10 articles Articles posted in Adulting

How Can We Encourage Our Teens to be More Independent?

As parents, we all want to wrap up our kids in cotton wool. We want to protect them from the world and provide everything they could ever want and need- but as they grow up and become teenagers we know that’s not best for them any longer. While we’ll always be (and want to be) responsible for our children, one of the greatest gifts we can give them going into adulthood is independence. The ability to stand on their own two feet, and the confidence to know that they can do anything they want. If your child is quickly transforming into a teen, here are some of the things you can do in the coming years to pave the way to becoming a successful adult.

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Teach them to cook

Cooking is such an important skill to take into adulthood. Knowing how to cook healthy, balanced meals to a budget will allow them to manage their money as well as their weight and health. Too many teens and young adults leave the family home not knowing how to cook much more than beans or toast, macaroni and cheese or microwave meals. Encourage a love and passion for cooking and good food, teach them basic skills as well as inform them of the kinds of ingredients that go well together. You could get a cookbook for their age range, and work on perfecting a number of recipes. By the time kids leave home, they should be confident in their ability to feed themselves without needing to rely on takeaways and convenience meals.

Get them driving

Once your teen reaches the legal age to drive, getting them onto the roads can be really beneficial. There’s no doubt that this will cost you a small fortune, but once they’ve passed their insurance will gradually decline and by the time they leave home it should be affordable for them. Their age and lack of driving experience will go against them enormously when it comes to insurance, and if they’ve managed to gain some points you’d have to use a specialist young driver insurance with points. But the sooner they pass and the more experience they gain, their insurance will go down each year. Starting out in the world as a young adult is hard enough, but having a car and the independence this brings can make life much easeir for them. It can broaden their job horizons and means that you don’t have to ferry them around.

Encourage them to get a job

Whether it’s to pay towards their car or just for their luxuries, having a job teaches responsibility. It teaches the value of money and can show them how to manage it at a young age. They can learn how to budget and the importance of saving if you really want something. When you give your kids everything they want and need, they can struggle to see the value of them or understand the time and effort it takes to earn that money. So by them getting a job there are some important lessons there.

The Things You Can do Online Without Leaving Home!

OnlineWhen I was a kid, I spent a lot of time with my Nan, and I remember a lot of her days seemed to be a real slog. Instead of going to the supermarket for one big shop, she’d go to the butchers, the greengrocers, a general shop for cleaning stuff and cupboard essentials and then to Marks’ for what she called her “bits”.

Then came anything money related, which meant a weekly trip to the Post Office to get her pension and pay some bills, then to the building society to pay money into other accounts…it’s truly mind boggling when you consider how much we do online from home these days! It got me thinking about things I never thought I’d be able to do from home…

Socialising

I don’t know whether this one is a good thing or not, but I personally love the fact that I can still interact with my friends without leaving the comfort of my own home. Social media means I can keep in touch with friends and family who I might not see from one year to the next, which is a truly wonderful thing in my opinion.

Gambling

I won’t lie, I do love a flutter every now and again and being able to go to a live casino online without even having to get out of my pyjamas is a bit of a novelty! Watching the spin of the roulette wheel on my screen is such a thrill, and it’s even better if I win!

Banking

Just recently, Husband and I sold a phone on Facebook and were paid in cash, which I took to the bank to pay in and it occurred to me that it was the first time in about three years that I’d stepped foot inside an actual branch! Husband and I do all of our banking online, usually through a phone app and rarely need to go to the bank in person.

Shopping

Just as with the bank, my trips to a High Street are few and far between. I avoid the shops as much as humanly possible and MUCH prefer shopping online…although the amount of returns that I have to do are too darn high sometimes!!

What do you do online that would have been a massive chore for your parents or grandparents?

