A Unique Gift from JORD

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Now firstly, I must admit that I was supposed to this post quite a few months ago, but one thing after another got in the way resulting in there never being quite the right moment to do the justice this beautiful item completely deserves.

You see I was very kindly asked by JORD if I’d like to review one of their wood watches and to tell you all about them. Initially I thought “Wooden watches..? Surely not…” But yes, they’re a real actual thing and they are even better than I could’ve anticipated.

The Watch:

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I chose this stunning piece from the Delmar series as a gift for my other half. The muted mid-toned wood and green face seemed like the perfect choice to fit in around his wardrobe and he could easily transition it from casual day-to-day wear to more formal occasions with a unique edge.

First Impressions:

The watch arrived beautifully packaged in its own wooden presentation box and upon opening, really does have a timeless yet quirky appeal to it. Despite being made of wood and having the potential of feeling delicate, the reality is quite the opposite, the Delmar has a really solid, chunky and tactile feel to it even though it’s extremely light and comfortable to wear. I must also add that each watch made by JORD is splash proof they’re not designed to be fully submerged in water.

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Build Quality:

The Delmar watch is brilliantly made with quality, sustainable materials. All woods used are ethically sourced and the current series includes bamboo, maple, sandalwood, blackwood, cherry, zebrawood and koa.

The Perfect Gift:

By their nature and materials used to make them, JORD watches feel like a very personal and meaningful gift to give to your loved one. My partner was so impressed on opening his and really enjoys the feeling of having something different to the norm and has received dozens of compliments on the piece. The Delmar watch is the perfect gift for a special anniversary or birthday, or even Father’s Day if you really want to spoil Dad. I honestly can’t rate the Delmar and indeed JORD high enough and am so pleased to have been given this opportunity to share them with you.

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Please note: JORD very kindly sent me the Delmar watch for the purpose of this article, however, all editorial and opinion is completely honest and my own.

Thinking Outside the Box for Father’s Day with Graham & Brown

Immediately following giving birth to Bean six years ago and the multitude of emotions and tasks I had to very quickly get used to, it came as somewhat of a shock that the first Father’s Day I was to celebrate with his dad was when he was only nine days old. Obviously being completely disorganised, I didn’t have the first clue of what I was supposed to do. So I did what I’m sure anyone would do –  I bundled a tiny Bean into his pram and rather awkwardly shuffled to the nearest card shop, wrote some incredibly soppy sentiments and was satisfied my job was done for a year.

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However, Father’s Day catches me out EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR. It still falls the weekend after Bean’s birthday and six years on, I still have no idea what I’m meant to do apart from make bacon and lots of fuss etc. I find men notoriously hard to buy presents for (especially mine) and of course, I also have to take Bean’s somewhat wayward ideas into account now, generally ending in my other half looking very confused and me holding up my hands declaring that the cushion adorned with fluffy kittens and hearts WAS NOT MY IDEA, I’M SO SORRY.

Interiors brand Graham & Brown recently got in touch to see if I’d be interested in looking at their Dad-friendly products. I must admit I was a little skeptical that I’d find anything suitable at first, however I soon had a list as long as my arm of things I thought the old man would enjoy. And since I’m forever reminding him that his interests vary too wildly for his own good, I thought there might be a little something for everyone in what I chose…

Hipster Dad – for the quirky man in your life, I picked up these cameo-style portraits of Oswald the Owl and Ziggy Zebra. They look brilliant displayed side by side and add a sense of humour to your space (something I’m rather passionate about). The unusual shape of the canvasses and the rather unique detailing with the hanging chain, they appear very old and could easily passed off as something you picked up in an eccentric antique shop.

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Geek Dad – I knew I had to get these prints the moment I saw them. Everything from the comic book style to the retro Star Wars images and vibrant colours, I knew my other half would absolutely love them for his office area. They’re so much better and more impressive in the flesh, they’re huge and make such an effortless-cool vibe for your home. Also, please note that if Star Wars ain’t your thing, Graham Brown also have very similar comic book style Marvel prints and classic poster style Disney prints too.

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Classic Dad – And lastly, for the perhaps more grown up dad with an interest in history or geography, I chose this traditional style map of the old world. Again, the print is huge and instantly makes a focal point wherever you choose to hang it, the neutral tones ensure it suits any colour scheme and it adds a very mature, traditional feel to your home.

