Thoughts On Death And Grieving

Thanks to COVID-19, this has been a year of reflection for all of us. Whilst many of us still have our health and are doing everything we can to protect ourselves, our family and our community, others have sadly lost their lives to the virus through no fault of their own.

It has certainly been a time to ponder the meaning of life and I wonder how many of us have said goodbyes to loved ones trying to socially distance around in graveyards and crematoria. Whether huddled around a granite memorial or watching a funeral procession from a distance, we seem to have lost the right to say goodbye.

This makes grieving harder, I think. Deprived, not only of saying farewell to relatives but also of solace and comfort from fellow mourners from whom we have to stay apart.

This year I lost a close friend who I had known for over 30 years and weekly I hear of others in our community who have passed away.  To have your life curtailed by this virus seems incredibly unfair.

The young rarely think of death.  You consider yourself immortal in your youth, don’t you? Older people tend to prepare for death and accept the event as a natural and inevitable occurrence but that does not make it any easier to deal with!

Experience and reality have tempered their emotions. Whilst they may hold on to grief and past hurts, they are able to weigh these against the positive aspects of their lives – their family, their loves, their personal and professional successes.  Some are more concerned to outlast their friends

I fully admit to being scared of death and all the other emotions that come with it – sadness, pain, empathy and love.  I can quite understand why many are only able to say goodbye to relatives once they have passed away.

The author Kathryn Mannix has written a brilliant book “With The End In Mind: How To Live And Die Well” which tells the stories of patients who have passed away and how they made their peace with dying.

Mannix spent 30 years in palliative care whilst working in hospices, hospitals and the homes of her patients enabling those with life-limiting illnesses to make the very best of the time left to them.  This is a book which educates as well as comforts and is well worth a read.

The other thing to remember is that grieving is not a linear process.  In her book “On Death And Dying”, Elisabeth Kublar-Ross talks about the five stages of grieving that people go through.

  • Denial and isolation
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

The dying, as well as those who love them, go through these stages although rarely at the same time and these stages are not predictable.

It is possible to move between these phases and there is no ‘right’ amount of time to spend in each phase.  Telling people that they should have got over their loss is not helpful and is, in any case, insensitive.

That said, we do all have the ability to choose our thoughts and how we process our emotions so, while you might miss someone, it is not inevitable that you have to grieve in the way most of us think of it.  You can see this by considering the different approaches to death and burial in other countries where a funeral is closer to a celebration, for example in Jamaica where the event involves food, dancing, rum and sharing stories about the deceased.

Grieving is, in many ways our best attempt to keep that person alive in our thoughts.  It is a way of proving to ourselves and others how much we cared – and how much we may need their support now while we come to terms with our loss – if we can.

There may be frequent trips to the cemetery, conversations with the deceased and constant talking about the one who’s gone. The road back to some sense of ‘normality’ may be a long one and impossible without a daily reminder of our loved one.

Some place ashes in a necklace, some set up scholarships or memorials.  Others plant trees or donate engraved seats and benches. There are all kinds of creative ways to keep a loved one’s memory alive. If it brings comfort to the bereaved then those around them should support it. Patience and understanding are needed for those coming back from grief.

However we choose to remember those we have lost, we should not judge ourselves.

The last stage of grief is acceptance where we start to feel better and return to a normal life and in that acceptance lies the reality that death is a part of l. In acceptance there’s healing as in acceptance, there’s reality that death is a part of life.

So where does death take us? Depending on your beliefs it could be to the end of a journey or the beginning of a new one.

If you were to have a tombstone, what would it read?

I particularly love the words on the late Spike Milligan’s grave which lies in a quiet churchyard in Winchelsea.  The inscription, which is in Gaelic, says “I told you I was ill!”

You may prefer something less light-hearted – perhaps about how honest and caring you were, or about the positive difference you may to others’ lives.

See that’s the thing.  We can’t do a lot about death but we can endeavour to lead our best lives and have a positive impact on others – even if we only have a little time to do that.

*Collaborative post

Happy Walls Make Happy Nurseries

If you are looking for an easy and cost-efficient way of decorating a nursery, have you considered nursery wall stickers?

With many designs to choose from you can create a wonderful space for your little one. It is more than likely that you will find nursery walls stickers for your nursery regardless of your theme.

Nursery walls stickers are easy to use, look great and compared to traditional decorating methods, do not cost the earth.

As little ones are not that little for long spending a lot of money on decorating a nursery can be a waste of money. However, wall stickers allow you to change the look and feel of the room at a minimal cost. Meaning plain painted walls and be transformed regularly and your little one grows and their tastes change.

What are Nursery Wall Stickers?

Wall stickers are vinyl stickers cut into different shapes depicting different images. Therefore, they are a great way of transforming plain walls or entire rooms. You can stick them quickly and easily onto your wall, therefore taking the stress out of decorating, especially compared to the traditional decorating methods.

With regards to nursery wall stickers, there are many to choose from. Images range from animals and cartoon characters to cars and unicorns including these beautiful nursery wall stickers too.

With several baby boy nursery wall stickers and baby girl nursery wall stickers available the likelihood is you will find a suitable wall sticker or mural for your nursery.