Are You Sitting on Hidden Treasure?

treasureUnless you’re one of those people who’s a sensible adult with a savings account or an emergency credit card, there’s a good chance that you’ll come to a point in your life where you need quick cash and struggle to find it. There are, however, a few raise to raise some funds and most of us have things in our houses which we no longer use but are of value to someone else. Here are some suggestions of things you could sell to make some cash:

Jewellery

While I’m not suggesting that you flog your family heirlooms, many of us have jewellery boxes full of outdated items that we basically never wear, and there’s never been a better time to recoup some of the value in your items. It’s simple to get cash for gold and you could get a decent amount if you sell enough of it.

 Art

I’ve watched enough Antiques Roadshow in my time to know that the most valuable art is often the smallest, most unassuming pieces which don’t look like much which are worth a small fortune! If you’ve got any paintings which look like they might be originals, have them evaluated by an expert to see if they’re worth anything.

Bags and Purses

Bags and purses hold a surprising amount of value if they’re designer pieces, or even if they’re just made from decent leather. Look on eBay or other selling apps to see what sort of items sell well and to get an idea of what sort of price you’re looking at, and then sell anything that you’re not likely to use again.

Retro Games Consoles

If you’re the sort of person who puts things away nicely and stores them in the loft, and you have retro games consoles squirrelled away, you could be sitting on a small fortune! Retro games consoles are incredibly collectable and the more games and accessories you have with them, the more the bundle will be worth.

Vinyl

A lot of vinyl isn’t worth much these days, purely because there’s only a limited amount of collectors left and the condition isn’t always great. There are, however, particular albums which are worth a LOT of money, especially if they’re ones which are printed on a special vinyl, like clear or coloured records. Go through your collection and see if you have any of the valuable ones.

Are You Ready To Buy A House?

Buying a house is a big step to make. It’s the time when you can exercise your true independence, with all the choices and decisions on your side, as well as have all the say in where your money goes. And because of that, it’s something a lot of people look forward to in their life! We can’t blame hordes of young couples and burgeoning families for having huge house plans, right down to the shade of the skirting board around the edge of their lovingly cluttered living room.

But there’s a lot you’re going to have to go through before you get to this stage; mainly, you’re going to have to be able to manage every facet of buying and running your own household without anything to go easy on you the way a rented apartment is easier to manage! And whilst getting both you and your house ready to sell is hard, being ready to buy a new home is still going to be twice as hard! After all, there’s a much bigger chance of a loss occurring here, and that’s never a good start to settling down!

So let’s stop and ask ourselves a few questions before we take the leap into buying a house. Here’s some of the best ones to consider first (but this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means!).

A sight a lot of people dream about… Not something you’d want to make a mistake over purchasing however!

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Are Your Bills All Paid Up?

Because if they are, it’s a good sign you’re managing daily living from month to month, and you’re unlikely to experience any trouble in continuing with this lifestyle. And if that’s already comfortable on your budget, then maybe you could upgrade a little? Move up in life with the size of your home, and finally get those sea views from the top window you’ve always wanted? After all, being able to afford the amenity consumption you’re going to be using for the rest of your life at such a steady rate already is always a good sign! Don’t worry, the amount of money you’re paying out rarely changes.

So if the bills coming in and out of your household are paid immediately from your direct debit, and you’re still storing about 20% of your income away in a savings account, you’ve got some breathing room to get used to standing in a bigger living space with bigger living responsibilities. But of course, only you know how finely you’re cutting it each month with your cash flow, so this readiness is completely up to you to decide. Just let yourself think about this symbolism for a while…

Could You Afford a Mortgage?

Mortgages. The scariest monster of the real estate world. The idea that stops a lot of people from finally going all in with their savings on a house of their dreams. The mortgage is the loan that guarantees you’re going to be living in comfort in a space you’ve been building up to your whole adult life; you know, as long as you have the ability to keep up with repayments and the right projection when you head down to the bank with your current credit score.

So, can you afford a mortgage? With all the different loaning options and repayment amounts out there, who is to really say? Well, your local bank is going to have a huge stake in this, as well as any trustworthy lender you can find online. And most of these people run on the same loan calculating formula, even if you don’t know what that is. Sometimes it feels like you need to have at least ten degrees in the finance sector to understand anything to do with money and how it makes the world go round!

