Monday, 11 December 2017

Do You Rely on Review Websites?

I think it goes without saying these days that as consumers, we rely heavily on reviews and positive feedback. I know I won't go near an eBay seller with a high negative feedback score! As the festive season approaches, as well as looking for a nice little discount of the most-wanted item of the year, I'm always sure to check for feedback. When I was younger, I can remember my brother desperately wanting some weird Godzilla toy for Christmas because on the advert it moved and had some life-like Godzilla sounds. Back in the early 00s, review sites weren't as prominent and my poor parents ending up shelling more money than sense over a crappy plastic reptile toy which only moved one of its arms, and had two nearly identical roars and was about half the size it looked on the advert. I'm sure plenty of kids woke up that Christmas and were pretty gutted! I know I would have been! 

But it's not just toys you can review, of course. We can review all sorts of things these days, from hotels, restaurants to college courses and you can even review bingo sites. To some it might seem a little excessive to have so many review sites, but if you're parting with your hard earned cash then it only makes sense that you want to ensure you're not sending it to something dodgy or even a scam. A few Christmas' ago, Joe and his siblings clubbed together to buy their brother a replica football shirt from a historic winning season, and this ended up being a scam. They lost out on around £60 and as it was so close to Christmas, it was incredibly frustrating for them to have essentially thrown the money into the wind. Had they have looked around the internet for some reviews on the site, they could have potentially uncovered it was a scam. 

Personally, I love a good review site but if I'm honest I am definitely more of a lurker than a poster. On odd occasions I have posted positive reviews to hotels or restaurants I've visited, but luckily I've never really needed to post any negative feedback. I do think though that as consumers it is our duty to prevent terrible scams from happening to others - or even just warning people about a particularly negative shopping experience. 
*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. Content written by myself.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Self Esteem Tips for the Festive Period*

When we’re in the Christmas period, the threat of the camera being whipped it is more ever present than ever. It’s a happy time, and people want to be able to capture that on camera to keep for years to come and look back on, remembering all the good times we’ve had with friends and family. However, if we don’t feel too good about how we look, we’re probably going to avoid the camera shutter, and have nothing to look back on when the time comes. So, here’s some self esteem and beauty tips to keep the festive period happy and comfortable for you, often for posterity’s sake.

Practice for the Big Picture

The actual Christmas day is still a short while away, so we have time to perfect our look for the morning photos, and those celebratory ones after the big lunch when we feel a little stuffed after all the turkey! Taking photos by ourselves when we catch our good angles makes us more confident to be in front of the lens rather than behind it, so use this to help you realise how good a photo can look; you’re actually a good model!

Get a Good Camera

Camera quality is one of the most important things to making a portrait come out well, but if you can’t afford to change up your model, don’t sweat it! It doesn’t even have to be a new camera, just a different focal length. This is an incredibly practical thing to do to make you feel like you look better in a photo, as trying to fit a 3D model onto a 2D screen is always going to have issues.

Yet, the longer a focal length, the better a canvas there is to work with. You’re going to want something in the mid scale for a relatively normal looking portrait, or a wider angle for something more artistic.

Working on Your Smile

If you’re feeling a little down and out when you see yourself smile in photos, first of all remember that it’s a sign of your happiness. It’s good for you to smile, as even a fake smile can release endorphins and tell our brains we’re happy! So considering we want to do that more, we’re going to need to learn a few things

If the intrinsic techniques don’t quite work out for you, you can always turn to more cosmetic purposes to help yourself feel good about who you are. If you feel bad about the positioning or lining of your teeth, you can always invest in Invisalign, which you still have time to get ready for! Take a photo in which you can really appreciate your natural beauty, especially when you’re surrounded by eye catching baubles, magical fairy lights, and friend and family decked out in tremendous winter formal wear.

There’s a lot you can do to help yourself feel better, especially when you’re in a season where a lot of emphasis is put on looks and appearances!

*Disclaimer: Collaborative Content.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Women Have It Tough!*

Compared to men, us women really do have it tough. We work hard in our jobs, and the go home to look after a family. This involves the cooking, cleaning, looking after children etc. Then on top of that, we have to deal with all the hormonal changes we have to go through, as well as the dreaded monthly cycle. Not only this, but we’re able to carry a human in our womb for 9 months, and then squeeze it out, all whilst wishing your partner would have a vasectomy. But all of this is just one of the reasons why women are so great. We can do so much that men can’t, and we definitely handle it a lot better than men ever would. But if you’re at a stage where you think you have it tough, you first need to know that you’re not alone. You then need to realise there’s ways of getting through the bad patches. Take a read of this article to find out more.

That Time Of The Month

Easily one of the most annoying times of the month, the time of the month. A time where emotions are heightened and an appetite for anything junk food related is developed. Some men say they can tell when a woman is menstruating just by looking at them, which they probably can. We walk around like angry fire breathing dragons for a week. But there are ways of taming the dragon. The first thing you need to do is make yourself comfortable. Find a method of protection that works for you. Some people had the feel of pads, and some people hate the unreliability of tampons. A happy medium is a soft cup. They’re a lot more comfortable, and better for the environment in the long run, plus they’re more reliable. The next thing you can do is fuel your body with whatever junk food it needs. The happier your stomach, the happier your mind. Cuddles also really help if you have a partner.

