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Blog Directory ID: 23014 Get VIP Status?
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Google Pagerank: 2
Blog Description:

One man's musings on life, being a father, husband and friend. Passionate about his family, his work and technology. My name is Steve Halls and I am a father of two wonderful boys, Archie, age two and Freddie who at the time of writing is just ten weeks old. Join me on my journey through fatherhood, married life, work and leisure. I am an IT geek by day and I also love Football, my beloved Tottenham Hotspur FC, Film, TV, Food and Drink so all of this will be covered in my Blog. I shall also be featuring news and reviews on many different items from things we have purchased for the children to day's out, holidays or just a nice meal at a restaurant.
Blog Added: July 10, 2015 04:13:03 AM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: United-Kingdom/London   United-Kingdom/London
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Total Visits: 1,331
Blog Rating: 2.95
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A Productive Space: Setting Up An Office At Home

If you work from home in any capacity, or perhaps you run your own business; it can be a challenge to stay motivated and ensure that you’re being productive during the working week. There are plenty of distractions and potential disturbances in a home setting; from other family members to odd jobs and chores that...

If you work from home in any capacity, or perhaps you run your own business; it can be a challenge to stay motivated and ensure that you’re being productive during the working week. There are plenty of distractions and potential disturbances in a home setting; from other family members to odd jobs and chores that need to be done. It can be difficult to make sure that a short break doesn’t turn into something longer, and before you know it; it’s the evening and time for dinner and bed. However, creating a productive workspace and home-office will help to boost your work and make each day more advantageous.

You need to ensure that you’re able to separate your workspace from the rest of family life. Therefore, it’s worth spending some time and effort making your home office, studio, or work area the best it can be, and investing in changes and upgrades for a fruitful future. The following are some ideas and tip for those whose home office space, and work routine, needs a push in the right direction for added productivity.

Image source: https://kaboompics.com/photo/4082/woman-working-on-laptop-at-home-office


Everything You Need

A productive office is key to the success of the work you produce at home. Make sure you have your lists and calendar not only digitally, but somewhere written down, and insight too. Writing down notes and putting them where you can see them is a great way to keep on top of tasks and work that needs to be completed. Keep your vital contact details, clients, and stockists written down physically too; you’ll be grateful you did so if anything happens to your computer, phone, or laptop. Invest in tech that will keep you at your desk, and doing a great job; it’s worth checking out some advice from experts and websites who are great for tech news so that you can keep on top of the latest releases and reviews. Backing your work up on more than one USB is another great way to ensure everything you’ve worked on is safe, and nothing gets lost. Back-up regularly to avoid a month’s work disappearing due to a computer crashing.

An Inspiring Environment

Your office should be a space where you can clear your mind and separate yourself from the rest of the house; you need to feel cool, calm and collected so that you’re ready to tackle your workload. Therefore, you’ll need to invest in a fresh coat of paint for the walls and ceilings, and ensure that it’s in a light, neutral hue, or even a cool, crisp white. A non-invasive background colour will help prevent brain-fog and headaches, and your thoughts will be able to run freely so that you can boost your productivity. You’ll also be able to add decorative touches, like artwork, ornaments, and photographs with ease, and the environment won’t appear to be too cluttered; which can also stifle your thought process. When it comes to flooring; you need to think about practicality and design. The colour doesn’t have to be a light shade to match the walls; however, the more neutral, the better. You want to be able to incorporate your office furniture with ease and ensure that any rugs or mats you want to add will fit in seamlessly.


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How to Organize Your Kid’s Birthday Party on a Budget?

There is always peer pressure existing among kids to throw the most amazing party on their birthday. An event where other kids will come to have lots of fun and make great memories of the day. You want your kids to have a memorable birthday celebration, you want them to feel the joy of attaining...

There is always peer pressure existing among kids to throw the most amazing party on their birthday. An event where other kids will come to have lots of fun and make great memories of the day.

You want your kids to have a memorable birthday celebration, you want them to feel the joy of attaining a new age, but as parents, the busyness of life can often overwhelm you.

