Thursday, 30 August 2018

Encouraging Children to Give Sport a Try

CN: Talk of exercise, healthy eating and children's health.

As a parent I imagine you want to teach your children the importance of living well balanced lives - enjoying a range of activities as well as the importance of being active. While some youngsters need little persuasion to run around after a ball, others quite simply are not bothered by the prospect of competition - and that’s okay.

Sport isn’t for everyone, however, being active comes in many shapes and sizes, so there should hopefully be something for everyone! Children do not have to compete against one and other to play sport, instead of participating purely for the fun of it. No one is saying that any young child who kicks a ball has to dream about being the next Lionel Messi or Harry Kane.

Various Games

There are numerous games that children can play with friends in the playground or at a club. Football is, of course, the most popular sport in the United Kingdom, but there is so much more open to children, such as; tennis, basketball, cricket, rugby, badminton, volleyball, squash, rounders and more.

To young children, it wouldn’t be surprising if they hadn’t heard of some of those sports simply because they aren’t given the same amount of coverage as others. They might just find that they enjoy playing a game that perhaps isn’t as popular in the mainstream.

Where Can Children Try Different Sports?

In most local communities, there will be at least one or two sports clubs that offer classes for different sports. This could be at a purposely built venue or a community centre, such as Balham Leisure Centre in Clapham. It is certainly worth doing your research on local clubs in the area, especially if you are keen for your little one(s) to get active.

On social media, community pages are a great place to begin with many grassroots coaches and clubs using sites such as Facebook as a means of promotion. Also, parents in the community who may also be keen to get others involved in a club that their children are a part of. After all, in 2018, Facebook has turned into the online and interactive notice board that we would all peruse in the local shop 10 years ago.

Play as a Family

Finding somewhere for your children to play sport is one thing, but playing as a family can really be the difference between trying a game and it becoming ingrained in your lifestyle. If your children see you enjoying playing the game with them, they are more likely to enjoy playing it, too. One of the most important messages for me to share is that being active comes at all levels and abilities, so teach children that even if your abilities are seemingly less than others, that is okay! 

Making sport, and just being active, part of your family’s normal routine is good practice and it also makes for a fantastic bonding opportunity between child and parent.

When they grow into teenagers, chances are they won’t want to hit or kick a ball around with mum or dad as much!

What fun family activities would you suggest for keeping active?


*collaborative post

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Your Wedding Party

Choosing who you want to be part of your bridal party can be one of the most difficult decisions
when it comes to planning your wedding. For some people, the decision is an easy and an obvious
one. For other couples, deciding who is going to be the best man and bridesmaids can keep them
awake for nights on end. If you feel like you fall into the latter category, fear not. There are a
number of different steps you can take to ensure you end up with the perfect bridal party for you.

So, let’s take a look…

Think twice before asking - There is no rush when it comes to asking people to be your
best man, bridesmaids, ushers, and so on. Therefore, make sure you take a moment so that
you can truly think about whether or not you have made the right decision. No matter how
confident you are, it certainly helps to take a moment to mull over all of your options. After all,
once you have asked someone to be in your wedding party, you can’t go back on this.

Don’t feel you have to ask someone because they asked you - A lot of people feel obliged
to ask someone because they played a role at their wedding. Just because you were a
bridesmaid at someone else’s wedding does not mean they have to be one at yours. As
time goes on, friends change and we enter different stages in our lives.

You may have been best friends with someone at university and been in the bridal party when
she got married. However, if you have not spoken for three years, you do not need to include her
in your bridesmaid gang. She won’t expect you to either. Your bridal party should be filled with
people you genuinely want, rather than you feeling like you need to return favours or even
the score.

Choose responsible friends - This is especially the case when it comes to the best man. The
last thing you want is for the best man speech to have everyone squirming in their chair
because it is so awkward and laced with tales about the groom’s ex-girlfriend. The last thing you
want to do is spend your wedding babysitting people in your bridal party, so make sure you pick
people you can rely on to be responsible.

Think about including your sisters and brothers - If you are an only child, you will be skipping
this paragraph. If not, you may want to think about including your brother and sister, even if
you are not particularly close. We don’t want to sound like your mum, but your brother and
sister are going to be there for all of your anniversaries and you will probably become closer
as you get older, so it can be nice to include them in your special day.

