Celebrate Christmas Differently This Year

Celebrate Christmas Differently This Year

Are you getting stuck in a Festive rut?

We celebrate so many Christmases in our lifetimes that it can be really easy to slip into a rut.

How many Christmases have you lived through?

How many have you been a witness to? How many turkey dinners have you eaten? How many Christmas puds have you seen ablaze, a stack of burnt matches left to one side after your Dad’s spent half an hour trying to get the damn thing lit?

The question, I suppose, isn’t really ‘How many have you seen?’, it’s more ‘How many more will you see?’

No one plans on living forever, right? So, in theory, we only have a finite number of Christmases allotted to us when we are born onto this Earth – surely that means that we should make the very most each and every one whilst we have the chance?

With these haunting, nagging thoughts in mind, we’re going to be looking at a few ways that you can revitalise your Christmas this year and truly get yourself out of your Festive rut:

Decorate your home in a new way

Everyone’s guilty of getting a little lazy with our Christmas decorations. Each year, we end up dragging the same dusty box down from the attic and pulling out the same tired, old decorations. They each have their place on the tree and around the home, turning your house into an eerie Festive Groundhog Day where you feel like you’re constantly stepping back in time. Break the cycle by buying some new lights and decorations (don’t forget to buy the right AC-DC power suppliers!). Challenge yourself to do something different this year and make things feel new!

Go somewhere different to celebrate

Home might be wear the heart is, but that doesn’t mean that you have to spend the rest of your Christmases in the same place. If you’re finding your Christmases are getting a little stale, then why not celebrate somewhere new? You don’t need to travel thousands of miles away to change things up, you can even stay in your own home town. Book an Airbnb to keep things cheap and book a table at a restaurant to take the stress of Christmas cooking off your mind.

Get in the spirit with volunteering

Many people choose to do a little bit extra during the Festive period, whether that’s donating something to a food bank or throwing some extra change to a homeless person – but have you considered doing something a little bit extra? There are many volunteering programs that charities run throughout the Festive season, so this is a great opportunity for you to donate more than just some money to an important cause. By pushing your boundaries and helping out a cause you believe in, you can truly recapture your Christmas spirit.

Join a choir or carol singing group

There’s nothing like singing to lift your spirits and get you in the festive mood. You don’t have to be a stellar singer to join an amateur choir or carol group, many of these organisations rely on a constant turnover of new members in order to get their numbers up to performing strength, so they’re always happy to accept new singers. Don’t worry if you’ve never performed in public before, the confidence you’ll gain from singing with you new friends will be able to pull you through and make your Christmas truly one to remember.…

Planning Your New Year’s Party Right

Planning Your New Year’s Party Right

New Year’s Eve can be a divisive matter…

…are you thinking of planning a party this year?

It can be so easy to get jaded by New Year’s Eve. Following on so close from the Christmas festivities, it comes at a time of year when we’ve really all had quite enough of rich foods, drinking and (dare we say it) socialising.

Still – New Year’s Eve isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so you may as well grab it by the horns and organise your very own shindig, so that you can all but guarantee that you’ll have a good time. What’s the worst that could happen, right? 

The pressure of organising your own New Year’s party can often be truly overwhelming, as tempting as it might be to see it as ‘just another’ party, in reality you’re shouldering the responsibility of making sure that a whole group of people have a night to remember. In order for everything to go off without a hitch, you need to plans in place for every facet of your party, so that you can be in complete control of the situation, whilst also being able to relax and have a good time.

Here are a few hints and tips to steer you in the right direction: 

The Guest List

For some this might be a no-brainer, just write up a list of all your friends and family, then send out invites. Easy, right? Nope! Before you send invites out you need to consider the complex social web that you and your friends exist in. If you invite all your friends, remember that their attendance could be conditional on if they can bring their own friends – this could have a significant impact on your overall headcount and the venue that you hold your party in.

