London: A Great Place For A Holiday

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Summer is on the way, and many of you will be considering where to go for a holiday. Instead of going abroad for sea, sun, and sand, you should think about visiting one of the greatest cities in the world, London. There are many things to do and enjoy in this culturally diverse city. Consider the following reasons why London could be your chosen destination this Summer holiday.

Great Places to Stay

There are many places to stay in London depending on your budget, from a super-luxury hotel overlooking Belgravia, one of the wealthiest districts in London, to bed and breakfasts and hostels for those on a lower budget.  For those of you looking for something a little bit different why not hire a narrowboat on the Thames or sleep near lions at one of London Zoo’s holiday lodges.

Famous Sights

Explore the history of London, with all its magnificent architecture, from its Roman beginnings to the age of Queen Victoria. If you don’t want to explore on your own, then consider one of the many sightseeing tours on a city cruise, London bus or with a personal tour guide. You could even sit atop the London Eye and see almost everything. There are so many places to see, from Big Ben and the Tower of London to the home of the Queen, Buckingham Palace. Don’t forget to curtsey if you see her.

Family Adventures

For the young and the young at heart, there are some terrific places to visit in London. Experience the magic of Harry Potter at Warner Bros studio tour. Feel the force at Madame Tussauds Star Wars Exhibition. Enter the fascinating underwater world of the Sea Life Aquarium. Don your capes and visit the Lego DC Superhero Exhibition. There is so much to see and do you will never be bored. Thankfully, not everything needs to cost money either as there are plenty of free places for your family to visit. These include the Natural History Museum which houses a terrific dinosaur exhibition or the home of the London Olympics, Queen Elizabeth Park, which has a huge adventure playground for your kids to explore while you sit and relax at the Timber Lodge Cafe.

West End Shows

After an exhausting day, there can be nothing better than visiting the West End for one of its many shows. There is something for all tastes, from the heart pounding The Lion King to the classic murder mystery, The Mousetrap, one of the longest-running shows in London. At the heart of the West End is The Comedy Store which hosts an array of up and coming comedians to established favorites such as John Bishop and Paul Merton.

And That’s Not All

Still not convinced? Don’t forget London’s famous shopping areas at Oxford Street and Carnaby Street. The nightlife is world class with classic pubs, rooftop bars, burlesque shows and great live music. Day or night, London has so much to offer. Perhaps now is the time to book your tickets.

Emergency Relief at Home When There’s No Doctor Around

Panic is usually associated with rash decisions and fear. If you ever end up with pains or debilitating symptoms at home, then your first instinct might be to call a hospital. Sadly, if there are no doctors around and your local medical centre is closed, then you have no other choice than to call emergency services. Unfortunately, it might not even be needed and you might be panicking for no real reason.

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There are hundreds of different ways to solve common problems at home. For instance, you might think you have symptoms of a stomach infection or abdominal problems, but in reality, it could just be trapped gas. If you’re feeling dizzy and can’t muster up the strength to do anything, then it could just be dehydration, something that’s easily fixed by drinking more water. If you need emergency relief, then you’ll be surprised to learn that you can solve most of your issues with simple household products and basic ingredients.

Stomach Pain

Stomach pains can have a variety of different causes, but the first thing you should do is apply something hot to the affected area. This can be a hot water bottle wrapped in a thin shirt or it could be pressing your stomach against a radiator. This will help to relieve the pain temporarily and give you enough time to decide your next action without clutching your stomach. Next, check out these remedies if you need to get rid of gas. You can usually tell it’s trapped gas if you’ve eaten something bad, if you’re having trouble passing wind, or if your stomach looks more bloated than usual. If trapped wind is something that happens on a regular basis to you, then you may need to rethink your diet and cut down on things like fizzy drinks and starchy foods.

Sore Throat

Most people would recommend that you gargle salt water if you want to relieve the pain from a sore throat. However, the most effective method is to actually gargle the salt itself. It sounds silly, but by using a straw or salt shaker, you could essentially feed the salt to the back of your throat where the harmful and painful bacteria is. It’s a very fast cure that acts almost immediately and it’s perfect to stave off a developing throat infection if you feel it coming.

