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Unique ideas for styling your home office

With so many people now working from home, the home office has become more of a necessity than it ever has been. Whether you have a dedicated room for your office or you have made yourself a corner or space under the stairs to get your work done, it’s essential to have it organised and a place where you feel comfortable and motivated to work. 

If your home office was looking amazing, then it might be just that little bit easier to roll out of bed and get straight to work, so all you need is some unique ideas for styling your home office.

Stools for storage

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Remember, this is your office, no one else’s, so you don’t have to stick to any traditions or rules; if you find you can work better with the TV on or sitting on a beanbag, then who’s to tell you not to? So, with that in mind, if you want to store your files and documents in a stool, then go for it.

Who says your home office needs shelves and drawers? There are some great Ottomans you can get for home office storage, which not only make an excellent space for keeping papers, but they also look stylish and provide somewhere for you or other people to sit. 

Go wild with your walls

You might imagine an office has to look professional, plain, and even clinical, but it doesn’t, and it’s your office, so you can do what you want and make it your own.

Whether it’s painting the walls, your favourite colour, adding pieces of art to create a gallery on the wall, it’s up to you. If you want to make it more personal, then add photos of your loved ones and look for picture frames that can be styled to fit the size and shape of your home office. Take a look at picframes.co.uk for further inspiration!

A desk doesn’t need to be a desk

When looking for a desk, remember that you don’t need to go over to the ‘desk department’ to find what you’re looking for. 

There are plenty of things you can use for a desk and if all you need is to rest your laptop on a surface, then choose a stylish dresser that you love or if you don’t want to be sat down all day, then choose a stand-up desk. You have the freedom to do what you want and build a place that really suits your needs and desires.

Think outside ‘the home’

Does your home office actually need to be inside your house? If you have a garden shed or a big enough garden to build one, why not create a home office space outside? 

If working from home is going to be something that you will do inevitably now, then it’s worth looking into creating a more permanent space for yourself with a short commute down the garden every day. 

The best thing is, if you can design this office from scratch, then you can choose where you put your power points, your windows, decide how large or small it will be, and make it properly insulated so that it’s as comfortable as being in your home. 

 

Note: This is a collabotative post
Features

The Benefits of Drama Lessons for Students

Drama lessons offer so many benefits to children. They help to build confidence, develop communication skills and increase creativity.

Drama is a statutory part of English in the National Curriculum for England and it supports many other academic skills. It also allows children to develop personal skills, which they can carry through to adulthood.

I have teamed up with an independent school for boys in Buckinghamshire to explore more of the benefits associated with drama lessons…

Confidence

child reading

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Drama lessons are an ideal way to develop a child’s confidence. Speaking clearly and confidently doesn’t come naturally to everyone. However, this can be taught and practiced through drama.
Drama lessons also require children to perform in front of their classmates; this can also help to boost your child’s confidence. It gives students an opportunity to step out of their comfort zone in a safe and structured environment.

Teamwork 

Drama lessons encourage teamwork. The ability to work as part of a team is a crucial life skill for youngsters, because it helps them to form friendships and put differences aside in order to reach a goal. Furthermore, in drama students will experience different opinions and perspectives, as well as receive feedback and advice.

Empathy

Drama lessons help children to understand more about the world around them. By exploring different cultures and lifestyles, children tend to become more inquisitive. What’s more, by acting out a variety of different emotions and experiences, children are able to become more appreciative of how others think and feel.

Production

For those children who are not happy to take centre stage, there are other important tasks they can learn through drama. For instance, they could help to make costumes or get involved in set design. School shows also provide an opportunity for students to help with lighting and sound. Furthermore, children will learn about famous plays and movies and may even write a script of their own!

 

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Features

Back to college tips for students

I have been involved in the education sphere for over 10 years now and this time of year I would often get a lot of questions on preparing for returning or starting college. However this is a start/ return like no other and tech will really be at the forefront of this and  choosing the right college tech is going to be more important than ever before. Irish brand Mint+, one of Ireland’s leading providers in smartphones and home tech has revealed five top tips for students to consider when purchasing their college tech essentials. They have very kindly let me reproduce these tips below.  Check out www.mintplus.ie for a wide range of back to college  tech offers including, ipads, iphones, smart watches, home tech and more!