Your Party Venue

Once you have a (rough) idea of how many people that you’ll have in attendance, you need to think about where you’re going to hold it. Your home is a good option, as long as you have the space and don’t mind clearing up the mess. If that’s not an option, then you could consider hiring a venue. Although this might cost a considerable amount, you can at least rest easy with the knowledge that your cream sofa is not in danger of getting stained. There’s also the option of taking the party to a pub or restaurant – just remember to contact them in advance.

What to Drink

Should you choose the cheaper option of hosting a party in your own home, you’ll want to make sure that there’s plenty of drink to keep your party in a good mood. You can usually rely on guests to bring a bottle or two with them, so you shouldn’t have to worry about buying anymore wine. Of course, as the host, it’s vital that you have a good stock of sparkling wine, Prosecco or Champagne for the countdown to midnight – other than that, it’s always a good idea to grab a few crates of beer to keep the masses happy.

Eating for 30

New Year’s parties can be difficult to cater to. Unless you want to spend hours in the kitchen slaving away whilst everyone has a good time without you, a sit-down option is really not a good idea. Buffets can be prepared in advanced and offer your guests the chance to nibble away as the night winds on. If there’s one thing that you don’t want it’s a home full of drunk, hungry people – this is a recipe for disaster and guaranteed mess that only you will be responsible for cleaning up.

Divide Your Duties

Our final bit of advice for first-time New Years’s party organisers is to not take the responsibility for the whole night on your own. There’s only so much that one person is capable of and if you’ve not done much event organising before then you might find that the pressure of hosting could completely overshadow your enjoyment of the evening. Divide up the duties (Food, Drinks, Entertainment) to your most trusted friends so that you can host and enjoy yourself – remember, New Year’s Eve only comes once a year!…

6 Winter Preparation Life Pro Tips

6 Winter Preparation Life Pro Tips

Winter is coming…

If you haven’t noticed, the nights are starting to get a little longer and the days are starting to get shorter!

No one likes to see Summer disappear in the rear view mirror of life, but don’t despair, there’ll always be another one. For the time being, before Winter sets itself in, now’s a good time to prepare a a few things to make the transition a smooth one.

The colder months of the year can throw all kinds of little hazards and problems your way: cold weather, increased risk of illness and even depression – so why not make it easy for yourself this year and plan ahead?

Fire Up Your Heating Early

It’s probably been a while since you’ve had to use your central heating. Although it might be tempting to put off switching it on until you really need it, wait too long and you risk the pipes freezing up! Make sure everything’s in working order ahead of schedule to avoid any nasty surprises – no one wants to wake up in the morning to discover that the heating’s packed in…

Switch Up Your Duvets

If you’re a savvy individual then you won’t be heating your house whilst your asleep, who needs to be toasty whilst they’re unconscious? Set your heating to a timer and switch out your lightweight duvet for a heavier tog, that way you can save on your heating bill and still stay comfortable throughout the evening. Now’s a great time change up your sleeping arrangements and also give them a wash whilst you’re at it!

Up Your Vitamin Intake

Here’s the hard truth. During the upcoming Autumn and Winter months you’re not going to get the right amount of Vit C in your body. Less sunlight means less Vitamin D, which is one of the key minerals required for you to stay happy, it’s also crucial in processing Vitamin C – if you don’t get out in the sun, you’ll struggle staying healthy. Make sure to top yourself up with a Multi-Vitamin supplement, just to keep on top things.

Buy In Emergency Rations

This might sound like the ravings of a paranoid survivalist, but the truth is that it always pays to be prepared. With adverse weather conditions getting harder and harder to predict, you can’t always guarantee that you’ll be able to make it out to the shop. Keep your larder stocked with some basic rations: tinned foods, dried goods, packet mixes – just in case you’re stuck in the house for a few days. It always pays to be prepared.

Dust Off Your Winter Jacket and Buy A New Hat

The weather might well stay balmy for another month yet, but that doesn’t meant that you shouldn’t dust off your winter jacket to see if it’s in good condition. 6-8 months in your wardrobe might not have done it the world of good, it’s always a decent idea to check that it’s not been mothballed before you head out into the cold weather with it. This is also a great time of year to invest in a new hat. Go practical with an insulated job or indulge in something a little more up-class, like one of these fashionable pom pom hats made with fur.

