Thursday, 26 May 2016

Women of the world

Powerful Women

Provided by Blue Vanilla

Monday, 23 May 2016

Tips For Being A Safer Driver On The Road

Tips For Being A Safer Driver On The Road

Every time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you take your life and those of your passengers into your hands. Sounds a bit melodramatic? Well, according to statistics, a driver will file an accident claim on average every 17.9 years, so in a 60-year driving career that's three accidents. Here are five tips to avoid these situations and be a safer driver on the road.

Be courteous
A little courtesy goes a long way when it comes to the daily drive. It sounds simple, but courtesy includes things like giving way, allowing other vehicles to merge, not following too closely and generally appreciating everyone would dearly love to get where they want to as quickly as possible, but you can't all do it by racing at once.

Be defensive
There's an old saying: "the most dangerous thing on the roadways is everyone else." It pays to drive defensively with the actions of other people in mind. The bulk of traffic accidents are caused by small mistakes that are magnified by a failure of others to anticipate them. So drive defensively, predicting and pre-empting danger.

Be prepared
Maintaining the safety of your vehicle and knowing what to do in an accident are part of your responsibilities as a driver. Your vehicle should be in perfect working order, with a regular maintenance schedule that checks brakes, steering and tyres.

It's also a good idea to have your insurance details on hand and the contact information for your lawyer. Companies such as The Personal Injury Lawyers offer a no win, no fee service, and if you've been in an accident that isn't your fault, they can assist you in seeking financial restitution for any injury.

Be diligent
Rushing to get to work or school increases your risk of an accident, so make an effort to leave on time or five minutes early. Not only does this make for a safer drive, but it also decreases your stress levels.

Be educated
Even the best drivers could use a refresher course every now and then, so stay up to date on the road rules, and there's no harm in taking a driver course to update your skills.

Safe driving is about being aware, being considerate and being proactive. With just a little effort, education and diligence, you can be the small statistic that's never had the misfortune to be involved an accident.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Fun Fitness Additions

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Fitness has been a big part of my life over the last 2 years, and I genuinely cannot believe that it has been that long (2 years in June) since I decided to turn my lifestyle on it's head and make some big changes, that have not only stuck, but become a way of life.

My love of fitness has opened up so many other passions to me, one of which happens to be my admiration for gym kit. I very recently changed some furniture in my bedroom, and this meant taking all of my gym wear out and transferring it into a new chest of draws. It was only in this moment that I realised I owned more leggings and sports bras than I did anything else. 

When it comes to my sports wear I like to add a bit of fun to my wardrobe, the reasoning behind this is because for so long, everything I owned was Black. I felt that Black slimmed me down, and didn't draw attention to the parts of my body that I was uncomfortable about. Now it's a completely different story. The brighter, the bolder, the more out there... The better.

When I am looking to purchase a new item for my bulging gym wardrobe I look at the following aspects:

- Is it bright?
- Does it have a quirky saying/slogan?
- Can I personalise it?

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

For me I want something that is going to look good, and put a smile on my face each time I wear it. I especially love it if I can add a personal touch to it, like maybe throwing my name or Instagram name somewhere on the item. I recently got my hands on a new Tee from Spreadshirt, Spreadshirt have a variety of different T-Shirt designs from hen party's right through to training tee's!

Printing T-Shirts is the name of the game and they even have a online T-Shirt Designer so that you can design and personalise your very own creation by adding photo's and custom text. As I already had an idea of what I wanted I looked through the Women's Funny Gym collection and decided on a Black 'You Can't Squat With Us' tank top with Pink neon text. On the back I personalised it and picked a funky font that featured my name on the lower back.

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

The order process was simple and the product arrived within a week, and the finished tank top looked brilliant. I was so pleased with the end product and have been incorporating it into my work out attire for the last few weeks now. It has washed really well and I love the loose fit it provides.

I have been really impressed with my experience with Spreadshirt and I will definitely be using them again, you can personalise so much more than just T-Shirts on the site, and they have a whole range of gifts that you can add your own mark to, such as sweatshirts, hoodies and mugs!

Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

7 Unusual Gift Ideas For Teens

Gift Ideas For Teens

If you have ever tried to buy a gift for a teenager then you will know how incredibly hard they are to buy for! But with birthdays, Christmas and other gift buying events coming round faster and faster, the stress of choosing the perfect present isn’t going away anytime soon.

But fear not, because here are seven unusual gift ideas that you might not have thought of, but that teenagers are guaranteed to love!

1. A Zookeeper Day
How about a day out at the zoo with a difference? Rather than just looking at the animals, they will be getting up close and personal with them as they experience what it is like to be a keeper for the day. This experience is available at several zoos across the country, but take a look at this one at ZSL London Zoo to give you an idea of what would be involved and prices.

