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Mamma Fairy

Mamma Musings

Top Reasons for allergy testing

When it comes to allergy testing, there are a lot of great options to consider. If you’re dealing with allergies, you know that the outcome and duration of allergies are never fun. So much so that it can be downright miserable on certain days. Depending on what Mother Nature feels like that day, your allergies might be on high alert or they might be easy to manage.

But what happens if you think you have allergies but you really have no idea which ones you’re dealing with? When this type of thing happens, the best bet is to find out what you’re suffering from by the use of allergy testing. For many years this meant making appointments, visiting your GP or a specialist in a hospital however now the existence of home allergy testing kits has made this so much easier. Would you be surprised if I told you that some home testing kits can test for up to 294 different allergens?

Why wait and play the guessing game when you can easily figure out what’s upsetting your system so you can then try and find a fix?

Top Reasons For Allergy Testing

If you’re tired of questioning and wondering, it’s time to take the plunge and find out what allergies you have. (and who knows, you might be surprised by the results!)

  • Can help you find relief

One of the biggest reasons to test for allergies is that it gives you a clue to know what is going to aggravate your system. A simple allergy test can pinpoint the exact causes of your runny nose, stuffy throat, and itchy skin.

  • Will provide comfort and peace of mind

allergy

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Allergies can take a big toll on your physical health but they can also take a toll on your mental health, too. You can easily take an allergy test to find out the root cause of your issues and this can also help you with your mental happiness as well.

  • Find out how to stop those pesky allergies

Once you find out what your allergies are about, you can then find out what you need to do to stop them. A simple fix might be all that it takes!

As you can tell, allergy testing is a simple way to find out why you might not be feeling the best. If you’re ready to learn what is aggravating your system, taking an allergy test can be an almost immediate answer that offers a potential solution!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Features

Low-Effort Self Care For Mums

mother and daughter

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Though we are often taught about the value of taking care of yourself during and after pregnancy, the further you delve into motherhood, the lower self-care drops on your list of priorities. Whether you are balancing work life and raising a family or have a million chores to work through on a single day – it goes without saying that it is often hard to spare five or so minutes to focus on yourself. Nevertheless, you must find a way to take care of yourself – as if you cannot do that, you will, in time, find it harder to take care of others.

With that in mind, here are some great examples of low-effort self-care for mums that can easily find their way into your daily routine! 

  • Understand that being a mum does not have to negatively impact your future goals and aspirations when it relates to your career – and you can find a way to have both bustling family life and a successful career – even during lockdown.  Though this may not seem like self-care, acknowledging your aspirations and allowing yourself to dream is an act of self-care, as it shows that you can still address your own needs as well as your families. 

 

  • Set aside 5-10 minutes each morning and evening that you can dedicate to a skincare routine. It doesn’t have to be a 45-step plan and will likely only involve a few specially-selected products that help you look and feel good. For example, if you feel as though the skin around your eyes seems particularly dry and tired, you can start using retinol creams and serums, which reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. 

 

  • Take a little time from your weekly routine and dedicate it to YOURSELF. Though you love your children dearly, we all need to spend some time alone – whether that means you head out on a walk or enjoy a long bath without being interrupted is up to you – just ensure that you make time for yourself in your schedule. 

 

  • While there are many hobbies you can try out with your kids, you should also ensure that you have some hobbies that are entirely your own too. Whether that means you sign yourself up for a new exercise class or start learning an instrument – don’t be afraid to pursue your interests or try something new. 

 

  • Though this may seem easier said than done, you should ensure that you get enough sleep each night. If your child is particularly young and wakes up throughout the night – try to find a way to sleep when they are sleeping – even if this means you take a quick nap during the day. The more rested you are, the better you will feel. 

 

  • Whether you reach out to your partner, parents or friends – venting is an essential form of self-care that every mum should take full advantage of. Whether your toddler has reached the terrible twos and developed the attitude of a teenager, or you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, venting is good for the soul – as it allows you to clearly express how you are feeling. As a result, it can reduce stress and anxiety, helping you realise that you are not alone and that there is always somebody in your corner. 
Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Features

Should I Send My Child to a Theatre School?

