Fashion and Style

Last Minute Gift Ideas for Tween and Teen Boys

We’re at a point now where the majority of the Christmas shopping is done, bar the big food shop which will probably happen on Sunday. It’s been a funny year of gift buying; Sausage is at an age where toys aren’t really her thing and she has a phone, laptop, TV, tablet, camera etc already, so we’ve had to really wrack our brains to think of a main gift for her. BB is still easy enough to buy for, as she’s only got to sit in front of Nickleodeon for half an hour and she’s found 20 new things she wants from the adverts.

Husband and I have two nephews, one who is the same age as Sausage and one who is 14 and I have to say, they’re two of the hardest family members to buy for. They both love their labels, so they’d be happy with a boys Hugo Boss t-shirt but beyond that we always feel stumped. They’re the same as our girls in the respect that they have everything a tween or teen could want, but they’re also both amazing at saving money from Christmasses and birthdays, so they rarely have to wait for people to buy them stuff if there’s something they want, mid-year.

One thing that we’ve found works quite well is clubbing together with other family members to buy them larger items which would be out of budget if we bought them by ourselves. The family did this last year when BB wanted a trampoline for her birthday; it meant that BB got exactly what she wanted and it saved several people from having to come up with ideas for individual presents.

If we wanted to opt for something a bit more pricey, a boys Hugo Boss coat would be a great gift to club together and get them. What kid doesn’t love going back to school after Christmas and showing off the stuff they got, especially if that stuff is designer!

Are there people in your family who you struggle to buy gifts for each year? Have you found it harder as the kids have got older? Would you resort to simply sticking money in a card and letting them buy something for themselves in the sale? Please leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Top tips for first time property investors

Property investment is one of the most significant assets currently in the UK. It adds billions of pounds to the economy each year. Many people consider embarking on a property investment venture, however are unsure how or feel uncertain about the prospect. Make sure you follow these simple guidelines to ensure the process can be as smooth as possible.

Research the best areas

The UK is blessed with an array of prosperous cities, that may feel you feeling a little overwhelmed with the choice of multiple locations claiming they possess the greatest rental yields. It is imperative to spend some time before you commit to a specific area, to discover whereabouts will be the most lucrative for you. Northern cities like Liverpool and Manchester have established a secure reputation as a true investment hotspot for 2018. There are several contributing factors that dictate the success of investment across these cities. These include a growing population, demand for quality, and increasing capital growth.

Get in the mind of your tenant

This is a key strategy to really understand the what your target tenant requires. If you are interested in investing in properties for students, for instance, it is important, think about what the student may want from their accommodation, such as being close to extensive transport links or being in walking distance to university campus. These demands are somewhat changing so it is important to be aware and keep up with any emerging trends. The 21st Century student favour more of a luxury standard. Spacious city centre apartments are on the rise over the old cramped style student accommodation halls students have become accustomed to. Alternatively, if you wish to rent to families then proximity to high achieving schools may be at the top of the list. Researching the changing demands of each type of tenant is key in ensuring your void periods are kept to a minimum, which is great news for investors who wish to keep their return on investment high.

Which property is for you?

There are multiple types of properties that are available for investment, some more lucrative than others. Deciding between off plan, new builds or period properties is just another point to think about, as all come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Those who prefer a property with a little history may like to invest in period properties, however these are often not as energy efficient as a new build may be, producing higher maintenance costs. New build properties are said to save around £624 a year on energy bills.

Off plan properties present a multitude of different advantages, low prices, strong potential for capital growth, and popularity with tenants, however these will not be appealing to those investors who are in the search of a completed property. Property investment companies like RW Invest provide an extensive portfolio of both new build and off plan opportunities. These are an enticing prospect for many investors as they offer a significant savings at below market value entry prices.

Consider your finances

Finance is important to ensure you don’t leave yourself short. From the outset you need to devise a financial strategy, and work out essential elements such as potential rental yields that can be obtained, the amount of tax you are likely to pay, which have changed this year so be sure to double check this, and whether or not you will require a mortgage for your purchase, as quite often investment companies reject purchasing with a mortgage and deal with cash buyers only.

Hobbies

How To Make Horse Rugs Last Longer

The maintenance and care of horse rugs is important if you want them to last longer. Horse rugs are an expensive investment which requires careful cleaning and maintenance. If you don’t take proper care of horse rugs, there’s a higher chance of those rugs not fulfilling their purpose and you may have to invest in a new horse rug all over again.

Keeping and maintaining a horse itself is very expensive, so to minimise recurring costs of purchasing horse rugs, it’s important that you maintain them well. Here are some tips on how to clean horse rugs and make them long lasting.