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Overall I’m thrilled with the items I picked and the way they’ve really finished my home off in style. And I also love the fact that I’ve managed to tie in several of my other half’s interests as he usually allows me to take full control of the décor in our home.

Have you ever thought of buying interior-related gifts to the man in your life? Would you consider it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

Please note: All items mentioned above were very kindly sent to me by Graham & Brown for the purpose of this article, however all editorial and opinion is entirely honest and my own.

Helpful Tips Every Homeschooling Parent Needs To Know

Being a teacher as well as a parent is no easy task. After all, trying to juggle the responsibility of your child’s education along with being a full-time mom or dad can be daunting, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. Luckily, there are simple ways to make life that little bit easier. To help you manage your roles and ensure that your little one is getting the most from your teaching, here are some helpful tips.

Decide on your approach

One of the main benefits of homeschooling is that it offers a unique opportunity to tailor your teaching to suit your child. With the freedom to determine how and what your youngster learns, it’s important that you have a clear idea of what approach you’re going to take from the outset. Not only can a defined plan help give you both a sense of direction, it can also make it easier to track their progress.

Whether you choose a structured curriculum or a more informal approach, make sure that it reflects your child’s learning style and is in line with the educational requirements of your state. If you don’t have confidence in your ability to teach, you can seek help from professional home education sites such as

Being a teacher as well as a parent is no easy task. After all, trying to juggle the responsibility of your child’s education along with being a full-time mom or dad can be daunting, especially if you’re new to homeschooling. Luckily, there are simple ways to make life that little bit easier. To help you manage your roles and ensure that your little one is getting the most from your teaching, here are some helpful tips.

Decide on your approach

One of the main benefits of homeschooling is that it offers a unique opportunity to tailor your teaching to suit your child. With the freedom to determine how and what your youngster learns, it’s important that you have a clear idea of what approach you’re going to take from the outset. Not only can a defined plan help give you both a sense of direction, it can also make it easier to track their progress.

Whether you choose a structured curriculum or a more informal approach, make sure that it reflects your child’s learning style and is in line with the educational requirements of your state. If you don’t have confidence in your ability to teach, you can seek help from professional home education sites such as www.oxfordhomeschooling.co.uk.

Establish the teacher-pupil roles

When homeschooling, it can be easy to slip from your teacher role back into being mom or dad. However, if you want your child to develop academically, it’s important to establish a working relationship that is separate to your home life.

This extends to learning environments too. Trying to teach your tot their ABCs while they’re lounging on the couch with the TV on isn’t going to get you very far. This doesn’t mean you have to replicate a classroom environment, but rather that you need to set aside a time and place for studying.

Get support

Sometimes, the most effective way to learn about teaching your kids at home is by talking to people who have done it before. Take the time to tap into your local homeschool community groups and find other families who are doing the same so you can swap tips and learn from each other’s techniques. Being a parent is hard work, let alone having the added responsibility of being in charge of your kid’s education, so there’s no shame in turning to others if you need a little support.

Practice your patience

It takes time to get into the flow of homeschooling, and you may not hit the ground running immediately. Remember, you will also be learning alongside your child, and adjusting to the flexibility and freedom can be challenging. It may be that it takes you a few different approaches to find a style of teaching that works well for the both of you.

Establish the teacher-pupil roles

When homeschooling, it can be easy to slip from your teacher role back into being mom or dad. However, if you want your child to develop academically, it’s important to establish a working relationship that is separate to your home life.

This extends to learning environments too. Trying to teach your tot their ABCs while they’re lounging on the couch with the TV on isn’t going to get you very far. This doesn’t mean you have to replicate a classroom environment, but rather that you need to set aside a time and place for studying.

Get support

Sometimes, the most effective way to learn about teaching your kids at home is by talking to people who have done it before. Take the time to tap into your local homeschool community groups and find other families who are doing the same so you can swap tips and learn from each other’s techniques. Being a parent is hard work, let alone having the added responsibility of being in charge of your kid’s education, so there’s no shame in turning to others if you need a little support.

Practice your patience

It takes time to get into the flow of homeschooling, and you may not hit the ground running immediately. Remember, you will also be learning alongside your child, and adjusting to the flexibility and freedom can be challenging. It may be that it takes you a few different approaches to find a style of teaching that works well for the both of you.

