The need for a home office
More and more people own at least one home computer. In addition they may own a printer, scanner and perhaps even a photocopier. Whether these items are used at home for work or pleasure, there is no doubting that finding the appropriate home area can be a problem. A home office is a great solution if space allows. There are many options available and so it should be possible to find one to suit you.
Your home office could be a corner of a bedroom, a small area of a home conservatory or even a designated office in an outbuilding. Assess your home office needs before you start planning and organising the office. Your needs will probably be greater if the home office is needed to run a business as opposed to one that is for fun. No matter what type and location of home office you use it will benefit from being well organised.
Have a good look around your home. See which areas could accommodate a home office. The size of space needed will depend upon the equipment you have and how many people may be using the office.
Even if you do not all use the office together, more people will need more space, for example, for storage. Think about the possible room temperature in both summer and winter, and ensure that you have ventilation and heating solutions.
Office furnishings and office furniture
Now that you have found the perfect location for a office in your home, what type of office do you want?
There are so many styles available these days. Research on-line for ideas. Some home offices can be added to in time. These can be great when the initial budget is tight.
Other home offices can be constructed in different shapes so that they fit the space available perfectly.
Also consider having a purpose built office. You may be a capable woodworker who is able to design and create your own office furniture. If not you should be able to hire someone locally to do the work for you. This may not be as expensive as first thought.
Think about the lighting and window coverings. Vertical blinds are good for office working and help control the light during the day. This can be important when working on computers. The artificial lighting needs to be conducive to your office work.Remember that where you place desks and computer screens in relation to light sources is vital.
Dual purpose rooms
More often than not a home office will have to be set up in a room that has another purpose. Many home offices are created in spare bedrooms, for example. If the room is to have a dual purpose extra thought needs to be given to organising the space. It is no good if the room ends up not fit for either purpose. Screens or shelf units can often be used as room dividers in order to give both parties some privacy.
How to organise your home office
Now that your home office is up and running it is important to organise it.
You will need
These days you can buy ready made rice pudding that, the maker's claim, is as good as traditional, home made rice pudding. Well tinned, frozen or chilled, store bought, rice pudding is quick to prepare, easy to cook, sometimes cheap and usually convenient but it is no match for the real McCoy.
There are many variations of a traditional rice pudding, but this 1-2-3 is for a basic recipe. Once you know this recipe you can replace full fat milk with semi skimmed milk, use a jasmine infused rice and more.
Home-made Rice Pudding can be a little time consuming but it is well worth the effort. In fact there is very little effort needed and most of the time is due to the cooking time. So, let's get cooking!
To Serve 4 People:
Preheat the oven to:
170C / 325F / Gas Mark 3.
If your oven is fan assisted adjust the temperature according to the manufacturer's instructions.
The Oven Dish
Placing in your oven
Stir this mixture carefully, adding the knob of butter, if desired. Although this is not necessary, the butter will make the rice pudding taste more creamy.
Sprinkle the top of the pudding with nutmeg if desired. This will add a great traditional taste to the pudding but it is optional.
Place the ovenproof dish and its contents in the centre of the oven.
Stir the rice pudding mixture after 30 minutes. You may also want to turn the dish around, back to front, in the oven so that it cooks evenly.
Cooking time in total is 11/2 to 2 hours or until the surface of the pudding is a nice golden brown and the pudding is creamy.
You will need
Tips, Tricks, Hints & Warnings
Quick alternative ways to cook rice pudding
On the hob:-
In the microwave:-
For a 650w microwave:-
Do not leave either of these dishes cooking completely unattended in case they boil over. Both of these recipes cut the cooking time. They make a tasty rice pudding but are not as good as the traditional, oven recipe.
Cold weather in winter can be very damaging to your skin. That said, spells of cold weather in spring and autumn can be just as detrimental to your skin. When cold winds blow and temperatures plummet your skin will need extra help to remain looking fresh, moist and in good condition. Cold weather can dry your skin out, leaving it susceptible to cold sores and cracks. In winter we tend to move from the cold of the outdoors into warm, often centrally heated, places. This can also be harmful to your skin as winter heating sources can also dry it out.
Remember that, in order to stay healthy, your skin needs a good diet which includes drinking plenty of water. This will help it to look good. Aim to eat a vitamin rich diet, which includes a selection of fresh fruit and vegetables, each day. Limit your intake of alcohol and sweet, sugary drinks and foods.
If you are a woman wearing make-up will offer your skin protection. If you prefer not to, or are a man, wear a generous amount of a rich skin moisturising cream each day instead. Even if you wear make-up you will need to apply moisturiser first. When winter winds blast you, make sure that you keep as covered up as possible, with a scarf pulled over the bottom of your face. A warm hat will help keep your forehead protected and gloves will protect your hands.