Thinking of planning a fun birthday party for your child during the rush-means of life might be a complicated process. Planning your child’s birthday can be demanding–the decorations, the cake, guests to be invited, and many other things. It could cost a lot too.

Asking for help from friends and family might have been helping until when it stops. Sometimes you might try to keep the budget for the birthday on a low, but somehow that choice gets away from you.

Actually it is not your fault. Everyone wants to become an ideal parent for their child. Therefore, parents convince themselves with the fact that these parties occur only once in a year. When the birthday candles blow out, and the happy guests go back to their homes, then the reality sets in. You begin to think about the car payment, the mortgage bills, and other expenses; and then the stress sets in.

It can be very dangerous to fall victim to financial pits from throwing a party. So here we are listing top 5 ways to plan your child’s birthday party on a budget.

Keep it simple:

Make use of some creative ideas; there is no need for spending hundreds of dollars hosting an elaborate birthday. Think back to the time of your childhood and you would realize as a kid your attention was so focused on blowing out the candle on the cake. A kid never notices if it is just a sponge or a fancy, butter, table size cake.

Most likely, you will realize that you remember the feeling of the joy of having funs and playing games with your friends, rather than the cake’s size or taste.

The venue:

You can cut the cost of hired venues by making use of your home as a venue. If you are not convenient about having your home filled with overly excited faces, you can use a local church or a village hall. They often have reasonable prices to hire, and you pay a little amount per hour.

Party games Ideas:

Rather than having to pay a hired entertainer, there are several traditional party games you can occupy the children with, like pass the parcel, statues, musical chair, and several other games.

Keep the guest list down:

Don’t get into peer pressure and plan on something that you can’t afford. Try to keep the guest list down; it is a straightforward way to keep the party cost low. Consult with your child on the number of friends they plan to invite and try to keep them to a minimum. Often smaller parties are more fun.

Think home-made

For a birthday party of this kind, food always covers most of the expenses. Homemade treats are the best choice for birthdays, they are moist and have endless options of flavours, and making use of homemade treats would save you a lot of money from buying lots of ready-made treats,

It is unnecessary to go overboard with the food. Another tip to save money on food is to get cardboard meal boxes and fill them with the party food, one for each child. With this method, nothing would go to waste because you just buy and make the food that is needed.

What are your plans for keeping your child’s birthday party on a budget? Let us know in the comments below.

Author Bio:

James is a specialized educational consultant. He assists parents and their kids in all aspects of building a successful career. He can be seen at SmileTutor.


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4 Gadgets That Can Change Your Life for the Better

Life today is probably more complicated than ever before for the average person. Our jobs typically involve far more disparate elements than they once did, and we have to be constantly on our feet and alert at the prospect of being displaced by a sudden and dramatic upheaval in the job market or economy. Image...

Life today is probably more complicated than ever before for the average person. Our jobs typically involve far more disparate elements than they once did, and we have to be constantly on our feet and alert at the prospect of being displaced by a sudden and dramatic upheaval in the job market or economy.

Image via Pixabay

And it’s not just our professional lives which can seem confusing, either. Social media has put us in a situation where we’re constantly connected to our friends and acquaintances, to the extent that we are more mindful of our social presentation than perhaps we ever were before, too.

Even relaxing in your bed, in your pyjamas, can cause a certain degree of social angst, when you check Facebook on your phone and see that some of your other friends are on vacation in an exotic locale.

But, of course, for all the potential anxiety that our more tech-rich world may contribute to, that very tech also enriches our lives in innumerable ways. We are now freer than we’ve ever been to explore the wisdom of the ages, with nothing more than a computer and an internet connection. We can start our own businesses online. Even our health can be improved by various apps and gadgets.

So, if you’re in a bit of a rut in any given area of your life, or at the very least feel that you could be in a much more favourable position than you’re currently in, here are some gadgets that can change your life for the better.

Electric vehicles for fields and large properties

If you run a business that involves managing large areas of open space, and especially if you run a business that involves giving the public access to those large areas of space, and keeping an eye on them, you’d be in for a hard time if you wanted to do it all by foot.

