how COVID-19 can be contracted – and how quickly it can spread. Your loved ones need to know what they should do to protect themselves – and others- from infection.

If you have young kids in the family, make sure that they understand the dangers of viral infections but make sure that you use words appropriate for their age when you talk to them and try not to scare them.

3. Practice frequent and proper handwashing

Everyone in the family must be encouraged to practise frequent and proper handwashing. Washing the hands should be done before eating, handling food in the kitchen, after using the lavatory and after having been in a public place.

Hand-washing should last for at least 20 seconds. Use soap and clean water and see to it that every part of the hands is washed thoroughly – including the backs of the hands and in between the fingers.

In the absence of soap and water, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Pour enough amount of sanitizer across all surfaces of your hands and then rub thoroughly until your hands no longer feel wet. You may find your hands benefit from a hand cream if they become dry and sore from over-washing.

4. Improve everybody’s immune system

Boosting the immune system gives an individual a better fighting chance against viral infections, but this won’t necessarily give you 100% immunity from catching a virus. It does mean, though, that your body may be better placed to fight it off.

Good foods to boost your immunity include almonds, ginger, garlic, broccoli, spinach, red bell peppers, and yoghurt. Add exercise into your fitness regimen and steer clear of vices such as smoking and drinking too many alcoholic beverages as these may only weaken your body’s ability to fight off viral illnesses. 

5. Encourage physical distancing

Social distancing is a new phrase in everyone’s vocabulary now, isn’t it?  Observing social distancing rules in public, whether 2 metres apart or possibly 1 metre in the near future is going to be vital if we are to resume ‘normal’ living and get our beleaguered industries (for example the hospitality industry) off the ground again.

Physical distancing in public should be observed at all times and we should remember that a viral disease can easily be transmitted through respiratory droplets when a person sneezes, coughs, or talks. So, observing at least 2 metres (6 feet) of distance from other people makes sense.

We should also stay away from places that are known to be crowded and also avoid partying and engaging in public gatherings as much as possible. When you need to go out to shop or buy some essentials, it is best to wear a face mask and bring your hand sanitizer or alcohol with you so you can disinfect your hands as often as needed. 

6. Make it a habit to clean and disinfect 

Protecting your family against viral infections also involves regular cleaning and disinfecting at home. High-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, electronic devices, countertops, desks, handles, sinks, faucets, light switches, etc. should be given extra attention. Use proper disinfectants for electronic devices. Consider the type of material for each surface that will be cleaned and disinfected to ensure that you will be able to use the right disinfectants. 

7. Regularly monitor your health 

This is important for all of us, not just those who are known to be highly vulnerable to viral infections such as the elderly, infants, and those with weakened and compromised immune systems. Even if you think you are healthy, you still need to monitor your health on a regular basis – whether that means a checkup or vaccination against viral infections – for example the flu jab.

Note that some viral diseases do not have obvious symptoms at all. The best thing you can do is to have yourself checked by a doctor. The earlier your viral disease gets spotted, the easier it will be for your doctor to find the most appropriate treatment. 

Remember that it is better to err on the side of caution and, besides, it never hurts to be prepared for every eventuality. In the midst of this global pandemic, every step you take to protect your family will increase your chances of staying fit and well and help everyone else to stay safe too.

How Your Kids Can Have Fun and Learn at the Same Time

It is inevitable that your kids are going to be bored out of their minds because they’re stuck at home during the lockdown. To avoid them doing activities that may end up in a catastrophe, you can fill their time with fun and educational activities. Considering that it is hard to find these nowadays, especially that Gen Z and Generation Alpha are more accustomed to using technology to pass time with unproductive activities, you should step in and suggest a few fun games that can enhance their intellect and cognitive skills. 

If you don’t know which games can help them do so, here are a few suggestions.

Word Games

Using word unscramblers when playing word games will help your children learn more possible variations and arrangements of a certain set of letters. They are easy to use and can grow their vocabulary in a very short time. If your kids enjoy games like Scrabble, Words with Friends, or Anagrams, they can use this unscramble tool, not just to know the highest-scoring words to win a game, but to understand the different possible arrangements that can come out of any set of letters, the recurrent patterns, and generally know how words are formed.

This will become instinctual to them and they will learn to arrange the letters into possible words, even if they don’t understand what that word means. Thus, they’ll have a larger vocabulary at an early age and will become better at utilizing words in their speech and writing, which is why unscramblers are really useful.

Board Games

Everyone enjoys playing board games, especially because they don’t involve using screens, phones, tablets, etc. This makes them excellent if your children are stuck at home 24/7, as it will provide them with a chance to work on their teamwork skills, unlike playing games on their smart devices. The Secret Door, for example, requires at least two people to cooperate together.

Similarly, Connect 4 and Monopoly requires working together in order to make up a strategy or a plan for future gains. Because some board games require working on opposite teams, the competition will arise between your children, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but be careful as it can put too much pressure on them, particularly if they’re very young. 

Educational Apps

If there’s no way to separate your child from their smart device, you can use applications available on the app and play stores to increase their analytical and mathematical skills! There are a variety of applications that range from math to science, art, and even language that are able to challenge your kids and also have them have a great time at the same time. This is practical because most kids are glued to their cell phones or electronic devices, so if you can’t keep them away from their devices, might as well include something useful for them to do on it!