But there’s a quick check you can make yourself here, as long as you have the information at your fingertips. Open up your email account and get some of your records out: it’s prediction time for your household! Use a mortgage and loan calculator to make sure you’re in with the right chance for affording that home you saw in the estate agent’s window, the one you’ve been practically drooling over every time you passed it in the street, and sneakily checked no one had put their own interest down on it yet.

Are You Itching for a Change?

Change is one of the most revitalising things in this world, and that means a lot of people are itching for it. However, a lot of people can’t afford to scratch such a tremendous itch like this, and likely won’t be able to for a long time. And that’s an unfortunate reality of the real estate world, and one you’re probably worried the most about, even amongst all the changes you’re going to have to adapt to when you actually do move.

But when people want a change, and truly want one, they’re going to go out of their way to make sure it happens. And whilst that might not take the form of being able to move and live elsewhere quite yet, it’s still an effective process that’ll change the way they think about their home. Take a leaf out of their book! If you’re in a position to buy a house, and you absolutely know for sure it’s what you want because of how stale your current surroundings are, this is the time for you to make your move. It’s a little point, but it’s often your emotional and spiritual wellbeing that tips people over the edge when it comes to purchasing a house of their own.

Feeling Ready Yet?

There’s no harm in not being sure, but make sure you don’t take too long to think about it. Ruminating over the same decision for years on end is never a good way to live your life! Take your chance now if you know you’re in the position to make the right household change.

Why I Started Vaping After Years of Not Smoking

I had my first cigarette when I was waaaay too young to become a smoker, but it was the mid-Nineties and still in the era when smoking was cool. Obviously my Mum found out and slapped me all the way the the stairs to my room, but ultimately it didn’t stop me and I smoked all the way through my teen years, into my early twenties. Then, when I was 23, I woke up one day and even the smell of cigarettes made me want to vomit, so I quit, there and then.

It turned out that I was pregnant with Sausage and had hyperemesis, but it did me a favour of not needing to force myself to quit, as I gather that’s pretty hard. Over the years, I’ll be honest, I’ve missed smoking. I’d never start again, for various reasons, not least of all because I don’t even like my kids being around the smell of cigarettes, but I’ve missed the nicotine a lot over the years (if only I’d been more up to date with vape news!) When I smoked, my appetite was smaller, I loved the social aspect of it, the routine, the having something to occupy my hands.

A while ago, Husband announced that he’d tried a friend’s vape while he was out and that he’d really enjoyed it, so he bought a pen and let me try it too. The experience is basically like all the good parts of smoking and none o the bad parts – it’s cheaper, it doesn’t smell, it doesn’t have the damaging health ramifications (even the NHS agrees that vaping is a healthy alternative to smoking) and it doesn’t cause horrible ageing and wrinkles!

I have to admit, I’m a total convert. We started off using the slim pen style e-cigarettes but have both moved onto something with a more powerful coil, and we love it. It sounds really silly, but because we don’t vape around the girls (we’re happy that it’s not damaging like smoke, but we still don’t take ANY risks with the kids), we often take ourselves off for ten minutes here and there and it’s given us time to just spend together.

Something we’ve found really reassuring is that whenever any new vaping news has popped up, it’s always something positive, and now that the NHS is on board with vaping, it’s given us the confidence to enjoy our new vice without feeling worried about effects on our health.

Are you a vaper? Did you start again after years of not smoking? We’d love to hear from anyone who’s had a similar experience to us, so please leave us a comment below.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sexuality

Talking to Your Kids About SexualityI’ve written before about how Husband and I have a “no B.S.” policy with the girls and how we try to answer questions as honestly as possible, without patronising them or flinching away from difficult subjects. One of the things I’ve always been passionate about is teaching the kids to be both honest about themselves and non-judgemental about other people, and one of the things this covers is sexuality.