Child Care Nurseries

Wall stickers are great for home nurseries, they are also great for child care nurseries too. Whether you run a childminding business from home or at a formal nursery setting, wall stickers and murals are a great addition to brighten up walls and make areas more child friendly.

Walls stickers are easy to clean and maintain and again because they are a cost-effective way of decorating any space, especially heavy traffic areas it means you can update and change them regularly if needed.

Also, if you have different areas set up within your nursery for different age groups, nursery wall stickers are great for decorating as you choose relevant ones for the age of the children in the area.

The National Day Nurseries Association offer lots of help and advice regarding setting up and running nurseries if this is something you are considering.

Educational Benefits of Nursery Wall Stickers

As children grow, nursery wall stickers can offer educational benefits, especially if you opt for one(s) showing letters, numbers, the world or even animals. Such stickers allow you to spend time teaching your children the basics while in the comfort of their nursery. They can also help develop their motor skills, language and visual learning ability.

Again as they are cost-effective and easy to apply as your child grows, you could replace the stickers with ones that have a more in-depth educational benefit.

Personalisation

If you are unable to find a nursery wall sticker or nursery mural that fits your nursery theme or colour scheme, many companies offer the opportunity to create your nursery wall decals allowing you to make your little one’s nursery unique to them.

Autumn – A Poem

My father, John Brooks, is a wonderful poet and I find his poems very relaxing and peaceful.  I thought this one, about Autumn, might bring a moment of calm to anyone who is feeling a bit frazzled at the moment!

Autumn woodlands

Photo by John Mccann on Unsplash

Autumn

The soft light of early evening

lit the tree whose leaves were

yellow and orange, red and brown;

a kaleidoscope of colour.

A returning crow rattled a branch

which shed a leaf that struck

another as it fell

both dropping with a lazy spin.

And then with the downing sun,

a gentle gust of quiet wind

brought down a shower of leaves,

scooping and hooping them away.

Light faded and a chilly breeze

blew whisps of cloud across

the moon, and in her wake

the line of coming night.

J. B. Oct 06.

Smart Ways To Welcome The Autumn

Autumn is just around the corner and many people in different parts of the globe are preparing already. Autumn is the time between summer and winter. Since summer is the warmest time of the year and winter is the coldest period of the year, it follows that autumn is a season of mild weather. 

This is the perfect time for many DIY projects so you can take advantage of this season and carry out some great projects. Below are some DIY project ideas for you and your children. 

The Welcome Autumn Banner

This is one smart way to welcome the season. For this project, you need a piece of white cloth, a length of clothes wire and printing ink in different colours. You also need cardboard paper, razors and a pair of scissors. 

First, you write out the words “Welcome Autumn” on the cardboard paper. These words should be in block letters. 

Next, you cut out some areas on the words you have written and prepare them for transfer onto the banner. 

Now, put the individual letters of the words in the right place on the white cloth. Use printing ink and a bit of foam to transfer the letters to the banner. 

Now, your banner is ready and you can hang it in strategic places in your compound. For best results, you should print at least three banners and use different colours to make the banners come alive. 

Use the clothes wire to hang them up and the project is done. 

Painted Stones  

For this project, all you need are stones, watercolour and paintbrushes. This is a simple but smart project. 

Just get a number of smooth medium-sized stones. Gather the stones together and paint them in different colours. You can paint the words “autumn” on the stones. You can even paint the names of different family members on these stones. 

Now, arrange the stones in strategic places within the home. These stones can be used to beautify the driveway, the garden area, or the backyard. 

Concentrate on both colour contrast and colour harmony and you will create a startling effect. 

We Love Autumn Banner

Now, this banner is quite different from the conventional cloth banner. In this case, your raw materials are buttons, paper and glue. Just get your cardboard papers together and use glue to join the different sheets

Now, get your colourful buttons together. Sketch a love sign on the “banner” and write out the words “We love autumn in bold letters”. Glue the coloured buttons to trace the love sign. 

Now, glue some more buttons to the paper to form the word “We love autumn”. Hang these banners in different parts of your home and you get amazing results.  

Garden Flower Signs

This project will make your garden come alive. Get a number of old spoons and flatten the spoons with a hammer. Paint all the flattened spoons in white then use different colours to “label” your garden. 

These labels will announce the different flowers in your garden to visitors. For instance, you can paint words like “Rose”, “Hibiscus”, “Basil”, “Sunflower” and other flower names on these spoons. 

Now, stick the spoons into the soil in the flower area with the painted signs facing the sky. This will give your garden a character of its own. 

Hand Painted Mugs

Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy cold drinks, warm drinks and everything else in between. 

Now, you can add some fun to the drinking process by painting your mugs. Just get a bit of printer’s ink in different colours. 

Paint the words: “Fall”, “Autumn” and “Great Weather” on these mugs. 

Now each time you enjoy a drink in your home, you are celebrating autumn in a special way.

The Bathroom Additions You Need For A Relaxing Bathing Experience

After a hard day’s work, nothing will rejuvenate you better than a relaxing bath. Of course, nothing can beat a spa experience, but it is not exactly practical to visit a spa every time your body cries ‘exhausted.’ Instead, you can relax in the privacy of your bathroom. Splurge on a few essentials, and you will be able to unwind, destress, and revitalize your senses any time you want.