Mint+ Back to College Tech Tips include;

  • Memory – Make sure to buy a laptop or iPad that will stand the test of time. Remember whatever you buy needs to last for the duration of the course, so when buying a brand new laptop or refurbished iPad make sure it has enough storage space to store all your college assignments, lecture notes and whatever else needed over the duration of your course. Saving your files down on the cloud will keep documents  safe for years to come and free up some extra space on your device.

Mint+ Top Tip if buying an iPad make sure it has at least 64GB space to  ensure you don’t run out of storage space any time soon.

  • Size – While it looks unlikely that university students will be returning to lecture halls anytime soon, buying a lightweight, transportable iPad or laptop is important to ensure you get the most use out of any device. There is nothing worse than having to carry a heavy laptop or an iPad that does not fit in your bag. If your iPad or laptop makes your college day a little bit more awkward, the likelihood of it being left at home is high!

Mint+ Top Tip Buy a small iPad or laptop that is easy to transport and is lightweight.

  • Functionality – Be logical when choosing a new device, buying the latest and greatest products on the market can get very expensive. Buying an older model of an iPad saves a lot of money but does not downgrade the quality of the device. The latest advances in laptop and iPad technology aren’t huge and you won’t notice the differences in a model that is slightly older in comparison to a brand-new device.

Mint+ Top Tip – Do some research into the device your thinking of investing in before purchasing.  Compare the functionalities of brand-new devices with devices that are a few years older. Differences between slightly older devices and brand-new devices are not huge and buying the latest models on the market may not be worth spending money on.

  • Think Green – Like fast fashion, technology and the production of smartphones and other devices has a huge impact on the natural environment. Buying refurbished or pre-owned devices can not only save a lot of money, but also helps protect the environment. Pre-owned and refurbished devices have a considerably lower impact on the environment as they do not require the same amount of natural resources, human manpower or international airfreight as brand new devices require.

Mint+ Top Tip – When buying pre-owned or refurbished devices make sure you buy from an experienced retailer who offers you a warranty and is established in the consumer electronics/refurbished device market.

  • Guarantee – Always look for a guarantee with any tech product purchased. It’s not common but faults can occur from time to time, a guarantee will confirm that the manufacturer will repair or replace an item, if a fault occurs within a certain time frame after purchase.

Mint+ Top Tip – All Mint+ iPads and phones come with a one year warranty.

Hoping to ease the financial strain for one lucky student, Mint+ has launched its ‘Back to School Product Bungle Giveaway’, where one lucky student will win all their college tech worth €2,000. The Mint+ bundle giveaway includes a brand-new Apple iPhone 11, an iPad Mini 4, an OtterBox Cover of your choice, Beats by Dre Solo 3 Headphones, Smarter ikettle, an Apple Watch Series 3 and lastly a Google Wifi Home Router, which will ensure the transition of back to college is that little bit easier!

To enter is simple, check out @Mintplus.ie on Instagram and Facebook for details, competition is open until the 30th of September.  Wonder could I enter?!!! What a great prize.

Features

Teaching Your Kids to Respect Other Cultures

Teaching your children about the many cultures of the world is a great way for them to learn how to respect and celebrate diversity. It will also give your kids a deeper understanding of the traditions and customs their school friends may follow. The ability to respect other cultures is a skill that will benefit your child throughout their lifetime.

Here are some great tips from an independent girls’ school in Surrey, on how you can teach your kids to respect other cultures…

Make a calendar

kids globe classroom

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A really fun way to teach your kids about other cultures is to make a calendar of holidays and traditions celebrated around the world. For example, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Hanukkah and Ramadan. Add these events to your calendar and use each one as an opportunity to teach your child about the celebrations that are taking place across the globe. Discuss the people, the religion, the music, the food and any other interesting facts about the special occasion.

Get cooking

Expand your child’s cultural awareness through food. By cooking together you can introduce your child to many different foods from around the world. In addition, your child will learn about various ingredients, utensils and dining etiquettes shared by other cultures.

Watch and learn

Reading books and watching documentaries is an ideal way for your child to learn about different cultures and traditions. Books and media can help to transport us to anywhere in the world and experience new lifestyles. Spend time with your child exploring various cultures online and by reading books together.

Be a good role model

It is important for parents to be good role models and demonstrate cultural empathy and sensitivity. Parents must lead by example and always embrace diversity. If you are not open-minded about other people, you can’t expect your child to be. When your child asks questions, use them as an opportunity to help your child understand and respect cultural and ethnic differences.

 

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Features

What are the Benefits of School Trips?