I’ve never written about it before, but I’ve had relationships with both men and women, and my kids know this. I figure, if they see how much of a non-issue it is for their Mum, it will be a non-issue for them too, and encourage them to be honest about their own feelings. I know a lot of people struggle to talk to kids about difficult topics, so I thought I’d share some tips with you. There are some good online resources out there where your child can get support such as safe gay social networks however it is a good idea, certainly initially, for you to lead the discussion.

Be Brave

If your child comes to you with questions about sexuality, be it their own or someone else’s, you’re going to need to put your big-girl pants on and HAVE THE CONVERSATION. If you obfuscate, they’ll know, and who would you rather answer their questions; you, or their friends? I’d much rather info came from me so I know it’s true and accurate, rather than other sources which may confuse them more.

Be Honest

As with anything, you know your kid and you probably know how much detail they can cope with, so give them the information within these parameters but always be honest (kids have an uncanny B.S. radar at times!). For younger kids, there’s no need to go into more detail than “men who love men, women who love women, people who love people” to give them a broader idea that sexuality is a spectrum and not confined to the ‘traditional’ image of a couple.

Be Prepared

There’s a good chance that answering questions on this subject will open up a whole list of questions from your kids so be prepared to answer them. Having half a conversation and putting the rest off until a later date will just leave them hanging, or maybe send them in search of the information elsewhere.

Be Open

If your sexuality isn’t something you’ve ever discussed with them, it might be a good idea to do it when they start asking questions. Normalising sexuality by offering your own experiences can give them a relatable focus for their understanding and will show them that you’re open to talking about things, making you the ideal person for them to confide in if they ever need to.

Be Non-Judgemental

I think this is the single most important point of all. If your five year old comes to you and says “Mummy, I think I’m gay”, DO NOT say “No you’re not”. Some people report knowing they were “different” from a very young age, and refusing to accept this can cause added confusion and shame to an already questioning child. I’m not suggesting that you run our and buy rainbow flags for their bedroom but allowing them to express their feelings and helping to guide them through can be the difference between years of mental health problems and a healthy, happy person, whatever their sexuality.

5 Things To Focus On In The Year 2018 To Get A Better Life

It’s a familiar story that starts on New Year’s Eve.

You think of a resolution to improve your life for the new year. We’ve all been there before whether it was to lose weight, get control of your finances, and a list of other tasks.

But why don’t they always work?

Let me be honest with you.

Setting the goal or resolution is the easy part. Making the change happen though is easier said than done.

I wanted this year to be different.

That’s why I looked into hundreds of methods for improving yourself for 2018 and selected some of the best methods out there so that you could make 2018 the year that you get a better life.

1) Remove distractions

Let me ask you something how many times each day does a distraction or setback prevent you from being productive?

Spend a few minutes and write out a list of your distractions.

While many of us feel productive checking our emails and responding to it can actually destroy your productivity in the day.

Once you have your list of distractions write down how much time they take up in your day.

Be honest with yourself.

You may be surprised to know that on average we spend about 4 hours each day checking our work email. For most people, that’s half of your workday.

Instead of checking your email throughout the day try to wait until the end of the day to take care of your email.

If the email is important the Thunder will get ahold of you in another method.

2) Create good habits

I know what you’re thinking this one is easier said than done. But let’s break down so that we can be successful.

Be consistent.

A habit is something that you repeat over and over again no matter what. I’ve been guilty of doing this after a long day of work I like to unwind and watch videos on Facebook or start binge-watching episodes on Netflix.

There’s no harm in that right?

While watching some TV isn’t harmful there are different tasks that you can do that can help you accomplish your goals.

What If instead, we reviewed what we wanted to accomplish for the next day? After you write down their goals for the next day review the goals that you accomplished for that day.

Ask yourself these questions. What work today? What didn’t work? Keep doing the things that work well try it out new things to take care of the goals that didn’t work.

3) Focus your goals

Earlier I said that setting goals were one of the easiest things to do. What I want to do is help you focus those goals so that you have a clear picture of how to make them happen. There are five main areas of your life that most of our goals fall under:

Financial, physical, emotional, mental, and personal projects.

