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Luck is only for the unprepared

Boy oh boy, Lady Luck seems to be little too generous on me or perhaps my planets are perfectly aligned during this time of the year. Whatever it is, I hope it lasts long! You must be wondering why am I so overwhelmed. Well, I’m on a winning streak and I couldn’t help but share with y’all.

So here’s how it all started. I found an old pair of jeans of mine lying around in my cupboard for an incredibly long time. Just when I thought to give it away to charity, out of the blue I found a £20 in the back pocket of the jeans!

And that’s not all. When I was on my way home from work last night, I happened to buy a scratch card (I usually don’t buy scratchcards). There was this strange voice in my head that much against my will forced me to buy one. I ended up buying three and one of them was a winning one.

That’s all? Nope! So I had registered to a site named GameVillage Bingo after a friend forced me to. I’ve never been much into online bingo. Just for fun I racked up few bingo cards and played a game. And then guess what? I won a whopping £50. Ha! Who could have seen that coming? I couldn’t believe my eyes. Is that really happening to me? Fingers crossed, I hope this lucky charm or my stars or whatever it is, remains the same forever. In fact tonight I’m playing at the site all over again to see how long my good luck continues. Guess I got off on the right foot this morning. Sweet!

GP

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Top ten tips for a stress-free retirement ~ GP

Retirement is supposed to be a time to relax, enjoy new things and live the rest of your life in comfort, but if you haven’t properly prepared for it then it can turn into a stressful time.

Making sure you’ve made plans and have everything covered before you reach retirement will ensure it’s as stress-free as possible.

Here are top 10 tips to help you plan ahead:

1. Be honest about how you want to live

When planning for retirement it helps to have a good idea of how you want to live. Don’t just look at standard figures about the cost of living – tailor your retirement plan to suit the lifestyle you want to lead.

2. Research the area you want to live

If your retirement plan involves moving to a different area or even country, you’ll need to research the costs associated with living in that location. Look at the different retirement apartments for sale so you know whether it’s viable.

3. Calculate the costs

Once you know how you want to live, it is then time to do a few calculations. There are free online retirement planning calculators that can tell you how much you’ll need to save and when you can expect to retire based upon those calculations.

4. Search for the best retirement plan

Don’t choose the first retirement planning account you find. Compare your options and see which offers the best returns.

5. Compare savings versus retirement accounts

Retirement accounts can be a good option, but they do come with a number of risks. The main one is that you might not get back what you have put in. It may therefore be a good idea to simply open a savings account of your own and use that for your retirement.

6. Think of ways to boost your income

Work out how much money you will be receiving for your retirement. This includes any personal savings along with employment based savings you have made. If there is a shortfall, think of ways you can increase your income – such as selling off any assets you may have.

7. Check if you’re entitled to benefits

You may be eligible for various benefits when you retire. Double check exactly what you will be entitled to as it could help make the cost of retirement a lot more affordable.

8. Consider part-time employment
Many people choose to work part time during their retirement. Not only does this ease the financial pressures but it is also a good option for those who feel a bit lost without work.

9. Getting a reverse mortgage

There are many ways to make your retirement more affordable. Taking out a reverse mortgage could be a great idea and is worth considering.

10. Get retirement advice

Before you retire, consider asking for professional advice. You will get all the help and advice you need to make retirement work for you and may learn a few new tricks that aren’t covered here.

Retirement can be a stressful time but it really doesn’t have to be if you start planning in advance.

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Simple Ways of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at Home

With so many appliances, equipment and pieces of technology being used in our daily lives, it’s no secret that we’re all significantly contributing to climate change through the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Whilst you may not be able to save the world single-handedly, there are plenty of simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home, and save yourself some money in the process!

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Here are some of them…

Insulate your house. A significant amount of heat energy is lost through the walls and, in particular, the roof of your house. Installing both cavity wall insulation and loft insulation can help cut around £300 off your energy bills each year, as well as reducing your energy output. Some energy providers even offer free insulation when you sign up with them. Money Saving Expert has some good advice on this.

Replace your appliances. If your appliances and white goods are getting on a bit then there’s a good chance they’re not as energy efficient as they should be. Updating your appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher, etc, is a great way of reducing your carbon footprint, even though the initial outlay may be a little higher. There are some good offers and promotions around, however, such as the HiSpek Eco Campaign which saves you money when you trade in your old appliances.

Switch off electronics at the wall. It’s a tip that’s as old as time itself, but one that is still important to bear in mind. If you leave your electronics plugged in and switched on at the wall then they’re still using electricity. If possible, switch them off and unplug them to ensure they won’t be costing you any money. Just putting the TV on standby will still be wasting energy and costing you money.

Fill up your appliances. Before you use the dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer, make sure they’re as full as possible. Doing one big wash is a lot more energy efficient than doing lots of little washes and will save you a bit of time too.

Hang your clothes out to dry. You can try skipping the tumble dryer altogether by hanging your clothes out to dry naturally. Obviously this is harder to do if the weather isn’t great but is worth it if possible.

