For many people the bathroom has become one of the most important rooms in a house. It is seen as being a place to relax rather than just a room where you wash. At the end of a busy day at work, people like to chill out and unwind in their bathroom. If you think it’s time for a new bathroom and want to turn yours into a special place for “me time” then please check out the following helpful tips.
Space is of real importance when it comes to bathrooms in the UK. Therefore, you need to consider whether or not your bathroom is big enough for everything you want and need in it and whether or not toy want to consider extending it or not. It is important to think of all the options as extending your bathroom may involve decreasing the size of a bedroom.
Although increasing the size of your bathroom will increase the overall budget , the fact that the bathroom is a very important room means that you will be able to re-coup the extra money spent when and if you sell your house.
You also need to think carefully about how you use your bathroom at the moment and how you would like to use it after it has been renovated. If at the end of a busy day you love to soak in the tub, you need to factor this in; similarly, if you would prefer to get rid of a bath and replace it with powerful jet sprays and a wet room, this needs to be factored into the overall cost and scope of the project.
You also need to pay close attention as well to the pipe work when you are planning the bathroom. The easiest option is to; if possible, leave your toilet in the same position rather than moving it as it can be an expensive and time consuming job.
Obviously it is a good idea to hire a good designer who will be able to provide you with accurate and very detailed drawings that will help you see how the features of your design look together and will also help you when it comes to choosing the finishing touches.
Another important decision is selecting the style of your bathroom. While you are looking at the different styles, it is worth checking and keeping in mind your home’s water pressure, as some very continental and contemporary style fittings do not suit low water pressure.
When it comes to choosing the materials that you are going to use for your new bathroom, you may be surprised at the many different options open to you. As well as tiles, concrete, Corian and even metal panels are used in bathroom designs nowadays. However, if you opt for a more traditional tile, you will be spoiled for choice and there are also some great tile sealants available too.
It can be a very stressful time when you are not only redecorating, but renovating a room, particularly the bathroom. Hopefully the above information has given you a lot to think about and will help to ease the headache you have from just beginning to research the business.
Pregnancy and labour can be a stressful time, although they can also be happy and joyful. Bringing a new life into the world is something very special, so you’ll probably want to make the labour as stress free as possible if you’re expecting the pitter patter of tiny feet sometime soon. It’s normal to feel scared and apprehensive, but by reading our guide on making your childbirth as stress free as possible, you’ll feel much better about the whole thing and it’ll be over before you know it! Here’s what to do when the big day comes:
Use a TENS Machine
Obstetric Tens machines can be a massive help during childbirth. It’s a natural way of relieving pain, but it can help you a substantial amount when in the throes of labour. They are perfectly safe and can even be used with other pain relief methods! Make sure you get yours from a reputable supplier, and test the Tens machine as soon as you receive it so you don’t get any nasty surprises while in labour.
Do Your Research
The more prepared you are, the better. If you can research and find out everything there is to know about what to expect, you’ll feel much better about the whole process. You should be aware of all of your options, familiar with the environment you plan on giving birth in, and research what is going to happen. Speak to friends and family that have given birth, read books, and use the internet!
Create a Calming Environment
By creating a soothing environment, you’ll feel much calmer when you go into labour. Check to see if your hospital offers an alternative delivery room, as these are sometimes made to look more homely than a traditional delivery room. Take some pictures from home, a portable stereo, and anything else you think will calm you on the day.
Many people are now trying something called hypnobirthing, which helps ladies in labour put themselves into a deep state of relaxation. You can take classes for this, or even try visualisation on your own. Picture happy places, picture a wonderful labour where you hold your baby in your arms, anything that keeps you calm and focused.
Warm water can really offer relief as it eases discomfort and can loosen tense muscles. You can usually find a specially designed tub for labour, but make sure you arrange this kind of birth with your midwife first.
Do The Things That Make You Feel Better
You may have attended birthing classes that taught you ways to calm yourself and help you to feel better, but at the end of the day you need to go with the flow to have a stress free labour. If squeezing a pillow makes you feel better, do it. Some women even find that lying on a cold floor helped!