Winter-Proof Your Vehicle

It doesn’t matter if you ride a bike or drive a car, your vehicle should be rigorously tested before the Winter months kick in, to make sure that it’s going to keep you safe when the roads eventually ice over. For bike users, you’ll need to test both your front and back brakes, if in doubt, it’s always best to replace them. More rain and a risk of ice makes this a dangerous time for cyclists – don’t forget to buy new batteries for your lights too. Drivers should likewise ensure that their oil, water and coolant levels are topped off – don’t forget to pack your car with an ice-scraper and anti-freeze too!…

5 Ways You Can Get Ready For Summer!

5 Ways You Can Get Ready For Summer!

Summer might feel like half a lifetime away…

But there’s nothing quite like getting prepared for hotter days to come to make the days go by that much quicker.

From getting your back garden BBQ ready, to safe-guarding your swimming pool to prepping your wardrobe – there’s a whole heap of things that you can do to pass the shorter days so that you’re perfectly ready for the longer ones to start!

Here are the 5 best things you should be doing right now, to make sure that your Summer goes off without a hitch:

Install and Safeguard Your Own Swimming Pool

Nothing says Summer-time fun better than your very own Swimming Pool in your back garden. You’d be surprised at how cheap you can get them installed at, but one thing you don’t want to skimp on are the safety features. If you’re planning on holding some phat Summer-time-P-Diddy-style pool parties, then you’ll probably want to avoid the resulting law suits that will eventually come your way when a reveller slips and cracks their head open on your patio.

Make sure you buy the requisite warning signs, safety rails and non-slip fittings. If you feel like all the Health & Safety features are starting to overbear your pimping new Swimming Pool, then invest in a fancy automated cover (http://www.paramountpools.co.uk/aquamatic-safety-pool-covers/)  to restore the missing cool vibe and impress your guests come summer time.

Revamp Your Summer Wardrobe

I know, I know – you’ve spent the last three months wrapped up in woollen scarves, the warmest of jumpers and cardigans – the last thing you want to do it start rifling through your Summer time selection. Think on this though: British Summers are incredibly unpredictable, they start and end abruptly with little or no warning, don’t be left in the warm with nothing to wear!

Here in Britain we’re sometimes treated to our first hot day as early as March, don’t be the loser left waddling around in their Winter Peacoat, make sure that your Summer outfits are prepared so that you can jump into the Summer vibe as soon as the situation calls for it!

Get Your Garden Back Under Control

Winter may well be the time of year for huddling in the warmth inside and scorning the outside as much as physically possible, but whilst you’re doing this your back garden will be slowly but surely running out of your control. After four months spent inside, ignoring the Jungle of vegetation that was once your garden, you’re going to need to head out there at least once before Summer begins again.

No one wants to have a BBQ amongst the ruins of a post-apocalyptic Suburbia – save yourself the embarrassment of anyone seeing your unkempt yard and get a handle on it this Winter. By hacking down any overgrown weeds, dead-heading any wilfully determined flowers and getting handy with the shovel and rake now, you can save yourself the hard work when the weather gets warmer in the Summer time.

Book A Last-Minute Festival Ticket

Don’t be the uncool kid left with no party to go to come the Summer break! They may have become wildly commercialised showcases for semi-talented one-hit wonders, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get in on the hype with everyone else.

In today’s day and age there’s a music festival for everyone, whether it’s a high-intensity rave in a Spanish meadow or a 3-day sojourn through the laid back art scene of Texas, there’s a music-based holiday out there for every taste. Do your research, save up your cash and then book your tickets before they all go – time is off the essence!

Get To The Gym And Stay There!

If you haven’t put the gym on your mammoth New Year’s Resolution list, then it’s about time you got real and had a long hard look at yourself in the mirror. You’re not going to be impressing anybody at the beach with your body in the post-indulgence state that it is now. Take the first step in your fitness journey today and get your body back on the road to recovery.