Joint Pains

If your joints are giving you a lot of trouble, then Epsom salts may be the cure you need. Buy a large pack of Epsom salts and determine where the joint pains are. If it’s somewhere accessible such as your wrist or elbow, then fill a container with water, drop half a cup of Epsom salts in, mix it, and then soak the affected joint for about 10-15 minutes. If the pains are all over or in hard to reach areas like your knee, then run a warm bath and do the same with more Epsom salt. This will relieve the pains for a while but it’s not a replacement for a good fitness regime

Should You Dismiss These Health “Fads”?

Every once in awhile, there’s a new health fad that is being trumpeted as the cure for all ills.

The process is achingly familiar by now. It tends to begin on Instagram with celebrity endorsements of a product, exercise, or just a way of thinking. The celebrities claim that this thing has changed their life, improved their fitness, and claim it is this new innovation (rather than the gentle hand of the PhotoShop brush) that is responsible for their new look.

The newspapers are next to pick up on it. They will report the trend and then either argue for it (if they too have advertisers wanting to sell the product) or against it (if it competes with their advertisers). Soon the news moves onto the blogs, with a crowd for and against developing.

In the midst of all this – and the consumerism that’s at its heart – it’s difficult not to be cynical. Why should you ever believe a health fad?

First, let’s figure out the kind of “innovations” that have been presented to the public in this manner in the past. You’ll soon see a connection in the way they develop – essentially, taking an old idea and spinning it as new to benefit a new generation. And, of course, to profit off it!

Fad #1: Yoga

Yoga was the defining exercise practice of the mid-2000s. From Madonna to former Spice Girls, there were more yoga videos than you could shake a stick at. It was the revolution! We were all going to be bendier, healthier, just outright better.

While yoga is not quite the forefront of the health picture anymore, it’s never really gone away. There’s still due attention paid to it by medical practitioners and celebrities alike, and thousands are grabbing their yoga music and mats every day to try and improve their health.

Of course, yoga was nothing new when it became a fad – it has historical roots dating back centuries.

Fad #2: Gluten-Free Food

For those with Celiac Disease, the idea of eating food free from gluten (i.e. not containing any wheat, malt, barley etc.) was nothing new – it was a staple of life for them. Eating these foods when you have Celiac Disease can make you very unwell in the short term (gastrointestinal distress) and even cause cancer in the long run.

Then the health fad nuts got ahold of the idea that gluten-free was the answer to everything. Various claims began to circulate that it would improve your life and help weight loss. A champion tennis player credited going gluten-free with his sudden increase in form. Suddenly, gluten-free wasn’t just a choice forced upon you due to a medical condition: it was a lifestyle.

Fad #3: Paleo Eating

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There’s something about the idea of a paleo diet that makes sense to us. The idea of eating as the cavemen ate! What could be simpler? After all, it got us to this point didn’t it? Those foods have got to be beneficial, or else humanity wouldn’t exist!

Paleo is the simple concept of not eating processed foods. Meals should be derived from vegetables, healthy fats, and unprocessed meat. It’s a return to a simpler world where a snack is a handful of nuts rather than a packet of crisps.

As inevitably happens with any diet fad, the claims of weight loss were legion. Then there are the claims it can improve your health in more ways than it’s possible to count.

Fad #4: The 5:2 Diet

The 5:2 diet is relatively simplistic. For five days per week, you eat ‘normally’. For the other two days, you fast.

It has been championed far and wide for weight loss and maintaining a healthy body. It was impossible to miss the endless reports of whether or not it worked, advice from nutritionists, and the virtues and problems it presents chewed over.

Other examples of these “fads” would be Zumba, keto diet and exercise – and many more than it’s possible to count.

So What Do They All Have In Common?

There are a few unifying factors between all of these diet, health, and fitness plans.

  • They take a scientific basis and expand on it for a lifestyle option.
  • They are popularised by celebrities and the media.
  • They all make claims to great health improvement and weight loss.

The wording we’re using here suggests that these things are inherently bad: fad. A fad is meant to be a fly-by-night solution rather than a genuine lifestyle change. They promise the world and deliver very little.

