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.

Parenting in the Internet Age*

Being a parent in this digital world that we live in can be pretty scary. It seems like as soon as babies are out of the womb, they’re swiping smartphones and playing with iPads, and they’re doing it better than the adults!

As a responsible parent, you want to allow them to enjoy the technology that is available and which will surely be an important part of their future, but you also want to keep them safe and grounded in the real world too. It can be tough, but here are some things that should help you to parent effectively in the internet age:

Use the Safety Features

Most technology and most websites that children might be attracted to using have safety features built in and all you need to do is activate them if you want to keep your kids safe when using them. Of course, that won’t stop them accessing some of the less than child-friendly stuff out there all of the time, especially as they get older, which is why you might want to invest in some good parental control software and learn how to use it, too!

Start the Conversation Early

As soon as your children are old enough to use various tech that can connect to the internet, you should start talking to them about the potential dangers of speaking to unknown individuals online or visiting inappropriate websites. You should do this in an age-appropriate manner so as to not scare them and you should do it in the wider context of asking them what they’ve been doing. By showing an interest in what they’re building in Minecraft, or whatever, it won’t look so much like a lecture, and they’re more likely to open up and let you in on their digital world.

Check What They’re Doing

As a parent in the digital age, you should always be checking on what you’re children are doing. Look at their tablets to see whether they’re using a safe children's app or something that has the potential to be abused; if they’re old enough to be on Facebook, become friends with them so you can see who they’re talking to, and generally just take an interest in their activities.

Limit Their Screen Time

Limiting the amount of screen time your little ones have is really important, especially when they are little because you want them to grow up well-rounded and balanced and that means playing outside, building legos, baking with mummy and doing a whole host of other things that don’t involve devices!

Limit Your Own Screen Time

Of course, it isn’t only kids who get addicted to the internet - there are plenty of parents who are permanently attached to their Apple products too. If you want your kids to lead a balanced life then, y’know, be a role model and spend less time on your own devices and more time doing fun things with them in ‘real life’.

If you can do these pretty simple things, then your children should be just fine online!

*Disclaimer: Collaborative content. 

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Brussels, Books and Being Busy

You know, I had the best intentions to get a bucketload of blogging typed up, pictures taken etc during half term. I'll have so much time to schedule posts, I thought. I mean, clearly I forgot that although I'd be off work for the week, so too the kiddos would be off school and I'd still have councillor and political party member duties. I've even struggled to spend quality time with Joe and he's had most days off as well! So naturally, my best intentions sort of slipped away and now you're getting this ramble! 

Still, as a busy gal, I've got plenty of news to share with you! Last week, I attended a very interesting talk with my local Member of European Parliament, ahead of a trip I'm going on next month as part of a Women In Leadership campaign. I've mentioned it a few times over on Instagram - so go and follow me, I'm hilarious - that I'm going to Brussels to visit European Parliament with a small group of awesome ladies in a bid to discuss why politics still carries a massive barrier to women. I think it's fair to say that a lot of the issues we cover will also mimic the barriers women face in everyday life - so I'm very excited to see if we can go ahead and fix a faltering system! Plus, I've never been to Brussels before so yeah. Excited! 
In other somewhat political news - I have decided to tackle mental health issues in my local area, as well as getting a fair wage for young workers. Can't say I don't keep myself busy, now! I'm the youngest councillor by at least 15 years, so I feel like it's my duty to be a voice for people like myself who might have felt unrepresented in the past. If you know of any excellent charities I could try to work with - I've already got Young Women's Trust in mind, as well as some of the bigger mental health charities - then please share them. Also, any schemes which you think have worked well in your local area that I could possibly try to replicate. 
I've managed to get a bit of my reading mojo back, and recently finished reading Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard. I'm still woefully behind in my reading challenge, but I've just started Sara Pascoe's Animal as an audiobook, so I'm hoping that the new format might help mix things up! Also, I received a few nonfiction books for my birthday - thank god for the birthday wishlist, amiright? - so they should make a nice change from reading fiction too. I'm pretty positive that I can keep it up and I could possibly reach my target by the end of December. Maybe I should start including some of the ace kids book I read to the boys? Ha! 
I had a really lovely birthday and managed to spread the celebrations out for an entire week, which I think in itself is pretty impressive. We had a meal with family, a meal out with friends as well as bunches of flowers and some pretty fantastic gifts - again, thank you wish list! - but that didn't stop me from purchasing the most ridiculous jacket from Monsoon earlier this week. I keep banging on about my capsule wardrobe, but I couldn't help myself. It's so pretty! I manage to wiggle 20% off with my NUS card, so although not strictly a bargain, I'm trying to justify it that way. I think it's pretty much sold out online but I asked the lady in store and managed to pull one out of their stock for me. I'm thinking it will look great with a plain dress and then therefore won't damage my restricted capsule wardrobe too much. 
What's new with you? Let's catch up in the comments!