Share The Load

This is something not all women do well. Not because they don’t want to, but often because their partners refuse to. Our lives are stressful enough as it is. Wouldn’t it be nice to one day come home to the house fully clean, and a nice meal on the table? It would, wouldn’t it. But this just isn’t the way the cookie crumbles in some instances. If you’re struggling to balance everything all the time, just talk to your partner and ask them cook and clean for two nights of the week. Yes, the work equally as hard as us, but it would be nice if they also worked hard in the home as well. This will make you feel so much better in the long run. Those two days of having some relaxation to look forward to will make the week that little bit easier for you.

There’s so many more things us women have to go through, and so many different ways of dealing with it. All you need to do is figure out how to ride the train, because there’s no way of getting off.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative Content.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Nipping Nuptial Feuds In The Bud Before They Start*

Any wedding, no matter how stressful, can be the beginning of a long, happy marriage. We all have spats here and there and during the stress of planning a wedding, it should be no surprise that one sticky topic or the other can come to a head. But you don’t need the extra hassle, so it’s worth staying on top of potential arguments anyway. Here are four that you can defuse in advance and a few ideas on just how you do that.

Share the load
If someone isn’t pulling their weight while organising the wedding, it will eventually become a source of frustration. Even if a bride wants to control most aspects of the wedding, the groom should be prepared to share the planning duties. The same is true of the reverse. If one person is left to facilitate everything, it will lead to building resentment that can lead to accusations of laziness or a lack of caring, even if neither is necessarily true.
Make the big decisions together
There are some aspects that should most definitely be decided on together. A man might want to surprise his wife by-to-be by choosing what he thinks is the perfect ring. If he doesn’t know how to choose a diamond or your particular tastes, however, it can be a big misstep that’s awkward to untangle. Similarly, if you’re having a wedding abroad, then you need to run down a list of possible destinations together to make sure that you can both help as many of your guests make it over as possible. Consult one another before making any major decisions.
Talking traditions
Opposites attract and, usually, that’s a wonderful thing. A mix between a super conservative groom and a progressive, trend-breaking bride can make for difficult wedding arrangements, however. Similarly, if you’re from different cultures, then whose traditions do you stick with? It’s up to the both of you to decide what to keep and what to break. Keep one another’s families in mind, however, and ask each other about what traditions you consider most important. For a meeting of two cultures, a compromise and a mix of both can keep each party happy.
Family or familiar foes?
The in-laws are a common point of contention for many brides. That might not be the case for all, but if it is for you, then try to make the effort to bridge those gaps in advance. If you have a mother-in-law that is too controlling or trying to get too involved in the wedding, then calmly talk to your partner about it before you start ringing the bell and putting on the boxing gloves, however. Get him on board first. Then, it can do a lot of good if you present a united front, but you take the lead when it comes to any in-law issues.
Above all else, communication and closeness are key. It can be easy for a little bit of distance to build in the leadup to a wedding as you’re busy planning and you might not have as much time for another. Make that time and together you can work through the vast majority of potential catastrophes.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Why No-one's Reading Your Blog*

The realisation that no-one is reading your blog and that you’re not currently a very good blogger is a very bitter pill to swallow. However, it’s one that everyone has to swallow at some point. Once you get over the hurt feelings, then it’s time to look at the realities of why that’s true and what you can do to take control once again. You need to figure out just why no-one is reading and nip the issue in the bud.

You aren’t marketing it
You can be the wittiest son-of-a-gun on the whole planet with insights that would shake entire communities, but if no-one’s reading it, it simply doesn’t matter. You have to take the time to grow the community and to market your blog and sell it to the public. Sites like can, for instance, drastically improve your standing in search engines, bringing more organic traffic in. Make sure you’re reaching out to the community as well. Share your posts with other serious bloggers, ask about guest posting, and promote others content so they’ll do the same for you.

Your site is whack
The content matters only as much as the website it’s on allows it. Bland visuals, garish font choices, and a lack of visual content to contrast the written will hamper any blog’s chances of success. But it’s not just aesthetic. The structure matters just as much If you’re entirely new to site building, then get professional results from professionals like If your site isn’t built to manage and update content regularly, it will hard to navigate and harder for you to work on.

Your content has no value
Content is king, of course, and a blog is there specifically to deliver content. So, what are you delivering? Is it all self-serving anecdotes about your life that do little but to highlight aspects of yourself? Is it uninspired lists of things that everyone already knows? Having true insight and new information is hard, but adding value as suggested by is crucial. Make it educational. Make it fact-driven.  Use it to deliver actionable tips that readers can implement as soon as they finish. Comedic and emotional value are both worth chasing, too. But never (ever) publish a piece without considering what value it provides to the reader.