Or do they?

Healthcare Science Is In A Constant State of Flux

The simple fact is that there is no “right” way to diet, exercise, or maintain your health. We have theories – a balanced diet, moderate exercise – but they are just theories. Good science should always be open to new evidence and ideas. There are so many strings to research that it makes sense that developments will happen and be introduced to the world.

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That means that if you dismiss these health fads and trends out of hand, you could really be missing out. They might genuinely have stumbled on something that works.

People who practice yoga, for example, report a higher quality of life both physically and mentally. Those on the paleo diet do lose weight. These are good fads, which have introduced different practices that people can stick to and maintain.

Then there are the less successful fads. The 5:2 diet, for example, is great in the short term but notorious for how poorly it works in the long run. Zumba might be fun for awhile, but like all exercise styles, it has its problems keeping people’s attention. As for the favourite of the early 21st century – the Atkins Diet – we know now it can outright make you ill.

So how can you tell the difference?

What’s the key to differentiating between the fads and trends that might help you and the ones that are problematic?. If you stumble across an idea and are wondering if you should try it, then ask yourself a few key questions.

Question #1: “Is Someone Trying To Sell Me Something?”

With yoga or the paleo diet, no one is trying to sell you anything: they’re talking about a lifestyle change. You don’t have to buy special pills or sign up for a specialist discussion; you can follow along with free resources (such as YouTube videos of yoga or just buying more fruit and veg when you shop).

There might be books on the subject which can aid these ideas, but they’re not necessary. If you have to buy something to be able to follow it properly, then be very dubious indeed.

Question #2: “What Does Scientific Consensus Say?”

It’s easy enough to find the opinion of the science community on something you are considering. Just Google the name of the idea (let’s call it the Amazing Plan for this example) like so:

“Amazing Plan + science + evidence”

Speech marks and all. That should bring up the opinions of the scientific community. Spend a little time wading through the results until you find a consensus.

It’s also a good idea to speak to your doctor about anything you’re tempted to try. They will be able to tell you not only if it’s a good idea in general, but if it’s a good idea directly relating to you and your health concerns. They might even be able to guide you towards options and resources so you can get the most out of any lifestyle changes that it makes.

Question #3: “What’s The Harm?”

Trying to eat more vegetables with paleo or doing a few stretches with yoga aren’t harmful, as you will soon discover if you do them for yourself. However, with the “bad” trends, online forums will quickly reveal if there is a potential harm caused by a new trend.

Take account of personal experiences from people who have lived it. Ideally this should be sourced from forums rather than magazines/blogs – often, magazines and blogs are being paid to promote a product, so they’re unlikely to say anything bad about it. Look for genuine user experience. If you do find a blog post or magazine article that you think is genuine, there should always be a disclosure if it’s a paid advertisement. It’s often at the bottom in small print. If you find it, keep that in mind when following the opinions and advice offered.

So…

Sometimes, the public is made aware of a change to health and fitness that is genuinely beneficial. So rather than dismissing a new idea for health improvement or self-help out of hand, apply a few questions and some discerning thinking before deciding to go ahead. Finally, there is always the option of running any plans you have regarding your health and well-being by your doctor first – it’s always a good step before making any changes, just to be on the safe side.

Complete The Look: Must-Wear Accessories For This Summer

It’s all well and good digging your favourite shorts and summer dresses out of your wardrobe in anticipation of the summer, but do you know what accessories to match them with? While some accessories are good for adding a little glamour to an outfit, summer accessories should also have a touch of practicality. After all, now that you’re not weighed down with a winter coat, you’ve also lost access to the pockets where you’d normally store your keys and purse. Here are the essential accessories to wear this summer, that are both functional and fabulous.

Sunglasses

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This essential accessory has the most important job of protecting your eyes from the damaging effects of UV rays, including blind spots, cataracts, or even complete loss of sight. Of course, buying a fashionable pair of sunglasses can be fun, and there is nothing wrong with choosing a few shades to complement several summer outfits, but be sure to check if they have adequate UV protection.