School trips are an ideal way to extend learning outside of the classroom. There are many benefits associated with school trips. They not only provide fun learning opportunities, but they also help to develop a number of academic and personal skills.

Educational trips usually begin at nursery, with something like a bug hunt in a local park. However, as children get older, school trips can take students to many exciting destinations around the world!

These trips are arranged by nurseries, schools and colleges to support all kinds of subjects, such as geography, history and science, as well as languages.

St Hilda’s School in Harpenden believes that school trips are an important part of children’s education and here are some of their reasons why…

  • Educational trips allow children to immerse themselves in what they are learning. This is not only more fun, but it is also more memorable. For example, it is one thing to read about a historic event in a textbook, but to actually stand in the exact spot where the event happened is quite a different learning experience!

    child reading

    Pic Credit: Pixabay

  • For older students there may be opportunities to travel abroad with their school. This experience can help to support personal development, as well as enhance a number of academic skills. For example, a trip to Spain can be very beneficial to children learning Spanish at school. This is because it allows children to fully immerse in the language, food and culture.
    Educational trips allow children to become more independent. They also encourage the development of personal skills, which can help students to build up their confidence. Furthermore, travelling with classmates on a school trip is not only fun and exciting, but it can help children to form new friendships.
  • School trips can be used to motivate students. Teachers and parents can use the prospect of a school trip to encourage good behaviour and hard work.
  • Finally, relationships between teachers and students often strengthen during school trips. This is due to spending more social time together. This can help students to show more respect for their teachers and improve the overall behaviour of a class.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Building a Relationship with Your Child’s Teachers

A good parent and teacher relationship is essential to a student’s academic success. The more information shared between parents and teachers, the more your child will benefit.

Here is some great advice from an independent school in Letchworth Garden City, on how to build a successful teacher and parent relationship…

Attendance

Good attendance and punctuality will help to give a good impression to your child’s teacher.  Time management is not only an important life-skill for your child, but it can also help to build good relationships with teachers. This is because good attendance shows that you value your child’s education and appreciate the teacher’s hard work.

Parents Evenings

kids at school

Pic Credit: Pixabay

‘Parent Evenings’ are an ideal opportunity for parents and teachers to communicate. Parents can find out how well their children are progressing at school and teachers can give advice to support learning at home. These events are vital to your child’s development and should not be missed. Use this valuable time with your child’s teacher to discuss any concerns you may have about your child.

After School

If you need to discuss an important issue and cannot wait until parents evening, it is important to find a suitable time. Parents often try to speak to teachers in the morning, when they drop their child into class. However, this isn’t always the best time for teachers. They will be busy getting their class organised for the day ahead. Instead it is best to wait until the end of the day, when the children have left, or arrange an appointment with the school office.

Thank you

A simple ‘thank you’ can go a very long way. Parents can establish a good relationship with a teacher by providing positive feedback. If your child has enjoyed a particular lesson, let the teacher know or encourage your child to tell them. You could also arrange a thank you gift at the end of term to show just how much their hard work is appreciated.

 Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

 

Features

Cycling: How will things change post-lockdown?

Cycling: How will things change post-lockdown?

By Catherine Bedford, Dashel

Cycling has become more popular than ever during lockdown, as people dusted off their old bikes to enjoy the outdoors when they are taking their daily exercise. Now, with people returning to work, increasing numbers of are planning to commute by bike. This is great to avoid using public transport and spares using the car. 

But how is cycling likely to change as we enter this new normal?

Will it stay popular? 

cycling

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Yes, I think that once people realise the benefits of cycling, they’ll be happy to continue. Firstly, if you’re cycling to work, you’re getting your daily exercise in the time when you’d previously have been sat on a bus or a train. This, in turn, saves you time going to the gym in the evening, freeing up time for you to spend with loved ones. 

Secondly, people are happier in their locality when cycling. As they move more slowly through their commute; they can learn more about the local area, spy shops and cafes that they might like to visit or find a green spot that they might like to go to with family at the weekend. You can also get some good old-fashioned fresh air.

Staying safe 

It’s vital to be safe and being as visible as possible to other road users is essential. But this doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Cyclists should ensure they’re legal and as safe as they can be while sticking within their budgets. For example, you don’t have to be clad head-to-foot in day-glow to be seen – a high-visibility sash that you can wear over your coat, and costs as little as around £8.00, will still ensure you’re seen.