It’s best that you do your research first because it’s important that all the apps that they have on their phones and devices are safe and suitable for their age as well. There are many instances where unreliable apps have been able to hack into people’s phones and access their personal information. So make sure that whichever one you chose, that is it verified, and that it is also educational. You’ll even find great apps that teach languages in fun and exciting ways — so really the options are endless and creative as well. 

Art

Any form of art gives the artist the chance to express themselves freely. Giving your children the liberty to create whatever they want, no matter what the medium is, is going to fill their time with something fun and creative, develop their artistic sense, and help them understand the different nuances of drawing through trial and error.

In addition to this, painting will provide an opportunity for your talented children to unleash their abilities and foster them in a controlled and safe environment free of judgment and pressure. You can order the basic painting tools online and have your kids paint or draw whenever they want.

If this activity doesn’t click with them, they can try colouring books. While colouring doesn’t require a lot of work, your child will still have to make some aesthetic choices to make the drawings come to life. 

Now that you know a little more about fun activities that can be educational for your children, make sure you ask them first which one they would like to begin with to ensure that they’ll be enjoying themselves doing these new activities. Also, make a habit of participating with your child in these games, as they can have a great impact on your relationship, especially at an early age.

3 Tips To Turn Your Garden From Wasteland To Paradise

The temperature’s rising, the pollen count is itching your eyes, and there’s a cool bottle of rose in your fridge just begging to be opened and enjoyed in the heat of the afternoon sun.

But there’s one problem – your garden is an overgrown infestation of weeds, long grass and litter.

Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

It’s the kind of garden that would make a landscaper weep with despair. The closest you have to a water feature is a puddle that’s formed by your dilapidated shed, and the nettles which have grown around your fence look more dangerous than barbed wire.

There’s nothing for it, you’re going to have to renovate – and thankfully we’re on hand to help you.

Ditch the long grass

Mowing your garden might seem like a royal pain in the posterior, but it’s a necessary part of garden maintenance. Without a high-quality lawnmower, your garden will forever have the appearance of a creepy forest.

One of the finest brands in the world is Flymo. They provide all manner of lawnmowers, from hand-activated hover lawnmowers to hi-tech robotic mowers that will mow the garden for you. They’re head and shoulders above all other lawnmower companies.

Flowers

Now that you’ve cleared away some of your long grass, it’s time to plant a few flowers to make your quaint little garden brim with charm.

You won’t be able to plant any seeds you find on the internet however you like. Instead, you’ll have to choose the right flowers for the season and care for them as they grow. Within a few months, you’ll have a garden that’ll feel like it’s in glorious Technicolour.

If you’re planning on creating an elaborate patch of flowers, you’ll need to cordon off your flower beds from the rest of the garden with a few pieces of wire and some fence posts. Ormiston Wire is your best port of call, offering a wide variety of high-quality wiring that’s ideal for anyone with green fingers.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

A place to relax

Maybe you’re happy with little more than a deckchair in your garden, but there are some folks out there who look at their tiny stretch of land and want to lounge amidst it in absolute luxury.

We’re talking full garden settees, wicker dining tables, ultra-comfy bean bags and even giant umbrellas to shade your sensitive skin from the blistering sun.

This is the path towards sheikh-like decadence in your garden, and it’s amply provided for by Shackleton’s Home & Garden.

Shackleton’s is a lifestyle brand that’s been providing its customers with garden furniture for many years, and as such it’s gained an impressive reputation.

Its wide array of furniture is designed to weather any season (a blessing in Britain’s variable climate) and comes with built-in comfort. Might be time to ditch those deckchairs, eh?

That’s my list! Have you got an amazing garden, or is it in need of a spruce-up? Let me know in the comments below!

 

How To Help Your Child With Their Home Learning

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many parents have been forced to home-school their children and find ways to encourage them to continue learning despite not having access to a classroom environment. This has been challenging for many, especially those who have also had to continue working, however, it has highlighted the importance of finding ways to motivate your child to learn within the home. I have teamed up with a preparatory school in Somerset to offer you some tips for helping your child with their home learning.

Try and provide your child with a suitable space in your home where they can complete homework and revision. This space should be neat and tidy, as well as free from distractions. This might mean investing in some storage units or shelving, but it will be worth it as your child will struggle to concentrate if they are surrounded by mess.

Bear in mind that not all learning comes in the form of textbooks. There are opportunities for your children to learn in virtually everything your family does. For instance, if you’re playing a board game, they can work on their numeracy skills. With that said, your child is probably learning more than you think, so don’t be too hard on yourself (or them) if they don’t spend hours on end studying.

Try and find fun ways to explore your child’s curriculum at home. As an example, if your child is learning about photosynthesis, you could plant some seeds in the garden and watch them grow. This will teach your child key skills, like patience and determination. There are lots of outdoor activities that you can do together during the warmer months, such as building a bird feeder or taking a walk through the park and discussing the different types of trees, plants and insects you spot.

The best thing you can do to help your child is to be a good role model. Demonstrate a positive attitude to learning and let them see you completing your own work, practising your musical instrument, or reading a book. Essentially, they need to see how important it is to stimulate your brain with a variety of activities, not just watching TV or playing on a digital device.

If you need some additional advice, don’t be afraid to contact your child’s school. What’s more, there are lots of learning resources online that you can find, as well as plenty of educational apps and games that they can play.