Light Scarves

Light summer scarves are a bold addition to any outfit, and can protect against overly cool breezes, or heavy air conditioning in restaurants. To stay warm, wrap a lightweight scarf around your neck to dress up jeans and a tee, or wear one with your favorite dress. Scarves also provide extra coverage at the beach or by the pool.

Handbags

With the loss of pockets from winter jackets, summer handbags must have plenty of space to hold other essentials such as water, sunscreen, or a towel for the beach. A large tote bag is usually the best solution, and they can look colourful, or neutral. However, if you’re just strolling in your summer dress, a small bag with a long chain and a lot of detail makes for a perfect match. Whatever the occasion, there are plenty of summer handbags to complement your summer dress.

Jewellery

Summer is the time to make an impact with your fashion jewellery. Let your imagination run wild and choose statement jewellery to combine with any outfit. Colourful necklaces, big stones, and large bracelets are all excellent for making a noticeable statement this summer.

Hats

They shield your face from the sun, and complement your beach outfit. A wide-brimmed raffia sunhat gives a nice boho style to any outfit, and looks good with just about anything. Straw beach hats are now more commonly seen by the seaside, but there are a wide range of hats to suit any excursion this summer.

Sandals

Wedges and sandals are the most versatile footwear of the summer, because they can go from poolside casual, match perfectly to a flirty sundress, and can carry you on a night on the town. However, if you’re going to be wearing them all the time, you need to be 100 percent certain that they provide adequate arch support and heel cushioning before you consider spending money on them. A cute pair of natural wedges quickly lose their appeal if you find yourself hobbling in pain only a few hours into your outing.

The Great Outdoors: Make The Most Of Your Garden

The spring sunshine is starting to peek out from behind what’s left of the winter clouds, and soon the best place to be will be outside in your garden. Unfortunately, your garden has been pretty neglected all winter, and as a result some things are overgrown, rusty, or just plain old eyesores. While you’re spring cleaning you garden, it may be time to look into a few garden enhancements to make sure you won’t be uncomfortable, or embarrassed, to spend time out on your patio.

Spring Clean Your Garden

Your home has recently had the benefit of being cleared of clutter and cleaned from top to bottom. Your garden also deserves the spring cleaning treatment. Dig out your gardening tools and spend a warmer day mowing the lawn, trimming your shrubs and trees, and digging out the weeds. You’d be surprised how a short trim of the overgrown leaves can make your garden look tidier, and possibly bigger. Cutting back the dead branches on the trees could even let more sunshine into your garden, making your afternoons far more enjoyable.

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Open Up Your Patio

You’ve probably spent all winter looking out into your back garden, wishing the weather were nicer so you could be outside reading, or sipping drinks with your friends on the patio. As the days get longer and warmer, you can begin organizing a group brunch on your patio to celebrate the return of spring. You can make the patio more welcoming by investing in comfortable outdoor furniture like you’ve seen on www.Bridgman.co.uk/rattan-garden-furniture, and put up a few parasols to protect your guests from the harshness of peak sunlight hours. You could even go one step further and give the patio a makeover. Warm, honey-colored tiles will be much brighter and more reflective than dark grey concrete, not to mention less depressing. If the day goes well, you can begin to make plans for the summer BBQ that you’re sure to have on your patio this year.

Welcome Nature

The best part about being outdoors is being surrounded by nature. Nurture the plants in your yard by taking up gardening. You don’t need to aim for something as ambitious as trying to grow your own food if you’re a fairly inexperienced gardener. You can start with something simple like a flower bed, a tree, or a herb garden if you have your heart set on contributing something to the kitchen. These ideas can be done on a budget, and it can significantly reduce stress and improve overall fitness.

If you’d really like to invite nature back into your garden, try digging your own pond. Not only is it a great project for everyone to get involved, but ponds are very helpful for preserving wildlife. Once you’ve built a pond step-by-step, be prepared for animals to move in at an astonishing speed. If a pond sounds like too much, or your garden isn’t big enough, a bird bath will also attract nature and add an element of peace.