Consider the size of your wedding - You should also think about the size of your wedding when
determining the size of your wedding party. Most people tend to have four people on either side.
However, you can have as many or as few groomsmen and bridesmaids as you want.
Nevertheless, it usually wise to keep the number of people you have in your bridal party in line
with the number of attendees you are going to have. After all, if you are going to have a small
wedding with only around 50 guests, it’s not a good idea to have 12 in your bridal party.

Make sure your expectations are honest - The next step is to think about the sort of role you
want your wedding party to play. Do you want all of your bridesmaids, for example, to assist
you with shopping for your wedding dress, choosing invites, and so on? Or, do you simply want
them to show up on your wedding day and be there for you while you say “I do”? There is no
right or wrong with this. It is all about what you want for your wedding. However, your answer
to these questions can impact the sort of person you ask to be in your bridal party. If you are
looking for people to help you throughout the entire planning phase, you will want to go for
friends that are reliable whom you can count on.

Research other roles - Last but not least, if you have a large group of friends and you are
worried that people are going to be left out, why not look for other roles? There are plenty of
other ways that people can get involved in your wedding. For example, do you have a musically
inclined friend who would love to play at your wedding reception? Or, maybe you could have a
few ushers who lead people to their seats when they arrive? There are lots of other ways to get
other people included, so make sure you think outside of the box.

As you can see, there are a number of different factors that you should consider when you are
trying to decide on how is going to be part of your bridal party. From your bridesmaid to your
best man, you want to make sure that you have the right people standing by you on the most
important day of your life. Use the steps that have been presented above and you should be able
to come to the best decision for you.


The Importance of Complaining

I have to admit, I am a complainer. That's not to say I am someone that complains about nothing, but if I have had poor service then I am not afraid to complain. I think that if a service has been poor, then one of the best ways to get this fixed is to make the company aware. After all, if they don't know there is an issue then they might just carry on doing things the way they always have, and that is no good to anyone.

The Right Way To Complain

Let me make things clear, I am not a screamer or a shouter. I might raise the issue in the shop/restaurant when it happens but this is just so I can get a quick fix. Otherwise I would much rather make a call or send a letter after the incident and I can put my thoughts together properly.

Image result for complaining

Not only that, but often the person serving you, cooking your food, dealing with the customer service side of things is not the person that makes the decisions, so telling them you're unhappy just makes them feel bad, when they don't have the power to fix things.

Getting in Touch

What I would much rather do is get in touch with the right person, which often means contacting a companies head office. I use Head Office Finder to find their contact details, as this tends to make life much easier. I've found the website to be really accurate too, which is super useful!

A Job Done Well

That said, as much as I am a complainer, I like to say well done for a job that is done well. I'll always try to go out of my way to leave a Trip Advisor review, a few words on a Facebook page or even just tag them in an Instagram post about how good the service was. Good customer service is important and I love to celebrate this too.

Where do you stand on complaining? Do you do it or is it best avoided?

Debz x

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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

How to find skincare that suits all skin types

You can probably recall quite a few occasions when you have applied a supposedly awesome skincare product to your skin, only to wait and find that... it doesn't work. Well, maybe you don't see anything materialising, anyway. Why does this kind of situation keep happening?
It's probably because you aren't aware of your specific skin type - and, for that reason, have kept selecting the wrong skincare products for it. How can you get yourself back on course?

Decide what type of skin you have
Discerning your own skin type can be a taxing endeavour; however, once you have solved this particular riddle, you will be in a better position to buy the right products for your skin.

Dermatologist Neal Schultz, MD, advises in a Glamour article that you ask yourself two particular questions. These are the questions of whether your forehead and nose become shiny just a few hours after you wash them and whether your cheeks are dry and tight.
Saying "no" to each question means that you have normal skin, which WebMD describes as "balanced, clear, not sensitive." However, answering yes to the first question but no to the second would mean that your skin is oily - and, hence, could be described as shiny and greasy.

So, what if you respectively answer "no" and "yes" to these questions? You would have dry skin, which could feel scaly or rough to the touch. Meanwhile, answering "yes" to both questions would be an indicator of combination skin, with some spots dry and others oily.
I could throw yet another spanner into the works here by mentioning another skin type: sensitive skin. If you have such skin, it could burn, sting or itch when certain skincare products are used on it.

White Heart Shape on Human Skin

Select products suited to your skin type

If your skin is of the normal or combination type, try experimenting with different skincare products. Once you have found a gentle cleanser, use your fingertips to apply it; don't scrub. After you use warm water to rinse skin which you pat dry, it could dry out or oil up, proving the cleanser unfitting.

