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Importance of good quality data


Pic Credit: Pixabay

I have been pretty quiet here of late, however I have a very good reason for it. I may have ever so slightly neglected the blog however it has been totally worth it! I have been consulting on a fascinating project on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the corporate world particularly for accountants. I’m unashamedly a nerd and love data, statistics and tech.   One of the big learning’s I take with me from this project is just how important data is. And not just data, good data.  We have all heard of GDPR and see its impact pretty much day to day when we do anything. Protecting ones data is important particularly in an increasingly data centric world.

Data Quality Management 

Looking at how advanced the technology is becoming, data quality management has to be a key concern for management. But what exactly is good quality data? You need to be managing the right data to make the right decisions. Informatica  defines data quality as “the overall utility of a dataset(s) as a function of its ability to be easily processed and analyzed for other uses, usually by a database, data warehouse, or data analytics system“.  That is quite the tongue twister, paring it back good quality data simply means, data which is accurate, complete, consistent, and time stamped.  Getting the data quality management right is a critical element in future proofing your business.

Interestingly data quality is not to be confused with data accuracy. Accuracy is exactly as it says that the  data is accurate whereas data quality is combination of five different factor including accuracy. The other four are: complete, consistent,  time stamped and industry standards based.

Artificial Intelligence 

So considering the next steps – what is artificial intelligence? Wikipedia has a very comprehensive definition of AI but at its most basic, it is intelligence demonstrated by machines as opposed to the natural person/ human.  It can be quite hard to get your head around the concept of AI. My recent role was looking at how AI could assist accountants as opposed to replace accountants. Which is what most people’s biggest fear is i.e. being replaced by a robot leading to mass unemployment. It’s not about that at all its about improving performance.

So how can does AI link with accountants. I think the main message I want to convey here is that it can support, enhance and improve performance. Augment is the word used by Firm of the Future and I think it is a really apt descriptor of it. Having a practical look myself at it, I can see AI used really effectively for example for queries – particularly voice recognition.  Think about it for a second.  You are popping to a meeting you forgot to check how many of this years sales were from x Limited? Simple  – just ask and the figure is repeated back to you.

However, this really only severs to reinforce that good data management is critical – I think the old adage says – “garbage in – garbage out” data really is king so how true could this be.

Note: This is a collaborative post



And breathe! 4 ways to beat stress as a mature student

mobile phone in hand

Pic Credit: Pixabay

I think its safe to say that we experience stress of varying degrees throughout the day. But there are some moments that seem to really push us to our limits. Whether it’s a rainy, soggy school run that you’re already running late for. Unexpected visitors at the door when your house is probably less than fit for guests and trying to get the weekly shop done with a toddler that got bored after five very short minutes. 

And if you’re heading back into education as an adult, then you might be a little concerned about how you’re going to manage and beat your stress levels when you’ve got assignments due, children to look after and every day life to manage! If you’re worrying about your stress levels then read on for 4 ways to beat stress as a mature student. 

Get the knowledge you need

As a student you’re going to be learning lots throughout your studies. However, gaining a little extra studying knowledge before you dive straight into your studies will certainly keep your stress levels in check. If you’re worried about citations and correct referencing then its enough to push your anxiety through the roof – you can learn how to make an APA reference by clicking the link provided – or if you’re concerned about your spelling and grammar then consider getting in touch with a proofreading service.

You can also speak with your tutor or professors if you’re struggling with something. Don’t be afraid to reach out wider for additional resources and assistance if needed places like Tavistock Tutors can help link you your tutor by phone, email or online making it very accessible and user friendly.

Make time for the activities you enjoy

You know what they say, study hard – play hard. Even if your idea of playing hard is doing a little yoga or catching up on your favourite TV box set! Make sure you do plenty of activities that allow you to relax and feel good. Constantly cramming your studies in and having little time for fun might mean that you come to resent your decision to go back to education. 

Don’t struggle in silence

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Your friends and family will want you to succeed as much as you do. So, don’t be afraid to ask for a little help. Maybe the kids are full of energy and you’re trying to study, or perhaps you have a mountain of housework that needs doing yet you’ve got some assignments to complete. Reaching out to your friends and family for a little support is a good idea. It means you can enjoy your studies a little more and not worry about neglecting the other important parts of your life.