To help you make the right purchases, I have come up with a list of a few bathroom additions that can give you a refreshing and relaxing bathing experience, so let’s check them out. 

Soothing Tiles

The human mind tends to relax in natural surroundings automatically. Natural, dim, and earthy colours like green, brown, and grey have a very relaxing effect that will lend a soothing atmosphere to the bathroom.  You should choose tiles that belong to this colour palette to add a gentle touch to your bathroom, but keep in mind that the choice of colour depends on the size of the bathroom. If the bathroom is small in size, softer, lighter shades can be a better option. 

Dimmer Switch 

Dim, soft lights give a soothing touch to the bathroom. Nowadays, lights come with dimmer switches that can give you a spa-like feeling and help you relax. The dimmers have controls that enable you to adjust the lighting to suit your mood and the time of the day. 

Heating System

Bathrooms can get very cold, especially during winter. One of the decisions you need to make involves choosing the best bathroom heater, which is an absolute must for a relaxing bath. A right heating appliance makes all the difference when stepping out of the warm bath. There is nothing worse than a cold bathroom, so you need to shop around and carefully inspect the options available to make the right choice. 

A Comfortable Bathtub

Second only to your bed, your bathtub is the best place to relax in the comfort of your home. A long, hot bubble bath can simulate the relaxing experience of a professional spa without the expenses. The size of the bathroom does not matter as companies are now coming up with bathtubs that are scaled down to fit into your bathroom regardless of its size. Why should you be deprived of the pleasure of a relaxing bath just because a regular size bathtub does not fit into your small bathroom?

Massage Shower Head

In case you don’t want to go for a bathtub, installing a massage shower head would be equally beneficial and relaxing. Not only is it less space-consuming, but you can also use it every day, even if you’re in a hurry. If your bathroom has enough space, you can go in for both; the bathtub as well as the massaging showerhead. 

Towel Warmer

A nice, relaxing, and warm bath needs to end with you wrapping yourself up in a soft, comfortable, and warm towel. To cater to this need, a variety of towel warmers are available in the market. A towel warming drawer can also be installed in your vanity. If you are unwilling to spend the extra amount but still want the comfort and warmth of a towel warmer, you can opt for towel warming bars; these are a cheaper option.

Essential Oil Diffuser

The fragrances that you surround yourself with can enhance the bathing experience in many ways. An essential oil diffuser will add to the relaxing experience. You can choose your fragrances according to your mood or the time of the day. For a late-night, before bed bath, soft fragrances like lavender and jasmine do you wonders. To wake you up in the morning and prepare you for the long day ahead, a strong peppermint will give you the boost you need to start your day. 

Candles

Fragrant candles can add a romantic, soothing atmosphere to your bathroom. When complemented with dim lights, the environment it creates is guaranteed to take away all the fatigue that you are experiencing.  And, candles are ideal for romantic situations, too.

Waterproof Speakers     

Soft, soothing music adds to the relaxing ambience that is already created with all the add ons that you have installed. Some people prefer to mount TVs on their bathroom walls, but while this may keep you entertained, it does not relax your mind. Soft, recreational music will help you achieve the right level of tranquillity that you are looking for. A personal playlist can be created and played on your waterproof Bluetooth speaker. Consider adding soft meditation music to your playlist.

To improve your quality of life and better manage daily stress, you need a private corner or relaxing nook where you can let go of all the worries and spend some ‘me time.’ Your bathroom can be turned into such a space with the above additions. You don’t need to go to a spa or a therapy centre. Instead, just make a few simple changes to your bathroom, and you can easily enjoy a wonderful bathing experience, so go ahead and splurge on these add ons. You won’t regret it now the cold weather is coming!

Everything You Need to Know About Writing a DIY Will

Thinking of putting together your own DIY will? There are a few things you should know before getting stuck in…

A DIY will is a viable option for some people when it comes to putting together their dying wishes. We say “some” as it really depends on your situation, including your relationship status, estate value, and more.

If you want to find a solicitor to write your will, this is usually the go-to option for most people. That said, it is completely possible to write your own will if you’re up for the challenge and if your position allows for it.

The question is, is this a feasible option for you? There are a number of caveats you should be aware of before starting this process, so don’t go anywhere if you want to know more…

Why Do I Need a Will?

Although many people will put off writing a will, it’s a really important document that needs to be put into action, no matter how young you are. As soon as you start to earn your own savings, have children, and buy yourself a property, a will should on the top of your to-do list.

At the end of the day, no will means you end up with no say over what happens to your money, property, and belongings when you die. But, as a newbie to all this, you’re probably wondering how you can do this? Especially if you’re young, you might not have any spare cash to get it sorted, so what’s the deal?

How Much Does It Usually Cost to Write a Will?

When making your dying wishes clear, most people will choose to use a solicitor. This will cost you anywhere between around £140 and £600, depending on your situation, and how complicated it all is. The prices, including VAT, may range between:

  • £144 to £240: you could get a will for this price if it’s a simple one, and you shop around to find a good deal.
  • £150 to £300: this goes for a complex will, where you may have children, or perhaps you’re divorced.
  • £500 to £600: this will be the maximum cost you might pay, and is only necessary for a specialist will involving overseas estates and tax planning advice.