Dry skin would also call for a gentle cleanser - while, in the case of oily skin, look for a foaming cleanser that doesn't contain oil. Sensitive skin could respond best to products with such soothing ingredients as chamomile, aloe, oats and green tea polyphenols.

What shouldn't you do?

Knowing what skincare products to opt for can also largely be a matter of knowing which ones to avoid. As a general rule, think twice about plumping for DIY hacks the effectiveness of which seems largely anecdotal. For example, give a wide berth to lemon juice, which is way too high in acidity, says Healthline. Baking soda - despite actress Emma Stone advocating it - can stress the skin.

It's a safer bet to go for products that are specially formulated for the skin. The Tropic Skincare site is one reputable online outlet of such products which comprise reassuringly natural ingredients.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Getting To Know a New Home

Although I lived in London a few years ago, it;s been a long time since I have lived in a house where I am expected to be the responsible grown-up. When I left London I moved back to my parents and when I left there, I moved to Birmingham and live in a house share for 18 months. Both of these were great because grown-up house decisions were not down to me, so someone else could sort out the hard stuff. 

A few months ago I took the plunge and moved into a flat all by myself - which is all well and good, but now I am the responsible grown-up! Thankfully it's all worked out pretty well, but it is surprising the stuff you have to get your head around, when it's you that's in charge.

One of the things I was unsure was heating, the boiler and how all of that works. Thankfully, as much as I would like to think I am a responsible tenant; my dad visited a week or so after I moved in and he went around and checked it all for me.

Image result for radiators

I moved in when the weather was nice so I didn't even give any thought to the heating etc but it was one of the first things he did was check the radiators. He switched them all to the highest setting and put the heating on for an hour - keen to check that they all worked efficiently so that I could use them without any hassle when the cold weather does arrive. I was actually really grateful of this, as it is definitely something I wouldn't have considered before.

I know what I am like and I would have left it until I needed them and then if one didn't work, I would have been left out in the cold, literally! He likes to proudly tell me that he has an app that can switch on (and off) his radiators when he is away from home. This means he never arrives home to a cold house, because he just puts the heating on about half an hour before he gets home - how clever is that? I'm not quite at that stage yet, but I know I'll be grateful for some working radiators in the coming months, because judging by the weather at the moment, winter is definitely coming!

Debz x

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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

5 Accessorising Tips For Larger Ladies

Whether you believe it or not, it is possible to look absolutely stunning, no matter your shape or size and ccessories can make all the difference. In fact, when it comes to dressing up, they should be your very best friend. To help you out, here are a few accessorising tips you need to know.

1. Keep Things In Proportion

Whether we’re talking about handbags, necklaces, or belts, you need to ensure that your accessories are proportional to and match your body size. If you go for something that is too small, then you’ll barely be able to notice it, and, if you do, it will look strange on your body. Because of this, you should opt for larger options, like statement necklaces, cocktail rings, and stacked bracelets. You should also consider satchels, large totes, and shoulder bags.

2. Steer Clear Of Black

Black is amazing for a number of reasons. It looks good on pretty much everyone, can be matched with almost anything and is also incredibly slimming. For this reason, many larger ladies have black as their go-to colour for clothing and accessories. However, it’s important that you don’t wear black all day every day, as this can end up looking boring and basic. Instead, experiment with a number of colours, including blues, browns, and creams.

3. Add Pops Of Colour

If you prefer to wear clothes that are all one colour or contain blocks of colour, It can be a good idea to add a few pops here and there. This could be in the form of a beautiful statement necklace or a pair of colourful glasses from Glasses 2 You. As long as the colours you choose match your skin tone, you can make even the most bland of outfits look absolutely stunning.

4. Experiment With Your Combinations

One of the best things about accessories is that they can work with a number of different clothing items, creating many unique and beautiful outfits. Because of this, it’s crucial that, when you buy an accessory, you do some experimentation and switch up how you wear it and what you wear it with. This way, you should be able to come up with lots of interesting combinations, many of which you wouldn’t have thought of before.

5. Don’t Try To Hide

Thanks to media influences some women are incredibly self-conscious about the way they look, and, as a result of this, do whatever they can to blend in, hide, and not be seen, avoid wearing any clothes or accessories that might make them stand out. Instead of doing this, you should be bold and dress in a way that highlights your assets. Everyone is beautiful in one way or another, so go out there and show everyone your beauty.