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At specialist schools for performing arts, music, or dance, these subjects aren’t seen as optional extras, they are a fundamental aspect of the overall curriculum. They cultivate young talent and train their students for a career in the arts, using rigorous coaching and practise, alongside thorough academic provisions. While it may seem like a lot to ask of a child, for those with aptitudes in the arts, it may be a better option than a mainstream school. I have teamed up with a drama school in London to explore in further detail.

A full-time theatre school is a fantastic option for students with a flair for the arts. If they were to attend a conventional school, they would have to find time in the evenings and weekends to pursue their acting interests, which can be exhausting. Their teachers may not be supportive of time off for things like auditions or rehearsals. A specialist school will provide them with the best of both worlds, because they will be able to follow their dreams unapologetically, while also benefiting from a fantastic education in academic subjects. 

Many parents don’t consider drama to be a particularly valuable subject at school, but it actually provides a range of benefits that can support a child’s progression in various areas of life. Performing on stage will help them with their confidence and their ability to communicate coherently. What’s more, they will learn the importance of working as a team and supporting their peers to ensure a performance is successful. Students are able to develop a strong sense of character and self-discipline, which might not necessarily be uncovered in a traditional classroom environment. 

Preparing for a career in the arts is fun and exciting, and it also provides youngsters with a range of unique opportunities that they might not otherwise consider. For example, they might go on to chase a career in stage, costume, or lighting design, not necessarily acting.

So, while specialist arts schools are clearly an excellent option for students who are interested and talented in this area, it’s worth considering that there are some superior arts provisions to be found in mainstream education. Only you can decide if it’s the right option for your son or daughter!

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

5 Things To Consider When You’re Building Your Own Home

house

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Purchasing your own home or moving into a new house can be very exciting, but the thrill and satisfaction of actually building your own home is something completely different. To be able to visualise the house of your dreams, then put in the actual sweat and hard work in making that vision come true – it’s a feeling like no other!

But, in all the excitement, we often tend to forget or oversee certain aspects, which could cost us dearly later. So here’s a quick checklist of things to consider when you are building your own home.

1. Builder’s Insurance 

You might not think of it, or, might not think it’s important, but getting insurance for builders is crucial. The very nature of work that builders and decorators undertake is dangerous, and no matter how careful you are or whether you take adequate precautions or not, accidents can and do happen. Either in the form of injury to yourself or damage to property. So it is advisable and sensible to get builders insurance prior to starting work on your house.

2. Know Exactly What You Are Getting Into…

The prospect of building your own house might be very exciting, but know exactly what you will be getting into before taking the plunge. See if you have the time and resources (because you will need a lot of both). Know all the facts and figures and nitty-gritties of the process and ensure that you will be able to follow through and complete the project.

3. Planning Is Important

This might seem obvious but often, we don’t tend to think things through all the way to the end – and that could result in setbacks and issues later. Before ordering materials and starting work, make sure you have the whole picture in front of you. Know exact dimensions of rooms, think  of what furniture you would want and where you would like it, have a solid layout in front of you so there are no goof-ups or regrets later on!

4. As Is Planning Permission! 

This is very important – make sure you have ALL your planning/ extension permissions signed and agreed upon BEFORE you begin any work. Sometimes, these can take time to get approved, but it’s worth the wait, instead of being caught up in legal hassles or wasted time and work later on.

Take into account all the planning permissions you require – check these with your local council if you’re not sure. 

5. Consider Hiring A Designer 

Even though this is your family home and your baby, and you have the perfect vision of your perfect home in your head, sometimes, it is advisable to hire a specialist designer as well. You might know what you want but might not always be able to put pen to paper, as it were. A professional designer will know all the tricks of the trade, and the most practical ways to bring your ideas to life, and will be able to guide and instruct you through the planning process. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Mamma Musings

8 Ways to Save Money on Grocery Shopping

While there are certain expenses you can skip when you need to save a little extra money in your budget, there’s one thing you’ll never be able to do without – and that’s food. Although cooking at home is less expensive than eating out, you’ll still find yourself spending more and more on groceries as prices continue to skyrocket. This could mean that you have an even harder time sticking to your ideal budget.