Helmets are extremely important for safety. If you aren’t a fan of the traditional helmet shapes, there are some nice stylish ones out there these days!

New cyclists may not have realised that there are more routes than they’d have imagined where they can cycle away from cars. These cycle lanes really help keep you safe!

Will cycling fashion change?

I think that as people cycle more there will be a move towards more natural fibres. This will help ensure that they don’t arrive at their destination hot and sweaty. People will be far keener to wear cotton than polyester, for example. 

Already popular is wicking fabrics, which are breathable and help to wick away sweat. You may be surprised how much wicking fabric you already own. The chances are your trendy yoga gear is fine for getting on a bike with.  

I’d always go for comfort over fashion but, if you want to be a fashionable cyclist, there’s plenty of great, stylish fashion-wear out there and I think as people get more used to cycling as a way of life, they’ll find their own cycling style. Also, when new cyclists realise how much money they’re saving on travel expenses, they might start to invest those savings in specialist or stylish kit. 

I have one thing to say to all of you new and returning cyclists: Enjoy!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Catherine Bedford is Founder of Dashel. Dashel offers a range of slim, ventilated, lightweight cycle helmets manufactured in the UK. With a distinctive urban feel Dashel Helmets are made from recyclable materials – ensuring that they are low impact at the point of manufacture and produce very little waste at the end of life. The new Re-Cycle helmet will be ground down into new helmets at the UK factory when it is finished with. The helmets are portable, sold packaged in a handy rucksack that means there is no superfluous packaging. They come in an array of classic colours. Choose from black, blue, sage green and red. Dashel helmets are £79 and available from all good cycle shops and online at Dashel.co.uk

Features

Finding Fitness After Lockdown

personal trainer

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Many people around the world are finding themselves struggling to get back into their daily routine of working out after the lockdown restrictions from COVID are being lifted. Social media has lots of memes about the “covid-10” or “covid-stone” however as we tentatively emerge from restrictions there is never a better time to look after yourself and work on your health and fitness.  But when it comes down to it, why put that amount of pressure on yourself to handle all alone?

Finding Fitness After Lockdown

In a world where we have access to almost anything that we want or need, it just makes sense to reach out and find a local personal trainer that can help you shed the pounds. From a 5-pound weight loss goal to a 40-pound weight loss goal, there are personal trainers that specialise in helping you shed the weight quickly and in a healthy manner as well. For me, its not just about the weight, its the physical and mental health considerations that are equally as good.

If you’re on the fence about whether or not a personal trainer is right for you, here are some great benefits to consider.

It is possible to get into the best shape of your life with the help of a personal trainer. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reach your fitness goals.

  • Personal Trainers know the best workouts that are effective

This is literally their jobs. They know what it takes to get your body toned and the weight to start falling off. In fact, using a personal trainer will not only get you there faster, but it will help you find a workout and a rhythm that works for your body as well. Their programmes can be tailored to meet your specific needs and fitness or health goals.

  • Using a personal trainer helps you not have to think

vitamins

Pic Credit: Pixabay

What a huge perk! Having someone set up your workout, tell you what to eat, and basically give you the blueprint for success sounds pretty amazing, right? This is what a personal trainer can do! Not only can they help guide you and find ways to get on track easily but they’ll be with you during the journey in case you have further questions or need assistance as well. In terms of costs of a personal trainer that can vary from on average £30 – £60 per hour.  You are paying for their dedicated expertise, one on one service and a programme tailored to your needs. Money well spent in my view. I utilised the service of a personal trainer prior to my wedding a number of years back and I can honestly say it was the best money I spent. I still to this day use the tips and learnings from those sessions and apply them to my own routines now.

If you’re ready to drop the weight and find yourself getting into a good plan for fitness, enlist the help of a personal trainer now. There has never been a better time to shed the COVID-19 pounds and start working out with a personal trainer today!

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Travel Upgrades That Make Family Vacations Easier

Traveling as a family is such an enjoyable experience, but it can be quite challenging as well. To make things easier for your family, take into consideration these travel upgrades that help lighten the load for your trip. 

All-Inclusive Deals

Planning a trip for your whole family can take a really long time. There are so many variables to consider, which is why opting for an all-inclusive deal can save you a ton of worries. These types of deals are made with families in mind, and have the top three necessities:

  1. Hotel or accommodations
  2. Food 
  3. Entertainment 
aircraft

Pic Credit: Pixabay

If you want to get away, don’t have time to plan, or just prefer to have someone else handle it, then go for all-inclusive packages. Remember to read reviews on deals and hotels before choosing; they are usually the best indication of whether the deal is good or not.