Get plenty of sleep

Never underestimate the positive impact that a good nights sleep will have. You might think it logical to stay up and study long into the night, rather than picking up where you left off the next day. However, if you opt for a good nights sleep instead then you’ll be able to retain in the information better, concentrate more and your day will be more productive. Give it a try!  

Note: This is a collaborative post

Norton Virgien, Director & Co-Executive Producer; VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC – An Interview

I am very excited about today’s feature. This week we have had the opportunity to ask Norton Virgien, Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer of VAMPIRINA FANG-TASTIC some questions on his career and his new latest work VAMPIRINA: FANG-TASTIC PARTY, which is a very special interactive event in cinemas nationwide this weekend only – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th

A little bit about Norton

Norton began his directing career in 1990 as part of the original team for Nickelodeon’s Rugrats.  A two time Emmy winner for Rugrats, Norton also directed episodes of the critically  acclaimed Duckman series and the CBS series Santo Bugito, before co-directing 1998’s The Rugrats Movie,  which became the first non-Disney animated release to gross more than $100 million dollars.   Subsequently Norton was a Co-Producer on the Klasky Csupo features Rugrats in Paris and The Wild Thornberrys Movie, and a Co-Director of the 2004 release Rugrats Go Wild.  In early 2005, he directed a thirteen episode season of the Discovery Channel series Tutenstein, winning a third Emmy.  In 2009, for Universal Animation, he directed a DVD sequel to the Curious George Movie, Follow That Monkey!   He has since worked as Director on Doc McStuffins and Henry Hugglemonster, both for Disney and is currently Supervising Director and Co-Executive Producer on Vampirina.


Many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, it is very much appreciated. As someone of the 80/90s, I was a massive Rugrats fan. Angelica was really the character we all really wanted to be! Even my kids love the Rugrats, a whole generation apart.

  •   I told my kids who I was interviewing and my 7 year old is very excited, enthusiastically professing that he will be doing your job in the future! So first up, courtesy of my oldest son, how did you end up directing? Was it something that always interested you?

Great question! I had always loved drawing as a child, and doodled incessantly! And I also loved storytelling, and did a bit of creative writing in school. I loved comic books as they combined drawing and storytelling in such a strong way – but then I discovered animation, which is perhaps the art form that brings so many others – design, music, acting, drama together at once! It took me a while working as an animator to work my up to drawing storyboards (which is really fun) and finally directing. And Rugrats was indeed one of the most fun shows to get a chance to direct – great writing and voices and a really fresh concept at the time!

  •   He is also curious about the difference between a Director and a Producer, and which one do you like best?

The roles of Director and Producer can overlap quite a bit – as a good producer has the creative needs of a project in mind along with their practical concerns of budget and schedule, and a good director thinks about the practical things at the same time he/she is pushing for the most creative and effective result.

  •   He also wants to know do you have a favourite show/film that you directed? I did turn this question on him and he said it’s between the Curious George Movie and Doc McStuffins! My favourite has to be Rugrats. So nostalgic.

It’s as hard to pick a favorite project as it is to choose one’s favourite child – if we’re lucky they are ALL special in their way! Right now my favourite is Vampirina – since she’s the one we’re working with at the moment, and she’s such and unusual and constantly surprising young girl!

  •   You have such an impressive career with so many hugely popular shows to your name. Do you still get a thrill when you see the final production?

I’m pleased to say the thrill of seeing an audience enjoy your project hasn’t worn off for me at all! And I still get a little tear in the eye at the sweet moments, and laugh at the best jokes, even after seeing them over and over and over…! It makes the hard work totally worthwhile.

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Autumn 2019 Fashion Trends

It’s official, autumn is here! The days are shorter and the air is cooler, so it’s time to switch up your wardrobe. There are lots of exciting things that come along with autumn, and this includes getting to crack out your autumn wardrobe from the year before, as well as discover some of the latest trends. I’ve teamed up with Alterations Boutique, experts in wedding dress alterations, to give you a run down on some autumn 2019 fashion trends. They also offer a range of clothing alterations and repairs! Keep reading for some of the top autumn trends of 2019. 