Moisturising your skin
Make sure that you do not bathe or shower in water that is too hot or too cold. Either extreme may dry out your skin. Use gentle soaps, especially to wash your face. If you prefer use cleansing pads or cleansing cloths. After bathing exfoliate your skin before applying a generous amount of body lotion. Your hands will need a hand lotion, as this will offer the best type of moisturiser for hands. Feet usually also need a specific cream, in order to fight dry skin on heels and soles.
There are many face creams and moisturiser products available these days. Remember that the most expensive will not necessarily give the best results. Check independent on-line reviews before you make your choice. Apply face moisturiser before you apply make-up. If you do not wear make-up at all make sure that the face cream you use is rich and will offer you some protection.
In winter our skin is sometimes still under attack from the sun's damaging rays.
Ideally use a face cream that offers some protection against the sun. Look for the product's SPF, sun protection factor, rating. Before retiring for the night cleanse your face with an appropriate cream cleanser or lotion. Apply a night cream at bed-time. This will help your skin replenish itself whilst you sleep. Buy night cream as opposed to ordinary day cream. There really is a difference. Both work best when they are used as recommended by the manufacturer.
In order to keep your skin well moisturised during cold weather always remember to have a good diet, protect your skin, cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise your skin, as often as possible. If you do not put back into your skin what the cold weather takes out, it will dry out, age and could end up painful.
The good old summer time
We English are obsessed with the weather. It is always either too hot or too cold, too dry or too wet, too sunny or too cloudy. This phenomenon and the need to constantly discuss the weather is a peculiar English trait.
Although British weather is changeable, even at the height of summer, we always have some lovely, sunny, hot days to look forward to.
When the weather is often bad it is very tempting to go over the top and lounge about too long in the hot sun once it shows its face. With this in mind this report offers some sound, sensible advice which may prevent you coming to harm in those lazy, hazy, crazy days of Summer that lie ahead.
Hints and tips for staying summer safe
Firstly I have to admit that I love sunbathing and I also must confess that I do this far too often. However, you have to bear in mind that I am aged 64 plus and my skin is way past its best along with the rest of me. I do know though that I still need to take care in the sun.
Many of us will religiously apply suncream when we are on holiday abroad but forget when we are at home. So here are a few suggestions for how to look after yourself during summer with a few facts thrown in:-
In a heatwave it is more important than ever to look after yourself. Remember:-
You may already be a savvy shopper but if you are not BRexit will likely change that. If it does not expect to be worse off financially.
Little in real EU exit terms has happened since a majority in the UK voted for the country to leave the European Union but a lot has happened with prices.
Tuesday it was announced that APPLE were hiking the price of their apps up by 25% but if consumers stop purchasing expect a re-think.
But what about food, energy, the basics and the usual luxuries of life?
Becoming a savvy shopper is easy and may help your finances weather a BRexit price hike storm.
It harks back to the days of "look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves."
You do not have to become tight or a greedy penny-pincher but rather a sensible savvy shopper who knows the value of money and what it buys.
This approach could keep the wolf from your door during tough financial times.
Water is a valuable resource. These days it can be in short supply in almost any country around the world. As we all make a conscious effort to protect the environment and such resources harvesting rainwater seems a sensible option.
In order to successfully harvest rainwater most people install a water butt or barrel. This can either be a purpose bought water butt or made by you. People often utilise old wooden barrels which they then line with polythene.
Old plastic bins are also a good option. However, buying a water butt is relatively cheap and such water butts are tough and will last a long time. Of course once you have a rain water butt you need to know what to do next.
Here is a step by step guide:
You will need
Alternatively an old bin or barrel which is large enough to use
Small amount of gravel
Concrete slabs or old bricks
Alternatively wood to build a stand for the water butt
Hose for connecting more than one water barrel or butt
Connection to the fall or down pipe
Things to bear in mind
Blogs should not really be full of personal experiences but they are necessary for this How To Guide. Having smoked cigarettes for around 20 years giving up the weed was not going to be easy for me. Still here I am more than another 30 years plus down the road, still smoke free.
I have never smoked a cigarette since the day I quit. That means not even a single drag or puff of someone else’s cigarette. What would be the point of that? As far as I am concerned I am now a non-smoker.
Most of the time these days cigarette smoke smells dreadful to me. However there are still the occasional times when someone’s cigarette smoke smells lovely. This tends to be if I am sat on a beach in the summer sun relaxing.
When I stopped smoking there were a few products available which were designed to help, but not as many as today. However, I choose to go cold turkey and for me that was the right choice. Perhaps it will be for you? However, only you can decide. You know yourself and your addiction better than anyone else.
For those that have read this far and are still considering quitting smoking, the cold turkey way, here is my advice learned the hard way.