Women’s bodies are built for childbirth, so you shouldn’t be afraid. Try some of the methods above and you’ll have your newborn baby in your arms before you know it!
The colourful wellies worn by both kids and adults today date back to the 18th Century and the clever Duke of Wellington, who was weary of having his own feet, as well as those of his soldiers, rendered cold and soggy. The Duke, Arthur Wellesley, commissioned his shoemaker to design a new boot from sturdy calfskin, and treated with wax to make it waterproof. This revolutionized the boot industry, and helped keep the soldiers dry to battle another day.
Colourful Wellies are High Fashion
Today, kids’ wellies come in almost every colour in the rainbow as well as a wide range of patterns. Those with a fleece lining are especially warm for walking and playing in the snow. Wellies with a handy drawstring at the top prevent water and mud from getting inside the boots when children stomp around and jump in mud puddles. Many have a strong tread that grips the ground and helps keep people from falling. Not only are wellies practical in wet weather, but they are attractive too, and some even come with matching raincoats and hats. Both children and adults can stay dry and look fashionable at the same time with today’s wellies.
Keeping Tiny Feet Dry and Comfortable
Small children seem to have boundless energy, and want to play outside in any kind of weather. Toddler wellies are ideal for youngsters who are unhappy staying indoors just because the ground is wet. They can run and jump to their hearts’ content, regardless of the wet ground, when wellies are snuggly hugging their tiny feet. Some kids’ wellies come with nifty handles that enable small children to pull the boots on with no assistance from adults. This can give them a sense of self-reliance and independence. Some children can even find wellies that feature their favourite cartoon or literary characters. Wellies are not only practical, but extremely comfortable as well.
Trendy Prints and Designs
There are numerous designs available in kids wellies, from animal prints to neon colours. Many girls are fond of the floral print wellies or others in bright combinations of pinks, reds and purples. Boys often enjoy wellies that look like reptile or dinosaur skins, camouflage designs or wellies with pictures of race cars. Animal prints are popular among both boys and girls. Wellies with leopard or zebra prints and tiger stripes are particular popular with children of all ages. Wellies with lightweight, flexible soles are especially good for toddlers who are just learning to walk, as well as for older children who enjoy hikes over rugged terrain.
Parents do not have to let cold, wet weather keep them trapped in the house with antsy children who are bored and in need of an outlet for their pent up energy. All they have to do is pull on the kids’ wellies, and head outside for an afternoon of running, jumping and skipping over the wet ground. The wellies will keep kids’ feet toasty warm regardless of the snow, ice and water soaking the ground in gardens and parks.
All new mums seem to have issues with losing weight after giving birth to their little baby. Those who don’t could be considered not human! Muscles and skin are stretched during pregnancy, and that’s why it can be so hard to snap back into shape after giving birth. But don’t worry – all hope is not lost! There are plenty of ways you can lose your baby weight, the healthy way:
Image Credit: Flickr
It’s so important that you try to lose your baby weight the healthy way. You should never deprive yourself, and make sure that you’re giving your body everything it needs to function – especially if you’re breastfeeding your baby. Obviously being a mum will be your top priority right now, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get back to your healthy self. You’ll feel much more confident, have more energy for your baby, reduce the risk of anxiety and depression, and feel much better in general.
Obviously, exercise is one big way to lose weight after having your baby. Where you start totally depends on how fit you were before the pregnancy, but you’ll need to be careful and get the go ahead from your doctor before doing so. You’ll then want to build up your exercise program slowly until you’ve improved your endurance and stamina. You could try yoga for exercise that will strengthen your core, and walking is great too.
It’s very important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re breastfeeding. You should be drinking around 2 litres of fluid per day, and this could include tea, coffee, fruit juice, milk, and water. Water is probably the best option however, as it doesn’t have any calories or added ingredients!
Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet
It’s important you eat a healthy, balanced diet. Starving yourself will do your body no good – your metabolism will slow down as your body goes into starvation mode, you’ll be more likely to binge later on, and you won’t have the energy to properly care for your baby. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, lean meat like chicken and turkey, fish, nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, Greek yogurt, and whole grain bread to watch the baby weight drop off. There are some diet shakes out there that could assist you to burn fat, but stay away from the likes of Slim Fast and Weight watchers as they have rubbish ingredients. Eat healthy, whole, natural food!