2. A Magazine Subscription
What could be better for a teen than a gift that continues to arrive through the letterbox every week or month for a whole year! Most teens love to read a magazine and probably pick them up at the shops, so choose their favourite title and have it delivered to their doorstep instead. Click here for some inspiration!

3. Live Music Tickets
Whether your 13-year-old is Little Mix’s biggest fan or your 18-year-old is desperate to go to their first festival, this is definitely a gift they won’t be expecting. Either go with them and spend some quality time together doing something they love, or speak to their best friend's mum and plan to surprise the pair of them!

4. Scratch Off World Map
Your teen might not want to swap their favourite boyband/football team posters for an educational wall map – but this isn’t just any old map. This map is a great addition to any teen's wall as it enables them to scratch off all the countries they have been to. Then as they get slightly older and start to dream about travelling the world, they can use the map to plot their route.  

5. Afternoon Tea with a Twist
Have you found that, from the day your child became a teenager, you started to not only speak less, but spend less and less time together? Then this gift is the perfect opportunity to sit down and really catch-up – all over some mouth-wateringly delicious cakes, of course. What better afternoon tea for a teen than one that brings Willy Wonka’s treats to life, right in front of their eyes? The Chesterfield in Mayfair serves up cakes and pastries inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, alongside chocolate tea and finger sandwiches!

6. Personalised Diary 
Teens are pretty secretive and like to keep a lot to themselves. So why not get them a personalised diary or notebook, so they can write down all their private thoughts and feelings?

7. A Mug
A mug doesn’t sound like the most exciting present, does it? But, get them a funny, quirky or personalised one and they are bound to love it! How about one with photos of him/her and their friends or one that sums them up, such as ‘Never Known Without My Phone’?

All you need to do is think outside the box and buying for your teen won’t be quite as difficult as you first thought. 

Five additional moving costs you need to take into account when saving for a home

According to research by Post Office Money and the Centre for Economics and Business Research, the cost of buying a home has leapt by 59% in a decade. That is not just an increase in the costs of the buildings themselves, but a reflection of how moving costs themselves have increased.

The report, featured in The Telegraph, found that costs in 2004 came to £7,475 but had increased to £11,894 by 2014 – a leap of around double the 29.4% growth in living costs in the same period. So what exactly are the costs to watch out for? Here are five of the most common.

*Stamp duty
The stamp duty rules changed considerably after the 2014 Autumn statement. Before that a ‘slab structure’ was in place, with buyers paying a rate of the purchase price. Since then buyers pay a percentage of the price on any property costing more than £125,000, which will cut the value for many buyers (although not all). To find out exactly what you will pay use the MAS stamp duty tool, and remember that if you’re saving for a second home as an investment you’ll have to pay an extra 3% on top.

An essential part of the process if the home you are buying is of a certain age. A basic condition report survey for a modern home may cost £150-300 but is essential for you and the mortgage lender. However, a homebuyers’ report which will highlight surface level problems such as necessary repairs and damp, will cost more (£350+). And a Building Survey, looking at advanced structural issues, might cost around £1,000, depending on the size of the building. However, it could save a lot of heartache if it identifies severe issues.

*Bank transfer fees
Local news sites regularly report on the ignorance of potential homeowners of the fees that are present when buying a home, and one of the most common areas of surprise is bank transfers. We assume that since we live in the technological age of 2016 the transfer of money really shouldn’t cost anything, and admittedly fees of £30+ (depending on the bank or building society used) are not huge – but they can soon add up.

You’ll need a solicitor or conveyancer to carry out the legal work when buying a home, and the fees can be pricey. Taking into account the local authority searches to ascertain who looks after local footpaths and relevant planning issues (£2-300), and setting up the actual mortgage itself, you could be looking at £1,500-2,000 in total.


Removal costs depend on a large number of factors, including the distance to be travelled and the volume of items to be moved. Other points that could alter the price include moving during peak times (summer holidays, weekends etc) and movement of any precious items. You can save some costs by moving some objects yourself in the car, but items such as sofas and white goods are unlikely to fit in small cars. For a three-bedroom home, expect to pay a minimum of £400-500.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Off the beaten track of Thailand

Off the beaten track of Thailand

Thailand is a wonderful location to explore either on your own, with your partner or can even be considered as a destination for holidays for kids. But instead of visiting the same tired old tourist spots, where the crowds and prices can get overwhelming, head to these locations off the beaten track and experience a whole new side to Thailand:

Chiang Mai
Usually visited by intrepid explorers looking to investigate the breathtaking temples or partake in a little zip lining, Chiang Mai isn’t necessarily off the beaten track but is a location less frequented by families.

