You Need to Recharge Your Spirit: The Sizzling South is the Perfect Choice for a Family Getaway

 

There’s an abundance of things to see and do for the whole family in Louisiana, especially if you’re staying in the welcoming city of Baton Rouge. Take a fascinating look at marine life at the Aquarium of America, explore the many plantations lining the Mississippi River or enjoy an interactive experience at the famous Sci-Port Discovery Center in Shreveport; whatever your age, there’s something to entertain you in the Sizzling South.

If you want to explore Louisiana, there are a few trips for the whole family that are affordable and hugely enjoyable. We’ve put together some suggestions which are all just a short drive from Baton Rouge that will give you hours of fun and adventure during your visit to the South.

In terms of somewhere to stay while visiting the fun-packed South, the Marriott TownePlace Suites Gonzales offers some great family-friendly facilities. After an exhausting day seeing the sights, you’ll be grateful of a luxurious place to recharge your batteries!

Gulfport

It will take you about two hours to drive to Gulfport from Baton Rouge but it’s well worth the trip, just for its beach alone! No family vacation is complete without a beach day and in Gulfport, there are plenty of other family-friendly activities to get involved with too. On the way to the beach, you could call into the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies and find out more about fascinating marine life with tours that allow you to get up close and personal with some incredible sea creatures with touch tanks. You can also pay a little extra to feed or take a swim with the dolphins – a once in a lifetime experience!

Lafayette

If you’re into Cajun cuisine, Lafayette is bulging with eateries and restaurants that are all family-friendly, offering the very best in this local culinary specialty. Children of all ages can enjoy a visit to the Children’s Museum of Acadiana, where they can get involved with the interactive exhibits, toddler play area, bubble station and a whole lot more. For older kids and adults with an interest in science, there’s the Lafayette Science Museum which has plenty of exhibits to explore and also a Planetarium which provides a breathtaking view of the night sky in late afternoon shows.

New Orleans

Although possibly better known for its nightlife, New Orleans has plenty to amuse all ages. Your family could spend a whole day in the Audubon Zoo, set in stunning grounds and with a wealth of exhibits in addition to plenty of wildlife. There is also a recreational area at Monkey Hill with a café for the grownups to enjoy a relaxing drink while the kids play and a really cool dinosaur exhibit too. There’s also a fantastic playground in Audubon Park in New Orleans for those looking for a more sedate visit. Here you can walk along winding paths between beautiful oaks and in a clearing, you’ll find the playground which will keep younger children occupied and have them worn out when it’s time for bed.

Mandeville

Another short drive from Baton Rouge is Mandeville, where there is plenty of family fun to be had, particularly if you want to be shaded from the scorching heat! Kids love the Imagination Station which is a cool play area with different spaces for hands on exploration and arts and crafts. You can actually leave your kids having fun while you relax in one of the many nearby restaurants. Also in Mandeville is a 2,800-acre green space called Fontainebleau State Park, where you can get a little out-doorsy and go on a hiking trail, do some fishing, explore nature and even relax and sunbathes on a lakeside beach!

How to Make House Painting Less of a Chore

It’s one of those jobs you know you need to do, but can’t bring yourself to get on with! We’re talking about painting, whether it should be a couple of walls, a full room, or even the outdoor paintwork of the house, plus fences and wooden buildings. It’s a time-consuming and not very pleasant job, and one that means getting out all those brushes, rollers and trays, and expecting a lot of mess! So, what can you do to eliminate the mess, save time, and make painting your home and garden woodwork less of a chore?

You could invest in a paint sprayer! These excellent machines are becoming ever-more popular with homeowners – having once been intended only for contractors and other professionals – and are now surprisingly affordable, given their capability. They come in a wide range of types and across a vast array of prices, and there is certain to be one for you. Let’s talk a little bit more about paint sprayers, and show you why one of these is a great investment, even if you are only using it occasionally.

What Is a Paint Sprayer?

Usually, a paint sprayer follows a simple theme: it is a sort of gun fitment, attached to a pump via a tube, with a reservoir for the paint. The pump creates a pressure source that drives the paint through the tube and out of the gun – which can often be modified with various sizes and styles of tip – and creates a spray of paint that you can direct onto the area you wish to cover. They are easy to use and very accurate, and make painting your home or outdoor buildings simple and quick.

