16 articles Articles posted in Lifestyle

How Unique Are You?

Me? Probably not very unique at all, to be honest. Blue eyes, mousy hair – I’m pretty ten a penny! My kids, on the other hand? A LOT more unique than me! Sausage has red hair, the least common hair colour in the world, and she’s super proud of it, too – our little Viking! BB not only has green eyes, she’s also got segmental heterochromia, making her a special little mutant – only 1% of the whole world has this genetic mutation.

Not BB’s eyes!

Roulette Online have put together some fun research into people’s uniqueness and shared it with us in this fun infographic:




View Interactive Version
(via Roulette Online).

How unique are you?

The Advances In Vaping

Electronic cigarettes are always evolving and entering new phases in development. They have come on a long way since they first became popular in 2004.

Like everything else in our lives, from mobile phones to auto-mobiles, e-cigarettes have a beginning, a rise, and a future. In this post, we will delve back in time and take a look at how the e-cigarette came into being, how it struggled to gain a foothold in an era where smoking was cool, and how it looks to develop in the future.

The Original

The first electronic cigarette, believe it or not, was designed and patented in America by a man named Herbert Gilbert. His concept was to develop a smokeless, non-tobacco cigarette, to replace the process of burning tobacco and paper with heated, moist flavoured air. Although the patent was granted, and several prototypes were manufactured, the device failed to catch on. The reasons for this are sketchy, but the most common causes for lack of success are that the devices were cumbersome and heavy, and smoking was in fashion at the time, and its ill effects were not massively publicised. Smoking was literally everywhere – all the Hollywood stars smoked, pubs and restaurants were awash with ashtrays and commercials made the habit all the more mainstream. Electronic cigarettes were up against a brick wall.

The Transformation

A later patent on the more modern design of electronic cigarettes was registered in China, by a innovator called Hon Lik. This design made its way across America and other countries, but only via internet orders – there was no mainstream marketing and investors showed little interest, The fact that somebody could be swayed away from tobacco by such a device seemed a fantasy.

However, the design was to be considered as the fore-runner to the e-cig we know today, although it had to go through several development stages to work as effectively as smokers hoped. Many of the devices we know of today have – somewhat, illegally – copied the original Hon Lik blueprint. Some companies have compensated him for his efforts, but they are far and few between.

Even so, the devices built on Hon Lik’s model failed to impress – by marketing, or by use, nobody can say, for certain.

The Push Forward

Internationally, sales of electronic cigarettes were low. So low, in fact, that their ability to work as a smoking cessation device was somewhat laughable.

It wasn’t until two British entrepreneurs found a way to compact the three part components into a suitable, lightweight size when the industry made its first push forward.

Umer and Tariq Sheikh are, in many ways, the founders of the cartomiser. This small, but important, piece of technology allowed a coil and the e-juice to be easily combined and connected to the battery chamber, via a simple screw and lock method. Launched in 2008, it is now the most popular, and original of cig-alike builds, found in establishments across the county, from petrol stations to local shops.

The Market Blast

The major milestone in e-cigarettes came about – arguably – with Joytech’s eGo range of e-cigs, in 2009. These units introduced the 510 threaded connection, allowing for the battery to be unscrewed from the tank and interchanged with other 510 threaded components. They also introduced the firing button, allowing the vaper to activate the battery when wished – the cig-alikes, although still a popular starting point and activated by simply inhaling, just couldn’t offer as much power and as much choice as the eGo series. With the clearomiser becoming a trendy alternative to the cartomiser, all manner of devices were then put into production, from all of the big names we know of today.

Despite the trend beginning to expand around the globe, the big tobacco giants still dismissed the whole concept as a bit of a fad. It wasn’t until vape shops and stalls starting to spring up in every town, everywhere, when the tobacco industry suddenly started to take notice and started to panic. Their natural response was to start manufacturing their own e-cig products. Some of the biggest brands we see advertised and for sale on vaping shelves are sidelined products from the tobacco giants.

When one stops to think about this, they can only come to the conclusion that vaping is here to stay, and smoking is now the fad, that will slowly fade away.