It’s all too likely that you’d find yourself jogging from place to place, all day, wasting dramatic amounts of time, and failing to properly attend to the specific nuances of your job.

Similar problems can occur if you live on a farm, or in an otherwise rural area that requires you to cross large expanses of space throughout the day, without being able to rely on pollution-heavy vehicles such as cars to get around.

Luckily, modern technology has your back, with a range of light, energy-efficient, and tasteful electric vehicles that can allow you to be constantly on the move, throughout the day, in style. If you run an operation such as a golf course, and a customer falls ill or has an accident and needs immediate medical attention, what can you do in order to help them out in a hurry?

Well, the whole problem is certainly much more manageable if you happen to have an electric ambulance at hand.

Wearable fitness trackers

On the one hand, many of us denizens of the 21st Century are far less active than our grandparents, or even our parents, were, as a result of the fact that technology allows us to sit in one chair, all day, and attend to both our work, and our leisure pursuits, while hardly ever having to get up for any reason at all.

Whether you’re a customer service representative at a call centre, the head of an SEO company, or an avid video-gamer, you probably live a pretty sedentary lifestyle.

Ironically, it looks like new developments in technology may save the day in this regard, with wearable devices from companies such as Fitbit and Garmin helping you to track your activity levels during the day, adjust them accordingly, as circumstances dictate, and break the cycle of chronic sitting around.

The newer generation of Fitbits and similar apps can track the number of steps you take in a day, the distance you cover, your heart rate, and can do a good job of calculating the number of hours you’ve slept, and the number of calories you’ve burned throughout the day.

Many of these devices are also able to give you reminders to move throughout the day — such as reminding you every hour to get a certain number of steps in, in order to avoid being too sedentary, and some can even rouse you from slumber with quiet, vibrating alarms.

Electric standing and treadmill desks

Following on from the theme of being too sedentary throughout the day, research has indicated that even the gm-fanatics among us may not get a free pass if they spend too long glued to their seats from Monday to Friday.

It seems that, in order to break free from the various negative health consequences of too much sitting — including a higher risk of death from all causes, poorer blood sugar control, a higher likelihood of cardiovascular disorders, and so on — we really need to move around regularly throughout the day.

Enter the electric standing and treadmill desk, potentially set to be remembered as one of the great health and wellness innovations of the century, which allows you to adjust your desk from a standard “sitting” to a more active “standing” height at the touch of a button.

What’s more — various higher-end standing desks even have built-in treadmills, meaning that when “standing”, you can also be walking, all without having to break concentration from your work.

These devices may take some getting used to, but if you do at least a bit more standing and walking each day as a result of them, expect your quality of life to improve quite dramatically.

HEPA air purifiers

One of the downsides of living in tech-saturated environments, is that many of our beloved household gadgets pollute the air through various suspect and undesirable emissions.

Combine this with mould spores and pet dander, and the air in our homes and offices can become outright toxic. In fact, many people suffer from health conditions attributable to “Sick Building Syndrome”.

Portable HEPA air purifiers can remove these pathogens and irritants from the air, and allow us to thrive.


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Do’s And Don’ts For Investing In Your Child’s Education

Planning your child’s future is not a simple task. It takes a lot of wise decisions and early investment plans in order to invest in your child’s personal development and therefore their future and education. And to do all of that while identifying which investments are appropriate, useful and not contra productive. It is essential...

Planning your child’s future is not a simple task. It takes a lot of wise decisions and early investment plans in order to invest in your child’s personal development and therefore their future and education. And to do all of that while identifying which investments are appropriate, useful and not contra productive. It is essential to recognize what you are doing – know and understand the do’s and don’ts when investing in your child’s education.

Just thinking about the financial aspect of the children’s education can cause a lot of stress for the parents. Education is the best gift you can give to your children but it is also a great investment. That is why it is important that parents make detailed financial plans of their children’s future education needs.