You can also pay for a mirror will, which will normally cost a bit less than what you paid for your original one. This is perfect for if you have a partner or spouse who wants basically the same will as you, with just a few bits altered.

Can I Write a DIY Will Instead?

If you’re looking for a way to cut costs, you can choose to write your own will. That said, this comes with a number of stipulations, so if you want to know if this is the best option for you, read on…

Who Shouldn’t Write a DIY Will?

A do-it-yourself will is a really great way of cutting costs for anyone who has a very simple estate. So, if all a person’s belongings and money are going to their partner or children, it’s pretty cut and dry. That said, not everyone has such simple wishes, so doing it DIY should be avoided if you:

  • Are trying to reduce your inheritance tax
  • Own property abroad
  • Own any foreign investments, shares, or bank accounts
  • Have a share in a business, property, or estate
  • You own a business and want to leave your share to someone else
  • You have financial dependents that aren’t immediate family members
  • If you have any complex wishes that may be misunderstood

What Should I Include in my DIY Will?

If you decide to write your own, there are a number of different aspects of your life you should be including in your will. This includes your estate and any debts you have. Together, this will include:

  • Any property you own
  • Your monetary savings
  • Any premium bonds, shares, or investment funds
  • Any businesses you own or have shares in
  • Your insurance
  • Your pension funds
  • Your personal belongings, including jewellery, clothes, technology
  • Household items, like furniture and cooking utensils
  • Any vehicles you own or are paying off
  • Your mortgage
  • Equity release
  • Any student loans
  • Any bank overdrafts
  • Any unpaid credit card balances

Every part of your life, listed above, should be assigned to someone to inherit from you. This could be a family member, a friend, a charity or organisation, or even a stranger. It’s really important that all of this is assigned properly, using the correct wording, to ensure your dying wishes are met.

What is the Process for Writing a DIY Will?

Now that you’re aware of what should be included in your will, it’s time to execute it officially. So, you must be sure to get your assets, listed above, valued, then decide how you want to divide it all up.

You then need to choose your executors, which is the person or people who are in charge of making sure it’s all carried out. This should be someone you trust implicitly.

Once you’ve decided all this, it’s time to write your will. You need to ensure everything is spelt correctly and is signed and witnessed by two adults. Be sure to destroy any old wills you may have lying around, and then ensure your new one is stored in a safe place. Then, make sure your executor knows whereabouts it has been stored.

What Methods Are There to Write Your Own Will?

There are a number of ways you can go about writing your own will. Depending on the size of your estate, the number of beneficiaries, and anything else which complicates the situation, you might choose a:

Will on a Scrap of Paper

In essence, it could simply be written on a scrap of spare paper if you wanted it to. As long as it’s been witnessed by two adults present when you signed it, and someone knows where it’s kept, you’re good to go.

Due to the current pandemic situation, the government have even made provisions for socially distanced will writing. Now, it’s legal to witness a will remotely, via a video call, in England and Wales.

However, in these cases, you risk not covering everything and potentially using disputable wording. So, if you have numerous beneficiaries, it may be worth seeking a different avenue for your estate.

DIY Will Kit

Some other ways people may decide to write their wills is through using a kit. For example, a WHSmith will kit or a post office will kit are good alternatives for those who need a little more guidance. These provide more of a template, so you can be sure you’re covering everything important.

You can also buy a DIY will template online, which will usually cost between £10 and £30. This will help you to get all the wording correct, ensuring nothing is misunderstood.

Online Will Service

A much more official way of doing this, however, is by using an online will service. This will take you through, step-by-step, some questions to gauge the best price for your situation, including:

  • Whether you’re married or in a civil partnership
  • Where your estate is based, and whether you own anything abroad
  • Whether you own any part of a business or property

Once these are answered, you’ll then be provided with a list of potential prices. So, for an unmarried person, their will might range between £99 and £169, depending on what sort of service they’re after, be it economy, standard, or premium.

In your online will, you’ll be able to make unlimited gifts, as well as appoint child guardians, leave money for people, and make inheritance Tax provisions. They may then charge an extra fee to store the will for you in a safe place. Once paid, you can go ahead with it all, and can even link it up with your partner’s will too.

The Pros and Cons of Writing a DIY Will

Now that we know more about how you might go about writing your own will, what are the benefits and drawbacks of doing so?

The Pros of Writing a DIY Will

  • Great for anyone with very simple wishes.
  • Can be purchased for a fair bit cheaper than if you were to use a solicitor.
  • They will take up less of your time to write.

The Cons of Writing a DIY Will

  • Not for people with a much more complicated estate.
  • DIY wills can sometimes lead to contested estates.
  • You have to be really careful with using the correct word coding to be sure everyone knows what you mean.
  • Unclear clauses within the will may lead to family members turning against one another.
  • Any disputes may lead to expensive legal action for your inheritors and beneficiaries.
  • It might lead to anxiety that your final requests won’t be carried out properly.
  • It might not be stored safely.
  • You can be sure it’s legally binding.
  • Will writing services usually aren’t regulated, meaning they can be disputed more easily.
  • Amendments aren’t so easy to make on a DIY will.