Another benefit of using a paint sprayer is that you don’t get so much waste; you can adjust the spray for fineness, which makes it far more efficient when painting those awkward corners and such. Also, make sure you choose an ‘airless’ model – you can find out more paint sprayer information online and see what we are talking about – as these are the most efficient and up to date, and they also offer the best performance for your outlay. All in all, even if you are only going to use one occasionally, a paint sprayer is an excellent addition to your home improvement kit.

Choose the Right One

Choosing a paint sprayer means considering what you want it for, and how much you are willing to pay. Some models cost several hundred pounds, some considerably less, and for occasional use there are many that fall within a sensible price range. You will certainly find interesting and capable models at the website we linked to, so it is certainly worth your while reading some of those reviews.

We are sure that, once you try using a paint sprayer, you will find it makes life a lot easier, and you will be more inclined to get on with jobs that need doing, so check them out now and see which one is for you.

Don’t Let Your Books Rot in the Loft

Keeping Your Loft Dry and Your Treasure Safe

Most of us have treasured possessions tucked away in the loft or the cellar. Are you sure that yours are safe and dry?

Even the most super organised person has a certain amount of junk tucked away in the loft, cellar, garage or spare room. Of course, where you and I are concerned, junk is not the right word. These are treasured possessions, family heirlooms and articles that are just waiting for that next house move, extension or the conversion of the spare bedroom into a library so that they can retake their pride of place in the centre of family life.

In the meantime, though, these magnificent artefacts are packed away in boxes, awaiting their moment to shine. The trouble is, a damp, musty loft is about the worst place you can leave treasured books, or just about anything else, for any length of time. A simple solution is to install electric tubular heaters to keep the temperature even and the condensation at bay. Let’s learn a bit more about protecting your hidden treasure from the damp.

Why is your loft damp?

If the loft space is damp, the first thing you need to do is work out why. Most likely, the moisture is coming from outside or inside, although there is a third option. We will look at each in turn.

Got a leak?

If the water is coming from outside, and your roof is leaking, it will be obvious, as the water will be concentrated in a particular area. Trace it back to the source, and get the problem repaired as quickly as possible, as left unattended, the ingress will do costly damage. The sooner you fix it, the smaller the problem.

Condensation from within

The more likely culprit is condensation, and this is not such an easy issue to address. Modern houses are typically well insulated, but sometimes they can be too much so. The house needs room to breathe, and there should be ventilation gaps in the loft space to let the moisture escape.

Think about where the condensation is coming from. For example, if you are in the habit of having hot, steamy showers, that’s your prerogative, but make sure the extractor fan is always switched on while you are doing so. Got a tumble dryer? Check the vent pipe is pushing the damp air outside and the vents are not blocked.

Even after checking all these things, you might still find you are getting a certain degree of condensation. A foolproof solution is to install some inexpensive heating in the loft to keep the temperature even. The tubular heaters we mentioned earlier are ideal for this, as they are energy efficient and simple to install in out of the way places.

One other possibility

If you have water tanks in your loft, there is an outside chance that they might be the culprits. These tanks feed the system by gravity and should contain cold water, but there are rare occasions where a plumbing fault causes them to warm up and create steam and condensation. It is not a common problem, but it is worth checking, just to be sure.

Choosing the Best Pond Pump

When you are looking to build a pond, there are several things you need to consider. Or, perhaps you have recently moved into a property that already has a pond in the grounds, but it needs attention? A man-made pond will be one of still water, and water that is not aerated – in nature, this is done by moving streams that tend to feed the pond – will soon go green as algae grows, and become unhealthy for living things. So, if you want fish, plants, clear water and to attract the local water-based wildlife, you need to find a way of keeping your water clean and healthy.

The answer lies in one of a choice of pumps and filters, and they really are an essential addition to your pond. There are many different types, which we will talk about in a moment, but essentially the process is this: a pump constantly drives the water in the pond, via a hose, to a filter. The filter involves a series of processes designed to clean the water. The water is then sent, via another hose, back to the pond. This keeps the water suitably aerated, and the water clean and clear.