Pointed Toes

Whether it’s a boot, a dolly shoe, or a stiletto heel, pointed toes are in! Pointed toe shoes give you a feeling of elegance, giving any outfit a sophisticated vibe. Pointed boots are a great way to keep yourself wrapped up warm while still sticking with the current fashion trends. Although pointed toes are a consistent trend, I have noticed more and more variations popping up on the high street! A pointed toe can really take an average shoe and make it look like you have made a bigger effort than you actually did – the best type of shoe. 


The A/W19 runway was filled with florals. Although florals tend to be in all year round, they appear to be making a big impact this season. Autumn will see more dark coloured flowers coming into the mix, rather than the brighter colours you see in spring and summer. It makes for a fantastic way to incorporate a pattern into your outfit without it feeling too out of season! Whether it is rocking an entire floral look, or just featuring it on one piece of your outfit, definitely give florals a go this season.


One of the strongest outerwear silhouettes we have seen making an impact on the runways was the cape. Cape’s are a fashion forward, sophisticated, and fun way to add to your outfit. Whether it’s structured and formal, or casual and floaty, capes can be incorporated into your outfit in various ways. These come in some gorgeous autumn colours, such as burgundy and dark brown, to give you the full seasonal feeling. They also add some warmth, which is obviously necessary as the weather changes. Fashion is important, but so is keeping yourself warm!


One style I have noticed coming in  this autumn is keeping things structured. Shoulder pads and sharp edges are in, contrasting to the slouchy silhouettes you may typically see as we begin to wrap up warmer. Having a structured outfit can be as simple as belting a blazer, so it is tight at the waist and shows of your shape. This works even better if there are shoulder pads involved, creating a womanly figure. Structuring doesn’t stop at clothing – you can also get a range of bags that have a similar structured style. 

What items have you noticed popping up so far this season? Let me know in the comments below!



Halloween Costumes that won’t scare your wallet! offer treats and no tricks when it comes to seasonal dressing up!

Kids these days are not likely to be impressed by a white sheet as a Halloween costume, like many of us sported back in the 80’s and 90’s. Things have moved on and picking a festive costume has become about expressing personality and imagination. However, it can be costly for parents, between fancy dress parties, trick or treating and school events!

Thankfully online deals website has a selection of costumes at great prices with more than 50% off that appeal to all tastes, whether your child wants to be horrifically ghoulish, a video gamer, or a princess!

  • Unleash your child’s inner Princess – treat your child to an outfit they’ll never want to take off and get them a gorgeous princess inspired children’s dress for just €13 instead of €33.  With four designs and five sizes, you can find the perfect look and size for your own mini Cinderella or Moana.  Shop here.
  • Wrap them up in a Princess Autumn Coat – and because it’s chilly at Halloween, you could also treat your little one to a Princess Autumn coat to compliment their costume for €16 down from €34. This coat comes in three gorgeous designs, all with cute princess details, along with a peplum fit, zip fastening and a snug hood to keep them toasty.  Shop here. These are actually really adorable, will be getting one for my niece who I know will love it.
  • Calling Gamer moms – Inspired by Fox Drift from the game Fortnight, this Fox Drift Face Mask will surely be a winner for any gamers in your family.  Now only €8.  Purchase here.
  • Soldier, Classic Skeleton, Colourful Gingerbread man – also has a range of full body costumes with masks, whether your child wants to be a soldier, classic skeleton or colourful gingerbread man. Each costume is available in ages five to twelve years old, and are excellent value at just €18 each instead of €43.   Shop here. My oldest wants the solider and the youngest the skelton which makes costume decision very easy this year!
  • Face Paint Crayons – you can’t go wrong with a pack of these non-toxic, skin friendly and easily washable face paint crayons! Just €7.99 instead of €22 for one pack of six face paint crayons or €12.99 for two packs.  Purchase here.

These offers are expected to fly off the virtual shelves quicker than a witch on a broomstick!