Friday, 13 October 2017

I've Made over £10,000 from Matched Betting - and You Can Too!

When I went on maternity leave, I was faced with a huge cut in my income, as the maternity pay I received was less than half of my monthly wage. I had considered looking at different ways to make money online - be it article writing, rating websites or other such schemes - but nothing really seemed to fit around my life with a newborn baby. That's until I found out about matched betting. 
Matched betting is a tax-free way to make money by utilising the incentive offers that bookings bring out on a regular basis. These offers are the turned into a guaranteed profit by matched betting - as opposed to regular betting which is simply gambling. Matched betting isn't a new thing at all, and some people have even managed to quit their day jobs to become full-time matched bettors.  Depending on how big your starting 'bank' is and how much time you can spare, the amount of money you can make varies. However, I was able to repeatedly make £1,000 a month while I was on maternity leave, and now continue to make around £500+ each month while I'm back at work full-time. 

Where to start with Matched Betting?

I use a site called Profit Accumulator which I initially used to teach me the basics of matched betting, but can also be used for finding the latest offers as well updating you on the best odds to use. As someone who isn't really in to sport, I found this quite helpful - you definitely don't need to be a footy fan to be a successful matched bettor! When you sign up the the free trial with Profit Accumulator, they give you two offers try out - allowing you to instantly make £45 risk free! This allows you to test the waters a bit, to see if you understand what to do before decided to purchase a membership. At this point, I went ahead and bought one as the free offers covered a couple of months payment. 
I find it's best to keep a pot of money aside so you can access all the best odds when they're available, as they certainly move about closer to kick off. If you can, a pot of around £200 is a great start - but I've heard some people leaving £1,000 aside for their pot. A good way to build up your pot is to simply keep your winnings in your bank account until you've reached your ideal 'bank' threshold

How can I make £1,000 a month?

Honestly, the best way I've found is to set myself a daily target. Whether it's £10 or even £50, by holding yourself accountable, it does help to spur you on. I used a super unattractive spreadsheet to log all of my winnings, which I found on the Profit Accumulator member's forum and adapted it to my needs. Another thing I do to make sure I can make a decent amount is schedule matched betting into my day. Saturday is easily the busiest day for matched betting, with so many different sports going on at multiple times during the day, so I try to get some time in on Saturday morning. I also found that trying to catch whatever horse races were on during Robin's nap time helpful as well, as they could easily boost up your profits by a few quid a time! 
Once you've signed up to a few bookies, you'll start getting new offers as an existing member - this is how so many people can do matched betting for a longer period of time, the offers just don't stop! I find these ones can be quite lucrative as they almost always offer a deposit bonus, meaning you technically have free money straight away. Just be careful to read the T&C on any offer you are emailed, and of course don't click on any links from a bookie you haven't signed up with. I actually created a separate email just for matched betting as you can get quite a few on a daily basis! 
I've been really surprised at how well I've taken to matched betting, so if you have any questions then I will try my best to help! 
*Please note affiliate links have been used. They are at no cost to you, but help keep Love In Modern Life ticking over with exciting content! Content written by myself.*