Many gyms run great offers at this time of the year, take advantage of them and you can even get a few cheeky bonuses thrown in for free. A one-on-one session with a personal trainer will help you find your weak spots and make a rock-solid plan that will take your from the dark corners of Winter all the way into the discerning light of Summer.

Summer will be here before you know it, prepare now and you can make the most of it when it finally arrives!

The Seven Learning Styles: Which One Are You?

The Seven Learning Styles: Which One Are You?

There have been numerous studies assessing how people learn with many attempts made to categorise the various learning styles that can be applied to an individual.

The following categories are intended to be general suggestions as to where most people would fit in.

You may find that one these learning styles is applicable to your own particular learning strategy, equally you might find that your learning style fits into many of the styles mentioned below.

All of us have different strengths and weaknesses, requiring each of us to tailor our own learning experiences so that we can process and store information more efficiently. Below are seven learning styles and a brief example of how best to learn if you fall into one of these categories:

Visual Learner

These kinds of learners benefit greatly from looking at images and pictures. For example, they may find it easier to learn about Scientific equations through the use of diagrams of the individual molecules rather than examining blocks of text or equations. 

Aural Learners

Sound and music aids these learners more than anything else. Whether it’s a well constructed musical song or a lecture that makes particularly good use of audio cues, auditory learning could be the style of learning that  informs you best.

Verbal Learners

Words can be the key to our understanding extremely complicated topics. However, even the simplest of concepts can often be explained best through the simplest of topics.

Physical Learners

Often referred to as ‘kinesthetic’ learners, these people find that they can grasp concepts much easier if they have a way of touching or using their bodies in some way or another. 

Logical Learners

Through the use of numbers, symbols and systems, these learners find it easier to learn by applying symbols and signs to the lessons that they learn.

Social Learners

These kinds of learners thrive best when they are working with others. Group work and team based activities will bring the best out of these learners. 

Solitary Learners

Sometimes people learn best when there’s no one else around! People who would rather learn by themselves are known as solitary learners who need isolation in order to absorb information. 

Although you may find that you fit into many of these categories, sometimes its a god idea to simply remind yourself of the different ways that you can learn!

Profesionally Declutter Your Life and Feel Happier

Profesionally Declutter Your Life and Feel Happier

A Clutter-free home is the cornerstone of mental well being.

A messy house is not only a sign of a disorganised life, but it also crowds the mind and stops you from being happy. Although you could make attempt to declutter your house yourself – you’ll have better luck hiring professional help.


Do You Feel Stressed When You’re At Home?

In order to be able to relax properly, your mind needs to be at ease and your thoughts need to be clear. The floors should be clear of any obstructions, allowing free passage. Work surfaces should also be clean and clear. Minimal adornments in living spaces will also help to keep your mind free from distractions and give you the chance to switch off.

Your house should be your place of security and well-being – if you’re struggling to relax when you’re at home, and you feel like the walls are slowly closing in around you, then there’s a chance your house might be a little cluttered.

How To Tell If Your House Is Cluttered

There are a few ways to tell if you live in a cluttered home. If any of these things happen to you on a regular basis, then there’s a chance that you may need to make some changes to your life:

  • Looking for small objects, such as house or car keys, can take a long time. Only frantically turning over books, newspapers and other detritus yields results.
  • When inviting guests inside, you often have to ‘apologise for the mess’, clearing away papers, plates and boxes to make space for them takes time.
  • There’s a strange smell emanating from an inaccessible part of your living room – you haven’t seen the cat in a good couple of weeks.

What You Can Do About It


In the event that you are living in a cluttered environment, there are a few things that you can do, to remedy the situation. It’s important to gauge how long you’ve been existing in such a state for. If you have only recently started to notice the above symptoms, then there’s a chance that you can slowly start to reverse the clutter by yourself. This involves systematically removing objects from each room and throwing them away. As long as the rate of removal is higher than the rate of which you collect things, you should start to see an improvement within a few weeks.