Think a DIY Will is on the Cards for You?

As we’ve seen in this article, it is entirely possible to produce a DIY will. That said, although this might be a great way to cut costs, it’s important that you’re sure your estate can be divvied up in this way. If you have a more complicated situation, seeking the advice and help of a solicitor is probably your best port of call.

Ultimately, it’s your decision; if you want to be absolutely certain your wishes will be taken into account, going through the correct legal channels may be your answer.

Have you ever created a DIY will, or are thinking of doing so? What has your experience been with it all, and would you recommend it? Be sure to leave your stories and comments down below.

7 Important Things to Consider When Choosing Window Treatments

No matter where your property is, it needs window treatments that can provide aesthetics, privacy, or warmth when it is cold. These window treatments can come in different forms such as curtains, covers, or blinds but they are designed to perform the same function. 

Choosing the right covers for your windows can be a daunting task since there are several styles available that you can choose from. As such, here are seven important things to consider when choosing window treatments.   

Measurement

You need correct measurements so that you can get the right size and type of window treatment for your home. Some curtains help create a sense of height inside your home if they hang from the top of the window to the floor. You can also consider a wide curtain to create an impression of space within your home. Different blinds are designed for various types of windows, so you need to get the right size for your home.   

Type of Treatment 

There are different types of window treatments that include shutters, panels, and block out fabrics to keep the sun at bay, as well as waterproof covers for the bathroom and kitchen.  You can click here to get more details about different types of window treatments that you can consider for your home. The material that you choose makes a big difference in the overall look. When you choose the type of treatment, you need to consider factors such as the function of the treatment and how you would like it to protect your furniture. Blinds or thick fabrics that prevent the sun can be the best option for windows that receive more light during the day.

Location Of The Window

When you choose window curtain treatments for your home, you may also consider the location of your property.  When you live in an isolated area, you may need to get anything that offers protection to your windows. However, you should consider heavier window treatments to enhance your privacy if the houses in your neighbourhood are closer to each other. The amount of sun that you receive through the window is also determined by the location of your house. You can get light window covers if you live in an area that receives more light. Adjustable blinds can be a good option if you live in such a place. Alternatively, you can get light curtains that offer you the privacy you need.    

Privacy

You should prioritize privacy in your home and you can achieve this by choosing the right curtains. You should get window covers that give you peace of mind such that you can freely change your clothes or take a bath without bothering about who is watching you. 

Heavy covers can do the trick for nurseries and bedrooms where they can provide the desired privacy. However, for bathrooms, you need to choose coverings that allow light into the room. All the same, you should also ensure that the cover on the window does not compromise your privacy. 

Colour

The colour of the window treatments can go a long way in improving the aesthetics of your home. However, the colour of the window covers depends on personal treatment which should also meet the colour scheme in a particular room. It is also important to consider a colour that will also match the rest of the interior design inside your house. You need to be careful when you choose either dark or bright colours since they create varying impressions in different rooms. 

Insulation

While curtains play a pivotal role in creating a cosy indoor environment, they can also help insulate your home against weather elements that can cause discomfort. For instance, different window covers can protect against incessant heat or other things that can make your home uncomfortable to live in.  When you choose window covers, you should also know that they can protect your property inside so that it is not damaged by the UV rays that are emitted by the sun.  

Style Of Window

The style of your windows can also help you choose the right curtains or blinds. For instance, the blinds or drapes can move upwards or down and they come with controls or not. You can choose blinds that feature motorized controls for convenience. Other types of curtains require special rails, so you should ensure that you have all these elements when you buy specific covers for your home. 

Choosing the best window treatments that suit your property can be challenging since they come in various styles and colours. You need to get the right measurements and choose the right type of cover that you want for your windows. There are many factors that you can consider when choosing the material as well as the colour but these are usually a matter of personal preference. 

4 Tips On How To Be A Smart Online Shopper

From reading news online to communicating with our friends and family via various social networks, going shopping online has become the norm throughout the years.

One of the biggest advantages of online shopping is that people can buy anything from groceries to clothes to home appliances, all from the comfort of their home. For example, since the pandemic outbreak, about 74% of UK respondents across all age groups now feel comfortable buying products online.

The businesses also provide their customers with the same services and support they would if they go in-person shopping. Therefore, the growth of online shopping has become very impressive, and it doesn’t seem like it is going to slow down. For that reason, whether you are an active online shopper or you are just getting started, here are some tips you should look out for in order to become a better and a smarter online shopper.

Tip 1: Use online catalogues

One way through which online shopping has become immensely popular is with online catalogues. These catalogues are especially useful to those who don’t want to spend their shopping budget all at once or are going through some financial crisis.

Also, the catalogues do background checks to find out your credit history, and if you don’t have a bad credit rating, they allow you to pay for any product or service weekly or monthly. For example, if you want to make a large purchase, but you can’t afford to pay for it all at once, you can go for the weekly payment catalogues which allow you to pay for the service or goods in weekly instalments.

When you make the purchase, you will be given a weekly statement that will include the item you have purchased, the date of the purchase, the amount you have paid so far, and the amount and date of your next payment. This is very helpful because you don’t have to worry about saving up to pay all at once, but instead, you will be able to spread out your costs and get yourself something else in the meantime.