Today And Beyond

E-cig technology is now branching out in all directions, catering for every vapers personal taste and style. An e-cig, to a vaper, is just as much a part of their life, and their person, as their mobile phone. The two piece cig-alikes are now available nearly everywhere, and are helping many smokers ditch their habit. The higher end devices can be customised in all manner of ways, giving the vaper the opportunity to give their e-cig its own character and boldness. Coils are being pushed to their limits, allowing for sub-ohm vaping to be utilised, creating mass amounts of cloud in return. Mods and coils can be built from the ground up, making a whole new arena in e-cig use and vaping as a whole.

We really can’t hazard a guess as to what the future holds for e-cigs. We know that smoking is on the decline, and we know that vaping is on the rise. With the industry exploding in every direction imaginable, the future of vaping looks to be on solid and stable ground.

Planning for the Future

A few years before Burrito Baby came along, I was working in an Accountancy practice, doing payroll and assisting with accounts, when my boss made me aware of an online service which allowed you to input your date of birth to allow you to work out when you’d be eligible for a state pension. It turns out, I won’t actually reach state pension age until I’m 68 which means my generation will be expected to work longer than my parents or grandparents, which means that extra planning for the future will be needed.

Husband and I aren’t in a position to get a mortgage which means that a lot of our monthly outgoings are ploughed into rent – the way we see it, although we don’t have the security of owning a property at the end of it, it does mean that we aren’t responsible for things like replacing boilers and fixing the roof when big jobs like these come along.

One thing we have started is a savings account for each of the girls; when Sausage was born there was still the scheme where each baby got a £250 bond to start an account with but this had been scrapped by the time BB came along, which meant that we had to start to account ourselves. We add to the accounts week by week so that hopefully by the time the girls are old enough they can use the money for a car, or to put towards a house or maybe travelling the world!

In terms of Husband and I securing our own futures, one thing we keep meaning to do is start a private pension for ourselves. We don’t have a huge amount to spare at the end of the month and whenever we do manage to save a lump sum of money, it always ends up being needed for some expense or another, so squirreling it away in a place we can’t get to it would be really sensible!

With BB due to start nursery soon and me restarting my degree, I’m hoping to have completed all of my studies within 5 years. Once I’m qualified, I’m hoping to start teaching because it’s a job which will allow me to work around the girls and have most of the holidays off to spend with them. We’re used to living pretty frugally, so once I start earning a much higher wage (and probably still writing freelance on the side) I’m planning to save a decent portion of my wages. This should give us a nice little nest-egg for the future – and maybe the funds we need to retire somewhere like Bermuda! 😉

How do you plan to set yourself up for the future?

Sailing Through The Sale – How To Get Your Home Off Your Hands

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When it comes to selling your house, the main thing that people want is for the process to be completed relatively quickly. This is not the case in the majority of sales; there is usually a chain involved which means that you have to wait until people further up the chain have completed with their move and all sorts of other problems. It can get very tricky, and very frustrating. However, if you’re in for the ride then hold on tight – here are some tips on how to shift your home from under your feet.

Give It Curb Appeal

The one thing that potential buyers are going to be looking for when having a snoop around your house is whether they would actually like to live in it. By this, it means whether or not your house is attractive – if their family would like it, if it would make their friends envious, if it’s something they’d proudly put up on social media once they’ve completed. We’re always on the lookout for something to better us, whether this be physical or spiritual … and our houses are a direct reflection of the physical side of this. Ensure that you keep everything neat, minimal and accessible for when viewers come round. Keep on top of the lawn/garden, repaint any outer doors or windows which are wooden to keep them looking fresh and make sure that the path leading up to the front door is free of clutter and tidy. They sound like really basic things to master, but a lot of people get this wrong.

Ask For No Chain Sellers/Cash Buyers

There’s no harm in asking your estate agent to keep a look out for those who can complete a cash house sale – although you may be waiting quite a while. It could be that you’re waiting longer than it would take a sale to complete if you were getting involved with those who are part of a chain. However, if you did get a cash buyer at the beginning, it would definitely work out in your favour. Seeking a house yourself to move on to that doesn’t have an upward chain will also be extremely beneficial in terms of getting everything motivated and together. It’s a form of progress at least!

Rent It Out

If you truly just want your house off of your hands and you’re dying to move into a new property, you could consider renting it out. For the most part, this means that you in turn would probably have to rent the house that you are looking at in turn, but it’s still a way to get your home off of your hands. If you have the funds available to go forth and still buy the property that you were looking at then it’s a double bonus! You should be able to sail through without too much of a hitch – at least not the same hitch that you would’ve had to have been waiting for before.