Look After Your Eyes – They’re The Only Ones You Get

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Our eyes are sensitive, delicate, and incredible pieces of machinery, which means it isn’t surprising that there are so many ways that they can go wrong. While they’re beautiful and communicative, they’re also prone to all sorts of problems, from strain to infection, and everything in between. We are often complacent about the health of our eyes, although we regularly get checkups for the rest of our body. Here are a few ways we can all take better care of our eyes – after all, they’re the only ones we get.

Get regular eye exams

While we might be able to notice a change in the health of our eyes, many changes are minute and gradual, and only detected by a professional. Don’t leave it until you get regular crippling headaches before you see your optometrist. You should have an eye exam every two years, even if you have no history of any problems. Not only do they check your sight, but they’ll also review the overall health of your eye, something which we can’t do ourselves.

Protect them from UV rays

The sun’s radiation can be bad news for our eyes, causing cataracts, blind spots, and even complete blindness. When you’re out in the sunshine, be sure to wear UV protecting sunglasses. If you’re a glasses wearer, find prescription glasses or wear your contact lenses underneath. The risk of sun damage to eyes is just too high not to.

Take a break

Staring at computer screens day in, day out, can spell bad news for our little peepers. Take regular breaks, at least every half an hour, and walk away from your screen for a few moments. Look into the mid and further distance to give your eye muscles a chance to recover. If it’s possible for you to change your duties so you can alternate between screen work and non-screen work, it can really make a difference.

Wear contacts that work for you

Many people who wear glasses and contact lenses are wearing the wrong prescription, or the wrong type of lense. Regular visits to your optometrist should help to ensure this isn’t the case. Choosing lenses such as Acuvue contacts which help to hydrate your eyes and work for your eye type will also help. With so many options on the market, and some really great prices, there’s no excuse for wearing the wrong lenses any more.

Check makeup best before dates

Believe it or not, makeup can go off. It can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which you’re then putting directly on the skin next to your eye. Be sure to check the dates, but give your makeup a sniff occasionally to ensure it’s not harboring any nasty germs.

Ask about your family history

Your family history can tell you a lot about your future health. Eye problems such as glaucoma tend to run in the family, so if you’re aware of any similar problems within your relatives, be sure to tell your optometrist, who may want you to have more regular eye exams to be on the safe side.

Eye care is as essential as dental care or heart care, but so often overlooked. Give your eyes some love, and they’ll be good to you back.

“Change Every Room Right Now!” Controlling The Desire For Different

Do you ever have moments where you wake up, look at a room in your house – a perfectly nice room that yesterday you had no problem with whatsoever – and suddenly despise it? All you can see are its flaws, its tired decor, the desperate need for a refresh. The urge to do something about it becomes overpowering.

Perhaps it’s literally the first thing you see of that changeable morning; the bedroom. It’s crying out for a new rug, a change of paint, perhaps even a feature wall you have been daydreaming about. Or perhaps the need for change hits you as the enter the kitchen for your morning coffee; the kitchen is the one that needs the fix. You lust for new taps like those you saw showcased on http://www.tapwarehouse.com/category/kitchen-taps or a hanging pan set that will give you that perfect rustic charm. Or is it the bathroom where your frenzied desire for something different will take shape?

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Or… worst of all: is it everywhere?

It happens. No longer is your desire for something different and a serious decor update grabbing a hold of you, it’s not even bothering to focus. You want every room in the entire house to have at least some small scale change done to it – so what’s your next step?

Option 1: Pick A Room and Change Everything

Focusing on which room is bothering you the most is a good way to begin. You’ve got a strong chance of narrowing down the thirst for difference if you think which area is bothering you the most. If the answer doesn’t naturally come to mind, then think along the lines of which rooms you use the most – and thus will stand the greatest chance to bear the fruits of your renovating labour.

Positives: This focuses you on what you actually want done and gives you a starting point. While the other areas may continue to annoy you, you can at least quiet the protesting voice with the fact you are doing something.

This approach also means you can get into the minute details that, if you try to do everything at once, you might neglect. That’s the little things like:

  • Bedroom: having the time to focus on the practical side of getting up in the morning and how you can make it easier with design choices.
  • Kitchen: this gives you the chance to look through the possibilities of repainting your kitchen cupboards or replacing them. If you’re trying to do everything in one go, you might not slow down to think through your options and will instead just plough through with whatever is quickest.