A priority is to stay mindful and keep focused. After the initial high you will sink to the depths but there should be light at the end of the tunnel, but not a cigarette light. It does get easier with time but as I have already said, all these years since I stopped smoking, I still get the occasional yen. However, these days it is slight and easily put in its place.
Let’s get started then
Firstly consider all the reason's to quit smoking. Now think about the reasons, if any, to continue puffing away. Write these down, the pros and the cons, and weigh them up against each other.
The reasons to stop may be to:-
Today’s the Day
Many people find that setting a day to quit smoking works best for them. Others, like me, for various reasons just say, "right that's it, I am stopping smoking now." Again it is up to you. However, if you procrastinate you will probably never stop smoking.
Maybe you would benefit from quitting smoking with others. In England, once a year there is an official no smoking day, when many people choose to give up smoking. The UK also offers smoking cessation services which really help some people.
However this How To Guide is all about quitting, smoking the Cold Turkey way, so today is the day.
Will you join me?
It can be hard quitting smoking, if those around you continue. My hubby continued smoking has recently tried to quit but failed.
But we should talk of failure.
Remember that you cannot make someone else quit. Concentrate on YOU.
If you can persuade your significant other to join in it will help. Living in a home that still has a smoker residing there will not be easy. However, the very least others in your home who smoke should be doing is stepping outside to do so.
Smoking around someone who is battling to give up is cruel and thoughtless.
Clearing out your home, locker, desk and the like, from temptations
OK. So you are serious about quitting smoking. However, you know that the spirit is strong but the body is weak. The best thing that you can do is go around your home and desk, for example, with a large carrier bag in hand and put anything smoking related into it.
This means lighters, matches, cigarette papers, tobacco, cigarettes, cigarette money off coupons, ashtrays and so on and so on. Be ruthless. Ensure that there is no stray cigarette left lurking in a pocket or handbag somewhere.
At some point or another your will power will feel stretched and you may waiver in your resolve to stop smoking. If and when this happens you do not need anything smoking related close at hand.
If you are truly joining the non-smoking ranks you should be able to throw all of these items into the trash can. Most of us cannot, however.
If you cannot, make sure that everything is stored well away from you and your home. Some people feel that hanging onto smoking apparel means that you know you are going to fail. I think for some it is just a safety net. Hopefully, in due course you will enjoy burning or disposing of all of these items. Perhaps you could even sell them?
Keeping a diary
Perhaps you will be fine and not have any cigarette cravings, until you sit down to relax each evening. One of the best pieces of advice I can give is to keep busy. When I finally stopped smoking I was at home for most of the day. In some ways this helped but in other ways it made things worse.
Yes it was good that I was away from fellow smokers. However, I had all the time in the world to indulge my cigarette urges. Here are some of the ways that I kept busy. As an experienced smoker there were many jobs that I could complete whilst I had a fag in my hand. However there were many that I could not. So, I:-
NOW THAT YOU ARE A NON SMOKER
Please try and be a little tolerant to those who still indulge in cigarette smoking. There is nothing worse than a reformed smoker laying down the law. One thing that you will notice is, no longer smoking sets you free. When you are an addicted smoker you always need to have cigarettes, tobacco or money. The thought of being deprived of your smoke can be really scary. Once that habit or addiction is broken this need will disappear and boy will your bank balance improve.
"Don't Do It. Smokers going cold turkey are more likely to cheat or relapse on their quit smoking plan than those who use nicotine replacement therapy. The urge to have a puff or two, or even to smoke an entire cigarette is easy to give into. Addiction is addiction, however." That advice recommends using a nicotine replacement or other therapy to quit smoking.
But for this blogger doing it cold turkey was the best way.
Snow boots have a job to do. It is no good purchasing a pair of snow boots that look fabulous but do not protect your feet from the weather, nor prevent you slipping on ice. Instead of waiting until snow is falling heavily to purchase new snow boots plan ahead. Think about what you want from your new snow boots before shopping for them. This way you should be able to purchase perfect snow boots for you.
We may as well start with the price. Most people these days have a limited budget and so price will be a consideration. However, if you buy cheap and cheerful snow boots, they may not last long or fulfil your requirements. Set yourself a realistic budget and check out what is available within your price range.
Flat or heeled?
Many women find that very flat boots or shoes are uncomfortable. However, ideally snow boots should be fairly flat. If you must have snow boots with a heel ensure that heel is substantial in width and not too high.
Base of the boot
Good snow boots need to have a base or sole that is chunky ridged and makes slipping impossible or almost so. The material of the sole is important but so is the tread. The material needs to be 100% waterproof. Usually such soles are made of rubber.
The material of the actual boot
Unlike ordinary winter boots, snow boots are not made with fashion in mind. Obviously, some are more stylish than others but warmth and dryness are the important factors with these boots.