Write down your goals and be specific. “I want to save more money this year.” isn’t specific enough. Instead, say “I want to save $1000 in my bank account by June so that we can pay off our Florida summer home.”

By being specific on the amount, reason, and a deadline, we’ve created a goal that allows us to track our progress.

Your next step should be writing down the excuses or reasons why you can’t accomplish a goal.

After writing down the excuses try to find ways of overcoming those excuses, almost like creating an audit of your current lifestyle and habits.

4) Start saying No

We’ve all been there before.

A friend or co-worker asks us to help them with a task or favor and we end up saying yes. I understand how hard it is to say no because of the guilt of not being a helpful team member or friend.

This might sound mean, but you need to start saying no. How many times have you said yes to a co-worker at the detriment of your own work? You’re not alone.

But what can you do?

Be honest with your friends and coworkers.

If you have a project that needs to be done just tell them so. “I would love to help you but I have this deadline to finish. If I have time later, I can stop by” can be one example of what you can say.

Once you get used to saying no, you’ll find that you have more time for finishing your own goals and tasks.

5) Block out time in your schedule

How often do you use the calendar on your smartphone or computer to schedule appointments?

By blocking out chunks of your time for specific tasks you can stay focused on the task at hand and avoid distractions.

If you need to schedule medians then try to group them up back to back. Meetings tend to be more productive when you have uninterrupted time and you can spend the rest of the time focusing on other tasks.

Conclusion

2018 is the year You take back your life and focus on completing your goals.

I hope that you enjoyed this article as much as I did.

How will you make your year more productive?

I encourage you to let me know in the comments below and share this article with your friends and family so that they can be productive this year as well.

The Simple Guide To Happy Workers

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When you first start running a business, it can be hard to predict just how many challenges you’ll face along the way. Most people think it will be a lot easier than it turns out to be, and will be surprised when the time comes for them to take difficult actions. One of the hardest areas to manage in any company will be the employees. It isn’t the paperwork, the training, or even the price which makes this so hard, though; it’s keeping them happy. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the key features which make a job much harder to dislike.

Proper Breaks: It can often feel counterproductive to give your employees too many breaks during their work day. Big businesses will often limit this time as much as possible, giving people the legal minimums which are enforced by the government. To get the most out of your workers, though, they need to have fresh heads, and the only way to achieve a goal like this will be with hourly breaks. There are loads of resources around the web to support this, along with its power to make people happier.

Bonuses: A pleasant surprise is often enough to lighten anyone’s day, especially when it comes from their bosses. This doesn’t have to come in the form of money, although cash can be a great approach to take. Instead, to make it a little more exciting, you could look for a physical gift to give to your employees when they are working well. Things like food, gadgets, and other lifestyle products are great for this sort of present, and will make people feel really good when they receive them.

Team Building: It can be hard to work with people when you don’t feel like you know them. Your employees will have to work hard to get to know their fellow workers while on the job, and it can be worth giving the chance to see each other on different terms. An activity like an escape room can be perfect for this. Keeping people focused on the task at hand, this will help people to forget about work and feel happy, all while getting to build relationships with each other.

Recognition: You can’t expect someone to give you everything you have for years if you’re not giving them the right kind of recognition, even if they are being paid. When your business wins awards or has a good year, it is important to single out the people who have worked hardest to make it happen. This will inspire other workers to follow suit, making everyone pine for the praise you are giving out. To make sure that this doesn’t get old, you’ll have to use it in moderation, avoiding people thinking that it is insincere.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working on the way that you treat your employees. There are loads of ways to make people happy at work, and a lot of them don’t have to involve spending money. Of course, as a big part of this, it will be a good idea to start putting time into talking to your team.