Why ‘Just Outside Of London’ Gives You More For Your Money

When tourists visit the UK, they are drawn to the centre of London. The bright lights of the West End, the iconic architecture of Buckingham Palace, and the spectacle of the London Eye are certainly alluring. However, accommodation right in the centre of things is never cheap, and it’s rarely as effortless as you might need. Those that are in the UK know that ‘just outside’ of these tourist hotspots can offer the holidaymaker a lot more of London than they thought.

The M25 is the outermost ring road for London. Within this motorway circle are the affluent suburbs commuters love to live in. They offer leafy environments, bigger houses, and less pollution. Move in a little closer, and you have the North Circular – London’s original ring road. This is busy and passes through a number of residential and key business centres that serve this area. So why are these parts of London ignored?

Thanks to Pexels for the pic

Perhaps some of the most convenient areas of London are the ones that are still served by London Underground and the Night Bus services. This means you can stay as late as you want at Piccadilly Circus or the West End comedy clubs. You’re still just a few minutes from your accommodation. You might be staying somewhere like the Dorsett Hotel Shepherds Bush or a nationwide hotel chain in Barking. East or West, you can be served well, without being stuck right in the middle. Best of all, these areas provide their own attractions and delights for the tourist.

If you are accommodated just outside of London, you are likely to enjoy plenty more choice of accommodation. This can include private rooms, apartments, bed and breakfast, and hotels. This might better suit your circumstances. You’re less likely to be penalised for taking your car and parking it at your hotel too! The congestion charges are due to change soon, so make sure you check what you will owe before you travel.

So what more can outer London offer? There are more parks, commons, and heaths to explore. Each will offer a better variety of view too. There are plenty of acclaimed theatres and arts houses to enjoy too. Places like Wimbledon are home to world class eateries, and Enfield offers a superb array of independent retail outlets. Each area is different, so why not try more than one?

How can you get in and out of London from the outer reaches? The underground system is one of the quickest and most efficient modes of transport. You pay for a travel card to last the day or the whole week. This can usually be used to cover your cost of travel on the buses and some overground trains too. Check which zones you need. You may be able to save some money.

If you really love spending time in London, don’t be afraid to explore what is just beyond the tourist hotspots. There is an endless amount of things to see and do, and every area has its own unique character too. What is your favourite area of London in spring?

Shop-Bought Vs Homemade

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I’m sure you will have read a lot about the benefits of trying to become a little more self-sufficient and relying more on homemade items and products. It’s true that making your own things is a great pastime and often works out more environmentally friendly, but is it really worth going to all that extra effort? To try and figure whether shop-bought or homemade is better, here are some of the pros and cons.

Food

Ideally, you should be cooking and baking everything from scratch as it gives you chance to see exactly what is going into your food. Plus, ready-made meals are often packed full of salt and sugar and can be extremely unhealthy. If you have the time, it’s also worth baking bread and biscuits as well, as you can then control how much sugar goes into them. However, when it comes to food items such as hummus, mayonnaise, and other condiments, you might as well buy them from a shop as getting all the individual ingredients can work out expensive.

Clothes

Have you been thinking about making your own clothes? If you are already pretty good with a sewing kit, then you will be able to make some excellent pieces. However, if you haven’t picked up a needle before, and don’t have much time to practice, you might as well just buy your clothes. Finding cheap deals isn’t too difficult now that there are lots of coupon sites like DontPayFull.com, and the shops always seem to have sales on. At the end of the day, if you have enough time on your hands to learn how to sew, then making your own clothes is a great new skill to learn. No time? Don’t feel bad about buying clothing!

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Cleaning Products

One great way to help the environment is by making your own cleaning products. You will find lots of recipes online: eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm. Homemade cleaning products are also non-toxic, so they are a lot safer to use in households with young children and pets. They are also a lot less abrasive on your hands compared to shop-bought ones! I’d highly recommend making your own cleaning products – you’ll soon notice just how gentler they are!

Cosmetics

Did you know that it is also possible to make your own cosmetics? There are now lots of kits you can buy that will guide you through the process, or you can just buy all of the individual ingredients and have a go at coming up with your own products. This is a great option for anyone who suffers from sensitive skin, as you can make each item as gentle as you need it to be. You can also add in any extra ingredients you like to boost the concentration of certain vitamins and minerals. If you have always wanted tailor-made cosmetics, making your own is the best way to go!