The Right Pump and Filter

In general, your pump will be of a submersible design; that is, it sits beneath the surface. However, your filter may not be in the water, as some of the more popular models are external, and they tend to be the more efficient and effective designs. These filters include a variety of treatment methods. A UV light will kill the green algae; bacterial filters will get rid of the harmful bacteria that builds up in the water; and the filter will also take away any debris that is in the pond. The result is clear, healthy water that fish, plants, frogs and newts – let alone the many insects that lay there young in ponds – will thrive in.

You need to find a pump and filter that is suitable for your pond, and this means buying a set up suitable for the capacity of water you are dealing with. If you click here you will find a selection of excellent reviews of pond pumps, filters, liners and other accessories, as well as excellent information on ponds and how they are best maintained. In fact, you will find that a pond, to a certain extent, looks after itself once an adequate pump and filter system is in place.

Enjoy Your Pond

A well-designed pond – you can choose pre-formed pond liners if you want as they are easy to install and surprisingly affordable – is a joy to have in the garden, and you can find any number of excellent fountains and other features that give it an additional attraction.

You will find that your pond is a focal point of the garden, too – consider lighting sets that give it an added sense of interest – so make sure you keep the water clean and fresh with the best pump and filter package.

Lambeth Country Show Review

 

43rd Lambeth Show Hailed the Best Yet

The ever-popular Lambeth Country Show took place in July and entertained hundreds of thousands in its quirky and unique way. 

A mainstay of the summer festival scene since the days of Flower Power and the Bay City Rollers, the Lambeth Country Show just gets bigger and bigger every year, and its popularity shows no sign in waning.

Established in 1974, this was the 43rd show, and this year hundreds of exhibitors set out to pitch their stall, hire a Templant generator and get ready to welcome around 200,000 visitors to Brockwell Park on 15 and 16 July.

Free for all

The show can be described as a free for all in every sense of the phrase. There is no entry fee, and the festival attracts the weird and the wonderful when it comes to the entertainment on display.

It also attracts a massive turnout. Official figures for 2017 are yet to be released, but bearing in mind that last year it amounted to 170,000, then the magic 200,000 figure is a distinct possibility.

When you consider that around 135,000 visitors attend Glastonbury every year, you start to get a feel for the scale of the event.

Joust for laughs

It is difficult to single out highlights from such an eclectic mix of activities, but some of the events that really stuck out included the chocolate museum, which managed to avoid melting despite the warm summer temperatures, the birds of prey, which were massively popular with adults and kids alike and, of course, the jousting. Who could forget the jousting?

If the enthusiasm at Lambeth is anything to go by, this medieval pastime could soon be making a comeback – expect to see participants on horseback practicing at an athletics track near you soon!

Live music

Of course, many attend for the music, and this year, the quality was as high as ever, courtesy of the Oxjam Music Festival. This is a great organisation that supports grassroots music and at the same time does so much to raise money for those who need it the most.

Brixton Dance School also gave an amazing display that went down extremely well with the enthusiastic crowd.

For those who wanted to get a little more involved, there was even an African drumming workshop, where anyone could have a go. What some lacked in rhythm was more than made up for in enthusiasm!

Call any vegetable

Finally, we can’t mention the Lambeth Show without discussing the vegetables. The traditional vegetable carving competition has been going on for as long as the show itself, and, as usual, produced a remarkable array of artwork and biting satire, all using the humble vegetable as a basis.

Fun, quirky and absolutely unique. If you’ve never been along to the Lambeth Show, put it in the diary for next year. And don’t forget to start practicing your potato carving skills well in advance!

How Does the Real Hampstead Compare to The Movie?

 

Recent Film is Based on Hampstead Man’s Life 

Hampstead has hit the big screen in Diane Keaton’s Latest film. But the resemblance is only a passing one.

When it reviewed Hampstead shortly after release, The Guardian awarded it a solitary one star and described it as a ghastly faux-mance. As far as incisive social commentary goes, it is hard to argue with that, but taken at face value as a showcase for Diane Keaton to go through her usual range of facial expressions, while a touching story that is loosely based on a real life Hampstead resident is told, it is well worth a look.

As for any links to the real Hampstead – well, Hampstead estate agents will be quick to tell you that while there are a variety of attractive properties available to buy and rent in this popular north London oasis, setting up camp on Hampstead Heath is unlikely to result in a happy ending!

Harry the Hermit

Joel Hopkins’ film is inspired by the real life adventures of one Harry Hallowes. An Irishman by birth, he had lived in the north London area since moving there in the 1950s. In the late 1980s, he found himself homeless, and set himself up in a makeshift camp in a quiet corner of Hampstead Heath.