Get as Much Sleep As You Can
Sleep plays a big factor in weight loss and how our bodies work, although it’s not always easy to get a quality sleep when you have a new baby. Sleep deprivation has been linked to eating more calories, so try to get 8 hours of sleep per night. Sleep when your baby is sleeping for the best results!
To lose your baby weight the healthy way, it should help you to remember that this isn’t a short term plan. You should be looking at this as a change of lifestyle in order to see great results. Consistency will help you spring back into shape!
There are tons of places one can travel to with the goal of becoming fluent in English and choosing just one can be a bit overwhelming. Choosing Australia as your language-learning destination has a plethora of benefits. Not only is a country full of warm, fun-loving people with plenty of amazing English courses available in various cities, but there also are tons of unique things to see in do in Australia you can’t find anywhere else. From natural wonders to gourmet cuisine, there’s something for everyone in the Land Down Under.
If you’re into art, music, fashion, and the finer things in life there are plenty of exciting attractions waiting for you in Australia. The Australian art scene is a reflection of its eclectic culture. There are several world-class museums in the major cities including the National Gallery in Canberra that holds works from Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, David Hockney, and Lucien Freud. One truly unique aspect of the Australian art scene is the presence of the beautiful and culturally rich Dreamtime art scene created by Australian Aboriginal peoples. Artists such as Gloria Petyarre (along with her other equally talented sisters) are famous worldwide for their unique paintings that reflect important cultural ideals. Much of the Petyarre work has even been reprinted onto highly valuable scarves coveted by the fashionistas from around the globe. Speaking of fashion, while it isn’t as well known as Paris or Milan, Australia has its own Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. And with designers such as Akira Isogawa creating mesmerizing collections year after year it pays to keep an eye on the up-and-coming scene.
If you’re more of the sporting type, Australia is a great place to try out some new games. The famous beaches like the ones of Byron Bay with the warm waters and white sands are perfect for learning how to surf. And you can’t visit Australia with checking out footie—Australian Football which is different from American gridiron and traditional football. Ozzies also inherited a love of cricket from their British colonizers. And if you’re into the international sports scene, the Australian Open is one of the most important tennis tournaments in the world. If you’re less into competition and more into the great outdoors, there’s no lack of adventure. From sailing along the coast to camping in the great outdoors, you’ll find more than you bargained for waiting for you in Australia. The numerous National Parks provide various topographies and climates so you could take a completely different trip once a month and never leave the country. Hiking enthusiasts shouldn’t miss an opportunity to see the natural wonder of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) or the Blue Mountains of New South Wales.
Next to language, food is the best way to experience a new culture. Exploring some of the exotic dishes of Australian cuisine is a foodie’s dream. Being such an isolated country/continent, much of the food culture is based on what can be produced locally. Along the coast, freshly caught fish and shellfish are unlike anything else in the world. And while they’re sold mostly as novelty, native animals such as emu, kangaroo, and crocodile are available for consumption. Australia’s large immigrant population also means there is a presence of variety in the food scene. From Italian to Korean, you’ll find whatever you’re craving freshly made. Vegetarians and vegans shouldn’t shy away due to their lifestyle choices. There are plenty of options for the meatless and cities such as Nimbin will spoil an herbivore with choices. Of course, wine enthusiasts can note that Australian presence in the market has increased drastically in recent years. A trip to the wine country in Clare Valley is the perfect adventure for your inner sommelier.
If you’re searching for a new living experience like no other while you acquire English, consider Australia as your main destination. Whatever your current interests, Australia has something for you. Plus, there are so many unique Aussie experiences to learn from while you’re on your language-learning journey.
Dani Barrow is a representative of Language Trainers, which provides individually-tailored language training on a one-on-one or small group basis worldwide.
Aired by BBC1 on Monday 13th January, ‘I Want My Baby Back – A panorama Special’, may give us all pause for thought.