As you can see, it’s quite alright to buy your own clothes and some food items. But when it comes to everything else, why not try making your own?!

“You MUST Do This…” – Really?

There’s not enough hours in the day.

Really, when you think about it, what was the sun doing when it chose to make a day 24 (well roughly) hours long? Surely 48 would have been a better number? Or… 100. That would have been useful.

Have you ever actually stepped back and thought about all the things that we’re “meant” to do all the time? Probably not, because it might just make you burst into tears, feeling like you’re trapped at the bottom of a well from which there is no possible escape. It’s no surprise that, as a result of this general overload, mental health is something more and more people are suffering with.

If you stretch it out to consider, it’s pretty frightening – so… is it any use? If we hit all the things we’re “meant” to do, are we not just making lives stressful? And, correct if wrong, but stress is a bad thing isn’t it? Oops, did everything on the list apart from “don’t be stressed”, that’s a black mark…

So what’s actually necessary? And what that you’re “meant” to do can you actually ignore, getting around to it when you please?

Eat Healthily

Image: PixaBay

Okay, an easy start: yes, eating healthily is important. That’s not to say you can’t have the occasional day of indulgence, though. In fact, it might be healthy for your metabolism if you have treat days that can give you a jolt.

Plan Everything

Meal planning. Bullet journalling. Using apps to help with organisation. Decluttering.

Are the above useful? Well, yes. A system like the above is going to prevent you failing to renew a prescription, forgetting to buy your Frontline Plus for dogs stock, and having to write another “sorry I forgot your birthday…” card. But planning life down to the nth degree is unnecessary – there’s always got to be a bit of room for spontaneity, surely?

Exercise Three Times A Week

Recent studies have shown that it might need to be 30 minutes of activity five times a week. Or, other studies have shown, 10 minutes per day is more than sufficient.

So basically, the quantity is something that is still very much up for debate. Just try and be on your feet as often as possible and do low-impact exercise like swimming, yoga or even just taking the dog for play in the park.

Image: PixaBay

Drink Eight Glasses of Water A Day

If you’ve ever looked at this figure and thought: “eight glasses is a bit arbitrary”? You’re right to be sceptical. It is arbitrary – for one thing, there’s little definition on the volume of liquid that constitutes a “glass”. That’s your first sign this is more a vague perception than a scientific necessity.

Image: PixaBay

We do need around two litres of water per day, but we get a huge amount of it from food and other liquids. Try and stay hydrated (especially if you drink coffee or alcohol, both of which can be dehydrating), but shooting for some random “eight glasses” measure is utterly unnecessary.

Take Vitamins

Nope, just eat a decent amount of varied vegetables. There’s no proof vitamins do anything unless you have a specific deficiency and what’s more, overuse of vitamins has been linked to cancer.

50 Shades Of Green

Okay, perhaps there aren’t fifty, but there are quite a few ways you can go green without even trying. If you do, you can save money for your family, make life easier and help the planet. How cool is that? It is something that all parents should be thinking about this year, so what are the options?

Upgrading Tech

If you upgrade your business tech, you will almost automatically be saving a lot of energy. New tech is almost always eco-efficient. So, if you purchase a new laptop this year, you can bet it will save you an absolute fortune in the long run. It’s worth upgrading all the tech in your home every few years. You’ll cut down your energy usage as well as your home cost.

Look For A Renewable Supply

You need to think about looking for an energy supply company that offers renewable resources. There are plenty available, and all you need to do is check out this possibility. You might find that the rates are cheaper, so again, it could save you a lot of money in the long run. Switching isn’t hard either, and the new company will typically set this up for you making the switch pain free.

Recycle It All

You should be recycling everything that you no longer use. This includes things like newspapers to electronics. When you do upgrade your tech, think about recycling it straight away. You can easily do this with things like mobile phones and tablets. Find out how in the infographic below and take one more step towards green living.


Infographic Created By My Trendy Phone

Online Gambling – an Alternative Way to Get Some Extra Cash

Internet Gambling Can Be a Fun and Effective Way of Making Money Online.

When the Internet is not used for entertainment and as a source of information, it can act as an instrument for making money. The vast majority of those who use it are not overly concerned about maximizing the return on investment. The best part is that even those who have a regular job and go online for reasons that have to do more with leisure, can make it lucrative. The alternative ways to get some extra money online are not difficult or very time-consuming and can actually be quite entertaining.