However, if you have reason to believe that you have been living amongst clutter for over a year, there’s a good chance that you have become fully acclimatised to your surroundings. As such you may find yourself attached to the mess that has now become an embodiment of your existence. If this is the case, the you may well need some professional help.

Moving Forward With Confidence


If you’re struggling to move forward with your life then you may well need to hire a professional organiser to take control of your situation for you. There’s a whole range of different price options with many of these services, what’s most important is that that they know how to enter a house and directly target the source of the clutter – allowing you to clear out your house and enjoy your life that much quicker.

Don’t struggle to get by, living amongst your clutter – take the initiative and pull your life out of the quagmire.

Exercise Will Make You Happier – Which Type Is For You?

Exercise Will Make You Happier – Which Type Is For You?

Taking part in regular exercise will help you stay slim and happy.

For many people, the notion of regular exercising is a dim and distant one, shrouded in mystery and wonder.

Exercise Culture & Gym Bunnies

The culture of exercise can almost seem like an exclusive one from the outside. A brief peek into any modern gym will reveal the huge cross section of society that exercise in their own time. However, the eyes are never drawn to the overweight or the old, but to the young and in shape.


This can often be an off putting factor for those looking to start working out in a new environment. Physically exerting oneself in the vicinity of physically attractive individuals (such as ‘gym bunnies’ or ‘sted heads’) can be a major sticking point for those who are out of shape and looking to find a place to exercise. There are alternatives though…

Going To The Gym Early/Late

Signing up to a gym can cost you as little as £15 per month for some budget places. PureGym, and other low-cost establishments, offer free classes which can help uncomfortable attendees shed their insecurities. If you still feel uneasy about exercising in the gym around other people, then you can always choose to go at less busy times.


Most modern gyms are now open 24 hours a day, so you can choose as and when you go. Go to a gym between 6am and 5pm and you will find that there will only be a handful of people there, leaving you with plenty of space to manoeuvre, away from prying eyes.


You don’t have to become a marathon runner to pick up jogging as a hobby. Many people find it preferable to going to the gym as you can choose when are where you go – plus you get to spend some time outside, breathing in the fresh air!

Set up costs for running can be relatively cheap, however it’s recommended that you invest in a decent pair of trainers so that you avoid any injuries. Skimping out on footwear could lead to impact injuries to knees, ankle problems and even early onset arthritis. Once you have some good running shoes, the whole world effectively becomes your gym – there are also plenty of great apps for you to track your runs and progress.

Amateur Team Sports

Sometime it can be difficult to get yourself out of bed in the morning, let alone motivate yourself to go the gym or step outside for a run. If all this sounds very familiar to you, then perhaps you should consider joining a local sports club. You don’t need to be the new David Beckham or Alistair Cook to join a local side – amateur sports teams thrive off new members and are, usually, welcome to strangers trying out a training session or two.


Depending on what sport you choose, the start up costs can be cheap. Most clubs usually have their own supply of specialist equipment – however, they will charge you a small fee for membership if you choose to commit to them for the year.

There are many more access routes into exercise, but these are the easiest, if you’re looking to build your confidence and get active. Go out there and get amongst it!

Primark or Designer Clothes for Children?

Primark or Designer Clothes for Children?

Kids Are Getting More Fashion Conscious – Should We Buy Them Designer Clothes?

Now that more and more of the nation’s children are connected to the internet, they’re becoming increasingly aware of the importance of fashion and looking ‘cool’. Should parents give in to their children and buy them the clothes they are desperate for? Or should they stay in their 80s dungarees and T-shirts?

A Matter Of Self-Consciousness

Children are developing a sense of self much earlier than they used to. An increased focus on the surface appeal of things, fostered by the growing use of Social Networks and Mobile Phones, has led to children caring more about how they appear at an earlier age. Most kids have got hold of a smart phone by the age of 11 – for many it’s a right of passage. Their first smart phone is given to them as a measure of trust from their parents.


The modern smart phone gives children instant access to the online world. Everything from games and videos to forums and blogs. Couple the endless possibilities of the internet with the inherent curiosity of kids and it is truly impossible to predict the outcome.