Your Voice Matters: 3 Examples That Prove Campaigns Really Do Work

There’s little doubt that in recent years people have lost more and more hope in the effectiveness of the Government. As the mega rich get richer and everyday people get squeezed tighter, many feel that their concerns are ignored by politicians and that lobbying for change doesn’t really achieve anything.

The truth is that your voice really does matter, and when we work together to make the issues we care about known, and put pressure on MPs and other officials, we can bring about incredible change. These are just 3 recent examples that show the power of campaigning.

Putting Gender Equality At The Forefront

Girls’ rights and women’s rights affect everyone. But they are often ignored and given little attention on the international stage, usually seen as a small part of larger problems. The truth is that girls’ rights need to be seen as an important standalone issue, and that by addressing them directly many other problems can be addressed.

That’s why, thanks to a joint effort between several organisations, the UN recently voted to enshrine women’s and girls’ rights and gender issues as a central concern in all major decision-making. Although several states opposed the motion it was carried through, proving that if we push issues we can achieve change.

Stopping Cuts To International Aid

In 1970 the UN set out a target  that all nations would use 0.7% of their gross national income on overseas aid. Although most member states do spend a proportion on overseas aid, few ever reach the target, and as it is not a legal requirement they are not incentivised to do so.

Fearing the UK may cut its spending on international aid, hundreds of campaigners lobbied their MPs to have them make the 0.7% target law. A carefully planned and executed campaign resulted in MPs turning out in force to pass the law through Parliament. This made the UK the first nation in the G7 to make the UN spending target a legal requirement. Would this have happened without people like you using their influence?

Stamping Out Early Marriage In Malawi

Around the world millions of girls under the age of 18 are married off every year. Early marriage is not only a violation of human rights it carries with it health risks, such as higher mortality rates, decreases in educational level and increases in illiteracy rates. These issues have a knock-on effect that impacts the wider society and subsequent generations.

Half of all girls in Malawi end up as child brides. But through campaigning at a community and national level to change attitudes, as well as helping provide support services that protect girls, the legal marriage age has been changed. It is now illegal for anyone to marry under the age of 18 in Malawi. Although this won’t stop child marriage outright, it marks a major shift in attitudes, one that will help stop child marriage.

Don’t let the 2015 General Election pass you by. You have a voice, make it heard and make sure the British Government carries on its commitments to gender equality and overseas aid. Find out what you can do to support womens’ rights

Can lighting design really affect mood?

It’s easy to take lighting for granted. Of course, you need to be able to see what you’re doing around your home, but beyond that, are illuminations really that important? Well, the answer to this question is yes. As well as helping to transform the look of your home, lights can have a major impact on your mood. It might seem hard to believe, but everything from the lamps in your living room to the pendants in your porch could be influencing the way you feel on a daily basis – and here’s how.

The effect of light on your body

As humans, we’re hardwired to respond to light patterns and if we’re to function properly, we need the right levels of illumination at the right times. For example, light in the morning can help us feel more alert and energised, while at night time we have to have softer, dimmer illuminations to enable us to relax and prepare for sleep. This is one of the reasons why lighting specialists such as the Lighting Superstore ensure they offer illuminations that provide different levels of brightness.

The right light levels help to keep certain hormones in balance, including melatonin. This chemical controls our internal body clock and disruptions to the timing or intensity of melatonin can impact on our ability to sleep soundly, think clearly and even regulate our blood pressure and glucose levels.

Highlighting the impact that light levels can have on our outlook, research conducted by a team from the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden suggested that people are more likely to feel down if their lighting is too dim. The scientists conducted an international survey of nearly 1,000 people in work environments and found that their moods were at their lowest when the lighting on offer was too dark.

How much light is too much?

There’s no getting around the fact that when we’re working and doing other active tasks, we need plenty of light to keep us awake and in good spirits – and as well as effective artificial lighting, natural light is important. That said, it is possible to have too much of a good thing. The team from Sweden also found that when workers thought their conditions were overly bright, their moods declined.

Meanwhile, too much light close to bedtime can disrupt your sleeping routine. Experts recommend reducing light levels and switching off bright devices like computers and TVs around an hour before bed to help your body prepare for rest.