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Creating a Workwear Capsule Wardrobe

Despite the fact that I've worked in an office for a few years now, since returning to work after having Robin, I seem to have zero clothes suitable for work. I've mentioned previously that I'm attempting to create my very own minimalist capsule wardrobe, and although that has had various success - mostly that I never put aside time to actually get rid of my clothes! - I think a work capsule wardrobe might be a good starting point. I've had a bit of time now to think about what colour scheme my working wardrobe could have, and the sort of fabrics that are office-friendly - read: layers to deal with air-con! So now, it's just starting to curate the items I need to have a little work capsule for the ultimate ease when it comes to getting ready. 

Images sourced via

When I was considering creating a capsule wardrobe, I had constantly thought to myself, 'man, I wish I just had a uniform,' as those days really were stress-free. That's why I think a pinafore is an excellent piece for any workwear capsule wardrobe. I've decided to use navy as my base colour, instead of black, as I think black can be too harsh sometimes. Plus, navy lends itself to matching well with mustard and blush pink, which are my two accent colours. Of course, you could pick any colour for your pinafore - in an ideal world I'd have a denim one too, but that's not work friendly for me, sad times! You can wear a pinafore with a silky blouse, an everyday turtleneck or just a stripy breton top if that's your bag - and that's why I need one in my life. Plus, come wintertime and you can just pop a jumper over the top and that's it - sorted! 
The great thing with buying a few tops to match your pinafore, is that they work with a skirt too! As I'm planning quite a minimalist look, I've went for a suede skirt here so that the texture adds a bit of interest to my capsule. Another way to add a bit of interest is with a wraparound skirt, or something with an asymmetrical hemline. Either way, it's a bit more than your standard skirt and helps to keep your outfits looking fresh. My biggest issue with my capsule wardrobe is footwear, to be honest. I can't really wear heels - in general and at work - so that limits me to flats, which are fine. I currently have some Melissa pumps with a tortoiseshell bow, but I'm really worried about them breaking at work or something disastrous like that. With the colder weather coming, some ankle boots are definitely needed, and I think a tan shade instead of black would work well with my little colour palette. 
So there we have it, a few items to kickstart my work wardrobe! Have you tried a capsule wardrobe before? Any tips?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Time to #RelaxAndRecline with Fenetic Wellbeing*

I think as soon as the weather gets a bit chillier, everyone wants to stay at home and get cosy. As someone who celebrates their birthday in October, I used to wince when family members gave me cosy socks or knitted jumpers as gifts but now I'm all for it. Joe's nana knits the perfect jumper, so we've got at least five in our collection now! When I was asked to take part in the #RelaxandRecline campaign with Fenetic Wellbeing, I couldn't think of a more perfect match! 

I think even before I became a mum, I was all for comfort. Honestly, growing up you would have thought I had a different pair of slippers for each day of the week - did anybody else have some novelty oinking pig slippers? I love staying in and putting on my warmest jumper, some fluffy socks and having something truly comforting for tea - as soon as the nights start getting dark early I'm practically begging Joe to make us a pie! I guess you can take the girl away from the North, but the pie stays with you haha!
Of course, over the years I've been trying to perfect my own little reading corner and you really do need to have somewhere cosy and comfy if you're intending on getting a few chapters read. When the winter days start to come in, I love sitting back and reading Wuthering Heights - which is something I try to do every year - and this year I'm looking forward to reading The Gritterman by Orlando Weeks which is beautifully illustrated and perfect for this time of year. 