  1. Self Cleaning Tips

If you want to save money and can find the time to clean the horse rugs yourself, then you can easily wash the lightweight, small horse rugs in the washing machine. For more detailed and clear instructions read the washing instructions mentioned on the label of the horse rug.

For the large, heavy horse rugs, lay them out on a flat surface or a fence and using a brush with hard bristles, rub and clean out all the dirt, mud and grass. Turn the rug over and repeat this process.

You can then dip the rug into a bucket filled with hot water and cleaning soap. Once you soak the rug into the bucket, beat it and mix it and leave it to soak in the bucket. After it is done soaking, take it out and lay it out flat and clean it with the bristled brush one final time. Once you’re done cleaning it properly, leave it to dry.

It’s important that the rug be completely dry before it is stored for a long time or even used on a horse. Using a moist or wet rug on a horse might make him sick or cause skin ailments.

  1. Horse Rug Cleaning Products

There are plenty of branded products available for cleaning horse rugs. There are horse rug soaps and conditioners which can be used for deep cleaning of your horse rugs. Since a horse rug washing soap is designed specifically for horse rugs, it will clean it properly without damaging the silicone and fluorocarbon material of the rug, which is beneficial for an expensive and high quality horse rug.

A horse rug conditioner is not used very often, but if you can afford it, try it out on your horse rug. It can be really beneficial in retaining the waterproof ability and durability of the horse rug.

  1. Get Them Cleaned Professionally

If you do not have the time or do not want to make the effort of cleaning horse rugs yourself and if you’ve got the money for it, the best option is to send them to professional cleaners. They will be able to use their products and treatment techniques to clean your horse rugs and may also do some repairs on your horse rugs, if it calls for it.

This is the best choice if you don’t have the time to or don’t want to clean the horse rugs yourself.

Conclusion

Horse rug cleaning can be a time consuming process, but it’ll save you the cost of buying a new horse rug again and again. It’s a great way to ensure that your horse rug lasts longer, in good condition. If you can afford to purchase horse rug cleaning products, then it’ll help in deeply cleaning your horse rug. However, if you cannot afford horse rug cleaning products, even the method described above will give your horse rug a good cleanse.

Baby · Parenting

The Next Big Thing in Parenting – Sleep Education

There is a lot of information out there that teaches you how to be a good parent. It talks about how to deal with tantrums, stubbornness, how to improve cognitive development, how to feed your child well and so on. There are so many issues you have to begin addressing as parents and the first thing to do is find the root of these issues. As with all roots, it lies in the dark.

Sleep, or the lack of it, is one of the biggest issues that need to be addressed by parents. It is a behaviour that is to be observed from infancy to the later years of the child’s life. It is one of the biggest contributing factors to the cognitive and physical development of the child. Here’s why all parents need to take a good hard look into the sleeping behaviours of their children.

Sleep and Cognitive Development

The cognitive development of a child begins in its infancy. It is observed that infants who slept less than 12 hours a day experienced poorer cognitive and language skill at two years. This is because there is a lot of activity in the brain during sleep and therefore, resulting in cognitive and memory consolidation. REM sleep is important as it is during this stage that the brain is active.

As they grow up, children who struggle to sleep have trouble paying attention in school. They have behavioural issues and are mostly irritable. During sleep, memories are reactivated and transferred from short term to long term. Sleep deprivation can make them forgetful, impacting their academic performance. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to provide a good sleeping environment for their child. Clinically proven products are available in the market to foster good sleep at any age.

Sleep and Physical Development

80% of the growth hormone ‘somatotropin’ is released during the Non-REM stage of sleep. Lack of sleep can create a deficiency in the production of the growth hormone. The growth of a child can be slowed down or stunned by sleep deprivation. It not only affects the child’s height but also the weight, lung strength and immune system.

It is important for parents to ensure that children sleep well throughout the night. If they have trouble sleeping, encourage naps during the day. However, the body functions much better while sleeping at night. It is critical for parents to check for good quality mattresses in the UK and compare features and reviews.

Sleep and Mental Illness

A lot of people are suffering from mental illnesses and many teenagers now fall under the category. Sleep deprivation has been perceived to be a consequence of mental illnesses like depression, ADHD, bipolar disorder and anxiety. However, it is also noticed that sleep problems can, in fact, be a contributing factor to mental illness.

Sleep deprivation can affect levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones causing the brain to go into chaos. It impairs thinking, emotional regulation and leads to psychiatric illnesses. The treatment of mental illness is also affected if the patient continues to lose sleep. Participants in a study with a history of insomnia were more likely to develop depression. It is important for parents to keep a watchful eye out for behavioural changes in their children. CDB oil for sleep is a revolutionary product to reduce anxiety, combat insomnia and help improve sleeping patterns. The product has no side effects and is approved by doctors.