Remember that these are just hints and tips, in many ways rules are meant to be broken so don't be afraid of experimenting with fashion and accessories and finding your own sense of style too!

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018

How To Make Your Home More Homely

Whilst the weather forecasters are predicting that we’re destined for round two of this sizzling summer, which in many ways should be a good thing, autumn is very much on the horizon.  

Indeed, you simply need to visit a supermarket that is packed with “back to school” gear to appreciate the fact leaves will soon be falling, acorns and conkers will soon abound, and that smell of the sweet damp earth will tantalise our homemaking muscles to create a much more cozy and homely environment.

Autumn is a fantastic time for getting out and about, as it’s cooler than summer, yet not so cold it’s prohibitive, and with all the different hues of red, orange and yellow, venturing out of the city to somewhere like Kew Gardens or Richmond Park can be a really nice weekend treat.

In the kitchen, we go from cooling salads and ice cubes to warming soups and hot drinks; yet if your home doesn’t feel very homely, then you can miss out on that warm, cosy and protective feeling we all look forward to in Autumn; be this from sitting by an open fire, to wearing our favourite scarf, Autumn is definitely the season to start battening down the hatches and make yourself cosy.

That said, cosy doesn’t have to be cutesy when it comes to interior design.  Indeed, you can pair trendy made to measure S:CRAFT Blinds with softer fabrics to ensure you retain a clean, minimalist and modern feel to your interior whilst adding in warming touches such as cushions and throws.  Sometimes, simply injecting some colour into an otherwise white room can make all the difference too.

The tips below will help you make your home feel more homely this autumn, and they are particularly pertinent for those getting ready to move house, as home is much more than the bricks and mortar you purchase - it’s all about how you feel in the property, and a large part of how you feel comes down to how quickly you can make yourself at home in a practical sense.  For instance, if you’re the type of person to still have unopened boxes littered throughout your new property months down the line, you’re unlikely to feel as “at home” and settled in the new property than you would if everything was unpacked.  

Similarly, if you’ve moved into a modern property with mostly white appliances and neutral walls, it might be nice as a show home, and could even make the front cover of an interior magazine, but it’s unlikely to make you feel “cosy” so it’s important to inject some colour, and some of your own personality into the place, in order to feel at home there.

Now, let’s take a look at a few tips to help you make your home more homely this autumn:

One of the fastest and most effective ways to make a space more warm and cosy is to use the principle of layering, for instance, by layering blankets and cushions on top of otherwise dull and lifeless furniture.

We often overlook the importance of the colours of our walls, and instead head to shops looking for candles, fabrics and other nic-nacs to make a space more cosy, yet often if you’re not careful this can reach the point of clutter rather than cosy - so one of the most vital aspects is to use warm colours on your walls.

The effects of colour are subtle yet significant and they play a huge role in creating the ambience of a room.  If you head for water shades like terracotta, deep oranges, certain blues and even some browns they will create a more cosy and warm feeling than the cooler colours such as pale blues, greens and greys.

Lighting is one of the most imperative aspects of creating warmth within a property; if you are using bright white lights that flood the room with artificial light this can be very helpful for productivity, yet when it comes to creating a more warm and homely atmosphere then a more subtle and subdued light is what you’re after.

There are some great ways to achieve this, that are also very cheap, such as fairy lights, candles or even putting fabric over an otherwise bright lamp (just be careful of the fire risk).  You want to avoid intense bright light if your goal is to create a more relaxing environment; instead opt for things like Morrocan lamps or Salt Crystal lamps that radiate a warm, colourful, glow that is not too bright.

The other consideration is that your home is used for different purposes, and therefore a dimmer switch on your lights can be very helpful.  This way, you can turn up the lights bright when you are needing to work and focus - whilst if you’re looking to create a more romantic or relaxing mood, you can turn them down low.

The final tip, when it comes to lighting, is to replace the “cool tone” bulbs of many lamps with warmer bulbs - as this will instantly make the place feel much more cosy.

In a similar vein to lighting, you want to use candles in order to transform the mood and create a relaxing ambience with their soft glow, particularly if they are aromatherapy candles they can really help lower the energy and assist in relaxation and calming down after a busy day in the city.

The final tip, may sound a bit unexpected, but if you simply turn the heat up in your house just a degree or two, you will feel much more cosy… after all, have you ever been in a house where they have the heating on so low you are almost shivering as you get into  bed. The physical heat creates a sense of inner warmth and a feeling of comfort that is hard to find in a particular fabric or a certain colour of paint.