Order before 20 October to guarantee deliver before Halloween on


Saving vs. Investing for Your Retirement

Whether you’re in your early twenties and just out of college, or you’re a thriving professional just a few years away from retirement, it’s always a good time to think about your growing your nest egg. There are a number of ways to do that, and Central Willamette Credit Union is committed to helping you understand each of them. Two of the most popular ways to grow your money for retirement are through saving and investing. We’ll go over the pros and cons of each to show you the differences when it comes to saving vs. investing.

Which Is in Your Best Interest?

coinsThe first thing to know about investments is that they come in many forms. Mutual funds, stocks, and real estate are just a few examples of the many types of investment opportunities you could pursue. Essentially, an investment is anything that’s expected to bring you a return on your money and help it grow over time.

There’s something in the financial world known as compound interest. Compound interest can work for or against you. For example, if you take out a loan, the interest will cause the principal amount borrowed to grow so that you wind up owing more money over time. But on the other hand, compound interest can work to your advantage.

Let’s look at the annual return rate of the S&P 500, a stock market index that tracks the stocks of 500 of the largest companies in the US. It’s generally viewed as a good indicator of how well the market is performing. Historically speaking, the S&P 500’s annual compound rate of return is roughly 10 percent.

Now, let’s look at an example. Let’s say you’re 35 years old and decide that you want to start preparing for retirement by investing in mutual funds. You invest a modest $10,000 to start out, and you don’t contribute any additional money over time. Assuming a 10 percent compound rate of return, by the time you hit 65, you’ll have close to $175,000 saved for retirement. A nice amount, but not necessarily enough for a long retirement.

So let’s look at the same example again. You’re 35 years old when you make an initial investment of $10,000, but this time you contribute a monthly amount of $200. You do this faithfully over the course of 30 years. At the end of that 30-year period, your initial $10,000 investment will have grown to about $570,000.

Of course, the earlier you begin investing, the more your money will be able to grow. That’s because compound interest’s best friend is time. Likewise, the later you begin to invest, the more aggressive you will have to be with the amount of money you set aside. If you want to see how compound interest could work in your particular situation, try this compound interest calculator. You can plug in the numbers that apply to you and adjust it to see how much you’ll need to invest in order to get to your desired retirement nest egg.

Saving, on the other hand, refers to setting aside a certain amount of your income, typically to obtain a financial goal. It could be for something small, like saving for an annual vacation, or for something larger, such as saving for retirement. If you’re doing the latter, it’s typically recommended that you save 10 to 15 percent of your annual income. So if you make $50,000 a year, you’ll want to set aside between $5,000 to $7,500 a year for retirement. Assuming your salary doesn’t change, setting aside $7,500 a year, or $625 a month, would net you $225,000 over the course of 30 years.

Can you make compound interest work for you when saving? Yes and no. It’s possible to open a savings account with an interest rate that will help you grow your money, but typically, interest rates on savings accounts are much lower than those earned in the stock market, for example. A typical annual yield on a savings account, for instance, may be 0.05 percent. Based on this interest rate and our example above, you would wind up with about $226,640 at the end of the 30-year period.

Now let’s take a look at saving vs. investing with the previous example. If we start with an initial amount of $10,000, set aside $200 a month and continue to save over the course of 30 years with an annual yield of 0.05 percent, we wind up with about $82,675. That’s significantly less than what we accumulated when we were investing the same amount with a compound rate of return of 10 percent. That’s the power of compound interest.

Worth the Risk?

So if that’s the case, you should just invest all your money, right? After all, who doesn’t want to wind up with the most amount of money possible for retirement? Well, not so fast. Remember when we said that compound interest could work for you or against you? That’s the case with investing as well. You have to be able to weather those ups and downs in what can sometimes be a volatile market. Sometimes those volatile years occur back to back, meaning you can lose money through investing just as quickly as you were able to earn it.

Let’s take another look at the S&P 500. If you take a look at this chart, you’ll see that just last year, the market saw a negative return. But looking back to the early 2000s, the market took even more of a hit. Investments saw a negative return of roughly 9, 12 and 22 percent in 2000, 2001, and 2002, respectively. Jump ahead to 2008, and you’ll see that the market saw an astounding 37 percent loss. That’s why investing can be risky.