The outer part of the boot will need to be made from a strong waterproof material. Leather or nylon seems to work best. The seams are often reinforced to strengthen them. This will prevent water leaking in through the seams of the boots. Remember, when you choose the material of your boot, to think about longevity and cleaning. Some materials will last longer when exposed to snow. Some will also look good for longer, whereas other materials may be hard to clean.
The length of the boot
Snow boots that are only ankle high may not serve you well. In deep snow they will probably be useless. Think about what snow you usually experience where you live or work. Is it knee deep or simply a light dusting of snow on the ground? Stylish snow boots that are too high will be uncomfortable and may be impractical.
Width of the leg of the boot
If your snow boots are mid-calf, or just below the knee, make sure that the leg is not to wide or too narrow. Too narrow can hurt your legs and actually make you feel colder. Too wide and snow and wind may get into your boots.
There are a wide range of snow boots on the market these days. The range includes children's, as well as adult's boots. Some have nice cosy, fluffy linings to keep you warm, whilst others rely on thick socks being worn also to add warmth. If you intend to always wear thick, fluffy socks under your boots remember to adjust the size you buy accordingly.
Inspect the boot's lining and check what material has been used. Some materials may leave the inside of your boots rather smelly after wear.
Remember traditional Welly boots you may have worn as a child?
After winter weather has departed, for another year, take some time to clean your snow boots thoroughly and store well for next year. In the long run this will increase the longevity of your snow boots and save you money. Of course if your purchase was more about fashion than snow protection one season's wear may be enough.
It will soon be time to put Christmas away for another year. It may only be days since Boxing Day but Christmas will already be dusted away from some homes.
It's usually as you begin the post-Christmas clear up that you wish you had given more thought to sticking Christmas cards on glass and cute looking santas on walls.
After you have taken the Christmas cards and decorations, or birthday day cards down, you may find remnants linger on -- in the form of sticker residue.
There are many tried and tested ways to remove sticker residue but caution needs to be exercised. You will need to bear in mind a few simple rules before you begin the job in hand.
Some stickers are fairly easy to remove whilst others seem to have far too much adhesive applied to them. The ease of removal will also depend upon the item that the sticker was attached to. Obviously some surfaces will offer better adhesion than others.
Let’s start with the actual item. The method of removal of any residue will depend on the material that the item is made out of.
For example, soft scouring pads are fine for some surfaces but may scratch others. A sponge, with a liberal amount of warm soapy water, can, alternatively, treat some surfaces. Read any manufacturer’s instructions before you begin as these may offer advice and warnings.
Methods to remove sticker or label residue
It is best to start with the least destructive and intrusive method initially. For many items, this may be as simple as using an eraser. If the residue is on glass, an eraser may do the trick first time. Work on a small corner of the residue at first, so that you can check the results.
The next option to try should be sticky tape
This may sound silly but using a heavy duty sticky tape and applying just a little pressure, could remove any sticky residue from clothing, curtains and other such material items. Take care when choosing the tape, so that you do not leave any additional residue on the surface. Duct tape will often be the best option.
It may be possible to remove the residue if you first freeze the item. This will only be suitable for small items. It works on the same principle as freezing chewing gum, so that it can be easily removed from items.
Art Galleries often use a tiny amount of methylated or surgical spirits to remove sticky residues. You could also try a surgical hand wash, alcohol gel or even alcohol. Again it is vital that you have assessed the material first. Obviously such products should be fine of glass and some plastics.
Various oil based products that you may have around your home, could help remove sticker residue from furniture. Oil based furniture polish and cooking oil are good examples. Take care however.
There are many branded sticker residue removing products on the market. These can be expensive and usually unnecessary. Most of us can find what we need in our homes already. However, if you have any concerns invest in one of these branded products.
Remember, if your attempts at sticker residue removal fail, it could cost you lots of money in the long run.
Next Christmas will you think before you 'stick'?
Water a precious commodity
These days we are all more conscious of the need to protect the environment and to use our valuable resources wisely. Water is one of the most precious commodities that we have. It is needed for life itself and is not the limitless resource that we once thought it to be.
Modern life has created many labour saving devices but some of these can waste water, if not used thoughtfully. Making a conscious effort to utilise your water supply effectively makes sense. If your water supply is metered it could also save you money. There are many ways to save water and most of them require little work on your part.
How to conserve water in the bathroom
There are many ways that you can save water in the bathroom, such as:
How to conserve water in the garden or yard
How to conserve water in the kitchen and utility area of your home
This is perhaps where the most water can be saved or wasted. Dishwashers and automatic washing machines are brilliant labour saving devices but they can waste water unless used efficiently. Consider:
You will need