You haven’t found your voice
Newcomers come to the blog because it provides something of value to them. Long-time fans stay because they like the person writing it. But you’re only going to get to that point with two strategies working together. The first is taking the time to engage with your community as mentioned above. The second is using guides like to make sure that your copywriting is actually good and that you have a voice of your own. Be honest, be yourself, and don’t feel like you should be second-guessing your voice constantly. Let your freak flag fly, as they say.
Finally, one of the main reasons that’s worth considering is that you might be new. If your blog hasn’t had the time to grow naturally, then don’t give up. Work with the tips above in mind, but keeping plugging and keep producing great content.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.

Friday, 24 November 2017

No Time For November

Pals, I must apologies for the somewhat dramatic post title today. I thought it sounded snappy when I first typed it but I keep looking at it and reading it in my fancy voice and it's a bit pants, isn't it? Oh, well - it's kind of true, though. I've found that November is going by incredibly quickly, and although this isn't a monthly review of sorts, I just wanted to type something out before we somehow end up in December. 

Tiny me in beautiful Brussels
November's been a bit of a mixed bag for me, really. It started off pretty well, and I went to Brussels with an amazing group of women as part of my Women in Leadership group. It was really eye-opening to meet so many fabulous women who are all doing great things, and no doubt going on to do even greater things too. With this inspiring trip in my back pocket, I also had another little local election lined up, with myself as candidate for a position on the town council. Unfortunately, local politics is just not taken seriously by most people here and we had a puny turnout of just 13%. We put our best efforts in with campaigning but sadly I missed out this time. Although I thought a win would be extremely unlikely and know that I worked hard and our team worked hard, I'm still feeling a bit sad about it all. However, everyone else is - quite rightly - pointing out how much effort we put in, and we know we just need to brush ourselves off and get on with the next job, and that does lift the spirits a bit. The show must go on, ey? 

Of course, I'm not a fully fledged politico just yet, and day to day, I work in a local school as a reprographics assistant. I've pretty much worked there for three months now, and I think I've really gelled well with the place. I get on really well with the other people in my office, and my printing skills are second to none. The school were really encouraging when I told them about my trip to Brussels, and it really gives me a much better job satisfaction then my previous workplace. So all in all, that's pretty good going. The next fortnight are packed with mock exams, so I've been printing my socks off to get thousands of exams ready - as well as the usual load of work - and I definitely think it's helping me to hone in on my prioritising skills. 

I mean, I say that, but have I found any time for myself? No, not really. My reading goal is pretty much unachievable now, I had to force myself to allow a spare 15 minutes to be dedicated to some life-admin for December, and despite getting the sewing bug just before my birthday, I haven't sewn anything since! I was determined to sew our very own advent calendar, and I'm really not leaving myself with a lot of time to do it... 

How has November been for you? Is anyone else feeling like this?

Monday, 20 November 2017

Give Your Elderly Relatives The Best Support Possible With This Advice*

It’s essential that pensioners have lots of support when they retire and begin the twilight of their lives. That is why all family members must work hard to ensure their grandmothers and grandfathers never feel lonely or struggle. There is some fantastic advice below that should guarantee you cover all the bases and give your relative the best possible experience before they finally leave this mortal coil. Of course, some people require specialist help, and so you might have to put your hand in your pocket. However, you owe it to the oldest members of your family to care for them as they once cared for you.

Make time for your relative

In most instances, your family member will just want you to make time for them. That could mean taking them on days out to different parts of the country or just nipping around to see them for a chat. Older adults can often begin to feel like a burden, and they will also become lonely when they stop working. It’s vital that you try to enrich their lives and make them as enjoyable as possible with days out and other activities. Far too many folks end up spending all their time at home in front of the TV. While that’s a relaxing pastime, it could shorten their life and leave them feeling miserable. Social interaction is just as significant as physical activity when people reach old age.

Help out with shopping and other chores

You should always ask your relative how you can help them every week. Sometimes the person might benefit from you offering to do the shopping or something similar. You might encounter times when your loved one can’t manage their cleaning jobs due to health issues according to House Beautiful. Don’t leave them sitting in a mess at home. Go around and clean up for them! It will only take you a couple of hours, and the person will appreciate your contribution. Other chores you might like to assist with include:

  • Painting and decorating
  • Ironing and washing
  • Making bill payments and banking

Seek out the best professional assistance

The last thing most people want to do is put their relative in a care home until there is no other option. Experts from companies like Cayon Care Services say that many UK families feel the same way, and that is why it’s critical that you find a suitable home care support service. For a small fee, you can arrange for specially trained staff to visit your loved one when you’re at work or otherwise occupied. The individual will get some much-needed social interaction, and they might even make some new friends. Just be sure to read online reviews before making your selection. Some care providers are honest and reliable while others just want to take your money.

Now you know how to give your elderly relatives the best possible support; you should find it easy to ensure they have an excellent quality of life. At some point, the person might require around the clock care. However, until then, there is a lot you can do to enrich their lives and ensure your relative doesn’t become sad or depressed.

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content.
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