If you’re struggling to make ends meet lately, and you need a little extra help, the good news is that you can still cut down the cost of your groceries, without having to compromise on nutrition. Here, we’ll look at eight simple ways you can save on your grocery shopping so that you can keep more cash in your wallet!

Money saving jar

Pic Credit: Pixabay

1 – Make the Most of Loyalty Programs

While not every grocery store has a loyalty program, there are various big-name brands that are happy to reward shoppers that stay with them week-in, week-out. Loyalty cards are a free way to save extra money on many of the items you frequently purchase. What’s more, as an added feature, you’ll be able to enjoy significant discounts on other items like gas too!

2- Always Shop the Deals

If you’re not sure what you should be eating in the week ahead, it might be a good idea to check the offers online or see what’s on sale in your grocery store before you plan your meals. This will help you to make the most of the deals available when you’re looking for a cheaper menu. At the same time, if you know there’s a particular food that you like that’s either non-perishable or freezable on offer, make sure that you stock up in advance. Sites such as dealsdaddy.co.uk can be invaluable for shopping the deals. You can also find ways to get free food samples and other grocery freebies on free stuff websites like WOW Freebies.

3 -Download a Cashback App

There are plenty of cashback websites and apps today that can help you save some serious money on your grocery shopping. All you need to do to make the most of the experience is find a cashback website that offers deals in your favourite supermarket and sign up for a free membership. 

4 – Buy Own-Brand

Grocery shopping

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Most of the time, when you buy expensive big-brand products, what you’re really paying for is the ability to say that you’ve bought something from a specific company. Generally, you’ll be able to get the same flavours and meals for a much lower price if you go the own-brand route instead. Remember, some companies will pay a premium to have their foods displayed at eye-level on the shelves. This means that if you want to get the best deals, you should also check the bottom and top layers in the aisles too.

5 – Make the Most of Coupons

Coupons really can help you save a lot more than you might think. You don’t need to necessarily go extreme with your vouchers and coupon codes to enjoy the benefits. Instead, you should focus on finding coupons for the items that you want, need, and generally buy the most often.  There are lots of sites out there that you can bookmark and check into every so often. If you can afford to, you might also think about using coupons to purchase products you can’t typically afford because of their expense.

6 – Buy Some Things in Bulk

While you might not be able to buy many perishable items and fresh fruits in bulk, that doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve great cost savings by bulk-shopping for other alternatives. If you know that you eat a lot of pasta and cereal, then buying it in bulk shouldn’t be a problem. Ultimately, your aim should be to buy products that you’re going to keep using for months into the future. Just don’t buy anything that you think might go to waste.

7  – Make Healthy Choices

In some cases, eating healthier foods could actually save you money. Researchers suggest that when families go on weight-loss diets, they typically reduce their food budgets. Generally, savings can come from reducing portion sizes, but they can also be attributed to spending less money on high-calorie foods at the grocery store. Think about how you can switch to more healthy options.

8 – Frozen, Canned and Dried

Finally, the next time you’re buying ingredients for a meal, try using canned, frozen, or dried foods instead. This can be less expensive than using fresh foods, and equally nutritious too. Most of the time, produce is frozen and dried at the time when it’s most ripe, so you’ll get plenty of nutrients. Additionally, poultry and fish are flash-frozen to reduce freezer damage and give you lots of fresh flavour.

Features

Could You Make A Go Of Running A Business From Home?

Working and raising a family can be a lot to juggle, and many people find that they reduce their working hours or even give up working altogether to be able to be there to take of their families. But could there be other solutions to giving up work? 

Starting and running a business from home is easier than ever, and you can do it around your family – working hours that suit you and your other commitments. But naturally, you might be hesitant, and will need to explore your options carefully before you take the plunge. 

Think you could make a go of running a business from home? Here are some things to consider to help you work out if it’s the right move for you. 

What sort of business would you run?

Maybe you already have an idea for a business, or maybe you need to get your thinking cap on? Whichever applies to you, you need to spend time plotting out your idea to ensure it’s something that you’re passionate about, and has the potential to make you money. 