Be savvy with your lighting solutions

To get your lighting solutions spot on in your home, it’s important to ensure you have a range of illuminations in place. This will help you to control your environment and create the ideal setting regardless of the time of day or tasks you’re doing. Whether you’re gearing up for work, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, reading a book in the evening or enjoying a relaxing bath, you’ll be able to set the ideal level of illumination. To achieve the best results, try to layer your lighting so that you have a range of different solutions in each room. For example, in your lounge this could mean having a combination of bright ceiling pendants and cosy floor and table lamps. Bear in mind that installing dimmer switches will give you even more control.

As long as you think carefully about the lighting products you buy, and take into account the impact they could have on your mood, you shouldn’t struggle to find the right solutions for your home.

 

Organised Chaos: Keeping a Clean Family Home

For many busy families, keeping a home clean feels as unattainable a goal as walking on Mars. Kids are brutally messy: from their perpetually muddying garments to the way they throw everything they ever touch on the floor. It’s tough keeping them on-side too. But your home needn’t descend into squalor just because you have a busy life. Here are some ideas for getting back your domestic bliss, one room at a time.

The kitchen

At the end of every meal, make it a policy to do the dishes. If you have to, hang a rota for designated washers and dryers, and establish a family routine. You can make cleaning and tidying pots easier with dishwashers, as long as you empty them at the end of every cycle, and have a rule that every dish is rinsed and racked, not left on the side. Be sure to read up on the things you can put in the dishwasher, you might be surprised to learn that the baby’s high chair tray can go in, along with any forsaken plastic toys found under the dining table.

The living room

You can prevent carpets and rugs from getting destroyed by controlling the amount of dirt that can be trailed through from outside: operate a strict no-shoe policy. As for the sofas, if you have rambunctious little ones or pets, use throw covers during the day to minimise fabric damage over time. Forget dusting: save time by hoovering everything. With the right attachment you can bust allergens from upholstery, curtains and bookcases.

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The bathroom

Keeping the family bathroom clean is a constant job, so instead of trying to find time to give it a thorough blitz once per week, adopt a clean-as-you-go policy. Leave a sponge in the bathroom cabinet and wipe over the sink and any surfaces while you’re cleaning your teeth. Store some antibacterial wipes by the toilet to swipe over the handle and rim before you use it. You’ll soon see how easy it can be to maintain a germ-free WC.

The bedrooms

If the kids’ bedrooms have become biohazards, it’s time to set a good example and give them a bedroom cleaning checklist. Expecting them to attain spotlessness is a little unrealistic, but they should at least be shown how to make their beds and hang up their clothes once in a while.

A clean home is a haven everyone can look forward to at the end of a tough day, so instil some house-pride in your kids, remember not to put off the little tasks which can become monstrous, and you’ll soon see an improvement.

Image by abbamouse, used under Creative Commons license 

Perfect Floors

Since embarking on a rather epic home improvement mission since the end of last year, it’s somewhat of an understatement to say I’ve become rather keen on all this decor and DIY. I can now spend hours comparing paint charts, different window coverings and fancy furniture hacks.

I’m beginning to realise now that it’s not just polished walls, perfect colour palettes and a smattering of carefully chosen furnishings that can transform your home – there’s something else I know for a fact I tend to neglect and forget about, something closer to the ground… The flooring.

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Now while I love the idea of sinking my toes into sumptuously thick and luxuriously soft carpet, the practicalities of keeping it clean and beautiful and OH MY GOD – TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES, makes my teeth itch just thinking about it. With a five year old intent on ruining anything vaguely nice, two cats who are not as clean as they’d like you to believe and a partner with a unnerving talent for knocking over cups of tea… My nerves wouldn’t be able to stand pristine, plush carpets.

How about laminate?  Laminate’s moved a hell of a long way from the standard, bright beech effect of 10 – 15 years ago. There are now countless effects and finishes, from parquet flooring, whitewashed floorboards, tile effects to rustic, aged boards complete with all the perfect imperfections you’d expect from the real thing.  

And did you know Carpetright stock an extensive range of laminates ideal for any home and budget?

I’ve currently got my heart set on some rich teak laminate for my open-plan living room / dining room to create a sort of effortless, chic and timeless look. Obvs a plus point being it’s a darker wood and will hide the small child detritus a little better than what I have at the moment.

What are your thoughts on laminate? Did you know you could buy it from Carpetright?

 

 

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