Tip 2: Shop from reputable websites

When you go in-person shopping, you can see how the retail shop or the grocery stores operate. But when you shop online, you can’t really know, and sometimes you come across websites that might seem sketchy to you. So, to make sure you are shopping from reputable websites, you must watch out for several things.

Firstly, the easiest and fastest way to check for the website’s authenticity is to look if the website is encrypted with SSL, which means that it must start with https://.

Secondly, check for the contact details. Every legitimate store must have a phone number, an email, and an address. These are very important because if you have questions about their services, you should be able to contact them immediately.

Thirdly, look for the payment logos, such as Visa, MasterCard, etc. These financial institutions do a thorough background check on shops that process online payments, so if these logos are present on the website, then it is legitimate. Lastly, if you want to go a step further, you can find out who owns the website using the tool WhoIs, which will give you the historical information of the website.

Photo by Burst from Pixels

Tip 3: Determine your needs

Another important tip is to figure out what you really need to buy, not what you want.

To avoid overspending your budget, it is recommended that you create a shopping list every week. For example, you can create a meal plan for the following week. This way, you will be able to buy what you need for your meals and avoid buying unnecessary products that you will not use or that will just go stale.

When you create a shopping list, make sure you adjust your budget, which depends on your income and your situation. For example, when you shop online, you worry about creating a gasoline budget. But, since you will be shopping from the comfort of your home, you can use your gasoline budget to buy something else you need. Just remember to stick to your budget.

Be careful with purchasing things that bring you comfort and definitely avoid buying anything you don’t need. However, if you end up with money left in your budget, you can always treat yourself with something you’ve wanted for a long time.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels

Tip 4: Search for coupons

It is well known that by shopping online, you can save time and even money. You save your time by not driving to the stores or waiting in long queues, but you save money by using online deals such as coupons.

Many e-retailers use and accept coupons as a marketing strategy to attract more customers. For that reason, they are useful to both businesses and customers. There are several benefits of coupons.

Firstly, they are convenient to use. They can be valid for days or even weeks, so you can use them whenever you like.

Secondly, if coupons are offered with the products you buy regularly, that means that you can purchase these goods in bulk at a discount price.

Thirdly, coupons are offered occasionally. Because of that, customers can plan their shopping activities beforehand, which would lead to the perfect timing when they can use these coupons that have discounts, receive freebies and other deals. There are many websites you can search to see which offer great deals using coupons. Usually, e-retailers send out newsletters to their customers to inform them of these online deals.

Final thoughts

As we all know, the e-commerce business is on the rise, becoming an essential part of our everyday lives. When we shop online, we are offered many services and options, but also the opportunity to save our time and money. However, we must be smart about how we shop online.

Even though it appears to be more convenient than in-person shopping, following these four simple tips can make you a better and smarter online shopper. Planning and sticking to your budget or searching for online deals can really come a long way, so keep in mind that smart shopping leads to successful purchases. 

Can A Garden Office Make Your More Productive?

Many more of us have been working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been a way to protect employees from getting exposed and contracting the virus. It has also been a new and unexpected experience for those of us more used to working away from our homes. Of course, if you are a freelancer and your office is at home, none of this is new to you but, you might wonder, is working from home actually beneficial for us?

Not everyone who works from home is productive because of a lot of factors, and this can be due to a wide variety of factors such as distraction, noise and a less than relaxing atmosphere. We find ourselves looking for ways to help us focus on our work, even if that does involve an awful lot of coffee!

So what do those who successfully work from home do? First of all, they have an office in their home, where they can work alone without distractions from their kids, pets, or housemates. However, this still doesn’t work for everyone.

Despite having a table, chair, and cabinet, your work won’t progress because those are just the basic things you need. It is not enough for you to make you productive and efficient. That is why the touch of nature in your workplace is a highly recommended suggestion from experts. Having plants around you has positive effects on your performance. Hence, the use of a garden office. If you are still not convinced, below are factors why a garden office adds value to your work. 

Boosts creativity

Have you noticed how some individuals who used to be excellent in graphic design lose their creativity? It is because of staying in front of the computer or laptop for hours. It affects their motivation, which leads to a loss of creativity and productivity in what you do. Losing your creativity in your work is like losing your passion for what you do.  

However, this won’t happen if you have plants around you. The presence of plants, while you work, will boost your motivation because nature has a special connection with the mental health of a person. This extraordinary and mesmerizing connection is what they call biophilia. It is innate to every person. It might be the reason why gardeners do not lose motivation. Their biophilia is always at work. 

Reduces Stress

Stress is the number one enemy of everyone if they cannot manage it. However, even if they know how to do the steps of managing stress, they still fail. Stress still gets into their system, which they need to deal with for the rest of the day. If you are experiencing stress while you work, it will have a detrimental effect on your well being because it can trigger underlying conflicts within you. 

Having trigger attacks while you work because of a single thing that stressed you for the day will affect your work. That is why having an extra room which can be used as a garden office in your home is a great help. When plants are around you while working, stress can be inevitable. It will also enhance and develop your performance, which will equip you to become better every day. 