Saving, however, is relatively safe. You can grow your money in your bank account without fear of loss. If your money is kept in a federally insured bank or credit union, you are insured up to $250,000 per financial institution. Saving provides financial security for your future without the risks that often come with investing.

There are other noteworthy differences when it comes to saving vs. investing. You may have heard of the term liquid asset. Cash, for instance, is a liquid asset. When you save for retirement, you have that money at your disposal to be used for whatever purpose. However, investing means that your money is sometimes tied up and not readily accessible. This is what we call a non-liquid asset. If you invest in land or real estate, for instance, it could take quite some time to sell that property and convert its value into cash. That’s another factor to consider when deciding whether you want to save or invest for retirement.

At Central Willamette, they are committed to helping you find the best solution for you. They offer a variety of savings and investment accounts to help you build wealth for the future. We’ll help you find the solution that best fits your needs. There are many factors to consider when it comes to retirement. Schedule an appointment with one of their financial advisors so they can put you on the path toward an early one.


Note: This is a collaborative post

***Win, win win*** tickets to Seaworld, Aquatica & Busch Gardens

Enter to win tickets to SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens

Florida is renowned world over for its theme parks which are a class apart. From rollercoasters that are sure to give you goose bumps, to free falling jaw-dropping rides, from an array of marine life and animal experiences to educational shows and more. There is something for all age groups in these parks. 

Today, I am super excited to host a giveaway in association with Ocean Florida, for my readers.  Drumroll please……………. a chance to win a pair of tickets to not one but three top parks in Florida namely Aquatica, SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. The 3 for 2 Tickets to the SeaWorld Parks gives you 14 days unlimited access and FREE parking. 

SeaWorld is famous for its rides and shows, Aquatica is a mega impressive water park and Busch Gardens for its hair-raising roller coasters.

Who wouldn’t want to experience all three amazing parks. If you headed that direction in 2019 or 2020 do check out the competition below.


Enter via the rafflecopter below and a random winner will be selected by Ocean Florida

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Note: #collab post – open worldwide, closes 30/09/2019. Prize will be picked by Ocean Florida.


When should a patient visit a minor injury unit?

heart rate line

Pic Credit@ Pixabay

We are all aware that A&E departments are under huge capacity and financial strain. Of course, if a patient is seriously ill or in pain and requires the services of emergency staff then this will always be the best course of action. But sometimes patients have minor illnesses or injuries (such as occupational or sporting injuries in particular) that are not life threatening or severe enough for a trip to A&E.   As competent healthcare professionals it’s vital that they can recognise minor ailments quickly in order to treat – or redirect – patients appropriately. So what steps should they take?

Contact their GP surgery

If they are able to, patients should ring their own surgery for an on-the-day appointment. If it’s after hours they can still ring, but they may be directed to an out-of-hours service. This is usually the case between 6.30pm to 8am on weekdays, as well as on weekends and bank holidays.

Call NHS 

Patients who call NHS 111 will be able to receive advice over the phone, or they will be directed to the local service that’s best suited to their needs. This could be a hospital, an MIU or elsewhere.

Minor Injuries Units (MIUs)

If a patient’s injury is not serious, they can visit a minor injuries unit (MIU) for help, rather than going to A&E. This will free up much needed time and resource to A&E staff so they can focus on people with serious, life-threatening conditions – plus it can save patients a long wait.   Every year, around 7 million people used type 3 A&E services (UCCs, WiCs and MIUs) in England. MIUs are generally led by nurses and patients don’t need an appointment.

Some walk-in centres and MIUs do not have facilities to treat infants and toddlers, depending on the capacity, skill levels and resources available at that particular location. Therefore it’s recommended that patients contact their nearest MIU or walk-in centre beforehand to check whether their child can be treated there.

What can MIUs treat?

Minor injuries units can usually treat things like:

  • Broken bones
  • Sprains and strains
  • Injuries to the back, shoulder and chest
  • Wound infections
  • Minor head injuries
  • Minor burns and scalds
  • Minor eye injuries
  • Insect and animal bites

What can MIUs not treat?