There, he grew vegetables and became largely self-sufficient, supplementing his supplies with money earned by doing odd jobs for some of the local residents, including famous Monty Python illustrator Terry Gilliam.

In the early 2000s, property developers attempted to evict him, but as he had been living on the site for more than 12 years, he was able to claim squatter’s rights. After a lengthy battle, which captured the attention of the local community and the national media, he was awarded a deed on the plot of land, thought to be worth around £2 million.

Harry passed away last year at the age of 88, leaving his unique estate to two charitable organisations.

Hampstead life

The film might seem a little saccharine, but it emphasises one thing – it could only happen in Hampstead. The suburb has always had a leaning towards the unusual, and its old fashioned high street, surrounded by acres of countryside, could not feel less like London.

Over the years, it has gained a reputation for being home to the artistic, musical, literary and – dare we say it – perhaps slightly eccentric set, so of all the places for a Harry the Hermit to appear, Hampstead was the almost inevitable choice.

It is also a place of extreme diversity. Harry arrived without a penny to his name and somehow found success. Just down the road, Hampstead Village is home to more millionaires than any other location in the UK.

As you might expect, it has also attracted its fair share of celebrity residents over the years, including Liam Gallagher, Sting, Stephen Fry, Dame Judi Dench and Ricky Gervais. You might even bump into Britain’s most famous celebrity couple, Benedict Cumberbatch and Sophie Hunter, taking a Sunday afternoon stroll.

So how does Hampstead really compare to the movie? The reality is far less likely to be believed!

Enhance Your Garden With Natural Stone Paving Options

 

Some of the different natural stone options for use in the garden for patios and paving. Limestone, slate, granite, travertine, Yorkstone and sandstone discussed. 

Choosing the best type of natural stone to make the most of your space

Natural stone is an excellent choice whether for paving, hard standing or a patio area. Compared to manmade stone it looks more natural, lasts longer, enhances the value and ‘market appeal’ of your home, and is actually very cost effective in the longer term.

There are various types to choose from, so what may be the best for your use? The first step is to consider your garden needs and take a look at some stone types along with other items and materials you may be using in your garden, so Milestone garden supplies is a good place to start.

Sandstone

A popular choice in gardens; with its granular appearance sandstone combines a ‘warm’ and natural look with the benefit of versatility and, despite its name, offers a choice of colours other than a sandy shade including creams and greys.

Sandstone offers good slip resistance and is porous so makes a good choice as a poolside surface and for gardens and other wetter locations.

Granite

Often considered the ultimate natural stone, granite can be seen in many settings including many famous landmarks and city centres throughout the world. It’s very hard wearing, extremely low-maintenance, known for its attractive appearance and can be specified in a wide range of colours.

While it may be considered expensive, once laid your granite paving will last many years and will soon be seen more as an investment in your property than an expense.

Slate

A sound choice; slate offers a very natural look with its characteristically uneven texture and offers the strength of manmade concrete in one of the more affordable natural stone options.

Some slate paving can be specified in a more uniform colour scheme whereas if you prefer a more variable and ‘natural’ weathered look, then more rustic types are available. Slate is generally low maintenance, and if one slab should become damaged it can be replaced without affecting the look of the paving. Its slip-resistant nature makes it a good choice in higher footfall areas.

Limestone

Add a distinctive appearance to your paving by choosing limestone with its natural veining and distinctive colour choices of greys, blues and tans along with a striking black option.

With a fine grain composition, limestone is easy to cut into different shapes so ideal if your paving is partly or wholly of an oddball design.

Yorkstone

As its name suggests, Yorkstone is a type of sandstone native to Yorkshire whereas other sandstones are likely sourced from countries such as China and India.

Yorkstone is a classic natural stone commonly found in a buff or tan colour although two-tone versions are available for a little variety. It’s possible to choose reclaimed Yorkstone which is ideal for period properties where you want to immediately experience the ‘weathered’ look rather than waiting for new stone paving to age.

Travertine

An affordable and very effective natural stone with strong anti-slip properties, travertine is a good choice around wet areas such as poolsides. This natural stone is a form of limestone that was affected by extra heat and pressure when formed.