Making Life Easier for the Elderly

I’ve written before about my Grandad John and what an amazing grandad he was, but he was a really remarkable person in a lot of other ways, too. He was intelligent and hard-working, and a great Dad to my Dad and his brothers, but I think his remarkableness really came into its own after my Nan died and his own health deteriorated. He was on his own for over ten years and had to learn to cope with life on his own, but he did it with amazing resilience – although, that’s not hugely surprising for someone who once told me a story about how he accidentally drove an ambulance into a camel in the middle of the Libyan desert! Here’s a few things he used to make his life easier:

Mobility Scooter

Once his eyesight got too bad to drive, Grandad was determined that he wasn’t going to be stuck indoors, so he invested in a Pro Rider Mobility road scooters. It meant that he could still get to the shops to to his grocery shopping, still visit his neighbours and still have a semblance of the independence that he prized so strongly.

Magnifying Glasses

When Grandad’s eyesight started so get bad and his glasses didn’t help as much, he invested in a whole load of magnifying glasses of different types and strengths and they were dotted around the house to help him. They ranged from small handheld ones to a massive one which I think was a surgical grade magnifying glass (like the one Joey stands behind in Friends after Mr. Heckles dies!). They allowed him to read his mail, read the paper and see finer details of things he needed to do.

Large-Number Phone

My Grandad’s house phone had the biggest numbers of any phone I’ve ever seen, which meant that he was able to see the numbers to dial the phone. He had an A4 sheet of phone numbers beside the phone too, and all of the numbers were written in 3-inch high letters!

Vibrating Doorbell

Grandad was hard of hearing even when I was little (I remember being about six and chuckling to myself because he’d turned his hearing aid right down so he couldn’t hear my Nan nagging him!) but as he got older it obviously got worse. He invested in a doorbell which had a little unit he could put in his pocket which vibrated when the bell was rung, so he didn’t even need to be able to hear the bell to know someone was at the door.

Grabbing Stick

This was one of my favourites, but mostly because I liked to grab people’s bottoms with it as they walked past me – Grandad had one of those things that convicts in America pick rubbish up with to help him pick things up off of the floor or grab things which were out of reach and it was really useful once his mobility became restricted.

Do your elderly relatives have any gadgets which make their lives easier? Leave me a comment below.

Being an Adult Sometimes Sucks

Don't Make Me AdultIf there’s one thing I could teach my kids it’s that they need to manage their expectations when it comes to being an adult. Yeah, it’s all fun and games when you’re 18, in your first full time job so you’ve got pots of cash but no real responsibilities, but once you start having to actually be a PROPER ADULT, the sheen wears off pretty damn soon! If I’d known when I was a kid that there are some aspects of adulthood which, quite honestly, SUCK I might not have been so keen to rush towards it. Here’s just a few of them:

Christmas is No Longer About Me

When I was a kid, Christmas was something that just happened to me. I didn’t have to think about budgets and present buying and food and making it magical, it JUST HAPPENED. Now that I’m the adult, I have to be the one to think about these things (although I am EXTREMELY lucky in the fact that Husband does most of the Christmas shopping every year so that I don’t have to) and it really reduces the magic levels. The one thing I DO like is that Husband and I usually wait until the January sales and treat each other then, and this year I’m hoping for a new bag in the handbags sale!

I Have to Make Crappy Decisions

This ranges from the small and seemingly insignificant to the huge and life-changing, and decisions from every part of that spectrum can feel really rubbish at times. Sure, it’s fun to decide where we go on holiday or what cute outfits I’m going to dress BB in, but everything else can feel like a crushing weight when we don’t know what the outcome of our decisions will be.

THE PRESSURE!!!

When you’re a kid, or even a young adult, no one expects much of you. You don’t have to have an immaculate home, you don’t have kids so there’s no healthy meals, good schooling or extracurricular activities to think about, you aren’t even expected to be sober for much of the time. When you’re a proper grown-up, being a drunk, slovenly mother who’s kids don’t go to swimming lessons is FROWNED UPON. So, even when times get tough, you have to hold your shit together for the sake of the small people you grew in your body and just keep on keeping on.

Which parts of being an adult do you hate the most?