Minor injuries units cannot treat:

  • Breathing difficulties and/or chest pain
  • Major injuries
  • Stomach pains
  • Problems usually dealt with by a GP
  • Pregnancy/gynaecological problems
  • Overdoses
  • Allergic reactions
  • Mental health problems
  • Alcohol/drugs related problems
  • Conditions that are probably going to need hospital admission

Are you on the front line when it comes to dealing with minor injuries?

If you’re a nurse, junior doctor or other allied health professional who regularly sees patients with minor injuries then you may find this Minor Injuries Essentials CPD course helpful. It’s accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and focusses on community practitioners who are required to carry out effective basic injury review and care.

It’s a 3-day course worth 21 hours of CPD with dates available in October 2019, January 2020 and March 2020. Each course is held at St. Bart’s Hospital in London, and the required course material and refreshments will be provided.


Note: This is a collaborative post

Are you ever #driventodistraction

people carrier

Our recent Iceland road trip Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

We love to travel and that’s both locally and overseas and often favouring ferry travel so w can take our own car when we can. On a recent road trip we were trying to guestimate our yearly road miles! Anecdotally it is believed this figure to be around 10,000 a year for us id say multiply that by at least 5 or 6. One thing I will say and I’m very proud to say is how safety conscious my husband is. It is a lot of responsibility for him opting to be the driver the vast majority of the time. I’m not ashamed to say he is the better driver.

Recently I happened upon a game by Kwik-fit which I thought was really interesting. Entitled #driventodistraction it gives you the chance to test your reaction times by answering the questions on the phone whilst concentrating on the road and looking out for the STOP sign and it records how long it takes for you to stop! Sounds easy?? I urge anybody who is on the road to give this a go, you will honestly be so surprised.

As part of their research Kwik fit found that 19% of the surveyed drivers admitted that they sometimes take calls while driving, 17% admit that they read texts off of their phone, and 12% send texts. Aside from the obvious breaking the rules of the road, clearly any of the below can serious diminish your reaction times and even worse still be the time needed to react in an emergency situation.

GPS/ Sat Nav on phones

phone on car dash

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Many of us are guilty of using the sat navs/ GPS on our phones to help us find the location we need however using your phone to type into the map function is no different to txting etc – you still are utilising the phone and the possibility of being #driventodistraction is still there irrespective of how you are using your phone. If you need to use your sat nav feature/ gps on your phone – delegate!

Life is precious and we all owe a duty of care to our own passengers and other road users. There is no txt no call worth it. Pull over when safe or wait until you get there.

As an aside do have a nosey on the Kwik fit webpage for some further information on other safety matter like tyre wear and tear and brakes.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Single Parent days out deals or not!

Having a family travel blog we get lots of queries via email, DM and across social media on our adventures and days out. I am very much a bargain shopper when it comes to travel and days out making use of sites like Groupon to get the best value


Image Credit: PayPlan

One cohort of emails that I often received when I do post a deal or good offer or blog about the activity always  strikes a chord with me.  That is the disparity of prices in the deals that I share for “family” 2 +2 offers and families which comprise of a single parent. PayPlan who are a free debt advice provider have produced a very useful infographic which looks at the true cost of activities for single parent families. Ill be very honest its not something that I had ever considered before but know it really is something I will be very aware of when sharing deals.



Image Credit: PayPlan

PayPlan have produced an infographic which shows the results of their own research into the cost of family activities comparing 2 parent plus 2 children deal when compared with the cost of two parents plus two children. The infographic is reproduced below with kind permission and the results will shock you. The family train ticket cost difference I found staggering.

Other statistics they found include; which I really I really didn’t know was that 1 in 4 families class themselves as “single parent” and a statistic which I find really upsetting is that – a third of children with a single working parent family live in poverty. I find that so sad.

The research found that most single parent families were headed by a single mother and that one in ten have used payday loans or foodbanks to get by.

There is a useful hashtag #CostOfSingleParentLiving where you share your experiences and read about other peoples.

The results of their research found that being a single parent will cost you more in every instance. I had to read that a second time to really process it. So shocking.

Unfortunately I don’t have the magic solution to how this could be rectified and while I doesn’t impact me directly I feel its important to raise awareness of this issue.

Note: This is a collaborative post