Gives a Healthy Atmosphere

Are you wondering why you always catch a cold or cough despite drinking vitamins every day or living a healthy lifestyle? The reason can be the atmosphere in your working space. Your room may not be well ventilated that is why unhealthy gases and too much carbon dioxide are circulating and no fresh air is going into. This is one of the many reasons why a garden office is valuable.

Getting sick means spending money on check-ups and medicines. It is usually not a part of the budget of an individual. That is why it can be heavy for their pockets. If you do not want to experience this, having a garden office is key. It is because a garden office produces fresh air and oxygen. It also cleans unhealthy substances in the air that can make you sick. That is why individuals who work in a garden office are healthy and strong. Having a healthy and strong body is a great help for individuals. It keeps them going throughout the day without any worries. 

Improves Memory

Sometimes workers suddenly forget essential details because of a sudden memory loss. It is often due to stress and distractions. If you often experience this, it is not ideal for you to be forgetting either minor or major details about your work. It doesn’t make you a productive and efficient worker. Therefore, look for ways to help improve your memory, like having a garden office. 

The presence of plants around you while working was proven to improve memory. It is because it keeps you calm and well-concentrated. Hence, leading to better memory retention. Who would have thought that plants can do this? It only proves that plants are not just for aesthetic purposes. It can also be for better performance when working. 

It Adds Value to Your Home

After retirement, most people prefer to live outside the city, which leads them to sell their house. If your house has a garden office, it becomes more valuable. A lot of buyers find houses with garden offices attractive and inviting. It is because most of them know how helpful and beneficial it is to work in a garden office. 

Therefore, if you plan on selling your house after retirement, consider adding a garden office. It will not just benefit you but the future owners of it as well. And also, buying your house will surely be on top of their list. Your garden office will be the apple of their eyes. 

Are you looking for ways to make yourself perform at your best while working? Have you heard of having a garden office? Well, the following proves that a garden office will totally add value to the results of your work and even your home. It is the perfect place to work. It will help you focus, keep you away from distractions, and it will also give you a healthy and strong body, which is essential when you are working. You will need it to become effective and sufficient. 

Here’s How You Can Get Your Lost Creativity Back

As we get older and get burdened with the cumbersome duties of adulthood, we start to lose touch with our creative self. When you have to work for a living and spend more than half your time at work, things can get dull and dreary and you might start to feel out of sorts. This is an indication from your mind that it needs a creative outlet. And while some people might think of your urge to ‘play’ or ‘create’ as childish, it’s anything but!

Research has proven how certain hobbies which involve creating things such as pottery or painting can be incredibly therapeutic and help you rejuvenate your mind!

So here are a few ways you can spark the old noggin back into action with just adopting an easy after-work hobby that you might enjoy.

Diamond Painting

Of course, a list like this would be incomplete without mentioning some sort of painting. But since traditional painting requires a lot of planning and a lot of aspects which can get things messy, diamond painting might be a better avenue. The Diamond painting is therapeutic as thousands of reviewers told All Diamond Painting. This is because diamond painting is done with tiny resin rhinestones which are applied with an applicator which is included in the kit. The designs in the kit follow a paint by numbers style where the areas you have to apply diamonds to are numbered. It’s intricate work and helps revive your creativity by having you engage in delicate work and play with colours!

Doing Puzzles

 Doing puzzles is not only stimulating for the mind but can help you relax as well. When you get a bright and colourful puzzle, it will not only boost your cognitive processes but also help in perking you up because the bright colours will engage your senses. You can set it atop a table and put in a few pieces every evening after work; it’ll help you in winding down before you go to bed as well!

Colouring

A lot of people might dismiss colouring as something only children do but as of late, there are tons of colouring books that have popped up in the market which are specifically targeted towards adults. Some of you must remember the old age paint by numbers? They have evolved and they are mighty popular now. The designs are much more intricate and are engaging; it’s a great way for you to release a little stress. Thinking about colour patterns which will look good with one another and planning the overall result will help spark your creativity once again. And on top of all that, it’s an easy hobby for you to pick up whenever the fancy strikes!

Cooking

These days barely anyone has time to cook. People find it stressful to come home from a long day at work and then make their own dinner. However, this shouldn’t be as big an issue as people have made it out to be. If you get simple ingredients in your pantry that you only have to lightly fry and assemble together you will find that cooking for yourself is not only the cheaper and healthier option but also helps you relax! Engaging yourself in a structured task which allows for deviation if you choose to do so, helps you feel calm and in control. Plus, the added benefit of a homemade meal can never be denied!

In this day and age, it is getting harder and harder to slow down and smell the roses. And the hectic pace so many of us are used to can only spell trouble since it can lead to serious problems in the long run. It’s a good idea to pick up a stress-free hobby while you can before you find yourself on the later stages of a mental and physical burn out!

Great Hobbies To Do Outdoors This Winter

It’s almost winter time and people are thinking about activities that they can engage in during this season. What are some of the activities that you can engage in outdoors for the winter period? Well, even though winter is a very cold period, there are many hobbies that one can do outdoors and get enough fun. You may also engage in other hobbies such as trying to find rare coins and probably make money out of the hobby in the future. In this article, you’ll find suggested hobbies that you can engage in outdoors during winter.