Timing is essential

A simple way to start saving for your child’s education fund is to start saving on time. Timing is very important – the earlier you start the better it will be for your finance and you will be less stressed when the time comes to invest in your kids education. Open an account early and regularly put a reasonable amount of money that you will use only when it is needed. The best option is to agree with your partner on the monthly sum and set automatic payments from your accounts and forget about it for a while.

Know your goals

While planning your kid’s educational fund you should try to do a calculation of the total cost. This calculation doesn’t have to be exact or precise, simply roughly estimate how much you will need, and how much you have to save each month.

You don’t have to check the ‘education’ bank account often but you should know how much money you’ve collected. You should make a research and write down the prices of the courses, practices, colleges, look for good schools you know you can afford – and add a little extra for the ‘just in case’ fund simply to know your goal.

Keep your kids involved

Also, when times comes for your children to start preparing for college you should help them search for the additional scholarships. This will help you with the financial burden if you overlooked or came across some unexpected problems that required more money than planned.

Don’t forget to remind your kids about the importance of studying and preparing for future education, especially when you are aware of the fact that they will need to apply for a scholarship. That means motivating them to engage in extra curricular activities, or to learn a foreign language; you might need to hire a tutor or opt for the reputable Sydney College of English for additional classes, in case English is not their mother tongue.

The bigger the income the bigger the rate

As your monthly income increases you should increase the amount of money that you put on the account for your child’s future. You know your budget, your financial strength and capability and that is why you should increase the sum if your family budget becomes bigger and you know that you can spare a few extra bucks.

Consistency is the key

Another very important step is to be consistent and don’t skip putting money aside on the separate bank account. You need to save regularly in order to actually achieve your goal and create a solid savings fund for your child’s future education. If you put money in the fund every month you are most likely not going to feel the lack of money while if you choose to put money in the fund yearly by adding a larger sum, it will affect your budget.

Set the right priorities

Following a savings plan usually requires setting the right priorities and cutting down on some luxuries. Your child’s education is a priority that needs to be on the first place of your list. That is why it is important to avoid spending money on things you can live without, make a better meal plan to avoid throwing away food and money, find ways to save on your bills, etc. These are all simple steps that will affect your budget and help you invest in your child’s future. Cut down on unnecessary expenses but don’t deny yourself an affordable treat every once in a while.

Follow these simple steps in order to start saving for your child’s future. The sooner you start the less hustle and bustle there will be when time comes to fill in college applications. These do’s and don’ts will guide you to your goal.


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Winning XI: Top Reasons To Get Excited For The New Premier League Season

The countdown for the return of Premier League football has well and truly started!  Most football fans are already missing what was an incredible World Cup. But the return of the world’s most exciting league should get rid of that Russia 2018 hangover. Here are just 11 reasons to crank up the excitement. Image  #1....

The countdown for the return of Premier League football has well and truly started! 

Most football fans are already missing what was an incredible World Cup. But the return of the world’s most exciting league should get rid of that Russia 2018 hangover. Here are just 11 reasons to crank up the excitement.

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 #1. Friday Night Football

 The Premier League season starts on Friday 10th August as Manchester United play Leicester City. Last season’s Friday night offerings served up some hugely entertaining fixtures. So, this is a welcomed return to start your weekends in style. 

#2. The Changing Of The Guard 

A change of manager at Stamford Bridge surprised nobody, but seeing a new face in the dugout at the Emirates Stadium will be rather strange. Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign didn’t end as he’d have liked, can Unai Emery fire the Gunners back into contention? 

#3. The New Spurs Stadium

Naming it the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium may be the least creative thing in football since a Jordan Henderson pass. However, there’s no denying that the new Spurs ground looks absolutely incredible. Their fans must be ecstatic that they missed out on the equally unimaginatively named) London Stadium after all.

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 #4. The Women’s Super League 

It’s not only the men’s game that keeps getting better and better. The women’s pyramid has undergone another transformation. Moreover, the 11-team WSL should be the most exciting and competitive season of all.   