Travertine can appear in smoother or more textured finishes depending on how it’s prepared, and in colour tends to be available in beige, ivory and gold shades. It’s an easy stone to work with and very versatile so can be adapted to various outdoor and indoor applications.

Choices, choices

So there are at least six solid choices of natural stone all offering major benefits. The key is to visit a natural stone expert for unbiased advice and to see some examples for yourself.

8 Interesting Costume Ideas For Your Kids

 

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that kids love colorful costumes. The joyful face a child makes when they receive a new beautiful costume can simply warm a mother’s heart. Unfortunately, costumes can cost a lot of money when purchased through retailers. Is there any way to bring joy in a more cost-effective way? The answer is YES. With home embroidery machines listed on Design My Costume, moms everywhere are pouring their love into making their own choice of EMBROIDERY DESIGNS, to the delight of children all around the world.

Here are a few ideas of costumes moms can make themselves:

Little Lion:

List of Supplies: Brown fleece, Light Brown fleece, Elastic, Cardboard.

This is one beautiful costume most moms love to make at home. With the embroidery machines, the workload is made even easier. The key here is to pay a great deal of attention to the design of the lion’s mane, the positioning of the gloves, boots and the wiggly tail. With a bit of hard work and determination you will be entertaining a beautiful baby-lion so in love with the costume you worked so hard to make. This must go up on your Facebook and Instagram as #Mommylove.

Meatballs and Spaghetti:

List of Supplies: 2 mop-heads, foam balls, red onesie

The meatballs and spaghetti is another costume most mothers love to make. They rave about how many laughs baby makes because adults who see baby cannot help but laugh too. A couple once discovered that they could use two mop-heads (newly purchased) as the spaghetti, provided baby was well covered. They used foam balls as meatballs, and had him wear a red onesie as sauce. The cute costume was a hit not only because the parents themselves dressed up as chefs, but also because baby was placed in a big enough bowl. One of the best mommy-made costumes ever.

Snowball Costume:

List of Supplies: Light blue sweatshirt, Styrofoam balls

Babies love Olaf, the beloved snowman in the Disney Classic Frozen. So why wait till Christmas to see snow? Dress baby up in a festive snowball/Olaf costume as you sit down for another viewing of the movie. We guarantee a very fun experience. This costume commonly requires a light blue sweatshirt, Styrofoam balls and a few other embroidery designs of mommy’s choosing. This costume is fun and easy to make using home embroidery machines. It works for children of all ages; another fun and affordable way to show your little one you care.

Here Comes the Sun Costume:

List of Supplies: Sweatshirt, glue, elastic, a safety pin, yellow and orange felt pen

For this costume, you will need an oversized yellow sweatshirt, glue, elastic, a safety pin, yellow and orange felt. This costume tends to be somewhat more complicated to make than the others; however, the effect it produces makes the hard work worth it. Children somehow catch unto the brightness of the entire costume and brighten everyone else’s day in turn because of uncontrollable laughter and smiling. Babies love this costume design because it brings out what they feel inside. An awesome costume!

Little Devil:

List of Supplies: Red overalls, wings, horns

PSA: This costume will make your child very adventurous and a mischievously smiling little boy or girl. Create with caution. Literally the simplest costume and the most popular of all. Every Halloween sees little devils scurrying all around our neighborhoods collecting candy with their pitchforks. Truly a sight to behold the joy and happiness babies express when they love the awesome costume you got for them. This requires only a red overall with a tail attachment, wings, and horns.

Garden Fairy:

List of Supplies: Green Felt, tutu, flowers, wings

The Garden Fairy costume while easy to make, requires mom to learn how to make a tutu. However once that step is complete, the costume design flows with ease. With a little bit of work on the machine, and some creative additions of the flowers you’ll be looking at Tinker Bell in her human form. This costume is sure to bring forth lots of joy because every little boy wants to be Peter and every little girl wants to be Tinker. Just as with the snowball costume, enjoy the costume with a Peter Pan movie.

Classic Witch:

List of Supplies: Dress, Pointy hat, black shoes

The classic witch costume is one baby girls love, especially when there is an accompanying flying broom. In terms of Halloween costumes, this may be one of the most common. Mom’s everywhere use embroidery machines to create awesome designs of their choosing to make the costume more complete. Further, moms can design the hats using the same method, so that the costume comes full circle. An interesting idea is to grab pieces of cloth, embroider them with the same designs, and cover the broom with these cloths.