PC work from home

Pic Credit: Unsplash

If you’re unsure about committing full-time, you can always consider a side hustle to help you earn some extra money and establish whether or not this is something you could see yourself doing long-term.

How will you fit it around your other commitments?

Running a business involves a lot of work, and if you’re going it alone, you’ll have to learn how to manage your time well. It can be difficult to juggle caring for your family with the commitments that come with running a business, and you’ll need to make sure you get some time to yourself as well. Learning to get the right work-life balance when running a home business will help you stay on top of your business venture while still making time for your family and other commitments.

Do you have everything you need?

Setting up your own business will require some initial investment. You might need to get some equipment, build a website, buy stock and more to help get your business off the ground. You’ll need to set up a business account, invest in a card reader to accept payments or use online payment methods to make sure people can pay you in different ways. It’s worth checking for different business grants that might be available to help cover some of the costs of getting your business started.

Are you prepared for the responsibility of running a business?

Most of us dream of being our own boss and being able to call the shots, but the reality of running a business isn’t always glamorous. You’ll have to be prepared for some long hours, a lot of admin and some stressful days, but it can all be worth it to see your business succeed. It might be worth speaking to someone you know for tips and advice about running a business, it could be valuable in letting you know what’s in store. 

Running a business from home can be a great way to build something for yourself and help you earn money while raising your family. If you’ve got a great idea and are willing to work hard, then it could be a risk worth taking to provide for your future. What would your dream business be? Perhaps it’s time to make it a reality! 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Features

4 Ways to Grow Your Business Organically

How possible is it to grow a business organically, especially in this digital era? This question has burdened most entrepreneurs, but fortunately, there’s a practical solution. When the internet broke onto the scene some decades ago, all a company had to do was buy links from brokers to drive web traffic. Others crammed their web content with keywords that had no relation to the theme of their business. However, today the story is different as more than 30% of UK businesses prefer organic growth to rapid growth, as many entrepreneurs believe the former builds customer loyalty, compared to the latter.

Invest in your website

office

Pic Credit: Pexels

As the digital age progresses to suit demand, you need to do the same for your business. It’s not an easy thing to keep up with customer demands and consumer behaviours. To get it right, you need a well-developed website with all the required online tools. For example, a website without digital tools to measure Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is not effective, as CRO is the virtual torch in the digital age. It’s the process of maximising the percentage of web visitors and users in hopes of carrying out a preferred action. For example, the desired action can be any of the following:

 

  • Schedule a call or appointment
  • Purchase a product or a service
  • Sign up to a subscription base

Indeed, the list of actions is endless, but as long as it increases your traffic and generates revenue, that’s good news. Admittedly, working on or interpreting CRO requires experience and skill. Therefore, make it a point to search for the best CRO agency to handle this crucial aspect of your website.

Fine-tune your business model

It takes a lot of skill to determine market demands and, more importantly, how to meet such pressures. It’s critical to fine-tune your business model to give people what they want while growing your business organically. By fine-tuning your business model, you can identify areas of your business that don’t accommodate your target market’s specific demands. Therefore, as you begin to offer new implementation services, you’ll inadvertently cover topical areas that hitherto were not given due recognition.

Moreover, fine-tuning your business model offers you a rare opportunity to see first-hand what works and what doesn’t. Again, your clients and customers will develop a sense of loyalty to your business for placing them high up your list of priorities. As a tip, avoid embarking on drastic business model changes as you may lose a chunk of your customer base if you do so. More so, you’ll have no other option than to start all over again from the ground up. A few relevant tweaks are what you need.

Review all existing sales channels you started with

Most successful entrepreneurs admit that the secret to growing their businesses organically began by evaluating sales channels. The purpose of a review is to give you the chance to assess your revenue streams from an objective perspective. How did you start your current sales channels? Even more, what decisions influenced the implementation of your existing sales channels? Remember that the decisions you took when you commenced business may not necessarily hold when your establishment records growth.

mobile phone

Pic Credit: Pexels

Moving along with the times is key here. Find new and more reliable ways to grow your business organically. Study your competitors and how they push against the odds to maximise revenue. Furthermore, it would help if you identified current trends that drive product sales and cause an exponential increase in service provision.