Another thing that is great about winter coming is that you have the best excuse for staying in and having a snuggle instead of venturing out into the cold. Evening TV becomes more interesting and that's pretty great for me. Luckily, we're more of a X Factor family than Stricly fans, so at least there's no arguments there. Whether you're a recliner kinda gal or have a fancy seat that's just for you, then Fenetic Wellbeing have the perfect chairs for you and your loved ones! I think recliner chairs like theirs have a bad rep at the moment as an 'older person' chair, but we always had a reclining sofa when I was a kid, so they just seem like part of life to me. It always seems like the next step forward in comfort - and a bit luxurious! On a weekend, you will often find me snuggled up with the boys under a blanket, relaxed and reclined with some popcorn before watching our favourite movies. I know my Dad always loved having a post-Sunday Roast snooze on them, too! 
What do you love about the change in seasons? How do you relax when the evenings get darker?

*Disclaimer: This post was a collaboration with Fenetic Wellbeing. Content written by myself.

Monday, 11 September 2017

It's Nearly My Birthday - The Wish List

I really love buying gifts for people. Luckily for me, August and September includes no less than five birthdays and one wedding anniversary (hi Joe!) to pick the perfect present for. When it comes to myself, however, I really struggle to find something that I would like. I think a lot of it is due to being a parent, and how I'd much rather spend my money on keeping the boys clothed and fed, but another part is just that I'm really indecisive. It pains me to pick something to have for dinner, so picking a gift I'm meant to love and treasure forever is a bit of leap for me! 

But not this year. This year, I actually would like a few things! They're mostly clothes, which is always a good shout, I find. I've been banging on for months about how I want to create a capsule wardrobe, and out of all these picks I think only this Alda dress by Boden would fit in with my planned aesthetic. It looks perfect for work and even for a smart/casual type event - not that I frequent many smart/casual events, mind! - and even better, it's iron-free! Gotta love anything that you can just pull on and go. Another bonus? It has pockets. You know I'm one of those girls that loves a dress with pockets. 

My next two clothing picks are from two awesome mama-run brands. Since opening my own little store, I've really come to idolise anyone who can open a store and make it work. Cos it's bloody hard. Anyhoo, much like the tote bag I designed to help women, Black & Beech designed this mega rad A Mother's Place t-shirt and I need it in my life. Parenting and politics are such a HUGE part of my life, and I love that Stacey who runs B&B is so fully dedicated to making people open their eyes to the injustices in the world, and isn't just trying to profit from the latest 'in' cause. The Sister.Hood sweater is next on my list as I've wanted to grab something from Mutha.Hood.Goods ever since they were suggested into my instagram feed, and if this jumper alone can show my support to the sisterhood - and Gemma who runs the show - then, yes please!

Another gem found via instagram is Mother Pukka - who is trying to make flexible working a thing here in the UK. Because it isn't. And because I've been turfed out of work each time I decided to extend my family. Anyhoo, that's a story for another day I think, so on my birthday wish list I am including Parenting The Sh*t Out Of Life by Mother and Papa Pukka. I mean, the cover alone is pretty dreamy, but all the reviews I've read so far make this sound like the book for a mama like me who is just about getting on with things, even if I do have a shoddy milk-stained vest top lurking underneath it all. 

I don't really read a lot of non-fiction, so I've decided to add a few more for my birthday. How to be Champion by Sarah Millican simply because I haven't read an autobiography in years and I really love Sarah. Maybe it's because she's a northerner and I feel like this connects us on a deeper level. Maybe it's just because she's really funny and after the year that has been 2017 (thus far) I feel like we all need a mighty good laugh, and Sarah's the one to bring it. On a completely different level altogether is Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis. Dylan is at an inquisitive age now, and he often asks about right and wrong, and notices that some people don't have any houses yet some people have lots of houses. I think when I was six, I was more obsessed about getting a pony than about fighting inequality, but I'm so glad we're on the same page now. Hopefully, this brief history of capitalism will not only help me - and Dylan - to make sense of this troubling time, but also inspire us to continue creating a better world for the future.  

I feel like six items is more than enough for a birthday wish list, especially when it's not even a milestone birthday! Have any of my picks made it to your wish list?

*Disclaimer: Please note affiliate links will sometimes be used. This costs nothing extra to you, but helps to keep this lil' space alive. Content written by myself.
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