Woodland Fairy:

List of Supplies: Glue, safety pin, silk dress (tutu), orange flowers

The woodland fairy is one of the tougher costumes to make.  It is not as common as some of the others, as most baby girls opt for the garden fairy look. However, this look and style is for the “independent” daughter who wishes to stand out from all the other fairies during Halloween. The woodland fairy is the true queen of all fairies and your baby will feel this when they put it on. Not to mention the free-spirited nature of such a fairy is infectious and you may all end up dancing and spinning in circles.

These are just a few of the ideas mothers can put into creation without having to pay the ridiculous prices at retail centers. The costumes are worth more when they are self-made, and you can see the effect of something you made on your child. There is no need to take our word for it, try it out for yourself with a purchase of excellent embroidery sewing combo like Brother SE400. There are many sites out there that show you how to make a variety of costumes that were not addressed in this article. Check them out and let us know how much you saved!

 

Your Bedroom is Your Sanctuary – Organize It Like One

Collaboration with 3beds.com

 

If you think about it, our bedroom is the space where we’ll spend most of our lives. Granted, we spend it sleeping, but the quality of sleep we get has a profound impact on the rest of our day, from productivity to the way we cope with the rush of our busy lives.

Today, we’ll look at ways we can improve the space and turn it what it needs to be – a serene oasis.

Decluttering

Creation of a relaxing bedroom ambiance begins by tidying up any clutter that you might have laying around. Clutter is known to increase stress levels, and over time cause anxiety and this is something that you definitely do not want. It’s also a good idea to open up the windows and air out the room, get rid of dust and put on fresh bedding.

Keeping the room tidy will bring on a sense of peace and calm.

Focal pieces

Invest into a few decorative bits that will bring your room decor together like soft throw rugs, plants and succulents, soft blankets and throw pillows.

If your room is painted dark, choose lighter accent pieces that will lift up the space. Bringing in new colors and details into your surroundings naturally increases the levels of serotonin your brain produces making you happier and in turn also more relaxed.

Light and scents

If you’re sensitive to bright lights, pull the curtains and block any light coming into the room. You can also invest into light dimmers that will let you control just how much or little light you would like to have in your room. Lights that come from around us, either right below or in our field of vision are usually less strenuous to the eyes than the ones places directly above us.

For that relaxing aromatherapy spa effect, light a few candles and incense sticks.

Scents like lavender, chamomile, mint, jasmine, valerian and vanilla are well known for relaxing the nervous and their calming effects.

Sound

Some people prefer complete silence when they want to relax while others might prefer music.

If you’re someone that likes to relax to sound it’s a good idea to plan ahead and compile a relaxing playlist. And if you’re out of ideas or just can’t be bothered there are plenty of ready-made playlists made just for relaxing.

Turn off the TV and phone and eliminate any electrical disturbances.

Your mind needs to relax and rest from all the information it’s been taking in through the day. Things like reality TV, news and social media increase the stress levels so it’s best to put them aside and focus on things that keep you feeling comfortable.

Relaxation “tools”

Use relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation and deep breathing.

Focusing on the breath for a longer period of time triggers a natural reaction in the brain that relaxes the entire nervous system. By bringing in more oxygen into the body, the muscles begin to relax and create a calm, relaxing sensation.

Practicing these techniques will benefit you in the long run as the brain learns to stay relaxed and “in the moment”.

Choosing the right mattress

A mattress is the last thing we should skimp on. It’s not a piece of furniture; it’s an investment in our wellbeing. Let’s look at some of the options we can choose from.

Innerspring Mattresses

This type of mattress is still by far the most widely used.

Its support comes from enclosed spring coils. Keeping the springs confined adds to the longevity of the mattress itself and keeps the coils from popping up over time and making sleep difficult and uncomfortable.

Innerspring mattresses come in a wide array of materials made for comfort like memory foam, latex, pillowtop, etc. Spring based mattresses are the most popular choice because of the balance between comfort and support they offer.

Mattress toppers and pads

As the mattress “decays” and you start feeling the coils underneath, adding a good mattress topper or pad will do the trick for most people. If you’re looking for support, go with a Talalay or Dunlop latex topper but if you’re looking for something softer, down feather of synthetic fibre toppers and pads are the best choice.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Memory foam mattresses have been growing in popularity lately and rightfully so.