 

Negatives: It can feel like you’re not getting enough done and are focusing too much on one area. This idea also relies on the fact you can settle on one room to prioritise – which is sometimes easier said than done.

Option 2: Choose One Thing You Hate About Every Room – And Fix That

Start by writing out a list of the rooms you want to change. As an example:

  • Bedroom
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom

Then sit and think about what you dislike the most about each room. Keep this as simple as possible. For example, this is how not to do it:

  • Bedroom – need a new bed, bedding, and to switch the rug under the new bed.
  • Kitchen – want to refresh wall colour, hang new wall art, and hang a knife rack
  • Bathroom – replace the toilet and retile the floor

You can easily convince yourself that these are all the same problem, because they relate to one another in an indirect way. But this is just going to cause more confusion, so these plans need trimming even further. So, the above becomes:

  • Bedroom – buy a new bed
  • Kitchen – repaint the walls
  • Bathroom – replace the toilet

The rest can be added on later. This option takes the one thing that is bothering you the most and gives you a way to rectify it. The benefit of doing this is that, once complete, you can move onto the next room – so you’re going to be making more progress through the whole house. This approach also works well if you rent your home and need to check each development with your landlord.

And if you’re worrying about the loose ends on the first list, then you can easily assemble a second run through that catches all of them.

Positives: You’ll feel like you’re making real progress. It also gives you a chance to get rid of the things that are bothering you the most, so that’s one less thing to irritate you!

Negatives: It might take a few run throughs of the same system for you to feel like you’re really making a big change to your decor.

Option 3: The Extreme Option

Burst into tears, sell the house, and go and live in a log cabin that doesn’t need renovating. Ever.

Positives: Log cabins are so picturesque.

Negatives: Literally everything else about this idea.

Option 4: Everything At Once

Some of us don’t like to streamline the way we do things, choosing a hotchpotch of plans and doing what we want when we feel like it. Doing things this way might not be the most efficient, but sometimes home design and decor shouldn’t be efficient. Instead, you can let your creative juices flow and go where each space of free time you have takes you.

Positives: The more freespirited approach can be quite liberating. You can switch around and play with ideas, always happy to be doing the chosen task on a chosen day. No one likes to be dictated to about what we should be doing and when – even if you’re the dictator in question!

Negatives: Inevitably, this approach takes longer and can create a lot more mess in your home. However, if you think you can live with that while controlling the urge to procrastinate, then there’s nothing wrong with taking things at your leisure.

Ideas For Weekends In The Sunshine

I’m so happy that the sun is finally showing its head. After all, it feels like we have had months of dull and dark days. And we have had to keep busy at weekends inside our home as we didn’t fancy braving the cold weather. But now we are getting some sunshine, it opens up more things we can do for the weekend! In fact, here are some ideas for weekends in the sun!

Head for a day at the seaside

I don’t know about you, but I’m missing the feeling of sand beneath my feet and the sound of waves crashing against the shore. But with holiday time still a good few months away, you could always spend the weekend at a beach in the UK. And while the beaches might not be as good as the ones abroad, it can still make for a great day out. Therefore, investigate where the local beach is, and then head there with your friends or family. And then you can have a great day tucking into an ice cream or two and walking along the sand on the front with a good pair of sunnies. You can also get a traditional fish and chips which you can enjoy while the sunsets. And don’t forget to spend your spare pennies in the amusements to finish off the perfect day.

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Visit one of the cities

The last thing you want to do in the cold months is visit a city. After all, a lot of the main sights are outside. However, now the sunshine is out, it’s a great time to visit one of the many beautiful cities we have in the UK. The obvious choice would be London as there is so much to see and do in the capital. For example, you could go shopping during the weekend at Oxford Street. Or for something a bit different, you could head to one of the many markets including Camden. You could also do the tourist thing and head for a cruise on the Thames. In fact, you can read more on this website about dining while soaking in all the top sights! And the parks are also fantastic at this time of the year. After all, you can take a picnic and enjoy the sun with your girls! And London isn’t the only city to visit; enjoy wonders like Oxford and Cambridge too during the sunny weather.