For those with kids though, the location is worth a visit and The Elephant Nature Park is a top destination. As a family you can volunteer to assist with the everyday care of the resident rescue elephants or stay overnight and experience these incredible creatures in the flesh for two days.

If you have older kids the late night walking market could be a good destination, it’s perfect for those who are adventurous when it comes to food as the stalls lining the street offer traditional thai dishes and snacks to sample and enjoy. It does get busy, so if you have young children it might not be the best choice but it’s definitely worth a visit to soak up the atmosphere.

Koh Lanta
For those families who really want to get away from it all, Koh Lanta is an ideal destination. Other travelers describe it as ‘Phuket and Koh Samui 20 years ago’ as it remains wholly unspoiled and without the troves of tourists on its white sand beaches. Perfect for families who love to explore there are snorkeling and diving trips to sign up for, mangrove forests as well as caves and waterfalls.

It’s a great location for beaches, with Koh Rok Island, Long Beach and Lanta Klong Beach coming up top on Trip Advisor. Kantiang Bay is also worth a visit, rarely overridden with people, it offers everything you could desire when it comes to a beach in Thailand with stunning surrounding landscapes, white sand and clear blue waters.

Try a homestay
More and more people, wishing to enjoy an authentic experience in the country, are signing up for homestays which involve sleeping and living alongside a Thai family in a beautiful location. You will assist them in their day to day tasks as well as eat at their table and experience true Thai cooking. You will also be shown around the local area.

It’s an accommodation option many families don’t necessarily go for but if you’re looking to show your kids another way of life – and perhaps a humbler one than they experience at home with their iPads and TV – it’s the perfect choice.

When it comes to destinations off the beaten the track, Thailand is quickly being taken over by the tourist scene so you may have to look a little harder for locations that aren’t inundated with tourist elements. 

Monday, 16 May 2016

6 of the UK’s favourite TV dads

Who are our favourite dads on television? It’s a question that’s likely to inspire debate among TV aficionados, especially as Father’s Day approaches (click here if you’re struggling to find a present). Here are six suggestions for perfect papas that have lit up our small screen. 

Zak Dingle

Zak Dingle
Zachariah Bartholomew 'Zak' Dingle has now been on our screens for almost 22 years as a caring and loveable father figure who is not above throwing out the odd threat or fist here and there. Played by Steve Halliwell, Zak has let himself down in recent months by leaving partner Lisa, and who can forget some of his other storylines such as losing one son (Butch) and beating up another (Cain), while suffering a mental breakdown and trying to control his rebellious daughter Belle? Still, the Patriarch of the Dingles is still one of the soap’s more popular characters.  

Ben Harper
Robert Lindsay’s beleaguered father-of-three doesn’t have an easy life as the father of geeky Michael, boy-mad Janey and drifting but kindly Nick. However, he made it to series 11 of the long-running BBC series with wife Susan (Zoe Wanamaker) despite the numerous issues of pregnancy, funding through university, and bizarre incidents such as squatters and rich businessmen interrupting their lives and the joining of secret cults. Wanamaker claimed that the series was axed because it was ‘too middle class’, but maybe it was also because scriptwriters thought Ben was just too tired out by his crazy life.

Jim Royle
As the Guardian noted, it’s amazing just how much mileage the writers squeezed out of a character who seemed to engage in, “nothing much: just Jim (Ricky Tomlinson), king of his castle, remote control of state in hand; a portrait of a family at peace, sated and insulated from the post-anything-goes world by booze, tea, biscuits, fags and mass entertainment TV. And yet it says just everything.”

Homer Simpson

Homer Simpson
Ok, he’s not a British dad, but since the first Simpsons episode to be broadcast in the UK was as far back as 1990 on Sky One we are probably just as fond of him as our cousins across the pond. Few dads can be as flawed and perfect in one package as Homer, whose quotes such as “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try”, and “Movies are the only escape from the drudgery of work and family … No offense” have inspired a generation.

Ken Barlow
William Roache was there from the start in playing Ken Barlow in Coronation Street, from the first episode on December 9, 1960. Father to the predator that is Tracy, the studious and kind-hearted Barlow has let his perfect mask slip on several occasions, to the chagrin of his beloved late wife Deirdre. Numerous flings with characters, including Rita and Alma, don’t disguise the fact that he’s always been there for his belligerent daughter.

Mick Carter

Mick Carter

The newest character on this list of legends comes from Walford. Mick Carter, played by cockney treacle Danny Dyer, arrived on our screens on Christmas Day in 2013. His present to the Eastenders viewing public has been storylines such as overcoming his fear of water, the discovery that Shirley is not his sister but actually his mother, and coping with Linda's rape by his brother Dean – all while still remaining a decent bloke. Indeed, Dyer has admitted that the role virtually saved his career after a prolonged period of struggling to find work.