For example, if you have always adopted the traditional method of selling products and services directly to the customer, you should consider going online. After all, digital is the new global language, and you don’t want to risk getting left behind.

Leverage the advantages social media offers

Social media is undoubtedly one of the best tools the digital age offers. It’s a global platform that offers an endless list of possibilities, especially where networking is concerned. Previously (before social media came onto the scene), business owners were completely reliant on traditional media to reach out to a wider market. As a result, television stations, radio, and print media made tons of money through business advertisements.

Fortunately, with social media, you have the chance to connect directly with your market without having to pay exorbitant fees or charges. Although some social media publicity requires a small amount for sponsored content, it’s insignificant to what traditional media used to require. Now, you have the liberty to grow your business market organically, and at a pace you desire. Besides, consumers feel connected to businesses that interact with them personally, and that’s what you should be aiming for.

Lastly, avoid the temptation of bombarding your social media followers with uncoordinated posts. Keep to a plan that doesn’t flood your followers’ pages or virtual walls with incessant posts. Remember that there are several potential customers on this platform, and you don’t want to put them off.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Fairy Travels

Royal Canal Greenway opens

Royal Canal Greenway

The Royal Canal Greenway, is a scenic 130km walking and cycling amenity stretching alongside the historic 225-year-old canal, officially launched on 24 March 2021.  The €12 million project co-ordinated by Waterways Ireland is the country’s longest Greenway, traversing through Kildare, Meath, Westmeath and Longford. Those wishing to experience the Royal Canal Greenway are advised to adhere to Government guidelines on movement and social distancing. We fortunate to live close to its starting point so looking forward to the easing of restrictions to be able to explore more of this new amenity.

Maynooth Harbour

Pic Credit: Royal Canal Greenway

The Greenway is a former towpath for barges featuring 90 bridges, 33 locks, 17 harbours and four aqueducts. Greenway users can choose to complete the entire 130km flat, off-road trail in one visit or explore the shorter designated routes — ranging from 6km to 15km — between the 14 connecting access points and towns.

Attractions

High-profile attractions linking onto the Royal Canal Greenway are trails to Carton House in Maynooth; Corlea Trackway Visitor Centre — one of the largest prehistoric roads in Europe — in Longford; and Center Parcs. The 165km self-guided National Famine Way also travels largely along the Greenway, following the footsteps of 1,490 emigrants who walked from Roscommon to Dublin at the peak of the famine in 1847.

The Greenway has been completed in partnership with Waterways Ireland; the four local authorities of Kildare, Longford, Meath and Westmeath County Councils; the Department of Transport, and Transport Infrastructure Ireland.

The Royal Canal Greenway also forms part of EuroVelo 2, a 5,000km “Capitals Route” that passes through Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Belarus and Russia.

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Features

How To Make Physical Lessons Safe In Post-Pandemic Schools?

kids playing football

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Schools have had a tough time trying to adjust to the pandemic. A lot of subjects couldn’t be effectively transferred into a virtual classroom environment. Unfortunately, it would be foolish to assume that these subjects are now back on the curriculum as per usual since the schools have reopened. Life as normal has not returned just yet. Therefore, in the meantime, schools remain a significant source of infection risk for teachers, students, and all the school personnel.

There is a real challenge for teachers to make hands-on subjects covid-safe. It wouldn’t be a good idea to drop lessons such as music or PE completely because of health risks. Education serves many purposes. On the one hand, it ensures our children have the skills they need to pursue further education for their career prospects, but also to prepare for real life. While skills such as reading, writing, and counting will be essential, other more tangible subjects play a significant role in their personal growth. What can schools do to make learning safe in hands-on lessons? 

They work with professional equipment

A lot of parents are concerned about chemistry and biology, as these subjects tend to involve manipulation by students as they perform experiments. How is the school lab safe in a post-pandemic world? The answer to the question is more complex than it appears. First of all, it is fair to remind ourselves that the lab provides a first-hand experience in a controlled and monitored environment. Teachers are present to provide the support and guidance our children need. Parents can expect schools to have introduced a range of lab-friendly disinfectants into the science department. This is designed to minimise the risk of infection through lingering germ presence on the surface of the equipment. Schools also rely on professionally designed equipment – Arrow Mixing Products is one of the lab brands in the industry, for instance – that can be fully sterilised and cleaned. 