Private Transportation

Getting to and from places with a family can be a real hassle. You’ve got luggage, kids, strollers, and more to think about. What are some of the advantages you get with private transportation?

  • You can reserve the transport for yourself 
  • Get where you need to go in time
  • Make sure you have enough space for all your luggage 
  • Comfortable seating for the whole family
  • More safety 

Having a private transportation option like Premiermini Cabs is truly one of the best ways to start and end a trip. 

Fast Passes 

Having a PSA Precheck, Global entry, or other fast check-in options shaves of hours of waiting, a great bonus for families with little kids, since waiting can really take a toll on them and their parents. 

Fast Passes are also an excellent tool to have at theme parks or other vents, basically anywhere where you don’t get caught waiting for an extended period. It can be a significant investment, but it pays off in fewer tantrums and more fun!  

Upgrade Your Travel

Getting upgraded to the better class in your transport choice can change the whole trip. Just consider that having a little more can turn an experience from uncomfortable to enjoyable.

That’s not the only perk; you’ll also get better food, board before other passengers, and have preferential treatment. 

Get Ready for Flying 

aircraft interior

Pic Credit: Pixabay

One of the best things to do is to prepare kids for flying is to make sure that they have plenty to keep themselves occupied for the flight including entertainment, snacks, and a travel pillow for just in case they want to take a nap.

Bigger Rooms

One of the best upgrades you can splurge on to make your family vacation go smoothly is a bigger room or accommodations. This is one becomes more important as kids get older and need their own space; it also benefits parents that can take advantage of having their own space. 

Don’t forget, with both kids and grown-ups, one of the keys to a great vacation is being well-rested and comfortable. 

At the end of the day, these upgrades are an investment that you’re not likely going to regret. They enhance your holidays, so you can truly enjoy time with your family in the best way possible.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

Green Living Tips for Families

Creating a greener household can bring about countless rewards. In particular, adopting eco-friendly habits will reduce your carbon footprint and teach your family the importance of protecting the environment. Becoming more sustainable can also reduce your household expenses and boost your family’s savings. Luckily, there are countless simple ways for your family to become more eco-friendly. Here are some of the best green living tips for families:

Switch to renewable energy 

ipad

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Switching to renewable energy can have a significant impact on your carbon footprint and significantly lower carbon emissions. Unlike traditional fossil fuels, renewable energy is generated from natural sources and releases no harmful pollution into the atmosphere. Renewable energy can also save families money on their utility bills as it is typically much cheaper than electricity from the main grid. If you are considering switching to renewable energy, then one of the most popular options is to have solar panels installed on the roof of your home. Your solar system should provide you with a reliable source of electricity year-round and could result in annual savings of £160-£430, according to Green Match. You also have the option to switch to a green energy provider that generates electricity from renewable sources such as solar or wind. 

Reduce food waste 

The average family creates large volumes of household food waste each day. Much of this waste ends up in landfills, where it slowly decomposes and releases carbon dioxide and other harmful emissions. You can easily reduce your food waste by adopting sustainable habits in your household. Here are some of the best ways to cut your food waste

  • Plan meals in advance and only buy items that you need for the week. 
  • Check expiry dates and make sure that you eat food before it goes off. You should also store food correctly to extend its shelf life. 
  • Grow fruit and vegetables in your garden. 
  • Eat leftovers the next day rather than throwing them out. 
  • Choose food items and products with the least amount of packaging. 

Buy sustainable clothing

globe

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The clothing industry produces huge amounts of waste, and surveys show that the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing each year. Fast fashion is contributing large volumes of pollution and having a detrimental impact on our environment. With that in mind, families should make an effort to become more sustainable when it comes to their clothing. One of the easiest ways to make your clothing greener is by purchasing quality items from ethical brands such as yuniont.com. Purchasing high-quality clothing items will reduce the need to buy new clothing as frequently, thus helping to minimize waste. Buying second-hand clothing from charity stores is another great way to recycle clothing and reduce the amount of waste associated with the clothing industry. 

Conclusion

There are endless ways to make your household greener. Teaching your family about the importance of sustainability is crucial, particularly when we are in an age of environmental decline. Try implementing the above tips to reduce carbon emissions, create a healthier living environment, and save money.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post