Here are some ideas:

Try Ice Skating

Ice skating is a very good hobby that you can engage in during the winter period. You will find it lots of fun to glide around frozen ponds. You can as well visit skating rinks and engage in this activity as it is suitable for the winter period. Even though it is a very cold period, it should be fun to engage in the activity as it keeps the body active and warm in the process. Just buy a good pair of ice skates and get skating for the winter fun. This is an activity that the whole family can enjoy.

Go Ice Fishing

This is another activity that one can engage in during the winter. If you and your family members enjoy fishing during the warm months, you should not stop doing it during winter. It is equally a lot of fun to fish during the winter as long as you are careful enough. Ice is not very thick and while you fish, you should be careful enough not to fall through it. For this reason, you should not fish in ice that is less than 4 inches thick. Avoid rivers and do your fishing in lakes and ponds as these are much safer.

Painting on snow

This is another fun activity that you can engage in during winter. It is quite entertaining for a family to be out and painting on the snow as there are many things that you can paint. The good thing about this activity is that you can help your kids paint and enjoy the activity as a family. You can try and make different colours from the paint. Ensure that you have bought enough colouring paint in green, red and blue. With these colours, you can make many other colours by mixing them.

Take Pictures

To most people, winter is the most boring, ugly, and barren period of their lives. This is unlike the colour and bounty that summer presents. In this case, you can create some life out of a dull period. The clean lines in winter have lots of fun and beauty if you care to look. You can better enjoy this time by bringing your camera along in the woods. Take colourful pictures and enjoy posting these on your social media platforms. To enjoy all this fun, all you need to do is go out there and discover it for yourself.

How to Choose The Perfect Instant Cooking Pot

There’s nothing more comforting than a hot cooked meal, especially now that autumn is here. Whilst there are many benefits to your health, you do need a certain amount of skill when it comes to cooking and food preparation. Of course, if you are not a skilled chef, you can always go to a restaurant but eating out every day is well outside the budget of most families. 

This is why, if you want to eat healthy meals, you will have to learn how to prepare food. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced chef or a newbie, one of the easiest ways to cook is in an instant cooking pot. If this is your first time buying an instant cooking pot, you should know it isn’t as simple as you might think. There are some things to consider before you part with your cash.

Here’s how to buy a perfect instant cooking pot.

What Is An Instant Cooking Pot?

An instant pot is a type of electric pressure cooker. As you probably know, pressure cookers work by creating heat under a tight seal. This way, the temperature is much higher than the boiling point of water and the seal doesn’t let the steam escape. The main reason why people use this pot is that steam cooks food much more quickly than the stovetop or oven. Hence the name – instant cooking pot. Now, since we answered this question, let’s see how to choose the perfect pot.

How Big Is Your Family?

One of the first things you have to ask yourself before you buy an instant pot is how big your family is. The answer to this question will help you choose the right size of an instant pot. If you have a large family, you should opt for the 8-quart pot. This is the biggest one available and it is good for parties and gatherings.

If you have a small family, the 6-quart version is the one for you. This pot can prepare a tasty meal for 3-6 people. In case you live alone or you need this steam cooker for vegetables and select food products, you should definitely get the 3-quart version. This wonderful appliance will help you eat healthy food every day without having to go to expensive restaurants and order takeouts.

What Do You Want Your Pot To Look Like?

A lot of people would argue that the look is not important when it comes to choosing the perfect instant cooking pot. Sure, it’s not as important as functionality, but it is relevant. You don’t want to have a steam cooker that is different from everything else in your kitchen. After all, you will be preparing the food for your family and friends, and it’s always nice to have good-looking appliances. Therefore, try to find the one that matches your kitchen design. This way, you will enjoy your time in the kitchen whenever you are preparing a meal for yourself or your loved ones.

The Interface

This is definitely one of the most important factors when it comes to choosing the right cooker for you. As you probably noticed, these things are pretty smart, which means there are a lot of options you can use every time you cook. However, not knowing how the pot works and which buttons you should press could make your life difficult. Therefore, you should choose the one with a simple interface.

In this case, “simple” doesn’t necessarily have to mean “bad”. When it comes to cooking pots, a simple interface can save you a lot of time and trouble. You will be using this appliance on a regular basis and you don’t want to spend too much time choosing the option you need in a given moment. You want a pot that is easy to use. This should be one of your priorities when choosing an instant cooking pot.

Display

Most steam cookers nowadays are very smart. This means they have displays you can use to see what’s going on inside the pot. This is a pretty useful feature, but not all pots have the same display. You should try your best to find the one that clearly shows all the options and numbers.

This is very important because once you seal the pot, you must not open it until the food is cooked. Well, at least you shouldn’t open it. Therefore, the only thing you can rely on is the display. Choosing the pot with a good display is not always a simple task. So, don’t be hasty when selecting. Try a few pots at the store before buying one.

The Cost

As you might assume, this kitchen appliance is not cheap but it is a worthwhile investment if you budget for one that meets your needs. A good instant pot will save you loads of time and trouble and allows you to prepare food in the morning so that there is a hot meal waiting when the family come home from work and school.  Trust me, it will change your life for the better.