Turn the heating down. You could try leaving the heating off as much as possible and wrapping up warm, but if you do have the heating on, just turning it down by 1°C can save you up to £60 a year. Having the heating constantly on at a low heat is also more energy efficient than having it on for short blasts.

Stock up your fridge and freezer. Having your fridge and freezer fully stocked will save you energy as they have to work harder to stay cold if they’re empty.

Cook a few meals at a time. If you have the time, try cooking a few meals at once (much easier if they just use the oven) to save time energy over the course of several days. Similarly, you could cook a large meal that can be popped in the fridge or freezer and will serve you for a few days. There are some great recipe ideas here.

{GP}

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The best mattress for sex…

Yup, you read that right!

Can you believe that somewhere out there, some lucky buggers got to do months of research into the best type of mattress to have sex on, and they were allowed to say it was an actual real life job? I mean, some people get all the luck.

At the Love Master (liking the name) instead of focussing on getting a good sleep, they’ve put all their energy into creating a different kind of mattress, after all, a healthy sex life is just as important as sleep so why the hell not! What did their research discover you might ask. Well, read on…..

Most traction?
A good sex mattress needs to provide traction. A sinking-in effect, which allows for more efficiency of movement.
After plenty of action, our 5 mattress types revealed that memory foam was a winner for traction, however memory foam falls short in other areas and therefore love master provides traction primarily through it’s knitted cover and supported by the latex top cover which came second in the best for traction results.

Bouncy?
The mattress should deliver a bouncing effect when compresses, as opposed to being solid and motion absorbing. Bouncing helps you get into a rhythm and increase enjoyment. The love master is designed with a base layer of 1000 pocket springs

Discreet?
A mattress needs to be energy absorbing, heavy and silent so that anyone in the next room is unaware. Memory foam is the most discrete, however it falls short in other areas. Love masters discretion comes from it’s energy absorbing latex top layer which came second in our results.

Activity?
Is the mattress easy to move around on, after our vigorous testing, latex ended up on top so we designed the Love master with a 2cm top layer of Latex.

Durable?
A durable mattress is one that can withstand repeated passionate use over several years without breaking, sagging or losing comfort and support. After years of passionate research and testing latex showed by far the most stamina. Lovemaster’s combination of 2cm latex top layer and the knitted cover will assure durability in the love master mattress.

Lovemaster are giving away mattresses this month to get some feedback on their latest technology. If you think you and your partner would make good testers then get in touch www.thelovemaster.co.uk

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Dining Room Upgrade: Mixing Features And Materials For A Contemporary Look

How we use our dining rooms has evolved over the years. Formal dining has made way for casual and contemporary entertaining and eating with friends and family in a more relaxed way. Changes in attitude and lifestyles has meant that many of us are looking to give the dining area a modern makeover. That means creating and a dining room that is right on­trend with just the right mix of features and materials.

Contemporary kitchen ­diner
Look to create a contemporary kitchen­diner that has plenty of character and offers a really relaxed feel. If you want to create a real talking point amongst your guests and have some furniture that will stand the test of time, consider a set of 4 leg ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen. Check out the reproductions on the Swivel UK site.

Combine these distinctive chairs with a marble ­topped dining table and you will be well on the way to creating a look that will be right on ­trend and encourage a laid­ back casual dining atmosphere in an instant.

Regency red
If you want your dining room to stand out from the crowd then a mixture of regency red leather upholstery and a bold floral wallpaper for the walls will certainly do the job. A designer mirror on the wall that is large and commanding enough to make a difference, combined with a starburst chandelier inspired by the ones that were at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, will all help to make dining feel classic yet ultra­modern at the same time.

Homage to modernity
Create a distinctive space where you can definitely say that modernity is the look that you were going for. This can be achieved with a combination of a Mod chandelier, some crisp white walls, a classic white plastic circular dining table and some contrasting Eero Saarinen Tulip white plastic chairs with red upholstery for visual contrast.

If you are working with a kitchen diner layout rather than a separate dining room, some sheer curtains to create an entrance, will work well.

Easy on the eye
If you want a dining room that is very easy on the eye and also has a distinctly contemporary feel despite having its design roots set in the past, here is one way to achieve that look. Go for an oval breakfast style table with an eggshell finish that encourages informality, with a quirky 1950’s style brass chandelier above. Have some low units against the wall that match the dining table and to complete the look with a neutral palette, some Charles Eames fibreglass chairs.

Dramatic contemporary
Floor ­to ­ceiling drapes will add not just warmth but a sense of drama to your dining room.
Using curtains and material to close off a space will help to create a classy looking dining room with a 1960’s inspired chandelier as the show piece item that grabs your attention. Bronzed glass and a contemporary painting of your choice will complete the look of modern luxury.

Whatever suits your lifestyle, you are certain to be able to find the right features and materials to create a dining area that is unique to you.

Josh Burke has a knack for functional and stunningly designed spaces. With years of experience revitalizing bedrooms, basements, and bathrooms, he loves blogging about inspirations and design tips for modern homeowners’ needs.

~GP~

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