As a father and grandfather, I have seen many times, children in my care to become over excited or playing roughly and bouncing off the floor and walls. It is part of everyday play, whether they are cowboys fighting indians, or saving the universe from intergalactic robots, they will sometimes hurt themselves. Only when they get changed, are the bruises revealed. How many of you out there have felt people will think you are abusing your child if they see the bruises? I was a tree climber, a good one. My legs were always black and blue and my mother, on occasion, wondered if people would ponder what went on in our house.
Here in the United Kingdom we have a comprehensive social services system, essential it is too! It is a fact that some children are abused, and they desperately need protection. Our Social Services department though seem to hit the headlines in a big way when they get it wrong.
If any of you out there are going through this dreadful process, it is essential that you consult expert child custody solicitors. You cannot defend yourself in these circumstances.
Panorama addressed several specific cases where children were removed from their families for, what may be considered, as dubious circumstances. At a glance, these cases seem outrageous. ‘There but for the grace of god go I’ is the thought that many parents must feel when learning of these cases.
I fear that the featured family’s stories though, are just a drop in the ocean. For all of the good work they do, Social Services may be making mistakes every day and destroying families. Taking away from parents, their entire reason for living and permanently damaging the child’s feeling of security at home.
Take the case of Amy’s son who had multiple fractures. Taken into care along with his elder sister only to be returned home after several weeks. Were it not for expert representation, Amy’s children would never have been returned to her. She was powerless and railroaded by the system.
Now we need Social Services; they do an essential job. The do help and protect abused children. They are, however, only human, and if they suspect harm even without evidence then they must investigate. Sometimes this can lead to overzealous mistakes.
Then comes what, seems to me, to be a horrible flaw in the system; time. From an outsider’s point of view, it makes my blood boil. The time it takes to get a simple decision. Waiting another week to speak to someone. Another assessment that can’t be carried out until next month. All the time more harm is being done. It is quite shameful. All the stops should be pulled to find out whether that child is genuinely at risk as quickly as is humanly possible, not so it fits in with the directors diary. If mistakes have been made by the social worker, or abuse disproved, get that child home where they belong without delay.
Maybe it is time that the whole system is looked at again. Yes, remove a child if abuse is suspected, of course it is the right thing to do. Then, in that child’s interests, keep the parents informed and represented from day one. Set the machine swiftly in motion and give these cases the urgency that the children need. Provide the parents with a valid avenue of appeal to go down when they know they are innocent.
Panorama has shown that for some of us, the citizens of this country, the system is faulty. Thank heavens for the people who go to court in defense of such miscarriages.
This may be a simplistic view as I am an outsider but then again, most of us in this country are outsiders. So the director of Social Services would do well to cut short that business lunch and get back to work, before the British people hold him/her to account. This simply cannot go on any longer.
Driving on and around Britain’s roads can be challenging and stressful at times, especially during rush hour traffic. So imagine how much more compounded this motoring mayhem can be if you are a parent driving around with your kids in the back of your car!
One of the most stressful time in any parent’s motoring career is the inevitable “school run”. But despite all this depressing motoring, there are some practical hints and tips that all parents can take advantage of in order to make their driving experience a much easier affair.
Here are the secrets to family motoring that all parents in the United Kingdom need to know:
The early parent gets the parking space
As I mentioned a moment ago, one thing that many parents get really stressed out about is the daily school run; dropping their kids off to school and then picking them up again later that same day.
This process has to be repeated Monday to Friday, and believe me; it never gets any easier! Normally parents end up arriving at their children’s school at a time when everyone else has also arrived, so it can be an absolute nightmare trying to find somewhere to park!
Sometimes you will even find parents double-parking because they can’t find a space close to the school; this can be an extremely dangerous thing to do and should be avoided at all costs.
Now here’s the thing: by arriving at your child’s school early enough, you will be able to get your pick of the parking spaces! Of course, this can sometimes be difficult to do if your child gets out of bed late in the morning, but it’s still achievable nonetheless.
Don’t smoke in the car
If you or your partner are smokers, then you should avoid smoking in the car regardless of whether your kids are in there or not. Just last night I parked my car outside of a shop and noticed that the occupants of the car next to me had a baby and a small child in the car with them, and the parents were both smoking with the windows closed!