Sleep and Obesity

Sleep deprivation is directly linked to weight gain and obesity. The hormones leptin and ghrelin become irregular with lack of sleep, leading to increased BMI. Ghrelin is the hormone that stimulates appetite and increases with one night of sleep deprivation. Leptin is the hormone that regulates appetite, metabolism and calorie burning. It essentially sends signals to the brain that you are full. Sleep increases the level of leptin, telling your brain that you have enough energy. Lack of sleep reduces the levels of leptin and motivates you to eat more than you need.

Parents need to notice unusual appetite changes and regulate sleep cycles. Uncomfortable mattresses can often lead to sleep deprivation. Before purchasing popular brands like Kluft mattresses, it is imperative to first compare brands by features and quality of materials.

Sleep and Immune System

Sleep is essentially important for the body to rest, repair and heal. The relationship between sleep and the effective functioning of the immune system is quite complex. Sleep deprivation fundamentally suppresses the immune system. With increasing sleepless nights, the body’s ability to fight germs and illnesses decreases, making your child more susceptible to ailments.

With each phase of sleep, our body builds the ability to function efficiently. In a completely relaxed state, our body takes the initiative to repair damaged tissue and regrow new tissue. It is not through sleeping more but with sleeping efficiently does the body function the way it needs to. Parents can visit mattress brands, carpets and rug stores and do sufficient research to create a relaxing, nurturing sleeping environment for their child.

Sleep and Risk of Injury

Children who don’t get sufficient sleep are groggy, clumsy and tired. They may not be able to react to emergencies at the same speed. This can lead to children getting frequently injured and requiring medical attention. It can also slow down the process of healing from an injury. A research conducted among student athletes found that sleep hours was the strongest predictor of injuries.

It is a vital part of parenting to take on an active role in determining the sleeping behaviour of the child. In case symptoms of sleep deprivation are noticed, parents need to immediately encourage the child to use relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises to help them sleep faster. The best way to combat insomnia is to create rigid sleep schedules from a very young age.

Healthy Sleeping Rituals

It is never too late to start healthy sleeping rituals. It can be beneficial for both, the parent and the child. Some healthy sleep rituals include relaxing music, warm chamomile tea, avoiding caffeine and sugary treats, a warm bath and an active life. It is a lifestyle change and would require you to take a closer look at how you treat your body. Physical exercise during the day can also help you fall asleep faster.

Reading stories in a tranquil voice to your child is not only a relaxation exercise but also a bonding opportunity. It is imperative to take time out to ensure that the child feels safe, comfortable and protected during the night. Anxieties during the day can often keep the child up at night if they are unable to process their emotions thoroughly. Therefore, it is important to spend time with your child every day, asking about their day and consciously creating a safe space for them to disclose information.

Happiness · Health

3 home improvements that can make a difference in later life

Whether you need to make changes to your home now and you’re just thinking about the future, it’s important to be aware of the improvements that can help make a difference in later life. In this blog, we take a look at three ways you enhance your home to create a safe, more convenient living space.

  1. An adjustable bed

As you get older, you may find that getting in and out of bed becomes more difficult, especially if you have limited mobility. So, if you struggle to access your bed, you might want to think about upgrading this part of your sleep space. For example, an adjustable bed might be ideal. These pieces of furniture can be altered in terms of position, tilt and height, making it easier for you to get into and out the bed, as well as reducing your chances of twisting awkwardly or getting stuck. You can find these beds with a range of useful features too. For instance, furniture specialists Alpine HC offer models that can be controlled via an app on your smartphone, as well as double dual action designs which allow you to operate each side independently.

 

  1. A stairlift

If you struggle to use your stairs, installing a stairlift could help. This mechanical device is designed to lift and transport you up and down the stairwell, meaning you don’t need to worry about potentially falling and hurting yourself. A stairlift enables you to keep your independence and freedom around your home, and it can help make you feel safer too.


  1. An adapted bathroom suite

    To help you use your bathroom more safely, it might be worth having an adapted suite installed. Improving the room in this way can make bathing easier, as well as ensuring you don’t slip or fall.

For example, you could arrange to have a seat installed in your tub. This provides you with a place to sit while you’re in the water, enabling you to wash yourself with ease. It can also help you get into and out of the bath. If you have a shower-bath combination and you find it difficult to step over the edge of the tub, you could replace it with a walk-in design. This allows you to simply walk into the shower when you need to.

You could even accompany your new suite with other useful accessories, such as anti-slip mat in the tub, clearly marked hot and cold faucets and a toilet with a raised seat.

There’s no reason why you should struggle in your own home. By putting these suggestions in place, you could significantly improve your day-to-day life.