Made from different types of foam with different densities, they respond to the temperature and the weight of the body. Their comfort comes from the ability to contour and mold to your body shape.

They also reduce pressure points, relieving back ache and muscle fatigue. The foam absorbs movement, so if you’re someone that’s prone to tossing and turning at night, rest assured that your partner won’t be disturbed.

Latex Mattresses

Made from either natural or synthetic rubber, these mattresses are known for providing a very firm, bouncy support. The support is the same throughout the whole mattress.

These mattresses are very firm and push back at the body instead of molding to it like the memory foam types and do not absorb heat. Good if you’re heat sensitive and prefer a more cooling effect.

Air Mattresses

Air mattresses come in all kinds of shapes and sizes but the ones that will offer you the best sleep support are made just like a standard innerspring mattress, but instead of enclosed coils the best of air mattresses feature air chambers and the high-end models come with either a pillow of memory foam top.

Airbeds are also known for being used with people on bed rest and patients with back injuries. They can be a temporary option for welcoming guests, sure, but the best of the inflatable beds, or air mattresses, whatever you want to call them, can be as comfortable are any other type.

Final thoughts

Nine thousand, one hundred and twenty five days – that’s how much an average person spends sleeping in a lifetime.

Take a moment to let that sink in.

Any further argument about the importance of proper sleep would be redundant.

Sweet dreams!

Choosing the Right Contraception For You

 

When it comes to choosing a form of contraception the choices available can be a little overwhelming. While historically we were fairly limited by what was available, there are now several options available to couples. All have their own benefits and drawbacks, and it’s often a case of trial and error to find which works best with your body.

While condoms are always recommended for safe sex (particularly with a new partner), those looking to avoid pregnancy have various other options available. Here we’ll take a look at some of the most common contraceptive methods and the pros and cons of each.

The Pill

A popular method of contraception, the contraceptive pill uses a combination of hormones to stop your ovaries releasing an egg. The pill is only available if prescribed by a doctor, and must be taken at the same time each day.

Pros

If taken correctly, it can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. Some versions of the pill can even make your period lighter or reduce menstrual cramps. Popular pills include Microgynon and Cilest, but it’s important to find what works best for you as everyone reacts differently to the pill.

Cons

Forget to take the pill at the right time and you risk getting pregnant as the pill becomes less effective the longer you leave it. There can sometimes be side effects such as bleeding between periods, nausea/vomiting, weight gain and reduced sex drive. The more popular ‘combined’ pill (eg. Microgynon) is not suitable for some people, for example smokers or those with high blood pressure who may need to take a pill that contains lower levels of oestrogen.

The Implant

The contraceptive implant is inserted by a medical professional into the skin of your upper arm. Much like the pill, it thickens the cervical mucus and releases hormones into your body to prevent your ovaries from producing eggs.

Pros

Once inserted, it lasts up to three years and is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It can help to reduce menstrual cramps and heavy flow.

Cons

While they are less common, there is still the risk of side effects commonly associated with the pill, such as nausea, weight gain and changes in sex drive.

Contraceptive Injection

Administered by a professional healthcare provider, the injection is carried out every 3 months and contains hormones that thicken the cervical mucus and thin the lining of the womb to try and prevent eggs being released.

Pros

Unlike the pill, you do not need to remember to take something every day and it is over 99% effective. Due to the lack of oestrogen, it is often suitable for those unable to take the combined pill.

Cons

You have to go to the doctor every 3 months as this isn’t something you can do at home. Likewise, this obviously isn’t a great option if you’re scared of needles! Despite the lack of oestrogen, there can still be side effects similar to those with the pill.

The IUD (or Coil)

The IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) is a small t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus by a medical practitioner. The length of time you can have the IUD varies but can be up to 12 years depending on the type you choose. It works by preventing sperm from surviving in the womb.

Pros

The IUD can be a longer-lasting solution and, once inserted, there is nothing more you need to do. Some IUDs (the longer-lasting type) can be completely hormone-free so may be suitable for people who react badly to certain hormones or who have existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure. It is usually over 99% effective.

Cons

Not everyone will feel comfortable with having something inserted into the uterus and the process can be a bit uncomfortable at first.