You might think this is such a stupid and selfish thing to do considering second-hand smoke can affect the development of a growing baby or child’s internal organs, yet according to a newspaper article a few months ago, nearly 200,000 kids between 11 and 15 in England are exposed to high levels of these toxic fumes in their parents’ cars every day!
Buy a suitable car
Ferrying babies and children around in a car can sometimes be a bit of a nightmare, but the situation could be made worse simply because you don’t have the best car for the job!
So if you’re driving around in a small hatchback, you should consider trading it in for a more family-oriented car like an estate or people carrier from car dealers such as Junction17cars.co.uk
You will easily find a car to suit your requirements and budget, regardless of whether you are looking for a brand new or used car.
Where is the solution to creating healthier family and home? Often, parents believe that a dog may bring structure, discipline, and activity to family life. Yet as a new member of the family, dogs create more responsibility and issues than you anticipate.
Rather than taking a drastic step with an animal addition, find other solutions that encourage health, productivity, and more active lifestyles for every member of the family no matter what age. When wracking your brain for ideas to raise healthy eating and exercise awareness, follow these suggestions.
1. The Art of Gardening
Have you seen the bumper stickers, “Will Garden for Food”? The popularity behind gardening, especially communal all natural gardens, has risen dramatically over the last few years. As lawmakers, health professionals, and parents become more aware of terrible foods and unhealthy habits, they have turned to change their family’s eating habits.
This transition involves gardening. Often gardeners are more aware of the food they eat. They prefer all natural and organic produce that’s untainted by distant mass producing farmers. Children and parents alike take more of an active interest in what goes into creating food. Therefore, they tend to read more of the ingredient labels on products at grocery stores. Why would you eat ingredients that seem foreign and artificial?
Before spring rolls around, look to join a community garden or start an elevated herb and vegetable garden in the backyard. This home project keeps the children outside and active. Teach someone to garden, they’ll never go hungry as long as there is enough water, sunshine, and you keep the animals away.
2. Use TV Time to Learn How to Cook
Take the time to teach your children how to cook. Maybe you didn’t benefit from parents who cooked all time growing up. It’s not late to learn as a parent. There are various culinary education resources available. For example, you can enroll in cooking classes together. Weekend cooking classes won’t take much time, you’ll have a blast, and there’s no better quality time to spend with your kids.
If you don’t have the time or local cooking classes that fit into your schedule, watch PBS or the Food Network. The Food Network offers endless opportunities to learn how to cook basic and complicated meals. Practice new dinners, side dishes, and desserts together with the kids. Use the television for educational purposes that the kids will love. When looking to purchase good cable or satellite TV, you can find great deals to save money. For example, see what is available online for Kansas Direct TV offers
3. Teach Children How to Shop for Groceries
Parents must take a similar approach that local restaurants do when focusing on farm-to-table policies. After you’ve taught your children about gardening and growing their own produce, given them a chance to cook, and then educate them on healthy and intelligent grocery shopping.
It’s not only important to teach them how to save money when comparing prices at stores, but make them aware of reading ingredient labels. Educated them about the negative artificial ingredients often used in processed and boxed foods. Smart shoppers make healthier decisions.
Image Source – carolinaparent.com
You’ve probably seen all the news articles recently written by top psychologists claiming that January is the most depressing month of the year for most people. Well, I saw those too, and so I thought maybe it was time for me to write and post a short article highlighting some of the most effective ways of ensuring your entire family remains positive and happy this year. Let’s face it; some people are just more prone to getting the blues, and it’s those people I’m trying to reach out to. I know all too well how terrible you can feel from time to time, indeed, my medical records will show a heavy usage of antidepressants to prove it, but if I can stop one single parent from visiting their doctor for “happy pills” this year, then writing this post will have been worth it.
So, the first thing you really need to think about is your diet. It might be fine eating takeaways and food high in sugar most of the time, but in a month when people are bound to start feeling a little down, this should be avoided like the plague. Instead, try buying some fresh fruit and veg, as this is certain to lift your mood considerably. Here are some other suggestions for making sure the whole family stay happy all year round.