Turning Hobbies into Profitable Activities

Generally speaking, hobbies are the pleasant activities that we enjoy after work is over. Quite often, these costs money rather than generating it and we accept this situation as a given. Depending on what type of activity you enjoy doing in your pastime, you might be able to make some money off it. Once again, the Internet acts as a catalyst for such a smooth transition. People are presented with several alternatives and the best part is that even if you don’t make a lot of money, you will enjoy every single attempt.

Pretty much everyone can succeed online, even those who don’t have certain training. Those who for some reason need to spend more time indoors, are the main beneficiaries. Mums have to look after the kids and young ones can require a lot of attention, therefore plenty of time. The biggest problem for those mothers who want to stay active is that the amount of continuous time they have available for lucrative activities is limited. Even under these circumstances, there are many ways for mums to make extra cash.

As long as they have a computer connected to the Internet, they can use it to put their skills to good use. Writing articles for blogs, designing websites and maintaining them are just a couple of options. In fact, one can even make money from childcare and educated advice is much appreciated and well paid for. The list of potential activities is so long that there’s a good chance to find one that appeals to you.

Making Online Gambling Profitable

Those who know little about the industry might be tempted to think that gambling is a money consuming activity, rather than a source of income. Luckily for those who take it seriously, this is actually an alternative way to get extra cash. They obviously need to consider it more than a pastime and treat it as seriously as possible. Proper bankroll management, equal allocation of time for research and gaming, as well as intelligent use of newfound knowledge are needed to succeed.

Instead of regarding online gambling as a get rich soon scheme, people should consider it more as a part-time job. You can make money by following the rules and as you spend more time online, this activity will also grow on you. At the end of the day, there’s a good chance to make a nice side income, while also having a lot of fun online.

There is no shortage of online gambling operators today and they cover all popular genres. The only challenge is to find one that can act as a reliable partner in the long run. PLAYOJO has the potential of meeting the expectations of people who take gambling seriously. They offer enough games to provide the much-needed diversity, have them audited for fairness and offer bonuses and money back rewards.

How Often Do Your Change Your Profile Picture?

I often say that the world is a really different place now than it was when I was younger. Things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram didn’t exist until I was well into my twenties and I was already a married woman, and growing up in a digital age must be quite tricky at times. It only takes a quick Google of a name to see stuff about people and there are photos of basically everyone and everything out there for all to see.

According to Facebook, I joined on Monday 25th June 2007 and this was my very first profile picture (you can tell it was taken pre-kids because  of how young, well-rested and relaxed I look!!):

First Facebook profile picture

Just recently, bidvine conducted a survey to see how long people’s profile pictures had been used for and the results were quite surprising. According to the research: “The results found that those using dating apps such as Grindr and Tinder were more likely to change their profile pictures more frequently (every 2-3 weeks), while Facebook and Instagram users on average would change their pictures every 5 to 6 months. Dating websites seemed to be the least up-to-date when it came to profile pictures, with Plenty of Fish users keeping the same profile picture for 3.2 years and Match.com users on average waiting 4 years to change their picture.”

People were also asked WHY they only changed their pictures with seeming rarity and the answer was quite simple – people don’t like the way they look in photos! According to the results, the majority of respondents (62%), stated that they struggled to find pictures they were happy with, while nearly half (49%) admitted that they wanted to appear younger to others looking at their profiles.

Sohrab Jahanbani, CEO of Bidvine.com said,

“Looking at the regularity with which people change their profile photos, it appears that older, more conventional dating websites and the networks people use on a regular professional basis, such as LinkedIn and Twitter lag behind, while younger single people are more likely to want to use newer photos.

“It appears that people don’t change their photos because they struggle to find photos of themselves they like. So with this in mind, Bidvine is setting up pop up photo booths offering free professional photography for those who want to update their social media profile pictures. As we all know, whether it’s for a wedding, a company headshot or your online profiles, professional photos make a difference. We’ll be announcing cities and dates for the photo booths on our website shortly.”

I change my profile fairly regularly so I’m quite surprised by how rarely other people change theirs – perhaps this makes me really vain?! How long ago did you change you profile picture? Do you wait until you’ve taken a picture that you love? Are you as surprised by the survey as me? Leave me a comment below!