Go to a theme park

It’s always fun to go to a theme park during the summer months. After all, you are never too old for a thrilling rollercoaster or crazy waterslide. And we are lucky to have a few in the UK which have fans worldwide. Closer to home, Thorpe Park is only about an hour from the centre of London and has a wealth of rides including Stealth and Saw. Or you and your friends could head further afield to Alton Towers. Boasting a wealth of scary rides like Nemesis and Oblivion, the park is also nice to just have a walk around. After all, there is a beautiful castle and plenty of greenery where you can enjoy the sun!

And don’t forget to make the most of the garden at this time of the year. Organize a BBQ to make the most of the lovely weather!

Your Guide To An Amazing Home Office

We all know that working from home can have various perks and pitfalls. Often, creative people work from home – writers, bloggers, graphic designers and video editors, to name just a few. There are many benefits to doing so, such as being able to manage your own schedule and also being able to choose your clients as you please. However, as anyone who works for themselves will know, there are also a fair few negatives, such as a lack of motivation and a tendency to get distracted. Both of these things often have their roots in working from home, which is something that many freelancers world over do. When you work for yourself, it doesn’t make that much sense to rent an office – after all, it’s just another overhead to eat into your monthly budget.

But, not having a focused and comfortable workspace at your disposal can easily end up causing you a few problems. Let’s be honest: we’ve all tried working from our couch at some point, and it rarely works out! So, just how do you go about designing and creating a home office to maximise your workflow and help you succeed? Here are some tried and tested tips to help you on your way.

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Never underestimate comfort

If you type the words ‘home office’ into Google (as you probably have done many times before!), you will find yourself met with various images of dreamy, perfectly organised spaces, with stylish furniture. Most of them look like something out of a Brooklyn studio apartment, with hardback chairs and a reclaimed vintage desk. But hold fire for a second before you go out and buy all this stuff: will you ACTUALLY be able to work in this kind of environment? Sure, that kind of chair does look good. But will they still look as good after you’ve been sat in them for 30+ hours a week, suffering from a crippling backache? We are now seeing a generation of people emerge who are experiencing longstanding health problems as a result of spending too much time sat in uncomfortable office chairs. Sometimes, this can’t be helped, as it depends on where it is that you work. When you work from home, however, it is you and you alone who has ultimate jurisdiction over what is and what isn’t in your office. Try not to be swayed by the dreamy Pinterest boards. The entire vibe of your home office is not going to depend on whether you get the pristine hardback chair or not – so if in doubt, always go for the comfiest option. A good office chair should support you right up to the neck (or at least the upper back), be cushioned and should have adjustable height and recline. They may not look quite as chic, but you always have to put your health over style. Similar rules apply for things like laptop height and keyboard positioning. The top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes, and your forearms should be parallel to the floor when typing on your keyboard.

Create a pleasant ambience

When we think of ambience in the home, our minds probably turn to a bathroom full of lit candles, or a cosy living room with a log fire burning in it. However, there is no reason why your home office can’t have ambience in it too. There are two main things that make up this pleasant vibe, and they are heating and lighting. The last thing you want in your home office is to be cold or to overheat, so take some steps towards regaining control of the temperature. If you don’t already have a radiator in your home office (or if you just need a replacement), try visiting a site such as OnlyRadiators.co.uk. There are plenty of different types of the radiator to suit all tastes and needs, so don’t think that you simply have to stick with the one your property came with. It can also be worth having one custom-made if the room you are dealing with is particularly small.

On a opposite note, you may also want to consider having an air conditioning system installed in for the hotter days during the summer. No one likes sticking to their office chair in the middle of the July heat, after all! If this is out of the question for you, however, don’t worry – a fan will usually suffice, and make sure you can open your windows fully to let some refreshing air in. As far as lighting goes,  natural light is the best way to go for your home office. It makes the whole place seem much airier, and your natural body clock will respond well to it, making you feel much more ready to work. That said, we all know how dark winter can be, or how often you end up working late when you have a deadline to finish. Having a selection of lighting options in your office for both of these occasions can, therefore, be vital. Usually, a bright ceiling lamp and a couple of smaller table lamps suffice, as that way you can control the lighting and therefore the mood of the room.