Arrange Educational Trips Together
Over ten years ago now, our previous Labour government made all the state-run museums in the UK waive their admission charges, and so it’s possible for anyone to visit them without having to break the bank. You might consider a trip to London if you really want to make your kids smile, as there’s more museums there packed tightly together than anywhere else in the country. Make sure you at least try the British Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum if you don’t plan on visiting anywhere else. You’ll want to set a full day aside though, because those places are pretty large.
Visit A Psychic Medium Together
Unless you’re a total skeptic, booking a family session with your local psychic medium or clairvoyant could provide some rather encouraging results. During a family session, they’re unlikely to give you any negative information, and instead, should provide you with some useful tips for the near future. Your kids will love the experience, and you too could benefit from the information you receive. If you’re not too sure about this one, why not give TheCircle.com Psychics a call for a taster of what’s in store.
Exercise Together & Get Fit
Every doctor worth his salt will tell you that exercise in by far the best way of lifting yourself from a low mood, and so arranging something fun with the whole family could be perfect. Sure, you probably do want to stay away from gyms, but there’s no reason why you couldn’t have a truly fantastic time on long walks around your local woodland or dedicated area of outstanding natural beauty. Plus, you could even take a ball along and turn it into a game if the kids don’t seem too enthusiastic about walking long distances.
If you give at least two of those suggestions a try, I guarantee you’ll all feel much better over the coming months. 2014 is going to be incredibly busy for most, so making plans now and setting time aside for stuff like this really is essential.
I wish you the best of luck folks!
Since shows like The Great British Bake Off first appeared on our screens, the UK has seen a huge rise in the number of people picking up an apron and wooden spoon and taking to the kitchen to whip up a sweet treat. Mastering the art of cake design is just important as a good sponge if you want professional looking cakes, so we bring you a guide to sugarcraft, and how to master it.
So what is Sugarcraft?
In simple terms, sugarcraft is a type of cake decorating, used to make your cakes stand out and al
low you to create three-dimensional designs. Similar to the techniques used by clay sculptors, it’s the art of modelling 3D figures in a cake using rolled fondant. Rolled into sheets, sugarcraft can be draped over cakes and also used to make intricate designs including ribbons, bows and flowers.
So Where Do I Begin?
One of the best ways to master the art of sugarcraft is to purchase a DVD or watch some videos online, to watch some experts in action. If you can, a class in sugarcraft is an even better option as you’ll have an instructor on-hand to personally show you some techniques and show you where you might be going wrong. Before you start, just remember that learning sugarcraft takes some time to master, and it can be very fiddly and irritating to get right. There’s really no right or wrong way, you’ll just need to use your artistic eye and try some different methods to find one that’s right for you.
What Do I Need?
There are a number of different utensils used in sugarcraft, and you can find them all on sites such as MakeBake. Here are just a few of the instruments you might want to pick up:
- Stainless Steel Metal Cutters – for creating delicate blossoms, leaves and flowers.
- Sugarpaste- prepared to use, sugarpaste gives you a smooth and sleek finish every time, allowing you to decorate cakes without the fear of cracking. Icecraft is a good brand to sue for this, being significantly less gritty and oil than other sugarpastes and offering a vibrant white, unflavoured colour.
- Spray Can Colours – spray cans are a great way of colouring a variety of icings including sugarpaste, marzipan, buttercream, modelling paste and much more. You’ll also find a great selection of colours available.
- Rosebuds and roses – perfect for decorating delicate cakes, sugarcraft roses and rosebuds give you cake a beautiful finish and are available in a variety of quantities and colours including lemon, peach, violet, pink and red.
- Piped roses – if you’re making cupcakes, piped roses are a great option and are usually available in pink and white.
How It’s Done
Before you start, make sure you’ve prepared the fondant in advanced and stored in an airtight container in the fridge until you need to use it. Then let your imagination run wild! Be aware that liquid food colourings shouldn’t be used when rolled fondant is ready for cake decorating. Colouring paste is a much better option, preventing the fondant from turning runny.
And remember, sugarcraft is a difficult art to master. If you don’t get it right the first time, practice is sure to make perfect. And just think of all those delicious cakes you’ll get to eat along the way!