#5. New Football Games 

The new football season means that the latest editions of FIFA and PES will hit the stores within a matter of weeks. Whether you’re a PlayStation or Xbox fan, there’s nothing better than putting your mates to the sword in the world of virtual soccer. 

#6. Competitions 

On a similar note, putting your knowledge to the test is great fun. From Premier League predictions to Fantasy Football leagues, this is a chance to show that you are the most informed supporter of all. It’s great fun and can be a chance to win prizes or money too.     

#7. Renewed Hope In The Champions League 

Liverpool were last season’s surprise package of Europe’s elite competition, reaching the final before losing out to Real Madrid in Kiev. The Reds look stronger than ever while Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City are among the favourites too. Football nearly came home this summer; maybe the European Cup will this time in May.

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 #8. The Standards 

A lot of people bemoan the loss of hard tackling and other facets associated with the early Premiership years. However, there’s no denying that some of the football played (Man City and Liverpool in particular) in 2017-18 was breathtaking. Let’s hope for more of the same. 

#9. New Players 

Premier League clubs have spent big yet again this summer. The likes of Jorginho, Naby Keita, and Felipe Anderson all arriving in time for the new season. Let’s overlook the return of Rob Green, and everything will be fine. 

#10. No VAR 

If there’s only one thing we didn’t like about the World Cup, it was the poor use of VAR. It feels as though its introduction to the domestic game is inevitable. Let’s enjoy the VAR-less Premier League while we can.

 #11. No More Cricket 

Sorry cricket fans, but even 20-20 can’t match the excitement of the beautiful game.


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These Are the Cars That Make Sense for City Drivers

It’s not uncommon for people to realise that they’re driving the wrong car for their needs. If you’re driving in the middle of a busy city each day, the last thing you need is a big bulky car that’s hard to park and not much fun to drive on narrow and busy roads. There are,...

It’s not uncommon for people to realise that they’re driving the wrong car for their needs. If you’re driving in the middle of a busy city each day, the last thing you need is a big bulky car that’s hard to park and not much fun to drive on narrow and busy roads. There are, however, city cars that are perfect for all that kind of stuff. Here are the cars that will likely make the most sense to you if you’re someone who’s living and working in a large city.

Skoda Citigo

It might not be the most visually appealing car on this list and it might not belong to the most impressive manufacturer on the planet, but you can’t afford to ignore the Citigo from Skoda. It’s a very well designed vehicle, and it’s got a lot going for it. It does everything you ask it to, and as the name suggests, it’s made for the city.

Toyota Aygo

If you’re looking for an affordable car that’s been designed with the city in mind, you can’t go far wrong with the Toyota Aygo. You can tell that every stage of this car’s design process has been designed with the intent of making this a great city car, and that’s all you can really ask for from a top city car, isn’t it? It’s up to you, but this is a city car that can’t be ignored.

Image Source

Kia Picanto

Kia is one of those brands that has really built itself up in the eyes of city drivers over the last few years. It’s a rare city car that can accommodate families because of the spacious boot and the decent amount of legroom in the back seats. It’s a car that looks modern and sleek too, so you shouldn’t have any problems slotting it into your day to day lifestyle.

Vauxhall Adam

One of the best things about the New Vauxhall Adam is the design. It looks like a vibrant and modern vehicle straight away, and that’s what people tend to want when they’re living in the city. It runs smoothly and customers to date have been impressed. It might not be the most obvious answer, but it’s one certainly worth considering and looking into for you.

Suzuki Celerio

The Suzuki Celerio certainly has a lot going for it, so it’s not a car that you can afford to dismiss out of hand. First of all, it’s a car that’s safe and easy to remain in control of, which is a pretty big deal for a car that’s going to be driven in the city. It has good safety assist technologies and is more spacious than you would think from looking at it from the outside.

Driving in the city is stressful enough as it is. Don’t make the whole task even more stressful than it needs to be by driving the car that’s clearly not right for what you need. Each of the cars mentioned and discussed here will help you to enjoy driving in the city more than you’ve ever done before.


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