Personalize

When you work in a company office, one of the first things you do is probably to bring in a picture of your family to sit on your desk. When you work from home, you may not feel the same burning need to do this – but ask yourself why? Your office might be in your home, but it is still your workspace, and having some personal touches like family photos is a great way to keep motivated and make you feel a little more at ease. Invest in a couple of funky photo frames and set up your photos on your desk for you to gaze at absent-mindedly between jobs. It isn’t just photos that you can personalise your workspace with, though. Part of the beauty of working from home is that you can tailor your office to exactly what makes you happy. Therefore, spend some time making it into a positive and inspirational space that feeds your creativity. If that means hanging some positive quotes up on the wall in front of your desk, go for it! People who work in offices full time don’t always have the option to do things like that, so relish the chance that you have to do so. You may also want to do a complete remodel of the room that involved painting the walls or adding wallpaper.

Choose colours that uplift you and make you feel positive, and that you know you will be able to style easily. Then, you can go about adding in cute ways to organise yourself – such as with some pretty pen-holders, folders and files. Who said that office equipment had to be boring and corporate, anyway?! Some finishing touches for your desk area could be a beautiful scented candle (great for adding to that ambience we mentioned earlier) or ornate incense burner. If you are feeling creative, why not try your hand at making your very own desk garden? Flowers and plants can have a great impact on our mental stimulation in a working environment, so try to include at least a bit of life into your office. Creating a home workspace may not seem like much of a priority to you, but once you’ve done it, you will wonder how you ever worked before!

Personalise Your Décor Within Your Tenancy Agreement

One of the most frustrating elements about renting a house is that you can’t decorate it in the way you want. Start painting walls, and you will automatically wave your deposit farewell, never to be seen again. Most tenants suffer from this lack of control in their home. It is even difficult for some to call it a home, or to feel that it could be one when there is no possibility to give it a personality of its own. Would you believe it if you were told that you can still personalise your house without losing your deposit? And that you can still identify with your décor and make it homely? No? Think again, because this is happening right now.

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Surround Yourself With Happy Memories

What makes a house a home is the sentiment of warmth safety and happiness that should surround you. You could, for instance, take a close look at your family and holiday pictures and select your favourite memories. Whether it is the last Christmas with your grandparents or a beach holiday with your best friend on a sunny island, it is up to you. In the end, you can easily get customised mounts for your favourite pictures in the best print quality. These would do just fine in bringing a little life to your rooms. If you are worried about using nails, you can place them on top of shelves or by the side table of your living room.

Use Your DIY Skills For Small Items

If you are a craft enthusiasts, you may want to look at options to build your own decorative items, using decoupage for example to decorate boxes or everyday objects. Or you can add a colourful touch around the frame of pictures with bright cutouts. If decoupage isn’t your thing, you can have a look at using chalk paint on small pieces of furniture, such as a chair, or your vanity cabinet if it isn’t mounted. Chalk paint dries in less than 20 minutes and provides great results even for DIY amateurs. So release your DIY soul!

Find A Signature Scent

Your sense of smell is the sense that is the best linked to your memories. By creating a scented décor, you can bring back happy memories to your mind and feel happier in your rented house.

You could use summery and natural scents, such as aromatic combinations to create a feel of warmth and holiday. Dried lavender is also a great addition to your house, as the smell is naturally peaceful and clean, which can help you to see the house in a different light. Sweet scents, such as cinnamon or vanilla, are ideal for a homely association in the living room. But if you want to add a touch of exotism, have a look for flowery smells instead. Let your nose guide you!

Go For Vibrant Colourful Items

Let’s agree on one thing. You can’t paint the walls, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have colourful accents. A colourful rug can change the atmosphere in the room, and transform dull magnolia into a fun living room. Similarly, you can work with bright cushion covers, exciting throws, or vibrant decorative items. Remember to coordinate your colours, though. Otherwise, the fun can suddenly turn into a colourful nightmare.

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