They try to reduce sharing

microscope

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Music is a crucial element of a child’s education. Indeed, music supports brain plasticity, encouraging creativity, memory, concentration, and stress-relief. Children who receive music education are more likely to improve their performance in other subjects, including maths and English. However, music lessons could contribute to the spread of viruses and infections without an appropriate strategy. What can music teachers do to make lessons covid-safe? School music instruments need to be monitored and disinfected closely. Ideally, whenever relevant, a child should be assigned an instrument so that it can’t be shared with others for the foreseeable future. Singing arrangements also need to reduce the risk of droplets spread through the air. 

They learn tips from public places

PPE classes can turn to public gym businesses for tips and tricks on disinfecting the equipment. It can be helpful to ensure that students are fully aware of the risk of spreading germs during sports classes. Teachers can introduce disinfecting steps that will encompass both pupils’ and cleaning staff duties. It is unlikely that all children will be wearing face masks during PPE lessons even though it would be beneficial. But teachers can schedule activities that reduce physical contacts and face-to-face interactions without affecting PPE performance and results.  

Understandably, parents will be worried about how physical subjects can affect children’s health. However, hands-on classes are more likely to encourage high covid-safety protocols, ensuring that everyone stays safe and healthy. In fact, other classes may bring higher health risks as they might not apply the same germ-reducing strategies. 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

4 Home Renovations That Maintain or Increase the Value of Your Home

Home renovations are interesting to do, but when they are not managed well, they can drag on. Therefore, it’s important to be picky about the ones to go ahead with and those to defer or not do at all. Ideally, it’s best to choose renovations that will at worst maintain their cost, but hopefully increase the value of the home. It’s a little tricky though because some future buyers plan to rip out a new bath because they want something to their taste. Nevertheless, modern updates do still make the property more attractive to list in the future even for people with separate plans of their own. 

Here are 4 home renovations that are worth investing in. 

Convert a Garage into a Living Space

The conversion craze to change a house into something else includes the garage. When you don’t use it to store a car, then there may a possibility to convert it into another living space. Whether this requires planning permission from the local council depends on if it is classed as a permitted development. If so, then it’s possible to go ahead because planning permission won’t be needed. With that said, building regulations do apply here. The property will need to be viewed on several occasions to look at various aspects to approve them for existing regulations, including electrical, water drainage, the supporting structures, and the roof too. 

New Bathroom

internal doors

Pic Credit: Pixabay

A new bathroom to replace an aging one can help to sell the property later. Ultra-modern bathroom designs include walk-in showers and other niceties, and they can be attractive enough to buyers that they may not need to redo them. At which point, they typically do add to the property value. 

It’s also a factor that an old bathroom will put off some buyers whereas others will need to see a discounted price to reflect the cost of replacing it. Either way, it’s an impediment when you want to sell later. However, for the pleasure of using it, there’s little that beats a completely new bathroom. 

Attic, Basement, or Cellar Conversion

Converting the basement, attic or cellar is an interesting project. There’s often a great deal of freedom as to how it will be eventually laid out and used. As Woodford estate agents would tell you, additional usable spaces commonly increase a property’s valuation, whether that’s as a wine cellar, a bedroom attic, or a basement. Many UK houses have space to convert the attic or a cellar, but few enjoy basements to perform conversions, so we do what we can!

Double the Size of a Room

When the house is large enough, knocking down a non-supporting wall to merge two separate rooms into a single expansive one is a popular option. With the penchant for open plan living, less clutter, and a more minimalistic living style, escaping the smaller room size conundrum is very freeing. Do check if you need any type of permissions before doing so and verify that it’s not a load-bearing wall too (you don’t want to affect the structural integrity of your home). 

When you stick mostly to home renovations that at least keep their value and sometimes increase it, you’re onto a winner. In the meantime, you can enjoy the improvement once it’s completed too. 

Note: This is a collaborative post