Social Networks & Image

Although it’s possible for your children to access all kinds of content at a very young age, the most likely eventuality is that they will gravitate towards the Apps and sites that their friends visit. The chief among these will be Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat. These Social Media hubs now function as the online meeting place for friendship groups the world over and, although they have been proven to have helped worldwide communication, they inherently depict life in a blinkered way.


Users selectively pick parts of their lives to share online, often mimicking the behaviour of celebrities, using Feeds to raise their own profile. Sharing photos of holidays, meals out and social events makes the user appear active, fun and popular, even if it is only a very small slice of their every day life. Constantly crawling social media feeds can lead children to believe that their life is somehow inferior.

When kids see famous people online, wearing high-end fashion clothes, they associate the clothes with the popularity and yearn to emulate them.

Children’s Clothes Cost Money

Children are notoriously expensive to raise. Food, school uniforms, hobbies and activities all leach parents’ pockets dry. As children grow quickly, they can grow out of clothes within the space of year, does it make sense to spend large amounts of money on designer clothes for them?


Go to a budget clothes provider like Primark and you’ll be able to buy a complete set of clothes for your child, that will last them the year, for around £200. The downsides to this? The quality of the clothes will be poor, they may wear through quicker and your child will have little fashion identity.

On the other side of the spectrum, there are a myriad of outlets and shops that sell designer clothes for children. Prices can vary brand to brand, but the average cost of a 10 year old boy’s coat will be somewhere in the ball park of £150-200. The quality will be high, the child will feel buoyed with confidence, but you will have very little money for anything else.

The choice will always rest with the parents, at the end of the day. Kids will always want what they see their idols wear, it’s up to you to decide whether or not to give it to them.

Should I Really Watch What I Eat?

Should I Really Watch What I Eat?

You Are What You Eat – So Eat Better!

Following on from our last session, let’s recap the five major food groups, what they’re comprised of and how much you should be eating of each of them.

Fruit & Vegetables

Five portions of fruit and veg will give you more than just a swelling of pride in your happy place. By consuming a good variety of vegetables like broccoli, carrots and onions you can pack your body full of wonderful minerals that boost your mental capacities. Fruits, like Oranges and Bananas, contain vitamins that can super-charge your immune system and keep you at your best. Eating fruit and vegetables regularly will also provide you with a healthy dose of fibre – essential for the digestive system.



You’ll want to eat plenty of carbohydrates, if you’re planning on keeping your energy levels high throughout the day. Just over a third of your total food intake should be comprised of lovely starchy carbs – such as, wholewheat breads, brown rice and pastas. Although you can get a good amount of energy from white breads and pastas, it’s better to get your carbs from foods that are higher in fibre. Leaving skin on potatoes and eating your crusts are a good way of making the most of your carb intake!

Dairy & Dairy Alternatives

Dairy products such as milk, yogurts and cheese are fantastic sources of protein and a few minerals. However, it’s best not to eat too much of them. Cheese may taste lovely, but it’s also high in fat, which you shouldn’t have too much of. Less is always more when it comes to consuming dairy, it should a very small portion of your overall food intake. If you really can’t help yourself, try and buy low-fat or low-sugar options.


Food that are high in proteins provide us with amino acids that are essential for building new cells and repairing muscles after exercise – that’s why bodybuilders always drink lots of milk after each session! Fish is the best source of this protein (you should aim to eat at least two portions of it a week), it’s also full of the best kinds of fats and oils that keep your heart nice and healthy. Meats, like beef, pork and chicken, tend to be higher in fats – so if you do eat them, you should aim to by the leaner cuts.



Often it’s the tastiest foods that are the worst for you. Snacks such as crisps and chocolate may taste wonderful, and satisfy you in the short term, but they won’t help you in the long run. Eating foods high in fat, on a regular basis, can lead to the development of serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity. They should make up a very small part of your food intake. This doesn’t mean you should avoid them at all costs, a treat every now and again is good for mental well being!

Make sure, when you plan your next week’s meals, that you put the 5 food groups into consideration – and remember to eat a balanced diet!